Friday, July 31, 2009

Timely Reminder (See Below Post)

Pertinent words:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

Full auto M-16's.

ObamaCare. Insane and reckless spending programs, benefitting Governments, not citizens. Government takeovers of GM, Chrysler. Bailout of the Zombie Citibank. Trillions in un-sustainable Gummint debts. $9Trillion in off-balance-sheet (FedReserve) "assets."

Stimulus, Indeed!

A chunk of "stimulus" money is funding:

...the weekly production of "Perverts Put Out" at San Francisco's CounterPULSE, whose "long-running pansexual performance series" invites guests to "join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun."

This news item is NOT related to the Trial Lawyer's plea for a $1Bn++ tax break.

HT The Winning McCain

Greedy Capitalist Insurance Workers


Folkbum/Schmitz got the PartyLine memo and propose that the Greedy Capitalist Pig insurance companies are the problem.

Or most of it.

Or some of it, anyhow.

Or whatever.

It's their fault, get it? That's what QueenNancy told Schmitz to say, by gum, and that's the story he's going to stick to.

The Greedy Capitalist Pig soubriquet might come as a surprise to Leo Suycott, the former President of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Milwaukee. The Blues were (here and elsewhere) practically the creation of organized labor; they were virtually specified as the health-insurance purveyor in union contracts when unions actually meant something in the industrial Midwest.

(The first exception was the Teamsters Union, who created the HMO prototype; see the building near 62nd/Bluemound. This gave the Teamsters' bosses the advantage of having free cash to finance their pals in organized crime, just like their pension plans did. Eventually, WEAC created its own insurance subsidiary, which horribly over-charges for the product. Talk about Greedy Pigs! But somehow Schmitzie doesn't mention WEAC, nor the Teamsters. Huh.)

In most places, The Blues replaced denominational-managed "benevolent associations" which provided medical assistance money to their Catholic, or Lutheran, (etc.) members.

It was Leo Suycott who built the Blues Buildings on Michigan Street, derided by FolkbumSchmitz. It was Leo Suycott who built the staff, including a very highly-regarded MIS group and their extraordinarily reliable and accurate Info Systems.

So now Leo and his lieutenants and predecessors are the personification of Greedy Capitalist Pigs.

Nice memorial.

SPIME Networks

OK, here's your new term for the day.

...This subject is of deep interest with regard to the future collection of intelligence a fact acknowledged by the National Intelligence Council’s Disruptive Civil Technologies Conference (appendix F). The basic idea surrounding the ‘internet of things’ is that all things become nodes in a global network and to some degree act autonomously or to put it another way, “Our washing machines can ask for soap". This new or developing network creates a new category of object, known as a Spime [SPace +tIME] - a phrase coined by the science fiction writer Bruce Sterling. A Spime was defined by David Orban as an object with memory, computing capacity, location awareness and sensors. These Spimes already exist just not yet to scale. The leading driver of spime networks was initially thought to be RFID tags but actually it is smart phones that are providing the most compelling current platform. A great example of one such, spime is an application developed for the iphone by WideTag - called WideNoise. This uses the iphone to collect decibel readings posting them to a map to determine where the quieter areas in the world are.


The intel application has to do with using cellphones to relay sounds of gunfire, artillery, military vehicles, etc.

HT: CounterterrorismBlog

Tax Breaks for the Needy: Trial Lawyers

Friends in high places produce rewards.

The tax break in question would allow plaintiffs' lawyers to deduct right away on their taxes the money they invest in filing speculative lawsuits.

When plaintiffs' lawyers take cases on contingency -- that is, when they sue in exchange for a percentage of the settlement or judgment -- the IRS treats the expenses involved in the suit as a loan to the client. Lipsen and AAJ would like to change that tax treatment so that lawyers can simply write off their costs in the same year they are incurred. Legal Newsline reports that the tax break is worth about $1.6 billion to trial lawyers.

"Corporate welfare" morphs. Now ordinary taxpayers are expected to feed the sharks, too.

"Clunkers" Program Over With--You Read It Here First

*Cough* We told you so.

Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases.
The Transportation Department called congressional offices late Thursday to alert them to the decision to halt the program, which offered owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle

We were off by one day--it is Friday, not Saturday.

Propaganda Blast Coming from (D) Boyzzz

Here comes the spin, shuffle, shuck/jive, and BS.

In another sign that the White House will play a very hands-on role during the looming Congressional health care wars of August, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod is set to hold a private messaging session with House Dems tomorrow on the Hill, I’m told.

With a House Dem bill closer to reality, the battle will shift to a new phase: Selling it. And according to an email to House Dems that was sent over by a source, Axelrod and top White House health care adviser Nancy DeParle will be attending a breakfast with members to discuss “health care reform messaging.”

You can bet your jewels that the "messaging" will bury the abortion question as deep as possible.

You can also bet your jewels that there will be resistance to the Goebbels-gabbing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

AlGore's Money Trail

For an altruist, Al's spending a lot of money.

The Climate Protection Action Fund, a subsidiary of Al Gore’s Repower America, paid $60,000 to the Glover Park Group during the second quarter of 2009 for lobbying on Waxman-Markey.

We earlier reported that Al Gore’s venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, paid $100,000 in lobbying fees so far in 2009.

Al Gore failed to disclose any of this when he testified in April before Congress in favor of Waxman-Markey.

Well, of course he didn't disclose. Al's an ALTRUIST, not a microcephaloid money-grubbing influence-peddling hypocritical puke.

Read the rest of the linked post for Al's Big Lie of this year.

HT: GreenHell

A Modest Proposal

P-Mac has a modest proposal for the "ban meat" crowd.

I would suggest that if someone’s so convinced that meat is baking the earth, just quit eating it. Better yet, quit eating entirely and really reduce your carbon footprint. It’s OK, after all, to suggest that you die off to be carbon friendly, now that an Australian TV network did just that to children, helping them reckon the age at which they’ve used up their fair share of the Earth.

Self-starvation by the meat-is-Earthmurder crowd would be a win-win: They’d have a much greater positive effect by dying off than just by going vegan, if only because they wouldn’t then reproduce (remember, that’s supposed to be irresponsibly carbon-hogging, too), and it would leave the rest of us to enjoy steaks in comparative peace.

Irrefutable logic, too!

Humor Break--Ernest Version

If you're over 21, you recall Ernest the Redneck--the actor, Jim Varney, died at age 50.

Here's a clip from NBC's evening news (check Brokaw as a youth!!)

Be SURE to watch it to the very end. It's only 2 1/2 minutes...


This Is a Solution?

Here's one way to create unemployment.

In Rhode Island:

State tax officials have put more than 1,200 businesses across the state on notice this week that they are out of business unless they pay their overdue sales taxes immediately.

[Rhode Island tax officials] said the first notice goes out in February to put businesses delinquent in paying their sales taxes on notice that their continued failure to do so “will result in your being denied a renewal of your sales tax permit and, if applicable, cigarette license effective July 1, 2009.”

Penalty? $5,000.00/day and up to a year in the slammer for operating without a license.

It's Palin's Fault

Somebody will find a way to blame this on Palin.

A pilot and passenger walked away from the crash landing of a single-engine plane in a Pierce County hayfield.

Sheriff's deputies say the C185 Cessna was piloted by Mark Campillo, 39, of Wasilla, Alaska, when it crash-landed near River Falls about 10 p.m. Wednesday. The pilot and passenger Miles Haisten, 53, also of Wasilla, were taken to River Falls Area Hospital.

The Actualities of "Tolerance"

Bishop Fulton Sheen:

"America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance—it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded. . . . Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil, a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons, never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error. . . . Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability."

The definition of terms is usually 90% of the discussion. There's a lot more good stuff at the link.

