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March 08, 2010

Comments

I don't think that logic works Eric. If the insurance you have is adequate, I have never questioned that, then knowing wealthy people have better insurance doesn't necessarily trnslate to "wildly unpopular". That is a big leap. It doesn't change the dynamic of limiting the market choices.

The fact is that the NHS has provided good enough healthcare to keep any serious move for privitization. It is discussed though.

That is a big leap. It doesn't change the dynamic of limiting the market choices.The fact is that the NHS has provided good enough healthcare to keep any serious move for privitization.

But what are you saying ultimately? That the NHS has delivered such a good product, that the only viable private options are for luxury level add-ons that interest roughly 8% of the population. That no one can compete with the NHS otherwise because it does such a good job at affordable rates?

This would not seem liks a negative, but rather a tremendous positive.

By the way, as it stands in the US, the market doesn't provide much affordable private insurance either. Most people are either covered by the government (Medicare and Medicaid and SChip) or their employers aided by substantial government subsidies.

But there aren't alot of attractive, affordable private plans - especially if you are a bit older or have a pre-existing condition (with the latter leaving you out entirely). Talk about market failure.

Marty,

Basically, that is why the privates are afraid of the public option. They will have a very hard time competing against a public plan that doesn't have to pay astronomical executive compensation, dividends, advertising and costs of gauging who to cover and at what cost.

They fear that a public option will prove so attractive that people will choose it, over their plans.

That, of course, is the market talking.

The difference Eric is that the NHS actually delivers care, fixes prices and susidizes with taxes as long as you use their system. I doubt that executive pay is any substantial part of cost for 260M people covered, for example.

Having one adequate choice is better than nothing, thus my stance on Medicare for the uninsured. It isn't the equivalent of creating truly competitive delivery choices.

Marty: Having one adequate choice is better than nothing

From an American living in the UK:

Having just survived a life-threatening medical experience I can only express my thanks to the NHS; from the National NHS helpline which determined that an ambulance was required, to the paramedics who were knocking on the door within five minutes, to the multitude of medical staff who struggled to find the cause of my condition. The latter used a variety of examination procedures including an ECG, X-ray and full body-scan to identify the problem and start the treatment that saved my life.

It isn't the equivalent of creating truly competitive delivery choices.

Because obviously, when you're ill, the first thing you want to think about is how much your treatment is going to cost and whether you should ask for paramedics from the nearest hospital or the cheapest one.

Seriously, Marty? You're telling us that if you have internal bleeding in the middle of the night you want to visit pricecompare.com before you call 911?

"Because obviously, when you're ill, the first thing you want to think about is how much your treatment is going to cost and whether you should ask for paramedics from the nearest hospital or the cheapest one.

Seriously, Marty? You're telling us that if you have internal bleeding in the middle of the night you want to visit pricecompare.com before you call 911?"

Seriously? Thats your criticism of competitive healthcare? That I wouldn't know who to call in an emergency? That competitive healthcare wouldn't make sure I got appropriate emergency care?

Seriously?

No, Marty, I'm being sarcastic.

Your sky-in-the-pie notion that the best way to get good healthcare is to apply market forces is too silly to deserve any serious response.

I'm sorry I didn't make that clearer in my initial comment: I was mocking your foolishness.

But trying to explain what is wrong with the idea that the commercial market is a good place to buy healthcare, or the idea that competing to be more profitable will improve any healthcare service, would have taken a lot longer, and would have felt a bit like trying to explain in small words to a college student why it's important to study for your exams and why you need to attend lectures and tutorials sober.

"But trying to explain what is wrong with the idea that the commercial market is a good place to buy healthcare, or the idea that competing to be more profitable will improve any healthcare service, would have taken a lot longer, and would have felt a bit like trying to explain in small words to a college student why it's important to study for your exams and why you need to attend lectures and tutorials sober. "

It would be great to interact with you if you could avoid that sarcasm, the intentional insult just at the edge of the posting rules and the direct name calling.

