THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
The head of government is friends with the heads of every big business, lobby and union, and together they make decisions on how everyone else will live. Those on the inside get what they want. Those on the outside - well, they get what the big guys want them to have.
Likening the process to healthcare “reform” he notes that “[o]ver the spring and summer, the White House door has been wide open to lobbyists from health care businesses” and everyone was playing ball, until health insurers realized that the Baucus bill would drive them into bankruptcy:
[T]he health insurers' lobby commissioned a study that pointed out, correctly I think, that the Baucus bill would increase the cost of insurance to those who already have it. …
So the health insurers have been denounced by White House spokesmen and Democratic congressional leaders as foul fiends and gougers of working families. Prominent Democrats have been talking about revoking insurance companies' exemption from the antitrust laws (granted so that small firms would have access to data needed to compete with the giants). Translated into Chicagoese: Nice little insurance company you got there. Too bad if something happened to it. …
Having encountered un-Chicago-like dissent and disagreement, [Obama] has responded with classic Chicago brass knuckles. We'll see how far this kind of thuggery gets him.
† How Is Airline Safety Like Healthcare? (second item): According to a study by the National Commission on Quality Assurance, healthcare quality reached a plateau after climbing steadily for more than a dozen years, because employers and health insurers have focused on cost rather than quality, reports MarketWatch:
"When purchasers are buying on the basis of cost alone, plans naturally follow suit and pay more attention to negotiating discounts and less to improving performance," the study says. "And the most effective tool - tying payments to performance - is not being utilized enough, especially by the giant Medicare program." …
NCQA says that for each of the last 12 years it has monitored the nation's health-care quality - it has followed the subject for 15 years, perhaps the only organization to do so - that "significant progress" has been made. Now, however, that performance has flattened. …
The study did a geographical check and discovered the same findings in how regions of the country treat diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In both studies, the six New England states rank highest in terms of health-care quality, while eight South-Central states - Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas - rank lowest.
The group says that in some cases, like asthma, quality measures are high (90 percent) and there’s not much room for improvement. But in other cases, like alcohol- and drug-dependency treatment and colon cancer screening, care is routinely substandard.
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: Syndicated columnist Victor Davis Hanson observes that “President Obama keeps roaring out deadlines like a lion - only later to meow like a little kitty” … “[t]he list of what a melodramatic Obama threatens or promises to do and what he actually does is endless.” Hanson cites a string of domestic and foreign deadlines Obama vowed to impose - but can’t - including: Closing Gitmo by January 2010; pulling troops out of Iraq “now”; Iran proving compliance with non-proliferation protocols by September; Congress having to pass comprehensive healthcare reform by the August recess; and posting legislation on the Internet five days before he signs it into law.
In each case, the pattern is the same: Obama demands something be done by a date certain “or else.” Since he never clearly states the consequences of missing his deadline - and no one has yet seen evidence that he has the spine to enforce any consequences - Congress and world leaders alike have taken to adding “or else, what?” in their heads as he demands and urges and exhorts and insists … to no avail.
† We Fight Them Over There So We Don’t Have To Fight Them Over Here?: Part IV (third item): Though Tarek Mehanna and his friend, Ahmad Abousamra, weren’t considered terrorist material by jihadi training camps in three countries, they were dead-set on finding a way to commit murder and mayhem, according to the FBI. The Boston Globe reports:
“We don’t want to wait for somebody to become a terrorist before we stop them,’’ Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said by phone yesterday. “We don’t want them to blow something up and kill somebody, because our whole mission is to prevent.’’
He said that anyone who would travel to Yemen, as Mehanna allegedly did in 2004 in search of a terrorist camp that would train him, was a significant concern and had to be taken seriously. …
An FBI analysis of Mehanna’s computer, seized in 2006, found Mehanna “glorified’’ the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and berated the victims as “sinners,’’ according to the affidavit. The computer contained photographs of Mehanna and others at ground zero, the former site of the World Trade Center towers in New York, “with large grins and Mehanna has one finger pointed up in the air,’’ the affidavit says.
Mehanna’s computer also revealed that he had downloaded numerous pro-jihad videos, as well as a video of the mutilation of the remains of US personnel in Iraq, the affidavit says. …
Bamford said the FBI has no information about terrorist cells operating in New England.
But he added, “The home grown terrorists, those individuals who have become radicalized by looking at the Internet … are of great concern because those people often fly below the radar.’’
The Christian Science Monitor has pulled together a chronological list of 21 homegrown terror plots that have been intercepted or thwarted by the FBI since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
† CIGNA Gives Grieving Family The Finger – Twice: By the time CIGNA did the right thing, it was too late to save the life of 17-year old leukemia patient Nataline Sarkisyan. Prodded by the outrage evoked by a front-page article in The Washington Times and subsequent media coverage, Guardian Life Insurance Co. did not wait that long, and is restoring the health insurance coverage that has kept muscular dystrophy patient Ian Pearl, 37, alive. Pearl’s parents are now pressing the company to restore this coverage to others in NY state who need it but the company has thus far committed only to restoring their son’s coverage plus that of one other unnamed policy holder in the state. Meanwhile, the company’s CEO Dennis Manning plans to meet with the Pearls to assure them that he thinks of customers as human beings, not “dogs” that Guardian needs to “get rid of” to increase its profit margins.
† The Nobel Peace Prize? Really?: Bjorn Halvard Knappskog, a 19-year-old Norwegian student, has won the Monopoly World Championship, held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas – and $20,580 in real money for the title, which matches the amount of play money in the bank of a standard Monopoly game, reports The Associated Press. Rumor has it that Knappskog has already been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Prize in economics, and he’s got at least even odds of winning – unless President Barack Hussein Obama also gets nominated, in which case all bets are off.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fifth item, Now Is Not The Time To Talk About Race): More fallout following News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch having to endure being lectured on diversity by “leaders from a variety of ethnic communities”? Based on concerns raised by a shareholder about liberal analyst Marc Lamont Hill having a "reputation of defending cop killers and racists" – he has supported the likes of Assata Shakur (AKA JoAnne Chesimard) and Mumia Abu-Jamal (AKA Wesley Cook) – Murdoch kicked him to the curb. Hill, who claims expertise on hip-hop culture but not politics or history, was a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor."
† Updates To Previous Posts (Semper Fi(nk), eighth item): For masquerading as an injured war hero to get free seats at rock concerts and sporting events, Sgt. David W. Budwah, 34 - who pleaded guilty to making false statements, malingering, misconduct and unlawful appropriation, among other offenses - was sentenced to 18 months confinement, reduced in rank to private, dishonorably discharged and fined $25,000, reports The Associated Press.