Greenpeace now has cloud computing in its crosshairs. If you ever wondered why the huge data centers were being built as close as possible to large hydro plants, now you know—cloud computing is an energy hog. Expect to hear more about this going forward. It will be interesting to see if green groups try to demonize the high-tech industry the way they’ve demonized coal and other fossil fuel firms.-- Nick Shultz
Got to comment: yeah, guys, much better to distribute that power among a million old servers in air-conditioned data centers powered by a variety of sources.
I appreciate blog friend tg's thoughtful comments in defense of our 26th President and invite everybody to read them before they fall off the page.
Shelby Steele has an interesting piece on the WSJ Ed Page today on President Obama. Steele speculates that "He is likely to be the most liberal president in American history. And, oddly, he may be a more effective liberal precisely because his liberalism is something he uses more than he believes in. As the far left constantly reminds us, he is not really a true believer. Rather liberalism is his ticket to grandiosity and to historical significance."
Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln opened the door to expanded executive power and any believer in limited government and separation of powers needs to weigh this -- substantively -- against their achievements.
But I am going to draw the line from TR Progressivism to Obama Progressivism with this quote from Steele:
Of the two great societal goals—freedom and "the good"—freedom requires a conservatism, a discipline of principles over the good, limited government, and so on. No way to grandiosity here. But today's liberalism is focused on "the good" more than on freedom. And ideas of "the good" are often a license to transgress democratic principles in order to reach social justice or to achieve more equality or to lessen suffering. The great political advantage of modern liberalism is its offer of license on the one hand and moral innocence—if not superiority—on the other. Liberalism lets you force people to buy health insurance and feel morally superior as you do it. Power and innocence at the same time.
My friend is absolutely correct that much of President Obama's agenda would be anathema to President Theodore Roosevelt. But that paragraph portrays both men perfectly.
I heard this this morning on TeeVee and almost fell out of bed. Senator John McCain is demanding National Guard troops on the border.
We all have a few things about Senator McCain that drive us completely mad. One thing that I always appreciated was his "Profile in Courage" to stand up for what I think to be the right position on immigration. He took an unpopular, minority position and stood up to an extremely vocal wing of his party, because he thought it was right.
He watered his position a bit for the GOP nomination, but that is politics and I remained on-board. Now Stacy McCain accuses him of "Get[ting] in Touch With His Inner Tom Tancredo" in advance of a primary challenge from Rep J.D. Hayworth.
Yeah, and we know that John McCain is sincere about his newfound border-security concerns, right? All that stuff a few years ago calling his critics hatemongering xenophobes – just kiddin’ guys, hahaha.
I'm the lonesome guy on immigration round these parts, but I invite ThreeSourcers to look at the ability to stand for principle and not the principle itself.
I am truly disgusted and feel, for the first time, that Brother jg is perhaps right that we are better of having had President Obama win the 2008 election.
The president is "frustrated" that Republicans did not support these ideas that they had actually proposed in the past.
Mister president, have you forgotten that the Republicans were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR THE POLICIES THEY PROPOSED IN THE PAST? Instead of trying to please congressional Republicans, try pleasing the voters.
Joe Bastardi, for example, a senior forecaster and meteorologist with AccuWeather, maintains that it is more likely that the planet is cooling, and he distrusts the data put forward by climate scientists as evidence for rising global temperatures.
“There is a great deal of consternation among a lot of us over the readjustment of data that is going on and some of the portrayals that we are seeing,” Mr. Bastardi said in a video segment posted recently on AccuWeather’s Web site.
I'm linking 'cause I like the guy's name. Wonder if any of the DAWG-promoters have a nickname for Mister Bastardi...
Hat-tip: Instapundit (I thought I should throw a link back).
I’m not usually this petty, but every time I see a link to another piece by Megan McArdle in which she (correctly) calls out the Dems on deficits, accounting rules, Obamacare, etc., I have to grit my teeth to prevent myself from yelling at the screen, “But you voted for him! You and every other sentient being on the planet should have seen this coming!”
I can respect the true believers in Obama. After all, they have their agenda.
But I cannot abide those who act like they were duped. The only people who were duped by Obama were those who wanted to be duped.
I have taken heat for my appreciation of Ms. McArdle. but I must confess I have lost some tooth enamel over that as well, Brent.
I'm willing to take correction from my economic betters on this, but this concern from Charles Schwab strikes me as -- what's the economic term? -- whacked.
Today's historically low interest rates may be feeding banks' profitability, but they are financially starving our seniors.
In February 2006, when Ben Bernanke was first sworn in as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the federal-funds target rate stood at 4.5%. That same year, the average yield on a one-year certificate of deposit was 5.4%. A retiree who diligently saved for a lifetime and had amassed a nest egg of $100,000 could count on an added $5,400 in retirement income per year. That may not sound like much to the average Wall Street Journal subscriber, but for a senior on fixed incomes that extra money improved the quality of his life.
I hate to beat up on the seniors as the Obama Administration beats up on the Juniors, but is this a rational consideration for monetary policy?
I suspect not. The FOMC already suffers from the dual mandate of inflation protection and employment (Mister Phillips, call your office!) I think that badly damages the former. Trichet only has to worry about the soundness of the Euro (and Greece, and Portugal, but you get my drift...)
I don't think it is the duty of the Fed to ensure the return on fixed income securities -- am I missing something?
President Barack Obama's new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% "Medicare tax" on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000.
The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions.
Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes.
It won't work. It never works.
Alan Reynolds, in a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, goes on to enumerate the steps earners would take to escape taxes. I don't think it is widely known or accepted just how fungible and controllable taxable income is in the brackets targeted by tax-the-rich-ers.
I could increase my 401k deductions a little or perhaps quit my development gig and live off my blogging and coffeehouse revenue. But I am not yet in the bracket the Obama Administration is targeting. Yes, I know, they'll come looking for me soon enough, but there is some level of honest but misguided sentiment that only folks much more affluent than me will pick up the tab for social programs.
Reynolds -- I'll plug his magisterial Income and Wealth one more time -- shows how many tools are at the disposal of this taxpayer echelon.
"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said [Really Smart Human James] Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."
One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."
Non-James-Lovelock humans are " too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades." Thank Zeus that the 90-year-old super genius is willing to step into the breach and run the world for awhile.
I just wish some people had a knob on them that you could turn down. I have seen a few videos from this guy, Jason Mattera, and they are close to genius. His MO is to complement a legislator as he/she passes in the hallway. Target immediately shifts to "accept fawning" mode and is completely unprepared for a tough question. It's Brilliant!
And yet, Mattera needs a knob to dial him back from 11 to eight. He is completely out of line to refer to a (sortof) elected member of the US Senate as "Senator Smalley." That is out of line, plus Senator Franken has valid points on both his opportunity to answer the question as well as possible misrepresentation of the bill's contents.
Ouch -- I am scoring this 2-0 for Senator Franken who may not be "Minnesota Nice" but is certainly not "unhinged."
Once again, ThreeSources provides the unexpected. Well, Arnold Kling provides it. And Volkh links. To which Instapundit links...
Yet if I understand the spirit of Kibbutz correctly, I have every right to reproduce Kling's "If a Libertarian Gave a Sermon for Passover."
As we approach Passover in 2010, many people are unemployed. But in a free society, government does not create jobs.
Pharoah created jobs for us. Moses led us away from those jobs. Even though those jobs helped to complete public infrastructure. Even though they were green jobs, where we used our muscles and our backs instead of fossil fuels.
Moses could have been part of the ruling class in Egypt. He chose freedom instead. Those of us who followed Moses also chose freedom. Freedom brings risks. But we preferred the risks of freedom to the security of bondage.
Do not confuse government with G-d. Government cannot miraculously provide us with manna--or health care. When we look at government, we should not see G-d. We should see Pharoah. Government-worship is Pharoah-worship.
Passover is known as the festival of freedom. To live in the Jerusalem of a free society, we have to leave the Egypt of the reach of government.
Amen and happy Passover/Easter/Equinox/Whatever.
This is an awesome answer to my Facebook friends' goofy paean to government.
"At the time I became President I had grown to feel --antri deep intensity of conviction that governmental agencies must find their justification largely in the way in which they are used for the practical betterment of living and working conditions among the mass of the people. I felt that the fight was really for the abolition of privilege; and one of the first stages in the battle was necessarily to fight for the rights of he workingman. For this reason I felt most strongly that all that the government could do in the interest of labor should be done. The Federal Government can rarely act with the directness that the State governments act. It can, however, do a good deal." -- Theodore Roosevelt (autobiography)
Chew on that a moment, ThreeSourcers. I just finished President Theodore Roosevelt's autobiography. I recommend it highly and it is available free on Google Books (I have a SONY eReader that displays Google Books -- you could also read onscreen).
We had words once about TR. I had a pretty negative opinion based mostly on Gene Healy's The Cult of the Presidency and Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Reading through the presidents, I have tried, where I have a strong opinion, to read at least one book from the other side. So for TR I read his autobiography, William Roscoe Thayer's highly complimentary autobiography and I am partway through TR's "Through the Brazilian Wilderness."
It is impossible to not appreciate his patriotism, integrity, and the intensity of his personality. One can quickly see why Senator McCain and Governor Charlie Christ call themselves "Teddy Roosevelt Republicans." He truly looms larger than life: his Rushmore image.
He addresses accusations of executive overreach. He claims correctly that he represents the "Jackson-Lincoln" view of executive power. In a masterful, world class display of spin, he refers to objectors as the "Taft-Buchannan" view of Executive Power. Me = Lincoln, Jackson; Taft = Buchannan.
And yet -- for all my appreciation -- I see him not as much a continuation of Lincoln-Jackson but more as a precursor to Wilson-FDR-LBJ-Obama. He turns the Tenth Amendment on its ass like some rhino he has shot in his pajamas:
in such cases it is the duty of the President to act trppii tin theuiy llial he'is Llie steward of the people, aficHftatlhfe' proper aTT.itildeJtM>-4nm^to take is that haTfe bptinci"to"assume that he has the ]epa1 right to do whatever the needjTbf the people demand, unless the Constitution or the laws explicitlv torhirt him To do it
Google Books are scanned and occasionally wig out like this. It is rare that it is that bad. I did not want to cleanse it and change the actual quote -- but I think you all get the drift. He looks to the Constitution for a list of enumerated proscriptions -- and, not finding it, carries boldly on.
As you can imagine, much ink is devoted to trust-busting. The Sherman Antitrust act was turned over in US v EC Knight but President Roosevelt forced an almost identical case through a year later and got it overturned.
I'll even cede that TR and his administration may have been in the right on some of their forays against the right to contract. But he did not see what his philosophical heirs would do 100 years later. Clinton's DOJ's attack on Microsoft, the impedance on the Sirius-XM merger, &c.
The list goes on and on. Today you can add DuPont vs. Monsanto. In case you are wondering which one of the adjudicants is "the little guy," that would be DuPont. Poor fledgling child that it is, it requires gub'mint help to stop Monsanto's monopolistic practices. As Dave Berry would say, I am not making this up. The WSJ Ed Page points out that the Obama Administration is on the case:
In fact, DuPont holds a slight edge in soybean seed sales, and each company represents about one-quarter of the soybean seed market. Competition is strong in the seed industry, where Monsanto lost market share as a result of its decision to license its soybean technology to other seed producers.
But Ms. [Christine] Varney, the Justice antitrust chief, has her eye on bigger things. She once worked to organize farm workers and she has said that Justice's Iowa workshops were inspired by her concern that the Bush Administration had allowed too many mergers across the farm industry, creating a culture of Big Agriculture that is bad for America. Besides this litigation, the Justice Department recently filed suit in Wisconsin to prevent further "consolidation" in dairy processing. The livestock industry, which is dominated by a handful of major producers and was another hot topic at the Iowa workshops, could be next.
