Thursday, February 25, 2010

Healthcare Summit Reading

Government Ordered Health Care Rationing: It’s in the Bill!
Of course, it always has been, but here's chapter and verse.

TV Coverage Limits Success of Health Care Summit
"...the summit broadcast will provide six hours of political posturing about the proper role of government in regulating and mandating health care coverage."
As if that were a bad thing.

A Better Way to Reform Health Care
"Three policy changes will go a long way to achieving these objectives: (1) eliminate the tax code's bias that favors health insurance over out-of-pocket spending; (2) remove state-government barriers to purchasing and providing health services; and (3) reform medical malpractice laws."

The use of reconciliation 1980-2008
Turns out budget reconciliation is usually used for, well, budget-related issues.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GOP's Healthcare Summit Trap

"You know this is a trap."

How many action movies use that line? The girl's been kidnapped, and the bad guy has made sure the hero knows where she is. Someone tells the hero, "It's a trap."

And he says, "Of course it is, but I still have to go."

This is the same thing. Pres. Obama's health care summit is clearly a trap for the GOP.

If they go, when the GOP doesn't back the president's health care bill, he can claim he tried to be bipartisan and ram in through.

If they don't go, the networks will show a sea of empty chairs every time health care comes up.

What do you do when you know it's a trap? You try to figure out how to turn the trap around on your foe.

Republicans, this is what you need to do:

The cameras will be there. Use them to your advantage. Don't let them paint you as "the party of no." Be the party of "this-not-that."

Start every statement with things like:
"Since this has failed everywhere it's been tried..."
"Since this will be ruinously expensive..."
"Since the American people have clearly said they don't want this..."

Then introduce your ideas.

Let the doctors among you do a lot of the talking. Maybe even have them use phrases like, "I wouldn't expect a lawyer to understand this but..." People trust doctors and are suspicious of lawyers. Use that.

And try to keep this from looking like a funeral. But if you're successful, it might be the wake for the Dem's crappy health care reform bill.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Healthcare Summit Preview

Later this week, President Obama and the Dems and GOP in Congress are supposed to get together for a little pow-wow on health care reform.

A little of what to expect:
A Year Later, Obama to Offer Health-Care Bill

Boehner: Healthcare Summit Will Be 'Infomercial'

And the American people's stance:
61% Say Congress Should Start All Over Again on Health Care

All we can do now is wait and see.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Headlines 2/19/10

Record-low number like Congress
Now if people will just do something about it.

Texas sues EPA over anti-pollution plan
ClimateGate strikes again.

10 ways Congress is letting you down
Not an exhaustive list.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona to Stop Treating Some Medicare Patients
Apparently it costs money to treat patients.

Work Overload Brings Panic, Anxiety, Stress
Sometimes the news isn't exactly news.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amend the Judiciary

Many on the left and the right are allegedly very upset over the controversial (and frequently misrepresented) Citizens United v. FEC (pdf) SCOTUS decision.

Some take this as support for Congress to change campaign finance laws. I'd like to suggest we take things one step farther.

Let's change the judiciary.

As currently understood, the Supreme Court is almost all-powerful. Justices receive lifetime appointments, and the only way to deal with an unpopular SCOTUS ruling is to amend the Constitution — no matter how crazy or asinine the decision.

The framers of the Constitution thought the courts would be the weakest branch of the government. (I think they believed if we didn't like their decision, we'd just tell them to kiss off.) They were wrong. (Our commitment to law keeps us from collectively flipping them the bird.)

As it stands, the Supreme Court is very nearly an oligarchy. Their appointment is far removed from the democratic process, and it is almost impossible to unseat one of them.

It's time to change some things.

I propose the Judicial Power Amendment with two provisions:

1) Federal judge and Supreme Court justice appointments will be for a term not to exceed fifteen years.

2) A Supreme Court decision may be vacated by agreement of the President and two-thirds of each house of Congress.

Neither of these provisions seriously limit the power or independence of the courts, but it brings them back down to earth a bit. They, and all of government, need to be reminded that the power to govern in this country is supposed to rest with we the people, not the friends of the powerful.

What do you think? Too much? Not enough? What would you change?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Conservatives, Environmentalism, & Global Warming

From the beginning conservatives have been largely skeptical of the environmental movement. That skepticism has only increased as environmentalists more and more resemble socialists. Folks wonder if the environmentalists believe in their stated cause at all or if it is simply a front for their true cause.

