Thursday, November 14th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
After repeatedly bashing senators like Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) over their crusade to defund Obamacare, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for the “total repeal” of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. It’s a quick turnaround after the longtime senator, in September, proclaimed that it was “not rational” to think Obamacare could be defunded or repealed.
McCain outlined his “solution” during an interview with Greta Van Susteren, which culminated in an admission that the law should be repealed completely.
“The solution is, first of all, to let people keep their insurance if they want to,” he said. “Or at least reinstate them.”
He continued: “Second of all, let the insurance companies give a menu of whatever they want to provide. Third of all, medical savings account. Fourth of all, medical malpractice reform. Let people go across state lines to, in order to, if they can get a better insurance policy in another state. And remove this whole tax incentive for employers to provide employees health insurance.”
“That is repeal,” Van Susteren said, pointing out the obvious.
“That’s exactly right,” McCain replied. “That is total repeal in every other way. Because what Obamacare is, is an experiment in social engineering — in other words, making healthy people pay more…in order to subsidize the health care for people that are older and unhealthy. That is the ultimate in social engineering.”
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments
Church Center recently commissioned a poll on American discrimination. Know what it found out? Here’s a hint: a significant number of you people appear to be Klansmen:
A new national poll commissioned by the Episcopal Church has found that nearly all Americans (98 percent) feel that there is at least some discrimination in the United States today.
In addition, African-American respondents (49 percent) are three times as likely as white respondents (16 percent) and Hispanic respondents (11 percent) to feel there is a “great deal” of discrimination.
To Katharine Jefferts Schori and others like her, every year is 1962.
“Despite major reforms, our culture continues to perpetuate discrimination in various forms,” said Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “Our churches and communities are critical motivators in encouraging change in these issues toward greater parity and acceptance.”
What the Presiding Bishop bases that on is the Christian leftist version of “name it and claim it.” Discrimination becomes an incontrovertible fact the moment you think it is.
Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69 percent) feel African-Americans are discriminated against, the highest of any race. In addition, six in 10 (63 percent) feel Hispanic Americans are discriminated against, while five in 10 (51 percent) feel Native Americans and nearly four in 10 (39 percent) feel whites are discriminated against.
Minority respondents in general feel that white Americans have gotten more, economically, than they deserve. African-American (58 percent) and Hispanic (49 percent) respondents are more likely than white respondents (28 percent) to agree that white Americans have garnered more economically than they deserve. This disparity was not nearly as prevalent when respondents were asked about other races receiving more economically than they deserve.
According to the results, one indication of differences in perceptions among races may be that many do not have close friends of other races. Hispanic (62 percent) and African-American (52 percent) respondents are more likely to strongly agree than white (41 percent) respondents that they can think of three close (non-family) friends of a race other than their own. People who live in the South (74 percent) and West (79 percent) are more likely to agree than those living in the Midwest (64 percent) or Northeast (65 percent) to agree.
The Episcopal Organization. Where empiricism goes to die.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments
On most Sundays, our joy of being free of the negativity and division that for so long shrouded our diocese competes with rootless anxiety. Worship groups are tenants, with leases subject to change. We get bumped from the schedule when our landlords need the space. We update our websites when we change addresses. From lining up supply priests to storing reserved sacrament in the absence of a tabernacle, worship groups manage week-to-week. We’ve been reminded how little we need, and how easily we had allowed non-essentials to encrust our faith, like barnacles on a ship. (I should substitute “dock” for “ship,” in deference to the worship group at Okatie, which did for a time worship on a dock. I still repeat their joke about “casting bread upon the waters.”)
Resentment is tempting. Why should we be reduced to rented sanctuaries and makeshift altars simply because we wanted to remain Episcopalian? A man moves here from California, decides The Episcopal Church no longer suits him, and we’re the ones told to hit the bricks? Why has his decision to leave ourchurch left us in this bind?
Resentment? We should give thanks. Leaving our buildings has been a blessing, and losing them for good would be a godsend.
When we refuse to fight for property, we escape the temptation to worship the space, rather than in the space. Those buildings are tombs. In them are buried all the good works that can’t be accomplished by congregations enslaved by facilities. Refusing to fight for property is not a sign of weakness, but of the kind of strength that says, “Take this building. We have a better refuge and a stronger fortress.”
