Evidently Mao is the new thing in avant garde Chinese art. Underground exhibitions, keeping heads and bodies of statuary separated, this is some pretty wacky stuff.

My favorite piece (and a favorite of several other Angry Men) is The Execution of Christ by the Gao brothers:

Nothing like a firing squad of Maos executing Jesus

I thought was a interesting commentary on religious freedom in China, with a touch of Picasso’s Guernica, juxtaposed against the patent absurdity of multiple Maos. In a sense, it was in the line of Andy Warhol’s portrait of Mao with rouge and lipstick.

Several other Angry Men also waxed philosophically, witness this dialogue between Angry Overeducated Catholic and Angry Immigrant…

Angry Overeducated Catholic: I like the Mao off by himself: is he doubting the party line, is he afraid to take a life, is he worried Christ is Who He says He is? Or is he just too incompetent to load a rifle, stand in a line, and shoot an unarmed man?

Angry Immigrant: He’s a demagogue, posing with a rifle trying to look tough, but unable to actually look at the consequences of his policies…

Angry Overeducated Catholic: Ah, but I believe the other members of the squad are also Mao…so perhaps Mao has only a small part of his conscience left, which recoils from the consequences of his policies even while powerless to prevent his larger self from carrying them out?

Good stuff, huh? A little philosophical for my blood, but interesting nonetheless.

Angry Military Man, famed wit that he is, one the day. Had little else to say other than Mao More Than Ever. But once saying that, need one say any more?

I’m not making this up. Evidently you can write papers in Phys Rev E about escaping from the Zombie Apocalypse.

Angry Immigrant notes, along the same lines, Penny Arcade summed up the current fad well with:

By any reasonable barometer, any metric, by any comprehensive schema of assessment, undeath is this nation’s chief export. We deal it out globally, all the while surfing metabolically on the strange fumes of its production. Thus, in direct violation of the Ten Crack Commandments, we’re getting high on our own supply. And the resultant product is getting pretty thin.

We’re exporting undeath. Zombies and Vampires. Hip-deep.

And rice.

And Democracy!

You can find Tycho’s original article here and you can find their prediction (in comic form) of the next big undead thing here.

Hola muchachos! You know what’s going on. That’s right, it’s Angry New Mexican doing AOC’s grunt work as usual. When will there be justice for the hermanos? Anyway, AOC found this article and he went NUTS. Enjoy.

Angry Overeducated Catholic

Nobody’s vetting process is this piss-poor. As one commentator said:

It seems the qualification for Obama’s appointees are violation of the very thing they should enforce:

  • Tim Geithner: qualified to head the Treasury because he knew how to tax-cheat.
  • Van Jones: qualified to be the Green Job Czar who oversaw $80B because he knew how to redistribute the wealth.
  • Ron Bloom: qualified to be the Manufacturing Czar because he knew how to destroy manufacturing jobs as a union head.
  • Kevin Jennings: qualified to be the Safe School Czar because he knew how to use drugs and cover up for child molestation.

That about sums it up. As another comment said, you have to start to think that the problem is that the vetters simply don’t think these things are actually problems. Sadly, it appears that includes failing to report child rape, failing to ensure that a possible carrier of a deadly disease receives medical attention, and failing to uphold the laws and regulations appropriate to your administrative position. All excellent traits in a Federal office director!

Oh, and one final point about the mental processes of Mr. Jennings:

Kevin Jennings is the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network).

At a 1997 GLSEN conference, Jennings had this to say:

“One of the people that’s always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America. In 1948, he tried to get people to join the Mattachine Society [the first American homosexual “rights” group]. It took him two years to find one other person who would join. Well, [in] 1993, Harry Hay marched with a million people in Washington, who thought he had a good idea 40 years before. Everybody thought Harry Hay was crazy in 1948, and they knew something about him which he apparently did not—they were right, he was crazy.”

