ObamaCare Update

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2009

Government Health Care

[Update at the bottom as of 7:39 pm CST for 8-21-2009 AD]

President Obama’s Health Care push has suffered a couple of setbacks.  First they removed the end-of-life provision and Obama Joker Poster Artist Exposed As Liberal-Leaning Palestiniannow the President has removed the public option.

The Democrat and Liberal attempts at demonizing the American people having failed, President Obama could be beginning to understand that we don’t want socialized medicine.

Now come reports that the Obama Joker poster artist is a left-wing extremist, and a Dennis Kucinich supporter to boot.  Not the white, conservative, racist that the mainstream media was accusing the artist of being.

In other news CBS News has reported that the liberal-oriented A.A.R.P. has lost approximately 60,000 members since the video showing an A.A.R.P. representative belittling members at a town hall meeting.  The American Seniors Association has gained 5,000 new members, a rival organization to the A.A.R.P. and significantly less liberal.

CBS News reported that the A.A.R.P. response to the exodus of members as ‘with 40 million members that adds hundreds of thousands each month, losing 60 thousand is just a drop in the bucket.’

Update I:  I forgot to place the American Seniors Association weblink here.

Update II: The 60 Plus Association is experiencing a spike in members following A.A.R.P.’s endorsement of ObamaCare.

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What We Are Learning About Obama From the Health Care Debacle

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2009

Obama Puzzle

I think one of the facts about Obama that will puzzle future historians is how a man so little known to the American public managed to win the White House.  The ObamaCare debacle has given us a grand opportunity to fill in the blanks regarding this man who came to the White House after just four years in the national spot light.  Much of what we have learned merely confirms what observant Obama watchers have already suspected, although confirmation is always useful.  Here is some of what I think we have learned about our President.

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6 Responses to What We Are Learning About Obama From the Health Care Debacle

  • This is why I come here first for my news–both secular and religious.

  • if you spent $30 MILLION a day every single day for 2000 years it would still not equal to obama’s $23.7 TRILLLION in financial bailouts

    … the main reasons why people get poorer are because of higher taxes and inflation.

  • 1. This may not always be a necessarily bad attribute. If nothing else, at least public opinion may be able to keep some form of check on his most extreme excesses.

    2. I think part of his oratorial mystique was due to the rather pathetic examples he was up against. Once you have him in isolation, you realize he is only an average speaker (but having been exposed to well below average for so long, it took a while to figure out).

    4. This kind of goes hand in hand with 5 (and 10 to some extent). Demonizing your opponent may not be bad depending upon who that opponent is. In this case, the sycophant media and his tin ear to public opinion kept him from realizing the opponent he demonized was not some fringe group, but a large section, possibly majority, of regular citizens.

    7. Few, if any, of our Presidents have been leaders. And fewer still have been good ones.

  • All obama will do is outsource anyways. Just think about the all the lobbyists flocking to Washington DC because of obama’s reckless over-spending of $2 TRILLION in just 6 months, which alone is increasing the National Debt by 20%.

    Politicians take people’s money and reward the large corporations, in this case companies in the health care industry, since they have the money to more effectively lobby politicians. In the end smaller businesses will be hurt.

    Politicians will only reward companies that will be in their best political interest. Honestly, when can you really trust politicians since they are basically professional liars, and being president just means you are the best liar of the time. Why not just give the money directly from the people to the companies and take politicians in government out of the equation?

    obama is going to recklessly spend TRILLIONS of tax payers’ money just to give insurance to about 25% of those who do not have it. Over 50% of people’s income go towards taxes, just imagine how many more people will afford health care insurance if their income is almost doubled because of dramatic tax cuts.

    Competition is what is needed. It lowers prices of products and services, along with developing new innovations. All of which will benefit consumers. You need to remember that monopolistic tendencies can also apply to government.

    The reason why the cost of insurance is high is because politicians in government mandate insurance companies to increase their premiums to pay for ridiculous things. In addition, politicians put up regulations so that Americans are not allowed to get insurance from another state and use the coverage in their own state. This reduces competition making it more expensive for people to get insurance. On top of that medical professionals are not allowed to freely practice their profession in any US state without taking a long and tedious licensing process. This again increases the cost of medical insurance.

    In the end, the problem with most economic issues is too much government intervention of the economy by politicians, who will only tend to do things for political self interest. Just like how obama nationalized GM to pander to its unions. Politicians can barely run government, yet people think they can run a multi-national auto manufacturing company?

    The solution is SMALLER government, LESS spending, and LOWER taxes.

  • You might add an eleventh: His brilliance and quickness of uptake have been, to put it kindly, overrated.

    I’m not in a health care profession and have at best limited personal knowledge of medical topics Mr. Obama has chosen to use as examples (e.g. pacemakers, tonsillectomy, diabetic care.) I could tell he didn’t know what he was talking about. I’m sure doctors and nurses all over the country must be apoplectic.

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"50 Best Catholic films of all time"

Monday, August 17, AD 2009

William Park (InsideCatholic.com) lists, in his judgement, “the fifty best Catholic movies of all time”.

Some readers, myself included, were very surprised by the absence of The Mission. A magnificent cast (including Robert DeNiro, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson); a play by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons) — it has, in my estimation, one of the most powerful illustrations of penance and forgiveness in cinema.

The Mission deservedly won seven Academy Awards, and made the top 15 films under ‘Religion’ selected by the Vatican, commemorating 100 years of cinema.

So why didn’t it make the list? — the author doesn’t offer much of an explanation, save that “Bolt’s screenplay for The Mission looks at the Church from the point of view of Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.” Steven D. Greydanus, however, explores the complexities and ambiguities of The Mission for DecentFilms.com.

Question for our readers: do you agree with the list? — Do you agree with Warren’s list? Any notable omissions? What would you have selected?

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34 Responses to "50 Best Catholic films of all time"

  • Many of the films on the list, while excellent, don’t really seem to fit into the “Catholic film” category.

    In terms of films that aren’t on the list that do have more of a Catholic focus, I would add Catholics (duh!), The Third Miracle, and Return to Me.

  • To be honest, it seems like a really weird list to me. A lot of the movies on there are at best made by Catholics or deal with themes that Catholics may find compelling, but it seems like a strange list when it comes to “Catholic films”. Even some of the ones on there I really like (Blue, for example) I’d be hesitant to put down as being “Catholic films”.

    If I were to go adding films, I would consider in addition to The Mission:

    The Godfather (the original movie being pretty clearly laid out as a story of damnation set against a Catholic background)

    The Addiction & The Funeral (these two indie flicks have their problems, including convoluted plot and massive amounts of “content”, but both have very interesting explicitly Catholic themes layered in as well.)

    And while it’s not a movie, how about the magnificently done BBC adaptation of Brideshead Revisited from 1980?

  • I suppose a lot of it depends upon what they mean by “Catholic” film. I think the definition was predicated upon a film dealing with Catholic themes (salvation, sin, redemption, divine love, etc.) in a Catholic way – bringing out the Catholic view of these things. Movies that would support Catholic doctrine, although not necessarily mentioning it expressly. Surprised no LOTR mentioned. Regardless of the director’s/writers’/actors’ own subjective understanding of what they wanted the film to get across, by maintaining at least a significant adherence to Tolkien’s work, many of the Catholic themes are present.

    Another film many might find odd for this category, although I think it does an amazing job of exploring themes of sin, penance, salvation, purgatory and redemption (with some objectionable scenes) is High Plains Drifter.

    Can’t comment on The Mission since I have not seen it (will have to do that sometime).

  • Notable omissions:
    The Passion of the Christ
    The Robe
    King of Kings (very Catholic portrayal of Mary)
    The Mission
    Black Robe
    Jesus of Nazareth
    AD

  • I read the comment by Steven D. Greydanus in the link you post.

    http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/mission.html

    He seems to know a lot about movies but I don’t think he’s been following up Church politics. Liberation Theology is alive and well in Latin America and elsewhere. Unfortunately.

  • I’d also add Hitchcock’s I Confess.

  • The BBC production of Brideshead has to be in the top 10, if not the top 5.

    And the Passion of the Christ, after I paid attention to this, was teeming with “Catholic imagination.” Gibson’s problems aside, the film really comes across as a deeply spiritual enterprise.

  • I happen to second DarwinCatholic’s sentiments; to me, the list strikes me as more secular than it is “Catholic”, with perhaps a very few exceptions.

  • Just to avoid any potential confusion the ‘John Henry’ above is not me. While I agree that the linked review is well done, I am not informed enough to comment on the state of liberation theology in South America.

  • One reason why many films did not get put on the list is that it was an old list, made over 15 years ago. Also, Park defined what he meant by Catholic, and that also should be kept in mind –“The best religious films, and therefore the best Catholic films, convey the great truths of Christianity implicitly rather than explicitly, not unlike the mystery of incarnation itself, in which the Word became flesh in the person of an obscure carpenter from a hick town in a minor province. In addition, this list consists primarily of films that deal with Catholic characters, Catholic society, and the Bible in ways that are not hostile to the Church.”

    Now, would I have a different list? Certainly. I agree with The Mission as being one. I also agree with the Lord of the Rings (I will put it as one, because it is one long epic). But I would also add movies like “Grave of the Fireflies” (based upon his explanation) and “The Matrix,” despite its flaws.

  • …I am not informed enough to comment…

    You don’t have to be informed to make comments on the Internet. In fact, it seems informed comments are usually disregarded in favor of those that are fallacious, condescending, insulting, or emotionally provocative. Nevertheless, I find your approach more appealing.

  • “In fact, it seems informed comments are usually disregarded…”

    If by “informed” you mean those of the Pro-aborts who claim that their opinions are remarkably corroborated by a whole corpus of substantial data and other such compelling evidence for their particular views; then, clearly, it is better to yield to the inferior & even ignorant.

  • Henry K.,

    Something you and I agree on!

    Matrix and Lord of the Rings I thought had direct and indirect references to Christianity.

  • Actually, Matrix had more to do with Putnam’s “Brain in a Vat” than it did either directly or indirectly with Christianity; of course, what do I know?

    I’m not a well-informed Pro-abort.

  • Ummm, e., are you for some reason under the impression that I am a pro-abort or running interference for their abominable positions like some Catholics do? If so, you’re terribly mistaken.

  • The best religious films, and therefore the best Catholic films, convey the great truths of Christianity implicitly rather than explicitly, not unlike the mystery of incarnation itself, in which the Word became flesh in the person of an obscure carpenter from a hick town in a minor province.

    I’m highly sympathetic to that kind of approach to what’s a Catholic film or novel, but at the same time, it strikes me as a fairly fuzzy and personal definition. Being Catholic, I think that Catholicism describes how the world is. Generally, good art is true as well, describing the world in the way it is through a fictional medium. (Some exceptions here, I suppose. I think Apocalypse Now is an incredibly good film, despite bearing little resemblance at all to the real world.) But does that mean every movie I think provides a deep reflection of reality is therefore Catholic?

