Social Issues

So·cial iss·ues: of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community; of or pertaining to humans associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes, esp. as a body divided into classes according to status. Posts in this category pertain to matters of human social interaction, classification, and association.

In Which Bryan Fischer Doubles Down on Todd Akin’s Pseudo-Science Stupidity

Filed in Politics, Science, Social IssuesTags: Conservatism, Elections, Pseudo-Science, Rape

I used to enjoy a good Fisking, usually of an article by a liberal columnist from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But today, the honor goes to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.

In the wake of Todd Akin's profoundly stupid comments asserting pseudo-science in defense of a policy position, Mr Fischer has chosen to double-down on Akin's stupidity by attempting to defend the scientific credibility of Akin's statements.  First, for background, Akin's quote:

From what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape is] really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down.

Now, both this comment, and the response it has elicited, is fertile ground for discussion (not the least of which is the left's absurd attempt to claim that Akin somehow expressed "pro-rape" views due to the term "legitimate rape"); but the bottom line is that Akin's assertion is prima facie absurdity. Debate whether or not such comments should be grounds for pressuring Akin to withdraw from the Senate race, but don't be foolish enough to try to defend the validity of his assertion.

Alas, that is precisely what Bryan Fischer has done. And because of such manifest foolishness, I must respond. Let's roll tape on Fischer's on-air remarks in defense of Akin. Fischer accompanies those remarks with a blog post, from which I will quote liberally (all emphasis added by me):

Akin’s words, for which he apologized even though he had no need to, were right. He was entirely correct to say that pregnancies in cases of forcible rape are rare. Even if the exaggerated figures of the pro-abortion medical community are accurate, pregnancies due to rape amount to just 0.005% of all pregnancies. That’s rare in anybody’s book.

In defending the assertion that a woman's body can somehow reject or stop conception from rape, the relevant question is not whether total pregnancies resulting from rape are rare with respect all total pregnancies, but rather whether rape results in conception less frequently than conception from consensual, unprotected sex. The given statistic is silent on this comparison.

Fischer later says:

Unfortunately for the nattering nabobs of negativism who think Akin is some kind of medical Neanderthal, the London Daily Mail has a headline story TODAY which has this as the very first paragraph: “Stress can make women infertile, research has revealed. Scientists found that those with high levels of a stress hormone stop ovulating and are therefore unable to conceive.”

Who look like the dumb ones now?

Who looks like the dumb ones, indeed? Implying that the linked study proves his point requires one to ignore the cardinal rule of data analysis: correlation does not prove causation. Did Fischer consider any of the following questions:

  • Does the study involve acute stress, chronic stress, or both?
  • Does the study address the effects of acute stress on ovulation?
  • Assuming that acute stress can adversely impact ovulation, how often does rape occur within the extremely small window  of time required for the rape-induced stress to have that impact?
  • What impact does rape have on the body's production and sustained levels of cortisol?
  • Can rape interrupt or stop altogether the victim's menstrual cycle?

In fact, the referenced study can't answer any of those questions. It was merely an epidemiological study intended to suggest a potential correlation between stress levels and ovulation/menstruation. Sound science doesn't take a small, epidemiological study that can do nothing but suggest a correlation that may warrant further study, and turn it into an assertion of causation. Unfortunately, Fischer is not similarly disciplined:

Here’s the American Society for Reproductive Medicine: “In an occasional woman, too much stress can change her hormone levels and therefore cause the time when she releases an egg to become delayed or not take place at all.” Sounds like maybe her body can shut down the process after all.  

Such an assertion is an unwarranted jump to conclusion, and is as foolish as it is absurd. Suggesting a link between stress levels and ovulation in no way whatsoever proves an assertion that a rape victim has an innate physiological response that inhibits ovulation, and therefore conception.

Unperturbed by scientific and logical discipline, Fischer finds yet another epidemiological study to attempt to defend his position:

How about the New York Times, the Bible of wingers on the left? Here’s the headline of a May 11, 2011 feature article: “Lowering Stress Improves Fertility Treatment.” The article refers to findings published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, and quotes Dr. Alice D. Domar, a psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who serves as director of mind-body services at Boston IVF, a large fertility center.

Said Dr. Domar, “If you’re really stressed out and depressed, the body seems to sense that’s not a good time to get pregnant.” Hmm. Sound suspiciously like the body shutting down, no?

Multiple epidemiological studies suggesting the same correlation still do not prove causation; rather, they merely provide a stronger argument for further studies. So I'll refrain from quoting the third such example Fischer uses.

Instead, I'll turn to relevant analysis of the assertion, by attempting to make a meaningful statistical comparison: the percentage of rapes that result in pregnancy, versus the percentage of consensual, unprotected sex that results in pregnancy. To that end, I'll reference three studies linked by PopSci.

Using this study as the baseline, 3.1% of unprotected, consensual sex results in pregnancy. How does that compare to pregnancy rates from rape? This study indicates that 5% of rapes result in pregnancy, and this study indicates that anywhere from 6.4% - 8% of rapes (factoring in birth control usage) result in pregnancy. Thus, according to these studies, rapes result in pregnancy at a rate around 2-3 more frequently than consensual, unprotected sex.

I don't know if those studies controlled for forcible versus statutory rape. But even such distinction likely won't change the numbers significantly enough to lend credence to the "magic uterus" pseudo-science. While hard numbers are difficult to acquire immediately, I did find this reference to a study from 1949 that indicates that statutory rape constitutes 30 percent of all sex crimes, and this site that asserts that 3/4 of all juvenile rape is forcible. Taken together, the two studies would indicate that non-forcible, statutory rape accounts for anywhere from 7.5% to 30% of all rapes. So even assuming the worst-case scenario, the statistics still indicate that rapes result in pregnancy with a frequency equal to or higher than consensual, unprotected sex.

I welcome more precise statistics, but based on what I've found, I don't see any reason to believe that differentiating between forcible rape and other forms of sexual assault (statutory rape, incest, etc.) would alter the conclusion that there is no evidence to support the assertion that rapes result in pregnancy less frequently than consensual, unprotected sex.

Thus, both Todd Akin and Bryan Fischer are foolishly and dangerously peddling pseudo-science. In so doing, the least of our worries is that Todd Akin will lose a Senate race. The bigger travesty is that, by changing the narrative to a defense of pseudo-science, those who peddle that pseudo-science forfeit the ability to hold a legitimate policy discussion regarding rape and abortion. Those who are pro-life, who believe that life begins at conception and that an innocent, unborn child should not be murdered simply because his father is a rapist, lose the opportunity to have that debate.

Thus, Todd Akin, Bryan Fischer, and anyone else who chooses to peddle such pseudo-science (or defend those who do) actively harm the objectives of the pro-life movement.

Texas Board of Education: Liberal Media Bias on Full Display

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Academia, Conservatism, Education, Liberalism, Media Bias

The unabashed liberal bias of the mainstream media is on full display in their reporting of the recent Texas Board of Education curriculum-change vote.

This Associated Press article (h/t Lucianne) practically hyperventilates before it even gets to the byline, with the following headline:

Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences

One immediately wonders what sort of radical beliefs the Texas Board of Education had just voted to include in the state curriculum. "Far right influences"? The headline virtually drips with alarm. On to the body of the article, then. First:

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.


By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.


Board members argued about the classification of historic periods (still B.C. and A.D., rather than B.C.E. and C.E.); whether students should be required to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics (they will); and whether former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir should be required learning (she will).

In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class.

Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.

Numerous attempts to add the names or references to important Hispanics throughout history also were denied, inducing one amendment that would specify that Tejanos died at the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Another amendment deleted a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society."

Oh, but it gets even worse (at least as far as the liberal media are concerned). From this NY Times article:

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

And then:

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”


In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”


In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

And finally:

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

So, to summarize, the following points are considered "far right" by AP:

  • The Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers
  • Not highlighting the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state
  • Describing the US system of government as a "constitutional republic", rather than as "democratic"
  • Studying the decline of the US dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard
  • Heralding "American exceptionalism" and the free-enterprise system
  • Suggesting that the free-enterprise system thrives best absent excessive government intervention
  • Classification of historic periods as BC and AD, rather than as BCE and CE
  • Requiring students to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics
  • Requiring students to learn about Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
  • Learning the Bill of Rights
  • Emphasis on the Second Amendment in a citizenship section in US Government class
  • Rejection of hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement
  • Not specifying that Tejanos died alongside Davy Crockett and David Bowie at the Alamo
  • Removal of a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society"
  • Teaching the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the NRA
  • Including the violence of the Black Panthers along with the nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr. in teaching about the Civil Rights movement
  • Including the Congressional votes on civil rights legislation, largely supported and passed by Republicans
  • Studying the unintended consequences of Great Society legislation, affirmative action, and Title IX
  • Teaching that Germans and Italians were interned during WWII, and not only Japanese, to counter the alleged racial motive of internment policy
  • Requiring the inclusion of the Verona papers, which confirmed Soviet infiltration into US government, in discussions of McCarthyism
  • Rejecting the requirement that students study the reasons "the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others"
  • Studying economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek along with Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Maynard Keynes
  • In Sociology, teaching “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders"
  • The removal of Thomas Jefferson from the list of figures whose writings influenced late-18th and 19th century revolutions, and instead including Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone

As NewsBusters expressed: "Oh, the humanity!"

