Inside the Beltway: Obamacare lost in translation

Gentlemen, start your engines and let the FOIAs begin. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus already has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services asking for information on the number of Americans who have enrolled in Obamacare. Now comes another request, with an interesting demand.

“Taxpayers have a right to know the foreign language translation costs related to President Obama’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act — especially in light of the spectacular failure of the telephone hotline and healthcare.gov website which includes a Spanish-only version,” says Robert Vandervoort, executive director of ProEnglish, an organization which advocates making English the official language of government operations.

The group has asked for all records concerning the use of government translation funds for the Affordable Care Act.

“The Obamacare law is already an expensive entitlement and now we learn that translators in 150 languages were commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services for the rollout as well for a Spanish-language website which initially failed to work. What is this costing taxpayers? Why is Obama spending whopping amounts of taxpayer dollars promoting immigrant dependency and multiculturalism?” Mr. Vandervoort asks.

“Providing foreign language services simply caters to activist-led ethnic interest groups who have a stake in keeping immigrants isolated and alienated, while in the process diluting America’s English language heritage,” he adds.

There have been other requests for information, meanwhile. Judicial Watch has sued the Department of Health and Human Services on four occasions, seeking documents related to taxpayer funds used to promote Obamacare, coverage waivers and records of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan’s role in discussions about the health care law while she served as Mr. Obama’s solicitor general.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Air Angels Drone”

— Hobby drone now sold in the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals gift catalog, priced at $324.

“Using your hobby drone, you can collect instant to-your-phone video footage of hunters engaging in illegal activity, such as drinking while in possession of a firearm, injuring animals and failing to pursue them, and illegally using spotlights, feed lures and other nasty but common hunting tricks,” the advocacy group advises prospective buyers. “Your amateur footage can be used to alert game wardens and other authorities to who is doing what to animals.”

ASSASSINATION ITEMS UP FOR BID

The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination is a month off. Still, 290 items of Kennedy memorabilia go up on the auction block at noon Thursday. They include three pickets from a fence that stood on the infamous “grassy knoll” site in Dallas, plus the very window that Lee Harvey Oswald took aim from when he shot the president. The glass-encased artifact is deemed “the controversial and extremely historically important Texas School Book Depository sixth-floor corner window,” by RR Auction, which has organized the sale.

Also up for bid: Oswald’s wedding ring and his official Dallas Police Department mugshot, nightclub owner Jack Ruby’s jaunty hat he wore when he shot Oswald, plus many personal items of the slain president. They include an unsmoked La Azora cigar still in a cellophane wrapper, his personal rosary, a lock of hair once collected by a barber and even a limousine from the White House motorpool.

The bulletproof, black 1960 Continental Mark V6 limo has beige leather interior and “a very uncommon two-way telephone in the back seat,” the auction house says.

HUNKERED DOWN FOR SHUTDOWN

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