Republicans are ultra-worried about a government shutdown distracting from the trainwreck that is the ObamaCare rollout. End of story. Politics over policy; business as usual.
An update from Joan Carrico, the cancer patient we heard from in November:
I thought I was prepared for any outcome, but I wasn’t. I can’t begin to describe how devastated I am. Many people like me, who are in a difficult health crisis and fighting to regain good health, are finding it very difficult — if not impossible — to make sure that we can keep our doctors and receive the chemotherapy and other treatments and medicines that are keeping us alive. I feel stupid for not being better prepared. I’m scared and wondering what surprises are around the corner.
Here are a few more things I’ve learned: The policy I’m considering has approximately 10 percent state and federal taxes added to the premium. My out-of-pocket maximum will increase to $6,350 from $1,500. But, my monthly premium cost will decrease, which will offset some of that difference. I can say my total annual costs are increasing significantly — by about $3,000. Another change is many American taxpayers have historically taken an income-tax deduction for their medical expenses. In the past, this deduction has been limited to the amount of medical expenses in excess of 7.5 percent of a person’s adjusted gross income. Beginning with the year 2013, that threshold will jump to 10 percent. This change will increase my income-tax liability.
I’m coming to the conclusion that the government wants to treat all Americans as the same — rich, poor, old, young, black, white, sickly, healthy — one policy fits all. May sound OK, but is it? How inefficient is that? I personally feel that we are going backwards. Admittedly, our health-care system did need some adjustments to deal with issues like pre-existing conditions. But to re-invent it? I personally don’t think so. What else does the government do efficiently? Wait, I’m still thinking …
The necessary “adjustments” — in my view — consisted of removing government’s thumb from the scale and letting the market work. In my view, a fix would have included such concepts as abolishing favorable tax treatment for employer plans (making the individual market functional again); removing restrictions on buying policies across state lines; and generally wiping away similar government restrictions and policies that impede competition and distort the natural workings of the marketplace. But, in order to fix a problem with the “free market” — a problem that I believe was actually caused by government — we have chosen to impose more governmental restrictions.
Just because the market (especially when hampered by regulation) is not perfect, that does not mean that government can handle it better.
People like Joan Carrico are starting to see that now. As millions lose their previous coverage over the next year or so, others will start to see it too.
UPDATE: But hey, things are looking up for government:
Oregon, once touted as a model for President Obama’s health care law, signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange.
That’s about $7 million per person. How can private industry compete with results like that?
Obama’s clueless narcissism at the Mandela memorial is the gift that keeps on giving. Let’s review:
- O shakes Raul Castro’s hand (Caption Contest #1)
- O takes a selfie with friends as Michelle scowls (Caption Contest #2)
And now, we have entry #3, which you will think I am making up, but which I am not:
"We can choose a world defined not by our differences—but by our common hopes." —Obama at Mandela's memorial service: pic.twitter.com/GQdSdMLl8h
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 11, 2013
Your captions below.
Compare and contrast:
Sen. Cruz walked out of Raul Castro's speech at Nelson Mandela's memorial, a Cruz spokesman confirms to NBC News.
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) December 11, 2013
Meanwhile, Obama shakes Raul Castro’s hand:
Via Twitchy, which has been bought out by Salem Communications and is now partnered with Hot Air. Congratulations to Michelle and Jesse Malkin.
P.S. Meanwhile, Barack is having a great old time taking selfies at Mandela’s memorial, while Michelle does a slow burn.
Call it the day’s second caption contest. Your captions below.
Not because of safety, but because of how annoying it would be:
Political momentum to keep a ban on cellphone calls during flights gained momentum Monday as lawmakers said it would be crazy to allow them.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) became the second lawmaker after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to offer legislation to keep the ban in place.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” said Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”
It sure is. But why does that mean we have to legislate it?
Lawmakers in favor of keeping the ban say they’re not worried about the safety of passengers. They’re worried about their sanity.
“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option,” Shuster said. “But if passengers are going to be forced to listen to the gossip in the aisle seat, it’s going to make for a very long flight.”
I am all in favor of a ban on cell phone usage on planes — by the airlines. I would not want to fly any airline that allowed someone to gab in the seat next to me. But I am mystified as to how this is the subject of federal legislation.
For some reason both seem to be $750 at Amazon, when the new Xbox is supposed to be $500 and the PS4 is supposed to be $400. Scarcity, I guess. Ignore that part — nobody in this household is paying that kind of money — and just give me a straight-up opinion based on the usual price.
