Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion

For the past two years, I've done a halloween haunted maze at my house, with the help of my children and their friends.

This year, that mantle will pass to my son, who will be running a smaller version of the maze with his friends. My daughter and I meanwhile have joined the "professional ranks", working as halloween haunt monsters at Kings Dominion's Halloween Haunt.

This is a very tiring job, but also a lot of fun. We've always enjoyed going to these halloween mazes at the various theme parks in the area; but getting to scare other people has a special pleasure.

So if you do manage to make it down to Kings Dominion this fall, stop by the Toxic Plague, and we'll be sure to try to scare the living daylight out of you.

Sikh, Muslim -- what's the difference for Obama?

An interesting and quirky story today, in which we find that President Obama has decided NOT to visit a Sikh temple while in India, supposedly because stupid Americans might think Obama is a Muslim:

Revered by Indians of all faiths, it is a cherished emblem of India’s religious diversity. So it was no surprise when the gold-plated marvel was touted as the likely third stop on President Obama’s visit to India, scheduled for early November.

Religious diversity -- that was probably the first strike against them in Obama's mind.

the plan appears to have foundered on the thorny question of how Mr. Obama would cover his head, as Sikh tradition requires, while visiting the temple.

“To come to golden temple he needs to cover his head,” said Dalmegh Singh, secretary of the committee that runs the temple. “That is our tradition. It is their problem to cover the head with a Christian hat or a Muslim cap.”

And while it doesn't say so in the article, it appears you could also where a jewish headcovering, and the article says most people just tie a kerchief around their heads.

Now, Sikhism is NOT Islam. But occasionally, Sikh's in this country are confused for Muslims:

Sikhs in the United States have often been mistaken for Muslims. Sikhism, which arose in the Punjab region in the 15th century, includes elements of Hinduism and Islam but forms a wholly distinct faith. Since Sept. 11, 2001, Sikhs in the United States have been occasional targets of anti-Muslim discrimination and violence — a Sikh was killed in Arizona a few days after the attack on the World Trade Center by a man who mistook him for a Muslim.

Given this history, it is sad that our President is so concerned about his PERSONAL APPEARANCE that he is willing to contribute to the ignorance of others, and play into their prejudices, by refusing to enter the Sikh temple because he is afraid someone might think he is a Muslim:

“We have worked so hard to establish in America that Sikhs have a very different identity than Muslims,” Mr. Phoolka said. “It is very unfortunate that even the White House is conveying the message that there is no difference between Muslims and Sikhs.”

But Obama, more than any President I can ever remember, is a self-centered, self-absorbed narcisist who would put his own reputation above all else, even one of those "teachable moments". Seriously, what great harm is it if some people refuse to believe Obama when he says he is a Christian? So what if some people think he is Muslim? How does that really harm him?

But rather than do the right thing, and show respect to India and demonstrate our own country's tolerance of free expression and differing religions, Obama has chosen to slight the Sikh faith, perpetuate the myth that Sikh's and Muslims are alike, and once again make our country look foolish -- all to protect his own reputation:

Mr. Obama, a Christian, has struggled to fend off persistent rumors that he is a Muslim,

Oddly, by refusing to enter a Sikh temple, Obama is actually contributing to the rumors that he is a Muslim. Because the two faiths have had a sometimes unfriendly relationship, while Christians have no problem entering a Sikh temple.

Many Presidents have taken into account how their actions would reflect on America and it's principles. Obama on the other hand regularly takes actions that reflect poorly on our country -- it's his personal appearance that he cares about, not the country he represents. And once again, he has embarrased our nation for no good reason.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Remember the Death Panels?

Obama, realising that he has destroyed the economy, and his health care program is despised by most people planning to vote this November, has belatedly come to the conclusion that he better attack something.

So, as the supreme divider he is, Obama set out to attack the heart of America, those people who are tired of the government invading our lives, spending our money, and corrupting our society.

But in his rant at the Tea Party, he seems to have revealed his "plan" for seniors.

From Obama's CNBC Town Hall:

The problem long term are the problems that I talked about earlier. We’ve got -- we had two tax cuts that weren’t paid for, two wars that weren’t paid for. We’ve got a population that's getting older.

Well, we know that Obama opposed the two tax cuts, and is certainly railing against unpaid-for-tax cuts (while he has no problem with unpaid-for spending). And we know he opposed the wars, and he certainly seems opposed to fighting a war without paying for them.

So it seems this list is a list of things he wants to end. No more unpaid-for tax cuts, no unpaid-for wars.

And what is the 3rd thing he is opposed to? A population that is getting older.


Seriously though, Obama's town hall meeting was full of the same platitudes Obama always provides, along with his fantasy-land vision of america where his stimulus actually stimulated, were Obamacare is already providing free health care for everybody, where all the middle class is working, and we can fix our debt problem if we just take $34 billion in new taxes from the rich.

His problem of course, beyond being delusional, is that nobody is buying the hope anymore, and come november, we will be changing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How the Grinch Stole Healthcare

This is not mine, I found it at NetRightNation:

Just something to remember as you keep reading story after story of doctors, medical supply and technology companies, hospitals, and insurance companies abandoning the health care field or greatly raising their costs.

We had a pretty good system that needed to be tweaked. Obama took that system, and destroyed it, and gave us a system that won't work, and will cost people lives.

The only upside is the rest of the world will learn that they've been leaching off of us for their health care, and maybe figure out that they too have the wrong prescription for the world's survival.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Obama says things are as bad as ever.

Almost two years after Obama said he was saving us from the Great Depression, he now admits that our economy is in as much risk as it has ever been, meaning it is as bad or worse than it was when he started "fixing" it.

In a speech attacking Linda McMahon for actually having held a job, and being a successful career woman, Obama spoke of how important it was to elect someone who could save us from the Obama Economy:

At this moment, we are facing challenges we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. And facing serious challenges requires serious leaders -– leaders who are willing to take on the status quo; leaders who are willing to take on special interests; leaders who are willing to fight for our people and our future

Well, last year Obama kept claiming we were heading for a great depression, but few people agreed with him. But he said that if we just spent all our money on democratic special interest groups, our unemployment rate would tumble and everything would be A-OK.

Well, the democrats did everything he asked, with a filibuster-proof majority in the senate and a large majority in the house. And instead of making things better, unemployment soared, the economy sputtered, and now even Obama has to admit that we have only made things worse.

