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Barr Knuckled

Will he make McCain feel his pain? Barack Carter. Student's little helper. Plus more.

5.14.08

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THIRD PARTY OR FIFTH WHEEL?
Re: Philip Klein's Candidate Barr Puts McCain in his Crosshairs:

If McCain sees Barr as a 2% threat, it may make The Maverick tack more to the right. That would be nice, but I just don't see Barr as that large a threat. More of an annoyance. But, we can hope.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Bob Barr is going to take votes from McCain because of foreign and economic policy and from Obama/Clinton because of social issues (other than pro-life and Second Amendment). It will be a 50/50 split. Alan Keyes is going to take almost all of his vote from McCain. How is Barr going to be a greater danger to McCain? You have a Libertarian Party base of a half million votes, and a possible additional one million votes for Barr are going to be from mostly the western states where McCain is going to win anyway. Look to Keyes to be the balance of power in November.
-- Michael Skaggs
Kentucky

You know, it's easy for those of us who live (as it were) for politics, to predict events based on our own wishful thinking and biased analysis, but the more of McCain I see in the news, and the more I think about his chances this November given his statements on campaign philosophy, the more I think about the failure in November 2006. We must remember that much of the American electorate is insulated, shallow minded, and lags behind the reality curve. And, I'm not just talking about those like Mike Roush, et al, of TAS Reader Mail fame. Republican fatigue is in the air, it's all they hear, and see, and they see it, fairly or not, personified in a fatigued looking old white guy.

I know it's a long shot, but possibly, Barr could turn that around. Instead of hurting McCain, he might light a fire under him. Probably, not. I mean, we're talking John McCain, here, stubborn to a fault. Frankly, I don't think he has a rat's chance in a rigged maze.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Hey, I'm not for Gay Marriage, but, as an independent Independent with some Libertarian tendencies, I kinda figured that it's none of my business what folks of that persuasion do.

And as a pro-CHOICE American who detests the audacity of those sanctimonious, judgmental types who would suggest that all-who-disagree are destined to hell and damnation -- what is there about the word "choice" that they fail to understand?

Now, it doesn't appear that there's anyone I can vote for again this year -- certainly not the demented Democrat socialists, nor the Democrat Wannabee sporting a GOP label. And now, not even the conservative Conservative running as a Libertarian? Bob Barr, a Libertarian?

In past years, unable to stomach Bill Clinton or Bush-the-Elder, yeah, my protest vote for Perot was "wasted" (and subject to ridicule by people like Limbaugh), but, it was principle, and I sent my message, by God!

On other occasions, rather than settle for those nominated, I wrote in Dick Lamm one year, Jeane Kirkpatrick another, and even names like Scoop Jackson, Paul Tsongas and Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- sharp, principled people who just happened to be Democrats. Unfortunately, Barry Goldwater was no longer available.

So, this year, guess I'll write in the name of my wife -- she earned a Ph.D. in Business; an MBA and another Masters in Logistics. She made it in private industry before being asked to teach, and she did it the hard way! Sure beats the hell out of the present alternatives.
-- Geoff "Frost" Brandt

Isn't this the Republican that LOST his election?

Isn't this the Republican that THEN went to work for the ACLU?

Since Jimmy Carter I always vote Republican for President. I will NEVER vote anytime for Barr!
-- Linda Airhart

Call the EPA! There must be something in the water in Georgia! First Newt Gingrich, now Bob Barr. Something is causing these individuals to believe that they are something more than sore losers and that their self described brilliant ideas are worthy of consideration by more than a lunatic fringe.
-- Tom McGonnell
Alexandria,Virginia

FIRST AS TRAGEDY, THEN AS FARCE
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Jimmy Carter's Second Term:

Barack Obama's echo of Jimmy Carter would be funny if he weren't running against a "moderate" Republican who appears to be channeling Gerald Ford. John McCain's position on the economy is marked by a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of monetary and tax policies and their impact on the private sector. He is as far left as Obama on environmental activism, regulation of political speech and immigration reform. In fact, the only major difference between them is that McCain will continue to fight in Iraq, while Obama can't wait to cut and run so that he can begin a "constructive dialogue" with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Kim Jong Il, Osama Bin Laden and a host of others whose sole interest in the U.S. is our capitulation, conversion or destruction.

