“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Friday, October 30, 2009

Canada Health Care - Recent News. And some from here, too.

Except for 1 nod to The Wall Street Journal, please note that all sources are Canadian.

Canadians face 16-week wait for surgery: Report
Calgary Herald
October 29, 2009

Canadians looking to undergo surgery can expect to wait an average of 113 days in 2009, a slight improvement over last year, a national health-care survey has found.

The Fraser Institute's annual report on hospital wait times found that the median wait-time for Canadians seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment is 16.1 weeks in 2009, down from 2008's 17.3 weeks.

..."In spite of large increases in health spending, Canadians are waiting 73 per cent longer for surgery than they did in 1993," said Nadeem Esmail, author of the report and a director with the right-wing think-tank.
Province Wants to Sell Surgeries to Saskatchewan
October 29, 2009

People from Saskatchewan may soon be coming to British Columbia for surgery, if negotiations between the two provincial governments are successful.

B.C.'s health minister, Kevin Falcon, said selling surgeries will bring money into B.C.'s system and help British Columbians get care sooner. But New Democratic Party health critic, Adrian Dix, said the plan makes no sense when health authorities are already cancelling surgeries for British Columbians.

...The move comes while health authorities are cutting the number of surgeries they provide, said NDP critic Dix.

The Fraser Health Authority has said it will cut as many as 9,900 surgeries because of budget constraints and the Interior Health Authority has cut 428 orthopaedic surgeries before the end of the fiscal year, he said.

Across the province, there are 15,000 people waiting for orthopaedic surgery, Dix said. The figure is confirmed on the province's waitlist website.

"They cancel 10,000 surgeries for us and they offer up those surgeries to people in Saskatchewan," said Dix. "When you offer up spaces to people from other provinces, then those are spaces that could and should be taken by the people who paid for those hospitals, paid for those operating rooms, paid for that capacity, and that's the people of British Columbia."
Tommy Douglas: Not Dead Enough
October 29, 2009

There are 1,100 vaccination clinics open in Alberta today.

Manitoba opened to the general public yesterday. Pharmacists can give the vaccine.

And in Saskatchewan?

Nope. Allowing anyone even a sniff of vaccine outside of the Official Health Care System would be "two-tier" health care. So if you want a vaccination for H1N1, you have another two week wait before the vaccine is "released" to the general public. And in Saskatoon, they're going to have everyone - which will include many who are incubating and infectious - congregate at a single site Prairieland Park) to receive it.
Declining Standards of Canadian Health Care
Canada Updates
October 25, 2009

Mountain-bike enthusiast Suzanne Aucoin had to fight more than her Stage IV colon cancer. Her doctor suggested Erbitux—a proven cancer drug that targets cancer cells exclusively, unlike conventional chemotherapies that more crudely kill all fast-growing cells in the body—and Aucoin went to a clinic to begin treatment.

But if Erbitux offered hope, Aucoin’s insurance didn’t: she received one inscrutable form letter after another, rejecting her claim for reimbursement. Yet another example of the callous hand of managed care, depriving someone of needed medical help, right? Guess again. Erbitux is standard treatment, covered by insurance companies—in the United States. Aucoin lives in Ontario, Canada.
Can there be the slightest doubt that government subsidy brings government control? If you are wavering on that question, you should read what the US government does with car companies, where, unlike health care, it said it does not want to be in the car business.

Politicians Butt In at Bailed-Out GM
The Wall Street Journal
October 30, 2009

Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg was no fan of the $58 billion federal rescue of General Motors Co., saying he worried taxpayer money would be wasted and the restructuring process would be vulnerable to "political pressure." Now the lawmaker says it's his "patriotic duty" to wade into GM's affairs.

