Thursday, October 31, 2013

Capitol Fax: “The intersection of government, politics and money”

A nice post on the instersection of the Establishment and Reformers in Illinois.  If there was ever a case for a Tea Party, it's here.


Chicago Cocktail Week

Cocktail Confidential: Chicago Bartenders Reveal Their Favorite Hidden Gems
Wish I had bought a building in some of these neigborhoods with the Hidden Gem Taverns years ago, when I used to haunt some similar joints in these then less trendy hoods.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Illinois Blue Cross Blue Shield mum on Enrollments and Cancellations

Public Affairs over at Blue Cross Blue Shield confirmed they'll not be releasing any numbers on policies cancelled in Illinois because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nor any numbers on people enrolling into ACA approved plans until Dec 15th.
We'll just have to rely on the grapevines till then.


Ostracized in Bridgeport

From Sneed today in the Sun Times on the death of  Michael DiFoggio,

A politically connected Bridgeport home developer who turned into an informant for the feds has apparently committed suicide after he was ostracized in his neighborhood, sources say.


Michael DiFoggio, 58, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his office at 3216 S. Shields Monday night, sources say.

Could Sneed elaborate on what sort of ostracizing would push a man to put a bullet in his head? I realize Sneed had "sources" to protect, but this assertion a bit too sparse for the circumstance.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

IR: Former Bill Foster staffer blasts ObamaCare as "not affordable to me"

Via Illinois Review,
Sue Klinkhamer, who worked for Democratic Congressman Bill Foster before he was kicked out of office for his support of the healthcare law, said that she was a defender of the President's healthcare law for years because she thought it would finally provide affordable healthcare to all Americans. That was until she herself had to enroll and found that the law was anything but affordable.

From the Sun Times: "I am a Democrat and I believe in health care for all," she said. "And I was excited that previously uninsured people could now get insurance on the open market. But this is not affordable to me."


It's not easy for a Progressive to speak out as clearly as Sue Klinkhammer has here.  She deserves credit and thanks for doing so now.


Joe Walsh endorses Manju Goel in Illinois 8th CD

Heard Joe last night make his first endoresement on WIND 560 and here's the endorsement over at Illinois Reivew.
Here's a little more on Goel over at FirstPost.World.

In her campaign literature, Goel said she grew up in a middle-class family in northern India and came to the United States at the age of 21.
She has degrees in applied computer science and health care management and served as a process improvement specialist for Advocate Healthcare. Today, she works as a self-employed consultant specializing in process control improvement.
Goel arrived at the event with her backers, Sessions, the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Carol Stream Indian-American businessman Shalli Kumar, Herald said.
Both Sessions and Kumar are chairing a project to field 10 Indian-American Republican Congressional candidates.

Illinois WatchDog: Illinois cities now facing public pension crises

Wonder what John Cullerton says?
"Should Springfield fail to pass pension reform for Chicago soon," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a budget speech last week, "we will be right back here early next year to start work on the city's 2015 budget, a budget that will either double city property taxes or eliminate the vital services that people rely on."
People are thinking twice about investing in any property in the City.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CNN: Expect every Dem Senator up for re election to back Mandate Delay

So who lost on the shutdown? What a waste of time and money had these guys only voted our interests now; then.

Livestream: Anti Gay Marriage Rally

Would rather Livestrean titled it a Pro Traditional Marriage Rally. Haven't watched it yet... fwiw.

The AP's Kerry Lester's take. (Why do I always read her stuff on Illinois in out-of-state papers now?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicago Tonight: Future of the GOP

Joe Walsh, Tom Bevan, and Pat Brady on the future of the GOP. I caught the tail end of it last night. Joe's in fine from as ever. Bevan stuck between Joe and Pat. Brady comes out against "fighting" although he struck me as a leader who threw plenty of gas onto fires needlessly.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Obamacare rollout: have more lost care than enrolled?

I have a feeling more people have lost their insurance or had their insurance significantly changed with higher premiums, and deductibles; than have enrolled for coverage in the new exchanges.

That's quite a reform.

McHenry County Activist Training

A big thanks to Collin Corbett and Illinois Review for the invitation to participate in the McHenry County Candidate and Activist Training.

Enjoyed my time with them very much besides meeting some new friends.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Al Qaeda-Aligned Groups in Syria May Have Access to Biological Pathogens

Al Qaeda-Aligned Groups in Syria May Have Access to Biological Pathogens

The price of non-intervention.

Team Quincy: Schock not real concerned about the conservative label anymore

The Team writes,

Remember when Congressman Aaron Schock was so upset with Bruce Rauner (or whoever it was) for running those radio ads saying he wasn't conservative enough?
Apparently those days are over.
Here's what he had to contribute to the discussion when the Republicans had a meeting on Wednesday to figure out how best to bend to the will of the President..
Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois said the lesson of the episode was that Boehner should cut out the far-right flank and work with centrist Democrats.

