Nov 2, 2013, 7:05am | Ed Morrissey
Nov 1, 2013, 8:16pm | Katie Pavlich
This might just become one of my favorite political moments of all time. Pure awesome. Well done, Senator Kelsey.
— Brian Kelsey (@BrianKelsey) November 1, 2013
Nov 1, 2013, 6:20pm | Guy Benson
Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) assessment of President Obama’s “you can keep your plan” promise has…evolved.
Harkin, during the Obamacare debate: ”If you are a person out there who has your own health insurance policy right now and you like it , you can keep it.”
Harkin, today: “I suppose he could have added a caveat that if you have a plan you like, you can keep it, as long as it fits into this new regime that we are building for America. To say you can keep that, that’s not really right…there’s a lot of gray area there.”
“As long as it fits into this new regime” rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Harkin will side-step voters and retire next year — as will Sen. Max “Trainwreck” Baucus, who is the latest Senate Democrat to embrace an Obamacare delay. Remember, every Senate Democrat voted against a one-year delay just a few weeks ago, leading to the government shutdown. They also unanimously blocked a Republican effort to enforce Obama’s “keep your plan” pledge in 2010. The Pryors and Landrieus of the world are now scrambling to cast do-over votes. Will their states’ voters do the same next fall?
Nov 1, 2013, 11:16am | Guy Benson
It’s such a shame. I’ve been a big fan of Bravo’s award-winning series, Top Chef, since stumbling across season four, which was based in my then-hometown of Chicago. Head judge Tom Colicchio is one hell of a cook, and quickly became one of my favorite personalities on the show. But then Greg Hengler had to go and spoil the fun by alerting me to this:
Greg includes economist Dan Mitchell’s chart, which illustrates how US poverty rates were falling steadily until LBJ’s big-government “war on poverty” began:
Colicchio asserts that government programs basically had poverty licked until the 1980′s rolled around, at which point the “war” transformed into an ideological attack against the social safety net. Unsaid, but clearly implied: Reagan screwed everything up. Let’s review. Poverty rates spiked at the beginning of Reagan’s first term (he inherited a nasty economic situation), then they declined every year once the roaring Reagan recovery kicked in. You’ll notice that poverty jumped again when the next recession hit, which helped Bill Clinton get elected. After Clinton and the Republican Congress enacted historic welfare reforms in the mid-90′s — reforms that were angrily decried as “draconian” safety net cuts by people like Tom Colicchio, by the way — the percentage of Americans living in poverty plunged again to five-decade lows. That number plateaued during the George W. Bush years, and began to dip toward the end of his second term. Then the great recession happened. Poverty rates (understandably) kicked back up to ‘pre-war’ levels, and (less understandably) have remained high ever since. More than four years into President Obama’s recovery (the recession officially ended in June of 2009), roughly 15 percent of the US population is still living below the poverty line. This, despite the federal government spending more on food stamps than ever before, and after more than $800 billion walked out the door in the failed “stimulus” boondoggle. Colicchio’s prescription for these woes is “good programs.” I’d put good jobs way ahead of good programs on the solutions scale, but conservatives don’t oppose strong, sustainable safety net programs for the truly needy. So we agree. What I fear is that he conflates “good” with “big” — the Left’s fundamental and seemingly incurable category error. To wit, House Republicans’ recent attempt at enacting modest food stamp reforms have been met with outright hysteria among Democrats. Tell me, is this cruelty?
The Republican proposal simply ends waivers from SNAP’s traditional work requirements that were granted to states starting in 2010. Prior to 2009, able-bodied adult recipients between the ages of 18 and 50, without children, were required to work, participate in an employment and training program, or participate in a SNAP “workfare” program for at least 20 hours per week. Otherwise, they could collect SNAP benefits for only three months in a given 36 month period. That requirement was waived nationwide in 2009, and on a state-by-state basis after 2010. Currently, 44 states have such waivers
I’m not sure whether Colicchio has lent his voice to the reactionary chorus protesting these reasonable efforts, and frankly, I’d rather not know. I’m just disappointed that he would use his celebrity to advance lazy analysis — and that he’d choose to do so on a show hosted by one of the most malignant personalities on all of television. No, I’m not going to walk away from Top Chef or vow never to set foot in a Craft steakhouse ever again. Living an intensely partisan life is exhausting and limiting. But I’ll never quite view Colicchio the same way. Too bad he didn’t stick to kitchen wizardry and weekly commentaries on contestants’ “perfectly cooked” scallops.
