Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Entries for month: November 2009

Why do we let them get away with it?

November 24, 2009 ·

Trying to push through a key New Deal measure, Roosevelt wrote [in 1935] to an important congressman: "I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation."

As dangerous as that attitude is, it is making a roaring comeback again.

Tags: politics

Reform Medicare

November 18, 2009 ·

Numbers are numbers.  Numbers are fun.  So, if the problem is that our system is too expensive, and if we know that Medicare is singularly far more expensive than private insurance, then why in the world are we not focused on reforming Medicare?  Shit, we could do it now, right now, couldn't we?

60 billion: The number of American tax dollars that Medicare loses each year to fraud, according to 60 Minutes and the Washington Post.

8.3 billion: The combined profits last year, in dollars, of America’s ten largest private health insurance companies, according to Fortune 500.

830 billion: The combined profits, in dollars, that America’s ten largest private health insurance companies would make — at the rate of last year’s profits — over 100 years, according to Fortune 500.

1.009 trillion: The costs, in dollars, of the Senate Finance Committee health bill in the seven-year span from 2014 to 2020, according to the CBO.


Tags: politics

Avoid an Epic FAIL

November 04, 2009 ·

A single-page proposal for reforming how we pay for health care in the US.

A quick recap:

  • It would end the unfair tax on the uninsured (and self-insured), giving them a tax break similar to that which is already available to those with employer-provided insurance. It would provide refundable and advanceable tax credits of $2,000 per person and up to $5,000 per family, while leaving employer-provided insurance, its tax-exempt status, and the rest of the tax code entirely intact.
  • It would allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines, allowing them to shop for the best values from coast to coast.
  • It would expand Americans’ ability to keep their insurance when they leave their job by extending COBRA benefits by 12 months.
  • It would allow private entities to offer lower premiums for healthier lifestyles, which — amazingly — existing federal regulations severely limit.
  • It would cut costs by preventing runaway malpractice lawsuits and relieving doctors from having to practice defensive medicine, capping punitive damages at $250,000 per provider and $750,000 total while continuing to allow unlimited economic damages.
  • It would increase federal support for state-run high-risk pools, which already exist in 34 states. It would incentivize their establishment in all 50 states, providing needed help for those who are uninsured and have prohibitively expensive preexisting conditions.

Tags: politics


November 04, 2009 ·

A fascinating review of the inevitability of failure of classical liberalism.  A long read, but worth it.

Tags: politics

It's The Constitution, stupid

November 01, 2009 ·

I continue to see so many references in political discussions and debates that entirely ignore the role of the Constitution.  That document IS what defines our government.  Period.  Without it, we have no form of government.  We may choose to throw it away, and many of the Founders expected that to happen along the way, but we can't do so without replacing it with a rational definition of government.

From Cato, on why we really can't just ignore it (emphasis in the original):

"Because it is the Constitution that clearly establishes the bounds of what the federal government can and cannot do, that’s why! And because when we ignore the Constitution we get exactly the sort of government that is confounding [Flypaper writer] Smarick: government that is capricious, often incoherent, and is ultimately an existential threat to freedom because government officials can claim power without bounds. See TARPcampaign finance, and executive pay for just a few examples of this last threat coming to fruition."

Tags: politics

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