    At a certain level, perhaps, since there is just one reality. But going by that kind of definition makes it very hard to come together on a film list — especially since often one person will see a film as strongly evoking some truth despite other contradictory elements, while another person will only see the problems.

  • e., implying that Rick Lugari is a pro-abort would be as odd as someone implying that I am an Obama supporter. They don’t come more pro-life than Rick.

    As to the list of films it strikes me as more catholic than Catholic. Half the films on there have not even a tenuous connection with the Faith. Further suggestions for additions to a list of Catholic Films: The Scarlet and the Black, the Agony and the Ecstacy, the Prisoner with Alec Guinness in a Cardinal Mindszenty like role, and I Confess.

  • The passion of the Christ?

    God Bless,

  • How could I forget:

    Joyeux Noel

  • I’m perplexed as to how he came to that conclusion about The Mission, too. The film is far too complex for that reading, even for an amateur like me.

    Agreed as to “Return To Me”–very underrated, old school romantic comedy and a love note to Catholic Chicago. I’m happy to say I saw it in the theatre, too.

    My adds: Barabbas, and the surprising omission: Jesus of Nazareth. I know the latter isn’t a complete success, but the best parts are brilliant and at worst it’s slow and dry.

  • One of my personal favorite “Catholic” movies, in the sense that it portrays Catholic faith and devotion as a normal part of everyday life rather than as a surefire indicator of fanaticism or mental illness, is “The Rookie” with Dennis Quaid. The main character is encouraged to pray to St. Rita — who like St. Jude is regarded as a patron saint of hopeless causes — for the success of his impossible dream of pitching in the major leagues at his “advanced” age (late 30s).

    I also can’t believe that “The Mission” was left off the list; it was a really magnificient movie.

    One of the commenters on the original list disses “Song of Bernadette” — and I happen to agree with him about Jennifer Jones’ voice — but there is a part of the plot that made a lifelong impression on me. (I used to watch this at least once a year on WGN’s “Family Classics” Sunday afternoon movie show.)

    When Bernadette enters the convent, she encounters an extremely strict Mother Superior who boasts of all the penances she performs and openly wonders why the Virgin Mary didn’t choose to appear to her instead. She also insists that Bernadette receive no “special” treatment, and when Bernadette shows signs of illness, suspects her of pretending to be sick to get attention. However, when the doctor informs her that Bernadette is dying and that the pain of her illness — which Bernadette had never once complained about — is too horrible to describe, the Mother Superior is overwhelmed with contrition, rushes to the chapel and begs God’s forgiveness.

    To me, that storyline sums up the difference between practicing self-imposed penance in a prideful or Pharasaical sort of way (NOT to imply that all self-imposed penance is done this way, just that it CAN be) and embracing involuntary penance in a spirit of humility and submission to God’s will.

    Of course, BOTH forms of penance and devotion should be a part of our lives and complement one another. But what I took away from that movie is that being patient with others and one’s own limitations is of greater value in the eyes of God than, say, how often you fast or how late you stay up every night praying.

  • Dale Price:

    Thank-you, dear Sir!

    Any list which would include such films in the category of “Barrabas” and “Jesus of Nazerth” would indeed be within the realm of “Catholic”.

    I would add to that same list, if it were even more comprehensive and not limited to simply movies, such series like “A.D.”, which was amazingly Catholic (at least, in its more complete version which featured St. Paul unambiguously preaching about the Eucharist and not some symbolic Protestant manifestation thereof).

  • Although the production qualities of “AD” were not the greatest (not bad, but not what could be done with a bigger budget), I was pleasantly surprised by the very Catholic approach taken in many of the scenes. In particular, the strong leadership role portrayed in St. Peter.

  • c matt:

    I’d have to agree with you concerning A.D.’s seemingly subpar production qualities; but, more importantly — yes! — the Peter as magnificently portrayed in the series simply seemed to scream, for me, “Catholic”.

    What’s more interesting is the fact that A.D. came from the very same who brought us “Jesus of Nazareth”.

    They don’t make mini-series like these anymore, unfortunately. Gone are the days when they made the likes of “A.D.” and “Peter & Paul”; now, it’s purely more of the Dirty Housewives & American Idol variety.

  • If CASABLANCA (1942) made the list I think SHANE shoud be on there too. After all, Shane really straightened out the evil in the end!!!

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  • Shane, now there was a magnificent film! My father’s favorite Western. Alan Ladd and Jack Palance made wonderful archetypes for Western good and evil.

  • Boy, it’s been a while…

    It seems like when my Dad sat me down to educate me in the The Western, the first one he showed me was Shane, followed by The Searchers. To be honest, I don’t remember either one all that well at this point. I should re-watch it.

    Currently I’d put my favorite western as The Big Country, though that’s a non-standard one in many ways.

  • The Searchers, my favorite western. There was a good DVD released in 2006 with lots of commentaries and extras.

    http://www.amazon.com/Searchers-Ultimate-Collectors-John-Wayne/dp/B000F0V0LI/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1250645532&sr=8-5

    John Wayne’s finest performance and the culmination of his great creative partnership with director John Ford. One for the ages.

  • While I admit Shane was a great movie (at least, when I first saw it as a kid), if you will actually admit it into such a catalog, might as well allow entrance of such films as A Fistful of Dollars or even The Good, The Bad & The Ugly; if anything could ever merely touch on elements purportedly “Catholic”, it is these.

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Government Health Care Means Rationed Health Care

Monday, August 17, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air for the above video which was produced by the Independence Institute.  As Barabara Wagner learned, the Oregon Health Plan would pay for her to kill herself but will not pay for Tarceva to fight her lung cancer.  But that’s just Oregon, maybe ObamaCare wouldn’t ration health care?

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17 Responses to Government Health Care Means Rationed Health Care

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  • While I admire Dr. Pollard for providing the necessary antibiotics out of pocket, this is a purely anecdotal example of the inefficiency of Medicaid. These same horror stories exist for private insurers, and many equally moving success stories for Medicaid also exist, yet somehow you conclude that a reformed health care system would result in more rationing of care. The story is touching, but it doesn’t support your conclusion in the slightest.

  • There’s a troublesome topic that hasn’t been discussed much which is that part of the bill that would give the government access to a person’s bank account. Consider this scenario: If a person, be he elderly or otherwise, goes to the ER for a life-threatening event and is subsequently denied coverage, would there exist the possibility that all assets of that person could be confiscated by the government in order to reimburse the health care providers for care rendered? There is a particularly evil man, George Soros, who contributes mightily to several humanitarian foundations that Zeke Emanuel also happens to author health care articles. A real stretch on my part perhaps, but I am reminded that Soros had no qualms with confiscating property belonging to those being led off to the death camps.

  • “The story is touching, but it doesn’t support your conclusion in the slightest.”

    Wrong on both counts. I find Dr. Pollard’s statements alarming rather than touching. His statements also indicate a clear intention to deny treatment by medicaid. If such attempts are made by a private insurer to do this, a consumer always has recourse to the courts and to not give their business to insurers with a poor track record of paying for treatment. When the government is the insurer, no such options are available for ill treated consumers.

  • Having legal recourse after an insurance company has denied coverage is virtually no recourse at all unless your emergency medical condition is courteous enough to wait up to several years while you pursue a (hopefully) favorable verdict. Private insurers are also largely immune to having their customers vote with their wallets, since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer. There seems to be some implication that the scenario encountered by Dr. Pollard can’t or doesn’t happen when private insurers are involved despite the fact that it can and does all the time.

  • djr,

    a reformed health care system would result in more rationing of care.

    Not a reformed health care system – a GOVERNMENT health care system.

    The difference with private insurers is that the coverage limits are written into the policy agreement, if the insurer does not abide by them, you have recourse to the government. If you’re on a government health care program, your recourse is “the hospice chute”.

  • djr,

    can you provide an example where a health insurance company has offered to kill it’s customer?

    Problems with enforcement in the current system do not get solved by throwing “the baby out with the bathwater”. The current system works for the overwhelming majority, the problems need to be fixed but that doesn’t mean it’s flawed in general.

    since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer.

    There’s a “change” we can all believe in right? Allow individuals to economically purchase a state approved plan for themselves? Wait…. the Republicans proposed this plan several times and the big “O” and all his cronies voted against it.

    ps. I’m unaware of any euthansia promotors at the top levels of private insurance companies…apparently you are, or you would see the difference.

  • “Having legal recourse after an insurance company has denied coverage is virtually no recourse at all unless your emergency medical condition is courteous enough to wait up to several years while you pursue a (hopefully) favorable verdict.”

    Actually verdicts in wrongful denial of coverage suits are frequently astronomical and many insurance companies will authorize treatment soon after receiving a letter from an attorney threatening such a suit. Having written several such letters that has been my experience.

    “Private insurers are also largely immune to having their customers vote with their wallets, since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer.”

    A consumer in moderate to good health can usually get an insurance policy for rather low rates, especially if he is willing to take on a high deductible for non-emergency care. I pay for my family’s insurance out of my own pocket and have done so for the past 23 years and have been able to get good rates with various insurers through careful shopping.

    “There seems to be some implication that the scenario encountered by Dr. Pollard can’t or doesn’t happen when private insurers are involved despite the fact that it can and does all the time.”

    No such implication was made by me. My point is that when the Government runs health care the consumer has no options to rationing and frequently shabby service.

  • Matt,

    Again, legal recourse is not particularly meaningful when (as in the ten day example given in the original article) you require treatment immediately. Granted, if your insurer is simply and blatantly in breech of the terms of your policy, you (or maybe your estate) will probably trounce them in a courtroom one day. But your insurer may also have conditions associated with your coverage that prevent you from getting the treatment you actually need within the timeframe you actually need it. Perhaps before agreeing to antibiotic treatment for your eye infection, you’re required to undergo some less expensive treatment that takes 10.1 days and fails. This is rationing of care, and it happens today in a perfectly legal manner without any help from the government.

    Regarding euthanasia, I’m not entirely sure where that is coming from or where it is going. I suppose I don’t know of any private insurance companies that offer to kill you (although there are many who would be happy to let you die), but I don’t think it has anything to do with whether or not health care is rationed to any greater or lesser extent under any of the proposed plans.

    Donald,

    I’ll defer to your expertise on the topic of wrongful denial of coverage, since it sounds like you have some experience there, but I think ‘wrongful’ is the operative word. Care doesn’t necessarily have to be wrongfully denied to be effectively rationed, it simply has to be limited to the point that it isn’t of any use to you at the time you need it. I can attest personally (anecdotally, I admit) to the hurdles and hoops private insurance will ask you to jump through before agreeing to a procedure or settling a claim. Given the right circumstances, that is every bit as much rationing as the situation described by Dr. Pollard.

