Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Case Against Bill Cosby

After decades of allegations, some publicized, most not, Bill Cosby has been arrested and charged with aggravated indecent assault. The 78-year-old comedian stumbled in to court in Pennsylvania yesterday for his first appearance where he posted a $1 million bail. The arrest, charges, and court appearance were the first for Cosby who's maintained his innocence for decades. For decades the comedian's legal team has been quick to point out that Cosby has never been charged despite the litany of allegations against him. Allegations we (and by we I mean the black community) long ago thought were dead until a contemporary of Cosby said the one word in relation to the now fallen hero no one except a few little women dared utter. Rapist.

In case you were wondering, the above video clip posted on October 29, 2014 is what led to Cosby's arrest and charges and court appearance this week. Comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a rapist and then women, some we knew, many we didn't, came out of the wood work to confirm that yes America's favorite dad, our television father who replaced our absentee father, was at worst a rapist, and at best a molesting perv, allegedly.

Monday, December 28, 2015

No Charges for Officer in Tamir Rice Shooting

When I was about 9 or 10 years old I had this BB gun that I played with about as much as Ralphie from the Christmas Story, which is to say often.  I ate, drank and slept with this thing.  It was ridiculous, actually, looking back on it now.  In any event, I recall one time when the police came to our neighborhood to settle a dispute between my dad and our neighbor over a parking space on the street.  The whole block came outside to watch, which was the norm whenever the police came to pay any one of us a visit.  At some point during this exchange, my dad called out to me to get the keys to his old beat up hooptie of a car so that he could move it as directed by the officers (as per standard operating procedure in the 'hood, cops never came to the block alone; there were always at least 2 or more).  I ran inside, grabbed the keys, and ran (not walked, ran) back outside to where my dad and the officers were standing and handed my dad the keys to his car.  My dad proceeded to move the car, the neighbor dropped his complaint, and the police officers got back in their car and left.  As I walked back to our place, I became aware for the first time that day that I had my BB gun tucked into my waist the entire time the officers had been there.  That realization still gives me goose bumps as much today as it did back then.  All it would have taken was one wrong glance by the officers or one wrong move by me and I wouldn't be typing this story to you right now.

My point is, kids do dumb stuff.  All the time.  That's what they do.  All I can do is pray to God that when they do said dumb stuff, they don't do it in the presence of today's trigger-happy law enforcement like Tamir Rice did when he was seen walking around outside with a pellet gun.  The cops pulled up and immediately opened fire on Tamir, killing him.  No questions were asked, only shots fired.  The only thing that has become more common than the killing of young black men by the police is the rate at which those same officers are not held responsible for their actions by local prosecutors.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

R. Kelly and Scapegoating Black Men

Ok. There are a couple of things which I should point out before this short little post. (1) I am not an R. Kelly fan. I don't like or listen to R. Kelly's music. I know at most just two songs of his.

There is very little modern R&B that I listen to as on balance I find the genre in its current incarnation to be about as soulful as Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk eating spam and mayonnaise sandwiches while riverdancing to Muzak. (2) Although in some states, including my own, the age of consent is 16, I don't have much respect for any grown man (i.e. over 21) who is doing anything with someone who is under 18. I think such action is distasteful when it's not outright criminal. Apparently R. Kelly has a new release and like any other musician in his position he wants to drum up interest. For some reason he or his oh so skilled top notch management/marketing team thought that it would be worthwhile for him to appear on Huffington Post Live with feminist Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss this release and other things. The interviewer wanted to get into the accusations of sexual misconduct. R. Kelly didn't want to discuss those allegations. So this interview went about as well as you might expect. You can watch it here

Basically R. Kelly lost his cool, made an ill-fated attempt to compliment Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani and then left the premises in a huff. R. Kelly knows his history. And he's old enough to know how America works. He must have been deluded to think this interviewer would not have asked questions about the past accusations against him. Let me reiterate that I don't give a flying fig newton about R. Kelly, his music, his pocketbook or his well being. He's meaningless to me. What I do care about though, is the ease with which the American media (both white AND black) can so easily and consistently make a black man the face of a larger public issue- in this case pedophilia/teenage groupies- and the self-righteousness which some people bring to bear on anyone who doesn't accept faulty logical premises about what makes good art.

