Report: Problematic, tax cheating IRS employees received bonuses, PTO

Posted by: ST on April 23, 2014 at 10:41 am
IRS

The IRS.

Via Fox News:

IRS employees who had been disciplined for tax and conduct issues were nonetheless rewarded with monetary awards or time off, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday.

The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that while for the most part the reward program for IRS workers complied with federal regulations, employees who had themselves failed to pay their federal taxes and had discipline problems were also rewarded.

“While not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration,” Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said.

The watchdog found that in the period from October 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 over 2,800 employees who had been disciplined for conduct problems, including issues with federal tax compliance, had received over $2.8 million in monetary awards and over 27,000 hours in time-off awards.

The watchdog found that the more than 1,100 employees who had issues with tax compliance received more than $1 million in monetary awards and more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards.

Hmmm … I think I’m in the wrong line of work.

Seriously, this shouldn’t take anyone by surprise, considering the government’s penchant for rewarding people who don’t deserve it.   Yet it – specifically the IRS – will shamelessly, for political purposes, unfairly scrutinize innocent Tea Party groups – and are ultimately the “overseers” of Obamacare over the long term.  If that doesn’t keep you awake at night …

 

Nancy Pelosi: The GOP are trying to starve “people of color”

Posted by: ST on April 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Sigh. There they go again:


Of course, this is exactly the type of desperate attacks we’ve seen struggling Democrats ramp up in the last few months as the elections draw near and their panic hits RED ALERT levels. But … has anyone bothered to clue Pelosi in on the fact that that 50% number rose … under our celebrity President’s watch, because his “economic solutions” stink? Psst, Hey Ms. Minority Leader ….?

Nancy Pelosi and President Obama

What? You thought you could take these two seriously??
(Photo via AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

#Obamacare: more proof that liberals don’t “get” economics

Posted by: Phineas on April 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Obama loan officer at work

Obamacare insurance commissioner

Sometimes I think one of the greatest acts of charity I could perform would be to buy progressives each a copy of Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy,” because they clearly were not paying attention in high school or college:

The practice of offering relatively inexpensive health plans with bare-bones provider networks has created tension between making health care affordable and keeping it accessible. It’s set to come to a head this week in Olympia.

The growth of “narrow networks” in Washington comes as the Affordable Care Act limits the ability of insurance companies to control their costs. That’s made it harder to offer plans at a range of prices — something the companies want to do as they compete for comparison shoppers on the health exchanges.

Many companies figured out they could sell cheaper plans that offer consumers fewer choices of where to get care. That caught some consumers, and Washington’s insurance commissioner, by surprise.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler says companies need to justify those narrow networks.

Mr. Kreidler wants insurance companies to prove they need to narrow their networks; after all, under Obamacare, they’re not really allowed to run their own businesses anymore. So he’s proposing new rules, regulations, and reporting requirements that have even the people running Washington’s exchange screaming that this will increase costs to the consumer and hinder companies from providing effective service. Kreidler, however, like many other fans of bureaucracy, just doesn’t get it:

Kreidler says he doesn’t believe prices will increase. He sees himself as walking a fine line, but with his compass oriented decidedly toward the consumer.

“Oriented” like a missile aimed straight at their wallets, he means.

Moe Lane provides a succinct explanation of why, to put it kindly, Mr. Kreidler’s belief is… “ignorant:”

There are three major elements to healthcare plan decisions:

  • Cost: How much does it cost per month or year, just to have it?
  • Deductible: How much does the consumer have to kick in for any given procedure?
  • Network: Who is willing to take you on as a patient, if you use that plan?

With me so far?  Good.  What Obamacare does is turn all of this into a zero-sum game: it mandates an across-the-board, let’s-slap-something-together, we-don’t-care-about-your-stinking-special-circumstances product and doesn’t really care how insurers and consumers cope with the situation.  So the insurers are left with a quandary: if they want to keep the networks intact, thanks to the various mandated procedures and general bureaucratic detritus either the total cost will go up, individual plan deductibles will, or both. And the same is true for the other two categories: push one down and the other two rise. All the good intentions in the world will not alter this calculation.

To use another example, the three legs of Obamacare mentioned above are like a balloon: squeeze one portion, and another must expand. It’s a law of physics, just as the cost to do business and the consequent price of insurance policies are subject to immutable laws of economics.

But technocrats like Mike Kreidler think they can control complex economies with a flourish of their pen, without there being any consequences for others. Perhaps along with a good book on economics, he should learn a lesson in humility and study the parable of King Canute.

