I’m Going to Be in Denver

Looks like I’m flying into Denver on Sunday morning the 31st for a meeting Monday morning, and then I’m on my own until my flight out at almost 10:00PM.

So, any readers in the Denver area want to get together Sunday or Monday?  I’ll be staying in the Tech Center area of Greenwood.

UPDATE:  Landed on time at 10AM.  Got the rental car.  Did a little driving around.  Been in a traffic accident.  Checked into the hotel.  Now going for something to eat.

See everybody at 6PM.

Quote of the Day – Easter Sunday Edition

…from the atheist perspective:

Its one thing to say it isn’t so, that there really is no God, that Jesus was just a man (if he existed at all), that there is no such thing as a soul, no heaven, no afterlife. It’s quite another to say that belief even in these false things is valueless.– John Pryce

Happy Easter, everyone.  May your faith bring you and yours much peace and joy.

Obamacare Predictions

Those of us in the “government is a necessary evil, but still evil” demographic made many predictions about the result of Obamacare while it was being debated, after it passed, and even after the Supreme Court upheld it.

We did so based on past experience with sweeping “feel good” legislation, with our understanding of President Obama’s personal philosophy and agenda and the agenda of those in power in the Democrat party, on our understanding of basic economics and our grasp of human nature when faced with economic choices, just to name a few.

Let’s review a few of those predictions:

  • Medicare would be cut to help fund it.
  • Doctors would retire early to avoid it.
  • Health insurance costs would not, as promised, drop.  Instead, they would increase.  Significantly.
  • Many if not most people would not, in fact, get to keep their existing plans because of the increases in premium costs.
  • New hiring would be detrimentally affected because businesses would not have any idea what new employees would cost, much less their existing ones.
  • Some full-time employees would lose their full-time status so their employers could avoid having to pay for their insurance.
  • Despite the law’s aims of “universal coverage,” many people would remain uninsured, perhaps as many as were uninsured before the law passed.
  • Taxes on the middle class would, necessarily, rise to support the ballooning costs of the law – in opposition to Obama’s promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class.

Boiled down into a single graphic:

 photo Obamacare_Ramirez.jpgSo, here we are a quarter of the way into 2013, three years after Obama signed the Act and a year before its full implementation, and where are we?

National Center for Policy Analysis, March 12, 2013:

Though Republicans are usually responsible for calls to modify or end Medicare, the Obama administration has made the first move in cutting benefits. The administration’s cuts will impact the poor the most, says Joseph Antos, the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

  • Low-income seniors will see an estimated 7 percent to 8 percent reduction in their Medicare Advantage benefits in 2014.
  • As opposed to traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) is provided by private providers and is attractive to lower-income individuals because it is less expensive.
  • The reduction will occur because of the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”), which is reducing Medicare benefits and raising taxes to pay for the expansion of Medicaid and subsidies in the health insurance exchanges.
  • The cuts are larger than originally expected because the administration believes that Medicare spending will abruptly drop for no reason.

Private plans, averse to such a large spending cut, will likely leave markets or reduce their benefits as plans become less profitable.

More than 14 million Medicare beneficiaries will be affected by the cuts, which will disproportionately affect low-income individuals.

Forbes August 12, 2012:

A recent survey by the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation reveals that 83 percent of physicians surveyed are thinking of quitting because of Obamacare, and 90 percent feel that the U.S. health care system is now heading in the wrong direction.

This result is not a surprise; patients everywhere need to be concerned that Obamacare is putting an enormous new weight on the back of doctors who were already over-burdened.

This survey is not alone. Previous surveys by Athena, Sermo, Deloitte, the Doctors Company Survey, the Physicians Foundation, and IBD/TIPP have clearly shown that most doctors are unhappy with the direction of things, and a clear majority are opposed to the health care law. The Physicians Foundation survey in 2010 found that physicians view Obamacare “as a further erosion of the unfavorable conditions with which they must contend.”

Christian Science Monitor, March 27, 2013:

From the perspective of insurance companies, implementation of Obamacare will mean an average increase of 32 percent in the cost of medical claims per person by 2017, according to a study released Tuesday by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). But that figure will vary dramatically state by state, depending on how states handle their high-risk pools, which are then folded into the individual market under the reform. The cost of claims drives the price of health-care premiums.

“The projections in this study suggest that when the dust settles by 2017, we can expect mixed results on the reform bill’s goals of expanding coverage and reducing costs,” says Kristi Bohn, consulting health staff fellow at SOA, in the report.

