Tuesday, July 28, 2015

No, I'm Not A Feminist

But I will be watching the Arizona Cardinals, and especially their linebackers, during the upcoming season. I like the willingness to be radical and to embrace equal opportunity, and linebacker is my favorite position.

Monday, July 27, 2015

No, It Was Not A Quest

Obama was in Kenya and commented that, "Some people think I came here to look for my birth certificate." I thought that was pretty good. The way to deal with idiots is certainly not to let them drag you down to their level. The way to deal with them is to mock them; to illustrate just how silly their accusations actually are.

Indianapolis Notes

Danica Patrick had been running 20th or so, but was in 7th place for a restart with 40 laps to go after taking two tires. She then was 13th on a restart 32 laps later with eight laps to go, and dropped to 27th by the end of the race, last car but one on the lead lap.

Chase Elliott, driving in only his fourth Sprint Cup race and his first ever at Indianapolis, finished nine positions ahead of Danica in 18th. Of course, he did win the Xfinity championship last year, his first year driving in that series. Danica drove Xfinity for two full years and never won a single race, let alone a championship. Her best points finish was 13th in that series. There were, interestingly, only 14 full time drivers in Xfinity that year.

The one car behind Danica on the lead lap at Indianapolis yesterday? Her boss and team owner, Tony Stewart, who had taken four tires when she took two. Not a good day for the team, you might say, except that Kevin Harvick led 75 laps and finished third while Kurt Busch finished eighth.

Harvick might well have won except that Denny Hamlin got a little too exuberant in trying to help him on a restart. He was pushing Harvick to help him go faster, but overdid it a bit and lifted Harvick's rear wheels up off of the track. These are rear wheel drive cars, so instead of going faster, the move almost caused a big wreck and left Harvick pissed off and fourth in the running order.

Speaking of pissed off, Aric Almirola got into an “incident” with Trevor Bayne and, once he got his car underweigh, went after Bayne and smacked his car on the track a couple of times. I’m not sure what his issue was, because this was his second accident and he was already several laps down, and in any case he was the one who hit Bayne’s car in the ass in the first place. Maybe he thinks Bayne backed into him at 180 mph?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paul Krugman Is An Idiot, #7,453

Paul Krugman writes today of “The New Liberal Consensus”  which, it turns out, is not actually a consensus at all. That’s not surprising, really, since if you put five liberals in a room you will usually have about fifteen opinions on any given subject.

Krugman is writing about the difference between old fashioned taxicabs, in which drivers receive wages, health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, retirement benefits, unemployment insurance and have half of their Social Security and Medicare paid for them, and the new Uber thing, where drivers even have to furnish the car they are driving and provide liability and hazard insurance for the damned thing.

Krugman points out that “wages are much less rigidly determined by supply and demand than previously thought,”  which begs a couple of questions. First is that if economists are so good with their mathematical formulas and economic “models” why did they think that wages were “rigidly determined by supply and demand”  and are only now finding out that they are not?

The second, and more important, question which it begs is that wages not being “rigidly determined by supply and demand”  seems like a bad thing for workers, or at least like a major factor affecting the working class, and he tosses it off with no discussion of its cause, effect or what should be done about it. Rather than discussing the impact of economic issues on workers, which you might expect from the liberal populist which he claims to be, he’d rather be talking about what liberals should be doing for their political advantage.

And even on that he can’t adopt an actual liberal position, because he suggests that liberals should “promote the use of new technology without prejudicing the interests of workers,”  which is a typical Clinton “third way,” middle-of-the-road approach to not actually taking a position on the issue at all, and that they should, “not let themselves get painted as enemies of innovation,”  which is, of course, to support the Uber model and screw the workers, which is precisely what Republicans are doing.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Semper Fi

I have always had a fondness for Marines. Yes, I always fucked with them when they were aboard my boat, but they always took it good naturedly and dealt it back in the same manner. We are both Navy. I admire them tremendously as well. They have a long history which is important to them, and of which they are justifiably proud.