Had Mister Roosevelt left things to property rights and market forces, the ills he fought would have worked themselves out through unions, state regulations, and consumer preference. By creating a government panel for Ms. Varney and Ag Chief Tom Vilsak to sit on, this insane charade continues unabated,
You used to hear serious people say "all the cool stuff has been invented." Thankfully, that statement has lost currency. All the same, I have to call "whoa! cool!" on this. Jeepers.
At the DEMO conference in Palm Springs, CA, today, the company's executives announced a new technology called QuantumFilm that lets small camera sensors, like those in cell phones, capture more light than ever before. QuantumFilm is simply a layer of quantum dots--tiny crystals that efficiently absorb light and emit either photons or electrons--in a top layer of the sensor. The electrons emitted by QuantumFilm are collected and sorted the chip's circuitry.
The result is a sensor that collects twice the light of the standard chip, converts it to electricity twice as efficiently, and is just as cheap to make, says Ted Sargent, chief technology officer of InVisage and professor of electrical and computer engineering and the University of Toronto, where the early research for QuantumFilm began. "Silicon image sensors have a really severe problem in that they just throw away photons left right and center," says Sargent. Quantum dots, he says, provide a "fundamental solution to the problem."
Roughly a year after inauguration of America's most radically leftist president in history, in the wake of a year of grassroots outrage popularly monikered TEA Parties, a pair of "documentary filmmakers and political activists" formed "an alternative to the Tea Party Movement" - the "Coffee Party USA."
By failing to notice the capitalization of all three letters in the word TEA the authors of the linked Wikipedia entry, and likely the Coffee Party USA organizers themselves, fail to recognize that the TEA Party phenomenon is not just about dumping tea into a metaphorical government harbor - it's about being Taxed Enough, Already!
But it isn't just the name that Coffee Statists have wrong, it's the philosophy.
Its mission states that it is based on the underlying principle that the government is "not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans."
TEA Partiers participate in the democratic process but since there is no such thing as "collective will" outside the writings of Karl Marx they seek to address the challenges we face as individual Americans. Today, more than ever before, productive Americans are challenged by a government that forcibly confiscates individual earnings in the name of "helping the people." Unfortunately, they do the former much more efficiently than the latter.
So what does COFFEE stand for? While waiting for the founders to enlighten us we can at least offer our own interpretations. Mine is 'Confiscate Ownership Freedom From Every Entrepreneur.'
Like my celebration of Earth Hour last year, this year I will again demonstrate my "awareness" of the global warming hoax by making sure that my house is visible from space. At 8:30 this evening, every light in my house will be ablaze for one hour.
Celebrate civilization. Celebrate humanity. Turn on all your lights at 8:30 tonight.
Usually I can let people be stupid if it does not affect me (good capacity for a libertarian). This drives me up the wall! Lights will be a-blazin' at the little grass condo shack.
Investors.com editorial page explains how national health bills have been repealed in the past and can be again.
Once before there were "angry mobs" reacting to government expansion of and into health care. They once greeted former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski over the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, which expanded Medicare benefits and funded it with a supplemental tax.
Unlike the current legislation, which was barely passed through a combination of deals such as the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase (along with a worthless executive order on federal funding of abortion services), the earlier bill passed the House in June 1988 by a vote of 328-72. It passed the Senate by 86-11.
In a precursor to the Tea Party movement, the natives, particularly seniors, rebelled over its provisions and the supplemental tax.
Legislation to repeal was introduced in the House on Nov. 7, 1989, and passed by a voice vote.
There's still time for repeal. House Minority Leader John Boehner says the election of a Republican House and Senate in 2010 would make possible the de-funding of ObamaCare. A victory at the presidential level in 2012 would seal the deal.
It can be done. It has been done. It must be done. To paraphrase Joe Biden, it's a big deal.
The Israeli prime minister arrived at the White House on Tuesday evening brimming with confidence that the worst of the crisis in his country's relationship with the United States was over.
Over the previous two days, he had been feted by senior Republicans and greeted warmly by members of Congress. He had also received a standing ovation from the American Israel Public Affairs Affairs Committee, one of the most influential lobby groups in the United States.
But Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. He immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.
When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls."
As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Mr Obama is quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. "Let me know if there is anything new."
For people who like to think of themselves in ideological, rather than party-based, political terms, ObamaCare is a hard lesson. When push comes to shove, political parties matter, quite a bit. Any Republican who, say, voted for Jim Webb as a sensible, hard-nosed Democrat over George Allen, a bumbling, embarrassment of a Republican, is now confronted with the stern truth about the power of parties. To paraphrase the great Midge Decter, at the end of the day you have to join the side you're on.
I hear the pragmatism theme song swelling up in the background...
I'd be unpleasant enough to suggest that Libertarians in Montana gave us Jon Tester. The Organic Farmer beat Incumbent Senator Conrad Burns by less than 4000 votes, and Libertarian Stan Jones got 10,377.
Not that one Senator would have made much of a diff -- no, wait...
I thought 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night in Washington was the Republican Party's finest hour in a long time. When the voting stopped, the screen said the number of Republicans voting for Mr. Obama's bill was zero. Not one. Nobody. -- Dan Henninger
We had a little scrap around here last week about Bill O'Reilly. I easily got a couple of his watchers to admit that he lacked philosophical consistency. But it was implied that there was such a paucity of consistent ones in the public, maybe we were asking too much.
I've been cataloging those in my mind since then that I would offer as exceptions. John Stossel came to mind. Penn Jilette, Paul Gigot. Larry Kudlow can go down some side streets, but it falls into a rational pattern.
Today, I have the one I will bank my hopes on. Ms. Virginia Postrel. I was a huge fan of her "Substance of Style." "The Future and its Enemies" had me at the title's homage to Dr, Popper and the bits inside did not disappoint. She brings her Reason-Magazine theory to design, structure, politics, and now medicine.
She has a cover story for Weekly Standard on Glamour. It's cover-story-length, but well worth a read in full.
The word originally meant a literal magic spell, which made the viewer see something that wasn’t there. In its modern, metaphorical form, glamour usually begins with a stylized image—visual or mental—of a person, an object, an event, or a setting. The image is not entirely false, but it is misleading. Its allure depends on obscuring or ignoring some details while heightening others. We see the dance but not the rehearsals, the stiletto heels but not the blisters, the skyline but not the dirty streets, the sports car but not the gas pump. To sustain the illusion, glamour requires an element of mystery. It is not transparent or opaque but translucent, inviting just enough familiarity to engage the imagination and trigger the viewer’s own fantasies.
Glamour can, of course, sell evening gowns, vacation packages, and luxury kitchens. But it can also promote moon shots and “green jobs,” urban renewal schemes and military action. (The “glamour of battle” long preceded the glamour of Hollywood.) Californians once found freeways glamorous; today they thrill to promises of high-speed rail. “Terror is glamour,” said Salman Rushdie in a 2006 interview, identifying the inspiration of jihadi terrorists. New Soviet Man was a glamorous concept. So is the American Dream.
Glamour, in short, is serious stuff. It can alter life plans, even change history.
Three Sourcers with exceptional memories may recall an election-era comment in which The Refugee questioned a Jewish friend's fealty to Obama. Her reply was that Obama was fully committed to support and defend Israel - after all, he said so. The Refugee has not heard from her lately, but wonders if she is starting to evaluate Obama's words versus his action.
The Refugee postulates that Obama's recent over-reaction to the Jerusalem settlement-building flap is the building of a case to cut Israel loose. By trumping up a case against Israel, Obama can justify failure to confront Iran and failure to act in defense of Israel when Iran inevitably attacks, or failure to assist Israel should it feel the need to pre-emptively strike. Conspiracy theory? Maybe, but just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.
Victor Davis Hanson pens a great piece in today's NRO, worthy of the full read. He does not come to the same conspiracy theory as The Refugee, but his conclusion has the same result.
So we are watching unfold a sort of Chicago-style Realpolitik, flavored with the traditional academic leftist disdain for the Jewish state. The subsequent result is not so much a cut-off of U.S. aid as a subtle shift in perception abroad: Israel’s multiple enemies now are almost giddy in sensing that America is not all that into protecting the Jewish state, intellectually or morally.
When Israel's enemies believe that it stands alone, they will not hesitate to once again attempt to annihilate it. Let's hope the IDF has a Joshua or a David in its ranks. The bible has no heroes named Barack.
I'm going to add Congressional threats to the list.
A rational person wants to accept that things are possible and allow them to play out. But in our media world, the truth is hitchin' up her drawers when the lie is being served pretzels on the 218 to Cleveland.
Ergo, I am demanding that a person who claims on TeeVee news to be threatened provide some proof. It's a startling charge to make that somebody is threatening you. And serious charges should be accompanied with evidence.
Brother Johngalt's Congressperson has asked for police protection after receiving two threats. One was not divulged, the other was "hope you don't see me in a dark alley." Is that a threat? Ill-advised certainly, but I would call that a playground taunt.
But not to the political geniuses on FOX31's Good Morning Colorado. The TEA Partiers have gone nuts! Lock up the children! With background footage of anti-Obama signs at the TEA parties, the newsfolk intone that "Politics has become even uglier in Washington, and the violence has now spread to Colorado!" The spitting and racial slurs incident was presented as fact even though there is no corroborating evidence with 100 video cameras rolling.
There was some vandalism that looked real enough. An Arizona Congresswoman's door was shot out and a Democratic headquarters had windows broken. But we had that in Denver for the DNC -- and it ended up being a Democrat. Sure there are some nuts out there, but many are disciples of Saul Alinsky and not Art Laffer. Michael Walsh at BigJournalism smells the same acrid odor. Walsh provides several examples and offers suggestions for his buddies in the MSM:
There are two sides to every story — and it’s your job to find the truth between them. Tempers are already too frayed, the tinder too dry. The country does not need you, my former colleagues at Time and elsewhere, to supply the match. You’re the firemen, not the arsonists.
Unless, of course, you’ve already chosen up sides.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse out-of-thepark hits it.(HT: Insty)
I really want to know the details about this one. Who did it and why? Let me see the photographs. I want to know all about it. I don't like the home addresses being posted on line, and I don't like even peaceful protests at any individual's house. I can see why you'd be upset that your address is known. But anyone could commit an act of vandalism (including dirty tricksters on the Democrat's side). Is the press following up about what, exactly, happened? Or are they complacently passing this story on to be used to propagate the violence meme?
Y'all glazed over when I railed against Raich v Gonzales, and its evil ancestor Wickard v Filburn. But David Kopel cites them as precedent that might uphold the penumbral constitutionality of a health insurance mandate:
One source of the impending constitutional challenge to the Obamacare mandate is that [it] exceeds the enumerated powers granted to Congress under Article I, section 8. For example, that the people's grant to power to Congress to regulate commerce among the several states does not include the power to compel people to engage in commerce. [Yale Prof.] Jack Balkin, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, has two responses: 1. Yes it does, because of [the precedents in] Wickard and Raich, since people without insurance will eventually get sick and then buy health services; and allowing these people to buy health services outside the congressional system would undermine the congressional regulation. 2. The mandate is structured as a tax.
Americans today are not bound to meekly accept the most far-ranging assertions of congressional power based on large extrapolations from Supreme Court cases that themselves come from a short period (the late 1930s and early 1940s) when the Court was more supine and submissive to claims about centralized power than was any other Supreme Court before or after in our history.
Yeah, call Angel Raich -- ask her how that worked out.
Don't let the health care monstrosity take your eye off all the other really bad things.