That the AP article would list the above points is far more indicative of its own bias. Such points - and opposition to them with respect to high school curriculum - can only be described as "far right" from a worldview that is so removed from the mainstream as to be itself properly described as far-left.

Apparently, to the far-left liberal media, any mention of the free-enterprise system, the Christian influence on the founding of our country; any less-than-utopian mention of liberalism; or any positive mention of the Constitution, conservatism, or Israel constitutes "far right" influence.

That the mainstream media holds such radically biased views so far removed from the mainstream is not a surprise; however, that this bias would be so blatantly on display is somewhat surprising. The AP makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to hide is radical bias.

A History Lesson for the President of Goshen College

Filed in Religion, Social IssuesTags: Christianity, Conservatism, Constitutional Rights

A recent RedState post detailed the valiant efforts of conservative students at Goshen College (Goshen, IN) to reverse the school's decision to ban the National Anthem. Apparently, the President's Council at the school deemed the lyrics of the song ("the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air") to be incompatible with the school's pacifist Mennonite beliefs.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, as the students, led by Sophomore Ryan Troyer, convinced the President's Council to reconsider its stance. The school will now allow an instrumental version of the song to be played before sporting events. However, I take issue with the views expressed by the school's president, Jim Brenneman. I believe Mr. Brenneman is in need of a history lesson.

The statement announcing the decision of the President's Council to permit instrumental versions of the National Anthem includes the following statement:

One concern that many Mennonites have had with the playing of the national anthem has been that it places love for country above love for God. But, Brenneman said, "we believe playing the anthem in no way displaces any higher allegiances, including to the expansive understanding of Jesus – the ultimate peacemaker – loving all people of the world."

As I will demonstrate, the concern that the playing of the national anthem "places love for country above love for God" belies an ignorance of both the historical context and the religious connotation in the content of the anthem.

Regarding the lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner, I remind Mr. Brenneman of the backstory of the poem that would become our National Anthem:

Meanwhile, Britain’s naval force, buoyed by its earlier successful attack on Alexandria, Virginia, was poised to strike Fort McHenry and enter Baltimore Harbor.  At 6:30 AM on September 13, 1814, Admiral Cochrane’s ships began a 25-hour bombardment of the fort. Rockets whistled through the air and burst into flame wherever they struck. Mortars fired 10- and 13-inch bombshells that exploded overhead in showers of fiery shrapnel.  Major Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry and its defending force of one thousand troops, ordered his men to return fire, but their guns couldn’t reach the enemy’s ships. When British ships advanced on the afternoon of the 13th, however, American gunners badly damaged them, forcing them to pull back out of range. All through the night, Armistead’s men continued to hold the fort, refusing to surrender. That night British attempts at a diversionary attack also failed, and by dawn they had given up hope of taking the city.  At 7:30 on the morning of September 14, Admiral Cochrane called an end to the bombardment, and the British fleet withdrew. The successful defense of Baltimore marked a turning point in the War of 1812. Three months later, on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent formally ended the war.

Star Spangled Banner

The Star-Spangled Banner: the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry the morning after the Brittish bombardment during the War of 1812, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the poem that would become our national Anthem

Because the British attack had coincided with a heavy rainstorm, Fort McHenry had flown its smaller storm flag throughout the battle. But at dawn, as the British began to retreat, Major Armistead ordered his men to lower the storm flag and replace it with the great garrison flag. As they raised the flag, the troops fired their guns and played “Yankee Doodle” in celebration of their victory. Waving proudly over the fort, the banner could be seen for miles around—as far away as a ship anchored eight miles down the river, where an American lawyer named Francis Scott Key had spent an anxious night watching and hoping for a sign that the city—and the nation—might be saved.


Friends of Dr. Beanes asked Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key to join John S. Skinner, the U.S. government’s agent for dealing with British forces in the Chesapeake, and help secure the release of the civilian prisoner.  They were successful; however, the British feared that Key and Skinner would divulge their plans for attacking Baltimore, and so they detained the two men aboard a truce ship for the duration of the battle. Key thus became an eyewitness to the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

This flag - the Stars and Stripes, the Star-Spangled Banner - whose against-all-odds presence inspired Francis Scott key that fateful morning, represented the triumph of freedom over the forces of war. See the third verse:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thus, in its mention of "the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air," the poem is not romanticizing the war, but rather celebrating the triumph of America - and the freedom our contry represents - against the onslaught of its attackers. Far from glorifying war, Key is praising God for defending "the land of the free and the home of the brave" with which He has blessed us. See the fourth verse:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

In fact, it is from this poem in which are rooted not only our national anthem and the symbolism of Old Glory, but also our national motto: "In God We Trust." Far from placing love of country before love of God, the song glorifies God as "the Power that hath made and preserved" our nation, and who has blessed our nation with victory and peace.

If history has proven anything, it has proven that peace requires constant vigilance and struggle against those who would oppress. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." Even as peacemakers, war can be imposed upon us - and as reprehensible as we may find war to be, those who fight on our behalf do so with a just cause.

The Goshen statement further reads:

In addition, the national anthem is one way that is commonly understood to express an allegiance to the nation of one's citizenship. The college has shown that in the past in other ways: flying a flag on campus, praying for all men and women serving our country, welcoming military veterans as students and employees, annually celebrating the U.S. Constitution and encouraging voting.

It is counter-productive to pray for all men and women serving our country, while at the same time decrying any and all reference to the means they must emply to protect our country and our freedoms - including our freedom to worship God and to live as peacemakers.

Further, I have problem with this statement [emphasis added]:

Finally, the decision was made with the belief that "playing the anthem opens up new possibilities for members of the Goshen College community to publicly offer prophetic critique – if need be – as citizens in the loyal opposition on issues of deepest moral conviction, such as war, racism and human rights abuses," according to the statement by the President's Council announcing their decision.

While the intrinsic tie between the national anthem and war is understood, what, pray tell, does the national anthem have anything to do with racism and human rights abuses? What opportunity does the playing of the national anthem provide for prophetic critique in loyal opposition to racism and human rights abuses? This statement implies that the national anthem represents such matters - an implication that I find to be abhorrent.

The national anthem represents the best of America: a nation founded on the principle that our rights derive from our Creator, and that all men are created equal, and have equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More American blood has been shed protecting and defending those rights - not only of Americans, but of all people the world over - than that of any other nation in history.

In closing, Mr. Brenneman, I applaud both your willingness to hold open dialogue on the matter of the playing of the national anthem, and your willingness to reconsider your stance. I urge you, however, to temper similar decisions in the future with the sober remembrance of the unique blessing of God that is our great nation, as well as the great sacrifices of our forefathers that have given us the freedoms we exercise - and often take for granted - today.

Life Expectancy And Quality of Health Care

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Constitutional Rights, ObamaCare

Often, proponents of nationalized health care will cite statistics indicating that the US lags with respect to life expectancy as compared with other industrialized nations that have some form of nationalized health care. Such comparisons are largely meaningless; life expectancy is not a meaningful metric of the quality of health care in a given country. As this white paper points out, in order to provide meaningful statistical analysis, a given metric must meet three criteria:

Any statistic that accurately measures health-care systems across nations must satisfy three criteria.  First, the statistic must assume actual interaction with the health care system.  Second, it must measure a phenomenon that the health care system can actually affect.  Finally, the statistic must be collected consistently across nations.

To summarize, a meaningful statistic must:

  1. Assume actual interaction with the health care system
  2. Measure a phenomenon that the health care system can actually affect
  3. Be collected consistently across nations

Life expectancy statistics do not satisfy this three-pronged requirement; in fact, it fails at least two out of three.

Assume Actual Interaction With the Health Care System

Life expectancy cannot be assumed to have actual interaction with the health care system.