Some of the content you post is interesting and informative despite your pretentious and judgemental attitude in every comment where someone has disagreed with you.

I am going back to avoiding and ignoring you but I thought I would point out why.

It would be great to interact with you if you could avoid that sarcasm, the intentional insult just at the edge of the posting rules and the direct name calling.

I'm sorry I'm not patient enough to explain why you have to show up to lectures and tutorials sober and why it's important to study.

But I'm also sorry you're not smart enough to figure out that if you really feel you'd get better healthcare in a system where providers were competing for profit, you would do better in the hurly-burly of free argument if you were able to explain why and justify it with examples.

(You can't do so, because there are no examples and no explanation: the only way to make such a silly argument is to assert it from personal faith, like a student claiming that he doesn't need to study or stay sober to graduate with honors, he just will.)

I am going back to avoiding and ignoring you but I thought I would point out why.

You can't cope with someone who insists you substantiate your assertions... and when you can't do so, mocks you for continuing to assert them.

Yeah. Well, I can understand that. Of course, you could consider trying to substantiate your assertions with actual facts... but when you have no facts, I can see that's hard to do.

" mocks you for continuing to assert them."

And you do this with seeming impunity here at OBWi. I believe that the fact that you openly express that you do and will do this is a direct violation of the posting rules.

I can cope, I think the rules say i don't have to.

Treat Me Like a Dog: What Human Health Care Can Learn from Pet Care

In fact what the 8% represents is that very few people can afford the expensive and preferable private insurance.

What percentage of Americans with employer-subsidized health insurance reject it and instead purchase more expensive but better coverage on the open market? I'll bet it's well under 8 percent.

"What percentage of Americans with employer-subsidized health insurance reject it and instead purchase more expensive but better coverage on the open market? I'll bet it's well under 8 percent."

I think you are probably right for the same reasons the 92% don't. It's good enoough and the employer pays some percentage of the cost.

Yeah, kind of like the recent recommendations on breast cancer screening: Stop doing so much of it, it might be saving individual lives, but it's costing too much

Actually, I believe that the real recommendations had to do with false positives. For example, with a low enough incidence, it's actually possibly to do more harm with testing and initial treatment of false positives than the good that's done with the screen.
I don't have to agree with it, but that's their rationale.

The new recommendations, which do not apply to a small group of women with unusual risk factors for breast cancer, reverse longstanding guidelines and are aimed at reducing harm from overtreatment, the group says. source

But keep up the mindless demonization, it's fun to watch.

It has been amusing to follow these comments. I have participated in the private American medical insurance system for over 50 years and my family members as well. And while, as I have noted on numerous occasions, there are many inadequate aspects in need of attention, I would not discard it for the one choice of a federally administered system. I like to choose my doctors, my treatments, the timing and the facilities where I go for treatment, and I have always been able to do this. I had aortic stenosis that required replacement of the aortic valve. The timing and the materials used to replace the valve have lifestyle effects (one should go as long as possible before surgery because it is desirable that it last and not have to be repeated and, in my case, since I am in otherwise excellent condition and like to continue athletics, I did not want a metal valve requiring blood thinners for life.) I had more than one medical opinion that the time for surgery had arrived and I chose to have it done in Arizona although I lived in Utah, since it was to be done in winter. My preference is for choice and I sense the potential to lose that as more and more of this process gets taken over by Washington. Would I have been able to do things this way in the NHS?

I believe that the fact that you openly express that you do and will do this is a direct violation of the posting rules.

And I believe that any forum in which sarcasm is a "direct violation of the posting rules" would be a miserable, wretched, wasteland of pious verbiage, dry of amusement though full of tempting mirages posing as shimmering puddles of cool reason.

A propos of nothing, I am reminded of the learned linguist who is lecturing on the various forms of negation in different languages. In some languages, he says, a double negative is a positive; in others a double negative is merely a more emphatic negative; in no language is a double positive anything but a positive. Some wiseguy in the audience yells out, "Yeah, yeah."