Book Reviews: Soft Target

Soft Target
by Stephen Hunter
What do you do when your most impressive hero has finally gotten a little bit too old to be a believable butt kicker? Why if you're Stephen Hunter you bring in the next generation. Although they were introduced previously in a book I didn't read (I don't find it necessary to read this series in order), Soft Target finds USMC sniper Ray Cruz (despite the last name and half-Asian ancestry he is Bob Lee Swagger's son with all of the traditional Swagger skill at fast thinking and instinctive violence) and his half-sister news reporter Nikki Swagger caught up in a Black Friday terrorist attack on the Minneapolis Mall of America. 

Bad guys shoot Santa Claus and round up over a thousand hostages. Nikki is reporting on the incident. She also plays an important role in combating the attackers because after all, she has her Daddy's steel trap brain. Ray is caught inside the mall with his wife (or is it girlfriend, I can't recall and it is so not important) and her family.

And Ray doesn't have any weapons with him. But Swaggers Die Hard (and yes this does read like a particularly bad ripoff of those movies) and Ray Cruz soon has a plan. He also has someone to help him, an Ebonics speaking black woman with a bad attitude. The bad guys are cartoonish Somalis who are more interested in rape, molestation and telling bad goat jokes than they are in the stated goal of avenging Osama Bin Laden. 

Their Imam is a conflicted and possibly gay man who tries to deny his tendencies by overindulging himself with Hustler magazine. But of course as you might expect in this sort of story the Somalis aren't even smart enough to pull this attack off by themselves. There's a shadowy mastermind. FBI Sniper Dave McElroy is watching the carnage take place. But he has no orders and no shot. As has seemingly become his practice now Hunter creates caricatures of liberals that read as if they are straight from Fox News. All the liberals in Soft Target are mushy she-men who dither and dally and get people killed. 

The primary and most offensive example of this is head of the Minnesota State police, Douglas Obobo, who is the son of a Black Kenyan Harvard graduate student and a White American Radcliffe Anthropology major. Obobo is a good looking charismatic Harvard Law Graduate who "despite the fact that he never broke a case, arrested a suspect, won a gunfight, led a raid, or testified in court" has risen inexorably to ever more lucrative and powerful jobs in law enforcement, helped along by an adoring media and his public affairs guru David Axelrod Renfro. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie Reviews: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
directed by J.J. Abrams
My Dad took my brother and me to see the first Star Wars movie all those years ago. That is a good memory. It was quite the event. Afterwards we had a great steak dinner at Flaming Embers. Good times. So I was interested to see the new Star Wars movie, even though I was a little leery of the director. Now I am unfamiliar with and don't really care about all of the expanded universe stuff that never made it to the canonical films. SO maybe some of those questions are answered there. But as far as I can tell at the end of the first trilogy, the good guys won. The Emperor and Darth Vader were defeated. The Republic was restored. Wasn't that the case? Apparently if that happened it wasn't for long. Because in The Force Awakens, the Empire or at least an Empire inspired bunch of counterrevolutionaries, has been reconstituted as The First Order. We know that these are the bad guys because they have storm troopers and prefer a Nazi inspired sartorial color scheme of red, black and white. Some of the crowd scenes also appear lifted from Pink Floyd's The Wall. The bad guys and bad girls all appear quite dashing if you're into that sort of thing. And what do these folk want to do? They want to do the same thing the bad guys and girls always want to do. Take over the world! Or in this case the Universe. Again, maybe this was all explained elsewhere but for me anyway a tiny little bit of exposition would have been helpful. The First Order has a tremendous number of soldiers and informers. They're armed to the teeth with the best military equipment. Where did they come from? How did they get so powerful? Are they all disgruntled ex-Empire soldiers who were dismissed from their positions? They are opposed by the Republic and The Resistance. At this point shouldn't The Republic and The Resistance be the same thing? But I guess none of that is really that important in the big scheme of things.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Movie Reviews: Just Before I Go, Ant-Man, The Wannabe

