No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Day by Day cartoon

October 17, 2013

Thursday Hot Read – Ace’s “How The Permanent Activism/Advertising Mentality Is Killing Honesty, Accountability, and Thoughtfulness”

by @ 19:01. Filed under The Blog.

Ace articulated an internal struggle I’ve often had, especially in the leadup to my sabbatical from blogging and ultimately Twitter, and again as I finally caved to pressure from several people to return to the online world. The excerpt is longer than I really am comfortable giving, but I can’t honestly chop it up any more than I have and still do it justice:

I’ve mentioned before my growing weariness with what I’ll dub the Viral Mentality of the Internet.

The Viral Mentality is one in which people are over-excited to push certain memes and facts (or pseudofacts) in an effort to shape the national conversation. Blogging really indulged in this mentality — as I’ve said, my flaming skull is my version of Drudge’s siren, an effort to advertise certain memes and stories — but it’s the ADD format of Twitter that has really supercharged the mindset.

My real problem is that if you scratch the surface of most online writers, you’ll find that, without quite admitting it to themselves, they’ve largely defined success and failure in online writing according to the standards of success and failure in Advertising.

To be really good at “Pushing Memes.” To be really good at “getting stories to go viral.”

To be really good at branding.

I joked a while ago that we will all know this syndrome has reached its lethal phase when your grandmother tells you, “I wanted to mention your new Son on my FaceBook page, but I was afraid it would undermine the Branding image I was going for.”

We all know this is beneath us — well, most of us know this; some idiots might actually aspire to be Kings of Online Advertising — and yet nevertheless it has become the default model of online communication….

Now, online, both the right and the left have accepted the notion that activism is the highest ideal of online communication — if not the highest ideal to aspire to, at least one of the top two, competing successfully most of the time versus the other criterion, Speaking the Truth (or one’s murky vision of the truth, at least)….

Now, every political writer is, ultimately, an activist. People do not write about politics disinterestedly. Everyone has his own take on what the Social Good looks like, and his writing will always, always be informed by this.

Every writer, every blogger, every Tweeter, every commenter writing about politics has his own conception of The Good and will write in support of this.

There is no avoiding that.

There will always be Political Advertising encoded into any political essay.

It’s a question of the degree to which we permit ourselves to be captive to the lowest form of communication, Advertising.

It’s a question of whether we elevate the Advertising Imperative above the Truth-Telling Imperative, and by what margin.

As I always say, READ IT ALL. Whether you do it before or after continuing with the self-aggrandizing bullshit I’m about to spew, or you skip said bullshit, is your choice.

I know I have a bit of an ego. Otherwise, I would never have started NRE nor restarted writing. At the same time, my conscience won’t just let me write bullshit just for the sake of getting my name out there, or really to promote what I write. In fact, I was surprised to find that the folks at WisPolitics noticed immediately that I had returned (guess they never dropped the RSS feed) and saw fit to link to the first post back.

When I started this place 8 years ago, I never imagined it would have any real following outside of the people whose blogs I had been commenting on for the several months prior to writing long-form. I never expected to really be able to write long-form posts – writing has always been a major struggle for me, and self-promotion has never been a strong suit.

Then Fred Dooley and Mark Block, then the state director of Americans for Prosperity, invited me out to the first Defending the American Dream summit in 2007. Things sort of snowballed from there, with invites to more national events, meeting and befriending a lot of people I never would either have met nor expected to be in the same circles as, seeing some of the inner workings of politics that the average Joe never does.

On the flip side, I started letting The Brand creep into my musings. Whether it was the NRE Brand I never really intended to build or a larger Conservative/Libertarian Brand (the current iteration being the TEA Party Movement) is immaterial. I started feeling the strain between merely aping whatever came down the pike and taking a critical look at everything.

A long time ago, Jib gave out a key piece of advice – when it stops being fun, it’s time to stop. A year ago, it stopped being fun, with the Twitter part dragged out a few months after that. I pretty much did a hard reboot of the process that began, really, in early 2001 when I joined Free Republic.

