Archive for October, 2013

This morning, former House Ways and Means Commmittee Chairman Jim Knoblach held a press conference to announce he was filing a lawsuit to stop construction of the new Senate Office Building. Here’s the explanation for Chairman Knoblach’s lawsuit:

Former State Representative Jim Knoblach (R–St. Cloud) is filing a lawsuit today to stop the new $90 million Senate Office Building, currently under design. The lawsuit claims the building’s authorization in the 2013 Omnibus Tax Bill violates Article IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution.

“Spending $90 million on an office building to house a few dozen Senators and staff is an incredible waste,” said Knoblach. “We aren’t increasing the number of Senators. Temporary difficulties due to the Capitol renovation can be met by sharing hearing rooms at the State Office Building, and using other existing state buildings near the Capitol.”

Article IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution reads: “Laws to embrace only one subject. No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”

Recent laws struck down under this single subject provision include:

1) a prevailing wage provision authored by then Rep. Tom Bakk in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill (Associated Builders and Contractors v. Ventura; Minnesota Supreme Court, 2000);
2) the Minnesota Personal Protection Act when first included in a DNR technical correction bill (Unity Church v. State of Minnesota; Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2005). The bill was struck down even though the Personal Protection Act was mentioned in the title.

“There is no legal justification for authorizing a new building in the tax bill,” said Erick Kaardal, the attorney representing Knoblach. “The subject of the tax bill is taxes, not building new buildings.”

This is a strong lawsuit. First, Chairman Knoblach has the clearly written text of the Minnesota Constitution on his side. Second, he’s got multiple precedents on his side, too.

When I spoke to him, Chairman Knoblach said that courts have given the legislature some latitude with the Single Subject Clause of the Minnesota Constitution, though he noted that the rulings cited above have sent the message to the legislature that there are limits to that latitude.

This information is damning towards Senate Majority Leader Bakk:

On April 24, 2013, H.F. 677, the Omnibus Tax Bill, was marked up in the Senate Taxes Committee. Senator Ann Rest offered an amendment to include language providing for the Senate Office Building, including $3 million for predesign and design, and language authorizing the state to sign a lease-purchase agreement to construct the building.

Senate Minority Tax Lead Julianne Ortman objected, stating “…this is a surprise…we haven’t had a hearing on this in this committee…this should be in the bonding bill…I will be voting no.” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk spoke in favor of the amendment, saying that “…bonding bills often times get caught up in end of session politics, and the Capitol renovations transcend politics and should be at a level above the political maneuvering that gets done at the end of session.” The amendment passed on a divided vote with several members voting no. (Source: Committee hearing video tape).

That’s quite interesting. Sen. Bakk admitted that the construction project was a bonding project. He’s right about that, which means the project requires 60% of senators to pass it, then 60% of House members to approve it.

That’s a delicate situation to finesse, especially right prior to an election. Spending $90,000,000 on a new office building to house politicians while the Capitol is refurbished doesn’t make for good politics in swing districts. Further complicating matters is the fact that this isn’t a tiny project. This would be one of the biggest bonding projects in recent history.

The other thing that’s worth mentioning is that Sen. Bakk put a prevailing wage provision “in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill” that was struck down. That begs the question why Sen. Bakk thinks the single-issue clause in the Minnesota Constitution is irrelevant.

The most likely answer is that Sen. Bakk will throw Minnesota’s Constitution out if that’s what’s needed to satisfy the DFL’s special interest allies.

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This video shows Megyn Kelly pulverizing Rep. Frank Pallone, (D-NJ), on what’s causing insurance companies to cancel millions of individual policies:

Saying that Rep. Pallone is a BSer is understatement. In fact, it’s quite possible that he isn’t a BSer. It’s possible that he’s just a liar. During the interview, Rep. Pallone continually insists that the reason why insurance companies are cancelling these policies is because they know that they can’t “sell inferior policies at higher prices.”

In the gospel according to Rep. Pallone, he and his Democratic allies alone are the only people qualified to determine which policies are superior and which are inferior.

