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October 09, 2007

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Why should anyone have sicced Malkin on them? This idea sounds loathsome enough that her husband could have easily come up with it for her to get her loyal readers to do.

I hate to ruin a froth-festival by injecting a couple of notes of sanity into the proceedings, but...

1) According to the radio address by Graeme Frost, he got hurt in an accident that took place three years ago. Does anyone know how much the Frosts could have sold their home for three years ago? Does anyone know what their asset picture looked like back then? Because as far as I know, you can't pay your hospital bills by telling the doctor you hope to get rich in three years.

Of course, maybe Malkin et. al. oject to the idea that someone who has ever needed assistance can go on and improve their situation. An interesting idea... except that if they'd applied it consistently through history, the United States as we know it would not exist.

2) This discussion does not concern just one twelve year old; it concerns millions of kids. Let's say Graeme Frost's parents could have bought him insurance; does that mean S-CHIP should not exist for millions of other kids?

The financial sense and lack of understanding of small business in the righty side of the blogosphere is teh funny. I believe I just saw someone enraged that the Frosts don't get a home equity line and draw on it every month to pay insurance. Awesome, just awesome. (although it's startingly reminiscent of Bush's economic policy)

Another fave so far, courtesy of Macaca at QandO:

But as Steyn points out, both of the Frosts work (or have worked) for their own company. He's hardly just a 'woodworker' but instead the owner of "Frostworks"

Yep. A name, I hear, is mighty expensive these days. Don't you get it Frost? It's about priorities; instead of buying insurance, you chose to spend all that money on a name.

Does anyone know how much the Frosts could have sold their home for three years ago? Does anyone know what their asset picture looked like back then?

no. who cares. MYOB.

May I be the first to remind everyone that lentils, which can be purchased in bulk for pennies on the dollar, are a nutritious, filling dietary staple?

They can be stored at room temperature.

Few know that lentils, if prepared properly in non-subsidized creek water, also can be used as a salve for massive trauma and injury resulting from automobile accidents.

Few know this because I just made it up.

We can have our cake and eat it too, you see, but if you have cake I would eat it pretty quickly before Michelle Antoinette loses her head over it.

but if you have cake I would eat it pretty quickly before Michelle Antoinette loses her head over it.

*offers the first three comers a truly irresistible coffee cup cake*

(I'm eating the fourth one myself. Yum.)

John: I can vouch for the wonders of lentils. The last time I was well and truly broke -- well, right before I became well and truly broke I bought a very large bag of lentils, one of several that have served me well in times of need. It's fun to watch the meals go from lentils, a little yogurt, a tomato cut up, and some bread down to lentils period, as one extra after another becomes more than I can afford. Even more fun when the 'lentils period' phase lasts for months.

Ah, memories.

(Snarfs Jes' coffee cake, quickly. Hopes it's not made of lentils.)

Granite countertops and glass front cabinets? We are about to redo our kitchen with formica that looks ohsomuch like granite. And many old houses used glass front cabinets. Didn't know these were pricy anyway.
And isn't papa a woodworker? Couldn't the redo been the work of his hands?

papa is indeed a woodworker. And having repaired several windows, I can attest to the fact that glass itself is not that expensive.

I think I saw the photo in question, and it's not clear to me that you could say much more about the counter other than: it's sort of dark. Definitely distinguishing real from faux granite is more than it allows you to do.

If the value of their house has gone from $55,000 to $400,000, I imagine one expense they've seen increase a lot is property tax.

Definitely distinguishing real from faux granite is more than it allows you to do.

on the contrary. they called in some geologists for this, and not only was it determined that it was indeed granite but that it was a granite of such rarity and high quality that people now suspect papa has ties to al-Q - northern Pakistan being the only source for this particular stone.

currently, concerned citizens are attempting to sneak a mass spectrometer into the Frost's house to determine the exact chemical composition of the surface in question - the image from the first scout's cell-phone are inconclusive as to the exact species of mineral, though certain striations suggest the Chitral district as a likely source.

In Malkin's post, Bob at InsureBlog lends his expertise to debunk the Frosts' claim about how much insurance would cost them:

$1200 per month for a family of 6 in Baltimore. Really? What are they smoking?

A check of a quote engine for zip code 21250 (Baltimore) finds a plan for $641 with a $0 deductible and $20 doc copays.

Adding a deductible of $750 (does not apply to doc visits) drops the premium to $452. That’s almost a third of the price quoted in the article. Doesn’t anyone bother to check the facts?

Apparently not.

Apparently in Bob's world all 6-person families are the same, there's no such thing as a preexisting condition, and insurance companies are required to accept anyone. If you want a true answer to how much insurance will cost, 2 minutes of googling by a person who knows nothing about the family will clearly produce a better result than whatever foolishness the Frosts engaged in in their so-called search for insurance. They obviously are failing to buy insurance out of sheer cussedness, or more likely because they've been part of the Democratic healthcare conspiracy for years.

When people published Malkin's address and photos of her home online a while back, wasn't she so freaked out that she moved?

John Cole said it best when he called it a Wingnut Voltron.

Ah, found it, from April 2006:

After nationally syndicated columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin posted the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of three members of Students Against War, they received a flood of obscene and harassing messages from around the country, including death threats. When a liberal Web site, in retaliation, published Malkin's cell phone number and home address, a full-blown blog war ensued.

"I am now forced to remove one of my children from school and move my family," Malkin wrote Thursday in an e-mail to the Sentinel.

