Saturday, November 30, 2013

Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel News Editor, Wishes Death on Scott Walker After 'Faster and Furious' Actor Dies

Saw this just now on Twitter:

And at Fire Andrea Mitchell, "Paul Walker of Fast and Furious dies – leftists wish it was Scott Walker."

Also at Twitchy, "Jezebel editor on Paul Walker’s death: Why couldn’t it have been Scott Walker? Update: Tweets deleted."

EARLIER: "Paul Walker, 1973-2013."

Paul Walker, 1973-2013

Just 40 years-young. What a shame.

At the Los Angeles Times, "'Fast and Furious' actor Paul Walker dies in fiery Valencia car crash":
Actor Paul Walker, who gained fame as an undercover detective in the hugely successful “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, was killed Saturday in a car accident in Valencia, his representatives confirmed.

The single vehicle collision occurred about 3:30 p.m. in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop. Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived to find a vehicle engulfed in flames. Two people in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the collision is under investigation, said Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Manatt. According to a statement on his Twitter account, Walker, 40, was attending a charity event to aid Filipino victims of Typhoon Haiyan for his organization Reach Out Worldwide, formed in 2010 as a quick response first-aid organization.

“It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide,” the statement read. “He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.”
More at that top link.

Also at Gateway Pundit, "'Fast and Furious' Actor Paul Walker Dies in Car Crash" (via Memeorandum).

'Silicon Beach' — Crush of Tech Start-Ups and Web Giants Fuels Housing Grab in L.A.'s Westside

At LAT, "Silicon Beach housing prices surge as techies move in":
In Venice, 25-year-old Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy has bought a new two-bedroom house for $2.1 million, or nearly double the median price of homes in the neighborhood.

A few blocks away, a three-bedroom town house with a rooftop sun deck was just rented for $7,000 a month — a year ago, an identical unit was renting for $5,900. "Totally Silicon Beach living," the ad on Craigslist proclaimed.

And farther south in Marina del Rey, hundreds of apartments were recently completed and aimed at drawing the tech crowd, with high-speed Internet in every unit, free Wi-Fi in common areas and an online application process.

The Westside has long been a desirable place to live, attracting entertainment executives, sports stars and financial gurus. But there's a new guard moving in.

The burgeoning tech community known as Silicon Beach is fueling a Westside housing grab that has enabled landlords to push sky-high rents even higher and helped send home prices above their pre-recession highs. Real estate agents say that within these neighborhoods, techies have made a brutal real estate market for buyers and renters even tougher.

"Everyone wants to buy here because this is the hot, cool space," said Brian Maser, a real estate agent who specializes in selling condos in the area.

Amid last decade's housing bubble, the median home price in Silicon Beach — the area west of the 405 Freeway from Santa Monica south to Marina del Rey — peaked at $925,000 in the second quarter of 2007 before plummeting 25% to $694,000 in the first three months of 2010, according to research firm DataQuick.

But Silicon Beach prices have risen sharply this year. The median price in that area reached $952,500 last quarter, 19.2% higher than in the same period last year.

Overall housing prices in Southern California, meanwhile, are still far below their peak during the bubble.

Tami Pardee, principal of Pardee Properties in Venice, said tech workers from Silicon Beach have descended upon the Venice market, and her agents have been busy showing homes to employees of Google and Facebook. She estimated that 30% of her buyers work in the industry.

"They have the money to buy," she said. "We're excited but cautious." As more techies move into the Westside, there are fears that the area — and especially the eclectic, funky vibe in Venice — could go from charmingly quirky to overly techie.

In a recent report, commercial real estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap found signs that renters "are beginning to balk at the area's high rents," which may be forcing some people to other regions.

"We want Venice to remain Venice," longtime Westside resident Briana Chalais, 35, said. "We don't want to be overtaken by all tech people."
Continue reading.

And who's moving in? Well, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have all opened corporate campuses, and start-up entrepreneurs are streaming into this hot location. As the accompanying photo indicates at LAT, rent at the nicer Venice townhouses is upward of $7,000-a-month.

And the Snapchat dude Bobby Murphy's the one who turned down that $3 billion buy-out offer from Facebook. He must've thought Zuckerberg was low-balling him, heh.

And it's interesting to note how L.A.'s Silicon Beach feeds the growing class divide in the American economy, discussed by Charlotte Allen, at the Weekly Standard, "Silicon Chasm: The Class Divide on America's Cutting Edge":
Atherton, Calif.

"If you live here, you’ve made it,” David Berkey said to me as I rode shotgun in his car two months ago through the Silicon Valley’s wealth belt. The massive house toward which he was pointing belongs to Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google. With a net worth of $24 billion, Brin is Silicon Valley’s third-richest denizen and the fourteenth-richest man in America, according to Forbes. Berkey was chauffeuring me down Atherton Avenue, a wide, straight, completely tree-lined boulevard nicely bifurcating the city of Atherton (population 7,200), located 29 miles south of San Francisco, boasting no commercial real estate, and with a zip code (94027) that was recently listed by Forbes as America’s most expensive.

You couldn’t really see Brin’s house from the car, though—just a swatch of rooftop, maybe a chimney—because the point of the trees lining Atherton Avenue and nearly every other street in Atherton is to hide the dwellings behind them. Where the screens of trees happen to thin, property owners have constructed high hedges, high wooden fences, and high brick walls, so that when you look down Atherton Avenue from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west toward the commuter railroad station to the east, you see only the allée of trees—pine, palms, eucalyptus, sycamore, and juniper—shades of gray-green and brown-green shimmering placidly in the early autumn sun. “This is the Champs-Élysées of Atherton,” Berkey explained. The other thing we didn’t see from Berkey’s car is people, except for the occasional driver on the road.

Turning corners, we drove past other fancy and half-hidden real estate owned by other Silicon Valley grandees; Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, and her husband David Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey, have a 7,200-square-foot house somewhere in the hedge maze. Before there was such a thing as Silicon Valley—that is to say, 40 years ago—Atherton was an affluent bedroom town for white-shoe law-firm partners and Old Economy executives who liked to ride the Southern Pacific Peninsula to their jobs in San Francisco, imitating their East Coast counterparts who rolled on the Hartford-New Haven line from the Southern Connecticut Gold Coast into Manhattan. That was before today’s hiding-the-house custom, and the executives’ front lawns surged out like green carpets to Atherton Avenue and its side streets. Now, Atherton is mostly teardowns and brand new mega-mansions—or at least as mega as their owners can get away with, given Atherton’s highly restrictive zoning laws that mandate enormous lot-to-footprint ratios. To increase their overall square footage, Atherton’s new breed of homeowners typically tunnel out vast underground extra space—wine cellars and home theaters—beneath their dwellings. The dominant style these days is a fanciful mix of Palladian Neoclassic, Loire Valley château, and Mediterranean villa, spreading out manor-house-style to cover as much ground as the zoning laws allow.

“This was a vacant lot five years ago,” said Berkey as we cruised by one of the spanking new stone-faced Atherton domiciles with its multiple dormers, chimneys, tile-roofed turrets, and columned porticos. “Now it’s worth $5 or $6 million. And this house here—it recently sold for $7 million, $4.4 million more than the asking price.” We passed the Menlo School, tuition $38,000 a year, where the parents pick up their kids in Range Rovers and fly them in private jets to exotic foreign locations for birthday parties. Down the road lay the Sacred Heart School, the Menlo School’s Catholic opposite number, where the tuition is only $34,000 a year. Their feeder is Atherton’s Las Lomitas School, rated among the top elementary schools in the state of California.

