Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Now I Know What To Get Dwight for Christmas

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Or rather I would, if it were available anywhere in Texas, and it wasn’t made in a country currently occupying parts of Ukraine:

Yes, Red Army Vodka in a bottle shaped like an AK-47. It’s much classier than their previous bottle:

And Now News of Another ObamaCare-Related Rate Hike: My Own

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

I’ve been covering ObamaCare since before it was even passed. Along the way I’ve documented numerous ObamaCare-related insurance cancellations and rate hikes. But now I have a special insurance rate hike to report on: my own.

Humana Hike 2014

Yes, my monthly rate will be going up by $100, a hefty 27.33% hike.

Background: As a contractor, I currently pay for my own health insurance. I have a Humana HMO Platinum Plan for myself only, with a fairly low deductible and solid prescription drug coverage (I’m not on any truly budget-busting medication, but I am on one slightly pricey one that essentially makes the pricier plan more cost effective than the cheaper ones.) I bought my plan through the private insurance market and not the ObamaCare website. (And the children’s dental is on there only because it was a buck more and I didn’t want to go through the bother of the paperwork hoops necessary to get it taken off.)

It’s not that I’ve never seen an insurance hike before, but before ObamaCare I never experienced one so breathtaking. Judging from results, ObamaCare seems designed to fatten both the bottom lines of insurance companies and to force people on affordable plans that Democrats disapprove of onto Medicaid.

I think I may have gotten my hike notice early only because I’m on a private, non-employer plan. If you’re on an employer-covered plan, there’s a good chance your rate hikes will be coming down the pike after the election

LinkSwarm for October 10, 2014

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Another Friday, another LinkSwarm. I think i may have to stop watch Houston Texans games for the sake of my health…

  • The American MSM may be reluctant to tell the truth about Obama’s many manifest failures, but UK’s Telegraph isn’t.
  • Most Americans see Obama as a failure.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to discover that the IRS is auditing the producer of an anti-ObamaCare movie.
  • One in five Americans will have medical bills in collections this year. Thanks, ObamaCare!
  • How do you know your foreign policy sucks? When even Jimmy Carter is dissing it. And he’s right!
  • Even Piers Morgan calls Obama’s governance as marked by “lethargy and complacency.”
  • Why Harry Reid is attacking Koch: Big money Democratic donors will spend more in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa than all RNC spending across the country combined.
  • Democrats 2014 = Republicans 2006.
  • Democrats pull out all the stops to save Kay Hagen’s North Carolina senate seat. If she wins, I’m sure her family will appreciate the opportunity for more graft in the coming years…
  • Michael Barone says that trends, with so many Democratic incumbents still polling below 45%, indicate the Harry Reid-controlled Senate is still toast. “Rewind back five years: The Obama Democrats expected their major policies to be popular. They expected that most voters would be grateful for the stimulus package, for Obamacare, for raising the tax rate on high earners. They aren’t.”
  • Obama slams billionaires while attending while attending fundraiser at the home of billionaire Rich Richman. Yes, that’s his real name. If I put that in a novel, editors would reject the symbolism as too heavy-handed…
  • Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes won’t even admit to voting for Obama.
  • While the New York Times has gotten around to talking abut American children dying from Enterovirus D68, they’re still refusing to talk about how Obama’s illegal alien influx might have helped bring it here. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Michael Totten reports from SE Asia: “Sweden is more socialist than Vietnam.” Except for the stupid propaganda loudspeakers…
  • Philadelphia’s deeply indebted public school system actually cancels it’s contract with the teacher’s union. “The move, in which the Philadelphia School Reform Commission invokes emergency powers, comes after the teachers’ union spent more than a year resisting concessions that the commission was seeking even though rising personnel costs have crippled the budget.” How crippling? “The schools’ budget projects spending $44,100 a year in benefits for every $68,700 in wages earned by the average teacher.”
  • NYC School therapist helps handicapped student launch successful Kickstarter. Reward? 30 day suspension.
  • John Kerry spent Wednesday consulting with allies on ISIS and Ebola. Ha, just kidding! He toured a wind turbine.
  • Islamic State supporters threaten to behead U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And by “soldiers” I mean “elementary school children” and by “Iraq” I mean “Rhode Island.”
  • Remember when Bill Clinton ginned up an “epidemic” over a dozen random church burnings? Boko Haram has torched 185.
  • Brett Easton Ellis on Generation Wuss.
  • Iranian professor jailed for associating with “known Zionists.” Like Noam Chomsky. To Islamists, not even an actual hatred of Israel is enough to remove the taint of your Jewishness…
  • “That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.”
  • Top aide to Al Sharpton and boyfriend of top De Blasio adviser in trouble with the law? Inconceivable!
  • An inside view of feminist groupthink and #GamerGate from a former social justice warrior.
  • Random meme pic I made:

