John Yoo Offers Poor Justification For Warrantless Wiretaps

John Yoo has explained Why We Endorsed Warrantless Wiretaps. I’ve previously argued that pretty much everything found on the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal is a lie. This is shown to at least be true in the case of Yoo’s op-ed by The Annonymous Liberal, Spencer Ackerman, Think Progress, and Steve M.

AMA Endorses House Health Care Plan (Which Really Should Not Come As A Surprise)

Liberal bloggers (such as here, here, and here) are surprised by the AMA’s endorsement of the House plan for health care reform. Obviously they have not been paying attention to the changes in attitudes in the health care profession which I have been expressing in posts here!

One reason is that the House included one major goal of physicians–changing the formula by which Medicare fees are set. This is not enough to explain this because, as I discussed here, the flawed formula has been overruled by Congress annually.

There are a number of reasons doctors now are among the strongest proponents of health care reform, such as:

  • Health care reform also provides incentives for primary care which most agree is underpaid compared to procedure-oriented specialties
  • We are fed up with being unable to treat patients because of lack of insurance coverage
  • We are fed up with being screwed by the insurance companies ourselves
  • We realize that it makes no sense that the rest of the industrialized world is able to provide affordable health care to all their citizens but the United States cannot
  • We didn’t spend all those years in medical school to practice in what has become in many ways the worst health care system in the industrialized world

The bottom line is that doctors who are paying attention realize that all the right wing talking points about the negative effects of health care reform on medical care are a bunch of nonsense. Health care reform is a lot more about reforming how the insurance companies operate and current proposals are not, as conservatives claim, a government take over of health care, anything like the British or Canadian systems, or “socialized medicine.”

Update: The Hill notes that the current Senate bill does not offer a fix for the Medicare reimbursement as the House measure does which is likley to impact the response from the AMA to their proposal.

Cost Savings And Health Care Reform

The Congressional Budget Office is agreeing with what I’ve been saying all along. While health care reform is designed to accomplish some very good goals, it will not save money as the Obama administration has claimed.

If priority is placed spending less money we would have to go to a more scaled back plan (which the left would protest) or perhaps change to a more economical single payer system (which the right would protest). The other option is to significantly ration care–which everyone would be unhappy about.

Another option might be to consider our priorities and acknowledge that having a high quality health care system which is consistent with American attitudes towards choice, and which is accessible to most Americans, costs money but is a worthwhile expenditure.

To Boldly Go


Forty years after Apollo 11 went to the moon, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, calls for going to Mars. Like many who are interested in space travel, he is inspired by Star Trek:

I propose a new Unified Space Vision, a plan to ensure American space leadership for the 21st century. It wouldn’t require building new rockets from scratch, as current plans do, and it would make maximum use of the capabilities we have without breaking the bank. It is a reasonable and affordable plan — if we again think in visionary terms.

On television and in movies, “Star Trek” showed what could be achieved when we dared to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” In real life, I’ve traveled that path, and I know that with the right goal and support from most Americans, we can boldly go, again…

Robotic exploration of Mars has yielded tantalizing clues about what was once a water-soaked planet. Deep beneath the soils of Mars may lie trapped frozen water, possibly with traces of still-extant primitive life forms. Climate change on a vast scale has reshaped Mars. With Earth in the throes of its own climate evolution, human outposts on Mars could be a virtual laboratory to study these vast planetary changes. And the best way to study Mars is with the two hands, eyes and ears of a geologist, first at a moon orbiting Mars and then on the Red Planet’s surface.

Mobilizing the space program to focus on a human colony on Mars while at the same time helping our international partners explore the moon on their own would galvanize public support for space exploration and provide a cause to inspire America’s young students. Mars exploration would renew our space industry by opening up technology development to all players, not just the traditional big aerospace contractors. If we avoided the pitfall of aiming solely for the moon, we could be on Mars by the 60th anniversary year of our Apollo 11 flight.

Much has been said recently about the Vision for Space Exploration and the future of the international space station. As we all reflect upon our historic lunar journey and the future of the space program, I challenge America’s leaders to think boldly and look beyond the moon. Yes, my vision of “Mars for America” requires bold thinking. But as my friend and Gemini crewmate Jim Lovell has noted, our Apollo days were a time when we did bold things in space to achieve leadership. It is time we were bold again in space.

I’m sure there are many good arguments against spending the money. There is one argument which might trump them all for going to Mars: Because it’s there. I am sympathetic to Doug Mataconis on this one:

It’s a tempting idea, one as visionary as President Kennedy’s original call to put a man on the moon.

The limited government fiscal conservative in me says we can’t afford to do this.

The human being says we can’t afford not to.

Paul McCartney Returns To Ed Sullivan Theater


The crowd outside the Ed Sullivan Theater was far greater on Wednesday than it was for the Fire Dave Rally. Paul McCartney returned to the theater forty-five years after first appearing in the United States with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. After appearing as a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Paul McCartney went on top of the marquee of The Ed Sullivan Theater to perform a couple of songs (video above).

Letterman McCartney

Quote of the Day

“Joe the Plumber — you can quote me — is a dumbass. He should stick to plumbing.”
Meghan McCain

The only problem is that Joe wasn’t even licensed as a plumber.

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