Friday, 04 October 2013


Ken Berwitz

"Waiting For Godot" is a play written by Samuel Beckett, featuring two men, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for the arrival of someone named Godot - who never comes.  The play begins and ends with no Godot in sight.

My thoughts turned to Godot when I read about the, er, "success rate" of people trying to sign up for ObamaCare - which seems to be hovering between infinitesimal and nonexistent.

If Sarah Kliff's article at the (usually Obama-friendly) Washington Post is any indication, you probably have a better chance of running into a unicorn - a picture of which is on her "wonkblog" piece today

Here's a taste of what Ms. Kliff has to say:

If you have purchased health coverage on the federal government's new Obamacare marketplace, about a dozen or so reporters would like to speak with you. We promise we won't take up too much of your time!

We just need to find you first.

The federal government has said that somewhere out in this vast country of 313 million people, where 48 million lack insurance coverage, someone has managed to sign up for health insurance on the federally-run marketplaces. As of yet, we haven't tracked this person - or these people - down.

This is not for lack of effort. Reporters here at The Washington Post and at other publications have been on the hunt for this mythical creature.

Has anyone out there successfully enrolled in insurance coverage through a #obamacare exchange? Let me know!

Remember that the same government which handles the on-line registration of ObamaCare - and had three full years to put it together, with this result - will be in charge of your health care.  Not just the paperwork, your actual health care.

Sleep well tonight.....

David Triche Not true. The insurance companies are in charge of you healthcare. (10/04/13)


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I awarded Quote Of The Day honors to President Obama, for his jaw-dropping claim that he has bent over backwards to work with Republicans.  At that time, I noted that the only reason I wouldn't call off the competition and make that the Quote Of The Year, is because, Mr. Obama being Mr. Obama, he might at some future time, say something even more bizarre.

As it turns out, he did.  On the same day too.

This is what Mr. Obama said (please note that when he offers his idea of what a worker would say, he immediately switches into a different, lower-end speech pattern - something I find presumptuous, condescending and offensive.  The part of this statement where he does so is in italics): 

"Everybody here just does their job, right?  You don't. i-i-i-i-if you're workin' here, and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, y'know what, I wanna get somethin' but I dunno, I dunno exactly what I'm gon' get, but I'm gonna just stop working until I get som'n I' gonna shut down the whole plant until I get somthin' YOU'D GET FIRED (raised voice), right?  Cuz, cuz,the deal is, you've already gotten hired, you've got a job, you're getting a pay check, and so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and lookin' out for your fellow workers, that's what you're getting.  Well it shouldn't be any different for a member of congress"

And, so there is no doubt about what he said, or the different dialect - elevated for him, street level for the working stiffs - here is the video:

Am I missing something here? 

When workers go out on strike - workers who are hired, have a job, get a paycheck and (we hope) contribute to the business and look out for their fellow workers - don't they shut down the whole plant because they want something?

In other words, President Obama may not have meant to say it - I'd put the odds at about 10,000,000,000 to 1 on that - but, with those words, he spoke out (lashed out is probably more accurate) against the most important bargaining tool of the unions which support him.

Unbelievable?  No, Barack Obama.

If that doesn't win Quote Of The Day Honors, I give up.


Ken Berwitz

This morning, I had a very pleasant interview with Kristi Eaton, an Associated Press reporter working out of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma office.  I'm guessing you have a pretty good idea of what we discussed.

One of the last things we talked about was that - according to the news reports I had read - Joel Jackson, a corporate manager at Hobby Lobby, claimed he had reached out to me and I had not responded.  I reminded her that this was entirely untrue, and reiterated that no one from the company at any level had ever contacted me.

So we hung up, and my "you have a message" button started flashing.  I check to see who called, and - wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles - it was Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby.

I called back, and was told he had just stepped into a meeting but would be available shortly. 

Sure enough, less than a half hour later, Steve (yes, we are now on first name terms) did call. 

We had a conversation which lasted something like 12 - 15 minutes.  Here is the essence of that conversation:

I started by apologizing to him - more exactly, to his father - for the last line of my blog ("david green can go to hell").  It was not a very nice thing to say, it was written in anger, and, at that time, I had no idea of how many people would actually be reading it (not that this really matters; if it's wrong, it's wrong).  Steve was gracious enough to accept my apology - which I asked that he pass along to his father, who, I hope, accepts it as well.

