masthead-highres

Monday, August 31, 2009

Do As I Say...

On the way in to work this morning, I saw a vehicle with a bumper sticker "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" and various other green bumper stickers. Presumably, the point was that by buying local, you avoid extra greenhouse emissions from transportation.

The vehicle was a Subaru Forester... one of the few Subarus with 0% domestic content.

This post was written by David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters, please note if you prefer that correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 6:59 PM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Happening Now

What would John Jay do?

Obama and Kennedy "weren't that close." We could tell from Obama's eulogy.

Laws covering certain major campaign supporters will not be enforced, Obama Labor Department says. Equal justice under law is "the animating ideal of our democracy," says Obama. We aren't feeling animated today.

Ed Morrissey, optimist: "We've spent enough on the UAW, thank you very much." Realist: We'll never stop paying for the UAW.

Moe Lane/RedState: "Sometimes, I miss Tony Blair." Me, too, but I suspect it's because we live here.

Ed Driscoll: "It can't happen here." Or it can.

Nice enough to make you want to be a cave dweller.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Happening Now

Here are one million British National Health Service patients who don't use the Twitter hashtag #welovethenhs.

Fire extinguishers are dangerous -- people might use them.

Public health care is SO reliable. </sarcasm>

Making Dan Rather look good: Swedish newspaper admits it had no evidence when it claimed Jews steal organs from Palestinian children, then defends article making the claim.

Cap-and-trade a ball-and-chain.

Unions get a handout in the health care bill. Cheer up: Only $10 billion. (H/T @BridgettWagner)

Betsy McCaughey on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, friend of 15-to 40-year-olds everywhere.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:02 AM

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unlike Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, I Would Save the Babies and Children First

Betsy McCaughey has an op-ed on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

I left the following comment on the Journal website:
I found it impossible to read Dr. Emanuel's Lancet article (Jan 2009) without getting a chill. He asserts that we have a social consensus that the lives of 15- to 40-year-olds should be saved ahead of the lives of children 14 and younger. When was this consensus developed? He doesn't say; he doesn't point to focus groups or polling or wherever one goes to gauge public opinion (assuming the public is to be consulted) on such horrible things; he just says it and we are apparently to believe it (The Lancet apparently didn't require him to provide support for his assertion). Yet, if this is so, why do societies not limited to our own parcel out flu vaccines to the most vulnerable first, with scant complaint? And why do so many (based on my admittedly small survey sample) seem to think saving children should be the priority, youngest first?

A century ago the notion "save the women and children first" was so accepted in western culture that one of the richest men in the world put his pregnant wife into a lifeboat on the Titanic and stepped back to be lost. We can accept that Betty Freidan has since killed the women but must the babies and children under 15 be lost as well?

As far as I am concerned, the further this man is away from government, the better. I don't care if some conservatives say he's a nice guy personally. I'm perfectly willing to stand back and drown, but no 40-year-old is getting on the proverbial lifeboat ahead of my elementary school-age kids.
Do any moms in America disagree?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:43 PM

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Happening Now

Media: Obama's a neologist; Bush was just dumb.

Jokes to play on the President.

Where does YOUR state rank? (H/T Coyote Blog.)

Examiner: If Americans were getting an average of 20 miles to the gallon before Cash for Clunkers, they are getting 20.0046 mpg after it. In a best-case scenario.

All hail Octavia: A novel new national debt relief program.

"Jackass" was the correct term.

Americans want the legal opportunity to opt out of Social Security, 49% - 37%.

Dr. Roy Cordato: And they say private insurance companies are the bad guys.

Evil doesn't die easily.

Think scientists are objective? Read this.

The power to force people to buy stuff is not in the Constitution.

Superman job: Fact-checking the White House.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:33 AM

Monday, August 24, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Krugman Again

The perpetually non-serious (despite his grim look) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claimed on ABC's This Week that "the argument against the public option is sheer nonsense, we know that, it's nothing except the insurance lobby." (See the last few seconds of video, above.)

So the tens of millions of Americans who ardently oppose a public option (takeover) are insurance companies?

Gee, with millions of insurance companies out there, infesting Congressional town hall meetings, tea parties and whatnot, you'd think we wouldn't need the so-called "enhanced competition" of Krugman and Obama's public "option."

Earlier this month, ObamaCare opponents were racists. Now we're insurance companies. What will we be in September -- potted plants?

Hat tip: Firedoglake.

Download a pre-production PDF of The National Center for Public Policy Research's upcoming new book, Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care, for more on the way waiting lists affect the lives of people living in countries with government-run medicine. Feel free to email a free copy to Krugman.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:39 AM

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dear President Obama: Please Read This

Join me in urging our President and every Member of Congress to read the article "How American Health Care Killed My Father" by David Goldhill in the September issue of the Atlantic.

Sample paragraph:
I'm a Democrat, and have long been concerned about America's lack of a health safety net. But based on my own work experience, I also believe that unless we fix the problems at the foundation of our health system - largely problems of incentives - our reforms won't do much good, and may do harm. To achieve maximum coverage at acceptable cost with acceptable quality, health care will need to become subject to the same forces that have boosted efficiency and value throughout the economy. We will need to reduce, rather than expand, the role of insurance; focus the government's role exclusively on things that only government can do (protect the poor, cover us against true catastrophe, enforce safety standards, and ensure provider competition); overcome our addiction to Ponzi-scheme financing, hidden subsidies, manipulated prices, and undisclosed results; and rely more on ourselves, the consumers, as the ultimate guarantors of good service, reasonable prices, and sensible trade-offs between health-care spending and spending on all the other good things money can buy.
Read it all here, pass the link (or this post) on to your Congressman, the White House and to others you know.

Hat tip: Greg Mankiw's Blog.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:18 AM

Outrage of the Day: A Rockefeller Questioning Profits

Senator John D. Rockfeller IV (D-WV) has sent a letter to the top 15 health insurance companies asking them to report how profitable they are. In part because Rockefeller is a Senate Committee chairman, the letters carry with them the threat of an implied subpoena if the companies don't respond.

The day he had the letters sent, Rockefeller said in a statement, "Too often consumers are not getting a fair deal for what they pay, they are not getting the protections they deserve, and the insurance companies are awash in profit."

How does he know? He can't have received any replies yet.

