Saturday, November 21, 2009


The NY Times blog has an article "The Uproar Over Mammography," which links to a WSJ op-ed "A Breast Cancer Preview: The mammogram decision is a sign of cost control to come."

In a world of consumer-driven health care that includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), wouldn't this "uproar" be a complete non-issue? In that world, patients spending their own money could make decisions on their own, in consultation with their physician, about the timing and frequency of their mammograms.

Think about oil changes for your car. If the manufacturer recommends oil changes every 5,000 miles, but you decide on a different frequency - say every 3,000 miles or every 10,000 - that's not a problem. Now if your car insurance covered routine oil changes, and then the government introduced "government car insurance reform" with a "public option," then the frequency of oil changes would become an issue and could lead to an "uproar."

Stopped Clock Watch, 11/21/09

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was astounded this week by President Barack Obama’s decision to respond a written questionnaire Sánchez submitted to the White House. Still recovering from bruises left by a recent vicious attack by state security agents, she told CPJ from her home in Havana: “This is the best way to get better.”
When the history of Cuba’s freedom movement is written, it’s likely that Yoani Sanchez will be recognized as a national hero and freedom fighter, the equivalent of Lech Walesa in Poland and Vaclav Klaus in the Czech Republic. Yoani Sanchez demonstrates that we should never underestimate the power of one courageous individual with a computer
Intellectual figures like Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, and Thomas Jefferson would be proud of Yoani Sanchez and her powerful message of individual freedom in one of the few remaining regimes of totalitarianism left in the world.
Except that O Duce is turning the U.S. into one.

Two Simple Observations II

We have become so accustomed to employer-provided medical care that we regard it as part of the natural order. Yet it is thoroughly illogical. Why single out medical care? Food is more essential to life than medical care. Why not exempt the cost of food from taxes if provided by the employer? Why not return to the much-reviled company store when workers were in effect paid in kind rather than in cash?

The revival of the company store for medicine has less to do with logic than pure chance. It is a wonderful example of how one bad government policy leads to another. During World War II, the government financed much wartime spending by printing money while, at the same time, imposing wage and price controls. The resulting repressed inflation produced shortages of many goods and services, including labor. Firms competing to acquire labor at government-controlled wages started to offer medical care as a fringe benefit. That benefit proved particularly attractive to workers and spread

Two Simple Observations

Two simple observations are key to explaining both the high level of spending on medical care and the dissatisfaction with that spending. The first is that most payments to physicians or hospitals or other caregivers for medical care are made not by the patient but by a third party—an insurance company or employer or governmental body. The second is that nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely or as frugally as he spends his own.

No third party is involved when we shop at a supermarket. We pay the supermarket clerk directly: the same for gasoline for our car, clothes for our back, and so on down the line. Why, by contrast, are most medical payments made by third parties? The answer for the United States begins with the fact that medical care expenditures are exempt from the income tax if, and only if, medical care is provided by the employer. If an employee pays directly for medical care, the expenditure comes out of the employee’s after-tax income.


On May 29, Phil Jones wrote to Michael Mann, with the subject heading "IPCC & FOI":

Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have with Keith re AR4? ["AR4" is common shorthand for the U.N. IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, which was released in 2007.] Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

These emails appear to show that, when faced with a legitimate request under Britain's Freedom of Information Act, these global warming alarmists preferred to delete their emails with one another about the crucially important IPCC report--the main basis for the purported "consensus" in favor of anthropogenic global warming--rather than allow them to come to light. This is one of many instances in the East Anglia documents where the global warming alarmists act like a gang of co-conspirators rather than respectable scientists.

No Need To Know

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Amazingly, they didn't think it was something the Army needed to know.

In the months before the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan intensified his communications with a radical Yemeni American cleric and began to discuss surreptitious financial transfers and other steps that could translate his thoughts into action, according to two sources briefed on a collection of secret e-mails between the two.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said Friday that he would investigate the handling of the e-mails -- 18 or 19 in all -- and why military officials were not aware of them before the deadly attack. Levin told reporters after a briefing from Pentagon staff members that "there are some who are reluctant to call it terrorism, but there is significant evidence that it is."

If even an ostrich like Levin is realizing this is a terror attack, it's going to be harder for Obama and Army leaders to continue to pretend otherwise.

Beyond zerO

Can Barney Frank Dunk on Lebron? No, he cannot. Nor can anyone else in Washington. Nor can they catch passes from Ben Rothlisberger in the Super Bowl or strike out Derek Jeter in the World Series. They are not equipped to do so.

