Friday, July 31, 2009
By RUDY BOSCHWITZ AND TIM PENNY, Investors Business Daily, Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 4:20 PM PT
In considering whether to expand the government's role in the delivery of health care or in health care insurance, it is worth looking at Medicare and Medicaid.
These two huge programs already make the government the largest player in the health care industry. The profligate nature of these two programs should raise lots of doubt about the Obama program doing anything but "busting" the budget. Read More
A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his business for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.
The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, he decided to help. He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. He then reached into the Republican's pocket and gave the homeless person fifty dollars.
Now you understand the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
Serious Comment: I have a very close relative who is a liberal, I once heard her say that she tells her children that the difference between a Republican and a Democrat is that Democrats care about people and that Republicans are selfish. I wanted to respond but we have had enough conflict over politics in our family that I bit my tongue and let it slide that time. I wanted to tell her that Democrats are generous with other peoples money.
Statistics show that Republicans are personally more generous, that they contribute more to charities, than Democrats. Now, one might argue that Republicans have more money to give than Democrats. Or, one might argue that since Republicans attend church more regularly that a lot of that charitable giving is to churches which may be paying high salaries to ministers and staff and building grand buildings and is not really charitable giving at all. Nevertheless, the statistics indicate those who call themselves Republicans give more to charity than Democrats. I think this joke illustrates the truth; it is easy to be generous and care about people with other peoples money.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Health Costs: Lawyers are responsible for more unneeded procedures than "greedy" doctors. But instead of capping malpractice awards, bureaucrats will soon decide which treatments are OK and whether you're worth it.
Read Full Article
Comment: The Democrats in Congress have consistently blocked efforts to limit malpractice awards. The cost of malpractice insurance and the cost of providing health care designed to defend the health care provider against potential law suites is a factor in the high cost of health care. Your doctor may not be ordering that unnecessary test to pad the bill but to defend himself in case he is later sued. Part of an overhaul of health care should include tort reform.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
While the two parties falsely stage a contrived debate on the “desirable” degree of socialized medicine in the market place and what should and shouldn’t be taxed, one myth that is not being discussed in the news must be busted:
The current health care system is not a market.
A competitive market consists of various buyers and sellers voluntarily exchanging goods and services within a price system, either with currency or other goods. While health care has many buyers, it has few sellers, and no price system.
The lack of prices in any industry throws market coordination off, which creates many of the problems America is facing today. In a pure competitive market-based system, buyers and sellers, working tandem, would not be faced with rising costs and lower coverage.
Simply put, if the prices were too high for buyers to afford, sellers would do everything in their power to lower their prices so that they would not go bankrupt.
Instead, under today’s non-competition price-fixing system, health care expenses keep going up causing insurance companies to up their rates. This is when the last remnants of a market kicks in and more costs taken out of employees checks translates into less people willing to pay.
But isn’t this a price? No, it is one fixed amount taken out of the employee’s check every month regardless of whether he or she goes to the doctor every day of the month, or not at all.
And for most private health insurance plans, when the person visits the doctor they only pay a fixed co-pay (usually $10 or $20) regardless of how many tests they did or did not have.
This would be like joining grocery store with a flat membership fee in which the person had to pay the same price whether they were buying a Thanksgiving feast or running in to grab a gallon of milk. For obvious reasons, no grocery store has ever set up their business model this way.
This is because customers would only buy the most expensive items. If the choice were between filet mignon and scrapple as your meat for dinner and cost was not an option, the choice would be fairly obvious.
In fact, since the cost is not associated with the item at all, there is only an incentive for the producers to raise the price on the grocer. This slowly trickles into higher membership rates, meaning less people will be members as expenditures will rise higher than consumer price index (see below). In the case of health care, this means fewer people being able to afford insurance, while those who do have it live with a false sense of security, blithely unaware that the roof will inevitably fall.
So we know why over the past 60 years, the third-party-payer system has perverted the health care market place. But the question remains, how did we get to this point?
After World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt worried that the transition of millions of soldiers back to the workforce would drive down current wages. So Roosevelt froze wages.
This put business owners in a position where they could not attract better skilled labor with more money. So, of course, they offered benefits, and third-party pay was born. After this, it would be near impossible for businesses to stop offering employees those benefits and go back to a true market price system.
Without prices, there is no market information. And with flat rates for everything, there is only one preference, which equals higher costs.
The Republicans have not offered any solutions and will lose the debate if they stick with the status quo argument. The status quo and the Democratic plan to socialize health care both lack the necessary price mechanism to make health care affordable and viable for everyone.
It’s simple, the constant increase in costs is due to the lack of a market price structure. And if the situation, whether the statue quo or the proposed plan, continues to lack market price competition then health care costs will continue to rise. And if businesses cannot reduce costs, they will be forced to reduce quality.
In short, the Obama health care scheme offers, the worst of both worlds: higher costs and lower quality. Not to mention euthanasia for those sentenced to the rationing rooms.
Justin Williams is the Senior Commentary Editor of ALG News Bureau and as always accepts any comments or questions for the Barstool Economist at email@example.com.
Comment: Great article! It is so obvious that we do not have a price system for health care. If someone else pays the bill, then no one cares what something cost. Those who are defending the status quo are on the losing end of this health care debate. We will move toward socialism or move toward markets. The status quo is not sustainable. Those who are defending the status quo and ignoring the problems with the American system of healthcare and pretending everything is OK are doing us a disservice.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This just in: The AP reported that a bipartisan group of Senate Finance Committee negotiators has decided to exclude a requirement many congressional Democrats seek that would require businesses to offer coverage to their workers, the so called "employer mandate." Also the provision for a government insurance option was removed.
