Thursday, December 31, 2009

Carbon Dioxide Fraction of Atmosphere Not Rising, May Not Have Risen for 160 Years

Further undermining the case for AGW is research done by Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol that seems to show that the concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere may not have increased over the last 160 years, or even in the last 50, as it is either absorbed by the oceans or by plant life.

Most of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity does not remain in the atmosphere, but is instead absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems. In fact, only about 45 percent of emitted carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere.

An abstract of the research is here:

Several recent studies have highlighted the possibility that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have started loosing part of their ability to sequester a large proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere, which has prevented additional climate change. This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found.

Given this information, the proposed Cap and tax Trade legislation seems even more ill-adivsed than ever.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iowahawk Generously Provides A Forum for a Complaint About Holiday Air Travel

We've all had the experience of holiday air travel at some point or other and it can either go very smoothly or it can be the trip from Hell. Iowahawk has generously provided Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the would-be Fruit-of-the-Loons bomber a forum to relate his holiday jihad travel horror story, where he stopped just short of going to Hell. No worries though, he'll get there eventually.

When the flight to Detroit started boarding, the concierge told me to keep quiet and he would take care of the check-in. The US State Department agent asked to see my passport, and the concierge explained that I was a Somali refugee. So she looks at her computer screen and says, "um, I'm afraid there's a problem, this passenger's name is on a watch list." Oh, great. Looks like my dad is playing Mr. Buzzkill again, just because I took that semester off from Oxford to go backpacking in Yemen. So I showed her my official State Department visa.

So I'm like, "honey, do I look like I'm a US military veteran?"


"Do I look like I'm some sort of right wing anti-tax teabagger?"


"Do I look like anybody else on the DHS terrorism danger list?"

"No, but..."

"Then I suggest that unless you want a nasty anti-discrimination lawsuit on your hands, you'd best give me an aisle seat. With extended legroom."

That shut her up

Read the whole thing. It's Iowahawk. You know it will be hilarious.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Caught Green-Handed: More on Climategate/Climaquiddick by Viscount Monckton

Lee Gerhard gave us the Cliffnotes version of the Climategate/ Climaquiddick scandal, now Lord Christopher Monckton gives us the long version, and it is an absolutely devastating indictment of all those involved. There is more than one person who ought to go to prison over this.

This is a coincidence but in the interests of disclosure, I took a course in Climatology as part of my degree program back around 1980 or 1981 (IIRC) and my professor for the course was none other than Raymond Bradley, co-author of the "hockey stick" paper with Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes. Back then we were being warned of the soon-to-be-here Ice Age. This is a fact that only came to my attention recently as Mann tends to be the one that gets all the press whenever the hockey stick comes up.

(h/t to Frank)
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Reviewer of the Last Two IPCC Reports Lays Out What We Do, and Don't Know, About Climate Change

Via Powerline we have this bullet point summary of what we know about climate science, and what we don't. It is as compact as it is comprehensive, no small feat. It was written by one of the reviewers for the last two IPCC reports, geologist Lee Gerhard. This is what he has to say about the AGW true believers claims of support for the AGW position by thousands of scientists:

"I have been a reviewer of the last two IPCC reports, one of the several thousand scientists who purportedly are supporters of the IPCC view that humans control global temperature. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us try to bring better and more current science to the IPCC, but we usually fail. Recently we found out why. The whistleblower release of e-mails and files from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University has demonstrated scientific malfeasance and a sickening violation of scientific ethics."

Who are the climate change denialists now? Those who believe that man is the primary agent of climate change, that's who.

Read the whole thing.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to One and All

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to One and All
Brother J
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Monday, December 07, 2009

EPA Declares CO2 a Pollutant

Today the Environmental Protection Agency declared a product of respiration, i.e., breathing, to be a dangerous pollutant. The carbon dioxide you exhale every time you take a breath is now subject to government regulation. I have a strong suspicion that the EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, has been unduly influenced by inhaling the methane gas fumes she (and a lot of the EnvironMental community) is breathing owing to having her head jammed so far up her own ass she can see daylight.

Just great.

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Brother J's Three-Bean Chili In Pictures

After my post on Steve Green's Ultimate Turkey Sandwich, Steve linked back to my post on his post, generating quite a few visits. I thought that perhaps those who were finding it hard to face any more turkey might be interested in my recipe for chili so I posted an update. Of course that led to the realization that I hadn't had it myself for a while. I last made it to bring along to a 4th of July party so I decided I was overdue and this time I took a few pictures during the preparation. I never get tired of this recipe:

Assembling the ingredients....

After a couple of hours of simmering down.....

Preparing to embellish.

Ready to eat. Excuse me.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Smack Down Time with Bill Whittle

Bill Whittle gives Chris Matthews, Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann a little schooling. He also gives them a figurative paddling. Go and watch.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vodkapundit's Ultimate Turkey Sandwich

I think it might be wise to add reading blogs about food to grocery shopping to the list of things not to do when you are hungry.

The Vodkapundit, Stephen Green, posted a list of components and detailed assembly instructions for constructing the Ultimate Turkey Sandwich right here. Of course, not one to leave a recipe unmolested alone, I had to add some thin-sliced Tillamook Special Reserve extra sharp cheddar. As he noted in an update, Science makes the claim that adding a layer of rare roast beef can't be done, a claim that has obviously not been peer-reviewed, as I have just successfully done it, along with a little horse radish too. I have photographic proof as well:

The photos are all that survive as the test article was subsequently destroyed devoured.

Update: Whoa! What's this? Not an Instalanche. A Vodkadeluge maybe? Thanks for the link, Steve. For anyone that's getting tired of turkey, you may want to check out my chili recipe too.

