Patterico's Pontifications

1/8/2014

Conversation in a Texas Drugstore

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

This is not a conversation I would expect to have in Los Angeles:

DRUGSTORE EMPLOYEE: Can I help you?

ME: Yeah, can you show me where you have the earplugs?

DRUGSTORE EMPLOYEE: Sure, follow me. You going shootin’ or you got a real bad snorer?

ME: The latter . . . but if I don’t address this soon, it may turn into the former.

The family is finally back home after fighting the Hercules snowstorm to get back. We were stuck in Lexington an extra couple of days as a result.

It never got quite cold enough to do the “throw boiling water in the air” trick:

Maybe we should have tried the freezing bubble trick:

Anyway, regular political-type posts should resume soon.

82 Responses to “Conversation in a Texas Drugstore”

  1. Our original flight was cancelled due to our originally being routed through Chicago. Luckily, we figured out the outbound flight was cancelled the night before, and after an hour and a half on hold, managed to book another flight only two days later. We feel lucky, given the magnitude of the problem.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Always glad to know you’ve refreshed your Texas roots, my friend.

    Beldar (8ff56a)

  3. A friend of mine and his wife went to the LA area (from NYC) to spend Christmas with his uncle. They were supposed to fly back on 1/2.

    Their (direct) flight was canceled, and their tickets were automatically rescheduled to 1/5 due to the weather problems on 1/2. OK, fair enough.

    On 1/5, their tickets were automatically rescheduled to today due to lingering problems with the United fleet and accomodating all of the delayed/cancelled passengers in the LA area.

    The last I heard they were finally able to get on a plane this morning.

    aphrael (d09290)

  4. Wellesley College’s swim team was on a training trip to Puerto Rico. They were supposed to return yesterday, but are apparently being told the earliest they can be re-booked out of San Juan is January 14. I doubt they have the budget for an extra week of hotels and meals.

    JVW (709bc7)

  5. We’re glad that you’re home safe and sound,
    So great articles now can be found,
    On Pontifications
    To stir our great nation,
    Beset by a Prez who’s a clown.

    The Limerick Avenger (3e4784)

  6. Better Half was booked to leave Sunday AM for San Antonio. After 6 successive cancelled flights, she was able to drive two hours to another airport and depart on Tuesdsay night.

    JD (5c1832)

  7. speaking of travel troubles

    that was really sleazy what Chris Christie did with that bridge

    it says a lot about his character huh

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  8. 7. I’m thinking Amnesty for beached whales.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  9. happyfeet – I’d been ignoring that story, because it seemed too bizarre to be true, until the email dump that showed that Christie’s deputy chief of staff directed PATH to create traffic problems for Fort Lee. (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579308331794186904)

    At this point, as a political matter, Christie needs to throw his deputy chief of staff under the bus in order to contain the scandal.

    aphrael (d09290)

  10. Nope. Just remember that the DNC’s goal is to hide anything bad about HRC, and shout about anything bad about anyone who could stop her from becoming President.

    And the DNC has bipartisan help, sadly.

    Simon Jester (5b3fd3)

  11. Simon, was that posted to the correct thread?

    aphrael (d09290)

  12. I have to admit i’d somewhat love to see this question asked in a debate, though:

    “How many of your endorsements were solicited under extortionate threats, Gov. Christie?”

    aphrael (d09290)

  13. Frankly, our prospects for highly regarded candidates do not seem bright.

    http://elections.gmu.edu/voter_turnout.htm

    VAR or VEP we’ll revisit 1996 territory I’m thinkin’.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  14. At this point, as a political matter, Christie needs to throw his deputy chief of staff under the bus in order to contain the scandal.

    It wouldn’t hurt. After being under Christie, she wouldn’t even notice.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. aphrael @9, what Christie’s aid did in the case of Fort Lee disrupting traffic is in microcosm what Obama is doing to the nation by disrupting their lives with Obmacare. There’s nothing bizarre about it. It’s a standard political tactic.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116105/obamacare-will-lead-single-payer-michael-moore

    I happen to agree with Moore’s basic sentiment. For-profit health insurance is on some level morally offensive—at least when it’s practiced the way we Americans practice capitalism. With a few tantalizing but mostly unrepresentative exceptions, the longstanding aim of health insurers has been to weed out sick people, and to weasel out of paying for treatment if they somehow get insurance…

    I just excerpted this part in order to demonstrate the moral bankruptcy of progressives like Noam Schieber who find the profit motive “morally offensive.” The rest of the article demonstrates that Sheiber is in no position to pass moral judgement on anything.

    And yet I’m still much more sympathetic to Obamacare than Moore. He thinks it’s awful. I consider it a deceptively sneaky way to get the health care system both of us really want.

    Because of course all the great moral authorities advise getting what you want by being deceptively sneaky. Also known as lying.

