Archive for November 20th, 2009

“This Just In: Rain is Wet!” By Monica Snyder

Friday, November 20th, 2009

According to The Washington Times, U.S. health plans have history of cost overruns. This, apparently, is news.

Similarly: Obama: Too much debt could fuel double-dip recession. I don’t get it. Is he warning himself? Warning Congress, whose enormously expensive initiatives he staunchly encourages? I feel these things are so painfully obvious that it slightly depresses me that they are newsworthy items. I post them for the remaining 50 percent of Americans who still approve of Obama’s job performance in office.

From the first link:

In 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance program of Medicare – the federal health care program for the elderly and disabled – would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost that year was $67 billion.

In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee said the entire Medicare program would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual cost in 1990 was $98 billion.

In 1987, Congress projected that Medicaid – the joint federal-state health care program for the poor – would make special relief payments to hospitals of less than $1 billion in 1992. Actual cost: $17 billion.

It’ll be different this time, though. We just have to have Hope.

And, on a sub-rant: for those of you who object to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on the basis of our ever-expanding debt but who simultaneously support the recent health care initiatives, allow me to slap you upside the head with this:

Medicaid and Medicare cost America more than $650 billion each year. All of defense combined, much less the wars alone, costs around $560 billion per year. Do you understand? Medicare and Medicaid currently costs about $100 billion more per year than total money spent for all branches of the military including equipment, operations, maintenance, personnel and the wars.

And that’s not even getting into the disaster that is Social Security.

How anyone can both deride the debt and simultaneously be in favor of an increased government role in health care is baffling. If it were only ignorant idealists spouting this absurdity it might be more tolerable, but those idealists vote, and so now we have our elected officials defending their wasteful, inefficient monstrosities with comparisons like this:

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

She’s exactly right.

Original Link.

Jews Raise Millions to be Ready for Coming of the Messiah

Friday, November 20th, 2009

JERUSALEM: Yehuda Glick is a 44-year-old American-born Jew who spends most of every day preparing for the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem.

Since he became the executive director of the Temple Institute, Mr Glick’s main task has been to supervise the manufacture of the utensils the high priests will need when the day arrives.

Crowns and other instruments made of solid gold fill glass cases in the Temple Institute museum in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Other artefacts include an array of copper urns, trumpets made of silver and garments to be worn by the High Priest, woven from golden thread.

Musical instruments, including hand-made harps and lyres, lie ready to be brought to life upon the Messiah’s appearance.

So, when can we expect this momentous event?

”That is a very good question,” Mr Glick told the Herald.

”All that we know is that we are now living in the age of miracles and all of those miracles are predicted in the Book as happening on the eve of the end of days. It could well be tomorrow, but it might be another 100 years, or even 400 years.”

We were in the Quarter Cafe in the Jewish sector of Jerusalem’s Old City, high on an embankment that overlooks the most contested religious site on Earth.

Jews call it the Temple Mount, or Mount Moriah, and believe it to be the site of the Foundation Stone, the Holy of Holies from where God gathered the dust to create Adam.

Muslims call it Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, and believe it to be the third-holiest site in Islam, from where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

To Jews the Temple Mount is also the site of the first temple built by King Solomon. After it was destroyed, a second temple was built about 500BC, and stood for 500 years before the Romans destroyed it. Their religion holds that a third temple will be built upon the arrival of the Messiah.

”That is why we have engaged two architects,” Mr Glick said. ”It will be a modern building, with car parks and elevators, but it will look very much like the Second Temple.”

The Temple Institute museum contains a large-scale model of what the Third Temple will look like, with its main building set to reach a height of 60 metres.

Today, the Temple Mount is dominated by the al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-topped Dome of the Rock.

”Al-Aqsa can stay,” Mr Glick said, pointing to the mosque. ”It’s not even on the Temple Mount proper. But we intend to just build over the Dome of the Rock. We might be able to find a way to include it in the Third Temple.”

Mr Glick envisages a house of prayer open to all believers in the monotheistic faiths, Christians, Muslims or Jews.

The Temple Institute has become a fixture on American evangelical tours of Israel. Thanks largely to their donations, it has so far spent $US27 million ($29 million) on preparations.

”We started with $US100,” Mr Glick said. ”There are 70 million evangelical Christians around the world, and most of them have become Israel’s strongest supporters.”

