What will the ObamaCare equiavelent of Cash-for-Clunckers be?

While I support national health care, Obama’s handling of the “cash for clunkers” problem raises a question: if the Public Option for ObamaCare goes through, what will the equivalent to this snafu be? And what recourse would be possible?

The White House and Congress may be giving the “cash for clunkers” program a reprieve, but one can’t help wondering how many dealers and customers will have the confidence to go forward at this point. Things sound like a total mess in the showrooms.

“There is absolute frustration across the board,” Alex Kurkin, a lawyer based in Miami who represents several car dealerships, tells The Lede today. “As of this morning, they’re not really confident about any deals, and no one can give them advice about what they should be telling their customers.”

One thing still not clear is how many older cars have actually been sold and scrapped with the original $1 billion, and how many more the new $2 billion will be able to cover. Mr. Kurkin tells us that the government Web site where dealers are supposed to register their deals has been crashing, and the dealers haven’t been able to plug in their information.

via Dealers Race to Get Their Clunkers Crushed – The Lede Blog – NYTimes.com.

Every large program makes mistakes. And we know the flaws of our current system. Obama and his allies should explain the ways in which the ObamaCare Public Option is likely to blow up, so we can have an honest debate.

Henry Louis Gates, American Hero

Wikipedia has good coverage of the arrest of Professor Henry Gates. Eddie has wise words, too.

Here are the most important events in Sgt. James Crowley’s arrest of Dr. Henry Gates:

  1. Crowley arrives at Gates’ home, after a report that two men — one probably hispanic, the other of an unknown race — were attempting to break in.
  2. Crowley rapidly observe that Gates his black
  3. Gates produces identification, indicating he lives on the premises
  4. Crowley does not leave Gates’ home when asked
  5. Gates is rude to Crowley
  6. Crowley orders Gates to leave his home
  7. Crowley arrests Gates

The Wikipedia page has a good article on contempt of cop – the abusive police practice of abridging the first amendment rights of citizens — which mentions this:

At a person’s home, by asking a citizen to “step outside” the doorway, that person can be considered as “being in public” and then could be arrested, after making defiant remarks, for “disorderly conduct” in public. [citation]

It is clear that Gates was rude to an uninvited stranger in his own home. That is his constitutional right. Gates may have been rude to an intruder in his home, but Crowley acted like an armed thug, inflicting “regrettable and unfortunate” vengence on those who did not kowtow to him. By standing up to this thug, by recognizing it is better to stand for one’s rights than avoid harm and trouble, Gates is an American hero.

Indeed, Gates’ stand for his rights against the clumsy brute may make his hometown safer for everyone. One of the most shocking parts of the story are serious allegations that Crowley is a liar at best, and was engaged in a criminal effort to ‘plant’ evidence at worst. Crowley first claimed he received a report that two black males were trying to break into a home. Thankfully, a recording of the 911 call exists, and reveals this to be untrue. Crowley then changed his story, claiming the 911 caller came to him in person and claimed she saw two black males. Thankfully, the caller was not terrorized by Crowley’s arbitrary arrest into keeping silent. She held a press conference, and told the world that this claim was also untrue.

It goes without saying that Crowley being on the streets with a badge is a pulbic danger. Innocent citiznes may be arrested because he dislikes them. Further, any criminal case he is involved in will be under a cloud of suspicion. If Crowley would manipulate evidence and frame a Harvard professor to defend an absurd disturbing the peace charge, what would he do to put away someone he thought was an actual criminal? A burgler? A rapist? A murderer?

For defending his Constitutional rights against an unreasonable assault, and then publicizing the case in a way that may save others the same pain, Professor Henry Louis Gates is an American hero.

Whoever owns this house clearly knows nothing about finance

Courtesy of Calculated Risk

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It’s really distrubing that many of the borderline illegal (and downright foolish) programs that Tim Geithner is pushing, such as PPIP, would result in Tim Geithner losing less money off his foolish home speculation

More on Obama and Honduras

This post, linked by Tom, is a great follow-up to Eddie’s thoughts on Obama and Honduras

Beneath that surface layer, there is a more concrete policy layer. This is where there is a good deal of continuity with George W. Bush’s “third term,” for the reasons I discussed previously. This is a slower, less immediate track, with a short- to medium-term horizon.

Beneath that, however, is an even deeper, third layer, which I described yesterday as the “genetic code” of Obama’s foreign policy, and functions as the long-term conceptual foundation from which it logically flows. For me, Hillary Clinton’s speech to the CFR is the clearest expression of this vision. It involves both institutional transformation in terms of U.S. diplomacy, but also in terms of the global governance architecture. For me, it boils down to replacing the declinists’ “multi-polar” world (terminology I’ve been guilty of using) with what Clinton dubbed the “multi-partner” world. Thomas P.M. Barnett examined why this is so significant in his recent WPR column.

