Friday, December 18, 2015

Aloha Akbar

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Following criticism of his seeming insensitivity to the largest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, Barack Obama is reluctantly making a brief pit stop in San Bernardino to express scripted condolences before continuing his flight to a 5-star multi-million dollar vacation in Hawaii.

Based on his previous comments about the slaughter, we expect him to spend most of his time telling victims' families how great Muslims are, how important it is not to hold grudges ("especially at a time of year when many Americans, immigrants, and refugees celebrate the holiday of their choice"), and that he's doing everything in his power to discourage ISIS recruitment by letting terrorists out of Guantanamo Bay.

Of course, it's not just the people of San Bernardino who are affected and frightened by domestic terror, which is why the president has already issued comforting words on his way to the land of umbrella drinks, pupu platters, and Secret Service protection - saying there are no "specific and credible threats" to the homeland at the moment.

Just like the day before the bloodbath in San Bernardino.

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The long, long wait is nearly over. Yes, we're talking about the next Democratic presidential debate which has been curiously scheduled for Saturday night.

What's curious about that? Well, it's the last Saturday before Christmas, so presumably most people who aren't complete social pariahs will be at parties instead of huddling around the TV. And millions of others will be packing theaters to see the new Star Wars movie (spoiler alert: under the mask, Kylo Ren turns out to be a vengeful Jar Jar Binks).

Still, that leaves some people who will be eager to see a tough, head-to-head competition. Which is why they'll be watching the football game between the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys which is scheduled opposite the debate.

Now take Republicans, conservatives, and the clinically sane out of the remaining viewing demographics and you end up with such a tiny number of potential viewers that it's almost like the Democratic party really doesn't want people to see and hear their candidates.

And as Yoda might say, "blame them, you cannot."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Peters Principle

Readers- At the time of this writing, the GOP debates haven't happened yet so - unlike the mainstream media - we can't do commentary yet. Fortunately (or maybe not), there's an abundance of other things to talk about. For instance...

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Following his earlier, totally failed speech about the largest terror attack on US soil since 9/11, Barack Obama returned to the podium on Monday to explain his alleged strategy against ISIS and reel off a bunch of unconvincing statistics to indicate that we're winning the fight even though the enemy is getting bigger, more powerful, more deadly, and finding ways to attack us on our home soil.

But to quell our fears, the poet laureate in chief adopted his thousand-yard stare and intoned that we will "squeeze the heart" of ISIS, making it "harder to pump terror." At which point we're assuming Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (temporarily banned from Fox News for over-accuracy) probably machine-gunned his own television.

Because what the hell kind of threat is "heart squeezing?" It sounds more like the description of a Hallmark movie of the week about a blind orphan and the dying dog who gives him hope at Christmas. And speaking of the holidays...

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By wild coincidence, the president timed his ISIS speech in such a way that it would push another interesting story out of the news: accused deserter Bowe Bergdahl is now officially facing court martial and a possible life sentence behind bars.

As you will recall (unless you happen to be a Democrat or a member of the mainstream media), Bergdahl was swapped for five high-value Taliban members who were released from Gitmo. Of whom, "at least three" have resumed "threatening activities."

Remember too that Bergdahl's release was treated as a great patriotic moment by B. Hussein, albeit a weird one considering it involved the deserter's father reciting an Islamic prayer in a Rose Garden ceremony. And does anyone recall that one of the reasons the White House cited for the awful deal was a "frightening decline" in Bergdahl's health? It's never been mentioned again, and Bergdahl appears to be the picture of health - unlike the soldiers who died trying to find him after he abandoned his post.

Frankly, we think Bergdahl's trial should be aiming for a firing squad (no pun intended) rather than another prison which could become grist for another deal by Obama. And while on the subject of prisons (and who should be in them)...

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We don't even really need to explain this one, right? And finally...

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Not long ago we reported on the absolutely nightmarish process of trying to get a new insurance policy through after Blue Cross Blue Shield killed our existing plan and - in a letter to the medically homeless - specifically blamed Obamacare.

But we eventually did get a crappy, overpriced HMO policy on, and on Monday our proof of insurance cards arrived. Which is when the trouble started.