--TP

Good Ole Boy: Would I have been able to do things this way in the NHS?

You would have been able to decide when you wanted the surgery - obviously: that's a basic. (You would likely have received stronger and stronger advice that you really needed it now as the years passed, because they would have wanted to treat you as an elective rather than as an emergency patient.)

You would not have been able to pick out the specific date and time: you would have been told roughly how long you would have to wait for a date (which would correspond with how urgent your need for surgery was) and you would have been able to specify at the time what dates were impossible for you.

You would ordinarily have been operated on by the consultant surgeon to whom you were referred by the consultant who put you on the waiting list for surgery: you could have refused that specific surgeon, and yes, you could have asked to be referred out of region (the NHS phrase is "Out of Areas Treatments, OATS). There's a NHS PDF outlining a typical NHS process for OATS.

The NHS works as effectively as it does because it's much easier to assess and provide for needs in a large population. You may not know who'll need a replacement of the aortic valve in the coming year, but you can pretty closely predict how many.

Any patient has a right to ask to be referred to any hospital or consultant capable of providing the treatment they need.

But, you're more likely to get a sympathetic/helpful response from the various people involved in transferring you out of region if you have a medically valid reason for picking one region over another.

That reason could include "I have no support system in Utah, but if you refer me to Arizona, I can go stay with close family after the operation".

If you had a really frivolous reason - "If you refer me to Arizona, I can go see the Grand Canyon while I'm recuperating!" - your local health care provider would be unlikely to be sympathetic.

But it partly depends on the treatment - if it's sufficiently common that all NHS regions know they'll have a large number of patients needing it and plan their resources accordingly, or if it's sufficiently inexpensive that it doesn't matter much where you have it, it's a lot easier to get transferred.

If there's exactly one surgeon in each region who can do the surgery and s/he plans the waiting list like a chess game with Deep Thought so that everyone who needs the treatment gets it in good time, you may just not be allowed to disrupt everyone else's need for care.

...it occurs to me that (anecdotally) any time I've heard of someone who wanted to be treated outside of the region in which they live, they've always ultimately managed to get to be treated where they wanted.

Nut, the most likely reason for a NHS region refusing a transfer (the patient can always appeal) is that it's "low volume, high cost" - not many people need the treatment in any one region, and most people find it most convenient just to be treated where they live. So there aren't going to be that many people who wanted to be treated elsewhere and didn't get their wish... and I have no idea if aortic valve replacement is one of those "low volume, high cost" treatments. (Though, ultimately, if a person really wants to be treated by a consultant in another region, I think the last-ditch strategy would be to physically go there, find somewhere to stay, and insist that you'e being treated there.)

Sorry to keep coming back to this - I'm wandering round the house finding things to put in the electrics box I'm throwing out, and thinking about my dad - the NHS has, in the past five years, saved his life, his eyesight, and his ability to be as active and fit as your average sixty-year-old (he's eighty-one) - and about personal liberty.

What it boils down to is:

The NHS will, as far as the shared resources allow, let each individual determine the course of their own treatment and the quality of their own life. GOB would be free to decide he'd rather risk death waiting for a place to open up on the Utah waiting list than be operated on in a timely fashion in Arizona: he would be free to put his own personal whims ahead of his need to stay alive and healthy, if that was his choice.

What GOB would not be free to do, in the UK, is put his own personal preferences about where he was operated on ("I prefer Arizona in winter to Utah") ahead of other people's need to stay alive and healthy.

Which he would be able to do in the US, assuming he had more money/more health insurance than the other people who'd also like to be operated on in Arizona, not out of personal preference but just because that's where they live.

I see that as a feature of the NHS system, not a bug, but that's because I think that "Give me liberty or give me death!" is a noble statement only when you are referring to your own death, and not when you are referring to other people's deaths.

YMMV. HTH. HAND.

I consider my penchant for liberty to be a product of the American tradition and it is difficult to cause me to have negative feelings about that since ancestors in all my family lines were here when the United States was formed and I came through the public school system before teaching such radicalism was extinguished.

