Lottery Post Journal

New seniors association started because AARP is a sell-out

This is pasted from a Dick Morris e-mail i received this morning, and is good news for those who want a Seniors organization that truly represents the interest of Seniors.

• • • • • • • • • 

A MESSAGE FROM THE AMERICAN SENIORS ASSOCIATION

Dear Subscriber,

I have gotten madder and madder at the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) for claiming to represent America's elderly when, in fact, it is just a vendor seeking to get revenue under the Obama health care plan. It was just such a conflict of interest that impelled the AARP to endorse Bush's prescription drug plan. The AARP has morphed from a group that speaks for seniors to one that tries to make money from them.

My wife, Eileen, and I were thrilled to learn of a rival to the AARP that has sprung up -- The American Seniors Association (ASA) -- which opposes Obamacare and is willing to be an independent, disinterested voice speaking up for the elderly. We reached out to Stuart Barton, its President, and suggested that we send a letter from him to our readers (this is not a paid mailing; we are sending it around because we deeply believe in fashioning an alternative to AARP).

We both suggest that you do as we are doing -- join ASA -- as a way of showing AARP that they do not speak for America's seniors. Obama's proposals represent a wholesale transfer of medical services away from the elderly and will force government rationing and denials of care for the very old and very ill. We need to fight against them and that is what ASA is doing and AARP is not!

The letter from ASA's President, Stuart Barton, is below.

Thanks,

Dick Morris
________________________________________________________________

Dear DickMorrisReports Subscriber,

The American Seniors Association (ASA) invites any members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to mail us your torn AARP card in order to receive a 2-year-for-1-year ASA membership. Indeed, anyone of any age can become an ASA member -- especially since young people, baby boomers, seniors, and just about all Americans are now under assault by various Obama healthcare proposals and by the sell-out AARP leadership.

ASA is fighting congressional healthcare proposals that could cost perhaps $1.8 trillion or more over the next 10 years, to be accompanied by cuts in Medicare of $500 billion. ASA opposes a government-run plan that increase taxes and limit doctor-patient choice. We object to one House bill that would actually force individuals or their employers who do not have approved health insurance plans to pay a fine. Furthermore, none of these congressional proposals have a provision that people enjoying healthcare benefits must have their citizenship and legal residency status verified by all 50 states. That opens the door for citizen taxpayers to be gouged for the healthcare coverage of possibly 15-20 million illegal aliens!

Please visit our website at AmericanSeniors.org and consider joining our important crusade. We are for targeted healthcare reforms, but Obamacare and a dismantling of our private enterprise system is not the cure! Also check out the rich variety of membership benefits that ASA provides.

With kindest regards,

Stuart Barton

Wonderful, mysterious, genius classical piano

There is a CD you buy that will take you to another place — a place of wonderful, harmonious music.

Philip Glass is one of the great classical piano composers and performers, and his Solo Piano album continues to be one of the single-greatest works of his.

It is perfect for when you want to listen to music — not just background music while you use the computer, read a book, or do some work — I'm talking about those times when you want to sit with your eyes closed and allow the music to take you wherever it goes.

Solo Piano is a succession of music that builds around a theme, and like most Philip Glass music it builds on the concept of repetition.  It is a meditative miracle.

If you have never listened to classical piano, there could be no better introduction.

You won't want it to end, and it leaves you in a contemplative mood.


(Click for more info)

Flipping a coin is not so random after all

It turns out that flipping a coin has all sorts of non-randomness:

Here are the broad strokes of their research:

  1. If the coin is tossed and caught, it has about a 51% chance of landing on the same face it was launched. (If it starts out as heads, there's a 51% chance it will end as heads).
  2. If the coin is spun, rather than tossed, it can have a much-larger-than-50% chance of ending with the heavier side down. Spun coins can exhibit "huge bias" (some spun coins will fall tails-up 80% of the time).
  3. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor, this probably adds randomness.
  4. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor where it spins, as will sometimes happen, the above spinning bias probably comes into play.
  5. A coin will land on its edge around 1 in 6000 throws, creating a flipistic singularity.
  6. The same initial coin-flipping conditions produce the same coin flip result. That is, there's a certain amount of determinism to the coin flip.
  7. A more robust coin toss (more revolutions) decreases the bias.