As the Senator's condemnation of the replies before he received them implies, this is grandstanding, not research. Health insurance companies report their profits to various regulators.

Why, if the Senator honestly wanted to know, he could have Googled it. I did.

From the August 5, 2009 Wall Street Journal:
'For every premium dollar that they take in, about 83 cents goes out in medical costs -- doctors, hospitals, and drugs,' says Carl McDonald, health insurance analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. The rest is spent on overhead. Net income comes to just a few cents per dollar of premiums.
More Google results here, here, and here, among many others.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:38 AM

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quote of Note: Median Wait Between Referral to a Specialist and Treatment in Canada is 17.3 Weeks

"In 2008, the median wait time from general practitioner referral to treatment by a specialist was 17.3 weeks in Canada. Despite substantial increases in both health spending and federal cash transfers to the provinces for health care over the last decade or so, that wait time was 45 per cent longer than the overall median wait time of 11.9 weeks back in 1997. It was 86 per cent longer than the overall median wait time of 9.3 weeks in 1993.

"Canada's waiting lists are also, according to the available evidence, among the longest in the developed world. For example, a 2007 survey of individuals published in the journal Health Affairs found that Canadians, as compared to patients in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S., were most likely to wait more than one month for elective surgery, six days or longer to see a doctor when ill, and two hours or more for access to the ER."

-Nadeem Esmail, "Medicare Deserves its 'Whipping Boy' Status," The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 14, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:54 PM

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's Happening Now

Is national health insurance Constitutional? No. Not convinced yet? Go here then.

"It's almost as if the president has no experience..." Ya think?

What planet is this guy on?

Independence Institute: Medical coverage is like a game show. (90 sec. video)

Write about the Fifth Amendment, get sued.

Death panels are real.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:46 PM

How Rationing Begins

"Whenever anything has a zero explicit price associated with it, consumer demand will increase substantially, and healthcare is no exception. At the same time, bureaucratic bungling will guarantee gross inefficiencies that will get worse and worse each year. As costs get out of control and begin to embarrass those who have promised all Americans a free healthcare lunch, the politicians will do what all governments do and impose price controls, probably under some euphemism such as 'global budget controls.'

"Price controls, or laws that force prices down below market-clearing levels (where supply and demand are coordinated), artificially stimulate the amount demanded by consumers while reducing supply by making it unprofitable to supply as much as previously. The result of increased demand and reduced supply is shortages. Non-price rationing becomes necessary. This means that government bureaucrats, not individuals and their doctors, inevitably determine who will get medical treatment and who will not, what kind of medical technology will be available, how many doctors there will be, and so forth."

-Thomas DiLorenzo, "Socialized Healthcare vs. The Laws of Economics," Whiskey and Gunpowder blog, August 20, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:33 AM

Postal Rationing Confirmed?

A lot of mail came in about David Almasi's blog post about D.C. area post offices rationing stamps.

Of those we were given permission to publish, the following two stood out:
i am a long time window clerk. cant say where for fear of retribution. this is nothing new. i have seen stamp increases where we do not have the supplemental stamps available at all. for ex.. price increase from 29 to 31.. no 2 cent stamps.. at all.. or ones.. limited 3 centers.. so let the customer buy them.. or how about running out of forever stamps.. or how about down to 26 total 44 cent stamps available period.. that includes coils.. we are not supposed to break coils of 100 apart.. believe me. .i have done it.. many many times.. clerks are put in an embarassing situation.. has been going on for about 10 years now... bad bad bad.. and no acct for management... they tell clerks.."do what you have to do"...or "deal with it"
-Name Not Published

It really gets to me when people (the President included) make statments when they are ignorant as to the facts.

I have been a dedicated Postal employee for over 29 years. The Post Office Department used to be totally funded by the government. The current Postal Service is supported solely by the sale of all types of postage.

One of our biggest challenges is that when we became self-supporting, congress did not give up control to allow us to run efficiently.

Another challenge is that we are pre-funding future employees' retirement benefits. What other business/company/entity in the United States has to do this??

Furthermore, whenever a post office is announced to be closed, the community rallies their congressman and the post office remains open. If you ran a business and you paid $45K for 1 person (there may be more at that particular office), $35K in rent, $20K in water bills, electricity, etc. to just be open and your revenue from stamp sales equals about $1k per week, would you keep it open at a minimum annual loss of $48K????? Multiply a minimum net loss of $48K by thousands of offices across the US. The total is staggering. We are hemorrhaging cash and we can do nothing to prevent it!!!

Does any other business have a congressman telling them what they can and cannot do when they are required to be successful and self-sufficient?? I am not a gambler, but I will bet your answers are NO!

The last, but huge issue is that congress itself has abused us for years in another way. They are allowed to mail ALL correspondence without paying a cent. They are required to pay at the end of the year a "percentage" of what they sent out. In reality, almost NONE have ever repaid this burden of cost upon the Postal Service. Mail does not process itself. There are costs involved to move it by donkey, boat, truck, or plane. Congress finally admitted a few years back that they were guilty. They also pledged to repay us at a rate of $29M per year. This did not happen. They again responded that we were correct and would begin repayment. Again, they did not make the pledged payment. I have seen no such statement or document that they have done so to date.

Faxes, scanners, and on-line catalogs have all but destroyed most of our services. I too am guilty of using both, but back to the beginning... Before people make such statements -or- perpetuate statements of others, homework should be done PRIOR to the publishing deadline. You have done a dis-service to your readers and postal employees everywhere. This response is not to offend you, but I hope it will encourage you to do more research about the Postal Service before a public statement. We are so often the brunt of much, but have many hardworking, dedicated employees that give much for so little.

Sincerely,

Bob
Robert S. Hartsel, Jr.
Manager, Transportation
U S Postal Service
Roanoke, VA
Notice in the second letter the allegation that Members of Congress have been cheating the post office. Ethics investigation, anyone? The comments below, plus others we received by email but were asked not to print, do bear witness that Mr. Hartsel is correct: the post office does have many dedicated employees.

PostalReporter.com ran a link to David Almasi's blog post and allowed comments.

