“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."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

While You Were Sleeping: The Democrats Get to Vote Again on Health Care Bill

Surely there must be a few Democrats that may have developed a case of buyer's remorse.


G.O.P. Forces New House Vote on Package of Health Bill Changes

Published: March 25, 2010 NY Times

WASHINGTON — With the Senate working through an all-night session on a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care legislation, Republicans early Thursday morning identified parliamentary problems with at least two provisions that will require the measure to be sent back to the House for yet another vote, once the Senate adopts it.

Senate Democrats had been hoping to defeat all of the amendments proposed by Republicans and to prevail on parliamentary challenges so that they could approve the measure and send it to President Obama for his signature. But the bill must comply with complex budget reconciliation rules, and Republicans identified some flaws.

Under the reconciliation rules, provisions in the bill must directly affect government spending or revenues.

The successful parliamentary challenge did not appear to endanger the eventual adoption of the changes to the health care legislation. And Mr. Obama on Tuesday already signed the main health care bill into law. Read on or not, you choose.


  1. The Great Battle is over. What we're seeing now is just a couple of shots fired over the shoulder as the vanquished run for the hills.

  2. In 89 days the previously uninsurable will begin applying for insurance under the "pool."

    For a month, or two, we'll hear all the usual horror stories about how it's "not working," and it's a "total Communistic, bureaucratic mess."

    Then, everything "goes quiet," and a powerful new Voting Bloc is formed.

    The Republicans really need to consider this.

  3. Bullshit!
    We're gonna run your socialist asses up the creek for good!

  4. You really need to consider that you support bankrupting our country and stealing our hard fought for liberties.

  5. Hint: The voting bloc for Social Security/Medicare isn't limited to "those people that are ON Social Security/Medicare," but also includes the Families of those people that are on Soc Sec/Medicare.

  6. Sometimes you gotta love PETA:

    Don't let your dog or cat become an "Octomom." Always spay or neuter.

    PETA offers to help octuplets mom

    That's the ad PETA wants to plant on Nadya Suleman's La Habra lawn.

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals came up with the idea after seeing that the mother of 14, who is trying to trademark the name Octomom, can't make her house payments.

    "In light of recent reports that Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman may be facing foreclosure on her home, PETA is offering to bolster her finances by paying to place an ad on her front lawn,"
    reads an e-mail from PETA spokeswoman Amanda Schinke.

    "Taking us up on our offer is a win-win situation: It would help you and your children to keep your home and also reduce the number of homeless dogs and cats."

    The offer was made Tuesday in an e-mail sent to Suleman's attorney, Jeff Czech. He said PETA's legal team was going to get back to him with an offer and to "stay tuned."

    When asked how much the group would pay Suleman, Schinke said in an e-mail that "it depends on how much space she wants to give us, but we'll work with her to figure out a number that will make it possible for her to keep her home."

  7. Too bad they didn't spay Rufie.

  8. Is the Kid getting a tax credit toward the purchase of the Solar, Doug?

  9. Is his mortgage interest "tax deductibe?"

  10. Can you give me one good reason why an apartment dweller should pay "higher" taxes in order for the Government to give homeowners a "Tax Break?"

  11. NO.
    You are the Big Govt Backer, not me.

  12. ...but I did not raise the kid to be a dupe.

  13. the 50 percent he pays in taxes is more than enough, imho.

  14. California has a 10 percent income tax and a 9 percent sales tax! of Rufie's much-loved blue states.

  15. Do you see thousands of "tea partiers" in the streets demanding the Gov "take back" the homeowner tax breaks?

    Are Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity burning up the airwaves Screaming about the favorable tax treatment for middle class Americans?

  16. Are those that have Insurance through their employers out in the streets screaming about the tax preference They receive by getting their insurance in Pre-Tax Dollars?

  17. I'll take Texas,
    You take California,
    Wanna Bet?

  18. Of course not.
    Best setup would be to have a level playing field, no preferences for nothing, but we live in the real World.
    ...Currently veering suicidally into Big Govt Suicide.
    Supported by you.

