The Morning Flap: February 27, 2013

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Sequestration liberation

These are my news headlines for February 26th through February 27th:

  • Detained immigrants released; officials cite sequester cuts – Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week.Announcing the news Tuesday, ICE officials said that the immigrants were released under supervision and continue to face deportation. After reviewing hundreds of cases, those released were considered low-risk and “noncriminal,” officials said.The releases took place over the last week and were an effort “to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christiansen, citing uncertainty caused by a budget standoff in Washington.

    “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety,” she said.

  • Politicians declare sky falling; meanwhile, D.C. real estate market booms
  • Phil Gramm: Obama and the Sequester Scare – WSJ.com – Phil Gramm: Obama and the Sequester Scare #tcot
  • 3 steps: How Dems plan to make Texas a battleground by 2016 | The Daily Caller – 3 steps: How Dems plan to make Texas a battleground by 2016 #tcot
  • Phil Gramm: Obama and the Sequester Scare – President Obama’s message could not be clearer: Life as we know it in America will change dramatically on March 1, when automatic cuts are imposed to achieve $85 billion in government-spending reductions. Furloughed government employees, flight delays and criminals set free are among the dire consequences the president has predicted. If the Washington Monument weren’t already closed for repairs, no doubt it too would be shut down.Scare tactics such as these are similar to the ones that were made when I co-authored the first sequester legislation in 1985, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. The 1986 sequester was triggered anyway, but the predicted disaster never came. The nation survived then. It will now.
  • Bob Woodward blasts President Obama ‘madness’ – Obama overplaying his sequestration hand.
  • 3 steps: How Dems plan to make Texas a battleground by 2016 – Today, Hispanics make up 41 percent of Texas’ citizenry, while whites made up 43 percent. The white electorate’s plurality, however, will not last — because the Hispanic population’s birth rates are higher, the Hispanic population is still growing through immigration, and the Hispanic population is younger (with a large population not yet at voting age). If legal Hispanic immigration stays consistent with 2000-2010 levels, Texas could be a plurality Hispanic state by 2017, and a majority Hispanic state by 2036.Both parties know that Hispanics are not a monolithic group, and they are not all Democrats. Though nationally they lean toward the Democrats (67 percent in 2008, 71 percent in 2012), in Texas, Democrats hold less sway (63 in 2008, and unknown in 2012 because there weren’t any exit polls).
  • Wary of crises, Americans tune out budget cut talk – President Barack Obama is pulling out all the stops to warn just what could happen if automatic budget cuts kick in. Americans are reacting with a collective yawn.They know the shtick: Obama raises the alarm, Democrats and Republicans accuse each other of holding a deal hostage, there’s a lot of yelling on cable news, and then finally, when everyone has made their points, a deal is struck and the day is saved.Maybe not this time. Two days before $85 billion in cuts are set to hit federal programs with all the precision of a wrecking ball, there are no signs that the White House and Republicans in Congress are even negotiating. Both sides appear quietly resigned to the prospect that this is one bullet we just may not dodge.
  • Club for Growth targets Republicans – The Club for Growth, the anti-tax group that has spent heavily in Republican primaries in the past few cycles, is launching a new website that names nine GOP Congress members in safe seats and urges people to help find challengers to them.Tethered to the group’s congressional scorecard that was released this week, the site, www.PrimaryMyCongressman.com, goes live later Wednesday. It names people in districts where Mitt Romney notched more than 60 percent in the 2012 presidential race, but got a lifetime rating of below 70 percent from the Club.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-02-26 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-02-26
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-26 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-26 #tcot
  • Perry’s Texas Cancer Fund Mired in Pay-to-Play Claims – Bloomberg – Perry’s Texas Cancer Fund Mired in Pay-to-Play Claims #tcot
  • Perry’s Texas Cancer Fund Mired in Pay-to-Play Claims – Six years ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry persuaded voters to approve $3 billion in taxpayer-backed bonds to research cures for cancer.Now, after the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas spent $836 million with no major advances to show, its research has been halted by allegations of favoritism toward people that contributed to Perry and other leaders. A district attorney, lawmakers and the attorney general are investigating.
  • No CPAC Invite for Christie Because of ‘Limited Future’ in Republican Party – New Jersey governor Chris Christie was not invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference because of his position on gun control, according to a source familiar with CPAC’s internal deliberations who requested anonymity to speak freely.Christie has a “limited future” in the national Republican party given his position on gun control, the source tells National Review Online. As a result, the CPAC insider says, the focus of this year’s conference, “the future of conservatism,” made Christie a bad fit.Christie, the source adds, is simply not a conservative in the eyes of organizers.
  • U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody – The federal government released groups of illegal immigrants from custody across the country Monday at the same time the White House was making its case that impending budget cuts would harm efforts to protect the border and enforce federal immigration laws.Advocates reported “waves” of illegal immigrants being released from at least three detention centers in Texas, Florida and Louisiana.U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement confirmed the release of some illegal immigrants Monday night but would not say how many or from which detention centers.
    “In order to make the best use of our limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate and to manage our detention population under current congressionally mandated levels, ICE has directed field offices to review the detained population to ensure it is in line with available funding,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen. “As a result of this review, a number of detained aliens have been released around the country and placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release.”
  • ObamaCare: Squeezing Medicare Advantage – The Obama administration is sparing no effort to scare people about the automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to hit this Friday.But the Obama administration doesn’t want to talk about its own devastating cuts in Medicare. On Friday, February 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced $716 billion in cuts over the next ten years. Instead of being put toward the debt, most of the money will go toward a new entitlement: Obamacare’s vast expansion of coverage for the uninsured.
  • Republicans & Immigration – Victor Davis Hanson
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Frees Detainees As Sequester Looms – mmigration and Customs Enforcement released some people from immigrant detention facilities across the country on Monday in response to looming federal budget cuts.”In order to make the best use of our limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate and to manage our detention population under current congressionally mandated levels, ICE has directed field offices to review the detained population to ensure it is in line with available funding,” agency spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement.ICE and the Department of Homeland Security are analyzing spending as congressional inaction increases the likelihood of so-called budget sequestration — across-the-board spending cuts that begin on March 1. Detaining immigrants is an expensive business, with an average daily cost of $122 to $164 per person, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Alternatives, including ankle bracelets and parole, are far cheaper.

The Morning Flap: February 22, 2013

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Sequestration

Sequestration from Wall Street Journal

These are my news headlines for February 21st through February 22nd:

  • With Axelrod At NBC News, The Marriage Of Media And Politics Becomes Complete – What’s more, Team Obama has declared it has no intention of dismantling its campaign apparatus post re-election. Put Axelrod in the catbird seat at a news outlet and the “narrative” continues. Combine that with Team Obama’s masterful manipulation of journalists, its command of social media, and an ugly picture emerges of a press indistinguishable from the political establishment.This has happened in banana republics, but never in a Western democracy. Already it’s making old-school journalists who value news gathering over politics, such as the New York Times’ Roger Cohen, ABC’s Ann Compton and the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, uncomfortable. The one thing that will stop it is a press that won’t cooperate. So where is that press?
  • Budget hawks question Pentagon’s doomsday scenarios – But perhaps the biggest example of the Washington Monument maneuver is coming from the Defense Department, where it goes by another name. Over many decades of defense budget battles, the Pentagon has often used a tactic known as a “gold watch.” It means to answer a budget cut proposal by selecting for elimination a program so important and valued — a gold watch — that Pentagon chiefs know political leaders will restore funding rather than go through with the cut.So now, with sequestration approaching, the Pentagon has announced that the possibility of budget cuts has forced the Navy to delay deployment of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf. With tensions with Iran as high as they’ve ever been, that would leave the U.S. with just one carrier, instead of the preferred two, in that deeply troubled region.
  • What Unites Obama’s Coalition — and What Could Divide It – Overall, the survey put Obama’s approval rating at 51 percent — almost exactly replicating his share of the vote last November. For all of his key groups, his approval ratings today remain close to his vote shares against Republican Mitt Romney. The survey put his approval among African-Americans at 91 percent (compared to his vote of 93 percent in November), among Hispanics at 68 percent (compared to 71 percent in November), college-educated white women at 48 percent (compared to 46 percent), and adults ages 18 to 29 at 57 percent (compared to 60 percent). Considering that several percent of those in each group described themselves as undecided on Obama’s performance, those numbers suggest almost no change from his support in the election.
  • Can Democrats Mess With Texas in 2016? – Can Democrats Mess With Texas in 2016? #tcot
  • Noonan: Government by Freakout – The president’s sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in “Network”: “Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!”It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.
    That’s what’s happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs. Meat won’t be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.
  • Is President Obama overplaying sequestration hand? – President Barack Obama’s greatest adversary in the latest budget battle isn’t the Republican leadership in Congress — it’s his confidence in his own ability to force a win.He has been so certain of his campaign skills that he didn’t open a line of communication with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell until Thursday, a week before the spending ax hits. And when they did finally hear from Obama, the calls were perfunctory, with no request to step up negotiations or invitations to the White House.
  • Why Obama and Rove Should Sit Down and Keep Quiet
  • Fewer Americans Getting Health Insurance From Employer – Fewer Americans reported having employer-based health insurance in 2012 than did in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but at 44.5% it is unchanged from 2011. At the same time, more Americans continue to report having a government-based health plan — Medicare, Medicaid, or military or veterans’ benefits — with the 25.6% who did so in 2012 up from 23.4% in 2008.
  • H.R. 6684: Spending Reduction Act of 2012 – Legislative Digest – GOP.gov – RT @robertcostaNRO Text: the GOP’s sequester replacement, which was passed in Dec. 2012
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-21 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-21 #tcot
  • Mark Levin schools Charles Krauthammer on why it’s not “honorable” for governors to expand Medicaid » The Right Scoop – – RT @trscoop: Mark Levin schools Charles Krauthammer on why it’s not “honorable” for governors to expand Medicaid
  • A Tax By Another Name – Writing in the New York Times yesterday, Yuval Levin made the case for means-testing Social Security and Medicare. As you’d expect from Yuval the case is well made and elegantly thought-through. It’s also, if I may respectfully say so, misguided. Partly as a consequence of the refusal to make consumption take its fair share of the tax load, the US already taxes income on a pretty progressive basis (even more so, I suspect, if, just for the sake of argument, you excluded the very richest from the equation—highly taxed wage income generally makes up a lower percentage of their total take). Means-testing these two programs would only tighten the screws still further.
  • Capitol Alert: Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move – Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move
  • Charles Krauthammer: Immigration — the lesser of two evils – The president suggested he would hold off introducing his own immigration bill as long as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace — until his own immigration bill mysteriously leaked precisely as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace.A naked political maneuver and a blunt warning to Republicans: Finish that immigration deal in Congress, or I’ll propose something I know you can’t accept — and flog the issue mercilessly next year to win back the House.
  • The 60th vote: Republican Richard Shelby to vote for cloture on Hagel; Update: Deb Fischer too? « Hot Air – Looks like Chuck Hagel is the next Sec Defense. Let the sequestration begin:
  • 6 Questions for the Immigration Reformers – From border security to H1-B visas, much needs to be answered in the looming immigration debate.
  • Obama reaches out to Boehner, McConnell as sequester cuts loom – The Hill – Obama symbolism over substance: #tcot
  • DIGITAL 50: The Hottest People In Online Politics – Business Insider – DIGITAL 50: The Hottest People In Online Politics – Business Insider #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Dentist Acquitted and Wins $7.7 Million Judgment in New York Medicaid Fraud Case – Dentist Acquitted and Wins $7.7 Million Judgment in New York Medicaid Fraud Case
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Chicago’s Dental Health Safety Net on Verge of Collapse? – Chicago’s Dental Health Safety Net on Verge of Collapse?
  • Ed Markey: Dred Scott = Citizen’s United – Flap’s Blog – Ed Markey: Dred Scott = Citizen’s United #tcot
  • ‘The Great Sequester Panic’ – ‘The Great Sequester Panic’ #tcot
  • The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors – NYTimes.com – The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors #tcot
  • Smoking cessation in old age: Less heart attacks and strokes within five years – Smoking cessation in old age: Less heart attacks and strokes within five years #tcot
  • Study disputes long-term medical savings from bariatric surgery – latimes.com – Study disputes long-term medical savings from bariatric surgery #tcot
  • Harry Reid says he’ll run for re-election in 2016; won’t comment on Sandoval as opponent – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the capital press corps at the Nevada Legislature Wednesday night that he will seek re-election in 2016.The news conference came after he gave a speech to state lawmakers, like Reid does every legislative session.When asked if he would run for re-election, Reid said, “Sure, why not?”

    When asked if he thought Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval would run against him, Reid said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

    When asked if he could beat Sandoval, Reid said, “Hey, I don’t get involved in fights I don’t have to.”

    When reminded that he was a boxer in his youth, Reid replied, “But I’m not stupid.”