So, why would we want to elect MORE democrats? Why would we vote a guy who has lived on the public payroll like Blumenthal, who only pretended to be a Vietnam Veteran, when we can elect a person who has actually EARNED a living and knows how to run a business and create jobs, and understands what Obama never will -- the troubles that real americans face.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why some people think Obama is a Muslim

Compare his messages for Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah, to see where his heart lies.

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I want to extend our best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem.

Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God. This is a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared. But Ramadan is also a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and pray during the night; when Muslims provide support to others to advance opportunity and prosperity for people everywhere. For all of us must remember that the world we want to build – and the changes that we want to make – must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.

These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings. Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country. And today, I want to extend my best wishes to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world – and your families and friends – as you welcome the beginning of Ramadan.

I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.

May God’s peace be upon you.

Nothing but praise for the Muslim people. He mentions Muslim and Islam 8 times.

Now, read the message to the Jewish people:
Remarks by the President on the Occasion of Rosh Hashanah

As Jews in America and around the world celebrate the first of the High Holy Days I want to extend my warmest wishes for the New Year. L’shana Tova Tikatevu – may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the spiritual calendar and the birth of the world. It serves as a reminder of the special relationship between God and his children, now and always. And it calls us to look within ourselves – to repent for our sins; recommit ourselves to prayer; and remember the blessings that come from helping those in need.

Today, those lessons ring as true as they did thousands of years ago. And as we begin this New Year, it is more important than ever to believe in the power of humility and compassion to deepen our faith and repair our world.

At a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, it is up to us to do what we can to help those less fortunate.

At a time when prejudice and oppression still exist in the shadows of our society, it is up to us to stand as a beacon of freedom and tolerance and embrace the diversity that has always made us stronger as a people.

And at a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue, it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land. Progress will not come easy, it will not come quick. But today we had an opportunity to move forward, toward the goal we share—two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

The scripture teaches us that there is “a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In this season of repentance and renewal, let us commit ourselves to a more hopeful future.

Michelle and I wish all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a sweet year full of health and prosperity.

No praise for the Jewish people here -- in fact, he only mentions the religion one time, in the 1st sentence of greeting. Instead, most of the message is a political one, not about the Jewish religion and celebration, but Obama's wish that Israel (a country) should accept the two-state solution he wants, and how they should be more tolerant (while the muslims were praised for THEIR "tolerance" even though no muslim state allows Christians to share their faith, and we had to burn bibles in Afghanistan because of their intolerance).

He doesn't even ask that God's peace be upon the Jewish people -- only the Muslims. No mention of how Jews have contributed to our country (like he bizarrely thinks Muslims have), just about how Jews must become more compassionate, give to the poor, and put away their prejudice and oppression.

NOTE: The idea that we would gauge people's achievements based on their religious beliefs is a typical liberal one -- the left loves to segregate us, treat us all based on groups they assign to us. Unless the achievement is of a religious nature, or a socio-political one, who cares what faith was held by Einstein, or Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubbs, Eli Whitney, or Jonas Salk (Although none of those people are Muslim).

Thus, we have the administration spending OUR tax dollars for NASA to make Muslim countries feel better about their acheivements. But in any case, here is the President, praising Muslims for their contributions to America, while castigating Jews for not doing enough for the poor and downtrodden;

Here we have the President praising Islam for its tolerance (on a week when they threatened to riot, murder, rape, pillage, and attack our troops because some nut in Florida was simply going to burn a book), while telling Jews they need to be MORE tolerant.

Here we have the President not making a single mention of ANY muslim country while he praises Muslims for being a positive force in the world, while he attacks the Jewish Faith for the existance of Israel while chiding them for not working harder to co-exist with Palestine, a political construct with the express aim of DESTROYING ISRAEL and WIPING OUT THE JEWISH FAITH ON THIS PLANET (and guess what, Palistine is run by MUSLIMS, the TOLERANT RELIGION).

Obama says he's not a Muslim, and he certainly doesn't practive the faith. But he sure goes out of his way to make up lies about how great Muslims are, while taking even ceremonial opportunities to castigate a TRUE RELIGION OF PEACE, Judaism, without even having the decency to MENTION the religion in his proclamation on one of their religious holidays.

Think about that -- an entire message to Jews on their religious holidays, and not ONE use of the word "Judaism".

What Went Wrong : Fineman discovers Obama's Incompetence

Howard Fineman does a little reflecting in his Newsweek column, asking What Went Wrong. It's nothing we didn't already know.

First, Obama was full of himself:

One day in the winter of 2005, I was in a Senate hallway when the new guy from Illinois arrived for a vote. Sen. Barack Obama—pop-star charisma, limitless possibility—knew his own allure.

Second, Obama had never lead anything, and had no idea how to run anything:
“Shovel ready” projects identified in the spring of 2009 are often still “unshoveled” because officials aren’t in place to approve them, says Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. “The fact is,” he says, “Obama never really ran anything, even legislatively.” Neither has his closest adviser, message guru David Axelrod.
But being full of himself, Obama couldn't see his own flaws, and unlike past Presidents didn't surround himself with people who could be the leaders he wasn't. Instead, he thought he could do it all, because he thought he always had (and apparently, Fineman still thinks Obama actually was an over-acheiver):

Obama—an overachiever, the guy who fills up a second blue book on the extra-credit question—tried to do it all. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, eager to please the new boss, declared before Inauguration Day: “Never allow a crisis to go to waste. There are opportunities to do big things.” But in doing big things, they failed to fully attend to (and be seen attending to) the immediate economic needs of the middle class. “There hasn’t been the laserlike focus on the economy there could have, and should have, been,” says a top Democratic strategist who declined to be named criticizing the White House.
Now, that's something I would like to see from a reporter like Howard -- the actual blue book that Fineman thinks he filled with an extra-credit question. Howard is a true believer, who without a single shred of evidence (college transcripts, scholarly papers, professors who remember how smart Obama was or even that Obama was in their classrooms) believes the hype that Obama sold, and even makes up his own aprocryphal statements like his "blue-book" assertion.

