Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
While TSA agents spent the holiday making sure there were no explosives in your testicles, a .40 caliber gun in a carry-on bag took off from Houston and a checked bag full of bullet primers exploded on the tarmac in Miami.
In other pat-down news, my nipples explode with delight:
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Despite the low participation, the article reports that medical expenses for the program have been "much higher than anticipated." Uh-huh.
Monday, December 27, 2010
More - From Q&O.
More - From Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
It sounds like the federal judge in Florida is not impressed with the Administration's argument for the individual mandate. WSJ: "Judge leery of health mandate"
Ian Gershengorn, a Justice Department lawyer representing the administration, said the health insurance market is unlike any other, since all Americans at some point get medical care. Requiring them to carry insurance is just a way of regulating how they pay for it, and preventing all those with insurance coverage from subsidizing the cost of others' uncompensated care, he said.Whoops! It's the old-style individual mandate.
"It is not shoes, it is not cars, it is not broccoli," he said.
Judge Vinson took issue with the suggestion that the uninsured don't pay for their care. He said he was uninsured in law school when his son was born, and joked that the delivery bill came to about $100 per pound. "I paid it," he told the court.
Extra - Reason: "Health insurance is neither shoes nor broccoli - good to know!"
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Megan comments on "The preposterousness of the Commerce Clause":
On a reading of the commerce clause that allows the government to force you to buy insurance from a private company, what can't the government force you to do?I was thinking about the P.D. James book (and similar movie) "The Children of Men" set in a dystopian future of mass infertility. As the population ages and dies away, there are no children being born to support the creaky, desperate society. I know this is bit of a stretch but what if the government declared that – in the interest of regulating commerce and keeping the factories running with workers – birth control should be outlawed?
This doesn't seem to be a question that interests progressives; they just aren't very excited about economic liberty beyond maybe the freedom to operate a food truck. And so they seem genuinely bewildered by a reading of the commerce clause that narrows its scope, or an attempt to overturn the mandate even though this might lead us into a single payer system. If you view this solely as tactical maneuvering, perhaps it really is preposterous.
And of course, for some conservatives, these operations are tactical, but for a lot, it's an actual horror at the ever-expanding assertion of government powers. I'd like it if they'd get equally horrified about, say, the TSA and the drug laws, but there you are: neither side is as consistently supportive of liberty as I'd like.
Preposterous, I know. But this is the question that I keep seeing over and over again: what can't the government force you to do? We laugh about "eating broccoli" and "compulsory exercise" today to keep health costs down but the much larger concern is what portion of freedom we're willing to give up for health care. The individual mandate is a novel and unexplored extension of what used to be a limited government.
I hope the liberal supporters of health care reform understand that once they cut down the laws to get what they want, the devil may turn around on them.
Monday, December 13, 2010
WSJ: "Judge Calls Health Law Unconstitutional" The ruling stands on the position that the high-water mark of the Commerce Clause doesn't extend to coercion to purchase a product:
Judge Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, said the individual mandate "would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers."And here's some more commentary from the lawyers at Power Line and Legal Insurrection. Also, as noted at Hot Air, Judge Hudson rejected the "now you see me, now you don't" argument that the penalty for failing to carry health insurance falls under the government's power to tax, when this very idea was rejected in both the letter of the law and the debate for passage.
He added: "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance-or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage-it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."
Extra - Good stuff from the Minuteman.
More - Whoops, here's some salt in the wound: "Coinciding with a federal judge’s ruling invalidating a key element of the health care reform law, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds support for the landmark legislation at a new low – but division on what to do about it." Medic!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
We're down to the final three teams: Team QVC, Team Surgeons, and Team Faceless Young Couple; I'm kinda hoping one of the all-female teams wins the one million-dollar prize tonight. I'm also hoping that TAR will offer up a different kind of challenge at the end since everyone (now) knows it's going to be a recap of the season.
Jill & Thomas leave at almost 4 am from Korea to the final destination at Los Angeles. Brook & Claire are a half-hour behind, followed by Nat & Kat a couple minutes later. Everybody's on the same flight so it's an even match heading back to America. Once in California it's a race to Long Beach and the first challenge: teams have to climb a crane and then do a bungee jump. Nat from Team Surgeons is terrified of heights, so this one might be a problem. But she muscles through and they do the quick drop. Brook from Team QVC, on the other hand, does a lot of screaming.
