The [Tuesday] Papers
Let's try to catch up on the news in no particular order.
Dennis Byrne's columns are so intellectually bereft I rarely - if ever - have bothered to dissect his work into the pure nothingness that lies within. It's almost like an act of charity.
On the other hand, I do still bother with Stella, so go figure. At least she isn't writing village press releases or doing corporate PR on the side.
It's also that Stella commits journalistic crimes in every column she writes (as does Sneed) that I hold Sun-Times management as much or even more responsible for. She simply doesn't know better.
Byrne, on the other hand, is a noxious partisan one often finds on editorial pages (and cable news channels) because of their "strong point-of-view" regardless of whether that view is argued meritoriously or simply spewed. I sense he probably does know better but this is how he makes a buck and - probably more importantly - gets some attention. I'd simply rather not lower myself into his muck; it'd be like arguing politics with Internet commenters, which is pretty much pointless, even if all you're trying to do is introduce incontrovertible facts into the debate.
But just for kicks:
"People who show up at a hospital emergency room without insurance go on other patients' tabs," Byrne writes. "Obamacare advocates would assign the allocation job to omnipotent panels of unelected experts, unresponsive to marketplace realities and unaccountable to the public.
"And how might they approach the question of subsidizing irresponsible behavior? Will the government health care mandarins just choose to ignore those costs? They'd be poor mandarins if they did.
"I suppose they could increase the rates for the high-risk insured, but that would blow the promise of 'affordable' health insurance for all Americans. Or they might create a separate heavily subsidized high-risk pool of Americans engaged in dangerous behavior.
"One such pool already exists under Obamacare for Americans considered uninsurable because of pre-existing medical conditions."
There's so much wrong here it's hard to know where to start, but let's just consider for a moment the fact that Byrne seems to think folks with medical conditions pre-existing their attempts to get health insurance are to blame for their own woes because they must have engaged in dangerous behavior.
Yes. Like living, which is, after all, what causes cancer and diabetes and multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy and any other affliction God uses to punish people.
I dislike Obamacare - in fact, I think it's a rotten mess, as I've written before - and I think the mandate as currently constructed actually is unconstitutional. But as usual, Obama's fiercest opponents miss the point (while his smartest opponents stand frozen in fear of something even worse even though the worse is already here).
Oh, hell, don't get me started. This is why I try not to waste my time with the likes of the Dennis Byrnes of the world.
A) From a faithful reader who'd rather go through the war anonymously:
Agreed that this is a waste of time but what the hell -
"However fanciful are the horribles I conjure up, the issue still remains: Should the government force responsible people to pay more for health insurance so that irresponsible people can pay less?"
Um, 1) it already does (see: Medicare, etc.), and 2) non-health fanatics (mostly) die sooner, so isn't it just as accurate to say the unhealthy subsidize the healthy who stand to collect more benefits over the years?
Anyway, to read a Chicago columnist make the argument he does is particularly galling. Who finances city & state government? Smokers, drinkers, & gamblers. & what happened to that tobacco settlement money? Oh, right, first we handed out a bunch of to homeowners, & now the governor wants to use the rest to balance the budget.
B) From Amanda K:
What shocked me about Mr. Byrne's column is that he somehow missed the fact that we already pay for gangbangers' medical care. Maybe not their preventive care, but if you cannot afford your medical bills, someone ends up swallowing the cost. In addition, my husband and I have insurance through his work, and we pay the same premiums as everyone in that office, regardless of how healthy or not healthy they are. While there are serious concerns with Obamacare, mainly that as citizens we are being forced to buy insurance from corporations, and therefore support them, none of those are mentioned. Lamesauce . . .
C) From another regular reader:
Fantastic on the odious Dennis Byrne - a grateful public thanks you.
4. NATO protest leader Andy Thayer appeared on Chicago Tonight on Monday to talk about the city's denial of its parade permit application. The city refused to send a representative to explain its position, perhaps because it's been so muddled and perhaps because that's not how Rahm Emanuel defines transparency; he prefers innocuous data sets that dazzle developers to pesky inquiries from reporters.
Too bad, because what Thayer had to say was quite interesting. Protesters, he said, are willing to accept the very compromise parade route promised orally by the Emanuel administration if the city is willing to put that promise in writing. The city has yet to respond. So which side is being unreasonable?
Thayer points out too that, regardless of an agreement with the city on a route for marchers, the feds are going to swoop in a couple weeks out from the summit and establish their security perimeter. That's likely to abrogate any agreement any way - at least as far as the endpoint of the march is concerned, which would be "within sight and sound" of McCormick Place, where the summit will take place.
"The internationally accepted standard is 'within sight and sound' of the object of protest," Thayer said. "This is something the United States lectures Eastern Europe on."
The whole thing is likely to end up in federal court, which is why Thayer wants the city's reply by Wednesday at 5 p.m. Plans must be made.
5. I've barely made a dent but that's all I have time for today. Later this afternoon I'll get to work on packing the rest of the week's Beachwood full of goodness.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Evil walks beside you!
Posted on April 3, 2012
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