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Can You Say "Peer-Reviewed Studies?"

Mark Steyn certainly can. See just how many times in his weekly Orange County Register column.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" wondered Juvenal: Who watches the watchmen? But the beauty of the climate-change tree-ring circus is that you never need to ask "Who peer-reviews the peer-reviewers?" Mann peer-reviewed Jones, and Jones peer-reviewed Mann, and anyone who questioned their theories got exiled to the unwarmed wastes of Siberia. The "consensus" warm-mongers could have declared it only counts as "peer-reviewed" if it's published in Peer-Reviewed Studies published by Mann & Jones Publishing Inc. (Peermate of the Month: Al Gore, reclining naked, draped in dead polar bear fur, on a melting ice floe), and Ed Begley Jr. and "Andy" Revkin would still have wandered out, glassy-eyed, into the streets droning "Peer-reviewed studies. Cannot question. Peer-reviewed studies. The science is settled ... ."

Not sure I really needed that Al Gore visual but, as usual, Steyn makes the point (that it's peer-reviewed. Did we mention that already?) with humor. Read the whole thing.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

CRUdgate - A Handy Guide to the Argument From Devil's Kitchen

At the Devil's Kitchen (Via Samizdata) we have this entertaining as well as informative series of flow charts, with explanations, on the current state of the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming for those not as obsessed as I am with the whole thing) argument and Climategate/Climaquiddick and now CRUdgate. All great stuff. I urge you to go read the whole thing (click on the charts to embiggen).
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ayn Rand on the Lessons of History and Economic Crisis

The Wall Street Journal has a piece up from The Reason Foundation, a reprint of a 1962 essay by Ayn Rand. As with her novel, Atlas Shrugged, she could have been writing about the present day. It seems the politicians never learn. A couple of the key points:

Colbert, chief adviser of Louis XIV, was one of the early modern statists. He believed that government regulations can create national prosperity and that higher tax revenues can be obtained only from the country's "economic growth"; so he devoted himself to seeking "a general increase in wealth by the encouragement of industry." The encouragement consisted of imposing countless government controls and minute regulations that choked business activity; the result was dismal failure.


Regardless of the purpose for which one intends to use it, wealth must first be produced. As far as economics is concerned, there is no difference between the motives of Colbert and of President Johnson. Both wanted to achieve national prosperity. Whether the wealth extorted by taxation is drained for the unearned benefit of Louis XIV or for the unearned benefit of the "underprivileged" makes no difference to the economic productivity of a nation. Whether one is chained for a "noble" purpose or an ignoble one, for the benefit of the poor or the rich, for the sake of somebody's "need" or somebody's "greed"—when one is chained, one cannot produce.

There is no difference in the ultimate fate of all chained economies, regardless of any alleged justifications for the chains.

Read the whole thing.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It Just Keeps Coming - New Zealand Temperature Record Books Cooked

Via Intsapundit. The temperature records of New Zealand's official government climate advisory unit, NIWA, have been falsified to show warming where it doesn't exist. There are quite a few people, here and otherwise, that have rather a lot of explaining to do.
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Why the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight Can't Shoot Strait - Obama's Cabinet

The graph below (from Nick Schulz at The Enterprise Blog) is rather enlightening. Less than 10% of Obama's cabinet has any private sector experience. At. All. That means they have never run a business, met a payroll, made a product, provided a useful service or, well, anything. Everything they know, they learned from some fuck-witted Marxist tool professor equally clueless academic who was sucked into the maw of the university world right after high school and never left. Read it and weep.

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"Hide the Decline" - A New Entry On My Personal Top 40 List

I guess I'm not the only one enjoying a bit of schadenfreude over "Climaquiddick."

(via Instapundit)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Left Wing Misogyny and The Wilding of Sarah Palin

The American Thinker has an article posted by "Robin of Berkeley" a psychotherapist who counsels young women in Berkeley, CA. Robin describes herself as a former liberal who has awakened to the misogyny of the left. What finally started to wake her up was the treatment Hillary Clinton received at the hands of her own side in the run up to last year's presidential elections but what really tipped the scales was the treatment of Sarah Palin. She refers to it as "the wilding of Sarah Palin." Wilding is a term that first came into the public consciousness in 1989 when a woman jogging through New York's Central Park was attacked, beaten, raped and left for dead by a gang of youths. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: "The action or practice by a gang of youths of going on a protracted and violent rampage in a street, park, or other public place, attacking or mugging people at random along the way; also, an instance of this."

Robin makes the case that Sarah Palin is the victim of a virtual wilding by the Democrats and their natural allies on the left.

What finally woke me up were the utterances of "bitch," "witch," and "monster" toward Hillary Clinton and her supporters early last year. I was shocked into reality: the trash-talk wasn't coming from conservatives, but from male and female liberals.

I finally beheld what my eyes had refused to see: that leftists are Mr. and Ms. Misogyny. Neither the males nor the females care a whit about women.

Women are continually sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. If under radical Islam women are enshrouded and stoned and beheaded, so be it.

My other epiphanies: those ponytailed guys were marching for abortion rights not because they cherished women's reproductive freedom, but to keep women available for free and easy sex.

And the eagerness for women to make good money? If women work hard, leftist men don't have to.

Then along came Sarah, and the attacks became particularly heinous. And I realized something even more chilling about the Left. Leftists not only sacrifice and disrespect women, but it's far worse: many are perpetuators.

The Left's behavior towards Palin is not politics as usual. By their laser-focus on her body and her sexuality, leftists are defiling her.

They are wilding her. And they do this with the full knowledge and complicity of the White House.

