It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Jennifer Anniston in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana
By Elliot Smilowitz, The Hill | April 30, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at the protesters who disrupted his speech in California a day earlier.
Demonstrators swarmed the California GOP convention on Friday, blocking an entrance and nearby roads.
“The “protesters” in California were thugs and criminals,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Many are professionals. They should be dealt with strongly by law enforcement!”
The "protesters" in California were thugs and criminals. Many are professionals. They should be dealt with strongly by law enforcement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2016
News cameras tracked Trump as his entourage took a back way into the building Friday, after nearby roads were blocked.
The businessman had to go around a fence and step over a concrete embankment to get through the back entrance into the Hyatt Regency hotel, where the convention took place.
There’s a bit more at the original. I do not support the candidacy of Donald Trump, but I very much oppose the efforts of the protesters to prevent Mr Trump, or anyone else, from speaking. If there’s one thing which has become obvious in the past several years, it is that the left are violently opposed to freedom of speech.
I am old enough to remember 1968, and the results of the actions of the leftist protesters: the election of the more conservative candidate in November. The only thing that these idiotic protesters are doing is making the election of Mr Trump a greater, rather than lesser, probability. I can tell you one thing: everybody else at work is planning to vote for Mr Trump!
And now, on to the blogroll!
- Kim Quade on The Victory Girls: Good News: Army to Retain Green Beret Who Attacked Afghani Child Rapist Well, we’ll see: Sergeant First Class Charles Martland won’t be kicked out of the Army, but I’d be surprised if his career hasn’t been ruined.
StaceyStacy McCain on The Other McCain: Feminism Is a Synonym for ‘Shut Up’
- Karen on The Lonely Conservative: Typical: Obama White House Blames Everyone Else For Crappy Economic News Remember, if something good happens, President Obama is like totally responsible for it, but if something not-so-good happens, why it’s George Bush’s fault!
- Darleen Click on Protein Wisdom: Scripps students: Hating white people is legitimate
- William Teach on The Pirate’s Cove: Agreeable Warm Weather Is A Clear Sign Of ‘Climate Change’ Or Something
- The very pretty Dana on Patterico’s Pontifications: Consider these
- William Jacobson on Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion: Defending the right to walk while a Trump supporter
- Foxfier Sailorette on HeadNoises: How to Explain Mansplaining – The New York Times Mansplaining: one of the terms invented by weak-willed feminists to dismiss any arguments made by a male which destroy those of the feminists without having to actually refute the arguments.
- Donald Douglas on American Power: Latinos Riot, Smash Police Cars, Outside Donald Trump Campaign Event in Costa Mesa (VIDEO)
That’s it for this week!
From The Wall Street Journal:
California Public Employees’ Retirement System may have missed out on up to $3 billion by not investing in tobacco shares
By Saabira Chaudhuri | Updated April 29, 2016 4:32 a.m. ET
Calpers picked the wrong decade to stop investing in tobacco shares.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest pension fund by assets in the U.S., said last week it may reconsider a decision it made 16 years ago to divest tobacco holdings. The move was triggered by an outside consultancy’s conclusion that Calpers’ missed out on up to about $3 billion in net investment gains between then and the end of 2014 by not investing in tobacco shares.
The decision comes as tobacco stocks are on a tear. The MSCI World Tobacco index returned more than 309% in total returns over the decade from 2005 to 2015, compared with 172% total returns for the broader MSCI World consumer staples index, according to FactSet. The MSCI World index of large and medium sized developed markets stocks returned 72% in the period.
Shorter-term gains have been great, too. Philip Morris International Inc., the world’s biggest publicly listed tobacco company by market cap, is up 18% over the last 12 months. No. 2 British American Tobacco PLC is up 13.4%.
“Despite all the recent volatility in equity markets, the tobacco sector continues to be seen as a reliable and high-quality area,” said Stephen Lamacraft, fund manager at Woodford Investment Management, which owns shares in BAT, Reynolds American Inc. and Imperial Brands PLC.
