So this happened today:
Per our tipster, Norton performed the sub-par squeeze-in around the same time the rest of her colleagues were crowding into the House chamber to hear the joint address by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
At around the 40-second mark, an oblivious U.S. Capitol Police officer appears to zoom by on a motorcycle, right past the textbook parking offense.
Once the aide seen assisting Norton from outside the slow-moving vehicle finishes waving her into clearly disastrous position, Norton emerges from the car, clicks her remote locking device (better safe than sorry) and starts to walk away.
Then, all of the sudden, she doubles back.
Has her conscience gotten the best of her? Is she going to slide a quickly composed apology onto the now-stuck truck’s windshield? Or perhaps a business card?
Norton simply retrieves some forgotten item from inside the car and then heads on her merry way.
Our spy estimates the entire head-scratching episode lasted about half an hour, including the painful insertion process and her 20-minute jaunt into Cannon.
Once done with her business, the tipster said Norton backed out of the space and rolled out onto the unsuspecting District streets.
“She hit the car next to her and did not leave a note, though I couldn’t see any damage,” was our spy’s takeaway from the mid-day drama.
Rep. Norton (D-DC) is a non-voting member of Congress … which is probably a good thing, if that video is any indication. We’ve got enough actual voting members of Congress who don’t give a rat’s a** about the damage they do to the country on any given day. We certainly don’t need another one!
**Posted by Phineas
Call it a “teachable moment?”
Due to the new increased minimum wage law in San Francisco, a beloved bookstore and mainstay of the Mission District has been forced to close its doors for good.
The minimum wage for San Francisco workers, currently at $11.05 an hour, soars to $15 an hour in July 2018. The store’s projected labor costs, reported ABC7 News, impelled Borderlands Bookstore to write its final chapter.
The store owner had this to say:
In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.
But the best line came from one of the stunned customers:
“You know, I voted for the measure as well, the minimum wage measure,” customer Edward Vallecillo lamented. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses. I feel sad.”
Evidently Mr. Vallecillo and the other voters of the Special City were asleep during their economics lessons — assuming that’s even taught anymore. Let’s review, shall we?
Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.
(Aside: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the Leftists on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a bill to prevent owners from doing just that. Can’t let the Kulaks get away with acting as if they own their own property, after all.)
In a functioning, literate polity that teaches its young fundamental lessons of civics and economics, an informed electorate could have looked at that proposal and said, “Nah, that’s going too far.” Instead, we have voters who feel good about themselves for voting themselves more consequence-free stuff, and then feel sad when the consequences arrive.
Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience.
RELATED: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the consequences of ill-thought policy regarding the minimum wage. Seattle voted a high minimum, and now businesses are considering leaving. Some companies are considering replacing now-expensive minimum-wage workers with computerized kiosks. Los Angeles wants to raise the minimum to $13.25. Can’t wait to see how many entry-level jobs are lost thanks to that, or how many low-skill young workers looking for their first job are priced out of the market because of it. More from Ron Radosh, and more posts on the minimum wage.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
My latest at IJ Review discusses how the national NAACP has stepped in to investigate the Winston-Salem, NC branch after allegations and complaints surfaced of vote tampering, paper ballots (supposedly against the rules), and campaign literature being illegally distributed at a January election of executive board members.
Because there had been so much dissension last fall among the Winston group over the nominating process, the state NAACP – of which Moral Monday “leader” and vocal voter ID opponent Rev. William “Bill” Barber heads – was called in to “oversee” that January election … and failed. As a result, the situation has escalated to the national office.
In short, a city-based NC NAACP election for president was voided by the national NAACP after complaints alleging improper vote tampering and illegal campaigning at the January 10 election – which was overseen by the state NAACP, which happens to be a vocal opponent of the type of voting laws that aim to prevent future instances of vote fraud in government elections.