Consider the 15 leading causes of death in the US (note: the order changes slightly from year-to-year, especially after the top 5 or so; however, the composition remains essentially the same):

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
  5. Accidents
  6. Diabetes
  7. Alzheimer's Disease
  8. Influenza/Pneumonia
  9. Kidney Disease
  10. Septicemia
  11. Suicide
  12. Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis
  13. Hypertension
  14. Parkinson's Disease
  15. Homicide

Note that Accidents (including motor vehicle accidents), Suicide, and Homicide cannot be assumed to have actual interaction with the health care system (with suicide being a possible exception). In fact, when adjusting for such non-health-related fatal injuries, the US ranks #1 in the world in Life Expectancy - indicating that, for those causes of death that can be assumed to have actual interaction with the health care system, the US health care system is the best in the world.

Measure a Phenomenon that the Health Care System Can Actually Affect

Given the leading causes of death, life expectancy does not measure phenomena that the US health care system can actually affect.

Consider the three leading causes of death: Heart Disease (30%), Cancer (23%), and Stroke (7%) cause 60% of all deaths in the US. These diseases are almost entirely caused by behavioral/lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking, etc.). Including Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (4%), which is caused almost entirely by smoking, and Diabetes (3%), which is caused almost entirely by diet, and fully 2/3 of all deaths in the US are caused by lifestyle and behavior choices over which the US health care system has no control or impact. Also including accidents (5%), the US health care system has no control over or impact on more than 70% of all deaths in the US.

And what impact do these behavioral/lifestyle choices have on life expectancy? According to one study, the listed criteria have the following (negative) impact on life expectancy:

  1. Smoking, Hypertension, High Cholesterol: 10 years
  2. Smoking: 6.3 years
  3. Employment Grade: 5.4 years
  4. Diabetes: 3.6 years
  5. Cholesterol: 1.9 years

Other studies have concluded that eradicating cancer deaths would increase life expectancy by 2.7 years, and eradicating risks from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes would increase life expectancy by 14 years.

Efficacy of US Health Care System: Cancer Survival

Further, to the extent that the US health care system may impact the leading causes of death, the US health care system proves its efficacy. Consider cancer: the US dominates Europe with respect to 5-year survival rates for overall cancer, as well as for specific cancers:
And apparently, the Europeans didn't include cancers discovered only upon death - which further skews the disparity. Clearly, to the extent that the health care system has an impact on diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the US health care system far surpasses the health care systems in Europe - and Canada, too, for that matter.

5-year Cancer Survival Rates, US vs. Europe

5-year Cancer Survival Rates, US vs. Europe

Recall, the argument in question here is whether or not life expectancy is a meaningful measurement of quality of health care. To preempt some arguments:

  1. It is a matter of efficacy, not of efficiency; thus, health care spending per capita or as a percentage of GDP is irrelevant. The point is that the US health care system is more efficacious with respect to diagnosis and treatment of cancer - a result that provides one argument to refute the assertion that life expectancy is a valid metric of quality of health care.
  2. Presumably, some of that increased spending in the US health care system goes to earlier and more frequent testing, which leads to commensurately earlier and more frequent diagnosis. Thus, the argument that the increased efficacy merely represents increased diagnosis rather than a quantifiable difference in quality of health care is tautological; as an argument, it is specious. With respect to cancer, timing of diagnosis is critical to successful treatment.

Meaningful Metrics of Life Expectancy

As has already been demonstrated, behavioral/lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and smoking are the primary contributors to the leading causes of death in the US. Other studies show a correlation between life expectancy and sanitation, clean water, income, and literacy rate. The CDC indicates that improvement in life expectancy in the 20th century can be partially attributed to vaccination, motor vehicle safety, safer workplaces, control of infectious diseases, decline in CHD deaths, safer/healthier foods, healthier mothers/pre-natal care, family planning, fluoridation of drinking water, reduction of tobacco. Yet other studies have identified marriage, religious involvement, optimism, and cleaner air as having positive impact on life expectancy.


Life expectancy is not a meaningful metric of quality of health care.

The health care system cannot be assumed to have an actual interaction with several of the leading causes of death in the US. More than 70% of the deaths in the US result from causes stemming from behavioral and lifestyle choices over which the health care system has no control or impact. For those causes of death upon which the health care system has some impact, the US health care system proves to be far more efficacious than the nationalized health care systems with which it is compared.

As my mother has always said: if it ain't broke, don't fix it - especially when the "fix" is government-controlled health care.

Dying to Find an Emergency Room

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Constitutional Rights, ObamaCare

Reilly Anzovino

Recently, an 18-year-old Canadian girl died in an ambulance en-route to the hospital, due to injuries suffered in a car accident.

The ambulance ride apparently took approximately 30 minutes to reach the Welland hospital, during which time the ambulance was rumored to have run out of oxygen. Ms. Anzovino, desparately in need of a blood transfusion, died shortly before arrival, due to internal bleeding.

Anzovino Route

Distance of three hospitals from the site of Reilly Anzovino's fatal car accident (click for larger image)

Local authorities have opened an inquiry into the situation, because the girl died while en-route to the emergency room - an emergency room at a hospital two towns away, because the emergency rooms at the two nearest hospitals had been closed.

For reference, see the map to the right.

Local authorities are defending the decision to close the emergency departments at the two hospitals nearest the accident, even though they were warned in advance that just this type of occurrence would result from the decision. The Fort Erie hospital was closed in September 2009. A concerned, retired doctor ardently protested the decision, and months prior, in June 2009, gave the following warning [emphasis added]:

At this point it might be helpful to clarify the different categories of medical emergencies. Basically, an emergency is a threat to life or limb. There are ordinary everyday emergencies and then there are time-critical emergencies. Time-critical emergencies require rapid attention, else death is an imminent risk. Along with all other emergencies, the time-critical ones routinely came directly to the ER where they were promptly moved to the head of the line and dealt with, within minutes, without fanfare. Hence they were next to ‘invisible’ as a type. By downgrading and bypassing ERs, forcing these problems out onto the highway in an ambulance, the non-medical managers have ‘created’ a new and visible time-critical type of emergency. These new time-critical emergencies are really bureaucratic artifacts.

Specifically, people with gunshot wounds in vital areas, unconscious people with difficulty breathing, people in shock bleeding massively, people with drug overdoses, people in anaphylactic shock, people with head injuries, and many more (I cant list them all), are the ones that would ordinarily be those moved to the head of the ER line. If they cannot be put at the head of the line because they are on an ambulance that has bypassed the hospital and is out there somewhere on the highway on a trip to a place too far away, they may just die in that ambulance. And that is in spite of all the good intentions of fine paramedics, for there are still certain things that only a doctor at a hospital can do.

In a statement that perfectly epitomizes the potentially life-threatening bureaucracy of nationalized health care, in response to questioning regarding the impact of the emergency department closures on the death of Ms. Anzovino, the Minister of Health had this to say [emphasis added]:

We are building a health care system in Ontario where every person in Ontario has access to the very best possible care as close to home as possible. Having said that, the reality is that sometimes people will have to travel to another community to be able to access the highly specialized care that is part of today’s health care system. I think people understand that we cannot provide highly specialized care in every community hospital. When it comes to emergency care, it’s vitally important, absolutely essential, that people get to where that specialized care is available as quickly as possible.

And adding insult to inury, regarding the closing of the emergency departments at the two hospitals in question (one of which he promised in 2002 to keep open), the Minister also stated the following:

I am absolutely convinced that the people in Niagara have better quality health care now than they did before.

Tell that to the family of Reilly Anzovino.

Nevermind that the closures are causing a quantifiable delay in emergency care. According to this article, the ambulances, paramedics, and patients are delayed an average of eight hours daily, and hours of wait-time have increased from 130 to 240 hours per month at the Niagra Falls Hospital, due to the shortage of emergency departments in the months since the closures. And the closures were supposedly necessary due to budget shortages, despite a 42% spending increase on health care in the Niagra Region in the past six years.

Aside from the emergency department closures, the region has experienced increased emergency-room wait times, delay and cancellation of surgeries (including serious cancer surgeries), increased hospital-bed closures, and an above-average death rate.

And liberals in the U.S. still wonder why the vast majority of Americans oppose nationalized health care?

Special note: Anzovino's parents have established a memorial scholarship for paramedic students, in their daughter's name. Details here.

Adult Stem Cell Advances: Heart, Lungs, Cancer, More

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Media Bias, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Quietly, Adult Stem Cells (ASCs) continue to make more advances in therapeutic treatments, thanks to the recent breakthrough with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), in which differentiated human skin, adipose (fat), or other cells are induced into reverting into a pluripotent state that essentially mimics embryonic pluripotent stem cells. These iPSCs have recently been induced into differentiating into heart cells, repairing damaged, premature lung cells, and treating cancer and a host of other disorders.

Heart Cells

Israeli researchers have induced iPSCs derived from human skin cells into forming heart cells, complete with a heartbeat:

Gepstein and his team from Technion's Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center used reprogrammed iPSCs derived from healthy human subjects' skin cells with the characteristics of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. They were then able to convert them into heart cells with all the necessary properties such as expression of heart-related genes, spontaneous electrical activity, mechanical contraction, and response to various hormones such as adrenaline.