In the SOA model, what are currently considered “low-cost states,” such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana, will see a large increase in the cost of medical claims – 80.9 percent for Ohio, 80 percent for Wisconsin, and 67.6 percent for Indiana. But the current “high-cost states” will see the average cost of medical claims go down. The biggest decrease, 13.9 percent, is projected for New York, followed by Massachusetts, with a 12.8 percent decrease.

Still too early to tell with that one, but I’m not holding my breath

Congressional Budget Office report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023 (PDF, p. 61):

In 2022, by CBO and JCT’s estimate, 7 million fewer people will have employment-based health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act; in August, that figure was estimated to be about 4 million people. The revision is the net effect of several considerations, with the largest factor being the reduction in marginal tax rates, which reduces the tax benefits associated with health insurance provided by employers. The increased movement out of employment-based coverage also reflects revisions to CBO’s projections of income over time and higher projections of employment-based coverage in the absence of the Affordable Care Act.

Reductions in employment-based health insurance coverage boost federal tax revenues because they increase the proportion of compensation received by workers that is taxable.

CBO and JCT have raised their estimate of revenues that will come from penalties paid by employers, by $13 billion for the 2013–2022 period, because fewer businesses are now expected to offer insurance coverage than had been estimated in August.

Seven million, eh? Anybody want to place a bet?

The Staffing Stream (trade journal) Feb. 6, 2013:

Staffing firm with 50 or more full-time W-2 employees will be caught by the employer mandate and will have to provide coverage for its employees or face penalties.

If they do provide coverage, they will face increased costs and ugly administrative headaches. Take for example the look-back period, which was instituted to help companies (particularly staffing firms) that have employees working variable hours determine if those employees must be covered. They are allowed to use a look-back period ranging from three to 12 months. If the employee averages 130 hours during the look-back period, they must be offered coverage during a subsequent “stability period” that must be as long as the look-back period and can’t be shorter than six months. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Firms who do not have a dedicated benefits person on staff may have to get one.

Your clients are facing the same challenges and are trying to find ways around the employer mandate. And they have to act now. Even though the employer mandate doesn’t go into effect until 2014, it will be based on a company’s 2013 payroll. So employers are already instituting hiring freezes, laying employees off, or cutting their hours below 30 hours per week. In fact, a Mercer study cited in a recent USAToday article stated that half of the companies surveyed that are not currently offering health insurance would make changes to their full-time headcount to avoid complying with the PPACA.

Credit Union Times, August 9, 2012:

Employers with large part-time and low-wage populations — especially retailers — are more likely to take measures in order to avoid triggering a costly requirement to provide health care coverage to employees that used to be ineligible.

According to a survey released Wednesday from consulting firm Mercer, 67% of retail/wholesale employers expect they’ll be making changes to their workforce structure so they can dodge a coverage eligibility requirement that’s part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Also, CNBC, Feb. 12, 2013:

For large retail and restaurant chains the big unknown in the year ahead is how much more they’ll pay for health coverage. Employers with 50 or more workers who put in 30 hours a week will be required to provide health care coverage or pay a fine, under the Affordable Care Act, also called the ACA or Obamacare. But the details haven’t been settled.

“We can’t really calculate what it’s going to be like,” said John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods, an outspoken critic of the Obama health reform law.

His grocery chain already offers health care to workers at the 30-hour threshold. But he said the company may be forced to reconsider its full-time staffing levels, if the final employer mandate rules still being crafted by the Obama administration require companies to offer costly benefit options.

“Say we’re paying $3,200 a year for insurance for somebody, and the new regulations cost us $5,000 to insure somebody. If they work fewer hours, we just saved $5,000 per person,” because there is no mandate to provide coverage for part-time workers, he explained.


Batchbook has been offering health benefits from day one, even when the firm had no profits. “It was a big decision, but it was really important for us, that we build the company that we wanted,” O’Hara said.

Now, she and her HR manager are spending a lot of time trying to figure out how the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will impact the firm’s benefit plan. This year, they chose a high deductible plan to keeps costs down. Their insurance broker said that plan may not comply with new limits on out-of-pockets costs for health plans beginning in 2014, so their rates are likely to rise. That could impact hiring plans.

“My policy is you don’t hire somebody unless you can afford them,” O’Hara explained. “The question is what we can afford to pay someone, when you don’t have a really good understanding of what that benefits package is going to cost.”

Many of the new mandated coverage details are still being finalized in Washington, including the so-called employer mandate.

“Still being finalized.” That would be this stack of regulations:

 photo Obamacare_regulations.png

July 2012 Congressional Budget Office Report, Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision (PDF, p.13):

CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period. Before the Supreme Court’s decision, the latter number had been 27 million.

