Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Capital H Hypocrisy

Pres. Obama is set to announce plans to lift bans on offshore oil drilling. This is the MSNBC coverage. If you read the short article, you'll notice it has no negative comments.

Now, one has to wonder if the same proposal by previous Pres. Bush would also have resulted in a neutral article from MSNBC.

As it turns out, fortunately one does not have to wonder--said article from 2008 actually exists here. Let's look at a few excerpts:

Democrat Barack Obama has opposed the idea...

"If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. "But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither. It would merely prolong the failed energy policies we have seen from Washington for thirty years."

"Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The Bush plan is a hoax. It will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy independence."

"This proposal is something you'd expect from an oil company CEO, not the president of the United States," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Environment Committee.


Why doesn't MSNBC's new article on Obama's plan point out his hypocrisy? Why don't they include the same raft of negative quotes that they found with ease when covering Bush's proposal? Curious.

Curious coverage indeed.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Is Why They're Taking Our Hard-Earned Money


  • fresh produce, raw honey and fresh-squeezed

  • juices soy meat alternatives and gourmet ice cream

  • roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon and sweet potatoes

  • wild-caught fish, organic asparagus and triple-crème cheese

  • artisanal bread, heirloom tomatoes and grass-fed beef


No, it's not a Hollywood diet plan. It's what food stamps are buying these days.


I guess the so-called educated hipsters mentioned in the article aren't educated enough to realize that while they're enjoying a small quantity of expensive gourment food, there might be some people working really hard to afford ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches because they want to stay off the dole.

Goverment benefits are way too anonymous. People receiving welfare, food stamps, etc., that are able-bodied should have to collect the money from an assigned taxpayer directly. Then this might not occur as much.

We Knew It Was In There

Here's the redistribution of wealth in Obamacare hidden in a Kiplinger's article about new tax changes. The changes basically amount to penalizing those who have good coverage and good habits (such as using a flex spending account) or those who don't want coverage, and giving breaks to companies who employ low-wage workers and the low-wage workers themselves.

How is taxing good medical coverage supposed to improve healthcare?

How is offering incentives to companies for employing low-wage workers supposed to encourage them to pay more? I.e. if my company gets tax credit if the average wage of my employees is under $25k, am I going to give raises if I can afford it?

The logic astounds me.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Huh?

Help me out - am I missing something here?

In response to claims by 13 state AGs that the new health care law results in the federal government exceeding its constitutional authority, a Stetson University law professor had this to say:

Not so, said Bruce Jacob, a constitutional law professor at Stetson University in Florida, who said the suit seems like a political ploy and is unlikely to succeed.

"The federal government certainly can compel people to pay taxes, can compel people to join the Army," he said.


What? How is this guy a constitutional law professor? What kind of counter-examples are those? Section 8, Article I of the US Constitution explicitly gives the US government the authority to do the two activities he identifies:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes...

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy...


So, how do his examples lead to the government therefore also having the right to force individuals to buy health insurance? Am I missing something, or is this guy the worst constitutional law professor ever?
Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care

Surprisingly, there has been little discussion about health care reform on OccObs. I'm not sure if that's because of the mind-numbing boredom brought on by health policy debates, or sheer depression about the way the Dems are steering us, but in either case I offer this uplifting link: At least 9 state AGs will be banding together to sue the federal government if the health care bill as currently voted on becomes law. I think they will have a very strong case that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to require individual citizens to buy health insurance.
Saturday, March 20, 2010

Levy (D) becomes Levy (R)

This story is fascinating.

Steve Levy, Suffolk County Executive, has defected from the Dems and is planning a run for Governor against the mighty Cuomo (why is it that NYS residents seem like electing litigators?).

I was happy to hear this for a few reasons: (1) Levy is already a powerful incumbent; (2) he said he wanted assurances he could have the GOP line for County Exec if he loses the Gov. race, so he's planning on sticking around; (3) I've been impressed with his spending cuts and willingness to offend interest groups that often feel protected to get spending under control; and (4) Lazio is a dud.

I'm basing #4 on the thrashing he took last time he ran and the fact that he's been trailing other potential GOP candidates in primary polling. Cuomo kills him as well in early polling. A lot could change, this is going to be a GOP year--but Levy strikes me as a much more likely candidate to win, as long as the party switching and opportunism don't kill him.

However, Levy is a little late to the game. Lazio has already lined up a lot of support within the state GOP, including Rudy. Lazio's fundraising to date has been terrible, however.

In other news, I used to go out of my way to vote on the Conservative line (I actually carried my registration there at one point). No more. I'm sick of these guys deep sixing electable candidates b/c they don't want to be pushed around by the state GOP. Get in line and lets do something meaningful to help taxpayers, guys.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just found a spectacular website

textsfromlastnight.com

Here are some real gems (note: the number in parenthesis is the area code the text was sent from):

(301):

the majority of my texts from you are at 3 AM & consist of either "I'm drunk", "you're asian", or "bratwurst"

(907):

There's a guy at this party taking all the unfinised beers and pouring them into a pitcher so he can drink them tomorrow.

