Wednesday, July 30, 2014
But beneath that calm facade, there is growing alarm in Russia that the festering turmoil in Ukraine and the new round of far more punitive sanctions — announced Tuesday by both European nations and the United States — will have an impact on Russia’s relations with the West for years to come and damage the economy to the extent that ordinary Russians feel it.
As for his nuclear abolitionism, Reagan, according to his arms control director, Ken Adelman, was appalled by the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and hated the idea that an American president could wreak immeasurably greater destruction. Thus Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, far from being the cockamamie “Stars Wars” scheme it was promptly dubbed by political adversaries and journalists stuck in the conventional thinking of the era, was the technological expression of the president’s moral conviction that nuclear weapons were a grave danger that ought to be taken off-the-board in international public life.
fter a hectic day yesterday spent in large part seeing off my son, daughter-in-law, and two-year-old grandson on a two-year sojourn in Berlin, I hastened this morning to my keyboard to comment on perhaps the most noteworthy piece of U.S. diplomatic idiocy in the Middle East that I’ve witnessed in several years (which is really saying something). It had been on my mind since expressing the essence of the matter to Richard Aldous on TAI’s weekly podcast in the morning, and repeating it privately over the telephone to a fellow editor (of a weekly) who is not an area expert and so has been calling me episodically but regularly over the past decade to get my take on various matters. So, thus rehearsed, I was ready to let fly at 7:30 AM when, to my shock, I found that I had been beaten into print by, of all people, David Ignatius.
Actually both malice and incompetence.
One of the ongoing debates about policy formation in Washington which has become far more prominent since the passage of Obamacare is the role of the Congressional Budget Office, and the weight given its estimates and predictions for the ramifications of legislation. CBO has always been at the center of a debate about how much we should trust these estimates and how much legislators should rely on them in crafting policy. The larger the legislation, the more moving parts it has, the more difficult it is to calculate the fiscal and economy-wide impacts.
So there you have it. The leader of Hamas says, point blank, it does not want a two-state solution. Yet scores of liberal commentators continue to make arguments like this: “We have to get a solution. And it has to be a two-state solution. And it has to be basically encouraged, if not imposed, I think, from without.”
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.
Yuval Levin is a smart guy.
SHINGLE SPRINGS -- A private drone trying to record footage of a Northern California wildfire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames from the air, but firefighters made enough progress to allow most of the 1,200 people under evacuation orders to return home Monday.
"Marvel just seems unbeatable at the moment," says Mark Millar, who spent 10 years writing for Marvel Comics and consulted on the first Iron Man movie. "Even my elderly Scottish aunt knows what a Marvel movie is, so those guys are doing something very right."
The volunteers were part of what federal scientists say was the most comprehensive study ever conducted on how marijuana, and pot combined with alcohol, affect drivers. The data now being analyzed ultimately will help regulators decide how stoned is too stoned to drive. It's similar to the studies conducted to develop levels for drunken driving. Volunteers were recruited from around Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator.
Barely a month after federal regulations for school cafeterias kicked in, states are already pushing back.
Specifically, they're fighting nutrition standards that would considerably alter one of the most sacred rituals of the American public school system: bake sales.
Because they're such a problem.
House and Senate lawmakers are running up against an end-of-the-week August recess without a compromise on legislation addressing the border crisis -- potentially playing into the hands of President Obama as he weighs sweeping unilateral action on immigration.
Kerry's error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey. In the process, he has undercut not simply the Israelis but also the Egyptians and the Fatah movement that runs the Palestinian Authority, all of which want to see an end to Hamas rule in Gaza.
Well, it is his first time on the job.
Gruber then became part of the story on Thursday when a video surfaced in which he espouses the very interpretation of the law he now publicly derides as “screwy,” “nutty” and “stupid.” In 2012, Gruber told an audience: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
It's almost like they're dishonest or something.
Monday, July 28, 2014
A new CBS News/New York Times Battleground Tracker estimate finds the Republicans positioned to take the Senate this year, with a likely 51-49 seat edge if the November election were held right now. The margin of error on that current seat estimate, at plus or minus 2 seats, means Democrats still have a real possibility to keep the chamber and that we head into campaign season with control up for grabs -- with a closely-divided Senate surely coming in 2015 in either case.