    In order to move the law through the Senate, the White House had to make all sorts of noxious compromises, like keeping the overall spending under $1 trillion, which limited the subsidies available to people buying insurance. Hence the kind of horror-stories Moore cites in his op-ed: A 60-year old couple with an annual income of $65,000 who could end up spending $25,000 on health care in a single year. And that’s with Obamacare. (This is something of an outlier, but not that much of one.) But the flip side is that the law also created potentially millions of hard-working Americans who will have some health insurance; just maddeningly insufficient health insurance. What are the chances politicians stand up and take notice when these Americans complain?

    In the heat of the political back-and-forth with Republicans bent on the program’s destruction, this whole Obamacare adventure can feel a little hopeless. But when you look at the big picture, the underlying political logic is clearly toward more generous, more comprehensive coverage over time. Once the previously uninsured start getting insurance, the natural upshot of cataloguing the law’s shortcomings isn’t to give them less insurance, as my colleague Alec MacGillis pointed out last fall. It’s to give them more. Republicans are in some sense playing into the trap Obamacare laid for them. And a few of them seem a bit concerned about it.2

    What the deceptively sneaky Noam Scheiber doesn’t tell you is that the political driver will not be the 15% of Americans who were previously uninsured. It will be the vast majority of Americans who were perfectly happy with their insurance who will be conned out of it by a President, the Democratic party, and a deceptively sneaky MFM as personified by the senior editor of TNR his own damned self. They were told by all these liars that if they had insurance they would be unaffected.

    Which is a standard political lie if you’re trying to force people into something they don’t want.

    But the similarity between the two is if you’re trying to create demand for something that’s unpopular, f*** up lots of people’s lives and give them no choice but to turn to the people who screwed things up to fix it.

    The basic point is that, by pooling millions of people together in one institutional home—the exchanges where customers buy insurance under Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act is creating an organized constituency for additional reform. And since threadbare coverage is the only affordable option under Obamacare for many of these people, the law is giving them a whole set of grievances to get exercised about.

    This from the kind of people who find the profit motive offensive. If you go back to that first paragraph I excerpted it’s full of lies. But then, what do you expect from someone who favors coercion, deception, and sneakiness to say?

    Steve57 (d35759)

  16. But, but, but … Christie is not a Democrat. He is an Electable Republican. The great white whale hope of a GOP in need of a unifying figure who can appeal to a broad spectrum of voters and bring them all into the big tent where there’s barbecue and corn on the cob for everybody and Bruce Springteen can sing Hungry Heart and Born to Run.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. Comment by aphrael (d09290) — 1/8/2014 @ 9:13 am

    I’d been ignoring that story, because it seemed too bizarre to be true,

    Oh, it’s true. It became clear pretty early (by the second week of December anyway) that it’s true, although we are not privy to the answer to the question as to how it makes any sense.

    The fact that we don’t know enough to know why doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/nyregion/investigating-political-hack-work-near-the-george-washington-bridge.html

    That was a memorable newspaper story. I just didn’t get around to, or didn’t know where to mention it.

    It’s not clear how long that was going to continue if it hadn’t been noticed.

    I don’t think Christie ordered this – it must have something to do with the careers of other people. None of this makes any sense from Governor Christie’s viewpoint, and certainly not the idea this was done to help Christie’s re-election campaign.

    The argument about Christie’s campaign is that if he won by a very big margin, it could help his chances of becoming the Republican nominee is 2016, so he needed the Democatic mayor’s endorsement. I don’t think raising his vote totals slightly would do much – and the endorsement wouldn’t rauise his vote totals either. I’d look somewhere else for an explanation, something more local. The endorsement, at most, might be because this was an incident (unimportant in itself) that showed the mayor was not playing ball. And it’s unlikely hrisytie is the instigator, but it’s got to be but someone who’s career is based on his coattails.

    The peculiar thing is that Christie seems to believe that nothing untoward happened. David Wildstein must be a pretty good liar, or a good friend, or both, of Governor Christie.

    Maybe – well, no, certainly – a couple of people are involved, so Christie would have to believe they were all lying to him.

    It could be tied in with some piece of legislation that’s being pushed, and they don’t want any opposition. That would be my first thought.

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  18. “How many of your endorsements were solicited under extortionate threats, Gov. Christie?”

    This is why I can’t see anyone from New Jersey being on a national ticket.

    Can you imagine how much trouble we are in if our 2016 choice comes down to a politician from New York versus a politician from New Jersey? I have never taken the idea of secession seriously, but I may have to jump on the bandwagon if this happens.

    JVW (709bc7)

  19. At this point, as a political matter, Christie needs to throw his deputy chief of staff under the bus in order to contain the scandal.

    Christie’s got to realize that he’s actually been pretty naive about New Jersey politics.

    Here are some more links about the lane closing from the New York Times that I just discovered:

    (from around the time of the first one I linked to)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/nyregion/clues-but-no-full-account-of-order-that-turned-a-new-jersey-town-into-a-parking-lot.html

    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/the-new-jersey-traffic-conspiracy/

    This is the latest:

    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/smoking-guns-at-fort-lee/

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  20. But hey, if you had told me 12 years ago that we would soon be electing someone from the Daley Machine in Chicago, I would have thought you were nuts.