A few samples:
That must be happening nationwide...that is what happened at our P.O. too. I was told it was to force customers to spend that dollar doing it online.
-justsaying

This is happening in my office too. I've had no stamps to sell on more than one occasion.
-Anonymous

If this is true, we are truly led by morons.
-skullking

Put a sign in the lobby. When they find out they are rationed, you will have lobbies full of people buying more stamps then they need. Human nature, like filing taxes on the 15th of April. Think about it!
-john

This is NOT a problem.
The Postal Service will issue I.O.U.s in lieu of stamps.
Now quit your whining get back to work.
-V.P. Of I.O.U.s

What a load of bull! This 'article' is nothing more than a conservative organization's thinly veiled attack on the current health debate. The PO has never, and will never have a need to ration stamps! Whereas a lone clerk, station manager or PM might be inclined to make such a grievous error based on misguided logic, the PO would never turn away any paying customer, provided we could accommodate them immediately. This is our job! They print stamps whether we sell them or not. This article is an affront to the hardworking people of the PO, and yes as much as I regret saying it, even management.

Those of you that choose to buy into this propaganda are way too gullible, too eager to slight the PO, or perhaps have never worked for the PO. Spreading this kind of baseless rhetoric is ridiculous and undermines the PO.
Get real!
-roflmao

This absolutely IS occuring in Westchester County in New York. We have been told we cannot order stamps as we always have on an "as needed" basis. We are currently out of MANY types of stamps the customers need and continually ask for and the district tells us we must wait until a certain date to put in an "emergency" order. It is a pathetic situation as I watch many customers walk out without the stamps they came in to purchase bewildered as to how their local Post Office cannot get them. I've never in my many years on the job seen this before. So, don't tell me it's propaganda!
-JP

We are being harrased of late about our stamp stock being "too high." This has never happened in years past. Our postmaster now gives us stock in small amounts compared to what we used to get. Theyt run out quickly. She says she's been told she can't get the usual allotment anymore. Hence, we are always low or out of the fast movers. It's a joke.
-Harry

The only thing were good at selling,besides BS,and now we cant get our mitts on enough of em.No wonder this business model won't work.
-Dexter

Ummm, lets see... We sell postage to generate the money that runs the company. We're in the hole big time so top brass decides to ration the thing that brings in money? What am I missing here?
You couldn't make this s--- up!
-dwhite

Idiotic stuff like this IS true. We have a very strict limit that we can have on hand. If we run out of something and have to do and "emergency" order for something then we can not do another one for 21 days. If we are going to go "over" our limit of stamp stock, then the stamp distribution office will not send you your stamp order.(We only get one day each month for a "scheduled" stamp order.)
It's ridiculous. It is supposedly to keep theft/risk down, save time when conducting stamp audits etc.
In the meantime, sometimes we are not able to have on hand what our customers need at the time. We are supposed to "guesstimate" what our customer's needs are.
I too think they are trying to drive out all the business from the P.O. counters. That way they can have the tanning salon down the street sell stamps w/o having to pay the bennies and salaries!
-wake up and smell the stink


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:18 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quote of Note: Under Socialized Medicine, Rationing is Inevitable

"As FA Hayek pointed out many years ago in his masterpiece, The Constitution of Liberty, if healthcare is paid for out of general taxation and delivered free at the point of delivery, then in a world of scarce resources - and healthcare is always constrained at any time by the supply of doctors, drugs, etc - then such care must be rationed by some form of bureaucratic/political rule...

...Now a socialist might respond that it is still better for health care to be rationed by some rule they consider to be 'fair' than by the supposed lottery of the market, although in fact, as I would respond, there is, due to the benefits of competition and entrepreneurship, far greater chance that all but the poorest will get better healthcare under a genuine free market in health than under the system of centralised, state-provided healthcare."

-Johnathan Pearce, "Under Socialised Medicine, Tough Rationing Choices are Inevitable," Samizdata.net, August 19, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:03 PM

What's Happening Now

The British government health care waiting list problem has been solved.

"Racial overtones," says MSNBC, capping its entry into the Stupidest News Clip of the Decade Contest.

British tax dollars at work: National Health Service gives Viagra to man with 30-year history of child sex crimes.

Sweden's largest newspaper claims Israel is kidnapping Palestinians and harvesting their organs. On MSNBC next?

White House deal with PhRMA undermines democracy.

Another polar expedition trapped in ice. Bonus picture of Al Gore's houseboat. Or go here.

Obama has lowest Gallup approval rating at this stage since Truman, except for one President. Find out which.

Ukraine's Got Talent.

Thomas Sowell on death guidance.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:46 AM

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

D.C. Post Office Rationing Stamps (Still Excited About Government-Run Health Care?)

One of my co-workers, who is managing a particularly large mailing, has just returned empty-handed from a quest to obtain 3,000 stamps from nearby post offices.

Not even the official stamp store attached to the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum - which celebrates the ability of mailmen to deliver to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and to the front lines during wartime, and which has a vault system to handle the valuable bulk quantities of stamps - could spare 3,000 44-cent stamps.

Not a square to spare.

Why? According to some of the counter staff, there is a new district manager overseeing post offices in our area. This manager is setting a limit on how many stamps any one post office can have at any one time. Therefore, area post offices are being forced to ration their stamps. If we bought 3,000 at this point, there might not be enough left later for other customers.

So the U.S. Postal Service turned away our business for lack of resources.

It reminds me of a comment President Obama made earlier this month when asked about private insurers possibly being better than a government-run "public option":
"My answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining - meaning taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do - then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems."
Still interested in a "public option"?

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.


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Posted by David W. Almasi at 4:51 PM

What's Happening Now

6,000 surgical operations may be cut to make up for budgetary shortfall in Vancouver. Would 6,000 Canadians trade health insurance for health care? (Let's ask when some of them visit.)

Via Twitter, @ruffedge asks: USA or USSR?

How much would you spend to apply a solution that doesn't work to a problem that doesn't exist? Me: Not so much. Congress: $8 billion. (H/T Celebrity Paycut)

Media Matters lied? Say it ain't so!

The Cash for Clunkers program's rules say dealers will be reimbursed within ten days, but dealers have found themselves on waiting lists. Reminds me of this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this. You can't make government efficient by passing a law saying it has to be.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:39 AM

Girl, 17, Faces Paralysis Thanks to Gov't Health Care Waiting List

A young lady in Ireland fears she may be paralyzed for life because Ireland's government-run health care service hasn't gotten around to putting her on the waiting list for the operation she needs -- and the waiting list is a year long.

From the Dublin Herald:
A teenage girl will be left paralysed if she does not get urgent surgery on her spine.

Lauren Browne (17) told the Herald that, despite the seriousness of her situation, she is not even on the year-long waiting list for an operation.

Lauren suffers from idiopathic scoliosis and is struggling to get on the list for the life-changing procedure at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, due to severe budget cuts imposed by the HSE.

The operation would drastically improve Lauren's quality of life and the teen runs the risk of becoming paralysed without it.

"I'm not even on the waiting list. I'm on the waiting list for the waiting list. My surgeon told me that I cannot wait a year. My vertebrae is rotating so rapidly that I have the risk of being paralysed if I wait for the surgery that long."

Lauren's quality of life has deteriorated since the diagnosis and she hit out at the HSE for what she feels is its lack of concern.

Lauren said: "The HSE just don't seem to care. Our cases are not qualified as life threatening, but I have no idea how they don't consider this to be life threatening. They have no idea what it's like for me.

"When I was told I would have to wait at least a year, I nearly started crying. It was horrible to hear," she said...
Ah, well, she's 17. Her best years are already behind her, right?

Read the rest here.

Watch for The National Center for Public Policy Research's upcoming new book, Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care, for more on the way waiting lists affect the lives of people living in countries with government-run medicine.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:46 AM

Where Did the Anti-War Movement Go?

It seems it was never about the policy... it was about objecting to the man.


This post by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow on Twitter.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 6:07 AM

What's Happening Now

Why hasn't David Axelrod recused himself from ObamaCare lobbying?

No sunlight in Sunny California: Touchy agency trying to force someone to surrender video he shot of it.

The left told a lie? Say it ain't so!

Who said it? Climate bill out of control.

U.S. vs. Europe: Life Expectancy and Cancer Survival. (H/T Coyote Blog)

From Newt to Barack: Some good advice the President won't take.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:06 AM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Postal Supervisors Are Not Happy With Our President

The National Association of Postal Supervisors is not happy with President Obama for what it says are his "negative references... without knowledge of the facts" about the performance of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Heritage Foundation, as usual, has excellent points to make about what Americans can learn from our experience with a "public option" postal system.

For myself, I wonder why the President -- despite his on-again-off-again-on-again statements about the public option over the last few days -- is so wedded to public health care option if he believes UPS and FedEx are doing fine, while the post office is not.

I hate to say it, but sometimes I wonder if he really thinks things through.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:40 AM

Thin Skins Across the Pond

There's been a bit of a fuss in Britain the last few days. It's keyed to Americans taking a look at the performance of their government-run health care system, the National Health Service, or NHS, and finding it wanting.

It seems that more than a few Britons are taking this personally, as if our horror at seeing, for example, Britons routinely denied potentially-lifesaving cancer drugs because of their cost is a hostile, anti-Britain sentiment.

Quite the contrary: If we did not like you, we wouldn't be so horrified.

This debate is more than of passing interest to me because this week the National Center for Public Policy Research will release its newest book, "Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care."

The chapter on Britain is the longest.

Beginning soon, we'll be running a story a day from the book in this blog. As we do, I expect I'll also be editorializing a good bit more about what our friends in Britain have said in defense of their own health system, and their attacks on our own.

In the meantime, I recommend this excellent post on the Classically Liberal blog, which contains several stories from Britain.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:11 AM

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is Obama Really Dropping the So-Called Public Option? Not a Chance

The media is making much of the Obama Administration's hints that the President will no longer insist on a so-called "public option" in a health care bill he signs, but the idea of a government-started "co-op" alternative to private health insurance has not been abandoned.

What we have here is the left, finding a block on a road heading left, choosing another read, also heading left.

And heading to government-run health care.

Michael D. Tanner of the Cato Institute wrote instructively about the co-op "alternative" in June:
A closer look suggests that the only thing intriguing about the co-op alternative is whether it is a completely meaningless construct or simply camouflage for the "Public Plan" option...

...The new co-ops would presumably have to advertise like other insurance companies, build physician networks, pay competitive reimbursement rates, and in general act like, well, every other insurance company. It is suggested that the new federal co-ops would be nonprofits, and therefore would offer better service and lower costs. But many insurance companies, including "mutual" insurers and many "Blues," are already nonprofit companies. If the new co-ops operate under the same rules as other nonprofit insurers, why bother?

And there's the rub. Supporters of government-run health care have no intention of letting the co-ops be independent enterprises that operate by the same rules as other insurers. This is not really about creating more choices and competition. In fact, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) makes it clear, for example, that the co-op's officers and directors would be appointed by the president and Congress. He insists that there be a single national co-op. And Congress would set the rules under which it operates. As Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) says, "It's got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option."

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks likes a duck, it's probably a duck.

Moreover, several previous attempts by governments to set up co-ops have, in fact, failed. Perhaps the largest such failure was the Florida Community Health Purchasing Alliance, which was set up by the State of Florida in 1993, and at one time covered 98,000 people. It was unable to attract small business customers and ultimately went out of business in 2000. Does anyone really believe that a Congress that is busy bailing out banks and automobile companies because they are 'too big to fail" is going to sit idly by while one of these new co-ops suffers a similar fate?

If a "co-op" is run by the federal government under rules imposed by the federal government with funding provided by the federal government, it's simply government-run health insurance by another name. Opponents of a government takeover of the health care system should not be fooled.
A single national co-op with officers and director appointed by the President and Congress and set up to accomplish the objectives of a public option.

Sounds exactly like government-run health care to me.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:14 AM

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Want a Baby? Thanks to Government Health Care, In Britain Becoming a Parent May Depend on Where You Live

Everyone over a certain age knows what you have to do if you want to have a baby -- that is, except in Britain, where for some couples, the route to parenthood lies in changing their home address.

That's because Britain's government-run health care system, the National Health Service, or NHS, decides whether to provide in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures to couples based in part on their home address.

It's a situation known as the "postcode lottery" to ordinary Britons, who have long known that their ability to get knee replacement operations, cancer-curing drugs and other medical services and procedures may be granted -- or withheld -- from them simply because of where they live.

Now, thanks to a survey by a Member of Parliament, it's become clear that its not just quality-of-life and death that may be determined in the postcode lottery, but the opportunity to be born itself.