...Probably no company has been more on the receiving end of congressional attention than GM, whose widely scattered factories, suppliers and dealership network put it in touch with nearly every U.S. congressional district.
Ask yourself 2 questions.
  1. Given how the US government has maneuvered Medicare into bankruptcy, and given how the US government is currently handling the automobile manufacturing business: If you could, would you switch your health care services to Medicare just before $500 million dollars are cut from it?
  2. Will Congress accept exactly the same health care entitlements they want to force on us?
If you answered either of those questions "Yes," you need medical attention immediately.

One indication of the level of nanny state control we've been paying our national legislators to develop for most of the year: The 1,990 page bill (
H.R. 3962) will require nutritional labels on food dispensed from vending machines. Since you probably cannot see what's printed, in 4 point type, on the package inside that vending machine:
In the case of an article of food sold from a vending machine that—

(I) does not permit a prospective purchaser to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the article or does not otherwise provide visible nutrition information at the point of purchase; and

(II) is operated by a person who is engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending machines, the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories ...
This is what Congress thinks of as health care reform. The number of calories for vending machine snacks have to be displayed, so before you select "Deep-fried Twinkies" or "Unsalted Chocolate-covered Bacon/Cheese Sausage/Reject Bits," you'll be able to compare caloric content.

Let me suggest that the only people interested in this information are people who would prefer to starve to death rather than eat from a vending machine. Well, they are also interested in what you eat from a vending machine, but isn't that the whole point? All in all, though, this is small stuff. A half... no, a quarter-measure.

Consider that minor adaptations to vending machines would allow detecting your weight and height. Certain combinations of weight and height could be refused service for certain snacks. If you persist despite a recorded warning, you don't get a snack and you don't get a refund, that's a "trying to game the system" fine.

A blood pressure cuff and blood sugar testing device could be installed in the snack delivery opening, and if you fail to meet a government determined ratio of these numbers you can't pull your arm out until you drop the snack. You don't get a refund, and the snack is donated to People for the Ethical Treatment of People for third world disposal. That's a healthy living tax.

Finally, while we're talking about whether your body is your property, can we at least recognize the threat posed to the pregnancy termination advocacy industry?

It was something that got into your body that caused that medical condition, wasn't it? How it got in there can effect very different outcomes. To ensure choice at the earliest stages, and to avoid the necessity of FCC monitored wireless personal-implant electronic devices, the caloric content of a unit dose of semen alongside a warning of the risks of pregnancy must be tattooed on all male, um... biologic delivery systems.

We can probably persuade condom manufacturers to subsidize the tattooing. It's a natural advertising opportunity for male enhancement.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pragmatic Pathological Narcissism

The persistent disconnect between President Obama's actions and the interminable rhetoric of his perpetual campaign derives from an unshakeable faith in his own transcendence. This dogmatic self-regard renders him unreflective: His predisposition to regard his intelligence, charisma and rhetorical ability as decisive in human history makes him ready clay for the stylings of David Axelrod, Rahm Immanuel, Jeremiah Wright and Chris Matthews. It even explains his recent overtures to "real journalists" like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

Barack Obama strongly resents any entity that doesn't love him more than he loves himself. "As much as," might keep you off the enemies list, but it won't get you a beer in the Rose Garden unless you're a cop he's strongly suggested is a racist (without any evidence) or a Harvard professor friend who actually displays racist behavior.

The President truly believes he can succeed, by force of personality, in unconditional negotiations with Iran. His own faith in his personal charm allows him to abandon allies in Poland and Checkoslovakia to the mercies of Vladimir Putin.

The President believes supporting a totalitarian dictator wannabe in Honduras is the right policy because it will endear him to his base - and, by extension, to Hugo Chavez. Worse, Obama believes that to be an important duty of a US Commander in Chief.

President Obama is considering foisting upon Afghanistan a ruling partnership - including the Taliban - because he truly believes he has made America more likable to the world; thugs and terrorists not excepted. He believes our Afghan allies won't be shot and hung up to rot for the crime of US alliance. He will simply say "Stop!" and 14th century thinking will be magically transformed into progressive multi-culturalism. Afghanistan will immediately become a place where the education of girls is no longer despised and where gays are no longer thrown off towers. One wonders why he has not already done this.

