Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Doctor is "out"


Quietly, right before the Thanksgiving weekend, Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's recess appointee to be the HMFIC of the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) tendered his resignation. Berwick is infamous in these parts for being a strong proponent of ObamaCare and a huge fan of Great Britain's National Health Service. (BwD word search for Berwick, here. Damn, we love this guy).

The spin from the legacy media is that Republican obstructionism kept Berwick from being confirmed when, in fact, Berwick was never submitted for confirmation. That's odd because we can't imagine the President would believe that Berwick would have any problems defending any of these quotes in a public forum to the American people:

"It's not a question of whether we will ration health care. It is whether we will ration with our eyes open."

As you will see later, Berwick's "we" is not the fraternal, royal "we", rather a much more exclusive "we".

"Traditional medical ethics, based on the doctor-patient dyad must be reformulated...The primary function of regulation in health care, especially as it affects the quality of medical care, is to constrain decentralized individualized decision making."

Step aside Mr. Individual. There are cost curves to be bent downward.

Good god, the statist-Left have become budget hawks.

"For-profit, entrepreneurial providers of medical imaging, renal dialysis, and outpatient surgery, for example, may find their business opportunities constrained."

You can pretty much kiss medical innovation good-bye because innovation costs money (with the hope of a return (see also, evil profits)) and we now worship at the altar of cost containment.

"A progressive policy regime will control and rationalize financing—control supply."

The man is absolutely obsessed with rationing. And how is controlling supply which limits choice for the consumer/patient a good thing? We thought the idea was to bend the cost curve downward which comes as a result of more competition on the supply end. Unless, what they are really concerned with is controlling, ahem, demand, in a back-door manner.

And then there is this:

"Please don't put your faith in market forces," said Berwick. "It is a popular idea: that Adam Smith's invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can do. I do not agree. I find little evidence anywhere that market forces, bluntly used, that is, just consumer choice among an array of products with competitors' fighting it out, leads to the health care system that you want and need. In the US, competition has become toxic. . . . Do not trust market forces to give you the system you need. . . . I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do." Berwick, as head of CMS, sought to be one of these "leaders with plans."

Translation: "You're too stupid to make health care decisions for yourself and your family. That's why people like myself and others in the benevolent ruling class are here to figure it all out for you."

Berwick has a point, though: our current healthcare system is so byzantine and so divorced from cost-price transparency, it's almost as if we need diviners' of Berwick's obviously massive intellect to guide us. Unfortunately, if you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know the 2,200 page ObamaCare has not only done nothing to improve the situation but will only perpetuate an increasingly hopeless situation.

At the end of the day, the quotes above reveal Berwick to be a dangerously un-democratic individual. Those are not the words of a man who believes in self-determination, individual choice or free will: American values, all. He is collectivist autocrat drunk on the assumption of his own moral and intellectual superiority who worships at the altar of the state.

There was no way in hell this guy would survive a confirmation hearing and worse, a public confirmation hearing would lay bare many of the counter-intuitive and completely bogus underpinnings that justify and rationalize ObamaCare. Rather than being rode out of town on a rail as he should, it figures that the President let this loser slip out of town under cover of darkness just ahead of a holiday weekend.

Good riddance.


Video clip of the day


Via Hot Air

A nice breakdown of the differences between the tea party and #OWS.

Classic liberalism vs. modern progressiveism

Downward spiral

Again, with respect to soundbites...

tea party: "End the bailouts, subsidies and crony capitalism."

OWS: "End the bailouts, subsidies and crony capitalism (... but give me mine)"

Contrary to the sloganeering, OWS is not opposed one bit to government intervention into the markets, if it means wealth redistribution via involuntary confiscation to favored political classes. In that respect, OWS is being intellectually and morally inconsistent.

The flash mobs that materialized at retailers around the country on Black Friday are indicative of this mindset. "Occupying" the time of shoppers is an involuntary confiscation and interference with customers' right to enter into a business contract with Wal Mart, Target, whomever... against the arbitrary wishes of the flash mob. This intimidation tactic is a form of mob tyranny all in the name of hopelessly uninformed, selfish moral preening.

Oh, and one last thing... Memo to you Obamaville squatters: We hate shopping. Absolutely despise it. We are probably in a foul enough mood as it is if you happen to find us at the mall or a big box retailer - don't tempt physical reprisal on account of your "right" to act like a complete fool.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Putting America back to work: one unemployment benefit extension at a time


Like clockwork, every 6 months or so, someone from Team O will come out and speak on the economy and at that instant, it will be made painfully obvious why we have been unable to lift ourselves out of this seemingly endless economic doldrum. White House press secretary, Jay Carney, was opining on unemployment benefits during his daily briefing yesterday and had this to say:
(Video here)

"Extending unemployment insurance has been very much a part of the president's plan. It's part of the American Jobs Act. It's something that has enjoyed bipartisan support in the past, and should, we hope, enjoy bipartisan support this year," White House press secretary Jay Carney said about extending the time one can be on unemployment insurance.

Carney then argued writing unemployment checks is good for the economy and in fact, creates jobs.

"In addition to those who have found themselves unemployed and are unemployed for a substantial period of time, unemployment insurance has been recognized by outside economists and by members of both parties as vital assistance to an economy to help it grow and create jobs," Carney said.

"It is a direct injection, if you will, into the bloodstream of the economy. And so we very much support extension of unemployment insurance. If we do not do that, approximately six million Americans will lose their benefits over the course of next year. And that will obviously have a negative impact on their lives, but a negative impact on the economy," he said.

The depth of economic illiteracy displayed here is truly breathtaking. No wonder Obama has endorsed the Occupy movement and its Obamavilles. Is it any wonder that we have a nagging 9% unemployment rate and a far greater under-employment rate when the administration's spokesperson is essentially congratulating himself for being in position to extend unemployment benefits to so many jobless Americans? Hooray! More foodstamps! They're absolutely proud of this!

This isn't anywhere near the first time that Carney has touted unemployment benefits as a big part of the President's jobs plan. This summer, Carney was expounding on the multiplier effect that unemployment benefits had on the economy claiming that it grew the economy and created jobs. Of course, if this were the case, why not give everbody unemployment benefits, unemployed or not and watch the economy just explode.

The veritable self-gratifying back-slapping they give themselves for the great job they are doing on extending unemployment benefits would be comical if it were coming from a source that wasn't as powerful and influential as a Presidential administration.

And to think all of us rubes out here in fly-over country thought the goal here was to effectively end jobless benefits.

Did we forget that? Our bad


You know how it is when you are up against Christmas Eve vote deadlines and having to deal with pesky pro-life Congressmen (in our own party, even!) and Senators who want some kick-back love while you are attempting to ram through your 22-hundred page signature legislation... some things are just going to fall through the cracks, right? Stuff happens, right?

State officials are pushing back hard against what they view as shortcomings in the healthcare reform law for fear they'll be barraged with complaints when people have trouble affording insurance.

