Monday, August 31, 2009
Khalid + Waterboarding = Chatty Terrorist
Andy McCarthy reacts to WaPo's story
about how CIA tough interrogation tactics were highly effective. Just ask CIA terror tutor Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
As they say, you're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. The MSM has tried to have both for the last five years, arguing against experience and common sense that tactics like sleep-deprivation and waterboarding were not effective. Clearly, they worked, and to great effect. As Steve says, that case should now be closed.
Obviously, there is still a principled argument to be made that the nation should not engage in such practices. But the burden of making it in a principled way should be to say: "While this is an excruciating choice, it would be better for thousands of Americans to be killed than to allow the CIA to use non-lethal coercive tactics (that cause no lasting physical or mental damage) on a terrorist who refuses to tell us what he knows about ongoing mass-murder plots."
Anyone care to make that principled argument...? Anyone?
Teddy, Michael and The End of Fairy Tales
Andrew Brietbart on the deaths of two icons.
With the deaths of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Michael Jackson, the summer of '09 marked the merciful ends to Camelot and Neverland, iconic American fairy tales whose story lines should have come to merciful ends long ago when their charismatic protagonists took dark and irredeemable turns.
Read the whole thing.
Havertown's Adrian Ashfield has a very interesting guest column
on developments in energy technology.
Contrast it with Rep. Greg Vitali's recent missive
calling for support of House Bill 80.
At a time when energy costs are about to jump in this state, Vitali and his fellow eco-warriors want to impose new mandates for energy companies to use solar and wind power.
Vitali claims the legislation would "create thousands of good green jobs" but is being held up by "powerful special-interest groups" as if powerful special-interest environmental groups aren't pushing for the bill.
Vitali is surely exaggerating the number of jobs that would be created vs. the number of jobs that would be lost because of the expense of higher energy prices.
He goes on to make the absurd claim that his quota-requiring bill will actually lower prices.
It is a basic principal (sic) of economics that price is a function of supply and demand, and that when supply is increased relative to demand there is a downward pressure on price. HB 80, by increasing the supply of electricity generated by renewable sources, will create a downward pressure on electricity prices.
Forget that he misspells "principle," government mandates never lower the prices or costs of anything. HB 80 doesn't increase the supply of electricty, it commands that a higher percentage of electricity from much more expensive sources be used. How can that NOT drive prices UP?
To say this bill will actually lower future energy costs is flat-out dishonest.
The same argument is being used in an attempt to sell healthcare reform. That we can cover 47 million more people and reduce overall healthcare spending, while maintaining the same level of care and without rationing. Who do these people think they're kidding?
If energy costs come down in the next 10 years it will only be because of technological breakthroughs of the sort Ashfield writes about.
Vitali's ambition for the state of Pennsylvania to be a "leader in the fight against global warming" is a fool's errand. What will the people of Pennsylvania get out of it? Higher energy prices. And that's it.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Remember Teddy But...
In his paen
to Ted Kennedy, Alec Baldwin writes: "Don't name a bridge after Ted."
He's kidding right?
"Poop" His Dad Says
Meet Justin. He lives with his dad. His dad is awesome. So is Justin's web site.
It's funny as hell.
(Warning: Salty language)
Let The Truth Prevail on Global Warming
Ted Kennedy: Stooge or Traitor?
Ted Kennedy worshippers should know this.
In 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, Kennedy sent his trusted friend John Tunney to make a deal with then Soviet leader Yuri Andropov. It was Kennedy's hope to undermine Reagan's foreign policy initiatives to win the Cold War by helping the Soviets in a propaganda campaign in America against the Republican administration.
And why? The memo spells it out very clearly; for partisan political advantage in the 1984 Presidential election.
This extraordinary document was dug out the Soviet archives after the dissolution of the USSR. It has never been debunked or challenged as inauthentic. When asked about it Kennedy has never denied its accuracy.
The file was made public in 1992 by a British journalist, but the mainstream American media essentially ignored it.
What are we to make of a United States Senator who secretly sought to aid America's greatest foreign enemy against a sitting American president? You tell me.
What's a Cancer-Ridden Bomber Worth?
Lockerbie bomber set free for oil.
And here we thought it was done for reasons of compassion.
Khalid's Information Dump
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Ted Kennedy; No Prince
WaPo's Eugene Robinson laments the loss
of Teddy Kennedy's "moral clarity."
That the nation is so moved by the passing of Edward Moore Kennedy testifies to his skill, grace and determination at playing a role that must have been infinitely more difficult than it sounds: a prince fated never to be king.
I, for one, was not so moved.
Teddy Kennedy played many other roles, not so gracefully; drunk, womanizer, coward, killer. He should rest in peace but he should be lionized in death. I'll explain why in tomorrow's paper.
Friday, August 28, 2009
E-mail of the Day
I don't believe your headline writers! "Lion of the Senate" indeed!
"Voracious Tomcat" would have been more appropriate. Another National
George, you've got a point. How about "Lyin' of the Senate"? Better?
The Kid and Michael Vick
My friend Anthony SanFilippo has a neat piece in today's Daily Times about a local kid suffering from health problems who has seen the better angels of Michael Vick's nature.
