Monday, March 31, 2014

Cove Point: Keystone Fight of the East?

All the indicators are it should be a big “boom” for the US, providing both jobs and investment:
Companies will need to invest $641 billion over the next two decades in pipelines, pumps and other infrastructure to keep up with the gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids flowing from U.S. fields, according to a study released Tuesday.
The analysis, prepared by ICF International for two natural gas advocacy groups, predicts that $30 billion worth of new midstream infrastructure will be needed each year through 2035 — essentially triple the $10 billion in average annual investments over the past decade.
“We’re in a heavy growth period right now, said Kevin Petak, an economist with ICF who authored the study. “The next six years appears to be a pretty heavy period for expenditure and investment.”
. . .
Of course this is all dependent on the usual approvals in the face of a determined “green” minority who was for natural gas before they were against it. A good indicator of what we’re likely to see in the next few years is found in the “green” opposition to the expansion of the Cove Point LNG terminal:
Cove Point is emerging as a major test of environmentalists’ ability to block — or seriously slow — midstream energy infrastructure projects in a bid to stop the oil and gas production happening upstream as well as the burning of those fossil fuels downstream.
“There clearly is a view from certain people that increased U.S. energy production is not a good thing and … there’s only so much carbon we can put in the atmosphere,” said Jason Bordoff, a former White House adviser who now heads Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “The lesson they take from that is we have to do everything we can to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Cove Point is “the Keystone fight of the east”, one activist claimed, referring to the attempts to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. If so, and if indicative of the future, then a huge and promising economic boom will be all but still born. And, as long as this administration is in power, you can expect it to be complicit in that still birth.
Speaking from ground zero of the Cove Point debate, Dominion (the owner of the Cove Point facility) is spending a lot of advertising money trying to convince the local populace that the converting the facility to an export facility will be good for local jobs and the economy.

Final Obamacare Schadenfreude?

Probably in the same way that Final Fantasy was the end...

You may remember that I reported yesterday was a rainy day.  Late in the afternoon, March provided it's last shot, and it snowed for a good hour.  It was too warm and wet for any to stick, but it was a remarkable display of the variability of our spring weather.  Today, we're under the influence of the cold north wind behind the storm.  It's only 42 out, and blustery, 20 kts from the Northwest, but the sun is out, the sky is blue, and it's looking good.

Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me: Senator: 'There's No Such Thing as Obamacare'

On eve of Obamacare deadline, law remains a work in progress. It's CBS, so Blah, blah blah, but at least it features this video:

Megan McArdle asks Is Obamacare Now Beyond Repeal?

My second chart here shows what actual enrollment would look like, depending on how many plans are ultimately selected and how bad the attrition rate is over the first few months of operations. As you can see, it ends up below the CBO's projection in most cases, sometimes far below. But if signups accelerate significantly, and attrition is minimal, the exchanges may hit the CBO number. Especially when you take into account the de facto extension of open enrollment at least into April.
 Lets try the Magic 8 Ball!
Does that mean that Obamacare will basically be beyond repeal, as its supporters hope? It certainly makes things harder. But we still don't know how many of these people are newly insured, or how many of the previously insured like these policies better than their old policies -- nor how much pressure it is going to end up putting on the budget. Those are things we won't know for quite a while. But if it were impossible to ever cut off an expensive entitlement that goes to the middle class, TennCare would never have been cut.
The New York Times tries some slight of hand: Repercussions and Reprieves at Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline
Q. What happens if a consumer does not sign up for insurance by the Monday deadline?

A. The consumer may be subject to financial penalties, to be paid with federal income taxes next year. However, the federal government has said it will stretch the sign-up deadline for people who started an application and could not finish it for one reason or another.
Trying to keep the lie alive that the penalties begin next year.  If you pay a penalty in 2015 it will be on your 2014 income, and it will already have been take out of your withholdings and spent.

From Theo's: Obamacare is an American Catastrophe
The first element of the Obamacare catastrophe is an utterly lawless President who Congress has done little to restrain and nothing to impeach.

Another element of the Obamacare catastrophe has been the failure of the mainstream media to address the impact the law has had on America. On March 26, the Media Research Center reported that “They’re just burying the story. They aren’t in denial. They know the truth. They’re just choosing to ignore it. They are pretending there are no broken promises about keeping your insurance plan, or keeping your doctor, or lowering your premium by $2,500 a year.”

An analysis by the Center of the three network evening news broadcasts in 2014 “found only 12 stories on three networks in almost three months.” For example, “NBC Nightly News” broadcast only one story on Obamacare and that was on January 1 when Lester Holt called it “a new era in health care in this country.” ABC “World News” provided only six minutes and 58 seconds on Obamacare and “CBS Evening News” managed to provide only 19 minutes and 17 seconds over the course of three months.

“None of the networks,” said the Center’s analysis, “dared to report the ongoing opposition of the American people to Obamacare in 2014, even when they were the ones doing the polling.”
But Good News!  The Northwestern Football team now has "free" maternity coverage!
Northwestern University became the first school in the nation to deem its football players full-time employees, thus making them eligible for union representation and health insurance benefits including maternity coverage.
On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 13 director Peter Sung Ohr approved the players as employees of the school based on four prerequisite clauses. The team will now have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to unionize and join the College Athletes Players Association, according to Sports Blog Nation.

The kicker is that under Obamacare, the Evanston, Ill.-based team, comprised of more than 50 “employees,” is considered a “large employer” and Northwestern must provide pregnancy-related health care for the all-male team.

“This is insane: in the world President Obama lives in, college football teams are now unions, and government is paying for maternity coverage for 18 year old boys. It might be funny if it were not such a blatant attack on the American idea of a private sector,” said Nebraska senatorial candidate Ben Sasse in a new promotional video called “Pregnant Football Players.”