Just Before I Go
directed by Courteney Cox
This film is superficially interesting on initial view but the deeper you get into it the less it makes sense. Cox relies on some warmed over racist tropes (the black characters are only there to help the white characters find themselves ; the sole black female character is a loud brassy obese woman with a substance abuse problem) and relatively flat motivations for some of the other characters. Although the idea behind the movie (You can't go home again) is a old one I was hoping that Cox would be able to put some oomph into her take on this story. That turned out not to be the case. Part of the problem was that the story tried to reach for American Beauty levels of subtext and *important* storytelling while remaining wed to American Pie levels of crassness and silliness. So everything is uneven. 
The hero's motivation is so weakly defined that I never felt any sympathy or empathy for him. He's an incredibly dull man. And if a male director had crafted a role for Kate Walsh where 90% of her character's scenes involved pleasuring herself while semi-topless in front of her brother-in-law, I imagine that some people would start screaming sexism. There are some directors who can very easily make bittersweet comedy/dramas or "dramedies". Cox isn't one of them yet. 
Ted Morgan (Seann William Scott) is a man in his late thirties/early forties who feels (not strongly because he doesn't seem to have strong feelings about anything) that life has passed him by. He doesn't have any career path that beyond a dead end lower management job at a pet supply store. His wife (Elisha Cuthbert) cheats on him with her guitar instructor. In the ensuing divorce she accuses Ted of just stumbling through life without any purpose or excitement. She gets no passion from Ted. And apparently that is why she decided to hitch a ride on another man's train. How Ted's personality failings morally justify her adultery isn't clear but her criticism clearly cuts Ted to the bone. He's left reeling after being dumped. He feels worthless and inept.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Detroit Water Bills Redux

Another day, another bad story out of Detroit concerning payment of bills. We've discussed this before. Not much has changed. There is still a big mess. It's a perfect storm of massive unemployment and underemployment, poverty, bad consumer decision making, poor record keeping and accounting by the Water Department and malicious gamesmanship by landlords and speculators. All of this has meant that there are some people who simply won't pay their water bills because they have had the accurate perception that they can get away with not doing so mixed with a population of people who simply don't have the resources to regularly pay their water bills. Poverty is real and limits people's ability to enjoy life. Perhaps some of the people in this latest story should not be shamed but rather all of us should be ashamed for having built a society in which large numbers of people have no opportunity to get ahead. It doesn't matter how much moral opprobrium you vent at someone for their life choices. If they don't have the money, they don't have the money. But public utility bills must be paid. I have little sympathy for someone who makes sure that their cable bill is paid but the water bill isn't. When someone does that they're telling you loud and clear what is most important to them. And it's not the water bill. If you use a service you should pay for it. Without everyone agreeing to that basic deal, society doesn't work. Things fall apart. People at the higher end of the income and wealth spectrum start to resent paying for those they see as deadbeats and freeloaders and become more receptive to the idea of starving the public sector of funds (except for military and police and fire). And people at the lower end of the income and wealth spectrum become more receptive to the idea that virtually every "need" should be provided for by the government free of charge. Throw in some racial resentments around gentrification and the idea that the Water Department has devious reasons for shutoffs and demanding payment and you get  this situation. How do you survive without running water for more than two years? First, get a trash can. Put it under the roof to collect water to flush the toilet. Then, get a bucket and remember what your grandparents taught you in the early 1950s, before indoor plumbing reached all of rural America. “You use your brain. You scramble. You survive because you’re used to dealing with nothing,” said Fayette Coleman, 66, who grew up fetching water from wells in Belleville. She hasn’t had running water in her Brightmoor house since May 2013. The crumbling home is one of at least 4,000 in Detroit — and perhaps many more — whose water was never turned back on after massive shutoffs attracted international attention last year. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Music Reviews: Richard Thompson 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

I have always enjoyed Richard Thompson's music from his initial days as guitarist with folk/rock group Fairpoint Convention to what I think of as his most critical musical period with his then wife Linda and his later peripatetic solo career. Thompson remains one of the best living unheralded songwriter/guitarists which I why I mentioned him before here. Anyway I ran across a video of Thompson performing his song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Like much of Thompson's work this song combines Scottish/English folk music with American blues and country for a sound that's unmistakably all his own. I think that this piece is one that people will still be singing fifty or sixty years from now. It's a sad song but many of the best ones are. Young love, death and transcendence, this composition hits all the emotional high and low points. I like music that tells a story. It seems as if fewer songs can do that these days. Thompson's songwriting often manages to be somber and optimistic at the same time which is quite a neat trick. Anyway if you have a chance to see Thompson you should take it. He's quite the musician. This song is only a very small example of his capacities. If Trump gets elected perhaps he will force out the British Thompson from his residence in the United States. After all Thompson is a Muslim. So if we believe Trump and his mouth breather supporters, how can we really know what nefarious plans this guitarist has in mind?