There’s more at the link. Also from my favorite newspaper, the only one for which I pay:
‘We’re down to a couple of million dollars on any given day,’ mayor says
By Timothy W. Martin and Heather Gillers | Updated April 28, 2016 10:42 p.m. ET
Atlantic City has so little money left that it could miss a $1.8 million bond payment due Sunday, a step that would make it the first New Jersey municipality to default on debt since the Great Depression.
The Jersey Shore gambling destination has endured years of strain as a third of its casinos shut down. But now its cash levels are low enough that bankruptcy is a possibility for the 39,000-population city, according to Mayor Don Guardian.
“We’re down to a couple million dollars on any given day,” the mayor said in an interview.
Once prized as a vacation destination because of its giant casinos and boardwalk, Atlantic City is in this position because of a declining economy and mounting debt. Its predicament is more severe than most distressed U.S. municipalities because it has the worst credit rating of any American city. . . . .
Since then, however, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blocked the delivery of a more than $30 million rescue package, a judge ruled Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa could stop paying about $30 million in annual city taxes and the city lost a $160 million property-tax dispute with the Borgata that the city can’t afford to pay.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said in January it appears “inevitable” that Atlantic City would default on debt payments within six months barring major improvements. It rates Atlantic City triple-C-minus. S&P also downgraded the city’s municipal utilities authority to junk last week, with further downgrades likely.
Atlantic City’s credit rating has sunk so low that city officials and bankers say investors would likely reject any offers to buy new debt or refinance.
There’s more at the Journal original.
The link between these two stories is that both have made bad bets, that being an intentional pun in the case of Atlantic City. Atlantic City became the primary east coast gambling location many, many years ago, when New Jersey changed the law just for Atlantic City, when, at the time, Nevada was the premier, and practically only, legal gambling area in the country. Atlantic City, including the odious Donald Trump, placed big bets on gambling, and it paid off.1
Or, at least it paid off until other cities and states in the east saw the money flowing into the town. Now gambling is all over the place, with casinos galore in Pennsylvania and Delaware, two of Jersey’s neighbors. In the early 2000s, there used to be special buses which took gamblers from the Poconos to Atlantic City for a gambling day, and the casinos provided all sorts of incentives. Now people in northeastern Pennsylvania who want to play at the casinos have several local choices; there’s no need for that bus service any more. But a big, though hardly ever mentioned, part of Atlantic City’s problems stem from the other part of the casinos decisions.
My family and I used to live in Hampton Roads, and the one thing that the beach resort city of Virginia Beach did was take care of their primary asset, beautiful oceanfront beaches. The tourist beach areas were groomed every day, the trash was cleaned up, and everything was geared to keeping those beaches beautiful. Even when you got down to the tony Sandbridge area, away from the main resort area, the beaches were very well kept.
When we moved north, the contrast between the way the beaches were kept in Virginia Beach, and the hard-packed, seemingly uncared-for beach in Atlantic City was stark. The famous Boardwalk was a mess, and the beach area itself not very nice at all. If you ventured further south, outside of Atlantic City, to Margate or Wildwood, you’d find beaches in great shape, because those towns didn’t have the casino money.
Atlantic City made a huge bet on the casinos, but casinos can be built anywhere. What can’t be built anywhere is an oceanfront beach, and Atlantic City let their natural advantage get dilapidated. I haven’t been to Atlantic City in years, because the beaches are simply not worth it. If we’re going to go to the beach — about a three hour drive for us — we’ll pick someplace nicer.
Calpers and Atlantic City both made bad bets.
Is it my imagination, or do they both have the same nose? At any rate, there’s more on the Journal original. I didn’t see the event, but from what I’ve heard, Mrs Fiorina’s speech wowed ’em at the announcement.
Texas senator makes announcement as he gears up for crucial Indiana primary
By Reid J. Epstein | Updated April 27, 2016 5:41 p.m. ETRepublican Ted Cruz, desperate to change the course of his flagging presidential campaign, on Wednesday named former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina as his running mate.
