Tag Archives: bill

Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Fixed

…and how I stopped being a tool.

In  a last minute move after seeing a huge media and blog outcry Arizona has altered the vague sections of their Immigrant law that were crafted by a hate group lawyer, and now it’s more reasonable. Indeed, it’s something similar to what I suggested in 2006.

Lawmakers on Thursday night changed the language to require scrutiny only of people who police stop, detain or arrest. They also changed a section of the bill that barred officers from “solely” using race as grounds for suspecting someone is in the country illegally; opponents had argued that that would allow race to be a factor. The legislators removed the word “solely” to bar race from being used by officers enforcing the law.

Note that since that 2006 post and others like it, I’ve moved more to the center on immigration. I’ve seen it become the wedge that split the Republicans apart as I predicted, and I saw moderates leave and extremist groups like the Birchers swarm in to fill that vacuum. Here’s something else I wrote along that path – the more I researched the less I could support the Xenophobic fears driving the debate.

If treatment of the illegals is too harsh this will backfire as well. Many who feel firm now will quail before the hordes of MSM and liberal deportation horror stories to come. For make no mistake, in many cases enforcing this will drive a wedge into one of conservativism’s key values: Family Unity. Some families will be torn apart. The father or mother will be deported — so whatever the outcome of the conference committee two major conservative values will clash. With that said I refer you back to the quote at the start, and remind you that in the end all problems are solvable if one factor is patience, and the other persistence.

It was after this — when I saw large segments of the party really turn on Bush, McCain, Graham and others that I realized this this was the issue that would split us. I saw partisans full of bile attacking Republicans harder than any Demagogue from the Democrats would and began to research. My queasiness about recognizing the need for immigration just due to the sheer demographics of the aging baby boomers (who is going to care for and nurse all of the gray hairs in a few short years? ) turned to outright alarm when I saw that many of the cheerleaders, like Michelle Malkin, were aligned with Peter Brimelow and the Pat Buchanan tea cup racist crowd at the odious VDARE site. I began to realize that “Culture” and “Identity” weren’t just code words for the Eurofascists, they were code words for the racists here as well.

Do you suspect some of the legislators in Arizona started looking into things like Kris Kobach’s background and actually realized what tools they had been, like I did? I can only hope so.

Great Questions About the Health Care Bill

Great Questions About the Health Care Bill

A lot of really important and good questions about the health care bill are going unasked because too many are too busy shouting the other side down and debating death panels etc. Charles over at LGF hosted a thread for questions on the bill, and it ran very long. One of the members, Keith Gabryelski, gathered them together, categorized them and put them on the web. This is a great read, and most of these are unanswered. I suggest there are things you might want to ask at your town hall.

Go here to read them all.

Rasmussen: Americans Don’t Want House Plan

Rasmussen: Americans Don’t Want House Plan

In the latest Rasmussen poll two thirds of Independent voters and 4 out of 5 Republicans say no bill passing is a better outcome than the House version(s) passing.

Not surprisingly, there is a huge partisan divide on this issue. Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats say passing the legislation in Congress would be the best course of action. However, 80% of Republicans take the opposite view. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 23% would like the Congressional reform to pass while 66% would rather the legislators take no action.

Voters who earn less than $20,000 a year are evenly divided but a majority of all other voters would prefer no action. Middle income voters, those who earn from $40,000 to $75,000 a year, are most strongly in favor of taking no action.

I’ve pointed out the weakness of the house version(s) several times here and in debates in many threads over at Little Green Footballs. It’s a cobbled together mess of input from staffers, lobbyists, and NGO’s. If you want to know who put what in the bill go back and look at who took Pelosi and Dingell staffers to lunch during the weeks prior to the initial draft releases.

This doesn’t mean that Americans are opposed to health care insurance reform – and remember, this bill does nothing to reform health care, it just reforms insuring care. So a few things that conservatives and the public are in favor of are in the bill, however they are tied to so many other negatives and unknowns that nobody wants the Pelosi version. Do the math: 40 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Independents, and 80 percent of Republicans opposed. That’s a large majority opposed. If you are a Democrat you might say that Nancy and her staffers pretty much have let down the side on this.