Thirty million is certainly less than the 48.6 million reported by NPR on Sept. 12, 2012, but only about a third less, and we all know how accurate government projections tend to be.

On that last one? Increasing taxes on the middle class to pay for Obamacare? A cursory search of the web shows a lot of conflict on that one, much of it centered on that “penalty” vs. “tax” language that the Supreme Court decision rested on, but in addition to the bolded bit in that first CBO report excerpt above, I did find this little tidbit:

Chicago Sun Times Letter to the Editor, Jan. 1, 2013:

Here is a little-known fact about the Affordable Care Act: As of Jan. 1, the threshold for deducting medical expenses on your income tax return increased from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income for nearly everyone. Seniors 65 and older get a reprieve for three years. It’s interesting that almost every article I’ve read on ObamaCare fails to mention this tax increase that will hit the “middle class” the hardest. Then again, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was then speaker of the House, did say, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Of course, that only matters to those of us who itemize, but still…

Feel free to add your own links in the comments!

UPDATE:  from the blog The Virginian:

It turns out that an upscale women’s fashion store that sells expensive women’s clothing and accessories has told its full time employee’s(sic) that they can’t work more than 21 hours per week and are hiring more people to take up the slack. As a result, they don’t have to provide health insurance to its part-timers.

But hey! “Hiring more people”! Unemployment’s coming down!

Why War Should Always be the Politics of Last Resort

Someone you should know, Lt. Col. George Goodson, USMC (Ret):

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina , Virginia , and Maryland.

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk , rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?” I replied “18 months this time.” Jolly breathed, “Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel.” I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”  Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He’s been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He’s packed pretty tight. I’m worried about him.” I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office. “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.” I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?” Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt’s stress was palpable.  Finally, I said, “Walt, what’s the h-ll’s wrong?” He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I’m putting my letter in. I can’t take it anymore.” I said, “OK Walt. If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.


My third or fourth day in Norfolk , I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina , about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina , I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John. Good morning, Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned. My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper!

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me – I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.” I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk . Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.


Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.” My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.


Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother’s house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenlythe door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.


One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.” I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked, “Is it his son?” I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.” I said, “Don’t call him. I’ll take care of that.” The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?” She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?” I said, “I’m sorry. It’s important, I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth…. I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up. I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam.”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?” I said, “Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?” I told her, “I have no idea. But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?” General Bowser said, “George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.”

I was and the Admiral did.. He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.” I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?” The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea. You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed.”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.” I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, “These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me the f*ck out of here. I can’t take this sh_t anymore.” I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel. Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

That is all

Well, Damn

I’m guilty of this myself:

Comparing England (or UK) murder rates with the US: More complex than you thought

I have frequently in this series referred to the English murder rates as historically low and currently very low compared to US murder rates. I blandly accepted the murder statistics published by the UK Home Office as definitive. I overlooked the details of what and how the English counted “murders.” It turns out that was a big mistake. (I was first turned onto my error by this post at Extrano’s Alley.)

I fell into a definitions trap you may not be aware of. The shortest version is this. We count and report crimes based on initial data. The Brits count and report crimes based on the outcome of the investigation and trial. Yep, that says what I meant it to say.

RTWT. The kicker is this, though:

The murder rate in the UK is either equal to or higher than the murder rate in the US.  (Sources not available. See reduced conclusion instead.) 

The murder rate in the UK according to US standards is double or higher than their reported rate. It may be impossible to produce an actual apples to apples comparison number from official sources.  It is not 15% of the US rate. 

As he says, comparing the Home Office “homicide” statistics against the FBI UCR statistics isn’t comparing apples to apples, it’s “comparing apples to meatloaf.”

And be sure to read this link, too.

I won’t make this mistake again.

UPDATED to reflect revision of the original post.

Joe Wilson Was Right

…when he said “YOU LIE!” to President Obama, just not (necessarily) on the right subject.

Of course, all politicians lie, but Wilson was objecting to Obama’s claim that the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” wouldn’t cover illegal aliens.

I want to talk about this lie:

“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.”

In actuality, a lot of people were “talking about” it.  But Obama promised that wasn’t going to happen.

He lied.

Case in point, Say Uncle, and thousands like him and his family. 

The Mrs. has a part time job at a local health care concern and, basically, she goes there to work, get away from kids, and for the benefits. She was told today that, effective 1/1, she could no longer purchase insurance on their plan. Now, it’s a good plan but it’s not cheap. Us and the two rug rats runs just north of $1,000 a month. But even that rate won’t be affordable under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Especially since, now we’ve passed it and are finding out what’s in it, we discover that

Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday.

