May 14, 2014

$1 Billion Obamacare Contractor Gives Employees Little or No Work; Will Media Care?

The government is paying private contractor Serco $1.2 billion over five years — and likely more, as will be seen later — to process paper Obamacare applications. In turn, according to a report by television station KMOV, Serco has hired and continues to pay a reported 1,800 workers who have virtually no work to do. Massive waste like this should develop into a national story and create a journalistic swarm. If it does, it will be unusual, because the press has been avoiding stories which make President Barack Obama’s “signature accomplishment” of state-controlled health care look bad like the plague. We’ll see if it’s different this time.

The KMOV report follows the jump (HT Gateway Pundit’s Progressives Today blog):

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NewsBusted (051414)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 7:05 am

Here we go:

Topics:
– Mother’s Day
– Network TV Shows
– NBC’s Chuck Todd
– Kermit Gosnell Movie
– ATM
– Oprah Buys Clippers?
– EPA
– Fracking
– Obamacare Enrollments

Best Lines:

  • “The EPA wants to regulate chemicals used in fracking which have helped a huge oil boom in North Dakota and elsewhere. Apparently, the EPA is frustrated that gas is still under $5 a gallon.”
  • “A new audit shows that many people included in the Obamacare enrollment figures are duplicates. So basically it’s just like Democrat voter rolls.”

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051414)

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: See world through believer’s eyes, Pope tells Vatican diplomats

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 9, 2014 / 03:55 pm

Pope Francis visited some of the Holy See’s future diplomats on May 2, advising them that their diplomatic work must rest on a Christian worldview.

“In order to understand reality, the present must be read with the eyes of a believer,” Pope Francis said at the Vatican’s Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, according to L’Osservatore Romano.

“It is an illusion to think we can read reality while disregarding our status as disciples of Jesus Christ. The interpretation needed to understand the present, the Christian hermeneutic, is based on the outlook of the disciples.”

The Pope was received at the academy by its president, Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, who was joined by 29 priests presently training to be the Holy See’s diplomats. A group of religious from the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Child Jesus, supporters of the academy, also attended.

The discussions with Pope Francis began after evening prayer and ended with a dinner.

In response to a question from one of the priests, Pope Francis described three fundamentals for a good pontifical diplomat.

He stressed the importance of “remembering the past,” citing the prophets of the Old Testament.

These prophets “have the task of keeping alive the memory of God’s faithfulness and the unfaithfulness of the people,” the Pope said. A diplomat “should know the history of God with the people he has been called to serve.”

Another diplomatic fundamental consists in being able to correctly assess the present.

“This realism of the present is connected to competency, to studying and learning in order to fully understand a country’s situation. This means studying, visiting and speaking with the people,” Pope Francis said.

A third fundamental is prudence, he continued.

“It’s not possible to walk down every street,” the Pope explained. “A prophet ought to stand on these three pillars in order to say the right words, make the right gesture that is developed in prayer.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Psst! Don’t Tell Anyone, But That 1Q14 GDP Contraction Is Looking Larger

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 12:48 am

From the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, sure to be ignored as much as possible by the rest of the press:

U.S. Economy Contracted In First Quarter, Latest Figures Show

… Based on more up-to-date figures, including the March trade data released last week, private forecasters now expect gross domestic product contracted in the first quarter for the first time in three years.

The latest evidence came Tuesday, when the Commerce Department released reports on retail sales and business inventories. Retail sales in February and March were revised up, but business inventories grew less in March than the agency had assumed in its GDP calculations.

Incorporating the new data, J.P. Morgan Chase on Tuesday estimated GDP contracted at a 0.8% rate in the first quarter. Macroeconomic Advisers put the contraction at 0.7%. Barclays Capital predicted a 0.6% decline. Pierpont Securities estimated output fell at a 0.4% rate. Action Economics estimated a 0.2% decline.

If this kind of bad news keeps pouring in, an annualized -1.0% isn’t out of the question.

Press Largely Ignores GAO Finding That Sequestration Led to Just One Federal Layoff

According to a Government Accountability Office report released in March but inexplicably only getting attention just now, the pain resulting from last year’s sequestration “cuts,” which were mostly reductions in the growth of spending in comparison to the previous year, bore no resemblance to the Armageddon-like warnings which preceded their imposition. Only one federal employee was laid off. You read that right — one. Only seven agencies out of 22 furloughed any employees, and they were ultimately given $2 billion in back pay.

What the results exposed by the GAO demonstrate, in addition to the fact that the government had plenty of places to cut and funds to access to keep its operations going without meaningfully affecting the federal workforce, is either that almost nobody in the establishment press cared about what the GAO had to say, or that if they did, they didn’t believe that they should tell the nation that the Obama administration’s scare tactics had no basis. Excerpts from one of the establishment press reports I found via CBS News’s Stephanie Condon predictably turned the whole thing into a “Republicans attack” exercise:

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