Federal regulators are writing the rules governing key aspects of the law, including the guidelines to determine who's eligible for subsidies to buy private insurance.

Those benefits will be delivered through state-based exchanges, however, leaving state officials on the receiving end of angry phone calls if glitches in the law aren't ironed out by 2014.

One key shortcoming is found in the law's subsidies for people who don’t have access to affordable coverage through their employer. As The Hill first reported in July, the law links the subsidies to the cost of coverage for a single employee. If that coverage is found to be affordable, the individual does not qualify for subsidies in the state health exchanges.

But the determination is based on the single-employee rate regardless of whether the individual has a spouse and/or children — meaning that someone could end up disqualified from the federal assistance yet unable to afford the family coverage that an employer offers.
(emphasis, ours)


Minor actuarial details like factoring in how many crumb-catchers are laying about the house got left out of the pages of ObamaCare? Shocking.

"Such an outcome would undermine Maryland's goal of reducing the number of uninsured residents," Maryland Health Benefit Exchange officials wrote in comments to the Department of Health and Human Services that were due Monday.

"It could also engender significant frustration with the Exchange among affected families."

But it gets better. There are nine states that don't have individual income tax, including Florida and Texas, so it will be nigh impossible for the IRS to determine who qualifies for federal assistance. (ed. note: it is never, repeat, never a good thing when you are forced to mention the IRS in relation to your health care. But you all knew that.)

NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) consumer advocate Tim Jost this past week urged the group to take a "leadership role" in pressing states to address potential gaps in the healthcare law's consumer protections.

Self-insured plans are exempt from most of the law's regulations, Jost pointed out, and policies offered by large employers also don't have to meet certain requirements.

Jost also said small businesses are shifting toward self-insurance, so employees will be stuck without benefits Congress intended to provide.

(italics, ours)

Allow us to translate what The Hill article does not: small businesses can't afford the mandates in ObamaCare so it just make more sense for them to apply for a waiver or just drop health care coverage for their employees altogether. So, that means the President's promise that if you liked your health care plan you could keep it, came highly qualified.

Former Speaker Pelosi was right: like cordwood, the shortcomings, gaps, pratfalls and outright lies contained in ObamaCare have been stacking up once our dear leaders passed ObamaCare and we are now getting a chance to see what's actually in it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Eurozone and #OWS


Here's KT on the current Eurozone situation:

The Europeans are facing rising borrowing costs. In a moral sense, this is mathematics enforcing what they as a society could not - the denial of desires. They wanted socialized medicine, so they took it. The wanted plump retirements, so they took them. Like children whose parents have given up on discipline, they've grabbed everything for themselves. Now the stern hand of the market is coming down on them to restore the discipline they threw away in a frenzy of selfishness that they claimed was "compassion."


Meanwhile, closer to home here in San Diego, here are some more charming antics by the #OWS set "occupying" a local Wal Mart on Black Friday (via B-Daddy). These flash occupies sprang up at numerous other Wal Mart's around the country and you had a case of Occupiers blocking access to an Apple store up in the Bay Area on Friday as well.

Now, ain't that a turn: The Occupiers will dictate to you just who it is you can partronize, where you can shop and what you can buy.

Because nothing says "power to the people" and sticking it to The Man like denying other people their freedom to enter into a voluntary contract with the provider of their choice and access to inexpensive yet quality goods and merchandise. Isn't WalMart precisely the type of equalizer and money- stretcher these goons should be championing if they were truly serious about doing something about income inequality?

And you would not be mistaken if you sense a familiar theme running through the disgruntled and rioting Eurozone masses and the #OWS set. It's a theme of entitlement. Entitlement to manufactured "rights" and entitlement to other people's goods, services and property.

A consistent demand we hear from #OWS is student loan forgiveness and home loand debt forgiveness. They essentially are demanding free education and free housing. What these economic illiterates do not realize or do not care to realize is that nothing is free. Someone had to pay for that college to be built. Someone had to pay the professor to lecture on the worthless, unemployable degree that the school will be handing out and someone had pay for the material and labor that built the houses that are now under-water.

Just as the Occupiers do not realize the ridiculous irony of preventing consumer choice by shutting down retailers on Black Friday, they also do not realize that the cost of a free education (via student loan debt forgiveness) and/or free housing (via home loan debt forgiveness) will just be passed along to the 99% they claim to represent in the form of higher taxes, fees and housing prices of future sales.

Nothing is free. Not health care, not housing, not education, nor plump retirement plans. Nothing. The actions and logic employed by #OWS and Eurozone citizenry running contrary to this set of facts prove a deep-seated immaturity and a childish unwillingness to confront reality. It's all completely selfish moral preening in the name of "justice"

Math wins. Math always wins.

Graphic image of the day


Used with permission from our friend Sir Charles over at Doo Doo Economics...

... and which serves as a convenient reminder of the Department of Energy's phony yet totally crony loan program that has lined the pockets of political favorites of those at:




and Beacon Power

Let us know if we forgot any.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sarah sez (UPDATED)


(scroll down to bottom of post for update)


What better way to renew blogging activities than with a BwD favorite, Sarah sez.


One in a series that takes a look at some of the wild, zany and madcap things said by the former governor of Alaska.

Recently, Palin was asked her opinion of provisions within ObamaCare that would force health insurance providers to cover cover birth control, contraception and drugs that could cause abortions. This, of course, would be in conflict of the tenants of many faith-based providers.

“Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but they have this conscience thing” that “insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.”
(italics, ours)

Damn those Catholics are their dammed consciences!

As Allah Pundit put it, perhaps Palin's just jealous they possess something she doesn't.

What's that you say? That wasn't Palin spewing that drivel?

But, of course, it was that Sarah sez stalwart, that glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. She never fails to disappoint!

Two things: 1) How many faith-based insurance providers including those possessing Catholic-centric, pro-life sensibilities will drop coverage altogether rather than violate beliefs at the core of their faith? That doesn't sound like a recipe for keeping your insurance if you like it, now does it? And 2) precisely how does mandating additional coverage bend the health care cost downward as promised by the proponents of ObamaCare?

ObamaCare is so god-awfully corrupt, contemptible and counter-productive on so many different levels and in so many different degrees, we will get fall down drunk in righteous villification, err, vindication on the day it is either repealed or shot down by the Supreme Court.

UPDATE #1: Since we're stuck with it for the time being, and instead of just bitching and whining about it, why not be constructive and try to improve on it, is our thought, right? With that in mind, we liberated KT's recommendation from the comment section:

Parts of ObamaCare could be made really green by collaborating with the EPA and the Department of the Interior. Imagine how we could nourish the ecosystem in the wilderness by spreading the puree of millions of vivisected babies around our National Park System every year!

That's some of the can-do spirit that made this country great. Thanks, KT!

Whither Beers with Demo?


