12 thrilling facts about Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Three world-class architects go crazy with Lego architecture sets.
Man buys $27 of bitcoins, forgets about them, finds they are now worth $886,000.
Watch Talking Heads, Kate Bush and more perform songs inspired by scary movies.
The last command has been sent to the Planck space telescope, a truly great telescope.
Peter Beinart admits the Left has a huge free speech problem. He uses the recent shouting-down of Ray Kelly by Brown University students as his main example.
Watching the president’s speech yesterday, all I could think was that the mendacity of this man never ceases to amaze me. Pete Wehner agrees…
It’s helpful to bear in mind the characteristics of the Obama White House. This is the group that for weeks knowingly misled the public on the events surrounding the lethal attacks on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. That claimed that the Affordable Care Act was both a tax and not a tax, depending on what the circumstances required. That hatched the sequestration idea, then denied it, and then blamed Republicans for it. That has perfected the art of stonewalling. That is lawless. And that ran a campaign in 2012 that was unusually vicious and dishonest, up to and including blaming Mitt Romney for the cancer death of a steelworker’s wife. We have as president a man who routinely slanders his political opponents, distorting what they believe, even as he bemoans the lack of civility in public discourse. He constantly makes assertions that are obviously untrue. And it doesn’t matter to him. He keeps doing it because, at least until now, the media has given him something approaching a free pass. I have no idea if Mr. Obama was born mendacious or whether he learned the habit somewhere along the way. What I do know is that Barack Obama is thoroughly post-modern. Words and facts have no objective standing with him; they are socially constructed, unmoored, infinitely malleable, a way to create his own reality and advance his own self-interest. Mr. Obama clearly believes that because his agenda is right and noble and his opponents are benighted and evil, he has license to say pretty much whatever he wants pretty much whenever he wants. After all, anything that advances his agenda while rebuffing the (choose your descriptor) nihilistic, anarchistic, heartless, ruthless, Taliban-like Republicans is allowable. Even encouraged. It’s the Chicago Way. Mr. Obama, then, has a deeply defective public character. He simply makes things up as he goes along. He invents his own reality. And the fact that he is inflicting significant and durable harm to our political culture, and to America itself, seems to bother him not one bit. There is something quite disturbing about this president’s capacity to mislead people with such ease and with such relish. He’s not a man who can be trusted with power.
Matt Welch goes on a good rant here about the lies coming from our lapdog media as well.
The tone from Obama and Jay Carney over the last week has been the typical progressive tripe, “You’re too stupid to know what you want. We know better than you do what’s best for you and your family, so just shut the fuck up and be grateful.” Obama has now taken to blaming the insurance companies for the cancellation of policies, which is absurd because they are being FORCED to cancel the policies in order to comply with HIS LAW. If you’re a healthy, single man who doesn’t do drugs and decided you only needed a catastrophic plan (which the president has now obnoxiously and wrongly taken to calling a “substandard plan”), daddy government says you can’t have that anymore. You are now forced to buy a plan that includes maternity care and substance abuse care, things that you don’t need or want. David Harsanyi takes up this ugly authoritarianism:
You can’t keep your insurance if you like it under Obamacare because you’re too ignorant to understand what’s good for you. That’s the argument we’ve been hearing from a lot of folks on the left; an argument that pivots from “common good” to soft authoritarianism…It’s almost as if some people believe lying is acceptable – even preferable — if the political outcomes are morally pleasing to them. Many Obamacare supporters, in fact, are beginning to sound like they couldn’t care less about process, the law, order, competence, or anything that undermines the goal of putting your health-care choices into more capable hands…In health care, and other things, we often pick plans that offer us something we value above other things. Americans don’t need all their plans to look the same. Maybe some of them like the customer service, maybe some like the stability of staying with one company for many years…Never were we told that ACA was meant to shield people from their own bad choices. What many people feared, and were mocked for, was that Obamacare was just the beginning of Washington micromanaged consumer choices…1 — It forces every person to enter into the marketplace. 2 — It dictates what products companies that operate in that marketplace must sell – which is also a mechanism by which the administration can force consumers to subsidized coverage they may have moral qualms with. 3 — And now it compels individuals not only to buy a product, but to buy the exact product Washington decides. Now, if a person were prone to paranoia, all of this might sound a bit authoritarian to them. But even if they’re not, hearing liberals tell them they don’t need what they want is quite telling.