The researchers state that therapeutic uses such as repairing damaged heart cells or treating various genetic heart diseases may be 10 to 20 years away; however, the current research is incredibly valuable:

Published in the latest issue of Circulation, the findings by Professor Lior Gepstein of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology could make it possible to clinically repair damaged human hearts.

Such an application is at least 10 to 20 years away, says Gepstein, but the process can already be utilized for in-depth study of genetic diseases and the development of personalized drugs for irregular heartbeats and other inherited disorders.

And, of course, such a therapy has an inherent advantage over an embryonic stem cell (ESC) derived therapy:

Taking a patient's own cells and turning them into iPSCs for use in tissue repair and regeneration would also eliminate the risk of rejection by the body.

Protecting and Repairing Lungs of Preemies

A researcher in Alberta has demonstrated that bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can help protect and repair lungs of extreme preemies:

A study now published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine demonstrates that bone marrow–derived, multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) may have therapeutic benefits in treating lung diseases such as BPD and pulmonary hypertension. The study was conducted at the University of Alberta, with collaborators from McGill University as well as labs in France and the US. Led by Dr. Bernard Thébaud, the study used both in vitro and in vivo experimental models to test the potential benefits of delivering stem cells to the damaged lungs.

Thebaud_sm “We found in the in vitro tests that the MSCs were attracted toward oxygen damaged lung tissue over that of normal lung tissue,” said Dr. Thébaud. “This was extremely encouraging and predictive of our in vivo tests, where we found that the delivery of stem cells to the lungs of diseased rats improved lung structure and function and attenuated pulmonary hypertension, so that the rats had an increased rate of survival and greater exercise tolerance.”

“More exciting though was the finding that MSCs did not as initially thought, replace the damaged lung cells. Rather, the MSCs seem to protect resident lung cells from being destroyed. Our conclusion is that the stem cells contributed to the prevention of lung injury, in part by producing protective factors for resident lung cells.”

This research is incredibly valuable for prematurely born infants, who are at great risk for long-term lung problems:

Babies who are born extremely premature – before 28 weeks – cannot breathe on their own. In order to help the babies' lungs to develop, neonatal doctors give them oxygen and drugs to help them breathe.

These treatments contribute to a chronic lung disease known as Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). At present there is no treatment to heal the lungs of these premature babies.

50% of babies born before 28 weeks will get chronic lung disease. Case studies have shown that as these babies grow up, they continue to struggle with lung disease, coping with reduced lung function and early aging of their lungs.

The researcher, Dr. Bernard Thébaud, hopes for this therapy to reap significant benefits within a decade [emphasis added]:

"The dilemma we face with these tiny babies is a serious one. When they are born too early, they simply cannot breathe on their own. To save the babies' lives, we put them on a ventilator and give them oxygen, leaving many of them with chronic lung disease," says Dr. Thébaud. "Before the next decade is out I want to put a stop to this devastating disease."


ASC therapies for cancer currently exist (outside of the U.S.):

Now, such incurable diseases can be treated by Stem Cell Therapy. Where Stem cells are being taken from patient’s own bone marrow, Adipose derived fat stem cells, peripheral blood derived stem cells or Umbilical cord blood-derived & placenta-derived immune rejection free stem cells. No. of experts in different parts of the world say Germany, Mexico, Ukraine, India, China and many more have treated thousands of patients suffering from incurable disease improving their Life quality.


And ASC and iPSCs have potential to treat even more diseases and disorders:

Latest research has shown that stem cell therapy has the potency to treat more than 75 life threatening diseases including cancers, Thalasemia, Blood disorders, Immune deficiencies, connective tissue disorders and metabolic/storage disorders.

More than the existing uses of cord blood stem cells, research indicates that these stem cells someday may be used to treat numerous other diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, diseases of heart and liver, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and stroke.


Another research has suggested that skin tissue derived from stem cells can be effectively used for the treatment of burn victims.

The future is indeed bright, as ASC and iPSC research continues to produce valuable results and potential treatments and therapies, without any of the ethical concerns of embryo-destructive stem cell research.

Heather Ellis: Race Baiter

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Media Bias, Racism

It would appear that Heather Ellis wasn't so confident of her innocence after all, after seeing the evidence presented at trial. While the jury was deliberating, Heather Ellis took a plea deal:

The prosecution agreed to drop two felony counts of assault on a law enforcement officer through the plea deal, while Ellis agreed to a plea of guilt regarding the two misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.

The terms of the deal include the sentence that Ellis must serve one year of unsupervised probation, attend at least two hours of anger management classes and serve four days in the Dunklin County Jail, which Judge Joe Satterfield referred to as "Shock Detention."

The big news this week in St. Louis (h/t: Lucianne) is the Heather Ellis case, which evokes the memory of the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. debacle earlier this year. In this case, Ellis went on trial this week (day two coverage, day three coverage) for a January, 2007, incident that began with Ellis line-jumping at a Wal-Mar and ended with her disturbing peace, resisting arrest, and assaulting two police officers.

Of course, the liberal media and race-baiters are positioning Ellis' case as one in which she is facing 15 years in prison for "cutting in line". After a news blackout of two and a half years (until the NAACP got involved), the story suddenly became newsworthy, as Ellis alleged that her treatment at the hands of the Kennett Police was racially motivated.

So what happened? Details of the account vary according to the source (see any of the several blog posts regarding the situation), but some details appear to be undisputed: Ellis switched check-out lanes, cutting to the front of the line to which she switched. This line-cutting resulted in a dispute between Ellis and the other patrons in line. The store manager was called, and asked Ellis to leave. Ellis refused, and the store security guard (a Kennett Police Officer) called for police assistance. The police arrived, and instructed Ellis to leave the premises. Ellis continued to act belligerently, and after being warned, was placed under arrest for disturbing the peace and trespassing. Ellis resisted arrest, and in the process kicked one police officer and punched another in the mouth. As a result, a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest and two counts of felony assault of a police officer were added to four counts of disturbing the peace and one count of trespassing.

Ellis' father, Nathaniel Ellis, explains Ellis' side of the story:

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you explain the two very different versions of what happened that day? Your daughter`s and the cops`?

ELLIS: Well, actually, it`s a lie being told. My daughter was sent there to get a few items for my wife. The actual arrest said that she was cursing. She knowingly disturbed the peace of Kay McDaniel (ph), who was the night manager. It was not about an issue of cutting in line.

First of all, my daughter is not known to be a curser. And previously, she had accepted Christ as her savior, and she had been raised in a Christian home and that`s simply not true.

And also, if they would release the tape from Wal-Mart, it would clear up the whole matter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...It`s not like -- neither of these cases, somebody went out and tried to do something wrong like steal. In your daughter`s case, the NAACP has gotten involved. Do you think there`s racism here?

ELLIS: I know there`s racism. It is blatant, overt racism.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. What are you going to do about it? Apparently, you were offered a plea deal, and your daughter decided not to accept it.

ELLIS: She decided not to sign, because she was told never admit guilt when you are innocent. We plan to fight it, as we have. The NAACP has been involved. The SCOC and ACLU, and we`re marching on.

Thus, her defense is, in other words: it's all a lie. The cops are racist. She couldn't have done what they said, because she's a Christian. The left have taken this theme and run with it - particularly the racism angle. The NAACP, ACLU, and Al Sharpton are all getting involved, and they're marching and demonstrating.

And here is is Ellis' account of the events that transpired:

It was near closing time when Ellis and her cousin David got on line to check out at the Kennett Wal Mart. There were two checkout lanes open. Ellis got on one line, David on the other. When David’s line moved quicker, Ellis claims she moved over and joined him...

At least two white customers reportedly objected to Ellis joining David on line. One, according to Ellis, pushed and verbally accosted her. An off-duty Kennett Police officer working as a Wal Mart security guard came over to the line. Ellis claims she told the cashier to go ahead and ring the upset customer out ahead of her. By Ellis’s account however, the cashier, after ringing the upset customer out, refused to ring Ellis out, instead proceeding to ring other customers out. The Wal Mart shift manager walked over and told Ellis to leave the store. By all accounts she refused to leave and demanded to be rung out like the other customers, hence she was charged with trespassing. Ellis subsequently wrote, “I felt like I was part of the civil rights movement — I thought I had traveled in a time capsule and was living in Mississippi in the 1960s.” The guard radioed his fellow police officers. David telephoned his mother. Police and relatives were now en-route to the stand-off.