Who was Harry Hay? Deceased member of the American Communist Party and lifelong advocate of NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association).

Wow. Just wow. These people really do believe that they’ve completed “the long march through the institutions” that Gramsci called for…and that they are now invulnerable.

Their arrogant disregard for even the simplest moral value or constraint is Promethean.

That’s right: Jennings is a lifelong admirer of a man who believed that homosexuals have every right to sleep with teenage and pre-adolescent boys. Just perfect for a school czar, don’t you think!

It’s like they’re not even pretending to be on our side any more.

Hola! Your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican is here again. My (incredibly lazy) friend Angry Overeducated Catholic spotted this article, and he could not refrain from commenting on it. Of course, he couldn’t be bothered to post it, leaving me once again with this duty.

Angry Overeducated Catholic

Scenario in a nutshell:
Activist outraged at Bush Administration’s plan to auction oil leases on Federal lands. Participates in auction under false pretenses, buys leases, defaults, delays transfer of rights, calls attention to auctions. Leads to media scrutiny of auctions, Federal court injunctions against some auctions, and the Obama Administration’s rapid removal of most of the proffered leases. Activist now faces court, possible Federal prison time for his actions.

Reasons why this is a non-problem:
A. If the court decides that his necessity defense is valid, he’ll be acquitted. This is very unlikely, but possible in this case due to the various problems with the auctions. If this happens, then the courts have spoken and the guy’s “fraud” was actually legal citizen action to prevent a government harm. As a believer in the evils of government I would applaud, even if the guy is a dirty, dirty hippy.

B. If he’s found guilty then the courts decided that either the harm involved was not great enough to warrant his actions (quite possible since the government might well have rescinded the oil rights before any drilling began) or that his actions were inappropriate even given the harm (he could have called attention to the auctions in many other ways). In either case, the court would be ruling that he exceeded any responsible claim to have acted in the public good (aka he’s a dirty, dirty hippy and acted as such). In this case, given the outcome, this is perfect Presidential pardon bait. Indeed, one could argue this is the very reason for the pardon: to pardon folks who are actually guilty of the crime, and guilty of a real crime, but who have such unusual circumstances surrounding their case that the President decides the national good warrants their release. Since this case (dirty hippy uses dirty hippy tactics—which all right-thinkiing folks agree should be illegal—to prevent an ill-advised and later reversed government action) is exactly such a case, nobody’s going to hate on Obama for the pardon.*

Either way, no huge social problem here, just actual justice in the justice system. Which I guess is surprising, and therefore news, but not really a major problem.

*Okay, realistically folks like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh will hate on Obama for this…perhaps I should have said that nobody will hate on Obama for the pardon who wouldn’t already be hating on him for some other random action he’s done.

Hola amigos! Your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican is back again with the latest batch of rage from the 12 Angry Men. This time we’re all up in arms about President Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. And as a change from my usual editor-only status, I’ve included my own rant, because I’m pretty angry. So is AOC (go figure). AM is practically incoherent with rage (a usual condition for him, even mentioning the name of Obama makes his pulse rise). But if you think we’re angry about this, wait until you hear from Angry Albuquerqueian, a longtime reader who woke me up this morning to express his boundless rage at the Obama Peace Prize. That rant should be up in another hour or two Enjoy mis amigos, and stay angry!

Angry New Mexican

I’m usually a strong defender of the Nobel Committee. No matter what the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (of which Angry Overeducated Catholic is a card-carrying member) had to say about Al Gore (2007), Muhammad Yunas (2006), Mohamed ElBaradei (2005) or Jimmy Cater (2002), they all deserved their prizes, because they had all made a unique contribution to the world in the sphere of peace and cooperation between nations. They might not be Aung San Suu Kyi (1991), Lech Walesa (1983), Norman Borlaug (1970), Dag Hammarskjöld (1961), George C. Marshall (1953) or Jean Henry Dunant (1901), but they all deserved it. Now, Barack Obama is given the 2009 Nobel Peace prize. For what exactly? According the the committee, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Translation: Because he’s not George W. Bush. Neither am I, and I spoke with the Pakestani guy who works down the hall, so I must have been furthering cooperation between peoples. Where’s my Nobel?

