"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Said You Wanted to See a Big Tent Party

Apparently, the RNC spent $2000 at a bondage strip club, which is kind of an oxymoron if you think about it. Is the dancer wearing a dominatrix suit or is she topless? How do you experience bondage when no touching is allowed at strip clubs (or so I've heard, I wouldn't know for sure.) Isn't the pain brought on by Obama's policies enough for you people?!

I'm not sure this is even a news story. It's not like the DNC spends all its money on gummy bears and bunny rabbits. Isn't porn pusher Larry Flynt, publisher of Penthouse, a huge Democratic supporter who fiercely campaigned against Bush? Didn't Hugh Hefner raise money for Obama in 2008? How many people know that once upon a time Barney Frank's boyfriend was busted for running a prostitution ring out of his D.C. apartment? Does anyone remember when Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-25) held a fundraiser at a gay bar in which donors stuffed dollar bills into the jockstrap of someone named "The Banana Queen"? I'm not even going to mention the ACORN pimp/prostitute story that no one covered but Fox News.

Has the mainstream media ever cared or blinked an eye?

That silence you hear is a resounding NO. But the lamestream media is more interested in how the RNC spends its privately raised donations than how the government (and in particular the Democrat controlled Congress) wastes our tax dollars and spends us into unsustainable debt. Unbelievable.

There's no policy analysis anymore. It's just demonize the other guy and play "gotcha" politics. Shame on us for being voyeurs of the most disgusting spectacle of all.

It is a shame that the RNC is wasting money on limos and entertainment that would be better spent on media and support for conservative candidates. That's why I recommend giving directly to the candidate instead of going through the political machine. But this shouldn't stop donations from coming in given the unpopularity of FauxbamaCare, nor will it be the end of Michael Steele.

And my apologies for the headline. I couldn't resist.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shocker: Ricky Martin Reveals He's Puerto Rican

I know what you're thinking. Ricky Who? Apparently, he was a pop star in the 1990s. Today, the former teen idol relinquished his dream of ever recording another relevant hit song and decided instead to return to the spotlight and make his first headlines in decades by coming out as a Puerto Rican. Here's what Ricardo wrote on his official website, which I visit weekly.

"Mucha gente me dijo que no era importante hacerlo, que no valía la pena, que todo lo que trabaje y todo lo que había logrado se colapsaría. Que muchos en este mundo no estarían preparados para aceptar mi verdad, mi naturaleza. Y como  estos consejos venían de personas que amo con locura, decidí seguir adelante con mi "casi verdad". MUY MAL. Dejarme seducir por el miedo fue un verdadero sabotaje a mi vida. Hoy me responsabilizo por completo de todas mis decisiones, y de todas mis accione."

Wow. Now if that doesn't take courage, I don't know the definition of courage. And the definition I know has always been "shameless self-promotion by B-level talent." I can only imagine how courageous this statement would seem if I actually understood Spanish. Although frankly, I'm surprised no one figured out Ricky's secret earlier considering his accent, flair for the dramatic, and rhythmic hip-shaking skills.

Oh good, here's the English translation:

"Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth.  Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions. These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know that existed."

That's one small step for Ricky, one giant leap for Menudo. May Puerto Ricans everywhere celebrate this shining moment in history. There's no reason to feel shame anymore for the incalculable damage done by Jennifer Lopez.

Mr. Martin also reminded everyone at the end of his personal blog that he was "a fortunate homosexual", which of course is hard to forget since Menudo was one of the gayest bands ever. And you thought that go-go dancer at The Open Fly only looked like Ricky Martin.

In what some media watchdogs are calling "Rainbow Monday", two other alternative lifestyle stories made front page news today. Just about 50% of Americans said they would be comfortable with a gay president, to which Hillary responded, "Hey, I gave it my best shot." However, that level of support dipped to 3% when it was revealed the gay president could be Barney Frank.

Voice of a New Generation

Show the Obamabots how cool you think they really are. From far away they'll think you are one of the cult. Up close, they'll realize they've been duped. Warning: you might see some extended middle fingers. Buy the sticker here for your car or office.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Joker Was Here

Maybe it's the botox frozen grin, maybe it's the purple suit, or perhaps it's the huge mallot being brandished about like a prop from the Incredible Shrinking Woman, but this photo says everything that ever needs to be said about Nancy Pelosi. I know the president is supposed to be the Joker, but there's something eerily familiar about this march by Madam Speaker and her minions and a certain scene in 1989's Batman starring Jack Nicholson. And like Jack vandalized that museum, Nancy just destroyed our health care system. "As my plastic surgeon always said, if you got to go, go with a smile."

Somebody cue the Prince soundtrack. It's not the Dark Knight, but it has its moments.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First They Came for the Health Insurance Companies...

I was lucky enough to catch this exchange on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday. A pretty accurate prediction, I'm afraid, from a caller in the health insurance industry. These people were demonized, their intentions were questioned, the president did everything he could to destroy them. The federal government just ran over an entire private industry under the guise of "compassion." Welcome to fascism, boys and girls. We have one or two elections to change this. Stand strong and donate to a conservative Republican candidate for Congress in your state or county. They will need every penny they can get to unseat the Leviathan in Washington funded by George Soros and drooled over by the willing servants of the mainstream media.

