Sunday, May 1, 2016

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

He did not see this coming. (Christian Charisius/dpa via AP)
Motley Fool's Sean Williams sums up ♡bamaCare!!!'s woes, and wonders if the Totally Settled Law of the Land™'s insurance exchanges can avoid a death spiral:
Health insurers were counting on strong enrollment figures, as the ACA limits their margins and thus their profitability. If insurers fail to spend at least 80% of collected premiums on medical care for their members, they'll be required to issue refunds to members. Likewise, if they're too profitable, they're to share a percentage of their profits with struggling insurers on Obamacare exchanges to help prop them up. Original estimates from the Congressional Budget Office suggested that more than 20 million people would be enrolled by 2016. Unfortunately for insurers, the CBO overestimated how many people would drop out of their employer plans and opt for Obamacare. In other words, far fewer people have enrolled than expected.
Secondly, health-benefit providers need a fair amount of young adults to enroll, and that's not happening. Young adults are often healthier and less likely to go to the doctor, therefore their premiums can be used to help offset the high costs of care for sicker and/or older individuals. Threats of penalties in the form of the individual mandate were expected to prompt young adults to enroll, but paying the penalty is typically far less expensive than purchasing health insurance for a full year, even after two huge penalty hikes in 2015 and 2016.
Third, the "risk corridor" that overly profitable insurers were expected to pay into to help struggling insurers has been a disaster. This year, insurers requested $2.87 billion in assistance but received just $362 million -- almost a $2.5 billion shortfall. This lack of assistance led more than half of Obamacare's healthcare cooperative to shutter their doors, and it could seriously discourage new entrants.
Lastly, part of the problem comes down to the consumer. Americans could be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions prior to Obamacare's implementation. Under Obamacare, insurers can't deny coverage to anyone, meaning those sicker individuals on the sidelines have now rushed into the healthcare system.
I would point out only that Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Readers™ were aware of every single one of these pitfalls before last year's lame enrollment figures were released, before the exchanges opened for business, and indeed before the "Affordable" Care Act was even singed into law.
And it isn't as though I had any special insight. Any number of right-leaning think tanks and writers and bloggers issued the the same or similar warnings, going all the way back to 2009 -- when President Obama and his cronies were still issuing the daily pravda about saving you $2,500 a year while letting you keep your doctor and your plan.
Given the billions wasted, the people shut out of their previous choices, the growth-and jobs-snuffing taxes, and all the rest, there's really no satisfaction in being proven right.
Maybe at least we'll learn to be a more-effective opposition to the next wave of collectivism.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


A couple of decades ago, I had a VHS tape titled “The Greening of Planet Earth” that expounded on the virtues of more CO2 in the atmosphere. I lost it somewhere along the way, but the point is evergreen, so to speak. Carbon dioxide is plant food, as those who studied photosynthesis in junior high school know. More CO2 means more plant life. This basic truth has now been admitted by even such a retrograde news source as the BBC:
A new study says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover twice the continental USA.
Climate sceptics argue the findings show that the extra CO2 is actually benefiting the planet.
Actually, that proposition isn’t debatable. The question is whether some ill-defined future catastrophe will at some point negate the present benefits.
The lead author, Prof. Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.
Of course not! I assume that is the genuflection one must engage in to get a study published in a prominent journal, and publicized by BBC. Whether any of those purported ills are real is another story.
The new study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change by a team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries.
It is called Greening of the Earth and its Drivers, and it is based on data from the Modis and AVHRR instruments which have been carried on American satellites over the past 33 years.The sensors show significant greening of something between 25% and 50% of the Earth’s vegetated land, which in turn is slowing the pace of climate change as the plants are drawing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Just 4% of vegetated land has suffered from plant loss.
The Earth’s complex climate system includes many feedback mechanisms, both positive and negative. If more CO2 means more greenery, as it certainly does, that is a negative feedback because those additional leaves will inhale CO2, thereby reducing whatever effect increased CO2 may possibly have on the climate.
The scientists say several factors play a part in the plant boom, including climate change (8%), more nitrogen in the environment (9%), and shifts in land management (4%).
But the main factor, they say, is plants using extra CO2 from human society to fertilise their growth (70%).
This is extraordinary. The planet Earth really is greening, to our immense benefit, as a result of humans’ emission of carbon dioxide. Let’s hear it for fossil fuels, which are even more beneficial than most of us realized!
Harnessing energy from the sun, green leaves grow by using CO2, water, and nutrients from soil.
Well, yeah. I learned that when I was 13 years old. You probably did too.
Nic Lewis, an independent scientist often critical of the IPCC, told BBC News: “The magnitude of the increase in vegetation appears to be considerably larger than suggested by previous studies.
“This suggests that projected atmospheric CO2 levels in IPCC scenarios are significantly too high, which implies that global temperature rises projected by IPCC models are also too high, even if the climate is as sensitive to CO2 increases as the models imply.”
This is one of many reasons why global warming hysteria is politically-inspired and liberal-funded BS.
I can hardly believe that the BBC allowed its readers to read this conclusion:
And Prof. Judith Curry, the former chair of Earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, added: “It is inappropriate to dismiss the arguments of the so-called contrarians, since their disagreement with the consensus reflects conflicts of values and a preference for the empirical (i.e. what has been observed) versus the hypothetical (i.e. what is projected from climate models).
“These disagreements are at the heart of the public debate on climate change, and these issues should be debated, not dismissed.”
Dr. Curry is a heroine of science vs. politics. She correctly states that the current battle is between empiricism, espoused by climate realists–often referred to as skeptics–and the corrupt, theory-based alarmism, unsupported by scientific data, that is urged by politically- and financially-motivated hysterics.
On any reasonable accounting, the human race is doing Earth a service by restoring long-buried CO2 to our atmosphere.
STEVE adds: Here’s the complete study in Nature, if you’re a glutton.

