Ken's Project Blog

January 21, 2011

Karl Rove Op-Ed Considered

Filed under: Five Days in October,Health Care,In The News,Politics — Ken @ 11:07 am


Earlier this week, Karl Rove posted an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called “The GOP’s Health-Care Offensive Has Just Begun,” and if you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to go read it now. It’s a quick read, it’s informative, and it’s the basis of this posting, so, you know, why not?

I want to take a look at a few paragraphs in Mr. Rove’s piece – here’s the first:

Moreover, the fight against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, of which this week’s vote is but the opening round, once again focuses public attention on the law’s flaws. Virtually every claim the Obama administration has made on its behalf is turning out to be untrue. (Recall “If you like your current [health-care] plan, you will be able to keep it.”) Or it wasn’t credible to start with, such as the claim by the Office of Management and Budget that the bill will cut the deficit. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll this week showed that 62% see it as increasing the deficit, 54% think it’ll hurt the economy, and 46% think the law will cost jobs. When Republicans have winning arguments, they should keep pressing them.

The first half of the paragraph is fine, but notice what he did in the second half of the paragraph – he’s countering an Office of Management and Budget analysis with a poll of citizens and their views of the “cost” or “impact” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)- this is the definition of comparing apples to oranges. The CBO still stands-by it’s earlier assessment that the ten years of regulation and about 6 years of Health Care reform (after act is fully implemented in 2014) will save $100 Billion by 2020, with a projected $1 Trillion in savings by the year 2030:

CBO reiterates that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion in the current decade and more than $1 trillion in the decade after that — which represents the most deficit reduction enacted since the 1990s.

Source: Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget

Now, for the second paragraph:

The longer this issue is around, the worse it’s likely to be for Democrats. This year’s ObamaCare-mandated Medicare cuts are geometrically larger than last year’s. Dissatisfaction among health-care providers will continue rising as the new health-care law adversely affects their profession. The concerns of business leaders will become more pronounced as the law’s mandates limit their choices while increasing their costs. And consumer discontent will grow as promised declines in insurance premiums and health-care costs don’t materialize.

In this paragraph Mr. Rove starts of with statements of fact, but then goes into consumer perceptions and expectations, but that’s OK, because he’s approaching the same idea from different places – he’s reinforcing his assertion, not disputing someone elses. What is important to note in this paragraph is the importance of consumer (voter) perception, not the rhetoric of those who seem to think they can just promise benefits absent any actual basis in reality. Supporters tend to argue about “coming benefits” and choose to ignore the current implications of the PPACA. Consumers see their premiums go up and they see insurers reducing their choices (stand-alone coverage for children no longer available, for example)

The third and fourth paragraphs of interest:

A slew of recent polls also show that Americans favor replacing ObamaCare with sensible reforms that increase competition and choice, and thereby expand access and lower cost. For example, the Resurgent Republic poll showed voters support, by 70% to 23%, the ability to buy health insurance across state lines. They back proposals that would make it possible for workers to take their health insurance from job to job by 53% to 36%. And they believe frivolous lawsuits drive up health-care costs by 53% to 38%.

Other GOP initiatives—like allowing people to save more of their paychecks tax-free for out-of-pocket medical expenses, and letting small businesses pool risk to get the same discounts that big companies get—are similarly popular. President Obama said after the midterm election results that “he’d be happy to consider . . . ideas for how to improve” health care. Fortunately, Republicans have a ready agenda with widespread public backing.

In these two paragraphs Mr. Rove enumerates various popular ideas that many believe will have a positive impact on reducing the cost of health care in America, and while the GOP’s opponents argue that the impacts will be minimal, af there are any at all, but that doesn’t seem to be gaining traction among voters,a s Mr. Rove’s poll results show. Supporters of PPACA will also likely find themselves in the awkward position in the coming months arguing such illogical propositions as: denying sale of insurance across state lines, contrary to promises of increasing choices; support so-called “frivolous lawsuits” and limiting tax-free deductions for out-of-pocket expenses, contrary to promises to lower the cost of health care; and deny small business the ability to pool resources to realize savings similar to those larger organizations enjoy, ostensibly because the savings would impact the tax revenues the government needs to collect to fund the PPACA.

I really enjoyed Mr. Rove’s Op-Ed, and my analysis shouldn’t be taken as an “attack” – my purpose here was to highlight the manner in which he makes his case, and to serve as a reminder of the tough row the PPACA supporters will have arguing in support of a law so large, it contains something to offend everyone.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal: “The GOP’s Health-Care Offensive Has Just Begun,”

White House’s Office of Management and Budget: CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook

Congressional Budget Office Director’s Blog: Preliminary Cost Estimate for Pending Health Care Legislation

New York Times: Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print

Karl Rove’s website: Rove.com

December 22, 2010

Take it where you can get it

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 9:55 am

I started this blog with the goal of developing some skills in news writing, research, or journalism. I’ve considered this a pretty personal project, meaning I didn’t think anyone else would really notice or care, but today I got a pat on the back from a complete stranger, and it actually meant a lot to me.