Here's part of the transcript from the Rush Limbaugh show with a hat tip to neo-neocon.

CALLER: Okay. For time immemorial, both state and federal regulation — and also just the industry standard — has been a 65-35 percentage arrangement: 65 in claims payment and 35 for administration and claims expense. Withholding that you store for, you know, a major catastrophe or something.

HOST: This is to pay your claims?

CALLER: No, 65% is to pay the claims. Thirty-five percent is for everything else.

HOST: That means 35% is salaries, administration costs, and the offices, all the paperwork, that kind of thing?

CALLER: It’s that as well as, you know, we are required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand as a percentage of our claims exposure to pay claims. . . .

HOST: Now, I just want to make sure I understand here. State and federal regulations set those percentages?

CALLER: State and federal regulations, yes.

HOST: So if you wanted to have 85% set aside for claims, you couldn’t. You had to go at 65%?

CALLER: Exactly.

HOST: If you wanted 30% set aside for claims and the rest were administration, you couldn’t do it. It had to be 65%.

CALLER: That’s illegal, yes. It has to be 65-35, and there’s a couple of percentage either way, but generally when an insurance company falls outside of those guidelines, they are considered financially unstable.

HOST: Well, who audits you all to make sure you are within the ratio?

CALLER: We’re audited by the state insurance departments, primarily. There are some plans that are audited both state and federally, and then you have your private auditors who will come in as part of the stock market and that kind of thing. So we’re audited often.
. . .
CALLER: . . . So what Obama just did an hour and a half ago is make every insurance company in the country financially unstable. Remember, the 15% that we are left has not only to pay salaries, maintenance, upkeep of buildings; it also has to pay the 40% increased taxes that we’ve got. I mean, there’s just no way. You can’t do it.

HOST: Well, you’re getting a little bit ahead of me here. What did Obama sign that changes this 65-35 split? In what way did Obama now sign you into permanent instability?

CALLER: The provision in the Senate bill requires that all insurance companies pay 85% of premiums collected every year in claims.

HOST: So the 65 is now 85?

CALLER: Exactly. It doesn’t matter how much we increase the premium, it won’t matter.
. . .
HOST: . . . You originally thought that your industry would survive. You’re speaking industry or just your particular company?

CALLER: I would say 99% of all insurance companies, health insurance companies in the country.

HOST: Okay. So you originally thought you might have three to five years to stay in business under Obama. Now you said it’s two to three. Why?

CALLER: Because of the 85-15. Plus the additional expenses were going to incur. Additionally, the mandates, what people don’t understand when CMS (which is the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare) push a mandate down on insurance companies, we have to pay to complement those mandates. We don’t know how many of those are in this monstrosity. So we can have our mandate budget doubled, our taxes already up 40% or whatever it is, and our cash flow immediately cut.

HOST: Well, how can you know in advance of paying any claims? Because they’ve now shifted to 65% that you have to set aside for claims to 85%. How in the world can anybody know in advance of paying claims that it’s going to amount to 85%?

CALLER: Well –

HOST: Of course 65%? It seems to be like this is a ridiculous dictate made by people that have no clue how your business works.

CALLER: Well, they don’t have a clue. But the way that that amount of money is calculated is you look at the past year, past five years, past ten years, and you see what your claims expense have been those years. Then based on your enrollment and your demographics you project forward into what you expect to be paying in the future, in the next year and the next five years. So you can do that. It’s not precise to a dollar, but you usually get pretty close. What he’s done is by saying, for example, the preventative services now –

HOST: Those are free. Those are, quote, unquote, “free.”

CALLER: Yeah, exactly.

HOST: What the hell is a preventative service covered by an insurance company anyway?

CALLER: Well, that would be your colonoscopies, your mammograms, your yearly physicals, your lab work.

HOST: Oh, so those are free now! So if I want to go get a colonoscopy today and I have an insurance policy, I’m not going to pay for it?

CALLER: Exactly.

HOST: But you will.

CALLER: Well, we will. We’ll pay out the nose for it.

HOST: (laughing) Well…

CALLER: I know, bad analogy. I’m sorry.

HOST: It is Christmas!

CALLER: But, Sir –

HOST: Well, no, I don’t look at a colonoscopy as Christmas. Don’t misunderstand. . . . But it is Christmas in the sense that I’m not paying for it. I don’t know how you can stay in business even two to three years with this kind of thing happening to you this year alone.

CALLER: I don’t think we will and that’s why I am seriously considering leaving this industry. I’m updating my resume. You know, people who I work with — even people who voted for Obama and thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread — are shell-shocked.

Worth the Paper it's Printed On?

Michael Ramirez nails it again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Slippery Slope to Tyranny Just Got a Lot Slicker

The America you wake up in tomorrow won't be the same America as today. It won't be the America you grew up in or that your parents and grandparents knew. It won't be the America you hoped to pass down to your children. It won't be a free America or a prosperous America, and it certainly won't be a peaceful America. If the health care bill the president and Congress passed is allowed to stand as the law of the land, then this is probably the beginning of the end of the United States of America. We've gone from Madison to Marxism in less than 250 years.

Let's be clear. The health care bill isn't about anyone's health. For a cool 50 billion dollars, we could have literally handed out $10,000 checks to 5 million sick uninsured individuals to help them pay their medical bills. It's not a perfect solution, but it would have been smarter and cheaper than remaking the entire health care system in the image of Big Government. The truth is this is all about power, and the new bill puts one-sixth of the economy under total and direct federal supervision. The president's health care bill wrestles power away from the people and strips many decisions from individuals, families, employers, doctors, and private health insurance companies. If you are a health care provider, you will now be forced to comply with 2700 pages of rules, regulations, tax increases, and federal mandates. If you are an individual, the government will pick "the right coverage for you" or you will be fined.

Nowhere does the Constitution give the federal government the power to tax individuals for not buying a particular commercial product. This is, for lack of a better word, fascism. If the government can force you to buy a certain type of health insurance coverage, what's to keep them from making you buy a certain type of car like a hybrid or requiring you to put solar panels on the roof of your house? What's to stop them from getting in bed with all sorts of businesses and industries, forcing you to buy an energy-efficient, government-subsidized GE appliance for instance? When government takes this kind of control of our economy, what does that do to the private sector? It lessens choice and competition while discouraging innovation in the marketplace. That's never good for the people.

Under President Obama, the slippery slope to tyranny just got a lot slicker. If the federal government is no longer restricted by the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution, then it has carte blanche to control every aspect of our lives. In other words, it has infinite power. The Madisonian social contract we entered into as citizens to protect our freedoms has been turned into a leviathan that asks every citizen to submit to the government's ever-expanding will. That's why even if the health care bill somehow manages to lower premiums and provide affordable insurance for a few extra million people (which I highly doubt), the precedent it establishes for usurping our founding principles isn't worth it. Period.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. And as the citizen gets smaller and feels the unjust burden of the government's iron fist coming down, as they see their choices limited, they will act out in panic. They will fight for the few liberties they have left. Dissidents will be deemed enemies of the state. Neighbors will stop trusting neighbors. The nation that remains will be deeply divided. This is the "permanent revolution" Marxism promises, and what is progressivism if not a sister ideology of Marxism? Who is the trusted steward on the Left who will keep these philosophies separate? When you dance with the devil, he usually leads.

If the courts allow this law to stand, we are staring at the face of totalitarianism. That some see this as benevolent totalitarianism in the short term is of little comfort. America cannot and will not stand for such a dramatic shift in the balance of power. The good news is the Supreme Court is currently in our favor and there are still a couple of elections to turn this thing around. I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but I believe that if we fail to undo this, the United States will cease to exist. Government won't have the consent of the governed, and states will most likely secede. This is a more realistic scenario than it has been in the past 150 years. It could happen in our lifetime.

No one can accuse Obama and Pelosi of being cowards. Their plan has been put into action. Was it worth it, Democrats? Does the end justify the means?

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Freedom Demands

This is the full text from Agent Zero's post at the Green Room. He is one of my favorite conservative writers, and the whole thing is worth reading and sharing with your loved ones. Now that the battle for America has begun, it is time to renew our vows. "Go proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof!"

Originally Posted on 3/21/10:

Tonight, self-appointed wise men in Washington are steamrolling the objections of sixty percent of the population, and forcing a massive health-care bill down our throats “for our own good.” Presumably the backroom deals, corrupt payoffs, Congressional Budget Office accounting tricks, threats of unconstitutional parliamentary maneuvers, and betrayals of principle are also for our own good. What do you know? Banana republics turn out to be the highest evolution of government – the only form of the State equipped to take proper care of its citizens, by lying to them and trapping them in legislative cages over their howling protests.

Tonight is not the end of the ObamaCare saga, but it does mark the beginning of a slow turn by the American ship of state. It doesn’t have to be a turn to the left. On the contrary, it could be the first overture in a rebirth of our commitment to freedom, and the last gasp of an exhausted statist ideology, long overdue for its disposal in the waste bin of history.

The decision is up to us. Our representatives will fight various legislative battles in the months to come… and then we will speak in November. As the voters of the United States ponder what to say, it would profit us to think long and hard about the freedom Democrats are trying to take from us tonight, and what freedom demands.

Yes, it makes demands. Freedom is not a gift. It is not given to you by the government, in a precise dosage that can be adjusted to match a politician’s diagnosis of what ails the body politic. Your forefathers won an impossible Revolution against an invincible foe to declare the self-evident truth that your rights descend from your Creator. Whether that Creator is a transcendent God, or a random combination of genetic material in the primordial soup, it is a power that existed before the first king assumed his throne, or the first president was elected. Liberty burns in your imagination, flows through your veins, and rings through your words. 

This radiant idea has burned through all the bloody clouds of the last three centuries: you are not clay to be sculpted by the will of another. You are not a racially inferior inconvenience, to be marched into a concentration camp. You aren’t a class enemy to be exiled by dictators. You are not a disposable cog in the machinery of collectivist economics, or a mouth to be starved by the failure of collective agriculture. You are an American, and through a dereliction of their duty as elected representatives, the Democrats have forced you to choose whether you will retain the full measure of the honor and dignity your Constitution asserts for you.

If you choose to obey their demands, it will be the last such choice you make. Your opinion was disregarded on this travesty of a health-care bill. It will not be solicited in the future. Fifteen thousand new IRS agents will ensure that you comply with endless future “adjustments” to socialized insurance, until it mutates into socialist medicine, and bankrupts us along with the crushing weight of other unsustainable entitlements. On that dark day, you will be fighting battles, not making choices.

Like your muscles, heart, and lungs, freedom is a part of you, and it makes demands. You cannot exercise freedom in the absence of responsibility. That means you must accept the challenges of a complex, fast-moving world. You must exercise your influence in that world, and money is the medium of exchange that transforms your labor into your will. You have to demand the best return on your investments, and the best quality for your purchases. This requires education, to gather the information necessary for making wise decisions.

We are currently paying the price for decades of turning away from those demands, and trusting government to insure our quality of life. It’s understandable. The free market is huge and powerful, and it does not pause to adore the millions of individuals passing through it… and occasionally stumbling. We feel overwhelmed by the waves of information crashing around us. In the case of an arcane discipline like medicine, we don’t feel as if we understand it well enough to make informed decisions, and our will is expressed through an insurance system that has already been turned into an incomprehensible mess by government regulation. It would be so easy to let righteous politicians with limitless power and money take care of us, tapping into the vast fortunes of the super-rich for the benefit of all, and transforming health care into a “human right” – which means the little people won’t have to think about it any more.

If you are in thrall to this temptation, consider what you are being asked to surrender. Hidden in ObamaCare’s thousands of pages are countless legislative snares, and subsidies designed to convert your freedom into benefits for favored constituencies. The money drained from our economy into this health-care sinkhole will reduce your freedom – even when it’s money from the wallets of other people. That’s because a collapsing free market will eliminate choices and options you currently take for granted. Mandates that wipe out part-time employment will destroy services your family needs. Jobs shipped overseas to avoid crushing penalties are employment opportunities forever denied to you. Higher taxes on corporations slither down to you as elevated prices on goods you may no longer be able to afford.

A swelling government reduces the size of the private sector… the galaxy in which free Americans burn as stars. Common sense tells you that a nation with a gigantic government is less free. What is the proper name for a system in which the State controls everything, and the private sector is completely gone? Why should free men applaud heavy steps taken in that direction? What about the freedom of Bart Stupak’s constituents, who foolishly trusted him to resist the tyranny of forcing pro-life taxpayers to fund abortions? Today they watched Stupak’s honor shrivel into a meaningless piece of paper, offered by a compulsive liar, whose every commitment comes with an expiration date.

The call of freedom requires you to turn away easy solutions offered by corrupt politicians. It’s not a “solution” anyway – just the gateway to another, heavier imposition on your liberty down the line. If its authors believed otherwise, why would they use tricks and lies to chisel out a “deficit-neutral” ten-year forecast from the Congressional Budget Office? A free man dismisses such deception with contempt, and demands to know what happens in Year Eleven. A free woman looks at a “crisis” in a heavily regulated market and commands government to remove itself to undo the damage it has already caused. What is the final form of a State that is rewarded for its failures with more power? We already know that name, don’t we?

Tonight, the Democrat Party declares war on the American middle class. They are gambling on the forced creation of an entitlement we’ll be too exhausted and weary to reject – no matter how poor its quality, corrupt its inception, or unbearable its cost. We do have one last chance to strike this down. There is no reason any Democrat up for re-election in 2010 or 2012 needs to retain their seats. They don’t own those seats, any more than the Kennedys owned Massachussetts. There’s no reason the Democrats need to exist as a viable political party after 2012. Obama can be their last President.

It would be incredible if the American people could bring about such a transformation of their decadent political class, in these coming elections. Sometimes freedom demands that you do the incredible to preserve it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paul Krugman's Laughable Closing Arguments for ObamaCare

If this is what passes for knowledge in left wing circles, making Joe Biden vice-president is starting to make a lot more sense. Between Barack Obama and Paul Krugman, I'm beginning to think Obama's Nobel Prize was the more deserved and less ridiculous of the two. If this guy ever approaches me at a cocktail party, please slip me some cyanide. Or get Keith Olbermann to interrupt us and steer me away for an innane converstation about watching baseball with his dad.

Let's dissect the arguments and conscience of this liberal, shall we? Paul writes:
One way or another, the fate of health care reform is going to be decided in the next few days. If House Democratic leaders find 216 votes, reform will almost immediately become the law of the land. If they don’t, reform may well be put off for many years — possibly a decade or more.
Great opening. Except it sets up a choice that is completely false, between a bad piece of legislation that is highly unpopular or no reform at all for decades. This is the dishonesty that Americans are sick of in this debate. There doesn't have to be any delay. The Republicans have ideas for health care reform. We could vote on these tomorrow if Democrats were willing to open their minds to free market principles and govern from the center. But they won't, because they are religious zealots who worship at the altar of the Big G (as in Big Government). Also, even though it would become the law of the land, the "health care" part wouldn't kick in for four more years. The tax increases, however, would be immediate.

Paul continues:
As it happens, Reuters published an investigative report this week that powerfully illustrates the vileness of our current system. The report concerns the insurer Fortis, now part of Assurant Health, which turns out to have had a systematic policy of revoking its clients’ policies when they got sick... This was illegal, and the company must have known it: the South Carolina Supreme Court, after upholding a decision granting large damages to the wronged policyholder, concluded that the company had been systematically concealing its actions when withdrawing coverage, not just in this case, but across the board.
So we have an example of one insurance company engaged in illegal and unethical behavior. Damaging, isn't it? Not hardly. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the wronged policyholders to redress their grievances, and they won in court. In other words, the system worked! Assurant Health payed a hefty penalty and got the bad press to boot, probably sending their customers shopping for a competitor. That's free enterprise. What would be worse is to put Assurant Health in a public pool subsidized by our tax dollars as they fleeced even more Americans who were required by law to buy their lousy coverage. That's ObamaCare. Or imagine a single-payer, government monopoly in which there is no market for dissatisfied customers and all grievances run into a wall of unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats. That's the dream of Obama and the Left. They hope this bill is the first step toward that goal.
But this is much more than a law enforcement issue. For one thing, it’s an example those who castigate President Obama for “demonizing” insurance companies should consider. The truth, widely documented, is that behavior like Assurant Health’s is widespread for a simple reason: it pays. A House committee estimated that Assurant made $150 million in profits between 2003 and 2007 by canceling coverage of people who thought they had insurance, a sum that dwarfs the fine the court imposed in this particular case. It’s not demonizing insurers to describe what they actually do.
Paul contradicts himself here. He already wrote that Assurant had to pay huge amounts of damages. The court fines might have been "dwarfed" (and we don't know because he doesn't reveal the actual numbers), but the damages awarded to the wronged policyholders were substantial. I'm sure this ate considerably into Assurant's profits. How much did they make the next year? They actually lost a lot of business. Isn't it much easier and cheaper to publicize the misbehavior of a few unethical companies and allow the courts to work out the merits of the allegations rather than demonizing every one of them, attempting to fix what isn't broken, and making a federal power-grab for roughly 1/6 of the American economy? It shouldn't take a Nobel Prize in economics to answer that question.

Beyond that, this is a story that could happen only in America. In every other advanced nation, insurance coverage is available to everyone regardless of medical history. Our system is unique in its cruelty. And one more thing: employment-based health insurance, which is already regulated in a way that mostly prevents this kind of abuse, is unraveling. Less than half of workers at small businesses were covered last year, down from 58 percent a decade ago. This means that in the absence of reform, an ever-growing number of Americans will be at the mercy of the likes of Assurant Health.
Believe me, Paul, the stories that happen in other countries are much worse. There's a reason the richest, most powerful people in the world come to America for their health care. Talk to the Brits and Canadians or the Russians if you must. And nobody's flocking to Assurant Health now, I promise you. This is like saying that anyone who invests in the stock market is at the mercy of the Bernie Madoffs of the world. There will always be some bad apples, but we're adults and we can make our own decisions.

The reason fewer small businesses are insuring workers is because they can't afford it. The goal of health care reform should be getting costs down by increasing choice and competition, allowing small businesses to pool together, and passing tort reform. Once costs go down, more people will obviously be able to afford health insurance and the rate of uninsured will logically follow. That makes more sense than forcing people to sign up for government mandated coverage, subsidizing insurance companies to the tune of billions of dollars, and then magically hoping premiums will drop. Why would they? ObamaCare increases the demand for health insurance, and as we all learned in economics 101, high demand causes prices to go up. Your solution is way more cruel and ineffective than the free market could ever be.
Can we afford this? Yes, says the Congressional Budget Office, which on Thursday concluded that the proposed legislation would reduce the deficit by $138 billion in its first decade and half of 1 percent of G.D.P., amounting to around $1.2 trillion, in its second decade.
The CBO score is based on budget gimmicks and trickery that everyone who isn't a kool-aid drinking Obama apologist understands by now. They put the "doctor fix" in a separate bill which adds almost $400 billion to the true cost. They are budgeting for only six years of expenses while adding ten years of revenue. And $500 billion is coming out of an already bankrupt Medicare (in other words IOUs). It's like building an entitlement program on quicksand and hoping no one notices until it sinks halfway down.
The United States is the only advanced nation without universal health care, and it also has by far the world’s highest health care costs.
But we have better care for the most part AND lower taxes. That should stand for something, right? Besides, nothing in ObamaCare guarantees costs will go down. Can you point to anything specific? Even the CBO has said that individual premiums will rise, making health care more expensive than ever and squeezing out the middle class.
Can you imagine a better reform? Sure. If Harry Truman had managed to add health care to Social Security back in 1947, we’d have a better, cheaper system than the one whose fate now hangs in the balance. But an ideal plan isn’t on the table. And what is on the table, ready to go, is legislation that is fiscally responsible, takes major steps toward dealing with rising health care costs, and would make us a better, fairer, more decent nation.
This plan is closer to hell than ideal. It's doubling down on the status quo. It's killing consumer choice and competition. It isn't close to fiscally responsible unless you believe in magic dust and tooth fairies. But then again, none of that really matters to Paul. He gives himself away like all leftists in his last sentence. It would make us "fairer" and "more decent," he says. In other words, we must act because it feels good, even if kills us later. Spoken like a naive child who fails to understand that nothing is less decent or fair than offering a free lunch today only to ask for an outrageous sum in the future.

A vote for Obama's version of health care reform is a pledge to donate a pound of flesh come judgment day. Congress should resist the president's empty and costly promises to stand with the will of the people and vote "No" on this poorly written piece of legislation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ten Tips for Winning Your NCAA Bracket

I took a break from the health care debate this week, and let's be frank it's not a debate anymore. It's a wrestling match among Democrats to see who can outlast the president's demagoguery. Obama is leading the lemings over the cliff, apparently trying to one-up Bernie Madoff with his budget tricks and promises of utopian wealth. It's a march to madness, fascism, bankruptcy, and who knows what else. Fortunately, the basketball March Madness is here, and it's just the distraction I need to keep from blowing a gasket. After all, the outcome in Washington is out of my hands. At least for the next few days. So while I will pray for our elected leaders to do the right thing, which is governing based on the will of the governed, I will be rooting for Texas to pull their season back together and make some noise this weekend in the NCAA tourney (note: I won't hold my breath for either).

Here are some tricks and tips I've learned over the years that will help you win your bracket.  Although I don't always win my office pools, these certainly keep me competitive every year. And yes, I'm posting them now that the tournament has started so that my friends and family can't get a leg up on me. At least not this year.

1) Advance all number 1 seeds to the Elite Eight. Period. Do not be tempted by the siren song of the dark horse 8 or 4 seed. It rarely happens, and it will cost you more points to be wrong than you gain by being right.

2) Don't trust the tournament seeding. It's based on travel logistics and spreading conference teams out so they don't play each other early more than it is on the actual talent or record of the team.

3) Look for overrated seeds (especially 3 through 6) from major conferences and underrated seeds (10 through 13) regardless of conference. But don't pick too many upsets. Thirteen of the sweet sixteen are likely to be seeded 1 through 4.

4) Beware Cinderella's Cinderella. Past darlings of the tournament often lose to midmajors trying to become the new darlings of the tournament. Midnight comes and the glass slipper must be passed.

5) Defensive efficiency is the most important statistical category for judging tournament success. Teams that play suffocating defense always keep the game close and usually frustrate higher rated opponents into taking poor shots and turning the ball over. In fact, no team outside of the top 25 in this category has made the final four in the past 20 seasons.

6) Coaching helps, especially guys who have been there before, but never count out teams with star athletes.

7) Pay attention to home court. Especially teams that have to travel all the way across the country. Steer away from West Coast teams who have East Coast tipoffs before 1 pm (it doesn't sound early, but during the season games are usually played at night).

8) The tournament champion is almost always a one seed. Pick a two or three to win it all with prejudice, and never ever pick any seed worse than that.

9) Regular season championships usually mean more than conference tournament championships. Teams that exhaust too much energy in their conference tourney often run out of gas come the real thing.

10) Late season losses don't have any correlation with tournament success, but late season losing streaks might.

10.5) The ACC is always overrated. Don't ask me why.

As far as my predictions this year, I have to go with the chalk and take Kansas. They are playing at a higher level than almost every other team. After that, I like Syracuse and West Virginia, followed by Duke. That's my final four. I am also singling out Baylor as an athletic team than can do some damage, although I wish they played better defense. Cinderellas I'm putting in the sweet sixteen this year are Washington (11) and Xavier (6). I'm also high on BYU (7) but their game against Kansas State is going to come down to the wire. Finally, I'm taking Old Dominion (11) over Notre Dame and Murray State (13) over Vanderbilt (4) as first round upsets. UTEP (12) is really dangerous on defense and isn't a bad Cinderella pick, although I'm personally taking the favorite Butler. Cornell (12) is also dangerous, before the seeding I liked them a lot, but I have backed off since they got a bad first round matchup with the defensive-minded Temple Owls.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Parodies I Wish I Wrote

Iowahawk has a number of articles poking fun at reporters who quote "administration insiders" as their source. This is my favorite (it's pretty evident who the insider is):

Vice President Joe Biden is Barack Obama's BFF!

Do you know who our President is? His name is Barack Obama, and he is our first African-American president. He is clean and articulate and lives in a big white house in Washington DC. Inside his house he works in a busy office that is shaped like an oval! An oval is a shape that is round like a circle, except it is squished.

The job of president is very important, so Barack Obama has many people who help him. Some of these people are good, but some are not very good and try to be sneaky behind his back. This is why he always depends on his very best friend Joe Biden.

