There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
So began each week’s episode of Rod Serling’s classic televison anthology series. I submit to you the theory that this is where Congressman Paul Ryan (R. Wisc.) resides. Perhaps not him corporeally but his fame and recognition for his budgetary acumen is beyond human comprehension
He is considered to be somewhat of a guru regarding the federal budget and the goal of deficit reduction if not elimination. He even draws praise for this alleged acumen from liberal pundits and other who should know better.
But anything more than a cursory examination of the budget proposals he has submitted, at least since Barack Obama assumed office (and the Republicans were all of a sudden against the very deficit spending and accumulation of national debt that had marked the George W. Bush years), will reveal that his plans are unrealistic, unaccomplishable, and ultimately fatuous and beyond any reasonable approach.
I first pointed out the fraudulent nature of his positions about two years  ago, and I am not alone in my contempt for his budget nonsense. Yet he keeps gaining a forum to give air to his proposals while I keep sensing deja vu all over again as we once again return to that fifth dimension of the imagination.
Imagination is fine when it leads to practical creativity—in fact such imagination is commendable in those circumstances. But Ryan in no way qualifies for commendation, only condemnation.
His main idea, presented in various garb, with the same sagging body underneath, is to lower taxes, ostensibly for everyone but in reality just putting more cash in the pockets of the already rich. At the same time he wants to slash spending and virtually discard Medicare and Medicaid though that goal is disguised by the use of subterfuges like block grants and vouchers.
But amidst all this slashed spending he wants to increase the allotment to our national defense even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan  come to a close while our bloated defense budget is already the largest on Earth and approximately 40% of the total amount devoted to the military on this planet.
For an example of what I speak of regarding taxes, here’s an overview of exactly what Ryan’s proposed new tax rates would mean for Americans.
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman in essence agrees with my evaluation of Ryan, havingh deemed him a “flim flam man” back in 2010. He does seem to believe that the enhancing patina on Ryan is now wearing thin in some quarters. Here he discusses alternate budget proposals which are still not cure-alls, or even adoptable, but which do offer a better vison of how to move forward without doing so on the backs of the folks who can least afford it.
What should be emphasized is that, despite the noise, the worst aspect of Ryan’s budgets is that they do not end deficit spending, at least right away. Previous versions brought the budget into balance only after another thirty years or more of deficits. And remember, in the simplest terms, our national debt that Republicans attack as so horrific, is the mere accumulation of deficits, so that debt will continue to grow for that same period.
Now Ryan reconfigures his plans to reduce that period to perhaps ten years, but he does so based on dubious assumptions and without specifying which reforms in our tax laws, not the rates themselves, will be implemented to achieve his goals.
Considering the potential destructiveness if Ryan’s budget would be enacted, I would think he may have been watching too many repeats of that classic Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”.
I’m just not in the mood to be his Happy Meal.
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  • Devildog  On March 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Every time UMOC “opens his mouth”, he confirms what I have said. UMOC, you are Definitely not Left 3.0-you are a dinosaur of the left. Tourist-is UMOC part of the Left 3.0 group in your opinion.

    • Tourist  On March 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Devildog, remember this one?

      Me: “Devildog, you like to try to set UMOC and me against each other.”

      You: “Not so, tourist.”

    • umoc193  On March 18, 2013 at 7:02 AM

      Me? A dinosaur? Hmmmm, well I guess that would mean I cavorted with Adam and Eve according to some Creationists, but they were always complaining about their matching outfits. Just no variety in fig leaves it seems.

      But if you mean dinosaur in the sense that my ideas are totally out of date I have to question your sanity.

      I was raised in a conservative Republican working class household. But my parents were far more progressive in certain ways than are the most vocal of present-day conservatives. I say that based more on how they lived their lives rather than any extensive political discussions within the household or any political activism outside of it. They were probably social conservatives, too, though in the 50’s and 60’s the social issues at today’s forefront were not even on the radar back then.

      My evolution into my current state of liberalism is still a work in progress. I refuse to align myself with any particular segment of liberalism as i believe that narrows my ability to think independently. While there are many liberals of various stripes I admire and respect and feel very compatible with, there is no one who I follow straight down the line.