  19. Oh, about that $100 Million Caterpillar is crying over?

    It's the "Loss of a Tax Credit" that they receive for providing a prescription drug program for their retired workers. per Bloomberg.

  20. Only Joe Biden's followers could steer toward a double suicide.

  21. Caterpillar Bad.
    Obama Good.
    Um um um!

  22. Doug, the only thing I "love" about California is the weather. If I "loved" Ca I would live there.

    I've just been hearing about their impending bankruptcy for 40 years, and it hasn't happened yet.

  23. Bankers, bad.
    Barney Frank.

  24. Govt Control, good.
    Liberty, bad.

  25. Pineapple doo doo head.

  26. Mike Gallegher is going to have a private talk with Grahmnesty.

    ...who said amnesty was off the table after the "healthcare" cramdown.

  27. if we can trust the ethical mess that is Grahm esq.

  28. Two sides of the same coin?

    Canada's Hate Speech Laws on one side and on the other - No veil or no service from public institutions, new bill urges Quebeckers

  29. Caterpillar is a Great Company. It's just that their $100 million deal didn't have anything to do with their health insurance going up, and many talking heads, and blogs tried to insinuate.

    It was, in fact, the LOSS of a "Subsidy."

  30. "Nadya does not consider herself to be that old, and she definitely has no desire to live in a shoe,"
    he wrote.

    PETA isn't the only one trying to jump on the Octomom bandwagon. It was also reported Tuesday that an adult film company is offering to pay Suleman enough money to keep her house out of foreclosure if she stars in an adult film.

  31. re:
    Fuck You!

    ...arguing from the ethical mountaintop of Obamaville.

  32. Producers should pay more,
    freeloaders less,

  33. Capital gains taxes,
    to skyrocket.
    Dozens of other new taxes,
    from tanning salons to VAT.

  34. Caterpillar does not pay enough taxes, right?

  35. Government is too small.
    Heil, Obama!

  36. How One Company Will Lose with ObamaCare

    A medical device company in MA will see all its profit wiped out under ObamaCare.

    Their solution will be to go bankrupt or move their manufacturing component to China.

    What do you think they'll do?

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Like I said, "When you and the Kid give back your tax breaks we'll talk."

  39. BTW, that Caterpillar "loss" was a One-Time Charge-off.

  40. It helps to actually "read" the articles instead of just posting the "Headlines."

  41. Interesting thing, though. With all those Big Companies "Charging Off" their Drug Plans This Quarter, Tax Collections have got to be impacted pretty severely.

    That could knock a $40 or $50 Million hole in my tax collection scenario for the year. $1Trillion + for the deficit is looking more, and more likely.

  42. However, I just saw a headline on CNBC that Bernanke said the Fed would be returning an "Unusually" Large amount of money to the Treasury, soon. Does THAT sound familiar?

  43. $40 or $50 Billion hole.

    Probably quite a bit less, though.




  45. What the shit!

    I saw it last night but thought it merely an ill-omened, booze-induced dream.

    Bob's back.

    And in the dream he came walking
    Out of the mists and crags of eldritch Ideeho
    Still carrying the reeking stench of corruption and despair
    The shadow walked, bruised and gaunt
    Towards the light.

    Wearing chains of recrimination and regret
    The great self-emulating giant, Bobbo, came forth
    Seeking acceptance and forgiveness
    and one last chance.

    But barring his way at the silken covered chains to the EB
    Stood the Gatekeeper, the dour Whit,
    Unsmiling and unmoved.

    “What do you seek?”

    “I seek redemption and the light,” quailed Bobbo.

    “That is beyond my power”, spoke Whit. “Talk to the mutt.”

    Bobbo faltered, knowing what awaited him at the door to the EB
    For there stood the three-headed monster Cerberus.

    Bobbo, shaking with fear, began self-emulating again

    And the first great head, White Fang, said “Stop that."

    "Whatta want?”

    “I wish to enter the EB”

    “And what oath can you offer me?”