    I’ve also had personal experience trying to secure affordable insurance without the help of an employer, and I’m honestly amazed to hear how successful you’ve been. The numbers I was quoted for a fairly modest plan (including eye care and dental, admittedly) were outrageously high, even in my mid-20s and with no pre-existing conditions. Maybe with enough time and agreeing to a high enough deductible, I could have found something acceptable, but there is just no comparison to the plan and pricing I’m able to get through my employer. I would have to be extremely angry and willing to sacrifice a huge amount of money to stick it to my current provider, and in the end, I don’t think they would miss me enough to really reflect on why they lost me as a customer. I think my situation is fairly common, and it effectively prevents me from taking my business elsewhere to any great effect.

    It may be true that government-run health care will lead to greater rationing and shabbier service, but I don’t think the article supports that argument at all. It just tells a story where adequate care wasn’t provided, and Medicaid happened to be the insurer involved. You could find a story just like this in any hospital in America where the insurer is a private company.

  • The prime problem drj with giving government a monopoly over health care, which is what the proposed House legislation would do, is just that. In a monopoly situation there is no incentive for the holder of the monopoly to provide good service. Dr. Pollard’s experience attests to what happens now in regard to Medicaid, a service provided to the poor who have no other alternative due to lack of funds. ObamaCare would put us all in that leaky boat.

  • I don’t disagree that a monopoly is terrible for consumers, and I would hate to see a government monopoly over health care. I’m not thoroughly convinced that any mechanism by which the government provides insurance necessarily leads to a government monopoly, either. But in either case, Dr. Pollard really only successfully makes the case that people without any options have no options, something that is true whether your health care comes from the government or from a private insurer. The rationing argument he makes doesn’t hold because it is in no way unique to Medicaid. Private insurance rations very clearly already and often in the exact same way, so it isn’t fair to assert that Medicaid is a leaky boat (in regard to rationing of care) and that private insurance is something different.

  • When private insurers are driven out of business drj, and that would clearly be the ultimate result of the House bill, only the government would be left as a monopoly. A multiplicity of private insurers today prevents such a monopoly. A single payer system is merely another way of saying government monopoly.

  • My folks have private insurance, have my entire life– it’s expensive, but ranches don’t offer insurance.

    Mom’s had breast cancer, two orthoscope knee operations, a knee replacement, some sort of operation on the joints of her thumb…. all with the pre-existing wear and tear of a high school track star.

    Dad has a lot of skin problems, an incorrectly healed wrist since he was in high school and a pretty solid history of stuff-spiked-through-his-foot.

    Both in their fifties, both with family histories of rather expensive medical problems.

    Private insurance hasn’t been *perfect,* but it’s been pretty dang good.

    It’s also telling that mom is the only one that we know in the valley who has had any of those surgeries and paid for them herself, and that dad’s medical massage therapist had to raise her rates (she previously had a “monthly member” style discount club for valley residents with medical problems) or she would have to stop seeing Medicaid/Medicare customers.

    From where I stand, it sure looks like the idiots who are proud and honorable enough to pay for their own dang insurance need some protection from the folks that won’t, and they sure don’t need something that a politician is promising will be as good as the Post Office!

  • djr,

    First of all, you haven’t responded to the objections about the character of government which clearly is an important element of this.

    I’m not thoroughly convinced that any mechanism by which the government provides insurance necessarily leads to a government monopoly

    we don’t need to convince you that it will absolutely happen. You support a massive expansion of government power, it is your side that must prove that it will absolutely not happen in order to justify it.

    people without any options have no options, something that is true whether your health care comes from the government or from a private insurer. The rationing argument he makes doesn’t hold because it is in no way unique to Medicaid. Private insurance rations very clearly already and often in the exact same way, so it isn’t fair to assert that Medicaid is a leaky boat (in regard to rationing of care) and that private insurance is something different.

    The problem you’re having is the “insufficient options” fallacy. The only options are not to leave the health insurance system as it is, or a “government option”. The fact is that numerous improvements to the current system do not involve the great risk that we’re concerned about but the democrats oppose them… tort reform, separating insurance from the employer, cross-state line competition… these things would solve the problem of rationing by giving people options. Appropriate oversight to ensure people get the procedures they need is important, and if it’s not happening then EACH STATE should work to resolve this as quickly as possible, there’s no need for federal infringement on this state level authority.

  • Matt,

    I guess I don’t fully understand what you mean by the ‘character of government’. Is this on the topic of euthanasia? If so, I honestly don’t give much credence to the argument that the government wants to euthanize old people, and I’m amazed and disappointed that the idea has gotten any traction. Compared to the ethics and character of private enterprise, which I think we can all admit is only interested in your health care to the extent that they can wrangle a profit from you as you try to afford it, I think it’s a wash at best.

    I don’t feel like I need to defend a massive government expansion because I’m not a proponent of government-run health care – that’s just something you’ve assumed because you see the entire issue as Us vs. Them and because my initial post was about how the content of this article doesn’t support its headline in any reasonable way. Still, it does seem clear to me that the government could be involved in health care to many different degrees, most of which don’t require the takeover that you assume would result. This should be evident by the fact that the government already is involved heavily with health care and has not thus far managed to take over the entire system.

    As for the insufficient options fallacy, you’re again assuming that I’m only interested in a government-provided solution. The argument I’m making is not for a government option, it’s against drawing bad conclusions from anecdotal accounts in an effort to convince people of something you hope they’ll believe without being offered any real evidence.

    As far as the other options you mentioned are concerned, I don’t disagree with any of them. I’m not a democrat or a republican, so I don’t find myself at odds with any political ideology for thinking that they’re good ideas. But they’re not incompatible with government intervention either, so I don’t consider it an either/or proposition. One thing the government can bring to the table that private industry can’t is a service driven by and focused on something other than quarterly profits, and I recognize that there might be a place for that somewhere in the health care industry.

    I don’t want to wander too far from the point, though. I haven’t seen any credible evidence that government care means rationing above and beyond the level we see today (especially if you treat being unable to afford or obtain insurance at all as rationing, which I think you can legitimately do), and you can’t simply tell a bad story about Medicaid, conclude that Medicaid is bad, and call that a meaningful argument.

  • Is this on the topic of euthanasia? If so, I honestly don’t give much credence to the argument that the government wants to euthanize old people, and I’m amazed and disappointed that the idea has gotten any traction.

    Well, when we have multiple examples of Gov’t healthcare doing exactly that, in this country…. What else are we supposed to think? “It can’t happen to me”?

The Loss of Limits… the End of Art

Sunday, August 16, AD 2009

A priest friend and I are reading through Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ posthumously-published work, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, and it’s been an enjoyable read thus far, even in the places where I disagree with the author.

For the purposes of this post, I wanted to share a citation which I found very intriguing regarding the impact on art of modernity’s flight from anything which might be remotely conceived of as limitation.

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One Response to The Loss of Limits… the End of Art

Faithful Catholic college faces lawsuit over refusal to provide contraception

Sunday, August 16, AD 2009

The president of a small Catholic college said Friday he would rather close the school’s doors than violate the church’s teachings on contraception — Ben Conery of the Washington Times has the story:

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that Belmont Abbey College violated discrimination laws because the school’s employee health insurance plan does not cover contraception, according to a letter the EEOC sent to the school.

“I hope it would never get this far,” college President William K. Thierfelder told The Washington Times, “but if it came down to it we would close the college before we ever provided that.”

The factual conclusion reached by the EEOC could be a precursor to the commission filing a federal discrimination lawsuit against the college. (More).

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7 Responses to Faithful Catholic college faces lawsuit over refusal to provide contraception

  • Rod Dreher posted this too, and he got some really vicious responses, many of them accusing Catholics of trying to “impose their religion” on others, including the employees of Belmont Abbey College. Reactions like this seem to typify the growing group of self-identified ex-Catholics who feel the need to strike back at some long-dead nun who clunked them with her rosary beads for daydreaming at mass. I have a sense that the Obama administration is providing employment for many of these people.

  • Beliefnet, where Dreher blogs, has always been a hangout site for a great many anti-Catholics. What this case amply demonstrates is the folly of Catholic colleges giving employment to people bitterly opposed to what the Church teaches.

  • Was the employee in question someone tasked to find a job at the institution so some grouplet of the public interest bar would have standing to sue?

  • I just heard about this … I think its terrible what is happening there!!

  • I am following this case, hoping that the college will go the distance on this one. To lose is to give the Govt (with Obama’s blessing) even more ammo to come after us for carrying out our mission, which they find so disagreeable.

  • Two issues: one, they’d be better off eschewing federal financial aid, like Christendom, TAC, and Hillsdale; second: eight faculty involved in this complaint… if they hired genuine Catholic faculty, this would never happen. The Benedictines of Belmont Abbey, who run this college, also run Benedictine High School in Richmond, Va, where two of my sons have attended. I’ve noticed that while the monks are usually personally orthodox, they are far too indifferent about what kind of teachers they hire for their “Catholic” school.

    Perhaps those chickens are coming home to roost.

  • Donald,

    What this case amply demonstrates is the folly of Catholic colleges giving employment to people bitterly opposed to what the Church teaches.

    What would become of the Notre Dame Theology Dept. if they were let go? Imagine the number of openings at SFU, BU, Georgetown, etc. etc.

    Tom,

    you’re right on. Time to cut the government loose. This is another point about the excess of government, imagine if ALL of our health funding was controlled by the government.

Google Is Watching Out For You!

Sunday, August 16, AD 2009

From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion.  In these days of the White House spamming people with unsolicited e-mails from the master of astroturfing, David Axlerod, in praise of Obamacare, perhaps the concept of privacy is a quaint 20th century notion.  However, there may be a way to have Google protect the privacy of its users.  Bribe the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (Red China) to require it.  Google has a history of giving lap-dog like obedience to edicts issued from Peking.

Update:  The White House has announced that, “We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement tonight.  Translation from Obamaspeak:   “We thought we could get away with simply spamming everybody whose e-mail address we have.  Now that there is a fuss we’ll blame outside groups and pretend we are not at fault.”

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3 Responses to Google Is Watching Out For You!

Saint John Damascene: First Sermon on the Assumption

Saturday, August 15, AD 2009

The Assumption

The first sermon of Saint John Damascene on the Assumption of the Mother of God:

[147] THE memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal* David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy.† David addresses it in these words: “Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.” What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not [148] that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription* to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s counsel, which is from all eternity?

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3 Responses to Over the Hills and Far Away

  • Mighty broad-minded for an old Americanist like you to stand up for the boys in Red, Don. 🙂

    I love that song from Sharpe, both in this more folk version and in the wonderfully late 80s electric guitar version.