So by letting go – letting all that brick and mortar pass into hands more desperate than ours – we win. We fulfill the promises made at baptism and embraced at confirmation. We avoid a decade of claims and counter-claims with those with whom we used to worship. We devote our resources to the Great Commission, not great attorneys. We can be both in the right and willing to be wronged.
Read the comments over at Jim’s. They are genuinely conflicted over there.
There is absolutely nothing to argue with here. I’ve been playing the same tune from the right side of the stage for a long time. Losing your building should not be considered a tragedy because it forces you out into the world, forces you out into the highways and hedges if you like and forces you to understand what really matters.
Buildings can be chains. They can tie you down, make you comfortable, make you spiritually lazy and make you forget the lost just outside your paid-for church’s door while you’re getting your theology right. And don’t give me the one about “sacred spaces.” Gather two or three together in His name, wherever you happen to gather them, and you have a “sacred space.”
But get yourselves out into the world (or, as Charles Spurgeon once put it, “The heavenly Father’s vast audience chamber”) and the sky’s the limit. And if Dan Ennis’ South Carolina Episcopalians can pull it off, more power to them.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 11 Comments
A senior Democrat tells CNN’s Dana Bash that quite a few House Democrats are ready to bail out over OzymandiasCare.
Monday, November 11th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments
Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor all those Americans who have served or are serving in this country’s armed forces. Since I have nothing but time these days, I got to see The Price is Right do something really cool this morning. The entire audience was active or former military and the Showcase Showdown pot (which included a new Camaro) was taken down by a World War II veteran.
Veterans Day is also traditionally a day for leftist tools like Salon’s Justin Doolittle to convince themselves that they’re “courageous” for expressing their utter contempt, hatred and/or loathing for the military:
Freedom has become one of those politically charged terms that means whatever people need it to mean. There is no coherent conception of freedom, though, in which it only exists at the pleasure of the U.S. military. It’s simply a non sequitur. The “freedoms” most Americans think of when they hear the term are enshrined in constitutional and statutory law. They are in no way dependent on the size, scope or even the existence of the U.S. military. If John Lennon’s ghost assumed dictatorial control of the U.S. government tomorrow and, as his first order of business, disbanded the entire military, Americans’ “freedoms” would not suddenly vanish.
Other than military promotion, there is no other conceivable context in which an athlete, officially representing a major professional sports league, would go on television and say something that is so bizarre, explicitly political and manifestly untrue. Whether Roy Hibbert was simply reading something that was handed to him, or expressing his own sentiments, is immaterial. What is problematic, in any case, is that this peculiar, nonexistent connection between “freedom” and the military continues to be perpetuated as an uncontroversial truism, and is met with virtually no resistance, at least within the confines of the mainstream.
The corollary to the claim that our freedom exists only at the pleasure of the military, of course, is that the same military can revoke said freedom if it so desires. Indeed, as Hibbert so bluntly put it, “obviously we wouldn’t have freedom without them.” This widely held belief, that our freedom is bestowed on us by soldiers, has obvious implications for how the public views the military. One such implication of the ubiquity of this myth is that people will feel they owe boundless gratitude to the military as an institution and all the men and women who serve in it.
Oh sweet mother of…there is a “widely held belief” that “our freedom is bestowed on us by soldiers,” Gracie? Back away from the bong, dillweed, since that’s the first I’ve ever heard of that bonecrushingly stupid idea. Our freedom is not bestowed on us by the American military. But our freedom is defended by them. Or else this country could have sat out World War II with absolutely no effect upon American freedom whatsoever.
For my part, diaper rash, I do “owe boundless gratitude to the military as an institution and all the men and women who serve in it.” It’s hard for me not to admire people who put everything on the line in this country’s service, who come home minus a limb or three or who never see their loved ones again in this life. But I’m funny that way.
The undercurrent of all this is that “support” and “gratitude” for the military and those who serve in it is intrinsically apolitical. It’s just something that all decent Americans understand and respect. This approach serves a very important purpose, which is to further blur the lines between patriotism and support for the military. Americans of conscience who do not “support” the troops, particularly those who volunteer to fight in wars of aggression, are not allowed a seat at the table in this paradigm. Their existence is not even acknowledged, in fact. These are “very different times,” in the words of Yastrzemski, and our society has progressed to the point where such shrill voices are no longer relevant.
We need not thank the troops for every breath we take. When we do, we reduce our entire existence as free people to something that only exists at the whim of the U.S. military, and suffocate critical thought about the military and what it’s actually doing in the world.
Whatever, freakshow. In other news, the following appeared in the National
Aspiring Episcopalian Catholic Reporter well before Veterans Day so consider the source and all that. But it expresses much the same sentiments that Justin Douchenozzle expresses above. Someone named Mark Scibilia-Carver is upset about a collection to be taken for a Roman Catholic ministry.
At its November 2012 general assembly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved by a majority vote “financial assistance to the Archdiocese for the Military Services in the form of a national collection to be taken up every three years proximate to Veteran’s Day or a similar strategic date beginning in 2013.” The vote was 123 yes, 42 no, with eight abstaining.
This collection is supposed to be taken up at the weekend liturgies Nov. 9 and 10. Our Sunday Visitor sent materials on the military archdiocese to every parish in the country. There was a letter to pastors and suggested bulletin announcements for the week before, the week of and the week after the collection. In addition, 250 envelopes and 250 full-sheet bulletin inserts have gone to every parish whether the bishop of the diocese voted yes or no. At least a few dioceses have decided to hold the collection on a “different strategic date.” The diocese of Albany, N.Y., is skipping the collection this year, but Bishop Howard Hubbard, who voted for the collection, is giving a donation from the diocese.
And that’s bad? Darn tootin’.
This extraordinary collection is one sign that the spirit of militarism and nationalism has spread apace in our church, at least among our bishops. The Archdiocese for the Military Services must consider it a major coup. The idea may have originated with George Weigel, who wrote about it in his Dec. 8, 2010, column “The Catholic Difference.” Weigel was a charter signatory of the Project for the New American Century, which anticipated the need for something like 9/11 that would serve as another Pearl Harbor and galvanize the country behind the neoconservative agenda. He has long understood how important Catholic support is for the multiple wars the project believed would have to be waged to maintain U.S. dominance in the world.
Quick question, Julius II. Since, for reasons known only to you, you seem to think that:
There is now no possibility of a U.S. war being just.
What should Catholic military chaplains do?
The only role for a chaplain in an unjust war would be to urge refusal of orders to carry weapons or kill. The bishops should have been debating how to dissolve the 28-year-old Archdiocese for the Military Services, not extraordinary ways to fund it.
Essentially, Mark, what you’re communicating here is that since “there is now no possibility of a U.S. war being just,” any Roman Catholic who deliberately joins the military has, for all practical purposes, excommunicated himself or herself and should be denied both pastoral care and the Sacraments. Seems a bit harsh considering that Nancy Pelosi still gets to take Communion.
Saturday, November 9th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments
People are calling this Billy Graham’s last sermon. If you’ve got half an hour, it’s well worth your time.
Saturday, November 9th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
Some 500 years after England’s King Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican is vowing to defeat the Church of England — not in the pews, but on the cricket pitch.
The Vatican has launched its own cricket club — a move aimed at forging ties with teams of other faiths.
Rome’s Capannelle Cricket Club is hosting training matches that will lead to the creation of the Vatican team, the St. Peter’s Cricket Club.
The Vatican already has its Clericus Cup soccer tournament, which pitches the Swiss Guards against seminarians. Now, its cricket team will sport the official colors of the tiny city-state, yellow and white, and players’ jackets will have the seal of the papacy, two crossed keys.
Talent won’t be a problem.
Sri Lankan Francis Jayarajah is president of Italy’s national cricket team. He says the latest Vatican initiative can count on up to 350 potential players — priests and seminarians from cricket-playing countries who live and study in Rome.
“Indians, Pakistanis, Australians, New Zealanders, during leisure time they play cricket in their small football grounds in various colleges,” Jayarajah says.
St. Peter’s CC hopes to play the Church of England (although I don’t know if the C of E has its own club) at the Yankee Stadium of cricket next September.
More immediately, Father O’Higgins says, the Vatican team has laid down its first challenge to the Church of England and has asked for a match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, known as the home of the sport.
“That is going to be historic,” he says. “Who knows what can happen there, more than just a cricket match.”
The tentative date for a match pitting the Vatican against the Anglicans has been set for next September.
Although I don’t completely understand it, I actually enjoy the game. There was, and may still be, a league around here that I used to watch from time to time. Its players were mostly expats from cricket-passionate countries with the occasional oddball American thrown in. And I’ve passed many an hour playing a couple of Indian cricket apps that I downloaded some time back.