Can’t make it up …
**Posted by Phineas
Sigh. While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama warned against insulting religions, just because one has the right to do so. In the process, he engaged in some intellectually lazy moral equivalence:
“Humanity’s been grappling with these questions throughout human history, and unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place — remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” Obama said.
“…So it is not unique to one group or one religion; there is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. And God compels us to try.”
Obama advocated starting with “some basic humility.”
First, let’s all take a moment to clean up after the spit-take we all experienced when Barack “I’m the 4th greatest president, ever” Obama advocated some basic humility. Better, now?
The President was speaking in the context of the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah by burning him alive. And Obama, always supposing himself to be the only reasonable man in the room wanted to warn others, “Hey, Christians have done some nasty things, too, so let’s not go overboard in reaction.”
This is called a tu quoque error, Latin for “you, too,” or arguing the accuser is a hypocrite for being just as guilty as the accused. Not only is this an error of relevancy –what happened centuries ago has no bearing on the atrocities committed by ISIS nor our condemnation of them– in this case Obama is showing an all too common ignorance of both history and the religions he presumes to lecture about.
Put bluntly, when a Christian commits “terrible deeds” while invoking the name of Christ, he is acting against Christ’s teachings. On the other hand, when a Muslim does something similar, he is often acting in accord with the teachings of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the recorded deeds of the life of Muhammad. Writing at Victor Davis Hanson’s site, Bruce Thornton puts it so when criticizing another example of historical and theological ignorance:
This point makes [Harvard Professor Kevin Madigan’s] argument a false analogy, for there is nothing in traditional Islamic theology that provides a basis for making violence against heretics and non-believers un-Islamic. The professor wants to argue away these inconvenient truths about traditional Islam by arguing that the faith can evolve away from them, just as Christianity did. But again, whereas historical Christian violence could find no scriptural justification, and much to condemn it, Islamic violence and intolerance––and of course slavery and Jew-hatred––are not the result of fringe or extremist misinterpretations. Rather, they are validated in the Koran, the Hadith, and 14 centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence, all regularly and copiously cited by today’s jihadists and theologians.
Thus the doctrine of jihad against infidels––the notion that such aggression is a justified form of the defense of Islam and necessary for fulfilling Allah’s will that all people become Muslims––is the collective duty of those dwelling in the House of Islam. The Koran instructs, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth.” Nor can there be any “tolerance” or “mutual respect” for those who reject Islam, especially Jews and Christians: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” The professor’s dream of a “broad-minded form” of Islam would require an extensive reinterpretation or rejection of some of Islam’s fundamental tenets.
That whole article is worth the time to read.
While I was raised in a Catholic household, I’m not a religious person. And while I have a great deal of respect for (most) religions, I have none for the kind of shallow, intellectually indolent and sanctimonious ignorance Obama displayed in his remarks. The fact is, while Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arose in roughly the same region and have some similarities, what is valued as right and good and a religious duty in Islam is far different than in the former two faiths, as anyone who takes more than a superficial glance at them can see.
If we’re to fight this war successfully, we have to understand accurately the beliefs of those fighting on the other side. Sadly, we’ll have to wait for the next president to have any hope of that in our leadership.
PS: Regarding the Crusades, whatever wrong happened during them, let’s not forget that they originated in a Western counterattack against the Muslim conquest of two-thirds of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, including Christendom’s holiest sites.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via the Independent Tribune:
CONCORD, N.C. — Authorities have arrested two men and are looking for a third in an alleged robbery conspiracy at a Concord Taco Bell.
At about 6:29 a.m. Sunday, Concord police responded to an armed robbery call at the Taco Bell at 2281 Spider Drive.
Two suspects stole $1,300 cash from the restaurant, according to a police report and information provided by CPD. One suspect was wearing a navy blue sweat suit, an Obama mask and had a handgun. The second suspect was wearing camouflage clothing, a black ski mask and carried a rifle.