It’s insulting to hear that bald-faced lie. CBS has run multiple reports on people who’ve lost their insurance because the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, makes it illegal for companies to sell the policies that people liked. CNN and Fox have run similar articles, too.

Further, we know that people aren’t fond of buying health insurance policies that cover neo-natal care, pregnancy coverage and substance abuse coverage. Millions of people don’t need those coverages. They shouldn’t have to purchase policies that include those coverages.

Let’s stipulate that the grandfathered in issue is a ruse. It isn’t a real issue. The federal government shouldn’t be telling people what coverages they must have. Under the Affordable Care Act, politicians and bureaucrats determine what coverages individuals and families must purchase. In a best practices world, families consulting with their primary care physicians would determine which coverages are needed.

Another absurdity of the Affordable Care Act is that it requires every health insurance policy sold in the United States cover the same types of things. The only difference between the bronze, silver and gold plans are the premiums, deductibles and co-pays. The smaller the co-pay or deductible, the higher the premium. The reason why that’s absurd is because the federal government thinks cookie-cutter policies fit each family’s needs perfectly.

Only a politician with an ego bigger than the Montana sky would think that identical policies fit each family perfectly. Rep. Pallone fits that description perfectly. He’s a dishonest politician. He knows the Affordable Care Act isn’t delivering health insurance policies that provide more coverage at lower prices.

In a post-Affordable Care Act world, people, acting on the advice of their primary care physicians, will buy policies that fit their families’ needs. There won’t be a need to grandfather policies in because the people, not government, will determine what they should buy.

Admitting that people have the ultimate authority for their decisions is a revolutionary concept. It’s why we fought the Revolutionary War.

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Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox. Tonight, they clinched their third World Series championship in less than a decade. Here’s the mob scene after the clinching out:

Boston becomes only the second team in baseball history to go from finishing last one year, then winning the World Series championship the next year. They join the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to go ‘worst to first’ and win the World Series.

St. Louis had a great year. Mike Matheny is a great manager. Still, this was Boston’s year. Any team with a nucleus of Big Papi, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the starting lineup and Jon Lester and John Lackey at the top of the rotation has a shot at winning it all.

Adding Mike Napoli in the offseason, then addding Jake Peavey during the season were master strokes. Of course, it can’t hurt when Big Papi hits .688 in the World Series and Napoli breaks Lou Gehrig’s RBI record with 14.

According to this Weekly Standard article, Amy Klobuchar had a deer-in-the-headlights moment when asked about people losing the health insurance that they liked. Here’s what Ms. Klobuchar said:

Others blamed the insurance companies.

“Insurance companies cancel insurance policies. That’s what they do,” said Reid.

“You should talk to the insurance companies if they’re dropping people,” said Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. “The idea here is to have affordable insurance to people that don’t have it.”

Sen. Klobuchar’s statement is pathetic. She’s pretending that the Affordable Care Act’s regulations didn’t force insurance companies to drop people’s policies because the ACA made the policies illegal.

Sen. Klobuchar, Why don’t you and your Democratic colleagues admit that the Affordable Care Act, the bill you voted for, forced insurance companies to drop plans? Why can’t you admit that the insurance companies aren’t the villains here? Why don’t you admit that the villains are the politicians that voted for the Affordable Care Act (that includes you) and the bureaucrats that gutted the provision that grandfathered in policies (that’s Kathleen Sebelius)?

The regulations signed off on by Secretary Sebelius made the vast majority of grandfathered-in policies illegal. The insurance companies didn’t have a choice in the matter of whether they’d continue offering the policies that are getting canceled. That’s because Sebelius’ rule made them illegal. If the insurance companies tried to continue selling the product, they would’ve opened themselves up to a lawsuit by HHS and possibly the Justice Department.

The fact that Sen. Klobuchar attempted to blame insurance companies shows that she understands that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a disaster far beyond a website that’s constantly crashing.

Insurance premiums are going up for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. They’re increasing for people who had the policy they liked canceled. That’s happening as a direct result of politicians like Sen. Klobuchar passing a God-awful bill. It’s happening because bureaucrats like Secretary Sebelius have made a terrible bill worse with God-awful regulations designed to push people into the health insurance exchanges.

