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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cruising the Web

The State Department had a day to come up with accomplishments from the Clinton time as Secretary of State. You can read what they came up with, but it's not very impressive. They're proud that she traveled overseas promoting trade and focused more on women and girls. They also did some bureaucratic reorganization and created some new bureaus. That's it. The reporter who asked the original question was not impressed.
There it was. With plenty of time to prepare, the State Department came up with a number of mostly bureaucratic reorganizations as the legacy of Secretary Clinton's QDDR. Lee was not impressed. "Were there any of these that didn’t simply involve rearranging of the bureaucratic deck chairs or shuffling responsibilities between one bureau to another or creating a new level of bureaucracy?" he asked. "Were any of the accomplishments in – outside of that, those areas?"

"Absolutely, Matt," answered Psaki. "I would say the whole process, if it works well, as it did in 2010, or leading up to 2010, is to better determine priorities and how to make things work better in a large functioning bureaucracy."

After a bit of back-and-forth, Lee tried again: "I'm asking for actual demonstrable outcomes, not the creation of a new position or a new job." Lee wondered whether beyond turning this office into that bureau, or signaling that this or that issue would now be a priority for the Secretary of State -- whether beyond that sort of organizational business the QDDR had actually done things. After an exchange about the accomplishments, or lack of accomplishments, of a Clinton-created entity known as the Energy and Resources Bureau, Lee and Psaki appeared to call it a draw, and the briefing ended.

Hillary Clinton's memoir of her time as Secretary of State, Hard Choices, is scheduled to come out in June. If, as many observers believe, it is part of the rollout of Clinton's 2016 presidential candidacy, the recent statements from the State Department raise a question: Will voters care if Clinton reorganized the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment? Or will they be looking for something much, much bigger?
If Hillary does indeed run in 2016, the GOP slogan can be to rerun Walter Mondale's question of Gary Hart in 1984, "Where's the Beef?"

George Will analyzes the tropes of Barack Obama's rhetoric and finds it rather...adolescent.
First came the invocation of a straw man. Celebrating the ACA’s enrollment numbers, Obama, referring to Republicans, charged: “They said nobody would sign up.” Of course, no one said this. Obama often is what political philosopher Kenneth Minogue said of an adversary — “a pyromaniac in a field of straw men.”

Adolescents also try to truncate arguments by saying that nothing remains of any arguments against their arguments. Regarding the ACA, Obama said the debate is “settled” and “over.” Progressives also say the debate about catastrophic consequences of man-made climate change is “over,” so everyone should pipe down. And they say the debates about the efficacy of universal preschool, and the cost-benefit balance of a minimum-wage increase, are over. Declaring an argument over is so much more restful than engaging with evidence.

A third rhetorical move by argumentative adolescents is to declare that there is nothing to argue about because everything is going along swimmingly. Seven times Obama asserted that the ACA is “working.” That is, however, uninformative because it is ambiguous. The ethanol program is “working” in the sense that it is being implemented as its misguided architects intended. Nevertheless, the program is a substantial net subtraction from the nation’s well-being. The same can be said of sugar import quotas, or agriculture subsidies generally, or many hundreds of other government programs that are, unfortunately, “working.”

Finally, the real discussion-stopper for the righteous — and there is no righteousness like an adolescent’s — is an assertion that has always been an Obama specialty. It is that there cannot be honorable and intelligent disagreement with him. So last week, less than two minutes after saying that the argument about the ACA “isn’t about me,” Obama said some important opposition to the ACA is about him, citing “states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite.”

If you'd been worried about the unchecked power given the Independent Payment Advisory Board or IPAB in Obamacare, there is another unchecked agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, that is just as worrisome. The way the law is written the Center gets regular appropriations and doesn't have to go through the regular appropriations process.
The statute also gives the Center wide-ranging authority to alter the Medicare and Medicaid programs without further congressional action. It is supposed to be testing new ways to pay providers of medical services. Changes that are found through pilot programs to reduce costs without harming quality, or found to be budget neutral while improving quality, can be implemented nationwide through regulatory fiat.

