It’s defined as “everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” And they have it now in Kentucky:
Somerset's city hall ventured into the retail gas business Saturday, opening a municipal-run filling station that supporters call a benefit for motorists and critics denounce as a taxpayer-supported swipe at the free market.
The Somerset Fuel Center opened to the public selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon, a bit lower than some nearby competitors. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills stations, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.
The city is purchasing gas from a hometown supplier, Continental Refining Co. The city purchased a fuel storage facility for $200,000 a few years ago. Now, up to 60,000 gallons of regular unleaded gas can be stored there for the retail business.
The city spent less than $75,000 to convert the fueling center into a retail operation, the mayor said. Much of the investment went to upgrade pumps and add computer software to handle credit card purchases.
Gee, if the private competitors had taxpayer money for capital investments, they could lower their prices too.
Let’s compare the rate of computer crashes among IRS employees (approaching 20) corresponding with Lois Lerner with that for the IRS as a whole. It might be quite revealing, perhaps incriminating. (Via Drudge.)
The New York City government agency responsible for stopping illegal taxi operations is behaving as well as you might expect. Any car carrying even one passenger could be an illegal taxi, so it seizes the vehicle for a few weeks until the driver gets his day in court:
DNAinfo found that, between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 13, 2014, tribunal judges heard 7,187 cases involving accusations that a driver was operating an illegal cab or the owner of the car allowed someone to use their vehicle as one.
The judges dismissed 1,442 of those cases — many because the inspectors didn’t follow the law or ignored the explanation of the driver or passenger. Of those, 176 drivers had their cases dismissed after proving that their passengers were family members, friends or neighbors.
They included a retired MTA worker dropping off his girlfriend at her job at the Queens racino, an Astoria dad taking his teenage daughter and her friend to school and a Brooklyn retiree who volunteers at a convent giving nuns a lift to JFK Airport in his minivan.
Lawyers joke that the perfect witnesses to an alleged crime are a busload of nuns. This is the first I’ve heard of someone actually having a busload of nuns. (Via Drudge.)
A review of the [New York] Times’s photography in Gaza reveals a stark contrast in how the two sides are portrayed. Nearly every picture from Israel depicts tanks, soldiers, or attack helicopters. And every picture of Gaza depicts either bloodied civilians, destroyed buildings, overflowing hospitals, or other images of civilian anguish. It is as one-sided and misleading a depiction of the Gaza battle as one can imagine.
Today’s Times photo essay contains seven images: three of Gaza civilians in distress; one of a smoke plume rising over Gaza; and three of the IDF, including tanks and attack helicopters. The message is simple and clear: the IDF is attacking Gaza and harming Palestinian civilians. There are no images of Israelis under rocket attack, no images of grieving Israeli families and damaged Israeli buildings, no images of Hamas fighters or rocket attacks on Israel, no images of the RPG’s and machine guns recovered from attempted Hamas tunnel infiltrations into Israel.
Another report yesterday was accompanied by a single image: that of a dead child in a Gaza hospital.
A second report yesterday, ostensibly about Hamas tunnel attacks on Israel, bizarrely contained not a single picture related to those attacks. The three pictures it contained presented the same one-sided narrative of Israelis as attackers, Palestinians as victims. One picture showed an IDF artillery gun firing into Gaza; a second showed Palestinian mourners at a funeral; a third showed Palestinians waiting in line for food rations.
Indeed, a check of the Twitter feed of the Times’s photographer in Gaza shows not a single image that portrays Hamas in a negative light. It’s nothing but civilian victims of the IDF.
The slow American withdrawal from world affairs has been apparent for a long time, but has never been so glaringly evident as this week in the Middle East.
Hamas is at war with Israel, the brutal struggle in Syria frustrates the world, the terrorists of ISIS are making serious progress in Iraq — and now another attempt to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons has, so far, been thwarted.
The United States has a position of sorts in each of these arenas, but it’s not powerful in any of them. American influence has faded.
The world’s governments no longer worry as much as they once did about what Washington wants, partly because Washington doesn’t know what it wants. U.S. policy has become erratic and half-hearted, subject to arbitrary change without notice.
Barack Obama, who apparently distrusts American power, personifies this approach. He moves capriciously from subject to subject. One week he’s furious about Syria and announces that Bashar al-Assad has to go. When Assad doesn’t go, Obama loses interest. He seems always to be making a fresh start. When he’s not doing that, he’s “pivoting,” shifting his interest from one continent to another. He seems detached much of the time, then committed, then detached again.
I’d say he’s never really “committed,” he just feels pressure to look so, and says something, anything, to shut people up until he can change the subject.