Thursday, March 15, 2012

We are on beyond zebra now.

Because nobody's ever been sucked into a black hole and come back to tell us about it, we have no idea what the experience would be like. The steep gravity gradient would probably stretch and pull you like silly putty and kill you instantly, but given how spacetime itself is pretty warped there, who knows? There might be all kinds of strange stuff to see in places where causality has no meaning.

It's a useful metaphor for the situation current in American politics right now. We crossed the bureaucratic event horizon some time back and are obviously in a twisted region where regulatory effects need be preceded by no constitutional cause or, in any case, the cause is dreamed up after the effect is a fait accompli. In a land where faceless bureaucrats can dictate your light bulb choices and toilet tank size, is it any surprise that they can mandate handicapped elevator access to swimming pools?

That's right: If the wheelchair-bound can't go swimming in the hotel pool this spring break, ain't nobody going swimming. Fair's fair, and here in America, we're all about "fair". It's one of the founding principles laid out in the Monroe Doctrine by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. I remember that from school.

Here's the thing about event horizons: Once you've crossed them, there's no going back. The only way out, if there is an "out", is through. We're not voting our way out of this; voting is how we got here in the first place.

35 comments:

Robb Allen said...

Just yesterday, I had a left leaning friend on Facebook screaming, as much as you can in a 2x2 little box, about how Republicans were waging a war on ladyparts by some state requiring proof that a woman needed birth control for medicinal purposes and not because she just wanted to do the Gumby-Pokey and not bear crotch fruit.

While I agree with their view that the state has no reason to be declaring stuff like that, I have absolutely no desire to fight it. The left loves themselves some government power since it means they can demand that others live their lives the way the left decides they should.

You see, it's 'moral' that you pay for drug users' needles, other people's kids' educations, abortions, etc.

However, like I've said for years on end, when you give the government that much power, eventually your 'side' is going to lose and your sworn enemies are going to get their greasy little mitts all over those levers and they're going to yank them in directions you're not too thrilled about.

I don't want to hear it any more. You don't get to bitch about the short & curlies in your soup when you've granted the waiter carte blanche to dip his jimmy in your minestrone.

Stuart the Viking said...

You are right, there is no voting our way out of this, and it is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

I am convinced that eventually America will collapse under the weight of it's own government. Sadly, I think that it is going to take a very long time to do so. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I WANT America to collapse, I just see it coming and would like to get it over with so that we can rebuild and move on.

s

MattW said...

"You don't get to bitch about the short and curlies in your soup when you've granted the waiter carte blanche to dip his jimmy in your minestrone. "

You win the internetz today Robb!

SpeakerTweaker said...

We're not voting our way out of this; voting is how we got here in the first place.

Absolute QotD right there.

Also, Rob gets First Runner Up for jimmy in your minestrone.



tweaker

Anonymous said...

and of course nobody considered that some chitwit will lower a powered chair into a pool of water?
ummmmmm, yeah, great thinking there folks...

Joanna said...

Anon: And when it happens, they'll sue because nobody put up a sign that told them not to.

Tam said...

I'm sure that there is a market for a multi-thousand dollar safety device to prevent such a mishap. And government grants for the designer and manufacturer. And tax writeoffs for the installer.

It'll be great for everybody!

Ed Rasimus said...

Doesn't it make you feel secure to know that DOJ has a handle on this? They also do gun-walking, no-ID voting, and jihadi rights defense in their spare time.

benEzra said...

@Robb Allen,

Whose pocket do my health insurance premiums come out of? My CEO's, or mine?

Where did this idea come from that health insurance is a favor granted gratis by one's employer, like a boon from some feudal lord? My group health plan is something *I and my coworkers* pay for.

If your employer thinks that the health insurance *you* pay for shouldn't include things that he/she doesn't like, well, it's not really his business, is it?

(@Robb Allen)
"While I agree with their view that the state has no reason to be declaring stuff like that, I have absolutely no desire to fight it. The left loves themselves some government power since it means they can demand that others live their lives the way the left decides they should."