The agency's broad mandate reveals the mind-set of ObamaCare's authors. The premise is that the federal government is best positioned to lead an effort in innovation in medical delivery, despite all evidence to the contrary. The history of Medicare's payment systems over four decades is one of politicized decision-making by regulators, protection of incumbent providers, and roadblocks to new medical technologies and new ways of doing business, such as using information technology to consult with patients, or employing non-physician clinics for routine patient care. It's the opposite of an environment conducive to innovation. Consequently, inefficiency is rampant in Medicare's traditional fee-for-service program.
As Lanhee J. Chen and James C. Capretta point out, what the Center is now promoting are the same tools used in Medicare Advantage, a program that Obamacare is in the process of shutting down.
Ironically, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is now trying to promote initiatives, such as accountable-care organizations and bundled payments, that are the same tools already in use in Medicare's private-plan option, called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans have the flexibility to test new payment methods and models of care, and have been doing so since the Medicare HMO program (Medicare Advantage's predecessor) began in 1982. These plans pioneered benefits like clinical care management, necessary to properly care for the sickest Medicare enrollees. Medicare Advantage plans also routinely cut costs by using clinical and claims data to screen out the most costly and lowest-quality providers of services in a community.

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Medicare Advantage's HMOs provided patients with covered services for 92% of the cost of the traditional fee-for-service program in 2013. Nearly 30% of Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, and new entrants are enrolling at an even higher rate.

Rather than build on this progress, ObamaCare cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans by more than $150 billion over a decade—and relies instead on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to prop-up the more costly fee-for-service program with government-led innovation. What's likely to transpire isn't innovation but price controls on medical procedures to give fee-for-service a chance to compete against more efficient Medicare Advantage plans. The agency's authority is broad enough to allow across-the-board cuts in payments to hospitals and physicians, and lower reimbursements for pharmaceuticals and related products as well, all in the name of innovation.

Bjorn Lomborg warns us that the deadliest environmental threat today is not global warming.
Many think the biggest global environment problem is global warming. After all, the issue gets the lion’s share of headlines and accounts for much of the hell-in-a-hand-basket environmental news we come across. But by any reasonable measure, this is entirely wrong. The most important is in fact indoor air pollution.

One-third of the world’s people — 2.9 billion — cook and keep warm burning twigs and dung, which give off deadly fumes. This leads to strokes, heart disease and cancer, and disproportionately affects women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that it killed 4.3 million people in 2012. Add the smaller death count from outdoor pollution, and air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide.
But indoor air pollution doesn't provide activists with the opportunity to excoriate those in the West for their lifestyle and to expand the power of government over people's daily lives as well as the economy. The solution to indoor air pollution is economic growth and that's just not of interest to environmentalists.

Jim Gaeraghty has a lot of fun contrasting Charlie Crist's previous avowals of being pro-life with his claim now that he is running as a Democrat for Florida's governor, that he has always been pro-choice.
There are a lot of Florida Democrats who will probably tell you they care about abortion – er, “abortion rights” or “reproductive rights.” The vast majority of them will, this fall, vote for a man who, during his 2006 race for governor, told a priest in Pensacola that he would sign a bill outlawing abortions except when the mother’s life was at stake. But then he told an AP reporter that he would only sign such a bill if it included exceptions for rape and incest. Also during that race, Charlie Crist attacked his GOP rival for being pro-choice. And as recently as January 2010, “Crist’s Republican U.S. Senate campaign released a statement saying he would ‘fight for pro-life legislative efforts.’”

And now he can come along and say, “even though I am pro-life, which I mean, for life, doesn’t mean I want to tell a woman what to do with her body, and I never have,” and almost every self-proclaimed pro-choice Florida Democrat will nod approvingly.

Because they don’t give a [insert your colorful metaphor here] what the heck Charlie Crist did in the past. They only care that he has a “D” after his name.
Mollie Hemingway contrasts some of the brouhahas that American feminists get upset about to the violence facing women around the world, particularly in Muslim countries. On those issues, most feminists are rather silent. It rather puts the concerns of American feminism in context.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cruising the Web

The Obama administration has tried to deny that any employer would adjust hiring behavior to make sure it didn't have to provide insurance for its employees. Tell that to the University of North Carolina system.
Starting next year, large employers must provide insurance for all employees who work more than 30 hours a week. The UNC system has 8,586 visiting professors, graduate assistants and others who meet that threshold but don't qualify for coverage under the State Health Plan because they are considered non-permanent employees.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the university system would have to provide insurance to all of those workers. The average cost of state health insurance is about $5,400 per year, bringing the total potential cost to $46.4 million.

