Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Examiner Editorial: Government-run health care could be the ultimate SNAFU |

But Obamacare is only in the start-up phase. The VA department has been directly providing health care to millions of veterans for decades and evidence is growing that relying on the system can literally be a fatal decision. The Washington Examiner's Mark Flatten reported May 12 that a Texas VA clinic implemented a cost-cutting measure in 2010 that required a patient to undergo three positive bloody stool screens before the government would approve a colonoscopy. Dr. Paul Krugman, who protested the policy while serving in the VA facility, told Flatten that "by the time that you do the colonoscopies on these patients, you went from a stage 1 to a stage 4 [colorectal cancer], which is basically inoperable."

A federal bureaucracy that is wasteful and ineffective - truly situation normal.

The VA’s socialist paradise?

The VA system worked for everyone but the patients — and the whistle-blowers. The daughter-in-law of a Navy vet in Phoenix who died after never getting follow-up for his "urgent" case was told, in lines that perfectly capture the spirit of socialized medicine: "It's a seven-month waiting list. And you're gonna have to have patience."
But the bureaucracy acted with alacrity when its reporting scheme was at risk. In St. Louis, the former chief of psychiatry says he was put under administrative investigation when he complained about wait lists. A whistle-blower who worked in Fort Collins, Colo., alleges that she and a colleague were transferred when they refused to hide wait times.

Don't we all know this is inevitable with federal bureaucracies?  If not - kindly remove your head from the sand.

Here's the part we should all take offense to - they will pontificate about how unacceptable this is, then they'll make some pretty little speeches, then they'll turn their attention to the next little whatever, then all the same problems will be there to be rediscovered in ten years - at which point the cycle starts over.  They know it, I know it, you know it.  Why bother with the charade.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poppop, Uncle Henry Clay, Glen Delong, Uncles Thad and Ellery

Remembering those we've lost and who have served - the ones that I knew where men I admired, men who I aspired to be like.  Space engineers, rocket scientists, priests, aviation professionals, and business builders/owners - they came back and got it done for themselves, their families, and the folks who employed them.

Thank you!  Fair winds and following seas on your journey, warriors!  I will do my best to savor the liberty you gave me, and teach my children to savor it also.

VA Scandal - Predictable (Sigh)

Shinseki, a retired four-star Army general who has led the VA since 2009, is prepared to tell the committee about the VA's response so far to reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Health Care system. The Phoenix facility reportedly worked to cover up patients' long wait times by creating a secret waiting list and later destroying the evidence.
"If these allegations are true, they are completely unacceptable--to Veterans, to me, and to our dedicated VHA employees," Shinseki's prepared opening statement says. If they are substantiated by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency's independent watchdog, Shinseki says that "responsible and timely action will be taken."

Totally predictable - and still outrageous.  Of course the VA is a disaster of efficiency and truthfulness, the relationship between client and payer is broken.

"Americans have to break the 'choice habit'"
In a line that says a lot about where health care is heading under Obamacare, an insurance executive offering plans through the law was quoted in the New York Times on Tuesday as saying, "We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has."
Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, made the remark in an article describing the trend toward narrow networks in health care plans. The article notes, "In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network -- or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want."
Before the health insurance exchanges opened last October, I had written about a looming issue for Obamacare that I called "access shock." As many liberal commentators boasted that offerings on the insurance exchanges were going to be priced lower than expected, I pointed out, to the extent that this was true, the reason was that insurers were stripping down their plans so they covered fewer providers.

I need to do more homework - it's not obvious why having a smaller circle of providers is cheaper.  On the other hand, giving people the change to choose from more providers should be a political winner and a real winner.

Mitt Romney, the 'Say Anything' Pol of the Republican Party

Considering the Republican Party itself, members of it should view the 2012 results with relief. Not only were Romney's promises about what he would do about China easily more economically crippling than anything President Obama proposed, it should also be said that Obama's re-election was the best thing that ever happened to the freedom movement. Indeed, the electorate got to see up close the horrors of big government in the form of Obamacare's implementation, and the long-term result will be a more skeptical electorate about politicians who define themselves through promises made with the money of others.

A la George Will - it it axiomatic that anyone running for the job is too mentally ill to be qualified,and if anyone was willing to take the job but not willing to do what is required to get it (lie cheat or steal) - we wouldn't vote for them.