  • Very cool, Don. By the way, I’m reading the Sharpe series (curring Sharpe’s Honor) and enjoying it immensely. What is your opinion of the BBC series?

  • I really enjoyed the series Mike, except a bizarre episode, Sharpe’s Gold, where Sharpe and his men were fighting against some sort of death cult wearing the armor of Spanish conquistadores.

    Darwin, I’ll excuse my lapse as a tribute to my great Uncle Bill Barry who served in the Royal Army from 1939-45 (Of course he did say that he signed up because “Someone has to show the Limies how to fight!”.)

Coming to America

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

new-york-ellis-island1221413744
The US is a nation of immigrants, and as such, many of us grew up with stories of how our ancestors came here. In what I hope can be a friendly, Friday-afternoon atmosphere, the purpose of this thread is to allow people to tell stories about how and when their ancestors came to the US.

I can trace back three stories, some sketchier than others:

Irish Story
famine My paternal grandmother’s family all Irish stock from County Cork, who’d left during the Great Famine in the 1840s and settled in Iowa. Several men out of the next generation served the Union in the Civil War, and two generations after that, twin brothers Clare and Clarence, both priests, served as chaplains for US soldiers in the Great War. One of their sisters served as a nurse in the war as well.

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20 Responses to Coming to America

  • I actually don’t know much about my family history back before a couple of generations. We were Irish settlers in Oklahoma but we were protestants, which was unusual. My great-gandfather was a professional gambler, and almost got killed a couple of times on account of a card game gone bad.

  • I was wondering – do you know why your Irish ancestors went to Iowa? I have Irish ancestors who went to Ohio and then settled in southeast Iowa (where I live). I am curious as to why they went to Iowa. Thanks!

  • Syrian and Irish/Welsh here!

  • I was wondering – do you know why your Irish ancestors went to Iowa?

    No idea, I’m afraid. Though I gather that the town they lived in was pretty heavily Irish Catholic, so it may just have been looking for a familiar culture.

  • Hehe, the shortest one I have is my dad’s mom’s family.

    Great-Grandfather Ivie’s family got kicked off the land they’d been working as far back as records go because sheep were worth more, so they scraped up a few hundred dollars and he and his oldest brother, plus a friend named John, came to the USA– through San Fran, I believe. (Had to have $100 in your hand to walk through the gate for immigration.)

    They worked hard, got enough money to bring the rest of the family over and buy a lot of sheep. (although apparently they did walk down the fence and pass the money back through a few times to get everyone through. ;^p)

    Ivie married a very socially conscious lady, ended up owning a large chunk of Modoc county CA, and funded an “Indian School” while raising three lovely girls, all of whom went to college. (My grandma did so at 16– and MAN did that piss off my feminist history professor when I brought it up.) When Ivie died, he gave the majority of his land to the state, because he thought it was very important that EVERYONE have some ownership of land, and that was the only way he knew. (If you’ve been to the Smithsonian and seen the meteor that’s about hip-tall and is out for folks to touch, from Modoc County, that’s from one of the areas he donated– one of his sheep watchers found it)

    The friend John also got rich, then sold his share of the sheep business to the family and went back to Scotland– he wanted to own a pub. That would’ve been about the turn of the century, since it was before my grandma’s sisters were born.

    About 1990, a guy in a suit comes and knocks on my Grandma’s door and introduces himself– it’s John from Scotland, who had heard his dad’s stories all his life, had (of course) managed his money well, and wanted to meet the closest thing his dad had to family. ^.^ Awesome dude, too.

  • On my father’s side, we’re all from dear old Ireland, Charlestown, County Mayo. My great grandfather left in black 47, a year after the town was started. When I was visiting Charlestown two years ago, the church had a cornerstone from the previous church embedded in the wall, one that my great grandfather would have seen before he left.
    He went to Indianapolis and became a vegetable farmer, later buying a boarding house in town. My grandfather came to Oregon, living about two blocks from the business I bought back in the ’80s. He started working as a grocery clerk and then became a bookkeeper for a lumber company. Eventually, he rose to president of the company. My father and his brother both became lawyers. Their sister married well, but died of cancer in the ’50s.
    I actually know more of my mother’s family, where I can trace ancestry back to the 1600’s. While most of her family is also Irish, she had a Dutch great grandmother and an Alsatian great-great grandmother, who met her Irish great-great grandfather while they were both on the boat coming to America. They settled in Latrobe PA and raised an enormous family Irish Catholic family, which also produced a similar sized family in the next generation. My great grandfather came to Portland to run the Union Pacific Railroad in the northwest, in the days when the Union Pacific was fighting the Northern Pacific for control of transportation in the west. We’ve been here ever since. It’s a bit unusual, though, that both my mother’s family and my father’s were Irish Catholic Republicans, an unusual combination, especially in the days of the Great Depression. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a State Senator and he would never say the words “Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

  • The furthest relative I can trace is on my father’s side: John Crouch Sr. His son Jesse built a cabin which stood on family property in east Tennessee until about 1990, when it was restored. I can remember visiting my great-grandfather on the property, where, in his retirement, he grew tobacco. The property remains in the family to this day. Between Jesse and myself, there were a number of Baptist preachers. I wonder what they would say to my Catholicism . . . .

  • I’m fairly certain my mother’s side has been Maronite Catholic for as long as there have been Maronite Catholics in Lebanon. My great-grandparents came here in the 1910s.

    On my father’s side, I know there was an officer in the Civil War who fought for the Union, even though he was from Texas. I’ve always been proud of that fact 🙂

    I always found it fascinating that there is a historical possibility my Anglo and Lebanese ancestors could have met through the Crusades.

  • Joe:

    On my father’s side, I know there was an officer in the Civil War who fought for the Union, even though he was from Texas. I’ve always been proud of that fact.”

    And well you should! 😉

    More seriously, there’s a great book about the large number of southern whites (as opposed to the obviously huge number of freed slaves and freedmen) who fought for the Union, “Lincoln’s Loyalists.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Lincolns-Loyalists-Union-Soldiers-Confederacy/dp/0195084659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1250350330&sr=8-1

    The surprising fact: Every seceding state except South Carolina raised at least one regiment that fought for the Union, Tennessee raising the most. In fact, one entire Tennessee cavalry regiment–to a man–went over to the Union during one of the early skirmishes in the war.

    I imagine that was rather disconcerting for the Confederate commander.

  • Oh, and on topic: My father’s side: hardscrabble English from Kent and south Welsh stock. Before Grandma Price passed, one of her sisters said they had second cousins still living in the vicinity of Canterbury. Not that they’d loan me money, so that’s that.

    Mom’s side has the same English/Welsh mix, along with Dane/Scot on her father’s side and Bavarian on her mother’s. The furthest anyone’s traced back is also on my mom’s side, to 17th Century Bavaria, a Protestant named Johann Garr eager to emigrate. It’s through Mom’s side we also claim descent from Daniel Boone through one of his daughters, though that’s a little murkier and might be Kentucky braggadocio.

    My kids have even more diversity, catching Irishness, and more direct Scottish and German (Alsatian) links.

    How we got “here” is always fascinating to ponder. Reminds me of the old Norman Rockwell “family tree” picture.

  • “The US is a nation of immigrants…”

    And of natives, though we treat them badly.

  • I don’t have much information on my mother’s side of the family — Vanderbilt, Dutch-Reformed, but no relation to the distinguished family. Both of my grandparents were Protestant missionaries: the Vanderbilts to Japan; the Blossers to China, then Japan when expelled by the Communists. (Grandma Vanderbilt’s father, Cornelius Kuipers, also served as a pastor to the Zuni Indians).
    My father took time to trace back the Blosser family line. Swiss-German Mennonites who can boast a number of ministers and at least 3 “bishops”. A compilation of our history was made here. We can trace our family back to Peter Blosser (Blaser, Bläser, Blasser — “a Mennonite family name found in Switzerland as early as 1710”); immigrated to America in 1739.

    Peter’s son, Peter Jr., was married at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He moved to Virginia in 1776 and had a difficult time making a living, on account of having to hide, avoiding service in the military due to his religious convictions.

    We are descendants of his son, Jonas Blosser (1791-?). It was reported that Jonas “once got a laceration over a foot-long in his thigh and sat down and sewed it up himself”, and that a son, Abraham, was something of a speed demon in his horse-draw buggy, taking off at a furious gallop after church.

    Our particular line settled in Harrison, VA, then Concord, Tennessee and finally in Iowa in 1906. Many of them were farmers — one died gored by a bull; another drowned in a pond. Miracle that we’re still here. =)

    My grandfather’s maternal grandmother, Catherine (“Kate”) Shank 1855-1932 (A7), was born extremely prematurely and was so small that “a half dollar was large enough to hide her face,” “a kernel of corn would cover her hand,” she would have fit “in a quart cup and covered with a hand,” she “was fed with a medicine dropper, and was carried about on a pillow wrapped in a blanket until she was six months old,” and was kept warm “in the kitchen by the oven”; “but in spite of her smallness at birth she lived to have fifteen children”, and outlived her first husband by 28 years.

    My father was the first Catholic of the Blosser family that I know of — followed by myself and two of my brothers.

  • Interesting bit of Civil War (or preferred Southern equivalent) history, Joe and Dale.

    Though I can’t cite all the facts of the matter, I’m told my paternal grandfather’s family had a genu-wine Confederate deserter who was hanged for his dereliction.

    He was a small farmer who decided his field and family needed tending more than the looming disaster that was the Noble Cause.

    D neglected to mention it above, but it is rumored that he had an ancestor who actually was hanged for horse thieving! (I’ll keep him anyway.)

  • On my father’s side the family has been here since before the Revolution, except for the Cherokees who have been here since humans first came to this country. My mother’s side is pure Irish with her grandfather emigrating to Canada in the nineteenth century steerage class. He was a tough old bird who regarded both kneelers and pews as Protestant innovations. As a very old man he would take my mom to Mass and stand throughout the Mass in the back of the Church except when he was kneeling on the stone floor.

  • Gabriel Austin-

    My Indian ancestors were immigrants, too.

    Earlier waves, but still immigrants.

    There’s a great deal of interesting research out there about the various waves of immigration that passed through, usually detectable by folks being killed by weapons different from what they had. -.- Sometimes humans suck.