“I think he’s ready to start rooting for the Eagles,” said Brenton’s mom Melissa Rawnsley Jacono. “He told me he wanted a Vick Eagles jersey. It’s the first Eagles jersey I’ll ever buy him. But if there was ever a time it was going to happen, it would be now. It’s almost as if Brenton sees it that Vick was with him all through his illness and now it’s time for him to return the favor.”
Penn Delco Follies Continue
Two Penn-Delco school board members have resigned
in protest over Board President Tony Ruggieri's moronic handling of the Jim Buggy Field situation.
The rationale behind the cancelling of the Aston Valley Baseball League's long-term lease for the field remains something of a mystery.
Ruggieri weirdly claims the reason for the board's action is to establish "equity among our facilities with this property."
Yet, the board has not moved to cancel a similar long-term lease held by the Aston Athletic Association. Why not? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the husband of Ruggieri school board ally Kim Robinson is on the board of the AAA?
Whatever. School Board solicitor Mike Levin has advised board members to shut up about the lease situation because of litigation threatened by the AVBL. That's good advice. Especially, given that whenever Ruggieri opens his mouth he makes matters worse.
Better advice would have encouraged the board to leave the AVBL lease alone in the first place. There was no good reason to cancel it. It pissed off untold numbers of hard-working community volunteers, energizing them to turn up at school board meetings and ask embarassing questions.
At least, the AVBL has said that any money it wins as a result of a lawsuit, it will be turned back to the district but only after the goofballs on the board who voted to terminate their lease are retired from office.
Sounds like a fair deal. But it would be cheaper and smarter for the current board to simply reverse course, admit their mistake, and reinstate the old lease with the league.
The chances of that happening? About the same as Keith Crego and Leslye Abrutyn getting engaged.
The district's in the very best of hands.
Hope, Change and Thugs
President Obama may be a nice man but too many of his supporters and followers are acting and have acted like thugs.
Here's a report in the American Thinker and it's not pretty.
Not Your Typical Protestors
My print column
on the protest scene before the Eagles game is up.
For angry animal lovers they're awfully nice.
The Rangel Rules
Rep. Charlie Rangel, head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, should be charged with a crime.
That is if the Department of Justice and its Public Integrity Unit doesn't just go after Republican staffers.
The WSJ reports:
Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee "amended" his 2007 financial disclosure form—to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income. That number may be as high as $780,000, because Congress's ethics rules only require the Members to report their finances within broad ranges. This voyage of personal financial discovery brings Mr. Rangel's net worth for 2007 to somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million, while his previous statement came in at $516,015 and $1.316 million.
OK, now recall how the Justice Department handled the case of Weldon Chief of Staff Russ Caso. He was criminally charged and threatened with jail time for failing to report a mere $19,000 that his wife was paid working for a non-profit. Unlike Rangel (and a other high profile Democrats like Tom Daschle and Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner) Caso paid all the taxes owed on the amount he failed to report.
It appears Justice has one standard for lower-level Republican staffers and a different one for powerful well-connected Democrats. In this case Justice isn't blind. It just turns a blind eye.
A Texas congressman has proposed a bill that allows less influential Americans to avoid IRS penalities for failing to report and pay their taxes on time. Under the proposed law, any taxpayer who wrote “Rangel Rule” on their return when paying back taxes would be immune from penalties and interest. What a charming idea.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Win One for Teddy?
Will Ted Kennedy's death help Dems push the health reform ball over the goal line?
First, let us say that Ted Kennedy was a flawed man but a charming one. And he was a masterful politician. Our prayers go out to his family and may he Rest In Peace.
That said the answer to the above question is probably not. After all...
Did John Kennedy's death win the cold war?
Did Robert Kennedy's death end the Vietnam War?
Did John Kennedy Jr.s death lead to greater government regulation of private plane pilots and when they could take off?
Did Mary Jo Kopecne's death bring about tougher drunk driving laws in 1969?
Death Penalty Dance in Delco
"Death penalty on the table for accused murderer," says our headline. Read the story
and you'll know, he'll never get it.
We just don't execute 62-year-old mental defectives in this country or county. We just don't.
Cap'n Trade Shivers Some Timbers
The Dems' "cap and trade" bill will be costly,
especially in jobs around here.
Brave New Art World
The White House, through the National Endowment for the Arts is trying to get taxpayer-supported artists to enlist in it's ongoing political campaign.
On issues, from healthcare reform to cap and trade policy, NEA grant recipients are being asked to use their art to promote the Obama politcal agenda.
At least one artist
is offended by the effort. Sounds like he's a little afraid too.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Talking Sense to Donkeys
A Democrat tries to speak sense
to Democratic leaders on health reform.
Will they listen? Hell no. Damn the torpedos - and the evil-mongering Americans who don't want what they're serving - full speed ahead.
Angry White Liberal Alert
In Colorado, a Democrat committee headquarters was attacked by right-wing anti-healthcare reform haters ... uh check that.
He's ALIVE, She Explained
My print column
on how Medicare and Social Security "kills" people is up.
We Didn't Start the FIRE, He Did!
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) co-founded by Penn professor and Wallingford's own, Alan Kors, has a great new fund-raising ad.
Check it out.