During the investigation, police determined that Darrius De’quane Mack-Weaks, a Taco Bell employee, allegedly conspired with his cousin and a friend to rob the restaurant, according to CPD.
A Twitter follower quipped:
— Joseph Ryan (@jmotivator) February 4, 2015
President Obama – if he’s not robbing us one way, he’s robbing us some other way …
**Posted by Phineas
(Photo courtesy of The Long War Journal)
They burned him alive:
In what is perhaps its most brutal execution video to date, the Islamic State burned alive a Jordanian pilot who was captured in late December 2014 after his warplane was purportedly shot down over Syria.
The Islamic State murdered First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah, the Jordanian pilot, at the end of a lengthy 22-minute-long video that was released by the group today, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
“The video shows media footage of Jordan’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition against IS [Islamic State] and then shows al Kasasibah discussing Jordan’s operations in a news-style monologue bearing a black eye,” according to a summary by SITE.
“Afterward, the video goes back and forth between shots of al Kasasibah surrounded by fighters and shots of aftermath of bombings. At the end of the video, al Kasasibah stands inside of a cage and is burned alive by fighters,” SITE noted.
Kasasibah, who is dressed in the same orange shirt and pants worn by other prisoners who have been executed by the Islamic State, cries out in horrible pain as he is burned alive.
Jordan has threatened to retaliate against jihadist prisoners in their custody, speaking up their trials and (presumably) their executions. In the politics of the Arab Middle East, they almost have to go through with this, or be seen as weak and unwilling to protect or take revenge for their own soldiers. That is not a good thing to have happen.
Jihad Watch points out something not mentioned in The Long War Journal’s article: the Islamic justification for this atrocity offered by ISIS. The video opens with a quote from Qur’an 9:14:
“Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you over them, heal the breasts of Believers.”
…a verse cited by other jihadists, including here in the US.
More germane, though, is the cited example of Muhammad himself, from the earliest biography of him, by ibn Ishaq in the 8th century:
…there is this story from Muhammad’s conquest of Khaybar: “Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle [Muhammad -pf] who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.” (Ibn Ishaq 515).
In other words the man was burned alive to make him give up his tribe’s gold. Islam declares Muhammad to be the perfect man, whose words and deeds provide an example for all time. Thus ISIS could cite this story as precedent.
It would be nice if, for once, all these Islamic groups so concerned about their religion being misunderstood (CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, &c.) would preach publicly about why ISIS and other jihadists have it wrong, using citations from the Qur’an and hadiths to prove their case. Simply saying “we condemn this” is not enough, and, until they do, we have to assume that the self-proclaimed “caliph,” who is said to hold a PhD in Islamic Studies, may well know what he is talking about and that his followers are acting with his approval.
Is there no one who will stand up to ISIS and destroy these monsters?
In the meantime, God rest poor Lt. Kasasibah and his family.
UPDATE: From Raymond Ibrahim, word of a fatwa (a ruling in Islamic law) justifying the manner of the murder of Lt. Kasasibah. An excerpt from his analysis:
The main point of the fatwa is that “the Hanafis and Shafi‘is [two of Sunni Islam’s four orthodox schools of jurisprudence] permit burning” people. The fatwa also cites the tafsir, or exegesis, of Muhalab ibn Safra concerning a statement attributed to the prophet of Islam: “Fire does not punish them but Allah.” According to the tafsir, Muhammad’s assertion is not a ban on burning people but rather meant to demonstrate humility—pointing out that only Allah can truly torment.
Next the fatwa quotes Hafiz ibn al-Hajar who comments that “the deeds of the companions [of Muhammad] evince the permissibility of burning, and the prophet put out the eyes of the men of Urayna with heated iron, and Khalid bin al-Walid burned some of the people who apostatized.”
Again, if Muslim leaders in the West are concerned about their religion being misinterpreted, where are their learned criticisms when ISIS (or al Qaeda, or any other jihadist group) cites Islamic texts for the justifications?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
And it was a beautiful thing. Via NBC News:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, walked back comments she reportedly made about the dilution of the Jewish community.
