The Bucs (3-8) and the Panthers (8-3) are meeting up today here at home in their second match-up of the season. The Panthers won the first one and look to sweep while at the same time making it 8 wins in a row while the Bucs are looking to extend their win streak to 4 after having an extremely slow start to the season. This is one of those scary games where on the surface you’d think the Cats could win easily – but in reality the Bucs have gotten really good at playing spoiler this year and are hungry to continue turning their season around.
These NFC South Division rivals will be playing on a fairly nice day here in Charlotte where skies are sunny and the temperatures are in the low 50s – a far cry from the bitterly cold weather we had last week.
The game is in progress and is being broadcast on Fox.
The post NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: Bucs at the #Panthers appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Maybe it’s not such a joke. Via Mark Steyn:
A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.
Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.
You’d think, after the public uproar over the revelations about the IRS harassing Americans for their political beliefs, that the agency and the administration would be wary of anything that resembled using the tax service as political weapon.
But that isn’t the Chicago Way.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post Sure it’s a coincidence: two critics of #Obamacare audited by IRS appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Remember that December 1st deadline to have healthcare.gov actually working? Hey, they even had a tech surge and everything! So, they’re going to be ready and millions will flock to the site, right? Right??
White House officials, fearful that the federal health care website may again be overwhelmed this weekend, have urged their allies to hold back enrollment efforts so the insurance marketplace does not collapse under a crush of new users.
At the same time, administration officials said Tuesday that they had decided not to inaugurate a big health care marketing campaign planned for December out of concern that it might drive too many people to the still-fragile HealthCare.gov.
With a self-imposed deadline for repairs to the website approaching on Saturday, the administration is trying to strike a delicate balance. It is encouraging people to go or return to the website but does not want to create too much demand. It boasts that the website is vastly improved, but does not want to raise expectations that it will work for everyone.
In other words, it’s nowhere near ready and, let’s face it, they’re going to find even more bugs as they dig deeper into the system, while some of the fixes are sure to create problems of their own. As of a week ago, the payment system was nonexistent (You don’t get covered until you pay), while the system to pay insurers the subsidy money is months away from being ready.
But, yeah, everything will be copacetic tomorrow.
Via Walter Russell Mead, who has this to say on the potential political consequences:
Remember that many Democrats have cited December 1st (tomorrow!) as the deadline for the website. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if healthcare.gov isn’t working reasonably well by then, many are contemplating distancing themselves publicly from the law. The White House’s attempts to direct people away from the site on and even after that date can’t be doing much to convince Democrats that the site will be ready. The website may be, as the administration claims, getting better all the time. But if Democrats frustrated with a missed December deadline defect from the administration in the coming weeks, continued, gradual improvement might be too little, too late.
I’m beginning to think Charles Krauthammer may be right: Democrats will be the ones who will put an end to Obamacare, just to try to save themselves.
PS: Back from Thanksgiving with the family. I hope you all had a great day.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post White House expresses total confidence in #Obamacare web site appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Saw this video at Drudge of a fight that broke out at a Walmart on Thanksgiving Day over TVs priced to get people in the door:
There are many more links at Drudge of this sort of ridiculous behavior, including a story about a guy in Elkin, NC who claims he was kicked out of a Walmart for filming a fight and another of a shooting in Las Vegas that happened when a man purchased a big-screen TV from a Target, walked home with it, and was shot after going after two men who stole it from him while he was walking home.
I realize there are a lot of stores across the country where this doesn’t happen but to me it is just not worth it to stand in the long lines – especially on Thanksgiving day – for too-good-to-be-true deals, especially when the stores deliberately limit the quantities on the deal just to get people into the stores.
Was talking to a friend of mine about this today who said, “Shame on Walmart” in response. My mindset is to lay the blame and shame at the feet of the people who find that “things” are worth fighting for to the extent that they do, like grabbing, jerking, pulling, pushing, shoving, etc. You spend Thanksgiving day thankful for what you have – and yet turn around hours later and get into a fight over something that isn’t yours just because it’s available at an incredible price?