Oct 31, 2013, 1:32pm | Guy Benson
A damning indictment, considering the source. The man who presided over gas lines, stagflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, and America’s “malaise” ought to be considered an expert on failure. Behold, his candid Obamacare assessment:
On how he would evaluate the Obama presidency so far:
JC: “He’s done the best he could under the circumstances. His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.”
“The best he could” is a backhanded ‘participation trophy’-type compliment. And it’s hard to argue with the second sentence. Ahem:
Oct 31, 2013, 11:28am | Allahpundit
They’d certainly be more “hands on”!
I’m sorry. That was awful.
It’s not exactly a vote of confidence in the powers that be: A sizable number of Americans think the undead would do a better job than the brain dead in Washington, D.C.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults believe the federal government would do a better job than zombies running the country today. But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most Americans don’t share that view, with just as many (37%) who feel zombies would do a better job running the country and another 26% who can’t decide between the two.
Oct 31, 2013, 11:16am | Ed Morrissey
Joe Biden emerged from his relative seclusion these days to offer an apology for the ObamaCare debacle, but also argued that neither he nor Barack Obama know much about websites anyway. File this under Things that would have been good to know earlier:
VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN TO CNN: “We were under the impression that it was ready to go. We had the president, to his credit, almost seven weeks out was saying, ‘is it going to be ready?’ and to be told by the pros that, ‘yeah, this is all ready to go, all in line.’ Neither he or I are technology geeks and we assumed that it was up and ready to run, but the good news is that although it’s not, and we apologize for that, we’re confident that by the end of November it will be and there will still be plenty of time for people to register to get online.”
No one expects a chief executive to be adept at coding. We expect them to hire people who are adept at coding, rather than a company whose biggest previous project was a failed gun-registry system in Canada. We expect a chief executive to find managers and directors who can take $400 million and deliver an operational web portal on time, and to be aware of the real status of that project sometime before the executive begins to force millions of Americans into using it.
Oct 31, 2013, 7:53am | Allahpundit
Instead of candy this year, they’re giving out cancellation notices. Via Reason TV:
Oct 30, 2013, 6:32pm | Mary Katharine Ham
This is a little Series-themed silliness in the Buzzfeed community, by yours truly. You think they look weird with facial hair? Wait til you see them without. Click to read:
Oct 30, 2013, 1:07pm | Ed Morrissey
And on the issue of Barack Obama’s lie of “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Factcheck.org did tell us so … repeatedly. Compare this to Politifact’s curiously sympathetic reading of the pledge over the same three-year period:
None of this should be a surprise to our readers. We’ve been writing about these issues as far back as 2009, when the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was being debated. In an Aug. 18, 2009, item — headlined “Keep Your Own Insurance? Not Everyone” — we cited a Congressional Budget Office projection that 3 million people covered by employer-provided insurance plans under current law would not be offered coverage. …
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated as far back as November 2009 that — on average — rates would go up significantly in the individual market, by 10 percent to 13 percent. We reported on that any number of times.
Furthermore, millions more who are under employer-sponsored plans are also expected to lose their current coverage and need to shift to buying coverage for themselves on the new exchanges. That’s why we listed Obama’s “you can keep your plan” refrain as one of thehealth care “whoppers” in 2010, one of the “Whoppers of 2012” and — just last month — one of several “Obamacare Myths.” In that last report, we noted that the grocery-store chain Trader Joe’s had already announced that it would drop health coverage for part-time workers and leave them to shop for their own policies on the new exchanges.
Oct 30, 2013, 11:59am | Allahpundit
A slogan for his entire second term.
Oct 30, 2013, 11:38am | Ed Morrissey
I’d caution people about taking the Italian magazine Panorama too seriously, but if this is true, then Barack Obama may have bigger problems than Angela Merkel’s sense of outrage:
US secret services allegedly eavesdropped on cardinals before the conclave in March to elect a new pope, Italian weekly magazine Panorama claimed Wednesday.
“The National Security Agency wiretapped the pope,” the magazine said, accusing the United States of listening in to telephone calls to and from the Vatican, including the accommodation housing cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he was elected Pope Francis.
The allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome which said the United States intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy in December 2012 and early January 2013.
Among those, “there are apparently also calls from and to the Vatican,” Panorama said.
Fr. Federico Lombardi dismissed the report this morning, telling the media that the Vatican isn’t “worried about it.” That’s probably due to the rather fantastical and apparently unverified claim, but it’s also because they’re probably mystified as to why the US would be interested in their discussions. My skepticism level is … high.
If it is true (and that is a mighty big if), that would be a question Americans should ask. Perhaps the intel community has too many resources available to it for its own good if they’re spending them listening to the cardinals rather than looking for terrorists and national-security threats.
