Quote of the WEEK

Quote of the WEEK

From this YouTube video taken at a Washington Town Hall with Rep. Brian “Brownshirt” Baird:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rRE5UK6NQU&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&w=640&h=505]

As a Marine, as a disabled veteran that served this country, I’ve kept my oath. Do you ever intend to keep yours?

David from Camas, WA

His Nancy Pelosi line was a close second.



I’m writing this post from my new EeePC which was delivered to me this afternoon by the guy that owns the local FedEx Home Delivery franchise! For whatever reason, Woot! shipped this thing “home delivery,” and FedEx tried to deliver it to my place of work at 7:50 AM. Of course, no one was there.

I called the FedEx toll-free number and explained that they’d tried to deliver to my office, could I pick it up at their local main office? She put me on hold and contacted that office. When she returned she told me that they would try to deliver it again. I asked “when?” and was told “During business hours.”


So I went down to the office for a while this morning. To no avail, of course. I left a note on the front door: “FedEx, Sorry I Missed You.” I then went on about my day.

I’d just gotten back from the grocery store and was putting the stuff away when my cell phone rang. It was about 4:30PM. “Mr Baker? This is the FedEx Home Delivery guy. I’m at your office.”

Thankfully I live about five minutes from the office. He waited until I got there. He’d gotten an email from Corporate, and wanted to make sure I was happy.

He succeeded!


Instapundit links to a piece by Declan McCullagh at the CBS News site, Sorry, Mandatory Gun Registration Is Constitutional. Instapundit comments:

Though I disagree with that as policy, that’s probably right. I could certainly construct a chilling-effect sort of argument that would be no more unfounded than many other constitutional doctrines that are “good law” today, but I’m not sure that such is really compelled by the Constitution. On the other hand, that the 1792 Militia Act required people to prove that they owned at least one qualifying gun is not necessarily support for the notion that you must account to the government for every gun you own.

I’m forced to admit that I agree with the good professor. If the .gov wants to know if I have at least one “qualifying gun,” I’ll be more than happy to tell them. I have a CCW, so they already have reason to believe I own at least one handgun (and I write this blog, so they know I own a lot more than that, but not how many in total, and not by serial number.) But if they want a list of everything I own, not only “No,” but “HELL NO!”

And why? Because I fully concur with the sentiment expressed by Charles T. Morgan, the Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the ACLU in 1975 House testimony on a gun registration bill:

What the administation’s and Congressman McClory’s bills . . . call for is a whole new set of Federal records. . . .

I have not one doubt, even if I am in agreement with the National Rifle Association, that that kind of a record-keeping procedure is the first step to eventual confiscation under one administration or another.

That’s all it’s good for.

A while back someone (Tam, I believe) proposed an excellent illustration of the futility of registraion and licensing as a crime-control measure: Take a standard 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. Fold it in half and tear it along the fold. With a pen, write “License” on one piece and “Registration” on the other. Hand the piece marked “Registration” to the supporter of such laws, and say:

You are the government. That’s my registration. This piece of paper in my hand is my license, and this pen is my licensed, registered firearm. Explain to me, using only these three items, how licensing and registration will prevent me from criminally misusing my firearm.

Yes, registration may very well be Constitutional, but it is useful for only one thing: eventual confiscation. There are already something on the order of 300 million firearms in private hands in this country, the vast majority of which are not registered. Canada has a two billion dollar boondoggle on its hands trying to register a tiny fraction of that number of rifles and shotguns, and it is still being plagued by massive non-compliance.

If it’s tried here in the States, I will be among the non-compliant.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

I stole this one from my boss’s blog:

I will add as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the Legislature as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.

James Madison as “Publius”, Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788

“. . . the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.”

We certainly seem to be.

It’s Not Really Prophecy

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Malice vs. Stupidity, a post in part about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) – a piece of self-congratulatory legislation overwhelmingly passed by our Congresscritters in the wake of lead-contaminated toys from China. While listening to the Vicious Circle #15 podcast this afternoon, I heard Alan say that he fully expected to see someone get prosecuted and convicted for selling a children’s book in violation of that Act, and TD (I think) said the book probably wouldn’t even be contaminated – thus someone would go to jail for selling a legal product.

Then this evening Instapundit links to a story about the Feds going after garage sales:

Seller, beware: Feds cracking down on garage sales

If you’re planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you’d best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.

