9:00 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
It's been almost a year since THE WEEKLY STANDARD quoted Philip Larkin’s great 1969 poem, “Homage to a Government." Yesterday the Obama administration released its 2015 defense budget, shrinking the Army to its lowest size since 1940 and reducing base defense spending to less than 3 percent of GDP. It's time once again for Larkin.
Homage to a Government
Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.
Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.
8:07 AM, Feb 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
At first glance, a page on the Health and Human Services (HHS) website seems to be giving that agency's official advice on the "The Health Benefits of Nootropics," a classification of purportedly memory-enhancing drugs. The page is found on the website's subdomain of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) as part of the Health System Measurement Project.
An individual mandate for electricity meters.8:21 AM, Feb 13, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In the early days of the Obama administration, “smart power” was all the rage—and not just on the foreign policy scene. In April 2009, National Public Radio reported how one Allentown, Pennsylvania, mother was saving more than a hundred dollars each month on her electric bill. Tammy Yeakel’s power company, PPL Energy, had helpfully installed a “smart meter” on her home that could monitor her power usage in real time.
7:04 AM, Jan 23, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
At least three marketers of health-related or insurance products and services have taken advantage of the "data-set" feature at Healthcare.gov to give themselves a virtual presence on the federal government's Obamacare site. The ability to use a web address containing "healthcare.gov" may lend credibility and even imply endorsement by the government.
7:03 AM, Jan 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The federal government is closed, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Managment:
Why? Because the forecast calls for snow. (Currently there is no snow falling or on the ground.) From the National Weather Service:
7:07 AM, Jan 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Accenture Federal Services would be taking over for CGI Federal as the main contractor for Healthcare.gov. CMS documents reveal that without the new estimated $91.1 million contract, the government could end up making "erroneous payments to providers and insurers" and that "the entire healthcare reform program [will be] jeopardized."
8:01 AM, Jan 13, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Robert Laszewski—a prominent consultant to health insurance companies—recently wrote in a remarkably candid blog post that, while Obamacare is almost certain to cause insurance costs to skyrocket even higher than it already has, “insurers won’t be losing a lot of sleep over it.” How can this be? Because insurance companies won’t bear the cost of their own losses—at least not more than about a quarter of them. The other three-quarters will be borne by American taxpayers.
10:48 AM, Jan 2, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Government, we are told by those who evangelize for more of it, is the “things we choose to do together.” If so, then “we" don’t appear to be so happy with the job we have been collectively doing. As Rebecca Shabad at the Hill reports, a recent poll done by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that:
10:12 AM, Jan 1, 2014 • By JIM SWIFT
An image of a state-run veterans’ cemetery posted to the aggregation website Reddit this week is causing a controversy. The image, originally posted by the page "U.S Army W.T.F! moments" on Facebook, captures a scene from Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery, run by the Maryland department of veterans affairs.
6:34 AM, Dec 22, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Temperatures in the high 40s, with some rain. That’s the forecast for Buffalo on Sunday when the Bills and the Dolphins kick it off. Balmy, then. So much so that the team from Miami can’t, should they lose, use the weather for an alibi. Likewise, the fans who choose not to pay sit in the stadium and watch. The Bills have been disappointing but not surprising. They seem always to be disappointing. And it’s almost Christmas. So, even if you follow the team and have since the Jim Kelly days, it might seem more appealing to stay at home and wrap presents. With the game on the television. In the background, of course.
Dec 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 16 • By FRED BARNES
President Obama is more perceptive about the shortcomings of government than we thought. “We have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly,” he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Wow!
3:16 PM, Dec 18, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
You would think the dearth of legislation coming off Capitol Hill might be a problem for K Street. But that would be outside-the-beltway thinking. There are other ways to skin a cat … or a taxpayer. And the lobbyists have found one. As Megan R. Wilson at The Hill writes, they are happily:
3:01 PM, Dec 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Tough times in the lobbying industry and the news is sure to be greeted with an outpouring of sympathy from across the land. As Kevin Bogardus and Megan R. Wilson of the Hill report:
3:01 PM, Dec 10, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Today is a snow day in Washington so even less will get done than on a day when the sun shines.