MP Grant Shapps found that the regional primary care trusts under which the NHS operates have widely divergent rules covering when couples are eligible to receive IVF services, despite the existence of uniform national recommendations set out by the British government's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE.

Under NICE recommendations, women under 40 should be eligible for up to three cycles of IVF on the NHS. Nonetheless, in some areas it was unavailable to women aged 23-39. In others it was available only to women aged 37-39.

In about half of Britain, the NHS declines IVF services to couples in which one partner already has a child. Likewise, in half the country couples are required to have been in a relationship with one another for at least three years before seeking treatment, while in other areas there is a shorter time requirement, or none.

In many parts of Britain couples who smoke are ineligible for IVF, although some regional trusts relent if only the man smokes.

Despite NICE guidelines calling for access to three cycles of IVF on the public NHS system for all women under 40, Britain's Department of Health said only 30 percent of regional primary care trusts provided three cycles, 23 percent provided two cycles and 47 percent one cycle.

Watch for The National Center for Public Policy Research's upcoming new book, Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care, for more on "postcode lotteries" and rationing in countries with government-run medicine.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:21 AM

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quote of Note: On Hospitals Overseas

"Because I have traveled a great deal in my life, often recklessly so, alone, and to weird places in search of answers to topographical questions of the ancient Mediterranean world, and first-hand observations about battles and campaigns in out of the way places for several books— I have ended up over the last 36 years in a number of socialist hospitals: E-coli poisoning in Athens from tainted strawberries; a cut tendon on my index finger from a barbed wire fence in Sparta (with reaction to live tetanus vaccination); a severed ureter due to an impacted staghorn calculus kidney stone from dehydration of excavating at Corinth; a light case of malaria at Karnak, Egypt; an out of control, strep throat that turned into something more in Izmir, Turkey; a ruptured appendix, surgery, and peritonitis in Tripolis, Libya, and so on.

In each case, the care was terrible. A sole lonely doctor or maverick nurse in two cases saved my life, but on the average the facilities were filthy, and the employees akin to those in the government-run post office or bank. And a strange thing occurred as well: often the staff became mad at the patient: 'Why did you come here with an appendix problem?'; You should have not let your strep get out of control!'; 'If you don't drink water, what do you expect!'; 'See what happens when you don't take all your quinine pills!'."

-Victor Davis Hanson, "On Becoming Europe," Pajamas Media, August 12, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:47 AM

What's Happening Now

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions way down in '08.

If PhRMA doesn't want America to think it was bribed by the White House not to oppose government-run health care, it could oppose government-run health care.

Still deadly after all these years.

"Evil mongers"? But this is worse.

Father of cap-and-trade says there's a better way to regulate carbon (if you must). We agree.

Another one bites the dust.

ACLU movie: Big brother looking out for you.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:31 AM

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oscar Arias Diagnosed With Swine Flu...

...he had been working with Manuel Zelaya to negotiate Zelaya's return to Honduras.

I guess you can get that flu from swine after all.


This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow on Twitter.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 12:17 AM

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If You Don't Care Enough About Policy to Know Better Than This, Why Didn't You Go Into Another Line of Work?

Picked up by the Detroit News, and then the Heritage Foundation, is this nearly-unbelievably ignorant statement by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan:
Climate change is very real. Global warming creates volatility and I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile.
Few readers of this blog would be caught dead saying something this stupid:
...this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air that we breathe.
That one, of course, can be credited to the President of the United States.

It is, a disgrace that people run for high office without caring enough to familiarize themselves with multi-billion-dollar issues (the official price tag for the ghastly Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill alone nears a trillion dollars). Although I can think of a couple of exceptions, on the whole, the American people do not deserve to be governed by ignoramuses.

So please, elected officials: crack a book once in a while, okay?

Hat tip: The Foundry.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:18 PM

What's Happening Now

Tonsils redux: President Obama says greedy doctors are coming for your feet... but LA Times says prevention in these cases is expensive. Why don't the greedy doctors do prevention, Mr. Prez?

Funeral Director Full-Employment Bill: President Obama sees post office as model for health care system.

Obama: "Technically, I'm not for a single-payer system." Technically?

Murder a child; go free. Worse than appalling.

Wrong again, Mr. President.

Why are people upset about ObamaCare? Because certain politicians lie and lie and lie and lie and lie.

Government health care would cost more than the politicians claim.

CNN says talk radio hosts are too predictable.

Astroturf for hire. By the left.

No plants at Obama "town meeting." Uh huh.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:06 PM

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Mackey: Eight Ways to Improve Health Care

John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, has eight suggestions for improving health care in today's Wall Street Journal.

They are, quoting Mackey:
  • Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems...

  • Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits...

  • Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines...

  • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

  • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

  • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost...

  • Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

  • Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Mackey's op-ed is excellent. I strongly encourage folks to read the whole thing.

Here's something else great by John Mackey, circa 2006.


This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow on Twitter.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 10:08 PM

FreedomWorks is Apologizing to the Left

Warning: You won't want to read this apology if you want to keep offensive words out of your life.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:32 PM

Pelosi and Hoyer Declare War... On Themselves

"Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."

I've always felt this is true. I just never thought Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer believed it, too.

So when might we expect Pelosi and Hoyer to hand over their passports?

In yesterday's USA Today, Pelosi and Hoyer wrote: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American... Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts."

Aren't these the same two congressional leaders who have demanded swift passage of their health care legislation? Aren't they the same folks who insist that congressmen needn't read bills before they vote? Aren't they the same two people who have sharply limited debate and prevented opponents from offering amendments?

So my question to Pelosi and Hoyer: Does this mean you'll allow extended debate and amendments to the health care bill when it comes up in September, or will you simply learn to live with the self-loathing?


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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 2:11 PM

What's Happening Now

Triumph of hope over experience: Pro-Georgian blogger asks Russian government to defend his free speech rights.

Got the flu in Britain? Need medical help? No problem! The government health service will put a 16-year-old on the phone with you.

President Obama claims U.S. private-care doctors remove tonsils too often. That's a problem the family of this 16-year-old in Britain wishes their government health service had.

A picture editorial: ObamaCare is "shovel ready."