Las Lomitas is technically a public school, although its main support comes from a lavish parent-funded foundation that last year alone raised $2.8 million. “It’s going for $3 million this year,” Berkey said. “For the parents, it’s an attractive tax write-off. We can do good and feel good at the same time, because it benefits our own children.” Also not to be missed was the Menlo Circus Club (initiation fee: $250,000), featuring daily tennis, Friday polo matches, and state-of-the-art stables for horse people who can’t afford or don’t want to be bothered with the ranch-size spreads of owners who stable their own horses, farther up into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Berkey himself doesn’t live in Atherton. He can’t afford to. He’s a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and his wife, Eleanor Lacey, is general counsel at SurveyMonkey, which occupies Facebook’s old startup quarters in downtown Palo Alto. That makes them part of what is known as the “middle class” of Silicon Valley: two-career couples with family incomes in the low-to-mid six-figure-range. They and their two daughters live in neighboring Menlo Park, in what is essentially a modest 1950s tract house, the kind of flat-roofed, three-bedroom, two-bath, sliding-glass-patio-door, under-2,000-square-foot residences, pleasant but not pretentious, that were built en masse well into the 1970s as cheap starter homes, because back then it was conceivable that there could be such a thing as a cheap starter home in the valley. Berkey says his own house is currently valued at $1.2 million.

That’s par for the course. Open on any random day the Daily Post, the throwaway newspaper serving the mid-peninsula, and there will be a full-page ad for a “charming updated contemporary home” in Menlo Park or Palo Alto or Mountain View or Sunnyvale, with its single story, its gravel-topped roof, its living-room picture window, its teensy garden strip running alongside the jutting two-car garage that plugs into the kitchen, its pocket-size but grassy front lawn reminiscent of The Wonder Years—and its 1,216 square feet of living space—all “offered at $949,000.” That’s a bargain for the valley.

Berkey drove us out of Atherton, across El Camino Real, the peninsula’s main commercial highway, and across the railroad tracks past the tiny Atherton station, now part of California’s state-run Caltrain system and a commuter stop only on weekends. We were now in the featureless, nearly treeless, semi-industrial flatlands of Menlo Park stretching eastward to the bay. The demographic change was instant: ¡No se habla inglés! There were suddenly plenty of people on the sidewalks—and nearly every single one of them was Latino. There were suddenly plenty of commercial establishments—ramshackle, brightly painted, graffiti-adorned storefronts with hand-painted business signs mostly in Spanish: “Comida Nicaraguense,” “Restaurante Guatemalteco,” “Carnicería” (pork chops and steaks crudely painted on the walls), “Pescadería” (fish and crustaceans crudely painted on the walls), “Panadería,” “Check Cashing,” “Gonzalez Auto Sales,” “Sanchez Jewelry,” “Check Cashing,” “Arturo’s Shoe Repair,” “99¢ and Over,” “Check Cashing.”

Menlo Park is actually only about 20 percent Hispanic and is unabashedly affluent in its own right, but its Hispanic population concentrated next door to the hedgy scrim of Atherton makes for a startling study in contrasts. No one pretends that the gravel-roofed, shack-size houses in this particular neighborhood are “charming” midcentury modern gems. That would be hard to do, what with the weeds, the peeling paint, the chain-link fences, the chained-up guard dogs, and the front lawns paved over to accommodate multiple vehicles for multiple dwellers. The phrase “the other side of the tracks” has vivid meaning. “Look at the newspaper police blotters, and you’ll see that in Atherton the main reported crime is identity theft,” said Berkey. “Here, it’s break-ins.”

You can laud this underbelly barrio as vibrant immigrant culture or you can decry it as an instant-slum product of untrammeled illegal border-crossing, but it represents an important fact on the ground: These are the people who earn their livings tending to the needs of the high-tech “creative class” that has made Silicon Valley famous. I could see them on Atherton Avenue, the amanuensis class heading up from Menlo Park in their wee panel trucks and Dodge minivans and their Ford flatbeds fitted out with racks for garden tools among the Bentleys, BMWs, Audis, and Lexuses that are the standard Atherton vehicles. They tend the meticulously clipped lawns, flower beds, hedges, and trees of Atherton (Berkey said that it’s not uncommon for an Atherton sentence to begin, “My arborist .  .  . ”). They clean the houses and the swimming pools, they deliver the catering, they watch the children, and they repair the roofs, the plumbing, the balconies, and the wine cellars of the very affluent and the very busy. You might say that across-the-tracks Menlo Park, along with down-market Latino neighborhoods just like it up and down the peninsula—East Palo Alto, parts of Redwood City, the southern end of San Jose—functions as a kind of oversize servants’ wing. It’s safe to say that almost every hotel maid, restaurant busboy, cashier, janitor, retail stocker, and fast-food worker in the valley is Latino.

Master and servant. Cornucopian wealth for a few tech oligarchs plus relatively steady but relatively low-paying work for their lucky retainers. No middle class, unless the top 5 percent U.S. income bracket counts as middle class. Silicon Valley is a tableau vivant of what many economists and professional futurologists say is the coming fate of America itself, a fate to which Americans, if they can’t embrace it as some futurologists hope, should at least resign themselves...
Continue reading.

Mind you, these people are overwhelmingly "progressive." The power and privilege doesn't fit the left's endless class-warfare campaigns. The Koch brothers pale in comparison to this towering pedestal of leftist prestige.

Hat Tip: Bob Belvedere and Instapundit.

Hilarious Revamped!

At Twitchy, "This revamped homepage is hilarious [Photoshop]."

That's from Caleb Howe, who's a freakin' gut-buster on Twitter.

Fingers Crossed photo BaV7wIQCYAETd_W_zpsff8b46d9.jpg

'Baby Jesus Butt Plug' Assigned by Comparative Literature Professor at Long Beach State

It's Jordan Smith, who's listed as an "Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature" in the Department of Comparative Literature and Classics.

Oh boy, that's classic alright. And required reading!

At Campus Reform, "Prof at public college assigned students ‘The Baby Jesus Butt Plug’ as mandatory reading" (via Gary Fouse):

Baby Jesus photo ScreenShot2013-11-27at23339PM_zpsed4aa06e.jpg
A professor at the California State University - Long Beach, assigned students a 104-page book entitled “The Baby Jesus Butt Plug” last week as part of the mandatory reading for an upper level comparative world literature course.

That book, which is described on as “Trashy and dark,” invites readers to “Step into a dark and absurd world where human beings are slaves to corporations, people are photocopied instead of born, and the baby jesus is a very popular anal probe.”
More at the link.

Funny how I just blogged about this depraved phenomenon a couple of days ago, "Increasingly Leftist Colleges Abandon Greats and Teach Garbage."

These people are freakin' disgusting. Leftist butt-plug losers. This reminds me of the assholes at Lawyers, Gays and Marriage. Yep, depraved and disgusting butt-plug losers all around.

Leanne Scotton

Via Twitter.

Leanne Scotton photo BaU6bCBIgAAiSpo_zpsc0e43f20.jpg

Leftists Attack 'Douche' Josh Romney After He Tweets Photos from Car-Wreck Rescue

Althouse has the background, "'Mitt Romney’s son rescued four people from a car crash—then tweeted a photo of himself grinning next to the wreck'."

And at Twitchy, "Josh Romney called a ‘douche’ and ‘megalomaniac’ after tweeting about rescue."

I don't know if I would have tweeted it, but he's a Romney, so the left would melt down no matter what.

Here's the more respectable response, and accurate:

Fight Breaks Out During Ohio State-Michigan Game

At USA Today, "It was ugly."

'I think anybody who believes that we are in a period of decline or stagnation probably hasn’t been paying attention...'

That's Sebastian Thrun, Google's top research scientist, at Foreign Affairs, "Google's Original X-Man: A Conversation With Sebastian Thrun."

A phenomenal interview:
There are people who feel that the prospects of life are diminishing and that the next generation is not going to have a better life than the previous one. Do you think your child’s life will be more interesting and exciting and filled with larger prospects than yours?

