Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cruising the Web

Chicago Magazine has an appalling, yet fascinating investigation into the statistics about the city's crime statistics. They've uncovered ways in which the Emanuel administration have been deliberately misclassified what are clearly murders as "death investigations" or as less serious crimes, apparently to lower the horrific numbers for Chicago's murder rates. They only had do this for a few murders in order to then hold a press conference trumpeting the lower numbers.
The change stunned officers. Current and former veteran detectives who reviewed the Groves case at Chicago’s request were just as incredulous. Says a retired high-level detective, “How can you be tied to a chair and gagged, with no clothes on, and that’s a [noncriminal] death investigation?” (He, like most of the nearly 40 police sources interviewed for this story, declined to be identified by name, citing fears of disciplinary action or other retribution.)

Was it just a coincidence, some wondered, that the reclassification occurred less than two weeks before the end of the year, when the city of Chicago’s final homicide numbers for 2013 would be tallied? “They essentially wiped away one of the murders in the city, which is crazy,” says a police insider. “But that’s the kind of shit that’s going on.”
Read the whole thing. You will be appalled at the bare-faced cynical maneuver. As the magazine concludes,
What you also get is the kind of public record that every Chicagoan deserves. Not to mention the knowledge that police are doing their jobs. The killers of Tiara Groves, Tiffany Jones, Maurice Harris, Michelle Manalansan, Millicent Brown-Johnson, Jovan Perkins, and Patrick Walker may remain on the streets. As long as their deaths are not considered homicides, that’s unlikely to change, detectives say.

Saddest of all, perhaps, the victims’ grieving families and friends are left with the belief that the system is profoundly unjust. “I wake up every day and I know my son and my son’s mom were murdered,” says Austin Perkins, Jovan’s father. “I just don’t understand how police can categorize it the way they are categorizing it. I just want answers. I just want justice.

“You can’t go around setting buildings on fire and killing people and not be held accountable.”
But, hey, that's the Chicago way.

So the White House admits that a gender gap of 77 cents on the dollar is not an accurate number and not about discrimination, but they'll continue to use it to push for their phony paycheck fairness campaign.

Thomas Sowell explains how efforts to limit campaign contributions is all about incumbent protection.
Publicity is necessary to win elections, and incumbents get millions of dollars' worth of free publicity from the media. Incumbents can all pontificate in Congress and be covered by C-SPAN. They can get interviewed on network television, have their pictures in the newspapers, and send out mail to their constituents back home -- and none of this costs them a dime.

Congressional staffs, paid by the taxpayers, are supposed to help members of Congress with the burdens of their office, but a major part of their staff's work is to help get them re-elected.

That's not just during campaign years. Everything members of Congress do is done with an eye toward re-election.

Any outsider who wants to challenge an incumbent at the next Congressional election has to pay hard cash to buy ads and arrange other forms of publicity, in order just to get some comparable amount of name-recognition, so as to have any serious chance of winning an election against an incumbent.

Few people have the kind of money it takes for such a campaign, so they have to raise money -- in the millions of dollars -- to pay for what incumbents get free of charge.

Campaign finance laws that restrict who can contribute how much money, who can run political ads, etc., are all restrictions on political challengers who have to buy their own publicity.

If truth-in-packaging laws applied to Congress, a campaign finance law would have to be labeled an "Incumbents Protection Act."

The Obama administration took only six weeks to succumb to pressure from seniors and insurance companies in their efforts to end the popular Medicare Advantage program. And it also means that Obamacare is going to cost even more.

Here is something I hadn't known about Obamacare. Most people who haven't bought health insurance yet this year will not be able to buy insurance until January 1, 2015.
There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.

"It's all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) until next year on January 1," says John DiVito, president of Flexbenefit which has 2,500 brokers.

John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas adds, "People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that's part of ObamaCare. And what makes it so surprising is the whole point of ObamaCare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months."
How long before that part of the law gets unilaterally written by the administration?

The hypocrisy continues. Despite their continued whining about those evil Koch brothers, it turns out that both Harry Reid and Chuck Shumer took donations from the Kochs. Maybe they should wear those Koch insignias.

The IRS has reconsidered its controversial proposed rule to make it more difficult for 501(c)(4) organizations to be tax-exempt groups after a record number of comments, including from liberal groups, criticized the IRS for the idea.