Obama on the “Logic” of Public Health Insurance

QUESTION: Won’t that drive private insurers out of business?

THE PRESIDENT: Why would it drive private insurers out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government — which they say can’t run anything — suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.


News tidbits

Dollars not accepted here

The New York Times news blog, The Lede, reports that Indian officials are no longer accepting US dollars as admission to the Taj Mahah, one of the seven wonders of the world.

For years, five US dollars were the standard ticket price. Now tourists will have to pay 500 rupees, which is about $13 at current exchange rates.

Iguanas falling from trees

California may be having some Florida-type tropical storms, but do they have somnolent lizards falling from their trees?

It seems that the near freezing temperatures the past two days in Florida (even as far south as Miami) have induced a comatose state in the local iguana population. The sleeping reptiles lose their hold on their roosts and come tumbling down into backyards, convertibles, patios and pools.

Iguanas are not native to Florida. Most were pets that escaped or were turned loose by their owners. Their population has reached a level that they themselves are a threat to native plants that have become the preferred diet of the lizards.

But I want to be disenfranchised!

In the three counties surrounding Tampa, Florida, 5,634 people have switched their party affiliation to the Republican party since August 25, the day the national Democratic Pary told Florida Democrats that their votes in the January 29 primary would not count and their representatives would not be seated at the national Democratic convention because the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature moved the state’s primary to an earlier date.

Some voters who switched affiliation were genuinely attracted to Republican candidates, notably Ron Paul who seems the favorite among elderly libertarians and young computer programmers.

What seems totally illogical, however, is that an even larger number of people, 6,369, changed their affiliation to the Democratic party. Huh?

Further proof, I guess, that Florida is a state of mind.

The new face of old journalism

The Des Moines Register, the most staid of Iowa newspapers, is inviting its readers to publish their own Iowa Caucus news videos on the Register’s YouTube page.

Carolyn Washburn, editor of the Register, introduces the project in this video:

At times insightful, other times just plain silly, the videos submitted so far are none-the-less fascinating for the raw, uninterpreted look into the minds of ordinary people who just happen to the focus of the regular media and the candidates themselves.

We are not afraid to entrust the American people…

A quotation in a post by Mark Cuban led me to reminisce about how it was to have a president whom most Americans respected and many revered. It is one of my favorite sayings by John F. Kennedy:

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

President Bush might be coached to sincerely speak those words today, but all one hears is the hollow echo of an administration that is afraid of its people.

But when President Kennedy said them in 1962, one believed them, and was lifted by the spirit of a country that was at once powerful and loved in the world.

Oh, Johnny, what have we squandered…