The paper.

Bloomberg article on health care: Obama is either clueless or lying

Obama Goes Postal, Lands in Dead-Letter Office

by Caroline Baum

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) — "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems." —Barack Obama, Aug. 11, 2009

No institution has been the butt of more government-inefficiency jokes than the U.S. Postal Service. Maybe the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The only way the post office can stay in business is its government subsidy. The USPS lost $2.4 billion in the quarter ended in June and projects a net loss of $7 billion in fiscal 2009, outstanding debt of more than $10 billion and a cash shortfall of $1 billion. It was moved to intensive care — the Government Accountability Office's list of "high risk" cases — last month and told to shape up. (It must be the only entity that hasn't cashed in on TARP!)

That didn't stop President Barack Obama from holding up the post office as an example at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, last week.

When Obama compared the post office to UPS and FedEx, he was clearly hoping to assuage voter concerns about a public health-care option undercutting and eliminating private insurance.

What he did instead was conjure up visions of long lines and interminable waits. Why do we need or want a health-care system that works like the post office?

What's more, if the USPS is struggling to compete with private companies, as Obama implied, why introduce a government health-care option that would operate at the same disadvantage?

Obama Unscripted

These are just two of the questions someone listening to the president's health-insurance reform roadshow might want to ask.

Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day. For all the president's touted intelligence, his un-teleprompted comments reveal a basic misunderstanding of capitalist principles.

For example, asked at the Portsmouth town hall how private insurance companies can compete with the government, the president said the following:

"If the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining — meaning taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do — then I think private insurers should be able to compete."

Self-sustaining? The public option? What has Obama been doing during those daily 40-minute economic briefings coordinated by uber-economic-adviser, Larry Summers?

Capitalism Explained

Government programs aren't self-sustaining by definition. They're subsidized by the taxpayer. If they were self-financed, we'd be off the hook.

Llewellyn Rockwell Jr., chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com, put it this way in an Aug. 13 commentary on Mises.org:

"The only reason for a government service is precisely to provide financial support for an operation that is otherwise unsustainable, or else there would be no point in the government's involvement at all."

Rockwell sees no "economic reason for a government postal system" and would abolish it.

Of course, there's the small matter of the U.S. Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, grants Congress the power "to establish Post Offices and Post Roads." A series of subsequent statutes gave the USPS a monopoly in the delivery of first-class mail. Congress thought that without such protection, private carriers would cherry-pick the high-profit routes and leave money-losing deliveries in remote areas to the post office. (In those days, the USPS covered most of its expenses with revenue.)

Less Bad Option

It was only through exemptions in the law that private carriers, such as UPS and FedEx, were allowed to compete in the delivery of overnight mail.

Short of a constitutional amendment or a waiver from Congress, we are stuck with the USPS.

But back to our storyline. Everyone makes a mistake or flubs a line when asked questions on the spot, including the president of the United States. We can overlook run-on sentences, subject and verb tense disagreement, even a memory lapse when it comes to facts and figures.

The proliferation of Obama's gaffes and non sequiturs on health care has exceeded the allowable limit. He has failed repeatedly to explain how the government will provide more (health care) for less (money). He has failed to explain why increased demand for medical services without a concomitant increase in supply won't lead to rationing by government bureaucrats as opposed to the market. And he has failed to explain why a Medicare-like model is desirable when Medicare itself is going broke.

The public is left with one of two unsettling conclusions: Either the president doesn't understand the health-insurance reform plans working their way through Congress, or he understands both the plans and the implications and is being untruthful about the impact.

Neither option is good; ignorance is clearly preferable to the alternative.