Why Some People Don't Deserve A Dog

I ran across this article the other day. My husband and I did the unthinkable: We returned our 5-month-old puppy to her breeder despite the fact that our family loved her and thought she was adorable. I work from home most days and thought that would make housetraining easier, but I soon realized it made it harder because there was no set schedule or routine for Eevee. Some days she wouldn’t go in the crate at all. Other days she would be in the crate for three to four hours. At a six-week training course, we were told to put Eevee in the crate several hours a day even when I was home. I would lure her into the crate with treats and pretend to go out, but Eevee was smart enough to sense I was still home. She would bark and whine until I let her out again. I soon realized that Eevee wasn’t Lambic, and much like children, no two dogs are alike. Plus, my husband and I were used to an older dog that knew our family’s patterns and rhythms and didn’t need the constant attention and discipline of a 2-year-old child.The hardest part about the entire situation was telling our daughter. She had promised to help take care of Eevee, and for the most part, she did. But as much as she was willing to walk the puppy and play with her, it wasn’t enough, and it didn’t ease our stress. People like this sadden me. The whole point of having a dog is that dogs are companion animals. Most of them thrive on human contact and love. If you get a good dog and treat it well you will have a friend for life, tragically short as its life will be compared to yours. A dog is not a toy to be put away in the closet or discarded when you lose interest in it. These people should be well known by every breeder and animal shelter out there so that no one ever again makes the mistake of sending another dog home with them. It is true that sharing your space with a puppy who will eventually turn into a dog can be challenging. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Scalia and the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia waits during an introduction before speaking at the University of Minnesota in October 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia again stirred controversy in the high court with his questions on Wednesday during a hearing regarding the race-conscious admission plan at the University of Texas at Austin, appearing to scoff at the value of diversity at selective universities by sharply questioning whether African Americans might instead be helped by “having them go to a less-advanced school . . . a slower-track school where they do well.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia might have thought he was simply debating the merit of race-based admissions at the University of Texas. But he lit a fire when he cited a friend-of-court brief that argued some blacks would do better at “slower-track” schools instead of being “pushed ahead in classes that are too fast” for them.

Scalia’s comment came from “mismatch theory,” which ironically advocates for the soft bigotry of low expectations.

According to its proponents, affirmative action harms students who aren’t ready for a strenuous academic environment. In a ripple effect, they will avoid struggle by opting for easy majors or dropping out altogether. Therefore, it’s best that they be guided to the shallow end of the educational pool: less-selective institutions where they can be more comfortable and successful.

The only thing new about the mismatch theory is the name. It’s actually the same old institutionalized racism that steered generations of African Americans into trade schools instead of universities. It’s the pernicious whisper beneath current suggestions that perhaps college isn’t for everybody.

The mismatch theory gets one thing right: Under-prepared black students will struggle at a demanding educational institution.

I know, because I was one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Make America Great Again?

WOW!  Well Mr. Trump, the list is growing.  So far, you  have a majority of both Republican and Democratic candidates for POTUS; Vice President Dick Cheney; Speaker Paul Ryan; the Prime Ministers of Britain and France; and countless others speaking out against you.  You’ve done it.  You cracked the code!  You have universally pissed people off by saying you want a “total ban” on Muslims.
I can’t lie, I’m actually happy that Trump is doing so well.  To me, Trump’s campaign (and huge lead in the polls) only highlights what most rational folks already knew:  the majority of the Republican Party’s supporters want a country that supports their beliefs ONLY.  American values REALLY means White American Values.
To be honest, I have NO idea what “American values” mean anymore.  There was a time when I thought the beginning of the Declarations of Independence’s preamble represented “American values”: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Donald Trump: Racist White Man's Badass Revenge

Donald Trump is the walking unalloyed id of fearful white reactionaries. He says what a lot of people are thinking (if you believe that various online comments are a window into some people's souls) but until recently have not said out loud in mixed company. Trump opened his presidential campaign with slurs against Mexicans and Hispanics. He has continued it with broadsides against and snide comments about Blacks, the media, disabled people, President Obama, Jews, women he finds uppity, and of late, Muslims. It is arguable as to whether Trump truly believes all that he says. Much of what he says is demonstrably untrue. There were not thousands, hundreds or even dozens of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9-11 attacks. Black people do not commit 81% of murders. And so on. And it would be neither wise nor constitutional, as Trump suggests, to employ religious tests for immigration to and ultimately citizenship in the United States. The US military and law enforcement agencies should not and must not, as Trump has suggested, go after the families of suspected or convicted terrorists. And Muslims should not be forced to have special IDs or sign up for a database. Trump thinks that the United States should use a religious test for entry into this country. And the test would be simple. If you are a Muslim, you don't get to enter. How he would square that with the Constitution is anybody's guess. Obviously, for quite a lot of people, apparently most especially Trump, the election of a black man to the highest office in the land was a severe shock from which they've never truly recovered. As a result some folks think if that Barack Hussein Obama can do it, I KNOW I could. It's one thing to think that the President is incorrect on this or that issue or even incompetent. That comes with the job. But when you, as at least some Republicans do, view the election of a black man as prima facie evidence that something has gone very badly wrong in the system then you're playing with some very dangerous forces.

