Permission To Survive

Some thoughts on the health-care debacle, in Massachusetts and the nation:

Insurance companies in Massachusetts are thus required to offer numerous benefits as determined by politicians and lobbyists, but they may only charge what government bureaucrats permit. It would be akin to the government requiring restaurants to sell $50 steak dinners, but only allowing them to charge $25.

When similar price controls and “guaranteed coverage” laws were imposed in South Dakota and Kentucky, many insurers left these states rather than be slowly bled to death. As similar laws are phased in nationally under ObamaCare, the government could drive private insurers out of business altogether, enabling it to herd unwilling Americans into a “public option.”

ObamaCare thus places a noose around insurers’ necks. Insurance companies will be allowed to survive only at the arbitrary pleasure of the government.

…The trend is becoming clear. First, insurers must seek government permission to survive. Then, patients must seek permission to receive some forms of medical care. Will we soon need government permission simply to live?

That’s what seems to generally happen at the end of the road we’re on. A quarter of a billion people were, after all, murdered by their governments in the last century.

Heating The Planet

…with biodiesel.

Maybe politicos should do more research before imposing half-baked energy mandates?

It wouldn’t do any good. They’re mostly too stupid to understand the results of the research, or too much on the take from the benefitting industry to care. But they get to pretend to be saving the planet.

Speaking of biodiesel, will the same be true of biokerosene? Is the “green aviation” initiative another unintended consequence on the way?

The Paranoid Style

of American “liberalism”:

Liberals, to put it mildly, are not dealing well with their declining political fortunes. For some reason, liberals seem surprised that Americans have not warmed to the Obama administration’s policies, like government takeover of health care; bailouts and government ownership in multiple industries; wasteful and ineffective “stimulus” spending; unheard of deficits; massive tax increases slated for next year; and a foreign policy that perversely alienates our allies and caters to our enemies. There has never been a time in our history when most Americans would have approved of such policies, yet liberals are somehow convinced that today’s manifestation of longstanding voter attitudes represents a unique and sinister animus against Barack Obama and his administration.

As he goes on, Joe Klein is a poster boy for this.

Not So Hip And Edgy

Thoughts on Bill Clinton and Comedy Central, from Mark Steyn:

Bill Clinton energetically on the stump, summoning all his elder statesman’s dignity (please, no giggling) in the cause of comparing tea partiers to Timothy McVeigh. Oh, c’mon, they’ve got everything in common. They both want to reduce the size of government, the late Mr. McVeigh through the use of fertilizer bombs, the tea partiers through control of federal spending, but these are mere nuanced differences of means, not ends. Also, both “Tim” and “Tea” are three-letter words beginning with “T”: Picture him upon your knee, just Tea for Tim and Tim for Tea, you’re for him and he’s for thee, completely interchangeable. To lend the point more gravitas, President Clinton packed his reading glasses and affected his scholarly look, with the spectacles pushed down toward the end of his nose, as if he’s trying to determine whether that’s his 10 a.m. intern shuffling toward him across the broadloom or a rabid armadillo Al Gore brought along for the Earth Day photo op.

Will it work? For a long time, tea partiers were racists. Everybody knows that when you say “I’m becoming very concerned about unsustainable levels of federal spending,” that’s old Jim Crow code for “Let’s get up a lynching party and teach that uppity Negro a lesson.” Frank Rich of the New York Times attempted to diversify the tea-party racism into homophobia by arguing that Obamacare’s opponents were uncomfortable with Barney Frank’s sexuality. I yield to no one in my discomfort with Barney Frank’s sexuality, but, with the best will in the world, I find it hard to blame it for more than the first 4 or 5 trillion dollars of federal overspending. Eschewing such cheap slurs, Time’s Joe Klein said opposition to Obama was “seditious,” because nothing says sedition like citing the U.S. Constitution and quoting Thomas Jefferson. Unfortunately for Klein, thanks to “educator” William Ayers’s education reforms, nobody knows what “seditious” means anymore.

It’s all like that. Few people can write so entertainingly about such serious subjects (though Lileks can give him a run for his money).

Those Who Can’t Do…

…teach. And those who can’t teach, teach teaching:

It sounded like a great idea: Stanford education professors would create a model school to show how to educate low-income Hispanic and black students.

Or, as it’s turned out, how not to.

In March, Stanford New Schools (aka East Palo Alto Academy) — a charter high school started in 2001 and elementary grades added in 2006 – made California’s list of schools in the lowest-achieving five percent in the state.

It seems to me that if Stanford doesn’t have a good school of education, no one should be expected to. If I were running the Department of Education (assuming that I couldn’t simply abolish it) I would make it a condition of getting federal money that every teacher in the system have a real degree, where you actually have to know something to graduate — no degrees in “education.”

Does Arizona?

…have a right to defend itself? It seems pretty clear that the federal government has fallen down on one of its basic jobs, per Article IV, Section 4.

[The United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion;

As Glenn notes, when armed people are coming across your border and kidnaping and killing people, seems like a textbook example of an invasion. But no, the federal government is too busy making us buy health insurance and regulating how much salt we should eat to meet its constitutional responsibilities.

The Remains Of A California Day

Some depressing thoughts from long-time Democrat (who will be voting for Mickey Kaus in June) Victor Davis Hanson:

…how would we return to sanity in California, a state as naturally beautiful and endowed and developed by our ancestors as it has been sucked dry by our parasitic generation? The medicine would be harder than the malady, and I just cannot see it happening, as much as I love the state, admire many of its citizens, and see glimmers of hope in the most unlikely places every day.

After all, in no particular order, we would have to close the borders; adopt English immersion in our schools; give up on the salad bowl and return to the melting pot; assimilate, intermarry, and integrate legal immigrants; curb entitlements and use the money to fix infrastructure like roads, bridges, airports, trains, etc.; build 4-5 new damns to store water in wet years; update the canal system; return to old policies barring public employee unions; redo pension contracts; cut about 50,000 from the public employee roles; lower income taxes from 10% to 5% to attract businesses back; cut sales taxes to 7%; curb regulations to allow firms to stay; override court orders now curbing cost-saving options in our prisons by systematic legislation; start creating material wealth from our forests; tap more oil, timber, natural gas, and minerals that we have in abundance; deliver water to the farmland we have; build 3-4 nuclear power plants on the coast; adopt a traditional curriculum in our schools; insist on merit pay for teachers; abolish tenure; encourage not oppose more charter schools, vouchers, and home schooling; give tax breaks to private trade and business schools; reinstitute admission requirements and selectivity at the state university system; take unregistered cars off the road; make UC professors teach a class or two more each year; abolish all racial quotas and preferences in reality rather than in name; build a new all weather east-west state freeway over the Sierra; and on and on.

In other words, we would have to seance someone born around 1900 and just ask them to float back for a day, walk around, and give us some advice.

It’s hard to see much hope, given how the looters in Sacramento have arranged things with their gerrymandered districts.

On that last recommendation, does he mean upgrading I-80, or a new freeway with a different (presumably more southerly) route? Perhaps just south of Yosemite, providing a quick route to the Mammoth ski area for the Bay Area? But where would it hook into another interstate? The only two options are I-80, way to the north, or I-15, far south. Ideally, I guess it would continue east all the way across Nevada to extend I-70 in Utah all the way to California. In any event, it’s a pipe dream given the current state of state finances.

[Update a while later]

I haven’t been up that way in a few years. Is 395 four lanes all the way to Mammoth through the Owens Valley now? That would be a natural place to hook in a new road.

Jennifer Rubin Explains Life

to David Brooks:

I have a rule of thumb: when a writer, especially a good one, excessively uses evasive or convoluted rhetoric, he is hiding something. Let’s try this: Obama, a very liberal politician, was smart enough to know he couldn’t win the presidency as a hard leftist. He posed as a moderate. New York Times columnists sung his praises. Pundits assured us that he was beyond ideology, a sort of philosopher-king with very neat pants. He got into office. He governed from the far Left. The president signed bill after bill, spending money we didn’t have and running up the debt. Obama insisted on a mammoth health-care bill the country hated. He egged Congress on to pass it. Meanwhile, the country recoiled. They hired a moderate on advice of pundits and media mavens and got a far-Left liberal, a ton of debt, an expanded federal government, and a slew of new taxes.

How’s that?

What’s amazing is that anyone takes David Brooks seriously, especially after this. Even more amazing that he’s still trotted out by the MSM as one of those “respectable,” “thoughtful” “conservatives.”

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!