Hell, the hapless British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was more deserving of the award this year, since he was the first head of government to take any real leadership on the financial crisis, let alone any of those who tirelessly work in humanitarian efforts in the field throughout the globe. Don’t get me wrong, I like President Obama and think he’s done a reasonable job (given the circumstances) so far. But I see no reason in the world why he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. And I want to be the one of the first members of the arm-chair quarterback class to call on him to refuse the prize. He doesn’t deserve it and he has to know that. And there’s precident, Le Duc Tho refused his prize in 1973. If I were Obama, I’d politely refuse and note that someone like Morgan Tsvangirai was far more deserving of the prize than me.

Angry Midwesterner

How the hell does Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize?

HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING EXCEPT BE BLACK AND TRASH THE ECONOMY!

Are you really telling me there is no one, NO ONE, in the world who has done more? Is the world really this much of a shill for Obamunism?

Angry Overeducated Catholic

This is why I have utter contempt for the Nobel Peace Prize, and have for years. It is a politicized piece of crap, and has been for years.

Some years ago I helped secure recommendations for George Ryan, whom was being nominated for the prize for his moratorium on the death penalty. Neither the nominator or I expected that he would win, but certainly Ryan had much more standing to win than Obama…he had actually just made a very difficult and politically unwise choice for no ulterior motive—he simply came to believe that the state was executing men unjustly and put an end to it.

Does anyone, anyone, on this list think that Obama has done anything to warrant beating out the other 200+ nominees, some of whom are almost certainly have done something?

Hell, as long as Bill Clinton goes unrewarded for actually carrying through and stopping a genocidal cival war and re-establishing something resembling peace in the fracking Balkans, this is now viciously unjust to the man. We won’t award him a prize because he’s personally flawed (and used US military power to bring peace) but we’ll grant one to someone who has done nothing at all of any substance.

Pathetic.

I am now placing “Piss on Nobel’s grave” to my bucket list. He doesn’t really deserve it, of course, but I can’t piss on the committee itself (too many motherfrackers).

Bienvenidos readers! It’s your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican here again and once again serving as AOC’s editor, since he writes up these great posts for our super-secret email list and then is too lazy to post them to the blog.

Anyway, what started the discussion was this article about health care being a very inefficient market due to poor information among consumers, even when people’s own money is at risk. Translation: You can’t just blame insurance companies for people’s ignorance. The opening example in the article goes something like this,

“Five years ago, former President Bill Clinton developed chest pains caused by blockages of several coronary arteries… It’s hard to imagine a savvier, better-connected health care consumer than the former president. But consider this: Beginning in 1991, state health officials in New York began releasing hospital- and surgeon-specific death rates from heart surgery. Anyone can see them online. At the time of Clinton’s surgery, the most current report showed that Columbia-Presbyterian had the highest death rate of any of the 35 hospitals doing bypass surgery; it was twice the expected rate (about 4 percent instead of 2 percent, a margin not explained by random chance). Clinton’s surgeon was the chief of cardiothoracic surgery, a man named Craig R. Smith. Among the four surgeons at Columbia-Presbyterian who performed more than 100 bypass surgeries each year, Smith had the worst mortality rate.”

It was an anecdotal example, of course, but it goes to illustrate just how uninformed Americans are about the health care they spend 16% or so of GDP on. AOC responded by attacking the article for being long on anecdote and short on facts, but he brings up enough interesting points in the process that I think it was a worthwhile read. Anyway, without further ado, I give you AOC…

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Of course we don’t actually know if Clinton made a poor choice. I would be willing to bet that, in [a certain] town, [Hospital A] probably loses more patients on the table than [Hospital B] across a good number of categories. But you would be foolish for thinking that [Hospital A] is the inferior hospital.

