Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dry Bones

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Interesting Point of View

The following letter was printed in today's Detroit News:
The doctor-patient relationship is already compromised. Patient care decisions are influenced by private insurance companies, private clinic administrators and private hospital business officers. Private institutions lack transparency and provide little or no opportunity for doctors and patients to effect changes and improvements. Government, on the other hand is participatory. Witness health care debate. Private companies would never consider opening public discussion on what they do and how they do it. I favor the Obama health care initiative because government is by Constitution and legislation more responsive to public opinion than any other American institution.
Go ahead, read it again. I didn't believe it the first time either.

So since government is participatory, will there be public debate on my next colonoscopy? What about yours? Will the letter writer, instead of getting a second opinion if he needs one on a serious medical issue, take his doctor in front of a televised congressional investigation? Will there be debate in the Senate?

What about intrusion by lobbyists and wealthy special interests? Will the writer know he's getting the best care possible, or will he (or she) be subject to some inferior yet more expensive methods that were pushed on his congressional representative who then forced them on to his busy, unsuspecting doctor? Will congressional opinion on the writer's medical care be based on knowledge of the writer as a person or a patient, or will it be based on what ever will get his representative reelected? Will campaign contributions have any effect on the medical care he receives?

It doesn't matter. Government is transparent . . . especially under Obama.

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Whose responsibility is it to make sure a child is fed? Being a parent, I always assumed that one of the responsibilities that parenthood brings is providing for the children that you bring into this world. I know that others disagree with me, and that there have been parents since the beginning of humanity who have ignored their children, ran away from them, or worse. But the average parent who brings or sends their children to school every day should take that responsibility seriously, and I'd like to think that most do.

At the school where I teach, around 85 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced price lunch. And now, as I'm sure I've reported before, all students are entitled to free breakfast, which is usually some kind of sickeningly sweet General Mills cereal and milk, or a Poptart, or these weirdly shaped edible objects that are labeled as bagels with cream cheese. Not all of the students eat these breakfasts. Some pull out their Flaming Hot Cheetos, or Cheez-it's, or Doritos, or BBQ flavored potato chips, or Airheads, or Snickers bars instead. I used to object. I used to insist on healthy snacks. Parents overruled me.

One little girl has come in late a couple of times recently, around 11:00. This is about a half hour after snack time, and almost two hours before lunch. Both times she's asked if she could get her breakfast. She was hungry. Mean guy that I am, I refused. Students pick up their breakfasts when they walk in the room at 8:25. By 9:00, the remaining breakfasts are carted off to be reused the next day. She would have had to walk down to the other end of the school to the cafeteria, where lunches were already being served to beg for her cereal and milk. I thought it would take too much more time out of her already shortened school day. Then she asked if she could eat her snack, a bag of chips. I wasn't going to let her until she explained that Mom doesn't feed her breakfast on school days, as she gets a free breakfast at school.

Yes, she is being raised by a young single mother, you know, the kind that Ann Coulter was less than kind to when she had the politically incorrect nerve to reveal the statistics on how poorly children of single mothers do in life. Coulter took a lot of heat from resentful members of the media who can't admit that their feel-good opinions of their own virtue have no basis in reality. This is the kind of mother that Coulter was talking about.

I have no doubt that mom loves her daughter and that she is doing the best she can. However, mom, like many single moms I've dealt with over the years, is working and going to school. She wants to improve her own life and the life or her daughter, but due to the time she must spend on her own pursuits, time and money for her daughter are in short supply. Should she and other single moms be held up as heroes for working hard for their children?

I don't think so. Yes, they're working hard, but they've made the poor decision to create a human being who is totally dependent on them, who looks to them as the example for life, and who has to suffer due to the adult's lack of maturity and decision making ability. Single moms have to work much harder than women who have a husband to help with child rearing. And as Ann and other vilified writers point out, children need fathers. And not just to make sure they have breakfast at home on the days that they're late for school. Well, that is, I think there are other reasons. I'll ask my kids.