Fineman has also belatedly come to understand that Obama has no focus, and shows little interest in actually doing the job, leading him into petulant and ignorant decisions:

The president is an agreeable guy, but aloof, and not one who likes to come face to
face with the enemy.
In the spring of 2009, the White House strong-armed House Democrats into voting for a cap-and-trade environmental bill, even though it was clear the Senate wouldn’t go along.
It’s the task of the presidency to cajole people, including your enemies, into doing what they don’t want to do if it is good for the country. Did Obama think he could eschew the rituals of politics—that all he had to do was invoke His Hopeness to bring
people aboard?
Fact is, Obama has never really had to work hard at anything, because the people who raised him felt sorry for him and gave him too much. He assumed that someone would do the job for him, like someone has been doing for him most of his life. His mother, his grandparents, his mentors — everybody seems to have wanted to help out the poor orphan boy who lost his dad, and they taught him nothing about hard work and sacrifice.

It still cracks me up to hear how Obama turned down high-paying jobs in law to do community service — because first, he seems to have been fine, with a multi-million-dollar house and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year coming through his wife and all; but second, because if he HAD gotten a high-paying legal position, he would have had to actually have WANTED TO WORK. He took the easy way out, “community organizer”, and accomplished nothing.

Fineman also puts to bed many of the lies Obama has been telling. For example, the "change the tone in Washington" by "reaching out to the opposition":
The president hasn’t invited the House minority leader over to talk, and Obama had his first private Oval Office chat with Mc Connell only last month. Better late than never, but too late to do any good this cycle.
Imagine that -- almost two years into his term, and he had NEVER had a one-on-one with the head Republicans in either legislative body, and has only just recently sat down with McConnell, who was one of his Senate colleagues.

Remember in contrast that Bush, who was roundly panned by the "media" as partisan, had the entire Kennedy clan over to the White House early in his administration, and regularly reached out to the Democrats both individually and in groups.

But Obama, having a large Democrat majority in the house, and at one point a filibuster-proof 60-vote Democrat majority in the Senate, saw no reason to actually work with Republicans, deciding the "new tone" should be to attack republicans and pass laws paying back his constituents for their support and campaign contributions.

Most importantly, Fineman admits to what we already knew, and what the Media worked many long weeks to acheive: Obama is a personal (fictional) creation of the media, and his election was manufactured without regard for the disastrous policies Obama was KNOWN to want to pursue, but which the media worked with Obama to hide from the voters:
“Obama’s 2008 victory was a personal one,” says Bill Galston, an adviser to President Clinton. “It wasn’t a vote for a more expansive view of the role and reach of government.”
Take health-care reform. Ten years hence, perhaps, it will be seen as the signal achievement of the Obama years. But for now, it’s an unpopular law that took a divisive year to enact, that liberals and conservatives loathe, that is full of bureaucratic and fiscal IEDs, and that drained attention from dealing with the economy. If you disagree, look at Obama’s speech last week in Cleveland. In 47 minutes, he mentioned health care for about 25 seconds.
Ten years hence, if our country is lucky, Obamacare will be a long-gone bad dream. But it is telling that, with Obama claiming he saved the economy from a depression, even one of his biggest chearleaders in the meedia acknowledges that nothing Obama did on the economy will be seen as useful a decade from now. And Fineman realises that Obama doesn't even believe in his own health care program anymore, even if Fineman still has a psychotic hope for it.

I guess we should thank Howard for finally recognising the truth, even if he'll never acknowledge his own part in electing a clueless, aloof, incompetent non-leader with a overblown sense of his own importance to the most powerful job in the world at a time we needed a real leader.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Surrender -- 9/11/2010

9/11/2010. This is the day that we surrendered to the radical Muslim hoardes.

Those radical muslims threatened our armed forces, if we are to believe the generals.

In response, the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the FBI (3 times), and General Petraeus all responded to the threat against our troops -- by actively and publicly intervening to stop the exercise of free speech (as defined by the Supreme Court) that was objected to by those who threatened us with war.

In response to the overwhelming force of government threats and intimidation, the citizen of our country backed down, and agreed to relinquish his freedom to make his statement.

This is the very definition of surrender -- the Commander in Chief (as Obama referred to himself when harassing a citizen for threatening to commit free speech), rather than standing up for the rights of our citizens guaranteed in the constitution, surrendered to those threatening war. Without a shot being fired, the muslim extremists who threatened our troops won the war.

The only question that remains is, are there any rights that our President, and his leadership team, are willing to defend against threats of violence? Well, we know that Obama refuses to stand up to the threat of violence from Mexico that would result from enforcing our immigration laws and stopping the illegal invasion of our country from the south.

So, what is next? Suppose the muslim extremists threaten violence if we don't make some muslim holy day a national holiday? What if they insist we allow muslim communities to practice sharia law? If they object to women wearing provocative garments when walking near mosques or during holy days?

What if they insist we don't prosecute the increasing acts of violence muslims are inflicting on their own families in the name of "honor killings"? Is there some point at which the Obama administration will draw the line and say "enough is enough -- we don't mind surrendering SOME of our rights to extremists, but not the rights that WE care about!!!!".

There are many forms of free speech that are highly controversial. Thus, the provocative statement "I may object to what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- a cornerstone of our freedom in this country. Obama's administration has replaced this with "If I object to what you have to say, I won't lift a finger to defend your right to say it".

Here, on the 9th aniversaray of 9/11, we have time to reflect on the war that the extremists launched on our way of life long ago, and the most bruttle battle in that war, the downing of the two towers and the smashing of the Pentagon. We rebuilt the Pentagon, but in our first show of weakness have failed to rebuild the towers, which is a constant source of delight to the extremists -- no matter how much we weaken them on the battlefield, they can look to Ground Zero and know they have mortally wounded us; this is why so many Americans dislike the idea of building a victory mosque so close to that site.

So it is sad that, on this aniversary, we are dealt such a blow, the surrender of our freedoms to these extremists. You don't negotiate with terrorists. You don't surrender your freedoms for the vain hope of security. If General Petraeus can't defend our troops against the mongrel extremist hordes, if the placement of our troops in Afghanistan results in the surrender of our free-speech rights at home, it is time for new leadership, a leadership that understands that the military exists to defend our freedoms, not so we have to surrender our freedoms to protect the military.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My Warning to All: Don't copy news articles.

I'm not a lawyer. But my warning to all those who use the internet is simple -- RESPECT COPYRIGHT LAWS.

Don't copy entire articles from newspapers, without permission. There are papers going under who will sue you. One paper in particular, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has come up with a business model which involvese suing their readers for small amounts.