A “glitch”! Oh, my! But one that means thousands of dollars in expenses to millions of Americans who right now have coverage.

Says Uncle:

And the funny thing is, I talk to my insurance guys, lawyers and financial guys and not a one of them knows what to do. Seems all this nonsense is still up in the air among professionals until the .gov provides additional guidance or unfucks itself.

Which will happens some time around… never.

This is what government does. Either deliberately or through unintended consequences, when it sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong it fucks things up. 

This is why the powers of the Federal government are supposed to be “few and defined.”

And they are anything but, these days.

At some point the difference between incompetence and malice becomes indistinguishable and irrelevant.

Social Engineering

For once I had a kid listening to me. Cool! Then came my second proclamation “If you know math. I mean really know it. You can pin an employer on the ground and pull money out of their hands. And they’ll thank you for it.” The kid nodded. “You can do this when half of your peers are washing dishes and aspiring to become a Wal-Mart greeter.” The kid was drifting but I yammered on like the old fart that I am. She dozed the next few seconds and came to as I was finishing my monologue “…drive your enemies before you. That is what is good.”

The kid, sensing an opportunity, shoved another homework assignment my way. What’s this? It wasn’t algebra at all. I glanced around for an escape. There was none. I skimmed the paper.

“This,” I began, “is not math. It is social engineering.”

“Um…” The kid looked uncertain. “I don’t think they call it that.”

“Of course they don’t!” I groused. “They don’t call it bullshit either. Yet that’s what it is.”

“Er… What’s ‘social engineering’?” The kid asked.

“Social engineering is when an unqualified worker in the employment of the State takes it upon themselves to manipulate children as they see fit.” I sipped more coffee. “An activity formerly reserved for people deemed more appropriate, such as clergy or respected elders.” I reflected further “or sometimes cult leaders and gangs. Maybe Mafia leaders. You know what I’m saying?”

The kid looked at the paper. She did not know what I was saying.

“But I’ll help you. It’s time to see if your teacher has a sense of humor.”

From The Adaptive Curmudgeon’s Blog.

Read Part I and Part II.

I want him to teach my grandkids algebra.

This is My Shocked Face

So I was noodling around over on Facebook the other day, and posted a picture I thought was amusing.  It drew some commentary from one of my FB friends from high school, one of which was this:

Like the equality thing you got going, but don’t like it when the mentally disturbed get 4 assault rifles and shoot up the town… From today’s news…

Breaking News: Mentally Ill Gunman on Shooting Spree in Tacoma Washington

Tacoma police say they received about a dozen 911 calls Tuesday afternoon from people living in a residential neighborhood in northeast Tacoma reporting that a gunman was walking through the neighborhood firing indiscriminately. The identity of the suspect is not yet known, although local news stations are reporting that neighbors tell them he has mental health issues. He may have been drinking and is carrying four high power assault weapons.

My response:

I’ll wait until we have better information. I would not be surprised to find out that “four high power assault weapons” turns out to be nothing of the kind. I don’t care for the mentally disturbed shooting up the town either, but I don’t see how disarming me is going to prevent it.

So I kept an eye on the story. The shooter was eventually talked into surrendering. 65 year-old Michael McBee has been arraigned and bail has been set at $5 million. Here’s the most current version of what actually happened:

Fistfight led to Fife Heights shooting, investigators say

About 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, court records show, McBee’s temper boiled over, and he allegedly grabbed a 9mm pistol and went next door to settle the score.

Pierce County prosecutors allege he opened fire on his neighbor as the man stood in his garage with his wife and another man, pursued his target — firing more shots as the man ran — and then shot at the wife when she ran inside her house.

Incredibly, no one was hit.

Prosecutors charged McBee on Wednesday with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and one count each of first-degree burglary, malicious mischief and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Not-guilty pleas were entered on his behalf in Superior Court. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered McBee, 65, jailed in lieu of $5 million bail at the request of deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen.

One 9mm handgun, not “four high power assault weapons.”

Had there been so much as a single “assault weapon,” you can rest assured we’d have had a junk-on-the-bunk picture and a full description of McBee’s “arsenal.”

UPDATE:  Mad Rocket Scientist over at Random Nuclear Strikes has another classic example of media hysteria when it comes to firearms.  I’ve got to screenshot that paragraph for posterity.  Surely they won’t leave it up as-is for long:

 photo Lanza.jpg
I want a picture of that!