And it turns out the application process is a one shot deal.
That would be a horrendous design. Another good reason to verify income later on rather than make it a one shot deal. So, what if your income changes in a couple weeks?? What then? If it is a one shot application and you can't revise your inputs then that means you might get a better paying job and suddenly be unable to sign up online for a plan without an appeal even though you might be subject to fines starting January 1st if you are not covered. Actually I really hope you are incorrect and this is just some bad documentation telling you incorrect information.
Usually a large employer would be required to offer plans or pay a penalty, so really the only difference here between how this would work with Congress versus another large employer is that it would be redundant and wouldn't make sense for the government to pay itself the penalty for not offering a health insurance plan.
Sure, Congress and the White House would have to pay higher salaries to their employees to retain people, but it seems like the benefit of transparency outweighs what would likely just be an offsetting cost of providing money for people to buy their own insurance. Really, this does have the effect of making Congress and the White House live with the worst case of Obamacare... as an individual having to see the full cost of insurance premiums when your employer opts out of providing subsidies or provides the bare minimum of subsidies.
People's experience with Obamacare is going to differ greatly based on circumstances, having the people that make and administer the law experience the worst case of a non-compliant employer putting their people on the individual market seems to me only fair.
Seems a better option would simply to take the persons word for it up front, let them see the prices displayed depending on the personal and family information they entered and then only do the background verification after they "checkout" and actually purchase a plan. That way they just get an email later on if there is a problem with anything they entered or if the prices change based on something determined based on the background check and credit check. Or if as news reports suggest they are going to have to go through an income verification process as part of the Senate compromise, then doing the credit check up front in "real time" is an extra step anyway. Could even make the insurance companies do the final eligibility check as part of their 15% commission.
Trying to process through hundreds of millions of records in less than tens of seconds is a stupid thing to try to do just to keep people from finding out what your prices really are even if you have hundreds of millions of dollars to blow through. They could have fully insured 100,000 more people for the money that has been wasted just on healthcare.gov.
Also of note that it appears that the applet will accept any certificate that the browser recognizes from any trusted authority. So there are a variety of SSL certificate options at various yearly prices. Right now I see one offering certificates for $60 per year.
So, yes it will increase the cost of publishing a java applet on a website, but no this doesn't create a central authority out of Oracle for revoking certificates like the OP says. It just ensures that people can verify the identity of web sites publishing the applets.
Not sure I think it is a good change. Especially, once they block unsigned browser based applets altogether. That could be a bit too far.
I think this lesson about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is a good one. Having absolutely no idea what your potential adversary is up to for such a long time is a very bad place to be.
With reinforced cockpit doors, air marshals, hopefully good scanning to prevent weapons on airplanes and a general agreement that nobody is going to be allowed to ever hijack a plane again even if they do assault or kill people or scream about having a bomb the pilot is not going to relinquish control of the plane.... having no-fly lists does now seem superfluous and fundamentally the wrong approach to take.
That said, airlines are still private businesses serving the public and if they are given information that you will potentially be disruptive, then it should be within their right to deny you passage on their aircraft for whatever reason as long as that reason isn't discriminatory using constitutionally protected criteria such as race, or political affiliation, or gender or such. In the same way that a restaurant can refuse to serve someone because of their past behavior. The problem now is that that choice is being made for them.
Regardless, the no-fly list is a determination by someone that you have met some criteria to be kept off of planes, so if we are to remain a nation of laws then people need to be able to effectively challenge that in court. And that means confronting your accuser and challenging all the evidence used in that determination. Otherwise, if we are talking about classified information, then what we should be talking about is surveillance that stays in the realm of surveillance.
. How many nukes would it take to scatter a comment into less-harmful pieces?
Why are we imposing sanctions on North Korea at all? The fact that they oppress their own people is not particularly different than many US allies or at least states we do business with and have bases in. Sure, I want North Korea to follow the East Germany model and get absorbed by South Korea. But sanctions seem like a stupid and ineffective way to do it. All it is doing is causing North Koreans to become really good at smuggling and running drugs to get foreign currency. And rightly they see trade sanctions as an act of war.
It would frustrate the hell out of china if we embraced trade with North Korea and opened up relations, especially with a view to unification.
Second, as other posters have pointed out, Earth Hour isn't meant to actually save any energy, it's to build public awareness
Build awareness of what? I think the idea has completely failed if the objective wasn't to try and get people to save electricity. I certainly thought that was the goal of Earth Hour. As a vehicle to build public awareness it isn't effective if the underlying act is found to be merely symbolic of saving electricity without actually reducing consumption of fossil fuels. Might as well streak naked through Central Park for whatever it is you are trying to promote.
Best to come up with a better idea. Maybe everyone can buy a mink coat and then have a mass throwaway to protest animal cruelty.
You lost me at "exposes westerners to the daily hardship..."
That is like eating a taco from the Taco Bell drive thru and saying you feel the pain of the drug war in Mexico just because you have some gas.
I consider myself an environmentalist. But I agree with much of that criticism of main stream environmentalism.
I am on the pro nuclear, pro fracking let's engineer our way out of the worst effects of extreme Global Warming side of the environmentalism. While many of my environmentalist friends are looking towards an agrarian utopian vision of the past to solve all our problems, one that would be a complete Maoist nightmare to try and implement on a wide scale with the size of our existing population and reliance on technology.
Oh and LED bulbs are way better than CFLs.