Sunday, January 31, 2010
I think next time I'll pick the movie.
As shown by the explicit criticism of drug companies by the authors of the recent JAMA paper, more and more scientists believe it is time to abandon the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of not digging too deeply into the reasons for the effectiveness of antidepressants. Maybe it is time to pull back the curtain and see the wizard for what he is. As for Kirsch, he insists that it is important to know that much of the benefit of antidepressants is a placebo effect. If placebos can make people better, then depression can be treated without drugs that come with serious side effects, not to mention costs. Wider recognition that antidepressants are a pharmaceutical version of the emperor's new clothes, he says, might spur patients to try other treatments. "Isn't it more important to know the truth?" he asks. Based on the impact of his work so far, it's hard to avoid answering, "Not to many people."Of course, in this fellow's case, it was the drugs that worked.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
My quick hi-lights and analysis can be found here.
Many military readers of this blog will be interested to read this report--the general public?--not so much.
Notwithstanding the pabulum that seems to fill more and more of ALL news outlets' media (TV especially), it seems that the days of newspaper reporters doing research, checking their facts and, even using proper grammar and spelling are becoming a distant memory. But what really irks me more than anything about this lazy journalism is that if there really is such a dearth of newsworthy activity that an article like this one makes the cut, do you 1st Amendment-Cloaked Idealists think you might take a peek at, oh, I don't know, maybe ONE OF THE WARS IN WHICH WE ARE ENGAGED? Do you think you might for a minute try to find out something about what the young men and women who haven't seen their families in a year are doing while Hollywood starlets OD on cocaine and diet pills, goofy-looking evening talk show hosts engage in their best impressions of girlfighting and geneologists yearn to discover common ancestry, however distant and irrelevant?
Why is it we have to search so hard to find stories of heroism among our troops? It's not as if heroism isn't occurring. MSM--here's breaking news for you. Bush is gone. It's okay to report good news from the front again. You could even twist it to make our new Commander-in-Chief look as if he's strong on defense. It's really okay now. Go ahead, it won't hurt. I promise.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 176.4
Goal: Sub 150
Back on track--I'm thinking 1.5 lbs a week is sustainable and healthy.
For those of you interested in a great online way of tracking your diet, nutrition and exercise, I recommend a tool resident on Lance Armstrong's "Livestrong" site. Once there, select "Daily Plate" and then "My Plate". You'll have the opportunity to enter in your height, gender, weight and activity level--and a desired weight loss rate. This will produce a target "net calorie" figure for you. Either meal by meal or once a day, you go in and enter descriptions of what you've eaten, which bring up menu driven choices to select--and voila, all the diet and nutritional information is entered for you. Additionally, any workouts/exercise you do that day are entered, creating a running figure of "net calories" for that day. As Smoothfur once reminded us, it doesn't really matter whether you're on a low fat or a low carb diet (though most argue a 'Healthy" diet is the key) --it simply matters that you reduce net caloric intake to a level that is less than weight sustainment. Give the tool a try--it's pretty helpful. (Hat Tip on Livestrong.com to Robert Thorn).
What's on your mind this week? Are you feeling a little let-down that the President didn't tack more to the center in his SOTU speech? Do you think Samuel Alito will have something to do during the next SOTU, like maybe, wash his hair? Go ahead, get it off your chest......
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. That's how budeting works." -- Wimpy
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
On the front facing facade of this magnificent structure is etched the words of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
It struck me as ironic that a building dedicated to the protection of that amendment would have been erected by an industry whose interests drive it to so vocally dispute ACTUAL free speech--free, corporate, political speech such as that upheld by the Supreme Court last week.
The pictures of the President using a teleprompter with a grade-school class were mind-numbing. A day later, there's this:
I've defended this man's intellect for a year and a half now--but you gotta be shittin' me? There are fifteen people in that room.
So, why is Beau Biden not running? He's citing his responsibilities to "children" especially victims of child predators. Not that this isn't a good thing to do, that is, stopping child predators. But really now--"I have a job to finish. And that's what I must do." What will his measure of success be? No more depredations carried out on the youth of Delaware?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
"I'm delighted by
If he represents all the people, Obama should remember that for 85 percent of Americans, the great health-care crisis is about cost. For about 15 percent, it is about extending coverage. Yet his plan does little about the first and focuses mostly on the second. It promotes too little of the real discipline that would force costs down and instead throws in a few ideas, experiments, and pilot programs that could, over time and if rigorously expanded, do so.
