Wednesday, April 23, 2014

8 Million Signups Is Success And Talk Of ObamaCare Repeal Is Over?

I'm sorry, Mr. President, having 8 million people or 2-1/2 percent of the population signed up for ObamaCare hardly proves success. Success should only be judged on whether or not the law actually meets the goals and promises that justified a complete upheaval of the healthcare system.

For years, Democrats have argued that we need to reform healthcare in America for the following reasons:
  1. People with pre-existing conditions should not be denied insurance or medical care.
  2. People should not be dropped by their insurers if they become seriously ill.
  3. Millions of uninsured are clogging our emergency rooms or are going without needed care. We need all Americans to be insured.
  4. With the highest cost of healthcare in the world, reform is needed to bend the cost curve.
In selling healthcare reform, Obama added some additional promises.
  1. If you like your insurance, you can keep it.
  2. If you like your doctor, you can keep him/her.
  3. The average family will see a $2500 drop in their insurance premiums.
  4. No one should go bankrupt because they get sick.
Then, the title of the law -- The Affordable Care Act and Patient Protection -- implied two more  promises: (1) healthcare will be affordable and (2) patients will be protected.

Meeting those goals is the true measure of success. Not some vague number of people who are forced to signup because the law cancelled their insurance or because they are under the threat of having to pay a penalty. At this juncture, ObamaCare isn't even meeting one quarter of all of those promises.  That, to any rational person, isn't success, or a reason not to debate its repeal.  Finally, can it be viewed as a success when the President finds it necessary to delay so much of its implementation until after the mid-term elections?

Reference: Obama argues healthcare law is working, rejects Republican criticism: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-usa-healthcare-obama-idUSBREA3G24820140417

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Too Much Misinformation About Heartbleed

For more than a week, Heartbleed -- an internet security bug (flaw) -- has received a lot of attention because, it puts the passwords of billions of Internet users at risk.  Essentially, if the "criminal minds" among us are tech savvy enough to take advantage of this flaw, they could watch everything you type on a login screen; including the password that you previously thought was secured.  So, the general advice out there is that you should log into all of your accounts and change your passwords.  That way, any unwanted observer of your now unsecured login can't follow you back into your account; once you've logged off. That information is both right and wrong at the same time.

What's wrong is that, if a site doesn't patch the bug before your next log in, your password is again at risk and must "again" be changed.  So,  how do I know if a site is Heartbleed protected?

Well, many  have already patched or fixed their vulnerability and have modified their login screens to indicate that fact.  But, even if they do or don't, the biggest names in network security -- Norton, Symantec and McAfee -- have free online webpages that will "test" any login screen for the Heartbleed vulnerability. Those sites are as follows:
Personally, I prefer the Norton test. I've experienced some errors with the other two.

So, go ahead and change your passwords.  But, before you log in again, do the test.  If the site fails, then either don't log in at that time or, if you must, change your password again before you leave.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Naivete: 15% of America Still Thinks Obama Always Tells The Truth

In a shocking Fox poll result, only 15% of Americans thought that Obama was being truthful all of the time.

Personally, I'm shocked that there are even that many.  

Where were these people when the President received the "lie of the year" award for his "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" proclamation.  Here's his badge of honor for that one:

Surely, those 15% must have heard about it.  Even if they don't watch the news, it was the favorite punchline on too many comedy shows not to have been noticed. 

It just proves that, once again, polls can't be trusted. Obviously, Fox wants to curry favor with the Prez by under-reporting that only 85% of Americans think he's a liar; when we all know the number must be higher than that.  

References:

Poll: Most Believe Obama Lies: http://washingtonexaminer.com/poll-most-americans-believe-obama-lies-on-important-issues/article/2547367

Lie of the Year: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it': http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rick Perry Is Right Not To Expand Medicaid In Texas

Job "one" for every state Governor -- and, certainly, every President -- is to do whatever is best for the people they serve.  But, according to Barack Obama, Governor Rick Perry of Texas is failing one million of his people by not allowing the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare in his state. But is he?

Actually, by not allowing the expansion of Medicaid, Rick Perry is best serving his people.

Medicaid is the worst possible insurance a person could have.  It sorely underpays healthcare providers, and therefore many of them won't accept Medicaid patients; leaving those people with second or, even, third class healthcare access.  Texas is no exception. For proof look at this chart from the Texas Medical Association.
As shown, fewer and fewer doctors can afford to take on new medicaid patients. Others have dropped them completely; and, across the nation only about 56% of all doctors -- pre-ObamaCare --  accepted Medicaid, and, this chart stops at 2012.  Who knows what the number is today or would have been if Medicaid was expanded in Texas.  It's quite possible that it would show less than 20% participation or perhaps nearer to zero. 

So, who is more irresponsible?  Perry for not giving his people a 'mirage' of believing they have healthcare, or Obama, who just wants to play a political numbers game by forcing a million Texans onto a system that is already broken and sure to be even more so if it is expanded?

References:

Obama says Perry’s opposition to Medicaid expansion is ‘bullheadedness’: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/11/06/5312489/obama-is-on-his-way-to-texas-for.html

Drop in Physician Acceptance of Medicaid, Medicare Patients: http://www.texmed.org/template.aspx?id=24764

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Frustration, Climate Change Proponents Resort To Childish Tactics

From early on, children learn that they can use name-calling and bullying to diminish an opponent.  So, the smart boy in the class -- the one who may not do well in sports -- is belittled by some dumb bully calling him a "girlie guy" or some other name he perceives as insulting.

Hopefully, as adults, we learn that this is no longer effective when someone else questions your work; such as a scientific paper, a business proposal, or some new legislation.  Your retort must be, instead, logical and convincing. Yet, the climate change proponents of today have decided to revert to these childish defenses in order to diminish the opponents by calling them "Climate Deniers"; itself a form of name calling.

Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry compared "climate deniers" to members of the new "Flat Earth Society." Prince Charles said deniers where a "headless chicken brigade."  Not to be outdone, Al Gore compared them to racists, homophobes, smokers, and drunks; and one only wonders why he stopped there.

Then, there are the bullies.  The President's own Organizing for Action (OFA) group has a website where every member of Congress who is a known "climate denier" is listed.  In Britain, the Green Party is proposing they should lose their government jobs. Then, there's climate scientist Michael Mann who was at the heart of the so-called ClimageGate scandal.  He's suing people like Mark Steyn for  publicly questioning his scientific work.  Of course, if he wins, this will make any denier think twice about making statements that would question any scientific climate change findings.  But, the ultimate in bullying is being floated by a professor with the Rochester Institute of Technology by the name of Lawrence Torcello who is proposing that deniers be silenced through imprisonment because they are threatening public safety. 

Quite simply, all this shows is that the climate change movement is losing in the court of public opinion.  All their wild predictions are simply not happening. In terms of priorities, fighting climate change is either at the bottom or close to the bottom of what Americans believe we, as a country, should be spending our time on.  Thus, the only defense tactics left are the childish ones.

References:

Secretary of State Kerry lashes out at climate change skeptics: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/16/secretary-state-kerry-lashes-out-at-climate-change-skeptics/

Prince Charles: climate change deniers are 'headless chickens': http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-charles/10610108/Prince-Charles-climate-change-deniers-are-headless-chickens.html

Al Gore Compares Climate Change Deniers To Racists And Drunks: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/22/al-gore-climate-change_n_3795247.html

Call Out the Climate Change Deniers: http://ofa.barackobama.com/climate-deniers/#/

Greens call for clear-out of 'climate change deniers': http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26187711

Mann vs. Steyn: The Trial of the Century: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/02/12/mann_vs_steyn_the_trial_of_the_century__121528.html
Professor Calls For Climate Change ‘Deniers’ To Be Imprisoned: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/03/professor-calls-for-climate-change.html

Gallup: Climate Change Not a Top Worry in U.S.: http://www.gallup.com/poll/167843/climate-change-not-top-worry.aspx


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Nevada Ranch Standoff: Feds Back Off -- For Now

For more than a week, a Waco/Ruby Ridge like, rancher-vs-feds standoff raged in the Nevada desert.  The news coverage was intense; and, quite frankly, a negative for the Obama Administration. Once again, the federal government was seen as an overbearing bully tormenting its own people.

