Kennedy Compound Gets First Tour Group

As it should be….a place of history and learning.

In January, the Kennedy’s main house in the compound originally owned by Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy in Hyannisport was donated to an institute named after the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.  This week the first class of Barnstable High School students were given a private tour by Ted Kennedy’s son and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy.  

The main house on the Kennedys’ oceanfront compound, the scene of many of the famed political family’s gatherings in times of joy and sorrow, has been donated to an institute named for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

The Boston-based institute on Monday released a statement announcing the transaction, which it said was in keeping with the wishes of the late senator, who promised his mother the Hyannis Port home would be preserved for charitable use. The institute said the house would host seminars and educational programs and eventually would be opened to the general public.

Ted Kennedy’s son Patrick Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, said there could be “no greater testament to his legacy” than allowing the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate to turn the home into a place of learning.

“My father had great passion for the United States Senate,” he said. “It was his life for many years.”

The 12-bedroom, 9,000-square-foot house hosted the family’s famous touch football games, the wedding of Patrick Kennedy and the wedding reception for Ted Kennedy’s niece Caroline Kennedy. It was the summer White House for President John F. Kennedy and was the place the family gathered after he was assassinated in November 1963.

When John F. Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999, the family met to mourn there. And Ted Kennedy spent his final days there before dying of brain cancer in 2009.

Ted Kennedy Jr. called the house “my family’s epicenter,” a place that hosted outdoor games and vigorous political debate as well as “times of both happiness and pain.”

“Even though my family still considers Hyannis Port to be our home, we recognize that this house is a unique and historic place that should be preserved so that future students of history and politics will better understand how this house helped to develop, define and sustain my family,” he said.

The Economist Cover About Germany Makes For A Knowing Smile

High-Deductible Insurance Coming Your Way

Hat Tip to James

This is a huge problem. 

Half of all workers at employer-sponsored health plans — including those working for the government — could be on high-deductible insurance within a decade, according to a new paper from Rand Corp.

Supporters say the plans can contain health costs. Patients who have to pay for care up front will take better care of themselves and shop more carefully, the thinking goes, seeking lower-cost providers or asking whether tests are necessary. High-deductible plans, known as “consumer-driven” insurance, may partly account for a recent slowing in the upward spiral of medical spending, analysts say, although reluctance to buy health services in a poor economy is also a factor.

Critics say high-deductible insurance is just a way for corporations to shift costs onto workers, especially those dealing with chronic illness such as diabetes and arthritis. Further, consumers aren’t prepared to shop for treatment because reliable information on price and quality is difficult, if not impossible, to find. High deductibles, they say, boost chances that patients will delay seeking care until ailments become acute. Still, high-deductible plans, long promoted by Republicans as a way to bring market forces to medicine, are here to stay no matter how the Supreme Court rules on the 2010 health-care law, experts say.

Why Do Working-Class People Vote Conservative?

I post a portion of a very well-written column….but think the whole article should be read.  This is a most thoughtful and enlightening read that is well worth your time.

Here’s a more painful but ultimately constructive diagnosis, from the point of view of moral psychology: politics at the national level is more like religion than it is like shopping. It’s more about a moral vision that unifies a nation and calls it to greatness than it is about self-interest or specific policies. In most countries, the right tends to see that more clearly than the left. In America the Republicans did the hard work of drafting their moral vision in the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan was their eloquent spokesman. Patriotism, social order, strong families, personal responsibility (not government safety nets) and free enterprise. Those are values, not government programs.

The Democrats, in contrast, have tried to win voters’ hearts by promising to protect or expand programmes for elderly people, young people, students, poor people and the middle class. Vote for us and we’ll use government to take care of everyone! But most Americans don’t want to live in a nation based primarily on caring. That’s what families are for.

One reason the left has such difficulty forging a lasting connection with voters is that the right has a built-in advantage – conservatives have a broader moral palate than the liberals (as we call leftists in the US). Think about it this way: our tongues have taste buds that are responsive to five classes of chemicals, which we perceive as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savoury. Sweetness is generally the most appealing of the five tastes, but when it comes to a serious meal, most people want more than that.

In the same way, you can think of the moral mind as being like a tongue that is sensitive to a variety of moral flavors. In my research with colleagues atYourMorals.org, we have identified six moral concerns as the best candidates for being the innate “taste buds” of the moral sense: care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. Across many kinds of surveys, in the UK as well as in the USA, we find that people who self-identify as being on the left score higher on questions about care/harm. For example, how much would someone have to pay you to kick a dog in the head? Nobody wants to do this, but liberals say they would require more money than conservatives to cause harm to an innocent creature.

Are Flashing Headlights At Oncoming Car That’s Speeding Ethical?

If you are like me then one of the continuing columns that always gets a Sunday read is The Ethicist in The New York Times.  The varity of questions is really astounding, and the responses are always so—well–ethical.  Back home on Sundays I often would read the better letters to my Mom in the kitchen and we would ponder the advice given in the paper.

The New York Times Magazine has named Chuck Klosterman its new Ethicist. The Atlantic Wire reports that Klosterman confirmed the news via email, writing, “This is a job I’ve wanted for 10 years. I don’t claim to be more ethical than anyone else, or even more ethical than the average person. But I love thinking about these types of problems, and I’ll try to be interesting. We’ll see what happens.”

His writings begin on Sunday.

I prime the pump a bit with a question that will be addressed this weekend.

While I was motoring home on a country road, a passing driver flashed his lights at me — roadspeak for “cop ahead.” I’m not much of a speeder, but I was nevertheless glad for the heads up. Still, I began to wonder about the ethics of this practice. Flashing my lights at an oncoming car that’s speeding should cause that person to slow down — a good thing. But if that person were habitually heavy-footed or intoxicated or on the lam from a bank heist, such a warning could prevent a desirable traffic stop. Thoughts? DAVID CRANE, MASSACHUSETTS