Thursday, October 31, 2013

Would You Wear a “Snitches Get Stitches” T-Shirt to Your Sentencing Hearing?

Slate ^ | OCT. 17 2013 | Justin Peters

When convicted arsonist Lawrence Ahrens Jr. began his sentencing hearing last week, he must have known that his best shot at avoiding a long prison stint was to make a good impression on the judge. So it’s hard to understand why, as Paul Nelson at the Albany Times Union reported, Ahrens “strolled into court with a white short-sleeve T-shirt with ‘Snitches Get Stitches’ splashed across the back in bold letters.” The shirt’s obverse was just as inappropriate: It featured a big red stop sign above the word “Snitching.” Stop Snitching—get it? Nelson notes that Ahrens “apparently wanted to make a statement” with his daring attire, but, from where I’m sitting, the only statement he made was “I have bad judgment.” The judge made Ahrens remove the shirt, and then sentenced him to 15 years in prison, where his shirts will be chosen for him.

Now, the First Amendment generally protects your right to express yourself through your apparel, and if I were a judge, I’d like to think I wouldn’t get upset about other people’s clothing choices. But some judges take courtroom decorum very, very seriously, and if you’re coming to court for whatever reason, you need to realize that. The record is filled with tales of defendants, jurors, and spectators who have scandalized courtrooms with their provocative garb. Here are six notable stories.

Killer’s highly appropriate, highly inappropriate T-shirt. T.J. Lane, the Ohio teenager convicted of killing three students at Chardon High School in 2012, looked appropriately buttoned-down when he arrived at his sentencing hearing earlier this year. Halfway through, though, he removed his collared shirt to reveal a white T-shirt on which he had hand-lettered the word “KILLER.” The shirt wasn’t even Lane’s most antagonistic decision that day—when given the chance to make a statement, he turned to
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...

A Big Butt Is A Healthy Butt: Women With Big Butts Are Smarter And Healthier (Oxford study)

Elite Daily ^ | 10/30/13 | Sean Levinson

According to ABC News, the results found that women with bigger backsides tend to have lower levels of cholesterol and are more likely to produce hormones to metabolize sugar. Therefore, women with big butts are less likely to have diabetes or heart problems.

And having a big butt requires an excess of Omega 3 fats, which have been proven to catalyze brain development. The researchers also found that the children born to women with wider hips are intellectually superior to the children of slimmer, less curvy mothers.
(Excerpt) Read more at elitedaily.com ...

CBS reveals: Contrary to chief’s testimony, CMS knew ObamaCare website had major problems!

Hot Air ^ | October 31,2013 | ALLAHPUNDIT

How did CMS know? Simple: The employees there tested the site themselves and ended up in the same circle of 404 hell that the rest of the country landed in on October 1. And so, yet again, we return to the great unanswered question of the past month. How much of this was epic incompetence by HHS and how much of it was bad faith? When Marilyn Tavenner claimed she didn’t expect a meltdown on day one, was that a shameless lie or proof that HHS is so dysfunctional that her deputies withheld the results of the testing from her? If the latter, how many people are getting fired for this?

The latest “glitch,” by the way, isn’t so much a flaw in the website as it is a flaw in record-keeping by insurance companies that’s being made worse by the federal and state ObamaCare sites. Which doctors are included in the network for your new exchange-bought health coverage? It’s … not always clear:
Many new health exchanges don’t yet let shoppers see which doctors accept which insurance plans. Where exchanges do post the so-called provider lists, they often contain inaccurate or misleading information, some doctors say, including wrong specialties, addresses and language skills, and no indication whether providers are accepting new patients…
The new health exchanges are supposed to offer a transparent shopping experience, including clear information on participating doctors. But in addition to providing wrong information, the lists may give consumers a false impression of how big the networks are, some physicians say. Several exchanges warn shoppers to ask doctors directly if they accept the new plans.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDtF887eXHo

This is what psychotic looks like!

Flopping Aces ^ | 10-30-13 | DrJohn

psychotic 1
psy·cho·sis

noun, plural psy·cho·ses Psychiatry. 1. a mental disorder characterized by symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations, that indicate impaired contact with reality.
These two people displayed a severely impaired contact with reality today.
Patient Sibelius:
Classic case of psychosis. Patient presents with loss of contact with reality, punctuated with outbursts of patently false statements.
Sibelius said:

'No one indicated it could possibly go this wrong'
Ah but they did.

Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration was given stark warnings just one month before that the federal healthcare site was not ready to go live, according to a confidential report obtained by CNN.The caution, from the main contractor CGI, warned of a number of open risks and issues for the HealthCare.gov web site even as company executives were testifying publicly that the project had achieved key milestones.
On Capitol Hill on Monday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, whose job it was to oversee the October 1 rollout of the website, said she did not foresee its problems.
“No, we had tested the website and we were comfortable with its performance,” she said. “Now, like I said, we knew all along there would be as with any new website, some individual glitches we would have to work out. But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing.”
Patient Sibelius made the statement

“The website has never crashed – it is functional but at a very low speed and very low reliability and has continued to function.”
Ironically, as the patient testified...

And it was not the first time.
Patient Obama:
Another classic presentation, including mental confusion, hallucinations, verbal flailing about with a desperate need to deflect responsibility. Learning that he had earned with Four Pinocchio's by the Washington Post caused the patient to experience a psychotic break and begin to utter statements that had no basis in reality. The patient uttered something about "bad apples" causing people to lose their health care plans.
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Governor Palin slams Obama’s Obamacare lies!

Conservatives 4 Palin ^ | October 31, 2013 | Doug Brady

The Governor pulls no punches in her latest piece:
President Obama flew in to Boston today to deliver another “ShamWow”-style infomercial for Obamacare, and it went about as well as his entourage’s snarled traffic debacle in Beantown.
As millions of Americans are being kicked off their desired insurance plans and seeing their premiums skyrocket, the President had a lot of ‘splaining to do today. For starters we anticipated a Presidential apology for lying to Americans repeatedly when he promised things like, “If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.” Make no mistake, he knew he was lying when he said that. And make no further mistake, after five years of false Obama claims, no one should actually expect contrition on this administration’s part.
Bloomberg reports that in June of 2010, the administration knew millions would be kicked off existing healthcare plans due to Obamacare; but President Obama continued to knowingly deceive the American people with repeated claims that if we liked our current plan we could keep it.
So, finally busted, did the President apologize? Was remorse and sympathy shown for Americans who now can’t afford health insurance thanks to Obamacare? Nope. He instead informed us that Americans who receive cancellation notices have been on “substandard” plans supplied by “bad apple” insurers. That’s right. Obama didn’t lie to you when he said, “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” Why? Because, you sillies, you DIDN’T REALLY like the plan you chose for yourselves! No arguing. Barack Obama knows best and he’ll tell you whether you actually liked your insurance plan or not. If you’re an elderly bachelor, your old plan was clearly “substandard” because it didn’t offer maternity care. What’s that you say? You don’t need maternity care? Well, according to the President today, he says you do, and any insurance plan that doesn’t offer it is a “junk” plan provided by a “bad apple” insurer.
But don’t worry, the President also promised that only “rich” people making $250,000 or more will see their premium costs rise. This lie is so appalling and so easily debunked that the brazenness with which he made it is simply breathtaking. But who will hold him accountable for it? Media, you know I love you… so let me help you save your hide with the American public by suggesting you fact-check that.
Despite the Obamacare rollout disaster and the broken government website (which HHS Secretary Sebelius admitted is a “debacle” in her testimony before Congress today), the President gleefully highlighted the few people signing up for Obamacare as indicative of his socialized medicine’s “success.” He neglected to mention that the government is forcing Americans to sign up for his program or pay fines that will increase each year we fail to do so.
For sheer chutzpah, the President closed his speech by praising America’s “rugged individualism.” Because nothing says “rugged individualism” like heavy-handed big government forcing individuals to buy a product they don’t want and arrogantly telling them they didn’t really like the product they wisely chose for themselves and could afford.
Thanks for the infomercial, Mr. President. I don’t know anyone who wants your “ShamWow” product, but the IRS will make sure we call that toll free number or go online to order it right now…. well, just as soon as your impossibly broken $600 million website is fixed and your phones lines aren’t busy.
Happy with this, America? Make your voices heard. 2014 is just around the corner.
- Sarah Palin 
P.S. Take a look at this article by Fox’s Eric Bolling:
http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/10/30/eric-bolling-why-healthcaregov-website-failure-mattersbig-time 

As Eric asks, “If they can’t get a basic website up and running in three years… How on God’s green Earth are they going to administer health care to 300 million Americans? So, with billions upon billions of health related communications clearing through the government medicine portal annually, our very health will be hanging in the balance…Therefore, you must conclude: The Obama administration has our lives in their hands…Ask yourself… Do you trust President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Kathleen Sebelius and Jay Carney with your life? I certainly do not!”

Pentagon training manual: white males have unfair advantages!

