Patterico's Pontifications

12/17/2013

Random Links

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 pm

I’m clearing the tabs out on the laptop.

ObamaCare promise broken, stop the presses:

Private health insurance exchanges still are not able to directly enroll consumers in subsidized health plans offered through Obamacare even though the government has said problems doing so should have been cleared up weeks ago.

Hard to believe they would lie.

Tom Coburn releases a “Wastebook” highlighting government waste for the year. A couple of examples:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”

And you probably already heard about this one:

If your wife is angry at you and you don’t want her to stay that way, you might avoid passing along the findings of this government study. Wives would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands, according to government-funded research.

That was over $325,000.

The report is here (.pdf). I find trying to read it very frustrating, because I want to be told what bill authorized the spending so I can see who voted for it. Wouldn’t it be something if Coburn had voted for some of the very same bills he criticizes? It wouldn’t mean he’s a bad guy, but it would illustrate something about our system. Call it Patterico’s Assignment Desk.

A news report about the study talks about life coaches for Senate staffers, and studies about duck penises. I poked around to read about the duck penis study and learned that it was a story in March. Naturally, there are defenders — not just from the recipient of the grant, but also clueless do-goodniks who think that if something is interesting, then the government should spend money to study it. $17 trillion in debt and tons more in unfunded liabilities. We’re standing in a barrel wearing cement shoes, with water up to our necks and more dripping in all the time, and this guy wants to squeeze a dropperful of water into the barrel because it turns the water a pretty color and is interesting to watch.

Michael Hiltzik says the ranks of the uninsured include more minorities and poor people than ever. He says it’s because those awful Republicans are rejecting Medicaid. Never mind that the New York Times said in 2011 said Medicaid is crap insurance. Quotable:

“Having a Medicaid card in no way assures access to care,” said Dr. James B. Aiken, an emergency physician in New Orleans.

Nicole R. Dardeau, 46, a nurse in Opelousas, La., in the heart of Cajun country, can attest to that. She said she could not work because of unbearable pain in her right arm. Doctors have found three herniated discs in her neck and recommended surgery, but cannot find a surgeon to take her as a Medicaid patient.

From her pocketbook, she pulls an insurance card issued by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

“My Medicaid card is useless for me right now,” Ms. Dardeau said over lunch. “It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

As Heritage.org put it:

Thus, we arrive at the great Medicaid paradox: out of control spending coupled with limited access and low quality of care for beneficiaries. President Obama’s solution was to expand Medicaid and temporarily increase the federal government’s share of Medicaid spending.

Heckuva job, Barry.

Meanwhile, the government is moving into the non-disparagement clause business:

The state most likely to be named the country’s worst Obamacare exchange is reportedly banning its partners from saying almost anything negative about it in a broad confidentiality agreement.

Radio host Lars Larson and his show’s legal expert Bruce McCain report that in order to contract with Cover Oregon, so-called “community partners” are forced to sign a far-reaching non-disparagement agreement that could put the organizations at risk of losing all their grant money if Oregon state officials decide they disagree with any unfavorable statements about the Obamacare exchange.

The document bans organizations that promote the exchange and help consumer apply from saying anything “false, misleading, deceptive, libelous, defamatory or obscene.” Community partners are part of an outreach program targeting “hard-to-reach, non-English speaking, geographically isolated, and underserved populations.”

Ken at Popehat has been explaining why businesses should not be trusted if they have oppressive non-disparagement clauses. For government to make such clauses part of their contracts is highly troubling. Blog it, Ken!

I didn’t promise coherence or orderly transitions. I promised only one thing: that I would clear my browser tabs.

Ah. A browser cleared of tabs is a beautiful thing.

44 Comments

  1. I wonder which story gets discussed the most.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:19 pm

  2. If you’ve seen one duck penis, you’ve seen them all.

    The story about the angry bitchy wives is good, because it ties in with the court decision out of Utah that multiple cohabitation without state-sanctioned marriage cannot be punished as bigamy. But maybe it can be treated as suicidal tendencies? Or morbid masochism? Would Obamacare cover it?