This is good news. These were the two most objectionable provisions of the plan. I would prefer that the total plan be scraped and Congress go back to the drawing board and develop a plan based on a modified version of the Healthy Americans Act. Maybe that can now happen.
It is too early to know what the impact of the bill will be with these two provisions removed. They seemed to be the heart of the bill. I suspect that the more liberal members of Congress are not going to be happy. With these two provisions removed, the health care reform will probably do no irreparable harm should it pass. This development is a step back from socialized medicine. The bill still leaves us with higher taxes on upper-middle class people and small businesses, an individual mandate that will force all individuals to purchase insurance or pay an additional tax, federally financed abortions, and a massive increase in the federal deficit. I am not sure what it will accomplish.
While part of what is left of the bill still is objectionable, it appears that it will not be a disaster should it pass. It will not create entitlements and expectations that cannot be undone. This will not be the great overhaul of the American system of healthcare. I don't know what Republicans should do now. If Republicans will vote for it, Obama can take credit for passing a bi-partisan healthcare bill and a much worse bill will have been avoided. It may be time to accept that this is the least bad bill we can get and support it.
In a speech on the House floor this morning, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) blasted Democratic leaders efforts to censor a chart that illustrates the bureaucratic labyrinth of 53 new agencies, programs and commissions that would result for American health care with enactment of Washington Democrats proposed 1.6 trillion-dollar government takeover of health care. Democratic leaders have attempted to block Members of Congress from using the chart, produced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and the House Republican professional staff of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), in official communications with their constituents.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Nashville builds sidewalks stupidly.
In the last few years Nashville has spend millions of dollars building and repairing sidewalks. I don’t think they got a lot of bang for the buck.
About five days a week I run, walk, or run and walk about three to four miles, depending on the route I take. I have observed the sidewalk program in my neighborhood up close.
A lot of Metro’s sidewalk budget was spend making the sidewalks comply with the American’s with Disability Act. Now, I don’t know what metro had to do and what they did that was beyond the requirement of the act. Anyway, they have rebuilt the sidewalks at almost every intersection in the city to make the sidewalks wheelchair accessible. I seldom see anyone in a wheel chair using the sidewalks but the new sidewalk curb cuts are great for riding bicycles. One can now zip along the sidewalks on a bicycle and cross streets with ease. Until someone stole my bicycle off my front porch last fall, I often rode by bicycle on the new sidewalks and enjoyed them.
One thing that I observed is that the same sidewalk curb cuts were often build, dug back up and rebuild again. At the intersection of 8th Avenue and Wedgewood the sidewalks at all four corners were rebuild. The construction company came out with jackhammers, backhoes, concrete trucks and a work crew of 8 to 12. They build the sidewalk and then about six weeks later they came back tore it all out and build it again. I can only guess that it was not build to specifications. I hope the second rebuilding was at the contractors expense and not the city’s.
Another thing I found interesting was that all of the construction was not done in one pass. Someone would come out and paint big “X’s” on the sidewalk segments to be replaced. By a segment, I am speaking of those squares of sidewalk concrete about 4 x 4. On my morning run I noticed that the X’ed section had cracks in them and were the worse segments. They weren’t really badly deteriorated but were defective. A few days after the sidewalk segments were marked, the crews with jackhammers and backhoes and trunks would come out and replace the identified segments.
What perplexed me was that a few weeks after the replacement segments were build, someone came along and marked new segments and the crews came back out and replaced more segments. Sometimes the new marked segments were right next to previously rebuild segments. I don’t know why they did not identify and replace all of the defective segments at one time.
Here are some other observations that I thought I could illustrate best with pictures. From my observations I have deduced some Metro Sidewalk Construction Principles.
Sidewalk Construction Principle #1: Just build it; Don’t worry about maintaining it.
Sidewalk Construction Principle #2:
Don’t fix all of it, save some work for another day.
I don’t know why this section of sidewalk on Wedgewood was not replaces. Some of the sections that were replaced only had minor cracks and yet this badly deteriorated segment was not.
Sidewalk Construction Principle #3: Make those curb cuts wheelchair accessible, don’t look what is beyond.
Sidewalk Construction Principle #3: If you can’t build for wheelchair use, then don’t let a pedestrian use it.
Rep. Jim Cooper: “As Obama's campaign chairman in Tennessee, as a longtime instructor of health policy at the Owen Business School at Vanderbilt University, and as a veteran of the disappointing health-care debates of the early '90s, I am dismayed at the prospect of voting ‘no’."
“But the House bill, at least as I have closely reviewed the June 19th and later drafts, is not good enough to earn the support of Nashville-area voters.”