FoxNews.com ^ | 10/31/2013 | Todd Starnes

A controversial 600-plus page manual used by the military to train its Equal Opportunity officers teaches that "healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian" men hold an unfair advantage over other races, and warns in great detail about a so-called "White Male Club."

“Simply put, a healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege,” reads a statement in the manual created by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
-snip-
“I’m participating in teaching things that are not true,” the instructor told me. He asked not to be identified because he feared reprisals.
“I should not be in a position to do that,” he said. “It violates Constitutional principles, but it also violates my conscience. And I’m not going to do it – not going to do it.”


DEOMI instructors were also responsible for briefings at bases around the country that falsely labeled evangelical Christians, Catholics and a number of high-profile Christian ministries as domestic hate groups.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...

How Did that Idiot Get Elected?

DrewMcKissick.com ^ | 10/31/13 | Drew McKissick

apathy in politicsEver sit at home and watch the evening news or read the paper and see a story about some elected official who does something so incredibly stupid that it makes you mutter (or yell) to yourself, "How did that idiot get elected?" If so, you're not alone.
The short answer is usually, "he (or she) showed up" – plus “apathy”.
  • They went to the meetings nobody else wanted to go to.
  • They volunteered to do the things nobody else would do.
  • They were then asked to serve on some committee.
  • Eventually they were put in charge of something because there were so few people willing to do anything.
  • When that vacancy for school board or some other commission opened up, there they were. Somebody decided they should get promoted (or just wanted to get them out of the job they were in to be rid of them).
  • When a city or county council seat opened up, there they were.
  • Then it was the state legislature...and before you know it, they're a congressman, governor...or even President.

The Result of Apathy in Politics

It's sort of a political version of the "Peter Principle", which states that "employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence". I call it the "Unified Theory of Political Incompetence": people in politics rise beyond their level of incompetence due to the apathy of others.
Apathy in politics is why only around sixty percent of the people in our country register to vote, and about half of those bother to vote in the average election. Fewer still will vote in primaries, local or special elections. And only a fraction of those people bother to participate any further, which leaves political parties and other civic groups starved for participation.
Politics, like everything else in nature, abhors a vacuum. Of course suffering under incompetence is one thing, but it can be worse. As Edmund Burke put it, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
“Apathy plus showing up” is not a formula for good leadership.
Everyone started somewhere. Whether we like it or not, the lower ranks of American politics serve as the "farm team".
Don't abandon the lower ranks to idiots and you'll have less to complain about.

Sebelius Suffers Massive Cosmetic Failure After Appearing Before Congress!


Minutes after being grilled by Congressional Republicans yesterday on the embarrassing failure of the Obamcare program and it's website, Kathleen Sebelius suffered a failure of her own.

Due apparently to the stress of being questioned over her role in the government healthcare debacle, Sebelius experienced a rare and catastrophic failure of numerous cosmetic surgeries, primarily face lifts. Even her hair straightener betrayed her.
Sebelius, pictured below, now has a face to match her neck. She has been hospitalized at an undisclosed location and is under heavy sedation. A spokesman said she will undergo surgery as soon as possible to attempt a restoration of Ms. Sebelius to her formerly restored state.
The Secretary of HHS is not expected to recover in time to comply with the subpoena requiring her to appear before the congressional House Oversight Committee. Family members say Sebelius has set a goal of being completely recovered and able to return to her duties by the time the healthcare.gov website is fully functional.

Although cameras and cell phones were confiscated at yesterdays congressional testimony, one person slipped through security and has leaked a photo taken just moments after the failure.

Sorry, There's No Evidence Big Business Has Abandoned the Tea Party or GOP!

