Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Better Man

Hillary Clinton offers praise for...George W. Bush?
George W. Bush is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Because of the president's emergency program for AIDS relief. Whether you agree or disagree with a lot of what else he did — and I disagree with a lot of it — I am proud to be an American when I go to Sub-Saharan Africa and people say, ‘I want to thank President Bush and the United States for helping us fight HIV/AIDS.’
Isn't it about time somebody did?

Blogging In The Years: 1934

Gertrude Stein opines:
"I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize," she says, "because he is removing all elements of contest and struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left elements, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace."

Her speech is already natural and marked by a strong feeling for the values and the niceties of words. It is the Gertrude Stein of the Toklas biography who is talking. You cannot find the faintest trace of "Tender Buttons." That is her experimental, her provocative side, and it does not appear in her everyday life.
With her it's hard to tell if she's being ironic or not...

Don't Eat The Rich

Look for the party label:
Republicans should be the party of the rich. But that also includes those who also aspire and work to become rich. The wealthy and successful build the structure for others to participate and follow the ladder upward. The government, by contrast, collects the earned rewards of others and redistributes them while building no structure for others to climb. That’s the message which voters need to be made to understand.
Success is not evil; the hypocrisy against it is.

The New Punk Rockers

Conservatives are the new rebels:
We conservatives want to tear it all down. We conservatives want to smash it up. Liberalism, I want to destroy you. We're where the action is, where the excitement is, where you can hear new music from bands you mainstream liberals have probably never heard of.

Liberals want to see themselves as punks. They aren't. They are sad conformists who frankly deserve the consequences of their inaction.
They wanna be sedated...

Enrollment Ironies

The reality of Obamacare becomes apparent:
Nationally, regulators and insurance agents are inundated with complaints, while lawmakers are considering rules to ensure consumers' access to doctors. For plans being submitted for sale next year, the federal Department of Health and Human Services said it will more closely scrutinize whether networks are adequate.

Insurers say they are simply trying to provide low-cost plans in a challenging environment. The new federal health law doesn't let them reject enrollees with health problems or charge them more just because they are sick. So they are using the few tools left to them — contracting with smaller groups of hospitals and doctors willing to accept lower reimbursements; requiring referrals for specialty care; and limiting coverage outside those networks.

"Obamacare products have lower prices than they would have if they had had (larger) commercial networks," said Robert Laszewski, an industry consultant and former insurance executive. "They're one-size-fits-all networks designed for low-income people accessing insurance for the first time."
Just a reminder for those who were expecting different:

Worker's Payday

Right to work makes workers more money:
Michigan’s per-capita personal income increased from $38,291 in 2012 (before right-to-work became law) to $39,215 in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. That increase was the ninth highest in the country. (snip)

“The dire predictions of right-to-work detractors have not come true — Michigan has been a leader in income growth since passage,” said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

A study released this week by Richard Vedder, a distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University and an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute as well as with the Mackinac Center, found that “incomes rise following the passage of RTW laws, even after adjusting for substantial population growth that those laws also induce. RTW states tend to be vibrant and growing; non-RTW states tend to be stagnant and aging.”
Kind of like the union leadership there...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Half-Baked Sale

Schools are rebelling against government-regulated bake sales:
The pushback is not about students' taste buds, but their wallets. Food fundraisers are a crucial source of revenue for schools, state education officials say. "Tough economic times have translated into fewer resources and these fundraisers allow our schools to raise a considerable amount of money for very worthwhile education programs," the Georgia Department of Education wrote in a recent press release. "While we are concerned about the obesity epidemic, limiting food-and-beverage fundraisers at schools and school-related events is not the solution to solving it."
Money is more important than Michelle Obama's menu...

Retirement Run

Has President Obama already checked out?
Obama’s not dumb, and he’s clearly capable of marshalling an effective propaganda campaign when he wants to. So what explains this series of bad optics, which might be described by PR professionals as political malpractice?
The only thing that makes sense is that he is exhausted and, perhaps, has checked out of the job early.
When you don't care, it shows...

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Wages Of Revolt

It's time for another low-wage uprising:
"We want to talk about building leadership, power and doing whatever it takes depending on what city they're in and what the moment calls for," said Fells, adding that the ramped-up actions will be "more high profile" and could include everything from civil disobedience to intensified efforts to organize workers.

"I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us," perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald's for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother, but the family still has difficulty paying utilities and the mortgage while providing for her children. She said she has not been to a doctor in two years and does not get paid if she stays home sick.

"To have a livable wage, it's going to need to be $15 an hour," said Delisline. "We make the owners enough money that they have houses and cars and their kids are taken care of. Why don't (they) make sure I can be able to do the same for my kids and my family?"
Becuase you can be replaced...

Cell Numbers

Cell phone bans don't work:
“Our main result was that we found no evidence that the California cellphone ban decreased accidents,” Colorado University economics Professor Daniel T. Kaffine, one of the lead autors of the study, said in a statement. “This is surprising, because a lot of prior studies had shown that people who talk on cell phones, while driving, are just as impaired as people who are intoxicated.”

Along with Colorado School of Mines mathematician Bob Yu and Rand Corporation analyst Nicholas E. Burger, Kaffine looked at the six months from January 1 to June 30, 2008 as the “before” period and July 1 to December 31, 2008 as the “after period” to avoid overlap with a ban on text messaging that took effect on January 1, 2009.

The researchers looked at the average daily number of collisions, verifying that other factors such as the number of miles traveled, rainfall and gas prices did not affect the numbers. The final figures also accounted for holidays, as the numbers show accidents fell 15 percent because people drive less on those days. No matter how the numbers were analyzed, the results did not change.

“When we go to the data we just didn’t see any evidence that accidents actually declined in the six months after this ban that was put in place,” Kaffine explained.
Bad drivers are simply bad drivers...

Dollhouse Collection

I'd call this creepy:
Police have now identified the stranger behind the random gift giving and believe it was not her intention to cause alarm.
“Investigators made contact with the female adult who admitted to placing the porcelain dolls on the porch of the various residences in the community,” said the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture.
“There will be no further investigation of this case.”
Police initially thought the unwanted gifts may have been part of a twisted prank, but it appears the woman was just trying to get rid of her creepy collection.
Nobody likes evil dolls...

The Pipes Of PETA

PETA wants to give the people of Detroit water-for a price:
Lindsay Wright, with PETA, says that a member of the group has offered to pay one month’s water bill and provide a basket of healthy and cost-effective vegan food for 10 residents.
“We hope that by introducing people to eating vegan for this month-long pledge that it will stick with some folks and that they’ll wind up saving on the stress of dealing with some difficult health conditions and save money on health care costs in the long run,” said Wright.
“At PETA we really see this as a win-win, you know it’s going to give 10 Detroit residents in need, some immediate help, getting out from under their water bills plus it’s something that is going to be helping animals and the environment and of course there are health benefits for people who participate as well.”
Yes, the ones who die of thirst will leave more veggies for the rest...

The Right Not To Know

I'd argue otherwise:

Miracle Worker

Is this the drug that could kill Medicaid?
Sovaldi has prompted fears among insurers and state officials that the breakthrough drug, despite its benefits, could explode their budgets. And that has sparked an urgent and highly sensitive debate in Medicaid offices across the country: How far should society go to make sure the poor get the best available treatments?

“The purpose of health care and the purpose of the Affordable Care Act was supposed to provide — and now mandates — access to quality and affordable treatment,” said Ryan Clary, executive director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, a patient group partly sponsored by drugmakers. “They’re now finding that they’re not able to get cured for the condition that’d been keeping them from being in the health care system.”
Maybe that mandate is part of the problem?

A Tax Is A Tax Is A Tax

Once again, another Obamacare falsehood:
It was always obvious that the penalty for not complying with Obamacare’s individual mandate was just another surtax:

The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.
As shown by the newly released draft Form 1040, the surtax is paid as part of normal income tax filing by taxpayers.
The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare statute.
Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.

Famously, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax. However, that does not compel conservatives to agree that Obamacare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. The same decision declared the individual mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. Conservatives can accept that this surtax is a tax increase without accepting the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
It is what they claim it isn't...

