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markpkessinger

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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 4,885

Journal Archives

A divine message for Tim Tebow


Prayer is like masturbation -- best done in private!
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Dec 20, 2011, 01:29 AM (9 replies)

A divine message for Tim Tebow

Prayer is like masturbation: best done in private!

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Dec 18, 2011, 10:20 PM (3 replies)

can we DU this poll?

http://foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/07/do-occupy-wall-street-protests-represent-your-views-economy/

FOX. tried this poll a while back and didn't get the results they expected / wanted. I think they're trying for a different result this time.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 15, 2011, 01:00 AM (12 replies)

Another Democrat (Wyden) doing the GOP's bidding

From an article titled, The Bipartisan Political Alliance That Will Turn The Fight Over Medicare On Its Head, on TalkingPointsMemo.com:

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is teaming up with Paul Ryan, the House’s top budget guy and the author of the GOP’s controversial budget which proposes phasing out traditional Medicare and replacing it with a private plan. The two announced via The Washington Post that they’ll be teaming up on a different version of that Medicare plan — one that closely mimics plans offered by leading GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and a proposal authored by former Sen. Pete Domenici and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin, which loomed large in the Super Committee’s failed negotiations.

The move makes Wyden the first elected Democrat to endorse creating a premium-support system to compete with traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and for Ryan represents a de facto admission that his own plan was too radical to ever gain bipartisan support. That’s bound to affect how congressional and presidential candidates approach the issue, which will feature prominently in next year’s elections. But it raises a number of other questions, both about the merits of the policy and of the political calculus behind it.

The policy itself allows insurers to compete with traditional Medicare turning Medicare essentially into a public option on a private insurance exchange. Wyden and Ryan would give patients subsidies that could be applied to either private insurance or fee for service Medicare. It has features of both a “defined contribution” and “defined benefit” program. All plans including Medicare would have to meet a high benefit standard. But if seniors were to choose plans that exceeded a benchmark cost they would be required to pay the difference out of pocket. If Medicare itself were to come in below the benchmark, it would function no differently than Medicare does right now. If it Medicare were to exceed the benchmark, though, seniors would have to pay more out of pocket to enroll in it.

Unlike previous plans, those subsidies would rise and fall with the cost of the plans themselves — not at a fixed rate below the explosive rate of health care inflation. But capping subsidy growth is exactly how Ryan’s original plan cut federal spending so much. This plan relies mostly on the theory that competition among insurers could hold down costs — a proposition with little evidence behind it — and would therefore save the government much less, if any, money at all. If the private plans were to prove popular, traditional Medicare would wither; if they proved popular to younger, healthier seniors, Medicare would end up with a severe adverse selection problem and could begin to unwind (though the plan does feature a so-called “risk adjustment” mechanism to guard against this possibility).
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Dec 14, 2011, 09:57 PM (19 replies)

Concerning Senator Schumer's proposal for a TSA passenger advocate at all airports

In the aftermath of the three elderly women who have complained that they were strip searched at JFK Airport recently, Senator Schumer has called for a passenger advocate to be placed at all airports, who could intervene in cases where passengers felt they were being treated improperly. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/schumer-calls-for-passenger-advocate-program-to-aid-in-complaints-against-tsa/2011/12/11/gIQA30LNoO_story.html).

I have no quarrel with Senator Schumer's proposal for a passenger advocate, per se, but I think it falls far short of addressing the core problem that lies at the heart of these latest, as well as many of the prior, complaints concerning TSA abuses/excesses. Indeed, it is the same issue that underlies a number of current areas of concern involving law enforcement and public safety officials, areas of concern including, among others, the widespread militarization of municipal law enforcement agencies, inappropriate use of things like pepper spray and tasers against persons who pose no real threat either to the public or to law enforcement, excessive force against persons engaged in the expression of rights that are supposed to be protected under the Constitution, etc. The root problem in all of these areas is the wrong-headed (and, I believe, unconstitutional) notion that a preemptive concern for public safety necessarily trumps all other concerns, even civil liberties guaranteed under the Constitution.