The Nation ^ | October 30, 2013 | Lee Fang

The current conventional wisdom floating around the media, seemingly extrapolated largely from quotes to the press from businessmen and their surrogates, is that "Big Business [is] trying to unseat the Tea Party." However, there's no evidence that this is happening.
Remember the first time Tea Party House Republicans held a gun to the U.S. economy, refusing to pay America's debts unless Democrats accepted a wide-ranging set of demands, and as a result, business leaders promised to spend big to defeat hostage-taking radicals?
"We'll get rid of you," said Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Tea Party lawmakers.
That was 2011, during the first debt ceiling stand-off. And the following election year, none of the threats materialized.
In 2012, the Chamber ended up spending millions in undisclosed business funds to help elect Todd Akin, Ann Marie Buerkle, Dean Heller, Connie Mack, Denny Rehberg, and other lawmakers who supported taking the debt ceiling hostage. Political action committees for the largest corporate interests in America, including General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, the American Bankers Association, and Honeywell, gave several million in direct donations to Tea Party hostage-takers, helping many survive the election last year and repeat their antics this year.
Now, it seems big business is bluffing again and advancing a false narrative that they are flexing their political muscle against the Tea Party. The storyline, boosted by ThinkProgress, Bloomberg, National Journal, and the Associates Press, among others, is that corporate America has lost influence with the GOP and is helping to defeat lawmakers who threatened to push America into default.
So far, the spin makes the business community appear moderate, though there is nothing backing it up. Despite making statements and sending letters voicing their concern, the Chamber has failed to spend a single penny in advocacy against the Tea Party hostage-takers. They haven't rescinded any of their so-called "Free Enterprise Awards," either. (The award has been given to many Tea Party lawmakers, including repeat hostage-takers like Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Tom Graves (R-GA), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), who encouraged a debt default by comparing it to a second American Revolution.)
Contrast this with how the Chamber behaved in 2009, when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives. By November of that year, twelve months before the midterms, the Chamber launched an onslaught of attack advertisements against House Democrats who did not vote their way, after months of issue ads in targeted districts.
Then, after helping the Tea Party seize the House and several governors' mansions during the midterms, business groups pumped funds into an effort to gerrymander the Tea Party into permanent rule. CitiGroup and the U.S. Chamber -- both of which now complain about flirting dangerously close to default -- provided huge donations to the RSLC, the political committee devoted to gerrymandering seats to the House GOP and Tea Party caucus' advantage.
Will we see a reversal? Next year, there are a handful of high-profile primary races in which establishment Republicans are challenging incumbents, but none of them are proof that there is a concerted effort by business to drive out the Tea Party. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) is being challenged on social issues and for his outspoken views on foreign policy, not on the debt ceiling. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) has been a target for a primary well before his vote to shut down the government, largely because he is seen as a political novice who doesn't know how to raise money. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) is facing an establishment challenge, once again, but because he is an outsider within the party for his persistent votes to regulate Wall Street and crack down on political corruption.
Finally, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) may lose his seat because of revelations that he pressured a patient with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion -- not for his vote over the debt ceiling.
In fact, in terms of primary challenges, it looks like well-heeled GOP interest groups will successfully oust Boehner Republicans to make way for additional Tea Party-style politicians. Politico reports that Republican Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Bill Shuster (R-PA) face challenges from the right next year. Challengers in these races are calling for more debt ceiling hostage-taking. The Club for Growth, a pro-government shut down group funded largely by wealthy investors and businessmen, is leading the charge.
Here's the reality: The large political action committee and trade associations that control much of corporate America's campaign spending decisions will help the Tea Party and House GOP win reelection next year.
Big business political operatives lean Republican, and will stick with the party even if Republicans disrupt the economy for political reasons. Over the years, congressional Republicans waged a multifaceted effort to place partisans in their party in charge of the most influential lobby groups within the Beltway.
In the nineties, a mid-career John Boenher helped oust U.S. Chamber president Richard Lesher -- a moderate who sided with Democrats at times -- to pave the way for Tom Donohue, a known GOP loyalist. During the George W. Bush era, Rick Santorum, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Ed Gillespie, and others created the "K Street Project" to install GOP operatives into key business lobbying positions.
Tom Perriello, a former one-term House Democrat from Virginia who was one of the first to be targeted by the U.S. Chamber in attack ads aired a year before his reelection, says business leaders are too cozy with the GOP. Now the leader of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, he tells me that he's "disappointed but not particularly surprised in the business community's failure to force the Republicans to act reasonably on the CR, default or immigration for that matter ... there seems to remain a broad cultural and political aversion [among lobbyists] to do anything that seems to help the Democrats and President Obama in particular."
Still, Perriello thinks a change could be on the horizon. Many traditionally Republican business groups in Virginia have sat out the gubernatorial race, partially out of disgust for Ken Cuccinelli's Tea Party extremism. Even GOP corporate lobbyists like John Feehery have been vocal in calling for the business community to do more to challenge the Tea Party.
But right now, it's too early to say if 2014 will be any different than the last few congressional elections. The evidence suggests in fact that radicals are gaining ground within the GOP while facing little accountability. When it comes to taking on the Tea Party, business leaders have a lot of bark and no bite.