Source

Dick Morris provides great description of death panels

IT'S ALL A DEATH PANEL: THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMACARE

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

Published in the New York Post on August 17, 2009

Washington is all atwitter about "death panels": President Obama derides the idea that his health-care reform calls for them; the Senate is stripping "end of life" counseling language from its bill — and last Friday the voice of the liberal establishment, The New York Times, ran a Page One story "rebutting" the rumor that ObamaCare would create such boards to decide when to pull the plug on elderly patients.

But all those protests miss the fundamental truth of the "death panel" charge.

Even without a federal board voting on whom to kill, ObamaCare will ration care extensively, leading to the same result. This follows inevitably from central features of the president's plan.

Specifically, his decisions to (1) pay for reform with vast cuts in the Medicare budget and (2) grant insurance coverage to 50 million new people, vastly boosting demand without increasing the supply of doctors, nurses or other care providers.

Whether or not he admits it even to himself, Obama's talk of cutting "inefficiencies" and reducing costs translates to less care, of lower quality, for the elderly. Every existing national health system finds ways to deny state-of-the-art medications and necessary surgical procedures to countless patients, and ObamaCare has the nascent mechanisms to do the same. With the limited options that Obama's vision would leave them, many will find that "end of life counseling" necessary and even welcome.

"Reform" would cut care to the elderly in several ways:

  • Slash hundreds of billions from Medicare spending, largely by lowering reimbursement rates to doctors and hospitals for patient care.

    If a hospital gets less money for each MRI, it will do fewer of them. If a surgeon gets paid less for a heart bypass on a Medicare patient, he'll perform them more rarely. These facts of the marketplace are not only inevitable consequences of Obama's cuts but are also its intended consequence. Without them, his savings will prove illusory.
  • Expanding the patient load by extending full coverage to 50 million Americans (including such "Americans" as illegal immigrants) without boosting the supply of care will force rationing decisions on harried and overworked doctors and hospitals.

    People with insurance use a lot more health-care resources — so today's facilities and personnel will have to cope with the increased workload. Busy surgeons will have to decide who would benefit most from their treatment — de facto rationing. The elderly will, inevitably, be the losers.
  • The Federal Health Board, established by this legislation, will be charged with collecting data on various forms of treatment for different conditions to assess which are the most effective and efficient. While the bills don't force providers to obey the board's "guidance," its recommendations will still wind up setting the standards and protocols for care systemwide.

    We've already seen Medicare and Medicaid lead a similar race to the bottom with their formularies and other regulations. With Washington dictating what every policy must cover and regulating all rates, insurers and providers will all have to follow the FHB's advice on limiting care to the elderly -- a de facto rationing system.
  • In assessing whether to allow certain treatments to a given patient, medical professionals will be encouraged to apply the Quality-Adjusted Remaining Years system. Under QARY, decision-makers seek to "amortize" the cost of treatment over the remaining "quality years of life" likely for that patient.

    Imagine a hip replacement costing $100,000 and the 75-year-old who needs it, a diabetic with a heart condition deemed to have just three "quality" years left. That works out to $33,333 a year — too steep! Surgery disallowed! (Unless of course, the patient has political connections...)

    Younger, healthier patients would still get the surgery, of course. The QARY system simply aims to deny health care to the oldest and most infirm, "scientifically" condemning them to infirmity, pain and earlier death than would otherwise be their fate.

In short, ObamaCare doesn't need to set up "death panels" to make retail decisions about ending the lives of individual patients. The whole "reform" scheme is one giant death panel in its own right.

VIDEO: John Stossel's report about government health care

I'm sure that people who continue chanting the mantras about how great it would be to have government health care won't even watch this, but I'm posting it nevertheless, in the hope that they will have a weak moment and click "play".

Please don't bother posting a comment or rebuttal unless you watch the, because we don't need another debate on the merits of Obama hero-worship.

What John Stossel is doing in this video — trying to arrive at the truth of the matter — is what ALL journalists should be doing, and are FAILING to do.  Their blind ambition of trying to keep liberals in power at all costs has cost them their souls, because they have ceased to be journalists, and have become mere propagandists.