On foreign soil, the President has serially apologized for America's history. He has insulted the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, dissed the President of France, and made Leftwing American Jews, much less Israelis, wonder if Israel can depend on the United States any longer.

Obama can take all these risks because he is a true believer in himself. He thinks he is much, much more than the leader of the free world.

President Obama and American Exceptionalism
By Robert Heiler

Several pundits have observed that the rhetoric of candidate Barack Obama has differed considerably from the conduct of President Obama's administration.

...Why is Obama acting this way? Why is he failing to live up to the promises of his campaign?

There are two possible reasons: extreme cynicism or breathtaking naiveté. Obama either never intended to behave as he campaigned, or he did intend to. If he never intended to, then he is a cold, calculating manipulator of the political system and the noblest aspirations of the public. But if Obama did intend to transform our politics and is now finding that he is unable to do so, he may be even more dangerous

Because if Obama really bought all of his own hype, then he must have thought that his opposition and the public would forever remain in the thrall exhibited by some at his campaign rallies. This is what the McCain campaign was getting at with the Paris Hilton Celebrity ad and the "cult of personality" attack. And here is the key to understanding why Obama might have really thought that he could sustain his presidency with the power of personality cult: his utter rejection of American exceptionalism.
O's embarrassment

...In the Tiergarten, Obama spoke of "the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan" and of the need "to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda" there. That doesn't mesh well with his recent reconsideration of the Afghanistan strategy he announced in March and reiterated in August or with the White House spin doctors' suggestion that the Taliban and al Qaeda aren't necessarily allies anymore.

In the Tiergarten, Obama asserted his "resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must and to seek a partnership that extends across this whole continent." That doesn't mesh very well with the "reset button" policy toward Russia that looks past its attacks on Georgia and Ukraine and propitiates the Putin regime with unilateral withdrawal of missile-defense installations from Poland and the Czech Republic.

In the Tiergarten, Obama said America must "stand with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions." But that message, if sent, has evidently not had the intended effect on the mullah regime, which is drawing out negotiations while presumably continuing its nuclear program apace.

"Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran or the voter in Zimbabwe?" Obama asked in the Tiergarten. "Will we give meaning to the words 'never again' in Darfur?"

Well, the administration has toughened up a bit on its negotiator's recommendation that we give "cookies and gold stars" to the Sudanese regime that has terrorized Darfur, and our diplomats have tried to help out in Zimbabwe. But we haven't done much of anything for the dissident in Burma, and Obama, while truckling to the mullahs, showed stony indifference to the thousands protesting the stealing of the June 12 Iran elections.
Mark Steyn: Obama a tough guy, at least with Fox News
The most recent whine – the anti-Fox campaign – is, apart from anything else, unbecoming to the office. President Obama is the chief of state of one of the oldest free societies in the world, but his official White House Web site runs teasers such as: "For even more Fox lies, check out the latest 'Truth-O-Meter.'" It gives off the air of somebody only marginally less paranoid than this week's president-for-life in some basket-case banana republic ranting on the palace balcony because his interior security chief isn't doing a fast-enough job of disappearing his enemies.
Update 28-Oct 6:15PM Legacy defense? The legacy of nine months?
President Barack Obama has been in office just nine months and already he is defending his legacy, pushing back more aggressively against criticism of his record on health care, climate change, closing Guantanamo, reforming immigration laws and financial regulations and managing the war in Afghanistan.

For the past two weeks, as he’s jetted across the country to fill Democrats’ 2010 coffers, Obama has been test driving a new speech that sounds a lot like one he’d be giving if he were on the ballot next year...
Well, at least that Nobel Prize didn't go to his head or anything. That was for his future legacy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some health care premiums are more equal than others

Regional inequities in health care reform
In the pending health care bills, low-income individuals and families who buy health insurance outside employment will get large government subsidies. Those subsidies vary by locale. This represents a significant implicit policy decision with enormous distributional and political consequences. I don’t think most Members or their constituents have focused on this. I think they should.
In local, practical terms, this will mean that Lansing taxpayers will subsidize Detroit residents to the tune of nearly $2,000 per family per year. Grand Rapids taxpayers will subsidize Detroit residents to the tune of nearly $4,000 per year and Lansing residents by approximately $2,000 per family per year. (Click the opening link for more. Recommended.)