They created a firm called RightHaven, whose sole purpose appears to be to file small suits against bloggers and others without enough money to defend themselves. This firm scours the internet for any references to articles from the LVRJ. If they find one, they will BUY the copyright from the LRVJ, and then sue the person who posted the article, or the host which allowed it to be posted.

Note that the newspaper is "no longer involved". So don't count on public opnion or a reasonable appeal to save you. This company is a lawyer-driven company with ONE PURPOSE IN MIND -- to get you to pay them money for violating copyright.

And to be clear -- it is unlikely that you would be able to justify a cut-and-paste of an entire article, even if you provide a link and a citation. (I wonder if the standard snark attack of quoting an article in little pieces with long responses to each part would be considered fair use?). Worse, even if you COULD win, are you ready to spend $50,000 defending yourself against a suit that apparently you can settle for $5000 or so?

The lawsuits all appear to be about the same: $75,000, plus surrender of your domain name. That appears to be a ploy, as the settlements seem much less, and the largest that has been reported publicly is $5000.

If you are a political candidate, don't think you are immune. RightHaven has gone after campaign web sites, which sometimes think they can simply cut-and-paste articles if those articles are about the candidate. They have gone after both democrats and republicans.

And for you blogger-user sites, they have gone after both left and right-wing aggregation sites like DU and FR. They've gone after indifivual bloggers. They sued a doctor for copying an article of interest to his patients. They sued a PR FIRM that does PR for the paper, for publishing an article about an event that they provided publicity for.

So, DON'T cut-and-paste articles. Purge your sites of any you have. THink hard about fair use, excerpt judiciously, include links and citations. I AM NOT A LAWYER, so don't think that I'm saying that if you do this, you will be OK. I can't say, but it is clear that you will be targeted if you just copy an article to your web site.

The days where a blogger can steal news stories, and get money from blog pimping advertisements, is over.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PWC Board votes to halt wasteful stimulus spending -- for now

Tonight, in an emergency session, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 with 1 abstention to halt any action by any county employee to commit the spending of the latest Obama pork bill.

The action was made necessary when the school administration, with no input from either the PWC BOCS or the School Board, announced they would start hiring 180 teachers on provisional contracts and integrate them into the school system.

Defenders of this dubious move claimed that it would be too disruptive to add teachers later in the year, which presumes that we were going to do so, and ignores the much larger disruption if the money was not obtained, or the elected officials decided not to take the money -- requiring the firing of the provisional teachers, AND the re-arrangement of classes in the middle of the year.

Unfortunately, while the school administration was happy to give this story to the papers, and to start implementing the hiring, they had no financial people in town to discuss the matter with the board. Nobody at the meeting mentioned the implication of this -- which is that with the financial people on vacation, someone in the administration made a decision to spend money WITHOUT CONSULTING THEM. If on the other hand they DID get opinions, those opinions should have been brought to the meeting.

Several school board members showed up at the emergency session, called when several board members recognized the horrible mistake about to be made, and reasoned that they had to put a stop to it.

Only 5 board members were in town, just enough to make a quorum. This led to the most pathetic action of the evening, when Supervisor Principi, realising he was the only member of the five who wanted to vote to hire teachers without any guarantee of having the money, thought he could stop the vote by leaving the meeting room, thus denying the rest of the board a quorum.

Fortunately, Supervisor May, in a quick thinking action, called for the vote and took the count while Principi stood at the door, not even able to successfully pull off his own bizarre plot. It took the county attorney only a short time to decide that since Principi was standing in the room at the time of the vote, they had a quorum, and the vote counted.

No doubt Principi will be livid about this, and complain about some breach of proper procedure. Of course, he knows that if the school administration hadn't tried to pull this coup while Corey Stewart was out of the country, they'd have had the votes without him -- and likely at least one other missing board member would have joined the vote to stop the hiring.

The issue is still alive. The school board will meet to discuss the matter, and eventually the state will decide whether to take the money or not.

We learned from the meeting that the state is free to spend the money on next year's budget, which means in fact that there was no rush whatsoever to put the teachers in place now. If we wait, the money, while it is still rediculous pork spending, can be used to hire teachers we actually will need.

Congratulations to Supervisors May, Stirrup, Covington, and Nohe for recognizing a serious problem and acting swiftly to mitigate and prevent the damage. Shame on Principi for attempting to circumvent the democratic process by walking out on his responsibilities. This isn't Texas, Mr. Principi -- don't act like Texas Democrats, hiding in some other state to avoid granting quorums.

Now it's time for the School Board to do the right thing, and take this process deliberatively, and forget about trying to load up on teachers this year.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our President is a Blooming Idiot, or a Liar

Obama wandered on a Fox set, and probably wishes he hadn't. They actually asked him a real question, and he turned into a complete idiot.

Asked about special deals still in the bill, he tried to justify the "Louisiana Purchase", where Landreau got $300 million dollars for her vote, and was proud of it.

As you may know, they can't really just say "Louisiana's Senator gets $300 million for her vote". Instead, they have to write something that applies to everybody who meets the "qualifications". Then they put enough qualifiers in so that, when it's done, only the targeted item is covered.

As the Lousiana Purchase was described:

According to ABC News's Jonathan Karl, Majority Leader Reid's (D-NV) bill has a provision increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for "certain states recovering from a major disaster." The section goes on for two pages defining which "states" would qualify, including states that "during the preceding 7 fiscal years" have been declared a "major disaster area."
How many states does that apply to? Exactly one state: Lousiana,

Got that? It applies to a state that, in the PREVIOUS 7 years, had a disaster, and only Loiusiana qualifies.

But Obama, the clueless one, said this on a NATIONAL TV Interview:

OBAMA: That also — I'm giving you an example of one that I consider important. It also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake. So that's not just a Louisiana provision. That is a provision that affects every state that is going through a natural catastrophe.

Got that? The bill explicitly says it's for states that PREVIOUSLY had a disaster, but Obama lied and said it covers states that are GOING through a natural catastrophe. He also lied about Hawaii having an Earthquake. Unless he meant Haiti, and thinks that Haiti is one of our 57 states.

This is how Obama wants to pass Health Care, by lying about it. I am sick and tired of liberals claiming that we are wrong about Obama lying. We have two lies in this one paragraph.

Unless you want to argue that Obama is just stupid. Which is probably true.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Your Government at Work, Census Bus Edition

Since in the next two weeks government will take over our health care, we ought to look around and see how government really operates. So today, let's look at the Census.