The DNC is now walking back those comments, releasing this statement from Wasserman Schultz saying she does “not oppose intermarriage.”
“At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it,” the Florida Demorat said in a statement.
The conservative Daily Caller recently reported that Wasserman Schultz criticized Jewish intermarriages at an event last month in Florida.
From that DC piece:
The Florida congresswoman’s eye-opening comments came at a breakfast event held earlier this month at a south Florida branch of the Jewish Federation.
Previously unpublished audio of the event was obtained by The Shark Tank, a Florida-based political blog.
“We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage,” Wasserman Schultz said after mentioning her husband, who she seemingly met through the Jewish Federation.
“We have the problem that too many generations of Jews don’t realize the importance of our institutions strengthening our community — particularly with the rise of antisemitism and global intolerance, which obviously we saw in horrific technicolor in just the last week in Paris.”
Wellll, she’s right about the rise of anti-Semitism and global intolerance towards Jewish people, but unfortunately she’ll never admit that her side of the aisle is the one that routinely perpetuates dangerous myths about Islamofascism and who the true aggressors really are in the global war on terror.
But her remarks on “the problem of intermarriage”? Wow – can you imagine if a Republican in her position had said anything remotely similar to that??
My latest at IJ Review is about how a new group of so-called “centrist” elected Democrats in the North Carolina state house have formed in an effort to show North Carolinians that not only are there still some pro-business Dems left in NC, but also that not the entire party has gone off the deep end. Their hope is to try and turn the party around to where they are winning elections again and are no longer alienating moderates and conservatives that used to be well within their ranks but who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied at some of the positions state and national Democrats have taken. Judging by how the “progressive” Moral Monday movement has taken hold (see photo above), I’d say their concerns about the direction of their party are well-founded.
I’ve talked about this for the last couple of years in how the “modern” version of the state Democrat party here has quickly turned into a state version of the national party, which hasn’t sat well with some long-time state Dems who see “their side” as veering too far off to the left. Will be interesting to see how this works out – and IF it will work, as “centrists” who have formed coalitions within various state and national arms of the Democrat party across the country in recent years haven’t had too much success.
Grab the popcorn ….
**Posted by Phineas
This item has been sitting in my files for a while (1), but, since we’re deep into tax season, it’s still relevant — especially so for people relying on that federal subsidy to help pay for their “affordable” health care:
As many as 3.4 million people who received Obamacare subsidies may owe refunds to the federal government, according to an estimate by a tax preparation firm.
H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“The ACA is going to result in more confusion for existing clients, and many taxpayers may well be very disappointed by getting less money and possibly even owing money,” the president of a tax preparation and education school told the Journal.
While the Affordable Care Act fines those who don’t have health insurance, it also provides subsidies for people making up to four times the federal poverty line ($46,680).
But the subsidies are based on past tax returns, so many people may be receiving too much, according to Vanderbilt University assistant professor John Graves, who projects the average subsidy is $208 too high, the Journal reports.
If, like a lot of people, you’re used to getting some sort of a refund, you probably already have an idea of how much you expect and how you plan to spend it. Imagine then how happy these many millions of people will be when they’re told they’re either getting less of a refund, or that they in fact owe money. And, on top of that, their subsidy for the next year will almost certainly be lower, so even more of their money will go to the insurance companies by force of law for coverage that probably isn’t as good as they had before, or at least isn’t what was promised.
That, my friends, is a recipe for angry voters. And, oh, there’s a presidential election warming up, too. Fancy that.
If anything good comes of this fiasco, it will probably be the hard-learned lesson that government is poorly equipped to do more than a certain few tasks and running a huge, massively complicated healthcare system isn’t among them.
Call it another “teachable moment.”
(1) Ancient by Internet standards — a whole month!
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)