The Left has declared war on Palin because she threatens their existence. Liberals need women dependent and scared so that women, like blacks, will vote Democrat.

Read the whole thing.

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Climategate - What Does It Portend for the Future of the AGW Debate?

Brian Mickelthwaite has a lengthy post over at Samizdata on what the implications are for the Global Warming debate in the wake of "Climategate." He is, like me, encouraged that the fog of BS surrounding the subject might finally lift. Here is a key point:

"Why the fuss is because of the vast, globe-spanning policy conclusions that have been plucked from these in themselves rather minor deceptions. The fraud revealed isn't just in the fiddling of some numbers. There is also the faking of that precious scientific consensus that has so dominated public and official thinking about climate and climate policy during the last decade. The world is being sold a gigantic economic and political upheaval, backed by the claim that all this scientific rough-and-tumble, this slightly dodgy infighting, was in fact a blandly uniform scientific consensus. And the "scientists" (who more and more now look like politicos who have barged their way into science) are the engineers of this political fraud, not just the contrivers of the scientific opinions around which they have assembled their bogus consensus."

It's worth the time to read the whole thing.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Are the Wheels Finally Going to Come Off the Global Warming Gravy Train?

For the past 24 hours or so I've been following the story of the server hack at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. It seems someone has downloaded about 62 MB worth of data including 1,000+ emails and other documents. What they appear to show is an effort by some of the best known names on the Global Warmenist side of the climate change debate (and no, Al, it isn't "settled") to fudge, if not outright falsify, data that would cast doubt on their findings or not lead to the "right" conclusion.

If all this proves out, the AGW crowd are going to have a much harder time defending their position that massive interventions in and regulation of the World economy are necessary to fend off some putative future climate catastrophe. As we've seen before, this isn't really about The EnvironmentTM or climate. It's about control. Environmentalism has become the favored vehicle of the statists for imposing ever more control over the economy and intruding further and further into our lives.

There are some good posts on this developing story. Take a look at this and this at Powerline, this by Richard Fernandez and this by the Daily Telegraph's James Delingpole. All of them have lots of further links which should keep you busy for a while.

Update: A summary/chronology of the leaked documents can be found here.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Walter Williams on the Rule of Law

Writing at The Freeman, Walter E. Williams talks about free societies and the importance of the rule of law. You should read the whole thing of course but this part stands out:

"Sir Henry Maine, probably the greatest legal historian, said, “The greatest movement of progressive societies has hitherto been a movement from status to contract.” In nonprogressive societies the rule of law is absent. Laws are not general. They’re applied according to a person’s status or group membership. There’s rule, not by legis, the Latin word for law, but by privilegium, the Latin term for private law. What’s lacking is the principle summarized by English jurist A. V. Dicey: “Every man, whatever be his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals.”


Just about every law that Congress enacts violates all the requirements for the rule of law. How do we determine violations of the rule of law? It’s easy. See if the law applies to particular Americans as opposed to all Americans. See if the law exempts public officials from its application. See if the law is known in advance. See if the law takes action against a person who has taken no aggressive action against another. If you conduct such a test, you will conclude that it is difficult to find many acts of Congress that adhere to the principles of the rule of law."

(h/t Frank. Thanks!)
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Windows 7 Upgrade Report One Month In

I upgraded my computer from Windows Vista to Windows 7 the day it was released, October 22. I didn't have any particular complaints about Vista, except that it tended to be a bit on the bossy side. Windows 7 promised to be a bit less bossy as well as slimmer, hopefully resulting in quicker boot times as well as faster program launches and operation in general.

Windows 7 also has some neat usability features and I'm pretty happy with the upgrade in general. But (you knew there had to be one, didn't you?), there is one feature of Vista that Microsoft saw fit to take away and for the life of me, I can't understand why. They eliminated the Windows Sidebar. It was incredibly useful to me. I used it to place the Calendar, Clock, Weatherbug and CPU/Memory usage meters where I could always see them while I worked. Windows 7 still supports gadgets, but they can't be docked on the Sidebar any more and if you want to have them visible, i.e. on-top all the time, they sit on top of your work. I like to work in full screen mode for most of the programs I use. With the Vista Sidebar, you could set that to be always on top and when you launched Word, for example, it automatically opened to fill the entire screen to the sidebar. Now it is necessary to manually resize the application window to avoid having it either cover the gadgets, or else the gadgets very annoyingly sit on top of the application window, frequently covering parts of the ribbon menus.

Microsoft, if you see this, can I please have my sidebar back?

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Monday, November 16, 2009

America's Great Awakening Part Two

Powerline has posted an article by Hillsdale College professor Paul Rahe that is more than worth a few minutes of your time to read. No quotes this time. It's all good.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

How Many AP Fact Checkers Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Over at The Corner, Mark Steyn thoroughly eviscerates 11 AP "fact checkers" assigned to fact-check Sarah Palin's new book,Going Rogue: An American Life. How many errors did the AP posse turn up? Six, even counting the one where they seem to agree with her. And Mark spots a bonus error they missed:

"Coming next:

PALIN: How many AP fact-checkers does it take to change a lightbulb?

FACT: Palin has gone seriously "rogue" in her facts here. AP fact-checkers are prevented per union regulations from changing lightbulbs. "
UPDATE: Powerline has more.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Democrats Interested In Self-Preservation: Maybe It's Time to Start Shopping for a New Speaker

In The Washington Examiner today, Byron York talks about the space between a rock and a hard place many Democrat congressmen find themselves in ahead of a probable vote on their Speaker's health bill tomorrow: Pelosi's wrath or contsituents anger. They would do well to remember this point:

'It's a bad choice. But in the end, Pelosi can't fire them. The voters can. "As the old saying goes, cross thin ice at your own peril," said 77 year-old Herbert Rosser, who came to the rally from Raleigh, N.C. "The American people are going to make them pay a price for it."