Someone earlier suggested that it was merely an exercise of their freedom to partake of health services paid for by their fellow Americans. Since taxation is a form of coercion and that coercion diminishes the freedom of those being coerced, it really stretches my imagination trying to agree with that concept of freedom.

Oh, it's James Madison's birthday. Most people acknowledge that he had some on the spot understanding of the original meaning of the words in the Constitution.

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite"
--James Madison

Several states have groups active work to revive the long dormant Tenth Amendment. State governors and legislatures and federal senators have for a long time neglected their responsibilities in favor of receiving federal revenue sharing dollars and states' sovereignty has suffered as a result. Walter Heller, who was Chairman of the Council Of Economic Advisors (I think that was the title) once said, when the debate over proposed federal revenue sharing was raging, that it would not likely hurt the states. I hope he's looking down now. He was probably thinking only economically and not politically. That was also a time when the federal coffers were bulging due to a rapidly growing economy and a very progressive income tax was in place. Those circumstances were probably a big plus for the enactment of Medicare back then. Big economic difference today.


GOB: Are you as principled when it comes to war making powers?

it is not 1780. times have changed. the country, how it is run, and how it is structured have changed.

we can no more go back to Madison's vision of the US government than we could go back to Madison's vision of the borders of the US.

GOB: Several states have groups active work to revive the long dormant Tenth Amendment.

The problem with the tenth amendment is that it states, essentially, nothing. It provides that:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So, what are the powers that are delegated to the United States? Well, to find that out we have to look at the text of the Constitution and, if you think the text of the constitution delegates power X, that is the end of the matter, there is no reason to look to the 10th amendment.

I've said this before here (I think) that the 10th amendment is much like the useless savings clause in royalty contracts with respect to copyrights/patents, which typically states something "Any rights not granted to the licensee in this Agreement are reserved to the licensor." Well, duh, as the licensor you retain all rights that you haven't given away! But to determine what you have given away we need to look to the other provisions of the contract. If those other provisions indicate have given away right X, then the savings clause is meaningless, if those other provision indicate that you have not given away right X, then the savings clause is meaningless.

Such is the 10th amendment.

It has been amusing to follow these comments.

You can say that again, GOB. Why, just now you asked Jes a series of detailed questions about the NHS -- I mean, for a minute there it was as if you were actually interested in the answers! Absolutely side-splitting.

Then when Jes goes to the trouble of answering your detailed questions with a series of even more detailed answers, you ignore her and go back to your tedious abstractions about your "penchant for liberty" and James Madison and "taxation is coercion."

My sides are aching.

And that's the health care reform "debate" in this country in a nutshell. Pure comedy gold, I tell ya.

Extra bonus points for this:

I consider my penchant for liberty to be a product of the American tradition and it is difficult to cause me to have negative feelings about that since ancestors in all my family lines were here when the United States was formed and I came through the public school system before teaching such radicalism was extinguished.

There's never a wrong time to work in a little fact-free dig at public education. I hear in the public schools today all the kids have to sing "All Hail the Dear Leader Obama" in Swahili.

Anyway, your family history explains a lot. My grandfather came over on the boat from Calabria in 1904. He couldn't possibly have understood liberty the way you do.

'GOB: Are you as principled when it comes to war making powers?'

I say 'yes', with a caveat. Without acting as if I'm anything more than an average citizen, I feel more comfortable dealing with domestic governing issues. Foreign policy and military conflict are, to me, much more complicated. That is a reason again, for me, that federalism is such an important concept. The domestic matters that the federal government is deeply involved in, to the point of almost total distraction (witness the last 14 months and health care legislation), could be done by state governments. Then, a president and presidential advisors could devote themselves to matters for which the federal government has clear constitutional responsibility.

Yes, the "federal government" but actually with Congress taking much of the responsibility and control of war making. At least, if we're quoting Madison.

But from your opening volley on this thread, I wonder where you stand on this?

