Archive for July 29th, 2009

Sen. Carroll Responds – Unpersuasively

Yesterday, we noted that State Sen. Morgan Carroll had been used her Facebook page to troll for complaints about Pinnacol’s claims processing.  That prompted the following Facebook exchange between Sen. Carroll and a Colorado resident (forwarded to me by the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous):

Resident: Today at 5:17am
I am dismayed at your continued attempt to destroy a valuable resource for Colorado. Your current witchhunt to find negative stories to paint Pinnacol in a negative light is nothing but a blatant political stunt and is clearly seen as such. The money accumulated as reserves of Pinnacol were paid into it for an EXPLICIT reason and not a simply pile of cash for you to spend on whatever causes you deem worthy.

Morgan Carroll: Today at 6:51am
This committee is a fact-finding committee. Your loyalty to this political subdivision of the State of Colorado is laudable and I am sure they appreciate it.

Resident: Today at 7:06am
What is the reason or a need for such “fact finding” exercise at this juncture?

Morgan Carroll: Today at 7:10am
It’s about about 15 years since the legislature that created this structure has reviewed it. Their surpluses (very high compared to national) have raised the question for some as to whether (a) policyolders (businesses) are being over-charged; or (b) whether claims to injured workers are underpaid. Neither or both may be the case. We don’t know yet. Likewise, they want us to consider privatizing them. That would require evidence and an act of the legislature to do.

Color me unpersuaded.  Aside from the snide response to somewhat aggressive questioning, it’s simply not credible that someone would use a social networking site – designed for self-selection of people with mostly consonant views – to find a diverse set of opinions about anything.  Especially when her official website, which would probably draw a broader range of readership, lacks any such appeal.

The senator makes a point of referring to Pinnacol as a “political subdivision,” which it surely is.  That permits the state to determinte by statute the disposition of its assets.  But the bill itself changes the law to permit that seizure.  And it basically lies in its preamble, saying, “…clarigying the laws governing Pinnacol Assurance’s funds.”  It doesn’t so much “claify” as ‘turn inside out.”  It eliminates its operation as a mutual insurance company, and specifically transfers control over the company’s assets to the state.  Here’s the relevant section as it reads now:

The moneys in the Pinnacol Assurance fund shall be continuously available for the purposes of this article and shall not be transferred to or revert to the general fund of the state at the end of any fiscal year. All revenues, moneys, and assets of Pinnacol Assurance belong solely to Pinnacol Assurance. The state of Colorado has no claim to nor any interest in such revenues, moneys, and assets and shall not borrow, appropriate, or direct payments from such revenues, moneys, and assets for any purpose.

Seems clear enough.  The reserve fund and any profits belong to the company, not to the state.  The legislation would have repealed that section in its entirely.

So let’s be clear here: the bill that Sen Morgan Carroll, supposedly neutral leader of a “fact-finding” committee, voted for, removes the fiscal independence of Pinnacol, seizes $500,000,000 of surplus premiums paid into that fund specifically to provide coverage, says nothing about reviewing anything that the interim committee is tasked to explore.

“Fact-finding” committees frequently find whatever facts they set out looking for.  There email exchange, in tenor and content, make it pretty clear what facts Sen. Carroll has in mind to uncover.

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Joe Biden, Take Two

I’ll see your Sarah Palin resignation speech, and raise you a Joe Biden commencement address:

I believe so strongly, as you may recall when I was here in October, not in you particularly but your generation…

…you’re about to graduate into a point in history where everything is going to change no matter what you do, but you can affect the change.

You’re going to walk across this stage without knowing for certain what’s on the other side.

…there’s not a single solitary decision confronting your generation now that doesn’t yield a change from non-action as well as action.

Non-action is action, unlike most generations.

There’s not a single issue on this President’s plate that will not yield a change — just merely by ignoring it, it will change.

They voted for change, not certain what it would mean, but convicted in the assumption that we cannot sustain the path we’re on.  (“convicted in the assumption?”)

And our own interpretive muse:

Joe Biden Take 2
By Tarzana Joe

Read the rest of this entry »

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Rally, Counter-Rally on Health Care

Just a couple of quick shots from last evening’s rally and counter-rally at the state capitol on health care.  (Sandoval has the pix on the lunch-time AFP rally.)  First, the rally.  It was organized by the Obama after-campaign and the SEIU, and it showed.  There were three signs in abundance: a purple SEIU-inspired sign, sheets that read, “Single Payer,” and those blue leftovers from last year’s campaign:

And the counter-rally, held down on Lincoln to frequent horn-honks:

For all that time, union muscle, and organization, the socialists managed about 200.  The counter, consisting mostly of different people from the afternoon AFP event, with only a few hours to publicize, got 100 people.  (Don’t try counting the people in this photo.  I shot a panoramic series and counted them individually at home, since I’m pretty lousy at estimating crowd sizes.)

The Channel 7 report, naturally, all but ignored the large AFP rally, showing only footage from this evening’s Obamafest.  Although they were eager to find someone from the “other side,” they probably could have found someone better.   Here’s the video report.

PlayPlay

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