Many more canine indignities at Target.com.
(Bumped from a few weeks ago.)
Most recent posts here.
I hope your library values great books more than ours does. They purge their shelves of clutter like this (saved this afternoon from the shredder by husband Pundit for 50 cents) to make room for multiple copies of Chunky Girl or the latest vampire erotica for tweens. Grrr.
Most recent posts here.
RS McCain reports from NY:
NY23: SCOZZAFAVA QUITS! UPDATE: New poll shows Hoffman in dead heat with Democrat Owens
UPDATE: Scozzafava, the hand-picked choice of the New York state GOP in the key 23rd District special election, reportedly will throw her support to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Scozzafava's withdrawal came shortly after a new Siena College poll was released this morning, showing her in third place, with Hoffman neck-and-neck with Democrat Bill Owens.
Even those who believe that 650,000 jobs were created-or-saved aren't impressed with the numbers:
According to a Washington Post article on this these 650,000 jobs, they were created or saved by the $150 billion in grants or loans having been dispersed through the stimulus. A little simple math shows that this means those jobs cost an average of $230,769 each. That seems kind of expensive to me, given that I doubt many of these jobs pay anything close to six-figure salaries.Mr. Indiviglio can apparently toss around "created or saved" with a straight face.
White House officials announced Friday that they had counted exactly how many jobs were created or saved by recent stimulus spending: 640,329.
So how many were saved and how many created? They don’t know.
In a briefing with reporters, officials acknowledged they can’t tell the difference between jobs “saved,” and jobs “created” by the $787 billion stimulus package.
They said they also can’t tell the difference between private sector jobs and government jobs.
But they're sure it's a lot! Like, you know, 90% private sector!
Bernstein said that the White House’s earlier estimate that 90 percent of the jobs would be in the private sector, though, is “still valid.”Heh.
Bernstein arrived at the 1 million number by extrapolating from the portion of recovery act funds for which the recipients were required to report jobs figures to the total amount allocated so far. . . .That we can believe.
And, he conceded, “there’s no data element in any government data set that is absolutely precise.”
The issue of whether governments can accurately count jobs “saved” – since that is a hypothetical has provoked debate among economists since the White House began using the “saved or created” formulation earlier this year. Critics have argued that the recipients of the data have every incentive to inflate the number of jobs they planned to cut if they hadn’t gotten federal money. But DeSeve said that the White House left it up to the people reporting the numbers to make that determination for themselves. “What we have to do is rely on the fact that our public officials are honest,” he said. “We don’t differentiate in the reporting between created and saved jobs.”Yes, let us always rely on the perfect integrity of our public officials.
Also, today's syndicated column: The three envelopes
We've always had shamelessness, but we've never had it on this galactic scale. This is [the] shamelessness of a quarter-trillion-dollar trick.
And the trick works like this — the bill has in it the assumption (which the CBO has to accept) that they will cut a quarter trillion of Medicare by cutting the fees that doctors and others receive.
We know it's not going to happen because the House is going to have a separate bill in which it pays the quarter of a trillion — with no offsets — out of the borrowed money. So it is a huge hole in the budget, but it is in a separate bill.
The separate bill ought to be called the "Pinnacle of Cynicism Act," because that's exactly what it is. However, in the bill that will be called the National Healthcare Reform Act, it [the payment to doctors of that $250 billion] is not going to appear, and that's why it [net cost of the health-care bill] ends up under a trillion — when in fact it is over a trillion. And [that is] why it ends up with no deficit whereas it will increase the deficit by about $200 billion.
But it's for the Planet!
Mark Steyn on "Copenhagen" and what it means to you:
“We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen,” remarked professor Flannery. “We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will inﬂuence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society.”
Hold that thought: “They deal with every aspect of our life.” Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. After all, we all care about the environment, don’t we? So we ought to do something about it, right? And, since “the environment” isn’t just in your town or county but spreads across the entire planet, we can only really do something at the planetary level. But what to do? According to paragraph 38 on page 18 of the latest negotiating text, the convention will set up a “government” to manage the “new funds” and the “related facilitative processes.”
Yes, a government.
In 2006, to comply with the “European Landﬁll Directive,” various municipal councils in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland introduced “smart” trash cans—“wheelie bins” with a penny-sized electronic chip embedded within that helpfully monitors and records your garbage as it’s tossed into the truck. Once upon a time, you had to be a double-0 agent with Her Majesty’s Secret Service to be able to install that level of high-tech spy gadgetry. But now any old low-level apparatchik from the municipal council can do it, all in the cause of a sustainable planet. So where’s the harm?Who knew, when those unnamed geniuses invented that crowning glory of civilization, Indoor Plumbing, that we'd end up ruled by a master race of toilets?
And once Big Brother’s in your trash can, why stop there? Our wheelie-bin sensors are detecting an awful lot of junk-food packaging in your garbage. Maybe you should be eating healthier. In Tokyo, Matsushita engineers have created a “smart toilet”: you sit down, and the seat sends a mild electric charge through your bottom that calculates your body/fat ratio, and then transmits the information to your doctors. Japan has a fast-aging population imposing unsustainable costs on its health system, so the state has an interest in tracking your looming health problems, and nipping them in the butt. In England, meanwhile, Twyford’s, whose founder invented the modern ceramic toilet in the 19th century, has developed an advanced model—the VIP (Versatile Interactive Pan)—that examines your urine and stools for medical problems and dietary content: if you’re not getting enough roughage, it automatically sends a signal to the nearest supermarket requesting a delivery of beans. All you have to do is sit there as your VIP toilet orders à la carte and prescribes your medication.
“The environment” is the most ingenious cover story for Big Government ever devised.It certainly is. It even trumps "healthcare" (though just barely) in its all-inclusiveness.
Courtesy of Miss Ladybug:
More than two years ago, I found out about LCPL Nicholas S. Perez. Since then, I had the honor of meeting his family - his mother and father, his sister, and the nephew I don't think he ever met (I'm not sure how old little Nicholas is) - at an event for Wounded Warriors hosted by the local American Legion. More recently, I found myself once again subbing at the school named in his honor.Many thanks to MLB for writing that up. My donate button is also in the upper right-hand corner.
