Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Obama ‘jamming’ amnesty up House's ASS!

Conservative Byte ^ 

Not sure how he is going to push it through, but Obama seems to have that ability at times.Check it out:


Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is warning that the House of Representatives should pass no immigration bill at all rather than risk a terrible bill coming out of conference.

King told WND pro-amnesty Republicans are operating under a false premise, and he wants House Speaker John Boehner to be more clear on what he would allow to move forward on the House floor.

He joins other conservative House members who believe they could never support a bill that is embraced by Senate Democrats, so trying to find common ground now is fruitless.

“If the House passed border security and interior security and sent that over to the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to take that up. Chuck Schumer has said that citizenship has to be part of the deal. It’s not going to go to the president’s desk, so why would the House take up anything if there’s no prospect that we’re going to improve the immigration situation, just the prospect that they’re going to jam amnesty on us?” asked King, who cautioned that the Democratic agenda is transparent. 
(Excerpt) Read more at conservativebyte.com ...

The TSA agents who can't tell a hero from a terrorist:

Moment wounded Iraq veteran marine was treated 'shamefully' because he couldn't raise his injured arm and was ordered to take off dress uniform because it had 'too much metal'

  • Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was awarded a Purple Heart after he almost died from an injury incurred from a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq
  • At the Sacramento Airport, screeners looked under his medals, ran their hands under his waistband and swabbed his shoes for explosives
  • Visiting the state capitol building to be honored as veteran of the year for his district, he was told to take off his dress blues 'because he was wearing too much metal'
  • TSA said veterans were treated with utmost dignity and those with injuries were screened in a manner sensitive to their disability

A wounded war veteran has described the moment security agents treated him like a 'terrorist' on a recent trip to California because he couldn't raise his injured right arm in a full-body scanner and his dress uniform contained 'too much metal.'
Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was awarded a Purple Heart after he almost died in 2004 from an injury incurred from a roadside bomb in Fallujah, Iraq. The brave soldier recently traveled to Sacramento, California to receive another award as his district's veteran of the year.
But, what should have been a celebratory experience was tainted when suspicious security workers at both the Sacramento International Airport and the California State Capitol Buildings subjected him to intense screenings and even ordered him to take off his uniform.
Scroll down for video
Thorough: Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz's friend Patricia Martin took pictures of the tough security screenings the Purple Heart awarded Marine was subjected to
Thorough: Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz's friend Patricia Martin took pictures of the tough security screenings the Purple Heart awarded Marine was subjected to
Because of the injury Kemnitz suffered in the blast, he can't lift his right arm above his head, which has made getting through security lines increasingly difficult.
'At some places I'm treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist. There's got to be something in the middle,' he said.
 
Two recent trips through the secuirty line landed closer to the 'terrorist' side of treatment. When a TSA officer asked him to raise his arms above his head in a full-body scanner, he refused. 
'My right arm doesn't work. It's a lot of hassle for me to do that,' Kemnitz told Military Times
Injured: Kemnitz was seriously injured in a roadside bomb while serving in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004
Injured: Kemnitz was seriously injured in a roadside bomb while serving in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004
Screeners then continued to prod Kemnitz, looking under his metals, running their hands under his waistband and swabbing his shoes for explosives. 
His traveling partner, Patricia Martin, found the whole incident disturbing, and took pictures of the humiliating screening.
'What does the uniform and heroism represent if our own citizens - in this case employees of the TSA and security personnel - have no regard for them?' Martin wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki about the incident.
TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein issued a statement Monday concerning the incident. 
'Our intent is to treat all injured service members and veterans with the dignity they deserve, As always, all passengers with disabilities and medical conditions are eligible for screening procedures sensitive to their particular disability, medical condition or other unique medical circumstance.
Watch more of Nathan's speech.
Recognized: Kemnitz at a state capitol award ceremony where he was honored as his district's veteran of the year. Before the luncheon he was told to take off his dress blues at security 'because he was wearing too much metal'
Recognized: Kemnitz at a state capitol award ceremony where he was honored as his district's veteran of the year. Before the luncheon he was told to take off his dress blues at security 'because he was wearing too much metal'
'Transportation Security Officers have to resolve any anomaly detected at the checkpoint,' Feinstein said. 
'As is standard procedure for all passengers, if travelers alarm when passing through a metal detector or an advanced imaging technology (AIT) unit, additional screening is required in order to resolve that anomaly.'
Following similar incidents with other wounded veterans, the TSA recently changed it's rules so injured troops no longer need to remove their shoes, jackets or hats in security. 
They also offer an expedited service, but you must call the agencies Military Severely Injured Joint Service Operations Center prior to traveling. 
Injured: Nathan Kemnitz, left, broke his arm in three places during the blast in 2004
Injured: Nathan Kemnitz, left, broke his arm in three places during the blast in 2004
There is also a 'curb-to-gate' service for injured personnel and well as a pre-check program for military personnel at four airports.
Kemnitz wasn't so bothered by the TSA screening as he was by the 'rude' and 'unapologetic' security screener at the California state capitol.
He was visiting the capitol as a veteran being honored in his district, but the Senate Sergent-At-Arms screening him didn't cut him any slack when the metal detector went off.
The screener asked him to take off his dress blue blouse 'because he was wearing too much metal.' That started an argument between Kemnitz, Martin and the security screener. 
Representatives at the California state capitol have yet to release a statement about the incident. 