“Does passing a bad bill yield a good result? I don't think so.” (The Tennessean, 7/26/2009)
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN): “The Tax Increases On Small Businesses And Upper Income People Is Worrisome Because You Don't Want To Hurt Job Creation At A Time Like This." (ABC’s “World News,” 7/16/09)
Rep. Cooper: “It Still Looks Like A Budget Buster.” “‘It still looks like a budget buster,’ said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who complained that despite the $1 trillion cost it would still fail to cover every American.” (Steven T. Dennis And Tory Newmyer, “House Health Bill Under Fire,” Roll Call, 7/16/09)
Rep. Cooper: “Pouring More Money Into A Broken System Isn’t A Really Good Idea.” “The bill proposed by the House would cost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and concerns about cost make Cooper apprehensive about the legislation. He says bringing in money from small business owners isn't necessary, since there is enough ‘waste’ in the current system to pay for the program. ‘Pouring more money into a broken system isn't a really good idea,’ Cooper said. ‘There's so much waste in the health care system that we don't really need to go outside the health care system.’” (“Unplugged: Moderate Dem Talks About Health Care,” CBS News, 7/15/09)
Rep. Cooper: “Why Would We Want New Taxes In The Middle Of A Recession?” “Cooper, one of the Blue Dog Coalition's experts on health-care reform, said the House bill ‘has good parts but also a lot of terrible parts.’ Among his objections, besides the bill's cost, is a proposed tax on families making more than $350,000 per year, which he said would hurt small businesses. The tax would generate $540 billion over 10 years. ‘Why would we want new taxes in the middle of a recession?’ Cooper said.” (Bill Theobald, “Health Bill Faces Fight From Tennessee Blue Dogs,” Tennessean, 7/19/09)
Friday, July 24, 2009
I would hate to be so disrespectful as to accuse our President of intentionally misleading the public, so I will use the language of political correctness and say he is apparently severely truth-challenged.
The Washington Times ran a story yesterday that reported:
Even as President Obama delivered a prime-time sales pitch for his embattled health care reform plan Wednesday, basic facts about coverage, cost and who foots the bills remain in dispute and many of the president's favorite talking points are challenged not only by Republicans but also by independent fact-checkers. (read more)The article reports on the work done by the independent non-partisan group Fact Check among others. Fact Check is one of my favorite sites. It is great at examining statements of politicians for truthfulness and rhetorical excess. To see the Fact Check analysis of Mr. Obama's Health Care speech, click here. The New York Times ran a similar story to the Washington Times story and reported a different set of disputed claims (link). Among the health care claims by Mr. Obama that are in dispute are these:
- People who are happy with their current health insurance can keep it.
- Mr. Obama's oft-stated promise to provide universal health care coverage.
- Mr. Obama stated opposition to requiring individuals to buy insurance or pay a fine.
- Mr. Obama pledge that the overhaul of health care would be "deficit neutral."
- The president's claim that the cost of treating uninsured people raises the cost of health care for the rest of Americans by $1,000 per family. It is closer to $200 per family per year.
- Mr. Obama claims that nearly 46 million people in the U.S. are uninsured. That number includes illegal aliens and people who could afford to purchase insurance but choose not to do so.
- Mr. Obama's claim that the reform will not reduce Medicare benefits.
And then this:The reform package under construction in both chambers of Congress has been besieged from all sides by criticism of its more than $1 trillion price tag and
its scope, with debates behind closed doors over how to pay for the program and
rein in healthcare costs.(link)
In the Senate, a bipartisan group of Finance Committee members continued theirI guess I have been under the impression that the people's business was to be conducted in public. I thought that only matters involving classified national security issues could be deliberated in secret. Apparently I was mistaken and that is not true.
closed-door meetings to work through policy options on the bill.
I know in Tennessee that we have a very strict "Sunshine Law" and it not only applies to the State Legislature but all rule making bodies such as boards and commission and all units of local government. Two council members can not meet for lunch and discuss pending legislation. The press is vigilant in ensuring that the sunshine law is not violated. Years ago, when I first began serving in the Metro Council the Budget and Finance Committee would meet in secret to hammer out a budget every year. I did not approve of the process. I know it is easier to negotiate and horse trade without the public looking over your shoulder, but I think public business should be conducted in public. By the time I left the Council, the Council had abandoned the practice.
I know the presidential campaign, and before that the congressional campaign, was a long time ago but it seems I recall that candidate Obama and Democratic congressional candidates talked about changing the way things were done in Washington. It seems like I recall they said they would be more open and less secretive. Did they not say something about "transparency?" Nah, I must of dreamed that.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
An elderly man suffered a massive heart attack.
The family drove wildly to get him to the emergency room. After what seemed like a very long wait, the ER Doctor appeared, wearing his scrubs and a long face. Sadly, he said, "I'm afraid he is brain-dead, but his heart is still beating."
"Oh, dear God," cried his wife, her hands clasped against her cheeks with shock! "We've never had a Democrat in the family before!"
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer,Monday, July 20, 2009,CNSNews.com
A government-run health insurance plan is enacted on the promise of increasing competition and bringing down costs, but over the years, as more people leave their private insurance to take the “public option,” the cost to operate the government plan skyrockets.
Various litigation ensues, preventing the government’s attempt to reform or cut benefits. Eventually, dramatic cuts become necessary.
This is not a hypothetical scenario sketched by opponents of the health care overhaul plans working their way through Congress. Rather, it is the case of what happened with a state plan in Tennessee. (Read more)
If you are a Tennessean who pays any attention to public affairs you know about TennCare. If you are not, you should learn about it.
TennCare was enacted in 1994. The idea was to create a government health insurance option to compete with private insurance plans. The public option would save so much money that it could serve all of those then on Medicaid and all of the uninsured. Things did not work out that way.