I think Zakaria overplays Obama's "centrist" approach to the stimulus and the banking crises. But the criticism that Obama's become more of a party hack than a President is spot on.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I suspect Jon Corzine, Creigh Deeds and Martha Coakley have something to say about that. And I'd LOVE to know what Bill Clinton thinks about that.
The housing complexes were built by MetLife in the mid-1940's to accommodate returning GI's. MetLife sold the property to Tishman Speyer and Blackrock equity partners in 2006 at the height of the real estate boom. The partners each invested $112 million out of a total equity financing of $1.9 billion. They also took out a $3 billion mortgage from Wachovia Bank, which was promptly packaged and re-sold with other commercial property loans and as securities.
And just who owns these securities? Bloomberg reports that the largest holders are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Ouch.
But there is something here--Dionne advocates for having corporate Chief Executives appear in ads that they sponsor to take responsibility for what is in the ad--like politicians do. I'm open to that--in fact, the more I think about it, the more I like it. Then, we'll have the opportunity to let the market punish corporations for their views.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
So what do we get from the Post? We get a column that talks about the division on the right (the immoderate Tea Partiers vs. moderate Mr. Hurt) without EVEN PASSING MENTION OF ANY OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES! If the Republican side is divide, you'd never know who Hurt was dividing it with.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
I don't think there is a major Conservative thinker today who understands and respects Libertarians more than Jonah Goldberg does--nor is there a Conservative thinker who more neatly dissects the trouble with Libertarianism as a governing impulse. Take a look at this, and then scroll through yesterday and today to see more on this. Fascinating stuff for the two or three wonks who read this blog.
I like Barack Obama personally--or at least I think I'd like him. What I like about him is his intellect, his wide ranging mind. I disagree mightily with his politics, but I like him. I can tell you though, if he decides that this dip into Huey Long populism is his new schtick, I'll be unrestrained in my attacks. This is beneath him.
The FACTS are that the banks are paying back what was lent them, with interest. The American people are MAKING MONEY off of many of the TARP loans. Go ahead, Mr. President--get Congress to pass special taxes on investment transactions--yeah, that's it. Hit the Fatcats where they live! What was that? You mean the investment firms are likely to raise their fees to pass the tax along to the customer? You mean my 401K might become more expensive to administer because the President wants to screw the Fatcats? Why am I getting screwed? HOPE AND CHANGE!
Republican populism will target big government--Democratic populism will target big business. This is a race to the bottom.
Chavez claims that Haiti was only a drill, that the true target is...Massachusetts. Just kidding, it's the destruction and taking over of Iran. Ooo goodie, more nation building.
Earthquake machines. It all sounds so....eeeevil. Mmmmwahahaha!
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 175.
Goal: Sub 150
The second chest/head cold of the season waylaid my exercise plans this week. The ridiculous Chinese dinner after the radio show didn't help the diet either.
What's on your mind, folks. Big week, no doubt. Mr. Brown's gone to Washington, healthcare needs a Death Panel, and free speech now applies to corporations and unions. Let's hear it--what do you think?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Friend: Since striking down duly passed laws, and disregarding the Court's prior decisions are not hallmarks of judicial restraint, I trust that Republicans will no longer contend that the "conservative" justicis in the Supreme Court majority are not activists.
Me: see Marbury v. Madison. Striking down unconstitutional laws is exactly what they are supposed to do. Finding "shadows" and "penumbras" in order to MAKE LAW is what frosts Conservatives.
Me (again): ...and what's wrong with disregarding prior decisions, if they were botched? Wanna defend Dred Scott, counselor?
Friend: You miss my point. No one claims that John Marshall was not an activist judge. (Marbury in fact quite a power grab by the Court.) But whatever you think of the Court's decision, and I do disagree with it, the Court is not acting with restraint when it does not rule on the issue initially presented by the appeal, sets a second argument on an issue that it orders the parties to brief, and then reverses prior precedent. That is an activist court.
