Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yee Gods!

The astounding story of Leland Yee.

You may remember Leland Yee. He's a state senator from San Francisco who's appeared in this column a couple of times before: in 2009, when he objected (unsuccessfully) to the appointment of a University of California chancellor who'd been linked to a possible scandal at the University of Illinois; and in 2011, when he demanded an apology from Rush Limbaugh for "mimicking the Chinese language" in a segment mocking Hu Jintao, then "paramount leader" of communist China.
Yee, who was born in China and immigrated at age 3, also made news two weeks ago when, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, he and two other Asian-American state Senate Democrats withdrew their support of a measure that would have brought back racial preferences at California public universities, which the state constitution has banned since 1996. "Yee said he had heard--loud and clear--from Asian Americans who fear that undoing the ban on affirmative action in college admissions would hurt their children's chances of getting into the highly competitive University of California system," the Chronicle noted.
This week Yee was back in the news--and was he ever.
Leland Yee Associated Press
As Fox News sums it up: "Call it 'American Hustle' gone West. An elaborate FBI sting culminated this week after two undercover officers--who posed as East Coast Mafia members--helped take down 26 Californians, including an influential state senator with alleged ties to an Asian mob." That would be Yee, who has reportedly dropped his candidacy for California secretary of state. TheAssociated Press reports Yee is expected to be suspended from the Senate along with two other Democrats who face unrelated criminal charges.
The probe's target was the colorfully nicknamed Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, described by Fox as "a notorious gangster who ran a Chinese criminal organization with ties to Hong Kong." The San Francisco Chronicle has some background on Chow:
In recent years, the notorious Chinatown gang leader has been telling groups of troubled youths to resist a life of crime while touting his awards from politicians, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who praised him in July 2012 "for his tenacity and willingness to give back to the community and working 'in the trenches' as a change agent."
Change agent indeed:
Despite his pronouncements of being reformed, Chow remained very much at the heart of a criminal network, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Emmanuel Pascua. . . .
Chow holds a "supreme authority" position in the Triad, an international Chinese organized crime group; heads the Hop Sing Boys, a San Francisco street gang; and serves as the "dragon head," or leader, of the Ghee Kung Tong, a Chinese brotherhood that allegedly provided cover for criminal operations after Chow took over in 2006, according to the affidavit.
San Francisco Magazine, part of the Modern Luxury chain, has a summary of the allegations against Yee, "in descending order of [shock value]." Here are the first few:
Yee told an FBI agent to give him a shopping list of guns:"Senator Yee asked [the agent] to provide an inventory list of desired weapons [...] [The agent] told Yee he would deliver $2,000,000 cash."
Yee could arrange [for] some serious firepower: "[The agent] asked about shoulder fired automatic weapons. Senator Yee responded by saying the automatic weapons are the equivalent to the "M16" Automatic Service Weapon [...] [The agent] asked about the availability of shoulder fire missiles or rockets. Senator Yee responded 'I told him about the rockets and things like that.'"
Yee took personal responsibility for delivering the weapons:"Senator Yee said, 'We're interested' in arranging the weapons deal [...] and said of the arms dealer, 'He's going to rely on me, because ultimately it's going to be me.' [The agent] stated he would compensate Yee for brokering the relationship and arms deal."
Yee was in it for the cash: "Senator Yee said, 'Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money. Do I think we can get the good [sic]? I think we can get the goods.'"
Yee masterminded a complex scheme to import illegal weapons: "Keith Jackson [a political consultant who worked as Yee's fundraiser] told [an agent] that Senator Yee had a contact who deals in arms trafficking. This purported arms dealer was later identified. Jackson requested [a campaign donation] on behalf of Senator Yee, for Senator Yee to facilitate a meeting with arms dealer with the intent of [the agent] to purportedly purchase a large number of weapons to be imported through the Port of Newark, New Jersey. During a meeting [...] Senator Yee discussed certain details of the specific types of weapons [the agent] was interested in buying and importing."
Yee also allegedly claimed to have connections to a Filipino terrorist organization: "[The agent] asked about the major Muslim organizations in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. Senator Yee responded by saying "M.I.L.F." [The agent] understood M.I.L.F. to be an acronym for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Senator Yee went on to explain there were several factions within the M.I.L.F. Regarding the M.I.L.F., [Wilson Sy] Lim [another defendant] told [the agent] they are his friends but he does not personally associate with them."
In addition, Yee stands accused, in the magazine's words, of taking "envelopes full of cash to influence marijuana policy" and of trading "favors directly for campaign cash" three times.
Yee was for the most part a liberal Democrat, but the Los Angeles Times notes a couple of heterodoxies in addition to his race-preferences reversal: "He opposed a ban on the use of plastic bags by grocery stores, for example, as well as a prohibition on the sale of shark fins that he called 'an attack on Asian culture.' "
A child psychologist, he backed a law "to ban the sale of violent videogames to minors," which the Supreme Court struck down by a 7-2 vote in the 2011 case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association . The most interesting aspect of that case was the two very different dissents: Justice Clarence Thomas would have upheld the law on the ground that the First Amendment was never meant to apply to children, while Justice Stephen Breyer argued that it was constitutional because it was based on sound social science.
