Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays to all...

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday week and a great start to the new year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Couple of things

"Finally, I'm right about something": A quote from a chat with Washington Post health-care blogger/wonk Ezra Klein:
Brooklyn: Looking back, how much of the backlash right now is attributable to having framed private insurance as the biggest bogeyman? Was there an option? Should Pharma have been brought out in front as well?

Ezra Klein: It's hard to say, but inside the process, people worked hard to keep Pharma on board because they have so much more money than any other interest group. The thinking was that insurers don't really have enough to launch a lethal attack. Pharma does, and did. So I'm skeptical that picking a direct fight with them would have been appealing.
Yet another data point in my "Who's going to take one for the team?" series.

Office of Depressing: I'm not sure there's anything to be said about Tiger that isn't stupid, obvious or both, except, dude, we'll always have the 16th hole at Augusta.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Week 12, a.k.a. Jim's terrible predictive powers

On September 10, I posted boring NFL predictions, as follows:

"1. The Colts? 9-7 and do not win the AFC South.
2. The Patriots do not go to the Superbowl.
3. The Vikings? Do not make the playoffs."

Well, that didn't work out so well. Basically, all three are incorrect. Well, that's why I don't put money on these sorts of things.

That being said, I have a really hard time imagining that the Colts will go to the Superbowl, much less win it all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Not Charlie's Fault!

According to a letter to the editor in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Personally, I would blame his inability to "game coach", inspire young men or his prominent F.U.P.A.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Week

Got to love how sober, attractive, and educated the Steelers fanbase is.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I like this.

President Obama's recent education speech had a story about his daughter's science test grade. I'm not sure that it was a great idea in that, as a father, I'd be uncomfortable telling stories about my family to the general public.

Those minor concerns aside, this is exactly right:
“So she came home yesterday, she got a 95,’’ Mr. Obama said. “But here’s the point: She said, ‘You know , I just like having knowledge.’’

The moral of the story, in the president’s view: “Don’t just expect teachers to set a high bar. You’ve got to set a high bar.”
The President continues, in my opinion, his strong push on changing American culture on excellence in student performance. I like it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Housing Tax Credit?

So here's what I want to know: who thinks this $8,000 tax credit is a good idea? At best, it's a sop to new homebuyers. Ack, it's just a terrible idea.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Net Neutrality

This is what will happen if John McCain (i.e. Cpt. Telecom) gets his way. Why would anyone trust a man who openly admits he knows nothing about the internet to make policy for it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This year's "Trilogy of Terror"

Part 1. Set the stage...

Part 2. Increase the tension...

Part 3. Combine what 'really scares' with a bit of the truth...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Silverdome Auction

No one is willing to buy the Pontiac Silverdome, so now it is being put up for auction. Would anyone actually have a use for this massive structure? Who could buy this and make it functional?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tracy Morgan

Forget Going Rogue. This is going to be one of the most entertaining memoirs ever!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Who's taking one for the team?

As I've said all along, it's the insurance industry.
"In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to push back against industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.

“It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.”

Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said, the industry is busy “figuring out how to avoid covering people.”

“And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our antitrust laws,” he said, “a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.”

The president’s attack underscores the sharp break between the White House and the insurance industry as the health care debate moves closer to a climax. When Mr. Obama took office, he and his advisers had hoped to keep insurers at the table to forge a consensus. But as the months passed, the strains grew — until this past week, when an industry-financed study attacking the Democratic plan signaled an open rupture."

Why they didn't cut a deal faster, earlier (or didn't stick to the backroom bargain they may have gotten) is beyond me. When you're politically unpopular, it doesn't take much to become the whipping boy (especially when everyone knows that you're the most likely candidate.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dittoheads Unite

So it was all of those liberal millionaires in the ranks of the NFL owners that kept Rush from being an owner. Atleast according to Red State. In no way am I fan of Rush's divisive rhetoric, but I have no problems with him being an owner. However, the NFL knows how to run a business, and Rush being involved would have been bad for business.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A football fan's guilt

This article about concussions in football is disturbing to me. I really like football, and I am especially fond of watching linemen. But it may be that long-term (or even short-term) careers in professional football can be damaging to players' brains.

How guilty should a football fan be? Assuming the science is correct, one thing is for certain: in about 20 years, players that we are fond of now will be falling victim to these chronic brain injuries.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple question

The President's Nobel Peace Prize -- deserved?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Conservative Bible Project

The crazy bastards at Conservapedia would like to remove the well known liberal bias from the Bible by removing liberal passages. So I guess they will have to remove Jesus completely?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And now, for some actual Communists...