World War II in the Pacific was won by submarines and the Marines. Well, okay, a few aircraft carriers helped, and the Army Air Corps dropped a couple of big bombs, but the Marines took the islands and submarines sank most of the ships.

CBS was talking with some Marines who were at the shooting in Chattanooga. One of them was speaking of a friend who had helped several of his men to safety before being killed by the shooter. He said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “He took care of his Marines,”  and I found my eyes watering. Must have been some pollen in the air.

That’s what a non-commissioned officer and the Marine Corps is all about. Semper Fi is the Marine Coprs motto, short for Semper Fidelis which means "Always Faithful."

“He took care of his Marines.”  I hope they put that on his marker at Arlington; there is no finer epitaph.

Update, 10:30am: On a lighter note, the submarine service, as far as I know, does not have a motto, unless it would be something along the lines of, "Oh shit, don't open that valve you idiot"  which, for proper effect, should be screamed at the top of one's lungs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Cosby Saga

Bill Cosby is still in the news, which is actually rather surprising. Have you seen one of his recent appearances? I watched one online, and was wondering two things the whole time. Why are clubs paying him to come to their venues and do this? And why are people coming to the clubs and paying money to watch him do it? I was amazed to find out that he is merely 78 years old. He looks and sounds 90 or older, and is about as funny as a bad case of diarrhea.

In the recently-released deposition he admits to buying drugs which he intended for use prior to having sex with various women. His opponents claim that to be an admission that he was “drugging girls and raping them.” His supporters say that many celebrities were using those drugs during consensual sex in those days, and so he admitted nothing.

I’m tend to side with the women who claim he raped them, but one thing I know for sure is that he admitted to repeatedly and callously cheating on his wife of (now) more than fifty years, and that puts him in a class with Tiger Woods; a person whose failure to make the cut in major tournaments I consider to be a cause for celebration. Actually, he’s worse than Tiger, because Tiger didn’t go around lecturing us on how to be a good father and family man while he was cheating on his wife.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Oh Really?

The headline reads "How To Fry Eggs,"  which I would have thought was an absurd topic before I met my wife, but we won't get into that. I normally don't read things that are on the order of "How To Pee Standing Up"  (I already know not to face into the wind), but for some reason decided to see what the Food Network felt constituted teaching me how to fry eggs.

The first step in frying eggs, according to the Food Network, is to "start with a hot nonstick skillet on medium heat."  I don't know what the second step is because, given that the first involves a thermodynamic impossibility, I don't much care what they consider to be the subsequent steps.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Things That Mystify Me

Greece is in debt to the tune of $335 billion, a debt with terms which it cannot meet, and Europe's solution is to increase that debt by almost a third, lending Greece an additional $95 billion on even worse terms.

The Greek government calls for a public vote on the offer, which turns out to be not only no but "oh hell no,"  so the Greek government then continues negotiating and accepts an even worse deal without a public vote.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Exciting Stuff

Pluto: wow
I have an idea of what it takes to hit a small target at long range. At one time I could hit a beer can three out of ten times with a rifle at 1000 yards. You can’t even see a beer can at 1000 yards? Yes, I was using a scope.

But to fling a vehicle to within a few miles of a target
2.66 billion miles away on a journey lasting nine and a half years taking a route that used the deflection of two planets And now we have pictures of that target, pictures as detailed as those of our own moon.

This is an object that is so far away from the Sun that since it was discovered 85 years ago it has not yet completed a single orbit. Not only did the discoverer not see Pluto complete its first observed orbit, it will be twelve generations before his descendants do.

And now we have these pictures. Wow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inane Question of the Year

Sebastien Bourdais won the Indycar race in Milwaukee last Sunday in a manner that dwarfs the description of “convincing.”  He was in a different zip code most of the day and, at one point, had the entire field a lap down such that he was able to make his final pit stop for tires and fuel by himself without losing the lead.

