Friday, June 26, 2009

Links du Jour

The collapse of scientific consensus.

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. -- 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak "frankly" of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history." Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the "new religion." A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton's Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists' open letter.)

Memo to grandpa and grandma: how 'bout just taking a pill instead of that lifesaving surgery?

What Mr. Obama is describing is his preferred health-care future. If or when the Administration's speculative cost-cutting measures under universal health care fail to produce savings, government will start explicitly limiting patient access to treatments and services regarded as too expensive. Democrats deny this eventuality, but health planners will have no choice, given that the current entitlement system is already barreling toward insolvency without adding millions of new people to the federal balance sheet.

Ok, now this is funny. Maxine Waters and David Obey push each other or something on the house floor.

Waters and Obey have had an ongoing dispute about an earmark for a public school employment training center in Los Angeles that was named after Waters when she was a state representative.

Obey rejected that earmark as violating policies against so-called “monuments to me.” Waters revised her request to go to the school district’s whole adult employment training program, so the district could decide whether the money would go to the school named after Waters.

Thursday was the committee markup of the spending bill that would include the earmark, and Obey let it be known that the earmark would be denied. She approached him and complained.

I dunno, perhaps we could hire some "fat police.":

As the USDA puts it, "Easy access to all food, rather than lack of access to specific healthy foods, may be a more important factor in explaining increases in obesity." The concentration of the obesity crisis in high-poverty areas thus brings us back to a pretty well-accepted hypothesis: The problem is with low-income areas where the cheap food is the bad food.

It's really hard to conceive of a trickier public policy problem than this one. You can solve the problem of people being unable to choose an apple and they still won't choose an apple. People like crap food. It's convenient. Brilliant, highly paid scientists have spent millions of dollars precisely calibrating it to the modern palette. Innovative, award-winning advertisers have spent billions of dollars making us want it. And it's cheap.

You can ask, of course, why it's a public policy problem. And the answer, in short, is that we're not willing to let diabetics die in the streets. And if that's the case, then it's a public policy program, because a world in which 25 percent of Americans are chronically ill by middle-age is a world in which we can kiss our low tax rates goodbye. I'm increasingly coming to the position -- a position held by Tom Philpott and others -- that at some point, public money is going to have to make healthy food cheaper. People instinctively rebel against that idea, but is it really so much better to pay for the consequences of unhealthful food later?

So, yes, obesity affects us all, in so much that it raises health care costs. I suppose it would be too much to ask that those heavier folks pay a higher rate? Would THAT perhaps encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Of course, that doesn't address those on any sort of public plan. Which, I fear, we all may be on some day soon. If we abdicated responsibility for things such as our health care, we will, in the end, have a less free society. Bank on it.

Exercise and Diet! For FREEDOM.

Uhm ... Jenny ... about those Green Jobs you say are going to save Michigan .... (h/t: Maggie's Farm.

Heh. Don Surber

Never buy a Ford from a guy who drives a Lexus.

Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy voted for Medicare.

He is eligible for Medicare.

When he got cancer, he did not use Medicare.

If they won’t use it, you don’t want it.

My point, from yesterday, exactly. But funnier.