I am a fan of P.J. O’Rourke. He has written a lot of good lines. Recently he spiced up everyone’s life when he teamed up with the Cato Institute to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court related to the upcoming case Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. This is obviously some of his handiwork.
Driehaus voted for Obamacare, which the Susan B. Anthony List said was the equivalent of voting for taxpayer- funded abortion. Amici are unsure how true the allegation is given that the healthcare law seems to change daily, but it certainly isn’t as truthy as calling a mandate a tax.
Poking fun at the Chief Justice in an amicus brief has to be a first. I am familiar with Mr. Driehaus. He is a local politician lost his seat in 2010 to long time Congressman, Steve Chabot. He won the seat in 2008 with the help of President Obama and I guess the thrill was gone for the voters in 2010. I was surprised to learn that it was illegal to lie about politicians in Ohio and even more surprised that Mr. Driehaus sued the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. It makes him look less like a former Congressman and more like a sore loser. This Ohio law forbidding lying is embarrassing. Although I would prefer that people stick to the truth about politicians and issues, I can tell you that it sure has not stopped anyone from lying in Ohio. Everyone has their favorite facts and studies. So we have a law most people ignore that is probably unconstitutional. Maybe the Supreme Court will put the law out of its misery before someone finds a way to abuse it. If they let the law stand the Supreme Court may have a mess that will make the Affordable Care Act look like child’s play to deal with. Sorry Chief Justice Roberts you set the precedent of how to deal with highly political laws. Here is what Ilya Shapiro wrote about the case over at Cato.
Believe it or not, it’s illegal in Ohio to lie about politicians, for politicians to lie about other politicians, or for politicians to lie about themselves. That is, it violates an election law—this isn’t anything related to slander or libel, which has higher standards of proof for public figures—to make “false statements” in campaign-related contexts.
During the 2010 House Elections, a pro-life advocacy group called the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), published ads in Ohio claiming that then-Rep. Steven Driehaus, who was running for re-election, had voted to fund abortions with federal money (because he had voted for Obamacare). Rather than contesting the truth of these claims in the court of public opinion, Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) under a state law that makes it a crime to “disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false.”
While the complaint was ultimately dropped, the SBA List took Driehaus and the OEC to federal court, seeking to have this law declared unconstitutional and thus enable advocacy groups to have more freedom going forward. The case has now reached the Supreme Court.
Maybe we finally found something that we can say that global warming caused.
Mark this as another Affordable Care Act fix I do not understand. Politics makes for strange bedfellows. As the “perfect” insurance customer the Affordable Care Act needs people like me to participate in the exchanges to make them sustainable. As a 60 year old gym rat I pay about three times more to the exchange than a millennial. Don’t get me wrong if we are not going to repeal the foolish thing then this is the next best solution. On the other hand I am the most likely prospect to go the uninsured route. Once again here are my reasons.
- My health care costs excluding insurance premiums over the last five years amounted to about 7% of my total health care bill. With health care costs this low I have not made a claim on my health insurance plan.
- When I compare my PPO plan with the narrow market HMO plans on the exchange I prefer my old plan. At this time it costs almost as much as the lowest cost bronze plan with the subsidy but has a lower deductible and out of pocket cost. For most major medical situations I am financially better off with the old plan.
Here is what the Yahoo article, Obama Said to Allow Two-Year Renewal for Old Health Plans, said.
Americans who kept health plans that don’t comply with Obamacare requirements will be able to renew those policies for two more years, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Obama administration, which has been deliberating the issue since November, is expected to announce today the extension of the health plans, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision wasn’t yet public.
With the pending Defense Department budget cuts you have to wonder whether some Pentagon types are expressing some serious bro love for Putin after the #Ukraine escapade.
I had to laugh when I read the @blakehounshell tweet that “Sarah Palin totally called this exact Ukraine scenario 6 years ago…”. In 2008 he was blogging for the magazine Foreign Policy magazine when he dismissed Palin’s notion with the following statement.
“As we’ve said before, this is an extremely far-fetched scenario.”
As others have pointed out he was not alone in his view. I did not know why at the time I read this statement but the notion that this was an extremely far-fetched scenario struck me as strange. Today I was reading the post, “Who Saw The Ukraine Invasion Coming, And Who Didn’t”, and it dawned on me that the Russians understand the classical relationship between diplomacy and warfare and the US does not. The ultimate achievement in warfare and diplomacy is to achieve your objective without fighting. Sun Tzu said this a long time ago in The Art of War and later Clauswitz reminded us that “war is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.” If the Russian objective was to re-establish political control of the Ukraine, they have already won. It sure looks like the Russians are the professionals and we are the amateurs in the foreign policy game. Unfortunately this event reminds me of Hitler and the Anschluss of Austria, too.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
When @Conrad Hackett tweeted an OECD graph of life expectancy at birth vs. health spending per capita I wondered how hard would it be for me to reproduce the same graph in R using the same data. Here is my version with the addition of confidence bands and the equation on the chart. If look at the chart we can see that Denmark(DNK) achieved the same life expectancy result for about $4000 less person. Considering how much we are spending we should be getting life expectancy similar to Italy or Japan.
Last year I reminisced about Venezuela in the 1960′s and lamented the constant decline under President Chávez. His time in power was a lot of sizzle but no steak. For a country with so many advantages it was hard to believe they could screw up so consistently year after year. I was hopeful that a new administration might take the opportunity to start fixing some of the problems. Fixing the electrical power outages and getting bread on the shelves would be a good start. I think the people want to be more like Chile and Brazil rather than Cuba. I don’t think Cuba wants to be like Cuba anymore! Venezuela has been down for so long almost anything would seen as an improvement. I did not think for a moment that this administration could be worse than the previous but then we see this video. Oh, well!
Last week I mentioned that “Student Loans Account for 59.5% of the Consumer Credit Added in 2013”. This week the New York Fed explains in the post, Just Released: Who’s Borrowing Now? The Young and the Riskless!, that the credit card borrowing grew for folks with high credit scores. Since the total credit card debt barely grew in compared to 2012 the increased borrowing by those with high credit scores was offset by reduced borrowing by those folks with lower credit scores. This data leads me to believe that in 2013 this consumer driven economy was stuck in stall mode. Hopefully 2014 will be better. Their site has been up and down today so here is a copy of their chart.