Instead, it is a regional trauma center and gets many of the hardest cases as a result.

So, it could well be that the hospital Clinton chose is very very good at doing this in complicated cases (like his) and the doctor he chose, quite possibly the lead surgeon in the area for the hospital, might have the record he does because he takes on the hardest cases in his field.

It would be like concluding that the fictional doctor House is the worst doctor ever since he loses something like 5-10% of his patients—and in fact kills through provable medical errors a sizable percentage of those. But in reality all of this is because he takes on the ridiculously tough cases (and because the show needs tear jerkers and personal errors from time to time to keep the dramatic tension high).

We don’t know whether that’s the case here because, as usual, the article is short on facts and long on media pontification.

What we can take away from this without question is the great value of catastrophic insurance blended with out-of-pocket payments for lesser costs. As stated:

“To date, only one study from way back in 1982, the remarkable RAND Health Insurance Experiment, addresses this question clearly. When patients were forced to shoulder one-quarter of their medical costs, for example, overall medical spending fell a remarkable 20 percent. But the pattern was telling. Patients failed to spend their money wisely and cut back equally on highly effective and largely pointless treatments. They couldn’t tell what really mattered. The cost savings mostly came from avoiding doctors altogether. Once someone was ill enough to need hospitalization or surgery, there was no difference in costs between those with free care and large co-payments.”

Once you get to the hospital, the market efficiencies collapse for most folks because nobody can pay for surgery out of pocket…so there’s no inefficiency to have insurance at this point. But as RAND found unsurprisingly, having folks pay even 25% of their normal costs made a significant difference in overall expenditures. Remember, overall expenditures fell 20% even though, as stated, nearly none of it came from the supposed bank-breakers of hospitalization or surgery. So you can bet that routine costs went down a good deal more than 20%.

Hola amigos! Angry New Mexican here. Once again our beloved AOC is too busy writing to the other Angry Men to post his own darned messages. Anyway, I had sent out this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on the death of rural America via Brain Drain to urban/suburban America. Without further ado, here’s AOC:

Angry Overeducated Catholic

The whiny tone of the article, especially early on, tempted me to write a mean 2 sentence summary. But the good practical ideas later earned the whiny academics a reprieve.

Example good ideas:

  • Having small town high schools provide a focus on vocational and professional education as well as college prep, so that they can prepare those who are most likely to stay in the town after HS.
  • Extending job retraining to HS students as well as displaced workers, so that they can tune their education to the burgeoning job markets in their regions.
  • Attracting immigrants (as in “to the US” and not just “to the town”) to replace emigrants with hardworking lower income types and foreign professionals who may well be more than happy to build the local economy.

Now, if only the article weren’t laced with the standard “woe is me, the area I study is changing, and the stress of change is ruining lives, how can we preserve these areas for their people (and my continued study)” of sociologists the world over. Sadly, of course, progress does indeed march on—bringing generally greater prosperity and disruptive change to isolated enclaves—no matter how much academic luddites would like to freeze it to preserve their areas of interest.

One also wonders if they realize just how much their “destroy agribusiness and replace evil factory farms with organic free-range farms” vision would hurt those other poor folks they mention in passing, the ones in inner cities…

Of course there is a good way to reduce factory farming while keeping food prices low: repeal the stupid farm subsidies and our outrageous tariffs on foreign food. But I don’t think we’ll hear those ideas any time soon from these academics.