But on one topic he held to the standard liberal line. "He was involved in efforts to regulate guns, particularly after the 2012 mass murder of children at a Connecticut elementary school, a tragedy that Yee said touched him," the Times notes. National Review's Tim Cavanaugh elaborates, noting that his arrest in the alleged gun-running conspiracy comes "less than a year after [he was] pushing wide-ranging bills to require micro-stamping, restrict magazine choice, and regulate private handling of legally owned weapons."
By contrast, the Times reports that in dealing with his alleged co-conspirators, "the senator's approach to arms dealing was 'agnostic,' the 137-page [affidavit] says. 'People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don't care,' Yee allegedly said. 'People need certain things.' "
One marvels at the evident hypocrisy. Was Yee's zeal for gun control an expression of a guilty conscience--a moralist's battle with his own inner demons? Or was he consistent in doing whatever seemed expedient? Perhaps that enigma will be unraveled as the case proceeds.
Does Anybody Care About ObamaCare? 
Harry Reid has some good news for his Senate Democratic colleagues who are worried about losing their seats and possibly costing Reid his position as majority leader: "ObamaCare, if you do a poll of anyone, that's dropped way down in significance," CBS News's Washington website quotes him as saying.
But some of those Democratic senators seem less than reassured. Six of them who are "up for reelection or hailing from red states proposed legislation on Thursday aimed at changing parts of the Affordable Care Act," the Hill reports:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), whom Republicans view as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, is leading the effort, and is joined by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), both of whom are facing difficult reelection races in 2014.
Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) are also on board with the legislation. . . .
The first bill from the group of Democrats would add a new, cheaper option, a copper plan, to ObamaCare's existing menu of platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans. The bill also seeks to spur competition in the marketplaces by restoring funding to nonprofit healthcare co-ops.
The second bill would expand tax credits to small businesses. It would also expand the option for voluntary healthcare coverage from employers with 50 or fewer workers to employers with 100 or fewer.
The third bill would allow consumers to enroll directly through insurers and other Web-based entities besides
A February Wall Street Journal news story elaborated on the first proposal: "Copper plans would cover, on average, 50% of medical costs, and while consumers' out-of-pocket expenses would still be capped, that limit likely would be higher than the $6,350 maximum for individuals and $12,700 for families currently set by the law." In other words, copper plans would be cheaper only as long as the policyholder didn't need to use them.
The Hill has a quote from Landrieu that illustrates the difficulty of defending ObamaCare: "[Constituents] often tell me that they are extremely happy that this is coverage they can finally count on. However, from some constituents I have picked up a few recommendations about how this law can work better. As I have said from the beginning, the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. No law is."
But some laws are good, and ObamaCare is worse than many very bad laws. When the best defense of a law is the truism that perfection is an impossible standard, that's an indication that the law in question is indefensible.
Out on a Limb 
"Obama: Putin May Have 'Additional Plans' "--headline,, March 28
We Blame George W. Bush 
"Condoleezza Rice Blames Obama for 'Vacuum' That's Led to Putin"--headline, Washington Times, March 27
Shortest Books Ever Written 
"China's War on Pollution"--headline, New York Times, March 29
That Must've Taken Some Arm-Twisting 
"US Forces Japan to Return Some Land to Japan"--headline, Stars and Stripes, March 26
So Much for the War on Drugs 
"Quebec Election Debate: Philippe Couillard Takes a Hit"--headline,, March 27
It's Duck Season! 
"Recent Graduates Want Bugs on America's Dinner Tables"--headline, Harvard Crimson, March 26
Question and Answer--I
  • "Pack an Umbrella, or Not?"--headline, New York Times website, May 14, 2013
  • "Rain, Heavy at Times"--headline, New York Times, March 28, 2014
Question and Answer--II
  • "Will French Be the World's Most-Spoken Language by 2050?"--headline,, March 26
  • "Saint-Paul: Non! Trop, C'est Trop!"--headline, Imaz Press RĂ©union, March 28
Look Out Below! 
"PLUNGE: New Poll Shows Obamacare Support at 26%"--headlline, Washington Times, March 28
It's Always in the Last Place You Look 
"Rat Outta Hell: Family Finds Enormous 'Ratzilla' in Their Kitchen"--headline,, March 27
News of the Tautological 
" 'Anti-Aging' Hormone May Actually Shorten Life"--headline,, March 27
Breaking News From Genesis 6:9 
"There's Something About 'Noah' "--headline, Chicago Tribune website, March 27
Bottom Story of the Day 
"Oversight Democrats Demand End to Benghazi Probe"--headline,, March 27
Baling Braley Out 
Iowa's Rep., Bruce Braley continues his struggle to recover from his gaffe, noted here Wednesday, in which he disparaged farmers, including Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Des Moines Register reports:
The Braley campaign misspelled a couple of basic Iowa-farm-related words--detasseling and baling--in its press release defending the U.S. Senate candidate's street cred with farms and farmers.
A sharp-eyed Des Moines Register editor noticed that the news release said: "Bruce grew up in rural Iowa and worked on Iowa farms, detassling corn and bailing hay."
Register reporter Jennifer Jacobs also owns up to an error her own paper made earlier this month "by calling a combine a tractor in a photo caption." But the Register isn't running for Senate. Braley is, and he may find he has a tough road to hoe.
(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to Jeff Bliss, Tony Lima, Michele Schiesser, Todd Dierdorff, John Sanders, Macrena Sailor, Bob Wukitsch, Jameson Campaigne, Robert Paci, Howard Rosenberg, Hillel Markowitz, Ethel Fenig, Irene DeBlasio, Howie Mirkin, Eric Jensen, Merv Benson, Mark Finkelstein, Elliot Eisenberg, Miguel Rakiewicz, John Williamson, Eric Nilsson, Stuart Claghorn, Peter Grace, Wes Van Fleet and Bill West. If you have a tip, write us, and please include the URL.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Obama vs. Putin: The Mismatch