After the bungee drop, teams take their next clue which directs them to a helicopter and a surprise destination. Everybody's pretty close together. Nat & Kat arrive first at the Rose Bowl and they take tag #1 at the next clue box. It's the Roadblock: one team member must decorate a float for the Rose parade with hundreds of flowers. This looks like it could take hours. Nat finishes first and Team Surgeons takes the next clue, which is in puzzle form, so they need to figure out where to go.
The first clue is "I am Sancho Panza's master." Is that Don Quixote? Yep, they need to go to Quixote Studios. Jill & Thomas gets a driver who has never heard of the Internet. Ha! He keeps saying "I have GPS" which doesn't have Google. Team Surgeons arrives first and it's time for a video challenge and there's Bob Eubanks who will give teams the next clue.
This is a good one: teams must identify from a huge video screen the eleven country greeters they met at each Pit Stop along the Race. Brook & Claire stop to look up the location on the Internet. Meanwhile, Jill & Thomas are just yelling at people in LA to help with the Internet but nobody seems to know what they're doing. Nat & Kat make their choices carefully (if slowly) then take their clue from Bob Eubanks. It's now a race to Greystone Mansion and the finish line. It's looking really good for Team Surgeons since the other teams haven't even arrived at the final challenge yet.
Team QVC arrives at the video challenge next. Team Surgeons are in traffic but this is an obvious ploy to build suspense. Brook & Claire are now heading to Beverly Hills and the finish line. Jill & Thomas are lost with the worst taxi driver in California – this is one of the variables of the Race. They're trying to make it look close between the two all-female teams, but Team Surgeons arrives first and Phil declares them the winners of the Amazing Race. Nat talks about completing the Race even though she has diabetes, and Kat says some nice things. They were really a good team who never really yelled at each other and were generally supportive the whole time.
Brook & Claire arrive next and we're shown Claire's melon-to-the-head shot again. Jill & Thomas are next. It's hugs all around and time for the final photos. In the coming attractions for next season (in only two months!) it's being called "Unfinished Business" but essentially it's an all-star race with previous non-winning teams given a second chance.
#1 – Team Surgeons – Nat & Kat – WINNERS
#2 – Team QVC – Brook & Claire
#3 – Team Faceless Young Couple – Jill & Thomas
And here's a video of the Metrodome collapsing due to heavy snow. You'd think they would design for that contingency...in Minnesota.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
The video is bizarre. After inviting former President Clinton to the White House to pitch tax policy, President Obama ditches Bubba at the press conference so he can go to a Christmas party. Bryan Preston discusses the optics:
Where does Obama go from here? If history is any guide, it's from the Christmas party to the golf course and then it's time to shoot some hoops with the Lakers. There's a reason that people are asking if he's going to be a one-term President that has nothing to do with his Administration. The Obama Show is wearing thin.
Here’s what I saw. I saw a current president who has never looked less interested in doing his job. I also saw a former president who never lost interest in doing that job. Obama’s demeanor and body language suggested that he’d rather be anywhere but where he was, and then he followed through and actually bolted for the door. Clinton’s demeanor was that of a passionate wonk trying to sell a policy he actually cared about, that he thought would be good for the country. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t even his own policy that he was selling.
I saw a president who, for a few minutes a least, ceded his job to his predecessor. He’d failed to sell his own policy, so he needed and got some rescue from Clinton.
This was the third press appearance President Obama has made this week, and it was far and away the weirdest presidential press briefing I’ve ever seen. Where Obama goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
It's when perps (usually impaired by alcohol) start acting tough the very moment they have the cuffs slapped on or they're put in the back seat of a cruiser. Then they're ready for a fight.
Thus, these headlines: "Democrats could scuttle Obama-GOP tax deal."
And from The Hill: "Senator Durbin: Dems could walk out on tax-cut deal."
Arrrgh! Did you hear that liberal base? Dems are angry too! And whose fault is this? Well if you listen to the stereo speakers of Barack Obama and Byron York, it's your fault. Wow, politics really does make strange bedfellows.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
With four teams remaining, this will be the last regular episode before the season finale. One team will certainly be eliminated (that is, Team Vegas) and the last three will head on to the million-dollar final leg of the Race. Teams left Hong Kong and headed to Seoul, South Korea; once at the airport, teams need to drive to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near North Korea. The instructions that the teams receive have a warning: "Don't cross the border." Uh, yeah.