So does the Right, just as fervently. Thing is, I don't want *either* of them trying exercising the power they want. And if you don't complain when the Right goes all control-the-peons on the middle class, you can't really complain when the Left does it either.

From a more pragmatic standpoint, the Repubs are being teh stoopid on this issue beyond words. If you think the backlash against the 1994 AWB was impressive, wait till 100 million women and their spouses/SO's start seeing companies revoking contraception coverage and get concerned. (And that's another reason why I don't want the NRA linking gun rights too closely with the politics of Santorum et al; that is ultimately a sinking ship.)

I wish I could link to Labrat's blog on the subject from this computer...but she points out that it's not just Librul Sex Wymmins that use hormonal contraceptives, and repubs would do well to remember that.

Jason said...

I think we have plenty of idea what comes next, if we want to. Examples abound. America and its constitutional republic form of government has been the exception, not the rule. We are now becoming the rule.

He who has ears, let him hear. He who has eyes, let him see.

Scott said...

I can't wait until someone lowers a Lithium Battery powered wheelchair into a pool. Ooh Boy, I hope someone records the explosion.

Goober said...

benEzra - you and every other person debating this thing are totally missing the actual point that needs to be argued, and that is that when your insurance is paying for daily maintenance things like your birth control pill , it has ceased to be insurance and has become something else entirely. YOur car insurance doesn't pay for routine maintenance like oil changes, does it?

You know why?

Because it is cheaper for the car owner to just pay for it themselves, rather than pay for it through their premiums. The insurance company has to make a profit, you know, so if the oil change company charges $50 for your oil changes, and you average one every two months, your monthly isurance premimums will go up by $25 per month PLUS overhead PLUS profit PLUS taxes from the insurance company. YOu will pay more in the end, but you'll think you're getting a better deal because nothing will come out of your pocket at the oil change place. The very idea of insurance paying for routine checkups, dentist appointments, eye exams, and so forth is so laughable to me that I can't even understand how anyone buys into it - and you all wonder why your insurance premiujs are so high? I save HUUUUGE money every year by just paying for these things myself. I've proven it time and again to be much, much cheaper to just pay for the routine things up front.

YOu think an insurance company paying for birth control will be any different?

YOu'll pay more. Period. End of argument.

Oh, wait, you DON'T pay more? Know why? Because everybody else that isn't paying for birth control premiums went up, too, in order to cover the birth control thing. So you aren't paying as much as you would if you were paying for it yourself, and the reason is because you are making everyone else pay for it for you.

Don't try to take the moral high ground here. The fact is, folks on your side have perverted the entire concept of health insurance over the years and turned it into a psuedo-privatized facistic system of government healthcare that covers everything, and then you cry and bitch because the premiums are so high and demand that hte government step in and set price controls. This entire discussion about birth control is just one more inch of the camels nose under our tent, and we've had enough. Go pay for your own damned birth control.

Tam said...

"Go pay for your own damned birth control."

Suppose an insurance company wanted to cover birth control?

Why the government is even allowed to have an opinion on the topic one way or another is beyond me.

I guess a government that can mandate pool elevators can mandate what insurers can and can't cover...

Tam said...

Goober,

"Because it is cheaper for the car owner to just pay for it themselves, rather than pay for it through their premiums. The insurance company has to make a profit, you know..."

If you're an insurance company, you can buy a lot of pills for the cost of one pregnancy, so that's probably not one of the stronger arguments to use here.

Meanwhile, hey, how 'bout that deficit?

Don M said...

On the other hand, you can have a lot more abortions than you can full term pregnancies.

David said...

I was sitting around a motel pool with some friends last spring when a Mom pushed a wheelchair with her 14 year old son in it up to the edge of the pool. The kid removed his ipod and the towel that covered his legs and handed them to his Mom. Then she asked "Are you ready?" he leaned forward in the chair and said "Yep." She dumped the chair forward, spilling the kid into the pool.