When I first found myself at the school, it had opened its doors only seven months before. It is in the middle of its fourth year in operation. Those children who went there the first year as fifth graders aren't even in high school yet. However, it's been there long enough to expand the memorial to Nicholas' life found in the display case in the lobby:
If you look closely, you'll see a Soldiers' Angels fleece blanket, pin, coin and dogtag. You'll also see items from throughout his life: his artwork, his toys, photos, and other mementos. There is also a Gold Star Flag. I also learned that the school remembers Nicholas on the anniversary of his death, with Nicholas Perez Day. I hoped to have a sub assignment on this past September 3rd to observe these remembrances, but I wasn't that lucky.
Thankfully, not all our service members make the same sacrifice as LCPL Perez. But, even if they haven't given the ultimate in service to our nation, many of those who earn a Purple Heart face great struggles to find their new normal. Carren, the amazing wife of Project Valour-IT inspiration Major Charles Ziegenfuss, shares her perspective on what a voice-activated laptop can do for a Wounded Warrior:Not only was Chuck able to blog with his new laptop and voice-activated software, I was able to relax a little bit more. Instead of trying to figure how to get Chuck some sort of outlet, I knew he had one. Instead of going to the Mologne House every night, wondering how Chuck will manage throughout the night, I knew he had an outlet. Instead of feeling guilty as hell when I went somewhere without him (for ME time), I knew Chuck had his connection to the outside world.Help support this astounding program. Please click on the donation button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.
The laptop and software were truly a gift that can not be put into words. Even after Chuck was initially discharged from Walter Reed, we returned MANY times for subsequent surgeries. His Valour-IT laptop and software were always there for him, especially when he couldn't type with his hand(s). I could go on all day about how amazing this program is...
It tells you how far we've come when we barely bat an eye at the size of the new House healthcare reform monstrosity, HR 3962. It's just ten pages short of 2000 and we can only guess how much it weighs.
What's inside? It's hard to say. New taxes for sure (see below), a public option, an individual mandate, and an employer mandate. No doubt it will be full of crazy little goodies such as vending maching regulations. Up for grabs are the enormously contentious and significant issues of taxpayer-funded abortions and subsidies for illegal aliens.
The Weekly Standard blog sums it up in this headline: 1,990-Page Health Care Bill Pays for Abortions, Cuts Medicare, Raises Taxes, Fees, and the Deficit. Please read John McCormack's fact-packed post.
From Critical Condition, Tevi Troy on who won't like it. Here's the short version but please click for the details.
4. Budget hawks
5. Conservatives, specifically pro-lifers and those worried about illegal immigration
6. Wealthy people . . .
7. . . . as well as Medicare and Medicaid recipients
8. Pharmaceutical Companies
9. Medical Device Manufacturers
All told, the Pelosi approach is an impressive demonstration of coalition building . . . if you’re trying to build a coalition of opponents.
Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275)
Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296)
Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324)
Cap on FSAs (Page 325)
Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326)
Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with
Medicare Part D (Page 327)
Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336)
Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339)
Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344)
Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345)
Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346)
Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349)
Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357)
First, the cost saving assumptions built into the bill are unrealistic and unable to be sustained rendering this scoring meaningless as to future budget deficits. This is a financial shell game, but the drafters of the legislation, not the CBO, are to blame.Read the rest.
Second, the real costs is $1.055 trillion, not the $894 billion Democrats are touting. As explained by the NY Times analysis:But a closer look at the budget office report suggests that the number everyone should have reported was $1.055 trillion – which is the gross cost of the insurance coverage provisions in the bill before taking account of certain new revenues, including penalties by individuals and employers who fail to meet new insurance requirements in the bill.Third, there still will be 18 million uninsured, and of the 36 million newly insured people, 15 million will have been added to Medicaid. The CBO did not estimate how many of these newly insured people currently are eligible for federal programs but have not enrolled. The bill reflects a massive increase in Medicaid dependents, and only 21 million people gaining insurance through some other means.
Fourth, the public option will not provide lower cost coverage.
To sum it up, the House bill is nothing but a massive, uncontrolled federal entitlement expansion — at a time when the central, looming threat to the nation’s long-term prosperity is the unaffordable health-care entitlements already on the federal books. To create the impression of fiscal responsibility, the bill is jury-rigged with budget gimmicks, implausible eligibility rules, and arbitrary, government-dictated price controls — that have been tried repeatedly without success — to make it look like it costs “only” $900 billion over a decade.RTR.
[. . .]
There’s much else in this bill that would do great damage to the health sector and the American economy. Heavy payroll taxes that will reduce low-wage employment. Mandates on employers that will drive up costs and reduce wages. Intrusive federal bureaucracies that will come between patients and doctors. They can do a lot of damage in nearly 2,000 pages.
Fortunately, there remains one very powerful opponent to what House and Senate Democrats are considering — the public. Most Americans want no part of this massive liberal overreach. And there’s still time to put a halt to the madness. But the window is closing.
The new text blunts the criticisms about end of life counseling made here at SHS and elsewhere. I am especially pleased that the counseling is not to be directed toward a particular result and that the option of receiving care is to be included in the directives. However, the bill does not, as far as I can tell, guarantee that the provider cannot be sanctioned for not pursuing the issue. Moreover, as Rita Marker told me in a conversation this morning, the language is far from air tight and regulators may interpret it in ways that take back what appears to have been gained. For example, the requirement not to “promote” assisted suicide certainly doesn’t preclude it from being brought up or discussed in the counseling sessions. And let us not forget, there is still a pending Senate Bill that would deprive providers of payment if they did not offer the counseling.And he reserves the right to revise upon further study. Read the rest and stay tuned.
So, here’s the bottom line as I see it: The House drafters clearly responded to valid criticism–no matter how invalid they claimed it was at the time. Further improvement is warranted. Credit Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey for bringing so much attention to this important issue that Obamacare pushers were forced to respond.
The bill still stinks on many levels--e.g., rationing boards--and should be defeated. There is also more to be said about assisted suicide. But I’ll do that in a separate post.
The curtain has been pulled back on the supposedly high-minded and noble Mr. Obama. The game is up. And the reality is that he is one of the most partisan and divisive figures we have seen, even as he tries from time to time to reach back to unifying rhetoric — rhetoric that has grown old and stale. His White House — led by Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Anita Dunn, and Robert Gibbs — is also showing a propensity to bring knives and clubs and guns to Washington’s political skirmishes. They are pulling down rather than elevating our politics.Read the rest.
But I want to point out one thing about what Obama said when he talked about the “long years of drift.” There is something truly disgusting about the way he cannot refrain from attacking Bush when he is being defensive about himself. I mean, it is beyond disgraceful here.Many children never display this kind of character weakness and many others outgrow it. We all know adults who seem unable to handle even implied criticism and quickly shift blame when they feel inadequate or threatened by loss of face. They may become vicious when cornered.
[. . .]
He has every right as commander in chief to reexamine his own strategy, but he ought to be honest, forthright, and courageous enough as the president to simply say: “I'm rethinking the strategy I adopted six months ago” — and not, once again, in a child-like way, attack his predecessor.
Read the rest. It also looks like a plea for recognition, an excess of vanity, and a disinclination to take the high road.
Nine months after Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, his most adamant critics must concede he's delivered on "change." And we see it in our first post-gracious presidency.
The most visible manifestations of the new ungraciousness are the repeated digs the president and his senior staffers continue to make against George W. Bush. Recently, the administration has given us two fresh examples. The first is about Afghanistan, the other about the economy.[. . .]
Far from one-off asides, Mr. Obama's jabs at his predecessor have been a common feature of his speeches, fund-raisers and the like. They seem especially to pop up whenever Mr. Obama discovers some decision he must make is not as easy as he'd thought. And they date back to the first moments of his presidency. [emphasis added]
[. . .]
Policy differences, of course, are fair game for sharp debate, and in the end history will apportion the credit and blame due Mr. Bush. By any measure, however, Mr. Obama's ongoing snipes against a predecessor who is no longer involved in setting policy are extraordinary. They are more extraordinary still issuing from a president who campaigned on a promise to transcend the political divisions of the past.
Barack Obama may believe that his incessant whining about all the challenges his predecessor left him lets America know how tough he has it. The danger to his presidency is that it can sound awfully like "I'm not up to the job."
Guess what? The pathetically small created-or-saved job numbers put out by the government a couple of weeks ago were falsely inflated! OMG -- the "real" number (not really real, if it includes 'saved' jobs) was something like 25,000.
Read Ed Morrissey's commentary (linked above) and the AP report for specifics. What a joke.
Don Surber crunches the new numbers:
More than 9 months later, after spending the first $16 billion of that $787 billion Congress gave him, the president said he has created 30,083 jobs. That works out to a cost of $531,861.85 for each job created.Read the rest.
Not so fast, said fact-checkers at the Associated Press. The actual number of jobs created (added, really) is overstated by at least 5,000.
That pushes up the price to $640,000 per job.
The average annual pay in America is $40,000.
It will take 16 years for any of those jobs to break even.
It's not like anyone believes local TV news is above exploitation; it thrives on hype and sensationalism. But this is causing a bit of controversy in the DC area:
But in a four-part report on the disease beginning Thursday night, WJLA, Channel 7 in Washington, will break TV's unspoken taboo by showing two women fully exposed on its late-afternoon and evening newscasts.
The station says its reports are meant to encourage proper breast self-examination, and are being aired in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which ends Saturday.
Clutching at a few items as they flow past:
Thomas Sowell: Dismantling America
Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?Charles Krauthammer: Obama is Average
SPIEGEL: Do you really believe that Obama deliberately wants to weaken the US?
Krauthammer: The liberal vision of America is that it should be less arrogant, less unilateral, more internationalist. In Obama's view, America would subsume itself under a fuzzy internationalism in which the international community, which I think is a fiction, governs itself through the UN.
SPIEGEL: A nightmare?
Krauthammer: Worse than that: an absurdity. I can't even imagine serious people would believe it, but I think Obama does. There is a way America will decline -- if we choose first to wreck our economy and then to constrain our freedom of action through subordinating ourselves to international institutions which are 90 percent worthless and 10 percent harmful.
SPIEGEL: And there is not even 1 percent that is constructive?
Krauthammer: No. The UN is worse than disaster. The UN creates conflicts. Look at the disgraceful UN Human Rights Council: It transmits norms which are harmful, anti-liberty, and anti-Semitic among other things. The world would be better off in its absence.
SPIEGEL: And Obama is, in your eyes, …
Krauthammer: He's becoming ordinary.
Smack dab on center court is the elephant no one wants to acknowledge: that men and women are different; that sometimes even heterosexuals prefer same-sex company; and that, as a rule, women and men are unequal in matters physical. With rare exceptions, the gender-neutrality trope that drives much of the Democratic Party agenda is, was and ever shall be -- false.Caveat: When I get together with other women we drink more tea than wine and talk more about children than men. That's the demographic I'm in, I guess. But I take Ms. Parker's point entirely and find it laughably pathetic that a) anyone would complain about Obama playing sports with men only, and b) that his response was to rush out and invite a woman to play with him. What a wuss. RTR.
Sad. Depressing. Frustrating. Maddening. Call it what you wish, but it is still true.
[. . .]
That's not because women don't like men (and vice versa) but because when relaxing, women mostly want to drink wine together. And talk about men. I don't know what men do on the basketball court that is so compelling, but they apparently need it, and I don't.
That skittering sound you hear is the scurrying of a thousand stilettos as women scramble to blog their protest. Wait, wait, I feel another yawn coming on. Is there anything more exhausting than trying to explain the obvious?
Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere. But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.
Laura in the Green Room writes a beautifully pithy post on this. And here's what Mark says:
Parents are being banned from playing with their children in council recreation areas because they have not been vetted by police.
Mothers and fathers are being forced to watch their children from outside perimeter fences because of fears they could be paedophiles.
I keep getting e-mails saying, "People will reach a tipping point and they'll no longer put up with this stuff." I doubt it. Right now the way to bet is that once free societies will retreat incrementally, one trivial step after another, into a totalitarian hell.Well that's a bit depressing. Maybe this will cheer you up: Yankees lose Game One. :)
Bumped and updated. *Scroll down for Stupak's self-professed plan to sell out on taxpayer-funded abortion if that's what it takes to pass "healthcare."