Santayana's dictum that he who forgets the past will be condemned to repeat it is nowhere more obvious than in our political institutions.
-- Mike Harris

Jeffrey Lord has nailed it on the head so squarely it's almost frightening. For the uninitiated, liberalism failed in the '60s and '70s. It was repudiated in 1980, ushering in a generation of robust economic growth, a stronger military, a confident and assertive foreign policy and the end of the Soviet Union, to name just some of the hallmark accomplishments.

Pity that a new generation of Americans are falling for the repackaged liberal mantra. If Obama is elected in November, those of us who know better will have to slog through yet another long night of liberal failure. Question is: will liberals fail enough to finally put an end to their dismal philosophy once and for all?
-- Jeffrey Schmidt
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

As always Mr. Lord is on the mark. I have been trying to make this point to any one who would listen for the past 6 months, of course not nearly as eloquently or effectively. Unfortunately, coming the day after being subjected to the McCain address on "man-made" global warming and his plans to abdicate adulthood and join up with the Chicken Little crowd I can only shake my head in wonderment and disgust. I've always had a soft spot for McCain, I am humbled by his service and character in war, but with each of his "me too" pronouncements I get more and more dispirited. I was a young, struggling family man during the Carter debacle paying 18% interest for my first house loan, waiting in line for gas, setting my thermostat at 65, counting down the days on "Nightline," etc. I remember it all very, very well and it's hard for me to believe that my children and theirs will be subjected to the same "malaise," doubly so because apparently we have no real choice to make.

Where do we go from here?
-- Stuart Reed
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

I work for an engineering company designing hospitals. One of our favorite mottos is that once in a while our clients need to go to our competition because they think they might be better. They always come back once they see what they are like. I don't know if the country can survive the damage, but in the long term Republicans and the country will probably be better off with an Obama win. The House and Senate will go Republican in 2010 and the next three presidencies will be conservative.
-- BW Peek
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Mr. Lord's article is a great explanation of all that is wrong with Senator Obama. Unfortunately, he underestimates the problem. Among his myriad faults, I do not think we can fairly accuse President Carter of being an acolyte of Saul Alinsky. Jimmy may have been willing to sell us out to Leonid Brezhnef, but I don't recall any evidence that he wanted to be Leonid Brezhnef, oil windfall profits taxes and other bills of attainder notwithstanding. Senator's Obama purposeful vagueness suggests that he will be all too comfortable with playing the control freak once in the Oval Office. Rest assured that pointed inquiry about such tendencies will be rejected as "distractions from the important issues". A President Obama with a Democrat majority in Congress will result in serious damage to the Republic.

There is much to lament about the upcoming election. With both contenders for the Presidency having essentially equivalent positions on the environment, the prospects for individual liberty, economic freedom, and prosperity are not bright. The policies offered by either one will end up re-creating a command-and-control economy we've not seen in the U.S. in a long time. It may be more accurate to say that Senator Obama and Senator McCain are in a contest to see who gets to serve Woodrow Wilson's third term.
-- Bud Hammons

STUDENT'S LITTLE HELPER
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Aztec Justice:

I too might favor drug decriminalization. But that is sustainable only in a society that understands the side of liberty that demands personal responsibility. Socialism does not encourage that.
-- James Wilson

"What happens when you have students talking about federal income tax policy, saying they're not going to pay their taxes? Are they going to bring in IRS agents?" whines a faculty member at San Diego State.

