WASHINGTON -- In thermodynamics, entropy is a measure of the energy unavailable for useful work. It is (and, yes, I had to look it up) both a reflection of disorder and a trend line; an isolated system proceeds in the direction of maximum entropy. The description feels disconcertingly apt for the chaotic reality of the Obama administration´s second term. That part I didn´t have to look up. It´s swirling all around. Let me start by conceding the exception to the entropic rule: the president´s steady handling of the debt ceiling/shutdown. The chaos there was confined to the other side.
"The menu of current problems feels far more perilous because these go to issues of core competency to govern...."
Ah, yes, the liberals just starting to get it. Ms. Marcus, the earlier scandals also pointed to issues of core competency; you just chose to paper over them. Sort of like the guy who smell a little smoke, goes back to sleep, then wakes up to find the whole house is on fire. The warning was there: Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS, but you chose to snooze a little longer. Welcome to the fire.
Entropy can be fought be adding more energy, not a closed system, but it always wins out in the end. The more complicated the system, the more entropy, the more input required. Lives are like this. I don´t think there are many in the Zip admin that have even heard the word "entropy" and remembered it, let alone know what it means. It was not covered in "Rules for Radicals."
The Continuing Resolution swirl among the Republicans was entirely based on a principled few trying to prevent the disaster which is Obamacare. Come Jan 1, the newly covered are going to call a doctor to set up an appointment. Some on Medicaid will discover the doctor isn´t taking new patients. Those who have managed to sign up on an exchange may get the same message. Those that do get seen will learn that their deductible must be hit before the insurance covers any costs. Even those on PCIP who expect to their coverage to far exceed their premiums, will need to cover the deductible. No one will be happy in January.
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear two constitutional challenges to the HHS contraception mandate has frightened Obamacare’s media cheerleaders into launching another of their propaganda campaigns designed to protect the “reform” law from itself. Those Americans still naïve enough to rely on establishment news outlets for information on current events are being told that Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius are part of a sinister conspiracy to restrict access to birth control, endow corporations with religious rights, and escalate the “war on women.”
One story the mainstream media just loves: Republicans at war. The party’s splintered to shreds, torn beyond repair, cut in two, broken asunder. They write it week after week. The House speaker loses a vote, boom, the Republican Party is ruptured. But guess what story they never write? This one. The Democratic Party is ripped to tatters. The fake lovefest that broke out after Hillary Rodham Clinton wandered off into the wilderness in June 2008 is over. She’s back, and so is her troublemaking husband (who last week advised President Obama to “honor” his commitment
It was named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and that, right from the start, was, and is, is a double-barreled falsehood. To set the record straight, we can call this worm-infested rose by its proper name — the Patient Be Damned and let Premiums Rip Act. Since the official roll-out of the new law on Oct. 1, millions of people have lost their existing health care plans — and many or even most of those people are stumbling around in a state of shock, having discovered the sky-high replacement costs on the new insurance exchanges. The worst is yet to
When the Supreme Court is in session, one or two afternoons each week are reserved for closed-door conferences during which the justices discuss petitions for writs of certiorari. These petitions, in ordinary English, are requests by litigants for the Court to review cases that have been inconclusively adjudicated by lower courts. Such requests often involve high profile public controversies, and those scheduled for discussion on Tuesday fit comfortably into that category. Tomorrow, the justices will confer about Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius and Autocam v. Sebelius, all of which challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
Prospect theory, a predictive model of economic behavior, stipulates that when a person begins to come to terms with increasingly likely losses, they become risk-takers. Losses sting, the theory asserts, more than gains reward. Thus, risk-seeking behavior increases as the acute pain of an imminent loss comes clearly into focus. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto astutely cited prospect theory on Thursday in the wake of the unprecedented maneuver by Senate Democrats to change the rules of the Senate by a simple majority vote along party lines. The long-considered but never invoked “nuclear option” was appealed to at a conspicuous time.