The post Not Worth It: #BlackFriday shoppers literally fight for TVs appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very safe, happy, and blessed Thanksgiving holiday. Posting here has been and will obviously be light for the next couple of days as Phineas is visiting family and mine is visiting me. Lots of cleaning and prep work has gone on in the last couple of days.
We should be thankful everyday but Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to amplify our appreciation for faith, family, friends, and food. Please also remember to be thankful and say a prayer for those who can’t be with their families today for whatever reason – whether serving in the military, working in law enforcement or in the medical profession, and any other job or responsibility where there never really is a “day off” or “holiday.”
Yours truly, with a lot of help from Mama T., made the family turkey last night in advance so I could free up some time this morning for other things to do before the family comes over. I get the honor of hosting the Thanksgiving holiday at my little home this year, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Enjoy your day today – God bless!
The post Turkey Day: Wishing you & your family a blessed #Thanksgiving! appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Via Fox News:
NBC’s Alec Baldwin experiment is over 46 days after it began.
“We are jointly confirming that UP LATE will not continue on MSNBC,” the network and actor’s reps said in a joint statement to FOX411.
MSNBC had already suspended Alec Baldwin’s low-rated news program last week following an alleged gay slur directed toward a photographer outside his New York City apartment earlier this month.
Despite the actor’s apologies, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had also had enough.
“Mr. Baldwin can’t fight for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice,” a GLAAD rep told FOX411.
Capital One, which employs Baldwin in its “What’s in your wallet?” TV campaign, has so far done nothing to distance themselves from the hot-headed thespian. The credit card giant did not respond to multiple requests for comment from FOX411 last week regarding his status with the company.
Mediaite has more details, classifying what happened as a mutual parting of ways:
UPDATE: Contrary to the Page Six rumor, Variety reports that Baldwin hasn’t been fired but that his show ended as part of a “mutual” split:
Alec Baldwin and MSNBC have agreed to part ways on his short-lived interview show following the controversy the erupted over the actor’s use of an anti-gay slur in an encounter with a photographer.
Sources close to the situation insist that Baldwin was not been fired from the NBCU news cabler, but that the sides “mutually” agreed to end the show in light of the dust-up.
UPDATE II: Baldwin’s rep Matthew Hiltzik and MSNBC jointly confirmed the news via statement: “We are jointly confirming that UP LATE will not continue on MSNBC.”
MSNBC adds: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.”
Yeah – this had to be about more than just the incident involving the gay slur. After all, Baldwin has a history of meltdowns and freakouts, including at least one other instance of him using a gay slur against someone, and MSNBC still brought him on. Perhaps even the far leftists there found him too hot to handle and decided to use his latest embarrassing scandal to say “adios” before he humiliated them even further?
Who knows? In fact, who cares? But lets hope this emerging epidemic of the left eating their own continues …
Related: HuffPo – Sarah Palin Accepts Apology For Martin Bashir’s ‘Vile, Evil Comments’
The post Media Watch: Alec Baldwin and #MSDNC “mutually part ways” over gay slur appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Not in the sense of “after him, a civil war,” of course. That line of thinking, which I’ve occasionally seen, is a bit overwrought. But something Stanley Kurtz wrote today made me think of Jimmy B.
Discussing what may have motivated Obama to ink this bad deal with Iran, Kurtz discounts the idea that it was done to give the administration a win after the Obamacare debacle. Rather, Kurtz thinks that Obama did this because his support has shrunk to his hardcore base, and that base hates the very idea of violent conflict with Iran. To keep from losing this last group, which is already angry over Obamacare’s problems, Obama is willing even to sign an agreement that wreaks havoc on the US position in the Middle East, as long as it postpones conflict with Iran. Kurtz writes:
Americans are weary of war and few on any political side were inclined to bail Obama out of his Syrian “red line” misadventure. Yet there is still a strong constituency for taking action when core American interests are threatened. That constituency, unfortunately, stands largely outside of Obama’s base.
To the extent that this analysis is valid, it means that as long as Obamacare is on life-support (for the next three years, by most accounts), Obama’s policy inclinations and political survival alike will conspire to dictate American weakness on the world scene. With Obama down to his dovish core supporters, we are paralyzed abroad.