Original post from Wednesday morning, 10/28/09:
Abortion rears its ugly head. It's always been a stumbling block to passage of some version of ObamaCare and it still is:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) on Tuesday threatened that he may work with Republicans to torpedo healthcare reform unless he gets a vote to strip abortion-related provisions out of the House bill.
Stupak wants a floor vote on a measure that would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions. And in an interview on C-SPAN on Tuesday, he suggested if Democratic leaders don’t give him the vote, he’ll work with Republicans.Stupak said one way or the other, there will be a vote on the abortion language, either “though a rule, or on the floor, or on a motion to recommit.”
A motion to recommit is a parliamentary tool used by the minority in the House to kill legislation. While some Democrats occasionally vote for motions to recommit, it is unusual for Democrats to strategize with Republicans on how best to use the procedural motion.
“This has been federal law since 1976,” Stupak said, noting that President Barack Obama has vowed not to allow healthcare reform to pay for abortions.
“We have to have a vote,” he said, adding: “I don’t know why we have to change that basic principle in our law.”
Some Democrats have been irritated by Stupak’s public campaign to change the bill, something Stupak is well aware of.
“The Speaker is not happy with me,” Stupak said.
The Michigan Democrat said he will not be backing down: “I’m comfortable with where I’m at. This is who I am. It’s reflective of my district. If it costs me my seat, so be it.”
According to Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), an ardent opponent of abortion rights, Stupak is confident in the support he has within the Democratic Caucus. Stupak said he has about 40 Democrats who will vote no on healthcare reform unless Democratic leaders change their bill on the abortion language. That would be enough to take down the bill if every GOP lawmaker votes no.Read the rest.
Via Jules Crittenden, USMC Lance Cpl. James Crosby:
Read the rest and consider a donation to Valor IT.
The shrapnel had cut into his back below his flak jacket. It shattered his fourth lumbar disc, severing some nerves.
His weight is down 50 pounds, leaving his 6-foot frame gaunt. He can’t stand on his own, but he has some movement and the doctors are hopeful he will walk with leg braces. A part of his intestines was removed, and he remains on a colostomy bag.
Crosby was 17 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 2001.
“My father was a Marine. All my life, I said, I want to do it,” he said.
Now Crosby said he is beginning to fully understand what it is to be a Marine.
“They made me into a person who demands success,” he said. “I’m still a Marine. I’m obligated to do the best that I can.”
He spends up to four hours a day in rehab. He says it is harder than boot camp.
“You change your outlook. I’m alive. I’ve got to use what I’ve got.”
He admits to down times, on bleak mornings when he awakes to his new reality.
“You look in the mirror. Where did my body go? Where did I go?” Crosby said. “You question yourself on past decisions. But you can’t do it. It will eat at you. This is what I signed up for. I’m not the only one. This is the life of a Marine.”
And he is beginning to think about a future. He has plans.
“I want to go to college,” he said. “There are so many things I want to do. I want to be successful, to be able to provide for my family. I don’t want to miss anything.”
I heard some of the audio of Obama's campaign appearance for Creigh Deeds in Norfolk, VA, on Laura Ingraham's show. It was really awful. His faux Southern accent was thicker than ever. (I know he's weak on geography but someone ought to tell him that Virginia isn't Mississippi.) His delivery was that of a 15 year-old trying too hard to be cool. He trotted out his mop routine again, and, reaching even deeper into his greatest hits collection, pulled out the "funny name" material (twice) from the good old days of '08. If I find a worthwhile video of this appearance I'll post it. Full text of his speech here. NYT and WaPo reports here.
Just a week ago the Post printed a veritable eulogy of Deeds' candidacy, and the question of Obama as spoiler, or spurned savior, of the race continues to be debated.
But it's difficult to see how Obama's appearance can have helped Deeds. Again, Obama harkens back to '08, trying to motivate black voters by invoking the memory of that magic. That ship has sailed and disappeared over the horizon. Do true believers still find him charismatic? I suppose so. But the myth of the eloquent orator should die with this performance. TOTUS, call your office; your president needs you to help him sound presidential.
For the record, though, I totally agreed with this portion of the president's remarks:
But let me -- having said all that, let me just be clear: We don't need politicians who are more interested in scoring points than solving problems. (Applause.) We don't need folks who are slick, or try to say one thing and then do another. (Applause.) We don't need politicians who say we should go back to the policies of yesteryear, when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. (Applause.) We've had enough of those kind of politicians. We got a whole bunch of those in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)No, we emphatically do not want those "slick folks."
He may not be perfect -- my wife reminds me I'm not. (Applause.) She is, just like our spouses are perfect, but we're not. (Laughter.) You know, Creigh, sometimes his tie gets a little askew, and you know, his hair is a little -- (laughter) -- but here's the question is -- here's the question is, is that what the people of Virginia are looking for?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you looking for slick?
THE PRESIDENT: Or are you looking for somebody who is going to be fighting for you?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to be looking for somebody -- I hope you will vote based on how good a governor he is going to be for the people of Virginia. I hope you're going to be voting for the content of his character. (Applause.) I hope that you're going to be voting based on his track record, and the fact that he has stood with families like yours for years. That's the kind of governor that Creigh Deeds is going to be. (Applause.)
You know, when I was -- right in the last week of our campaign, back in Iowa, it was when a lot of you still couldn't pronounce my name -- (laughter) -- a lot of people were still convinced there was no chance that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama could even win -- could even win a caucus, much less the presidency. (Applause.)
No, no, no, no. You guys know this. Some of you all didn't think I was going to win. (Applause.) Everybody says now, oh, I knew it all the time. No. No. Right before Iowa -- I'm not talking about after Iowa, I'm talking about before Iowa, some of you all -- see, they're all high-fiving over there. Yeah, girlfriend, I saw you. (Laughter.)
There were a bunch of people who didn't think in that last week we were going to win. When Tim Kaine was running, there were a lot of folks who said, well, you know, I don't know, some of his policies are too liberal and he's too principled. And I'm not sure that he can win in the state of Virginia. Do you remember a week before Tim Kaine -- I was out here campaigning for Tim Kaine. (Applause.) A whole bunch of folks said, I'm not sure he can do it. So now here we are a week away.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to get to that. Hold on a second. So now we're a week from Tim Kaine -- a week from Creigh Deeds' election, and a lot of people are saying, oh, you know, the polls don't look the way we want them to, and I'm not sure it's going to happen, and folks are just kind of staying home.
