Monday, February 11, 2013

Cruising the Web

Congratulations to my school's girls swimming team for winning the state championship for the third year in a row. These kids get up almost every day around five to go practice. And they still (on most days) complete all their work for school. I'm very proud of them.

Of course, no news will probably break through the news of the Pope's almost unprecedented resignation, but here are a few more links.

Here's an inspirational look at what former Duke championship guard Jay Williams has gone through in recovering and finding out who he is since the motorcycle accident that ended his pro career.

Life as a White House press correspondent isn't all that it's cracked up to be. It's pretty bad when, "[t]he best part of the job is telling people you have it."

Gosh some politicians, even those on my side of the fence, are such idiots.

Even the New York Times is repelled by the stink issuing forth from Senator Bob Menendez. Of course, they want it all to be in the hands of the Senate Ethics Committee which would bury the whole thing as long as possible.

Back in 2008 Chuck Hagel was more worried by a possible use of nuclear weapons by Israel than by Iran's nuclear program.

The Washington Post lets us in on the dirty secret that the so-called budget cuts from April, 2011 actually didn't cut the budget at all but was just gimmickry dressed up as self-congratulatory budget trimming. Basically, they agreed to cut programs that were already being cut or not to spend quite as much as had been authorized while still increasing spending.
At the Census Bureau, for instance, officials had already said they didn’t need the more than $6 billion they had spent the year before. That money had paid for the once-a-decade 2010 Census. There wasn’t, of course, another census planned in 2011.

But to Congress, that was still a cut. The budget bill formally revoked the “budget authority” needed to spend the $6 billion that the Census Bureau didn’t want. On paper, it looked like a huge reduction. But, at the Census Bureau, no employees were laid off. No projects were finished late.

At the Transportation Department, Congress canceled $630 million in “orphan earmarks.” These were the wandering ghosts of the highway budget: pots of money assigned for specific road projects, which were still sitting unspent years and years later.

Often, this money seemed unlikely to ever be spent. Many projects had been canceled. In one case, the funds were earmarked for a road that did not even exist.
Remember this story when you hear yelps from politicians about cutting the budget these days. Of course, then we have Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama who deny that our budgetary woes stem from spending. For them, it's always about raising more taxes rather than any true cuts in spending.

Of course, Nancy Pelosi is also the woman who thinks that the First Amendment protects the right to bear arms. But then our Vice President, who served for centuries in the U.S. Senate and chaired the House Judiciary Committee thinks that it is Article II of the Constitution that provides for executive power. Er, no.

The President is supposed to "pivot" back to the economy in his State of the Union address. This will make the seventh time in his presidency that he has supposedly pivoted to focus on the economy.

Ed Driscoll interviews Amity Shlaes about her newly-released book about Calvin Coolidge. There is a lot we misremember about the 1920s and this is a needed corrective.

Jay Cost explains what is missing from conventional theories of realignments in politics.

The President has a rhetorical tic of saying that politicians are holding some important part of his agenda "hostage." When he finds a metaphor he likes, he takes it and runs with it. Over and over and over again. This is a man who crafts his arguments with such rhetorical tics.

My husband links to this excellent list of quotes about economics.

We now know that the President, aware of an attack on our consulate in Benghazi and having been informed as it was going on that it was a terrorist attack didn't even bother to try to find out any more about what was going on all evening. That is amazing and shocking. And then he jetted off for a fundraiser the next day. And he allowed his administration to talk up the video in the days following the attack. There used to be a day when members of both parties would care about such a dereliction of duty. Sadly, those days are gone.