Patterico's Pontifications


Ameritrade Owners to Buy Chicago Cubs

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 10:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The bankrupt Tribune Co. continues to divest its assets:

“The Rickettses, longtime Cubs fans whose wealth comes from family-owned Ameritrade, signed an agreement Friday to buy a 95 percent stake of the team and its Wrigley Field home from Tribune Co. The $845 million deal also includes Tribune’s approximately 25 percent share of regional cable TV network Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

The deal, which requires approval by a bankruptcy court judge and Major League Baseball, may not help deliver a title to a profitable but hapless franchise that last won the big one in 1908. But the new owners can’t do any worse, championship-wise, than Tribune has during a 28-year stewardship or the Wrigley family during its 60 years at the helm.”

The article notes the $845M sales price is a record for a major league franchise. It also includes several optimistic quotes from Cubs fans, proving once again how endearingly positive we sports fans can be when it comes to our favorite teams.

EDIT: The Ricketts’ family is selling some of its stake in TD Ameritrade back to the company in order to finance the purchase of the Cubs.


“If Nancy Pelosi wants to find a Swastika …”

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 6:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A statement by Marine Corps vet David William Hedrick at Rep. Brian Baird’s town hall meeting in Washington State:

“I will remind you. A little history lesson. The Nazis were the National Socialist Party. They were leftists. They took over the finances. They took over the car industry. They took over health care in their country. If Nancy Pelosi wants to find a Swastika maybe the first place she should look is the sleeve of her own arm.”

H/T Gateway Pundit.


AP: Government Care Will Promote Competition

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 3:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Turning the theory of capitalism on its head, this AP article highlights ObamaCare supporters who claim subsidized government care will promote more competition:

“Proponents of a government plan say it could restore a competitive balance and lead to lower costs. For one thing, it wouldn’t have to turn a profit.

A study by the Urban Institute public policy center estimated that a public plan could save taxpayers from $224 billion to $400 billion over 10 years by lowering the cost of proposed subsidies for the uninsured, while preserving private coverage for most people.

“Right now, there’s no incentive for insurers or big hospital groups to negotiate with each other, because they can pass higher payments on through premiums,” said economist Linda Blumberg, co-author of the report. “A public plan would have the leverage to set lower payment rates and get providers to participate at those rates.”

“The private plans would come back to the providers and say, ‘If you don’t negotiate with me, you’re going to be left with only the public plan.'” Blumberg continued. “Suddenly, you have a very strong economic incentive for them to negotiate.”

Targeting insurance companies because they earn profits? Health care profit margins are far down the list — #86 according to University of Michigan Professor Mark Perry — which means 85 other industries should be targeted first. (Of course, Obama is targeting some of them, too.)

But if we assume the AP article is right that health care providers will agree to reduce costs, this is government forcing health care providers to accept lower payments. In my experience, that will leave providers with three choices:

  • Keep providing the same service for lower rates and wages;
  • Cut back on services in response to lower payments; or
  • Leave the market.
  • Of course, some altruistic people will provide more services for reduced rates but most won’t, which will leave society with fewer caregivers and less care. And, as Prof. Perry mentions, another approach would be to reduce regulations that prevent or make it harder for insurance companies to compete:

    “And isn’t one reason for a lack of competition that competition for health insurance across state lines is prohibited, creating in effect 50 state health insurance “cartels.”

    That sounds too much like a conservative solution so there’s no hope that will happen.

    — DRJ

    Gordon Brown’s Friend, Libya’s Col. Gaddafi (Updated: Obama’s Tepid Response)

    Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:58 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    After Lockerbie bomber Mohmed Al Megrahi was welcomed home to Libya by cheering crowds, Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi thanked UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown for his help in securing al-Megrahi’s release:

    “The growing sense of unease in Downing Street intensified today after Col Gaddafi praised ‘my friend’ Gordon Brown and the British Government for their part in securing Megrahi’s freedom.

    ‘To my friends in Scotland, the Scottish National Party, and Scottish prime minister, and the foreign secretary, I praise their courage for having proved their independence in decision making despite the unacceptable and unreasonable measures that they faced. Nevertheless they took this courageously right and humanitarian decision,’ he said.

    ‘And I say to my friend Brown, the Prime Minister of Britain, his Government, the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, and Prince Andrew, who all contributed to encouraging the Scottish government to take this historic and courageous decision, despite the obstacles.
    Speaking on Libyan television, Colonel Gaddafi’s son said Mr Blair raised the Megrahi case repeatedly to smooth the way for British firms to tap into Libya’s energy reserves.

    He told the Al Mutawassit channel: ‘In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table.'”

    Inquiring minds want to know exactly what the British government did to secure al-Megrahi’s release.

    UPDATE: David Frum says Obama’s mild response to al-Megrahi’s release is another example of his Administration’s weak attitude on terrorism:

    “Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi has been the tepid reaction of President Obama and his administration. My new National Post column speculates on two reasons that might explain the president’s mildness: (1) some kind of secret deal with the Libyans; (2) that Obama has accepted the theory advanced by some intelligence experts that the attack was the work of Iran, not Libya.

    Of course, there’s a more likely explanation for the lack of outcry: this administration’s lack of moral center on terrorism. Whether it is his gentle reproofs of Ahmadinejad or his readiness to shake hands with Hugo Chavez, Barack Obama just does not get all that excited about international bad actors. Not that the president never gets angry. He can get plenty angry over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates or Israeli settlements. Lockerbie: not so much.”

    Frum’s article on the subject is here.

    — DRJ

    Florida is Football’s Preseason No. 1

    Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 12:20 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    College football season is almost here and the defending champion Florida Gators are the AP’s preseason No. 1:

    “Florida is No. 1 in The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 released Saturday, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Southern California and Alabama. But the Gators are in a class by themselves, the most overwhelming preseason No. 1 in the history of the media poll.

    Florida received 58 of the 60 first-place votes, or 96.7 percent. Texas got the other first-place votes. “

    With a starting quarterback like Tim Tebow, all 22 defensive players returning, and a coach like Urban Meyer … Florida is the team to beat.

    — DRJ

    Obama’s Projected Budget Deficit

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 12:18 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Obama's budget deficit

    — DRJ

    This Just In … (Updated)

    Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 12:01 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    In my inbox today:

    Democrats, realizing the success of the President’s “Cash For Clunkers” rebate program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care Plan.

    President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this major announcement at a joint news conference later this week. I have obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named “CASH FOR CODGERS” and it works like this…

    “Couples wishing to access health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them will be fixed according to a sliding scale. Older and more prescription-dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.

    Special “Bonuses” will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted groups, such as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their government-prescribed weight, and any member of the Republican Party.

    Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried foods, potato chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussels sprouts, or Girl Scout Cookies.

    All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection. This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to keep other codgers in repair.”

    This is a joke, of course, but the best humor always has an element of truth.

    UPDATE: The Michigan fellow in this photo (scroll down to the 4th photo) must have gotten the same email I received.

    — DRJ

    Mexico Decriminalizes Personal-Use Drugs

    Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 12:26 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Mexico has decriminalized personal use of small amounts of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and other drugs:

    “Anyone caught with drug amounts under the new personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory.

    The maximum amount of marijuana for “personal use” under the new law is 5 grams—the equivalent of about four joints. The limit is a half gram for cocaine, the equivalent of about 4 “lines.” For other drugs, the limits are 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD.”

    Decriminalization will reportedly enable the government to focus on large-scale drug traffickers and decrease abuses in the enforcement of drug crimes.

    I don’t know if this is a good or a bad idea but it seems like it would be hard to legalize one-half of a drug transaction and criminalize the other half, although it’s probably true law enforcement can’t abuse laws that don’t exist.

    — DRJ

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