the latest from Joebloggers

children's health and politics

Congress and the president are planning to butt heads this week over a children's health bill that would expand SCHIP, a state run program which insures kids that aren't poor enough to get Medicaid but also aren't rich enough to otherwise get coverage.

On the surface, it looks like a decent enough bill - the feds would increase funding from $25b over the next five years to $60b, adding about 4 million uninsured kids to its roster. Conservative groups say the number would probably be lower, especially as a lot of parents will be dropping their current plans to take advantage of SCHIP's cheaper deal, but that doesn't get me all hot and bothered. I'm still for the bill.

But something does irk me - as it does Bush (yes, sometimes we see eye to eye!): while the bill lets states cover more kids, it lets them cover more middle income kids without making sure the really poor kids get insured first.

Talker - I Can See Your Point

I can definitely see eye to eye with you: it may indeed be a good idea to go with the people in it for more than the money. This makes me wonder, though: are those Blackwater USA employees in this for the money or for the good of others? If they're in it for the money and this stuff keeps happening, then what is the point of having them there? All it seems like they're doing at this point is adding to the problems already there. The killing of innocent Iraqis isn't going to make anyone any happier, I'm sure.

when the invisible hand messes things up

Clafabio's post about Blackwater got me noodling on a question that comes up a lot (well, at least when I'm hanging around with my libertarian buds) - that is, when is it a good idea to let the free market and private enterprise handle things and when is it better for the government to step in?

Now, if you're a hard-core libertarian your answer may be it's always better to keep big brother out, but for the rest of us I'm guessing there's a little more gray there.

The question came up reading Maggie Mahar's "Money Driven Medicine," in which - you could probably guess from the title - she explains that market driven health care can have some nasty side effects (like unnecessary by-pass surgeries, high costs, etc.). It also seems to be one of the key questions the candidates are trying finesse in their health care plans.

Clafabio's post made me think that the military might be another industry that's better run by non-bottom-line entities (and along those lines, the police and fire departments).

The question was begged: what is it about health care and the military that makes them better off in public hands?

Blackwater USA & Other Private Security Firms

In a recent article by John F. Burns on the New York Times website (see, titled, "The Deadly Game of Private Security" the recent shooting by men from the protection firm Blackwater USA in more detail. The current debate is whether these private security firms are really necessary. Now, I can assume that you remember General David Petraeus's recent progress report on the situation in Baghdad. He is quoted to have said in an interview with PBS' Jim Lehrer, "There have been some encouraging indicators in Baghdad..." (britainandamerica) However, if he has reported these, "encouraging indicators in Baghdad" it makes you wonder why people would still feel the need to have the protection of such private security firms as Blackwater USA.

The Bright Side:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visits the U.N.

Is it just me, or should there be a provision in the Unites States policy that allows foreign nationals to visit the U.N. that would allow us to decline the U.N. Visa for "enemies of the state" such as the President of Iran?  I believe that allowing this man to visit our country is absurd!  It is a slap in the face to all of those serving in the military, and especially those members of the military that have been wounded or killed by the weapons supplied by Iran to the insurgents in Iraq!  I have heard it estimated that one in three coalition deaths can be attributed to Iranian supplied weapons.  I believe that we are currently at war with Iran by proxy.

He says that he will visit ground zero to lay a wreath.  I ask, to commemorate who?  All of those Americans that died?  I doubt it.  I would bet it would be to honor the nineteen murderers that highjacked those planes.  If we cannot keep him from comming here because of agreements with the U.N., we should be able to make sure he is brought directly to the U.N. for his speach, and then immediately returned to the airport for departure!

the peculiar draw of the press conference

Dana Milbank's WaPo piece this morning - Bush's News Conference Almost Makes News - left me with mixed emotions.

At first, relief - "Halleluia! It is possible for the president to have a press conference without it being splashed over the front page!"

If you've ever doubted the press is played by the government - or, less Machievellian-ly, that the press has conflicting incentives when it comes to reporting news from the White House and so often looks like it's being played by the administration - you only have to look at the phenomenon of the White House Press Conference to be disillusioned.

Department of Defense (DoD) authorization bill - amendment #2919 (the Dream Act)

Why would Senator Dick Durbin attempt to add a massive amnesty for illegal aliens into a Defense Appropriations bill? I believe this is another attempt to slip this massive amnesty through the cracks against the very obvious will of United States citizens. The June avalanche of phone calls that shut-down the Capitol switchboard for the first time in history was a very clear statement by the citezens that we are against this. Why do both sides of the isle continue to try and slip it through?

enjoy the silence

One of citizenJoe's mantras is that what matters is policy, not politics. There's a lot of talk in politics, but does it really get us anywhere.

Harry Shearer, of Simpsons and Spinal Tap fame, takes the emptiness of political debate to its - hysterical - extreme, in this must-view "silent debate":

let the blog roll begin...

Trusting in the wisdom and good graces of our readers, we at cJ have decided open up the seagates of the JoeBlog to one and all.

While anyone pretty much gets to say what they want, we're hoping that we get some good, non partisan-slamming, thought-provoking discussions going here.

So what have you got to say?