It’s interesting that paleo-knuckleheads like Buchanan think the most devastating rebuttal of all to the theory of evolution is that it’s ... just like religion.
It’s interesting that paleo-knuckleheads like Buchanan think the most devastating rebuttal of all to the theory of evolution is that it’s ... just like religion.
Gov. Mark Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur slept with each other more times than he had previously said. Actually, if he’s going to be honest, she is his soul mate. He does promise, though, that he will try to “fall back in love” with his wife.In calling for everyone to shut up and leave Mark Sanford's personal life alone, it seems I underestimated the degree to which he's willing to discuss it publicly. It's difficult to give someone privacy when they're shouting their relationship history from the rooftops--seems the man is stupider than I thought.
One other thing, as long as he’s talking. He has had “a handful” of other relationships with women who were not his wife. These relationships “crossed lines” but did not include sex.
That could change, though.
Once the military has left the barracks, the potential exists for the situation to spin out of control, regardless of the good intentions of everyone involved.Now if only people would apply that same caution to the non-military, non-barracks-dwelling branches of the state.
One of the most ridiculous things about the current American health care system is the accidental legacy of the price controls of WWII which led companies to promote health care benefits since they could not compete on price. The weird and unnecessary tie between health care benefits and working distorts all sorts of possible ways of dealing with lack of insurance.It's almost as if government intervention with price controls can have unintended consequences.
In the course of Donald Morrison's review of Au Revoir to All That by Michael Steinberger, we learn that McDonald's is the largest private employer in all of France, which is sort of like being the largest provider of health insurance in North Korea, but nonetheless, it feels like a major triumph for American culture and cuisine.(ht Will)
I once ate at the McDonald's right next to the Arc de Triomphe. My quarter pounder tasted like hegemony.
In his latest post, Paul writes, "the standard competitive market model just doesn’t work for health care: adverse selection and moral hazard are so central to the enterprise that nobody, nobody expects free-market principles to be enough.""off point", hmm. For my part, I accused Krugman of beating a strawman.
In my view, these comments are just off point. The Obama administration says it wants a public insurance plan that will compete on a level playing field with private plans (that is, without taxpayer subsidies). Is there any cogent economic analysis that suggests that such a policy addresses problems of adverse selection and moral hazard? None that I know. If it has to stand on its own financially, the public plan has no special advantage in addressing these issues.
[..] what goes on in Governor Sanford’s personal life, I believe, just isn’t relevant to his role as a public official. The problem I see, like most problems I have with politics, goes back to the same thing—the hypocrisy of it all. One thing making everyone so mad, myself included, are the clips being played of Governor Sanford publicly blasting former President Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. It looks horribly hypocritical. And it is. We have to stop requiring that our politicians live at such a high level of moral superiority, as if they are infallible creatures. Let me assure you, they are not.
[..] Now I do not condone Governor Sanford’s actions. Far from it. I am a big believer in the sanctity of marriage. And how the entire drama played out was far too intimate for me. Those excruciatingly personal emails. His strange and emotional press conference. Jenny Sanford’s long, Gospel-quoting press release. All of it is an uncomfortable glimpse into the inner workings of a political marriage and we as Americans eat it up with a spoonful of schadenfreude. Was Governor Sanford wrong to have an affair? As a husband, of course he was. But should we burn him at the stake and make him leave office? I don’t believe so. Because sex and politics are two very different things, even if sometimes they seem hopelessly entwined. What he does in his personal life, I believe, would have nothing to do with how he balances his state’s budget or conducts business.
"Americanists believe that any statement from the President that fails to build up and anoint Mousavi as the preferred candidate is discouraging to Mousavi and his supporters, because they apparently cannot grasp that being our preferred candidate is to be tainted with suspicion of disloyalty to the nation. It is strange how nationalists often have the least awareness of the importance of the nationalism of another people. Many of the same silly people who couldn’t say enough about Hamas' so-called "endorsement" of Obama as somehow indicative of his Israel policy views, as well as those who could not shut up about his warm reception in Europe, do not see how an American endorsement of a candidate in another country's election might be viewed with similiar and perhaps even greater distaste by the people in that country."Somewhat tangentially, I'm reminded of an Orwell quote:
"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side ... The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
Mr. Obama, hoping to build momentum in the Senate after the narrow victory in the House, delayed the start of a Sunday golf game to speak to a small group of reporters in the Oval Office.Well then. At least he's committed.
Health care is not a bowl of cherries. Or a carton of milk, or a loaf of bread.Krugman may wish to argue against this strawman, but neither George nor Greg are "basically arguing" that we "don't need a government role" regulating the health industry. Rather, they think that too much of a role--such as a national monopsony--will be harmful to quality of care and R&D. Offering a public plan puts us on the most politically expedient path to this.
Both George Will and Greg Mankiw basically argue that we don’t need a government role because we can trust the market to work — hey, we do it for groceries, right?
Um, economists have known for 45 years — ever since Kenneth Arrow’s seminal paper — that the standard competitive market model just doesn’t work for health care: adverse selection and moral hazard are so central to the enterprise that nobody, nobody expects free-market principles to be enough. To act all wide-eyed and innocent about these problems at this late date is either remarkably ignorant or simply disingenuous.
..this much we know without admitting: If this really were a movie, we’d be pulling for the Argentine.Well I'm not afraid to admit it nor do I need to hide behind "but that is fiction". If asked, I'd recommend Sanford beg his wife for an amicable divorce and go live his love.
Ah, but that is fiction.
[The role of the CRA in the financial meltdown is] understated by liberals who are unwilling to admit that regulation, too, can produce hideous unintended consequences. . . . Regardless of how much causal blame you assign it, the financial crisis has certainly proven that the CRA seems to have been a very, very bad idea.publius isn't having it (bold mine):
Essentially nothing in that excerpt is true. Felix Salmon and Ryan Chittum hopefully put the stake through this argument, but it keeps appearing (the Chittum post is more comprehensive). To sum them up -- the bad loans at the heart of the meltdown came overwhelmingly from unregulated, non-bank lenders who weren't even covered by the CRA. In addition, the CRA loans did very well. And there's basically not a shred of evidence that the CRA led to the meltdown. And you can't evade that 100% lack of evidence by citing vague "mentalities" and drawing imaginary causal lines constructed entirely of ideology.
I am a gay man. My partner lives 12 time zones away. We are in a monogamous relationship, and we do not cheat. We get to see each other only twice a year for less than three weeks. Although he is a professional in marketing, the United States will not let him immigrate because he was not picked in the lottery. The federal government would not recognize our relationship if I married him.I concur with the fury in the first and last graphs. Unfortunately, the middle one is specious. That Sanford and Ensign oppose Bill's right to marry his partner is contemptible, but this has nothing to do with their infidelity.
The government will not allow us to be together. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. John Ensign (and former House speaker Newt Gingrich and senator Larry Craig) oppose same-sex marriages even as they do their best to destroy the institution of marriage in the United States.
I pay my taxes. I served in the military. I was an Eagle Scout. In short, I am a good, but second-class, citizen. It's very hard not to be infuriated by the double standards
Moonwalker--this 1988 arcade game captures the creeping megalomania of the white-suit period, positing Michael as a whirling, moonwalking superagent on a mission to, yes, free the children from a villain unimaginatively named Mr. Big. In this clip, Michael trades the white suit for body armor. Best part: the special weapon that clears the screen by forcing all the baddies to dance offstage. Michael's military strategy was as forward-thinking as his beats.
The responsibilities of the Assembly of Experts are to appoint the Supreme Leader, monitor his performance and remove him if he is deemed incapable of fulfilling his duties. The assembly usually holds two sessions a year.
Although the body is officially based in the holy city of Qom, sessions are also held in Tehran and Mashhad. Direct elections for the 86 members of the current assembly are held every eight years and are next due in 2014.
Members are elected for an eight year term. Only clerics can join the assembly and candidates for election are vetted by the Guardian Council.
The assembly is dominated by conservatives. Its current chairman is former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who lost the 2005 presidential election to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
...in a politically uncorrupted world, none of this would be an issue: health insurance is a public good, and as such it makes a good deal of sense to require individuals to buy in to the risk pool from which they’re ultimately going to benefit. In practice, though, mandates mean a lot more than this; they’re not just about the requirement to purchase some health insurance, but rather to buy at least a particular amount of it, and that amount is determined by the very same politicians whose commitment to the agenda of the health care lobby opponents of “free market” systems generally decry. This does not have the effect of making health care cheaper, since it eliminates the possibility of offering low-cost plans that incentivize good health and individual responsibility, and instead pushes citizens into exactly the sorts of plans that encourage unnecessary consumption of health care and thereby keep prices unnaturally high. As I’ve said before, short of government rationing (which of course is subject to regulatory capture in its own right) the most natural way to make health care more affordable is to make less of it free, which is exactly the opposite of what a system of strict mandates is going to tend to do.
..we react inappropriately to future extrapolations, because we project them onto our own situations--we ignore the fact that the changes in income shares devoted to a given product arise from economic growth. It is true that I cannot afford to spend 40% of my income on healthcare. It was equally true that my great-great grandparents could not afford to spend a third of their income on housing, and another half on clothing, manufactured good, transportation, and services--Land o' Mercy, everyone in the future is going to starve to death!!!This time view relates to a thesis I've been thinking about but haven't quite settled on how to express persuasively...here's my draft:
Obviously this is ridiculous. I am not consuming less food than my ancestors; I am consuming more. (Too much more, according to the waistband of my favorite pants.) But my income is vastly higher than theirs in real terms, so that the food I consume is 10% of my household budget, rather than 50%. Similarly, our descendents in 2100 giving over 40% of their income to health care (if indeed they do), will not be skimping on housing, transportation, clothing, entertainment, or what have you. In all probability, they will be consuming more of everything than I do, except maybe energy and housing. It's just that they'll be devoting a large share of their extra income to health care. This prospect doesn't worry me. And it probably won't worry them, other than the way it (mostly) worries us: because we'd always like everything we consume to cost less, and be more equally distributed.
..having just lived through a period where the “international community’s” (proper) condemnation of our own nation’s unjust actions led to boycotts of French wine and frantic calls to “double Gitmo”, can it really be believed that being incessantly hectored about how best to run elections and deal with political protests is going to lead the Iranian government to be more respectful of liberal values? Of course not. No matter the thrill it might be for Americans to see the Leader of the Free World get up on his high horse, the people with the guns are going to view these words as a provocation, if not an attempt at exactly the kind of coercion Obama professedly deplores. So why add fuel to the fire? Why not just keep quiet, when it’s as clear as day that this kind of moralizing is only going to strengthen the oppressors’ resolve?The pressure from Republican pundits for Obama to be more vocal and "less timid" in his response to the situation in Iran has been horrible.
"The gravity of America's health care crisis is the moral equivalent of the 19th Century's bloody conflict over slavery. This is not hyperbole, though the truth of it is often lost in abstract talk of insurance company profits, treatment costs, and other cold, inhuman analyses.
Today's health system condemns 50 million Americans to ill health and death while guaranteeing health care to the economic privileged. "
—Glenn W. Smith, fire dog lake
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.I think this is appropriate--it doesn't threaten Iran in any way, which would undoubtedly be counterproductive for the protesters, given the prevailing anti-American sentiment. It just reminds them the world is watching. And boy, are we.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–Ron Paul's response made memeorandum—his was the single vote against. Emphasis mine below...
(1) expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law;
(2) condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and
(3) affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives
Statement Opposing Resolution on Iran
June 19, 2009
I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about “condemning” the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives. I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little. And we know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran.