That's bad enough, but all Michigan taxpayers will be subsidizing health insurance in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, among other States.

H/T Carpe Diem:

The average annual premium for individual coverage was $2,985, but ranged from a low of $2,606 in Iowa to $6,630 in New York. Family coverage ranges from $5,120 in North Carolina to $13,296 in New York.
Rather than promote competition by promoting a free market; i.e., by removing State borders as a limit to insurance companies offering health care, the Feds are going to redistribute your money into the most expensive health care plans. You can afford it, people in New Jersey need it. John Corzine is smiling.

This redistribution of wealth as health insurance is nothing new, of course, you're already paying for solid platinum Congressional health insurance, whose members are specifically excluding themselves from health care "reform" in the Baucus bill.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where are the Dollar-a-Year men when you need them?

Who would have guessed that the position of CFO at Freddie Mac carried a salary of $23 million dollars? Nonsense, you say. Ross Kari, the guy they hired last week, is getting only $2.3 million in salary (plus a $2 million signing bonus)?

Well, yes, but Obama's pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, proposes to cut executive salaries by 90% at firms receiving large government bailouts. Surely this applies to government employees at agencies bailed out to the tune of $51 billion and counting?

I guess good help doesn't come cheap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Conspiracy of the herbivores

Cows are the only herbivores, aside from a select few Ralph Loren models, to fully grasp their own major existential problem. The "Eat mor chikin" ad campaign is proof enough. The cows (bovine), however, have missed the high concept.

Not to worry, Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale have pointed the way forward. In a study financed by the I am a Black Angus Society,
...and published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.

They compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle's eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog's.

The fact that the dog consumes oxygen and excretes carbon-dioxide is not apparently included in the "eco-footprint" calculations. It should be. A dog never born does not breathe, does not spew CO2. A dog in the stew pot has ceased breathing. The "don't eat a cow" advertising folks should take note. (Methane emission is another question, of course, but this is being worked on. Ungulants with less eruptive digestive processes are funding it.)

The Professors Vale published a small book entitled Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living which, despite its provocative title, suggests owning animals you can eat according to the folkways of Western Civilization. I have owned many animals you (at least I) can eat in that regard, and I have actually slaughtered and eaten a goodly number of them. I never considered them to be pets, however; I never named them.

As pets, ducks, chickens, sheep and rabbits (food animals with which I have extensive direct experience) are lacking in several ways. Their major deficiency is their inability to act as a pet. Dogs show enthusiasm in your company; cats, disdain. Both recognize you and can sustain a relationship. Ducks, chickens, sheep and rabbits can, at most, muster a distinctly violent Pavlovian response.
Sheep, ducks, rabbits or chickens can't be pets in any serious sense of the term. This is why it is easier to eat them than dogs or cats.

Sheep are the least intelligent mammals I am willing to imagine, chickens are slightly dumber. Ducks fall between chickens and sheep, perhaps only because of better survival instincts (at least Muscovys). Domestic rabbits are docile and panic less easily than sheep, so rabbits actually can serve as pets to people who cannot distinguish live animals from polyester-stuffed replicas. However, the major problem with all of these herbivores is getting them house trained. Petdom is not possible without that. You can eat them, but you can't love them. (I categorically include rabbits here because only pre-teenage girls with a polyester fetish have ever taken care of a rabbit, as a pet, once they obtained one.)

Morever, these food animals cannot defend themselves.
Dogs automatically protect the sheep, ducks, rabbits or chickens from those pesky coyotes, foxes and weasels. Cats automatically protect the food supply of these herbivores from rats and mice. So, unless you welcome the "defecate anywhere, anytime" animal contingent into your home, you'll need a dog and a cat anyway.

