The Locker Room

August 27, 2009

An example of health-care hypocrisy

Posted by David N. Bass at 4:20 PM

A wire service story touches on growing concerns among the elderly over the proposed health-care overhaul. Seniors are worried about a range of aspects associated with the plan, according to the article, including end-of-life issues.

The Democrats' response?

Democrats accuse the GOP of fear-mongering around claims about fictitious "death panels," rationing and nonexistent threats to Medicare. They insist seniors' health care will be safeguarded.

"Nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits," Obama said during an online AARP forum in July.

Funny that the tables are now turned. In past years, Democrats made ample use of health-care related fear mongering. Remember Bush's Social Security reform efforts? Dems said it would put seniors on the street.

In fact, pretty much any Republican meddling in government services that would impact the elderly brought on predictions of Armageddon from the other party.

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Betsy McCaughey exposes Ezekiel Emanuel

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:04 PM

Well-known health policy expert Betsy McCaughey lays bare the views of one of President Obama's chief advisors on the issue in today's Wall St. Journal. McCaughey dissects Emanuel's many articles on the allocation of resources devoted to health care services, expositing his anti-elderly bias using his own words. The graph below sums up his views quite nicely--at least Emanuel thinks it does since he used it in a January 2009 article written for The Lancet.  McCaughey refers to this as "the reaper curve." It is a description of the way Emanuel thinks things should be, not the way they are. Notice, Emanuel believes that the probability of one receiving health care services should begin to decline at around age 30 with a sharp decline starting in their late 50s and into their 60s and 70s. Of course, it is in these last three decades of life where people will need health care services the most.



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More of that fishy disinformation about ObamaCare

Posted by George Leef at 3:57 PM

But it's our Beloved Leader himself spreading it, as Michael Tanner shows here.

It will not be possible for millions of Americans to keep their current health plans, contrary to Obama's soothing assertions.

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1. There is 'Fantasy Football Insurance.' 2. Why is it not universal?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:04 PM

Once again, economics and fantasy football intersect:

... it was estimated that Tom Brady’s injury could have shifted $150 million in fantasy winnings.

The idea is pretty simple.

If any of the stipulated top 50 players go down for a significant part of the season, and you’ve paid for their insurance, Fantasy Sports Insurance will pay your entry fee back.

In order to collect, you have to select a player (one policy allows you to group three players), pay the insurance –- roughly 10 percent of your entry fee -– and watch that player miss roughly two-thirds of the games with an injury. ...

Of course, not everyone can afford Fantasy Football insurance. Isn't it just like Big Fantasy1 to keep it so that the poor can't afford Fantasy Football Insurance? Don't people have a right to Fantasy Football Insurance? Can't we at least bring competition to fantasycare by having FF insurers help fund and then compete against a public-option FF insurer? Think of the children!


1. That's just a made-up epithet to paint the fantasy-sports industry in scary terms (such as Big Pharma and Big Oil); it's not to be confused with Daren Bakst.

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How the education system greases the rails for statism

Posted by George Leef at 1:55 PM

Mary Grabar has written an excellent essay on the way the education system greases the rails for statism by filling the heads of clueless young Americans with cliches about "social justice" and the alleged evils for leaving people alone (that is, capitalism).

Chairman Mao had his Red Brigades of unthinking, zealous young Chinese. The education establishment has provided the US with the Obama Brigades.

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Me: Beth Wood is Going to Jail

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 1:44 PM

That's my personal opinion.

Don't know what else happens when you, the State Frickin' Auditor, have a preliminary finding in January that says the out-going governor's wife is being overpaid by a state university controlled by appointees of the governor, yet you sit on that finding for 60 days until you kill the audit, testifying to a federal grand jury that the reason you do so was that the feds were investigating same, in direct contradiction to what the state investigator on the case says happened.

Oh, and bonus hint, there is no "integrity of the Office of the State Auditor" left to protect.

The died in March, along with the state investigation in Mary Easley's NCSU job.

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Kennedy and career politicians

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:34 PM

Ted Kennedy's passing has again reminded us -- if we needed reminding -- of how many career politicians currently inhabit Washington.

Kennedy was sworn into the Senate in 1962. He served nine terms, nearly half a century, in that body. Robert Byrd has been in the Senate since 1959, making this year his half-century mark.

The habit of pols getting and then keeping power until they pass away is not peculiar to one party, either. Strom Thurmond, first elected to the Senate in 1954, was the only Senator to reach over 100 while still in office.

Am I saying there is something wrong with a lawmaker serving half-a-century in the same office? Yes, I am. Such an entrenched incumbent can't help but breed corruption, in small ways if not in large. We need fresh faces, often.

And this also applies to politicians who are more aligned with my own beliefs. Unfortunately, corruption is blind to party or ideological affiliation. It tends to follow concentrated power more than anything else. Not to say that all long-serving pols are self-serving, but it increases the likelihood.

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The "stupid party" does it again

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 12:54 AM

The Progressive States Network congratulates NC Republicans for helping to pass a key youth voting "reform" here. 

The bill received bipartisan support and was initiated as H-1260 by four sponsors, including Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), the youngest Democrat in the General Assembly, and Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly), the youngest Republican, along with Rep. Angela Bryant (D-Nash) and Rep. Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Gaston).