    Oh Lord, maybe President Antonio Villaraigosa isn’t all that far-fetched after all.

    JVW (709bc7)

  21. http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/smoking-guns-at-fort-lee/#more-15741

    Now we see that he was either a clueless pawn of scheming aides — or just a liar.

    My vote is for clueless pawn of scheming aides – and if he hadn’t been, he never would have been elected Governor.

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  22. Can you imagine how much trouble we are in if our 2016 choice comes down to a politician from New York versus a politician from New Jersey?

    Bingo.

    If GOP values = New Jersey values, I swear, I ….

    nk (dbc370)

  23. And something similar happened in Nassau County, with an arrest that shouldn’t have ben expected to happen.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/nyregion/a-seemingly-routine-arrest-fraught-with-county-politics.html?_r=0

    Whatever Mr. White may have done with bootleg DVD’s, he became an essential figure because of his ability to derail a standard ploy of county politics — the fielding of a third-party candidate to draw votes from a Republican or Democratic competitor. Mr. White had collected signatures for the candidacy of Andrew Hardwick, a former mayor of Freeport, N.Y., a longtime Democrat who wanted to run against Mr. Mangano and Mr. Suozzi on the Independence Party line.

    Mr. Mangano’s supporters had been gleeful because Mr. Hardwick is black and could be expected to siphon off black votes from Mr. Suozzi. But the courts eventually barred Mr. Hardwick from the ballot because of irregularities in his nominating petitions.

    One of those irregularities was exposed by Mr. White. In an election-law proceeding, he said that he had been paid per signature — illegal under state law — not per hour while collecting signatures.

    After Mr. White made that statement, according to Ms. Rice, the developer Gary Melius, a major patron of Long Island Republicans and Democrats, called the police commissioner and told him that the Hardwick campaign wanted a perjury charge filed against Mr. White. Mr. Melius said in an interview that he had urged the commissioner to act promptly because Mr. Hardwick’s candidacy was at risk.

    I saw both newspaper stories in December.

    until the email dump that showed that Christie’s deputy chief of staff directed PATH to create traffic problems for Fort Lee. (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579308331794186904)

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  24. Maybe in Texas all ‘dem shooters will start shootin’ at the many drunk drivers who are able to navigate the Texas criminal justice system with not too much more than a simple wrist slap and a scolding.

    Especially the juvenile drunk drivers who end up killing people on the Texas roads.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  25. And then today, there’s about five different scandals, or half scandals, dealing with the putative New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito.

    The Daily News (and Queens Democratic Leader Crowley) is going all out to try to sdtop it, but de Blasio is all behind her.

    She got elected:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/nyregion/mark-viverito-is-elected-city-council-speaker.html

    The vote was unanimous, 51-0.

    That’s what they were looking for. People were being told there was still a chance to make a deal.

    Now, that’s domination.

    Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito came out of, or were close to, the SEIU.

    The result of the race represents a victory for Mr. de Blasio, who lobbied council members to vote for Ms. Mark-Viverito, for the Working Families Party, and for several labor unions, particularly 1199 S.E.I.U., the health care workers’ union, which put its weight behind Ms. Mark-Viverito as soon as Mr. de Blasio was elected.

    Oh, you know, Melissa Mark-Viverito’s father used to own a hospital in Puerto Rico. I don’t know if before or after there were many NLRB complaints against it, but no matter. That’s Puerto Rico – and this union is not there.

    After he died, but before the estate was settled, Melissa Mark-Viverito bought a subsidized “affordable” town house. That looks 100% legal. Her aides point out it actually took her about five more years to get the money,.

    She rents that out now, or part of it. She hid the fact she had rental income from this house – newspapers had to discover that some people registered to vote from there, and she didn’t list any rental income from there on her financial disclosure forms. Now they are wondering about the IRS.

    She’s now promised to release her income tax returns – but only after the City Council vote.

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  26. the longstanding aim of health insurers has been to weed out sick people,

    The longstanding aim of government people running single payer systems is to cut the budget.

    But there’s this distinction between for profit hgealth insurers and government run health systems – with government run systems, you don’t have the lawyers and the politicians ready to go up in arms against them.

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  27. All this probably belongs in the open thread thread.

    Sammy Finkelman (07e67b)

  28. Some thoughts on this local scandal …

    0) If true and proven, it was an abuse of power and it was wrong.
    1) This being reported by the NYTimes – not exactly a reliable paragon of honest journalism – consistent, yes, but only in their biases. Until it has been substantiated by reputable and reliable sources, it Rather stinks so far. Until substantiated, any discussion should start with “If true, …”.
    2) If true, why didn’t Christie’s deputy chief of staff point out that it would be a dumb idea ? That would potentially have killed it.
    3) If true, why didn’t the person at PATH (a PATHological personality?) “Just Say NO !” ? That would potentially have killed it, as it did when Nixon tried to sic the IRS on his political opponents and the IRS back then said “No!”.
    4) If true, the NYTimes should put the same reporters to work just as diligently on the Christie connection as they did on the Obama connection to the IRS abuses.
    5) If true, the major media could write up a series on “Abuses of Political Power”, including the Obama/IRS story – and hopefully include the political abuse of how many formerly-respected newspapers did their best to distract from the Obama/IRS abuse story.