      By the way, Devil Dog, you have siad several times in your comments about how I act like I am absolutely right on the positions I take and everyone who disagrees with me is wrong. Guess what? It’s my blog, expressing my views and that is my main purpose, to give vent to my opinions that I very strongly believe in. I don’t expect universal or even widespread agreement with me. If someone presents a cogent, rational argument, especially linked to facts that may be more persuasive than ones I used to make my case, there is potential for my mind to be changed. So far that has not occurred though I have been greeted with some challenging questions on many occasions.

      Another by the way. Bin Laden’s son-in-law was ARRESTED in February and ten days ago was arraigned in a CIVILIAN CRIMINAL COURT in New York City, accused of conspiring to kill Americans.

      Geez, why is he so privileged, or were our drones out of fuel?

      • umoc193  On March 18, 2013 at 7:50 AM

        A little bit more food for though re: Ryan’s budget proposals.

      • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        UMOC, you are a dinasour on the left compared to what I understand to be the new left, Left 3.0. To link what you did about Ryan’s plan killing people is what I was talking about with Tourist. Yes, it is your blog and you can post whatever absurdity you want but thanks for giving me the opportunity to communicate with “interesting” people (which doesn’t necessarily include you).

        • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:09 PM

          Ryan’s plan, eliminating health insurance for millions, WILL kill people. If you doubt that the lack of insurance leads to premature death then you need to apply more blogical brainpower.

          I do not assert that Ryan intends this consequence only that he probably does not recognize it or consider it in his calculations.

          As for liberals looking at good v evil, good god man, where the hell have you been the past dozen years when GOP and conservative rhetoric is replete with such comparisons. Obama has been called the anti-Christ and worse. I attack the bad ideas from the right not the individuals. I’m sure Ryan doesn’t spend his spare time dismembering small animals…but I cannot guarantee that he doesn’t either.

  • Devildog  On March 17, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Not so Tourist. I was just trying to see if my interpretation of your post was correct(since most of it was written in Japanese) and, if it was, then UMOC is clearly not Left 3.0. It is setting you two apart if UMOC is not in that group. How can he possibly be based on his posts. Just trying to understand and, I must say, he is easier to understand than are you (which no doubt you will take as a compliment not an insult).

    • Tourist  On March 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Devildog, easier to undertand, maybe, but who is more entertaining? The bar I set for myself is to give you your money’s worth.

      • Devildog  On March 17, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Well, tourist, one is definitely not “entertaining” at all and the other wins by default. I see that another non-Left 3.0 has joined the conversation. The more the merrier. I’m sure there are many more “l” dinosaurs out there so let’s here from them.

        Well, now off soon for some chicken yakitori and Sapporo-or maybe Mexican and negra Modelo.

  • Deke James  On March 17, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Well said UMOC.

  • Tourist  On March 17, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Devildog, only by default? Okay, here, now, is why I’m a liberal: I take no offense at that. I’m open to change. Onward, I say! Back to the Future! I shall do better!

    • Devildog  On March 17, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      Tourist, I thought you people changed your preferred identification from liberal to progressive and, if you really are open to change, changing the nomenclature is not enough-try changing your party. On the other hand, my guess is that you would vehemently object to being identified with any party.

      • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        Devildog, nomenclature-wise-speaking, I don’t care. I do agree that the right has shown itself to be much better at co-opting language, and the left has been too defensive. I (just for example) was loud and proud on “Obamacare” as soon as the right started calling it that. When “Barack Hussein Obama” was all the right would call him, I was saying he should be introducing himself that way at every speech. “Death tax”? “Real Americans”? Two cells are a “baby”? Very effective. No one ever said y’all don’t understand propaganda.

        “Progressive” is okay. See below. The only thing I don’t like is that, again, you guys drove us to it. Additionally, though, to me, “progressive” sounds like a political identification. “Liberal” sounds more like what I am: open to change and differences. I don’t even like the word “tolerant” because it’s not for me to *be* tolerant. Do as you like as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. Gay marriage? What’s it to me? What’s it to you?

        Why is that so hard for you people?


        “Progressivism is a general political philosophy advocating or favoring gradual social, political, and economic reform. Modern Progressivism emerged as part of a more general response to the vast social changes brought by industrialization.”

        • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 1:23 AM

          Tourist, I believe that I once wrote that I couldn’t figure you out. That was quite a while ago and I think time has cleared away some of the fog. There’s no wedge possible to be driven between you and UMOC even if one is to try-the only distinction between the two of you (that’s distinction not difference) is one of tone but the both of you think you have the high moral ground rather than that there might be mere political differences.

          “We” have co-opted language and understand propaganda-thanks for the compliment. “You” have been too defensive-poor boy. “We” drove you from using liberal to using progressive. All this is meaningless except it gets me back to you being pure and we being evil. Oh, I forgot, you are liberal (small l) and open to change and differences. Really? As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone-now you sound like a libertarian.

          I liked you better (still like you personally) when I couldn’t tell where you were coming from and not because I hoped you were on my side. We have enough UMOC’s, really too many, already on this site and I still hope you are different.

  • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.
    Oh, Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

    Devildog, you: “All this is meaningless except it gets me back to you being pure and we being evil.”

    Yeah, I’d be insulted by that, too. Really gets the blood boiling. How dare we! I didn’t say either part of it, of course. Ever. Yep! You understand propaganda.

    You: “. . . you think you have the high moral ground rather than that there might be mere political differences.”

    We talk/debate/clash over everything under the Sun here and I don’t think too many of the questions are framed in moral terms. Some have religious roots, which is a kind of morality, but claims to a high ground in that sense tend to come from your side. There’s no reason for you to remember, but I said this in the “Mayan Apocalypse” thread: “Please, seriously: . . . . do we understand – both ways – that the other side cannot always be characterized as being opposed to what is ‘obviously right’”?

    These “might be mere political differences,” you say, and I guess the key word is “might.” It’s impossible to tell. In “Mayan Apocalypse” you said, not for the first time: “I think I challenge the assertions of others rather than make assertions of my own.”

    I’d noticed. You will recall I twice said you were “just trying to agitate.” Maybe you could in fact assert something. I’d like to hear an alternative to whatever it is you are challenging. And then: “Then what?”

    I’m not interested in philosophies of liberty or eating the rich or doing God’s will. I’m interested in a United States of America that functions politically, economically and socially and is respected in the global community of the 21st century, and I want us to go to Titan.

    Space exploration has to be discussed seriously. Saving America needs beer.

    • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Tourist, I apologize. As soon as I saw my post, I went hmmm and thought I went way overboard. It is the pure vs. evil that comes from the left (at least in my opinion) that I seek to agitate against. Just look at the link in umoc’s post. Do you ever “come home”-for a beer.

      • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Devildog, no apology necessary. I try to watch things like “pure,” “evil” and “moral high ground,” and try not to get trapped there, because there is some truth in the charge. I just couldn’t let you have the last word on it. It’s a variation of what UMOC does. It isn’t how he says it’s his blog. It’s how he says he has never changed his mind. His errors are always irrelevant to his larger point.

        Same with me. I’m working on it.

        • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 7:27 PM

          And, Tourist, his larger point is? He seems obsessed with Paul Ryan, evil personified, and any one on the left who has shown him even a modicum of respect has been flimflammed by the flimflam man. His Salon link leads us to a disgusting letter (which he calls food for thought) and his Slate article link, which is supposed to destroy Ryan’s budget proposal concludes merely by saying it’s a confusing situation where it’s difficult to say what the consequences will be.

          But it’s his blog!

          • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM

            I am not obsessed with Ryan but find it inexplicable why his “budgetary genius” is so often cited when an in depth look reveals there is no genius at work.

        • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:14 PM

          No, I haven’t changed my mind on my blog topics that have been commented on. That does not mean I have not acknowledged good arguments made by others. But, then again, I haven’t seen any evidence that any of my commenters have changed their minds due to my arguments either. How is that different from me maintaining my stances? (If contrary examples exist I am simply forgetfull of them.)

  • toadsly  On March 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Say, I’ve been remiss in not visiting Umoc’s blog in many moons. After reading some of the most-recent posts, I’ll say it’s quite illuminating, and I’ll start following it again. I don’t agree with all Umoc’s views, but they’re well-written and researched and thought-provoking. Good stuff, this!

    • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Please stop by often. Your POV is always welcome.

  • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Devildog, please try to listen to my tone of voice.

    • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      Okay, tourist, “I’m working on it” also. Not easy but I’m trying.

      • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        Fair enough. I was about to post the next one when I saw this. I’m doing it anyway. Forgive the timing, please.

  • Tourist  On March 18, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Devildog, you remember protecting our troops on the ground, right? The bottom line? Life or death? Kill or be killed? Deal with it? The writer of the Salon piece – “Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan Would Literally Kill Thousands of Americans” – *said* it was hyperbole.

    Let me try one.

    Imagine that I invent The Gizmo, a product with a vast potential market, and that I want to manufacture and sell it according to the principles of free-market economics, corporate finance and accounting. I have decisions to make, from pricing to how many factories I should build. To assist me, there are analytical methods, concepts and formulas. Being me, I will do everything right. (There’s an app for the calculus.) I will of course price my Gizmo high at the start (what the market will bear), and those with the money and who want to have it first will pay. I will then methodically reduce the price, actually selling more Gizmos, then fewer, always profitably. Ultimately, I could sell the final Gizmo to the final customer and my accountant would attest that I made money on it.

    I wouldn’t do that.

    There would have come a point where it would be more profitable to sell fewer Gizmos at higher prices, and a second point where it would be more profitable to stop making them altogether because those factories I built were no longer returning enough to justify the resources tied up in them. I would need something else to make and sell, or something else to invest in, to keep my stock price climbing, or I’d have to up the dividends I paid out. Either way, there would have come a point where the principles of free-market economics, corporate finance and accounting – Wall Street and my shareholders – would dictate that not everybody got a Gizmo.

    Imagine that my Gizmo saved lives.


    Was that hyperbole? Maybe. Deal with the issue anyway.

    • Devildog  On March 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      Hi, Tourist.

      I’m well aware of hyperbole and the headline was that-exaggeration to make a point but IMHO, the rest of the article was exaggeration merely to score political points. It is part of the Democratic gameplan to claim that people in the thousands will die if, and as a result of, the Ryan plan is adopted. And worse still, the people proposing the plan are doing it not because they really believe in it but because they want to further enrich their already rich friends (kind of appealing to their base).

      Don’t really understand your question re Gizmo but I will make some observations and hopefully they will answer your question.

      Your example is a public company and public and private companies often act differently-there could be short and long-term objectives.

      Prices usually start high and get reduced for a variety of reasons but being a do-good er is not usually one of them.

      If my Gizmo saved lives, the price would stay high enough to make a satisfactory profit unless competition arose to do the job at a less expensive price-if not, let the gov’t come in (or Buffett or Gates) so I could make the profit I want.

      Public companies are not eleemosynary institutions and, if they were, the Gizmo may not have been invented/discovered, developed and reached the marketplace.

      Any other questions or requests for further explanation? By the way, my publicly-traded former ccmpany(pharmaceutical)that is engaged in a trial that will last around 10 years and cost about $ 1 billion that many pundits think will not result in an approved drug. But, if it does, and the Company tries to make a profit on this very chancy investment, I anticipate howls from the left, people who can’t get it into their heads that if you control prices as other countries do, that will necessarily result in less research and fewer breakthrough drugs.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 12:11 AM


    Damn! I thought the Gizmo story was cute.

    You are exactly right that public companies are not eleemosynary institutions. I looked it up. We will resolve the issues of cost and quality. Details are for staff. The divide is on access. You and many others believe that the market is the way. My point was this part:

    “[T]he principles of free-market economics, corporate finance and accounting – Wall Street and my shareholders – would dictate that not everybody got a Gizmo.”

    That’s fine when it’s an airline seat. Wasn’t there a town recently that did the same with fire-fighting? In a market for healthcare, not everyone will get healthcare. By design. By definition. By faithful adherence to free-market principles. Shareholder value n’at.

    Unanswered is, what is our objective? What do we actually want? That’s the issue I was saying “deal with.”

    For what it’s worth, I hear you on pharmaceuticals. One of my very best friends spent his career at one of the big companies, most of it managing orphan drugs.

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      Tourist, don’t feel dumb, I’ve had to look up too many words to count. Eleemosynary is a favorite word of private enterprise/free marketers as in corporations are not elee… institutions.

      “our objective”, ” what do we want” you ask. Hmmm.

      Sorry but I must disagree with you, and my Canadian friends wintering here in the desert, that not everyone will get healthcare. Evegryone who is not mentally disabled one way or another and because of that doesn’t want it can get food, healthcare and shelter. I’m not going to get into quality, etc., even though I believe it adequate because I think it’s a privilege not a right. Now there are some people who believe healthcare should be the same for everyone but there isn’t a place in the world where that is true whether it be Canada, Europe or elsewhere. The only people dying in the streets here are those that the ACLU will not permit to be institutionalized.

      Anyway, our objectives and wants require more than a one beer summit(you haven’t answered whether you ever get home for a beer-are you on the run). But my objective and want is that everyone should be given the opportunity to pursue their God-given talents and desires and that we should help thosen not able to help themselves-“we” including but not limited to our governments.

      What do you mean that “not everyone will get healthcare”?

      • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 4:58 AM

        Devildog, let there be no misunderstanding about the beer. Am I interested? Absolutely! Do I see it in our future? Keep hope alive!

        I’ll return to the rest if I can motivate myself. I’m not sure I’m up for all of it, though, and many were better equipped the first, second and third times. You’re basically denying there wasn’t any problem with the American healthcare system to begin with.

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM

          Tourist, please don’t call me an idiot by implying, even asserting, that I don’t believe there is a problem with the American healthcare system. What I said is that healthcare is available to everyone regardless of one’s financial resources. When’s the last time you were in an emergency room or saw people being wheeled into an operating room-without having to pay for the services even though they may be billed in the many thousands.

          There’s a problem for sure but no one is denied necessary healthcare (in my opinion).

          • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:23 PM

            Correction. No one is denied EMERGENCY health care, but necessaty health care is beyond the reach of millions UNTIL they are sick or injured enough to seek emergency care. HTMALA provides the legal basis for that non-turn-away emergency care and the Heritage Foundation came up with the individual mandate that provides for personal responsibility for that care that somehow became verboten on 1-20-09 at noon.

            Better yet would be a public option which I believe could be easily instituted by the expansion of Medicare. There may be other avenues capable of dealing with this. I am awaiting your suggestions.

            • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 10:49 PM

              If you think emergency rooms treat only emergencies, you haven’t been to one in Pittsburgh for quite a while. Good think they triage. I agree with you that both sides have people who call the other side “evil” and the like.

              You are to be commended if you looked at Ryan’s plan “in depth”. How about Obamacare (sorry, ACA-but Tourist said it’s ok to call it that).

              You want answers from conservatives to your questions but since I’m one of the very few here and it’s beyond my pay grade, you will have to look elsewhere. I prefer the troll route.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 5:50 PM


    “Idiot”? I didn’t. But you’re right. You have acknowledged problems with the system. I erred on that. You: ”I don’t know what the answer is to this very complicated issue but I think (that’s think not know) that Obamacare is not a step in the right direction. I think we probably will have some sort of hybrid single payer system in the future in a form I’m not smart enough to predict.”

    I’m still not up for doing the whole topic again, though.

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Ditto! Next time, though, don’t post, “Was that hyperbole. Maybe. Deal with the issue anyway”. Could be wrong but it sounded like you wanted me to address the healthcare system. Anyway, let’s move on.

      For all you people out there, had a somewhat interesting experience at Walmart today while getting a battery for my 1991 Dodge Dynasty (definitely not a 2% car nor a classic. Engaging the guy in idle conversation, as I usually do, I learned he had been laid off from a pretty good job almost three years ago, collected about $1,000 a month in unemployment, started a part-time job with Walmart 6 months ago at 900 a month and recently changed it to full-time at 1,400 when his unemployment ran out (and, yes, it could have been full-time 6 moths ago had he so desired. This guy was an intelligent, well-spoken and to my eyes a good guy doing what so many would do in his position. He would have accepted a position a long time ago if it paid nearly what he was previously paid but as long as he couldn’t find such a position, he was willing to collect unemployment until it almost expired supplemented by part-time work. Just doing a what comes naturally. Keep extending unemployment benefits and that’s what you get. Since it is ending for many, expect the unemployment rate to go down as they need to find jobs albeit at a wage below their desires.

      • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        Actually if he was receiving unemployment his benefits should have been either reduced or eliminated when he procured employment. At least that is so by the rules in most states.

        “Benefits awarded by the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation scheme are calculated using the amount earned by a claimant during the base year. The base year is the 365 days prior to an applicant’s first unemployment compensation claim. Base-year pay is divided into quarters, or groups of three months. Weekly unemployment compensation payments are approximately 4 percent of the amount made during the highest quarter of the base year. For instance, if Jorge made $10,000 during his highest quarter of the base year, his weekly payment will be $10,000 x .04, or $400.”

        Read more: Unemployment Benefits & the Percent of an Average Weekly Salary in Pennsylvania |

        At $1000/month his weekly benefit would be about $235 a week. That would mean he earned $5875 for his qualifying quarter, or $23,500 a year. Now that ain’t rich by any standards.

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 10:56 PM

          Whatever. He would have accepted a full time job if it was near his previous salary. Couldn’t find such a job so preferred pastime plus benefits to full time-until his benefits were running out. Never claimed he was getting rich;only that extending benefits extends full time unemployment in many cases.why all this research. Isn’t it self-evident.

          • umoc193  On March 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM

            Well, no, it is not self-evident. It is one anecdote. Whether it is factually true or not is not determined on the basis of his mere say so. I’m sure there are other factors. Besides, you said he claimed to have been out of work and receiving UC for three years, but the max, now reduced was only 99 weeks at its highest, nowhwere near 3 years.

            • Devildog  On March 21, 2013 at 12:41 AM

              UMOC, I don’t know what kind of dreamworld you’re living in if you don’t think many people “enjoy” being on unemployment benefits until they are about to run out (and don’t ask me how many is many). To deny that it is self-evident is to say much about you (and don’t ask me how much is much).

              • umoc193  On March 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM

                I know people who enjoy undergoing root canals. With millions on UC “many” people enjoying those beenfits is insignificant.

                • Devildog  On March 25, 2013 at 8:06 PM

                  Dream on UMOC. Cite me your social science studies on this if you know of any. I can’t find them.

    • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      Tourist, the ACA is a huge step in the right direction, but that does not mean there is not something better out there. Unfortunately single payer ain’t gonna happen in our lifetimes. After all, look at the “socialism” charges connected with the ACA when it was a conservative plan to begin with.

      BTW, no conservative has ever answered my question as to why the individual mandate, their idea in the first place, was abandoned on 1-20-09 at noon.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Devildog, do you think the gentleman voted Democratic in appreciation for the free ride? Some say that’s the reason Democrats maintain such programs.

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Tourist, I have no idea and didn’t post my comment because of that issue. I did because some Republican (can’t remember who) suggested that some people would remain on unemployment status until shortly before benefits expired and he was roundly condemned by Democrats(or at least one who I also can’t remember) who said that’s demogoguery and those people (or at least not many of them) don’t exist.

      Build it and they shall come, extend benefits and many, many unemployed will stay unemployed. I’m not even criticizing those people;only those legislators who don’t recognize that phenomenon. Something about unintended consequences.

      • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        Devildog, every study of the type our side notoriously believes in says you are right: Extending benefits extends the time some people will collect them. That means I agree with you also in criticizing those who refuse to recognize this. As *you* seem to recognize, that is only part of the story, however. For the fuller picture, we probably need a study.

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 9:13 PM

          Tourist, I’m 100% with your mantra. So maybe we can eliminate the use of the phrase “social science” and call it social art-not to mention eliminating their studies-I’ll give you a compliment by saying I know you were being factious when you said, “we probably need a study”.

      • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        So your example applies to everyone on unemployment?

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 10:59 PM

          UMOC, why would you ask such an absurd question. Of course not everyone but more than you and others might believe.

          • umoc193  On March 20, 2013 at 11:57 PM

            DD, not sure which question you are referring to. Clarify and I’ll respond.