  • 15 GOP senators call for Hagel to withdraw – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: 15 GOP senators call for Hagel to withdraw:

The Morning Flap: May 30, 2012

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These are my links for May 29th through May 30th:

  • Polish Premier Demands U.S. Response to Obama Death Camp Remark– Poland demanded a “strong and clear response” from the U.S. after President Barack Obama’s mention of a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Pole who told the world about the Holocaust.“We can’t accept such words in Poland, even if they are spoken by a leader of an allied country,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists in Warsaw today. “Saying Polish concentration camps is as if there was no German responsibility, no Hitler.”

    Since, 2004 Poland has sought clarifications from several news outlets for the use of a phrase “Polish concentration camps” that were run by the Nazis during the country’s occupation in the World War II, according to the Foreign Ministry’s website. The government has convinced publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle to stop using the phrase.

    The U.S. administration regrets “this misstatement,” the Wall Street Journal’s website cited Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, as saying. The text of Obama’s remarks on the White House website hasn’t been corrected as of today.

    “The White House will apologize for this outrageous mistake,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on his Twitter Inc. account. “It’s a shame that such a momentous ceremony has been overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.”

  • Obama Nazi death camp gaffe ‘hurt all Poles’: PM– US President Barack Obama’s description of a Nazi German Holocaust site as a “Polish death camp” shocked Poland, whose leaders insist the record be set straight 67 years after World War II.Obama on Tuesday labeled the Nazi facility used to process Jews for extermination as a “Polish death camp.” The White House later said the president “misspoke” and expressed “regret”.

    The linguistic faux pas overshadowed Obama’s posthumous award of the highest US civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Jan Karski, a former Polish underground officer who provided early eyewitness accounts of Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jews.

    Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday Obama’s words had hurt all Poles and he expected more from Washington than just “regret”.

    “I am convinced that our American friends can today allow themselves a stronger reaction than a simple expression of regret from the White House spokesman — a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors,” Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

    “Today, this is a problem for the reputation of the United States,” the prime minister said.

  • Bush’s tax cuts didn’t get us in this mess– With the presidential campaign gathering steam, the voters are going to be fed a lot of baloney before Election Day. One of the biggest humdingers now coming your way: The Bush tax cuts are responsible for the mess the country is in.A recurring theme in President Barack Obama’s attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his tax policies is: “We can’t go back to the same policies that got us into this mess.”

    President George W. Bush’s tax cuts did not cause the fiscal crisis of 2008. Our economic calamity came in a housing meltdown —the result of years of administrations of both parties encouraging variable-interest, no-interest, little or no down payment, and no-document or liar loans that flooded people into homes they couldn’t afford under traditional mortgage lending practices.

    To its credit, the Bush administration twice advanced reforms to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, major players in pushing bad loans. Each time it was blocked by powerful Democrats, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Frank famously said he wanted the two quasi-governmental agencies “to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidizing housing.” Even after the home-ownership explosion was starting to be revealed to be a house of cards, Dodd declared, “These two institutions are fundamentally, fundamentally strong

  • Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Democratic Socialists of America Chair– President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday to Dolores Huerta, an 82-year-old labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.Huerta is also an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

    DSA describes itself as “the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.”

    Huerta has claimed, “Republicans hate Latinos,” and has spoken fondly of Hugo Chavez’s despotic regime in Venezuela. Some of her more radical comments were captured in this audio clip:

  • IBD At Kimberlin Hearing: Walker Handcuffed, 1st Amendment Muzzled– With all of the attention surrounding Brett Kimberlin, I attended Tuesday’s hearing in his “peace order” vs. Aaron Walker in the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County. In the end, the judge granted Kimberlin’s peace order, and Walker ended up leaving in handcuffs. (If you want to know why Kimberlin is a story, go here.)This was the second peace order that Kimberlin has filed against Walker, demanding that Walker cease any contact with Kimberlin. In it, Kimberlin claims that Walker has “continually harassed” him with “alarming posts, tweets, alerts that arrive in my email box, which I consider threats to me personally and to my business.” Kimberlin came to court with pages upon pages of threatening emails and tweets that he claimed had resulted from Walker’s blog posts about him. None of them, though, were sent by Walker.
  • President Obama Causes Outrage with Reference to ‘Polish Death Camp’– Poles and Polish-Americans expressed outrage today at President Obama’s reference earlier to “a Polish death camp” – as opposed to a Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland.”The White House will apologize for this outrageous error,” Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted. Sikorski said that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk “will make a statement in the morning. It’s a pity that this important ceremony was upstaged by ignorance and incompetence.”