Climate McCarthyism: The Scandal Grows

The paper, which Prof Bengtsson wrote with four co-authors, suggested that climate is probably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than is admitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and that more research needs to be done to "reduce the underlying uncertainty". However, when submitted for publication in the leading journal Environmental Research Letters, the paper failed the peer-review process and was rejected.
One of the peer-reviewers reportedly wrote:
'It is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of "errors" and worse from the climate sceptics media side.'
This, Prof Bengtsson told the Times, was "utterly unacceptable" and "an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views."
He added:
'The problem we now have in the climate community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of a climate activist.'
In truth, to anyone familiar with the Climategate emails there will be nothing surprising or unusual in this incident or this claim. As the emails leaked in 2009 made abundantly clear, the organised suppression of sceptical papers in learned journals by the alarmist establishment has long been rife within the field of climate science.

Science influenced by politicians with funding ... yawn.  Duh.  Of course.

Will: LBJ ’s Legacy

Will: LBJ 's legacy: Civil rights wins, 'Great' tragedy | Boston Heraldsobering statistics

In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing "just about always or most of the time." Today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.

Barry Goldwater, Johnson's 1964 opponent, assumed that Americans would vote to have a third president in 14 months. It was a landslide defeat. After voters rebuked FDR in 1938 for attempting to "pack" the Supreme Court, Republicans and Southern Democrats prevented any liberal legislating majority in Congress until 1965. That year, however, when 68 senators and 295 representatives were Democrats, Johnson was unfettered.

Breaking: The “97 Percent Climate Consensus” Canard | Power Line

Pause here and note that it is odd to see that some folks apparently haven't gotten the memo that you're not supposed to call it "global warming"—"climate change" is the term of art now.  Anyway, to continue, read this slowly and carefully:
Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.
Let's translate: Among the one-third of papers that "endorse" the "consensus," there is near unanimity.  In other words, among people who agree with the consensus, nearly all of them agree with the consensus.  Again—the only mystery here is that the number isn't 100 percent.  Perhaps this would have been too embarrassing to report, like a North Korean election.  For this exercise all climate scientists may as well be called named Kim Jong Il.

I can't even guess why we're talking about consensus as regards the scientific method, the two should never meet.

"Open Carry" vice "Stupid"

Here's some breaking news for you "OCIYF!" people:
None. Zero. Zilch. Zip.
The Second Amendment forbids the Federal government—and since McDonald also the individual state governments—from infringing on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Key word: government.
The Second Amendment does nothing whatever to constrain the rights of private property owners to determine for themselves whether to allow the carry of guns—concealed or open—on their property.
To put it even more simply, when you are on someone else's property you are there as an invited guest. You stay at their pleasure, and under their rules, rules that only they are entitled to define. Make your host unhappy for any reason whatever and they are entirely within their rights to order you to leave. Refuse to comply and you've become a criminal guilty of trespass.

I'm Better Than You ... Except at Finding People to Hire

Abuses at the VA have been a problem for years. As a candidate in 2007, Obama claimed that 400,000 veterans were “stuck on a waiting list,” and he promised “a new sense of urgency” to “make sure that our disabled vets receive the benefits they deserve.” But that urgency never materialized. In a letter to Obama a year ago, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee detailed some of the “serious and significant patient care issues” in the VA system, imploring him to address the worsening problems before more veterans died. Yet nothing happened.  The president showed no interest in the matter, and seemed to have no grasp of the scandal’s magnitude, until he learned about it on the news.

Obama came to the White House with a carefully cultivated image for almost preternatural competence — an image no one esteemed more highly than he did. “I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,”he had told his campaign staff. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that . . . I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Of course, many top dogs feel this way, but in his case - what would make him want to say that?  Needed to puff up his competence?  Needed to chastise the pretenders?  Weird.  It could be argued that it was incompetence on display to speak thusly about his competence.  It also may make a case for a leader who cannot pick good subordinates.

In any event, he could be as competent as he believes and still be made to look a food by the gargantuan, too big too succeed leviathan that is the federal government.

An easy prediction - every president will be made to look like a fool in the same way.

The VA issue is tragic.  Much like medicare/medicaid, each president promises to fight fraud waste and abuse, but the rate of these continues at something like 10-40% every time someone checks.

Competence?  People, we are talking about the federal government, they ain't got time for dat.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hoaxes and Myths

The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise. People generally like eating meat—when poor people start making more money, they almost invariably start buying more meat. As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic.

Dear Ms. Uninformed Writer:

You have attacked an innocent straw man.  It is industrial food production that goggles up oil and spits it out as carbon, not animals per se.  A grassfed animal is carbon negative, since the animal feeds the grasses and the grasses goggle up carbon in copious amounts.  So, if your argument is against using oil to make fertilizer and grow crops which are then fed to animals - OK, that's a bad part of industrial food production, and one that may in fact use more oil and make more carbon that other forms of industrial food production.  It would be just lovely if you could be that clear about what you mean.

However, it is yet to be proved, and in all likelihood will never be proved, that carbon emissions have a significant role in climate change.  Thus, your entire point is just another ill informed political advocacy based on ignorance.