Friday, December 14, 2012

26 States Decline ObamaCare Exchange; 'Administrative Nightmare' Seen

Investor's Business Daily ^ | 12/14/2012 | David Hogberg

The federal government will likely be involved in running the ObamaCare exchange in at least 30 states, 26 of which expressly declined to establish state exchanges. One health-policy expert refers to it as an "administrative nightmare" for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Friday was the deadline for a state to let HHS know if it planned to establish a state exchange. Thus far only 18 states and the District of Columbia are planning on doing so.
As of right now only Utah and Florida remain undecided. Utah may still decide to set up a state exchange, but few expect that Florida will. When asked, a spokesman for Florida Gov. Rick Scott directed IBD to a letter Scott sent last month to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting more information on the exchanges and a meeting with Sebelius. Sebelius has not responded to his letter.
Assuming Florida decides not to set up a state exchange, nearly 200 million people, or 64% of the U.S. population, will reside in a state with either a federal exchange or a partnership exchange. Although many of the people in those states such as those on Medicare or who have employer-based coverage will not be getting insurance through an exchange, millions of others will be.
Enrolling them will likely prove a daunting challenge for the federal government.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.investors.com ...

WaPo editors: Golly, Obama’s "balanced" fiscal-cliff approach is unbalanced!

Hotair ^ | 12/14/2012 | Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama keeps claiming that he wants a "balanced" approach to deficit reform, but the editors of the Washington Post have a little difficulty trying to figure out what he means by "balanced" --- since his proposals have had a 4:1 ratio of tax hikes to spending cuts. The Post also notes that Obama has backed away from even the inadequate entitlement reforms he's previously embraced. Why, the Post's editors suggest, Obama may not really be serious about this whole deficit-reform idea.
You think?
Since the election last month, a few modest proposals have been floated to slow the growth in entitlement spending. None of these would fix the problem, but they would at least acknowledge that a problem exists. One by one, the ostensible advocates of balance have shot them down, portraying each in turn as a mortal threat to the poor or the aged.
Nudging the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, which President Obama supported last year? Unconscionable. Changing the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, which Mr. Obama also supported? Brutally unfair to veterans and seniors. Reform of Medicaid provider taxes, which liberal Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) only days ago described as a “charade” used by states to jack up funding from Washington? Unthinkable,the White House now says:In fact, with the Supreme Court having struck down a facet of Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Actinvolving Medicaid, nothing in that program can be touched. And, while they’re at it, put Social Security off the table, too. We’re asked to accept the mythology that, though the pension and disability program is facing ever-widening shortfalls, it isn’t contributing to the overall deficit. …
There are better and worse ways to bend the entitlement curve. Raise the Medicare age, but shield the neediest seniors. If you think Republicans are proposing the wrong way to adjust the cost-of-living index, finance expert Robert C. Pozen has proposed a progressive alternative.
But there’s no way to fix America’s problem without doing something on entitlements. If the Democrats — and Mr. Obama, in particular — don’t get more seriously into that discussion, they have no standing to complain about the Republicans’ lack of balance.
Balance … balance … hmmm:

CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEO

It’s clear that the White House isn’t interested in balance. They’re not interested in fixing the budget deficits, either. They are interested in punishing success and maintaining the ability to redirect funds for their own political benefit. That’s unbalanced, and not just in the ledger sense, either.

Obama Bypasses Congress to Mandate Black Boxes for All Cars—Beginning in ’14

Cybercast News Service ^ | December 13, 2012 | Pete Winn

Bypassing Congress, the Obama administration has issued a proposed administrative rule, which if adopted, would mandate the installation of “black boxes” in all automobiles and light trucks beginning in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed the regulation on Dec. 7, which it said “would capture valuable safety-related data in the seconds before and during a motor vehicle crash.”

The proposed standard would require automakers to install event data recorders (EDRs)—so-called “black box devices”—to collect specific safety-related data in all light passenger vehicles beginning Sept. 1, 2014. …

(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...

Don't You Dare Open a Door for Me!