HT: FirstThings

Egelhoff's Excellent Question

Here's how she frames it:

How much does an ambulance cost all of us? No, not how much does an ambulance cost you, but how much does an ambulance cost the system, cost all of us?

No question that ambo-runs are overused. It's become like a taxi (with a $zillion in fancy appurtenances and a 3-man crew.)

At $600-$750/run, that's a helluvalotta taxi.

The City of Brookfield's fire department is still sending an engine company on every ambo run. It's good for the Fire Department's 'numbers'---the chief can talk about "needs"---when in 90% of the cases there is no need whatsoever for an engine company. Period.

But the aldermen swallow the KoolAde every year. After all, it's not their money.

"Paid-For" ObamaCare

This is getting waaayyyyyy out of hand.

The U.S. Senate is considering a proposal that would dramatically raise what they call “lifestyle taxes” to pay for a huge federal health care program. Under this proposal you would be paying more for some of the simple things you enjoy, such as a soft drink and your favorite alcohol beverages. The proposal calls for a staggering increase in federal taxes on alcohol beverages of up to 229 percent!

Bad enough that old folks will have to hit the ice-floe.

Now the bastards will make it too expensive to knock back a couple ounces of Jack Daniels to go with that ice?

IIRC, the Second American Revolution was fought over whiskey taxes. No reason to abandon that tradition, is there?

HT: Berry

Looking at "Disorderly Conduct"

Long story short, this fellow Henry Silverglate maintains that the "Disorderly Conduct" arrest of Gates at Harvard was un-Constitutional.

It is worth recalling that the perfectly legal and Constitutional practice of open-carry in Wisconsin was rewarded with "Disorderly Conduct" arrests and charges until very recently.

By longstanding but unfortunate (and, in my view, clearly unconstitutional) practice in Cambridge and across the country, the charge of disorderly conduct is frequently lodged when the citizen restricts his response to the officer to mere verbal unpleasantness. (When the citizen gets physically unruly, the charge is upgraded to resisting arrest or assault and battery on an officer.) It would appear, from the available evidence--regardless of whether Gates' version or that of Officer Crowley is accepted--that Gates was arrested for saying, or perhaps yelling, things to Crowley that the sergeant did not want to hear.

Maybe. While I can agree that DC is probably the most abused charge in the entire book, Gates' yelling and screaming while on his porch was, I think, more of a factor. Had that yelling and screaming been confined to inside-the-house, Silverglate would have a tighter case. (Perhaps "Disturbing the Peace" would be the better charge--if such a thing remains available.)

In fact, Silverglate covers that possibility:

Yet what has happened to the notion that under the First Amendment, loudness is OK as long as one is not waking up neighbors in the middle of the night (known as "disturbing the peace"), and offensiveness is fully protected as long as it stops short of what the Supreme Court has dubbed "fighting words"?

Today, the law recognizes only four exceptions to the First Amendment's protection for free speech: (1) speech posing the "clear and present danger" of imminent violence or lawless action posited by Holmes, (2) disclosures threatening "national security," (3) "obscenity" and (4) so-called "fighting words" that would provoke a reasonable person to an imminent, violent response

He mentions a case which actually does prohibit 'fighting words' against a police officer, but also mentions that the decision has not been "shored up" by subsequent similar decisions. IOW, Silverglate would call that one case an 'outlier' in common parlance.

But in the end, Silverglate shows a fixation on free speech which is unsettling.

OTOH, there should be a chargeable offense entitled "Public Assholery" which could be applied to Prof. Gates.

How Much CO2? Polar Ice?


Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth's evolution. …

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen.

Since those are facts, they are useless to the Cap-n-Tax crowd.

HT: Moonbattery

Stadium Tax Barometer Sticking It To 'Em!!

No surprise here.

Stadium district officials say that, year-to-date, the district is about 7% behind last year's sales-tax collection amount. And with seven months left to report in 2009, the district has collected more than $1 million less than had been projected.

...Milwaukee County is down 6.7% compared with the same time period last year. Ozaukee County, normally considered a wealthy county, is down 2.2% compared with last year.
Also, Washington County is down 5.5%, and Racine and Waukesha counties are down 8.2%.

It's no longer likely that the tax will end in 2014.

Stick It To 'Em, Tommy!!

Another Republican HealthCare Proposal

Ryan has a bill out there, and Dr. Tom Price (R-GA) will introduce another bill.

...the RSC prescription is to improve the individual insurance market by taking away its tax disadvantage. They also want to pre-empt the unreasonable state coverage mandates that have made individual policies unaffordable in states like New Jersey and Maine. (Must every insurance policy really cover marriage counseling? Accupuncture?)

Another key contrast between the two approaches is known as "guaranteed issue." In order to accommodate those with uninsurable pre-existing conditions, Obama and the Democrats have proposed re-shaping everyone's coverage, at the risk of ruining what's good in the current system in the process. The RSC plan, on the other hand, treats uninsurable people as the special cases they are. It subsidizes their care and gives states incentives to create risk pools for them.

The RSC's (and Ryan's) bills use this text as a guidestar:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Every now and then, it's useful to remind people about that Amendment, eh??

Deception Surrounds Catholic Demand for Health Reform

It's a truism that the healthcare system in the US could stand some reform. Nobody really argues against 'reform.'

But there are very serious issues, and at the top of the list is abortion.

As currently written, HR3200 will force the US taxpayer to fund abortions, overriding the Hyde Amendment. That IS the case, although the convenient lie is available: "It doesn't SAY that."

Well, your weather forecast doesn't SAY that the sun will rise, either.

Now comes a demand from three Catholic entities calling for immediate "reform" of healthcare. In and of itself, that's no surprise. But when those Catholic entities resort to linguistic manipulation to support their position, it is a disappointment, to say the least.

"Please call and e-mail your Representative in the next 24 hours expressing your support for Congress to enact health care reform now," the groups urge in an alert released last week. The page hosted by St. Vincent De Paul offers contact information and email forms for congressional offices.

"Saint Vincent de Paul is partnering with Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association to amplify our collective voice to let Congress know that health care reform can not wait," it continues

"Can not wait"?? Really?? Can not wait until when, exactly?


Pro-life lawyers say that the government health care insurance is bound to include abortion as an essential health care benefit and would be funded by taxpayer dollars, unless an amendment is introduced to specifically exclude abortion. However, all such amendments, including amendments to protect doctors' conscience rights, have failed in both the House and Senate.

Now watch the deception.

When (LSN) described the healthcare plan's abortion mandate to Roger Playwin, the National Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he interrupted to say: "The bishops' office has advised us that that's not accurate. So I can't speak to it, because all I know is that the bishops' office has said that story is going around, but it's inaccurate. That's all I know."

Playwin said that by bishops' office he meant the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, specifically the bishops' charity arm, Catholic Charities USA. "There's a lot of disinformation about - there is no legislation, number one," he said. Asked to clarify, Playwin said, "There is not a piece of legislation that the House and Senate are going to agree to about health care reform

Either Playwin is lying, or Catholic Charities is lying, or in any case, Playwin was deliberately non-responsive to the question. He's a pathetic jerk.

Not only that, he didn't bother to cover his ass.

When LSN sought comment from the Catholic Health Association (CHA) on the matter, communications director Fred Caesar said he was not familiar with the press release, and directed LSN to a letter CHA issued to Congress in July 2008, urging them to uphold pro-life amendments in the annual appropriations bill.

And there are other problems in the proposals.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, responded with outrage at the organizations' failure to address the serious problems inherent in the current health care legislation, saying that "There is no social justice in rationing charity."