Me: And you miss mine. Conservatives don't mind judicial activism if it is in the pursuit of defending constitutionally protected rights.
Friend: I appreciate your candor.
Me: And I your intellect.
This back and forth illustrates something I think shouldn't be lost in the discussion of "judicial restraint". Conservative esteem for judicial restraint DOES NOT imply that the Supreme Court should sit as a potted plant, allowing "duly passed laws" or even decisions of previous Supreme Courts to stand--if they violate an existing constitutionally protected right.
So Warren--how's that Faustian bargain feel now?
We've had a good run lately--averaging about 200 individual readers a day in the past 10 days or so (25% of whom are new each day). I think this is a quality blog with some interesting dialogue--and I'd like it to grow.
And of course, don't forget to patronize our sponsors by clicking through on the Google Ads buttons.
I submit that there's a slight difference; one was borne directly of the other - they do not share the same parent.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Shortly after last night's Scott Brown victory, Webb put out a press release urging a halt to Senate healthcare votes until after Brown is seated. Though according the the NYT story, Democratic leaders has already decided to do that, they cannot be happy with Webb's grandstanding and self-righteousness. I on the other hand, am delighted.
1. Candidates matter. Brown and McDonnell in Virginia are the leading edge of the Republican candidate template. They should be positive, upbeat and smart--but not beat you up with their intelligence smart. They should be a guy you'd want to have a beer with, a guy you would want in the foxhole next to you, and when it comes right down to it--they should be the kind of guy you'd want representing you in court if you were falsely accused of something.
2. Issues matter. Healthcare played a big part in this campaign, but so did national security. Coakley mouthed the Obama line, Brown not so much.
3. It's never as bad as it seems; it's never as good as it seems. Fourteen months ago we were a devastated bunch--beaten soundly and in control of no branch of government. Things looked dim, very dim. But now look at where we are--the Party is on its way back, we're gaining traction, we're electing good candidates, and the national narrative is beginning to question move closely the policies and politics of the ruling cabal. Great news, right? Everything's going our way, right? Not so fast. The Democrats STILL hold large majorities in both chambers. Let's also not forget that part of the celebrating last night was born of the Republican Party's ability to filibuster in the Senate--putting aside for a moment that a MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE THERE would have voted for the Obama plan! We've got a TON of work to do--there is no rest, there is no victory lap, there is not gold medal. There is only the responsibility of leadership and it is its own reward.
4. The President is popular; he is not influential. He has no coattails, and his agenda is not nearly as popular as his aura. There is little penalty to be paid in defying him--as long as he continues on this big-government path. BUT--if he does what Clinton did and tack to the right--mere resistance will not be rewarded.
5. The President's program is unpopular--but what is our program? The Republican Party must begin to articulate a program for governance that it will implement when and if it takes back Congress. It's time for a new Contract!
She may want to fire up that word processor, as it appears likely her days in Massachusetts Democratic politics are numbered.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
He's now running for Congress in Florida.
Pretty good speaker, what?
The only problem with the talk is that Republicans just aren't wired that way. Democrats fall in love--sometimes it works, sometimes you get Mike Dukakis. We nominate the guy whose turn it is--solid, tested, a record of accomplishment in SOME executive capacity/elected office. Sometimes that works and sometimes we get Bob Dole. I've often thought about the possibility of someone stealing a march on the field in Republican politics--and then dismiss it.
We do integrate proven successes from other fields (military, generally) into the process. But political novices just don't cut it.
Oh those noble Democrats!
This story only reinforces that respect.
Let's review: The prison he was going to close is still open. The wars he was going to end are still going on. The jobs he was going to save or create haven't been saved or created. The stimulus bill he got passed hasn't stimulated anything. His signature issue--healthcare--is now six months past "the deadline" he set and the docs are looking for the paddles. His party is in free-fall, losing elections in Virginia and New Jersey--and now potentially in Massachusetts. His cap and trade bill sits in limbo as House Dems rue the day they extended themselves only to have Senate Dems walk away from it. The Iranians and North Koreans thumb their noses at him even as he writes them nice letters.
But he gives a good speech.