    The president had been trying to honor a famous Pole, awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter who sneaked behind enemy lines to bear witness to the atrocities being committed against Jews. President Obama referred to him being smuggled “into the Warsaw ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.”

  • Texas GOP Senate primary heads to runoff– A boiling primary battle in Texas headed to a runoff early Wednesday as two Republicans running for U.S. Senate failed to reach the 50% threshold to clinch the GOP nomination.Though Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst led the crowded field of candidates, he narrowly failed to cross the 50% mark required to secure the nomination and avoid a July 31 runoff.

    Dewhurst’s challenger in the runoff will be tea party favorite Ted Cruz, a former solicitor general with strong support from national groups and high-profile conservative leaders.

    With 99.6% of precincts counted, Dewhurst held 48% of the vote to 30% for Cruz.

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-05-30 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-05-30
  • Magnitude 4.0 – CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION, CALIFORNIA – RT @BreakingNews: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.0 has struck near Malibu – USGS
  • California-Nevada Fault Maps – Yes, there was earthquake here felt in Thousand Oaks.
  • Judge orders Manson Family tapes turned over to police
    | Reuters
    – RT @Reuters: Judge orders Manson Family tapes turned over to police
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26 Linda Parks Moans About Democrat and Julia Brownley Attacks – CA-26 Linda Parks Moans About Democrat and Julia Brownley Attacks
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » New Evidence in Charles Manson Unsolved Murders? – New Evidence in Charles Manson Unsolved Murders?
  • The PJ Tatler » If Donald Trump is a Problem, Why Isn’t Bill Maher? – RT @AmeliaChasse: Good question==> If Donald Trump is a Problem, Why Isn’t Bill Maher? #tcot
  • Homes Prices Drop 2% to Post-Crisis Lows: Case-Shiller – US Business News – CNBC – Homes Prices Drop 2% to Post-Crisis Lows #tcot
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: May 29, 2012 – The Morning Flap: May 29, 2012
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: May 29, 2012 – The Morning Drill: May 29, 2012

The Morning Flap: May 29, 2012

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

These are my links for May 25th through May 29th:

Texas and the Feds Take Action on Orthodontic Medicaid Fraud

Posted Posted in Dentistry, Medicaid, Texas

Texas Dental Medicaid Office

About damn time.

A Dallas dentist has agreed to pay the state and federal government $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted false orthodontic claims under Medicaid.

Dr. Richard Malouf, former majority owner of All Smiles Dental Center, allegedly submitted false Medicaid claims between 2004 and 2007.

News 8 reported on Malouf’s lavish homes and two multimillion dollar corporate jets. Malouf did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in his settlement.

He is one of several orthodontists highlighted for multimillion dollar billings under Medicaid.

Eleven dental operations statewide have had their state funds suspended for credible allegations of fraud in billing the Texas Medicaid Orthodontics program. This follows a 10-month News 8 investigation of medicaid orthodontics in Texas, which found the state spends more on braces for poor children than the rest of the nation combined.

Watch the video embedded below for more on the story.


Of course, there will be some money paid back to the State of Texas and the federal government. Some bureaucrats will be scolded or fired. Maybe a dentist or two will have their dental license suspended for a while.

But, the total lack of oversight in this program is an example of what happens when government involves itself too much into health care. There is vast unaccountable waste, abuse and fraud.

On the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, one has to wonder what will happen in the future with the public purse should the United States Supreme Court rule the law is constitutional

The Morning Flap: March 13, 2012

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

These are my links for March 12th through March 13th:

  • Protests, attacks hit Afghanistan in wake of massacre – Thousands of people took to the streets in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday to protest the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier, burning an effigy of Barack Obama and calling for the killer to be tried in Afghanistan.

    Demonstrators in the city of Jalalabad chanted “Death to America — Death to Obama” and blocked the main highway to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.
    “Jihad (holy war) is the only way to get the invading Americans out of Afghanistan,” one banner read, according to the newspaper.

  • Specter says Obama ditched him after he provided 60th vote to pass health reform – Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) writes in a new book that President Obama ditched him in the 2010 election after he helped Obama win the biggest legislative victory of his term by passing healthcare reform.

    Specter also claims that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not uphold his promise to grant him seniority accrued over 28 years of service in the Senate as a Republican.

  • California’s Greek Tragedy – WSJ.com – Long a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state’s largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California.

    California’s rising standards of living and outstanding public schools and universities once attracted millions seeking upward economic mobility. But then something went radically wrong as California legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates, liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation. The results, though predictable, are nonetheless striking. From the mid-1980s to 2005, California’s population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.