That said, the Vatican blew the name. They’re going to call it St. Peter’s Cricket Club? No, no, no. The Holy See should have gone with Vatican City Cardinals (get it?). They could have the word “Cardinals” across the front of their uniforms written in a distinctive, cursive script (this one, say) along with two cardinals perched on either end of a cricket bat. Perhaps something similar to this.
See what I did there?
Friday, November 8th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments
A. S. Haley analyzes
Jeff Lee’s latest Quincy shakedown the Episcopal Organization’s most recent attempt to acquire more real estate to flip the new Episcopal lawsuit against the Anglican Diocese of Quincy. The Curmudgeon’s supurbly logical mind spots a glaring contradiction right out of the gate:
No one appears to have actually read the complaint before filing it. Otherwise, how could they have let this contradiction pass? In paragraph 2, they allege (my emphasis added):
In 2013, this plaintiff [Diocese of Chicago] became the successor by merger to the Diocese of Quincy of the Episcopal Church, which until that time was a separate subordinate and constituent unit of the Church and an unincorporated association with its principal office in Peoria, Illinois. Unless otherwise specified, the term “Episcopal Diocese” used herein shall refer to the Diocese of Quincy before it merged with plaintiff Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
Then, in paragraphs 74 and 75 they allege(again, my bold):
… that the Episcopal Diocese and its Parishes and Missions remain subordinate and constituent parts of the Church and the Episcopal Diocese for all purposes …
… that the defendants take the position that they are properly in control of the governance of the Episcopal Diocese …
So, which is it? Is the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy defunct, or not? Did it merge into the Diocese of Chicago in September 2013 as alleged, or does it continue to “remain [a] subordinate and constituent part of the Church for all purposes”?
The hits just keep on coming.
And how can the plaintiffs allege with a straight face (paragraph 3) that “Defendant Alberto Morales … holds himself out as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese”??
He most certainly does not; Bishop Morales is the diocesan of the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, which is as far from the Episcopal Church as one can get and still stay sane. (And please note, once more, how they refuse to name the entity they want to take over—the Anglican Diocese. Instead, they sue the people who hold office in it.)
We all know the real answer to this question but what do the Episcopalians hope to gain from this lawsuit? This.
(c) declare that the defendants do not hold any offices or positions of authority of the Episcopal Diocese or any of its Parishes and Missions and are not the directors or officers of the Illinois not-for-profit corporations called The Diocese of Quincy and The Trustees of Funds and Property of the Diocese of Quincy;
Which no longer legally exists.
(d) declare that the directors and officers of the Illinois not-for-profit corporations called The Diocese of Quincy and The Trustees of Funds and Property of the Diocese of Quincy are those persons elected by the Synod of the Episcopal Diocese and recognized as such by the Church and the Episcopal Diocese;
Which no longer legally exists.
(e) declare that the clergy and lay officers and other leaders of the Parishes and Missions of the Episcopal Diocese are those elected or appointed pursuant to the Constitutions and Canons of the Church and the Episcopal Diocese and are recognized as such by the Church and the Episcopal Diocese.
Which no longer legally exists.
Undeterred by Judge Ortbal, [TEO is] asking a different judge in a different county of Illinois to decide what he held a civil court cannot decide, without becoming too entangled in First Amendment matters of how people exercise their religion. Good luck with that.
One would hope. Here’s what Jeff Lee had to say.
“In our society, we invest a great deal of energy in an impartial legal system designed to help parties settle matters about which they cannot agree,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. “Although we are prepared to litigate this matter, ultimately we still hope that God will use even these legal proceedings to bring us to a place of reconciliation and mutual respect in Christ.”
Translation: right now, we have way more money than you do, bitches, and we’re backed by a “church” whose guiding principle is “We’ll start serving God once we get the mammon stuff squared away.” So do the math.
Nothing the Episcopal Organization says or does surprises or shocks me any more. They are who they are; an idolatrous, money-grubbing pack of secular leftists to whom terms like “Jesus” or “God” or “Holy Spirit” are nothing more than professional jargon.
But it still grates when people like Jeff Lee say things like, “Although we are prepared to litigate this matter, ultimately we still hope that God will use even these legal proceedings to bring us to a place of reconciliation and mutual respect in Christ.”