The teams arrive at the airport and we find that the first flight to Seoul leaves at 12:25 am, which means that Team Vegas – even with a six-hour penalty – may make the late flight. There's some creative editing to give the impression they may make the flight, but they don't. Team Vegas is told the next flight is 9:30 the following morning so this means their six-hour penalty has now turned into a nine-hour penalty. Team Vegas is so far back that we're probably going to see Phil greet them at the airport in Seoul to say "never mind."
In Korea, teams find a bridge where they're told they need to raft down a river to the U.S. Military base Camp Casey. Jill & Thomas take a small lead, followed by Team QVC and Team Surgeons. An all-female team has never won the Amazing Race but one of these might make it. At Camp Casey, teams find the Roadblock: one team member must choose a headband and try to match it among 200 soldiers practicing Tae Kwan Do. Jill & Thomas finish first and head to Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Here at the stadium, it's the Detour: Full Throttle or Full Bottle. Teams may either speed skate 24 laps or deliver ginsing roots to a pharmacy. The ice skating isn't timed, so I think it's probably best to just "speed" skate around the rink. Brook & Claire are shown getting into a cab when the clue clearly said to either go by foot or subway. However, this is probably a 30-minute penalty at the mat. Nick & Vicki are way, way behind so this isn't going to save them from elimination. Team Faceless Young Couple and Team QVC finish speed skating pretty close together.
Meanwhile Team Surgeons hasn't arrived yet and Team Vegas is lost in Seoul following some guy who said he could lead him to the first clue. Team QVC get to the next clue which directs them to the Temple of Heaven which is the Pit Stop. I fully expect they'll be told they're the "first team to arrive" and not "Team #1" since they're going to get a penalty.
As I predicted, they're the "first team to arrive" and they're hit with a 30-minute penalty. (Man, I've been watching this show a long time.) Jill & Thomas arrive next and slide into first place. Team QVC is checked in next and it looks like Team Surgeons will be there soon. Team Vegas is driven straight to the military base where they perform their Speed Bump of cleaning a tank. It looks like they were then driven directly to the Pit Stop to face the music.
#1 – Team Faceless Young Couple – Jill & Thomas
#2 – Team QVC – Brook & Claire
#3 – Team Surgeons – Nat & Kat
#4 – Team Vegas – Nick & Vicki – PHILIMINATED
Next week: Season finale. I'm rooting for one of the two all-female teams.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Over at Reason, Nick Gillespie excoriates Fareed Zakaria's latest article and schools him on the limits of deficit cutting by raising taxes. Here's the graph:
It's a simple, plain, and nearly universally unacknowledged fact that the feds haven't been able to raise revenue much past the 19 percent of GDP bar for any period of time since World War II. Doesn't matter the the top marginal rate is, or the bottom, or nothing. The government is going to pull in just under 19 percent maximum. Some years it might be a bit higher and some a bit lower, but it ain't budging over the long haul (defined as the last 60 or so years). That is the limit of what we can spend if we want to have a balanced budget. Obama's own budget projections have the feds spending more than 22 percent of GDP each year over the next decade. You do the math.Raising taxes will not constrain spending since it's been calculated that every new dollar in taxes leads to $1.17 in additional spending. We're now borrowing forty cents for every dollar spent by the federal government; lenders are not going to let cheap credit flow forever. Spending needs to get in the same ballpark as revenues.
Hot Air: "Deficit commission: Obamacare savings are a myth"
Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law “count on large phantom savings” and the reform law’s new long-term care program that the report calls “unsustainable.”If I remember correctly, some of funding for the health care bill depended on allowing the automatic Medicare cuts to occur - cuts that nobody believed would happen. And they didn't.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Let's see - should I buy the kids a laptop to help them get ahead in school or plunk down a few grand to subsidize some geezer's health care today and make sure that I will be cared for in forty years? Tough call!That's an important consideration for all you young workers (and Obama voters): not only will you see your Social Security benefits slashed and your Medicare assistance disappear when you turn grey, the individual mandate requires you to contribute to a system where almost all the benefits will flow to older Americans. None dare call it a tax and we pinky-swear those health care benefits will be around when you need them.