The Economy: From Bad to Worse, Courtesy of Obamacare

February 5, 2014

Let’s set up a hypothetical situation: I have a spouse, a family, and a job. I am reasonably well-compensated for my work. My small company gives me health insurance that meets my family’s needs at a price that fits our budget.

Obamacare goes into effect.  My employer decides that he can no longer afford to offer health insurance to all his employees, so he cuts my hours. I no longer qualify as a full-time worker. As a necessary corollary, I no longer have my health insurance.

Exploring the Obamacare website (assuming I actually can access it), I find nothing that meets my needs or my budget, as I still make too much to qualify for a subsidy. This actually is a sop to my pride, as I would be mortified were I to ask my fellow tax-payers to pay for even part of my insurance.

But in order to get health insurance that I can afford–even with tax-payer assistance–I must cut my hours and my salary even more, and I must swallow my pride so that I can qualify for a subsidy for a plan that doesn’t really meet my needs but is all I can afford, even with assistance.

piano teacherHowever this cut in hours and pay means that I have far less income to spend on anything other than the very basic necessities for my family–food, mortgage, school clothes for the kids, etc.) I’ll cut back cable TV and internet access, skip my morning stop at the local coffee shop, drop music lessons and after-school sports for the kids, back-burner plans for a Disney vacation (thank goodness we hadn’t mentioned it to the kids yet!), and hope that the grandparents can afford to come and visit us this year, instead of us traveling cross-country to visit them, as is our yearly habit.

Yes, as I look at it, there are lots of ways we can cut the budget to cover the income loss; it’ll be very tight, but I know we can make it. And we’re not the only family tightening our belts. Neighbors, colleagues, even family are all facing similar situations.

So what if the coffee shop goes out of business? They only employ six people–and they’ll probably qualify for unemployment. So what if the music teacher loses most of his students? That’s what welfare is for, right?

All this is doing is creating more dependency… not just those who need the subsidy for their required-by-law, law-of-the-land Obamacare coverage; but also for all those folks who are becoming the casualties of the all too predictable unintended consequences of a very, very bad piece of legislation.

Repeal it now.


Don’t Mess with Alan Grayson

March 14, 2012

I was enjoying the response to the flowchart at iOwnTheWorld when I noticed an advertisement on the sidebar for Alan Grayson. “Put Progressive Champion Alan Grayson back in Congress!” the ad crowed. But given Mr. Grayson’s recent troubles, I took the liberty of modifiyng the ad slightly.

Much better!


Brass Nix Docs’ Sneaks

June 28, 2011

You may have read in Sunday’s New York Times about plans by the Department of Health and Human Services to send out “mystery shoppers” to make appointments at various doctors’ offices around the country, in the hopes of finding out just how difficult that is these days. These “mystery shoppers” would represent themselves as new to a local area, describe a set of unpleasant symptoms, and attempt to schedule an appointment. The shoppers would purport to have either private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

Fortunately, before the HHS really beclowned themselves by going through with this farce, public outcry (received, no doubt from the time the NYT article was published up until this evening) forced them to “rethink” the idea:

“After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” an HHS official said in a statement.

Notice, however, how the HHS phrases their back-down: “now is not the time to move forward with this research project.” Makes me wonder exactly when will be the time to move forward with it? Probably once we’ve all gotten more comfortable with Big Brother breathing down our neck about every medical decision made.

Let’s see: they’re dropping this “mystery shopper” program. They’re dropping the ObamaCare waiver process. Can the repeal of ObamaCare be far behind?

Shut up and let me dream, okay?


Meet Monet Parham, Hypocrite and Wet Blanket

December 16, 2010

Hey kids, here’s a fun pop quiz! What do the following things have in common?

Cracker Jacks
Frosted Flakes
Little Orphan Annie
McDonald’s Restaurants

If you guessed that they are all products for kids which offer some sort of  toy or prize either inside the box or for collecting boxtops or labels–you are correct!

For at least half a century (if not longer) advertisers have been marketing directly to children by offering swell toys and prizes if only the kids will persuade Mom to buy items like those above. But Monet Parham of San Francisco is only suing McDonalds, oddly enough. Why not sue Pepsico, owner of Cracker Jacks, or Kelloggs, General Mills, or Post Cereals?

In fact Ms. Parham, who is a regional program manager working for the state of California on child nutrition matters, is suing McDonald’s on behalf of her daughter to force them to stop offering toys with Happy Meals, because, as she says:

What kids see as a fun toy, I now realise is a sophisticated, hi-tech marketing scheme that’s designed to put McDonald’s between me and my daughters.

‘For the sake of other parents and their children, I want McDonald’s to stop interfering with my family.

And as far as Happy Meals, why now? McDonald’s has been offering Happy Meals for over 30 years. Ms. Parham’s daughter is six years old… she has probably been of “Happy Meal age” for at least two years.

According to McDonald’s, a Happy Meal consists of a burger or chicken nuggets, a small portion of french fries or sliced apples, and a choice of low-fat milk or apple juice. Yet Ms. Parham is not suing to change the contents of the food in the Happy Meal, which her lawsuit claims is unsuitable for young children, but simply to halt the inclusion of a toy with the meal.

