Monday, August 31, 2009

New York Times Facebook "Exodus" is Reporters Friends

Now I figure the "paper of record" would rely on more then just a few acquaintances to consider something an "exodus."

What follows is several different people saying what they don't like about Facebook. Who are these people? They aren't explained or titled, or even always named. But we are given one qualification for their inclusion in this journalistic item: they are "My friend Alex... Another friend..."

No experts are cited, no online authorities. Well-known Facebook critics aren't invoked. There's a single academic reference tacked on at the end, perhaps as nod towards the idea that, maybe, somewhere, someone else has expressed criticism of Facebook.

In short a New York Times article, an article from The Newspaper of Record, is based entirely on a reporter talking to her chums.

Are there any editors at this paper that actually reads these articles and push their reporters to interview someone other then their friends. I guess the New York Times and the Mililani High School Trojan Times have more in common then you might think.

Hawaiian Racism Charged By the Southern Poverty Law Center

This isn't some far-right group that is leveling these charges but a noted pro-tolerance organization that has combated racism for decades. These charges are pretty harsh and really makes Hawaii sound like a scary place to visit as well.

Celia Padron went on a Hawaiian vacation last year, lured by the prospect of beautiful beaches and friendly people. She, her husband and two teenage daughters enjoyed the black sand beach at Makena State Park on Maui. But a Hawaiian girl accosted her two teenage daughters, saying, "Go back to the mainland" and "Take your white ass off our beaches," says Padron, a pediatric gastroenterologist in New Jersey.

When her husband, 68 at the time, stepped between the girls, three young Hawaiian men slammed him against a vehicle, cutting his ear, and choked and punched him, Padron says. Police officers persuaded the Padrons not to press charges, saying it would be expensive for them to return for court appearances and a Hawaiian judge would side with the Hawaiian assailants, the doctor contends.

"There is no doubt in my mind [the attack] was racially motivated," she adds.

That sound you hear was the Hawaii Tourism Industry going into damage control mode. I would be willing to bet that the Padron family and millions like them will be going to Aruba or St. Kitts for their sun and sand vacation from here on in. Just what our ailing tourism industry needs is charges of racism that are very hard to deny.

Some Ideas for Disney to Create Marvel Comics TV Shows

New Mutants TV Series:
This might be a great series if they ramp up the 90210 angle with love triangles and secret crushes as well as some fighting evil costumed villains-style action. They could easily put this on Disney Channel to go after the Hannah Montana demographic. It might even be cross genre as girls tune in to see if Cannonball and Lila Cheney stay together and the boys tuning in to see if they defeat the Hellions.

Spider-man Loves Mary Jane:
Another Hannah Montana style series this time told from Mary Jane's high school experience. They can have Spider-Man as an almost side character that is seen basically as a cameo. They follow Mary Jane's life and crushes and a little bit about her friendship with Peter Parker. They could conceivably do this series similar to Witches of Waverly Place and That's so Raven and those other Disney Channel shows.

Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-man:
This would be the flip side of the Mary Jane story as a live-action series that follows Peter Parker in high school. Have him do some stuff as Spider-Man but it is mostly about his life. You can add the part where he is bullied and is in love with Mary Jane. This would have slightly more upscale production values so it would be more compared with Smallville and not Hannah Montana.

Power Man and Iron Fist:
This could easily be a ABC drama set on the mean streets of New York with these two fighting against the Kingpin and his criminal empire. You would follow their private lives and how the Kingpin destroys neighborhoods and controls the drug trade. There would be some super-hero stuff but it would be mostly gritty street level drama instead of Fantastic Four style colorful heroics.

Disney Buys Marvel Talks About Lesser Known Characters

It seems that Marvel is now part of the Disney family along with Pixar.

The Walt Disney Company's announcement today that it will buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion caught Hollywood off guard. Marvel, home to such comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, just recently embarked on a strategy to produce its own movies instead of just licensing their characters to other studios.

On reading Disney CEO, Bob Iger's remarks I came across this bit:

Marvel doing a good job mining “rich intellectual property portfolio” to exploit lesser-known characters like Iron Man. We want to do more of that. Pixar deal three years ago shows that we can do this.

I was wondering which Marvel characters could go Iron Man big:

Black Panther:
I think Black Panther might be a good character depending on what actor portrays him. A Will Smith would knock it out of the park but some lesser known actor will make that franchise fail miserably. They might need to make the story set totally in Africa with the Black Panther fighting against Klaw looking to mine Vibranium.

I'm sorry I'm just not convinced that Thor is a popular enough character to make anything other then Punisher money. I will be really surprised if it breaks $100 million because the character just isn't very well known. At least Iron Man had a cartoon in the 1990s. I can't recall Thor being in anything of note. I'm hoping that Kenneth Branagh as the director can bring some decent pathos to the movie. In any case I think since it doesn't seem to be a true action movie it may do poorly at the box office.

I think this will be Disney's way to make a group franchise that is similar to the X-men but won't be tied to NewsCorp as the licensee. It will work with Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man but the other characters will be interesting. I think the team needs to be Iron-Man, Wasp, Giant-Man, Thor, and Captain America and no one else. Maybe you would get away with adding Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Wonderman love triangle in a sequel.

Nick Fury:
This might be easy money as a spy-thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson. If they play up the agent part of Agent of SHIELD then the movie would be pretty good. I think if they make it kind of a James Bond type movie where Fury fights against Hydra (make them just like SPECTRE) with flight belts and hidden guns then I can see the franchise really doing well.

Captain America:
I think this movie would do well as a 1940s war movie but only if that genre is still popular. Inglourious Basterds did great business so that era may still be marketable as a movie. Just make it a strait WW2 actioner with a guy with super-soldier serum and an adamantium shield fighting against the Red Skull. Or they can take a chance and set it in the 1970s with Captain America fighting against the upheaval and riots caused by the Hate-Monger. I just have a feeling that it will bomb majorly if it was set today and Cap stays a unfrozen super-hero from the 40s.

If they went to Frank Miller and sold him on the idea of making his version of Dardevil with complete artistic freedom then it will be a hit. That means it needs to be in that Frank Miller style like 300 and Sin City. It needs to be called Frank Miller's Daredevil as well. I think the Spirit bombed because only hard-core comics fans even knew the character existed. While Daredevil already has had a bad movie under his belt that made $100 million. In any case they need to keep Ben Affleck as far away from the movie as possible.

Turkey and Armenia Establish Diplomatic Ties

This should really benefit Armenia because the Turkish border has been closed for years. Now trade should be able to flow both ways and that should be good for the Armenian standard of living.

Armenia and Turkey agreed Monday to establish diplomat relations, overcoming a seemingly intractable rift that dates to the early 20th century and was marked by massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yet Another Media Talking-Head Insults the Voters

I think this contempt that the leftists keep showing toward the American people is part of what is killing ObamaCare.

Why does this happen? Some people (including me) say the voters are immature. Politicians (and those talk radio fellows again) are always telling them that they are wise and those folks in Washington are fools. Pollsters seek and validate their opinions on subjects they haven't bothered to learn anything about. Politicians drown them in benefits with no thought of how the bills will be paid. No wonder that citizens turn out like spoiled children.