  • In the early 1900s my paternal grandfather emigrated from Syria as a teenager, alone, to an upstate NY community fairly well-stocked with Christian Syrians and Lebanese. About all I know of his pre-American life was that he had a white horse. Here, he worked as a sandblaster and janitor. My paternal grandmother was also Syrian, adopted, family unknown. Her work ethic, respect for education, and adoring zeal ensured that all four daughters (!) and of course my dad went to college. They all worked to pay for each other’s tuition. I have a photograph of my dad as a boy, surrounded by sharecroppers with huge bottles of beer.
    On my mother’s side, there is a combination of a whiff of French (Canadian & Catholic), some German (Lutheran), some Isle of Man, and two big helpings of Scots. One member of the family put together a thorough genealogy, now lost, tracing us back to William the Conqueror through the Argyll Campbells. Still have the paperwork for the discharge from the Union Army of a Campbell forebear, but beyond that, no clue as to how early we entered into American history.
    Curious tales from the maternal side of the family include a young female relative pushed off a bridge in the dead of night by the mob because she “knew too much” (the murderers left the Boston terrier she was walking tied to the railing, unharmed), and another female relative who went west during a Gold Rush and shot a mountain lion who tried to attack her while she was hanging out laundry.
    Like Joe Hargraves, I wonder sometimes if my ancestors crossed paths during the Crusades. My father is certain his family has been Christian since St. Paul arrived to convert them.

  • Three of my four grandparents came from Mexico during the early twentieth century. My fourth (maternal grandmother) was from San Antonio. Her family there from the days when Texas belonged to Spain. She used to say, “Yo no soy Mexicana, yo soy Texana.”

  • Suz,

    It might be. I was reading just the other day that 1-2% of Lebanese Christians have Western European genes, speculated to have been passed down by Crusaders.

    Moreover, my great-grandfather (from Lebanon) and great-uncle had light brown hair. As far as I know my family lived in the mountains of Lebanon since the days of the Phonecians. I could have some of that Crusader blood.

    And there’s even a possibility that this Crusader ancestor was also an ancestor on my father’s side, a common point in two family trees a world apart.

  • DarwinCatholic: Thank you.

We Are Americans, Not Europeans

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.

We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government.  Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.

We are Americans, not Europeans.  Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.  What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.

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42 Responses to We Are Americans, Not Europeans

  • My ancestors from Norway came here because they wanted to farm, and the soil where they lived was rocky, and the seasons short. My ancestors from Germany came, we think, because they were younger sons who were cut out from owning the family farm in the Rhineland. My Quaker ancestors from England and Wales were indeed escaping religious persecution, although if they had landed in the wrong colony in America (anywhere but Pennsylvania or Rhode Island), they would have encountered it again.

    None were escaping government-run healthcare. Most were not escaping any form of statism. It could be argued they were pursuing prosperity in the freedom of America, but it should be noted that most immigrants to the U.S. supported the state-led reforms of the progressives and Democrats in the first half of the twentieth century (although that was less true of the Scandinavian and German farmers of the Great Plains, who tended not to care about urban issues like that, although they did support populist initiatives like North Dakota’s central bank). In other words, your narrative of American history is certainly uncomplicated, and not unrelatedly, quite inaccurate.

    Why does it matter whether public health spending increases as a percentage of GDP if overall spending as a percentage of GDP is decreased? Why consolidate vastly different government healthcare programs – what does Medicare have to do with NIH?

    When you win an election for economic reasons, generally it’s because people think your policies will help address the economic situation. When part of that economic situation is healthcare (concerns about its costs, and about losing your coverage), presumably it’s not absurd to think there’s a connection. For years a greater percentage of people have trusted Democrats more than Republicans on healthcare. That suggests that maybe the “We’re Americans, so don’t try to learn from other countries” argument doesn’t hold as much sway as you think.

  • Zak,

    Excellent points.

    But if I were to jump into the details for every European ethnic group that moved to the US it would have ended up being a novel.

  • Ha! In and out of moderation. Hope you are having fun, policeman!

  • Not *all* of us come from European stock. 😉

  • Tito – Interesting that you deleted all of my comments here EXCEPT for that one. What is the point of that?

  • Michael,

    Your less than charitable comments are being deleted. And not only by me.

    Unlike Vox Nova, where I have been banned due to my comment that I am an American first and Mexican second thus destroying the myth of the American left that minorities need to be self-empowered by adding a “hyphenated” prefix attached to “American”, we have charity at this website, so many of your comments do get approved.

  • You know you were not banned for that comment.

  • My comments were moderated before, but that was the first one that got deleted, while the others were in moderation and then approved.

    So apparently that was the final straw that destroyed the delicate liberal world view that all minorities need to be pampered and told how to talk, think, and vote.

  • We have the best health care in the world if you are at a certain income bracket…

  • Proud to be an A-mer-i-can…

  • Eric,

    When I ‘had’ health care insurance, I got the cheapest plan available and ended up having the best orthopedic surgeon in the country repair my damaged knee.

    And I made less than 6 figures.

    Mark D.,

    Me to brother.

  • “Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Tito – Believe what you want. Make things up if it turns you on.

  • “We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.”

    I’ve seen it suggested that “blue state” America, especially college campuses, looks so much like Europe because American academics helped rebuild the continent after the war and made themselves and the like-minded into the uncontested establishment. Is there anything to this?

  • Tito,

    Would you forego governmental assistance in the form of medical care and martyr yourself, if need be, for the principles of your America?

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Pingback: COACHEP » Blog Archive » Posts about Obama Health Care Failure as of August 14, 2009
  • Kevin,

    It happens sadly in red states as well.

    Mark D.,

    There is the emergency clinic.

  • Touche

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize)…

    They’re not the same thing if there are no nation-states. Socialized health care could also operate on the state (in the u.s.) or provincial level (as in Canada) as well.

    …“work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    There you go with your “homogeneous places” stuff again. “If only we could keep all the races separate, everything would work great!”

  • Mark D.,

    I just want to be clear that I want Health Care reform as well. Just not as drastic in some portions of the bills that are floating around in the House with possibly an addition to including tort reform.

    We need health care reform, but together as Americans, not as a strictly Democratic bill.

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

  • Just because an idea or system is not American, does not make it automatically bad (or good). After all, most of us on this blog really like the social and moral ideas promulgated in the last 100 years or so by certain Italian, Polish, and German guys who wear funny hats 😉

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

    Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending “their own money.”

    Your me, mine, all mine attitude is sub-Christian.

  • When does society begin to look at itself to curb the healthcare problems? Obesity, smoking, drinking, STD’s, unwanted pregnancy, abortions, elicit drug use all put demand on the system in overdrive. Seems easy to say let the government take care of it so all share in the cost, but we are not eager to curb our own appetite for vices. There can be no true social justice that is not rooted in virtue and our Government does not respect the dignity of life so it is really a farce to think they care about the quality of life. If we as a country do not respect God as our creator, no government program is going to save us.

  • Ray – Sadly, not all health problems are connected to “virtue.” Aside from the fact that accidents happen in real life, your comment is the same old blame the victim nonsense.

  • Michael,

    While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    Dufus.

  • While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    This doesn’t make any sense.

  • Tito, you had a good health insurance plan. That does not mean the entire system is not deeply flawed.

  • Mikael,

    Cost is a product of demand; the demand is greatly increased by health care administered to people who made a choice to engage in risky behavior. US Policy Makers have done nothing to slow the erosion of this immoral behavior, but now have a plan to reduce cost. All hollow without morals in the driver’s seat. You will not contain a fire by putting a fire hose in the front door and a gasoline hose in the back.

    And don’t take this to mean I am not compassionate. I am not in favor of a GOVERNMENT run plan. Private and faith based working together with the government will provide greater success. What is the purpose of keeping their body alive if you are not trying to save the soul?

  • Michael, a portion of health care costs are the result of affluenza, the indulgence of appetites in ways that previous generations could ill-afford. That is just a social fact.

  • Today’s reading and Gospel summed up my thoughts better then I did.

    “But when the judge died,
    they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
    following other gods in service and worship,
    relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.”

    We are quick as a nation to anoint blame and seek fixes for our problems and concerns, but we are slow to admit there is a divine plan at work here. This country does have a lot of Greed, Does have a lot of Lust, Does Kill it’s unborn, and we are trashing the Mother/Father family structure. Now as you listen to our elected policy makers we “must” do something about the broken health care system; Some what being sold as a moral obligation to the poor and a “must have” to prove we “love your neighbor”. Poppycock if we do not relinquish our evil and stubborn conduct.

    The way we are asked to help the poor is Charity given from the heart, not policy given by our babbling law makers.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Hey thanks for reminding the Sloth in our country has too.

  • Another difference with Europenas is their lifestyle – they tend to be healthier in diet and exercise (lots more walking). Of course that has an impact on health care costs. Not to mention their defense budgets are a heck of a lot less than ours.

    But we are Americans, dang it. If we want that custard filled donut with bacon and eggs for breakfast to help us sit at our cubicle for the next nine hours before we go home and plop down in front of the tube for 3 hours while we wait for the pizza delivery guy, then by golly, we’re gonna get it.

    On the other hand, why the rush to pass this particular bill? Why so hurried – if health care reform is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing right?

  • “Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending ‘their own money.'”

    Actually, the Administration proposes that very few people pay for it.

  • C Matt,

    It’s our choice to eat what we want.

    Granted it is excessive, but God gave us free will.

    (For the record, I agree with you that Americans don’t eat very well).

    As far as defense budgets are concerned, the US pretty much is NATO. If they were ever to be attacked by Russian or the Arab states, you can be well assured that the Americans will rush quickly to their defense.

    It’s how NATO works.

  • Michael,

    To your reference to “dufus”, I apologize about that.

    I should have been more careful.

    In my defense, I thought it was a silly word appropriate for you, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, it went to far where you didn’t deserve to be called that.

  • 1960 Flemming v. Nestor the Supreme Court ruled “The noncontractual interest of an employee covered by the Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits are based on his contractual premium payments”. The decision means that since no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits, Congress can cut or eliminate benefits at any time.

    Keep this in mind as Baby Boomers retire. Early on SS was a trust fund that was eventually raided in 1965 to offset the deficit. When the retirees payments exceeds the collections taxes will skyrocket, benefits will get cut, or they print money and inflation runs rampant.

    Flemming v. Nestor will have the same impact on a public option healthcare, it is not a contractual right and they can cut or eliminate benefits at any time. With a private option you have a contract and legal rights. Private payments that are deductible for the poor is a much better solution.

    As far as who is paying? It does not pass the squint test that this can be paid for with only a handful of wealthy people footing the bill. Hence the panic that the “end of life” counseling session will turn into nothing more then trying to talk the elderly into NOT accepting advanced and costly treatment. So why reinvent the Living Will? Promote everyone to write a Living Will; don’t replace it with another system which will open decades of new legal questions already established by Living Wills.

  • Michael,

    That’s between you and Donald.

    While we’re on the subject, look up the word charity and read the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 39.

Sleeping Giant Awakes and Democrats Blink

Thursday, August 13, AD 2009

Today Senator Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said that senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from the House bill.  This is a major victory for ordinary Americans.

As senior citizens voice their displeasure with “death-panels” and other provisions in the House bill, the Democrat leaders are grudgingly realizing that maybe, just maybe, some provisions in their House bill will not pass with the American public.