Cohen: A Teachable Moment Missed
In asserting "The president seems lost,"
WaPo's Richard Cohen appears a little lost himself. He suggests the president could have handled the Henry Gates "The Cambridge police acted stupidly" "teachable moment" better. No doubt, it wasn't Obama's finest moment. But here's Cohen's suggestion:
For this teachable moment, Obama might have recalled an incident out of his own past when, perchance, he was racially profiled -- stopped, frisked or something for being a black man, particularly a young black man. He might have recounted an anecdote that offered us all a glimmer of what it is like to wear your skin color -- but not your two Ivy League degrees, book contract, etc. -- on your face so that you feel the opprobrium and suspicion of police officers and the averted glance of trembling white ladies. No. He did nothing of the sort.
No, he didn't. And it isn't hard to imagine why. He would have been ridiculed unmercifully and rightly so.
Obama was supposed to help lead the country into our long-sought "post-racial" era. For him to carp about being questioned by a white police officer two decades ago or being the victim of a "trembling" white woman who refused to make eye-contact, would have been a disaster for him and his administration.
He would have been seen as taking sides with the racialist Gates, who acted both stupidly and arrogantly when asked for ID by Cambridge police at his home. Doing what Cohen suggests, would have made Obama look weak and silly. And it would have repulsed at least 70 percent of the country. Not because they're racists but because they are tired of this sort of racial whining. He didn't do it during the campaign, he should start now?
Obama made a mistake (a telling mistake but a mistake all the same) in spouting off about a situation about which he didn't know all the facts. He ended up with a pie in face. From there he and his advisers handled the fallout as best they could. The conciliatory White House beer session (VP Joe Biden was brought in to add racial balance to the photo op) was about the best they could do.
It is simply amazing that a man who has been around and written about politics as long as Cohen has could be so stunningly tone deaf. Maybe it's living and working in that liberal bubble that so many Washington D.C. find so comfortable. Whatever it is, it's a good thing for Obama he doesn't listen to old white liberals like Cohen. He has enough problems right now.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
ATTENTION PHILLIES FANS: Brad Lidge Has 1-2-3 Inning
One, two, three hits. Another blown save and another loss. Enough is enough.
ATTENTION PHILLIES FANS: Brad Lidge Has 1-2-3 Inning
Brain-Injured Man Acquitted in Luring Case
After reading this story
by Marlene DiGiacomo you have to ask yourself what the police and the Delaware County DAs office was thinking in charging this poor guy.
The Government Lunch Counter
Writing in the D.C. Examiner about the growing acrimony
between the press and the Obama Administration, Chris Stirewalt offers this:
When asked recently about the administration’s endless evasions on the public option, (Press Secretary Robert) Gibbs instead opted to define a monopoly.
“If you had one place to eat lunch before you came to the briefing, do you think it would be cheap?” Gibbs demanded of CNN’s Ed Henry.
Henry should have asked Gibbs to define monopsony: a market in which one buyer is so large that it can control suppliers and ruin competitors. Henry could then explain he’d rather pay too much for the sandwich he wanted than have to eat at a government chow line opened across the street to encourage “competition.”
Not bad. And all too true. But the real problem is that the government chow line would be long. Real long. And the food, while it would start cheaper, wouldn't be in the long run unless they cut down on the portions dramatically.
Look at Medicare. It's reimbursement rates to doctors are lower than for profit insurance company's and yet it's an totally unsustainable, transfer payment Ponzi scheme, due to be bankrupt in just a few years. Unless, of course, the government raises taxes astronomically on younger workers.
The saying "There is no such thing as a free lunch" has never been more apt.
Monday, August 24, 2009
A Few Modest Questions Answered
Paul Toner from Upper Darby e-mails...
Hi Gil, Can you address some questions?
1. I notice you think Obama a liar. What about Bush and Co getting us into Iraq - no lies there - right?
2. Why are Conservatives so afraid of competitiion - I thought the free enterprise system was all about competition?
3. Have you ever been without health care insurance or has the paper always picked up the tab for you?
4. If the free enterprise system is so great what about these three letter words AIG, BOA, and Citi (alright a 4 letter word).
5. How come Conservatives can see their 401k's become 201k's during a Republican administration but go nuts when there taxes are raised a little..
Thanks in advance for answering these.
Fair questions all. I'll try to answer them.
1. Telling a lie is an attempt to intentionally deceive. The main supposed "lie" that the left clings to over the invasion of Iraq was over the lack of "weapons of mass destruction" found in that country. If the Bush administration KNEW there were no such weapons then that would have been a lie. However, it is more plausible based on the record that the administration was simply WRONG. Intelligence services from all over the world, including our own, believed Saddam Hussein was hoarding chemical and biological weapons. Saddam wanted his enemies to BELIEVE he was hoarding them, so as to maintain his power. He certainly he acted as if he had them. Anyway, it was Saddam who was attempting to deceive and Bush and others who decided trusting him one way or another was a fool's errand. Obama on the other hand, said in 2003 said he favored a single-payer, universal healthcare system. He now says, he favors a "public option." Has Obama changed his mind or is he simply changing tactics and deceptively trying to lead the country down the path of a single government-run health "insurance" system? I think the evidence leans toward the latter.