UPDATE: Here are just two examples of the problems with the bill – to be able to characterize the bill as “budget Neutral” the money has to come from somewhere. Try a takeaway of half a trillion from Medicare based on pie in the sky imaginary savings, and new taxes. This is why the CBO report rocked O’s world so hard. I think most Americans are going to figure out this shell game flim flam before the recess is over.

So the hardball questions aren’t really about death panels – they are about what are you cutting in Medicare?*** Who’s determining that? Whose Taxes are you raising and how?

***People dwelling in the real world know that the “cuts” are political legerdemain for “we’ll just hide the costs in Medicare and let the next generation deal with the shortfall.” The first time any senior died or got denied care post passage it would be nationwide news quicker than you could say “Schiavo” and you also know that the Erin Brokovich fans on the left would be demanding congressional investigations vociferously.

Obama is Failing IV

Obama is Failing

It’s now more that a month past my first post about President Obama’s First two quarters in office,  and the outlook is not any better. Obama is presiding over an economy with accelerating  job losses when he promised job gains with TARP’s passage. The economy is the key thing worrying the country right now, and his entire party and administration seems oblivious to that fact.

Here’s a graphic map that visualizes job losses through time at Slate, please hit the start button, then the green play button. You will see that job losses accelerated dramatically from November when he was elected through to the present.

Even his most ardent supporters cannot step forward in the face of this and say that he is succeeding in his election promise of saving and creating jobs. If he wants success there he’s got several long rows to hoe and with the course that he has set the outcome will be Congress facing elections with the US poorer and unemployment still high in 2010. This will occur even though the economy has turned and our basic economy is sound.

The contentious cap and trade and health care bills in Congress insure economic restraint through uncertainty if they are passed, and if they fail then they must fail dramatically to end the uncertainty. Both will introduce huge new costs to consumers, businesses, state economies, and local economies. These costs are unknowns which keep bean counters at every business in America awake at night because they can’t make forecasts with any hope of reasonable accuracy.

Bottom line:

  • High energy prices created by Cap and trade legislation will turn the economy down, not up, as President Obama promised.
  • Increased taxation from the Health Care bill will retard rather than progress the economy as Obama promised.

Cap and trade has been called “Cap and Tax” for a reason: one outcome will be increased energy costs for consumers and businesses, and high energy prices  drive all other things in the economy.

Indeed there are good arguments to be made that the rest of the world’s countries implementing cap and trade policies in prior years led to the fragility which tipped us over the brink in the banking and mortgage loan industries. Without high energy prices the past several years the system might have been able to sustain with a lower burden of defaults, and mortgage companies might not have so many “toxic assets” on the books. High energy costs stifle economies worldwide, so why would you intentionally make them higher at a time of severe economic malaise?

The other problematic bill in congress is the Health care bill  – the unknowns are more daunting than the knowns since the bill is a nightmare of cut and paste confusion as Pelosi’s staffers and lobbyists crammed like they were writing a term paper they had blown off all semester to get this before Congress in time. The resultant mess in the lower congress from “rushing to woo” the public is a crazy patchwork quilt of conflicting measures that can be interpreted any way opponents want to. This has been a real boon for grenade throwers like Sarah Palin and others.

The outlook for both bills has seriously worsened since I wrote this post, however I still expect pared down versions of both to pass. You can bet that some Republicans in congress do want some of the energy investments in the “energy bill portion” of Cap and Trade, and you can bet there are some health care reforms that Republicans and Blue Dogs could get behind. If Obama wants a cosmetic win in getting both passed then he’s going to have to give up the Pelosi and Waxman versions and cross the aisle to sanity.

To me that’s a failure since the Dems have a big lock on majority and should be able to get pretty much anything through. The struggles they are having now really demonstrates how truly incompetent their legislators are.

