Russell Brand is being hailed by many of the far left, including people I know, as some sort of uber-intelligent socialist guru. He's not.
Zo takes a crack at debunking Brand's brand on PJTV:
It’s Kathleen Sebelius’s turn now. On the Hill, they’re calling for her resignation and tossing around words like “subpoena.” Pundits are merrily debating her future. (She’s toast! Or is Obama too loyal to fire her so soon?) Her interviews, more closely parsed than usual, seem wobbly. Though never a colorful presence on the political scene, she’s suddenly a late-night TV punch line.And on Wednesday morning, the embattled secretary of health and human services will submit to a quintessential station of the Washington deathwatch — testifying before a congressional committee — to discuss her agency’s failings in the botched rollout of the federal health-insurance Web site.
In one of the most stunning examples of political hypocrisy in recent memory, some of the very congressional Democrats who rejected efforts to delay full implantation of the “Affordable” Care Act – then blamed Republicans for the resulting partial shutdown of the federal government – are now supporting the very thing they opposed only a couple of weeks ago.....much of the backlash [against Obamacare by voters] has been due to an economic reality that should have been expected – but, in some cases, clearly was not.“Of course, I want people to have health care,” said retired teacher Cindy Vinson of San Jose, Calif., told the Mercury News. “I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law."She said, 'I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'" Kehaly said.
"I am so disappointed," one woman wrote. "These prices are outrageous and there are huge deductibles. No one can afford this!""There is NO WAY I can afford it," said another person who used the Kaiser Subsidy Calculator, who claimed to not qualify for a government subsidy even though he made $8.55 per hour..."I knew when the democrats called it the 'Affordable Care Act' that it would be un-affordable," another Facebook user said.Another person said his premiums tripled as a result of Obama's law.
"When I got this bill, I was outraged," Barrette said. Technically she didn't get a bill — last month Florida Blue wrote to let her know that her old plan was being discontinued and she'd be offered a new, more expensive but more comprehensive plan, in its place. Currently she pays $54 a month. The new plan will cost $591 a month. "What I have right now is what I'm happy with, and I just wanna know why I can't keep what I have," Barrette asked.
My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don't go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife's rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.
|Shop, sure. Good luck finding it though.|
Attention those with individual insurance policies: Get ready to shop on the Obamacare exchanges and likely pay more for coverage.Millions of Americans who now have insurance on the individual market will not be able to keep their policies, as President Obama had promised. That's because the plans don't meet the minimum standards required under the Affordable Care Act, including a $6,350 limit on annual out-of-pocket costs and coverage of mental health, maternity and medication.These new requirements are forcing many insurers to either add benefits or terminate the policies. The new offerings usually come at higher rates because they offer more comprehensive coverage and must be offered to people with pre-existing conditions. Many insurers have been able to keep rates low because they offered catastrophic plans with high deductibles and minimal benefits, and they could cherry pick among applicants to only pick the healthiest ones.
U.S. businesses added a modest 148,000 jobs in September, far short of the 180,000 analysts were expecting. Still, job gains were enough to lower the unemployment rate to 7.2 percent, the lowest in nearly five years. But, the first jobs report since the government shutdown suggests the U.S. economy may be losing steam.Concerns about the tepid U.S. recovery may be hurting the job market.
BOSTON—According to a new study published in The New England Journal Of Medicine this week, human beings were never meant to wake up after falling asleep, but were rather supposed to remain in a deep, peaceful slumber until eventually expiring. “Our research team of evolutionary biologists conducted an extensive and thorough examination of human physiology, past and present, and determined that human beings were, in their ideal state, supposed to be born, spend a solid 12 hours awake as an infant, and then lie down for a tranquil, dream-filled sleep from which they would then not awaken,” lead researcher Dennis Zeveloff said of the findings, which also suggest that life for early man was not supposed to last longer than one day. “Eventually, after spending three or four weeks lying comfortably in bed, humans were meant to just slide directly into death. In fact, the truly optimal state toward which human evolution aspired was for all individuals to succumb to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome almost instantly after exiting the womb.”
|James Burke, historian.|
Do people really think that a Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign is a good idea—for the Democratic Party, our collective sanity, even for her? Maybe it doesn’t matter; some political locomotives just move ahead, even if the wreck is predestined, and her campaign is now coming around the bend...This is not a matter of a woman in politics being unfairly asked about her husband’s business. Saying that her position as Secretary of State was not part of the bundle of power and what might be called glamour that the Foundation offered is not a serious proposition. And by adding her name at the moment she, to all appearances, is getting ready to run, she has effectively made future influence part of the Foundation’s prospectus...
