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November 16, 2007 03:11 PM UTC

Open Line Friday!

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Why should blacks be heard? They’re 12% of the population. Who the hell cares?”

–Rush Limbaugh


70 thoughts on “Open Line Friday!

  1. Whaddya have against Friday’s that you have to put up Limbaugh or Coulter quotes?

    How about one of these?

    “Political history is far too criminal a subject to be a fit thing to teach children.” –W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

    “I think the world is run by C students.” — Al McGuire

    “Come quickly, I am tasting stars!” — Dom Perignon (1863-1715) at the moment of his discovery of champagne

    “An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.” –Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

    1. We need to teach our kids CIVICS again – and at an early age.

      Not to be confused with “social studies.” Good old fashioned civics: how the U.S. system of government works.

      Nowadays kids can go all the way through college without having an understanding of our system of government and its checks and balances.

      1. I used to teach that back when it was actually taught, along with history and geography. 

        I recall in the last several elections some pretty loony statements by young Americans that indicated a lack of understanding about our system.  Also, law vs. emotions.

      2. Some might say this is better left to the parents to teach their children. I say, the way some people handle their personal finances makes them better examples of what NOT to do than teachers of what to do.

        I know my kids had some “financial education” in elementary school. But I don’t think there was much if anything in high school. I think they were required to take a semester of economics in their senior year of high school, but I don’t remember the kids telling us that it was necessarily about personal finances and family economics.

        Interestingly enough, I think kids in special education programs are specifically taught this type of information as part of their life skills learning. I guess the curriculum designers think kids without developmental disabilities just have an inate sense about finances whereas kids with developmental disabilities must be taught this information.

          1. As I typed, I laughed and thought how easy it would be to replace “personal finances” with “sex education.”

            Every comment opens the same smelly can of worms …

      3. but I have little hope, since the only goal of public education today is to provide a good workforce.

        On a related note, I was at a screening last night of a new film (at the Denver Film Festival) called, “Karl Rove, I Love You”.

        As a part of the film, the lead character does a ‘man on the street’ question to a number of people, asking if they know who Karl Rove is.

        The question was asked in Salt Lake City, Washington DC, Denver, and Fort Wayne Indiana.

        No one knew who Karl Rove is.

        I don’t know whether to take that as a good or a bad sign.

        By the way, run, don’t walk to the Film Festival today to see this film.  It screens two more times today (Friday).

        You won’t be sorry if you do.

        You will also love the short that precedes it.  It’s called “The Job” and should be dedicated to Tom Tancredo

        1. Karl Rove was always a straw man, promoted by the Left’s version of the politics of personal destruction to a near-god-like level of evil and power.  In the grand scheme of things, however, not so much.

          And Rove’s mythical infamy is only exceeded by Darth Cheney.  In the end, it’s nothing more than your average ad hominem attack.  And that’s important to remember.

        2. because it’s easy for them to do two things – one, look to interview people who likely don’t know the answer, and two, edit out those who knew.

          Now, that’s said without seeing the film, of course. It’s possible that they talk about their methodology, but that would be atypical for a documentary. Cinematic sleight of hand is easy to achieve.

    1. It was so sad last night watching the Denver School Board public hearings on school closure.  The election was ten days ago and the incumbents were returned to office which is being called a voter approval of the school closings.  So last night, angry and articulate parents show up and start objecting to the closures..remember the ad “you’re a year too late, travis”….

      They talked about democracy and holding the board accountable…which is laughable…they were silent during the campaign, they never challenged the candidates up for reelection…and NOW they think anyone cares about them?

      Power comes from three sources; the bullet, the ballot, or money.  Those pathetic parents had power via the ballot and never even chose to use it… Big Money Denver would have swamped them…..maybe they were intimidates….but then they should have had the grace not to show up a week late and made vague statements about accountability…

      Pena, with a war chest of what? $100,000, who was relected…(the combined votes of her opposition were more than her total…pretty typical in a three way race with an incumbent) looked bored stiff…only perked up when the “community”: showed up ….a task force ready for RFP to “resdesign” even more schools….for bucks…

      And, the Denver Post, in very small print at the top of page 2 of Denver and the West, finally had a little article saying that as a matter of fact, the school closing are going to cost money before, if ever, they save money.

  2. Florida Rep. Bob Allen has been convicted of soliciting sex in a public park bathroom.

    As might be expected, one of his legislative priorities was “reducing lewdness.”  It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

    Another fucking Republican hypocrite.  Is it in their DNA?


