“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lonesome Valley



    Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, agrees. He recommends slowing medical innovation to control health spending.

    Blumenthal has long advocated government health-spending controls, though he concedes they're "associated with longer waits" and "reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices" (New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001). But he calls it "debatable" whether the timely care Americans get is worth the cost. (Ask a cancer patient, and you'll get a different answer. Delay lowers your chances of survival.)

    Obama appointed Blumenthal as national coordinator of health-information technology, a job that involves making sure doctors obey electronically deivered guidelines about what care the government deems appropriate and cost effective.

    In the April 9 New England Journal of Medicine, Blumenthal predicted that many doctors would resist "embedded clinical decision support" -- a euphemism for computers telling doctors what to do.

    Americans need to know what the president's health advisers have in mind for them. Emanuel (Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) sees even basic amenities as luxuries and says Americans expect too much:
    "Hospital rooms in the United States offer more privacy . . . physicians' offices are typically more conveniently located and have parking nearby and more attractive waiting rooms" (JAMA, June 18, 2008).

    No one has leveled with the public about these dangerous views.
    Nor have most people heard about the arm-twisting, Chicago-style tactics being used to force support. In a Nov. 16, 2008, Health Care Watch column, Emanuel explained how business should be done:
    "Every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health-care reform agenda.
    If the automakers want a bailout, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration's health-reform effort."

    Do we want a "reform" that empowers people like this to decide for us?

  2. Hey, hall monitor...

    Join the party...put up some tunes...

    Post a picture of Sonja...

    Give it a rest, dude...

  3. Scotty,

    Beam the hall monitor down a double bushmills, neat...

    Put it on my tab.

  4. Hey, hall monitor...

    You see Bob's contribution to the diskushun of the Ivy Leeg over at the club?

    The only institutions worth saving east of the Mississippi River are a few John Deere plants (OWTTE)...

    Classic Bob. Went over like a fart in church, as I recall.

  5. Are you 'Bill from Oregon', hall monitor?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  6. The nice thing about the Elephant Bar is I can't be 86'ed from my own kitchen.


  7. Jeeze, Bushmills by my lonesome.

  8. 4:11 am PST:
    Hall Moniter notes out of norm hours.

  9. lineman has good time memories of Jerry Jeff, well don't we all.

    Viva Terlingua!

  10. Obama's numbers are dropping and scales are being lifted from mesmerized eyes such as Peggy Noonan's: Common Sense May Sink Obamacare

    Unfortunately, the rising debt may sink US.

    ht: one of you drunks.;)

  11. Debt?
    The US grows itself out of debt.

    That has been the mantra since the Reagan era.

    Has never happened
    but that's the mantra.

    There are still some true believers.

  12. Sometimes Mr Clemens would sign things as, "Mark Twain", other times as Samuel Clemens.

    Think that he understood and appreciated the difference 'tween the two of them?

    That Mark Twain was as much a character as Huck Finn.

    Better believe it.

  13. Debt can be decreased with economic growth and it was happening in the 90's but we cannot keep our politicians from spending, spending, spending...

  14. The deficit was being reduced, they even reached a surplus, Clinton/Newt. But they never made an impact on the debt, did not even start to reduce it, really.

  15. They slowed the rate of growth, but never stepped the debt down.

  16. Q: How has the National Debt grown over time?

    A: The National Debt on January 1st 1791 was just $75 million dollars. Today, it rises by that amount every hour or so

    The following graph shows how the National Debt has grown year by year since 1940 in actual dollar amounts, uncorrected for inflation

  17. Clinton/Newt did drop the debt, as a % of GDP, shown here, but the actual debt kept right on growing.

    Since the US Government cannot lay claim to the entire economic output of the Nation, that graph misrepresents the reality of the gtowth of the debt.

  18. You're right, but the problem is not with the philosophy of prosperity reducing deficit and debt. The problem is with us and our inability to control the spending.

    I believe most State Constitutions require a balanced budget (increasingly some states are failing). There is no requirement in the US Constitution and that could be our downfall.

  19. linearthinker said...
    Sweet dreams, rufus...

    Think I'll crack a bottle of Bushmills out here.
    Is that part of the 1800 Calorie Diet?
    ...your friendly Hall Moniter.