Son Of Justin

The next Justin Bieber?
Sivan could be the next Justin Bieber. Let’s just pray he’s not, in so many ways. He has a hit song called “The Fault in Our Stars.” He wrote, produced and released it in 2013, inspired by John Green’s novel. It’s not on the movie’s soundtrack. That CD produced no breakout single. You wonder why Sivan’s song wasn’t on it. We’ll find out.
Anyway, here he is:

Faking The Internet

Buzzfeed becomes a victim if Jayson Blair Syndrome:
The instances were brought to BuzzFeed's attention by Twitter users @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, who cited six instances in which Johnson lifted passages from sites like The New York Times, Wikipedia, The Heritage Foundation and National Review Online without attribution.

“There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post," Smith told Poynter on Friday.

Gawker's J.K. Trotter had reported Thursday on other instances flagged by the two Twitter users, including passages lifted from Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia and U.S.News & World Report without credit.

Smith called those examples "serious failures" but stopped short of calling them plagiarism.

"Benny Johnson is one of the Web’s deeply original writers, as is clear from his body of work," Smith said at the time.
If that is even his real name...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Who Wants To Vote?

First, the good news:
Currently, 45% of registered voters who plan to support the Republican in their district say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in prior congressional elections; that compares with 37% of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate. The GOP had a 13-point enthusiasm advantage at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago (55% to 42%) and the Democrats held a 17-point advantage eight years ago (47% to 30%).
And now, the bad:
If Democrats hold onto the majority, the Republican-run House will block them. If Republicans retake the Senate, the Democrat-run White House will block Congress. It’s the least important election in years, and obviously much less important than 2010 was.
Trying something different probably won't help the Democrats, either...

No Assembly Required

It's furniture that puts itself together:
The EPFL biorobotics lab is developing self-configurable robotics known as "Roombots," which can merge with materials and furnishings to create adaptable furniture for the home and office.
"It's a bit of a science-fiction project in my lab to create intelligent furniture which can change shape and functionality," explains lab director Auke Ijspeert. "We envisage the Roombots moving and combining to create a diversity of elements including tables and chairs." The goal is to create furniture that can be re-used in multiple ways.

Designs would consist of Roombot modules -- which resemble two dice stuck together, and contain a battery, three motors for movements and pivoting, and a wireless connection. Each module is just 22cm long and the team imagine just 10 of them could combine to build a broad range of furniture. "The Roombots would be coupled with more passive materials such as a table top or cushion to create the end results," says Ijspeert.
Your room will be assimilated-and color-coordinated...

Definitions

What's in a word?
A search for synonyms of “obstructionist” on Thesaurus.com, which cites Roget’s, reveals that the source considers several words related to conservative and right-leaning political stances to fit the definition of a “person who is cautious, moderate; an opponent of change.” Under antonyms, it lists left-leaning words.

Included in the list of obstructionist synonyms are “right-winger,” “right,” and “rightist” and ”Tory,” the British conservative party.

Other synonyms listed for obscrutionst are “traditionalist,” “conserver,” “conventionalist,” “unprogressive,” and “redneck.”
If you wanted to look up "propaganda" would it be under the liberal antonyms?

Resetting The Reset

It worked?
"What I think I demonstrate in the book, is that the reset worked," Clinton told guest host John Harwood on NPR's “On Point” on Thursday during a conversation about her new memoir, "Hard Choices." "It was an effort to try to obtain Russian cooperation on some key objectives while (Dmitry) Medvedev was president."

Clinton later said the reset "succeeded" and was meant to be "a device to try to refocus attention on the transactional efforts that we needed to get done with the Russians."

The former secretary of state – and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 – said the signing of the 2009 New START treaty, the increased sanctions on Iran and the securing of supply lines to American troops in Afghanistan were all successes that came from the reset.

But hindsight has not favored Clinton.

Russia has stepped up its aggressiveness on the world stage and the country's relations with the United States have suffered. The front cover of the latest issue of TIME Magazine even declares "Cold War II: The West is losing Putin's dangerous game."
Yeah, on second thought, not so much...

Green Revolt

Greenpeace faces its own rebellion:
NL Times reports that staff members have now penned a letter to Husting and Greenpeace director Kuni Naidoo, calling for Husting’s sacking and also urging Naidoo to "consider his position", adding that only their departure can repair the damage they have caused the environmentalist group.
The letter has spread among the group’s employees and has now been signed by almost all important campaign leaders and senior staff. Only Dutch director Sylvia Borren is missing, as she believes that dismissal is unnecessary.
Staff are also angry at Husting’s salary, believing it to be far too high. At €6,075 (£4,790/$8,170) a month, staff members say that the amount is "multiple times the average income and a lot of money for most of our supporters".
The letter adds that there is no way for the group to recover its reputation unless both Husting and Naidoo go, as keeping them on will continued to undermine their credibility.
"It will come back every time as soon as we criticize politicians or organizations. Like is actually happening now already. If Greenpeace can't do it right, who can?"
The problem is, they never could...