    Alastor (9f79fc)

  29. They did a little sting operation against the Board of Elections – discovered that people would be allowed to vote (61 times out of 63) if they just knew the names and polling places of the persons whose names they were using and the actual voter didn’t show up to vote, even if it was perfectly obvious that they couldn’t be the person in the book whose name they signed (vast age difference, for example – of course nobody looks at the date of birth.)

    Each of the 63 tries was probably in a different election district. They carefully selected names of dead people, or felons ineligible to vote.

    They all cast write-in votes for a candidate named “John Test.”

    The Department of Investigations had all sosrts of other complaiants against the Board of Elections, too.

    Now the Board of Elections wants the people who did the sting operation criminally investigated.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/board-elections-slams-investigators-posed-dead-people-article-1.1569328

    “We (are) unaware of any color of authority on the part of (DOI) to vote in the identity of any person other than themselves — and our reading of the election law is that such an act constitutes a felony.”

    – Newly installed Board of Elections President Gregory Soumas.

    Also:

    Soumas said the Board of Elections also will ask the state attorney general to determine if anyone’s civil rights were violated when investigators used their names at the polls. The board also will file a complaint with Mayor de Blasio, “since (former DOI chief) Rose Gill Hearn is now head of the Campaign Finance Board.”

    “We believe there is cause to be concerned that the integrity of the ballot has been compromised,” Soumas said.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  30. Alastor – it’s also being reported in the WSJ, who has copies of the emails available.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579308331794186904

    aphrael (d09290)

  31. 26.

    the longstanding aim of health insurers has been to weed out sick people,

    The longstanding aim of government people running single payer systems is to cut the budget.

    But there’s this distinction between for profit hgealth insurers and government run health systems – with government run systems, you don’t have the lawyers and the politicians ready to go up in arms against them.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (07e67b) — 1/8/2014 @ 11:23 am

    Not to mention Schieber’s allegation about insurance companies is an out and out lie. The longstanding aim of insurance companies has been to prevent fraud.

    For-profit health insurance is on some level morally offensive—at least when it’s practiced the way we Americans practice capitalism. With a few tantalizing but mostly unrepresentative exceptions, the longstanding aim of health insurers has been to weed out sick people, and to weasel out of paying for treatment if they somehow get insurance, so that the companies could boost their share price

    One of many lies in the above paragraph. You wouldn’t know from Schieber’s dishonest screed that the majority of health insurers with over 100k subscribers are organized as non-profits. You would never know that an insurance policy creates a legally enforceable legal contractual obligation on the insurance company to pay. That the only time they “weaseled out” of paying is when the individual committed insurance fraud, usually by concealing a preexisting condition. You’d never know that insurance companies would insure people with preexisting conditions, just not in the same risk pool as people without.

    You’d never know that the insurance industry is tightly regulated by state insurance departments, and have been for over 80 years.

    You’d think there’s a free market in insurance when there isn’t. Moreover, this guy Schieber hates the free market precisely because in a free market you get cooperation without coercion. Which is why fascists like Schieber are out to destroy the free market, and express contempt for it even if they have to lie to do it.

    There is no willing buyer for what he wants to sell. So he has to be “deceptively sneaky” in order to foist it on an uninformed buyer. Then destroy any alternative to single payer to create a class of unwilling buyers with no other choice but to beg the people who’ve screwed up their health care to fix it.

    The basic point is that, by pooling millions of people together in one institutional home—the exchanges where customers buy insurance under Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act is creating an organized constituency for additional reform. And since threadbare coverage is the only affordable option under Obamacare for many of these people, the law is giving them a whole set of grievances to get exercised about.

    This is what Schieber is drooling over. Exactly the kind of pompous, malevolent jerks who can’t be trusted with power over a hamster will be in charge of your health care. And making sure the public never runs out of grievances is their job security.

    Steve57 (d35759)

  32. 28. Comment by Alastor (9f79fc) — 1/8/2014 @ 11:54 am

    Some thoughts on this local scandal …

    The Port Authority lane closing scandal? There are a few local scandals.

    0) If true and proven, it was an abuse of power and it was wrong.

    Definitely so, and put to an end very quickly. The Port Authority is run jointly by New York State and New Jersey, and the Port Authority’s executive director, Patrick J. Foye, who’s from New York, put an end to it as soon as he found out, but it took four days.

    This already broke into the news when David Wildstein, the director of interstate capital projects, announced he would resign. The Bergen Record (or whatever it might be called now) broke the news on December 6:

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/More_Port_Authority_officials_ordered_to_testify_on_GWB_lane_closures.html?c=y&page=1

    The headline is: Port Authority official at center of lane-closure controversy quits.

