Friday, January 01, 2010

Clean slate New Year's tab dump 

Tabs are lined up like teeth across the top of my screen. You need to read this stuff -- there is plenty of time until the football begins -- and I need to clean up my computer for the new year.

Stuart Taylor follows up brilliantly on the "Group of 88," the Duke University faculty members who smeared the now exonerated Duke lacrosse players who were falsely accused of rape three years ago. Most have been explicitly unrepentant, and some have flourished in their academic careers without any apparent consequence for their frankly outrageous betrayal of their own students. And after you read about Duke's new speech code, think about giving some money to FIRE.

The top 10 weirdest political moments in 2009. I'd forgotten some of them.

Will populism and its stew of higher taxes on the "wealthy" and more regulation of business crush economic growth? Regular readers know I think it is already happening.

Over the last three years, the dollar has strengthened against some currencies and weakened against others, coming out roughly in the middle. But not without some ups and downs a long the way. That's the way it ought to be. If our national currency gets too strong we make it very difficult for companies using American inputs (labor, principally) to compete, and if it gets too weak we damage our standard of living.

Speaking as a corporate tool, this is definitely the best thing I did not know about Clint Eastwood. I knew there is a reason why I think Clint is awesome.

For better or for worse -- worse for the country, I think -- Republicans are finally getting creative about using litigation to screw up the statists:

Republican attorneys general in 13 states are threatening legal action over a provision in the federal health-care reform bill that would shield Nebraska from the costs of expanding Medicaid programs -- language that was inserted to win the support of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)...

Nelson, the last holdout in the Democratic caucus, agreed to support the legislation after it was amended to exempt Nebraska from paying its share of the cost of expanding Medicaid programs. Under the provision, the federal government would permanently pick up the tab for the expansion, at an estimated cost of $100 million over 10 years.

I'm struggling a bit to think of the provision of the Constitution implicated by the Nebraska exemption, but I'm no Laurence Tribe. Any idea?

Meanwhile, Nebraskans, being a principled people (probably by dint of their proximity to Iowa), are not at all happy with Ben Nelson. A GOP pick-up in November would be very gratifying.

The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.

More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman...

The Mayo organization had 3,700 staff physicians and scientists and treated 526,000 patients in 2008. It lost $840 million last year on Medicare, the government’s health program for the disabled and those 65 and older, Mayo spokeswoman Lynn Closway said.

Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.

“We firmly believe that Medicare needs to be reformed,” Yardley said in a Dec. 23 e-mail. “It has been true for many years that Medicare payments no longer reflect the increasing cost of providing services for patients.”

And that's before the cuts necessary to hit the CBO "score" kick in.

Come back with a warrant.

I gave each of my sibs one of these for Christmas and it has been very well received. May get one myself.

Lefty fav Ezra Klein has some useful thoughts on the merits, and lack thereof, of "bipartisanship" in legislation.

I've been meaning to link to Shelby Steele's column on Barack Obama's "post-modern" race problem, and in the meantime everybody else and his brother has already done. But if you missed it, make it a priority.

Take a look at this satellite visualization of the December cold snap in Europe, right through the Copenhagen regulatory conference, just as seemingly happens whenever climate change activists take to the streets. It made me think that God really is testing the faith of the warmists. Of course, many warmists, especially in Europe, have substituted a sort of mystical environmentalism for actual religion, and that may have irritated God. So either He is testing them, or mocking them. Or maybe both.

A very interesting look at cost-benefit analysis in the formulation of public policy.

Last, but far from least: In December 2009 there was not a single American combat death in Iraq.

Thanks to Maggies Farm for a couple of the links.


By Anonymous sirius_sir, at Fri Jan 01, 10:56:00 AM:

"I'm struggling a bit to think of the provision of the Constitution implicated by the Nebraska exemption..."

I'm no Laurence Tribe, either. But I do think it goes to the spirit upon which this republic was founded, i.e., no taxation without representation. This deal was hammered out between Nelson and the leaders of the Democratic caucus, which in effect imposes a tax on those states left without representation in the process. That argument is either a stretch or the nub of the matter--depending, I guess, on whether or not you are left to pay for the bill.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 01, 12:13:00 PM:

The Nebraska Exemption isn't specifically ALLOWED by the Constitution. Once upon a time, that was enough.

Theoretically, Congress can only DO those things that the Constitution says they can do. That is, everything they do must refer to a specific power granted them in the Constitution.

Of course, it hasn't worked that way in a long, looong time.

Which is why the Constitution is DEFUNCT, USELESS, DEAD.

Which, in turn, is why there is NO SUCH THING as the RULE OF LAW in this nation anymore.

Which, again in turn, is why we now live under abject TYRANNY. Because the RULE of LAW has been annihilated, Government CAN do anything they want. The only reason we don't live under personal, physical tyranny from day to day is because the Government simply hasn't decided to do it ...yet. We live at their whim.  

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Fri Jan 01, 12:15:00 PM:

Regarding the Nebraska exemption, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, requires “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Also, The Privileges and Immunities Clause, Article IV, Section 2, "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States." Finally, the catch-all due process clauses in the 5th and 14th amendments.

As for Mayo, my 80-something uncle is a patient at the Mayo facility in Glendale, AZ. He will not be happy, but is too stoic to complain. I can't say the same for all the other retires living around Phoenix.  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell, at Fri Jan 01, 01:09:00 PM:

The Healthcare bill is built on on a shaky foundation of inconsistent compromises on a few key points -- it may fall apart yet. There will be a small gap in time between when Obama-Pelosi-Reid cut their final deal and then try to jam a final vote, I expect. If so, how that plays will be critical and could be outcome determinative. There'll be just a narrow opportunity to break Obama's shaky voting coalition.

I don't think constitutional challenges will succeed ultimately ... unfortunately. We crossed that bridge in the 1930s. From a legal standpoint, Healthcare is building on Social Security-Medicare-Medicaid precedent. There's already lots of inconsistencies between states, etc. etc. The individual mandate is just another tax administered by the IRS, from a Constitutional standpoint. But if legal attacks on Nebraska's special deal brings near-term pressure on Ben Nelson -- who could be the 60th vote -- bring it on!

IndispensableDestiny -- the Supreme Court of 1895 agreed with you re Article I, Section 8 ... which is why we had the 16th Amendment -- another bridge crossed.

The Mayo-Medicare development is telling. The US doesn't pay nearly the full cost of its Medicare patients -- this is a huge cross-subsidy and a big reason why healthcare insurance is so expensive for the rest of us. Further Medicare cuts are just squeezing one end of the balloon.

Obama & Co are selling us an agenda that purports to be fair to all ..."we're all in this together." Even at the outset, it's clear that Healthcare establishes tiers -- our elected representatives are in First Class, along with UAW retirees. I expect to be in steerage, but to pay for a first class ticket ... only to find out in 10 years that all the lifeboats have already been taken.

This will only get worse in practice, as those without political juice will surely get fucked over. Ask a smoker.

To anon at 12:13pm. The only near-term answer is for the Republicans to win back the House and thus start to again be a national party. In the longer run, the federal government will go broke -- its just a question of when and how it plays out. The Constitution could have new life as a framework for how we put the pieces back together. That and our sports leagues will keep us together, hopefully.  

By Blogger Brian, at Mon Jan 04, 12:02:00 AM:

I wonder how many people who are outraged by the Group of 88 ad, have seen the ad? For some reason, Stuart Taylor didn't provide a link or even a relevant quote. Anyway, it's here:


Ill-advised, but not exactly outrageous.  

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?