30 June 2009

franken wins, franken wins, franken wins

I can't imagine anyone's surprised by this. Oh well.

What does it mean when the director of the Congressional Budget Office says:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path—meaning that federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.

Whatever it means it doesn't seem good. A cynic might think we're just creating a perpetual crisis situation that will require the government to continue to 'fix' things for the foreseeable future (or at least until 2012).

29 June 2009

health care

I don't pretend to know how to fix the health care system in the US. I agree that there are issues and they need to be addressed. I fear throwing out the existing system and starting from scratch for a lot of reasons - many of them vague and hard for me to articulate. I don't have a lot of knowledge in this area - although I did work for a health insurance company for a while and we had premature twins who exposed us to some of the incredible expenses that come with the extremes of medical care. We were fortunate enough at the time to be on a health plan that essentially covered everything. Had we chosen a different plan option from my employer our personal expenses likely would have been more significant.

Michael Kinsley's column in the Washington Post captures one of my vaguely uneasy fears:
Statistics on life expectancy or infant mortality are averages. The easiest way to raise your averages -- maybe even the best way, if we're being honest -- is to concentrate on the general level of care and not to squander a lot on long-odds cases. But if the long-odds case is you or a family member, you may well feel differently.
Our twins - more accurately, the one who lived for 11 days as opposed to the one who died in utero - was a long-odds case who spent all of his short life in one of the the highest-rent district of the hospital - the neonatal intensive care unit. As his parent I would have been outraged if I'd been told that the odds were such that it didn't make financial sense to treat him.

I've spent a little time with Google tonight and there certainly are statistics to say that England and Canada - two nations with universal coverage - have better longevity rates and better infant mortality rates than we have in the US. Some of the commentary on those statistics, though, suggests that the statistics - as they often do even if they're mathematically correct - fail to encompass the whole story and that there are other factors reflected in those numbers other than just the health care systems of the respective countries.

It is a complex situation that deserves careful, transparent consideration with all parties represented - both private and public. We should not rush this decision to meet any arbitrary deadline.

28 June 2009

You might be naive if

this surprises you.

please please please

don't put the government in charge of any more healthcare.

The Massachusetts plan that's being studied as a model for a national plan turns out not to have enough money.

There are good reasons the framers gave very limited powers to government and it's usually a mistake to expand those powers. When the government is in charge politics becomes the primary motivator.

I understand that a lot of people don't like profit as a motive because it seems greedy, but I think politics as a motive is at least equally greedy and considerably less transparent.

25 June 2009

mediterranean diet

and living longer. A new study compares the effect of various components of the Mediterranean Diet on living longer. The bad news - I'm supposed to eat a lot less meat. sigh.

Only one approved opinion on

'climate change' at EPA. Luckily, with the new administration science will be separate from ideology. It must be so because The One said so.

Here's a more detailed piece.

Does a 'firm pledge' count

if nobody really believes it?

23 June 2009

Why can't the president get an ice cream with his family?

I'm really no fan of President Obama, but I don't care at all if he wants to get an ice cream with his family.
Good for him, in fact. It's got to be hard being the First Family. I've always felt sorry for the kids, especially.
There are plenty of real issues to discuss.
This is just silly.

22 June 2009

What happens to medical research under Obamacare?

Here's an amazing breakthrough (at least in trials) that took people with inoperable prostate cancer and virtually eliminated the tumor non-invasively and without chemo or radiation.

Will this kind of research still happen under a nationalized health system? How much of it happens under existing national health systems? Maybe it happens, now. I don't know, but I'm concerned about it. 

I'm really looking forward to a lot of medical breakthroughs in the next few decades to save me from my poor health choices going into my golden years.

21 June 2009

New draconian rules for private pilots

This is kinda scary. I'm not a pilot, but I don't like the trend...

19 June 2009

Why Obama’s big economic gamble is failing

Apparently he's a politician, not an economist.
"...current Obama budget chief Peter Orszag — concluded that an Obama-like economic stimulus package would be "totally impractical" because it would take so long to implement. (True enough, only seven percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been doled out so far.)"
It was impractical for actually helping the economy, but it's a cornucopia for consolidating power and rewarding loyal constituents. 

17 June 2009

The Chicago way

White house getting out the guns for the knife fight. 

12 June 2009

Obama removes AmeriCorps's Inspector General in spat with friend

Curious to see if we hear any more about this

To summarize - a federal inspector general investigated an Obama-supporting California Mayor (and former pro basketball player), Kevin Johnson, and found that he had misused AmeriCorps grant money. Johnson supposedly has agreed to pay back roughly $400,000, or almost half the grant money that was received by his non-profit group. This seems to suggest that the there was some substance to the investigation and one would hope the inspector responsible would be commended for saving money and reducing fraud. Instead, President Obama has 'lost confidence' in him and wants him fired. Gotta love that Chicago style politics.

10 June 2009

Who's in charge of GM?

This guy - a 31 year old white house aide. Well, that makes sense.

09 June 2009

Stimulus plan creating jobs

at an inverse rate. It's almost like the opposite of creating jobs. Probably, I just don't understand the numbers.

“Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush did.”

But with less conviction ... (quote from here)

08 June 2009

02 June 2009

Are religious conservatives to blame for abortion doc murder?

Question posed in USA Today.
My answer - they're to blame if they pulled the trigger - or conspired to have the trigger pulled. 

Otherwise, they're free to hold and express their opinion - at least for now. And hopefully that will always be true. If people aren't free to express opinions that others disagree with then we no longer have freedom of speech. The whole point of "free speech" is to be able to do just that. There's no need for the government to protect the right to express popular opinions.