Hola muchachos! It’s your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican again, serving as your editor du jour since my angry hermanos are still hangin’ out in the backyard… smoking the peyote or something. Anyway, I saw a really interesting article by David Goldhill on health care reform. After a few emails where we trolled each other repeatedly, Angry Overeducated Catholic had the most cogent response. Without further ado, here it is…

Angry Overeducated Catholic

I realize it’s been a few days, but having gone back and read the Atlantic article Angry New Mexican started this with again, in depth, I just wanted to commend it to everyone. It’s a really great article, and it puts to rest some red herrings in this debate:

  1. Uncontrolled costs are not due to rapacious insurance companies, evil drug companies, corrupt doctors, greedy lawyers, wasteful patients, or any other bad actor…or rather they are due to all of them because it’s the perverse incentives in the system itself that are to blame.
  2. No government plan—not single-payer, not a public option, not an NHS—that continues to make comprehensive health insurance the primary payment method will succeed. Indeed things like a single-payer plan or NHS will likely make things worse because they’ll push costs even further from the consumer.

As ANM said, the author believes that only the scrapping of comprehensive health insurance for most folks will address our core problem…and raise other problems that other things must address. I basically agree.

I also agree with Angry Military Man that requiring Americans to purchase comprehensive insurance is unconstitutional. But I agree with ANM that everyone having comprehensive insurance is a good thing. In fact, given our compassionate decision to make treatment mandatory for crises, I consider it a basic infrastructure of our society.

So here’s my pitch:

  1. Every American, every man, woman, and child, gets a basic comprehensive insurance package from Uncle Sam: $1 million lifetime coverage, with a $100,000 lifetime deductible, and a yearly deductible set to 10% of your income from the last year.

    No premiums. No yearly paperwork (on your part). No IRS employees going over your precious medical records, instead the IRS simply sends HHS your income summary each year. You will have to document that you’ve spent the deductible, but that shouldn’t be hard for catastrophic cases.

    That’s $300+ trillion dollars potentially, but spread out over a whole population, and it’s not like private catastrophic insurance doesn’t also have to find the money to pay out… Now, 2,500,000 folks kick off each year, so as an upper bound, we’re looking at around $2.5 trillion a year, and I’m guessing it’s quite a bit less, thanks to violence, drugs, car accidents, etc. (Incidentally, the actual average for end-of-life care for the more expensive older patients (over 65) appeared to be about $51,500 (current dollars) in 1996…let’s assume that’s actually risen 10% year over year, so it’s basically doubled twice by now to around $200,000…assuming that all lifetime deductibles are met before the end of life period, and that the period lasts 2 years on average, that’s $400,000 per person, meaning our payout is much less than estimated above.)

    Now, where does private insurance come in? Well, make it taxable, and let the market sort itself out. Want a lifetime deductible under $100,000? Need more than $1 million in lifetime coverage? Want smaller yearly deductibles? Want an HMO? Want comprehensive care? Whatever you want, fine, but no mandates, no subsidies, and no government interference (other than standard anti-fraud, etc.).

    Want to bar existing conditions? Fine! Want to pay for 8 abortions/year per teenage girl? OK! Whatever, we don’t care because it’s no longer our business…

  2. Abolish Medicare. Halve Medicare deductions on pay and put the half remaining towards administering the catastrophic payouts. That’ll give us $100 billion or so per year, enough for full payouts for 100,000 citizens.
  3. Make HSAs, unlike insurance, fully tax deductible…so, really insurance is deductible, because—surprise—you’ll pay for it out of the HSA! But it’s no more deductible than any other medical expense. Hooray!
  4. The article’s remaining ideas are pretty good:

    “For lower-income Americans who can’t fund all of their catastrophic premiums or minimum HSA contributions, the government should fill the gap—in some cases, providing all the funding. You don’t think we spend an absurd amount of money on health care? If we abolished Medicaid, we could spend the same money to make a roughly $3,000 HSA contribution and a $2,000 catastrophic-premium payment for 60 million Americans every year. That’s a $12,000 annual HSA plus catastrophic coverage for a low-income family of four. Do we really believe most of them wouldn’t be better off?
    Some experts worry that requiring people to pay directly for routine care would cause some to put off regular checkups. So here’s a solution: the government could provide vouchers to all Americans for a free checkup every two years. If everyone participated, the annual cost would be about $30 billion—a small fraction of the government’s current spending on care.”