After the race an NBCSN person asked him, “Did you have a first place car?”  He looked at her and paused, sort of like he was trying to figure out if there was some hidden meaning in the question; perhaps hoping that there was. English, after all, is not his first language. He seemed, finally, to decide that she had actually asked precisely the question that it appeared that she had asked, and answered, “Apparently I did.”

Yes, dear, he did. He won. Next question.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"It is a very good life."

One of the contestants on a back episode of Chopped was asked by the judges to tell them about herself. She had only recently come to this country from Bankok, where her family still lives. She was a young person and her English was charmingly broken. "I realize how lucky I am to be in this country,"  she said. "I am working very hard and having fun. It is a very good life."  I was quite happy to see her win the competition.

I wonder how many of her generation who are native to this country would include in their definition of "a very good life"  the fact that they are "working very hard." Some would, certainly, but...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Small Change

I’m not going to argue the cause of the War Between the States, and will accept for the purpose of this discussion that it was fought by southern racists for the sole purpose of preserving slavery. The Confederate battle flag, then, is an offensive symbol of a war fought 150 years ago to preserve slavery, and must not be displayed. But, eradicating that flag is insufficient. We also must rename schools which bear the name of persons who were on the wrong side. Military installations named after generals who fought for the losing army must be renamed. All traces of the losing side of that war must be erased from today’s society.

We used to call things like that “stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.”

We are not discussing the rate of imprisonment of black men which is happening as we speak. We are not discussing the current rate of unemployment in the black population. We are not discussing the phenomenon of being arrested for “driving while black.”  We are not discussing, in any form, racism as it exists in our society today. It does exist, & is getting worse instead of better.

No, we are intent on eradicating symbols that remind us of racism as it existed 150 years ago, as if that was somehow going to solve anything.

We were talking about unemployment in Ferguson, MO and in Baltimore, at least it was being mentioned, but we dropped it in favor of this nonsense about the flag and then the renaming of schools and military installations.

For some reason, I keep being surprised by the public’s ability to focus on trivia while ignoring the real problems which face this nation.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

What Should Be Banned?

From an AP story about a man who was killed when he placed fireworks on top of his head and lit the fuse,

Devon Staples, 22, and his friends had been drinking and setting off fireworks Saturday night in a backyard in Staples' eastern Maine hometown, Calais, when the accident happened with a reloadable fireworks mortar tube, police have said.

It’s hardly surprising to learn that drinking had been involved, but I’m not sure that “accident”  is the applicable term here. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “when the Darwin event occurred,”  or “when Staples inadvertently committed suicide.”

In other news, not one but two NFL players, from different teams and in separate cities, had “accidents”  with fireworks that resulted in the amputation of a finger.

There will, of course, be calls to ban fireworks, and the mother of the New England man is already doing so. Banning stupidity is impractical, as it would render most of the population unable to function.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Seriously?

I caught the last few minutes of "America's Got Talent" last night, probably the most horribly misnamed program in the history of television unless they are engaging in deliberate snark, and seriously wish that there was some way that I could unsee that.

The "talent"  was some guy who broke 120 raw eggs into four pitchers and then drank them. How that disgusting display is considered entertainment at all escapes me completely, but what totally blows my mind is that three of the four judges liked it enough to vote "yes"  for sending it onward to the next round of the tournament.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

PGA News Correction

If you were confused by CBS Evening News saying last night that Rory MeIlroy will miss the US Open due to his injury allow me to reassure you that, no, there are not two US Open tournaments this year. It is the British Open that McIlroy will miss.

Freedom of Speech

Yes, I supported discontinuing the display of the Confederate battle flag on government property. Banning its display generally, on private property or at public venues, however, constitutes impingement of freedom of speech. And no, I do not display that flag.

Greg Grandin says, in his piece at Tom Dispatch, that, “the Confederate flag represents ‘hate, not heritage,’”
but I would submit that it represents whatever the person displaying it intends for it to represent. We cannot know what is in the mind of another. He attributes that consensus to “liberal and mainstream commentators,”
so what he is saying is that it is perceived in that particular fashion by that particular group, which is a tiny fraction of the general population, and one which holds its own set of prejudices and preconceptions.