And it’s this that makes me think of the hapless Pennsylvanian. Faced with a potential crisis, trapped by his ideology and party supporters who loathed the idea of federal intervention against the states, Buchanan sat there and temporized and let the problem fester until he could hand it off to Lincoln and say “You deal with it!”
And so it is with Obama and whoever succeeds him.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
Darn Judge Michael Kenny and his concern for the law! Doesn’t he know he’s standing in the way of the future?
A Sacramento judge put the brakes on California’s plans to build a bullet train after dual rulings Monday blocked the sale of $8 billion in bonds and ordered the rail authority to rewrite its funding plans for the huge project.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled that there was “no evidence in the record” to support the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s request in March to sell the bonds from Proposition 1A, a $10 billion measure approved by voters in 2008 that allowed the bullet train project to move ahead.
In a separate but related case, the judge sided with the Kings County Board of Supervisors and two homeowners who sued the rail agency, saying it had failed to detail how the project will be financed, as legally required, before seeking bond money to begin construction.
The judge’s rulings leave the future of the $68 billion project in question. The state has been trying to get the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley built using $3.24 billion in federal funds and $2.61 billion in Prop. 1A bond money. The rail authority has already signed a construction contract to build the first 29 miles of track from Madera to Fresno.
The judge rejected opponents’ calls for that contract to be rescinded.
The judge’s ruling seems a reasonable one, as he sticks to the question of CHSRA’s authority to sell bonds (1); the contract is a separate matter and, if the State can’t raise the money to pay for it, also moot.
Naturally, this ruling is going to get appealed by proponents of this boondoggle all the way to the State Supreme Court, if need be. Let’s hope they uphold Judge Kenny’s ruling; then maybe we can escape from this fiasco having wasted only $600 million.
I’m not, however, getting my hopes up. The legislature might try to rewrite the law to allow the bond sales. This would be difficult and subject to court challenges, as the original measure approving HSR was a public ballot initiative, and changing it might require another vote, something Brown opposes because the California public has turned against the project. He wouldn’t want to risk a public rejection that would definitively kill his 1930s retro-future dream. Whichever way this goes, it’s going to be a long fight.
As they say, “stay tuned!”
(1) I almost wrote “”bongs.” Fitting, seeing as this is California.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post CA High-Speed Rail Fail: Judge derails Gov. Brown’s choo-choo? appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
There’s been a lot of talk since the weekend about the deal brokered between Iran on the one hand, and the US and its European partners on the other, that supposedly somehow represented a breakthrough in the quest to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Discussions have centered around diplomacy and grand strategy, and the motives of the Iranian and US governments. Matter of “high politics,” as they might have said in the 19th century.
But the agreement touches people on a very personal level, too. Left unmentioned in any of the negotiations are Americans trapped in Iranian prisons, men such as Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho who was accused of the horrid crime (in Iran, under Islam) of preaching the Gospel and helping to establish home churches (1). Abedini was yanked off a bus, his passport taken from him, and he was consigned to Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
And, in the negotiations leading to this wonderful deal, the US never mentioned him once:
Two words are nowhere to be found in the pages of text that spell out a new interim nuclear deal with Iran: Saeed Abedini.
Now some supporters of the American pastor, who’s been detained in Iran for more than a year, are accusing U.S. officials of betraying Abedini by signing off on an agreement that doesn’t get him out of prison.
“We were across the table from the Iranians, and we did not bring home Americans. To me that’s a tragedy and that’s outrageous,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family in the United States.
While analysts debated the nuclear agreement’s pros and cons, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said she was trying to comfort her two young children.
“It’s very painful,” she told CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “My kids were crying this morning, saying, ‘God, don’t let Daddy die. Bring him home.’ “
One would think an American government, leading a nation founded on principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would have raised a stink about Abedini at these negotiations, something along the lines of “You want sanctions lifted and your sequestered cash released? Give us Abedini and we’ll talk.” (2)
But then one would remember Barack Obama is in charge. Defending Americans in danger abroad is a bit alien to him, as we learned in Libya.