If you look at history, the fear that the next generation would be worse off than the previous one has been around for many centuries. It’s not a new fear. And it’s often due to the lack of imagination of people in understanding how innovation is moving forward. But if you graph progress and quality of life over time, and you zoom out a little and look at the centuries, it’s gotten better and better and better and better.

Our ability to be at peace with each other has grown. Our ability to have cultural interchanges has improved. We have more global languages, we have faster travel, we have better communication, we have better health. I think these trends will be sustained going forward, absolutely no question. If you look at the type of things that are happening right now in leading research labs, I see so many great new technologies coming out in the next ten to 20 years. It ought to be great.

So you disagree with the notion that innovation is dead, or that we’re in a great stagnation, or a period of decline?

I think anybody who believes that we are in a period of decline or stagnation probably hasn’t been paying attention. If you look at the way society has transformed itself in the last 20 years, it’s more fundamental than the 50 years before and maybe even bigger than the 200 years before.

I’ll give an example. With the advent of digital information, the recording, storage, and dissemination of information has become practically free. The previous time there was such a significant change in the cost structure for the dissemination of information was when the book became popular. Printing was invented in the fifteenth century, became popular a few centuries later, and had a huge impact in that we were able to move cultural knowledge from the human brain into a printed form. We have the same sort of revolution happening right now, on steroids, and it is affecting every dimension of human life.

A century or two ago, you had innovations such as steam, electricity, railroads, the internal combustion engine, the telegraph and telephone and radio. Those things had ramifications that fundamentally changed the structure of society, the structure of political organization. Is the information technology revolution going to have that kind of impact?
I think the impact will be greater. I don't want to belittle any innovation. I think the steam engine, the car, television, all the examples you mentioned are landmarks of history. But if you zoom out a little bit, most of these inventions come from the last 150 to 200 years. Very few are a thousand years old or older, and given that humanity is much older than that, you could say that almost all inventions are recent. I believe the full potential of the Internet has not been realized yet, and we're not very used to it. But a hundred years from now, we will conclude this was one of the biggest revolutions ever.

I believe we live in an age where most interesting inventions have not been made, where there are enormous opportunities to move society forward. I'm excited to live right now. But I would rather live 20 years from now or 50 years from now than live today. It's going to be better and better.

'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

I took my youngest to see it yesterday. I'm very pleased with this franchise. I love the totalitarian politics. It seem so contemporary, considering.

From Kenneth Turan, at the Los Angeles Times, "Review: 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' burns bright with fiery Katniss":

Second movies in a series can be such a comfort: We already know the key characters, we have a sense of where the plot is going, we just have to hang on and enjoy the thrills. Which is what happens with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

An effective piece of melodramatic popular entertainment that savvily builds on the foundation established by the first "Hunger Games" movie, "Catching Fire" layers in increased visual brio while remaining faithful to the essence of a trilogy popular enough to have more than 50 million copies in print.

That brio comes courtesy of director Francis Lawrence, who took over the series from Gary Ross. Though he's directed features such as "I Am Legend" and "Water for Elephants," it is Lawrence's music video work that's won him multiple awards, including a pair of Grammys, and the expansion in size and scope this project's larger budget allows proves well within his power.

That expansion is necessary because there is more at stake than ever in the world of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). While the first film took her from small town huntress to victory in the kill-or-be killed national tournament called the Hunger Games, "Catching Fire" potentially gives her — much against her will — the possibility of a bigger role in the political landscape of the totalitarian future state known as Panem.

Lawrence's intertwined strength and vulnerability as Katniss were the sine qua non of the first film, and she is the sequel's biggest asset as well. Now an Oscar winner for "Silver Linings Playbook," Lawrence has clearly taken this role very much to heart, throwing herself into it to such an extent that she creates genuine emotion from what is essentially pulpy material.
Continue reading.

#ObamaCare to Accelerate U.S. Doctor Shortage

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, although things are working out just as planned for the Democrats.

Doctors Are Scarce photo obamacareposter-1_zps4efb74a9.jpg
At the New York Times, "Medicaid Growth Could Aggravate Doctor Shortage":
SAN DIEGO — Dr. Ted Mazer is one of the few ear, nose and throat specialists in this region who treat low-income people on Medicaid, so many of his patients travel long distances to see him.

But now, as California’s Medicaid program is preparing for a major expansion under President Obama’s health care law, Dr. Mazer says he cannot accept additional patients under the government insurance program for a simple reason: It does not pay enough.

“It’s a bad situation that is likely to be made worse,” he said.

His view is shared by many doctors around the country. Medicaid for years has struggled with a shortage of doctors willing to accept its low reimbursement rates and red tape, forcing many patients to wait for care, particularly from specialists like Dr. Mazer.

Yet in just five weeks, millions of additional Americans will be covered by the program, many of them older people with an array of health problems. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that nine million people will gain coverage through Medicaid next year alone. In many of the 26 states expanding the program, the newly eligible have been flocking to sign up.

Community clinics, which typically provide primary but not specialty care, have expanded and hired more medical staff members to meet the anticipated wave of new patients. And managed-care companies are recruiting doctors, nurse practitioners and other professionals into their networks, sometimes offering higher pay if they improve care while keeping costs down. But it is far from clear that the demand can be met, experts say.

In California, with the nation’s largest Medicaid population, many doctors say they are already overwhelmed and are unable to take on more low-income patients. Dr. Hector Flores, a primary care doctor in East Los Angeles whose practice has 26,000 patients, more than a third of whom are on Medicaid, said he could accommodate an additional 1,000 Medicaid patients at most.

“There could easily be 10,000 patients looking for us, and we’re just not going to be able to serve them,” said Dr. Flores, who is also the chairman of the family medicine department at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles.

California officials say they are confident that access will not be an issue. But the state is expecting to add as many as two million people to its Medicaid rolls over the next two years — far more than any other state. They will be joining more than seven million people who are already in the program here. One million of the newly eligible will probably be enrolled by July 2014, said Mari Cantwell, an official with the state’s Department of Health Care Services.

On top of that, only about 57 percent of doctors in California accept new Medicaid patients, according to a study published last year in the journal Health Affairs — the second-lowest rate in the nation after New Jersey. Payment rates for Medicaid, known in California as Medi-Cal, are also low here compared with most states, and are being cut by an additional 10 percent in some cases just as the expansion begins.

“The symbolism is horrible,” said Lisa Folberg, a vice president of the California Medical Association.

The health care law seeks to diminish any access problem by allowing for a two-year increase in the Medicaid payment rate for primary care doctors, set to expire at the end of 2014. The average increase is 73 percent, bringing Medicaid rates to the level of Medicare rates for these doctors.

But states have been slow to put the pay increase into effect, experts say, and because of the delay and the fact that the increase is temporary, fewer doctors than hoped have joined the ranks of those accepting Medicaid patients.

“There’s been a lot of confusion and a really slow rollout,” Ms. Folberg said, “which unfortunately mitigated some of the positive effects.”

Nigella Lawson Drug Use Allegations

Man, this is one nasty divorce.

At Telegraph UK, "Charles Saatchi devastated by Nigella's alleged cocaine habit and heartbroken over split, court hears."

Oh sure. He just hated it.

More here, "Nigella Lawson: death of a dream for a Domestic Goddess?":

Nigella Lawson’s hopes of finally making it big in American TV may have been thwarted by drug allegations.

As she shimmied on to the brightly lit Hollywood set, newly svelte in a tight red “wiggle dress” and wearing a smile primed to dazzle millions of American television viewers, Nigella Lawson might have been forgiven for thinking that – finally – her time had come.

After years of false starts and mixed critical receptions in the US, the self-styled Domestic Goddess had, in The Taste, at last found a major prime-time vehicle for the talents that had made her a national treasure – and a multimillionairess – on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Her dream has always been to conquer America, and she is now well on her way,” said a beaming Chris Coelen, the chief executive of Kinetic Productions, which made the programme and paid Lawson an estimated £250,000. “I am sure 2013 will be the Year of Nigella in America.”

