As 2009 comes to a close, you must read one thing, namely Dave Barry’s lengthy review of the year. It’s insanely hysterical — and depressing. Here’s the opening:
It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon!”
It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.
To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:
BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.
GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.
BAD NEWS: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.
GOOD NEWS: A lot more people were tweeting.
BAD NEWS: Ominous problems loomed abroad as — among other difficulties — the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.
GOOD NEWS: They finally got Roman Polanski.
The column then launches into a month-by-month survey of major events. It’s fabulous. And it’s awful. Go read the whole thing.
Watkins and Brook: Repudiate the Morality of Need
The December 28, 2009 Investor’s Business Daily carried this piece by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights entitled, “Memo To Foes Of Health Reform: Repudiate The Morality Of Need“.
Here is an excerpt:
…The reason we continue to move toward socialized medicine is that everyone — including the opponents of socialized medicine — grants its basic moral premise: that need generates an entitlement.
So long as that principle goes unchallenged, government intervention in medicine will continue growing, as each new pressure group asserts its need and lobbies for its entitlement, until finally the government takes responsibility for fulfilling everyone’s medical needs by socializing the health care system outright.
They also note:
…The only way to effectively oppose socialized health care is to reject the morality of need in favor of a genuinely American alternative. According to the American ideal, men are not their brother’s keeper — we are independent individuals with inalienable rights to support our own lives and happiness by our own efforts.
That means taking responsibility for your own medical needs, just as you take responsibility for your grocery shopping and car payments. It means no one can claim that his need entitles him to your time, effort, or wealth.
Where is the willingness to defend this ideal by saying, “Your health care is your responsibility — and if you truly cannot afford the care you need, then you must ask for private charity — not pick your neighbor’s pocket to pay for it”?
(Read the full text of “Memo To Foes Of Health Reform: Repudiate The Morality Of Need“.)
Watkins and Brook also note that the Republicans are failing to make this kind of principled moral opposition to the Democrats’ plan, instead relying predominantly on more derivative economic arguments.
America will likely soon learn the consequences of this failure.
(Crossposted from the FIRM blog.)
Open Thread #125
Here’s yet another Open Thread for your thoughts:
For anyone in the fiery grip of a random question, comment, joke, or link they’d like to share with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. (Please refrain from posting personal attacks, pornographic material, and commercial solicitations.)
This past weekend, I read Stieg Larsson’s huge bestselling Swedish mystery The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Despite some periodic anti-business elements, I really liked it. The mystery — or rather, interlocking set of mysteries — were very well-constructed. The main characters, although very different in personality and life-situation, were engaging and enjoyable. It definitely wasn’t deep, but the novel was good popular fiction, perhaps the best I’ve ever read. (However, I’m not the best judge, as I don’t read much popular fiction. I vastly prefer the classics.)
The second novel in the trilogy is The Girl Who Played with Fire. That’s available now, and I’m eager to read it. I think I’ll wait until February or March though — if I can. The third novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is due out in late May. So I’d like to space them out a bit.
Notably, I didn’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo myself: I listened to the unabridged audiobook read well by Simon Vance. That’s how I’ll read the others. If you like audiobooks, I definitely recommend those versions. You can get them for relatively cheap via a subscription to Audible.com; that’s what I use for all my audiobooks. (Disclosure Coerced by the FTC: I get a commission if you subscribe via that link.)
Unfortunately, Stieg Larsson died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004, so we won’t be enjoying any more novels from him. However, it looks like movies are coming.
NFL in the RedZone
I’ve become a major fan of the NFL’s new “RedZone” channel this season. The basic idea of the channel is that it switches between the most exciting portions of all the games playing on Sunday mornings and afternoons, without any commercials. So unless I want to watch a full game — which I’ll do for Indy and other notable games — I’ll just watch the best of all the games via the RedZone channel.
A recent Sports Illustrated column sang the praises of the channel. It even reported on the best description I’ve seen yet: “as if God was holding the remote control.” That seems apt to me, as I often say that I worship at the Church of the NFL on Sundays! That NFL God is Scott Hanson. Here’s a bit on him from the article:
“You get a bucketful of 100-percent concentrated football awesomeness,” says Scott Hanson, the studio host who deftly sets the scene each time RedZone switches games. Hanson’s enthusiasm seems boundless, even though inmates at Leavenworth have a cushier setup: During his seven hours on the air he gets only a two-minute bathroom break and, if he’s lucky, a bite or two of a sandwich.
I like Hanson’s style as a host. He’s very smooth, easily able to handle the swapping between games. Plus, he’s relentlessly focused on the football. I’ve heard him cut away from a game just after a touchdown, where the camera was focused on the scoring player’s end zone dance, saying something like “Okay, enough of that” with just the perfect touch of exasperation.
Oh, and need I mention that I was not happy with Jim Caldwell’s controversial decision to rest starters in the Jets game on Sunday? Probably not: it goes without saying. Granted, I was disappointed, but wowee, Peyton looked downright irate. He kept his helmet on while pacing the sidelines for quite some time. Normally, he’s on the bench reviewing plays with a baseball cap on. (Yes, I’m totally appalled that I’m such a football fanatic that I know that.) Of course, Peyton was gracious in the post-game press conference.
Of course, any and all disappointment will be forgotten if the Colts win the Superbowl!
Some dogs really are the omega of the family:
First, the indignity of the argyle sweater. Then to get beaten up by the cat. Woe is that doggie!
- Wednesday, December 23, 2009: The Religious Left: The Audacity of Obama’s Anti-Capitalism by Gina Liggett
- Thursday, December 24, 2009: Merry Christmas! by Diana Hsieh
- Monday, December 21, 2009: Rebutting the Mammography Rationers by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Tuesday, December 22, 2009: Negative Reviews Of Senate Bill by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Tuesday, December 22, 2009: Lewis: “Arbitrary Power, Dictatorship, and Health Care” by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Wednesday, December 23, 2009: Pipes: Get Ready To Wait by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Thursday, December 24, 2009: Parker WSJ LTE on Health Care Entitlements by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Thursday, December 24, 2009: 10 Lumps Of Coal In The Health Care Bill by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Thursday, December 24, 2009: Senate Passes Bill, Now Things Get Interesting by Paul Hsieh, MD
- Friday, December 25, 2009: Merry Christmas! by Paul Hsieh, MD