Via Bryan Preston, who connects Abedini’s abandonment to his Christianity and draws a parallel to the Obama administrations attacks on religious liberty here. I disagree with Bryan on this: nations have often sacrificed individuals for “reasons of state” when a higher goal was at stake. In the Obama administration’s case, the nuclear deal with Iran was paramount, and if the government was willing to blindside Jewish Israel and Muslim Saudi Arabia with this, they weren’t going to let the fate of Saeed Abedini (or Robert Levinson) stand in the way. It’s shameful and cynical, to be sure, but not religiously motivated.
RELATED: There are several good articles explaining why this deal stinks. At The Weekly Standard, John Bolton calls this “abject surrender.” Writing at PJM, Michael Ledeen points out, among other excellent observations, that the Iranian treasury was almost empty, but we’ve now agreed to give them billions. Genius. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast quotes an expert who says this comes close to a “nuclear 1914 scenario.” How fitting, with the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaching. James Carafano calls this a deal based on a dangerous fantasy — Munich II. My own observation is this: Regardless of the restrictions placed on the Iranian public nuclear program by this deal, if you think there isn’t a secret program run in parallel by the military that is still going full-speed, you’re high.
This deal makes war more likely, not less.
(1) Abedini’s offense was compounded by being himself a convert to Christianity from Islam. Under Islamic law, that is the crime of apostasy and is punishable by death. I suppose the Iranians thought they were being merciful for just sticking him in jail for eight years.
(2) Not that I’m a religious person, but I believe very strongly in the natural right of all humans to freedom of speech and religion, and, within very broad bounds, government should stay the heck out. No law is legitimate that oppresses those rights, and an American government that won’t stand up for its citizens’ rights in the face of a tyranny that tramples both is craven.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post #IranDeal: It wasn’t just the Israelis and the Saudis Obama backstabbed appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Via The Hill:
The Iran nuclear deal has put new strains on President Obama’s relationship with Jewish donors, a pillar of Democratic fundraising.
The U.S.-led agreement — endorsed by France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia — has attracted criticism from Democratic allies of Israel, including Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, predicted the “disproportionality” of the agreement would spur Congress to pass additional sanctions against Iran.
“It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table. And any reduction relieves the pressure of sanction and gives them the hope that they will be able to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Jeff Robbins, a Democratic lawyer and fundraiser based in Boston, said many Jewish Democrats agree with Schumer.
“There is a strong concern that in the frenetic eagerness to secure a piece of paper, an eagerness that could not have been more ostentatiously advertised, the United States and others went for a deal which was not consistent with the leverage that was had.”
He said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”
Robbins also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that Israeli officials were disparaging the emerging deal without being fully briefed on its details.
“Stuff that seems aimed of fomenting a view of those who are concerned about Israel as somehow obsessive-compulsive or worse,” he said. “We’re talking about a potential nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran.”
A Jewish donor to Obama’s campaigns who requested anonymity to discuss the deal frankly, accused the president of “selling Israel down the river,” adding that it is a “betrayal of our closest ally in the region.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, a senior Jewish Democratic lawmaker from New York, called the agreement “very disappointing.”
“We need to be very, very careful with the Iranians,” the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee said on CNN over the weekend. “I don’t trust them. I don’t think we should trust them.”
Good to see the bipartisan criticism over this one-sided “deal” get louder. That said, would someone alert the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who apparently thinks the only people who have serious issues with it are Republicans who would “mindlessly” oppose the President no matter what anyway? Just because he’s used to reflexively standing shoulder to shoulder with whatever the administration does doesn’t mean the rest of us have to …
The post Obama’s big nuke deal with Iran tests Jewish supporters appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
“If you like it you can keep it”, right? Er, no. Via Fox News:
Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.
Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.
Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, “at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well.” There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.
Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, “the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.”
Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.
According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.
In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.
And that’s exactly what Democrats wanted. Ready for single payer, anyone?