The Episcopal definition of “reconciliation” is when you agree that you’re wrong and I’m right. So when he says stuff like that, I know that Jeff Lee’s lying through his teeth.
Thursday, November 7th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments
Deming, New Mexico? Gila Regional Medical Center of Silver City, New Mexico? Every single person in the entire world sincerely hopes that both of you are sued into total destruction, plowed completely under and the furrows sowed with nuclear waste:
This 4 On Your Side investigation looks into the actions of police officers and doctors in Southern New Mexico.
A review of medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit show deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center made some questionable decisions.
The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming. According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.
Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.
The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was “unethical.”
But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.
What happened next was repeated gang rape.
While there, Eckert was subjected to repeated and humiliating forced medical procedures. A review of Eckert’s medical records, which he released to KOB, and details in the lawsuit show the following happened:
1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.
And then there’s this.
There are major concerns about the way the search warrant was carried out. Kennedy argues that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause. But beyond that, the warrant was only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located. The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County. That means all of the medical procedures were performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so with no legal basis and no consent from the patient.
In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the warrant expired at 10 p.m. Medical records show the prepping for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the warrant expired.
Quite understandably, this incident has emotionally shattered poor Eckert.
There’s more in Eckert’s complaint, including the fact that the second x-ray was of his chest, an area completely unrelated to the region where he was supposedly “concealing drugs.” In addition to what can be proven from medical records and police reports obtained by Eckert’s attorney, there are additional allegations that the officers Chavez and Hernandez mocked him and made derogatory comments about his “compromised position.” They also allegedly moved the privacy screen repeatedly to expose him to others in the hospital hallway. This verbal abuse apparently continued during Eckert’s ride back to the Deming police station. Understandably, Eckert now claims to be “terrified to leave the house” and does so “infrequently.”
I sincerely hope that the following monstrous proposal has since been withdrawn since it’s not mentioned in the current version of the news report. But really, Gila Regional? Somebody there actually thought that this was a good idea?! You actually contemplated going ahead with this unspeakable evil?!! REALLY?!!
The hospital even billed Eckert for the procedures and is threatening to take him to collections if he doesn’t pay.
Unemployed and unemployable as he is, the Editor feels for all those New Mexicans in both counties who will soon find themselves out of a job. And while he wouldn’t wish prison on anyone, the Editor is forced to admit that in this particular case, he hopes that the police officers, the doctors and any other people involved in this abomination spend many a sleepless night contemplating the possibility of hard time in the hole.
UPDATE: That Eckert was billed for being raped seems to be true. Also, there may have been some reverse racial profiling going on.
“We see this as a multimillion-dollar case,” Kennedy said. “This is essentially medical anal rape, numerous times over a 12-hour period. I can’t imagine anything more horrifying than what happened to our client. It’s just sadistic.”
The apparent justification for the search, Kennedy said, was that police believed Eckert’s buttocks were clenched during the traffic stop.
But, she said, it’s also possible the officers just didn’t like how her client looks.
“Maybe the officers who did this don’t like him living in their community,” said Kennedy. “He’s a white boy, a scraggly white boy, and all these officers are Hispanic. It’s a New Mexico thing.”
It’s unclear why the colonoscopy was necessary after enemas and x-rays did not reveal hidden drugs. Eckert was sent a $6,000 bill for the medical procedures he involuntarily underwent, his lawyer says.
UPDATE: Word of this atrocity is spreading fast on the Internet, and there may indeed be consequences.
“Anybody can file an LEA-90 for officer misconduct,” Jack Jones of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board told 4 On Your Side Wednesday.
An LEA-90 is a complaint that starts a state investigation into an officer’s actions.
The board has the authority to suspend or terminate an officer’s certification to police in New Mexico.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 58 Comments
Like me, Mickey Kaus likes seeing hubris cut down to size so he’s rather enjoying the spectacle of the stepladder being kicked out from under President Pants-On-Fire:
I admit that all the recent Obamacare troubles are … well, let’s face it, they’re huge fun.
It’s true, I supported Obamacare–I favor universal health care, and still think it’s a good idea to try to inject competition through the “three legged” mechanism** of the exchanges before resigning ourselves to some kind of Medicare-for-all scheme.