Washington Post: Democrats, Republicans prepare for new round of battles over health-care law (Paywall?)
The first enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight Monday, closing one chapter on President Obama’s landmark health-care law and paving the way for a new round of confrontations that could ultimately determine the law’s long-term prospects.

Supporters face an array of political, financial and legal challenges in the coming months. Democrats and insurance industry officials are already seeking ways to blunt what may be the next big controversy: an expected increase in monthly insurance premiums next year for the health plans sold through the federal and state marketplaces.

Republicans, meanwhile, continue to use the law to attack vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the midterm elections, which will decide whether the GOP wins control of the Senate. . .
The "Final" word goes to Faux News: Debate over ObamaCare far from over as signup deadline arrives
It's deadline day for ObamaCare -- sorta, kinda.

The deadline to sign up for the president's signature health care law technically is Monday, but many who have trouble signing in will be given an extension into April. And in a throwback to's problem-plagued launch, a large volume of users was already stressing the system Monday morning.

Visitors to the site were encountering a string of errors. A Health and Human Services spokeswoman said the team had extended its "nightly maintenance window." But as visitors continued to overwhelm the system, it was only sporadically letting people in.

Amid the return of technical problems, the roiling, years-long debate about enrollment numbers and practically every other aspect of President Obama’s health care law appears far from over in this politically charged election year...

France Runs Out Of Other People's Money

France’s ruling Socialists lose big in local elections
Back in January, Socialist French President Francois Hollande promised to turn the disastrously foundering ship that is the French economy around, apparently having realized that his erstwhile agenda of taxing the heck out of businesses and millionaires wasn't going anywhere, by instead instituting tax cuts for businesses that the government hoped would boost the country’s competitiveness. Those tax cuts have yet to materialized, and in February, France’s unemployment rate again ticked upward — which was announced just in time for municipal elections this week. They didn’t go too well for the Socialists, as you might imagine. Via the Financial Times:
French President Fran├žois Hollande is expected to launch a rapid shake-up of his Socialist government following a second defeat in local elections on Sunday, with big gains for the main opposition UMP party and far-right National Front. …
The main winner of the night was the centre-right UMP, party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. It was set to gain more than 100 municipalities, capturing a majority of larger towns from the ruling party, including Toulouse, Reims, Angers and St Etienne.
And you know what that means, don't you?

Carla Bruni (NSFW link) may join the First Ladies club again!

Wombat-socho has the the long awaited, post tax day, triple stuffed  edition of "Rule 5 Sunday: Ricochet" up at The Other McCain.

Soft Core Porn Actress Decries Working Conditions

The celebrity news of the week is Gwyneth Paltrow's complaint that life as a Hollywood starlet is much more demanding for her than for regular working mothers.

The star of such classics as Flesh and Bone  and Great Expectations (NSFW pics) said:
"It's much harder for me," she said. "I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because … for me, like if I miss a school run, they are like, 'Where were you?' I don't like to be the lead so I don't (have) to work every day, you know, I have little things that I like and obviously I want it to be good and challenging and interesting, and be with good people and that kind of thing."

It brings me to tears.
"I think it's different when you have an office job, because it's routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening," said the polarizing Paltrow. "When you're shooting a movie, they're like, 'We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,' and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it's not like being on set."
Suffice it to say, not all working mothers were impressed.
“Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro-North platform, about to begin my 45-minute commute into the city. Whenever things get rough, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of that fact. It is my mantra.

And I know all my fellow working-mom friends feel the same. Am I right, ladies?
I don't care that Gwen makes millions for taking off most of her clothes under hot lights, waiting around in trailers waiting to shoot, and having to spend hours and hours reading stupid scripts just so she can say a few minutes worth of lines right (or at least, close enough).  While I suspect there is a good deal of good luck involved in a successful Hollywood career, certainly putting trying hard and putting in the time have some role in it (at least if we believe that ephebophile Woody Allen).

But I do note that Gwen is a strong backer of Barack Obama, a noted redistributionist who claims to believe:

and believes that incomes in the United States need to be more equal.

So surely, Gwen, you wouldn't mind giving up a few millions of her hard earned Hollywood dollars to give to other working mothers to bring herself down to their level?

Wombat-socho has the the long awaited, post tax day, triple stuffed  edition of "Rule 5 Sunday: Ricochet" up at The Other McCain.

Midnite Music - "Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good"

Towson University’s GQ quartet

Wombat-socho has the the long awaited, post tax day, triple stuffed  edition of "Rule 5 Sunday: Ricochet" up at The Other McCain.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Thing FDR and Barack Obama Have In Common

Dustbowls... Dry, windy conditions have some Texas farmers talking Dust Bowl
It's scary to think the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, with its relentless drought and wind that ravaged millions of acres in West Texas, could return. But there are some worrisome signs, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Reports this week from county agents in the Panhandle, South Plains and Rolling Plains indicate farmers and ranchers are working with "very difficult" conditions, according to a news release.

Lubbock County, on the southern edge of the Panhandle, has seen only a trace of moisture in March with sustained high winds and gusts of 58 mph on March 18, according to the county's AgriLife Extension agent Mark Brown. In Knox County, east of Lubbock County and south of the Panhandle, agent Jerry Coplen said cotton producers were trying to prepare their planting beds in between dust storms.

Rick Auckerman, AgriLife agent for Deaf Smith County in the western Panhandle, reported that producers were running out of tools to stop soil from blowing away in punishing winds of 30 to 50 mph, the news release said.

The state climatologist, John Nielsen-Gammon, said blowing dust in the past few weeks seems to have come mainly from southeastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico.
It's probably not fair to blame Barack Obama for drought in Texas; but you know they would have blamed Bush.

