Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. yesterday afternoon made a 14-hour plane ride to a destination we are both fond of, so no regular post today. Instead enjoy a little cheesecake that holds some clue as to our destination. Regular posts return tomorrow. Continue reading Travel Day Rule Five
Remember that old saw about blind hogs and acorns? It seems that Nancy Pelosi has found a couple. Remarkable! Excerpt:
First, she douses progressives’ impeachment dreams in cold water, telling the Washington Post that such a divisive and drastic political step should only be taken over egregious criminality that’s “compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.” She cagily adds, “he’s just not worth it,” a personal swipe at the president, likely deployed to placate Trump haters who will bristle at her stance. Insulting him is a little wink that she’s still ‘on the team.’ But even if the hard-Left wing of the party is willing to forgive Pelosi’s hesitant posture on impeachment, how might they react to her intense fiscal skepticism on ‘Medicare for All’ — the holy grail of the statist agenda? Via Rolling Stone:
When they say Medicare for All, people have to understand this: Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for? Now, single-payer is a different thing. People use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes it could be the same thing, but it’s not always. Single-payer is just about who pays. It’s not about what the benefits are. That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that? So I said, “Look, just put them all on the table, and let’s have the discussion, and let people see what it is. But know what it is that you’re talking about.” All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care. You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.
It’s nice to see a dose of reality sink in to that old San Francisco liberal.
Now, she’s not exactly switching to being a flaming supply-sider, at least not yet (and, candidly, not ever.) But it’s just too much fun to see old Mrs. “We Have To Pass It To Find Out What’s In It” counseling caution now; urging members of her own caucus to “come in with ideas” but stating that they’ll have to decide how they’re going to pay for them.
Yes, you read that right. She’s worrying about how to pay for things like Medicare for All. What a novel concept.
Of course this caution may well evaporate the next time a Democrat ensconces him/herself behind the Resolute Desk.
Still; it turns out old Nancy isn’t the only blind donkey stumbling across those fruits of the oak tree. New York Governor Cuomo has chimed in on the same theme:
“Single payer. Okay. Pass it. I’ll sign it. You pass it, I’ll sign it,” Cuomo says. But … would he want to sign it? “No, but no sane person will pass it,” he says. So he’s daring the legislature to pass it? “Oh no. If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” he says. Even though he thinks it’ll blow up the state budget? “Yeah, well, you’d double everybody’s taxes. You want to do that? Let’s go,” he says. “They can never pass it. But I have no problem with the dare. Every union is against it. The hospitals are against it. The Civil Service Employees Association is against it. The 1199 health-care union is against it.
Dare we hope that some semblance of fiscal sanity is sinking in to at least a few people on the political Left?
Nah. Probably not.
Schadenfreude noun, often capitalized
scha·den·freu·de | \ ˈshä-dᵊn-ˌfrȯi-də
Definition of schadenfreude
: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others
And yes, True Believers, that’s what I’m feeling lately, due to the sudden troubles of our own favorite Congressional lackwit, Alexandria Occasional Cortex. Excerpt:
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a top aide appear to control an outside PAC credited with being the central force behind her June 2018 primary victory.
- One former Federal Election Commission member thinks there would be a “serious investigation” if a complaint were filed, noting that the probe could potentially result in civil penalties or even jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff.
- A second former commissioner said there were possibly “multiple violations of federal campaign finance law.”
- Justice Democrats ran campaigns for Ocasio-Cortez and 11 other Democrats, but the New York Democrat was the only one to win her general election.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. If the Federal Election Commission (FEC) finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,” former FEC commissioner Brad Smith said.
Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations. The group backed 12 Democrats during the 2018 midterms, but Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of those to win her general election.
“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Now, chuckle-inducing as that would be, I suspect Occasional Cortex won’t see any serious penalties for this. For one thing, it’s pretty obvious the girl isn’t terribly swift, and the horrendous complexity of campaign-finance laws is almost certainly way over her head. I suspect her campaign manager will end up taking the fall.
But this will spell the end of her political career. If there is any fire at all behind all this smoke, then she has gone from being a damned nuisance to her fellow Democrats to an outright liability.
Will she be primaried? That would be ironic, but it may not be necessary. New York is due for redistricting; the Democrats running that machine could easily redistrict her back into another bartending gig, an occupation for which she is much better suited than her current position.
Her campaign manager, though. This apparently isn’t his first rodeo, and he really ought to have known better. One might concede that a 29-year old bartender might be ignorant of many of the complexities of running for and holding office, as evidence of which I might offer her performance to date.
Still. Ignorance of the law, as they say, is no excuse. It will be roundly interesting to see how this plays out.
Still – does anyone care to hazard a guess as to whether this gets Congress to look at our overly complicated campaign-finance system? I’ll lay odds they don’t. Losing only one of their own, and an annoying one at that, isn’t enough to start them down that road.
