All the recent scandals going on with the "most transparent administration" have pushed the Obamacare debacle to the back page or off the radar screen. But rest assured, it's as incompetent as ever, as witnessed by the letter my wife recently received from our esteemed "Health Insurance Marketplace."
She went through all the delays, non-working website, etc., last fall when trying to simply get a price quote for one of the plans and then maybe sign up.
She would not provide sensitive information such as her Social Security number with all the reported hacking going on with that terrific website that we as taxpayers spent over $400 million to create.
When asked to provide identification, three different times she sent a copy of her passport.
Each time she would check on the status she was given a message that stated "identity being verified" or she needed to submit ID to verify her identity.
She received a letter dated July 3 stating, "The Marketplace has verified your identity." She can "now go online to Healthcare.gov to complete her application or enroll in a Qualified Health Plan."
She started Oct. 1, 2013, and it only took until July 3, 2014, to do something as simple as verify an identity.
It makes one very comfortable knowing the Obama administration wants to be in charge of our health care. Maybe not the "most transparent administration" ever, but certainly the "most incompetent."
The proposed Clemson Architecture Center building at the corner of George and Meeting streets makes me think about Dunderbeck - "Dunderbeck, oh, Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean," etc. (Listen on Google, "Dunderbeck's Machine.")
Well, I've written a little poem, "Clemson, my Clemson, how could you be so mean, to ever have invented such a terrible machine," which I hope to get into social media and to officials involved in this project that threatens the Historic District.
As most of the letters and commentaries have confirmed, the majority of those in the Historic District are opposed to this terrible, ultra-modern building (Clemson's "machine") in that location. It would be more appropriate in the northern part of the city where other attempts at modernism have been allowed -or it would be compatible with the Ravenel Bridge.
Sure, the BAR approved it by four votes, one vote being by an alternate who is not a regular member of the board. Everyone makes mistakes and this was certainly a mistake.
Three members of a city committee of volunteers cannot determine the future of the Historic District without consideration of the efforts and desires of the "stewards" of the Historic District.
Neither Clemson nor its architects from Oregon sought advice from these stewards, and when such advice was offered, they ignored it. These are the very people/organizations that they should be partners with.
The "stewards" are the Preservation Society, Historic Charleston Foundation, the Ansonborough and Charles Town Neighborhood Associations, The Post and Courier and The Mercury. All of them have made their opposition public. These stewards have struggled for over 90 years to protect Charleston's treasured National Registry Historic District. This is one more attack that must be avoided.
I love Clemson and have worked hard for 60 years for Clemson. I have pleaded with their officials for two years to withdraw this proposal.
So my poem ends, "Clemson, my Clemson, how could you be so mean, and give us one of the ugliest buildings we've ever seen?"
Thomas E. Thornhill
Clemson Graduate 1948
I am incredulous that it takes some people nearly seven months to become incensed. It takes me a lot less time.
I was immediately incensed by the article in the July 11 Post and Courier about the Flowertown Players' January presentation of "Rent," which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Considering the subject matter, I did not find the presentation "raunchy." I don't do drugs and do not find alternative lifestyles to be particularly offensive. I would probably not be welcome in certain parts of our glorious state.
I applaud the efforts of Flowertown Players to bring quality entertainment to our area. I am not a resident of Summerville or Dorchester counties. I am among the many who venture to Summerville for quality dining and entertainment.
I venture into the City of Charleston for shows and dining, but prefer the Summerville atmosphere. Less traffic, better parking and comparable dining and entertainment are all big draws for me.
Regrettably, I am not a resident who can vote against a councilman who takes so long to decide his likes and dislikes. Meanwhile, I will continue to support Flowertown Players and hope that the rest of council will support the quality entertainment offered.
N. Aylesbury Road
One wonders about Gov. Nikki Haley's sensibilities with regard to her recent veto of a bill intended to help South Carolina's public libraries keep disrupters out. The governor acted in the "interest of preserving due process and maintaining the spirt of true public use for publicly funded facilities."
Does it not occur to her that most public facilities today have security systems to ward off disrupters? The library is a learning institution as are public schools and colleges, but libraries don't have the legal authority to restrict access as schools do.