Folks, sometime Friday around noon, Google saw fit to delete the Beers with Demo blog site as well as disabling our Google account.

We have no idea why or how this happened. We can speculate but we don't want to descend too far into the fever swamps of conspiracy theories. We are indeed opinionated around here but it is also our belief we keep things civil and above board, snarking aside.

We want to thank everyone for their concern, particularly B-Daddy at The Liberator Today, KT of The Scratching Post and Sir Charles of Doo Doo Economics who took active parts in helping us figure out why we got shut down, how to get back online and/or recovering previous posts.

Needless to say, we will be looking into ways to back up our posts here at Beers with Demo.

We have a lot to get caught up on but it's good to be back online.

Friday, November 25, 2011

College football Friday/Saturday Thanksgiving weekend round-up and open thread: the Rivalry Week edition



We're coming down to short strokes on the college football regular season and Jonesy deals the goods right here and right now.

Greetings & Salutations,

I always have mixed feelings about Rivalry Week.

One the one hand it is generally the best week of the college football season. I love the in-state matchups, team from different conferences often only playing for pride and states bragging rights. Sometimes, there are even conference and national championship implications of these games. For instance the last two Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowls. This weekend brings us about a dozen plus games that have good value.

On the other hand, Rivalry Week is typically the last weekend of the regular season. And this leaves me with a heavy heart. All we have left is the conference championship and bowl games. And while they are great games and will take us through early January, I hate to see my favorite sport come to an end.

Since there are so many worthy matchups let’s get right to the best games of the weekend. This list is in order of importance based on national, conference and bragging implications.

Games Worth Watching

Arkansas @ LSU: Implications: National. The country’s best team, LSU, versus the country's most over-rated team Arkansas[1]. The Razorback’s best win is against a mediocre Texas A&M team. They got smoked by Alabama. Having said that, Arkansas has an offense can put up numbers to make this game interesting. Still, expect an LSU blowout.

Alabama @ Auburn: Implications: National but more importantly, state wide. Anything can happen in this game. But, Alabama has the better team and should pull this out. It’s also the first game since the infamous tree poisoning at Auburn last year. Always worth watching.

The Pennsylvania State University @ Wisconsin: Implications: Winner goes to conference title game. The PSU football players have had a year like no other.

While controversy swirls all around the university, region and state, the team just keeps on playing solid football. Actually, they play great defense and mediocre offense. Wisconsin is two plays away from a perfect season. Should be a good game.

Texas[2] @ Texas A&M: Implications: Only state-wide bragging rights for the foreseeable future. Both teams are mediocre at best. Still, with A&M committing football suicide by joining the SEC next year, this is the last matchup of these two rivals until cooler heads prevail[3].

Notre Dame @ Stanford: Implications: National. The entire nation will be watching for Stanford to kick the shit out of Notre Dame. This week, Stanford is my third favorite team[4]. It’s an excellent matchup. An excellent Stanford team against a decent Fighting Irish squad looking for a signature win for their head coach.

VaTech @ Virginia, Georgia @ Georgia Tech, Clemson @ South Carolina: Implications: Damn good teams seeking state-wide bragging rights. Here are three rivalry games that feature all ranked teams. It doesn’t get much better than this. These games might rank higher but, the conference implications are non-existent.

Ohio State @ Michigan: Implication: Cross-state bragging. It’s been so long since Michigan has beaten OSU, I can’t remember their last win. This should be the year. Michigan is much improved, playing at home, has the better coach and OSU is in a rebuilding mode[5].

Florida @ Florida State: Implications: A state-wide referendum on their respective head coaches. Both coaches replace legends and are having very mediocre seasons. At least Will Muschamp can blame (somewhat) his predecessor for leaving the cupboard bare and/or implementing a new system. Jimbo Fisher is on a hotter seat. He’s been at FSU for several years and his team had very high expectations this year.

Non Football Football Thought

Look, PSU has a ton of issues more important than this one but Rivalry Week got me thinking: One thing they can do now that they got rid of Paterno is bring Pitt back on the schedule. These teams played each other for a century (usually at the end of the season) and it was as intense as any other state rivalry out there. But for multiple reasons, the matchup was discontinued. Now that JoePa is gone, let’s move forward and do what is both right and good for the state of Pennsylvania’s football.

Hope youse all[6] enjoy the weekend.

[1] A close runner-up in VaTech. A team that has only played one ranked opponent and got their asses handed to them at home. Still, they are ranked in the Top 5. What a joke.

[2] It might just be me but I’m starting to think the Mac Brown era of excellence is winding down. I can see Texas having an extended (for them) string of mediocre seasons.

[3] It is interesting. State political action is probably the only way this rivalry gets rescheduled. We’ll witness the struggle Texas has with its love of football verses passion for small government.

[4] My favorite teams are always PSU, Temple, whoever is playing Notre Dame, whoever is playing Pitt, and all the service academies.

[5] Which will happen very quickly once Urban Meyer finally admits he accepted a deal with OSU while they still had a head coach in place.

[6] Youse all is a Philly vernacular that I’m working to spread beyond God’s country.

What? No love for the City Championship: USC vs. UCLA? USC, on its last season of bowl probation is playing for pride and a chance to get QB, Matt Barkley, a seat as a finalist in a couple of weeks at the Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman Tropy. And UCLA, against all odds and expectations, is playing for a spot in the inaugural PAC-12 championship game.

What? Pt. II. No love for the Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon St? Oregon is also playing for a crack at the PAC-12 championship game. This game is about as intense as it gets with class warfare implications: Phil Knight's high tech kids vs. the flannel-clad forestry majors at the state college.

* LSU's Tiger Stadium (aka Death Valley) under the lights.

** So it goes in college football, as Wisky is two last-second heart-break losses away from being BCS championship contenders, QB Russel Wilson is also that away from being a Heisman contender.

*** Michigan QB, Denard Robinson.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011


Consider it done. Thanksgiving has surpassed our former favorite holiday, Christmas. No gifts, no lame office parties, no tacky sweaters.

Just food, football, family and friends... Box that superfecta in any order you prefer.

We hope everyone is enjoying a safe and blessed Thanksgiving with their loved ones today.

We'll see you all tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Video clip of the day


The leather-clad Nick Gillespie and take a look at why forgiving student loans is not a good idea.

1. They are voluntary. No one stuck a gun to junior's head and forced him to get a loan. Also, the terms of the loan are known to all vested parties. There are no surprises.

2. The loan amounts are not over-burdensome. Given the fact that the unemployment rate among college grads is half that of the national average, a starting salary of $50,000 (national average) paying down a loan at a clip of $290/month (national average) should not send you to squattting at your local Obamaville.

3. Bailouts are just not sound policy for banks, for students... for anybody. And this remains a great point of departure between the OWS set and the tea party. To hear some (many?) in OWS, it seems they are not so much chapped that Wall St. got bailed out as a matter of principle or poor policy but that they did not get their bailout as well.