Townhall.com ^ | December 14, 2012 | Mona Charen

Chivalry is back in the news. The always-alert Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute draws our attention to an item in the Psychology of Women Quarterly. A new study on what the authors are pleased to call "benevolent sexism" (which, as Murray translates, seems to mean gentlemanly behavior) found that both women and men are happier when men behave like gentlemen.
This being a sociological publication, though, the findings are not written in English, but rather in academic argot. It's full of sentences like this: "A structural equation model revealed that benevolent sexism was positively associated with diffuse system justification within a sample of 274 college women and 111 college men."
If you spend more than $100,000 on an undergraduate and graduate education in women's studies, you can learn to be this impenetrable, too.
The authors of the study were quick to warn readers about what they'd discovered. "Our findings reinforce the dangerous nature of benevolent sexism and emphasize the need for interventions to reduce its prevalence." Right. Though it seems to increase the life satisfaction of both sexes, it must still be eradicated.
When feminists set out to remake the sexes back in the 1970s, they seemed to choose all the wrong traits to emulate and/or eliminate. Women were encouraged to match the promiscuity, aggressiveness, and irresponsibility of men. In other words, women were to model themselves on the worst men. Meanwhile, the best traits of traditional men -- specifically their most chivalrous and protective impulses -- were to be maligned, mocked, and resented.
Still dancing on Mitt Romney's political grave, feminist writer Gina Barreca told the Washington Post's Gene Weingarten that Romney would be a "terrible, terrible date." (Leave it to a feminist who wants women to be taken seriously to evaluate a presidential candidate as a potential date.) Why? Because he'd be chivalrous. "Chivalry is the opposite of good manners. It's infantilizing. It's contempt masquerading as politeness. The chivalrous guy is establishing roles; he is the protector, you are Limoges. Your job is to let him be masterful. In my experience, when you are standing on a pedestal, there's not much room to move around. That's by design."
Emily Esfahani Smith isn't buying the chivalry as disguised power grab line. Writing in the Atlantic, she notes (as Rich Lowry has highlighted) the contrast between the Titanic and the Costa Concordia -- two sinkings 100 years apart. Three quarters of the women on the Titanic survived, while three quarters of the men died. In 1912, men would have been ashamed of themselves if they failed to protect women -- even at the cost of their lives. Was that just "contempt masquerading as politeness"? On the Costa Concordia, early in 2012, men shoved women aside to get into the lifeboats. Oh well, at least the women had more room to move around than on that darn pedestal.
Smith reminds us that chivalry arose in response to the violence and barbarism of the Middle Ages. "It cautioned men to temper their aggression, deploying it only in appropriate circumstances -- like to protect the physically weak and defenseless members of society." Obviously many men failed to fulfill the ideal. We've always had boorish behavior. But wasn't it preferable to label boorish behavior as such, rather than celebrate it as a victory for sexual equality?
The chivalric code persists to this day, despite the best efforts of the feminists. When a shooter opened fire at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, no fewer than three young men protected their girlfriends from bullets with their own bodies -- and died in the process.
Smith includes an anecdote that sums up the case for chivalry. Samuel Proctor, pastor of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, tipped his hat to a lady. She was offended and demanded, "What is that supposed to mean?"
He replied: "Madame, by tipping my hat I was telling you several things. That I would not harm you in any way. That if someone came into this elevator and threatened you, I would defend you. That if you fell ill, I would tend to you and if necessary carry you to safety. I was telling you that even though I am a man and physically stronger than you, I will treat you with both respect and solicitude. But frankly, Madame, it would have taken too much time to tell you all of that; so, instead, I just tipped my hat."

This is what liberals want all women to be.

"You lookin' at me?"
3posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 7:39:26 AMby Travis McGee(www

Fox News Contributor Steven Crowder Files Criminal Complaint After Alleged Assault By Pro-Union Protester



Noah Rothman
Fox News commentator Steven Crowder has filed a complaint with the Michigan State Police in relation to an assault he sustained by a pro-union protester while attending a demonstration outside Michigan’s state capitol on December, 11.

The protesters were demonstrating against the state legislature’s efforts to pass right to work laws in the heavily unionized state. Crowder joined the protests in support of those controversial laws.

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple spoke with Richard Hale, the shift supervisor at the Lansing post of the Michigan State Police, who confirmed that Crowder has begun the process of filing a criminal complaint:

“By calling in, he’s in essence filed a complaint. He’s initiated the process for the filing of a criminal complaint,” Hale told Wemple.

Since the incident, Crowder says that he has legitimate fears for his safety as he is receiving disturbing threats on a regular basis.

Crowder recently tweeted that he has engaged the services of a former police officer to provide protective services for his wife. “Right now I have a former police officer, heavily armed at my house protecting my wife,” Crowder wrote. “The threats are severe. Prayers appreciated.”