Looks like the AMERICAN PEOPLE will be victorious!

I'm not quite ready to break out the champagne, but it's close!  Everyone who has been fighting the socialist health care plan that the Democrats have been trying to ram through Congress should be mighty proud of thier vigilance in seeing that it doesn't happen without a fight.

It's kind of annoying that all the media keeps calling it GOP or Republican pressure, when the pressure has really been from everyday, normal Joe Citizen, and the political parties have nothing to do with it.  (Neither do the insurance companies for that matter -- it's grass-roots American anger and disgust.)  But I won't let my annoyance with the media stand in the way of my satisfaction at seeing socialism kept at bay for the moment.

White House appears ready to drop 'public option'

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama'sadministration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea ofgiving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facingmounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left openthe chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include healthinsurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such aconcession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but coulddeliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOPlawmakers.

Officials from both politicalparties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises onproposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for anAugust recess. Obama had wanted the government to run a healthinsurance organization to help cover the nation's almost 50 millionuninsured, but didn't include it as one of his core principles ofreform.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insuranceis "not the essential element" of the administration's health careoverhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a signthat Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad,D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance incompetition with private industry, not unlike the way electric andagriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.

With$3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, theco-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates,but independent of the government. They would be required to maintainthe type of financial reserves that private companies are required tokeep in case of unexpectedly high claims.

"Ithink there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said."That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole newmarketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."

Obama's spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice.

"WhatI am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what wehave to have is choice and competition in the insurance market," WhiteHouse press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday.

A day before, Obama appeared to hedge his bets.

"All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo. "This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it."

It's hardly the same rhetoric Obama employed during a constant, personal campaign for legislation.

"Iam pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and stillbelieve, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring downcosts, provide more choices and assure quality is a public option thatwill force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest,"Obama said in July.

Lawmakers have discussed the co-op model for months although the Democratic leadership and the White House have said they prefer a government-run option.

Conrad,chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called the argument for agovernment-run public plan little more than a "wasted effort." He addedthere are enough votes in the Senate for a cooperative plan.

"It'snot government-run and government-controlled," he said. "It'smembership-run and membership-controlled. But it does provide anonprofit competitor for the for-profit insurance companies, and that'swhy it has appeal on both sides."

Sen. Richard Shelby,R-Ala., said Obama's team is making a political calculation andembracing the co-op alternative as "a step away from the governmenttakeover of the health care system" that the GOP has pummeled.

"Idon't know if it will do everything people want, but we ought to lookat it. I think it's a far cry from the original proposals," he said.

Republicans say a public option would have unfair advantagesthat would drive private insurers out of business. Critics say co-opswould not be genuine public options for health insurance.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson,D-Texas, said it would be difficult to pass any legislation through theDemocratic-controlled Congress without the promised public plan.

"We'll have the same number of people uninsured," she said. "Ifthe insurance companies wanted to insure these people now, they'd beinsured."

Rep. Tom Price,R-Ga., said the Democrats' option would force individuals from theirprivate plans to a government-run plan as some employers may choose notto provide health insurance.

"Tens of millions of individuals would be moved from theirpersonal, private insurance to the government-run program. We simplydon't think that's acceptable," he said.

A shift to a cooperative plan would certainly give some coverto fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats who are hardly cheering forthe government-run plan.

"The reality is that it takes 60 percent to get this done inthe Senate. It's probably going to have to be bipartisan in the Senate,which I think it should be," said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., who added that the proposals still need changes before he can support them.

Obama, writing in Sunday's New York Times, said political maneuvers should be excluded from the debate.

"In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue toexploit fear and concerns for political gain," he wrote. "But for allthe scare tactics out there, what's truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing."

Congress' proposals, however, seemed likely to strike end-of-lifecounseling sessions. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has called thesession "death panels," a label that has drawn rebuke from her fellowRepublicans as well as Democrats.