This kid, whose legs did not work. Splashed and played with the other kids in the pool for about 20 minutes. During that time his mother who was sitting near us, slowly was drawn into our conversation about youth sports. We found out that her son had lost the use of his legs two years earlier in a motorcycle accident.

After about 20 mintues when the kid seemed to be tiring from the constant treading water with just his arms while laughing playing and throwing a ball around with the other kids, he swam to the side of the pool near his chair and started draging himself up out of the pool. During which time he turned down offers to help from several other kids. He finally got himself out of the pool, and dragged himself the four feet over to his chair, where he grabbed his towel and started drying off his upper body.

When he started manuevering his chair in order to climb back into it I asked his Mom if he needed a hand. She looked over her shoulder (yes, she was sitting with her back to the pool) smiled and waved at her son and told me "Nah, he's learning to do this himself. He'll ask if he can't make it."

It took him several minutes to get himself back into his chair. Then he rolled over to us and asked his mom for their room key so he could go change. She handed him the key and reminded him "Hang your suit up in the bathtub and make sure you dry yourself off well so you don't rash." The kid blushed bright red, rolled his eyes and with an exasperated "MOM?" through clenched teeth rolled off towards his room.

He was back about 30 mintues later dressed in shorts and a tee shirt to tell him mom that Dad was awake and would be down in a few minutes so they could go to dinner.

I can't say for sure, but I suspect that even if this pool would have had a lift, this kid would not have used it.

Kristopher said...

David:

Yup. Steven Hawking refuses to have an elevator installed in his home for similar reasons.

He drags himself up and down the stairs slowly ... just to make sure he still can.

Anonymous said...

@ scott, just wait til the sodium ion power converters become common...
it should make for many explosively entertaining youtube moments...

benEzra said...

@Goober,

Brevity may or may not be the soul of wit, but it is the soul of clarity...so I will attempt to summarize your argument thus:

(1) The existing system of health care funding in the United States is no longer insurance per se, since it is now more of a combination escrow/co-op/Ponzi scheme and rationing system. (I tend to agree with you there.)

(2) This is my fault, even though it happened while I was a little kid, or before.

(3) Because (1) makes stuff expensive, and (2) it's my fault, I should go buy routine stuff at triple or quadruple the cost the insurance company sees, even though I've already paid my insurance company to group-buy it and they get a volume discount.

OK then.

Here's my question for you. If this is about dollars and cents, why are these bills about contraception, and contraception alone?

There are no bills afoot to deny insurance coverage for routine dental cleanings, or statins, or allergy medications, or beta blockers, or antidepressants, or eyeglasses, or stuff to help you stop smoking. Just hormonal contraception. Why that in particular, and only that?

It appears to me that the Republican establishment (in particular the Religious Right) has managed to co-opt the Tea Party grassroots into an instrument for carrying out a religious, rather than fiscal, agenda, and so-called fiscal conservatives have welcomed the new religious mission with great fervor. Who would have thought that the anointed "Tea Party" candidate would be a guy who thinks he's running for president of Focus on the Family? As it turns out, bigger government is just peachy as long as it is aimed in the right direction, haymen?

And it turns out that said presidential candidate has openly discussed *outlawing* hormonal contraceptives (at the state level, for now) for theological reasons. No thanks.

Personally, I *want* to be able to buy hormonal contraceptives over-the-counter at Walmart for $10. Are you with me on that? It probably won't happen, though, because the religious small-government-except-when-I-want-it-big conservatives are fighting tooth and nail to prevent an OTC Pill, too.

Anonymous said...

Shakes bowcaster

-SayUncle

Sigivald said...

The steep gravity gradient would probably stretch and pull you like silly putty and kill you instantly, but given how spacetime itself is pretty warped there, who knows?

Don't worry - the hard radiation would kill you before tidal forces would.

And they totally would, before you hit the event horizon - that's why there's all that hard radiation.

tanksoldier said...