In my restart, I can only hope to live up to what Ace closed with:

So when you see me balk at the idea of permanently subordinating my belief in what the truth is for the purpose of advancing the Brand, this is why.

It’s because I don’t want to be Matt Yglesias.

I may be ridiculous inadvertently, but I refuse to make myself ridiculous.

No matter how much some buffoonery and dishonesty might Help the Brand.

Matt Yglesias believes:

Humans are hierarchical primates by nature and have a kind of fascination with power and dignity.>

And by “dignity,” he means the trappings of power– that which “dignified” the nobleman.

That may be true — that may be true of man at his base animal level — but man is not limited to his base animal level. He can aspire to more.

He can aspire to more than being a monkey who begins repeating the squawks of the higher-ranking Alpha Monkey, in order to get the monkeys around him to begin squawking in the same fashion.

A complete cave in 11 easy steps

by @ 10:48. Filed under Politics - National.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in a cave (in which case consider yourself lucky the Park Police didn’t tear gas you out), you’ve heard by now that the Republican Party (or as I’ve begun to call its Hispandering successor, El Partido Republicano Legado in a nod to its Mexican PRI blueprint) got absolutely, positively nothing in the latest can-kick of the mess that is the federal spending-and-borrowing. Those of you who’ve been around in the comments at Hot Air and Ace of Spades HQ where I spent my sabbatical already know that I was predicting the GOP would get nothing and like it from the start. So, how did they do it? It didn’t even take a dozen steps:

- They started in late March with a Paul Ryan-written budget that included exactly $0.00 spent on PlaceboCare over the next 10 years, both the “mandatory” and “discretionary” spending, through FY2023. This was the same 10-year budgetary “defund” they quietly and fully abandoned the previous two years.

- About the time they wanted to switch to a 1-year “total” delay attached to a slightly-down-the-road debt-ceiling increase, Sen. Ted Cruz decided that the “defund” strategy wouldn’t be so quietly abandoned this time, switched that to an indefinite total defund, and got it attached to the nearer-down-the-road continuing resolution needed to keep the 35% of federal government subject to yearly approprations going into FY2014.

- In response, the Rats demanded a “clean” short-term (couple weeks versus the GOP’s couple months) continuing resolution to allow government to keep on racking up the deficits and a longer-term “clean” debt-ceiling increase to allow government to keep up racking up the debt required to finance the deficits.

- The Cruz version of “defund” met a bipartisan Party-In-Government end in the Senate, with nearly half the “Republican” caucus, including both leadership and those who campaigned in 2010 on doing everything possible to derail PlaceboCare (cough…Ron Johnson…cough) joining Harry Reid in raising the knife to it and another quiver of arrows into Cruz’s back.

- With no concessions from the Rats, the GOP dropped the full 1-year delay for a 1-year delay in the individual mandate and a repudiation of the administrative Congressional exemption from the no-employer-subisies in the individual exchanges Congress successfully begged Obama for (aka the Vitter amendment previously rejected by the Senate Rats).

- Again with no concessions from the Rats, the GOP dropped the 1-year delay in the individual mandate, instead switching to a desperate try to get back into the good graces of K Street by offering an elimination of the medical device tax in exchange for screwing over pensioners with higher taxes.

- Then Paul Ryan got the proverbial chair of offering up the end of the sequester (in exchange for “negotiations” on Social Security) out from under the ring.

- The Rats seized that chair and, as negotiations between the Senate Rats and “Pubbies” finally began, added a demand of the end of the non-defense portion of sequester immediately to their list of demands. They used the “giving up” of this new 11th-hour demand to knock down the elimination of the medical device tax to a 2-year suspension of same on the Senate side.

- In exchange, they introduced a union-demanded call for a 1-year delay in a “reinsurance” tax, a 3-year tax assessed on existing group insurance policies to fund the subisidies to those who in the past would be in high-risk insurance pools. They then used the “giving up” of this new 11:30 pm demand to eliminate the Vitter amendment on the Senate side.