I Thought We Did This Experiment Years Ago . . .

Back when we were kids and went to the public pool? How much pee in a pool would kill you?
On Wednesday, we wrote about a scientific study showing that pee in a pool's chlorinated water can yield a toxic chemical called cyanogen chloride. That substance has recommended exposure limits from the World Health Organization and is also considered a chemical warfare agent. The yields from the pool water in the study were not anywhere near deadly or even conclusively harmful. But the next question that bubbled up in Ars readers' minds was:

How much pee would it take to develop a deadly Olympic-sized swimming pool?

In case you needed another reason to not urinate in the pool. To figure that out, we extrapolated some figures cited in the paper (published in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science and Technology) then cross-referenced those numbers with some real-world, commonly-accepted values. This yielded a ballpark answer… likely not quite the answer you'd expect. But, here we'll try to answer variations of the question in slightly more satisfying ways to provide a more comprehensive, academic understanding of urinating in pools.

First, a full rundown of how the experiment played out: a group of researchers added uric acid to chlorinated pool water. This combination resulted in the creation of cyanogen chloride, which can cause death in sufficiently high amounts. Again, the amount of cyanogen chloride generated in the experiment—roughly 20-30 micrograms per liter—is not considered immediately harmful and doesn't even meet the WHO's "danger zone" of 70 micrograms per liter or more. Nonetheless, it's there.
This is the same reaction, that occurs when you pee into a toilet that's been treated with bleach to kill the stains.  Sometimes I swear Georgia is trying to kill me.

March at the Beach Came In Like a Polar Bear, Going Out Like a Lion

It's no secret to anyone that this has been the coldest winter in the United States in 100 years. But even so, March was remarkable in the deep cold, and frequent snows that we had here in Slower Maryland.  We finally seem to be free of the weekly snow pattern, just to get stuck in a new rainy pattern.  We had rain most of the last three days, but we managed a little time on the beach each day anyway.
Friday was the best of the days.  Mild temperatures and calm, but still cloudy and on and off rain.  We even managed a few sharks teeth despite the high tide.
Saturday was cooler, and foggy, thick pea soup foggy, hiding the end of the jetty foggy.  We planned to walk in a gap in the rain that we saw on the radar, but overstayed our hole while we talked to some friends we hadn't seen in a while, and had to walk half the beach back in the rain.
Today is even cooler, near 50, with intermittent rain, but the real story is the winds 30 knots, gusting to 40 from the NE.  You can see the billow in the volleyball net.
And the ranks of waves.  Our waves aren't usually huge; the shallow depth and short fetch in the Bay makes it very hard to build big waves, but this pretty choppy looking.  Even Pete stayed home from fishing.

An interesting animated gif of the todays weather system.  Looks a little like a small tropical storm with us in the clear "eye"

Penultimate Obamacare Schadenfreude?

Sorry I didn't do much blogging yesterday.  No excuses; there are several things I'd like to rant about a bit, but I just couldn't find the hook.  However, I did spend some time looking over the fishing tackle yesterday, deciding what could be salvaged, and sorting it back into the appropriate bins. The boat is wet, and someday when the the weather permits, I may actually go fishing!

Today is the second to the last day to sign up for enrolling in Obamacare, in theory, or at least checking the blue box to claim that you were too busy sorting your socks to do it on time. Of course, there's a fair amount of stir still going on, at least for a Sunday.

6 Big Unanswered Questions About Obamacare
  1. How many people have actually enrolled? . . .
  2. What percentage of those who are enrolled are between the ages of 18 and 34? . . .
  3. Are the young people who are enrolling actually healthy? . . .
  4. What are the sign-up totals, demographic breakdowns, and overall health of the individual state markets? . . .
  5. How many of the people enrolled under the law were previously uninsured? And how many of them were previously among the long-term uninsured? . . .
  6. What will premiums look like next year? . . .
 Hey, they cheated, #5 was two related questions.

Obamacare premiums could cost the young 14 percent of income
The Affordable Care Act may not be so affordable for younger workers.

Premiums alone will claim 14 percent of the average 30-year-old’s income in Illinois, American Enterprise Institute analyst Scott Gottlieb writes at Forbes. Actually using any health care services will eat up even more cash, including a deductible that’s $5,000 for most plans and a $6,350 out-of-pocket maximum.

Gottlieb looked at four states: California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Pennsylvania had the lowest rates for Obamacare health coverage, with an average annual premium payment of $1,620 for someone who makes $20,000 per year, with a $600 deductible. But making just $5,000 more per year skyrockets the cost up to $2,328 in yearly premiums and a $4,000 deductible.
. . .
In Arizona, someone making $30,000 will spend over 9 percent of their annual income on premiums. That climbs to over 10 percent in Pennsylvania, almost 11 percent in Texas and a whopping 13.64 percent in Illinois.

All for a service they don’t intend to use.
Do it for the old, rich folk!

Deadline Near, Health Signups Show Disparity
The White House said on Thursday that more than six million people have signed up for private plans, a significant political milestone for the Obama administration. Independent analysts estimate that an additional 3.5 million Americans are newly insured under Medicaid — figures the law’s backers hail as a success.
. . .
But those numbers may not reveal much. Federal officials do not know how many of those who selected plans were previously uninsured, or how many actually paid their premiums. Independent experts warn that the intense focus on national numbers is misguided, and that it will take years to fully assess the law’s impact, much less deem it a success or a failure.

“The whole narrative about Obamacare — ‘Will they get to six million? What is the percentage of young adults going to be?’ — has almost nothing to do with whether the law is working or not, whether the premiums are affordable or not, whether people think they are getting a good deal or not,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, whose analysts are closely tracking the measure.

