Sunday Links

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
  • The crazy mayor of Kiev.
  • Thorough review of research shows nothing but positive results for America’s 10-year experiment with consumer-driven health plans. I had a positive (and eye-opening) experience with the HSA plan I had at Cato. Too bad the Democrats aren’t particularly interested in what works.
  • George Will says it’s time to legalize online poker.
  • British photographer arrested, apparently for taking pictures while being too tall.
  • The un-American activities Nancy Pelosi ought to be concerned about.
  • Rachel Ehrenfeld commits one of the more spectacular pundit fails in recent memory. My colleague Jacob Sullum explains how she has managed to be wrong on just about everything in her column.
  • USA Today looks at your options as a passenger if you’re on a plane that gets stranded on the tarmac. The unfortunate answer: You have none. So yeah, I guess I’d support the “passengers’ bill of rights,” or at least the provision that forces the airlines to let you off the plane after three hours.
  • Monroe, Alabama police chief says he regrets the arrest of the deaf, mentally retarded man at a Dollar General store I posted about a couple of weeks ago. But he makes no apology for his officers’ tasering and pepper spraying the man.
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  • 19 Responses to “Sunday Links”

    1. #1 |  Andrew | 

      The best quote from the Forbes article is “Since when is the U.S. government in the business of distributing marijuana cigarettes?”

      Maybe she should have asked Irv Rosenfeld.

    2. #2 |  Bob | 

      “The chief said Antonio Love may need help from police one day.”

      Oh, I think they’ve ‘helped’ him quite enough.

    3. #3 |  Dave | 

      The best advice I have heard if you stuck on a plane is to claim to be ill and you feel you need medical attention, the liability issue once you declare to need medical attention should get you off quickly.

    4. #4 |  Tomcatshanger | 

      Why not just change the laws regarding air travel and the industry?

      At least allow for waivers for flight crews to get more hours in a day if the situation warrants. That would have fixed this latest SNAFU, and probably others as well.

    5. #5 |  MacGregory | 

      After raids on Californina medical MJ dispenseries, I can’t help but see this headline in my mind:
      “Government distributes marijuana cigarettes. Arrests itself.”

    6. #6 |  Michael | 

      This airline issue was a plot on LA Law 20 years ago. Just fix the problem. Enough studies.

    7. #7 |  Phelps | 

      Point of order: the USA Today article only discussed your LEGAL options. You always have the option of starting a riot on the plane, which will certainly get you off the tarmac.

      (Hint: One asshole screaming on a plane equals arrest. 120 assholes screaming on a plane equals freedom.)

    8. #8 |  RGD | 

      The Democrats are more concerned with people who can’t afford consumer-driven health plans or are affected by catastrophic health emergencies that such plans can’t or won’t cover.

      I see nothing about CDHPs that would have helped a half-dozen people I know during serious emergencies this year alone nor that would help those suffering from chronic illnesses, most especially those on the lower end of the economic scale.

    9. #9 |  J sub D | 

      Monroe, Alabama police chief says he regrets the arrest of the deaf, mentally retarded man at a Dollar General store I posted about a couple of weeks ago. But he makes no apology for his officers’ tasering and pepper spraying the man.

      Because tasering and pepper spraying are just good clean LEO fun.

    10. #10 |  Victory | 

      Dave is correct. As a paramedic who has seen people fake medical emergencies to get a medicaid funded ride to the bar adjacent to the hospital, i would say this is likely your best way off a plane stuck on the tarmac. Doesn’t even have to be anything particularly life threatening and when you get to the ER, you can just get up and walk out the door. Sure it can be pricey…unless you give the ambulance crew bogus billing information.

    11. #11 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      “So yeah, I guess I’d support the “passengers’ bill of rights,” or at least the provision that forces the airlines to let you off the plane after three hours.”

      Agreed. IMHO, government force is sometimes necessary to counter private excess and arrogance. Perhaps if entire crews were arrested for unlawful restraint (or another applicable law depending on the state) after holding passengers, then the industry would get the message. And that is what this is, unlawful restraint.