The post Experts: Close to 80 million could lose health care insurance under #Obamacare appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
I included a link to this article in my earlier post on how Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) suggested Obama use executive orders as often as possible to get around Congress, but figured it deserved its own post. The Hill’s recap of it is a bit more thorough:
President Obama told donors Sunday night that he’s not “particularly ideological.” He made the comment at one of two Democratic fundraisers he attended in Seattle.
”I’m not a particularly ideological person,” Obama said, according to the White House pool report. “There’s things, some values I feel passionately about.” Those include, he said, making sure “everybody gets a fair shake” and “everybody being treated with dignity or respect, regardless of what they look like or who they are.” [Don't you love the 'humble brag' there? Ugh. --ST]
Congress, Obama said, is the “biggest barrier and impediment” to achieving progress. He added that, without politics, there’s strong agreement on how to tackle infrastructure, immigration reform, early childhood education and investing in science and research.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attended the event, and Obama said she’s “soon-to-be speaker again.”
“More than anything, what we’re looking for is not the defeat of another party, what we’re looking for is the advancement of ideas,” he said. “But to do that we’re going to need Nancy Pelosi as speaker because there’s a lot of work to be done right now.”
And, dammit, they can’t have the opposition “impeding” them at every turn, ya know.
At another left coast fundraiser, a heckler brought up the possibility of Obama using an executive order on the issue of immigration. Here was his response:
SAN FRANCISCO – President Obama pushed back Monday against supporters who want him to sign more executive orders to overcome opposition to his policies from Republicans in Congress.
After a man repeatedly shouted “executive order” during Obama’s speech at a fundraiser here Monday afternoon, the president said there is “no short-cut to democracy” and that he could not sign executive orders to bypass Congress.
“A lot of people have been saying this lately on every problem, which is just, ‘Sign an executive order and we can pretty much do anything and basically nullify Congress,’ ” Obama said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco.
Many in the audience of more than 400 supporters began applauding. “Wait, wait, wait,” Obama said. “Before everybody starts clapping, that’s not how it works. We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers. So there is no short-cut to politics, and there’s no short-cut to democracy.”
That’s a very nice defense of separation of powers, but don’t get too relieved. This President – and many high profile power brokers in his administration are very good at paying lip service to the Constitution, but the reality is another matter entirely …
The post Obama: “I’m not particularly ideological”, but Congress is the “biggest impediment” to progress appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
We knew Edie Sundby wouldn’t be the only one. In Virginia Beach, grandmother and kidney-cancer sufferer Debra Fishericks was happy with the coverage she has, but the federal government wasn’t. Guess who won?
“We were happy,” says the business owner. “We had great insurance. We had continuing care for our employees.”
Says the owner, “Great–until owner Betsy Atkinson learned the policy would be terminated because it doesn’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”
Great work there, Democrats. Your genius plan is not only making healthcare worse in this country, but it’s going to get people killed.
(h/t The Weekly Standard)
RELATED: From my beloved Golden State, read how one family is having to scrimp and save every penny, because Obamacare is wreaking havoc on their finances. At least they’re not having to consider bankruptcy because of the ACA. Yet. Meanwhile, Covered CA (the state Obamacare exchange) teamed with SEIU and the California Endowment to hold a sign-up party in Sacramento, probably because not enough of the young and healthy are volunteering to be fodder for the ACA vampire. Of the roughly 1,500 people who showed up for the one-day event, ten completed applications, while less than 50 others had even started one.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post #Obamacare Chronicles: another cancer victim loses the insurance she likes appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
The Observer’s Politicker reports on a recent interview Congressman Rangel did with NY1 in which he expressed support for President Obama going around Congress via the use of executive orders “for everything”:
Congressman Charlie Rangel has a solution for bypassing gridlock in Washington D.C.: executive orders for “everything.”
In an interview last night with NY1, the congressman praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to push through the so-called “nuclear option” to end filibusters on most presidential nominees. But he lamented the fact the work-around could not be used for legislation, suggesting the president turn to the executive orders–like the kind used to end the deportation many people who’d entered the country illegally as children.