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2358616/Purple-Heart-Marine-treated-shamelessly-TSA-tried-explain-roadside-bomb-injuries-prevented-raising-right-arm-body-scan.html#ixzz2YZFUXuvD
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Patient Wakes Up as Doctors Get Ready to Remove Organs

ABC News ^ | July 9, 2013

It was exactly midnight when Caroline Burns eerily opened her eyes and looked at the operating lights above her, shocking doctors who believed she was dead and were about to remove her organs and donate them to patients on the transplant waiting list.
The Syracuse Post-Standard unearthed a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that chronicled the series of errors that led to the near-organ removal on a living patient at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., in 2009.
"The patient did not suffer a cardiopulmonary arrest (as documented) and did not have irreversible brain damage," the HHS report concluded. "The patient did not meet criteria for withdrawal of care."
According to the report, doctors had inaccurately diagnosed Burns with irreversible brain damage and ignored nurses who'd noticed signs that Burns was improving: She curled her toes when touched, flared her nostrils and moved her mouth and tongue. She was also breathing on her own even though she was on a respirator.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...

Rail disaster underscores risks in oil transportation

Fuel Fix ^ | July 9, 2013 | Zain Shauk

A deadly crude oil train disaster in Canada has brought renewed scrutiny to the growing use of rail to carry oil – including hundreds of thousands of barrels in Texas – and prompted worries that the higher volume will mean more accidents.
Though rail proponents say moving crude by train is safe, federal regulators and others say that pipelines are safer, a stance that has played a role in the debate over the planned Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast.
And regardless of the relative safety of the two transportation modes, the mere fact that more crude trains are on the rails increases the possibility of accidents like the one Saturday in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
At least 13 people died and dozens were injured as a portion of the town was flattened by exploding carloads of oil when a train derailed there.
The train was moving oil east from the Bakken shale play in North Dakota to a refinery in Canada, the Associated Press reported.
Parties to the political debate over transport were muted in their response to Saturday’s tragedy. The oil industry lobbying group American Petroleum Institute declined to comment and a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council did not respond to phone calls.
Rail car loads soar
The Sierra Club environmental group expressed wishes for the safety of residents and responders in Lac-Mégantic, and said the accident “strengthens our resolve to move beyond fossil fuels so communities in Canada, the U.S. and around the world are no longer threatened by industrial disaster, toxic pollution and climate disruption.”
Energy companies are moving more oil by rail because trains can serve markets that don’t have pipelines, said Jackie Forrest, senior director of North American oil market research for IHS.
And as railways have taken on more oil business, they are trying to make their offerings cheaper and more appealing to energy companies.
While 90 percent of crude oil typically has been transported by pipeline in the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported earlier this year that railcar loadings of crude oil and other petroleum products jumped 46.3 percent in 2012, as pipelines couldn’t keep pace with surging production.
Within Texas, trains and barges carried 401,700 barrels of crude and petroleum liquids daily last year, up from 362,732 barrels per day in 2011, according to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry. Spokeswoman Ramona Nye said the commission estimates as much as 95 percent of that is rail transportation.
Shipments head east
Though pipeline companies have expanded their networks, rail retains an advantage it isn’t likely to lose soon in some regions, including the Bakken area, Forrest said.
Because there are no solid plans for pipelines to transport oil east from the Bakken, she said, refineries have turned to rail and other options for supplying their raw material.
Houston-based Phillips 66 already is moving oil by rail from the Bakken to its Bayway refinery in New Jersey and Valero is exploring a rail option for moving large quantities of Bakken crude east to its Quebec refinery.
With a rapidly changing energy landscape, the nation’s infrastructure will need to catch up to improve safety, said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute.
She said in a report last month that an analysis of U.S. Transportation Department data found fewer than one incident involving pipelines per billion ton-miles, compared with 19.95 incidents per billion ton-miles for trains.
“Pipeline is vastly more safe,” she said. “Pipelines result in fewer spillage incidents and personal injuries than road and rail.”
But pipelines spill more oil in absolute numbers because of the nation’s vast pipeline network.
An average of 6.6 million gallons of petroleum products were released accidentally from pipelines each year from 2005 to 2009, according to Furchtgott-Roth’s analysis.
During the same period road transportation spilled an average 477,600 gallons a year and trains spilled 83,800 gallons.
“Although the number of incidents, the injuries and fatalities are lower for pipeline, when there is an incident, the amount spilled is larger,” Furchtgott-Roth said in an interview.