"This is an unfunded mandate that's coming down on us," said Charlie Perusse, chief operating officer for the UNC system and a former state budget director.

UNC administrators say they might reduce the hours for many of the temporary workers to fewer than 30 per week to dodge the health care law's coverage requirement.

Joel Kotkin ponders whether dismal employment statistics among young people might help the GOP make inroads with those usually Democrat-leaning voters.
Today even a college degree guarantees increasingly little in terms of social uplift. Tuition debt is nearing $1 trillion; the percentage of 25-year-olds with school debt has risen from 25% in 2004 to close 40% in 2012. Average indebtedness amongst borrowers has grown 70% from $15,000 to nearly $25,000.

A record one in 10 recent college borrowers has defaulted on their debt, the highest level in a decade. With wages for college graduates on a downward slope, one has to wonder how many more will join them.

Over 43% of recent graduates who are employed are working at jobs that don’t require a college education, according to a recent report by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Some 16% of bartenders and almost the same percentage of parking attendants had a bachelor’s degree or higher, notes Ohio State economics professor Richard Vedder.

Besides a tepid economy, the millennials confront paying off huge public debts, much of it due to the generous pensions of boomer public employees. This constitutes what economist Robert Samuelson has labeled “a generational war” in which the young are destined to be losers in the “withering of the affluent society.” As he puts it: “For millions of younger Americans—say, those 40 and under—living better than their parents is a pipe dream. They won’t.”

Not surprisingly, the young, who are traditionally optimists, are becoming far less so. According to a Rutgers study, 56% of recent high school graduates feel they would not be financially more successful than their parents; only 14% thought they’d do better. College education doesn’t seem to make a difference: 58% of recent graduates feel they won’t do as well as the previous generation. Only 16% thought they’d do better.
If the GOP could put forth a message to appeal to those disillusioned young people, they might have a hope of decreasing the numbers identifying as Democrats. Though I would suppose that, if there were movement, it would be, as Kotikin acknowledges, towards voting as independents rather than becoming Republicans. And Kotkin's forecast would assume that young voters would ever see a link between the liberal economic policies they have previously supported and the dismal employment picture. They also might be just as likely to vote for politicians who promise to forgive their college loans and give them more government handouts for being unemployed as they would to support a more conservative solution. And even if the employment picture improved for those young people, they would return to voting mostly on social issues. So I remain skeptical of Kotkin's thesis.

Kay Hymowitz examines the lack of success from the approach taken in Scandinavian countries to try to eradicate all differences in how males and females are treated. Liberals claim that the only reason women choose careers that allow them to work fewer hours so that they can spend more time with their children is because of society's expectations, not due to fundamental differences between men and women. Even with all that these countries do, it is still women who are more likely to work fewer hours.
Consider Sweden, a country where the goal of gender parity is close to a national religion. Swedes have extensive paid parental leave designed so that it has to be shared by mothers and fathers in order for couples to receive the full 13 months off. They have high quality child care, and political party quotas to equalize the number of men and women running for office. Children’s clothes, toy and book companies try to design products to discourage any thoughts of boy or girl stuff. In some preschools teachers say “good morning, buddies” to avoid the offensive “good morning, boys and girls.”

The results are not what anyone could call revolutionary. Yes, women make up 45% of the Swedish parliament compared to a paltry 18% in the U.S Congress. And, yes, Swedish women are more likely to be in the labor force than their American counterparts. (Most of the data that follows comes from the 2012 OECD report “Closing the Gender Gap”). But the difference in labor force participation is not dramatic, and in most respects, Swedish women behave much as sisters do in the U.S.

Like Americans, Swedish women work substantially fewer hours than men; they are 2 times as likely to be part timers. They are the vast majority of social workers, teachers, and child care workers and a small minority of scientists (PDF) and CEO’s (PDF). In fact, Sweden’s labor market is among the most sex segregated (PDF) in the world and their wage gap shows it. Mothers take in only about 20% as men, much the same as in the United States. (links in original)

James Taranto takes on Justice Sotomayor's passionate dissent against yesterday's decision that the Michigan ballot initiative banning racial and gender preferences in public hiring, contracting, and university admissions decisions.
The most quoted part of Sotomayor's opinion is this: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination." This is a rejoinder to Chief Justice John Roberts's assertion, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), that "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." (Roberts in turn rebutted Sotomayor in a separate concurrence to today's decision, which we're leaving out of our ranking by clarity.)

Robert's statement was trivially true, which means that Sotomayor's defies logic. Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination is a form of racial discrimination--that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Also Orwellian is her claim that she wants "to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race." Such an assertion is almost always disingenuous. After all, the way to speak openly and candidly is to speak openly and candidly. Declaring one's intention to do so is at best superfluous throat clearing.

And while Sotomayor may be open, she isn't candid. She presents a potted history of race in America in which there is a straight line from Jim Crow segregation through literacy tests to the Michigan amendment, which "involves this last chapter of discrimination"--even though it bans discrimination, and even though Sotomayor acknowledges that its substance is perfectly constitutional.
As John Fund observes, the position taken by Sotomayor and Eric Holder is that we should be fixated on race forever in this country. That is why Sotomayor drew a puzzling line from Jim Crow racists to the Michigan citizens who voted to ban any discrimination on the basis of race. And Justice Scalia, as the Washington Examiner notes, strongly refuted her accusation.
As Justice Harlan observed over a century ago [in his dissent to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision allowing separate but equal public accomodations], '[o]ur Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,'" Scalia concluded, quoting the dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson. "The people of Michigan wish the same for their governing charter. It would be shameful for us to stand in their way."

And then, the Parthian shot: “And doubly shameful to equate ‘the majority’ behind [the constitutional amendment] with ‘the majority’ responsible for Jim Crow,” he added in a final footnote, citing the first two pages of Sotomayor's dissent.

Politico examines how Senator Lindsay Graham was able to maneuver in South Carolina so that he wouldn't be threatened in a primary by Tea Party challenger as Senators Bob Bennett and Dick Lugar were back in 2010. Graham is one Republican who has irritated the party base for his votes with Democrats on several important issues. His success, however, in building a loyal voter base in his state follows the Strom Thurmond model and should be an example to other politicians who want to keep their seats once they're elected.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cruising the Web

These two maps show how ridiculous the objections are as they contrast the part of the proposed pipeline that Obama keeps postponing a decision on with all the pipelines that we already have in the United States.
Now do you get it? The Keystone Pipeline would represent a .04% increase in U.S. pipelines. That’s 4/100ths of 1%, a comparison identical to 2 feet versus 1 mile, or 1 teaspoon compared to 3 1/4 gallons.
I had no idea. It makes the objections even more ludicrous.

Sadly, American universities have imposed their own hegemony over views that are considered anathema to the liberal narrative. Ironically, criticizing the West for its hegemony over other cultures has become the preferred insult of such university thought police; they don't even realize how they are imposing their own hegemony of thought.
Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn recently proposed in The Harvard Crimson that academics should be stopped if their research is deemed oppressive. Arguing that “academic justice” should replace “academic freedom,” she writes: “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?”

In other words, Korn would have the university cease to be a forum for open debate and free inquiry in the name of justice, as defined by mainstream liberal academia.

Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.
Read the rest.

John Crudele details the ongoing "pattern of falsifying statistics" of the Census bureau particularly when it comes to the unemployment data. He's been writing about such fraud for months and now some official investigations have begun. If any of what he has heard from anonymous sources is borne out, it is a true scandal and Crudele should receive a Pulitzer.
The data fabrication takes a number of forms.
My Midwest source says it is not unusual in that region for 800 out of roughly 2,000 interviews for the Current Population Survey (which is used to get the unemployment rate) to be incomplete, called “refusals,” on the last day of the monthly collection period.
Then, magically, only 100 will be unfinished when results are turned in next day to headquarters, which surveys for the Labor Department. “It’s statistically impossible,” my source says, “to complete the number of refusals we have in the last few hours.”
So supervisors are either filling out the surveys themselves or lying that houses are vacant — which also counts as a completed survey. Either way, any kind of falsification would obviously give a misrepresentation as to whether or not people in the household have a job.
And in an obvious conflict of interest, the wives of two of the supervisors in this Midwest region, according to my source, have been hired to check the results.
Up to 25 percent of the thousands of surveys that go into the jobless report may be fake, this source estimates. Falsification practices, obviously, also include field representatives like Buckmon who fill out the whole survey themselves (called at Census “curbstoning”).
How peculiar is it that NBC hired a "psychological consultant" (or as the network now prefers after being ridiculed for this tidbit, a "brand consultant") to talk to David Gregory and
his family and friends to try to determine whether there is some reason why Gregory's control over Meet The Press has coincided with a steep ratings drop? Did their consultant's conversations with Gregory's family and friends reveal that Gregory often comes across as an arrogant ideologue? That might hurt his ratings, but such a finding would involve caring about what many conservatives think of Gregory, an opinion they didn't hold about Tim Russert.