What happened was that consumers shopped for insurance company denial letters so they would be "uninsureable" and could qualify for the cheaper TennCare. Small businesses no longer had an incentive to offer health insurance, they could dump their employees on the public plan. Cost skyrocketed. Enrollment grew to a point that almost a quarter of Tennesseans were on TennCare. To manage TennCare, massive new bureaucracies were created. Thousands of dead people were on the plan, ineligible people, and people from out of state. Litigation kept the state from removing ineligible enrollees or cutting benefits. The cost of the program mushroomed and grew by leaps and bounds and TennCare became the largest item in the state budget. There was no money to spend on anything else, because TennCare gobbled up any additional state revenues.
In 2005, Governor Bredesen overhauled TennCare, set limits on benefits and began reducing the rolls. We currently have something called TennCare but it now more closely resembles the old Medicaid program and is again manageable. If Tennessee could print money like the Federal Government, I suspect we would still have the unoverhauled version of TennCare and it would still be growing.
I do not agree with those who think the status quo is acceptable and we need to do nothing. We do need reform, but not just any reform. We need to take the time to get it right. The nation might could learn something from the Tennessee experiment.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Wall Street Journal, JULY 22, 2009, 8:20 P.M. ET
The Washington Post recently ran a story quoting Democrats as bragging that President Obama has deliberately patterned his legislative strategy after LBJ’s, circa 1965.This may explain the treatment of Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the supposedly nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office who last week told Congress that you can’t “save” money on health care by having government insure everyone.
For that bit of truth-telling, he was first excoriated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Then he was summoned, er, invited to the White House for an extraordinary and inappropriate meeting Monday with President Obama and a phalanx of economic and health-care advisers. (Read more)
Did Obama make him an offer he couldn't refuse? Should Elmendorf take out a very big insurance policy? Does Congress not care that the supposedly independent Congressional Budget Office is being intimidated?
By MICHELLE MALKIN, Investors Business Daily, posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Big Nanny Democrats want to ration health care for everyone in America — except those who break our immigration laws.
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from using the so-called "public health insurance option." Every Democrat on the panel voted against the measure. (link)
I have never joined my conservative brethren in demigoding the immigration issue. Illegal immigrants have falsely been blamed for everything from our crime problem to the housing crisis. My position on immigration is much like that of former President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain; I support comprehensive immigration reform which includes a path to citizenship for those already here. Those who are here illegally should be treated humanly and with dignity and justice. I had a sign in my yard opposing the local ballot referendum to impose "English Only." I thought it was mean spirited and short sighted. To see my various comments on the issue of immigration, simply click on the label "immigration" in the sidebar and you will see that I have been fairly liberal on this issue.
I do, however, think we need to control our borders and disincentivize further illegal immigration. You do not do that by extending free healthcare to those who are here illegally. Expanding free health care to illegals would increase the attractiveness of illegal immigration. Any health care reform should require immigration verification screening of those receiving subsidized or free taxpayer provided health care. The healthcare bill before us not only does not do that, but it specifically exempts illegal immigrants from the mandate to buy health insurance. This preferential treatment given to illegal immigrants is one more reason to oppose Obamacare.
I was really excited today when I discovered that the economy had been rescued. I was looking forward to telling my clients who are about to lose their home and have lost their job that the crisis was over and that good times are here again. I knew the crisis was over because Raul Emmanuel, the President's Chief of Staff said the economy had been rescued. Then, John Boehner had to bring up some contradictory facts and ruin my day.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Liberty on the Rocks, in conjunction with America’s Future Foundation, and the Campaign for Liberty, will be hosting a social night at local libertarian Brett Corrieri’s Mafiaozas Pizzeria. Come by, chat, hang out, talk politics, meet others, network, and have a good time. It’s come-and-go as you please and as always there is no cover charge!
From a senior level Chrysler person: Monday morning I attended a breakfast meeting where the speaker/guest was David E. Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), an Engineer with 40+ years automotive experience, full Professor at the Univ. of Michigan. You have all likely heard CAR quoted, or referred to in the auto industry news lately.
Mr. Cole told many stories of the difficulty of working with the folks that the Obama administration has sent to save the auto industry. There have been many meetings where this very experienced automotive expert has had to listen to a newcomer to the industry; someone with zero manufacturing experience, zero auto industry experience, zero business experience, zero finance experience, zero engineering experience, and apparently zero brains tell them how to run their business.
Mr. Cole's favorite story is as follows: There was a team of Obama people speaking to Mr. Cole. They were explaining to Mr. Cole that the auto companies needed to make a car that was electric and liquid natural gas (LNG) with enough combined fuel to go 500 miles, so we wouldn't "need" so many gas stations (A whole other topic).. They were quoting BTU's of LNG and battery life they had looked up on some website. Mr. Cole explained that to do this you would need a trunk FULL of batteries, and a LNG tank as big as a car to make that happen. And that there were problems related to the laws of physics that prevented them from...
The Obama person interrupted and said (and I am quoting here), "These laws of physics? Whose rules are those? We need to change that (while others wrote down the name of the law so they could look it up). We have the Congress, and the administration. We can repeal that law, amend it, or use an executive order to get rid of that problem. That's why we are here, to fix these sort of issues."
Comment: There really is a David E. Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). I found this story on a chat group so I am assuming this is just humor and not a true story but I don't know. It would not surpise me if it is true, but I hope it is not.
Monday, July 20, 2009
No one knows exactly how much Earth's climate will warm due to carbon emissions, but a new study this week suggests scientists' best predictions about global warming might be incorrect.