The premiere of the show – a cross between Masterchef and The Voice that Lawson co-hosts and executive-produces – won six million viewers for the channel ABC. “Overall, it’s a good mix,” said the tough-to-impress Hollywood Reporter, which declared it was “hungry for more”. A second series was commissioned.

But Lawson’s newfound American profile and the series’ glossy, family-friendly image have now been jeopardised by shocking allegations by her former husband, Charles Saatchi, that she is a “habitual criminal” and hardcore recreational drug user. In one extraordinary email read out in court this week he dubbed her “Higella”.

These claims, made during the trial of two Italian sisters accused of fraudulent use of Mr Saatchi’s credit cards to the tune of at least £685,000, threw Lawson’s US operation into panic on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday. Executives at Kinetic refused to say whether they would stand by her, while a spokesman for ABC said coolly: “I’m not in a position to comment about or on behalf of Nigella.” The second series of The Taste had “already wrapped,” and would go out as planned from January 2, she said, but had nothing else to add.

The allegations, a shock to the millions of British fans who have Lawson’s books on their kitchen shelves, have the potential to wreak even greater damage in a country that remains more socially conservative, and which has for more than 40 years been fighting a tide of hard drugs being trafficked across its southern border.
More at that top link, especially this:
And, ironically, Anthony Bourdain, Lawson’s superstar co-host and co‑producer on The Taste, is himself a reformed drug addict who once sold his record collection to buy heroin. “We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity,” he said in his memoir of his days as a chef in Manhattan in the Nineties. “Hardly a decision was made without drugs.”

Bourdain, 57, who is married with a young daughter, was reported to be giving Lawson, 52, “emotional support”, having “taken her under his wing” in the aftermath of the traumatic publication in June of photographs showing Saatchi grabbing his then wife by the throat during a meal at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair. (This week Bourdain signalled his backing of Lawson in a tweet that identified him as “#TeamNigella”.)

Last Chance for Operation Last Chance

The Simon Wiesenthal Center campaign has legs, at the Charlotte Observer, "Wiesenthal Center expands hunt for Nazi suspects":

MUNICH The Simon Wiesenthal Center is expanding its poster and reward campaign in Germany in its push to track down Nazi war criminals before it is too late, following a strong response to its initial launch.

The center's top Nazi-hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said Monday that Operation Last Chance II, launched in July, resulted in tips on 111 possible suspects from 19 countries.

"The response was way beyond anything we expected," he said in a telephone interview.

The Coming Democrat Congressional Elections Massacre

Reid Wilson, at the Washington Post, is not so bullish on Democrat chances in 2014.

Obama Sham Wow photo Sham-hellip-Without-The-Wow_zpsccfd325c.jpg
See, "Is another Republican wave building?":
President Obama’s poll numbers are at record lows. The health care law that serves as the cornerstone of his domestic policy legacy is even more unpopular. And there are few chances to change the conversation among a skeptical public that isn’t happy with Washington.

Sound familiar? It should: The national political climate today is starting to resemble 2010, when Republicans won control of the House of Representatives by riding a wave of voter anger. Wave elections are rare. Only a handful of times in the previous century has one party racked up big wins. Democrats won big handfuls of House seats in 1930, 1932, 1948, 1958, 1974, 2006 and 2008. Republicans won back more than 40 seats in 1938, 1942, 1946, 1966, 1994 and 2010. And with nearly a year to go before Election Day, voters’ moods can change dramatically.

But the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s crumbling support suggests another wave might be building. While voters usually punish a president’s party in at least one midterm election, they may be winding up to deliver another smack to President Obama’s allies on Capitol Hill.

Voter dislike of ObamaCare cost Democrats the House in 2010. It could cost them the Senate in 2014. The poll numbers hint at the toll the Affordable Care Act has taken on the Democratic Party. A CNN/ORC International poll conducted November 18-20 shows 49 percent of registered voters favored a generic Republican candidate for Congress, compared with 47 percent who favored a Democratic candidate. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted November 6-11 shows the generic ballot tied, at 39 percent each.

Historically, Democrats have held an advantage of at least a few points on the generic ballot, even when election results are a wash: Democrats held a six-point edge just before Election Day 2000 and picked up a grand total of one seat. Democrats led Republicans by one point on the generic ballot just before the 2010 elections, when Republicans rode to a sweeping victory.

And there’s no sign that Obama will become more popular. Presidents who see their approval ratings dip so dramatically in the second term rarely see their numbers improve. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon’s approval ratings never recovered after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal (Nixon, of course, didn’t stick around to see just how far his ratings could fall). George W. Bush’s approval rating sank in the spring of 2005, and continued falling through the end of his term. Obama’s numbers are starting to resemble Bush’s trend lines.

For much of Obama’s tenure, even voters who say they disapproved of his job performance still retained a favorable impression of the president. That’s increasingly not the case: In the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey, conducted earlier this month, Obama’s unfavorable rating, 52 percent, tops his favorable rating, 46 percent. It’s only the second time [pdf] the number of unfavorable impressions outweighed the favorable ones. Reaction to the bungled rollout of the health care law is overwhelmingly to blame. Already, the fallout has been evident: Public surveys in Virginia showed Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) by wide margins in the wake of the government shutdown. But Cuccinelli made the final weeks of the race into a referendum on ObamaCare, and McAuliffe’s support began to erode. On Election Day, McAuliffe won by just 2.5 points, a narrower margin than even his internal polls showed. Another week, and Cuccinelli might be governor-elect.

Democrats will say the Republican Party is in even worse shape than they are, and they have a point: In the October Washington Post/ABC News poll, just 32 percent of voters said they had a favorable impression of the GOP, compared with 46 percent who had a favorable impression of the Democratic Party. And Republicans still have not articulated a clear governing vision for the country, even a year after failure to do so emerged as a central criticism of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.

Continue reading.

And even if things swing toward the Democrats' in coming months, the fact remains they've got to pick up 17 seats to flip the House, a difficult proposition with the incumbency effect as strong as ever. See Charles Cook, "Anti-Incumbent Fever Won't Oust Many Incumbents."

Karl Rove had an excellent analysis on this the other day at WSJ, "Can the Democrats Retake the House in 2014?"

As for the Senate, see Hotline on Call, "The Hotline's Senate Race Rankings: Democrats on Defense."

It's going to be big. I can't wait until next November.

FLASHBACK: From November 2009, a year after Obama's election, and one year before the GOP takeover of the House, "Payback is a Bitch: 'Political Climate for 2010 Not as Favorable to Democrats'."

Yep, it's a gonna be a bitch for those f-kers. Screw 'em. Make them eat the ObamaCare turd-pile.

North Korea Accuses Merrill Newman, Korean War Vet, of War Crimes

I'm having a hard time comprehending the enormity of this tyranny. The man is 85-years-old.

At the New York Times, "North Korea Accuses Detained U.S. Veteran of War Crimes":

BEIJING — North Korea accused an elderly American veteran of war crimes, and released a video Saturday of him confessing to “hostile acts” during the Korean War and while he was a tourist there last month.

The veteran, Merrill Newman, 85, of Palo Alto, Calif., who has been held since Oct. 26, appeared on the video dressed in a blue American-style shirt and wearing rimless spectacles as he read excerpts from the apology from several sheets of white paper.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency released a full text of the apology, in which he asked for forgiveness. The agency said in a separate statement that Mr. Newman was involved in the killing of innocent civilians during the Korean War.

Mr. Newman, a retired technology executive and a world traveler, went to North Korea on a trip organized by a licensed tour group to fulfill a longtime desire to see the country where he had served as an infantry officer, his family said.