Yup he just called American voters spoiled children in a national news source. So why should these children follow Mr. Kinsley's lead if he is such a condescending jack-ass? Yes children it is time to follow the big brains like Kinsley when he tells us what is good for us even though we don't want it. I think if liberals weren't so full of themselves people might actually listen to them more.

Krauthammer Marks Out the Endgame for ObamaCare

This makes quite a bit of sense and I would be willing to bet that his vision will come to pass.

Promise nothing but pleasure -- for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one -- Obamacare 2.0 -- promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for preexisting conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.

What's not to like? If you have insurance, you'll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for preexisting conditions.

The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.

The only thing I want added to this is a national insurance marketplace that allows you to buy across state lines. This would favor huge companies like UnitedHealth, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield and would shake out the lesser players. There will also be a consolidation in the industry as well.

The government can mandate that these companies offer several different competing plans that will be affordable by using their reimbursement structure in negotiations with the insurers. This can keep prices down and the insurance companies could create other plans that aren't reimbursed but are more expensive. So for instance, there can be a experimental drug benefit that the government doesn't reimburse but UnitedHealth can offer at a higher premium.

This is the Swiss Health Care system in a nutshell. The good thing about the Swiss system is that they are still innovating on the drug front so their health plan seems to be doing what ours should be doing. They pay a lower cost then we do, they don't have English and Canadian style wait times, and people are generally happy with their system. I think I could live with the Swiss system if they threw in a cap on malpractice suits because it gives consumers more choices and not less.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

VA Accidentily Sends Vets 1000s of "You Have a Fatal Disease" Letters

This store is exactly why ObamaCare is such a hard-sell to average people.

The Veterans Affairs Department sent electronically generated letters last week that wrongly told as many as 1,200 veterans they have been diagnosed with the fatal Lou Gehrig’s neurological disease, according to Jim Bunker, president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a veterans services nonprofit group.

Can you imagine if ObamaCare passes and thousands of letters go out saying "you have inoperable brain cancer" or something terrible like that? If an insurance company accidentally did something like this then they would be forced out of business by angry consumers. But if the Feds do it then a few bureaucrats will have to take early retirement or some other slap on the wrist. That is the basic problem with ObamaCare. You can't force them out of business if they accidentally pulled a stunt like this.

The Media has Lost It: Comparing ObamaCare to Post Office In Order to Defend It

Now this has to be an sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek article.

Let's just assume that if there ever is a federal healthcare option, it will be as inefficient as we consider the post office to be. So what? If service were poor, plan participants would have an incentive to look elsewhere for care, the way most businesses requiring quick package delivery choose FedEx or UPS over the Postal Service. Since private plans would presumably be more efficient, they'd have a built-in competitive advantage and would still appeal to employers and individuals who can afford their own coverage. The postal-style plan, meanwhile, would provide basic service to a lot of people who couldn't get it anywhere else--while providing fresh fodder, valid or not, for the late-night comedians.

So what? If the post office loses your letter or Newman is your postman then all you are is inconvenienced. If the federal health care option screws up or you have a surly, unqualified doctor then you might die. It is just that simple.

Also this guy is advocating for a two tier system where if you are rich you pay for private care and if you are poor you are stuck with federal health care and hopefully get treated some time in the next 6 months by a doctor that was taught in an accredited medical school.

That is why health insurers are sitting so pretty. They know that they will get 47 million people into the pool and they will cherry-pick the healthiest while the government takes care of the sickest. As long as they aren't run out of business (I am convinced that only a single payer system like Canada's would do it) they will adapt, consolidate, and end up crushing the government plan.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pelosi Wants to Ride Ted Kennedy's Coffin to Pass ObamaCare only a Few Hours After his Death

Now this has to be a new record for someones death to be politicized in order to pass legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office sent an email to reporters at around 2:30 a.m. today, just hours after his death, calling for the passage of health care overhaul. “Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration,” the statement read.

I think this is just a new low for Pelosi. She politicized his death so quickly it would make your head spin. It was just "we will pass Kennedy's dream of health care" and he hasn't even been dead a few hours yet. That is just disgraceful even for Pelosi.

One of Obama's Summer Reading Books Left Over from a Year Ago?

It seems that Obama might be an even slower reader then I am.

The commander in chief's list of beach books for his Martha's Vineyard vacation includes an environmental best seller that he bragged about reading almost a year ago on the campaign trail.

Obama was so taken with Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat and Crowded" that he quoted it at a rally last September in Flint, Mich., and one media outlet described it as the book that was currently on the then-candidate's nightstand.

The 448-page book appeared again on Monday on the list of five books that Obama planned to read on his vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

I guess the book is just super boring and hard to plow through for Obama even though it is only 448 pages. I guess that is why he sticks to crime novels and presidential biographies. I usually take about a month to read a book since I don't really sit down and read for long stretches. But I have taken more then a year to read certain really boring novels in the past.

Perhaps, Obama views Hot, Flat, and Crowded as just another boring slog that he has to go through to prove his environmental bona fides. Maybe if he skipped it some leftist would jump all over him and say "you mean you haven't read Friedman's new book? What sort of environmental President are you? You are worse then Bush!" Or something along those lines.

First Cannon Fired on the Battlefield Today in History

Although that fact is disputed.

It has been claimed that this battle, which occurred near Crécy in northern France early in the Hundred Years War, marks the first use of cannon on the battlefield. Like many claims that reach us through the mists of time, this one is hard to verify and is oft disputed: According to Arab historian Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, the Mamluks employed the “first cannon in history” against the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. In the end, it may come down to how the word “cannon” was defined in those days.

It wasn't very effective then but it sure has been throughout the ages. Artillery was the queen of battle until the advent of the airplane. I think the self-propelled artillery piece will still be needed even a few centuries into the future.

CBO Says Another 2.3 Million Jobs Could Be lost by 2010

I thought the stimulus was supposed to stop this from happening.

Based on CBO’s forecast for the average unemployment rate in calendar year 2010, 2.3 million fewer people will be employed on average next year than they projected in January.

For comparison, in July there were about 140 million people employed in the U.S.

Next year’s reality will depend heavily on when the economy turns up and how quickly growth returns. A new projection of fewer people employed next year should not surprise anyone. But 2.3 million is a big bad number.

I'm in the camp that a payroll tax holiday needs to enacted ASAP from the money left over in the stimulus. If we still have $670 billion left to spend then forget whatever pork barrel crap that money is supposed to go to and just use it to cut the payroll tax. I think Congress needs to get serious about job losses or they will be looking for new ones in 2010.

Papa John's Founder Finds His Car

Now this is a pretty cool story that has a happy ending.

With the help of a $250,000 reward, the founder of the Papa John's pizza chain has finally reunited with the muscle car he sold years ago to help keep his family's business afloat.

John Schnatter sold the gold-and-black 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for $2,800 in 1983. The money helped save his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Ind., and he used the rest to start what would become a worldwide pizza business.

I have always like Papa Johns Pizza and it is cool that he was able to get reunited with the car that pretty much launched his corporation. Hmm, if I were superstitious I would go long Papa John's stock right now because that car might bring his company good luck. That is from the Scrooge McDuck school of Number One Dime talismans.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Recognize a Speculative Bubble

I hope this article is tacked on the bulletin board of the FED and the Treasury because I think it should be required reading. I'll go into this article through my lens of the great comic bubble of the 90s that the industry still hasn't recovered from. This bubble slowly formed from 1985 and finally popped in 1997

1. The biggest bubbles appear to develop during periods of rapid and radical innovation, which may leave us more vulnerable to accepting the bizarre rationalizations that often accompany financial speculation.