Then, all of a sudden, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just backed off; claiming public safety concerns. A fact that took them days to comprehend even as more and more armed civilians and protestors kept descending on the scene. They even released all the cattle that they had seized.  They could have easily kept those cattle and shipped them off to another ranch, but the release was almost like a peace offering and seemed too say: See, we're not really the bad guys here.

I believe the motivation for the stand-down was all about the media coverage and all about the bad press that the Obama Administration was getting.  The worst thing that could happen in this election year was to have dozens of Americans hurt or killed in a guns-blazing shootout with the feds.   Surely, this President and his advisers are aware that most American's already fear big government intrusion.  A fear that 64% expressed in a recent poll and, probably, a direct result of the Democrats forced takeover of their healthcare. A disaster in the Nevada desert would only serve to further that fear and definitely hurt them at election time since they are truly the party of big government.


If my above assumptions are correct, the feds will certainly be back, but not until after the election.  This is probably just another delay for similar reasons that so much of ObamaCare was delayed.

One last thing.  Cliven Bundy and his refusal to pay fees for grazing on public lands is, without doubt, a violation of law.  Whether or not his grazing animals are endangering the desert turtle is a completely  different issue.  Apparently, the endangered turtle was not a problem when, not far from the Cliven ranch, the construction of a massive solar power plant was approved.  The Obama Administration has "fast tracked" 26 such solar power facilities within the Mojave Desert; all of which put the turtle at risk because of the complete upheaval of its burrows.  Just another example of the President expecting Americans to do as he says and not as he does.

References:

BLM backs down in dispute over Nevada rancher’s cattle: http://kdvr.com/2014/04/13/blm-backs-down-in-dispute-over-nevada-ranchers-cattle/

In U.S., Fear of Big Government at Near-Record Level: Democrats lead increase in concerns about big government: http://www.gallup.com/poll/151490/fear-big-government-near-record-level.aspx

 Where Tortoises and Solar Power Don't Mix: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-04/where-tortoises-and-solar-power-dont-mix

Senator Reid Breaks Ground On Solar Facility Near Cliven Ranch: http://www.infowars.com/flashback-sen-reid-breaks-ground-for-nevada-solar-farm-near-bundy-ranch/

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

National Equal Pay Day Theatrics: Tragedy or Comedy?

First of all, if you have never heard of National Equal Pay Day, not to worry.  It only came into existence the day before it was first celebrated with a proclamation by his Majesty, Barack Obama.  Of course, with such short notice, there wasn't enough time to invite everyone to the festivities.  That's probably why no Republicans returned their RSVP's in time.   Also, after reading the proclamation, it appears that it won't be an annual event anyway.  It only existed that one day, this one year, an election year.  I'm quite sure that all women can appreciate this President's valiant one-day effort  to eradicate pay inequality among women.

Sadly, the day was marred by many factual inconsistencies.

It all started with the President claiming that women only made 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.  However, this number is disputed by Obama's own Bureau of Labor Statistics report that states that the current number is 81 cents to the dollar; well up from Obama's consistently, falsely claimed, politically-motivated number.  

Then, there was also embarrassment when it was pointed out that women, as part of the White House staff, are only paid 88% of what men are. The best that Presidential Press Secretary  Jay Carney could do to explain this was to say that the White House was doing better than the nation as a whole.  Well one would think so, since I'm guessing that the female staff members aren't merely waitresses who are able to supplement there legally paid less than the minimum wages with tips.

Of course, no Obama event would be complete without him using his faithful pen and issuing an order or two.  On that day, he used it to sign an executive order and to issue a memorandum.

