Saturday, May 21, 2011

High times at the IMF.I'm surprised there haven't been lawsuits. Diplomatic immunity, maybe?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture has already taken place in 1994

From gutsy to gutless

Obama tries to dictate peace in the Middle East, gets schooled by Netanyahu. He's had two years to learn this, but his advisers from academia keep misleading him. If the President thinks this will help his reelection chances, not so much.

Jeffrey Goldberg objects, saying "Mr. Netanyahu, don't speak to my president that way." If the President wants respect he has to earn it. He's made a practice of treating our allies like dirt and our enemies with kid gloves. There were lots of Americans who cheered Bibi today.

Professor Jacobson points out Goldberg's misreading of the word "expect."

The Fire in the Belly

Greta has a very interesting interview with Sarah Palin about the decision whether to run or not. She says she has "the fire in the belly," but lists several concerns about jumping in. After the viciousness directed at her in the past, I wouldn't blame her if she told the country to take the job and shove it, but I think that she'd heartily endorse anyone else she trusts to uphold her values. The problem with that is that anybody who meets with her privately is likely to get excoriated by the news media, as well. Michelle Bachmann stands to get much of her backing if Palin decides not to run, but don't think that means she'll be sitting this one out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I really hate food activists!
A consumer advocacy group claims it's time for Ronald McDonald to go, saying the nation's largest fast-food chain's "Chief Happiness Officer" has too much influence on kids, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Corporate Accountability International [CAI]plans to hold nearly two dozen events at McDonald's restaurants and at colleges around the country Wednesday as it announces the contents of its report on Ronald McDonald, the Tribune reported.
CAI sounds like just another liberal attack dog against business and profits. Americans control their own lives, not these scolds. They provide ready- made news events for lazy reporters to show on local TV, making it look like there are more of them than there are.

This follows on the FDA proposal to eliminate potatoes from American diets, particularly from school lunches. The USDA promotes agricultural products, so now the FDA wants to expand its fiefdom into food choices. It wouldn't be so bad if these "experts" had proven right in the past, but they haven't. Today I saw a report that avoiding sodium can be bad for your heart. They used to say to avoid eggs, fats and butter. Now all three are recommended in reasonable amounts.

Senator Tom Coburn, who has withdrawn from the "Gang of 6" which was trying to forge a solution to our terrible fiscal crisis, writes:
I understand the disappointment, and real danger, associated with our impasse. The question, though, is not how we tried and failed but why the Senate has not even tried. Commissions and “gangs” form when members lose confidence in the institutions in which they serve. Working groups have their place — but they should support, not replace, the open work of the full Senate. The truth is that we already have a permanent standing debt commission. It’s called Congress.

We are facing what Democrat Erskine Bowles calls the most predictable economic crisis in history. There is no excuse for not having bills on the Senate floor with an open amendment process that allows the American people to fully comprehend not only the magnitude of our problems but the possible solutions.
Meanwhile, Harry Reid digs in his heels and waits for the Republicans to cave in on new taxes, or the extension of Bush's tax cuts to run out.

David French writes about: Romney's health care advantage:
Conservative pundits are in high dudgeon over Mitt Romney's May 12th health care address. Their explosions of indignation, sadly, have shown contextual ignorance and ideological incoherence. Romney has grappled with health care in greater depth than any other Republican contender and has unique and powerful insights into ObamaCare's procedural and substantive flaws. As a long-time supporter of Romney, I predict that he will not only survive this round of demagoguery, but he will prevail in the primaries and his health care experience will be a tremendous advantage in the general election.

. . . [O]ne must first understand basic principles and fundamental political realities. We do not currently have a free market medical system. We already have a form of federally mandated universal health care. The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires all hospitals receiving Medicare and certain other government funds (which is to say, almost every hospital in the nation) to provide ambulance and emergency medical care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Such a mandate (signed into law by Ronald Reagan) destroys any semblance of a truly free market.
Even if we do away with Obamacare, we will need to decide how to deal with the problem caused by those who voluntarily make themselves unable to pay. That's why we can't just expect to go back to business as usual.