Seriously. When is this man going to be escorted to his padded cell? If election returns start going Brown's way tonight, I'm tuning into MSNBC just to watch the crestfallen faces of Olbermann and his ilk.
"So what's wrong with her opponent? Brown, voters are constantly reminded, is a Republican—a foreign virus in the Massachusetts body politic—and his talk of tax cuts echoes rhetoric employed by those mad Tea Party rubes. When he isn't conspiring with the knuckle-draggers, Brown is spending time at one of his "five properties," which includes an Aruba timeshare valued between $10,000 and $20,000. It's more than a little bizarre to accuse Brown of being too rich, too bourgeois, to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat."
Monday, January 18, 2010
How wonderful would it be if Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts, causing Rahm Emanuel to resign and Nancy Pelosi to be thrown overboard by House Dems. Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?
H/T: NRO Web Briefing
"But the success of the conservative narrative ought to trouble liberals and the Obama administration. The president has had to "own" the economic catastrophe much earlier than he should have. Most Americans understand that the mess we are in started before Obama got to the White House. Yet many, especially political independents, are upset that the government has had to spend so much and that things have not turned around as fast as they had hoped. "
Earlier than he should have? Just when should that have been, EJ? Someone PLEASE let me know when Barack Obama begins to be in charge. When does he own the economy? As for things not turning around as fast--could it be that the $800B stimulus bill was simply a bad bill that stimulated very little? Could there be ANY connection between disillusion with Obama and bad policy?
Is there even a possibility, E.J., that disillusion with Obama might have something to do with his decision to mess with 1/6 of the economy in a way that has left the middle class, the elderly, the young and small business owners wondering how badly they are going to fare?
No, of course not. This is all just ideology at work.
1. It never ceases to amaze me the way the Democratic party has turned a murdering, womanizing, boozing boor into a saint, whose memory is now venerated.
2. This party of unions, this party of "working" people (a pet peeve as you well know), seems to have a problem with Scott Brown's having been a "truck driver". Why exactly?
3. I think what we're seeing in MA, as we saw in NJ and VA, is that Barack Obama has no coattails. While he is a personally popular man, voter turnout and enthusiasm among Democrats plummets when he's not on the ballot. Implications? Dems have nothing to fear in defying him. This could be a real opportunity for Republicans.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
1. As the link indicates, Virginia tradition has it that as soon as the new Governor takes the oath of office, the previous Governor and his spouse quietly and unobtrusively depart the stage. This strikes me as quite civilized, the sort of thing you just don't see much of elsewhere.
2. I didn't follow the VA Governor's Race all that closely--Sally did a great job of it for one thing, and I live in Maryland now. But McDonnnell's sunny, upbeat, positive message--conveyed by an attractive and articulate candidate--is a winning formula. Where've we seen it before? How bout Ronny Reagan? Where else might we be seeing it? How bout Scott Brown in Massachusetts. The Party needs to keep finding candidates like these--who know how to talk and who know how to lead. They are tough, efficient, and competent--but they come off as avuncular and inclusive.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 177.8
Goal: Sub 150
Solid week here, with reasonable exercise and only a few dieting indiscretions. Sorry I'm at this a bit late this morning, but events ran on a bit last night.
So, what's on your mind people? The Massachusetts Senate race got you fired up? Wondering what impact a Brown victory could have on healthcare? All excited and can't wait until next Wednesday's Conservative Wahoo Live! internet radio show?
Sit down, pull up a chair. Unburden yourselves.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Many thanks to the callers who REALLY make the show. Some great thoughts on a wide range of topics. It appears that we had about 80 plus listeners last night, almost double show #1.
Yoo's written a book about Presidential power and he was on the show hawking the book. Yoo you may remember, wrote some of the notorious "torture" memos upon which the Bush Administration based its expanded interrogation procedures. Yoo's basic thesis is that during wartime, the President has enormous (but not limitless) power, and throughout history, our greatest Presidents have exercised that power. Conversely, our worst Presidents shrank from it.
The discussion with Stewart is fascinating, though at times annoying. Let's face it; Jon Stewart is a smart, well-informed guy. He was well-prepared to go to the mat with a constitutional law specialist, and there are elements of a great discussion here. The problem though, is that Stewart insists on asking a question and then interrupting Yoo mere seconds after Yoo begins to answer. It is a pattern repeated over and over.