Just at the end of the legislative session, North Carolina lawmakers passed a bi-partisan bill that will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote (H 908).  This will facilitate youth registration at two highly convenient locations – in school and at the motor vehicles department when applying for a driver's license.  Currently, the majority of voters register when conducting business at motor vehicle departments, and this change will extend that option to younger people as well.  And in doing so it will link in young people's minds the rite of passage of getting a driver's license with that of registering to vote. 

Are progressives supporting youth voter registration and voting in order to strengthen American democracy, not hardly.  They are open and up-front about their political agenda. (Note the urgency regarding the "challenging mid-term election environment.")

Young Voters, Most Progressive in Generations

Helping engage young people in the political process is without a doubt a feel-good endeavor.  Evidence of this is the strong bipartisan support this legislation received, with legislators from both parties sponsoring the bill.  But progressives should also know that this is a reform that will redound to our benefit as research shows that those under 35 (now referred to as “millenials,” previously known as the echo-boomers) are the most progressive group since the 1960's.  Interestingly, as the baby boomers aged they became more conservative, but their kids are now substantially more progressive then they were when they were young.

What this means for progressives is that efforts to engage the youth electorate is one of the most effective way to bring progressive-minded voters to the polls.  It is in large part due to the engagement of this population that President Obama was able to win last November.  And as progressive state legislators face a challenging mid-term election environment, keeping young people engaged will be key to cementing gains made in 2006 and 2008.


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NCSU stood by Mary Easley -- until the Feds rang, at least

Posted by David N. Bass at 11:33 AM

It's worthwhile to note that N.C. State went to bat for Mary Easley in response to former auditor Les Merritt's preliminary report (a PDF download of that, made available by current auditor Beth Wood this morning, is available here).

In response to the auditor's findings that Mary's salary was excessive and should be reduced from $170,000 to $79,000 per year, NCSU responded:

The valuations placed on the various responsibilities of Ms. Easley's appointment in your management letter are inappropriate and fail to recognize both the nature of the work and the appropriate levels of compensation ... This outcome of the audit report analysis casts additional doubt on the methodologies used to value the position responsibilities and the validity of the findings of the report.

Then, NCSU also defended Mary's five-year contract, which the audit report had criticized.

Simply more evidence that the brass at NCSU was more than willing to stand by Mary through thick and thin -- or at least until the Feds started calling and public records emerged indicating political patronage.

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Using the NEA to push the Obama agenda

Posted by George Leef at 11:30 AM

Inevitably, the National Endowment for the Arts is being used to push Obama's statist agenda. Read how here.

Any place where there is government money, we should expect that it will be used in some way to advance the further politicization of the country.

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What about the AMA as a cause of high costs?

Posted by George Leef at 11:10 AM

Writing in Forbes, Shikha Dalmia points out that the American Medical Association, so eager to jump on the ObamaCare bandwagon, itself contributes greatly to the inflation of medical care costs.

Like the American Bar Association, the AMA poses as a champion of the public interest, but quietly runs a cartel that stifles competition and keeps professional earnings high.

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State auditor: Mary Easley paid waaay too much

Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:59 AM

So said Beth Wood at a press conference this morning. A report Wood's office completed in January concluded the former first lady should have made $79,000 for her work at N.C. State, not the $170,000 salary she was actually paid.  Wood said she didn't release the audit at the time because it was incomplete and, as the N&O put it, "needed more investigation."

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Sending "stimulus" checks to criminals

Posted by George Leef at 10:04 AM

The Boston Herald reports that some 4,000 inmates have received federal "stimulus" checks.

But heck, it's only a small amount of money and as long as the criminals spend it, that's good, right?

HT: Frank Stephenson

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Many seniors won't like ObamaCare

Posted by George Leef at 09:18 AM

That's Karl Rove's argument in this WSJ column, especially because it will probably destroy Medicare Advantage.

Rove's piece has me thinking that there is something unique about this escalation of federal interference with civil society. Most political "initiatives" involve costs that can be hidden. Poor K-12 education can be hidden behind lots of gooey PR about "award winning schools" and in any case, few people really know how little kids learn. (Those parents who really care get their kids out of public schools.) Special interest legislation to benefit this group or that group (labor unions, e.g.) is masked by the vast federal tax and spend machine. The ill effects of such government interventions are very diffuse. People don't directly experience them.

With health care "reform," things are apt to be different. When grandma can't get treatment that the elderly used to get prior to ObamaCare, she will know where to pin the blame. So will her family members. Furthermore, unless the Democrats manage somehow to criminalize criticism of themselves, there will be a burgeoning industry of writing about the travails of Americans who get medical care that falls below the standards we formerly enjoyed. Politicians who supported ObamaCare can look forward to a steady stream of articles and blog posts about how the legislation they rammed down our throats is hurting average people. This might turn out to be a self-inflicted wound that will turn gangrenous for all the lockstep Democrats.

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"...sullies the vision of someone called Gene Roddenberry."

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:57 AM

I was pleased to read John Hood's homage to Star Trek in his Daily Journal column today. It gave me a reason to post this hilarious "entertainment report" from the Onion News Network.

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