The comic book bubble happened during the heady time of the Clinton years when America was growing like a weed due of the collapse of the Soviet Union and pro-investor policies were everywhere. During this time there were great leaps in technology and PCs became fairly ubiquitous. In the case of comics investors were looking for a way to "diversify their portfolios" and comics of the 40s and 50s were certainly a scarce asset.

2. The second, more obvious thing about booms is that lots and lots of people get on board, pushing prices up. Initial skepticism gives way to curiosity and then escalates into a kind of frenzy, a feeling that you may be the only person on the planet who isn't part of the fun, and you'd better scramble to get in.

Yup this is the ramp up when the bubble slowly grows and takes on heady dimensions. In the comic industry it happened around the time of the Death of Superman storyline. This is when the comic industry went from catering to readers to catering to collectors.

So during this time we see all sorts of gimmicks like Tri-fold and metallic foil covers and pre-bagging the comic in a plastic cover to keep them in perfect condition. The black bag copy of the Death of Superman comic is a case-in-point. I remember seeing that thing going for $100 or more and it was not scarce like an a Golden Age title.

3. As prices climb to eye-popping levels, two more things happen: Some experts insist that this time is different—and virtually all warnings are ignored.

This is about the time that X-Men #1 came out to the tune of 8 million copies. Any speculator should have understood that most comic print runs are about 65,000 or so and some really expensive books like Action Comics #1 has only a few dozen known copies in existence. So when Marvel rolled out 8 million of one comic you know the wave had crested. The comic still jumped up in price contrary to all reason.

4. At some point, the bubble reaches a point that is so ridiculous that greed takes over and all common sense must be suspended to continue the myth.

This about the time when anyone says something like "I can send my kid to college by selling a pile of X-Men #1's." In the comic industry this is when there were more speculators then readers. These speculators were buying up multiple copies (sometimes 100s) at once thinking that they will all go up to $100 each like the Death of Superman Black Bag mentioned above.

I think the time when any bubble is about to burst is whenever someone says that they can send their kid through college or retire on the funds that they will get from speculation. This is always the point where greed has passed common sense.

5. The last typical feature of bubbles is a life lesson in itself: The party may be dangerous, but trying to keep the party going—the after-party, if you will—is what really hurts you. You can never predict when a bubble will actually bust. Some of them can continue for a remarkably long time. But when they do, they almost always do so quickly and dramatically.

This comic bubble nearly crippled the industry and caused Marvel to declare bankruptcy in 1997. It also cost the industry most of its independent publishers as well. The comic industry is a pale shell of what it was in the early 90s and if not for movie licensing we might see a comics industry that is very similar to the newspaper industry. An industry that is slowly dying as their product becomes more expensive to produce with little or no return to show for it.

The White House Turns on the Press: They Just Ran Out of People to Blame

Yow, these people are lashing out at anyone withing lashing distance.

When asked recently about the administration’s endless evasions on the public option, Gibbs instead opted to define a monopoly.
“If you had one place to eat lunch before you came to the briefing, do you think it would be cheap?” Gibbs demanded of CNN’s Ed Henry.

Henry should have asked Gibbs to define monopsony: a market in which one buyer is so large that it can control suppliers and ruin competitors. Henry could then explain he’d rather pay too much for the sandwich he wanted than have to eat at a government chow line opened across the street to encourage “competition.”

Gibbs is so crabby because, incredibly, the administration blames the media for the president’s problems.

The funny thing is that they blamed almost everyone one after another and all it did was cost them at the polls.

It tried blaming Republicans, but the GOP is too far out of power. When the leader of the free world is complaining about a posting on the former governor of Alaska’s Facebook page, he’s got problems.

Yup, Sarah Palin's Facebook page is probably read daily by White House staffers so that they could counter the "lies and misrepresentations." Of course it all just musing from a former governor that holds no actual power whatsoever and cannot block even a single piece of legislation. If the Dems think America will just fall in love with ObamaCare they should just write some single payer boondoggle bill and cram it through with 51 votes. The GOP will be powerless to stop them.

Team Obama tried blaming special interests, but that was a bust too. The president’s deal with the pharmaceutical industry gets him $150 million worth of ads to boost his plan, whatever it is.

Yup, the White House made a sweetheart deal with Big Pharma. So Obama really can't malign the people that are running a $150 million ad campaign for his pet project. Imagine if Bush made this same deal with Exxon Mobil to pass his Energy Bill? There would be calls for impeachment from every Democrat in Congress.

Democrats tried blaming the “mobs” of “un-American” protesters and “evil mongers” who were giving raspberries to members of Congress at town halls.

I think the White House realized it wasn't the Brooks Brothers Brigade carrying Nazi placards but instead it was a Senior Citizen Army that may have actually fought Nazis in 1945. The White House had to back off immediately or they would have lost the whole debate.

I think they are still damaged to the core by going after the protesters at these town halls. They should have just said "I support their right to question ObamaCare. I will do my best to allay any fears that they might have."

Obama's Summer Reading List

Well the White House released Obama's summer reading list. I was expecting more for some reason:

The Way Home by George Pelecanos, a crime thriller based in Washington, D.C.;
Lush Life by Richard Price, a story of race and class set in New York's Lower East Side;
• Tom Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded, on the benefits to America of an environmental revolution;
John Adams by David McCullough;
Plainsong by Kent Haruf, a drama about the life of eight different characters living in a Colorado prairie community.

So we have 2 crime thrillers, a preaching to the choir book about America leading the Green Revolution, a Presidential Biography, and a book about people living in small town Colorado. For some reason I was expecting something different than 4 fiction novels and a biography.

This is supposed to be President Spock the Intellectual so I was expecting some weighty tomes about obscure topics. Something that I would need to rush to Amazon just to see what these books were about.

Maybe an Indian poetry book written in the original Sanskrit or an obscure novel written by a Portuguese existentialist that nobody has heard about. Hell, even Bush read Camus during his vacation. Maybe Obama is saving Dirichlet Branes and Mirror Symmetry for his Spring Break reading list instead.

The Young Put Obama in Power But they Can Care Less About Health Care Reform

Anyone could have told you this was true.

Add this to President Barack Obama's problems in selling his health care overhaul: A lot of the tech-savvy activists who helped put him in office are young, feeling indestructible and not all that into what they see as an old folks issue.

It's a crucial gap in support and one the White House may have to correct if Obama is to regain the momentum and get Congress to act on his top domestic priority.

Well, the young will be strait-up robbed by any public plan. They will be paying in for decades into a service that they will rarely be using. Right now they have the option to forgo insurance and spend that $200-$300 on something else that would benefit them right now. If ObamaCare passes they will be be forced to pay for some other guys insurance for decades and get very little benefit from it. Maybe if ObamaCare paid for medical marijuana then more young people would become engaged again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Difference Between Progressives and Everyone Else: They Still Trust the Government

I was reading Krugmans anti-Reaganomics article and came to the realization that the difference between Progressives and everyone else is they actually still trust the government after all the failure and incompetence exhibited by it in the past few decades.