    Wildstein is a political consultant.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  33. 1) This being reported by the NYTimes – not exactly a reliable paragon of honest journalism – consistent, yes, but only in their biases.

    They did a little about Melissa Mark-Viverito:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/nyregion/zoning-fight-puts-on-display-polarizing-style-of-new-york-council-speaker-candidate.html

    By the way, this is why sometimes you can’t follow the money – it might be misleading:

    And Ms. Mark-Viverito is so serious about her opposition to the new location that she asked Jewish Home not to contribute to her campaign this time around, Mr. Geto said. So for the 2013 elections, only one person with any ties to the nursing home donated to her, and for $1,000.

    that’s because the real supporter was Local 1199 – getting the campaign contributions from the nursing home people was just a form of double dipping.

    They did something, but in one article, minimized her problems: (at least the by-lined reporter, Michael Powell, did)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/nyregion/when-the-big-dogs-get-down-to-business-teeth-are-sometimes-bared.html

    But her opponents of late sound a touch unhinged. They whisper that she put a hex on a rival (certifiably nuts), that she comes from an upper-middle-income family in Puerto Rico (mi Dios!) and that she made a smart and legal home purchase (the nerve!).

    She also tried to get Fidel Castro’s spies released, but that might not be an issue here.

    Here’s the New York Daily News:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/hypocrite-speaker-article-1.1565875

    The program does not rescind benefits if a recipient gets wealthy. So, depending on when she received her father’s bequest, Mark-Viverito played by the rules — but not by her anti-gentrifying, pro-affordable housing rhetoric.

    And the New York Post:

    http://nypost.com/2014/01/08/mark-viverito-got-subsidized-home-although-she-was-about-to-inherit-fortune/

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  34. 2) If true, why didn’t Christie’s deputy chief of staff point out that it would be a dumb idea ? That would potentially have killed it.

    Because this really had nothing to do with Governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign.

    It had to do with somebidy else’s power.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  35. 3) If true, why didn’t the person at PATH (a PATHological personality?) “Just Say NO !” ? That would potentially have killed it, as it did when Nixon tried to sic the IRS on his political opponents and the IRS back then said “No!”.

    Apparently, there’s too much patronage at the Port Authority. It was stopped by a New York person.

    4) If true, the NYTimes should put the same reporters to work just as diligently on the Christie connection as they did on the Obama connection to the IRS abuses.

    I think they are actually being just as careful in both cases. It’s other people who aren’t being so careful. Democratic politiians probably. Once some politicians make accusations, they can’t ignore it. Even if they don’t report precixsely what’s being said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/18/us/politics/irs-scandal-congressional-hearings.html?pagewanted=all

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans, not resting with the Internal Revenue Service scandal, are moving to broaden the matter to an array of tax malfeasances and “intimidation tactics” they hope will ensnare the White House.

    Republican charges range from clearly questionable actions to seemingly specious allegations, and they grow by the day. On Friday, lawmakers sought to tie the I.R.S. matter to the carrying out of President Obama’s health care law, which will rely heavily on the agency. Whether they succeed holds significant ramifications for Mr. Obama, who will soon know if he is dealing with a late spring thunderstorm that may soon blow over or a consuming squall that will leave lasting damage….

    …Republicans raised a long list of issues. Mr. Camp contended, for instance, that a White House official’s divulging of a private company’s tax status constituted “a clear intimidation tactic.” The 2010 incident involved an offhand comment by the White House economist Austan Goolsbee that Koch Industries had not paid corporate income taxes because it pays taxes through the personal income tax code. As it turned out, that was not true, but the assertion was made in a discussion of tax reform ideas, not politics.

    The Republicans also criticized the publication of donors to the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage. That donors list surfaced mysteriously in March 2012 from a whistle-blower whose identity is still unknown. The whistle-blower apparently obtained it by simply requesting it from the I.R.S.

    Linkage to the health care law came through Sarah Hall Ingram, a longtime I.R.S. official who has headed the agency’s program to carry out the Affordable Care Act since December 2010. Before that, she led the I.R.S.’s tax-exempt and government-entities division, which contained the political targeting effort.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  36. Alastor @ 28:

    5) If true, the major media could write up a series on “Abuses of Political Power”, including the Obama/IRS story

    With the IRS they have an excuse. Here, the excuse: a “traffic study” fell apart.

    There wasn’t a scintilla of truth to it. Lois Lerner story, however, had scintillas.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  37. Steve 57 @ 31

    The longstanding aim of insurance companies has been to prevent fraud.

    That’s one aim – and government agencies aren’t too interested in that. Neither are insurance companies actually, most of the time, if they can just pass on the cost. Just consider auto insurance.

    But of course they want to weed out sick people, and aovoid adverse selection. That’s going on now too, even wth Obamacare’s prohibition on exclusion of pre-existing conditions, as this can be done indirectly. Kevin M pointed out that some insurance policies are not being listed on the exchanges and are deliberately not being eligible for subsidies.