Listen, let me tell you something. I don't believe in "can't." (Applause.) I don't believe in giving up. I don't believe that we would turn our back on the progress that Tim Kaine has made here in Virginia. I am absolutely confident that we can, if you are willing to work in this last week. (Applause.) If you are willing to make your voice heard in this last week, if you're willing to knock on some doors in this last week and go and talk to your friends and your neighbors and your relatives; go out and get your cousin, who you had to drag to the polls last November, Cousin Pookie. (Laughter.) You go out and get him and you tell him, you got to vote again this time. (Applause.)
*Update: Ouch. Rasmussen reports that Obama made things worse for Deeds:
Republican Robert F. McDonnell has now opened a 13-point lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds with less than a week to go in the race for governor of Virginia.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state - taken last night just after President Obama made a campaign appearance for Deeds in the state - shows McDonnell ahead 54% to 41%. Only four percent (4%) remain undecided.
[. . .]
The Deeds campaign and the White House have gone back-and-forth over whether the president should make a campaign appearance in the state. The initial reaction from Virginia voters to the president's campaign stop with Deeds late yesterday in Norfolk isn't reassuring: 39% say Obama campaigning for Deeds in Virginia makes them less likely to vote for the Democratic candidate. Just 24% say it makes them more likely to vote for Deeds, and 36% say it has no impact on their voting decision.
Linked at Michelle Malkin (buzzworthy)Most recent posts here.
Hint: It's not Barney Frank's fault.
By internet standards this is old news -- day before yesterday -- but it might be of interest to those who haven't seen it.
On MSNBC's The ED Show, Ralph Nader holds Barney Frank accountable for his role in bringing about the mortgage crisis. Frank, in his usual toxic style, opens with a mean-spirited insult, noting that "Ralph gets to luxuriate in the purity of his irrelevance," then blames it all on the right wing, and in the process acknowledges the socialist goals of this Congress:
The right wing took control of government and they ruined it. They gave it a bad reputation. Now that we are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area we run into this public opinion that, hey, those are the guys who screwed up Katrina, so the frustration is they're benefiting from their own incompetence.That's an interesting version of events and I do think he might believe it. Video here, but Mr. Frank is best viewed in very small doses, if at all. He sits back like Jabba the Hutt and exudes his poisonous derision on any who dare not to defer to him. If you have any theories on the source of his supreme confidence I'd be interested in hearing them.
Read the rest.
Local boy made good, had it all, gave it all. One of 14 Americans to die in Afghanistan yesterday. Another 12 were injured. Boston Herald.
A standout local high school and college quarterback who took his game to the field of mortal combat as a Marine Corps attack helicopter pilot was killed in the service of his country yesterday.
Capt. Kyle VanDeGiesen, 29, a North Attleboro native, a husband and a father, was one of 14 Americans killed in two crashes involving three choppers in Afghanistan yesterday – the deadliest day for Americans there in four years.
The Homebuyer Tax Credit: When Will They Ever Learn?
The early returns are coming in on the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. And it appears to be a bigger boondoggle than even I thought it would be.So hey, let's expand this awesome program!
At a House Ways & Means Oversight subcommittee hearing today, the Internal Revenue Service inspector general reported that the IRS is auditing more than 100,000 of the roughly 1.4 million returns that included a claim for the credit. This is a staggering audit rate for an agency that usually reviews only about 1 percent of returns.
And what the agency has found is jaw-dropping. Almost 74,000 buyers claimed the credit even though they probably owned a house over the past three years (the credit is only available to those who did not own during that period). One dead give-away: More than 12,000 of this bunch claimed the residential energy credit sometime during the past three years. Another 19,000 filed for the homebuyer credit even though they had not actually gotten around to buying a house, a fairly spectacular exhibition of chutzpah. And 580 credits were claimed on behalf of children, including at least one four-year-old—obviously a budding real estate developer.
[. . .]
Add to all of this the estimate by Ted Gayer at Brookings that more than 85 percent of the projected 2 million people expected to claim the credit would have bought a house anyway. Like the late, unlamented cash for clunkers program, the homebuyer subsidy is very likely doing little more than further running up the national debt to accelerate some home purchases.
Congress is now debating whether to either continue the credit into next year or even expand it to include all home purchases. This program, as they used to say up in the North End of Boston, needs to take two in the hat.You gotta read the rest.
Sen. Charles Schumer holds Reid up as a vote-counting prodigy [about 1:55 into video]:
"Leader Reid, and there's nobody better at counting the votes than he is, he's a wizard at it . . ."Really? Tevi Troy on the Corner thinks the wizard might want to check his work:
These announcements lead one to wonder what kind of math Reid is using; he will need 60 votes to overcome a planned Republican filibuster, and so far his count has worsened by two.That would be Snowe and Lieberman, who's talking filibuster. Evan Bayh, who is uncommitted, makes three. See Michelle Malkin for more.
Lieberman shows how any Democratic defection is now "game over" for Harry Reid. He can't lose any Democrat (assuming he doesn't win Snowe back). This will put all the swing-vote Democrats in a very awkward position because they all are decisive votes and Obamacare can be pinned on them.Dana Milbank doesn't get Reid's new math, either, and suspects there's more going on here:
Anyway, Lieberman's move is very bad news for Reid. Maybe Democrats can try to purge Lieberman in a hateful campaign of vituperation. Oh yeah—they already tried that.
Then there was the small matter of lacking the votes to pass the public option. "Do you feel 100 percent sure right now that you have the 60 votes?" CNN's Dana Bash inquired. Reid looked down at the lectern. He looked up at the ceiling. He chuckled. He put his palms together as if in prayer. Then he spoke. "My caucus believes strongly there should be health-care reform" was the non sequitur he offered.And so on.
Bash reminded the leader that she had asked him "particularly on this idea of a public option."
Instead of answering, Reid, with a Zen expression, looked to the back of the room to solicit a question from somebody else. But Bash piped up again. "Senator Reid, with all due respect, is it possible to answer the question on whether or not you have the votes?"