    “That I will be a good boy.”

    “You may pass,” boomed White Fang.

    Then Bobbo approached the second head, Black Tooth, the cunning one
    Somehow more frightening than White Fang even though he spoke with a decided lisp.

    “What do you seek?”

    “I seek the light and warmth of the EB.”

    “What oath can you offer?”

    “I love Israel”

    White Fang frowned. “True, you already have an attitude. And if we hack off another inch of your dick you might just make it into Israel. But that doesn’t cut it here Jocko.”

    “What oath can you offer?”

    The question boomed (albeit with that same annoying lisp) and Bobbo quailed.

    In abject terror his answer poured forth

    “I am a conservative. I will fight the subtle one from the great white north and the fearsome rodent from the southwest”

    The great head Black Tooth relaxed and then weaving to the sultry rhythms of the hustle said

    “You may pass.”

    And Bobbo approached the third head, Bear Claw.

    “What do you seek?”

    “I seek admittance to the light. I seek admittance to the EB.”

    And Bear Claw inched forward until his foul breath poured over Bobbo and made him cower.

    “And what of the woman?”

    “The wom…?”

    “Yes, the woman. The innocent, Dante’s Beatrice, Quixote’s Dulcinea, Paris’ Helen, the lady you have tormented, the lady who you have forced others, others who are not really pompous and pretentious but only drawn that way, others who are really good guys, others who are clever and smart and would never do such a thing on their own, to consider her as collateral damage while trying to make an innocent jest even though they know that she like all women will never forgive and never forget and will compartmentalize this incident forever so as to bring it up on occasion to punish the poor guy even though he is very sorry and will never do it again.”

    And Bobbo’s eyes glazed over and he said “What woman?”

    And Bear Claw said, “You may pass.”

    And as Bobbo approached the swinging doors to the EB he noticed the missive carved in stone

    "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate."

    "All hope abandon, ye who enter in."

    And Bobbo pushed through the swinging doors and was flooded with the light

    And looking up he saw another sign

    “You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

    And Bobbo wanly smiled.

    And behind the polished long-bar the voice of the Deuce bellowed to the assembled patrons

    “Bring forth the fatted lamb. The prodigal has returned.”

    And as the patrons feasted, a voice was heard from above, high in th ether
    parsecs into hyper-space, a laughing T (Lilith, et al) shouted

    “I told you Deuce would let him back in around March. You all
    owe me a buck.”

    And confusion once again reigned at the EB to the sounds of 'socialist running dog' and 'pineapple doo doo head'.


  46. All those Rufie figures:

    From the man who predicted the Mortage Meltdown would be

    "A mere ripple in the pond."

    ...he who cheered on W as the Savior, Compassionate Conservative of the World.

  47. "Free Trade"
    "Compassion" we are.

  48. The "Scribe" of the EB. Q, the magnificent. Excellent.


  49. Here we are

    In the Greatest Country, with the Greatest Economy in the history of the World.

  50. Where a man like Doug gets to "deduct" his mortgage, and his son gets to take a "Tax Credit" for his Solar Panel.

    And, Rufus's friend gets help with his health insurance.

    Whatta Country.

  51. Friends of Zion are always welcomed..

    The storm clouds of Mordor are gathering...

    Like never seen before...

    The heart of man is dark, filled with dread..

    Saruman controls the free men...

    Time is short...

    Clouds are darkening...

  52. I see the AIPAC meeting didn't cheer Eeyeore up.

  53. "Friends of Zion are always welcomed.."

    The choice is yours but I cannot fight on the same side as Bobbo.

    The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

    It is my blood oath to my brother the Wolf.

    I see Bobbo arm-raised in the night
    on May-eve when the Beltaine fires burn. Stag-headed and dark.

    I will fight him through the hoary corridors of time until the day of Ragnarok when the great wolf Fenrir will rise to destroy him.

    So it is written in the Eldar Eddas and carried forward on the rune stones.