UPDATE: Charles hits the nail on the head about the political sideshow of the “DeathPanel” debate, with fact checking on the provisions provided by ABC. Also note that Rick Moran’s been taking a lot of heat over his stance on this, but he’s right.

UPDATE: Slick Willie Preps the diehards for the deal they will have to make if they want a health care bill.

UPDATE: Middle Class and Independent voters would prefer no Bill instead of House Plan by strong majorties.

Health Care Bill:The Advanced Care Planning Section

Health Care Bill:The Advanced Care Planning Section

This particular section of the Health Care bill is causing quite a bit of controversy, the response from the hard religious right is that “Obama wants to euthanize old people!” and the response from the left is that this is merely Advanced Care Planning and not really mandatory. The real answer is that they are probably both wrong.

I’m no lawyer however; the terminus (divisor or departure point, pun intended,) seems to be whether or not this is mandatory for the patient and/or the doctor, and whether it goes far beyond what doctors do for patients already. Is it invasive of liberty, does it expand liberty? Does it proscribe care or services that might be granted, or does it mandate services where they aren’t wanted?

So I’m opening discussion – with a warning: discuss the points of the bill with an eye towards what the language actually demands. Comments advocating political stances on the issue will be deleted, the point here is to determine what this really amounts to.

As a service to the ongoing debaters I’m cutting and pasting the pertinent sections of the bill here. This section starts on page 424 with insertion of the “Advanced Care Consultation” paragraph and ends on page 443, I’ve removed some line formatting & page footers for ease of reading but, here’s a link to the PDF.

5 SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION.
(a) MEDICARE.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended— (A) in subsection (s)(2)—(i) by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of
subparagraph (DD); (ii) by adding ‘‘and’’ at the end of subparagraph (EE); and (iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
‘‘(FF) advance care planning consultation (as defined in subsection (hhh)(1)) and (B) by adding at the end the following new
subsection: ‘‘Advance Care Planning Consultation ‘‘(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:

‘‘(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.
‘‘(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.

‘‘(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.

‘‘(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).

‘‘(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.
‘‘(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders, which shall include—

‘‘(I) the reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family and the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes;

‘‘(II) the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order; and

‘‘(III) the identification of resources that an individual may use to determine the requirements of the State in which such individual resides so that the treatment wishes of that individual will be carried out if the individual is unable to communicate those wishes, including requirements regarding the designation of a surrogate decisionmaker (also known as a health care proxy). ‘‘(ii) The Secretary shall limit the requirement for explanations under clause (i) to consultations furnished in a State—
‘‘(I) in which all legal barriers have been addressed for enabling orders for life sustaining treatment to constitute a set of medical orders respected across all care settings; and ‘‘(II) that has in effect a program for orders for life sustaining treatment described in clause (iii). ‘‘(iii) A program for orders for life sustaining treatment for a States described in this clause is a program that— ‘‘(I) ensures such orders are standardized and uniquely identifiable throughout the State; ‘‘(II) distributes or makes accessible such orders to physicians and other health professionals that (acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law) may sign orders for life sustaining treatment; ‘‘(III) provides training for health care professionals across the continuum of care about the goals and use of orders for life sustaining treatment; and ‘‘(IV) is guided by a coalition of stakeholders includes representatives from emergency medical services, emergency department physicians or nurses, state long-term care association, state medical association, state surveyors, agency responsible for senior services, state department of health, state hospital association, home health association, state bar association, and state hospice association.

‘‘(2) A practitioner described in this paragraph is—‘‘(A) a physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)); and ‘‘(B) a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who has the authority under State law to sign orders for life sustaining treatments.

‘‘(3)(A) An initial preventive physical examination under subsection (WW), including any related discussion during such examination, shall not be considered an advance care planning consultation for purposes of applying the 5-year limitation under paragraph (1).‘‘(B) An advance care planning consultation with re18
spect to an individual may be conducted more frequently than provided under paragraph (1) if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening injury, or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility (as defined by the Secretary), or a hospice program.

“(4) A consultation under this subsection may include the formulation of an order regarding life sustaining treatment or a similar order.