The debate over the “public option” in health care has been dismaying in many ways. Perhaps the most depressing aspect for progressives, however, has been the extent to which opponents of greater choice in health care have gained traction — in Congress, if not with the broader public — simply by repeating, over and over again, that the public option would be, horrors, a government program.

Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.

Why Reaganism is so powerful is that he believed that a smaller government just didn't have the sheer weight of money and power to damage things too badly. He believed that government should stay out of people's lives most of the time and will only be there to reign in the worst things.

So a firm national defence can only be done by the government as well as firm regulation of the markets with entities like the SEC and the FED. There will be failures and bubbles so intervention will have to take place but in moderation. I can easily see Reagan bailing out the banks and doing something like TARP in order to prevent the meltdown of the entire world economy. (Taking over car companies will probably be where he would draw the line.)

The problem is that progressives, no matter what, believe that the government will make things right in the end. This is contrary to the fact that there has numerous failures of government in the last 20 years alone whether it is a GOP or Democrat administration in power. We are in record debt, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are all going to be broke in a few decades, the Post Office is a mess, and the two biggest mortgage companies in the world (Fannie and Freddie) both nearly died simultaneously and are still on life support.

The failures of government led us to the Vietnam War which was started due shenanigans by the LBJ White House. Then we had Watergate, Iran/Contra, a President lying about an affair with an intern in the Oval Office, letting Bin Laden escape from Sudan, the incompetence of extending the Iraq War for 6 years due to Bremer dismissing the Iraqi army, Katrina and its aftermath, and now the failed Stimulus. Even Cash for Clunkers ran out of money in a few days when it was supposed to take months. About the only government program that came in over budget and was generally well liked was the 50 State Quarter Program.

So that is where the rest of the population comes from when they hear about trillion dollar government program to "fix" their health care. They think of money wasted, corruption, lies told by Congressmen, giveaways to corporations, and their taxes going up to pay for some other guy's insurance. They are afraid that the same government that gave them Amtrak will be giving them health insurance as well.

A Progressive thinks that it is morally right to have the government provide health care for every American without thinking about costs or consequences. The progressive thinks that the government can run 1/5th of the economy without losing medical innovation, without rationing, or without the rich still buying gold plated insurance and the poor being stuck with Post Office-brand Health Insurance. The progressive thinks that government can still get things done even though its track record has been one dismal failure after another. Progressivism is simply the triumph of the heart over common sense.

Don't Blame Obama if ObamaCare Fails; Blame Congress

Well I have to say that there is just a lot of blame to go around.

If the Congressional Democrats can’t get a health care package through, it won’t prove that President Obama is a sellout or an incompetent. It will prove that Congress’s liberal leaders are lousy tacticians, and that its centrist deal-makers are deal-makers first, poll watchers second and loyal Democrats a distant third. And it will prove that the Democratic Party is institutionally incapable of delivering on its most significant promises.

That is why I think something will pass even if it is watered down because they cannot fail for a second time and still be credible on the issue. The problem is that it isn't the GOP or Sarah Palin or these other people standing in the way. I mean the Dems can ram ObamaCare through with a strait party line vote if they want to.

What is holding things up is their inability to get their own party members to buy into a far left agenda and still allow them to hold onto their seats. I think the leftists in their party thought America had changed in 2008. Or maybe they thought that 100% of the popular vote was for Obama or something. They should realize there are still 59,934,814 people that voted for the other guy.

Contrary to what they think we are still a center, right country that is leery of government taking care of something as important as health care. I mean there are so many government failures in the past that it is hard to think that a "public option" will not just be the Post Office of Health Care in 5 years time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Do You Want a Test Case for ObamaCare? Maine Has Already Done It and it Sucks

I think the failure in Maine is ObamaCare's destiny in a few short years. The Maine version of ObamaCare or the so-called "public option" is called DirigoChoice (sounds like a hot-air balloon retail outlet or something.)

The program flew off track fast. At its peak in 2006, only about 15,000 people had enrolled in the DirigoChoice program. That number has dropped to below 10,000, according to the state's own reporting. About two-thirds of those who enrolled already had insurance, which they dropped in favor of the public option and its subsidies. Instead of 128,000 uninsured in the program today, the actual number is just 3,400. Despite the giant expansions in Maine's Medicaid program and the new, subsidized public choice option, the number of uninsured in the state today is only slightly lower that in 2004 when the program began.

So in other words this thing was supposed to cover the 128,000 uninsured and ended up covering just 3400? Hopefully that same thing happens to ObamaCare. They want to cover 47 million people and end up covering 10% of that. That would actually keep costs down. Here is why the Maine plan failed though:

Why did this happen? Among the biggest reasons is a severe adverse selection problem: The sickest, most expensive patients crowded into DirigoChoice, unbalancing its insurance pool and raising costs. That made it unattractive for healthier and lower-risk enrollees. And as a result, few low-income Mainers have been able to afford the premiums, even at subsidized rates.

This problem was exacerbated because since the early 1990s Maine has required insurers to adhere to community rating and guaranteed issue, which requires that insurers cover anyone who applies, regardless of their health condition and at a uniform premium. These rules—which are in the Obama plan—have relentlessly driven up insurance costs in Maine, especially for healthy people.

Yup but Maine doesn't have the equivalent to deficit spending like the US Government so the State legislature was forced to jack up premiums to cover the shortfall. So in other words ObamaCare will need to blast the deficit in order to keep these premiums in check.

So in other words this Maine program hardly covers anyone and has high sky premiums that have to be paid for out of the pocket of healthy people. That sounds like ObamaCare in a nutshell. But unlike people from Maine who have a choice to get out of this boondoggle (by moving or taking out private insurance) US citizens might not have a choice.

The GOP Has no Health Reform Bill: No Wait They Do (It is called House Bill, H.R. 2520)

Just in case some liberal pundit says that the GOP does not have a health reform bill here is the proof that they actually do. Here is what it the Republican Bill (H.R. 2520) does:

1. It sets aside money for prevention of illness, outcome based prevention, changing the food stamp program to promote nutrition, and sets aside money for immunizations. (That food stamp thing might be great unintended benefit since nutrition and brain development go hand and hand.)

2. Creates State Based Health Exchanges. (Not sure if they are non profit or not)

3. Creates tax credit so Americans can afford health care. ($2290 per adult, $1710 per child with a cost of living adjustment. I'm not sure how this is paid for though.)

4. Modernizes Medicaid and provides assistance for low-income families.

5. Cuts Medicare for wealthy seniors, expands Medicare advantage, reduces fraud, waste, and abuse.

6. Gets rid of lawsuit abuse by creating state grants for health court solutions. (Too bad it didn't just cap all malpractice lawsuits at $250,000 unless there is proof of gross negligence like cutting off the wrong foot or something.)

7. Increases funding for health information technology. (Hopefully this codifies everything online so doctors and patients all work from the same set of assumptions.)

8. Creates something called the health care services commission. Their job is to promote transparency of price, quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care. Hopefully they will print a list of how much each procedure costs and how much each plan covers all in one place. (It would be great repository of research for health care investors.)