Then along comes the idea that humans are causing global warming. The alleged cause: carbon dioxide, the natural result of just about every form of energy production we have (not to mention breathing). The prescribed cure: drastic cuts in the amount of CO2 produced, no matter the costs to industrialized nations. The penance: huge transfer payments to third-world countries.

Now, let's imagine that the data used to claim the earth is warming becomes suspect. Perhaps it turns out that numbers have been "adjusted" and the original data lost. Or that a semi-organized effort has been made to shut naysayers out of the debate.

So when a prominent global warming researcher admits the world may have been "warmer in medieval times than now" and "for the past 15 years there has been no 'statistically significant' warming," you might expect it to be big news.

Yeah, if you'd been living in a cave. Anything that runs contrary to the accepted global warming dogma is ignored by the majority of the media and by policy makers. Why give up a perfectly good crisis just because of data?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Headlines 2/11/10

East Coast Blizzard Tied to Climate Change
When nothing qualifies as contrary evidence, you have dogma, not science.

Ten GOP Health Ideas for Obama
Yes, they do have them. Not everything I want, but a good start.

School gives away iPods with stimulus money
Nice to know we're going into debt for a good cause.

Finally, you've probably already seen it, but I had to post it:
The Green Police
It's funny until it's true.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Headlines 2/10/10

Justice Thomas Defends Campaign Finance Ruling
“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”
Ralph Nader and Robert Weissman Don't
Apparently they think freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are either/or.

Obama Says Bipartisanship, But What He Wants Is GOP Surrender
Someone broke the code!

Is US bullying Toyota on recall because of GM?
The appearance of impropriety...

8 Sneaky Ways to Raise Taxes
... all of which will soon be employed.

Robber to Lawyer
Is that an improvement?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On the Tebow Ad

All the drama with Focus on the Family's Super Bowl ad over this?

I wasn't sure who should feel worse — the folks who donated the money for that ad or the pro-"choice" groups who look pretty silly after objecting to it.

And then I thought, "I wonder if that was the idea."

It's great if you can win over the hearts and minds of the population with solid arguments and clear reasoning. But if you can get them laughing at your opponents, that scores a point too.

After all the squawking over the ad, a lot of people will visit Focus and see more than they ever could have fit into a 30-second spot. They can get their message out and make some pro-aborts looks silly. Touchdown.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama's College Giveaway

One item in Pres. Obama's State of the Union address hasn't gotten a lot of air time since:
"... let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years — and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."
My initial response was, "Are you out of your ever-loving mind?!"

After digesting and contemplating this idea for a while, I've replaced "ever-loving" with something stronger.

Do we really need another giveaway in this country? Is there something we haven't hocked to China yet?

Let's look at three reasons this is a terrible idea.

1) One of the reasons college costs so much these days is financial aid keeps going up.

Wait, isn't it the other way around? Yes and no. It's a cycle, a little dance they do. Colleges know that if they raise prices, aid will just go up. Grants will grow, and if they don't people can borrow a little more. So financial aid increases, then the colleges can raise prices again.

Promising that you'll never have to pay off your full loans will only make that worse.

2) Making college "more affordable" will further encourage people to go to college who really aren't cut out for it.

Government alone isn't at fault here, but more and more people think of college as simply the next level of education after high school. And anyone who suggests that trade schools are a good alternative is usually viciously attacked.

Everyone isn't cut out for college. Every job shouldn't require a college degree.

And supply and demand says sending more people after the same product will increase the price of that product.

3) We give away enough.

We give money and food to the poor. We have housing assistance. We have health care for the poor and many want to expand that to everyone. Now we want to make a college education an entitlement? Where will it end?

It's time for the "gimme" mentality to stop. People need (on a deep, fundamental level) to make their own way. Helping people in need is one thing. Making sure everyone has anything they could desire is something else entirely — something toxic.

It's time we say, "Enough!"

And it's time we tell Mr. Obama that the American people aren't his piggy bank for whatever project crosses his mind. Our Constitution lists the responsibilities and prerogatives of the federal government; we need to obey it. I know he used to teach it, but I wonder if he ever read it.
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