2. The naivete of this question is quite stunning. Government doesn't exist to compete with private enterprise. It is supposed to exist to play referee among private actors and let the free market work. Government already intervenes too much in the healthcare market, distorting incentives and the transparancy of the costs. The government, state and federal, already regulates the crap out of healthcare for good and for bad. But when it becomes a direct competitor of private health insurance companies it can't help but drive most of them out of existence. Profits and losses discipline the marketplace. What discipline has government ever shown when it comes to controlling the costs of any of its programs?
3. Yes, I have been without health care insurance, when I was younger, like millions of other young people. And today, like millions of other workers, I pick up a pretty good portion of the tab of my own insurance. But then I work in the private sector. Those who work for government entities and their unions have managed much better deals for their own health coverage but only on the backs of private taxpayers. School boards, city and state governments offer very generous health plans to their "workers." This is all the more reason to doubt politicians will have the courage and inclination to tame health care costs. They never have before.
4. I didn't like the bailouts of those companies. And that isn't "free enterprise." When badly performing businesses can rely on the federal government and taxpayers to bail them out, they take financial risks that wouldn't be justified in the "free market." These sorts of bailouts are moving us toward a "state capitalism" that is unjustified and dangerous. (See George Will's column below.)
5. It isn't just conservatives who had the 401Ks hit by the financial market crash. A lot of Independents and liberals got socked too. It wasn't a Republican adminstration that caused the market crash but politicized government entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that helped drive it. The markets have been chastened a great deal by what happened last fall. But politicians like Barney Frank and Barack Obama have not. They have more faith in themselves and the government to run things than ever. Fortunately, a good number of taxpayers are standing up and saying "WHOA!" Whether these vocal citizens will be enough to stop the liberal intellectual class from their grand plans of taking more and more control of the U.S. economy remains to be seen.
Paul, you're welcome.
A New Political Species Identified
Matt Continetti identifies the comeback of the "Angry White Liberal."
He names names.
Used to be the AWLs simply suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Now they're starting to hate and condescend to regular citizens who voice disagreement with their Dear Leader on healthcare reform.
George Will on Obama's stealth agenda
for "state capitalism."
Even more than the New Deal and the Great Society, Obama's agenda expresses the mentality of a class that was nascent in the 1930s but burgeoned in the 1960s and 1970s. The spirit of that class is described in Saul Bellow's 1975 novel "Humboldt's Gift." In it Bellow wrote that the modern age began when a particular class of people decided, excitedly, that life had "lost the ability to arrange itself":
"It had to be arranged. Intellectuals took this as their job. ... This arranging has been the one great gorgeous tantalizing misleading disastrous project. A man like Humboldt, inspired, shrewd, nutty, was brimming over with the discovery that the human enterprise, so grand and infinitely varied, had now to be managed by exceptional persons. He was an exceptional person, therefore he was an eligible candidate for power."
Read the whole thing.
Reid Doesn't Bite Dog
Love this headline: "Eagles' Reid admits he’s interested to see how Vick performs," Grotzy has the story.
But a much better one would have been Reid admitting he has
in seeing how Vick performs. That would have been a real "man bites dog" story.
Come to think of it, "Man Bites Dog" should be the name of Vick's autobiography.
Tax Increases for Everybody
Steve Forbes goes down the list
of tax increases being pushed by Obama and the Democratic congress. It ain't chump change but Obama is playing the American taxpayers for a bunch of chumps. He said he would only tax the rich. Check out who and what is being taxed (and how) and it's very clear the Dems plan to reach into the pockets of every American.
Friday, August 21, 2009
News You Can Use
If anyone approaches you with bundles of black paper and claims that it can be magically turned
into $100 bills, don't believe them.
In his new book, former Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge claims that political pressure to raise the terror alert level
prior to the 2004 election helped convince him to leave the Bush Administration.
This is an old story and Bush's homeland security advisor Frances Townsend denies Ridge was ever pressured. She gives a credible rebuttal to the charge of political motivation pointing out that raising the alert is the president's decision based on the recommendations of several security department heads.
In this case the alert was not raised, maybe for the political reason that it would look political. But Ridge's charge does serve to distance him from the administration he served. Something that could be useful to him should he decide to run for president himself in 2012.
Efforts to get him to run for Arlen Specter's senate failed, as I understand it, because he was making too much money on the lecture circuit. Maybe too, he has grander political ambitions. Getting a book out a couple of years before a presidential run seems to be the thing to do these days.
In the meantime, the Obama Administration, flailing as it over healthcare and other issues, seems to be doing everything it can to encourage ambitious Republicans to consider their prospects for the Commander in Chief.
Ridge has every reason to believe he's as plausible a candidate as anyone right now.
Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow, Right?*
My print column
on Dr. Cosby's misrepresentations and other things is up.
*just not a very accurate fellow.
P.S. Older Cosby fans will remember that was the name of his very first comedy album. It was a pip.
Propaganda Presented as News
MSNBC engages in race-baiting
and fear mongering by showing an armed citizen at a town hall meeting and claiming that there is an angry white backlash to our new black president. Except that the network hides the identity of the citizen, who happens to black himself. Why would the network not show the race of the gun carrier? Maybe because he didn't fit the narrative of its story. This is partisan propaganda masquerading as news. Heads should roll.