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:36 pm

  3. That Romance Study was …”taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”

    Did nk get any of that grant??? Just want to make sure there are no undeclared conflicts of interest.

    I’d like to get a job as a life coach for some Senate members. Yeah, that could be promising.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:51 pm

  4. Here’s a random link that is purty good:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/12/the-tv-spot-that-will-kill-democrats-next-year.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+powerlineblog%2Flivefeed+%28Power+Line%29

    Such ads write themselves,as long as someone will pay to air them.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:56 pm

  5. Wasn’t there a song years ago that had a chorus of “duck penis, duck penis”… no wait, that was “salt peanuts, salt peanuts”…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (18cd23) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:01 pm

  6. I note that most of the guys here seem to be staying pretty far from the angry bitchy wife link. That shows both great restraint and good judgement.

    Comment by elissa (57f24f) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:06 pm

  7. Oh, frabjous joy

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/12/cover-oregon-pulls-multi-million-dollar-hipster-ads/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:15 pm

  8. Elissa… My wife is so far from that image, I find it hard to relate… today. But ask me tomorrow…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (18cd23) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:21 pm

  9. No such luck, MD. I did know a girl named Galatea, though.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:25 pm

  10. Here’s another random link to add to the list. No politics, no wasted money or stupid people involved. Just a heartwarming and wonderful story. Made me cry.

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/17/blind-man-dog-survive-falling-on-subway-tracks/

    Comment by elissa (57f24f) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:26 pm

  11. I don’t know which will be discussed more, but I do know that Obamacare enrollments are so swift and sure that the whole world will be signed up by the end of the year. The sign-ups are exponential.

    At least that’s what I hear from lefty Web sites.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:30 pm

  12. Patterico’s Assignment Desk:

    According to footnote 214 in Coburn’s Wastebook 2013, the study about wives was NIH Grant 5T32MH020006. It appears the NIH budget requests are lump-sum requests divided into several medical areas. My guess is this particular study wasn’t something the NIH highlighted in its funding requests.

    Here is a link to Coburn’s 2013 voting record. Neither the NIH nor this particular Grant are listed. I think the NIH budget is typically funded as part of larger spending bills. I don’t know if Coburn voted for or against but I think he could have voted for the NIH’s budget without supporting studies like this.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:31 pm

  13. Me, too, elissa.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:33 pm

  14. Medicaid lol

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:40 pm

  15. Never mind that the New York Times said in 2011 said Medicaid is crap insurance.

    I was speaking with a person in his early 30s a few days ago, who has a degree from a fairly good university but is struggling to make a good living in today’s era. He apparently hasn’t had a decent insurance plan for a number of years and told me he checked out the Obamacare website a few months ago. He said the option he finally signed up for was Medicaid and indicated it wouldn’t cost him anything. He seemed fairly satisfied with the outcome, but he also mentioned a few doctors and medical clinics he had used in the past that he wanted to avoid in the future. Well, good luck. (BTW, the guy is of the left.)

    In his case, Obamacare probably would have to be more of a disaster or joke before he’d sit up and take notice, and finally question the wisdom of folks of his political stripe, particularly if they have the winning smile of a Barry Obama. A hint of that nonsense is indicated by one result of the poll described below:

    businessinsider.com via drudgereport.com:

    President Barack Obama is ending his fifth year in office with the lowest approval ratings at this point in the presidency since President Richard Nixon, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday.

    Obama’s approval rating in the poll stands at 43%. By comparison, President George W. Bush had a 47% approval rating at the end of the fifth year of his presidency. And all other Post-World War II presidents had approval ratings above 50% — with the exception of Nixon, who, amid the Watergate scandal, had a dreadful 29% approval rating.

    On the question of who respondents “trust” to do a better job with the nation’s problems, 41% say Obama, and 41% say congressional Republicans.