9. Creates health care choice for Vets, American Indians, gets rid of the Council for Competitive Effectiveness Research, and compels the HHS and GAO to create a study about which 5 medical conditions have the greatest impact on health care in terms of cost. (I hope this study has some guidelines on how it will force those costs down.)

Now We Are $9 Tillion in the Red?

It seems that Obama low-balled another economic number.

I wonder: How many economic projections has Team Barry utterly cocked up so far? Is anyone keeping a list? Off the top of my head, there’s this one, the infamous guesstimate that the stimulus would keep unemployment under eight percent, and the Cash for Clunkers funding that was supposed to last three months and ran out in a week.

I feel a little bad for the Red Chinese. Their debtor is so bad with money that they are not even sure how much they are down at any given time. The bill was once $7 trillion. No wait, I found another bill under the couch. Now we are down by $9 trillion.

I'm glad Obama could deliver this news right before he headed off of vacation. I just got a mental image of Obama in shorts and an aloha shirt with Michelle gunning the car behind him saying "Oh by the way we are another $2 trillion in the hole. Sorry about that folks!" and hops into the passenger side door as the car streaks away.

Obama's Popularity at an All Time Low

It seems that he blew all of his political capital on ObamaCare and has nothing to show for it but terrible numbers.

The Washington Post-ABC News survey found that less that half of Americans — 49 percent — say they believe the president will make the right decisions for the country. That's down from 60 percent at the 100-day mark of the Obama presidency.

The poll published Friday says Obama's overall approval is 57 percent, 12 points lower than it was at its peak in April. Fifty-three percent disapprove of the way he's handling the budget deficit and his approval on health care continues to deteriorate.

I think some of this might be due to Obama's overexposure. I was watching a cable news show about new digital photo advertising that they were putting in an upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly. Just as I was getting into it it cut off mid story. Of course it was "breaking news" about Obama from the Rose Garden shilling for ObamaCare or who knows what. I immediately changed the channel.

I'm at the point now that I cannot even go to the comic store without seeing Obama staring back at me from some comic or another. I think for this whole vacation week coming up he should have total radio and TV silence unless a major crisis develops. He needs to get out of the public eye for a while just so we can actually care about things he says again.

While Wounded Warriors Wait for Checks the VA Serves up the Bonuses

This is brought to you by the same government that wants to go into the health care business.

In scathing reports this week, the VA's inspector general said thousands of technology office employees at the VA received the bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances. It also detailed abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship between two VA employees.

If they can't take care of people that served this country in battle then how do you expect them to take care of the 47 million or more people that might suddenly have government health insurance? Government has failed in just about everything it touches and can't even keep corruption out of the IT department of the VA. Now they want to take control of 1/6 of the national economy? Good luck with that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Real Jobs Bill: Or How to Make the Remaining Stimulus Work

Now this is something that should be considered on the use of the rest of the stimulus money that hasn't been frittered away yet. We already know how the stimulus was a dismal failure simply because it was targeted at the wrong areas:

Shierholz says policymakers should begin thinking about a second stimulus package focused on a jobs program. "If we passed a $200 billion jobs bill, that could create roughly 4 million jobs paying between $40,000 and $50,000," she says. "Four million temporary public sector jobs, for a year or two in duration, would bridge the employment gap while the economy recovers." Voting against the $787 billion measure, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, "There are so many things in the package completely unrelated to creating a job in the next 18 months." Only 11% of stimulus money was targeted toward infrastructure, and less than 10% of the jobs created have been public sector jobs.

Hell, we still have more than $200 billion left in the stimulus so they could scrap whatever that money will be wasted on and just create a 21st century version of the WPA. An injection of 4 million public sector jobs paid for by the government would be just what we need to get out of the recession. Couple this with a payroll tax holiday for a year or two and we would have that unemployment back to 4% in no time.

Why is Health Insurance Different then other forms of Insurance?

This is a great common sense article that advocates that health insurance should be more like home owners and car insurance.

And there lies one of the problems with the health insurance reform debate. State government mandates and favorable tax treatment in Washington have so distorted the market for health insurance that a generation of Americans now look on medical coverage as something very different from other kinds of insurance that we buy. While we will pay several hundred bucks out of our own pockets to have a plumber come repair a leaky pipe, we'll balk at deductibles and a $50 co-pay for a doctor's visit. We've been schooled in this attitude by politicians who have mandated that health insurance do things that we'd never expect from other kinds of insurance, and by consumer advocates who will demand our legislators do something about a health insurance company that doesn't cover some optional procedure that has nothing to do with life and death.

Yeah, I think if more people had to actually pay out of their own pocket for some of this stuff they would demand that prices go down. Most of the time if you have insurance you have no idea what different tests and procedures cost.

If you had a high deductible plan and a certain amount put into a health savings account by the government that would be carried over from year to year it would be just like the Whole Foods health plan where you would be asking about every test to see if they were absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Obama Needs to Explain About ObamaCare

I think this article sums up exactly what questions he needs to answer in order to sell the rest of the country on ObamaCare.

The proliferation of Obama’s gaffes and non sequiturs on health care has exceeded the allowable limit. He has failed repeatedly to explain how the government will provide more (health care) for less (money). He has failed to explain why increased demand for medical services without a concomitant increase in supply won’t lead to rationing by government bureaucrats as opposed to the market. And he has failed to explain why a Medicare-like model is desirable when Medicare itself is going broke.

Yup all this talk about Death Panels and slashing 30% from Medicare is just smoke and mirrors. He needs to sell us on how more people can be covered by insurance with less money and how much rationing there will be. Those are the questions that are not being answered before anything else.

The Reason for the ObamaCare Flip Flop?: The Daily Show Wants the Public Plan

Now we can see that Sebelius got thrown under the bus because the liberals went ape when the White House said that the public option was dropped.

On “The Daily Show,” Stewart went on to deliver a double whammy: He complimented the Bush administration for comparative political acumen, and questioned Obama’s idealism.

“Remember the Bush team?” Stewart said. “Little bit of discipline, little bit of repetition. They sold us a WAR nobody wanted and nobody needed. … Salesmanship! Those guys could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. The Democrats, I don’t even think could sell Eskimos BEEP they need — insulation, heating apparatus. … Yes, we can! [pause] Unless you don’t think we should!”

Huckabee Says Two-State Solution "Unrealistic"

I guess the Israelis (well the far right Israelis anyway) have a friend in a Baptist Minister from Arkansas.

Speaking to a small group of foreign reporters in Jerusalem, Huckabee said the international community should consider establishing a Palestinian state some place else.

"The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That's what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic."

However I'm not sure where they would put this Palestinian homeland though. The West Bank seems to be a decent enough place if Israel just stated that the settlers would become Palestinian citizens unless they moved back to Israel proper. Israel could just state that the Gaza Strip is now called Hamasistan and recognize the West Bank as Palestine.

I have to disagree with Huckabee though because a two state solution reached between two peaceful nations might actually be possible if both sides gave concessions. If it is just Israel trading land for peace I agree it would be unrealistic. I mean they gave Gaza back and got Hamas rockets in return. However if the Palestinians recognized Israel and ironed out a long term peace treaty the world would ratify it.

Obama Tells Doctors What to Do

I think Obama needs to just lay off the doctors when he is trying to sell his healthcare scheme to the rest of the nation.