Sen. Orrin Hatch,R-Utah, declined to criticize Palin's comments and said Obama wants tocreate a government-run panel to advise what types of care would beavailable to citizens.

"In all honesty, I don't want a bunch of nameless, facelessbureaucrats setting health care for my aged citizens in Utah," Hatchsaid.

Sebelius said the end-of-life proposal was likely to be dropped from the final bill.

"We wanted to make sure doctors were reimbursed for that veryimportant consultation if family members chose to make it, and insteadit's been turned into this scare tactic and probably will be off the table," she said.

Sebelius spoke on CNN's "State of the Union" and ABC's "This Week." Gibbs appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation." Conrad and Shelby appeared on "Fox News Sunday." Johnson, Price and Ross spoke with "State of the Union." Hatch was interviewed on "This Week."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_health_care_overhaul

Rep. Tom Price admonishes govt-takeover of healthcare

Unlike Kennedy, Obama says "No we can't" go to the moon

This is angering.

NASA's moon plan too ambitious, Obama panel says

A panel reviewing NASA's current plans for human space flight will report that there is no realistic way to return to the moon by 2020 — or even 2028.

WASHINGTON — NASA doesn't have nearly enough money to meet its goal of putting astronauts back on the moon by 2020 — and it might be the wrong place to go, anyway. That's one of the harsh messages emerging from a sweeping review of NASA's human space flight program.

The Human Space Flight Plans Committee, appointed by President Barack Obama and headed by retired aerospace executive Norman Augustine, has been trying to stitch together some kind of plausible strategy for America's manned space program. The panel has struggled to find options that stay under the current budget and include missions worthy of the cost and effort.

The committee members will meet with administration officials Friday and will report that there is no realistic way to get Americans back on the moon by the target date of 2020, which has been the agency's goal since President George W. Bush signed off on the ''Vision for Space Exploration'' in 2004. Landing on the moon by 2020 would require such drastic budgetary maneuvers as de-orbiting the International Space Station — crashing it into the South Pacific — in 2016.

The final list of options being explored by the Augustine group will include some variation of a lunar base down the road. But the committee is most animated by what it calls the ''Deep Space'' option, a strategy that emphasizes getting astronauts far beyond Low Earth Orbit but not necessarily plunking them down on alien worlds.

Instead, the ''Deep Space'' strategy would send them to near-Earth asteroids and to gravitationally significant points in space, known as Lagrange points, that are beyond the Earth's protective magnetosphere. Astronauts might even go all the way to Phobos, a tiny moon of Mars, where the spaceship wouldn't land so much as rendezvous, in the same way that a spacecraft docks at the International Space Station.

The Earth's moon would be a possible ''off-ramp'' of such a strategy but not a central target for exploration. Putting astronauts on the surface of Mars, and then returning them to Earth, would be prohibitively expensive, according to an analysis by the committee, which will send its report to the president by the end of this month.

$50 BILLION GAP

The ''program of record'' — NASA's current strategy — has not fared well in the committee's review. Former astronaut Sally Ride, a member of the panel, said the gap between NASA's goals and its current budget totals roughly $50 billion by 2020. If the space station's life is extended for five years, she said, the current budget would allow for the completion of a heavy-boost moon rocket only in 2028, and that would be without spending money on developing the components of a lunar base.

''If you're willing to wait until 2028, you've got a heavy lift vehicle, but you've got nothing to lift,'' she said. ''You cannot do this program on this budget.''

Committee member Jeff Greason, an aerospace executive, was even more eviscerating of the NASA strategy, noting that the fixed costs of the current strategy are sure to bust the budget down the road: ''If Santa Claus brought us this system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn't change, our next action would have to be to cancel it.''