The police arrived and Ellis was allowed to pay for her goods. According to Ellis, however, the cashier refused to give her the change she was due. The arresting officer claims that the Wal Mart shift manager demanded Ellis be removed from the store, but that Ellis told him, “I’m not going nowhere until I get my f***ing change back.” Ellis denies the language the arrest report attributes to her, but both she and the police are in agreement that Wal-Mart was withholding her change...

In her statement, Ellis wrote that she was hopeful the officers would give her “a little support” with her demand for her change. She added that “they didn’t provide any...”

Once outside of the store, according to Ellis’s subsequent complaint, five Kennett police officers proceeded to torment her with racist and misogynist slurs as she and David walked to their car. Ellis claims that while still walking to her car, she suggested to the police that they instead harass “drug dealers and crack heads,” rather than “taxpaying citizens.” ...As her aunt arrived by car, the officers arrested Ellis — quite violently, by her account, lifting her off the ground and tossing her into a police car as her aunt helplessly stood by and watched while herself allegedly being threatened with arrest. Heather’s mother arrived at the police station in time to witness what she describes as her daughter being pulled out of the car by her hair and slammed against a wall...

Others are straining the narrative to the breaking point. Race-Baiter Boyce Watkins attempts to cast aspersions on the police report (which includes sworn testimonies of two police officers, the store manager, and five store customers) by appealing to the alleged lack of credibility of the justice system as a whole, and likewise tries to cast aspersions on the allegedly racist town of Kennett, MO, by mentioning a racial attack on a black boy in "the same area", in "nearby" Poplar Bluff. In reality, Poplar Bluff is 50 miles away from Kennett - or, roughly the distance between Baltimore, MD, and Alexandria, VA; Cincinnati, OH, and Dayton, OH; Indianapolis, IN, and Greensburg, IN; or Evanston, IL, and Kenosha, WI.

In other words, what happens in Poplar Bluff really has no bearing whatsoever on what happens in Kennett. But the race-baiters in the Heather Ellis case would lead you to believe otherwise.

Unfortunately for Ellis and her enablers, the police report (h/t Anderson Cooper 360), puts the lie to that defense.

According to the police report, the following summarizes the written and signed statements of the witnesses:

According to statements made and obtained - On Saturday - January 6th, 2007 - Heather Ellis - was and had been a customer at the Wal-Mart store. Heatehr Ellis apparently collected some items of merchandise, and Heather Ellis then went to check-out aisle #13 at the front of the store. Instead of waiting in line behind the other waiting customers, Heather Ellis - broke in line - as she walked to the front of the line, to the cash register attendant, apparently because she did not want to wait in line.

The cash register attendant had already began checking out the next in line customer. The cash register attendant had activated the conveyer belt in order to advance the merchandise of the next in line customer, to be scanned and checked out. Heather Ellis reported became angry because of this, and Heather Ellis reportedly began shoving the merchandise back down the conveyer belt. Witnesses and Victimes tated that, Heather Ellis became very belligerent by yelling, cursing, issuing threats, and issuing many deerogatory comments to several of the persons present. Reportedly, Heather Ellis at one point attempted to advance toward the attendant and store assistand manager in a very hostile and aggressive manner. Management of the Wal-mart store gave numerous verbal communications to heather Ellis to leave the store and the property. Heather Ellis refused to leave after being told several time [sic] to do so.

Apparently, since Heather Ellis was out of control, and since Heather Ellis refused to leave the business and property, the Kennett Police Department was contacted by on-duty security officer - Officer Craig Moody [DSN: 931], of the Kennett Police Department.

And here is the officer's account of what happened when Moody called for police assistance:

On - Saturday - January 6th, 2007 - at approximately 23:30 hours, Officers of the Kennett Polie Department received a radio communication from Officer Craig Moody [DSN: 931] of the Kennett Police Department. Officer Craig Moody was requesting the assistance of other Police Officers. Officer Craig Moody requested that additional Police Officers respond to the business of Wal-Mart, which is located at 1500 First Street. This request for assistance was in reference to, and due to an unruly and belligerent customer.

Kennett Police Officers; A.W. Fisher [DSN: 920], Joe D. Stewart [DSN 943], Allen Campbell [DSN: 942], arrived at Wal-Mart at the same time.

Upon our arrival, all Officers entered into the business. As I, Officer A. W. fisher entered into the business, I could immediately hear the voice of a female, that was taling loudly. I could hear the female yelling, and cursing. It was easy to determine who the person was, that was causing the disturbance. I also saw Officer Craig Moody standing by check-out [cash register] aisle number 13. Officer Moody summoned all Officer's [sic] to come to his location.

As I arrived at teh check-out [cash register] number 13, I was immediately informed by - Kay McDaniel [On-duty Assistant Manager for Wal-Mart], that she wanted the black female that was yelling and cursing, to be removed, and escorted from the store, and off the property. I then informed the black female that, she had to leave the store and the property immediately, and cease causing any further disturbances. The black female turned and yelled, "I ain't going no where until I get my [ed: expletive] change back". So I stood by while the cashier attendant handed the belligerent female her change.

NOTE [3]: The black female, which was causing the distrubance and was eventually placed under arrest, was subsequently identified as - Heather R. Ellis.

Heather Ellis continued to act in a very belligerent, angry, hostile, and aggressive manner. Heather Ellis refused to comply with my repeated requests to calm down, and cease causing a scene and distrubance. Heather Ellis then turned her anger and aggression toward me [Officer Fisher], and all other Police Officers which were present. Heatehr Ellis then began yelling, and cursing, and issuing derogatory comments toward this officer. She then took her purchased items, which were in bags, and she began walking toward one of the exits of the building. However, Heather Ellis continued to yell, curse, and issue verbal insults toward this Officer. Heather Ellis would walk a little way, and then she would again turn and continue to yell, curse, and issue more insults. Heather Ellis continued to refuse to comply with all repeated requests to just calm down, and stop continuing to cause a scene, and disturbance. I tried to convey to Heatehr Ellis [as best I could], that all she had to do was leave peacefully. However, it was incredibly and abundantly obvious that Heather Ellis had absolutely no desire and/or intention of conmplying with any and all request [sic] by this Officer. Any and all attempts to convey logic to Heather ellis were unsuccessful.

Heather Ellis would not simply leave the property. She continued to be belligerent, angry, loud, hostile and aggressive throughout the front of the store. Due to the way that Heather Ellis was conducting herself, she [heather Ellis] was obviously disrupting the business of this store. I kept trying to calm Heatehr Ellis, and I was trying to convey simple and basic logic to her, that all she had to do was just simply leave the store in a calm and peaceful manner. Heather Ellis was obviously not receptive to these simple requests, and she told me about it in the same loud and belligerent manner in which she had been conducting herself.

I, Officer, A. W. Fisher, then informed Heather Ellis that, if she did not cease causing a scene and distrubance, and if she did not simply leave the property, that she would then be placed under arrest. After issuing this final request, Heather Ellis [again] turned toward this Officer and she [again] continued to yell, curse, and refuse to leave the property. She then issued a threat to assault me [officer Fisher] by saying that if I even tried to put my hands on her and if I tried to arrest her, she was going to "beat my ass".

Heather Ellis was given every opportunity to comply with the Officers [sic] repeated requests for her to simply leave the property of the business of Wal-Mart.

Once it became abundantly, and obviously clear that heather Ellis had absolutely no desire and/or intentions of complying with all of my repeated requests, I then informed Heather Ellis that she was now under arrest. I then grasped the right arm sleeve of her black leather jacket, and I was attempting to deploy my handcuffs, in order to place Heather Ellis under arrest. Immediately, when I grasped her right arm sleeve, Heather Ellis immediately became combative, and began fighting this Officer. Heather Ellis began swinging wildly toward this Officer with her arms and fist. Heather Ellis refused to comply with all requests for her to stop fighting, and stop resisting arrest. heather Ellis continued to fight, yell, and curse. Heather Ellis was completely out of control.

Sgt. Joe D. Stewart, and Officer Phillip Caldwell, then came to assist me [Officer Fisher] with this arrest, as i was having to fight and struggle with Heather Ellis. All three officers continued to have to struggle with Heather Ellis. Heather Ellis still wouldn ot comply with all of this Officers [sic] request for her to stop fighting and stop resiting arrest.

Heather Ellis would continue to resist arrest by stiffening her body, arms, and legs in an attempt to prevent the arresting Officers from placing the handcuffs on her, and placing her under arrest. Then, Heather Ellis would [again] swing her arms and fist, and kick her feet in an attempt to prevent being arrested, or attempting to break free and flee from the grasp of the Officers. At one point during the struggle with Heather Ellis, she [Heather Ellis] kicked me [Officer Fisher], and she [heather Ellis] struck Sgt. Joe D. Stewart in the mouth. During the entire struggle with Heather Ellis, the Officers issued repeated requests for her to stop fighting, and stop resisting arrest.