“It’s almost like trying to predict the local weather from national averages,” Mr. Altman said. “This is really now a state and local game, not a national one.”
So it was all just naked democratic voter outreach afterall?  Local couple upset after receiving pre-marked voter registration card from Covered California
LA MESA, Calif. - A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.

The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.

“I'm an old guy and I never would have noticed it, except I have an accountant that notices every dot and dash on a piece of paper as a wife,” said the man who received the mailer.
But I thought for-profit corporations weren't supposed to have political or moral opinions?

Via the DaleyGator: Congressman Mo Brooks Reads a Letter from Dr. Marlin Gill Excoriating Obamacare

About those codes. . . Another nightmare for doctors, courtesy of the federal government
Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley?

Chances are slim.

But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you after October 1, 2014, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10​—​the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases propagated by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. So these exotic injuries, codeless for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter), V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter).

The coming changes are vast. The number of codes will explode​—​from 17,000 under the current system to 155,000 under the new one, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
That's because the Federal Government is so reasonable in considering how much work other people should do for its convenience.

While Nancy Pelosi still thinks the law is a plus for Democrats, Harry Reid is taking comfort in the fact that people are losing interest:

Reid: Obamacare Has ‘Dropped Way Down In Significance’
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admitted during a press conference Wednesday that he doesn't know how many Americans will sign up for Obamacare after the White House granted an open enrollment extension.

“I don’t know how many are going to sign up for Obamacare, but we think it’s going to be a high number,” Reid said. “I don’t know how high it will be, but it will be high.”
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that people will get extra time if they have applied for health insurance through exchanges but can’t finish the process before the March 31 open enrollment deadline.

Reid stated that Obamacare is not very popular among Americans right now.

“Obamacare, if you do a poll of anyone, that’s dropped way down in significance,” Reid said, adding that the health care exchange rollout was “really bad.”
Sadly, betting on apathy and attention deficit disorder in the American public is a pretty solid bet.

Will Obamacare Schadenfreude take a break after the "deadline" passes?  That depends on the quantity and quality of the schadenfreude, but I'm hoping for a bit of a respite while the dust settles.

Shooting the Tube

Oh, to be 20 and invincible.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rainy Day Obamacare Schadenfreude

The second day of rain here in Slower Maryland, with rain expected off and on all day, and even into tomorrow. Obamacare Schadenfreude? It's an obvious metaphor. Make it yourself.

Close to home, the Maryland Obamacare website has proved all worthless (compared to Oregon, whose has proved entirely worthless.  Three days from the sign up "deadline" Maryland Gives Up on Obamacare Website, to Steal Borrow Connecticut's:
Maryland officials are set to replace the state’s online health-insurance exchange with technology from Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, according to two people familiar with the decision, an acknowledgment that a system that has cost at least $125.5 million is broken beyond repair.

The board of the Maryland exchange plans to vote on the change Tuesday, the day after the end of the first enrollment period for the state’s residents under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
We're #2! We're #2!

With three days to go, the the feds continue to pour money into theirs: Feds Spend Another $20M on
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released details of the latest contract with Terremark Federal Group covering "open market items" required for the ongoing operation of The documents include an itemized list of computing and network services, fees, licenses and computing capacity. The total comes to $19,755.465.98 and covers four months.

The expenditures appear to relate to the increased capacity that CMS has said was being added in anticipation of increased interest in obtaining Marketplace insurance as the March 31 deadline nears. The government had previously announced that Terremark, a subsidiary of Verizon, was being replaced by Hewlett-Packard. However, since the switch-over was scheduled for the end of March just as open enrollment is ending, CMS awarded Terremark a $58,000,000, seven-month extension back in January.
Making it up as they go along
On Wednesday the Administration said that the March 31 deadline would be extended into April for people who had trouble signing up through the website. But, well that was yesterday. From today’s HHS release:
Millions of Americans have gotten health coverage through the Marketplace in the last five months. And there is still time left for you to join them. But you need to act now. The deadline to enroll for coverage this year is Monday, March 31.
Of course, once March 31 rolls around, HHS will probably say that there is still time to sign up. Oh well…if you haven’t noticed that the Administration is making this stuff up as it goes along, then you don’t have a pulse. . .
Obamacare ‘Is A Complicated Law’

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Nashville on Thursday to urge Tennesseans to sign up for insurance through the federal health care exchange before a March 31 deadline.

Sebelius said that about 16 percent of Tennesseans are uninsured but eligible for insurance through the federal health care exchange, and she encouraged those who have not done so already to sign up.

“If you are a 27-year-old in Nashville trying to make a break singing at the Bluebird Cafe … you can find insurance for as little as $104 a month,” she said, noting that the figure is less than many monthly cell phone or cable bills.

Sebelius admitted that the Affordable Care Act is ”complicated.”
“This is a complicated law,” Sebelius told Breitbart News. ”It’s in place right now and we anticipate full implementation.”

When asked if there were any parts of Obamacare that would “absolutely” not be delayed in the future, Sebelius responded: ”I don’t have any idea how to answer that question.”
Yep, it's a complicated law.  Maybe you should have actually allowed some debate on it before pulling it out of the closet and ramming it through on a party line vote.  As Instapundit reminded us yesterday, without a bogus ethics charge against Sen. Stevens of Alaska by federal prosecutors, they would not have been able to do that.

But it's encouraging she learned not to promise no more delays after having been caught in a flagrant lie.

