Monday, October 24, 2016

Cruising the Web

Obamacare has been a failure so Democrats have figured the solution is to double down on government interference in the health market.
Democrats are already looking beyond ObamaCare’s slow-motion failure, and Colorado is showing where many want to go next: Premiums across the state are set to rise 20.4% on average next year, and some have concluded that the solution is more central planning and taxation. Voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to try the single-payer scheme that blew up in Vermont.

Amendment 69 would alter the state’s constitution to create a single-payer health system known as ColoradoCare. The idea is to replace premiums with tax dollars, and coverage for residents will allegedly include prescription drugs, hospitalization and more. Paying for this entitlement requires a cool $25 billion tax increase, which is about equal to the state’s $27 billion budget. Colorado would introduce a 10% payroll tax and also hit investment income, and that’s for starters. California would look like the Cayman Islands by tax comparison.

Every other detail is left to the discretion of a 21-member panel. The board of trustees would determine what benefits are offered—say, whether your pricey cancer drug makes the cut. The board would also set reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals, as well as patient co-payments.

Trustees would be elected to four-year terms and not subject to recall elections. In other words, ColoradoCare would evade nearly all democratic accountability.
Sounds a lot like Obamacare, doesn't it? Amazing how the solution is always more government and less accountability to voters. Obama has been making the same argument as he campaigns for Democrats.
In a speech at Miami Dade College in Florida, Obama used a number of analogies to describe the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. He compared it to a "starter home" that needs improvements over time, and even to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, a smartphone recalled last month after they started catching fire.

"When one of these companies comes out with a new smartphone and it had a few bugs, what do they do? They fix it. They upgrade, unless it catches fire. Then they pull it off the market," he said. "But you don’t go back to using a rotary phone. You don’t say, well, we're repealing smartphones."

Obama spent much of his long-awaited speech on health care — delayed by Hurricane Matthew and the campaign season — arguing with Republican lawmakers who have sought to repeal the law. But he also laid out in greater detail his proposals to improve on Obamacare even as the time limit on his presidency hit the three-month mark. "This isn’t kind of a rah-rah speech," he said. "I might get into the details."

Obama urged Republican governors — in Florida and 18 other states — to expand Medicaid despite a Supreme Court ruling that Congress can't force states to participate. He argued that the federal government pays most of the tab — more than 90% of the cost of new Medicaid enrollments.

He proposed expanding the tax credits for people who buy health insurance on state and federal exchanges, using money saved from Medicaid.

And he pushed for a public option — now re-branded as a "public plan fallback" — that would add a government-run health insurance plan to the list of options offered on federal exchanges.
Yup, that's Obamacare - it's the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 of health care plans.

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This is a horrific story. I just don't understand how European courts work.
AN IRAQI asylum seeker who confessed to raping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool, claiming it was a "sexual emergency", has had his conviction overturned.

In a truly shocking twist the Suptreme Court decided the grown Iraqi man may not have realised the 10-year-old did not want to be sexually abused by him.

Amir A, 20, was visiting the Theresienbad pool in the Austrian capital of Vienna last December as part of a trip to encourage integration.

When the youngster went to the showers, Amir A. allegedly followed him, pushed him into a toilet cubicle, and violently sexually assaulted him.

Following the attack, the accused rapist returned to the pool and was practising on the diving board when police arrived, after the 10-year-old raised the alarm with the lifeguard.

The child suffered severe anal injuries which had to be treated at a local children's hospital, and is still plagued by serious post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a police interview, Amir A. confessed to the crime; telling officers the incident had been "a sexual emergency", as his wife had remained in Iraq and he "had not had sex in four months".

A court found Amir guilty of serious sexual assault and rape of a minor, and sentenced him to six years in jail.

However, in a bizarre twist, the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the conviction, accepting the defence lawyer's claim that the original court had not done enough to ascertain whether or not the rapist realised the child was saying no.
You mean, in Austria, a 10-year old child can give informed consent to sex with a stranger? That's just mind-blowing.

Brad Stager explores how social justice warriors are destroying Halloween.Someday businesses may realize appeasement is bad business. Placating a group that was never your customer base does not lead to financial reward. Also, as this case continues to prove, satisfying their demands usually leads to them delivering scorn.

In the meantime, the general public mutes its holiday revelry. Go forth, and enjoy your sanitized frights that are approved by the proper cultural authorities. Just understand the scariest part: these social cranks are only becoming more empowered.

Another baseless boast about everything would be better under a Trump regime.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump blamed President Barack Obama for the prison sentence handed down by Iranian authorities against two dual US-Iranian citizens earlier this week who were accused of espionage.

Iran on Tuesday sentenced a dual Iranian-American national and his 80-year-old father to 10 years in prison for allegedly spying for the United States, the Islamic republic's state media reported....