            • Devildog  On March 21, 2013 at 12:16 AM

              Absurd question-So, your example applies to everyone on unemployment?

              • umoc193  On March 25, 2013 at 6:41 PM

                Not an absurd question in the context that your unemployed acquaintance seemed to reinforce your idea of people milking UC benefits based on this one example.

                • Devildog  On March 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM

                  Yes, it is absurd for you to suggest that I believe milking UC applies to everyone one it. My belief-a significant number whatever that means.

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Tourist, the reason Democrats extend such programs infinitively (well beyond your choice of the word “maintain”) is because they have bleeding hearts and either don’t understand or don’t care about unintended consequences. Unread and ununderstood Obamacare may be an example.

      Besides which, nothing wrong with appealing to one’s base.

      • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        Devildog, I expect unintended consequences in all things. My mantra (one of them) is “art, not science.” It’s falling through the cracks I want to minimize.

      • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

        Obviously you buy into the BS that the ACA was so frigging long that Congresscratures couldn’t possibly have read or understand its thousands of pages. Another myth. If the entire bill was put in standard print size and page format with none of the breaks common to any legislation where a single subparaghraph has its own page, its total length would have been shorter than the average Harry Potter book and on the same level of reading comprehension.

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:13 PM

          Just paraphrasing Pelosi.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Devildog, re our mantra, it’s claims of precision I take with a grain of salt, not the correctness of direction in well-developed conclusions. The “art” part is my version of “adapt, improvise.” I know you have a thing about “social science.” (What’s the other kind? Hard science? Maybe.) I’m not sure but I think that’s why they attached the word “social.” Gut reactions can be useful. So can information.

  • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    UMOC, Portman knew about his son being gay for two years before he “evolved” on the subject of gay marriage. Despite “America” evolving on this matter in great numbers, you opined that his evolvement was due solely to his son being gay. So, I ask you, what was the basis of Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s evolvement?

    • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      I dunno. Read their public statements but it seems to me they were looking at the basic humanity involved without it striking enormously close to home. We are not privvy to Portman’s conversations and discussions with his son and I have no desire to be. But it is just as easy to assume that he had difficulties dealing with his son’s gayness and only recently fully accepted it as it is to assume he immediately had no problems with his son but had other influences to change his mind on the marriage issue.

      • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        You dunno? Gimme a break. Nothing further to say.

  • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Congrats, RMC.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    I’m waiting for someone else to ask.

  • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I’m behind the times. It’s RMU, a growing force in Pittsburgh academia (and sports).

    Tourist, when a hard scientist does a study, I can’t predict the outcome (despite claims that the founder determines the outcome. When a social scientist conducts a study, if I know his background and/or the title of the study, I can predict everything one needs to know about the study. Try me out with some obscure study telling me about the author and title.

    • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      If I can find a suitable, obscure study (not right now), I may test you. You’ve said this before and I don’t agree. I get the point; there often *is* built-in bias and worse. But you’re essentially saying (and you will rightly say you didn’t say this) that no one is honest, no one is sincere, no one is trying their best, no one can be trusted.

      “Trust but verify” came from your guy.

      • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 10:35 PM

        Trust but verify hits the nail on the head. Hard science studies must be able to be verified to gain credence. Social science studies are incapable of being scrutinized and verified to the same extent as hard science studies. At least IMHO. Not accusing anyone of anything and, moreover, I don’t concur in any such accusations. But it is what it is (or what I think it is). Ask UMOC what he thinks of pharmaceutical studies conducted by “respected” academicians but funded by big pharma. I just think for whatever reasons-you know what I mean.

    • umoc193  On March 19, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Oh, hogwash. That’s an absurd claim and you know it. It has no basis in fact unlike my assertion that any budget introduced by Ryan is sure to advantage the rich, disadvantage the poor, and still not balance the budget.

      • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:22 PM

        UMOC, when, oh when, will you ever be able to distinguish between a fact and an opinion. Now here’s a fact. I have read newspaper reports of 50 studies and in all fifty, when I learned about the author and read the title, I was able to predict the conclusion. Now that’s a fact!