  • Random Twitter exchange with Michael Quinn Sullivan:

  • BattleSwarm extends best wishes for a speedy recovery to Borepatch, who wiped out on his motorcycle to the tune of “7 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a bruised lung.” Ouch…
  • University of Michigan Makes It A Crime Not To Have Sex

    Friday, September 26th, 2014

    Reason brings us word that victimhood identity politics efforts to redefine campus sexual assault have now reached some perfect Bizarro World conclusion: It’s now “sexual violence” to withhold sex.

    From the UM official page:

    Sexual violence
    Examples of sexual violence include: discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex; criticizing the partner sexually; touching the partner sexually in inappropriate and uncomfortable ways; withholding sex and affection; always demanding sex; forcing partner to strip as a form of humiliation (maybe in front of children), to witness sexual acts, to participate in uncomfortable sex or sex after an episode of violence, to have sex with other people; and using objects and/or weapons to hurt during sex or threats to back up demands for sex.

    If withholding sex is now “sexual violence,” just think of the lawsuit possibilities! Under this definition, I could sue just about every woman in America!

    Finally, feminism has succeeded twisting logic so far that just about the entire population is guilty of “domestic violence.”

    Except those who have never been asked for sex. Hmm, who might that be?

    Democrats Pull Out The Knives for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    Thursday, September 18th, 2014

    There’s nothing quite so entertaining as Democrat-in-Democrat mud fights, so take a few minutes to enjoy Edward-Isaac Dovere’s takedown of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It’s something of an clinic on the insider hit-piece form, full of anonymously sourced catty slams and putdowns of DWS from fellow Democrats, who only now seem to have noticed her ongoing manifest incompetence.

    And it has the Obama White House’s fingerprint all over it.

    Some samples:

    The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda.

    In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago.

    She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.)

    I’m guessing that little walk-back at the end is to distract you from the possibility Jarrett orchestrated this entire hit piece. Probably in vain, given often describes Jarrett at furious over various DWS decisions.

    Many expect a nascent Clinton campaign will engineer her ouster. Hurt feelings go back to spring 2008, when while serving as a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Wasserman Schultz secretly reached out to the Obama campaign to pledge her support once the primary was over, sources say.

    Nicely done, that paragraph, since it accomplishes three goals: 1.) Suggests Hillary blesses tossing DWS under the bus as well (a lot more in the final third of the piece), 2. Paints DWS as a backstabber, and 3. Reminds you that DWS ran Hillary’s disasterous 2008 campaign.

    Overall the piece paints a picture of DWS as using the DNC to garner perks and further her own political ambitions rather than focusing on the party. “’People know she works hard,’ said another House colleague. ‘But there’s this sense that she only works hard for herself.’”