    "Brothers will fight
    and kill each other,
    sisters' children
    will defile kinship.
    It is harsh in the world,
    whoredom rife
    —an axe age, a sword age (and the sun rises)
    —shields are riven—
    a wind age, a wolf age—
    before the world goes headlong.
    No man will have
    mercy on another.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.


  54. That doesn't mean we couldn't have a beer together first, Bob.


  55. It will be interesting to see if the current administration will have the balls to brand China as a currency manipulator on April 15.

    China Bank and Commerce Ministry at Odds Over Currency


  56. ...and the flip side of that coin is - should the US be deemed a 'currency manipulator' over US policies that have invoked the long decline in the greenbacks value?

  57. "The Washington Post, in an editorial on Monday, called the report “shocking” and suggested that those who continue to defend Chavez against his” Yanqui imperialist” critics ought to be thoroughly discredited.

    Many of Chavez’s most ardent supporters here in the U.S. come out of the “media reform” movement, which believes that our corporate media has been thoroughly co-opted by capitalists bent on destroying the benevolent leadership of the likes of Chavez. They think that our capitalist-plagued media world is in dire need of reform.

    "The chief proponent of this thinking – which amounts to an unprecedented government intrusion into our own country’s media -- is Professor Robert McChesney, founder of the Orwellian-named Free Press, one of the most influential organizations in the growing “media reform” movement on the far-left.

    "Free Press’ curious stance on media reform can best be summed up by McChesney who suggests that, “Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself..."

    Chavez Style Media in the US?


  58. Ash said...
    I see the AIPAC meeting didn't cheer Eeyeore up.

    I am a Ranger smartass....

    Dont make me smack you on your troll-like forehead

  59. "...should the US be deemed a 'currency manipulator'..."

    An unlikely scenario in my opinion. A currency's value is determined in relative terms. The yuan is pegged to the US dollar so it is judged in ralation to that currency.

    The biggest current currency problems (with the US, EU, Asean nations, etc.) resolve around the yuan. Until the yuan situation is resolved, the US dollar is kind of sheltered from criticism.


  60. Here's a good article on a new government agency that's created to compare the effectivenes of drugs, and treatments. Bloomberg article

    If you have a typical employer-based health plan, and have heartburn (acid reflux,) and high cholesterol your insurance company is probably paying over $300.00/mo for "Nexium," and Crestor.

    Omeprazole, and simvastatin does the same thing for about $50.00/mo. If your "good" cholesterol is low you can take an expensive prescription drug, or you can just take niacin. Same results.

    We're probably talking $50 Billion/yr. in savings just on prescribing the just as good, but less expensive pharmaceuticals.

  61. Back to the Future in Detroit

    The new mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, gave a state of the city speech the other day. His biggest objective is to downsize the city.

    Ever since the Coleman Young days hundreds of thousands have been abandoning the city for the suburbs. As with most bureaucracies, the size of city government has not kept pace.

    One of Bing's plans is to bulldoze desolate areas of the city and move the people that are still there into new neighborhoods. How he is going to accomplish this is still up in the air.

    For instance, most of the bad areas are near the city core and most of the good areas are near the outer perimeter.

    However, one of the more interesting ideas for the vacant land is to convert it into farm land. In other words to move back 200 years and start over again.

    Crazy? Who knows?

    (From the editors: Please, no comments from Rufus about ethanol stills)


  62. Good link on China, Q. Looks like a mess a'brewin.

    That's gotta be being orchestrated by Yu, or Tu, or whatever the hell his name is. I think they think they can push Obumbles around. They're dumb. Democrats don't like trade, to start with.

    They're going to get themselves a big ol' fat tariff if they're not careful.

  63. UK police asks Internet cafes to monitor customers.

    "...Internet cafe users in the British capital may want to watch what they download. Scotland Yard is advising administrators of public Web spaces to periodically poke through their customers' files and keep an eye out for suspicious activity...

    "It's not about asking owners to spy on their customers, it's about raising awareness," a police spokesman said, speaking anonymously in line with force policy. "We don't ask them to pass on data for us."