As we get closer to the enrollment "deadline" moveable goal post, public support for the law wish continues to plummet: AP poll shows ObamaCare support hits new low … of 26%
Democrats who still think that defending ObamaCare makes for a great midterm strategy will be shocked, shocked by the latest AP-Gfk survey results. The rest of us … not so much. Support for the law dropped to a record low in this polling series, and even the slight improvement in the perception of its implementation leaves it far below the Democratic base numbers:
Public support for President Barack Obama’s health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.
The Associated Press-GfK survey finds that 26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act. Yet even fewer — 13 percent — think it will be completely repealed. A narrow majority expects the law to be further implemented with minor changes, or as passed.
But, not to worry, Valerie Jarrett is out soliciting project placement ads for Obamacare in TV and movies.
A top of advisor to President Barack Obama is in Los Angeles to try to get Obamacare written into scripts of TV shows and movies. Valerie Jarrett explained in an appearance on Top That! on

"That's the cool thing," a host said to the presidential advisor. "You've been reaching out to people that are, you know, outside of the norm of what the president might work with. Who else are you working with? Like celebrities, personalities, things like that?"

"You name it," said Jarrett. "That's part of why I'm in L.A. I'm meeting with writers of various TV shows and movies to try to get it into the scripts." When Jarrett says "it into the scripts," she's referring to getting references to Obamacare, the president's signature legislation, into the scripts of TV shows and movies.
But they've been at that a while: Univision advocating for ObamaCare
Earlier, we found out from Marc Caputo’s reporting at the Miami Herald just how far Univision might go to push Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions in 2016. Kate Nocera at BuzzFeed now informs us that Univision isn't waiting for 2016 to promote the Democrats’ agenda. The Spanish-language broadcaster is making a full-court push for ObamaCare, even as its audience grows increasingly disenchanted with the law:
For more than a year, the Spanish-language television network Univision has embarked on their own company-wide effort to get Latinos signed up on the exchanges, working through newscasts, special programming, advertising partnerships, and a dedicated health care website.
Univision has not only been providing information to their viewers as to how to sign up but openly encouraging them to do so.
Nothing wrong with that, but it does show their determination to reach the Hispanic audience.  This one however, strikes me as just wrong: Obamacare Navigators Helping People Enroll at Mexican Consulates
The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.

“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition-- and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.

“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren't supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.

“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.
Maybe one of the statistics someone should ask Sgt Schultz Se.c Sebelius for is the number of illegal aliens who have signed up for Obamacare.  I know she wouldn't say, even if she knew, but the question needs to be raised.

Rule 5 Saturday - Kristen Bell

I wish I had a good excuse for this Rule 5 post, but I don't.  I reviewed Kristen Bell's career on wikipedia and IMDB, and while I've seen a fair number of the TV shows and movies that she's worked in, but she never really impressed me as more than a cute girl.  But then I guess that's enough.  I guess that's the reason.
Workwise, she's starred in quite a string of movies and TV shows, notably playing Veronica Mars in Veronica Mars on both the small and big screen, Supergirl in Movie 43Burlesque, Sarah Marshall in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Lost Masterpieces of Pornography.
 One point in here favor is that she likes dogs...
At age 11, Bell became a vegetarian. In an interview with PETA, Bell stated, "I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with—dogs and cats, for example—from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat.
Which is kind of amusing since both dogs and cat are notably carnivores.

Talk About Going Green. . .

Shaped like a leaf itself, the slug Elysia chlorotica already has a reputation for kidnapping the photosynthesizing organelles and some genes from algae. Now it turns out that the slug has acquired enough stolen goods to make an entire plant chemical-making pathway work inside an animal body, says Sidney K. Pierce of the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The slugs can manufacture the most common form of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that captures energy from sunlight, Pierce reported January 7 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Pierce used a radioactive tracer to show that the slugs were making the pigment, called chlorophyll a, themselves and not simply relying on chlorophyll reserves stolen from the algae the slugs dine on.

“This could be a fusion of a plant and an animal — that’s just cool,” said invertebrate zoologist John Zardus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
One of my first forays into science back in college was to to use C-14 to demonstrate how algal cells in a sea anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, fixed carbon using light and sodium bicarbonate.  But this goes well beyond that.  Instead, this sea slug has stolen the molecular equipment to make the photosynthetic apparatus from algae, and uses it to make it's own food from inorganic carbon and sunlight.
Pierce emphasized that this green slug goes far beyond animals such as corals that host live-in microbes that share the bounties of their photosynthesis. Most of those hosts tuck in the partner cells whole in crevices or pockets among host cells. Pierce’s slug, however, takes just parts of cells, the little green photosynthetic organelles called chloroplasts, from the algae it eats. The slug’s highly branched gut network engulfs these stolen bits and holds them inside slug cells.

Some related slugs also engulf chloroplasts but E. chlorotica alone preserves the organelles in working order for a whole slug lifetime of nearly a year. The slug readily sucks the innards out of algal filaments whenever they’re available, but in good light, multiple meals aren’t essential. Scientists have shown that once a young slug has slurped its first chloroplast meal from one of its few favored species of Vaucheria algae, the slug does not have to eat again for the rest of its life. All it has to do is sunbathe.

But the chloroplasts need a continuous supply of chlorophyll and other compounds that get used up during photosynthesis. Back in their native algal cells, chloroplasts depended on algal cell nuclei for the fresh supplies. To function so long in exile, “chloroplasts might have taken a go-cup with them when they left the algae,” Pierce said.

There have been previous hints, however, that the chloroplasts in the slug don’t run on stored-up supplies alone. Starting in 2007, Pierce and his colleagues, as well as another team, found several photosynthesis-related genes in the slugs apparently lifted directly from the algae. Even unhatched sea slugs, which have never encountered algae, carry “algal” photosynthetic genes.
Biology is constantly find new and amazing stuff.

This Would Probably Be Funnier If I Understood the Words

But it's pretty funny anyway.