It seems to me as if none of them is looking at a third option. If their Speaker keeps putting them in no-win situations like this, maybe she is not the leader they need. Perhaps it's time for a vote of no-confidence in Nancy Pelosi and her iron-fisted, my-way-and-your-constituents-be-damned, autocratic rule. To be more succinct, throw the malevolent bitch out before she takes down both you and your party.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Do You Confuse a Leftie?

You tell her she's "the establishment" now. Too bad the clip wasn't long enough to see her collapse in a puddle of tears.

(h/t Instapundit)
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bill Whittle on Game Theory and a Losing Strategy: Obama's Bad Judgment With The Prisoner's Dilemma

While we're talking about Bill Whittle, he has an Afterburner segment up at PJTV that you should watch. This one is on Game Theory and how it can be used to evaluate President Obama's approach to foreign relations. In short, his approach does not and cannot work. Bill will probably post a transcript at his blog in a few days and I'll provide the link when he does. In the meantime, watch the video.
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Bill Whittle's First Essay, "Freedom", Re-posted

I link to Bill Whittle on a fairly frequent basis. He's a great writer and has a talent for articulating what I feel (and a lot of other people too) as if he were reading my mind and bringing forth what I want to say but don't know how to. I first found Bill's writing in the comments section of Rachel Lucas's original blog. She convinced him to cobble together an essay out of the comments he left there and the result was "Freedom", which he posted in late 2002. It is still as fresh today as it was then and if you haven't read it, you're really missing something. He went on to write at least a dozen more lengthy essays and eventually assembled them into a book called Silent America: Essays from a Democracy at War". Bill just re-posted "Freedom" the other day. If you've never heard of Bill or read "Freedom", do yourself a favor and do it now.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ouch! Now That's Going to Leave a Mark......

Brit Hume asks how CNN and the other administration-approved news outlets like "being patted on the head" by the Whitehouse.

Will they take that lying down? Probably. Good shot, Brit.
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Green Jobs Programs an Expensive Boondoggle

John Hinderaker at Powerline takes note of a German think-tank report on "green jobs." The conclusion; without massive subsidies most if not all of the jobs will go away and furthermore, green policies are "devoid of economic and environmental benefits."
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Anita Dunn - Does the Whitehouse Care That Its Interim Communications Director Admires a Mass Murderer?

Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott writes about Whitehouse Interim Communincations Director Anita Dunn in his Beltway Confidential column today. Speaking recently to an audience of high school students she made the incredible claim that her two favorite politcal philosophers are Mao Zedong and Mother Theresa. Think about that; Chairman "power flows from the barrel of a gun" Mao, who conservative estimates say was responsible for the deaths of upwards of 60 million people. The vetters at the Whitehouse have demonstrated once again that they are either incredibly inept, or (and I lean increasingly towards this alternative) they know full well what her views are and they just don't care.

Talking about the types and numbers of people killed by Mao and his surrogates between 1951 and 1953, Tapscott makes the following analogy:

'In any case, these two passages make clear that Anita Dunn's hero was a man who thought nothing of decreeing the deaths of millions of people for no reason other than suspicion that they might not accept his ghastly totalitarian vision for China. To fully grasp what Mao did, just imagine here in America today millions of non-political middle-class Americans suspected of being Tea Party sympathizers being rounded up, tried, sentenced and executed merely on suspicion of their being opposed to "change we can believe in." '

Given President Obama's penchant for hanging out with people like Bill Ayers, who sat around with his fellow would-be revolutionaries in the Weather Underground, talking about the logistics of killing off 20-25 million Americans who didn't buy their vision for how the country should be governed, the scenario doesn't seem all that far-fetched.

Read the whole column.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Walter Williams on the Future Prospects for Economic Liberty

Walter Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University gives us a refresher course in the constitutional limits on government and how government's growth has curtailed our freedom.

"One of the justifications for the massive growth of government in the 20th and now the 21st centuries, far beyond the narrow limits envisioned by the founders of our nation, is the need to promote what the government defines as fair and just. But this begs the prior and more fundamental question: What is the legitimate role of government in a free society? To understand how America’s Founders answered this question, we have only to look at the rule book they gave us—the Constitution. Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list. To cite just a few examples, there is no constitutional authority for Congress to subsidize farms, bail out banks, or manage car companies. In this sense, I think we can safely say that America has departed from the constitutional principle of
limited government that made us great and prosperous."

Read it all.

(H/T Bob)

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Mirroring and Compromise - Bill Whittle Explains the Facts of Life

Bill Whittle jumps into an intra-company email argument and explains the facts of life to "Mary." You should absolutely read the whole thing but this really stands out:

"When the subject of Obama as a “peacemaker” comes up, people like Mary seem to think that the answer is to be nice and talk to people and the problem will go away. This is known as “mirroring,” and it is the blind spot that most people bring to negotiations — the idea that our opponents want the same things we do. In Afghanistan we are dealing with an enemy who insists on praying to Allah multiple times a day, who believes that women are subhuman, that homosexuals be killed on sight (preferably by crushing them under falling walls — look it up) and that any criticism of Allah, his Prophet (PBOH) or his clerics is punishable by beating or death. That is their IRREDUCIBLE CORE BELIEF SYSTEM and for that they are willing to die. We, on the other hand, believe in fundamental human dignity for all, the right to worship or not as we see fit, the right of women and homosexuals to live lives as equal members of society, and the fundamental right to say whatever we damn well choose. Those in turn are OUR IRREDUCIBLE CORE BELIEF SYSTEMS for which SOME of us are willing to fight and die.