Yoo remains--dare I say it--inscrutable. He is imperturbable, despite Stewart's best efforts, and he appears to gain some grudging measure of respect from Stewart for it by the end of the interview. Clearly Stewart disagrees with Yoo--but in the end, the discussion was not disagreeable. It's worth watching end to end if you have the time.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I can't even begin to understand how sad this man is.
News at the Surface Navy Association is of a massive relief effort with the Navy at its heart.
Pray for these poor people, please.
Here's the American Red Cross donation website. Study after study show that Conservatives are more compassionate with their charitable giving than Liberals. Let's prove it. Who's in for $100?
The first, by Ramesh Ponnuru, provides some needed cold water to Republicans' perceived overconfidence on their 2010 prospects. Ponnuru points to five factors that could work against Republicans come November. He ends:
"The better Republicans' prospects become, the more Americans are going to ask whether the party is ready to lead. Chairman Steele recently said that he wasn't sure it was. It was another gaffe; it was also true."
The second article is from Peggy Noonan, and posits that passage of the health care reform bill will amount to a "catastrophic victory" for Democrats. Noonan feels the Obama Administration misread and overestimated its mandate, choosing to stake its and Democrats' collective fortunes on a massive, expensive, and confusing health care bill when the public sentiment was focused more on jobs, the economy and the deficit.
While Noonan doesn't question probable Republican electoral gains, she does express concern that the party lacks a cohesive message and is ill-equipped to lead:
"They do not see that 2010 could be a catastrophic for them. If they seize power without a clear purpose, if they are not serious, if they do the lazy and cynical thing by just sitting back and letting the Democrats lose...Republicans themselves will be left unable to lead when their time comes."
The elections are only ten months away, still plenty of time for Democrats to reverse their negatives. Is it enough time for Republicans to reverse theirs?
What's the problem with saved jobs, you may ask? Doesn't it make sense to count the 200 teacher jobs saved in Podunkville as a result of stimulus money? No. It doesn't. Because what are being counted there are jobs that might be lost--and might also NOT be lost.
Here's the scenario. Podunkville has a budget deficit--and it looks around at what needs to get cut. Teachers and first responders are always a good target--especially when there's "stimulus" money to be had. Poor folks are gonna get FIRED if we don't get some cash from Uncle Sugar. Problem with this is that if Uncle Sugar rolled in and said no--the local officials would have to face their own constituencies locally---who in some cases wouldn't accept this response to fiscal crisis. There would be a locally driven impetus to roll up sleeves and look for other cuts. Sometimes, jobs could be "saved", and sometimes they couldn't. But counting the ones that would be saved same as ones that wouldn't is just zany, and it is no way to track the success of a $787B program.
Lots to talk about this week, including unrest in Iraq, the Senate race in Massachusetts, Harry Reid and more.
Call in if you'd like at 347-637-2203.
"The case of Bayrak and her ilk also suggests the need for another kind of anti-terrorism strategy. Too often, we still consider public diplomacy to be a sort of public relations activity, the "promotion" of American values. Instead, we should think about it as an argument. The Bayraks and Balawis of this world are engaged in constant debates -- in Internet chat rooms, in the halls of publishing houses, in mosques. Are they hearing enough counterarguments? Are we helping the people who make the counterarguments? I suspect that they don't and I'm certain that we aren't -- nearly a decade after Sept. 11 -- and that has to change. Intellectuals may wear glasses and read books, but neither prevents them from throwing bombs -- or from strapping them inside their underwear. "
Bravo, Ms. Applebaum. Bravo. I'd like to see more commentators advocate taking Islamic Jihadism on--not attempting to accommodate it or apologize for Western Civilization. There is an argument to be won here, we just have to make it.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
There's a little story in the WaPost today about the decline of the "memorizing" waiter. That is, the true professional of the past who would take the table's orders, internalize them, and return in due time with what was desired. According to the Post, this practice is on the decline, and the restaurant owners interviewed affix blame squarely on....us...the eating public. One goes as far as to blame the Food Network for creating a nation of individual tastes that that drive picky, special orders that defy the ability of the average waiter to memorize.