Holder Right There!
Memo from Attorney General Eric Holder: Voter intimidation by armed thugs
is OK as long as it is committed by Obama supporters. Hope and change.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hillary Was Right!
Questions have been raised
about the gender of an African sprinter. Her mother tries to clear the air.
Speaking from her home in the rural village of Seshego, near Polokwane in South Africa's Limpopo province, the mother-of-six told South Africa's Star newspaper: "If you go at my home village and ask any of my neighbours, they would tell you that Mokgadi is a girl... They know because they helped raise her.
Sestak Toes Party Line on Healthcare
Sestak holds firm
on the so-called "public option" for healthcare reform. But he refuses to commit to voting against a negotiated deal that doesn't include government competition against private insurance companies. Which is to say, he will vote whichever way the leadership of his party commands. That is, if Democrats can cobble together a bill that a slim majority can agree on.
What is clear to most people is that the public option, is the camel's nose under the tent for a complete government takeover of the healthcare economy. It will no longer be the quasi private system that it is today, but a government directed and controlled system, single-payer system akin to Medicare.
What's wrong with that? Nothing except that Medicare itself is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme that is hurtling toward bankruptcy even faster than Social Security. As Baby Boomers slide into the ranks of the retired there simply will not be enough younger workers to sustain the system, not without taxing them a egregious rates.
There is another direction to go and that is to reform that encourages more personal control and individual responsibility for the spending of healthcare dollars.
More on that tomorrow.
In Government We Don't Trust
Dan Henninger explains the difficulty
in selling Obamacare.
The left likes to say that conservatives hate government. The truth, and it holds for many people beyond conservatism, is closer to what Alfred Hitchcock said when he was accused of hating the police. "I'm not against the police," Hitchcock said, "I'm just afraid of them."
Congress's approval rating sits at 30%. This is a remarkable vote of no confidence in the representative branch of a national government.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wall of Whine
Phil Spector doesn't think much of the company
he's found in prison, including Sirhan Sirhan and Charlie Manson.
"Imagine sending me to the same prison - shows how low they can go. They'd kill you in here for a 39-cent bag of soup!"
Hey everybody, Phil's got soup!
Toon Time for Vick
Michael Ramirez gives his take
on Michael Vick's reinstatement by the NFL.
UPDATE: Keep scrolling.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Free speech absolutist Nat Hentoff is finally afraid
of a White House administration thanks to the proposals in Obamacare.
Why shouldn't he be? He's old.
A Baum Drops on Obama
Obama is becoming the new White House gaffe machine especially when it comes to healthcare.
Caroline Baum lays it out.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Seniors Bolt AARP
CBS News reports that tens of thousands
are leaving the AARP over its perceived endorsement of Obamacare.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to claim the populist revolt against their healthcare reform plans is ginned-up and phony.
The country's in the very best of hands.
Acting Flu, Getting Flu
Actor in Swine Flu ad catches Swine Flu.
Sounds like a good career move. Shows a real commitment to his craft.
Whole Foods and Left-Wing Idiocy
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey writes an OP-ED piece arguing that singer-payer healthcare reform is not the way to go. The left-wing blogosphere goes crazy,
advocating a boycott of Whole Foods, a progressive goo-goo company if ever there was one.
Mackey strayed from the Left-Wing plantation on health reform. He must be punished and silenced.
Just another example of how the political left in this country eats its own and why Democrats have such a hard time governing. Herding cats is much harder than taking potshots dogs.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Answer to Healthcare Reform
David Godhill, a businessman who lost his father to hospital ineptitude, has a very reasonable piece
in the Atlantic on how to fix healthcare. Not surprisingly, the current proposals won't do it.
Let’s say you’re a 22-year-old single employee at my company today, starting out at a $30,000 annual salary. Let’s assume you’ll get married in six years, support two children for 20 years, retire at 65, and die at 80. Now let’s make a crazy assumption: insurance premiums, Medicare taxes and premiums, and out-of-pocket costs will grow no faster than your earnings—say, 3 percent a year. By the end of your working days, your annual salary will be up to $107,000. And over your lifetime, you and your employer together will have paid $1.77 million for your family’s health care. $1.77 million! And that’s only after assuming the taming of costs! In recent years, health-care costs have actually grown 2 to 3 percent faster than the economy. If that continues, your 22-year-old self is looking at an additional $2 million or so in expenses over your lifetime—roughly $4 million in total.
Godhill theorizes you could spend that money better, smarter and in such a way that would drive the price of care down and the quality up. Read the whole thing.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Vick Report
Just watched Michael Vick on 60 Minutes.
He said all the right things and the people who are sticking up for him, including the head of the SPCA, were impressive.
James Brown asked all the tough and right questions. Vick didn't evade or spin. He took responsibility for what he did, said he was wrong and seems to believe it.
Vick convinced me he deserves a second chance to play in the NFL. He didn't convince Mrs. Spencerblog, but she was never much of an Eagle fan anyway.
UPDATE/Correction: It wasn't the head of the SPCA, it was the head of the Humane Society of the United States.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Michael and Me
The Eagles signing of Michael Vick has made things a lot more interesting in Spencerblog home.