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff live-blogged this morning’s hearing. Here’s the key part of this morning’s hearing:

11:39: But wait! Rep. Lance (R.NJ) asks a very telling question on the issue of what changes in policies will negate “grandfathering” of old plans. He asks about a report that a $5 change in a co-pay would cause a plan to lose its protection and cause someone to lose that plan. Sebelius can’t deny this. Instead, she bobs and weaves.

11:42: Rep. Cassidy (R.La.) follows up on Lance’s line of questioning. He says that a $1 dollar change in co-insurance would negate grandfathering. Sebelius now admits that Rep. Lance’s $5 increase in co-pay is accurate.

This isn’t the type of news the administration wanted. Conservative websites will highlight this as proof the administration wrote the regulations to push people onto the exchanges.

That means President Obama did nothing to make sure his administration did nothing to keep his promise that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.” By pushing people into the exchanges, this administration guaranteed health insurance prices would increase significantly, thus breaking the administration’s promise that families’ health care costs would drop by $2,500 a year.

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Since the flood of cancellation announcements hit the airwaves, the Democrats’ latest talking point is that ‘most people get their insurance through their employer.’ That’s indisputable fact — for now. Let’s remember that the administration delayed implementation of employer mandate for a year.

When the employer mandate is required, the companies’ response is exceptionally predictable. Companies will drop people from their group plans because it’s cheaper to pay the fine than pay for health insurance. That’s equally indisputable. When that happens, the people who once got their insurance through their employers will get hit with a massive price increase because they’ll be paying the full price for the insurance.

First, let’s look at the administration’s biggest problem:

There have been estimates about hundreds of thousands of people losing coverage, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported on “CBS This Morning.” CBS News has reached out to insurance companies across the country to determine some of the real numbers — and this is just the tip of the iceberg, Crawford said. The people who are opening the letters are shocked to learn they can’t keep their insurance policies despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary.

The White House is on the defensive trying to explain it, after Mr. Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage.”

Carney isn’t telling the whole truth. The language in the bill was emphatic and clear. People who liked their plans wouldn’t get to keep their plans. The language President Obama used in public appearances to sell the legislation was emphatic and clear, too.

He emphatically and repeatedly stated that people who liked their plans could “keep their plans. Period.” It wasn’t a nuanced statement. It wasn’t said just once, either, so they can’t say that it’s an accident. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg:

CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many [they’ve sent].

That’s the statistics from people who’ve bought insurance through the individual market. Those can’t take into account the number of people who will get dumped into the exchanges when their employers drop their health insurance. When that happens, these figures will look like the good old days.

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Last week, Silence Dogood wrote about a contract St. Cloud State signed with the Great Place to Work Institute. Here’s what Silence wrote in the opening paragraph:

At Meet and Confer on October 9, 2013, Holly Schoenherr, Director of Human Resources at St. Cloud State University, announced that the university had signed a $50,000 contract with the Great Place to Work Institute to ‘help’ SCSU improve trust and morale among its employees. Three issues arise immediately. First the contract was signed without consultation with the Faculty Association. Second, MnSCU requires a request for proposals (RFP) for contracts over $50,000. Lastly, Minnesota Statutes require several procedural steps before being signed. Apparently, Holly did not know about that requirement for an RFP because almost immediately she tried to cover her misstep by then saying “the contract is a little under $50,000.” It is also likely that she did not follow Minnesota Statues BEFORE signing the contract. It’s too bad that the administration regularly displays such a lack of trust and respect for the Faculty at SCSU that they won’t include the faculty BEFORE decisions are made.

The first question that arises is why St. Cloud State would need to sign another contract to improve their brand. Thanks to documents obtained from St. Cloud State through a Data Practices Act request, I have proof that St. Cloud State signed a contract with Earthbound Media Group, aka EMG, then signed several amendments to the original contract. In total, St. Cloud State paid EMG more than $459,000 for the work they did in rebranding the University.