Trailing far behind ascendant GOP front-runner Donald Trump, the Texas senator is betting Mrs. Fiorina will help him prevail in Indiana—a must-win state after a series of crushing losses to Mr. Trump in the Northeast—and help his chances of peeling away delegates from Mr. Trump in California, where Mrs. Fiorina unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. That state’s June 7 primary will determine whether the New Yorker can clinch the party’s nomination before the Republican National Convention.
“I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice-presidential nominee, Carly Fiorina,” Mr. Cruz told supporters in Indianapolis.
For Mr. Cruz, announcing Mrs. Fiorina as his running mate is a move engineered to change the focus of the Republican primary campaign to his new ticket and away from Mr. Trump’s runaway victories in the five Northeastern state primaries Tuesday. But the danger is voters will see it—combined with his struggling alliance with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who agreed to refrain from campaigning in Indiana—as last-gasp political maneuvering instead of principled leadership.
Mr. Cruz devoted the bulk of his speech naming Mrs. Fiorina as his running mate to bashing Mr. Trump, who after winning five Northeastern states Tuesday holds a commanding delegate advantage heading into Indiana’s May 3 primary next week. Indiana is now viewed as a last stand for Mr. Cruz—if he cannot win a decisive victory over Mr. Trump next week, it becomes implausible to argue that he can stop Mr. Trump from amassing the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the party’s nomination on the first ballot at its July convention.
Trouble is, this is coming as too little/too late. This was a savvy move, but it would have been savvier a month ago. Whether Mrs Fiorina will be able to help Senator Cruz in the few primaries left is unknowable, but if she is going to be able to help him as his running mate, that would have been better done before yesterday’s disastrous primaries, and really almost anytime after Mrs Fiorina noted that she voted for Senator Cruz in the March 1 primary in Virginia. She might not have helped Senator Cruz had she been selected earlier, but she has far less opportunity to help him at this late stage of the game.
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio were on the ballot along with the remain active candidates. Living in the 17th congressional district, there was a long list of delegate candidates, and I could have voted for three, but voted for only two, Ron Boltz and, as a write-in, Joel Underwood, the two pledged to support Senator Cruz.
Remember, the left support having higher-earning people pay more in income taxes!
Richard Pollock | 10:42 PM 04/25/2016
Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz have invested millions of U.S. dollars through family trusts in at least 11 offshore tax havens, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The revelation comes on the heels of the release of the Panama Papers, a treasure trove of 11.5 million legal and financial records documenting how some of the world’s richest and most powerful people have used offshore bank accounts to conceal their wealth and avoid taxes.
Since the release of the papers, no American politician has been identified as using the secretive offshore accounts.
A DCNF investigation has confirmed that the former Massachusetts Democratic senator and his billionaire wife, using an elaborate set of Heinz family trusts, have invested “more than $1 million” each into 11 separate offshore accounts — mainly hedge funds in the Cayman Islands.
There’s more at the original, but this is hardly a surprise; remember how the esteemed Mr Kerry berthed his luxury yacht — the one he ordered from a boat builder in New Zealand rather than employing Americans — in the nautical tax haven of Rhode Island? When the scandal broke, then Senator Kerry promised that he would go ahead and voluntarily pay the Massachusetts taxes he avoided, but almost two years later he had still not done so.
I suppose that it’s easier to advocate higher taxes on the top producers if you are already using every trick in the book to avoid as much tax liability as you can.
When the left say that they support higher taxes on the top producers, they mean Republican businessmen; they don’t mean themselves.
By Theodore Schleifer, CNN | Updated 5:08 PM ET, Mon April 25, 2016
Washington (CNN) Ted Cruz’s campaign is vetting a list of potential vice-presidential choices including Carly Fiorina, an indication that the campaign could choose a running mate while he continues to battle for the GOP nomination.The Texas senator is considering naming Fiorina, a prominent Cruz surrogate and a former GOP White House rival, as his running mate, a Cruz campaign adviser confirmed Monday. Presumptive nominees typically vet many possible vice presidents, asking them for extensive financial documents and thoroughly investigating their backgrounds.