Update: We’ve found the mole!
Oct 30, 2013, 10:33am | Guy Benson
First watch this ‘bystander president’ montage:
And now, a question for POTUS:
Oct 30, 2013, 9:26am | Ed Morrissey
I like Twitter, mostly for the social aspects of it, but its rare outages are great occasions for snark. If you’re missing the ability to describe your perfect or imperfect cup of coffee this morning, feel free to post comments here until Twitter returns to service.
Ironic that this is happening during a House hearing on the government’s inability to launch a web portal, huh? Wanna bet that Twitter gets its issues fixed before Kathleen Sebelius gets done describing how it’s not her fault?
Update, 9:32 am: I originally had my local time in the headline, but by the time I could fix it Twitter was back up. I wonder whether their 834s work better than ObamaCare’s exchange, too.
Oct 29, 2013, 4:38pm | Allahpundit
Via the Right Scoop, a portrait of a man who’s having a rough week.
Oct 29, 2013, 11:26am | Guy Benson
Disillusionment is painful. Via the Chicago Sun-Times:
Sue Klinkhamer has a problem. It’s called Obamacare. And the irony of her situation is not lost on her. In a recent email addressed to her former boss, Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, and other Democratic colleagues, she wrote: “I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.” For Klinkhamer, 60, President Obama’s oft-repeated words ring in her ears: “If you like your health plan, you will keep it.” Well, possibly not.
Tell us what you’ve won, Sue!
When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job, she had to buy an individual policy on the open market. Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter. “Blue Cross,” she said, “stated my current coverage would expire on Dec. 31, and here are my options: I can have a plan with similar benefits for $647.12 [or] I can have a plan with similar [but higher] pricing for $322.32 but with a $6,500 deductible.” She went on, “Blue Cross also tells me that if I don’t pick one of the options, they will just assume I want the one for $647. … Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?”
Sue’s former boss is now current Congressman Bill Foster. What does he have to say for himself?
Congressman Foster, Klinkhamer’s former boss who has since been returned to Congress, told me by phone Friday, “A very large number of people are very grateful” for Obamacare…Klinkhamer suggests renaming the Affordable Care Act. “Just call it,” she said dryly, “the Available Care Act.”
Yes, but an even larger number aren’t ”very grateful” for the law — especially the countless victims of its egregious broken promises. Rep. Foster cast one of the deciding votes for this monstrosity in 2010, and three years later, its real-world consequences are hammering one of his former staffers. Whatevs. Numero Uno will be just fine. Liberals have routinely assured us that a warm public embrace of Obamacare is just around the corner. Once it’s passed! Once the early sweeteners go into effect! After full implementation! Have Democrats replaced this sun’ll-come-out-tomorrow thinking with, “meh, at least some people don’t hate it”? Inspiring. In any case, one hopes that Foster’s 2014 opponent will see to it that district voters hear about Sue’s story early and often.
Oct 29, 2013, 10:46am | Ed Morrissey
“… asshole,” the conservative Republican told the New York Republican Club:
In response to a question about civility in the Senate, Coburn said it’s easier to forge cross-party ties with some Democrats than others.
“I have great relationships with Chuck Schumer. I don’t say that in Oklahoma,” he said, naming other Democrats he gets along with – and one he definitely doesn’t.
“There’s no comity with Harry Reid. I think he’s an absolute a–hole,” he said.
As we discovered in the 2012 election, he’s also a smear artist, which just adds to that status. The only way to defang Reid, though, is to win more seats in the midterm elections and put him back in the minority.
Oct 28, 2013, 3:15pm | Ed Morrissey
And not just to this soldier’s surprised daugher, either:
I post ‘em because I love ‘em. May all of our brave men and women come home to equally joyous reunions. Now you’ll have to excuse me, because there seems to be a lot of dust in this room at the moment. (h/t Justin Hart)
Oct 28, 2013, 1:24pm | Ed Morrissey
Dennis Prager himself helms this close look at the differences between reason and the structure of good and evil, starting off by challenging a centuries-old narrative about history’s worst despots. Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Adolf Hitler often get called “madmen” for their massive crimes against humanity, but other than the megalomania that propelled them to their positions of power, did they act irrationally? Reason and rationality are only tools, tools which can be put to any use depending on the underlying motives of those that use them. And it’s those motives that mean the difference between good and evil, not rationality or irrationality:
Reason and faith go hand in hand in the pursuit of truth, but it’s the belief systems employed that serves as that pursuit’s moral grounding.