As I said last night, Obama is essentially trying to reduce American ownership of the many crises plaguing the global commons by getting the “rising rest” to buy in and shoulder their fair share of the responsibility for addresing them. The counterparty to that, of course, is spreading globalized privileges and benefits more fairly as well. This is the 30- to 50-year long-term horizon that Obama has fixed, to complement the communication outreach he has been conducting to the younger generation — i.e., the world’s future leaders. It’s neither an easy task nor a sure thing. But I’m convinced it is the wisest choice before us.

As Barnett pointed out, Obama is trying to shift the criteria by which American power and influence is judged to less of a zero-sum calculation. The question is no longer, Did America get what it wants? but rather, Did the world get what it needs? The irony is that, at the same time that he’s trying to change the metrics, Obama continues to be judged on a host of issues — Russia, Israel, Iran, North Korea — by whether or not he got his way.

Perhaps the most clear reflection of a successful Obama foreign policy will be when we begin to systematically look first to regional powers for leadership on regional crises, with U.S. influence functioning as a backstop and guarantor — not due to American decline or weakness, but do to a healthy, functioning global governance architecture that better distributes responsibilities and privilege.

via WPR Blog | The Three Layers of Obama’s Foreign Policy.

Something like this may be true. In effect, Clinton and Obama may be attempting to work through intermediaries, allowing local balances of powers to emerge and then acting as offshore balancers to them. In other words, America is adopting a sort of federalism-of-the-globe, a subsidiarity of interests.

I certainly hope that is the case.

Horizon Group Management

This statement by Horizon Realty raises serious questions regarding ethical use of the law-courts to settle disputes

“We’re a ‘sue first, ask questions later’ sort of organization,” said Jeffrey Michael of Horizon Group Management is statement regarding the matter that appears in the Chicago Sun-Times.

via Horizon Group Sues Woman Over Single Tweet on Twitter – Associated Content.

This reminds me of an earlier controversy regarding Dozier Internet Law — one almost lost to google do to extensive astroturfing.

Obama and Constitutionalism

Today I had a fascinating twitter conversation with Curtis Gale Weeks, concerning his canceling of visas belonging to members of the Constitutional Government of Honduras. An appropriate headline might be “US begins to demand that Hondurans with US visas swear loyalty to Zelaya”

Obama’s action to overturn the Constitution of Honduras and install a Chavez client in that country are inexplicable. Not only is Chavez an enemy to the United States, the benefits of Constitutionalism (as opposed to the pink tide) are well known.

Obama’s hostility to the government of Honduras is especially regrettable considering Bush’s wiser foreign policy. For instance, while Bush was disappointed when Spain withdrew from the Multinational Forces in Iraq, he did not denounce King Carlos II as an illegitimate head of state. In contrast, Obama has denounced the current President of Honduras as illegitimate.

While Secretary of State Clinton appears to be trying to salvage our position, the simplest answer is that Obama is paying attention to Honduras few a few minutes each day, and uses that time to decide stupidly.

Of course, the United States should not blindly constrain its foreign policy to the Constitutions of foreign lands. But at the same time, attempting to overturn the Constitutions of friendly governments in an effort to install clients of our enemies is extremely reckless.

Obama’s behavior in this episode once again makes me pine for a President McCain, or a President Clinton.

Short Review of “Probability 1” by Amir Aczel

On Sunday I quickly read Probability 1 by Amir Aczel. While the book is a solid introduction to basic space-related information that anyone who has watched the Discovery Channel in the past fifteen years already knows, the ending chapters of the book are the crux of Dr. Aczel’s argument. In brief, he argues that because the existence of life on any given planet is independent of the probability of life on any other given planet, then the probability of intelligent life on another planet is

1 – Probability of Life Not on Any Given Planet ^ # of Planets

Because any fraction taken by itself enough approaches zero, this means the probability of intelligent life approaches one. Therefore, there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe (and, for that matter, probably the galaxy)

However, Dr. Aczel’s argument is easily disposed of, because the trials are not independent. Indeed, there may not be intelligent life on many planets for the same reason. Analogously, imagine you determine the probability of a driver pulling over at any given minute, and from there attempt to determine the number of individuals who have driven from Nebraska to Pitcarin Island. Statistical slight of hand may along the line of Amir Aczel’s may arrive at any number of answers, with a 100% probability that at least one individual has driven that long. Of course, the trials are not independent in such an example: all drivers would be frustrated by the lack of a bridge across the Pacific.

Pass on this book. Read The Island of Lost Maps or Beijinger in New York instead.