'The problem with the tenth amendment is that it states, essentially, nothing. It provides that:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'

Ugh, are you and Mr. Madison (who was there) saying the same thing?

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite"
--James Madison

"if those other provision indicate that you have not given away right X, then the savings clause is meaningless.

Such is the 10th amendment."

I think this is accurate with one exception. The tenth amendment reminds us that it is the states ceding rights to the federal government, not the other way around, thus the states retaining all of them not specifically granted.

It seems to me, that is that portion of the contract that is the least broadly understood after 200 years. The people grant the states rights, then the states grant the federal government rights with a very specific set of rights and responsibilities for the fed originally articulated.

I consider my penchant for liberty to be a product of the American tradition

Your "penchant for liberty" and the particular ways it expresses itself are, in fact, solidly in the mainstream of an American tradition.

Government should first and foremost stay of out your hair and leave you the hell alone. If you need something you will get it for yourself, and everyone else should do the same.

It's not, however, the *only* American tradition.

Other American traditions include the polity as commonwealth, where government exists to further the broad common good, rather than the good of a few.

Other American traditions include the "we're all in this together" ethic that got my parents and grandparents through the great depression and WWII.

Your point of view represents a personal and cultural preference. It does not represent "the American tradition" because the American tradition is plural.

It is now, and it was when the Constitution was written. In fact, it was plural *before* the Constitution was written. Hence the annoying proliferation of squirrely, imprecise, non-specific language in that document.

You have a point of view. Noted. So does everyone else. Yours is not more "American" than any of the rest of us here who are posting from the US.

GOB: Ugh, are you and Mr. Madison (who was there) saying the same thing?

Consider me James Madison with an extra couple hundred years of history behind me. "Commerce," among other things, is not what it once was. Nor are the "Indian Tribes."

Marty: The tenth amendment reminds us that it is the states ceding rights to the federal government not the other way around, thus the states retaining all of them not specifically granted.

Right, but to figure out what rights have been given away we have to look to the other provisions of the constitution. If you think that the right to regulate "Commerce...among the several States" allows Congress to require people to buy health insurance, then no amount of pounding on the 10th Amendment will help, it's been delegated to the United States!

Marty" The people grant the states rights...

I think you would find several votes on the current Supreme Court that, absent the 14th amendment, the states could do whatever they wanted to "the people" so long as it was allowed by state court judges.

Consider me James Madison with an extra couple hundred years of history behind me.

And an inferior haircut...

Anyway, your family history explains a lot. My grandfather came over on the boat from Calabria in 1904. He couldn't possibly have understood liberty the way you do.

In my case, grandmother, and from Emilia Romagna. Her name's on a plaque in Ellis, my uncles bought it for her.

My old man's people were Border Scots, they came over much earlier, mid-18th C, to South Carolina, as indentured servants.

Hey, I'm a good old boy, too! Or at least, the son of a good old boy.

But clearly I don't have the background to properly understand the concept of liberty.

I must have come through school after the radicalism was extinguished.

russell: the American tradition is plural

Something not said nearly often enough.

There are a few areas where you can cloak yourself in the Constitution and claim righteousness. The 10th Amendment is not really one of them, because it's a matter of interpretation and not a plainly stated principle.

But what I find sort of funny about the idea that states should have more power is that we already have a great example of a large region with a weak federal government with limited revenue-gathering and -distribution powers and most powers devolved to the individual states.

It's called Europe. Is that really the ideal model for the US? States squabbling over who has to bail out whom? Nationalist sentiments that prevent pragmatic actions to maintain economic stability? A very weak foreign policy because states cannot be made to agree on action. and the federal government lacks economic clout of its own? A largely unaccountable government because people pay no attention to federal elections?

Even Europe doesn't like the European model. That this idea is being held up as an ideal by conservatives who are always talking about European inefficiency is bewildering.

GoodOleBoy: Since taxation is a form of coercion and that coercion diminishes the freedom of those being coerced

Ah. Folks, the moment this kind of mindless flaming garbage comes out of what passes for the mind in an Internet libertarian, you know you are in the presence of someone who isn't worth trying to talk to because he hasn't managed to get past the mental level of the six-year-old who reads Wind in the Willows and never wonders which brewer bottled beer in mole-sized bottles.