Wombat-socho done got "Rule 5 Sunday: Up Periscope" up at The Other McCain on Sunday this week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Perjurer and the Pedophile

From Stacy McCain: Perjurer … Pedophile … Lawsuit
What are the elements of a great news story? Well, President Clinton is aperjurer who lied under oath in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein is reportedly a pedophile who had sex with underage prostitutes. And a lawsuit has brought out new details of the friendship between Clinton and Epstein:
A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton’s friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute.
Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included up multiple trips to the onetime billionaire’s private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves. . . .
Flight logs pinpoint Clinton’s trips on Epstein’s jet between the years 2002 and 2005, while he was working on his philanthropic post-presidential career and while his wife Hillary was a Senator for their adopted state of New York. . . .
Tales of orgies and young girls being shipped to the island, called Little St. James, have been revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Epstein and his former lawyers Scott Rothstein and Bradley Edwards. . . .
At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly, as the suit identifies a woman as Jane Doe 102.
She ‘was forced to live as one of Epstein’s underage sex slaves for years and was forced to have sex with… politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians, etc,’ the lawsuit says according to The Enquirer.
Read the whole thing at the Daily Mail. Let me know if you see any more stories involving a perjurer, a pedophile and a lawsuit.
Wow, I can hardly wait for Hillary to accuse Republicans of a "War on Women."

D.C. Convicts Man for "Dummy" Possession

From Legal Insurrection: Someone who’s not David Gregory convicted of stupid DC gun law violation
Yesterday, a D.C. Judge found Mark Witaschek guilty of “attempted possession of unlawful ammunition” for possessing an antique replica muzzleloader bullet.

Emily Miller at the Washington Times has thoroughly chronicled Mr. Witaschek’s court proceedings, which to date have spanned nearly two years and now appear likely to continue into the appellate stage.

In brief, the case centered on a single inert piece of ammunition, which rested on Mr. Witascheck’s desk in the District, and which he did not know was illegal.
William F. Vanderpool, a retired supervisory special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, [explained] to the judge that the saboted lead balls have no powder or propellant attached, so are not “live…”
The primer on the shotgun shell had already been struck by the firing pin. Mr. Witaschek kept the misfired shell on his home office desk as a memento from a hunt.
Ultimately, Mr. Witaschek was sentenced to time served, a $50 fine, and is required to enroll with the Metropolitan Police Department’s firearm offenders’ registry within 48 hours.
One can be reasonably sure that Mr. Witaschek is not a anti-gun media spokesman, or a someone with good contacts in the D.C. hierarchy:
As noted on Legal Insurrection before, NBC anchor, David Gregory, previously managed to avoid prosecution even after the anchor violated D.C. laws by procuring an empty 30-round magazine and displaying it on live television.

Unlike Mr. Witaschek’s unknowing violation of the law, the violation by Gregory and NBC was no accident. Indeed, as we’ve shown here before, an e-mail from an NBC News representative explicitly inquired into the legality of the use and possession of the empty magazine. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department told NBC that, “possession of high capacity magazines is a misdemeanor.”

Roughly 36 hours following receipt of that unequivocal advisory e-mail from the MPD, Gregory brandished the magazine on NBC’s Sunday program, Meet The Press.

It was later determined by the Office of Attorney General, in no uncertain terms, that Gregory and NBC clearly violated D.C. laws by possessing the magazine. The MPD delivered a Warrant and supporting Affidavit to OAG, a document OAG has refused to provide to Legal Insurrection in response to our Freedom of Information Act request, and which we are now fighting in court (with the help of Judicial Watch) to obtain.

Notwithstanding this determination that Gregory and NBC News violated the law, the OAG opted not to prosecute Gregory or anyone at NBC because, among other things, “prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.”

Purely coincidentally, Gregory’s wife attended a charity function with D.C Attorney General Irvin Nathan.

In related news, anti-gun California State Senator Leland Yee (D) has been arrested for gun running.
“BREAKING: Anti-Gun CA Senator Leland Yee Charged With Gun Running,” reports The Truth About Guns:
It what would surely place his likeness prominently on the Mt. Rushmore of hypocrisy if the allegations are proven in a court of law, famously anti-gun California state Senator Leland Yee has been charged with, in addition to bribery and public corruption…yes…gun running. Specifically conspiring with known organized crime lord Kwok Cheung “Shrimp Boy” Chow to illegally import firearms and sell them without a license . . .
The affidavit charges that the $2 million worth of weapons to have been secreted into the country from the Philippines included rocket launchers and machine guns, some of which Yee himself had fired while on Mindanao. A portion of the weapons Yee conspired to bring into the U.S. through New Jersey were to have been forwarded on to North Africa via Sicily.
You gotta keep the competition down.

Peak Obamacare Schadenfreude?

A windy, rainy day here in slower Maryland, with a temperature of 50 ish.  Not great, but hey, at least it isn't snow. It looks like Obamacare Schadenfreude is going to peak right up to the March 31st enrollment deadline, target, suggestion, wishhope.
A. When you just testified that you were not going to give another extension.

a. When "the administration decides that morning" that's "how it wants the law to read."
b. When it's "sort of comical" or "cynicism raised to the level of comedy."

c. When the administration is dealing with "one of the longest laws in American history, thousands of pages," so that no one can really be expected to "refer[] to section 706-b, or whatever," so "none of [the words] really matter."
d. When they "were lying when they said... the deadline wouldn't change" and "Everyone knew they were lying."

e. When "nobody really cares" about the statutory text or the fact that it's been lied about.

f. When you actually don't want any deadline, because you want an endless period of open enrollment, because you want to let people wait until they have a big medical expense before they buy insurance, because that's the way to "send all the companies into bankruptcy."

g. All of the above.

