January 31, 2014

Another Obamacare Horror Story Which Won’t Get Further Than Local News

I suspect that more than a few readers have noticed, with likely little surprise, that there hasn’t been a lot of national establishment press attention paid to how Obamacare has been working out in the real world since it officially went into effect on January 1.

Non-existent HealthCare.gov security? Who cares? Patients turned away from emergency rooms voluntarily (because they don’t want to risk huge uncovered costs they will have to pay out-of-pocket) or from medical providers involuntarily (because they don’t know whether a particular patient is or isn’t covered)? You might find coverage of that in the British wing of the Washington press corps, and that’s about it. Meanwhile, scenarios such as the one you will see play out in the local TV news report out of Pittsburgh after the jump are happening all over the country, and it’s not pretty (direct YouTube; HT Personal Liberty Digest):

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Press Nearly Mum as VW Displaces GM As World’s Number Two Automaker

In yet another negative milestone for the bailouts that supposedly saved the U.S. auto industry — already a hard-to-handle claim given that Chrysler, one of the two beneficiaries, is now 100% owned by an Italian company — Volkswagen has surpassed General Motors as the world’s number two automaker behind Toyota.

The reporting on this development has been quite sparse. It’s not news at the Associated Press’s national site, even though AP mentions VW in a report on Super Bowl ad and social media strategies. At USA Today, James R. Healey’s could easily have inserted the news into his story today on the 65th anniversary of the VW Beetle’s first arrival here, and didn’t. What follows is an excerpt from Expatica, one of the few publications to note the shakeup in the auto industry hierarchy:

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Business Press Notes Increased Consumption in Govt. Report, Ignores Serious Year-Over-Year Disposable Income Dive

The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all focused on the supposedly positive news of increased consumption reported in today’s “Personal Income and Outlays” release from the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the process, two of the three ignored a particulary dreadful statistic about disposable income, while the third (Bloomberg) misinterpreted its meaning.

The dire statistic is the year-over-year comparison of monthly disposable income, which took a deep dive in December, turning in the worst year-over year performance as seen here, in 40 years:

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If 4Q13′s First Reported GDP Growth (Annualized 3.2%) Holds Up …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:19 pm

… Here’s why 1Q14 could stink to high heaven (HT Zero Hedge, which claims, with graphs, that the one-month year-over-year plunge in disposable income in December is the worst in 40 years; source: BEA’s “Personal Income and Outlays” released today at Table 10):

PersonalIncome1213

Also note shocking decay in the differential between income and spending, going from -0.1% in August to -1.8% in November to -5.2% in December. Over 5 cents of every dollar in spending came from savings or increased borrowing.

Clearly (because the savings rate is already low), the only reason Christmas shopping season surprised by coming in nearly acceptable is because people raided money they’ve saved and spent money they didn’t have.

That’s not sustainable.

As Obama Begs Private Sector to Hire Long-Term Jobless, AP Ignores the Problem’s Historic Severity During His Presidency

Today, President Obama is going to ask a group of private-sector companies to help him try to solve a problem his administration’s policies have seriously worsened, namely long-term unemployment.

Of course, that’s not how Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, framed the situation. All he would concede is that “long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem.” After the jump, in two graphs from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we’ll see the frightening level of long-term unemployment Obama’s economic policies have created – and how the horrid numbers have failed to come down significantly in the 4-1/2 years since the recession officially ended.

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (013114)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

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.

Positivity: Opus Dei bishop showed ‘enormous faith,’ biographer says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From New York City:

Jan 28, 2014 / 04:21 am

The upcoming beatification of Opus Dei lead prelate Bishop Alvaro del Portillo brings to prominence a man of deep faith and love of God, according to his biographer.

“He was someone who reached out to all kinds of people. He would befriend the doormen in the Vatican. They’d come over and say hello to him. He was interested in everybody,” Seton Hall University professor John Coverdale told CNA Jan. 24.

“There can’t be too many people who take up interest in the doorman.”

Bishop del Portillo, a native of Madrid, Spain, headed the personal prelature of Opus Dei from 1975 until his death in 1994. He will be beatified in Madrid on Sept. 27, with Cardinal Angelo Amato of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints presiding.

“He had confidence in God, confidence that Opus Dei was part of God’s plan for the Church, and that he was called to put his whole life at the service of seeing that actually happen,” Coverdale continued.

“That’s exactly what he did. He worked very hard, even in the final days of his life as an old man and much exhausted.”

Bishop del Portillo studied to be an engineer and received doctorates in philosophy, liberal arts and canon law.

He joined Opus Dei in 1935 and soon became a close collaborator of St. Josemaria Escriva, who founded the organization dedicated to spiritual growth and discipleship among the Catholic laity. The organization teaches its members to use their work and their ordinary activities as a way to encounter God.

Coverdale, a tax law professor and member of Opus Dei since 1957, is the author of a history of the prelature. He is now working on a biography of Bishop del Portillo.

The professor said Bishop del Portillo’s personality was “very different” from that of the “ebullient” and “high energy” St. Josemaria.

“Don Alvaro was a much quieter sort of person,” he explained.

However, his life showed his “complete availability” to the Church. He served in various Vatican congregations and commissions. During the Second Vatican Council, he served as a secretary and a “peritus,” or theological expert.

“He told one of his collaborators, who had been asked to take on a very onerous appointment in the Vatican, ‘just always say yes’,” Coverdale said.

The professor worked and studied in the Opus Dei headquarters for five to six years in the 1960s, alongside St. Josemaria Escriva and

At the time, the bishop was “very much a man in the background.”

“He made no effort to stand out or have people pay attention. He was there to second whatever the founder was doing, and help him in that.”

Coverdale was impressed that a man “of his enormous talent” would simply stand by to be there “in case he was needed.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.