    1.   BTW, David Vitter (R/Adulterer-La.) was subpoenaed to testify in the D.C. Madam’s criminal case on Nov. 28th.
        Unlike the traditional Republican method of “testifying” (i.e., declining to take an oath, and often involving multiple witnesses answering questions simultaneously), he will be on the stand alone and under oath.
        He may want to review what happened to Bill Clinton when he tried the fudge the truth on the witness stand.
        I wonder what Vitter should fear more:  committing perjury or facing his wife after testifying truthfully.
        This is gonna be good!

  3. Honda will introduce a state-of-the-art hydrogen-powered car in the United States next year, offering a glimpse of the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles, officials said Wednesday.  h/t Americablog

      1. My wife was recently given a 1998 M3 with 55k on it. Talk about a fun drive! Trouble is, I have to do dishes, vacuum, dust and cook…..some laundry too…just to get behind the wheel for short drives:-(

      1. Hydrogen CAN be produced from water or recovered from carbon monoxide. But according to those “in the know” there are currently no efficient ways to do that. SO… in the meantime… it comes from coal. And coal, my friends, last time I checked is one of those non-renewable resources just like oil. So what is the net gain of using coal instead of oil? (http://en.wikipedia….)

        This seems like a classic case of cart before the horse. And actually, considering the analogy, it IS a case of cart before the horse.

        On the other hand, I am all for technologies that one day will bear fruit and innovation for the sake of innovation… knowing that sound economic principles are a winning strategy every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Oh… and energy independence is key to solving several important Middle East issues so perhaps coal powered cars are a good idea.

        Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist. Didn’t even LIKE chemistry in school…  😉

      2. My personal belief is that converting to a hydrogen economy rather than a fossil fuel economy is essential, but unlikely to happen without some serious out-of-box thinking and collaboration.

        Given increases in population and the increasing affluence of the developing world (China, India, etc.) flex-fuel vehicles, electric vehicles with batteries charged by coal-fired power plants, clurly lightbulbs and even the most aggressive conservation efforts will not, at the end of the day, do much to combat global warming.  We have to change the fuel we use to power our economies.

        There are three issues with hydrogen: (1) the costs and energy used to produce it; (2) the technologies of storing, transporting and distributing it; and, (3) the technologies of using it for energy production (e.g., is hydrogen used in a fuel cell that generates electricty or burned like gasoline).

        Storing and transporting hydrogen either requires a high-pressure tank or binding hydrogen to another element (e.g., metal hydrides) that creates something that’s easily transportable.  The “tank” model envisions burning hydrogen, the “hydride” model envisions using hydrogen to power a fuel cell.

        For example, if metal hydride fuel cells (a variant of what powers the electric systems on the space shuttle today) are perfected, the model might be that you buy a metal-like “brick” at WalMart or on to power your vehicle rather than fill a tank at a service station.  The hydrogen car prototypes being built envision using hydrogen like gasoline and burning it rather than using it to generate electricity via a fuel cell for an electric car.

        It takes electricity to make hydrogen.  Wind farms on the prarie might be used not to generate electricity for the electric grid, but to create hyrdogen.  A farmer’s “crop” in eastern Colorado or some other windy place might be the manufacture of hydrogen rather than corn for ethanol.

        I don’t know how the choice between burning and using fuel cells affects greenhouse gases.  Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, so I think that a hydrogen model based on burning hydrogen may generate greenhouse gasses.

        1. As for “burning” hydrogen contributing to global warming, this is unlikely. Although water vapor is a greenhouse gas, at a constant temperature its concentration in the atmosphere is relatively constant. As temperatures increase, the water vapor will increase, thus it is a positive feedback, but not a driver, of anthropogenic climate change.

          As for the source of H for fuel cells … right now it is primarily fossil fuels (I thought it was from stripping H off of methane/natural gas, not coal). I’m happy with this as a bridge to encourage building the necessary infrastructure for distributing H. In the future, H should be produced from water via hydrolysis. The electricity could be generated using solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

          If this was the case, then, for example, solar arrays could be established in locations where there currently is not good electrical transmission but where there are roads that can be used to ship fuel cells out. Kind of like stand alone fuel cell plants. Also, another example, we could have huge wind farms on tribal lands in North Dakota and not have to worry about the lack of transmission lines.

      3. The “hydrogen economy” will not be economically viable until fusion comes on line.  Best the experts can predict is 2040 or later.  Virtually unlimited fuel source, almost free energy, mostly capital to obtain and burn.

