Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baucus - orchestrating defeat of the Public Option

I just realized that Baucus has orchestrated his committee's hearings to defeat the public option.


First, he put the two public option amendments up before Conrad's co-op amendment. Now, Conrad's amendment has not a chance in hell of passing. It won't get any Republican votes and not enough Dem. votes to pass - but by bringing it up after the public option amendments, Baucus assures a "no" vote from Conrad on the public option amendments.

Second, by bringing them up near the start of deliberations rather than at the end, the proposers can't point to all of the failings in the Chairman's mark because Baucus can always assert that "amendment such-and-such" will solve that problem.

I sincerely hope that his poll ratings drop like the proverbial lead balloon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health Care Reform - Blaming the Patient (Only in America)

One of the many depressing aspects of the health care "reform" process (more appropriately called the "preserve private health insurance profits" process) is the degree to which the patient is being blamed.

Republicans all but assert that Americans use too much health care because they don't pay directly for the services they get. To Republicans, there is no difference between buying health care and buying a car. Insurance company profits? Not an issue. The lack of true competition in most health insurance markets? Not a problem. Doctors ordering tests because they have a financial interest in the labs? Not a problem. No. American citizens are at fault.

But Democrats, too, blame the patient. We don't exercise enough. We don't eat right. We don't get regular checkups.

One can only conclude that Americans belong to a different species, that we are physically and psychologically distinct from Canadians, the British, the French, Scandinavians, the Japanese (who, BTW, visit doctors more often every year - an average of, if I recall the statistic properly, 17 times a year - than any other nationality), etc. all of whom live in countries where the average cost of health care as a share of GDP and per person is significantly less than it is in the good old U.S.A.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CNN's Update Scroll - No So Up-to-Date

As of around 3PM PDT today (Sept. 8, 2009), CNN's update scroll was still saying that the San Francisco Bay Bridge would be open soon. Unfortunately for CNN, the bridge opened up around 5AM PDT today (Sept. 8, 2009).

It's bad enough that CNN seems to rely on the scroll for all the news (with the programming all devoted to political gossip), and that I have to watch TV5 (France) or RAI (Italy) or Univision to find out what's going on in the world, the network can't even manage, apparently, to update its scroll more than once/day.

Obama's School Speech: Hypocrisy on Both Sides

The whole brouhaha about Obama's speech to school children is depressing because there is so much hypocrisy on both sides.

The Democrats just "can't understand", it's a speech encouraging students to study and make the best of themselves, we should respect the office of the President even if we don't agree with the positions of the current inhabitant, etc. Now, I don't remember what happened when Reagan and Bush 41 gave similar speeches, but I am willing to bet that liberals didn't much like it and for pretty much the same reason that Republicans object to Obama's speech: because they didn't want their children exposed to the opinions of a President whom they opposed.

Now, Republicans are being quite upfront about why they have objected to the broadcast: they don't want their children being exposed to the opinions of a President whom they oppose. I heard one Republican today, African-American, who said it was an even worse offense from this President because he is so superbly literate, such a great orator! (He, I assume, wouldn't mind half so much if Obama were as incoherent as Bush 43). But, of course, I'm guessing that these same Republicans saw nothing wrong with the speeches by Reagan (also renowned as a superb orator) or Bush 41 and argued that one should show respect for the Office of the President.

Personally, as a Liberal, I'm opposed to all speeches by all Presidents, of any party, directly to school students because I do think it smells a little, admittedly a very, very little, of Big Brother. I might feel differently if, in all 3 cases, it had been the Secretary of Education giving the speech - but, then again, I really like our current Ed. Sec. and can't even remember who they were under Reagan and Bush 41 - so maybe I would have objected in any case.