Russia is running rings around America. 

“The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game. That’s the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War.”
— Barack Obama, March 24

Should. Lovely sentiment. As lovely as what Obama said five years ago to the United Nations: “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.”
That’s the kind of sentiment you expect from a Miss America contestant asked to name her fondest wish, not from the leader of the free world explaining his foreign policy.

The East Europeans know they inhabit the battleground between the West and a Russia that wants to return them to its sphere of influence. Ukrainians see tens of thousands of Russian troops across their border and know they are looking down the barrel of quite a zero-sum game.

Obama thinks otherwise. He says that Vladimir Putin’s kind of neo-imperialist thinking is a relic of the past — and advises Putin to transcend the Cold War.

Good God. Putin hasn’t transcended the Russian revolution. Did no one give Obama a copy of Putin’s speech last week upon the annexation of Crimea? Putin railed not only at Russia’s loss of empire in the 1990s. He went back to the 1920s: “After the revolution, the Bolsheviks . . . may God judge them, added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine.” Putin was referring not to Crimea (which came two sentences later) but to his next potential target: Kharkiv and Donetsk and the rest of southeastern Ukraine.

Putin’s irredentist grievances go very deep. Obama seems unable to fathom them. Asked whether he’d misjudged Russia, whether it really is our greatest geopolitical foe, he disdainfully replied that Russia is nothing but “a regional power” acting “out of weakness.” 

Where does one begin? Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan were also regional powers, yet managed to leave behind at least 50 million dead. And yes, Russia should be no match for the American superpower. Yet under this president, Russia has run rings around America, from the attempted ingratiation of the “reset” to America’s empty threats of “consequences” were Russia to annex Crimea.

Annex Crimea it did. For which the “consequences” have been risible. Numberless 19th- and 20th-century European soldiers died for Crimea. Putin conquered it in a swift and stealthy campaign that took three weeks and cost his forces not a sprained ankle. 
That’s “weakness”?

Indeed, Obama’s dismissal of Russia as a regional power makes his own leadership of the one superpower all the more embarrassing. For seven decades since the Japanese surrender, our role under eleven presidents had been as offshore balancer protecting smaller allies from potential regional hegemons.

