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
Monday, December 5. 2016
Good for a morning giggle: I named it Spot
Another morning giggle: Castro’s hearse breaks down
As Double Dutch Wanes in New York, Competition Comes From Abroad
Peng Chang-kuei, Chef Behind General Tso’s Chicken, Dies at 98
Why Ikea Causes So Much Relationship Tension
Fake news update: Newsweek never read their own “Madam President” issue
Op-ed: In this age of internet hate, it’s time to revisit limits on free speech
Inside every do-gooder lies a latent totalitarian
Snotty, Smug, Know-Nothing Students At Ohio State Decide Now Is A Pretty Good Time To Lecture Everyone On Their Bigotry
Ohio State Student After Attack: 'The Left Is More Scared of Trump Than of ISIS'
Jon Stewart Goes Off: Obama ‘Terrible for Press Freedom;’ Left’s Race-Baiting ‘Has to Stop’
Black Lives Matter praises Castro as revolutionary and harborer of cop killers
Why It Will Be Hard to Repeal Obamacare
There is an easy way: Create a better alternative
WATCH Tucker Carlson Take On The New York Times’ Public Editor Over The Paper’s Liberal Bias
Trump Chooses “Mad Dog” Mattis for Pentagon Chief - Leftists foam at the mouth and gnash their teeth.
5 Reasons Barack Obama Will Be Viewed As One Of The Worst Presidents of All Time
Daughter of Top EU Official Raped-Murdered in Germany By Afghan Migrant
She was a "Welcome Migrants" volunteer. Heartbreaking.
Scott Adams: Trump and the Taiwan Call
Iran threatens action if Obama signs bill to extend sanctions
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Fake News: ‘Climate Change’ Could Maybe Possibly Spark Humanitarian Crisis
like it did back in 2005 ...
The United Nations was caught attempting to cover up evidence of its wildly inaccurate prediction that there would be some 50 million so-called “climate refugees” by 2010, embarrassing the international body already under fire for its misleading global-warming advocacy.
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) had warned in 2005 that sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by man-made climate change would lead to massive population disruptions. In a map, the organization highlighted areas that were supposed to be particularly vulnerable, such as the Caribbean.
I remember when we had to beat the advancing glaciers with sticks until they ran back to the hills during Coming Ice Age back in the 1970s.
Science!, you know, its Settled!
Didn't the UN climate chairman and his TATA company want $2Billion in carbon credits from the European Union under the EU’s emissions-trading scheme? Maybe that "settled the science"?
If I recall correctly, Al "massage parlor" Gore also wanted to make millions trading carbon credits. Maybe that settled his science?
it's such a convenient scapegoat for .. everything.
I like it's blamed on the record yields of crops in the past decade because we're all gonna starve.
i can do English: correction
I like how it's blamed for the record crop yields in the past decade because we're all gonna starve.
Relationship tension from an IKEA kit? Better buy a couple of extra-large snowflake protectors!
Anyone who's assembled a few kits (model airplanes, anyone?) knows that evil trolls write the instructions, inserting traps for the unwary with fiendish glee. They also know that proper assembly requires Zen-like patience, organization, a few good tools, and at least twice the time stated in the advertising.
Folks who get wrapped around the axle by an IKEA kit probably shouldn't be making major life decisions. Like walking around without adult supervision. Preferably adults who might buy them a model airplane kit.
It's a really bad idea, though, to try to assemble something while working with someone with a bad temper.
The tale of Spot had me laughing, laughing, laughing. Perhaps it hit too close to home.
It will be very difficult to end Obamacare, It was written to make it difficult and always was a huge poison pill to our health care system. Don't "end it" simply administratively end the requirement that anyone 'must' buy insurance and end federal subsidies.
As for replacing it with something better, why? why create another 'free stuff' spigot? It is quite possibly the worst idea ever to create a government run health care/health insurance plan. Have we learned nothing in all these years of government overrun and failure. Would you choose a VA hospital over your local hospital. Would you choose a VA doctor over your regular doctor?
Of course the politicians will create some kind of health care monster to replace Obamacare after all that was always the intent. So at the very least it should be a mandate (since they love to mandate things) that every federal, state and city worker and every union member and every politician has to switch to the new and better Obamacare.
Acknowledging that the path of least resistance in DC is a different "free stuff" spigot, there are certainly a lot of other reforms that could replace ObummerCare.
Tort reform - e.g. a cap on punitive awards
Price discovery - require hospitals and doctors publish prices
Insurance reform - strip ObummerCare regulations from insurance policies, allow interstate insurance market, discourage employers from providing health insurance and encourage insurance companies to provide policies at birth
to name a few.
I totally agree with your points. In addition, tax-deductible health savings accounts that, carried over from year to year such as Roth IRAs, could help people save for disabilities, home care or longterm care and services as needed. Team this with catastrophic care policies. Insurance policies should offer cafeteria menus.
Return this responsibility to individuals with parents acting as guardians for their children's accounts AND get rid of company-based policies that were only instigated during WWII to get around wage controls. This Nanny State is turning us into snowflakes.
I guarantee that after some of the stories from my neighbors, family and friends, this would kill Obamacare. They hate it! They can't budget for it as premiums renewal skyrocket. Prices for small procedures have skyrocketed. Health insurance is NOT healthcare. We've been Grubered and Emanueled.
We took in foster children covered by Medicaid for years. Not one pediatrician ever filed for his/her charges as the paperwork was simply too cumbersome and never worth the time. Those docs that do treat such patients do it by volume, usually in clinics.
Mudbug - Excellent idea to limit punitive damages. An even better idea is to make medical "accidents" like a workman's comp system - with feedback to the MD licensing officials. The trial lawyers have been bribing congresscritters for a long time to keep this major medical cost scam going. We'd save at least the 30-50% of awards and strain on our legal court system. And. deprive the swampcritters in the congressional swamp of some of their crooked "contributuins".
Why stop companies from providing health insurance? Better than the taxpayer, isn't it?
punitive damages are awarded for intentional wrongdoing.
what's your justification for limiting them in medical cases?
a doctor who makes an honest mistake isn't liable for punitive damages because there are no punitives available for negligence.
a company that knowingly markets a harmful product should be punished, with the punitives keyed to the value of the company.
You may have more knowledge in this area than I but I would ask if a doctor intentionally did something worth a multi million dollar punitive judgement, do we really want him as a doctor?
As for medical products, aren't those heavily regulated by the FDA so that a product must be determined to be both safe AND effective by multiple expensive studies and trials. If data is altered or withheld, maybe that ought to be a criminal matter rather than a medical one.
This is not to suggest that the FDA doesn't need massive reforms. I'm not qualified to suggest everything that can/should be done but some possibilities are accepting actual experience in other markets to count for some trial data, allowing some products to be sold that the FDA does not consider to be effective but safe, and short circuit much of the trials for experimental drugs for terminal patients who request them.
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but while I agree that a doc who engages in intentional misconduct to that degree shouldn't be a doc, I think (or at least hope) that you'd agree that that intentional acts that gross should be financially punished.
liability insurance both pays for the cost of defense and it indemnifies claims that are attributable to negligence. so a doc or a business accused of both intentional and negligent misconduct is being defended by an insurance lawyer, regardless of whether the insurance pays on the negligence claim (it won't pay the punitive damages awarded). But most of these cases, the vast majority, settle before there's a judgment, with no admission of any liability, after the lawyers earn their blood money and defense costs are high. the calculations are hazy but they involve assessment by both sides of damages (of all kinds) and probability. and they always include a final release.
My supposition was that insurance companies paid the punitive damages so one aspect of lowering the punitive awards would have been to lower insurance costs. Another aspect of lowering punitive awards would be to make a suit a little less profitable for the lawyers.
Back in the '90s there was a lot of talk about tort reform - a lot of it centered around loser pays type changes. I'm against that in most cases because if the little guy loses against GM, it would be very expensive for him - though I think it is probably a better system than we have now. My preferred solution was to lower punitive awards for the reasons I mentioned above. As you've surely figured out, I'm not a lawyer so I'm not knowledgeable in this ares but I think these types of solutions deserve a look at least.
insurance companies don't pay punitive damages.
it is enormously expense to prosecute a professional malpractice claim, all expenses are fronted by the lawyer out of his own pocket, so the fee structure and the shot at punitive damages in some cases is an incentive for attorneys to take on representation of poor clients who can't afford an hourly fee that might run $500/hour if the fee structure were hourly. if a plaintiff's lawyer lays out $50k in expert witness and other costs and loses, he sucks it up completely.
institutional defendants with in-hour lawyers or defendants with counsel assigned by insurance companies pay much, much less. if it weren't for the incentive structure, I guarantee you, no plaintiff would ever win a malpractice case.
If the trail lawyers drove around in 10 year old Mazdas and lived in four story walk-ups I might have some sympathy. But I do not. Punitive damages is a gift to trail lawyers and should be ended. I do not have a problem with a patient being made whole if there is a medical mistake. I am not in favor of lawyers being made millionaires for the same mistake.