    California’s economy, which used to outperform the rest of the country, now substantially underperforms. The unemployment rate, at 10.9%, is higher than every other state except Nevada and Rhode Island. With 12% of America’s population, California has one third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

  • McGurn: Bill Maher’s ‘Fatwa’ – WSJ.com – ‘I don’t like fatwas.”

    The words come from Bill Maher. The HBO comedian was tweeting his disapproval of the campaign to deprive Rush Limbaugh of his sponsors. Especially distressing for Mr. Maher is that the campaign continues even though Mr. Limbaugh has apologized for his rude remarks about the Georgetown Law student who had testified before Congress on behalf of the contraceptive mandate.

    Mr. Maher’s “defense,” of course, may have more to do with self-defense. For in the midst of the ritual denunciations of Mr. Limbaugh, it has emerged that liberals—Mr. Maher included—have long called conservative women things far more vulgar. That has led to embarrassing explanations of why Mr. Maher gets a pass, and whether the super PAC backing President Obama should return the million dollars that Mr. Maher has donated.

  • Republican Donors in Limbo – The extended Republican presidential primary has left many GOP donors paralyzed — unsure of whether to invest in the upcoming battle against President Barack Obama or focus on Congressional races.

    Party insiders increasingly believe that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will win the nomination, a development that would likely open the donor spigot for the general election. But a victory by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) or ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) would probably have the opposite effect. A GOP money machine skeptical of the party’s White House prospects would likely spend instead on House and Senate races as the best hope for a November gain.

  • A Mere 80% Say They’re Not Better Off Than Four Years Ago
  • Did GDP and the Unemployment Rate Become De-linked?
  • Father And Daughter Run 100th Marathon Together
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-03-13 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-03-13
  • AD-38: Scott Wilk Wins Santa Clarita Valley Republican Assembly Straw Poll » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Scott Wilk Wins Santa Clarita Valley Republican Assembly Straw Poll
  • President 2012 Poll Watch: New York Times/CBS Poll Has Obama at 41 Per Cent Approval | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: New York Times/CBS Poll Has Obama at 41 Per Cent Approval
  • Red meat is blamed for one in 10 early deaths – Small quantities of processed meat such as bacon, sausages or salami can increase the likelihood of dying by a fifth, researchers from Harvard School of Medicine found. Eating steak increases the risk of dying by 12%.
    The study found that cutting the amount of red meat in peoples’ diets to 1.5 ounces (42 grams) a day, equivalent to one large steak a week, could prevent almost one in 10 early deaths in men and one in 13 in women.
    The scientists said that the government’s current advice that people should eat no more than 2.5 ounces (70 grams) a day, around around the level the average Briton already consumes, was “generous”.
    Dr Frank Hu, co-author of the study, said: “Given the growing evidence that even modest amounts of red meat is associated with increased risk of chronic disease and premature death, 2.5 ounces (70 grams) per day seems generous. The bottom line is that we should make red meat only an occassional rather than regular part of our diet.”
    Red meat often contains high amounts of saturated fat, while bacon and salami contain large amounts of salt. Replacing red meat with poultry, fish or vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods cut the risk of dying by up to one fifth, the study found.
  • Steve Schmidt: Putting Palin on the ticket taught me there are worse things than losing – Via Mediaite, Exhibit A in why John Podhoretz’s review of “Game Change” is titled “Back Stab.” Actually, scratch that; this is Exhibit Z. Schmidt’s getting more attention for it now because the movie’s getting attention but he’s been dumping on Palin publicly for more than two years and privately for who knows how long. (Leaks from unnamed staffers began less than a week after election day and Palin allies inside the campaign warned weeks earlier that they were coming.) This is his job now, I think — doing sporadic cable-news cameos as some sort of RINO Dr. Frankenstein who created a grassroots monster and has to atone by killing it. Michael Goldfarb, who left the Weekly Standard to join the McCain campaign’s communications team, has had enough:
  • Back Stab – Sarah Palin as portrayed by her disloyal staff. – Nicolle Wallace was the onetime consultant to CBS News and media aide to George W. Bush who was assigned to work with Sarah Palin after the Alaska governor was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. It was Wallace who assured the McCain campaign that her dear friend Katie Couric, a committed liberal with a history of interviewing Republicans and conservatives in a quietly nasty way, was the right journalist to conduct a major early interview with the extremely conservative vice-presidential nominee.

