sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 8, 2015

That Will Show Them!

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:02 am

Since the Supreme Court so helpfully re-wrote Obamacare for the nation, our side had been scrambling to figure out what to do.  U.S. Representative Brian Babin (R) proposed a bill enrolling SCOTUS in the program so that they “see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with”.  A more likely outcome is that we will find out why we were right all along. No, scratch that, we will not find out what they do to get their healthcare; we will not be privy to such information.

For starters, wealthy people like the justices can always fly to Switzerland and pay for treatment upfront.  And sure, we can require them to get their medical services through exchanges only, but such restriction can, of course, turn out to be unconstitutional.  (Are they? I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer!) Are we going to prevent these illustrious men from traveling abroad? What is it, the Soviet Union?  Not to mention that they themselves are the final authority on the subject of constitutionality.

Speaking of the Soviet Union.  I should know, I grew up there, a granddaughter of a doctor.  My grandfather managed to make a nice living for our family running a private practice out of our apartment.  Although technically all medical and dental services were technically free of charge, considering the sensitive nature of the trade, medical professionals were in a position to ask clients for compensation.  They weren’t alone operating on the immense Soviet black market, but the trade was so lucrative that in the last decades of the Soviet Union, entrance into the technically free of charge medical schools was secured by hefty bribes.

Med school graduates weren’t necessarily the best people to cure patients, and finding a good doctor was an especially difficult task.  We were fortunate to know some old school doctors through my grandfather, and we used his network up until we left the country, at which point they were all dying off anyway.  That was us, the relatively well-connected but in other respects very average people.

The elites, as it was known, could use the best hospitals in the country, and if they needed to, could go abroad.  Similarly, Fidel Castro doesn’t have to go to the fabulous free of charge Cuban doctors; when he got sick, he went to the German ones.  Even if forced to use Obamacare, the SCOTUS justices and their peons will be able to navigate it to get the services us plebs can never dream of.  That’s why the Tea Party so opposed Obamacare to begin with.

The real problem with Babin’s proposal is that it’s reactive, revanchist and backward looking; tactics, not strategy.  Their side is annihilating the English language and allowing non-citizens to vote and we… what do we do?  Eliminating taxes on medical devices and enrolling Supreme Court Justices in a silly government program.

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October 28, 2013

A Horizon Organic Model of Medical Care?

Filed under: Bay Area politics, fashion, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:24 am

Eyeing my neighbor, sitting on his porch, eyes glazed over, I think: Are we going to sit like that, getting stoned every afternoon and blasting MSNBC, all because we gave up on finding a job and are now on disability?  How sad is the life in Obama’s America, particularly when it comes to individuals who are, despite being taken to the cleaners by their leaders, really quite bright.

The middle aged are set in their worldviews, and even though the sight of apparently stillborn Obamacare should be an Earth-shattering moment for many liberals, nobody expects them to switch party affiliation anytime soon.  What conservatives living in liberal areas can hope to accomplish is to shape the liberal thought exploiting the schism in their ideology.  Roger Simon has some ideas, and here is my 2 cents.

Mild-mannered liberals dislike all things large.  We no longer build skyscrapers in San Francisco, for instance, because those are too intimidating.

The distinguishable San Francisco skyline is Diane Feinstein’s legacy, one of the reasons the former mayor is a-OK in my book. San Francisco’s political culture of the day favors mediocre mid-rises that we slap on the streets South of Market.

The way I see it, when the late Andrew Breitbart inaugurated his “Bigs”, he was toying with the libs and their suspicion of big business.  A liberal thinks that big corporations are evil, and his consumer choices reflect it.  We don’t shop at Wall-mart around here, and prefer locally-owned coffee shops to Starbucks.  It’s an easy choice, to be sure, because Wall-mart doesn’t cater to upper middle class customers, and those local coffee shops serve fresh salads topped with home made dressing.  Some of my neighbors like the fact that they can bike to a local toy store to buy a present for their child, but not to Wall-mart.  In the end, our choices are more about aesthetics than morals.