"Millions of taxpayers will be forced to subsidize abortion, contraception, euthanasia and bureaucratic denial of health care to the poorest of the poor," she said

This coalition better get its act together, and Mr. Playwin owes an apology to SVDP members--not to mention to millions of others who want reform, but want it done right.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vote by Internet Fraud!

P-Mac advises that Wisconsin is now looking at allowing more ways to commit vote fraud.

Oh, joy.

Phone-it-in. There's no doubt whatsoever that nobody but the eligible voter in your home could use your phone, right? No kids over the age of 6, for example, or ...never mind.

Mail-it-in. I mean, who ever heard of postal fraud?

And, of course, the Ross Perot dream: Internet voting. Because MS Explorer is the very most secure OS ever invented by man.


Saturday, August 22, High Noon

Saddle up.

The Nationwide Recess Rally takes place on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009. If you believe your liberty, your hard earned money and your way of life is under attack through dangerous healthcare legislation currently being proposed, get to your local Representative office on August 22nd and make sure he/she knows.

Addresses for Wisconsin Congresscritters are on this page.

Jim Sensenbrenner will not vote for this piece of shit, HR3200. So it might be fun to do the time at Gwen Moore's office, instead.

Youse there in NE Wisconsin: Kagen needs to know he's very, very vulnerable.

ObamaCare: Blue Puppies Happy, State Socialism In

The Blue Puppies were given a chew-toy--$100Bn off the initial price tag of $1Trillion--and went to their blankets to chew.

What's left?

It would still mean a massive expansion of Medicaid, providing subsidies for people to purchase government-designed insurance policies on a government-run exchange, creating a new government-run health care program that would put the nation on a pathway to single-payer, mandates on individuals to purchase insurance or pay a tax, and a tax hike on employers that did not provide health care to their workers. And it's not clear how many of the compromises will be adopted by the full House once this bill is reconciled by the two other committees.

State Socialism will crawl, rather than leap, into 1/6th of the economy.'

HT: AmSpecBlog

The Historic State Fair Racetrack

There's a lot more history to the State Fair racetrack than most people know.

In addition to being our next Mencken (or Twain), Iowahawk is an aficiando of fine, fast, engine-driven machinery, and devotes a lot of blogspace to the Miller engine folks here.

Lots of REALLY cool pix at that link. Here's the short history:

Miller was a Milwaukee race-engine builder, and was damn good at it.

Oh, there's more: after Miller went BK in 1933, one of his employees bought a bunch of tools, dies, and equipment and started his own race-engine building business.

His name was Offenhauser.

Damn. That track should be preserved if only for those names!

Philosophy and the Reform of the Reformed Liturgy

One approach to the Catholic liturgical mess that has been ignored is the approach from philosophy--until now.

Reviewing a new book, Worship as a Revelation: The Past, Present and Future of Catholic Liturgy, by Laurence Paul Hemming, Fr. Brian Van den Hove, S.J. (!!) tells us a bit about that perspective.

Our author asserts that the enemy of Catholic liturgy is rationalism – "the fact that a propensity towards philosophical rationalism was one of the motor forces of the post-conciliar liturgical reform". Rationalism is defined as "the understanding that everything, all truth, arises on the basis of what can be foreseen by man, what is calculable and predictable for him in advance of its occurring." Again, "the rational is the essentially calculable...."

The effect of rationalism and its inherent problematic as applied to the "adaptation of the liturgy" has an extensive history. Only gradually did it become as strong as it is now. Hemming agrees with Martin Heidegger that "God is not an object of philosophy" and he finds an ally in Aidan Nichols on the point – "... the impulses for liturgical reform have their origins in a commitment to rationalism that stems, certainly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and even before."

Yes. That 'rationalism' has a great deal to do with the misinterpretation of the term "noble simplicity."

...He mentions that the Eastern Church has preserved some liturgical understanding or "ancient practice" now lost in the West. Besides the loss of the "distributed body of Christ" is the loss of all sense of intertwinement between the cycles, sanctoral and temporal. The Christian East kept both insights.

One of the motivators behind B-16's promotion of the Extraordinary Form was to 'move towards the East', so to speak. Many of the Orthodox were appalled at the post-Conciliar "new liturgy" of the West.

With regard to "active participation" (actuosa participatio):

The author traces its root to the "modern self" of Cartesian philosophy. "In his Meditations on First Philosophy, after having established the self as first in the order of things of which I can be certain, the second indubitable thing Descartes discovers is God." However, the second indubitable thing Descartes discovered was not God, but the idea of God. After explaining the philosophy that reduces the external world to subjectivity, Hemming concludes: "Liturgical prayer works in exactly the opposite way." We do not approach the liturgy as complete selves – we let our incomplete selves be filled and perfected by the liturgy.

A very significant difference, indeed.

Therefore, in reality,

...Over a lifetime we slowly discover God in and through the liturgy. At least that is what should happen; or that was traditionally the perceived goal. Hemming asserts that the purpose of this book is to emphasize that we do not make or force God to become present in the liturgy. Rather, we listen and wait for God to act and to move us. "Prayer does not bring God or the divine presence to us."

It is even more interesting to note those who are in agreement with Hemming and those with whom he disagrees.

Allies in addition to Nichols include Alcuin Reid and Lauren Pristas. Cited favorably are Klaus Gamber, Martin Mosebach, Uwe Michael Lang and László Dobszay. Hemming is no supporter of Catherine Pickstock who, for a time, was quite fashionable in some circles. Other contemporary figures whose thought he engages in various ways include Odo Casel, Romano Guardini, Cipriano Vagaggini, Berhard Blankenhorn, Margaret Barker and John McDade.

Interesting lists, indeed. Guardini was a haute Romantische kinda guy, as (I suspect) was Pickstock.

If I infer from the thesis correctly, the late "liturgical movement" figures were increasingly rationalist in their views and praxis, and that trajectory more or less ran its course into the age of Weakland, Bugnini, Marini, (et al.) following Vatican II. Thus the eminently rationalist use of the "vernacular" to the exclusion of lingua sacra, Latin, and the horrific and often narcissistic 'music' now inflicted upon congregations in place of Chant, or even of genuinely artistic work.

The difficulty in determining best praxis is contained in the well-worn phrase of Pius X as he described the ideal of sacred music as 'elevating the minds and hearts of the Faithful to God.' It can be precisely located in the conjunction "and." And this injunction applies with equal force to all of liturgy and what surrounds it: the plastic and graphic art and architecture must conform to the 'mind and heart-elevation' as well. (At the risk of an inaccurate reduction, one could think of the "horizontal/vertical"-worship terminology to frame the discussion.)

Perfecting the balance demanded by "and" may never happen. But good reform should always be guided by it.

Favre: The Right Decison

Favre's retiring.

The guy is a world-class warrior and competitor, will be a Hall of Famer first ballot.

Frankly, I didn't care if he went to Minnesota or not--except I like him too much to watch him get hit, hard, by a MLB and get carried off with a permanent injury.

Good decision. See you in Canton!

ObamaCare: Dump Defense to Get There

Well, Obama found a compliant twit to help pay for ObamaCare! Too bad it's Defense--which, unlike Health Care, happens to be specified in the Constitution as an obligation of the Feds.

The order from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is based on an assumption that there will be no real growth in defense budgets over the next five years, a radical departure for a department whose budgets have increased more than 80 percent since 2001....

That would be $60Bn in cuts.

Two wars (one, admittedly, closing up soon). The Norks and Imanutjob/Iran waving war flags. Commie dictators threatening Honduras. IslamoFascists running around trying to find new places to play, kill, and riot.

"NO GROWTH" in DoD spending over the next 5 years?

I can understand inflation-adjusted plus "cost of wars" growth as a good target for spending.




Another Word for "Insurance Exchanges"

You want the other word for "insurance exchanges"?

Try "Independent Insurance Brokers" for starters.