There was no indication from North Korea what the next steps would be. The State Department had no immediate comment.
Right. No comment. This f-king administration won't lift a finger for an American patriot now terrorized by a communist totalitarian regime. This is why Americans hate Barack Obama. He plays footsie with murderers.

More at the link.

Wal-Mart, Target Report Strong Holiday Sales as Electronics Entice Consumers

Suck it, capitalist-hating leftists.

At WSJ, "Black Friday Bargains Lure Shoppers to Stores, Online":

Consumers proved loyal to the annual "Black Friday" ritual—even if that meant shopping Thursday.

Customers shopped at stores and online in numbers that retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.10%  and Target Corp. TGT -0.75%  bragged about, lured by cut-price televisions and videogame consoles even as the Thanksgiving Day purchasing interrupted many turkey dinners across the country.

"It's all the thrill—the thrill of the shop," said Eduardo Cintron, a student from Acton, Mass., who braved below-freezing temperatures Thursday to get his spot in line for Best Buy's BBY +2.37%  1 a.m. deal to buy a home speaker system. On top of the deals, Mr. Cintron said he liked meeting his fellow bargain-hunters. "If I shopped online, you don't get that," he said.

On the other coast, Erin Swanson, a 41-year-old accountant, browsed blouses Friday morning at a San Francisco-area Macy's M -0.52%  before heading over to Ann Taylor. "I am here at 6 in the morning," she said, "I know I am insane."

Wal-Mart said it recorded more than 10 million register transactions between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday in its stores and nearly 400 million page views that day on It sold 2.8 million towels, 2 million televisions, 1.4 million tablets, 300,000 bicycles and 1.9 million dolls. Big-ticket electronics like big-screen TVs and new videogame consoles were among the top sellers.

Target said sales were among the highest it had seen in a single day online, and it booked twice as many orders on its website as last year in the early hours when door-busters became available.

The annual ritual that is "Black Friday" persists, in some cases defying logic as well as the calendar. Stores have been trotting out holiday deals since Halloween, most of the offerings are available online and many of the discounts are illusory bargains on goods designed to be cheap. But shopping now is as traditional to Thanksgiving as mashed potatoes and gravy.

Nancy Ketchen of Scotia, N.Y., stayed true to her family tradition of bringing her daughters to the Crossgates Mall in Albany on Black Friday. They shop, have lunch and then head to a nearby Target, a tradition that she says is more important than getting a better price Thursday evening or online. Her two daughters bought outfits for Christmas Day at Forever 21.

"Sometimes you can get a better deal on Amazon," she said. "We've been doing this for 5 or 6 years. It's fun."

Despite the activity at stores, there was early evidence that many stayed home to shop deals online. By 6 p.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving online sales had increased 10% this year over the same period last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks transactions at 800 U.S. retail sites.

About 140 million people are expected to shop over this holiday weekend, a decline from the 147 million who planned to do so last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group said that nearly a quarter of the people it surveyed planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Shoppers spent about $60 billion during the Black Friday weekend last year and more than 40% of that spending occurred online, according to the federation.
Continue reading. Likely to Miss Deadline

At WSJ, "Health Site Is Improving But Likely to Miss Saturday Deadline":

Despite recent progress at, a raft of problems will remain beyond the Obama administration's Saturday deadline to make the troubled federal insurance website work.

The news isn't all bad: Users say the site looks better, pages load faster, and more people are getting through to sign up for health plans.

But technical problems still affect's ability to verify users' identities and transmit accurate enrollment data to insurers, officials say. The data center that supports the site faces continuing challenges, and tools for processing payments to insurers haven't been built.

Technical staff in Washington have been racing up to the end-of-November deadline. In their last public pronouncement on the effort, three days before the deadline, officials said they had much to do to get the site into a condition where it functions smoothly for a majority of users.

The success of the White House's signature domestic initiative is riding on the technicians' ability to fix the site, as well as the rest of the federal technology supporting enrollment. Across the nation, that effort is being eyed hopefully by supporters of the law, since the site is the centerpiece of the effort to overhaul American health care and extend coverage to millions of people.

Those hopes were deflated by a series of blows for the administration right up until Nov. 30, and the site continued to experience outages, both planned and unplanned, in the week leading up to the deadline.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the administration was planning to change its Web-hosting provider from Verizon Communications Inc. VZ -0.62% subsidiary Terremark to Hewlett-Packard Co. in the spring, a complex transition that could introduce new challenges and take months; and the same day, the administration said it was shelving for a year any attempts to operate an online exchange for small businesses. On Wednesday, Verizon declined to comment on its clients.

Officials mixed optimism with caution. "November 30th does not represent a relaunch of," said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which operates the site. "It is not a magical date. There will be times after November 30th when the site, like any website, does not perform optimally."
He's such an asshole.

Still more at the link, if you're not running for the puke-hole.

Same President Who Didn't Have Time for Gettysburg Visits Immigration Activists

At American Glob.

Obama's such an asshole:

Friday, November 29, 2013

China Scrambles Warplanes in Conflict Over Disputed East China Sea Airspace

This is an amazingly tense situation down there in the South China Sea.

The U.S. reportedly sent a B-52 squadron over the disputed territory, and here's this at the Los Angeles Times, "China scrambles jets to track U.S., Japanese planes in disputed zone":

In an escalation of the standoff over islands in the East China Sea, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Friday that it had scrambled two fighter jets to identify U.S. and Japanese planes flying through claimed airspace without notice.

It was the latest ratcheting of tension in the week since Beijing proclaimed an air defense identification zone over disputed islands known as the Diaoyu in China and as the Senkakus in Japan, which also claims sovereignty.

The two fighter jets dispatched by Beijing on Friday tracked and identified two U.S. reconnaissance planes and 10 Japanese surveillance and combat aircraft, the official New China News Agency reported.

"The [Chinese] air force has realized its effective normal monitoring of targets in the zone," said air force spokesman Shen Jinke, portraying the response to the unannounced foreign flyovers as a routine defensive operation.

Beijing's Nov. 23 proclamation of a national air defense zone covering most of the East China Sea and overlapping with airspace claimed by Japan and South Korea has prompted warnings that the action risks provoking conflict or accidental collisions.

The United States, Japan and South Korea have said they will not comply with China's demand that all aircraft entering the proclaimed zone file flight plans with Chinese authorities beforehand. Washington and its allies have flown several sorties into the region over the last week to demonstrate their rejection of China's unilateral claim to the islands.

The foreign military and commercial flights through the claimed zone have been criticized by Beijing as provocations.

"China's air force is on high alert and will take measures to deal with diverse air threats to firmly protect the security of the country's airspace," Shen said.

Despite Beijing's posturing over the new zone, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said it was "incorrect" to see the patrolling and identification of intruding aircraft as a prelude to China shooting down unannounced flights, Reuters news agency reported from Beijing.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington, Army Col. Steve Warren, said in response to the Chinese air scramble Friday that "the U.S. will continue to partner with our allies and will operate in the area as normal." White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the Chinese proclamation of a sovereign air zone over the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands was "unnecessarily inflammatory" and could have a "destabilizing impact on the region."

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to respond to the Chinese action "in a calm and resolute manner" and in consultation with the United States and other allies, NHK television reported. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party drafted a resolution Friday denouncing the Chinese move to assert authority over the region as "a serious challenge to the international community" that is unacceptable and should be immediately retracted, NHK said.
More at the Japan Times, "China's Aggressive Provocation":
Although Beijing said that the establishment of the ADIZ is not aimed at any country, it is clearly targeting Japan and its creation will increase regional tensions. Expressing a “deep concern” over China’s move, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Washington regards it “as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region” and that it “increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.” He also made it clear that Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the U.S. to defend Japan if it is attacked by a third country, applies to the Senkaku Islands. Beijing should not underestimate just how seriously Washington regards the latest development.
Oh, I don't know. America's allies used to count on the U.S. in tough times. But under this administration, not so much. Either way, Chinese assertiveness is not likely to cool off any time soon. The Obama White House has signaled to the international community that it's not going to bend over backwards in enforcing America's formerly vital national security interests. For now, B-52 flights provide a bit of distraction from events back home. And obviously, the Democrats can use all the distraction they can get right now.