Now Mary, perhaps you can tell me where the talking, Nobel Peace Prize-winning, negotiatable answer to this conflict lies? Jihadis will not be talked down into worshiping Allah only two times a day, allowing women out of the Burka on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays nor will they allow criticism of their religion on months that have an “R” in it. Likewise, I am not willing to be forced to pray to Allah on even-numbered days, nor will I give up my freedom to say what I think except on Freedom Tuesday.

So there you have it. Irreducible conflicts of FUNDAMENTAL BASIC INTERESTS will sometimes lead to war............."
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paying Legislators to Not Legislate - Bill Whittle May Just Be Onto Something

Bill Whittle posits that it just might be cheaper to pay off our legistlators and send them home than let them stay in Washington to further ruin our economy and bankrupt the country. It's PJTV, so I can't embed the video. It's PJTV, so I can't embed the video.

Just click here to see it.

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Robert Reich - The Elderly Will Have to Die

It seems Alan Grayson misspoke and got his party affiliations mixed up when he stated which party's plan for healthcare was to let the old/sick die. In this 2007 appearance, Robert Reich lets the kitty out of the bag.

(at The Humble Libertarian, via Instapundit)

Update: As usual, there's a bit more of a context to these remarks than the YouTube clip lets on. Ricard Fernandez at Belmont Club has the particulars. Read it all of course, but this part is important:
"Although Reich is liberal he is also incorrigibly intelligent and his remarks were framed as a speech by a hypothetical candidate, who for perverse reasons, could only tell the truth. His main point was that the truth was untellable. And although his politics are left of center, his hypothetical unspeakable speech slaughtered every sacred cow the Berkeley audience held dear. So not only did Reich say the words above, but he said many other things besides, which I’ve marked in blue in my new laundry list below."
So, it's not necessarily that Reich was advocating these things (and not that he wasn't either) but that these are things that are true, but not viable for any politician to actually admit.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize - The Onion?

I did a double take when I saw the headlines this morning and thought someone must have changed my homepage to The Onion. Al Gore must be livid that he has been bumped out of his third-place slot for the most undeserved Nobel Peace Prize in history. The Instapundit has a roundup of links to reactions from all over.

Maybe they meant to award him the newly created Nobel Appease Prize.

Update: The deadline for nominations for the prize was February 11, 2009, a bare 11 days after President Obama took office. He hadn't even gotten a start on his non-accomplishments since then.

Update to the update: This is obviously sinking in very slowly with me this morning. Just because the deadline for submissions was February 1, doesn't mean they waited that long. For all we know, he may not even have secured the nomination whne his name was submitted.
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Nemesis Comes Calling for Obama

Victor Davis Hanson says President Obama has caught the attention of the goddess, Nemesis. She really, really isn't someone you want taking an interest in your doings. Not at all. She possesses the power of payback.

"I have believed in the power of the goddess Nemesis (“dispenser of dues”) ever since I was introduced to the concept as a teenager studying classics, especially in the texts of Hesiod, Herodotus, and Sophocles.

Some of you know her also as a variant of eastern Karma, or the folk notion of ‘what comes around, goes around’, or the now common “ain’t payback a bitch”? We all agree on the symptoms: overweening success and surfeit (koris) lead to hubris (gratuitous arrogance), which in turn promotes destructive behavior (atĂȘ), that at last calls you to the attention of divine Nemesis—who ensures your ruin. At Rhamnous on the Attic coast there is a beautiful temple to the goddess, proof of her ubiquity and power."
Read the whole thing.
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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How to Build an Art Career With the NEA

Ed Driscoll and Iowahawk show you how you too can have a lucrative career in producing political propaganda for the NEA, regardless of actual artistic talent. Bonus; you can do it with plausible deniability too!


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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Dog Ate My Global Warming Homework - Part II

The other day I posted a link to a National Review piece about apparently missing climate data. This is the data used to justify all manner of government interventions in the global economy, from Kyoto to Cap & Trade in the name of The Environment TM. Of course it's much less about stopping climate change (impossible) than it is about control. One of the people who has done a lot, if not most of, the work in exposing the junk science behind much of the laws on global warming, climate change or whatever we're calling it today is Ross McKitrick who, along with Stephen McIntyre have shown quite conclusively that the famous "hockey stick" graph is faulty. McKitrick has an article in the National Post explaining just what is wrong with the data. Of course you should read it all for yourself but here is an excerpt:

"Steve and I showed that the mathematics behind the Mann Hockey Stick were badly flawed, such that its shape was determined by suspect bristlecone tree ring data. Controversies quickly piled up: Two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate, the U.S. Congress held a hearing, and the media followed the story around the world.

The expert reports upheld all of our criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick, both of the mathematics and of its reliance on flawed bristlecone pine data. One of the panels, however, argued that while the Mann Hockey Stick itself was flawed, a series of other studies published since 1998 had similar shapes, thus providing support for the view that the late 20th century is unusually warm. The IPCC also made this argument in its 2007 report. But the second expert panel, led by statistician Edward Wegman, pointed out that the other studies are not independent. They are written by the same small circle
of authors, only the names are in different orders, and they reuse the same few data climate proxy series over and over."
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Obama's Olympian Copenhagen Clusterf**k

I haven't commented on President Obama's Olympian Copenhagen Clusterf**k. Other people already have that quite well covered. Other people including Bill Whittle:

"Barack Obama is not accustomed to getting the kind of faceful of egg he was given at Copenhagen. I had hoped that this would be enough to perhaps persuade him to look at the results rather than the desire, and perhaps conclude that there is almost nothing — not even a really good speech — that can persuade people into acting against their own self interest, and that he might perhaps reflect upon the fact that instead of Oprah and the First Lady, Chicago would have better been served in my friend Scott Ott’s words, by sending “traffic flow specialists, civic engineers, architects, economists… all the experts needed to convince the IOC that Chicago was up for the task.”