The study, which appears in Nature Geoscience, found that climate models explain only about half of the heating that occurred during a well-documented period of rapid global warming in Earth's ancient past. The study, which was published online today, contains an analysis of published records from a period of rapid climatic warming about 55 million years ago known as the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM.
"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."
During the PETM, for reasons that are still unknown, the amount of carbon in Earth's atmosphere rose rapidly. For this reason, the PETM, which has been identified in hundreds of sediment core samples worldwide, is probably the best ancient climate analogue for present-day Earth.
In addition to rapidly rising levels of atmospheric carbon, global surface temperatures rose dramatically during the PETM. Average temperatures worldwide rose by about 7 degrees Celsius -- about 13 degrees Fahrenheit -- in the relatively short geological span of about 10,000 years.
Many of the findings come from studies of core samples drilled from the deep seafloor over the past two decades. When oceanographers study these samples, they can see changes in the carbon cycle during the PETM.
"You go along a core and everything's the same, the same, the same, and then suddenly you pass this time line and the carbon chemistry is completely different," Dickens said. "This has been documented time and again at sites all over the world."
Based on findings related to oceanic acidity levels during the PETM and on calculations about the cycling of carbon among the oceans, air, plants and soil, Dickens and co-authors Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University of California-Santa Cruz determined that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased by about 70 percent during the PETM.
That's significant because it does not represent a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Since the start of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels are believed to have risen by about one-third, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels. If present rates of fossil-fuel consumption continue, the doubling of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels will occur sometime within the next century or two.
Doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is an oft-talked-about threshold, and today's climate models include accepted values for the climate's sensitivity to doubling. Using these accepted values and the PETM carbon data, the researchers found that the models could only explain about half of the warming that Earth experienced 55 million years ago.
The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of the heating during the PETM. "Some feedback loop or other processes that aren't accounted for in these models -- the same ones used by the IPCC for current best estimates of 21st Century warming -- caused a substantial portion of the warming that occurred during the PETM."
I found this interesting. Much of the scepticism about global warming comes from sources with little credibility. Despite the claim that thousands of scientist discount global warming theory, a close look at those "scientist" reveals that many of them are scientist in fields not related to the study of climate change and many of them have a weak claim to being called scientist. A "climatologist" may be nothing more than a TV weather man.
Rice University is a highly respected institution with a very high level of research activity. Nature Geoscience is peer reviewed journal. Recently there have been more and more legitimate, credentialed, scientist questioning the theory and modeling that produced the conclusions regarding global warming. I do not think all sceptics of global warming theory can be dismissed as quacks and politically motivated hacks.
I was once a global warming sceptic myself and then a few years ago I was persuaded by the preponderance of the evidence that the majority scientific opinion was correct. (See my post, My Conversion on Global Warming.) Despite the constant drumbeat from the right that global warming is nothing more than a convenient excuse to destroy free enterprise, individual liberty, and expand government , I have not been persuaded that the scientific consensus was not correct. The majority scientific opinion is still that global warming is a reality and is man made. That is the view that I accept. However, I am less sure in my conviction than I was six months ago. If new evidence presents itself, my mind is not closed to new information. Opinions about global warming should not be a matter of faith or ideology for the believers or the sceptics.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) yesterday released its cost estimate on the House Democrats’ health care proposal and found that it will deepen the federal budget deficit by $239 billion over the next 10 years. To read this report for yourself follow this link. (link) Do people not think that the deficit is real money? Who do they think will pay the deficit? It will be paid for through taxes or through inflation.
Concern grows that healthcare overhaul won't cut costs
Even supporters of Obama's plan to overhaul the system worry that it's not focused enough on escalating medical bills, both for patients and for employers.
Los Angeles Times, By Noam N. Levey, July 13, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- Although still publicly beating the drums for President Obama's healthcare overhaul, representatives of some of the biggest players are beginning to express concern behind the scenes that it won't do enough about the major problem: runaway medical costs. (link)
Wrong Way on Health 'Reform'
By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, Monday, June 15, 2009
The central cause of runaway health spending is clear. Hospitals and doctors are paid mostly on a fee-for-service basis and reimbursed by insurance, either private or governmental. The open-ended payment system encourages doctors and hospitals to provide more services -- and patients to expect them. It also favors new medical technologies, which are made profitable by heavy use. Unfortunately, what pleases providers and patients individually hurts the nation as a whole.
That's the crux of the health-care dilemma, and Obama hasn't confronted it. His emphasis on controlling costs is cosmetic. The main aim of health-care "reform" being fashioned in Congress is to provide insurance to most of the 46 million uncovered Americans. This is popular and seems the moral thing to do. After all, hardly anyone wants to be without insurance. But the extra coverage might actually worsen the spending problem. (link)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Al Gore, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama go to heaven. God addresses Al first and says, "Al, what to you believe in?"
Al says, "Well, I believe I won that election, but it was your will that I not serve. And I've come to understand that now."
God thinks for a minute and says, "Very good. Come sit at my left."
God then addresses Bill. "Bill, what do you believe in?"
"I've sinned," says Bill, "but I have never held a grudge against my fellow man and I hope no grudges are held against me."
God thinks for a second and says, "You are forgiven, my son. Come, sit at my right."
Then God addresses Barack. "Barack, what do you believe in?"
He replies, "I believe you're in my chair."
Monday, July 13, 2009
Below is the video produced by Our Country Pac that is making liberals go ballistic. Daily Kos, AlterNet, Salon.com, The Village Voice, and every other left of center blog and chat group out there is denouncing this video. Here is what all the fuss is about.