    You wouldn’t know from Schieber’s dishonest screed that the majority of health insurers with over 100k subscribers are organized as non-profits.

    That’s true, and the same thing is true of hospitals, but many nonprofits are really profit making – they just don’t pay any dividends, or have any shareholders.

    But they do have insiders, and executives.

    You would never know that an insurance policy creates a legally enforceable legal contractual obligation on the insurance company to pay.

    So does a bet in a Las Vegas casino, but I am not sure how moral that is.

    That the only time they “weaseled out” of paying is when the individual committed insurance fraud, usually by concealing a preexisting condition.

    But what happened sometimes, is that the pre-existing condition was not related to what ailed them. This statement, by the way, admits they are trying to weed out sick people.

    You’d never know that insurance companies would insure people with preexisting conditions, just not in the same risk pool as people without.

    As long as you can properly price it. A lot of times they might not know. It’s too expensive for many. The whole market is wrecked.

    Having the government pay the extra costs and raise it through taxes, would of course have been more sensible than this thing what’s going on now, which won’t actually work.

    You’d never know that the insurance industry is tightly regulated by state insurance departments, and have been for over 80 years.

    Regulated for financial soundness above all, which is why many state insurance commissioners did not go along wih Obama’s permission to let people keep their old insurance policy.

    Obama is also concerned about that, which is why they are still trying to recruit young people, and not admitting there’s a problem. They want to give Obamacare every chance it can get to work.

    You’d think there’s a free market in insurance when there isn’t.

    There isn’t a free market in medical care, period. There may be more of a free market in health insurance than in health care.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  38. Maybe in Texas all ‘dem shooters will start shootin’ at the many drunk drivers who are able to navigate the Texas criminal justice system with not too much more than a simple wrist slap and a scolding.

    Especially the juvenile drunk drivers who end up killing people on the Texas roads.

    Bad idea, Elephant Stone, less’n you have a rich daddy who’ll pay a doctor to testify that the varmints naturally contracted lead poisoning and also pay a judge to pretend to believe the doctor.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. The basic point is that, by pooling millions of people together in one institutional home—the exchanges where customers buy insurance under Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act is creating an organized constituency for additional reform. And since threadbare coverage is the only affordable option under Obamacare for many of these people, the law is giving them a whole set of grievances to get exercised about.

    That is absolutely true. He doesn’t mention the narrow networks.

    This is what Schieber is drooling over. Exactly the kind of pompous, malevolent jerks who can’t be trusted with power over a hamster will be in charge of your health care. And making sure the public never runs out of grievances is their job security.

    It was a mess before.

    The Republian slogan is Reapir and Replace

    Now, the question is, can anybody step up to the plate?

    The question is: What is Obamacare going to be replaced with?

    It will only be “single payer” if you have to do a rush job.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  40. Obviously there is no hope for NY, NJ and sundry.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/08/Gallup-Record-Number-of-Americans-Political-Independents

    There is, however, an emerging consensus elsewhere, that Amerikkka has stepped in such a toxic morass its time to ditch the shoe for good.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  41. “It was a mess before.”

    Sammy – Wrong. Health care costs are to high, which get passed on to businesses and consumers through insurance, but 85% of people who had insurance before Obamacare were happy with it.

    Obama threw the baby out with the bath water.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. 41. Caveat: Healthcare was indeed mest up to the degree Feds were already involved.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  43. 39. ” What is Obamacare going to be replaced with?”

    A crypt inside Yucca Mtn.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  44. 13, 40. Just for jollies, lets hypothesize that following Nixonian evil with the Carter nullity so demoralized the plantation’s inmates that Dhimmi turnout crashed.

    Now, with the antiChristianist twofer in ibn Dunham could we find the parasite class finally forced to recognize that they’ve killed the host?

    What a basketcase Dhim primaries will be with baglady vs. buffoon vs. botox Brahmin.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  45. A crypt inside Yucca Mtn.

    I sure hope that the Harry Reid Nuclear Waste Storage Site opens soon. It would be a fitting tribute to Reid’s service to Nevada.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  46. Overheard last night in a Cincinnati area Y: a 13-ish boy goes through the list of villains in the upcoming Spiderman film, ending with “and Mr. Octomom.”

    NCC (1d4e97)

  47. “Neither are insurance companies actually, most of the time, if they can just pass on the cost. Just consider auto insurance.”

    Sammy – That’s just a flat out dumb statement. Why would insurance companies not have an interest in not paying out illegitimate claims and potentially reducing prices to attract more customers?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  48. Always interesting to peer into the other end of the looking glass:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-08/disenchantment-american-politics-and-coming-uproar

    It is positively stunning to watch Boehner, Ryan, Christie, et alia, proceed into the economic abyss astride Amnesty and a benign neglect of Obamacare pale horse.