Finally, the Police Offices were finally able to place the hands of Heather Ellis behind her back, and then we were able to place the handcuffs on the wrists of Heather Ellis.

However, as were wre trying to walk her to, and place her in the back seat of the patrol car, heather ellis would continue her efforts to resist by refusing to walkforward. heather Ellis would [again] stiffen her legs and body, and she would [again] refuse to comly with the Officers [sic] requests to walk to the patrol car. Officers had to actually make Heather Ellis walk forward, so that we could finally place her into the backseat of the patrol car. Heather Ellis would continue to yell, curse, issue verbal threats, and issue her derogatory commenhts. Heather Ellis continued to act in the same belligerent, hostile, and aggressive manners.

Heather Ellis was then transported to the Dunklin County Jail, where she was processed, booked and incarcerated.

Later in the shift, the Kennett Police Department received a call from the Dunklin County Sheriff's Office, informing us that, Heather Ellis was demanding medical treatment. Heather Ellis was then released from custody, so that she could go and seek whatever medical attention she desired.

Even more unfortunately for Ellis, the store surveillance video has been released, and it shows Ellis acting belligerently:

I have not found any medical records to have been released, either of the two officers that Ellis allegedly assaulted, or of Ellis, who was released from custody to seek medical treatment, though now-recused prosecutor Stephen P. Sokoloff offers the following information in a response to the above Ellis account:

Further despite your report that ther were no injured victims, one officer sustained a split lip from a punch thrown by the "innocent" Ms. Ellis and another a bruised shin where she kicked him. Furhter, the E.R. records of Ms. Ellis' visit show no visible injuries...

Of course, the jury will try the case and will determine the outcome. But let us think critically for a moment.

What is more likely:

  1. Heather Ellis cut in line, acting belligerently as she shoved multiple customers' merchandise out of the way in an attempt to have her items checked out. The customers behind her complained, which prompted the cashier to summon the manager. The cashier continued to check-out the customers in line, refusing to check-out Ellis' merchandise, while awaiting the arrival of the manager, which further angered Ellis. The manager, upon arrival and seeing a belligerent Ellis and a line of customers upset at her line-cutting, asked Ellis to leave. Ellis angrily refused and berated the manager, cashier, and customers, which prompted the security guard to request police assistance. The police arrived, oversaw Ellis' merchandise being checked-out, and then told her that the manager asked her to leave, therefore she needed to leave or would be considered to be trespassing. Ellis, already angry, continued to berate not only the manager, cashier, and customers, but also the police. The police attempted to calm Ellis and request that she leave the store in peace. After several attempts, the police inform Ellis that if she does not comply, she will be placed under arrest for trespassing and disturbing the peace. Ellis threatens the cop, and continues to shout and curse. The officers inform Ellis that she is under arrest, and Ellis angrily resists, kicking one officer and punching another. Once handcuffed, Ellis continues to resist, forcing the officers to physically move her to the police car and into the backseat. Or:
  2. Ellis moved from one line into another, fully expecting that the customers already in line would have no problem with her doing so. The customer behind her bagan pushing and shoving her, and the customers in line started issuing racial slurs at her. The cashier refused to help Ellis, and instead called the manager, who demanded that she leave and also issued racial slurs at her. The manager called the police, who also racially insulted Ellis, demanded that she leave, and then jumped her once she was outside the store. The police then roughed her up as the put her in the police car, and then threw her up against the wall when they got her to the police station.

For those keeping track at home: the first scenario has no less than eight unrelated witnesses, and the second scenario has up to two of Ellis' family members each of whom potentially witnessed different parts of the scenario.

Testimony concluded in the trial today, during which time Ellis took the stand. The trial today included this little gem:

Blackmun said she arrived in the parking lot at about the time officers began using force on Ellis. Ellis said Kennett officer Albert Fisher grabbed her by the back of the shoulder with such force that he ripped her leather jacket and swung her around. Other officers became involved and forced Ellis against the squad car, she said.

She was taken to jail and released early the next morning.

Once released, she went to a hospital emergency room. Dr. Benjamin Mozie testified that Ellis told him she had been assaulted and complained of neck pain, wrist injuries and a headache.

Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum presented evidence that had been discovered only Friday morning, when Ellis saw the leather jacket for the first time since the incident. Inside one pocket were documents from police and the hospital. Both, Rosenblum said, had blood stains from injuries to Ellis' wrist or hand.

Under questioning from prosecutor Morley Swingle, Mozie said he saw no evidence of any injury that would lead to bleeding. He also saw no outward signs of neck injury, but said Ellis' wrists were bruised.

Imagine that! Ellis hadn't touched her leather jacket in three years! Even though she now claims that it was ripped in the assault. Never mind that said jacket, if allegedly ripped in the assault, would have been the defense's Exhibit A as evidence of the allegedly rough treatment Ellis received.

(By the way, I wonder if forensic analysis could conclusively determine how long ago the jacket was ripped, and whether or not a human hand could have caused the damage?)

And - wouldn't you know it? - only just today, Ellis "discovered" that inside the jacket pocket were documents that were "bloodied" from Ellis' injuries. Glory be!

Unfortunately, the ER doctor who treated Ellis that night said that he saw no evidence of any injury that would lead to bleeding.

Quite the conundrum, really.

Read through the testimony. The defense has presented zero evidence that the police assaulted Ellis. The defense has presented zero evidence that the prosecuting attorney, four police officers, the store manager, the cashier, and four customers all are racist, and have conspired against Ellis.

The defense's entire strategy appears to be trying to prove that Ellis' cousin was "saving her spot" in line, appealing to the witnesses' clouded memories (nearly three years after the incident), and implying that their testimony was tampered with by Sokoloff.

I think the evidence speaks for itself, and clearly. By now the trial has likely gone to jury, so we will hear the outcome soon enough.

Conservative Bible Project: Blasphemy

Filed in Religion, Social IssuesTags: Christianity, Media Bias, Pop Culture

The Tennessean profiles the Conservative Bible Project (CBP), founded by Andy Schafly (H/T: Lucianne). The self-described purpose of the CBP is to rectify three sources of Biblical translation errors. To wit:

  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
  • lack of precision in modern language
  • translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.

A Faulty Agenda, a Faulty Basis, and a Faulty Starting Point

The project claims that ancient language experts and english linguists have addressed the first two sources of error, but asserts:

...the third -- and largest -- source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate

And, in order to reduce and eliminate this third source of translation error, the CBP proposes the following guidelines for a Conservative Bible:

  1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
  2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
  4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms to capture better the original intent; Defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words that have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
  5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
  6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
  7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  8. Exclude Later-Inserted Inauthentic Passages: excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story
  9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

It is these guidelines that induce me to declare the project to be blasphemous. I am a conservative, and adhere to conservative ideals. However, the purpose of the Word of God is not to promote conservatism versus liberalism, but rather to glorify God and to provide God's plan for the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ. Period. End of story. Any other agenda is non-scriptural.

In the course of this discussion, I will show how I believe the CBP to pervert the true meaning of Scripture in the advancement of their agenda.

The CBP proposes to create this more-perfect Conservative Bible by starting with the King James Version. This decision is based not on any perceived authenticity of the translation but rather due to the KJV being in the public domain:

In the United States and much of the world, the immensely popular and respected King James Version (KJV) is freely available and in the public domain. It could be used as the baseline for developing a conservative translation without requiring a license or any fees. Where the KJV is known to be deficient due to discovery of more authentic sources, exceptions can be made that use either more modern public domain translations as a baseline, or by using the original Greek or Hebrew.

For a project that is ostensibly concerned with correcting Biblical translation errors, including linguistic errors and archaic terminology, why would they choose a four hundred year old translation as their basis? Using the KJV actually re-introduces sources of translational error that they claim has been addressed by modern linguistics.

Why not use a more modern translation such as the NIV or ESV? The NIV was written only 30 years ago, and its translation team went to great effort to modernize the translation while remaining true to the original manuscripts.

The CBP has an explanation (of sorts) for excluding the NIV:

The committee in charge of updating the bestselling version, the NIV, is dominated by professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook. As a result, the revision and replacement of the NIV will be influenced more by political correctness and other liberal distortions than by genuine examination of the oldest manuscripts. As a result of these political influences, it becomes desirable to develop a conservative translation that can serve, at a minimum, as a bulwark against the liberal manipulation of meaning in future versions.

Of course, the CBP seemingly fails to recognize that those "professors and higher-educated participants" are bona fide Biblical scholars and linguistic experts - whose expertise is clearly and evidently lacking in the project's resulting Conservative Bible, as I will demonstrate.

