We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, July 28. 2009
The folks who brought you the War on Drugs, The War on Poverty and the War on Cancer now want to win the War on Obesity.
I wouldn't give a darn, except that this useless Nanny nonsense is on my nickel.
The Dems never listen to my advice.
I have advised them several times over the past years to do something very simple: put every American citizen on Medicare, and raise the Medicare tax as needed to cover the costs (with no employer contribution, however - purely from the income-producer. The Medicare FICA tax is currently 2.9% on all income: all they'd have to do would be to double it or at most triple it, I imagine, since the older folks who cost most of the money are already on Medicare. Thus if you make $50,000 you would pay around $4000, and double that for $100,000).
Was my suggestion too simple?
Mind you, it is not what I would like to see done, because it would put an instant government stranglehold on our medical care, medical research, the drug and biotech industries, etc - not to mention threatening the survival of Docs and hospitals. And not to mention politicizing medicine.
But since the Left loves to control things centrally, I have no idea why they didn't do something so obvious and easy.
Of your tax dollars to produce one, one-week job. That isn't efficiency, in my book. Wouldn't a tax cut have worked better?
Or a $50,000 check mailed to each American? That would have surely produced a short-term stimulus...altho I believe economic cycles heal themselves anyway, and best, without government intervention, just like everybody gets over the flu after a while except those who were already dying.
If the US Treasury had sent me a $50,000 check (shamelessly borrowed from my kids and future grandkids), I would have bought myself a used S&W .45 revolver for $700 to shoot beer cans off a big old log, and used the rest to pay off kids' college debts.
And around $1500 of it to bring our veterinary account up to date. Vets are paid better than Docs these days.
Extreme kayaking. No thanks.
Michelle's new book: Culture of Corruption
How to defeat socialized medical care. Vid at PJTV
Prof Gates: Another Lefty tax conniver? It figures.
From Herbert London on the Crisis Syndrome:
Monday, July 27. 2009
If there's a more loathsome person in the news right now than Henry Louis Gates Junior, I've missed them. It's amazing the amount of attention you can get playing your one-note piano with your foot on all the pedals for the media and academia these days.
Listen to him for a minute and a half, and you can see he's a second-rate intellect with a third-rate sense of respect for his fellow man. Perfect for Hahvahd, now that I think of it. Just like the Widener-shunning alum Teddy Kennedy, only teaching instead of sleeping in class, and driving the affirmative action bus over a cliff instead of an Oldsmobile off a bridge. I can't advise riding with either of them. But then again, a policeman responding to a burglary call isn't in a position to skip talking to Skip. Being wrong at the top of your voice, and a jerk in the bargain, is the sum total of the prestige the Harvard nameplate offers, I guess.
Just when you think you've heard all the drivel you could imagine coming out of the guy's mouth or pen, you hear another topper. According to the AP, on his application to attend Yale, he wrote:
It's really hard to be incoherent, obsequious, and imperious and insulting at the same time, but it appears he's been managing it his whole life. That approach is not without its charms, after all. It's the official foreign policy of the United States right now, for instance.
At about the same time Gates was playing passive aggressive with a Yale admissions office likely bending over backwards to let him in anyway, another man, a much more pleasant and charming man, and a snappier dresser, uttered the same sort of line, but without any malice. Hoping to burst the tension in the words by uttering them along with his fellow man, and he didn't discriminate about who his fellow man was. Viewing the words as an obstacle to get past, not a cow to be milked.
You can only utter half the line now. It's a testament to what Skip Gates and his ilk have accomplished in the intervening years. Everyone used to be able to say both words with impunity, but generally didn't, if for no other reason than it was the mark of bad manners. Now only the pallid portion of the words can be uttered with malice, and often are, thanks to the tireless efforts of Skip Gates et.al. It's still not enough. There will never be enough for the Convent of the Sisters of the Perpetually Afflicted they're running over at Harvard, and in many other, big, important white buildings all over this marvelous country.
Don't call me whitey... Skippy.
MIT atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen's short essay is rightly making the rounds today. One quote:
Read the whole thing. Related, a wamist read Prof. Ian Plimer's book, and was converted.