Kudlow has been talking about this -- and no, it is not unrelated. But we live in interesting times. The "full faith and credit" of the United States has been supplanted in importance by the "full faith and credit" of one Warren Buffett. Professor Mankiw links to Bloomberg:
The bond market is saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama.
Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market.
These are exceedingly rare times. Only a fool bets against the bond traders.
Click through to Mankiw for more intelligent commentary and a bonus Paul Krugman whack.
The White House and Congressional Democrats are intensifying efforts to pass their financial regulatory overhaul, buoyed by the enactment of health-care legislation and an acknowledgment by some top Republicans that the initiative is likely to pass.
I'm going to try and take the advice of two very smart people. Nicholas Nassim Taleb suggested, in The Black Swan, that everybody [jk] should read more books and less news. A good friend of mine and this blog sent a private email suggesting that my jest of "putting down the keyboard" was actually a pretty good idea.
My work has me wired in and using three Internet connected computers, so I won't stop hitting F5 on ThreeSources, but in that spirit I did decide that the best reaction to my liberty-ignoring friends was no reaction.
Another good friend who has right to be far more disappointed than me pointed out the folly of repeal. "We're gonna take away your free stuff" is not really a campaign winner. ObamaCare is here to stay, All we can do [close your ears ThreeSourcers, he's gonna say it again] is fight at the margins.
It's a Brave, New, Darkly Dystopian world -- and Soma® isn't even legal.
AND YET, I still have to link to Holman Jenkins's outstanding editorial today "Now Can We Have Health Care Reform?"
We'll let Angela Braly, CEO of insurer WellPoint, take the story from here. She was recently hauled before Congress to justify her company's proposed 39% rate hike in California. She explained the source was two-fold: rising medical costs and healthier customers dropping their coverage, forcing the sick to pick up the tab.
Now this sounds like two problems, but for WellPoint and other insurers it's really only one problem. Once everyone is required by government mandate to buy insurance, the industry's survival is no longer threatened: It can just pass its skyrocketing costs along to customers.
Once customers can no longer refuse to buy the industry's product, the problem of costs won't be fixed, but it no longer is the insurance industry's problem.
There, in that one sentence, we give you the failure of ObamaCare, the failure of the congressional health-care debate, the failure of health-care politics in this country.
He ends with a dare for us to open our hospital. Judging from my email, a lot of health professionals are ready to join us:
A world-class hospital in India does heart surgery the equal of any heart surgery in America, but does so at one-tenth the cost (and increasingly attracts a world-wide clientele). The reason is not what you think: low-paid doctors and nurses. The reason is that competition works in medicine as it does in everything else when the patient cares about getting value for money. This is the great low-hanging fruit of health-care reform. It continues to hang.
Haw about a little energy scarecrow? I'm sick of health care.
I saw this on a Stossel clip on Hulu and meant to ask the ThreeSources' cognoscente about it. Stossel has a blog post about it today. Key 'graph:
I thought that nuclear power is a wonderful underutilized energy source, hampered only by idiots who believe the scaremongering pushed by the likes of Jane Fonda and The China Syndrome. After all, France gets 80% of its electricity from the atom, and they handle the nuclear waste without a problem.
But Cato Institute energy analyst Jerry Taylor set me straight. Yes, the waste is manageable, he says, but affordable nuclear power is a Republican energy myth: “Take a Republican speech on energy and cross out nuclear, replace with wind and solar…and you’ve got a Nancy Pelosi speech on energy. Exact same thing.
I won't say Cato is never wrong, but I am disinclined to say that he's nuts on this.
Just as the housing bubble can be traced to the Community Reinvestment Act, the American health care 'crisis' can be traced to EMTALA. This act, part of the 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is the origin of the treatment-on-demand mandate on American hospitals. The stick that makes hospitals comply is continued receipt of Medicare reimbursements. So why can't a private hospital choose to stop treating Medicare patients and, as an added bonus, indigent patients?
As with the CRA, EMTALA was made worse by subsequent amendments. Like this one:
"Though patients treated under EMTALA may or may not be able to pay or have insurance or other programs pay for the associated costs, they are legally responsible for any costs incurred as a result of their care under civil law. Patients whose advance intention it is to receive medical care and fail to pay cannot be held criminally liable unless they intentionally and knowingly provide false identifying information to dodge billing."
And yet, as amended...
"The patient cannot receive a negative credit mark for failure to pay the hospital or any related services, or any third-party agent collecting on their behalf."
All my lefty friends are fawning over this on Facebook
This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
I watched this while eating breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food. At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory. I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve bank.
On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to send via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school. After work, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to a house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.
I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.
They cannot fathom anything's being done without government.
731,000 strokes occur annually. My doctor bills were close to three quarters of a million dollars. Some stroke are not as bad and some are worse. this is only a small thing add in cancer, heart disease.
We were adults and we made sure we were covered( thank you john!!!) We had the best care, We did fine and are still doing okay.
I worry about next 731,000 people. I was lucky I had my stroke before obama care. I still have things thst need to need to be paid for. I can not walk with out my lyrica. It's about 2 hundred a month.
This is reality. not a magic wand that the dems thinks they can wave to make my healtrh stuff go way.
P.S. I am not a pre-existing condition, neither is John
What do I want from the goverment. I want them to leave me alone? I don't want to pay for other peoples health care. Nor do I want to be forced to have health care, or pay a penelty to the IRS
Where are all the adults in this mess? in the republican party, at the tea parties.
Am I mad? No mad is to mild a word. Dissapointed? also to mild. asthma is not a pre-existimng condition. a stroke. yes!! Have I been denied health care? No, Not yet.
Thanks for listening!!! Riza
I do have a Johnny Mercer tune queued up for the virtual coffeehouse on Thursday, but it is not "Fools Rush In."
I am going to foolishly rush in, however, on the TEA Party contretemps of the day. It is alleged that an African American Congressman was spat on and called a name last Sunday as he walked through a crowd of protesters who opposed the health care reform bill.
Curiously, this happened in the midst of hundreds of video cameras and none captured anything untoward. Dana Loesch offers video that she claims debunks the accusation. Not that there is really an accusation. A reporter claims to have heard the N-word.
I am glad for a certain sensitivity, but Merciful Zeus, when did we become so fragile?
I offer a racial slur I do believe happened. In the land of free health care, the peaceful march of a group of "Thirty women walking with gladiolas" was broken up by the Castro Government.
Wednesday's procession—one of seven days of protest to mark the anniversary of the mass arrests—included the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the 42-year-old human rights activist who died in a Cuban prison last month. Reina Tamayo is becoming something of a national icon, and she described her Wednesday experience this way to the Cuban Democratic Directorate in Miami:
"They dragged me, I am all bruised. They beat me. They called me a [racial slur; she is black]. They will know this mother's pain. When I get to my home town of Banes in my home province of Holguin they will have to bury me with my son. But my people will remember me. They will remember me. . . . The Castro brothers cannot be forgiven. They cannot be forgiven."
I’m truly sorry if a US Congressman was called a racial slur. But the key words are “U.S. Congressman.” I cannot compare it Reina Tamayo. Nobody can.
Jon Caldera is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the Colorado Constitution to protect health care choice.
We at the Independence Institute refuse to watch this atrocity corrode the quality of healthcare in Colorado. For months we have been at work bringing forward an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to preserve as a basic human right our “Right to Health Care Choice.” It is my goal to make Colorado a sanctuary state for quality healthcare.
This citizens’ initiative is very close to the petition stage. Soon we will need as many volunteer petition gatherers as possible. We will also need funding to wage this battle. I ask you, right now, to donate to our fight. I desperately need your talents, your time, and your resources to protect Colorado from this affront coming from DC. We can stop Washington.
Follow the links to read the amendment (in lovely, non-selectable PDF...)
My favorite story remains that President Madison, when brought a bill to finance internal improvements (Erie Canal, perhaps?) said "I cannot lay my finger on that part of the Constitution which gives me the authority to do this."
Y'know, I think -- even dead -- James Madison would be a better President than the recent crop. He is always rated low by historians. But historians typically do not appreciated enumerated powers nor limitations on Executive authority.
Got a link to complete this segue, jk, or are you just ramblin'? I got a link:
WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve issued new rules on Tuesday to protect Americans from getting stung by unexpected fees or restrictions on gift cards.
Free at last, free at last! Great God Almighty, service fees on my $25 Chili's gift card will be free at last!
UPDATE: Oh man, do not miss tg's link!. "The Good and Welfare Clause!" First laugh I have had since Sunday night, tg, Though...you;re right...it's really not funny...
-- I am proud of the GOP
-- I am proud of my State:
DENVER (AP) — Colorado is joining at least nine other states in suing to block federal health care legislation.
Republican Attorney General John Suthers said Monday he will join the suit, despite the objections of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.
Suthers said the bill's requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or be subject to fines is an unconstitutional expansion of the federal government's powers. He says Congress has the right to control interstate commerce but can't force people to participate in commerce.
Suthers said his decision isn't politically motivated. Republican state lawmakers urged him to join the lawsuit earlier in the day but Suthers said he didn't meet with them to reach his decision.
The editors of National Review sensibly counsel conservatives, in the wake of last night’s victory for Obamacare: “‘Nil desperandum’--never despair.” I agree, though I’m more inclined to the mock-Latin motto of the Harvard band: “Illegitimi non carborundum”--don't let the bastards get you down. -- Bill Kristol
DISCLAIMER: This is an anecdote, and as such proves nothing. Unless you're the president or the speaker of the House. -- Matt Welch, who did much to elect President Obama, yet is rewarded with QOTD honors on the darkest political day of my adult life.
Pretty sporting of me, huh? The short post is well worth a read.
"I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago," said Dr. Hendricks. "Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun.
I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but 'to serve.'
That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind - yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce.
Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it - and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't."
-- Ayn Rand, from Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957
I've never been prouder to be a Republican. The party's Congressional leaders have fought this battle to the end on behalf of the American people--with intelligence, toughness, persistence and good humor. The contrast between the parties has never been starker than in today's debate. If any intelligent Democrats were watching--there must be some left--they had to be embarrassed for their party.--John Hinderocker, looking for silver linings on a day of dark-ass clouds.
Beyond that, it's doubtful that opposition to the measure will ever again be as high as it is now. Fox News polling found that 45 percent of voters would favor repeal, while 47 percent say leave the reforms alone or add to them. With the big insurance subsidies years away, the initial changes stemming from the legislation would be relatively modest -- and that should come as a surprise to an American public told by Republican foes of the legislation to expect a socialist takeover of the United States.
There will certainly be ads this fall saying Republican Congressman X voted against tax breaks for small business and voted to deny Junior his life-saving treatments. These modest changes to the health system probably wouldn't be widespread and noticeable enough to limit Democratic losses at a time of 10 percent unemployment. But, at the very least, voters would see nothing to justify the Republicans' apocalyptic predictions.
Yet repeal still holds appeal, even to the likes of Mitt Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts created what the New Republic's Jonathan Chait calls "the closest thing to Obamacare in the United States." A poll by the Boston Globe and Harvard last fall found that only one in 10 Massachusetts residents favors a repeal of that program.
AP/OBAMA Newswire - "Medicare fix would push health care into the red"
Betsy Markey based her vote on the CBO deficit reduction number. Now AP (not the Washington Times, not the Heritage Foundation ... the 'in-the-tank, Associated Press) reports:
The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.
Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Markey and the entire Subvert Constitutional Procedure Caucus have been hailing deficit reduction as the justification for destroying the best part of Canada's health care system - the American system. Now this AP report, citing CBO blows that claim out of the water.
I'm really curious why our more liberal blog brothers been completely silent through all of this. Do they believe ObamaCare will cut the deficit, or do they think it's "benefits" are worth a bit more deficit spending?