‘‘(5)(A) For purposes of this section, the term ‘order regarding life sustaining treatment’ means, with respect to an individual, an actionable medical order relating to the treatment of that individual that— ‘‘(i) is signed and dated by a physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)) or another health care professional (as specified by the Secretary and who is acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law in signing such an order, including a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) and is in a form that permits it to stay with the individual and be followed by health care professionals and providers across the continuum of care; ‘‘(ii) effectively communicates the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, including an indication of the treatment and care desired by the individual; ‘‘(iii) is uniquely identifiable and standardized within a given locality, region, or State (as identified by the Secretary); and ‘‘(iv) may incorporate any advance directive (as defined in section 1866(f)(3)) if executed by the individual. ‘‘(B) The level of treatment indicated under subpara
graph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions. Such indicated levels of treatment may include indications respecting, among other items— ‘‘(i) the intensity of medical intervention if the patient is pulse less, apneic, or has serious cardiac or pulmonary problems; ‘‘(ii) the individual’s desire regarding transfer to a hospital or remaining at the current care setting; ‘‘(iii) the use of antibiotics; and ‘‘(iv) the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.’’.
(2) PAYMENT.—Section 1848(j)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(j)(3)) is amended by inserting‘(2)(FF),’’ after ‘‘(2)(EE),’’. (3) FREQUENCY LIMITATION.—Section 1862(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y(a)) is amended— (A) in paragraph (1)— (i) in subparagraph (N), by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end;  (ii) in subparagraph (O) by striking  the semicolon at the end and inserting ‘‘,  and’’; and  (iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘‘(P) in the case of advance care planning consultations (as defined in section 1861(hhh)(1)), which are performed more frequently than is covered under such section;’’; and (B) in paragraph (7), by striking ‘‘or (K)’’ and inserting ‘‘(K), or (P)’’.

(4) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to consultations furnished on or after January 1, 2011. (b) EXPANSION OF PHYSICIAN QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE FOR END OF LIFE CARE.— (1) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE.—Section 1848(k)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(k)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs: ‘‘(3) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIA
TIVE.—

‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of reporting data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available, the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate. Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life sustaining treatment.

‘‘(B) PROPOSED SET OF MEASURES.—The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register proposed quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that the Secretary determines are described in subparagraph (A) and would be appropriate for eligible professionals to use to submit data to the Secretary.  The Secretary shall provide for a period of public comment on such set of measures before finalizing such proposed measures.’’

(c) INCLUSION OF INFORMATION IN MEDICARE & YOU HANDBOOK.— (1) MEDICARE & YOU HANDBOOK.— (A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall update the online version of the Medicare & You Handbook to include the following:

(i) An explanation of advance care planning and advance directives, including— (I) living wills; (II) durable power of attorney; (III) orders of life-sustaining treatment; and (IV) health care proxies.

(ii) A description of Federal and State resources available to assist individuals and their families with advance care planning and advance directives, including—

(I) available State legal service organizations to assist individuals with advance care planning, including those organizations that receive funding pursuant to the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 93001 et seq.); (II) website links or addresses for State-specific advance directive forms; and (III) any additional information, as determined by the Secretary. (B) UPDATE OF PAPER AND SUBSEQUENT VERSIONS.—The Secretary shall include the information described in subparagraph (A) in all paper and electronic versions of the Medicare & You Handbook that are published on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

I will post where I stand on these issues later, right now I think the discussion needs to focus on what this section does or does not do. I’m hoping to hear from Volokh, Lawhawk, and others in the legal field on this, as well as from physicians.

Natal: Coming to an Office Near You?

Natal: Coming to an Office Near You?

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In an earlier post I speculated upon the future uses of Microsoft’s new full body motion detecting system, Natal, which is coming for the X-Box. I took the sensor from the X-Box, and speculated on what could happen if this moved to offices and factories in combination with other budding technology, such as Pixelwalls or Pixelspaces.