What are the allies thinking now? Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and other Pacific Rim friends are wondering where this America will be as China expands its reach and claims. The Gulf states are near panic as they see America playacting nuclear negotiations with Iran that, at best, will leave their mortal Shiite enemy just weeks away from the bomb.

America never sought the role that history gave it after World War II to bear unbidden burdens “to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” as movingly described by John Kennedy. We have an appropriate aversion to the stark fact that the alternative to U.S. leadership is either global chaos or dominance by the likes of China, Russia, and Iran.

But Obama doesn’t even seem to recognize this truth. In his major Brussels address Wednesday, the very day Russia seized the last Ukrainian naval vessel in Crimea, Obama made vague references to further measures should Russia march deeper into Ukraine, while still emphasizing the centrality of international law, international norms, and international institutions like the United Nations.

Such fanciful thinking will leave our allies with two choices: bend a knee — or arm to the teeth. Either acquiesce to the regional bully or gird your loins, i.e., go nuclear. As surely will the Gulf states. As will, in time, Japan and South Korea.

Even Ukrainians are expressing regret at having given up their nukes in return for paper guarantees of territorial integrity. The 1994 Budapest Memorandum was ahead of its time — the perfect example of the kind of advanced 21st-century thinking so cherished by our president. Perhaps the captain of that last Ukrainian vessel should have waved the document at the Russian fleet that took his ship.

 Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2014 The Washington Post Writers Group

Can NATO restrain Russia?


March 25, 2014
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, said of Poland, perilously positioned between Russia and Germany: “If you pitch your tent in the middle of Fifth Avenue, it is quite likely you will be run over by a bus.” Poland has been run over hard and often; indeed, between 1795 and 1918 it disappeared from the map of Europe.
Geography need not be destiny, but it matters, as Ukraine is being reminded. During its hazardous path to the present, all or bits of it have been parts of Poland, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and now another Russian empire. Czarist Russia, which Lenin called “the prison of the peoples,” is reemerging and has in Vladimir Putin an ambitious warden.
In last week’s Kremlin address, he said, “Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea. We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that.” The word “need” is not reassuring. It suggests that Russia’s needs are self-legitimizing and recalls the definition of a barbarian as someone who thinks his appetites are their own justification.
Speaking of which: Six months after Germany’s absorption of Austria, which was quickly ratified by a plebiscite, Adolf Hitler, on Sept. 26, 1938, discussed the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia, home of many ethnic and linguistic Germans. Three days before the Munich Conference began, he said: “This is the last territorial demand I have to make in Europe.” On March 15, 1939, six months after Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland, agreed to at Munich, Hitler swallowed the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Then his attention turned to “protecting” the German-speaking population in Poland. On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland on the pretext of responding to a Polish provocation. Ten days before, he had told senior military officers, “I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war, whether it be plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, never mind whether we told the truth or not.” On the night of Aug. 31, a German prisoner was dressed in a Polish uniform, killed and displayed as a casualty of a Polish attack on a German radio station.
Putin, whose lamented Soviet Union was then Hitler’s ally, knows Hitler’s tactics. If Putin had a sense of humor he would justify as “R2P” his policy of bringing home to the safety of mother Russia many of the Russians residing in contiguous countries. R2P — “responsibility to protect” — was the moral principle the Obama administration invoked to justify involvement in the seven-month assault on Moammar Gaddafi, who posed no threat to us but supposedly did to Libyans.
On Sept. 26, 1938, Hitler said “10 million Germans” lived “in two large contiguous regions” outside the Reich, and that “if I were simply to renounce 10 million . . . I would then have no moral right to be fuehrer of the German people.” Putin, whose Russia had about 142 million peoplebefore he added the 2 million in Crimea, must envelop many more if he is to match the 200 million the last czar, Nicholas II, ruled 100 years ago.
Can NATO help restrain Putin? After NATO was created in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Ismay, said its purpose was to protect Europe by keeping “the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.” The task of keeping Russia out of its neighbors is being complicated by something that would have improved the last century — German passivity. Angela Merkel may think that bringing Barack Obama to a confrontation with Putin is like bringing a knife — a butter knife — to a gun fight.
In a recent New Yorker interview, Obama praised himself for being “comfortable with complexity” and unraveled the Middle East’s complications: “It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shias weren’t intent on killing each other.” This is the president as poseur — detached, laconic, arch, almost droll: If only —apologies to Kipling — the lesser breeds without the law would behave.
Obama evidently harbors the surreal hope that Putin will continue to help regarding Syria and Iran. Continue? Putin’s client in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, is winning his civil war. And regarding attempts to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Putin’s helpfulness, if not fictitious, has been ineffective.
Obama, always a slayer of straw men, has eschewed something no one has contemplated, “a military excursion in Ukraine.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “excursion” as “a usually short journey made for pleasure.”
Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Screw You, Mickey Kaus

