March 17, 2010

Lightning Links (031710, Afternoon)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 2:22 pm

Lightly-commented Lightning:

  • Add this to the “Oh, he’s soooo brilliant (not)” file — “Obama: Premiums Will Decrease 3000%.” A gaffe like this would be comedy gold … if Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle, or any Republican or conservative had said it. The problem is, in the context of the President’s delivery as seen in the video, he may actually believe that you can decrease something by 3000%. As Instapundit has so often sardonically observed, “Our country is in the best of hands.”
  • The Associated Press’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, of all people and of all places, says that ObamaCare will raise insurance premiums, not lower them by double-digits as Obama and Dems claim (at least when they’re not throwing around “3000%”).
  • Serial presidential candidate and Cleveland-area congressman Dennis Kucinich is going to vote “yes” on ObamaCare. He was a “no” at crunch time last year, but he would surely have gone to “yes” if he thought the bill was in jeopardy. That’s the message to take away from his switch.
  • Now that ACORN has agreed to exit Ohio and not come back, it’s a good time to remind readers by reference to Maggie Thurber’s October 2008 work that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s ties to ACORN run long and deep, and that Brunner ignored Buckeye State vote-related fraud that year.
  • From last Friday, via Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh“How Bad Is the Lehman Bankruptcy Report for Geithner?” Bad enough that a properly-written history will probably show that Geithner’s mishandling of Lehman was deliberately designed to create the artificial crisis- and blackmail-driven atmosphere that led to the creation of TARP.
  • Related to the previous item, Third Base Politics notes how many time the name of former Lehman employee and now Ohio gubernatorial John Kasich came up in that 2,200-page bankruptcy report: Zero.
  • Via the Financial Times carried at CNBC“Google ’99.9%’ Sure It Will Shut Down China Search Engine.” That’s because “talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse.” I am now 99.9% sure that I’ll take a serious look at carrying Google ads on this site and removing the company from the BizzyBlog Internet Wall of Shame. I wonder what Microsoft’s, Yahoo!’s and Cisco’s plans are?
  • In more management shuffling, Government/General Motors has a new CFO, who predicts the company will make a full-year profit in 2010. You can almost write it down that if it occurs, it will be despite, not because, of its North American operations.

Comment-Free Lightning:

Final thought: God bless Ingrid Martin — and keep her safe.

On ‘The Process,’ It’s Time To Call Out Mitt Romney’s ‘Center-Right’ Apologists

RomneyNo0808-1NoObamaCareGiven what is devolving out Washington, this is a particularly opportune time for a definitive call-out.

So gather ’round, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, certain of Rush’s peeps (based on their ignorant e-mails), and other “center-right” talking/blogging Mitt Romney apologists.

Rush, you come in too, because I’m not sure about you either.

Are y’all here? Okay, good.

See that mirror over there? Stand up and make eye contact with yourself for the next few minutes.

All of you are currently and correctly railing against the out-of-control congressional majority, and especially their pathetic, orchestrated talking point that “The American people don’t care about the process, they just want health care reform passed.”

You are crucially correct that the American people care deeply about “the process,” because “the process” is really “the Constitution” and its stated procedures specifically detailing how bills are to become laws.

Fine.

WHERE WERE YOU in 2003-2004 when Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney shredded “the process” otherwise known as the Massachusetts Constitution to unilaterally and illegally impose same-sex “marriage” in the Bay State? (Hugh Hewitt initially got it right, but then fell $trangely $ilent on the topic.)

WHERE WERE YOU in 2007-2008 when so many of us on the center-right were making these self-evident points, while you were virtually and in some cases actually ENDORSING him?

WHEN HAVE YOU EVER denounced Mitt Romney’s authoritarian usurpation of powers he did not constitutionally have? (To this day, same-sex “marriage” has not been constitutionally enacted in Massachusetts.)

WHEN HAVE YOU EVER cited Romney’s actions as the precedent that made it easier for other governors (e.g., Schwarzenegger in California) to defy their own constitutions?

You’ll have to excuse me for believing that your righteous bleats about “the process,” though absolutely correct, ring more than a little hollow.

Hmm. I just noticed that most of you have stopped looking at yourselves.

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NOTE: Though I oppose same-sex “marriage,” even its advocates must admit that the “process” by which it has “legally” come about has serially violated state constitutions and the will of the voters.