The Fall of the House of Labor

Townhall.com ^ | December 14, 2012 | Pat Buchanan

In 1958, Senate Minority Leader William Knowland, his eye on the 1960 GOP nomination coveted by fellow Californian Richard Nixon, went home and declared for governor.
Knowland's plan: Ride to victory on the back of Proposition 18, the initiative to make right-to-work the law in the Golden Land. Prop. 18 was rejected 2 to 1. Knowland's career was over, and the Republicans were decimated nationally for backing right-to-work.
Badly burned, the party for years ran away from the issue.
This history makes what happened in Michigan, cradle of the United Auto Workers, astonishing. A GOP legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work law as libertarian as any in Red State America.
The closed shop, where a worker must belong to the union before being hired, is dead. The union shop, where an individual must join the union once hired, is dead. The agency shop, where a worker cannot be made to join a union but can be required to pay dues if the union is the agent negotiating the contract for all workers, is dead.
Michigan just legislated the open shop.
And behind the blue-collar bellicosity in Lansing is this new reality. Non-union workers can now "free ride" on union contracts. This is close to a non-survivable wound for labor.
Workers who do not belong to unions will cease paying dues, and union members will begin quietly to quit and pocket their dues money.
Why pay dues if you don't have to? Why contribute a dime to a union PAC if you don't have to, or don't like labor's candidates?
Michigan workers are not going to suffer. They have simply been given the freedom to join or not join a union, to pay or not pay dues. And while wages in right-to-work states such as Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Florida are slightly below those of other states, employment in right-to-work states is higher.
For these are the states where domestic and foreign investors look to site new plants. The BMW assembly plant is in Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Volkswagen and Nissan plants in Tennessee. As Gov. Rick Perry boasts, Texas has been the biggest job creator in the Obama recession.
But union power is going to be circumscribed as non-union workers elect to free-ride and union members start resigning. And just as Michigan saw Indiana creating jobs after passing right-to-work, other states may observe Michigan and go forth and do likewise.
There are now 24 right-to-work states. But while these laws arrested the rise of the house of labor, there was an inevitability to its fall. Who are the collective killers? Like the murder on the Orient Express, just about everyone on the train.
First came automation. A third of U.S. workers were unionized in the 1950s. But with new technologies, we discovered we did not need so many men to dig coal, make steel or print newspapers. We did not need firemen riding in the cabs of diesel locomotives.
A second blow came with the postwar rise of Germany and Japan. Their plants and equipment were all newer than ours. Their wages were far lower, as they did not carry the burden of defending the Free World. Under our defense umbrella, they began to invade and capture our markets.
And Uncle Sam let them do it.
A third blow to Big Labor, concentrated in the Frost Belt, came from the Sun Belt. With air conditioning making summers tolerable, the South offered less expensive and more reliable labor than a North where union demands were constant and strikes common.
But the mortal blow to American unions came from globalization.
With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and China propelling hundreds of millions of new workers into the global hiring hall, U.S. multinationals saw historic opportunity.
If they could move factories out of the U.S.A., they would be free of union demands, wage-and-hour laws, occupational health and safety laws, environmental laws and civil rights law. By outsourcing, they could produce for a fraction of the cost of doing so in the U.S.A.
And if they could get the U.S. political class, in return for corporate generosity at election time, to let them bring their foreign-made goods back to the U.S.A., tax and tariff free, profits would explode, and salaries and bonuses with them.
The corporate establishment and political establishment shook hands, the deed was done, and the fate of U.S. industrial unions sealed. So came NAFTA, GATT, the World Trade Organization, MFN for China, free trade with all.
And with globalization came trade deficits unlike any the world had ever seen, a loss of one-third of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the last decade, a U.S. dependence on foreign-made goods almost as great as in colonial days, the enrichment of our corporate and financial elites beyond the dreams of avarice, and the decline and fall of the house of labor.
Unions are dying because, in America, economic patriotism is dead.

Birther

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Lotsa Cuts!

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Re-Gifting

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Seeing Greece!

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Or Else!

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Flirting

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Capital Hill

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The Happy Meal

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RATS

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Tax the rich?

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Hamsters

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NSF

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Tea Party

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Protest

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Voter I.D.

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Wise Men

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Do Not Eat...

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Leading Economic Indicator

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Just For the Record: The Left Took Out Susan Rice

Townhall.com ^ | December 13, 2012 | Carol Platt Liebau

Before Democrats start to re-write history and play the race card for their own personal political gain, let's just be clear: It was the left -- not the right -- that took Susan Rice out.
Certainly, Republicans like John McCain and Susan Collins had issues with Rice, and made that clear (although McCain also "softened" his opposition). But is there any thinking person out there who believes the Obama administration would have accepted her withdrawal if opposition to her could have been portrayed as some kind of right wing "dog whistle"? Please.
What ultimately did Rice in was criticism from the likes of Maureen Dowd (twice -- here and here) and Dana Milbank and Lloyd Grove and in the Atlantic magazine(both here and here) and in Foreign Policy even in a piece on the hallowed (to liberals) op/ed page of the New York Times. Hillary Clinton let her opposition to Rice be known. Those are the kind of opponents that a Democrat nominee simply cannot overcome -- not a couple of Republican senators when the administation's customary M.O. is simply to attribute everything to race and gender.
Note also that the Republican opposition was based specifically on Rice's misleading statements in the wake of Benghazi. It was her critics on the left, in contrast, who highlighted gauzier, more personal issues, characterizing Rice as someone afflicted with a supposed "personality disorder" (Grove), who is "ill-equipped to be the nation's top diplomat" because of her "shoot-first tendency" and "pugilism" (Milbank), with a "bull-in-the-china-shop reputation" (Dowd).
The effort to pin the race/gender card on the GOP had already begun, with Ben Smith writing about why the Repubilican "war"on Susan Rice held political risk, and after her withdrawal, the predictable Andrea Mitchell (below) pulling out the stops:
Andrea Mitchell On Susan Rice: "Woman Of Color Has Been Forced Out"
So again, before Obama sycophants try to turn Rice withdrawal lemons into racist-sexist-GOP lemonade, let's be clear for the record: It wasn't the Republicans who forced Rice to back out.