The most recent polls show that the demonizing tactics of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have failed to cover the growing grassroots activism that is rising among ordinary Americans.

Continue reading...

28 Responses to Sleeping Giant Awakes and Democrats Blink

  • Taco Man,

    Kindly correct “Nazi’s” as “Nazis”.

    I’m not entirely sure why you happen to have employed the possessive in this context.

  • Ill see your 2010 and raise ya a 2012.
    Nice echo in here. Im Catholic, Im an Obama supporter.
    Again, tell me why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick?

  • Master C,

    What penalty?

    You mean why are Americans tired of being over taxed and regulated? Why having to pay for such great government-run success stories like “Cash for Clunkers” and “FEMA” have inspired lack of confidence?

    Geeee, I don’t know what you mean?

  • I guess you have never been sick.denied coverage, or been out of a job and had to pay like crazy for COBRA.
    This country, the richest in the world, cant seem
    to help the least of us [THAT penalty]

  • I have been deathly ill, been denied coverage, and I am out of a job as I type this. And I refuse to pay COBRA (kind of helps when you have no money to pay for it).

    So I guess I will be demonized as well since I’m not being payed nor have I been contacted by any Vast Right Wing Conspiracy™ machine.

  • Demonized?
    I asked why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick.
    ….and I still havent heard the reason.

  • I asked why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick.

    See, this is what’s known as a strawman argument. The reason no one has answered your question is because your premise is logistically flawed. Please prove you’re not some 17-year old troll and actually attempt to argue in good faith, otherwise the rest of us will continue to ignore your moronic assertions.

    Hope that clears that up.

  • Since you have a taste for demagoguery, mc, why do you support government-funded abortion?

    http://asia.news.yahoo.com/ap/20090805/twl-us-health-care-overhaul-abortion-ef375f8.html

    [For the record, I support universal health coverage. But not this monstrosity.]

  • Nobody here wants to “penalize the sick.” However, we would like to find a way of helping the sick that DOESN’T involve running up vast amounts of debt for future generations to pay with crushing taxation, or the government paying to kill unborn children, or a gigantic bureaucracy deciding what kind of treatment we can and cannot have.

    .

  • So interesting,
    I am asking why we would penalize the sick, and if that is moronic, so be it. I have had 12 years of Catholic school education and have attended church all my life and consider myself well versed in what Jesus chose to spend his time talking about. The status quo protects INSURANCE companies not people. I am asking why you all would want to keep that in place. I know change is scary, but I believe that taking care of our people is important.

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  • master c has decided to don troll garb. Do not feed the energy creature.

  • psst.. The ‘evil’ insurance companies are made up of people. Like me. And my Mom. Evil healthcare companies are made up of people, too. Like my Dad and many of my cousins.

    Personally, I always viewed insurance as a sort of capitalist socialism..

  • master c:

    I find it curious that even with a seemingly extensive education, you still suffer from what apparently are cognitive deficiencies you are unable to remedy in spite of your professed years at academia.

    To make the remarkably bold, outright assertion that anybody opposed to the Obamacare death squads as actually the ones penalizing the sick; I take it when such a hideous plan as in its original conception were actually implemented, you would have been amongst the first to dance for joy when the lives of your loved ones are truncated simply to promote system efficiency and cost savings.

    So, if anybody is doing any sort of penalizing, it is your much favored fiercely Pro-Abort administration seeking to extend the tentacles of its Culture of Death principles upon the general populace.

    Extra credit points, though, for your (albeit futile) attempts at making the proponents of evil as actually the advocates of good.

  • Master C: Read chapters 2 and 3 of B16’s Jesus of Nazareth and then come back for some big boy discussion of social justice issues.

  • How about reading the Caritas in Veritate encyclical?
    Does that qualify as big boy enough for you?

    I’m Catholic, Im American, yet Im a troll.
    Nice.

  • “I’m Catholic, I’m American, yet Im a troll.”

    So, you mean to argue that since you’re Catholic, you’re American; therefore, you cannot be a troll?

    Don’t get it. at all.

    “How about reading the Caritas in Veritate encyclical? Does that qualify as big boy enough for you?”

    It only qualifies as “big boy” enough if you read it thoroughly and with sufficient comprehension so as to discern exactly that what the fiercely Pro-Abort administration seeks to advance in such policies stands completely opposite to the very Christian principles essentially enshrined in such encyclicals.

  • what about the fiercely pro social justice part?

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/popes-social-encyclical

    a little something for all us!

  • So since it contains a pro-social justice part; therefore, adopting and, even further, implementing policies that would most certainly advance the Culture of Death must somehow be alright then.

    After all your comments, I seem to have gleaned an insight into just what you’re master of.

  • OK gentlemen,

    Enough with the “troll” comments.

    Just argue the substance, not the person.

  • Can we argue the source of master c’s understanding of the Church’s teaching:

    The pope’s social encyclical
    by Richard McBrien on Aug. 10, 2009

  • A guy who repeatedly asks “why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick” and dodges questions about his support for abortion doesn’t offer much substance to address.

    But, OK:

    mc–Caritas in Veritate condemns abortion three times. How does the Obama “health care” plan that pays for abortions [see the link to the Associated Press analysis I provided above] square with Catholic social teaching as set forth in the encyclical?

    I await your next change of subject.

  • Respectfully, here is the link from the lead post:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative#US_Voters

    That list of what conservatives seek or support doesnt entirely square with my Catholic beliefs, that’s all. That’s what Im here to say, not dodge, demagogue or demonize. I know your one issue that trumps all is abortion. I know lots of Catholics who let that determine how they vote.

    Dont know if it matters, but I am a woman.

  • “I know your one issue that trumps all is abortion.”

    I’m sorry–have we met? I have no idea who you are, so I doubt I’ve informed you as to my political beliefs. If it’s one thing people here will gladly testify to, it’s that I resent to high Heaven people who label me and assign opinions to me that I do not hold.

    So, speaking of demonizing, you’ve done it and not apologized for it, stating authoritatively that I (and others) want “to penalize the sick.” That was uncalled for, and still unapologized for, and now you make more assumptions. For the record, I have voted for pro-choice candidates in the past (regretfully, but there was no other options). Thus, your second assumption about me is false. I respectfully request that you cease and desist.

    And, yes, you’re dodging and changing the subject again, pointing to the Wikipedia link this time.

    Back to the question: how can a Catholic square support health care that funds elective (i.e., not for medical reasons) with authentic (as opposed to purely secular) social justice principles?

    The basic problem is this: we don’t help the hungry by knowingly giving them loaves of spoiled bread that won’t kill most of them outright (even though we know some will die from food poisoning). “But they’re hungry and we have a duty to feed the hungry” doesn’t cut it. Likewise, we don’t help the sick by giving them “health” care we know–KNOW–will result in the deliberate killing of human life. It is really as simple as that.

  • The link was from the original post [see the top], and prompted me to reply in the first place. Im not sure if you actually read it, it is not from wikipedia. It was provided as support that this is a conservatively plural nation. As it was a set forth as a basis for this discussion, Im not sure how it is “dodging and changing the discussion” I apologize for all the demonizing. I respectfully cease and desist.
    Not sure what qualifies as on topic around here.

  • Since “conservipedia,” like Wikipedia, can be freely edited by anybody who logs in, it’s a Wikipedia for conservatives, mc. It even rips off the template. Nice try.

    At least it was better than your canned apology for slandering everyone here as a “penalizer of the sick.” And much, much better than your third evasion of the abortion/health care question.

    I have no interest in talking with you further.

  • Dude, the link came from THIS post by the author of THIS BLOG!
    get a clue.
    I am glad ypu wont be talking to me anymore

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Whole Foods Health Care

Thursday, August 13, AD 2009

Whole Foods is headquartered here in Austin, TX, and I know a fair number of people who’ve worked there. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a good company to work for (so long as you’re comfortable with the “crunchy” culture) with especially good benefits for a food retail chain. So I was interested to see a piece in yesterday’s WSJ by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey advocating an approach to health care reform more similar to the benefits Whole Foods provides its employees. Although Whole Foods is seen as a progressive employer, Mackey’s suggestions are more along the lines of what innovative libertarians and conservatives have suggested for health care reform. (If the GOP scores a tactical victory in staving off the many bad ideas in the current health care reform proposal, one hopes they will exert themselves to actually bring something to the table this time, perhaps along these lines.) Extracting his main proposals:

Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

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11 Responses to Whole Foods Health Care

  • My thinking is as follows:

    1. Obama needs politically to pass some sort of major health care bill. However, it doesn’t much matter what’s in the bill so long as they pass something.

    2. Despite having majorities in both houses, it appears that Obama can’t pass a bill without significant Republican support.

    3. I therefore conclude that Obama’s should abandon his current plan, and adopt something like what’s laid out in the Mackey article (he’s a good PR guy, and so should be able to spin it as a liberal victory).

    Not that I think he will do this, mind you.

  • “If the GOP scores a tactical victory in staving off the many bad ideas in the current health care reform proposal, one hopes they will exert themselves to actually bring something to the table this time…”

    It is my hope too that the GOP would then bring something serious to the table. Unfortunately, at this point I have my doubts that that is their intention.

  • I never understood the point of the use-it-or-lose-it requirement of HSAs (at least ours is that way).

    Most of those seem like decent proposals. I take issue with the lawsuit observation. It seems to me that’s more of a PR gimmick than reflection of reality. Everyone loves bashing lawyers.

    We have had medical malpractice tort reform in Texas for going on 30 years now, and it has not had an appreciable effect on malpractice premiums that I am aware of.

    For some reason, unlike consumer technology, medical technology gets more expensive rather than less, which is the real driver of medical costs. Part of it can be a smaller pool of buyers over whom to spread development costs than more general technology (like pc’s, cell phones, etc.). Part of it is the high regulatory costs in getting technology approved for use (mostly drugs, but also other forms of technology – implants, prosthetics, etc.). And part of it is a protectionist attitude on the part of the medical industry (restrictive licensing and limited med school enrollment, Certificate of Need requirements for hospital construction/expansion).

  • I went to a Town Hall meeting last night put together by my Rep (Rick Larsen, Democrat, WA-2). About 2400 folks in attendance, roughly a 50-50 split ideologically.

    Lots of good questions. I bring up the meeting, because one gentleman brought up this article, and asked Mr. Larsen to look at it. He said he would, and I hope he does. The proposals laid out by Mr. Mackey seem like they can make a lot of headway in addressing the concerns voiced by many people out there.

    I too hope that GOP leaders bring something like this to the table.

