Friday, August 21, 2009

Political Digest August 21 2009

Government Ending 'Cash for Clunkers' Program
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the popular "Cash for Clunkers" program will be ending Monday, because the $3 billion allotted to the program has been depleted.
Gee, the first billion was supposed to last until October, and they burned through $3B already? I wonder if people will be able to keep up the car payments. If not, we’ll have to bail them out to “keep people in their cars” as we had to do to “keep people in their homes” after the government encourage people to buy homes they couldn’t afford. Note to folks thinking Healthcare “Reform” can lower costs. When something is a free good, people use a lot more of it.

CIA Hired Firm for Assassin Program
Let’s see if I’m clear. Obama is being praised for killing al Qaeda and Taliban leaders with drones. Bush is being slammed for wanting to kill them by hiring men with guns, knives, etc. Got it.

Scotland Releases Lockerbie Bomber on Compassionate Grounds
I’d have shown him the same compassion he showed the children on that flight. I’d have shot him. But maybe dying of prostate cancer is better.

Devaluing Doctors -- and Care (A Must Read)
Excerpt: Where are the investigative journalists? How many physicians who are not radiologists own their own MRI machine, CT scanner, PET scanner or other sophisticated diagnostic equipment to which they refer their patients? Why would President Obama blast pediatricians for doing tonsillectomies for profit, when any intelligent person knows that pediatricians do not do surgery? They care for sick children and refer them to ear, nose and throat specialists when surgery is needed. Why does no one seem to be aware that surgeons have functioned under a "global reimbursement" system for more than 35 years? Surgeons are paid a set fee for the care rendered for surgery or fracture care for a fixed period (frequently 90 days) regardless of how often they see a patient or how long the patient remains in the hospital. For that matter, why would intelligent physicians fill their schedules with unnecessary return visits for Medicare/Medicaid patients, who are the lowest payers in the mix, limiting the number of new patients they could see? And how is it that so many physicians "pass along" the losses of caring for the uninsured or Medicare/Medicaid patients when in fact doctors labor under contracts with big insurers that are basically take-it-or-leave-it with payment rates not much higher than Medicare, which has become the new standard?

You Want a Crisis? You’re going to get a big one.
When we get through the economic time that we're in right now, we're going to be confronted with an even bigger problem. The first of the Baby Boomers started signing up for early retirement under Social Security last year and in two years they will start signing up for Medicare. All told, 78 million people are going to stop working, stop paying taxes and start drawing benefits. The problem is that neither Social Security, nor Medicare is ready for them. And the federal government has made explicit and implicit promises to millions of people, but has put no money aside in order to keep those promises, says Goodman.

Cure for the health care system: More capitalism
Excerpt: Much is made of the fact that U.S. life expectancy is a bit shorter than that of other countries. But if you adjust for violent crime and automobile accidents Americans have the longest life expectancy.

Five Things Congress and the President Are Doing to Bring Back Sky-High Gas Prices
Excerpt: A return to $4 a gallon gas--or higher--will be made even more certain if Congress and the President succeed in enacting a host of proposals to crack down on domestic energy supplies. Instead, the federal government should support several pending pro-domestic energy measures that would help meet the nation's growing demand in the years ahead.

Stimulus and Boondoggles
Excerpt: I know more than a few folks in central Pennsylvania who thought Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” was a waste of their federal taxpayer dollars but the “Road to Nowhere” in their own backyard was other people’s money well spent. Of course the folks in central Pennsylvania don’t like being taxed by the federal government to pay for a bridge in Alaska — they don’t benefit, but bear a portion of the cost. And that’s a fundamental problem with federal subsidization of activities that are — at most — the proper domain of state and local government. Set aside the fact that the Constitution never intended for the federal government to make such expenditures. While any of these controversial parochial projects will technically have benefits, sound economic decision-making would seek to optimize those benefits versus the costs. In the politicized world of the congressional sausage factory, costs scarcely factor into the equation given that the burden is borne by million of taxpayers spread out across the country. Therefore, I think the few in Congress who crusade against these perceived boondoggles should spend more time trying to educate their colleagues (don’t laugh) and the public on the need to limit the federal government’s ability to spend the money in the first place.

Whose Medical Decisions?: Part III
Excerpt: No small part of our current medical care problems have been created by politicians who drive up the cost of medical insurance by mandating that insurance cover things that many people are unwilling to pay for. Many of us are willing to pay for treatment of a sprained ankle ourselves, if we can get less expensive insurance to cover us just for catastrophic illnesses. But that is one of many decisions that politicians have taken out of our hands. There will be many more decisions taken out of our hands if Obamacare passes.

