Bob McDonnell is a WHAT?!?!?!

September 5, 2014

Reactions to the Bob McDonnell verdict our pouring in, and there’s one in particular (from many of his defenders) that I find completely flabbergasting.

The ex-Governor’s defenders are calling him a “man of integrity.” My jaw hits the table each time I see that.

Folks, Bob McDonnell spent all of 2009 insisting he would not raise taxes. He blasted his opponent (Creigh Deeds) for even considering it, and rode the issue to a landslide win in November of that year.

In the last year of his term (as it happens, last year) he broke that promise in spectacular fashion, ramming through the largest tax increase in at least 40 years.

Even then, he skirted the truth. He insisted the tax hike was for relieving commuter congestion, but in fact his top priority was actually a parallel road to US 460 that wasn’t needed for traffic relief – and which the Army Corps of Engineers said he couldn’t build anyway (Bacon’s Rebellion).

So please, spare me the “man of integrity” nonsense. If you want to complain about the federal decision to prosecute McDonnell (as opposed to other Virginians) or the bizarre nature of the “honest service fraud” statute, that’s one thing.

But Bob McDonnell was no angel.


More on temperature data “adjustment”

August 24, 2014

Walter Dnes (WUWT) examined American temperature “adjustment” by the USHCN (United States Historical Climate Network), and found that said adjustments were not just annual, but monthly as well (i.e., different months were “adjusted” differently).

Among his more interesting findings…

  • Winter months were adjusted upward more so than summer months, since 1970 (it’s quite possible their could have been a correlation between average monthly temperature and adjustment, but Dnes didn’t examine that). Dnes noted that “talk about winters in the USA getting warmer may be an artifact of the adjustments.”
  • Since 1970, the adjustment slope in annual terms is over 1 degree Celsius. In other words, when anyone talks about warming over the last forty-plus years, 1C of it comes from humans alright – human manipulation of the data
  • Annual adjustment for the 1930s (the decade the gave us the Dust Bowl and the most massive dust storm in American history), were over half a degree Celsius downward. As Dnes notes, “one wonders if this an attempt to disappear the heat waves and droughts of ‘The Dirty Thirties’ in a manner similar to attempts to disappear the Medieval Warm Period. It’s hard to talk about ‘the hottest ever’, when there’s ‘inconvenient data’ around, showing that the 1930s were hotter.”
  • Since 1970, the number of actual data points for temperature has fallen. In fact, we have 20% fewer raw data points today than in 1970. Yet final data points are unchanged, meaning there’s quite a bit of estimated data, a problem I’ve discussed earlier.
  • From about 1895 to 1930, “final” data points are well above raw data points (in 1896, the raw data points were about half the number of final data points

There have been more than a few posts here on the various and sundry problems with temperature data thanks to global warming alarmists. Dnes’ analysis is just the latest example.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


Obama’s immigration order threats mean Ex-Im Bank is probably dead

August 8, 2014

There has been a lot of speculation about the president ordering a mass de facto legalization of millions of unauthorized immigrants “by summer’s end” (Charles Krauthammer, NRO), and the possibility that he might just be hoping for an impeachment reaction, judging by Dan Pfeiffer’s reaction (Reid Epstein, Wall Street Journal). His fellow Democrats appear giddy just at the prospect of being able to defend the president from an impeachment effort (Reuters).

Most of the discussion regarding impeachment has revolved around whether it’s politically wise for Republicans to push it – and it’s not – while far fewer have asked if anyone really wants Joe Biden in the White House (and I guarantee that has a lot to do with why voters are leery of impeachment in general).

That said, I can’t help but noting that what the immigration-cum-impeachment strategy for the midterm elections tells us: namely, that the previous strategy – namely shutting down the government to preserve the Export-Import Bank – is dead, and the Bank itself likely will be, too.

The Democrats were hoping the Ex-Im gambit would divide Republicans and convince Chamber-of-Commerce types to fund Democrats instead. Of course, the plan had serious flaws: the Bank itself disappears on September 30, so on October 1 the Democrats will be trying to use the shutdown to change government policy; many leftist are scratching their heads about their party’s about-face on the corporatist Bank; and the Chamber types themselves are hardly unanimous on the wisdom of the Bank itself, let alone making it a priority.

By contrast, going “double I” means the Democrats can wake their base out of its current stupor while making Republicans look racist, out of touch with the American people, or both. It’s too good a narrative to foul up with the Bank of Boeing.

So I’m fairly optimistic that an executive order on immigration means the Export-Import Bank is on its way out.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


Another TARP opponent survives

August 7, 2014

The victory of Pat Roberts (Republican U.S. Senator from Kansas) in his primary battle is reaffirming the conventional wisdom that “Establishment” Republicans are thwarting “Tea Party” challengers. As one may expect, I don’t automatically share that view. In fact, I think the Tea Party vs. Establishment meme misses the point.