  • There’s a whole class of medical expenses that is problematic for the high deductible plan. Somewhere between the routine office visit and the catastrophic emergency lies a middle ground of expenses. With a big enough family, no FSA is going to make up for these kinds of expenses. These are the things that aren’t “mortgage-the-house” procedures that are nonetheless very damaging to a family on limited income. What happens if someone in your family requires two crowns at $1000 a pop, you’re having a baby that year, and your kid requires relatively minor surgery for an accident? (All real life examples from our own family this year.) It’s not obvious how the combination of FSAs (or similar benefits) plus a high deductible plan would help.

  • What happens if someone in your family requires two crowns at $1000 a pop, you’re having a baby that year, and your kid requires relatively minor surgery for an accident?

    Presumably you would make the deductible and whatever co-payments required by the plan, and insurance would cover the rest. How would this be any worse than under a normal plan?

  • c matt,

    I never understood the point of the use-it-or-lose-it requirement of HSAs (at least ours is that way).

    That’s the HSA’s through employers, the standalone plans do not cause you to lose your balance each year.

    We have had medical malpractice tort reform in Texas for going on 30 years now, and it has not had an appreciable effect on malpractice premiums that I am aware of.

    I think it has had a big impact on the growth of the medical system here, I don’t know exactly how it has affected the malpractice premiums specifically.

    For some reason, unlike consumer technology, medical technology gets more expensive rather than less, which is the real driver of medical costs. Part of it can be a smaller pool of buyers over whom to spread development costs than more general technology (like pc’s, cell phones, etc.). Part of it is the high regulatory costs in getting technology approved for use (mostly drugs, but also other forms of technology – implants, prosthetics, etc.). And part of it is a protectionist attitude on the part of the medical industry (restrictive licensing and limited med school enrollment, Certificate of Need requirements for hospital construction/expansion).

    It’s due to an inneficient market, the payers and the consumers are separated.

    j. christian,

    There’s a whole class of medical expenses that is problematic for the high deductible plan. Somewhere between the routine office visit and the catastrophic emergency lies a middle ground of expenses. With a big enough family, no FSA is going to make up for these kinds of expenses. These are the things that aren’t “mortgage-the-house” procedures that are nonetheless very damaging to a family on limited income. What happens if someone in your family requires two crowns at $1000 a pop, you’re having a baby that year, and your kid requires relatively minor surgery for an accident? (All real life examples from our own family this year.) It’s not obvious how the combination of FSAs (or similar benefits) plus a high deductible plan would help.

    What you aren’t getting is that over time, the cost of medical care for routine procedures = the cost of medical insurance. Instead of depositing that money with the insurance companies, under the HSA you deposit in your own account so that it’s their when you need it.

    Under the McCain plan you would have started with $5000/year tax credit as an individual (don’t know how it works for families) to fund HSA/Insurance in whatever proportion you see fit.

    There will be times though, when bad fortune puts people in dire straits. There ought to be, and generally is, payment plans, and other aids to get people over the rough spots.

    ps. there are lower cost alternatives to $1000/crown, these may even be temporary until the funds are available.

  • j. christian,

    I think the confusion here has to do with what is meant by “high deductible”. The high deductible plans I’ve seen associated with HSAs are based on an annual deductible, so as soon as you’ve paid (with a 2500 deductible) $2500 total in medical expenses for the year, the insurance policy pays the rest.

    There may well also be plans that work more like auto insurance, with a deductible per incident, but I haven’t run into them. I’d assumed, based on my limitted experience of places I’ve worked, that Whole Foods was doing an annual deductible, but I could be wrong.

  • If Whole Foods’ health insurance plan is so good, that explains why certain hardcore supporters of Obamacare such as (you guessed it) SEIU have started calling it “Whole Paycheck Foods” and suggesting a boycott of the company!

    Having a Medical Savings Account has been helpful to me — the State of Illinois offers them to employees; you choose how much you want to put into it every payday, and you have 15 months — the “plan year” plus a 3-month “grace period” — to use up those funds. I would prefer that it not be “use it or lose it” either, but in its present form, it works well for covering things like co-pays on routine checkups, dental work, etc.

    However, I can see where people with large families and/or lots of expensive injuries, prescriptions, or medical problems would never be able to save enough to cover their medical costs with an HSA.

    Also, most doctors and hospitals will work out payment plans with you if you are uninsured or your insurance coverage is inadequate. This happened to me when my husband had an operation, and the insurance he had (as a student) covered only about 1/3 of the cost. The hospital had a charity care program that forgave their ENTIRE portion of the bill, and the surgeon (who charged a separate bill) has been taking monthly payments from us for the past two years… we’re finally down to the last $100 or so 😉

  • Okay then, lets all start savings accounts and pull out of our insurance plans.
    It would be interesting to see how the insurance companies would respond to such a movement.

  • Biggest problem I can see with a Knights of Columbus plan is morality protections on what’s required to be insured.

The Scarlet and The Black

Thursday, August 13, AD 2009

Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty

Here, at 8:39, in my opinion, is one of the more profound observations on film about the Catholic Church and History.  The evil that men do make many a blood stained page of History, but the Church survives throughout History as Caesars, Emperors, Kings, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Commissars, Fuhrers, Caudillos, Duces, General Secretaries, would be fake messiahs, etc, pass away.

The Scarlet and the Black (1983) is one of the better films dealing with the Catholic Church.  Gregory Peck is brilliant as Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican, who during World War 2, hid 4000 escaped Allied POWs and Jews from the Nazi occupiers of Rome.  Christopher Plummer gives the performance of his career as Obersturmbanfuhrer (Colonel) Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Rome.  John Gielgud gives a stunningly good performance as Pius XII.  At one point when he confronts a Nazi delegation he merely stares at them with steely disdain until they get the hint and leave.  I imagine the actual Pius XII used a similar look of disdain when, on March 11, 1940, his response to a complaint by the Nazi  Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop that the Church was siding with the Allies, was to read to Von Ribbentrop a long list of atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland, which had been compiled by the Church.  This is a superb film that should be seen by every Catholic.

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7 Responses to The Scarlet and The Black

  • Didn’t know about this one. I’ll have to check it out. thanks for the heads up.

  • I was introduced to this film when I was in Rome in the late 1990s by a dynamic young priest working in the Roman Curia.

    He’s since been elevated to the dignity of the episcopate, and I continue to watch this film about once a year.

    I’ve never been able to discover what happened to Kappler’s wife and children, but the post-script in the movie implies they never visited him while he was imprisoned.

  • One of my favorites!

  • This post reminded me of ne of the finest tributes to the Church’s endurance while secular powers vanish into the dust. It was written as part of the rumination of an atheist character in “The Sunrise Lands”, a sci-fi book about the death of electricity, gunpowder and the internal combustion engine. Alas, it’s not at my fingertips, but I’ll post it later. It even included a mocking swipe at Stalin’s “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

  • One of the best films out there concerning the Church.

    Very heartwarming.

  • Here it is:

    Stalin had meant mockery when he asked how many divisions the Pope had, but in the end his bewildered successors had found it didn’t matter; and men-at-arms and castles could come into the same category. At seventh and last men were ruled from within their heads by ideas as much as by clubs from without, and a careful ruler kept it in mind.

    The Church had outlasted any number of systems that looked stronger than iron at the time, and had ridden out many storms that claimed to be the wave of the future; she was wise with years, and infinitely patient, and bided her time.

Karen Novak, 1938-2009

Wednesday, August 12, AD 2009

Joseph Bottum @ First Things, relays the sad news:

Karen Novak slipped away this morning—a great artist, a good friend, the beloved wife of Michael Novak, and convivial presence at so many of our events.

You can find some of her artwork described on her website. But even they don’t capture her fun, her spirit, or how much we will miss her.

Please keep Michael Novak and his family in your prayers.

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One Response to Karen Novak, 1938-2009

Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

Wednesday, August 12, AD 2009

I was thinking of writing a lengthy piece over lunch, when I wrote up my task list and realized that “lunch” needed to be no more than twenty minutes long. So instead, I present a number of pieces that struck me as interesting lately, but which I don’t have a whole post worth of things to say about.

InsideCatholic just reprinted a lengthy piece by medievalist Sandra Miesel discussing the realities of witch burning in the Middle Ages through “Age of Reason”. It’s an article well worth the time to read, avoiding both the slanders of anti-Catholics and the overly rosy rebuttals used by some apologists.

Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill.

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6 Responses to Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

  • Cross-post of the same comment I left at Darwin’s site.
    ——–
    Instathoughts provided without the benefit of actually reading linked-to articles.

    Re: essays. I don’t think I could tell you what an essay is or what it should be. I’m not sure what is distinctive about an “essay” compared to lengthy article in the New Yorker or First Things. And I went to a college with good core curriculum. Looking forward to reading the piece.

    Re: “agri-intellectuals”. Really looking forward to this one. I remember explaining this concept to my mother once. She replied simply by saying that her (now long deceased) grandparents who lived in rural Louisiana believed that, and I quote, “farming is a cursed life.” I’m not even sure I believe that “one should eat real food most of the time” given that such a view usually connotates, 1) a rejection of the benefit of pesticides and genetic engineering; and 2) a rejection of the great good that industrialized farming has had on improving worldwide life span by making things like famine far less of a threat.

    Re: vegan and vegetarian school lunches. This brought to mind something I have often thought to myself. Conservatives are at a real disadvantage politically on some issues b/c the real conservative response is that “we can’t help you.” But you can’t say that. So when we look at failing schools we have to talk about “free market” solutions like charter schools and vouchers. I believe these do make a difference, at least in the margins. But what we really should say, indeed what our principles should lead us to conclude, is, “There isn’t any structural change we can make – better curriculum, merit pay, competition – that can change the fact that these kids are coming to school each day from homes where the parent can’t even be bothered to pack a peanut butter sandwich and some carrot sticks. And until that changes, little can be done to improve educational outcomes.”

  • Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill. I’m hoping I get the chance to write about some of them later.

    So Darwin is going to write an essay about an essay that itself is essentially an essay in how to write an essay?

    Remarkable. Really.

  • I can’t wait to write an essay about whatever Darwin writes.

  • Well, here, I can’t wait to write an essay about an essay written by S.B. that’s about an essay written by Darwin about an essay written by Graham which subject was about how to write an essay!

  • Thanks for posting some very thought-provoking links, Darwin.

    I’ve just skimmed quickly through the Graham essay on essays and found it pretty compelling, and as a side benefit, it gives lots of historical details about the development of the modern university and legal systems!

    Also read through the entire post by Hurst responding to agri-intellectuals. I own and have read both Pollan’s and Scully’s books, and I found them quite compelling. But the laws of physics also seem to work in literature, and there is an equally valid and opposite “reaction”, provided by Hurst, to the interesting original “actions” of Scully, Pollan and Dreher. It really boggles the mind when we learn about the incredibly intricate and complex systems behind mass-scale farming in the modern world.

    So my concern then turns to something even vastly more complex than large-scale farming: health care reform in one of the largest developed countries in the world! I don’t even want to consider how badly Uncle Sam’s bureaucratic armies could botch up that system in the future–YIKES!