Rather than attempt to persuade the American people of the righteousness of their cause, they have chosen authoritarian and sometimes thuggish tactics to get their way. Mitt Romney has served as their chief enabler. Those called out above should be ashamed.

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UPDATE: This post has been reproduced with yours truly’s permission at AIPNews.com.

Lucid Links (031710, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:44 am

On Monday, the Washington Post’s Robert J. Samuelson ripped ObamaCare’s economic claims to shreds (bolds are mine; links were in original):

Almost everything you think you know about health care is probably wrong or, at least, half wrong. Great simplicities and distortions have been peddled in the name of achieving “universal health coverage.” The miseducation has worsened as the debate approaches its climax.

… How often, for example, have you heard the emergency-room argument? The uninsured, it’s said, use emergency rooms for primary care. That’s expensive and ineffective. Once they’re insured, they’ll have regular doctors. Care will improve; costs will decline. Everyone wins. Great argument. Unfortunately, it’s untrue.

A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (PDF here) found that the insured accounted for 83 percent of emergency-room visits, reflecting their share of the population. After Massachusetts adopted universal insurance, emergency-room use remained higher than the national average, an Urban Institute study found (PDF here).

… Studies of insurance’s effects on health are hard to perform. Some find benefits; others don’t. Medicare’s introduction in 1966 produced no reduction in mortality; some studies of extensions of Medicaid for children didn’t find gains. In the Atlantic recently, economics writer Megan McArdle examined the literature and emerged skeptical. Claims that the uninsured suffer tens of thousands of premature deaths are “open to question.” Conceivably, the “lack of health insurance has no more impact on your health than lack of flood insurance,” she writes.

Though it seems compelling, covering the uninsured is not the health-care system’s major problem. The big problem is uncontrolled spending, which prices people out of the market and burdens government budgets. Obama claims his proposal checks spending. Just the opposite. When people get insurance, they use more health services. Spending rises. By the government’s latest forecast, health spending goes from 17 percent of the economy in 2009 to 19 percent in 2019. Health “reform” would probably increase that.

… “If not now, when? If not us, who?” Obama asks. The answer is: It’s not now, and it’s not “us.” Pass or not, Obama’s proposal is the illusion of “reform,” not the real thing.

Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al don’t care about reform. They care about centralizing power over our lives. It could not be more obvious.

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Since the previous item touched on Massachusetts, it’s worth asking what Mitt Romney, the godfather of CommonwealthCare, aka RomneyCare, thinks of how things are going with so-called “universal coverage” in the Bay State.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Grace-Marie Turner today informs us that Romney believes things are going well.

Turner calls BS, and in the process adds yet another crucial reason why Objectively Unfit Mitt must be stopped if he runs (heavily excerpted because of the Journal’s subscription wall; bolds are mine):

Former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 presidential aspirant Mitt Romney has been on the wrong side of the defining political battle of our time.

Mr. Romney claimed earlier this month on “Fox News Sunday” that the Massachusetts health reform plan he signed into law in 2006 is “the ultimate conservative plan.” But there are many similarities between it and the ObamaCare loathed by conservative voters.

Both have an individual mandate requiring most residents to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Most businesses are required to participate or pay a fine.

… Mr. Romney’s promise that getting everyone covered would force costs down also is far from being realized. … A typical family of four today faces total annual health costs of nearly $13,788, the highest in the country. Per capita spending is 27% higher than the national average.

… The state’s stubbornly high health costs are partly the result of intrusive government regulations that stifle competition in the insurance market and strict mandates on what services insurance must cover.

… Further, insurance companies are required to sell “just-in-time” policies even if people wait until they are sick to buy coverage. That’s just like the Obama plan. There is growing evidence that many people are gaming the system by purchasing health insurance when they need surgery or other expensive medical care, then dropping it a few months later.

Some Massachusetts safety-net hospitals that treat a disproportionate number of lower-income and uninsured patients are threatening bankruptcy.

… As one would expect, expanded insurance has caused an increase in demand for medical services. But there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in the number of doctors. As a result, many patients are insured in name only: They have health coverage but can’t find a doctor.

… For new patients who do get an appointment with a primary-care doctor, the average waiting time is 44 days, the Medical Society found.

