Monthly Archives: October 2013

Absolutely not interested in being Governor of all of Florida

Gov. Scott has not publicly stated his reasons for the rejections.

Only Governor of half the people.

How much respect does the indicted-insurance-fraud (who invoked the Fifth Amendment 75 times) hold for half the people of this state? Zero. Zilch.

From today’s Tampa Bay Times:

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, seeking to bring the court system more in line with his conservative outlook, has repeatedly rejected lists recommended to him by the Florida Bar of lawyers seeking to screen candidates for judgeships.

Scott has rejected dozens of attorneys the Bar has nominated to serve on judicial nominating commissions, created decades ago to professionalize the bench and make merit and qualifications at least as important as political connections.

“He wants people with humility,” says Scott’s chief counsel, Pete Antonacci, “and he wants judges who will follow the law and not make it up as they go along.”

The Bar said Scott’s two predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush, never rejected any of its nominees. The governor has rejected the lists 16 times and has never publicly given a reason and is not required to do so.

Scott has sent back so many Bar-recommended names that the group keeps a five-page spreadsheet to track them.

Pure ideology.

Busy, too too busy

Back soon.

Ah . . . another one

Lou Reed? Dammit.

Friday already? Holy hollycrackers . . .

sueandmoeWhen I was 9 or 10, this song by Patience and Prudence was a big hit. My younger sister and I adopted it, learned every word, every note, every inflection, every breath, practicing until we had the harmonies perfected –  and then we sang it incessantly, something for which I suspect we’ve never been entirely forgiven.

It’s a preposterous song as were so many then, but it occupies a permanent slot in my childhood hit parade. The original version is here, but this is so much more fun  :

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

He doens’t look so dead to me.

Aha. Jim Inhofe is 78 years old and has been on Medicare, a truly socialized medical insurance plan, for 13 years. inhofe

Want to see some income inequality? This is ugly

With a hat tip to blogfriend Tit4tat, here is a nice clear depiction of what’s really been going on. Most economists place the beginning of the income stagnation somewhere in the late 1970’s. And then along came Reagan; from there it was full speed ahead.

http://scotterb.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/chart.jpg

Did we take a giant step forward, and then two . . . (you know the rest)

The whole story of the ACA roll out is yet to be reported in depth, but this morning in his Wonkbook email, Ezra Klein provides a credible – and disturbing – overview of what led up to the massive failure of the web portal. There’s a lot more at his Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

The best news for Obamacare is that almost everyone — including the Obama administration — realizes the crucial online portal is currently a disaster. . . Actually, that’s been the problem: President Obama didn’t know that. Nor did White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will be testifying to that fact next week.

It would be one thing if Obamacare’s problems had been unknowable. But they weren’t. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.

As Lena Sun and Scott Wilson reported, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.”But staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. Some of the concerns slipped out, like in this Wall Street Journal story. . . . As Jonathan Cohn writes, “the management failures here were real and took place on multiple levels.”

Obamacare has a chance because those management failures are over. The White House now has a brutal clarity about the depth and extent of the system’s problems.

. . . Managers up and down the chain realize their careers are in jeopardy if they deliver sunny reports that prove false.. .For all that, no one actually knows whether the system will be fixed in the next few weeks — the crucial window, experts think, before the problems begin to degrade the risk pool and raise premiums.

So far, there’s been huge improvements in the number of Americans able to get into the site and create accounts, but insurers aren’t reporting much improvement . . .

The White House is optimistic that the problems will be solved in time. . .  If there’s a reason to believe them, it’s that they’ve learned how dangerous unfounded optimism is.

Did Obama really hand this off and assume it would be okay? Or did he ride HHS for progress updates but never insist on hearing the downside reports? Did Sebelius do the same thing?

Will the very same Administration that succeeded in taking took us a step closer to the century long  battle for universal health care also be the Administration responsible for its failure?

I think it’s a fair question.

Oh please, don’t wake me up . . .