So, in reality we do not know what a person is expressing by displaying this symbol, but even if he is expressing some form of hatred, where is it a given that the expression of hated is impermissible? We may not like it, and I don’t, but what happened to the American tradition of, “I despise everything that you say, sir, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it?”

There seems to be an emerging belief that we have some sort of right not to be offended. What is particularly odd about that is that it is liberals who are fighting to deny the freedom of expression involved in the display of this flag, and they are at the same time declaiming that we should embrace a greater degree of diversity.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

14th Deadly Sin

I mostly enjoy books by James Patterson, including the “Women’s Murder Club”  series, but I have to say the the current one, “14th deadly Sin,”  is a bit sullied by one of its major premises. A young boy is falsely arrested and dies in custody, and one of the “Murder Club”  members quits the DA’s office to file a lawsuit in the boy’s behalf because, as the author puts it, the boy “suffered wrongful death and his family deserved justice that could only be delivered in the form of a multimillion-dollar settlement with the SFPD and the City.”

The concept that massive amounts of money constitutes justice is a premise that is fundamentally repugnant to me, and I am not looking forward to reading about how our “noble”  ex-ADA plans to pursue such an endeavor.
I will probably skip those chapters and focus on how Lindsay Boxer plans to apprehend the mass murderers.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Masterpiece of Understatement

The headline reads, "Skilled workers relish chance to restore USS Constitution."  I would think so, yes. I would give several years of my life to be able to be one of the restorers on this great ship. The Boston Globe article describes in the words of the craftsmen themselves what it is like to work on a piece of living history. Fine reading.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Flagging Interest

A large portion of the media discussion about the upcoming Coke Zero 400 at Daytona is not about who will contend for the win, or rules changes, or team efforts, it’s about whether of not any confederate flags will be allowed. (They will be, but are discouraged.)

There is no actual discussion about whether or not African-American people are welcome at NASCAR races. (Actually, they’re sort of not, which is why there are no statements about the flags being offensive to “all of the black people at our races,”  because, well, I think you get the point.) There is certainly no discussion of how many African-American drivers there are in NASCAR. (One, but only in a junior circuit.) So we are not going to talk about racism in NASCAR in terms of people of color, but we are certainly going to talk about racism in NASCAR in terms of a fucking flag. Good for us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do Not Celebrate The Fourth!

Do not celebarte the founding of our nation this upcoming weekend. Do not go to the beach or to a public park. Don't go to any ballgames. Do not hold your family gathering at any sort of public venue.

Stay home, by yourself, and watch the television so that the news can tell you where the terrorists are and how many hundreds thousands of innocent people they have gunned down in the streets. Congratulate yourselves that you listened to the warnings issued by the Department of Homeland Stupidity and knew that these horrific attacks from the "thousands of self-radicalized homegrown terrorists"  was coming.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Oh, really?

The pastor who said that he would set himself on fire if gay marriage ever became law now says that he was "speaking figuratively."  I would say that he was actually spouting bullshit, and doing so in both utterances.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Freakout!

The negative reactions to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling have been interesting. They would be really amusing if they weren’t so repulsive.

The minority Supreme Court opinions were bizarre. Roberts said the decision was “an assault on democracy.”  Thomas claimed in his opinion that “slaves didn’t lose their dignity because the government allowed them to be enslaved.”  Scalia said he would “put my head in a bag,”  and that “Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage.”  To prove the latter point he said that we should “Ask any hippe.” He didn’t suggest where we should find one in 2015.

A local television station had the following leader promoting its upcoming evening news. “New dilemma for religious leaders as they try to balance their religious beliefs with this new law.”  It isn’t, of course, a “new law,”  and apparently they are unfamiliar with the principle of separation of church and state, and think that the Supreme Court ruling is going to force the Roman Catholic Church to perform marriage ceremonies in its churches for gay couples.

Quick note: that is not what the ruling will do.

