Monthly Archives: August 2009

Why we must never lose control of the internet

The United States of America owns the internet.  We built it.  We maintain it.  And we own ICANN.  The internet is the single greatest gift the United States has given to the world, because it is the most effective weapon we have ever devised against the forces of tyranny.

If the United Nations were to ever gain control over it, as they so desire, then it is entirely likely that these despotic regimes would be able to hijack the internet and begin formally censoring content.

The latest evidence of these clampdowns comes in a report on the Middle East and north Africa by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a collaboration of researchers based in the UK and North America. Among the restrictions it reports are clampdowns on Facebook in Syria and the use of hidden cameras in Saudi Arabia’s internet cafes.

Most of these actions are aimed at stifling political debate. “Political filtering is the common denominator,” says Helmi Noman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society in Boston, who compiled the report. “It’s the main target.”

Noman asked volunteers to check whether roughly 2000 sites covering a range of subjects, including gambling, political news and humour, are accessible in various countries. He also examined government eavesdropping schemes and the actions of local law enforcers.

The survey showed that governments in the Middle East and north Africa routinely block sites that host discussions critical of their policies or that cover human rights issues. Opposition parties’ sites are also censored.

A Glimpse of Free Market Health Care

Over the past month, I have been repeatedly shouting from the rooftops here that government run health care will be a disaster and that the free market can do better.  Here is an article that presents something of what free market health care looks like.

Michigan-based family doctor Dr. John Blanchard has been practicing the retainer-based care for eight years. He said his patients have “unfettered” access to him whenever they need him for a fee of between $50 to $150 a month.

The model has enabled Blanchard to “cut down on everything by about 25%,” including his patient caseloads and time spent on filing insurance claims.

One industry report cited that processing claims is the second-biggest area of wasteful expenditure in the health care system, costing as much as $210 billion annually.

$50 – $150 a month is not bank-breaking.  Most “poor” people spend that much on their cable TV  (I’ve seen it).  I myself have health insurance with a high deductible in case I get hit by a bus.  I go to a doctor that doesn’t process health insurance, and my medical bills are not bankrupting me.

The President seems to be trying to frame the debate as “we must have government run health care because the only other options are unthinkable”.  And that simply isn’t so.

If we cut down on the bureaucratic BS instituted by the government when they created the health insurance nightmare in the ’70’s we could reduce the cost and keep the quality and not give up our freedom to choose which treatments we want to take.

Most Fuel Efficient Car

And it’s not a Hybrid.

It appears that the diesel Volkswagon Jetta  TDI outfitted with appropriate tires and driven by people who know what they’re doing handily tops the hybrid cars…

Helen and John Taylor set the previous record, 58.82 mpg, in 2008. The pair has over 80 fuel economy and driving records. In order to achieve their latest record, Helen and John drove the same vehicle they used to set their record in 2008: a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The only difference: The Jetta was outfitted with Goodyear’s Fuel Max tires this time.

Found at Barely a Blog

For the Love of all that is good in the world. AUDIT THEM

WRAL Reports:

Raleigh, N.C. — Members of the Wake County Board of Commissioners expressed anger and frustration Monday about cost overruns in the planning of a new high school northeast of Raleigh.

The Wake County school district budgeted $1.7 million for road work at Forest Ridge High School, for example, but district officials recently told county officials that those costs would be at least $7.4 million.

“Is this the result of incompetence, or was there a willful intent to mislead us?” a seething Commissioner Paul Coble asked.

The Wake County School System gets 3/4 of the Wake County Budget.  Plus bond money.  Plus drug and DUI seizures.  And who knows what else.  Yet, every time we hear from them it’s “Our schools are rated worst in the nation and we need more money!”


Audit them!  From the UNC System down to the tiniest preschool!  Audits of our Universities are showing that there is huge bureaucratic bloat!  And you expect me to believe that there isn’t huge waste in our school systems?  Audit ThemAudit ThemAudit ThemAudit Them!

The False Dilemma of Health Care

This article is a perfect example of The False Dilemma

The options presented are English Style Healthcare, French Style Healthcare, or Swiss Style Healthcare.  But here’s the problem, that list is not inclusive of all possible options.  The option that I prefer – get the government out of health care, is not there.

The reason that health care is so expensive is that the government has tampered with the market and the Iron Law of Supply and Demand has taken over.   The government mandates that employers of a certain size grant health care coverage to their workers.  They further mandate that this health insurance must cover certain things.  Things that most Americans would never pay for out of their own pockets.

I, for example, feel no need to have any health insurance that covers anything but catastrophe.  There are many people that feel the same way.  Liberals like to point out the cost of prescription drugs in this country is too high.  You know why it’s so high?  Because the price is being paid.  There’s a prescription drug benefit in Medicare.  There’s drug co-pays with insurance.  People don’t have to pay for their drugs, the insurance company HAS to pay, they have no choice.  It’s the law.  Companies are mandated to buy health insurance and the health insurance companies are mandated to pay for the drugs… no matter what they cost.  The cost of the drugs have no bearing on the individual since their employer pays for the health insurance and must continue to carry it no matter what it costs.  The federal mandates insure that there is not cost that is too high.  There is no downward pressure on prices.

