Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Simple Question

When it comes to health care, do you want politicized rationing or private decision making?

Last year the president and Democratic Congress demonstrated that they believed “smart professionals,” or successful politicians, at least, should decide how much health care all the “morons called U.S. citizens” should receive.  And that is always how Medicare has operated.  Recipients get one set of benefits.  Government sets the payment rates.  If a retiree doesn’t like it, tough!

Instead, people should be able to choose the health insurance plan which best meets their and their family’s needs.  Obviously, purchasing medical care isn’t as simple as buying a car.  Most of us are going to want to rely on advice from “smart professionals.”  But ultimately, only individuals and families can decide the best coverage and the right trade-offs.  Instead of voting to nationalize medical decisions, Congress should have encouraged more personal decision-making in the purchase of health insurance.

Legislators also should apply this principle to Medicare.  Help those who need help, but let them choose the benefits best for them.

Last year, in the midst of fevered debate over ObamaCare, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams flew to Miami for heart surgery.  It seems Canada’s vaunted socialized system limited his treatment options.  Williams responded to criticism:  “This is my heart, it’s my choice and it’s my health.”

So it is for all of us.

Those who advocate government control of health care decision-making contend that “rationing” is inevitable.  If the government’s doesn’t do it, someone else will do it.

But there is a dramatic difference between individuals deciding how to spend limited resources while choosing among competing goods and services and government telling individuals how to spend their money or spending it for them.  Even in today’s highly regulated and restricted health care system some choices remain.  Ever greater government control ultimately means no exit for anyone—except the wealthy, who can afford to go anywhere for any treatment.

I’ll take the latter.  We’re gonna get the former.

(I actually disagree with some of the premise even in the article.  It is not the role of the federal government to help people afford health care.  At all.  But I’m crazy like that.  I’m willing to take small steps in that direction.)

(Oh, and as I’ve suggested since ObamaCare was even a suggestion – if you want the best health care, you better start saving now.  If you rely on the government to take care of you, expect to be disappointed.)



Economics of Gas Taxes

Peter Franchot, the MD State Comptroller, has floated the idea of a gas tax holiday over one of the upcoming summer long weekends.

While gas prices have dropped about 10 cents per gallon over the last week, the Maryland average is still about $3.85 a gallon — about a dollar more than the same time last year.

A high-ranking state official who has vowed to fight soaring gas prices is floating the idea of a gas tax holiday, according to 11 News reporter David Collins.

Comptroller Peter Franchot plans to pitch a three-day gas tax holiday to the Maryland General Assembly, Collins reported Thursday.

“We think it would put Maryland on the map, and it would more than pay for itself through increased economic activity,” Franchot said. “Most of all, just give Maryland citizens a break.”

The current state gas tax is 23.4 cents per gallon. At one station Collins visited Thursday, a 15-gallon purchase would cost $56.25. With the gas tax lifted, the bill would have been reduced by $3.50.

I heard Franchot on the radio yesterday, explaining that certainly we can’t do it permanently, because of the revenue loss, but over a weekend the loss of $6 Million in revenue would be offset by increased economic activity, and would be a net gain for state tax revenue, as well as good for residents of the state.

How is it possible he understands eliminating the tax for a short period of time would have a net positive benefit, but doesn’t understand that it would have a positive benefit if it were eliminated permanently?

Contrast Showers for Recovery

This instructional video is worth the watch

Old, but still makes me laugh out loud.

This… this is just CRAZY TALK

An overnight taste of freedom

If Rand Paul is successful (or doesn’t cave), we might just have 7 hours of freedom overnight tonight.

The Senate voted to end debate on the measure, but Sen. Paul, a Kentucky Republican, is insisting the Senate debate the measure for a full 30 hours, which would extend beyond the midnight expiration. Mr. Paul’s tactic is procedural: By not agreeing to a request for unanimous consent to yield back debate time, he can insist the debate continues until 7a.m. Friday, past the midnight expiration of the provisions. Mr. Paul, a libertarian who opposes the Patriot Act, could change course and allow a vote before the provisions expire.

Little steps, I guess.  The Patriot Act is unconstitutional. The Patriot Act has yet to catch a terrorist; mostly drug users and people who failed to fill out forms properly.  Here’s to Senator Paul holding tough and going against his party to bring attention to freedom.

ME Squat, 5/17/11


Stopped there. That was the minimum, and since my head wasn’t really in it, that was good enough for today.

Good Morning

3×5 @ 135

Seated leg curl machine

3×15 @ 100


3×8 @ 120


2x 20sec

Incline situp



One of the best friends I’ve ever had died over the weekend.

He was the guy who convinced me to join a gym 15+ years ago.  He was my first and last training partner.  No one since measured up.

I can’t measure how he changed my life with just that one thing;  he made me work hard, he made me show up.   His knowledge, motivation, drive, and inspiration not only changed me physically, it made me a much better person.

But our relationship was so much more.

We spent more time together than with anyone else for about 5 years.  We worked together, we trained together, and we socialized together.  We went through marriages and divorces.  We helped each other move.  We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.  We got in to trouble, and we kept each other out of trouble.

He was Pablo Suavé.

He was one of the nicest, most giving, good humored people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

We’d grown apart over the years, lots of us do.  Different jobs, different priorities, different interests.  But I would have dropped everything in an instant on a call from him, and he would have done the same.

He wasn’t just my training partner, he was like a brother.

My heart breaks for his wife and his family.  I know how much he loved you, and I know how much you loved him.

DE Bench, 5/15/11

Bench Press

2×10 @ 45
8×3 @ 175 (3 grips)
Felt good, speed good. Left shoulder is bugging me, has been since I slept on it wrong a week or so ago.

Incline press

4×5 @ 135
Nice and easy, but shaky.

Neutral Grip Pulldown

140×10, 9

V Grip Pulldown

3×5 @ 140

Face Pull ss/w Pressdown

3×15 @ 100

Pretty good day.

DE Squat, 5/14/11

Box Squat

3×5 @ 45
2×2 @ 135
8×2 @ 225
Last one felt heavy, but was easy off the box.


8×1 @ 275

45 degree back raise
superset with pull down abs

Hammer Strength Shrugs (standing)


The next time someone suggests we need to raise taxes (again) in Baltimore City…

Show them this.

Alone amidst a wash of concrete and bricks, paving and sidewalk, the tiny unidentified greenery struggles to spread its sprouts into a seemingly intractable blanket of shade.

But do not mourn this poor forlorn seedling, for the city’s Board of Estimates just approved $8,800 for its care and maintenance. Along with 15 months of watering and pruning, the contract will also provide company for the lone greenery in the four-story concrete parking garage, with plans to add several additional planters to the darkened caverns that temporarily house the cars of motorists visiting the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.

The money is part of $27,000 in landscaping contracts approved for four city-owned parking garages Wednesday. The contracts provide for 15 months’ worth of work by Grass Roots Landscaping, a Baltimore-based business that will now be responsible for nurturing the lone plant in Franklin Garage, along with other potted shrubbery withering on sidewalks or wilting in the exhaust-filled concrete facilities at three other parking garages.

The expenditure for the solo shrub, that comes amidst intractable budget shortfalls and higher taxes, was justified as key to presenting an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere inside the otherwise mundane parking garage, an important selling point for attracting out-of-town motorists.

Yup.  $8,800 for a plant in a parking garage.   The Lovely Mrs. Stagg, who, of above average intelligence, reminded me that it’s probably that expensive because plants can’t live in a dark parking garage.

Our property taxes are twice the surrounding counties.  The city implemented an additional sales tax on bottled beverages (that retailers are not allowed to call a sales tax, or even disclose to their customers) because if we didn’t, we’d have to ground the police helicopter.

Yet we’re spending money on this.  Awesome.

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