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Friday, July 24, 2009

Showdown, Texas style!

What I wouldn't give to see a full scale 10th amendment showdown.

This has been brewing for some time as the federal government takes the commerce clause and expands and expands it. Nowadays I don’t think many people even consider whether the federal government should be doing it. They just assume, if someone should be doing it, then the feds should be the ones doing it.

From the Made in Montana type gun laws to

Texas’s resolutions of sovereignty to  Governor Perry’s declaration of a states' rights showdown with White House over healthcare we may see such a thing in the next few years.

I mean how can you argue with this?

RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal

government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective

immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these

constitutionally delegated powers; and, be it further


RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation not

necessary to ensure rights guaranteed the people under the

Constitution of the United States that directs states to comply

under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that

requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be

prohibited or repealed

Congratulations on your raise!

To all those who get a raise today – enjoy it! And be sure to go out and buy a beer for all those who either get fired or can’t get hired now to show your appreciation for sharing their wealth with you.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Placing Taser on prone handcuffed man’s genitals not criminal?


According to the report from the Idaho Statesman the Boise Ombudsman

said evidence showed the man was shocked once in the back before he was handcuffed, and once in the buttocks after he was cuffed, and threatened with further shocks to the anus and genitalia.


"(It was the) totality of the officer's actions in threatening and taunting the subject with the Taser ... following it up by placing it in an anal and genital region”

but apparently having 3 men sit on top of a suspect who is only moving around because he can’t breathe after he has already been tased and then placing the taser on his anus and genitals threatening to tase them directly isn’t sufficiently excessive to warrant the DA taking action.

I wonder what would happen if it were the DA’s family jewels in jeopardy.

Obama’s health coverage plan and how it destroy’s existing plans

I was trying to figure out what the whole grandfather clause in the medical bill was actually exempting you from, i.e. why do we care about grandfathered medical plans?


states that

  1. if you do not have "acceptable coverage" for you or your dependents then you pay an additional 2.5% income tax (capped at the "applicable national average premium rate")
  2. "acceptable coverage" can be any plan that meets this bill’s minimum coverage or can be any grandfathered coverage


states that grandfathered coverage is coverage that

  1. you are enrolled in prior to 1/1/2013
  2. "the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before [1/1/2013]"

What does this mean? It means that if your existing coverage does not meet the "Acceptable coverage" guidelines of the bill, then any change to benefits or cost-sharing nullifies the allowance of that coverage to be grandfathered in. Then you either have to go get coverage that is "acceptable" or you get hit with a new tax liability. In addition, employers can have up to an 8% excise tax for not providing an acceptable option.

This does sound like the death of existing plans that don’t meet the existing bar because they will die of attrition as they are unable to make any changes to meet the needs of the market moving forward.

So Obama is correct when he said that it gives "you the option to keep your insurance if you're happy with it.” But that choice can no longer be made once the plan goes into effect.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Its better! but just not as good?

All this discussion about health care and private vs public options reminded me of a conversation I had last year with a fellow employee who lived in Denmark.

We were having a discussion on how health care worked in his country and was supplemented by the health insurance provided by our employer. He was championing the virtues of the free health care provided by his government to any who needed it. It did of course have limits. His son needed some procedure performed and the government health system wouldn’t pay for it. His solution was to take his son across the border and use his employer’s health insurance to pay for it there.

He continued to tell me that he loved the “free” government health insurance and it was the best way to go but the main issue was that he wished it covered more. More like the private insurance his employer provided.

He saw no irony in trying to convince me that the public health program was a better option than the private program even as he stated that his public one needed to be as good his private one.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ginsberg and “populations that we don’t want to have too many of”

In an interview with the NY Times Justice Ginsberg may have just belied some of the liberal’s underlying eugenicist intentions.

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.

While they would never say the word “eugenics”, it is in their political heritage and this is not the first time someone of note on the left has mentioned birth control as a matter of policy for population control rather than purely as a women’s rights issue.

Ultimately, you can have the government pay for everything for everyone – you just have to figure out how to pay for it. If you eliminate all the people needing a service then the service gets real cheap without having to make tough decisions.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What’s a life worth?

Its a question that is often hard to answer – Unless you are taking about a bureaucratic government run health care system. According to the WSJ, when looking at how the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decides what treatments are reasonable (can you say “Comparative Effectiveness”?) its pretty straightforward,

The NICE board even has a mathematical formula for doing so, based on a "quality adjusted life year." While the guidelines are complex, NICE currently holds that, except in unusual cases, Britain cannot afford to spend more than about $22,000 to extend a life by six months. Why $22,000? It seems to be arbitrary, calculated mainly based on how much the government wants to spend on health care. That figure has remained fairly constant since NICE was established and doesn't adjust for either overall or medical inflation.

So the NICE board decides whether you can live another 6 months. And their main decision point is “does it cost more than $22K?”


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The beginning of the end?

Hopefully this will all go well. All combat troops out by the end of 2010.

Triumphant parade as Iraqis celebrate withdrawal of American combat troops.

Now whose fault is this apparent success? :)

It is interesting though that our ultimate permanent presence in this foreign country (the US Embassy) is ten times larger than any other embassy around the world.