Monday, July 28, 2014

Are we going to Abilene?

For John, BLUFCongress needs to start doing its job again and stop passing rules for execution, as opposed to actual execution, to the bureaucrats of the Administration.  They are becoming almost a Fifth Estate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This starts at a Federal Courthouse in DC, where the DC Circuit ruled that Federal Subsidies for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are illegal.

Then we move to The Instapundit,

TYLER COWEN:  The Real Import Of The Gruber Fracas.  I like this from the comments:  “All I can say is, if you’re going to pass a law with zero bipartisan support, you should be very careful in the drafting, since they aren’t likely to help you out if you muck it up.  In this case, haste and arrogance is biting them in the ass.”
(A little crass, but true.)

But them this moves to the blog Marginal Revolution, where Mr Tyler Cowen talks to "The real import of the Jon Gruber fracas".  Ah, Professor Jonathan Gruber of MIT and his quotes about Federal vs State Healthcare Exchanges.  From the Marginal Revolution blog post:

It would be much easier if (some) people would simply say “Of course this normally should be kicked back into the legislature for clarification.  But I don’t want to do that because I don’t regard Republican control of the House, and how that control is used, as a legitimate form of rule.”  One may agree, or not, but the nature of the case is pretty clear.

Instead we read irrelevant blog posts and tweets about how the experts meant to have subsidies at all levels all along.  Of course they did.  But did Congress know what it was doing in a detailed sense, one way or another?  Hard to say, personally I doubt it, and Alex says no.  The basic starter hypothesis here is that many of them knew this was a health care bill, it would extend coverage, it had a mandate, it had some subsidies, it had a Medicaid expansion, it had some complicated cost control, it was approved by leading Democratic Party experts, it met some CBO standards, and beyond that — if you pull out those who were confused on the details of the exchanges and the subsidies do you still have majority support?  I doubt it.  Most absurd of all are the tweets asking the critics to show Congress intended no federal-level subsidies.

Regarding the line "But did Congress know what it was doing in a detailed sense…", this is a key issue.  Are we going to have rule by representative government or by bureaucratic experts?  This leads to Arrows Theorem.

An easier explanation can be found here, where Wikipedia explains how the family ended up on the road to Abilene, when no one really wanted to go there.  Here is a video explaining the theory.

I am not saying Congress was on the road to Abilene with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but with regard to details they were.  They didn't have the time to argue through a lot of the details.  Frankly, it was all Scott Brown's fault.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Fourth Circuit went the other way, as noted in the article, so a battle is teed up for the US Supreme Court.
  City Life host George Anthes prefers ObamaCare.  I would go with Reid/Pelosi Care.
  Well, if you are a Registered Democrat, or a fellow traveler, you should blame Attorney Martha Coakley.

Transparency in Government

For John, BLUFWell, it seemed a good idea in 2008.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is disappointing.

Per Washington Examiner Reporter Sean Higgins, "Eleanor Holmes Norton says 'you don't have a right to know' what's going on in government".

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting congressional delegate for the District of Columbia, angrily sputtered during a congressional hearing Friday that the White House should not be held up to scrutiny, saying that there was no right to know what it was doing behind closed doors.
Goose/Gander thing I guess.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, July 27, 2014


For John, BLUFWhite House asking for President to be Impeached?  Sounds like it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I think the White House is more serious about this than the House of Representatives, which is the House that actually does Impeachment.  Any trial is held in the US Senate.

It isn't like the White House isn't out there flouting the separation of powers; the President's "Pen and Phone" is an example, and the IRS changing the Congressionally passed rules for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PP&ACA) is another.

Here is the article from The Hill, by Reporter Rebecca Shabad.  This last Friday White House spokesman Josh Earnest was working the crowd with this talk of Presidential Impeachment.  He was talking about it as though there was a vast right wing conspiracy to get the President, or at least raise money off of saying they would get him.

Earnest was asked to identify who those Republicans are, and he only mentioned Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, but added there’s “no doubt” there are other voices also calling for impeachment.

Earnest also acknowledged that impeachment calls are being tied to fundraising.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Friday that the White House is taking calls for impeachment more seriously.

Much as I like Governor Sarah Palin, she is going nowhere at this time.  She is important for stirring up the base, but she isn't running for anything in 2014 and is unlikely to run for anything in 2016.  Now I would take her over the Big E any day of the week, but there is not a strong base of support amongst Republicans and Democrats have less respect for her as a woman than they do for Senator Clinton.

As for Whie House Senior Advisor, Mr Dan Pfeiffer, I am not sure what he means by "...taking calls for impeachment more seriously."  Can we put it on a scale of 0 to 9?  Last month it was a 4 and today it is a … 7?, 8?, 9?  Who knows?  I suspect even Mr Pfeiffer doesn't know.

A Bill of Impeachment would be a gift to the Democrats running for office this year?  By 2016 it would be old news.  This isn't to say there are not Republicans willing to talk about Impeachment, but I doubt House Speaker John Boenher would entertain such an action before Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid came to his office and suggested the time had come.  Possible, but not likely.

