Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Morning Soaring at the Beach

 A good, springlike Easter morning here in the "Land of Pleasant Living", breezy from the east, temperatures pushing 60, mostly sunny.
A good day for the raptors to soar.  There were two Osprey's putting on a show, hovering overhead, and diving to catch fish.  This one seems to have misplaced a flight feather.  I saw at least one eagle too; a juvenile.  We haven't seen any in a while.
Daffodils in bloom on the side of the cliff mark old gardens that have slid down the face.
What's that over the trees?  Eagle?  
 Nope.  About once a year, someone comes to use our cliffs to soar in hang gliders, and today was the day.  There were two.
I just like the photo...

Easter Morning Obamacare Schadenfreude

Obamacare Schadenfreude is risen to--day, A-A-A-A-Alleluia.

From the heretic liberal, Mickey Kaus: Obamacare’s Core Flaw?
Risk-filled sump, update: If everyone knew the risk pool on the Obamacare exchanges would be sicker-than-normal — as the last sentence of this NYT piece suggests — then why throw the hapless unsubsidized people (e.g. singles making $46,000) into that pool, where their policies will inevitably be more expensive, with more restrictions, than if they were in a more normal pool? Did Obamacare’s designers think they’d be happy about it? This seems like the program’s core flaw, no? It’s why, despite all the seemingly impressive numbers, Obamacare leaves a bad taste. …
Obamacare Number Games: How Many Enrollees, Really?
To listen to Obamacare supporters, Kathleen Sebelius leaves her post as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services with her head held high, as her legacy now includes shepherding across the finish line a major expansion of health insurance for low-income, previously uninsured Americans. Howard Dean says the Republicans would be foolish to attack Obamacare in this year’s campaign, now that the program has achieved so much success

Carl Sagan spoke of “billions and trillions”; now the president and the Obamacare support media can talk of millions and millions newly insured.

But how many millions?

Prior to the opening of the exchanges in October 2013, President Obama claimed that the ability of families to keep children on their health insurance policies through age 26 had already added three million people to the ranks of the insured. This claim appears to be nonsense. Avik Roy — one of the few journalists who has actually been examining the data and drawing his own conclusions rather than regurgitating or looking to justify each of the administration’s assertions — estimates that the actual number of newly covered young people is less than one-third of the number claimed, and perhaps far less.

In fact, the percentage of uninsured Americans aged 18 to 24 has not changed at all from 2008 — prior to the economic collapse — through 2013. And of course, the change in policy did not come free. Roy estimates that family plans now cost $160 to $480 a year more due to the new coverage — and that is for all families, including all those without children who are newly covered. Also, as with all the other “free things” offered on the screening side due to Obamacare, none of it is free as someone else has to pay for them...
Statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics.  Who's right here?  Based on history, one would have to conclude that the administration and it's allies are bending the statistics to the point of breaking to prove that Obamacare is working.

And what good is it to enroll and pay your premiums if you can't get a doctor? Problems with narrow networks continue to manifest themselves. The new "medical homeless": More Covered California Patients Say They Can’t See A Doctor
While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”

Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.

Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic. But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.

Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for? “Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.
Things like this are why the democrats New York Times is tearing it's hair in frustration:
Democrats Confront Vexing Politics Over the Health Care Law
When Franklin D. Roosevelt established Social Security, he created generations of loyal Democrats. When Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law, he built on that legacy, particularly with older Americans. And when George W. Bush instituted a new prescription drug benefit for Medicare, it helped reclaim elderly voters for Republicans.

But President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the $1.4 trillion effort to extend health insurance to all Americans, is challenging the traditional calculus about government benefits and political impact.

Even as Mr. Obama announced that eight million Americans had enrolled in the program and urged Democrats to embrace the law, those in his party are running from it rather than on it, while Republicans are prospering by demanding its repeal. . .
Trouble for Democrats: More Senate seats are at risk
Democrats are finding that their path to keeping control of the U.S. Senate this year is getting bumpier.

At least four states where Democrats hold Senate seats that once were seen as fairly safe are now considered in play: Michigan, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.
They join seven states with Democratic incumbents where analysts see decent bets for Republican pickups: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried all seven in 2012.

The new four are now battlegrounds for the same reasons that plague Democrats elsewhere. The Affordable Care Act is detested in many circles. Anyone associated with Washington is often toxic. And popular Republicans who are running for other offices are often on the ballot.

“The common thread is that there’s a Democrat in the White House who’s not that popular,” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan research group at the University of Virginia. “It wouldn’t be surprising if any of those states went Republican.’
And it won't help if they lose Senators to a preventable stupidity, either:
Actions may speak louder than words, but Sen. Richard Blumenthal took that mentality to the extreme on Friday.