Cost of Complying with Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Overhaul? $3.2 BILLION!

Townhall.com ^ | July 9, 2013 | Kyle Olson

As schools continue to grapple with the school lunch menu overhaul pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama, some are realizing their headache isn’t just from a lack of food.
The program involves way too much green -- and we’re not talking lettuce and brussel sprouts.
We mean the estimated $3.2 billion schools will have to find to implement the new federal regulations. Many schools are also losing money due the unpopular Obama menu.
“New school lunch regulations mean financial losses for Pittsfield Public Schools,” reported the Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts.
The school district expects a program operating loss of more than $100,000 due to a required equipment upgrade, as well as fewer lunches and snacks being sold.
Congressman Todd Rokita, a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, noted at a recent hearing, “Because the law requires students to take fruits and vegetables for lunch, even if they have no intention of eating them, schools are struggling with increased waste. After implementing the new standards a year early, one Florida school district estimated students threw out $75,000 worth of food.”
“At Dedham High School in Massachusetts, providing the required vegetables in 1500 meals each week costs the district about $111 a day -- but administrators report many students just throw the fresh vegetables right into the trash,” his statement read.
A New York district experienced a 50 percent decline in the number of student purchasing hot lunch.
“This decline in participation made it more difficult for the school to afford to serve lunches and breakfasts that met the federal meal requirements. As a result, the district’s food operation went $59,000 in the red and local leaders ultimately decided to opt-out of the National School Lunch Program,” Rokita said.
The USDA estimates implementation of the new guidelines will cost $3.2 billion over five years. Given that it’s a government estimate -- and if Obamacare is any guide, the cost for schools will likely be much higher.

Has the Obama administration gone “full Watergate?” Break in at whistleblower’s law firm.

Sister Toldja ^ | 7-8-2013 | Phineas

Somewhere, G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord are thinking “copycats!”

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm’s file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.
The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutes and sexual harassment.
“It’s a crazy, strange and suspicious situation,” attorney Cary Schulman told The Cable. “It’s clear to me that it was somebody looking for information and not money. My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can’t think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information.”
According to the KDFW report, the firm was the only suite burglarized in the high-rise office building and an unlocked office adjacent was left untouched.
Among the allegations made by Fedenisn , which include accusations of a US ambassador and big Obama donor soliciting underage prostitutes, were charges that high-level officials of the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, interfered with eight investigations and then watered-down her report. When she complained to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), State Department agents came to her home and intimidated her children. At that point, she retained lawyers.
And now their office has been broken into...continued
(Excerpt) Read more at sistertoldjah.com ...

Citizens Receiving Food Aid from Federal Gov't Now Outnumber Full-Time Private Sector Workers

Breitbart ^ | July 8, 2013 | Debra Heine

In response to Sarah Palin Weighs in on Yacht-gate:

The 2012 election proved to me that we reached a tipping point. Why SHOULD the Regime respect a citizenry that would reelect this corrupt, scandal plagued collectivist, with his reverse Midas touch, whose crowning achievement has been described by one of its architects as a "trainwreck" that now has over a dozen implementation failures.
Come on. I don't care how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was - does a rational, well informed citizenry reelect such a person?
No, an irrational, on the dole, self-serving, badly informed citizenry does. Hence, the disrespect. I keep wondering when America will have had enough of the lies. Why should the Regime stop lying to our faces when most of the country seems to have no problem with it.
As noted, John Q Public has been reduced to "either a mouth to be fed, a pocket to be picked, or a political obstacle to be finessed, nothing more."
Which brings me to the latest figures coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, revealing that the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of full-time private sector workers in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a total of 101,000,000 people currently participate in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the agency, at a cost of $114 billion in fiscal year 2012.
That means the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of full-time private sector workers in the U.S.....