The panel will give the administration a menu of options that include some that require a boost in funding for human space flight, which currently costs about $9 billion a year. Unknown, though, is how the Obama administration feels about human space flight in general. The president, both as a candidate and in the White House, has explicitly endorsed sending humans back to the moon, but his decision to create the Augustine committee is a sign that the status quo strategy, which carries the imprimatur of his predecessor and is endorsed by Congress, is not long for this Earth.

John Logsdon, the former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, observed the panel's session and said he wasn't sure that the Deep Space option, with its emphasis on ''fly-bys'' rather than landings, would be easy to sell to the public.

''I wonder myself if just flying around and not landing anywhere would be very attractive,'' he said.

OTHER PROGRAMS

The panel is certain to recommend extending the life of the International Space Station. It is also pushing hard for greater commercialization of space, including using private companies to taxi astronauts to Low Earth Orbit.

Some options include pulling the plug on the Ares I rocket that NASA has been building for four years. The Ares I is supposed to replace the space shuttle, the final flight of which is slated for late 2010. Billions have already been spent on the rocket, which is scheduled for an inaugural test flight this month.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/story/1185467.html

Hoover article: Politicians are lying to you about our health care system; USA has best in the world

MEDICINE AND HEALTH:
Here's a Second Opinion

By Scott W. Atlas

Ten reasons why America's health care system is in better condition than you might suppose.

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America's health care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality [death] is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality [death] is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality [death] in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

  • Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either "fundamental change" or "complete rebuilding."

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the "health care system," more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/49525427.html

Paglia says Obamacare is bad and Pelosi must go

Camille Paglia is a liberal I disagree with on most issues, but whom I greatly respect as a gifted writer.  She writes for Salon.com, where she has a regular column.

Paglia is one of those rare writers who is so good that I never feel the urge to click away from the article because the author is treating politics like a local sports team that they're rooting for (like most do).

Here's a copy of her latest article.

Note that I strongly disagree with her comments about foreign policy — specifically her love of Obama's apology tour and her hatred of Bush's policies — but her article is published here in full.  I know good writing when I see it, and she is a brilliant author.

Remember how the media likes to repeat that story about Walter Cronkite saying the Viet Nam war was lost, and Johnson saying, "If we've lost Cronkite, we've lost America"?  Well, maybe we can now say, "If the liberals have lost Paglia, they've lost their way."

Obama's healthcare horror

Heads should roll — beginning with Nancy Pelosi's!

By Camille Paglia / Aug. 12, 2009

Buyer's remorse? Not me. At the North American summit in Guadalajara this week, President Obama resumed the role he is best at — representing the U.S. with dignity and authority abroad. This is why I, for one, voted for Obama and continue to support him. The damage done to U.S. prestige by the feckless, buffoonish George W. Bush will take years to repair. Obama has barely begun the crucial mission that he was elected to do.

Having said that, I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Ever since Hillary Clinton's megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

I just don't get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.

As with the massive boondoggle of the stimulus package, which Obama foolishly let Congress turn into a pork rut, too much has been attempted all at once; focused, targeted initiatives would, instead, have won wide public support. How is it possible that Democrats, through their own clumsiness and arrogance, have sabotaged healthcare reform yet again? Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn't conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it's the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan — it's the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.

With the Republican party leaderless and in backbiting disarray following its destruction by the ideologically incoherent George W. Bush, Democrats are apparently eager to join the hara-kiri brigade. What looked like smooth coasting to the 2010 election has now become a nail-biter. Both major parties have become a rats' nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. That, combined with our stratospheric, near-criminal indebtedness to China (which could destroy the dollar overnight), should raise signal flags. Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?

What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration's outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable "casual conversations" to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.

As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a "death panel" under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin's shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate's unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.

Surely, the basic rule in comprehensive legislation should be: First, do no harm. The present proposals are full of noble aims, but the biggest danger always comes from unforeseen and unintended consequences. Example: the American incursion into Iraq, which destabilized the region by neutralizing Iran's rival and thus enormously enhancing Iran's power and nuclear ambitions.