Government run health insurance does not solve these problems.  Government run hospitals and doctors offices do not solve these problems.  Government mandated insurance DOES NOT solve these problems.

There is only one solution that will work.  Let the people decide.  End the government meddling.  People can be responsible for their own lives.  God gave each of us our lives, just as God has given us stewardship over our assets, our homes, our cars.  If THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY sees fit to let us choose to live our lives according to His Word or to reject Him, then who do we think we are, to try to control every facet of every persons life.

Freedom and Liberty are not perfect, but they are better than the alternative.

Choice.  The problem is choice.

There are people who will choose foolishly.  Yes.  There always are.  We can handle that without the force of government.

230 MPG

Well, the word is that the Chevrolet Volt could get an EPA rating of 230 MPG city.    As with all these fancy hybrids and electric cars, I am not going to hold my breath.  I am not interested in driving a glorified golf cart.  However, it will most certainly be useful to some individuals.  And I will be watching to see how it performs in terms of its driveability, safety, reliability, and the ability of owners to maintain it themselves without horrendously expensive trips down to the dealer.

Nissan’s Electric Car

Nissan has unveiled their electric car, the LEAF

The Leaf draws power from a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack comprised of 192 lithium-manganese cells. The pack, developed with NEC, is laid out flat beneath the floor to maximize interior room. Nissan claims the car has a range of 100 miles, but one EV expert we spoke to tonight said 70 is probably more realistic given the size of the pack.

Nissan says the battery recharges in four hours when you plug it into a 220-volt line — the same kind your dryer runs on. Plug it into a standard 110-volt and you’re looking at twice that long. The car has a quick-charge capability that will let you get up to 80 percent charge in less than 30 minutes, but Nissan didn’t say what kind of power you’ll need. We’re guessing 480 volts at 100 amps.

This may be an electric car that might actually be useful.  With a 100 mile range, it can almost certainly get most people to and from work (assuming, of course, that the range is actually 100 miles and that battery life remains consistent throughout the life of the vehicle)

The questions it must answer are:  Is it safe?  Is it reliable?  Can the platform be expanded upon to provide vehicles that are more useful?  And most importantly, does it drive like a glorified golf cart?

Quick and Easy Health Care Reform.

Ok, there’s been so much talk of “Health Care Reform”.  It’s on of President Obama’s signature initiatives.  It’s also the biggest and most horrid boondoggle to be proposed in this nation since the Great Society.

Fortunately, as per usual, I have the answer.  I know, you’re all shocked!

And guess what, my solution doesn’t involve the Federal government at all.  I know, I know, I’m just shocking your socks off here.

The first thing to realize about health care is that the Government does not provide it.  The government CANNOT provide it.  Health Care is provided exclusively by the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc that actually TREAT the patients.  It’s a highly specialized skill set.

Here is the recipe for true health care reform that will allow us to keep health care that provides us with survival rates that are the envy of the world.

First, we repeal the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

Then, we make a law that Health Insurance is treated like insurance on anything else.  You have insurance and you get a deductible.  Most sane people will have a reasonable deductible and pay for visits to the doctor out of pocket.  This will recreate the association people have with the cost of health care.  Also, when Doctors don’t just get to assume that the big nameless faceless health insurance company is going to pay for it, they will only recommend procedures and tests that their patients REALLY need.

We ENCOURAGE Health Savings Accounts.  Saving your money for a when disaster strikes is a virtue.  People should squirrel a little money away instead of immediately blowing it on a big screen TV.

And finally, we will allow cooperatives to form where people can pool their money to provide health care for each other.  This is the option that is most like the current “spa” option that most people are envisioning for their health care.  Just as internet companies went from offering a set number of hours a month, to unlimited hours with a set transfer threshold, to unlimited packages, the same sorts of economics will work on health care.  I imagine that such a system would be especially useful for the older folks who need much more care.  I can easily see doctors offices springing up to provide care for the senior citizens with different tiers of care depending on the ailment (we already frequently do this.  If a patient needs monitoring they don’t necessarily see a doctor every time.   They frequently see somebody who is qualified to take their blood pressure et al with a doctor in a supervisory role).

Oh yeah.  Lets also ban doctors offices from filing insurance claims.  In the immortal words of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, “Jim, I’m a doctor!  Not a bureaucrat!”

What we absolutely do not need is a thousand page bill that nobody reads until it’s been signed that dictates how much a doctor will be paid and who he may or may not treat and what treatments he will be allowed to prescribe.  This is the inevitable end result of a single payer system and it’s what a lot of the left wing of the Democratic party is determined to pass.