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Changing the subject . . . back:

    Devildog On March 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM
    “There’s a problem for sure but no one is denied necessary healthcare (in my opinion).”

    umoc193 On March 19, 2013 at 10:23 PM
    “Correction. No one is denied EMERGENCY health care, but necessaty health care is beyond the reach of millions UNTIL they are sick or injured enough to seek emergency care.”

    Devildog On March 19, 2013 at 1:10 AM
    “I’m not going to get into quality, etc., even though I believe it adequate because I think it’s a privilege not a right.”

    There it is: UMOC says “necessary” is beyond reach. Devildog sees “emergency” as all that is necessary. The rest is a privilege.

    We as a nation have never resolved that. I believe this is the very first thing I wrote, four years ago, in this “Pittsburgh” commenting community:

    “By virtue of being born American, one is under an obligation to obey all laws, pay all taxes, and present oneself for jury duty and military service sometimes – not many obligations, but substantial ones. In return, one is allowed to survive if one can.

    “That, I think, is the simpler argument for health care: Cannot the ‘greatest nation on Earth’ do better for all of us, including the least among us, as Jesus said?”

    This is fundamental. Who are we?

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      Sorry Tourist but I did not say emergency is all that is necessary. I talked about rights and privileges not what we as a government should or should not do for our citizens-note I said citizens. You talk about one is allowed to survive. I would say one is allowed to pursue one’s dreams regardless of …(see the Constitution).

      Not like you to misstate so greatly my views. I know you like to go back to my previous statements so how about when I said a single payer system is inevitable (and I don’t think it was accompanied by a complaint).

      • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        Devildog, I am sorry for using your comment incorrectly. I did. It was not malicious. I was trying to define the issue, the difference, using two of our own as examples, and I put you in the wrong place. You did indeed say single-payer is probably inevitable.

        As for going back to your previous statements, I do that with everybody. It’s not meant to be “gotcha.”

        • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:34 PM

          Tourist, no problem. And I didn’t think you went back just for me. And what’s wrong with gotcha? Kind of fun isn’t it?

    • umoc193  On March 20, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Well obviously tons of folks use ER’s for non-emergency care. They cannot be turned away regardless of ability to pay. But not only is this an inefficient and costly use of resources it really is a disservice to those utilizing it. Better to have the ability to have regular checkups covered by insurance (even with co-pays) than to not get comprehensive care, only treating the symptoms with rare follow-up.

      To their credit, though ill-advised, many of these people have no real desire to burden the system and only go to the ER when they are too sick to function normally.

      Now what percentage of them this may apply to I do not know but you can probably check with some social scientists to find out.

      • Devildog  On March 21, 2013 at 12:48 AM

        UMOC, another dreamworld statement by you-people go to ER’s when they are too sick to function and don’t want to burden the system. They know nothing about the burden on the system, don’t care and go often when there finger hurts (figuratively). Too often, I had to go to the ER to see my elderly Mother who was taken from her nursing home to Shayside ER and I saw everything there was to see most every time I was there.

        I think the Social Science studies show the number to be 21.25%.

        • umoc193  On March 25, 2013 at 6:58 PM

          Again you use anecdotal observations to generalize about a situation that applies to millions. I once went to the ER for a burned finger that required fairly minimal attention but that was beacuse I had bi=urned it at work and my boss was responsible for any possible workers’ comp dealings. How in hell would you know the precise reason anyone else in the ER was there and their insurance situation. Certainly the law protects their privacy and common courtesy demands one tune out what one hears and common sense demands one realizes they may not get the entire story on what they do observe and hear.

          • Devildog  On March 25, 2013 at 7:57 PM

            I’m omniscient and besides which, my anecdotal observations are at least as trustworthy as your social science studies.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Devildog, the problem with “gotcha” is it inspires people to get me back.

    • Devildog  On March 19, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      Gotchas are fun both ways. When caught, just say gomenasai or claim to be misquoted. Why else to post? I left The Bronx but The Bronx didn’t leave me. You left the ‘Burgh, I think the ‘Burgh left you and now you are of the Japanese culture. To paraphrase Seinfeld when he denied being gay- not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Tourist  On March 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Good night, Gracie!

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