        So everyone starts burning hydrogen.  Billions upon billions of gallons of water vapor are added to the atmosphere.  Humidity goes up.  Climates change. 

        Dang, a new problem.

        Not possible?  Who would have thought with the first steam, Otto, or diesel cycle engines we could change the climate?

        Oh well, something for Al Gore IV to make hay out of.

          1. …from events and press releases about a year ago.  There is a consortium of scientists from most of the advanced nations starting to plan and built a fusion reactor in France.  They obviously are confident enough on a design to do the impossible, controlled fusion.

            I understand your pessimism, but this does sound one step removed.

                  1. We created an illegal war from a bullshit story that we were losing faster than we could bring bodies back that had no basis in “dominoe theory” fact, and you call me cowardly?  I would say smart enough to see the ruse or having integrity.  Never knew a Communist sympathizer in my lot.  Not a one.

                    Try another historical revision, Yokel.

                    1. Is that your “train” never defeated us on the field of battle – it only managed to “run us over” in the minds of half-informed college students who went overboard because they were afraid of the draft.

                      It wasn’t a train at all.  Calling it so is the revision.

                  2. 9 Mar 75 – A major offensive begins against South Vietnam with an attack on Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands.  South Vietnam fell in 55 days.

                    17 Apr 75 – Cambodian government surrenders to Khmer Rouge forces

                    29 Apr 75 – Last American soldier killed in Vietnam (the first was 8 Jul 59) The official American presence in Saigon ends when the last Americans are evacuated by helicopter from the US Embassy roof. Within hours the Saigon government surrenders to the VC

                    What “minds of cowardly college students and Communist sympathizers” were on the battlefield between March 9, 1975 and April 29, 1975?

                    1. Looks like that Domino Theory that parsing panned was right after all.  Darn facts indeed.

                      On another note, that’s rather my point – none of those things happened until said Communist sympathizers and cowardly college students categorically refused any American victory.

                    2. Look, my newest business partners happen to be Vietnamese! Please explain for all of us stupid leftie liberals how the domino theory played out after it was used as a scare tactic to get support from the taxpayers? Then explain the timeline and history of student protest against the Vietnamese war. Also, explain how student protesters equates with communist sympathizers.

                      Are you a father? Over 50,000 of our children died in this stupid war. What, pray tell, was accomplished?

                        FEEL LIKE I’M FIXING TO DIE RAG
                      Come on mothers throughout the land,
                      Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
                      Come on fathers, don’t hesitate,
                      Send your sons off before it’s too late.
                      You can be the first one on your block
                      To have your boy come home in a box.

                      This song by Country Joe and the Fish were one of many acts of protest. Innocent people were killed by American police during the protests.

                      I have a suggestion. Enlist Yokel.

                    3. As part of the generation of kids that got to spend their senior trip in Vietnam, my political carry-aways were:

                      1.  Presidents Can and Do Make Stuff Up.  The Vietnam war was escalated by President Lyndon Johnson, the liberal Democrat who was supposed to the carry the banner of the Kennedy administration.  His basis was, of course, the made up Tonkin Bay incident that morphed into the domino theory (that’s ’cause they play dominos in Texas).  For me this proves that liberal Democratic Presidents are as capable as conservative Republican Presidents in fabricating evidence to fan the winds of war.  It was more important to liberal Johnson to initiate a war on poverty than to stop the killing of American kids in a pointless war.

                      2.  Congress is Missing in Action.  Like today, the Democratic Congress in 1964 gave the President carte blanche to pursue and escalate the war and abrogated their authority, bitched about the war a bit, but did nothing to end it.  Like today, the Congress in 1964 failed to do their job and performed no due diligence to investigate whether the Tonkin Bay incident was real or not.  Our Congressional leadership in 1964 was as incompetent as today even though many in Congress lived through the Vietnam war only to learn nothing.

                    4. No party has a unique claim to “good” wars or starting wars when none should have been.

    1. The 208 Commission has posted a good deal of information about the health care issues in Colorado.

      Among their analyses was an assessment of hospital costs that broke down as follows and showed that the “crisis” in health care was cost shifting from government programs and government mandates to private payors and insurance.

      In Colorado hospitals:

      28% of total costs are devoted to serving Medicare patients, but Medicare pays only 81% of the costs of service

      11% of total costs are devoted to serving Medicaid patients, but Medicaid pays only 71% of the costs of service

      9% of total costs are devoted to serving indigent care for which no compensation is received, but, by government mandate, hospitals are required to provide service to indigents regardless of ability to pay.

      Private payers (insurance companies and individuals) account for 46% of hospital costs, but pay 188% of the cost of service as a result of cost shifting from indigent non-payers, Medicare and Medicaid patients.  Spiraling costs borne by private payors obviously make health care more unaffordable.

      Would there be a health care “crisis” if Medicare and Medicaid paid their share of hospital costs?  From where I sit, the health care crisis sure looks like something created by our government programs and mandates.  Now, the government is here to fix the problem.  Right.

      Most of the health care reform proposals involve expanding Medicaid or some other government subsidy program.  Given how Medicaid and Mecicare shift costs now, I believe the government solution will only make the crisis worse.

      1. So those of us (meaning private payers) are already quasi-subsidizing the medicaid, medicare and indigent folks anyway.  I guess I can live with that.

        What I can’t live with is my insurance company making me pay for what they should be paying for.  That’s my beef – if I pay insurance (and I do, and it costs a lot) then at least friggin’ cover me !

        Maybe a government program isn’t the solution, but there should be reforms to compel the insurance companies to actually cover their insured patients and stop trying to sell them down the river.  This is what we pay them for after all.

        1. The point of the figures is that your costs of private insurance will continue to climb as Medicare, Medicaid and indigent care increase.  The health care “reform” proposals generally seek to expand who is eligible for government funded Medicaid and programs like SCHIP.  That will increase the costs you pay as a private payor, making private insurance more expensive and less affordable for more people.

          Your insurance company reacts to the cost shifting and the increase in its costs by denying coverage to you.  In my opinion, such behaviors will get worse, not better, as Medicaid and like programs are extended and funded by private payors.

      2. There are two “solutions” to the points you bring up:

        1) We adjust Medicare and Medicaid based on actual cost as opposed to whatever formula we’re using now, and establish an indigent care fund.  This resolves all the overcharging issues and according to your numbers should lower private payer premiums by 44%.  Of course, that money is then collected via taxes instead of insurance – but hopefully without the 30% markup that the insurance industry gets for administering the money.


        2) You are suggesting that we do away with the government programs, leaving Medicare and Medicaid recipients to join the indigents with no health care whatsoever.

        Your post indicates you prefer solution #2.  Is that right?

        1. I don’t know what the solution is, but offer these figures from the 208 Commission to point out that the crisis in health care costs may be caused by the same government programs (Medicaid, SCHIP, Medicare, mandated care to indigents) that everyone is anxious to expand under the rubrick of health care reform.

          Sure, health insurance companies occupy their own special level in health care hell, but until we’re prepared to look at sacred cows programs — Medicare and Medicaid — and ask how they are contributing to the “problem” we’ll never have health care reform.

          My personal opinion is that the drum beat for “free” health care is so strident that we’re ultimately destined for government owned and controlled delivery of medical services.  If you’re comfortable with your doctor being a state employee, and hospitals being run with the efficiency of the IRS, then you’ll like that solution.

          1. There are numerous models for state paid health care.  Britain uses the state employee model, as does the VA.  Against all intuition, users of the VA have rated their services better than any other delivery system.

            Most other nations, including Canada, use private persons and companies. 

            Do you really think that the present system is efficient?  And generally, I think the IRS is pretty efficient.  How many dollars collected per taxpayer, what percentage of taxpayers pay their taxes, things like that.

            Whatever may be wrong with single payer national health, it’s a hell of a lot better than our current “system.”  No other country has opted or returned to the American model. 

      3. That figure is thrown about as if said costs are on stone tablets.  How do they arrive at that cost?  Have we seen hospitals go into bankruptcy? Should a non-profit hospital make more money than they need for costs plus reserves and capital expansion? 

        My father’s chemo and other doctors take what Medicare pays them (Thank you!)  If they bill $800 for a shot Neupogen and MC pays $400, are they losing money?  Does that mean that they are only making $10?  Nothing?  Still $100?  One less Porsche payment for the partners?  How are these numbers arrived at? And maybe they DO lose money, I don’t know.  And I don’t think anyone outside of the inner circle knows.

        Until there is some honest examination into costs as billed, we are discussing a moving target witout known, objective standards. 

        1. The figures come from the 208 Commission’s consultant they hired to analyze health care delivery in Colorado.  They are not my figures, but they are the figures being used by the government folks who will be “reforming” health care for us.

          An inquiry into costs effectively will turn hospitals and docs into public utilities where rates are set based on some cost-based formula.  Now, let’s talk about health care “reform” becoming the “Lawyers and Economists Full Employment Act.”