Or is this a case of the White House wanting to talk about anything except illegal immigration?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Article I, Section 2, Clause 5, Section 2.
  One wonders, if he has this authority now, why didn't he have it in early 2009 and why did he not use it to fix things that were broken then.  Was he negligent in not using this authority, assuming it existed all along.  Or is the House Speaker correct in saying the Federal Courts ought to weigh in on this?
  Which should be known as Reid/Pelosi Care, since they are the ones who rammed it through Congress without a good once-over.

Reform of Asset Forfeiture Proposed

For John, BLUFAs me about the Mother-in-Law and Sports Car joke.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As Washington Post Reporter Radley Balko says, "This is a pretty big deal."  US Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced legislation to reform Asset Forfeiture.  Asset Forfeiture is where if the folks who owned the house before you did were thought to have been cooking Meth in the basement, the Government can seize your house.  Or if you are going on vacation and have $2,000 in cash in the back seat of your car, the police can decide it is drug money and seize it.  Your recourse is to go to court.

From the story:

Sen. Rand Paul yesterday introduced S. 2644, the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act, which would protect the rights of citizens and restore the Fifth Amendment’s role in seizing property without due process of law. Under current law, law enforcement agencies may take property suspected of involvement in crime without ever charging, let alone convicting, the property owner. In addition, state agencies routinely use federal asset forfeiture laws; ignoring state regulations to confiscate and receive financial proceeds from forfeited property.
Senator Rand Paul, looking out for the little guy.  And minorities should pay attention.

Good luck Senator Paul.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Judge With Common Sense

For John, BLUFAt the end of the day Judges need to be free to make a reasonable call.  If they can't think then they should be removed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Sometimes Judges do things we don't like.  Here is a Judge making, IMHO, the proper decision.  Remember that we have so multiplied the laws that it is easy to be "in violation".  When a bad thing happens it is good to prosecute, such as having an illegal gun, which is a year in goal here in Massachusetts, if the DA doesn't plead it down and the Judge is steady.

This case, explained by blogger Eugene Volokh, here, is a different story.  The police were acting like they had a quota.  And the case of Mr Clayton Baltzer, cited, was just pathetic.  Sometimes the DA should use his or her discretion, especially if the police fail to.  Carrying an illegal gun is not one of them.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Illegal Immigration

For John, BLUFWhere did all those people come from?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

If you want to see what unrestrained illegal immigration looks like, go shopping at the Hannafords on Rogers Street in Lowell this afternoon.

A normally tranquil grocery with a couple of checkout lines, it was a madhouse.  All the checkout lines were in use, as well as the "help desk" at the north end of the front of the store.  They are restocking as they went.  I saw a skid of frozen ice cream in the middle of an aisle.  I picked up the small bottles of Caffeine Free Diet Coke right from the guy restocking the shelves, who had just arrived in the soda aisle.

Because there so many "foreigners", there were maps at the store entrance, explaining the store.  And, people in red Hannaford T-Shirts walking around answering question—and they were busy.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Market Basket thing is a mess, and that forcing Author T out was a mistake.  And that is from the effectiveness and long term profitability angle, not even counting all the good that Artie T has done for this and other communities.  On the other hand, there are lots of ways this Market Basket shoot-out can go and many of those are not good ways.

By the way, if anyone knows where the Sorbet is, please leave a comment.  No joy on the Sorbet during my trip through the store this afternoon.  And I had a guy in a red T-Shirt helping me.  Everything else was right where it was supposed to be.

Regards  —  Cliff

Missing Light in the Universe

For John, BLUFOne suspects there is a lot we don't know about science, but think we do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From that font of knowledge for those interested in science but without the time to read the scientific journals, there is a Popular Mechanics article about missing light in the universe.  The article is "PM/AM: The Universe is Missing Light—A Lot of It" and the authors are Ms Kathryn Free and Mr Darren Orf

Because nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and some light is missing, this article has taken from the 11th of July of this year to get to this blog post.

Here is the link to the Press Release from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Here is an extract from the Press Release:

Something is amiss in the universe.  There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget.

Observations made by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, a $70 million instrument designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope, have revealed that the universe is “missing” a large amount of light.

“It’s as if you’re in a big, brightly lit room, but you look around and see only a few 40-watt lightbulbs,” said the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Juna Kollmeier, lead author of a new study on the missing light published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.  “Where is all that light coming from? It’s missing from our census.”

The research team—which includes Benjamin Oppenheimer and Charles Danforth of CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy—analyzed the tendrils of hydrogen that bridge the vast reaches of empty space between galaxies.  When hydrogen atoms are struck by highly energetic ultraviolet light, they are transformed from electrically neutral atoms to charged ions.

The astronomers were surprised when they found far more hydrogen ions than could be explained with the known ultraviolet light in the universe, which comes primarily from quasars.  The difference is a stunning 400 percent.

Strangely, this mismatch only appears in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos.  When telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light years away—which shows astronomers what was happening when the universe was young—everything seems to add up.  The fact that the accounting of light needed to ionize hydrogen works in the early universe but falls apart locally has scientists puzzled.

Ah, yes, where is all that light?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff