We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, June 15. 2012
Good site: A Way to Garden
GM Crops, Organic Food, & Delicious Irony
Anxiety and Resurrection - I was drowning in post-partum anxiety. Then theology saved my life.
Are Americans Too Dumb for Democracy?
If ObamaCare Is Judged Unconstitutional, Here's How To Reform Healthcare
Why Should Government Be Involved in Medicine at All? If we want affordable and cutting-edge health care, there's only one approach that will work: open competition.
Sheldon Adelson and the Top 5 Super PAC Facts the Media Covers Up
Gamechanger: Obama rocks America with speech everyone’s heard 50 times before; Update: Panned by … MSNBC?
Only the Public Sector Is ‘Doing Fine’ Sorry, Mr. President: There’s no need to bail out the state and local governments.
Nanny Bloomberg: Point of Government Is To Improve Health of Citizens
What You Get at a Fundraiser With Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker
The New Communism: Resurrecting the Utopian Delusion:
Tracked: Jun 15, 10:26
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In regard to the link to "Are Americans too dumb for democracy", all I can say is our founders were too smart for democracy and saw it as the most vile form of government.
John Adams: Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Thomas Jefferson: A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.
John Quincy Adams: The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.
Thomas Jefferson: The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Oscar Wilde: Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Winston Churchill: The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
i always thought Winnie had said, the 'overage boater', not the 'average voter'. Why would he say 'average voter' when ALL 'overage boaters' are such staunch liberals?
re No, America Does NOT Need More Scientists and Engineers
I remember back in the day when there were rumblings about adding a veterinarian school at the Univ of Nebraska.
The practicing vets were nearly unanimous in the opinion that there were already plenty of vets in Nebraska and thus no need to create a steady supply.
So I suspect the thinking of the author of the too many scientists article and the Nebraska veterinarians was one in the same. You educate/train too many and it drives down wages.
The EPA wants us dead. They are merely acting as if they want to save us from ourselves and all hazards real and imaginary, but do intend to regulate us to death.
Bird Dog: Nanny Bloomberg: Point of Government Is To Improve Health of Citizens
Technically, to promote the general welfare.
Please Zach. Sheesh.
You can excuse any impingement on freedom with that broad brush.
Bird Dog: You can excuse any impingement on freedom with that broad brush.
The general welfare is not the only facet of the U.S. Constitution, but it is certainly one of the considerations of the Constitution.
...certainly one of the most abused considerations of the Constitution.
Bird Dog: Are Americans Too Dumb for Democracy?
Lee Harris: An outstanding scholar in one particular field, after all, is bound to be a complete ignoramus in many others. Take the case of someone we’ll call Frank. Frank is one of the world’s most brilliant neurologists. Obviously, Frank is in a position to pass an expert judgment on the views of his fellow neurologists, but what about the ideas of an economist? In dealing with areas outside his own field of specialization, Frank would appear to have no cognitive advantage over his automobile mechanic, George.
Just as you would ask George about your vehicle transmission, not Frank.
Lee Harris: But respecting a man’s opinion is not the same thing as verifying its truth for yourself.
Of course not. That's why it's called an appeal to authority. Evidence trumps authority, but not everyone has the access to the evidence or the training to understand the evidence. If you are not a medical doctor, try brain surgery sometime, and then you will realize how important an expert can be.
Lee Harris: will ask questions such as: Do other economists respect him? How often have his articles been cited? Where does he teach? Yet what all these questions have in common is that they are easy-to-answer substitutes for the real question—is the economist actually giving good advice? True, Frank’s substitute questions may appear more sophisticated than my mother’s much simpler one, but in truth they are no more rational.
That is incorrect. Qualifications within a field are important components of a valid appeal to authority. Everyone relies on authority each time they board an airplane. Even the pilot relies on the expertise of the mechanics and engineers.
Lee Harris: The more we call in the experts to help us out, the more we discover that experts are by no means unanimous on any of the topics that are of serious importance to us.
That is very much true. An expert opinion should include reasonable alternative views.
Argumentum ad verecundiam, appeal to authority, is not necessarily a fallacy.
An appeal to authority is valid when
> The cited authority has sufficient expertise.
> The authority is making a statement within their area of expertise.
> The area of expertise is a valid field of study.
> There is adequate agreement among authorities in the field.
> There is no evidence of undue bias.
The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence.
The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence.
Sure. This can be tricky in law, where a court or jury may be presented with evidence it lacks the expertise to competently assess. A litigant may wish to use an expert for the purposes of interpreting that evidence. That litigant's opponent may wish to use another expert to cast doubt on the first one's interpretation, or to introduce a rival interpretation.
In the U.S. state courts use varying forms of what is known shorthand as a "Daubert" test to determine whether this or that expert's testimony will be admitted into evidence; Daubert being a US Supreme Court case laying down various criteria a court can rely on to gauge whether a given expert's testimony can be relied on.
Trouble arises when you've got to rely on a very small pool of experts - maybe the same experts who are the authorities appealed to - for an interpretation of the evidence you might otherwise use to peck away at those experts' credibility. Doesn't happen that often, that the circle of experts able to interpret the evidence is that small, but it has.
The linked article on How to reform Health Care is more silly blah, blah, blah. "Defined contribution," "market based", words, words, words, I'm sick of words (says Eliza Doolittle).
1. "Defined contribution would engage consumers as partners in getting the best value in health spending. They would demand that providers and insurers reveal the full cost of their offerings, this would put downward pressure on costs, and that in turn would put insurance within the reach of millions more people."
My long-time (4 decade) employer offered (by law) a defined contribution health insurance plan (at various times they paid 50% or more of the premium, employees paid the rest); and it was market-based in the sense that there were 4 or 5 health care providers who competed for the business of the employees. Yet that did nothing to halt or reverse the climb in the cost of health care to us as a group (fortunately I have never had to use the most expensive services like surgery or hospitalization, so my health care costs over the years have been minimal). So, my comment to the author of the article is: been there, done that, your suggestion won't do what you think it will.
2. "A defined contribution model would quickly make the full cost of health insurance transparent to employees. They would force insurers and providers to compete on quality and value and to provide a wider range of choices and price points. "
Not entirely, and not by a long shot. Most insurance plans these days say something like, "If you go into the hospital for a heart by-pass operation, we'll pay 80% of the cost. The patient pays the rest." Okay, so what is the "full cost" of such care to you as an insured patient? You won't know that until you leave the hospital. Perhaps you'll have to spend more time in the ICU in recovery than is typical. Will your costs for the surgery and hospital stay be fixed, regardless of the length of your stay, the number of surgeries, the number of IVs, and so on? If the cost of care disregards such factors, then there will have to be a drastic change in the way insurers do business because their actuarial models will need to be tuned to a very different cost structure and health care environment.
3. "One of the top priorities of health reform was to help the uninsured. ObamaCare would have missed the mark by at least 25 million."
I distinctly recall one of the most bitter arguments over ObamaCare concerned the estimate that was frequently cited for the number of uninsured Americans who would gain coverage with it. It was 30 million. Critics of the law claimed the true number was closer to 12 million, arguing that many of the "uninsured" were only temporarily in that status, or even uninsured by choice, rather than permanently without health INSURANCE (which is not to say without health CARE). So, if the law missed its mark by 25 million, as the author of the article claims, then what the hell did we need this monstrosity for when it was supposed to fill the gap in health insurance coverage for 30 million people. How bad can a law be if after more than 2000 pages of regulations it misses its target by 25 million out of 30 million? Didn't anyone in Congress even read the damned bill to find out what was in it? (/snarc)
Speaking of Dunkin':
As I understand the constitution the EPA would only have jurisdiction over properties and organizations controlled by the federal government. The states would have jusridiction over you, your property and your business but not the EPA. They have overstepped their authority.
Re EPA, anyone wanting to step back a ways and search [ fuminto love canal ] can get a glimpse into the country's first manufactured-for-profit environmental disaster. Young Carol Browner was up to her memberships-in-communist-organizations armpits in that one, and it has spawned the hordes of private companies that work the enviro i$$ues.
Funny thing about Love Canal, which even Fuminto missed, is that the original perp, Hooker Chemical, sold out to Occidental Petroleum, Armand Hammer's company, he of the longtime Kremlin friendship (search it, don't believe me) as well as sponsor of the Gore family, and it was Occidental that got the waiver and built the subdivision over the dump, after which it sold Hooker and never went back into the biz, where it had never before been anyway, being an exploration and production company, not a downstream specialty chem marketer. Yes, Occi got fined --a slap on the wrist far lighter than many other such slaps administered to it and BP, the other global political/energy giant with hidden agendas residing in the senior managements.