'Well, Iran has done it again,' Trump tweeted on Sunday. 'Taken two of our people and asking for a fortune for their release.'

'This doesn't happen if I'm president!'
Yeah, and what exactly would Trump do to make sure that didn't happen?

You just can't make this stuff up. What a bunch of professionals on the Trump campaign.
The mainstream media may be in bed with Hillary Clinton’s campaign — but they go to strip clubs with Donald Trump’s.

Page Six has exclusively learned that a trio of senior Trump advisers was fixated on a different type of “pole” the night before Trump’s final debate with Clinton this past week in Las Vegas. The excursion’s been the talk of the campaign trail.

Sources said that Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller — along with female colleagues including senior adviser and surrogate A.J. Delgado and deputy communications director Jessica Ditto — went with several members of the media from networks, including CNN, NBC and ABC, to Sapphire Las Vegas Strip Club before the big night.
How stupid can they be? Remember how Trump keeps telling us that he'll be so wonderful because he hires the very best people.

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Bill Murray just doesn't want to talk to reporters. You gotta admire that. I share his joy that the Cubs won on Saturday so he didn't have to worry about missing the concluding game while he receives the Mark Twain award.

I also think it's so neat that Bob Dylan doesn't want to talk to the Nobel Prize Committee. He's just not taking their phone calls. And he wasn't even the slightest bit excited, it seems, to meet Barack Obama. And Obama just isn't used to being ignored.
“He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that.

“He came in and played The Times They Are A-Changin’. A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different.

“Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I’m sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves.

“And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him.

“And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little sceptical about the whole enterprise.”
One member of the Nobel Committee is not amused with Dylan's reticence.

Cheered on by the Obama Justice Department, investigations of sexual assault on college campuses have become star-chamber affairs with the accused being denied even the pretense of due process.
To start, they have expanded the terms harassment and assault beyond traditional legal definitions. Under Yale’s sexual misconduct policy, sexual harassment includes verbal statements that have the “effect” of creating an “intimidating” environment. Sexual assault includes any contact without “positive, unambiguous, and voluntary” consent. According to Yale, consent must be “ongoing” at each stage of an encounter but “cannot be inferred from the absence of a ‘no’ ” or presumed from “contextual factors.”

With these expanded definitions in hand, “independent investigators”—eager to justify their employment by a university desperate to appear tough on sexual misconduct—rush off to find evidence of violations. They build dossiers on professors’ offhand comments made decades earlier. They probe the murky “he said-she said” of drunken hook-ups seeking to prove that consent was not freely given, irrespective of whether a crime has been committed. Administrative tribunals, lacking due process protections provided in a court of law, determine guilt and mete out punishments that forever label people misogynists, harassers, or perpetrators of sexual assault....

How bad are the procedures used by Yale to convict Mr. Montague—and dozens of other students and professors accused of non-consensual sex or verbal micro-aggressions? So bad that such traditionally liberal organizations as the American Association of University Professors have compared the procedures used by universities like Yale to those of the Star Chamber.

History buffs will recall that the Star Chamber was used in England in the 16th and 17th centuries to crush political and religious dissent. The Founding Fathers regarded the secret and arbitrary Star Chamber as so unfair that they crafted many of our constitutional protections precisely to avoid its abuses. And yet, centuries later, Yale’s University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct employs procedures eerily similar to those of the Star Chamber.

For example, like the Star Chamber and other tribunals of the time, Yale’s sexual misconduct committees do not apply any statute of limitations and, thus, have the power to probe allegations that are years or even decades old. Yale’s arbiters of sexual misconduct, like the judges of the Star Chamber, determine guilt by a majority vote, rather than by a unanimous vote of a jury of one’s peers required in criminal courts to protect against the likelihood of wrongful conviction.

Perhaps most concerning, Yale’s courts of sexual misconduct do not allow accused persons to cross-examine the witnesses against them. This, despite the fact that American courts have long found the ability to cross-examine witnesses to be a critical component of due process, particularly where, as in Mr. Montague’s case, the credibility of contradictory witnesses determines the outcome.
It's remarkable how liberals, who are usually on the side of the accused against The Man, have found the one group of accused whom they're willing to convict without the rights that any accused should have.

The Associated Press investigates Evan Bayh's so-called residence in Indiana since he left the Senate. It's practically nonexistent.
Evan Bayh says that his Indianapolis condominium has long been his home, and that he has spent "lots and lots" of time there since deciding to run for his old Senate seat. But a copy of his schedule shows Bayh did not stay overnight there once during his last year in office in 2010.

The schedule provided to The Associated Press shows the Democrat spent taxpayer money, campaign funds or let other people pay for him to stay in Indianapolis hotels on the relatively rare occasions he returned from Washington, D.C.

During the same period, he spent $3,000 in taxpayer money on what appeared to be job hunting trips to New York, despite the assertion of his campaign that the trips were devoted to official media appearances.