This is cool! Tania Gail of PAWaterCooler.com is going to the Capitol rally today and she's posting live video clips to her website via cell phone. If you click on the image it links to her qik.com page which shows a google map of her location when the video was recorded.
11 minutes ago she posted this clip."Holy cow, people are coming!"
Professor Mankiw suggests a warning label for CBO scores:
In the discussion of out and out lies and gimmickry used to game the CBO numbers, both Larry Kudlow and Mankiw remind that the CBO by definition scores statically (their Laffer Curve is flat). They can score an increase in taxes to 110% as revenue and not account for any loss from people who would prefer not to pay to go to work every day.
Indeed, to be very wonkish about it, these tax changes could have especially large GDP effects. Some people like to argue that taxes have small GDP effects because income and substitution effects offset each other. But if you give someone a subsidy and then phase it out, both the income and substitution effects work in the direction of reducing work effort.
Why does CBO assume no change in GDP? It is not because the CBO staffers necessarily believe that result. Rather, it is just one of the conventions of budget scoring.
Those of us paying attention knew it was true, but now someone within the Democrat ranks has leaked proof:
“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR ["sustainable growth rate" for medicare reimbursements to doctors] repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.
The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.
And in the prior paragraph of the memo was this astonishingly honest statement:
"The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform's budget neutrality."
According to the Politico piece, SGR repeal would increase the deficit another $371 ba-billion.
Gee, it's a good thing Rep. Betsy Markey made sure that the CBO scored the legislation as "deficit reducing." I guess she didn't get the memo, addressed to "Democratic Health and Communications Staff."
Has there ever been a political spectacle like the final throes of ObamaCare? We can't recall one outside of a banana republic, or, more accurately, Woody Allen's 1971 classic "Bananas." Capitol Hill resembles nothing so much as that movie's farcical coup d'etat in San Marcos as Democrats try to assemble the partisan minimum of 216 House votes—if only for an hour or so at some point on Sunday—and no bribe is too costly, no deal too cynical, no last-minute rewrite too blatant.
Yesterday, Democrats defeated 222 to 203 a GOP resolution that would have required them to vote up-or-down on the text of the Senate's Christmas Eve bill. Big Labor hates that bill's tax on high-cost health coverage, and rank-and-file Members are so embarrassed by its kickbacks that Democrats are resorting to the procedural trick of "deeming" it passed instead. Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually told reporters this week that "nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill," but she'll do what it takes to impose it anyway.
The Commander in Chief even felt obliged to cancel his overseas trip so he could personally explain to Members why this Presidential legacy project is worth their defeat in November. Four separate workout sessions, including an Air Force One trip to hometown Cleveland, were enough to convert Dennis Kucinich. The supposedly principled Ohio liberal had opposed ObamaCare in the House's November vote because it still preserves a vestige of a private health-care industry. But a vast expansion of the welfare state as a consolation prize is now good enough for his government work.
That's only the start of the logrolling, if that's not an insult to logs. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on Tuesday that central California would get extra public water allocations. This was apparently the price for Democrats Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa to vote something other than their consciences. We will hear about many more in the coming days.
Also yesterday the white smoke rose up from the Congressional Budget Office, which released its cost estimates for the "reconciliation" bill and the sundry fixes without which Mrs. Pelosi can't deem the Senate bill passed. Democrats pre-emptively released the topline numbers, which by themselves took weeks of tweaking to game the CBO's accounting conventions and officially stay under $1 trillion in spending for 10 years. (The real cost over a decade once all the spending kicks in: $2.4 trillion.)
CBO Director Doug Elmendorf was thus obliged to release a "preliminary estimate," having "not thoroughly examined the legislative language." Mr. Elmendorf said at a hearing that his health-care staff members were close to burning out under "the almost round-the-clock schedule" of unrelenting Democratic demands about the budgetary effects of this or that provision. And all for a bill whose subsidies don't begin until 2014.
By the way, to make the deficit numbers "work," Democrats decided at the 11th hour to increase their new tax on investment income to 3.8% from 2.9%. Congratulations.
White House budget director Peter Orszag quickly declared that "The CBO score today should leave no doubt that we are operating in a new fiscal era," and no kidding. One thing the score also made clear, however, is that Mrs. Pelosi's reconciliation fixes could easily be blown to pieces in the Senate. While the Democratic strategy is already a wholesale abuse of the traditional reconciliation process, it now bids to violate the actual rules of reconciliation as well.
In a carom shot if there ever was one, the excise tax on gold-plated health coverage has received one last tweak. It is expected to fund ObamaCare as employees take more of their compensation in wages rather than health insurance, thus exposing more income to ordinary taxes. The House demand to delay that tax until 2018 from 2013 in the Senate bill—to appease the likes of AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who met one-on-one with Mr. Obama on Wednesday—therefore reduces Social Security payroll tax revenues. But reconciliation expressly forbids such changes to Social Security, and CBO says this change will drain some $53 billion from the program's trust fund.
Senate Republicans will therefore be entitled to raise a budget "point of order" against the entire reconciliation bill if it does arrive in the upper chamber. That will let them strip out the offending provision—which will offend the labor movement, to say the least—or even send the entire bill back to the House, forcing another round of agony on the gullible rank-and-file.
North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad admitted the risks yesterday, asking rhetorically if he expected that some GOP "challenges will be upheld? Yeah. I do." By the way, Mr. Conrad and his House North Dakota colleague Earl Pomeroy are getting a special provision that exempts a state-owned North Dakota bank from the unrelated private student loan takeover that Democrats have included as part of ObamaCare. That multibillion-dollar baby was added to further rig the budget numbers and win over conflicted Members.
Even the political panic over the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, amid an incipient financial collapse and a Presidential election, looks like regular order compared to this ObamaCare mayhem. That the White House and Mrs. Pelosi are still running into such resistance after a year of pleading reveals what an historic blunder ObamaCare really is.
This is what happens when a willful President and his party try to govern America from the ideological left, imposing a reckless expansion of the entitlement state that most Americans, and even dozens of Democrats in Congress, clearly despise.
Despite what meager effort I and my family and those I emailed in CO-4 could make, today's fake CBO report gave Betsy Markey the cover she wanted to commit political suicide in this traditionally conservative district. I hope voters remember the "Markey Mistake" for a long, long time.
Markey's decision to vote in favor of the bill will almost certainly become a dominant issue for Republicans as they try to oust her in November. Markey in 2008 became the first Democrat in 36 years to win the 4th Congressional District seat, and national Republicans have made ousting her a top priority this year.
Two recent polls released by business groups opposed to the Democrats' health care bill showed a majority of district residents were against the bill.
Markey said her decision to support the bill was about policy, not politics.
"I'm not a career politician and I've said this before, this is not a stepping stone for another career. I'm not here as a place to retire," she said.
According to what he's told at least a couple of NR audiences I've been among, he sought to solve a problem that doesn't exist — ie, that the uninsured are using emergency rooms as their family doctor, and supposedly the rest of the populace has to pick up the tab for that in increased health-care costs. In fact, ER use by the uninsured is in rough proportion to their percentage of the population, and the rest of the populace has to pick up a far greater tab for the under-reimbursement of doctors by Medicare. In other words, Mitt misdiagnosed the disease, and his prescription was a bigger dose of it:
The result is all the problems familiar to patients in socialized systems — longer wait times, fewer doctors, overstretched emergency rooms — with the uniquely American wrinkle of dramatically increased costs. Mass. residents now pay 27 percent more than the U.S. average.
Many other things I like about the Gov, but if this isn't a dealbreaker as we watch ObamaCare®, then I really am going to have to join the Libertoids.
First, I don't believe that Obamacare would lead to 31 million more patients. I believe they're all receiving care when they need it already but I went with it for a snappy title. Investor's Business Daily surveyed some 25,000 doctors last summer (about 1400 of whom responded) and reported that 45% said they'd close their practice or retire early if Obamacare passed. And they opposed the measure two to one. The left-stream media slammed this as "ludicrous."
Yesterday IBD reported a similar survey by a physician's job placement firm, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, with similar findings:
This poll, conducted by the Medicus Firm, a physician search and consulting outfit, found that 29.2% of the nearly 1,200 doctors it queried said they would quit or retire early if a health overhaul were passed into law. That number jumped to 45.7% — nearly identical to our own — if a public option were included.
In the end, it's clear: A health care overhaul, as it's now being pushed, could lead to a precipitous drop in the number of doctors.
"Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases," wrote Kevin Perpetua, managing partner of the Medicus Firm, summing up his findings.
Oh, those Blue Dogs -- ain't they cute when they're puppies? Big brown eyes and floppy ears. I just love 'em. Professor Reynolds shares an email from Roy Herron, who's running as a Democrat in TN-08:
My top three priorities in Washington will be fiscal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, and fiscal responsibility.
Washington is mortgaging the future of my sons and your children and our grandchildren. And Washington is risking the future of this country with trillions in debt.
I drive a 12-year-old truck with 375,000 miles on it. My sons call me cheap, but Washington needs more of us with 375,000-mile pickups who’ll spend your money like our own.
Prompting me to write to his Instantness:
Apologies in advance for filling your inbox with partisan hackery, but:
Roy Herron sounds like just what we need in Congress. Will he vote for Rep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker?
I assume, yes, he is running as a Democrat. Watching her "pass" health care by any-means-necessary-and-some-things-that-are-not-really-means-at-all makes me skeptical of some guys no matter how old their trucks.
See, those blue dog pups grow up to be mangy, mean, bad-tempered congressdogs.
I just called my congressperson, U.S. Representative Betsy Markey of CO-4. Her website touts a report that she is one of the most centrist and independent members of congress. The House Switchboard number was busy so I called her office directly and got right through.
I asked if the congresswoman had decided how she intends to vote on the Health Care bill. Her staffer told me that she is waiting for a cost analysis by the CBO and has not yet made a decision. I said, "I am her constituent, residing near Fort Lupton, and I would like to encourage her to vote NO. I think if she votes yes then this won't be the United States of America any more and if she votes no she will become one of a handful of national heroes."
I was asked for my name and contact information, which I gave. (Not that they couldn't have guessed I'm a registered Republican anyway.)
Colorado following California into Anti-Coal Stupidity
Watch out Pennysylvania, you're probably next. Yesterday Colorado's lame-duck governor announced a "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that looks like it's on the fast track through the state legislature, having "bipartisan" sponsorship in both the house and the senate. The sponsoring GOP senator, in particular, draws my ire. It's been a while since I've felt the need to publish outside of the friendly confines of ThreeSources, but I wrote the editor of the Denver Post about it.
Re-thinking Josh Penry
Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry has been making a name for himself in conservative circles but it may be time to reconsider. The Post reported Tuesday that he co-sponsored Governor Ritter's new "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that outlaws coal power in Colorado. Have we not learned from California's mistake? Electricity costs 40% more there, largely due to their coal ban. Why do it?
Penry isn’t quoted but reasons given include anticipation of federal regulations that could “lead to a 4 to 6 percent increase in rates.” That’s still 34% less than California. Xcel Energy and natural gas companies support the plan. The latter because coal always wins in a free-market; the former because they’ll get money for new plants and cover for raising rates. It’s like light bulb manufacturers encouraging the ban on cheap light bulbs.
And then there are coal’s higher carbon emissions. As Curtis Hubbard alluded last month on his Post blog, if the events of the past year haven’t convinced us that the whole ‘Climate Change’ issue was a fraud we have reason now to at least ask the question.
Fortunately, the coal guys are fighting back. Today I heard the first ad against the bill deriding the mad rush to pass the bill "and raise electricity costs for Colorado residents for decades to come." The ad was paid for by American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobbying group.
