Monthly Archives: November 2013

Berkeley on the Potomac?

Featured image My cousin’s guest post about the radicalism of Bill de Blasio, New York City’s new mayor, made me wonder whether de Blasio is appreciably more radical than President Obama. I don’t believe he is. In 1990, de Blasio, having been inspired by the Sandinistas, stated that his goal was to bring Democratic Socialism to the United States. Stanley Kurtz has demonstrated that this almost certainly was Obama’s goal at that »

Ruining Venezuela his way

Featured image John’s post about Venezuela under Hugo Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro brought to mind this post by Ben Cohen at Commentary and, especially, this great line from an opposition leader: If Chavez was Frank Sinatra, then Maduro is the guy in the karaoke bar singing an out of tune version of My Way. As Cohen explains: The point here is not that Chavez was a preferable alternative to Maduro; as Roger »

Featured image So I decided to troll around the newly resuscitated Obamacare website today, just to see what plans might cost if I entered the exchanges.  For Colorado, my current residence, I could get a Bronze plan to cover the entire family for a little over $600 a month–arguably a reasonable price. But something is really wrong with California, my home state where I shall likely return next summer.  The cheapest quote »

Arab Media Do Another Job American Media Won’t

Featured image I’m currently reading Paul Sabin’s new book The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future, just out from Yale University Press.  It was a genius idea to write a book about this epic clash between the neo-Malthusianism at the core of modern environmentalism and one of its most persistent and profound critics, the late Julian Simon.  Simon won that famous bet with Ehrlich, of course, and »

Two New Sites of Note

Featured image Two new info-rich websites are worth noting and bookmarking for frequent visits (after Power Line, of course).  The first is, a project of the Cato Institute.  It is an ambitious project aimed at debunking the relentless gloom of the neo-Malthusianism of everyone who wants to extend more and more political control over people and resources.  As the title suggests, the real story of the human race is relentless progress.  »

Venezuela Doubles Down On Stupid

Featured image Venezuela is reaching the end point of socialism: economic collapse. Its government, headed by Hugo Chavez’s successor and acolyte Nicolas Maduro, has followed the classic left-wing playbook, with the result, inter alia, that you can no longer buy toilet paper in Venezuela. Producing such a complex product evidently is beyond the capacity of the state. Naturally, Venezuela suffers from rampant inflation, currently running at over 50% annually. So the government »

The Week in Pictures: Colliding Narratives Edition

Featured image So it’s November 30–Winston Churchill’s birthday–and I thought I might try out the fixed, updated, and ready-to-wear website and sign up Sir Winston for some health coverage, but decided, in light of Obama’s deal with Syria, to enroll his foreign policy instead.  It clearly needs medication if not radical surgery.  But there is no “Stone Age” plan, alas. And finally, why not feature Summer Glau in our finale. . »

That’s when your heartaches begin

Featured image President Obama and his minions have vowed to achieve the healing of in some form by its deadline today. In the words of the Van Morrison song: Did ye get healed? It depends on what you mean by “healed.” The answer looks to be undecided to negative, though the administration is claiming success (as modified). McClatchy takes the administration’s claim of pending success (as modified) at face value in »

Ignatius ignores (me)

Featured image I tweeted Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius (@Ignatiuspost) yesterday afternoon with reference to his column “Iran — the next stage.” As I wrote in “Ignatius ignores,” I doubt he read the Joint Plan of Action the United States arrived at with Iran before writing his column saluting it. I have retweeted him (@IgnatiusPost, in case the second capital letter is necessary) this morning. I haven’t heard back from »

Berkeley on the Hudson?

Featured image My conservative cousin from New York writes occasionally for Power Line about the City in which he has lived his entire life. In this post, he reflects on the election of a new mayor: The landslide election of Bill de Blasio appears at first glance to have changed dramatically New York City’s political landscape. By selecting as Mayor a man of the left, voters may have ended the 36-year dominance »

It’s Not a Store, It’s a Theme Park

Featured image That’s what I thought after spending a couple of hours in the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, Missouri, where we are spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my oldest daughter and her husband. The place is huge; this is one small corner. Click to enlarge: The store features wildlife, both stuffed and living. I wouldn’t want to catch this fish: We checked out the guns, as I am thinking »

Lush Life

Featured image Today is the anniversary of the birth of Billy Strayhorn, the compositional and arranging genius behind many of Duke Ellington’s best-known songs such as “Take the A Train,” “C-Jam Blues,” and “Satin Doll.” Strayhorn is said to have written both the music and lyrics to “Lush Life” as a teenager. It is a remarkable song whose sadness, glamor, excess and dissipation he seems to have lived out: I used to »

Leftist Satire

Featured image Who says people on the left (outside of Jon Stewart) don’t have a sense of humor?  Or at least of dry satire? What else to make of this piece by Matthew Lynch at the Puffington Host on “Why Obama Is One of the Best Presidents Ever.”  Given its appearance on the PuffHo I was nearly taken in by it ingenious irony, but I am not that easily fooled.   I mean »

Jim Kim, flim-flam man

Featured image Last month, Joe Asch noted that former Dartmouth president Jim Kim has announced a cost-cutting plan for the World Bank, the institution he now runs. Joe predicted that the so-called cuts would never materialize in the real world. That prediction looks safe enough in light of the final budget numbers for Kim’s tenure at Dartmouth. As Joe explains, these numbers reveal that Kim’s cost-cutting at Dartmouth, touted as the signature »

For Obama, the devil is not in the details

Featured image The Washington Post editorial board notices that President Obama’s deal with Iran provides the mullahs with “concessions” that the final deal “needs to balance out.” That’s one way of putting it. The Post puts it better on its main Opinion page where it talks in terms of “where the deal falls short.” The Post’s critique will be familiar to Power Line readers. First, by virtue of Obama’s deal, the United »

Fresh Cracks in the Blue-State Model?

Featured image Keep your eyes on Democrat-run Illinois over the next couple of weeks, where legislative leaders have hammered out a scheme to address the crisis of the state’s underfunded public employee pension system.  The unfunded liability for the state’s pension obligations is officially estimated somewhere around $100 billion over the next 30 years, but the actual figure is likely much higher as Illinois, like many self-serving public pension funds, still assumes »

“Folly, fatuity, and futility”

Featured image In the editorial of the new Weekly Standard, Michael Makovsky and Bill Kristol seek to understand the frame of mind behind Obama’s deal with Iran. Winston Churchill provides the choral commentary: There’s an obvious comparison of Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who pursued a policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler, culminating in the Munich conference of 1938. There, Chamberlain and the French premier agreed to Hitler’s demand »