    42% trust Obama more with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — 37% say congressional Republicans.

    ^ Too many Americans suffer from a variation of the battered-wife syndrome. But in this case, liberalism and its adherents substitute for a domineering, abusive husband.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:48 pm

  16. They spent 10 million to promote that ‘Man of Steel’ film, lord love a waterfowl.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:49 pm

  17. I want it noted that I have not discussed duck penises. Oh crap. Carry on.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:57 pm

  18. the first rule of fight club, Ag;

    http://www.libertylawsite.org/2013/12/15/breaking-the-uniparty/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:58 pm

  19. A random Obamacare link.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/nyregion/with-affordable-care-act-canceled-policies-for-new-york-professionals.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    I know some people may have seen this article or others like it but one thing seems to have passed fairly unnoticed.

    But while those policies, by and large, had been canceled because they did not meet the law’s requirements for minimum coverage, many of the New York policies being canceled meet and often exceed the standards, brokers say. The rationale for disqualifying those policies, said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, was to prevent associations from selling insurance to healthy members who are needed to keep the new health exchanges financially viable.

    These policies have to be cancelled because the premiums are too low. As in, the individual who has the policy is merely paying for that individual’s insurance. They need to be forced onto the individual exchanges so they can get new policies that subsidize other people’s insurance.

    So Obama isn’t just violating insurance companies 5th Amendment rights when he requires them to allow their private property, their financial assets, “be taken for public use, without just compensation,” to pay for the cost of his entitlement program.

    Obama is also doing to individuals. Their plans meet the requirements in terms of enumerated benefits. But if he let people keep them, he couldn’t convert their private property to public use.

    I suspect this is far more common across the country than the NYT would ever be willing to admit.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:01 pm

  20. 16. …lord love a waterfowl.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Be careful what you wish for.

    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/12/22/ballistic-penises-and-corkscrew-vaginas-the-sexual-battles/

    Ballistic penises and corkscrew vaginas – the sexual battles of ducks

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:06 pm

  21. There’s a YouTube video but I won’t link it because the suggested videos on the sidebar are very NSFW. Google duck penis, but be warned. I won’t say that it gave me some kind of an inferiority complex, but I do have an urge to buy a bigger gun.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:08 pm

  22. I walked right into that one,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:08 pm

  23. We’re all playing into Patterico’s diabolical game.

    You magnificent bastard, you.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:13 pm

  24. Assuming this had to be done for science, why did it have to be funded by the govt?

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:23 pm

  25. Maybe it was paid for by Federal Duck Stamp revenue? It’s a hunting license. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Duck_Stamp In which case, I think it’s ok.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:35 pm

  26. Coburn’s a clown, just like Proxmire (D) before him. Basic research is not a waste of money, it’s one of the best things to spend money on. That doesn’t mean government should fund it; that’s not government’s job. But that applies equally to all research, including cancer, AIDS, etc. The government shouldn’t be doing any of that; the NIH and NSF and NASA and all of those should be private bodies, seeking funding where they can find it. Basic research that doesn’t promise any immediate gain, and thus isn’t likely to be funded for commercial purposes, can and should be funded by donations from philanthropists and from the public. But to call it wasteful is just stupid and philistine.

    It’s also stupid to spend time complaining about it and trying to cut it, when there’s so much actual wasted spending. We’re pouring how many billions down the toilet on Head Start? 8 billion, I think. And that is wasteful, because it produces absolutely nothing. The kids are no smarter coming out of it than they are going in. Three years later it’s as if they never had it; so why give it to them? And that’s just one example. When you’ve cut all of those programs, then you can start cutting the actually useful things government does, which it shouldn’t be.

    Comment by Milhouse (b95258) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:43 pm

  27. The popular romance project also sounds like something worth doing, but again not by the government. Let some foundation fund it. But if the government is going to spend money it shouldn’t, I’d much rather it did so on things that are at least worth something, like this project, than on Head Start or Solyndra. Cut those first, and then let’s talk about this.