Which to side with? The one that doesn't want to restrict the market - Coal.
One more post and we're goiing to need a "Prius" Category.
IS IT WRONG TO make speeding-Prius jokes? One of my colleagues thinks the whole Prius thing will actually be good for Toyota -- before, Priuses were associated with smug hipsters, but now they'll be associated with death-defying daredevils! -- Glenn Reynolds (well, his colleague)
Things are looking up for our Mexican Health Care venture! Insty links to this NEJM Survey of physicians who might "Go Galt" if ObamaCare® passes. There's some up and down and the leftist slant of NEJM's readership shows through in spots ("0.8% feel income will 'improve dramatically' with a public option." -- kinda hope that's not my doctor...)
But the money quote for us is:
Health Reform and Primary Care Physicians
* 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.
To which I say "Don't Go Galt, Go Kranz!" Join us in sunny Puerto Viarta at a free market hospital serving North America and the world.
Whenever your caucus is, wherever you live ... GO. Find the grassroots candidates. Support them. Tell the McCain PAC money boys (and in Colorado's case, girls) to go home. The GOP primary is the only place you can make a real difference. By the time the general election rolls around it's just lesser-of-evils time. In Colorado, tonight's the night. 7 pm.
Caucus Report - There were 13 participants from our precinct who chose 4 delegates from 5 nominees. Yours truly was one of those selected (and the only one to be chosen unanimously, with 13 of 13 votes.) This is even more remarkable when you consider that one of the couples in attendance had expressed their strong preference for Jane Norton, since they know her personally. Even though I was unabashedly for her chief rival, Ken Buck, the both of them voted for me. I had chatted them up about the other races and the general condition of the country. I also volunteered to be precinct secretary and one of two precinct chairmen for the next go 'round. When given my chance at a mini campaign speech I said I'm not a member of any TEA Party or 9.12 groups but I attend the Tea Parties when they happen and that best describes my priorities. I said that I consider over taxation and regulation at the federal level to be the chief reason for the sad state of the economy these days. Charity should start at home and that sort of thing. In closing I joked that everyone should "vote for me because I WON'T buy your vote."
Our precinct/district results were:
Buck - 9/49
Norton - 4/20
McInnis - 7/42
Maes - 6/38
Gardner - 11/49
Lucero - 2/16
Brown - 0/9
Statewide results for Senate and Governor are here.
As of (Good Lord!) 1:15am MDT (last updated 11:25pm with 94% reporting) the numbers are:
- If the rankings hold through the final count this is a major coup for the grassroots candidate Ken Buck over the much better funded Norton. I think he was just hoping for a good showing to get some credibility. An outright win is a bonus.
- Wiens spent a lot of ad money too, mostly hammering Norton for supporting the tax grab Referendum C. If he drops out none of his support will go to her.
- Buck's current margin of victory is 29 votes, of which two were my dad and me. It sure feels good to make a difference like that.
Good night. And, goodnight!
As of 10:30 AM 3/18, 99.69% reporting -
We all have a favorite kind of story or blog post. I'll readily confess mine is exposing the huckster prop in a Democratic "feel their pain" pitch.
I suppose it goes back farther, but it all started for me with Grame Frost the 12-year-old poster boy for SCHIP. Way back in 2007, mean ol' President George W Bush vetoed the expansion of SCHIP (I do enjoy reminding right-wing Bush haters of this). So the Democrats chose young Grame to deliver their radio response. He pulled the heartstrings as he was recovering from a serious accident and his medical bills were affecting his parents.
Well, Dad turns out to be a hyper-partisan and a loser. He quit a good job to start his own woodworking business. The more one looked, the less sympathetic the family appeared.
I invoked their name on these pages in July of 2008. The Nunez family, in George Bush's Evil Amerikkka, could not afford meat. They were highlighted on an NPR story. But the 'R' is for radio, and once people saw the extremely obese family, sympathy rolled off a bit.
Today, FOXNews via Gateway Pundit brings us Natoma Canfield. She was President Obama's prop in Ohio -- follow the link to hear the President say "I am here for Natoma."
Natoma has cancer and is dying in the street without care after being kicked out of her home for failure to pay her medical bills and has nothing to eat or wear or...no....wait a minute, this just in: No, it appears she is in a top flight cancer center receiving care after 12 years of not working and dropping her insurance. She will get financial aid and will not lose her house:
Lyman Sornberger, executive director of patient financial services at the Cleveland Clinic, said "all indications" at the outset are that she will be considered for assistance.
"She may be eligible for state Medicaid … and/or she will be eligible for charity (care) of some form or type. … In my personal opinion, she will be eligible for something," he said, adding that Canfield should not be worried about losing her home.
"Cleveland Clinic will not put a lien on her home," he said.
I do take my shots at Reason Magazine. But their new Reason TV series "Reason Saves Cleveland" with Drew Carey is really shaping up. Part One is a setup piece: well worth watching -- especially for the clip of the Broncos-Browns AFC Championship.
But part two gets starts to get into specifics. Fix the schools:
Last Friday, Jack Calfee asked if health insurance profits are so healthy, why weren't large firms like Walmart, Microsoft and the like diving in. I mean, who would miss a chance to bilk an unsuspecting public out of -- wait for it -- $66?
Mark Perry at The American links to the Calfee piece and adds the $66 figure to the discussion:
Using the industry profit margin of 2.2 percent last year, it means that insurance companies make only about $66 on average per policy in profits for individual coverage, and less than $140 in profits for each family policy.
Wow! Two-point-two percent profit! Man, why doesn't every business give up the stupid things they do and hop into this lucrative pool?
Brother jg gets the comment of the week for suggesting -- at the end of "Cousin Milton's" devastating takedown of ObamaCare:
Analysis above is, of course, predicated on the notion that extending longevity and quality of life are the intended goal of the health care system.
Thanks to government, they can actually claim a "crisis" in health care. And yet health insurance has similar saturation rates as broadband Internet. Ergo, Crisis! Ergo, government needed!
Last year, Congress directed the FCC to develop a plan to make high-speed Internet available to more people. But given that 95% of Americans already have access to some form of broadband—and 94% can choose from at least four wireless carriers—rapid broadband deployment is already occurring without new government mandates.
In 2009 alone, broadband providers spent nearly $60 billion on their networks. Absent any evidence of market failure, the best course for the FCC is to report back to Congress that a broadband industrial policy is unnecessary. Instead, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is moving to increase the reach of his agency and expand government control of the Web.
I just dropped my 7Mb DSL for a screamin' 16Mb pipe. The good folks at Comcast run as high as 50 Mb out to my condo, which is not in the sticks but is isolated from other dense development.
So, government has a chance to declare victory and go home. But, to coin a phrase, analysis above is, of course, predicated on the notion that extending access to broadband is the intended goal of the system.
Those were the words of William Wallace [1:03] as he set out to meet representatives of English tyranny over Scotland. They're the same words I heard a GOP candidate for CO-4 say to a fellow debate attendee. She had asked him, "How long do you want to keep this job?" Cory's reply was, "I don't want to go to Washington to make friends, I'm going to pick a fight." There were only a few of us standing around him at the time so I don't believe it was a rehearsed line, but it sure made an impression on me: He's going to pick a fight with representatives of federal tyranny over America.
Cory was the only one of the four candidates not wearing cowboy boots so I joked with dagny, "Cross him off the list!" But by the end of the debate the other three had not won me over like Gardner did. I went to meet him afterwards and that's where the quote comes from. My question for him was whether he would have a problem having any of the other three candidates on his "team" to which he said, "Not at all." I had a better question for him this morning, which you can read about below the fold.
I intend to stand for election as a delegate for Cory at tomorrow's GOP caucus.
I called Cory this morning and he called me back. I asked him about his 2010 plan which, for spending reform, only says we need a balanced budget amendment. He said that the 2010 plan is a sort of bare bones summary. He essentially wants to push for a Colorado style TABOR law at the national level, which includes restraints on the growth of spending. He said that neither of these things is required in order to roll back spending. I said, "You're right, if congress wanted to cut spending they could. But what are you going to say when your colleagues say 'You're asking me to vote against something that's popular in my district - what are you going to vote against that's popular in yours?'" He said he's recently gone to the well of the Colorado legislature and proposed a cut in spending by the agriculture department, and that this is a big deal for a representative from a rural district. I agreed and asked if that sentiment would extend to the federal farm bill. He said, "Absolutely." He then explained that the 1996 farm bill was written by Wayne Allard and a senator from Kansas to wean farmers off of subsidies over a 6-year period but subsequent congresses, with Republican complicity, undid the effort.
We also talked briefly about government employee unions and ridiculous pension plans. He said that's a problem at the state and the federal level and it needs to be reformed at multiple levels. I asked if it is as simple as candidate McInnis' pledge to reverse the executive order allowing state employee unions. He said that Gov. Ritter's order gave state employee unions the right to bargain collectively - that's what would be reversed if McInnis or Maes is elected. He said it's an important first step but not the whole solution. (I was impressed by his inclusion of Dan Maes who I'm just learning about since he's getting zero press but is what I suppose you'd call "the TEA Party candidate.")
I told him I know that he has experience resisting the pressures to go along against his principles at the state level but the pressures in Washington will be even stronger. I said that I think Senator Bunning has some regrets about his career in congress. He agreed and said he plans to spend as much time as possible with constituents in his district instead of in Washington.
America has the finest health care delivery system in the world. Let's not forget that and put it at risk in the name of reform. Desperate souls across the globe flock to our shores and cross our borders every day to seek our care. Why? Our system provides cures while the government-run systems from which they flee do not. Compare Europe's common cancer mortality rates to America's: breast cancer - 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom; prostate cancer - a staggering 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway; colon cancer - 40 percent higher in the United Kingdom.
Look closer at the United Kingdom. Britain's higher cancer mortality rate results in 25,000 more cancer deaths per year compared to a similar population size in the United States. But because the U.S. population is roughly five times larger than the United Kingdom's, that would translate into 125,000 unnecessary American cancer deaths every year. This is more than all the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and children in Topeka, Kan. And keep in mind, these numbers are for cancer alone. America also has better survival rates for other major killers, such as heart attacks and strokes. Whatever we do, let us not surrender the great gains we have made. First, do no harm. Lives are at stake. -- Dr. Milton R. Wolf, Barack Obama's second cousin once removed.
I have been meaning to ask whether any reproductive-rights ThreeSourcers had found new respect for pro-life legislators since they became the best chance to kill ObamaCare® and keep the last vestige of freedom in these United States.
But then I saw this, and I am laughing too hard to type:
That's especially true given yesterday's report indicating that at least seven of Stupak's faction have confirmed they will not vote for a reform bill without a change in the abortion language.
Another single-issue conflict with a different House faction also reared its head: The Hispanic Caucus is now publicly threatening to torpedo reform because of the Senate bill's ultra-restrictive language prohibiting illegal immigrants from buying health insurance through the state-run insurances exchanges that would be set up. At least one high-profile former yes vote, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, has said that he'll switch his vote to no if the immigrant restrictions aren't changed. (For more detail on this conflict, see the Reason Foundation's Shikha Dalmia.)
Larry Kudlow knocked it out of the park last night. Like the White House releasing bad news on Friday night, I fear it will vanish into the aether. He hat-tipped Barry Ritholtz on the show but I do not see anything to link to in Ritholtz's blog or Kudlow's.
Thursday, more evidence came out that Lehman Bros. was "cooking the books" with the delightfully named accounting trick Repo 105. In short, Lehman moved a lot of paper off-balance sheet to lower its apparent leverage. Curiously, it was high grade debt that they could park at a hedge fund, not so much hiding the toxic assets.