Obamacare: Death Panels And Liberal Control

Delaware Newszap ^ | October 30, 2013 | Becky Kress

In August of 2009 Sarah Palin, in reference to the pending doom popularly known as Obamacare, called the selected group of people who will be in charge of determining the worthiness of everyone’s healthcare a death panel. Immediately the left went into attack mode. They called Palin a liar and defended Obamacare to the hilt. Palin cited section 1233 of HR 3200 as her reason for coming to this conclusion. The left, of course, derided her for pointing out that the obvious end game would be rationing of care by the panels who are charged with “counseling” people on things like end of life decisions and living wills. To be specific, page 430 of the above mentioned section clearly states;
“(B) The level of treatment indicated under subparagraph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions…”
When you read the Affordable Care Act verbiage, you do, indeed, see the emergence of death panels, bureaucrats who will sit in an office far away from you and decide you are not worthy of the cost of treatment, or that your case is too severe, or you are too old. But hey, if you’re a liberal you are taught not to let things like facts stand in the way of a good argument, especially when it comes to those nasty conservatives.
Worse still, our young people are being further indoctrinated to accept socialized medicine as the norm, as the right thing to do for the collective good, and they are becoming more and more desensitized to death. The good of the many out weights the good of the few, or the one. Already we have seen recent generations regard their elders with disdain. Parents are afraid to discipline their children for fear they won’t be liked, and for fear that a child or school official will call authorities on them. Recent reports have doctors asking children if their parents own firearms and there are rumors of children being encouraged to report their parents (reminiscent of Hitler encouraging children to report parents who were critical of the Nazi’s) for certain behaviors, though I find no substantiation of that accusation. Still, you can see it coming.
But if liberals are so sure there will be no death panels, then why are they trying to prepare our children for just such an occasion? Case in point: a high school in St. Joseph, Illinois has a class called Social Science. Recently they gave the children an assignment that required them to determine which six of ten patients would receive critically needed medical care, with the clear understanding that the other four would die if treatment was not received. These children were to assign value to the lives of these ten people using information like age, marital status, sex, number and ages of children, occupation and ethnicity. Those who scored the highest would, presumably, receive treatment. The lowest scoring four would be out of luck.
See the article and the assignment here: http://www.championnews.net/?p=46699
See the Affordable Care Act here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr3200ih/pdf/BILLS-111hr3200ih.pdf
The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is the official name of the more apt moniker Death Panel, is seeing more and more opposition from the left, however. Several Democrat senators and representatives have joined the call to repeal the boards powers, including the three from Arizona, Reps Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Krysten Sinema. Each of these face elections next year in a state that proudly touts Jan Brewer as their governor. Recent attempts by liberal legislators in Colorado to enact more restrictive gun laws saw two legislators ousted in a recall. Arizona voters have indicated their distaste for further restrictions of their liberties too, and it must have some legislators thinking. While the Supreme Court struck down Arizona’s voter ID law recently, conservatives in that state are not backing down. An Arizona Republican state rep, Brenda Barton, recently referred to President Obama as “De Fuhrer” on her facebook page, a move that garnered a lot of criticism from Democrats in her home state, but is almost certainly indicative of the mood of her constituents. Her comment was born of her disgust for Obama’s political strategy of closing national parks and monuments during the government shutdown fight. And that fight was born of the bigger fight to rid us of Obamacare, effectively making it unenforceable by defunding it.
Liberals, however, have asserted their desire to see a more fair society that is inclusive of everyone and takes care of all people. To this end, they want free education, healthcare, and in some cases, housing. It has proven futile to explain how economics works to them. While these things may end up being free to those who would take advantage of such things, they are never free. There is always a cost. The question is, who pays it? The schmucks who have a work ethic and ambition, that’s who. Of course, in this increasingly fair society, someone has come to the realization that Obamacare and other socialist ideals are hurting the working man. Namely, the unions. Unions are accountable for many millions in campaign contributions and the majority of it goes to Democrats. Unions supported Obamacare, even spending money to buy ads to promote it. In return, they were made promises, according to union leaders, including James Hoffa. The insurance plans that unions have fought to perfect over the decades are now in jeopardy, contrary to what unions were told would happen. Oddly, the unions promote Obamacare for everyone else but are livid at the notion that they may be included. Now they want their own waiver.
The idea of some panel of bureaucrats in Washington deciding whether or not my mother should receive care based on their idea of her worth sickens me. The fact that fairness, to a liberal, is defined by what they want for everyone else, and not what might actually be fair (not that life is fair), reminds me of tyranny at its worst. Keep an eye on things close to home. Check your kids homework. Some of us must work to stop the progression of socialism in this nation. We must be ever diligent.

Americans keep moving to states with low taxes and housing costs!

Washington Examiner ^ | October 30, 2013 | MICHAEL BARONE

Critics charge that Texas’s growth depends on the oil and gas industries and is weighted toward low-wage jobs. But in fact, Texas’s low-tax, light-regulation policies have produced a highly diversified economy that from 2002 to 2011 created nearly one-third of the nation’s highest-paying jobs. In those years, its number of upper- and middle-income jobs grew 24 percent.