Texas's Amazing Shale Oil And Gas Abundance

PressDoc Blog ^ | July 8, 2013

I’m often asked my opinion on what the prices of oil or natural gas are going to do. My answer is always the same: If I had the slightest idea what the prices of oil or natural gas were going to do in the future, nobody in my family would ever have to work another day in their lives, because I would quickly become fabulously wealthy.
Seriously, nobody knows what the price of these commodities is going to do six months, a year, two years from now. Or even tomorrow, for that matter.
But here’s what we do know: Texas has an amazing volume of both commodities underneath its soil in various shale formations around the state. From the Barnett Shale in north Texas, to the Haynesville Shale in East Texas, to the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, to the Cline and Wolfcamp Shales in West Texas’s Permian Basin – Texas is swimming in recently-discovered oil and natural gas reservoirs. So abundant are the resources in the Lone Star State that, as of June 27th, there were 843 oil and natural gas drilling rigs operating in Texas, representing an amazing 48% of all the rigs operating in the United States. Even more amazing, that number represents 26% of all the drilling rigs operating anywhere on the face of the earth!
Today, Texas produces more than 30% of America’s oil and natural gas. If Texas were a country, it would be the third largest natural gas producing nation on earth, and the 13th largest oil producer. Prior to the late 1960s and the growing influence of OPEC, Texas produced so much oil that it was able to heavily influence the price of the commodity on the world market. As the Eagle Ford production continues to grow and the massive potential of the Cline Shale begins to be tapped in earnest, the state could find itself once again in a position of global pricing influence.
Home to more than 260 of those active drilling rigs, the Eagle Ford continues to amaze analysts with the rapid nature of its growth. March 2013 daily oil production from the play grew to more than 529,000 barrels, a 77% increase from just one year earlier. Scott Hanold, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets, told his clients that “While the trend is correct, we believe actual production in the Eagle Ford is higher than what is being reported.” RBC’s proprietary database reportedly pegs Eagle Ford’s oil production as high as 800,000 barrels per day, in basically the same range as North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. Regardless of which number is more accurate, there is no question that Eagle Ford will overtake the Bakken in the next several months to become the largest oil producing field in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Permian Basin, which as recently as 6 years ago was thought to be a dying province for oil and gas production, continues to rebound in dramatic fashion, and is now home to more than 500 active rigs. According to a recent report put together by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, “Production in the Permian Basin reached about two million barrels per day in the early 1970s, declined to 850,000 barrels per day in 2007, but has since rebounded to 1.3 million barrels per day.”
The report goes on: “The potential of multi-stage fracturing in both vertical and horizontal wells has recently attracted a revival of activity to the Permian. There are currently almost 500 rigs active in the region, which makes up more than a quarter of the U.S. total. Of the rigs active in the Permian, nearly 40 percent are drilling horizontal wells, particularly in the Delaware Basin, double the share of two years ago. Vertical drilling is still very strong – more than 6,000 Wolfberry wells have been drilled within the last 10 years, according to the Texas Railroad Commission.”
All of that dramatic increase in activity and production has taken place while what many believe to be potentially the biggest oil shale in the U.S. – the Cline Shale – has barely begun to be tapped. The Cline is an enormous underground structure, averaging about 70 miles wide from east to west, and about 140 miles from north to south, with a target zone for oil production that is between 200 and 500 fee thick. Because it partially underlies the Wolfcamp Shale to the West, some companies are drilling wells with dual completions in each formation.
Activity in the Barnett, Haynesville and the dry gas window of the Eagle Ford has recently been slow due to low prices for natural gas. But make no mistake about it: the gas is still there in enormous quantities, and whenever the commodity price does move back up into a more healthy zone – which it inevitably will – we will see many more natural gas rigs come on line in Texas and elsewhere to begin tapping it once again.
Because the one thing we do know for certain about oil and natural gas prices is that they are cyclical in nature. That is the way it has always been, and you can bet the family farm it will never change.
It’s just one of so many factors that have always made the oil and natural gas industry one of the most interesting to be involved in. The next 20 years or so may well become the most exciting time the industry has ever seen, and I just hope I live long enough to see it all play out.
God Bless Texas.