If she were really concerned about the children, shouldn’t she be pushing for McDonald’s (and by extension, all other companies which market less-than-healthy food to kids) to drop the fatty/sweet/salty stuff? Shouldn’t a stupid toy be the least of her worries?

But no, the problem is not the food, evidently. The problem is that she doesn’t want to say “no” to her kids when they ask for Happy Meals.

This litany of requests [to eat at McDonald’s] is draining and very frustrating for children. I would like this practice to stop.’ [Emphasis mine]

And so because one mother doesn’t want to discipline her children, McDonald’s will probably be banned from putting toys in with their Happy Meals, at least in the People’s Republic of San Francisco.

And just what kind of flak are Ms. Parham’s kids going to be taking from this lawsuit? How many of their friends will be saying, “It’s your fault we can’t get toys in Happy Meals anymore–your mom’s lawsuit spoiled it for everyone”?

Also spoiled: children’s chances for a learning experience about the real world:

UPDATE: Slublog weighs in with the commonsensical “Sue Your Way to Responsible Parenting!

H/T: Michelle Malkin


Reporters Not Doing So Well with That “Press=Flaming Sword” Thing

April 21, 2010


“The power and the freedom of the press is a flaming sword. That it may be a faithful servant to all the people, use it justly… hold it high… guard it well.”

Lafayette Park, located directly across from the Whte House, was closed yesterday, so that half a dozen servicemen could handcuff themselves to the White House fence in peace and privace privacy, unmolested by our valiant servants of the press. The protesters were objecting to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Michael Walsh at Big Government says his blood is boiling.

It’s not just the cop’s rudeness and bullying, although that’s bad enough… There had better be a pretty darn good reason from barring citizens, and their representatives in the media, from a public park, and this sure doesn’t seem like it.

What’s even more disheartening, though, is the way the reporters passively accept getting shoved around, and meekly shuffle backwards while complaining into their cell phones.  And they weren’t sounding off like they had a pair, either.

Lafayette Park is closed. Docile reporters meekly move back. And back. And they keep moving back.

We don’t know why the park was closed (well, of course we do), but nobody reported on that.

We don’t know who authorized the park’s closing, because nobody reported on that.

We don’t know how long the park had been closed, because nobody reported on that.

We don’t know when the park would re-open, because nobody reported on that.

Lafayette Park reportedly has the densest squirrel population known to science. It seems that our “reporters” are nothing more than a few more squirrels, hoping for crumbs from the tourists.



Via HotAir

Han Solo, Strike Back!

March 12, 2010


Hmmm: Luke Skywalker as a farmboy from Iowa, Han Solo as a high-school jock with a hot rod, and Princess Leia as a snotty girl from the big city. I like it!


Sayonara, Sci Fi?

February 22, 2010

There are good sci fi movies, mediocre sci fi movies, bad sci fi movies, and really bad sci fi movies*. And each movie flavor has something to recommend it to viewers. (I have to admit that one of my favorites is The Giant Claw.)

The unifying theme throughout, of course, is the science fiction element.  And from the great movies to those which are laughably awful, the element of science always plays a role in advancing the storyline, developing the characters, or simply defining the world in which the story is set.

But if Prof. Sidney Perkowitz has his way, you may never see another movie like “Avatar”, “Star Trek”,  “Godzilla”, or “The Giant Claw” again. The Guardian is reporting that Dr. Perkowitz isn’t a fan of bad sci in sci fi:

Science fiction movies should be allowed only one major transgression of the laws of physics, according to a US professor who has won backing from a number of his peers after creating a set of guidelines for Hollywood.

The proposals are intended to curb the film industry’s worst abuses of science by confining scriptwriters to plotlines that embrace the suspension of disbelief but stop short of demanding it in every scene.

The guidelines are by Sidney ­Perkowitz, a professor of physics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a member of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, an advisory body run by the US National Academy of Sciences.

Let’s see… How many different ways is that idea profoundly arrogant and/or stupid?

  • There is no way to know what is absolute scientific fact… Geocentricism was the rage for centuries. Newtonian physics was the be-all and end-all in the mid 1800s. And heavens know that we can’t mess with the speed of light. The bottom line is that today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact.
  • Imagination is a wonderful thing. Consider “Edward Scissorhands”. Now that’s a sweet story, but the scientific implications are ludicrous.
  • When I was a kid, I lived for those stupid “Godzilla” movies. Yeah, they broke every law of physics and common sense, but they made me wonder, and they gave me ideas… Those ideas played no small role in my becoming an engineer.
  • As a writer, I’ll write whatever the hell I want to. So long as I don’t pen the equivalent of “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire, break copyright, or threaten public well being, I’ll write whatever I damn well please. If I write a crap screenplay and it goes down in flames, so be it.

Finally, just who does Sidney ­Perkowitz think he is? How is it that he’s so much smarter than the rest of us that he can recommend such a thing? No, his asinine idea will wither in the light of pragmatism. But it’s still frightening to witness such foolish ideas coming to the fore.

Alan Speakman

*For a list of the best and worst sci fi titles, click here.