I am tempted to dismiss the compliment, based on the website it was found on, but I won’t – I appreciate the fact that someone I don’t know saw something I wrote, held it up as a valuable/interesting reference point and that some 31 readers from that site choose to follow the link and see my post.

Here’s the reference on The Huffington Post to my favorite piece so far, “Burning Down The House”.

Thank you, random Huffington Post reader – I appreciate that you saw value in something I wrote.

October 28, 2010

See, loans ARE available

Filed under: Five Days in October,Politics — Ken @ 10:00 am


How, in these tough economic times, can an organization with no actual product and hard assets worth less than $14M secure over $32M in loans? Well, it seems all you need is a donor list you can sell and to be the party of the sitting President. The DNC and DCCC together borrowed over $32M from Bank of America (who got $45 Billion in TARP funds, which it quickly paid back, raising the question did they really need the bailout in the first place), just two days after they changed their privacy policy to allow them to sell their donor lists (including names & addresses collected when their privacy policy said they would not sell donor information – how’s that for ‘change’?).

If you go to the DNC’s website and click on “Privacy Policy” you’ll see, on the bottom of the page, under the heading “What Personal Information Do We Share With Third Parties?” the following:

in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, reorganization, acquisition, asset sale or in any other situation where personal information may be disclosed or transferred as one of the assets of the DNC.

The most interesting stat I saw was that the total of both loans (DNC & DCCC) exceeds the total of ALL small business loans Bank of America made in 2009 and 2010 (so far)!

Seems collateral is nice when applying for a loan, but apparently connections are better…

Read all about it at Pajama Media

October 27, 2010

Sarah Palin E-Mail Hacker

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 9:36 pm

David Kernell
David Kernell, the hacker that went into Sara Palin’s Yahoo email account in the weeks before the 2008 Presidential Election has been convicted, and is facing sentencing on November 12th. His convictions are for of misdemeanor computer intrusion and a felony count of obstruction of justice, offenses that carry penalties of 15-21 months jail time and up to $250,000 in fines (the Government is asking for him to get 18 months in jail). Kernell’s attorney is pressing for a sentence of “time served,” based on the following argument:

In a motion filed with the court (.pdf) this week, his attorney asserted that although his client might have deleted evidence, this should be balanced against the fact that he didn’t destroy the computer entirely or get rid of it.

“The proof showed that Mr. Kernell very quickly took actions that resulted in the evidence being preserved,” defense attorney Wade Davies wrote. He also said that his client’s behavior was an “aberration” from his normal conduct and that the “public humiliation, trial and felony conviction” his client had endured were enough to deter him from future crimes.

“General deterrence has been achieved in this case by educating the public that accessing another’s e-mail account is conduct that violates federal law,” Davies wrote.

Got that? If his client were really trying to delete evidence, he would have gotten rid of the computer or destroy it… Let’s call this the “Pity please, my client is not good at destroying evidence” defense.

Source: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/10/kernell-probation/

October 25, 2010

An A for Effort

Filed under: Five Days in October,Politics,Uncategorized — Ken @ 10:27 am

Sharron Angle on NV Primary night, 2010

I haven’t had a chance to formulate a follow-up to this article from the Reno News & Review yet – but one is coming. For now, why not go take a look and see if you can find the failures in this article on Sharron Angle’s church and it’s view of Mormonism…

Here are the three tweets I sent to Marc Mabinder and Jon Ralston, the sources of the tweet that alerted me to this article:

@RalstonFlash @marcambinder Seriously Pastor Reed is Angle’s PREV pastor, NOT current, based on your own linked article http://bit.ly/avsYoN

@RalstonFlash @marcambinder Any chance you culled through 300 yrs of documents to uncover ‘truth’ during Rev. Wright kerfuffle? Probably not

@RalstonFlash @marcambinder It’s interesting how 95% agreement of Christian principles became 95% of Christians agree on EVERYTHING…

I find it hard to believe this reporter has worked on this since June, only now, four months later getting into shape, ready for publication.

More to come…

October 24, 2010

Pete DeFazio Talks Impeachment of Roberts

Filed under: Five Days in October,Politics — Ken @ 1:04 pm

Congressman Pete DeFazio

Rep. Pete DeFazio, D Oregon


Congressman Pete DeFazio, under fire in his re-election bid in Oregon, has decided to saber rattle and call for an impeachment haring on charges of perjury against Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts. As he told the Huffington Post:

“I mean, the Supreme Court has done a tremendous disservice to the United States of America. They have done more to undermine our democracy with their Citizens United decision than all of the Republican operatives in the world in this campaign. They’ve opened the floodgates, and personally, I’m investigating articles of impeachment against Justice Roberts for perjuring during his Senate hearings, where he said he wouldn’t be a judicial activist, and he wouldn’t overturn precedents.”

From The Daily Kos, which in turn grabbed it from The Huffington Post:

“(Congressman Pete) DeFazio is doing so based on two points.