By Ann Coulter
March 26, 2014

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

I've been thrown off my health insurance -- THANKS, OBAMACARE! -- and have spent hours and hours over the past month trying to figure out my options now that the Democrats have made my old plan, which I liked, "illegal." (I prefer to think of my plan as "undocumented.")

Whom do I bill for the hours of work Obamacare forced me to perform? How about you, Mickey? You're the smartest living liberal (faint praise), and you assured us that Obamacare was going to be fantastic.

By now, Obama has issued "waivers" from Obamacare to about 99 percent of the country. (Perhaps you've heard, there's a big midterm election this year.) As one of the few Americans not granted a waiver, I'm here to tell you: You have no idea what's coming, America.

I thought I had figured out the best plan for me a month ago after having doctors and hospital administrators look at the packets of material I was sent by my old insurance company -- the same mailing that informed me my old plan was "illegal" under Obamacare.

But when I checked online recently, I discovered the premier plan -- the "platinum," low-deductible, astronomically expensive plan that might be accepted by an English-speaking doctor who didn't attend medical school in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts -- does not include treatment at any decent hospitals.

That's sort of unfortunate because THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I WANT INSURANCE! That's the only reason any sane homo sapien wants health insurance: to cover health care costs in the event of some catastrophic illness or accident -- not to pay for Mickey Kaus' allergy appointments. But my only options under the blue-chip plan were hospitals that also do shoe repair.

I called Blue Cross directly to ask if its most expensive insurance plan covered the only hospital I'd ever go to in an emergency. Since that's all I wanted to know, that's what I asked. (I like to get to the point that way.)

But -- as happens whenever you try to ascertain the most basic information about insurance under Obamacare -- the Blue Cross representative began hammering me with a battery of questions about myself.

First my name. (Does that make a difference to what hospitals its plans cover?) Then my phone number. By the time he got to my address, I said, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TELL ME IF ANY OF YOUR PLANS COVER XYZ HOSPITAL? I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF I WANT TO SIGN UP WITH YOU!

Finally, he admitted that Blue Cross' most expensive individual insurance plan does not cover treatment at the hospitals I named. Their doctors are "out of network" (and the person who designed this plan is "out of his mind").

This was the rest of the conversation, verbatim:

ME: None of your plans cover out-of-network doctors?


ME: Why is it called "Premier Guided Access WITH OUT-OF-NETWORK PLAN"?

BLUE CROSS: Where did you see that?

ME: On Blue Cross' own material describing its plans.

BLUE CROSS: Oh. I don't know why it's called that.

ME: None of your plans cover (the good hospital)?


ME: I don't know who you are, but I have a very specific set of skills that will help me find you. And when I find you, I am going to kill you. (Click.)

True conversation. Except the last sentence. That was my fantasy.

I decided to approach it from the opposite direction and called one of the nation's leading hospitals to ask which plans it accepted. The woman listed a series of plans, but she couldn't tell me if I was eligible for any of them. For that, she said, I'd have to go to the Obamacare website.

Does Obamacare cover suicide?

I went to "" and -- I guess I had heard this, but had blocked it from my memory like a rape victim unable to remember her attack -- you can't even peek at the available plans until you've given the government reams of personal information about yourself.

How about they let me look at the merchandise first?

Inasmuch as the cost of health insurance under Obamacare is so high that it will generally make more sense just to pay for your own catastrophic health emergencies, I was not interested in telling Kathleen Sebelius everything about me in order to have the privilege of glancing at the government's crappy plans.

But that's the only choice. As the Obamacare website directs:

(1) Create an account. (Name, password.)

(2) Tell us about yourself and your family. (Every single thing.)

(3) Choose a health insurance plan. (That's where you finally get to see the plans.)