One mom, a few years ago, thrilled at the birth of her latest fatherless child, was further cheered because her boyfriend (the father) was visiting regularly and wanted to help raise the child. I never heard anything about the father of her child who was in my class.

It's not just single moms though. One year, one of my students came in with a free lunch form. I sent her to the office to turn it in. She was from a two parent family. Mom drove a new Mercedes.

Is the government, through myriad welfare agencies, subsidizing laziness, cheating, irresponsibility, and poor choices? You bet they are. But that's one of those things that's obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to patterns in child rearing these past 40 years.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

But It's For Our Own Good

Let's see. In a few years we won't be allowed to use incandescent light bulbs. If we don't have health insurance we can face fines and possible jail time. We shouldn't use oil from Islamic nations, but we aren't allowed to drill our own or build nuclear power plants to power the future battery powered automobiles, which I'm sure we will be "encouraged" to buy in order to "save the planet." Muslims who promote and engage in Jihad are the victims and the people that they murder are - um - are - the oppressors? And that's not just in Israel any more. Local Detroit papers went on for days with articles about how the local Muslim community was afraid of that backlash that we've been warned about since September 12, 2001, you know, due to the latest unfortunate incident where a Muslim is stricken with Sudden Jihad Syndrome, this time at Ft. Hood, where a Muslim major went on a short shooting spree that had nothing to do with the fact that he's Muslim - and well, I'm sure everyone has read about all of those politically incorrect red flags that were ignored, since had anyone in authority taken action, they would have been roundly attacked by CAIR and their fellow traveling diversity mongers. And yes, many fellow citizens have allowed themselves to be convinced that this had nothing to do with Islam.

And then there's this piece by Mark Steyn about how we're poised to loose even more of our formerly Constitutionally protected, but granted by our Creator, rights.
I’m always appreciative when a fellow says what he really means. Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on “Copenhagen”—which is transnational-speak for December’s UN Convention on Climate Change. “We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen,” remarked professor Flannery. “We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society.”

Hold that thought: “They deal with every aspect of our life.” Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. After all, we all care about the environment, don’t we? So we ought to do something about it, right? And, since “the environment” isn’t just in your town or county but spreads across the entire planet, we can only really do something at the planetary level. But what to do? According to paragraph 38 on page 18 of the latest negotiating text, the convention will set up a “government” to manage the “new funds” and the “related facilitative processes.”
The whole thing is worth reading because one, it's by Mark Steyn, and two, we need to pay attention to what these "selfless" environmentalists have in store for the rest of us.

As our rights are slowly eaten away, it appears that it is with the blessings of a large portion of our fellow American citizens. Of the 53% of the voters who elected our current president, there are many who did not know his real agenda. Some of them foolishly depended on the Obama-loving, Bush-hating MSM for their information. Others were just stupid. But a lot of folks agree wholeheartedly with the Obama agenda. For example, there was this letter in today's Detroit Free Press.
Thanks for the comprehensive coverage of Michigan tax needs and present income statistics.

You report, "The top 5% of households in Michigan now have as much or more income than the bottom half." Anyone who reads this and does not support a graduated income tax either didn't graduate from the 7th grade, or did graduate from Harvard Business School and is now one of the millionaires or billionaires protecting their incomes in that 5% bracket.

It's not hard to guess who is fighting the graduated income tax movement, and who is funding it.

Most of your readers are too young to remember the days when our country and leaders believed in a sane and fair distribution of wealth in this country.

In the '50s, we had an excess profits tax where companies had to pay their excess profits in taxes or give the money to their employees in bonuses. Blue-collar workers received healthy bonuses every quarter at the company where I worked.
Excess profits? How much is excess? And what will this writer say when some bureaucrat decides that he has to part with more of his excess income? I bet this is a person who decries "obscene" profits too . . . as opposed to merely erotic profits, or "artistic" or . . . you get the idea. Too many people today find freedom an irksome burden and are looking for scapegoats for their problems. Obama and the Democratic Congress are helping out with lists of the most popular, you know, Fox News, Big Pharma, Wall Street, the Insurance Industry.