In my lifetime, I have never been more concerned about the direction our country is heading than I am right now. The massive expansion of the Federal Government, the nationalization of sectors of the economy, and the ballooning unprecedented federal deficit greatly concern me. I feel my freedom is threatened when the Obama Department of Homeland Security creates a terrorist profile that I fit. When we have one party rule and a Congress that passes 1200 page bills that no one has read and they are pushed through without anyone having a change to read, I am deeply concerned. Despite my concerns, the Cult of Obama, and a lap dog press that is no more than props for the administration I, nevertheless, think that this video is unnecessarily provocative. One may express concern about the direction our country is headed and legitimately criticize President Obama without using comparisons to Hitler. I think the video is in poor taste.
Before liberals completely blow their top however, they should recall that many on the left routinely compared George W. Bush to Hitler. For a little balance to the above video here is one produced by MoveOn.com.
July 13, 2009
Davidson County properties are reappraised every 4 years (Most recent: 1/1/09)
Residential properties are assessed on 25% of the appraised value. Commercial = 40%
2008 Certified Tax Rate: $4.69 per $100 of assessed value
2009 Certified Tax Rate: $4.13 per $100 of assessed value
Even though your recent property appraisal increased, your 2009 taxes may or may NOT...
I can explain!!!
Mayor Dean has already stated that he will not raise property taxes in Davidson County this year . BUT you may be wondering what exactly it means considering your recent Metro property appraisal / assessment more than likely increased from its 2005 value.
First, by state law, Metro cannot increase the Property Tax Income “BASE” by increasing the property values (as an aggregate). By this it means that the new Certified Tax Rate adjusted down according to the overall “new” aggregate values of all properties in the county…
Clear as mud? Well, here’s how it works:
$200,000 Residential Property Value (2005-2008): Your 2008 taxes were $2345.
New 2009 Value = $230,000 (15% increase): Your 2009 taxes will be $2375
Calculation Method: $230,000 x 25% = $57,500 (assessed value) x .0413 (new certified rate) = $2375
Basically if your property’s new appraised value went up 15% or less, you’ll likely have a tax decrease or no change at all. If it went up more than 15%, you’ll have a tax increase but not as much as you may have first thought.. Of course it depends on the area of town your property is located... Location! Location! Location!
As always, my goal is to be your complete real estate resource. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email, call or text.
Comment: I received this today from a local realtor. I am simply reposting this to help educate. I hear many people who are confused about the effect of a property reappraisal. They either do not understand or do not want to understand. A reappraisal does not mean you will have a property tax increase. On a local chat group I belong to, many people decry property reappraisals and many complain that in a period of declining property values that we should not have a reappraisal. Unfortunately, some anti-tax advocates demigod the issue and add to the confusion. Brain does a good job of explaining how a reappraisal works so rather than compose my own explanation, I am simply reposting his.
Reappraisals are necessary for "equalization." If your property was previously of equal value to a property in another part of town but your property went down in value while that other property went up in value then you should pay less property tax than the owner of that other property. The only way to determine that is by a reappraisal.
Another reason we have to have regular reappraisals is because a lot of state dollars, especially state money to support education is distributed by a formula that includes the local "ability to pay." To equalize educational opportunity across the state, poor counties get more state funding than more affluent counties. Until sometimes in the 70's there was no state supervision of the appraisal process and there was an incentive for counties to keep appraisals low. The poorer a county appeared, the more state funding they received. Since the 70's property appraisals are supervised by the state and the people who work for the tax assessors office have to be trained professionals who appraise property at fair market value.
Everyone likes to complain about taxes, and I am generally an advocate of low taxes. Nevertheless, the truth matters and property reappraisals are fair and necessary. If you have a valid reason to think the county overvalued your property, there is an appeals process. Unless you have comparable sales to show your property was overvalued however, you are probably wasting your time in appealing. It is my experience that most tax appraisals are still a little on the low side despite the requirement that they be appraised at fair market value.
Often a reappraisal is used as an opportunity for a local governing body to slip in a tax increase. Immediately after adopting a new "certified tax rate" as required by state law, the county commission or city council will immediately, often in the same meeting, turn around and increase the tax rate. The new tax rate is often the same as the old tax rate before adopting the new "certified tax rate." When elected officials do this they can claim they did not vote to increase the tax rate and may technically be telling the truth depending on how they word their claim. Most people don't know enough about how thing really work in order to challenge their elected representative on this claim. These elected officials will let the public think that the tax increase was due to the recent reappraisal. I applaud Mayor Dean for not pledging not to raise taxes this year.
If you do have a property tax increase due to the reappraisal, it is because your wealth increased; it is because your property increased in value more than the average property. If that is the case, you are fortunate and you want get much sympathy from me.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
In the auto bailout debate, I thought he was by far the most persuasive and passionate critic of the government’s defacto nationalization of General Motors. He clearly defined the issues when he declared, “This is a marked departure from the past, truly breathtaking, and should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise. I worry that in one fell swoop we’ve lost our moral high ground throughout the global community as it relates to chastising other countries that use strong arm tactics to invade on private property rights.” (link)
He was prophetic when he said, “it will be interesting to see if the administration makes these decisions (to close GM facilities) based on a red state and blue state strategy or based on efficiency and capable, skilled workers at each plant. If they use the latter, our GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee should do very well.” As it turns out Saturn was closed despite being a state of the art production facility.