Of course I do not support attempts by foreign governments to suppress the democratic aspirations of their people, but when is the last time we condemned Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the many other countries where unlike in Iran there is no opportunity to exercise any substantial vote on political leadership? It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made. I have admired President Obama’s cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.
I adhere to the foreign policy of our Founders, who advised that we not interfere in the internal affairs of countries overseas. I believe that is the best policy for the United States, for our national security and for our prosperity. I urge my colleagues to reject this and all similar meddling resolutions.
I had a conversation at lunch yesterday with a friend, a neocon Jewish American, that fascinated me. We were getting ready to get up from the table when he said, "Hey, wait a minute, do you want to talk politics for a minute?" We proceeded to discuss the events in Iran and at one point I brought up my amazement at the protesters' embrace of non-violence and their courage in the face of aggression. I said, "I wonder if this will be a lesson to the Palestinians. That perhaps if they renounce violence and embrace peaceful resistance they too could garner more international support for their cause, a la Gandhi." His reaction fascinated me. He got this very serious, dour look on his face and replied, "That's what worries me. The biggest existential threat to Israel is that the Palestinians will realize the potential for non-violence and embrace it.
I finally understood why some of the more cynical neocons cannot stand the Green Revolution. Without a conflict, without a bogey man to demonize, they are scared to death. In their minds their legitimacy comes from the fact that they are better than the bogey man, that they are necessary to keep the bogey man at bay. I don't think that the nation of Israel is so fragile that it could not come to terms with a peaceful movement for Palestinian statehood.
My biggest difference with neoconservatives concerns attempts to create democracies by military force. I do not believe that it is impossible to do this: we did it in Germany and Japan after World War II. But in that case, we had a really good reason both to occupy Germany and Japan: namely, the fact that they had attacked us, and they had lost. Similarly, we had a decent reason for trying to recast their political institutions: those institutions were partially responsible for the fact that they had just started a world war.She goes on to discuss Iran and Iraq as poignant examples.
Creating a democracy requires the active participation of a lot of people in the country in which you are trying to create it, and you are unlikely to get this participation if those people regard your presence not just as undesirable, but as illegitimate. People tend not to regard our occupation of a country as illegitimate when they attack us, and they lose. But they do tend to regard it as illegitimate when we invade simply because we think they should have a different form of government, even if they themselves do not much like the government they have. For this reason, I think that even if we had the right to invade a country for the express purpose of creating a democracy, that invasion would be virtually certain to fail.
Bombing that country would, in addition to generating many casualties, significantly strengthen the hand of the hardliners. It would poison public opinion against the West and stifle reform efforts. And on the flipside, if the reformers succeed and the result is a more democratic Iran, there's little reason to think Iran's elected leaders would abandon the country's nuclear program. In functioning democracies, elected leaders tend not to kill programs that are massively popular. To truly embrace democracy in the world, you have to understand that people in other countries will often see things differently than you see them.
The Obama Administration is presenting a misguided, ill-informed remake of our financial regulatory system that will likely increase the frequency and severity of future financial crises. While our financial system, particularly our mortgage finance system, is broken, the Obama plan ignores the real flaws in our current structure, instead focusing on convenient targets.
Shockingly, the Obama plan makes no mention of those institutions at the very heart of the mortgage market meltdown – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two entities were the single largest source of liquidity for the subprime market during its height. In all likelihood, their ultimate cost to the taxpayer will exceed that of TARP, once TARP repayments have begun. Any reform plan that leaves out Fannie and Freddie does not merit being taken seriously.
Instead of addressing our destructive federal policies aimed at extending homeownership to households that cannot sustain it, the Obama plan calls for increased “consumer protections” in the mortgage industry. Sadly, the Administration misses the basic fact that the most important mortgage characteristic that is determinate of mortgage default is the borrower’s equity. However, such recognition would also require admitting that the government’s own programs, such as the Federal Housing Administration, have been at the forefront of pushing unsustainable mortgage lending.