Or more specifically, the advertisement I heard today on the radio about the Census and public bus transportation. See, there's these 3 buses, and they take people around in the government-world of Census.

But if you don't fill out your Census, Government won't know how many people live in the big City. And if they don't know how many people there are, they won't know how many buses they need to serve the people, and you might not get a 4th bus that you need to get around.

Because, you see, in the Government world, services are not based on actually serving people. I mean, if it was, they'd just look at the bus and see how many people were sitting on it, and if they saw lots of empty seats, they'd know they had enough buses, and if the seats are all full, they'd add new buses.

But that's a market-based solution, and Government doesn't serve markets, it taxes people. So in Government-land, it makes no difference how many people actually RIDE the buses, it only matters how many people live in the city that they can tax to PAY for buses, and that they can claim they "provide service to" on the basis that the bus drives by their houses, or runs over their children, or whatever.

So we need the census to count the people so we can justify buying more buses we don't need to take people who don't want to ride to places they don't want to go.

Your Government At Work, Metro Edition

As you may know, last weekend was "spring forward" time, when we "lose" an hour of sleep. At 2am, we advanced our clocks to 3am.

Of course, if you were awake during that time, nothing really happens. Your late-night TV movie doesn't skip an hour, you aren't suddenly one hour hungrier, your homework isn't one more hour done. It's a totally non-physical phenomena.

That is, unless you are the Government. To the Government, that missing hour makes all the difference in the world. Imagine you are going down to party with some friends in Georgetown. You take metro, like a good citizen, because your partying until 2am, and metro is open until 3am, so there's plenty of time to get home.

There you are, and the time is getting late. 1am, 130am, 150am. Around 2am, they are ready to close the bar, and you are off to the Metro to get back to your car. Except that Metro is closed.

Because you see, Metro closes at 3am. Normally, that's 3 hours after midnight. But it's "spring forward time", and 2am is 3am. So they obviously have to do SOMETHING, right? Now for normal folks, the obvious thing is to change your closing time to 4am. After all, people will still be partying until 2am, and will still need to drive home. Nobody says "hey, we lose an hour, so we'll quit the party an hour earlier". They say "hey, we'll sleep in an hour".

But that's not how Government works. To government, 3am is 3am, and if for some reason 1:59:59 is followed by 3am, then the right thing to do is to close an hour early.

The only question is, when they punched out, did their timecards say 3am, and did they get paid for the hour.

, noting that they close at 3am (and not 3 hours after midnight), decided that since 2am was really 3a

Kiss your doctor goodbye.

There's at least a 1 out of 3 chance that, if Obamacare is "deemed to be passed", you won't be seeing your doctor anymore.

A Medical provider survey provides the grim reality of Obama's pipe dream of government takeover of our health system:

What if nearly HALF of all physicians in America suddenly stopped practicing medicine? Such a drastic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality, depending upon how the healthcare reform legislation is implemented, and which version of health reform passes into law.

Imagine a world where half the doctors no longer practice. Now imagine that 30 million new people are seeking out non-emergency care, since they have been given free health care paid for with your tax dollars.

Imagine Disneyworld on a 75 degree sunny summer saturday. Sure, the rides look fun, but you can't get onto any of them.

But that's if they had a public option in the bill. What about the current bill? Not much better:

Interestingly, the numbers were not as dramatic, but still troubling, if the public option is not part of the equation. If health reform passes without the public option, 7.4% of physicians stated that they would quit practicing medicine, unless they were nearing retirement, in which case 21.8% said they would retire early, bringing the total loss of physician workforce to nearly one-third of physicians leaving medicine.

That means if there are 6 doctors in your office, and you've had to wait a week to get a routine office appointment, there will now be 4 doctors serving you and the newly blessed freeloaders.

OK, enough of the fearmongering. At least we'll have better health care, even if it's not actually available, right? Well, if there's one things doctors would know about, it's about the quality of care. And what doctors tell us?:

Over 50% of physicians who responded predict that a health reform would cause the quality of medical care to deteriorate in America. When asked how health reform could affect the quality of medical care, 40.7% stated it would "decline or worsen somewhat," while another 14.4% stated that the quality of medical care would "decline or worsen dramatically". If a public option is implemented as part of health reform, 64.1% of physicians predict that the quality of medical care in general will decline.

Fewer doctors, lower quality of care. Is that Change we can Believe In?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Health Care Suicide Bomber

State Senate passes gun bills.

Saturday's print edition of the Manasssas News/Messenger had this article: "Marsh manages to keep GOP-backed bills at bay". But so far as I can tell, this article is no longer available.

It's gone, and now the same paper has the article:
Senate approves controversial gun bills:
The Virginia Senate today approved two controversial House of Delegates gun bills that will allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns into bars and non-permit holders to conceal their firearms in cars.
The Senate votes on the House bills were split, with several rural Democrats siding with Republicans. House Bill 505 passed 25-15, while House Bill 885 passed 24-16. Democrats hold a 22-18 majority in the 40-member Senate.
Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, called the bill allowing guns to be kept concealed in locked containers in cars “ill-advised public policy” that would increase the likelihood of firearms falling into the wrong hands.

Not sure what the previous rule was, but assuming it was that the gun had to be out in the open, I'm not sure I understand how hiding the gun makes it MORE likely for the wrong people to get hold of it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bolling explains why Senate move on Guns violates senate rules

A transcript of a PDF sent out by Bolling: (All spelling errors are mine):

During yesterday's floor session, Senator Vogel asked that I provide the members of the Senate with some guidance on whether or not a Senate subcommittee has the authority to take final action on a bill referred to it by a committee chairman.

In providing this guidance I am relying on the Rules of the Senate as adopted on January 18, 2010. There are several Rules that are pertinent to this discussion and those rules will be referenced below.

Rule 27 of the Rules of the Senate provides that:
Bills or resolutoins originating in the House of Delegates and communicated to the Senate shall be read by title the first time when received and referred to the appropriate committee unless otherwise directed by the Senate
NOTE: I sight this Rule because the bills that have given rise to the questions at hand all appear to be bills that originated in the House of Delegates.