There is a misplaced sense of nobleness in their assumed impoverished state that believes they "deserve" a bailout more than the "fat cats" of Wall Street.

The tea party has been consistent in that it is wrong to eliminate a moral hazard, be it in the financial sector or in student loans, where wealth and property are involuntarily confiscated in order to paper over the mistakes of others.

Bailouts do absolutely nothing in guarding against the eventuality of the need for more bailouts in the future.

H/T: Hot Air

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Your #OWS update


The charade continues:

The office space city officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters to woo them off the City Hall lawn is only a few hundred feet away from the encampment in an underground shopping center known as the Los Angeles Mall.

The 10,000-square-foot office space used to be a bookstore, according to Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild, who has been negotiating with the city on behalf of the protesters.

At the Occupy general assembly meeting Monday night, Lafferty told protesters that city officials had offered them a $1-a-year lease for the space. He said he and the other negotiators had not yet seen the lease but it appeared the city would pay for utilities, as well.

The city has also said it would provide protesters with land on which to farm, although it was not known where.

It was unclear whether the Occupy protesters would agree to the deal.

Lafferty said he and others who have been meeting with officials are just messengers. He told the protesters the proposal was "just a report back about what the city is willing to do if you do something."

"The important thing is, we have said to the city we do not represent you," he said.

Yet another perfect metaphor for the Occupy movement: The Man giving into threats of violence* in return for goodies to these terrorists community organizers who will, in turn, only be co-opted into the existing union-based - identity politics - grievance industry power structure.

City Hall and the Occupiers... they're one big family and cut of the same cloth, gang. Don't be fooled. What further proof did one need than Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan allowing city employees to take leave days in order to join the Occupy protests?

The big cities that have been accommodating to the Obamaville squatters are so because they are complicit with goals both stated and implied of income redistribution and the perpetual class warfare struggle.

* The web version of this story from earlier this morning, explicitly stated that the desire to avoid violence was the chief reason for throwing Occupy these bones.

By the way, we hate broccoli

The following ought to scare the living daylights out of anyone with a remote interest in our diminishing freedom and liberty.

A Couple of months ago, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkmann was standing before the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, defending the federal law requiring Americans to buy government-approved health insurance, when Judge Laurence Silberman asked her about broccoli.

He wanted to know whether a law requiring Americans to buy broccoli would exceed the federal government’s authority to regulate interstate commerce. “No,” Brinkmann said. “It depends,” she added.

Silberman evidently was troubled by that shifty answer. Last week, he expressed “discomfort with the government’s failure to advance any clear doctrinal principles limiting congressional mandates that any American purchase any product or service in interstate commerce.” Oddly, he voiced that concern in the context of a majority opinion upholding the health-insurance mandate.

Dissenting Judge Brett Kavanaugh congratulated the majority for its candor in “admitting that there is no real limiting principle to its Commerce Clause holding.”

So, that's it? That's what we fought a Revolution for? Casting off the tyranny of a foreign power in exchange for the the soft, benevolent tyranny of a domestic one?

Recall our old friend Pete Stark (D(eranged)-CA) defending the constitutional mandate in ObamaCare on the grounds that Congress can pretty much do whatever the hell they please.

(If you've been following this blog for any length of time, then you are probably familiar with this clip because it remains perhaps the best 3-1/2 minutes in YouTube history of a direct summation of the dangers of overreach at the federal level. The young lady in this clip absolutely nails it. She sounds like a San Diego tea partier to the core)

"What limitations are there on the federal government's ability to tell us how to run our private lives?"

Stark proves himself to be a clueless imbecile and should've been run out of town on a rail for the content of his answer as well as the condescending tone in which it was delivered, especially right at the end.

If you think for one moment that ObamaCare is about improving upon the quality of the health care delivery system or bending the cost curve downward or any of the other justifications and/or reasons, please recall this exchange between an informed citizen and a power-mad "public servant" who bluntly explains there is no real restraints on the control the federal government can have over your life.

We fought a war some 235 years ago because of people like Pete Stark and the 20th century was nothing more than a study of the human misery that accompanied the philosophies of nations which were aligned with those of Pete Stark.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wait, what?

One in a series that takes a look at the unexpected and most certainly the absurd.

Back in September of 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services launched a grant program for individuals and groups on ideas for improving th country's healthcare system.

The Health Care Innovation Challenge will award up $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, particularly those with the highest health care needs.

The objectives of this initiative are to:

•Engage a broad set of innovation partners to identify and test new care delivery and payment models that originate in the field and that produce better care, better health, and reduced cost through improvement for identified target populations.

•Identify new models of workforce development and deployment and related training and education that support new models either directly or through new infrastructure activities.

•Support innovators who can rapidly deploy care improvement models (within six months of award) through new ventures or expansion of existing efforts to new populations of patients, in conjunction (where possible) with other public and private sector partners.

Sounds pretty dandy considering that $1 billion in grant money should more than pay for itself with the cost savings this country of innovators and free-thinkers should've been able to come up with, now doesn't it?

Well, it would if this grant program was indeed initiated back in 2009 instead of... this past week.

Wait, what?

After all that. After all the back room bribing, wheeling and dealing, the Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, the Christmas Eve votes, all of the most inglorious sausage making in perhaps all of Congressional history in order to form the 2,000+ page unholy monstrosity that is ObamaCare, now... now they're asking for people's input as to how to make our healthcare system better?

Un... real

Does it even cross Team O's mind that asking us for all of our wonderful ideas on how to improve this country's healthcare after the fact an admission that ObamaCare is a complete and abject failure?

For an administration, this insular and imperious, most definetely not.



A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.


So, the Prez is none too keen on oil drilling here stateside but has no problem with subsidizing to the tune of $2 billion, oil spills down in Brazil?

Sir Charles at DooDoo economics has the details, here.

He is rather NIMBY-ish about his environmental disasters, isn't he?

Noted misogynist and all-around dip-shit, Bill Maher, goes on The View to shill his book and explain his Laura Logan/Elizabeth Hasselbeck Tahir square rape swap proposal.

From the comments:

The thing that bugs me the most about Bill Maher the pose of edginess (all that "Politically Incorrect" BS), when in reality he has never in his life uttered a word that wasn't calculated to get applause from the audience in front him. He's a coward pretending to heroism.

Spot. On. There's a general creepiness to the dude that makes us want to shower if we ever have the misfortune of catching any of his video clips.

Awwwww... OWSers Occupying $700/night hotel rooms.

Hell no, we won’t go — unless we get goose down pillows.

A key Occupy Wall Street leader and another protester who leads a double life as a businessman ditched fetid tents and church basements for rooms at a luxurious hotel that promises guests can “unleash [their] inner Gordon Gekko,” The Post has learned.

The $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown last week hosted both Peter Dutro, one of a select few OWS members on the powerful finance committee, and Brad Spitzer, a California-based analyst who not only secretly took part in protests during a week-long business trip but offered shelter to protesters in his swanky platinum-card room.