Boots & Sabers in Gates Controversy: Well-Aimed

Well, it's a stretch, but hey...Owen deserves some attention.

In the middle of Iowahawk's latest offering, describing the Harvard/Gates situation from the point of view of another Harvard Asshole:

Our table exchanged knowing glances, for we knew immediately that Skip was only the latest victim of a system that singles out the Harvard faculty asshole for stigmatization and unequal justice. It is a system that all of us knew too well,...

Sometimes it even comes at the hand of self-styled "peers" from D-list state ampersand institutions. One colleague recounted the tale of his restroom confrontation with a Texas A&M professor at a national academic conference last year. After relieving themselves at adjacent urinals, my colleague noticed the oaf leaving hastily for the plenary session and decided to gently point out his hygienic forgetfulness. "A Harvard man washes his hands after urinating," he said. "And an Aggie don't piss all over his hands, asshole," came the reply.

Like I said, it's a stretch. But it's good to know that Aggies can aim.

Obama-Rahm-a-Jamma, CBO Edition

The FIBs.

Last week, President Obama spilled the beans on the Today Show that he had met with CBO director Douglas Elmendorf – just as the number-crunchers were casting ruinous doubt on White House cost-saving claims. Yes, question the timing. The CBO is supposed to be a neutral score-keeper – not a water boy for the White House. But when the meeting failed to stop the CBO from issuing more analysis undercutting the health care savings claims, Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag played the heavy.

Orszag warned the CBO in a public letter that it risked feeding the perception that it was “exaggerating costs and underestimating savings.” Message: Leave the number-fudging to the boss. Capiche?

Buy More Ammo.

HT: Malkin

I.G.-Gate, Part 29,765: Obama-Rahm-a-Jamma Politics

Obama-Rahm-a-Jamma politics, (no concrete shoes yet) in operation.

In a telephone interview today, Walpin said he noticed last week's report that Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) had contacted White House officials in March, publicly vowing that sanctions against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson didn't prevent the city from getting its share of bailout cash.

Questions about what role Matsui may have played in Walpin's dismissal are being asked on Capitol Hill, and the ex-IG himself is curious about the Sacramento congresswoman's intervention, which drew attention after it was
highlighted by California blogger Eric Hogue.

We're shocked! Shocked!!!

On the larger question -- whether political pressure over his investigation of Mayor Johnson's St. HOPE Academy was a factor in the June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from the White House -- Walpin is certain.

"I have no doubt about that," Walpin said.

[Walpin] was startled to discover that the President of the United States had directly ordered him fired.

You're from the wrong town, Mr. Walpin. We don't call them "FIBs" for no reason up here.

Of course, the (D) majority in Congress has suspended its investigation. They have an excuse (aside from Obama-Rahm-a-Jamma tactics): Walpin sued, so .........ummmnnnhhhh.....yah, THAT'S it! Walpin sued!!

HT: The Winning McCain/Spectator Blog

Yes, Individual Health Policies Will Go Away

But who cares? Actually, quite a few people care.

Most insured Americans get their health coverage through an employer. But a minority of about 6 to 8 percent -- mostly the self-employed, students, and others who lack a generous employee benefits package -- carry individual policies.

Besides the people who purchase those policies, there's the large Milwaukee-based company which ISSUES them, along with its several hundred jobs. But that's OK. There's always the several million "stimulus" jobs that they can get. Like pouring and finishing concrete. Or driving spikes into Doyle's choochoo train-rails.

In the Senate Democrats' bill, individual policyholders can keep their coverage, but they will be penalized under the individual mandate as though they did not have any coverage at all.

Very nice.

House Democrats' bill, on the other hand, would grandfather individual policy-holders. They could keep their coverage and even add dependents over time. But no new individual policies could be sold as of the first year ObamaCare begins.

Don't be stupid enough to think that makes any difference.

Under the best-case scenario, grandfathered individual policies would continue to exist until all of their holders die. But in all likelihood, economic and regulatory forces would conspire against them.

ObamaRegulation--the next best thing to just blowing off the policies.

Socialized By Another Name

The Conrad/Grassley "alternative" to a Gummint-insurer?

Instead of including the public option, the bipartisan group is considering federally founded, not-for-profit, member-owned healthcare cooperatives that would compete with traditional insurance companies. Conrad, who has pushed this compromise, said the co-ops would receive $6 billion in federal start-up money and enroll 12 million people.


$6Bn at 6% is $360 million/year in cost-of-capital. So the Gummint 'will not put private insurers out of business,' but it WILL give this 'co-op' a $360 million/year subsidy.

SHHHHHHHHH!!! Don't tell anyone!!! Grassley and Conrad don't think you figured this out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sykes, Savage, and the "Birthers"

Started and ended the day listening to "Birther" stuff.

Charlie thinks that the recent cloudburst of press coverage of the Birthers is designed by Rahm-A-Jamma and Axle-Your-Rod to discredit the birthers as slackjawed neanderthal bible-clingers.

Yah, well. They may be all that, but don't forget they're armed, too, Rahmmie.

Later, Savage offered an insight which is very solid.

In his opinion, it's not really about whether Obama is a citizen, although that's what is on the table. He thinks that it's really a matter of serious discomfort with Obama's foreign and domestic policies. The Apology Tour. The Honduras Commie-Kissing. The "negotiate" with Taliban. The dumping of Israel. The complete jackass "Science Adviser." The Abortion-is-my-sacrament mentality. And the racist SCOTUS nominee.

And of course, the Statist domestic program, the Commie mentors, the Alinsky playbook....

The way Savage frames it, it's all about patriotism, or lack thereof.

And that makes sense.

UPDATE: When even the National Review Online can't get the facts straight, one wonders:

The Editors at National Review are flat out wrong. Demonstrably, provably, and verifiably wrong. Like so many other Obama defenders, NRO is confusing the CERTIFICATION of live birth that Obama has produced with the original CERTIFICATE of live birth. One is a green computerized record, the other is the document that records the doctor's or midwife's name, his signature, the hospital, and so forth. The salient point is that Obama has refused to produce the latter

Oh, well.

Doyle to Jump Into Merc Talks

Subsequent to ramming through the 'consolidated reporting' tax requirement (costing any Wisconsin-headquartered company a BUNCH of money,) our Governor intends to "help" the Merc Marine situation.

Oh, yah. That'll be interesting.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said he will be actively involved in negotiations aimed at keeping Mercury Marine Inc. from closing its Fond du Lac facility, where about 1,900 people are employed.

“We all need to be focused on an outcome that continues to provide family-supporting jobs for hundreds of workers in Fond du Lac and that allows Mercury Marine to continue its market leadership from its headquarters in Wisconsin,” Doyle said in a statement. “I will continue to be engaged and, as appropriate, directly involved as these negotiations continue to occur.”

So what's up?

Doyle said the state has offered “an aggressive package to help Mercury Marine maintain its market leadership and operate efficiently.”

If that "aggressive package" included rescinding the consolidated income thing for ALL Wisconsin-headquartered entities, it might save a few jobs beyond those of the IAM in Fondy.

Just Sneeze and Bring Kleenex


A proposed policy change could ban some over-the-counter cough medicines and allergy medications for Elmbrook students.

...The second definition, recommended by Superintendent Matt Gibson, gets more specific in its language. It explicitly bans any substance containing ephedrine, which can be found in some iterations of the nasal decongestant Sudafed and the allergy medicine Claritin-D. The second definition also allows students to carry just a single dose of cough medicine. It does not ban caffeine pills or diet pills.

Gibson said he consulted with the Brookfield Police Department in writing the definition. Police specifically recommended including ephedrine in the definition.

During Fall and Spring, this could be rough on a few of the chilluns. It's not like the Elmbrook schools have a purified-air environment.