Ordinarily, Israel prevents Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. It so sensitive an area that when the then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited, accompanied by hundreds of Israeli riot police, in 2000, it sparked a wave of violence that came to be known as the second intifada, or uprising.

”This ‘Temple Institute’ is a right-wing extremist movement interested in nothing more than provocation,” said Khatem Abdel Kaber, the Palestinian Authority minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs. ”We will vigorously defend our right to manage this site. No amount of insulting behaviour from these people will succeed in removing us.”

Original Link.

Americans Expect Islamic Terror Strike Within 6 Months

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Two-thirds of Americans expect an Islamic suicide bomb attack on American soil within six months, according to a new poll that also shows Republicans are significantly more concerned than Democrats.

Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies said one of the most shocking findings of his recent polling on the subject was that 65 percent are expecting an attack within six months.

“Some of the communication between Fort Hood shooter Hasan and al-Qaida figures included discussion of such attacks inside the United States, and it has been a common form of violence in the Middle East for years,” he said. “Now, Americans appear resigned to the fact that these attacks will soon come to our shores.”

He asked a series of questions in a WorldNetDaily/Wenzel Strategies survey regarding the recent Fort Hood attack, allegedly carried out by Muslim Maj. Nidal Hasan. The survey, Nov. 13-16, used an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. The survey has 95 percent confidence interval. It included 806 adult respondents and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

“More than one-third of respondents – 36 percent – said they think it is ‘very likely’ that such an attack will take place in the next six months, while another 29 percent said it is ‘somewhat likely,'” he reported.

Original Link.

Republicans Blast ‘Bait and Switch’ Health Bill

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Whereas I agree with the expanded Medicaid idea, the funding to expanded is not in this legislation. The states are overextended as it is. They do not have the money to fund this program. Once again, the Dems got it wrong. Will they ever do anything right?

WASHINGTON — Digging in for a long struggle, Republican senators and governors assailed the majority Democrats’ newly minted health care legislation Thursday as a collection of tax increases, cuts in services for the elderly and heavy new burdens for deficit-ridden states.

Despite the criticism, indications were growing that Democrats would prevail on an initial Senate showdown set for Saturday night, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat, crisply rebutted the Republican charges. He said the bill “will save lives, save money and save Medicare,” the main health program for the elderly.

The legislation is designed to answer President Barack Obama’s demand to expand coverage, end insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions, and restrain the growth of health care spending.

Still, Republicans saw little to like Reid’s legislation awaiting the Saturday night Senate vote.

“It makes no sense at all and affronts common sense,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, one of several Republicans to criticize the measure. He added that a plan to expand Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor, was a “bait and switch” with states as the victims.

Republican governors, meeting in Texas, agreed. “We all know a sucker play when we see one,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. The bill would expand the Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor, and leave the states with part of the additional cost beginning after three years. Medicaid is administered by the states.

In the Capitol, Reid answered Republican delaying tactics with an initial vote set for Saturday evening to determine whether he has the 60 votes needed to move the legislation forward. That so-called “supermajority” in the 100-member Senate is required to advance the bill toward full debate, expected to begin after Thanksgiving.

Counting two independents, Democrats control 60 Senate seats. Three relatively conservative Democrats have been cagey about their intentions, although none has announced a plan to defect. Officials disclosed during the day that Reid had included in the bill a political sweetener for one of the three, Mary Landrieu, in the form of $100 million to help her state cover health care costs for the poor.

While the struggle was forming, there were limits. Republican Sen. Tom Coburn backed off his threat to force the 2,074-page bill to be read aloud in the Senate chamber, a move that would have eaten into the Senate’s Thanksgiving-week vacation.

Given the political stakes, there was disagreement even about the bill’s cost.

Democrats put the price tag at $979 billion, higher than the $849 billion figure they had cited Wednesday as the cost of expanding coverage to 31 million who now lack insurance. Republicans calculated it at more like $1.5 trillion over a decade, and said even that was understated because Reid decided to delay implementation of some of the bill’s main features until 2014.

Officially, the Congressional Budget Office said the measure would reduce deficits by $130 billion over the next decade with probable small reductions in the 10 years that follow. Those forecasts cheered rank-and-file Democrats.

Original Link.