Archive for July, 2009

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Letter to the Editor: Healthcare

We can all agree that healthcare costs can be, and often are, unaffordable for many; the system needs reform, but to what end? A recent proposal from Congress would create a public option for individuals earning up to a certain percentage above the poverty line in an effort to ensure that the roughly 47 million uninsured individuals in this country are covered.

Unfortunately, that number is a bit disingenuous, but effective, in helping push legislation. Let’s break that number down a bit: roughly 18 million can afford insurance, but do not want it; 8 million are young 18–25 year olds and choose not to sign up; 12 million are non‐citizen residents or illegal; 9 million are between jobs and only temporarily uninsured; 8 million are covered children, who have merely not been signed up; and another 3 million are eligible for government health programs but have not signed up. This adds up to more than the 47 million uninsured that is often cited, but many individuals will fall under multiple categories. What we also know is that roughly 80 percent of those that are uninsured are in good to excellent health and the majority tend to be young. Additionally, the numbers cited are merely a snapshot, or a moment in time, of the true picture of the uninsured, which could be higher or lower than the official figures.

So just from looking at these rough numbers, we can see that it can be a bit misleading to claim a government option is needed immediately for the health and well being of the citizenry.

From a financial perspective, the Congressional Budget Office gives a pretty clear picture of why bringing a public option to the table should be so unpalatable. By its own reports, the claimed savings on Medicare of $2 billion over 10 years is small in comparison to the roughly $1 trillion it would cost in that same time frame to fund the public option–and we’re only in the first decade of the program. Beyond that the net cost of coverage would continue to grow by 8 percent a year. What this means is an unsustainable level of deficit spending over the long term, unless taxes are raised significantly on everyone–including the middle class and poor. Any move towards a single‐payer system would force these numbers sky high to a level that would bankrupt government and the system.

This program is unneeded and too expensive, in addition to the many other problems presented by the House’s version of the legislation, to be seen as a real solution.

There are other options available for decreasing costs and reforming the insurance industry, but keeping it out of the hands of government is best if we respect the principles set forth in the constitution. Otherwise we trample on them in order to gain more entitlements and increased tax obligations–perhaps not for ourselves but certainly for our progeny, and at the unintended cost of changing the face of what liberty means in this country.

Mike Mattner

Update: To be published in the Herald Palladium. Not sure on the date yet.

Woodworking and Table Saws

My uncle gave me an old Craftsman 113.29991 10inch arbor table saw about a year ago. It’s been my go to tool since then, allowing me to create numerous items and do some simple ripping and cross cutting along the way.

Lately I’ve been making a go of some simple furniture, with my latest attempt being a coffee table. What has bothered me about this table saw, though was the surface rust that accumulated on the thing and that rust transferring to my wood stock. I decided that enough was enough and I was going to really give this thing a thorough cleaning and so that is what I have been doing for the past several days.

I did some research and discovered that this particular saw was built in 1961, sold by sears, not sure who built it, but due to it’s age I have to conclude that these old tools were truly built to last. It’s roughly 48 years old. That’s twice my age.


At any rate, I’ve disassembled the top, cleaned it of rust, buffed it, and have it oiled with WD‐40 for now, and will be moving on to the arbor and body sometime this weekend. Most of it just needs a really thorough cleaning, so the restoration work is a cinch. This has been fairly well taken care of and maintained, although the screws for angle and height adjustments stick a bit.

It still has the rip fence, miter gauge, and one original extension wing as well as one that looks like somebody built their own and added it. It works well enough.

At the moment it is sitting on a home built stand–one that is VERY solidly built. However, I’m going to build a little rolling cabinet to make moving this table saw around just a little bit easier, but I have to wait until I have this back together (ironic).

I served in the U.S. House with a majority of the current 435 representatives, and I am confident that if given the proper amount of legislative review, they will not accept the flawed Pelosi plan that is currently stuck in committee. Yet there is general agreement among Republicans and Democrats that we need health‐care reform to bring costs down. This agreement can be the basis of a genuine, bipartisan reform, once the current over‐reach by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi fails.

Bobby Jindal, How to Make Health‐Care Reform Bipartisan

Adding Articles and Upgrading WordPress

I’ve spent a little bit of time over the past few days (don’t worry, I’m still working on your wordpress template!) creating a brand new category of entries: articles. Articles are those longer entries that I really just want to add a bit of style to, something that breaks the regular layout, or something that I found I wanted to do but was limited by the entry layout.

You won’t see these too often, but when you do, they should be decent. You can identify them by the § icon next to them.

On another note, while getting my hands dirty messing around with the article format, and simultaneously reading about a brand new exploit to WordPress (no relevance I hope), my admin section started to act a bit funky. I decided that I needed to upgrade in order to save the damn thing. It worked, and I’m now fully upgraded to the latest version.

I made the mistake of turning off the pesky upgrade notification, because I thought, hey, I just got this version, it works, why bother? Don’t do that. Just upgrade when the next version updates.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow