"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Stenger Receives Post Endorsement; Demoted Campaign spokesman Calls Editorial Cartoon “Minstral (sic) Show On Purpose”

July 28th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Demoted campaign spokeswoman Patricia Washington was so incensed by the Post Dispatch’s weekend endorsement of her boss’ challenger, that the “professional journalist by training” misspelled minstrel in her haste to voice her displeasure on her Facebook page. And you wonder why nobody takes you serious Pat?

Mr. Dooley won the special election in 2004 and won re-election in 2006 and 2010.By then, things were getting out of hand. James E. Baker, who had run the county’s daily operations for both Mr. Westfall and Mr. Dooley, retired in April 2007. With Mr. Temporiti’s help, cronyism and politics, often clumsily executed, began cropping up everywhere. Space does not permit a full listing of everything that went wrong; we’ll post a separate list online.

The lowlights would include a 2010 bailout by the Metro transit agency of a major Dooley donor; the bizarre “We’ll have to raise property taxes or close parks — oh, never mind” episode in 2011; the $100 million Family Courts project that overnight became an oath-of-silence $130 million project; the feud with then-County Police Chief Tim Fitch; the HVAC contract for the new County Police lab that went to the Police Board chairman’s company and various cronies-and-kinfolks mini-scandals. In the past couple of years, the FBI has been involved in at least three inquiries into county government. Read more…

And like a month to a flame, demoted campaign spokesperson Patricia Washington calls this editorial cartoon that went with the Stenger endorsement racist:

“Nobody thought for a second the Post would reverse position after all these months of propping Stenger up and endorse Charlie Dooley but that editorial cartoon went too far in my opinion. I remember my grandparents talking about Uncle Buck and buck dancing so for the Post to have that subliminal connection is unforgivable. Not an accident. #minstralshowonpurpose”

Related:

Callnewspapers.com: EDITORIAL: Review of library’s move nothing more than fiction


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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More Obamacare Problems: AP: “Plan To Simplify 2015 Health Renewals May Backfire”

July 28th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Over the weekend, in a story titled, “Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire,” the AP reported, “If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises. Insurance exchange customers who opt for convenience by automatically renewing their coverage for 2015 are likely to receive dated and inaccurate financial aid amounts from the government, say industry officials, advocates and other experts. If those amounts are too low, consumers could get sticker shock over their new premiums. Too high, and they’ll owe the tax man later. Automatic renewal was supposed to make the next open-enrollment under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul smooth for consumers. But unless the administration changes its 2015 approach, ‘they’re setting people up for large and avoidable premium increases,’ said researcher Caroline Pearson, who follows the health law for the market analysis firm Avalere Health.”

The story explained, “Here’s the issue, in a nutshell: To streamline next year’s open enrollment season, the Health and Human Services Department recently proposed offering automatic renewal to 8 million consumers who are already signed up. But the fine print of the HHS announcement said consumers who auto enroll will get the ‘the exact dollar amount’ of financial aid they are receiving this year. That’s likely to be a problem for a couple of reasons, not to mention inflation. First, financial aid is partly based on premiums for a current benchmark plan in the community where the consumer lives. Because more plans are joining the market and insurers are submitting entirely new bids for 2015, the benchmark in many communities will be different. Second, financial aid is also based on household income. If your income goes down, you are entitled to a bigger health insurance tax credit. If it goes up, you get less. The 2014 amounts could well be out of date and incorrect for many people. Financial assistance is also affected by age, family size and where people live. And that doesn’t get into another motivation for consumers to shop around: Premiums and choices for 2015 are changing, so your current plan may no longer be a good deal.”

The AP noted, “New Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is hoping that auto renewal will simplify things, a welcome change from this year’s website problems. But the subsidy scheme created by Congress to keep premiums affordable has so many moving parts that it’s turning out to be difficult for the government to administer.”

So once again, Obamacare is turning out to have too many moving parts that are not well-designed, with the result being chaos for Americans trying to get health insurance. As the AP pointed out, this problem could result in incorrect subsidy amounts, which would mean higher premiums if they’re too low and a big tax bill to repay them if they were too high.

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: 57% View Health Care Law Unfavorably

fourstateshomepage.com: MO. Attorney General Speaks Out About Recent Healthcare Rulings


Tags: Healthcare

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Picture of the Day: Dr. Gina Loudon’s Daughter Follows Mother’s Book Advice?

July 28th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Former St. Louis radio personality and St. Louis Tea Party co-founder Gina Loudon has a new book coming out called “What Women Really Want.” We wonder if Mrs. Loudon’s daughter Lyda co-wrote the book. According to this Daily Mail story below, the 18 year old Ms. Loudon is doing quite well for herself on the romantic front:

Dailymail.com:

Steven Bauer has two grown children well into their twenties and can count veteran actress Melanie Griffith as an ex-wife. And now after three failed marriages, the actor perhaps best known for his role in the 1980′s classic Scarface is said to have found a new love in his life. Gossip website Us Weekly reports that 18-year-old Lyda Loudon is now dating the actor, who at 57-years-old is 39 years her senior. Read more…

KSDK.com: Loudon’s teen daughter dating 57-year-old man


Tags: Picture/Quote of the Day

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Tweet of the Day: Good Help Is Hard to Find

July 24th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Maybe this is why Pat was removed from the campaign and demoted to flacking for the county? Amazing what you can learn when you’re not tweeting misinformation all day.