- Meanwhile on the House side, the rank-and-file found out that the post-2012 election war their leadership has been waging against the conservatives amongst them, and the full-scale assault on Cruz, were ordered by the portion of K Street that hadn’t already given up entirely on the GOP as tests of fealty to them. That torpedoed the last desperate House idea of a 2-year suspension of the medical device tax and an expansion of the Vitter amendment to cover the political appointees of the executive branch before it could get out of the House.

- That left the Reid plan, with a slightly longer CR and less time between the end of the CR and the end of the debt-ceiling raise, as the only game in town. Senate Minority “leader” Mitch McConnell demanded and got a $2 billion por…er…lock project on the Ohio River and a completely-meaningless strongly-worded letter for Obama to enforce the income-verification requirements for PlaceboCare subsidies he already decided to unilaterally ignore.

Thus you have what we got – a punt down the road for a few months with nothing to show for it and the stage set for the end of the non-defense portion of the sequester before Christmas. I doubt Wile E. Coyote could have done a “better” job than MiniCave and Bo(eh)ner (and by “better”, I mean “more self-destructive”).

October 14, 2013

Office of the Commissoner of Insurance – “Fewer than 50″ Wisconsinites signed up for PlaceboCare

by @ 13:31. Filed under PlaceboCare.

The MacIver News Service reports that the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, which is still titularly in charge of regulating even health insurance in Wisconsin, called up each of the 13 insurance companies that have coughed up a fee to be on the still-broken PlaceboCare individual insurance exchange, and found that fewer than 50 people signed up for PlaceboCare through the exchange.

A bonus item from the piece – only half of the insurance companies offering individual plans, and fewer than a third of those offering small-business group plans, paid the fee to get listed on their respective exchanges.

Shutdown number of the day – $83,990,000

by @ 12:56. Filed under Politics - National.

That is the amount of money the Treasury Department will need to come up with on Default Day, October 17, to fully-service the $120 billion in short-term Treasury bills that come due that day, assuming a successful rollover of that debt.

Here are the amounts of federal tax deposits from, in order, 10/16/2012, 10/17/2012, and 10/18/2012 – $8,148,000,000, $6,751,000,000, and $1,980,000,000. Surely Treasury Secretary Jack Lew can’t be serious when he says he might not be able to come up with the cash to service that “pitiful” (in federal government terms) interest amount.

There’s another $40 million in interest coming due next week Thursday, and $5.1 billion at the end of the month, which is less than what the federal government took in on two of the three days mentioned above. Even the $56 billion in interest due to be paid out on 11/15 is less than a third of what came into the coffers last November.

In short, the only way there is an “interest-only” default in the near-future is if President Barack Obama and Lew order one. The bad news is, if they do order one, that opens the door to either a default on principal as investors refuse to reinvest in Treasury securities or hyperinflation as the Federal Reserve soaks up what isn’t bought by private and foreign interests. I’m not convinced that isn’t their goal.

October 10, 2013

Half of Detroit’s pension shortfall went out the door in “bonuses”

by @ 19:31. Filed under Politics.

(H/T – Ace)

This New York Times story is chock full of spin of how the workers for bankrupt Detroit deserved the decades’ worth of infamous “13th checks” issued by the two pension funds that an outside actuary estimates cost the general employees’ plan $2 billion between 1985 and 2011, so I’ll rely on Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle’s righteous outrage over the belated discovery of this (where Ace got his info) to help sift out the relevant points.

Between 1985, the first year the outside actuary could get records for the general workers’ pension fund, and 2008, the general workers’ pension fund handed out $1 billion in “bonuses” to current workers, retirees, and the city of Detroit. Notably, only 14% of that went to the retirees. 32% went to “reduce” the city’s committment to the trust funds, even though had this program not been in place, it is likely that the city’s contributions would have been lower as there were years that this program doubled the required city contribution. 54% went to the active employees for some reason.

The outside actuary, who made his report to the Detroit Common Council in November 2011, estimated that had the “13th checks” instead remained in the general pension fund between 1985 and 2008, the fund would have been nearly $2 billion larger than it was in 2011. He was not able to calculate the effects of the “13th check” on the police/fire pension fund, which had a similar program that apparently ended a bit before the Council finally pulled the plug on the general employees following that report.

That $2 billion is more than half of the $3.5 billion underfunding of the two pension funds. Something tells me that, if this were calculated for the police/fire pension funds, and had the 2009 and 2010 “13th checks” were also included in the calculation, almost the entirety of the current underfunding would have been covered.

Of course, that didn’t matter to the (mis)managers of the pension funds – like the architechts of the Milwaukee County pension raid of 2000 and especially the unionistas that benefited from it, they got “theirs”. Moreover, they thought that the Michigan constitution would require that the last drop of blood from the turnip go to them. They didn’t count on the last drop being drained before they died.

One more thing – in 2009, when the Detroit pension funds lost nearly a quarter of their value, the retirees were credited with a 7.5% return on their investment.

Thursday Hot Read – DrewM’s “The GOP Civil War…The Role Of Outside Groups And The Empire Strikes Back”

by @ 9:53. Filed under Politics - National.

This is what a post on the GOP Civil War written by me would look like if I had the time to do 1,695 words and the talent of DrewM. While even this three-paragraph excerpt can’t do justice to the entire piece, I hope it whets your appetite enough to read it all:

There’s clearly a faction of the party (the entrenched professional class) that saw the victories of 2010 as simply an opportunity to return to business as usual. There was no real urgency to roll back the Obama agenda of 09-10, just to accept the ground lost and move on. Oh sure there were plenty of votes to repeal ObamaCare but not when it really counted. In divided government only a handful of bills are going to pass. If you don’t hitch your wagon to one of the few “must pass” pieces of legislation, you’re really just putting on a show for the folks back home.

Enter the establishments new favorite conservative villains…the Senate Conservative Fund, Heritage Action and The Club for Growth. The knock on these groups is that they spend far more time attacking Republicans than Democrats. And to a large extent, it’s a fair description. But that ignores the problem they are trying to solve…weak kneed Republicans who left to their own devices will revert to their big spending, go-along, get-along ways.

The fact of the matter is, given past performance, Republican office holders do need an enforcer looking over their shoulders. I like to think of these groups not as “the enemy within” but as the “motivation squad”. If you aren’t a self-motivator, most people will take the path of least resistance. For Republican officeholders, that often means giving in to the DC mindset that their job is to manage the train and keep it running to the benefit of those who pay the freight. Well, these conservative groups are serving as the eyes and ears (and occasionally the clinched fist) of conservative voters back home who sent people to DC to slow the train down and eventually put it on a different track.

What are those “past performances”? No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D in 2003, the torpedoing of Social Security reform in 2005, an average publicly-held debt increase of over 9% per year, the growth to near 50% of the income-earning populace not paying any income taxes…need I go on?

How many people would have avoided PlaceboCare’s tax had the exchanges worked 100% from Day One?

by @ 8:11. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National, Taxes.

(H/T – Hot Air commenter MobileVideoEngineer)

3,800,000 according to DNC Chair (and Congresswoman) Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). That’s right – the PlaceboCare exchange website was designed to handle a grand total of 50,000 people per day. There are 76 days, including weekends and holidays, between October 1 and December 15, the last day to sign up for PlaceboCare to be covered starting in January and thus not taxe…er…fined for not having PlaceboCare coverage.

No wonder why the IRS is saying the PlaceboCare exchanges are going “as planned”. They stand to get a rather-substantial ill-gotten windfall.

Revisions/extensions (8:15 10/10/2013) - I forgot to mention that, just like every other Rat-introduced health-related spending disaster, the PlaceboCare exchanges busted the budget by orders of magnitude. It was supposed to cost $94 million; instead, the cost is $634 million and counting.

R&E part 2 (18:20 10/10/2013) - It’s supposedly 50,000 at a time, not per day. Of course, that’s less than half the capacity of the GOP’s Medicare drug benefit expansion, which if memory serves was also available through snail mail.

October 8, 2013

Want a government job? Go south, ex-con.

by @ 17:52. Filed under Politics.