Last year as I watched the Senate hearings on the Lieberman-Warner Cap and Trade bill, I was stuck by Corker’s grasp of the issues and by his logic. He did not simply deny the science of global warming and propose doing nothing as many opponents of Cap and Trade have done. He did not demigod the proposed bill, but calmly and clearly explained how cap and trade would work and what was wrong with the Lieberman-Warner approach and why it would not achieve its objectives and the damage it would do to the economy. He proposed common sense amendments to try to fix the bill. (link) On these two issues I have thought Corker excelled and was the voice of reason and principle.
I don’t personally know Bob Corker, but I have known about him for a very long time, even before he was ever elected to public office. As one who works in the affordable housing sector, I have followed closely affordable housing issues. Bob Corker has been a leader in this field. I admit to being a “bleeding-heart conservative.” I think that term was first used by Jack Kemp to describe himself but it applies to me and I suspect Bob Corker is also a bleeding-heart conservative. There are not many conservatives who are passionate about affordable housing, but Bob Corker has been an affordable housing leader.
In Chattanooga, while a private citizen, Bob Corker helped finance and create and manage Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE). a private, non-profit corporation created to finance and develop affordable housing in that city. CNE financed, rehabilitated, or produced more than 3,000 units of affordable housing in a city of 150,000 people. CNE leveraged more dollars and did more with limited resources than any city in America. CNE won awards and was the envy of affordable housing advocates across America. Bob Corker came as close to solving the affordable housing problem in Chattanooga, as it is possible to get. (link)
Bob Corker served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005. As mayor he oversaw a $120 million urban renovation project, which transformed the city and made it the beautiful progressive city it is today. He was innovative in the use of property assessment freezes and tax credit financing to promote downtown development. His policies led to the development of the waterfront and spurred housing development in the city and expansion of museums and the riverfront park and the Chattanooga Aquarium. Chattanooga has emerged as a great city and most people give Bob Corker the bulk of the credit.
In addition to Corker’s record in the Senate, and as Mayor, and a leader in affordable housing, another thing I like about Corker is that he has been a successful businessman. He worked himself up from a construction superintendent to the owner of a very large construction company and a real estate developer. Unlike a lot of politician, he has experience in the real world. He has had to make payroll and examine balance sheets and put deals together, and manage big projects, something most elected politicians including the current President of the United States has never had to do.
With the falling by the wayside of some rising stars in the Republican Party, the nomination should be wide open. Quite frankly, I am not impressed by any of the front runners for the Party standard bearer. I am looking for someone fresh, innovative, energetic, pragmatic, intelligent and who is a principled conservative. I think that person is Bob Corker.
If Bob Corker will announce the establishment of an exploratory committee to consider running for President, I will sign up and send him $100 immediately. If I, a modest income, frugal, middle class guy will open my wallet, there must be a lot of others who will do the same. I know a campaign for President is expensive, but Bob Corker should be able to compete. Tennessee has a lot of big contributor's to the Republican Party. I understand that the Belle Meade zip code here in Nashville is the leading zip code in the nation for political contributions to Republican candidates. With the Tennessee Republican money base and Bob’s years of contacts in the business community and politics, he should be able to raise the money.
Bob, the stars are aligned. The time is right. There may never be a better opportunity. The country needs you. Run Bob, Run!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Since GM is now Government Motors, I want to do my small part to level the playing field and promote Ford. It is difficult for a private company to compete against a government entity or government sponsored company. Please don't buy a Government Motors product. Buy a foreign car or buy a Ford. Plus, this is a great commercial.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Meet the Republican Candidates for Governor
Bill Gibbons, Bill Haslam, Ron Ramsey, Zach Wamp
Saturday, July 11, 2009, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
RAIN OR SHINE
Centennial Park Pavilion
2600 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
Straw Poll & Silent Auction
BBQ & all the fixin’s
Drawing for Marsha Blackburn’s book, “Life Equity”
Vox Eterna Music Recording Artist Diane di Stasio
$20/person or $50/family
$10/student with valid ID
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Today I attended the Whitland Avenue 4th of July Celebration and Picnic for probably my fifth or sixth time. This is the 34th year for this event. If you live in Nashville and have never attended, mark your calendar for next year. You don’t want to keep missing this event. I cannot imagine a better 4th of July event anywhere in America. This event evokes Norman Rockwell’s America. With a lot of people milling about and coming and going, it is hard to estimate the number of people who attend but it must be several thousand. Despite the large crowd, it is not one of those events that seems crowded or chaotic. Everything runs smoothly and appears effortless.
The celebration takes place on Whitland Avenue, a wide tree-lined shaded street with beautiful old homes and well-manicured and landscaped yards. Several blocks are blocked off to accommodate the party. Virtually every house is festooned with American flags and a large American and Tennessee flag hang suspended from wires across the street. The weather was perfect for today’s event. Sometimes July 4th can be miserably hot; today was a pleasant day in the low 80’s.
The event starts at 11:00 with a parade. This parade has no marching bands or military units, or majorettes or Shirner clowns but is a children’s parade. Children decorate their bicycles with red, white, and blue bunting or mount small flags from the handlebars and ride down the street. Other children are pulled in wagons decorated in patriotic themes and some parents push baby carriages and strollers and push their infants down the street. The children beam with pride as the people on the sidewalk cheer them. Some of them walk their dogs, decked out in red, white and blue bandannas.