On the other hand, it’s hard not to witness the current Obamacalypse without getting more than a little spark of serotonin. Here’s the self-righteous, cocooning, progressive “coalition of the ascendant,” disdainful of triangulation, dismissive of all the 90s-era Charlie Peters neolibs with their worries about bureaucracies and perverse incentives and their focus on the mechanics of government, suddenly discovering that neglecting the mechanics of government can be a big, big mistake. The Education of Ezra Klein continues, at great expense to the nation. We might as well enjoy the spectacle.
As well as contemplating the fun to follow.
The reaction of most of Obamacare’s defenders–denial and scapegoating–is quite understandable, given the gravity of the situation. Even if the website is fixed, it’s pretty clear, Obamacare faces a tough two to three years at best. The enrollment targets will not be met, setting up an ‘adverse selection’ problem (because sicker, more expensive people will be the ones who do sign up). Built-in-fail-safe subsidies in the statute may prop up money-losing insurers and stop this from turning into a full blown death spiral, but the main fail-safe subsidy expires at the end of 2016. Either the exchanges will have a healthy mix of enrollees by then, or else the bailout will have to be extended, or else ….
Plus there’s the separable, political question of whether the unsubsidized “losers” on the exchanges–the Shocker Moms–will stand for taking the hit they’re taking in order to support the ACA’s “winners.”
Nevertheless, Mickey wants to be helpful.
So here is a constructive idea:. Appoint an ongoing high-level multi-partisan Obamacare Review Commission to monitor the rollout of the exchanges and recommend significant fixes. This commission could issue periodic warnings–this software project isn’t going fast enough! Death spiral at 3 O’clock! CMS staff isn’t up to the job!
Wouldn’t this just be another useless Blue Ribbon Commission? It depends. Suppose it were headed by Bill Clinton and (longshot) Mitt Romney. If they said, hey, you’ve got to cut down on these expensive mandated benefits in order to save the exchanges–well, I would think Democrats, and some Republicans, would be hard-pressed to resist that change.
Kaus admits that his proposal has one significant drawback.
The bigger obstacle would be Obama’s ego. In effect, he’d be saying he’d lost control over his most important program, or at least that he’d lost the public’s trust. That would be true. But it’s true whether he appoints a commission or not. And surely Dan Pfeiffer could spin it as a way to free up the President to focus on other duties–foreign policy, in particular. Global warming treaties! Delicate negotiations with Iran! That’s the ticket.
It’s as good an idea as any. And it won’t work for precisely the reason Kaus suggests. Barack Obama’s ego would never allow it to work.
Monday, November 4th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments
Jake Tapper reports that some members of President Ozymandias’ health care team are worried that a non-functional web site might be the least of OzymandiasCare’s problems:
Officials expressed concern that the next shoe to drop in the evolving story about the Affordable Care Act would be disappointment from consumers once they are able to get on the troubled HealthCare.gov website – disappointment because of sticker shock and limited choice, according to a new document obtained by CNN.
“Mike described a general concern of PM (plan management team): getting to the point where the website is functioning properly and individuals begin to select plans; the media attention will follow individuals to plan selection and their ultimate choices; and, in some cases, there will be fewer options than would be desired to promote consumer choice and an ideal shopping experience. Additionally, in some cases there will be relatively high cost plans,” say the notes from the Obama administration’s Obamacare ‘War Room’ from one week ago.
Plan management team is a reference to those individuals in the Obama administration tasked with standing up the president’s health care law at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
Did I say “worried” up top there? I meant panicked.
Senior Ozymandias Administration advisor Presidential milking machine CNN “journalist” Candy Crowley tries out this ludicrously-inept spin.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately, there are others that are so locked into the politics of this thing that they won’t lift a finger to help their own people because if they put as much energy into making this law work as they do in attacking the law, Americans would be better off.
(APPLAUSE) CROWLEY: Now, he is saying in a sort of nuanced way what other Democrats are saying right out there which is that you- all would rather defeat the president and Obamacare than help your constituents. Have you helped your constituents who called to your office looking for help? And do you think republicans are vulnerable on this that they have tried so hard and so many times to derail it, but now the criticism looks like nothing but politics?
AYOTTE: Well, Candy, my constituents are writing me, but how can I help them when it’s the situation of their getting cancellation notices because of the way that Obamacare is drafted when they can’t access the website because it’s such a mess. So, absolutely, I want to help my constituents. But again, I would say to the president, why doesn’t he call a timeout on this, understanding that it’s not working right now?