The Connecticut Democrat was standing behind Milford Mayor Ben Blake on the town's Metro-North station platform as the two held a press conference on railway safety. Complete with easels and charts, Blake was laying out the MTA's safety violations, which total 139 over the last 10 years, worth $552,000 in fines.
I wonder what that yellow line the good Senator is standing on is for?

Courtesy of Theo's The best description of Obamacare so far:
Remember when Nancy Pelosi said: "We have to pass it, to find out what's in it"?

A physician said: "That's the definition of a stool sample."

Still No Charges in Gibson Guitar Grab

More than two years after the agents of the Dept. of Homeland and Security and the Fish and Wildlife Service raided Gibson Guitars, claiming violation of the Lacey Act based on certain woods used in the fingerboards of their guitars, the feds have returned the wood, and not filed any charges against Gibson.

It has not escaped notice that the CEO of Martin Guitars, which uses the same woods in its guitar supported Preznit Obama in his 2012 election bid, while the CEO of Gibson is a Republican donor.

Because we know the enforcement arms of the federal government would never stoop to harassing or prosecuting people for their political contributions.  I now agree with Charles Krauthammer, who used to support full disclosure in political donation, but changed his mind after the IRS scandal. Democrats in power simply cannot be trusted not to use personal data against political foes.

Previous postings on the Great Gibson Guitars Grab:

Feds Raid Gibson Guitars
Update on Gibson Guitar Grab
The Rally for Gibson
Gibson Gives In
Tennessee Lawmakers Propose "Gibson Owners Protection"

Happy Easter!

Finally . . .

The tar dropped: 84 year science experiment finally sees results after years of nothing
Since 1930, there has been a science experiment that basically does nothing. Seriously. Scientists watch as a solid—that's actually a liquid 230 billion times more viscous than water—drips down a glass container. But that takes time. A lot of time with a whole lot of nothing. For the past 84 years, the blob of tar has only dripped 8 times. It finally dripped the 9th time.

Sadly though, the scientist who was in charge of the experiment hosted at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia had passed away last year before he could see it drip this 9th time. What's worse, Professor John Mainstone had never seen the pitch drop even before he died. He missed the past 5 drops completely (the first 3 drops occurred when the creator of the experiment, Professor Thomas Parnell, was in charge of it) which means he never saw his experiment go through.
You snooze, you lose.

I blogged this back in 2011, when the drop was expected "any day."  Glad to see science still going forward, however slowly.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cowboys vs Indian . . .

. . . or a 1/64th or so Indian Native American. It seems that Elizabeth Warren has hurt feelings over mean nasty conservatives questioning whether the Cherokee blood she claimed from her great grandfather, to get into law school and to be hired as a faculty member was real.

Ace: Elizabeth Warren Angry That People Challenged Her Claims of Being a Cherokee
On the warpath.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren recounts in her new autobiography that she was “hurt” and “angry” by news reports that there was no documentation to support her claims of her family’s Cherokee heritage in the 2012 Senate race, according to a published report.
“What really threw me, though, were the constant attacks from the other side,” Warren wrote, according to
Efforts to reach a Warren spokeswoman yesterday were unsuccessful.

She once again makes the maudlin, manipulative claim that by challenging her use of her "minority" status for professional advancement, people were attacking her dead parents, who, she alleges, told her this silly story.

Of course, they never told her "And be sure to check off the 'minority' box in each and every job you apply for or land."
Howie Carr has a simple suggestion as to how to resolve this controversy: if Elizabeth Warren will just be so kind as to swab the inside of her (high) cheeks with a DNA sample swab, he'll pay for a DNA test out of his own pocket to determine if she's a Cherokee.
It’s easy. Just swab the inside of your mouth. Check my photo on the left, I’ll show you how to do it.
No more of this fact-free nonsense about your “high cheekbones,” or these ridiculous fables about your parents “eloping” to escape the racism of the Indian Territory when they actually returned to their hick hometown that same evening for a traditional wedding party.
The only explanation you haven’t trotted out yet is that you instantly knew you were an Indian when you first heard Cher on the AM radio belting out “Half Breed.”
It would be great publicity for your new 2016 presidential campaign book if you finally come clean. Plus, what’s the downside, if you’re so positive that you really are an Indian princess?
Funny, but such a test would probably help her. It's quite possible she has 1/64th (or was it 1/128th?) Cherokee blood. It's even possible her parents told her stories of her distant, attenuated Cherokee ancestor. I'm told such legends are commonplace in Oklahoma.