Bet you didn’t know this. Neither did I, but it’s right there on Glenn Beck’s own site, The Blaze, the place for dystopian paranoia and apocalyptic terror – plus there are many wonderful things available for purchase!

Glenn Beck on Monday began what he said is “just the beginning” of his work to reveal the background and motivations of Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Beck began by playing recent clips of Norquist calling out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his efforts to derail Obamacare, noting that while he used to joke about the left’s portrayal of Norquist as a “big power player,” he’s since revised his dismissive opinion in light of the warnings that you “don’t ever take this guy on unless you’re prepared.”

Beck’s show Monday primarily concentrated on Norquist’s alleged connections to Islamists. He invited Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, and Daniel Greenfield of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, to weigh in.

There’s a David Horowitz Freedom Center? Seriously?

Priorities people, priorities!

According to The Wall Street Journal, developing the health insurance exchange site so far . . .

. . .  has cost at least $360 million, and possibly as much as $600 million.

Then there’s the F-22. Developing that baby cost a mere $42 billion and while the planes themselves are a steal at only $150 million per, it was nine years before a single production model was delivered to the Air Force.  Wikipedia:

During the development process the aircraft continued to gain weight at the cost of range and aerodynamic performance, even as capabilities were deleted or delayed in the name of affordability

F-22 production was split up over many subcontractors across 46 states, in a strategy to increase Congressional support for the program.[29][30] However the production split, along with the implementation of several new technologies were likely responsible for increased costs and delays.[31] Many capabilities were deferred to post-service upgrades, reducing the initial cost but increasing total project cost.[32]Each aircraft required “1,000 subcontractors and suppliers and 95,000 workers” to build.[33] The F-22 was in production for 15 years, at a rate of roughly two per month.[34]

Now that’s some bureaucracy there! It’s really a marvel the thing flies.

Things you miss when you don’t watch CSPAN: Oh my.

For Facebook/Star Trek fans: Who was the speaker at the National Press Club lunch this month just broadcast on CSPAN2? Why, George Takei was the speaker.

george takeiGeorge_Takei_Sulu_Star_TrekHe is surprised to find himself a celebrity again – at age 70 –  a Facebook phenom with millions of followers. As a follower myself, I was interested to learn that when he first turned to Facebook, it was with a mission in mind –  to educate younger generations about the WWII Japanese internment in the US. Takei grew up in a camp.

Hey, he thought, maybe use some humor to get a few people to his page. Maybe that would drive some traffic. And maybe he could toss in some advocacy for gay rights? That could help a little. Maybe.

4.9 million Facebook followers says he was right. Oh my.

Ah, Bill, that’s gotta hurt!

Townhall.com, an enormously influential righty website, has posted its list of the 25 most influential conservatives. AND 32 runners-up.  The runners-up are:

townhall

At number 41, not only doesn’t Bill O’Reilly make their top 25, but he ranks behind trickster James O’Keefe. Methinks this will rouse Papa Bear (as Steven Colbert calls him) to new heights of retribution – an O’Reilly staple. He is, like Rush Limbaugh,, remarkably thin-skinned for someone who’s been in the public eye for so long.

Liberal media provides cover for Obama

Just as the right wing noise machine always says, that liberal media will spin every which way to make their guy look good. Like with this screaming front page at Huff Post right now:

obamacare

 

Of course, I will allow as they aren’t calling for impeachment, so there’s that.

Fridays come every week

Every. Single. One. Unlike our Congress, Friday moves through time quietly and reliably doing it’s job.

Guess who turns 87 years old today? (Egad.)

 

 

Sorry Kathleen, your day must come to an end

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait.jpgShe really needs to step down. Soon.

Someone must pay the political price; it’s the distasteful way of the world.

So just get it over with.

Anxiously awaiting an explanation . . .

. . . for that ACA website clusterf*ck. Official statements aren’t of much use yet, although I expect there will be hearings down the road.

I’m deeply curious about what went into the thinking, and then what went on behind the scenes with the legions of technocrats who built the site. They’re the ones who usually get it right and this time they got it so so wrong.