How #ObamaCare Raises Prices and Limits Medical Choices

Another essential analysis, at the Wall Street Journal, "ObamaCare's Plans Are Worse":
Liberals justify [ObamaCare's] coercive cross-subsidies as necessary to finance coverage for the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions. But government usually helps the less fortunate honestly by raising taxes to fund programs. In summer 2009, Senate Democrats put out such a bill, and the $1.6 trillion sticker shock led them to hide the transfers by forcing people to buy overpriced products.

This political mugging is especially unfair to the people whose plans on the current individual market are being taken away. The majority of these consumers are self-employed or small-business owners. They're middle class, rarely affluent. They took responsibility for their care without government aid, and unlike people in the job-based system, they paid with after-tax dollars.

Now they're being punished for the crime of not subsidizing ObamaCare, even though the individual market was never as dysfunctional or high cost as liberals claim. In 2012, average U.S. individual premiums were $190, ranging from a low of $123 in North Dakota to a high of $385 in Massachusetts. Average premiums for family plans fell that year by 0.5% to $412.

Those numbers come from the 13,000 different policies from 180 insurers sold on, the online shopping brokerage that works. (Technological wonders never cease.) Individuals can make the trade-offs between costs and benefits for themselves. This wide variety is proof that humans don't all want or need the same thing. If they did, there would be no need for a market and government could satisfy everybody.

That is precisely what the Obama health planners believe they can do. Regulators mandated a very rich level of "essential" health benefits that all plans in the individual market must cover, regardless of cost. This year eHealth reported that its data show individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market.

And then check, FWIW, Nobel Prize-winning socialist Paul Krugman, "Obamacare's Secret Success" (at Memeorandum).

Krugman's "secret success" is the claim that ObamaCare is "secretly" lowering national healthcare expenditures.

The problem, of course, is that it is doing no such thing. See the detailed analysis from Charles Blahous, for the Manhattan Institute, "NO GROUNDS FOR CLAIM THAT OBAMACARE LOWERS HEALTHCARE COSTS."

Black Friday Death Counts?

So stores opened up on Thanksgiving and now America's in an existential national crisis, or something.

At Twitchy, "‘This is bleak’: Existence of ‘Black Friday Death Count’ website a sign of the times?"

And check the "death count" website.

Frankly, it's the American way. Stores open earlier in a retail arms race. Shoppers flood the malls looking for bargains. If there's a backlash against it, it's only on the radical left. Shoot, the media eats this stuff up themselves. They need drama on an otherwise slow news weekend to boost corporate ad sales. What can you do?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Depraved Leftitsts Escalate Assault on Thanksgiving

It's bad every year, but with Black Friday sales starting earlier than ever, leftists have gotten especially vicious in their attacks on this traditional holiday.

Think Progress is particularly depraved, with it's disgusting attacks on businesses open today. See, "Your Shopping Guide to Stores That Won’t Ruin Their Workers’ Thanksgivings." Also, "‘Save Thanksgiving’: Shoppers Pressure Malls to Stay Closed On Turkey Day."

These progressive pukes disgust me. I tweeted out some thoughts earlier:

Plus, Twitchy rounds up some of the other vile leftist attacks on Thanksgiving today. See, "Cher refuses to celebrate Thanksgiving, calls it ‘beginning of a great crime’."

Also, "MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow says Thanksgiving is really all about the genocide."

More at Truth Revolt, "MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Calls Thanksgiving a Celebration of Genocide."

But see Michael Medved, "Reject the Lie of White 'Genocide' Against Native Americans." And Guenter Lewy, "Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?"

Defiant Promiscuous Homosexuality: Surge in Barebacking Threatens Resurgence of AIDS Epidemic

This is what it's all about.

This is what the left's depraved homosexual agenda is all about, destroying decency and tradition, breaking down hetero-normative discourses of hierarchical oppression.

The left's rimstation radicals are bringing back AIDS for the masses, but hey, don't judge, or you'll be attacked by the regressive-left's thought police as "homophobic."

At the New York Times, "Rise in Unprotected Sex by Gay Men Spurs H.I.V. Fears":
Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic.

The same trend has recently been documented among gay men in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, France and Australia, heightening concerns among public health officials worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of men who told federal health investigators that they had had unprotected anal sex in the last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2011. In the 2011 survey, unprotected sex was more than twice as common among men who said they did not know whether they were infected with H.I.V.

Being tested even once for H.I.V. is associated with men taking fewer risks, whether the test is positive or negative, health experts say. But the most recent survey found that a third of the men interviewed had not been tested in the past year.

The findings are worrying because “unprotected anal intercourse is in a league of its own as far as risk is concerned,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the disease centers, said on Wednesday as the figures were released.

The data, published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, do not explain why unprotected sex has risen so rapidly, but a leading hypothesis, Dr. Frieden said, is that more men are “sero-sorting” — that is, those who are uninfected (“H.I.V. seronegative” on lab reports) try to sleep only with other men who are uninfected, or who hope they are, or who merely promise they are.

“The problem with sero-sorting is that it’s really easy to get it wrong,” Dr. Frieden said. “When one-third of men aren’t even tested in the last year and a tenth of those who thought they were negative were actually positive, you don’t want to risk your life on a guess.”

Other hypotheses, say Dr. Frieden and Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the disease centers’ director of H.I.V. prevention, are that many young men have never known anyone dying of AIDS and so do not fear it, or that they believe that they can easily stay on antiretroviral drugs for life.

Two leading independent AIDS researchers agreed only partly with those explanations.

“Young guys are less worried,” said Alex Carballo-Diéguez, a researcher at the H.I.V. Center of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University who has studied gay men’s behavior since the 1980s. “H.I.V. has become a chronic disease, and everyone knows some behaviors are bad for you, like smoking and trans fats. But in the moment of excitement, they’re going to do what they enjoy.”
Look, the real explanation here is that homosexuals have always said f-u to the norms of monogamy and prudence. This was the revolutionary barebacking promiscuity of the gay liberation era, and it's never gone away, despite the mainstream media's whitewashing of death-wish regressivism. Again, this is what leftists are all about. Forget values, decency, and cleanliness. Just screw the hierarchies of oppression with bareback licentiousness and death.

RELATED: "Paris Hilton Apologizes for Slamming Homosexual Men as Disgusting Pervs Probably Infected With AIDS."

No need to apologize. Obviously, she was right all along.

Black Friday Bust? How Retailers Concoct 'Bargains' for the Holidays and Beyond

The Wall Street Journal reports, "The Dirty Secret of Black Friday 'Discounts'":
When shoppers head out in search of Black Friday bargains this week, they won't just be going to the mall, they'll be witnessing retail theater.

Stores will be pulling out the stops on deep discounts aimed at drawing customers into stores. But retail-industry veterans acknowledge that, in many cases, those bargains will be a carefully engineered illusion.

The common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don't sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn't typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want.

The red cardigan sweater with the ruffled neck on sale for more than 40% off at $39.99 was never meant to sell at its $68 starting price. It was designed with the discount built in.

Buyers don't seem to mind. What they are after, especially in such a lackluster economy, is the feeling they got a deal. Retailers like J.C. Penney Co. JCP +7.69% who try to get out of the game get punished.

"I don't even get excited unless it's 40% off," said Lourdes Torress, a 44-year-old technical designer, as she browsed the sale racks at Macy's Inc.'s flagship store in New York on a recent afternoon.