Mrs. Spencerblog (a.k.a. Love Dog Inc.) vows that no Eagles game will be shown in her home while the admitted dog killer/torturer is in a Eagles uniform.
Looks like it's the bar scene for moi.
Obama Losing Seniors on Healthcare
Seniors believe that Obamacare is a threat to their healthcare because it is.
UPDATE: In the meantime, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey offers a free market alternative
to the Democrats' proposed government takeover of the system.
It is absurd for Democrats to argue that health insurance is a "right" when they don't argue that having food or shelter is. Which is more fundamental to existence?
Yet, few Dems are arguing for a government takeover of the housing market because some people are homeless. Few Dems are arguing that the government needs to take over the food delivery system because some sad cases in this country go to sleep hungry.
By its large involvement, the government has distorted the health insurance market, making it less fair, less efficient and more expensive. Sensible reforms of the sort recommended by Mackey and others can be made but won't be by government-expanding liberal Democrats. Instead they are offering a government takeover. The more people learn about Democratic plans the less they like them.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When Protesters Were Good
Bill Sammons reports on the good old days
when protesters were fine Americans.
When Bush visited Portland, Ore., for a fundraiser, protesters stalked his motorcade, assailed his limousine and stoned a car containing his advisers. Chanting "Bush is a terrorist!", the demonstrators bullied passers-by, including gay softball players and a wheelchair-bound grandfather with multiple sclerosis.
One protester even brandished a sign that seemed to advocate Bush's assassination. The man held a large photo of Bush that had been doctored to show a gun barrel pressed against his temple.
"BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE," read the placard, which had an X over the word "ALIVE."
Another poster showed Bush's face with the words: "F--- YOU, MOTHERF---ER!"
A third sign urged motorists to "HONK IF YOU HATE BUSH." A fourth declared: "CHRISTIAN FASCISM," with a swastika in place of the letter S in each word.
That was then, this is now:
Town hall protesters are "evil-mongers," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily.
Such "evil-mongers" are using "lies, innuendo and rumor," to drown out rational debate, Reid said.
Seniors Beware Obamacare
The ChicagoBoyz Shannon Love addresses an inconvenient truth about health costs.
With Obamacare, medical spending will be like baking one pie for three siblings. If one sibling gets a bigger piece that automatically means the other two siblings get smaller pieces. The one-pie system has a built-in automatic source of conflict.
The elderly consume 70% of all health-care spending. That means that when it comes to cost control they will bear the brunt of the burden. If we don’t cut spending on the elderly we can’t reduce costs without simply denying care for everyone else. When it comes down to a choice between spending on old people and children, the elderly know full well who we are going to pick. The elderly themselves will choose to spend money on their grandchildren rather than themselves.
Joe's Undistinguished Healthcare Plan
So when it comes to healthcare reform
Joe Sestak is just like every other liberal Democrat in Congress.
He is pushing for a "public option" which is specifically designed to strangle the private health insurance market and will within a decade, maybe less. There is no way private health insurance companies will be able to compete with a government enterprise that will command what prices will be and what will be offered in the way of coverage. Instead of health care rationed by the somewhat free marketplace it will be rationed by government, politicians and the government-controlled health panels. It's delivery will become less efficient, less effective and probably more expensive.
Government will command what businesses will pay in the way of taxes to cover the additional 47 million people, including illegal aliens, that Democrats say must have health insurance. And the downward pressure this will put on wages and jobs? Nevermind.
No tort reform for Joe or other Democrats who see nothing wrong with the jackpot medical malpractice award system currently at work. It's a system that doesn't improve medical outcomes or get truly lousy doctors out of business. Neither does it fairly compensate most victims of bad doctoring. It specifically rewards lawyers and that's fine with the party of lawyers.
I wrote yesterday that Joe could distinguish himself from Arlen Specter on that tort issue in particular but he chooses not to. He is following the Democrat herd and its leader, Nancy Pelosi. It looks more and more like Ed Rendell is right. Joe's not offering voters anything different that what Specter is offering, except his constant reminders that he once served in the military, where he got excellent healthcare.
You don't want to join up? Tough. If the Democrats have anything to say about it, you'll be conscripted soon. And remember, loose lips sink ships. Keep your criticisms to yourself.
UPDATE: Who said this:
I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.
Yes, it was Barack Obama in 2003. Now the Democrats have the House, Senate and the White House. And America is on track to have - not just a "public option," but a single-payer, government-controlled healthcare system of the sort Canadians and Europeans have with all the inefficiency and rationing they enjoy.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Climate Change? Healthcare? You want someting to worry about? Check this out.
A Suggestion for Joe
Sestak gets more national attention
for challenging Specter.
He's got to get out the torch and pitchfork crowd, says one consultant. Good luck with that.
Leftwing blogger Markos Moulitsas sayd, "Sestak is a proven fighter. The fact that he is bucking the party establishment to fight a righteous fight makes him even more admiration-worthy."
Righteous? Since when does personal political ambition make one "righteous"? There isn't a jot of difference between Sestak and Specter in terms of what they will vote for and against. They are both liberal Democrats.