Read the whole thing™.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brian McGrory in the Boston Globe:
Maybe I missed something here, but isn’t personal responsibility something that Republicans generally support? The alternative, mind you, is that people who either don’t bother paying for insurance or can’t afford it clog emergency rooms — the most expensive entry point to the health care system — to receive care that’s spread among taxpayers who have already paid for insurance on their own. That’s really what Republicans support?

So to the point, Romney stood up and stood tall last week and defended the Massachusetts law, with the caveat that it was never meant to be a national plan. The authority to tackle health care, Romney said, resides with the states, and what fits well in Massachusetts may not be the best solution in Montana or Mississippi. This is reasonable and practical.

Meaning that conservative commentators just about broke their legs rushing to their keyboards and cameras to tear the speech apart. “Mitt Romney’s Illogical, Terrible Health Care Address,’’ was how the National Review termed it. And that was one of the kinder takes.
He's right. Anybody who listened to the speech should realize that this central problem of health care will remain even after we repeal Obamacare and reform our malpractice laws and allow interstate insurance shopping. The so-called "Free Riders" are actually defrauding the system, in a sense, by failing to insure themselves and then demanding health care when they can't afford it leaving the rest of us to pay for it. It's a de facto entitlement they create for themselves by taking advantage of the Hippocratic Oath and the fact that the law often requires hospitals to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. Would it be better to make it a crime to do so? I find that repellent. Should we allow doctors and hospitals to just turn them away?

What's the conservative position here. Romney says it's the states' responsibility to solve the problem and I think he's right. The federal government is too big, slow and wasteful to do this right. I hate everything about Obamacare, the way it was passed, the bloated bureaucracy it creates, the way it takes our personal control and choice away and the increased burdens it places on businesses and providers. There has to be a better way. It has to be repealed and we need to come to a national consensus, because the default now reward irresponsibility.

I posted this at HotAir as a comment on an AP article about GOP activists who are still unenthusiastic about Romney:
I listened to Romney's speech last week about health care, and it made me think about the fundamental problem that we all face. I have a cousin who used to be a hospital administrator who verified that the biggest problem of the health care system is free riders, those who forgo buying insurance but show up at the ER and have to be treated despite having no means to pay, especially when they have major medical problems. These costs have to be passed on to everyone else, but health insurance companies and employers who furnish these benefits, object to paying them.

I'm all in favor of repealing Obamacare, but I think that people who flatly reject Romney because of the Massachusetts plan, need to face up to the free rider problem, the malpractice costs, etc. and decide how we're going to deal with them. Individual mandates aren't Constitutional, but do we want doctors and hospitals to turn people away who don't have insurance in violation of their Hippocratic Oath?

Mitt Romney is a serious analyst, not a demagogue, and he deserves to be treated seriously and not dismissed on the basis of a single word, "Romneycare."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why you shouldn't write off Mitt Romney

I just revisited Mark Steyn's column criticizing Mitt Romney's speech about health care and composed a comment. Romney's speech was important in that it explained why health care is so difficult. I think that's an important thing for people to understand and think about.

Romney did not recommend that all states adopt mandatory insurance, as Steyn implies, but you've got to admit that the free rider problem is real, as is tort reform, and several others. It's not simple. You can't just repeal Obamacare and expect it to disappear. A responsible candidate has to make that clear.

Mark Steyn is brilliant at the bon mot, writing the perfect sound byte, the perfert analogy; but he doesn't offer any real alternatives or insights into the problem in his attack on Romney.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I didn't watch O'Reilly's debate with Jon Stewart, but I saw most of it on Greta. I took exception to Stewart's constant attribution of this issue as belonging to Fox News, since I consider it mostly O'Reilly's personal grievance, but I thought Stewart won the debate when he said, "If I'm the President and I'm booking my own poetry slams, you should throw me out." The President and his family are African-American. They're interested in rap and its offshoots and various types of black culture. Unless he's inviting people who advocate killing cops, as opposed to defending specific people accused of doing so, I don't care. I can't think of anything more annoying than a poetry slam, but I'm fortunately immune from a White House invitation on the grounds of my obscurity.

This is extremely small potatoes.