    Comment by Milhouse (b95258) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:46 pm

  28. 27. The popular romance project also sounds like something worth doing, but again not by the government.

    Comment by Milhouse (b95258) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:46 pm

    Hey, anything worth doing is worth doing with lavish government subsidies. Think Solyndra.

    Speaking of romance, and what the government has been up to, this could be a thing. And for once, the government in question isn’t the USG.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/kim-jong-uns-aunt-now-missing-photo/story?id=21245199&singlePage=true

    Kim Jong-un’s Aunt Now Missing From Photo

    North Korea’s military and political elite lined up in formation to swear fealty to its leader Kim Jong-un today as observers studied the position of top aides to see who survived the recent purge of Kim’s uncle.

    Kim’s paternal aunt Kim Kyong-hui was not present at any of the events after her husband Jang Song-thaek, known to have been North Korea’s second most powerful man, was suddenly purged and executed last week.

    The aunt was reportedly in favor of her husband’s ouster from the government. Jang has been charged of alleged drug abuse, womanizing, and treason by attempting to create his own powerbase within the regime.

    Truly a great romance. The aunt apparently backed her husband’s ouster. But not his execution.

    Purging Jang Song Thaek was one thing, although China was likely royally pissed. But purging Kim Hyong Hui, Kim Il Sung’s daughter and Kim Jong Il’s sister, is a magnitude beyond that. She’s a blood relation of the Great Leader and the Dear Leader. Some people who study North Korea don’t think Kim Jong Un will be going too far if he just purges her from the leadership let alone dares to execute her. It’s a hereditary dynasty; the only claim he has to legitimacy are his blood ties to his father and grandfather. The same blood ties his aunt has.

    Things could spin out of control, and based on the Obama regime’s performance in Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine Obama will not have the skill to deal with it.

    Which, ironically, is exactly what North Korea watchers have concluded about Kim Jong Un.

    “History shows that the North Korean regime tends to create a sense of insecurity in terms of national sovereignty at times of domestic turmoil,” noted Koh You-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. “It’s one of the most effective ways to control the masses and draw out loyalty to the nation.”

    “The execution of Jang could be the most important turning point to the North Korean regime since its foundation 68 years ago,” South Korean Defense minister Kim Kwan-jin said at a military conference. “Possibility is high of a North Korean provocation sometime between late January and early March of next year.”

    Kim noted that the execution was to solidify Kim Jong-un’s sole leadership but public dissatisfaction within North Korea will grow over the “politics of horror” in the long term. The regime then is likely to use the traditional strategy of cultivating a sense of insecurity by for example testing another nuclear bomb or test-launching missiles.

    The NORKs like to work these provocations into their Winter Training Cycle. It’s going to be a bad three months for Obama. Obamacare will be an increasingly obvious disaster as the end of open enrollment in March looms. Now this.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 12:58 am

  29. *…who study North Korea don’t think…*

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 1:00 am

  30. I agree that some govt. funded studies are at least poor use of tax payer money,
    but on the other hand, the amounts discussed are chump change compared to the overall picture. I bet all of the questionable funding could be cut and it would be hardly missed in the deficit.
    Now, to the degree it is indicative of general government mismanagement, that is another issue.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/18/2013 @ 5:36 am

  31. MD in Philly, I just wish the gub’mint would divert half the money they spend on studying duck genitalia and romance novels toward studying the world as it actually is. Because it’s embarrassing to watch people like McCain, Kerry, Clinton, and Obama cluelessly stumbling around the world needlessly offending people because they didn’t do basic homework about the countries they’re dealing with. And making situations worse.

    Another random link.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/17/no-obamas-bidens-cabinet-members-will-attend-sochi-olympics/

    No Obamas, Bidens, Cabinet members will attend Sochi Olympics

    Sorry, we’re not sorry, Putin.