While the Administration plan recognizes the failure of the credit rating agencies, it appears to misunderstand the source of that failure: the rating agencies’ government-created monopoly. Additional disclosure will not solve that problem. What is needed is an end to the exclusive government privileges that have been granted to the rating agencies. In addition, financial regulators should end the outsourcing of their own due diligence to the rating agencies.
The Administration’s inability to admit the failures of government regulation will only guarantee that the next failures will be even bigger than the current ones.
"The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn't a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble."(ht Megan)
—Lefty economist and future Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, August 2002.
It's far too early to make sense of what is happening, and what just happened in Iran. It could be another episode of tragic suppression of stirrings of democracy and reform in that theocratic state. It could be a new, more significant marker in the regime's loss of legitimacy among its educated classes. It could possibly lead to real unrest, as riots today revealed, and a much less stable regime. It could lead to an even more disturbingly aggressive and know-nothing government, threatening the world and the region with weapons of mass destruction, precipitating awful conflict. Or it could mean that many of us have been deluding ourselves in thinking that there is not widespread popular support in Iran for hardline religious conservatism.Later:
They didn't even attempt to disguise the fraud. Which, to me, tells me they panicked. This graph is a red flag to Iran and the world.Update: maybe not
"Iranians seem to have two paths: they can either elect a Gorbachev, make some sacrifices, and hopefully get an improved political system in a couple of decades, or they can elect a Saddam and watch as their country goes down the road of Iraq."
1. The Conrad Plan -- would be a series of health insurance cooperatives, administered privately but not for profit. Details remain vague. The federal government would not directly be involved.If I'm reading the tea leaves right, the worst-case scenario that has a strong chance of passing is Schumer's #3.
2. The Snowe Float: for a few years, the government would offer a conventional, non-competitive plan. If insurance companies failed to reform, to cut costs, to improve quality, a much stronger, competitive plan would be offered. This is what's known as a "trigger" plan.
3. The Schumer Plan -- would be a government-run plan that follows the same rules that insurance companies do. It would pay for itself via fees.
4. The HELP (Kennedy) Plan -- still in progress, an early version would require providers to participate, would pay them 10% more than Medicare, and would also expand Medicare and S-CHIP.
5. The Rockefeller Plan -- would be a conventional, government-run plan that pays for itself via premiums and fees.Reimbursement rates would be based on Medicare for two years (at least), which could, in theory, pressure private plans to lower costs. The plan would follow guidelines that a new health care trust would create. This trust would function as a marketplace, giving providers and patients a sense of what other plans are charging and how effective they are. This is the strongest public plan offered so far by Senators.
6. The House Plan: Medicare would be expanded and eligibility would be based on income alone. The government plan would be modeled after Medicare; to get providers on board, there would be some (potentially significant) reimbursement rate adjustments.
Karl Rove should have been named Man of the Year at some point by the Democratic National Committee. The political consultant/Bush adviser played a big role in expanding the burden of government, convincing Bush to saddle the nation with fiscal disasters such as the “no-bureaucrat-left-behind” education bill, the corrupt farm bills, the pork-filled transportation bills, and the horrific new entitlement for prescription drugs. He also helped ruin the GOP image with his inside-the-beltway version of “compassionate conservatism,” thus paving the way for big Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008.
I can understand why libertarians have no desire to listen to his advice, but I’m baffled why Republicans or conservatives would give him the time of day. Yet he is a constant presence on FOX News and has a weekly column in the Wall Street Journal. With no apparent irony, his latest WSJ column is entitled “How to Stop Socialized Health Care.” Too bad he didn’t follow his own advice in 2003 when pulling out all the stops to enact the biggest entitlement in four decades," —Daniel Mitchell, CATO at Liberty.
[..] in the last decade, car manufacturers have selected southern states for new plants due to lower labor and energy costs, cheaper land, state subsidies, a lower tax burden and -- significantly -- the absence of unionized labor.You think?
the White House understands that [David] Brooks's voice, even when not embraced by conservatives, influences how centrists and many intellectually honest liberal Democrats look at the world.You mean there's another kind?