Cleek:

I have no particular interest in the details of the Frost's financial situation, now or ever. I just find it absurd disgusting that Malkin et. al. have focused on the economic situation of a family today in relation to a accident for which one of their children needed care three years ago.

In any case, I would say to the Americans that if you want to stop this kind of thing, you have to stop letting it pay off. Encourage your representatives to override the Bush veto. If the noise machine has so little to argue that they have to take on a 12-year-old, you can shut them down.

John Spragge, perhaps i misread your point 1).

Of course, the whole point, which Malkin et. al. seem to want to ignore, is that Gramedid have insurance, via S-CHIP. Given the Frosts' income, their premium was probably not zero.

I lived (renting at that time, unfortunately) in a neighborhood that went from modest middle class to one of the most desirable yuppie neighborhoods in the region over the years we lived there. For the homeowners on our block, it meant very little other than (1) their property tax would go up, (2) nobody they knew could move into the neighborhood.

Malkin et. al. are the types of people who complain about how much it costs to remodel their kitchens while begrudging the people who work on them the ability to own a house, drive a decent car, etc. And god forbid the people who work on their kitchens should have affordable health insurance available for their children.

You guys with your work-safe posts. Heh heh. This is how we express outrage.

Either Malkin's basic 101 reporting skills really suck, or she's being really disingenuous, too. So they were able to find out how much the commercial property was bought for, but not the house itself? If it's not available online because the purchase was too far back, if Malkin could make the drive to Baltimore to walk around the Frosts' neighborhood, couldn't she bother to go to the Baltimore courthouse and look up the real estate transaction?
And to assume a car parked in front of a house in a city belongs to the person living in said house is pretty ass backward too.

That said, is anyone else having irony overload for the rightwingers going after this family for being small business owners, the mother apparently staying home with the kids, and finding ways to send their kids to (gasp) private school?

That said, is anyone else having irony overload for the rightwingers going after this family for being small business owners, the mother apparently staying home with the kids, and finding ways to send their kids to (gasp) private school?

Only everyone who isn't a right-winger.

I agree that if you are going to "fact check" a story like this, it's a good idea to be careful about getting the facts right. And I also agree it's all a bit distasteful.

Still, one might consider the propriety of using a 12-year-old boy to deliver a political address in the first place. I hate this whole argument-by-touching-anecdote Oprah Winfrey style political "argument," and the use of children in this manner is vile and manipulative.

So while you're doing condemnation, you might also condemn the folks who put him in the position to be slimed.

Yes, Cheerful, that would be a good way to bring in false balance and come to a Broderian "pox on both their houses" conclusion.

I'm not a fan of using children as spokespeople, but that sin is nowhere near the same league as Malkin sending her flying monkeys after the kid's family, and it shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath. Besides, I'm not willing to accept that the idea that anyone who makes a public political statement deserves this sort of sliming, even if they're an adult.

Cheerful: Still, one might consider the propriety of using a 12-year-old boy to deliver a political address in the first place.

One certainly might - but not because that "put him in the position to be slimed". It's arguable whether a kid that age has the maturity and experience to consent to being a poster child for legislation, even legislation that affects him very directly: but when I say "arguable" I mean that there is an argument that in that particular instance that particular kid does, as well as there being an argument that no kid that age could appreciate the ramifications of being part of a political campaign. Given that the legislation affected the kid so directly, and that the kid was 12, and the involvement was a radio broadcast, I'm willing to take the parents' judgement that the kid was able to do it.

But I think any decent person, of any political alignment, would agree that sliming a 12-year-old kid for taking part in a radio broadcast to support legislation on healthcare is an unspeakably awful thing to do, and ought to be condemned out of hand.

you might also condemn the folks who put him in the position to be slimed.

blame the victims because wingnuts can't act like adults and control their constant unfocused rage ? fnck that.

"A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”"

Cheerful Iconoclast, shouldn't it be beyond the pale to slime a kid? So I find it hard to condemn the Democrats for putting him in the position to be slimed. And as for the propriety of him delivering the address at all, that seems ridiculous. After all, this is a debate about children's health care. What's wrong with featuring its impact on children? After all, we use kids to sell all sorts of things (movies, dish soap, etc.)--none of which draw condemnation, even though the connection in a lot of cases is far less obvious. I guess I missed the memo where Democrats promised to only use dry statistics to make political points, but the outrageous behavior seems pretty one-sided in this one.

First it was the phony soldiers, now it's the phony kids needing insurance. They truly can't believe that there are actually people out there who need a hand purchasing health insurance.

I actually think the whole dialectical process - both the wingnut sliming and the detailed rebuttals to same - has been educational for me and really serves to reinforce the point of just how typical this particular family is. Any family could suffer serious injuries in a car accident. It's good that we have a program to help them out in their time of need.

First off there’s no excuse for MM’s behavior here. Going to their place of work and their home, talking to acquaintances etc. and posting it all is inexcusable (as KCinDC noted): especially in her case as she claims to have had to pull one of her kids out of their school and move her family due to harassment and threats after a leftwing site posted her cell phone number and home address! So I won’t be attempting to defend her behavior in this.