Well, erhm, yes sir, that would be what anyone who believed in OBEYING THE FEDERAL LAW would do. Like it or not, the IRS is, in fact, The Boss Of You (just TRY not paying your taxes and telling the whole world about it), and the sooner you guys learn that, the happier you will be.
-- Kate Shaw
Paying Taxes in Two Countries
Toronto

Mr. Taylor is right in article about SDSU President Stephen Weber and the feds. As a former Aztec from many years ago, it was a party school then but this stuff is way over the top. Students go to college to learn, not learn to deal drugs and cover it up. I feel embarrassed to be a former Aztec.
-- William Coulter

There is an irony with colleges campuses attitude towards guns and drugs. A student can't carry a gun for personal protection, but it's perfectly ok
to carry a syringe and needle for a afternoon fix.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

GREAT IDEA, IF YOU LIKE DEATH
Re: Michael F. Cannon & Alain C. Enthoven's Life-Saving Insurers:

The ideas in the article definitely would work to contain costs of health care.

If, for example, a patient is admitted with meningitis and develops a brain abscess as a complication, then stipulating no neurosurgeon can be paid for managing the brain abscess will reduce the costs of caring for that patient. Quickly. If, alternatively, the complication is a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic chosen, resulting in a respiratory arrest, stipulating that no anesthesioligist nor intensivist can be paid for managing the respiratory arrest will reduce the cost of caring for that patient even more rapidly.

Kudos to Cannon and Enthoven for insuring lower costs.
-- Drew Sullivan
San Jose, California

While I think Mr. Cannon makes valid points in his essay, Medicare and the other providers have "gotten away with murder" when reimbursing health care providers for care rendered. Current reimbursement for elective gall bladder surgery is $400 and includes all preop care and post op care for three months. If that patient needs anything else done in that three month period, it is NOT reimbursable to the health care provider. If that same patient decides he or she does not like the scar, they can and do sue. A recent case resulted in a $40,000 verdict for the plaintiff.

Now, you tell me how a potentially life-saving procedure such as removal of a gall bladder can allow $400 and a scar, which never killed anyone, can pay the attorney a percentage of $40,000!! Therein lies "the rub." A health care system that collects billions, pays out very little, and continually grows in size, ever adding new members ot the workforce. I have often thought that those in the system who shoot down claims get paid far more than the doctors who provide the care. Don't bother checking sources with friends in the system. Just ask the doctors who provide the care.

Additionally, maybe you can explain in an upcoming article why a doctor has to pay for any and all errors, harmful or not, when I cannot remember the last time a lawyer got sued for losing a case. They lose 50% of them, so to my way of thinking, someone must have screwed up. Oh well, jail for life because my lawyer screwed up. I find that much more egregious than simply taking the wrong drug, which most of the time causes no harm at all.
-- Robert Mandraccia, MD
Plastic Surgeon
Bonita Springs, Florida

Michael Cannon's and Alain Enthoven's piece regarding the decision of several insurers as well as Medicare to stop reimbursing hospitals and physicians for preventable mistakes does not address the serious flaws in this proposal; it also contains a number of misconceptions. Chief among these is that Insurers can distinguish between a preventable infection or one an event that is inherent in the risks associated with serious illness. There are some adverse events which are clearly culpable errors (leaving behind surgical instruments) and probably should not be reimbursed. Such events are very rare however, and I doubt that these are the real targets. The real targets are more common events, that while measures can be taken to lower their incidence, such measures are not necessarily effective, may have their own risks and may occur anyway regardless of measures taken to prevent them. For example, Cannon and Enthoven cite the development of pressure ulcers as one of the "preventable complications" that will not be reimbursed. This complication, however, will occur in a subset of debilitated patients regardless of preventative measures. For example, while there are recommendations that bed bound patients should be turned every 2 hours, a study that compared turning patients every two hours with turning them every 4 hours showed no difference in pressure ulcer development. Moreover one study of a particular special foam mattress used to prevent pressure ulcers did reduce pressure ulcers.

From an incidence of 64% to 24 %, but even in the treatment group almost 1/4 of the patients developed pressure ulcers. The point is that a certain unavoidable incidence of pressure sores will develop and require treatment. How to prevent this is not fully understood and may be impossible. Failure to reimburse for these events will financially injure hospitals, which in turn will drive hospitals to cut costs in undesirable ways.