    “Let it collapse under its own weight”.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  49. 41. …Obama threw the baby out with the bath water.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/8/2014 @ 1:30 pm

    He always planned to. He had to lie and say that he explicitly wasn’t going to do that (if you like your plan you can keep it/if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor/if you get your health insurance through your employer nothing will change/I just want to fix what’s broken not what works) because the people who liked that baby otherwise wouldn’t have let him near it. But he had to throw the baby out to create people with lots and lots of grievances to badger Congress about.

    And Noam Schieber, senior editor at The New Republic and huge fan of a scheme that requires sneakiness, deception, coercion, and extortion in order to foist it onto an unwary and otherwise unwilling public thinks he has the moral authority to judge people who profit by providing goods or a service that people actually want.

    Steve57 (d35759)

  50. “Regulated for financial soundness above all”

    Sammy – They regulate them for financial soundness to make sure they are around to pay claims on the policies they write, but that was not necessarily the reason state insurance commissioners refused to go along with Obama’s unilateral suggestion that insurers violate the ACA. Regulators also review the claims paying practices of insurers and can yank a carrier’s ability to write new business in a state over bad claim handling.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  51. 47. The insanity of eschewing a service from capitalists, their avarice held in check solely by moral hazard, versus a statist solution with five times the overhead and no scruple whatever never, ever ceases to astound.

    Government at every level is moving at an accelerating pace to dispense entirely with public service in order that it be free to more effectively govern.

    What part of this is so hard to understand?

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  52. 52. I made a couple of business trips to Venezuela in the nineties. Lovely country, beautiful, friendly people.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  53. that Ed Schultz wannabe down there, is responsible if not directly, indirectly, for his attacks on anybody who has any business interests at all,

    narciso (3fec35)

  54. 54. Inmates controlling the asylum.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  55. A few days old and some do not trust the source:

    http://www.debka.com/article/23575/Gloom-in-Kerry%e2%80%99s-party-over-widening-Israeli-Palestinian-gaps-Jordan-rejects-Palestinian-security-on-its-border

    Odd, the house organs have it quite differently.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  56. nk, naturally I get your wit about the lead poisoning.
    On a serious note, there’s been some jaw-dropping leniency in Texas in recent years in regards to fatal drunk driving crashes, including one last summer when a 16 year old drunk teenager killed four people and left a fifth person in a vegetative state in the Ft Worth area.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  57. That’s the “affluenza” case, Elephant Stone. I know about it. Maybe that’s the case I meant about the rich daddy buying off the “doctor” (some hack psychologist, actually) and the judge, and maybe it wasn’t. I could have been referring to any rich daddy and any crooked judge.

    The thing about that case is that the vermin stole the beer. Under Texas law, the store-owner could have killed him, stone cold, as he was walking away with it. Too bad, right? One spoiled, reckless, thieving drunk dead — four innocent people alive.

    nk (dbc370)

  58. Having done both, the boiling water is an impressive spectacle, the frozen bubbles are an eerie beauty.

    htom (412a17)

  59. Maybe we should have tried the freezing bubble trick:

    Damn, I can’t imagine what being outside in that kind of cold would feel like. I spent Christmas in Chicago once, and the highest daytime temp over the four days I spent there was about 17F, and that felt like a deep freeze to this northern CA native.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (9a01e5)

  60. happyfeet, have you tried the burrito box kiosk?

    mg (31009b)

  61. 41. 42. High and irrational prices was the mess.

    The cause was insurance. All insurance, not just Medicare and Medicaid.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  62. “Regulated for financial soundness above all”

    50. Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/8/2014 @ 3:37 pm

    Sammy – They regulate them for financial soundness to make sure they are around to pay claims on the policies they write, but that was not necessarily the reason state insurance commissioners refused to go along with Obama’s unilateral suggestion that insurers violate the ACA. Regulators also review the claims paying practices of insurers and can yank a carrier’s ability to write new business in a state over bad claim handling.

    How would the second reason cause state regulators not to let insurers renew their cancelled policies?

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  63. Patterico: Maybe we should have tried the freezing bubble trick:

    61. Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    Damn, I can’t imagine what being outside in that kind of cold would feel like.

    There was a 12-year old girl in New Hampshire who tried something, and literally became tongue tied:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/girl-tongue-stuck-flag-pole-licking-article-1.1567402

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  64. I’d been ignoring that story, because it seemed too bizarre to be true,

    Me too. I thought it was a paranoid fantasy, that nobody would actually do that. Seems I was wrong.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  65. “How would the second reason cause state regulators not to let insurers renew their cancelled policies?”

    Sammy – I did not say the second reason was why regulators did not allow insurers did not allow insurers to go along with Obama’s unilateral suggestion that they violate the ACA.

    Try a third thing regulators do, make sure insurers comply with the law. A suggestion by the president does not change the law.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  66. aphrael @9

    I’d been ignoring that story, because it seemed too bizarre to be true,

    Milhouse @ 66

    Me too. I thought it was a paranoid fantasy, that nobody would actually do that. Seems I was wrong.

    I don’t think you were that wrong – that is, stopping traffic because of a failure of to get an endorsement doesn’t make sense.