The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer.

“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.

Keep reading and you’ll see that the Federal agents charged with enforcement of these laws are also given the responsibility to enforce the CPSIA restrictions as well.

Is there anything the Federal government isn’t responsible for regulating or enforcing anymore?

Abandonment or Ass-Covering?

Abandonment or Ass-Covering?

Sailorcurt links to a fascinating op-ed at CBS that proclaims as its headline:

The Health Care Cost Saving Myth
Dan McLaughlin: There Will Be No Cost Savings. There’s No Sense In Pretending Otherwise.

Holy $hit! Honesty in the MSM! The piece continues with flawless logic:

One of the central selling points used by President Obama to push the Democrats’ health care plan is the notion that a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system will reduce costs. But costs to who, and how? Let’s step back a minute and try to figure out how Obama’s cost-cutting argument could possibly be so.

First, a quick reminder of two reasons why cost-cutting is such an important selling point.

Number one, the core of what the Democratic base, in particular, wants from health care “reform” is universal coverage. You often hear statistics thrown around about there being 30 or 35 or, last I heard, 47 million people without health insurance, and the implication that these people are receiving zero or negligible healthcare. Debunking those statistics and assumptions is itself a cottage industry, but let’s leave that aside for the moment, because the fact of the matter is that in a country of 300 million people, when you strip out the people who (1) already have health insurance and expect to continue having it, (2) don’t especially want to buy health insurance, (3) are only briefly without health insurance and not worried about it, or (4) don’t or can’t vote, what you end up with is a very small slice of the electorate that would benefit from getting health insurance they currently lack or fear lacking. Now, voters don’t only vote their own self-interests on any issue – but the fewer people who benefit directly from legislation, the harder it is to drum up public support for a bill that may threaten the self-interest of others. So, it becomes politically necessary, if the bill is to be as sweeping and ambitious as most of the versions circulated have been, to sell it to the public on the basis of some argument above and beyond insuring the uninsured. That’s doubly so because if your goal was solely to insure the uninsured, much of what is in the various bills would be unnecessary.

(My emphasis.)

So we’ve established that the purpose cannot be to “insure the uninsured.” Onward!

Second, specific to the issue of saving money for the federal government, the Obama Administration and the Democrats have already severely tried the electorate’s appetite for massive expansions of federal spending, especially deficit spending. The explosion of new spending, most notably the pork-laden “stimulus” bill, makes prior complaints about spending under Bush look like complaints about the deck chairs on the Titanic and flatly contradicts Obama’s read-my-lips pledge during two of last October’s debates that his proposals would result in a net reduction of federal spending. The voters have noticed that they’re not getting anything resembling what they were promised. Thus, Obama has repeatedly pledged, with the same assurance as his campaign pledge on spending, that the health care bill would be “deficit neutral.” The Congressional Budget Office, typically a liberal redoubt, has repeatedly thrown cold water on the claim that any of the proposals on the table would be deficit-neutral. Clearly, to get there, cost savings would need to be found somewhere to completely offset outlays.

How’s that gonna work?

Damned fine question! And remarkable admissions for an MSM outlet to publish! (I guess they figure no one really reads anymore.)

Let’s review the options. The Democrats’ main argument is that restructuring the entire health care sector will reduce the nation’s total (public and private) outlay for health care. When you boil it down, though, there are only three variables you can cut: reduce the amount of medical care provided; reduce what providers of medical care earn for their products and services; and reduce intermediary costs. All are problematic.

I. Less Medical Care

AKA: “Rationing.”

The most obvious way to cut spending on medical care is to buy less of it. That’s at the crux of the public’s worry about “death panels” cutting off care, about rationing; it’s why so many of the people showing up agitated at town halls are senior citizens worried about getting less medical care.

The “death panel” phrase was shorthand, of course, but it neatly captured the core of the problem: government already rations care, albeit not very efficienctly, in programs like Medicare and Medicaid (see, e.g., here – then again, the failure to do more rationing explains those programs’ exploding, budget-busting costs) and the end-of-life consulting procedures criticized by Palin and subsequently dropped by chastened Democrats are not the only way in which government incentives could or would be brought to bear on physicians to push patients from consuming health care to preparing for death or assisted suicide. More here, among many other places. But you don’t have to be looking at the end-stage to see that any plan premised upon cost-cutting by reducing the amount of care provided would, well, reduce the amount of care provided. And if the costs being cut are taxpayer costs, the power to do so would end up being vested in some sort of governmental entity, likely a panel of government-appointed “experts,” as Mickey Kaus notes was alluded to by President Obama himself back in April:

THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?