Rule 20 (c) of the Rules of the Senate provides, in part, that:
All committees shall be governed by the Rules of the Senate.
Rule 20 (h) of the Rules of the Senate provides that:

The Chair of any commitee may appoint subcommittees to consider a particular bill or Resolution or to consider matters relative to a portion of the work of the committee. Such subcommittees shal make recommendations to the committee.
The plain reading of Rule 20 (h) is clear. While subcommittees may consider bills referred to them, the only authority given to a subcommittee under the Rules of teh Senate is to make recommendations to the full committee. The Rules of the Senate do not authorize a subcommittee to take final action on any bill.

In addition, I would note that every other Rule of the Senate that vests the power to take any action on a bill vests that power in the committee to which a bill has been referred. For example:
  • Rule 20 (i) gives committees the power to confer with Committees of the House of Delegates
  • Rule 20 (j) outlines how committees may dispose of bills referred to them
  • Rule 20 (l) gives committees the power to refer the subject matter of bills to other agencies, commissions, boards, councils, or governmental or non-governmental entities
  • Rule 20 (m) authorizes committees to seek and obtain the services of citizens to assist in the review of legislation.

The Rules of the Senate appear to vest all power and authority in committees. No such power and authority is vested in subcommittees under the Rules of Senate, and, as noted above, Rule 20 (h) would appear to directly limit the power of subcommittees to the consideration of bills referred to them and the making of recommendations to the full committee on how those bills should be disposed of.

As you know, the Senate has long prided itself on compliance with the Rules and traditions of the Senate. It is important that the Rules and traditions of the Senate be complied with when they advance members ultimate goals and objectives, and even when they do not.

Accordingly, and based on my objective interpretation of the Rules of the Senate, it is my belief that Senate subcommittees do not have the authority to take final action on any bill or resolution referred to them. The subcommittee can consider such bills and resolutions, but ultimately, the subcommittee is only empowered to make recommendations to the full committee.

Some members have suggested that Senate sub-committees should have the power to defeat bills because that is the practice of the House of Delegates. Unfortunately, the practice of the House of Delegates has no impact on the application of the Rules of the Senate.

In addition, I would note that the Rules of the House of Delegates specifically provide that subcommittees can take final action on the bills referred to them. The pertinent House rule is set forth below:

Rule 18 - The Chairman, at his discretion, may refer legislation for consideration to a subcommittee. If referred to a subcommittee, the legislation shall be considered by the subcommittee. If the subcommittee does not recommend such legislation by majority vote, the chairman need not consider the legislation in full committee.
In other words, the Rules of the House of Delegates specifically authorize subcommittees to take final action on bills referred to them. No similar authorization is contained in the Rules of the Senate. If it is the Senate's desire to vest this power in subcommittees, the Rules should be changed to clearly give subcommittees that authority.

I hope that the information contained in this Memorandum will be helpful in determining how these issues should be resolved in the future in accordance with the Rules of the Senate.


I fear for our country

I have NEVER been as afraid for our country as I am today. Of course, I never would have suspected that our elected officials would propose, and our media would accept, the idea that a bill can be passed without voting on it.

Or that a bill that required 60 votes for senate rules could simply be changed after-the-fact with only 50 votes. Why would anybody in that last 10 vote for a bill, knowing that once they did, whatever was put in the bill to satisfy them could be removed by 50 of their colleagues?

Where does this leave Webb and Warner, who say they voted to move the process forward, certain that Reid would give them another chance to vote on the "final product"? Were they just stupid, or are they lying? How do they feel about Reid cutting Virginia off from having a final say on this bill?

Where are our house members, to stand up for what Virginia wants? We passed a bill with wide bipartisan support, rejecting the core of Obamacare. Why do they reject our will, for Nancy Pelosi?

The Nation has spoken, but our leaders aren't listening.

I close with these words from our Founders:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

I fear for our country. Where are the great Democrats who will stand up to tyranny, say "Enough is Enough", and bring the Democratic Party, and our country, back from the precipice?

WSJ: The Cost-Control Illusion

The WSJ explains how the democrats are lying about cost control, and that in fact Obamacare will destroy health care as we know it (this goes along with my discussions with doctors who say many will leave the profession because they will no longer be able to make money):

Above all other reasons, voters who oppose ObamaCare cite their fear over costs: They think it will cause their insurance premiums to soar and result in far higher taxes to fund a vast new entitlement. The public is right on both counts, which is why White House smokejumpers have been dispatched to put out this fire as the final votes approach.

Here are the reasons (I've taken snippets from the article to make a list:

  • If this new entitlement actually "saves" money, it will be the first in history.
  • When you subsidize something, you get more of it, which means higher demand for insurance and health-care services. Combine this with new mandates that have raised costs in every state where they have been tried, and you will get higher premiums.
  • The Cadillac tax. This is the 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans that the White House proposed because it lacked the political will to directly reduce the $250 billion annual tax subsidy for employer-based insurance. ... Not to worry, says Mr. Orszag, the tax would still create a "gradually increasing incentive to seek higher-quality and lower-cost health plans." In other words, some future Congress will impose the pain Democrats refuse to impose today.
  • About the "Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program," CBO says it will cut spending by $0 over 10 years
  • The "National Pilot Program on Payment Bundling"? Also $0.
  • But let's say Congress does cede power to this unelected group of wise men. The commission will then function much like similar bodies do in Europe—controlling costs by denying coverage for new technologies or patients at the end of life, or by limiting spending on certain treatments and thus creating longer waits.

They summarize:

ObamaCare's real cost-control plan boils down to this: First subsidize coverage so much that costs explode, raise taxes as much as possible to pay for it, and when that isn't enough hand power to an unelected committee to limit treatment and control prices by government order. This is what Democrats are voting for.

Actually, democrats are just voting to try to save their political behinds, in the hopes that their liberal puppeteers will turn out to re-elect them if they just take over the health care of this country.

A revolution is coming. If the democrats are stupid enough to defy the will of the people, and to violate the basic tenets of our legal process to cram through the takeover of our health care, there will be a backlash. Many states have already said they won't go along with it -- but the feds have the power, and they have the military to force the states into compliance.

Three decades ago, one or two states tried to take away the rights of some citizens to equal access to government services, and the federal government had to intervene to protect the rights of those citizens.

Today, it is likely that the federal government will use force against states who are trying to protect the rights of their citizens to associate with companies they wish to associate with, and to spend their money for their own health care in the way they see fit.

Obamacare will enslave us to insurance companies. It will enslave doctors to medical care. It will enrich the political class, kill our old and infirmed, and destroy the best health care in the world. Not only will we suffer, but the world will suffer as our companies, which are at the forefront of the fight for health in this world, are destroyed by marxists who know nothing about how the real world works, and have lived their lives by leeching off the success of others.

