Monday, January 13, 2014

Cruising the Web

Here is a clear sign that our country's litigiousness has gone from being a scandal to being a farce.
A 26-year-old Portland pimp has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Nike, claiming the shoe manufacturer is partially responsible for a brutal beating that helped net him a 100-year prison sentence.

Sirgiorgiro Clardy claims Nike should have placed a label in his Jordan shoes warning consumers that they could be used as a dangerous weapon. He was wearing a pair when he repeatedly stomped the face of a john who was trying to leave a Portland hotel without paying Clardy's prostitute in June 2012.
How could Nike have missed out on such a needed warning to its customers not to stomp people's faces in while wearing the shoes since that might cause physical harm that could result in a long prison term?

John Podhoretz ponders the vast difference in how the media have covered Chris Christie's bridge scandal and how they covered the IRS scandal. In one day they devoted 17 times as much coverage to what is now being called Bridgegate than they have devoted to the IRS scandal over the past six months. They're just not interested in doing more to dig into the IRS story and to keep it on the frontpage despite IRS officials resigning or taking the Fifth. As Podhoretz explains, it goes beyond mere partisanship. It is personal.
There is a fundamental misunderstanding among conservatives about the causes of partisan media bias — the reason there is unequal coverage of scandals of this kind. It exists not because there is a conscious effort to soft-pedal bad news for politicians you like and to push hard on bad news for politicians you don’t.
It’s actually more personal — more relatable, shall we say—than that.

Journalists know the Obamans. Intimately. They know them from college, they know them from work, they know them from kids’ soccer. They’re literally married to them.
To the journalists, the Obamans don’t look like crooks and cheats. Far from it. For them, it’s like looking in a mirror.

In September, Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic Wire took note of 24 major journalists who have taken posts at senior levels in the Obama administration. All of them have worked for decades in various news organizations, thus creating personal ties and bonds of affection with literally hundreds of working reporters and editors.

The journalists are not covering up for their friends and their spouses. They just believe the people they know could not be responsible for behaving badly, or cravenly, or for crass political advantage —and the tone they strike when such things are discussed is often one of offense, as though it is a sign of low character to believe otherwise. It would be, well, like believing the journalists themselves were crooks.

It’s fair to say that most conservatives don’t know people in the Obama administration, and they dislike and disagree with its policies. When they look at it, their dislike and lack of any personal connection make it easier for them to see officials mired in scandal and tush-covering cover-up. This is a direct analogue to the way liberals — of whom journalists comprise a central cohort — viewed the George W. Bush and Reagan administrations.

They saw people with whom they disagreed and who they thought were bad for the country and so found it much easier to believe they were acting out of malign motive and doing evil.
Meanwhile, Jay Nordlinger has some wise words with which I wholeheartedly agree as he chastises the 100-percenters - those conservatives who want to throw other conservatives like Chris Christie, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan, out of the tent if there is any apparent deviation away from conservative absolutism, even if it is just a disagreement on tactics, not on the ultimate goal. Like Ronald Reagan, I would prefer to concentrate on the 80% with which I agree than the 20% with which I might differ.

Speaking of Rubio, James Pethokoukis analyzes Rubio's plans to fight poverty that the senator outlined last week and finds much to like in his proposals.

Scott Walker wins a free-speech victory against his political opponents in Wisconsin.

Linda Chavez decries the misguided quota-based approach that the Obama administration wants to take towards school discipline. By focusing their attention on a numbers game that seeks to bring down the number of blacks and Hispanic children being disciplined, they will end up harming the very populations they pretend to want to help.
In the DC-area study, for example, minority students were far more likely to be suspended for “insubordination” than whites. The easiest way to fix the statistical disparity would be for school districts to eliminate insubordination as an infraction punishable by suspension. But who’d benefit?
Students who refuse to follow the rules and behave disrespectfully to teachers and administrators would learn they could get away with it with no consequences, setting them up for future failure in the work world. Students who behaved would find themselves in unruly classrooms, and teachers would find their authority and ability to teach undermined.
The New York Times reports on how people are starting to experience the impact of the mess-ups that the website now that they're trying to get care under their supposed new health plan. And it just isn't working for some.
Paul D. Donahue and his wife, Angela, are among more than a million Americans who have signed up for health coverage through the federal insurance exchange. Mr. Donahue has a card in his wallet from his insurer to prove it. But when he tried to use it to get a flu shot and fill prescriptions this week, local pharmacies could not confirm his coverage, so he left without his medications.

Similar problems are occurring daily in doctors’ offices and drugstores around the country as consumers try to use insurance coverage that took effect on Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act.

In addition to the difficulties many face in proving they have coverage, patients are also having a hard time figuring out whether particular doctors are affiliated with their health insurance plan. Doctors themselves often do not know if they are in the network of providers for plans sold on the exchange.

But interviews with doctors, hospital executives, pharmacists and newly insured people around the country suggest that the biggest challenge so far has been verifying coverage. A surge of enrollments in late December, just before the deadline for coverage to take effect, created backlogs at many state and federal exchanges and insurance companies in processing applications. As a result, many of those who enrolled have yet to receive an insurance card, policy number or bill.

Many are also having trouble reaching exchanges and insurance companies to confirm their enrollment or pay their first month’s premium. Doctors’ offices and pharmacies, too, are spending hours on the phone trying to verify patients’ coverage, sometimes to no avail.

One Colorado official tells of how Senator Mark Udall's office has tried to prevent the facts of how miserably the Affordable Care Act has impacted Coloradans. Can't have the truth coming out if it makes Obamacare look bad, can we?

Oh, and the Spanish Obamacare website is about as poorly designed as the English site.

The Youth Misery Index has skyrocketed under Obama.
The index, released Wednesday, was calculated by adding youth unemployment and average college loan debt figures with each person’s share of the national debt. While it has steadily grown over the decades, under Obama the figure has shot up dramatically, from 83.5 in 2009 to 98.6 in 2013.
AP is finding similar stories of people who are finding that their insurers have no record of them.

George Will looks at the case that the Supreme Court will be hearing today about whether the President has the power to declare, contrary to what the Senate itself has said, that the Senate is in recess and that he can thus make recess appointments since he has unilaterally declared them in recess.
Constitutional arguments that seem as dry as dust can have momentous consequences. On Monday, the Supreme Court’s nine fine minds will hear oral arguments about the meaning of “the” and “happen.” What they decide could advance the urgent project of reining in rampant executive power.

“The president,” says the Constitution, “shall have the power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate” (emphasis added). Monday’s case concerns whether Barack Obama made recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess, and made them to fill vacancies that did not happen during a recess.
I look forward to reading about the hearing since this seems like such a clear case of executive overreach.

IBD counts up all the ways that Obama's record on jobs stinks. The WSJ has the dismal record of worker participation under Obama.

One political researcher argues that it is the increasing political competitiveness that is driving partisanship.

Walter Williams explains the politics of raising the minimum wage. Those whom it hurts don't vote and don't understand how raising the minimum wage hurts them. But those who benefit - union workers and manufacturers do understand and do vote.