Meanwhile, Washington voters should think of Mr. Kreidler and his “compass” as their premiums go up. They elected him with 58% of the vote in 2012; 2016 would be a good time to undo that mistake.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

#BostonStrong photo of the day: Couple who each lost a leg in 2013 complete #BostonMarathon

Posted by: ST on April 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm

I love it!


The story – via Fox Sports:

On April 15, 2013, the lives of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky changed forever.

The recently married couple were spectators at the 2013 Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line on Bolyston Street. Downes and Kensky each lost their left leg in the first blast.

A year later, the newlyweds turned tragedy into triumph.

Downes and Kensky competed in the handcycle division of the 2014 Boston Marathon and crossed the finish line hand in hand with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 13 seconds.

Their finish represented the end of a long journey for the couple, who were married just seven months before the 2013 marathon.

Shortly after last year’s attack, a friend posted an engagement photo of Downes and Kensky on a website created to help raise support for the couple’s recovery. The results were overwhelming, as 7,500 people contributed a total of $500,000 in just three days.

[...]

On Monday, Downes and Kensky brought their healing process full circle by crossing the finish line the same way they watched last year’??s marathon: together.

There were many more inspirational stories from today’s marathon:

Boston Strong

Heck yeah!

 

Bad news for Dems: Most independents say they will vote against #Obamacare politicos

Posted by: ST on April 21, 2014 at 8:21 pm
Obamacare

Just say no.

Obamacare continues to be unpopular with a crucial voting bloc.  Via Fox News:

Most voters say ObamaCare will play an important role in their vote in this year’s elections, and over half are more inclined to back the candidate who opposes the health care law.

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Monday.

The new poll asks voters what they would do if the only difference between two congressional candidates is that one promises to fight for the health care law and the other promises to fight against it.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

By a 53-39 percent margin, more voters say they would back the anti-ObamaCare candidate.

Independents, always a key voting bloc, would back that candidate by a 25 percentage-point margin (54-29 percent, with another 14 percent saying it depends).

In addition, Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say the candidate’s position on ObamaCare will be an important factor in deciding their vote for Congress. That matters because majorities of Republicans and independents oppose the law.

Some 80 percent of Republicans say the candidate’s stand on ObamaCare will be an important factor to their vote, and 87 percent of Republicans oppose the law. Among independents, 72 percent say the law will be important in their decision, and 63 percent oppose it.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news to the left, especially during an all-important election year … well, no – I don’t. ;)

 

#IRS revokes tax-free status of conservative group

Posted by: Phineas on April 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"The new liberal tolerance"

The IRS questions another conservative

I have to admit, I have no idea if the Patrick Henry Center really did break the rules and thus earned the revocation of its 501(c)(3) status, but you’d think the IRS would be extra-super-duper reluctant to do this, given the revelations over the deliberate targeting of conservative groups:

The Internal Revenue Service has revoked the tax-exemption for a conservative charity, saying the group’s criticism of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry violated rules against political activity.

The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty engaged in “deliberate and consistent intervention in political campaigns,” according to the IRS decision released Friday and first reported by USA Today.

The IRS said the group’s tax-exemption would be revoked as of July 1 unless the decision is successfully appealed.

Tax-exempt groups are restricted from engaging in certain political activity, including participating in partisan campaigns in support or opposition to a candidate.

“Improper politicking ” was the reason given for the close and slow scrutiny given to conservative groups applying for tax-free status after the 2010 election (few if any left-wing groups received the same treatment), and it was only recently revealed that Lois Lerner, former head of the Exempt Organizations Division, was trying to coordinate with the Justice Department to pursue prosecution of conservative groups. (1)

The Internal Revenue Service is already one of the most loathed organizations in America, something that’s only grown worse in the wake of this scandal, and I find it hard to believe that someone there approved this move without having an air-tight case. It would just be begging for trouble to do otherwise.

On the other hand, the Beltway bureaucracy often seems sealed within an echo chamber high atop an ivory tower, so maybe someone was dumb enough to think they could swat a pesky conservative group with impunity.

Either way, it’s more grist for Mr. Issa’s mill.

RELATED: Earlier posts on the IRS.

Footnote:
(1) Following up on the helpful suggestion of Senator Whitehouse (D-RI), it should be noted. If they’re not actively conspiring, they’re at least sympatico in their liberal fascism.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

#Obamacare: you may have coverage, but just try to find a doctor

Posted by: Phineas on April 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Now that were a few months into our glorious new healthcare regime, we’re seeing more and more examples of something many predicted after the law was passed in 2010: you may have coverage, but good luck finding a doctor who takes it:

While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”

Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.

Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.

But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.

Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?

“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.

Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.