My shopping and dining preferences are not very different from those of my neighbors (if anything, I might be pickier — or at least I hope I am), but that’s mainly a lifestyle choice.  I do have an ideology that props up my tastes.  If I patronize a business, it’s not because the owner nods enthusiastically every time I open my mouth about politics.  I reward producers for offering the best product at the best price, and small local businesses have an edge there because, as a rule, small works better than big.  Locally grown produce won’t feed the hungry world, but it does taste better then tomatoes that were picked green in Mexico.  The lady who runs my favorite consignment store, for instance, knows what kind of clothes I buy, so she keeps me in mind when she sorts through the bags other customers bring in.  All of that is done without any kind of creepy internet surveillance algorithms.

Because of his innate distrust of big, a liberal can be open to the idea that small generally delivers better quality products.  My daughter was born in the happier Bush times.  A new mother, I was bombarded with suggestions to use organic foods for my baby.  At the same time I was cautioned to be careful with products labeled organic because, I was told, the newly minted USDA Organic certification was insufficiently rigorous* (in the Bush years liberals were considerably more skeptical of the federal government).  One lady I know advised me to purchase Horizon Organic dairy because “those guys are local and somebody keeps an eye on them”.  Local?  Horizon Organics is the largest distributor of organic milk in North America!  BUT they partner with local farms whose products they deliver to local retailers.

I think I can put an idea out there that health care should operate like Horizon Organic, from the ground up.  Obamacare failed because is too big to succeed: “Dude!  Can we drop a half a billion dollars on a website AND expect it to work?” “Yes, yes, I know there is government healthcare in Israel and Israelis are happy with it.  But Israel is a tiny country!  It’s one thing to provide 7  million people with healthcare, but 300 million — that’s a whole different story!”  Medical services should be organized on the local level, maybe state level.  What we need to do is to de-centralize… and [gasp] privatize.

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*Speaking of which, organic purists can turn to multiple private entities issuing certifications that fit their standards.  There is a lesson here as well.

June 29, 2012

Justice Roberts Spins the Busytown Mysteries Wheel

Filed under: blogging, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:41 pm

DH suggests that we replace SCOTUS with Busytown Mysteries spinning wheel.  Unlike SCOTUS and like all other creations of the superb children’s book author Richard Scarry, Busytown is charming.  It is our opinion that Busytown Mysteries has to be the cutest board game out there.  Since the Obamacare majority opinion is sloppily written, has little to do with the Constitution and Justice Roberts himself probably doesn’t believe a word he wrote, why not a spinning wheel?

Richard Scarry Busytown

If the arrow points to “Pig eats” a pre-K class gets to write the majority opinion. If it points to “Goldbug” you get to be on the right side of history

But enough about Obamacare.  Here is some good news: blogger buddy Leslie Loftis of American Housewife [Sometimes] in London fame is now blogging for PJLifestyle.  Wow!  Fix your bookmarks.

Count on the Jerusalem Post to complicate things.  The Catholic church hired Alinsky to break up communist cells?  I recall reading in National Review that Alinsky loved mayhem more than any kind of ideology.

Sarah Hoyt says that she is a culturist, which is funny because that’s what DH says about himself.

Jonah Goldberg has a book on language, but here is Thomas Sowell talking about the left advancing statism through language distortions.

Anne’s Opinions has a comprehensive discussion of Putin’s recent visit to Israel.

Gateway Pundit: Muslims in Dearborn shout “Allahu akbar” and stone Christians.

Two thirds of Americans think Barack Obama is better suited to handle an alien invasion than Mitt Romney.  They are probably right.