A blogger's letter to [email protected]

The BBC wonders: Why do Hollywood movies about autistic people focus on the very few who have savant abilities? I wonder: Why is BBC surprised to find Hollywood being unrealistic?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:22 AM

Monday, August 10, 2009

Egg on Face of Left, But It's Probably the Right's Fault Anyway

The left-wing Think Progress website reports that the situation of Kenneth Gladney, the "Don't Tread on Me" t-shirt salesman who reportedly was assaulted at a town meeting last week, "underscores the vital need for health care reform" because Gladney "has no affordable health care option available."

Another website the group quotes, the Moderate Voice, says, "If anything was more calculated to make the Right look foolish than this St. Louis incident then I'd love to see it."

Hmmm.... turns out Mr. Gladney has insurance after all. The erroneous report that he didn't appeared in the mainstream media.

But of course the Right is always defending the accuracy of the mainstream media, so the whole muck-up is probably still our fault.

To Think Progress' credit, it updated its blog post with the information that Mr. Gladney does have health insurance.

Nevertheless, something more needs to be said: this debate is not only, or even primarily, about access to health insurance. It is about access to health care. No one argues that Mr. Gladney got that, and promptly, too.

As a new book the National Center for Public Policy Research will soon release, "Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care" aptly demonstrates, prompt (or even any) access to health care is not something people in Britain, Canada, Australia or other nations with government-run health care systems can take for granted.

Insurance they got.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:48 PM

United Nations Scandals Get Weirder

You wouldn't think it possible, but United Nations scandals are getting weirder.

In this one, a United Nations employee bites a security guard who is trying to drag him out of a superior's office, where he had gone to make a nepotism allegation.

I do wish we'd drop out of that ridiculous (on a good day) organization.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:46 PM

Pelosi and Hoyer: "'Un-American' Attacks Can't Derail Health Care Debate"

Here's a link to the op-ed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

It's not very good, and not at all factual (haven't they read the bill?), but as its headline, helped along by Drudge, has made it notorious, I thought folks might like a link.

By the way, who agrees with me that "the promise of affordable health care for all" -- as the Representatives put it -- has not been the most debate domestic issue since the Lyndon Johnson Administration, as Pelosi and Hoyer claim? Just a guess, but I think the honor for that title would go to the abortion debate.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:28 AM

Obama/DNC Health Care Operation Urges Congressional Visits

OfficeVisitsforHealthReform1-080909.jpg

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Someone who lives in Virginia but who did not mention that his name could be used sent me and others the attached two-page flyer from President Obama's health care operation.

(Open each photo in a new tab or window to enlarge it, or download a PDF of the entire document here.)

The person had signed up to be on the Obama email list when Obama was a presidential candidate and received this by email.

In this case, the operation was encouraging this person to visit the office of Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia to lobby Senator Warner in favor of what the flyer calls "the President's health care guarantees."

Notice the flyer bypasses the issue of which, if any, legislation the recipient -- or the Senator -- is encouraged to favor. Recipients are just supposed to ask the Senator for the vaguely good-sounding items listed on the flyer, and leave the details to their supposed betters in Washington.

(For myself, I would never lobby anyone for "no gender discrimination" in health care, as I never used health services more than when I was carrying twins, and I have never once had even a bit of prostate trouble.)

Notice also that Obama's operation wants people to report to them how office visits go (see the section entitled "After Your Visit" on the flyer) and how the staff responds.

I post these pages for informational purposes only. Do with them what you will.

Note: This post was edited after publishing to add the option of downloading a PDF of the flyer.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

Saturday, August 08, 2009

What's Happening Now

Who says the Fifth Amendment is dead? A woman set fire to a man's genitals and is charged with endangering private property.

Your Grandpa is the mob. Funny pics. (H/T The American Catholic)

How Cash for Clunkers hurts charities.

More scurrilous allegations that if you disagree with big spending, racism may be the reason. Cynthia Tucker this time.

It can hurt to be a redhead -- literally.

More global warming hypocrites. Again.

Other than the ones in Congress, what is a pantywaist, anyway?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:45 PM

Obama Wants His Party to Shut Up?

Obama says he doesn't want the people who created "the mess" to do a lot of talking.

Given that his party has controlled the House and Senate since January '07, is he telling Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to shut up?


This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow on Twitter.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 3:37 PM

Attention Paul Krugman: This Isn't About Obama Being Black

The New York Times' Paul Krugman suggests that the protesters against ObamaCare at townhall meetings are "reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing... than to who he is" -- a black man.

Really? If that's true where were all these protesters during the campaign last year? Has the president changed his ethnicity since then?

This isn't about Obama being black... it's about him being pink.


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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 8:53 AM

Project 21 Members Come Out Swinging Against Krugman Racism Allegation

Members of the Project 21 black leadership group have come out swinging against New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for "scurrilously pinning racist motives on critics of President Obama's health care proposals."

Project 21 has also called on President Obama to condemn "this effort to stifle debate with race-baiting tactics"; as well as "all efforts to derail legitimate public debate."

Krugman's column drew the following specific comments from Project 21 members:

Mychal Massie (Pennsylvania):

"Paul Krugman is the one with race on the brain. Specifically, he is using race in the lowest and most repulsive declinations. He is using it because every other argument to stem the growing tide of condemnation for the proposed health care reform bill has failed. Ergo, when all else fails, parade out the race card and attempt to incite blacks into becoming the useful idiots.

"Opposition to the proposed health care bill isn't based on race. It is based on a people who are tired of Congress and the President spitting in their faces. It is the collective resolve of a people who are tired of being tread upon. One would think a Nobel prize-winner such as Krugman could figure that out."

Mychal Massie is chairman of Project 21.

Joe Hicks (Los Angeles, California):

"I must have somehow missed the articles from Krugman and other liberal and leftist members of the mainstream media that were critical of the activities of ACORN - the radical, leftist group Barack Obama once represented. Somehow, their heavy-handed activities - that many argue bent the boundaries of legality - were just considered to be the organized expression of disadvantaged communities.

"Now the same shameless, clueless writers are trying to convince us that those Americans who rightfully feel threatened by government-run health care and confront Obama's noxious scheme at public forums are somehow the acts of a 'mob.' Krugman reveals his bias by admitting that people are genuinely angry without bringing himself to understand exactly why they are mad. Smearing the rightful anger and concern of everyday Americans as collections of angry, old white folks - or part of the 'birthers' movement - shows the elitist disdain that liberal journalists such as Krugman have for democracy in action."