So what? 

This ridiculous image speaks to the business malaise infecting the economy since Obama took office. The point is that politicians are equally ill-equipped to run the auto industry or the health industry or the lending industry or the insurance industry -- and their determination to do so is sucking all the dynamism from the entrepreneurial class in this country.

With the threat of this administration and congress, what is the possible motivation for anyone with ideas and capital to invest his time, talent, and money into a risky endeavor? There appears to be none. In fact, there appear to be powerful incentives not to invest any time or treasure -- thus an economy with almost zero creative inertia.


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Elizabeth Drew reports that many inside-the-Beltway Obama supporters are angry that Greg Craig was tossed under the bus by this administration, with Obama’s tacit approval and acquiescence while others did the dirty work.

The sentence that interested me most in that regard was this:

Yes, we knew, or should have, during the campaign that the supposed idealist Obama had a bit of the Chicago cut-throat in him, but there was little sign that he could be as brutal and heedless of loyalty as he was in the Craig affair.

Query to Elizabeth Drew and whomever else might have thought of Obama that way: ever hear of Alice Palmer? Because if you hadn’t, you failed to complete the initial assignment of your homework on your hero. And if you had, you could not have avoided the immediate realization that Obama’s very first political act had been to brutally double-cross his earliest booster and mentor, and to do it as cold-bloodedly and ruthlessly as any Chicago pol—or mobster.

Kung Fu Sarah

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You remember "Ricky Hollywood"? Not. One. Single. Mention. That's cold. Other than this deliberate omission, I couldn't find a single outwardly venomous reference in this book. Its like a king-fu revenge movie starring Mr. Rogers: You know there's some ass-whoopin' going on there, but damned if you can see the bloody details.

Sarah's writing style might seem stilted compared to the flowery rhetoric of Teleprompter One, but to this denizen of "flyover country" it seemed to ring true. Sarah Palin campaigned on a "What You See Is What You Get" platform, and never claimed to be Victor Davis Hanson or William Jennings Bryan. She's a happy housewife from the Mat-Su Valley who punctuates her stories with positive anecdotes about her family & her State because she wants you to see Alaska and America through her eyes. If this is cold, calculated populist junkfood designed to falsely endear her to ham & eggers like me........then she's got the tune down pat.

In Hockey, Sometimes There Is Irony

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It seems no matter where you look, “hockey stick” shapes pop out of data related to climate. Today, the most extraordinary day in climate science seen in quite some time, was no exception.

And, the day is not over. But honestly I’m too tired to continue. Thus I’m going to present the dataset gleaned today in raw form, but without the final endpoint. There’s no smoothing nor splicing of dissimilar datasets, but granted it is not a complete dataset. I’ll have complete data tomorrow.

Readers will recognize that even though the endpoint has not been established, the conclusion from the graph is clear. We are living in times of extraordinary data, never before seen. It’s accelerating, and worse than we thought.

Sometimes, there is irony.

In other news, WUWT’s post on the CRU data hack was the number one post on WordPress today, beating out CNN, People magazine, and other well known media outlet posts.


So I’m sure this fledgling story will continue to evolve as greater minds than mine analyze them throughout the weekend. For those sporting taste buds leaning toward the technical, rest assured that both Climate Audit and Watts Up With That will certainly sate those appetites. Needless to say, look no further than American Thinker for continuing political analysis. And for those of you wishing to join in this criminal investigation, the FOI2009 folder is available for download here.

Criminal? Oh yes, indeed. As this mock-science serves as justification for trillions of dollars in imposed and proposed new taxes, liens, fees, and rate hikes -- not to mention the absurd wealth-redistribution premise of international climate debt "reparations" -- such manipulation of evidence should be treated as exactly what it is: larceny on the grandest scale in history.

Sorry, Al -- the science hasn’t been settled. It’s merely been meddled.


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The last few days have not been good for the People's Temple of Hope and Change, nor for its charismatic leader, whom many members regard as a god incarnate.

  • Chairman Zero returned from Asia having accomplished nothing except looking like a jackass for bowing to the Emperor of Japan
  • Chairman Zero promised the world that Khalid Sheik Mohammed would receive a fair trial, while promising Americans there could be no other outcome to that trial but conviction and execution. (Ponder the Stalinist quality of that statement for a moment.)

