Morning Links

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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74 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Mike T | 

    When you pardon a man who shot his wife point-blank with a shotgun out of malice, but cannot pardon a man who shot a police officer who barged into his home by mistake in a violent raid that is one of those “stop, don’t pass go, you are a total scumbag” personality traits. It’s one of those things which just nullifies every good thing that could be said about you.

  2. #2 |  Robert | 

    It’s strange, but it’s not the first time I have seen references to murderers being put in positions of trust. I remember reading a novel set in Starke, Florida, site of the Raiford State Prison, and in that novel the warden and other high prison officials always picked murderers to be entrusted with household/grounds duties, much as Barbour describes. Presumably the psychological makeup of a murderer is different than that of a rapist or thief. I wonder how prevalent the practice is?

  3. #3 |  Robert | 

    And since you mentioned bestiality, this YouTube video had me in stitches a while back.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    I guess we can rule Greece out as a destination for the kids to be exchange students…

  5. #5 |  FridayNext | 

    Robert: Small trivia note. Jay North, TV’s Dennis the Menace, is a guard at that prison. Probably has nothing to do with what you are talking about, but you never know.

    Also, I love Judah Friedlander and have since American Splendor. But these celebrity candidacies have been tiresome since Pat Paulsen’s 4th or 5th try. I’ll have to do some googling later, but I even think that whole “Party Party” things been done.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m OK with Greece’s additions to their list of disabilities. If you’re going to be in “that” business, you need to honestly look at what disabilities are. Many mental disorders are legitimately disabling and they aren’t always sympathetic cases. But, I’m a people-person who tends to care just too god damn much.

    Another reason to not be in “that” business.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Obama “promised to repeal [the military policy] in his campaign, then dragged his feet on repealing it,” Johnson noted, “even sending the Justice Department’s lawyers into court to defend it.” After the policy’s legislative repeal, Obama cynically “claimed victory and a promise fulfilled.”

    Obama also acted (and it was “acting” for sure) in “It Gets Better” psa while actively discriminating against gays at the company (the USG) he runs.

    “It gets better (speaking to kids who are killing themselves rather than continue struggling against bullying and discrimination). Just don’t join the Army because I’ll discharge you. Oh, and don’t think about marrying your soul mate.”

    What an asshole.

  8. #8 |  Frank Hummel | 

    “Four-hour ER visit billed for $20,000.”

    Ha, i can top that. Had an MRI done a couple of weeks ago. The bill was $10,800. That was the “uninsured charge”. My insurance provider had eal with the hospital so the total came doen to about $1800. My part was about $300.

    I understand that one of them machines is expensive but 10k for about 20min? I bet i can get with my wife to Cabo for week get an MRI done in Mexico and still pay less than 10k. Talk about out of control pricing.

  9. #9 |  V-Man | 

    If the hospitals are forced by law to incur significant expenses taking care of people who can’t pay, they will be forced to make the shortfalls elsewhere. Seems obvious to me.

  10. #10 |  Cynical in New York | 

    I’m kinda wondering what Barbour is gaining with these retarded pardons.

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    And the thing that stuns me is the number of people who look at our labyrinthian, screwed up, expensive medical system and think “Let’s put the Government in charge of this. I bet that’ll straighten it out in jig time!”

  12. #12 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m kinda wondering what Barbour is gaining with these retarded pardons.

    Are you thinking “convict on governor blowjobs” or just a sense of divine forgiveness?

  13. #13 |  Deoxy | 

    And the thing that stuns me is the number of people who look at our labyrinthian, screwed up, expensive medical system and think “Let’s put the Government in charge of this. I bet that’ll straighten it out in jig time!”

    See this comment:

    If the hospitals are forced by law to incur significant expenses taking care of people who can’t pay, they will be forced to make the shortfalls elsewhere.

    The government essentially already IS “in charge” of the medical system, hence the incredible mess that it is.

  14. #14 |  Franklin Harris | 

    So, Western civilization is going to die in Greece, too. Circle of Life….

  15. #15 |  Robert | 

    @FridayNext: I’m from north Florida myself, and got to visit Raiford as part of a high school field trip. We heard a lecture from Jack Murphy (Murph the Surf), the jewel thief, saw fresh blood outside the door of the room used as a “prison courtroom,” viewed the dank solitary confinement cells, and got to sit in Old Sparky, the electric chair. They told us they tested the chair by dropping the electric leads into a 55-gallon oil drum full of salt water, and if the water didn’t boil a second or two after the switch was thrown, the chair wasn’t working properly.