Happy Birthday to the People's Republic of China (and to its Taylor group citizens!)

Dear Fellow Conservative,

This video just came to my attention. I'm so outraged and stunned by its content that I had to share it with you.

Watch the video now and see the indoctrination of our nation's greatest treasure -- our children.

In the video, impressionable youngsters at a public school in New Jersey, most of whom are no more than six or seven years old, have been instructed to sing the praises of "Barack Hussein Obama." One song is even set to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

This is the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin's Russia or Kim Jong Il's North Korea. I never thought the day would come when I'd see it here in America.

This is the type of fanaticism Republicans are up against as we fight to stop the Obama Democrats' radical leftist transformation of America. The only way our Party can defeat their liberal ambitions is by electing more Republicans in the upcoming 2009 state elections and the critical 2010 mid-term elections.

Do your part today by making a secure online contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can right now to the RNC. Your gift will provide the resources we need to reveal the Obama Democrats' true leftist intentions for our country and carry our Republican candidates to victory this fall and beyond. Please help us win this fight for the future of America.


Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee

P.S. The indoctrinating of the most impressionable members of our society is unbelievable unless you see it with your own eyes. Please watch the video of young school children literally singing the praises of Barack Obama that their teachers have taught them. Share it with your friends, family, neighbors or anyone you think may be concerned by this. Then make a donation of $10, $25, $50 or $100 to support the RNC's efforts to fight this leftist propaganda and elect more Republicans this year and next. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

An impressive pass from a USC grad to defeat Big Ben and the black-and-gold menace. I'll bet Vince is happy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I love public schools.

Doubtless, you all have heard of the kidz singing the praises of President Obama. While it is obviously a tiny tempest in a very small teacup, the following lyrics are a little annoying:

"He said red, yellow, black or white / All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm! / Barack Hussein Obama"

The lyricist is no Jay-Z. I think what rankles most is that it is a stolen line from a rather trite children's Sunday School song, "Jesus Loves the Little Children." I much preferred the spontaneous "Obama's Going To Change the World" hit* of 2008 -- now those were good lyrics.

*BTW, where's my frickin' happiness?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fred's Transmission

As I was watching Notre Dame nearly blow a game to an inferior opponent(again..), a commercial for Fred's Transmission aired. I had to actually go to the website to make sure I wasn't hearing things.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Immaculate Deflection

In some weird way, this helps with the pain.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good news for chemists?

The just-released Baucus plan is reviewed at the New York Times' blog on the health care debate. Here's the headline: "Baucus Plan Pleases Drug Makers, but Not Other Groups."

From the post:
"Analysts for Barclays Capital wrote in a report Friday for Wall Street investors that “insurers continue to be singled out as the villains of the debate."

The drug makers also got what they wanted from Mr. Baucus in guarantees against direct price negotiation by the government over the cost of drugs in Medicare. The Baucus bill is silent on a House proposal to wring rebates from the pharmaceuticals industry for the higher cost of drugs sold to people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare since 2006.

Finally, the longstanding Democratic proposals to allow the reimportation of cheaper drugs from Canada is nowhere to be found in the Baucus bill.

So, under the Baucus proposal, here is what the industry has agreed to:

*Accept a total of $23 billion in new fees over 10 years

*Provide drugs at half price in a Medicare coverage gap known as the doughnut hole

*Increase Medicaid rebates to 23.1 percent for patented drugs (up from 15.1 percent now) and 13 percent for generic drugs (up from 11 percent).

*Support a new regulatory pathway for approving generic equivalents of biological drugs — the often expensive products from the biotechnology industry, including many cancer drugs, that so far have been generally exempted from generic competition.

And now, while insurers, device makers and labs step up their lobbying against the Baucus proposal, the drug industry is expected soon to roll out a new TV ad campaign to support it.
So PhRMA has gotten a lot of big things from this: no renegotiation of Medicare Part D, no reimportation. In exchange, they're shilling for the plan and they're also "supporting" the biosimilars campaign that Waxman is pushing. I think the biosimilars campaign is the biggest long-term concern for the industry; biologics are considered more profitable, longer. (P.S. I will laugh my head off if biogenerics/biosimilars turn out to have significant unintended medical consequences.)

