Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cruising the Web

This is not a headline and story one expects to see in Time Magazine.
Obama Plays Water-Guzzling Desert Golf Courses Amid California Drought

After preaching shared sacrifice to assuage the California water shortage, Obama has played some of the country's thirstiest golf courses

President Barack Obama traveled to California on Friday to highlight the state’s drought emergency at two events near Fresno, calling for shared sacrifice to help manage the state’s worst water shortage in decades. He then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the hospitality of some of the state’s top water hogs: desert golf courses.

Vacationing with DVDs of his favorite television shows and multiple golf outings with his buddies, the duffer in chief played at two of the most exclusive courses in the Palm Springs area. On Saturday, Obama played at the Sunnylands estate, built by the late billionaire Walter Annenberg, which features a nine-hole course that is played like 18 holes. The following day he golfed at billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s 19-hole Porcupine Creek. On Presidents’ Day, Obama hit the links at Sunnylands once again.

The 124 golf courses in the Coachella Valley consume roughly 17% of all water there, and one-quarter of the water pumped out of the region’s at-risk groundwater aquifer, according to the Coachella Valley Water District. Statewide, roughly 1% of water goes to keep golf courses green. Each of the 124 Coachella Valley courses, on average, uses nearly 1 million gallons (3.8 million L) a day because of the hot and dry climate, three to four times more water per day than the average American golf course.

Of course, golf is a vital industry to the tourist paradise with streets named for Presidents and Hollywood stars, but the two courses Obama selected are among the most exclusive, seeing far fewer rounds per year than nearby courses.
It's not a good sign for the President when even the MSM can't swallow his hypocrisy.

Then there is John Kerry. Bret Stephens exposes the amazing background of the corrupt official whose words John Kerry chose to start off his environmental speech. As Stephens writes, the corruption behind Kerry's inspiration is a perfect symbol of what has become the linkage of environmentalists and government money going to the programs and industries they've invested in.
If George W. Bush had left office and immediately joined the boards of defense contractors building MRAPs for Iraq, hard questions would be raised. When Maurice Strong, Al Gore and other climate profiteers seek to enrich themselves from policies they put into place while in office, it scarcely raises an eyebrow.

It should. The carbon-trading schemes enacted with such fanfare just a few years ago have effectively ceased to operate amid collapsing prices. The sustainable-energy craze produced the expensive bankruptcies of solar-panel maker Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and battery maker A123 Systems, to name a few. Germany, which has taken its climate-change fetish further than any other major economy, is now coming to grips with a comprehensive fiasco of higher energy prices and higher carbon emissions. Who would have thought that when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow, people might still want to switch on the lights?

It is now the dogma of the left that any hint of doubt when it comes to predictions of climate doom is evidence of greed, stupidity, moral turpitude or psychological derangement. "Climate denial" is intended to be the equivalent of Holocaust denial. And yet the only people who've predicted anything right so far are those who foresaw that the Kyoto Protocol would fail, that renewable energies didn't really work, and that climate bureaucrats accountable to nobody but their own sense of virtue and taste for profit were a danger to everyone.

Rereading Mr. Kerry's speech, I have to say he really does come across as a true believer. That it begins by citing Maurice Strong, the ultimate cynic, tells you what you need to know about where this strain of true belief leads.

Robert Samuelson explains why economists need a new light bulb.

It's good to be king president. President Obama took advantage of a state dinner to request early copies of "true Detective" and "Game of Thrones." I guess all those concerns about inequality end when it comes to the President's TV habits.

Remembering how a celebration of George Washington's birthday became President's Day.

How San Francisco is on the road to becoming Detroit.

Peter Kirsanow explains why Obama's order to pay the minimum wage to workers whose employers have federal contracts is unconstitutional. But, as with all these examples, we need someone to bring litigation - perhaps some employer forced to pay the minimum wage who wasn't already doing that. Though they might be afraid to bring such a suit in case the backlash would limit their ability to keep getting federal contracts.

Reason Magazine reminds us of some of the big losses that the Obama administration has already encountered from the Supreme Court.

As always, Obama's White House takes advantage of every moment of presidential history to insert Barack Obama. Because, really, it's all about him.

Victor David Hanson contemplates the Orwellian nature of the positions that this administration has taken in so many varied instances. For example, concerning the news about the IRS scandal and how the President's approach certainly changed from when the fact of the IRS targeting conservative organizations came to light compared to his approach today.
It takes Orwell’s doublethink to explain how a scandal might have rated an “outrageous” before the people in charge quit, retired, or invoked the Fifth Amendment, and then, after their embarrassing departures, was reinvented as an episode without a smidgen of corruption.
Apparently the stories that became so shocking about the murder of Kitty Genovese and the inaction of the bystanders is based on mythology perpetrated by the police commissioner and the media.

David Hogberg explains how liberals have already acknowledged that Obamacare will increase the federal deficit even though they don't seem to want to face up to it.
The problem for these pundits is they can’t admit that Obamacare will induce people to work fewer hours without also acknowledging that people working less results in less income and lower FICA tax revenues. One follows the other. And since that lost revenue exceeds whatever deficit reduction Obamacare achieves on its balance sheet, liberals must accept that Obamacare increases the deficit.

Even if they don’t admit it out loud.

James Piereson writes today in the WSJ about who are the people who make up the top 1% of the country. Mostly they are people who earn their money either from salaries and wages, businesses, and just 19% from capital gains. He explains how all the demagogic calls to get more money from the top 1% are not likely to work out.
Those who want to "tax the rich" to redistribute income to the poor and middle class usually propose to raise the marginal rates on incomes or the capital-gains rate, or both. Yet as Scott Hodge recently documented in these pages, it will not be easy to raise vast sums this way.

The individual income tax accounts for slightly less than half of federal revenue and the top 1% already pays a substantial share of that total. Most of the wealth owned by the top 1%, and especially by the "super rich" in the top 0.1%, is also held in stocks, bonds and real estate that are not subject to income taxes until sold. It is a fool's errand to try to raise the living standards of the bottom 60% through higher income taxes on the top 1% or 0.1%.

The shift in incomes in favor of the wealthy has been due to several large forces, including a world-wide boom in asset prices, the rise of global markets, and technological innovation that has increased the earning power of the well educated. These have been positive—not negative—forces that have elevated living standards around the globe.

At a time of slow economic growth, mounting government debt, a stalemated politics and the impending retirement of the "baby boomers," the attacks on the "one percent" look more and more like a diversion from the nation's real problems.
In honor of the five-year anniversary of the stimulus bill, here is a list of the Ten Most Outrageous Stimulus Projects. Note how these grants of money have absolutely nothing to do with producing jobs.