Having rationalized their exclusion of the NIV, why then do the CBP members not choose to write their translation from the best available source: the manuscripts themselves? Perhaps it is because they have eschewed the expertise needed to read, understand, and translate those manuscripts, in their rejection of "professors and higher-educated participants"?

As Ed Morrissey writes (H/T: Enlightened Redneck):

However, if one believes the Bible to be the Word of God written for His purposes, which I do, then the idea of recalibrating the language to suit partisan political purposes in this age is pretty offensive — just as offensive as they see the “liberal bias” in existing translations. If they question the authenticity of the current translations, then the only legitimate process would be to work from the original sources and retranslate. And not just retranslate with political biases in mind, but to retranslate using proper linguistic processes and correct terminology.

I believe both the translation guidelines and the source text to be critically flawed. Therefore, I believe the project to be doomed from the start.

Watering Down Scriptural Meaning

Take, for example, the first two verses of Matthew:

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The ancestry of Jesus Christ, descendant of David, descendant of Abraham: "Descendant" is more accurate than "son."
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, who was the father of Judah and his brothers, The passive "was the father" emphasizes the ancestry.

I am no Biblical scholar, but even I can recognize the sophistry at work here. The Bible uses incredibly rich, symbolic language with multi-layered meaning. The Conservative Bible would obliterate much of the beauty and internal cohesiveness of Scripture, in the name of advancing a conservative agenda.

Take Matthew 1:1 - the Conservative Bible would replace Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham with Jesus Christ, descendant of David, descendant of Abraham, using the reasoning that descendant is more "accurate" than son.

This sophmoric reasoning completely ignores the cultural significance of Jesus Christ being called the son of David, the son of Abraham. It completely ignores the Biblical symbolism of Jesus' self-reference as the Son of God and Son of Man. Further, it gives no justification from the original text to explain why descendant is "more accurate" than son.

Next, take Matthew 1:2 - the Conservative Bible would replace begat with was the father of, this time using the reasoning that "the passive 'was the father' emphasizes ancestry.

Once again, this so-called reasoning completely ignores (and explicitly undermines) the Biblical significance of the masculine lineage of Jesus Christ, that connects him with both the one man, Adam, through whom sin entered the world, and Abraham, through whose seed God promised the Messiah would come.

Agenda-Driven Translation Blasphemy

But the CBP doesn't just stop at sophmoric perversion of the beauty and depth of Scriptural language. Rather, it presses on, ironically doing precisely that which the CBP accuse the "professors and higher-educated participants" in the NIV translation team of doing: adulterating scripture in order to promote an ideological agenda.

The first example is given in the Tennessean article, from Matthew 2:22:

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles. "And no man puts fresh grape juice into old bottles. The fresh juice will burst the bottles, spilling the juice and damaging the bottles. Fresh juice must be put into new bottles." The Greek word ασκοσ, translated "wine," actually meant "fruit of the vine" and was not fermented, as it commonly is today. Repeated references in the Book of Proverbs tell their readers specifically to avoid fermented grape juice. Furthermore, at least five methods of preservation were known to the ancients, methods that avoided fermentation, long before Louis Pasteur would invent his pressure-cooking method.

The obvious agenda here is the removal of an obvious reference to alcoholic wine. The explanation given is neither textually accurate nor correct from an enological point of view.

First, askos (Greek: ασκοσ - a leathern (or skin) bag used as a bottle) refers to a leathered animal skin (i.e. wineskin), and in this context Jesus was clearly referencing this usage: a wineskin. The wineskins were animal (usually goat) skins sewn together for the purpose of short-term storage and and fermentation of wine. Fermentation involves the consumption of yeast and sugar in order to produce ethanol - the by-product of which is carbon dioxide gas. It is this carbon dioxide off-gassing that caused the wineskins to expand. Without fermentation, the wineskins would have had no reason to burst.

New wineskins were used for new wine, because the unused wineskins would still be supple enough to expand to accomodate the carbon dioxide off-gassing. If new wine were placed in old (i.e. used) wineskins, the wineskins would have already once been expanded, and would lack the necessary elasticity to accomodate further expansion. Thus, when the new wine fermented, the carbon dioxide would over-pressurize the old wineskins and cause them to burst.

This extra-scriptural translation also obscures the point of Jesus' statement. Use of the more modern askos definition of earthenware jar (which, coincidentally derives its name due to its shape's similarity to the earlier animal skin vessel) makes no sense in this context. Jesus is implying that the Pharisees have already been expanded and hardened by their ritualistic view of Judaism, and were no longer acceptable vessels for his new wine; rather, only new vessels (the sinners with whom he was eating) were suitable for his new wine. Substitution of an earthenware vessel (a "bottle") here renders this understanding meaningless, since such a vessel is never capable of expansion caused by the fermentation of the new wine.

Conclusion: Flee From Evil

These are but a sampling of the resulting translation work of the Conservative Bible. This agenda-driven translation produces factual errors and adulterates scripture. This result is, in fact, blasphemous, and Christians should have nothing to do with the Conservative Bible Project.

I do not believe my words to be too harsh. Any attempt to pervert or adulterate the Holy Word of God, for any reason whatsoever, commits the same sin of pride that befell Lucifer, by placing the wisdom of man above the perfect, omniscient wisdom of God, or, as Gawain's Ghosts calls it: conceptual idolatry. Such an act truly is evil.

Others will - rightly so - bemoan the political impact and fallout from the Conservative Bible Project. Personally, I am more concerned with the eternal impact:

18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV)

The Anchoress nailed this one a couple weeks ago.

HR3200: Tax On Individuals Without Acceptable Coverage

Filed in Politics, Social IssuesTags: Constitutional Rights, Health/Nutrition, HR3200, ObamaCare

HR3200 – Reading The Bill: Tax On Individuals Without Acceptable Coverage

I’m really getting sick of supporters of ObamaCare admonishing those who oppose it to read the bill. So, I’m working on a series in which I do just that, framing my opposition to the bill by referencing the actual wording of the proposed legislation.

Up next: HR3200’s tax on individuals without acceptable healthcare coverage, and debunking President Obama's lie that ObamaCare does not impose such a tax.

As part of his Sunday ObamaCare Blitzkreig, Obama told George Stephanopoulos that ObamaCare does not tax individuals who fail to pay for ObamaCare-approved health coverage:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here -- here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. The -- for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...

OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase.


OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

(H/T Canticle4Leibowitz. Full transcript can be found at ABC.)

Jim Hoft and Bob Leibowitz go on to discuss Stephanopoulos reading Obama the dictionary definition of a tax, and Obama claiming that he was "stretching" the meaning of a tax by quoting the dictionary.

Theirs is certainly valid criticism, but I want to look at the wording of the bill itself, which likewise proves Obama to be telling yet another bald-faced lie.

Refer to pp. 167-168, Title IV — Amendments to Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Subtitle A—Shared Responsibility, Part 1 — Individual Responsibility, Sec. 401. Tax On Individuals Without Acceptable Health Care Coverage [emphasis added]:

IN GENERAL. — Subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new part:




‘‘TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—

‘‘the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.

This section is fairly straight-forward, and its intent is clear: if you do not pay for ObamaCare-approved health coverage, the IRS will impose a tax on you. The bill amends the IRS tax code, to define a new tax: a tax for failure to maintain acceptable health coverage.

So: a given individual is not paying a certain tax now, but under ObamaCare, that same individual will be paying that tax. That outcome is, by definition, a tax increase.

Oh, and by the way, it's in the Baucus Senate bill, too.)

President Obama: You Lie!

For reference and context, below are the above-referenced excerpts from HR 3200:

167 • HR 3200 IH
8 Subtitle A—Shared Responsibility
12 (a) IN GENERAL.—Subchapter A of chapter 1 of the
13 Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at
14 the end the following new part:
16 ‘‘Subpart A—Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable
17 Health Care Coverage
20 ‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual
21 who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at
22 any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed
23 a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—

168 • HR 3200 IH
1 ‘‘(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross in
2 come for the taxable year, over
3 ‘‘(2) the amount of gross income specified in
4 section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.

Coverage elsewhere: FoxNews, The P/Oed Patriot, BluegrassBulletin, Revolution By Constitution, My Take On Life, Politico

HR3200: Hostility Toward SMBs That Self-Insure

Filed in Politics, Social IssuesTags: Constitutional Rights, Health/Nutrition, HR3200, ObamaCare

HR3200 – Reading The Bill: Hostility Toward SMBs That Self-Insure

I’m really getting sick of supporters of ObamaCare admonishing those who oppose it to read the bill. So, I’m working on a series in which I do just that, framing my opposition to the bill by referencing the actual wording of the proposed legislation.

Up next: HR3200's hostility toward Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) that self-insure.

