Paying the Vig

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has reached an agreement with the Transport Workers Union Local 100, the union representing the city’s 34,000 subway and bus employees. No news there. What’s interesting is a “side letter,” also agreed, about which both the MTA and the TWU carefully kept quiet.

A side letter of this sort is a separate deal that commits to paper the wink and nod that otherwise would represent an unspoken agreement that no one is supposed to know about, but that the winker and winkee reached on the q.t.

Which is More Important?

A Federal judge’s oath of office, or adherence to superior court precedent?  To be sure, both hierarchy in our judiciary and the precedence of rulings are critical to rule of law and to the US remaining a nation of laws and not of men.  But so is a judge’s adherence to his oath of office, and so is the Constitution.

Here’s the oath:

I, _________, do solemnly swear or affirm that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.

More Fear of Competition the arena for ideas, again by Progressives.  This time as they attack children in New York for having a different idea.

A 13-year-old at Orange-Ulster BOCES in New York was suspended for two days last week for the heinous crime of telling her classmates and friends that they did not have to sit for Common Core examinations.  Never mind that she was telling the truth—the exams are entirely voluntary.  Never mind that the word had to come from her because the school administration, in their transparency, had withheld this information from parents.

On Denying Market Forces vis-à-vis Supply and Demand

Here’s an interesting graph from AEIDeas:

What this illustrates is the outcome of the lack of a market for organs to be transplanted, in this graph, specifically kidneys.

As Mark Perry put it in his article [emphasis his],

While the annual number of kidney transplant operations has remained relatively flat since 2005 in a range between about 16,500 and 17,000, the number of registered patients on the waiting list continues to increase.  From about 65,000 registered patients in 2005, the waiting list for a kidney transplant has increased by more than 50% over the last eight years, and by 35,000 patients, to the 100,019 patients who are currently on the kidney waiting list.

Sounds Like A Reason

…to continue shedding light on this man, and on Progressivism and the Democratic Party generally.

Nevada’s Democrat Secretary of State [Ross Miller] says he’ll do all in his power to crush a conservative organization that ran ads against him in his campaign to become the state’s attorney general.

As Secretary of State, he’s also the one who oversees elections—including the one in which he’s running.

And he’s doing his “Stifle, Edith” act because he doesn’t like a political ad being run by the State Government Leadership Foundation.  If you’re curious, the ad is here, but the content isn’t particularly important.

More Failed Government

This example isn’t a demonstration of dishonesty, and it isn’t unique to this administration.

Market-sensitive information vitally important to health-insurance companies has once again reached Wall Street before the public, and this time it appears to have come from the government itself.

On Dec 3, an official with the agency in charge of Medicare spending held a conference call for industry officials.  During the call, he provided data suggesting that federal funding for private Medicare plans would likely fall more than expected.

Hotel Maryland

You can check in, but you can’t check out.

Netflix’ show, House of Cards, is about cut-throat politics at its worst, it’s hugely successful, and it’s filmed in Maryland.  And therein lies the rub.

The show’s producers, Media Rights Capital, now want a larger set of tax credits, given that success.  If they can’t get an increase, MRC says it’ll move its filming location to another state where it can get a better deal for its proven product.  Fair enough.  The filming produces income for the state’s economy and for the state, even with the current credit structure, and that success is expected to continue.

Foreign Policy Fail

Secretary of State John Kerry, in the aftermath of his latest failure, this time with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on the matter of the Russian invasion and partition of Ukraine, had this to say for himself:

Any real progress in Ukraine must include a pullback of the very large Russian force that is currently amassing along Ukraine’s border.  Tonight I raised with the foreign minister our strong concern about these forces.

Notice that: not a word about pulling out of Ukraine.  Just a plea to please don’t hurt Ukraine any more.


A Letter of Resignation

…by HHS’ ex-Office of Research Integrity Director, David Wright.  I’ve…written negatively…about the HHS a number of times, but this isn’t one of them.  Here, the HHS is just the immediate face of the problem Wright describes.  The dysfunction illustrated here, this utter failure of government bureaucracy, is typical of the Federal government and of too many State and local governments.


Dr Howard Koh, MD

Assistant Secretary for Health

Dear Howard:

I am writing to resign my position as Director, Office of Research Integrity, ORI/OASH/DHHS.

Union Greed, Extended

Included in President Barack Obama’s latest budget proposal was a 1% raise for Federal employees.  Of course, in this time of profligate spending and exploding debt, that’s not enough for public service unions.

David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation’s largest federal employee union, said Monday that the 1% increase is “pitiful” and fails to compensate for sacrifice by government workers.

“Federal employees have endured years of pay freezes and cuts in retirement benefits,” Cox said in a statement.  “Federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise, not a token increase that will be more than eaten up by rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare costs.”