Honestly, if you take the partisan blinders off, sometimes it gets downright scary. President Obama suggested in Colorado that "about 100,000 people die every year from preventable diseases and illnesses in hospitals,"and that "50 percent, 75 percent"of these preventable deaths could be eliminated by a doctor's protocol of "washing your hands, a lot of just basic stuff that costs no money." President Obama, are you simply so brilliant that you can save 50,000 to 75,000 lives a year by just telling just telling those stupid doctors to wash their hands and do a lot of just basic stuff like that? -- Actually, the washing your hands protocol was adopted in the mid-1800s when germs were discovered.

I know Obama thinks he is a lot of different things (JFK, FDR, Spock) but he certainly is not a doctor. In a way this is very insulting to doctors for the President to say that "if you folks just washed your hands, 75,000 lives will be saved." It is almost like Obama thinks that doctors are just loading up their hands with germs in order to make more money or something. He already seems to think doctors are lopping off tonsils for cash.

"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. ... The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, 'You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out,'"

One Step Forward Two Steps Back: Obama Flip-Flops on Public Plan

I think they need to do some serious message discipline at the White House. Now they are flip-flopping back to the public plan again:

He said in a meeting with reporters Tuesday morning that news stories suggesting that the administration was ready to abandon the public option as it battles to push health care reform through were overblown. The rash of reports began after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seh-BEEL'-yuhs) appeared to signal the president was open to health care cooperatives as an alternative.

So was Sebelius talking off the cuff or was it a feeler balloon to see what the far left would do? My guess is that everything at the White House is in chaos and everyone needs to get some sleep.

Going back and forth on the public plan simply makes them look indecisive and cannot agree on anything. I hate to see their jumbled response if Israel strikes the nuclear plants in Iran or something really serious.

Monday, August 17, 2009

King Pharmaceuticals Develops Non-Addictive Pain Medication

It is called Embeda and it looks like it might be great for people that suffer chronic pain. I think the addiction factor is what prevents some doctors from prescribing some of the stuff on the market.

The FDA approval covers the use of Embeda for moderate to severe chronic pain. Embeda's primary ingredient is morphine, but the pills contain a core of a second drug called naltrexone. If the pill is taken normally, it will release the morphine. However if it is crushed or chewed, the naltrexone is released, canceling out the high from the morphine.

They also have another pain med in the pipeline as well.

King is developing a second pain drug called Remoxy. That drug is designed to resist abuse because its main ingredient, oxycodone, is in a thick liquid form. King asked the FDA to approve the drug in December, but the agency requested more data. King plans to resubmit its application in the middle of 2010.

It should be a decent stock since they have a fairly decent cash hoard of $478 million and the stock is selling drugs that could potentially help millions of Americans.

USAToday Poll States 57% of People Say Stimulus Failed

It seems that many people think we may have blown $787 billion and got almost nothing for our troubles.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more — 60% — doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.

I think the biggest problem with the stimulus is that they sold it as a jobs bill but we lost 2.2 million more jobs in the meantime. It was also sold as an immediate help for the economy but most of it happens in 2010. What was wrong with enacting the thing in 2010 while making the stimulus 100% payroll taxes and other forms of job making incentive.

Obama Climbs Down from the Public Option

Well, at least he is starting to hear what is happening at the town halls and start to take them seriously.

Obama and his top aides signaled retreat over the weekend on proposals for a provision under which consumers could choose from health insurance policies sold by the federal government as well as those marketed by private companies. "All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," the president told a town hall-style audience in Grand Junction, Colo., on Saturday. "This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it."

Now we just need more information on these nonprofit Health-Care Co-ops are supposed to be and how they will work. I think the idea of a voluntary thing like joining a co-op is much better then some mandatory thing like ObamaCare.

Friday, August 14, 2009

ObamaCare Stuff Thrown into the Failed Stimulus?

You have to be kidding me. Now the stimulus bill had some preemptive ObamaCare thrown in that seemed to sneak past most people.

Americans eventually discovered that the administration had appropriated more than $16 billion to create a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research and a Health Information Technology department that can fine doctors and hospitals for not making "meaningful use" of its recommendations on health care.

Does this group actually have the power to fine people? Also $16 billion sounds like quite a bit of money for some kind of enforcement Council. Also how many jobs could be created by such an entity? I would think maybe a few dozen at most. I think the failed stimulus will keep turning up these turds the further we go along.

HuffPo Breaks News of Obama Drug Company Pay for Play Deal

Now even the leftists at HuffPo are starting to push back against ObamaCare exposing some Chicago-style deep-dish pay-for-play. I wonder if HuffPo will be turned in for fishy behavior to the White House snitch-line? In any case, this is quite damning evidence about White House/drug maker inside deal making though.

It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years. Or, as the memo says: "Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion."

I wonder if that was the "Hope and Change" that leftists were counting on? This pandering to corporate interests flies directly in the face of the anti-corporation culture of the Left. I think this revelation might do some long term damage to Obama's Presidency then anything that has gone before. It is almost worthy of a Gate on the end. I'll call it PharmaGate for now.

ObamaCare Astroturfer Fakes Being a Doctor

Now this is some low-down crap pulled by the leftists at a Town Hall meeting in Dallas, TX.

Not only was Mayer not a doctor, Roxana Mayer was an Obama delegate, as Patterico discovered with some digging. What’s more, the Houston Chronicle apparently knew this and failed to include it in its glowing coverage of Mayer’s appearance. The reporter, Cindy Horswell, has admitted that she knew Mayer was an Obama delegate and that Mayer didn’t live in Jackson-Lee’s district when she wrote the Chronicle story. After getting exposed, the Chronicle quietly changed the caption on the photo without issuing a correction, removing the reference to Mayer being a doctor.

I'm not a doctor but I play one at Town Halls in order to get hugs from Sheila "Spacewoman" Jackson-Lee. I think someone needs to report Cindy Horswell to the News Ombudsman (if Texas has such a thing) for suppressing relevant information.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

France and Germany out of Recession: Sites Own Cash for Clunkers

It seems that the stimulus in France and Germany is starting to work while ours seems to still be floundering.

Europe's two biggest economies each saw growth of 0.3 percent from the previous three-month period, surprising analysts' expectations for equivalent declines and technically ending their worst recession in decades.

They site their own cash for clunkers program as part of the cause

Countries across Europe have established so-called "cash for clunkers" programs in the hope that wary consumers will trade in their old cars for newer and more efficient models — in the process kick-starting the economy.

Unicredit economist Andreas Rees reckons that the export-dependent auto sector contributed 0.25 percentage point to overall German GDP growth.

Yup, when their economies slowed France and Germany propped up their big growth auto business. Our stimulus should have created a payroll tax holiday or included a giant cash for clunkers clause but for home appliances and other fairly expensive middle class goods to target the demand side of the equation.

It is so sad that the supposedly socialist Germans and French created a business friendly stimulus while our stimulus was just a big time giveaway to special interests. Maybe we should import Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy to write any further stimulus bills.

More Damning Evidence that Cap-and-Tax will Decimate the Recovery

I hope the Senate quietly puts Crap-and-Trade to death (with or without a "death panel") because if it is passed it will lead to a double dip recession.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) released a study Wednesday that found under a high-cost scenario the House global warming bill could reduce economic growth by 2.4 percent and cost 2 million jobs by 2030.

