Friday, December 13, 2013

A stylish Danish blonde upsets a few applecarts

It would probably need a strong man to resist the opportunity of some fun with Helle Thorning-Schmidt.  She may be the Prime Minister of Denmark but she is also one attractive lady.  And as you can see from the photos, Mrs Obama was intensely unamused.  In fact she later swapped places with Mr Obama to separate him from the blonde.  Mr Obama no doubt felt he had a Republican in bed with him that night.

And the British Prime Minister copped a bit of flak too.  It is not known what Samantha Cameron said to him that night but he was chipped in Parliament and came out with the lamest of excuses.  See below.  He professed respect for Neil Kinnock.

Hopefully it was a joke.  Known in his day as the "Welsh Windbag", Neil Kinnock lost the "unloseable" 1992 British general election to the Conservative but soppy John Major, an event that generated immense soul-searching in the British Labour party. I remember at the time saying to a British Labour Party supporter:  "Your lot couldn't even beat John Major!"  The agony on his face was a graphic reply. Some Labour party people still profess respect for Kinnock but there must be very few others who profess any.

The upshot of that agony was the installation of Tony Blair  -- a man who was clever enough to use a lot of conservative talk while doing socialist things.  Mr Obama has clearly learnt from him the usefulness of words entirely unconnected to deeds.

Both Cameron and Obama have been criticised for their disrespectful behaviour at the funeral but when I heard that they were sitting through a 4-hour ceremony, I couldn't condemn them.

DAVID Cameron yesterday tried to defend his decision to pose for a light-hearted ‘selfie’ in the middle of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service – by claiming he was only being polite.

The Prime Minister attempted to laugh off the storm of criticism he provoked after larking around with Barack Obama and Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

He joked he was being ‘polite’ by agreeing to pose for a picture with Miss Thorning-Schmidt, the glamorous daughter-in-law of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.


One wonders a little how it all went down in Denmark.  I imagine the Danes would be both amused and pleased.  If Denmark ever wants anything of either the USA or the UK, their Prime Minister is obviously in an extremely good position to make the request!  Any phone calls from Helle Thorning-Schmidt would obviously be put through straight to the top!  -- JR


A heartbreaking story

A woman who just wants to live is being killed by Obamacare


Everyone now is clamoring about Affordable Care Act winners and losers. I am one of the losers.

My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.

My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.

Countless hours searching for non-exchange plans have uncovered nothing that compares well with my existing coverage. But the greatest source of frustration is Covered California, the state's Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchange and, by some reports, one of the best such exchanges in the country. After four weeks of researching plans on the website, talking directly to government exchange counselors, insurance companies and medical providers, my insurance broker and I are as confused as ever. Time is running out and we still don't have a clue how to best proceed.

Two things have been essential in my fight to survive stage-4 cancer. The first are doctors and health teams in California and Texas: at the medical center of the University of California, San Diego, and its Moores Cancer Center; Stanford University's Cancer Institute; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The second element essential to my fight is a United Healthcare PPO (preferred provider organization) health-insurance policy.

Since March 2007 United Healthcare has paid $1.2 million to help keep me alive, and it has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team. The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers.

But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market. The company suggested I look to Covered California starting in October.

You would think it would be simple to find a health-exchange plan that allows me, living in San Diego, to continue to see my primary oncologist at Stanford University and my primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego. Not so. UCSD has agreed to accept only one Covered California plan—a very restrictive Anthem EPO Plan. EPO stands for exclusive provider organization, which means the plan has a small network of doctors and facilities and no out-of-network coverage (as in a preferred-provider organization plan) except for emergencies. Stanford accepts an Anthem PPO plan but it is not available for purchase in San Diego (only Anthem HMO and EPO plans are available in San Diego).

So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.

Before the Affordable Care Act, health-insurance policies could not be sold across state lines; now policies sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges may not be offered across county lines.

What happened to the president's promise, "You can keep your health plan"? Or to the promise that "You can keep your doctor"? Thanks to the law, I have been forced to give up a world-class health plan. The exchange would force me to give up a world-class physician.

For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people's ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that's a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that's the point.



Celebrity Hypocrites

John Stossel

I'm annoyed that so many Hollywood celebrities hate the system that made them rich.

Actor/comedian Russell Brand told the BBC he wants "a socialist, egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth."

