Latest News

Another Way the IRS Can Seize Your Money

By 10.29.14

Imagine opening up your door one morning to two agents of the IRS. They tell you that they have seized your checking account and the $33,000 in it, just because you made a “suspicious” cash deposit under $10,000. Not a good start to a day.

That’s just what happened last year to Carole Hinders, who runs a cash-only Mexican restaurant in Iowa. She wasn’t charged with any crime or even accused of anything. Hinders lost her money because of the size of her deposits.

Drug traffickers, money launderers, and even terrorists often keep deposits under $10,000 to avoid a regulation designed to sniff out illegal transactions. It just so happens that many legitimate businesses also deposit cash in large amounts less than $10,000.

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Politics

Optimism and Desperation in the Midterms

By 10.29.14

The long-awaited midterm elections are but days away, and Republican optimism is beginning to cross the border into giddiness. Last week RedState’s Erick Erickson all but declared the Senate won, despite many close races:

With the President’s numbers so bad and the GOP’s numbers so good, it makes you wonder what is going on in the state level polling that shows so many races so close. That national polling trickles down to states.

Perhaps there is some over-compensation and over-correction that is, ironically, going to cause a lot of pollsters to repeat the mistakes of 2012. There is no evidence that the voters who vote for Barack Obama are the Democrats’ voters. They are Barack Obama’s voters.

They did not show up for him in 2010 and the hysteria and race baiting the Democrats have stooped to in these final weeks suggests they know these voters will not show up for him in 2014 either.

The end of Barack Obama’s Presidency approaches.

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Special Report

California Faces Death by Pension

By 10.29.14

When the November election was still a long way off, Sacramento-area streets were already plastered with campaign signs for a little-noticed political race: candidates are running to serve on the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, better known as CalPERS. While not as high-profile as the statewide and congressional races, these seats are arguably of equal importance to Golden State taxpayers. CalPERS, the largest state pension fund in the country, not only manages more than $257 billion in assets, but also loves to use its political muscle to prod corporate America into “socially responsible” (read: leftist-friendly) investing.

Sacramento, as the state capital, is Public Employee Central, so the race has become heated and costly. The campaign signs that caught my eye promised “pension security” and were paid for by the Service Employees International Union. This election is a touchstone for the entire pension issue in California—and, per usual, it doesn’t look good for the taxpayer.

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At Large

Pot Brownies and Putin’s Trolls

By 10.28.14

Not once in my life have I ever said to anyone, “You wanna smoke a bowl?”

Still, I get ads via emails on my computer about water bongs, vaporizers, smoking pipes and scales.

With edibles, I get emails about pot brownies and marijuana-infused peach soda. It sounds like a picnic you’d have to toss in the bushes if the cops showed up.

There are also regular incoming movie trailers on my computer for Reefer Madness, an “unabashed propaganda film with alarmist views on the dangers of marijuana addiction,” plus trailers for Assassin of Youth and The Narcotics Story.

Similarly, not once in my life have I ever gone to a bingo hall looking for a date. Still, I get recurring email and pop-up ads about “New Singles, Zoosk members, women 65 to 72.”

I’ve never replied to any of the aforementioned ads or clicked for more information.

With the Zoosk ad, a response did pop into my head that I thought might provide a chuckle on the other end: “I’m a foot fetish, seeking same, or a job in a shoe store.”

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Main Street U.S.A.

Government as the Great Equalizer — and Other Absurdities

By 10.28.14

The really troubling point that Joel Kotkin makes in the New York Daily News is that New York can’t figure out how to do the economic equality thing we hear so much about in this and every political season. “Gotham,” writes Kotkin, “has become the American capital of a national and even international trend toward greater income inequality and declining social mobility.”

The most unequal county in America — that’s Manhattan. Second lowest among the country’s 100 largest cities in terms of middle-income neighborhoods — that’s the city as a whole. The Bronx one-ups, so to speak, that dismal distinction, being the nation’s poorest urban county. Meanwhile, says Kotkin, a respected (outside New Yorker circles) writer on urban dysfunction, “Roughly one in four Brooklynites — most of them black or Hispanic — lives in poverty.”