In other words, lead instead of cheerlead. But this President seems incapable of doing that. I don’t know how many days he has spent actually behind the desk in the Oval Office as — you know — Chief Executive, but given the number of town halls, events, ceremonies and other on-camera activities I would be willing to bet the number is not large."

One thing I'd ad is that the president was not going to go to Copenhagen at all. The decision to make the trip was apparently very much last minute and at the behest of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, arguably one of the key people in making Barack Obama's political career possible. When he said "jump", our president asked "how high?" It's less than comforting to think that the ostensible Leader of the Free World can be still be prevailed upon to do the bidding of the Chicago Machine. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. Richard Daley will know, if anyone does, where the bodies are buried.

Click through and read it all, of course.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dog Ate My Global Warming Homework

"Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in
Copenhagen in December."

It seems those reliable data are missing, if they ever existed.

Update: I added this in the comments, but as it's a bit clearer than the end of the sentence above, here is a restatement: Al Gore keeps trying to insist that “the science is settled and the time for debate is over.” It seems the science in not only far from settled, it may not exist at all.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Unique Perspective on the Delivery of Medical Care

"In a private fee-for-service medical system, a dead patient is a revenue loss. In the National Health Service (UK), a dead patient was a cost savings." -Harry Bailey MD 1930-2003, Sheffield (England) University Medical School 1950-1956; Harvard Medical School 1958-1981, US Navy Medical Corps 1982-1991.

The above quote is from my late father. He had a very unique perspective on the practice of medicine, especially as it relates to the various delivery systems. He was born and brought up in England and entered medical school there in 1950, training under the National Health Service and graduating in 1956. He emigrated to the US in 1957 and went into private practice for 24 years, 8 years pre-Medicare and the period after until 1981, becoming a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical school and a US Citizen along the way. In 1982 he decided he wanted to give something back to his adopted country in gratitude for the wonderful opportunities it had given him, so he joined the US Navy at age 52 and served first as the head of the Radiology residency program (27 residents and the largest program in the military) and then Chairman of the Radiology Department at the Balboa Naval Regional Medical Center in San Diego until his retirement at the rank of captain in 1991.

That is at least three different systems my father practiced under, four if you count the pre and post Medicare private practice period as two. His views of each were formed from the perspective of someone on the inside who lived and worked within them every day, not some ivory-tower theorist.

We’ll leave the military system out of this discussion for now as it would only be a distraction from the question of whether the US private health care system or a socialized model like Britain’s NHS is better. The fundamental distinction Dad was making is how differently the two systems view the patient and the incentives that view creates in each. The private fee for service system has more incentives to keep its patient alive and help them get better. Under socialized systems, and Medicare/Medicaid is a socialized-lite system, the overriding incentive is to control costs because the funds are finite and the needs are not.

I don’t think I need to tell you which system Dad thought was better.

Of course he thought the private system vastly superior, even though he had his issues with that too. However, most of the issues he did have with it were created by government interference in the period after Medicare was enacted. Medicare doesn’t control costs, it controls prices. The costs just get shifted to someone else. The decisions on what to pay for exams were more or less completely arbitrary. Any time Medicare was looking for “cost” savings it simply dictated them by reducing reimbursement rates or, in other words, price fixing. The costs didn’t actually disappear though. They just had to be shifted to the private patients who ended up subsidizing the Medicare patients. It is in this way that healthcare has become so expensive in the private sector. We pay for our own healthcare, subsidize the Medicare/Medicaid patients and carry the full freight on the people with no insurance who show up in the ER and must, by law, be treated.

Rationing is what we will get if we go down the socialized healthcare delivery path, the dead patient as cost savings view is likely to become dominant because the government, as single payer, is going to be forced to ration. The funding available to pay for medical care will be finite yet demand for “free” services will be infinite. The government will tell us if and when we may see a doctor. It will tell us what care and what procedures we will receive. That is the only possible outcome of a complete nationalization of our medical care delivery system. True healthcare reform will only come about by reducing government involvement in delivery, not further encroachment or a complete takeover.
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If A Republican Has a Good Idea and Speaks Up About It, Can a Democrat Hear Him?

Not when he has his fingers stuffed in his ears as he shouts "la, la, la, la, I can't hear you" over and over again. When the President accused Republicans of just trying to kill healthcare reform without offering any alternatives, he was knowingly telling a lie. The Republicans have offered no less than 32 pieces of legislation addressing healthcare reform:
Oh, and by the way, Joe Wilson was right too. It seems to me like the apologies went the wrong way here.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scott Ott - Overcoming 'Remote-Control' Government

Scott Ott, perhaps best known for his satirical "press releases" at Scrappleface has a must read article posted at Pajamas Media. Scott is actually running for office as County Executive of Lehigh County, PA. The article talks about shell games played with our tax money and how this threatens our future.

"There’s a shell game in government that makes it nearly impossible for you and I to stop the runaway spending. Worse, it’s designed to get you to focus on a seemingly insoluble problem far away, while the real solution lies just down the street, practically in your own backyard."

He has a solution to the problem too.

Read the whole thing.
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lincoln Davis' $20 Challenge....