(425):

He yelled "HERE COMES THE WARMTH" before he pissed his pants. In front of the whole party.

(306):

I woke up laying in alphagetti with the message "I'd go get checked asap" written out in the letters.

(256):

dinner with the girl I motorboated last semester wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be

(912):

I woke up with a flask of whiskey and a mason jar full of sausage in my tux jacket. south georgia is where i belong

(616):

This was worse than the time that I shot a bald eagle.

(206):

I feel like im in a tornado of daylight savings, tequila and death
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jets

Since it's not the start of the regular season yet, and since other than Santana the rest of the Mets look poor so far (see Reyes, Beltran, Maine, Ollie, ...), I figured I'd take the time to post about the Jets.

Specifically, the LT deal. I'm scratching my head about this one - they basically signed LT to the same deal they would have had to give Jones to keep him. Granted, LT is a better receiver and gives them different options, but no more options than a healthy Leon gives them. Since Jones is still in good shape (better than LT), has a well-regarded off-season workout regimen, and he's very popular in the clubhouse for his character and skill, I'm not sure I see the upside to LT over TJ. I'll reserve judgment on this one and give Jets mgmt the benefit of the doubt, but this move is curious at best at this point.
Friday, March 12, 2010

Wind Power Blows

Let's for a minute, like the media, Democratic Party, Gore acolytes and many other, take for granted that there is a climate change problem, that it's caused by human carbon emission, and there is something we can and do about it. We've been led to believe that wind turbines are great way to produce energy without carbon emissions. How come they've actually caused an increase in fossil fuel use in Denmark and Germany?

"Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines
generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant.
It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s
unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36%
in 2006 alone)."



The full article has more.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rubio continues to impress

I see big things in this young man's future. Wonder if he wants to be a Bison?

Front fell off

I don't know the origin of this, but it is one of the funniest interviews you'll ever see. Got to love dry Brit humor!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

For F's Sake

Will Paterson just resign already? First Aqueduct, then the domestic abuse aide case, and now these Yankees tickets--his latest ethics scandal du jour.

Between Spitzer, Paterson, the farce that is the state legislature, Wall St. scandals, enormous property taxes, and an incredible deficit, it is harder and harder to be proud of ties to NY. The state could use a massive restart button and a return to its heyday of the middle of the 20th century when NY basically had a monopoly on anything that was great, whether it was athletes, singers, actors, businessmen, etc.

It's All Happening

Another move in the right direction - Rangel no longer chair of Ways and Means. I guess it depends on who suceeds him though.
Monday, March 01, 2010

Health Insurance

I'll lay it right out there - I haven't put a huge amount of thought or background research into this topic, so I'm not the most knowledgeable person in this area. While thinking about it the other day though, it was apparent to me that the only way to really reduce the cost of health care is to push more of the burden off of insurance and onto the individual. I used an example of car insurance. Car insurance covers unexpected breakdowns, but not routine maintenance like oil changes, gas, and new tires. Why then does health insurance cover routine things such as physicals, pregnancy, etc? Shouldn't that be covered by the individual?

Interestingly I just came across this article from the Cato Institute with a similar view (although he used home insurance).

No one is suggesting that people shouldn't have [health] insurance. But insurance is ultimately meant to spread the risk of catastrophic events, not to simply prepay your health care. Your homeowners insurance covers you if your house burns down. It doesn't pay to mow your lawn or paint the fence.

You can also envision a scenario of product differentiation if you moved away from insurance and towards individual responsibility. For example, maybe doctor's office "X" maintains a large staff so that you don't have to wait, and they have the latest and greatest in technology. If you want that kind of platinum service, you pay more for it. Or, if you don't, you go to no frills doctor "Y."

The bottom line is I don't see an obvious way to seriously reduce costs unless individuals have a greater responsibility to cover them. Am I missing something? Is there really a silver bullet answer?

A horrible story

I couldn't believe this story:

PITTSBURGH – With her boyfriend in severe abdominal pain, Sharon Edge called 911 for an ambulance in the early morning hours of Feb. 6. Heavy snow was falling — so heavy it would all but bring the city to a standstill — and Curtis Mitchell needed to go to a hospital.

"Help is on the way," the operator said.

It never arrived.

Nearly 30 hours later — and 10 calls from the couple to 911, four 911 calls to them and at least a dozen calls between 911 and paramedics — Curtis Mitchell died at his home.

Horrible. 10 freakin calls? I mean, I can see how the ball can get dropped once or twice. But by the time 5 hours and 5 calls went by, I'd think this would've been escalated, no?

I was reading this story aloud to a co-worker when I came to this statement, made by the head of public safety in Pittsburgh, who summed up his department's performance thusly:

"We failed this person."

As the Sheriff of El Paso once said (sort of): That don't hardly say it.

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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