“He is vetting a number of solid candidates, and certainly Ms. Fiorina is absolutely one of them,” Chad Sweet, Cruz’s campaign chairperson, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “She’s one of the most talented business leaders of modern times.”
Fiorina aide Sarah Isgur Flores also confirmed that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO was being vetted for a possible pick on a Cruz ticket.
Cruz and top Cruz aides Monday sought to end a day of news reports about Cruz’s veepstakes, downplaying any vetting as a normal part a fall campaign plan. Cruz himself preached prudence.
“Any responsible candidate — just a couple of months out from the convention — would begin that process, examining a both a long list and now a shorter list,” Cruz told reporters in Greenwood, Indiana. “And that naturally includes a vetting process.”
Mrs Fiorina has been out on the campaign trail, working for Senator Cruz’s nomination. After the Virginia primary, Mrs Fiorina said:
Last Tuesday we had a primary, and I walked into the ballot box. I saw my name on the ballot, and it was kind of a thrill, but I checked the box for Ted Cruz.
Carly Fiorina says she 'checked the box for Ted Cruz' when voting in VA primary. https://t.co/K8iNL1YQY1
— ABC News (@ABC) March 9, 2016
As a former campaign contributor to Mrs Fiorina, I’m still getting e-mails from the campaign — though not every day, as I did before Mrs Fiorina dropped out — but they are e-mails in support of Senator Cruz.
Where is Job Bush? Has he been out campaigning for anyone after he was forced to withdraw? How about Marco Rubio? Chris Christie did campaign, for Donald Trump, after he was forced to drop out, but was quickly put in his place by the man he was there to support. I’m sure that the naysayers and the cynics will say that Mrs Fiorina’s vocal and vigorous support for Mr Cruz is actually her campaigning for the vice presidential nomination, and maybe it is — I have never met her and certainly can’t read her mind — but she is out there, working hard for a conservative candidate and for conservative causes. Whether Senator Cruz wins the Republican nomination or not, and if he does, whether Mrs Fiorina becomes his running mate or not, she’s out there, working for a better America.
Pennsylvania’s Republican primary is tomorrow, and yes, I will vote, and I’ll vote for Ted Cruz. As I mentioned earlier, I have my list of which congressional district delegate candidates support Mr Cruz, and I’ll be voting for them as well.
Cross-posted on RedState.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Deal, valued at $815 million with debt, would combine owners of USA Today, L.A. Times
By Lukas I. Alpert and Joshua Jamerson | Updated April 25, 2016 2:00 p.m. ET
Gannett Co. on Monday went public with its proposal to acquire Tribune Publishing Co. in a deal valued at about $400 million that would combine titles like USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as the struggling newspaper industry increasingly consolidates.
Gannett is offering $12.25 in cash for each share of Tribune, a 63% premium to the stock’s closing price Friday. Including the assumption of Tribune’s debt, Gannett said the deal has a total value of $815 million.
“By combining, we would create a company with the financial stability and flexibility equipped to preserve journalistic integrity, high standards and excellence for years to come,” Gannett Chief Executive Robert Dickey wrote in a letter to his counterpart at Tribune, CEO Justin Dearborn.
In the letter, Gannett said it was disappointed with Tribune’s response to its proposal made April 12 and frustrated with its “refusal to begin constructive discussions with us.”
In a statement Monday, Tribune said it told Gannett that it is completing arrangements with financial and legal advisers to assist it in reviewing the offer and would “respond to Gannett as quickly as feasible.”
There’s more at the original.
I have previously mentioned just how far downhill the Louisville Courier-Journal has fallen since being bought out by Gannett. It has been a serious problem for virtually every newspaper, how to survive economically in an age where the news can be delivered, often for free, and always updated, to your computer, to your television, and now to your smart phone. Newspapers are, despite what updating can be done, 18th century technology, and there’s really nothing that can be done about that; if you distribute the news by printing it on dead trees, and delivering it to your customers hours after writing and printing, you are using outdated technology.