The GOP doesn't deserve to win but the Dems deserve to lose.
Does this mean President Obama is wrong to describe companies engaging in inversion as “corporate deserters”? Not really — they’re shirking their civic duty, and it doesn’t matter whether they literally move abroad or not. But apologists for inversion, who tend to claim that high taxes are driving businesses out of America, are indeed talking nonsense. These businesses aren’t moving production or jobs overseas — and they’re still earning their profits right here in the U.S.A. All they’re doing is dodging taxes on those profits.
Just to give you a taste of the nonsense. Maybe we should build a fence to keep people in.
This is good. Take a look at the case by linking through. One of the many public costs resulting from this copyright is the truly exerable birthday song adopted by Chucky Cheese some years ago. For those of you who don't know, this is the American phenomenon of a pizza restaurant run by a giant rat. The rat would come out and sing her/his(?) version of Happy Birthday which was actually worse than the original insipid song. The place always struck me as a gold mine for pedophiles and I'm glad my kids are too old for it now.
Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. At the same time, the system has become full of inefficiencies and special-interest loopholes. That is why it is so important that we reform our business tax code to make the U.S. economy more competitive and to accelerate economic growth and job creation. Taking this step will make the United States an even more attractive place to do business and ensure that capital and talent are allocated more efficiently in pursuit of high economic returns, rather than low tax bills.
Why not lower our tax rates enough so that inversions are not so popular? Inversions should take care of themselves.
I have grown increasingly concerned about the risks posed by current monetary policy.
First, we are experiencing financial excess that is of our own making. There is a lot of talk about "macroprudential supervision" as a way to prevent financial excess from creating financial instability. But macroprudential supervision is something of a Maginot Line: It can be circumvented. Relying upon it to prevent financial instability provides an artificial sense of confidence.
Second, I believe we are at risk of doing what the Fed has too often done: overstaying our welcome by staying too loose, too long. We did a good job in staving off the deflationary and depression risks that were present in the aftermath of the 2007–09 financial crisis. But we now risk fighting the last war.
Ingraham hinted that her forays into Republican primary races this year could be the foundation for a political career of her own. "I've been approached by various people to get involved," she said. "I'm keeping an open mind about running for office in the future."
Laura is tough as nails.
Words mean what they say. That's the basis for the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell invalidating the Internal Revenue Service regulation approving subsidies for Obamacare consumers in states with federal health insurance exchanges.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The artist, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – which roughly translates as “good-for-nothing girl” – was arrested after emailing the data to 30 people who had answered a crowd-funding request for her recent artistic venture: a kayak inspired on her own genitalia she calls “pussy boat”, according to Brian Ashcraft at the gaming website Kotaku.
That's one of the weirder things I've ever heard.
Peter Singer considers the merits of Scotland and Catalonia's bids for independence. - Project Syndicate
BARCELONA – The European Union has brought 28 countries into a closer political and economic union. Paradoxically, it has also made it more feasible to contemplate the breakup of some of those countries.
I still remember his defense of having sexual intercourse with ducks.
Robert J. Shiller believes that recent warnings that asset prices are rising dangerously fast may be correct. - Project Syndicate
NEW HAVEN – In recent months, concern has intensified among the world’s financial experts and news media that overheated asset markets – real estate, equities, and long-term bonds – could lead to a major correction and another economic crisis. The general public seems unbothered: Google Trends shows some pickup in the search term “stock market bubble,” but it is not at its peak 2007 levels, and “housing bubble” searches are relatively infrequent.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
U.S. stocks are now about 80% overvalued on certain key long-term measures, according to research by financial consultant Andrew Smithers, the chairman of Smithers & Co. and one of the few to warn about the bubble of the late 1990s at the time.
In a 2-1 ruling, judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that barring the university from using race would ultimately lead to a less diverse student body in defiance of previous legal precedent that promoting diversity was an important part of education.
The Democrat shook his head. "That's the problem with this White House. Barack Obama is the hero of their narrative, but he's not supposed to be," he said. "The hero of every political narrative should be the voters."
He's the hero of a boring story.