The Wall Street Journal’s expert on health care

According to Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Somers is an expert on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on retirees.

Yes, that Suzanne Somers.

She says the health-care law is “a Socialist Ponzi scheme.”

You can judge by reading the column here, but I feel the following is the most important part of the opinion piece. It was tacked onto the end after publication:


An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (no matter how air headed it may be). But no one is entitled to back up their opinion with their own facts. And, unless it was a photo of a great dane, I don’t know how you confuse a horse with a dog.


Yep. That’s a dog. Horses aren’t allowed to sit on exam tables. That … and the word “dog” in the headline … should have been a giveaway.


N.J. Dem to GOP: ‘Are you really serious?’

Expecting fireworks from the ACA hearings? Rep. Bill Pascrell provides them.


A quick tour of Louisville

Here’s a time lapse video of the city I live in. The guy even got a shot around the corner from my house in Old Louisville.


Stairway to Heaven: Heart, 2012

They went all out for this one last year in the Kennedy Center tribute to Led Zeppelin. Heart. Full choir. Full orchestra. A really moving tribute.

But listen to the original and see how four guys did it by themselves: simpler and better.


A bank settlement that doesn’t settle much

JPMorgan had a significant role in the major financial meltdown that resulted from its shady dealings in mortgage securities. It reached a $13 billion settlement with the U.S.

But is it a fair settlement? An explanation of the JPMorgan settlement, from Bill Moyers:


The outrage of teen drinking in Maryland

I’m having some trouble with this story:

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Thursday that showing up at a “beach week” party of teenagers and not investigating whether there was underage drinking was “a mistake that I made.”

“Perhaps I should have assumed there was drinking going on, and I got that wrong,” Gansler said.

He said he stopped only briefly at the party in Delaware last June to see his son and left without asking the teenagers — including shirtless boys and a girl dancing on a tabletop — about the red plastic cups scattered around the party.

… The party came at the end of a weeklong trip Gansler and other parents helped organize and finance for a dozen boys who had just graduated from the Landon School, a private school for boys in Bethesda.

Written rules given to the teens who were staying at the house for the week forbade drinking “hard liquor,” but included no such instructions about beer.

The press is going overboard with righteous indignation. It’s shocked … SHOCKED … that drinking is going on at a graduation party of high school seniors.

What’s the big deal? From what I read, the parents were actually being responsible. They rented a place for kids to have a good time. They set down rules that made sure none of the kids would drive away after the party. They specified no hard liquor and no drugs.

Besides, the kids are high school seniors. That puts them at 18 years old, just the right age to go off to Afghanistan to get their asses shot off.

The drinking age in the United States is ridiculous. Look at this (MLDA means minimum legal drinking age):

II. International Drinking Laws By Age: Listing of 138 Countries (lowest legal age limit for any type of alcohol)
No MLDA (27 countries)
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Benin, Bosnia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lao, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Vietnam
16-17 MLDA (12 countries)
Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland
18-19 MLDA (85 countries)
Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China (PRC), China (Tiawan), Colombia, Congo (Republic of), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (South), Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanatu, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
20 MLDA (3 countries)
Iceland, Japan, Paraguay
21 MLDA (6 countries)
Fiji, Indonesia, Micronesia, Palau, Sri Lanka, United States
Illegal to drink alcohol at any age (5 countries) some exceptions for non-Muslims may apply
Brunei, Gambia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan

The legal age is 21 in the U.S. Of 138 countries in the world, we’re with the bottom 11, and the only Western nation in that group. As strict as we are with our alcohol laws, we still have higher instances of alcohol abuse and alcohol related accidents than most other countries.

The World Health Organization did a study of alcohol consumption worldwide, and determined this, among other things:

Americans Are Drinking Less Than Europeans, But Dying More Often From It: Americans aged 15 and up drink only three-quarters as much alcohol as Europeans, but are far more likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related accidents or die from other alcohol-related causes. There’s no single reason Americans are less responsible with alcohol, but some speculate that a higher legal drinking age in the U.S. leads to more destructive underage drinking habits. Another explanation: Far more Europeans take public transportation home from the bar.

Our Kids Are Drinking a Lot More: The major change in drinking rates that occurred since the 1990s wasn’t for the better. A 2008 WHO survey found that 71 percent of the countries measured had seen an increase in drinking among teenagers aged 13 to 15, and 80 percent had seen an increase among young adults aged 18 to 25. Binge drinking is also on the rise worldwide, which the WHO attributed in part to the rise of “alcopops”—sugary, caffeinated alcoholic drinks like Four Loko.

Other places have lower drinking ages, but we’re more irresponsible. In Belgium, the legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine. My son was in high school there and could drink at bars. There were clubs geared to his age group. We attended pub quizzes together and often had a pint of Guinness with our meals.

When he came back to the States, the law said he couldn’t drink. And when he turned 21 in his senior year, he posted the message “second time for a legal first drink.”

There is something to be said for not making certain things taboo. Kids are so riled up about not drinking that when they finally hit the age, they go nuts. Kids in the rest of the world seem to have more control than in the U.S., probably because they aren’t under siege all the time, badgered over the things they aren’t allowed to do.

Gansler’s actions don’t bother me, other than he’s apologizing for something that merits no apology. Bring the drinking age in line with the rest of the world, and be an active parent and teach your kids to act responsibly.

Six decades of baby names

Here are a couple of gifs from Jezebel on American baby names for the past six decades, according to data from the Social Security Administration.

Boys (click below)


Girls (click below)


Michael and Jennifer dominated the latter part of the 20th century. And now we’re in the age of Jacob, Sophia and Isabella. But really, aren’t Emma and Emily the same thing?

I get a laugh, though, out of the most popular name in Montana in 1997. And no, it wasn’t because of the show. That first appeared in 2006.

The case against BuzzFeed

When I look at the Internet, it seems a lot of sites want to be like BuzzFeed. Here’s why that’s a bad idea. (Some pretty rough language here)

I’m referring to this because:

BuzzFeed announced a major new investment in hard news with the creation of an investigations unit, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Schoofs. Schoofs will build and lead a new team of investigative reporters, and will work with BuzzFeed’s growing teams of journalists across a wide array of topics.

Someone is in for a rude awakening.