This is an independent station whose evening news I don’t usually watch, but I tuned in to see if it would be as weird as the leader suggested. It was. They had a lengthy interview with the pastor of some unnamed but obviously fundamentalist church who explained to us that the Bible defined marriage, and that it was more than two thousand years older than the constitution.

Actually, it’s not, but this is a guy who undoubtedly thinks that man and dinosaurs roomed the Earth together just a few hundred years ago and that God created fossils for the express purpose of faking us out, so there’ no real point in arguing with him.

This is the same station who had weather reporter John Coleman, who was a complete fruitcake and a notorious climate change denier. His retirement did not provide sufficient impetus to persuade me to watch the station.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Burying the Lede

The NY Times, in discussing the Obama Administration defense position leading to today’s Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, tells us that the administration said that “the balance of the law demonstrated that Congress could not have intended to limit the subsidies.”  The administration also argued, “Accepting the plaintiffs’ position would affect more than six million people and create havoc in the insurance markets.”

The Times goes on to say that the administration finished with, “the phrase, noticed by almost no one until long after the law was enacted, was a curious way to encourage states to establish exchanges.”

I think they saved their best argument for last, because that phrase strikes me as an utterly bizarre vehicle for encouraging states to form exchanges. Congress can be, and often is, pretty idiotic, but when you want to force someone to do something, you don’t carefully conceal the threat for failing to do it.

I think their second argument is pretty weak. Civil rights legislation affected a lot more than six million people, created some years of havoc in multiple venues, and was pretty worthwhile legislation. But their first argument was a winner, too. When considering one piece of anything, one has to look at it in the context of the whole.

I am, as you know, no fan of Obamacare, but I think the Supreme Court got this one right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trailblaizer? Not!

A couple of days ago, Daniel McFadin wrote an article, published online at NBC Sports, claiming that Danica Patrick qualifies for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He did not assert that she will do so before her career is finished, but that she qualifies right now. You know what is coming, right? Of course you do.

Except, for the most part and other than to say it is absurd to claim Hall-of-Fame status for any driver who has never won a NASCAR race, I’m not going to bother. The one point that does need to be addressed is a claim by Steven Cole Smith at motorsport.com that she is a “trailblazer” equal to Wendell Scott.

Wendell Scott was the first person of color to win a NASCAR race, so right off the bat any claim to equality with Wendell Scott is shot down in flames because winning a NASCAR race is something that Danica Patrick has never even come close to doing. On that basis alone I can call bullshit to Smith’s idiotic claim.

Another small point is that Scott was the first man of color to even drive in a NASCAR race. Danica, on the other hand, is a long way from being the first woman to drive in NASCAR. Women, in fact, have been driving in NASCAR races ever since the first one was held, right there on Daytona Beach. Janet Guthrie was competing in NASCAR in 1976, earning rookie honors in that year, and enjoying better results than Danica has accomplished in any year of her entire career.

But the real insult is to apply the word “trailblazer” to both Wendell Scott and Danica Patrick. Wendell Scott came into NASCAR using only his own resources and at a time when athletes of his color were not only unpopular, but were banned outright in many racing venues. Danica Patrick came with truckloads of other people’s money and at a time when the public was fully accepting of, and even enthusiastic about female athletes.

Wendell Scott was a trailblazer. Danica Patrick is merely an opportunist.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Um, Probably Not

NOAA shows a forecast high of 77° for today. At 7:30am, however, they show the current temperature already at 75° and, looking out my window, I see that the marine layer is burning off very quickly. I cannot say what the high today will be, but I'll bet it won't be 77°.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dean Baker Is An Idiot

I think all economists are idiots, actually. They think that economics and business are the same thing, and that having studied some arcane formulas which purport to predict the rise and fall of economic conditions under certain civil circumstance while sitting in an ivory tower, that they then know how to manage an actual brick and mortar business in the real world.

Baker writes a piece today discussing the claims by employers that they are having difficulty filling some jobs due to a lack of qualified applicants. He claims, as he always does, that all they have to do is raise the offered wage and they will get more applicants than they can handle, and that regardless of the skills required, there is a complete adequacy of any skill set available.