I am not entirely dismissive of the Vales' book title, however. I think raising dogs for food may be appropriate on the merits. In addition to being edible, the dog defends itself and its pack (of which you become a member). The best I've seen a sheep do is bleat piteously and run about blindly in a manner likely to knock you down, placing your throat in a more convenient location for the wolf pack. Should you survive this sabotage all you can do with the sheep, then huddling catatonic against your knees, is try to throw it to the wolves. Sheep are heavy. Even a successful throw does not gain much in the way of running distance.

Rabbits, ducks and chickens are not so heavy. For this reason they can be thrown farther, but they delay ravenous carnivores only briefly. This is yet another argument against dogs weighing less than 25 pounds - unless you keep two breeds - one for throwing to the wolves and one for a holding action against the wolves while you run. Dogs will actually do that for you. It's why I would not like to make a habit of eating them.

Dogs can be trained not to defecate or urinate in the house, and on a really cold night three of them can help keep you warm. I don't know if it is a characteristic of carnivores to be more fastidious, but you can let a dog or cat live in your house. OTOH, no amount of effort will stop a rabbit, a chicken, or a sheep from apparently unconscious defecation or urination. I admit humans have entertained these animals in their houses, but the development of the germ theory of disease has curtailed this activity more than somewhat.

So, raising dogs for food actually does make sense according to the Vales' idiotic study policy sarcasm and displays your own apocalyptic scenario good sense. It's only a prejudice of Western Civilization that you don't eat your friends, after all.

Think about it, while a docile sheep might have saved Jack London's protagonist in To Build a Fire, he had no possible reason for traveling with Ovis aries in the first place.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Your tax dollars at work - against you

Here is a heartfelt plea from your federal government to itself. The government asks you, the employer, to assist in the internal petitioning. It's as if the employees don't recognize their status and cannot recognize they should avoid blatant political messages. Inmates. Asylum.
Dear Mr. President,

We strongly support your commitment to comprehensive health reform.

This is not a luxury. The continuing, sharp escalation of health care costs for families, businesses, and government is unsustainable. Reform is imperative.

We believe that health reform must be enacted this year.

Reform is needed to help America's families struggling with rising costs and those who are losing their insurance. At the same time, real health reform is crucial to keeping American businesses competitive in the world economy and for the country's long-term economic viability. As our country faces economic challenges, the time for reform is now.

We support health reform that follows these principles:
  • Protect families' financial health
  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
  • Provide portability of coverage
  • Guarantee choice of doctors
  • Invest in prevention and wellness
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Reduce long-term growth of health costs for businesses and government
During these extraordinarily challenging times, we need to put aside past differences and address the health and economic crisis. Our shared interest must come before narrow interests so we can achieve a health system that is affordable and provides high quality for all Americans. We will support your budget with its reserve fund dedicated to achieving health care reform in a fiscally responsible manner. Each of us must be prepared to contribute to achieving this fundamental goal.

By signing this statement we affirm our commitment to work with you and our Congressional leaders to enact legislation this year which provides affordable, high quality coverage for all Americans.
Where did this come from?
"This is an official U.S. Government Web site managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services".

I think I will not sign the petition, even though they are keeping it on the up-and-up in the tradition of the Obama campaign's online credit card verification and ACORN voter registration practices:
Please check this box to indicate that you are at least 13 years of age. Unfortunately we cannot accept submissions from children under the age of 13.

Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys starting lineup are all over 13. So is John Galt, whose identity I used.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Obamaganda, Mmm, mmm, blecch!

Fuggidabahdit Glenn.
Anita Dunn update:
White House boasts: We 'control' news media

Servitude is encouraged by bribery at the moment, so they'll already know your price.
Involuntary servitude update:
LEAKED NETWORK MEMO REVEALS: Obama Controls Your Television Set

All is not lost, even if Europe is.
Nobel Prize - domestic analysis update:

Unlike Obama, Americans Reject European Model

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jared Bernstein

Joe Biden has a chief economist? There's an oxymoron in there somewhere, and/or it explains quite a bit.