Libraries seek a legal and uniform process to assist in regulating disrupters. The library staff is ultimately taken to task if someone harms those visiting or the facility and staff. Is the governor willing to chance someone being injured or equipment damaged?
Many historic assets in the library require special preservation. Equipment must be safeguarded, as replacing it can be expensive and its damage can impact library visitors.
The Senate voted to override the veto, but the House did not, and the tangled mess goes on. The frequency and severity of incidents are increasing. Perhaps the governor could research how many of out-of-state libraries have processes to regulate access.
Shirley B. Berardo
Schooner Bend Avenue
Change for worse
Before becoming president, Barack Obama promised to "fundamentally transform America." Serious problems exist at our borders and across the globe. With an anemic economy at home and a world in turmoil, "transformation" has not been good for America.
Since assuming power, Obama has been indifferent to American exceptionalism. On the "2009 apology tour," he apologized to foreign leaders for U.S. involvement in foreign affairs.
His decision to lead from behind was a transformative decision to downsize America's power and influence. Predictably, the resulting vacuum has emboldened our enemies.
Domestically, "hope and change" morphed into a progressive agenda driven by an imperial presidency. Historically, severe U.S. recessions have been short in duration and sharp in recovery.
After six years of collectivism and central planning, the economy is experiencing the weakest post-recession recovery in modern history; the first quarter of this year, it actually shrank 3 percent.
Wages have fallen while the unemployment rate is high. In fact, thanks to draconian regulations, high taxes, crony capitalism, and an abundance of work disincentives, the labor participation rate is the lowest in 36 years.
But hey, not to worry; the nation is blessed with a rogue president, Veterans Affairs look-alike health care, an invasion of illegal immigrants and a welfare system we can't afford.
Ignoring the nation's heritage, the left has become insular and indifferent to facts and socially accepted norms that conflict with its objectives. Jonathan Turley, constitutional law professor and well-known liberal, testified before Congress that Obama has repeatedly violated the Constitution.
Driven by his leadership, the Democratic Party is intolerant of different points of view, readily crushes dissent, disregards the law at will, and believes the Constitution is obsolete.
It's clear that "transformation" has taken its toll. Despite Obama's aspirations for progressive greatness, it's equally clear that his presidency is a colossal failure.
In 238 years we have managed to create the world's leading economy, remain a bastion of freedom and liberty, and still enjoy whatever benefits there might still be from having the strongest military in the world.
We face threats that are global in scope, threats we never imagined 38 years ago, much less 238 years. With all of our economic and military might, we seem powerless to help shape world events and protect our vital interests.
I believe it is part of a gradual decline in the respect we have for the people we elect to represent us and their lack of respect for each other.
I always thought it was right to respect the office of the president whether I liked the person or not, and I expected the same from others. No more.
We are witnessing a growing lack of respect for our institutions that we celebrate so openly and patriotically. We cheer for liberty and freedom, then we go about systematically limiting both for certain parts of our society: laws to oppose same sex unions, limit a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body, and voting for restrictions and gerrymandering that ensure the "right" people are elected (and re-elected).
We no longer have any concept of "loyal opposition"; it's just "no" to whatever the other side wants. We no longer expect compromise; we simply accept that "it's one way or the other," no middle ground.
We no longer trust each other. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. We have all but extinguished the middle class and the "American Dream" that things will be better for the next generation.
What does that say about us as a people? Have we lost the work ethic that was critical to our economic success? Have we lost the inventiveness, the will, the imagination? Have we lost the ability to elect smart people who have our best interests as a nation and a people at heart? Or are we just plain lost?
Seabrook Island Road
The frustrations that Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has caused James Islanders will never be forgotten, but need not be reiterated here.
To the contrary, I rush to commend the mayor for publicly confronting BlueCross/Blue Shield for its latest "financially self-serving" actions that are so "highly detrimental" to its customers.
But ordinary people of good will (a group in which I aspire to be counted) can take heart, because behind the dark cloud of the medical insurance industry there is a silver lining:
The health care crisis in America is nearing a tipping point; soon there will be no sane alternative to adoption of a single-payer system such as serves most of the civilized world very well.
Rhetorical question for BlueCross/BlueShield of South Carolina:
How many millions of the people's hard-earned dollars will be enough for you?
James Island Public Service District