NBC reported that the administration understood the law would lead to cancellation of about half of the insurance plans on the individual market (that is, plans people get outside of their employers). Although Obamacare allowed some existing plans to be “grandfathered” and avoid the law’s requirements, the administration tailored the grandfathering rules very narrowly, maximizing the number of disallowed plans. Again, this was deliberate. One of Obama’s favorite writers, Josh Barro of Business Insider, put it this way: “One of the key reasons that America needed health care reform is that a lot of existing health plans were bad. There are a lot of health plans that Americans shouldn’t be able to keep.” Barro leaves out half the reason Obamacare deliberately killed low-premium plans: stealth redistribution. A central aim of the law was forcing those with more basic plans to buy more comprehensive plans and thus subsidize people who wanted or needed comprehensive coverage…Honest Obamacare defenders say the president shouldn’t have promised to let Americans keep their insurance when he really meant that if Obama likes your health care plan, you can keep it. “Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them,” Barro wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, defending this approach. But this paternalistic mindset, so honestly expressed by of one of Obama’s favorite writers, can also explain why the Obama administration was so willing to mislead on Obamacare: If people don’t know what’s best for them, there’s no reason to deal with them honestly.
Daniel Henninger in a piece that is a little too optimistic, I think, believes this will be the end of the progressive movement for awhile.
Let us try to understand clearly what is happening now with the Obama presidency. On display to everyone watching this week is not merely the failure of a federal website or a software program or Ms. Sebelius’s management skills. This is the failure of the very idea of progressive government. Not liberal government. Progressive government. That battle a few weeks ago over the government shutdown was a familiar Beltway spectacle. But what is happening this week to ObamaCare and the political class that created it is historic. Forty years from now, the millennials who in 2008 and 2012 believed in and voted for the progressive ideal—limitless, mandated, state-led goodness—can tell their grandchildren they watched it fall apart in 2013. This is the glitch that failed. In the 1990s, the American left, burdened with 90 years of unfortunate left-wing metaphors, rebranded itself in the U.S. as the “progressive movement.” Teddy Roosevelt invokes cheerier memories than Leon Trotsky. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the left rode to power with Barack Obama…The essence of modern Democratic progressivism is: “You will participate in what we have created for you, and you will comply with the law’s demands.”…American progressivism is politics by cramdown…Up to now, most of the events of the Obama presidency have passed in and out of the news as just politics. But with ObamaCare and its details touching so many people all at once, it has become impossible not to recognize that the Affordable Care Act is an offensive ideological exercise, not merely an entitlement program. By Mr. Obama’s own admission, this law is the way he wants the world to work in the U.S.—whether in health, education, energy, infrastructure or finance. And what Americans now riding through the ObamaCare hurricane of canceled policies, disappearing doctors and rebooted promises have to be asking themselves is: Do I want to live with this level of personal enforcement in the U.S.?
Liberals are whining that Republicans “rooted for” Obamacare to fail. The more accurate description is that they accurately predicted and warned that it would fail and that it would stifle our liberty. You can see this when you look back at pieces written in 2009, like this one…
Consumers must buy policies from their employers or through the exchanges–but, either way, their choice of coverage is limited to one of four basic insurance plans that the government sanctions. Private insurers will still compete to offer policies but must model their coverage on one of these four templates. In short, the Senate bill explicitly standardizes health benefits and then establishes elaborate mechanisms (including subsidies and penalties) to pay for them. Here’s the rub: While these four plans vary from low- to high-cost options, the benefits offered under them are pretty much the same… In effect, the plan creates a single national health-insurance policy…We’ll all get the same package of benefits established by a series of new agencies and an “insurance czar” seated in Washington. Once the exchanges are in place, the individual market–the ability to go directly to an insurer and buy a health-care policy–will disappear…There’s more, including how the only way to free yourself from the loving grasp of your government is to be among the super rich who can afford to pay cash for whatever you want. Though I’m sure that ‘loophole’ will be closed soon…The funny thing is, employer based health care insurance was the result of government interference in the market place during WWII. Roosevelt and his merry gang of regulators instituted wage controls and the only way companies could reward or compete for workers was through fringe benefit packages and things like health insurance. Now the circle has come round and we see there’s no government screw up that can’t be fixed by more government interference. After current health insurance policies are grandfathered out, we will all be subject to the same type of policies, no more, no less. Doesn’t that make you feel better Comrades? Finally, we will be free from the terrible tyranny of, er, freedom! Let’s be honest, 1776-2010 is a good run by any metric. Now we will see what Obama’s remade America looks like.