PROFITS, NON-PROFITS AND PROPHETS

Two exceptional pieces entered my line of vision earlier today that are extraordinarily on point.

The first is the regular weekly column of one Reg Henry that appears in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He addresses non-profit organizations sometimes generating enormous profits, particulary the the Pittsburgh health care behemoths; Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield/Allegheny Health Systems and UPMC, which is the medical arm of the University of Pittsburgh that has its own health insurance. http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/reg-henry/2013/10/23/Nonprofit-world-seems-enticingly-lucrative/stories/201310230056

These combatants have been in the news for awhile now as they scheme and plan to steal patients from one another. (The new Pittsburgh Stealers?). UPMC has existed for some time while the Highmark/Allegheny alliance is of more recent vintage.

While this would ostensibly be a local Pittsburgh issue, it is indeed  indicative of larger problems nationwide.

Both these entities produce enormous profits on paper, but both manage to largely, if not completely, escape the taxman.

Remarkably UPMC, now engaged in a battle with the city over paying taxes (about $1 billion profit—high paid execs—no taxes paid on its enormous real estate holdings within city limits) in a court hearing represented with a straight face that the 55,000 doctors, nurses, housekeepers, technicians, clerks, etc. working in its various hospitals and clinics are not employed by it but by a number of separate companies.

Reg Henry laughs at this assertion, noting accurately that in its current ad campaign to sway public opinion in its favor in its fight with Highmark UPMC emphasizes the number of jobs it provides in the region.

Contrast this with the op-ed writings of Amia Srinivasan  who explores the morality of free market advocates vis a vis profits for profits sake in a dog eat dog world where the rich have no responsibility to those who have not achieved or cannot achieve the same level of financial success http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/questions-for-free-market-moralists/?_r=0

Truly Reg Henry in his column foreshadows the companion piece with this bit of wisdom.

Readers not from Pittsburgh may wonder what this local dispute has to do with them. I would say consider the context. This health care Armageddon is being fought according to the capitalist virtues we know and love — ruthlessness, greed, misinformation, monopolistic thinking, etc. — in the supposed era of government health care. Hey, somebody forgot to tell the government.

Srinivas expounds on the oppositional books published in the 1970’s by John Rawls and Robert Nozick.

Rawls, wrote A Theory of Justice in 1971. As explained by Srinivas

Rawls proposed that the structure of a just society was the one that a group of rational actors would come up with if they were operating behind a “veil of ignorance” — that is, provided they had no prior knowledge what their gender, age, wealth, talents, ethnicity and education would be in the imagined society. Since no one would know in advance where in society they would end up, rational agents would select a society in which everyone was guaranteed basic rights, including equality of opportunity. Since genuine (rather than “on paper”) equality of opportunity requires substantial access to resources — shelter, medical care, education — Rawls’s rational actors would also make their society a redistributive one, ensuring a decent standard of life for everyone.

On the other hand Nozick, in Anarchy, State, and Utopia

…argued that a just society was simply one that resulted from an unfettered free market — and that the only legitimate function of the state was to ensure the workings of the free market by enforcing contracts and protecting citizens against violence, theft and fraud. (The seemingly redistributive policy of making people pay for such a “night watchman” state, Nozick argued, was in fact non-redistributive, since such a state would arise naturally through free bargaining.)

Recent political developments suggest that Nozick was quite the prophet when propounding on profit. After all reports are that Democrats in Congress, and possibly even President Obama himself, are considering some types of cuts in Social Security, our most basic, popular, and successful safety net program.

Such cuts would dovetail into the Novick philosophy though, in truth, Social Security is minimally redistributive, if at all so. To the contrary,  Social Security is regressive instead of progressive in that the taxes assessed to support it are placed on only earned income and then with a cap on it.

What concerns me is the morality displayed in Novick’s world and in the world of UPMC. There is absiolutely nothing wrong with earning a profit from one’s endeavors. What is wrong is, as UPMC is doing, is achieving such success by taking advantage of its position as a nominal non-profit which entitles it to freedom from most taxes other businesses are subject to.

In Nozick’s world there is no place for anything but a voluntary effort to see to the less fortunate. Anything else is an unacceptable intrusion into the hallowed free market.

We seem to have far too many people in power who are trying to move us in that direction.

It’s time for a detour.

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Comments

  • umoc193  On October 24, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    I just read this in Salon in which the writer touches on some of the same issues as Rawls and Novick albeit in a historical political context instead of more of a financial or economic one.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/23/history_plays_a_trick_on_the_tea_party/

    I assume his excerpts from the cited materials are accurate, but his interpretation is his own and presented here as additional commentary, not necessarily adopted by me.

  • Devildog  On October 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Hi, UMOC!

  • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Good to see you blogging again, UMOC! Please don’t be a stranger :-)

    • toadsly  On October 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Ditto!

      • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        TV section lists another “Doc Martin” epi tomorrow evening!

  • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    TOURIST: Are you and yours all OK following the latest earthquake? A 7.3 magnitude is nothing to scoff at.

    • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      USA Today is reporting 7.1, but that’s still a real sh!it-kicker.

  • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    “The True Obamacare Test”:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/10/the-true-obamacare-test.html?mbid=gnep&google_editors_picks=true

    “…when it comes to evaluating the worth of Obamacare we may not remember the Web-site hiccups all that well. What we will remember, and what ultimately matters, is whether, in the next year, the A.C.A. fulfills its promise: to provide affordable health insurance to people who did not have it through an employer, could not afford it on their own, were denied it on the basis of preëxisting conditions, paid more for it than they should have because they were, say, women of child-bearing age, or could no longer get by because their insurance benefits had been capped. In short, people like those on the flyers, who were trying to scrape together the money from neighbors or from passing strangers to pay for health care that they desperately needed…”

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      In an ideal (progressive) world, this may be realized. In reality, you guys are dreaming.

      • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        “In an ideal (progressive) world, this may be realized.”

        +++ I like that.

        “In reality, you guys are dreaming.”

        +++ . . . and wishing and hoping and planning and thinking.

        There it is: positive or negative, can versus can’t, try versus don’t, vision or none, inspired or resigned, unlimited or small.

        How are you not ashamed?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

          I am neither negative nor resigned. There are market solutions that would produce a better, although not ideal, result than Ocare. Remember, unlike liberals, conservatives realize the ideal is impossible and are more interested in what is realistic. You get way better outcomes

          • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 7:56 PM

            I’m still waiting to hear what those market solutions are and how they will be better.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 7:58 PM

              Already told them to you. You either choose to ignore them or don’t believe them

              • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

                I’m sorry. I’m old. I forget things. Please tell me again.

                • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM

                  The Affordable Care Act IS the market solution, just as Romneycare was in Massachusetts!

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM

              It is better outcomes. This doesn’t mean Universal health care or even that everybody has insurance (probably far from it, not that everybody will have insurance with Ocare). But tort reform, allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and maybe some limited catastrophic insurance that is offered by the feds. You wouldn’t be required to buy it – you know like a tax (does that remind of a failed policy?)

              These are reasonable policies that will not double the cost of insurance to the middle class. You know, unlike Ocarre

              • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 8:18 PM

                Your solution BEGINS with “doesn’t mean universal or that everybody has insurance, probably far from it,” you call that “better,” and you say you are not negative, resigned or small?

                • Devildog  On October 25, 2013 at 8:20 PM

                  This dialogue is not only entertaining but it is also very informative. I hope it goes on forever.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 8:25 PM

                  I also said the solutions I present would result in better outcomes. You seem to keep forgetting that Ocare is a failure and Universal health care will more than double the cost of insurance. I am presenting solutions that won’t do that

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

                    Not to mention a far worse health care system

                    http://voices.yahoo.com/socialized-medicine-problems-britain-2844677.html?cat=5

                    • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 9:01 PM

                      Better than Obamacare? We’ll do that ourselves. You lost. Those not yet covered are entirely your doing.

                      To use the same number that was used four years ago because I don’t want to look it up again for changes, 66 industrialized nations manage to provide universal coverage (often with superior survival rates, lower in-hospital infection rates, and so on; spare me the ignorant “best in the world” nonsense), and you somehow cannot manage to work “coverage” into your definition of “better” (which I still don’t understand) for the richest country in the history of the Milky Way.

                  • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 8:56 PM

                    ACA isn’t a failure, just suffering a glitch which will be fixed.

                    • Little_Minx  On October 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM

                      As was pointed out tonight by Peter Baker on Washington Week (citing his latest book), when Bush/Cheney rolled out their Medicare expansion in 2006 (including drug benefits), its software initially acted up too. The difference is that the Democrats didn’t go about exploiting that fact to declare the Medicare expansion a failure, but instead were cooperative. Guess turnabout isn’t fair play for Republicans.

                    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 10:52 PM

                      Umm, O is the one who unilaterally change parts of the law he didn’t like.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Tourist and Minx,

    Ocare is going down, it is only a matter of time. It’s going to get to a point where O doesn’t have a choice but to dismantle it. How many Dems have already jumped ship?

    This is one of the best clips ever. I know it is from Newsbusters but it is only about :40 seconds long. Please watch

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/10/25/jonah-goldberg-mocks-racist-extremist-hostage-taking-democrats-who-wa

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      And that 66 nations ‘fact’ is a joke

      • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        You may be right. People were using 66 but I don’t know where it came from. Wiki says 58 as of 2009. Maybe it’s definitions. Does 58 prove your point?

        You still haven’t answered why “coverage” is not part of your concept. Why is healthcare for everyone not a lofty conservative goal?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM

          Pick any number, it’s BS. Universal is simply not practical. Remember how we discussed slower growth kills more children. One of Universal health care’s explicit costs, as we are seeing with all of the part time jobs (hell, barely any jobs at all(, is slower growth

          This ignores the crushing opportunity costs that exist as a result of all of the waste associated with any govt run program

          • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 11:08 PM

            The truth is BS. Reality is not practical. You have never been proved wrong.

            *We* did not discuss how slower growth kills more children. *You* claimed so. It’s false on its face. Growth – lifting all boats – does not kill anybody. I explained that. You repeated that growth kills, and are doing so again.

            And we are back to opportunity costs, by which you apparently do not mean the massive new *opportunity* for the healthcare industry, i.e., growth.

            I said many times in the past that you never used “opportunity cost” correctly, because you had not. I doubt you noticed, but I stopped when you did, once:

            “It is obvious that the opportunity cost of O’care is the best alternative for which those federal funds can be used. With this said, the best alternative not chosen may have less value to society than O’care.”

            Exactly, again. Or, as I said the first time: Bingo!

            “It’s going to get to a point where O doesn’t have a choice but to dismantle it.”

            I concede: I can’t prove that wrong either.

            It’ll be Romney in a landslide.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 11:43 PM

              LOL

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM

              I have used ‘opportunity costs’ correctly every time. All you need to understand it is common sense.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 25, 2013 at 11:52 PM

              the best alternative not chosen MAY have less value to society than O’care

              It MAY but it doesn’t. True for all govt programs except those involved in producing public goods.

              • Tourist  On October 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM

                You sound now like you’re trying to figure out what you’re talking about.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

                  Already have a long time ago. Apparently, you still have a lot of work to do

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM

              And I do believe I at one point re-posted my first comment on Rogers’ blog in which I said Romney was going to lose. Again, since you have saved every post, I am sure you could verify this

              Dems are jumping ship. We are now up to 10.

              I also believe I said there would be no gun legislation and no immigration reform. I am sure if you looked hard enough, you can find those posts also

              While I obviously wasn’t the first to predict it, I said Ocare will double the cost of insurance, slow growth (which does result in more deaths than faster growth would) and increase the number of part-time jobs

              I think my predictions are running close to 100% accurate. I feel pretty good about the mandate being delayed.

              • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM

                I have to admit, it is easy to predict accurately when discussing whether a govt program will be a success

  • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    If I were to rebuke you for your charitable giving or for Christmas presents purchased for your family, to the detriment of maximization of your personal wealth, you would answer that you are maximizing your utility, or satisfaction. Essentially, although you would not use these words, you would be saying that money isn’t everything.

    Yet you remain somehow unable to recognize that we the people, collectively, also seek legitimately to maximize our utility, satisfaction, not merely our total collective wealth, however generated, however distributed. My personal pride in the United States of America has, truth be told, little to do with aggregate economic arithmetic. We are more. I am more.

    The one time that you got opportunity cost right – “the best alternative not chosen may have less value to society than O’care” – you now disavow: “It MAY but it doesn’t.” It does. You declare that it doesn’t because you cannot quantify values or principles or justice or life.

    For whom do you speak? To the extent that you purport to speak for “conservatives” or “anyone with common sense,” I’m delighted. This is fun.

    I hope I don’t sound presumptuous, but I would appreciate a response beyond “LOL.” If you cannot manage one, I understand.

    All these worlds are yours except Europa.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Disavow? As I have said, I always understood opportunity costs. I taught it for 5 years. My position is clear

      The best alternative not chosen MAY have less value to society than O’care” but it doesn’t. This is true of 90% of govt programs. I believe I said something similar to this in my first post

      • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        It is you who gives me no reason to believe it does. Based on what?

    • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Tourist, your 9:30 post confirms everything I have “accused” your side of in its “dispute” with my side.

      You-We the people collectively… My personal pride… We are more, I am more.

      You are for humanity, we are for ourselves and maybe, that’s maybe, also for our immediate family. You can’t get it through your head that we want to help people who can’t help themselves (not people who want to scam the system) but our idea of how to “help” them, and who they are, differs from yours. WE ARE NOT EVIL just because we don’t believe in MINDLESS spending by the government on programs we don’t believe will work.

      On this anniversary of Sandy (and the very large number of hurricanes that occurred this year) to not warn about the disaster to soon occur to our planet due to global warming. What! Oh, yeah, we can’t judge by natural disasters not occurring, only by those that happen.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Money isn’t everything but that doesn’t mean the govt should be taking my money and wasting it on govt programs that simply do not work.

      You’re comparing apples and oranges. I give presents to loved ones because it does increase my utility and the utility of the people receiving them (although I think the vacuum cleaner I bought for a girlfriend may have been a mistake). As such, our collective happiness increases Utility is a function of a lot of factors. My utility decreases when the govt takes resources from more highly valued uses to lower valued uses.

      Obamacare will not improve the health care system. In fact, it will decrease the quality of health care and increase its cost. Again, these are just the explicit costs. The wasted resources are the implicit, hidden opportunity costs and they are significant. These costs clearly indicate that Ocare has less value to society that the best alternative. In fact, Ocare sets the bar necessary for this to be true rather low

  • toadsly  On October 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Hey, Minx, Sherlock and Downton Abbey will air back-to-back starting January 19. First DA episode due January 4.

    • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Is there another season of “Call the Midwife,” too?

      • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I recall reading that there are already an additional season each of “The Bletchley Circle” and “Silk.”

        • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

          “Foyle’s War,” too, I think.

  • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    It’s so reassuring to know that none of today’s Republican officials are racist:

    1. “N.C. GOP precinct chairman resigns after using racial slurs on ‘Daily Show’”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/25/n-c-gop-precinct-chairman-resigns-after-using-racial-slur-on-daily-show

    (“Buncombe County GOP precinct chairman Don Yelton used the N-word and referred to ‘lazy blacks’ while discussing the state’s new Voter ID law with the show.”)

    2. “North Carolina legislator: Obama not a traitor to Kenya”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/25/north-carolina-legislator-obama-not-a-traitor-to-kenya/?tid=pm_politics_pop

    (“Birther alert! North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman (R), speaking to a friendly crowd in Concord on Monday, joked that President Obama hasn’t done anything to harm his native country — Kenya.”)

  • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Rats! Got caught in the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” net, because I listed 2 URLS in the same message.

    It’s so reassuring to know that none of today’s Republican officials are racist:

    1. “N.C. GOP precinct chairman resigns after using racial slurs on ‘Daily Show’”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/25/n-c-gop-precinct-chairman-resigns-after-using-racial-slur-on-daily-show

    (“Buncombe County GOP precinct chairman Don Yelton used the N-word and referred to ‘lazy blacks’ while discussing the state’s new Voter ID law with the show.”)

    • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      2. “North Carolina legislator: Obama not a traitor to Kenya”:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/25/north-carolina-legislator-obama-not-a-traitor-to-kenya/?tid=pm_politics_pop

      (“Birther alert! North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman (R), speaking to a friendly crowd in Concord on Monday, joked that President Obama hasn’t done anything to harm his native country — Kenya.”)

      • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        I post these because North Carolina’s being pointed to these days as a paradigm of Republican legislative action.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        So it’s OK if O jokes about it but not some random person?

        http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/obama-childhood-days-trump-kenya-article-1.1191729

        Could another Dem joke about it or just O?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:12 PM

          Oh, I forgot, when a conservative jokes about it, it’s sinister and reveals a deep-seated racism. After all, he is the One we have been waiting for

          • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

            There’s all the difference in the world between the tradition of self-effacing humor and racist mockery by others. Thus my relatives and I can tease one another about our shared ethnicity, but those not of our ancestry would do so at their peril.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

              I seem to remember a joke you made about Cruz being from Canada. Are you Hispanic?

              • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:31 PM

                I don’t recall such a joke. Citation, please.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM

                  Maybe you just posted a column about it. It ain’t worth my time to find it

                  • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM

                    If you can’t back up a personal accusation, you have no business making it.

                • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

                  Besides, I’m not a spokesperson for my party, whereas those two guys in NC — a state legislator and a party official — most definitely were at the time of their statements.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:31 PM

              I know the rationalization. Joking that Cruz is from Canada has nothing to do with his ethnicity. The O, Kenya jokes are only about ethnicity if it matters to someone what color O is. Apparently, it does matter to you

              • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:36 PM

                The Kenya stuff matters because of the Birther stuff.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

                  Uh, that’s the joke

  • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    TOURIST, HOW DID YOUR AREA FARE IN YESTERDAY’S EARTHQUAKE? We watched the report on last night’s NHK World Newsline, which made it sound far less severe than 3/11’s (especially in the tsunami department), although 7.1 magnitude is certainly a strong temblor.

    • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Thanks for your concern, Minx. It woke us up. That’s about all. I haven’t heard of any real damage anywhere. When they happen, they build. On the one hand, 2011 is a clear memory so people worry more now about how far each one will go. On the other hand, they are a fact of life.

      Richter is a measurement of the quake itself, a single value. Seismic intensity is a measure of the shaking in specific places. The chart in this article might interest you. In Tokyo, yesterday’s was “3.” In Tokyo, 2011’s was “5-upper,” and “7” in Fukushima.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Meteorological_Agency_seismic_intensity_scale

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    This hunt for racists in the tea party is the height of McCarthyism.

    • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      What about when they “out” themselves with asinine comments in public? Should those be edited out of TV shows, or not mentioned even when they’re uttered publicly?

      • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        Are there Dem racists?

        Again, Dems are the biggest racists. The racism of low expectations associated with the welfare state.

        • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

          As opposed to the racism of malnutrition, inadequate housing, inadequate healthcare, unequal education, etc., etc. Nope, ain’t nothing racist there, even when a history of slavery and Jim Crow have historically held Blacks back (a most unequal starting line in life’s marathon).

          • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:40 PM

            The poverty rate is higher today than in 1965. It significantly decreased under Reagan and has significantly increased under O

  • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    My favorite columnist, Paul Krugman, writes that it seems that in order to be “respectable”, one must subscribe to the “fantasy of fiscal apocalypse”. Just as it seems that in order to seem respectable, one must subscribe to the fantasy of climate change apocalypse (that’s with the emphasis on apocalypse).

    • Little_Minx  On October 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Why are they morally equivalent? Other than the fact that some have attached the word “apocalypse” to one or the other?

      • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        It has nothing to do with morality. It has to do with the “respectable people” requiring one to subscribe to what they believe is apocalyptical and what isn’t in order to be considered respectable. Re climate change, no respectable scientist would… That’s by definition.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    DD, why don’t I listen to you?

  • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    “. . . that doesn’t mean the govt should be taking my money and wasting it . . . .”

    +++ It is wasteful to break the window. Only the owner can decide if it’s wasteful to fix it. It’s a question of valuation.

    “I give presents to loved ones because it does increase my utility . . . .”

    +++ Valuation.

    “Utility is a function of a lot of factors.”

    +++ Valuation.

    “My utility decreases when the govt takes resources from more highly valued uses to lower valued uses.”

    +++ Whose valuations?

    “Ocare has less value to society that the best alternative.”

    +++ Never mind valuations. You can’t even describe an alternative beyond (above) “reasonable policies,” which “doesn’t mean Universal health care or even that everybody has insurance (probably far from it, . . . .”

    Back to “doesn’t mean the govt should be taking my money”: I pointed out the difference between the fruits of your trees and a system that rewards you with money in the previous thread. I didn’t think you understood it.

    The going rate for a job in a location factors in taxes (among other things). Compensation X equals Y for me plus Z for the government. Sometimes it’s explicit: Y for me plus the taxes. It’s a tangled web of equilibrium.

    Not that it wouldn’t be nice to have more, but to enter into that bargain, spoken or unspoken, and *then* to claim that Z, too, is yours to do with as you please – to cry tyranny and that you’ve been taxed enough already – is to miss a fundamental of real-world economics and silly.

    It’s okay to pretend.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      I ain’t missing anything

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      It ain’t only my valuations

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      You can disagree with my valuations. OK. The evidence shows that you’re wrong but you can disagree.

      The fruits of your trees crap? Remember, I try not to read too deeply into your comments because your convoluted logic hurts my brain. Please be explicit

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      I guess I am missing something about the trees full of fruits? Are they apples? I like apples

  • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    “You can disagree with my valuations. OK. The evidence shows that you’re wrong but you can disagree.”

    No. If I may disagree with your valuations, we disagree on valuation. We disagree. There is no “evidence shows that you’re wrong.” We want different things. We have different values (valuation). That either means stalemate or a means for choosing. We have a means for choosing. We chose. That you don’t like the choice does not make it a “failure.” Better luck next time. I hope not.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      I want to provide the best possible health care to the greatest number of people possible. Considering you support Ocare, I guess we do want different things

      • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        “I want to provide the best possible health care to the greatest number of people possible.”

        No, you don’t. You want to provide a free-market-level of quality to an optimum number of customers. A free market provides nothing to everybody. It stops when returns fall below opportunity costs.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 7:47 PM

          A better outcome than any alternative

          • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 7:52 PM

            You are putting a lot of time and energy into making sure no one has the chance to find out.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM

              This is where the real-world evidence comes into play. Socialized medicine is a failure. Worse care, longer wait times to see doctors, death panels and higher costs

            • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 8:03 PM

              Are you suggesting Tourist that every time one party controls Congress and the presidency and “pushes through” legislation the minority unanimously opposes and believes will be apocalyptic, the minority party should just lie back and see if it is indeed apocalyptic?

              • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 8:08 PM

                You like that one. Did I?

                That said, insurance is apocalyptic? Maybe, yeah, you should wait and see.

                • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 8:36 PM

                  Well Tourist, to paraphrase Pd, to destroy the best system in the world and replace it with a failed socialist system that destroys the fabric of this country could be considered apocalyptical.

                  Here’s a deal I offer you. I’ll wait to see how Obamacare turns out and you wait to see whether global warming is apocalyptically. Okay?

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 7:51 PM

          That was a quick response. What you’re saying isn’t true in any way. I never said the govt doesn’t play a role. We live in a civilized society. With that said, the best role it should play is a highly limited one

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      ——-That you don’t like the choice does not make it a “failure.
      .
      Yes, what makes it a failure is that it’s a failure

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Tourist,

    Universal health care is a noble goal but Obamacare doesn’t come close to achieving that. Everybody knew this when it was passed. Everybody knew that the cost of insurance was going to double when it was passed. Everybody knew that people were going to lose their doctor when it was passed.

    These are all lies that O told (there are a 100 others)

    Let’s assume they get the website up and running (hard to imagine but OK), for it to work, 2.7M young people have to commit to buying something they don’t want or need

    But your hope is to get people hooked on the subsidies. So when Ocare blows up. it will be difficult to take them away. The only choice – well, I think you know the liberal hope.

    All of this waste is what I am trying to stop.

    I should have never been worried about the extremism in the Dem party. I should have trusted in the certainty I have that progressivism is a failure. Ocare is revealing this to be true better than Cruz, Pau, Ryan, etc… could accomplish in their wildest dreams

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 26, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Tourist,

    Why are you concerned about how the NSA is unnecessarily taking away our liberty but have no issue with the fact that the IRS will know more about your medical history than your spouse?

  • Devildog  On October 26, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Pd, you ask (rhetorically) why you don’t listen to me. I don’t know the answer but I ask why you should be different from my wife, kids, grandkids and everyone else.

    • Tourist  On October 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      Devildog, not that you asked me, but this is a “cat’s away” weekend . . . and I’m sitting here doing this.

      Was. Bye!

  • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    “Universal health care is a noble goal . . . .”

    +++ It’s reality where I live – medical, dental, eyes, prescriptions, tests, labs, hospitalization, preventive annual check-ups. I go to any doctor I want, usually by appointment; sometimes I wait my turn. That’s probably why Japan is only economically #3 in the Milky Way. What a drag on growth!

    Infant mortality (World Bank): Japan, two per 1,000 live births; U.S.A., six. Life expectancy? Everybody knows that one. (Devildog, hold your outrage. See below.)

    “. . . but Obamacare doesn’t come close to achieving that.”

    +++ Time wasted, yes. The original bill was better. What we see now is yours. You made a difference.

    +++ Those nebulous “reasonable policies” you call for as an alternative to Obamacare – where were they before Obamacare?

    “Universal is simply not practical.”

    +++ You would do better if you’d cut back on declarations so readily contradicted.

    ===

    Dog, nobody is bashing America or the military or the quality of American medicine. It’s great, first rate, blah, blah, blah. Call it, even, the best in the world, because isn’t everything? The mistake is to think it rests on some special plane.

    What I said above about six infant deaths versus two – is that significant? I’m not prepared to say that it is. It just makes it’s harder to claim that we are unequivocally number one. Again referring back to the debate on “these blogs” four years ago, a very good study (sorry) was introduced by the “best in the world” camp. We are way up there, yes. But on the things that they measure – recovery rates, deaths from this or that, infections contracted in hospitals – we win some, lose some. The modern world is in the same ballpark.

    I sometimes say “a friend in Europe” and it’s more than one friend. One of them probably has lunar-equivalent mileage; I can get a message from his phone at any time saying: “Hi! I’m in Tierra del Fuego.” Not only that, but in some goofy twist on Murphy’s Law, he manages to get sick or hurt almost everywhere! There can’t be a dozen countries on the planet where he has not seen a doctor or been in a hospital. I push him to tell me about them because I’m interested, too. I think he’s been less than impressed two or three times.

    But that isn’t what I’m getting at. In that study, put forward as an argument against Obamacare, the U.S. came out on top in “patient satisfaction.” That was powerful. Customer satisfaction is the Holy Grail. I remember this because I’m the one who went to the link given for the study and read the footnotes.

    Process this: “Patient satisfaction” referred to nothing medical. It had nothing to do with health or making you better. Patient satisfaction was about appointments and scheduling and waiting rooms. Thus U.S. leads the world in magazines in waiting rooms. That is not trivial. They are a pleasant touch.

    Again, please: No one is saying American medicine is not excellent. It seems to excel particularly in transplants. As is frequently mentioned, people go to the U.S. for medical care. They go many places, actually, including increasingly to Japan, increasingly for cancer treatments, where they are not part of the national healthcare program and must pay their own bills. They come for the quality.

    • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Tourist, you are not prepared to say 6 v. 2 is significant, you know it isn’t for various reasons, so why mention it. Patient satisfaction overall is the holy grail. The great majority of medical visits are routine so if you are #1in that, it’s significant. And if the great majority of people have insurance and want to keep that insurance, they should be able to keep it without the government in effect ordering otherwise.

      Why are you addressing to me what you did? Except throwing in, gratuitously, something about the military, you could have gone on without addressing me. Had I said anything previously to warrant that? But, don’t get me wrong, I stand behind everything I have said (I think, but I can stand corrected if warranted) and we are a shining light on the hill (or however Reagan phrased it).

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Infant death? Interesting you bring that up. In America, you can kill a baby that is born outside the uterus. In most countries in Europe, a fetus cannot be aborted after the 14th week.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    There is a school of thought that the ridiculously poor rollout of Ocare was intentional. Think about it:

    -It is so difficult to sign up for, only the sick will enroll
    -Many are losing their insurance due to the requirements of Ocare policies
    -A low percentage of young (those Ocare needs to succeed) will enroll

    This will mean that millions will suddenly desperately need insurance. And what would be the solution?

    If O didn’t lie every time he opened his mouth, I would dismiss this

  • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Devildog,

    “Tourist, you are not prepared to say 6 v. 2 is significant, you know it isn’t for various reasons, so why mention it.”

    +++ It’s my indirect style. More infants die in America. Better?

    “Why are you addressing to me what you did? . . . . you could have gone on without addressing me. Had I said anything previously to warrant that?”

    +++ Devildog On October 26, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    “Well Tourist, to paraphrase Pd, to destroy the best system in the world and replace it with a failed socialist system that destroys the fabric of this country could be considered apocalyptical.”

    • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      Tourist: “more infants die in America. Better”? Since you know it’s not better, and is meaningless, I trust you will agree that there’s no need for me to respond.

      What you quoted me as saying certainly is not cause for you”addressing me”. I did not say that our’s is the best system in the world nor did i say that socialist systems have failed (i don’t think you can find me ever saying that); i said only that replacing the best system in the world and replacing it with a failed socialist system could be considered by those who believe that to be apocalyptical.

      What I said is not even my “indirect style”-I think I phrased my intent correctly but I suppose (un)reasonable minds could differ.

      I hope you behaved yourself while the cat was away-or at least didn’t get caught.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 27, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      What I love is how lefties like Tourist love to say things are complicated when it comes to policy prescriptions and justify it by throwing out a meaningless simple statistic. Tourist surely knows the US counts all infants who take a breath while many countries only count infants that are alive 30 days and/or are born above a certain weight

      The statistic also ignores the fact that life saving techniques are employed to a much greater extent in the US and there is a much larger percentage of babies born to drug addicted mothers in the US (a lot of that thanks to the perpetuation of cycles of dependency that result from the failed welfare state).

  • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Devildog,

    “I did not say that ours is the best system in the world nor did I say that socialist systems have failed . . . . I said only that replacing the best system in the world and replacing it with a failed socialist system could be considered by those who believe that to be apocalyptical.”

    Ah. It was hypothetical, then? An intellectual exercise, illustrative for academic purposes, not intended as suggestive of current events?

    Let the record stand corrected. I regret my mistake.

    • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Tourist, your last sentence seems (to me) to be sarcasm disguising a failure to comprehend. A simple gomenasai was in order.

      • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        Or maybe I was wrong the second time.

        • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM

          Whatever(that means)!

          • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM

            It does, yes.

            • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM

              Say what you mean-in English. As you well know, not too many are as smart as you.

              • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 11:18 PM

                Every time I slow down and am determined to write clearly, I forget what I was going to say before I get to the end. Gomen nasai.

                • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 11:25 PM

                  Bullshit. You’re just a victim of your environment-inscrutable. Oh how difficult it is to keep hidden one’s “racism”.

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 27, 2013 at 11:30 PM

                    Now this is a great conversation

                    • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 11:37 PM

                      Just giving you a respite, pd

                    • Devildog  On October 27, 2013 at 11:51 PM

                      Ah, gee. How did you know it’s my bedtime?

  • Tourist  On October 27, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    That’s a good idea. I think I’ll take a break, too.

  • Devildog  On October 28, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    With assertions coming from the White House that the president didn’t know, was unaware, etc. about so many things, I’m beginning to wonder who he really is. The choices-Richard Pryor, Gene wilder, Sgt. Schultz or the three monkeys.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      My guess – an inept ideologue who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the truth.

      I sell the things you need to be
      I’m the smiling face on your TV
      Oh, I’m the cult of personality

      I exploit you, still you love me
      I tell you, one and one makes three
      Oh, I’m the cult of personality

  • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Devildog: “who he really is” is open-ended. Why are their only four choices?

    Pittsburgh Dad: “inept ideologue,” etc. . . . interesting.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Open-ended? I needed a laugh.

      • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        I’m convinced now. I really is a comprehension problem. I shall try to be kinder.

        • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 8:29 PM

          * It really is

          • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 8:39 PM

            To a degree. I just need to read the whole comment sometimes. Not often. Given it was only 2 sentences, this is on me. Although I could point out the initial grammar issue

    • Devildog  On October 28, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      When you select one of the choices provided Tourist, I’ll offer more multiple choice questions. Something like uninformed, liar, Ill-advised, The Allinsky Candidate

  • Devildog  On October 28, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Kindness! You’ve come to the wrong place. I would suggest trying comprehension except there are no brownie points for trying. “Convinced now”. Hmmm. I don’t think so. Next time I post to you, it will be “see Rover run”.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I actually think the way I interpreted it was fair. The fact is ‘Who he really is’ isn’t open-ended

  • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    While you guys are sorting out what each other means, let me return to the point:

    (Quote) Handwritten notes taken by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on December 7, 1985, indicate that Reagan was aware of potential hostage transfers with Iran, as well as the sale of Hawk and TOW missiles to “moderate elements” within that country. Weinberger wrote that Reagan said “he could answer to charges of illegality but couldn’t answer to the charge that ‘big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free the hostages'”. (Unquote) (Wiki, Iran-Contra Affair)

    Reagan then disputed that he knew. He said he had been taking a nap.

    ===

    (Quote) After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility for any actions that he was unaware of, and admitting that “what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages”. (Unquote) (Same)

    An opening to Iran?

    (Quote) Oliver North wrote that “Ronald Reagan knew of and approved a great deal of what went on with both the Iranian initiative and private efforts on behalf of the contras and he received regular, detailed briefings on both…I have no doubt that he was told about the use of residuals for the Contras, and that he approved it. Enthusiastically.” (Unquote) (Same)

    But credit Reagan with this: “. . . I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.”

    He acknowledged a difference between what he knew to be true and the facts.

    Try it. You’ll like it.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      So, you are saying that it’s OK if O has told 100 lies, as long as he is on your side.

      • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        You sound like Devildog. Where did I say that?

        Saint Ronnie was a liar. George H.W.B. was “out of the loop.” W: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.” Clinton was impeached for “is.”

        • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM

          Then, what relevance does this have?

          • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 10:44 PM

            Maybe it (mine at 10:04 PM) was too long. Did you get to the second line from the end?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM

              No, Ronnie was lying. See, I think Ronnie is the 3rd or 4th best prez ever but his halo doesn’t blind me

        • Devildog  On October 28, 2013 at 10:51 PM

          Great defense of Obama you are putting forth Tourist. If you did not mean to “say” that it’s ok for Obama to lie, why bring up the other presidents? Just to “destroy” their image? Not that I think that much of historians but the chance of Obama reaching Reagan’s level is somewhere between slim and none and slim left town. Oh, yeah, it’s te fault of that damn House.

          Your “reporting” of Uran-Contra is quite distorted. I’ll go along with Pd-Reagan acted in what he thought was in the country’s interest; Obama to cover his ass.

          • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 11:13 PM

            Distorted? I told everyone where my “reporting” came from. Google “wiki iran-contra affair” (or “scandal”; both work). The full thing is much better.

            I’ll even flag the part that says: “Several investigations ensued, including those by the U.S. Congress and the three-person, Reagan-appointed Tower Commission. Neither found any evidence that President Reagan himself knew of the extent of the multiple programs.” But note “[no] evidence,” “extent” and remember that “large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators.”

            The list of indictments and pardons (some after conviction, some before trial) is interesting, too.

            • Devildog  On October 28, 2013 at 11:35 PM

              Why should I note what you asked me to note? I do note that no evidence Reagan knew… I thought you were not one to make assumptions without evidence-and the evidence of a nap is….

              And what is your problem with heart and best intentions being different from facts and evidence if one didn’t know what the facts and evidence was at the time your heart and intentions were telling you something.

              Overall, as I said before, there’s a difference between not knowing and lying and there’s a difference between lying for what you believe is in the country’s interest and lying to cover your ass and/or to get elected. Reagan passes, Obama fails.

              • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM

                “Why should I note what you asked me to note? I do note that no evidence Reagan knew…” (Your ellipisis).

                +++ Because if you had, you’d have understood that it says “no evidence Reagan knew of the extent,” rather than what you cut it to: “knew.”

                “and the evidence of a nap is….”

                +++ It is undenied that Reagan took naps. That he said he did not know of Iran-Contra because he was taking a nap, I made up. I could just as easily have said he knew but he forgot.

                I’m very forgiving of heart and best intentions. “I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true” makes no sense. It is denial and, at best, an excuse designed to cover his ass.

                “. . . there’s a difference between lying for what you believe is in the country’s interest and lying to cover your ass.”

                +++ I’m going to lunch.

                • Devildog  On October 29, 2013 at 12:21 AM

                  So Reagan took naps and forgot. Better to be old and wise than to be young and ignorant.

                  My intention was not to trade and my heart told me that was not what we were doing but the evidence shows that’s what happened!

                  Try defending Obama (if you can) rather than attacking Reagan, or Bush, or anyone else. Your failure to attempt to do so speaks volumes.

                  And I hope you enjoyed your lunch-no need to wish me sweet dreams as I go to bed, at peace with myself and the world, including you.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On October 29, 2013 at 1:07 AM

                  Covering up Iran-Contra was a lie. He traded arms for hostages because he believed it was in the best interest of the country

                  O covered up Benghazi, the IRS, the lies about Ocare. The difference is that none of the actions that led to the lies about these scandals were about what was in the best interest of the country. It was all about protecting the advancement of a failed philosophy.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      Why did O lie about Benghazi? There are liberal sources that he did it to cover up what the CIA was doing there

      While there may have been some CIA issue, I still think the reason O lied was totally about the election

      • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        If this is about the Rose Garden, he did not lie. We did this half a dozen times on Rob Rogers. It’s on the tape and in the transcripts.

        It is true in many things that those in a position to know may or may not be telling the truth. All we can say for sure is that you are not in a position to know.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        Please!!!

        • Tourist  On October 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM

          Yes, please see mine at 10:44 PM and follow the breadcrumbs once more.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      Foreign policy is a different animal. Did O have the authority to depose Ghadaffi? Was there a specific law against it? No, but it is quite a liberal reading of the War Powers Act

  • Tourist  On October 29, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    Good morning, friends!

    To Devildog, mostly at 11:35 PM and 12:21 AM, and Pittsburgh Dad, mostly at 1:07 AM:

    “Better to be old and wise than to be young and ignorant.”

    You betcha!

    “Try defending Obama (if you can) . . . .”

    DEFEND HIM AGAINST WHAT???

    The charge that every word out of his mouth is a lie? The website? That he’s not your kind of leader? I’m on board with Obamacare. The IRS did nothing wrong as far as I know. There is no scandal to Benghazi as far as I know. Syria? Iran? Has war with neither one failed already?

    I am appalled by the NSA surveillance. There is too much droning. But I have no inclination to discuss my objections or disappointments seriously with people who think his Christmas cards are un-American. I’ll take his entire policy package and mixed record of performance over everything, anything, all, that you guys want to do, with a silver-lining up my sleeve: If you did manage to, say, impeach him, we’d get Biden. Before ’08 narrowed to Obama or Hillary, Joe was my guy.

    I was not “attacking” Reagan or Bush or anyone. I was illustrating the double standard.

    “Covering up Iran-Contra was a lie. He traded arms for hostages because he believed it was in the best interest of the country.” (Dad)

    “. . . there’s a difference between not knowing and lying and there’s a difference between lying for what you believe is in the country’s interest . . . .” (Dog)

    Dog may still dispute that Reagan lied while Dad says Reagan lied for a good reason, but both say he did what he thought was best for the country.

    Which of them doesn’t?

    According to Dad: “It [Obama] was all about protecting the advancement of a failed philosophy.”

    According to Dog: “to cover [his] ass and/or to get elected.”

    Don’t they all believe in the philosophy they advance? Isn’t that doing what they think is best for the country?

    Yet, according Dog: “Reagan passes, Obama fails.”

    Why? He’s an incrementally minded political moderate. Apart from his secret plan to destroy America, what’s he doing wrong?

    Please be specific.

    • Devildog  On October 29, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      As far as I know, as far as I know, as far as I know-nice Sgt. Schultz.

      Christmas cards??? People???

      “Incrementally minded political moderate”. Compared with which Democrat(s).

      Syria? Iran? Off the front pages now but what’s really changed? and Neville also avoided war.

      Not MY kind of leader? Don’t throw the word leader around that loosely. Has he failed to unite the country, as promised? Results not blame count.

      Thanks for illustrating the double standard. Of course there is one among partisans, nothing new. Double standard among supposedly non-partisans is another matter-the crack is starting to expand though.

      Doing wrong? A health plan that won’t work, an immigration plan that can’t pass, making enemies of friends while retaining our enemies as such, not accomplishing anything about long-term domestic or foreign problems, furthering or at least not healing the divide in this country, tepid recovery at best, . Breakfast beckons!

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 29, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      Foreign policy is a different animal. Iran-contra may have made us more safe or less safe but quantifying its direct effect US citizens is very difficult if not impossible

      O knew that Ocare was going to blow up. It was his plan – see Reid and single payer. O knew people were going to lose their insurance, knew premiums would double, knew the govt board was essentially a death panel (see Howard Dean).

      If the IRS did nothing wrong, what was O outraged about?

      O did lie about Benghazi. Differs from Iran-contra because, you know, 4 Americans died

      • Devildog  On October 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        Pd, I’m not prepared to make any such assumption about either Sgt. Obama or President Schultz.

  • Tourist  On October 29, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    One from each. Have a pleasant evening.

    Devildog

    “Syria? Iran? Off the front pages now but what’s really changed? and Neville also avoided war.”

    What’s changed? What’s going on, off the front pages.

    Avoided war? Let’s not make that mistake.

    The rest: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

    ===

    Pittsburgh Dad

    “If the IRS did nothing wrong, what was O outraged about?”

    Apparently initial media reports. Feel free to cite that as more proof of his ineptness. The better question still is: What *did* the IRS do wrong?

    The rest: “Please proceed, Governor.”

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 29, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      OMG!!

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 29, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      I sell the things you need to be
      I’m the smiling face on your TV
      Oh, I’m the cult of personality

      I exploit you, still you love me
      I tell you, one and one makes three
      Oh, I’m the cult of personality

    • Devildog  On October 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      OMG Tourist. What’s going on off the front pages is nothing worthwhile is going on. “Avoided war?Let’s not make that mistake.” Sergeant Shultz Obama is making the same mistake Wilt made with the Corporal. But you can keep up that drumbeat for a while because it will take a while for the chickens to come home to roost. Who knows where we will be, even if we will be “here”, when the shit hits the fan. So, you’re right. Obama is the peacemaker! Even though he’s been a hack in everything so far-please list his accomplishment(s). What would you expect though from someone with no accomplishment, other than being elected, in his lifetime. Shribman wrote that you can’t tell how effective a president will be from his background and cites examples. Obama is the exception that proves the rule.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Tourist,

    I actually believe that you know O lied about Benghazi, that at a minimum the IRS targeted conservative groups, that O at least should have known that people would lose their coverage, premiums would double, the website was going to be a trainwreck and there were death panels.

    I really believe you realize that O has failed as a prez in every way and that you are just hoping that some way it will still work out

    I have to believe this. Because otherwise I have to believe you are the biggest idiot that I have ever had a conversation about politics for longer than 3 minutes.

    • Devildog  On October 29, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Pd, why stop there. You can add that Tourist knows Iran is stringing us along, that Syria will retain chemical weapons, etc., etc, etc. Can we change “biggest idiot” to “one of the biggest idiots”? That’s true at least with some of the people I’ve communicated with. Besides which, he seems to be an ok guy who, though, likes to pull chains.

  • Tourist  On October 30, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    Devildog,

    “What’s going on off the front pages is nothing worthwhile is going on.”

    This is important; really, it is: You do not know that. You cannot know that. This is not healthy skepticism; trust-but-verify. It is not mere pessimism. It is defeatism. There is no point in trying because we will not succeed because we cannot succeed. The glass is bone dry. Why did Ronnie and Maggie even bother talking to Gorby?

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    “I really believe you . . . are just hoping that some way it will still work out.”

    This is important; really, it is: I want it to work out. I want our country, our actions, our policies, our initiatives, our efforts, foreign and domestic, to be successful.

    There is a *vision* to the “it.” *We* speak of things we want to achieve – the Moon in this decade. Did that. Universal healthcare, as another example. Those are goals. People understand them, whether they want universal healthcare or don’t. *You* speak of “reasonable policies.” To achieve what? Universal healthcare? You already said “probably far from it,” but are you against? I can’t tell.

    Describe your America. What will it look like? What do you want to achieve?

    Please, please, please tell me that. I already know what you hate.

    • Devildog  On October 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      Well, Tourist, Ronnie and Maggie talked to Gorby after having “defeated” him on the ground (this is without going into the difference between radical Islam and Communism-and their leaders). You threw out words like defeatism but you left out realism. I, also, won’t go into the difference between Ronnie and Maggie on the one hand and Obama on the other-how they are and how they/we are perceived around the world. One is squash if you want to compare. It is healthy skepticism and realism not defeatism. Do you, does anyone (other than one who is/one of the biggest idiots ever encountered) believe we will you military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons while O is president. And Iranians are not idiots. Same for Syria destroying all its WMD’s.

      I wrote a while ago that universal healthcare is inevitable and if a workable, cost-effective system was “discovered”, I would be in favor of it. But I haven’t seen it yet and Obamacare is not only not that but it is not a path to it. IMHO, it is an unworkable plan.

      You say “we” object to everything and I say you want to try everything you guys propose not being concerned with possible short and long term effects and oppose everything we suggest (yes, we do propose things) with things like people will be homeless, dying in the streets, public education will be destroyed, etc., without being willing to try it.

      Expect the worst but hope for the best!

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      More or less, what DD said. The idea that govt can implement a program and solve the ‘problem’ is the issue. We went to the moon. So what? The private sector didn’t do it first because they had no profit incentive to do so. If a company started today with the idea that it was going to build a rocket ship to Mars, would it be successful? Obviously not, nobody would invest in the project. There is no payoff to any individual firm. I am not saying the govt shouldn’t continue to determine if we can go to Mars and, if we can, whether we should go to Mars. What is the benefit-cost? Something that we haven’t really analyzed much since 7/20/1969

      People are losing their insurance because their policies do not meet the required coverage under Ocare. The govt is telling millions of people they don’t know what they need. The govt knows. The idea that govt knows what is best for an individual is abhorrent. This is not an overstatement. I am not exaggerating to make a point. It is everything this country was not founded on

      I already indicated my proposals to improve the health care system in the US

  • Tourist  On October 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Devildog says the Soviet Union was not like Iran or Syria and that Ronnie and Maggie were not like Obama, but that Obama is just like Wilt because Iran and Syria are just like the Nazis, to whom we should not be talking until we defeat them on the ground. He still doesn’t say how he knows that nothing worthwhile is going on behind closed doors.

    Pittsburgh Dad says the private sector would never have gone to the Moon and won’t lead the way to Mars because of no-profit-incentive, no-payoff and negative cost-benefit. I take that to be his argument for why healthcare should be left to the private sector.

    Private companies see real profit potential in space today, just as there is real profit potential in a new, expanded market of universal healthcare, but the healthcare industry in a free market has no economic incentive to lead the way itself. A free market keeps supply below demand.

    Devildog says liberals want to try everything. There’s something to that. Conservatives have always been around to rein in liberals’ wilder impulses. Right to left, the continuum is reactionary-conservative-liberal-radical, based on how fast one wants to move and in which direction.

    Healthcare could be solved on the basis of Devildog’s second paragraph at 8:45 AM. Print that out, call the meeting and get to work.

    Pittsburgh Dad says he’s already indicated his proposals for improving healthcare. The ones on October 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM? My response is relevant, too.

    I asked for his vision, what he wanted to achieve, what his America would look like. I don’t see that he answered that either.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 30, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      I want us to continue to be the most exceptional country in the history of the universe. We were doing pretty good for about 240 years. Why fundamentally change things now?

      No private company would be able to go to outer space on its own. Private companies are only involved so far as the govt will keep them in business. If the govt got out of the space industry tomorrow, the industry would crumble.

      You keep saying I want only market solutions to the health care issues. That is patently false. Please read the postings on October 25, 2013 again

    • pittsburgh_dad  On October 30, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      ——–A free market keeps supply below demand.

      You really need to take an econ class. A free market results in the price, quantity combination that clears the market. The private market will under-produce public goods – military, public safety

      Is health care a public good. I guess that depends on how one interprets the what is included in those unalienable rights

    • Devildog  On October 30, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Tourist, are you really that unable to comprehend. You write that I said that liberals want try everything and conservatives are there (only) to rein in liberals when what I said was that liberals want to try everything they propose and oppose everything conservatives propose. Quite a difference between what I said and what you say I said.

      Healthcare “can be solved” like Alzheimer’s can be cured. Shall I call a meeting and get to work on that too?

      How do I know nothing worthwhile is going on behind closed doors-intuitively obvious. Especially if you know your enemies (and your president. What do you think the Islamic Republic of Iran under its current leadership wants out of life? Easing of sanctions? What do you think Assad wants? Just a safe haven for he and his family?

      Where did I say Iran and Syria are like the Nazis? Just because I said Obama is like Chamberlain? They are/were both weak who hid behind negotiations to hide that weakness where in one case led to disaster which hopefully won’t happen in the second case. BTW, the opposite of weak does not necessarily mean going to war.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On October 30, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Tourist

    You do know why they are cancelling plans, right? They want healthy people to buy more coverage (60 year old male forced to buy maternity coverage) to pay for the sick. What is this called? Redistribution of income. The progressive mantra that will solve every problem.

    The problem is the 1% ain’t paying to cover the sick. The 1% have Cadillac plans and will not be affected by Obamacare in any way.

    Who is paying for this? It’s not the people with low or no income. Who is left? The middle class. I thought O’s policies benefitted the middle class.

    See what I mean when I say that Progressivism will forever be a failure. The unintended consequences are always negative.

  • Tourist  On October 30, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    • Devildog  On October 30, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Finally a contribution from Tourist! And an admission, of sorts. Or maybe that “could be wrong” was meant for me and/or Pd. I suppose that might be, though only a very slight possibility.

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Tourist, have you ever ridden the bullet train in Japan? We’ve taken the TGV in France, and were wowed by how wonderful the service (not to mention speed) was.

    “Organizers line up big names to push new high-speed rail line linking D.C. to N.Y.”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/organizers-line-up-big-names-to-push-new-high-speed-rail-line-linking-dc-to-ny/2013/11/01/5d840856-432e-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html

    By Catherine Ho, Published: November 2

    The privately owned Washington company that last year began lobbying to build a high-speed rail line between Washington and New York has lined up some prominent names to press its ambitious plan to improve congestion in the Northeast corridor.

    The Northeast Maglev, the 25-employee company founded in 2010, is looking to develop a high-speed magnetic levitation system that would bring passengers from Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes and to New York in 60 minutes, at speeds of 311 miles an hour.

    The company, which according to its chairman has raised $50 million in private funding, plans to announce today it has enlisted several of the region’s business and political leaders to join its advisory board: Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank; former chief executive of Northwest Airlines Doug Steenland; former transportation secretaries Mary Peters and Rodney Slater (now a lobbyist at Patton Boggs); and George Pataki, Christine Todd Whitman and Ed Rendell, former governors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, respectively.

    The board is being led by former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, who is now an adviser at DLA Piper, the international law firm that the Northeast Maglev has hired to lobby on its behalf before Congress.

    The rail line would include stops at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport in Baltimore, Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. The project is unrelated to Amtrak’s $151 billion plan to develop a high-speed rail system — that would go from Washington to New York in 94 minutes — in the Northeast corridor by 2040.

    The Northeast Maglev chairman Wayne Rogers said his firm does not have a cost estimate for the entire project but that the Washington-Baltimore leg would cost at least $10 billion. He said he expects it to take at least three years to navigate the regulatory, environmental and planning process and another 10 years for construction. The company is working closely with engineers from Central Japan Railway, which operates the bullet train in Japan.

    In Washington, they are considering station locations on K Street, near Metro Center, near the convention center and around Union Station, Rogers said.

    “Lots of items that go into that selection [process],” he said. “Connectivity to Metro is one consideration, constructability is another consideration, connecting with the population and business centers — where office centers will be — it’s a complicated equation,” he said. “All those are being studied and put together. We’re looking to be able to connect near Metro. . . . Our goal is to connect city centers and airports.”

    Roger said his company has met with representatives from the Maryland Transit Administration and D.C. government.

    It is not the first time there’s been interest in building a maglev system in the Northeast, but previous attempts were halted by lack of support from lawmakers and funding shortfalls. In 2001, transit officials from Maryland, the District and Baltimore formed the Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project, which competed for Federal Railroad Administration consideration to develop a 39-mile maglev line linking Camden Yards in Baltimore, BWI and Union Station in Washington. But the project, which in 2007 was estimated to cost $5.1 billion, lacked legislative support.

    • Tourist  On November 4, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      Hi, Minx! Ridden it? It would probably be difficult to find someone who hasn’t. There are half a dozen Shinkansen lines, integrated into the far-more-extensive national rail, etc., system. You can leave an office in Tokyo, go the basement, catch a subway to the Shinkansen station (or subway to a train to the Shinkansen station), ride to Osaka, and make your way to an office there, without ever stepping outside – not that you couldn’t.

      (QUOTE) The Tōkaidō Shinkansen is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line. Carrying 151 million passengers per year (March 2008), it has transported more passengers (over 5 billion, entire network over 10 billion) than any other high speed line in the world. Between Tokyo and Osaka, the two largest metropolises in Japan, up to thirteen trains per hour with sixteen cars each (1,323 seats capacity) run in each direction with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains. Though largely a long-distance transport system, the Shinkansen also serves commuters who travel to work in metropolitan areas from outlying cities. Japan’s Shinkansen network had the highest annual passenger ridership (a maximum of 353 million in 2007) of any high-speed rail network until 2011, when China’s high speed rail network surpassed it at 370 million passengers annually. (UNQUOTE)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Toadsly! Did you see last night’s “Doc Martin”? I’d never seen the pilot before (nor, for that matter, any of the first two seasons), so it was fascinating to see the set-up for plot-lines, some of which have persisted for years!

    BTW, I recently read that the actress on “The Bletchley Circle” who plays the tall, dramatic-looking worldly detective, Rachel Stirling, is in real life the daughter of Dame Diana Rigg!

    • Anonymous  On November 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Also was my first time viewing pilot episode. Nice to learn British believe In continuity. Thanks for heads-up on Rigg’s daughter.

    • toadsly  On November 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Never saw pilot episode. Nice to learn British believe in continuity. Thanks for heads-up on Rigg’s daughter.

      • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Tonight’s 8 o’clock is scheduled to be a documentary on Selfridge’s (which should make an interesting counterpoint to the dramatic series). I just wasn’t able to get “into” “The Paradise,” however, so will have a free hour till “The Mentalist.”

        • toadsly  On November 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM

          “The Mentalist” is one of my must-see shows. Red John should shortly be revealed.

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    I wonder what lines of attack Republicans (especially tea-partiers) have in storage for once the ACA website situation is corrected.

    • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      …other than that some people who have substandard existing health insurance are being dropped, because the companies don’t want to provide decent coverage (analogous to getting fired from a job at less than the minimum wage, because the employer refuses to pay it).

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    How distressing for the Syria “hawks” that peaceful progress is taking place in the process of destroying Syria’s biological weapons.

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    UMOC, hope you’re doing OK, and continuing to progress (albeit probably frustratingly gradually) in your recuperation.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On November 3, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Minx

    I liked your Doc Martin post

  • Little_Minx  On November 3, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    “Stop calling JFK conservative: The right’s favorite new lie is filled with historical flaws / The right’s embrace of JFK is filled with historical flaws on taxes and abortion — and ignores his real record”:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/11/03/stop_calling_jfk_conservative_the_rights_favorite_new_lie_is_filled_with_historical_flaws

    By Paul Rosenberg

    Conservatives have two favorite ways to deal with liberals. The first, Plan A, is to slander and demonize them. It was part of Rick Santorum’s shtick, for example, to blast John F. Kennedy for supposedly kicking religion out of public life—or at least getting the ball rolling. As he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos early in 2012, “Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’“ Of course Santorum was lying about what Kennedy said in his famous Houston speech on separation of church and state, where he allayed Protestant fears that he would rule as an agent of the Vatican, rather than simply as an American citizen.

    But it wasn’t just Kennedy’s own words that refuted Santorum’s claim. More importantly, as I explained in a column for Al Jazeera English, Kennedy refuted Santorum’s slander with his actions as well:

    Kennedy never shunned religious leaders. To the contrary, on June 17, 1963, just two days before he introduced the Civil Rights Act (passed after his death), Kennedy met with a delegation of 250 religious leaders to discuss the issue. The meeting was held in the East Room of White House and Kennedy arranged for a follow-up process as well. What he did not do was take religious instructions, as opposed to exchanging ideas and opinions.

    So much for conservatives “Plan A”—slandering JFK. Now conservatives are trying “Plan B”–pretending that Kennedy was actually a conservative all along, just in time for the 50th anniversary of his assassination. They’ve tried this repeatedly with Dr. Martin Luther King, but they never get any traction outside of the Fox News crowd—though not for lack of trying. Now they’re going after Kennedy as well, lead by Ira Stoll and his new book, “JFK, Conservative.”

    Stoll’s got his work cut out for him. Kennedy was nowhere near as ultra-liberal as King was, but he was quite outfront in proclaiming himself a liberal, most notably in a a speech accepting the presidential nomination of the New York Liberal Party on September 14, 1960, a speech commonly referred to as “Why I am A Liberal.“

    “What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label ‘Liberal?’” Kennedy began by asking, and quickly answered: “If by ‘Liberal’ they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of ‘Liberal.’”

    Thus, from the very beginning Kennedy brings up—and rejects—the conservative framing of what it means to be a liberal, not just for himself, but for the Liberal Party as a whole. So much for the conservatives’ Plan A. He then quickly lays out what it does mean, instead:

    But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

    Never mind what Kennedy himself said, however. Being a conservative, Ira Stoll is sure he knows better, although Daniel Larison at the American Conservative disagrees—“No, J.F.K. Wasn’t a Conservative,” his response is titled, as if Kennedy himself hadn’t made it clear enough.

    So, how does Stoll try to pull off this switcheroo? Here’s a taste, from a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” as he responded to being asked why JFK is a conservative:

    He pioneered supply side tax cuts and built up the military while restraining domestic spending and wanted to reform welfare. He appointed to the Supreme Court the justice who wrote the dissent in the abortion case of Roe v. Wade. He was religious and believed America was locked in the war against the godless Soviet Union and he wanted to win.

    Note that there’s not a word about the “New Frontier,” about civil rights, or Medicare, the Peace Corps or putting a man on the moon—none of the things that people at the time might have associated Kennedy with. And there’s certainly no comparison of Kennedy’s politics with any recognized conservative of that time—Barry Goldwater, or Ronald Reagan, for example.

    In sharp contrast to Kennedy’s actual record, which is filled with specific accomplishments, what stands out from the mish-mash Stoll presented more than anything else is how utterly flimsy his case is. It’s as if he’s just going through the motions of pretending to show that Kennedy was a conservative, so that those who follow him can pretend to be convinced. What’s going on here is a form of play-acting ritual, in which Stoll claims Kennedy as a member of his tribe, all whom cheer him on… except for spoiled sports like Larison, that is.

    Instead of a coherent argument, we’re treated to an arbitrary hodge-podge that comes across like a bit from “SNL or Comedy Central. We get claims ranging from downright false (“He pioneered supply side tax cuts”, u”m, no—his were Keynesian, demand-side cuts), to misleading (his welfare reform went in a more liberal direction), to irrelevant (“He was religious”), to bizarre—a precognition-based argument about one Supreme Court dissenting opinion a decade after his death. Individually, each claim is ludicrous on its face. Stoll’s only hope is to keep them constantly in motion, as in a game of three-card monte.

    So let’s slow them down a bit, and see just how ludicrous they are:

    Claim #1: He pioneered supply side tax cuts.

    Truth: Kennedy actually never passed his tax cuts. More importantly though, supply-side theory wasn’t even invented until the 1970s. As explained, for example, by Robert Schlessinger at US News and World Report, in a piece titled “The Myth of JFK as Supply Side Tax Cutter”, Kennedy’s tax cuts were based on Keynesian demand-side theory: cutting taxes would increase the amount of money people had to spend, thus increasing demand and stimulating the economy. Not only was the logic the opposite of what was claimed, the rate he wanted was astronomical compared to rates today: He wanted to bring top rates down from 91 percent to 65 percent—enough to get him called a Kenyan socialist nowadays!

    Finally, although supply-side theory didn’t yet exist, one of the ideas it was built on was much older—the idea that wealth would trickle down from the wealthy if they had more money. This was an idea that Kennedy openly rejected. In a piece specifically refuting Stoll, Matt Steinglass at the Economist quoted Kennedy supporting an increase and expansion of the minimum wage, saying, “The bill will extend to the lowest paid workers—to 3½ million men and women and their families—a fairer opportunity to share our high standard of living.To pass them by—to water down the help they need, or merely assume that prosperity at the top will someday reach them—shocks the conscience of those who care.”

    Claim #2: [JFK] built up the military while restraining domestic spending.

    Truth: We were at the peak of the Cold War in the 1960s, so it’s not surprising that Kennedy felt military necessity could trump fiscal concerns. That’s more a reflection of pragmatic judgement than of ideology. More significant, in terms of defense policy, is the fact that he avoided a war in Laos which many assumed was inevitable when he took office—instead signing a treaty ensuring its neutrality—and that he resisted repeated pressure from the Pentagon to commit to ta full-scale war in Vietnam, although he did send advisers, which opened the way to combat troops after his assassination. (For more on this, see American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War by David Kaiser). These actions don’t say much about Kennedy’s ideology either—they simply reflect his pragmatic judgement that it wasn’t very smart to get involved in a land war in Asia, particularly so close to China.

    As for “restraining domestic spending”, he may have done so as a whole—in part because of opposition in Congress, which was clearly the case with Medicare—but he was quite aggressive when it came to using economic stimulus to revive the economy, including increased anti-poverty spending. Kennedy had been in office less than two weeks when he delivered his “Special Message to the Congress: Program for Economic Recovery and Growth” on February 2, 1961. As summarized by Wikipedia, his legislative proposals in this speech included:

    1. The addition of a temporary thirteen-week supplement to jobless benefits,

    2. The extension of aid to the children of unemployed workers,

    3. The redevelopment of distressed areas,

    4. An increase in Social Security payments and the encouragement of earlier retirement,

    5. An increase in the minimum wage and an extension in coverage,

    6. The provision of emergency relief to feed grain farmers, and

    7. The financing of a comprehensive homebuilding and slum clearance program.

    Real Tea Party stuff, right? In the speech, Kennedy also mentioned his intention to ask for targeted tax cuts to spur investment—not across-the-boards cuts in tax rates. This absence is yet another sign that supply-side tax-cutting played no role in his thinking about how to promote economic growth. What’s more, these weren’t just proposals:

    The following month, the first of these seven measures became law, and the remaining six measures had been signed by the end of June. Altogether, the economic stimulus program provided an estimated 420,000 construction jobs under a new Housing Act, $175 million in higher wages for those below the new minimum, over $400 million in aid to over 1,000 distressed counties, over $200 million in extra welfare payments to 750,000 children and their parents, and nearly $800 million in extended unemployment benefits for nearly three million unemployed Americans.

    A regular Newt Gingrich! Or Paul Ryan!

    Claim #3: [JFK] wanted to reform welfare.

    Truth: Forget want, JFK did reform welfare—by making it more liberal and more generous. Most significantly, under Kennedy, it was expanded from a program providing (and titled) “Aid to Dependent to Children” [ADC] to one covering their parents as well, retitled : “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” [AFDC]. Other expansions in the area of welfare included initiation of the food stamp program, expansion of school lunch and school milk programs, a 20% increase in Social Security benefits and introduction of early retirement, plus benefits extended to an additional five million Americans. That was JFK’s idea of “welfare reform.”

    Claim #4 He appointed to the Supreme Court the justice who wrote the dissent in the abortion case of Roe v. Wade.

    Truth: That’s absolutely true. But the implication that Kennedy was guided by his inner conservatism and amazing precognitive powers? Not so much. Hhe also appointed the justice who wrote the decision in Griswold, the case legalizing the use of contraceptives, based on an implicit right to privacy in the Constitution. That decision directly laid the foundation on which Roe was based. So even if we’re going to score Kennedy on his precognitive intent regarding abortion, it’s going to be a toss-up at best.

    Claim # 5: He was religious

    Truth: And like all religious liberals, he was a strong believer in separation of chuch and state. Don’t argue with me, Ira Stoll. Argue with Rick Santorum.

    Claim #6: [He] believed America was locked in the war against the godless Soviet Union and he wanted to win.

    Truth: I’ll let Steinglass, from the Economist handle this one:

    Liberals believed that the strength of the West’s mixed state-private economies, their ability to provide better social safety nets, deliver more aid to poor countries, and lead the world in science, would make them more attractive than communism. If being anti-communist makes you a conservative, every single elected federal officeholder in American history has been a conservative.

    Okay, I can’t resist. Kennedy also said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Thus, unlike Reagan, he was not an enthusiastic backer of authoritarian dictators, in Latin America or anywhere else. He wisely saw that some forms of anti-communism were extremely counter-productive, and so he avoided them as best he could. Again, he was a pragmatist.

    These were not the only false, foolish, or misleading things that Stoll had to say in just that one media appearance. He also claimed “his [JFK's] big domestic policy achievement was this tax cut, not just the income and capital gains tax cut but also a tariff cut.” But actually, Kennedy’s income and capital gains tax cuts were passed after he was assassinated, and were signed into law by his successor, Lyndon Johnson. So how do they count as any sort of “domestic policy achievement,” much less as “his big domestic policy achievement”?

    This is, to put it simply, pure invention on Stoll’s part. Why not name the Civil Rights Act or Medicare as “his big domestic policy achievement”? They were also proposed by Kennedy, but passed under Johnson, and they were far more central to what JFK wanted his legacy to be. What’s more, there is no mistaking Kennedy’s intentions on either of them: he made major nationally-televised addresses on each of them, staking out unmistakably liberal positions.

    This brings us to another ludicrous claim that Stoll makes—about comparing Kennedy to more recent presidents:

    There’s a whole last chapter in the book sort of takes it up to the present day, through Reagan and Clinton and Carter and even Obama who some people have said it a lot like Kennedy. I reject the Obama/Kennedy comparison. I think the president most like Kennedy was actually Ronald Reagan, who based his 1980 campaign in a former Kennedy retreat in Virginia, used to talk constantly about Kennedy’s tax cuts on the campaign trail, talk about Kennedy’s strength in foreign policy and military buildup and used to say, which is still true, when conservatives talk about Kennedy like this, it makes liberals tear out their hair.

