An amazing story from Canada
This is the sort of thing Obama is aiming to fix on Americans
That the Ontario health-care system is under pressure isn't news. But every so often another case comes along that proves, yet again, just how dysfunctional it is.
Jill Anzarut, a 35-year-old mother of two young children, has had the misfortune of becoming the latest Canadian whose story speaks to the system's broader problems. Anzarut detected a lump in her breast and tests determined the lump was indeed a cancerous tumour - an aggressive kind. Worse, Aznarut's genes mean she is at high risk of her cancer reoccurring. There is a drug, already used in other provinces and in some cases in Ontario, that has been shown to reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning. But Aznarut can't get it in Ontario: She had the misfortune of catching her cancer too early to qualify.
Anzarut has fallen afoul of a quirk in Ontario's policies on the use of the drug in question, Herceptin, which can cut in half the odds of cancer returning after a successful treatment. In Ontario, the drug can be prescribed for cases where the tumour is more than one centimetre in diameter. Anzarut, having caught it very early, has a tumour smaller than that.
How can this possibly be justified? How much money has been spent on public health campaigns stressing the importance of women performing self-exams for cancer, following up on any abnormalities and getting regular mammograms as a precaution? After all that effort, a young mother does everything exactly right, immediately seeks medical care and is told . sorry, you're not quite sick enough to get the medicine best able to treat you. Perhaps she should go home and wait while the cancer cells invade her body, then come back later and hope she qualifies. Welcome to Ontario, where we value early warning so long as it's not too early. You really gotta straddle a fine line with these life-threatening diseases, ya know.
For most of us, the absurdities of state-monopoly health-care usually mean inconvenience, delays and sometimes, added pain. For Anzarut, the cold inefficiencies of a ration-based system could cost her far more. But all is not yet lost, there is a review panel that can examine her case and grant an exemption. God knows if there was ever a case warranting an exemption, she's it. If so, that will be good news not only for Anzarut, but the 100 or so women estimated to find themselves in a similar situation every year.
Some Ontario patients have been able to access Herceptin because they're lucky enough to have some coverage under a private insurance plan. If the only way to survive in the public health-care system is to come packing private insurance, is that not a sign that the public system isn't working?
Maine Gov. Paul LePage
Our new Maine Gov. Paul LePage is making New Jersey 's Chris Christie look like a wimp. He isn't afraid to say what he thinks. And, judging by the comments I hear at the cigar shop and other non-political gathering places, every time he opens his mouth his popularity goes up.
He brought down the house at his inauguration when he shook his fist toward the media box and said, "You're on notice! I've inherited a financially-troubled state to run. Observe...cover...but don't whine if I don't waste time responding to your every whim for your amusement."
During the campaign he was talking to commercial fishermen who are struggling because of federal fisheries rules. They complained that President Obama brought his family to Bar Harbar & Acadia National Park for a long Labor Day holiday, found time to meet with union leaders but wouldn't talk to them. LePage replied, "I'd tell him to go to hell and get out of my state." Media crucified him but he jumped 6 points in the pre-election poll!
The Martin Luther King incident was a political sandbag which got national exposure. Media crucified him but word on the street is very positive.
The NAACP specifically asked him to spend MLK Day visiting black inmates at the Maine State Prison. He replied if he visited the prison he would meet all inmates regardless of race.. NAACP balked. They then put out a news release claiming falsely that he refused to participate in any MLK events. He read it in the paper for the first time next morning while be driven to an event and went ballistic (none of the reporters called him for comment before running the NAACP release).
So he arrived at an event and said on TV camera that "...if they want to play the race card on me they can kiss my butt..." and reminded them that he has an adopted black son from Jamiaca and that he attended the local MLK Breakfast every year he was mayor of Waterville (he started his morning there on MLK Day yesterday.)
He then said there's a right way and a wrong way to meet with the governor and he put all special interests on notice that press releases, media leaks and demonstrations are the wrong way. He said any other group which acts like the NAACP can expect to be on the bottom of the governor's priority list!