Of course, we find the "W" to be a nice touch. Sweet dreams, fellas.

Rule 5 girl: CNBC info-babe, Erin Burnett

Walter Russell Mead talkin' about his (Boomer) generation:

We cannot change our past, but the time that remains is still ours to shape. It is too late for us to be remembered as a generation of wise statesmen, great leaders, selfless role models, responsible business people, faithful spouses, sacrificial parents, and builders and renewers of great institutions. We have too much pillaging, wrecking and looting, too much heedless consumption of scarce social capital and too little forethought in our history for that. But we could still be a generation that learned, that got better before the end, and that gave its final decades to help the next generations succeed where we, alas, did not.

The owl, they say, is the bird of wisdom, and it flies at dusk. Perhaps as we Boomers go gray, we may finally find ourselves and at long last begin to deliver on some of that promise that blinded us with its splendor so many golden years ago.

So, they played The Game (Harvard-Yale aka The 1% Bowl) Sunday and which was televised on Versus and which always gets some sports media run as a storied Ivy League rivalry. However, we feel a bit resentful that we should actually be made to care about The Game, knowing the alumni of these two institutions have busied themselves over the years burying this country in fiscal, moral and liberty debt.

A chart to consider the next time you hear about the urgent need to pass the President's jobs bill (aka Son of Porkulus).

We live in San Diego where the weather conditions are excellent but we do extensive travelling in the desert Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions where the weather conditions are much more extreme. Perhaps where you live, it is different, but this charge regarding our "crumbling infrastructure" just doesn't pass the eye test. And now, we have statistical data from the Federal Highway Administration that would appear to back up our anecdotal assessment.

And finally.... B-Daddy of The Liberator Today with his Tea Party healthcare reform plan.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Germany: accomplishing in peace what two world wars could not*

Via KT

Here's Brit, Nigel Farage, addressing the European Parliament this past week.

That was some epic smack.

For those of you scoring at home: 1) re-opening some old European geo-political wounds, 2) taking a stand for basic Western democratic principles and 3) re-asserting a sense of national sovereignty that the Euro-socialistm model was supposed to kill off... all in just a little over two minutes.

Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

* As is the statist model in this country, it's not a sudden revolution rather a long slow slog through this nation's institutions will victory be achieved without a concerted and vigorous pushback.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yeah, but you should see the other guy


Out: Crumple zones, sound engineering

In: Brute force

People who invest in hybrid cars are significantly less likely to be injured in an accident because heavy batteries under the hood make the vehicles safer than a traditional car, an insurance industry study found.

The average hybrid is 10 percent heavier than a traditional car of the same size, and the extra heft reduces the odds of being hurt in a crash by 25 percent, the report says.

"Saving at the pump no longer means you have to skimp on crash protection," said Matt Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute and author of the report.

The first generations of hybrids generally were smaller, lighter vehicles than those produced more recently. With manufacturers increasingly converting a portion of some traditionally powered car models to hybrids, the hybrid versions are heavier.

For example, a Honda Accord takes on about 480 pounds when transformed into a hybrid.

Now, ain't that a turn?

Wasn't it just like, yesterday, that over-sized/over-weight SUVs were the scorched Earth bullies of the highway? And wasn't the fact these larger SUVs provided an inherent safety advantage an unspoken selling point with families in the market for the modern day station wagon?

The moral preening and hand-wringing is entirely absent, however, when it is applied to these front-end biased hybrid battering rams and the Newton's 3rd law damage they are inflicting on other cars and drivers out on the highway.

More evidence of the selective logic that is applied when bowing before the altar of green technology.

The 1st annual Beers with Demo meet'n'greet confab open thread


As of this posting, we and Max are down at Pizza Port OB soaking up award-winning beer, great pizza and enjoyable fellowship.


A pre-emptive hope that you can make it down there to hang out with us.


College football Saturday round-up and open thread



Well, here's the deal folks. Jonesy submitted his blog post below, which zeroes in on potential BCS championship game matchups, on his Friday afternoon deadline and thus before Iowa State's stunning 37-31, 2 OT win over #2 Oklahoma St. so read on accordingly.

Greetings & Salutations,

So it comes down to this. In order to avoid the dreaded title game rematch we have to root like hell for the Oklahoma State T. Boone Pickens (I mean Cowboys) aganist the Oklahoma Sooners. This will be the biggest Bedlam game in the history of the school. If Oklahoma State wins out, they play in the BCS Title game. If not, all hell breaks loose.

Who would get the chance to play LSU? Alabama (which might be the nation's 2nd best team) has already lost to them at home. Oregon had their chance at LSU during the first week of the season and played their sloppiest game. And God forbid that Oklahoma wins out and gets to play LSU despite the worst lost of the contenders; Texas Tech at home.

So, we are left with the Cowboys. And I’m fine with that. Their offense is amazing, their defense is under-rated and the desperate passion of their fans is very compelling. This is their year to, not only have the chance to be the best team in the country, but, more importantly, prove they are the best team in their own state. Go Pickens!

Games Worth Watching

Nebraska @ Michigan: Neither of these teams are powerhouses this year. They both may very well be mediocre 8-2 teams. Still with the history of the two programs and it being Nebraska’s first year in the Big 10+2, it is a compelling game. Ten years ago, who would have thought that Michigan would have the better running QB?

Colorado @ UCLA: One lousy team and then there is Colorado. Still, with a home win, UCLA becomes bowl eligible and maintains its chance of playing in the inaugural PAC 12 Title game. I think slick Rick might hold onto his position for one more year with this win.

PSU & Ohio State: With a win, PSU keeps its Rose Bowl hopes alive. Can you imagine the nation’s discomfort of seeing my beloved Blue & White in the Granddaddy of them all? Both teams play solid defense and pathetic offense. I see the Nits coming up with a win here and playing Wisconsin for all the marbles next week.

Cincinnati @ Rutgers: For the Big Least Championship! Go New Jersey!

USC @ Oregon: USC’s last chance to win our hearts and minds by beating the Oregon Nikes. Not that there is anything wrong with the Ducks, I just don’t want to see a rematch in the title game. Not fair to LSU [i] .

Non Football Football Thought

With the PSU scandal in full bloom and news coming out every minute, I decided to take a much needed wait and see approach to the whole affair. Every day, more and more plot twists occur and frankly, my initial thoughts of tearing down the entire program, throwing JoePa in jail and stringing up Mike McQueary may have been a little overboard. I hope the next few months bring some of the many sordid details out in the open. Still, my thoughts and prayers and always with the victims of these horrible crimes.


[i] Assuming LSU gets past Arkansas and whatever scrub team they play in the SEC Championship.

Friday afternoon: We really don't care to see a rematch of what was a pretty boring LSU-Alabama game. Despite losing at home because they can't kick field goals, it looks like it will indeed be a rematch should Oklahoma St. stumble either against Oklahoma.