“By combining, we would create a company with the financial stability and flexibility equipped to preserve journalistic integrity, high standards and excellence for years to come,” Gannett Chief Executive Robert Dickey wrote, but that’s sure not how the Courier-Journal turned out. It has a mediocre local section, and the national news is basically a rehash/ reprint of USAToday. The sports section is half-way decent, but that’s the best that can be said for the paper. Why should anyone believe that the Los Angeles Times would turn out any differently?
A graph on the Journal original noted that daily newspaper circulation has fallen from 44 million in 2009 to 41 million in 2015; that’s a 6.8% decline, and 2009 wasn’t a great year for newspapers; it was just another marker on a steady decline:
In 1950, the average daily total paid circulation for U.S. daily newspapers was 53.8 million (equivalent to 123.6% of households); the total paid circulation for U.S. Sunday newspapers was 46.6 million (equivalent to 107.0%of households).
By 2010, the average daily total paid circulation for U.S. daily newspapers was about 43.4 million (equivalent to 36.7% of households); the total paid circulation for U.S. Sunday newspapers was about 44.1 million (equivalent to 37.3% of households).
Translation: newspaper readership in 2010 was only about 30% of what it was in 1950, and it has declined even further since that data were reported.
I’ll be blunt here: print newspapers have no real future. I grew up with newspapers, and delivered newspapers from the seventh through eleventh grades, but I’m also 63 years old, and the generations which grew up with newspapers are just plain dying out. Even having grown up with newspapers, the only paper to which I subscribe is The Wall Street Journal, and even there, I have a digital subscription only. I check the Lexington Herald-Leader for University of Kentucky sports stories, but that costs me nothing. Occasionally I will check The Philadelphia Inquirer or The New York Times, for a story I’ve heard about over free sources like msn.com or cnn.com, but I can get all of the news stories I want without paying a single shilling for them.
So, if I can get all of that for free, why should I spend money for it?
The answer is: more and more people are not. Just like land-line telephones and VCRs, technology has moved on, and newspapers are being left in the dust. The Gannett deal, if it goes through, may save the Los Angeles Times for a few more years, but what will be saved will be a shadow if its former self, and, in the end, the Times, at least as a print newspaper, will die.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Economic costs of hitting near-term targets appear modest, but modeling grows less reliable further out
By Amy Harder and Greg Ip | Updated April 24, 2016 12:42 p.m. ET
The world’s top officials just signed an agreement to slow the buildup of planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions. They have yet to grapple with the cost of implementing it.
Economists developing sophisticated models have good and bad news. The economic costs of meeting near-term emissions targets are relatively modest. But long-run targets are far harder and infeasible with technology widely available today.
“There’s an optical illusion right now, which is that short-term planning leads to low-hanging fruit but not to the kind of strategy that we need to achieve deep decarbonization by 2050,” said Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, who advises United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Policy makers meeting in Paris last December agreed Earth’s temperature shouldn’t rise more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the end of the century. The emissions cuts agreed to don’t actually limit the temperature rise to two degrees. But the nearly 200 participating nations—most of whom had representatives sign the agreement Friday at the U.N. in New York—hope further cuts in the coming years will. . . .A $45-per-ton tax of carbon dioxide, rising 2% above inflation each year, would make households worse off in 2030 by an amount equal to 0.45% of all household spending if the revenue were used to reduce corporate income taxes, or 0.79% if it were rebated back to households.
Spread over 14 years, such a reduction would be almost unnoticeable. The price of electricity would rise 15% and gasoline prices would go up slightly less than 8%.
Indeed, related work by Resources for the Future and Stanford University researchers finds that a roughly $45 carbon tax on just electricity could achieve between 75% and 83% of Mr. Obama’s 26% to 28% emissions target.