  16. #16 |  (B)oscoH | 

    So why wouldn’t they DNA testing before executing the alleged fig plucker?

  17. #17 |  Charlie Potts | 

    “And the thing that stuns me is the number of people who look at our labyrinthian, screwed up, expensive medical system and think “Let’s put the Government in charge of this. I bet that’ll straighten it out in jig time!”

    I don’t see how it could be any worse. Medicare is far more efficient at delivering medical care than the private sector is.

  18. #18 |  (B)oscoH | 

    “(Pig sex isn’t much in vogue these days and probably never was, despite all the hysteria; most zoophiles find themselves attracted to horses and dogs.)”

    Prime example: Matthew Broderick.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Medicare is far more efficient at delivering medical care than the private sector is.”

    You obviously don’t work in the healthcare industry.

  20. #20 |  Jay | 

    #8 – I understand that one of them machines is expensive but 10k for about 20min? I bet i can get with my wife to Cabo for week get an MRI done in Mexico and still pay less than 10k. Talk about out of control pricing.

    -MRI machines cost about 2million to install and nearly a million per year to run [citation needed]. There is only a finite amount of time to recoup those costs before the machines become outdated. It’s a huge benefit to have these machines in every doctors office, but at what cost?

    #17-Medicare is far more efficient at delivering medical care than the private sector is.

    -Ask a doctor how much he likes getting reimbursed at 80 cents on the dollar for medicare patients, and how long they’ll continue to serve our aging population. See if that doctor is taking new patients.

  21. #21 |  jb | 

    #10,
    It’s all about the “one guy is a story, 1000 are a statistic” thing. He’s met these guys, looked into their eyes, and been convinced (or suckered) that they’re reformed and OK, but all the convicts he hasn’t met can go to hell as far as he’s concerned. If Cory Maye was working at the Governor’s mansion, he’d probably get the same treatment. Unless there’s some racist b*&&@#$% going on on top of all this.

    It’s the same principle as corruption-by-networking: “I know this guy, he’s OK, I’ll do something nice for him and screw over the people I don’t know.”

  22. #22 |  Bob | 

    “Four-hour ER visit billed for $20,000.”

    Well of course! Hospitals will mercilessly charge whatever they think they can get away with, while hiding behind the corporate shield of obfuscation and ‘procedure’.

    And since they can apparently lien your property, they have even less reason to care. What are you going to do? Research the rates you will be charged from the ambulance on the way over there? No… Choose ahead of time? Based on what? Average rates? Some dishonest sales pitch?

    They have you by the short hairs and they know it. 20K for an accident? That’s nothing. If you have a heart attack, I think the average cost is like 150K, billed to your insurance provider. There is no incentive for hospitals to reduce costs at all.

    And it’s our own fault. It can cost 500K to 1,000K to deliver a premie baby with issues… we as humans get all “Oh noes! Life is so precious! Do whatever to save my loved one!” Even suggesting something like a “Do not incubate” order on a barely viable infant will brand you as inhuman, when in reality… you can have another one that’s just as human after you recover from the failed attempt. Or adopt. The human race is in no danger of going extinct that way.

    As such, we’ve created an industry that is spiraling totally out of control. Of course, it has a lot of company! Banking, Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, a lot of industries are spiraling out of control. And of course, we have a government who is backing all that by printing USD as fast as it can.

    I don’t think the question is IF it will collapse, but when. 1 year? 2? 5? Definitely within the majority of our life times.

  23. #23 |  Comrade Dread | 

    And the thing that stuns me is the number of people who look at our labyrinthian, screwed up, expensive medical system and think “Let’s put the Government in charge of this. I bet that’ll straighten it out in jig time!”

    Because leaving it in the hands of for-profit insurance companies isn’t exactly going to make things better either.

    We’re sort of damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

  24. #24 |  UCrawford | 

    Per Yahoo on the Barbour pardons, here’s why murderers tend to get a plush gig and face time with the governor…

    Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps told the AP for a 2008 story that the inmates who end up working at the Governor’s Mansion are often convicted murderers because they are the ones who serve long enough sentences to build the trust needed for such a task.