Environmentalists were quick to criticize the study for underselling the development of climate-friendly sources of power and not releasing other assumptions NAM and ACCF fed into the computer model to get their economic forecast, which takes more of a glass-half-empty view than recent governmental reports.

As if Environmentalists are known for their grasp of capital formation and manufacturing acumen or something. They know that it will take years to get any climate-friendly sources of power online and the whole time our GDP will be pounded and jobs will be lost. The funny thing too is these jobs will simply move to India and China to increase their pollution and never come back to the US.

Plus, these same environmentalists are anti-nuclear so it might take decades to get enough wind and solar to replace coal and oil. We can't even build natural gas plants fast enough. There is no way we can afford a 2.5% GDP penalty for a decade or more.

White House Plays the Victim Card: Lashes out With Spam Email

There is nothing like the term "viral-email" from the White House to get someone to delete an email faster.

Feeling victimized by misinformation spread virally through the Internet, the White House Thursday is launching its own "viral e-mail" for supporters to spread.

With the subject line: "Something worth forwarding," the e-mail — from senior White House adviser David Axelrod — seeks to combat "the viral e-mails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions" and invites Americans to "start a chain e-mail of our own."

How are they feeling victimised? They control the White House and Congress, the news media, and higher education in everything except for the hard sciences and business school. I guess the idea of the perpetual victim is something these Dems just can't shake.

Dems are Stunned by Town Hall Anger: Here's a Tip: Cut the Condescension

This is an interesting way of looking at some of the shock that is coming out of the Dems at how raucous and angry people are at these Town Halls.

The Democrats are understandably stunned. They and those sympathetic to them do control everything—the White House, Congress, the mainstream media, the popular culture, and elite education. And they still—despite all that power—can’t get the public to pipe down and go along quietly with their planned takeover of health care. What is wrong with everyone? You can sense the anger, the resentment. And the panic.

Face it Dems are just bad at selling things to people who aren't true believers. Part of it is the condescension that they show toward most of middle America and the elderly. Here is the now apocryphal story this time told by Obama at the NH ObamaCare Pep Rally.

"I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, 'I don't want government-run health care. I don't want socialized medicine. And don't touch my Medicare.'"

Yup, Obama just said that old people are too stupid to know that Medicare is a government run program (that is incidentally slowly going bankrupt and more and more doctors won't take.) This condescension is the kind of thing that makes it hard for them to sell their policies to everyone else. It is like a company saying "you are too stupid to know what you want so you might as well buy what I am selling."

The people have concerns about what this program will mean for them and calling them "angry, hate-filled Nazi hooligans, duped by Glenn Beck and Limbaugh" does not put them on your side. Insulting people has never gotten anywhere but has served to make them oppose you even more.

The Senate Backs out Death Panels from ObamaCare

I'm glad the Senate is doing the things that the House should have done long ago.

Yet it has created such a furor that senators decided to excluded it from their version of health care legislation. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that they "dropped it entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."

I'm not sure why this plan needs to cover this discussion at all. People should just pay for a normal doctor visit when they are ready to talk about this stuff. The idea of having this discussion every 5 years is what people were objecting to.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obama Pisses off the American College of Surgeons

It seems that Obama can't go any length of time without putting his foot directly into his mouth. Yesterday he compared ObamaCare to the Post Office and now this gaff.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

No wonder he doesn't know much about costs when he thinks a leg amputation costs 50x more then it actually does. Also why can't someone add the prices of things to the reform debate. I mean you can get a rough estimate of just about any service in the US except for health care. Most of the time people have no idea how much certain procedures cost since they only pay a fraction of the cost.

The MSM Finally Declares Protestors as Genuine

It seems that the MSM is finally understanding that this thing is not only about health care but is also about the insane government spending and the massive deficits.

Many of those raising their voices and fists at the town halls have never been politically active. Their frustration was born earlier this year with government bailouts and big spending bills, then found an outlet in the anti-tax Tea Parties in April and has simmered in the punishing recession.

They have been encouraged by talk-radio and Glenn Beck but how is that different then the anti-war nutjobs being goaded on by MoveOn and Hollywood celebs? These town hall people seem to be mostly older people that aren't getting a strait answer from Obama or anyone else.

How will it effect their Medicare and Medicare Part D? How long will they have to wait to get their artificial hip? Will there be some cold, government bureaucrat nixing their life giving surgery? That kind of stuff has been glossed over. So it makes them scared as well as angry.

Little Girl that Asked a Question at NH ObamaCare Pep Rally a Plant?

Now this is stooping pretty low to use kids like this. Julia Hall from Malden MA wasn't just some spontaneous kid but the child of an Obama Supporter. I think Obama needs to get in front of an actual town hall and answer real questions that has Americans concerned.

A stand up job where he listens as someone asks him a tough question then answers their question thoughtfully is worth a 100 planted questions. I just want to hear him answer this question: Will you support an amendment that would have you and all members of the White House staff and their familes, Congress and their familes, and the Supreme Court and their familes be the very first enrollees in the public plan?

The second person "randomly" selected to ask a question was a young girl called Julia Hall from Malden MA (asks question at 29m:25s).

Julia read the following question off a piece of paper: "As I was walking in I saw a lot of signs outside saying mean things about reforming healthcare. How do kids know what is true and why do people want a new system that can help more of us".

This randomly asked question gave Obama the perfect opportunity to dismiss talk about "death panels that will pull the plug on Grandma" and to blame Republicans for everything.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Spirited Defence Against Liberal Bigotry of the South

These seem pretty rare but this has to be the most fact filled and stringent defense of the South against bigots from the "party of tolerance" that I have ever seen.

Oh, those dumb white Southerners! No other group in American society could possibly believe in preposterous conspiracy theories. Well, maybe one other group, the most reliably Democratic demographic in the whole U.S. electorate. A 2005 study by RAND and Oregon State University showed that a majority of blacks believed that a cure for AIDS was being withheld from the poor; that nearly half believed that AIDS was man-made, with a quarter believing that it was created in a U.S. government laboratory and 12 percent naming the CIA as its source. Black paranoia about AIDS is understandable, given the Tuskegee experiments. Even so, the theory that AIDS was created by the CIA to commit genocide against black people is wackier than the craziest Birther conspiracy theories. Would Kathleen Parker write, or the Washington Post publish, a column arguing that black Democrats "have seceded from sanity"? Would Kevin Drum applaud Parker's insult and extend to it to all African-Americans?

This part especially blows up the "angry white man" being against Obama due to his race instead of his policies. It seem white women don't like Democratic policies more then those so-called "angry white men." Also the supposedly socially backward South has many of the same social beliefs as the core-Democrat constituency of blacks and Latinos.

Curiously, the progressive punditariat, so voluble about "angry white men," is silent about the decades-old Republican bias of white women. Even more curious is the paradox that liberals routinely denounce white Southern Protestants for holding the very social views that are held by majorities or near-majorities of blacks and Latinos who form the electoral base of the Democratic Party.

This is another interesting part too about how the Dems may squander their new found majority by kicking people like the mostly-Southern Blue Dogs to the curb. I think liberals marginalize the Blue Dogs at their peril.