Obama shakes Raul Castro’s hand, at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela (former president of South Africa and leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the violent and terroristic armed wing of the African National Congress):
What did you expect? He has shaken Chavez’s hand and says he wants to visit Tehran.
Your captions below.
P.S. Some have asked: what did Mandela do that was any different from what George Washington did. Charles C. Johnson:
— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) December 6, 2013
Some controversy has surrounded Mrs Mandela in recent years. A former social worker and considered a great beauty in her youth, she has shown enormous courage over the years in the face of imprisonment, house arrest and harassment by the South African authorities. More recently, however, she has shown questionable political judgment. In 1986 she embarrassed the anti-apartheid community with the statement in a speech that “we shall liberate this country” with “our boxes of matches and our necklaces” interpreted as an implicit endorsement of the political killings by burning which did enormous damage to the anti-apartheid movement between 1984 and 1987.
But enough about killing innocent people. On with the captions!
There’s a new budget deal in the works, says Brad Plumer of the WONKblog. Under the proposed deal, we would give up increases in spending and “user fees” (read: taxes). In return, we would receive empty promises of spending cuts “down the road”:
Under current law, discretionary spending is set to fall from $986 billion this year to $967 billion in 2014. The proposed deal would raise that to somewhere around $1 trillion in 2014. The extra money would be split evenly between defense and non-defense programs.
In exchange, the deal would add other spending cuts further down the road and could raise new revenues by increasing some user fees. The goal is to keep the overall deficit unchanged over the next 10 years.
I’ll just go ahead and repeat that last sentence: “The goal is to keep the overall deficit unchanged over the next 10 years.”
That’s the goal.
The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase “chef toke” as follows:
The Chef Toke is performed to salute work of great quality and skill. It is done by making the “OK” sign (tips of the thumb and forefinger touching while the other three fingers are extended) and then kissing the point where the thumb and forefinger meet. The Chef Toke action is often accompanied by an exaggerated “Mmmwah!” kissing sound.
In my experience, the “Mmmwah!” sound is accompanied by a quick flick of the wrist outward, during which the thumb and forefinger are now extended such that the palm and all extended fingers now face the observer.
You should imagine me doing the “chef toke” as I observe that our 2013 deficit level is (“Mmmwah!”) just right at a mere $680 billion.
P.S. If we don’t impose higher tax–, er, “user fees” on people, how can we have money for important stuff like this?
The US State Department on Friday fended off criticism for commissioning a $1 million sculpture for its London embassy, saying it was “a good use of our limited resources.”
The piece by Irish-born artist Sean Scully was purchased as part of the department’s Art in Embassies program and will be reportedly installed at the new mission due to open in 2017.
“This piece was purchased under the market price after considerable negotiation with both the artist and the gallery. This is an important part of our diplomatic presence overseas,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Yes, $1 million is a very small amount in the context of the federal budget. Anyone making that objection, please give me the very small amount of $1 million.
P.P.S. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on a statue, I’m going to take your $1 million and hire a chainsaw artist to turn a tree on my front lawn into a Hook ‘Em Horns sculpture:
A carving that turned a dead tree into a “Hook ‘Em Horns” sculpture has understandably generated plenty of buzz in the North Austin neighborhood where it sits and hand-signals.
The sculpture commissioned by Longhorn fan Gabriel Trinidad for his front yard made the news and, on an early Tuesday afternoon, caused multiple people to stop their cars and snap a photo. However, one person is a bit perplexed by all the attention the sculpture has received: Doug Moreland, the Texas Chainsaw Artist and musician responsible the artwork.
I just like the phrase “Texas chainsaw artist.”
Hey, I have an idea! Let’s set Doug Moreland and his chainsaw loose on our national budget!
P.P.P.S. Imagine me doing the chef toke, but instead of curling in the forefinger, I am curling in the middle finger and ring finger, as depicted in the photo above.
HOOK ‘EM MMMWAH!
[guest post by JD]
Rivalries and championships
Bedlam – OK vs OK State
Battle for Texas – Baylor vs Texas
Big Ten – Ohio State vs Michigan State
ACC – Duke vs Florida State
Pac12 – Stanford vs Arizona State
SEC – Auburn vs Mizzou
I predict Ohio State vs Florida State for the National Championship.