The destruction of civilization has begun. We have elected a majority who believes that money grows on trees, that the unproductive deserve the product of the hands of the productive, that the successful exist only to service the unsuccessful, and that they can get anything they want from the golden goose.

They have forgotten that a dead goose lays no eggs. Their brand of socialism will only work until they have taken all the money from those who have it. Then we will be done.

This is what happens when the object of an election is to "make history" rather than "find the best people to lead the country". We sure made history. Now we'll be stuck with the consequences.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inadvertantly Correct Headline: Sacrifice Jobs for Obamacare

In a most inadvertantly correct Headline award:

"Pelosi: Lawmakers Should Sacrifice Jobs for Health Care"

Because it is certain that if we pass Obamacare, we will sacrifice a LOT of jobs in this country. Not just the democrats in congress who should be fired for their incompetence.

But for Pelosi and the democrats, it's all about them, not about what havoc they will wreak on the rest of us:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue's massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program "This Week.""We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress," she said. "We're here to do the job for the American people."

More like doing A JOB on the American people. But if we are lucky, they'll fail to pass this monstrosity, and still lose their jobs in November.

Bipartisans agree, Pelosi is an idiot.

At least, by her definition of bipartisan, which apparently has nothing to do with two parties working together. From the Hill:

"Bipartisanship is a two-way street. A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes. Republicans have left their imprint."

The public option, for example, has been stripped from the bill because Republicans were so adamantly against it, she said.

Actually, the public option was never in Reid's Senate bill, because the 60 DEMOCRATS in the Senate didn't want it. The house has never removed a single thing from a bill because of the objection of republicans only -- there's no need, unless the republicans get democrats to join them in bipartisan DISAGREEMENT.

But for Pelosi, the mere fact that Republicans have said they hate the bill would make the bill "bipartisan". Of course, she lives in a fantasy world were people will LOVE health care once it is passed:

"When the public sees what is in this bill...when we show them what the priorities are and what it's been boiled down to, what it means to them sitting around their kitchen table rather than us sitting around a table at Blair House, the response will be positive," Pelosi said.

In other words, the problem is that the great communicator, having made 400+ speeches, simply hasn't done enough to let people know what is in the bill. Or more accurately, that the american people are just too stupid to know what is good for them. John McCain rightly denounces that belief:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on "Meet the Press" that Americans are much better informed about the healthcare plan and reiterated the GOP platform that the process should be started from scratch.

To show how deluded Pelosi is, here is what she claims the health bill is about:

Pelosi outlined the top priorities for the legislation: affordability for the middle class, accountability of insurance companies and accessibility for more people.

But the bill will raise health care spending, raise the cost of health care coverage for individuals in the middle class, and will require huge government subsidies for people to pay for their own care. It forces everybody to buy insurance, making insurers LESS accountable because they won't have to compete for business. After taxing people for all sorts of health care purchases, and for having too much insurance, accessability will be the least of our problems.

THere is bipartisan opposition in the house to this bill. There is widespread bipartisan public opposition to this bill. Polls show americans of all political persuasions want congress to stop the charade, and put together a bill that will actually help people get better health care.

ObamaCare in a nutshell

Obamacare is all about forcing people to pay more for insurance they don't need, so the government can tell everybody what health care they should get.

Nothing is better at illustrating this principle of Obamacare than Obama's own bizarre story of his ignorance over car insurance. From the Thursday Health Care Obama-Talk-Fest:

When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.

Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer.

Now, there's all sorts of lessons here. Like why was Obama paying monthly payments for insurance, instead of 6 month or yearly payments? Or why he would buy insurance that wasn't really insurance, or why he didn't know that the legal requirements would only be for liability coverage. Or that if someone hits your car, you are supposed to call THEIR insurance company.

But the real lesson is this. The guy bought what, by his own admission, was a "beat up old car". No doubt, if he had bought collision, his deductable would be higher than the value of the car. Probably he was lucky not to have collision insurance, since it would never pay off on his clunker.

But Obama's message was this: "Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer." In other words, he is saying that he was stupid not to have collision insurance that wouldn't really pay off, and that someone should have forced him to buy useless insurance, just like they forced him to buy liability insurance.

And likewise, Obamacare will force us to buy insurance we don't need, like coverage for your sick child when you don't have children, or coverage for breast reconstruction for men.

House operations are "A Mystery"

Remember how the Democrats promised that they would run the House with such transparency that nobody would ever be surprised by something in a bill anymore? 72 hours of public viewing before they voted on anything? Remember the promises?

Thursday, the House was taking up what should have been a fairly routine intelligence bill (routine except that it was months late). Well, it shows up on the house floor, all ready to vote on, but with nobody apparently having read it yet. And what do we find in the bill? A provision to criminalize the intelligence service.

As told by the washington posts castoffs, the Politico:

“It’s a mystery how that language got in there,” Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) said of the controversial intelligence bill provision backed by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). “I think there are a lot of issues about the drafting of the McDermott amendment.”

A Mystery? You send a bill through the committee, where there are public hearings, and a public vote on each item in the bill. When done, the committee holds a final vote, and the bill comes to the floor of the house.

On the floor of the house, members offer up amendments, each of which are read by the clerk, debated, and voted on. After all amendments are voted on, there is a final vote on the bill.

So how could any words in the bill be "a mystery"? How could the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee have no idea how a clause criminalizing interrogation made it into an intelligence bill?

The answer is simple -- Under democratic rule, the house no longer works as a democratic body. Instead, backroom deals, ignoring the rules, bills written in secret and voted on without any public hearing -- that's the norm. I'm sure Pelosi would skip the whole voting thing if she could figure out whether the media would go along with it.

Hopefully, the people are getting tired of the dictatorial, elitist leadership of the house and senate. We will have to suffer for a few more months, but come November, the people can have their congress back. Our brief dark night can end, and a new day dawn.

Sure, we'll still be stuck with an incompetent socialist President, but he's pretty much demonstrated that, apart from lying, he's not really committed to anything.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pre-existing conditions in a nutshell

With all the talk about pre-existing conditions in health care, it's important to understand what exactly we are talking about.

There are actually two separate issues that are interchangeably discussed as "pre-existing conditions", and since they are very different, and have different solutions, it confuses a lot of people.

