Monday, April 14, 2014

Cruising the Web

Ross Douthat gets to the heart of what is so despicable about the stories of Brendan Eich's resignation from Mozilla and Brandeis University's disinviting of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
What both cases illustrate, with their fuzzy rhetoric masking ideological pressure, is a serious moral defect at the heart of elite culture in America.

The defect, crucially, is not this culture’s bias against social conservatives, or its discomfort with stinging attacks on non-Western religions. Rather, it’s the refusal to admit — to others, and to itself — that these biases fundamentally trump the commitment to “free expression” or “diversity” affirmed in mission statements and news releases.

This refusal, this self-deception, means that we have far too many powerful communities (corporate, academic, journalistic) that are simultaneously dogmatic and dishonest about it — that promise diversity but only as the left defines it, that fill their ranks with ideologues and then claim to stand athwart bias and misinformation, that speak the language of pluralism while presiding over communities that resemble the beau ideal of Sandra Y. L. Korn.
Korn is the Harvard undergraduate who wrote an essay proposing that Harvard shouldn't allow its faculty to write anything that didn't conform to left-wing ideals, basically that Harvey Mansfield should be shut up by the university that employs him.
I am (or try to be) a partisan of pluralism, which requires respecting Mozilla’s right to have a C.E.O. whose politics fit the climate of Silicon Valley, and Brandeis’s right to rescind degrees as it sees fit, and Harvard’s freedom to be essentially a two-worldview community, with a campus shared uneasily by progressives and corporate neoliberals, and a small corner reserved for token reactionary cranks.

But this respect is difficult to maintain when these institutions will not admit that this is what is going on. Instead, we have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the “spirit of free expression” from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage.

And with the pretense, increasingly, comes a dismissive attitude toward those institutions — mostly religious — that do acknowledge their own dogmas and commitments, and ask for the freedom to embody them and live them out.

It would be a far, far better thing if Harvard and Brandeis and Mozilla would simply say, explicitly, that they are as ideologically progressive as Notre Dame is Catholic or B. Y.U. is Mormon or Chick-fil-A is evangelical, and that they intend to run their institution according to those lights.

I can live with the progressivism. It’s the lying that gets toxic.
Hey, that hypocrisy has basically been the MSM's shtick for years. They pretend that they are perfectly nonpartisan and nonideological and then proceed to report everything from a leftist, Democratic perspective. They are so immersed in that viewpoint that they don't even recognize their own biases. It just seems like the truth to them.

CBS would probably like us all to believe that they tell the news the way it is, but the revelations that have come out about how they tried to smother the reporting of Sharyl Attkisson from investigating any news story that made the Obama administration look bad put a lie to that fantasy.

Why would Jay Carney and his wife, Claire Shipman, pose for these ridiculous photos in Washingtonian Magazine that supposedly portray their have-it-all lifestyle? Why would they allow their children to be part of this farce? Just remember these facts, helpfully supplied by the magazine the next time you see Jay Carney trying to evade answering embarrassing questions at the podium.
Jay Suit, $895, glen plaid dress shirt, $195, foulard print tie, $135, and polka-dot pocket square, $55, all at Hugo Boss (Tysons Galleria). Claire Cotton jacquard shift dress, $299 at Karen Millen (Tysons Galleria); knotted rope crystal necklace, $98 at Ann Taylor (multiple area locations); and jeweled bracelet by Loren Hope, similar styles at Bishop Boutique (Alexandria).
Ah, yes. A true family of the people.

George Will contrasts the women running for office in the Midwest to the leftist heroine, Sandra Fluke.
Land represents Republicans’ most effective response to Democrats’ ­hyperventilating about the “war on women” — female candidates. It will be amusing to see such rhetoric tried in Iowa, where Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard who served in Iraq, is seeking the Republican Senate nomination. She says in an ad: “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.” She rides a Harley and in a recent Des Moines Register column she said, “Those who know me well know that I carry a black purse everywhere I go. What many people don’t know is what’s inside: a Smith and Wesson 9 mm and my concealed carry permit.”