What was needed for reform was an in-depth analysis, buttressed by documentary evidence, of waste, fraud and profiteering in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Instead what we've gotten is a series of facile, vulgar innuendos about how doctors conduct their practice, as if their primary motive is money. Quite frankly, the president gives little sense of direct knowledge of medical protocols; it's as if his views are a tissue of hearsay and scattershot worst-case scenarios.

Of course, it didn't help matters that, just when he needed maximum momentum on healthcare, Obama made the terrible gaffe of declaring that, even without his knowing the full facts, Cambridge, Mass., police had acted "stupidly" in arresting a friend of his, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Obama's automatic identification with the pampered Harvard elite (wildly unpopular with most sensible people), as well as his insulting condescension toward an officer doing his often dangerous duty, did serious and perhaps irreparable damage to the president's standing. The strained, prissy beer summit in the White House garden afterward didn't help. Is that the Obama notion of hospitality? Another staff breakdown.

Both Gates and Obama mistakenly assumed that the original incident at Gates' house was about race, when it was about class. It was the wealthy, lordly Gates who committed the first offense by instantly and evidently hysterically defaming the character of the officer who arrived at his door to investigate the report of a break-in. There was no excuse for Gates' loud and cheap charges of racism, which he should have immediately apologized for the next day, instead of threatening lawsuits and self-aggrandizing television exposés. On the other hand, given that Cambridge is virtually a company town, perhaps police headquarters should have dispatched a moderator to the tumultuous scene before a small, disabled Harvard professor was clapped in handcuffs and marched off to jail. But why should an Ivy League panjandrum be treated any differently from the rest of us hoi polloi?

Class rarely receives honest attention in the American media, as demonstrated by the reporting on a June incident at a swimming pool in the Philadelphia suburbs. When the director of the Valley Swim Club in Montgomery County cancelled its agreement with several urban day camps to use its private pool, the controversy was portrayed entirely in racial terms. There were uninvestigated allegations of remarks about "black kids" made by white mothers who ordered their children out of the pool, and the racial theme was intensified by the director's inept description of the "complexion" of the pool having been changed — which may simply have been a whopper of a Freudian slip.

Having followed the coverage in the Philadelphia media, I have lingering questions about how much of that incident was race and how much was social class. Urban working-class and suburban middle-class children often have quite different styles of play — as I know from present observation as well as from my Syracuse youth, when I regularly biked to the public pool in Thornden Park. Kids of all races from downtown Syracuse neighborhoods were much rougher and tougher, and for self-preservation you had to stay out of their way! Otherwise, you'd get knocked to the concrete or dunked when they heedlessly jumped off the diving board onto our heads in the crowded pool.

In general, middle-class children today are more closely supervised at pools because the family can afford to have a non-working parent at home — a luxury that working-class kids rarely have. What happened at the Valley Swim Club, whose safety infrastructure was evidently also overwhelmed by too many visiting kids who were non-swimmers, may have been a clash of classes rather than races. Were the mothers who pulled their kids out of the pool that day really reacting to skin color or what they, accurately or not, perceived to be an overcrowded, dangerous disorder? The incontrovertible offense in all this, which went unmentioned in the national media, was the closure for budgetary reasons by the city of Philadelphia this summer of 27 of its 73 public pools. There is no excuse for that kind of draconian curtailment of basic recreational facilities for working-class families, sweltering in the urban summer heat.

Now on to art and pop. Highlight of the month for me was definitely a recent performance by Alo Brasil, a local Brazilian music and dance ensemble, at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live. I positioned myself smack in front of the stage to bathe in the magnificent, hypnotic drumming, a Bahian style with West African roots that takes one into another reality — sublime and trans-historical. Of course, then there was the sensory overload of the beautiful, nimble, long-legged samba dancers in their jeweled bikinis and high heels! But all the dancers of Alo Brasil, male and female, are absolutely brilliant — it was mind-blowing. Anyone born and raised in Bahia (such as Daniela Mercury) has obviously been immersed in these rhythms from earliest childhood. They are surely profoundly transformative, reshaping the neural synapses and opening the mind toward ecstatic group communication. To be continued!