    "Still, he said, police were "encouraging people to check on hard drives." He did not elaborate, saying it would be up to cafe owners to decide if or how to monitor what customers left on their computers..."

    Police Ask Internet Cafes to "Monitor" Customers


  64. Quirk wrote:

    "A currency's value is determined in relative terms."

    In other words it trades on the open market which is a relatively new means of valuation.

    "Specifically, Article IV, Section I, paragraph iii of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement
    stipulates that each member country shall:
    “Avoid manipulating exchange rates or the international monetary system in order to
    prevent effective balance-of-payments adjustment or to gain unfair competitive
    advantage over other member countries."

    Now what puzzles me is that the goal is to prevent a country from manipulating its currency to gain an unfair advantage. In China's case they are not devaluing vis a vis the US dollar (in fact it has risen something like 22% over the last 5 years or so) but rather keeping it pegged to the dollar. In effect the US is saying that they should be allowed to devalue but not the Chinese. To us folk in the rest of the world we are watching the US/China currency devalue against ours.

    I guess the counter argument should be to simply let the free market decide but that wouldn't prevent beggar-thy-neighbor devaluations from occurring because you just need to "quantitatively ease" (turn on the printing presses) to devalue.

  65. Sounds like they're going to turn Detroit into Nairobi. Everybody gets a goat, and some seeds for their garden. The UN can come in and pass out condoms, and rape a few women, and we'll be all set.

  66. Ash, when when the currencies of Strong economies are "pegged," and not allowed to adjust for things like "running the presses" Serious imbalances occur, and Bad things happen. China will have to, eventualy, "float" their currency.

    The problem is, it's so far out of whack with its true value, now, that a "float" from here would be very disruptive, to say the least.

    They will have to let it rise a bit, and then allow it to slowly appreciate more by "trading within a band."

    They're just being assholes, right now, and, I'm afraid, we're all going to lose a bit as a result.

  67. I can't believe they let that guy "whip up" the crowd like that. It's painting them in a corner that they're not going to enjoy gettting out of.

  68. Traditionally the problem has been currencies that are over-valued i.e. they've been running the presses and they've tried to prevent that from being reflected in the value of the currency. China's case is the opposite. It reminds me of the gold standard, a standard many still pine for but in this case China picked the international exchange currency as it's reference but the Fed controlling the international exchange currency has been running the presses.

  69. China drills more wells, seeds clouds amid drought

    "Emergency wells were being drilled and cloud-seeding operations carried out in southern China, where the worst drought in decades has left millions of people without water and caused more than 1,000 schools to close, officials said Thursday.

    "Provincial and national land resources bureau officials met in Kunming, capital of the hardest-hit province of Yunnan, to discuss details of deploying workers to dig wells and increase cloud seeding and other aid to people in need of drinking water, according to a director at the Yunnan Land Resources Bureau, surnamed Ma.

    "The situation here will get worse in the coming months before it gets any better, but hopefully with more wells and water being diverted to those in need, we can help ease the situation," said Ma, who like many Chinese officials would give only his surname.

    "The drought, which has left southwestern China suffering since last year, has affected about 61 million people and left more than 12 million acres (about 5 million hectares) barren in Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing and Guangxi, the official Xinhua News Agency cited the Ministry of Civil Affairs as saying..."

    China Drought

    What is interesting is that south China is where most of the water is from. In fact, China is trying to move water north from the river systems of the southeast in order to alleviate drought conditions in the northern cities and farms.

    Those who claim this is the century of China ignore some of the major problems the country faces.


  70. Quirk,

    I gather they mutually and without coercion agreed to an exchange of personal e-mail addresses. Many innocent folk do so daily on dating sites.

    The extent and quality of their missives are a mystery, although both suggest a considerable volume on a wide range of subjects.

    Neither have recognized the potential damage their correspondence could have inflicted on the truly innocent - their respective spouses. Emotional betrayal is far more damaging than a romp in the hay.