Also if Obama blows the immigration debate looming in 2010 as badly as he is currently blowing health care reform then they may lose the Latino vote in 2010 and 2012 as well. If the GOP can silence the anti-immigrant wing of their party they could easily bring many Latinos on board for decades. Remember that some of the strongest GOP supporters are Cuban-Americans in Florida and I can see socially conservative Latinos easily joining that group if given the chance.

Blacks and Latinos, it appears, are allowed to hold conventionally conservative social views about gay rights, abortion and (in the case of blacks) immigration without being mocked and denounced by elite white liberals in the pages of the Washington Post and Mother Jones, as long as they vote for the Democratic Party on the basis of other issues. This strategic logic should lead liberals to seek out and welcome the vote of white social conservatives in the South and elsewhere, as long as they vote for Democrats for reasons other than the social issues. Indeed, socially conservative white voters helped to create and to maintain the new Democratic majority in Congress. But many liberals, it would appear, would rather have a smaller Democratic Party than one that includes more white Southerners with typically "black" or "Latino" views about sex and reproduction.

Why Does ObamaCare create Such Anger?

I think this picture sums up exactly why there is so much passion from the people toward this issue. This picture was taken at a pretty rancorous Town Hall given by soon-to-be ousted (most likely) Senator Arlen Specter. People just don't trust the government to run this plan without creating billions in new debt in order to turn the Doctor's Office into the Post Office. It is just that simple.

Dem's Set Up HealthCare War Room

There is no fighting! This is the War Room!

The effort is being run out of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office, but is being manned around the clock by a rotation of leadership and key committee staff members, according to leadership aides.

Although the war room, or “healthcare hotline,” is primarily designed to give members the ability to get immediate health policy answers and updates from leadership offices, top Democrats are also planning to use it to help their colleagues respond effectively to political and press attacks, if necessary.

“The news is being monitored very closely,” a leadership aide said in describing the various functions of the healthcare hotline.

They are monitoring the "snitch line" for wreckers and counter-revolutionary thought I should think. And you wonder why Americans are scared? The idea that the Dems need a war room to "respond effectively to political and press attacks" that has to be manned 24 hours if just ludicrous.

Obama NH Town Hall Fails to Impress: Compares ObamaCare to Post Office

I think Obama needs to go down to one of those boisterous Town Halls and take some real questions. This New Hampshire Town Hall was a joke.

During the middle of the civil back-and-forth, one man identified himself as a Republican and said, "I don't know what I'm doing here." The Democratic president said he was happy to have him in attendance.

Toward the end of the session, Obama went so far as to ask for someone to give him a skeptical question. The best he got were queries about why he doesn't chastise Congress more and where the nation would find the additional doctors and nurses it needs.

So he got one "tough" question (Hopefully the guy wasn't beaten by SEIU thugs afterward) and tons of wimpy softballs. Plus he added this "own goal" that had me laughing out loud.

As long as they have a good product and the government plan has to sustain itself through premiums and other non-tax revenue, private insurers should be able to compete with the government plan, Obama said.

"They do it all the time," he said. "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. ... It's the Post Office that's always having problems."

UPS and FedEx are strait up smashing the Post Office in terms of profitability, reliability, technological advances, and overall better service. So you want to create yet another Post Office-like entity that will fail miserably and have to be bailed out with even more tax money?

If I were Obama I wouldn't use the Post Office, the VA Hospitals, the DMV, the Stimulus Package, Cash for Clunkers, Fannie and Freddie, Hurricane Katrina relief or just about any other government program as a selling point for what should be called the Post Office Public Plan (POPP.)

Victim of Hate Crime by SEIU doesn't have Insurance? No Wait He Does

This is just like the liberal blogosphere to not vet things correctly before they fly off half-cocked.

The irony is that Gladney’s situation underscores the vital need for health care reform. He was recently laid off and lost his insurance (14,000 Americans suffer a similar fate each day). Because he has no affordable health care option available, Gladney is now soliciting donations to pay his medical expenses:

But wait, buried at the bottom of the story is the truth.

Update The Washington Independent contacted Brown, who said his client Gladney is not uninsured after all. “He’s just unemployed,” says Brown, and “has insurance through his wife.”

In any case he wouldn't need any kind of insurance if he wasn't beaten by SEIU hatemongers for simply exercising his 1st Amendment Rights. Of course no MSM will touch this story simply because it doesn't fit their narrative that "angry mobs" are shouting down Congresspeople.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More Violence Toward Protestors; Randy Arthur Thrown into a Wall in Tampa

We have SEIU brownshirts committing hate crimes and assault and battery in St. Louis now we Democratic Town Hall organizers throwing people into walls in Tampa.

One man who said he was injured and intended to file a police complaint, Randy Arthur of Oldsmar, was outside the meeting room with his wife, Kathy Arthur, when organizers tried to close the doors.

She said he was slammed against a wall. He later talked to police officers, his knit shirt ripped and a few scratches visible on his chest.

Mr. Arthur just looks like such a dangerous looking member of a hate filled mob don't you think? Maybe he was just so well dressed a protester that they had to rough him up in order to make an example of him.

More About Kenneth Gladney's Run-In With Union Hatemongers

Here is more about what happened when protectors meet the brown-shirted (in this case blue-shirted SEIU) stormtroopers at Democrat Russ Carnahan’s town hall in St. Louis.

“Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, and then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman.”

Yes, they punched this guy in the face then stomped him on the ground and then committed a hate crime by calling him racist slurs. I hope these people are prosecuted by the full extent of the law. I wonder if Obama will now get these people to sit down and have a staged beer together?

SEIU Brownshirts Rough up Protestors

It seems that the violence by the SEIU is just the beginning of quite a dark path.

The SEIU has taken center-stage in the Left's push-back on health care reform. They co-sponsored a rally in Tampa that featured fisticuffs. SEIU also had a large presence at a St. Louis rally where at last three of the group's volunteers were arrested in connection with an assault on Kenneth Gladney, who was selling flags and buttons outside the venue. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a conference call with SEIU members last week, in which she called them "brothers and sisters," and SEIU representatives compared Obama critics at town halls to "terrorists."

Also the people that beat Kenneth Gladney were supposedly issuing racial slurs as they beat him too. That means it might be time to dust off some of that hate crime legislation because that is pretty much what happened.

The Low Hanging Fruit: I think these Savings Should Come before ObamaCare

Now this is an interesting article that could save $500 billion right from the start and not have the government get into the health insurance business at all. The first thing can be solved by tort reform or a cap on malpractice. The claims part can be solved by standardizing insurance forms and procedures.

I was also thrown off by how little savings come from stopping the practice of using the ER like a primary care physician. I figured this would be billions higher.

Friday, August 07, 2009

White House Open to Scrapping the Public Plan

Now this is quite a reversal in just a few days.

President Barack Obama may accept nonprofit health-insurance cooperatives in place of a new government-run plan as long as consumers are guaranteed more choice and competition in buying insurance, a top aide said.

"We would be interested in that" if those conditions are met, Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s "Conversations with Judy Woodruff" airing today.

I think this is a good idea if these cooperatives are not controlled by the government but are given a great deal of oversight. They should also appoint an MD as the head so there won't be some ignorant bureaucrat running it.