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turned the tables on a heckler Wednesday, in an effort to make a point about the need to find common ground to solve the nation’s problems.During a speech at the University at Buffalo, Clinton first ignored the man’s shouts as she spoke of Buffalo as a model for problem-solving through cooperation.“Because we can’t move from crisis to crisis, we have to be willing to come together as citizens to focus on the kind of future we want,” she said. As the shouts grew louder from an upper section of bleachers, she added, “which doesn’t include yelling. It includes sitting down and talking.”
Hillary Clinton has accused Republicans of pursuing "scorched earth" politics at her first campaign event in five years, raising hopes among supporters that she is preparing to run for US president in 2016.At a rally in Virginia on Saturday night, the former secretary of state warned that the Republican Party's Right wing was determined to "hijack this great experiment" of America.She urged the state's voters to elect her friend Terry McAuliffe as their next governor and "lead the way of turning from divisive politics and getting back to common sense and common ground"."When politicians choose scorched earth over common ground, when they operate in what I call the evidence-free zone with ideology trumping everything else, we see that families in Virginia and across the country have felt the consequences," said Clinton.Democrats such as Clinton accuse Tea Party conservatives of sabotaging the US political process by refusing to compromise on their opposition to President Barack Obama's agenda.
News site Spiegel reported that Merkel's mobile may have been spied on by the US and the German Chancellor is taking the allegations seriously.She demanded an explanation in the telephone conversation with Obama, Spiegel said.Her spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel made it clear that she found such practices "completely unacceptable"."The chancellor today telephoned President (Barack) Obama" and "made clear that she unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable," he said.
Marianne Williamson, the best-selling author whose “A Return to Love” spent 39 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1992, announced Sunday that she is running as an independent for the US House of Representatives in California’s 33rd District, a seat currently held by 74-year old Democrat Henry Waxman, one of the most powerful members of Congress.Williamson, who made her candidacy official Sunday afternoon at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, has written extensively about the moral and spiritual underpinnings of US politics in many of her books, including “Healing the Soul of America,” a 2000 best-seller that focuses on transforming spiritual activism into social activism.The theme of Williamson’s campaign is “Create Anew.”Williamson writes on her campaign website that Waxman has been a good representative for 38 years and that she does not consider him an opponent. Rather, she sees them both as simply different candidates for the same position. In seeking to encourage “a new consciousness regarding our political discourse,” Williamson hopes to stem the trend toward corporatism that has been so prevalent in recent decades.“American government has lost its ethical center and its deep commitment to democracy, drifting ever more consistently in a corporatist direction,” Williamson writes. “And no one specific legislative initiative can fix that. I believe that a wave of independent candidates, all committed to a huge course-correction, is necessary to turn our ship around. I feel my campaign, and most importantly my win, can help inspire such a movement.”
For the three weeks of the ObamaCare exchange rollout debacle, the White House has tried to claim that the issues relate to the overwhelming popularity and web traffic at Heathcare.gov. As late as yesterday, Barack Obama himself claimed that “the number of people who’ve visited the site has been overwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems,” in a speech that mentioned no other causes to the failure. Last night, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Health and Human Services tested the system just before launch with just a few hundred concurrent connections — and experienced the same failures we’ve seen since...
Historians have long realized that the great conflict between science and religion is a myth. But it continues to be an article of faith among the New Atheists. In contrast to his views on evolution, Dr. Coyne thinks that he can ignore the evidence from history and disregard the settled view of experts in the field. But, being a scholar and a rational man, we’re sure that he will change his mind if shown to be wrong.
Actually, historians start the Western scientific tradition with the “12th Century Renaissance” 500 years before Galileo. If you want to know why there were not many people doing natural philosophy before that, the answer includes words like “barbarian invasions,” “collapse of civilization,” “Huns,” “Goths,” and “Vikings.” The fact that some scientific knowledge survived the upheaval after the fall of the Roman Empire was largely due to the Church.