1. The pro-Western March 14 coalition won a clear victory in the Lebanese election, a promising step towards more enduring stability in that deeply-divided country.
2. The Iranian presidential election campaign has turned into a real dogfight between incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi. Although recent polls in Iran suggest that Ahmadinjed will still win, Mousavi seems to be gaining ground and there may well be a run-off. Even if Mousavi loses, there's clearly a lot of popular discontect with Ahmadinejad's rule, and a lot of it centers around his bizarrely self-defeating approach to foreign policy. [..] Moreover, there seems to be widespread popular support for improving relations with the United States.
3. The New York Times reports that some Pakistani villagers are turning against the Taliban, and may even be supporting the government's more active role against them.
It would be a mistake to give Barack all (or even most) of the credit for these developments, but I don't think its completely unrelated either.
[..] elections in most countries turn on local conditions and issues and not on what's happening in Washington. But it sure looks like Obama's approach is helping tip the scale in the right direction.
President Barack Obama eats his vegetables and exercises every day — and he really wants you to do the same.
[..] The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie.
Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul.
[..] The whole situation has libertarians craving a basket of onion rings and a beer.
“If you care about the sorts of things I do, then you are going to be losing big-time for the next four to eight years,” said David Harsanyi, a Denver Post columnist and author of the book “Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children.”
Don’t get them wrong, critics such as Harsanyi say — they like broccoli and they lift barbells and they have no particular beef with a healthy president who was once described by his physician as having “no excess body fat.” They just don’t like it when government becomes the messenger and the enforcer.
The appointment last month of New York Public Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as director of the CDC really made the libertarian-minded nervous.
Frieden is a big part of the reason New Yorkers no longer smoke in bars or eat trans fats at restaurants and find calorie counts on their menus. Frieden once said that when anyone in New York dies at an early age from a preventable disease, “it’s my fault.”
[..] libertarians like Michael D. Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, aren’t looking forward to it.
“At the very least,” said Tanner, “we are going to get nagged a lot.”
One problem with the American system is that if you lose your job and are without an income, that’s not just bad for you but for the economy. Our system has more security. And I think it makes our quality of life better. My American friends say they live in the best country in the world, and in a lot of ways they are right. But they always have to worry: ‘What happens to my family if I have a heart attack? What happens when I turn 65 or 70?’ America is the land of the free. But I think we are freer.To me, being freer means being more independent and responsible for my own health and future: your income, health, and retirement are your own business.
Dear Gherald,I called my representative, a staunch progressive, and her office doesn't yet know how she'll be voting. Check out the list and call yours to put some pressure on and get them to join Republicans (because of the IMF funding) and bat this thing down.
Rahm Emmanuel is pressuring progressives to change their vote and abandon their principles. You can help fight back.
Your Representative is getting intense pressure from Emmanuel to pass more money for the war in Afghanistan, as well as $100 billion to bail out European banks, not to mention an amendment to block the release of detainee torture photos.
Your Representative voted the right way the first time. Give them a call and ask them to hold firm: http://action.firedoglake.com/
If 39 Democrats commit to vote against the bill it won't pass, and 10 have already agreed to do so. We need 29 more.
For once, the votes of progressive members of Congress actually matter when it comes to funding the war. But they are being heavily pressured by Congressional leadership to toe the line.
Please call your Representative's office and let them know you support their commitment to bringing our troops home safely, and urge them to vote against this bill.
We've got the phone number for your Representative here: http://action.firedoglake.com/
After you call, please forward this email to friends in your district, and ask them to call too. A few hundred phone calls at this crucial time may make all the difference!
Thank you for help.
..critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare’s, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.The first sentence describes the whole point of having a new non-profit plan compete with for-profit HMOs and PPOs. They're afraid of this competition, which is understandable, but cry me a river. As a general rule, private industry is supposed to be more efficient than government programs, and if they can't compete on an even playing field then they're doing something wrong.
