Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today's interesting news and comment

Update: The operation for my friend and brother Marine Vietnam vet John Payne's lung transplant started at 2:30 am on Wednesday, December 18, and at 7:30 am we heard from Donna Payne that he came through fine. Long road yet, as infection and rejection are now the enemies. ~Bob

Wounded Warrior Project Comment
First of I wish you and your family a happy and safe Christmas. Thank you for sending the thing about WWP. I am a disabled vet and then after the military was injured as a firefighter in Ma with a spinal cord injury. The paralyzed vets suggested to call them because they have more adaptive sports and things for wheelchair bound people to do and was basically told to go shit in my hat because I wasn't a combat vet of operations OEF OIF. They should change their name to selected wounded warriors. The worst part you look at what they take in versus give out and it's awful. S/F Bro &Merry Christmas --Ryan 

The "Santa is White" silliness
I haven't been running this silly pieces on either side. Frankly, I don't have a problem with a Black Santa, a Black Barbie or a Black Easter Bunny. But on Black Presidents, we need to step up our game--there are thousands of better choices among patriotic, competent Black Americans than the one we've got.

The Obamacare Train Wreck is getting worse:

Must Read: Obama and the Plumber

Obamacare Finds the Poster Boy It Always Deserved. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt

Hmm. Nope, nope, and nope, pal. Where to begin? That appears to be a plaid adult onesie, and this is really testing my libertarian live-and-let-live limits. I suspect there's a reason grown men don't usually wear onesies. Probably something to do with zippers and midnight trips to the bathroom, and how you really don't want anything down there getting caught when you're half asleep and zipping up. By the way, if you're in the market for a plaid adult onesie, apparently they cost $69.95. What you wear to bed is your business, but that seems like a lot of money for something you sleep in.

Insurers, consumers await HHS guidance as deadline looms
Excerpt: Some frustrated consumers are sending premium payments to insurers who have never heard of them. Others say they will pass up federal subsidies and pay full price through insurers, while still others have given up altogether on the promise of health insurance by Jan. 1.
Consternation and confusion over applications sent through the federal website continue into the last seven days before the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline. (Obama's on it. He's going to check out how the Hawaii Exchange is working. ~Bob. That's a heck of a strategy for getting insurance: "Pay and pray." -- Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt)

Excerpt: In the latest round of difficulties with Obamacare in Wisconsin, plans offered by at least three insurers temporarily disappeared from the online insurance marketplace last week.
Before they came off the federal website for about a day, some of the plans from one company posted incorrect information about deductibles, according to the insurer.

Watchdog report of tropical trip leads to MNsure director’s resignation
Excerpt: MNsure‘s top official resigned Tuesday following a Watchdog Minnesota Bureau report that she took a two-week Costa Rica vacation in late November, during the rocky rollout of the state $150 million health insurance exchange. 

Private exchanges: Obamacare shopping still not ready
Excerpt: Private health insurance exchanges still are not able to directly enroll consumers in subsidized health plans offered through Obamacare even though the government has said problems doing so should have been cleared up weeks ago.

Obamacare’s Silent Insurers. Do the people running these firms have no backbone whatsoever? By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: Still, it’s hard not to wonder how much more these people are willing to take. Even an obedient dog will bite if you kick it enough. Since Obamacare’s passage, the administration has constantly moved the goalposts on the industry. For instance, when the small-business mandate proved problematic in an election year, the administration delayed it, putting its partisan political needs ahead of its own policy and the needs of the industry.

Decision time for Md.'s health exchange [Baltimore Sun Editorial]
Excerpt: Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O'Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.

Fewer shiny, happy people: Cover Oregon pulls hipster ads
Excerpt: It’s no secret the health exchange in Oregon has been a train wreck since it launched Oct. 1. But there might be one bright light amid the darkness. You know those quirky, hipster ads with the “Live Long in Oregon” jingle you can’t get out of your head? They’re going away… for now. (Crazy idea, fellas: build a product and distribution system that works, then start advertising. -- Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt)

Penalties for not buying insurance under Obamacare? Heck, 2 Colorado lawmakers want to give scofflaws tax credits
Excerpt: Reps. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jared Wright of Grand Junction announced that they will introduce a bill to give a tax credit to anyone who gets fined for not buying health insurance — at an amount equal to the federal penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not purchasing insurance.

