Click this link to read the full story at www.creakywheel.com.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Though nearly 22 percent of the state's adult residents have no health insurance - one of the highest rates in the nation - pollsters and political experts say voters in the state are overwhelmingly against Mr. Obama's health care proposals.
- Senator Max Baucus (Mont.)..........$413,000.00
- Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.)...............$104,000.00
- Rep. John Dingell (Mich.)...............$180,000.00
Nor was there much evidence that establishing non-profit cooperatives - Baucus' alternative to the public option in legislation proposed by the House and by the Senate health committee - would work to compete with private insurers and bring costs under control.The cooperatives "seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country," the nonpartisan budget office concluded.
- Sen. John McCain (AZ.)..................$546,000.00
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.)...........$425,000.00
- Rep. John Boehner (Ohio).............$257,000.00
- Rep. Eric Cantor (N.D.)..................$249,000.00
The president and the Democrats decided not to press for the only plan that makes sense for everyone, in order to preserve an industry that is not only cruel and stupid and dysfunctional, but through its rank inefficiency has necessitated the very reforms now being debated. Even though the Democrats enjoy a political monopoly and could have started from a very strong bargaining position, they chose instead to concede at least half the battle before it even began.
Since he first stood upright, man has also had a craving for sweets...Without our sweet tooth, we would have been happy to eat nothing but wooly mammoth and buffalo meat - the original Atkins program. But nature saw to it that we craved the foods that would make us healthy.
Food companies, although they no longer deny that larger portions are a key marketing strategy, vigorously resist any suggestion that these larger portion sizes actually encourage consumers to eat or drink more - a denial that has to qualify as one of the most laughable claims in the entire obesity debate. Not only have numerous studies shown that large portions always induce greater consumption, but it would be hard to understand why else the food industry would offer them. Given that consumers register the value of food primarily by eating it, if bigger portions didn't increase consumption and thus cause consumer to feel they were getting greater value for their dollars, no food company would bother offering larger portions in the first place.
We're spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.
Most doctors in America work on a fee-for-service basis; the more pills they prescribe, or tests they order, or procedures they perform, the more money they get - even though there is abundant clinical evidence that more spending does not reliably lead to better outcomes. Private providers everywhere are vulnerable to this perverse incentive, but in America, where most health care is delivered by the private sector rather than by salaried public-sector staff, the problem is worse than anywhere else.
The feds would disburse a series of tax rebates to individuals doing their diligence to improve their health. Join and attend a gym at least three times a week? Tax break. Improve your BMI? Tax break. Sustain a healthy BMI for a year? Tax break. Lower your blood pressure or bad cholesterol? Tax break. Etcetera. And each of these actions would be eminently measurable when linked to a national database.
The trouble is that many Americans are understandably happy with all-you-can-eat health care, which allows them to see any doctor they like and get any test that they are talked into thinking they need. Forcing people into "managed" health schemes, where some species of bureaucrat decides which treatments are cost-effective, is politically toxic; it was the central tenet of Hillary Clinton's disastrous failed reform of 1994.But to some extent it will have to be done. There is solid evidence to suggest that by cutting back on unnecessarily expensive procedures and prescriptions, anything from 10% to 30% of health costs could be saved; a gigantic sum.
Imagine that, instead of paying a contractor to pull a team together and keep them on track, you paid an electrician for every outlet he recommends, a plumber for every faucet, and a carpenter for every cabinet. Would you be surprised if you got a house with a thousand outlets, faucets, and cabinets, at three times the cost you expected, and the whole thing fell apart a couple of years later?
Even when doctors order costly treatments with serious side effects and little evidence of their being effective, as studies find is common, patients are loath to question the decision. Instead of blaming such treatments for the rising cost of medicine, many people are inclined to blame forces that health economists say are far less important, like greedy insurance companies or onerous malpractice laws.
There are currently 1,300 private insurers in this country, forcing doctors to fill out different forms and follow different reimbursement procedures for each and every one. This drowns medical facilities in idiotic paperwork and jacks up prices. Nearly a third of all health care costs in America are associated with wasteful administration. Fully $350 billion a year could be saved on paperwork alone if the U.S. went to a single-payer system - more than enough to pay the whole goddamned thing, if anyone had the balls to stand up and say so.
How we as conservatives respond to these challenges could determine whether America retains her place in the world as a beacon of freedom, or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of socialism.
Is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that Democrat proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by - dare I say it - death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrased, but it rang true for many Americans.
Behavioral economists have established that we feel the pain of losses more than we enjoy the pleasure of gains. So when we think about change, we focus more on what we might lose rather than on what we might get. Even people who aren't all that happy with the current system, then, are still likely to feel anxious about whatever will replace it.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
President Obama's plan to deliver a speech to public school students on Tuesday has set off a revolt among conservative parents, who have accused the president of trying to indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas and are asking school officials to excuse the children from listening.
The Republican Party chairman in Florida, Jim Greer, said he "was appalled that taxpayer dollars are bing used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology.
- I currently receive my mail from the U.S. Postal Service
- I have one or more parents who have, at some point, received medicare benefits
- I have one or more children who have, at some point, attended public school
- I have, at some point, attended community college and/or a state university
- I am the current recipient of weekly garbage pick-ups
- If my house were to ever erupt in flames, I'd prefer a trained firefighter to put them out, as opposed to me with my 8-foot garden hose, hiked-up brown dress socks, wife-beater, and yellow sprinkler attachment.
- If given the choice, I'd prefer it if cops were given the responsibility for apprehending dangerous criminals, as opposed to, say, my cousin Richard.
- I believe in a strong military that must also follow strict codes of conduct
- I believe that all military veterans should have access to low-cost comprehensive health services
- I have, at some point in my life, checked out a book from a public library*
The schools will provide an alternative class for those whose parents object, a spokesman for the district, Lee Vela, said.
Then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft violated the rights of U.S. citizens in the fevered wake of the Spt. 11 terrorist attacks by ordering arrests on material witness warrants when the government lacked probably cause, a federal appeals court said in a scathing opinion Friday.
Mayfield was released after the FBI admitted his fingerprint had been mistakenly matched with one found at the scene of the Madrid attacks. The FBI has described this as a rare mismatch of a fingerprint that reveals little about the Patriot Act.But the government has admitted to Mayfield that his home was searched secretly under a special court order authorized for intelligence purposes. The American Civil Liberties Union says that the search amounts to an abuse of the Patriot Act: It was conducted as though it were an intelligence search, when in fact agents were looking for evidence to use in a criminal prosecution.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I unapologetically, unequivocally love Quentin Tarantino movies. I call them movies as opposed to films because the latter connotes a pursuit of high art, whereas the word "movie" conjures images of plush seats, surround sound, good guys blowing away bad guys, five-dollar boxes of Junior Mints, and irresistible popcorn drenched in chemically engineered butter "topping." In other words, movies are piles and piles of fun.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Dick Cheney is not a nice guy. But that doesn't necessarily preclude him from being an inadequate leader. The list of mean S.O.B.'s who were also stellar leaders is long and distinguished.
President Obama's decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration's ability to be responsible for our nation's security," Cheney said.
In Mr. Cheney's view, it is not just those who followed orders and stuck to the interrogation rules set down by President George Bush's Justice Department who should be sheltered from accountability. He said he also had no problem with those who disobeyed their orders and exceeded the guidelines.It's easy to understand Mr. Cheney's aversion to the investigation that Attorney General Eric Holder ordered last week. On Fox, Mr. Cheney said it was hard to imagine it stopping with the interrogators. He's right.
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.