    Palin has only herself to blame for how horribly she came off, but as she was the most hotly sought-after interview in the world at the time, the McCain campaign could have picked and chosen and been cleverly calculating about which journalist would win the prize. Wallace was responsible for one of the great blunders in political advance work of modern media history.

    Now, imagine you’re making a movie about the Palin story, one that demonstrates a modicum of sympathy for Sarah Palin’s excoriation at the hands of the media. (I know, I’m talking crazy, but go with me here.) In such a movie, Nicolle Wallace’s catastrophic guidance could have been portrayed in several ways. It could have been played as a simple goof, a wrongheaded political calculation. Or as an example of a kind of golly-gee naïveté, with Wallace being snowed by a seductive Couric. Or as a careerist move killing two birds with one stone, with Wallace seeking to stay in the good graces of her former colleague Couric despite several years of working for Republicans.

  • Michael Goldfarb’s response to ‘A game changer for Palin’s image?’ – I can’t speak to the film, because I can’t bring myself to watch it.

    Other loyal McCain staffers I’ve spoken to have had the same reaction. While a few senior aides from the McCain campaign collaborated with the authors of Game Change and painted a picture of John McCain and Sarah Palin as so craven or ill-informed or incompetent that no handler could have gotten them elected, the reality is that John McCain was the better man and would have made a better president.

    We lost that campaign partly because of events beyond our control, and partly as a result of bad counsel given by the same people who are apparently so flatteringly portrayed in this movie. John McCain deserved better than to be betrayed by his own top aides, and true to form he has honorably stuck by Gov. Palin even as she’s been smeared in the press over and over again by the same self-serving former staffers. I only hope that the Romney campaign takes notice of what’s happened here.

    Halperin and Heilemann have gotten a $5 million contract to do the same thing to Romney that they did to McCain, and they will no doubt be looking for Romney aides the same way a con artist searches for his mark – seeking the emotionally vulnerable, the weak, the insecure, the ones who value the approval of MSNBC analysts more than the respect of their own campaign staff. Unfortunately, every Republican campaign has them – and given the opportunity Halperin and Heilemann are certain to reoffend.

  • AD-38: Patricia McKeon Upgrades Website and Lists Endorsements » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Patricia McKeon Upgrades Website and Lists Endorsements
  • Villaraigosa declines to back any of three competing tax initiatives – latimes.com – RT @LATPoliticsCA: Villaraigosa declines to back any of tax initiatives on ballot
  • President 2012 Poll Watch: Obama Approval Rate Reaches 49 Per Cent and Trending Upward | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Obama Approval Rate Reaches 49 Per Cent and Trending Upward
  • Center-right leaders, Bush alums form religious conscience group – A collection of prominent center-right leaders, including multiple top Bush administration officials, have founded a new advocacy group to advocate for measures exempting religious organizations from federal rules governing contraception coverage, POLITICO has learned.

    Among those involved in planning the group are former presidential adviser Mary Matalin, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, former RNC Chairman and Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, former Rep. Bill Paxon, former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and New York Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik.

    Their 501(c)4 organization, Conscience Cause, is aimed at “stopping the implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services regulation which would compel people and organizations to pay for drugs and services that violate their faith,” according to a statement shared with POLITICO.

    Both Nicholson and Flynn are former ambassadors to the Vatican; Flynn is the lone Democrat in the group, though he has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

  • College board says it is addressing probation issues – The board that oversees Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges has drafted a letter to the commission that put the colleges on probation, outlining what it has done to improve and what more it plans to do.

    The Ventura County Community College District board is set to vote on the letter Tuesday..

    “We’re trying to specifically respond to their concerns, to show them what we’re doing,” said board President Stephen Blum. “We realize we can’t just tell them what we’re going to do. We have to do what we say we’re going to do. I see this as one of our first steps.”

    The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges put the three campuses on probation last month, citing problems on the board. The commission noted one trustee’s “disruptive and inappropriate behavior.” Although he is not named in the letter, that trustee is Art Hernandez, who represents Oxnard.

  • Gawker more acceptable than conservative talk radio for advertisers? – Given all the attacks on advertisers who advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show or other conservative talk radio shows, one has to wonder why the companies below — who are highlighted on Gawker Media’s advertising page — do not apply such standards of civility and civil discourse to Gawker Media?

    Of particular interest was Ford Motor Company, which was included in a list of companies which allegedly had instructed Premier Networks not to run its ads on conservative talk radio for fear of controversy.  I have e-mailed Ford both to confirm it will not advertise on conservative talk radio and that it advertises on Gawker Media sites, but have not heard back.