    These are the fringe cases that account for so much of the emotional impact of the bogus “47 million uninsured” number. So, yes, just pony up and pay.

    I’d be tempted to make that “one check-up every two years” instead “one check-up per year for kids up to 18 and adults over 35”, since most young adults are least vulnerable to the ill effects of missing doctor’s visits.

    Illegal immigrants? They get treated as they do now, in the shadows…but only for crisis care. However, certainly low cost plans and insurance will arise to meet that market, or out of pocket costs will cover all but the worst illnesses. And, those who become legal and start filing taxes get roped in.

    So the only question left: how far from revenue neutral is this approach?

As a New Yorker by birth, I find it impossible to look at today through any lens except that of New York’s Bravest (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I mean the FDNY). Three hundred and forty three heroes met their ends that day trying to save people in the WTC. If anyone were to dare to badmouth the FDNY for their performance that day, any self-respecting New Yorker would punch the jerk right in the face.

Sadly, however, Manhattan on 9/11 has become a mecca for another type of people who need a good punch in the face: Truthers (a name so filled with distortions and lies that it alone makes me want to punch them in the face). The people who are firmly convinced by alien radio signals that 9/11 was a evil plot by the Bush Junta. Now admittedly, Dick Cheney is obviously evil (something even his admirers admit), but even he isn’t that evil. The raw hatred and perversely twisted logic of the 9/11 “Truth” Movement makes me physically ill. Which is why though I seldom agree with Angry Military Man on issues of politics and such, I’m 100% behind the below proposal:

Angry Military Man

Today is 9/11, which means the tinfoil hat wearing truthers are gonna be out in force, especially in Manhattan. Everyone wish Manhattanites our best, they’re gonna need it. I propose skipping the memorial day recommendation for 9/11 and instead make it a national holiday. “9/11 National-Punch-a-Truther-in-the-Face-Day!!!”

Hola muchachos! It’s your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican again. My fellow Angry Men have been really angry with each other as of late, so we’ve been pretty bad about sharing our uncontrollable rage in blog form. Sadness.

Anyway, by now, most of you have probably seen the kerfuffle about Obama’s address to students and how the right-wing nutjobs thinks this is an evil conspiracy by Obama and his socialist minions. Witness Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, who said, “As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.” As a non-Republican, I feel no particular pain watching the party self-destruct. It’s kind of like watching a train wreck in my own living room, where I can bring my own popcorn… pretty exciting, actually. But this has pained dear AOC tremendously. Here are his thoughts on what the GOP should have done…

Angry Overeducated Catholic
What saddens me the most about the whole stupid business is that those stupid Republican morons in the party’s leadership did not use this opportunity to loudly attack the right-wing morons quaking over the “indoctrination”. Or even just support the President. What a missed opportunity to score huge plus points with the population!

“Hi, I’m GOP House Minority Leader Boehner! And I’m Senator John McCain! We’ve had lots of disagreements with the President over health care, cap and trade, …Heck, I can’t think of too many times we’ve all been on the same page. But there’s one message we do agree 100% with President Obama on: study hard, stay in school, and you can achieve anything! So we support 100% the President’s plan to speak directly to kids. As the father of small children himself, we’re sure he’ll make great points and we hope he’ll inspire some young child listening to follow in his footsteps.

This is America, kids! As President Obama shows, dreaming big, staying in school, and working hard can get you anywhere!

And for those who have attacked President Obama over this: why the rage! If a sports star, a CEO, or a military hero can inspire our kids, why nor our President? Especially one who is watching his own children make their way through the joy of learning? We may not be the President’s biggest fans, but we’ve got to stand with him on this one!

Thank you for listening, America, and God bless!”

But, of course, noooo…