We'll start with a look at SEC. 113, INSURANCE RATING RULES. Refer to page 21 line 23 through page 22 line 11, Sec. 113(b)(1)(C):

The Commissioner, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health care markets. Such study shall examine...[t]he financial solvency and capital reserve levels of employers that self-insure by employer size.

Now, I'm not a businessperson; I'm just an engineer. That said, I don't understand how one can "examine...[t]he financial solvency and capital reserve levels" of a company without looking at that company's books. I have seen the argument from the left that this information is available in normal IRS paperwork, but I don't think so. Such IRS documents involve a company's income, expenditures, and losses for a given fiscal year. "Financial solvency and capital reserve levels" cannot be gleaned solely from such data.

Perhaps this information can be gleaned from the publicly available annual financial reports; however, publicly traded companies (which are the ones required to publish annual financial reports) are, I would assume, less likely to self-insure. It is the SMBs that would be most likely to self-insure - and at the same time, less likely to be publicly traded and therefore less likely to publish annual financial reports.

So, from where will the Commissioner get these data, without auditing the books of companies that self-insure?

Further, the bill explicitly states that its intent is to eliminate tax incentives for SMBs to self-insure. Refer to page 22 line 23 to page 23 line 3, Sec. 113(b)(2):

Such report shall include any recommendations the Commissioner deems appropriate to ensure that the law does not provide incentives for small and mid-size employers to self-insure or create adverse selection in the risk pools of large group insurers and self-insured employers.

To make matters worse, under Title VIII, Section 1802, Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund, subsection 1802(b)(1), the bill actually amends Chapter 34 of the Internal Revenue code, adding a new Subchapter B to impose a fine (tax) on companies that self-insure. Refer to page 830, lines 1-9, Sec. 1802(b)(1), quoting Internal Revenue code Chapter 34, Subchapter B, Section 4376, Self-Insured Health Plans:


(a) IMPOSITION OF FEE.—In the case of any applicable self-insured health plan for each plan year, there is hereby imposed a fee equal to the fair share per capita amount determined under section 9511(c)(1) multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan.


(1) IN GENERAL.—The fee imposed by subsection (a) shall be paid by the plan sponsor.

So, what is the "fair share per capita" fee amount? It is defined as follows:

Subject to subparagraph (B), the fair share per capita amount under this paragraph for a fiscal year (beginning with fiscal year 2013) is an amount computed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for such fiscal year that, when applied under this section and subchapter B of chapter 34 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, will result in revenues to the CERTF of $375,000,000 for the fiscal year.

In other words, take $375 million, divide by the total of all employees under an employer self-insurance plan, and you get the "fair share per capita amount".

According to this report, 73 million Americans were in self-insurance plans in 2007. Using this number, employers who self-insure will be taxed at least $5 per employee, just to help fund the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (CERTF).

So, to summarize, HR3200 is hostile toward SMBs that self-insure:

  • SMBs that self-insure will be subjected to auditing in order to examine... financial solvency and capital reserve levels"
  • Recommendations will be made to ensure that tax laws "does not provide incentives for small and mid-size employers to self-insure"
  • SMBs that self-insure will be subjected to a "fair share per capita" tax to help fund the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (CERTF)

For reference and context, below are the above-referenced excerpts from HR 3200:

Page 21•HR 3200
23 (1) STUDY.—The Commissioner, in coordina
24 tion with the Secretary of Health and Human Serv
25 ices and the Secretary of Labor, shall conduct a
26 study of the large group insured and self-insured
Page 22•HR 3200
1 employer health care markets. Such study shall ex
2 amine the following:
3 (A) The types of employers by key charac
4 teristics, including size, that purchase insured
5 products versus those that self-insure.
6 (B) The similarities and differences be
7 tween typical insured and self-insured health
8 plans.
9 (C) The financial solvency and capital re
10 serve levels of employers that self-insure by em
11 ployer size.
12 (D) The risk of self-insured employers not
13 being able to pay obligations or otherwise be
14 coming financially insolvent.
15 (E) The extent to which rating rules are
16 likely to cause adverse selection in the large
17 group market or to encourage small and mid
18 size employers to self-insure
19 (2) REPORTS.—Not later than 18 months after
20 the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commis
21 sioner shall submit to Congress and the applicable
22 agencies a report on the study conducted under
23 paragraph (1). Such report shall include any rec
24 ommendations the Commissioner deems appropriate
25 to ensure that the law does not provide incentives
Page 23 •HR 3200
1 for small and mid-size employers to self-insure or
2 create adverse selection in the risk pools of large
3 group insurers and self-insured employers. Not later
4 than 18 months after the first day of Y1, the Com
5 missioner shall submit to Congress and the applica
6 ble agencies an updated report on such study, in
7 cluding updates on such recommendations.

Page 830 •HR 3200
2 ‘‘(a) IMPOSITION OF FEE.—In the case of any appli
3 cable self-insured health plan for each plan year, there is
4 hereby imposed a fee equal to the fair share per capita
5 amount determined under section 9511(c)(1) multiplied by
6 the average number of lives covered under the plan.
8 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The fee imposed by sub
9 section (a) shall be paid by the plan sponsor.
10 ‘‘(2) PLAN SPONSOR.—For purposes of para
11 graph (1) the term ‘plan sponsor’ means—
12 ‘‘(A) the employer in the case of a plan es
13 tablished or maintained by a single employer,
14 ‘‘(B) the employee organization in the case
15 of a plan established or maintained by an em
16 ployee organization,
17 ‘‘(C) in the case of—
18 ‘‘(i) a plan established or maintained
19 by 2 or more employers or jointly by 1 or
20 more employers and 1 or more employee
21 organizations,
22 ‘‘(ii) a multiple employer welfare ar
23 rangement, or
24 ‘‘(iii) a voluntary employees’ bene
25 ficiary association described in section
26 501(c)(9),
Page 831 •HR 3200
1 the association, committee, joint board of trust
2 ees, or other similar group of representatives of
3 the parties who establish or maintain the plan,
4 or
5 ‘‘(D) the cooperative or association de
6 scribed in subsection (c)(2)(F) in the case of a
7 plan established or maintained by such a coop
8 erative or association.
10 For purposes of this section, the term ‘applicable self-in
11 sured health plan’ means any plan for providing accident
12 or health coverage if—
13 ‘‘(1) any portion of such coverage is provided
14 other than through an insurance policy, and
15 ‘‘(2) such plan is established or maintained—
16 ‘‘(A) by one or more employers for the
17 benefit of their employees or former employees,
18 ‘‘(B) by one or more employee organiza
19 tions for the benefit of their members or former
20 members,
21 ‘‘(C) jointly by 1 or more employers and 1
22 or more employee organizations for the benefit
23 of employees or former employees,
24 ‘‘(D) by a voluntary employees’ beneficiary
25 association described in section 501(c)(9),
Page 832 •HR 3200
1 ‘‘(E) by any organization described in sec
2 tion 501(c)(6), or
3 ‘‘(F) in the case of a plan not described in
4 the preceding subparagraphs, by a multiple em
5 ployer welfare arrangement (as defined in sec
6 tion 3(40) of Employee Retirement Income Se
7 curity Act of 1974), a rural electric cooperative
8 (as defined in section 3(40)(B)(iv) of such Act),
9 or a rural telephone cooperative association (as
10 defined in section 3(40)(B)(v) of such Act).

Page 825 •HR 3200
7 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subpara
8 graph (B), the fair share per capita amount
9 under this paragraph for a fiscal year (begin
10 ning with fiscal year 2013) is an amount com
11 puted by the Secretary of Health and Human
12 Services for such fiscal year that, when applied
13 under this section and subchapter B of chapter
14 34 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, will
15 result in revenues to the CERTF of
16 $375,000,000 for the fiscal year.
18 ‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—If the Secretary is
19 unable to compute the fair share per capita
20 amount under subparagraph (A) for a fis21
cal year, the fair share per capita amount
22 under this paragraph for the fiscal year
23 shall be the default amount determined
24 under clause (ii) for the fiscal year.
Page 826 •HR 3200
1 ‘‘(ii) DEFAULT AMOUNT.—The default
2 amount under this clause for—
3 ‘‘(I) fiscal year 2013 is equal to
4 $2; or
5 ‘‘(II) a subsequent year is equal
6 to the default amount under this
7 clause for the preceding fiscal year in
8 creased by the annual percentage in
9 crease in the medical care component
10 of the consumer price index (United
11 States city average) for the 12-month
12 period ending with April of the pre
13 ceding fiscal year.
14 Any amount determined under subclause
15 (II) shall be rounded to the nearest penny.
17 no case shall the amount transferred under sub
18 section (b)(4)(B) for any fiscal year exceed
19 $90,000,000.