In the wake of 9/'11, the public's fears, while certainly understandable, were exploited by the powers that then were in order to inculcate the view in the minds of the public that, thenceforth, citizens should and must accept, as a necessary cost attendant to ensuring "public safety," theretofore unacceptable new restrictions and encroachments on civil liberties. At the time, there were civil libertarians who tried to raise the alarm, who tried to warn us that we were putting ourselves on a very slippery slope, but to no avail. Invoking "public safety" became a means by which to foreclose further, and much needed, rational discussion of the issues involved. Unfortunately for the country, too many elected officials, of both parties, bought into that kind of framing.

Now, a full decade on, we begin to see that the tree of "public safety," planted a decade ago, has begun to yield precisely the kind of fruit civil libertarians most feared: the erosion, to the point of eventual evisceration, of the Bill of Rights. Many of the public now seem to have resigned themselves to being treated like criminal suspects, acquiescing to invasive, intrusive and humiliating searches absent any reasonable basis for suspicion at the hands of persons charged with protecting us. Once we accept the premise that a preemptive concern for public safety overrides all other concerns, there is virtually nothing that cannot be justified based on appeals to such purported "public safety" concerns. At that point, who or what protects the public from its purported "protectors," who are permitted to continue functioning with little or no accountability to the public they purportedly serve?
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Dec 12, 2011, 03:38 PM (2 replies)

Concerning Senator Schumer's proposal for a TSA passenger advocate at all airports

In the aftermath of the three elderly women who have complained that they were strip searched at JFK Airport recently, Senator Schumer has called for a passenger advocate to be placed at all airports, who could intervene in cases where passengers felt they were being treated improperly. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/schumer-calls-for-passenger-advocate-program-to-aid-in-complaints-against-tsa/2011/12/11/gIQA30LNoO_story.html ).

I have no quarrel with Senator Schumer's proposal for a passenger advocate, per se, but I think it falls far short of addressing the core problem that lies at the heart of these latest, as well as many of the prior, complaints concerning TSA abuses/excesses. Indeed, it is the same issue that underlies a number of current areas of concern involving law enforcement and public safety officials, areas of concern including, among others, the widespread militarization of municipal law enforcement agencies, inappropriate use of things like pepper spray and tasers against persons who pose no real threat either to the public or to law enforcement, excessive force against persons engaged in the expression of rights that are supposed to be protected under the Constitution, etc. The root problem in all of these areas is the wrong-headed (and, I believe, unconstitutional) notion that a preemptive concern for public safety necessarily trumps all other concerns, even civil liberties guaranteed under the Constitution.

In the wake of 9/'11, the public's fears, while certainly understandable, were exploited by the powers that then were in order to inculcate the view in the minds of the public that, thenceforth, citizens should and must accept, as a necessary cost attendant to ensuring "public safety," theretofore unacceptable new restrictions and encroachments on civil liberties. At the time, there were civil libertarians who tried to raise the alarm, who tried to warn us that we were putting ourselves on a very slippery slope, but to no avail. Invoking "public safety" became a means by which to foreclose further, and much needed, rational discussion of the issues involved. Unfortunately for the country, too many elected officials, of both parties, bought into that kind of framing.

Now, a full decade on, we begin to see that the tree of "public safety," planted a decade ago, has begun to yield precisely the kind of fruit civil libertarians most feared: the erosion, to the point of eventual evisceration, of the Bill of Rights. Many of the public now seem to have resigned themselves to being treated like criminal suspects, acquiescing to invasive, intrusive and humiliating searches absent any reasonable basis for suspicion on at the hands of persons charged with protecting us. Once we accept the premise that a preemptive concern for public safety overrides all other concerns, there is virtually nothing that cannot be justified based on appeals to such purported "public safety" concerns. At that point, who or what protects the public from its purported "protectors," who are permitted to continue functioning with little or no accountability to the public they purportedly serve?
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Dec 12, 2011, 02:58 AM (1 replies)

Still another Rick Perry/Brokeback parody . . .

. . . from the same friend who put together the very thoughtful video response I posted yesterday. A more light-hearted take this time!

http://www.youtube.com/v/LFIGCsZY5ko&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Dec 10, 2011, 03:17 AM (1 replies)

A friend's video response to Rick Perry's latest ad...

&feature=colike
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 8, 2011, 02:35 AM (5 replies)
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