    Perhaps the state should rethink the concept of sticking murderers with life sentences into positions just because they’ve been around the longest. Not that this excuses Barbour for whatever idiotic compulsion made him pardon those guys…at least one of them (Michael Graham) would seem to be a high risk of reoffending, since he stalked his wife for three years before killing her.

    Classy quote from the governor’s spokesman on the pardons as well

    “I have sympathy and empathy for the victims,” Epps said. “I’ve been a crime victim, but the point of the matter is this is just something that happens.”

    Guess that pretty much validates Mike T’s scumbag assessment.

  25. #25 |  Mike T | 

    And it’s our own fault. It can cost 500K to 1,000K to deliver a premie baby with issues… we as humans get all “Oh noes! Life is so precious! Do whatever to save my loved one!”

    And how much of that $500k-$1m is actually a combination of bill padding, cost-shifting between different classes of payers and other market distortions? You won’t even know unless you can get all of the hospital’s records for several years and hire a team of accountants to audit them. Heck, you can ask how much a procedure is going to cost, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be bound to that price as even a ballpark figure which allows them to shift the cost from “those who can’t pay” to those “that can pay.”

  26. #26 |  Mike T | 

    #24,

    “I have sympathy and empathy for the victims,” Epps said. “I’ve been a crime victim, but the point of the matter is this is just something that happens.”

    The only things that “just happens” are acts of nature/God (depending on your religious views). Obviously, this means we can do away with the entire law enforcement system altogether because trying to prosecute nature/God is as productive as pissing in the wind.

  27. #27 |  Mike T | 

    Presumably the psychological makeup of a murderer is different than that of a rapist or thief.

    Murder has always been, and always will be, socially acceptable to a lot of people in some situations. I’m sure you can think of a few cases where a lot of people might murder “he/she just needs killin.” Obvious examples being adultery, someone raping your wife/daughter/sister/mother/etc or killing a loved one without a good reason.

    If a man brutally murdered the guy who raped his wife, you’d probably trust that man around you and your girlfriend/wife much more than a rapist because they’re not at all the same basic personality type.

  28. #28 |  Mike T | 

    *might murder — I mean “might mutter”

  29. #29 |  Jay | 

    #25- Mike,

    Anyone with health insurance that refuses to preauthorize a procedure with their provider and insurance company is begging to be over-charged, or charged retail rates as if they didn’t have insurance. Just sayin’.

  30. #30 |  UCrawford | 

    @Mike T…so I guess the million dollar question is, what made wife killers so socially acceptable to Barbour that he was willing to ignore the decisions of the parole board? I can’t imagine that murdering your wife somehow makes you a standout cook, doing chores or really good at pouring scotch to a degree that it’s impossible to ignore they’re people who beat, stalked and murdered their wives/girlfriends.

    People like Barbour are why liberals believe that conservatives must secretly hate women. In this case, can’t really blame them.

  31. #31 |  UCrawford | 

    On Gary Johnson…I really like him a lot. It’s pathetic that he couldn’t get more/any press time in the GOP race. You’d think a successful two term governor who doesn’t have horrible personal baggage would be attractive to Republican voters, if for no other reason than that most of the other choices in the Republican race are absolutely horrible.

    He’s not the most charismatic speaker (like Ron Paul), he isn’t exactly camera-friendly (like Romney) and he came from a relatively small southwestern state, so I guess that’s just the way it goes.

  32. #32 |  ck | 

    My fiancee recently needed an MRI. Under the terms of our health insurance plan, we are responsible for a deductible and 20% of the procedure cost after that. So, we wanted to shop around to different imaging facilities to get the best value for our money.

    No imaging facility would actually tell us what they charge for an MRI – they said this depends on what the insurance company pays. The insurance company would not tell us, either – they said this depends on the facility (but wouldn’t give us a price even when we named a facility). We had no choice but to just get the procedure done and hope the bill doesn’t bankrupt us.

    I’m not a libertarian, but I am interested in libertarian ideas (which is why I read this site). I’m open to the idea of more free-market approaches to healthcare financing. But for that to work, there needs to be price and quality transparency – otherwise there is no “market” in any meaningful sense. The lack of price transparency in my family’s situation does not appear to have been caused by any particular government policy or intervention. Rather, healthcare industry players simply have all of the bargaining power and no incentive to compete on price (compare also the funeral industry, for example).