There, there, GOB. Someday you'll grow up and then you will understand that things have to be paid for: that living in a country under government means, for the grown-ups, being willing to pay for the benefits you receive, not moan like a six-year-old who thinks it's not fair his allowance got stopped to pay for the window he broke.

My maternal grandmother was Calabrese. We should share a plate of olives sometime, UK. Oh, and what's liburty? Did I spell that right? Crap...I just don't get it.

Jes,

You really have to try to express your opinions without insulting people. Enough already. Please. There are posting rules, and it's exhausting.

Ummm, posting rules?

" If you think that the right to regulate "Commerce...among the several States" allows Congress to require people to buy health insurance, then no amount of pounding on the 10th Amendment will help, it's been delegated to the United States!"

I agree with this completely, if you believe that then the 10th doesn't apply.

Thus my consternation when many people don't seem to grasp the concept of the states as individual entities with substantial rights that require representation.

(This also forms my basic disagreement with Eric over the makeup of the Senate. The Senate is designed to proportionally represent the rights of the states. They certainly were not all equal by population even when the country was formed or new states were admitted.)

My maternal grandmother was Calabrese. We should share a plate of olives sometime, UK.

Both my maternal grandparents were of Calabrese origin, as it happens, although my mother's mother was born in the US.

Mmmmm...olives...

You really have to try to express your opinions without insulting people. Enough already. Please. There are posting rules, and it's exhausting.

Eric, I understand what you're doing and why, and it's true Jes could have been a bit more restrained her language...but jeez. GOB's schtick is getting awfully tedious, not to mention more than a little obnoxious. "I suppose as the only real American around here I shouldn't be surprised that no one else understands what liberty really means...sigh...."

To be honest, when I read "I consider my penchant for liberty to be a product of the American tradition and it is difficult to cause me to have negative feelings about that since ancestors in all my family lines were here when the United States was formed" I was sorely tempted to ask GOB whether any of his sainted ancestors were slave-owners, and what this said about this whole "liberty" business.

Would that have violated the posting rules too?

There are times when I think that all the posting rules do is channel insults and rudeness into a more weasely, passive-aggressive form.

/meta-rant

Would that have violated the posting rules too?

No.

Look UK, I'm doing what I can in between a zillion other commitments. Jes's comment was clearly over the line. I didn't appreciate GOB's tone, and called him out already once on this thread, but if it's simply ignorance, better to have folks like russell and ugh dismantle than to cry foul.

Look UK, I'm doing what I can in between a zillion other commitments.

I understand and appreciate that, Eric, believe me. You've been churning out some damn good posts today.

That was more of a generalized rant than a criticism directed at you personally, and I'm sorry if it came out wrong. I'm agnostic on the whole posting-rules thing, for the reasons I outlined above, and GOB's latest offerings pushed me a little too far.

Of course, ultimately it's entirely up to you and the other owners of this here blog to make of it what you will.

Eric,

You run this blog (for which I am truly grateful) and you can make any rules you want to. If you feel that [email protected]:18 was over the line, then it's appropriate for you to take the time to admonish her.

Can I just say, though, that we're all adults here? Every one of us has been insulted, or at least felt insulted, many times -- and not just on the internet, where nobody knows whether any of us is, in fact, a dog. Some of us react to insults by complaining about them; some by ignoring them; some by responding in kind. And our reaction, like the insult, gets judged by the wider audience.

As a member of the wider audience, I frankly find complaints about insults to be even more tiresome than the insults themselves. I don't complain about the complaints because life is short. But my respect for the complainer does diminish a bit.

It may hurt somebody's feelings to know that I lose respect for them when they complain about being insulted. For this, I apologize in advance.

--TP

I consider my penchant for liberty to be a product of the American tradition and it is difficult to cause me to have negative feelings about that since ancestors in all my family lines were here when the United States was formed and I came through the public school system before teaching such radicalism was extinguished.