Why would St. Cloud State sign another contract with a company to improve its image while “improving trust and morale” amongst its employees? This information from an IFO survey sheds some light on why that might be required:

Recommendation 1: Changes in both mission and organization structure are necessary to embody diversity in MnSCU. The Inter Faculty Organization also needs to be aware how well it is representing all faculty and be ready to implement structural changes essential to enhance diversity.

Survey and focus group data support the need for this change, and standpoint (i.e., whether one is a person of color, female, or GLBT-identified) is crucial to this understanding. In general, 48 percent of faculty survey participants describe their work environments in positive terms, 37 percent in negative terms, and 15 percent in neutral terms for their colleagues who are female, from another country, faculty of color, or GLBT. The perceptions of faculty of color differ from the general view, however, as 56 percent describe their work environment as either somewhat or very negative.

The extent to which negativity is perceived also varies across campuses from a high of 54 percent at St. Cloud to a low of 24 percent at Winona.

The fact that St. Cloud State ranks last in terms of negative work environment suggests that there’s lots of structural work that needs to be done. Here’s’s definition of rebranding:

to promote as a brand name.

Marketing specialists know that it’s impossible to promote a brand name if the product is structurally flawed. If faculty morale is low, then it’s indisputable that the product, St. Cloud State in this instance, is structurally flawed.

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Earlier tonight, NBC News reported that President Obama knew that hundreds of thousands of people wouldn’t be able to keep the health insurance plan that they liked:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

Since the cancellation notices started getting covered, the administration’s allies have taken a new approach, saying that the new policies getting offered have better coverage. First, that’s irrelevant because people might not want some of the additional coverage from the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Second, it’s irrelevant because President Obama made an explicit promise. If you liked your health plan, you would keep it. Period.

Tonight on Megyn Kelly’s show, Mark Hannah tried saying that President Obama always said that there would be changes in the level of coverage that would be required under the Affordable Care Act. While it’s true the administration might’ve said that to Congress, there’s no hint of that in any of the stump speeches he gave while selling the plan. Nuance wasn’t part of President Obama’s presentation.

Which leads to the key question in this cancellation fiasco. Did the administration deliberately lie to pass the Affordable Care Act? Or were they that out to lunch as to what the bill’s language meant?

We know that President Obama told Sen. Jon Kyl that people who bought their insurance on the individual market would be grandfathered in, thereby guaranteeing these families would be able to keep the policies they had. Asterisk. The catch in the bill’s regulations said that these policies were grandfathered in as long as no changes in price, coverage or policy were made.

The bill and regulations were written in such a way as to force people onto the exchanges. That’s the only way to pay for the rest of the bill. Had they wanted people to keep their health insurance plan, they could’ve simply said that all health insurance policies met the Affordable Care Act’s minimum requirements. Had they done that, they wouldn’t be facing this crisis.

There’s no debating whether this is a crisis, either. If this administration doesn’t get fixed, lower health insurance premiums and let people keep the plan they wanted, Democrats will be in trouble politically. If we’re still talking about in mid-February, we’ll know that Democrats are heading for a major electoral defeat in November, 2014. People in Florida will certainly turn on Democrats now that Florida Blue is cancelling hundreds of thousands of policies as a direct result of the bill Democrats voted for.

If they’re still experiencing difficulties with in mid-February, Stuart Rothenberg and Larry Sabato will have Kay Hagan’s, Mark Pryor’s and Mark Begich’s seats in the leans GOP category instead of toss-ups.

Democrats are either lacking in the policy gravitas department or they’re deeply dishonest. Either way, that isn’t a ringing endorsement for them.

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The loudest message coming from this LA Times article is that the Affordable Care Act isn’t living up to President Obama’s promises. Here’s proof that the Affordable Care Act isn’t making health insurance affordable:

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

That’s just one example. Here’s another:

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

Sticker shock is setting in. The middle class, whom Democrats nationwide say they’re trying to build their economy around, are getting hit with massive health insurance price increases. The term middle class squeeze certainly fits this situation. It’s statements like this that infuriate people:

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state and insurers agreed that clearing the decks by Jan. 1 was best for consumers in the long run despite the initial disruption. Lee has heard the complaints — even from his sister-in-law, who recently groused about her 50% rate increase.

