Okay, guys, it's time to welcomeme back to civilization. As you've gotten used to some of our new contributors, coming to us from locales far and wide, I've been soaking up the rays and the key lime pie in Key West. Sadly, I am not being summoned back from Margaritaville to cover things that are more important to the world than whether it's possible to find a brunch that also features a drag show and really good Bloody Marys (there isn't, but Blue Heaven hits the brunch and Bloody Mary boxes).
The Spectacle Blog
Weighing in on the importance of his campaign, presidential hopeful and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders noted if his campaign fails, it’s not just a reflection on him but also a reflection on his ideas.
“If I do badly, and I don’t run a good campaign, and we don’t get our message out, and we don’t bring people together, it reflects not just on me, but on the ideas that I’m talking about,” Sanders told CNBC.
True to his socialist beliefs, the Vermont senator has made retribution of wealth a main point of his campaign. If elected president he wants to use tax policy to reverse what he sees as a massive transfer of wealth to the richest Americans.
“So to my mind, if you have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, you know what, we’ve got to transfer that back if we’re going to have a vibrant middle class,” Sanders continued. “And you do that in a lot of ways. Certainly one way is tax policy.”
An FBI investigation led to the arrest Wednesday of seven top officials of FIFA, the organization that governs world soccer, in Switzerland.
Overall, 14 people will face 47 racketeering, corruption, money laundering and wire fraud charges. The investigation alleges, among other accusations, that members of FIFA’s executive committee accepted bribes for media deals, and sold their votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar.
The U.S. Department of Justice led the investigation because of American laws that grant it broad powers to investigate foreign nationals. Much of the investigation focuses on Concacaf, the FIFA sub-organization that oversees soccer in North and South America. CONCACAF is headquartered in Miami.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the investigation “spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
You might not know it, but about half the cost of your preferred alcoholic beverage is made up of taxes and fees. One man in Congress, Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) wants to change that. Today he introduced a bill that would introduced a bill that would cut the current federal excise tax rate on whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin. For the first 100,000 gallons, the bill would reduce the tax from from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon, and for subsequent gallons the tax would be $9 per proof gallon.
Oakland officials say they will not contribute any taxpayer dollars toward building a new stadium for the Raiders, even if that means the team will move back to Los Angeles.
Although Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have yet to receive an official response from either Oakland or Alameda County as to whether they would provide the $400 million necessary to keep the team in Oakland, recent statements by elected officials suggest the money may not be forthcoming, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Their reluctance seems to stem primarily from Oakland’s previous experience with stadium subsidies, which were used to finance renovations of O.co Coliseum that helped lure the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995. The team had previously moved to Los Angeles in 1982 after Oakland refused to make stadium upgrades demanded by then-owner Al Davis.
Three-quarters of the 2,099 doctors responding to the nationwide survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicate they have seen an increase in emergency room (ER) visits since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, went into effect on January 1, 2014.
In the same survey, 28 percent of the respondents say ER use has “increased greatly.”
What providers are witnessing daily in the ER is not what the Obama administration promised would happen, says Dr. Richard Armstrong, a surgeon who practices in Michigan and serves as a board member of the Docs4PatientCare Foundation.
“Obamacare obviously did nothing to reduce the incentive for patients to use the ER as their primary care doctor,” Armstrong said.
All people make their choices based on incentives, and yet Obamacare did nothing to require co-pays from Medicaid patients, Armstrong says.
“It’s not unusual to see a Medicaid patient who simply has a headache to come to the emergency room instead, because it won’t cost them anything to get some Advil [there], which they could buy themselves at the drugstore across the street,” Armstrong said.
On the merits, the case for closing the Export-Import Bank is a slam-dunk. This has made life difficult for the bank’s supporters, especially since the bank will permanently close on June 30 unless Congress reauthorizes its charter. So they are switching to politics.
One of the top items on Congress’ agenda is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which despite some drawbacks, would make international trade a little freer than it is now. Seeing a point of entry, Ex-Im supporters tried to tie Ex-Im reauthorization into the TPA bill. This way, a Senator who opposes Ex-Im might have to hold his nose and vote for it anyway, since it would be part of the larger TPA bill he supports.
In the past, businesses have been happy to put new factories in states like South Carolina and Virginia, due to their right-to-work laws and relatively reasonable employment laws. But they should think twice about doing so in the future, thanks to some recent, very unreasonable court rulings against employers in those states by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Those decisions illustrate a contempt for binding Supreme Court precedent, and basic rules of logic, evidence, civil procedure, and appellate procedure
One of the fun things about being a columnist and radio talk show host has been the increasing interest by publishing companies in sending me new books for me to review or to interview the authors.
[Before going further, I'd like to suggest/request that all of you who read this visit http://smile.amazon.com/ and name the American Spectator Foundation as the charity which you'd like the proceeds of the Amazon Smile program to go do. Basically, you name a charity, you use smile.amazon.com as the link to buy anything you'd buy at Amazon.com, and 0.5% of all your purchases are donated to the charity. Nothing changes about your Amazon shopping experience except that you use the Smile link instead of the regular link. The links to the books below are the "Smile" links.]
Last year, I had the chance to meet with Paul Ryan, whose book I very much enjoyed.
Following the Alberta NDP's election victory one of their new MLAs Deborah Drever, 26, got into hot water for her social media activity namely giving the finger to the Canadian flag. She also drew heat for posing with a pro-marijuana t-shirt and drinking with her friends. I did not object to the latter activities, but the Canadian flag incident, well, raised a red flag:
Now it's entirely possible that Drever is a quick study and will become an excellent MLA. But in order for that happen she will need to exercise good judgment. None of us are perfect of course. But to dismiss the criticism as bullying leads me to believe that she probably won't learn from this experience. In which case, the people of Alberta are going to have a long four years with Rachel Notley and the NDP.
A week later it was revealed that she appeared on an album cover with a bottle aimed at a certain area of her anatomy.