I would wager a fair amount of money that one secondary consequence will be for hospitals to push patients out of the hospital even earlier. Another might be to reduce the number of nurses employed (since personnel costs make up a large fraction of total costs), from another point of view some complications that insurers have chosen to target will drive medical decisions in a direction in which some risks which are potentially greater will be accepted to avoid risks for events that the insurers will choose to not reimburse. Example, Medicare has decided not to reimburse hospitals for infections related to placement of a special kind of vascular catheter placed in large vein deep within the body. This kind of device can be necessary to care for patients who are severely ill in an intensive care unit and can become infected. One way to lower the risk of infection is to choose a site that is associated with a lower risk of infection. This site is often a large vein under the collarbone. The down side of this site is that it also is the site associated with the greatest risk of injury to the lung or bleeding into the chest cavity! A typical critical care physician would weigh the risks of all the available sites in a given patient and choose the one which is overall best in that situation (accepting some risks and avoiding others based on the clinical scenario). Medicare is driving clinicians to accept some risks as "more acceptable" regardless of the specific situation. This is clearly nonsense.

The real problem with all this is that medicine is far too complex for a group of policy wonks whether in the bowels of the Center for Medicare Services or the Cato institute to set policy, and decide what to pay for. It would be far better to get the government out of the health insurance business and create a system where consumers shop not just for health care providers but among a number of different insurance plans, while maximizing the freedom for health care providers to decide what insurance plans to accept payment from.

In that kind of system the decisions of millions of consumers and providers will maximize efficiency far better than anything dreamed up by the health care policy "experts," many of whom have no idea of the actual logistics of caring for the seriously ill.
-- Michael DePietro, MD
Newark, Delaware

AN IMPOSSIBILITY
Re: Reader letters (under "Obama the Only Way") in Reader Mail's Old New Politics:

If Mr. Farahat wants to see America take an "even handed approach" to the Middle East, he needs to realize that it is an impossibility when dealing with Hamas. Hamas is now, and has always been, a terrorist group and an election win does not change that fact. It is Hamas that was founded to make war upon and bring about the destruction of Israel, and for America to deal with them as anything other than a terrorist organization gives them unwarranted legitimacy in the world community. If we deal with them in an "evenhanded" manner, who's next...Al Qaeda?

As for Mr. Mytty, the idea that Obama's interaction with Jews and Palestinians in Chicago (for Pete's sake!) somehow makes him fit to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is laughable! I don't recall any Jewish neighborhoods in Chicago being shelled by their Palestinian neighbors lately, so there is absolutely no comparison there. If you honestly think that Obama having seen how Palestinians and Jews interact with one another in Chicago is a qualifier for his presidential ambitions shows me just how much of the "Obamania" you actually have.
-- Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina

BIG FAT FICTION
Re: Judah Friedman's In Defense of Miley Cyrus:

The reaction to Miley Cyrus having her pictures in Vanity Fair has been absolutely ludicrous. I am a little older than Judah Friedman having been 13 when the astronauts landed on the moon (that was July of 1969), and she is right the skirts were shorter and the magazines racier. It is a big fat fiction that people keep telling themselves that sex is more pervasive in society today than it was forty years ago.

Magazines like Newsweek, Time, Life, and Look regularly published articles involving photographs of nude people. Playboy was on the checkout lines at the grocery stores and while where I grew up in the Bible belt and didn't have exposure to the coasts the see through fashions and the no underwear fads hit the year after the school system dropped the dress code. Looking back on my fifteenth year now I think the school administrators probably wished that they had allowed girls to switch to wearing jeans to school years earlier so that dresses and skirts were a little less popular and the girls considerably more covered when that fad arrived. Those who believe that my experiences of the 1960s and early 1970's was not typical are right...in my town the police shot streakers in 1974 when that fad was sweeping the country. I lived in one of the most repressive regions of the country.

From 1966 to 1976 the media promoted every nutty fad there was until Jimmy Carter's election ushered in the age of repression. That is something of a joke since the media quit their decade long riotous celebration of transient heterosexual relations to take up feminist and homosexual agendas in the mid-1970's. We came very close to the ERA sweeping the support for normal families from the county's basic law. I don't know what the answer is but I doubt that boys not looking at girls "that way" has anything to do with it.
-- Gregory Franke

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