And how do you get that job, anyway?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Politicians and the consequences of lying

From The Belmont Club, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.
Robert Reich has been widely quoted in the news and blogs lately, citing a 2007 speech he delivered at UC Berkeley in which he is supposed to have said of health care reform that:
  • Younger people should pay more
  • Healthier people should pay more
  • Older people should just die- they’re “too expensive”
  • There should be “less innovation” in medical technology
  • You should not expect to live longer than your parents.
That is largely going to be interpreted as the “hidden truth” that the MSM doesn’t want you to know and to a certain extent it is, but not in the way the casual reader may understand it. Robert Reich was once my teacher and I knew there had to be more to it than that, and so I went to the source: ...
RTWT You'll need to to appreciate the following.

The post suggests that what Reich was saying was "telling the truth is electoral suicide." I think this is demonstrably naive. The idea that telling the truth is electorally irrelevant seems a lot closer to reality.

Put it this way, Barack Obama told us the truth over and over again and it was much clearer and starker than a thousand page cap-and-tax bill; "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted." Other truths he told us: "The Supreme Court, tragically, never spoke on redistribution." or, "Judge me by the people who surround me." or, "What I really favor is a single-payer health care system."

Even now, when he says, "If you want to keep your health care plan, you can," it's true. The unspoken implication that makes that so is, "It's just that it will bankrupt you or your employer."

On the evidence, I'm afraid politicians telling the truth actually doesn't matter much. Most American voters don't listen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has spoken with some Canadians about wait times for health care. This is anecdotal, of course, and you could certainly find stories in the United States that would tear at your heart. For example, Michelle and Barack Obama both tell an intensely personal health scare story involving meningitis and their daughter, Sasha. In fact, they tell two substantially different stories. Both are anecdotal. One can't be true.

Often, as any normal politicians would, the Obamas arrange for people to show up at their pressers in order to illustrate particularly poignant failures of the health care system in the United States. Several of these have turned out to be on the order of Al Gore's claim that his mother and his dog took the same arthritis medicine, and his mother was being ripped off. This was not the truth, but Gore said it was for a good cause.

Anecdotes from ordinary people do have their place, though, especially when not promoted and financed by government. Among many other Canadian health care related posts, I have conveyed my own anecdotes, having had 22 years experience with Canada's system. TOC has also had Canadian guest posts on the topic. This blog is interested.

So when Michigan Taxes Too Much posts Mackinac Center videos of Canadians speaking about their health care, I recommend a look-see. Click the link, but also click the link to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in the blogroll or at the top of this post. They deserve your attention and support.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The reluctant hegemon

An important piece by Charles Krauthammer:
Decline Is a Choice

Insightful comment on the above:
Paul Rahe: Obama's agenda

Western Civilization, by-and-large this means Judeo-Christian tradition and mores, is beating itself into moral equivalency with all other socio-political-philosophic systems - real or imagined. We've already lost Europe. Thus, when American exceptionalism is finally not simply abandoned, but abhorred by its leaders, it is the philosophical abandonment of exceptionalism for Homo Sapiens. It is We the Living and Animal Farm.

Two related items noted without further comment or emphasis:

1- From the Announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee; The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009:
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
2- Barack Obama adviser says Sharia Law is misunderstood
Miss [Dahlia] Mogahed, [President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs] appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party.

The group believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world.

Miss Mogahed appeared alongside Hizb ut Tahrir's national women's officer, Nazreen Nawaz.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Cato Institute on Baucuscare

In the last post I noted that Megan McCardle was having difficulty making sense of the CBO estimates of Baucuscare. Cato points out that that is because the numbers don't make sense.

