**Posted by Phineas
Only in the progressive-statist bureaucracy would a merit bonus be given for failure:
The head of Colorado’s state health exchange has asked for an end-of-the-year raise and bonus even though the website has enrolled fewer than half the people who were supposed to purchase health insurance through December.
Patty Fontneau, president and CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, currently earns $190,549. Her chief operating officer and chief financial officer earn $164,800 each.
The salaries are supported by taxpayers.
Fontneau received a $5,000 raise in 2012 and is eligible for annual bonuses of up to 10 percent with salary increases of 3 percent, according to documents from Connect for Health Colorado.
The CEO’s salary increase was discussed among the organization’s board of directors in an October executive session, and it has not yet been granted by the board.
By Ms. Fontneau’s standards, I suppose the head of Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange should be granted her weight in gold.
Maybe we could give them all gold participation stars, instead.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. pic.twitter.com/4qlqsXLp6e
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 5, 2013
Shocked? Don’t be. The White House has done the same thing – twice – on the anniversary of Rosa Park’s famous front of the bus stance. And just last year the Obama administration was caught inserting a sentence about our celebrity President into the online bios of past Presidents – even those who were born and died well before Obama was a twinkle in his mother’s eye.
In the end, it’s always – always – about him. The naked narcissism of this President truly knows no bounds.
To read more on the death of Nelson Mandela, click here.
**Posted by Phineas
(Photo credit: The Jewish Press)
Because anger at your own difficulties and resentment of another’s success totally justifies punching people in the face:
Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who was elected to represent Crown Heights starting in January, released an open letter Tuesday saying that many of her black constituents told her they feel threatened by the growth of the neighborhood’s Jewish community — and she fears the tension could be spiking the recent violence.
“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes,” Cumbo wrote in the 1,200-word letter, which was emailed to supporters and posted on her Facebook page.
“I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains. While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.”
She added that these sentiments among black Crown Heights residents “offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a ‘hate crime’ against a community that they know very little about.”
Cumbo posted her letter a week after she was quoted making similar remarks to The Jewish Week.
Translation: Instead of working to better themselves and be successful in their own right, these misguided youths are embracing antisemitism and acting like a junior Sturmabteilung prepping for another Kristallnacht. Don’t forget that this area was the site of the infamous (and fatal) Crown Heights Riots, egged on by MSNBC host and noted demagogue Al Sharpton. They’re sitting on a potential powder keg there, and what’s needed is straight talk about bigotry and the punishment of the attackers.
But, instead of condemning the attitudes as well as the attacks, Ms. Cumbo mouths pieties about “no excuse for violence” while giving justification to antisemitism by claiming to understand their feelings.
Pardon me while I roll my eyes.
Evan Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League gets it right:
“As an organization that has worked for more than 20 years to improve Black-Jewish relations in the aftermath of the Crown Heights riots, we are troubled by the incoming councilwoman’s sentiments, particularly her comment about resentment over Jewish economic success, which evokes classic anti-Semitic stereotypes,” New York Regional Director Evan Bernstein wrote in a statement.
“Still, it seems from her letter that she means well and we would be open to meeting with her and others in the community to continue the dialogue.”
She may mean well, but well-intentioned fools can do a lot of damage. Let’s hope Councilwoman-elect Cumbo wises up so she can be of real service to all the residents of her district.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
I honestly haven’t followed the controversy over the proposed Common Core national educational standards all that closely (1), though I’m somewhat familiar with the questions of lowered standards, loss of local control, and the constitutional issue over a national curriculum. But I do not claim to be an expert.
If, however, this is representative of how American History is to be taught, I’ll be reaching for my pitchfork and torch. The textbook in question is Prentice-Hall’s “The American Experience,” and its chapter on the Second World War, as well as the accompanying teacher’s manual, takes a, shall we say, “slanted” view of the war:
The opening page of the slim chapter devoted to World War II called “War Shock” features a photograph of a woman inspecting a large stockpile of thousand-pound bomb castings. The notes in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition set the tone:
“In this section, nonfiction prose and a single stark poem etch into a reader’s mind the dehumanizing horror of world war. . . .”
