Monday, April 30, 2007

It's Not Like They Weren't Warned

How many times has this been tried and found to be impossible to accomplish?
Expensive Lesson for Maine as Health Plan Stalls
By Pam Belluck, The New York Times

Portland, Me., April 23 — When Maine became the first state in years to enact a law intended to provide universal health care, one of its goals was to cover the estimated 130,000 residents who had no insurance by 2009, starting with 31,000 of them by the end of 2005, the program’s first year.

So far, it has not come close to that goal. Only 18,800 people have signed up for the state’s coverage and many of them already had insurance.

The story of Maine’s health program — which tries to control hospital costs, improve the quality of health care and offer subsidized insurance to low-income people — harbors lessons for the country, as covering the uninsured takes center stage. States, including California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, have unveiled programs of their own, seeking to balance the needs and interests of individuals, employers, insurers and health care providers. (link)
California and Pennsylvania aren't far enough along (both are still in formulation stage) to have found out just how crushingly expensive it can be to implement "universal health care." But administrators in other states have learned the hard lesson, the hard way.
Massachusetts is reeling from cost and coverage problems, and in Tennessee, where TennCare was adopted to replace Medicaid in 1994, trying to cover every citizen nearly bankrupted the state, before it was dramatically scaled back.
It was predicted here, back when Maine began walking this path to self-annihilation, that the program, based on past experiences cited above, would fail. It is failing.
Next up: California.

The Alternative Is To Make Virginia One Big Park

Where in the commonwealth of Virginia can one set foot and not be treading on sod of profound historical significance? Just in terms of Revolutionary War and Civil War import, our land makes for one big museum.

Even here in rural Southwest Virginia, on remote Big Walker Mountain, stories are told of that union cavalry brigade in 1864 that came up the Raleigh Grayson Turnpike that today forms the southern border of my property, on its way to Wythe County to burn the railroad depot as well as the lead mines down near Austinville.

That history should prevent me from pushing a spade into the ground to replace a fence post? Some think so.

A film company executive writes to the Roanoke Times this morning, lamenting the fact that Wal-Mart plans to build a new store outside of Appomattox. On, as you might imagine, historically significant real estate:

Wal-Mart advances on Lee's last battlefield
By Robert Lee Hodge

America is in an internal war today; perhaps the biggest threat to the very existence of future generations of this blessed country is the struggle for the future of our lands.

Will the pastures of the family farms and the mountains and valleys of hardwood forests succumb to the asphalt and concrete that overpopulation brings?

As I toured Appomattox last year, I saw that development in historic areas has increased more in the last five years than in the past 142 years since the surrender. Wal-Mart announced this month that it will build on the ground that was fought over primarily by a Federal cavalry brigade under ...

Is it necessary that there be another ... ?(link)

Look. Nobody holds dear the history of our great state more than I do. But it's history. There are books written to capture those moments in time. Books. Museums. And more than a few parks.

We Virginians need to live for the future, and fight the urge to bind ourselves in the cement of the past.

I say let Wal-Mart build. And, like the store across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay that has a department set up with Packers memorabilia and what-not, the new Appomattox Super Store can feature - and sell - Civil War remembrances, for those who feel the need to touch our history.

And it's not like our politicians can't take a portion of the fantastic tax revenue that will be realized and devote it to the nearby public library, where the Appomattox saga is preserved for all time.

It's history. Put it in its proper place. For our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Edwards To Raise Taxes

We should be able to agree on these two points:

A) George W. Bush cut taxes in 2003.

B) The economy is kickin' ass.

Whether you agree that (A) brought about (B) is up to you. But do we really want to chance the proposition that it didn't? Might the opposite have the opposite effect?

Apparently one Democrat wants to chance it:

Edwards pitches Clinton-era taxes
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

San Diego -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said yesterday raising taxes for higher-income families back to their levels under the Clinton administration is a floor, not a ceiling, and he would consider even higher tax increases. (link)

Remember how, in the Clinton years, those "higher income families" liberal Democrats like Edwards talked about, especially those households with more than one wage earner, ended up including most of the middle class? Let's not go there again, please.

I chalk this up to John Edwards knowing that he doesn't have a prayer of ever being nominated by his party so he's playing to the insanely liberal base. And "tax the rich" makes 'em squeal with delight. This'll get him into those cocktail soirees out in L.A.

But for it being sound fiscal policy, we've been down that road. This spells doom for America.

Not that the Democrats care that much anymore about America ...