Joe is a loyal friend and keeps the bad helpers from getting Barack Obama into trouble. This is why Barack Obama lets Joe be the Vice President. Vice President is the second most important job. If something bad happens to Barack Obama, he wants Joe to become the President because he trusts him.
Joe is from Delaware, which is the very first state. Also, he likes trains! Do you like trains?

Go to page 23 and take the Joe Biden quiz!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh Brother: White House Using Fake Eco-Eggs for Easter

And here I thought regular eggs were eco-friendly. You know, the ones found in nature and originally created by God - unless he created the chicken first (which is always open for debate). Fake Easter eggs for a fake Messiah. Almost seems appropriate.

The White House announcement Monday said that the eggs at this year's April 5 roll will be made from paperboard that contains no wood fibers from endangered forests, is recyclable and features vegetable oil-based inks and a water-based coating. They'll come in purple, pink, green, and yellow.

They will also surely disappoint every kid in America. Unless your child is the sad tyke that dreams of finding paperboard eggs with absolutely no wood fiber. Ah, but what child among us can resist the pleasures of recycling? Once again, the joyful nature of youth is being outlawed by whining, self-righteous do gooders. But wait. There's a theme:

This year's theme for the roll is "Ready, set, go!" (really... someone got paid for that?) and part of Mrs. Obama's plan to promote health and wellness in the United States and combat childhood obesity.

No word yet on whether Michelle Obama plans to replace the traditional Easter chocolate with fruits and vegetables from her garden, but I'm willing to bet the first lady is the same type of parent who doesn't hand out candy on Halloween.

As the Jawa Report puts it, in the age of Obama even chickens are being laid off. Oh well. At least it's a step up from the Mao Christmas ornaments.

Hat tip: Moonbattery

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Joe Biden's Oscar Predictions

If you didn't see this clip, it's a good place to start. Fortunately, we cornered the vice-president outside on the red carpet to get the rest of his Oscar predictions. Here's what he had to say in our exclusive interview.

FACETWITCH: Vice-president Biden! Mr. Vice-president! Can we have a word?

BIDEN: Sure, champ. Look at all these movie stars. It's almost like being at an Obama fundraiser, don't you think? Of course, they make me wait in the back so I don't ask for too many autographs, but Jill gets to go... Oh, I just saw, oh, what's his name, Dick something, big star.

FACETWITCH: Dick Van Dyke? Van Patton?

BIDEN: No, what's his name? Ugh, um.. Dick Caprio! That's it. From the uh, um, the sinking ship movie. I feel like the title is right on the tip of my tongue. Just the other day, Rahmbo was saying, um Rahm Emanuel, geez, and his brother is here somewhere... he was just saying our administration was going down like that ship in that movie.

FACETWITCH: I believe you are referring to Leonardo Dicaprio in Titanic.

BIDEN: Titanic! That was it. I saw it in 2D. That's how I see most movies, because I don't own the glasses. Which is a shame, because that Avatar movie, I hear that it's world class in 3D. Geez, I hope the awards show isn't in 3D.

FACETWITCH: No. It's in 2D, sir. But you did actually see Avatar, right? You weren't fibbing to Andrea Mitchell?

BIDEN: What, are you kidding me? Are you messing with Joe? Don't mess with Joe! I saw it alright. I was embarrassed I forgot the title. In fact, President Obama has asked me to see more movies, especially during the day when he's busy, and then bring him back my review. A very important vice-presidential duty, I'm told. So I brought him my notes on Avatar and I said, you know, champ, it's about Iraq and Afghanistan and imperialism. I think. But maybe not, because it's also in outer space and set in the future.

FACETWITCH: Did you give the president any advice based on the movie?

BIDEN: Of course. I told him we have to get our hands on this unobtanium before the corporate rapists. And I said if we send more troops overseas, we can't cut down the magic trees. Or whatever the magic trees are in Afghanistan, because I don't think they have trees, per se. It's a country about as ugly as Elena Kagan. I kid, she's terrific. And I love the moving picture shows so, um... and this science fiction thing is really wild. Who comes up with this stuff? Back in my day, it was either Star Trek or the Twilight Zone. You either liked one or the other. And then you joined a gang based on either show and got a nickname... Anyway, the main guy in Avatar, um, isn't he a cripple? That's right. And the minute he got in that blue dinosaur suit or whatever, I said Stand up! Stand up, Chuck! Let me see you. And he stood up, and I said, oh, God love you!

FACETWITCH: Is Avatar still your pick to win Best Picture tonight?

BIDEN: Without a doubt. Some people are saying that other Iraq movie, ugh, um, what's it called, it has the kid with the explosives... I saw them on Larry King the other night.

FACETWITCH: The Hurt Locker?

BIDEN: Yeah, that's it, champ. But I don't think it will win. It didn't have the big effects and it didn't have a strong political message, it didn't feel like we were apologizing for the hell we created over there before Barack Obama and I got elected. But let's face it. Iraq could be one of the Obama administration's greatest accomplishments. And I can only imagine how much better it would have been if they had followed my advice and divided it into three separate countries.

FACETWITCH: Your Iraq predictions have been so crazy and wild, they're almost as much fun as your Oscar picks. Who do you think will win Best Actor?