h. All of the above except f.
Harry Reid's Alzheimer's is showing:  I don’t recall accusing Republicans of lying about ObamaCare horror stories:

ObamaCare: Stop me if you've heard this before …
Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline. They’d love for this to be over so they can stop having to deal with the White House, The Hill reports today:
The health insurance industry can’t wait for ObamaCare’s first enrollment season to be over so that it can have a break from dealing with the White House, sources on K Street say.
Insurers feel that the administration has taken advantage of them by making repeated delays and changes to the law, even as they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to fix problems with the rollout.
Kathleen Sebelius arrives in Nashville, Tennessee to promote the web portal in part by pulling a Chip Diller and proclaiming that all is well with the website and the program:
Will anyone believe her? In my column today for The Fiscal Times, I note that her record of honesty and competence makes her campaign a joke, too:
Perhaps Kathleen Sebelius can explain her Congressional testimony to Speaker Boehner by claiming to have been joking when she insisted that there would be no further delays in Obamacare earlier this month. Sebelius was asked specifically by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) about any potential pushbacks on the open-enrollment deadline two weeks ago, and replied, “No sir.”
Rich Lowry calls Sebelius “the Baghdad Bob of health insurance“:
. . .Millions have now signed up for the exchanges, but it’s not clear that the demographic mix is right to avoid steep premium increases by insurers in 2015. So far, it looks like young people— essential to making the economics of the exchanges work — aren’t signing up in the necessary numbers. The extension is surely a ploy to squeeze every last “young invincible” out of the current enrollment period, and hope the news for the rates in 2015 isn’t so bad.

And after that? It’s anybody’s guess. All we know for sure is that whatever Kathleen Sebelius says today may not be operative tomorrow.
IBD offers the real reason for the extensions and the Obama administration attempts to dodge demands for the hard numbers from HHS:
No, the real reason for the deadline delay is that Obama is desperate to get lagging enrollment numbers as high as he can, any way he can.

It’s the same reason the administration refuses to produce data on how many ObamaCare “enrollees” have actually paid their premiums: HHS officials insist they just don’t have that information.

But this week Reps. Dave Camp and Kevin Brady discovered that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been telling insurers to report both enrollment and payment data. That, the lawmakers say, strongly suggests “the administration knows who has enrolled and paid their first month’s premium.”

In addition, eight state-run exchanges — each built with federal grant money — have managed to produce nonpayment data for some time now.

That picture isn’t very pretty. In Maryland, 46% of enrollees haven’t paid their premiums so far. In Vermont, 36% are unpaid. Overall, about one in five people in these states has yet to pony up.

If that average holds nationwide, it means that fully 1 million people haven’t paid for their ObamaCare plans yet and could lose their coverage.

They won’t be laughing, either.
Why does Kathleen Sebelius still have a job?
You and I know why: Because she’ll say whatever she’s told to say, whether it’s true or not. Whether it hurts people or not. Whether it even makes sense or not. She’ll tell any lie necessary, and then she’ll go home and sleep like a baby.

Good work, if you can get it.

Of course, she can’t say that. And she doesn’t have to answer to you anyway, you miserable serfs upon whom she feeds.
Ann Coulter, however, blames Mickey Kaus for his role in selling the program: SCREW YOU, MICKEY KAUS
I've been thrown off my health insurance -- THANKS, OBAMACARE! -- and have spent hours and hours over the past month trying to figure out my options now that the Democrats have made my old plan, which I liked, "illegal." (I prefer to think of my plan as "undocumented.")

Whom do I bill for the hours of work Obamacare forced me to perform? How about you, Mickey? You're the smartest living liberal (faint praise), and you assured us that Obamacare was going to be fantastic.

By now, Obama has issued "waivers" from Obamacare to about 99 percent of the country. (Perhaps you've heard, there's a big midterm election this year.) As one of the few Americans not granted a waiver, I'm here to tell you: You have no idea what's coming, America.

I thought I had figured out the best plan for me a month ago after having doctors and hospital administrators look at the packets of material I was sent by my old insurance company -- the same mailing that informed me my old plan was "illegal" under Obamacare.

But when I checked online recently, I discovered the premier plan -- the "platinum," low-deductible, astronomically expensive plan that might be accepted by an English-speaking doctor who didn't attend medical school in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts -- does not include treatment at any decent hospitals.

That's sort of unfortunate because THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I WANT INSURANCE! That's the only reason any sane homo sapien wants health insurance: to cover health care costs in the event of some catastrophic illness or accident -- not to pay for Mickey Kaus' allergy appointments. But my only options under the blue-chip plan were hospitals that also do shoe repair.

I called Blue Cross directly to ask if its most expensive insurance plan covered the only hospital I'd ever go to in an emergency. Since that's all I wanted to know, that's what I asked. (I like to get to the point that way.)

But -- as happens whenever you try to ascertain the most basic information about insurance under Obamacare -- the Blue Cross representative began hammering me with a battery of questions about myself.

First my name. (Does that make a difference to what hospitals its plans cover?) Then my phone number. By the time he got to my address, I said, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TELL ME IF ANY OF YOUR PLANS COVER XYZ HOSPITAL? I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF I WANT TO SIGN UP WITH YOU!

Finally, he admitted that Blue Cross' most expensive individual insurance plan does not cover treatment at the hospitals I named. Their doctors are "out of network" (and the person who designed this plan is "out of his mind").

This was the rest of the conversation, verbatim:

ME: None of your plans cover out-of-network doctors?


ME: Why is it called "Premier Guided Access WITH OUT-OF-NETWORK PLAN"?

BLUE CROSS: Where did you see that?

ME: On Blue Cross' own material describing its plans.

BLUE CROSS: Oh. I don't know why it's called that.