For some people, the fact that the President is black, regardless of how much of a centrist/Eisenhower Republican Obama can be, means that America is in decline and must be restored. Those are the people to whom Trump speaks. I don't think that Trump is a stupid man by any means. However I don't believe he's as smart as he would have us conclude. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Reviews: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
By Stephen King
I am always fascinated by artists or other performers who are at the top of their game. Whether it's watching Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing three saxophones at once, Stephen Curry making other professional basketball players look silly or Bruce Lee demonstrating his one inch knockout punch it's a beautiful thing to experience. We only see the finished product but don't see all the hard work it took to get there. Stephen King is one of America's, maybe the world's greatest writers. And he's still got it. This is a collection of short stories which were all new to me though several of them were previously published in slightly different forms in such magazines as Playboy, Esquire, The New Yorker or The Atlantic. So if you're an King collector/fanatic you may already be familiar with some of these tales. But as King says as far as he is concerned no story is every really done until the writer is dead. King says one question that people always ask him is where he gets his ideas. King states that the question is essentially unanswerable. Nevertheless he gives an introduction to each story which provides the reader an entry into his state of mind at the time of the story's creation. He even occasionally explains exactly where and how he thinks the story germinated. So there's that gift for those of us who want to know how the magic works. King also announces that he does not do confessional fiction but then declares that obviously as he ages ideas about what happens next and what do we leave behind start to come more and more to the forefront. And his near death experience after being hit by an inattentive driver has seemingly become something which well, haunts his writing, might be too strong of a phrase but informs his work, would not be. So like everyone else King is a man of paradoxes and contradictions. Go figure. Although King is known as a horror writer, that's not necessarily a title he seeks out. He tells the story of being sent to the grocery store by his wife and being accosted by a woman who chides him for writing all those scary supernatural stories. She wants to know why can't he write a nice uplifting story like "Shawshank Redemption". King replies that actually he wrote that story. The woman responds "No you didn't". And King can't convince her otherwise. Perhaps this collection can be of interest to people who think that King can only write supernatural or downbeat stories. Even where there is a supernatural element it is extremely well integrated with the rest of the story. I think that about half of the stories in this book do not have any supernatural components. You will have to decide for yourself if they are uplifting or not.

Movie Reviews: No Escape

No Escape
directed by The Dowdle Brothers (John Erick and Drew)
This was an exciting and well directed movie with only a few events that didn't make sense. Ok maybe it had more than a few things that didn't make sense. But it was still a thrill ride albeit perhaps a subtly manipulative one. There are some deeper questions about planetary fairness and corporate neo-colonialism that the film clumsily shoehorns into the narrative as a vaccine against charges of bigotry. These questions are still worth thinking about. For example, you may well believe that it's wrong that half the world's population lives on less than $3/day, doesn't have access to clean drinking water or toilet facilities, or has to deal with diseases and conditions long since eradicated in the West. You may blame Western imperialism, colonialism and racism for this state of affairs. Perhaps you sympathize somewhat with Third World socialist or nationalist movements or parties who seek to alter this state of affairs. Perhaps. However if someone who has suffered thru these repressive living conditions decides that they are entitled to beat, rob, rape or murder you in order to exorcise their bad feelings and settle the score, I'm betting any sympathy you had for their plight vanishes. So there's that. Brothers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, who also wrote and directed As Above, So Below and Quarantine, directed this movie. 

No Escape had a horror movie sensibility to it but then again the worst horrors are other people. One can argue about whether some of the behaviors depicted in this film would really happen but there's thousands of years of history to show that they would. If enough people get the idea that they can let their worst instincts run loose with no repercussions, well you get things like the Opelousas Massascre, Kristallnacht, St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and so on.
It is really important to re-emphasize how well this film is edited and put together. You feel as if you are actually there. This is the sort of movie which may have you yelling at the screen. The camera work moves smoothly back and forth between close handheld views and more panoramic vistas.