This Doesn't Just Impact Women

Apparently someone has told the folks at the Washington Post that female bloggers are subject to sexual harrassment by commenters. The shock ...
Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers
By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post Staff Writer

As women gain visibility in the blogosphere, they are targets of sexual harassment and threats. Men are harassed too, and lack of civility is an abiding problem on the Web. But women, who make up about half the online community, are singled out in more starkly sexually threatening terms -- a trend that was first evident in chat rooms in the early 1990s and is now moving to the blogosphere, experts and bloggers said. (link)
A Beretta 9mm and a concealed carry permit will solve that problem, honey.

But to the point made here, I guess those visitors to this weblog who occasionally tell me what I can do to myself, (though Lord knows why I'd want to) (I still haven't figured out how I'd do it even if I wanted to try) (and whose comments I routinely delete) are leaving less starkly sexual comments?

Either that or women feel more threatened by the lowlife, spineless degenerates among us. All of whom can do the following ...

Finding An Accommodation

See, this isn't difficult. Some people enjoy a cigarette after dinner. Others go into uncontrollable spasms of dry heaves at the very thought.

In Washington D.C. restaurant owners are finding ways to accommodate both groups. And good for them:
Eateries embrace patios to lure exiled smokers
By Jen Haberkorn, The Washington Times

D.C. restaurants have a big dish of alfresco on the menu for the spring.

An increasing number of restaurants have applied for permits to open sidewalk cafes and allow patrons to dine outside.

The number of sidewalk cafe permits filed with the District's Department of Transportation typically rises with the spring temperatures. But this year, that increase is a lot larger.

Some restaurateurs say the increase can be attributed to the District's smoking ban, which went into effect in January and outlawed smoking in all restaurants and bars, with few exceptions. Whether patrons can smoke on a patio is up to the restaurant owner. (link)
Of course, some people will gag at the thought of there being smokers anywhere within the same time zone. And then there are the anti-smoking nazis ...

But this is a good thing. Restaurant owners will make a buck, despite their government's worst intentions, smokers can appease their addictions, and those who don't like the taste of Marlboro can eat their foie gras with relaxed contentment.

At least until the Democrats in D.C. get a hold of their legislators ...

The Horse Has Escaped That Barn

Virginia campuses plan tighter security

Nicholas Cage Just Don't Got Da Juice

How pitiful is this? Hollywood superstar Nicholas Cage brought his latest release, "Next", to the big screen over the weekend and came in third. Third behind a movie that has been critically trashed for three weeks in a row. A distant third at that:

'Disturbia' The Be$t Of Worst
By Tatiana Deligiannakis, The New York Post

April 30, 2007 -- "Disturbia" landed at the top of the box office for the third straight week - beating two new releases without breaking double digits in receipt millions.

The thriller, which stars Shia LaBeouf, brought in $9.1 million - earning a total of $52.2 million - despite a "three-week lull" at the box office, according to studio estimates.

Meanwhile, the teen-ghost drama "The Invisible," with Justin Chatwin, debuted in second place, with $7.6 million in sales.

Nicolas Cage's action movie "Next" took third place, with $7.2 million, a low figure for a star who can typically open a movie with $20 million, Bock said, adding: " 'Next' got nixed by audiences." (link)

I've always enjoyed, well, nearly always enjoyed, Cage's movies. "National Treasure" (which I watched again just the other night), "Matchstick Men," "The Rock," "Adaptation," "Con Air," "Guarding Tess" (♥♥♥), "Moonstruck" (♥♥♥♥), and "Raising Arizona" (♥♥♥♥) are good DVD evening distractions (I hope to pick up "Ghost Rider" at some point), with "Raising Arizona" being in my Top 10 of all time.

Here's hoping Nicholas Cage finds his box office mojo again soon.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

This should make for a great campaign poster for any opponent Barack Obama has in the upcoming presidential election. Here's the accompanying caption in this morning's New York Times:

Sarah Hussein Obama of Kenya, Barack Obama’s stepgrandmother, is a lifelong Muslim. “I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith,” she says.

I think we would all agree that grandmothers are special. That being a given, knowing that your granny is living in sordid squalor, is barefoot and coexisting with the chickens, is beyond the pale. Especially when you are filthy rich.

A potential campaign slogan he might want to consider:

"Barack Obama: A chicken in every dilapidated, one-room, lice-infested hovel."

Photo (less caption) courtesy of the New York Times

To Reach Out To Whom?

New York's Republican mayor, it is rumored in the New York Post, is planning a run for the presidency on an independent ticket.

Which voters Mayor Bloomberg thinks he's going to reach out to that every Democrat in the race isn't scrambling to capture wasn't made known.