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Special Report

Hillary Does a Job on America Once Again

By 10.28.14

Hillary Clinton’s Friday warning to a Boston audience, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and business that create jobs,” felt like a “jump the shark” moment even within a Democratic Party that has adopted a similarly ignorant and harmful anti-capitalist mantra.

The most well-known recent Democratic dismissal of entrepreneurs came from President Obama during the 2012 election campaign season: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The entire rant is equally inflammatory, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of economics and a reprehensible dismissal of those risk-taking businesspeople — with whom Obama never associates except when collecting their checks at Silicon Valley fundraisers — who power the economic engine of the free world.

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Culture Vultures

Bristol Palin Meets the Liberal Superiority Complex

By 10.28.14

By now the clip of CNN’s Carol Costello mocking Bristol Palin has gone everywhere. Palin is heard on audio tape describing to police how she was physically assaulted. Costello found the moment vastly amusing. Now comes a written apology from Costello — but not an on-air apology, at least as yet.

Before time moves along, let’s stop a moment and understand what America just witnessed here.

Costello’s demeanor, not to mention her words, said everything. The CNN anchor dripped contempt for Palin. She was condescending, smirking, absolutely reveling in the physical assault of this particular young woman, broadcasting live and in living color Costello’s own decidedly imagined sense of superiority.

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A Further Perspective

Democrats Can Run But They Can’t Hide From Barack Obama

By 10.28.14

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

The great boxing champion Joe Louis once said about one of his opponents, who was known for his speed: “He can run but he can’t hide.” In the Congressional elections this year, many Democrats are running away from Barack Obama, but they can’t hide their record of voting for Obama’s agenda more than 90 percent of the time.

Now that the Western democracies have learned the hard way what the consequences are when you admit all sorts of people into your country — including people who hate both the principles and the people of your society — will that cause zealots for open borders and amnesty to have some second thoughts, or perhaps first thoughts?

I hope Yankees manager Joe Girardi was watching the World Series when Madison Bumgarner was allowed to come out and pitch the 9th inning, even though he had already made 107 pitches. Time and again, Girardi has taken out a pitcher who was pitching a great game, and brought in a reliever who lost it. Baseball statistics provide good rules of thumb, but bad dogmas on a given day.

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Politics

The Rehabilitation of Rick Perry

By From the September 2014 issue

Three years ago, a Texas reporter named Jay Root set out to chronicle the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that would land Governor Rick Perry in the White House. He couldn’t have guessed that, in the end, the story wouldn’t have much to do with ad buys or endorsements or personality conflicts. The real event, of course, played out in public, in the on-stage meltdown that gave Root the title of his 2012 e-book: Oops!

Yet that unforgettable moment when, during a nationally televised debate, Perry could recall only two of the three cabinet departments he proposed to eliminate, was just the final indignity in a short campaign full of them. Remember that ad in which Perry complained that “gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” or the parodies it provoked? How about that rambling, free-and-easy speech Perry gave in New Hampshire that caused everyone to assume he was either drinking or still taking painkillers from his back surgery three months earlier? It was, according to James Carville, the worst campaign in American history.

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Ten Paces

Will Soccer Conquer the U.S.?

By and From the September 2014 issue

Football vs. Fútbol—No Contest in El Norte

By Larry Thornberry

It’s never as bad an experience, and I don’t have to assume an undignified position. But the quadrennial World Cup has this in common with my annual exam by my urologist: at some point I’m sure to ask, “Good grief, isn’t this over yet?”

It’s not that I begrudge America’s small band of true soccerphiles the chance to enjoy a game they like on a large stage. (These folks are well represented by my friend Wlady Pleszczynski, whose appreciation of fútbol is opposite my harrumphs.) But I’m mildly annoyed by the flogging and over-coverage of a sport few Americans know or care much about.

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