Chicago's Mayor Eugene Sawyer was once asked by a reporter, just days after being named Mayor, what he had learned from the senior Mayor Daley. After a thoughtful pause, Sawyer said, "You never have to take back things you don't say".
Words Schock ought remember.

Rich Miller goes Joe Walsh on the Gov Interviews

Rich Miller comes out as a new Joe Walsh fan after catching Walsh's interview with Bruce Rauner. 

....Walsh's interview was by far the best, most comprehensive I've ever heard of Bruce Rauner. He's actually quite good at this. I'm now a fan. No joke. Listen to the show yourself

 I heard most of the interview too and agree it was the best in depth interview with Rauner I've heard and Rauner did very well in it.  
I heard Dillard a few days later with John and Amy and thought Dillard devastated Rauner though on the Stu Levine relationship.  Miller picked that up too including a link to the audio. 
Stu Levine on the payroll a far bigger deal than waffling around on Same Sex Marriage.  I've yet to hear Rauner respond to Levine to my liking.

The Blaze: Warning: Hearing the Way Ed Schultz Spoke to a 23-Year Military Veteran May Make Your Blood Boil

Heard the audio of Schultz flipping-out on Joe Walsh's show last night.  Here's the story from The Blaze  Schultz a guy with a big problem going.  Very sad stuff to hear.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

D. Bradford Hunt's book, 'Blueprint for Disaster,' tries to make sense of public housing

D. Bradford Hunt's book, 'Blueprint for Disaster,' tries to make sense of public housing

A timely book given the Government's intervention into the Healthcare Industry.  Here's a  history of how the Feds goofed up housing.

Suicide bomber kills provincial minister in Pakistan's northwest - Threat Matrix

Suicide bomber kills provincial minister in Pakistan's northwest - Threat Matrix

John Wyma's Lawyer confirmed as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

A reader calls my attention to Zachary Fardon's confirmation as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and these curious sidebar to the story,
Fardon served in the U.S. attorney's office in Nashville, Tenn. and later entered private practice. Among his clients was John Wyma, a longtime lobbyist and friend of former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose testimony helped convict Ryan of corruption.

Read more:

Many of us suspect Wyma the one who tipped off Rahm Emanuel and the Prez that the Feds had wires on Blagojevich.  Wonder who would have carried that message and what it might have been worth?


McConnell, Reid, and Durbin's Kentucky Kickback

Durbin too I imagine. It's a stone's throw from Illinois.
Via WFPL News,
A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.

Language in a draft of the McConnell-Reid deal (see page 13, section 123) provided to WFPL News shows a provision that increases funding for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Ky., from $775 million to nearly $2.9 billion.
Talk about a needless slap to the taxpayors including a pure pork earmark in the bill to reopen to Gov. Senator Kirks talking about putting Country over Party with this vote.  It sure looks like it's putting Pork over both Country and Party to me.
Pure insult too boot.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Modern Health Care: Reform Update: Many docs still on the fence about exchange participation

Modern Health Care on MD reluctance to treat Patients from the ACA Exchanges.
A new Medical Group Management Association survey suggests that insurance coverage does not necessarily mean healthcare access. More than half the physician practices responding to the survey said they had not yet decided whether they will participate in health plans sold on the new state insurance exchanges.  
Dr. Stephen Brotherton, president of the Texas Medical Association and an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Fort Worth, said physicians in Texas need more information before making up their minds. “That survey response is not unexpected,” Brotherton said. He added that only about a third of Texas doctors are taking new Medicaid patients and about 58% are taking new patients covered by Medicare. “It's a matter of what you can accept and still keep your doors open.”
Brought to mind a NYT interview with Quentin Young reposted below,

Photo HT Real Barack Obama

Quentin Young qutoed below from in an interview with NYT in 1991.

Docs will suffer a little shame, including Young, rather than go broke treating the poor on Uncle Sam's nickle.

Reality worth keeping in mind with the looming Health Care reform plans. Doc's aren't going to work cheap. They'll suffer the shame instead.
With low fees pushing doctors away from Medicaid patients, the medical tradition of charitable service to those who can pay very little or nothing at all has been sorely tested.

Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and a longtime champion of liberal causes, has strict rules on the number of Medicaid patients he will see because otherwise, he said, "I'd go broke."

He calls his policy a mix of "reality and shame." Dr. Young said that if doctors refused to treat patients based on race instead of a Medicaid card "there would be Federal protection."

"The health status for people represented by Medicaid is declining," he said. "The people are shunted about. Either they are rejected by competent physicians or are very often put into clinics that abuse the system, with very little gain in health.

"It's a reflection of the powerlessness of the poor," he said, "and the hardening heart of American that is ominous."