Director George Lucas got rich not just from movies but also by selling Star Wars merchandise. Yet he says he believes in democracy but "not capitalist democracy."

Actor Martin Sheen says, "That's where the problem lies ... It's corporate America."  ...  And so on.

On my TV show, actor/author Kevin Sorbo pointed out that such sentiments make little sense coming from entertainers. "It's a very entrepreneurial business. You have to work very hard to get lucky, mixed with any kind of talent to get a break in this business. I told Clooney, George, you're worth $100 million -- of course you can afford to be a socialist!"

It's bad enough that celebrities trash the only economic system that makes poor people's lives better.  What's worse is that many are hypocrites.

Celebrities who support big-government politicians routinely take advantage of tax breaks, which reduce the amount they contribute to that government.

It's nice that Obama supporter Bon Jovi has a foundation that builds houses for poor people, but at tax time, the musician labels himself a "farmer." He pays only $100 in state property tax. And his tax dodge gimmick: raising honeybees.

Bruce Springsteen sings about factories closing down but pays little tax on the hundreds of acres of land he owns. His dodge: An organic farmer works his land.

Hollywood's campaign to "save the earth" brings out the most hypocrisy. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced, "I will fly around the world doing good for the environment." Really? Flying around the world? I'm amazed they're not embarrassed by what they say.

Maybe they don't know how clueless they are because reporters rarely confront them about their hypocrisy. Hollywood reporters want access to celebrities, and posing uncomfortable questions reduces that access.

To fill the gap, Jason Mattera, author of "Hollywood Hypocrites," confronts hypocritical celebrities.

He and his cameraman located Harrison Ford after the actor had himself filmed getting his chest hair waxed. Ford said the pain of ripping out his chest hair should make us think about the pain the earth feels when trees in a rainforest are cut down. Chest hair, rain forest -- get it? But that environmental message came from a celebrity who owns (SET ITAL) seven (END ITAL) airplanes. Ford once even flew his private jet to get a cheeseburger!

"I don't care that he owns seven airplanes," said Mattera, "but do not lecture the rest of us that we're on the precipice of global warming Armageddon while you have a sasquatch-sized carbon footprint." Even though Ford ignored Mattera when confronted by him, at least he was forced to listen to someone questioning his positions.

Some actors wake up to the burden of big government when they try doing something outside acting. Actors usually collect a paycheck. They rarely deal with government regulation; their agent handles the details.

When actor and lifelong Democrat Rob Schneider tried launching a business, he was so offended by California's burdensome regulation that he left the state and changed political parties.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was enthusiastic about free markets when he owned a bricklaying business. But, unfortunately, during his time as California governor, he started to act more like a supporter of big government. Being a politician has that effect on people, especially in California.

Actors Drew Carey and Vince Vaughn are among the few others who've seen the light. On ReasonTV, Carey said, "We don't need a centralized government to tell us what to do all the time."

On a radio show, Vaughn recently said, "I'm very supportive of Ron Paul ... As you get older ... you just get less trust in the government running anything. If you look at the Constitution and the principles of liberty, the real purpose of government is to protect the individual's right."

Hooray for Carey and Vaughn. Maybe they'll convince their colleagues.



Income Redistribution: Last GM Shares Sold

More than four years after U.S. taxpayers bailed out a flailing General Motors, the government sold its remaining shares in the company this week, leading Barack Obama to announce, “GM has now repaid every taxpayer dollar my administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous administration.” There's just one problem: it isn't true. Shocking, we know.

When the Obama administration put taxpayers on the hook for $49.5 billion to prop up the auto giant, the government received in return a 60.8% stake, or 912 million shares, in GM. With the sale of the remaining shares, the government recovered $39 billion of the bailout. For those in the administration who can't apply basic math, that's a $10.5 billion difference – a far cry from Obama's “every taxpayer dollar” repaid claim.

Naturally, the president omitted this small fact in his announcement, instead touting his refusal to let GM fail and bragging that his administration “bet on what was true” and “that bet has paid off.” In no other arena – indeed, in no sane reasoning anywhere – would a 21%, $10.5 billion loss be called a payoff. Indeed, it certainly didn't pay off for the American taxpayer. But then again, none of Obama's policies have, so why would we expect this one to be any different?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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