Bots For Tots

Hey kid, wanna get your own robot?
The government has spent $2.15 million so far for the five-year project, which is being led by Yale University. The project, “Robots Helping Kids,” will ultimately “deploy” robots into homes and schools to teach English as a second language, and encourage kids to exercise.

The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated ‘socially assistive’ robots,” designed to help children “learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises,” according to a news release by Yale University when the grant was first announced in 2012.

“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study.
But can Johnny be programmed?

Censorship By The Book

Can the government censor book publishers?
“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

His comments after the FEC OK'd Republican Ryan’s request to promote his new book, The Way Forward, were immediately and sharply rebuked by Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub. “No one is banning books,” she said.

Weintraub also hit Goodman for suggesting “that we are motivated by partisan bias, which is really not appreciated and untrue. I want to categorically deny that.”

The hard feelings continued after the morning session when Democrats on the commission refused to attend subsequent meetings, according to an insider.
Too busy finding books not to ban, probably...

Canada To The Rescue

It's come to this:
The Windsor chapter of the Council of Canadians says the water will be carried in a convoy Thursday through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel to a rally outside Detroit City Hall around 4 p.m.
Organizer Randy Emerson says it’s a symbolic move, but one he hopes can pay dividends.
“We decided that we should bring water over to them and that way kind of embarrass the city and the state,” he said, “so that maybe they would stop shutting off the water for these people because water is a right.”
Emerson says at least a dozen vehicles will bring fifty, five- gallon jugs of water.
“The fact that the Canadians have to come over to help out Americans,” he noted, “that should embarrass the federal government, or the state government or the city of Detroit to either help out or stop these water shutoffs.”
There is no such thing as a free drop, except in Detroit...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Moore's Land

Michael Moore, man of the people?
His hit movies and best-selling books have begat a lifestyle far from most ballcap-wearing, duck-waddling denizens of Flint.

Moore and Glynn own nine properties in Michigan and New York, including a Manhattan condo that once was three apartments. CelebrityNetWorth.com pegs their wealth at $50 million.

In legal pleadings, Moore blames his wife for the expansion of the 10,000-square-foot home on Torch Lake, which has a value of $2 million.

He listed six media reports from 2011, which poked fun at the defender-of-the-poor for owning such a big house, as exhibits in the divorce case.

“He criticizes capitalism, but capitalism made him rich,” said Gary Tracy, owner of Bellaire Bait and Tackle.
A man's home is his tax shelter...

The Ukraine Proxy

Welcome to Cold War II:
President Barack Obama revealed earlier in the week that he had approved a plan to send $5 million in body armor, night vision goggles, and communications equipment to Ukraine. American financial support will also help Ukraine supply that nation’s State Border Guard Service.

The more cautious voice in the commentary class are quick to note that neither America nor Russia wants a new Cold War, and the West should be careful not to instigate one. But how is the situation in Ukraine — were two combatant parties armed and financed, to varying degrees, by Washington and Moscow — so distinct from any of the major proxy wars fought over the course of the Cold War?

While noting the absence of an ideological factor motivating the combatants, how is the present “civil war” in Ukraine markedly distinct from “civil wars” fought in Greece or Angola? Why is Ukraine, where militants are trained in Russia and sent to battlefields in Ukraine to fight American-backed indigenous militants so dissimilar from the Afghanistan experience in the 1980s?

Is it merely politically problematic to acknowledge the reality that Russia is reassembling its Soviet sphere by military means and the United States is resisting it, albeit covertly, in a similar fashion?
Don't mention the new cold war we aren't having...

He Knows All

Really?
Mr. Obama told supporters [at a Democratic fundraiser] that he doesn’t watch the news because, “Whatever they’re reporting about, usually I know.”