Let's not be coy here: the industry that many of us directly or indirectly work for is politically powerful and was able to cut a deal. It remains to be seen whether pharma management can take the revenue given and deliver innovative and profitable drugs -- that's where we come in.

I think what's likely to come out of the House/Senate conference is more likely to be close to the Baucus deal than not. But that's just speculation -- don't exhale just yet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A little motivation.

I was sitting at the table, eating dinner with my daughter and I glanced at the sports section, which was bemoaning the loss of the Bears' inspirational middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher:

And I looked a little closer at his wristband, to see what they write on there. Little did I know, he had a little extra motivation for himself:

It's not quite Billy Ripken, but it'll do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cui bono?

I don't know if anyone else heard this NPR story, but I found it rather wrong-headed.

What is the public option? So far as I can tell, it's a government-run insurance program that will, through competition with private plans, provide a minimum level of insurance to all comers.

Frankly put, do doctors care where their money comes from? If they are rational actors, the answer is no. As long as someone else is paying the bill (and not looking at it), why should they? So why should we care about the opinions of physicians on whether or not health insurance companies need competition?

My fundamental theory about the 2009 version of health care reform is "who's taking one for the team?" Here's my list, in order of likelihood: insurers, pharmaceutical companies and actual health care providers. Anyone disagree?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crazy, boring NFL predictions

1. The Colts? 9-7 and do not win the AFC South.
2. The Patriots do not go to the Superbowl.
3. The Vikings? Do not make the playoffs.

Clearly, I'm nuts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Claims of communism go way back....

Obama Education Watch: making the right people unhappy

Obama and Arne Duncan continue to push the idea of merit pay, much to the consternation of progressive policy magazines.

"One of the major developments in education policy this year has been the Obama administration's continued, focused attention on the issue of merit pay, despite a lack of strong evidence linking such programs to increased student achievement."


Monday, September 7, 2009

Yes, Mr President...

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jane's Law wins again

One of my favorite libertarian writers is Megan McArdle, who coined Jane's Law in 2003:

"Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane."

This came to mind for two recent reasons:

- This NYT article notes many of the serious conservative policy types whose objections to the Democrat congressional plans have been drowned out by the Beck/Palinites. Sigh.

- The recent GOP hubbub over Obama's speech to children is more than a little bit overheated. I imagine that by making their objections known now, they may have forced the President's speech to be even more carefully devoid of political content.

As a conservative, I am happily pessimistic about the chances of the Republican party in the near-future (next 7 years or so.) As Clemenza would have said, "These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How Conservatives Are Created...

No, I am not talking about the unborn child in this picture. I am talking about anyone who sees this picture. It's hard to support universal healthcare with this image in mind. Doesn't she know that the overhead powerlines are a much greater concern than jackhammers?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy's desire for national health care

From Sen. Ted Kennedy's keynote 1980 convention speech:

"Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must -- We must not surrender -- We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth.

The President, the Vice President, the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full, and whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it, and when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the Federal Government? And I say again, as I have before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President, the Congress of the United States, then it's good enough for you and every family in America."

Interesting how similar issues affect us now. Interesting also that here, Kennedy comes right out and says what today's Democrats are unwilling to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When everyone gets a chance they should watch this outstanding Bill Moyers Journal on healthcare. A very good journal which gives many reasons why our health care is the best in certain areas, and substandard in others. It is based off the book Money-Driven medicine and details the growth of the medical industry and how this leads to higher costs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's about me not you...

Randall Terry hijacked the last eight weeks of Notre Dame's academic year last semester and now is aiming at town halls and the healthcare discussion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not every problem has a great solution.

Looking at the posts/comments on this blog is fantastic, I always get a real visceral response.

So, I'm going to throw this out there......

Is it possible that there is no way to fix the escalating cost of health care?

I believe you get what you pay for, plain and simple. Health care is expensive. That's probably not going to change. You may squeak out some 10% efficiency here and there.You may eek out some cost savings from reducing administrative costs, but in general health care is expensive. There is a whole lot of investment and research tied into everything. Who would guess that the people who invested in and did the research would like to earn money for there effort?

So the question is pretty simple. Do we want health care to be more affordable? And if so what is the cost of more affordable health care?

I hate to say it, but most likely if you have cheaper insurance your end of life care will be given at a cheaper cost. If you pay less for something you will probably get less...