    I will stand by my admonition to just say "No!" As with most of my pompous and pretentious contributions, there is method to the madness.

    Most states now carry statutes defining and prohibiting internet/electronic stalking/harassment. Here in Georgia, electronic stalking can lead to a one year stay in jail. Aggravated electronic stalking (that is continuing the behavior or self-emulating after being told "No") can garner a sentence of up to ten years incarceration.

    I hope bob does return on parole, and applaud Deuce and Whit for having the compassion to give a longtime patron and fellow human being a chance. By the way, when did you start regular posting at the EB?

    The proposition that penis length has some role to play in ME political persuasion shall remain perplexing. At the EB, it really wouldn't matter since so many of its most vitriolic posters squat to urinate in any case.

  71. Frum Forced Out at Conservative Institute
    By ADAM NAGOURNEY 21 minutes ago

    David Frum, a conservative writer who criticized Republicans for their strategy on health care legislation, lost his fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute.

    uh oh trish, ya better watch what you say, who you quote or....

  72. You're right, Ash. But, they're forcing Us into the role of "Country with Over-valued Currency." That won't do, either.

  73. “ The Washington Post says the discovery of a special list through which the Chicago elite might have gotten their kids into good schools shows how a system can be gamed to provide one kind of service for the haves and and [sic] another for the have-nots.”

    “We didn’t want to advertise what we were doing because we didn’t want a bunch of people calling,”…

    “Daly discovered the great rule of demagoguery. Convince those who’ve never eaten pâté de foie gras that the swill they are eating is it. Serve the real pate to those who already know what it tastes like.”

    The old CCCP and GDR had this scam down to a fine art. While this article does not mention it, medical care was dispensed in the same time honored way.
    Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen” to the Peoples’ Republic.

    “It’s For the Children”

  74. It could be the case the the value of the US dollar is supported by the Chinese peg. If that peg is abandoned the US dollar could plummet and/or US interest rates climb steeply. If the Chinese have no incentive to buy treasuries...

  75. Allen said
    "I gather they ... blah, blah, blah...yadda, yadda, yadda..."


    It's obviously you didn't appreciate my little dream sequence. I have struggled on without your approbation in the past. I expected no paean to my poetic prowess from you now. I will struggle on into the future.

    As usual you misread the meaning encapulated by my muse. It is merely the story of a tragic hero and his journey back to the bosom of the EB.

    With regard to missives between Bob and MLD, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

    With regard to "pompous and pretensious" again you misread the question posed by Bear Claw. While the question resolves around the main reason Bob was banned, the referance to the "other" resolves entirely around me (couldn't help myself) and Melody's post yesterday about my unfortunate comment regarding "collateral damage".

    As for the legal advice about stalking, I'm sure all here appreciate it.

    Likewise, I'm sure Bob appreciates your steadfast support.

    With regard to my posting at the EB, I believe it started last summer.

    Your point?

    With regard to your current condition, the only thing I can advise (while risking having my medical advise denigrated again) is for you to bend over and quickly pull that stick out of your ass.

    It was a joke and had nothing to do with you. Get over it.


  76. ...just read rufus's Bloomberg link on comparative efficacy...

    did not find this anywhere in the text: "If you have a typical employer-based health plan, and have heartburn (acid reflux,) and high cholesterol your insurance company is probably paying over $300.00/mo for "Nexium," and Crestor."

    I did find this, however:

    "The fallout from a 2005 study of antipsychotic medications shows the most effective treatment doesn’t always win, said Robert Rosenheck, a psychiatry professor at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

    The U.S.-backed study found a 50-year-old drug that may cost about $2.50 a day worked as well as newer medicines priced eight times higher..."

    Now, I know where I got my data; but where did rufus get his?

    link to psychiatric study

  77. Quirk,

    I thought your work very well done, and never gave a moment's thought to myself. (Why should I?)

  78. If I misread the tone and content of your post, Allen, apologies.

    Mea Culpa
    Mea Culpa
    Mea Maxima Culpa