Did you know that the U.S. border guards are protecting us from anyone bringing in a certain brand of chocolate Easter eggs?

Rick Moran warns us: "Forget 'You can keep your doctor': try finding one first."

Ed Morrissey highlights what he calls the "best campaign ad of the cycle."

Oh, the irony. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is warning that we and our allies may "adjust" the timing of installing antimissile systems in Europe. Of course, those are the systems that were developed from Ronald Reagan's SDI program, the one that was ridiculed as "Star Wars" because it would be impossible to construct.

Oh, the hypocrisy. After excoriating President Bush for signing statements, Obama keeps on making them, just as he did last week on the measure to prevent Iran's new UN ambassador from entering the U.S.

Ron Fournier compares Obama's handling of Russia to how he handles Republican lawmakers. Obama came into office thinking that he could craft a new partnership with Putin since it was obviously just Bush's ham-handedness in diplomacy that had blocked such a partnership. But now he's concluced that Putin is just not worthy of such a partnership.
The turnaround on Russia is no more remarkable than the pivot Obama took after the 2008 election, when he abandoned his post-partisan brand at the first sight of Republican intransigence and forced the Affordable Care Act through Congress without GOP backing. Once poisoned, the well went dry: The candidate who had the "audacity to hope" for a new kind of politics surrendered to the toxic culture he promised to change. Obama wrote off Republicans. He said House Speaker John Boehner can't or won't bargain on the budget, then wrapped the white flag of surrender around the debt, gun control, tax reform, immigration, and other issues. Obama stopped looking for compromises, and then expressed outrage when he couldn't find them.
Why would using chlorine gas on Syrian civilians not be considered a violation of the agreement that the Obama administration made with Assad's government last year to stop using chemical weapons against civilians? If it was a poison gas in World War One, why wouldn't it be one today? It says something about the value of that agreement that chlorine gas doesn't qualify.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cruising the Web


Gosh, people don't seem so eager to belong to a union when they are no longer forced to pay for membership by the government. Such a surprise, no?

Ann Althouse isn't too impressed with Obama's analogy of Republican resistance to Obamacare as going through the Kübler-Ross model for dealing with dying.
The stages Obama failed to enumerate are: 3. bargaining, 4. depression, and 5. acceptance. Maybe he didn't want to say bargaining, because he doesn't want his party to have to bargain with the other side. He just wants the GOP to get over it. The analogy to dying is, once again, terrible. Because in the stages of death scenario, the dying person seeks to avert death by somehow finding a way to make a deal, perhaps with God. Obama doesn't want to talk about deal-making. He wants the Republicans to give up and die already.

As for depression, I guess he's hoping the GOP will reach that point, but that's unlikely in this election year, and clearly he knows it. Ditto acceptance. But let's not talk about "all that stuff."

By the way, the Kübler-Ross model isn't too scientific. And to tell someone who's angry and unaccepting of a political situation that they should go away until they've accepted what is being done to them sounds to me like taunting and bullying. There's absolutely no reason why they should back down because some of their emotions correspond to Kübler-Ross's (bogus) stages. You're saying if someone doesn't believe that a political cause is dying or feels angry at the idea that it's dying, all you need to do is wait out the process, because bargaining and depression need to occur and then you win because finally there will be acceptance. Infuriating nonsense! It only intensifies and justifies the anger. Your opponents aren't just going through a "stage," and you sound inert and supercilious talking about them that way.
Well, yeah, but then superciliousness is one of the stages Obama does best.