Bush Quietly Saved a Million African Lives
Excerpt: What if a president, on his own initiative, under no demands from staff or from supporters or opponents, set out to spend an unprecedented amount of money on AIDS in Africa, literally billions of dollars, at a time when the nation could not afford it, citing his faith as a primary motivation and, ultimately, saved more than a million lives? Wouldn’t the story be front-page news, especially in top, liberal newspapers? Wouldn’t it lead on CNN, MSNBC, and the “CBS Evening News?” Might statues be erected to the man in the nation’s more “progressive” cities? What if the president was George W. Bush? I pose these uncomfortable questions for two reasons: 1) President Bush did precisely that regarding the African AIDS tragedy; and 2) a study claims that Bush’s remarkable action has indeed saved many precious lives.

Father of Malaysian model facing caning for drinking beer: Don't flog her in jail, do it in public
Excerpt: Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The caning of a Malaysian mother for drinking a beer should be conducted in public if it is meant to set an example to fellow Muslims, her father said, days before the punishment is set to be carried out in a closed prison.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, faces six strokes of the cane after a Shariah court found the former model guilty of breaking a law that forbids all Muslims, including foreign visitors, from drinking alcohol. After deciding not to appeal, she may become the first woman to be caned in Malaysia. (feel the love and compassion from one of the world’s great religions.)

I think MSNBC is trying to get the President shot at.
Excerpt: They cropped the video to obscure this guy’s ethnicity. Because it didn’t fit their narrative, which was that they think somebody - somebody white - was going to try to hurt the President. I usually don’t say this sort of thing all that often, but this is one of those times: this is inexcusable. THIS. WAS. DELIBERATE. They had the clip. They knew that the guy was a peaceful protester making a point about the Second Amendment. They knew that - by definition - he was not a crazy white right-winger itching to take a shot at the President. But they altered his appearance so that it matched their argument that there is an active risk of crazy right-wingers itching to take a shot at the President. This was an insanely stupid move on MSNBC’s part - and one that was dangerous to the safety of the President of the United States of America, not to mention his security staff. I am appalled that a supposedly reputable news agency would do this.

Cash For Clunkers: EPIC FAIL
Excerpt: The problem is not that the federal program is poorly-intentioned, or even that it has an inherent design flaw - at least from the point of view of the car dealers. On the contrary - giving people money to buy cars is exceedingly simple. Unfortunately, the federal government is just too slow and inefficient to respond to the demands of a complex market with hundreds of thousands of actors. Dealers either have to stay out of the program, or accept slow responses, uncertainty about rules, and bureaucratic complexity. That’s simply part of dealing with the government.

How to (legally*) personally profit from your position as a Presidential Senior Advisor.
Excerpt: Just follow these easy steps!
1. Create AKPD Message & Media, a public relations company that specializes in astroturfing.
2. Attach yourself to the campaign of the candidate that eventually wins the 2008 Presidential election.
3. Disengage yourself from AKPD Media, but under circumstances where the company ‘owes’ you 2 million dollars, which it will then pay back over time (we call this ‘income’).
4. Become a Senior Advisor to the President.
5. Have the President negotiate a tone-deaf deal between the White House and lobbyist group PhRMA to get the pharmaceutical industry to support health care rationing.
6. ‘Discover’ one fine summer day that AKPD Media, the company that you created and which is still paying you money, has been given a fat advertising contract by PhRMA to astroturf health care rationing.
7. Profit!

Obama, Soros, Petrobras, Brazil & offshore drilling double standards
Excerpt: Barack Obama has chipped in $2 billion in loans to exploit offshore oil resources in hopes of extracting a major new source of petroleum…in South America. And yes, it’s true. There is a Soros link.

ObamaCare and me" by Zane F. Pollard, Atlanta based M.D.
Excerpt: I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list. Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms, which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was sent in immediately via fax, and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye. Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved list. Get the point -- rationing of care.

Questions of competence begin to dog Obama
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats are again in an uproar over health care.
Liberals say they'll blockade any bill that doesn't include a government-run insurance program. And labor says it will sit out the 2010 elections if the president doesn't come across with a stout public plan. Meanwhile, the moderate Democrats who were wooed for weeks by the administration are sidling toward the door, saying that the best thing would be just to start over. Many at the White House no doubt wish they could take that advice. (Begin?)

New blog worth checking out


  1. Do you believe the Constitution is the rule of law? Do you believe in the original intent of our founding fathers? Do you want to reform Congress? If your answer is yes, we have to work together to make this happen.

  2. I'm at the point of wanting to rant incoherently each time someone mentions the alleged "bridge to nowhere." A clever soundbite by a Democratic Congressman, to be sure.

    Sitka, Alaska's airport is on a freakin' island, and travelers must take a water taxi - a boat - to get to town. The bridge would have connected the airport to the town. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Sorry - just a sore point with this Alaskan. I now return you to your regular commentary.