The manufactured nature of most discounts raises questions about the wisdom of standing in line for the promotional frenzy that kicks off the holiday shopping season. It also explains how retailers have been able to ramp up the bargains without giving away the store.

The number of deals offered by 31 major department store and apparel retailers increased 63% between 2009 to 2012, and the average discount jumped to 36% from 25%, according to, a website that tracks online coupons.

Over the same period, the gross margins of the same retailers—the difference between what they paid for goods and the price at which they sold them—were flat at 27.9%, according to FactSet. The holidays barely made a dent, with margins dipping to 27.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 28% in the third quarter of that year.

"A lot of the discount is already priced into the product. That's why you see much more stable margins," said Liz Dunn, an analyst with Macquarie Equities Research.

Retailers including Best Buy Co. BBY -0.03%  , Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.31%  and Macy's are warning this will be an unusually competitive holiday season and that all the deals could hurt margins. That can happen when chains have to fight hard for sales or get stuck with excess inventory and have to take heavier-than-planned markdowns. Stores also field loss leaders, true bargains that pinch profits but are aimed at getting customers into their stores. Most deals, however, are planned to be profitable by setting list prices well above where goods are actually expected to sell.

Retailers could run into legal trouble if they never try to sell goods at their starting price. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with the practice. Companies can be pretty frank about how things work.
Actually, my wife and I are checking out the retail advertisement leaflets in the newspaper, and there's some killer deals if you're a savvy shopper. Michael's is offering a Black Friday discount of 30 percent across the entire store, which includes already marked-down sale items with discounts of 50 percent and more.

In any case, if you're not going out for big weekend shopping, you can always shop through

Thanksgiving Roundup

Lots of great postings at Maggie's Farm.

Happy Thanksgiving photo PINUP_GIRL-78462-1Flag_zps1b01019b.jpg
See, "Weds. morning links."

Also, "'A day of public thanksgiving and prayer'," and "Giving thanks for the invisible hand, the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market, and no turkey czar."

And from Maggie's we head to Pirate's, who provides the lovely lady at left. Plus, "If All You See…(Turkey Day Edition)."

Now from Daley Gator, who posts some reciprocal linkage, "And the push for full blown Socialized Medicine commences." Plus, "Girl getting bullied over her afro told to cut her hair or leave school by sorry admins."

At AoSHQ, "Thanksgiving Day Footballs," and "Margaret Carlson: Is the President's Intellect Finally Engaged By the Catastrophe of Obamacare?"

Also from Mandy Nagy, at Legal Insurrection, "How not to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving."

And at Egotastic!, "Staci Noblett Chest Thumps Sabine Jemeljanova in a Thanksgiving Edition Battle of the Boobtastic."

At This Ain't Hell, "Thanksgiving feel good story," and "More ObamaCare 'Goodness'."

More at Right Wing News, "Communist Party urges members to protect Obamacare by crying 'Racism!'" (What a surprise!)

Now at Protein Wisdom, "'And So It Begins: New York Sending Out Gun Confiscation Notices'."

Check out Stormbringer as well, "IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY - Today is an extra special Thanksgiving Day here at Firebase TigerLily and its all because of something that happened twenty years ago."

And from Ed Driscoll, "‘As God is My Witness, I Thought Obamacare Could Fly’."

At Blackmailers Don't Shoot, "This Crazy Week, Undaunted Edition," and "California High Speed Rail Screeches to a Halt."

And at Knuckledraggin' My Life Away, "Your Good Morning Girl."


At 90 Miles From Tyranny, "Girls With Guns."

And from First Street Journal, "Happy Thanksgiving..."

Still more from Diogenes' Middle Finger, "I Wish You All a Happy Thanksgiving."

Check out iOWNTHEWORLD, "Custom Crafted Michelle Obama Toilet."

Now hilariously at the Other McCain, "Happy #FreeKate Thanksgiving: Lesbian Cheerleader Spends Holiday in Jail."

And from the Mad Jewess, "Have a Swell Thanksgiving Day & Weekend."

And finally, at Camp of the Saints, "Thanksgiving 2013 A.D."

Now, if I missed your blog, just drop your links in the comments and I'll get you linked up at the next roundup. Have a great day!

How to Spend Thanksgiving Alone

I don't think I've ever spent Thanksgiving alone, although there've been times I was lonely.

I worked construction the day after Thanksgiving one year. My boss made me do drywall sanding and preparation. I don't think anyone else was on the job, but he had me out there doing prep. That's when I had my own apartment, and my mom was remarried. I wasn't going to my dad's in Fresno. I was lonely sometimes back then.

I'm not so lonely these days, which is good.

In any case, at GQ, "The GQ Guide to Spending Thanksgiving Alone":
Can't afford a plane ticket home this year? Busy working? Parents dead? FEAR NOT. Just because you're cocooned in debilitating isolation this Turkey Day doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. Here's how to make the most of every single solitary hour.
Read it at the link.

The Real Fix for #ObamaCare

Why, the full-blown government takeover of healthcare.

Single-payer "Medicare-for-all," via communist RoseAnn DeMoro, at the far-left Guardian UK, "The real fix for Obamacare's flaws: Medicare for all":

Single Payer photo IMG_8308_zpscd314f16.jpg
Website delays – the most unwelcome news for computer acolytes since the tech boom crashed – are not the biggest problem with the ACA, as will become increasingly apparent long after the signup headaches are a distant memory.

What prompted the ACA was a rapidly escalating healthcare nightmare, seen in 50 million uninsured, medical bills plunging millions into un-payable debt or bankruptcy, long delays in access to care, and record numbers skipping needed treatment due to cost.

The main culprit was our profit-focused system, with rising profiteering by a massive health care industry, and an increasing number of employers dropping coverage or just dumping more costs onto workers.

The ACA tackles some of the most egregious inequities: lack of access for many of the working poor who will now be eligible for Medicaid or subsidies to offset some of their costs for buying private insurance through the exchanges, a crackdown on several especially notorious insurance abuses, and encouragement of preventive care.

But the law actually further entrenches the insurance-based system through the requirement that uncovered individuals buy private insurance. It's also chock full of loopholes.

Some consumers who have made it through the website labyrinth have found confusing choices among plans which vary widely in both premium and out of pocket costs even with the subsidies, a pass through of public funds to the private insurers.

The minimum benefits are also somewhat illusory. Insurance companies have decades of experience at gaming the system and warehouses full of experts to design ways to limit coverage options.

The ACA allows insurers to cherry pick healthier enrollees by the way benefit packages are designed, and as a Washington Post article noted on 21 November, consumers are discovering insurers are restricting their choice of doctors and excluding many top ranked hospitals from their approved "network".

The wide disparity between the healthcare you need, what your policy will cover, and what the insurer will actually pay for remains.

Far less reported is what registered nurses increasingly see – financial incentives within the ACA for hospitals to prematurely push patients out of hospitals to cheaper, less regulated settings or back to their homes. It also encourages shifting more care delivery from nurses and doctors to robots and other technology that undermines individual patient care, and that may work no better than the dysfunctional ACA websites.

Is there an alternative? Most other developed nations have discovered it, a single-payer or national healthcare system.
 More at the link. (And don't miss the comments, where conservatives hilariously trolled the thread.)

I checked out this lady, Ms. DeMoro. She's the executive director of the National Nurses Organizing Committee, a political action group for National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO. In other words, she's a communist. She's got an interview with far-left propagandist Bill Moyers, available at the NNU homepage. And quoted here, "What Do Real Socialists Say About Obama’s Health Care “Reform”?"

PHOTO CREDIT: Zombie, "SF Protesters to Obama: Please Be a Dictator!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Embattled White House Delays #ObamaCare Enrollment for Small Businesses

Holiday weekend news dump.

