October 25, 2013

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102513)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 3:25 pm

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

9:15 a.m.: LA Times corrections attempt follow-up (requesting readers’ help) –

Just puttin’ this out there –

  • In a PJ Media column on October 19, yours truly skewered an October 16 Politics Now blog post at the Los Angeles Times by David Lauter.
  • Lauter falsely claimed that the U.S. public debt-to-GDP ratio “grew rapidly during most of President George W. Bush’s tenure,” and that “the U.S. debt burden is starting to decline” as expressed in that ratio. The column proved that both statements are false (graphic proof is here and here).
  • As seen here, I requested Times corrections on October 19.
  • Multiple attempts to actually talk to or to even get a direct phone number of a Readers Representative have resulted in failure.
  • I was finally able to obtain a direct email address for someone who is allegedly in the Corrections Department yesterday, and have asked for a response while cc’ing the Readers Representative email addy.

Today and yesterday, attempts to access Lauter’s original article at the Times ended up receiving “Request Timeout” responses in two different browsers, while I have had no problem accessing other Politics Now blog posts, including some from over a week ago.

I’d be interested in knowing whether other readers have the same problem getting to Lauter’s original post. Anyone wishing to report on their attempt can email me or comment below. Input would be intensely appreciated and extremely helpful in determining whether the Times is “correcting” the problem simply by making Lauter’s post inaccessible.

AP’s Advice Blames ‘Insurance Plans’ For Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs, Avoids Mentioning Obamacare

In among the more pathetic uses of the passive voice I’ve seen employed to protect guilty parties, a short, unbylined personal finance-related item at ABC’s web site today by the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, identifies “5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HEALTH CARE SHOPPING.”

The writeup doesn’t mention the fact that shopping for plans in the first place is difficult (actually, closer to impossible, given HealthCare.gov’s implosion), and doesn’t bring up Obamacare or its more formal name, the “Affordable Care Act,” at all. As is the case with arguments favoring gun control, AP blames an inanimate object to shield the real perpetrators of the challenges consumers face. In this case, it’s “insurance plans” which are to blame, thus implicating implicitly evil insurance companies and avoiding any mention of Obamacare/ACA, the real cause (produced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) —


Thanks, WSJ (‘Medicaid and the Apostle Kasich’; See Update)

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:10 pm

This dead-on editorial Tuesday saved me the trouble of composing something original (HT to an emailer; bolds are mine):

Medicaid and the Apostle Kasich
The Ohio Governor’s lawless, faith-based Obamacaid expansion.

Believe it or not, there are still a few disciples with faith in an ObamaCare higher power, and one of them happens to run Ohio. Governor John Kasich is so fervent a believer that he is even abusing his executive power to join the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

Not to be sacrilegious, but the Republican used to know better. Now Mr. Kasich seems to view signing up for this part of ObamaCare as an act of Christian charity and has literally all but claimed that God told him to do so.

The problem is that his evangelizing failed to convert the Ohio legislature, which is run by Republicans who understand the brutal budget and regulatory realities of participating in new Medicaid. So Mr. Kasich simply decided to cut out Ohio’s elected representatives and expand Medicaid by himself.

This week he appealed to an obscure seven-member state panel called the Controlling Board, which oversees certain state capital expenditures and can receive or make grants. Because the feds are paying for 100% of new enrollees for the next three years, Mr. Kasich asked the panel to approve $2.56 billion in federal funding, and then he’ll lift eligibility levels via executive fiat.

It’s a gambit worthy of President Obama, who also asserts unilateral powers to suspend laws that displease him and bypass Congress. The Controlling Board, which Mr. Kasich and his allies in the GOP leadership stacked with pro-expansion appointees, approved the request 5-2 on Monday.

Mr. Kasich’s action is all the more flagrant considering the state legislature did not merely refuse to appropriate or authorize spending the federal money. The GOP majority passed a budget with specific language prohibiting the Governor from expanding Medicaid without its consent. Mr. Kasich used a line-item veto to remove that provision, but he’s still violating the spirit of the law.

… Mr. Kasich may need to concern himself with other worldly authorities as he awaits final judgment. Thirty-nine House Republicans signed a formal protest and some of them are threatening to sue, and well they should. They argue that circumventing the legislature subverts the Ohio constitution’s separation of powers and exceeds the statutory legal authorities of the Controlling Board, which is supposed to “take no action which does not carry out the legislative intent of the General Assembly.”

Ohio is now the 25th state to buckle under pressure from Washington and the hospital lobby to join new Medicaid. His behavior doesn’t speak well for Mr. Kasich’s governing judgment as he prepares to run for a higher office in 2016.

In a sane world, governors can line item veto legislative language, but such a veto doesn’t throw clearly expressed legislative intent into the memory hole, as Team Kasich will certainly argue if the matter ever gets into a courtroom.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never felt more disappointed in or betrayed by a Republican Buckeye State governor’s actions — and yes, that includes Bob Taft.


UPDATE:Totally unrelated” (actually totally relevant) —

Most of those (state Obamacare exchange) enrollments aren’t in private insurance, CBS’ Jan Crawford reports, but in Medicaid. The lack of sales in private insurance may mean a collapse of the entire reform program.

It looks like Kasich’s extra-constitutional gambit will simply hasten the Obamacare crack-up, thereby jeopardizing the alleged certainty of the federal Medicaid money promised. The federal government can build up debt for only so long before catastrophic results ensue. Kasich’s move brings that day closer.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Now We See How Weak the Pre-Shutdown Economy Was’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:27 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Positivity: Sisters hold triple wedding for ailing mother

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Snellville, Georgia (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

Posted: Oct 06, 2013 11:46 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 07, 2013 9:24 AM EDT

Support has poured in for three Gwinnett County sisters planning a last-minute triple wedding. The Swales sisters all happened to be engaged at the same time, and they decided to get married at the same time after getting the heartbreaking news that their mother may only have a few months to live.

The sisters say sharing their big day with their mom is their only wish. They have had less than a month to plan the triple wedding, but so far, things are coming together perfectly.

Their mother, Becky Swales, has battled breast cancer for the past four years. Now, doctors say her fight is coming to an end. She has been given just months to live, but the sisters say she always has a smile on her face, no matter what.

Her daughters will tell you their mother is their best friend, and they have all determined that she’s going to be there when the walk down the aisle. The Snellville community is backing them up, rallying around the family to help them pull off the last-minute event. They’ve already received a number of donations, including their reception venue.

The Swales sisters’ big day happens on October 26.

Go here for the rest of the story.