May 26, 2009

Lucid Links (052609, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:59 am

Noteworthy Net-worthies:

Instapundit very recently got in a couple of tremendous points. First, in reaction to C-SPAN’s interview with President Barack H. Obama (that’s what they called him; full transcript converted to HTML by yours truly is here), where Obama acknowledged that “we are out of money,” but said that it’s because of “our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades” — “Bogus. I think, instead, that it has something to do with the fact that Obama has been pouring money down a crony-statist rathole at absolutely astronomical and unprecedented rates. …. ‘I’ve bankrupted the nation, so now your only hope is to pass my healthcare plan.’ That goes beyond chutzpah to the edge of pathological dishonesty.” Bingo. I’ll leave the pathology to others, but the dishonesty part is at least consistent. Beyond that, health care’s relationship to why we’re broke has everything to do with the government’s overinvolvement.

Continuing the previous item, here’s Instapundit’s second point“…. my biggest worry is that Obamacare will kill health care innovation just as it’s becoming really, really promising.” Ironically, Obamacare would cut costs in the existing system, but keep the costly existing system in place. In a truly free market for medical services, the existing system would have to adapt to treatments that promise to revolutionize medicine as we know it while quickly bringing costs down at the same time. It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s happened time after time in unregulated markets, and there’s no good reason to think it wouldn’t happen in medicine.

Here’s one example of a potential medical cost reduction, followed by a real one we’ve all seen and not sufficiently appreciated: If we were in a truly free medical market, at least some of the adult stem cell treatments being developed would be brought to market faster to replace costly surgeries (like this one; yes, it is a stem cell treatment despite the author’s reluctance to use the term). The problem is that there are obviously vested interests in continuing the current costly care regime. If you don’t think radical cost reductions can happen, how do you explain the continued decline in price for Lasik and its competitors for surgeries and other procedures that are usually unreimbursed? Yours truly noted this a few years ago; Amy Ridenour did a more thorough review in early 2007.

Kaus wonders what will happen if Fiat, which is supposed to buy Chrysler, walks away from Opel, which is owned by GM. So do I. Fiat is also applying intense pressure in the Chrysler bankruptcy case. The Italian carmaker says it is now openly worried that Chrysler’s value is dangerously deteriorating. Wait a minute; we’re only at day 25 or so of what was understood from the beginning to be an up to 60-day process. Cold feet? If so, then what?

Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, according to AP, is Sonia Sotomayer.

Continuing a trend that began within days of Obama’s inauguration, here’s more policy power moving into the White House — “A Cybersecurity Czar With Broad Mandate.” Like other czars, and unlike Cabinet secretaries, this person will probably not require Senate confirmation. Note the absence of establishment media concern over a too-powerful, unaccountable Executive Branch.

Positivity: Iraq war hero going back for third tour

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Richmond Hill, Georgia (related picture here)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chris Carter loves the Army, but he might love the University of Georgia a little more.

When his unit (Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division) entered Baghdad in the spring of 2003, he hoisted a UGA flag over one of the presidential palaces.

In a less puckish moment on the same tour, he jumped out of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the middle of a firefight to rescue an Iraqi woman on a bridge near the Euphrates.

That event was captured by an embedded Associated Press reporter and broadcast around the world, putting Carter in the uncomfortable position of being an early hero in a war with few heroes. A standing ovation at his church upon his return to the United States embarrassed him. “I’m just a small-town guy who probably got more attention than he deserves,” he said back then.

Today, Carter has been promoted from captain to major. He is preparing to embark on his third tour of Iraq and for the birth of his second child; both events are scheduled to occur around the same time in October.

Between the first and second tours, he met his wife Celeste at a wedding of mutual friends. “When I met him, I didn’t put two and two together,” she said. “I didn’t know who he was until later. You’d never know it, because he didn’t talk about it.”

Married in 2005, they have a 10-month-old boy, Jackson, and one on the way. Currently they live outside the Fort Stewart Army base, in the Richmond Hill community.

Carter was in on the ground floor of the Iraq war, and he may be there as the United States winds down its involvement. He has mixed feelings about that possibility: he knows the war is stressful to troops and their families, but he wants the mission completed before the U.S. leaves. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.