Steve then assured me in strongest terms that, my observations notwithstanding, Hobby Lobby not only is not intentionally refusing to stock Jewish-oriented items, but that it is very supportive and respectful of Jews, and is a very pro-Israel organization. (I would assume the Greens' support of Israel is, in no small part, related to belief in the biblical prophecies that Israel would once again be created as a Jewish state, but we certainly did not get into any theological discussion). 

He told me that the reason no Chanukah or Passover goods were in Hobby Lobby stores was that the company worked with a model of "cookie cutter" simplicity - i.e. that stock is identical from one store to the next.  He noted that Hobby Lobby carries 70,000 items, and every one of them is available in every store. 

He said that, at some point in the past (I don't know how long ago) Hobby Lobby had, in fact, offered a section of Jewish oriented goods, but that they did not sell well and were therefore dropped.

I responded that this may have been true at a time when there were far fewer Hobby Lobby stores in a far more limited geographic area.  But that, as the Hobby Lobby franchise has grown bigger and covered more geography, its simplicity/identical stock model is less and less workable, given the demographic diversity from location to location - with Marlboro, New Jersey being a particularly good example. 

He agreed, and told me that his people were actively looking into how they can more specifically address the different populations in their stores' immediate areas. 

While not said in so many words, the implication seemed to be that the company's rethinking process was not because the furor over my blog embarrassed it into doing so, but  - on a far more salutary level - that it created something of a "wakeup call" about the changes necessary for Hobby Lobby's current, greatly expanded, status. 

When I asked him why Corporate Manager Jackson would have said that he tried to reach me and I did not respond, Steve told me he had spoken to Mr. Jackson about it, and that Jackson emphatically states he never said any such thing; it was a misunderstanding.  (I spoke to the reporter afterwards, and she disputes this.  But I wasn't there, so I can't say).

Bottom line:  Do I know for a fact that any of what I was told is so?  No, of course I do not.

But in a spirit of good will and comity - which I hope Steve Green and his people have for me - I am very much inclined to give Hobby Lobby the benefit of the doubt, and see what happens next.

Heck, I've already started.  I'm capitalizing Hobby Lobby and Steve Green, aren't I?

To be continued.........

JewishPrincess So Steve Green decided to do damage control and call you, and you fell for his corporate charm? They support Israel? No, they have given millions of dollars to anti-Israel, BDS, causes, including bankrolling a deceitful propaganda film. I suppose Green didn't have a court Jew to call you? (10/04/13)

Joel OMG who gives a shit already! You people are such losers. Get a life (10/06/13)

Joel OMG who gives a shit already! You people are such losers. Get a life (10/06/13)

katarina That is certainly not the only reason to boycott Hobby Lobby. Regardless of how you feel about the law, their hypocrisy is apparently limitless. This is a company that is suing over the Affordable Care Act because it forces them to provide insurance that covers contraception such as IUD, which Mr. Green objects to. They have few full time employees who would even qualify for insurance. Besides, they purchase most of their product from China, where abortion is mandated. It appears that their christian ethic is for convenience and disappears when the bottom line is affected. (10/07/13)


Ken Berwitz

Help me out here. 

President Obama was supposed to be off on an Asian jaunt today, to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia and the East Asia Summit in Darussalam, Brunei.  But he has cancelled the trip.And here's why, straight from Press Secretary Jay Carney's written statement:

"The president made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government" .

The reason for my confusion is that Mr. Obama has made it plain - not by hinting or suggesting, but bluntly in so many words - that he absolutely, unequivocally will not negotiate with Republicans on ObamaCare; not on any part of the legislation whatsoever.

If that is the case, what possible difference does it make to the government shutdown whether he is in Bali, Darussalam, or Washington DC?

Does this mean he has been lying to us about whether he will negotiate?  Does it mean that he trying to score political points by boob-baiting low-information voters on the premise that the cancellation is relevant to the government shutdown?

Any explanations other than what seems to be the obvious one - i.e. Mr. Obama playing politics and relying on his Accomplice Media to let his actions go unchallenged - will be welcomed.  Let's see them.