Our pop medley for this column begins with the Algeria-born Etienne Daho, whose three-disc set, "Dans la Peau de Daho" (2002), I have been working my way through. Last year, I posted two other videos featuring Daho — his quietly compelling duet with Charlotte Gainsbourg and his moving tribute to Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick. This song, "Paris le Flore," is a hauntingly atmospheric ode to random encounters in the streets and cafés of Paris. In the narrative superimposed by the video, two notable French performers do their thing — Virginie Ledoyen (who appeared with Catherine Deneuve in "8 Women" and with Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Beach") and singer/actor Benjamin Biolay, ex-husband of Chiara Mastroianni, the daughter of Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni. I love the way Daho's shimmery song re-creates the meditative mystique of French eroticism, shown in a thousand films. And that liquid, stuttering bass line — divine! (Hey, Salon readers, if you don't have good speakers on your computer, you're missing the cultural riches of the Web.)

Next on the docket is Sharon Stone, exploding in all her topless glory on the cover of Paris Match. Now there's a gal who knows how to work the gym while still keeping the sacred flame of sexiness alive! Yes, you know who the Big Bad Example is of obsessive gym culture gone to seed — that increasingly artificial construction of paraffin and chicken wire, our Madonna of the Shallows. Jesus Luz must be blessedly myopic. (Cue the Contours' 1965 R&B hit, "First I Look at the Purse.")

Caught HBO's 1998 movie "Gia" for the umpteenth time on cable the other day. My admiration remains boundless for the 22-year-old Angelina Jolie's bravura performance as the Philadelphia-born fashion model Gia Carangi, a heroin addict who died of AIDS in 1986. I've often recommended Stephen Fried's excellent 1993 biography, "Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia," but this time I hit the Web to see what else I could dig up.

Mother lode! I found Gia's original nude fence photos, shown in the movie being shot by the perverse fashionista Chris von Wangenheim. I was startled to learn that Wangenheim was killed in a car accident in 1981, another blow for Gia. In trying to find his obit, I discovered that New York Times files of the World War One era are filled with references to his noble German ancestors, many of whom were barons killed in battle. Another German decadent artiste, like the incomparable Helmut Newton.

Here are some wonderful photos of Wilhelmina (stylishly played in the movie by Faye Dunaway), the Dutch fashion model veteran of 300 covers who founded an agency that hired the scrappy Gia but who then tragically died of cancer at age 40 in 1980, leaving Gia bereft. And here's Gia's ever-patient, real-life girlfriend, Sandy Linter, who turns out to be a more in-your-face urban type of the Deborah Harry school than she was portrayed in the movie.

Interested parties should check out this pastiche of clips, with a great song, which ingeniously conflate Gia with Patricia Charbonneau in that lesbo classic "Desert Hearts" (1985). This is a good chance to appreciate anew the charming eroticism of the car-in-the-rain first kiss between Charbonneau and Helen Shaver, which proves the point I made in my last column about the best lesbian scenes on film having ironically been performed by straight women. Finally, here is Gia herself — a late clip showing her in surly, rambling butch mode, with druggy speech and tics, and then a dazzling collection of her peak high fashion images, which whiz by too fast but still reveal what an astonishing, almost supernormal presence she was.

Oh, one last note. Gay trivia: The 17-year-old hustler who in 1975 murdered the gay film director Pier Paolo Pasolini by repeatedly running him over with his own car on an Italian beach was named Giuseppe Pelosi. Hmm ... Hustling must run in the family.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/

"The negotiations will be on C-Span"

Smart Dog

This dog is smarter than many voters.

In his own words: Obama's goal is to eliminate all private health insurance (VIDEO)

The only "change" Obama offers is going from bad to worse.  "Yes we can" ruin our country.

It would not be so bad if he would say the truth.  But going around saying that people can keep their private insurance is a lie, and I wish he would stop it.