    So that’s not why it happened. Because it certainly wasn’t a traffic study either.

    There was another reason.

    But to know more, you have to enter the Sammy Zone.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  67. Here’s another story that illustrates the difference between Texans and others: Texas model (and NFL wife) forgets her gun in a rental car, report it, and consider it a private matter. New Yorkers find it, take it to the police, and want to throw up.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  68. DRJ, the New Yorkers are probably even now enrolling in therapy for PTSD.

    SPQR (768505)

  69. “New Yorkers find it, take it to the police, and want to throw up.”

    DRJ – I had to take one of my cars in for emissions testing eight or nine years ago and did not notice that one of my sons left an airsoft glock replica in the drivers side door pocket. The woman doing the testing for the state totally freaked out and had another employee come get me in the waiting room. I explained it was not a real gun, that they did not need to call the police, etc., etc., and we came to an agreement that if I removed it from the passenger compartment they would continue.

    I walked back to the car to find it surrounded by state employees for solidarity, reached in, grabbed the offending item, hit the trunk release and walked to the back of the car. I started lifting up the trunk lid to toss it in when I noticed the pile of AK-47 replicas my son and his buddies had left in the trunk.

    I decided seeing those would really put the folks over the top and did not fully raise the lid before tossing in the pistol. I was watched very carefully until I departed the facility.

    I think you observation about New York is spot on, at least for the southern part of the state.
    Further north, a fair amount of hunting goes on and people are more accustomed to firearms.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  70. Fleissig said she and her daughter jumped out of the car to get away from the gun.

    that was quick thinking

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  71. DRJ @69.

    Texas model (and NFL wife) forgets her gun in a rental car, report it, and consider it a private matter. New Yorkers find it, take it to the police, and want to throw up.

    If the owner claims it, the owner might get arrested, unless the owner had a license to carry the gun within the city, and probably would have to plead guilty to something and lose the right to carry a gun anywhere in the United States.

    Right now the ownership of the gun probably couldn’t be readily traced, so it might be safe not to claim it.

    Anybody in this situation should first consult a lawyer.

    Sammy Finkelman (ee49e7)

  72. There was this NFL player who was found to be carrying agun within New Yirk City when it accidentally dischargeed one night:

    He was prosecuted, not so much for careless handling of the gun, as for taking it into New York City.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaxico_Burress

    On November 28, 2008, Burress suffered an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to his right thigh at the New York City nightclub LQ on Lexington Avenue in New York City when his Glock pistol, in the pocket of his black-colored jeans, began sliding down his leg; apparently in reaching for his gun, he inadvertently pressed the trigger, causing the gun to fire.[21] The Manhattan District Attorney stated Burress was in fact wearing jeans.[22] The injury was not life-threatening and Burress was released from an area hospital the next afternoon.[23] Two days later, Burress turned himself in to police to face charges of criminal possession of a handgun.[24] It was later discovered that New York City police learned about the incident only after seeing it on television and were not called by New York-Presbyterian Hospital as required by law. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the hospital actions an “outrage” and stated that they are a “chargeable offense”. Bloomberg also urged that Burress be prosecuted to the fullest extent, saying that any punishment short of the minimum 3½ years for unlawful carrying of a handgun would be “a mockery of the law.” [25][26] Burress had an expired concealed carry license from Florida, but no New York license.

    etc.

    Sammy Finkelman (ee49e7)

  73. “Anybody in this situation should first consult a lawyer.”

    Sammy – Why?

    Owners of guns are usually familiar with the gun laws in the states in which they live or travel. It is mostly non-gun owners who are ignorant.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  74. That’s a great anecdote, daleyrocks, although I’m sure it wasn’t fun at the time.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  75. Oh, and your boys sound just like mine. Aren’t they great?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  76. Technically, Lauren Tannehill is from Georgia but she went to Texas A&M so I consider her a Texan like her husband.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  77. “That’s a great anecdote, daleyrocks, although I’m sure it wasn’t fun at the time.”

    DRJ – I was not happy over the threat to call the police, but I was able to talk the idiots down and have a good laugh about it now.

    I was less amused when the eldest two left a cherry red metal weed pipe in the console between the front seats three years ago after borrowing my car to visit grandma and grandpa’s lake house. I didn’t find it until I opened the lid a few weeks later.

    Not something I would have wanted found during a traffic stop.

    Yeah, boys are great and can be complete boneheads.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  78. I know somebody who once received a letter from the FBI saying someone in the household had been visiting or ordered something from a site that was being monitored for selling things to “explosives hobbyists”, something like “mad scientist website” or some such. Since he had not done it, and was pretty sure his wife hadn’t done it, that left one of 2 teenage boys.
    Once upon a time I guess it would have been called a chemistry set, maybe.
    I have no other information on the incident.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  79. “Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ee49e7) — 1/16/2014 @ 12:04 pm”

    You are being silly. The event took place in Florida, which unlike New York, still is in America.

    SPQR (768505)

  80. SPQR- if you’re in the Miami airport, it is questionable.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)


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