I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

LEONHARDT: So how do you – how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance.

Mark Steyn had a fascinating example of such rationing in a National Review piece last week. In it he illustrated the difference between health “care” and medical treatment. And yesterday I pointed to a piece by Maj. Chuck Zeigenfuss illustrating that “death panels” are completely unnecessary, so long as you have the right forms handy.

One argument advanced by proponents of the various plans is that costs would be reduced by providing more care, because preventative care would prevent more expensive care from being needed. Even leaving aside the grim fact of human mortality (i.e., preventing heart disease at one age can just leave you to die slowly of cancer or suffer prolonged dementia later), Charles Krauthammer notes that studies in reputable medical journals have concluded that the need to offer preventative care to so many people to make sure you catch health problems early means that more widespread preventative care is more, not less expensive:

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.

Another illustration of the adage that “For every problem there is a solution which is simple, obvious, and wrong.”

And usually government-mandated.

That’s a hypothetical case. What’s the real-life actuality? In Obamaworld, as explained by the president in his Tuesday town hall, if we pour money into primary care for diabetics instead of giving surgeons “$30,000, $40,000, $50,000″ for a later amputation – a whopper that misrepresents the surgeon’s fee by a factor of at least 30 – “that will save us money.” Back on Earth, a rigorous study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, “if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success,” the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country’s total medical bill by 162 percent. That’s because prevention applied to large populations is very expensive, as shown by another report Elmendorf cites, a definitive review in the New England Journal of Medicine of hundreds of studies that found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

Whatever else can be said for more preventative care, it is likely to offer no great cost savings.

Quite the opposite, in fact. (“Obamaworld”? “Back on Earth”? I like this guy!)

Why is it that this is so obvious to the people who actually look, but denied by those who so strongly urge rapid passage of “health care reform” legislation?

Don’t you wonder?

Moreover, reducing the total amount of care provided contradicts one of the central premises of the entire project, which is that it will result in providing more care to tens of millions of people not presently receiving it. As Bob Hahn notes, if this is the case, it won’t just drive up costs but will create shortages:

If we added 47 million more people to the health care system, there would be lines. We wouldn’t even know how to send 47 million more people to McDonald’s without causing lines.

Around the blogosphere, this kind of observation is usually noted with a resounding DUH!

I’m unfamiliar with the details, but apparently there is some provision in Obama’s plan that expands the number of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, etc., to instantly accommodate 47 million more people. It usually takes eight to ten years to school a new doctor, so whatever the Democrats are doing here is a major advance.

The Democrats can’t have it both ways. One way or another, they either need to sell the public on the idea of sharply curtailing the amount of medical care provided, or stop claiming cost savings that can only come from less care.

(*ahem*) DUH!

II. Medical Care For Less Cost

The issue of shortages brings us to the problem with the second option: rather than reducing the amount of care provided, reduce the amount paid to the people who provide it: doctors, nurses, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Certainly on the Left there is a fair amount of sentiment for making it less profitable to provide care. But there is really no getting around the basics of supply and demand: if we make it less profitable to become a doctor, we will end up with fewer doctors. If we skimp on salaries for nurses, home health aides, and less-skilled care providers (e.g., people who work in nursing homes), we will exacerbate the existing shortage of nurses and other providers, which is likely to become more acute in years to come as the population ages. And if labor responds to financial incentives, capital is even more sensitive: slash the profit margins of drug companies and medical device manufacturers, and inevitably there will be less investor capital for those companies and less coming out of the pipeline in terms of drugs and devices that save or improve lives. The net effect will be the same as rationing care directly: cost savings will come only by reducing the quantity and quality of medical care.

But that’s back here on Earth. In Obamaworld . . .