Joe Hicks is a Pajamas Television commentator and vice president of Community Advocates, Inc. of Los Angeles. He is a former executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission and former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Deneen Borelli (East Chester, New York):

"Krugman's commentary shows he is as out of touch as many of our elected officials are with real Americans. What's happening at town hall meetings has nothing to do with race and everything to do with concern over the rapid expansion of government.

"Americans are frustrated that letters, phone calls and e-mails to their elected representatives have had no impact on significant pieces of legislation such as cap-and-trade and stimulus spending. Americans are taking the next logical step by directly voicing their opinions to their representatives at town hall meetings."

Deneen Borelli is a full-time fellow with Project 21. She serves on the board of trustees of The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York and previously served as Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Bishop Council Nedd II (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania):

"I have nothing to do with the 'birther' issue, but I do have concerns about health care. So do the people in my parishes and in the local diner where I eat every day. Living in central Pennsylvania, these truly are the people portrayed in the Norman Rockwell painting about freedom of speech that Krugman reference in his column. To imply these people are now racists is racist in itself.

"Approximately half of the U.S. population didn't vote for Obama in the first place. Why is Krugman shocked that there is opposition to the Obama health care plan, and that people dare to voice their concern at public meetings? The Obama plan inserts government officials into end-of-life decisions for seniors and those among us with the least. That is not a race issue, that is a privacy issue. The Obama plan has given a whole new meaning to the idea of government for the people. This health plan is a bitter pill shoved down people's throat against their will."

Council Nedd is an Anglican bishop, serving the Diocese of the Chesapeake.

Bob Parks (Athol, Massachusetts):

"Why is it when liberals want to make their points, their knee-jerk reaction is to go racial? Paul Krugman is supposedly a journalist. Before throwing out the race card while speculating, he should give us some attributed quotes. Minus that, what he thinks is irrelevant."

Bob Parks is a Project 21 member and media commentator, and operator of the Black and Right web site.

Jimmie Hollis (Millville, New Jersey):

"I knew the moment Obama became a presidential candidate that anyone disagreeing with him would be called a racist, and that any opposition to his political views would be seen as racism. The left has always played the race card because it works.

"But I am nonetheless happy to see that people on the right and many in the middle are now beginning to speaking out firmly and with passion against policies they oppose. President Obama should speak out and condemn Paul Krugman racial commentary."

Jimmie L. Hollis is a Project 21 member and is retired from the U.S. Air Force, in which he served from 1962-1987.

Geoffrey Moore (Chicago, Illinois):

"This is not about race. It is about government control. The system is not perfect, but there is no need to have the government take over control of the entire health care system. The government has not demonstrated the ability to efficiently control costs and provide good service.

"Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who are not up in arms about their insurance. There are people who are somewhat pleased with the coverage they have. The government getting involved will create enormous expense and waste, while creating more problems than they intend to solve."

Geoffrey Moore is a Project 21 member and a marketing analyst in Chicago.



Project 21's entire statement can be read here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:32 AM

What's Happening Now

Eight-year-old sets up lemonade stand to earn money for trip to Disneyland; California city shuts it down.

No increase in flooding due to global warming. Sorry, alarmists!

Ten 'teachable' race summits in search of a beer.

Don Surber found the swastikas.

If you want to win the heart of the president, put the Palin girls in the ad.

The ten most historically-inaccurate movies? You be the judge.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:53 AM

Friday, August 07, 2009

"I Don't Want The Folks Who Created The Mess To Do A Lot Of Talking"

RealClearPolitics has a video (51 seconds) of President Obama telling a crowd in Virginia that "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking."

Is he frustrated that Americans are turning out at town halls to express opinions different than his own?

Who else could he be referring to? Talk show hosts? Bloggers? Opposition party politicians?

Who is it he believes "created the mess"?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 PM

More Beer at White House? Not Likely

A black conservative activist reportedly was attacked outside a Town Hall meeting in Missouri yesterday by a man who called him a racial slur.

From a report this morning by ABC's Jake Tapper:
Outside [a town hall meeting held by Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-MO], conservative activist Kenneth Gladney handed out yellow flags with "Don't tread on me" printed on them and was, he said, attacked. "He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack.

"'It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked,' he said."
Don't look for the White House to intervene in this case.

Addendum: Video and more information at Gateway Pundit and numerous posts at Missourah blog.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:44 AM

Not All Senators Are Treated Alike

The Environmental Protection Agency has told Republican Senators Jim Inhofe (OK) and George Voinovich (OH) that it will not provide the analysis they sought of the House cap-and-trade bill, but it will provide an analysis (pdf) for a bill it expects Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to introduce in September.

Among other things, the Senators sought (pdf) a "cost analysis of the Waxman-Markey provisions on households and energy-intensive, trade exposed industries."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:35 AM

Bill O'Reilly Covers National Center Free Enterprise Project's Call on Obama to Dismiss Jeffrey Immelt


The National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project has called on President Obama to dismiss General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt from his Economic Recovery Advisory Board following findings from the Security and Exchange Commission that "GE bent the accounting rules beyond the breaking point" to "avoid missing analysts' final consensus EPS expectations."

You can read the Free Enterprise Project's complete press release here.

In the video above, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly covers the Free Enterprise Project's call in this nightly "Talking Points Memo" and adds commentary of his own. He then is joined by political strategist Dick Morris, who continues the Immelt-GE-Obama discussion.

Hat tip: To NewsPoliticsNews for posting the video on YouTube.com.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:17 AM

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What's Happening Now

Here's who voted which way when the Senate voted to renew Cash for Clunkers. Only 37 Americans in the Senate.

Here's who voted which way when the Senate voted to table Tom Harkin's amendment to limit the car welfare program to individuals earning under $50,000 and couples earning under $75,000. 65 Senators support welfare for the rich. Zero Dems for means testing.

Washington Independent: Cash for Clunkers "steals its funding from a Department of Energy program encouraging the development of renewable energy technologies." Someone thought this bill was about the environment?

John McCain calls Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill "a farce," saying "they bought every industry off - steel mills, agriculture, utilities." More welfare for the rich.