(H/T – Tom Blumer)

WBBM-TV out of Chicago reports that Illinois governor Pat Quinn (D) has administratively barred the state from asking prospective job candidates from asking about any possible criminal past when they apply for open employment positions with the state. While state bureaucrats still have the option to do a background check later in the hiring process, how are they going to know who to check?

The beauty of the piece is the one person WBBM found to tout the new “welcome crooks” initiative is state Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago), who has federal bank fraud charges pending against him. They don’t call the county Chicago is the seat of Crook County for nothing.

Say, I wonder if asking UnioncRAT gubernatorial nominee(-in-waiting) Mary Burke whether she’ll welcome ex-cons to apply for Wisconsin state jobs is on her agenda will fall on the same deaf ears 10 other must-ask questions from my friends at Right Wisconsin want asked.

New Pro Bowl uniforms – gaudy over patriotism

by @ 9:36. Filed under Sports.

>Nike unleashed the new Pro Bowl uniforms that match the new “pick-up game” mentality that shattered the old AFC vs NFC reality. Technologically, they have the latest and greatest cool features built in.

However, they’re missing one thing – the AFC red, the both-conferences white, and the NFC blue that’s been the standard as long as I can remember. Replacing it, puke orange and highlighter yellow (or as Nike calls it, vibrant orange and bolt). Guess they’re expecting a teamload of Broncos and Seahawks.

Excuse me while I hurl into this already-overflowing puke bucket, overflowing because Clay Matthews is going to be out a month.

Jimmy Carter – today’s middle class is as poor as the poor were in my day

by @ 8:06. Filed under Economy, Politics - National.

Really, Peanut Farmer? Let’s ignore the middle class for now and compare the poor now and the poor then:

  • Back then, the average family had one color TV out in the living room and maybe one black-and-white TV in the parents’ bedroom. Now, there’s color TVs in every room used for either living or entertaining (oh yeah, they’re probably hooked into a pay-TV service and some are hooked into gaming consoles, neither of which were exactly the province of the poor or the middle class back in Peanut Farmer’s day).
  • Back then, there were 2, maybe 3, phones in the house on a single line. Now, every family member over the age of 12 has his or her own phone and phone number (and they’re portable, and a couple are probably smartphones, again not exactly the province of either the poor or the middle class, or in the case of the smartphone, even the ultra-rich, back in the Peanut Farmer’s day).
  • Back then, home-cooked meals, and cooked-from-scratch meals, were the norm, with even fast-food restaurant a rare treat. Now, dinner is about as likely to come out of a McDonald’s bag or a Domino’s box as it is out of a heat-and-serve one, and a cooked-from-scratch meal is the rare treat.
  • Back then, there might have been 2 cars in the household, and most likely only if the mom also worked. Now, it’s as likely as not that little Biffy/Buffy has his/her own car to drive to prom (which would make 3 cars in the average 2-parent family because, thanks to a historically-high overall government demand, mom has to work too).

I will grant that there has been a major slip backward since the summer of 2008 with the “legacy” rich’s attempt to make sure Al Czervik doesn’t even have enough money to think about getting into Bushwood, but that’s on the Peanut Farmer’s party.

October 7, 2013

The definitive shutdown analogy

by @ 17:56. Filed under Politics - National.

Hot Air commenter 18-1 absolutely nailed it in the comments section of a post on White House economic advisor Gene Sperling terming prioritization of paying bills “default by another name”:

Let’s break this into an analogy.

Your house is about to be foreclosed on and your credit cards are maxed out. Your earnings are down because the Obamaconomy has devastated your income.

Your spouse comes to you with a handful of credit card applications saying this is the only way you can still afford to go out to eat every night and still go on that vacation to Obamacare Tahiti as promised.

You refuse to sign up for the new cards and instead demand that you cut all unnecessary spending now before you lose everything.

Your spouse responds by calling you a terrorist, a hostage taker, and an extremist. Your spouse locks you out of the house, and spends money hiring people to wall off not only your driveway, but everyone in the neighborhood.