  • The "hockey stick" chart was revealed to be a fake when emails between Global Warming scienticians revealed they were deliberately manipulating the data to "prove" global warming; one scientician instructing another to fudge the data in order to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.(Thanks TGC for the better link)
  • It was also revealed that $6.4 Billion in Stimulus money was sent to congressional districts that don't exist.
  • Women: More Than Their Share?

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    COST CONTAINMENT: “We’ll save even more money if we just get these women who are bitching about pain to hold their boyfriend’s hand or look at a picture of their kid. . . . And those silly Pap tests that had us thinking we needed a pelvic exam every year?The official word has come that you don’t need that testing so early or so often.”

    Plus this: “Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they’ll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we’ve been taking more than our share.”

    UPDATE: A reader emails:

    My ex wife has spent her life in health care, and is now involved with clinical trials in cancer research. I asked her what she thought about the new guidelines on mammograms and Pap smears. She said, “Well, if they die sooner, I suppose that will save a lot of money in the long run.” She also commented on how many women they see in their 30s and 40s who have breast cancer.

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Frogs Notice The Boil -- UCLA Edition

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    The public is finally beginning to come to a boil.

    COTD: So


    What we have here is evidence that the team has engaged in:

    1. Conspiracy
    2. Government Fraud
    3. Computer Fraud
    4. Obstruction of Justice
    5. Environmental Law Violations (Falsifying lab data pertaining to environmental regulations) (snicker)
    6. Suppression of evidence
    7. Tampering with evidence
    8. Public Corruption
    9. Bribery

    Does that cover it?

    Hadley Edition.

    Trenberth Hides The Salami

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    From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    Hi all

    Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate

    Thursday, November 19, 2009


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    You tell me.  It’s certainly looking how I’d imagine a bicoastal outbreak would look.  Guess the next Romero flick will go with a zombies-as-the-’funemployed’ metaphor, or something else suitably heavy-handed.

    Inflation: Even More Of A Problem Than You Thought!

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    $43,000 II

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    "There are two larger points we should not lose sight of," Gayer writes. "First, tax expenditures are not a free lunch. The billions of dollars spent on the tax credit will ultimately have to be paid back through higher, economically distorting taxes.

    "Second, government policies to promote homeownership (or, more accurately, home-borrowership) were partial contributors to our housing and credit market problems," he continues. "Ultimately, we need to decrease the government's housing incentives, including the mortgage-finance subsidies, the mortgage-interest deduction, and the favorable capital gains treatment for housing. A good place to start this weaning would be by not extending or expanding the home-buyer tax credit."

    That's the view from Brookings, which never has been accused of being a conservative, free-market outfit. But this isn't a question of right or left, just common sense.


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    THE FEDS SEEM INTENT UPON REFLATING the housing bubble. Not the Federal Reserve, as you may have read elsewhere, but the federal government.

    As with the clunker cash, Uncle Sam is giving money to folks to do what they would have done anyway. Cash for clunkers temporarily juiced auto sales in August, but they fell back to their previous, depressed pace in September. And some 85% of the subsidy was pocketed by the dealers, not car buyers, according to one estimate

    According to estimates by Ted Gayer at the Brookings Institution, each additional home sale generated by the $8,000 first-time homebuyers' tax credit actually costs the government $43,000.

    How's that possible? Gayer figures that of the 1.9 million homebuyers that will get the $8,000 tax credit, 85% would have bought a house anyway. The price tag of $15 billion -- about twice what Congress had intended -- he reckons will result in approximately 350,000 additional home sales, at a price tag of $43,000 for each additional sale.


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    As of July 2009, California's budget shortfall was 49.3% of its general funds. States have considered drastic options to fill such gaps.

    "I looked as hard as I could at how states could declare bankruptcy," said Michael Genest, director of the California Department of Finance who is stepping down at the end of the year. "I literally looked at the federal constitution to see if there was a way for states to return to territory status."

    There were no bankruptcy options, and the legislature chose to cut back sharply on education and health care to fill the gap. Mr. Genest already predicts the 2011 shortfall will outpace the projected $7 billion gap. It is a smaller deficit than this year's gap, but the choices will be more difficult because so many cuts have already been made.

    zerOes O the gOracle

    The film, Climate Refugees, by Michael P. Nash, was shown at Colorado State University on Sunday, November 15 to a sold-out crowd who received free tickets.

    This film has been chosen to be featured at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December.

    Peter Schwartz says, “It’s all about water. Too much and too little.” Choosing his words in this way guarantees fear and simultaneously prevents him from being wrong.