Privately-Paid Medicine is Best Value

Gee. I'll bet Torinus will be Shocked!! Shocked!! to read this.

The president himself says that "over the last decade" Americans "have seen their out-of-pocket expenses soar." But, according to official government figures, per-patient out-of-pocket costs have risen only 35% since 2000, while Medicare's per-patient costs have risen 59% — [ ]without the prescription drug benefit.

Private insurance and private out-of-pocket spending, in tandem, have controlled costs far better than Medicare. However, if Medicare has, in fact, fared comparatively well vs. private insurance — as the supporters of President Obama's proposals claim — then that means it has fared particularly poorly vs. private out-of-pocket spending, thereby further strengthening the argument that private consumers, paying out-of-pocket, are the best bargain-shoppers and the keenest pursuers of value in health care.

The citations are part of a longer article, which in turn is a condensation of a major study which demonstrates that Medicare is THE "out-of-control" health-care spending vehicle.

Once again, Senator Grassley: Just Say No.

HT: Deek

Grassley Doesn't Get It

Apparently Sen. Grassley is beginning to cave.

After weeks of secretive talks, a bipartisan group in the Senate edged closer Monday to a health care compromise that omits a requirement for businesses to offer coverage to their workers and lacks a government insurance option that President Barack Obama favors, according to numerous officials.

Like bills drafted by Democrats, the proposal under discussion by six members on the Senate Finance Committee would bar insurance companies from denying coverage to any applicant. Nor could insurers charge higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions

Yah, but: the 'compromise' enshrines Gummint-sponsored "co-ops" (or something). Nobody can explains exactly what they are. So, as Allah ruminates:

It’ll be mighty interesting to watch the Democrats pitch this to the left as a de facto public plan while they’re pitching it to the right as anything but.

Torinus and Ryan have a better idea: State-run "exchanges" and all-private plans except for the "hard cases," which would have State-financed plans.

IOW, Senator Grassley: Just Say No.


Wiring Problems: Who Did the Work, Elmbrook?

Seems like somebody forgot something.

Workers preparing Pilgrim Park Middle School for a new heating and ventilation system discovered unexpected asbestos and wiring issues that will increase costs by $120,000, but district officials expect the project to finish on budget.

...Some areas of the school had faulty or missing smoke and security censors. Another find: a "considerable portion" of communications system wiring was replaced several years ago, but never connected - the system continued to be operating off the old wiring. Workers also discovered improperly supported wiring.

So: who was the contractor?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Partying With the Thunderbirds

We were invited to watch the Air Show from a rooftop near Downtown.

So happens that the Thunderbirds used that very E/W street to go west from the lake, meaning that we could almost reach out and touch some very cool hardware.

Patrick has pix, and thanks again, Phel!! Great company, great day, and yummy low-cal food!

One Way or the Other, You'll Pay for CO2


A key Sierra Club attorney says the group’s support for final passage of a climate bill is conditioned on the preservation of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act [CAA] to require reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs) from existing facilities, an assertion that appears to be a reversal from the group’s prior support for a House-passed cap-and-trade bill that would strip the agency of most of its air act authorities in dealing with GHG emissions. --GreenHell quoting Carbon Control News.

The CAA allows EPA to impose its will, whatever it may be that day, a dice-game with loaded dice for the Green Lobby.

In the game of chess, this is called a "fork." Assuming Sierra Club gets its way, whichever way it goes, you lose.

Unless you view massive increases in your utility-bill a "win."

It's also a signal that Cap-n-Tax is not going anywhere soon.

"Two Cows" Updated

From England, an addendum to the old story.

The old two-cow analogy is a useful one. You have two cows. The communist steals both your cows, and may give you some milk, if you’re not bourgeois scum. The fascist lets you keep the cows but seizes the milk and sells it back to you. Today’s Green says you can keep the cows, but should choose to give them up as their methane-rich farts will unleash hell at some unspecified point in the future. You say, sod it, I’ll keep my cows thanks. Tomorrow’s green, the Bolshevik green, shoots the cows and makes you forage for nuts.

Ummmnnhhhh....actually, I'll make the Green forage for HIS nuts. The more precious ones.

HT: Green Hell

Talking Points Right From the Script

Gee. Somebody sent a script.

In Racine, the plant who graced the ObamaMessiah appearance in Green Bay showed up at a sparsely-attended rally (see the picture in the post) and thundered out a schlurp of rhetoric.

Garin's line, "Health care is a human right," drew applause from the crowd and a shout of, "I am not a statistic." She described the fight for health care reform as the "civil rights movement" of our time."It's the fight of our lives because our lives depend on it," Garin said

Hmmmm.. Good line, (unless you are a pre-born human, of course).

Meantime, in Milwaukee:

"This is about figuring out how to pay for a right in this country, a right to life," Patricia McManus, president and CEO of Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin told the crowd.

Just co-incidence, of course.

Torinus Hits the Grand Slam on ObamaCare

Beyond the headline coverage ("ice-floe" treatment of older people, abortion coverage, etc.) are a number of very important and not-clearly discussed practical problems with ObamaCare. These are the 'macro-problems,' so to speak.

Torinus nailed a few of them. One that had been mentioned on this blog:

The House-passed 8% payroll tax on companies that don't provide coverage. My company, like many companies, is spending about 15% of payroll on health care. Why would Serigraph and other companies not opt for the 8% penalty, drop coverage and let our employees go to a public plan? We would save several million dollars a year at taxpayer expense. The Wisconsin Democrats and AFL-CIO were more realistic when they put a 15% to 20% payroll tax into their Healthy Wisconsin bill.

Indeed. This does not require an MS/Mathematics. And as much as the Wisconsin plan was justifiably derided by Conservatives, their numbers are, indeed, far more realistic.

The "public option" that would pay a little more than Medicare rates to providers. Medicare uses government price controls to reimburse at 40% to 50% of retail charges. Big private insurers pay 70% to 80%. How could the private insurers ever compete with the public insurance company and its price controls? Smart analysts predict a stampede out of private coverage to the cheaper public plan. The subsidies, direct and indirect, will rival the massive expense of Medicare and Medicaid

This disparity was supposedly resolved over the weekend, after Torinus penned the article. But the actual numbers have yet to be released.

The failure to deal with the glaring need to change from fee for service to bundled payments by treatment episodes. If you pay for procedures, that's what you get, lots of procedures, all piled into out-of-control, inscrutable bills.

Again, this is supposedly being addressed by some sort of commission in DC. So? It will be at least a couple of years before anything resembling an agreement is reached at the Commission, and then another long time before it is implemented.

Read the rest. He's batting 1.000 in this column.

Waxman to Spend More, Bribe Blue Dogs?

If the "blue dogs" are fiscally conservative, then are they going to accept MORE spending?

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said on Friday he would take a proposal to a group of fiscally conservative Democrats that he considered to be a "significant breakthrough" on regional disparities in the funding of a proposed new public healthcare plan.

You know about that--it's what Ron Kind was bragging about over the weekend.

Some conservatives say that because there are already regions of the United States that are underpaid by the government's existing Medicare health care plan for the elderly, a new public health plan for everyone would be plagued by similar regional disparities.

So Waxman is offering to spend MORE Medicare money in certain areas of the country to obtain the votes of 'fiscal conservatives.'

Something's missing here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why TEA Parties, Part 21,769 ain't taxes at the top of the list. It's spending, followed by this sort of stuff:

Just 18% of adults think it’s the government’s job to tell Americans what kind of light bulb they use, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Seventy-two percent (72%) say it’s none of the government’s business, and 10% are not sure.

And this:

Americans have mixed feelings about the climate change bill now before the Senate that will have a major impact on U.S. energy use. Forty-two percent (42%) say it will hurt the U.S. economy, while 19% say it will help.