BIDEN: Yeah, for best actor, um, ugh, the Baker Boy. The one from Tron. That's Al Gore's favorite movie. Did you know that?  Not quite up to the Avatar in my opinion, but to each his own. Of course, Al Gore won an Oscar for the Inconvenient Truth after he stepped down as vice-president.

FACETWITCH: You're not threatening to make a movie after you lose your next election?

BIDEN: Well, you'll have to talk to Rahm's brother about that. We're in negotiations. But Inconvenient Truth I believe it, um, won Best Picture?

FACETWITCH: Actually, it won Best Documentary, which might be worse given the lack of data that's come out backing AGW.

BIDEN: Well, it was a hell of a film. Changed my life. Got me behind that global warming thing and now I'm vice-president. You want to talk about predictions, well who would have predicted that?

FACETWITCH: Not me, sir. But you were saying your prediction for Best Actor?

BIDEN: Right, Lloyd's kid. He played the drunk country singer. Man, that was convincing. Of course, I don't drink. I can only imagine. But Barack still invited me to the Beer Summit. Maybe we'll invite Lloyd's kid next time and he can share a non-alcoholic brew with me.

FACETWITCH: You're talking about Crazy Heart?

BIDEN: Crazy heart, crazy head, crazy talent. That's Beau Bridges. What a sport.

FACETWITCH: I believe you mean Jeff. What about Best Actress?

BIDEN: Geez, um, ugh, how many categories are there? Who's up? I don't even know. That chick from Avatar is pretty good, but was she even real? Of course, if you ask me, that new Star Trek with the young kiddos, it was a grand ole time. You know some people in the media have referred to me as Captain Kirk and President Obama as Spock. What do you think of that, champ?

FACETWITCH: It's certainly an interesting visual. I'll let you go inside, Mr. Vice-President. Good luck, tonight. You look fabulous. Who's the designer?

BIDEN: Aw, hell, he's gonna kill me for forgetting... ugh, um, what's his name--

FACETWITCH: Oscar de la Renta? Ralph Lauren? Jean Paul Gaultier?

BIDEN: I'm gonna say Al.

FACETWITCH: Does he have a last name?

BIDEN: I don't know. Over at Al's Formal Wear. I have it rented until Tuesday.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Epitome of Arrogance

Last month an eleven-year-old worked the air traffic control tower at JFK airport, much to the chagrin of the FAA. A school age kid, after all, has no background or experience in the technology and safety skills necessary to land and direct a two hundred ton jet airliner full of passengers, a delicate affair to say the least. As a result, the workers responsible for that decision were suspended, and I suppose rightly so.

Yet a similar scenario is unfolding in Washington, where the man-child in the Oval Office has decided to direct and control the health care decisions of all Americans, remaking the system to his liking despite no background in medicine, the health insurance industry, or even running a business.

At least the kid landing planes at JFK was being supervised by professionals and didn't believe he had the know-how to permanently replace the entire system. President Obama, meanwhile, has undertaken the massive task of changing our health care system forever by pushing price controls, squashing the freedom of private insurers and doctors, and limiting consumer choice. His whole selling point seems to be, "I know better than everyone." Only a man of extreme hubris would suggest such a solution, one that actually doubles down on the status quo which will make health care more expensive for everybody while adding to the deficit. In fact, no statement showed more arrogance than Obama's statement yesterday when he said:

Case closed. The One has spoken. Of course the president knows how it plays politically. The majority of Americans are against this bill. The majority of doctors are against it. The opposition party is completely against it. Not one Republican can get behind this overreaching monstrosity. Even a fair number of Democrats have expressed their opposition. The only bipartisan thing about this bill is that members of both parties will be voting against Obama. But Barack the Magnificent says he knows it's right, so to heck with the rest of us and to heck with democracy. Even if that means changing Senate rules to nuke the filibuster.

We have a tyrant in the White House, one who was elected mind you, but who hasn't listened to the people since. President Obama does whatever he wants to do, not what the people want, and certainly not what Congress wants. Does anyone doubt that he would overreach further if not for the limits placed on him by our Constitution? This is the epitome of arrogance, and while many want to compare President Obama to Jimmy Carter, he's beginning to remind me a lot more of Richard Nixon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

LA Stories

A sad reality I discovered over the weekend: I'm more comfortable driving in LA than in my hometown of Austin, Texas. That can only mean one thing. I'm a really aggressive driver.

Another sad reality I discovered: TV shows and movies increasingly rely on green screens to fabricate background scenes and scenery. It's a cool effect and it saves a ton of money, but it's incredibly bland. When you shoot on location, you capture a sense of time and place, you establish a personality, there's a beat and a rhythm to the location, the people, and the culture. You can move the cameras around to capture unique angles and points of view, piecing it together in a style that showcases the talent of the director, editor, and cinematographer. This is not so for a green screen, where everything comes out looking like an overproduced travel brochure, where the sites are familiar but completely lacking of soul.

This video illustrates my point exactly. Special thanks to The Anchoress for posting it, who adds "It makes me sad." And congratulations to Jessica and Randy Herrera on their marriage this weekend. The wedding in LA was truly a blast, and they are blessed to have found each other.