The Real Cost of the Baucus Bill: $2 Trillion+

The CBO scoring makes it clear that the Baucus bill's reduction in future budget deficits comes not from controlling government spending or reducing health care costs, but because of a rapid escalation in tax revenues

...its individual mandate pushes more than half of the legislation's cost off-budget, and onto businesses and individuals who will have to shoulder that burden.
Read the whole thing.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

CBO analysis of the Baucuscare Bill; which doesn't yet actually exist as, you know, legislation

Megan McCardle is confused.
...Going by the fairly sketchy description, virtually all of the extra benefit appears to come from estimating that employers will see their health care costs fall, mostly because they put those workers into federally subsidized programs, pass the resulting savings along to their workers in the form of higher wages and salaries, and that the Treasury will thereby gain, at a rough guess, about $12-15 billion a year in tax revenues.

This is somewhat confusing to me. The CBO seems to be assuming it will get just about 20% of the amount spent on subsidies back in the form of tax revenues. But the effective income tax rate on the quintiles covered by the subsidies, according to the CBO, is less than 5%. Perhaps the savings comes from the payroll tax, but even including the payroll tax, it's less than 15%. And the tax rates are directly proportional to the size of the income, while the subsidies are inversely proportional. I'm sure I'm missing something that would make the math work, but I can't figure out what.
Well, who could? I mean, why would the evil corporations, including insurance companies and Big Pharma, suddenly decide to pass payroll savings on to their employees, especially if there's a new tax targeting them and the medical device suppliers? And if the Feds are only going to get back (a grossly exaggerated) 20% of what they spend, how is that an efficient use of tax dollars? Further, if this were successful, doesn't it increase the demand for health care expenditures while simultaneously raising the cost?

RTWT including the comments.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


If TOC did quotes of the day, this would be today's:
As a very off-the-subject side note, the Atlantic cover story on torture contains this sentence, intended as part of its condemnation of U.S. interrogation techniques: "But 48 days and nights with no more than four hours' sleep every 24, combined with stress positions, hypothermia, and forced nudity, push these nuances over a line any decent person would acknowledge." Aside from the hypothermia, this is a precise description of the two-month period during which I gave birth to twins.
- Amy Ridenour at National Center Blog. RTWT

Could this be an explanation for why some women tell their husbands what they really think while giving birth?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Are you being served?

AMA Endorses Largest Denier of Health Care Claims

Report: Lansing may be 'overserved'

What do these two stories have in common? They're both about Medicare.

So is this update. 6:46PM 6-Oct

You Vill be Served!

...The Social Security Administration has issued rules in its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) that state that "the only way to avoid" the hospital and outpatient services provided by Medicare Part A is also to forgo Social Security benefits that have been earned through a lifetime of payroll taxes.
What sort of insanity is it that the Social Security Administration will not allow you to opt out of Medicare without also giving up your Social Security benefits? The savings aren't big enough? They don't want to contribute to medical unemployment rates? They're arbitrary bureaucrats with an obscure agenda? To handle this their computer system will require a billion dollar upgrade? They are just not efficient, marketwise?

Maybe this is the waste and fraud our President has been railing about.

It reminds me of an old French saying: Pommes de la route.

The missing part is why the SSA won't let you forgo your Medicare benefits on their own. The Wall Street Journal mentions it here: Opting Out of Medicare, but without enlightenment.

The only thing I have found that is close to an explanation of this bureaucratic fiat is here (registration required):
A recent lawsuit filed by three Medicare-eligible individuals on October 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has brought renewed attention to private contracting with Medicare beneficiaries... If the plaintiffs are successful in this case, physicians, hospitals, and other providers may face potentially fewer obstacles and disincentives to entering into lucrative private contracts to treat Medicare beneficiaries.
Why private contracts should be more lucrative is not made clear, but I'm of the opinion it's because the health care is better.

