At least as of now. Megan McArdle:
[oh, and if you want to write off Megan as a Evil Libertarian, the launch has lost the Wonkblog Boy Leader Ezra Klein.]
This is stunning. It’s far worse than I imagined, and I am pretty cynical. The law’s supporters are engaged in some high-speed blamestorming: It’s the Republicans’ fault for not giving the law more money, or it’s the fault of Republican governors who didn’t build their exchanges, or maybe it’s one of the vendors — CGI, the firm with the largest contract, is the most favored target, but at various times, the administration has clearly been teeing up to blame Experian or Oracle. Or perhaps the fault lies in federal procurement rules, which prevented the government from getting the right kind of staff and service. A lot of that shows up in the article; there’s a long prelude about the political barriers that the administration faced. But ultimately, the litany of mistakes that the administration made overwhelms these complaints.
. . .
Federal contracting codes, so far as I am aware, do not emit intoxicating gases that might have caused senior HHS officials to decide that it was a good idea to take on the role of lead contractor — a decision equivalent to someone who has never even hung a picture deciding that they should become their own general contractor and build a house. Nor can those rules explain their lunatic response when they were told that the system was not working — “failure was not an option.”
. . .
The reason that the exchanges were so important was that they were needed to attract young, healthy people into the insurance system. The worry was that if insurance is hard to buy — if you have to do your own comparison shopping and then call the insurance company, and fax in some paperwork and two years of tax returns — that the young and the healthy simply won’t do it. Sick people and old people who were getting huge subsidies — and maybe the ability to buy insurance on the private market for the first time in a long while — would overcome any obstacles, because if you’re spending $15,000 a year on health care, it’s worth a lot of your time to make sure that you have insurance. But if your biggest annual health-care expense is contact lens solution, you may just decide to skip it and pay the fine.[my emphases]
I like “blamestorming.” Not thinking about real things, just at whom to point fingers. Kind of like the competition to blame each other for the Federal shut down. You know, I keep remembering that Congress funds and the Executive executes. In other words, every decision about WHAT to shut down flows to the top. That buck stops on Obama’s desk.
I can’t WAIT for the tell-all books from this administration. You know that despite however tight the messaging control and whistle-blower prosecutions have been, the administration will depart and the waters will roll (in fact, I’m surprised they haven’t started already). Finally, presidential historians will start combing the papers – 25, 50 years from now – and it will ALL come out.
Try shopping here – Facsimile Finder! I use facsimile manuscripts a lot in medieval classes, but the library never wants to buy them for me.
Wow – this is a find – an 18th C illlustrated Haggadah. No one in the family could have known what it was. Estimates start at £100,000.
This is a good piece in Crisis about the theological failure of modernist altar ensembles inserted into Baroque churches – using the Gesu in Rome as a particularly sad example. And it’s also quite recent! Thinks are not improving all over.
Even if what you’re trying to call to mind is (crackpot) 18th C. theories that Gothic architecture arose from pre-Roman tribes weaving huts out of branches, don’t use the word druid in your searches. Just wait till you get to the office in the morning and can check a book.
I hate it when I find out that I’ve already eaten the leftovers I’d counted on to help me evade cooking at the end of a busy day!
Well, despite the cliche, most of these castles are in France. But they’re bargains!
One of those beautiful mornings in the Finger Lakes, a photo by Michael Tinkler on Flickr.
My walk to work.
A great story of Robert Schuller, the Crystal Cathedral, and it’s current state – as a Roman Catholic cathedral. Cults of personality never last – one of the most important reasons I’m a Roman Catholic today.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s book Spiritual Passages, which reduces (self-admittedly) convert motivation to the One, the Good, the True, or the Beautiful spoke to me. Despite what you might think (I’m an art historian – don’t I love the Beautiful?), I am closer to those called to the One. Schism offends me. All that reciting of “the holy catholic church” as a child, partly because of all the footnotes and explanations that “catholic” mean “universal, world wide” rather than Roman Catholic, sank in. I mean, was the Southern Presbyterian Church either universal or world wide in any serious way? I had acquaintances who were children of missionaries in Zaire – but that was about it.
Presbyterianism is a beautiful system: local deacons and elders, near-regionally elected representatives (presbyteries), regional synods, and a national general assembly. But one of the things a man like me learns during his graduate course work is that, pace Jean Calvin, this is not what the evidence shows us about what we can discern about the Church in the brief apostolic period, let alone by 100 A.D. So don’t go claiming that this is Jesus’s preferred model.
There’s lots of room for argument, but I gave it all a lot of thought and submitted to Holy Mother the Roman Catholic Church. All the rest has been clear enough for the last 25 years, if not always easy to live up to. I mean, I’m a big ol’ sinner – but then, I reassure myself, so are those parents of one child headed up to receive.
Harvard with another SIX BILLION dollars. Of course, that would be less than some other people have raised. Will that cause a problem?