  • *grin* The one from the farmer sounds exactly like my parents. (Dad’s been ranching and farming for roughly 40 years and has an AA; mom has been doing family-sized farming and ranching for about 30, and has a BS in animal husbandry with a minor in education. I sent her the article in hopes that she’ll write something I can blog. ^.^)

Anger and Astroturf

Wednesday, August 12, AD 2009

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

There are two observations I have noticed during this health care debate that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been pushing.

One, there is anger from the American people concerning the direction and the destination of health care ‘reform’.  Genuine anger.  The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst.  Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue.  Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now.

Which leads to my second observation and the accusations that this grass roots opposition to health care ‘reform’ is being labeled as astroturf.  Due to the cooperation of the mainstream media in failing to provide unbiased programming of the health care debate in addition to leading Democrats from President Obama to House Speak Nancy Pelosi having mislabeled genuine American concern of government intrusion via health care ‘reform’ as artificial.  If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment.  Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012.  They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

Just my two cents worth.

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27 Responses to Anger and Astroturf

  • Tito,

    The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst. Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue. Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now

    I think there’s 2 misperceptions here. One is that there is a general shouting down of the politicians. If you watch the whole presentation in context, I suggest that what happens is the politicians refuse to allow alternate points of view to be presented, refuse to answer, obfuscate and/or outright lie about the bill. Sometimes it is necessary to get loud to be heard. Granted it doesn’t always make good press when it’s cut by the liberal media to try and discredit the protesters. Caution is necessary to be sure, and there may have been excesses at times.

    Secondly, there is not many people who oppose reform of the health care funding system we have. Most support tort reform, and leveling the playing field between employer and privately purchased plans, as well as freedom of choice as to levels of coverage.

  • I don’t subscribe to bizarro news network, so I don’t know which town halls you are referring to.

  • I don’t subscribe to bizarro news network, so I don’t know which town halls you are referring to.

    It’s interesting that you (rightly) castigate the media for not fully reporting what’s going on, and yet you’re mocking Matt because he has a more accurate understanding of the complete picture behind the town halls. What you see on the nightly news or are hearing reports of are small snippets. People are asking thoughtful questions, and people are being respectful. However, people begin to get agitated once their representative begins to hem and haw, and then simply lie.

    I agree that there’s no use in yelling for the sake of yelling, and we should allow our opponents time to speak – after all, in many cases, they do a fine job of defeating their own cause. But it’s simply wrong to say that the protesters are not allowing Congressmen the opportunity to speak at all before the shouting begins.

  • Paul,

    Only a small minority is needed to make our arguments look bad.

    The mainstream media, as I wrote in my posting, is doing a terrible job covering what is actually happening.

    We all know that the MSM tilts heavily towards the left, don’t you think it would be wise to be a bit more careful when articulating our arguments.

    The MSM will give liberal protesters a pass when they portray Bush as Hitler, but will play up Pelosi’s “swastika” comments. And she was lieing!

  • Paul,

    thanks. Taco Tito has already apologized deeply and profusely for his error, he’s just too ashamed to do so publicly.

  • Matt’s been drinking kool-ade again.

  • Could somebody kindly explain Tito’s rather sarcastic dismissal of Matt’s previous comments?

    I thought the whole point of Tito Taco’s post was concerning the poor depiction of what is actually transpiring in these Town Hall meetings, which I thought Matt’s own comments attempted to provide a more accurate portrayal thereof.

    Was there some sort of rhetorical irony I might have missed in Matt’s comments that I may have missed which seemingly sought to make a mockery out of Taco’s post?

  • Never mind.

    I see Matt & Tito are simply flirting with one another.

    Still getting used to this “modern” world.

  • If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

  • e.,

    This is to much fun, but since you may not be aware, Matt and I work together. In fact our offices are right next to each other.

    So we rib each other from time to time.

    Hopefully that will calm you down and relieve some of the anxiety you have.

  • unrestrainedradical,

    like the typical leftist elite you completely misunderstand the American people, the majority who are opposed to ObamaCare.

  • The nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans.

    I’m afraid the only nutjob here happens to be the commenter making this comment.

    Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

    Wackos being the Demo-n-Caths and all wackjobs of fellow adherents of that sordid political party that merely pretends to usher in change on behalf of the general populace all the while under this veneer of healthcare for the common man lies a most devious atrocity which can only be conceivably advanced by the democrat death squads.

  • Yeah, it’s just the Republicans who are opposed to a single-payer system and are generally fearful of a government take-over.

    You guys keep telling yourselves that. Complete denial of public disapproval worked so well for the GOP in 2005-06.

  • Highly recommend the attached article by Camille Paglia. She, of course, is in favor of health care reform, but she correctly places the blame for the heated discourse where it belongs on the Democrats and Obama for attempting to hastily push through poorly explained and thought out legislation.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/index.html

    She states:

    “But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

    You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

    I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.”

    She even has sympathy for Sarah Palin’s recent statements about Death Panels:

    “As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.”

  • Awakeman,

    You and I enjoy reading the same articles.

    You beat me to the punch, I was going to post this article later today, but this is just as good.

    Good job!

  • “If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.”

    Do you actually believe this? I talked to a friend of mine that is a Senate staffer in the most least populated area of the State ,In the most obscure areas it is standing room only and trust me these are not RUSH LIMBAUGH Republican Ditto heads

    I am always amazed on the left or right how some see some plot. I have been through this enough times to see that is a purely bipartisian affair.

    It is slighlty amusing, though with a bit of sadness, that SOcial Justice Catholics that proclaim themselves above such petty things as party fall into the same ole tiresome thing they rant against. No these people have legitimate concerns. They want answers. To call them “nutjobs” right off the bat shows a particular disconnect. Like I said I have seen this on both sides. Right now it is just you.

  • Oh, please, gents–

    Surely by now you’ve all seen the SEIU squad beat up a conservative activist (posted below, if I recall), the bullhorn-toting Obamacare supporters trying to intimidate the opposition at Pelosi’s visit of a Denver clinic:
    http://www.lookingattheleft.com/2009/08/pelosi-astroturf-healthcare/
    and the guy with the Obama with Hitler mustache poster (evidently obtained from Lyndon LaRouche’s organization) who was later spotted handing out literature for Rep. Dingell:
    http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2009/08/busted-obama-as-hitler-poster-was.html

    There’s poor footing to argue that the vocal nutjobs are all on the right, especially when some of those rightists turn out to be plants. Be wary of opening your mouth precipitously; you may find later you have inserted your foot!

    For the record, I went to a town hall earlier this week and the one attendee there who distinguished herself by attempting to interrupt the speaker and trying to rumble with the police security was an Obamacare supporter.

  • I do believe the “death panel” portion of the current bill has been blown way out of proportion — and I have actually read it, by the way.

    It states simply that the healthcare plan will pay for senior citizens to have consultations with their doctors regarding advance directives (such as living wills or healthcare powers of attorney) at least every 5 years. Such consultations would be paid for on a more frequent basis if the person becomes seriously ill — not necessarily because anyone is trying to hasten their death, but because the person themselves may want to make changes or adjustments in their advance directive as their condition changes or worsens. Bringing the doctor into the discussion makes sense because many times, advance directives are drawn up by and filed with lawyers and the doctor may be the last person to know that a patient even has an advance directive.

    Federal law already requires hospitals to ask patients whether they have advance directives and inform them of their right to have one — but it doesn’t REQUIRE anyone to actually have a directive if they don’t want one. Mandating that insurance pay for a service is NOT the same as mandating that the policy holder actually take advantage of the service. Most if not all of us probably have health insurance that by state or federal law has to cover things we never personally take advantage of.

    Now, it is true that National Right to Life and other pro-life groups would like to see stronger language in this bill to protect seniors and the handicapped from being pressured by their doctors, family, or others into signing away their right to life-saving or life-sustaining treatment. That is a legitimate concern which must be addressed, but it is a far cry from asserting that the bill creates an all-powerful “death panel.”

    I know it is very easy for conservatives, and particularly pro-lifers, to assume the worst about the Obama administration given his record so far. However, that does not excuse intentional distortion or hasty misinterpretation of the healthcare bill for purely political reasons.

    Now, all that being said — there are still very, very many serious questions to be raised about this bill and attempting to rush it through Congress without giving Congresscritters themselves — let alone the public — time to understand what it really does, and instruct them to stick to canned talking points, is the WORST possible strategy the Democrats could take. The more they attempt to dismiss and discredit criticism of the bill, the more they come off looking like dictators and playing right into the fears of those who are opposed to the plan. It’s enough to make me think they WANT to lose control of Congress next year… maybe they’ve discovered that being the party in power isn’t as much fun as they thought!

  • It is confusing to have any discussion, when the elected officials can’t refer to any facts. There are so many versions and variations of health initiatives crafted by staff and lobbyists, we can’t keep track. How can there be a discussion on smoke and mirrors! They are blowing the smoke, by confirming “my version doesn’t say that!”
    The media choose to ignore this mutliple layers and versions as adding to anger and confusion. It’s like buying a car with 3 different contracts in front of you.

  • Elaine,

    I’m sorry, with this bill the bureaucrats have the power to require such consultations and possibly to sign directives that the patients don’t agree with. There’s nothing in the bill which enforces the voluntary nature, it’s in the hands of government, we just have to trust them.

  • I’m not talking about mere opponents of Obamacare when I say “nutjobs.” I’m not a supporter of Obamacare. Those who support or oppose the plan on its merits are a small intelligent minority. I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas. Dems can mock them with political impunity.

  • elitistunrestrainedadical,

    Matt McDonald Says:
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 A.D. at 1:06 pm

    unrestrainedradical,

    like the typical leftist elite you completely misunderstand the American people, the majority who are opposed to ObamaCare.

  • Saying that the end of life consultation provision could be open to abuse in the future is accurate — just about ANY provision of any law is open to abuse, and the potential abuses have to be considered when the law is written. However, saying this bill actually creates “death panels” is NOT accurate. In fact it may be even less accurate now that the Dems are seriously talking about removing that whole provision from the bill, which is fine with me.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas.

    You have to admit that that is a leap of logic of connecting genuine grassroots opposition to socialized medicine to racist birthers.

    Elaine,

    It has been removed, but don’t you think they removed it because perception is reality? Meaning that it could be used to implement Aktion T4 like directives?

    Aktion T4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4

  • During this whole debate, nobody consulted Michael Moore on his documented health care in Cuba. If we opened relations with Cuba,and sent cruiser ships with seniors for health care to Cuba, then we could find a happy solution.
    Grandpa could retire there with a bottle of viagra, lots of cigars, and plenty of rum! That’s what I call a great way to end your days!
    If I had to choose between Canada and Cuba, there’s no question I want Cuba!