A brief Mankiw explanation of his view on government power, in the context of medical care, which echos my views but is more concisely expressed. A quote:
Utilitarians always give me the creeps. It's always about having "experts" in "control" of our lives - preferably them. Speaking of power and control, Kaus makes a comparison with the proposed IMAC with base-closing commissions, with this wise comments:
The "administrative state." That's the word for it. Like Versailles.
My friend and fellow
Nationally syndicated columnist Diana West, also, examines Cronkite’s “offensive history.” West says, admittedly harshly, “No, the Cronkite post-mortem that's needed is for the zombies who conjured up the hollow rapture and the living dead who fell for it.”
If you really don't remember, and before you start arguing from ignorance, you might refresh your knowledge of the facts with reading the comprehensive The Big Story by the Washington Post's Chief of the Saigon bureau during Tet '68, Peter Braestrup. Braestrup doesn't ignore media bias but emphasizes structural, staffing and experiential limitations of the mainstream media of that time, and that these problems "persist to this day." No kidding!
P.S.: Another old friend, Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media delves deeper into the wider range of Cronkite illusions, such as the Soviet threat being exaggerated and that President Carter was the brightest president Cronkite knew.
Heather MacDonald's fascinating report on American jails (as opposed to prisons) of today, with a cheerful visit to Riker's Island.
One of my life goals is to stay out of jail despite my dark and evil side.
We have often said that American medical costs are a measure of our prosperity, our inventiveness, and expecially our remarkable pharmaceutical and biotech industries which are the envy of the world (and upon which the rest of the world depends).
I hope our friend Coyote doesn't mind our borrowing this from his post:
In every language, the first word after "Mama!" that every kid learns to say is "Mine!" A system that doesn't allow ownership, that doesn't allow you to say "Mine!" when you grow up, has - to put it mildly - a fatal design flaw.
Frank Zappa (h/t, Samiz)
Dino's reminder of the Newsweek comment that the O "is sort of a god" reminded us of this post from one year ago:
I love hope and change, don't you? That's why I buy Powerball tickets on occasion -and why I work out. Nevertheless, my life is pretty darn good, even if I have to work long hours.
Obama's got the Big Con going. Beran at City Journal gets it. One quote:
Good summary of the legislative stumbles re health care, at Hennessey
World's fastest home internet connection (fixed)
Obama care is worse than you think. Wkly Standard
Ben Stein: We've figured him out
What's up with New Jersey? NYT
Shoot the messenger. WH attacks the CBO. I thought the CBO was sacred.
I know adults who could probably use this book too, which Insty mentioned: You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making It in the Real World: A Guide for Graduates
Is it a crime to have a fat kid? I don't think so. How do you control what a 14 year-old eats? The world has always had fat people. Some people like to be fat, like Pres. Grover Cleveland who admitted to only a prosperous 307 lbs but was probably well over that.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:28 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, July 26. 2009
At the Okinawa Aquarium (borrowed from David Thompson). Note the Remoras on the Basking Shark - or is it a Whale Shark?:
Via Gateway, re WH medical care advisor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahm's brother)
That's why they want Docs to be government employees instead of your privately-hired professional.
Synthstuff saw the above and expanded on the topic.
14:1 Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
God, honor, duty, family and country should be enough to keep any sane person busy and satisfied for a lifetime in a free country - with a little huntin,' fishin,' gardenin,' Scotch whiskey, and writin' and bloggin' on the side, of course.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:26 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
From a Theo piece:
Does medical insurance represent a market failure? Robin Hanson
Related: When politics replaces market forces.
The importance of good conversation. AVI
Nostalgia for racism.
Liberals should be fighting white stereotyping. Driscoll
Review the darn checklist before landing
Victory was not a dirty word in the election. So why now?
Some good news from Africa. Front Page
This recession has more government policies that discourage work. I have heard this, around. Take a sabbatical and stretch out that unemployment. Or find some disability if you can.
Hypocrite du Jour: Thomas Friedman. Glib and sanctimonious, like so many at the NYT.
Forcing people to get medical insurance who don't want it.
Saturday, July 25. 2009
Diagnostic madness in the DMS-5.