This was passed on a party line basis. Why not convene a group to see how can we work together, issues like the 29-hour workweek, issues like if you — people being denied their current plans, issues like rising health care costs, all of which are unfortunately I’m hearing the opposite from my constituents. I want to help them, but obviously, the administration in the way this is being rolled out is a mess. So, it’s time to call a time out.
As usual, Ace nails it.
Are [Republicans] vulnerable for having told the truth about Obamacare and having been proven right in all their predictions? Because they didn’t try hard enough to “help make work” what they estimated to be a disaster, which in fact turned out to be the biggest political disaster that veteran newsmen and politicos have ever seen?
When you pass something on a party line vote, you own it. That’s why, historically, major pieces of legislation have been done on a bipartisan basis. Both parties want cover — the moving party wants cover should the endeavor fail, the responding party wants a piece of it in case it proves to be popular.
But not so with Obamacare. Republicans objected, and Democrats employed every bit of chicanery in the book to pass Obamacare by the slenderest of possible margins. In the House, if you remember, at-risk Democrats begged Pelosi for the right to vote against it — and Pelosi chose her favorites, those Democrats she’d permit to vote against it, and thus hold their seats, and those who would be required to vote for it, and thus likely lose their seats. They arranged the vote so that the fewest number of Democrats necessary would wind up voting for it.
So now the Democrats own this massive catastrophe, outright. There is no cover. There are no Republican votes with them, not even the Maine Twins. Not even John McCain and Lindsay Graham.
Best of luck in 2014 and 2016, Democrats. You’re on the hook for a health care system whose web site may or may not be functional next year so have a good time answering those Republican campaign ads featuring ordinary citizens whose premiums have gone through the roof or who lost the insurance that President Ozymandias promised them they could keep.
Monday, November 4th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments
Douche was brought up an Episcopalian. Douche decides that he’s a pagan. Later on, douche decides that maybe the Episcopalians had it right the first time:
Samhain is a time to let go of the things that no longer serve us. It’s a moment when we look back on the year, perhaps even the over-arching patterns of our lives, and we reevaluate. We ask ourselves what needs to be burned in the fire in order for us to move forward with a clean conscience and a clear mind. Then, often quite literally, we write that thing down on a slip of paper and we set it ablaze.
This year at Samhain I’m coming to terms with the realization that Paganism, itself, does not serve me in the way that I thought it did. Stranger even, I’m feeling pulled back to the Episcopal Church, to the God of Christianity, and to Jesus.
The timing of this couldn’t be more disruptive and inconvenient.
Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments
I used to donate to the Republican National Committee. Not a whole lot, mind you, but whatever I could afford which wasn’t much. But when the RNC or other Republican groups call these days, I immediately hang up the phone:
In a warning shot to outside conservative groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week informed a prominent Republican advertising firm that it would not receive any contracts with the campaign committee because of its work with a group that targets incumbent Senate Republicans.
Even more striking, a senior official at the committee called individual Republican Senate campaigns and other party organizations this week and urged them not to hire the firm, Jamestown Associates, in an effort to punish them for working for the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group founded by Jim DeMint, then a South Carolina senator, that is trying to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and some other incumbents up for re-election next year whom it finds insufficiently conservative.
“We’re not going to do business with people who profit off of attacking Republicans,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the committee. “Purity for profit is a disease that threatens the Republican Party.”
The committee has conveyed the same message, privately, to 2014 Senate candidates, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee (the senatorial committee’s House counterpart), the Republican Governors Association and Mike DuHaime, the chief strategist for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, for whom Jamestown also does work.
For “outside conservative groups,” read “Tea Party.”
I think this was on the occasion of the death of my father. My sisters, my brother and I were having one of our far-too-infrequent times together and the talk turned to politics. I can’t remember what prompted this but my oldest sister, the Oregon Mennonite, happened to refer to me as a “Republican.”
Wrong, I told her. I’m a conservative; those two terms aren’t synonyms. She understood what I was saying but not many other people in this culture do. So let me see if I can explain this to you, RNC.
What’s the middle word of this site’s title? Here’s a hint: this site is not and never will be called the Midwest Republican Journal. That’s because I have actual principles, RNC, principles I don’t like to compromise.