Zeke .... .... President Obama believes the current difficulties in Washington can be resolved by him Refusing to Negotiate. . . . . . . He can Refuse to Negotiate more effectively by being at the Camp David golf course than by spending $100 - $150 mill flying to Asia and Refusing to Negotiate from the other side of the Pacific Ocean . . . . . . Next, he is going to hold his breath until he turns blue in the face.. . ... ... .. (10/04/13)


Ken Berwitz

Is today the day that Democrats realize Republicans do not "own" the government shutdown?

Well, President Obama, Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer remain adamant that ObamaCare must come in at 100% (of what it is now, after President Obama picked and chose which parts of it to allow and which to delay - a little something most media are not talking about).  But house Democrats - possibly hearing something very different from their constituents than they are hearing from their leadership triumvirate - suddenly are singing a very different tune.

Excerpted from Ashe Schow's article at the Washington Examiner:

Fifty-seven House Democrats have broken ranks with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer to vote with Republicans to fund parts of the government like veterans programs, national parks and the National Institutes of Health.

Sixteen of those Democrats voted for all six targeted appropriations bills, introduced at the behest of House Speaker John Boehner, including measures to fund the National Guard and Reserve, NIH, national parks, the District of Columbia and two separate votes for veterans programs. (The House of Representatives voted twice to restore funding for veterans programs, once Oct. 1 and a second time Oct. 3.)

For days, the majority of mainstream media have joined the Democrat leadership in advising the public of how idiotic Republicans are, how they have no end game and what immense damage the government shutdown is wreaking on them.

But if you are an astute Republican, you probably are happy about this.  Because experience has taught you that the more shrill and viciously insulting Democrats get, the more trouble they perceive they are in.

Poll-wise, the handwriting is already on the wall.  And it isn't very pretty.

When Democrats nailed Republicans - especially Newt Gingrich - for the 1995-1996 government shutdown, the public solidly agreed, by margins of 20% or more (e.g. Gallup had it at Republicans 49%, President Clinton 26% -a 23% disparity). 

But this time, while it is still true that - initially, at least - more people blame Republicans than Democrats, the difference between parties is much lower.  Illustratively:

-The latest (CBS News) poll shows only a 9% difference on who is to blame (44% Republicans, 35% Democrats).  

-CNN is at 46% - 36%, a difference of 10% -- but down from 18% just three weeks ago. 

-And when Gallup asks whether President Obama or Republicans are acting more responsibly, Mr. Obama has only a 5% edge (40% - 35%).   

Add in the fact that Democrats are caving by voting to fund various parts of government - actually, I prefer to think of it as acting responsibly, despite the demands of their leadership - and you just may quickly see the overall party find a way to magically end this impasse...and, of course, declare a victory when doing so, which only Democrats will believe.

Hey, maybe the Republican strategy ain't so idiotic after all.

David Triche And maybe it is even more idiotic. Republican don't like a law that was passed years ago and now they are threatening the entire country if they don't get what they want. What sore losers. An now they just want to reopen the parts of government they like. Only a fool would give into that kind of extortion. I see why hardly anyone reads your blog. Your entries are idiotic drivel. At most you get one comment. Might as well just write on paper and throw it in the trash. (10/04/13)

Ken Berwitz David - thank you for your kind words about my writing. Incidentally, Republicans are not threatening the whole country; they are reflecting what every major poll has shown for months, which is that the public is opposed to ObamaCare. Go to, which compiles the polls and see for yourself. Also, go to Gallup and see that in the three days since the shutdown took place and President Obama proclaimed that he would not negotiate with Republicans, his approval ratings went from 45% positive/48% negative, to 41%/52%. Does that look like the country is siding with him? Maybe it does to you.  But not to me.   Other than that, you've made some brilliant points. Honest... (10/04/13)

Zeke ....... .......... Bless you Ken for providing honest employment for so many professional Trolls . . . . . Easily identified: Long on invective, short on facts. . . . . Never seem to understand that our nation is guided by a BALANCE of POWER among the various Constitutionally established bodies : House, Senate, Presidency . . . . . Rather than establishing a clear mandate among the citizens and their representatives, Obama Chicago'ed the legislation through. . . . . . Now, the pushback is causing him serious problems, as the will of the people is heard. . . . . . . Note to Barry : . . . . Tyranny doesn't work well in the US, especially over the long term. . . . . . .. (10/05/13)

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