Who is the reckless individual in this case?

One thing 18-1 left out of that – you offered several different ideas on spending to cut, and your spouse rejected out of hand every single one of them.

As for Sperling, the dirty little secret is no matter what the politicians in DC do, there will be a “technical default” within 15 years. There isn’t enough money in the world to support another doubling of the publicly-held portion of the debt, and there isn’t enough money in the US to support the amount of taxation required to avoid said doubling.

October 6, 2013

Mark Steyn pens the NPS Anthem

by @ 21:28. Filed under Politics - National.

(H/T – Dad29:

Mark Steyn penned this catchy tune, which is a hell of a lot better than the Unionista Singers ever did.

This land is our land, it sure ain’t your land
From downtown DC to the Lake Mead shoreland
From the Arctic Refuge to the Gulf Stream waters
This land is closed to you and yours

I’m hoping for a tape of him singing it on Thursday, mostly so I don’t have to do it myself.

Do go over to NRO for verses 2, 3 and 4.

October 3, 2013

Walker defies Team SCOAMT

This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on how Scott Walker defied federal diktats to close several state parks that receive a modicum of federal funds, and use a 1961 agreement to reopen a Mississippi River boat launch in a state park but on federal land, has gone viral. I could direct you to, say, the guest bloggers tending to The Gateway Pundit’s place or Hot Air for the macro shutdown take, but instead I’ll tie it to the Medicaid expansion that was part of PlaceboCare.

Over the course of the creation of the current state budget, the Rats and their allies-of-convenience in the health care industry tried to push Walker to accept a temporary federal funding of an expansion of Medicaid, saying it was “free money”. Walker refused, saying that the state would be left holding the bag when that money inevitably dried up.

Well, the federal money for the expansion of some state parks has dried up. Because Walker and the Republicans managed to cobble together a bit of a surplus, rather than be the heartless bastards the Rats and their presstitute organs say he is (and that Team Shutdown Clusterf*ck Of A Malignant Tyrant is), he and DNR secretary Cathy Stepp are able to keep those parks wide open.

Of course, $701,000 in parks revenue is a far cry from the hundreds of millions of dollars that Medicaid expansion is, and the shutdown is temporary.

October 2, 2013

The PlaceboCare national hotline number is…

by @ 19:41. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National.

1-800-F1UCK YOU (or for those of you who can’t spell on a phone handset, 1-800-318-2596, with the 8-for-U not necessary).

What, were 1-800-382-5968 (FUCK-YOU), 1-800-358-5936 (FLUKE YOU, courtesy Myron Falwell in the comments section of Duane Patterson’s piece), and all the 888/877/866/855 variations of those two taken? Then again, Fluke does rhyme with fuck, so HHS might be counting on the low-information voters needing to L33T-spell phonetically.

Ask Egg – The Lost Year Edition

by @ 12:47. Filed under Ask Egg.

One thing about taking off for a year – the allergies cycle around. With that, and the usual dose of Claritin-D (or at least the generic version thereof), it’s time for yet another round of Ask Egg, where I provide answers to questions the famous and powerful would ask if they were dumb enough to ask me:

Dear Egg,

I’ve got this little problem of not being able to spend a third of the money I usually spend because I can’t get my class enemies to bend completely to my will anymore. I heard a group of really old geerzers want to visit an open-air memorial down the road from me that is officially closed, even though it’s open 24 hours a day and one of my predecessors kept another memorial that is mostly enclosed open during his shutdown war. I’m torn between voting “present” as I usually do, and going against my nature, declaring that “rules are rules”, and bringing the pain. Quick, be the coin for me.

-Shutdown Corner of a Malignant Tyrant

SCOAMT,

Those “really old geezers” are World War II vets. Some of them breached the Atlantic Wall, others broke the back of an enemy that refused to surrender to outsiders for a millenium. You don’t want to piss them off on their visit to their memorial, even (especially, really) during their sunset years.

Oh, and don’t double down on stupid, or at least try to not follow your base instincts, or do. I know you won’t take good advice anyway.