Game of Thrones Season Six Trailer Tease

Well there's not much here nothing new here of course but then again it is a tease. In fact this is less of a tease and more of a reminder how just how much the Starks have been screwed over. There are plenty of hints in book and show that Bran has a big part to play in whatever the end game is going to be. But who knows if that part will be for good or bad. Bran may well end up transcending such petty concerns as Stark revenge or other political concerns. For all we know Bran could wind up making people ask why didn't someone take him out when he was young. We shall see. Most of the big narrative events in the published books have already been depicted in the show. I am looking forward to the new season, upset that there is not yet a new book to read, and disappointed that the final conclusion to the story will be revealed on television before print.

Hannah Duston: Heroine?

The other day I was reading thru the latest Quarterly Journal of Military History. I'm not sure I saw enough to justify the $13 purchase price but I did read about the story of Hannah Duston. I hadn't known about this story before. I thought it interesting and relevant to today's world. As you know the French and English colonized much of North America. They brought over their national, political and religious rivalries. These conflicts routinely erupted into war. In 1687 during the war that was alternately known as King William's War or the Second Indian War, the Abenaki Native Americans, allied with the French, attacked the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts. They killed 27 English colonists and took captives, including one Hannah Duston, her six day old daughter, and her nurse Mary. Hannah's husband Thomas escaped with the couple's other older children, though some people in Haverhill wondered if he was a coward. Some people thought then and now there's no way Thomas Duston should have been alive if his wife and baby were captured. Thomas' defenders argue that he had responsibilities to his other children to consider. As I've written elsewhere you have to make hard choices in tough situations. Hannah may or may not have been raped. That can't be determined. What is certain however is that the Abenaki military party decided that Hannah's new baby daughter Martha wasn't likely to survive the trip north. And they didn't want to be bothered with the trouble of taking care of a baby. So they killed the infant by dashing her brains out against a tree. 
As you might imagine that didn't go over too well with Mrs. Duston. But she bided her time. She was assigned/sold/gifted to a different Abenaki group. Six weeks later, in New Hampshire Hannah saw her opportunity. Along with Mary and another English captive, a fourteen year old boy named Samuel, she went Lizzie Borden on her captors while they slept. Hannah, Mary and Samuel killed two men, two women and six children.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

**BREAKING NEWS** Mass Shooting in San Bernardino, California

Sadly, these shootings are becoming all too common.  Check out the report at

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Is ObamaCare Really Falling Apart?

Many people complained about higher premiums during the first Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA (hereafter referred to as ObamaCare) enrollment period. With impressive celerity some media analysts and other ObamaCare supporters haughtily declared that all of those people were liars, frauds or Republican stooges. They were just too stupid to understand the good deal they were getting. Well you may have noticed that we are in the middle of a new ObamaCare enrollment period. And this time the profusion of complaints about sky-high premiums, high deductibles and co-pays, high drug prices, narrow networks or limited coverage simply can't be ignored or dismissed any longer. There's simply too much data available from the public, HHS, the various state insurance commissioners and the insurance companies themselves. Too many people are discovering that caveat emptor remains excellent advice when it comes to ObamaCare. Roughly half of the health co-ops have gone out of business while many insurers are requesting and obtaining double digit percentage increases in premium prices. If you, like most workers, are not receiving double digit raises at your workplace, an 11% increase in your monthly or bimonthly insurance premium presents a problem. Other insurers are hinting that they may leave the exchanges all together. The idea is to make money, not lose money. United Health is estimating an exchange loss of as much as $500 million. The best that supporters of ObamaCare can claim in response to this parade of horribles is that well things always cost more; this is probably the Republicans' fault somehow, and dammit we need single payer now. With the exception of a long shot funding question case argued by liberal apostate law professor Jonathan Turley and another frivolous dispute over who must sign a note saying they disagree with birth control coverage, all of the legal avenues to repeal or destroy ObamaCare have failed. Legally, anyway, ObamaCare is here to stay. The Supreme Court has twice declined to invalidate ObamaCare. Liberals met these Supreme Court decisions with transcendent joy, a Bronx cheer to conservatives, and internalization of the idea that legal victories meant that ObamaCare was a good thing. After all the Supreme Court said so. Anyone who questioned ObamaCare obviously hated people without insurance and wanted them to die. That is what many of the smart compassionate humane people told themselves.