“You know, the DREAM Act for the kids that came over here and didn’t know their home town, the president did that by executive order. What I did is I’ve taken out the language that he used and I’m gonna see why we can’t use executive orders for everything. What’s he gonna do? Make the Republicans angry? They’re gonna get annoyed? They’re not gonna cooperate?”
He went on to slam the Republican Party for refusing to cooperate–accusing them of acting against the interests of their own constituents.
“A police officer once told me when I was a kid that the worst criminal to deal with is one that doesn’t mind dying,” he said. “And if you take a look at what these Tea Party people have done–recognizing that there’s more sick and poor white folks then there is–but they still are resisting everything that the president wants to do so they can destroy the people in their district in terms of education and jobs, the Congress, the Republican name. And when we had the debt ceiling crisis, they were really prepared to let the United States of America fiscal policy to go in the tubes. How can you talk with people like this?”
And just last week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) proposed expanding the use of the nuclear option to beyond just the filibuster on judicial nominees by way of, ya know, actual legislation.
How DARE Republicans disagree with Democrats and President Obama on how best to turn around the economic crisis our country faces – a crisis that has actually gotten WORSE under their watch? Shame on the GOP for accurately predicting exactly what problems Obamacare would cause. It was just pure luck they got it right. There can’t possibly be any genuine philosophical differences for disagreement with liberals. Why, conservatives and Republicans just want to “destroy” people. Oh, and raaaaaaaaaacism!
It’s always illuminating when the ‘moderate’ masks of Democrats come off, isn’t it? Their true fascistic faces are revealed in all their ugliness for the country – and the world – to see. It’s disturbing to watch but necessary. It’s good to know who – and what – you’re really up against.
The post Charlie Rangel: We don’t need no stinkin’ Congress appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
The Panthers (7-3) have traveled this weekend to Miami (5-5) for their next match-up and are riding high after their 24-20 Monday night win over the visiting New England Patriots. The Cats are on a 6 game win streak and hope to make it 7 today as they play a Dolphins team mired in a bullying scandal. Miami beat San Diego last week 20-16.
Game time is 1 pm ET and it will be broadcast locally on Fox.
The post NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the #Dolphins appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Because The Future! Or something:
The latest accounting by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to state lawmakers indicates that the agency has spent almost $600 million on engineering and environmental consultants — all without turning a shovelful of dirt on construction.
In the twice-a-year report (PDF) sent to legislative leaders on Friday, the agency is sticking to its estimated price tag of $68.3 billion to build its San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet-train line. The agency earlier this year approved a $987 million contract with a team of contractors to design and build the first 29-mile stretch of the line from Madera through Fresno.
But while contractors Tutor Perini Corp., Zachry Construction and Parsons Corp. have been given a green light for engineering and other pre-construction activities, the authority has offered no estimate of when ground may be broken .
If the name “Tutor-Perini” rings a bell, you’re not just hearing things. Tutor-Perini’s principle owner is Richard Blum. Blum has been mentioned before in this blog, and there have been allegations in the past of cronyism in the winning of government contracts by companies he’s involved with. By sheer coincidence, Blum is also the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein.
But, back to the more than half-a-billion, this is money that has been spent before construction has even begun on the initial Fresno to Madera segment. The Fresno Bee article describes what we’ve gotten for our money, so far:
“The authority has made significant progress in its mission to plan, design, build and operate the nation’s first high-speed rail system as part of the statewide rail modernization program,” agency CEO Jeff Morales wrote in the report.
The report details a raft of administrative advances, including filling all of its executive management positions, developing a risk-management plan, issuing a report on greenhouse-gas emissions, and awarding the construction contracts for the Madera-Fresno stretch.
(I hope those executives got some nice chairs for that $600 million.)
There is still an environmental report –Yay! More consulting fees!– for the area around Chowchilla to be done, which is why this state version of a shovel-ready project hasn’t started. Already they’re two years behind schedule.
And the whole ball of wax (with attendant fees) has to be done for at least six other segments from San Francisco to Anaheim. Luckily, the High-Speed Rail Authority is allowed to spend up to $980 million on pre-construction “consulting contracts” through 2018. No way they’ll come asking for more public money (1). Nope. Nuh-uh.
