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Showing posts from September, 2013

How safe is home birth in Delaware? The only statistical analysis ever done

(That I can find, at least ...) This is the text of a report that will be released tomorrow night at the Division of Public Health meeting on non-nurse midwives tomorrow night in Clayton .  Follow the link for details. This will be a public meeting that begins the process of fixing the very bad mistake that the General Assembly and DPH made last year in passing HB 194 and essentially criminalizing the entire profession of midwifery and the practice of home birth. What most astounded me when I began talking with the bureaucrats and legislators who supported and passed this law is that they did so in response to a handful of "bad outcomes" to home births in the last year or so.  Let's not mince words, "bad outcomes" means perinatal or prenatal death, or something equally horrible for the mother.  But what I discovered that there was the typical rush to "do something" to be seen addressing the problem, and nobody stopped to determine whether these o

Highmark dumps people with pre-existing conditions (as well as cancer patients)

Why is it great to be a "supposedly non-profit" corporate giant in the land of government-subsidized corporate welfare ... ... or why Federal anti-trust laws apparently do not apply to entities like Highmark no matter how horrible the corporation's conduct is ... Here's two new examples: 1.  Obamacare allows many procedures to be paid at a much higher rate if they are done in a hospital.   Get a stress test in a cardiologist's office?  Using exactly the same machine, the ACA says the cardiologist receives only about one-third the pay that a hospital would.  This is why most cardiology groups in Delaware have sold out to hospitals.   So what does the hospital do?  The hospital leaves the cardiology office open (the machine's already there, right?) and calls the building "a hospital clinic" so that it can continue to charge higher rates to insurance companies and Medicare than the original doctors could.  Got it? So the same thing happens with

The State of Michigan admits it intends to regulate sexual relationships

Many of my Libertarian friends are agnostic toward the idea of legislating same-sex marriage because they see this as extending the State's power to license another form of marriage while they would rather have the State completely out of the business of marriage all together. Me, too, but ... The reality is that not only do states use existing marriage status to deny legal benefits to same-sex couples, they also--quite consciously--use existing marriage laws to regulate sexual behavior. Don't believe me?  Just check out the latest brief filed by the State of Michigan in opposition to marriage equality. It does not get much plainer than this  —  One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan --and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman-- is, and always has been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society. 

Our government doesn't sell arms to terrorists ... except when it does

The lead-in: The Obama administration  promises  over and over again they are only sending arms to secular, freedom-loving Syrian rebels, not those Islamic jihadists associated with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. The pay-off:   President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups  to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad’s regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah. The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”   Yep, that war on terrorism is a really high priority. 

Healthcare exchanges: the Devil (Highmark) is in the Details (Obamacare) ...

You should have been able to see this coming. First, think about those healthcare exchanges, those Federal and State-run marketplaces for low-cost insurance.  In case you forgot, here's the promise from a Health and Human Services spokesperson: "When the marketplaces open on Oct. 1, plans will have to compete side by side, and consumers will be able to choose the one that best fits their budget and needs," said Joanne Peters, a department spokeswoman. Plans may be competing, but insurance companies?  Not so much. As they say--the Devil (Highmark) is in the details (Obamacare).  Read on.

Protected speech? Not according to the FBI ...

Take a few moments and read this Facebook comment by one Blaine Cooper: Cooper posted this on either August 21 or 22, 2013, and on August 23 the local police department contacted him and told him to come downtown:  the FBI wanted speak with him. Here's how Cooper characterized the interview:   He complied with the request for an interview, which lasted 45 minutes with federal agents present.  He was released after apparently being determined to not be a threat. “They had every Facebook post I had ever made in a huge file, along with all my wife’s information, and parent’s information,” Cooper told .  Cooper said that he was told that without “defusing the situation” by complying with the interview, his house might have been raided. “The FBI made mention they came to question me so they didn’t have to kick in my door,” Cooper told . The question here is not whether anyone agrees with Cooper's viewpoint or endorses his ran

Senator Coons: A moron as well as a hypocrite on Syria?

Senator Chris Coons:  available to repeat even the most inane talking points without checking. While I rarely agree with Senator Chris Coons' politics, I always thought he was a pretty smart guy. That's over. Here's his quote today as he is one of the few Obama loyalists still stooging for a US strike in Syria: “I do think we know what the consequences of inaction will be,” Coons said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. Coons said Assad “will continue to use cluster bombs and scud missiles and chemical weapons to massacre thousands of his own civilians.” Let me count the ways, Senator, in which repeating White House talking points makes you look like a tool: 1.  "will continue to use cluster bombs"--Uh, Chris?   The US is still using cluster bombs, having refused to sign the convention banning them.  If we were to attack Syria for using cluster bombs, we'd also have to attack Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Dahlgren Surface Naval Weapons Testin

School reform goals that (amazingly) gag even Governor Markell

The so-called Center for Education Reform has lauded Jack Markell for being an educationally reform minded governor, but apparently fears that he is being held hostage by the forces of darkness (that would be you, apparently, John Kowalko, and John Young, and kilroy, and pandora, and me) from going far enough in the "right" direction. Thus Delaware is only in "the middle of the pack" on education reform. What is interesting is that today's WNJ shows us the breadth of the education reformers' ultimate goals , and this is fascinating both for what is said and what is not said: The report offers Delaware a to-do list if it wants to follow those states’ lead:   • Create a voucher  system  that gives public money to parents who want to send their kids to private schools.   • Create an independent charter school authorizer outside of the Department of Education.   • Make it easier for more charter schools to open in the state.   • Allow state capita