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The 15 Most Annoying Things About American Culture

townhall.com ^ | 7-9-2013 | John Hawkins

1) Everyone Offended By Everything: Because we treat the fact that there is someone somewhere who's offended by something as if it's significant, people now say they are offended by everything. There are people who are easily offended, people who get offended on behalf of other people, and even people who make a living being offended. Everyone is incessantly kvetching about EVERYTHING except....
2) The Majority That’s Not Being Allowed To Be Offended: We bend over so far in our society to be fair to minority groups, that we've gotten into a position where the minority regularly oppresses the majority. Eighty percent of people may want a cross somewhere and twenty percent may not care, but some belligerent atheist complains and it has to go. Barack Obama may be President, but white people still aren't supposed to criticize him because he's black. Why should white people and Christians be held to a different standard than everyone else in our entire culture just because there are more of us?
3) Not Wanting To Hurt The Little Dear's Self Esteem: Our public school system's obsession with building up self esteem has not only managed to decrease the quality of education, it has created a generation of swaggering dunces who are shocked and aggrieved if anyone suggests their crap stinks just like everyone else's does.
4) The Celebration Of Victimhood: When did we move all the way from pitying victims and showing them a little kindness to treating victimhood as some sort of exalted status? Someone called you a "slut?" Well, let's give you a speaking slot at the Democrat National Convention. You're part of a group we see as victims? Well then, anyone who criticizes you must be an awful person! There's nothing noble or praiseworthy about being a victim. Victims may not deserve to have sand kicked in their faces by bullies, but they don't deserve to be treated like heroes either.
5) An Entitlement Mentality: We've gotten to the point in our society that "I earned it" basically means, "I exist; so that should be given to me" to a lot of Americans. The only thing you're entitled to is "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and anything on top of that is cream that you have to earn, buy, or work to get.
6) Cell Phone Obsession: The world will not end if you don't check your text messages during dinner and it's rude to have a loud, one sided conversation with someone on your cell phone when other people are around. Also, people who check their cell phones in dark movie theaters deserve to have their phones cooked in the popcorn machine until they explode.
7) A Lack Of Judgementalism: Nobody likes feeling like he’s been judged and has come up short, but we've taken this to such an extreme that we act as if anything's acceptable. What's worse? Pointing out that some people are loathsome pieces of human garbage or being a loathsome piece of human garbage? Once we get beyond pure political correctness, we've chosen to go the former route as a society, which is why we have people looking at porn in public libraries, gay pride parades where half naked perverts simulate copulation on the street, and dating services for people looking to have affairs.
8) Cheerleading People's Deaths: Here's the first rule when it comes to funerals: If the person who just died isn't Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or Stalin, either say something nice or at least have the class not to trash him until he’s in the ground. Oh, but what if he’s a member of that other political party that you hate? See rule one. What if other people are saying nice things about him and it bugs you? See rule one. What if....SEE RULE ONE.
9) Pants Sagging Down To The Knees: Pull your pants up, dumb@ss. Enough said.
10) Obsessive Consumerism: We live in a country where you can have your pet's medicine delivered to your door, people spend hundreds of dollars on new Apple products when the old one still works, and even many poor people go into debt to buy new cars. As a capitalist, it would be easy to shrug this off except for the fact that the average American owes $15,000 on his credit card and less than 25% of Americans have enough money saved to get by if their income stopped coming in for six months. It's okay to spend money if you have money, but we're driving ourselves into bankruptcy as a society on every level while we ignore the fact that the bill is going to eventually come due.
11) Hyper-Sexualization: We've gone so overboard with this that it's a surprise we don't have bare breasts on the Super Bowl halftime show -- oh wait, we did! Why are we not able to find that middle ground as a culture between Afghanistan under the Taliban and the "Being a little more of a whore would be good for you" message that's pushed by Hollywood today?
12) The Sickliness Of The Christian Church: This is a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles and the Christian Church used to have enormous influence. As it was, it could be again, but that's not happening because of cowardice and laziness of the Christian clergy. Far too many pastors act as if they were hired as part of a jobs program and they're hoping that they'll have just enough old people left to fund them until their retirement. They do minimal outreach to young Americans, they don't embrace modern communication methods like Twitter and YouTube, and they don't have the courage to stand up for the principles they talk about from the pulpit outside of the church. Unfortunately, pastors with no guts will bring no glory to God.
13) Beauty Pageants For Seven Year Olds: Taking a little girl who should be playing with dolls, dressing her up like a grown woman and parading her around like she's in a dog show so mommy can live out her hopes and dreams through her child is repellent on so many levels that it's amazing the organizers can get enough people together to put on these contests.
14) Microwave Culture: Everybody DEMANDS everything right this second. Remember those famous Bible verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-15?
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and....
Wait, what do you mean that's taking too long? Show some patience!
15) The Degradation Of Manliness: Men are often shown as bumbling weaklings on TV, feminists complain if men open doors for them, and we celebrate metrosexuals and wimpiness while putting down real masculinity. Then, what do we hear over and over again from women? "Where are the real men?"