Many Democrats seem to prefer the sensibility of Fluke, a professional victim and virtuoso whiner. Michigan’s electorate, which has produced today’s Republican governor and legislature, may be ready, by electing a Republican senator for the third time in 42 years, to show what they think of “war on women” hysterics as a substitute for thought.
What a surprise - President Obama lied about voting rights cases.

Democrats sure have a proclivity to call their political foes "un-American." Remember when liberals used to howl at any sort of hint that Republicans were calling them un-American. How quickly the worm turns.

This is a fascinating tale told by self-proclaimed "Bag Men" who reveals the secrets of how he and others like him channel all sorts of money, gifts, and perks to SEC players and their families.
The Bag Man excuses himself to make a call outside, on his "other phone," to arrange delivery of $500 in cash to a visiting recruit. The player is rated No. 1 at his position nationally and on his way into town. We're sitting in a popular restaurant near campus almost a week before National Signing Day, talking about how to arrange cash payments for amateur athletes.

"Nah, there's no way we're landing him, but you still have to do it," he says. "It looks good. It's good for down the road. Same reason my wife reads Yelp. These kids talk to each other. It's a waste of money, but they're doing the same thing to our guys right now in [rival school's town]. Cost of business."
Read the rest and ponder how ridiculous things still are in college sports.

Here are seven charts to demonstrate why Obamacare is going to continue to be so unpopular for many years. Add in the increased premiums and taxes that are strongly increasing costs to the increased rates that people might just be realizing. And what about when all those people who bought insurance for the first time realize that they have such high deductibles?
First-time insurance purchasers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, will be shocked by ObamaCare’s high deductibles, about $3,000 for the silver plan (the most commonly selected) and $5,000 for the bronze plan (the most affordable).

Basically, you’ll have to pay thousands out of pocket for appointments, tests and prescriptions until you reach your deductible.

Millennials who heard Obama say on “Between Two Ferns” that they can buy a health plan for the price of a cellphone contract won’t be laughing when they realize what the $5,000 deductible means. (It’s like a cellphone contract that makes you pay $5 a text for your first thousand texts.) Rather than pay thousands out of pocket for care while also paying premiums, some will quit paying premiums.

That’s why the AMA is worried. Section 1412 of the health law gives consumers a 90 day “grace period” before their subsidized plan is canceled for nonpayment. But insurers only have to keep paying doctors and hospitals for 30 days. The next 60 days of care are on the care provider. The AMA says “it could pose a significant financial risk for medical practices.”
Add in the people who are going to lose coverage through their employers once those employers find out how much their coverage is going to increase.

And then there is the "Medicaid trap" that the "tech surge" to fix the Obamacare website didn't address.
Some applications sent from the exchanges never make it to the state Medicaid offices. Of those that do, jumbled or missing data can make the applications impossible to process in any kind of automated way. In the meantime, these individuals are without coverage as they wait for their applications to be reviewed, and their prospects for getting insured soon are dimming as backlogs build.

And then there's the extreme example, where some applicants—typically those whose incomes put them on the cusp of Medicaid eligibility—have been trapped in a circular purgatory. Consumers are incorrectly deemed eligible for Medicaid by the exchanges, then rejected by the Medicaid offices. Their applications then need to be sent back over to the marketplaces, but they don't always make it there.

The size of the problem is difficult to pinpoint, as experiences vary by state and information is largely anecdotal. But backlogs of Medicaid applications stretching to the hundred-thousands have been reported in states including Texas, Illinois, California, and New Jersey.

All of this is the opposite of what the White House intended: The federal and state exchange websites were meant to serve as a one-stop shop for insurance, where consumers could immediately find out whether they were eligible for subsidized private coverage or Medicaid. The law's Medicaid efforts are aimed at closing a gap in the social safety net that left out people with incomes that were high enough to miss their home state's Medicaid qualifications but not high enough to afford insurance.