Spending. Nanny-Humungo Gummint. East Coast Bozo Know-it-alls.

And "Stick-it-to-Em" mentalities from even the small potatoes.

HT: Ace/Avenger

The Cost of the Un-Insured


For all you "volume keeps prices low" yappers, consider this:

[Obama] said the "average American family is paying thousands" as part of their premiums to cover uncompensated care for the uninsured, implying that expanded coverage will slash insurance costs. But the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation puts the cost per family figure at $200

And for our friends in LaCrosse:

The president said that the United States spends $6,000 more on average than other countries on health care. Actually, U.S. per capita spending is about $2,500 more than the next highest-spending country. Obama's figure was a White House-calculated per-family estimate

Facts are stubborn things...

HT: AmSpecBlog

Dismal Numbers for Wisconsin

P-Mac shows us that the Wisconsin Department of Revenue uses funny numbers to paint roses over a pile of manure, jobwise.

It's not just P-Mac's (or Hefty's, or Torinus') opinion, either. Another measure is the Department of Revenue's own principal interest: tax revenues.

Individual income tax revenue June '09 is off 9.6% from June '08. Year/Year: off 8%

Sales/Use tax revenues off 11% from June '08. Year/Year: off 3.8%

While Corporate Income tax collections (09) are up 30.5% (combined reporting, folks!), Y/Y Corporate income tax collected is down 21.7%.

"The relationship between government and business in Wisconsin is at a low point," said Hefty. It's not just that state leaders added heavy new tax burdens. It's that they gave no sign of caring what businesses thought. "You at least give them a heads-up when you're about to drop a bomb," said Torinus.

In another story, the (D) majority of the Wisconsin legislature speaks about 'fairness' to justify union-membership for home-care workers and UW educators, and WEAC-kissing by removing the QEO. After all, the eeeeeeeeevil Republicans were keeping all those folks in tarpaper shacks down on the lowlands of the plantation, right?

Yah, well, maybe. But who is making the case for Simon Legree? Nobody I know.

There are thousands of small (and big) business owners and managers who actually care about their employees, remembering birthdays, granting (formally or not) paid-time-off for family events and needs, and annually struggling to find a good health insurance policy at a reasonable price for their employees. They also provide (and pay the costs for) a 401(k) program, pay State and Federal UC taxes, FICA taxes, and income/property taxes. They, too, contribute to charities like United Way, the symphony, churches, and Children's Hospital. I know a lot of them personally, and hear about many others professionally, or from friends and relatives.

Far more important than that, all of our manufacturing businesses provide jobs for Working Joes and Working Susies who do NOT have a Ph.D., or a J.D.--that is to say, the majority of Wisconsin residents. Most service businesses also employ Working Joe/Working Susie.

So when you come right down to it, chasing business out of Wisconsin is directly at odds with the alleged (D) "concern" for Joe and Susie.

And the Department of Revenue numbers show it. In red.

Arne Duncan's Right--At Least Once

Heh. I had exactly this discussion with a friend--at that time he was a teacher--about 30 years ago.

President Barack Obama and Duncan on Friday unveiled proposed rules on how the money will be awarded. One of the firmest: "To be eligible under this program, a state must not have any legal, statutory or regulatory barriers to linking student achievement or student growth data to teachers for the purpose of teacher and principal evaluation."

Wisconsin is one of the few states that have such a rule, right there in state law.

Or, as Duncan put it in a New York Times interview: "Believe it or not, several states, including New York, Wisconsin and California, have laws that create a firewall between students and teacher data. I think that's simply ridiculous. We need to know what is and is not working and why."

His notion, generally opposed by, among others, teachers unions, is that teachers and their bosses should be held accountable for student success (or lack thereof). The idea applies not only to teacher evaluations but the controversial subject of merit pay for teachers.

The objection often raised is that teachers have no control over the home environment of their students, and that environment is absolutely critical to continued learning.

But that assumes the "snapshot" evaluation of a student.

Any evaluation of a given teacher/student must take into account that student's past history in achievement, just as it should take into account a teacher's past history with other students. A simple example:

Johnny didn't learn to read well in first grade. He only scored 45%. If his second- and third- grade teachers manage to keep Johnny at 45%, or improve him to 55%, they've done just fine. However, if after 2nd and 3rd grade, Johnny's score falls to 35%, or 25%, then is something wrong with either the 2nd or 3rd grade teacher?

Maybe. But before we shoot Teacher Sally in the head over Johnny, we also look at Teacher Sally's track record with all her OTHER students during the period in question. If she's done well with the others (maintaining or improving scores), then Johnny has a problem.

If her other students, by and large, have also showed deterioration, then Sally needs to go.

Seems that Arne has the right idea.

Government IS the Problem, Tommy

Seems that former Governor Tommy "Stick-it-to-Em" Thompson thinks that without healthcare reform, the US economy will be crippled.

Former governor and cabinet secretary Tommy Thompson noted that health care in the United States costs $2.5 trillion a year — about 17 percent of the gross domestic product — and is expected to double by 2016. “Let me tell you why we need to fix it,” Thompson said. “First, that $2.5 trillion going to $4.6 trillion is going to prevent any company in the United States from being competitive internationally.”

He might be right. Then again, he might be wrong. Tommy sees what Tommy likes to see: more Government. In particular, more Government which requires more Tommy-related private enterprises dealing with "healthcare."

Tommy is perfectly happy to compare horse-apples and elephants to "prove" his point.

“Remember when General Motors was the largest company in America and therefore the world? Now it’s bankrupt,” he said. “What drove them into bankruptcy? The largest cost was health care.”

About $1,725 of the cost of each GM vehicle is due to health care costs, Thompson said. By comparison, he noted, Toyota has only $225 in health costs per vehicle

An 800% difference? You mean that healthcare in Japan costs only one-eighth of healthcare in the US? Or that Toyota workers are 8 times more healthy than GM workers?

Or how about this, Tommy: the UAW and GM committed mutual hara-kiri in their bargaining since 1950, demanding and offering benefits which became unsustainable, particularly when GM lost its market share due to arrogance, stupidity, and lousy products?

Tommy, your flim-flam-man rhetoric is no different than that of any other Gummint-addict.


Tommy was the Sec'y of Health/Human Services, which ran Medicare and Medicaid, right?

So what did the other speakers have to say?

Another big problem, according to Franciscan Skemp Healthcare CEO Dr. Robert Nesse, is a growing disparity between what Medicare reimburses for the Midwest versus other parts of the country.

The government paid $5,812 a year for the average Medicare beneficiary in La Crosse, compared with $16,351 in Miami, Gundersen Lutheran Vice President Jerry Arndt told the group.

So. Nesse thinks that a FedGov program (at one time managed by Tommy) is screwing Midwestern medical providers. And the FedGov, having proved its competence so very well up to now, is supposed to provide a solution?

More of the same:

Nesse said studies show that 60 percent of the money spent on health care in California is waste and over-utilization does not add to quality of care or patient satisfaction.

Mr. Nesse fails to point out that California is supporting a huge illegal-alien population due to Medicare/Medicaid regulations. S'pose that has something to do with it?

In an ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper, “Roll Call,” Gundersen Lutheran CEO Dr. Jeff Thompson joined 16 other health leaders — including Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Denis A. Cortese — calling for Congress to reimburse based on quality and value, rather than simply the number of procedures and services

So. Drs. Thompson and Cortese think that FedGov programs are paying for the wrong things--quantity rather than quality. Dr. Cortese's letter specifically pointed to Medicare program problems--something that seems to be missing from this newspaper account. (Surprise.) (See comment # 81 on this thread.)