Justice Roberts’ testimony during his 2005 confirmation hearings and Justice Stevens’ Dissenting Opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In short, Roberts swore not to be an activist Justice and to follow the traditions of the Court. Justice Stevens dissent clearly demonstrates that Roberts did neither.”

So what we have here is that DeFazio is going after SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts based largely on the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Stevens because Stevens felt that the court should not have heard the case, and the court expanded the case beyond what was brought before it.

Is this the first time an Associate Justice disagreed with the Chief Justices’s decision to hear a case? I think not.

Is this the first time an Associate Justice felt the Chief Justice expanded the scope of a case before the court? I think not.

What is unusual is that Chief Justice Roberts said, under oath, that he wouldn’t do either (as he referred to it at the time, he said he wouldn’t be an “Activist Justice”), and this Congressman has decided to draw some attention to himself with his “investigation” into impeachment proceedings – oddly timed to be announced before, but not acted on, before one of the most contentious mid-term elections in years. How strange!

But what is odd, is that they want to charge a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice with and impeachment on the grounds of perjury, based on testimony provided in his confirmation hearing. For those of you, like me, that aren’t legal scholars, here is the best, most accessible definition of perjury I could find – I encourage you to look for a better definition if this one doesn’t suit your needs:

“In order for a person to be found guilty of perjury the government must prove: the person testified under oath before [e.g., the grand jury]; at least one particular statement was false; and the person knew at the time the testimony was false.”

Source: http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/p032.htm

What is fascinating is the REQUIREMENT that the “person knew at the time the testimony was false” – how will Congressman DeFazio PROVE that then-nominee Roberts KNEW not only that Citizens United was going to come before the supreme Court, but that he would also (in the opinion of Associate Justice Stevens at least) expand the scope of that case?

Seriously, how will Congressman DeFazio prove those two claims are true?

Over at The Nation they explain that Congressman DeFazio is being met with challenges from a hedge fund manager that takes exception to the Congressman’s record and is working to defeat the Congressman…

Does this remind anyone of Rep. Conyers “mock impeachment trial” in the basement of the Capital?

Thanks to our friends at The Blaze for bringing this story to my attention. Their brief posting includes an audio link to hear Congressman Pete Defazio utter the above charges, make his intentions clear.

Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/22/peter-defazio-impeachment-chief-justice-john-roberts_n_771431.html

Daily Kos article: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/10/23/912909/-DeFazio:-Impeachment-for-Roberts,-On-the-Table

The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/blog/155545/congressman-considers-move-impeach-chief-justice-john-roberts

Rep. Conyers “mock impeachment” trial: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/16/AR2005061601570.html

October 5, 2010

Burning Down The House

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 4:57 pm

In the news recently was a story about the Cranick family in Tennessee that watched their house burn down because they didn’t pay a $75 fee for fire protection services from a local fire company, but that isn’t the whole story… (more…)

October 4, 2010

Definition of Grassroots

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 7:55 pm

Animated GIF comparing Restoring Honor to One Nation Rally

Our friends over at Mediaite.com are attempting to put a positive spin on the events on the Washington Mall this past Saturday, the 10/2/10 rally, but they put forth this argument, and I feel the need to comment:

On that score, much has been made of the fact that labor unions chartered buses for thousands of their members, versus “Restoring Honor” attendees who “paid their own way.” This seeming contrast ignores the fact that unions are funded by their members, so by definition, the union members on those chartered buses did pay their own way. You couldn’t really ask for a more textbook example of grassroots action.

Uhm, I can.

Union dues are charged to everyone, not just those that wanted to go to the rally.

Union dues are not optional.

Every union member could not attend the rally, only a limited number of buses were rented.

Using your same tortured logic about the definition of Grassroots, what, exactly, wouldn’t be grassroots? If the Government bused in people you could argue that since taxpayer money was used to fund the trip, it was grassroots. If a company financed the bus trips for their customers, you could argue that since all the money the company has comes from the customers, that they too are grassroots. Seriously, what wouldn’t be considered grassroots under your logic?? 

The Restoring Honor attendees had to arrange for their own buses, plane rides, train tickets, and/or drive themselves – having leadership at your union book and pay for the bus trip isn’t quite “textbook grassroots” – it’s more like “Astroturf.”

Now, I will agree with at least one point raised by Mediaite.com – namely that gathering 175,000 estimated attendees is an accomplishment (no matter who funded the buses ;^).

Link to Mediatie.com story: ‘One Nation Rally’ Proved its Point, Despite Reports to the Contrary, Comparisons to Glenn Beck Rally

Meg Whitman Housekeeper Kerfuffle

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 6:18 pm

Meg Whitman speaking at Computer History MuseumCalifornia Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman finds herself defending against the strangest of all accusations, in my humble opinion. She is being sued by her former housekeeper because she says the billionaire knowingly employed her despite her status as an illegal alien. (more…)

Pull Tabs

Filed under: Five Days in October — Ken @ 4:54 pm

Small pile of soda pull tabsI’ve been collecting pull tabs from soda cans for several months (maybe since the start of this year), and despite knowing that the effort is virtually pointless, I continue collecting the tabs – why? Let me explain. (more…)

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