Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Managers take center stage at Cooperstown

Featured image The baseball Hall of Fame inducted six new members today. Among the inductees were managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox (the others were Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine). One thing about inducting managers: you don’t have to worry about whether their performance was enhanced by drugs. There was a time, though, when it seemed like La Russa was managing on steroids. That time was the »

Meanwhile in Ukraine

Featured image It’s not getting much attention, but Ukraine continues to make military progress against rebel separatists. The Washington Post reports that the Ukrainian military has pushed the rebels out of a series of villages and towns in the East, and now has its sights set on Horlivka, a city of about 300,000. If it succeeds in taking Horlivka, the military will be on the doorstep of Donetsk, the separatists’ power center. »

2014 World Cup all-stars

Featured image The World Cup ended two weeks ago, which means that it’s high time for me to offer my World Cup all-star team. But first, a word about the tournament. The consensus among those who covered it is that this was the best World Cup in modern memory. I’ve followed every World Cup since 1978 (ten in all), but my memory of the early ones has become hazy. Certainly, though, this »

John Kerry and “what everyone knows”

Featured image For decades, diplomats and pundits have been saying that “everyone” — by which they mean their fellow diplomats and pundits — knows what the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would look like. It would look, they say, like two states with something similar to the re-1967 Israeli border and “security guarantees” for Israel. Lost on this arrogant breed is the fact that if everyone has known for so long what »

Obama rejects Kurds’ plea for help against ISIS

Featured image President Obama famously failed to act when warned that ISIS was preparing to mount an offensive in Western Iraq. This left ISIS free to conquer, with virtually no resistance, city after city in the defense of which American soldiers have shed blood. Now Obama is receiving new warnings, this time from the Kurds in Northern Iraq. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the Kurds are “pleading for U.S. military »

Obamacare architect explained intent behind allowing subsidies only on state exchanges

Featured image Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT, is widely is regarded as the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare. Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Halbig, he asserted that the provision of Obamacare limiting subsidies to the state exchanges was a “typo.” Indeed, he found it “criminal” to suggest that Obamacare was intended to work this way. But William Jacobson (via one of his readers) has unearthed video from 2012 in »

Pro bono law morphs into left-wing lawfare

Featured image Do you remember Shirley Sherrod? She’s the former Department of Agriculture official caught on camera saying she denied a white farmer the full measure of benefits she could have given him, before later describing how she ended up rejecting this racist approach to her job. The late Andrew Breitbart posted excerpts of the Sherrod video that failed to include the part about how she overcame her racist impulse and ended »

Bruce Braley couldn’t be bothered with VA oversight hearings

Featured image Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Iowa, landed in hot water when video emerged of a fundraiser with trial lawyers at which he ridiculed Sen. Chuck Grassley for being an Iowa farmer. Now we learn, via the Des Moines Register, that Braley missed 75 percent (15 of 20) of meetings of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, which provides oversight for the immensely troubled Veterans Administration. One »

Drafting error vs. drafting miscalculation

Featured image Sean Davis, a former congressional staffer, examines the claim that the provision in Obamacare limiting subsidies to those participating in state exchanges was the product of “drafting error.” He finds it laughable. I discussed what a legislative drafting error looks like here. Davis sees it the same way: When I worked in the Senate. . .it was not uncommon to find obvious errors in bills and amendments. Sometimes you would »

Montana Dem Senator revealed as plagiarist

Featured image The New York Times is reporting that Montana Sen. John Walsh plagiarized “at least a quarter” of his 2007 master’s degree thesis for the U.S. Army War College. According to the Times, Walsh copied an entire page nearly word-for-word from a Harvard paper, and each of his six conclusions is copied from a document from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace without attribution. The Senator’s response? “I didn’t do anything »

Shocker: GAO sting reveals Obamacare fraud

Featured image The National Journal reports on a sting operation conducted by the Government Accounting Office to test the strength of Obamacare’s eligibility-verification system. To no one’s surprise, the verification system failed the test. Fake applicants were able to get subsidized insurance coverage in 11 of 18 attempts. The total amount of the subsidies for the 11 approved applications was about $2,500 per month. The investigators created fake identities by inventing Social »

IRS experts say Lois Lerner’s hard drive was just scratched

Featured image The IRS’s claim that Lois Lerner’s hard drive was irreparably damaged always seemed laughable to attorneys who (like John and me) have been involved in disputes over electronic discovery, as well as to IT professionals and their trade association. Now we learn, via Byron York, that IRS’s own IT professionals dispute this claim: Top IRS officials told congressional investigators that Lois Lerner’s hard drive — the one containing emails that »

The steep price of Israel’s Gaza pullout

Featured image As always, once the serious fighting starts, Israel is receiving most of the blame for the current battle in Gaza. And in an important sense, Israel actually is to blame. Had it not pulled out of Gaza, it would not now be fighting this war. This war, like the several before it, is the entirely predictable consequence of Israel’s inability to police Gaza. As a result of the pullout, Hamas »

Is Hillary Clinton washed up?

Featured image Robert Merry is a veteran Washington journalist. John and I had lunch with him once when he was in charge of Congressional Quarterly. It was a pleasant encounter, though he seemed disappointed and perhaps a little bit put off by our support for the war in Iraq. Merry is also a historian and a scholar of the presidency. He wrote a rather good biography of James Polk and a flawed »

Drafting error vs. poor draftsmanship

Featured image Obamacare by its express and unambiguous terms limits Obamacare subsidies to people using health care exchanges “established by the State.” Thus, subsidies to people in the federal exchange are not permitted, as these exchanges obviously are not established by the State. However couched, the argument that subsidies should nonetheless accrue to people in the federal exchange boils down to the notion that the limiting language of the statute is the »

What’s next after Obamacare’s defeat in Halbig v. Burwell? [updated]

Featured image As Steve has noted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia today invalidated the IRS regulation that provides for insurance subsidies to millions of lower-income Americans using the federal Obamacare exchanges. The ruling means that in 36 states, Obamacare subsidies will not be available, making its insurance coverage unaffordable to many Americans and potentially crashing the system. The Court’s ruling, by a vote of 2-1, is clearly correct. »

Israel seems ready to tune John Kerry out

Featured image In his recent “hot mic” moment, John Kerry responded to news of civilian deaths in Gaza with these words: It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. Hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight. The truth is that Kerry’s desire to “get over” to the Middle East has nothing to do with any lack of precision in Israel’s military operations. »