But to claim to be a minority for professional advancement based upon such a tiny amount of minority status?

There's no simple DNA test for shamelessness and cynical careerism.
Stacy McCain doesn't think it's possible and piles on: Cherokee Princess Fauxcohantas
In her new book, Elizabeth Warren blames the controversy over her fake Cherokee ancestry on “some blogger,” and since William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection was particularly merciless in exposing her lies, he’s giving credit where credit is due:
In fact, Warren has no one to blame but herself for her false claim to be Cherokee. Read Elizabeth Warren Wiki, and these posts responding to the claims in her book:
Twila Barnes, No Pity for Warren
Michael Patrick Leahy, Elizabeth Warren Repeats Her False Claims of Native American Ancestry in New Book and
Elizabeth Warren History Of ‘Minority Status’ Listings At Odds With New Book’s Claims
Warren will be launching a nationwide book tour. Someone who wants to meet Warren is Twila Barnes.

Barnes is the Cherokee Genealogist whose groundbreaking genealogical research exposed the falsehood to Warren’s claims. Barnes and her team of Cherokee genealogists traced Warren’s family lines back to the early 1800s and documented that Warren’s family not only was not Cherokee or other Native American, but also that they never lived as such:
Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestry Part 1Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestry Part 2Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestry, Part 3A Cherokee Can’t Be Found, Because A Cherokee Isn’t ThereElizabeth Warren, Who Do You Think You Are?
Barnes also debunked much of the “family lore” used by Warren to justify claiming Native American status. One of my favorites was Barnes’ discovery that Warren’s maternal great grandfather, on the supposedly Cherokee bloodline, was featured in the local newspaper in 1906 as being white and having shot an Indian. And also Barnes’ discovery that Warren’s parents’ wedding was joyously announced in the local newspaper, which would contradict Warren’s claim that her parents had to elope because her father’s family would not tolerate their son marrying an Indian.
Warren's original claims for minority status would have been ludicrous even if her ancestral claims had any truth to them; after so many generations of out breeding and living in the "White" world, any claim to disadvantage based on so little was simply abuse of the system.  The fact is, even those "family legends" don't hold up to scrutiny.

Massachusetts is welcome to her.  They've rarely shown a lick of sense in whom they elect; I expect little more from them in the future.  However, if she attempts to move further onto the national stage, she needs to be ridiculed and heckled off.  Women and minorities with legitimate claims of disadvantage should be be leading the charge. This, of course, is an issue because Fauxcohontas is positioning herself as the fall back woman candidate for the democrats should Hillary fail to make the run, by falling ill, or even, however improbably, growing a conscience.

Saturday 04/19/14 Beach Report

After a morning in the garden, Georgia and I went down to the Beach.  By now the temperatures were approaching 60, and the winds light from the northeast.  A pretty nice day.  We found 22 teeth, mostly small; none photo worthy.

We were not alone in having the idea to go to the beach.

A Labrador Retriever doing what retrievers do.

Obama Suffers Keystone "Failure to Commit", Politics Suspected

‘Ridiculous’: Administration punts on Keystone, Obama faces Dem revolt
The Obama administration once again has punted on a final decision for the Keystone XL pipeline, announcing ahead of the holiday weekend it is extending a key review period indefinitely -- a move that could push off a determination until after the midterm elections.

Republicans, as well as red-state Democrats who want the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline approved, slammed the administration for the delay. Democrats even threatened to find ways to go around the president to get the project approved.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that this well over five year long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement.
This is strictly a political move. It allows Democrats in districts which favor of the pipeline to campaign for it in 2014 without fear, and allows the weird anti-technology faction of the party the satisfaction of not going forward, and continue to rake in the big enviro-green bucks:
. . .California billionaire Tom Steyer, has been vowing to back vulnerable Democrats with big money if they oppose the pipeline. He called the latest announcement "good news on Good Friday for those who oppose Keystone as not being in our nation's best interest."
That sound like open vote buying to me. It's interesting how the democratic opposition to big money in politics disappears when it's their big money, isn't it?

The environmental concerns about the oil are entirely misplaced.  The oil is Canadian.  It will be developed, and used.  The only question is whether it is shipped by relatively safe pipeline to US refineries, shipped by less safe rail, or sent to China, to burn in their high pollution way.

Perfunctory Obamacare Schadenfreude

Not much going on here.  The weather is still cool, 45 F, but with the promise of a warm up later today,  under partly cloudy skies.  No wind to speak of, but the direction is switching around wildly suggesting changes to come.  Obamacare Schadenfreude, well it's kind of drags on too. I'm thinking of stopping this series due to the paucity of new material.