A break for smokers? Glitch may limit penalties ["at least a year" to fix computer glitch]

yahoo/Associated Press ^ | July 9, 2013 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some smokers trying to get coverage next year under President Barack Obama's health care law may get a break from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable.
The Obama administration — in yet another health care overhaul delay — has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year to put in place.
Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, experts say. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it's also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.
Some see an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays as the administration scrambles to prepare the Oct. 1 launch of new health insurance markets. People who don't have coverage on the job will be able to shop for private insurance, with tax credits to help pay premiums. Small businesses will have their own insurance markets.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...

Our Declaration of Dependence

Townhall.com ^ | July 9, 2013 | John Ransom


The economy today, in this Fourth of July week for 2013, waits in breathless anticipation of our newest declaration of dependence.

Sometime this week, jobs data, housing data and some other data export manufactured by the federal government will result in someone, somewhere- perhaps even in the stock market- doing something.

And when that happens regulators, media mavens, talking heads, politicians, special interests, and Mayor Bloomberg, will all say with the pride of a collective: “See? We did that,” as if “nothing” would happen without the beneficent government first allowing it.

So it goes today in the United States Senate, where the burning issue for money and markets is to replace one bad, failed, impossible utopia, with another slightly less-worse utopia that will fail as well.

Because today in the corridors of misshapen power, the Ds and the Rs are talking about the American Dream, the dream of homeownership, and how they might turn that into votes.

The Senate is working on a plan to “reform” housing in the country so that…nothing… really… changes.

It’s called Corker-Warner Housing Reform.

And it goes to show that you can fool all of the media some of the time, and some of the media all of the time and all of the media all of the time as long as you get two beltway insiders from different parties to support it and tack on the word “reform.”

They are going to give this so-called “reform” a patina of change by folding up the really bad ideas called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turning into a new scheme called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation.

The idea is that the federal government will now formally “insure” mortgages, whereas before the arrangement was more like a wink and a nod to the investment market that of course IF the real estate crashed- which of course THAT will never happen- the federal government would step in as guarantor of last resort for real estate.

Now the Senate is proposing to eliminate the government ambivalence and state plainly: “We are the insurer of FIRST resort.”

And in the name of everything that blasphemes the Holy, they will call the plan “bi-partisan.”

Because you see the biggest problem that most people have with the economy is that it crashed in 2008. Bad economy, bad, bad economy, they think to themselves, like an economy is a poorly trained dog that just needs the right commands.

The housing bubble was great, as long as it didn’t pop. The stock market is wonderful, as long as it doesn’t go down. Hurray for high oil prices and gold prices and timber!

Who says what goes up must come down?

Hey, maybe we can get Congress to make banks pay us to borrow money and we can finance it through taxes on people who worked hard, create jobs, run companies and get paid very handsomely because the free market demands it?

Bad free market, bad, bad free market.

In essence, what the Senate is proposing is that the investment risk inside the housing market be shared by: 1) private investors and 2) taxpayers.

And since private investors are typically the people who pay the lion-share of taxes in this country…bingo…you get a free house!

No risk for you.

Who wouldn’t vote for that?

Because I remember a time when the government didn’t insure mortgages.

I vaguely recall that there were no houses then. People just huddled around their cars and covered themselves with newspapers to keep off the rain while writing checks to automotive finance companies that somehow found the courage to finance autos without a government guarantee.

So the world waits, on this Independence Week, to celebrate another triumph of central planning, without which the American birthright of lobbying for someone else to pay for your house would die.

Happy Dependence, I say to you Sirs.
This article was originally published on July 2nd, 2013