    WASHINGTON — The United States will not be sending any of its top officials — either President or Mrs. Obama or Vice President or Dr. Biden — to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as part of its delegation to the games.

    A former federal official, Janet Napolitano, will instead be leading the U.S. delegation, the White House announced Tuesday, and two out LGBT athletes — Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow — will be a part of the delegation as well.

    …“The U.S. Delegation to the Olympic Games represents the diversity that is the United States,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told BuzzFeed.

    This is supposed to be a snub. It reminds me of Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Except even more feeble and pathetic.

    And do these people understand that a lot of the world thinks our fetish with “diversity” is supremely weird and somewhat sick? If you take a look around, a lot of people spend a great deal of time and effort making their countries less diverse, and have no intention of coming to the US to enjoy “diversity.” Any more than they want to come here to enjoy the knock-out game or the school shootings.

    In many ways our ruling elite reminds me of the Imperial British, who like ours also didn’t need to learn the languages or cultures of people around the world. If they didn’t get the point the first time, then the way to get the point across was to speak even more loudly and s-l-o-w-l-y in English until they got the message.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:38 am

  32. This is supposed to be a snub.

    That apparently truly was the MO behind the current White House’s treatment of the funeral of Margaret Thatcher earlier this year, given how they (but also various Republicans too) did a contortionist routine to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

    I’m still trying to figure out if Michelle Obama’s excuse in June that she couldn’t show up at a major state dinner for the president of China and his wife, which caused a minor flap, was due to marital discord or a similarly politically inspired snub, but on her part alone.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:47 am

  33. The Russians must be totally devastated.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:49 am

  34. I’m still trying to figure out if Michelle Obama’s excuse in June that she couldn’t show up at a major state dinner for the president of China and his wife, which caused a minor flap, was due to marital discord or a similarly politically inspired snub, but on her part alone.

    You’ve never been married, right, Mark?

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:51 am

  35. Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:47 am
    Just as well. I enjoyed watching video of PM Thatcher’s granddaughter and not needing to see hoe the one tried to make it about himself.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 7:38 am
    You have a point, but I am reminded of Dennis Prager’s saying that, “Some things are so foolish you would have had to go to graduate school to believe them”. In other words, more study by DC elite might not necessarily be an improvement.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/18/2013 @ 8:07 am

  36. In other words, more study by DC elite [on pertinent topics] might not necessarily be an improvement.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/18/2013 @ 8:08 am

  37. “Life is like a penis… simple, relaxed and hanging free… it’s women who make it hard.”

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (b76d97) — 12/18/2013 @ 8:52 am

  38. Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 12:58 am

    Kim Jong-un’s Aunt Now Missing From Photo

    Two days ago, or so, she was still supposed to be in good standing, because she was on the list of the committee handling funeral arrangements for an 89-year old general associated with Kim Il Sung.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304403804579259603815824842

    North Korea Indicates Wife of Executed Jang Retains Prominence

    Kim Kyong Hui Named in Leadership List

    By Alastair Gale
    Updated Dec. 15, 2013 6:38 p.m. ET

    ….Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of former leader Kim Jong Il, was named by Pyongyang as a member of the funeral committee for an 89-year-old official who died on Friday, according to a state media report Saturday.

    Such lists are carefully scrutinized by North Korea analysts to assess the rise and fall of functionaries in the regime. Ms. Kim’s name appeared high on the latest list, suggesting she retains a key position.

    I guess Kim Jong Un reads or is told about the foreign press says, and then does the opposite.

    They said he would never acknowledge a purge. He did. They said it video would never be seen. It was. They said he wouldn’t be executed. He was. They said families are often executed or arrested. She wasn’t. They said this was different becaus she was a blood relative. Maybe it isn’t.

    He doesn’t want anyone to think they know what he’s going to do.

    Truly a great romance. The aunt apparently backed her husband’s ouster. But not his execution.

    Could be.