… Mr. Romney insists that in Massachusetts, “We didn’t do what President Obama’s doing, which is putting controls on our system of premiums for private insurance companies.”

But that is what’s happening now: Faced with soaring medical expenses, Gov. Deval Patrick, Mr. Romney’s successor, wants to cap insurance rate increases at 4.8%, not the 8% to 32% increases the companies have requested for April 1. Three of the four major health insurers in Massachusetts showed operating losses for 2009.

… health care is likely to be the defining issue of the 2010 and 2012 elections. Unless Mr. Romney is more honest about the system he set in motion in Massachusetts, he will have a hard time convincing Republican primary voters that he has learned his health-care lesson.

We cannot be sure of that Republican primary voters will dismiss Romney, both because of the size of his personal checkbook and because the primary process is so fundamentally flawed in so many states, leaving it vulnerable to leftist and other tampering. My understanding is that any chance to fix the broken mess was lost at the 2008 Republican Convention when these matters were left alone. (Thank you, John McCain and the RINO establishment.)

Defeating a presidential candidate Romney in the Republican primaries, if it comes to that, is every bit as important as defeating Barack Obama in the 2012 general election. If Romney is the party’s nominee, there will be no remotely acceptable “major party” choice. Principled sensible center-righters (i.e., the large majority of the electorate) will have no alternative but to unite behind a third-party candidate.

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Last night, Mark Levin announced on his show that his Landmark Legal Foundation will challenge any health care legislation “passed” using the Slaughter gambit:

Mark announces that the Landmark Legal Foundation and he are prepared to fight this health care bill if it is passed via the Slaughter rule. They will challenge the constitutionality of the bill because you cannot have a law that is not voted on by Congress – as explicitly said in the Constitution. No previous Congress has ever said that it’s passed a bill when it hasn’t. The reason the politicians are lying and scheming as they try to get Obamacare passed, is because they realize the American people are against it on higher levels than ever before.

Don’t believe the talking points crap (direct YouTube) that it has been done a hundred times before. It hasn’t been; this is unprecedented, and frankly frightening to anyone who believes in what’s left of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Positivity: Pair checks on no-show patient – and might have saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:51 am

From York County, South Carolina:

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010 06:46 AM

On Monday morning, 85-year-old John Williams was late for his 9 a.m. appointment at Southern States Physical Therapy.

The little old man with the bright eyes and the brighter smile had been coming since September.

“He is never late,” said office manager Janine Geada. “Like clockwork, he never misses. He’s a true gentleman. So I called his house a few times, but didn’t get him. I figured I would give him until 10.”

But Geada did not return to her work after the calls went unanswered. She knew Williams lived alone, had no wife or children.

Instead of going for a muffin, or to the bank or just plain back to work, Geada got in her car and drove the couple of miles to Williams’ Rock Hill home. She found his car in the back under the carport, but nobody came to the door.

She rushed back to the office and told co-worker Chris Hudson, an assistant physical therapist, who called 911 at 11:20 a.m. Both Hudson and Geada then rushed to Williams’ house.

The ladies who work at Fewell Park across the street saw all the commotion, the police cars and fire truck. At Williams’ home, firefighters broke into the house.

“He was lying on the floor in the kitchen,” said Hudson. “He had a broken hip. He probably fell Sunday night.”

Hudson had just talked with Williams last week about getting some kind of medical alert system. Yet when Williams could not be found, Geada and Hudson did not go back to work.

They did not say they were too busy.

They checked on him – and might have saved Williams’ life.

It’s not uncommon for authorities to get called to check on someone’s welfare.

What is rare and certainly commendable, said Cotton Howell, York County emergency management director, was that Geada and Hudson drove to Williams’ home to check on him.

“These people took extra time and effort to help someone out,” Howell said. “That’s beyond what we normally see.”

Dr. Chad Gindi, director of physical therapy for Southern States, said the staff is taught that clients are not a number but a person to be cared for. He commended Hudson and Geada for their efforts – which went beyond physical therapy and running an office.

“We try to treat them like family,” Gindi said of patients.

Later that evening, Hudson and Geada did not go home from work. They were right there at Piedmont Medical Center, checking on Williams.

“He laughed and said, ‘So you are the gentleman who is responsible for the break-in at my house,’” Hudson said. “He was so thankful. I just told him I was happy to help.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.