And now, magically, a FedGov program will "solve" this problem?

Only in the Land of BigGummint make-believe--where Tommy "Stick-it-to-Em" Thompson has been living for all his life.

ADDENDUM: A 'consultant' was quoted in the article, saying something to the effect that the US was ranked 26th or so in overall health worldwide. For more on that line of crap, see this post. Summarily, if you REALLY think that Cuba's healthcare is better than ours, perhaps you should move there.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sharing the Love: 2 Governors

It appears that E. Spitzer was a sharing kinda guy.

...during the interview [with Opie and Anthony], she admitted that someone she called “Governor X” employed her services at least ten times during a year-and-a-half period.

"X" appears to be Ed Rendell, (D) of Pennsylvania.

Democrats share. Isn't that special?

HT: Riehl World

MSM Spins for Ron Kind Canonization

Ron Kind (D) is concerned because he's up for re-election next year.

So what does he need to do? Separate himself (if only by the thinnest of margins) from QueenNancy's ObamaCare bill.

And there is an obliging press!

Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind and other moderate Democrats in the House are playing starring roles in the evolving congressional debate over health care reform.

That line is the first clue. (The "moderate" Ron Kind voted to fund Planned Parenthood's abortuaries yesterday, along with every other (D) in the Wisconsin delegation.)

...Kind and a handful of other House Democrats held a news conference on Capitol Hill to announce that they had reached a deal with congressional leaders on a major point of contention for them: containing Medicare costs.

So what did our halo-wearing Congressman do to deserve canonization?

House leaders announced their deal with moderate Democrats after a round of talks that stretched late into the night over changes in Medicare to reward doctors and hospitals for the quality of care provided to patients rather than the number of services rendered. The changes made to the health care legislation in the House, Kind said, could be summarized in three words: "value over volume."

Well, sorta. Kinda. More or less.

Under the deal, the Institute of Medicine would issue recommendations in the next two years on how to change the way that fees are paid to providers. The changes would go into effect in 2012, unless Congress decides to block them.

The institute also would examine regional differences in payments to Medicare providers; changes would be implemented in 2014.

We would remind you that since 1968, Medicare has been subject to Congress' whims. To believe that this "deal" is going to rescue the healthcare system requires more than a little suspension of disbelief.

By the way, "moderate" Kind DOES agree with the rest of the bill--which would:

...require every American to obtain health insurance, provide government subsidies for those who can't afford to pay for their insurance premiums and create a government insurance program that would compete with private insurers.

Not to mention the 'cost-control' of 'suggesting' that one "takes a pill" instead of obtaining surgery or other life-extending treatment (the Dave Obey Reichsminister fur Gesundheitsversorge.)

All to save the country, of course--if not the entire universe.

"This is such an important issue," Kind said. "There are consequences to whatever we do. In taking action, there will be consequences; there are going to be severe consequences if we don't do health care reform."

Actually, the consequences will be measured on the first Tuesday of November 2010. That's all Ron Kind (D) is worried about.

Birds of a Feather: Doyle and Judge Smith

Seems that Jim Doyle likes ......interesting people.

He appointed a new judge for Dane County who had served as an Ass't DA and then as a bureaucrat in Department of Corrections.

OK? Well, YOU be the judge.

27 News has uncovered Amy Smith, who is scheduled to be sworn in as a Dane County judge next week, was referenced as dishonest by an appeals court judge in 1992.

That was only the first time...

27 News previously reported Smith was referenced as lying in a separate, 1995 appellate case involving another drug prosecution.

Prosecutorial misconduct--one necessary ingredient for a police state.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Take on Gates/Cambridge

Want to learn something? Try THIS clip.

HT: DigiShirt

You Drive? Fuggeddaboutit

First, there's the hook-sentence:

What is the appropriate response to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who as General Motors prepared to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection declared that he wants to "coerce people out of their cars"?

I have a response, alright, but if I put it into electrons, I would have visitors. With dark suits. And non-concealed sidearms.

OK, going on...

First there was the "Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009," introduced in May by Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. Next, in June, came the "Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009," introduced by James Oberstar (D., Minn.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Messrs. Rockefeller and Lautenberg aim to "reduce per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis." Mr. Oberstar wants to establish a federal "Office of Livability" to ensure that "States and metropolitan areas achieve progress towards national transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals."

Isn't that precious? "Reduce per-cap ....miles." As the author of the column mentions, the vast majority of "per-cap miles" is NOT driven for fun and entertainment; it's driven for a purpose, whether getting to/from work, to/from the grocer, or to/from school and associated events.

Frankly, I don't know anyone who 'just drives around' aimlessly--and everyone I know plots their driving to include 'on-the-way-I'll-pick-up X' efficiencies. So what's to reduce?

Or maybe I'm hanging with the wrong crowd. I don't have a 6-SUV caravan following me around like the President does.

The Horror of Partial-Birth Abortion

P-Mac reminds us that Mengele was not the last of a breed.

Judge Casey had put the question to several doctors on the side of the plaintiffs challenging the law, including Kanwaljeet S. Anand, a professor who specialized in pediatrics and anesthesiology at the University of Arkansas: Had they ever thought of administering anesthesia to the child killed in this way? The judge was apparently taken back by the reaction: ‘Some of plaintiffs’ experts testified that fetal pain does not concern them, and that some do not convey to their patients that their fetuses may undergo severe pain.’

“Was this a medical judgment? Or was it the hard, sober fact that, for the doctors who had settled in long ago with the defense of abortion as a right, the child in the womb had simply ceased to matter? The pain did not register as a point of concern because the child — even the child dangling from the birth canal at the point of birth — just did not count any longer as an object of concern. And therefore, of course, as an object of empathy.”

Judge Casey, a fellow who has 'feelings,' followed precedent in allowing this to continue.

P-Mac has the appropriate question, of course.

Is Obama in the Quagmire?

That's what Dick Morris thinks, and the logic is pretty good. Just think "quagmire."

Superficially, the United States appears to have a presidential system, but in fact it more and more resembles a parliamentary form of government. When a president loses the approval of the majority of the voters and polls reflect that his ratings have fallen substantially below 50 percent, he loses his power. In this context, polls are like parliamentary votes of no confidence in European systems. While the government does not fall if it loses in the polling, it limps on until either its ratings improve or it is voted out of office at the next election. is the president's obvious inability to improve the economy that is exacting the daily toll in his approval ratings evident in all of the surveys. Like the body counts that mounted in Iraq and drove Bush's numbers ever downward, the rising unemployment numbers are stripping Obama of his popularity and power.

Obama's very activism in promoting the stimulus package in January as a cure-all has set him up for failure now that he cannot deliver on his overblown promises...

Morris could have cited LBJ's Vietnam, too. Same kinda thing.

As Limbaugh observed, Obama coulda pushed this through except for the FAIL of "stimulus," which (ironically) was designed to push the economy forward for the 2010 Congressionals. So Obama and Emanuel outfoxed themselves by giving QueenNancy and Harry their wish.

It's possible that the economy will recover, and "Porkulus" will work, in time for the 2010s. That means that the (D) folks will regain traction. And it's also possible that their inability to move anything besides "spend spend spend spend" will backfire. Horribly.

Meantime, nothing's going anywhere.


HT: Ace

Ram It On Through There, Waxman!

Apparently Waxman is simply going to toss ObamaCare onto the floor of the House without a committe vote. That's because the Blue Dogs will NOT assent to the lunacy therein.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman told The Associated Press negotiations with fiscally conservative Democrats on his panel cannot go on "interminably" because they would "empower" Republicans and allow the minority party to take control of the panel.


That leaves the possibility that Kagen, Moore, Baldwin, Obey, and Kind will be voting FOR this abomination just before returning to Wisconsin to listen to the people pretend everything's just hunky-dory.