Consequently, if I vote for a candidate who tell me that he shares my principles, he wins, he goes to Washington and he proceeds, for whatever reason, to barter away his principles, that candidate will not receive my vote again and I really couldn’t give a crap if his party designation is Republican.
Fool me once and all that.
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments
Since I’m in the middle of one right now, I know all about slumps, Mr. President. The fact that you knew going in that a great many people would lose their health care plans under your system and the fact that you couldn’t get the health care sign-up web site right even though that law was passed four years ago suggests that your team is struggling. Then there’s the fact that your gift to Murder Inc. just got struck down:
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.
Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.
Friday’s ruling centered on two Catholic brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, who own a 400-person produce company based in Ohio.
The brothers oppose contraception as part of their religion and challenged the Affordable Care Act provision requiring them to provide insurance that covers their employees’ birth control.
Refusing to abide by the letter of the law, they said, would result in a $14 million fine.
“They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” Brown wrote.
The Obama administration said that the requirement is necessary to protect women’s right to decide whether and when to have children.
The judges were unconvinced, however, that forcing companies to cover contraception protected that right.
Brown wrote that “it is clear the government has failed to demonstrate how such a right — whether described as noninterference, privacy, or autonomy — can extend to the compelled subsidization of a woman’s procreative practices.”
She added that denying coverage of contraception would not undermine the Affordable Care Act’s requirements that health insurance provide preventative care.
And it’s got to be tough when History’s Greatest Monster calls you out.
On how he would evaluate the Obama presidency so far:
JC: “He’s done the best he could under the circumstances. His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.”
Believe me, sir, I can relate.
UPDATE: Mr. President? Please don’t shoot the messenger but there’s also this.
Meet the new Soccer Mom: Obamacare losers.
Millions of married, older, white, college-educated, GOP-leaning Americans have quickly seen their political profile rise after their health insurance companies sent them cancellation letters with the launch of the giant new health care law.
It’s not a huge segment of the population — estimates show between 10 million to 19 million people bought health insurance from what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dubbed the “Wild West” individual marketplace.
But the ones who are making the most anti-Obamacare noise are part of this group (think of the self-employed, small business owners, freelance writers, musicians and taxi cab drivers) that share one politically pertinent common denominator. Their complaints — amplified in recent weeks by Republicans and reporters — demonstrate one of the first tangible stumbles of the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s not theoretical anymore,” said Virginia-based health industry consultant Robert Laszewski. “You can spin in the White House press room, but these are people who will be sitting down with their friends and families at Thanksgiving sharing stories about their cancellation letters. That’s going to be the only thing that counts.”
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments
This one’s all yours, partner. Just keep it clean:
The bookmakers were right. Today it was announced that the Church of Sweden’s new archbishop is Antje Jackelén. But who is the church’s new top leader, who has chosen part of the Muslim prayer call as her motto?
Many have been taken aback by the theological opinions Jackelén revealed during a questioning in Uppsala on October 1. The candidates for the highest position in the Swedish church were asked if they thought Jesus presented a truer picture of God than Muhammed. With her evasive answer Jackelén suddenly emerged as the bishop who couldn’t choose between Jesus and Muhammed. This provoked strong reactions on some editorial pages.
Kyrkans Tidning thought that the bishop’s answer might indicate that Christ is being relegated to the margins of the Church of Sweden and Dagens Nyheter encouraged the candidates to show some theological backbone. The editorial writer at the newspaper Dagen wrote that it is time to accept the idea of a split within the church – between Christians and those who think all religions are equally good.
The bishop of Lund’s preference for Allah has prompted one of the church’s most preeminent theologians, professor Eva Hamberg, to leave her post as a member of the church’s theological council in protest against bishop Antje Jackelén’s failure to stand behind the Church of Sweden’s profession of faith. As a reaction to what she calls ”the inner secularization of the Church of Sweden”, she has also renounced her position as priest and her membership of the church.
In a number of interviews Hamberg has expressed her disappointment that not even the top leader of the church will clearly profess a Christian faith but wavers between Jesus and Muhammed.
It is not only Jackelén’s motto and her unwillingness to put Jesus ahead of Muhammed that has evoked strong feelings among many committed Christians. During her questioning in Uppsala, the new archbishop also said that the Church of Sweden has more in common with other religions than with other Christian churches, that the Virgin Birth must be understood metaphorically, that hell doesn’t exist and that the Biblical texts should not be taken as truth.
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