But remember - Obama and his cronies, and environmentalists, and the diversity lobby, and the Islamic community have your best interests at heart. They know what's better for you much better than you do. After all, they're intellectuals.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is This Really Rational Thought?

OK, I disagree with the premise. That doesn't make the editorial writer stupid. But for the Free Press to run thinking this sloppy, I just have to wonder how the writer and the editor make a living in their jobs. The article begins,
Anyone who still can't understand why health care reform should be the government's business need look no further than the pharmaceutical industry, which is raising its prices at the fastest rate in years despite an economic downturn that has pushed most consumer prices lower.
It ends,
What federal lawmakers should take away from this is the necessity of giving the government broad authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, just as large private insurers do. Economists are divided over how effective such reforms will be at reining in prices, but as current price trends show, what consumers pay for prescriptions is too important a cost driver to be left entirely to the private market.
But inbetween these two paragraphs, it is written,
Pharmaceutical industry spokesmen cite the need to maximize profits on popular drugs whose patent protection is about to expire. But most outsiders believe drug makers are anticipating government regulations that may limit their ability to raise prices in the near future. Economists recall a similar spike in 2006, just before Congress agreed to subsidize prescriptions for tens of millions of Medicare recipients.
So, according to this editorial, pharmaceutical companies are raising their prices in response to predicted government policies, which are going to interfere with their abilities to price their products as they see fit. That is neither your mother's nor Adam Smith's private market. What the Free Press is calling for is more government interference to solve problems created by previous government interference in the marketplace. But somehow, the government jumping in and distorting the market to the point that people can't afford their medicine is the fault of the "private market." That's a cycle (and a tactic to increase demands for more government) as old as governments. The problem is that we are taught to forget or ignore previous government episodes of big government screwing up the market in order to make us accept the next round of interference, which, with past experience as our guide, will only lead to more problems.

With the pharmaceutical industries one of the scapegoats du-jour, I suppose we can expect to see more "hard hitting" editorials exposing them for daring to make a profit in these times of economic turbulence . . . caused by whom? Oh yeah, a government that is out to solve all of our problems - at the cost of - greater and more numerous problems.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Is He Kidding?

WASHINGTON -- The White House expressed concern on Wednesday about a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in Iran as President Barack Obama said he wanted the United States and Iran to move beyond "suspicion, mistrust and confrontation."
What? And people on the Left called Bush an idiot? This is the "smartest man in the room", the one I was told by some of his supporters was going to surround himself with the best and the brightest, and this is what he has to say on this grim anniversary? But wait! There's more.
"This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation," Obama said in a statement. "I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."
Does Obama have a lead to a hint of a clue to what is going on in Iran and the rest of the world, especially the Islamic world? This event? Who provoked "this event?" Or is it to divisive to ask such an obvious question? Mutual interests? We have no mutual interests with the government of Iran. We are The Great Satan, remember? As for mutual respect, we are the infidel. We dwell in Dar al Harb, the house of war, as distinguished from Dar al Islam, the house of submission. We are merely fresh meat (as we were reminded again today, this time at Ft. Hood) for jihadists. To them, we are here to be converted to Islam, or be forced to pay the jizya if we don't. We are (or at least I am) descended from apes and pigs.
The Iranian government backed events Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the takeover, including an annual anti-American rally outside the brick walls of the former embassy compound.
Hmm, it seems the Iranian government isn't too impressed with Obama's quest for mutual respect and understanding. And from the moment this panty-waist took the presidential oath, the Iranian government knew that they had a patsy in the White House. At least, that's how they've been treating him, in spite of his fanciful talk of reconciliation, moral equivalence, and mutual understanding. Maybe these Iranian mullahs are a bunch of racist Republican fat cats controlled by Big Insurance and Big Pharma and oops! That's his domestic idiocy.

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