About 11:30 the music starts. The program simply listed the band as “The Greatest Band in America,” I don’t know anything about them but they are probably a band put together for just this purpose. Nashville really is “music city” and we are blessed with great musicians and vocalist. With the music industry and several universities with music departments, every church in town of any size has wonderful music and any neighborhood festival will feature live music, and it is often great music. “Band” does not really describe the band; it is more like an orchestra with maybe 30 musicians. The band played Sousa marches and patriotic songs and some nostalgic popular songs. I don’t know who the vocalist was, but a female singer sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and was fantastic.
Rod Williams and Louella Ballenger
Part of the joy of this event is seeing the people and interacting. It seems almost everyone is wearing a combination of red, white and blue and many wear hats or shirts decorated in patriotic motifs. Many people are carrying and waving their own American flags. I always run into people I know at this event and enjoy exchanging greetings and pleasant conversation. I had a pleasant chat with State Senator Douglas Henry, one of my favorite Democrats. I also had a nice chat with Kathleen Stranes, Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.
During the program, someone did a dramatic reading of The Declaration of Independence, while the band played Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. It was moving. There is a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem. There is always a patriotic speech given by someone of prominence. In previous years we have had Governors and Senators give speeches. The speech is always something appropriate, expressing love of country but avoiding current controversies and partisanship, as I think it well should for this event.
This year the speaker was Adolpho Augustus Birch Jr, former Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Judge Birch is an African American and in his career he has been the first African-American to hold several judicial positions and was the first African American Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice. He spoke on the Gettysburg address and how that speech reflected the spirit of America.
Following the speeches, as the band continues to play the picnic starts and then concludes the event. The food is served under a big tent and there are about ten serving lines. Despite the large number of people being served, the lines move fairly fast and there is not a long wait. Other than purchased boxes of fired chicken, the food is mostly homemade. There are some mighty fine cooks contributing hundreds of homemade dishes. Casseroles, vegetable dishes, fresh salads, and cakes and pies and abound. Lining the street are probably six to ten canoes filled with ice-covered bottles of water and soft drinks.
I don’t know how the people of Whitland do it. I know that several families contribute funds for the event and it seems the whole neighborhood brings food. I am sure it takes a lot of coordination and planning. While I hope everyone can attend, I hope that this event does not get so big that it has to be discontinued or moved to a different location or be changed in some way. I would hate for it to loose that small-town feel.
To the people of Whitland Avenue, Thank your for a wonderful 4th of July.
Richard Upchurch, my uncle; Louella, my wife; Thomas Upchurch, my cousin; Linda Upchruch, my aunt. (Photos by Thomas Upchurch)
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;
For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]
ROBT. TREAT PAINE,
CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton.
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
THS. NELSON, JR.,
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE,
THOS. HAYWARD, JUNR.,
THOMAS LYNCH, JUNR.,
Friday, July 3, 2009
What is going on? I just now read that Sarah Palin was resigning as Governor of Alaska. Why? She was not the target of any significant investigations. There was no hint of scandal. She had an enthusiastic loyal following. She could have been a major contender for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. I assume this ends her political career. She did not make it clear why she was taking this step.
I like Sarah Palin but quite frankly I had decided she did not have what it took to be President. I was thrilled when she was nominated as the VP candidate. I was infatuated. Since that time I have fallen out of love with her. I admit I have often been a fool for a beautiful women. I wanted to punch Charlie Gibson in the face when he ambushed her with his "got cha" questions. I hate to see a man pick on a women, especially a beautiful women. I was also really angered by David Letterman's disgraceful comments about her 14-year-old daughter. He caused me to rally behind her. Still, I did not think she was Presidential material. I do not think she could have been elected.
I would love to have had a romantic encounter with Sarah Palin, but I am not sure I would want her to be President. She did not inspire confidence. She could have gotten ready. She could have taken some crash courses in current events and surrounded herself with good advisers. I assume this takes a major front runner out of the race. Mitch Romney, nor Huckabee, nor Bobby Jendal excite me. I think the Republican Party has never been more ripe for a dark horse candidate out of no where to leap to the forefront. It is now an open field and that may not be a bad thing.
Soon, maybe this weekend, I will be working on my blogroll. I will be visiting every link, deleting any dead links as well as links to inactive blogs. I know some bloggers start blogging enthusiastically then loose interest. If I am linked to a blog that has not been updated in weeks, I am most likely deleting it. I will also be looking at links that should be reciprocal to insure that I am still listed in that blog’s blogroll.
In decided which blogs to link to, there are several factors I consider. One, I want to link to blogs that will reciprocate and that I think will drive traffic to my blog and will increase my ranking. Second, I link to some blogs because I feel the blogger is a kindred sprit and I want to support that blogger. I also am looking for well-written, insightful blogs. They have to interest me. I only link to blogs that I would want to read myself.
If you have looked at my blog links, you may have been surprised that I have a few links to liberal blogs. Linking to a blog does not imply that I support the editorial opinion of that blog, but that I thing it is interesting and worthy of being read. There are a few links to blogs that are not even political. I have interest other than politics and link to a few blogs just because they interest me.
Some blogs, even if they rank higher than I do and might increase my own ranking, I will not link to. I am not going to link to any how-to-get-rich-blogging blogs.
I am looking for new blogs to add to my blogroll. If you think your blog fits my criteria and especially if you would be interested in swapping links, let me know and I will get back with you.