......which he apparently doesn't have the backbone to accept.

Davis is a Democrat "representing" Tennessee's 4th Congressional District.

Well played, Miss, well played!

(Via Dan Cleary, Political Insomniac.)

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Is It Stimulus Yet?

The August unemployment numbers wouldn't seem to indicate that:

Posted at Innocent Bystanders. Go take a look.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson Reflects on World War II and Historical Revisionists

Victor Davis Hanson on World War II and historical revisionism.

"Western elites — the beneficiaries of 60 years of peace and prosperity achieved by the sacrifices to defeat fascism and Communism — are unhappy in their late middle age, and show little gratitude for, or any idea about, what gave them such latitude. If they cannot find perfection in history, they see no good at all. ......

.....Instead, the beneficiaries of those who sacrificed now ankle-bite their dead betters. Even more strangely, they have somehow convinced us that in their politically-correct hindsight, they could have done much better in World War II.

Yet from every indication of their own behavior over the last 30 years, we suspect that the generation who came of age in the 1960s would have not just have done far worse but failed entirely."

Read the whole thing. He gets it dead right, as usual
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Leaked Advance Copy of President Obama's Speech to The ChildrenTM

The Vodkapundit, Stephen Green happened across this leaked advance copy of President Obama's upcoming speech to The ChildrenTM of America. The short version: Republicans hate children.

"I remember being a young, confused school boy, wishing that President Nixon or President Ford would give me some guidance as to what I should think or do during the school year. But they never did. Why? The answer, as any good teacher will tell you, is simple.

Republicans hate children."

Read the whole speech.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Congressman Mike Rogers (R) Michigan on Healthcare Reform

Thanks, Bob!

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Rationalizing the Death of Mary Jo Kopechne - Matt Welch Takes Two Liberal Feminist Writers to Task

Matt Welch takes Joyce Carol Oates and Melissa Laffsky to task for suggesting that the life of Mary Jo Kopechne was a worthwhile sacrifice because as Oates writes: "Yet, ironically, following this nadir in his life/ career, Ted Kennedy seemed to have genuinely refashioned himself as a serious, idealistic, tirelessly energetic liberal Democrat in the mold of 1960s/1970s American liberalism, arguably the greatest Democratic senator of the 20th century." One who liked to tell and hear Chappaquiddick jokes.

Welch puts it in proper perspective:

"......the sentiment is a timely reminder of the seductive awfulness of political ideologies everywhere and always. The ends are always worth a few strangled means, especially to those wielding or sympathizing with power. If you're openly musing whether the unwilling, unjust sacrifice of an innocent is worth a broad set of alleged legislative improvements, you're not asking a morally challenging question, you're answering it."

You're not answering it in a way that reflects well on you either. In fact you're revealing yourself to be morally bankrupt.
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A Counter Argument to the Contention That Free Markets Are Just Another Form of Rationing

Writing over at Pajamas Media, Denver physician Paul Hsieh corrects the notion, frequently argued by the proponents of the Democrat health care "reform" proposal, that the free market is just another form of rationing. It is not.

"Supporters of the free market should not allow opponents to characterize the marketplace as a form of rationing, let alone an unjust one. Instead, supporters should defend the free market as morally just because it respects individual rights.

To do so, one must properly define “rationing.” As the writer Ayn Rand noted:

“Rationing” has a specific meaning of its own. It means: to distribute in a certain particular manner — by the decision of an absolute authority, with the recipients having no choice whatever about what they receive; it also means that all the recipients involved have an equal claim to that which is being rationed, and are entitled to an equal share." "

Another point worth calling out:

"Health care does not magically grow on trees. Instead, it is a service that must be created by hard work and rational thought. The producers thus have the moral right to sell it to willing consumers on any mutually acceptable terms. There is no “just” distribution of medical services apart from the voluntary exchanges between producers and consumers in a free market."

Read the whole thing.
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Monday, August 31, 2009

So, How's That Federal Reserve Bank Doing.....

....or more aptly; What is the Federal Reserve doing to the dollar? Erik Voorhees has some thoughts on that here, and a very powerful graph. A sample:

While we all take inflation as a "given" - as something that "just happens" in the economy - this belief is utterly incorrect. Inflation, which is the loss of value in your saved dollars, is caused by the Federal Reserve through its management of the money supply. Next time you see Ben Bernanke on the television telling you that they "will take the necessary steps" to help the country, consider their track record so far, and their dismal failure at their stated objective: preserving the value of America's money.

And of course a picture is always worth a thousand words, whatever the value of a dollar may be:

Read the whole thing.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Day Obamacare - Died?

Paul Shanklin does another one of his great satirical take-offs on a well known song:

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MSNBC & The Great Liberal Narrative: The Truth About The Tyranny of Political Correctness

Bill Whittle hits another one out of the park over at PJTV. This one is about the dishonesty of the MSM and its promotion of "politically correct" narratives.

Watch it here.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Hits the Trifecta

Great quote posted by Jim Lindgren over at the Volokh Conspiracy:

"Cash for Clunkers" appears to be a bizarre combination of the "broken windows fallacy," the desire to change the climate of the planet, and staggering administrative incompetence. In other words, "Cash for Clunkers" hits the trifecta: bad economics, bad science, and bad government."

While it's in quotes, he doesn't say who said it. Whoever it is, he nailed it. Go check out the post. There's YouTube video of the cruel execution of an innocent Corvette.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Government We Trust? No, Says Daniel Henninger

Daniel Henninger's weekly Wonderland column in the Wall Street Journal is a must-read today.

"Ronald Reagan used to joke that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' Barack Obama is making those words welcome."