III. Cutting Out The Middleman

With open advocacy of government rationing of care largely politically infeasible and reducing the profitability of health care providers economically impractical, the debate logically falls upon the middlemen, mainly insurance companies. Pretty much everybody hates insurance companies, whose business model by nature involves collecting more money than they lay out. And there’s empirical data to support the idea that we’re spending proportionally more of our health care dollars on insurance, rather than care, than we used to spend. To shift the discussion away from rationing care, Democrats are desperately trying to paint the insurers as somehow siphoning off more money to enrich themselves than they “should,” an effort that’s now leading to an especially vindictive crackdown by panicked Congressional liberals:

House Democrats are probing the nation’s 52 largest insurance companies for lavish spending, demanding reams of compensation data and schedules of retreats and conferences.

Setting a deadline of Sept. 14, the letters demand extensive documents for an examination of “executive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry.”

The main idea here, other than simply intimidating the insurers, is to try to sell the Democrats’ plan on the theory that the insurers are artificially inflating their overhead. The fact that they have to subpoena 52 companies suggests that this will not be as easy a case to make as in the case of a monopoly industry…and of course, a monopoly is the preferred solution of Democratic policymakers, elected officials and even Democratic base voters who essentially see the long-term goal as using a “public option” to plant the seeds for replacing this patchwork of private companies with a single-payer system of government monopoly insurance.

Which I covered here. They deny, deny, deny when in front of the general public, but when surrounded by the like-minded, they have no problem declaring the actual end-game being pursued. (Damned YouTube.)

But let’s unpack here a little further the elements of the expense of a middleman. First of all, there’s the question of why have insurance at all. Most of us pay for other life essentials – food, clothing, shelter, transportation – directly, rather than buying, say, grocery insurance to make sure that an insurance company or government agency will give us groceries every week on terms acceptable to the insurer plus a premium. Now, unless you are seriously wealthy, insurance against truly catastrophic health care costs makes economic sense, so that the pool of the insured absorbs the individual occurrences of massive spikes in one person’s health care costs. But pretty much all the proposals on the table go far beyond purely catastrophic coverage.

This is a point I think that gets overlooked far too much. I don’t have an insurance policy that pays for oil changes or new tires on my truck. I don’t have an insurance policy that pays for replacing my worn-out clothes and shoes. But I have an insurance policy that pays for annual checkups at my doctor and my dentist. Why?

The entire rationale of the Democrats’ proposal is to get more people to buy insurance or have it bought for them than is currently the case, thus increasing the proportion of our health care that is paid for through intermediaries rather than directly. That’s true of people who currently buy no insurance and get little or no care, or pay for it out of pocket; it’s true as well of people who currently get their care from emergency rooms. That’s exactly the opposite direction of where you want to be moving if cutting intermediary costs is your goal.

Especially if the intermediary is a government bureaucracy.

And in the existing health care market, Democrats (with the help of big-government Republicans) have been driving up costs for the past two decades by piling on mandates and “patients’ bill of rights” legislation that ever increases the number of procedures that the insurers have to be involved in. The Medicare prescription drug plan likewise expanded the scope of health care products and services paid for through a public intermediary rather than directly by consumers. And of course, subsidizing preventative care that may be presently paid for out of pocket does the same. So, not only are the Democrats proposing to have more people use health care intermediaries (public or private), but their proposals will inevitably continue the trend towards having more types of health care paid for through intermediaries.

But of course! If this legislation passes the competition to “give away” more and more medical “entitlements” will be dizzying! It will be, as the population ages, the easiest way to buy votes!

Well, say Democrats, we will use more intermediaries, but we’ll be much more efficient in doing so, because the public plans won’t have a profit motive and expensive executives. Which is true. But it’s also true that government programs, even ones that start out fairly simple, tend only to grow and expand over time and grow less efficient as their competition is eliminated and the political power of those who draw salaries and contracts from them grows. Will unionized government workforces necessarily be less expensive than non-unionized private insurer workforces? History doesn’t suggest so.

History rather insists on the exact opposite. As Daniel Hannan explained, the British National Health Service is currently the third largest employer in the world, after the Chinese Red Army and the Indian National Railway system. China and India each have populations that top 1 billion. The UK has a population on the order of 60 million.

And 1.4 million of them work for the NHS, with over half being administrators (paper-pushers, bean-counters, etc.) rather than doctors, nurses, or other care-givers.

Extrapolate that out to a population of 300 million, and you get about seven million American Health Service workers.

And there’s no reason to believe that wouldn’t become the case here.

As one National Review reader posed the question:

If we can cut a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for health insurance reform but if, as looks to be the case, healthcare reform won’t pass, why not just cut a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid anyway?