I smell burned Congresscritters.....

HT: Ace

Too Bad Ripley's Dead

McMahon posts this, so it must be true.

Even though it is absolutely incredible.

...GM's decision to launch its new fragrance line in honor of Cadillac's 100th anniversary may go down as one of the most absurd moves by a troubled corporation ever. No doubt they kept a team of highly paid MBAs busy for months with the project, while the car end of their business was imploding faster than a black hole.

Is this what we get for our money — the $51 billion we taxpayers have ponied up to bail GM out of its self-inflicted woes?

"Cadillac, the new fragrance for men," doesn't seem like much to start the "New" General Motors Corp. on.

First off, this is pure sissy stuff.

A real MAN's fragrance would have been called 'Corvette', or 'GTO', or 'Chevelle 427 SS'.

Or maybe just a dab of gear-lube smeared across the back of one's hands. Or maybe some of that dust/dirt/grease/lube combination that accumulates on the oilpan, or the pumpkin--under the fingernails, of course.

Goes to show you why the MBA doesn't really get too much respect.

Unanswered question: which GM sissy-bozo-exec actually dreamed this up?

What DID Mayo Say?

The operative paragraph in the Mayo letter regarding ObamaCare:

Under the current Medicare system, a majority of doctors and hospitals that care for Medicare patients are paid substantially less than it costs to treat them. Many providers are therefore already approaching a point where they can not afford to see Medicare patients. Expansion of a Medicare-type plan without a method to define, measure, and pay for healthy outcomes for patients will move many doctors and hospitals across this threshold, and ultimately hurt the patients who seek our care. We should not put more Americans into the current unsustainable system.

Very nicely worded--almost as well-worded as a Douglas MacArthur statement--but it leaves little question about the viability of ObamaCare in the mind of Mayo's author.

HT: PowerLine

It's Time for a Republican HealthCare Counteroffensive

ObamaCare is not dead--it is temporarily recovering from serious wounds. For the next 40 days or so, Congresscritters will roam the home landscapes, looking for input from The Homies.

OK, let's give it to them.

Paul Ryan, Tom Coburn, (MD.), Richard Burr, and Ray Nunes have introduced a bill which is a sensible alternative.

Among other things, the bill includes "universal coverage" through State-administered health-insurance exchanges with the possibility of automatic enrollment, but does not REQUIRE enrollment; limits pre-existing condition refusals and provides for high-risk "pool" options; allows Medicaid/SCHIP members to enroll in "exchange" programs; does NOT allow illegal-alien enrollment; and provides favorable tax treatment for policyholders.

In brief:

The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” transforms health care in America by strengthening the relationship between the patient and the doctor; using choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care for all Americans. “The Patients’ Choice Act” promotes innovative, State-based solutions, along with fundamental reforms in the tax code, to give every American, regardless of employment status, age, or health condition, the ability and the resources to purchase health insurance. The comprehensive legislation includes concrete prevention and transparency initiatives, long overdue reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, investments in wellness programs and health IT, and more.

The (R) offering may or may not be perfect; it's entirely possible that some non-odious elements of the (D) offering could be blended into the (R) plan.

But until that (R) plan becomes highly visible, clearly and simply explained, and understood by the public, it will not be discussed.

Get it out there!!

Health-Tax the Rich?

Geez. When a Brookings economist doesn't like the idea.........

Brookings Institution economist William Gale disagrees. He makes a strong argument against the Democrats’ plans to finance their health care bill by increasing taxes on the rich, which is, he writes, “bad economic policy, bad health policy, bad budget policy and poor leadership.”

Other than that, taxing the rich for health-care is just fine, eh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why the Race-Mongering, Obama?

Since Dear Leader decided to race-monger during his presser, we should ask why.

One real possibility:

ObamaCare is going down in flames, and it's likely that Cap-n-Tax will suffer a similar fate. His poll numbers aren't good. He will have a monumental fight over his profligate/debt-hogging budget proposal.

IOW, the SHTF.

What to do?

Initiate a diversion. Race wars are a diversion.

Doyle Hit With Lawsuit Over "Domestic Partners"

It was only a matter of time.

Today, WFA, through 3 of its board honored to tell you that...[t]his morning, through the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Wisconsin ADF-allied attorneys Richard Esenberg and Michael Dean who is with First Freedoms Foundation, we filed an original action petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in defense of the constitution, the institution of marriage, and the expressed will of the people.

...The petition we filed, Appling v. Doyle, asks the court to accept the case as an original action (which means it goes directly to the Supreme Court, skipping the trial and appellate courts), to declare the statewide same-sex domestic partnership registry unconstitutional and to issue a permanent injunction against the registry, which would prohibit its implementation by all 72 county clerks.


Ryan's Right: And You Will NOT "Get to Keep Your Plan"

Paul Ryan (R-Common Sense) had predicted that the overall strategy was to implement ObamaCare, but the tactics may have to mask the result. In other words, they'll do it by any means necessary including lying, cheating, and obfuscating.

Gosh, that's a surprise! Politicians acting just like politicians!

His outline was this: if the Socialized Medicine crowd fails to achieve "public option" (complete Federal command-and-control) they will:

1) Try for "cooperatives", another name for the 'public option', with the same long-term results; and if that fails, then

2) Federally legislate the terms/conditions of ALL health coverage. This will allow insurance companies to exist, but make them into de facto Federal agents.

Sure enough, a big chunk of #2 is in the House plan:

And self-insured health insurance plans also will have to meet any minimum benefit coverage requirements prescribed in the law.

"Self-funded" plans are generally used by companies who wish to avoid State mandated-coverage laws (e.g., chiropractics coverage, or autism, etc.) They comprise a significant part of the existing health-insurance landscape.

Planet Moron Does Presser

Yes, all the rest of it is this funny.

Chip Reid, CBS News: Mr. President, there is growing concern that your health care proposals simply cost too much. How do you respond?

Obama: Let me answer your question this way. Just this morning, I received a commitment from CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, to offer the American people double coupons on alternate Wednesdays. That means, if you have a fifty-cents-off coupon for a 100-count bottle of Advil, you get $1.00 off. That’s double. And if you like the caplets you’re currently using, you can keep using them. No one will force you to get the liquigels if you don’t want them. Jake?

Jake Tappper, ABC News: Mr. President, critics of your approach to health care reform note that it does not make health care more affordable or improve care. How do you answer them?

Obama: Let me tell you what my health care plan does do. It provides for pathways. Miles and miles of pathways. You can bicycle, you can walk, you can rollerblade, you can run. That’s the kind of health care plan the American people want, and that’s the kind of health care plan they can expect from me as President of the United States. Chuck?

By the way, Moron has another excellent B. Hussein ObamaTalk analysis here.

"Stupid Arrest"?

Dear Leader insulted doctors last night, and then proceeded to insult cops.

We can acknowledge that there are rogue MD's and rogue cops--but elevating "a few" to "the class" is not the hallmark of an alleged ConLaw instructor.

And the friggin' police report on the Gates arrest was available, after all.

The "Don't You Know Who I AM??" technique is not recommended.

HT: NewsBusters

The Illegals Will Save Money With ObamaCare!!

ObamaCare will enroll illegals, but ever-so-gently. Probably has something to do with the Geneva Conventions, or SCOTUS decisions, or something really complicated. Right?

...the Senate Finance Committee plan creates a new preference for illegal aliens by exempting them from the mandate to buy insurance.

That’s right. Law-abiding, uninsured Americans would be fined if they didn’t submit to the Obamacare prescription. Law-breaking border-crossers, visa-overstayers, and deportation fugitives would be spared.

Good to know SOMEONE will save money with ObamaCare!

HT: Malkin