That contrasts with the explanations that the president and his aides have given from scandals in the past few years ranging from long wait times and deaths at the VA, to the IRS targeting tea party groups, to the Fast and Furious gun-running operation, and the Department of Justice spying on news reporters.
It seems to happen a lot:

Bidding War

Auction rules are for little people:
A private-equity company owned by a campaign donor to U.S. President Barack Obama won a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission that may help it bid in airwaves auctions.

Grain Management LLC may not have qualified for benefits reserved for small businesses because airwaves leases to AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. caused it to exceed the program’s income limits, the company had said in an FCC filing. The agency has adopted a waiver, an FCC spokesman, Neil Grace, said yesterday in an e-mail without providing details.

Grain Management, based in Sarasota, Florida, invests in media and communications and is controlled by David Grain, according to the company’s March 4 filing asking the FCC to waive the rule.

“Certainly there has not been a waiver like this,” Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a Georgetown University law professor, said in an interview. “The circumstances have not arisen” with the revenue of the largest wireless providers entering the picture.
I guess that depends on the circumstances in this case...

Fallen Boardwalk Empire

Atlantic City turns to junk:
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the general obligation bonds of Atlantic City, New Jersey to "junk" status on Wednesday, citing the struggling casino town's declining tax base.

The credit rating service cut the city's underlying rating to "Ba1" from "Baa2." It affects $245 million in outstanding debt.

"The downgrade to Ba1 reflects the city's significantly weakened tax base, revenue-raising ability, and broader economic outlook," Moody's said in a statement, adding that its outlook remained negative.
Whither the casinos?

Unplugged

GM drops the Chevy Volt-in Europe:
"After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment," Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said in a posting on Twitter. "Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive — with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame."

Neumann didn’t give a reason for the decision or say if the poor results were a factor in scrapping the Ampera.

The Ampera is the European version of the Chevrolet Volt and was a winner of the 2012 European Car of the Year. Both the Volt and Ampera are assembled at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. GM is working on the second-generation of the Volt.

Volt sales have also struggled and never met GM's initial forecasts for sales growth.
Even Europeans don't like exploding cars...

President Vader

Lord Vader for President?
None of the 2016 hopefuls is polling higher than Darth Vader. You'll recall that Vader chopped off his son's arm and blew up an entire planet, but evidently in the eyes of the American public these are minor sins compared to Benghazi, Bridgegate and Gov. Rick Perry's hipster glasses. These numbers suggest that if "Star Wars" were real and Darth Vader decided to enter the 2016 presidential race, he'd be the immediate front-runner.
Are you ready for the Dark Side?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Disorder In The Courts

The appeals courts can't seem to make up their minds:
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the subsidies available under the 2010 health-care law may be provided only to residents of states that set up their own health insurance marketplaces. Less than two hours later, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the subsidies, ruling in a separate case that the law’s language was ambiguous, giving the Obama administration the authority to allow the subsidies nationwide.

The divergent rulings increase the likelihood that the question will be decided by the Supreme Court. If the subsidies ultimately are struck down for states that did not set up their own marketplaces, it would be a crippling blow to the federal program, dramatically reducing the ability of low- and middle-income Americans to pay for health insurance, which is now mandatory for most people.

The government immediately announced it would ask the entire appeals court to review the decision in the D.C. case. The ruling does not have an immediate impact, because the judges gave the government time to appeal the decision.
It may not be enough...

The Conservatarians

It's a new identity:
“I call myself a conservative with libertarian leanings,” said Evan Baehr, co-founder of Able. “Conservatarian? It’s new for me, but it’s a fit.”
Senator Paul seems hungry to win over these newly minted conservatarians. They have deep pockets. He has big ideas for changing the status quo, and changing political minds in Silicon Valley.
“I come out here, and people say, ‘we loved President Obama, we’re all for President Obama, we’re from the tech community’ but why?” said Senator Paul. “He’s not for innovation, he’s not for freedom, he’s for the protectionism crowd, the crowd that would eliminate the activity of these companies.”
Asking questions is the first step towards opening minds (and presumably wallets...)

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Self-Importance of Being Earnest

Some anonymous sources are more equal than others:

Standards And Actual Practices

Do as they say, not as they do:
Liberal activists, politicians and institutions are never short of ideas for how they can use the government to force us to do as they say. The actions of the same activists, politicians, and institutions often reveal they may prefer the method of force because they need it themselves. Again and again, on the Left’s most prominent issues—the ones they use to make moral monsters of the rest of us—they fail to live up to their own standards.
Being a dedicated liberal means never having to apologize for your hypocrisy...