Most would be surprised to see Roberts hit from the right, and one big reason is his vote against TARP (a.k.a. the bank bailout). This is the first chance for Kansas Republicans to weigh in post-TARP on whether Roberts should be the nominee. I find it telling that Roberts survived while TARP proponents like Eric Cantor did not.

Odds are the bailout vote was even more critical in Mississippi, where Thad Cochran (a No on TARP, despite my mistaken assumption) was able to limp into a runoff (and then a narrow if unorthodox victory) when a TARP backer likely would have gone down in flames.

Lest we forget, a large plurality of voters still blame Bush the Younger for the state of the economy…meaning TARP, contrary to popular belief in Washington, has not been forgotten.

Even Mr. Establishment Heavy himself – ex-Congressman and Defending Main Street PAC leader Steve LaTourette – was a No on TARP. That should tell us all something.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


CFPB launches do-over probe by anti-whistleblower firm

July 30, 2014

You can’t make this stuff up (Washington Examiner):

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials appear to be taking the unusual step of seeking to negate a critical employment report issued last spring and counter it with a new investigation.

The earlier review by an independent investigator hired by CFPB found bureau managers had created a “toxic workplace” environment for its employees.

However, CFPB officials have decided to re-examine the earlier probe by hiring Hollowell, Foster and Herring, an Atlanta law firm with longstanding Democratic ties.

The new law firm specializes in defending government agencies faced with whistleblower or employee complaints…

Regarding the latter, the CFPB had more than its share:

The atmosphere at the CFPB’s Consumer Response unit, derisively nicknamed “The Plantation” by its African-American workers, already has been highly charged.

A transcript of a March 31 “all hands” meeting, obtained by the Washington Examiner, shows CFPB Consumer Response manager Scott Pluta criticizing employees for giving anonymous testimony to congressional investigators.

In 2013, CFPB employees filed 115 official grievances through its union, the National Treasury Employees Union, according to an NTEU local chapter executive vice president. NTEU officials have said the number is high for an agency with only 1,300 employees.

So instead of addressing any of this, the agency has decided to take the whitewash route.

Normally, something like this would get Congress to rethink the agency’s funding levels. No such luck here; CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve.

This is what happens when power comes without accountability.


Thad Cochran for re-election

July 28, 2014

Yes, you read that right. I’m giving Cochran my endorsement. I’m also giving him an apology, because I owe him a fairly large one.

I’ve only posted on the Cochran’s re-election effort once, but that was enough to turn my foot into my meal. It took me less than one sentence to make my major error:

Mississippi Republicans had a choice to nominate a candidate for United States Senate: a six-term incumbent who supported the bank bailout (Thad Cochrane) (sic)…

Notice the mistake? As it turns out, Thad Cochran opposed TARP (Senate Votes).

I have no excuse. I goofed. Period.

Given McDaniel’s gaffe-prone campaign, had I known Cochran had been a No vote on the bank bailout, I would have endorsed him some time ago. IMHO, the GOP is still suffering from bank-bailout hangover, which means Republicans who opposed TARP need to be rewarded with my support.

Thad Cochran, unbeknownst to me, was one of those Republicans. I should have endorsed him for renomination, but I can endorse him for re-election…

…and I do. Mea culpa, Senator.


The 2016 Republican nominee better have an alternative to Obamacare

July 27, 2014

There is a lot of discussion about the effects and wisdom of the Halbig decision, including some amusement at the site of a leading Obamacare architect turn himself into a rhetorical pretzel (VV). However, one thing that has not really been addressed is the need to be serious about “repeal and replace.”

Republicans need to remember that if the Supreme Court actually follows the D.C. Circuit Court panel and knock down all subsidies in states that do not have their own exchanges, millions will find themselves with unaffordable health insurance – and likely go back to the ranks of the uninsured. When that happens, the GOP needs to be ready with an alternative health care reform plan that brings these people back into the insurance market, while reducing the effect of the government’s “invisible foot” in health care in general.

The earliest the Court will hand down a decision is the summer of 2015 (and it could be the summer of 2016). Either way, it will land somewhere in the presidential campaign, meaning the Republican candidate(s) need to spend some time addressing this issue, or get drowned out by the Democrats screaming, “Republicans ended the subsidies and deprived millions of health care just to score political points against Obama.”

Of course, there is plenty of space for right-of-center health care reform: ending the tax-favoritism towards group plans, breaking the AMA’s de facto monopoly on health care prices (handed to them by the federal government), addressing the health-care-provider shortage with supply side economic reforms specific to that industry, etc.

If the defeat of 2012 taught us anything (besides never nominated a TARP backer again), it taught us that an unpopular plan (Obamacare) still beats no plan (Romney’s complete lack of an alternative). The dynamics of a post-Halbig American will drive that lesson home even further. The Republican ticket in 2016 will either learn that lesson, or lament their defeat.

Cross-posted to VV


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