Then he did this which broke yesterday and, judging from local radio talk show callers, increased his popularity even more:
The state employees union complained because he waited until 3 p.m. before closing state offices and facilities and sending non-emergency personnel home during the last blizzard. The prior governor would often close offices for the day with just a forecast before the first flakes. (Each time the state closes for snow, it costs the taxpayers about $1-million in wages for no work in return.)
LePage was CEO of the Marden's chain of discount family bargain retail stores before election as governor. He noted that state employees getting off work early could still find lots of retail stores open to shop. So, he put the state employees on notice by announcing: "If Marden's is open, Maine is open!"
He told state employees: "We live in Maine in the winter, for heaven's sake, and should know how to drive in it. Otherwise, apply for a state job in Florida !"
At last: unscripted honesty
THE CURRENT standoff in Wisconsin has put tough-talking Governor Scott Walker in the headlines, but for sheer candor, no one holds a candle to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. For the past year in town hall meetings, interviews, and speeches, Christie has been cheerfully, relentlessly, and brutally honest. People appear to love it. His approval/disapproval rating now stands at 52/37 in a state where Democrats outnumber Christie's fellow Republicans by 700,000. Yet imitators remain few and far between.
During Christie's campaign in 2009, CNN reporters tried to create an awkward moment by asking him about his weight. He earnestly replied, "I've had a weight problem for 30 years, so what?'' When they pushed him to criticize President Obama's visit to New Jersey, he simply noted that, "it's always an honor to be visited by the president of the United States.'' Clearly, the sincerity of these responses confused the pundits at CNN.
At a town hall meeting when a public school teacher suggested that she was worth up to $80,000 per year, Christie made two observations: first, New Jersey, unlike the federal government, cannot print money; and second, she didn't have to teach if she didn't want to. There was no pandering rhetoric about our children, our future, or our values - just simple, honest truth.
About Social Security, Christie says, "We're going to have to raise the retirement age.'' He refers to high-speed rail, electric cars, and universal broadband access as "the candy of American politics,'' which we simply cannot afford until we deal with our budget crisis. And when confronted with a possible government shutdown in New Jersey, he announced that if it happens, "I'm going to order a pizza and watch the Mets.''
This type of candor is exceedingly rare. No one, least of all a politician, enjoys telling someone "no we can't.'' Instead, most people instinctively respond to questions in the most positive way possible, and running for office only makes the problem worse. Beyond this desire to appease lies the fact that confrontation also takes more work. Refuting someone else's argument or point of view requires facts, reasoning, and analysis. By contrast, nodding in sympathetic agreement saves time and energy, and eliminates the need to think.
Last week's release of a Government Accountability Office report on duplication and overlap in government shows what happens when you try to please all of the people all of the time. We end up with 56 financial literacy programs spread over 20 federal agencies, 80 economic development programs in four departments, and 82 programs for teacher quality - as much as $100 billion spent without any way of measuring the outcome or benefits. The only real antidote to such out-of-control bureaucracy is toughness, oversight, and attention to detail - and the ability to say "no.''
Christie says he's not running for president, and given the consistency of his first year in office, you would be a fool not to take him at his word. But with the federal budget awash in red ink, the timing looks right for a national leader cut from the same cloth. Speaking with CBS's Bob Schieffer last week, Christie again denied national aspirations while offering advice for would-be candidates: "You have to have unscripted moments. [Americans] want unguarded moments - that's when they can really judge your character.'' It was a valuable suggestion from the man who has had more unscripted moments than any other American politician during the past year.
In fact, the history of the New Hampshire primary favors the blunt. Ronald Reagan and John McCain thrived on the retail politics of the Granite State, where a candidate can be asked any question, by any voter, at any moment. In the same vein, both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were viewed as plainspoken outsiders when they made a name for themselves in New Hampshire on the way to the White House. All of these candidates were comfortable in the unpredictable, unscripted moments of the campaign, and earned a reputation for candor. They were willing to give voters an unvarnished look at themselves, and reveal their character in the process.
Do Americans really want brutal honesty in a president today? Perhaps Reagan best carried the "tough love'' approach into office. He fired the air traffic controllers, cut domestic spending, reformed the tax code, and, in 1983, signed the last major overhaul of Social Security. Last month, a Pew poll identified Reagan as the most respected president of the 20th century. It may be difficult to emulate, but it appears to be a recipe for success.
