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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Perhaps We Could Learn From Them

I read this in the paper this morning and simply shook my head:

"China's spectacular economic growth continues to be accompanied by an almost-thoughtless waste of water resources."

It came from the Charleston Gazette. The leading newspaper in a state where ...

● ... 26.7% of the children live in poverty.

● ... 37% of the children live with parents who do not have full-time, year-round employment.

● ... the percentage of rural female-headed households with preschool-age children living below the federal poverty line - 63.9% - ranks highest in the country.

● ... median household income ranks last in the nation.

● ... the prevalence of heart disease ranks the state first in the country.

● ... the incidence of violent crime ranks the state next to worst in the country.

And they criticize the Chinese for putting economic development ahead of water resources.

For the love of God.

The March Toward Mediocrity

President Bush has acknowledged his willingness to compromise on that SCHIP middle-class health care proposal that he vetoed last week. He simply wants the scope of the legislation limited to its original intent - to help poor kids.

The other side - the socialists - will have none of it.

Here's the New York Times:
An Overblown Fear About S-Chip
editorial

To hear the Bush administration tell it, expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program would entice hordes of families to drop their private coverage and put their children on the public dole. As the Health and Human Services secretary, Michael Leavitt, argued in a recent television appearance, states that cover middle-income children as well as the poor are essentially telling people to “cancel your private insurance and we’ll have the government pay for it.”

There are several things wrong with that claim. (link)
Let me stop here. A few paragraphs down, the editorialist accepts the claim as being fact:
Using a broader methodology and peering into the future, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill vetoed by President Bush would increase enrollment in S-chip and Medicaid by 5.8 million in 2012. Of that total, 3.8 million children would otherwise be uninsured and 2 million would be children who could have gotten private insurance in the absence of S-chip.

Even if that 1-in-3 substitution rate should turn out to be accurate, it is still far better than denying insurance to millions of American children.
If that estimate is inaccurate, it's because it is on the low side. Who wouldn't, given the chance, drop expensive health insurance for cheaper government-subsidized health coverage?

But beyond that, these people, if asked, would tell you that ALL American children should be covered by government-administered health care. So why the facade? Why limit the discussion to this SCHIP legislation? Why pretend that this is a reasonable proposition?

Why? Because Hillary taught them a valuable lesson. In 1993.

Americans don't want to be Canadians or Europeans. We don't want to have to go begging when it comes to our health care like they do. We don't want rationing. We want to maintain the finest health care delivery system ever devised by humankind.

But we can be enticed by that plea ... for the children.

And Hillary's pals know it.

So you'll see no compromise here. But you won't see any grandiose plans either. No HillaryCare. We no longer talk about helping everybody. But we no longer limit the discussion to helping the poor either. We've moved beyond that. We now talk about assisting children. Even those of the upper-middle classes. Next it'll be the hard-pressed urban dwellers. Farmers. GM workers. California.

And the system will be forever changed.

And fifty years from now, we'll be waiting in that long line at the doctor's office to receive our cold medicine and we'll be reading - longingly - that National Geographic article about what once was. And we'll ask ourselves how we let it slip away.

And we'll be asking the right people. We will have done it to ourselves.

SCHIP II On The Horizon?

If you're okay with your government paying for the health care of middle-class Americans, you're probably okay with your government paying for homeowners insurance in areas where hurricanes are prevalent. Right?

You'd better be deciding. That'll be next.
Home Insurers Canceling in East
By Paul Vitello, The New York Times


Garden City, N.Y., Oct. 15 — It is 1,200 miles from the coastline where Hurricane Katrina touched land two years ago to the neat colonial-style home here where James Gray, a retired public relations consultant, and his wife, Ann, live. But this summer, Katrina reached them, too, in the form of a cancellation letter from their home-insurance company.

The letter said that “hurricane events over the past two years” had forced the company to limit its exposure to further losses ..

In the last three years, more than three million homeowners have received letters like the Grays’ as insurance companies, determined to avoid another $40 billion Katrina bill, have essentially begun to redraw the outline of the eastern United States somewhere west of the Appalachian Trail. (link)
Why worry? The government can pick up the tab. The government has all the money in the world and you deserve it.

Congress Is Out Of Control XLMVIII

This actually tops Congressman Rick Boucher's (D-Abingdon) transportation earmark for a horseback riding trail in Scott County, Virginia:

$4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted
By David Heath and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times staff reporters


Tucked away on Seattle's Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years — save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.

The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.

Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?

Blame it on Sen. Patty Murray and Congressmen Norm Dicks and Brian Baird. All three exercised their political muscle to slip language into a 2002 spending bill to force the Navy to buy the boat from Edmonds shipbuilder Guardian Marine International.

The congressional trio say they were helping Guardian Marine because it had a great product. But each has also received generous campaign donations from the company's three executives, its sole employees: $14,277 to Baird, $15,000 to Murray, and $16,750 to Dicks. (link)
Utterly reprehensible.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds

They're Kicking Our Ass

While we here in the USA try to come up with a way to control a problem that doesn't exist - by the way, how is Senator Warner's cap & trade bill coming along? - the outcome of which will be to limit growth, the Chinese continue to focus on the essentials. On that which we once focused on. On that which made this country great. On that which made General Electric the second largest company on the planet.

And which now makes it number 3:

PetroChina Surpasses GE as Second-Biggest Company
By Winnie Zhu and Ying Lou, Bloomberg.com

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co. gained the most in five months in Hong Kong trading as oil rose to a record above $85 a barrel, vaulting the state-owned oil producer over General Electric Co. to become the world's second-largest company.

The stock climbed 13 percent, valuing Beijing-based PetroChina at HK$3.36 trillion ($434 billion), compared with General Electric's $420 billion. Asia's biggest company is closing in on Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $518 billion value. (link)


But how can this be, you ask? GE makes those environmentally friendly curlicue lightbulbs that everyone wants. How can this be?

Spare me.

This news follows on the heels of another story that I relate to activities going on in Wise County, Virginia where locals don't want the landscape altered when a coal-fired power plant goes in. They plan on mounting a campaign to stop its construction. Saving the planet and all that.

Meanwhile, in a more sane part of the world ...
China coal miner Shenhua Energy IPO priced to raise $8.9B in biggest mainland IPO
By Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press

Shanghai, China – China Shenhua Energy Co., the country's biggest coal miner, raised a record 66.6 billion Chinese yuan ($8.9 billion) on Monday in the country's largest domestic initial public offering.

Shenhua's 1.8 billion yuan-denominated shares attracted a record number of IPO subscriptions and were priced at 36.99 yuan ($4.92) each, the top of their indicative range.

Shenhua Energy has said it plans to use proceeds from the offering on the Shanghai Exchange to finance expansion of its mining and other business operations as well as possible overseas acquisitions. (link)
Overseas acquisitions. I wonder if they'll be buying Wise County soon ...