Obama spikes the football on ObamaCare
There are still key details that the White House hasn’t included in past enrollment announcements, and it didn’t this time either. The numbers still don’t say how many of the 8 million people have paid their premiums, because they’re not officially enrolled until they’ve paid. The best estimates from the insurance industry have suggested that anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent haven’t paid yet, though at least some of those have been trying and some will likely settle their bills.

And the numbers still don’t tell us how many of the new customers were uninsured before, and how many were just swapping out one health insurance plan for another.

In fact, the Obama administration didn’t release a full enrollment report on Thursday, as was widely expected. Instead, it just circulated the topline figures in the White House fact sheet, which gave health care experts — and the critics — less information to go on.
George Condon: The debate over ObamaCare is hardly “over”
President Obama opened his press conference Thursday with a bold proclamation that "the repeal debate is and should be over." But his declaration of victory in the long-running war over his health care overhaul did not last long. Only five questions later, he was forced to offer a softer, almost wistful acknowledgement of the reality that there are many more battles to wage and the debate could go on for years.

It was one of the fastest backtracks at any presidential press conference. From optimist to realist in less than 45 minutes. Obama the Optimist cited the sign-up numbers for the Affordable Care Act, the revised numbers for premium costs, and the good news on the expected life of the Medicare trust fund. Almost in awe, he declared, "This thing is working." But Obama the Realist admitted the Republican opposition has been unchanged by every statistic he cited. The GOP, he suggested, is going through the stages of grief. "Anger and denial ... we're not at acceptance yet," he said, though he added hopefully that his critics may get there "at some point."
Midterms may hinge on whether Obamacare losers outvote the winners
So who has, in fact, been harmed by Obamacare? The first question, of course, is what "harmed" means. But let's define it as anyone who faces higher premiums, or higher deductibles — adding up to a total higher cost — and/or a narrower choice of hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs than they had before. For them, health care is a more expensive and troublesome proposition than it was before Obamacare.

Everything we know about the system suggests there are millions of Americans in that position, but how many? "There is no hard number," says health care analyst Bob Laszewski. The reasons are as complicated as Obamacare itself.

"When carriers converted their old policies to Obamacare-compliant, it was typical for the insurance company to increase costs about 35 percent to comply," Laszewski says. "That increase could come in the form of higher premiums, more co-pays and deductibles, and narrower networks. A carrier might have only increased rates 15 percent but then created a narrow network worth another 25 percent, for example. Even when they did the above, some individuals might have seen a 15 percent decrease and others a 50 percent increase -- many demographic issues skewed the rate result. So, getting any simple 'it went up 34.7 percent' just isn't possible."

The bottom line, according to Laszewski: "We have literally millions of people each impacted a bit differently." That's hard to quantify and turn into a neat political argument.
This democrat thinks he knows: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch on Obamacare's election toll: It'll bury Dems

We can hope.

Just in at Drudge: Obamacare Website susceptible to Heartbleed Bug
People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed Internet security flaw.
Senior administration officials said there is no indication that the site has been compromised and the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution.
The government's Heartbleed review is ongoing, the officials said, and users of other websites may also be told to change their passwords in the coming days, including those with accounts on the popular petitions page.

The Heartbleed programming flaw has caused major security concerns across the Internet and affected a widely used encryption technology that was designed to protect online accounts. Major Internet services have been working to insulate themselves against the problem and are also recommending that users change their website passwords.
Ok then, now that we can be virtually certain that people who signed up through it won't be back for another year (unless they still need to pay).

Rule 5 Saturday - A is for Angelica

Angelica Bridges (born November 20, 1973, in Harrisonville, Missouri) is an American actress, model and singer. Angelica was given a pictorial spread in Playboy magazine's November 2001 issue and featured as the issue's cover model.
A very basic Rule 5 post.  A girl, some words, and a some pictures.

Bridges is the lead singer of the pop group Strawberry Blonde. She previously starred in The Luxor's show "Fantasy" in Las Vegas, albeit not as one of the dancers; she was the presenter and singer.

Her film career consists of some true classics of camp: Veronica Mars (2006), The Bold and the Beautiful (2005),Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (2003), Posljednja Volja (2001), Conan the Adventurer (2000), Mystery Men (1999), Mortal Kombat Conquest (1998), Baywatch 1997–1998, and Days of our Lives 1995.

I've even seen the Conan movie.

Can We Get This Into Rio in 2016?

Sepaktakraw: Volleyball with soccer rules regarding hands and feet? Now all they need is girls and the beach:

Half way; now all we need a bikinis, and a beach.