This bureaucratic manipulation is a preview of Obamacare, where you also won't be able to opt out.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tree Ringers

Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
-Matthew 13:10

If you ask a scientist for the data upon which he bases his theory and you are told, "You are not meant to know the mysteries," someone is not practicing science. Some anthropogenic climate change acolytes practice science with all the rigor of Fleischmann and Pons. Fleischmann and Pons did better though, they released their data almost immediately.

Flawed climate data

The Yamal implosion

The credibility of the Hockey Stick graph seems to depend on hiding the data. This does serious damage to the theory and to the scientists. One would think scientists considered reputation to be more important than theory. Oh, wait, they do.

Bad link fixed. 12:00PM 6-Oct

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Victiming the blame

Thirty years ago Roman Polanski was a 43-year-old movie director in Hollywood. He drugged and then raped - vaginally and rectally - a 13-year-old girl. He plea bargained into lesser charges, but fled the country before he could be sentenced. In a 1979 interview, Mr. Polanski defended himself thusly
“If I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But … f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”
Not so much, thanks. I'd rather see Mr. Polanski f__ed. And maybe he finally will be. He has just been arrested in Switzerland, and is now awaiting extradition to the United States.

His arrest at a film festival, where free speech is greatly admired as long as it does not involve cartoons of Mohammed, praise of capitalism or speculation that George Bush was not the progeny of a Mengele experiment involving Hitler and a chimpanzee, has upset well over 100 Hollywood "movers and shakers." We know this because they have signed a petition protesting his arrest.

Among these tinseltown ethicists are Woody Allen, who married his own adopted daughter, the quintuply married director Martin Scorsese, and producer Harvey Weinstein, described by LA Weekly as "one of the most successful yet psycho movie producers of modern times."

More surprising perhaps, are the feminist women rallying to support Polanski's patriarchal right not to be inconvenienced by the criminal sexual exploitation of a minor who, by the way, possessed two X chromosomes.

Debra Winger complains "the whole art world suffers" in such arrests. Millionaire film maker, unrestricted abortion advocate, and founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Peg Yorkin, says,
"My personal thoughts are let the guy go. It's bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It's crazy to arrest him now. Let it go. The government could spend its money on other things."
"It's bad a person was raped." Indeed. And even worse than person, Polanski's victim was a 13-year-old female who is apparently ineligible to be a member, or a concern, of the Feminist Majority Foundation - insofar as she didn't need any government funds for an abortion.

Then there is Whoopi Goldberg, who explained that Polanski hadn't really committed the crime he was charged with. The LA Police and the most of the rest of us have been calling it rape all these years, but Goldberg apparently knows it as "rape-rape." Real rape, I guess she means. Mere rape is nothing that justifies arresting him while he's attending a sacred film festival.

"Whoopi Goldberg has said that Roman Polanski was not guilty of "rape-rape" following his arrest in Switzerland over his conviction for unlawful sex with a minor.

In 1977, Polanski was charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14 and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.

These charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain that saw the director admit to the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor, while he later fled the US on the eve of sentencing.

Of Polanski's crime, Goldberg told The View: "I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape.

"He went to jail and when they let him out he was like, 'You know what, this guy's going to give me a hundred years in jail. I'm not staying'. So that's why he left."

She added: "We're a different kind of society, we see things differently. Would I want my 14-year-old having sex with somebody? Not necessarily, no.""
"[H]aving sex?" "Not necessarily?" "Different kind of society?"

Whoopi, you provoke this question; "Under what conditions is the rape, which you call having sex, of your 14-year-old child considered necessary?" I don't need an answer, it just does prove you live in some different place.

It sounds like these moguls and celebs are taking their direction from ACORN, an organization that considers 13-year-olds "assets" on the "sex-slave" balance-sheet.

If you acknowledge the fact that by watching the movies made by this cadre you are financing a moral cesspool, then you are culpable if you do not boycott everything they touch.

They are entitled to express their opinions, and the rest of us are entitled to react. So while we're mocking celebrities, here's a mocking critique of another aspect of Hollywood's moral preening. Same group of people, similar message: "We are advanced thinkers and your moral superiors. So we made this commercial."