Governments have been trying to set maximum or minimum prices since ancient times. The Old Testament prohibited interest on loans to fellow Israelites; medieval governments fixed the maximum price of bread; and in recent years, governments in the United States have fixed the price of gasoline, the rent on apartments in New York City, and the wage of unskilled labor, to name a few. At times, governments go beyond fixing specific prices and try to control the general level of prices, as was done in the United States during both world wars and the Korean War, and by the Nixon administration from 1971 to 1973.And here.
The appeal of price controls is understandable. Even though they fail to protect many consumers and hurt others, controls hold out the promise of protecting groups that are particularly hard-pressed to meet price increases. Thus, the prohibition against usury—charging high interest on loans—was intended to protect someone forced to borrow out of desperation; the maximum price for bread was supposed to protect the poor, who depended on bread to survive; and rent controls were supposed to protect those who were renting when the demand for apartments exceeded the supply, and landlords were preparing to “gouge” their tenants.
Despite the frequent use of price controls, however, and despite their appeal, economists are generally opposed to them, except perhaps for very brief periods during emergencies.
[..] The study of price controls teaches important lessons about free competitive markets. By examining cases in which controls have prevented the price mechanism from working, we gain a better appreciation of its usual elegance and efficiency. This does not mean that there are no circumstances in which temporary controls may be effective. But a fair reading of economic history shows just how rare those circumstances are.
Insurance industry lobbyists are skeptical that the government can fairly referee a contest between its own insurance plan and private offerings. In an era of serial federal bailouts, they aks, would the government really let its own insurance plan fail?This is important, becaue any situation in which the government plan is not allowed to fail would be unfair competition. Private HMOs, being normal companies, are subject to failure. (Capitalism's "creative destruction".)
..the potential difficulty in suing foreign doctors appears to be the chief differentiator, and the primary argument in favor of good-old-American-surgery,” DrRich writes. “The surgeons, in essence, are saying, ‘Let us do your surgery, because we’re easier to sue if we screw up.’”
"I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe that life begins at conception...I think it’s far more likely that when a pregnancy is terminated, that soul is simply born to a different mother."Far more likely? How about every bit as fanciful.
"BEREGA, Tanzania — A handwritten ledger at the hospital tells a grim story. For the month of January, 17 of the 31 minor surgical procedures here were done to repair the results of "incomplete abortions." A few may have been miscarriages, but most were botched operations by untrained, clumsy hands.(ht hilzoy)
Abortion is illegal in Tanzania (except to save the mother's life or health), so women and girls turn to amateurs, who may dose them with herbs or other concoctions, pummel their bellies or insert objects vaginally. Infections, bleeding and punctures of the uterus or bowel can result, and can be fatal. Doctors treating women after these bungled attempts sometimes have no choice but to remove the uterus. (...)
Worldwide, there are 19 million unsafe abortions a year, and they kill 70,000 women (accounting for 13 percent of maternal deaths), mostly in poor countries like Tanzania where abortion is illegal, according to the World Health Organization. More than two million women a year suffer serious complications. According to Unicef, unsafe abortions cause 4 percent of deaths among pregnant women in Africa, 6 percent in Asia and 12 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. (...)
The 120-bed hospital in Berega depends on solar panels and a generator, which is run for only a few hours a day. Short on staff members, supplies and even water, the hospital puts a lot of its scarce resources into cleaning up after failed abortions. (...)
Dr. Mdoe (...) said rumor had it that many abortions were done by a man in Gairo, a town west of Berega. In some cases, he said, the abortionist only started the procedure, knowing that doctors would have to finish the job.
Dr. Mdoe said he suspected that some of the other illegal abortionists were hospital workers with delusions of surgical skill.
"They just poke, poke, poke," he said. "And then the woman has to come here." Sometimes the doctors find fragments of sticks left inside the uterus, an invitation to sepsis."