    Other statements made in the film:

    1. We need a new international framework of law.

    The film producers claim to have left a negative carbon footprint by planting 10,000 trees. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the math on that calculation? This is especially amusing considering the fact that trees are being blamed by the environmentalists as being part of the GW/GHGE problem.


    O My

    Soldiers have been ordered to issue battlefield Miranda rights to captured enemy combatants.

    The administration, though, is in a pickle. Even if enemy combatants were issued Miranda rights on the battlefield, were they issued consistent with the Constitution?

    Under Article I, Section 8[11] of the Constitution, only Congress is authorized: "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."

    If the Miranda rights were ordered by the administration without congressional authorization, are they unconstitutional?

    Eric Holder had better identify explicitly the congressional authority, otherwise this may be yet another way for terrorists to escape justice under Article III courts.

    Today's Du'O

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    A Perversion Of The Justice System

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    This is a very different Lindsey Graham from the one we’re used to. This Lindsey Graham is sharp and articulate, charged with righteous outrage at Eric Holder and Barack Obama’s unjustifiable decision to try KSM in a civilian criminal proceeding.

    Heck, Holder doesn’t even really make an attempt to justify it. Even if you didn’t think much of Holder before, it remains shocking to see how extraordinarily little he appears to have thought about the legal issues involved. He has no answer for Graham, and he seems to sense early on in the questioning that he’s caught in a trap, and can find no way out.

    It’s almost painful to watch as Holder stutters his way through the interrogation. This is the Attorney General of the United States?

    incOherent sOldier

    Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared before the Joint Economic Committee today. One striking feature of Geithner's testimony was how partisan it was. In keeping with the Obama administration's mantra, he repeatedly tried to cast blame on the Bush administration while failing to acknowledge that when the financial crisis developed, he was the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

    I had lunch with Geithner a couple of years ago, when he headed the New York Fed and before the crisis developed. It was an odd encounter: he seemed to want to convey the impression that he was in the know and privy to deep secrets, and that he was wiser than the other leading figures responsible for economic policy. But he did this without ever saying anything substantive or even, frankly, very coherent. If he had any disagreement with the policies of the Fed or of the Bush Treasury Department, he never hinted at what they might be.

    I Was Already Awake

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    Obama went into those sessions like Kennedy: with great hope that his charm and appeal to reason – qualities so admired in the United States – would work well with Hu. By numerous accounts, that is not at all what happened: reports from correspondents on the scene are replete with statements that Hu stiffed the President, that he rejected arguments about Chinese human rights and currency behavior while scolding the U.S. for its trade policies, and that he stage-managed the visit so that Obama – unlike Clinton and Bush before him – was unable to reach a large Chinese audience through television.

    It would seem wise not only for President Obama but for all Americans to treat this as a wake-up call.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    To Their Great Surprise

    FAUX DEATH PENALTY HAWKS:  Obama and Holder claim to want the death penalty for KSM but they sure picked an odd venue to get it.  Jim Geraghty points us to the Daily News:

    WASHINGTON - Prosecutors who will try the 9/11 plotters in New York face a "Mission Impossible" task of winning death sentences for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his henchmen.

    Frances Townsend, an ex-New York federal prosecutor who was former President George W. Bush's top counterterror adviser, said death verdicts this time aren't out of the question, but the odds are against it.

    She also maintained life without parole at "Supermax" could better service justice.

    O Bow Mao

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    It's not too soon to start shopping for stocking stuffers:


    Failure Is Not An Option II

    Can you imagine any other context in which the President of the United States would assure the public that a criminal defendant is guilty; that he will be convicted by a jury; and that he will be executed? Such comments make a mockery of the "rule of law" as normally understood.

    It's true, of course, that Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are obviously guilty of the terrorist attacks of which they proudly boast. We don't need a judge and jury to tell us this. In my view, we would be amply justified in simply shooting them.

    But if only one jury verdict is acceptable; if the President is willing to assure the American people of conviction; if acquittal or a hung jury is "not an option;" if, assuming such a result, the defendant would be returned to prison anyway--then it is ridiculous to say that we are going through this charade in order to "vindicate the rule of law."

    Moron Speaks: Failure Is Not An Option

    Graham is right, of course. Under the Obama administration's policies, if we capture Osama bin Laden tomorrow, the first thing we will have to do is read him his rights, and the second is get him a lawyer at taxpayer expense. The argument that Holder tries to interpose--maybe we won't have to Mirandize bin Laden because the evidence of his guilt is "overwhelming"--is pathetic. Can you imagine trying to explain to a federal judge that a criminal defendant had a constitutional right to have his rights read to him, but you skipped that step because the evidence of his guilt is overwhelming? The fact that the Obama administration needs to resort to such silly evasions demonstrates that its policy is indefensible.