Here's an idea for Sestak. He should come out for tort reform in the healthcare debate. Practicing defensive medicine (defensive against med-mal attorneys) costs the system $200 billion a year in unncessary and uncalled for tests. Specter's son is one of the biggest med-mal sharks in the state if not the country. He makes millions and his father, also a lawyer, has the complete backing of the trial bar when it comes to campaign dollars. Sestak isn't going to get many of those dollars anyway. Coming out strongly for med-mal reform would not only win him support from doctors, it would distinguish him from Specter. He could show Specter up as sop who votes to enrich his own son and his trial bar colleagues at the expense of doctors, good health outcomes and the nation as a whole.
Tonight he is having a town meeting on healthcare. Here's his opportunity to swing for the fences. See if he takes it.
The Quagmire of Obamacare
Former Bush Advisor Matthew Dowd compares Obama and the Democrats mishandling of the healthcare debate
to George W.'s mishandling of the Iraq war.
Not quite, writes WSJ's James Taranto:
Republican politicians did not label opponents of the war effort "un-American," as Steny Pelosi and Nancy Hoyer have done to ObamaCare foes. Bush's White House, unlike Obama's, did not urge supporters to report "fishy" pro-Saddam arguments. Bush did not tell his critics to shut up and "get out of the way," as Obama did last week. The Bush administration simply made a compelling argument and won. The Obama administration, on the verge of losing after making a poor argument, now is lashing out at its critics--which seems a strategy to maximize the damage of this effort.
A closer analogy might be to President Bush's efforts in 2005 to reform Social Security. Having run on that promise in 2004, he misread his re-election mandate and spent much of his "political capital" pushing for a program that turned out to have little public support. He failed just as Obama is failing--although not nearly in so ugly a fashion.
Sounds about right.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Congress Denied Upgrades?
What? The new "Jets for Congress" program is in trouble?
Outrageous. There's way to much misinformation and half-truths flooding the Internet about this. Please report anything "fishy" you read criticizing this important part of the Air-Care Reform bill to the Democratic National Committee.
Like Taking Candy From a Baby
Obama Knows Best
Obamacare wants concerned citizens to shut up
and take what the government decides is best because as we all know government knows best.
“Think of public education,” says James Capretta, a health-care expert at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center. “They want to do for health care what they’ve done for education—establish a government-run, universal system. Once in place, they will defend such a system whether or not it delivers the results it promised.”
Monday, August 10, 2009
This Makes No Cense
The politicized census.
It's counting illegal aliens and giving states like California more congressman to send to Washington to demand public funds for their constituents, even those who are in the country illegally and technically not allowed to vote.
President No Change
Samuelson on Obamacare:
"The status quo is unsustainable for families, businesses and government."
-- President Obama, June 13
WASHINGTON -- One of the bewildering ironies of the health care debate is that President Obama claims to be attacking the status quo when he's actually embracing it. Ever since Congress created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health politics has followed a simple logic: Expand benefits and talk about controlling costs. That's the status quo, and Obama faithfully adheres to it. While denouncing skyrocketing health spending, he would increase it by extending government health insurance to millions more Americans.
Read the whole thing.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Your Government at Work
Interested in how the U.S. Justice Department works? Take the quiz in my print column
Dems Spin Protests Badly
Max Shultz reports on a townhall protest
Democrats and the White House are trying to portray the people who show up at these events as right-wing automotons and kooks sent by their puppet masters in the pharmaseutical and insurance industries.
That spin ain't working because it is so obviously untrue. There are too many people showing up for it to be a phony or manufactured rebellion and poll numbers reflect the country's real dissatisfaction with Democratic reform plans.
The new tactic from the White House is to urge members of unions like SEIU and the AFL-CIO to show up at these meetings and "punch back twice as hard." That isn't working either because their goonishness is being caught on videotape.
Back to the drawing board.
The Left's New Slogan: Celebrate Conformity
Mark Steyn: Conformity is the New Dissent.
Reporting dissent is the highest form of patriotism! Is your neighbor suspiciously "well-dressed"? Is he mouthing off about cancer survival rates under socialized medical systems while wearing a cravat? Give us his name, and we'll give you his spats! Just go to firstname.lastname@example.org, not to be confused with email@example.com., which is the e-mail address for reporting President Obama's latest approval rating.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Mob Vs. Mob II
Rich Lowry sums it up pretty well:
Obama’s White House and its allies have unleashed a barrage of criticism and condescension at people daring to show up at town-hall meetings and ask their elected representatives pointed questions. “Fired up and ready to go!” apparently works only one way. If engaged citizens shower Obama with adoration at stage-managed rallies, they are the very stuff of American democracy. If they boo their congressman, they are a scandalous eruption of fake or hateful sentiment.
Read the whole thing
Mob Vs. Mob
Paul Krugman avers that "racial fear"
is one of the driving forces of people who show up to protest Obamacare. Racial fear and stupidity and they're being oh so easy to manipulate by an exploitative GOP.
He urges Obama supporters to get out there to help shout down the shouters. What a brilliant political strategy.
AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney is reportedly sending out volunteers to voice support for the Democratic healthcare reform. This ought to be good, at least for business at local emergency rooms.