THE REWRITING of filibuster rules by Senate Democrats on Thursday changed the legislative body in fundamental ways, and for the worse. Republicans whose unjustified recalcitrance provoked the change should be ashamed. Democrats who are celebrating will soon enough regret their decision. The radical action, a product of poisonous partisanship, will also be an accelerant of poisonous partisanship. Fed up with Republicans repeatedly blocking President Obama’s judicial nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Democrats triggered the so-called “nuclear option.” In violation of long-standing precedent, they voted by a bare majority to alter the rules of
Last Tuesday, at a forum put together by the Wall Street Journal, President Barack Obama told a group of C.E.O.s that he was relatively sure that healthcare.gov would be “functioning for the majority of people who are using it” by November 30th, two months after its disastrous launch. He acknowledged that the process had been “rough, to say the least,” and added that, once the site does work, “we’re going to have to obviously re-market and re-brand.” That’s not all he’ll have to do.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning -- after 3 a.m. Geneva time -- an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was struck between the Islamic Republic and the so-called P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany, Iran’s most important trading partner). Iran is getting billions of dollars in sanctions relief (which President Obama will effect by executive order) in exchange for chemically degrading its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium through oxidization -- without giving up any of its 3.5% enriched uranium. Uranium enrichment is not a linear process: 3.5% enrichment is about 60% of
Obamacare was marketed to voters as a health-care overhaul that would allow Americans to benefit from lower costs and more options, and keep their current insurance and stay with their existing doctors if they wanted to. Well, for millions of Americans, none of that is true. As the truth about Obamacare reveals itself, President Obama has admitted that he will have to “remarket and rebrand” his plan. How does the White House think they will “remarket” Obamacare to voters? Telling the truth could not possibly achieve good results. The truth reveals that under Obamacare, you can’t keep your current insurance plan
AN AMERICAN president’s most important power is not the veto pen or the ability to launch missiles. It is the bully pulpit. When a president speaks, the world listens. That is why Barack Obama’s credibility matters. If people do not believe what he says, his power to shape events withers. And recent events have seriously shaken people’s belief in Mr Obama. At home, the chaos of his health reform has made it harder for him to get anything else done. Abroad, he is seen as weak and disengaged, to the frustration of America’s allies. Not all the barbs aimed at Mr
Josh Kraushaar, my co-author on the 2014 Almanac of American Politics, and Megan McArdle have opined that the Affordable Care Act is so badly damaged that repeal over a veto by President Obama is now within the realm of possibility. I suppose anything is possible. After all, seven weeks ago, very few people would have predicted that the rollout would be this disastrous. Who knows where we’ll be in two to three months? The law could be functioning much better, in which case a lot of this discussion will be academic, or it could be functioning so poorly that Republicans
Health care as a necessity comes only after food, shelter and income security. The mismanagement of the website HealthCare.gov and the cancellation of millions of policies pushes an underlying question out into the open: is the federal government capable of managing the provision of a fundamental service through an extraordinarily complex system?This system requires coordination of over 288 policy options (an average of eight insurers are competing for business in 36 states), each with three or more levels of coverage, while simultaneously calculating beneficiary income, tax credit eligibility, subsidy levels, deductibles, not to mention protecting applicant privacy,
A Republican strategist is reminding his party that President Reagan is dead. Ford O´Connell, who worked on Sen. John McCain´s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, says if Republicans want to win the White House in 2016, they need to break free of the "obsessive Reagan disorder." Rule #1 of the political analyst´s newly released book, "Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery," is: "Ronald Reagan is dead. Accept it." Such a sentiment is sure to be tough to digest for a party insistent on using the 40th president´s legacy as a GOP litmus test to prove conservative credentials. "The Reagan fixation is a drag
Jeffrey P. Bezos has never been known for thinking small. And in an interview aired Sunday on CBS´s "60 Minutes," he outlined his latest plan for revolutionizing the retail industry: using drones to deliver packages in as little as 30 minutes. Declaring himself an "optimist," the Amazon.com founder and chief executive predicted the technology could be brought to market in as little as five years. This is more than a theoretical idea. Bezos showed CBS´s Charlie Rose a working prototype of an eight-rotor helicopter drone called an "octocopter." Emblazoned with "Amazon Prime Air," the flying robot has a claw at