And I won’t defend any rightwing bloggers for taking this approach without insuring that they had their facts right. OTOH as Cheerful Iconoclast noted, I’d like to see just a smidgen of outrage at the Democrats using a 12 year old child to spout talking points he doesn’t even understand. That was nothing but another classless attempt to play the “ultimate moral authority” card to stifle legitimate debate on the topic. Let’s at least acknowledge that it was the Democrats who pushed this 7th grader into the middle of a rather hot national debate. And the one thing I’ll question the parents on is their judgment in allowing that. That opens the door to ask legitimate questions about the family’s circumstances, but I agree with what I believe Hilzoy is saying here – it’s not out of bounds but you better be darn sure your facts are straight before you publicize them or link to the criticism.

The point those questioning this story seemed to have missed or given very little play: it is irrelevant how much the family’s home or business is worth or whether they own 10 SUVs. The family lives in Maryland, which has no asset test at all. That is a legitimate point to discuss.

MD is the wealthiest state in the union with only the 19th highest population, yet it has the 12th highest (out of 51, DC counted separately) SCHIP enrollment. Anyone else see anything wrong with that picture?

With income eligibility at 300% and no asset test MD is hardly the poster state for Democrats on this issue. They should have chosen a kid from any of about 40 states other than MD.

If you live in one of the many states without an asset test you’re obviously better off having the government pick up the tab for your children’s health insurance and spending that money on home improvements or a new car every couple of years. If you live in Maryland right now with a family of 6 you can make $82,830 per year and have unlimited assets and still qualify.

Pay attention here wingers! With a tiny bit of research you could have pointed all of that out without appearing to slime the kid or the family. That goes double for you MM as you live in MD and should be well aware of all this. Sheeze.

Note that these people belong to the supposedly "pro-life" party. They're no more "pro-ife" than the average planned parenthood donor.

As someone said somewhere on these here internets with respect to these people: they believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.

I’d like to see just a smidgen of outrage at the Democrats using a 12 year old child to spout talking points he doesn’t even understand.

As my redneck daddy used to say, "you can wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first." You'll get no apology from me, not when your side does the same crap time and time again and you give them no grief about it. Or have you forgotten "snowflake babies?" Or practically any other time there's legislation that will affect children, even remotely.

And let's not even get into the issue of whether it's worse to use kids as props or troops as props. Your side has no moral authority to bitch about anything, OCSteve--absolutely none.

Judging expenses for things in the past is seriously risky. I'm about the same age as John Edwards. When I was in college (Friendly State University), in-state tuition was $18/semester hour. No, I didn't misplace a decimal point. (Actually, I started out at an Exclusive Private College. Tuition was 10x as much. Still peanuts compared to today's prices. And the EPC had an explicit policy that "nobody ever left for financial reasons".

College costs are another one of the "luxuries" that have skyrocketed in price since the Reagan Revolution.

Looks like the wingers simply don't care about accuracy in making an argument. There's a name for this.

To me, one of the notable aspects of this situation is that the rightwings bullies who are posting misinformation about the Frosts don't have comments on their blogs. They don't allow anyone to correct them. I'm sure their excuse is that the poor babies would be the target of leftie attacks if they aloled comments--but fear of what wingnuts might say doesn't keep leftwing blogs form having comments. Their real fear is that their self-serving lies will be refuted.

I don't think that modern conservativism should be viewed as a philosophy--it's a personality disorder.

As someone said somewhere on these here internets with respect to these people: they believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.

I don't even know if they're that pro-life. They're in favor of fetuses staying in wombs. But they're opposed to pregnant women obtaining S-Chip (1 of the reasons Bush vetoed the measure), which, you know, would benefit the unborn.

OCSteve: I’d like to see just a smidgen of outrage at the Democrats using a 12 year old child to spout talking points he doesn’t even understand.

Who says the kid doesn't understand, OCSteve? The boy is 12: for three years he's been receiving health care thanks to S-CHIP. Now Bush plans to veto that health care. The notion that for this boy his health care is just a "talking point" that he doesn't understand is really outrageous.

BTW, OSCSteve can speak for himself, of course, but i don't think that the righhtwing is "his side". He isn't doctrinaire.

I think that fact that families who aren't living in boxes under bridges still need help with medical bills is sympomaticic of the decline of the middle classin this country. People with jobs, even relatively good paying jobs can't afford essentials any more. Mmy brother and his wife pay one thousand dollars a month for insurance for thhe two of them. My husband and used to pay nine hundred for the two of us, but I have a unionnjob now and my innsurancedropped to seventeen dollars a months. Middle class just isnn't what it used to be.

Let’s at least acknowledge that it was the Democrats who pushed this 7th grader into the middle of a rather hot national debate. And the one thing I’ll question the parents on is their judgment in allowing that.

This is really only an issue if you assume that any private person making a public statement on matters in the public interest will instantly be fair game for any and all sorts of abuse.

I guess we're there.

Regarding the facts you cite about Maryland etc., I'd like to point out that the Frosts, at $45K/year, are at about 2/3 of the MD median income. I'll also point out that "median" is not the same as "average".

They're also at just over half the 300% of poverty level number you cite for a family of six.

So, you know, they don't have a lot of dough, even if their house is worth a lot more than they paid for it.

It is a big house, I guess they could take in boarders. That's a point Malkin et al seem to have missed.

Living where I live, just outside of Boston, it is in fact not that hard for me to imagine a family of six making $82K, owning their own home, and still finding it hard to purchase insurance privately at a rate they can afford. Especially if there is anything whatsoever in the way of a prior condition. Maybe things are different where you live.