The editors of the textbook script the question teachers are supposed to ask students in light of the photograph as well as provide the answer:
“Ask: What dominant impression do you take away from this photograph?
Possible response: Students may say that the piled rows of giant munitions give a strong impression of America’s power of mass production and the bombs’ potential for mass destruction.”
Translation: Americans made lots of big bombs that killed lots of people.
The principal selection of the chapter is taken from John Hersey’s Hiroshima. It is a description of ordinary men and women in Hiroshima living out their lives the day the bomb was dropped. A couple of lines reveal the spirit of the document:
“The Reverend Mr. Tanimoto got up at five o’clock that morning. He was alone in the parsonage, because for some time his wife had been commuting with their year-old baby to spend nights with a friend in Ushida, a suburb to the north.”
Further prompts from the margins of the Teacher’s Edition indicate how the selection is to be read and taught:
“World War II has been called a popular war in which the issues that spurred the conflict were clearly defined. . . . Nevertheless, technological advances . . . [and the media] brought home the horrors of war in a new way. Although a serious antiwar movement in the United States did not become a reality until the 1960s, these works by Hersey and by Jarrell take their place in the ranks of early antiwar literature.
Have students think about and record in writing their personal feelings about war. Encourage students to list images of war that they recall vividly. [Conveniently, there is a photograph of the devastation in Hiroshima next to this prompt].
Tell students they will revisit their feelings about war after they have read these selections.”
The entire section is littered with questions and prompts in this vein and plenty of photos that show the destruction of Hiroshima. In case the students would be inclined to take the American side in this conflict, the editors see to it that teachers will remind the students repeatedly that there are two sides in every war:
“Think Aloud: Model the Skill
Say to students:
When I was reading the history textbook, I noticed that the writer included profiles of three war heroes, all of whom fought for the Allies. The writer did not include similar profiles for fighters on the other side. I realize that this choice reflects a political assumption: that readers want to read about only their side’s heroes.
. . . Mr. Tanimoto is on the side of “the enemy.” Explain that to vilify is to make malicious statements about someone. During wartime, it is common to vilify people on the other side, or “the enemy.””
After a dozen pages of Hersey’s Hiroshima (the same number given to Benjamin Franklin in volume one of The American Experience), students encounter the anti-war, anti-heroic poem by Randall Jarell, “The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner.” The last line in this short poem sums up the sentiment: “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.” The textbook editors zero in for the kill:
“Take a position: Jarrell based his poem on observations of World War II, a war that has been called “the good war.” Is there such a thing as a “good war”? Explain.
Possible response: [In the Teacher’s Edition] Students may concede that some wars, such as World War II, are more justified than others, but may still feel that “good” is not an appropriate adjective for any war.”
This is not a history lesson. It is anti-war propaganda masquerading as history. This is garbage designed to at best place America and Imperial Japan on an ambiguously equal moral ground, and at worst to make us out to be a villain or aggressor in the conflict. To focus on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without presenting the reasons for the attack is intellectually bankrupt. The Truman administration dropped the bombs because of the experience of fanatical Japanese resistance along a whole string of islands, where again and again Imperial Japanese Army units fought until nearly wiped out. Imagine that occurring on the Japanese Home Islands themselves, in the event of invasion; bear in mind that the Japanese government was not of a mind to surrender and indeed was talking about “70 million dead” (essentially, fighting to the last man, woman, and child), and then look at the casualty estimates for just the American invasion forces, for which figures of 500,000 killed and wounded were common. And, should the invasion have been delayed until 1946 or the islands simply besieged, there was a very real risk of famine and the mass starvation of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, because transportation networks had been destroyed. And that doesn’t even begin to account for hundreds of millions suffering under Japanese rule and who needed the war to end as swiftly as possible.
Beyond the question of military necessity and the lesser of two evils, Common Core “standards” engage in moral relativism. While quoting Hersey’s “Hiroshima” (actually, a good book) and Jarrell’s poem, students are apparently left in the dark about Japan’s aggressive intentions and regular atrocities from the 1930s through the end. No mention of the invasion of Manchuria, the war on China, the Rape of Nanking, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Unit 731, or the horrors suffered by prisoners of war and civilians living under Japanese rule.