Just another story that I'm sure Harry Reid and Barack Obama would call a lie about how one woman with a neurological disorder has found that, because of Obamacare, she can neither keep her doctor nor get her medications.
Figueroa — who has a neurological disorder — said she enrolled in a new EmblemHealth insurance program in February as required under the Affordable Care Act. And that’s when her problems began.

After paying her premium, she received a temporary ID card. But when she went to order medication, the pharmacists said her name wasn’t in the system. And she said her doctors were not included in her new medical plan.
“They just don’t have enough doctors. Two of them are full to capacity, and the others aren’t even in my radius. There are some who don’t even speak English,” the Arden Heights resident said during a press conference with Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm.

“Now I have to find a whole new set of doctors. The doctors I had were familiar with my condition. I’ve had my neurologist for years. You want to stay with someone who’s been in your brain and knows what’s going on.”
Not having a regular doctor has put her in a Catch-22: A patient can’t get medication without a prescription from a doctor.

Figueroa takes five different medications a day, including 60 milligrams of morphine.
“I’ve been sick. I’ve had chills, a lot of vomiting. The pain is unbearable. I’ve had insomnia. I lost 23 pounds,” she said. “Who’s going to write the scrips if I don’t have a primary-care doctor? They’ve been giving us the runaround.”

Hillary Clinton, apparently, approved a change in U.S. policy to waive restrictions on who could receive U.S. aid in Afghanistan. The result was that millions of U.S. aid went to corrupt cabinet officials in the Afghan government. Her defenders are now saying that she wasn't really involved even though the memo instituting the policy change stated that the decision had been "reaffirmed by Secretary of State Clinton." I guess this was just like she never saw the memos asking for more security at our consulate in Benghazi. But, don't forget, she was the best Secretary of State evah! I guess that saying it is so over and over makes it so.

Sooo. Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 Americans at Fort Hood was only perpetrating "workplace violence," but supporters of Cliven Bundy are domestic terrorist. The Democrats have strange priorities.

John Hinderaker reports on "the epic hypocrisy of Tom Steyer," the billionaire who is planning to spend $100 million on green Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline.
Steyer claims to be a man of principle who has no financial interest in the causes he supports, but acts only for the public good. That is a ridiculous claim: Steyer is the ultimate rent-seeker who depends on government connections to produce subsidies and mandates that make his “green” energy investments profitable. He also is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. Go here, here, here, here, here and here for more information about how Steyer uses his political donations and consequent connections to enhance his already vast fortune.

But Steyer’s hypocrisy goes still deeper. Today, he is a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. That fits with his current economic interests: banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. But it was not always thus. In fact, Steyer owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects. Tom Steyer was for coal before he was against it.(See original for the links.)
Of course, yet another delay in making a decision on the pipeline allows Democrats to have their cake and eat it too.
The real reason for the delay is Democratic politics. Mr. Steyer and the party's liberal financiers are climate-change absolutists who have made killing Keystone a non-negotiable demand. But the White House doesn't want to reject the pipeline before November because several Senate Democrats running for re-election claim to favor it. We say "claim" because Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and others can't even get Majority Leader Harry Reid to give them a vote on the floor.

So Senate Democrats get to have it both ways. They can benefit this year from the riches of Mr. Steyer, who pronounced himself well pleased by the delay. But they can also run in support of the XL pipeline and the thousands of new jobs it would create. Then President Obama can formally nix it next year.
And as a further mark of hypocrisy, they can whine over and over about the Koch brothers while pocketing the contributions from Steyer. Isn't being a Democrat wonderful?

All the discussion about income inequality ignores one of the most important factors driving such inequality - single-parent families.

Is your doctor spending only 10-15 minutes with you? Such rushing has become common, due to Medicare regulations, and is about to become a whole lot more common. Blame Obamacare.

John Kerry trumpets that he is "the first Catholic Secretary of State in 33 years." And this matters why?

This is amazing. The Netherlands had charged Holocaust survivors for back taxes on their property while they were in concentration camps and the Nazis were occupying that property.

Mollie Hemingway ponders why feminists are insecure.

Ed Driscoll interviews James Delingpole, author of The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism: The Left’s Plan to Frighten Your Kids, Drive Up Energy Costs, and Hike Your Taxes!

John Hawkins has a series of 10 "guess the bigot" questions.