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” Wednesday that when Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, “he didn’t charge food stamps.” “When Jesus had those five loaves and two fishes, he didn´t charge food stamps. He didn´t ask anybody how much money they had. He fed them because they were hungry, and that´s really where we ought to be,” McDermott said in response to Republican critics of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). In September, the House approved a plan by Republicans to cut $39 billion in food stamps over the next
An education official at a Texas high school is under fire after telling some female students they have been dressing like ‘hoes.’ According to KRIV Fox 26, School Support Officer Dr. Tameca Richardson made the remark to female students at Jack Yates High School in Houston during an assembly on campus. A spokesperson for the Houston Independent School District confirmed the language used by Richardson, the station reported. Some parents expressed anger over Richardson’s terminology, saying the Ph.D.-level educator should have used language that was less offensive. "That was out of line and she should be disciplined for that,"
MIDDLETOWN, Del.- Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson´s fifth-grade classroom. Today´s students are being asked to think more critically. For example, what might a character say in an email to a friend? "It´s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in kindergarten through high school. In 45 states and the District of Columbia, Lawson and and other teachers are starting to use the standards
Gov. Chris Christie’s “bizarre behavior’’ in refusing to say he’ll support a possible GOP challenger to Gov. Cuomo next year could derail his chances to become president, state and national GOP insiders have told The Post. “Christie already has a problem with many Republicans refusing to forgive him because of his embrace of [President] Obama and his socially liberal policies,’’ said a nationally prominent GOP operative. “But this bizarre behavior in suggesting he won’t help a Republican defeat a Democratic governor, and a Cuomo no less, could finish off his chances of becoming his party’s nominee for president in 2016,’’ the
In the US we are used to abortion advocates claiming that the risk of elective abortion is relatively trivial, and major medical organizations denying any link between abortion and breast cancer. Now a powerful new study from China published last week by Yubei Huang and colleagues suggests otherwise. The article, a meta-analysis pooling 36 studies from 14 provinces in China, showed that abortion increased the risk of breast cancer by 44% with one abortion, and 76% and 89% with two and three abortions. This new article is another example of the recent excellent scholarship on abortion in peer-reviewed journals coming out
Senior officials in the White House have said that Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is desperate and weak,” in reaction to Netanyahu´s remonstrations against the deal struck with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Israeli television Channel 10 quoted the officials as saying “His pronouncements show a lack of self-confidence,” in an unusually harsh personal attack on Netanyahu. “We are not perturbed by his vocal opposition.”
A push by activists to ease the 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men faces a key test this week as a federal panel hears results of the latest research. The findings will be released amid growing pressure from politicians and advocates, including college students, to change the policy. Critics say the ban is a hangover from the early, fear-filled days of AIDS, stigmatizing gay men and ignoring advances in treatment and detection in the decades since. Supporters of the policy say politics, not science, is driving the proposed change, which would heighten the risk of
President Obama completed an ambitious fundraising schedule for Democrats in November, but many of the congressional candidates he is trying to help are finding their election prospects next year imperiled by the president’s faulty health care law. Several polls in the past week have shown congressional Republicans pulling even or slightly ahead of Democrats in generic balloting for the midterm elections, a swing of at least 10 percentage points in less than a month. Pollsters attribute the seismic shift to the series of glaring flaws in Obamacare, most of which came to the public’s attention after the program’s rollout Oct.
Former Obama advisor David Plouffe appeared on This Week With George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning and predicted that President Barack Obama’s approval rating would rise over the next few months, following the increasing functionality of the Affordable Care Act. “This has been a tough task,” Plouffe said. “It’s not just health care. The shutdown affected everybody’s confidence in government. But let’s fast-forward to the State of the Union and the months after that. Health care working better, a lot of people signing up. The economy continuing to strengthen. Hopefully no Washington shutdowns.
So the troubled site apparently now works 90 percent of the time. That should be good news for Obama—but the question is whether Obamacare will get the mass enrollment it needs. HealthCare.gov finally works. Now people just need to use it. The error-plagued website, which was supposed to be the portal for Americans seeking to buy health insurance through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, is finally approaching basic functionality two months after it went online. In a report released Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services breathlessly announced that the website now functions more than 90 percent of