-Egg

Dear Egg,

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. There’s these rabble-rousers in the other chamber who have called my bluff of throwing away a pair of deuces when my opponent has a 10-high hand showing. I tried to put them in their place, but they gained enough allies to force me to play my pair rather than throwing it away at the turn. I know you suck at poker, but so do I. How should we play this out?

-Flooding the Capitol

Flood,

First things first, stop crying! Salt water is very bad for the marble.

Second, grow a spine. I know you said that you wanted to surrender now so you could fight for less next time around. Guess what? This isn’t “Pawn Stars” where you announce what you’ll settle for before you start negotiating.

Yes, I know your counterpart in the other chamber, The Only Member of Congress Who Matters™, doesn’t know how to lose. There’s a first time for everything, so teach him, and not by example either.

Here’s a prescription for iron pills; you look like you need it.

-Egg

Dear Egg,

I’ve lost my writing mojo. It’s been over a year since I’ve written anything at the place I called home for 7 years. All these people are nagging me to start writing again, but I can’t even write enough for a Tweet (not that there’s a home for cultural conservatives there). What do I do?

-The Shell

Dumbass,

Just start writing shit. It will come back to you sooner or later, but it won’t come back to you at all if you don’t write.

Oh wait, stop talking to yourself.

-Egg

Ten Years Later (Two Different Ones)

by @ 11:58. Filed under Miscellaneous.

You didn’t hear about it here because I was MIA in May, but earlier this year, Owen and Jed “celebrated” Boots and Sabers’ 10-year blogiversary by shutting it down. I know I’m spitting into the wind this late, but dammit, blogfather, the Cheddarsphere needs you a hell of a lot more than it needs me.

Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey vows to make the next 10 years of blogging as fun as his first 10. Fair winds and following seas, Captain.

Tom Clancy, departing

by @ 10:14. Filed under Breaking news.

There are multiple media reports stating author Tom Clancy has died. Assuming it’s true (especially in the Twitter era, these things are at times quite premature), it is quite a sad day. I have almost all of his books, though I passed on his “franchised” series.

To salute him, here’s one of my favorite passages, from “Red Storm Rising” (you know me, it’s not safe for work though it’s often replayed there, and the emphasis is in the original):

“Let’s have an attitude check!” Edwards said as he walked over to his meteorlogical instruments.

“I hate this fucking place!” the tower crew answered at once.

“Let’s have a positive attitude check.”

“I positively hate this fucking place!”

“Let’s have a negative attitude check.”

“I don’t like this fucking place!”

“Let’s have a short attitude check.”

“Fuckit!” Everyone had a good laugh. They needed it.

October 1, 2013

Dusting the old place off

by @ 19:20. Filed under The Blog.

I’m back, sort of. I needed the last year off because I was just incredibly burnt out. In the meantime, I did a quick column for Right Wisconsin at its launch and a couple of guest posts at Ed Morrissey’s insistence over at Hot Air. You should be seeing more of me here and probably Right Wisconsin now that I’m starting to get my writing mojo back after the 2012 debacle.

Shoebox has been rather busy, and he’s barely been able to keep his Twitter account active. We’ll see if we can coax a few posts out of him too.

Revisions/extensions (19:27 10/1/2013) - There seems to be a bit of a problem with the commenting system. Working on it.

R&E part 2 (19:40 10/1/2013) - Combox should be fixed now.

Abele dumping county employees onto PlaceboCare?

Just a quick catch-up note or two; I’m BAAAAAACK! Also, a lengthier version of this was posted at Hot Air’s Green Room. You can thank (or curse, as the case may be), Ed later.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is including a proposal to dump all 4,400 county employees onto PlaceboCare, offering a “tax-neutral subsidy” to buy insurance on the exchanges. He claims that providing “subsidies”, really pay increases so he doesn’t have to go hat in hand to the Obama administration for the same exemption from the no-employer-subsidy law Congress got, for the employees to purchase insurance on the PlaceboCare exchanges will save the county $10 million per year. Even though the county is expecting to otherwise pay UnitedHealthCare nearly $14,000 per employee next year, I somehow doubt the math will work to that extent. After all, the not-exactly-functional exchanges will charge Wisconsinites some of the highest premiums in the country, with the “silver” plan having a Milwaukee-area retail (i.e. pre-subsidy) price of just over $11,000 per year for a family of 4. There are also open questions of whether units of government will be charged the $3,000 per employee tax fine other large employers not offering health insurance will eventually be charged and whether, to make it tax-”neutral”, the county can offer “pre-tax” dollars.