The revelations raise new questions about Bayh's ties to Indiana and his use of official funds as he campaigns to help Democrats retake the Senate.
We'll see if Indiana cares about this tarnishing of the Bayh halo.

Chris Wallace makes a good point for the Clinton complaints about Republicans using the revelations in the WikiLeaks hacks of their campaign communications.
On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chis Wallace shocked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook when after Mook repeatedly tried to dismiss the revelations in the thousands of emails released by WikiLeaks from a hack of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta because they were stolen, Wallace pointed out no one seemed to discount Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s taxes that were also stolen and leaked to The New York Times.

It seems that some Democrats just can't stand people working on their own to make money that isn't being channeled into Democrats' campaign coffers. The latest victim is Airbnb which Governor Cuomo is trying to kill.
Governor Andrew Cuomo late Friday signed legislation that would impose a fine of up to $7,500 on anyone who advertises a short-term rental apartment on a home-sharing site. That’s more than the penalty for drunk driving.

This cuts the core of Airbnb’s business, which allows a family or young professional to earn cash by renting out a room or apartment while traveling away from home. The typical New York host earns more than $5,000 a year, and that’s a nice fillip in a city with a high cost of living.

The platform is popular with the thousands of visitors and tourists who visit the Big Apple each week. Many prefer not to pay $300 a night for a Holiday Inn Express, assuming they can even find a hotel room. The service fills a market need, and buyer and seller are better off, so naturally politicians want to mess with all this happiness and business efficiency.

The politicians are responding to hoteliers and unions that claim that mini-Donald Trumps are buying up properties and renting them as “illegal hotels.” This doesn’t check out: More than 95% of New York Airbnb hosts sharing their entire home post only one property, and the company last year yanked roughly 3,000 illegal listings out of some 44,000 in New York. The hotel industry also riled up some affordable housing groups to say that Airbnb is driving up the cost of rent. One irony is that more than three-quarters of hosts say that sharing their space helps them pay rent.
Let's hope that Airbnb delivers a crashing loss to New York in the courts.
Airbnb has already sued to block the new law, and New York may need a good lawyer: Federal law pre-empts holding platforms like Airbnb responsible for the content of its advertising, and there’s also the detail that the First Amendment protects commercial speech. As Airbnb general counsel Rob Chesnut put it in a letter to Gov. Cuomo and others last month: “The ban on advertising is, at its core, a ban on speech.” New York’s censure serves no compelling government interest, unless you count enriching various Democratic constituencies.

This is a classic restraint of trade, and all the more odious that it will hurt the people Democrats claim to champion. Airbnb points out that hosts in zip codes with the highest percentage of black New Yorkers earned $43 million from rentals in 2015, and that more than 21,000 millennials host an Airbnb property. New York’s progressives claim to love the little guy, but they love big business donors more.

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Jimmy Traina at Awful Announcing spent a day watching sports TV. His impressions are about what you'd expect. I can't stand Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith and wouldn't watch them for anything, but I rather like "Speak for Yourself," mostly because I think that Justin Whitlock takes interesting positions. He is correct that, if you spend an afternoon listening to sports TV, they'll all talk about the same manufactured controversies on each show. And they'll show the same clips of funny things to comment on.

I agree. The NCAA's handling of Louisville's sex scandal demonstrates how erratic NCAA penalties are being awarded. There just isn't any consistency. The kicker seems to be how much the university participated in the investigation, not the underlying infraction.
Look, the NCAA's rules are dumb. And dumb rules are harder to consistently enforce and punish. It's tough to come up with a standardized penalty structure for all of the creative ways competitive, talent-hungry sports programs get around the ban on athlete compensation. Only admitting that would be tantamount to admitting that prohibition is both cynical and pointless. In the end, it seems the association is less concerned with specific school violations than anything that threatens its own institutional control over the college sports economy. Hiring strippers may be bad—but under the NCAA's watch, pointing out that the emperor has no clothes is far worse.

Here are five reasons for the NFL suffering lower viewing ratings. I can accept all of them. I'd be interested in a more detailed study that would compare all these factors from last year to this year. Are things all that different this year? If some of the difference was due to people watching games on different platforms, wouldn't that also affect the ratings for the NBA, but ratings were up last year in the NBA. They certainly were for the championship games. And I just don't buy that people are so enthralled with this year's election that they're not watching football game. I also don't buy that people are so turned off by the anthem protests that they're not watching the entire game.

I'm just glad that the NBA season is starting up so I can switch over to basketball for my sports fix. And, of course, there is the World Series. Can anything get more dramatic than the Cubs-Indians redeem series? And the Chicago Cubs seem like just a likable group of guys who are having so much fun on their marvelous run. They're fun to pull for and I am so jazzed for this series.