  20. whit said...
    Obama's numbers are dropping and scales are being lifted from mesmerized eyes such as Peggy Noonan's: Common Sense May Sink Obamacare

    Unfortunately, the rising debt may sink US.

    ht: one of you drunks.;)
    I wasn't drunk, and your link doesn't work!
    Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare
    Peggy Noonan

    So this might be an unarticulated public fear:

    When everyone pays for the same health-care system, the overseers will feel more and more a right to tell you how to live, which simple joys are allowed and which are not.

    Americans in the most personal, daily ways feel they are less free than they used to be. And they are right, they are less free.

    Who wants more of that?

  21. Big Brother WILL find out about that Bushmills. be replaced with Soma.
    For the Holidays.

  22. 27. The Old Guy:

    It seems that Ted Kennedy would be a good case study to demonstrate the societal benefits of ObamaCare, and how it would work out in practice.

    Old guy, terminal condition, options are (a) cheap palliative care, or (b) very expensive but futile care.

    You’d think all the Dems would be pushing for option (a). I forget whether its blue or red pill in ObamaCare jargon.

    28. Doug:

    You left out option (c), Old Guy, faster and cheaper yet:
    The trunk of an Oldsmobile, sunk.

  23. Put on the headphones and turn up the volume on the Lonesome Valley.

  24. The Sunday funnies.

    (CBS) Is Sarah Palin still a star, or a fading quitter? What does the future hold for her?

    If a three-way discussion among Republican pundits on "The Early Show Saturday Edition" is any indication, more of the same -- she'll remain as controversial and passion-provoking rod as ever.

    Author and right-wing firebrand Ann Coulter, GOP strategist Bay Buchanan, and founder and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum had at it over the question of whether Palin could be a viable presidential candidate at some point.

    It got so heated the three were talking over each other, prompting co-anchor Erica Hill, who moderated, to interrupt them herself several times.

    Palin, who was John McCain's running mate, formally steps down as Alaska's governor Sunday, with her poll numbers steadily dropping, facing numerous ethics investigations, openly admitting she had trouble getting her agenda through the state legislature, and contending she can do a better job for the people of Alaska from outside its statehouse.

    Buchanan said Palin's quitting will tarnish her severely, Coulter claimed Palin is still so big she's even a bigger story than President Obama, and Frum cited the very discussion they were having as proof of how divisive Palin is, even in her own party.

    "She's hurt herself badly if indeed she wants to run for president of the United States, America," Buchanan said. "As much as I'm crazy about her and think she's enormously talented, she's done two things ... I think has damaged her opportunity. That is she hasn't really gotten herself an expertise on the issues. She comes down to the lower 48 (states) unprepared for the media, in my personal opinion, with kind of trite responses to their questions. And secondly, she's quit. Quitting is not a good thing. It will hurt her badly in the long run, makes her less electable."

    Coulter countered, saying Palin can overcome any "quitter" label anyone associates with her. "I don't know that Sarah Palin wants to run for president," Coulter said, "but she's already a bigger story than the president of the United States. There were two stories yesterday. For the first time, this 'Mr. Popularity,' President Obama's popularity, public approval ratings fell below 50 percent, for the first time. And a former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin's public approval ratings fell to 40 percent (in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll). What was the big story? She's already bigger than Obama. She attracts a crowd."

    Coulter added, "She's up there, she's had 17, 18 ethics complaints filed against her. Everybody wants her to speak for them, everybody wants to attack her, and she has her hands tied behind her back because she has to be governor, not only in terms of fund-raising (for other GOP candidates and herself). ... She's too big to be stuck in a governor's office up in Alaska."


  25. [...]

    Frum was having none of it. "Michael Jackson is also a bigger story than the president of the United States, but the American people aren't going to vote for him," Frum remarked. "Look, she's 45 years old, she's been the governor of a state; if she hasn't got the expertise, she's never going to get it.

    "Basically, quitting for the stated reason that you can't get anything done in your job and because you can't endure the criticism you're receiving and then cashing in in order to make a lot of money is not a good resume with which to run for president of the United States. She was a calamitous candidate in October of 2008. We've never seen poll numbers for ... any national candidate decline as fast as they did for Sarah Palin. The more the American people know her, the more unacceptable she became and that trend's going to continue."

