Return of the Wolf

Throughout history, the wolf has often been the target of misguided hatred on the part of humans. Personally, I love wolves, the largest of the canine species. I learned a lot about how to deal with my own domestic dogs from reading about wolf pack behavior. Just as I admire tigers and other big cats on the feline side, I find the gray wolf to be a majestic creature.
Our recent vacation to Wyoming included Yellowstone National Park, where they are marking the tenth anniversary of the reintroduction of gray wolves to the Yellowstone region. (For the record, we did not have any wolf sightings on our trip, but with only 174 believed to be in the entire Yellowstone region, you’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning–literally–to have a 60-70% chance of seeing wolves in areas they are known to frequent.)
I used to run “Wolf Fun Facts” on my old blog, and you may see them popping up again. Here’s one: each member of a pack can be distinguished by its call, a sort of code that keeps strangers from venturing too far in to a pack’s territory.

liberty politics

And the left wants government-managed health care? Part II

Detailing the woes GM is facing in providing health care to only 160,000 current workers, but 1 million others, Jeff Jacoby provides a microcosm of the problems the citizenry would face should health-care fall under the purview of the government.

GM’s hourly workers undoubtedly have a sweet deal — who wouldn’t love health insurance that comes with a $0 deductible and no premiums? But such sweet deals drive up the cost of health care for everyone. When somebody else is picking up the tab, there is little incentive to economize — that is as true of medical care as of anything else. The price of prescription drugs, hospital stays, and medical procedures has skyrocketed in part because tens of millions of Americans are insured through their employers with low-deductible medical plans. Why not run to the doctor for every minor ailment when the out-of-pocket cost to do so is minimal? Why inquire whether a procedure can be performed less expensively when it’ll be covered by insurance either way?

In no other area do we rely on insurance for routine expenses or repairs. Auto insurance doesn’t cover oil changes; no one uses homeowner’s insurance to repoint the chimney. That’s because most of us pay for those policies ourselves, and therefore get only the insurance we really need — generally against catastrophic events, like a car being stolen or a house burning down.

Only when it comes to health care do we expect insurance to cover nearly everything.

liberty politics

And the left wants government-managed health care?

John Stossel:

But today, people expect insurance to cover everything, even routine things like eyeglasses and dental treatment. This is a terrible idea. Insurance is a lousy way to pay for anything.

Once some faceless stranger is paying for what you do, you don’t have an incentive to control costs. On the contrary, you have an incentive to get as much as you can and leave the other person with the bill. Doctors also have an incentive to run up the bills. Patients rarely complain, but they might complain if the doctor skips a test. Insurance companies know this, of course; hence the torturous bureaucracy: the paperwork, the phone calls where you beg them to pay, the times they refuse to pay for what you thought was covered.

I can’t blame them. They’re just trying to protect themselves from fraud and hoping to have enough money left over to stay in business.

Government insurance is worse than private insurance. A private insurer has an incentive to cut costs; every dollar wasted comes out of profit or must be recovered by raising prices, which drives customers away. Government just raises taxes or increases debt.

So when our bloated government picks up the tab for poor people’s health costs, guess what it buys: Viagra! In 2004, Medicaid spent $38 million on drugs for erectile dysfunction.
Funny. I always thought one of the Left’s battle cries was for the government to stay out of the private citizen’s bedroom. Here’s a great place to start.

liberty rant

Shapiro’s latest

Ben Shapiro:

Social liberalism seeks to promote a “live and let live” society wherein all types of deviant behavior is tolerated and accepted. Those on the left have thrust their notion of a “civilized,” amoral society upon all of us. The fact of the matter is that “live and let live” directly contradicts the notion of communal society; we all have to abide by certain rules to live together. An amoral society minimizes the rules under which we live together; any change in those rules is bound to affect all of us.

And it has. By discarding traditional morality in favor of amoralism, we have catered to the lowest common denominator.


We have successfully defined deviancy down; the deviant is now considered normal. Meanwhile, we have defined deviancy up; the normal is now considered deviant. And the effects upon my generation — the porn generation — have been disastrous. We are apathetic about morality, and that apathy translates into nihilism and narcissism — and in the end, into generational self-destruction. Like it or not, the porn generation is the future of this country.

liberty politics

Killing bureaucracy

Senator Tom Coburn (OK-R):

One of the greatest impediments to the president’s vision of an ownership society is an inside-the-Beltway entitlement society, in which federal agencies expect ever-increasing budgets, regardless of their performance.
The Washington Times article linked above notes the creation of the “Sunset” and “Results” Commissions, which will look in to eliminating waste within, and possibly closing down, federal agencies or departments. It’s about time.


Do we really care?

It is a sad, sad, sad indictment of our American culture when the trial verdict of a washed-up has-been, who hasn’t put out a decent record in more than a decade, is the top news story of the day.


On the brink

On the brink of Yellowstone's Lower Falls
Click on the image to see a short movie of the Lower Falls of Yellowstone in action.

The hike down to the brink was only three-eighths of a mile, but that three-eighths took place within 600 feet. The words you’re looking for here are “steep switchbacks.” Still, very much worth it, and images do not do it justice. Plan your own trip as soon as you are able.


Joys of parenthood

Matthew Baldwin:

That’s right: fifteen months old and my son has already McGuyvered up a rocket launcher.
But why do we resist, you ask? Why not get dressed and enter the playground, where fun could possibly had? Because, that’s why. Because because because. Because we must take every stand we are able to take. Also! Because Caregiver is deceiving you. There is another, better playground, a Naked Playground, with balloons and ice cream and cake. The soiled diaper will lead the way.
[The above via Heather.]
Chris Anderson:
I love the thought that our children are growing up used to having domestic robots in the house. Robots for them are slightly dim but friendly vacuum cleaners, not fearsome weapons or fantasy toys. “Robot love me,” declares the two-year-old.


Reason #3,147 to buy a summer home in Jackson Hole after we win the lottery

Less than 16 hours after arriving back in DFW from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, both the missus and I had stuffy noses, no doubt driven by allergens. Neither of us had this problem this past week, except for the time or two when we were in the cold, wet weather.
So, when we strike it rich, summer home in Jackson Hole, winter home on Kaua’i. Hey, at least I have a plan.


Tiger baseball ends 2005 season 40-22

The Rice Owls ended the LSU baseball team’s season this past weekend, coming from behind to beat the Tigers 5-4. So, no trip to Omaha this year for one of the most successful college baseball teams in the last two decades. With a record of 40-22, the Tigers have nothing to be ashamed of, and they already have players being selected in the MLB draft.