Even though earlier rumblings out of the Board had been negative toward this idea when it was merely a rumor floating around the courthouse, Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying she was “always interested in studying ideas that could expand health care options and produce savings.” That suggests that the Board might be on board this idea.

This is all possible without much fear of a union backlash because of 2011′s Act 10, which allows units of government in Wisconsin to dictate the terms of non-wage compensation to unions, just as they had to non-union employees. I know I’ve seen stories of other local governments nationwide at least threatening to end employer-provided health coverage, but I cannot remember what I’ve done with the links to the stories. Of note, the FY2014-FY2015 state budget did not take health insurance benefits away from state employees even though most of the same Republicans who passed Act 10 passed that budget.

December 25, 2012

Have a blessed Christmas

by @ 0:00. Tags:
Filed under Religion.

From St. Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-12, NIV84)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Have a blessed Christmas.

October 20, 2012

The Final Debate Drunkblog

by @ 13:02. Filed under 2012 Presidential Contest.

Don’t confuse this with a full-on Egg return, but since Shoebox is just about out of free time on Cover It Live, I’m doing the post for this one. The usual language warning applies, so bring your favorite beverages over and we’ll start this thing about 7:45 pm Central Monday.

October 14, 2012

Debate Thunderdome!

Two men enter! One man leaves! Two men enter! One man leaves!

Yes, it’s time for the second Presidential debate. With the Dems down 0-2 and going back to the Great Grimacer, they are in desperate need of at least a tie. If the Dems go down 0-3, even my former home state of Minnesota might have a chance of recovering from the Mondale Muff!

Join us Tuesday evening. I should get it going about 7:45 for you Central timers. As usual, the family friendly light will be out so bring your best snark!

October 10, 2012

VP Debate

Yup, it’s another Thursday and that means another debate!

This time we’ve got Joe “gaffe is my middle name” Biden going up against Paul “I’ve got your balanced budget right here” Ryan.

Join Me and hopefully Steve, for another evening of scoffing, snark and derision. I should have us up live about 7:45 y’alls time.

September 30, 2012

First Presidential Debate

by @ 13:02. Filed under 2012 Presidential Contest.

Update: In a move that has come to be known in Wisconsin as “The Favre,” it is being reported that Steve Egg will be coming out of his self imposed retirement to join the live debate tonight….let’s see if his aging legs serve him better than Favre’s did!

Come one, come all. Bring your booze and your snark. Leave your thin skins at home!

I’ll try to get things rolling by about 7:45 Central

September 28, 2012

Out With a Bang!

Egg has announced that he will be putting up the closed sign here at NRE in the not too distant future. He’s graciously offered for me to take over here but really, can you imagine someone with my green complexion holding down a blog site for runny eggs? ewwwww!

All that said, there’s no reason to let many years of fun and friends go out with a whimper. We need to take advantage of the upcoming debates and take this baby out in style!

There are currently 4 Presidential/VP debates scheduled:

October 3rd at 8 Central
October 11th at 8 Central
October 16th at 8 Central
October 22nd at 8 Central

I’m a little challenged on the 22nd but think I can find a way to get live blogs going for all 4 events. Put these on your calendar today and plan on joining me and maybe Egg if he hasn’t succumbed to the Obamapacolypse by then. The “Family Friendly light” will definitely be extinguished for these events to plan on liquoring up prior to the start of the debate….you won’t want to be sober or sane for even a minute of these events!

Let’s take NRE out not with a whimper or simply a bang. Help me take NRE out in a fully engulfed in flames!

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