The fact that it hasn’t happened and won’t happen should remind us that replacing a competitive private marketplace with a colossal, Washington-run bureaucracy is a bad bet to produce savings. The conservative answer in this situation is not to throw out the entire existing system on the hope that things will work out better than they ever have before.

Or: Let’s NOT “Do it again, only HARDER!

The elephant in the waiting room is the other big cost driver of intermediaries besides the scope of coverage and the cost of having shareholders and executives: lawsuits. Precise figures are again a subject of intense dispute, but a goodly chunk of what drives the amount of `unnecessary’ care provided, the cost of providing services and the cost of intermediaries is the need to protect against and pay for the cost of medical malpractice and denial of coverage litigation. None of the Democratic proposals, however, seek to make any practical inroads against this source of costs. Replacing a private system with a public one could arguably do so if the trial bar is effectively precluded from bringing against the government many of the kinds of lawsuits now used against private insurers

You mean like in this case?

– but aren’t liberals in favor of keeping those kinds of suits viable? And how likely is it that in the long run they won’t provide other mechanisms to keep one of their vital constituencies in business?

“Vital constituencies” indeed. How many members of Congress are lawyers, again?

We have pretty much exhausted the options for cost-cutting: less care (at a steep political price, at the cost of giving frightening power to the government, and at odds with the goal of providing care where none is now given); less money to caregivers, which would amount to the same thing; less use of intermediaries (which is likewise contrary to the whole thrust of the project); or less cost in using intermediaries (which is impractical and unlikely to pan out).

There will be no cost savings. There’s no sense in pretending otherwise.

And since when has lawmaking had anything to do with making sense? It’s about buying VOTES. It’s about GETTING RE-ELECTED.


My question at the moment is: does this piece represent a shift away from the Obamafellatio we’ve come to know and loathe from the MSM, or is it just an aberrant “covering our asses” piece that the powers-that-be can point to in the future as evidence of their “fair and balanced” coverage of the health-care debate?

I know where I’d place my bet.

Vicious Lies and Slanders

In relation to yesterday’s (Belated) Quote of the Day, I just received this via email. I’m not even going to go to Snopes to see if it might even possibly be real, I’m just going to roll with it:

They Walk Among Us

A Washington DC airport ticket agent shares the following 12 experiences that demonstrate the intelligence of our politicians and, therefore, why our country is in trouble!!! Oh boy!

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman’s (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, “I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.”

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, “Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa”

His response — “click!”

3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Socialist Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that’s not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, “Don’t lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!” (OMG!)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker’s wife (Landra Reid) who asked, “Is it possible to see England from Canada?” I said, “No.” She said, “But they look so close on the map.” (OMG, again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, “I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.” (Aghhhh!)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn’t understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, “Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?” I said, “No, why do you ask?” he replied, “Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I’m overweight. I think that’s very rude!”

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno , Ca. is FAT ( Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.

8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, “Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?”

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright (D) from Ala who asked, “How do I know which plane to get on?” I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, “I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.”

10. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called and said, “I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?” I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane. She said, “Yeah, whatever, smarty!”

11. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. “Oh, no I don’t. I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, “Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!”

12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, “I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York.”

I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, “Are you sure that’s the name of the town?”

“Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the Congressman.

After some searching, I came back with, “I’m sorry, sir, I’ve looked up every airport code in the country and can’t find a Rhino anywhere.”

The man retorted, “Oh, don’t be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!”

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, “You don’t mean Buffalo , do you?”

The reply? “Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.”

What’s worse; that someone would write something like this, or that I don’t really have a problem thinking it might just be true?

(Belated) Quote of the Day

(Belated) Quote of the Day

But worth the wait:

Now let’s just take a minute and think about our elected officials, be they democrat, rino, or pretty much anyone other than Ron Paul, who has his own set of problems anyway. Some senators can’t manage to drive across a bridge without killing someone. Others think their staff sent them an internet. Bluntly put, congressmen and senators are too busy diddling page boys, evading their taxes, drowning their workers, going out with mistresses, explaining that barrel shrouds are shoulder things that go up, and generally demonstrating as frequently as possible that between all 535 of them you could find more intelligence and general competence (in ANY field other than getting elected) in a lightly stunned ground squirrel.
— Stingray, from Atomic Nerds in Just a thought . . .

Another “Oh. Damn.” moment.