          In my conversations with execs at Memorial, they dispute the 208 figuures and tell me that Medicaid and Medicare cover less than 35-40% of their costs, whatever they mean by costs, so the cost shifting is worse.

          Anecdotally, I had a client who had kindey cancer.  He was treated by Memorial hospital on two occasions over the couse of a couple months.  He had started treatment without insurance and then later obtained insurance.  His bills for the same treatment were 2 or 3 time higher when he was uninsured and paying the bills himself than when he had insurance.  His beef — and why he hired a lawyer — was why does the same procedure cost 2 or 3 times more when I am paying the bill with cash rather than through an insurance company?

          I’d point out that Memorial Hospital is a government owned hospital, so banish thoughts that the cost shifting and prices will somehow be better under government control of health care.

          1. …you know that costs are not the same as billings.

            That was my question; how much is cost and how much is just billed.  You know, finger pulled out of the hole numbers.

            1. But, a hospital must cover its total costs with prices charged to patients.  The prices charged are unrelated to the cost of service according to the 208 Commission.  Much higher for private payors, lower than cost for givernment sponsored programs, free for indigent care.

              The policy question is whether such price discrimination ought to be allowed.

              If hospitals were public utilities, it would not be allowed as prices are based on costs not ability to pay.

    2. It was a great article.  I went to Dr. Taylor myself for genetic screening for Ehlers-danlos,Type IV (the vascular kind that kills).  I didn’t not have the horrid symptoms that Mrs. Calder had, our family had three people die suddenly from aortic aneurysms (like John Ritter).  That is the deadly vascular form of EDS. 

      I was still teaching and had decent insurance with my district.  However, I did have to lobby to get an appointment with Dr. Taylor.  I did have the genetic testing and fortunately did not have EDS, but instead FAA (familial aortic aneurysm.  Unlike EDS, this is a silent killer…no painful symptoms.  Most often the first symptom is death.

      I did the research, convinced my doctor to support me, and then did the footwork for a thoracic surgeon and in the process (with the help of Dr. Taylor’s office) was able to get my family enrolled in a research study at Cornell.  Since my aunt (the first one who had the aortic dissecton) had ten siblings, all of their children were effected. Several have been diagnosed with the start of aneurysms. 

      It took me well over a year but I was able to get open heart surgery and the repair.  My out of pocket was more nearly two thousand but I was able to afford it. 

      Unfortunately I was the exception to the rule.  I was able to research all of this before I went to doctors and they in turn supported me with the insurance company. 
      That was two and a half years ago. I am not sure today I would have been as successful. I found out yesterday that our district is dropping all retirees (I retired after my sister’s sudden death two years before the surgery).  So into a new insurance program.
      If people do not wake up to what is happening we all may end up moving to another country.  Who would have though this great democracy would put profit above the health and welfare of its citizens? 

  4. How does CD6 candidate Steve Ward run for CD6 when he is in Iraq.  What has to happen to make him a viable candidate?  He currrently is a sitting SD 26 Senator, what options does he have?

    1. but it still seems a long shot that he’ll become the nominee for congress.  As far as viability, all that has to happen to make any R viable is getting the nomination whether you’re talking about CD6 or SD26.  A pulse gets an R CD6.  The right Dem could win an open SD26 seat some day but not with Ward incumbent.

  5. Salazar gets it!

    Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar is opposing the Defense Department’s request for additional funding for the war in Iraq.

    Salazar has been, and continues to be, a member of a group of senators who have tried to avoid confrontation while seeking a fundamental change in strategy. He spoke Friday after he joined the Democrat majority in the Senate in rejecting the funding request.

    Salazar said the Iraqi government has demonstrated no evidence of meaningful political change that would bring about the long-term reconciliation needed to end the war.

    He noted that American commanders themselves believe there is no solution to the war, which as of Thursday had claimed the lives of 3,866 American soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors.

    1. He keeps taking what might be called positions of one side, then the other.  Long history I need not go into here.

      Ken, baby!  Give us habeus corpus back and all is forgiven!

      1. I believe Salazar is a good person, a man of character, and that his changing position is sincere.  He’s not going back and forth.  He’s  moving in one direction in a way that shows he’s thinking and listening.  People ought to be allowed to learn and change positions based on what they learn, a far different thing than taking the position du jour for cynical reasons.

  6. “Come quickly, I am tasting stars!” — Dom Perignon (1863-1715) at the moment of his discovery of champagne.

    Born in 1863 at the age of 148, Dom grew younger and younger until, in 1715, …

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