Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Cruising the Web

Mark Steyn notes that Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post for about 80% of small Massachusetts newspaper sold for in 1999. Mark Krikorian notes that The Washington Post writes in the same story that there is "little indication" about Bezos's ideological leanings although he has regularly donated to Senator Patty Murray. Hmmm. Might that not be a clue. The Atlantic doesn't seem mystified about Bezos's political leanings. I hope Bezos enjoys his new purchase. He certainly has a history of running a business that didn't make a profit for a long time. Amazon is now one of my very favorite businesses in the world. It will be interesting to see if he can bring a similar innovative and successful mindset to the newspaper business.

William A. Jacobson notes that Bezos is taking over the Washington Post right when the union agreement with the Washington Post Guild has broken down.

Gosh, the administration is twisting itself into knots to account for Obama's crowing about al-Qaeda being on the run and the War on Terror winding down with the scary information that led to embassies being closed across the Middle East and Africa.

I basically agree with David Weigel that if Republican 2016 candidates debated themselves only on conservative outlets with conservative questioners, the party would be better served in the sorts of questions that were asked. And the same would be true on the opposite side of the spectrum for liberals questioning Democratic candidates. Primaries are for the parties to pick their candidates and each party would be better served if the questions sought to differentiate the candidates from the left for Democrats and from the right for Republicans. The winning candidate would still have to be careful not to get pulled too far from the center because what he or she says in February can show up in ads in October. But just as Democrats would not debate on Fox News, Republicans don't need to debate on NBC. Maybe everyone can also cut way back on the number of debates.

Bradley Smith, former FEC chairman, explains how the IRS scandal is part of an ongoing campaign to limit free-speech rights.

Here's some more history Obama seems ignorant of - the true history of the role of government in the construction of our nation's infrastructure.

Why should Johnny Manziel be the only one who can't profit from his own name? The kid sitting next to him in class could profit, but not the athlete who is the one generating all that dough that everyone else can profit from.

Maybe if Obama did have a better idea of the history of government spending, we wouldn't be seeing stories like this about how the government spent half a billion dollars for training workers for "green jobs" that don't exist.

Steven Malanga explains how states and localities are way, way, way more in debt than the public realizes. They have found lots of ways to get around constitutional requirements for balanced budgets.
Across America, elected officials, taxpayer groups, and other researchers have launched a forensic accounting of state and municipal debt, and their fact-finding mission is rewriting the country’s balance sheet. Just a few years ago, most experts estimated that state and local governments owed about $2.5 trillion, mostly in the form of municipal bonds and other debt securities. But late last year, the States Project, a joint venture of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, projected that if you also count promises made to retired government workers and money borrowed without taxpayer approval, the figure might be higher than $7 trillion.

Most states have restrictions on debt and prohibitions against running deficits. But these rules have been no match for state and local governments, which have exploited loopholes and employed deceptive accounting standards in order to keep running up debt. The jaw-dropping costs of these evasions have already started to weigh on budgets; as the burden grows heavier, taxpayers may decide that it’s time for a new fiscal revolt.
This is truly scary stuff. Robert Samuelson details how localities all over are going to make some of the same tough choices that Detroit is facing as they have to pay promised pensions to retired workers which will force out so much of their discretionary spending.
The bankruptcy of Detroit is an extreme example, but it is not an isolated case. State and local governments face a prolonged squeeze between costly commitments to retirees and demands for better services. Think schools, police, libraries, parks, roads and prisons. As the Great Recession fades, pressures for immediate service cuts may recede, Detroit notwithstanding. Don’t be fooled. The reality is that the scramble for scarce resources is intensifying. Schools compete with nursing homes.

It’s a new twist to an old story. In aging America, demography is politics. In 2025, there will be an estimated 106 million Americans 55 and over, nearly a third of the total population, up from a fifth in 2000. The future wrestles with the past. How much to serve the elderly and how much everyone else? At the national level, Social Security and Medicare are crowding out other programs. Similar conflicts affecting states and localities are less recognized. Spending for the aged is rising rapidly, while revenue growth is slowing.
The count is up to a 10th woman alleging sexual harassment from San Diego's Mayor Filner. Soon we'll be seeing bumper stickers in San Diego saying "Honk if the Mayor hasn't stuck his tongue down your throat."

It's nice to see Anthony Weiner embracing his own tackiness.

Oprah is totally clueless. One would think that she would have a better grasp of American racial history.

Michael Medved explains the fallacy conservatives have that "true conservatives" are the ones who can win elections. That is truly the wrong lesson to learn from Reagan's victories. What matters most is the politician, not the ideology. This is so clearly true, yet each election I hear conservatives spouting the myth as if it is a truism that "true conservatism" wins every time. A talented politician who is a conservative might win, but the ideology itself is no more a winner than "true liberalism" would be coming out of the mouth of a poor politician.

The delay of Obamacare is just exacerbating an already bad situation.

The WSJ explains the constitutional battle between the arguments to protect Detroit's pension based on Michigan's constitution and the federal supremacy arguments that will be used to reduce those promised benefits.

CNN seems to be getting a bit tired of the Obama administration's deflecting questions.
Obamacare starts affecting college faculties.

Now that the election is over, Obama isn't so concerned about vulture capitalists - not if they have million-dollar mansions to lend the President for his vacation.

Sometimes, I tremble for the future.