Meanwhile back in Washington, Harry Reid refuses to even discuss Social Security as part of budget negotiations. On the national scene, Republican presidential contenders are spending an awful lot of time selling books and producing TV shows. We've seen a lot of tough talk during the past few weeks, but frankly, most of it feels scripted. Even more to the point, the idea of ordering pizza and watching the Mets during a government shutdown seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind.
Leftist hypocrites felled by a camera. First ACORN, now NPR: "NPR's CEO and president, Vivian Schiller, has resigned, the radio broadcaster announced Wednesday, following an undercover sting in which an executive was videotaped describing Tea Party members as 'racist.' On Tuesday, Schiller condemned the comments by Ron Schiller (no relation), which were caught on camera by political activist James O'Keefe of 'Project Veritas.' But a statement by the chairman of NPR's board of directors, Dave Edwards, said the board had accepted Vivian Schiller's resignation 'with deep regret.'" [Leftism is one big fraud that can't stand the light of day]
TN: Healthcare opt-out bill goes to governor: "A proposal that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health-care law is headed to the governor for his consideration after passing the Republican-controlled House 70-27 Monday on a party-line vote. The companion to the 'Health Freedom Act' also passed the Senate 21-10 on a party-line vote last month. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to review the proposal when it reaches his desk. Republican House sponsor Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster said the legislation doesn't argue for or against the federal law, but just gives Tennesseans a choice."
How times have changed! A Chinese frigate in the Mediterranean: "Late last week, the geostrategic implications of the still-unfolding crisis in the Middle East began to reveal themselves, as China positioned the advanced missile frigate Xuzhou off the eastern coast of Libya - the country's first deployment in the Mediterranean. The ship, and the special forces personnel it carried, were there to make sure that the estimated 30,000 Chinese workers in Libya were safely evacuated, in the face of a rash of attacks on Beijing-owned oil facilities."
Anti-democratic Democrats trumped: "The leader of Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate says his caucus will return to the state, but he won't say when. Senate Democrats fled the state nearly three weeks ago to block a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights. But Senate Republicans used a procedural move on Wednesday to pass the proposal without the Democrats present. The floor session lasted just minutes, and the state Assembly is scheduled to take up the measure on Thursday morning. That's the last step before it can go to Walker for his signature.
ID: Bill limits teachers' bargaining powers: "A far-reaching bill that removes most of Idaho teachers' existing collective bargaining rights passed the Idaho House on Tuesday, sending the measure to the governor's desk and marking a big win for state schools Superintendent Tom Luna, who proposed the plan. Luna hailed the move, calling it 'a great step forward,' while Idaho's teachers union, the Idaho Education Association, declared a 'Day of Action' with after-school rallies across the state today to protest."
Why we need an asteroid strike: "See, societies are like people in that they get old, clot, lose flexibility, and then croak. They can't get better. Like most things, they just get worse. A rule of thermodynamics says that rivers don't flow backwards, plaque does not voluntarily leave arteries, and governments do not become more reasonable, efficient, or interested in the well-being of their populations."
A little understanding goes a long way: "As the world confronts one of the most critical periods of economic upheaval that it has ever seen, it is clear that our most influential economic stewards have absolutely no idea what they are doing. But, like kids with a new chemistry set, they are nevertheless unwilling to let that stand in the way of their experimental fun. As they pour an ever-growing number of volatile ingredients into their test tubes, we can either hope that they magically stumble on the secret formula to cure the world's ills, or more pragmatically, we can try to prepare for the explosion that is likely to result."
Why ObamaCare mandate penalty can't be a tax: "Within a year or two, the Supreme Court probably will decide whether the new federal mandate to purchase a particular type of health insurance is authorized by Congress' constitutional power to 'regulate Commerce ... among the several States.' If the Obama administration cannot convince the court that the commerce clause allows Congress to force people to engage in commerce, the administration has a backup argument: The mandate is separately authorized by Congress' constitutional power to tax. If this argument succeeds, the constitutional system of a federal government of limited, enumerated powers will, for all practical purposes, come to an end."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)