Politico reports, "Small business Obamacare online enrollment delayed a year":

The Obama administration today announced a one year delay of online enrollment for small businesses looking to purchase health coverage through federal Obamacare exchanges, another high-profile setback for

It’s the second delay for online small business enrollment, which the administration had said would begin this month.

The White House is trying to get the troubled enrollment website on track for individuals and families seeking coverage, which is a higher priority. It set this Saturday, Nov. 30, as a target date for getting working for the “vast majority” of users.

The delay of the small business exchanges comes as little surprise, as the administration had said earlier this week it would offer alternative ways for small businesses to enroll. Still, it undercuts the White House message that it’s beginning to turn around the disastrous rollout of the health care law.

The administration is focused on its goal of signing up 7 million through Obamacare exchanges through the individual marketplaces. That doesn’t count on small business enrollment, which is why Obamacare critics and advocates say the small-business exchanges, known as SHOP, are further down on the administration’s priority list.

The announcement just before Thanksgiving is the latest in a series of delays and miscalculations for the president’s signature domestic legislation. On July 2 — also just before a holiday —it delayed the employer mandate for a year. Small businesses with fewer than 50 workers are exempt from the requirement to cover them, and the exchanges are supposed to give more options to those that choose to offer coverage.

House Speaker John Boehner said the delay is more proof that the law should be repealed or delayed.

“The president bit off more than he can chew with this health care law, and small businesses are now forced to bear the consequences,” he said in a statement.
Continue reading.

Also at Jammie Wearing Fools, "Thanksgiving News Dump: Obama to Announce Yearlong Delay of Online Enrollment for Small Businesses." And Hot Air, "Holiday news dump: WH to delay online ObamaCare exchange for small businesses for one year."

Increasingly Leftist Colleges Abandon Greats and Teach Garbage

At IBD, "Colleges Substitute Western Greats With Gender Studies":
Parents pay a fortune to send their kids to big-name colleges, and they expect strong scholarship in return. More and more, what they're getting ranges from drivel to leftist indoctrination.

Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald shocked a New York City audience at the 2013 Wriston Lecture this month with some examples of what leftist academics have done to the American college curriculum.

"Until 2011," she noted, "students majoring in English at UCLA had been required to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton — the cornerstones of English literature.

"Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the 'empire,' UCLA junked these individual author requirements and replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a course each in gender, race, ethnicity, disability or sexuality studies, imperial, transnational or post-colonial studies, and critical theory."

As Mac Donald put it, "In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent as to whether an English major had ever read a word of Milton, Chaucer or Shakespeare, but was determined to expose students, according to the course catalogue, to 'alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race and class.'"
More at the link.

It's bad all over, but UCLA's extra special, with all that "micro-agression" racism, or whatever. See College Insurrection, "UCLA Prof accused of racist “micro-aggression” for correcting student grammar."

Also at Inside Higher Ed, "In-Class Sit-In."

Leftists Splintered Over #ObamaCare

From Charles Cooke, at National Review, "New Republic Editor: Obamacare ‘Is a Threat to Liberalism’."

I posted on this as well, "Sinking #ObamaCare Will Take Entire Cesspool of Radical Progressivism Down With It."

Iran Nuclear Deal Furthers Obama Goal of Destruction of Israel

From Caroline Glick, at RCP, "The Goal of Obama's Foreign Policy":
Over the past year, Obama has engaged in systematically weakening Israel’s position both regionally and in Washington. Regionally, the US has forced Israel into talks with the Palestinians that are engineered to weaken Israel strategically and diplomatically. The US has delegitimized Israel’s legal rights to sovereignty and self-defense, while effectively justifying Palestinian terrorism as a legitimate response to Israeli actions – which themselves were perfectly legal. So, too, the US has given a green light to the EU’s illegal, discriminatory economic war against Israel.

Beyond that, the Obama administration has significantly expanded the prospect of war between Israel and Syria by leaking Israeli strikes against Syrian targets that posed a threat to Israel’s security.

The US has also weakened Israel’s capacity to take steps short of war to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons possessing state by leaking key components of Israel’s covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program.

In the US, the Obama administration has targeted Israel’s American supporters. This has been advanced, first and foremost, by actively weakening AIPA C. As Lee Smith explained in Tablet, the administration has taken three key steps to neutralize AIPA C as an effective force in Washington.

It has supported J Street and so legitimized anti-Israel policymaking.

Obama appointed outspoken critics of the US-Israel alliance to key positions in his national security team. First and foremost in this arena was his appointment of Chuck Hagel to serve as defense secretary.

Finally, Obama discredited AIPA C, painting it as an unthinking warmonger by forcing the group to lobby Congress to support his helter-skelter rush to war against Syria. The coup de grace was Obama’s sudden abandonment of his plans to bomb Syria, which left AIPA C high and dry, looking like an anti-Semitic caricature of itself.

The culmination of this long process of delegitimizing Israel as a warmongering, ungrateful ally and its supporters as turncoats who are forcing the US to endanger itself for the benefit of the Jewish state was the administration’s hysterical campaign against Israel and its supporters in the lead-up to Saturday’s signing ceremony in Geneva. Everyone, from the White House to Kerry, accused Israel and its supporters of trying to force the US to fight an unnecessary war.

When we consider Obama’s decision to wait for a year to sign the deal that enables Iran to become a nuclear power in the context of his main activities over the past year, we understand his foreign policy.

His goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. It isn’t even to facilitate a rapprochement between America and Iran. The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel.
All the pathetic shills defending the administration's craven Iran diplomacy are simply enabling Israel's obliteration.

The Desolate Wilderness

At the Wall Street Journal, "This classic editorial has appeared annually since 1961."

Democrat Denial About #ObamaCare's Midterm Repercussions in 2014

Yes, I can see why Democrats are starting to freak over their party leadership's ObamaCare denial.

Here's Debbie Wasserman Schultz from last week, "Wasserman Schultz: 'You're Darn Right' We'll Run on Obamacare."

And now here's this at Politco, "Democrats worry leaders in denial on Obamacare":
Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation — a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls.

Some party strategists say they’re in denial.

And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren’t taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue — and they can’t afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a forum hosted by BuzzFeed recently that the rollout won’t “hurt us in 2014,” adding that “we’re proud” of the law. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a recent appearance on CNN, went so far as to assert that Obamacare would be “an advantage” for Democratic candidates next year.

“Democrats will run on the Affordable Care Act and win,” she has also told reporters.

The White House, meanwhile, has come across as equally dismissive of Obamacare’s consequences for 2014.

“The fact is that [the president] is focused on delivering the access to quality and affordable health insurance to the American people that the Affordable Care Act promises. He’s not concerned about the politics of that,” White House press secretary Jay Carney recently said.

Polls, however, suggest Democrats should be worried. A CBS News poll released Wednesday showed Obama with a 37 percent approval rating, his lowest figure ever in that survey. Another all-time low in the poll: approval of Obamacare, which stood at 31 percent.

Republicans are placing their chips on Obamacare as their defining 2014 issue and putting their money where their mouths are. The Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has launched a $4 million TV ad offensive targeting House and Senate Democrats on the health care law. As much as they might be tempted, those on the receiving end can’t easily flee from the law because many or most of them voted for it.

“We’re trying to deny what everyone knows is happening,” said one Democratic pollster who is a veteran of competitive congressional races. “Anybody who is halfway intelligent knows this is a big … problem for us. It’s impossible not to see. We can try to hide our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not a problem, but it is.”

A Culture in Ruins

You gotta read this piece, from Victor Davis Hanson:
Why would a culture that canonizes a Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, or Lady Gaga have the discrimination to determine whether their chief executive tells the truth or lies? Obamacare is a great program in a way that West, Cyrus, and Gaga are great artists, in a way that more iPads will mean more geniuses.