It amuses me to see people arguing about "Republicans" and "Democrats" as if there was a difference.

Between the two most likely candidates for President one has signed a law instituting socialized medicine, the other has not only done that but signed a permanent assault weapons ban.

Which is the Republican?

Goober said...

Tam- if an insurance company wants to pay for birth control it should be based upon actuarial evidence showing that it is cheaper to pay for the BC then it is to pay for the pregnancies that no BC would cause. If that is the case, then it would lower the cost of insurance overall to pay for it. It is logical, free market response to an issue.

YOu and I agree on this, I just may not have made myself clear - if an insurance company chooses to pay for birth control based upon a cost/benefit analysis, then go for it. If they choose not to because the cost/benefit doesn't pay off IT ISN'T THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S PLACE TO FORCE THEM TO.

Goober said...

BeEzra - If you follow this blog and others on it's blogroll, you've probably seen me ranting about how the republicans are taking the bait on this issue and are being played like a cheap fiddle. They shouldn't have touched this with a twelve foot pole, and it makes me laugh that they were stupid enough to get drawn into it.

I've posted at some length about how I would go about fixing the health care system in my own blog, i won't bore you with it here - just suffice it to say that your comment on item #3 is the most important one of the lot, and that is that pricing in the healthcare industry is all out of whack becuase of the government and psuedo-government interference.

For instance, why is it that healthcare is the only good or service that we partake in where we have no idea what anything is going to cost before we do it, have no opportunity to shop around, and don't even see the bill until weeks later? Ponder that for a while. Anyone who thinks we've had a free market helth care system since about the 1940's is fooling themselves, and the reasons the health care system are "broken" today have nothing to do with the free market aspects that are left in tact.

Oh, and my insurance does, in fact, pay for birth control, and my wife and I use that because it is there and part of our agreement with the company. however, it is a result of a cost/benefit ratio that our insurance company did that actually lowered overall rates. That may not be the case in all cases, and so some companies may opt out.

Robb Allen said...

benEzra, alas I know you no differently than Adam and it appears the lack on knowledge goes the other way as well.

Some Republicans are more than happy to make laws that state you cannot shove tab A into slot B while smoking herbal supplement C. All of which I vehemently disagree with.

If you check my voter registration card, there is no D nor R on it, nor is there even an L. I am as true an independent as they come - as I've said before, my wookie suit is mangy and my bowcaster is a cheap Taurus knock off.

I never said my company paid for my insurance. I've worked for small enough places to actually see how much employing me costs (hint, you really could make nearly double if your employer didn't have to pay taxes and health bennies). So yes, every last cent comes out of my pocket and it sucks that I have to go with my company's preferred supplier of health insulation rather than hopping on the computer and picking up a great rate from a risk pool located in Wyoming.

I don't trust either party. However, I'd rather fight a social issue than an economic one and on that scorecard, the Republicans suck just slightly less. The issue though is that people continue to think that the best way to fix all ills is to put the right people in charge and give them control over the minutia of our lives.

Tam said...

Goober,

"Tam- if an insurance company wants to pay for birth control it should be based upon..."

If an insurance company wants to (or doesn't want to) pay for birth control it should be based on none of your goddam business, that's why. And none of mine, either. Unless you or I are stockholders.

And it should sure as goddam shootin' be none of the government's business.

Buzz said...

Tam, if the gubmint doesn't protect us from those evil insurance companies, who will?
We're all just helpless pawns.

I, for one, have a recurring nightmare involving Flo, the Farmer's flamethrower, and some anthropomorphic lizard. (shivers)

Robin said...

The state of constitutional law is such that there is no "war on contraception" GOP or otherwise. None. No one can ban contraception in the US in any form. And there is no credible risk that any one will be able to in the future, the Supreme Court precedent on this simply isn't going to be overturned - period.

The only people who gain any advantage to you thinking that there is a "war on contraception" is the Democrats as it distracts from the issues that they are losing on, the economy.

benEzra said...