Obama's Electronic Medical Records Scam

Townhall.com ^ | December 14, 2012 | Michelle Malkin

Here's more evidence that government "cures" are inevitably worse than the "diseases" they seek to wipe out. Buried in the trillion-dollar stimulus law of 2009 was an electronic medical records "incentive" program. Like most of President Obama's health care rules, this top-down electronic record-sharing scheme is a big fat bust.
Oversight is lax. Cronyism is rife. The job-killing and privacy-undermining consequences have only just begun.
The program was originally sold as a cost-saving measure. In theory, modernizing record-collection is a good idea, and many private health care providers have already made the change. But as with many government "incentive" programs, the EMR bribe is a tax-subsidized, one-size-fits-all mandate. This one pressures health care professionals and hospitals across the country into radically federalizing their patient data and opening up medical information to untold abuse. Penalties kick in for any provider that hasn't switched over by 2014.
So, what's it to you? Well, $4 billion has already gone out to 82,535 professionals and 1,474 hospitals, and a total of $6 billion will be doled out by 2016. But the feds' reckless profligacy, neglect and favoritism have done more harm than good.
Don't take my word for it. A recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General acknowledged that the incentive system is "vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet" the program's quality assurance requirements. The federal health bureaucracy "has not implemented strong prepayment safeguards, and its ability to safeguard incentive payments postpayment is also limited," the IG concluded.
Translation: No one is actually verifying whether the transition from paper to electronic is improving patient outcomes and health services. No one is actually guarding against GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). No one is checking whether recipients of the EMR incentives are receiving money redundantly (e.g., raking in payments when they've already converted to electronic records). No one is actually protecting private data from fraud, abuse or exploitation.
Little is being done to recoup ill-gotten payments. In any case, such "pay and chase" policing after the fact is a crummy way to run government in lean times -- or in fat times, for that matter.
As for the claim that the EMR conversion will reduce paperwork, many doctors say the reality is just the opposite. In Greensboro, N.C., Dr. Richard Aronson told local TV station FOX 8 that the mandate doubled the amount of paperwork in his private practice. Everyone from optometrists to general practitioners to chiropractors to podiatrists must divert precious time and resources to conforming with Washington health bureaucrats' imposed vision. Some medical professionals are now warning that the dangerous phenomenon of "distracted doctoring" is on the rise as a result of data-driven imperatives that direct health care providers' attention away from their patients and onto their screens and hand-held devices.
You know who is benefiting from the initiative? Put on your shocked faces: Obama donors and cronies.
Billionaire Judith Faulkner, Obama's medical information czar and a major Democratic contributor, just happens to be the founder and CEO of Epic Systems -- a medical software company that stores nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population's health data. Another billion-dollar patient-record database grant program has doled out money to the University of Chicago Medical Center (where first lady Michelle Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett both served in high-paid positions). As I've previously reported, these administration grants circumvent any and all congressional deliberation as part of Team Obama's election-year "We Can't Wait" initiatives.
Even as the White House touted the move toward gee-whiz 21st-century electronic databases, health care professionals in the know have debunked that claim, too. Companies like Faulkner's, which lobbied loudest for the mandates and "incentives," represent traditional hard drive-dependent software firms that are already dated. As Athenahealth Chairman and CEO Jonathan Bush, who advocates cloud-computing alternatives, put it: The Obama electronic records mandate is "healthcare information technology's version of cash-for-clunkers."
Then there's the still-growing and untold number of doctors nationwide who are closing up shop or limiting their practices and converting to "concierge care" to escape this and myriad other Obamacare intrusions. My own primary care physician in Colorado Springs quit her regular practice and converted to "concierge care" because of the EMR imposition. Creve Coeur, Mo., doctor Shari Cohen made the same move.
"The demands of caring for my patients while navigating through the current health care delivery systems dictated that I take more and more time away from patient care and spend an increasing part of my day on the system itself," she told the Creve Couer Patch. "Electronic Medical Records was the final shove for me. It added another whole layer in interference in the doctor-patient relationship and one I was not sure I wanted to take on."
More paperwork. More waste. Less accountability. Less care. Government malpractice at work.