Saturday, November 22, 2003

That night, they tried some things they had never done before

According to the Independent, when Bush met families of dead British soldiers, a three-year old told him “My daddy is up in heaven.” I have no idea how the families were chosen, but to Britain’s credit, one were of a soldier killed by friendly fire.

Congress passed a Medicare bill, and may pass an energy bill, with provisions that could not be passed in a functioning representative democracy: the MTBE immunity, the ban on bargaining to reduce drug costs. On the other hand, there’s ethanol, which takes more energy to produce than it gives off, which is representative democracy at its worst. And honestly, when you first heard about the “donut hole” in the drugs benefit, months ago, did you imagine it would still be in the final bill? They managed to win the vote by the now familiar Republican principle that if the other side wins, it doesn’t count. In this case, they simply kept the vote open for 3 hours while they twisted arms (no vote in the House has ever gone over 90 minutes before, 15 is standard), and members of the executive branch breached protocol by going onto the floor to break legs. They don’t get to bitch about D’s filibustering when they have so little respect for the rules themselves. Also, and the Post reporter should be lynched for writing this without more detail: “In the end, they switched two of the conservatives by telling them of a Democratic legislative plot that may have been either fictional or real.” Oh, ok, another Post article says the rumor is that Nancy Pelosi would revive a D. version via a discharge petition. Clear as mud.

Incidentally, every analysis of the Medicare bill fails to factor premiums in when describing the benefits. For example, rather than having 75% of drug costs after the deductible paid, the “benefit” ranges from being something like $420 worse off than with no coverage, to a maximum of 50%.

Means-testing is fairly minor, but it’s a terrible principle to introduce, and it will worsen over time.

Jimmy Carter has written a novel. With what for Jimmy Carter passes as a sex scene, presented here in its entirety: “That night, they tried some things they had never done before.”

Gee, I like strawberries, but I don’t like skin strawberries, cancer not so much. What to do, what to do.

Georgia (the commie one) is going pear-shaped. Shevardnadze tried to inaugurate a parliament based on the seriously fraudulent elections held a few weeks ago. He was just chased out of parliament by peasants with pitchforks, and may come back with thugs on loan from a warlord or, hopefully, retreat to his new mansion in Germany, forever. Russia looks like staying out, ditto the US, despite or perhaps because our precious precious pipeline goes through Georgia.

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