“Disparate Impact”

Under the “disparate impact” theory of discrimination pushed by today’s Democrats (especially their new Chairman, Tom Perez), there is a violation of civil rights if a favored minority group has less than what our masters in government consider “fair” or “representative.”

So, for example, if the population of a wealthy suburb does not exactly reflect its minority percentages, that’s evidence of a civil rights violation. Like, say, Tom Perez’ political launching pad in Maryland: Montgomery County, home to well-off bien pensants whose smugness is topped only by their disdain for us plebeians.

So, I’ve got to ask: why aren’t professional sports also governed by this “disparate impact” theory? Take the NFL, whose players are now about two-thirds black. Or the NBA, three-fourths black. Sounds like whites (and Hispanics and Asians, for that matter) are way under-represented.

What, you say? Aren’t the best players who you want, regardless of the color of their skin or ethnicity?

Indeed.

“Strategic investments”

This is big government-speak for “spend, spend, spend.” My county, Arlington, Virginia, is basically 100 percent liberal Democrat. When candidates for county office present themselves who are not Democrats, even if they’ve been Republicans, they run as “independents.”  

And, needless to say, it is rare for any fiscal conservative to win. After all, it’s other people’s money…

Nonetheless, Arlington County wallahs are raising alarms about shortfalls. Here’s a sample of the thinking, if one may call it that, from Arlington County (in an email on real estate assessments):

The challenge facing the County and Schools as they approach the FY 2018 budget is that revenue is expected to be less than projected expenditures.

Not to worry, folks. Big government types never worry about balancing the books based on actual revenues. So the “challenge” won’t be to reduce expenditures. It hardly ever is on the loss side of the ledger. Oh, no. We’ll just raise taxes and continue spending like drunken sailors on liberty.

And let me leave you with what Arlington County’s anointed rulers call spending the citizens’ monies:

The County and Schools will work with the community to make the funding choices needed to balance the competing demands of making strategic investments…

Got that? We won’t actually mention that any of the planned expenditures might not be necessary. Nope. They’re all “strategic investments.”

Democrats attempting to “govern.” Translates in English to “Democrats spending your money.

Good news on a red line

While weak leaders like Obama are (in)famous for ignoring self-imposed “red lines,” here’s one such that Dems just love: the Red Line light rail boondoggle, er, project, in Baltimore. Yes, Baltimore, Charm City, with sky-high murder rates, with police that are prevented from policing, with an entrenched-for-five-decades Democrat government that has ground a once-great city down into the muck.

All good liberals love light rail, to the extent that one may almost hear the exclamation mark every time the phrase is uttered: Light Rail! The salvation for all our commuting woes. Not to mention that all the cool cities in Europe have it. And so forth.

Well, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who’s got the dreaded “R” as his party affiliation, has up and cancelled the Red Line project. Primarily because it had threatened to blast a one-mile tunnel under central Baltimore as part of its route, at a mere cost of $1 billion. But that’s mostly other people’s money, so Balmoreans really did not care.

From the Baltimore Sun, a reliable voice for the very-liberal Maryland Democratic Party, we have almost a billion really good reasons for not building this horrific waste of money:

Baltimore and the state will lose the $900 million in federal funding that cannot be used for any other project

Oh, the humanity! Losing federal funding! Let us now rend our clothing, wear sackcloth, put ashes on our heads! What this is, actually, is good news for those of us, however few remain, who actually pay federal taxes to fund such boondoggles.

Willful

The naifs we’ve put in charge of our national security, Obama and his poodle John Kerry (or is he Hillary’s poodle?) are no match at all for Vlad the Impaler Putin. It’s like pitting a newborn kitten against a hungry Rottweiler. And Vlad has taken his bite out of Ukraine.

As reported at Politico, Kerry is up in arms, or at least waving his arms:

Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia is behaving “in a 19th century fashion” by invading Ukrainian territory in what he called “an incredible act of aggression” by President Vladimir Putin.