The point Kudlow makes (and attributes to Ritholtz) is that only the short sellers discovered this chicanery. Kudlow listed the soi disant watchmen who missed it:
Ernst & Young -- nope, nothing to see here folks!
The New York Fed, chaired at the time by one Timothy Geithner
The layers and layers of bullshit and suffocating regulations dictated by SarbOx
So, let me get this straight. No government regulator or oversight board got a whiff this was going on. Or worse, problems were found and were hidden. One of the last of the Big Eight accounting firms signed off on a Sgt Schultz audit.
And yet, at the same time, those who make a living trading Financials (and a pretty decent living I am led to believe) realized that it smelled funny. They sold short -- adding information to the market and positioning themselves to make a tidy profit if they were right (and limitless loss t'were they not). These people found the problem, caught it, and shut the company down. No regulator, no legislator, the aggregate wisdom of the market discovered and corrected the problem, while the regulators and regulations did nothing but add deadweight to all firms.
So how are we making sure this doesn't happen again? More regulation of course! A bigger role for Timothy Geithner to "manage" systemic risk: to bring that New York miracle to the whole country!
Oh, yeah, and propose a rule to ban short sellers.
International Club for Meddling with Local Government
One of moderator Amy Oliver's questions at last night's CO-4 GOP debate was about an international organization called the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. They've changed their name to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.
Apparently they encourage local governments to impose environmental regulations all over the world. They describe "members" as "the strongest allies of ICLEI by contributing a yearly membership fee, but also by hosting ICLEI offices, financing events or contributing staff time to projects and activities." That would be staff time of the local governments they work for, paid by local tax dollars.
The online membership directory is unavailable: "Please accept our apologies. We are presently working to update our membership information pages. This page will be available again shortly."
Arvada, Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Ft. Collins, Frisco, Golden, Gunnison County, La Plata County, LAFAYETTE, Loveland, Manitou Springs, San Miguel County, and Westminster in Colorado.
Haverford Township, Lower Makefield, Meadville, Montgomery Township, Mt. Lebanon, Narberth, Nether Providence Township, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Radnor, Upper Dublin Township, and West Chester in Pennysylvania.
Find your town. Complain to your city council. I DON'T WANT MY TAX DOLLARS, IN THE FORM OF STAFF TIME, SPENT ON ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM.
Somehow no one in the press has asked Sikes how it is he could stop the car once it had slowed to 50 mph, but not when it was going 90 mph. Have Balloon Boy and the finger-in-the-chili taught us nothing?
Even if one believes all the hype, the reaction so far has been a giant overreaction. Fifty-odd deaths over 10 years and millions of Toyotas is a drop in the bucket compared to the general risk of being on the road at all. -- Theodore H. Frank
Fairness dictates that I give equal time to contradictory evidence. A good friend (and talented engineer) pointed his 2007 Prius up a hill, romped on the accelerator, and was unable to cut the engine or put the car into neutral. I report, you decide. (But I still call B*******!)
I hadn't seen this before. It's from last October and even if you've seen it, watch it again. Among other things the judge explains how federal government lawyers act to prevent unconstitutional laws from being judged so in court.
UPDATE (3/15): For those who didn't listen, and just because I want to see it in print, here is one of those other things the judge said: [closing minute]
"These gatherings are more important than anything you can imagine. Because in the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger. You are that generation! This is your role! Now is that time! Freedom must be defended from every assailant in every corner of this country, from outside the country, from inside the country, and especially from the government that wants to take it away from us. [applause] God bless you."
Taranto's lead item today is Speaker Pelosi's brilliant defense of ObamaCare. I saw this but I feared it was a bad dream:
You've heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don't know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention--it's about diet, not diabetes. It's going to be very, very exciting.
But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.
Why don't we pass a flat-tax, then see what's in the bill?
Vice President Joe Biden was expected to spend this week nurturing the Obama administration's shaky relations with Israel and building momentum for a new peace process. Instead he may have accomplished the opposite -- by stumbling into a classic Middle Eastern trap.
Jackson Diehl explains Biden's falling into the trap that has been set for visiting American diplomats since at least the 1990s:
Over the years U.S. envoys from [Secretary of State James] Baker to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have learned that the trick is to sidestep such broadsides, expressing disapproval without allowing the toxic settlement issue to take center stage and derail peace negotiations. After all, most Israeli settlement announcements, including this one, are pure symbolism: No ground will be broken anytime soon, and even if the homes are eventually constructed they won’t stand in the way of a Palestinian state.
By that measure, Biden flunked. Interrupted in the middle of what was supposed to be a day of love-bombing Israelis with speeches and other demonstrations of U.S. support, he kept Netanyahu and his wife waiting for 90 minutes into a scheduled dinner before issuing a statement that harshly criticized the interior ministry’s announcement. Biden chose to use a word -- “condemn” -- that is very rarely employed in U.S. statements about Israel, even though he and his staff knew that Netanyahu himself had been blindsided by the settlement announcement. So much for love bombs.
Whacking our VP is a fish-barrel activity at best, but I still have to point it because of two common themes:
The Obama Administration will "restore our standing in the world." In the past week, Secretary Clinton stepped in it in Argentina, suggesting that the US could arbitrate negotiations between Great Britain and Argentina on the Falklands. I thought PM Brown should have offered to mediate with the US and Spain on Florida -- where's that famed wit when needed?
Even my moderate friends still talk about "dodging a bullet" when "that woman!' was almost elevated to Vice President! Now we have different levels of Governor Palin appreciation 'round these parts, but the suggestion that she is far below VP Biden defies credulity.
Now there's a sobriquet I would not run from -- much better than Teabaggers! I'll give Lee Harris at American.com Quote of the Day for his appraisal of David Brooks's NYTimes column:
According to Brooks, the Tea Party movement is not only similar to hippie movement of the 1960s in terms of its lack of overall historical significance, it is a lowbrow revival of that movement, leading Brooks (or at least his editors) to dub today’s Tea Partiers “The Wal-Mart Hippies”—the title of his article.
The phrase “Wal-Mart Hippies” is certainly attention-getting, as was no doubt intended. After all, who would suspect that there lurked a secret affinity between the carefree flower children of late ’60s and the hard-working folks who shop at Wal-Mart? The two groups would seem a study in antithesis. The flower children of the ’60s put flowers in gun barrels and chanted sweet songs of peace. At Wal-Mart people buy guns to put bullets in and use them to shoot cute and cuddly animals.
Watched Teevee news this morning to catch weather and saw footage of a giant demonstration demanding heath care reform and protesting eeevil insurance companies. Every one had a purple SIEU shirt on and they all had matching professional signs with the SEIU logo. If I thought they had the intelligence to pull it off, I'd call that media bias. But I suspect they just don't see it.
A front-page article in today's Denver Post declares, "Colorado Not Cashing in on Census." According to the article, Colorado is the third-lowest state in terms of federal reimbursement. The culprit seems to be Medicaid reimbursements that lag because of Colorado's relatively high per-capita income and relatively low child poverty rate. We also set the bar for Medicaid eligibility at the poverty line, whereas states like Vermont set the bar at 3X the poverty line. And that's a bad thing? It is if your a liberal who rates success based on how many tax dollars you can vacuum up.
Kathy White, program director for the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, said the state generally provides basic Medicaid benefits without the options other states provide for adults and children.
"We kind of keep it scaled back to the minimum requirements," White said.
Gov. Bill Ritter's office agreed.
"One of the primary reasons Colorado is toward the bottom of this list is that we have very lean safety-net programs," said Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dreyer.
However, that will change with legislation passed last year that increases benefits, said Adela Flores-Brennan, health care attorney for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
"Colorado is expanding its program," she said.
In addition to the galling situation in Vermont, Alaska is even worse. Alaska ranks among the highest-reimibursed states, garning more than $2000 per citizen compared to Colorado's $890. This, despite the fact that Alaskans have a negative state income tax (i.e., residents pay no state income tax but get an annual rebate from oil tax revenues). So, Alaska pays for all of its state social benefits funded by tax payers in other states - and rather generously at that. Question: what happens when every states is a net tax receiver? Answer: Unending deficit spending.
But they'll rock at heathcare... wait a minute... they already do...
Sens. Schumer and Graham (probably not a pair of Threesourcers favorites) are proposing legislation to create a biometric ID card that, at a minimum, would be used for proof of employment eligability.
The Refugee will put an initial stake in the ground and say that such a plan does not sound like a bad idea. In fact, he would make presentation of such identification a requirement for social benefits, health services (i.e., non-emergency hospital care), school registration and - yes - voting. The cards may significantly reduce fraud.
Opponents say that such a card would be a defacto national ID card and a way for the government to track citizens. However, the SSN is already a defacto national ID and the government has so many tools to track us now that the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.
The Refugee will admit that he may not have thought of every possible threat to liberty that these cards may present and therefore has an open mind; he would like to hear what Three Sourcers have to say. What say you?
Here's what Gilbert had to do to make his Avalon go rogue: He had to cut open three of the six wires that travel from the pedal assembly to the engine computer. Two of the wires send the accelerator-position signals—one for each Hall-effect sensor—and one is a 5-volt power supply. Next he had to insert a specific 200-ohm resistor between the two signal wires. Finally, he had to generate a direct short between the 5-volt supply lines and the signal leads. The new wiring essentially mimicked a size-12 mashing of the pedal to the carpet and the engine went to WOT. Also, the order of the modification is important. Apply the 5-volt power lead to the wires before inserting the resistor and the computer would instead throw a fault code and go into limp mode.
Gilbert is Dave Gilbert, of Southern Illinois University's auto technology department, He "modified a new Avalon to go to full throttle with the flip of a switch, by altering the same circuits [Popular Mechanics' Mike Allen] wrote about. Gilbert appeared on ABC news and testified before Congress that his manipulations demonstrate how easy it is for Toyotas to accelerate out of control."
If Brother jg's linkage on his 'Cuda is anything like my 1968 Sports Satellite, I bet I can jam it full throttle with a paper clip. Quick, somebody call ABC News!
This morning I saw where a Prius had accelerated to 95 MPH in El Cajon, CA (home of Taylor Guitars) and had to be stopped by a State Trooper after he called 911 and endured terror for 20 minutes. Prius? 95? Twenty minutes? Neutral? Ulterior motive?
I'm sick of all the libertarians (like John Stossel) insisting that we can live with less government! Who will protect us from the scourge of unregistered beer?
More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers...
Although the bar owners had bought the beer legally from licensed Pennsylvania distributors and had paid all the necessary taxes, the police claimed that nobody had registered the precise names of the beers with the state Liquor Control Board ....
Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify, three teams of officers converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband....
Funny, until you realize how sadly true it is -- Professor Mankiw explains "Deficit Neutrality;"
Friend: I am going to take off a few days from work and fly down to Bermuda for a quick vacation.
You: But isn't that expensive? Won't that just add to your growing debts?
Friend: Yes, it is expensive. But my plan is deficit-neutral. I have decided to give up that half-caf, extra shot caramel macchiato I order at Starbucks twice every day. I really don't need that expensive drink. And if I give it up for the next three years, it will pay for my Bermuda trip.
You: Well, then, how are you going to solve the problem of your growing debts?
Friend: I am going to figure that out as soon as I return from Bermuda.
You: But in light of your budget problem, maybe you should give up Starbucks and skip the Bermuda vacation. Giving up Starbucks could be the easiest way to start balancing your budget.