ObamaCare May Devastate the Real Estate and Travel Industries. By Stella Paul
Excerpt: Americans are among the most mobile people on earth, but ObamaCare may soon start freezing them in place. Millions are losing their health insurance policies and being forced onto the ObamaCare exchanges, where most plans only provide local medical coverage. As Americans realize they must pay for all non-emergency medical care when they leave their home county, their decisions may have a profound impact on the real-estate market, particularly the second home sector, and on the travel business.

Excerpt: What brings this to mind is a recent ruling by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the matter. Under current law, it is illegal for a drug manufacturer to offer to pay a copayment for a Medicare or Medicaid patient in order to sell a drug. However, the Secretary has ruled that it is legal for health plans sold in the new health insurance exchanges to do that. Similarly, it will now be legal for hospitals to not only waive deductibles and copayments, but actually pay the premiums (for exchange-based insurance) for uninsured patients.

The End Of Obamacare: Just The Beginning Of Better Health Care. By Tom Miller 
Excerpt: The Obama administration detected faint signs of a pulse last week in its dysfunctional health benefits exchange web site. But the parade of dismal failures, broken promises, and unsuspecting victims under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will only grow longer. The White House insists that Obamacare is not really as bad as it looks. Besides, says President Obama, “[T]he only alternative that Obamacare’s critics have is, well, let’s just go back to the status quo.” That, too, isn’t true. 

ObamaCare Payment Deadline Extended To January 10
Tea Party Terrorists still delaying "settled law." ~Bob

Max Baucus, who provided 60th vote for #obamacare after being cut out of the process, gets his reward: Ambassador to China.

And in other news...

Inequality Does Not Matter. The poor and the middle class are falling behind, and it has nothing to do with the 1 percent. By Kevin D. Williamson
Excerpt: There is in fact no such thing as income distribution — “distribute” is a transitive verb, and here it has no real direct object. What there is is the occurrence of income. The argument that inequality causes income stagnation or decline for those who have been worse off in recent years assumes that if the rich were earning less then the middle class and the poor would be earning more, which in most situations is not the case.

The Poverty of Income Inequality. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: If you believe the left, the leading economic problem that Americans face today is not a lack of jobs or the cost of living, but a crisis of CEO salaries.
The crisis of income inequality, in which some people make a lot more money than everyone else, is irrelevant in an economy where the problem is not that incomes aren’t high enough, but that they don’t buy enough, and that there still aren’t enough jobs at minimum wage or any other wage.

Police summon 10 suspects in Bien Hoa beer looting
Excerpt: The suspects were summoned to help police clarify the evidence of the incident, Tran Tien Dat, chief of the secretariat of Dong Nai police, told Tuoi Tre. Officers however admitted that these ten suspects are only a few among the hundreds of people who looted a beer truck as it capsized near the Tam Hiep roundabout in Bien Hoa on December 4.

Obama Administration Violates another Court Order and More Veterans will Die
Excerpt: In contempt of a 2013 Circuit Court order (in Harris v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs et al Eric Shinseki), the Obama Veterans Administration recently filed a potentially illegal VA policy guideline change with the federal registry. If approved, the VA will begin stripping veteran’s legal rights, increase veterans disability claims denials and make it more difficult for veterans to challenge unfair VA disability ratings determinations. (Notice the salute to the veterans in the photo. --JB)

Nancy Pelosi: Deporting Illegal Immigrants ‘Just Wrong’
Excerpt: According to a transcript of the interview, Pelosi said, “Our view of the law is that… if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation,” before stating that it is a “different story” if someone has broken another law or committed a felony. “So– I don’t see any reason for these deportations.”(Stupid is as stupid does and boy-o-boy...--JB)

Excerpt: Johnson, unlike his most recent predecessors, has never actually held an executive position governing a state or managing a complex organization. Let me summarize his relevant experience in border security, port security, airport security or immigration enforcement: Zero. Zip. Nada. News coverage instead stresses that Johnson is the “first African-American” to hold the No. 1 position at DHS. Because, you know, diversity will keep us safe. Here’s more you should know about Johnson: He’s a lifelong beneficiary of the government/law firm revolving door, dating back to the Clinton years

Excerpt: The government has also spent well over a half million dollars to buy “likes” on Facebook, because the billions spent on Obamacare sure isn’t getting them enough “likes” elsewhere.