“It’s an incredible act of aggression, it is really a stunning willful choice by president Putin to invade another country,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text…”

Oh, the humanity! Putin, the current would-be Tsar of All the Russias, has taken a bold, military step to assert his nation’s interests. Interests as he sees them, not as Obama and his faculty-lounge sycophants would wish them to be.

In a word, Putin has been willful. In my native language, meaning “said or done on purpose.” Yes, indeed. Beyond being intentional, Putin’s actions are a clear statement, not just of Russian national purpose, but of disdain for Obama and his crew.

Urgent memo for our secretary of state, John Kerry, copy to Obama: nations have always acted in the way that Putin’s Russia is acting. In the 15th century. In the 19th century. In every century, including our allegedly more enlightened 21st century.

What has changed is our resolve, or lack thereof. All we’ve used so far are soft words, the words of weak kittens. Which Putin no doubt laughs at when off camera.

That chewing sound you may hear is the Russian Rottweiler devouring Obama’s foreign policy kitten. It won’t take many bites.

You can’t make this stuff up

The Maryland  state ObamaCare system has experienced some growing pains.  Actually, according to this news item in the very pro-ObamaCare WaPo,  it is nothing short of a disaster:

A single flaw in Maryland’s troubled online health insurance system will cost the state an estimated $30.5 million in excess Medicaid payments over the next 18 months because the system cannot accurately identify recipients who should be removed from the rolls  a report by state budget officials said.

The news is nothing but bad for Maryland’s citizens, especially those in two groups I suspect are pretty much mutually exclusive:  taxpayers on the one hand whose taxes pay for this debacle, and, on the other hand, those on welfare of some sort or another who are looking for subsidized health insurance.

It’s worse than just Maryland.  According to the WaPo article, Maryland’s gross incompetence will cost those of us who pay federal taxes an unknown amount more than the $182 million in federal monies already sucked into the Maryland money pit.

As for fixing the situation, the genius who brought Maryland this malfeasance in the first place, Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s secretary of health and mental hygiene

[from WaPo] insisted that the situation is getting better. Five months after the launch of the site, he said, state health officials are now in a position to evaluate their options, using data on how the current system is and is not working.

“When we started, it was a little bit like shooting in the dark,” Sharfstein said. “But the lights are on. . . . We can use actual information about how different systems are doing in order to inform this decision.”

Yes, of course. Now that the lights are on, we can see what kind of a clusterf**k we’ve created. What this exemplar of good liberal governance had to say about the immediate future takes the cake:

“The key thing that this hinges on is the decision about which direction we go.”

Really? This is firing material; a first-year intern who knows nothing might say that. Because it says absolutely nothing. Of course, it has the virtue of always being true, and pretty much worth as much towards understanding how to fix ObamaCare in Maryland as the statement that “today is Thursday.” Which is also true as I write this, I must add.

If this is the kind of senior public servant that Governor O’Malley thinks is top-notch, a go-to guy to fix the highest profile change in health care history since Medicare’s introduction fifty years ago, anyone who votes for him for president in 2016 should know what they are buying into: gross incompetence and a willful disregard for how taxpayer money is frittered away.

Nanny Obama

What Obama lied about, many times, was being able to keep your health insurance if you like it. Oh, well, what he really meant to say was “You can keep your health insurance if I think it is good enough for you.”

That’s pretty harsh, saying that Dear Leader Barack lied. Well, it comes down to one of two choices. Either he knew that many Americans would be kicked out of their current insurance plans, and lied. Or, he did not know. Liar or ignorant fool whose eponymous health care plan is going down in (very expensive) flames. Which choice do you prefer?

Even the reliable mainstream media Obama-is-God cheerleaders have noticed. For example, the WaPo’s Fact Checker gives Obama four Pinocchios on this. That’s as high as the scale goes in the liar-liar-pants-on-fire department.

It all boils down to governing philosophy. As with so many Progressives, those cheerless folks who brought you Prohibition and affirmative action, they are hectoring nannies who know that they know what is best for you.