Let's scrap health care reform. Let's just get insurance companies to provide the service they claim. We need to reform insurance companies, not health care. The US has the best health care in the world, and by the way it's expensive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

He was TOLD this so it's not his fault if it's wrong...

GRASSLEY: In countries that have government-run health care, just to give you an example, I’ve been told that the brain tumor that Sen. Kennedy has — because he’s 77 years old — would not be treated the way it’s treated in the United States. In other words, he would not get the care he gets here because of his age. In other words, they’d say ‘well he doesn’t have long to live even if he lived another four to five years.’ They’d say ‘well, we gotta spend money on people who can contribute more to economy.’ It’s a little like people saying when somebody gets to be 85 their life is worth less than when they were 35 and you pull the tubes on them.

"Well, I'm sorry to say that's the most ludicrous thing that I've heard," Ara Darzi, a surgeon and former minister of health of GREAT BRITAIN.

To be fair, the second half of audio Grassley says a lot of good things and I am sure Grassley will post a correction in his biannual newsletter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Because this blog's too quiet

The many health care reform plans in Congress are catching a lot of flak. Unsurprisingly, the media has focused on some of the more rabid and ridiculous claims from the conservative entertainment industrial complex.

I think the President and his supporters are being a little bit naive about the "death panels" claim, when the President himself was talking about the difficulties in having Medicare pay for end-of-life care:

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care — it’s a related one — is what you do around things like end-of-life care —

NYT: Yes, where it’s $20,000 for an extra week of life.

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. And I just recently went through this. I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.

And she elected to get the hip replacement and was fine for about two weeks after the hip replacement, and then suddenly just — you know, things fell apart.

I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting.

NYT: And it’s going to be hard for people who don’t have the option of paying for it.

THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?

I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

NYT: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

This is a pretty easy set of thoughts to twist out of shape, no? Obviously, "death panels" is unfair -- but why put it out there in the first place?

My sympathies are with the President, who's got a very tough nut to crack. Thankfully (for my long-term job prospects), it's pretty clear that it's the insurance industry that's going to take one for the team first. Doubtless, pharma will be next (although they appear to have negotiated with the crocodile) and then it'll be hospital employee salaries...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"First, we kill all the chemists"

Sarah Palin, channeling Michelle Bachmann, revs up the fear machine by describing how unwanted children and seniors will be put before a Big Brother Death Panel to determine societal worth. I don't know where she gets this from because it is my understanding that the "Death Panel" will be used to lower unemployment by getting rid of the jobless.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Merit pay watch: optimistic

This recent NPR story is good news -- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan went to face the NEA and tell them that "but to remove student performance from [teachers' job] evaluation is illogical." Click on the link to listen to angry teachers tell him that their job performance just can't be quantified.

Obviously, merit pay is something that is a very small blip on the Obama Administration radar. But if they can make this happen, it will make them that much more popular with independent voters and his credibility will be that much greater.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sanford vs. Foley

I have to say that Bill Maher makes a good point.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enjoy prison!

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A former engineer for Rockwell International and Boeing was convicted Thursday of economic espionage and acting as an agent of China, authorities said.

Dongfan "Greg" Chung, 73, was accused of stealing restricted technology and Boeing trade secrets, including information related to the space shuttle program and the Delta IV rocket.
Thanks, f%$%$#r. You and your #$#$# friends that are doing this -- you're making that much harder for honest Chinese nationals and Chinese-American folks to get hired at defense contractors and serious IP generators (pharma, high-tech) (i.e. good-paying jobs) in the US. Hope you enjoy your time rotting in the federal pen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A backpedal too far?

I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences. - Her Honor, Judge (and soon-to-be-Justice) Sonia Sotomayor, 7/14/09
I think she went too far. Every person? Regardless of their background? I don't believe this statement is true -- do you?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Base System

I had a discussion this weekend about what activities were expected at "second base". I think this helpful chart certainly clears it up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friends of the A** End of Nowhere

President Obama has expressed admirable plans for green energy. Typically, they involve the generation of energy in remote areas (by solar or wind) and transmission into urban areas.

Unfortunately, it is in the production and transmission that these plans run into a phenomenon I like to call the "Friends of the A** End of Nowhere". Want to put a solar farm in the desert? FAN sez the desert environment is incredibly fragile and you'll harm it irreparably. Want to transmit that power to the city? FAN sez the route is right through a conservation area and wants you to go another less direct, more inefficient way. Want to research and generate wave energy on the coast of Oregon? No dice -- property owners, fishermen and environmentalists will call you rapacious foreign capitalists who want to industrialize the ocean.