  33. #33 |  lunchstealer | 

    First off, never – under any circumstances – go near Texas City. Life is beautiful, don’t throw it away like that.

  34. #34 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Comrade Dread,

    Mark me down as a reactionary, but I’d like to repeal 90% of the legislation that has bee sold as “health care reform” in the last, oh, thirty years, let that run for five years, and see where we are before I sign up for more Government intervention rather than less. I’m 50. I remember a lot of promises. I don’t remember any of them working out all that well.

  35. #35 |  ck | 

    Obama also acted (and it was “acting” for sure) in “It Gets Better” psa while actively discriminating against gays at the company (the USG) he runs.

    “It gets better (speaking to kids who are killing themselves rather than continue struggling against bullying and discrimination). Just don’t join the Army because I’ll discharge you. Oh, and don’t think about marrying your soul mate.”

    What an asshole.

    What would you have preferred that he do? The president doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally end the military ban on gays or legalize gay marriage across the country. He worked to end the ban and was successful. What other power do you think he has?

  36. #36 |  Mike T | 

    #30,

    I would say it’s an extremely serious personal peccadillo of his. That’s probably the only explanation for it. Of course, on the flip side, you have cases like Mary Winkler’s where a woman shot her sleeping husband in the back and claimed “self-defense” and actually got almost not prison sentence, even though her own children testified that they never witnessed any abuse from their father. The deep south can be strange at times when it comes to being tolerant of domestic violence if the perception is the perpetrator was provoked.

  37. #37 |  Juice | 

    The reason health care costs are so high is because there is an artificial shortage of it, overall. Only so many doctors are allowed to graduate each year. The cost of medical school is ridiculous. Doctors have to recoup those costs. Only doctors can do all sorts of things, making the most routine crap really expensive. Only so many hospitals and clinics can be built in any geographic location. All sorts of things are only legally done in those places. Clearing this sort of thing up would go a long way to lowering costs. Getting the government to pay for everything through single payer might reduce costs by fiat, but when there is a shortage of healthcare supply, people will wait in long lines and get crappy service. They already do now and it has more to do with artificial shortage than how the bill is paid.

  38. #38 |  c andrew | 

    Thread jack:

    http://www.todaysthv.com/news/article/189484/288/Court-overturns-New-Orleans-murder-conviction

    Hey, do you think we could get a 3 Strikes Law for prosecutors? If they put 3 people on death row by lying about them to the court and the defense, then they get a trip to death row themselves?

  39. #39 |  picachu | 

    lunchstealer “First off, never – under any circumstances – go near Texas City. Life is beautiful, don’t throw it away like that.”

    I live in Texas City….and you’re right. Just last week the BP plant let something out that was so strong it burned my nose for two days. And I’m damn sure not going to the hospital. If I can’t save enough money to get out of here I’ll probably be dead before I’m 30.

  40. #40 |  Mattocracy | 

    In agreement with Juice. Price is a function of supply and demand. Supply is the part of the equation both parties seem to overlook.

  41. #41 |  Marty | 

    # #10 | Cynical in New York
    ‘I’m kinda wondering what Barbour is gaining with these retarded pardons.’

    It might be nice to have a convicted murderer owe you a HUGE favor.

  42. #42 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Quote Of The Day | 

    [...] Radley Balko: Greece adds pedophiles, exhibitionists, and kleptomaniacs to list of disabilities eligible for state benefits. Sounds like some politicians are ready to retire. [...]

  43. #43 |  Contrarian | 

    Maybe if you hang around the Governor’s mansion long enough you learn some things. Things that other people don’t want known. Things they might be willing to cut a deal to keep secret.

  44. #44 |  Brad Warbiany | 

    For those of us lucky enough to have decent health insurance, reading the paperwork is insane. My 2yo son was recently diagnosed with autism, and so there’s been a LOT more medical stuff to deal with recently than normal. One of those things to deal with is a bunch of blood work.

    I took him to the lab to get it done, and there was a fairly significant number of tests they were running, and I just got the bill last night. Total amount billed to my insurance was nearly $5K. Just for blood tests. I looked at a recent statement from a much cheaper blood test, billed for $145, and the provider got a whopping $15 from my insurance ($0 paid by me). 10% of their quoted rate. What are the odds that my insurance pays only $500 as the allowed amount or so towards the big bill (at no cost or only the 10% out of pocket [$50] charged to me)?