    In that regard, one basic question has always been, what happens if we prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his confederates and the result is an acquittal or a hung jury?
    what I spoke to them about is that failure is not an option.
    How better to top pardoning Marc Rich than pardoning KSM?

    Amnesia and ...

    Speaking of military tribunals, we went back into the video archives and found this C-SPAN tape below. Holder might want to watch it.

    It contains his boss, Barack Obama, a brief member of that same Senate, in 2006 stating that a military tribunal was a perfectly fine way of handling such dangerous individuals as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

    Obama said the fight against terrorism was "an extraordinarily difficult war" where terrorists could plot undetected from within our own borders.

    The freshman Illinois senator was defending a legislative amendment and pointed out that a military tribunal for Mohammed seemed just fine to him.

    "The irony of the underlying bill as it's written is that someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is going to get basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He's gonna have counsel. He's gonna be able to present evidence to rebut the government's case.... I think we will convict him. And I think justice will be carried out."

    Personal Payday

    Adds Andersen, "Thanks to help from veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Books."  Based on my own research, I would argue that Ayers actually wrote the book's best sections.  Obama's published efforts before Dreams show not a wisp of the skill on display in Dreams.
    Draper chooses not to relate the fate of plucky agent Dystel.  That story was hard to miss.  The proudly liberal but seriously disgusted publisher Peter Osnos went public three years ago.  According to Osnos, Obama dumped his devoted long time agent after Dreams took off and then signed a seven-figure deal with Crown, using only a by-the-hour attorney.

    Obama pulled off the deal after his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate but before being sworn in as Senator, this way to avoid the disclosure and reporting requirements applicable to members of Congress. Osnos publicly scolded Obama for his "ruthlessness" and "his questionable judgment about using public service as a personal payday

    Did I Forget To Order My Black Russian?

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    The world has an impression of the United States as a freewheeling, hard-drinking country where few things are regulated. The world should wake up to the reality that the United States is governed by a totalitarian bureaucracy that claims to manage every aspect of our lives, which means of course managing the economy with massive regulatory intervention, of which the following is but a tiny example.

    The Food and Drug Administration has decided that Americans are entirely too fond of the dangerous mix of alcohol and caffeine.

    There is nothing new here. Think of Irish coffee, which is coffee plus liquor. Or think of Kahlúa, which is a coffee liqueur used in all sorts of drinks. There is a new fashion too for the coffee martini.

    What these campaigns against sin actually do is draw attention to these beverages.
    These campaigns are free advertising for these drinks, and by adding a whiff of danger, really attract young people.

    Obamapologies -- Epic Edition

    In China, President Obama apologized for America ... again. The problem with frequent apologies is that they soon beg the question: Where does one stop, once one starts?  

    In China, “He acknowledged America's shortfalls and went out of his way to welcome China into a role of global leadership. He even ducked the only edgy question - from his ambassador, Jon Huntsman - about the great ‘firewall’ of China.”  He apologized for the way “women in America” are treated by “men with old fashioned ideas about women.” China censored some of his remarks about them censoring others’ remarks.  What a surprise!

    In a recent posting, AT Readers contributed richly to A Lexicon of Political Speech.  Given the President’s propensity to apologize for America, it’s time we offer the White House suggestions for more Obamapologies.
    Here’s one suggestion:  It’s time Obama apologize to the German people for having foisted upon them governments they did not choose for themselves at the end of World War II.  


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    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Why The State Of Course

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    The draft guidance by a committee at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has been criticised as intrusive and further evidence of the “creeping nanny state”.

    Ya think? Two things at work here – one of which we’re all familiar, even in the US. This is what? It is “for the children”. All manner of state intrusion is prefaced by claiming it is “for the children”. Which brings us to the second thing – the assumption by the state that parents are too dumb and inept to properly care for their children. While this is true of some, certainly, the standard is applied to all. And we’ve certainly seen evidence that the state is so much better, haven’t we?

    So why does the state not only feel the necessity but right to intrude at such a level?

    About 100,000 children are admitted to hospital each year for home injuries at a cost of £146m.

    Oh, health care costs. And who controls the health care in the UK.

    Why the state, of course.