I wonder if other consumer-oriented businesses will start demanding names, addresses, passwords and phone numbers before the customer is allowed to browse the merchandise. Maybe Williams-Sonoma could pick up a few sales tricks from Ezekiel Emanuel! Oh, you'd like to see the bronze muffin tin? Sure, but first I'll need your Social Security number, date of birth and mother's maiden name. Sign here, here and here.

The main point of the Obamacare website is to encourage people other than me to get a government subsidy. There's also a section helping you register to vote. You just can't see the insurance plans. (Guess which one you need a government ID for?)

With zero help from the Obamacare website, I eventually figured out that there was one lone insurance plan that would cover treatment at a reputable hospital. The downside is, no doctors take it.

So my only two health insurance options -- and yours, too, as soon as the waivers expire, America! -- are: (1) a plan that no doctors take; or (2) a plan that no hospitals take. You either pay for all your doctor visits and tests yourself, or you pay for your cancer treatment yourself. And you pay through the nose in either case.

That's not insurance! It's a huge transfer of wealth from people who work for a living to those who don't, accomplished by forcing the workers to buy insurance that's not insurance. Obamacare has made actual health insurance "illegal."

It's not "insurance" when what I want to insure against isn't covered, but paying for other people's health care needs -- defined broadly -- is mandatory.

It's as if you wanted to buy a car, so you paid for a Toyota -- but then all you got was a 10-speed bike, with the rest of your purchase price going to buy cars, bikes and helmets for other people.

Or, more precisely, it would be like having the option of car insurance that covers either collisions or liability, but not both. Your car insurance premium would be gargantuan, because most of it would go to buy insurance, gas and air fresheners for other people in the plan.

If you have employer-provided health care, you may not have to make the 400 phone calls I had to, but the result will be the same: You're not getting what is commonly known as "insurance." You're getting a massive bill to pay for other people's chiropractors, marriage counselors, birth control pills, smoking cessation programs, "preventive care" appointments and pre-existing conditions.

Health insurance has been outlawed, replaced with a welfare program that has been renamed "insurance."

When Matt Drudge decided he'd rather pay for his own health care, liberals hysterically denounced him for not buying an Obamacare transfer-the-wealth, fake "insurance" plan. It used to be shameful to be a public charge. Now it's shameful to pay for yourself.

And it's shameful to work for yourself. The self-employed are currently the only Americans subjected to Obamacare. (In a way, it's lucky for the Democrats that there aren't enough of us to hurt them in this year's midterm elections!)

But we're the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. You may have an employer-provided plan now, but the waivers can't go on forever. If you live in America, your health insurance is going to disappear, too.

The government simply cannot force all insurance companies to give subsidized health care to a third of the country, to ignore the pre-existing health conditions of its customers, to pay for every little thing tangentially related to health -- like smoking cessation programs, marital counseling and pediatric dental care -- and also expect them to cover your cancer treatment.

It doesn't matter if you've been paying for insurance your whole adult life. That policy is now "illegal." Put your hands in the air, nice and easy, and step away from the policy ...

You 99-percenters still unaffected by Obamacare will blithely go to the polls this November and vote on some teeny-tiny issue, completely unaware of the total destruction of health insurance in America. The waivers have worked.

Now we'll have to wait 40 years for a future Mickey Kaus to come along and expose the disastrous consequences of this horrendous government program, just like the real Mickey Kaus did with welfare. But for now, I say: Screw you, Mickey Kaus.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today's Tune: Des'ree - Kissing You (Live)

My Trip to the Pot Shop

Medical marijuana is quite literally a life saver. 

In dark moments, three coaches shine light on right way to lose

March 24, 2014

Kentucky showed us how to win: Size, athletes, shooting. That's one way to do it. Iowa State showed another: Resilience, refusal to wilt, playing for an injured teammate.
In all, 16 teams showed us 16 different ways to win this past weekend at the NCAA Tournament.
Three coaches showed us how to lose.
Losing matters, see. Anyone can do it, and eventually everyone will do it -- and not just in basketball or sports. In life. You apply for a job, you don't get it. Guess what? You lost. It happens, and it will happen over and over, and when it does happen, try to be like Greg McDermott or Roy Williams or Mike Krzyzewski.
Yeah, you read those three names correctly. Don't like one or more of those three guys? Fine by me, but consider this your warning. Because if you keep reading and decide that you just might like them after all, well, that's on you.
After watching his son's college career end, Greg McDermott made time to ask after a colleague. (USATSI)