    It’s a shame that Democrats are finally catching on to what I’ve been saying since 2010: Debbie Wasserman Schultz simply isn’t very good at running political organizations. She does a poor job giving interviews, she doesn’t have good camera presence, she comes in at .2 Bidens in the Walking Gaffe Derby, she’s poor at recruiting candidates, and she doesn’t seem to know how to run a large organization like the DNC or the DNCC. Her incompetence was probably worth a good 3-5 seats in 2010.

    I, for one, will be very sad to see her go…

    Raining on the Viking Women Warrior Parade

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    Last week a story made the rounds claiming that a new archeological examination of graves showed almost as many female Viking warriors as male Viking warriors.

    There’s just one tiny problem with these claims: they’re bunk..

    This paper absolutely does not conclude that these women were warriors, or that the army had an even split of male and female fighters:

    These results, six female Norse migrants and seven male, should caution against assuming that the great majority of Norse migrants were male, despite the other forms of evidence suggesting the contrary.

    Note the use of the word “migrants,” not “warriors” or “fighters.”

    So this is a case of feminists taking good science and turning it into bad reporting by distorting what the original paper actually said.

    An academic reading the actual paper comes to the same conclusion: “Whenever we read second hand information, it is essential that rather than instantly spreading what may be misleading information, that we try to discover if it’s accurate first.”

    Eric S. Raymond expands on the theme:

    Reality is, at least where pre-gunpowder weapons are involved, viciously sexist….

    There is only very scant archeological evidence for female warriors (burials with weapons). There is almost no such evidence from Viking cultures, and what little we have is disputed; the Scythians and earlier Germanics from the Migration period have substantially more burials that might have been warrior women. Tellingly, they are almost always archers….

    If a pre-industrial culture has chosen to train more than a tiny fraction of its women as shieldmaidens, it would have lost out to a culture that protected and used their reproductive capacity to birth more male warriors. Brynhilde may be a sexy idea, but she’s a bioenergetic gamble that is near certain to be a net waste.

    Firearms changes all this, of course – some of the physiological differences that make them inferior with contact weapons are actual advantages at shooting (again I speak from experience, as I teach women to shoot). So much so that anyone who wants to suppress personal firearams is objectively anti-female and automatically oppressive of women.

    (Hat tip Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for September 8, 2014

    Monday, September 8th, 2014

    A Monday LinKSwarm to kick off your week with:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: Obamacare discourages work.
  • Media: ObamaCare is fading as an issue. GOP strategists: LOL.
  • “Obama has overseen a shocking decline in America’s standing in the world. Everyone is mad at, or disappointed in, the United States.” As far as I can tell, Obama’s foreign policy is to do nothing until Americans are killed, and then to do nothing some more…
  • More on the theme:

    “Obama says what he has to say to make reporters stop asking about it.”

  • Rotherham: “The local government tolerated sexual violence on a vast scale. Why? In part, because the criminals who committed these sickening acts were Muslims from the local Pakistani community, and noticing their depravity was considered insensitive at best, racist at worst.”
  • Illegal alien “children” with gray hair enrolling in public schools since the Obama Administration won’t let school districts check their ages.
  • After more than five years of Obama, the Los Angeles Times asks “Is economic stagnation the new normal?”
  • Obama starts the latest poker round by showing Putin his hole cards.
  • Iran bans women from many university courses. Now remind me what this whole “war on women” is about again…
  • Interview with the woman who runs the only Arabic language magazine of sex and erotica. Good luck with that…
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela is now importing oil.
  • Hey, remember when Bush attended three fundraisers and a wedding during the middle of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither.
  • “However stupid the creation of the euro was, undoing it will not be easy.”
  • UC Berkley wants to make sure “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so.” “And by ‘contentious’ speech, we mean ‘non-liberal’ speech. Or, as we like to refer to them, ‘hate crimes.’”
  • Military rifles, armor, and ammo sent to numerous Texas school districts. If anyone knows why Texarkana ISD needs a SWAT team, I’m all ears…
  • In a shocking and unexpected development, I actually agree with Keith Olbermann about something. Namely the idea that it was amazingly stupid for the Huffington Post to hire Donte “9/11 Truther” Stallworth to be a “National Security Fellow.”
  • This weekend there were numerous protests to wage fast food wages. What’s behind them? $3 million in union money.
  • Huffingotn Post fooled by scam story. Clip this headline out and save it and I’m sure you’ll be able to make use of it in the years to come…
  • Mandy Nagy, AKA “Liberty Chick,” is recovering from surgery following a stroke.
  • A little fun via the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly tag:

  • I’ll Take “Because I’m An Idiot” for $4,000, Alex

    Thursday, September 4th, 2014

    I’m struggling to come up with fresh, insightful commentary on such weighty topics as ISIS or Rotherham, so instead let’s talk about a moron who spent $4,000 on a jacket she couldn’t afford.

    It’s an annoyingly discursive example (from the comments: “I think this might be the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever read”) of that most irritating genre, Essays That Seem Designed To Make You Hate New Yorkers. Most entries in that genre are about rich New Yorkers buying ridiculously overpriced garbage. But Mary H. K. Choi’s essay is particularly irksome, because she only aspires to run with that crowd.

    The well-to-do can afford status goods because they pay cash for them. Non-rich people buying expensive status goods they can’t afford tend to find themselves bankrupt.

    The first commentator on the story actually nails it: “No one else will say it, so I will. You bought a $4,000 coat that you couldn’t afford because you’re an idiot.”

    Says Choi: “The coat was the distillation of everything I’ve ever found seductive about not only living in New York but the prospect of belonging there, too.”

    And there’s your reason: I live in New York City. I’m extra-special.

    I was in London last month for the World Science Fiction Convention, where I had lunch with friends at a pub just off Saville Row. I thought to myself “maybe I should think about getting a Saville Row suit while I’m there.” Then I looked at the prices, and went “Nope!” Now keep in mind that I could pay cash for a £3,750 suit (just over $6,000 at today’s exchange rates), and all it would do is eat into my “two years of emergency jobless living” savings. But since I’m not a millionaire, movie star, lawyer or politician, I would have precious few occasions to wear it. It didn’t make any sense for me to buy a Saville Row suit.

    But common sense seems to be a commodity that Ms. Choi does not possess in over-abundance.

    Actions have consequences. People who live within their means tend to have much happier, stress-free lives compared to wastrel spendthrifts. I suspect that Ms. Choi will soon be learning this lesson, good and hard…

    Pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum: German Tanks

    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

    I hope you like tanks.

    Here’s the first batch of pictures taken at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, which I visited on Saturday as a gift to my inner 12-year old. (There are few prospects more pleasing to the preadolescent male mind than being encased in a 30 ton metal killing machine.) The first batch is all German tanks and tank destroyers from World War II. Let’s face it, the Germans had far and away the best tanks, and shortly after the allies managed to catch up, Germany would be about ready to introduce something better. Germany’s problem (as compared to America or the Soviet Union) was an inability to manufacture enough of them. (Good thing for us.) They had an enormous array of German tanks, and probably the best collection outside Germany’s own tank museum in Munster.

    The first picture of the first of two King Tigers (AKA Tiger II, AKA Königstiger, Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B) they had on display. The mosty powerful tank Germany produced during the war, its 88mm main gun could destroy any tank on the battlefield. It didn’t get on the battlefield until 1944, and Germany produced less than 500 of them.

    The other Tiger II they had there.

    Here you can see the Zimmerite anti-magnetic mine coating the Germans used.

    Selfie, with tank.

    The first of several tank destroyers.

    This is a German tank destroyer that ended up in Finland. Stalin thought he could walk all over Finand, but the Finns tore the Soviets nine different new assholes in the Winter War, though this tank destroyer obviously post-dates 1940.

    Alternate barrel used for the Sturmtiger close assault variant.