Obama and Syria: News Journal editorial board replaced by space aliens

That's pretty much the only explanation that I can offer for the fact that the WNJ today joined the rest of the country in realizing that we are even having a debate over attacking Syria because of President Barack Obama's inept foreign policy leadership. Phrases like this stand out: No matter how you look at it, President Obama played an important part in creating the mess he is in. Through a series of missteps and delays, he has put the prestige of the nation and the presidency at risk. It didn’t have to happen. --- Unless President Obama is being deceptively clever – and that is hard to imagine at this point –  --- President Obama allowed himself to be cornered by his own words that established a “red line” marker. He can say what he wants now about who first used that image, but for quite some time he has been associated with it. The world is holding him – and his credibility – to it. --- This is a point blank failure of leadership. Our best hope is a solution that will

Breibart with yet another "winner"

The other day I blogged about Breitbart distorting the story about the Longshoremen's union disaffiliating with the AFL-CIO, and the impact that had on the conservative/libertarian blogging world. The point:  if you want to win hearts and minds to your cause, in the long term an actual respect for truth and factual accuracy are, you know, kind of important. So here's today's totally off-base and misleading headline from Breibart: LIBERTARIAN WITH LITTLE MONEY COULD SPOIL CUCCINELLI CAMPAIGN This is referring to the Virginia governor's race between unlikeable candidates Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R), where Libertarian Robert Sarvis has managed to spend only $40K (compared to their millions) and has garnered 9-10% support in recent polling. Here's what Breitbart says (possibly parroting the Virginia-Union, but with Breitbart who can tell?): Two months before the election, Sarvis may be the only man who is not a member of the under-performing C

Top Ten stupid things about the Delaware Insurance "Marketplace"

10.   The Federal government gave Delaware a $4 million grant to get people to sign up for insurance coverage.  We're hiring people to go out and convince people to pay money for premiums.  Ironically, that $4 million could have put another 526 Delaware children on Medicaid, but it won't. 9. In competition with itself, the Federal government gave yet another $550,000 grant to a Maryland-based company to help Delaware citizens "navigate" the insurance marketplace.  So 20% of the money for jobs signing up people in Delaware goes to a Maryland company? 8.  Everybody, from the News Journal to Rita Landgraf (DHSS Secretary) is emphasizing that they want to find everybody "eligible" for these "benefits" and "access."  Nowhere does anybody mention the stick with this particular carrot, that all of these wonderful eligible people will be charged $90/adult and $47.50/child if they don't sign up?  Congratulations, mom.  We're here to h

Being careful about your facts: Longshoremen and the AFL-CIO

If you google "International Longshoremen quit AFL-CIO,"you will get pages and pages of results about the 40,000-member ILWU leaving the country's largest labor organization as a result of Obamacare. The only major media outlet you will find trumpeting the story is Fox News, which attributes the break entirely to health care and immigration (it is s brief story and you should read it to discover I am not misleading you): Union dumps AFL-CIO for its positions on ObamaCare, immigration reform Breitbart is the source of the story for most small blogs: In an   August 29 letter   to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the disillusion of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO’s support of Obamare . The problem?  The hundreds of conservative, Ron Paul, and libertarian sites reporting this story pretty much just follow Breibart's lead, without ever bothering to check o

BlueLine: Police with their own social media site is a BAD idea

You gotta think this one through. Here's the appropriately bland intro from USA Today: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The final stages are near completion for the launch of a law enforcement social media network designed exclusively for the men and women in blue.   Created by former high-profile New York City police commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, BlueLine is being touted as a site where officers can share their expertise, insight and information securely through video, instant messaging, videoconferencing and screen share capabilities.   The network is scheduled to go live at the International Association of Police Chiefs' annual conference in Philadelphia in late October, Bratton said. So what could be wrong with promoting a safe atmosphere for police officers to network? How about everything?  Let me count the ways: 1.  The BlueLine network will be hosted on servers that appear to be accessible by the Department of Defense and the FBI. 2.  There

Syria isn't about chemical weapons

I remember Dubya's Axis of Evil speech back in January 2002. If I recall correctly, speechwriter David Frum originally wanted an Axis of Hatred. Anyway, the original Axis of Evil included Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, with Syria, Libya, and Cuba later coming in for an honorable mention as being "beyond the Axis of Evil." Iraq, of course, has disappeared from the political radar after a quick military victory and a long, bloody, and basically fruitless occupation that Barack Obama ended with as much panache as Gorbachev employed in scampering out of Afghanistan. [Brief aside:  you gotta wonder which American general will be selected for the Boris Gromov moment of our inevitable withdrawal, probably a few weeks after the Obama Presidential Library opens in Chicago.] Now, once again, we are being treated to the full Presidential arm-twisting in favor of a resolution (which, like Dubya, he states over and over again that he doesn't really need) that gives him c

Government forbids people to feed the homeless

I often hear people express scorn of the voluntarism embodied in Libertarian thought.  They assert that Libertarians are effectively heartless because they prefer to rely first on people helping other people than to invoke the power of the State. But it actually takes the State to make feeding the hungry illegal: In Raleigh NC: On the morning of Saturday, August, 24, Love Wins showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years. We provide, without cost or obligation, hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to anyone who wants one. We keep this promise to our community in cooperation with five different, large suburban churches that help us with manpower and funding.   On that morning three officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever. An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested. In New York: Mayor Michael Bl