"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Senate Democrat Returns to Socialized Medicine

After SB 840, the bill within the California State Legislature that would socialize medical coverage within the state, was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, Senate Pro Tem Don Perata (D) is proposing a plan that would tax businesses and individuals in order to pay for health care for the poor. The plan is different from SB 840, in that it only provides the free-ride health care to the poor. All employees and employers (even those who already pay for their own care) would be required to pay into (read: "be taxed into") a system that would provide the care for the uninsured.

When presenting his proposal, Sen. Perata stated
There would be an employer contribution and an employee contribution. If you want to call that mandates, yes. There's no free ride
For clarification purposes, he means no free ride for businesses and individual tax payers. By definition, it is a free ride for those receiving the free medical care.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has already stated his dedication to tackling the Health Care issue in 2007 and in his next term. Though he has not issued any details of his plans, he has expressed his opposition to socialized medicine, as well as any plans that would increase taxes.

I will be watching this legislation closely.

Cross Posted at California Conservative

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Format

As you can tell, I have adjusted the format of my blog. Comments welcome.

"The Gingrich-ization of Health Care"

As someone who works in the medical field, and a (hopeful) future physician, Health Care is an important issue to me. Regular readers of my humble blog will recall several posts about socialized medicine in Canada and potentially California. I adamantly oppose a universal (socialized) health care system on numerous grounds. In short, I feel such a system would be costly, of poor quality, unfair to physicians, overburdened, unconstitutional, easily corruptible, etc.... I am, however, a proponent of Health Savings accounts as an option aside from traditional insurance, and was thus pleased to read the article "The Gingrich-ization of Health Care" , discussing Newt Gingrich' support for a HSA system in Georgia, despite the fact that the article is biased against the proposal.
Georgia's Republican leaders are considering a Newt Gingrich-inspired "solution" to the state's health insurance crisis that critics say will come at the expense of those who most need relief -- the middle class and the poor.

Gingrich's plan, the result of work by a think tank he founded that is paid for partly by health insurance companies, would set up tax breaks for businesses that offer employees a choice of personal, untaxed health savings accounts.
...
Others say it's a potential health care fiasco that will discourage the working class from seeking medical care because of the costs, and drive up the premiums of those who stick with traditional health insurance.
I disagree that HSA would hurt the middle class and poor. In fact, I think they would help them by providing a force to lower the cost of health care. When people's decisions are intimately tied to their finances (such as in a HSA), they tend to make more rational decisions. When you no longer have just a $10 copay to consider, generic drugs and excessive tests no longer seem desirable. When generic drugs get this edge, the price of name brand drugs drops, too. This is just one example, but you can see how this type of logic can be applied to much of health care.

The fact that insurance companies-seemingly demonized in the above quote-support the proposal should tell you something about the potential effects of this system. Insurance companies' primary interest is profit, not your health. Thus, any proposal which will make them more profitable is a good proposal. Rising health care costs will not benefit insurance companies; rather, as costs fall, insurance companies will pay less for services, increasing their profit. Thus, the presumption that premiums would increase is false. Increasing premiums would represent chump-change compared to a decrease in the cost of health care.

Health Savings accounts are certainly not for everybody, but they do represent an option that should exist for consumers. I think it is one piece of the solution to making health care more affordable for everyone, and I welcome any legislation that will make such accounts more accessible. Cheers, Newt!
Cross Posted at California Conservative and 123Beta

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Newt on Free Elections

I'm on a bit of a Newt Gingrich kick lately, but yesterday I came across this article via The Only Republican in San Francisco, which piqued my interest in the former Speaker of the House. Gingrich criticizes the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, arguing instead, that contributions should not be limited, provided they are transparent (he specifically suggests a 24 hour limit for making the records public).
Just as tax lawyers always succeed in out-thinking the (Internal Revenue Service) because they stay after five and the IRS goes home, the private-sector lawyers will always out-think the (Federal Election Commission) because they stay after five and the FEC goes home
I agree with Newt, but this is only one of the reasons why I disagree with McCain-Feingold. As I have discussed before, Campaign contributions represent a form of free expression, the ability to express your support through financial means, and limits on contributions are a limit on that freedom.

Furthermore, restricting donations gives disproportionate support to non-mainstream candidates, those with unpopular platforms. "Candidates with a more appealing message are able to obtain proportionally greater levels of financial support", thus, a "free-market" system is only fair.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bolton: Accomplishments Forgotten

As I discussed early this morning, I'm upset that John Bolton was essentially forced out of his seat as UN Ambassador. Throughout the day I've been reading numerous stories about his resignation, many of which provided a discussion of his brief tenure. However, I noticed that many of his accomplishments are not being mentioned. None of the numerous CNN.com iterations of the story discuss the fact that Bolton was nominated for a Nobel peace prize for his tough work exposing Iran's nuclear ambitions. In fact, CNN.com had trouble getting his name right! Also forgotten were Bolton's strong words condemning the UN for not acting on the Darfur crisis. These aspects were also missing from MSNBC/Newsweek, Reuters, and The New York Times. CBSnews.com doesn't mention the Nobel nomination, but Darfur is at least mentioned in their story, within a quote by President Bush:
"Ambassador Bolton led the successful negotiations that resulted in unanimous Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea's military and nuclear activities. He built consensus among our allies on the need for Iran to suspend the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium," Mr. Bush added. "His efforts to promote the cause of peace in Darfur resulted in a peacekeeping commitment by the United Nations. He made the case for United Nations reform because he cares about the institution, and wants it to become more credible and effective."
This latter point, his tough stance on providing reform to an organization mired by corruption, scandal, and poor leadership, is also mysteriosly absent from the vast majority of these stories.

Yet, while his noteworthy and commendable accomplishments are not discussed, his personality seems to be unavoidable. It seems as though his hot-headed personality trumps his actions. To demonstrate this, many of the articles I've read discussed an incident between Bolton and U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. That his personality should overshadow his actions is unfortunate, though that appeared to be the sticking point amongst Senate Democrats who vowed not to reaffirm Bolton. The most common criticism of Bolton is based not on his actions, which speak for themselves, but rather his brash personality.

However brief his time was, I feel as though his actions demonstrated the potential to provide real change within the UN, and to promote peace and security throughout the world. Like the ambassadors from Japan, China and others, I appreciate his hard work, and am sad to see him go.

Cross-Posted at

A Real Shame

That's my opinion over the recent news that UN Ambassador John Bolton will step down. Mr. Bolton has been highly criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike over his brief tenure (which began with a recess appointment), for a variety of reasons. The most common complaint amongst the senators who have opposed him is that he is too aggressive, too forceful. For an organization such as the UN, mired in corruption, this type of hardnose attitude may have been useful.

During his short time in this position, Bolton has been a strong voice for intervention in Darfur, and has strongly criticized his organization for not making it a larger issue. He has also been an advocate for change amongst the UN's Human Rights council, which routinely appoints members from countries with less than admirable track-records of human rights. And, of course, he has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work exposing Iran's Nuclear ambitions and situation. It's a shame that this man won't be allowed to continue his good works.

CNN: Bolton Who?

As this Screen-shot shows, CNN seems to have a little trouble getting the name of John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN's name right. In the box on the right side of the screen, they mistakenly call him "Josh Bolton" (circled in red). Since taking this screen-shot, CNN has fixed the error.