And Nguyen says – while the free clinic isn’t technically supposed to be treating former patents they signed up for insurance, they can’t in good faith turn them away.

Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors.

(…)

Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments.

“What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said.

(Emphasis added)

“Medical homelessness.” That’s a wonderful term for the chaos caused by Obamacare in provider networks. Not only do you discover that you can’t see the doctor you used to see, the new doctors you try to see may not take your health plan because it either doesn’t reimburse enough, or the regulations are too burdensome. Let’s review a few examples:

  • Thousands of elderly people are losing their insurance in New York. Will they find another doctor who takes Obamacare?
  • Need cancer treatment? Good luck if that top-shelf hospital that used to be on your old plan isn’t on your new one.
  • Thinn Ong in the story above isn’t the first Californian to have doctors turn her away. Maybe she could compare notes with Andrea Redamonti.
  • And one woman has (to date) gone through 96 physicians without finding one who would accept O-care Medicare coverage.

And there are a lot more in the archives.

Obamacare is an anti-constitutional monstrosity that’s not only not helping the people it was meant to help –the previously uninsured– but it’s actively hurting others. There’s only one thing to do with it: repeal it and then burn the legislation and scatter the ashes to the four winds.

And then replace it with something that will work.

Via Rick Moran, who has lots more.

PS: And don’t forget to vote out the idiots who passed it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

Happy Easter: The story of Jeremy’s Egg (reposting)

Posted by: ST on April 20, 2014 at 9:32 am
He Is Risen

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. – Matthew 28:6 KJV

Love this Easter story, and post it every Easter. Hope you enjoy it, too.

What Was In Jeremy’s Egg?
by Ida Mae Kempel

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.

One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa’s for a consultation. As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!”

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. “Miss Miller,” he said, “there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.”

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris’ face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-Why, that’s very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat.”

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. “Now,” she said to them “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?” “Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically – all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris’ kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said. “When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arms. “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes that is new life, too” Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine.”

Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. “My Daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?” Flustered, Doris replied, “but Jeremy – your egg is empty!” He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty too!”

Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, ” Do you know why the tomb was empty?” “Oh yes!” Jeremy exclaimed. “Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!”

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Have a blessed Easter, y’all.

 

Weekend Open Thread / Tip Jar Update

Posted by: ST on April 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Open Thread

Open thread …. literally : )

Had a rough last couple of weeks, so I will spend the rest of the Saturday afternoon with family and then friends in order to put the icky stuff behind me. Refresh, renew, etc. :)

Reminder from last weekend’s open thread: In the coming weeks and months I am going to make a concerted effort to push more content on the blog, because as much as I love social media, oftentimes 140 characters to use to write with just isn’t enough space. ;)

Because eventually I’d like to turn writing into my livelihood, I need the funds to write, to keep the blog going, to pay for hosting, design and re-design efforts, and everyday expenses.  Plus, I’d like to also start paying my awesome co-blogger! I’ve had a PayPal account for years that I’ve rarely made appeals to contribute to, but now I am.

In addition to the PayPal account – where I’ve set a goal of around $800, I’ve also generated a “Go Fund Me” account (both links are now posted in the upper right side column on this page), and have set a goal there of $5,000.  This will be an ongoing effort, but my goal is to have this money raised in a month’s time.  If you support this blog and know others who do, please contribute via the PayPal or Go Fund Me links and make sure to share them on your Twitter and Facebook pages. I really appreciate the support already given but more is always encouraged and very much appreciated. Thank you!

—-

This past week we got off to a slow start with the tip jar. Had a few nice donations, but I’m hoping in the coming weeks it picks up. Thanks again in advance. :)

 

.@BarackObama Twitter feed celebrates Easter – then himself

Posted by: ST on April 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

If these last two Tweets (as of this writing) from the @BarackObama Twitter feed don’t (unfortunately) sum up the absolute arrogance of our “me first” celebrity President, I don’t know what does:


Thirty minutes later …


Note which one got the most retweets and favorites. Depressing.

Everything has to be about him – the anniversary of the Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, the death of Nelson Mandela. He’s even managed to get himself included in the the official White House historical bios of Presidents past! And we won’t even go there on the implicit insinuation the image gives off that he is some type of deity

Really. Not every special event, season, historical anniversary is about him – even though he and his team of image crafters like to try and make it so. I sincerely hope and pray that our next President – whether he (or she) is a Democrat or Republican, return to the days where Presidents didn’t make every single thing all about them … or at least gave off the PRETENSE that they didn’t think it was. Sheesh! o=>

Obama arrogance

The self-centeredness of our ‘fearless leader’ truly knows no bounds.