"I believe we clearly will have the support of my caucus to move to this bill and start legislating," he replied, which also didn't answer the question.
By this time, Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, had one foot on the podium, as if he were ready to rush the stage and whisk his boss to safety.
Of course, everybody knew that Reid didn't have the votes. That's why he was standing there alone, a Gang of One. As Democratic aides described it, the moment had less to do with health-care policy than with Nevada politics -- and one vulnerable senator's justifiable fear of liberal anger. Now, if the public option unexpectedly survives in the Senate, Reid keeps his hero status on the left. If it fails, he at least gets credit for trying. By the Nobel committee's revised standards, his aspirations might even earn him the prizes in medicine and economics.
A president must take great care with the allotment of his precious time. Yesterday, this from Jim Geraghty:
Obama's usual three-hour session discussing Afghanistan with advisers will be cut down to an hour and fifteen minutes today, so he can leave in time to attend two Democratic fundraisers in Florida.
This will be the eighth and ninth fundraisers Obama has attended since General McChrystal submitted his request for additional troops.
They say you have to make time for what's important. For Obama that would be golf (it took Bush two years to play this much), campaigning (28 fundraisers obliterates the presidential record for year one), and consulting with Keith Olbermann. Keith and company got two and a half hours of the president's time, far surpassing (times five) Gen. McChrystal's cumulative face time with his Commander in Chief.
And the deliberating on Afghanistan policy is, by this report, beginning to take its toll among our war fighters:
A number of active duty and retired senior officers say there is concern that the president is moving too slowly, is revisiting a war strategy he announced in March and is unduly influenced by political advisers in the Situation Room.
“The thunderstorm is there and it’s kind of brewing and it’s unstable and the lightning hasn’t struck, and hopefully it won’t,” said Nathaniel C. Fick, a former Marine Corps infantry officer who briefed Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and is now the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, a military research institution in Washington. “I think it can probably be contained and avoided, but people are aware of the volatile brew.”
But hey, the entertainment value of Obama's campaign-speech shtick is priceless, and that's worth something in our diversion-obsessed culture, right? Fans will be gratified to hear that he reprised his "skinny but tough" routine, a fave from '08, and performed the new crowd favorite about the "socialist mop."
Yes, he's so proud of this routine that he chooses to repeat it. And with his heavy campaign schedule it's on its way to becoming a classic. (It's already inspiring homages.)
"I've tried to explain ... just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I'm not tough. I don't rattle. I'm not going to shrink back, because now is the time for us to continue to push and follow through on those things that we know have to be done but have not been done in decades," he said.
And he had tough words for those Republican critics who he says are not helping solve some of the problems that festered when they were in control of the White House and Congress.
"Lately I feel like somebody made a big mess and I've got my mop and I'm mopping the floor and the folks who made the mess are there (saying) 'you're not mopping fast enough. You're not mopping the right way. It's a socialist mop.'"
He reeled off a string of legislative achievements, starting with the $787 billion economic stimulus he credited with helping stop the bleeding in the U.S. economy. Republicans, on the other hand, contend the spending has done little to restrain the 9.8 percent U.S. jobless rate."A string of legislative achievements"? Really?
Among other items Obama listed: Lifting the Bush ban on using federal funds for stem cell research, signing legislation to ensure women gain equal pay as men for the same work, banning housing fraud, toughening credit card regulations and bringing the country close to a massive [
collapse] healthcare overhaul.
Abroad, Obama said he had put the United States on a path to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and is working on a new strategy for Afghanistan.
Matthew Archbold made me cry today. I'm going to excerpt but please read the whole thing.
At some point, the computer froze and I had to shut it down and then it hit me. I realized what a jerk I was. Well, that's not true. I know what a jerk I am. But I realized what a jerk I was today. My seven year old wasn't upset because she got five wrong. She was scared of telling me she got five wrong. I hadn't even taken the time to notice that my seven year old had been circling me the entire afternoon and early evening. Looking to me...for something. And then quickly looking away. Even while cleaning the dishes I noticed her looking at me out of the corner of her eye. I noticed it but I didn't see it, if you know what I mean. She'd been waiting for me to say what I should've said the moment she walked out of school. That no matter what happened I love her. That no matter what happened I'm proud of her. And no matter what happened I think she's the most special seven year old in the world.We know we love our kids, and they most likely know it on an intellectual level. But they need to feel that love and unconditional acceptance, especially when they fear they've displeased us.
This little girl. My little girl. She was waiting for her dopey father to tell her he loved her all day and that it was just a math test. Instead he told her to circle subtraction signs.
I had to face it. I did a lot worse on my test than she did on hers. Sometimes you just think that children know how much we love them. But the harsh words we say I think somehow stick with them longer than many of our kindnesses. Our little cruelties are like splinters. They go in easily, cause pain, and they're very difficult to get out. [emphasis added]
Take a moment and imagine the feelings of that four year-old child. I don't think an expert opinion is really needed here, but the article provides a couple:
Still, Ms. Merrill, a travel consultant in Rutherford, N.J., finds that the threat of yelling can be a convenient stick, much the way the threat of a spanking was in her childhood. Even her husband has taken to using it to encourage good behavior, she said, issuing the warning:
“Don’t make mommy mad.”
In other words, berating your child isn't good for him, and too much of it may cause him to question your unconditional love for him. Not exactly counter-intuitive. The choice between shouting and spanking is a false one, anyway; there are alternatives.
“We are so accustomed to this that we just think parents get carried away and that it’s not harmful,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Murray A. Straus, a sociologist who is a director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. “But it affects a child. If someone yelled at you at work, you’d find that pretty jarring. We don’t apply that standard to children.”
Psychologists and psychiatrists generally say yelling should be avoided. It’s at best ineffective (the more you do it the more the child tunes it out) and at worse damaging to a child’s sense of well-being and self-esteem.
“It isn’t the yelling per se that’s going to make a difference, it’s how the yelling is interpreted,” said Ronald P. Rohner, director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut. If a parent is simply loud, he says, the effect is minimal. But if the tone connotes anger, insult or sarcasm, it can be perceived as a sign of rejection.
If children could know how much their parents loved them, I believe it would make them feel so much safer than they probably do. But maybe that's our main job as parents. We need to let them know they're loved. Tell them how special they are. Because we are their introduction to God. Can you believe it? I know. But we are.Most recent posts here.
