Friday, November 27, 2009

Shooting stars

I just looked up and out the window (which looks north, to the Blue Ridge Mountains), and saw what must have been a pretty big meteor moving from east to west. It’s very dark here, and the leaves are off the trees, which gives a good view for very bright objects.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School speaks out

In a WSJ opinion piece last week, the Dean of Harvard Medical School gives the current health care debate a failing grade.

Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that's not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.

So the majority of our representatives may congratulate themselves on reducing the number of uninsured, while quietly understanding this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America. I have met many people for whom this strategy is conscious and explicit.

H/T to Jonathan Adler at As Professor Adler suggests, I recommend reading the whole piece.

Monday, November 23, 2009

McDonald v. Chicago amici briefs

David Kopel has provided links to some of the amici briefs over at the Volokh Conspiracy.



Congressional (58 Senators, 251 Representatives: a solid bipartisan majority by any measure)

Institute for Justice


These briefs are very accessible, and provide important insight into the meaning and interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Applebees had a Veteran's Day offer going yesterday, so I stopped by the Columbia, MD location last night after work. I hadn't anticipated the crowd -- the line was out the door, and the wait must have been at least an hour. I tried the Alexandria, VA location. (also on the way home) and it was the same story.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Couple Sues AARP Over Health Plan Marketing

From The Blog of Legal Times comes a story about Texas couple James and Allison Halpern who are suing AARP in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging deceptive marketing of health insurance.

AARP is an insurance company that has also developed a knack for lobbying. AARP has also turned out to be an effective special interest group in the so-called “Health Reform” effort (which has now morphed into “Health Insurance Reform”, after AARP and the AMA figured out how to shift the debate from cost control to insurance).

John Allen Muhammad

Convicted terrorist, murderer, and conspirator John Allen [Williams] Muhammad should have reached the end of the line by the time I press “Publish” on this post. I was living in the DC area at the time, and recall the fear and disruption that spread across the region during this period. I remember watching the news in the evening, as each new shooting was reported.

He, and his accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo, murdered people in California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, DC, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was widely reported after the two were caught in Maryland (where most of the killings occurred), that Maryland and DC worked out a deal with Virginia to have them tried here because there was a possibility for the death penalty as a result of the terrorism charge (Muhammad was later convicted of six murders in Maryland, and received six consecutive life terms without possibility of parole). Muhammad earned lethal injection for killing Dean H. Meyers in Manassas, Virginia, while Malvo received life without possibility of parole.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fwd: The Wall

Twenty years ago, the wall came down.

We have a whole generation, now, who have no direct knowledge of Soviet-style communism. Someday, perhaps, someone will be able to say the same about Cuba.