Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Cosmos

The American Museum of Natural History takes us on a quick tour of the known universe. Fasten your seat belts:

Thanks to Bill Dembski at Uncommon Descent for posting the video.


Change Nobody Believes in

Maybe it's not too much of a stretch to estimate that there are about 280 Americans who favor ObamaCare. They're all Democrats and they're all in Congress. No one who'll have to pay for it seems to want it, but that's not stopping the Democrats from ramming it down our throats and forcing us to accept their plan to nationalize about 16% of our total economy. The Wall Street Journal is particularly incensed, as would be anyone who has followed the sordid details of how Harry Reid has bribed and bought enough Senators to win passage of a bill that will cripple the economic prospects of our grandchildren and greatgrandchildren and destroy the best health care system in the world.

But don't take my word for that. Read the bill of particulars that the WSJ brings against the Democrats' plan. Here's the lede:

The Senate Majority Leader (Senator Harry Reid) has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow.

Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world's greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new "manager's amendment" that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning.

After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.

A detailed criticism of the bill follows and is worth reading. Perhaps the most stunning part is this:

Health costs. From the outset, the White House's core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they're sticking to that story. "Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't read the bills," Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.

These increases are solely the result of ObamaCare.

Will you be able to afford having your insurance premiums double? Then there's this:

For no other reason than ideological animus, doctor-owned hospitals will face harsh new limits on their growth and who they're allowed to treat. Physician Hospitals of America says that ObamaCare will "destroy over 200 of America's best and safest hospitals."

If the editors at the WSJ are correct President Obama and his left-wing allies in Congress are taking us canoeing over Niagara Falls. I guess the lesson to be learned by all those young voters who were so swept up in the hopeychangey rhetoric, the charisma, and the thrill of electing our first black president, is that fine speeches and skin pigment are extremely poor reasons for electing a man to our nation's highest office. What matters is what he has already accomplished in his public life and what he plans to do if elected, and in Mr. Obama's case all that was perfectly clear in the summer of 2008. Unfortunately, too much of the electorate was too love-struck to take notice.

Perhaps when the full import of the 2008 election starts to sink in people will finally shake off their infatuation with Mr. Obama's "cool," and, like the girl on the morning after, wonder what in the world they could possibly have been thinking. Either that or they'll somehow blame George Bush and Dick Cheney for the debacle.

By the way, I live in a state with two Democratic senators and as far as I know they got nothing for their votes on this bill. What's up with that? For that reason alone they should both be booted out of office next time they're up for reelection. What good is a senator who's too dumb to put his vote up for sale like many of his colleagues?