Violence has already started to break out at some townhall meetings.
The Democratic National Committee is encouraging counter protests, while accusing the GOP and healthcare lobbyists of organizing angry mobs. The funny thing is these mobs are showing up at Republican townhall events too.
The Democrats real problem is they can't explain their own healthcare proposal, let alone defend it. The president himself hasn't been able to convince the country that a government overhaul of the nation's healthcare system will improve medical care and make it cheaper while insuring an extra 47 million people.
James Taranto has a much more thoughtful analysis of the situation than Krugman here.
Voters may be as dumb as the Nobel Prize-winning Krugman thinks they are but they are so dumb as to believe that a government takeover of 17 percent of the U.S. economy will lead to better medical outcomes for themselves and their loved ones. And, at the same time, be cheaper too.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer describes his own plan
for healthcare reform.
I like it. Med-malpractice attorneys won't.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Democrats Paid, Republicans Not?
In today's state budget story..."
House Democratic lawmakers were paid Tuesday, shortly after the stopgap budget bill passed, although they had had the legal authority to pay themselves during the impasse. Republicans in the House and Senate, along with Senate Democrats, decided to wait to collect their pay until state workers are paid.
Were only Democrats paid? Did Republicans decide not take their salaries or were their paychecks simply withheld?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Riches to Rags?
My print column
on a new "Riches to Rags" program to bailout newspapers, the Sestak campaign ? and torturing confessions out of murder suspects via Big Mac withdrawal is up.
My Apology to the Sestak Campaign
What follows is a (slightly edited) copy of an e-mail I just sent the Sestak Campaign.
To: Joe Sestak and Company,
From: Gil Spencer
Re: Cheap shot.
In Wednesday's column I took what I considered to be a small - but now admittedly cheap - shot concerning your e-mail asking for a contribution. I am told that my computer server might have been responsible for the typo I chided your campaign of committing.
I will try to be less petty and more substantive in whatever criticism I have of your campaign in the future.
UPDATE: My apology is not about me. It's about all of us and getting to a place where none of us ever has to say "I'm sorry" again.
UPDATE II: Sorry, I couldn't resist.
In The Great Race, They're Off...
The race for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate begins
and the mud shooting up from under the candidates tires is going everywhere.
Arlen Specter is responsible for our newest great depression, according to Sestak.
While according to Specter, Joe Sestak is darting about the state getting face time, while the job he was elected to do goes begging.
In the wings is conservative Republican Pat Toomey who would much rather face the relatively unknown Sestak than Specter.
“Pennsylvania Democrats will make an important choice between Joe Sestak, a consistent liberal who really believes in his values, and Arlen Specter, a career political opportunist who believes in nothing but his own re-election,” said Toomey in the release.
Either Democrat has a better chance to win in Pennsylvania right now. And painting Sestak as a wild-eyed liberal will be tough. He's a left-of-center Democrat but he's no Nancy Pelosi.
A year and a half is an eternity in politics. With all the infighting among Democrats the luster is already knocked off the brand. Arguments will matter in the campaign and Toomey has a lot of good ones that might appeal to the young independents who are leaning more libertarian these days.
If debates matter he will wipe the floor with Sestak, but they usually don't. The local GOP is hardly enthusiastic about Toomey, who they see as too conservative, anti-union, and pro-life.
This campaign promises to be something like this scene
from The Great Race. How can we not look forward to it?
Forget the mud. "Throw more brandy."
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Is Hating Hate Crime Laws Legal?
Richard Cohen explains the stupidity of hate crime laws.
For the most part, hate-crime legislation is just a sop for politically influential interest groups -- yet another area in which liberals, traditionally sensitive to civil liberties issues, have chosen to mollify an entire population at the expense of the individual and endorse discredited reasoning about deterrence.
A Supersized Confession
Anti-fast food zealots and human rights lawyers might have something to say about the torturous acts
inflicted on accused murderer Jermaine Burgess to get him to confess to his crimes.
Upper Darby detectives plied him with McDonald's fat-laden and colesterol-stuffed food inducing him to spill his guts about two murders.
Known as "Supersizing the Suspect" in police parlance, the skell is force to return to his cell craving McDonald's burgers and fries if he doesn't talk. Police also offer cigarettes to addicted smokers to elicit information and confessions.
Such treatment is not yet banned by any international treaty on the treatment of prisoners but it is only a matter of time.
The Admiral Is In
Joe Sestak will formally announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate today.
“The race will turn out the way it should,” he said. “I intend to win — period. Failure is not an option.”
Sestak has been taking time away from his job as a congressman to promote himself to local Democratic leaders across the state.
In the meantime, the man he accuses of not being a real Democrat, Arlen Specter, has been out on the stump trying to sell the party's growingly unpopular reform of the nation's health care system and taking his lumps
in the process.
So who is really being the loyal Democrat here?
UPDATE: BTW, the Admiral is wrong. Failure is always an option. It's just not the most attractive option for him.
The Warmists Vs. The Poor
Bret Stephens on global warming and the poor.
In other words, China’s pollution problems are not a function of laissez-faire policies and rampant consumerism, but of the regime’s excessive lingering control of the economy. A freer China means a cleaner China.