    Your heart sinks when a $5000 medical bill shows up in your mailbox. And that’s for me, with decent insurance that will have little to no out-of-pocket cost on that. For someone without good insurance [and likely thereby a lot less well off financially than I], dealing with a diagnosis like autism for their child, and realizing that they are going to have to pay most or all of that bill? I can only think it’d be terrifying.

  45. #45 |  EBL | 

    If anyone cares: Debbie Wasserman Schultz makes her prediction.

    So does Karl Rove.

  46. #46 |  EBL | 

    And we wonder why the EU is in danger of breaking up.

  47. #47 |  Jay | 

    Brad,

    Do you think it should be required by law to make parents carry health insurance for their children? Should they be liable if a diagnosis is missed due to not having insurance?

  48. #48 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    On medical expenses: Give me the competition (and lack of government intervention) that figured out how to go from a transistor the size of your thumb to several million fitting on a booger and I’ll take my chances that healthcare costs will decline and services will improve.

    So, give me a booger over the state any day of the week. People are dying and being driven into poverty as we adhere to a failed economic and regulatory religion while we have a perfectly good blaster by our side in the form of free market capitalism.

  49. #49 |  Dan | 

    Buddy Holly’s big hit, “Peggy Sue”, was originally titled “Piggy Suey”. Apparently he worked with various sorts of pigs down on the farm,
    and was quite taken with one in particular. The one with the squiggly tail and the ring in her nose.

  50. #50 |  Deoxy | 

    I looked at a recent statement from a much cheaper blood test, billed for $145, and the provider got a whopping $15 from my insurance ($0 paid by me). 10% of their quoted rate.

    These are the sorts of market distortions the free-market types are complaining about.

    The solution is for more people to go “insurance free” (or just have “catastrophic” coverage – that is, just plain insurance that doesn’t have some kind of use-it-all-the-time health-care club attached) and start using the cash-up-front kinds of places that are cropping up. The prices are SO much more reasonable, but they don’t generally take ANY kind of insurance AT ALL (which is why they can just charge less – less busy-work paper-work and less bureaucratic BS).

  51. #51 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Competition is only going to drive down the prices of young, healthy individuals.

    No insurance company out to make a buck is going to bid low to get access to the Senior market, the Middle Aged market, and those with preexisting conditions.

  52. #52 |  Contrarian | 

    “I looked at a recent statement from a much cheaper blood test, billed for $145, and the provider got a whopping $15 from my insurance ($0 paid by me). 10% of their quoted rate.”

    I’ll do you one better. My kid had tests where the bill was $1100. The provider settled with the insurance company for $110 — and paid nothing, I paid the whole $110. So in effect I got a 90% discount simply for having insurance. In most other lines of business this would be illegal, but medical providers have an anti-trust exemption.

    Now, how did these tests come to be? I had the kid in for a regular checkup and the doctor said she was worried about something-or-other (I don’t even remember, the tests all came back negative), let’s test him. Who am I to argue? But if I didn’t have insurance, and this happened to me, I can’t imagine ever goint to the doctor again unless I was obviously dying (assuming I could get a doctor to see me without insurance, a big if).

    In our current system living without medical insurance is not choosing to self-insure — it’s living without health care.

  53. #53 |  Inkberrow | 

    An irony is that many commenters here and elsewhere will deplore Greece’s new policy while continuing to imagine that the Santorum issue (sorry) is different in kind. It’s barely a difference in degree—Greece and Europe perhaps out of sight around a corner down the slippery slope—as the celebrated Penumbras of Privacy inevitably coalesce around a fundamental right to freedom of intimacy.

  54. #54 |  M | 

    Moderate weed smokers thought to have stronger lungs than nonsmokers:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-checkup/post/moderate-marijuana-use-not-linked-to-lung-damage/2010/12/20/gIQAjm3roP_blog.html?wprss=the-checkup

  55. #55 |  JOR | 

    “Murder has always been, and always will be, socially acceptable to a lot of people in some situations.”