What’s truly amazing is just how much science early Christians were doing. John Philoponus (c. 490 – c. 570) was one of the first Christian professors in Alexandria. Historians today are stunned by his achievements.As a Christian, Philoponus was happy to ditch pagan orthodoxy and start afresh. So he was the first to actually do the experiment of dropping stones, proving Aristotle wrong about falling objects. Alas, shortly after he died, Egypt was invaded by the Persians and then by the Arabs. Alexandria lost its status as an important center of learning, while the Byzantine Empire went into siege mode as it fought an existential struggle for survival. Not a great environment for science!
|James Burke, historian.|
This summer, the American Bar Association gave her its highest honor for her work as a lawyer. The National Constitution Center feted her work as a public servant. Save the Children gave her an award for . . . helping save children. Last week, Clinton flew to London to receive yet another award — this one a scroll signed by Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her work as a diplomat.In all, Clinton has racked up at least 15 awards in the nine months since she left the State Department, with more to come at the same time she is weighing a presidential campaign in 2016. Her supporters say the accolades are well deserved. But it also appears that Clinton has figured out how to leverage the awards to her political advantage, just as the groups honoring her benefit from having the would-be candidate promote their causes.The awards circuit has effectively become Clinton’s pre-campaign campaign, allowing her to speak out on issues of her choosing and cement ties with key Democratic constituencies — all with little apparent political risk.
Most of Clinton’s public appearances this year have come at tightly choreographed awards ceremonies or at closed-press trade conventions, such as one held Tuesday morning in Atlanta by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Some appearances net her upward of $200,000.“It appears the only way to get Hillary to do an event is to either write her a big check or to give her a trophy,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising PAC, the leading Republican group going after Clinton in anticipation of her 2016 candidacy.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is riding a compelling Hillary Rodham Clinton story. It’s not so much about her quite-possible presidential run. Nor is it about the Clinton family’s foundation. Nor Benghazi. It’s about how Clinton is attempting the impossible: Turning a speech into something approaching an off-the-record occasion.This morning, the former secretary of state was in Atlanta for a speaking engagement before the National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS). As the AJC reported yesterday, members of the media were barred from the session. Today it reported that a “cone of silence” had descended on her remarks. “Convention officials banned all video and sound recording, social media, and naturally, journalists,” wrote the AJC’s Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway...Other sites are already picking up on the AJC’s story, which the newspaper concedes is none too solid: “Hearsay from Hillary Clinton: On Joe Biden and the Osama bin Laden raid,” reads the headline.
"The former U.S. secretary of state was parked for nearly 45 minutes without paying. I'm sure she will understand that we have to be fair to everyone, regardless of their status on the world stage, Councilor Daniel Astaire, Westminster City Council Cabinet member for business, told the Mail."Despite our traffic marshal being questioned by the secret service for just doing his job, he was in the right," he added.The ticket came with an £80 ($128) fine but could be reduced to £40 ($64) if it's paid within two weeks.A Clinton representative wasn't immediately available to comment.The former First Lady had been attending an award ceremony at Chatham House to pick up a prize related to her contributions to international diplomacy.
The White House and its Democratic allies in Congress moved to shoot down an emerging House Republican budget proposal before it even left the ground, blasting the late-breaking plan as a "partisan" product that would imperil efforts to meet the looming debt-ceiling deadline.Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid turned a deaf ear, declaring categorically that it "won't pass the Senate."But Republicans, who say their counter-proposal is still being worked out, claimed the details of their plan are not so far off from a bipartisan approach being crafted in the Senate. Both plans would fund the government through mid-January and raise the debt ceiling through February -- a key difference is the House framework would delay a controversial medical device tax in ObamaCare. Republicans urged Democrats to give it a chance, and questioned why they would preemptively reject it.
A group formed from the ruins of ACORN is hard at work signing people up for ObamaCare, and may be collecting taxpayer cash for their work despite Congress' efforts to cut the organization and its affiliates off from government funding, a watchdog group charged.The United Labor Unions Council Local 100, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, announced last month it would take part in a multi-state "navigator" drive to help people enroll in President Obama's health care plan. The labor council was established by ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his larger group was broken up amid scandal in 2009 and banned from receiving taxpayer funds.“At a time when our government has ceased functioning due to an appropriations gap, it is ironic that America’s tax dollars are being doled out to an entity whose poor stewardship of our funds was well-established by Congress,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, a nonpartisan watchdog group based in Washington.
Rattled by Pope Francis’s admonishment to Catholics not to be “obsessed” by doctrine, his stated reluctance to judge gay people and his apparent willingness to engage just about anyone — including atheists — many conservative Catholics are doing what only recently seemed unthinkable:They are openly questioning the pope.
During the previous three decades, popes John Paul II and Benedict shared a focus: Make orthodox teachings crystal clear so Catholics don’t get lost in an increasingly messy, relativistic world.Catholics also became accustomed to popes who were largely speaking to “the Church,” rather than the public. These men often communicated in the language of Catholic theology, and through books, not through long, freewheeling interviews, like Pope Francis.