Friday late: Oklahoma, which needed to beat an undefeated Oklahoma St. team if they had any hope of vaulting over everybody to #2 and thus a spot in the BCS championship game got shafted by their in-state rivals this evening. Funny how those rivalry works, huh? . Yep, looks like LSU v. 'Bama in the title game.

Friday, November 18, 2011

So, a tea partier walks into an Obamaville


Sir Charles of DooDoo Economics and fellow SLOB spent some time down at Occupy San Diego a couple days ago and had some very interesting observations as a result.

Consider for a moment that the left is full of people who lived through the sixties and seventies as radical activists. They have first-hand knowledge of what worked and what did not, and why. The Occupy movement, like progressive political policies, is designed to fail in order to enrich an elitist political class through expendables, dependents and useful idiots. Consider the negative connotations of the language "Occupy."

Any movement, living in squalor, beset by radicals and including fringe elements, will eventually have individuals commit heinous and deplorable acts. The movement will react to those events and be an easy target for public outrage, outrage focused upon both the individuals involved and the movement as it reacts. The sixties and seventies radical left activists remember this, teach this, and use this. This tactic is often used against conservatives who aspire to a set of high standards but, being human, make mistakes that can be exploited as "hypocritical." The application of this tactic is only slightly different when creating groups to demonize as opposed to demonizing opponents. Machiavelli would be proud, but the myth of the compassionate left is clear.

Not to go all conspiracy theory on everybody but the timing of the simultaneous crackdowns on the OWS sites a couple of days ago has lent suspicion to the notion that the political class in this country that had been playing footsie if not outright endorsing the Obamavilles that had sprung up around the country, had had enough of the negative publicity coming out of the OWS encampments... or whatever bad press the legacy media decided to report out on.

Keeping OWS alive but not too alive would appear to be advantageous leverage for the class warfare meme of the ruling class of this country.

Check out the rest of Sir Charles' outstanding post, here.

OWS: Everybody loves a parade...


... well, almost everybody.

Let's see. Rape. Check. Assault. Check. TB, head lice and STDs. Check. Hmmmm.... what's missing?

Oh, but of course. Who's up for terrorizing young school children?

OWS has now hit for the anti-social/aberrant behavior cycle:

They were caught in the middle of madness.

Some grade school students were forced to walk a gauntlet of screaming “Occupy Wall Street” protesters just to get to school on Thursday.

It was a wild day in lower Manhattan for most everyone involved, including elementary school children who had to brave the mayhem just to get to class on the other side of Wall Street.

n the middle of thousands of protestors yelling and chanting — some kicking and screaming – CBS 2’s Emily Smith found little school kids trying to get to class. Nervous parents led them through the barriers on Wall Street. The NYPD helped funnel the children, anything to ease their fears while some protestors chanted “follow those kids!”

“These guys are terrorists, yelling at little kids,” one father said.

“For them it’s horrible. They’re afraid of all the crowds. We’re not even able to get through. They’re just, he’s … very afraid now,” a mother added.

One protester followed a father and his little daughter all the way down the block. As the school day ended just after 3 p.m. children trickled out of Leman Manhattan Prep on Broad Street. Smith heard a 4-year-old boy telling his mom he was scared. He told Smith it looked like a parade.

“There was a parade. It was scary — crowded with school,” the boy said.


On a lighter note, enjoy The Daily Show's absolutely priceless and spot-on takedown of the OWS movement.

"OK, does the drum circle know we're all here, now?"

What makes this particularly rich is the fact that we imagine quite a few of these Obamaville squatters are big fans of Stewart and The Daily Show. Hey, isn't Stewart just speaking truth to power?

And we hoped you appreciated the redistribution for thee but not for me attitude demonstrated by the one gentlemen with the laptop. Yeah, everybody may be hacked off at the bailouts and subsidies for corporate interests but the redistributionist/involuntary confiscation of property-as-solution remains the unbridgeable gap between OWS and the tea party.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MAXED OUT: the missing article open thread edition


We think the young lad thought he had the week off. When it comes to beer drinking and beer appreciation around here, it's a 52 week a year undertaking. It may not be easy but we never.... never shy away from challenges.

Hey, just a reminder: this Saturday from 2-5 come hang out with the Beers with Demo staff at Pizza Port OB. The joint is kid-friendly so bring the cheap labor. Look for a Dodgers ball cap and flaming reddish-orange hair.

More hijinks and hilarity brought to you by OWS


This was the big nation-wide Day of Action or something for labor unions and the #OWS set, aka the President's and the Democratic Party's base.

What sort of action were they planning on? We'll let the L.A. Times explain:

Organizers of a demonstration planned Thursday morning in downtown Los Angeles say protesters are prepared to be arrested by police for committing acts of civil disobedience -- including shutting down an intersection.

The march, which is timed to coincide with other demonstrations across the country to protest the imbalance of wealth and power in the country, is set to begin at 7 a.m. at Bank of America Plaza on Hope Street. It will then make its way through the Financial District to the corner of Figueroa and 4th streets, where demonstrators plan to shut down traffic by erecting tents in the middle of the street.

Jacob Hay, a leader of the coalition of labor and community groups that helped organize the march, said the group has secured police permits, but that protesters are prepared to be arrested for blocking traffic.

Because nothing calls attention to income inequality and chronic unemployment like preventing people from getting to work.

And last night, closer to home here in San Diego, they decided to have "a moment of silence" and "solidarity" with the guy that shot at the White House yesterday.

Absolutely love the "Wait, what? /Who-let-Einstein-have-the-mic?-oh-I-guess-I-did expression on the girl's face.



How broke are we...?


... we're so broke that Paul Ryan (R-Wisky) can't even afford to make something other than a tinny-audioed video marking the point when this nation has rocketed past the $15 trillion debt mark.


He's right though - a historic mark in our country's history is also marked by a historic abdication in leadership on this issue by which the (P)resident has simply refused to take one step towards any meaningful action.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Your mid-week, martini-worthy photo image



Don't know why but we always associated the NFL Films tune "Rambling Man from Grambling" by the great Sam Spence with Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers, so here's the deal: start playing the Spence tune and then mute the volume on the Sayers' highlight video (totally lame tune) before playing it. At nearly the same length, it synchs up pretty well - we think you'll enjoy it.


(remember, kill that tune)


Wait, what?

One in a series that takes a look at the unexpected and certainly the absurd.

Something that jumped out at us on the San Franciso Chronicle's summation of 60 Minutes piece on Congress profitting from the legislation they write:

Laws against insider trading - making stock bets based on information the public doesn't have - do not apply to Congress. Studies have shown that stock portfolios on Capitol Hill outperform the market. Legislation that would ban insider trading by members and staffers has languished.