Where are Americans moving, and why? Timothy Noah, writing in the Washington Monthly, professes to be puzzled. He points out that people have been moving out of states with high per capita incomes -- Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland -- to states with lower income levels.

“Why are Americans by and large moving away from economic opportunity rather than toward it?” he asks.
Actually, it's not puzzling at all. The movement from high-tax, high-housing-cost states to low-tax, low-housing-cost states has been going on for more than 40 years, as I note in my new book Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics.
Between 1970 and 2010 the population of New York state increased from 18 million to 19 million. In that same period, the population of Texas increased from 11 million to 25 million.
The picture is even starker if you look at major metro areas. The New York metropolitan area, including counties in New Jersey and Connecticut, increased from 17.8 million in 1970 to 19.2 million in 2010 — up 8 percent. During that time the nation grew 52 percent.
In the same period, the four big metro areas in Texas — Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin — grew from 6 million to 15.6 million, a 160 percent increase.
Contrary to Noah’s inference, people don’t move away from opportunity. They move partly in response to economic incentives, but also to pursue dreams and escape nightmares.
Opportunity does exist in the Northeastern states and in California — for people with very high skill levels. And for low-skill immigrants, without whom those metro areas would have lost rather than gained population over the last three decades.
But there’s not much opportunity there for people with midlevel skills who want to raise families. Housing costs are exceedingly high, partly, as Noah notes, because of restrictive land use and zoning regulations.
And central city public schools, with a few exceptions, repel most middle-class parents.
High taxes produce revenues to finance handsome benefits and pensions for public employee union members in the high-cost states. It’s hard to see how this benefits middle-class people making their livings in the private sector.
Moreover, Noah’s use of per capita incomes is misleading, since children typically have no income and many in the Northeast and coastal California are childless. If you look at household incomes, these states are far closer to the national average.
As economist Tyler Cowen points out in a Time magazine cover story, when you adjust incomes for tax rates and cost of living, Texas comes out ahead of California and New York and ranks behind only Virginia and Washington state (which like Texas has no state income tax).
Critics charge that Texas’s growth depends on the oil and gas industries and is weighted toward low-wage jobs. But in fact, Texas’s low-tax, light-regulation policies have produced a highly diversified economy that from 2002 to 2011 created nearly one-third of the nation’s highest-paying jobs. In those years, its number of upper- and middle-income jobs grew 24 percent.
Liberals like Noah often decry income inequality. But the states with the most unequal incomes and highest poverty levels these days are California and New York. That’s what happens when high taxes and housing costs squeeze out the middle class.
As Noah notes, “Few working-class people earn enough money to live anywhere near San Francisco.”
This leaves a highly visible and articulate upper class willing, in line with their liberal beliefs, to shoulder high tax burdens and a very much larger lower class, many of them immigrants, available to serve them in restaurants, landscape their gardens and valet-park their cars.
There’s nothing wrong with living in a high-rise, restaurant-studded, subway-served neighborhood (I do). It’s great that America offers more such options than one and two generations ago.
But it’s foolish to try to cram everyone into such surroundings, as the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development (as Terry Eastland reports in the Weekly Standard) and California Governor Jerry Brown are trying to do.
Noah notes correctly that fewer Americans have been moving recently. That’s always true in times of economic distress (the Okies’ trek along U.S. Route 66 to California’s Central Valley in the 1930s was a memorable exception, not the rule).
But they continue to move to the low-tax states that are providing jobs and living space where they can pursue their dreams and escape places that burden them with high costs and provide few middle-class amenities in return.

White House exerting ‘massive pressure’ on insurance companies to keep quiet !

