Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cruising the Web

Another leisurely snow day in Raleigh, NC. If you're tempted to laugh at southern cities having problems when faced with a little snow, think again. I grew up near Chicago and we never closed school for the weather that I can remember. I remember walking through snow that was to my waist and then there was the glorious day when we skated to school. But Chicago expects snow every year and they're prepared. People have care meant to drive in the snow. And the communities are equipped with the trucks and materials to prepare the roads. So cut us in the South some slack.

I didn't expect the ratings for Obama's State of the Union to be all that great, but I didn't expect for him to bring in fewer viewers than every single one of George W. Bush's SOTU's. And considering the population growth since 2000, he pulled in a much lower percent of the population. It might make the White House rethink their strategy of having Obama give lots of speeches to push his agenda.

The Washington Examiner explains why Chris Christie's aides are mere pikers compared to Barack Obama when it comes to using government to bully opponents.
Another example of "the Chicago Way" as applied in Washington emerged this week in a legal filing by Standard and Poor's, which faces federal fraud charges. An executive recounted how then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the feds would seek payback for S&P downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Recall that back in August 2011, S&P dropped its credit-worthiness rating for the U.S. from AAA to just AA+. It was a reasonable decision, given the staggering U.S. debt load and the chronic inability of Congress to agree on annual budgets.

It was also highly embarrassing to a White House then gearing up for a re-election campaign. Two days after S&P’s announcement, McGraw Hill CEO Harold McGraw got a call from a steaming-mad Geithner, who told him the rating agency had made a huge mistake. “You are accountable for that,” Geithner reportedly said, adding that “you have done an enormous disservice to yourselves and to your country.”

The Treasury secretary then said S&P had made other mistakes in the past and would be “looked at very carefully." McGraw said he also recalled Geithner saying "such behavior could not occur without a response from the government." It wasn't a threat. It was a preview. Last year, Holder's Justice Department filed charges against S&P, claiming it defrauded investigators by falsely rating home loans as AAA. S&P denies the charges. A Treasury spokesman told Politico that McGraw's allegation regarding Geithner was “false,” while a Justice Department official wondered why the story was only being told now, more than two years after it “purportedly happened.”

Hmm, maybe McGraw was initially afraid to talk about the threat he received from one of the most powerful people in the government — and one uniquely positioned to do immense harm to his company. After all, scaring people into silence was the whole point of Geithner's threat, wasn't it?
Obama keeps repeating that aged old chestnut about women earning 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Some ignorance is indefatigable. Hanna Rosin does a good job of debunking that myth in Slate.

Mark Steyn bemoans the commissars of cupcakes. I'm glad to teach at a charter school where we can have home-baked goodies and bake sales, unlike many regular public schools today.

Sean Trende has an interesting look at how the 2020 reapportionment could threaten some northern majority-minority districts.

Now this would be a funding cut that everyone should support - ending federal funding for national conventions and putting the money towards pediatric cancer research. Excellent. The parties have demonstrated their ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars all on their own. Why should the taxpayer pay for their quadrennial PR blitz.

Daniel Henninger explains how Obama's method of governance has increased social and political division. And such divisions are inevitable.
Progressives justify coerced public policy with their belief that what they are doing is good. Setting aside several hundred years of unhappy world history with this notion, a glitch always occurs in the U.S.: Because the Founding Fathers designed an arduous system for producing progress, the far left has never been able to put its most purebred ideas consistently across the legislative goal line. Too many citizens resist. One might say the same of the far right, but they're not running anything just now. In frustration—and Mr. Obama is nothing if not frustrated—the White House is defaulting, as the left does everywhere, to direct executive action. We are at the dawn of the Unilateral Presidency.

Poetry beats prose. Literally.

St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley explains why we should have a lot of skepticism for all those NBA Cares ads.