Major fiasco

The health insurance marketplace, aka Obamacare, website is an absolute fiasco and filled with more glitches than you can possibly imagine.

It won’t allow you to progress to the next screen when trying to click on a link, or the website sends you nebulously out into cyberspace.

I called the 800 number twice and the representatives said that they were surprised that I had gotten as far as I did (further than anyone else they had talked to) and that I needed to simply keep trying and the glitches would get worked out eventually.

This is so par for the course with this Obama administration and the failings of a bureaucratic machine.

It’s an absolute travesty and catastrophe and the one representative said before the call ended, “Well, keep trying to log in over and over again until you complete your application and call us back anytime if there is anything else that we can do for you?”

I thought to myself, “What’s the point?”

Exactly.

Kyle Grady

Highway 17 North

Mount Pleasant

A rising tide

Maybe somebody better check my math here, but I think I have a legitimate bone to pick with the board of directors of the S.C. State Ports Authority.

An article in the Sept. 18 Post and Courier detailed the $175,000 in bonuses that were passed along to the top seven executives and managers of the authority, as a result of having exceeded their targeted annual cash flow of $42.3 million by $200,000 (a whopping 0.5 percent). By my kind of math, nearly 88 percent of that “overage” went to those lucky top seven in the form of cash bonuses.

Hmm ... makes me wonder. Is the SPA charged with operating the port (owned by the state and located in the natural marvel of Charleston Harbor, also owned by the state — read that as “you and me”) for the benefit of South Carolinians or for those seven individuals?

I know, they say we need to provide this kind of financial incentive to make sure these folks keep our port competitive with its peers, so that we here in Charleston don’t wither up and blow away.

To believe that, you have to also believe that the $370,000 annual salary of the president and CEO (up 5.7 percent last December), and the $170,000 to $245,000 paid to the six vice presidents, is not, in itself, sufficient to provide that incentive.

Ain’t it peculiar — during my 33 years of service to the state as a scientist, I more often heard the mantra that “everyone here is doing a great job, but the cold, hard fiscal reality is that we’ll need to do more with less $$ and a smaller staff.”

I wonder if anyone else in state government managed this year to land a 16 percent bonus ($58,000), like Jim Newsome did for meeting less than half (47.5 percent) of the performance goals established by his bosses for the year. Compare the authority’s accomplishment of exceeding the financial and production goals by 0.5 percent with that 16 percent bonus. Not even close.

I know I’ve thrown around a lot of the numbers published in the article, but won’t somebody look them over and tell me what I’m missing here?

David Knott

Ivy Hall Road

Charleston

Dredging realities

The Sept. 19 Post and Courier editorial headlined “Biden’s straight talk on harbor” is pure political baloney. The slant of the editorial is that it is difficult for the feds to find funding for dredging our shipping channels, so we should be grateful for the administration’s “commitment to deepening Charleston Harbor.” Nonsense.

In 1986 Congress enacted two bills, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) and the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT), for the express purpose of collecting taxes from shippers to be used for commercial harbor operations and maintenance.

Federal accounting records show that from its inception through the end of fiscal year 2011 the HMTF had spent $900 million and had an unspent balance of $5.5 billion.

So, there’s $5.5 billion in the HMTF waiting to be spent for harbor maintenance, right? And it’s not available for earmarks and bridges to nowhere, right?

Wrong on both counts. That money, like the Social Security Trust Fund, is just a number in some computer memory and an imaginary stack of wrinkled IOUs in a dusty shoebox.

The real $5.5 billion has been appropriated into the government’s “general funds.” There, it offsets a small part of the annual budget deficits and, of course, is available for some bottom-feeding congressman to grab for his or her pet home-boy project.

Commitment to Charleston Harbor? I don’t think so.

I would suggest that someone at The Post and Courier google “HMTF” read a little bit and follow some links to get the whole story.

Then tell us again, please, why we should be “reassured” by the administration’s “commitment.”

Terry W. Ryan

Captiva Row

Charleston

The right call

The recent article about Judge Fields brought back memories of an unforgettable visit to his courtroom for a moving violation.

The year was 1987. The weekend before I had gone to Williams-Brice Stadium, in Columbia, to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks defeat the Clemson Tigers for on only the second time in seven years. I returned to Charleston with the score taped to my back truck window to show how proud I was of my teams win.

The following Monday I was driving on the crosstown headed west when a city policeman motioned for me to pull over along with another car which was flying Gamecocks flags from the windows. The officer gave both drivers a ticket for running a red light.

I decided to go to court and was the last case to appear before Judge Fields that day.

He called my name and read the charge. I said, “First, judge, I want to make sure you’re not still upset with the defendant before me.” He assured me that he wasn’t. He then asked for my plea.

I told him that I was guilty, but I didn’t see the color of the light due to the afternoon setting sun. Then I explained to the judge that the officer had pulled two vehicles which adorned Gamecock colors and I wanted to know if the officer was a Clemson fan.

Judge Fields then asked the officer if he was a Clemson fan, and he answered that he was. The judge then struck the gavel and exclaimed case dismissed.

Elmore L. Marlow

Briarfield Avenue

Charleston

Upward mobility?

Concerning the horrible judgment and the leniency of Circuit Court Judge Alison Lee — a federal judgeship in her future?

Joanne Hafter

White Falls Drive

Columbia

Graham a winner

South Carolina’s senior senator, Lindsey Graham, is a leader. If there is an important issue being addressed in Washington, you can count on Lindsey Graham to be an active legislator in the process.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Lindsey is always working to find common ground to tackle the tough issues. He understands the big picture, and I applaud his efforts to address the issues facing our nation.

The United States is facing threats from all around the world, and Lindsey is committed to a strong national defense to protect us.

Sen. Graham is a proven conservative. He is a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. He is pro-life. He supports marriage being between a man and a woman.

Lindsey Graham is a vital asset to South Carolina and our country.

He has always looked out for our best interests, and we need him in Washington. He has always been a vocal advocate for the Port of Charleston. He understands the need to dredge the channels, to ensure that we remain competitive when the larger container ships are able to pass through the Panama Canal.

We need Lindsey Graham to continue representing South Carolina. He has proven his worth.

I will be supporting Lindsey in his re-election for U.S. Senate and I urge voters of South Carolina to join me.

Wade C. Arnette

Royle Road

Ladson