There are, unfortunately, many more kinds of pseudo-scientific health care woo floating around out there than just Gwyneth Paltrow’s specific form of bullshit. Charlatans come in all shapes and sizes; here are some good tips on how to spot these assholes. Excerpt:
The latest in a sadly recurrent theme of people posing as doctors when they have no such background or training is that of a Florida man who donned a white coat in advertisements that proclaimed he could cure diseases. He declared he could “treat hernias, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthrosis, renal failure, vision problems, and a host of other health issues.” After the reality was uncovered by investigators that he never held a medical license in the state and he was subsequently arrested, he maintained “he did not believe he needed a license to practice medicine. He said he was a lab technician in Cuba and got his certificate for Iridology, herbology, and nutrition when he moved to Florida.
Here’s what this asshole did:
In this particular scenario, the accused did the following:
“arranged to meet a patient at a home…and, when the patient arrived, he was asked to fill out papers and pay $160…then checked the patient’s blood pressure and then put a band around his head and asked him to hold a metal rod connected to a machine on a table that began making beeping noises once it was turned on. Deputies say he told the patient he was testing his heart, brain, intestinal system, bones, nerves, and “everything else.” After the “test” was complete… told the patient he had diabetes, osteoporosis, and that he was not getting enough oxygen to his brain, among other ailments. He said that for only $2,000, he could cure the patient’s diabetes by using a treatment that would include injecting the patient with “his own blood.”…told them [deputies] he draws the patient’s blood, then injects the same blood he just withdrew because he says it “combats” the blood cells and boosts the immune system…Deputies say he also told the patient he cured the homeowner of his diabetes and called him on the phone to get his testimony.”
Now, as I’ve said many times in these virtual pages, there comes a point where fools and their money deserve to be parted; but I don’t think this is necessarily it. I will say that the way to combat this sort of horseshit is not regulation but education; promoting articles like the one linked here far and wide, to reduce the number of the ill-informed for people like this Cuban lab tech to prey on.
Which is, of course, one of the reasons I linked it here.
It’s a little baffling that anyone would go to a health care provider and not at least glance at the diplomas on the wall. Granted, I suppose it’s possible to fake those certificates. But falling for a line of woo from some asshole whose claim to competency is flat-out stating that he was a “laboratory tech in Cuba”? That’s a whole ‘nother level of stupid.
I’m fortunate in having had the same primary physician for almost thirty years now. He knows me, I know him, he knows how much he can pester me about my cigar smoking or my weight, I know when it’s time for me to shut up and listen to him. We’ve known each other a long time and understand each other.
I understand that few people nowadays have that kind of long-term relationship with a physician, and that’s too bad. But it’s also too bad that anybody falls for snake-oil salesmen – whether they be lab techs from Cuba of air-headed actresses from Hollywood.
Most folks who live in the West know about Yellowstone, and how the entire park sits in what is essentially a titanic volcanic caldera. Most folks who live in the West and pay any attention at all know that if the Yellowstone megavolcano blows, it’s bye-bye North America. So here’s an interesting piece on how geologists are monitoring this big volcano and the lake of red-hot magma that fuels it. Excerpt:
The Yellowstone volcano has erupted three times in history – 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Scientists have previously revealed that, should an earthquake occur, it could take less than two weeks before a catastrophic reaction event with the potential to wipe out three-quarters of the US is triggered. Now, it is the job of geologists to “intensely monitor” a large area of molten rock directly below the surface of the supervolcano, it was revealed in a documentary.
Volcanoes typically erupt when molten rock, known as magma, rises to the surface following the Earth’s mantle melting due to tectonic plates shifting.
Robert Smith, from the University of Utah, is in charge of the seismometers around Yellowstone National Park.
This technology is designed to detect any change in activity, and give anyone in the immediate area some valuable time to evacuate.
Here’s the likely result of a major eruption:
Then, following the eruption, enormous pyroclastic flows would blast their way across the park.
This mixture of ash, lava and superheated gas exceed temperatures of 1,000C and can move at speeds of up to 300mph.
They are predicted to spread more than 100 miles out from Yellowstone, burying states like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado in three feet of life-extinguishing volcanic ash.
They mention evacuation, but it’s hard to say where folks around Yellowstone – or pretty much anywhere in the Mountain West – should evacuate to, as a major eruption would pretty much wipe out much of North America. Further, the results of billions of tons of sulfuric acid and volcanic ash in the atmosphere would screw up the weather for quite a few years, likely making crop growing difficult if not impossible.
So, yeah, I’m in favor of keeping an eye on it, even though there wouldn’t be much we could do about it if it happened. Personally I’d like to have a little notice.
I’ve had folks ask me if the idea worries me. It doesn’t. I reserve my worries for things I can change. But if my world is about to end, I wouldn’t mind a little warning.