Also it would seem fair to me that if a trial lawyer loses a case that they should have to pay all the costs that the defendant incurred. AND if the lawsuit sought punitive damages the defendant should be awarded that as well.
There is little doubt that the fear of malpractice suits both increases the costs of health care and decreases the willingness of health care professionals to do what's best for the patient. One example of this is an a NY hospital the chief heart surgeon choose to only take on those surgeries that were so risky that other heart surgeons had turned them down. As a result he understandably had a lower success rate than his peers. For this he was sued and his practice destroyed If the intent was to prevent necessary operations for the most sick people then that lawsuit was a success. Remember that when your surgeon tells you the risks are too great so he won't operate. Brought to you by trial lawyers.
Will, I generally agree with you, but not with regard to punitive, or more accurately, "exemplary" damages. Since about 1970, the plaintiff's bar and the courts/juries have transformed "exemplary damages" to enormously enrich the plaintiff's bar. Jorors know that doctors are covered by insurance companies. They recognize exemplary damages as a way to pay for the lawyer's cut. They don't like insurance companies anyway.
The plaintiff's bar has paid congress to keep this money spigot open (remember John Edwards, the media's favorite Presidential candidate)?
A workman's comp type system for medical cases would save everyone money except the plaintiff's trial bar (which would largely have to find something productive to do.
insurance companies do two things, defend their insureds and indemnify them if there's a payout, usually settlement but maybe 1 out of 20 claims results in a court a judgment.
they'll always defend an insured against a claim that's based on both negligent and intentional torts.
they won't pay a claim that a jury finds is an intentional tort, meaning, they won't pay regular damages (medical bills, suffering) and won't pay punitive damages.
so if the doc's knife slips, the typical claim is inevitably negligence, so the insurer will pay. when the claim is settled, the insurance company gets the plaintiff to release all liability, ending the lawsuit or claim.
in a really bad situation, as in, the hospital was intentionally using tainted blood, failed to disclose serious risk, etc., then the gloves are off and the hospital deserves to be fucked by the jury.
I think the best way to quickly target the problem is to rewrite the rules that HHS was allowed to create in the first place. Make ANY policy issued by a health insurance company a 'compliant' policy. HHS arbitrarily created the rules of what a compliant policy must contain...get rid of the 'rules' and you are a good way towards crushing Obamacare.
I would think Trump could also offer waivers too all businesses, since Obama was allowed to offer waivers. He could also reduce the fine to $1 for those who don't have compliant plans.
I am not an expert, by any means, with regards to the rules that HHS was allowed to write, but I would think this would be a way to destroy from the inside while you are going through the process of repealing the legislation. When some of the more moderate see the ACA falling apart, they will get on board with repeal.
Meanwhile, you create the free market atmosphere to make plans very affordable - allow plans to be sold across state lines would be a great first step.
Actually I do choose the VA over the local hospital since I get all services connected with the disability. But even with that I'm fortunate for the Asheville VA hospital is ranked in the top five. I've had two major surgeries and two "minor" ones. All came off with out problems and the SICU was excellent. I know one cannot say this about other VA places; my only other association was with White River Jct. VA in Vermont; it was good back in the 2000's. I have heard from friends in Vermont that it has grown beyond capacity and service has declined. That is hearsay from persons who may have had bad experiences.
My other half works for MACPAC; she does get to see the hospital rankings.
Apparently the quality of VA services varies substantially and it's unfair to paint all VA facilities with a broad brush. And why wouldn't that be the case? After all, there are some government schools that are good. I'm glad you're in a "good" area.
People should actually go to a VA hospital just to see what they look like. First walk into your local hospital and look around then go to a VA hospital. What you will see is aged buildings and equipment. empty corridors and empty nurses/administrative stations. In many VA hospitals you could fire a cannon down the main hall and not only not hit anyone but no one would even know it happened. What they look like to me is the pictures you see of old Soviet or Cuban hospitals where the tiles are falling off the walls and there are no nurses and doctors anywhere to be found.
My son is a wounded/disabled veteran. He uses the VA. I could write a book about the maltreatment and non-treatment the VA provides. Here is but one example. The VA was not willing to make an appointment or see him for a knee injury so he went into the local emergency room. The doctors checked him out prescribed some medicine and wrote a referral to see a surgeon AND referred him back to the VA (since he has no insurance). The local surgeon determined that he absolutely needed an operation and a leg brace to prevent more damage. The VA took the referral and their surgeon concurred but said he would not perform an operation unless the patient quit smoking. Now I am all in favor of him quitting smoking but it ain't gonna happen. So because he won't quit smoking the VA won't operate. The local surgeon will operate on a smoker but the patient has no insurance. Catch 22!
"As for replacing it with something better, why? why create another 'free stuff' spigot?"
because the only things politicians care about are; keeping and amassing more power and getting re-elected. and filling their pocketbooks.
Who is exempt from deathcare again?
The damage done by Obamacare is massive. My premiums have doubled, with less care, and it now takes months to see a doctor. I lost my personal doctor--he chose to "retire"--writing a strong letter to all his clients he was leaving the practice of medicine because of Obamacare and the red tape forms that now choke everything in medicine. Now you have to go through a vetting process to get a doctor to accept you as a patient. In my state we are now down 800 doctors from pre-Obamacare, as doctors "retire" or leave the state because costs are now too high to make a living. We've had two hospitals go under, and another couple now on life support. I would simply repeal it, although it is going to take years, perhaps decades, to have our healthcare system recover from the damage that was done.
that's another thing. policies that are available to you are based on your county of residence. My husband does a lot of on site work in other counties and occasionally out of state. If emergency care isn't covered because it's "out of network" we're screwed.
This limited the policies for 2017 available to us to 4. All double in cost from 2016 with higher deductibles. My daughter has just moved out of state for a few months for a job and I don't even know if she is going to be able to go to the doctor. Or will she have to pay cash? that usually runs in the $200 range.
Punished for working.
I am quite curious as to why anyone wold want to rebuild the GOPe? That crowd is/was no better than the Jackass Party for paying attention to the base and cared not a wit for anything except the amount of the donation.
Will Trump be better or at least freestanding? We shall find out but at least we have a chance at change and the Game of Thrones twixt the Bush and Clinton lineage is over. That is if the population keeps the spawn out of national office.
Donald Trump’s threat against companies who leave U.S. is statism at its worst
or, at its best. Benefitting citizens over congresscritter bribers.
Excellent political theater in my book. I figure he's softening them up for the dealmaking he has in mind. I think the business world, and more and more other sectors are beginning to see that Trump is serious, and that some serious negotiating is in store if they are to keep any of the government goodies they now enjoy. The last to see this will be Congress, bureaucracy, academia, and the silicon valley cabal.
I hope Trump improves this message/policy. I think it is better and simpler to simply charge a fee/tariff/tax for all imports of goods and services than it is to try to punish any company for moving offshore. IMHO they can absolutely move offshore or for that matter it can be a foreign company that never had a foot in this country. They simply pay a tax for the benefit of selling into the worlds largest retail market. And most importantly that it isn't "punishment" it is simply a tax; the cost of doing business. It makes up for the taxes, benefits and jobs lost because they are not operating within the U.S.
Almost any company could move overseas in whole or part. And as a free country that should be their right. But if they move and the community/state/USA loses that job, that tax base, that payroll taxes THEN it should be recouped. And why not? If we deem it acceptable to tax our own American businesses to the brink of bankruptcy why not at the very recoup losses from overseas companies who want to sell into our market. Don't punish, don't boycott, don't treat any company different simply tax all imports.
Woman tricks husband: Could be grounds for divorce.
IKEA: Swedes are still Vikings.
Big Labor Donations: They got theirs, the dues-payers didn't.
Rest in peace, Peng Chang-kuei. General Tso's chicken is a staple food for me.
I would like to think I would leave something behind that would touch the world this much. My grandmother on my dad's side worked for a family -owned restaurant in my hometown. She was a wonderful cook and one of her specialties was her recipe for the fluffy rolls that the restaurant served with every meal. When she retired, the owners paid her for the rights to her rolls. Later, another owner took over and named the new incarnation of the restaurant for her rolls. She has been gone for almost 20 years now, but people still eat her tasty rolls. I miss her.
General Tso's Chicken (I'm sorry, folks, I can't find the original cartoon with a shorter URL):
I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground,” Gore told reporters after spending about 90 minutes at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the lunch hour Monday. “I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump. The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that.”
Trump has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax” and has even accused the Chinese government of creating this fake problem to steal manufacturing jobs from the United States. But Trump seemed to soften that position during a meeting with the New York Times late last month, saying that he would keep an “open mind” on the issue and acknowledging that human activity might be connected to changes in the climate.
Maybe Trump just wanted to get the contact information for Al's "masseusse" in Portland, so they could commiserate about unfair media coverage. .