“People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn’t have been part of the common risk pool,” Lee said. “We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better.”

Mr. Lee sounds like a Democrat shill. (I’d say he sounds like Juan Williams or Mark Hannah but that’d be harsh.) How dare he say that they’re booting people off of their “cheaper, bad coverage.” Ultimately, that should be their choice. Further, Lee’s company sold these people’s “bad coverage.”

Is Lee now admitting that they sold crappy policies?

Despite Lee’s statement, the reality is that lots of people liked their policies. They didn’t think of their policies as crappy. Their opinion should be the only opinion that matters. Instead, President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and their faithful shills in the insurance industry and throughout the Agenda Media think that government’s opinion is the opinion that matters most.

How dare they think like that. If the Founding Fathers would be alive today, they’d be spoiling for another revolution. This administration’s actions are the actions of tyrants. On July 4, 1776, brave men issued a statement to the rest of the world. Its title is the Declaration of Independence. It wasn’t titled the Declaration of Government Telling Us What’s Best.

Thanks to the Anything But Affordable Care Act, aka the ABACA, people who had done the right thing by buying health insurance on the individual market have had the government tell them that they’ve made a bad decision. Based on what we’ve seen from this administration, there’s no reason to think that their opinion is valuable.

Supporters of the healthcare law say Obama was referring to people who are insured through their employers or through government programs such as Medicare. Still, they acknowledge the confusion and anger from individual policyholders who are being forced to change.

Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she’ll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for. “I just won’t have health insurance because I can’t pay this increase,” she said.

According to Cavallaro, the Affordable Care Act isn’t the right title for the legislation. How many Deborah Cavallaros are there out there? How many people are furious that the government told them that people, not politicians, shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions that affect their lives?

Ultimately, that’s the question that’ll change the terms of the debate. Should government, not families, determine what’s best for their families? I think not. Emphatically.

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I just watched today’s panel for Fox News Sunday. Juan Williams, the unapologetic water-carrier for this administration, made a statement that Brit Hume and Chris Wallace utterly demolished. First, here’s the video of the panel, courtesy of Mediaite:

Here’s the transcript of the back-and-forth between Brit Hume and Juan Williams, then between Juan Williams, Brit Hume and Chris Wallace. It’s rather telling:

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I get this sense, but people — on the Republican side are enjoying this moment. But this is empty rhetoric. When you speak to the insurance executives in Florida, in California, they say they’re canceling those policies, Chris, because ObamaCare has requirements. Ten categories or mandates for levels of coverage. The current policies don’t meet them, so they have to cancel them, but they’re extending — they’re extending offers to the very people who are losing them for better packages at lower costs with more benefits.

WALLACE: No, no, that’s not true.

WILLIAMS: It is true. Let me just tell you something else that you said. You said oh, but, you know, January One, these people lose their coverage. In fact, the insurance companies are saying, we will make sure that on January One, you have coverage. This is not the apocalypse.

HUME: Juan, look, what about this — the president promised explicitly, we heard it on this program, if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it, period.


HUME: These hundreds of thousands of people evidently like the policies they had because they kept paying for it. They’re now being told they can’t have those policies any more, that they must have policies that involve coverage for things they may feel they don’t need.

WILLIAMS: They’re going to get better coverage, Brit, at potentially lower cost.

HUME: Whose idea of better coverage? Their idea or the government’s?

WILLIAMS: They — what they are offered, it may be their idea. Right now …

HUME: It may be their idea.

WILLIAMS: Right now all that insurance companies are saying is, we don’t meet the requirements under ObamaCare, but we’re going to offer you a better deal!

HUME: No, we’re going to offer you a government mandated deal that may or may not be a better deal for the people involved. There are people who are elderly people who’ve been required to pay for maternity coverage.

