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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's Not Get Carried Away

On the whole I agree with Roanoke Times columnist Christian Trejbal's sentiments (though I find the header attached to his musing to be a tad too silly) in "When newspapers die, so does democracy." He writes:
Some people hate what they call the "mainstream media." Take that as a given. They especially hate newspapers. They cheer declining circulation figures and newspapers shutting down. Many of them figure new sources of local news online will pick up the slack and deliver the content they need.

According to economists at Princeton University, those people should be careful what they wish for. When newspapers close, Democracy takes a hit.
Fair enough. In order for democracy (something I'm greatly in favor of) to work, we need an enlightened, engaged, informed electorate. And without the flow (a flood would be better) of information, we are the worse for it.

But then he goes too far. Too far by actually informing us of the findings of that Princeton "study":
The duo studied the fallout from the closing of The Cincinnati Post on New Year's Eve 2007. They found that:

"The closing of the Post reduced the number of people voting in elections and the number of candidates for city council, city commission and school board in the Kentucky suburbs, and raised incumbent council and commission members' chances of keeping their jobs."

In other words, without the newspaper acting as watchdog and providing information about local politics, citizens were less involved and those in power more easily held onto it.
Come on. You - and they - can't be serious. Cincinattians woke up on January 1, 2008, found the Cincinatti Post to have gone out of business, and couldn't find a Cincinnati Enquirer?

That reminds me of one of the closing scenes from the movie "Animal House" where a member of Delta House fraternity commandeered the role of drum major in the town parade and led the marching band down an alley, where the members thereof all smashed into one another - and kept marching in place.

Information didn't die when the Post folded. Nor was it less available. It was simply to be found in the same place under a different banner. Yeah, the opinion page of the Post held different views from those of the Enquirer, but so what? People can read the news and decide for themselves what their opinions should be. They don't need pointy-headed intellectuals sitting in some editorial boardroom to tell them what to believe anyway. No matter what pointy-headed intellectuals sitting in newspaper editorial boardrooms might think.

Other than that minor quibble, Mr. Trejbal and I agree (!) that the inevitable demise of America's newspapers is not a good thing. Stop the presses.


George Will is a man of letters. When it comes to the written word - the ability to express an opinion crisply and succinctly - there is no one better.

That's why I wonder if an editor got a hold of Mr. Will's column that appears in today's Washington Post (see "Arizona In The Crosshairs"), and butchered it beyond anyone's ability to comprehend.

The last two-sentence paragraph in the meandering missive about illegal guns and marijuana legalization gives a hint:

"There are more than 6,600 licensed American gun dealers on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. They should obey the law, even though most of the victims of the cartels' violence deserve to be."


The victims "deserve to be" ... what? Deserve to be cartels? Deserve to be gun dealers? What is he (or an ignoramus of an editor) trying to tell us?

What Was He Thinking?

This is still enraging. How is it Obama even thought for a moment that this was a good idea?
Obama drops disputed vet medical plan
By Sean Lengell, Washington Times

The Obama administration dropped a proposal to require some disabled veterans to pay for medical treatments through their private insurance companies, heeding a chorus of outrage from veterans groups and Capitol Hill lawmakers who said the idea was immoral, unconscionable and un-American.

The White House decided to scrap the plan after meeting with a contingent of veterans and military advocacy groups on Wednesday for the second time this week. [link]
What next? Charging America's soldiers for the bullets they expend? Taxing them for each pint of blood they require in battlefield triage? Military funerals?

For the love of God.

They Come, They Go

Disarray doesn't begin to describe the state of circumstances in the Obama administration as it tries its best to launch. It now appears that The Messiah's newly installed treasury secretary is about to be tossed over the side.

Memo to new president: The New York Times is sending you new marching orders. Dump the loser.
A Defining Moment for Treasury Secretary
By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

Washington — All three of President Obama’s top economic advisers were on message when they appeared Sunday on separate television talk shows. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, they said, had concluded, based on lawyers’ advice, that he could not stop the $165 million in bonuses that the American International Group was even then doling out to hundreds of employees.

But when Mr. Geithner and other officials met at the White House that night, the president’s political advisers — who had agreed to the day’s message — decided the growing outcry left Mr. Obama no choice but to publicly second-guess his Treasury secretary.

The next morning on camera, the president said he had directed Mr. Geithner to find a legal way “to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”

Thus began perhaps the worst week in a string of bad weeks for the Treasury secretary. [link]
So Tim Geithner is soon to be "former treasury secretary." Boy, it's a good thing Obama has a host of others in the department to choose from to promote to Geithner's soon-to-be vacant position.

Coming To A Hospital Near You

Do you ever wonder how Obama is going to lower your health care costs?

There is only one way:
Britain apologises for 'Third World' hospital

The British government apologised Wednesday after a damning official report into a hospital likened by one patient's relative to "a Third World" health centre.

Stafford Hospital in central England was found to have appalling standards of care, putting patients at risk and leading to some dying, according to a report on Tuesday.

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period at the National Health Service (NHS) hospital, according to an investigation by the Healthcare Commission watchdog.

Receptionists with no medical training were left to to assess patients arriving at the hospital's accident and emergency department, the report found.

Julie Bailey, whose 86-year-old mother Bella died in the hospital in November 2007, said she and other family members slept in a chair at her bedside for eight weeks because they were so concerned about poor care.

"What we saw in those eight weeks will haunt us for the rest of our lives," said the 47-year-old. "We saw patients drinking out of flower vases they were so thirsty.

"There were patients wandering around the hospital and patients fighting. It was continuous through the night. Patients were screaming out in pain because you just could not get pain relief.

"It was like a Third World country hospital. It was an absolute disgrace."

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: "I apologise on behalf of the government and the NHS, for the pain and anguish caused to so many patients and their families by the appalling standards of care at Stafford Hospital. [link]
Apologies wasted. The damage done.

Who'll be apologizing for Obama's mistake in years to come when he starves the health care industry to achieve the same result the British have obtained?

- - -

Investor's Business Daily has similar thoughts:

"For that amount of money, health care should be gold-plated, with no waiting times and instant access to the best drugs and equipment. When the government runs it, though, the care will be rotten, rationed and so free that it will impoverish the country."

You Think The Growing Deficit Is a Problem?

That's a small part of a much bigger issue relating to government debt:

Fed to pump another $1 trillion into U.S. economy
By Edmund L. Andrews, International Herald Trubune

Washington - Saying that the recession continues to deepen, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would pump an extra $1 trillion into the economy by buying mortgage-backed securities and long-term Treasury issues.

"Job losses, declining equity and housing wealth, and tight credit conditions have weighed on consumer sentiment and spending," the Fed said, adding that it would "employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability."

The Fed said it would purchase an additional $750 billion worth of government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities, on top of the $500 billion that it is currently in the process of buying. In addition, the Fed said it would buy up to $300 billion worth of longer-term Treasury securities over the next six months. That would tend to push down longer-term interest rates on loans of all types.

All of these measures would come in addition to what has already been an unprecedented expansion of lending by the Fed. Since last September, the central bank has roughly doubled the size of its balance sheet to nearly $2 trillion from $900 billion — even before the action Wednesday — mainly because of its efforts to rescue credit markets. [link]

Exactly how many more trillions can these people "print" before it all comes crashing down?

This is very worrisome.