Bits & Pieces

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This is a collection of shorts, addressing multiple stories that I found interesting. First is the administration’s claiming victory over the “8.1 million ‘enrollees’ for ObamaCare,” neglecting to tell us that the 8.1-million figure is grapefruit – when the CBO reported that 7 million would be a tenable number of enrollees during the initial sign-up period, it was referring to the number of people who had acquired insurance through the program. The administration’s figures refer to those who chose a plan, not those who have paid the at least the first premium – not those, in other words, who were actually enrolled in a policy. The administration claims not to know how many have paid – that part of the website still isn’t written yet(!) You better believe the insurance companies know that number. All the White House need do is ask. And I will bet you they have – if that number was over or even near 7 million, the administration would be holding giggling, in-your-face, I-told-you-so press conferences lamenting the hapless GOP for ever doubting them. The 28% of “enrollees” being under 35 years old is also grapefruit (the CBO noted that 40% of policies had to be young and healthy for the math to work), as it includes ages zero to 35, not the policy-holding 18 to 35 CBO was talking about. Again, the insurers know this number, and I’ll bet the White House does, too.

On another front, aside from CIA, four other intelligence agencies (Israel’s Mossad, NATO’s NATOIU, Britain’s MI-6, and Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst) have busied themselves studying footage of the demonstrations in Eastern Ukraine and comparing them to footage of those in Crimea. Together, they have managed to use facial recognition software to match over 30 individuals who participated in both, dozens of which later turned up as uniformed members of Spetsnaz, Russian special forces. The implication, of course, is clear – Russia is “officially” orchestrating the unrest in Ukraine, and in the case of Crimea, eventually took total control of the destabilized territory. This does not bode well for Eastern Ukraine, and puts the remainder of the country – and the rest of the civilized world – on notice. Observing the West’s (who will not act absent American leadership) feckless response, PRC has stepped up its belligerence over Japan’s Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in PRC) and the Philippines’ Spratly Islands. The Chinese defense minister told hapless American SecDef Hagel that they [PRC] “owned the East and South China Seas” (site of both archipelagos). The child of American weakness is a more dangerous world for all.

From the Stupid Human Tricks File comes the tale of Jeffrey Wade Chapman. It seems he is on trial in Barton County District Court [KS] for first degree murder, and has filed a motion to allow the removal of a tattoo before his court appearance. The reason: he has “MURDER” tattooed across the front of neck from bottom to top. If he looks at you, it can’t be missed. He also sports a teardrop tattoo at the corner of his left eye, which typically means that each teardrop represents a killing by the wearer, that is older than the MURDER tattoo. The defense no doubt will present Mr Chapman to the court in a suit, a new haircut, and probably makeup covering the teardrop, enthralling the jury with tales of his pillarness of the community, his innate goodness, and love for children, puppies and mom’s home cooking. Good luck with that.

To bring things full circle, Oregon is abandoning its ObamaCare website in favor of using the federal HealthCare.gov. The reason: it used the $300 million federal grant to set up a statewide website that has, as of 23 April, failed to sign up a single individual – by anyone’s cartoon accounting method. So, rest easy HHS, incredibly, somebody botched the rollout worse than you did. While Kathleen Sebelius will remain the poster child of incompetence, Oregon gets the MVP for sheer excellence in the field.