Several studies have shown that members of Congress and their staffs do better in the stock market than the public. A 2011 study by four university researchers found that a portfolio that mirrored stock purchases by House members from 1985 to 2001 beat the market by 6 percent a year. The same authors found that senators beat the market by 12.3 percent from 1993 to 1998.

Wait, what?

These guys write the legislation, they make the rules... and they're completely immune from taking advantage of gaming the situation in any manner they feel... and they still can't make out any better than 6 and 12 percent above the market average?

U.S. Congress: where corruption meets complete incompetence.

Hey, maybe it saved the Senate


Alternate headline: Solyndra: the scandal that keeps on giving

'Suppose it just wasn't enough to give a completely ill-advised $537 billion loan that was opposed by the Treasury Department and independent auditors and with near-zero interest rates far more favorable than similar DOE loans (with a loan restructuring that put private interests ahead of that of tax-payers') and to a company with ties an Obama bundler/fundraiser.

OK, then, how about delaying announcing your closing up shop until after the 2010 midterms at the behest of the White House?:

The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.

The announcement could have been politically damaging because President Obama and others in the administration had held up Solyndra as a poster child of its clean-energy initiative, saying the company’s new factory, built with the help of stimulus money, could create 1,000 jobs. Six months before the midterm elections, Obama visited Solyndra’s California plant to praise its success, even though outside auditors had questioned whether the operation might collapse in debt.

As the contentious 2010 elections approached, Solyndra found itself foundering, and it warned the Energy Department that it would need an emergency cash infusion. A Solyndra investment adviser wrote in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail — without explaining the reason — that Energy Department officials were pushing “very hard” to delay making the layoffs public until the day after the elections.

The announcement ultimately was made on Nov. 3, 2010 — immediately following the Nov. 2 vote.

Aside from the blatant impropriety if not outright illegality of this, we find it almost quaint, cute, in a way.

Now, we can work ourselves into a righteous lather with respect to the aforementioned transgressions of this Solyndra mess but thinking that delaying the announcement of 1,000 layoffs was going to make one iota of difference in that "hotly contested" midterm election shellacking of 2010 has to be one of the more amusing things we've heard in a while.

An ass-kicking that anyone with a pulse could've seen coming would somehow become not so or lesser so due to delaying a layoff announcement of a company no one had really heard of at the time. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fisker: it doesn't really have to make any sense...

... as long as you can feel good about yourself.

Sure, we'll get yet another aspect of the Solyndra scandal soon here but we couldn't turn out the lights this evening without commenting on this.

You all remember Fisker, right? The American-owned car company that we, as in the U.S. tax-payers, via the Department of Energy's green loan program, lent $529 million to build $97,000 and $57,000 a copy electric cars... in Finland.

At 97 large for their high-performance sedan, there really can be no doubt that the purchase of this vehicle is merele an exercise in green vanity and smugness. And to put to rest any doubt you may have towards our contention, please bare in mind that one of the package options for the Fisker is, wait for it....

... EcoChic

The most advanced sustainable trim package available featuring 100% Recyclable EcoSuede interior material, and Certified Rescued Wood trim from California fires.

Let that settle in for a moment: they're sending that burnt wood all the way over to Finland to be inlaid to the dashboard. Feeling better about that $529 million already, aren't you?

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


He's gonna do it. The crazy old man is actually going to do it.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he will formally request that the Legislature approve billions of dollars to start construction of the California bullet train next year and will work hard to persuade skeptical lawmakers that the project is critical to the state's future.

In his first extended remarks on the $98.5-billion project since a controversial business plan was unveiled last week, Brown said that the state will have a broad need for the system in the long term and that it represents a significantly cheaper alternative to additional highway and commercial aviation investments.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority last week approved a new business plan that more than doubled the project's cost and a related financing plan that would ask for the first construction money, tapping $2.7 billion in state bonds and $3.3 billion in federal grants.

And just between us girls, that $98.5 billion is near triple what voters here in California were told some 3 years ago what the high-speed choo-choo system would cost when they were asked via ballot measure to commit tax-payer money to it. Oh, and we found out last week that $98.5 may be low by a cool $19 billion.

A bullet train business plan released Tuesday notes that the system cost of $98 billion could jump an additional $19 billion depending on the route and construction features.

The article never detailed what those "features" were.

Back to the article:

Rail officials hope the money can cover construction of a 140-mile Central Valley segment from Chowchilla to Bakersfield, though it would not pay for electrification, trains or other necessary parts of an operating system. To actually carry passengers will require more than $20 billion of additional investment in track and equipment, money that the state now does not have.

If we don't have that $20 billion, we sure as hell don't have the $98 billion either.

And it's not clear from the article whether or not that $20 billion to merely make the system operable is for that 140 mile stretch out in the Central Valley or for the whole system. Either way, it looks as if all that potential cost of just under $120 billion is getting us, thus far, is just set of tracks from San Fran to Los Angeles. No transmission lines, no gates, no signals, no choo-choos, no nuthin'.

While Governor Brown is urging California legislators to "think big" in committing funding to getting this thing done, we have a sneaking suspicion we will be writing again very shortly on some very big cost re-projections for California's high speed choo-choos.

Stay tuned.

Programming reminder


Consider yourself forewarned: The first annual Beers with Demo meet'n'greet with Dean and Max will be going down this Saturday at the Pizza Port Ocean Beach locale from 2 to 5 in the afternoon.


What to look for: great beer, really good pizza and at least one of the hosts sporting an L.A. Dodger ballcap and at least one of the other hosts sporting hair which will be aflame in reddish/orangeish hues and possibly a San Francisco Giants ballcap as well.


Port OB is kid-friendly so bring the entire family down to relax with some outstanding food and drink before the crush of the holiday season is upon us.

See you all there!


Monday, November 14, 2011

ObamaCare: real world consequences


President Obama, while campaigning for the passage of ObamaCare, remarked that if you liked your current health care plan, you could keep it. Unfortunately, no one thought to ask him if they'd be able to keep their job if it passed as well.

Stryker, the Kalamazoo-based maker of artificial hips and knees, will cut 5% of its global workforce by the end of next year to reduce costs in the face of new fees on device makers required by the U.S. health care law.

The job cuts will reduce annual pretax operating costs by more than $100 million beginning in 2013, when the medical-device excise tax is scheduled to take effect, Stryker said Thursday in a statement. Stryker had more than 20,000 employees as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg News data.

In order to pay for this monstrosity, in addition to accounting gimmicks, ObamaCare was going to hit up the manufacturers of medical devices for more of their scratch.

Please note that this excise tax doesn't take place until 2013 but companies, such as Stryker, are reacting to it already by laying off 1,000 employees. The geniuses that put together ObamaCare probably figured that the manufacturers of medical devices either wouldn't notice these taxes or would just absorb them into their operating costs. Who knows what the hell they were thinking because if you place and/or raise a tax on a consumer item, there is generally only two things that are going to happen: 1) the increased cost of that item will get passed along to the consumer and/or 2) the company making that item will have to reduce operating costs and the simplest way to do that is to lay off people.