    The same is true of theft and rape. It’s always been acceptable to steal from rival clans or tribes; in a “civilized” context this translates to gangs (including law enforcement agencies) rationalizing their robberies as All In The Game, or God’s Work, or whatever. As for rape, not only has it been common and seen as justified in warfare throughout history, but it has (essentially) been the standard sexual relation between men and women until fairly recently – there were marital exemptions in laws against rape into the 1970′s/1980′s (in America, mind, not Afghanistan). Even today there is a sort of masculine cultural undercurrent of “personal responsibility” that often results in victim-blaming (radical feminists call this Rape Culture, hindered as they are by tribal tunnel vision, but it’s really much bigger and deeper than that). A lot of it is just world bias, but a lot of it also is the thoughtless smuggling in of tribal/egoistic norms or moral intuitions under the guise of Logic and Common Sense.

  56. #56 |  lunchstealer | 

    Yeesh! My stepson made a bad tackle during football practice and spent a long weekend in the hospital with 4 fractured vertebrae and a serious concussion. It took an ambulance ride, ER, multiple X-rays and CTs, and a 4 night hospital stay to rack up that kind of bill.

  57. #57 |  lunchstealer | 

    Full recovery, BTW.

  58. #58 |  Dana Gower | 

    More pardons:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/10/4178009/apnewsbreak-outgoing-gov-barbour.html

  59. #59 |  EBL | 

    As livestock, I take exception to being blamed for your urges. Control yourself people.

    And as for Jon Huntsman’s insults, I find two of them very offensive. http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/01/on-primary-day-jon-huntsman-lets-loose.html

  60. #60 |  Hal_10000 | 

    “Four-hour ER visit billed for $20,000.”

    There is zero useful information in that article. What tests did she have done? What condition was she in? What doctors did she see? Is the initial bill or the eventual insurance amount (usually a fraction of the initial charge)?

  61. #61 |  StrangeOne | 

    I would kind of like to see the medical industry completely deregulated. When you take into account the number of people that go without (due to lack of insurance or available medical staff and facilities) vs the number of potential cases of malpractice, I think at worst it would be a wash and more realistically could be a marginal improvement.

    Like a lot of government problems these days medical care has become a Gordian Knot of over-regulation, corrupt incentives, and rent seeking industries. Time to cut the whole damn thing out and start over.

  62. #62 |  Mike T | 

    #46,

    Competition in the healthcare industry in general would benefit seniors, provided it is coupled with increased access to medical training (accreditation is currently crippled by pro-AMA regulations), price transparency and a basic policy of criminalizing obvious cost-shifting between customers.

    What people on the left don’t seem to understand is how fundamentally non-market-like the healthcare industry actually is. Think about it for a moment and you’ll realize that it does not–at all–for the average person behave like a normal market. When was the last time you saw a full break down of all service fees for a medical practice? When was the last time you saw a hospital actually boast of how you can see its “low, low prices” for all of its services on its web site?

    Aside from lawyers, no one else really behaves like this. If I want work done on my house, I can call a builder I know who’ll give me a quote that is accurate down to a few hundred dollars and then go to another builder to see if he can match or beat that. Don’t even waste your time trying that with healthcare.

  63. #63 |  Mike T | 

    #46,

    People tend to underestimate how these factors combined with health insurance has completely distorted the relationship between provider and buyer. Seniors are, as a class, the richest segment of society. They of all people should be able to price shop and find the best deals and bargain hard. However, the insurance cultural norm has made it so that they just buy a policy and the policy “just handles it all for them.” That’s terrible for their position as buyers.

  64. #64 |  Mike T | 

    #50,

    Even today there is a sort of masculine cultural undercurrent of “personal responsibility” that often results in victim-blaming

    A long time ago, my family was listening to Rush Limbaugh rant about the injustice of a particular situation. A middle class woman had jumped over a number of security fences at a zoo to take a close up shot of a big cat. One thing lead to another and the woman died a horrible death. The poor cat was euthanized because of the woman’s abject stupidity and irresponsibility, and Rush Limbaugh found it unconscionable that the zoo was fighting to spend their insurance money for the big cat on the cubs instead of awarding it to her family.

    The point of this is that you sound exactly like Rush Limbaugh when you argue that people who knowingly expose themselves to danger deserve sympathy. Not all victims are created the same. There are enough honest victims who never put themselves in harms way, but harm seeks them out that we don’t have to waste our energy on those who either make no attempt to avoid harm or actively seek out people or things that can bring harm to their doorstep.