    12. #12 |  Greg N. | 

      The best part of Cato’s health care plan was being able to order pizza, buy drinks at bars, and pay for Christmas presents with that awesome health care credit card.

    13. #13 |  Victory | 

      “Agreed. IMHO, government force is sometimes necessary to counter private excess and arrogance. Perhaps if entire crews were arrested for unlawful restraint (or another applicable law depending on the state) after holding passengers, then the industry would get the message. And that is what this is, unlawful restraint.”

      Um, the whole problem is that the government makes it illegal to do anything proactive to resolve such a situation. Disagree with the pilot a bit too vocally? Interfering with the flight crew, enjoy prison.

      Remember, it’s likely that it was government regulations that got you stuck there in the first place.

    14. #14 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #13 Victory: “Um, the whole problem is that the government makes it illegal to do anything proactive to resolve such a situation. Disagree with the pilot a bit too vocally? Interfering with the flight crew, enjoy prison.”

      Fair enough. Civil disobedience is (or should be) an accepted aspect of American life, so the interfering with a flight crew laws likely go to far. But even without government regulation, if you get to rowdy, say rowdy enough to push your way into the cockpit, you might get shot by an armed pilot these days. As the old saying goes, I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. I’m just saying that making it illegal for crews to hold passengers like this may balance things a bit if your situation gets dragged into court.

      P.S.: Please consider dropping the “um” at the beginning of your remarks. Even if you have a good point, which you did, prefacing your statement like that can be a turn off. It is a really annoying technique used on too many blogs.

    15. #15 |  johnl | 

      The problem with HSAs is that you have to use them up. I want to be able to start putting aside a little extra every year now for orthodontia I expect to pay for in 7 years or so.

    16. #16 |  David Chesler | 

      That tall British photographer was 12 st. I make that to be about 170 pounds. Maybe it’s a rightpondian thing, but by American standards that’s not hulking, it’s practically skinny.

    17. #17 |  David Chesler | 

      Johnl, the Whole Foods plan seems to allow HSAs to carry over. The use-or-lose on plans I’ve had in the past always seemed like a bug, but I figured I could always buy glasses in December if I hadn’t used it, and on several occasions I was laid off early in the year and ended up using more than I’d paid in. (Then, if not now, the entire allocation was available in January, the same time as I was making deductibles.)

      FWIW get Massachusetts care. I’m in generally good health but as a diabetic I take a bunch of meds and see a specialist 4 times a year (and my wife was in bad health, so I’m used to even higher bills) so I ran a spreadseet and chose a no-deductible plan. The rates would have to be a good deal less for me to choose a catastrophic-only plan like I had when I was younger and singler.

    18. #18 |  Eric | 

      “Too bad the Democrats aren’t particularly interested in what works.”

      First, I really don’t see how that particular trait is limited to one political party. It’s not like one party just doesn’t give a shit about the country, and the other is making an honest effort but keeps getting shut down. They’re all politicians. And for the most part, the average idiots yelling and screaming about healthcare plans are equally divided between parties. Politics is an extension of war and our brains aren’t really wired for it.

      Second, I think Democratic politicians (and to an equal extent, Republican politicians) really truly are interested in what works – and promoting or demonizing the current healthcare plan is likely what works best for getting them re-elected. That’s their incentive, so that’s what they’re interested in. Re-election doesn’t depend on if the healthcare plan fails or succeeds, it depends on people’s perception of you, and the politicians are spending their time building that instead of trying to make a good healthcare plan. That’s where their incentives are, so that’s what they’re doing.

    19. #19 |  Brian | 

      It may seem counterintuitive, but maybe we shouldn’t be trying to keep terrorists off airplanes, but put them all ON airplanes. It’s detainment and torture all wrapped up into one. The government can just print up a bunch of money and pay the airlines to keep the planes on the ground, so it’s a bailout too! Wins all around!

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