But we do get pictures of American bombs, vivid descriptions of the wreck of Hiroshima, and the lasting impression that we were the ones committing evil, not doing what was necessary to end it.
Let me be blunt: Imperial Japan was evil and had subjected Asia and the Pacific to a horrific nightmare, all to satisfy a national ideology that dehumanized everyone else. Once the war had started, it had to be crushed; the Truman administration was right drop the atomic bombs to force Japan’s surrender (2). It would have been a greater evil to let the war drag on. And while innocent people died in the fight against Japan, to teach any sort of moral equivalence between the two nations is insulting and obscene.
And yet these are the new standards? This isn’t education, it’s pedagogical malpractice.
(1) On the other hand, Michelle Malkin has been an avenging angel on the topic.
(2) A superb book on the end of the war and the decision to use atomic weapons is Frank’s “Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Young Americans are turning against Barack Obama and Obamacare, according to a new survey of millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are vital to the fortunes of the president and his signature health care law.
The most startling finding of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics: A majority of Americans under age 25–the youngest millennials–would favor throwing Obama out of office.
The survey, part of a unique 13-year study of the attitudes of young adults, finds that America’s rising generation is worried about its future, disillusioned with the U.S. political system, strongly opposed to the government’s domestic surveillance apparatus, and drifting away from both major parties. “Young Americans hold the president, Congress and the federal government in less esteem almost by the day, and the level of engagement they are having in politics are also on the decline,” reads the IOP’s analysis of its poll. “Millennials are losing touch with government and its programs because they believe government is losing touch with them.”
The results blow a gaping hole in the belief among many Democrats that Obama’s two elections signaled a durable grip on the youth vote.
Indeed, millennials are not so hot on their president.
Obama’s approval rating among young Americans is just 41 percent, down 11 points from a year ago, and now tracking with all adults. While 55 percent said they voted for Obama in 2012, only 46 percent said they would do so again.
When asked if they would want to recall various elected officials, 45 percent of millennials said they would oust their member of Congress; 52 percent replied “all members of Congress” should go; and 47 percent said they would recall Obama. The recall-Obama figure was even higher among the youngest millennials, ages 18 to 24, at 52 percent.
While there is no provision for a public recall of U.S. presidents, the poll question revealed just how far Obama has fallen in the eyes of young Americans.
A major factor in declining support for Obama among young people? You guessed it: The so-called “Affordable Care Act.” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey breaks it down:
The biggest issue right now, though, is ObamaCare, which ended up as law in large part due to the efforts of this demographic. It matters little whether pollsters call it the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, as the disapproval of it is almost identical either way (39/56 and 38/57, respectively). On health care policy, Obama gets a disastrous 34/61 approval on an issue that Democrats have owned for decades, especially among this demographic. Sticking them with huge premium bills in order to subsidize middle-aged and wealthier Americans will do that to a politician, especially when only 18% expect the law to improve their own care.
Two months ago, Democrats were crowing about the 2014 midterms after the government shutdown, with polls showing nearly double-digit leads. Now, Democrats who routinely have double-digit leads in this demographic find their party-affiliation edge cut to six points among 18-24 year olds. Overall in the under-30 demographic, their lead has been cut to nine points, 33/24.
This is not just a momentary disaster for Barack Obama, but a generational disaster for Democrats. It also raises a big question in the midterms: where will Democrats get their volunteers and activists? It also raises an even bigger question for ObamaCare, as these millenials aren’t going to rush into the economic vise of the exchanges. And that will only get worse as the mandate rolls forward.
Sounds like the chickens are finally coming home to roost for Democrats. Awww. What a shame …
Flashback – 11/15/12:
**Posted by Phineas
Let’s consider an all-too common occurrence in our Brave New World of affordable healthcare for all: You’re one of the many millions of individual insurance buyers who’s had his policy cancelled in the last few weeks, because of the Affordable Care Act and how the Democrats wrote the rules. You’re annoyed, but you sigh and realize you have to go to the Obamacare exchanges — you need the coverage, and it’s the “law of the land.” So, in spite of crashing web sites, higher premiums, bigger co-pays, outrageous deductibles, benefits you don’t need, and smaller provider networks, you finally find a policy you can live with. You grit your teeth, submit your application, and received a confirmation that, as of January 1st, 2014, you will still have health insurance.