You, you shlub, don’t get to choose. You are too dumb to make the right choice, at least according to our ruling elite. In this case, in steps the Mighty Obama, who knows all and sees all. Most importantly, he knows what is best for you.

As a result, under the Orwellian-named Affordable Care Act, you will be required to buy a gold-plated policy that will cover many things that you don’t really need or want. And, given the choice, would not pay extra for. Hey, if you are a fifty-something man, why should your policy cover prenatal care?

The real issue for those losing their self-selected plans is that they are now going to be paying much more. Well, as liberals are wont to say, “the money has to come from somewhere” to cover all those poor people who are obviously more deserving of favor than you are.

In simplest terms, the premise among Obama and other leading Democrats is, per usual, they know what is best for us. It is their job to look after us mere citizens who are simply too stupid to look after our own best interests.

Even 20 years ago, the same mindset was in evidence. As cited today in the Wall Street Journal:

Back in 1993, during the fight over HillaryCare, Mrs. Clinton explained Democratic reasoning to then-House GOP Leader Denny Hastert. If Americans are allowed too much discretion over how they spend their health-care dollars, Mrs. Clinton said, “We just think people will be too focused on saving money and they won’t get the care for their children and themselves that they need . . .

“The money has to go to the federal government because the federal government will spend that money better.”

At least Hillary was honest. Obama and his minions lied. If there is any good news in Obamacare’s rollout, it is that it was cobbled together by incompetent trolls in the Obama administration.

Nothing but the best and brightest there. I suppose we should be grateful that they are so incompetent. Obama and his minions are, after all, attempting to socialize one-sixth of our economy. They don’t appear to be any better at central planning that the Soviet Politburo was.

Perhaps, now that the mainstream media actually appears to be paying attention to the problems that attend the attempt to centrally manage health care, we can actually repeal this monstrosity and start over.

As for starting over while Obama is president, I’d say there’s zero chance of anything significant in his second term agenda being passed that will survive presidential veto. As for health care, I’d simply say that Obama had his bite at the apple. Any attempts to “improve” it in Congress will look like sprinkling some perfume on a two-week old corpse that’s been rotting in the sun.

I’d say that “repeal and replace” is the way it should go, but that will have to wait until we have a president is is not named Obama (or Clinton).

Urbanitis

Looks like some folks at The Heritage Foundation have noticed how our county, Arlington in Virginia, is good at spending taxpayer dollars.

The high-tech appearing but close-to-useless bus stops along Columbia Pike are merely a symptom of the actual disease: urbanitis. This disease seems to cause our bien pensants to think that jazzy bus stops, coupled with light rail, are just the thing to turn our not-quite-urban, not-quite-suburban county into Midtown Manhattan.

For those who don’t know Arlington, know that Columbia Pike is a decaying stretch of diners, pawn shops, ethnic stores, check-cashing joints, and some office buildings. The area is largely inhabited by Hispanics and other minorities. Poor folks, trying hard to make a living. The kind who don’t buy their daily latte at Starbucks. And who don’t give a fig about light rail, and are not made of spun sugar so won’t melt in the rain waiting for a bus.

Nothing lasts forever, however, and over the past several years, there has been an influx of would-be hipsters, and a few places with a wannabe SoHo vibe opening. There goes the neighborhood.

Part of the hipster transformation, and our County’s Board is all about clueless twenty-somethings who will reliably vote Democrat, is to lure this demographic with urban dreams. Dreams which, to our Board, very much includes heinously overpriced bus stops and light rail in lieu of bus rapid transit.

But BRT is boring, doesn’t require decades of planning, and it’s versatile. Routes may be changed overnight to ease congestion. It doesn’t require years of construction on major arteries. But it also doesn’t require hundreds of millions (not an exaggeration, sadly) of taxpayer dollars. Hence, to our urbanitis-infected Board, it’s a non-starter.