Archive for July 16th, 2009

by JC

While I hate an equivocating headline as much as the next blogger, Buffalo Field Campaign saw some good news with Obama’s NPS nomination:

Last Friday, July 10, was a potentially momentous day for America’s only population of continuously wild bison. In a move that could end the National Park Service’s role in the slaughter of thousands of bison, President Obama nominated Jon Jarvis to fill the vacant post of National Park Service (NPS) Director…

In light of the winter of 2008, when the Park Service slaughtered more than 1,400 wild bison from within Yellowstone National Park, it is hard to imagine a more imperiled natural or cultural icon than the bison. In naming Jarvis, President Obama sent a strong signal that the Park Service’s era of pandering to industrial interests at the expense of park resources is coming to an end.

The NY Times weighed in the nomination, calling it “the best news we have heard in the past nine years about the national parks, and called for Suzanne Lewis’ replacement:”

One of the first items he needs to tackle is the question of snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park. He should begin by replacing Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellowstone, who is doing the legacy work of the Bush administration by trying to increase the number of snowmobiles allowed into the parks.

Mr. Jarvis and a new superintendent would need to adhere to the clear evidence of every major scientific study and steer visitors to snow coaches, which are better for the air and for Yellowstone’s wildlife. This may sound like a niche issue, but it is a question of whether the parks will be managed by the best guidance of science or the demands of politicians and industry.

Rick Smith had some choice words in the Jackson Hole News&Guide about what the nomination means to the NPS rank and file:

Jarvis’s selection will sit well with Park Service employees, said Rick Smith, a member of the Coalition of Park Service Retirees.

“The Park Service morale was lower than squid shit at the bottom of the ocean during the Bush Administration,” he said.

Lower than squid shit? Can’t get much lower than that. Best of luck to Jarvis and the NPS!

by jhwygirl

Of all the absolutely inane arguments I’ve heard attempting to scare people off from health care reform, I heard a commercial (I was in another room) on the television that was focused on drumming up objection to consideration that a tax of soda pop might be used.

Lordy Lordy. A TAX on SODA POP? You’da thought it was tap water!

I heard a somber voice, as introduction : They want to tax your soda pop and fruit juice drinks…which broke off to two voices discussing the idea as if it were, as I said, tap water. I picture two women, toddlers in the background, and perhaps even one of ’em popping one of those mini-straws into a juice bag for one of the kids. Distressed. Shaking their heads – wondering in what in the hell they were going to do! Near tears…..A tax on our water pop?! Juice boxes?! What is Washington thinking?!?!?

Jimmy – pack it up. We’re moving to Canada. Ooops, never mind – they have national health care.

I tried to find the darned thing, but the innertubes have failed me. I did find a website that was pretty alarmed about the whole thing – go there if you dare: Freedomworks.

I also found where Dick Armey wants to protect you, too, from this horrendous crime against humanity. USA Today’s blogs has an opinion piece from him, titled A soda tax to fund health care? Think again.

What do I think? Two things:

1.) These people are nuts.


McClatchy, on the other hand, has an alternate view.

by JC

When major legislation is introduced at RY Timber Co. in Townsend at 1 p.m. Friday. That’s when. This would kinda be like Baucus announcing the arrival of his legislation to reform health care by going to the steps of United Health or Aetna, and holding a press conference there.

When is a “Forest” bill not a wilderness bill? According to the Missoulian:

Sen. Jon Tester plans to unveil a draft of his new forest land management bill this Friday in Townsend.

The word “wilderness” did not appear in Tuesday’s announcement of what many consider the first federal wilderness legislation to come out of the Montana congressional delegation since 1988.

In a news release, Tester described the bill as “designed to create jobs in Montana’s forests.”

Tester not putting the word “wilderness” in his press release is kinda like Sarah Palin not mentioning global warming in her recent oped on cap & trade. But when you are just sliding a little wilderness into legislation designed to cater to the logging industry and a few self-interested national environmental groups and multi-national corporations, then I guess you don’t want to piss off your constituents contributors too much by advertising any wilderness in your press releases.

In case you don’t make it to Townsend, Tester will be in Seeley Lake touting his jobs bill on Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce at high noon.

Oh, and lest I forget, there already is a fine jobs bill in Congress that truly is a wilderness bill out there, if Jon wanted to take a look.

by JC

Peter Singer had a thought provoking article in the NY Times yesterday, “Why We Must Ration Health Care.” He makes the case that health care rationing already exists, and the question we must ask ourselves is how best to accomplish the social goals of an equitable and sustainable system of providing health care.

Singer mostly focuses on public health care, where public policy has a large influence. But his argument can be extended to private insurance-provided health care, as rationing occurs in the private system as well. Many people (commenters here at 4%20 included), though, tend to ignore the role of private industry in rationing, as it seems to be ok to let the “free market” dictate how health care is rationed–and who lives and who dies, depending on who is offered a policy or a life-saving procedure–while decrying the federal government’s role in rationing public health care resources.

The case for explicit health care rationing in the United States starts with the difficulty of thinking of any other way in which we can continue to provide adequate health care to people on Medicaid and Medicare, let alone extend coverage to those who do not now have it. Health-insurance premiums have more than doubled in a decade, rising four times faster than wages… Health care now absorbs about one dollar in every six the nation spends, a figure that far exceeds the share spent by any other nation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it is on track to double by 2035.

President Obama has said plainly that America’s health care system is broken. It is, he has said, by far the most significant driver of America’s long-term debt and deficits. It is hard to see how the nation as a whole can remain competitive if in 25 years we are spending nearly a third of what we earn on health care, while other industrialized nations are spending far less but achieving health outcomes as good as, or better than, ours.

Rationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for from the public purse. If we ration we won’t be writing blank checks to pharmaceutical companies for their patented drugs, nor paying for whatever procedures doctors choose to recommend. When public funds subsidize health care or provide it directly, it is crazy not to try to get value for money. The debate over health care reform in the United States should start from the premise that some form of health care rationing is both inescapable and desirable. Then we can ask, What is the best way to do it?

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