ME: None of your plans cover (the good hospital)?


ME: I don't know who you are, but I have a very specific set of skills that will help me find you. And when I find you, I am going to kill you. (Click.)

True conversation. Except the last sentence. That was my fantasy. . .
As much fun a Mickey Kaus is to read, I think this might overstate his importance.

Not to be outdone, Michelle Malkin takes on Hobby Lobby vs Sebelius:
Those protesting Hobby Lobby are using the most contradictory slogan possible: “Not My Boss’s Business,” all while demanding that paying for birth control (abortifacient drugs to be more specific) be nothing short of the boss’s business. Sandra Fluke agrees.

A more accurate slogan would be “Just shut up and pay for it.”
The Colorado exchange is signing people up, taking their money, and then, well, "forgetting" to cover them.  It saves a lot of money that way:
Thousands of Colorado residents may find themselves without health-insurance coverage, thanks to the failure of their state exchange to finish their paperwork. Megan Reardon thought she had completed her ObamaCare application in November for herself and her children. In January, she discovered that her application never got filed with her chosen insurer, and she’s not alone (via Newsalert). . .

But don't worry, all is well:

From the "Too Little Too Late" Dept, a number of Democratic Senator in trouble for reelection attempt to rethink Obamacare:
As each of us has said from the beginning, the ACA is not perfect.
Ya think?

Majority of Texas Hispanics Have Unfavorable View of Obamacare

As in other states with significant Hispanic populations, polling shows that Latinos in Texas are increasingly turning against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. According to the recent University of Texas poll, a majority of the state's Hispanic population now has an unfavorable view of the law - with a stunning 41 percent saying they have a "very unfavorable" opinion of this new system. Overall, Texans are deeply opposed to the law, with just about half saying their view is "very unfavorable."

Among Hispanics, views of the law have worsened significantly during the enrollment period, and continue to trend negatively. In October, 46 percent of Texas Hispanics had an unfavorable view of the law, with 35 percent describing their views as "very unfavorable," according to the same poll. Earlier this month, a poll in Colorado found that 57% of Latinos in that state disapproved of the ACA. Nationally, a recent poll from PEW illustrated that Hispanics were split on the law, signaling a sharp drop in support since just late last year.
People who work for a living are likely to have issues with Obamacare. Hispanics tend to work rather than vote for a living, so their more apt to see the downsides.

3D Printed Acoustic Chaise

This was posted to a site by a friend who works in the business. Narrated by the somewhat hot MIT professor who helped design it:

I think it kind of looks like a giant tongue.

Wombat-socho done got "Rule 5 Sunday: Up Periscope" up at The Other McCain on Sunday this week.

Do It for Denmark!

An interesting idea. We may not be quite as bad off as the Scandi countries yet, (apparently all the virile blood emigrated with the Vikings), but we're following down the same path.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Great White Shark Killing Virginia Dolphins

Great white shark likely killed dolphins off Virginia Beach

. . . On their way to a new fishing location about 40 miles off Rudee Inlet, they spotted a pair of dolphins floating on the surface. Closer inspection revealed that the lower rear portion of each was missing - it had been bitten off by something with large, razor-sharp teeth.

"A shark, for sure," Pappas said. "I've caught hundreds of shark in my life, and I was pretty sure this was a great white by the size of the teeth marks. The chunks were bitten out completely."
 Yep, those teeth are pretty amazing

As Shipp held one of the dolphins up for pictures, Pappas kept thinking: "Hurry up.... What if it's still around?

"I've never been scared out on the water before," he said. "But we were in a 19-foot boat, and this worried me a little bit."

Jack Musick, a professor emeritus at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, confirmed Pappas' suspicions after looking at photos.
I'm gonna call that about 12 ft
I doubt a 10 ft shark could do too much damage to a 19 foot fiberglass or aluminum boat; but it would be nerve wracking to find out the hard way.
"The bites are great white shark bites," said Musick, who started VIMS' shark program in 1973 and continues to study the fish.

"Looking at the width of the bite and the man in the pictures, I'd have to guess that it's approximately a 10-foot animal.

"You can see the size of the teeth and the gapping. It's classic," he said.

It's also pretty rare for this time of year.

Pappas said water temperatures around the Triangle Wrecks - some 40 miles off the coast - were in the mid-40s. Musick said that would be on the lower end of a great white's tolerance range. But satellite imagery from Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service indicated a meandering of warmer Gulf Stream water in the area, which could explain the dolphins... and the shark.
Like their cousin the Mako Shark, Great Whites also have a rete mirabile; a cross current network of blood vessels that allows them to keep some of their tissue above water temperature, a form of pseudo-warm bloodedness that enables to move rapidly in cool water.
Great whites are found in Virginia coastal waters. Commercial fishermen catch them almost annually in their nets. And recreational anglers are reporting an increase in sightings.

A 15-footer was caught 3 miles off Rudee Inlet last summer by Maryland-based charter captain Dan McClarren.

And Mary Lee - an estimated 3,500-pounder equipped with a satellite tag by Ocearch - last summer was monitored inside Hatteras Inlet and near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
I wrote about Mary Lee back in Nov. of 2013.  As of a few days ago, Mary Lee was miles away, down off the Georgia Bight, out near the shelf break.
An increase in the number of harbor seals living around the bay could attract more sharks.

"The population of great white shark along the East Coast is rebounding," Musick said. "And with the seals' range expanding, it's likely there could be more encounters."

Pappas is looking forward to that.

"It's exciting," he said. "Of all the fish you catch, shark are at the top of the food chain, and it's remarkable to be around them.

"I just don't want to have my hands in the water taking pictures when one shows up."
I wonder if they hit a Bass Assassin or a BKD?