Bookworm Room notes the absence of Obama bumper stickers in SF and LA.  I don’t recall a lot of stickers in ’08 either, but in that election Obama merch was everywhere — canvass bags, onesies and the like.  Back then the long primary season generated plenty of enthusiasm for the black nominee, and the chic O logo was in vogue.  This year, I see no Obama 2012 merchandize, and stickers, although they’ve been appearing here and there, are even less common.  I say about 20% of all Obama automobile signage I see here in the Bay Area is still the classic ’08 edition.

Speaking of the Obama campaign, I saw a few bloggers (don’t remember where I saw it) noting his whiny email about the very distinct possibility of being outspent this year.  Yet another Obama campaign email told me to hurry up and enter one of his dinner raffles:

I wasn’t a math major or anything, but I know my way around a calculator.

Your chances of winning Dinner with Barack are MUCH better than you might think.

This isn’t some super-mega-never-gonna-win lottery. It’s not like getting struck by lightning or eaten by a bear — or whatever people say when they’re trying to get across that something is really, really rare.

More likely than being struck by lightning — yep, that’s a pretty good chance… oh, wait!  Are they telling me the dinner with Barack scam is not very popular?

February 13, 2012

“No-Cost Contraception” Is a Phony Women’s Issue.

Filed under: feminism, politics, society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 7:32 pm

One day the GOP will figure out how to frame the discussion of Obamacare’s contraception mandate in terms of religious and other freedom — or so I hope.  The Democrats and the left are talking about “women’s right to no-cost contraception”, and they are not doing American women any service.

Contraception mandate infringes on our freedoms.  The Catholic church is one example of an organization that objects to being forced to cover the cost of birth control.  But an employer concerned about potential negative effects of long-term use of the Pill, has no way of choosing a plan that does not cover this particular method.

Contraception mandates offer no choices to health care consumers.  Not all women of childbearing age are interested in purchasing contraception.  Many Catholic or Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are not, and neither are lesbians.  Where are the discounted plans for them?

Nearly every time I turn on the radio, I hear a fire-breathing feminist going on and on about women’s rights.  But artificial birth control is not a right; it’s a good provided to us by the health care industry.  The pharmaceutical companies are not about to take it away from us; what’s at stakes is who will cover the cost.

Unfortunately, some of us women get so greedy when we hear promises of free birth control, that we stop thinking.  A prudent woman will think it through.  There is no such thing as “no-cost contraception” because the Pill, condoms and IUDs all have cost.  Who is paying for it and how?

The government loaded up our insurance policies with all sorts of mandatory coverage requirements.  These requirements drive up the premiums and leave a growing number of Americans without private health insurance, which is pretty scary for us mothers.  Catastrophic coverage with high deductibles makes the most sense for women of childbearing age.  We can pay for our birth control out of pocket — which would amount to — oh nos! — tens of dollars a month.  Witness the table:

Method Effectiveness Cost Per Year
Birth Control Pills 95 percent $160 to $600
Birth Control Patch 95 percent $160 to $600
Cervical Cap 77 to 83 percent $35 to $60
Condoms 85 percent $150
Diaphragm 85 percent $60
Fertility-Awareness 75 to 88 percent Free
IUDs 99 percent $100 (varies)
Shot (Depo-Provera) 99 percent $220 to $460
Sterilization 99 percent $30 to $200 (varies)
Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing) 95 percent $160 to $600
Vaginal Sponge 68 to 84 percent $500
Abstinence 100 percent Free

Ready to sell out for $10-$50?

UPDATE: Professor Jacobson writes that he (and Glenn Reynolds and Hot Air) were pointing out for quite a while now that the Democrats are framing contraception as a new culture war issue, something that I missed.

Nobody is taking away our family planning at this time; the markets are supplying American women with ever-increasing number of options.  However, I am opposed to giving the monopoly (or near-monopoly) on contraception distribution to a single agency, namely the government.  In such system , politically-connected patent holders of a particular method of birth control will be in a position to lobby the government to push their product at the expense of other methods.

UPDATE: many thanks to Professor Jacobson for the post of the day link!

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