Shocking as it is to say (and it certainly shocks me), in lots of areas in this country $82K just isn't a lot of money anymore for a family of six.

What I really don't get is the conservative / Republican / what have you animus toward anyone getting any kind of assistance from the state -- any state -- unless they're absolutely financially knackered.

Would it be better if the Frosts had to sell their house and move before they got a dime of help?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thanks -

OCSteve and Cheerful Icon seem dangerously close to saying that the kid was asking for it the way he dressed up on radio.

And, substantively, how is it not appropriate to use someone who is directly effected as a spokesperson? It's a lot harder to push such spiteful vetoes as a matter of ideology when you realize that real people are affected. And the real people seem to so often be forgotten in the conservative calculus on such things.

"Their real fear is that their self-serving lies will be refuted."

This is mind-reading. People do and don't have comments for all sorts of reasons, and there are plenty of rightwing blogs with comments, and plenty of leftwing blogs without comments.

Pronouncements on people's "real fears" are an attempt to privilege impossible mindreading as moral righteousness; it's not really terribly attractive.

What will your objection be when someone denigrates you by explaining what your "real fear" is? That they can't know what's in your head? That they're generalizing about every single left-wing blogger and applying it inappropriately to you? That it's a ludicrous form of accusation?

Sorry, those doors will all be closed to you.

"I don't think that modern conservativism should be viewed as a philosophy--it's a personality disorder."

I'm a liberal, not a conservative, but statements of this type are a clear and blatant violation of the posting rules.

Posting Rules: "Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool)."

Specifically verboten are claims along the lines of "conservatives are all X" or "liberals always do Y."

russell: This is really only an issue if you assume that any private person making a public statement on matters in the public interest will instantly be fair game for any and all sorts of abuse.

Yeah. Except that the difference between right and left is, if you google Noah McCullough the only personal attack from a left-winger you find on the front page is clearly (I mean, even to a 9-year-old, clearly) a joke. I ran through earlier pages - there was a small handful of left-wing blogs making fun of the Bush campaign for trotting out a 9-year-old expert, but no personal attacks on Noah himself, no reference to any material other than that he/his family had chosen to make public, and no criticism of his parents for "pushing a 5th grader into the middle of a rather hot national debate". Noah is clearly a gifted child, and there are more recent references to stuff he's doing (and a book he's written).

You want to do a comparitive googlesearch on Graeme Frost, OCSteve?

There are exceptions. There are decent people on the right, and utter creeps on the left. But overwhelmingly, you can see the difference in the way these two kids got treated: there is an ethos in the conservative movement that anyone who stands in their way, regardless of how old they are or how vulnerable they are, can be attacked ruthlessly, and without compunction. There is no evidence for any comparable ethos among liberals.

A question out of my own ignorance: Is it possible to go out and buy medical insurance just for my minor children, and if so, how much does it cost? Everywhere I've ever worked had medical insurance benefits, but the choices were always "employee", "employee plus spouse", and "employee, spouse, plus children". Purchasing insurance just for the kids wasn't a (presumably) low-cost option.

Is there a truly private alternative to SCHIP? I know that in most cases, the SCHIP coverage is actually provided by private insurers, but do those same insurers offer such policies to non-SCHIP applicants?

Incertus (Brian): "you can wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first."

My dad said that too, almost daily - except it wasn’t “spit” in the other hand. As for the rest: I claim no authority moral or otherwise and I don’t recall saying that this behavior was limited to Democrats.


Jes: Who says the kid doesn't understand, OCSteve? The boy is 12: for three years he's been receiving health care thanks to S-CHIP. Now Bush plans to veto that health care. The notion that for this boy his health care is just a "talking point" that he doesn't understand is really outrageous.

Bush vetoed an expansion of the program, not this kids current eligibility. (And I called that wrong as I really didn’t think he would veto it.) The kid knows he received health care that saved his life. Do you really believe he had ever heard of SCHIP before very recently? Do you really think he’s qualified to discuss health care funding on the national stage? Anyone here with children – would you allow and/or encourage your 12 year old to do this? I don’t have kids so I’ll admit I lack any personal experience – maybe putting your kid on the national stage for political points is normal…


russel: Living where I live, just outside of Boston, it is in fact not that hard for me to imagine a family of six making $82K, owning their own home, and still finding it hard to purchase insurance privately at a rate they can afford.

I don’t disagree with that. $12,000 of $82,000 is a substantial chunk. Mostly I wanted to make the point that MD is probably the worst example to highlight in this discussion given that we’re the wealthiest state (we should be able to manage this with no federal funds at all) yet we still have among the highest income cut-offs in the country and no asset test at all. If anything we’re taking advantage of the rest of the country on this.

I didn’t mean to imply that this family should not be eligible – rather, that in this state they could almost double their income and still be eligible (as you note). So there is no family in MD worse off than the Frosts who are not currently eligible, and there are a heck of a lot of other families in MD who are much better off than the Frosts who are also eligible. IMO this family and this state are just the worst possible choice to use to argue for an expansion of the program.

BTW I’m pretty open on income means testing. I wouldn’t want to try to raise a bunch of kids on $82k, or even $100k. And I think it has to be adjusted for local cost of living factors etc. I have more of a concern with no asset test at all and I really think there has to be some limit there. Anyone with common sense would choose to build their assets if the government is going to pay for their children’s insurance anyway. They are not to blame for that – they’d be foolish to pass it up. Maybe we don’t count the house or the first two cars as assets – but I think bank accounts and other financial vehicles should count.

