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Rarely does a person's complete political outlook fit into one specific right-or-left partisan niche. Many Americans' views and ideals are a smattering of the political map, and my hope is that Moderate Sugar will serve as a healthy discussion platform for all issues and individual leanings.

How the Stimulus Plans Differ

Posted By MotoLinz on Feb 11, 2009 at 12:17PM

Numbers. That's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it.

For everyone's perusal...

Click Me

Ruin Your Health With the Stimulus Plan

Posted By Great Sommelier on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:07AM

GS Note- I don't care who you voted for, whether you are red, blue or purple. This affects all of us. We can tweak this if we demand it from our representatives. This isn't a partisan issue!!

Commentary by Betsy McCaughey

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) --

Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Elderly Hardest Hit

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

Hidden Provisions

If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

More Scrutiny Needed

On Friday, President Obama called it “inexcusable and irresponsible” for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny.

The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.

(Betsy McCaughey is former lieutenant governor of New York and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Betsy McCaughey at Betsymross@aol.com

Tagged with: tom daschle, daschle, stimulus, obama

The Civics Quiz

Posted By MotoLinz on Nov 21, 2008 at 7:21AM

This was posted on another site, and I thought it was a fun little quiz. A few of the questions seem a little subjective, but what the Hell...

(I got 30/33 - but I didn't miss any because they were subjective, I just flat didn't know. :D)

Civics Quiz

When you finish, you can click on a link to see citizens' average scores vs. elected officials' average scores on different subjects. That I see, though, they don't really spell out the average rank of the elected officials polled. Kind of skews things, but I think most would be more alarmed about their state's governor being ignorant of "US-Soviet Tension In 1962" than the local property assessor.

Tagged with: civics quiz

Giving Up On God

Posted By MotoLinz on Nov 19, 2008 at 9:45AM

Giving Up On God - Kathleen Parker

"As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.

But they need those votes!

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.

Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs.

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.

Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself:

"I'm like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.

Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square, surrender Judeo-Christian values or diminish the value of faith in America. Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents.

But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian. The change Barack Obama promised has already occurred, which is why he won.

Among Jewish voters, 78 percent went for Obama. Sixty-six percent of under-30 voters did likewise. Forty-five percent of voters ages 18-29 are Democrats compared to just 26 percent Republican; in 2000, party affiliation was split almost evenly.

The young will get older, of course. Most eventually will marry, and some will become their parents. But nonwhites won't get whiter. And the nonreligious won't get religion through external conversion. It doesn't work that way.

Given those facts, the future of the GOP looks dim and dimmer if it stays the present course. Either the Republican Party needs a new base -- or the nation may need a new party."

How Obama Got Elected

Posted By MotoLinz on Nov 18, 2008 at 7:46AM

This video accompanies the How Obama Got Elected website for an upcoming documentary. In addition to obviously wishing to portray a political ignorance among many Obama supporters, it purports to show the media's impact on this presidential election.

While I did cringe throughout this video and frequently wished to crawl under my coffee table and curl up in the fetal position, I think it has to be remembered that this is part of a documentary, and those definitely aren't unbiased. So, while I'm amazed, disturbed, and saddened that twelve seemingly sane, educated voters would fail to correctly answer so many of the questions, it certainly isn't the whole story. I would like to see a comparable polling done with McCain supporters. And Barr supporters... And Paul supporters... And on and on.

Here are the overall poll stats from the site:

512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing).

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing).

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing).

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing).

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

And yet...

Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes.

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter.

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey.)

2008 Presidential Election Maps

Posted By MotoLinz on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:50AM

Since I'm a giant nerd, I always seek out election result maps by county - I'm really intrigued by outcome break-downs at that level because it's interesting to see how a few key areas can drive an entire state. Cartograms are even more fun, as they really give you a better sense of population and overall stake than straight, scaled results maps. So, when I was Googling "election 2008 county map" last night, I was delighted to find all the information, maps, and cartograms on this site:

2008 Election Results Maps

It's worth a quick peruse, and if you're not familiar with cartograms, those are explained on the page also. Enjoy!

Tagged with: election mapping

Obama Whazaaaaaap commercial

Posted By JenniJams on Nov 7, 2008 at 7:56AM

You've probably already seen this, but I just saw it for the first time last night and it had me rolling!

Tagged with: obama

Are you voting for your chosen candidate or against the other?

Posted By MotoLinz on Nov 3, 2008 at 11:27AM

Obviously, this question applies mostly to the two main parties and their nominees. Since this may be a hard one to gauge, just weigh it out: Are you pretty solidly behind your candidate/the candidate's party, or are you voting for your candidate/candidate's party more because you don't want the other candidate/candidate's party in the White House? Those voting for a third party candidate could still be voting for their candidate or simply against the two-party system - so, don't feel left out.

You don't have to comment with how you're voting/who you're voting for if you don't want to - I just thought this would be an interesting twist on the general "Who are you voting for?" poll.

Tagged with: for or against


Posted By sexyeyes on Nov 3, 2008 at 8:54AM

I know many people are still undecided of who are they going to vote for.

Well, have you make your mind about who you want as your next US President???

Let us know!

The Bandwagon Effect

Posted By MotoLinz on Oct 30, 2008 at 9:57AM

From Politico: Experts warn of 'bandwagon effect'

Just an interesting little piece about voter psychology and how polls effect Election Day voters. It also touches on the Bradley Effect.