Note that I resisted the urge to festoon the word art with quotation marks. No need to paint all the pieces with, er, the same brush. Judge for yourself.
Two items. The first, from Charlotte Allen, concerns artist (again, no quotes) Shepard Fairey, the man who brought us that ubiquitous Obama HOPE poster with the distinct Marxist vibe, and who recently (finally) admitted he lied about the AP photo he used as its basis. Excerpt:
Fairey, by his own description, is a man of the left. His work, as his gallery put it in a 2007 news release, critiques the "underpinnings of the capitalist machine." Fairey first became the darling of political liberals with a poster in which he depicted then-President George W. Bush as a vampire, complete with fangs and blood dripping down his chin. After the Obama campaign officially incorporated Fairey's "Hope" poster series into its electoral efforts, Obama sent the artist a letter, included in an exhibit of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, saying, "I am privileged to be a part of your art work and proud to have your support."Please read the rest.
The gloom sets in slowly, page after colorful page, slogan after inspiring slogan. It is a catalogue of celebratory art, of smiles and hope and change, and somehow, it leaves you with a hollow, panicky feeling in the gut.
[. . .]
The artists included here feel more like insiders whose invitation got lost in the mail.
[. . .]
It's hard to credit this art with too much sophistication. Rather than call it political art, which has a long and noble tradition, it might be better to label it merely partisan art.
[. . .]
And much of it is simply, even embarrassingly saccharine, such as Amy Martin's image of a mother holding her baby up to watch butterflies buzzing about the word "Hope," or Ben Dutro's "Embrace for the White House," which shows a cartoon donkey hugging a cartoon elephant, above the words "Unite America." Some of the work is so treacly and weirdly sexual at the same time that it almost feels borrowed from serious artists such as Lisa Yuskavage, who mixes storybook figures with strangely sick and naughty eroticism. And so we get Lukas Ketner's "Barack on the Water," a digital painting that shows the president, shirt open and surrounded by red roses, emerging from a pool of milky water while a white stallion cavorts on the seminal waves. One hopes this is a sophisticated comment on sexuality, race and the erotic desire for strong male leaders. One suspects it isn't.
[. . .]
Most of the work feels borrowed, and borrowed without irony. White doves of peace fly through these images in flocks to rival Hitchcock's birds. The president's face appears with the frequency of Bashir al-Assad's on the streets of Damascus. The repetition of the president's face and form -- often in images cravenly indebted to Fairey's -- grows oppressive and even frightening.
Two images hint at this claustrophobia, but again, with an ambivalence that is more confusing than comforting. Sueraya Shaheen's "Right on Track, London Tube" is an arrangement of cellphone camera images of the president, such that he seems to haunt the London Underground, peering in its train windows and the station walls. He's everywhere, it says, but not clearly enough to be an indictment of the cult of personality it echoes. And Ocean Clark's "Obama Entrances the Crowd," an acrylic painting, shows an image of Obama speaking to a swirl of red and yellow and orange circles, seemingly capturing a crowd whipped up to conflagration by the power of his rhetoric.
Members of the "entranced" crowd are faceless blanks, and Obama's head looks like some sort of memento mori. See the slide show accompanying the article for this and a few other works cited.
Most recent posts here.
These are terrifying images, made by artists seemingly unaware of the fragile line that separates democratic enthusiasm from totalitarian mania. It's too easy, however, to say that this naive collection of Obamamania amounts to any serious desire for fascism or authoritarian control, as the president's critics will surely do. But it does show the emptiness of imagination in a group of artists who suddenly find themselves on the crest of a historical wave, unable to invent anything new, unable to articulate any sense of the moment beyond the observation that it is "all very inspiring and a lot of fun."
Those are the words of Ron English, who was told by the organizers of the original exhibit that he should "please stay positive." It seems a small dictate, to stay positive, just as it must have seemed a small nudge from Sergant when he encouraged artists on a conference call to "pick something, whether it's health care, education, the environment," and "apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative community's utilities and bring them to the table." Leave aside the question of whether that was a re-politicization of the NEA. Leave aside the inestimable damage it did to an agency that had been scrupulously depoliticized over the past eight years.
What should have been clear, and what becomes painfully clear from "Art for Obama," is that this is a very bad recipe for making good art.
Something wicked this way comes. This time the oracle is Alex Renton of the Guardian:
Thanks be to God we have Mark Steyn to refute this "self-loathing claptrap":
The worst thing that you or I can do for the planet is to have children. If they behave as the average person in the rich world does now, they will emit some 11 tonnes of CO² every year of their lives. In their turn, they are likely to have more carbon-emitting children who will make an even bigger mess. If Britain is to meet the government's target of an 80% reduction in our emissions by 2050, we need to start reversing our rising rate of population growth immediately.
And if that makes sense, why not start cutting population everywhere? Are condoms not the greenest technology of all?
[. . .]
But how do you reduce population in countries where women's rights are already achieved and birth-control methods are freely available? Could children perhaps become part of an adult's personal carbon allowance? Could you offer rewards: have one child only and you may fly to Florida once a year?
After all, based on current emissions and life expectancy, one less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place.
If you have faith in the rich world's ability to achieve those 80% cuts in emissions in a mere 40 years, you need not concern yourself too much about population. But if you are sceptical, you should be worried. A lot.
Some scientists, the German chancellor's adviser, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber among them, say that if the cuts are not achieved, we will end up with a planet with a "carrying capacity" of just 1bn humans. If so, we need to start cutting back population now with methods that offer a humane choice – before it happens the hard way
For a refresher course on why life is good read this classic column from Mark.
Agree to abort your kid and the state will get you a special exit visa for two weeks in Florida.
Even if you overlook the control-freak totalitarianism, the argument is drivel. Much of "the rich world", including three-fourths of the G7 (Germany, Italy, Japan), is already in net population decline. And in those parts that aren't, such as the United Kingdom, population growth is driven almost entirely by mass immigration: Those Bangladeshis with their admirably low emissions move to Yorkshire and before you know it develop a carbon footprint as big as your guilt-ridden liberal environmentalist's.
