Cross Post: Why I Support the Human Wave

I wrote this for the sci-fi blog, but I think it’s relevant to this blog as well:

Why I Support the Human Wave

If you’re looking for an antidote to the poison being fed to us by the “Merchants of Despair” mentioned in Whittle’s video below, the Human Wave might fit the bill quite nicely.

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Wow. Just Wow. Obama’s Abortion Motive Revealed.

Do yourselves a favor and read this article.  The mainstream media won’t cover it because it’s not useful to their bid to elect Obama for another term, but here it is:

The Little Known Abortion Mandate

In short, the second, lesser-known mandate from Kathleen Sebelius requires that all insurance companies which provide elective abortion coverage set aside an abortion allocation fund and then charge their recipients at least one dollar per month specifically for that fund, which will be paid to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to cover abortion costs.  And on top of that, the mandate literally precludes insurers from telling would-be purchasers that their plan will include the abortion fee.

Obama sees that the states are crippling his efforts to keep publicly funded abortion clinics open in GOP controlled territory and has decided to trick millions of Americans who might have a religious objection to abortion into paying private dollars to fund Planned Parenthood as required by Queen Sebelius and any in her royal lineage that follow as HHS bureaucrat-dictator.

I have only one thing to say about this.

WOW.

Another Movie Plug:

This one is coming out in June, and it tells the story of the Cristero Rebellion, which took place in Mexico in the 1920’s after the radical Marxist government of the era began to actively persecute the Catholic Church. Should be pretty awesome!

On Santorum’s Lack of Message Discipline

Forgive me, but I need to get something off my chest:

I agree with SABR Matt below when he remarks that Santorum gets caught flat-footed distressingly often. But here’s what bothers me: Santorum is often right and nobody recognizes it. (SABR Matt excepted, of course.) Yes, yes, yes, we need to be aware of electoral realities. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard that a thousand times, and it’s starting to make me bitter and resentful. Why? Because the way I see it, that argument is a form of giving up. It’s basically conceding that we can never win the war against the mainstream media and their mendacious reporting. It’s putting the truth aside for the sake of winning. It’s saying that we shouldn’t even try to convince the middle – that, instead, we should just let certain folks continue to believe things that don’t hold up to careful scrutiny.

Consider, for example, the belief that everyone should go to college. As SABR Matt mentions in his post, the statistics would seem to suggest that a college education leads to higher earnings and greater happiness. The problem here is that such studies are always correlative. They show a positive relationship between a college degree and certain measures of success, but what about all the potential confounding variables? Are the people who go to college and graduate sociologically similar to those who don’t? Are they psychologically similar? That proposition seems very unlikely to me. Isn’t it therefore probable that college graduates are successful for reasons other than their educational attainment? That perhaps they earned their degrees due to their intellectual capacity, ambition, work ethic, persistence, etc.? That absent a college education, they still would’ve found some way to succeed? A study of our history seems to support the idea. Back when going to college was not a common experience for people below a certain income bracket, many people still managed to rise out of penury to establish wildly successful businesses — or write intelligent, trenchant books. The self-made man is an American icon for a reason.

Yes, I know — it’s weird for a professional college admissions counselor and SAT tutor to be questioning the college mystique. But bear with me here. I’m not quite finished. You see, there’s another way that the pro-college propaganda lies to our kids: It doesn’t draw any distinctions between the various degree programs on offer. Instead, we get a variation of the Underpants Gnome Argument:

1. Go to college.
2. Get a degree.
3. ???
4. Profit!

But, as everyone knows in his heart of hearts, not all degrees are created equal. If you’ve majored in Petroleum Engineering, you may be able to get a six-figure job in North Dakota right out of the starting gate. But if you’ve majored in Womyn’s Studies? Congratulations! You’ve just racked up thousands of dollars of debt for a degree that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Teens need to know that what they study in college does matter — yet none of the pro-college cheerleaders out there are encouraging said teens to make smart choices.

And by the way, the fact that there is such a thing as a major in Womyn’s Studies indicates that the full-scale push to universalize college has lead to an overall dumbing-down of the curriculum. And here’s another bit of evidence: Colleges have had to institute remedial programs in English and mathematics to accommodate students who are woefully under-prepared for university-level work. Freshman composition instructors in particular complain bitterly about their students’ inability to clearly communicate their ideas on paper, and they definitely have a reason to do so. Yes – all of this should move us to indict our K-12 education system. But I also believe it should prompt us to question whether college should be promoted so uncritically.