Here’s a snip:

So why the excitement? Part of it’s because this does draw in people who are challenged by the GUI, the Gamepad, the joystick, or the mouse. It changes the playing field, and it changes the way we will interact with computers. What happens when this type of IO crosses verges? Steven talks about one he’s familiar with in the video, and you see an interactive fashion / shopping application as well. Think bigger than that. Combine it with another technology. This is where the wild assed speculation starts. Think of your office or factory computers – think not of monitor screens, but of pixelwalls with ability to run multiple apps in multiple virtual screens painting your cuby walls, and then think of public space pixelwalls.

There will be new art using this, and it will be interactive. There will be new interactive industrial uses, and there will be home uses. There will be breakthroughs in how we live our daily lives. Sometime over the next twenty years you won’t have to go to the computer to use it, you will be able to use applications, input to them, and view media by popping it up on the nearest pixelwall. With hand motions and speech you will likely be able to do everything you do today with a keyboard and mouse, and you will be able to take multiple views with you to any room in the house that has a pixelwall and sensors. If there are public pixel walls and network in public locations, you will be able to take all your media with you, and combine your virtual world with other people’s virtual worlds in the public square.

Now here’s the update on what could be the greatest I/O device since the Mouse:

In an interview with CNET News this week, Gates talked about a world in which depth-sensing cameras such as the one Microsoft is adding to the Xbox allow people to control their PCs, game devices, and televisions. (See a video from the E3 conference below.)

Speaking about all of the technology Microsoft has cooking in its labs, Gates said: “I’d say a cool example of that, that you’ll see… in a little over a year, is this (depth) camera thing.” Gates said it was not just for games, “but for media consumption as a whole, and even if they connect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication.”

Just a reminder: you can’t predict the future – so pixelwalls or pixelspace might be arrived at by different means, and full body motion sensing devices might combine in a different way than I’ve predicted.
I use “Pixelwall” as a self-explanatory word, but think in terms of wallboards that interconnect that are coated with plasma, LED, OLED, or LCD or some other type of display media, perhaps it will be wallpaper instead and come on rolls. The point is that at some time in the near future we won’t have monitors, we will have walls that can display multiple views and applications in multiple formats.
Life size views of scenic venues could be piped into your home, the view of the construction site could be piped into the Foreman’s office, the uses are many. With speech command and full body motion sensors as the new “human input devices” it takes humans out of chairs, and puts them in a truly compute anywhere environment.

Here’s a video demonstrating some of the gaming applications for this controller, now put it in a full surround computing environment at work… the possibilities become near endless.

UPDATE: The Futurist predicted some of this.

Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Allow Creationist Schools to Grant Science Degrees

sedimentary-rock

Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Let Creationist Schools Grant Science Degrees

Leo Berman,  Republican Texas state congresscritter, has introduced a bill that would allow private schools to issue Science degrees with exceptions to science standards. This exemption from state standards is specifically designed for the Dallas-based Institute For Creation Research, a Young Earth Creationist think tank that searches for evidence of God through pseudo-science.

Leo’s known for bone-headed bill attempts, like this one that attempts to subvert the US Constitution at state level in determining what US citizenry consists of.

Allowing ICR to issue science degrees is ridiculous, especially in view of their support of biblical inerrancy, outright lies, and pseudo-science, (hell, these guys are so off the deep end, let’s call is “Suedo-Science”.)

It lowers the standards for all science degrees from Texas if allowed, and what the heck is next? Degrees in Astronomy from the Velikovsky institute? Degrees in Cosmology from Harun Yahya? Geology degrees from the Shirley McLaine school of crystal gazing?

To put this in perspective take a look at the picture, click on the thumbnail and enlarge it. You can see a series of striae of sedimentary rock: silt and detritus deposited over eons and eons and eons. The silt was compacted gradually over time into rock from the steadily increasing weight above it. ICR teaches that it was all the outcome of one flood. If you believe that I still have a bridge for sale, and it’s not only a bargain, but really pretty.

More at :

Science Examiner

NCSE

Madness Beckons

Space City Skeptics