WALLACE: We have to end this segment, I just to want to point out that we had a couple of weeks ago, a letter that a 62-year-old couple who have their own business in Oregon — under the ObamaCare, they were losing their policy, the new policy, the cheapest policy they were being offered, the deductible was going to double to 5,000 a person. Visits to specialists, and one of them had to see a specialist, were going up from $35 a visit to $100 a visit and their premium was going up. So, the idea that they are going to get more for less.

Juan Williams is, in my opinion, the most gullible journalist on TV. First, he’s assumed that the coverages that the Affordable Care Act mandates are the coverages that everyone likes. That’s total foolishness. Second, the thought that insurance companies were going to offer cheaper-priced policies while covering more things is the epitome of gullibility. Why would anyone think that?

That’s like thinking that people can buy a Cadillac SUV for a cheaper price than Chevy’s full-sized SUV.

Third, it’s stunning to think that a reporter of Juan Williams’ experience hasn’t checked things out for himself. At minimum, he should talk with Kirsten Powers and Ezra Klein. They’ve actually compared prices people were paying before the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverages took effect vs. the premiums for policies meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirements.

What’s most stunning, though, is the thought that Juan Williams thinks that people automatically think that government, not them and their physician, knows best. Why would anyone reflexively think that? That’s breathtakingly foolish and gullible.

Brit Hume, then Chris Wallace, cited the statistics that disproved Williams’ statements. Despite that, Williams still didn’t accept their proof as fact. Apparently, verifiable facts aren’t part of settling Juan Williams’ disputes.

Finally, Williams isn’t noticing that young, healthy people aren’t buying government-mandated private health insurance. In fact, they’re staying away in droves.

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Sen. Franken’s grasp of what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act is breathtakingly devoid of reality. This KSTP video shows how much Sen. Franken is in denial:

Scott Theisen’s article for KSTP highlights the fact that Sen. Franken a) doesn’t want to admit that is an unmitigated disaster and b) is in total spin mode:

Speaking to the media after meeting in St. Paul with medical device company officials, the Minnesota Democrat said ongoing technical problems with the federal health insurance website are “inexcusable.” But Franken said he thinks they’re getting better.

That’s total BS. is still sending incorrect personal information to the insurance companies. The website is still a nightmare to navigate. If Sen. Franken thinks that improving minor things on the periphery is proof that things are getting better, he’s setting his sights too low.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, David Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina advocated an extension. Like Franken, both Pryor and Hagan are up for re-election next year and are likely to be judged by voters for the success or failure of the law at that point.

Franken wasn’t ready to join their chorus, though he didn’t rule out eventual delay. “We’ll have to see how long this takes to get fixed and how much improved this is,” Franken said. “I’d be open to that if this continues, of course, but my understanding is this is improving every day.”

Sen. Franken shouldn’t be trusted if he’s willing to say that things are “improving every day.” If things are “improving every day,” why did President Obama push Kathleen Sebelius off to the side and put Jeff Zients in charge of getting functioning properly?

This isn’t complicated. Either Sen. Franken thinks that things are improving or he takes note that the woman tasked with putting together for the last 3 years was thrown under President Obama’s bus. He can’t believe both things are proof that things are improving.

On a different but related topic, during the news segment of At Issue With Tom Hauser, Sen. Franken said that he’s still pushing to repeal a tax he voted to create. He’s supporting the repeal of the medical device manufacturing excise tax, saying that the device tax “is chasing companies overseas.”

I don’t doubt that the device tax is chasing companies overseas because I wrote about that phenomenon in this post:

“This bill is a jobs killer,” said Ernie Whiton, chief financial officer of Chelmsford’s Zoll Medical Corp., which employs about 650 people in Massachusetts. Many of those employees work in Zoll’s local manufacturing facility making heart defibrillators. “We could be forced to (move) manufacturing overseas if we can’t pass along these costs to our customers,” said Whiton.

Here’s what we know about Sen. Franken: he thinks is improving and he’s finally figured out that the tax he voted to create drives employers away. Further, we know that Republicans predicted this of the medical device tax from before the tax was created.

Question: Why should Minnesotans vote for the not-too-bright Franken when they can vote for someone who actually knows how to create jobs? That decision is a no-brainer.

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