And another question from outside the USA.
How long will the kids be covered by that program? Till they´re 18?
And what happens then?
Given that they´re still not 100% healthy, what are their chances of getting private health insurance as an adult?

Well, I've googled all over the place and I can't find a figure for the Frost's medical bill liability, which might be, I don't know, relevant?

Turns out two of their kids suffered massive brain trauma in the auto accident and one was in a coma for a week.

I noticed one blogger of right-wing persuasion expressed outrage that the Frost's could not pay their own doggone medical bills because one kid's classmates donated $4000 via a fundraiser, which proves the efficacy of charity in paying for the overpriced aspirin on the itemized bill.

By the way, I was in favor of Terry Schiavo's medical bills being paid for by the government rather than having her rubbed out.

Unfortunately, when Michelle Malkin sold her soul she received a mere pittance and thus was exempt from the taxes required to pay the government's bill. Or maybe the money went into unmarked offshore accounts.

At any rate, Schiavo should have been hired by Blackwater to access their company healthplan, their being charitable Christians and all.

Blackwater could hire the Frost kids, too, and defray our costs because, remember, the word "healthcare" does not appear in the Constitution. The words "horseshite", "tumor", and "Ann Coulter" do not appear in the Constitution either, but we seem to have a right to be surrounded by all three of those.

Maybe Coulter'a a penumbra.

Failing that, Schiavo should have received some quotes for health insurance via Google. She could have put the best possible light on her condition, thus reducing her monthly premiums of $74 million dollars.

A higher deductible would have reduced those already discounted premiums.

By the way, I think the Frost's car hit a tree. My sources (voices in my head) tell me the taxpayers of the local municipality will
pick up the cost of the tree surgeon.

My outrage gland runneth over.

The modern day American Right, is a coalition of fascist. I know it’s not proper to call them fascist, for fear of violating Godwin’s Law and all that. Plus, American fascists really hate being called fascist…and God forbid one would never want to offend fascists.

Another question out of ignorance: Is there something in the SCHIP program that prevents the insurance from being canceled? It seems to me that aside from cost and the immense hassle of applying (making sure to detail every doctor's visit and health problem for the past five years), a big problem with buying insurance as an individual is that if you ever have any expensive health problem (so that you start costing more than your payments), the insurance company will do whatever it can to cancel your insurance, ideally doing it retroactively by going through your application with a fine-tooth comb and finding some mistake on it.

I wouldn't mind buying my own insurance (rather than running the risk of being dependent on my current employer forever if something happens) if I had some confidence that the coverage would actually be there if I needed it. No doubt I should stop being so cynical and just trust that the Invisible Hand would never let me down.

OCSteve: And I called that wrong as I really didn’t think he would veto it.

You're such a nice guy that you think Bush can't be as much of a scum-sucking scummy McScumbucket as he really, really is. I recognize that this is why, so I'm not actually mad at you, but COME OFF IT: of course Bush would veto it, because all you had to do was think "what is the scummiest thing to do in this situation?" and that's what President McScumbucket will do.

The kid knows he received health care that saved his life. Do you really believe he had ever heard of SCHIP before very recently?

Is that important? He knows he received health care which saved his life. He may not have known the name of the legislation that allowed him to receive life-saving health care until relatively recently, but... so what?

Do you really think he’s qualified to discuss health care funding on the national stage?

I think he's qualified to get up there and say what he said about it. (More qualified than young Noah was to talk about Social Security, certainly.)

Anyone here with children – would you allow and/or encourage your 12 year old to do this?

It would depend on the kid. Some kids wouldn't be mature enough to handle the attention, or able to do the broadcast without flubbing it/embarrassing themselves. A 12-year-old is old enough that I certainly wouldn't automatically assume they're incapable. (I don't have kids of my own, but I've looked after quite a few.)

I am starting to suspect 'icwhatudo' is a liberal plant bent on proving how clueless the right is on healthcare. He certainly couldn't have done much better if he'd tried.

Note that quite a few states in the US don't even regulate child labor in the entertainment industry - which could get a minor into rather more trouble than a one-off radio broadcast on behalf of the Democratic party. (I mention this as a parallel example of what children in the US are allowed to do with, it is presumed, their parents' consent.)

Final straw for John Cole (I, bsphere). I feel bad for him.


"S-CHIP, the children's health insurance program Bush just vetoed"

... the expansion of which ...

Rilkefan: I feel bad for him.

I feel worse for you. But thanks for the link to an excellent post: I don't read Balloon Juice regularly, but every time I do, I wonder why I don't, if you see what I mean.

Jes: "I feel worse for you."

?

I had no idea Cole was still a registered Republican. From the way he's been talking I figured the last straw had arrived long ago.

Crap!

Last time, I wrote:

Again with the disappearing posts.

Repeat:

But twice in a row?

Third try:

"The modern day American Right, is a coalition of fascist. I know it’s not proper to call them fascist, for fear of violating Godwin’s Law and all that."

Godwin's Law can't be "violated." It's a much-misunderstood observation, frequently referred to by people who have no idea what it says, or who Mike Godwin is.

This is Godwin's Law:

“As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
That's it. Nothing more.

Any "violation" or whatnot is pure garble.

Beyond that, the American Right is no less disparate than the American Left, and as usual, anyone who makes sweeping and universal generalization -- far easier than that is than writing the necessary essays to intelligently distinguish, say, Pat Buchanan from Francis Fukuyama from William Kristol from Ron Paul -- is engaging in analysis that doesn't educate anyone in the slightest, but merely speaks to, again, our constant companion, Moral Righteousness.

I'm sure it's very comfortable, but it's not actually informative to anyone by way of presenting any actual useful information, or insights.

Speaking purely for myself, the more I see a comment thread consisting of invective and moral chest-beating, the less positively I think it speaks of those making such contributions.

Thoughtful analysis would make a pleasant substitute.

Now aren't these caterwauling flying monkeys of the right the same people who were absolutely outraged that MoveOn dared to attack General Petreaus?

Let me see:

A 4-Star General who writes Op-Eds and testifies on policy to Congress vs a 12-year old brain injured child?

Oh, I understand. Obviously, the 12-year old is the one it's all right to attack. We can't allow the General's feelings to be hurt while a 12-year old brain injured child is being allowed to get SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!

They don't call 'em Values Voters for nothing!

Thoughtful analysis would make a pleasant substitute.

In general, I agree with you, but sometimes a subject is so devoid of logic, so insane, so beyond crazy that it makes it nigh impossible to discuss it without launching into invective, ranting and cursing. The arguments made by Malkin, et al, are of that quality. There can be no thoughtful analysis of what they say because there was no thought put into their original argument. The only logical response to that is some version or another of "what the hell goes on in their pointy little heads? and can we stop it before it harms anyone else?"

I had no idea Cole was still a registered Republican. From the way he's been talking I figured the last straw had arrived long ago.

I was holding out hope they could be saved.

They can't. They are in a persistent vegetative state.

"Anyone here with children – would you allow and/or encourage your 12 year old to do this?"

I don't have children, so take this for whatever it's worth, but my answer is that it would depend purely on the kid. I've known lots of quite stupid 12-year-olds, I've lots of average 12-year-olds, I've known quite a few reasonably intelligent ones, and I've known a few brilliant ones.

I'd let the latter two do it, and not the former two, likely enough.

I know that I was damn sure knowledgeable and articulate enough to do such at thing at 12, or at 7, for that matter. But I was extremely precocious and rather atypical. I wouldn't recommend it for most of the other 12-year-olds I was familiar with at that age. But some, yes.

"In general, I agree with you, but sometimes a subject is so devoid of logic, so insane, so beyond crazy that it makes it nigh impossible to discuss it without launching into invective, ranting and cursing."

Understandable, but there are an infinite number of venues to engage in that.

Obsididan Wings is one of the very rare and few exceptions that has rules limiting it. That would seem to be pretty much the end of the story. No "but."

In fairness, Hilzoy's post pretty much incited that sort of reaction. I don't in the least deny that it gives cause to feel outrage and impulses towards expressing it. I just note that I didn't make up the rules, and that this site is not, in fact, intended to be a partisan site for engaging in slurring of people of any given political view, but a site where people of different views, including quite specifically Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals and libertarians, can respectfully disagree. No matter how it fails the ideal, and that therefore a few think the concept should be changed, that is the concept of this blog, after all. It's not Firedoglake or DailyKos or whathave you.

You wanna argue with the rules? Don't take it up with me. I didn't make them.

To be honest, I tend to doubt whether Michelle Malkin, still less any of her busy little elves, really cares a flying about Graeme Frost's health problems, or his family's finances. The main point here, I think, is one of emergency meme-placement for political gain. Whether it is true, fair, accurate, moral, or not: the accepted rightwing "message" has been launched: "The Frost family aren't really THAT badly off: they have a ton of money, and just trying to exploit their kid to shill for socialized medecine". And by the time anyone does any sort of REAL research to disprove this "message", it will be too late: the wingnuts will have already over-blogged and over-linked their version of the story, and the seeds of doubt will have already been planted (albeit mostly in the minds of those already predisposed to Winger Theory anyway).

Oh, and btw, wasn't Michelle Malkin the one who blew a gasket when someone posted her home address on a blog someplace? Frothing and fulminating about Teh Hateful Libruls who had no respect for privacy?

Bush vetoed an expansion of the program, not this kids current eligibility.

Actually, that's debateable OCSteve. Wait, no it's not. The kid's will indeed lose eligibility under the existing program as I understand it.

Grassley rightly pointed out that Bush's plan to increase the program by only $5 billion over five years wouldn't even cover the number of children already in the program.

There are reasons I could get behind a revision to the expansion. But they haven't been offered in defense here.


As for Gary, the interpreter of all things civil.

In fairness, Hilzoy's post pretty much incited that sort of reaction.

Was it Hilzoy's post that incited it Gary? Or was it the subject of the post.

Not vile enough for you? Of all people?

Watch your windows dude.

I'm not so sure that it is an attack on the boy to look at the financial situation of his family, when the financial situation of his family is precisely the issue raised by the boy's response. I don't read right-wing sites (mainly because I can't find any rational ones, suggestions?), so I don't know if the boy himself was ever personally attacked, but Hilzoy's lead-in that he is being attacked in these investigations is unsubstantiated in her post.

On another note, I believe that S-CHIP works like any number of federal-assistance-to-states programs which grant federal funds to states with a fairly broad mandate to use the funds as best befits their specific circumstances. If Maryland has fewer people living at the poverty line than other states, it would raise the eligibility limits to include people with higher incomes until the money is gone. This is the same thing as giving North Dakota a proportional share of national security funding to protect itself from terrorist attack. These situations arise, of course, because members of congress will not vote for the programs if their states don't get a "fair" share.

so, what would someone have to do to give Frost a good shot at winning a slander suit ?