Ben Domenech on Affordable Care Act's worst case scenario

Domenech lays it out here.
I'd add one further nasty step to the worst case.  People who have lost their insurance and unable to sign up timely on the exhanges, and then faced with a health catastrophe in January would face the cruelist of fates.  Sick, without insurance, and a penalty for not having it.  None of it any fault of their own.


Sunlight Group: Good enough for government work? The contractors building Obamacare

InforWorld writes,
The biggest problem with seems simple enough: It was built by people who are apparently far more familiar with government cronyism than they are with IT.

That's one of the insights that can be gleaned from the work done by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on government transparency. In a report filed this past week, the group examined why the system broke as horribly as it did: The contracts awarded to those who built it were, by and large, existing government contractors with "deep political pockets."
Download the Sunlight Group's report for a list of all the vendors.  Yes, the lobbying and contributions explain some, but the biggest failure I suspect will be lack of imagination.  They did it the same old way.


Affordable Care Act's Software Vendors

In case your wondering the trio's "CGI Federal for the website itself,  "Quality Software Systems Inc. (QSSI) for the information "hub" that determines eligibility for programs and provides the data on qualified insurance plans, and "Booz Allen for enrollment and eligibility technical support."
Below via Obamacare site hits reset button on passwords as contractors scramble,
The result of the headlong rush to October 1 was a system that had never been tested at anything like the load it experienced on its first day of operation (if it was tested with loads at all). Those looking for a reason for the site's horrible performance on its first day had plenty of things to choose from.
First of all, there's the front-end site itself. The first page of the registration process (once you get to it) has 2,099 lines of HTML code, but it also calls 56 JavaScript files and 11 CSS files. That's not exactly optimal for heavy-load pages.
Navigating the site once you get past registration is something of a cheese chase through the rat-maze. "It's like a bad, boring video game where you try to grunt and hack your way through to the next step," one site user told Ars.
Once you get through all that, it's not clear that it's going to do you any good. Underlying problems in the back-end code—including the data hub built by QSSI—have been causing errors in determining whether individuals are eligible for subsidized plans under the program. In DC, that means health care plan prices won't be available to people registering through DC's portal until November. It may also mean that others who have registered already at the federal and state exchanges may get sticker shock later.
A Federal IT Acquistion a heck-of-a-thing to hang one's Political Legacy upon.  Administration will end up seeking a delay and that's what'll be remembered about this shutdown.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Daily Caller: Obama OKs illegals’ march on Mall, still blocks Americans

More to file under Go Figure....
The National Park Service is allowing an Oct. 8 pro-immigration rally on the national mall, even as it posts pickets and barriers to bar Americans from visiting their open-air memorials.

Read more:


Rep Bill Enyart lone Congressman to vote against Military Chaplains holding Mass

The House voted to allow Catholic Chaplains to  "perform religious services and ministry" during the shutdown and Illinois has the only guy who voted against it.

The bill passed the House by a near-unanimous vote  on Saturday— 400 to 1. The only person to vote against it was Rep. Bill Enyart, an Illinois Democrat.
Go figure. 
Update: Enyart explains.
“Of course I want chapels open, but what about our military families who have no place to send their children and are forced to buy family essentials off base?,” Enyart said in a statement. “Day care centers on military bases are closed. Commissaries on military bases are closed. Military support workers are furloughed.”

“The bill I voted against is a prime example of the hypocrisy we see every day in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “This bill did nothing for the troops. All it does is provide political cover for people who won’t do their jobs, and that’s the Congress.”

The resolution, H. Con. Res. 58, has been sent to the Senate, which has not scheduled a vote.

I was in Baghdad Spring of 2008.  The Mahdi Army launched ~ 600 rockets during a four week stretch with about half hitting inside the zone.  Kept us confined to our building except for Mission Critical reasons to venture out.  Getting to Mass over at the Chapel by the Embassy was Mission Critical to the Colonel I worked for so he'd walk on down for it.  I took a pass on Church.  Sunday AM was just a rich time for guys to launch and the Embassy was a prime target.

Anyways, Mass isn't quite like a trip to the PX for some.  Enyart's argument a bit thin here IMO.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

ObamaCare Data Breaches

These breaches aren't trivial things.  They cost big time.  These 2,400 people with their privacy violated entitle to recourse against the Guv in the courts.  They'll get it and it costs taxpayers not to mention the privacies violated.

Obama will seek the Delay on Obamacare soon enough

Your first payment on Insurance purchased in the Obamacare Exchanges will be due Dec 15th if you want to avoid the penalty for not having coverage for the full year.  My bet's the Administration will be seeking a delay --not Congress and the GOP-- before long as the glitches with the software pile up and few people actually purchase the insurance.
It'll make this whole shutdown over delay in the individual mandate a big joke.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013