No he's not. The public reaction to the health-care proposal, evident both in public-opinion polls and town halls, tells us that the misgivings Ronald Reagan identified 25 years ago remain a potent factor in American politics. There's a reason why the United States motto on the back of its currency reads "In God We Trust," not the other G-word.

The left likes to say that conservatives hate government. The truth, and it holds for many people beyond conservatism, is closer to what Alfred Hitchcock said when he was accused of hating the police. "I'm not against the police," Hitchcock said, "I'm just afraid of them."

Read the whole thing
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Healthcare Debate and the Banality of Evil

Blogger Matt Holzmann talks about the health care reform effort now underway and how it relates to Hannah Arendt's 1962 observations about the "banality of evil". It's worth reading the whole thing, particularly the part about the recent death of a relative in England and how her fate was decided by a bureaucrat and a formula. He also summarized rather well the pass we have come to in this debate:

The fact is that today, our government is highly constricted in its financial options. We have already indebted ourselves to a point where we can no longer finance that debt. Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which is controlled by the above mentioned leadership, will go bankrupt in 8 years. Social Security is predicted to do the same in the 2030’s. The CBO also has calculated that any of the bills now under consideration would cost as much as $1 trillion. So we have the two largest safety net programs yet undertaken by our government bankrupted by irresponsible government borrowing and poor management, and Congress own accountants predicting runaway costs. The president cited the Post Office as a comparison in speech to his undefined health care proposal in Portsmouth, NH last week. How can he and our leaders fail to see the analogies? How can they fail to see the potential for collapse and the terrible pain it might cause? This should be one of the most serious discussions of our time and there is no discussion.

The warning signs are all around us. We are faced with a health care system that needs reform. So many issues have been identified in the public debate that serious, measurable reform may now be possible. Ideas are coming from all sides. And yet we are faced with a pigheaded, partisan leadership that is basically preparing to tell the rest of us to go to hell and ram through another highly defective piece of legislation without scrutiny and without debate. The financial system bailouts and Stimulus Bill and Cap & Trade bill all point clearly towards where this will end up.

Read the whole thing.
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O's "O" Gets Turned Around On Him

Glenn Reyolds occasionally likes to post the following chart showing the deficits under GW Bush and those projected under Obama:

(I'll point out one more time that as bad as the Bush era deficits were, they were on the way down until 2007. That's when the Democrats took over both houses of Congress and all spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives.)

Bill Whittle posted a video at PJTV the other day on Iconography, and how symbols can be turned around. It's definitely worth the 8 minutes you will take to watch it, but here is a great example of what he's talking about, the same chart as above but using Obama's famous "O" icon against him:


Created and published by Gunzip.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

TEA Party Video - A Warning to Congress Not to Underestimate the American People....

...Others have made that mistake.

An Alabama woman asked her teenage son for help in putting together a video advertizement for the April 15 TEA Party she was helping to organize. About an hour at the laptop later this is what he delivered:

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Whole Foods Prescription for Healthcare Reform

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey had an op-ed published in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. The piece is about his prescription for out healthcare system. It's dead on. It's also what a lot of Republican lawmakers have proposed, contrary to assertions by the Democrats that they have no proposals of their own. (Question; If a Republican with a good idea speaks up, can a Democrat hear him?) Mackey's proposal, the short version:
  • Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
  • Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.
  • Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
  • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.
  • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
  • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
  • Enact Medicare reform.
  • Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Click through and read the whole thing.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Obamacare From the Perspective of a Practicing Physician

I found this article in the American Thinker, written by an Atlanta opthalmologist, talking about the problems with Obamacare from the perspective of a practicing physician. Click through and read the article, it's excellent. There are also some very enlightening comments by other doctors. One in particular jumped out at me though:

Posted by: dermdoc --> Aug 06, 11:10 AM

In the early 1990's, a woman, a mother in her early 50's was dying of cancer. She had advanced cancer, must have not received screening services (LACK OF PREVENTIVE SERVICES). She likely received chemotherapy, toxic nasty stuff, still her best hope. Her oncologists did their best. Why would they not. She suffered. Her son watched as she did. He watched as she died. Yes, she did die (BAD OUTCOME). Sad.

The cost for her care? lots! Costs of medicine (greedy pharmaceuticals) hospital care, physician fees (greedy doctors) surely significant. Outcome no good, she died. He thinks, why should there BE payment for a bad outcome? Makes little sense to him. Her son is grieving as he should. Still, he's facing a big bill. Pre-existing issues involved. Unpleasant experience. The son is incensed. He does not forget this horrible experience. It' s his mother! She raised him. His father abandoned him/them when he (the boy) was very young, went back to Kenya.

Please understand my fellow MD's, this is personal!

This says a lot about what is driving The Won to me.
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Impossible Promises - John Stossel on Obamacare

John Stossel has an article about Obama's healthcare plan posted at Reason Online. It's right on target. This point on the difference between insurance and welfare is about as succinct an explanation as I've seen about why insurance companies don't cover pre-existing conditions:

The New York Times describes a key part of the House bill: "Lawmakers of both parties agree on the need to rein in private insurance companies by banning underwriting practices that have prevented millions of Americans from obtaining affordable insurance. Insurers would, for example, have to accept all applicants and could not charge higher premiums because of a person's medical history or current illness.

"No more evil "cherry-picking." No more "discrimination against the sick. But that's not insurance. Insurance is the pooling of resources to cover the cost of a possible but by no means certain misfortune befalling a given individual. Government-subsidized coverage for people already sick is welfare. We can debate whether this is good, but let's discuss it honestly. Calling welfare "insurance" muddies thinking.

Read the whole thing.
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