Daily Caller ^ | October 31, 2013 | Katie McHugh

The White House is pressuring insurance companies not to speak publicly about Obama administration policies that could eliminate the existing health insurance plans of millions of Americans.
The administration made “clarifications” to the 2010 Affordable Care Act after it was passed that have already wiped out hundreds of thousands of existing health plans.
“Basically, if you speak out, if you’re quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet,” said CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin on Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night. Insurance companies executives, Griffin said, ask heads of consulting firms not to criticize the Obamacare rollout debacle publicly.
“They feel defenseless before the White House P.R. team,” Griffin said. “The sources said they fear White House retribution.”
Prior to the Obamacare rollout, insurance companies issued warnings to the White House about the possibility of mass cancellations, which the administration ignored.
Although the mass cancelations are an embarrassment to insurance companies, they are more concerned about losing their biggest customer — the federal government.
“Executives are willing to listen to the White House, because right now, it’s the government that’s the biggest customers of these insurance companies,” Griffin said. “Government-backed plans accounted for about 48 percent of healthcare policies last year, Anderson — a number that’s expected to grow this year, and years to come.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney, however, waved off the allegations.
“That accusation is preposterous and inaccurate,” Carney said. “Plus, it ignores the fact that every day, insurance companies are out talking about the law, in large part because they are trying to reach new customers who will now have new, affordable insurance options available from providers through the new marketplaces.”
Carney’s statement echoed similar remarks Obama made during a Wednesday speech, blaming “bad apple insurers” who tried to rip off customers for the cancelled plans.
The law itself provided protections for healthcare policies in effect on March 23, 2010 onwards with “grandfather” clauses, permitting customers to keep them even if they did not adhere to the new requirements. But the Health and Human Services department stripped away those provisions, writing regulations that eliminated health care plans whose copays, deductibles or benefits changed.
HHS’s unilateral rewrite will eliminate the health insurance plans of up to ten million Americans, NBC News reports. Despite insistent, endlessly repeated assurances from Obama and a supporting cast of Democrats, from before the law’s passage to the 2012 presidential election to the present, the Obama administration knew that millions of healthcare plans would vanish under its regulations.
The online exchanges’ severe systemic flaws have inflamed tensions between the insurance industry and the administration. A group of major insurance executives met with senior White House officials — including senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — last Wednesday in a closed-door meeting, after the rollout of HealthCare.gov demonstrated all the graceful coordination of a multiple-car pileup.
The White House may have increased pressure on insurance companies to keep them operating within the federal exchanges. The companies must back out of the exchanges before Oct. 31 or be locked into them. according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services contract governing the relationship between the companies and the government.

Headless & Spineless

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Fear itself!

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Fundamental Change

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I got...

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In my bag...

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I hit a mouse!

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Zombie?

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Headless

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Why return?

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Costumes

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Take care of me!

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What costume?

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Libnorant

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I believe...

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I got a "GLITCH"!

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So Far...

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Nailed it!

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This is scary!

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Only tricks!

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10 Signs That Obamacare Is Going To Wreck The U.S. Economy