    Things could spin out of control, and based on the Obama regime’s performance in Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine Obama will not have the skill to deal with it.

    But South Korean president Park Geun-hye will.

    “Possibility is high of a North Korean provocation sometime between late January and early March of next year.”

    The possibility is then high that the North Korean dictatorship will not around in April.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/18/2013 @ 9:08 am

  39. Two days ago, or so, she was still supposed to be in good standing, because she was on the list of the committee handling funeral arrangements for an 89-year old general associated with Kim Il Sung.

    Lil’ Kim could have been sending a message to his aunt by putting her on a funeral committee.

    KKH: “Whose funeral are we planning agian?”

    KJU: “Don’t worry. You’ll find out.”

    Things could spin out of control, and based on the Obama regime’s performance in Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine Obama will not have the skill to deal with it.

    But South Korean president Park Geun-hye will.

    The Obama administration will no doubt lean on her not to respond, like they did on the ROK government after the NORKs sank the Cheonan. They were livid. I doubt they’ll put up with it again.

    Maybe Obama will try to negotiate by offering to send Dennis Rodman back in to work his diplomatic magic.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 4:51 pm

  40. Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 4:51 pm

    The Obama administration will no doubt lean on her not to respond, like they did on the ROK government after the NORKs sank the Cheonan. They were livid. I doubt they’ll put up with it again.

    It’ll all be over by he time the Obama Adminsitration has time to react. All that South Korea needs is an accomodation with Mainland China. If China gets very worried about Kim Jong Un and can’t remove him themselves, the may just decide to let South Korea take over. Maybe a little bit more than acquisence would be required.

    Nobody has more reason to be wary than South Korea. It’s not the nuclear bomb – that probably is not ready to go – it’s all the artillery that could be fired on Seoul.

    Now the North Korean army isn’t interested in fighting and the generals and otehr officers may want to get rid of Kim Jong Un out of fear of their lives, but North Korea is also a place where people are terrified of disobeying any orders. So it all depends on knowing enough to cause a quick collapse.

    Maybe Obama will try to negotiate by offering to send Dennis Rodman back in to work his diplomatic magic.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/18/2013 @ 5:32 pm

  41. As Kevin said, three months before the Berlin Wall fell, nobody thought that could happen either.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/18/2013 @ 5:34 pm

  42. 19. Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:01 pm

    These policies have to be cancelled because the premiums are too low.

    Because they are in the wrong pool, and they are not cross-subsidizing other people.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/20/2013 @ 10:21 am

  43. Steve57: I suspect this is far more common across the country than the NYT would ever be willing to admit.

    No, it doesn’t.

    As the New York Times writes, this type of insurance pretty much does not exist in other states. It’s a New York story.

    They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

    In other parts of the country, many people have individual health insurance policies.

    Not so in New York. In new York State, the individual insurance market went into a death spiral long ago (with insurance reaching $1,500 a month) so much so that many people are delighted by the policies on the exchanges.

    What these people had was group insurance, not by employer but by professional associations or chambers of commerce. These people are now being forced into the individual market, with the exception of the Freelancers Union, which got a one-year exemption from Governor Cuomo.

    Nothing is being done about this because New York State does not have any Republican Senators, and doesn’t even seem to have the possibility of having a Republican Senator, so no grandstanding by Charles Schumer or Kirsten Gillebrand and rescue by President Obama.

    Even if a candidate loses, maybe even if he loses badly, he can still affect things, as long as there was some posisbility of winning, at least the next time.

    Mayor elect diBlasio is appointed Bill Bratton Police Comissioner and he’s going to get John Miller to come back (leave CBS News) to take the job of running New York Citys war aagiunst terrorism.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/20/2013 @ 10:28 am

  44. Qatar is not neutral – it’s on every side:

    http://217.25.54.55/en/News/80968495/Politic/Iran,_Qatar_to_hold_joint_navy_drills__commander

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 12/26/2013 @ 12:28 pm

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