There’s more at the link, but let’s do the math. Gasoline without ethanol produces 19.64 lb of carbon dioxide per gallon, while diesel fuel produces 22.38 lb of CO2; gasoline using 10% ethanol produces 18.95 lb of CO2, while B20 biodiesel emits 22.06 lb of CO2.
Using the figures for regular unleaded gasoline with 10% ethanol added, a $45 per ton CO2 tax would mean $45 tax on every 105.54 gallons of gasoline; that’s 29.0¢ per gallon. In Pennsylvania, the current average price of regular unleaded is $2.319 per gallon.1 If that 29.0¢ per gallon were added, gasoline in the Keystone state would increase by 12.5%. If you fill a 20 gallon tank, that’s $5.80 more you’ll pay for fuel.
In figures from 2013, the average household used 1,011 gallons of fuel for the year, and that was a significant decrease from previous years. At that consumption rate, the average household would be paying $293.19 more just in gasoline taxes. The left would pish-posh, and say, Oh, that’s nothing!” but with a median family income of just $53,657 (in 2014), we’re talking about 0.55% of income being taken away, for no tangible gain for a family. And if you have to live in Ravenna, Kentucky,2 with a median family income of just $30,253, all of a sudden we are talking of close to 1%, 0.97%. The average monthly rent in Ravenna is $552 per month; the CO2 would be slightly more than half a month’s rent.
But that’s hardly all of it. In 2012, the United States used 36,343,072,000 gallons of diesel fuel. With diesel producing 22.38 lb/gl of CO2, at $45 per ton of CO2, or one ton per 89.37 gallons, the extra tax on diesel fuel would be 50.4¢ per gallon. Virtually everything we buy, almost everything we consume, is transported by a commercial truck at some point, often several points, from production to the point-of-sale. Everything you buy is going to cost you more, because we are looking at an additional $18.3 billion added to consumer costs, or a 0.04% increase (based on total consumer spending of $44,555.8 billion in 2015).
This is a problem with articles in The Wall Street Journal: they are written and edited by people living and working in the most expensive city in the United States, people who are paid a lot, and hob-nob with people who make a lot more; they have no fornicating clue as to what life is like in Ravenna, or any of the other places in what so many on the left have dismissed as “flyover country.” For Wall Street brokers and Journal editors, $293.13 extra a year is nothing; for people in Hedrick, Iowa, it’s more than half a month’s rent.
However, there’s a catch in he figures in the Journal: look at this paragraph again:
A $45-per-ton tax of carbon dioxide, rising 2% above inflation each year, would make households worse off in 2030 by an amount equal to 0.45% of all household spending if the revenue were used to reduce corporate income taxes, or 0.79% if it were rebated back to households.
Emphasis mine. Why would anyone believe that the taxes would be rebated, either to corporations or to consumers? As of 21 April 2016, the national debt stood at $19,196,769,313,019.68. The final FY2015 federal budget deficit was down to $439 billion, but deficits are forecast once again to skyrocket, passing one trillion dollars again by 2025, under the rosiest projections. With those kinds of numbers looking us dead in the eye, only a complete naïf could believe that any of that tax — increasing 2% per year above the rate of inflation, remember — would be “rebated back to consumers.”
Nor would the left even want the tax to be rebated to consumers: such would mitigate the effect they were trying to achieve in the first place. If the goal is to reduce fossil fuel consumption by increasing its cost, what logic wold there be in rebating back part of the increased cost?
The moral of the story is simple: whenever the left, or anyone else for that matter, start talking about taxes having minimal impact or being barely noticeable, you know that they are lying to you. They either do not know what they are talking about, or they just plain don’t care, but, either way, they are not telling the truth.
- This includes state and federal taxes already on gasoline; Pennsylvania is already one of the highest taxes states in the nation when it comes to fuel. The source ws accessed at 1454 on Sunday, 24 April 2016, and the numbers are subject to change. ↩
- I selected Ravenna because that is the closest town to where my darling bride and I will retire. ↩