He admits that those skilled workers might not be currently unemployed, but might be presently working for other employers. He says that is not a problem, however, because all the company in question needs to do is raise the offered wages high enough to hire the workers away from their present employer and the problem is solved.

I see two small problems with that; perhaps not all that small. The first being that his plan has not solved the problem at all; it has merely moved it from one employer to another. Now the company from whom the employees were pirated is faced with the need to find qualified employees, so the problem still exists in the same nature, and to precisely the same degree. It merely exists for a different employer.

Economists are prone to thinking that relocating a problem is the same as solving it. “If it’s no longer my problem, then it isn’t a problem at all.”  Baker once solved Europe’s shortage of hotel workers by arranging for parking lot attendants and taxi drivers to take those jobs. He didn’t stop to think that he had merely created a problem for parking lot and taxicab company owners.

The other problem with Baker’s solution here is something called a “wage/price spiral.”  Everyone is busily pirating employees from everyone else, meaning that wages are rising higher and causing prices to do the same, which leads to inflation. We’ve been there before, and it wasn’t pretty.

Dean Baker is, of course, an economist and therefor thinks that inflation is a good thing because he lives in that ivory tower and does not have to deal with the real world effects of it. He thinks that it has all sorts of beneficial effects, like “diminishing debt,”  reducing effective interest rates and minimizing the impact of the federal deficit on GDP.

He doesn’t realize that it makes milk, eggs and heating your home cost more, and doesn’t seem to care that the reduction to effectiveness of interest applies to savings as well as debt. He also thinks that wages rise at the same pace as inflation. Haha, dream on.

In fact, the reason that we have employer-provided health care benefits is that a wage/price spiral was damaging the economy so badly that the government froze wages in an effort to put a stop to it. Unable to offer higher wages to hire workers away from other employers, which is what Baker is suggesting here, and which they had been doing until the government stopped them, companies began offering “fringe benefits”  instead of wages to pirate workers from other employers.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reporting on Mass Shootings

I have no real evidence for this, but I have a suspicion that we might have fewer mass shootings if the media spent less time talking about the shooters. Yes, the event is news and needs to be reported, but do we need to know what the shooter’s childhood was like? Do we need to read about his inner thoughts and the manner in which he planned the deed?

It seems evident that many of them were suffering from a sense of isolation, and felt that no one was paying attention to them. What better way to make people pay attention than to emulate the guy who made the headlines; the guy who everyone was talking about?
“I may be dead, but at least they’ll pay attention.”

Perhaps they should report the event, and tell us bout those who lost their lives, but say little or nothing about the shooter; maybe not even report his name. What would we lose in that process that would be worth knowing? What might society gain?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Missing The Point

A couple of examples, today, of the rifle range malaprop practice of firing at your neighboring station’s target.

Paul Krugman has a piece today in which he refers to one benefit of Obamacare being that it provides “major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”  It does nothing of the sort, of course, and as an economist he should be very well aware of and outraged by that. It provides people with access to high-cost coverage by having the government pick up part of the tab.

We should, instead, be providing everyone in this nation with actual “relatively low cost”  coverage by regulating the health care provider industry, just as we regulate all other industries which provide services which consumers buy from necessity and not from choice. Deregulating energy distribution was a disaster, and leaving the provision of health care unregulated is precisely the same kind of disaster.

Second amendment fanatics are reenergized after the latest mass shooting, and are crying out that the founders stated the need for a “well organized militia”  so that citizens could fight against a tyrannical government. I am always amused at how vigorously people claim to defend a document while knowing so little about it, because these same morons defend a “strong national defense” with equal devotion.

The founders actually spoke of the need for a “well organized militia”  because in the same document, our own sacred constitution, they forbade the government from maintaining a standing army. Article I, Section 8 authorizes Congress “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.”

So the “well organized militia”  was not intended to fight against our own government, which the founders never in their worst nightmares imagined would ever become tyrannical, but rather to rise up and fight against possible invaders. And the enormous military establishment which second amendment fanatics almost universally support with the same fervor that they devote to their guns, is a gross violation of our governing document.