Not Your Father's Liberals

Is the next generation turning more right than they realize?
According to a Pew survey, the “next-generation left” has a huge, generational disagreement with older, traditional left-liberals. Among the older liberals, for instance, 83% identify “circumstances” as the cause of poverty. Nexties are almost evenly split on this, with 47% blaming circumstances and 42% blaming “lack of effort.”
Fifty-six percent of the older Democrats think Wall Street does more harm than good, whereas 56% of the younger ones think the reverse. When asked whether blacks are primarily responsible for their condition or victims of discrimination, 80% of the older liberals said discrimination. Sixty-eight percent of the nexties said blacks are mostly responsible for their status, with only 19% blaming discrimination.
Less surprisingly, next-generation liberals tilt hugely left on social issues, and this, they say, is the reason they vote Democrat, in many cases against their stated economic beliefs.
They'll learn-or, maybe the Republicans will...

Territorial Gains

Some people did have a choice, after all:
On no legal basis, all 4.5 million residents of the five U.S. territories were quietly released from ObamaCare. Where does everybody else apply?

The original House and Senate bills that became the Affordable Care Act included funding for insurance exchanges in these territories, as President Obama promised when as a Senator he campaigned in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other 2008 Democratic primaries. But the $14.5 billion in subsidies for the territories were dumped in 2010 as ballast when Democrats needed to claim the law reduced the deficit.

As a consolation, Democrats opened several public-health programs to the territories and bestowed most of ObamaCare’s insurance regulations, which liberals euphemize as “consumer protections,” such as requiring insurers to accept all comers and charge the same premiums regardless of patient health. “After a careful review of the law,” said Health and Human Services in a 2012 letter, HHS granted the territories’ request to apply these rules “to the maximum extent permitted by law.” …

Laws are made by Congress, but all of a sudden last week HHS discovered new powers after “a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language.” For simplicity’s sake, the territories will now be governed by the “state” definition that excludes the territories for both the subsidies and now the mandates too. But the old definition will still apply for the public-health spending, so the territories will get their selective exemption after all.
It would be nice if they expanded this right to everyone else...

Finger Wagging Time

What was said, what is undone:

Conspiracy Country

Some people will believe anything:
One-in-four adults (24%) are convinced that the U.S. government knew in advance about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and did nothing to stop them, and 19% more are not sure. Only 57% say that conspiracy theory is false.

Just as many (23%) say the theory that Obama is not an American citizen is true, with another 17% who aren't sure. Sixty percent (60%) reject that theory as false.

Interestingly, however, more Americans (82%) are willing to declare as false the theory that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced by the Beatles than are willing to reject any of the other conspiracy theories we asked about.
Elvis and the Illuminati were unavailable for comment...

Noise In The Hood

Some old traditions die hard:
Last week, that five-year-old initiation ceremony stunned residents of the small town of Fruitland Park, who found out an investigative report linked two city officers with the secret hate society that once was violently active in the area. Ann Hunnewell's ex-husband, George Hunnewell, was fired, and deputy chief David Borst resigned from the 13-member Fruitland Park Police Department. Borst has denied being a member.

James Elkins, a third officer who Ann Hunnewell says recruited her and her husband, resigned in 2010 after his Klan ties became public.

The violence against blacks that permeated the area was more than 60 years ago, when the place was more rural and the main industry was citrus. These days, the community of less than 5,000 residents about 50 miles northwest of Orlando has been infused by the thousands of wealthier, more cosmopolitan retirees in the area. Those who live in the bedroom community, which is less than 10 percent black, have reacted not only with shock, but disgust that officers could be involved with the Klan, the mayor said.
Given the group's history, it's probably not too hard to guess which party these members belonged to...

Crash Test

Lois Lerner apparently wasn't alone:
The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens.

“You stated at the time that document was produced to Congress, the document, the white paper in Exhibit 3[the June 13 memo], that it was accurate to the best of your knowledge. Is it still accurate?,” a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigator asked Kane.

“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule,” Kane replied.

“So some of those backup tapes may still exist?,” the investigator asked.

“I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at,” Kane said.
That's an awful lot of dogs for homework...