Infrastructure progress in the United States proceeds at a glacial pace for a number of reasons, one of which is the ability of environmental and citizens' groups to use the courts to gum up the works for justice and due process. It is my sincere hope that President Obama will have a Nixon-to-China moment and be able to effect change positively for power generation during his terms in office.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nope, not even close.

What was the wrongest part of the President's speech to the AMA? This whopper:
"To most Americans, you are the health care system. Americans - me included - just do what you recommend."
Um, no. No, Mr. President, we don't. Not even close. We don't do the things doctors recommend, we cherry-pick the treatments and we don't comply with prescription instructions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Right-Wing Extremism

The Department of Homeland Security says right-wing extremism is on the rise throughout the country.

Remember all of the venom being spewed by right-wing pundits about this Homeland Security report? In the past two weeks we have had a doctor who performs abortions gunned down outside of his church (I find it very interesting that someone who claims to be pro-life murdered someone), and a lunatic open fire in the National Holocaust Museum. In no way can these stories be spun any other way. The DHS report was absolutely right. Because there is a liberal black dude in the oval office every idiot who is hateful will now turn ultra-hateful. I cannot understand why there was such fervor over the report when it is pretty obvious that violence from these types of groups was going to occur.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Literally Total Eclipse of the Heart

I'm in a silly mood. My friend sent this to me and I felt like sharing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Props to the anonymous North Korean artist

I'm quite a fan of Communist propaganda, especially when it comes in poster form. It's usually bright and cheery and Uncle Sam typically plays a starring role as the villain.

This poster is especially lovely, since it appears that the head-only GI is being attacked by the North Korean version of the Care Bear Stare. Note that the baby nurse is emanating powerful rays from her medical satchel, while the child soldier is administering the (Democratic) People's Elbow. Not quite sure why the toddler sailor nor the baby airman are not attacking on their respective vehicles -- didn't get any heavy fuel oil in recently?

From Tom Ricks, who may interest you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A bracing reminder of how to deal with life.

Just in case you need a little pep talk after your 3-day weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alabama Leprechaun

Happy Friday Taylorites!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wolf T-Shirt

I love the internets! Check out the reviews for this fine product. I think I saw Jack wearing this at some point during his career at ND.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Don't let this happen to you...

This article is by a reporter for the New York Times -- it's long, but worth it. In summary, he's an economics reporter and he makes 120K/yr, but he made a couple of bad financial decisions and now he's up to his eyeballs in debt and he may lose his house. Remarkable.

Friday, May 15, 2009

This is in response to the superfluous cheese tray that was at our happy hour today. You can learn all about the Xzibit internet meme here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Interesting interview

Those of you politically inclined may have already enjoyed this interview that Obama did with an economics correspondent of the New York Times, David Leonhardt.

Obama on credentialing: "So part of the function of a high-school degree or a community-college degree is credentialing, right? It allows employers in a quick way to sort through who’s got the skills and who doesn’t. But part of the problem that we’ve got right now is that what it means to have graduated from high school, what it means to have graduated from a two-year college or a four-year college is not always as clear as it was several years ago.

And that means that we’ve got to — in our education-reform agenda — we’ve got to focus not just on increasing graduation rates, but we’ve also got to make what’s learned in the high-school and college experience more robust and more effective."

Obama on competitiveness: "That’s why I don’t just want to see more college graduates; I also want to specifically see more math and science graduates, I specifically want to see more folks in engineering. I think part of the postbubble economy that I’m describing is one in which we are restoring a balance between making things and providing services, whether it’s marketing or catering to people or servicing folks in some way. Those are all good jobs, and we’re not going to return to an economy in which manufacturing is as large a percentage as it was back in the 1940s just because of automation and technological advance.

But the broader point is that if you look at who our long-term competition will be in the global economy — China, India, the E.U., Brazil, Korea — the countries that are producing the best-educated work force, whose education system emphasizes the sciences and mathematics, who can translate those technology backgrounds or those science backgrounds into technological applications, they are going to have a significant advantage in the economy. And I think that we’ve got to have enough of that in order to maintain our economic strength."

Obama also made an odd point about "nursing paying better" in context of traditionally male or female fields. Frankly (as the husband of a nurse), I find it difficult to imagine that nurses could get paid more than they are already.