And we wonder why democracy doesn’t seem to be working very well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Three score and twelve

My ambition to "live hard, die young and leave a good looking corpse" has foundered. I am no longer capable of pulling off any one of the three parts of that. I will now have to settle for living well and confusing confounding my enemies, which is a better goal anyway.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gutting Obamacare

We are waiting to see if the Supreme Court will or will not “gut Obamacare”  by disallowing the payment of government subsidies for health insurance. Let’s think, for a moment, about the admission that preventing the government from paying subsidies for health insurance would “gut Obamacare.”

This was, going in, a process advertised as “health care reform”  which turned into “health insurance reform.”  But was it even that? Was it actually, as supporters claim, “landmark legislation”  and the “greatest piece of legislation in five generations?”  Did it, as claimed, rank in significance alongside legislation like Social Security and the original Medicare bill?

Health care costs more than three times as much per capita in this nation as it does in any other developed country. Obamacare says that not only will we not make any major efforts to reduce that cost, we will deliberately maintain that high cost and, instead, the government will pick up part of the cost for those who cannot afford it.

What nation does that? What nation not only maintains the high costs of a necessary service, but goes to the extent of providing government subsidies in order to maintain that high cost, and celebrates having done so? What voter base calls the imposition of subsidies which support high cost “landmark legislation”  and applauds and reelects the author?

Real reform and “making insurance affordable”  would involve allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices; it would allow the reimportation of medications from foreign countries; it would recognize legitimate medical degrees from other nations; it would modify drug patent laws; it would require cost-based pricing by medical providers The list goes on at length, and what started out as “health care reform”  touches on none of these things.

Obamacare should be gutted. Not because I am a Republican, but because it is not “landmark legislation,” but is a sufficient “band aid”  to reduce the demand for real reform. It leads the uninformed to think that it is “a first step in the right direction.”  It is nothing of the sort. It is insanity and stupidity which should be discarded so that conditions remain bad enough that the citizens continue to demand real reform.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Well, Duh

Every week we get half a dozen headlines like, "Carl Edwards hoping to win the Quicken Loans 400," which is the race in Michigan today. I have no idea why any of the 43 drivers would drive in the race if they were not hoping to win the damned thing. Some of those hopes are realistic and some are not, and the driver's chances of actually winning the race may be worthy of discussion, but please spare me the headline about a race car driver hoping to win a race.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chomsky on Obama et al

Noam Chomsky is no more an admirer of Obama than am I. In an interview published today he says that Obama is “an opportunist”  and that Hillary Clinton is “much the same, only more militant.”  He goes on to say that he has not been disappointed in Obama, because he didn’t expect anything. “His portrayed idealism could not be taken seriously,”  he says and, “The policies he was proudest of I thought were awful.”

I particularly like the part where he says that Obama has "essentially rescinded the principle that was established in the Magna Carta 800 years ago”  with his policy of assasination by drone. You are no longer innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers, you are dead if Obama decides you are dead.

He’s even more critical of Kennedy, and all of this is because, unlike today’s Democrats, he’s an actual Liberal. Read the whole interview, and you’ll get an understanding of what today’s generation has missed by not experiencing the Depression. We think times are bad today. How little we know.

CBS News is Confused

CBS Evening News is confused by the administration’s Iraq strategy. In reporting the addition of 450 troops to western Anbar, reporter David Martin said that, “because the base is so close to the front lines, most of the troops will be there simply to protect the base from attack.”  He finished his report by stating that, “Like all the other Americans in Iraq, they will be barred from frontline combat against ISIS.”

He did not say how these troops are going to protect the base from attack without engaging in frontline combat. Wave their arms and scream curses in the background, perhaps?

Or, since they are “barred from frontline combat,” perhaps they are supposed to join the Iraqi Army in running for their lives, which is not very dignified, and which renders their stated mission of protecting the base from attack a bit spurious.