Friday, December 27, 2013

Cruising the Web

I hope all of my readers had a very merry Christmas and are enjoying time with your friends and family.

The Atlantic Magazine notices that there is an ongoing ideological battle going on within the Democratic Party.

Alan Turing finally gets a royal pardon.

President Obama signed up for Obamacare, or rather he got his aides to travel in person to sign up for a policy that he doesn't plan to use. The PR disaster continues. As Allahpundit writes,
Of course the president’s not going to entrust his vital info to one of these tinpot online exchanges. He knows better than anyone how vulnerable they are; the one he built himself was so grotesquely flawed, his own security team wouldn’t sign off on it. Special procedures would be needed.
If only average people could have aides sign them up in person while they vacationed in Hawaii.

John Fund details how the administration is resisting efforts to make them notify people if their personal information has been hacked through
According to a report by the group, HHS responded: “We do not plan to include the specific notification procedures in the final rule. Consistent with this approach, we do not include specific policies for investigation of data breaches in this final rule.” In other words, the government doesn’t have to tell you about a security breach unless it decides it wants to — despite the fact that private companies are required to publicly disclose any incidents. State laws also require many of the 14 state-run insurance exchanges to disclose such information, but no such law exists for the federally run exchange, which 36 states rely upon.
Hmmm. Why would HHS resist keeping people informed? Once again, they seem to be opting for PR over the interests of individuals. That's been their attitude all along.

Steven Hayward ponders how universities are finally starting to trim the amazing number of administrators they have. It does seem about time.

Mark Steyn explains what is happening with the suit that Michael Mann has brought against him for making fun of him. It really is an amazing, practically Kafkaesque situation. It seems very likely that Steyn and NRO will eventually win their case, but it will cost them a fortune. That is what happens in our justice system today. And is a mark of how courts can be used here to challenge free speech. There should be some recourse for victims of a fraudulent complaint and a judge's incompetence other than having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend themselves.

Lee Habeeb has one of the best reflections on the whole Duck Dynasty brouhaha that I've read as he explains why the Robertsons will not back down in the way that other celebrities back down when they're excoriated for saying something that has gotten them into hot water. Habeeb concludes,
As we reflect on all matters at the turn of the new year, maybe we should think about how lucky we all are to live in a country as rich, diverse, and beautiful as ours. One that allows the Robertson family and Ellen DeGeneres to live their lives freely, and to make a living without fear of reprisal for simply being who they are, and for believing what they believe.

And as some among us seek to cleanse the world of sound bites and speech that hurt our feelings and sensitivities, maybe we can reflect on Thomas Jefferson’s great words on the subject: “It does me no injury for my neighbors to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my legs.”

For a New Year’s resolution, let’s stop breaking legs and destroying the livelihoods of people for the mere act of disagreeing with us. Or saying something we don’t like.

We are better than that. And tougher.
Sounds like a good resolution for all concerned.

Cheers! Obamacare will soon put more and more people into Medicaid-like programs with fewer and fewer doctors willing to treat them. You know what will follow - Democratic proposals to force doctors to take Obamacare patients.

Even the NYT is noticing the problems with how the Obama administration changes regulations and exemptions on the fly without any legal authority to do so.
The move did not mollify insurers who have grown concerned as new problems have erupted since the rollout on Oct. 1 and are worried about how they will be able to provide coverage for everyone who wants it by Jan. 1, when that coverage is supposed to go into effect.

“The goal posts keep moving,” William G. Schiffbauer, a lawyer who represents insurance companies, said Tuesday evening. “That raises questions about whether insurers can collect premiums in a timely manner to pay claims from doctors and hospitals.”

“The latest step creates confusion for consumers and insurers,” he added.

Insurers said that Tuesday’s action, combined with several recent unexpected shifts in federal rules and policy, made it harder for them to predict the number and characteristics of new subscribers. That, in turn, makes it harder for them to predict their costs and complicates efforts to set prices for their products....

In its effort to help consumers and to avoid political damage to the president, the administration has announced a series of policy changes, delays, extensions and clarifications in recent months.

Taken together, they amount to a sweeping exercise of executive power — what Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School describes as a “pattern of circumventing Congress in the creation of new major standards, exceptions or outright nullifications.”
Meanwhile, Rich Lowry ponders the President's inept efforts to escape the consequences of his own dang law.
Coordination with the insurance companies is dispensed with, and public notice is spotty. Announcements are sometimes made at night, when everyone eagerly awaits the latest news on how American health insurance will work. It was around 9 p.m. that the administration let it be known that it was partially suspending the individual mandate in 2014 by exempting people who have had their insurance policies canceled. It didn’t even publicly announce its one-day extension of the deadline to get insurance by January 1. This is not just government by diktat, but government by embarrassed diktat.
Understandably, since the administration has a lot to be embarrassed about, it long ago stopped caring about coherence. After the latest big change, the individual mandate applies to you, except if it doesn’t. It is absolutely essential to the functioning of the law, except when it isn’t. The law is a Great Leap Forward for the cause of social justice. But it is also a hardship.
But he can't escape what he himself and his party have wrought.

These ads are going to hurt. And they can be played against just about every Democrat.

Get ready for the new Obamacare taxes and fees that will hit all of us in 2014. Oh, and I hadn't realized that they raised the threshold for deducting healthcare expenses on your income taxes.

The Washington Post is not impressed with Obama's boasting about success with his Syrian policy.

If you don't think the role of women hasn't changed much, check out these vintage Christmas ads from the 1940s - 1960s and try to imagine any of these being run today.