NYTimes Corrections, courtesy of Gregg Easterbrook
New York Times Corrections on Fast-Forward: In the past six months, the Times has, according to its own corrections page, said Arizona borders Wisconsin; confused 12.7-millimeter rifle ammunition with 12.7 caliber (the latter would be a sizeable naval cannon); said a pot of ratatouille should contain 25 cloves of garlic (two tablespoons will do nicely); on at least five occasions, confused a million with a billion (note to the reporters responsible -- there are jobs waiting for you at the House Ways and Means Committee); understated the national debt by $4.2 trillion (note to the reporter responsible -- there's a job waiting for you at the Office of Management and Budget); confused $1 billion with $1 trillion (note to the reporter responsible -- would you like to be CEO of AIG?); admitted numerical flaws in a story "about the ability of nonsense to sharpen the mind;" used "idiomatic deficiency" as an engineering term (correct was "adiabatic efficiency"); said Paul Revere's Midnight Ride occurred in 1776 (it was in 1775 -- by 1776, everybody knew the British were coming); "misstated the status of the United States in 1783 -- it was a country, not a collection of colonies" (dear Times, please Google "Declaration of Independence").
The Times also "misidentified the song Pink was singing while suspended on a sling-like trapeze;" confused the past 130 years with the entire 4.5 billion-year history of Earth (see appended correction here); misused statistics in the course of an article complaining that public school standards aren't high enough (see appended correction here); said Citigroup handed its executives $11 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses, when the actual amount was $1.1 billion (in the Citigroup executive suite, being off by a mere two zeroes would be considered incredible financial acumen); said a column lauding actress Terri White "overstated her professional achievements, based on information provided by Ms. White;" identified a woman as a man (it's so hard to tell these days); reported men landed on Mars in the 1970s ("there was in fact no Mars mission," the Times primly corrected).
This is the New York Times photo referred to in the correction -- that's a Plymouth Barracuda she's on -- and also, possibly, the greatest photograph of all time. The Times also gave compass coordinates that placed Manhattan in the South Pacific Ocean near the coastline of Chile (see appended correction here); said you need eight ladies dancing to enact the famous Christmas song when nine are needed; said Iraq is majority Sunni, though the majority there is Shiite (hey, we invaded Iraq without the CIA knowing this kind of thing); got the wrong name for a dog that lives near President Obama's house ("An article about the sale of a house next door to President Obama's home in Chicago misstated the name of a dog that lives there. She is Rosie, not Roxy" -- did Rosie's agent complain?); elaborately apologized in an "editor's note," a higher-level confession than a standard correction, for printing "outdated" information about the health of a wealthy woman's Lhasa apso; incorrectly described an intelligence report about whether the North Korean military is using Twitter; called Tandil, Argentina, home of Juan Martín del Potro, a "tiny village" (its population is 110,000); inflicted upon unsuspecting readers a web of imprecision about the Frisians, the Hapsburg Empire, the geographic extent of terps, and whether Friesland was "autonomous and proud" throughout the Middle Ages or merely until 1500; inexactly characterized a nuance of a position taken by the French Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (philosophy majors must have marched in the streets of Paris over this); confused coal with methane (don't make that mistake in a mine shaft!); on at least three occasions, published a correction of a correction; "misstated the year of the Plymouth Barracuda on which a model dressed as a mermaid was posed;" "mischaracterized the date when New York City first hired a bicycle consultant" and "misidentified the location of a pile of slush in the Bronx."
Too much fun. Other than that, as Taranto might say, "The Stor[ies were] accurate."
Not only insurers, but all producers who greedily refuse to supply persons who don't pay should be set aright. Now I'm sure that YOU don't ration the supply of the books you write according to any criteria as sordid as requiring people actually to pay for them. But our society is full of people less enlightened than you.
For example, the typical worker rations his labor services according to who pays and who doesn't. That must stop. Oh, and supermarkets! Every single one rations groceries according to who pays. Likewise with restaurants, clothing stores, home-builders, furniture makers, even lawyers! You name it, rationing is done according to who pays. Indeed, my own county government has been corrupted by this greedy attitude: if I don't pay my taxes, the sheriff takes my house ... Preposterous!
I look forward to your changing this selfish and unfair system of rationing that for too long now has kept Americans impoverished.
Liberals don't think the middle-class insurance subsidies are large enough. Big Labor hates the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health coverage because extremely generous benefits typically come out of collective bargaining. The pro-life Democrats led by Michigan's Bart Stupak can't abide federal funding for abortion. Everyone detests the enveloping corruption, such as the Nebraska Medicaid bribe for Ben Nelson, which has become so politically toxic that the opponents now include Ben Nelson. -- WSJ Ed Page
The tragedy of collectivist thought is that, while it starts out to make reason supreme, it ends by destroying reason because it misconceives the process on which the growth of reason depends. -- FA Hayek
DAMNING reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.
They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.
The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.
Lord Darzi, the former health minister, commissioned the three reports from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.
The first report, by the Massachusetts-based Institute for Healthcare Improvements (IHI), identified the neglect of patients as a serious obstacle to improving the NHS. “The lack of a prominent focus on patients’ interests and needs ... represents a significant barrier to shifting the trajectory of quality improvement in the NHS.”
One heading in the report says: “The patient doesn’t seem to be in the picture.” It adds: “We were struck by the virtual absence of mention of patients and families ... whether we were discussing aims and ambition for improvement, measurement of progress or any other topic relevant to quality.
“Most targets and standards appear to be defined in professional, organisational and political terms, not in terms of patients’ experience of care.”
I'm not quite ready to address the question of why the secular French and Russian revolutions "made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American [revolution] succeeded." As a warm-up exercise I'll attempt to explain why America's elected leaders insist on cutting the nose off of America's energy policy. Hint: It is to spite America's face.
I remember wondering 20-odd years ago in my college days if environmentalists who lobbied government for ever greater restrictions on oil and gas development (and every other productive activity, it seemed) seriously believed that elected leaders would do something so obviously harmful to the American standard of living. Looking back now it clearly wasn't as obvious to our elected leaders as I had assumed. More importantly, however, it's also no longer obvious to a huge portion of the electorate. For decades the environmentalists and their minions, through vehicles such as global warming and Avatar movies, have lectured Americans that we are evil earth killers. For most of that time there was little in the way of self-defense on the part of "big oil." I'm pleased to say that has changed. "The US oil and natural gas industry is moving ahead with a long-term educational advocacy program to build understanding and appreciation of the role the industry and its products play in fueling the nation’s economy."
But just why has the industry felt the need to undertake such a program? Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), provides some context. “Like many industries, especially those with roots dating back a century or more, we have traditionally focused on just getting our job done, if you will,” he says. “To the extent we communicated externally, our companies have tended to focus on their brand.”
Cavaney explains that on issues related to public policy, the industry has tried to be responsive to a policy-maker audience. “The industry has not, however, engaged stakeholders and others more broadly about its irreplaceable role in fueling our nation’s overall economic growth or its contribution to an improved quality of life for the American consumer,” he says.
As my high-school history professor Doc Ton used to say, "The pendulum always swings back."
The House of Representatives recently passed its own version of the largely symbolic, but very expensive, 15 ba-billion dollar jobs bill. What frustrates me most of all about this is how they ignore a simple and inexpensive way to create real, private-sector jobs, increase tax revenue, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. EnergyTomorrow.org sez:
Increasing access to oil and natural gas resources could generate nearly 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state and local governments and greater energy security. And according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry already supports 9.2 million American jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the national economy, or 7.5 percent GDP.
Our nation has vast on-and-offshore oil and natural gas resources that could be produced safely to put this country's economy back on its feet.
But it's not just domestic oil and gas that will provide the jobs and energy our nation needs. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north and top supplier of oil, will continue to play a vital role as we seek greater energy and economic security.
According to a recent CERI study, the economic impact of Canadian oil sands development is expected to lead to 342,000 U.S. jobs between 2011 and 2015, and an estimated $34 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 and $42.2 billion in 2025.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Many answers to our economic woes are easy to find; if government hacks really intended to fix the economy they would do it.
Kanazawa's theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.
Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn't likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to "know" how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.
But intelligence has no role in classifying certain new behaviors as worthless? And our ancestors were unable to teach their offspring what they had learned? Did this researcher attend Berkeley?
The new study is intriguing, if speculative, other psychologists say.
"Kanazawa has done interesting work, but there are other hypotheses out there for the evolution of intelligence that are equally interesting," said Douglas Detterman, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and editor of the journal Intelligence.
For instance, other researchers have advanced the theory that intelligence arose as a way of competing for sex. If that's the case, Kanazawa's conclusions only make sense if, say, being liberal or atheist also makes you more sexually attractive.
You could probably convince me that competition for sex motivated our ancestors to solve problems.
Colorado is looking to close offices, layoff teachers, and auction off elk herds on eBay to fill a budget gap, but the BillionDollarFasTraxBoondoggle is sacrosanct! If we have only $3 left, we're going to waste it on light rail.
Students at the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus took to the streets on Friday night, vandalizing university buildings, burning trash cans and clashing with police in the latest expression of frustration over cuts to the educational budget in California.
A 32% Fee increase! Hand me the gas can!!
Tuition has doubled in the last 10 years! I'd suggest the young lady take a math class, that's a 7% average annual increase. She might also consider an economics class: I don't see where riots and vandalism are going to help patch budget shortfalls. But you know, them CU Berkeley kids are rilly rilly smart!
Gray's thesis is this: "It may be that the president believes the inalienable rights of "We the People" come from government, not from God. Driven by this worldview, the attempt to place health care under government control will continually re-emerge."
This is likely correct, but it better explains why Obama won't give upon reform, not why he can't. The latter reason, it seems to me, is that he expects large numbers of Democrats to be flushed down the electoral toilet at every opportunity given voters to pull the chain. They may as well have something consequential to show for it when their 60-vote majority is a distant and infamous memory.
But looking deeper into Gray's analysis I couldn't ignore the following passage.
Sen. Harkin's statement reflects the worldview behind the French Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789, not the American Declaration of Independence of 1776.
The last sentence of the opening paragraph of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man reads: "Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen."
By appealing to an unknowable, deistic Supreme Being, the rights of man rested on the generosity of the State. A change in political power opens the door to a change in the rights of man. Man cannot confer inalienable rights.
In stark contrast, the American Declaration of Independence appealed to a knowable, personal God — the Creator of life itself. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
According to the Declaration of Independence, inalienable rights do not arise from men, but from God.
Maybe it takes a non-theist to notice this but what exactly is the difference between "the Supreme Being" and "God?" According to Gray's analysis, the entire defense of an individual's right to his own life rests on this difference. If it arises from the "knowable" and "personal" God the question becomes, knowable and personal to whom? This is no more concrete and objective than the French Rights of Man he rightly criticizes, for it rests on the opinion of the democratic majority and gives no defense to heterodox individuals.
But where in the Declaration of Independence does the word "God" appear? The word I see is "Creator." The beauty of that word is that it makes no difference whatsoever who or what an individual's creator is because the fact of his existence is de facto proof that he has one. In essence, "I am, therefore I have rights." Magister dixit.
Ann McElhinney, the director of Not Evil Just Wrong and Mine Your Own Business speaks about anti-development bias in James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar and about environmental indoctrination in public schools.
A little strident for my tastes but I am a huge fan of their films. And I love her energy.
The horror! Senator Bunning asks the US Senate to follow the rules it proudly trumpeted:
Throughout his Hall of Fame baseball career, Jim Bunning was famous for the brush back pitch: a fastball inside to a batter crowding the plate. Now Mr. Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky who is retiring after this year, is throwing a political brush back in the Senate on behalf of fiscal responsibility.
And all hell has broken loose. Mr. Bunning has dared to put a hold on a $10 billion spending bill to extend jobless insurance and fund transportation projects. Mr. Bunning says he won't yield until the Senate finds a way to pay for the new spending with cuts somewhere else in the $3.5 trillion budget. For this perfectly reasonable stance, Mr. Bunning has become the Beltway and media villain of the hour. We'd call it his finest hour.