    It’s highly likely that where Reagan based his 1980 campaign had more to do with Nancy’s astrologer than JFK’s politics. Either way, much more significant in terms of politics was where Reagan chose to kick off his campaign: Philadelphia…Mississippi, that is. It’s a town known to the world for just one other thing: the murder of three civil rights workers during “Freedom Summer” in 1964. In launching his campaign there, Reagan was aligning himself with memory of George Wallace, directly counter to JFK. And it hardly needs saying that Reagan’s ease as an actor pretending to be like JFK says absolutely nothing about what’s actually true.

    For a reality check, we should turn once again to the subject of Medicare, which I touched on above. In 1960, Medicare was part of Kennedy’s campaign platform. Just 10 days after he was inaugurated, he mentioned it in his first State of the Union, saying, “Measures to provide health care for the aged under Social Security, and to increase the supply of both facilities and personnel, must be undertaken this year.” Then just another 11 days after that, On February 9, 1961, Kennedy delivered his “Special Message to the Congress on Health and Hospital Care”. The very first section of proposals was titled “Health Insurance For The Aged”. He recommended “enactment of a health insurance program under the Social Security system” that would provide inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing home services, hospital outpatient clinic diagnostic services and community visiting nurse services, and related home health services—in short, Medicare.

    There was powerful resistance, but Kennedy persevered—and more. His advocacy wasn’t just limited to normal, conventional political means. Like Obama, he went over the heads of his congressional opponents, speaking directly to the American people. On May 20, 1962, he gave a speech advocating for Medicare before nearly 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden, which was broadcast by all three networks. There were 32 other rallies being held at the same time that night. There was no mistaking how high a priority this was with him. In that speech, Kennedy said, “The fact of the matter is that what we are now talking about doing, most of the countries of Europe did years ago. The British did it 30 years ago. We are behind every country, pretty nearly, in Europe, in this matter of medical care for our citizens.” Remarkably, 50 years later, President Obama could truthfully repeat this statement, almost word for word in support of Obamacare.

    In sharp contrast to JFK, Ronald Reagan was the chief spokesperson against Medicare. Typically, he did not offer factual arguments, but wild, hyperbolic accusations instead. In a taped anti-Medicare message, “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine,” paid for in part by the AMA, Reagan warned that, “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism has been by way of medicine,” and closed by urging people to contact Congress with their opposition, warning that, “If you don’t do this, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in American when men were free.”

    Reagan’s argument sounds quite familiar, of course. It sounds a lot like the Tea Party railing against Obamacare. Yet, according to Stoll, Kennedy, the leading Medicare advocate, had more in common with Ronald Reagan, the Medicare arch foe, than he had in common with Barack Obama, whose signature achievement was further expanding medical coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.

    It’s not just that Stoll is wrong on the facts. He has utter contempt for them. He is not even trying to make a factual argument. He’s only trying to create the appearance of one. As I said above, he’s going through the motions of pretending to show Kennedy was a conservative, so that other conservatives can pretend to be convinced. It’s a form of play-acting ritual, meant to claim Kennedy as a member of the conservative tribe. This is not a rational exercise, but an ethno-religious one.

    This recalls Karen Armstrong’s distinction between mythos and logos in the introduction to The Battle For God. The realm of actual political policies belongs to the realm of logos, the realm of how things work in the world. But the realm of political rhetoric, symbolism and identity formation belongs primarily to the realm of mythos, the realm of meaning and purpose. In the purest sense, Armstrong explained:

    Myth only became a reality when it was embodied in cult, rituals, and ceremonies which worked aesthetically upon worshipers, evoking within them a sense of sacred significance and enabling them to apprehend the deeper currents of existence.

    Stoll claiming JFK as a conservative is that same sort of thing—a ceremony or ritual. It’s not a rational argument at all, although it ritually presents itself as such. It is much the same as the Tea Party claiming to be based on the Constitution. It doesn’t matter that intellectually it doesn’t add up—it only needs the facade, enough to keep up appearances for the sake of a convincing ritual. That’s all, and nothing more. Anyone who is not convinced, not swept up in the ritual, is simply dismissed as one who doesn’t understand—a Kenyan anti-colonial revolutionary… or perhaps, just a liberal. Unlike Kennedy, of course.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On November 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      I don’t know if JFK was a conservative (if he was, he wasn’t a good one) but I do know he admired a statist leader

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329556/How-JFK-secretly-ADMIRED-Hitler-Explosive-book-reveals-Presidents-praise-Nazis-travelled-Germany-Second-World-War.html

      • Tourist  On November 4, 2013 at 3:30 AM

        “but I do know he admired a statist leader”

        I didn’t know that, so I read the article. I still don’t know that. I noticed that the article was from last May and wondered how I missed the commotion, so I googled and got pages of links. The ten or more that I clicked were all the same article, making the count so far one.

        Oh, I’m not disputing it. As I said, I read it. It’s about publication in Germany of an “explosive book . . . embarrassingly close to a visit being paid to Berlin next month by President Obama” drawing heavily on Kennedy’s pre-WWII travel diaries and letters. Here is the presentation – I report; you decide – of every Kennedy quote in the article:

        (Article) ‘Fascism?’ wrote the youthful president-to-be in one. ‘The right thing for Germany.’

        +++ Were the two sentences contiguous or was there something between them? What’s the context? Is fascism being admired or analyzed? In what respect was it the right thing for Germany?

        (Article) In another; ‘What are the evils of fascism compared to communism?’

        +++ Is there an answer? Was he talking about the lesser of two evils? Would that mean he admired one?

        (Article) And on August 21, 1937 – two years before the war that would claim 50 million lives broke out – he wrote: ‘The Germans really are too good – therefore people have ganged up on them to protect themselves.’

        +++ Too good at what? Something to be protected from, apparently. Is “too good militarily” a possibility?

        (Article) And in a line which seems directly plugged into the racial superiority line plugged by the Third Reich he wrote after travelling through the Rhineland: ‘The Nordic races certainly seem to be superior to the Romans.’

        +++ Superior at what? In the Rhineland that could be winemaking, beer-making or both.

        (Article) Other musings concern how great the autobahns were – ‘the best roads in the world’ – and how, having visited Hitler’s Bavarian holiday home in Berchtesgaden and the tea house built on top of the mountain for him. He declared; ‘Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.’

        +++ Admiring the highways is troubling. As a political reference, Hitler remains popular today. The last part is hardly wrong. Does the rest express some degree of admiration, or is “will emerge from the hatred” a prediction? Is there more? If not, Kennedy should be asked what he meant.

        (Article) Kennedy’s admiration for Nazi Germany is revealed in a book entitled . . . .

        +++ Perhaps, but not by these quotes in the article.

        (Article) But his praise of Hitler in a country still struggling to come to terms with his legacy may prove awkward for Obama who will visit Berlin for wide-ranging talks with Chancellor Merkel on June 18 and 19.

        +++ Where, precisely, have we seen “praise” thus far?

        (Article) ‘It is evident that the Germans were scary for him,’ said Spiegel magazine in Berlin.

        +++ Praise?

        (Article) In the diaries of the three trips he made to prewar Germany he also recognised; ‘Hitler seems to be as popular here as Mussolini in Germany [?], although propaganda is probably his most powerful weapon.’

        +++ Are we saying he admired Mussolini, too? Or does this read like a search for understanding as recorded to oneself in travel diaries?

        (Article) Observers say his writings ranged between aversion and attraction for Germany.

        +++ Is “Germany” the Nazis or is it Hitler, or something else, or doesn’t that matter?

        (Article) The book also contains his impressions when walking through a shattered Berlin after the war: ‘An overwhelming stench of bodies – sweet and nauseating’.

        +++ An aide-memoire, yes. Maybe or maybe not the beginnings of a manifesto.

        (Article) And of the recently deceased Fuehrer he said; ‘His boundless ambition for his country made him a threat to peace in the world, but he had something mysterious about him. He was the stuff of legends.’

        +++ The Project for the New American Century reflected boundless ambition for the country. Threat to world peace? So Kennedy was not entirely blinded by the light. Something mysterious? Jim Jones, Charles Manson, David Koresh, John Brown. Stuff of legends? Genghis Khan, Mao Zedong, Alexander the Great, Winston Churchill, George Washington. We still ask the questions: How? Why? What made them what they were?

        (Article) The book editor’s believe that he was ‘eerily fascinated’ by fascism.

        +++ The book’s editors seem to be promoting a book.

        I could be wrong.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 4, 2013 at 5:42 PM

          Well, you can parse every sentence you want and apparently you parsed them all. Another of those ‘it’s complicated’ defenses

          The only thing I will say is it wouldn’t be news if it was published before.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On November 4, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    Which US president said he ‘is really good at killing people’?

    A) George W. Bush
    B) Millard Fillmore
    C) Bill Clinton
    D) The Chosen One
    E) both C and D

    • Tourist  On November 4, 2013 at 3:31 AM

      Is this why liberalism is a failure?

      • pittsburgh_dad  On November 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        Well, it is one of many examples as to why it’s a failure. The overarching reason it is a failure is that the philosophy, by definition, is hypocritical

      • pittsburgh_dad  On November 4, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        BTW, it’s a trick question. The answer is actually E. While Clinton never said it publicly, it is clear from many internet blog sites that he is quite accomplished at killing people

        • Little_Minx  On November 7, 2013 at 11:20 AM

          You can find anything you want on the Internet, but that doesn’t make it so.

          • Little_Minx  On November 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

            “[I]t is clear from many internet blog sites…” That reminds me of a video clip on TV in which anti-vaccine bimbo Jenny McCarthy is asked how she became an expert on the topic, to which she replied that she Googled it. Ranks right up there with Michele Bachmann opposing the anti-HPV vaccine because she said a woman came up to her once and claimed the vaccine had caused her daughter’s mental retardation.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On November 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

              Well, I was being a bit facetious about Clinton. While he is a rapist and did some nasty stuff in Arkansas before he was governor, those websites aren’t totally convincing when it comes to whether he had people killed. Although the possibility certainly exists that they are accurate

              I think I’d rather be someone who may have repeated info. provided to her that was incorrect than to be someone who purposely lied in order to ensure the passage of a health care law that will now result in millions of people being negatively affected in ways yet to be imagined

  • Little_Minx  On November 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    When reporters don’t bother to REPORT!

    “A failure to ‘ask the questions’ / Why didn’t NBC, Fox News, or CBS 2 examine Deborah Cavallaro’s insurance cancellation story before they aired it—like the LA Times did?”

    http://www.cjr.org/the_second_opinion/why_didnt_nbc_fox_news_or_cbs_2_examine_this_obamacare_insurance_cancellation_story_before_they_aired_it.php?page=all

    Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in suburban Los Angeles, sure became a minor media celeb last week. Cavallaro, a 60-year-old blonde, emerged as a face of a story to which reporters came inexcusably late: Some people in the individual insurance market are receiving cancellation letters from their insurance providers, along with offers to buy often pricier Obamacare-compliant policies. Cavallaro has been on the media circuit telling her story with well-polished phrases, convincing outrage, and pithy sound bites tailor-made for the broadcast news. Why, she almost sounded media-trained.

    [Turns out, she told her tale of woe on NBC Nightly News, MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, CNBC’s Morning Bell with Maria Bartiromo, CBS Channel 2 in LA, public radio's Marketplace, AND Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto, without any reporters vetting her story]

    On Thursday, LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik offered a mini-expose of sorts, “debunk[ing]” Cavallero’s “Obamacare horror story,” which, he explained, was “the product of her own misunderstandings, abetted by a passel of uninformed and incurious news reporters.”

    Hiltzik told me that he asked Cavallaro if she had shopped the insurance exchange, and Cavallaro said she’d contacted a broker who had shopped for her (she did mention the exchanges on CNBC, asserting “I’d be paying more for the exchange plans than I am currently paying by a wide margin.”) Apparently, the broker didn’t do a very good job of it. Because Hiltzik did a little shopping around on California’s health plan exchange—independent reporting!—and found Cavallero was eligible for a subsidy of $200 a month, which would help give her affordable options after all, and concluded that Obamacare actually gives her “vastly more affordable” coverage than she has now. The Obamacare PR shop was so pleased with Hiltzik’s story, it sent around a press release touting the findings of Hiltzik’s shopping trip. Why didn’t reporters, other than Hiltzik, check out Cavallaro’s story—independently confirm whether her “only” options were indeed pricier than her current plan—before they spread it far and wide?

    Cavallaro, appearing Friday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, told Hewitt (who asked if she felt used by the LA Times’ Hiltzik) that “in all fairness to Michael Hiltizk…he was doing a good reporting job, because he did ask the questions. And Michael, if you’re listening, I mean, I think you did ask the questions that nobody else asked.” Why didn’t any other reporters ask? (Cavallaro went on to tell Hewitt that even if she may not be paying more under Obamacare, it’s actually the “shrunken network” of doctors she’s worried about—a topic I’ve suggested reporters explore—and they have).

    Hiltzik concluded in his piece that Cavallaro “has been very poorly served by the health insurance industry and the news media,” reporting that maybe Anthem didn’t properly explain her options. I raised that problem when I told the story of a Pennsylvania woman who was not advised by Aetna in its cancellation letter last summer that she might be eligible for a subsidy. In the American Prospect, Paul Waldman asserted “there’s something fishy going on here, not just from the reporters, but from the insurance companies.” But that’s another story. This post is about the media, and Cavallaro’s appearances on so many news shows suggest either that someone or some organization offered up her story or that journos lazily cribbed from each other in their effort to personalize their Obamacare “horror story” segments. (I tried to reach Cavallaro to ask how her local CBS station—her first media appearance on this topic, as far as I can tell—found her. She has not returned my calls.) More importantly, regardless of how reporters connected with Cavallaro, too many of them failed to independently investigate her statements.

    Generally, I’m a big fan of trying to put a human face on a complex problem. But reporters playing the anecdote game would do well to consider Alex Koppelman’s recent New Yorker piece, “Why Obamacare Might Help the Man on Fox.” Koppelman reported on a couple with two sons in the market for new insurance. They seem like the perfect couple for a story about the Affordable Care Act—except they aren’t. The dad was a lobbyist for the Association of Mature Americans, a conservative alternative to the AARP (liberal groups, too, have “ordinary people” they can tap as anecdotes to buttress their side of the story when a reporter calls.). Koppelman noted that Fox News reporter Jim Angle, in his story featuring the couple, “does not appear to have ever disclosed” the dad’s work to viewers.

    On November 3, The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn wrote about another “poster child for the Obamacare cancellation story” whose story, upon closer examination, “defies quick and easy description” (ahem, CBS News and Fox News, and, we’d add, NBC and Marketplace). The bottom line is (and it’s so simple, so fundamental, it almost sounds ridiculous): reporters need to vet people and their claims carefully before showcasing them. Anything less is indefensibly poor journalism.

  • Little_Minx  On November 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    “Why Elizabeth Warren cares about funding the social sciences”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2013/11/06/why-elizabeth-warren-cares-about-funding-the-social-sciences/?wprss=rss_politics&tid=pp_widget

    By Henry Farrell / November 6 at 1:06 pm

    Science Magazine reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pushing back hard against Sen. Tom Coburn’s attack on National Science Foundation funding for the social sciences.

    “Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) issued a full-throated endorsement of the value of basic research to the nation—and to her colleagues in the U.S. Congress. “When policymakers tie the hands of social science researchers,” Warren said, “they are tying their own hands.” … “Social science research is a compass for policymakers,” she added. “It points us in the right direction.” Placing restrictions on what NSF can fund, she warned, “will threaten the ability of Congress to make good decisions by cutting off the pipeline of rigorous analysis to identify what policies work and what policies don’t work.” Warren said she was confident that Congress “will eventually” remove the Coburn language, but that the timing is uncertain. “The question is how long it will take.””

    Science highlights Warren’s own NSF funded research when she was an academic. However, she not only did serious research as an academic — she also thought hard about the relationship between funding and research. In 2002, she wrote an article, “The Market for Data: The Changing Role of Social Sciences in Shaping the Law,” which rebuts in advance the generic argument that the U.S. government should stop funding social science, because if this “research is as valuable as its proponents say, someone other than the U.S. Treasury will pay for it.”

    As Warren points out, people are prepared to pay for social science data. The problem is that the buyers aren’t interested in finding out what is true. They are interested in pushing results that will promote their economic interests.

    “[A] vigorous market for data exists. Journalists are hungry for “facts” to pepper their reports, lobbyists are eager to promote helpful “facts” and discredit unhelpful “facts” and some in Congress are assembling “facts” to support foregone conclusions … the market is creating an anti-market, in which one study seems to contradict another, leaving policy makers free to ignore all data and making such scholarship not only difficult but useless.”

    Warren documents how financial interests pushing for changes in bankruptcy reform systematically endeavored to create their own data, through commissioning reports and funding friendly research centers in academic institutions.

    In this context, NSF funding for research on major social and political questions can play a crucial role. On the one hand, it provides researchers with alternative sources of funding than the economic interests who would like them to take one side or another on controversial questions. The NSF is in the business of funding researchers who don’t know the answers, but would like to find out what they are, regardless of which interests are discomfited and advantaged. It doesn’t fund research that looks like it wants to support preordained conclusions.

    On the other, the existence of NSF-funded data helps keep even special interest-funded research a little more honest than it otherwise would be. The NSF tries to make good quality data publicly available. This makes it tougher for researchers who rely on special interests for continued funding to maintain credibility while using their own proprietary data, which may be skewed subtly or substantially. People are much more likely to ask uncomfortable questions about why they aren’t using the publicly available data, and why they aren’t (as they usually aren’t) prepared to make their own data publicly available.

    Warren’s pushback against efforts to stymie NSF funding for the social sciences isn’t a Damascene conversion. It’s the newest round in a fight that she has been waging for decades, and that she apparently began long, long before she ever thought seriously about running for elected office.

    Henry Farrell is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He works on a variety of topics, including trust, the politics of the Internet and international and comparative political economy. In addition to his academic work, he has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Financial Times, Democracy, the Washington Monthly and The American Prospect as well as other publications,

    • Little_Minx  On November 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Link to “Science” article:

      http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2013/11/senator-warren-says-fighting-science-top-priority

      • Devildog  On November 6, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        Warren says “social science research” is a compass, it leads us in the right direction. The right direction-sure, the direction that the researcher wants to lead us. She implies that interest-funded social science research might not be honest. Well, if that’s true, why might not all such research be biased in the direction of the belief of the researcher. And, while I do not have facts to support my belief, I do believe that the great preponderance of so-called social scientists are so-called progressives. The do-gooders, the bleeding hearts. Their research will reflect their beliefs-it always does. Tell me the researcher and the title of their study and I will tell you the outcome of the study. It’s always more programs and more money. Has any social science study resulted in the elimination of a program. Probably none but someone can cite one-the exception that proves the rule.

        Warren mentions “basic research”. She must be kidding. Save this basic research garbage for the hard sciences and save limited government funding for the hard sciences and maybe we’ll get some discoveries that actually help people.

        Go guy (Coburn).

        • Little_Minx  On November 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

          So, social science research is OK if it fits your pre-ordained agenda? That’s not science, it’s demagoguery. Social science is indeed real science; it doesn’t necessarily add or subtract programs, but may well change them. Your world might be rocked if you followed this journalist’s reporting:

          http://www.npr.org/people/137765146/shankar-vedantam

          • Devildog  On November 7, 2013 at 3:21 PM

            Hi, Minx. To answer your question as to whether social science is ok (with me) if it meets my pre-ordained agenda, the answer is it is not ok “period” (as Obama said about Obamacare) because it too often meets the “pre-ordained agenda” of the researcher. Hard science needs to be replicated under IDENTICAL circumstances, which can’t be done with social science.

            Thanks for the link to Vendantam. As is so often the case with your links, it has helped to prove my case. Outside of journalism, he writes fiction and is the author of the so-called non-fiction book, “The Hidden Brain, How our subconscious minds elect presidents… Hmmm. He has also written, “Why are kids who get less candy happier on Halloween”, “Study sheds light on criminal activity during time change” and Shhh, the kids can hear you arguing (even when they’re asleep”. Double hmmm. Each day it seems, the PG contains a report of a study of similar absurdity-that is published in a supposedly respectable journal.

            Hey, we all have to “earn” a living (well, maybe not all of us) but don’t come to me (the taxpayer) for funding.

            • Little_Minx  On November 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

              He also writes fiction? Oh, the horror! Anyone who ever writes fiction is permanently disqualified from having anything factual they also write believed? Baby, meet bath water. Guess you also disregard any science that Isaac Asimov wrote about, because he also wrote fiction. Fiction couldn’t possibly be a way of presenting ideas more clearly? Maybe ALL literature should be banned in Dd-ville.

              http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/11/should-literature-be-useful.html?mbid=gnep&google_editors_picks=true

              • Devildog  On November 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

                His fiction is in the guise of non-fiction. Tell me you believe his “studies” that I cited (and there are more like those that i didn’t cite). Maybe he almost got it right about our sub-conscious electing Obama. I think it was more unconscious than sub-conscious. My grandkids are truly “exceptional”. The more candy they get the happier they are. And, in addition to being happy for them, the happier I am because they give me more of their loot.

                Your fiction discussion has nothing to do with what I am talking about-just another red herring. Try LIR.

  • Little_Minx  On November 6, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Did anyone else who voted in PA. yesterday NOT get asked to show their ID, either? We weren’t, although we’ve been voting at the same precinct for decades (and pretty much the same officials have worked the polls there all that time too, so we’ve long recognized one another on sight). I confess to being slightly disappointed, though, because I was all prepared to reply in my politest tone of voice when asked to produce an ID — because the poll workers would just have been doing their job, and have always been unfailingly courteous to us — “I decline.”

    • toadsly  On November 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      In Fombell, I wasn’t asked for ID. But every candidate ran unopposed.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On November 6, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      I would suggest that will change in 2014, 2016 at the latest

      • Little_Minx  On November 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        I seriously doubt it.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 7, 2013 at 11:31 PM

          Only a matter of time

  • Little_Minx  On November 7, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Just for fun, Create Your Visited States and Provinces Map:

    http://www.defocus.net/visitedstates/us-canada.html

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