Patterico's Pontifications

11/29/2013

Cancer Patient Loses Coverage, Blames ObamaCare . . . Gets Audited

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:26 am



So earlier this month, a cancer patient named Bill Elliott went on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, complaining that his health insurance had been cancelled. He believes it was because of ObamaCare.

So far, nothing particularly new here. We’ve heard these stories — and you know there are plenty more out there.

It seems as though the Obama administration knows it, too — and wants to discourage more criticism. FrontPageMag.com reports (via Instapundit):

[Bill Elliott] went on FOX News where his story was picked up by C. Steven Tucker, a health insurance broker who helped him keep his insurance.

Now suddenly Bill Elliott is being audited for 2009 with an interview only scheduled in April 2014. Assuming he lives that long. That might be a coincidence, but Tucker is being audited back to 2003.

That’s a rather strange coincidence.

Here’s the timing of all this. The above video was posted on November 7, 2013. On November 14, Sara Marie Brenner wrote about it in the Washington Times, and explained the help that Tucker had given Elliott. As Tucker explains on his blog, Tucker was on the radio on November 13 and 15 discussing the matter. Twenty days after Elliott’s appearance on Fox News, Elliott reported the certified letter from the IRS, on this radio show broadcast on November 27:

Skip ahead to 23:00 to hear about it. Due to government cutbacks, Elliott gets to wait until April 2014 for his interview. In an update on his blog, Tucker reported news of Elliott’s audit, and disclosed that he was being audited too:

On November 27, 2013 Bill joined Rocky D again on South Carolina’s AM1340 WQSC. The good news? Bill is now in full remission thanks in large part to the life saving treatment he was able to continue receiving because his illegally cancelled policy was restored. The bad news? He is now being audited by the IRS and they are now coming after ME all the way back to 2003.

Oddly enough, Dr. Ben Carson was audited right after criticizing ObamaCare.

My, the coincidences do pile up, don’t they?

MEANWHILE: This boy has cancer. He lost his coverage due to information getting lost during the ObamaCare transition, affecting his chemotherapy. His mother was told that the correction of the problem could be expedited only if he were pregnant or an illegal. (No, really. That’s what his mother says she was told.)

This all brings up a significant problem, which is, of course: how is Obama going to audit this kid?

Oh well, there’s always his parents. And if they don’t pay income taxes, then the president could just audit the reporter who broadcast the story. And maybe the TV station that did the story has a license up for renewal. Heck, maybe the station owner visits porn sites and can simply be embarrassed into silence.

There’s always a way.

How Did Those Health Care Discussions Go at Dinner Last Night?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:22 am



Did anyone try to get anybody else to sign up? Did anyone say: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?” Did anyone have a pre-printed Bloomberg-approved place mat with pro-gun-control propaganda?

Tell about about your political discussions in this thread. (Or, if you didn’t have any, anything else about how your meal went!)

11/28/2013

Fun Videos for Your Post-Turkey Internet Browsing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:25 pm



I haven’t had my dinner yet, but the way the Internet and time zones work, most of you probably have. If you’re here looking for some mindless entertainment, you have come to the right place. Speaking of regional differences, here is a fun little video on regional expressions:

Thanks to Lou P. for this.

I match up with pretty much every expression or pronunciation that is native to North Texas, which is, I guess, no surprise — since (as regular readers know) I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. Probably the major area where I depart from North Texas-ese is calling a fast-moving road with no stoplights a “freeway” rather than a “highway.” I confess that I’ve become California-ized on that narrow expression.

But really: is “puh-CAHN” as the (proper) pronunciation of the word “pecan” really so narrowly limited to North Texas and a small handful of maybe six states to the north and east of Texas? Seriously? Do the rest of you pronounce that word in some other (stupid) way? More to the point, and a greater cause for concern, do other Texans (such as West Texans) pronounce that word incorrectly?

Please advise.

Second goofy video: the explanation for why your neighbor would rather earn $10,000 less if he could prevent you from being a millionaire. It turns out that the base emotion of envy does not just cause humans to act in an irrational fashion; monkeys have the same ethos:

Obama just wants to spread the grapes around, folks!

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:38 pm



[As I have done before, I am reprinting the post below from 2006, about a mental exercise I sometimes employ to help me appreciate the good things in my life. Many people have written me to say that they have given their loved ones an extra hug after reading the post.

Even if you’re going through a rough time, I hope that there are positive aspects of your life that you can count as blessings. Realize that you won’t be able to count on these positive things forever. Hopefully this post will help you not to take those things for granted. Speaking of which, I am adding a bonus song to the end of the post, to reinforce the point. The singer, appropriately enough, is Glen Phillips.

Happy Thanksgiving.]

I’ve discovered a way to bring a new perspective to your life.

To explain it, I have to tell a little story.

Driving home Friday night, I was remembering a time years ago, when my daughter Lauren (now six years old) was in her first year. An old friend of mine was coming to town, and we went with my wife to see a Glen Phillips solo acoustic concert down near San Diego.

We were very excited to see the show. But for some reason, we couldn’t get a babysitter. So we decided to take Lauren. Since it was just an acoustic show, we hoped that she’d sleep peacefully on my lap. If, during the show, she got upset, I would take her out to the car. Thereafter, my wife and I would take turns watching her in the car.

Lauren was asleep when the concert began — but she awoke, crying, five seconds into the first song. It was louder than we had thought it would be. I hurriedly took her to the car, which was parked on the street about half a block away.

Once I had her out there, I never brought her back inside the club. Although part of me wanted to be back inside watching the concert, I was also having fun being with my daughter — at times talking to her when she was awake, and at times watching her sleep. Plus, I wanted to let my wife see the whole concert. I figured there was no reason to interrupt her enjoyment if I was having a perfectly good time.

It wasn’t so much that I preferred to be with my daughter than to watch a concert. I just didn’t mind staying out with her in the car.

Thinking about this the other night, I asked myself: Patrick, if you could go back to that night, right now, and either stay out in the car with Lauren, or be inside and watch the concert — which would you do?

And of course the answer was obvious.

The night it happened, I didn’t mind being in the car with my daughter. But if I could go back now, there’s no question that I would want to be there.

Not only would I stay in the car with her — I would make the most of the experience, realizing that I had a precious chance to see her at that age again. I would try to commit every moment to memory.

And then I realized: some day, years in the future, I might be asking the same question about my life today — this very minute. If you could have this moment back to live over again, what would you do?

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time. I hope I remember it often, when routine is wearing on me.

But there are times I actively need to forget it, because this outlook promotes a sort of hedonism. For example, right now, I need to clean the house — but that’s not really what I would choose to do if I were sent here from the future.

Oh, well. I’m going to clean up anyway. I think the guy from the future would understand — sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I can hear my future self in my head right now. He says to make a nice cup of coffee and put on some music while I do it, and take some breaks to play with the kids. Enjoy the chores as well as the easy and fun moments, I hear him saying. Some day, you’ll miss even the chores. Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.

11/27/2013

Snowden Document Reveals The Government Is Tracking Individuals’ Online Activities for the Explicit Purpose of Embarrassing Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am



The latest Edward Snowden document shows the government tracking online activities of people in order to discredit them with charges of hypocrisy for viewing porn and such. But it’s OK, nothing to worry about . . . they’re all Muslims:

The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.

The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger.”

It doesn’t take a genius to see how a brass knuckles politician might drool over access to information that would embarrass and destroy their critics and political opponents. And it does not take a fanatical student of political smear jobs to imagine information like this being used in a political campaign. See if you buy this argument in response:

Stewart Baker, a one-time general counsel for the NSA and a top Homeland Security official in the Bush administration, said that the idea of using potentially embarrassing information to undermine targets is a sound one. “If people are engaged in trying to recruit folks to kill Americans and we can discredit them, we ought to,” said Baker. “On the whole, it’s fairer and maybe more humane” than bombing a target, he said, describing the tactic as “dropping the truth on them.”

Any system can be abused, Baker allowed, but he said fears of the policy drifting to domestic political opponents don’t justify rejecting it. “On that ground you could question almost any tactic we use in a war, and at some point you have to say we’re counting on our officials to know the difference,” he said.

Sorry, Stu: no sale. Everything about this story screams, in 20-foot red letters: “POLITICIANS CAN AND WILL ABUSE INFORMATION LIKE THIS!!!!” This is pretty much a vindication of everyone who trumpeted the importance of the information being released by Snowden. This document, in my view, reveals important information that shows a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between the government and an individual. It doesn’t make Snowden a hero, necessarily . . . but I find this story eye-opening about the government’s real purposes in tracking Internet activity. We increasingly live our entire lives online these days. Maybe you don’t look at pornography at all, but don’t worry. Once the government is able to track and store all your internet activity, it can find some other way to intimidate you.

The depressing part is, I doubt any level of outrage is going to change the fact that government will do this. If they can do it, they will.

What, you got a problem with that? OK, I’m happy to hear you out, sir. Before we discuss your concerns, though, could I just ask you a few quick little questions about your browsing history?

Yeah. That’s what I thought. Have a nice day . . . sir.

11/26/2013

Poll: 53% of Americans Think Obama Is Not Honest

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am



It’s a majority for the first time:

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning also indicates that 53% of Americans now believe that Obama is not honest and trustworthy, the first time that a clear majority in CNN polling has felt that way.

But it makes you wonder: who are these people who think he is honest?

I’ll tell you who: the 47%: “There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.”

I guess they also think Barack Obama is honest.

How to Handle Organizing for America Robots Who Harangue You at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am



Barack Obama’s Organizing for America asks its mindless robots to use the Thanksgiving holidays to proselytize family members regarding health care. Some advice from their organization:

Start by asking: “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?”

Offer to walk them through it: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?”

Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it: “When do you plan on signing up?”

Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Mark and Mollie Hemingway have an idea on how to respond to the bolded question:

Here’s a sample response you might use. “That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”

The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.

Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.

Heh. Ace has some talking points of his own, to respond to any arrogant OFA robots you might find at your dinner table. I don’t particularly recommend the talking points to anyone who actually wants to get along with their relatives, but they are mighty funny. Sample:

1. Hey remember when you said that Obamacare was going to work great, and then, when people asked you how it actually worked, you sort of implied they were stupid for not knowing, and yet you never provided any evidence that you had any idea of how it was supposed to work yourself? Yeah, you were wrong to do that.

2. Remember when you called me crazy for saying Obama wanted to “spread the wealth around,” based on not a scrap of evidence except for Obama himself saying he wanted to spread the wealth around? Yeah, there’s a NYT article that says that Obamacare is fundamentally a redistributive program — which means it “spreads the wealth around.” Yeah you were wrong on that, too.

There are four more — much along the same lines.

P.S. I wonder what their talking points are for this:

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.

Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

. . . .

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.

In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not.

Now that’s some fun dinner discussion.

11/25/2013

Debunking the Idea That Race Attitudes Explain the Famous Katrina Captions Showing a White Person “Finding” Items and a Black Person “Looting” Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am



Ken from Popehat, who has helped me greatly in my life and whom I respect deeply, recently posted the following tweet:

Somewhere in the back of my head, I had a memory that this example of racism was not all it was cracked up to be. Turns out my memory was right: there is a race-neutral explanation for the differing captions. I don’t think I ever posted on this before, and since the perception obviously persists that the difference in the captions is due to attitudes on race, I thought I would do a post about it — even though it is eight years later.

It’s never too late to help debunk a persistent misperception.

Surprisingly, I found the source materials I needed at Snopes.com. Even more surprisingly, the debunking of this episode as racism comes in part from an article at Salon.com. (The other half of the debunking is from an online forum for sports photographers.)

Regarding the caption that accused someone of “looting,” we learn that the photographer saw the person take the goods from the shop:

Jack Stokes, AP’s director of media relations, confirmed today that Martin says he witnessed the people in his images looting a grocery store. “He saw the person go into the shop and take the goods,” Stokes said, “and that’s why he wrote ‘looting’ in the caption.”

Regarding the photo by Chris Graythen whose caption said someone had “found” the items they were carrying, the photographer did not see the person take the goods from the shop. Here is the photographer, Chris Graythen, talking about his observations on a photographers’ forum:

I wrote the caption about the two people who ‘found’ the items. I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not ‘looted’ them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow. I wouldn’t have taken in, because I wouldn’t eat anything that’s been in that water. But I’m not homeless. (well, technically I am right now.)

I’m not trying to be politically correct. I’m don’t care if you are white or black. I spent 4 hours on a boat in my parent’s neighborhood shooting [he means “taking photos of” — Ed.], and rescuing people, both black and white, dog and cat. I am a journalist, and a human being – and I see all as such. If you don’t belive me, you can look on Getty today and see the images I shot of real looting today, and you will see white and black people, and they were DEFINATELY looting. And I put that in the caption.

According to the Salon article, the AP had a policy that action was described as looting only if a reporter or photographer saw people taking the goods from a business:

Santiago Lyon, AP’s director of photography, told Salon that all captions are vetted by editors and are the result of a dialogue between editor and photographer. Lyon said AP’s policy is that each photographer can describe only what he or she actually sees. He added, “When we see people go into businesses and come out with goods, we call it ‘looting.’” On the other hand, he said, “When we just see them carrying things down the road, we call it ‘carrying items.’”

And the AFP had the same policy:

Regarding the AFP/Getty “finding” photo by Graythen, Getty spokeswoman Bridget Russel said, “This is obviously a big tragedy down there, so we’re being careful with how we credit these photos.” Russel said that Graythen had discussed the image in question with his editor and that if Graythen didn’t witness the two people in the image in the act of looting, then he couldn’t say they were looting.

So there is really no reason to attribute racism to the people who took these pictures. They were following the similar policies of their news organizations, and observed different things.

Racism is a touchy issue in this country. It certainly exists — more than some people think, and less than other people think. Nothing about this debunking is intended to imply that racism is not a problem. It’s simply intended to show that there was a race-neutral explanation for the differences in these captions . . . and that people who use the captions as an example of racism (or race attitudes) may be unfairly attributing bad motives to photographers and caption writers who were just doing their job.

It’s a useful reminder in an era when any criticism of a black president is considered by some to be racism, no matter how much he lies or takes actions that harm the country.

Video: Cancer Patient Loses Coverage Thanks to ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 am



She liked her plan, but she can’t keep it:

This is not an isolated story, folks. I absolutely guarantee it.

Thanks to Hot Air.

11/24/2013

Glenn Reynolds on the ObamaCare Rollout

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:43 pm



Not listening to the people actually doing the work — it causes problems in all areas of life, not just ObamaCare.

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