[. . .]Alex will get his way. Much of "the rich world" has essentially opted for voluntary extinction. The notion that the planet will be a much cleaner place left to the tender mercies of the Chinese pollutoburo, the new caliphate, and the exploding megalopolises of coastal Africa might strike many as somewhat fanciful. But no doubt the last three Guardian-reading liberal environmentalists extant will still reckon it's all our fault.
The administration's real goal: raise questions with other reporters so they'll double-check anything they hear on Fox before they run with it. Try to isolate and marginalize Fox's voice. Cut off Fox's influence before it blossoms into the rest of the mainstream media.Charles Krauthammer? Brit Hume? Jennifer Rubin?
It's the sort of strategy that pops up when you're in campaign mode, a mode to which Obama's team is intimately familiar. But there also comes a time to ignore the yammering from the press box and pick up the olive branches of negotiations, compromise and reconciliation.Bringing leaders, and the country, together doesn't seem to be on the agenda. And that enemies list is longer than Mr. Page admits.
That was the big take-away in Sen. Lamar Alexander's thoughtful speech last week. The Tennessee Republican, who worked for President Richard Nixon, cautioned Obama against creating a Nixon-like "enemies list" of media, industry or congressional adversaries. That's a wise warning, even if the "list" in Obama's case appears to have only one name on it.
Hardball has its place. Obama doesn't have to cave in to his adversaries to get things done. But his inner circle could use the pragmatic, independent, old-school voice of, say, Ronald Reagan administration veterans like David Gergen, enlisted by Bill Clinton's White House, or Colin Powell, who has informally advised Obama.
Every president needs campaign experts. But every president also needs people who know how to slip off to the private meeting and bring leaders together in ways that also bring the country together. That's the change we're waiting for.
A week or two ago I was obsessing about the H1N1 virus and whether to get my children vaccinated but it will likely be a moot point; several neighborhood kids have tested positive and husband, #1 daughter, and #1 son have all been exposed at work, but the vaccine is hard to find and in short supply when you do find it.
I'm not in a panic to locate it but many parents are. Check out the blogprof's report: Vaccination Hell: In Oakland County MI, Thousands Line Up For H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine, Some In Line 11 Hours!
Good grief -- some families got in line the night before! In the rain and wind!
Mark Tapscott observes that the vaccine delay bodes ill (sorry) for ObamaCare:
Read the rest.
President Obama's late-night declaration of a nationwide public health emergency last night shouldn't be allowed to obscure the most important lesson of the developing swine flu crisis - The same government that only weeks ago promised abundant supplies of swine flu vaccine by mid-October will be running your health care system under Obamacare.
On Sept. 13, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, told ABC's This Week program that the government was on schedule to deliver an "ample supply" of swine flu vaccine by mid-October:
"We're on track to have an ample supply rolling by the middle of October. But we may have some early vaccine as early as the first full week in October. We'll get the vaccine out the door as fast as it rolls off the production line."
But here we are five weeks later and news reports are coming in from across the nation of long waiting lines of people wanting the shot, but being turned away because of grossly inadequate supplies.
Today's Washington Post prints a sales pitch for liberal healthcare reform, and the public option in particular, whose "prospects . . . have gone in a few short weeks from bleak to bright." Cue cheerleaders Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery.
It's positively magical how support has grown for it:
The shift in momentum is so dramatic that many lawmakers now predict that President Obama will sign a final bill that includes some form of government-sponsored insurance for people who do not receive coverage through the workplace. Even Democrats with strong reservations about expanding government's role in the health-care system say they are reconsidering the approach in hopes of making low-cost plans broadly available.Are they basing this on their skewed poll or just a dream they had? Or on the authority of this objective Congressman:
Clyburn said the debate is no longer whether to include a public option, but "whether or not we will get this form of a public option or that form of a public option." Since the talk of "death panels" at town-hall meetings in August, Clyburn said, the political climate has changed as voters have come to understand "that all of this foolishness was just that -- foolishness. Nobody wants to pull the plug on Grandma."Phew!
There's a lot more about the courageous Sen. Harry Reid sticking his neck out to "do the right thing," as he and Speaker Pelosi scheme over an opt-out option. There's nothing about how a public option would kill off private insurance -- more foolishness, I guess -- nor is there much about this:
The public-option debate is frustrating some Democrats, who have come to believe that a government-run plan is neither as radical as its conservative critics have portrayed, nor as important as its liberal supporters contend. Any public plan is likely to have a relatively narrow scope, as it would be offered only to people who don't have access to coverage through an employer.
The public option would effectively be just another insurance plan offered on the open market. It would likely be administered by a private insurance provider, charging premiums and copayments like any other policy.* In an early estimate of the House bill, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that fewer than 12 million people would buy insurance through the government plan.
[. . .]
Because a government-run plan would be dedicated to holding down costs and would lack a profit motive, congressional budget analysts predict that it could reduce the cost of expanding coverage to people who don't have it by as much as $100 billion over the next decade.
Health care legislation taking shape in the House carries a price tag of at least $1 trillion over a decade, significantly higher than the target President Barack Obama has set, congressional officials said Friday as they struggled to finish work on the measure for a vote early next month.So please don't tell anyone.
Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates its true cost by $150 billion or more. That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more, they added.
The officials who disclosed the details did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.
As the preceding rather convoluted description of MACs and contracting administrators suggests, neither the HELP bill nor HR 3200 makes it easy for readers to grasp that corporations, not public employees, will create, and probably run, the “option” program. Neither bill comes right out and says, “The Secretary shall hire private-sector corporations to create and run as many health insurance companies as is necessary to make health insurance available for sale to the non-elderly in each health insurance market in America.” Nor is that fact being ballyhooed by the bills’ authors and proponents. But it’s an important feature for “option” supporters to understand because it undermines the claim “option” advocates make over and over that the “option” will look like Medicare.Read the rest. The plot thickens.
[. . .]
The fact that the “option” programs in both bills will be run by privately owned corporations was hinted at by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Richard Kirsch, the campaign director of Health Care for America Now, on September 1. As the following excerpt from a post on Talking Points Memo suggests, the Democratic leadership and HCAN have known since these bills were first drafted that the “option” programs will not be Medicare-like, but rather will be administered by one or more private-sector corporations