    At the end of the day, the point is not that advertisers should quite Gawker, it’s that there is a complete double standard.  Sexualized, unapologetic attacks on conservative women simply are part of the accepted landscape.

  • California revenues 3.2 percent shy in February – California revenues missed the mark in February by 3.2 percent, or $146.3 million, state Controller John Chiang said Monday.

    Chiang, who manages the state’s cash, said the shortfall was likely due to a spike in tax refunds going out earlier than expected in February. Income tax receipts were 5.7 percent, or $99.9 million, below the Department of Finance’s projection.

    Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are anxiously awaiting tax receipts from March and April, two significant revenue months as taxpayers file their returns. The Democratic governor has proposed a budget to close a $9.2 billion deficit, but the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has suggested that Brown’s estimates are overly optimistic and that the deficit is likely higher than that figure.

    Though lawmakers have begun to review Brown’s budget in committee, they do not plan to take significant steps on the plan until late spring, closer to the June 15 deadline. Democratic leaders have said they want to see what tax revenues will be like in March and April before deciding how much to cut and where.

  • CA-Sen: California Republican Party Endorses Elizabeth Emken for U.S. Senate Race | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – CA-Sen: California Republican Party Endorses Elizabeth Emken for U.S. Senate Race
  • Contact | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – @MarkStandriff The website is probably overloaded. You can go here and find my direct text address: First #. Thanks!
  • ASICS Support Your Marathoner – 2012 Honda Los Angeles Marathon – Everyone here is the direct link to the Support Your Marathoner Page for me:
  • ASICS Support Your Marathoner – 2012 Honda Los Angeles Marathon – @MarkStandriff Mark, is it the support your marathoner link?
  • Flapsblog.com Readers: Please Support @Flap – Gregory Flap Cole in the Los Angeles Marathon | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Readers: Please Support @Flap – Gregory Flap Cole in the Los Angeles Marathon
  • AD-38: Los Angeles County Republican Party Makes NO Endorsements in Assembly Race » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Los Angeles County Republican Party Makes NO Endorsements in Assembly Race
  • Social Demographics: Who’s Using Today’s Biggest Networks – More than 66% of adults are connected to one or more social media platforms, but who exactly are these people?

    The infographic below, created by Online MBA, breaks down the demographics, including education level, income, age and gender of social media users, along with other miscellaneous facts.

    Some sites’ users are more demographically alike than others. One thing is the same for most social sites — college students, or those who have completed some college, represent the majority on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Digg and Reddit. Among Facebook users, 57% have completed some college, and 24% have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Although, people 45 and older make up 46% of Facebook users.

    Social media sites are also seeing a gender split — women use social media more than men. More women are on Facebook and Twitter. About 57% of Facebook and 59% of Twitter users are women.

    Women gravitate toward Pinterest and young, techie men hang out on Google+. Pinterest has the heaviest gender imbalance — 82% of users are women, who pin crafts, gift ideas, hobbies, interior design and fashion. On the other spectrum, Google+ is dominated by men (71%) and early adopters, engineers and developers. About 50% of Google+ users are 24 or younger.

    LinkedIn reports an even ratio of men and women — 49% over age 45 — who use the site to connect with other business professionals.

    Most people use social media to stay in touch with friends and family, and more are doing so while on the go. About 200 million Facebook users check their Timelines from their mobile devices every day.

  • Justice Dept opposes Texas voter ID law – The Justice Department’s civil rights division on Monday objected to a new photo ID requirement for voters in Texas because many Hispanic voters lack state-issued identification.
    Texas is the second state in recent months to become embroiled in a court battle with the Justice Department over photo ID requirements for voters.
    The Justice Department said Texas officials failed to show that the newly enacted law has neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect.
    The department had been reviewing the law since last year and discussing the matter with state officials. In January, Texas officials sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking a court judgment that the state’s recently enacted voter ID law was not discriminatory in purpose or effect.
  • Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 12, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 12, 2012
  • The Morning Flap: March 12, 2012 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Morning Flap: March 12, 2012
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Dayton Ohio Veterans Administration Dental Clinic Has $6.6 Million in Outstanding Malpractice Claims – Dayton Ohio Veterans Administration Dental Clinic Has $6.6 Million in Outstanding Malpractice Claims
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: March 12, 2012 – The Morning Drill: March 12, 2012