The executive order told federal contractors that they cannot retaliate against anyone who wants to discuss their pay.  But, the order also states that contractors aren't required to discuss it.  So, if an employee wants to talk about salary, his boss can just say "shoo, out of here" because the President's order says I don't need to talk to you about it.   It also states that the employer is not compelled to make public everyone's pay. That's a relief.  Can you imagine a corporation, of say 50,000 employees, publishing everyone's salary.  Chaos and morale problems would be immediate and intense.  Supervisors, managers, and human resource personnel would spend their entire workday justifying wage disparity, not just locally, but nationwide.

Besides being a waste of ink, this executive order shows how out of touch the President is with business operations in the U.S.  We are, primarily, a country where one's pay is determined by merit.  Raises are typically handed out annually.  At that time, it is common for salary (and job performance) to be reviewed.  Additionally, most businesses have an "open door policy" where employees can discuss any grievance; without retaliation.  Many businesses have a Human Resources department or personnel manager who can intervene if there seems to be an unresolvable issue between a supervisor and an employee.  If all else fails, an aggrieved employee can always file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and that federal agency can guarantee that no retaliation will take place by doing so.  So, this begs the question: Do we have such a massive "retaliation" problem in this country that Obama needed to correct it by executive order?   Just more theatrics from this very tragedian President.

Then, there was the President's memorandum "instructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations which will require federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor, summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race."  Again, more theatrics.  The EEOC already, by law, collects such data from every business with 100 or more employees, or any federal contractor with more than two employees, in the form of 4 different reports.

Lastly, the day was to be capped with the Democrat-controlled, Senate's passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act which was supposed to mirror much of the President's executive order and apply those mandates to all businesses. But, that failed; for the third time.  It failed because too much of the law was a gift to trial lawyers; giving them broad sanctions to literally sue some businesses out of existence. It never had a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House and that was the real purpose of the re-submission of it in the Senate.  Obama had hoped for passage in the Senate so he could point to the House's rejection of the Paycheck Fairness Act as further proof that the GOP are conducting a war on women.

The real tragedy of that day was the President's fake attempts to convince women that he was doing something for them.  From fake data to a useless executive order and memorandum and a previously failed piece of legislation, nothing attempted or accomplished that day furthered any woman's pay situation in America.  It was all a bunch of fluff to garner women's votes in the fall and distract from the horrors of ObamaCare.  Further, it was a tragedy that the real problems facing women aren't being addressed. Things like jobs, the economy, and truly affordable healthcare for their families.

The rich comedic payoff was watching Jay Carney dance around the fact of the White House's failure to pay women equally.  Just as laughable was the fact that the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to pass any legislation that might have helped them in the fall elections.  This was their own fault by presenting legislation that overreached and would actually hurt the economy and ultimately women's causes. If employers start thinking of women as constant adversaries who will easily take them to court, their chances of even being hired, let alone promoted, could be greatly compromised.


References:

Presidential Proclamation -- National Equal Pay Day, 2014: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/07/presidential-proclamation-national-equal-pay-day-2014

President Obama’s persistent ’77-cent’ claim on the wage gap gets a new Pinocchio rating: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/04/09/president-obamas-persistent-77-cent-claim-on-the-wage-gap-gets-a-new-pinocchio-rating/

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Women's Earnings: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2012.pdf

As Obama Spotlights Gender Gap in Wages, His Own Payroll Draws Scrutiny: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/us/politics/as-obama-spotlights-gender-gap-in-wages-his-own-payroll-draws-scrutiny.html

FACT SHEET: Expanding Opportunity for All: Ensuring Equal Pay for Women and Promoting the Women’s Economic Agenda: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/fact-sheet-expanding-opportunity-all-ensuring-equal-pay-women-and-promot

EEO Reports / Surveys: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/fact-sheet-expanding-opportunity-all-ensuring-equal-pay-women-and-promot

Senate falls six votes short of passing Paycheck Fairness Act: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/04/09/senate-falls-six-votes-short-of-passing-paycheck-fairness-act/