Congratulations! You are an Obamacare success story!
Eh… Not so fast, Doc:
Bob Shlora of Alpharetta, Ga., was supposed to be a belated Obamacare success story. After weeks of trying, the 61-year-old told ABC News he fully enrolled in a new health insurance plan through the federal marketplace over the weekend, and received a Humana policy ID number to prove it.
But two days later, his insurer has no record of the transaction, Shlora said, even though his account on the government website indicates that he has a plan.
“I feel like this: My application was taken … by a bureaucrat, it was put on a conveyor belt and it’s still going around, and it’s never going to leave the building,” he said. “I’ve lost hope. If it happens, great.”
Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans (1) who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.
Oops! Must be one of those darned glitches. Curse that Republican obstructionism!
Mr. Shlora’s problem may have to do with what’s called an “834,” something used to convey all the necessary data to set up your account with the insurance company. These are transmitted every evening from by the government to the insurers. Trouble is, many of them are garbage:
Insurers report that, in some cases, 834s are coming in wrong. That’s a much more serious problem than the online traffic bottlenecks that have dominated coverage of the health-care law’s rollout.
If people can’t get into the Web site, then they simply have to come back later. But if they believe they’ve signed up for a plan but their 834 is a garbled mess — or, even worse, clear but wrong — it could mean chaos when they actually go to use their health insurance. For that reason, inside the health-care industry, the 834 problems are the glitch that is causing the most concern.
To back up a moment: 834 transmissions aren’t new. They have been around for decades as the standard form that employers use to tell their insurance companies which workers are on their health insurance plan each month.
An 834 transmission contains enrollment data like an individual’s social security number, their dependents and the plan that they picked. That data is, obviously, critical: If it comes in wrong, an applicant may not get the right plan, or family members may not be covered, or identity may not be verifiable.
In other words, like Mr. Shlora, you could wind up thinking you have coverage when you really don’t. That quote is from a Washington Post article dated October 23rd; Shlora signed up for his plan a full month later, yet was still left uncovered. Apparently those problems haven’t been fixed, in spite of Obama’s “tech surge.”
For the first few weeks after the Obamacare rollout, the insurance industry could handle these problems by fixing the 834s manually, since the web site’s traffic problems meant that only a few applications were getting through, anyway. But, with the front end getting closer to actually working (Most of the time. Kind of.) and with the deadline to apply and pay in order to be covered on January 1st fast approaching, a lot more people are going to be buying plans. Or so the government hopes. And all those people have to have their data sent by that same electronic system.
But ask yourself this: if these 834 problems still aren’t fixed, how many more people are going to buy coverage and then go to the doctor in 2014, only to be told the insurance company has no record of them? When you’re sick and need to see a doctor, the last thing you want to hear is “Wait a few days. A healthcare.gov specialist will get back to you.” The government claims 80% of the 834 problems have been fixed. So, 20% of the potentially hundreds of thousands of people signing up won’t have the coverage they thought they had — or any at all?
If the administration thinks they’re getting bad press now, just wait until that storm hits.
I’ll end with a good question from Mr. Shlora:
“The White House announced that they have met their goal,” he said of the much-touted improvements to the website. “They are taking applications but they aren’t going anywhere. What kind of goal is that?”
Under Obama, Bob, it’s good enough for government work.
RELATED: Speaking of the Obamacare site back-end and 834s, the administration refuses to share data on the error rate for transmissions to insurance companies. Anyone still think they have this problem fixed? Bueller? But, don’t worry: Obama is going to make a speech to reassure everyone that Obamacare is OK and everyone should remain calm.
(1) That’s 126,000 over two months, when the goal is seven million by the end of March. So, with 40% of the enrollment period past, the administration has hit 1.8% of its goal. And some people wonder why Democrats are panicking.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)