Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cruising the Web

Even the Huffington Post is wondering if Obama is "backing away from Obamacare."

Atlantic Magazine reviews the great gender debates of the past year. Fortunately, I was rather oblivious to most of these.

PJ Media brings together its writers and contacts to examine the most underreported foreign news story of 2013.

Timothy P. Carney examines how the Democrats keep peeling away the elements of Obamacare that were supposed to reduce the deficit.

Andrew Malcolm imagines the questions that President Obama could have received at his press conference. It just reminds us of how complaisant the media have been and continue to be to Obama.

Stu Rothenberg looks at the gifts that Democrats and Republicans gave each other the past year. Perusing the list it seems that the Democrats were much more generous to the Republicans.

James Rosen writes in the Washingtonian about the difficulties Hillary Clinton will have running on her record as Secretary of State. Add in the minimal contributions she made as a senator. I continue to wonder what she has going for her besides her gender on longevity on the political scene. Even her aides have a difficult time selling her record at State.
Yet ask Clinton’s closest aides to identify her greatest accomplishment as Secretary and the answers immediately plunge us into some deathly lunch-hour foreign-policy panel at Brookings or CSIS.

“She provided leadership in reorienting American foreign policy and reshaping global perceptions of US foreign policy after the eight years of the Bush administration,” says James Steinberg, Clinton’s deputy Secretary of State.

“She was the first person who really realized that we have to do diplomacy differently in the 21st century,” Slaughter says. “She realized that we can’t act as if diplomacy is just a bunch of nicely dressed gentlemen in dark-paneled rooms. She appointed ambassadors to the tech community, youth, women, the entrepreneurial community. She knew we can’t just do government-to-government, that we also have to do government-to-society and society-to-society.”

Slaughter credits Clinton with elevating “economic statecraft”: “In an age of non-state actors, she was the first person who knew how to adapt to that world.”
So they give us generalizations, but very little proof. And, as Rosen points out, she just eliding over Condoleezza Rice's record at state.

It's two years since Hurricane Sandy, but many of those hit by the hurricane are still waiting for the federal money that was supposed to help victims. Once again, bureaucratic red tape is getting in the way. Gee, how many times have we heard before this sort of discussion of how red tape interferes with the goals of government?
Congress approved about $60 billion in Sandy aid last January, setting aside a large chunk of that money for housing rehabilitation programs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took several months to develop rules for implementing those programs. The states then had to build a system for awarding them. Each region’s program is slightly different. New Jersey did an initial round of $10,000 grants to residents with damaged properties who agreed to remain in the same county after the storm. That aid totaled $180 million and was distributed more quickly.

Officials in both states and the city said many of the delays in getting rebuilding grants are related to HUD requirements. All homeowners participating in the federal program have to undergo a series of inspections, environmental reviews, insurance reviews and other evaluations intended to confirm eligibility and prevent fraud or overpayments.

Jeremy Creelan, special counsel to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), likened the process to running a gantlet. “From our perspective, these requirements are overly burdensome,” he said.

That’s something most homeowners would agree with.

So how many House Democrats would still vote against delaying the individual mandate?

Rich Lowry rightly pays tribute to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.