I don't agree with this article at all--in fact, I think the practice of waiters trying to memorize orders is ON THE RISE, not the decline. How do I know? Because it is a practice that has achieved near "pet peeve" status. I cannot tell you what the likelihood of a waiter who has not written down my order to screw it up is, but I can tell you that it is far higher than those who have written it down. My own neurotic approach to this subject has gotten so bad that if I am at a restaurant where the waiter does not write it down, I'll sit there silently stewing, just WAITING for them to screw it up. I know, I know. Evolve Bryan, evolve.
I frankly would much rather there be little tablet computers at tables that enable me to order and pay without interacting with a human. The order would be wirelessly conveyed to the kitchen, and the food would be brought out by the delivery staff. Want another glass of water? Hit that button. Want a napkin--got one for that.
Oh, and another near pet-peeve. The bill comes to $17.93 and you give the waiter two twenties. He then looks at you and says something like "do you need any change back?" ARGH. No---your service has been so astounding that I'm going to tip you at a rate over 100 %. Of course I want change. Bring it to me and I'LL determine the tip.
Monday, January 11, 2010
UPDATE: They destroyed their $500K goal--got $1.3M! And for those worried about their status as gov contractors, the following from the FEC:
Federal Government Contractors
Federal government contractors may not make contributions to influence Federal elections. For example, if you are a consultant under contract to a Federal agency, you may not contribute to Federal candidates or political committees. Or, if you are the sole proprietor of a business with a Federal government contract, you may not make contributions from personal or business funds. But, if you are merely employed by a company (or partnership) with Federal government contracts, you are permitted to make contributions from your personal funds.
The paper is reporting that Palin will appear as part of the channel's programming as part of a multi-year deal.
A few weeks ago, I predicted that Palin would announce plans for a syndicated radio talk show. It could still happen.
Claiming during an Esquire magazine interview (can Esquire really be hurting that badly for interviews?) that because of his experience as an adolescent, before he remained an adolescent, living in the tough environs of what is becoming the root of all evil, Chicago, he, Blacko-Blago, has better blackman cred than half-white President Obama. To wit:
"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shine shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in the black community not far from were we lived. I saw it all growing up," Blagojevich told the magazine. "It is such a cynical business. I am real. This guy, President Obama, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is."
So now, seeing that so many people making media hay on similar remarks, Blago has issued a (yawn) public apology for his insensitive remarks. I don't care one whit what the guy said, really, I just wonder what it is that makes people so willing to make public spectacles of themselves just so they can see their names and face in the media--even if it is to be pilloried...especially if it is to be pilloried.
Who is your "favorite" chronic public spectacle? Octomom? Jon or Kate? Lindsay Lohan? Michael Jackson's dad? The balloon boy dad? Others?
Now of course, these remarks had NOTHING TO DO with the fact that the would-be President Obama had virtually NO EXPERIENCE doing anything Presidential (or worthwhile for that matter). They had nothing to do with drawing a comparison between Bill's wife (generally thought to be well-prepared to be President) and the youthful, inexperienced Obama. No--how silly of you to think that. They are of course, racist remarks, and that's the way they'll be treated.
H/T The Daily Caller
UPDATE: Looks like Mark Steyn beat me to the "First Black President" reference.
First of all, it did indeed extend coverage to nearly all of the state's residents (merely 2.5 per cent lack coverage)--and it did so with the nation's first healthcare insurance mandate.
But--like the plan moving through Congress--it did not focus on cost containment. And so, 3 1/2 years later, state spending on healthcare is up 42% AND those with private insurance face the highest premiums in the nation.
What's going on here? Well, bad policy for one thing. Mitt Romney's my man for the nom in 2012, but he's going to have a tough time explaining this one. I'm not opposed to mandatory health insurance, but they simply didn't incorporate enough market reforms to lower premiums/control costs.
Secondly, supply and demand. Lots more people now have to buy insurance, so the price has gone up.
This looks like another Dukakis "Massachusetts Miracle".