Most puzzling and bizarre – why does the site block users from browsing unless they register an account? Have the designers never visited a retail website? Shopping comes first, establish an account comes second, sign up (or add to your cart as we know it) is penultimate and finally it’s time to pay up and the transaction is done.

A puzzlement. Soon there will be some in-depth investigative reporting in reputable media outlets on how it went wrong. I look forward to reading those stories.

Guess what FOX News is talking about?

The WWII Memorial in D.C. that Obama closed. Apparently he still refuses to explain why he hates Americas vets.

Because nothing else happened tonight.

Three weeks of bombing; missed every target

The final vote in the Senate was 81-18, with 27 Republicans voting yes.  Here are the Republicans who voted no (from NRO Online):

Senators David Vitter (La.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), John Cornyn (Texas), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Dean Heller (Ariz.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Tim Scott (S.C.), and Pat Roberts (Kan.). Senator Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) did not vote.

So what’s the message going to be on talk radio tomorrow?

Pet peeve: Settings that sneak around and change themselves when you’re not looking

This morning’s surprise here at Whatever Works: instead of the usual visible list of ‘recent comments’ on the homepage, here’s what I woke up to instead:

There are no public comments available to display.

Any fellow WordPress bloggers know what’s going on – I can’t find a fix.

UPDATE: It’s even worse. No comments are even coming in – nothing on the blog or in my email since midnight. And now no email at all since noon. So maybe it’s a provider or email problem. Yikes. Since I can’t see comments, feel free to email any thoughts to me: maureenholland@comcast.net

FINAL UPDATE (I hope): A just-as-mysterious self correction has opened the dates and now mail and  comments are flowing again. That odd message under ‘Recent Comments’ on the homepage still there.

Two things – entirely unconnected

Part the firstest: f*ck iGoogle. (Can anyone recommend another homepage I can customize? I’m on Firefox.)

Part the secondary:

Maybe if we all close our eyes and say ‘sidney’ three times . . .

Calling the ex-Presidents! Calling the . . . .

My name is Moe, and I am a fracking idiot

_OhMyGodOh, big ouch!  I just showed up at a friend’s house (45 minutes away) for dinner. He was a little surprised because the dinner is tomorrow. And that is why, now that I am home, I have chosen dessert for my evening meal.

1) Markets are too dumb to think on their own, and 2) the GOP has always said Social Security is in great shape

https://i2.wp.com/jewsforsarah.com/wp-content/uploads/image6.jpgPalin is, Elvis help us, talking again:

So, he’s scaremongering the markets about default, just as he tries to scaremonger our senior citizens about their Social Security, which, by the way, is funded by the Social Security Trust Fund and is solvent through 2038.

Best thing found at the link comes from article author TBogg, one of the best. He calls Palin the “neverending punchline”. That is good.

Go here for more. He’s funny.

Million Vets to Cruz, Palin: get yer own podium

(UPDATED TO ADD LINK)million vetsThey’ve posted this on their homepage:

Official Stance of the Million Vet March on the Memorials

The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC yesterday was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle was and remains about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Our love for and our dedication to remains with Veterans, regardless of party affiliation or political leanings.

Mr. Cruz, Ms. Palin and some attendees, including political parties may have not been aware of the goals of the marches which took place in over 60+ rallies across the nation.

It’s all about the little guy

https://i1.wp.com/newsbusters.org/sites/default/files/main_photos/2013/August/Hannity%20Limbaugh%20O%27Reilly.jpghttps://i1.wp.com/blogs.kansas.com/weblog/files/kochs7.jpg

Never doubt that these people care deeply about the vast swath of Americans who believe their every word! Never doubt it!

They know America will be destroyed if everyone can afford health care for their kids. Destroyed I tell you!

And, according to them, they’ll save us from health care, a dismal fate, and they are brave. Brave I tell you!