The first is an actual "pre-existing-condition". Meaning I have a chronic disease, for which there is a known cost of treatment. I then go to an insurance company, and ask to be insured. If they cover the condition I already have, and if my payments don't include the total cost of the known treatment for the chronic disease, the insurance company is being stupid. "I'll pay you $20 if you give me back $30" is not a viable business strategy.

Now, a lot of people want to be able to force insurance companies to cover such pre-existing conditions, because they don't think of insurance as insurance, but rather as a pre-paid medical debit card. Imagine though going to a car insurance company and asking for a policy for the car you just crashed. Or to State Farm to ask them for a homeowner's policy for your house that is underwater because of a flood?

Oh, sometimes people do this -- it's called insurance fraud, and we put people in jail for it. But for some reason, we want insurance companies to take less money than they KNOW it will cost to provide care. And the insurance companies are actually on board -- so long as we also force healthy people to pay the same insurance premiums. So under this new system, a person who the insurance company knows will cost $500,000 over the next 10 years pays $100,000, while 10 other people who are most certainly only going to cost $50,000 average also pay $100,000, and it all works out.

Except that the 10 people who don't need coverage are forced to get it, and are forced to pay way more than what that coverage is worth. We tax the healthy to treat the sick.

OK, the 2nd "pre-existing-condition" is not an actual illness, but rather the propensity for the need of treatment. Really, this is a "risk" issue. Maybe it's a genetic marker which indicates a greater risk of illness. Or you had one disease, which makes it likely you could get another. You had a heart attack, so you could have more heart attacks. You had a transplant, so now you are compromised and likely to get sick. You have high blood pressure, so it might lead to other problems.

In these cases, the insurance company doesn't have a known cost of putting you on their books, but they know that if they take 10 people like you, it will cost them say twice as much as 10 people who are NOT like you. In the real world of insurance, you and the other 9 like you would pay twice as much in premiums as the other 10, and you would still come out ahead if you got sick, because your cost of treatment would be spread across others with similar changes of illness.

Now, in one sense, the 1st case is just the logical end-point of the 2nd, where the "risk probability" is 100 percent. most risks probabilities don't come close to certainty, and how we handle risk pools is a fundamentally different problem than how we handle known costs.

Of course, on Thursday the democrats attacked the idea of having "risk pools" for medical insurance. I'm betting though that they would be the first to say that smokers should have to pay more for coverage than non-smokers. I'm betting that because it isn't a "probability", it is a pre-existing condition.

Meaning: Democrats have already put large taxes on tobacco, to cover the "increased risk of medical treatment" needed by smokers. The state offers "health insurance", and they collect taxes to pay for it, and they add taxes to things that they think will make the health care the state pays for cost more. Democrats are also pushing to tax candy and soda, because those two lead to higher medical costs.

But apparently, if an insurance company wants to charge a person more because that person is likely to cost more, they are being evil.

Decent explanation of risk pools.

From a National Review post:

If your car gets vandalized, it’s not your fault, but your insurance company may suspect you’re parking in a neighborhood prone to crime. You thus might see your premium rise upon renewal. The same logic applies to home insurance. Undoubtedly, this can mean that people in lower-income neighborhoods face relatively higher risk premiums than those in posh suburbs. Life insurance applications ask dozens of questions designed to assess how great a risk you pose. This means a missionary who travels to poor countries to help the destitute is likely to be identified as a risk taker and pay a penalty for living a life of good works. It’s not existentially fair, perhaps, but it’s not discrimination based on malice either.

The reference also has a description of how the private markets are handling the pre-existing condition problem, and how government could help without taking over and destroying the health care system.

Stupid Argument for Using Reconciliation

Of all the arguments one could make for using reconciliation for the health care bill, the Democrat argument is the stupidest, most self-supporting argument one could make.

Realise that reconciliation itself is not a "nuclear option", or even a bad thing. Reconciliation is a specific part of the rules of the senate, and is perfectly valid to use in it's intended application. So saying that "Republicans used reconciliation" is a pretty stupid argument -- it's like claiming "Republicans passed bills with 50 votes, so we shouldn't be allowed to filibuster judges" -- it's apples and oranges.

Reconciliation is for passing bills that implement financial aspects of an already-passed budget agreement. The intention is for the senate to not get bogged down debating and blocking implementation of taxes or spending changes that have already been through the process during the budget debate.

So reconciliation is often used as an omnibus legislation, to implement the budget.

But the health care bill isn't a budget item. Sure, parts of it include budget items, like new taxes, and restricting money for medicare. But things like changing the rules for medicare advantage, creating new regulations, and the like are certainly not budget monetary items.

And what is more clear is that reconciliation has never before been suggested as a way to amend existing non-reconciliation legislation, before that legislation has been completed. In this case, they have competing bills between the house and senate, for which they can't find a common bill that gets a majority in the house and passes filibuster in the senate. This is hardly the first time this has happened -- in fact, it happens all the time.

The normal procedure is to go back to the drawing board, and find some other way to get everybody on board. Instead, since the democrats can't amend the current bill with the support of 60 senators, they want to pass the bill with a PROMISE that they will amend it by using budget rules. There were Senators like Webb who said they voted on the bill to MOVE THE PROCESS FORWARD, "knowing" that if the house democrats screwed around with the bill, they could vote against it when it came back and still stop it. Now they are being told "too bad, we lied to get your vote, and now we don't need it anymore".


But that isn't the stupidest argument. The stupidest argument is the one many democrats are using, that "reconciliation is a horrible way to do this, and it's only a 'last resort' if we can't pass the bill any other way".

That argument is essentially saying : If we can get 60 votes, that's what we will get, and we will only pass the bill with fewer than 60 votes if we get fewer than 60 votes".

Which I hope you can now see is a stupid argument. It's like saying "We'll go to the restaurant you choose, so long as you choose the one I like, otherwise we'll go to the one I like." Or, calling a coin flip by saying "you can have heads, unless the coin comes up heads, and then I get heads".

Here is an actual example, Ben Nelson: "[reconciliation is] my least favorite way to do something. It’s only after everything else fails, when there’s obstruction going on,” Nelson said.

Well, a filibuster is obstruction. And failing to break a filibuster is "everything else failing". So his argument is "reconciliation is to use if someone tries to filibuster and we can't break the filibuster". If true, then no filibuster would ever work against the majority.