Sunday, January 10, 2010
But then, politics got in the way. You see, there is a special election in the Bay State on the 19th of January, and it just may come to pass that Republican Scott Brown could take the seat. And were he certified and seated expeditiously, he would be the 41st vote to filibuster healthcare, and it would be stymied. Can't let that happen to Saint Edward of Kennedy's signature issue, can we? So now it seems that the certification process--which took 2 days for a special House election in 2007 (that just happened to provide a reliable Dem vote to override GWB's veto of S-CHIP), might take at least a month.
Democracy at its best, no?
This week, Senator Chris Dodd receives Broder's praise as "...a straight shooter."
I loved this line: "Like his friend Ted Kennedy, Dodd enjoyed good whiskey and the company of pretty women, but his uptown tastes never compromised his allegiance to the working stiffs' Democratic Party in which he was raised."
Next up: Broder to defend William Jefferson as an innovative banker.
But wait....from the article, here's what Joe Biden said on the campaign trail...."I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
And HE had to apologize for that.
The delicious part of all of this is, that while inarticulate and based on outdated language, both Reid and Biden WERE RIGHT. Barack Obama was acceptable to huge portions of the American public as a "gateway drug African American President" specifically BECAUSE he DID NOT represent the image of the modern African American experience that any one of us can watch on MTV. Aside from that, he also does not represent the image posed by some of the more colorful members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He's a well educated, well-spoken left of center Democrat who is married to the mother of his children. But the mere mention of these abidingly positive, abidingly American practices and values--brings up the specter of racism.
UPDATE: Michael Steele is wrong, and he still must go.
I have endless respect for the work of the CIA. When you wear a uniform, you are (mostly) protected by the Law of Armed Conflict (not that it helps that much against AQ). CIA officers in the field are NEVER covered by LOAC--they do their jobs well and under tremendous pressure.
There is a clear message in the story linked here, and that is the CIA's serious determination to take out UBL and his lieutenants. It may have made them a little sloppy in their security procedures, and the result was devastating.
Yet again though, the vermin responsible for this attack was not from among the downtrodden of the Islamic world. Quite the contrary. He was a doctor. Just like Zawahiri.
If you listen in to the first internet radio show (archived here) there is a great discussion with "Tim" about how the abiding narrative of conflict with Islam is bunk--that we're dealing with "poverty and oppression and lack of opportunity" is continually belied by the reality of educated, middle and upper middle class terrorists. He's a great source of information on the topic, and the discussion is insightful.
Problem with that joke is "socialism not working" might lead some to believe that there are circumstances where it does work.
What do twitter and Venezuela have in common?
They are both led by a "twit".
Late Friday, the latter twit (Baby Hugo) devalued the Bolivar, Venezuela's currency. Perhaps if it devalues further, they can rename it the "Chavez" and put his pudgy mug on it to remind everyone of who destroyed the economy of the nation with the largest oil reserves in all of South America.
Actually, it's a tad unfair to blame that terminally-homely SOB for the downfall of the entire nation. That's because for a while at least, Venezuela was functioning as a capitalist democracy. Voters actually voted him into office and his inauguration was a momentous event full of hope for change. And change they got. He nationalized industry and started spending money on government programs at an unprecedented rate. So those who were the benficiaries of this redistributed wealth voted him back into office (how do you say "ACORN" in Spanish?). So he nationalized more industry and spent more on government programs and the recipients cheered. But, as Margaret Thatcher pithily summed up socialism, the problem with it is "eventually you run out of other people's money."
And today all those who voted him into office are wondering why they are being crippled by some of the highest inflation in the hemisphere. Life is tough, even tougher when you are stupid, even tougher when you are stupid AND you vote.
Thank God we here in the US are so much smarter than to run down this path.
BTW, here are some pics from one of Hugo's Scrapbooks titled "My Pals from the USA". See how many loyal Americans you can name. Any guess which way they voted?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
This article is one example of that.
Again, the algorithm certainly serves a purpose and it is the same algorithm (to my understanding) that prior administrations used so I'm not asserting numerical foul play on anyone's behalf here. But given the unprecedented post-Carter unemployment, it is worth looking more deeply (than the macro-level numbers we generally use as a bellringer of change during better times) to understand where the Administration's policies are working and where they are not.