Five Turkish police commissioners removed after graft inquiry
Excerpt: ive Turkish police commissioners were sacked a day after the sons of cabinet ministers and prominent businessmen close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan were detained in a corruption probe, a local news agency said on Wednesday. The heads of five departments in the Istanbul police force, including its financial crimes, organized crime and smuggling units, were removed from their posts, the Dogan news agency said, without identifying its sources.

Iran Involved in Raid on Camp Ashraf
Excerpt: FP Exclusive: U.S. intelligence officials believe Iranian commandos participated in a deadly raid on an Iraqi compound housing the Iranian dissident group Mujahadeen-e Khalq and then spirited seven members of the group back to Iran, FP's Yochi Dreazen reports.

Boehner Video Strikes Back at Obama, Dems. By Adam O'Neal 
Excerpt: Speaker John Boehner, in a new YouTube video titled “Mr. President, What Are You Waiting For?,” pushes back against claims from the White House and Senate Democrats that the Republican-led House is obstructionist and opposed to governing.

Lobbying, Cronyism and Section 1705 Loan Guarantees: Why the Department of Energy should stop guaranteeing loans for green energy projects. By Victor Nava and Julian Morris
Excerpt: So why did the DOE systematically make loan guarantees to companies that are financially unsound? We found that many recipients had close ties to those in charge of approving the loan guarantees. Moroever, we found that the DOE allocated funds broadly in proportion to applicants’ lobbying expenditures. In other words, it is likely that loan guarantees were allocated not on the merits of the projects but, rather, according to the degree to which the applicants were able to use political connections

Excerpt: While denying rumors of a purported meeting between the US and the newly formed Islamic Front, a Syrian jihadist group that cooperates with al Qaeda's branches in Syria, US Secretary of State John Kerry said today that such a meeting is possible.

Southern Discomfort: U.S. Army seeks removal of Lee, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson honors
Excerpt: The U.S. Army War College, which molds future field generals, has begun discussing whether it should remove its portraits of Confederate generals — including those of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. (Generals Lee and Jackson are two of the most successful military leaders in our history and they normally were outnumbered. We also study Rommel and Napoleon along with many other leaders. --Don.)

At least 205 Christians Killed by Fulani Herdsmen in Benue State, Nigeria
Excerpt: Reports of Christians attacked in central and northern Nigeria draw more attention, but in more southerly Benue state Islamic extremists killed at least 205 Christians in the last six months alone, sources said.

Muslim family makes teen wear burqa to cover broken nose, bruises
Excerpt: A Muslim teenage girl has been removed from her New Zealand home after authorities discovered she was being severely beaten by relatives who made her wear a burqa to cover up her injuries.

Senate Dems Vote To Cut Pensions For Veterans Instead of Welfare For Illegals…
Excerpt: A final effort by Senate Republicans to halt cuts to pensions of military retirees failed late Tuesday, after Democrats blocked an amendment to the controversial budget bill….A provision in the already House-passed bill would cut retirement benefits for military retirees by $6 billion over 10 years. Sessions wanted to instead eliminate an estimated $4.2 billion in spending by reining in an IRS credit that illegal immigrants have claimed.

Washington Senator Patty Murray says cuts for disabled vets were a "technical mistake." She is a technical mistake.

The best and worst media errors and corrections in 2013

Chart: What causes mass shootings?

Carry Permit Holder Fends Off Crowbar-Wielding Intruder

Black Student Hangs Two White Men From Tree – Calls It Art 
Excerpt: The men were reportedly actors and were in no real danger during the project, which took place during the day in early December while students were on campus. The men were hung from a tree with a thick rope. ... Tuskegee Institute tracked the number of lynchings in the United States. They found that there were 4,743 lynchings in the US from 1882 to 1968. A majority of the lynchings took place in the Democratic South. One in four of the victims were white. (About the two-year total of blacks murdered by blacks in Chicago, I think. ~Bob)

Record High in U.S. Say Big Government Greatest Threat
Excerpt: Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question. (Tea Party nuts I suppose. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Five security personnel were killed and 34 wounded Wednesday evening when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden mini-truck into a mosque near a checkpoint in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, officials said.

Women are "Biggest Losers" in Arab Spring, By Abigail R. Esman

Excerpt: The Arab Spring, with the rising tide of hope for democracy and change it ushered in, has turned to autumn. For women it has become an Arab Winter, dark and cold and growing more perilous by the day. And nowhere is the situation worse than it is in the country where hopes for democracy and freedom were the highest: Egypt.

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