Speaking to newly accredited ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis attacked the ‘‘dictatorship’’ of the global financial system, and warned that the ‘‘cult of money’’ was making life a misery for millions.He blamed “ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and “thus deny the right of control to states”, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.”He further blamed inadequate regulation which has resulted in “a new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny … one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules.”He said, “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life,” he said, quoting St. John Chrysostom. “It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.”
|James Burke, historian.|
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama is ready to talk even on Republicans' terms, he insisted Tuesday, so long as Congress acts first to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling -- even for a short period.At a news conference, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week."I will talk about anything," the president said.House Speaker John Boehner, speaking Tuesday afternoon after what he called a "pleasant" but ineffectual phone call with Obama, promptly rejected the president's comments as nothing new."What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us," Boehner said. "That's not the way our government works."
So there we have it. The next chairman of the Fed is going to track the labour participation rate. Money will stay loose. Markets have been spared again. The Brics can breathe easier.This leaves me deeply uneasy. We are surely past the point where we can keep using QE to pump up asset prices. My view is that emergency stimulus should henceforth be deployed only to inject money directly into the veins of the economy as an adjunct to the US Treasury, by fiscal dominance, as deemed necessary.
The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Zhu Guangyao, told America’s deadlocked politicians on Monday that “the clock is ticking” and called on them to approve an extension of the national borrowing limit before the federal government is projected to run out of cash on 17 October.“We ask that the United States earnestly takes steps to resolve in a timely way the political issues around the debt ceiling and prevent a US debt default to ensure the safety of Chinese investments in the United States,” Mr Zhu told reporters in Beijing. “This is the United States’ responsibility,” he added.
Said O this weekend of his massive technological faceplant, “Folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times.” No doubt that’s true; the shutdown might stop the feds from manning the Amber Alert site, but rest assured they’ll find a loophole to keep repairs to Healthcare.gov humming.
Ginsburg is doing what she always does this time of year. On a respite from one of her passions — the law — she is indulging the others: opera and family. Ginsburg considers the Santa Fe Opera the finest summer opera company in the world. For years, first with her late husband, Marty, and now with her children and grandchildren, she spends a week in Santa Fe, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and when she returns east she says to herself: “What happened to my sky?”There are tours of the countryside and hikes in the hills. There is VIP access to the works of Georgia O’Keeffe. There are sumptuous dinners prepared by her daughter, Jane, that last until 2:30 in the morning.
“We need her to stay forever,” says one woman after Ginsburg walked past.“Or,” her companion replies, “leave right now.”
There are no set rules for when a justice leaves her lifetime appointment, although for Ginsburg there is no shortage of advice. The first justice nominated by a Democratic president in 26 years when President Bill Clinton chose her, she has been nudged to leave ever since the election of another Democratic president who could choose her replacement.The court has four consistent liberals, including Ginsburg, and four consistent conservatives, and the justice in the middle, Anthony M. Kennedy, is a Ronald Reagan-nominee who more often than not sides with conservatives. If the court’s membership does not change before the 2016 election, the new president would see a Supreme Court with four of its nine members older than 77, including half of the liberal bloc.“The reality of the court, and the parties, these days is that Ginsburg ... should know that a justice selected by President Rubio or President Jindal or President Cruz is going to produce a very different nation than one selected by Barack Obama,” wrote political scientist Jonathan Bernstein in The Washington Post. He was not the first.
|James Burke, thinker.|
Need health insurance? The Obama administration has you covered. Simply dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach the next available health-care provider.Far from being a mistype, that’s the official number that Health and Human Services wants Americans to dial when seeking health care. Obamacare’s national call center really did list its number as 1-800-318-2596, helpfully spelling out President Barack Obama’s tendency to blatantly flip the bird in plain view.After allowing for the lack of letters attached to 1 on a traditional American telephone keypad, the number spells out a clear message. For every duped voter, every young invincible weighing the cost of a penalty versus a newly tripled yearly deductible, every ailing old granny in a wheelchair (whom, remember, Paul Ryan wants to push off a cliff) who needs adequate and affordable health care...
If you're looking for someone who benefits politically from the government shutdown, look no further than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).Several of his potential 2016 rivals, like Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, were all — to varying degrees — backing the quixotic "defund ObamaCare" strategy. Today, they look like children in comparison to a get-things-done governor like Christie. I don't necessarily think this shutdown will be on the minds of voters in 2016, but what we are witnessing is merely the latest example of a Congress that can't get its act together. Voters will have to ask themselves, "Can we trust these guys to govern?"The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin has gone so far as to declare that "in 2016 any GOP governor would be a more viable presidential nominee than any GOP senator."Rubin is right. And if "any" Republican governor might benefit from these times, Christie, I think, is perfectly suited to this moment.