The upshot? I believe many of the facts are on Santorum’s side when it comes to college. And I think we can convince our moderate friends to at least think twice about condemning Santorum for his “snob” remark if we actually do the work and present the argument I outlined above. Similarly, there are arguments that can be advanced against the supposedly “mainstream” sexual revolution — arguments that we can back up with relatively solid social science research. Yet the pro-Romney bloggers keep urging us to put those things aside. “Stick to the economy,” they counsel. “We have to capture the middle.” “Social issues are a distraction.” To that, I say this: Social issues are inextricably connected to fiscal issues. Big government is reigning supreme precisely because our social capital is disappearing. People are looking to Daddy Obama to save them because their families and communities are no longer up to the task. If you want government to be smaller – if you want to reduce the national debt – you have to restore the family. That’s all there is to it. True — there is a right way and a wrong way to bring up our social and moral decline. True — Santorum might not be social-conservatism’s best standard-bearer. But if we can’t discuss the social issues now, when should we discuss them? Because the way I see it, you Romney fans are advocating that we kick the can down the road in perpetuity instead of dealing with what truly ails us as a country.

/rant.

Romney Wins Big in Illinois

Just passing along word that Mittens doesn’t need kid gloves to handle Santorum in Illinois, where he’s crushing the faltering underdog with a whopping 17 point edge as of 10:30 PM (76% counted).  It looks like Santorum will be lucky to get a dozen or so of the 69 delegates in the state and Romney will have taken away his last shot at a significant foothold in swing-state territory outside his home state of Pennsylvania.

A winner needs 1154 delegates and Romney will be more than halfway there after tonight with the largest states yet to vote.  Given some of the very unwise things that Santorum has said over the last few weeks, including:

 – Saying he nearly vomited (literally) when he read Kennedy’s 1960 campaign speech where he said that his Catholic faith was a private matter and shouldn’t be a political decision-maker. (Moderates react to this by assuming that Santorum thinks a President should govern religiously, rather than simply viewing Kennedy’s words as a giant cop-out excuse for why he didn’t behave like a man of faith in his day to day life.)

 – Saying Obama was a snob for thinking all kids should go to college. (Most people have been hammered by decades of lessons in the importance of higher education since the statistics are plain and reveal that college educated people are less unemployed, earn more and are happier — even if he’s RIGHT that not everyone needs college to succeed and some simply get in debt and then fail because they should have been spending that time learning trades.)

 – Saying that women shouldn’t be on the front lines in combat because they might make the men more emotional. (This just won’t play well today, even if there is solid evidence to believe men are instinctively protective of women in a crisis.)

I just don’t see how Rick has much of a shot… and that is perhaps for the best.  He’s not showing us that he can run a wise campaign.  He’s hardly a savvy politician.  In fact, although I personally admire his honesty, he is frequently a little too honest and therefore easy for the media to sidetrack and distract.  Not that I’m thrilled about Romney…but…I just don’t think Rick can really win if he keeps playing this way.

Politically Incorrect Lyrics: These Hard Times

Now that I’m back from a trip upstate with fellow alumni in Oswego, and feeling particularly mournful of the distance that has grown between me and my former peers (a distance that, I believe, is largely explained by their reliance on social media memes, entertainment sources like John Stewart, and online mainstream media for their entire knowledge of current events and American History), my ride back included a song that fits my mood and with a bit of politically incorrect reworking can express my general frustration.

Without further adieu, I bring you: a politically incorrect send-off to Matchbox Twenty and “These Hard Times.” (As always, I don’t own the original intellectual property and am parodying it under the fair use clause.)

Fading hopes collide,
Youthful oblivion,
Can’t take the place of life.

Relentless days go by,
Longing for memories,
Slipping right through my grasp,
And taking the past,
 From all our lives.

Nostalgia won’t sustain us,
Neither will promises,
They don’t mean anything.

We’ve all lost our focus,
Ignorance feels like bliss,
Innocents pay the price.
And they don’t feel so alive.