Zero Hedge ^ | 10-30-13 | Michael Snyder

It is hard to find the words to adequately describe how much of a disaster Obamacare is turning out to be. The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost. It is almost as if Obamacare was specifically designed to wreck the U.S. economy. Not that what we had before Obamacare was great. In fact, I have long argued that the U.S. health care system is a complete and total train wreck. But now Obamacare is making everything that was bad about our system much, much worse.
Americans are going to pay far more for health care, the quality of that care is going to go down, they are going to have to deal with far more medical red tape, and thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering getting rid of the health plans that they offer to employees altogether due to Obamacare. If the U.S. health care system was a separate nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet, and now Obamacare is going to absolutely cripple it. To say that Obamacare is an "economic catastrophe" would be a massive understatement.
Of course we were assured that it wouldn't turn out this way. We were promised over and over that we were going to pay less for health care, get better coverage, and be able to keep our current health plans if we were pleased with them. The following is what Obama said at a rally in 2009...
"First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you."
Oh really?
That was such a dramatic lie that even NBC News is turning on him. They discovered that Obama has known for three years that most people that rely on individual health insurance policies would not be able to keep them...
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
Pretty much everything that Obama told us when he was selling us on his plan has turned out to be a lie.
So what can we expect from Obamacare moving forward? The following are 10 signs that Obamacare is going to wreck the U.S. economy...
#1 It is being projected that millions upon millions of Americans are going to lose their current health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare. Most will be faced with the choice of either purchasing much more expensive health insurance or going uninsured. This will put even more stress on a middle class that is already disintegrating rapidly. The following is from the recent NBC News investigation mentioned above...
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
#2 The health insurance premium increases that some families are experiencing are absolutely mind boggling. According to Mike Adams of Natural News, one family in Texas just got hit with a 539% rate increase...
Obamacare is named the "Affordable Care Act," after all, and the President promised the rates would be "as low as a phone bill." But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that's been in good standing for years.
As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple's policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K -- a middle-class family, in other words.
According to NBC News, an elderly couple in North Carolina was hit with a similar rate increase...
George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was "perfectly happy" with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The "comparable" plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.
Many Americans that were formerly in favor of Obamacare are now against it after they have seen what it is going to do to their budgets. The following is one example of this from a recent Los Angeles Times article...
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.
"She said, 'I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'" Kehaly said.
#3 Obamacare actually includes incentives for people to work less and make less money. The following is one example from a recent article by Sean Davis...
In California, a couple earning $64,000 a year would not qualify for health care subsidies. A bronze plan for them through Kaiser would cost them about $1,300 each month, or $15,600 a year. But if that same family earned just $2,000 less, it would qualify for over $14,000 in annual health care subsidies, dropping their premiums for that same Kaiser plan to less than $100 per month.
#4 Thankfully the employer mandate in Obamacare was delayed for a little while, but it will ultimately result in widespread job losses all over the country. In fact, we are already starting to see this happen. The following is from a recent article in the Economist...
BEFORE the recession, Richard Clark’s cleaning company in Florida had 200 employees, about half of them working full time. These days it has about 150, with 80% part-time. The downturn explains some of this. But Mr Clark also blames Barack Obama’s health reform. When it comes into effect in January 2015, Obamacare will require firms with 50 or more full-time employees to offer them affordable health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000-3,000 per worker. That is a daunting prospect for firms that do not already offer coverage. But for many, there is a way round the law.
Mr Clark says he is “very careful with the threshold”. To keep his full-time workforce below the magic number of 50, he is relying more on part-timers. He is not alone. More than one in ten firms surveyed by Mercer, a consultancy—and one in five retail and hospitality companies—say they will cut workers’ hours because of Obamacare. A hundred part-timers can flip as many burgers as 50 full-timers, and the former will soon be much cheaper.
You can find a very long list of some of the employers that have either eliminated jobs or cut hours because of Obamacare right here.
#5 Even if you are able to keep your job, there is no guarantee that your employer will continue to offer health insurance as an employee benefit. In fact, it is being reported that large numbers of employers have already decided to no longer offer health insurance to their employees because of Obamacare.
#6 According to CBS News, so far the number of people that have had their health insurance policies canceled is more than three times greater than the number of people that have signed up for new policies under Obamacare...
CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies -- more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
#7 If what is going on in New York is any indication, those that are signing up for health insurance under Obamacare are going to have a really, really hard time finding a doctor...
New York doctors are treating ObamaCare like the plague, a new survey reveals.
A poll conducted by the New York State Medical Society finds that 44 percent of MDs said they are not participating in the nation’s new health-care plan.
Another 33 percent say they’re still not sure whether to become ObamaCare providers.
Only 23 percent of the 409 physicians queried said they’re taking patients who signed up through health exchanges.
#8 Obamacare is turning out to be a gold mine for hackers and identity thieves. The personal information of millions of Americans could potentially end up being compromised. According to CNN, Healthcare.gov was found to be teeming with security holes...
The Obamacare website has more than annoying bugs. A cybersecurity expert found a way to hack into users' accounts.
Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.
And according to the New York Post, Healthcare.gov has been designed so badly from a security standpoint that it might have to be "rebuilt from scratch"...
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said ObamaCare’s website, already a tangled mess, might need to be rebuilt from scratch to to protect against cyber-thieves because he fears it’s not a safe place right now for health-care consumers to deposit their personal information.
“I know that they’ve called in another private entity to try to help with the security of it. The problem is, they may have to redesign the entire system,” Rep. Mike Rogers said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” political talk show. “The way the system is designed, it is not secure.”
#9 As I noted in a previous article, approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills. Because millions of Americans are now losing their health insurance policies and millions of others will choose to pay the fine rather than sign up for Obamacare, more Americans than ever will find themselves overwhelmed with medical bills when they get seriously sick. This will result in even more personal bankruptcies.
#10 In the end, the burden for paying for the subsidies that Obamacare offers is going to overwhelmingly fall on the taxpayers. This is going to cause our nightmarish national debt to get even worse. Peter Schiff recently explained why this is going to happen...
It is also ironic that high-deductible, catastrophic plans are precisely what young people should be buying in the first place. They are inexpensive because they provide coverage for unlikely, but expensive, events. Routine care is best paid for out-of-pocket by value conscious consumers. But Obamacare outlaws these plans, in favor of what amounts to prepaid medical treatment that shifts the cost of services to taxpayers. In such a system, patients have no incentive to contain costs. Since the biggest factor driving health care costs higher in the first place has been the over use of insurance that results from government-provided tax incentives, and the lack of cost accountability that results from a third-party payer system, Obamacare will bend the cost curve even higher. The fact that Obamacare does nothing to rein in costs while providing an open-ended insurance subsidy may be good news for hospitals and insurance companies, but it's bad news for taxpayers, on whom this increased burden will ultimately fall.
So what do you think of Obamacare?
Has it directly affected your life yet?