  65. #65 |  Radley Balko | 

    The lack of price transparency in my family’s situation does not appear to have been caused by any particular government policy or intervention. Rather, healthcare industry players simply have all of the bargaining power and no incentive to compete on price.

    The lack of transparency in the health care industry is directly related to a bad government policy.

    This story explains it all pretty well:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/

  66. #66 |  Stanely Ketchel, Middleweight | 

    Check out this link to the Clarion Ledger with respect to Hailey the Yazoo Pig Boy Barbour’s pardon list:

    http://www.clarionledger.com/assets/pdf/D0183728110.PDF

    Not just killers, but also armed robbers, kidnappers, burglars and thieves, recidivist DUI-sters including former federal agent Harry Bostick, Gregg Patrick Gibbs DUI killer (the most dangerous of all, their victims are random, unlike wife-killers — who amongst us has not wanted to murder a spouse?)

    It’s true the two legged swine took a pay cut to be goobenor but boy did he make up for it his last day in office. God alone knows how much money changed hands.

    I know, I know. It’s legal. And in his own words, “Anything I have is for sale, except my family.” Don’t make him an offer on one of his completely corthless kids.

  67. #67 |  Stanely Ketchel, Middleweight | 

    errata: should be “completely worthless kids”

    Well they shoudn’t be but they are.

  68. #68 |  KristenS | 

    Here’s the plan:
    1) Move to salubrious Greek island in the Aegean
    2) Run around town nekkid
    3) Profit

  69. #69 |  c andrew | 

    Re: the zoophilia story.

    Does anyone else remember the Tom Lehrer bit about the college man “who majored in animal husbandry until the caught him at it one day…”

  70. #70 |  Sky | 

    Regarding Haley Barbour’s pardons….there were actually 210 of them.

    http://news.yahoo.com/mississippi-governor-pardons-210-including-murderers-rapists-003141488–abc-news.html

  71. #71 |  Deoxy | 

    “Murder has always been, and always will be, socially acceptable to a lot of people in some situations.”

    The same is true of theft and rape.

    Not really. Theft and rape were generally viewed as OK to do against “them” other clans, other countries, etc – basically, “the enemy”, to oversimplify a bit. That is, it was OK against certain targets.

    Killing someone is generally OK in certain situations – self defense, defense of another, property defense. WHO it was wasn’t all that important*.

    * with the obvious exception of social-power issues, where some groups could successfully punish another group for it, even in those cases, but that goes to the “them” point above – abusing “the other” for your own gain, as a group/tribe.

  72. #72 |  ck | 

    The lack of transparency in the health care industry is directly related to a bad government policy.

    This story explains it all pretty well:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/

    Thanks for the link, Radley. I believe I had read that article back when it came out, but it’s a good piece that deserves a second read. However, I’m not seeing where it explains how the lack of healthcare price transparency is caused by government policy. The discussion of price opacity is on page 4, and the only mentions of public policy are these:

    1)

    Keeping prices opaque is one way medical institutions seek to avoid competition and thereby keep prices up. And they get away with it in part because so few consumers pay directly for their own care—insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid are basically the whole game.

    This is plausible, maybe even likely, but the article provides no empirical evidence. And in any case, he is claiming that this causal mechanism is present in private insurance as well as government-provided insurance.

    2)

    It’s astonishingly difficult for consumers to find any health-care information that would enable them to make informed choices—based not just on price, but on quality of care or the rate of preventable medical errors. Here’s one place where legal requirements might help. But only a few states require institutions to make this sort of information public in a usable form for consumers.

    This appears to be decrying the lack of a government policy. Now, I’d support laws requiring medical providers to disclose prices and patient ratings, but then, as I said before, I’m not a libertarian.

  73. #73 |  Mike T | 

    Some of you who are skeptical about the cost-shifting and lack of transparency might also want to look at this:

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=200388

    This sort of collusion and practice cuts down lines that liberals, libertarians and conservatives alike can all agree need to result in swift legislative changes and criminal prosecutions, not more more regulations (it’s like regulating a Colombian drug cartel into a legitimate business instead of regulating a medical marijuana dispensary)

  74. #74 |  Dan | 

    News FLash: Former actor Troy McClure moves to Greece.

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