My paternal grandparents were born near Naples and they each came through Ellis Island with their parents when they were maybe 10 or 12 years old, in 1902 and 1909 (?) respectively.

On my mother's side, there is a record of Mathew Woodruff in Hartford in the 1640s. Counting my generation as #1, Mathew's was the 11th backward.

Then there was "William Peck, born in or near London about 1601, married Elizabeth 1622, came to America 1637, one of the founders of New Haven spring 1638. Died 1694, 93 years old." William Peck's generation is the 12th backward, again counting mine as #1.

Disregarding possible crossing lines, I have 2^10 (roughly 1000) ancestors in Mathew Woodruff's generation and 2^11th (roughly 2000) in William Peck's. Of course, my Revolutionary War era ancestors are fewer generations back, so there are "only" about 128 of those lines.

GOB says: "since ancestors in all my family lines were here when the United States was formed." If he can back this up -- that is, if he has documentation for every one of his ancestors 230 or so years ago, that is one hell of a genealogical project that someone has completed, with a lot of luck thrown in as well, since it isn't easy to get all that information accurately and reliably. Also remarkable is how pure the bloodlines have been kept. None of those dark-skinned Mediterranean Catholic or eastern European types mixing into the purity, nosirree. (True confessions: My family, being only human, isn't immune from the phenomenon of "othering" the newcomers. I have a vivid image (from stories) of the fit my mother’s mother threw when her daughter informed her that she was marrying an Italian Catholic. She (my grandma) got over it, thank goodness, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had a chance to adore her throughout my childhood.)

I of course feel that my American story -- a mixture of the bloodlines of people who were here 150 years before the beginning of the USA with the bloodlines of people I grew up with who had come over on the boat within living memory -- is a far more truly American story than GOB's.

No, I'm being sarcastic. Not very many things grind my butt more than people playing this stupid "more American than thou" game.

I just got back from 5 weeks in China. One of the blessings of that trip was that internet access was an on again off again thing, and I got well weaned away from daily blog-reading. Last time I checked in here from over there, there was a debate going on about tax brackets, in which someone was saying to Eric that his post was a populist rant and, patronizingly, that he could do better. This was only the umpteenth tax bracket debate -- going nowhere every time -- since I started reading ObWi 2 years ago.

And every other time I’ve checked in lately the discourse has been dominated by people perpetrating what UK (above) called GOB’s “schtick” -- either the schtick itself, or everyone else drawn into responding to it.

Gah. I don't have time for this crap.

A plate of olives sounds good, though. ;)

" If you think that the right to regulate "Commerce...among the several States" allows Congress to require people to buy health insurance, then no amount of pounding on the 10th Amendment will help, ..."

Yeah, 'cause you're somebody who doesn't care what the words actually SAY.

TiO for all your travelogue needs!

Eric: You really have to try to express your opinions without insulting people. Enough already. Please. There are posting rules, and it's exhausting.

Fair point, well made.

Whether it’s a correctly called a movement, a backlash or political theater, state declarations of their rights — or in some cases denunciations of federal authority, amounting to the same thing — are on a roll.

Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a Republican, signed a bill into law on Friday declaring that the federal regulation of firearms is invalid if a weapon is made and used in South Dakota.

On Thursday, Wyoming’s governor, Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, signed a similar bill for that state. The same day, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved a resolution that Oklahomans should be able to vote on a state constitutional amendment allowing them to opt out of the federal health care overhaul.

In Utah, lawmakers embraced states’ rights with a vengeance in the final days of the legislative session last week. One measure said Congress and the federal government could not carry out health care reform, not in Utah anyway, without approval of the Legislature. Another bill declared state authority to take federal lands under the eminent domain process. A resolution asserted the “inviolable sovereignty of the State of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.”
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States’ Rights Is Rallying Cry of Resistance for Lawmakers

You know, we already fought a war over this, and the Tenthers lost.

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