I knew they went over the edge when they began talking about Sex Addiction. Who gets to define that? These are the sorts of thing that makes people think shrinks are nuts, and damage their reputations as serious Docs. You cannot pathologize every human idiosyncrasy, desire, hobby, or preoccupation, because these are the things that make people interesting, unique, and colorful.
But for some sanity, making things out of wood leads to happiness. I have no doubt.
No signs of Wood-Working Addiction Disorder yet, but it's probably coming - right after Book-Worm Disorder, TV-Watching Disorder, Stamp Collecting Disorder, Bird Watching Disorder, and Diagnosis-Inventing Disorder.
Not your reserved and formal Yankee-style, but darn good fun (h/t, Protein):
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:02 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
"Let science decide," and other thoughts about medical care, with a surprise appearance by Little Susie The Crack Whore
I guess it didn't occur to her that doctors know some science - and they also know something else: they know their patient. No two patients are alike. People do not want an "approved treatment protocol" - they want to work it out with a doc who is working for them, and is not a de facto civil servant. I think what Sebelius means is not "science": she means a board of cost-containing medical efficiency experts.
However, I do not think anybody wants a government to have that sort of power. Governments create omnipotent monopolies.
It's one thing for a private medical insuror to tell you they don't cover in vitro fertilization, and another for the government to tell you that you cannot have it because "science says" that it's not cost-effective. In the former case, it's a freely-entered association, as Milton Friedman would say, and if you want the in vitro badly enough, you can save your pennies and get one. Furthermore, I'd much rather make an appeal to a private biz than to the government.
We suspect that the government wants two things: 1. To get more folks on the Government Plantation and, 2. To control Medicare costs. Re the latter, the O might be right that it may have been unwise for his Grandma to have a hip or knee replacement when she was dying from cancer - but he is correct that 80% of medical costs occur in the final year of life. However, unless somebody has terminal cancer or something comparable, how do you know it's somebody's final year of life in advance?
Another related issue is the equating of "health care" (a dumb term) with medical insurance. I suppose with the high costs of medical technology and hospital treatments, those costs are out of reach for the average person (which is why we buy cheap catastrophic, ie high-deductible medical insurance) but, for most purposes in life, a regular office visit for a bad sore throat or a camp physical doesn't cost very much at all, while an ER visit for your bad sore throat can set you back $750.
We agree that it is foolhardy for anybody who is not wealthy - especially for a family - to carry no catastrophic major medical insurance, because bankruptcy sucks. We also think it is foolish for people to expect insurance to cover every office visit: the whole point of insurance is supposed to be that you hope you never need it.
However, years of Medicaid (for the poor), Medicare (which pays for everything, at low rates), union-driven medical benefits and work-related medical benefits have produced a sense of entitlement and, we would argue, have driven up the cost - and the quality - of medical treatment in the US.
What is the right role for government in medical care? We don't know, and we don't trust anybody who says they know. Fact is, government already controls much of it via Medicare, Medicaid, and now SCHIP. It has been incrementalism at work, with the long socialist view. One thing we do know is that fewer and fewer Docs want to accept Medicare, and few ever accepted Medicaid except for charity clinics and inner city Medicaid mills staffed by foreign medical graduates.
Why do so many Docs opt out of Medicare? Because of the paperwork requirements and the unsustainable rates of reimbursement. When people get a doctor's bill, they often forget that it's not a bill for his time: it's a bill for his rent, his machines, his two nurses, his insurance coder, his bookkeeper, his receptionist, his staff's benefits, his malpractice insurance, etc. Your local Internist and Pediatrician is not getting rich on $65 office visits these days. In fact, they are struggling.
No, the big costs are tests, some medicines, hospitalizations, cancer treatments, dialysis, the ICU, etc. The big ticket items - and those costs are not compressible. They can only be rationed if costs are to be cut. We do not think those costs should be cut, because we believe that such decisions are a matter of personal choice and freedom and, as they always say, "All you have is your health." Or your disease, as the case may be.
We wish we knew the right answers to all of these issues but, despite the problems, we will say one thing: With the best, most innovative and most available medical care in the world, one must be extremely careful about messing with it. Freedom is always messy. We re-link Cardinal at Tigerhawk's defence of American medicine.
That is a bit cold, Mr. V.
Written by The B and BD together.