Dunno if anyone else mentioned this, but owning a valuable home, if you aren't willing to sell it, doesn't mean you're wealthy. My family was nearly identical to the Frost's in many ways--my dad is a contractor, built our house from scratch, mom doesn't make much more, etc. But if you're not willing to sell or refinance, it just means you have to pay more in taxes.

Being a contractor is not so great either. I don't know how many of these bloggers have been self-employed, but it sucks. Right wingers complain about double taxation, right? Well, as a contractor, if you make more than $400/yr, you have to pay self-employment tax on that, then you add that to your income and pay income tax on it again. It's a pain.

OCSteve: You've done a good job of making the best argument I can imagine against the CHIP program in Maryland, without sliming or attacking Graeme Frost in the least. That proves that anyone can debate this issue rationally without sliming a twelve year old kid and his family. This in turn suggests to me that those doing the sliming did so out of pure malice. From the Federalist papers to the Lincoln-Douglas debates the Michelle Malkin and Michael Savage, political discourse in the United States has gone down very quickly.

As for "outrage" against the kid's parents, I really see no basis for outrage. I believe everyone, including children, has a right to speak out about what policies mean to them personally. Most democratic constitutions guarantee this right. If such a person makes a morally compelling case, maybe you should consider changing your opinion. At the very least, nothing justifies the slime campaign against Graeme Frost.

Generally: I'll say it again, if you don't want this sliming to happen, you have to make sure it doesn't work. Michelle Malkin will clearly eat all the moral outrage the American left can serve up; you have to make sure she eats Bush's first veto override with it as well.

[...] As for Gary, the interpreter of all things civil.

[...]

Not vile enough for you? Of all people?

Hmm? If you'd like to accuse me of having said something vile somewhere, please do go ahead and quote it, and make the accusation, rather than merely insinuate. I'm unaware of having ever violated the posting rules, but perhaps we all missed it.

I assume you'll also keep in mind the requirement to not engage in personal attack, but rather to discuss issues of substance or policy.

What's on your mind, sir?

John Spragge: "That proves that anyone can debate this issue rationally without sliming a twelve year old kid and his family."

... that anyone smart and diligent can ...

Dunno if anyone else mentioned this, but owning a valuable home, if you aren't willing to sell it, doesn't mean you're wealthy.

Isn't that precisely the right-wing argument when it comes to the estate tax opposition?

Isn't that precisely the right-wing argument when it comes to the estate tax opposition?

Except there the "wealthy" person is dead, and likely has other concerns other than remaining "wealthy."

Ugh, why do people on my side have to be vile?

yeah, Ugh, why?

Huh?

"Isn't that precisely the right-wing argument when it comes to the estate tax opposition?"

Isn't the cut-off $3 mil or so? Ok, that's just a snazzy but non-mansion large-family-sized house in the nicest part of Palo Alto, but ...

Oh, not referring to me but to the exasperation. Maybe I should get a new handle...

Okay, that was pretty funny. I was scratching my head for a few minutes.

I get the same thing when bloggers use Newspeak.

And was that a trick question, Seb? :-)

I'm tempted to join in playing "Who's on first," but I believe it's merely coincidence that Sebastian made an exclamation following someone who happens to have adopted that exclamation as his cogomen.

Otherwise I'd either join in demanding that Ugh surrender the answer, or regret that we have no regular commenter using the name of "Ick."

Isn't that precisely the right-wing argument when it comes to the estate tax opposition?

That argument is pretty thin when there's a $2 million exemption off the top. If someone inherits a $5 million house, I'm comfortable with requiring them to pay long term capital gains on the $3 million above the exemption, even if it means they might have to sell the house to pay for it.

And I would also note that the argument of "you should have to sell your house in order to provide healthcare to your children" carries more weight than "you should have to sell your sizable family business in order to pass millions of dollars on to your heirs."

Maybe there's some hypocrisy in there, but we're realy not talking about the same underlying issue/problem.

Ugh, how about "Ugh_" in honor of our absent founder?

That argument is pretty thin when there's a $2 million exemption off the top. If someone inherits a $5 million house, I'm comfortable with requiring them to pay long term capital gains on the $3 million above the exemption, even if it means they might have to sell the house to pay for it.

Well, the estate would pay 55% on the $3 million above the exemption (not sure if the exemption is $2 million but doesn't matter for purposes of the example), not the 15% capital gains rate. If the estate didn't have enough liquid assets it would have to sell the house in order to pay the taxes, or borrow the funds using the house as collateral. The heirs would then get a step up in the basis of the house to its $5M FMV, although it would be encumbered by the debt.

Ugh's suggestions for estate tax reform:

(i) lower the marginal rate to the top ordinary income rate;
(ii) make the exemption to $5 million and index for inflation;
(iii) heirs receiving the property get a step down in basis to zero, not a step up to FMV; and
(iv) eliminate valuation discounts (this may be hard to do).

Sorry I actually use the word 'ugh'. I sometimes forget we have a commenter by the same name. Did your parents hate you? It seems like such a strange name.

"Did your parents hate you?"

His name is actually "Sue", and it's a sign of love.

I think we need commenters named "Sorry", "Wow", "the previous commenter", "Posted by:", "Guiliani", and "September 11".