Obama Targets Electric Grid for Power Grab

The carbon-caused climate crisis cabal must be absolutely giddy that President Obama has made good on his pledge that “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant,” policies of his regime “will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

He fulfilled that promise, with Peabody Energy Corp, America’s largest mining company, following Arch Coal, Inc., Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., Patriot Coal Corp., and Walter Energy, Inc. into Chapter 11 filings.

Speaking last November at a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference, Murray Energy Corporation owner Robert Murray described the Obama administration’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” as “a political power grab of America’s power grid.”

He views it as “a blatantly illegal effort by the Executive Branch to use the Clean Air Act of 1971 in a way never intended by Congress to promulgate carbon dioxide emission reductions across America, which will radically and destructively transform our electric power system.”

The regulatory consequences have had devastating impacts on families and communities of miners, truckers, engineers, construction workers and others who depend upon coal industry employment.

A Duke University study has estimated that 50,000 coal jobs were lost between 2008 and 2012. The Energy Information Administration’s 2013 data reported losses of about 10,000 more (another 10 percent of the industry workforce), with Appalachia, Utah, eastern Kentucky, and southern West Virginia taking huge hits.

Whole towns across America ranging from Wyoming- to Virginia-to Pennsylvania have been, and continue to be decimated.

A 2015 McKinsey and Company study shows that the entire U.S. coal industry is now bankrupt, with all producers together lacking the $45 billion needed to fund their current debts and employee and reclamation liabilities.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that coal companies have lost a combined $30 billion in stock market value since 2010, with much of that hemorrhage bleeding value from worker 401(k) pensions.

Consequences of EPA’s war on fossil energy won’t bring happy tidings for those who hope to recharge their plug-in Obamacars from sunbeams or moonbeams at night . . . and seldom from intermittent and unreliable gusty breezes.

Nope, about one-third of that electricity is provided by coal plants (down from about half in 2008). Another third comes from natural gas, the next target on EPA’s regulatory anti-fossil hit parade.

About 20 percent comes from slightly more than 100 geriatric nuclear plants. Most of the rest (about 7 percent) comes from hydropower, a truly renewable, clean and economical power source that turns many Greenies purple with rage.

Hillary has promised to continue the Obama administration’s carbon-cleansing climate crusade. Speaking at CNN’s March 13 Democratic town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal businesses out of business.”

Clinton’s salve for their pain would slather on liberal layers of political pork.

Her proposed $30 billion of big government lard would bail out underwater United Mine Worker pension and health plans, compensate power plant and transportation workers hurt by bankruptcies, and retrain EPA regulatory victims to qualify for politically appropriate taxpayer-funded public works largess.

Expect similar punitive prospects for natural gas. Responding to a question from a college student whether she supported fracking at a Flint, Mich. debate, Hillary answered, “So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

Referring to methane release and water contamination, she said: “And I think that’s the best approach, because there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated.” (Incidentally, none of numerous EPA studies have ever detected any significant water pollution attributed to fracking.)