President of the United States or Captain Queeg with his strawberries? Seemingly both.

Searching for swastikas.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:33 PM

Who Gets the Stuff?

Professor Greg Mankiw, former chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors and presently a professor at Harvard, has asked the following question: "If one citizen of a nation can lay claim to the wealth of his more productive neighbor, shouldn't poor nations have the right to lay claim to the resources of richer nations such as the United States?"

I say no in both cases. What do you think?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:05 AM

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What's Happening Now

It's Obama v. Obama, as Obama White House unleashes ex-ABCer Linda Douglas to rebut a video of Barack Obama.

The British government spends $12 million a year lobbying itself on global warming, but it won't buy Mrs. Fletcher Lucentis.

The White House is looking for some snitches. Michelle Malkin asks: How much is the snitch effort costing us?

The Obama administration is refusing to release government records on Cash for Clunkers, even as it asks the Senate to renew it.

Russian subs have begun patrolling our east coast. Resetting our foreign policy indeed.

John Stossel blogs about Cash for Clunkers. Not a fan.

10 reasons the government should take over health care (NOT).


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:11 AM

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What's Happening Now

Democrat leaders are exploring using a loophole to get health care reform passed. Others -- like me -- call it cheating.

A picture is worth a thousand words: A metaphor for ObamaCare.

Benjamin Franklin would not have supported government health care.

Will a health care bill pass? Charles Krauthammer's prediction.

Consumer Reports magazine is lobbying for government health care. So much for objectivity!

Government health care may mean waiting in line. You think?

Does a "DUI on a horse" charge mean the rider is drunk - or the horse?

Not all the ignorant kids are American. One in 20 British children believe singer Bob Geldof discovered gravity and that the classic book "Pride and Prejudice" was written by JK Rowling. (H/T Adam Smith blog)

A website now tracks the wit and wisdom of Vice President Joe Biden. (H/T Danny_Glover on Twitter)


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:48 AM

Monday, August 03, 2009

"I Happen to be a Proponent... Of Single-Payer"


Barack Obama, in his own words.

Addendum, 8/5/09: The White House does not like this video one bit.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:27 AM

Soaking the Rich

Who is soaking the rich? In 2007, the top one percent of all taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of all federal income taxes. This came when a Republican had been in the White House for six years and the GOP had controlled the House for 12 and the Senate for four.

So much for stereotypes.

As to the statistics themselves, Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation, which provided the tax analysis above, notes:
Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.

To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.
These facts bring to mind something former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said months ago:
Insulating 95 percent of voters from the consequences of their electoral decisions is dangerous and misleading. Does anyone really believe that we can expand nondefense spending to a record share of gross domestic product, reform the health-care system that amounts to one-sixth of the economy, reinvent the energy portfolio that powers our lives, and drive next-generation broadband to every home while cutting taxes for 95 percent of Americans?
I don't believe it. I believe we need to cut spending, and I also believe the top one percent -- which does not, alas, include me in their number -- are paying more than their fair share.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:12 AM

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Washington Post: Obama Has a "Ready Command of Facts"

In "Polling Helps Obama Frame Message in Health-Care Debate" in Friday's Washington Post, reporter Michael D. Shear writes, "Obama is known for his soaring speeches and his ready command of facts..."

Ready command of facts?

Is he talking about the same President who admitted he was unfamiliar with a critical provision in his own trillion+ dollar health care plan?

Who thinks one of the functions of a living will is to stop extraordinary measures if "brain waves are no longer functioning"?

Who believes carbon dioxide emissions "contaminate the water we drink"?

Who says 14,000 people "every single day" will lose their health insurance unless we follow his advice on health care policy?

Who believes pediatricians remove tonsils?

Who says the health care plan he is backing will "keep government out of health care decisions"?

Who was under the impression that Austrians speak "Austrian"?

Who says with a straight face that his health care plan "will be paid for"?

Who keeps saying the U.S. is importing more oil today than ever before?

Who thought Emperor Hirohito personally surrendered to General MacArthur?

Who says the $1 trillion price tag on his health care bill is less than what we have spent on the war in Iraq?

Who repeatedly asserts that if his health care plan passes, "if you like your health plan, you can keep it, the only thing that will change is that you'll pay less."

The article in which this appeared, by the way, is about how the White House staff uses polls to determine what to put in the President's teleprompter. As one "top advisor" (evidently, his name is top secret), told the Post: "I mean, I'm looking at polling, like, all the time."

Right, dude.

Cross-posted at Newsbusters.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:22 PM

Outrage of the Day: Congress, Administration Hurt People, Rip Off Taxpayers to Buy People Cars

I have not yet blogged about Cash for Clunkers because every time I think about it, I become so enraged I become completely incomprehensible.

Until I settle down, I recommend this excellent article, "'Cash for Clunkers' Breaking Down, But Not Before Hurting Lower-Income Buyers, Auto Recyclers," by Elizabath Hovde for the Portland Oregonian.

Hovde explains how Cash for Clunkers hurts "already-hurting auto parts suppliers," recyclers and lower-income people, and she has the facts to prove it.

John McCain reportedly is going to filibuster the renewal of Cash for Clunkers when it hits the Senate next week, and good for him. Too bad it was barely debated when it passed the first time.

I agree with those who point to the initial self-destruction of this program and say, if the federal government can't administer a program to give away free money so people can buy themselves a nice new car, how can we possibly trust it to run our health care?

Somebody is saying that, right? Because we would be insane to trust our very lives to a government this full of boobs.

Cash for Clunkers -- the coercive confiscation of the wealth of some people to help other people upgrade the quality of their consumer goods (notice we don't even bother with means testing anymore) -- is antithetical to common sense, fairness and any sense of budgetary realism. It's so bad, it's anti-American. Our federal government was not set up for the purpose of buying people vehicles (or anything else, for that matter).

I'm going to go now and read the list of the Members of Congress who voted today to extend this travesty. None of them, I believe, deep in the hearts, are Americans. Their passports may say they are Americans, but their hearts show something else. And anybody who takes the money under this program is a welfare queen, and should be ashamed of themselves. You are stealing from your fellow taxpayers, and the government endorsing the theft doesn't make it right.

Addendum, 8/1/09: The U.S. public opposes the program, 54 percent to 35 percent.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:35 AM

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