Say goodbye.
Those days are gone.
And we can’t keep holding on,
When all we need is some relief,
Through these hard times.
Through these hard times.

Facebook isn’t gospel,
It’s keeping them hynoptized,
Swirling a pack of lies.

I look at all those faces,
Cursing the tragedy,
They should be more than this,
But their minds have lost the light.

Say goodbye.
Those days are gone.
And we can’t keep holding on.
When all we need is some relief,
Through these hard times.

Whoooaaaa…there’s something missing.
Oh no, they’ll never feel it but they…
No no, they’re gonna feel it when it’s gone.
When it’s gone.

Say goodbye.
Those days are gone.
And we can’t keep holding on.
When all we need is some relief,
Through these hard times.
Hey, these hard times.
Oh no…these hard times.

Say goodbye.
Those days are gone.
Say goodbye.
Those days are gone.

Those days are gone.

The Coming Medical Ethics Crisis

The Coming Medical Ethics Crisis
by Jeffrey A. Singer

In a nutshell, hospitals, clinics, and health care providers have been given incentives to organize into teams that will get assigned groups of 5,000 or more Medicare patients. They will be expected to follow practice guidelines and protocols approved by Medicare. If they achieve certain goals established by Medicare with respect to cost, length of hospital stay, re-admissions, or other “core measures,” they will get to share a portion of Medicare’s savings. If the reverse happens, they will face economic penalties.

Private insurance companies are currently setting up the non-Medicare version of the ACO. These will be sold in the federally subsidized exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act. In this model, there are no fee-for-service payments to providers. Instead, an ACO is given a lump sum, or “bundled” payment for the entire care for a large group of insurance beneficiaries. The ACOs are expected to follow the same Medicare-approved practice protocols, but all of the financial risks are assumed by the ACOs. If the ACOs keep costs down, the team of providers and hospitals reap the financial reward: a surplus from the lump sum payment. If they lose money, the providers and hospitals eat the loss.

In both the Medicare and non-Medicare varieties of the ACO, cost control and compliance with centrally-planned practice guidelines are the primary goal. The hospital and provider networks will live or die by these objectives.

So where does all this place the medical profession with respect to its ethical credo? In a few years, almost all doctors will be employees of hospitals and will be ordered to practice medicine according to federally prescribed guidelines—guidelines that put the best interests of the state ahead of the interests of individual patients.

When the physician’s primary obligation is to satisfy the wishes of the payer—ultimately the wishes of the state—how can patients be truly confident in their doctors’ decisions?

Again, the biggest problem with the new health care law is not necessarily the individual mandate (although that’s pretty bad in itself). The biggest problem is its overall dependence on bureaucracy. “Obamacare” empowers the federal government to intrude on our personal decisions like never before — and that’s why it needs to be repealed and replaced with something better.

Santorum Delivers Haymaker to Gingrich’s Campaign

As of midnight, Rick Santorum is declared the winner of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, nabbing at least 15 delegates in Alabama and 12 in Mississippi while Newt Gingrich scored 9 in Alabama and 11 in Mississippi and Mitt Romney came away with just 7 in Alabama and 11 in Mississippi.

The win is not quite convincing enough to put Romney on the ropes, but it could give Santorum vital momentum heading into crucial primaries in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and North Carolina.  Most pundits had Gingrich or Romney holding the key Southern states that Santorum needs to prove that he can mount a truly National campaign and appeal to enough segments of the population, and it would appear that is no longer the case.  But the key victory for Santorum, it seems, is that Gingrich’s campaign has no logical next step on a path toward the nomination.  I don’t see how he can make the case for pressing on to expensive states like Texas when the only states he’s won are in his backyard — and he’s lost some of those too.  I think Gingrich will need to make a decision soon and step out of the race to avoid embarrassing himself any further and spending money he won’t have — not to mention preventing himself from having any chance to get onto someone’s cabinet and make a difference going forward.

We await Hawaii’s poll results, and expect that state to go to Romney due to the strong military presence there, but that state won’t dictate momentum in future contests.  All eyes are now on Missouri and its 52 delegates.  That caucus generally respects the preceding primary and there’s no reason to think Santorum won’t do well there.