I can’t wait to see what the costs come to once they actually start building this boondoggle.
Nice legacy ya got there, Governor.
(1) Funded by either public borrowing or higher taxes, of course.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post CA High-Speed Rail Fail: $600 million spent, not a mile of track laid appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
It’s not just the “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie or the forthcoming “access shock” that Democrats have to worry about as we approach the 2014 midterm elections. At the Washington Examiner, Byron York describes three more promises the president and his party made about Obamacare that could easily come back to bite them. Here’s one:
1) Obamacare will save your family $2,500 a year.
During the 2008 campaign, and as president, Obama promised his health plan would “cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.” But Obama and fellow Democrats knew that many premiums would actually go up. Obamacare provides taxpayer-paid subsidies to millions of Americans with which to pay the higher prices, but those without subsidies will have to deal with the problem themselves.
In any event, the savings aren’t happening, and the administration has abandoned the $2,500 claim. Obama avoided repeating it when Mitt Romney threw it at him during the 2012 presidential debates. And at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pointedly did not use the figure, even when Republican lawmakers pressed her about it.
“I didn’t say they’re going down,” Sebelius said of health care premiums. “I said the rates are lower than was predicted. And for millions of people in the market, they will actually, for the first time ever, have some financial help paying for their health insurance.”
So the promise of $2,500 savings has become a reality of rising premiums, with subsidies for some. It’s a broken promise that could prove politically toxic for the administration.
I imagine there are quite a few people who would like to remind Secretary Sebelius of her boss’ exact words.
The other two are –and try not to laugh– Obamacare as a job-creating bill (1) and a guarantee that it won’t harm those who are already insured (2).
I’m willing to bet there’s a growing number of incumbent Democrats who are considering retirement much more seriously these days.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post #Obamacare: more broken promises to haunt Democrats appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Via The Hill:
After the Senate voted to change filibuster rules Thursday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called for more reforms.
“This has been escalating for a long period of time and it was time to stop it and that’s what we did this morning,” Harkin said. “Now we need to take it a step farther and change the filibuster rules on legislation.”
Fifty-two Democratic senators voted to limit the minority party’s right to filibuster executive branch and judicial nominees. Under the old rules, 60 votes were necessary to end debate on nominees, but Democrats changed the rules to require a simple majority.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was prompted to use the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules with a simple majority after Republicans blocked three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court.
The nuclear option — which gets its name from the damage done to bipartisan relationships — allows a simple-majority to change the Senate rules rather than the usual super majority.
Republicans accused Democrats of being shortsighted by “breaking the rules to change the rules.”
“This is a blatant power grab,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said. “This is about the other side not getting everything they want when they want it.”
Harkin said it was a “good day” for the Senate and called for more reforms.
Move along here, no naked power grabs to see …
The post Sen. Harkin: Hey, let’s expand this nuclear option thing to legislation, too appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
This morning the petty little tyrant also known as Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) did what he has longed to do and finally changed the rules of the Senate to weaken filibusters, the so-called “nuclear option:”
In a move that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called “the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed the button on the long-threatened “nuclear option” today to require a simple majority to move forward President Obama’s judicial nominees.
There were three Democratic defectors — Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — on the rules change, which came to the floor over the block of three judges intended for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The rule change only affects court appointments below the level of the Supreme Court and also doesn’t limit filibusters against legislation. Yet. Obama hinted at attacking the legislative filibuster, and you can bet the filibuster against Supreme Court nominees will be similarly brushed aside, should an opening arise between now and the next Inauguration Day.
Many senators and outside observers (including yours truly) commented this morning that this could well come back to bite the Democrats in the behind, once the Republicans take control of the Senate, which could come as early as next year, given their crumbling political position thanks to Obamacare. It seems at first and even second glance to be a shortsighted move, an act of petulance done in spite against one’s own interests.
I think, however, there is a deeper motive.
Reid, for all his faults, is not a stupid man. Or, at least, he’s a skilled politician who can see which way the electoral winds are blowing. He remembers 2010, when anger over the passage of Obamacare cost the Democrats the House and almost lost them the Senate.