Nevertheless, I found it to be a worthwhile interview and a good insight into the president's thinking.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Underreported Story...

President Obama's speech at the National Academy of Sciences got lots of press for a teleprompter but his comments about investment in science was missed completely.

I believe it is not in our character, the American character, to follow. It's our character to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. So I'm here today to set this goal: We will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development. We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science.

This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NOS 2009?

Sadly, I'm not going to the 2009 NOS (no time off) -- but who is?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

I was recently hijacked by the "Glenn Beck Wing" of the Republican Party this weekend, and they assured me that Obama's budget wouldn't allow you to donate to certain charities. Knowing that most of this Wing relies on random, non-factual e-mails, I tried to find the correct information myself. The only thing I could come with is the plan to cap tax write offs for folks making over 200G's a year. This cap would decrease the deductible amount of a charitable donation from 33% to 28%. Nowhere could I find anything about restricting which charitable organization you could donate to. If any other Taylorites can help me find info on this it would be greatly appreciative. Nothing would make me happier than having cited facts to prove that their claim was bogus.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Moving Election Day...

With my son in Florida for a couple of weeks, I got to stay at work particularly late this week, and thus got to enjoy real talk radio on my drive home. I figured 15 minutes of Michael Savage would induce the necessary angiogenesis to see significant growth the Hannity-generated tumor currently reside in my brain.

Savage nicely explained to me that the result of the November presidential election was caused by a protest within the republican party, a protest against the nomination of McCain which was viewed, by the republicans, as four more years of Bush. While we can argue that point, this post asks you to complete the following sentences...

Savage says “If a new election was held today... Obama ______% McCain ____%

I say “If a new election was held today... Obama ______% McCain ____%

Please fill in the blanks. I will provide you with Savage’s numbers as well as mine in a few days.

Echoing this talking point...
Yesterday, Boehner said he wishes the 2010 and 2012 elections were much sooner as the American people are not in synch with the direction Obama has taken the country.

Don't worry the first hundred days are the slowest!

Monday, March 30, 2009

An imagined conversation.

Rick Wagoner, CEO of GM: Hello?
Barack Obama, POTUS: Hello, Rick, this is Barack Obama.
RW: Yes, Mr. President! How are you?
POTUS: Well, Rick, not so good, actually.
RW: Really, Mr. President? Why?
POTUS: Well, Rick -- I'm sorry it's come down to this.
RW: Uh oh...
POTUS: Yup, I'm sorry, Rick. We, as an organization, have decided to move in a different direction...
RW: Yes?
POTUS (hurried): So, we're going to have to let you go.
RW: Well, I think we all knew it was going to happen sometime...
POTUS: But I'm sure that you'll receive a nice severance package. We've worked it out -- 2 weeks pay for every year you've worked at GM, so... that makes it somewhere around $500,000. Hey -- that's not too bad...
RW: Well, I guess I'm not buying that cottage in Maine this summer.
POTUS: Well, no, probably not. Well, Rick, you're a nice guy and I'm sure you can get a job somewhere.
RW: Uh, thanks, Mr. President. I think I'll take a couple of months off, you know, hang out with the kids, breathe a little bit.
POTUS: Hey, Rick?
RW: Yeah?
POTUS: How does it feel to have destroyed 90% of shareholder value in ten years?
RW: (silence)
POTUS: Well, Rick -- there will be a couple of guys to uh, help you pack up in a couple of hours... do leave the keys to the executive washroom in the center drawer of your desk, okay?
RW: (silence)
POTUS: Good luck -- I gotta go talk to Geithner -- that scamp, he's always in deep.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why the heck not?

From an article in the Politico about Obama's PR troubles:
But the aide added that Obama is not going to whip out a PowerPoint presentation for a seminarlike explanation of what went wrong. “That’s not how this president communicates,” the aide said.
Why the heck not? Frankly, that's how information-dense summaries get presented in the real world. Is there something undignified and unpresidential about PP? Sure, it's clunky and maybe uncool (use KeyNote? avoid those stupid swishing sounds ?)

President Obama, the American people (or at least the voting public) aren't stupid. Try us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Enough Politics!

I will break the trend of political banter with a disturbing/hilarious story of an Indiana woman who doesn't know that dropping a file in the recycling bin doesn't permanently delete it!

Also, if anyone wants to hear Bill-O read excerpts from his gripping mystery novel, Those Who Trespass, just click the link.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama: Future Rating.

Bush approval history.