Every time Washington wants to spend money, the Senate Majority Leader asks for "unanimous consent" to authorize the funding, and in the collegial Senate everyone falls in line. But when Harry Reid wanted consent last week for that $10 billion, Mr. Bunning broke the old-boy rules by shouting: "I object."
We reject the conventional wisdom that Washington is broken. Our view is that Washington would do a lot less damage if it were broken. But an honest assessment of our own ability and motivation leads us to the conclusion that we are not the man to break it. -- James Taranto
But in Washington Post-ABC News polls during his tenure, residents of the nation's southern states -- particularly whites -- have expressed broad doubts about the effectiveness of the stimulus package and Obama's leadership.
Peckerwoods! Support for the stimulus has fallen from 43 to 35% in six months.
In the South.
With a lot of white people.
Clearly, they can't handle the idea of an African American wasting a trillion dollars of their money. I'm frankly embarrassed.
University of California researchers have determined that "yotta," or 10^24 is no longer a number sufficiently large for scientific precision. Thus, they are proposing 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 10^27 be named. The current favorite on Facebook is "hella" as in "a helluva lotta zeros."
In separate news, the White House denies that the need for a larger number is the result of the President's recent budget proposal.
Bret Stephens ties together my props to Milton Friedman with more factual information to compare the Chile and Haiti earthquakes. The headline of his lead editorial is, bluntly: "How Milton Friedman Saved Chile"
It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick—and Haitians in houses of straw—when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down. In 1973, the year the proto-Chavista government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile was an economic shambles. Inflation topped out at an annual rate of 1000%, foreign-currency reserves were totally depleted, and per capita GDP was roughly that of Peru and well below Argentina's.
What Chile did have was intellectual capital, thanks to an exchange program between its Catholic University and the economics department of the University of Chicago, then Friedman's academic home. Even before the 1973 coup, several of Chile's "Chicago Boys" had drafted a set of policy proposals which amounted to an off-the-shelf recipe for economic liberalization: sharp reductions to government spending and the money supply; privatization of state-owned companies; the elimination of obstacles to free enterprise and foreign investment, and so on.
No good deed unpunished, of course:
For his trouble, Friedman would spend the rest of his life being defamed as an accomplice to evil: at his Nobel Prize ceremony the following year, he was met by protests and hecklers. Friedman himself couldn't decide whether to be amused or annoyed by the obloquies; he later wryly noted that he had given communist dictatorships the same advice he gave Pinochet, without raising leftist hackles.
Harold Ford, Jr., who had considered following Hillary Clinton from the South to carpetbag his way into the Senate from New York, has decided not run after all. In an op-ed in yesterday's NYT, Ford explains why. If The Refugee may be so bold as to summarize, his reasoning goes something like this: "The Senate and the Democrats are in big trouble and New Yorkers are clamoring for change. The current Democrat establishment that created the mess needs to be swept out or nothing will change. That's why I'm not running so that the current Democrat establishment can maintain the status quo."
A couple of my more "out there" Facebook friends highlight the same story. Bill Gates wants to "use vaccines" to lower the world population by 15%
Stating that the global population was heading towards 9 billion, Gates said, “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services (abortion), we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”
The first link was posted by my truther friend. I suspect he hides in the basement for fear that someone might immunize him against some disease. This was clearly an aha! moment where the 12 billionaire families who meet in Germany and plot all the recessions and baseball playoff results have admitted to eugenics through immunization. (I should be less snotty -- I realize all my other friends on fb look at me the way I look at s -- I should make common cause)..
Then I saw a link from the "Climate-Gate" folks. They are famous on these pages for claiming that Glenn Beck believes in DAWG. Man, it's only a matter of time before Linus Torvaldi, Larry Ellison, and Scott McNealy demand an apology.
Clearly, he's referring to success at "reproductive health services" lowering population and not the scourge of immunizations. I'll clear him of advocating murder.
But, I am disappointed at how quickly Gates the philanthropist has "gone native." Our modern day robber baron -- whom I've spend much time defending, is clearly aiming to do as much damage giving away his money as he did good making it.
I was able to roll eyes when he chose nets and not DDT to fight malaria. But if he's going to go all Malthusian on us, it's over. Bill, if you want to help poor nations, don't kill the ones who will lift them out of poverty.
I certainly agree that this structure raises costs, but if you have a simple problem like this, you fix it, you do not say "hey, let's try communism."
Did anyone watch Obama's Health Care Summit? Did any of the geniuses there point this out? Didn't think so. Not in so many words, anyway.
CA's 'Health Care Mythology' is well structured for emailing to our "innumerate" (good word CA) relatives but I couldn't find a direct link to the individual essay. Maybe someone can help me here. In closing, I enjoyed the hockey references and erudite humor but alas, found it sadly lacking in Heinlein quotes. [Be patient -it's in there.]
Bravado or bluster? I wince at serial apologies, but this is about boycott worthy:
BEIJING—Akio Toyoda said a key reason for Toyota Motor Corp.'s quality problems was an excessive focus on market share and profits among "some people" in the company, some of his bluntest words yet in assessing the flaws that led to widespread safety recalls.
I think somebody needs to read a little Milton Friedman -- or at least watch a little South Park.
Yeah, Tiger is sorry, Mr. Toyoda is sorry. I'm sorry. My dog is sorry...
I did some broad brush strokes on this topic in a comment. I like mine in that I saluted the ideas of Milton Friedman. But in every other way, I must admit that this short WSJ editorial is superior. I've lifted the whole thing so ThreeSourcers can read it without subscription (your move, Rupert!)
Chile's 8.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday did fearsome damage, with 708 dead as of this writing and more to come as collapsed buildings and roads are excavated. Yet for a quake that was the fifth biggest ever measured, and several hundred times larger than the one that killed more than 220,000 in Haiti, the destruction could have been much worse. It's worth asking why it wasn't.
One reason is luck, as the quake hit offshore and away from populated areas, save for the city of Concepción. But even in that city of one million, the death toll might have been worse. That it wasn't is due in part to Chile's stricter building codes, which have been developed over long experience with quakes along the Eastern Pacific fault line. Chileans have prepared well for the big one.
But such preparation is also the luxury of a prosperous country, in contrast to destitute and ill-governed Haiti. Chile has benefited enormously in recent decades from the free-market reforms it passed in the 1970s under dictator Augusto Pinochet. While Chileans still disagree about Pinochet's political actions, they have not repealed most of that era's economic opening to the world. In the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, compiled by the Heritage Foundation and this newspaper, Chile is the world's 10th freest economy. Haiti ranks 141st.
Those reforms have allowed Chile to prosper, while many other Latin nations like once-wealthy Argentina have stagnated under the burden of Peronism. Wealthy nations have the resources to invest in safer buildings, modern health care, telecommunications and search-and-rescue capability.
The political and moral necessity of economic growth ought to be a commonplace observation, yet it is too commonly forgotten by those who have only known its benefits. That includes many in America who want government to impose limits on growth because growth often brings with it the tumult of disruptive change. They think prosperity is guaranteed, when in fact it must be earned every day and can vanish over time under the wrong policies and corrupt governance.
The rich can usually find a way to protect themselves, but it is the middle class and poor who suffer most when growth flags and nations stagnate. Sometimes it takes a tragedy like an earthquake to relearn that lesson, as we've been able to see in Chile and Haiti.
You report that experts give much of the credit for the relatively low death toll of Chile’s recent earthquake to “the nation’s enactment and enforcement of stringent building codes” – codes that were largely absent in Haiti (“Chile reels in aftermath of quake, emergency workers provide aid,” March 1).
With a market-oriented economy, per-capita income in Chile is more than ten times higher than is per-capita income in Haiti. One result is that Chileans demand and can afford better-constructed buildings – buildings designed by more-skilled architects, made of stronger materials, and erected (and maintained) by better-trained and more highly specialized workers.
Chile has – and enforces – tough building codes because it can afford them. Building codes of equal stringency in Haiti would be dead letters because Haitians simply cannot afford the level of safety that Chileans now enjoy.
Credit Chile’s low death toll not to what its politicians do, but rather to what they don’t do: meddle excessively in the market.
Nope, I am thinking of a Mexican Mayo Clinic (or perhaps Costa Rica) that will be an Atlas Shrugged facility for health care. We'll take money and we'll sell real Clifford Asness insurance. We'll hire providers who did not go to Med school to be GS-7 Government employees, or who don't want to join AFSCME.
Whatever happens up here it's gonna be bad. The full brunt of ObamaCare may or may not be avoided but look at Massachusetts:
Last month, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick landed a neutron bomb, proposing hard price controls across almost all Massachusetts health care. State regulators already have the power to cap insurance premiums, which Mr. Patrick is activating. He also filed a bill that would give state regulators the power to review the rates of hospitals, physician groups and some specialty providers. Those that are deemed too high "shall be presumptively disapproved."
Mr. Patrick ad-libbed that he had "a whole bunch of pals here who are in the health-care field, and I saw the color drain out of their faces." Little wonder. The administered prices of Medicare and Medicaid already shift costs to private patients while below-cost reimbursement creates balance-sheet havoc among providers. Now the governor wants to import these distortions to save the state's heavily subsidized insurance program as costs explode.
The feds will enact some pieces, more states will do more. And pretty soon -- if not now -- you'll be able to staff a whole hospital in a sunny modern hotspot with disaffected staff. I am guessing, like Atlas, that you will attract the best in every category.
Affluent Canadians go south to avoid the privations of socialism. I wondered where Americans would go. Why not South? I believe there is already quite a bit of medical tourism in Costa Rica for specialty items like dental reconstruction and joint replacements. Why not a whole hospital?
I had been interested in how our friends to the north avoided the worst of the meltdown. Being the partisan hack I am, I assumed it was because they didn't have Barnet Frank and Franklin Raines up there. This article enumerates the differences -- many seem almost draconian to me. Full recourse, eh? I assume there is a bankruptcy process that mitigates this.
But partisan hack or no, one cannot help but look at their policies which do nothing-nada-zip to promote home ownership, and then look at their stability of pricing, banking and foreclosure. Correlation ain't causation but you'd have to be willfully blind to ignore it.
UPDATE: The Great White North looks better and better, eh? John Stossel reads Forbes and worries about The Next Crash:
It's not hard to imagine how the FHA's finances could deteriorate. The recently extended first-time home buyer credit gives buyers a subsidy of 10% of the home's purchase price, up to $8,000, in the form of a refundable credit (meaning people too poor to pay income taxes get a check from the government). The FHA allows buyers to put down as little as 3.5%. ... In short, the government will pay a family money to move out of a rental and into a home.
As Professor Reynolds would say "What could possibly fo wrong?"
“President Obama hasn’t kicked the smoking habit, takes anti-inflammatory medication to relieve chronic tendinitis in his left knee and should eat better to lower his cholesterol, his team of doctors concluded Sunday after the 48-year-old’s first medical checkup as commander in chief.” Huh. I’ve never smoked, and my cholesterol is 163. But, of course, I lead the healthy law-professor lifestyle. In my experience, politics doesn’t foster healthy habits. On the other hand, a guy with high cholesterol who still smokes is ill-suited to play national Health Nanny. -- Glenn Reynolds
UPDATE: Maybe a better takeaway (from the same source) is that he had a "Virtual Colonoscopy" which most suspect would not be available to a 48-year old non-POTUS American under ObamaCare. It's more cost effective to go in there guns a blazin' in case something is found. But for some reason, when the choice is offered, most prefer the comfort of imaging. Not very damned patriotic of ''em...