But now people are even angrier, now that Obamacare has kicked in. And it’s only going to get worse for the Democrats, as the web site doesn’t get fixed, the “access shock” kicks in, rates go up even further, and millions who thought their employer-based coverage was safe find out otherwise starting in fall, 2014, just before the elections… See where this is going?
Harry Reid knows the Senate is lost. He’s read the entrails for his party’s fortunes and seen in the not too distant future a Republican House, Senate, and (quite possibly) White House. With the loss of legislative power this entails, Reid has laid the groundwork to do the one thing he can do to protect the progressive agenda in 2017 and beyond: pack the courts with progressive judges.
Court packing was the scheme through which FDR hoped to load up a conservative Supreme Court that had been blocking key New Deal measures with liberal justices who would swing decisions his way. While the plan per se failed, it had the intended effect: the Court was intimidated and, through retirement and changed minds, started to vote FDR’s way.
Reid has the same thing in mind. I would not be surprised at all to see Obama appoint a bunch of appellate and district judges, in order to have them place when Republican measures undoing Obamacare and other progressive legislation are challenged in court. Long after Reid and his majority are gone, these progressive judges would be in place to rule with “empathy” and “fairness” and find new rights in the Constitution that no one else has ever seen there.
But what about the Supreme Court? Wouldn’t they smack down errant lower courts?
You’d better hope Scalia, Thomas, and the other Center-Right justices stay healthy, otherwise this same maneuver will be used to give us, for example, Cass Sunstein, who is a fan of FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights,” or California Justice Goodwin Liu (Be afraid, be very afraid).
Court Packing II, coming your way in 2014.
RELATED: At Twitchy, a video festival of Democrats claiming that limiting the filibuster would be a disaster — back when George W. Bush was president. How times change.
UPDATE: At NRO’s Bench Memos, Curt Levey sees some real bad news in this development –
The immediate impact will be to turn the D.C. Circuit — often the only check on a president’s executive power — into a rubber stamp for Obama’s unilateral rewriting of statutes, his questionable executive orders, his overreaching agency regulations, and his other Nixonian abuses of executive authority.
Over a somewhat longer term, my concern is that the moderating force that was exerted on Obama’s judicial nominations by the filibuster threat is gone. As a result, expect to see more nominations of radicals like Goodwin Liu and a faster remaking of the entire federal judiciary.
Read the rest for some hopeful news.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The post Harry Reid goes nuclear: get ready for “Court Packing Scheme II.” Updated appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Whoops. Via Politico:
Late-night TV comics who still need material about the troubled Obamacare website should have kept an eye on what happened to HealthCare.gov when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talked up the website this week in Florida.
Sebelius was visiting a Miami medical center Tuesday and talking with local residents trying to sign up for health coverage. With a local CBS4 television camera rolling, a navigator helping a husband and wife with coverage attempted to send their application. Seconds later, the site failed — in full view of the crowd and attending media.
“Sorry, our system is down,” explained the screen message, which suggested the couple try again in 30 minutes.
Several media reports attributed a two-word response to Sebelius: “Uh oh.”
Understatement of the year, to say the least. The photo says it all:
In related news, more “good times” ahead as the next wave of health insurance policy cancellations are expected to hit next year … right before the November elections:
A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall — right before the mid-term elections.
The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses. While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shakeup in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader.
An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, shows the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predict up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.
Guess those plans will be characterized by Democrats as “junk plans” offered by “bad apple insurers“, too – because they know best what fits YOUR healthcare needs. Or, more to the point, they believe GOVERNMENT knows best as to what fits your healthcare needs and you didn’t need your stinkin’ healthcare plan anyway, no matter how many times Democrats like President Obama and Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) promised you could keep it.
So much for “my body, my choice” …
Update – 7:01 PM: The Washington Free Beacon has video of the Obamacare site crashing
The post Photo: @Sebelius embarrassed as #Obamacare site goes down during publicity stunt appeared first on Sister Toldjah.