@Robin,

You are correct that an outright ban on contraception would likely not pass constitutional muster. That has not stopped Santorum from saying that such a ban would be a Good Thing.

It *is* feasible, however, to make hormonal contraception much harder for people of average means to afford. Such as by, say, passing laws to incentivize the dropping of contraception coverage from people's group health plans.

You could make the case that Republicans are introducing such laws because they are Democratic double agents, but I think Occam's Razor suggests that these Republicans do actually want to reduce access to hormonal contraception.

"it distracts from the issues that [Democrats] are losing on, the economy."

I do agree with you on this point, which is why the repubs are being so abjectly, moronically STUPID by playing to the ultra-fundy vote at the expense of economic issues.

But it *is* clear that the anointed "Tea Party" candidate is far more concerned about policing sex-related issues than he is about the economy, unless his own website is part of the Democratic plot too.

And I see that Santorum has opened *another* front in the War Against Talking About the Economy:

http://www.ricksantorum.com/enforcing-laws-against-illegal-pornography

Anonymous said...

i don't recall santorum saying he wants a ban on contraception. he may have said the states *could* ban them when asked hypothetically but he's said numerous times since "operation change the subject" began that he doesn't want them banned and wouldn't ban them.

Robin said...

benEzra writes:
"It *is* feasible, however, to make hormonal contraception much harder for people of average means to afford. Such as by, say, passing laws to incentivize the dropping of contraception coverage from people's group health plans."

This is nonsense. Such contraception is largely generic now and available quite inexpensively. The idea that people who are employed - because that's the only people that would "lose" "free" contraception under a religious exemption - can't afford a monthly prescription cost is ludicrous. Flat out.


"You could make the case that Republicans are introducing such laws because they are Democratic double agents, but I think Occam's Razor suggests that these Republicans do actually want to reduce access to hormonal contraception."
Sure, if Occam's Razor now means deliberately misrepresenting the actual proposals and the plainly spoken motivations. The Arizona legislation only applied to religious objections - directly addressing the controversy that the Obama administration created.

Josh K. said...

BenEzra

Insurance getting other people to pay for your siht going on a hundred years.

A pool of money so as when one party has an emergancy they do not have to cover the full cost. The expense is covered by the group.

It only works if a majority do not need to dip into it.

There is no f'n free! I know longer have insurance because I decided to stop subsidizing others birthcontrol. driving up my premiums.

In 10yrs payed in around $25,000. Went to the doctor one time for what would of been an out of pocket expense of $600.

Even if I have an emergancy I can set up a payment plain going forward that costs me just as much as Insurance.

If your employer is covering the cost of the insurance they should have a say in what it covers.

People that use insurence as away to pay for stuff fcuk over those that just want it to protect them encase of an unforeseen emergancy.

My brain hurts.

Jimmy the Saint said...

To be fair, the wheelchair bound don't really have that big a problem *going* swimming in public pools. They have a problem getting out when they're done.

Sort of like government - it has no problem fixing problems, it has a problem stopping fixing problems.

ASM826 said...

Linked back to this from

http://randomactsofpatriotism.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/a-responsible-steward/

and used the "...not voting our way out of this..." quote.

We're not blogging our way out of it, either.

Tam said...

"We're not blogging our way out of it, either."

Y'know, that kinda gets my hackles up.

I see lots of comments like that around the corners of the Wookiesphere and Threepersphere that I frequent, and yet I don't see anybody belling any cats.

We're not voting our way out of it, or blogging our way out of it, and we ain't shooting our way out of it, either, because "IT" is a collapse of these golden days of civilization and it's going to happen one way or another, and shooting would kick IT off as sure as a collapse of the dollar or an EMP strike or the dead rising from the earth in search of human brains.

I've seen pictures of people needing to shit in shellholes in the streets of Sarajevo because the toilets weren't working. I'm game for almost any solutions someone can think of that avoids that.