  • Rush Limbaugh – NET WORTH $400 million
  • Sean Hannity – NET WORTH $39 million
  • Rick Scott – NET WORTH $85 million (down from a reported $250 million in 2010 after he spent $75 million of his own money on his 2010 campaign for FL governor and since it’s rumored he’ll spend $100 million of his own money for the 2014 election . . . puzzling numbers but then I was never very good at math.)
  • Koch brothers – NET WORTH more billions that I can count
  • Sarah Palin – NET WORTH $16 million
  • Rupert Murdoch – NET WORTH $13 billion
  • Donald Trump – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Anne Coulter – NET WORTH $9 million
  • Glenn Beck – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Dick Cheney – NET WORTH $12 million
  • Bill O’Reilly – NET WORTH $75 million
  • Newt Gingrich – NET WORTH $7 million (which is a disgrace since he’s earned $100 million since he left government)

 

No surprise here

From Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog today:

Banks are dumping T-bills. “With Washington’s fiscal standoff still unresolved, large financial firms have been unloading investments once considered pristine, suggesting a wild week ahead for markets. Banks are dumping short-term government debt, usually one of the most plain-vanilla investments available, amid fears that Congress and the White House won’t reach an agreement by Thursday to raise the debt ceiling…Senior Treasury officials convened by phone Sunday afternoon to discuss the evolving market conditions, an agency official said…The Securities and Exchange Commission is monitoring bank capital levels and the amount of short-term Treasurys held by financial firms, among other things.” Damian Paletta and Dan Strumpf in The Wall Street Journal.

World should ‘de-Americanise’, says China following default fears. “In China, Xinhua, the official government news agency, said that as American politicians continued to flounder over a deal to break the impasse, “it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world”…Xinhua attacked America’s pre-eminent position in the world, adding that “such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated”.” Philip Sherwell and Malcolm Moore in The Telegraph (UK).

The US would be the first major Western sovereign default since 1933 Germany. “Reneging on its debt obligations would make the U.S. the first major Western government to default since Nazi Germany 80 years ago. Germany unilaterally ceased payments on long-term borrowings on May 6, 1933, three months after Adolf Hitler was installed as Chancellor. The default helped cement Hitler’s power base following years of political instability as the Weimar Republic struggled with its crushing debts. “These are generally catastrophic economic events,” said Professor Eugene N. White, an economics historian at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “There is no happy ending.”” John Glover in Bloomberg.

I really hope they lip-sync Freddie

Because no one else can do him justice. There’s to be a movie.

Anybody who has not seen this yet?

A Kos diarist calls this “the saddest shutdown photo you’ll ever see”. I’d go with poignant instead of sad, but in the “a picture is worth a hundred words” category, it scores a ’10’.

shutdownphoto

Because they fired themselves

https://i0.wp.com/www.tedyoho.com/images/finalheader.png

Just like they hired themselves . . .

During a teletown hall Thursday evening hosted by Rep. Ted Yoho, a caller named Frank from Gainesville asked about furloughed workers.

“The people that had to work should be paid,” Frank said. “But the people that are home watching Netflix and whatever, I’m not sure that we should be sending them checks.”

Replied Yoho: “Well, when we voted on that they were supposed to come back to work as part of that deal. … I agree 100 percent with you. If they’re not working, they shouldn’t get paid.”

Ah Florida, my Florida . . . had enough? You bet.

Lessons learned? Nah, the righteous don’t need no stinkin’ lessons

From Ezra Klein (Wonkblog) this morning:

Thursday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll hit the Republican Party like a bomb. It found, as Gallup had, the Republican Party (and, separately, the Tea Party) at “all-time lows in the history of the poll.” It found Republicans taking more blame for the shutdown than they had in 1995. It found more Americans believing the shutdown is a serious problem than in 1995.

Even worse for the GOP is what the pollsters called “the Boomerang Effect”: Both President Obama and Obamacare are more popular than they were a month ago. Obamacare in particular gained seven points.

The Boomerang Effect – yup, that’s exactly what happened after the GOP impeached Clinton (instead of doing the nation’s business). His favorability, which had been lackluster before the impeachment, soared.

Lessons never learned I guess.