Obama approval history, not really a history....

Assuming the economy turns around Obama may keep his high numbers, but my guess is he like Bush will slide over the next 8 years.

My prediction is he will fall to 38% by the end of his term. This economy isn't going to help him.

Your thoughts?

Monday, March 9, 2009

When will it END?

So we're 15-months into a recession... My question to everyone is when do you think we will emerge from this "crisis" (Two straight quarters of GDP growth) and which industry is going to be the leader in the recovery? I will post my thoughts tomorrow.

Oh Snap...(no not synaptosome-associated protein)

This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear: promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

pl pll pir pscale ppf page

As a part of my new job, we (some of my colleagues and I) were sent over to the University of Illinois to train on their NMRs as backup instruments. You all will be pleased to know that we were asked to 1) describe the effect of line-broadening on signal-to-noise ratios, 2) talk about resolution, 3) perform a simulated homodecoupling experiment and 4) discuss d1 time as it related to finding the 13C frequency of quaternary carbons.*

They also do their own shimming, which is something I haven't done in 2 years. All Varian instruments, as opposed to the Bruker robotland that was my previous place of employment.

* I still remember Conrad's mini-lecture on d1 time clear as day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Old School Conan

I am going to miss the edgy Conan when he moves to 11:30

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Joe: please do not smoke while pumping gas.

Jim's desire for Biden in August: "I would like to see Biden, because he is most likely to provide the best quips and gaffes. The man is a walking mouth w/o ears -- that would be awesome."

Joe Biden, this past week: "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’ll get it wrong."

Good God! Biden's mouth will walk him outside of the inner circle, I'll bet.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Signs you may be near a golf tournament.

Multiple huge yellow and black placards, on Torrey Pines Road near the Buick Invitational:


Now that's change I can believe in!

President Obama should crisscross the country atop a magical redistributionist ponycorn that will crap infrastructure projects here, there, and everywhere, while rejiggering the tax code by whinnying its sweet ponycorn breath on recalcitrant legislators. The president and his ponycorn’s every move should be documented by a team of the nation’s finest photographers and memorialized by collectives of state-sponsored folk singers and playwrights. And in their wake should come a phalanx of America’s youth, scattering seeds for grand forests that will provide shade for future generations of Democratic voters. Also, beer should be free.

original quote here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WTF is wrong with these people?

As one leading Democrat put it: "Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter."

That Democrat was then-Sen. Tom Daschle in 1998. The same Tom Daschle, we've since learned, who failed to pay more than $100,000 in back taxes for perks he received as one of Washington's most relentless influence-peddlers -- that is, until he realized he might receive a job in the Obama administration spending the money most Americans conscientiously send to Washington.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Needed debate topic.

Resolved: Barack Obama is no better in verbally dealing with the press than George W. Bush.


Sunday, February 1, 2009


Predictions in the comments. No predictions on the number of references to the Steelers 6 (!!!!one!OMG!) Superbowl appearances, please.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thanks, Mr. President!

Thanks, Mr. President!

Tomorrow, I will post my responses to two questions -- I encourage all of you to do the same, if so interested.

1. What do you want President Obama to accomplish?
2. What do you think President Obama will be able to accomplish?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Championship Weekend

PHI @ ARI (that's just weird to write)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Change you can believe in.

Well, I don't know if I believe it, but I like what I'm hearing.

"Science -- $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $2 billion more for the NIH, hundreds of millions for high energy physics, satellite development, construction grants, the U.S. geological survey, NASA climate change programs and more."

More for NSF than NIH -- someone recognizes that the funding priorities haven't been quite right for a while.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tebow, Country, Notre Dame

The incessant media fawning over Tim Tebow of Gainsville actually has me hating a guy who I should root for. I am just curious to see everyone's thoughts on Tim Tebow.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL: Division Weekend


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Test yourself!

Okay...I never ever post anything, but I thought this was fun. See if you'd make it as a copy editor for the Cincinnati Enquirer. There is no answer key...figure it out yourself!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Porn Bailout

I once jokingly stated to my brother that when the porno industry needs a bailout this country is really in trouble. This article states that one champion of free speech, and a douchebag are indeed asking for government assistance. Hopefully this will not be foreshadowing of greater financial trouble for the nation, but rather a nation that has embraced free internet pornography.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bill O'Reilly is....

Needed something to laugh at after getting punched in the stomach by a man named Colt.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

And so it begins...