After watching his son's college career end, Greg McDermott made time to ask after a colleague. (USATSI)

Bigger than basketball

There's defeat, and then there's what Creighton's Greg McDermott lost on Sunday: His son on his team.
Creighton was crushed 85-55 by Baylor, ending not just Creighton's season but also the college career of Creighton senior Doug McDermott, Greg's son. All of that was swirling through the elder McDermott's head roughly 10 minutes after the final horn when it was time to speak about this game, this humiliation, with the media.
McDermott was walking to the interview room when he bumped into someone in Baylor gear -- the father of Baylor coach Scott Drew, ex-Valparaiso coach Homer Drew.
Homer Drew knows about coaching his son. It was Bryce, who replaced his father as the coach at Valpo in 2011, who authored one of the more memorable March Madnessmoments in 1998 with a buzzer-beater that lifted 13th-seeded Valpo past fourth-seeded Ole Miss. There they were on Sunday, two fathers acknowledging their shared experiences, when Greg McDermott had to go. The news conference was waiting.
But wait. This was more important than a news conference, this question Greg McDermott needed to ask the father of the coach whose Baylor team had just ended Creighton's season.
"How's your family?"
Homer Drew's wife was diagnosed in 2011 with cancer. That was just a few days after Homer himself had been diagnosed with cancer. Both underwent surgery. Both are doing as well as can be expected after such an ordeal.
Greg McDermott found out, because he cared enough to ask. Ten minutes after a loss ended his son's career at Creighton.
Roy Williams was told his season was over, then he calmly congratulated Fred Hoiberg. (Getty Images)

Roy Williams was told his season was over, then he calmly congratulated Fred Hoiberg. (Getty Images)

Going out with dignity

Iowa State beat North Carolina with a late shot and then ... confusion. If you saw the game,or the highlight, you know what happened: Iowa State's DeAndre Kane hit a driving layup with 1.6 seconds left for an 85-83 lead, and then North Carolina inbounded the ball to Nate Britt, who dribbled across half-court and called timeout just before the buzzer.
So it seemed. Officials huddled, studied the monitor, huddled some more. UNC coach Roy Williams was coaching his team for one last shot when he and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg were called to midcourt to hear exactly how much time would be put on the clock:
None. Game over.
That's what you saw if you were watching live on TV -- and if you were, congratulations. Because here's what you saw next:
Roy Williams accepting that decision without hesitation. Not an angry face, not an angry word, nothing. Roy Williams listened to the referee telling him that all hope was gone, that his season was over, and he responded by shaking Hoiberg's hand and heading down the sideline to congratulate the rest of the victorious Cyclones.
Coach K did the handshake line on the court, then had kind words in the Mercer locker room. (Getty Images)

Coach K did the handshake line on the court, then had kind words in the Mercer locker room. (Getty Images)

'Pretty unbelievable'

Saved the best for last, because it's Krzyzewski. No, Coach K's reaction to defeat wasn't any better than that of Greg McDermott or Roy Williams -- wasn't any worse, either -- but this is the best because it's Coach K. And unless you're a Duke fan, you probably don't like Coach K. He wins too much, curses too much, works the officials too much. Whatever. You don't like him.
And during the Mercer game Friday, he was dislikable. Hey, that's the way he coaches and it works for him and it gives bragging rights to his fan base -- but when the game's going and he's pounding on the officials from the opening tap because working the ref is psychological warfare and Coach K is all about getting any advantage for his team, well, the rest of us aren't going to like it. Or him for doing it.
But these people aren't one-dimensional characters. They're complicated, good and bad, and if Coach K was at his worst during the game, so be it.
But he was at his best after it.
Fourteenth-seeded Mercer had just upset his third-seeded Blue Devils, and Coach K's voice was hoarse, but he had one more thing to say. And he had to say it to the Mercer Bears. So he walked into their locker room after the game and uncorked the following verbal masterpiece:
"You guys have a hell of a basketball team," he said, then started tapping the spot above his heart. "I love the game -- and you guys play the game really, really well and your coach coaches it well. If we had to be beaten, I'm glad we got beaten by a hell of a basketball team. So good luck to you."
This is how Mercer's Daniel Coursey reacted to that: By smiling and blurting out two words:
"My god."
And then Coursey continued.
"That's huge," he said. "Coach K is one of the most famous basketball coaches -- ever -- and for him to just come in here and tell us we're a great basketball team ... that's pretty unbelievable to tell you the truth."