“We need to (merge),” Dooley said. “The chances now are better than before but the city officials of St. Louis are not all on the same page on this issue because they have constituencies that they answer to.“ Read more…

Related:

STL Alderman On County-City Merger: “Merge County Municipalities 1st”


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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ECLUSIVE: Dooley Aide Strong Arms STL County Employees to Work on Behalf of Campaign

July 23rd, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

The St. Louis County Executive race is really fun for us to watch. Especially the two clueless aides Team Dooley has tweeting on behalf of the campaign. The first tweeter, Patricia Washington, calls herself a professional journalist by training but you’d never know it by how inept she was as a campaign communications director (which is probably the reason she was demoted and taken off the campaign to be the spokesperson for the county executive’s office instead) and at how unprofessional her conduct has been on social media. The other clueless individual is a gentleman named Jonathan Boesch. More on him in a minute.

Probably the funniest thing with these two clowns is they have maybe 200 followers between the both of them and they tweet nonstop, all day some of the most silliest things you could ever imagine. It seems these idiots believe that if they consistently tweet out enough nonsensical things that somehow that will change the momentum and stop “Triple AAA” Charlie’s slide towards a forced retirement on August 5th.

Boesch jumped head in yesterday on the campaign theme of the day that Steve Stenger engages in “pay to play” and supports Hobby Lobby’s position on contraceptives because he sponsored a bill, proposed by the county executive’s planning department, to reduce the number of parking spaces for the developer of a Hobby Lobby Store in his district.

STLToday:

At issue was the introduction of a bill on the Tuesday County Council agenda from a developer requesting a reduction of parking places for a Hobby Lobby retail outlet in a shopping center planned at Lindbergh Boulevard and Elm Park Drive. The County Planning Commission recommended a curtailment of the number of parking spots at the site.

Stenger’s name is attached to the legislation because the property falls within his South County district. The councilman Tuesday night defended the legislation as a rudimentary procedural matter instigated by a request to a Planning Commission appointed by Dooley. He called the Dooley campaign tweets “an act of desperation.”

With all the myriad scandals in the Dooley Administration that could literally take up a week’s worth of postings on this blog, Mr. Boesch has the audacity to talk about Steve Stenger engaging in “pay to play” when he and Team Dooley are engaging in the same practices in regards to their patronage employees.

In the email below, Mr. Boesch is strong arming county employees to make calls and walk doors for the campaign: “FYI. Please don’t bother Charlie with excuses…I am expecting us to be in the campaign office.”

Related:

KMOX: Dooley Campaign Tweets Accuse Stenger Of ‘Making Deals with Hobby Lobby’


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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“GAO Sting Finds It Easy to Fake It, Get Obamacare Premiums”; “All But One Of The Fake Applicants Ended Up Getting Subsidized Coverage

July 23rd, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

The AP reports, “Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, congressional investigators said Wednesday. . . . The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office told a House committee that its investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts – even after HealthCare.gov’s much maligned online system flagged some applications as problematic. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation. Those follow-up verification checks also appeared to need tightening; the GAO said parts of the fake documentation it submitted for two applications actually got through the process.”

The Washington Post adds, “In undercover tests of the new federal health insurance marketplace, government investigators have been able to procure health plans and federal subsidies for fake applicants with fictitious documents, according to findings that will be disclosed to lawmakers Wednesday. The results of the inquiry by the Government Accountability Office are evidence of still-imperfect work by specialists intended to assist new insurance customers as well as government contractors hired to verify that coverage and subsidies are legitimate. The GAO also pointed to flaws that linger in the marketplace’s Web site, HealthCare.gov. According to testimony to be delivered before a House Ways and Means subcommittee, undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants online or by phone, using invalid or missing Social Security numbers or inaccurate citizenship information. All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it. In one instance, an application was denied but then approved on a second try. In six other attempts to sign up fake applicants via in-person assisters, just one assister accurately told an investigator that the applicant’s income was too high for a subsidy. . . . The GAO investigation was requested before the marketplace opened in the fall, by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.); Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee; and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).”

NBC News gives some more details of the investigation. “The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. The results were messy, GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan says in testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. . . . The GAO operatives made up 18 applications -– 12 applied online or by telephone, and six started out looking for in-person help. All were completely false, with fake incomes and counterfeit documentation. Only one of the group of 12 was correctly told he or she could not apply. . . . The other 11 got through and received federal subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. . . . ‘We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud,’ committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, told NBC News. ‘Last month, we found that the administration was unable to verify income or eligibility for insurance subsidies. Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.’”

Of course, this investigation by the GAO highlights yet another broken promise from the Obama administration about Obamacare. In January, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “I certify that the American Health Benefit Exchanges (Marketplaces) verify that applicants for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for such payments and reductions . . . .”


Tags: Healthcare

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