"His name is actually "Sue", and it's a sign of love."

So his parents were both lawyers?

"although it would be encumbered by the debt"

This paragraph would make sense to Jane Austen but it's over my head.


When I think that we probably came close to learning about SCHIP vs selling (the sliver not owned by the bank of) our house, I get the heebie-jeebies.

"So his parents were both lawyers?"

I'm not sure if "dirty, mangy dog" is country slang for "lawyer", and Cash isn't around to ask.

Ugh, why do people on my side have to be vile?

Not just on your side. Leading pundits and commentators. Sure, there's crazies on the left. Can't think of any of ANY prominence that would smear a 12 year old.

In fact, if I remember correctly both sides of the ole' aisle were recently faced with some dubious statements regarding American soldiers. I can't recall which side denounced it, and which side praised it....

Everyone's different, but sooner or later there comes a point where you look around and see all the vile and despicable people that agree with you, and have to question how you and they ended up on the same side. Maybe there was some sort of mistake....

Well, the estate would pay 55% on the $3 million above the exemption (not sure if the exemption is $2 million but doesn't matter for purposes of the example), not the 15% capital gains rate.

You're right, it's the inheritance rate not the capital gains rate, though right now it is a moving target. The top rate is I think 45% and the exemption is $2 million right now, but in 2011 the law sunsets. Still, if the exemption is $2 million, going up to $3.5 in 2009 or something, I'm comfortable with taxing the rest, even at 45%. Revenue has to come from somewhere, and as Warren Buffet says, the estate tax does have positive social value.

I'm not so sure that it is an attack on the boy to look at the financial situation of his family,

Hey, maybe somebody should give that a try -- looking at the actual financial situation of the family. Because none of these nutcases so far has done anything approaching that.

Sebastian: Have you carefully considered the possibility that maybe these people aren't really on your side?

I think we need commenters named "Sorry", "Wow", "the previous commenter", "Posted by:", "Guiliani", and "September 11".
Also, someone named "thanks," and someone named "also."

Someone named "I" and someone named "me" would also enliven things.

Could we also have someone using "Giuliani," though?

Gary,

Fascism is rarely a majority phenomenon. In all liberal democratic Western nations where fascism has dominated the political culture and eventually ruled, it was the “pragmatic” and “middle-of-the-road” and conservatives who all acquiesced (grudgingly or whole-heartedly). The methods and techniques of the various fascist organizations were always brutalizing and thuggish, however the “moderates” found them more desirable than wimpish liberalism or tax-stealing socialists. This phenomenon has not been replicated on the Left.

Although I’m open to be corrected.

"Fascism is rarely a majority phenomenon."

Be that as it may, it doesn't make "The modern day American Right, is a coalition of fascist" into either an accurate or interesting observation, or even a coherent one.

"In all liberal democratic Western nations where fascism has dominated the political culture and eventually ruled, it was the 'pragmatic' and 'middle-of-the-road' and conservatives who all acquiesced (grudgingly or whole-heartedly). The methods and techniques of the various fascist organizations were always brutalizing and thuggish, however the 'moderates' found them more desirable than wimpish liberalism or tax-stealing socialists."

I agree, and that's a perfectly reasonable observation, which brings something to the table, unlike "[t]he modern day American Right, is a coalition of fascist."

My suggestion of "Guiliani" was of course intentionally misspelled, since I think I've corrected people on that here before. I thought about changing it to "'Guiliani' [sic], and 'Guiliani [sic]', and 'September 11'".

OCSteve: About Maryland, I think it would be interesting to see a breakdown of income here, showing how much, say, each decile of the population makes. It might just be living in Baltimore, but from here it looks like a bunch of wealthy people and a bunch of very poor people. In which case, the mean could be fairly high, and the number of people needing help with medical insurance pretty sizeable. I could be wrong, though, which is why I'd like to see the stats.

Wonkie: there are conservatives here -- Seb, OCSteve, G'Kar (insofar as he identifies as conservative), etc. -- who don't seem to me to suffer from any sort of personality disorder. So probably a narrower and more accurate statement would have been better.

John Cole: Howdy! And welcome to the dark side!

Jay C "To be honest, I tend to doubt whether Michelle Malkin, still less any of her busy little elves, really cares a flying about Graeme Frost's health problems, or his family's finances. The main point here, I think, is one of emergency meme-placement for political gain."

This is pretty much exactly right. For a long time, much of the right wing punditry and spokepersons, and even Congressional leadership have participated in the "destroy the credibility of the messenger and then we don't have to actually counter the message."

Whether it was Durbin, Kerry, Gore, Rather, Colbert, Fox, and now the Frost family, they are too lazy to actually attempt a counter to what was said. What matters is character assassination, not the facts being presented by whomever is at the end of their tirade.

I tend to doubt whether Michelle Malkin, still less any of her busy little elves, really cares a flying about Graeme Frost's health problems, or his family's finances.

"Tend to doubt"?

Don't tend, don't doubt. She's an evil person, by any reasonable definition of the word "evil."

As I indicated in a posting on the Lawyers, Guns, & Money site, many of the rightwingers who've attacked this family show an astonishing ignorance of how middle class people make ends meet (mortages, financial aid, and the like). Since they completely lack the polish that one associates with great wealth, I'm becoming more and more convinced that large numbers of them really are just losers banished to their parents' basements. How else can they not know this stuff? Does someone else have a better explanation?

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