When critics of ObamaCare, such as ourselves, say that it's a jobs-killer and that it won't lower the cost of healthcare, this is precisely what we are talking about.

This is a perfect real-world example of a business that is in the health care industry getting out ahead of the curve and reacting in a rational manner to the disastrous effects of ObamaCare.


A round-up of news items, columns, articles and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.

“They got their own security, they act like the police,” one man tells Lopez. “Anytime you do anything they say you can’t do this and that … and we’re saying ‘you’re not the police.’

Sacramento homeless starting to feel like the 99% among the 99%.

Via W.C. Varones, Mike Mayo on Wall Street reform:

To fix the banking sector, should we rely more on government regulation and oversight or let the market figure it out? Tougher rules or more capitalism? Right now, we have the worst of both worlds. We have a purportedly capitalistic system with a lot of rules that are not strictly enforced, and when things go wrong, the government steps in to protect banks from the market consequences of their own worst decisions. To me, that's not capitalism.

It's easy to understand the appeal of certain regulation. If we'd had the right oversight in place, we would have limited the degree of the financial crisis, which included bailouts measured in hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of people losing their homes due to foreclosures. But we also would have sacrificed innovations in credit and a vibrant financial sector.

Call us crazy and we may be guilty of thin-slicing here, but we doubt that a 2,000 page Wall St. reform bill adding more layers of rules and regulations which can, of course, be gamed and which was sponsored by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, no less, will do anything to prevent any future meltdowns like we experienced in 2008.

B-Daddy has some thoughts on the Gibson Guitar travesty (um, not his thoughts, necessarily. Go to the link and all will be explained):

The recent raid of Gibson, however, did not come about because the wood was illegally harvested. Rather, the U.S. government alleges that the wood was imported in violation of an Indian export restriction designed to keep wood finishing work in India. To make matters worse, although the Indian government certified that the wood was properly and legally exported under this law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service substituted its own opinion and reinterpreted Indian law. Its analysis suggested that if Gibson would just finish its fingerboards using Indian labor rather than Tennessee craftsman, there would be no issue.
(italics, ours)

Obama's War on jobs continues apace. Also, a loose and creative interpretation of the law can only be called one thing: tyrrany.

More W.C. in attempting to make sense of the past 3 years:

Biden: White House got its economic policy from Jon Corzine.

Religious advice from Jeremiah Wright, legal advice from Eric Holder, "green jobs" advice from Van Jones, health care advice from Peter Orszag, propaganda advice from Kumar.... I'm starting to see a trend here.

Rule 5 girl, Leryn Franco, Paraguayan model and javelin thrower.

Occupy Fannie and Freddie? Uh, probably not.

Sixty senators from both parties complained Friday to the chief regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that the nearly $13 million in bonuses to executives at the bailed-out mortgage giants were "wildly imprudent," as the lawmakers called for "substantial changes" to executive pay policies.

"We are sincerely concerned about the message this sends to millions of American families when the unemployment rate stands at 9.0% and the housing market remains very weak," the senators wrote in a letter to Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
White House aides say President Obama took a lead on cleaning up excessive compensation on Wall Street with the Dodd-Frank bill, but those provisions do not apply to Fannie and Freddie.

"The White House was not involved, and nor should it be," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

Let's get this straight: this White House sees fit to "involve" itself from everything to using tax-payer dollars to buy car companies to being "involved" in passing legislation that forces you to buy health insurance but they don't want to get "involved" in reforming, curbing, eliminating... bonuses at an entity (Freddie Mac) that will be seeking $6 billion from the Treasury Department after reporting $4 billion in losses for the 3rd quarter.

Assault, TB and lice outbreaks, rape, murder... John Nolte at Big Government keeps track of the Occupy incidents that the legacy media would rather have you not know, here.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

The hits... they just keep coming


Remember when they told us that if we voted for McCain it would mean just four more years of blatant cronyism and unchecked practices of favortism? Well, they were right.

Solyndra, Lightsquared, Fast and Furious and now... Siga Technologies Inc.?

From the L.A. Times no less (headline sub headline):

Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal

A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a "sole-source" procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation's biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government's specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Our existing stockpile of small pox vaccine which can cover the entire U.S. population and prevent death if given within 4 days of exposure goes for $3 a pop.

The government's pursuit of Siga's product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?

"We've got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use — how much more do we need?" said Dr. Donald A. "D.A." Henderson, the epidemiologist who led the global eradication of smallpox for the World Health Organization and later helped organize U.S. biodefense efforts under President George W. Bush. "The bottom line is, we've got a limited amount of money."

Dr. Thomas M. Mack, an epidemiologist at USC's Keck School of Medicine, battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus. He called the plan to stockpile Siga's drug "a waste of time and a waste of money."

And don't like how negotiations are going? Go to the bullpen.

Negotiations over the price of the drug and Siga's profit margin were contentious. In an internal memo in March, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, chief medical officer for HHS' biodefense preparedness unit, said Siga's projected profit at that point was 180%, which he called "outrageous."

In an email earlier the same day, a department colleague told Hatchett that no government contracting officer "would sign a 3 digit profit percentage."

In April, after Siga's chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, complained in writing about the department's "approach to profit," Lurie assured him that the "most senior procurement official" would be taking over the negotiations.

"I trust this will be satisfactory to you," Lurie wrote Rose in a letter.

And here's some more of that transparency we've been hearing so much about.

Neither the HHS spokeswoman nor the Siga representatives would disclose the agreed-upon profit margin or the per-treatment price. Siga has cited terms of the contract in its public financial statements — but without those financial details.

We're not experts in this field but we remain confident that non-disclosure of the financial details of government contracts runs afoul of Federal Aquisition Regulations and certainly that of the practice of good governance.

And just to make you Obama apologists feel a little bit better about this, the effort to stockpile super vaccines such as the one Siga has successfully peddled in the name of counter-terrorism started during the Bush administration lending more evidence to our contention that O > W.

One last goodie: for all that, Siga's vaccine, ST-246, only has a shelf-life of 38 months. Just over 3 years for those of you in Placentia, California. The government had intended in non-competing the replenishment contract but dropped the exclusivity provision after one of the potential contractors lodged a formal protest. Though disappointed, Siga accepted this mere compliance with the rules not wanting to seek "any negative publicity." Probably a little too late for that.

Go to the link for more of the details regarding just how it was the existing system for competing government contracts was rigged, ignored and otherwise gamed to the exclusive benefit of one contractor whose controlling shareholder is a long-time/big-time Democratic and Obama supporter and donor.

Team O: raising crony capitalism to a true art form.

P.S. The Washington Post had finally started covering the unfolding Solyndra scandal and the L.A. Times has been on Fast and Furious and, now, this apparent Son of Solyndra in this Siga vaccine mess. There just might be some hope yet for the 4th estate.