    "The Michael Jackson comparison is silly, David," Coulter said. "Sarah Palin is not a singer. These are both (Palin and Obama) politicians."

    "Apparently," Coulter continued, "she's getting ratings, or everybody wouldn't be constantly talking about her. She has a quality -- people are attracted to her and she's a quick study, she can learn if she wants to, and I totally disagree this is bad for her to quit. She's already done everything she needs to do. She turned over the governorship to the lieutenant governor, who's a fantastic right winger."

    "There's a commitment you make when you for elected office," Buchanan insisted. "And that is -- to the voters -- that you're going to be there in office fighting for them for that period of time. She broke that trust. That is extremely harmful."

    "That's absolutely false," Coulter said. "The voters of Alaska are delighted with what she did, because they're sick of these investigations."

    "And I've run campaigns," Buchanan came back at Coulter, "and I'll tell you, you have somebody who quits and what you do is tell the people, you can't trust that person to stay in there for them."

    Frum happened to get the last word: "I think this exchange shows what a wonderful uniter Sarah Palin is. If this is the effect she has on Republicans, this is not what you need. This is -- the Republican Party right now faces a couple of burdens. We know from the Bush years that we were seen - and I'm speaking as a Republican, as not competent, not effective. So we'd better find somebody who is seen as competent and effective. And a governor who quit because she said, 'I can't et my agenda through the state legislature,' it's harder to get things through Congress. She's not going to be much of a president."

    Commenter at Balloon Juice:

    I’m not convinced Bay Buchanan isn’t Pat Buchanan in drag. Has anyone ever seen them together?

  26. It occurred to me late last night (early this morning) where I first heard this tune.

    Before it was a gospel it was an old W. Virginia folk song. Now, I can't find it. But, I'm looking.

    A lot of the "Gospel" music came out of Appalachian folk music.

  27. I think of Sarah Palin rather like Dorothy Hamill, inspiring millions of American women and young girls to reproduce that "short 'n' sassy" hairstyle. (I know I did back in, what, sixth grade, I believe it was.)

    And if you think that's something to sneeze at, I've got another name for you: Farah Fawcett. American icon, hair-do standard-bearer, and my little brother's first pin-up. (In Palin's case without the nipples. But you never know, right? That might be another surprise the future holds.)

    Neither woman, that I know of, ever campaigned for anyone, but just think if they had. There was a vote from everyone who owned a blow dryer and curling iron, right there.

    Never underestimate the power of iconic hair.

  28. The power of iconic hair combined with the voice of Margie from "Fargo." Which, by the way, is an excellent flick.

  29. Gals shootin guns. Gets the Guys every time.

  30. McCain did way better with women than he should have. That was the Palin effect.

    For better, or worse, the Gal is a "Playa."

  31. I've never seen the "beltway" Republicans get so upset at the success of a Republican.

    The reaction couldn't be more visceral if she were a rattlesnake. She scares them all the way down to their pajamas.

    There is no doubt in my mind they would rather lose an election than have Sarah Palin win it.

  32. ...a "Playa."

    Sun Jul 26, 12:37:00 PM EDT

    There's a bit of slang that ought to be banned from the Bar, if not from the country as a whole.

    (Flesh crawls.)

    Unless you preface it this way: "Look guys, she's a playa." Because two cringe-inducing phrases cancel one another out, scientific studies have shown.

    : )

  33. Moving right along.

    That "Global Warming Swindle" offering is an important post. Anyone who hasn't listened to all 8 parts needs to do so.

    This Global Warmaloney is serious, dangerous, and destructive stuff. Unlike healthcare, it has, absolutely, NO redeeming benefits.

  34. Somewhat more on topic: Billy Ray Cyrus (talk about hair) did an excellent series for the History Channel - Hillbilly: The Real Story.

    It occasionally reruns, but is also available on DVD.

    And for all you NPR haters, Stained Glass Bluegrass is a fantastic Sunday morning series adding musical listening pleasure for years now to the weekend Blue Ridge drives of untold numbers of residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia and others throughout the mid Atlantic region.

    Keeps the toes tapping while heading out into that gorgeous meth country.

  35. Meth country. (Shaking head)

    Every good thing has gotten screwed up.

  36. Oh, I don't know, whit. I'm a little more optimistic. Shit comes and goes. Always has.