The two cards (one for each of the senior Jarlsbergs) had the names of two different PCP physicians on them (in an HMO, your "PCP" is the alleged doctor who becomes the gateway to either allow or deny all other healthcare services). Despite the fact that we'd named another doctor during the application process - indeed, we were required to pick a doctor - the new physicians were complete strangers whose names indicated they "weren't from around here," nudge-nudge wink-wink.

A quick online search showed that both doctors had pretty dismal reputations. One of them only had office hours two days a week, and only for five hours each of those days. Good luck getting an appointment! The other doctor required a 45-minute drive and ran a combined "family practice and low-cost lasik surgery" center in a strip mall.

A panicked call to Blue Cross put us on hold for 50 minutes before ever speaking to a human. Finally,  we were told that we could absolutely change our PCP doctors because the ones shown on our cards were "dummy doctors."

Say what?!

"We can't process the new applications unless there's a PCP doctor, and so we just put in any doctor within driving distance," said the helpful (honest!) woman on the phone.

"But what about the doctor I was required to choose on my application?"

" doesn't share that information with the insurers."

Let that sink in for a moment. You can't get your HMO policy through without specifying the PCP physician you want, but afterwards the government discards that information and the only way for the insurers to meet their deadlines is to make assignments completely at random. This despite having multiple years and billions of dollars to design a system in which the information that is laboriously collected would actually be sent where it needs to go.

And then consider that these are the listmakers who can't keep track of how many immigrants have overstayed their visas. Who can't make meaningful terror watch lists. Who want to take away our second amendment rights based on new lists which will be compiled in secret and maintained by bureaucratic poltroons at best, and malicious political operatives at worst.

Sadly, if you liked you may already be too late to keep it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fahrenheit Fairy Tale

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While there's plenty of reason to be skeptical that ocean levels are rising, there's no question that it's time to don our hip-waders in response to the multinational climate agreement reached in Paris on Saturday.

"I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world," Mr. Obama said as a choir of angels sang.  "It's the best chance to save the one planet we've got."

Which would be a lot more impressive if the agreement had any details about how to accomplish a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, was binding in any way, had any metrics for checking to see if countries are keeping their promises, or was rooted in anything even marginally like science or reality.

Not that the loosey-goosey nature of the agreement will keep Obama from using it as a cudgel against American industries and energy companies, both of which have been known to produce near-toxic levels of employment, wealth, and national security.

Still, the president is no hypocrite and he's doing his best, on a personal level, to get rid of noxious fossil fuels. For instance, just a few days from now he'll destroy thousands of gallons of Earth-killing petroleum products by burning them in the engines of Air Force One as he jets off to Hawaii for another Christmas (oops!) holiday vacation. And to get rid of additional fuel (good riddance!) Michelle Obama will probably again make the huge sacrifice of taking her own jet to Oahu.

But despite these efforts, not everyone is happy. Alleged presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that the Paris agreement will not reduce global warming enough for humanity to survive, which is why he's now campaigning on a pledge to cut our nation's carbon emissions by 80% through a mixture of sky-high taxes, penalties for industries, the end of all energy exploration and development on public lands, and "a lot of sitting around very quietly in cold, dark houses."

Hoping, no doubt, for an occasional bowl of warm porridge.

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It's a good thing that the possible reduction in global warming will mean (according to Barack Obama and John Kerry) the end of anti-western terrorism, because new details about the (ahem) intensive anti-terror security vetting process given to immigrants and visa recipients are anything but comforting.

It had already been revealed that a big part of the process is simply asking the applicants if they're terrorists, affiliated with terror groups, have experience in making bombs, or intend to wage jihad in the United States. Apparently this screening process is rooted in the notion that while radical Islamic murderers may be a lot of bad things, they're certainly not fibbers.

But we're now finding out that the background checks don't include looking into the richest conceivable source of available data - the social media of applicants. Which is why no red flags were raised following Tashfeen Malik's online comments before coming to our country that she supported jihad and hoped to wage it.

But in fairness, we can't really expect the State Department to have the time and resources to track down the emails of a potentially dangerous female jihadist. Not when they've been so preoccupied trying to track down the emails of a demonstrably dangerous former female Secretary of State.