    Here’s an early Panzer Mark I command tank. It’s amazing to realize that the initial German blitzkrieg was carried out with relatively slow, under-armed, and underpowered Mark I and Mark IIs, that, with Heinz Guderian’s new tactics of mechanized warfare, were simply Good Enough.

    A Mark II.

    I think this is the Mark III, would would be the mainstay of the Wehrmacht armored divisions through the end of the war.

    A muzzle-eye view.

    Armoured car.

    An 88mm field canon.

    Israel Picks Perfect Time to Kick Hamas’ Ass

    Sunday, July 13th, 2014

    Just a quick note to compliment Israel on a perfect sense of timing in picking this week to kick Hamas’ incompetent ass (yet again) in Operation Protective Edge:

  • No one cares about Hamas’ propaganda bullshit anymore:

    Hamas has done more harm to the Palestinian movement in the past two decades, than any opponent of the Palestinians could have done. It has sabotaged relations with a sympathetic media through muddled press conferences and moronic bombastic statements about “opening the gates of hell.” It has driven out international supporters, managed to decrease the support it did have among various “free Gaza” committees and “shot its bolt” in its various ill-conceived wars with Israel.

    Snip.

    It gained a respite with the election of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt in 2012. But like Morsi, it over-reached and overestimated its military chances against Israel. It must have gained hope from Turkey’s Islamist government AK party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong messages of support. But the Gaza flotilla incident of 2010 seems like a high point of Turkish resolve. Hamas’ other erstwhile friends in Iran and Hezbollah; although Shi’ite extremists, seemed like they might bolster the organization. The 2006 Lebanon War, which was roundly seen as a blunder for Israel, was a by-product of Hamas’ own kidnapping of Gilad Schalit that year. But Hezbollah and Iran were drawn into the Syrian quagmire and Hamas was left alone. The overthrow of Morsi by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt put another nail in the blockade around Gaza as Sisi sought to root out terror in Sinai. Pro-Gaza activists from the West were roughed up routinely in Egypt.

    Whereas Hamas could once propagate stories about flour or electricity shortages in Gaza, the international media and activists began to shrug their shoulders. Another perennial sewage problem? In June of 2014 Reuters noted, “sewage at the beach, piles of garbage mar Gaza’s summer.” Various alarmist UN statements, such as a 2008 claim that the “blockage [by Israel and Egypt] is putting Gaza at risk of starvation” were met with a yawn. Hamas’ Gaza policy, with its need for international attention, has been marred particularly by the mass atrocities that have been taking place throughout the Middle East. Media outlets like the BBC caught on to the fact that images from Syria are routinely passed off as being from Gaza and there is less international outrage at Israel than in previous years as the European public is inured to suffering in the region.

    This latest round of violence is indicative. Al-Jazeera cobbled together various world leaders’ reactions to the conflict. The usual suspects were there – but were markedly tepid in their criticism of Israel.

  • Indeed, with much of the region embroiled in the ongoing merged Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, both sides of the nascent Sunni/Shia civil war are too preoccupied with possible existential issues to bother with any but the most perfunctory denunciations of Israel. Sure, they’d still like to wipe Jews off the face of the earth, but they have more pressing concerns right now. And with all the other atrocities going on, the usual “Hey, look at these horrible pictures of dead children because we just happened to put our rocket launchers in their preschool” photos just don’t pack the same punch.
  • Likewise, with ISIS making mischief on their own border, Iran may be in no mood to buy Hamas another round of missiles for them to waste launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Israel in the mostly vain hope one might manage to kill a Jew or two. (Iron Dome seems to be working pretty well.)
  • As the War Nerd pointed out, the World Cup slaughters jihad porn in the viewer ratings derby. By launching Protective Edge during the final week of the World Cup, Israel insured that all the regions casual jihad sympathizers were too busy watching people kick a ball on TV to go through the motions of pretending they cared what happens to Palestinians.
  • All that said, I bet we go through the whole thing again another two years from now…