Bernie Sanders responded to the same question posed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper even more directly. He replied, “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”

As with fracking, clean coal in the U.S has also made great strides. EPA statistics show that the real pollutants . . . sulfur, lead, carbon monoxide and smog-causing emissions from coal plants are down by 50 to 90 percent over the past 40 years.

Carbon dioxide emissions, on the other hand, aren’t pollution. Just ask any leafy friend.

Besides, wouldn’t you expect the president to take due credit, just as he promised in killing coal, for also ending billions of years of climate change?

Satellite records indicate that apart from naturally-ocourring 1998 and 2015 ocean El Nino temperature spikes there hasn’t been any statistical global warming now for nearly two decades.

So perhaps before leaving the White House keys under the door mat for Hillary or Bernie, Barack will declare climate war victory and end this destructive anti-fossil jihad?

Yeah, I guess you’re right . . . maybe when hell freezes over.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports —Click Here Now.

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Dear Mainstream Media, Don’t You Dare Whitewash Anti-Trump Violence

Dear Mainstream Media, Don’t You Dare Whitewash Anti-Trump Violence
By David French — April 29, 2016

Theocracy In 21st-century USA

imagesI originally planned to include the two essays below in my “Some Links” series.  But they detail a risk so great, a state overreach so dangerous, an exercise of government power so egregiously unjust, and a use of ‘official’ tools of intimidation so extreme that I give them here their own post.  Each is from the Washington Post, and each deals with a current attempt by government thugs officials to prevent people from expressing opposition to the dogmas of a religion to which many on the “Progressive” left are mindlessly devoted – namely, environmentalism.
Authoritarianism, always latent in progressivism, is becoming explicit. Progressivism’s determination to regulate thought by regulating speech is apparent in the campaign by 16 states’ attorneys general and those of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, none Republican, to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science.
The attorney general of the Virgin Islands accuses ExxonMobil of criminal misrepresentation regarding climate change. This, even though before the U.S. government in 2009 first issued an endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gases, ExxonMobil favored a carbon tax to mitigate climate consequences of those gases. This grandstanding attorney general’s contribution to today’s gangster government is the use of law enforcement tools to pursue political goals — wielding prosecutorial weapons to chill debate, including subpoenaing private donor information from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.
With seven state attorneys general and Al Gore sharing a New York City stage , there was no doubt about it: It was showtime for a whodunit. The crime being investigated? Dissent.
The March 29 news conference unveiled, according to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, an “unprecedented” coalition to fight not only climate change but also allegedly deceptive speech about climate change. The group, which dubbed itself AGs United for Clean Power, promised to “use all the tools at our disposal” to battle for progress on “the most consequential issue of our time.”
Schneiderman was blunt about his goal of shutting down debate: “You have to tell the truth. You can’t make misrepresentations of the kinds we’ve seen here.”
This isn’t a law-and-order drama. It’s politics clothed in messianic garb, and its primary tools are censorship and intimidation.
Regardless of where you stand on global warming policy, the notion of a multi-state campaign to end the debate ought to make you worry. After all, there are many science-driven policy debates out there, on topics ranging from genetically modified food to population control. It is not as if the government has a sterling reputation when it comes to science. From Galileo to today’s food plate, we know government politicizes science. It ought not to punish dissent, too.
In today’s Quotation of the Day, Deirdre McCloskey – in part by herself quoting CEI’s great founder, Fred Smith – identified modern environmentalism as a religion.  She’s correct.  And no matter what you think of religion in general or of the proper role of government in protecting the environment, you fear, if you are wise, the exemption that the religion of environmentalism has from the rule in the United States that church and state be kept entirely distinct.  You fear, in other words, what appears to be environmentalisms’ rapid approach to becoming the de facto state religion.
I ask everyone to join me in supporting CEI as it fights the modern Inquisitors.  Success at beating back the antediluvian, irrational, anti-science, dogmatic brutes who are attacking CEI will help not only CEI but, more importantly, also our very civilization.  I myself will now make a donation.   You can make a donation to CEI here.  (I have no official role or connection with CEI, although in the past – the 1990s – I wrote some papers for them.  No one asked me to use Cafe Hayek as a forum for helping CEI fight the Inquisitors.  I do so of my own accord, as a public service.  I can, I add, vouch for the excellent integrity, soundness of character, and commitment to the cause of human freedom of the people at CEI.)