Meanwhile, the Superfund went into effect and it has never been without every possible teat including 'create-your-own-demand, just-call-the-Mob' covered by little hoglets like the Clean Harbors outfit lobbying so hard to have a superseding federal control over all fracking ops --so Clean Harbors can put a bagman or crew of bagmen on every drilling rig in existence.
Note that Carol Browner retired from czarinaship in the obama admin soon after the Tea Party sweep of Nov 2010 but before the new subpoena-powered committees formed the following January, going in with Soros on some media project. My guess on the surprise career change is, she was/is afraid her little pet kitty cat ''Macondo" might get out of the bag.
So, Sam L. up there at #3, it may not be that EPA wants all humans dead --it may be that EPA is simply working for a rival, an energy exporter and contender for domination of the global open auction system for the allocation off petroleum.
The whole agency wouldn't have to be in on the traitorous subversion --just a policy-maker or two --demonstrating again that the power organizations that are capable of allowing a small group to turn entire nations this way or that, the top-down armor-bristled bureaucratic model that it took to win the 20th century world wars and install the (English-speaking) Pax Occidens, has slipped chains and gotten loose, and is rampaging across the face of the globe with the American voters, as the legion of hapless little Dr. Frankensteins, running along behind shouting "Wait, wait, you can't DO this, and you can't DO that!"
Two paragraphs, one atop and one near conclusion, from the link --a great, easy-reading Reason Magazine article from 2004:
"The profound and devastating effects of the Love Canal tragedy, in terms of human health and suffering and environmental damage, cannot and probably will never be fully measured," began the 1978 special report, Love Canal: Public Health Time Bomb. That idea is still alive: "Love Canal Declared Clean, Ending Toxic Horror," ran the New York Times headline...."
...and, separated by the body of the essay,
"The April 2002 NYSDOH Love Canal newsletter reports, "Based on information so far, Love Canal residents have the same life expectancy and cancer incidence rates as upstate New York and Niagara County residents. We do have enough statistical power in the overall findings to feel confident in them." To reiterate, the study found: "Canal residents are at no greater risk of death or cancer than upstate New York or Niagara County residents."
What about reproductive effects? After all, the New York Times just reported again that experts found that the chemical wastes seeping out of Love Canal "caus[ed] miscarriages and birth defects." NYSDOH's September 2002 newsletter reports that researchers found overall that the "average birth weight of Canal [neighborhood] babies was the same as upstate New York and Niagara County averages," and that "the rate of premature births for Love Canal women was the same as upstate New York and Niagara County women."
There's some equivocating on preemies, but the author Ronald Baily could pry no info from the authorities --but take a glance, easy article and full of societal ramifications you will not of have thought.
Anyhoo, back on the speculation that a foreign secret service might have hold of EPA somewhere, remember that we're not talking about mere rapacious business tactics.
There's national sovereignty involved, and besides the current energy markets (and related to the EPA effect on USA) there's the possibility of the 'one world front' inheriting control of a north american continent still containing vast undeveloped energy supplies --a long-shot but high-return two-fer for the north america desk at FSB/KGB HQ. The bona-fide geniuses over there have looong time horizons, in part due to their lifetime careers at their lifetime projects are not interrupted every two years by a revolution in the government, as our two-year House elections actually amount to, meaning that these think-tankers can work not subject to being hauled before congress and the world TV to answer political questions (and spill the beans on any such projects as the rival KGB can do in utter secrecy as easily as falling off a log) from the likes of Patrick Leahy or John Kerry types.
This 'green front' may well have been part of a plan that included the dissolution of USSR and the attraction of western capital --a plan that left the KGB brotherhood/cult intact and even public as the muscle behind Vlad Putin, ex-KGB, East German desk.
Just for fun sometime, search [ gorbachev green cross san francisco ].
Like Soros trying always to top himself, KGB may have topped the old era, using legions of earnest western useful idiots who not only don't know, as in the old era, that they're useful idiots, but now in the new era don't they're useful idiots, and also don't even know who it is they think they're not the useful idiots of.