Monday, December 27, 2010

Back from vacation

Health care rationing

In all societies without exception, supply must equal demand. This may be done by nature, as in hunter-gatherer societies, by the free market in capitalist nations, or by the government in socialist or communist countries. But someone or something must balance the two. Another word for balancing supply and demand is "rationing."

"Ration" comes from the Latin ratio (to reason or think) and can be defined as "allowing an individual a fixed amount of a commodity." If health care is a right, the "allower" or balancer of supply and demand is the government, which must and will ration health care. That is what occurs in all universal health care countries, including France, Germany, Scandinavian nations, Taiwan, and Japan. Consider Great Britain with its National Health Service (NHS).

Because Great Britain cannot afford its current level of demand for health care, the NHS is cutting services. SERVICES ALREADY DELETED OR TO BE CUT INCLUDE HEART SURGERY OVER THE AGE OF 65, KIDNEY DIALYSIS OVER 55, MUCH HOSPICE CARE, MANY CANCER TREATMENTS, AND MOST NURSING HOMES.

The NHS has a commission (department) called NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. As an aside, note that the president's choice for Director of Medicare, Dr. Don Berwick, is an admirer of the NICE and wants to import to the USA.

The responsibility of NICE is to determine which medical treatments have the best cost/benefit ratios for the nation, to approve payment for those, and to deny payment for all other treatments. Note what the italicized words mean (to them). Cost considers only the immediate outlay and does not calculate avoided costs, or productivity gains or losses. The benefit is national, based on the entire population and not the individual's best interest. If a specific patient needs something that does not work in the majority, the specific patient doesn't get it.

This is the downside to the new healthcare “reform” package. And like Sarah Palin said, NICE is becoming a “death panel” in the UK. How long will it be before we get one in the USA?

Global Warming strikes again!

A storm front dumping A 'MONSTER BLIZZARD' ON THE EAST COAST of America is causing travel chaos after Christmas.

A predicted two-day snow storm has struck the New York region and the northeast, closing roads and rail lines, GROUNDING MORE THAN 2,000 FLIGHTS, and keeping all but the most determined of shoppers from post-Christmas sales.

Up to 25 inches of snow fell in some areas, with more expected as people began journeys home after the holidays.

The U.S. National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings from Maine to New

The headline is supposed to be ironic, but AGW believers have created a theory that fits any kind of weather we have. Too hot? AGW. Too cold? AGW again. No snow? AGW. Huge blizzards? AGW.

You name it, the cause is global warming

Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we're experiencing now, WEREN'T EVEN LISTED AS A POSSIBILITY.

Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.

Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, "falsifiable." That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it's false. That's what scientific experimentation and observation do. THAT'S THE ESSENCE OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It's global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.

NOTHING CAN DISPROVE THEIR THESIS.  Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region's strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, "In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile."

Did December show that Obama can make a comeback?

Very well then, ALL OBAMA HAS TO DO IS "TRIANGULATE" -- i.e., pretend to agree with both sides -- and the great unwashed "centrist" electorate will flock back to his banner. After all, it worked for the original "Comeback Kid."

For starters, this ignores several major distinctions between Clinton and Obama. Slick Willie learned his skills growing up in the crime-syndicate town of Hot Springs, Ark. Say what you will about those old gangsters, they knew how to run an effective political operation, by turns tough and solicitous, happy to raise money for the widows and orphans their trigger men had just created.

By contrast, OBAMA IS A DISPLACED PERSON ADOPTED BY THE FAR CRUDER CHICAGO MACHINE, which turned his superficial charm and his palpable animus against the American ideal into a winning combination in the perfect storm 2008 election.

More important, it's unclear that Obama has it in him to compromise and pretend to like it. NO ONE COULD FAKE SINCERITY LIKE CLINTON, but Obama is a far different sort of political animal. His tax-deal press conference was a remarkable glimpse behind the Wizard of Oz curtain at A SCOWLING MAN WHO BELIEVES HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS ARE "HOSTAGE-TAKERS" AND ENEMIES -- not just of the people, but of him personally

I’ve heard the liberal pundits talk about how much Obama has gotten done and then talk about the future and how it will only work if a few (actually quite a few in the House) Republicans will go along with him. In fact, what we saw in December was the President actually negotiating with the Republicans while he still had big majorities in Congress. And this got actual bi-partisan results. Too bad he didn’t try this from day one.

Immigration reform

When Republican lawmakers take over the House and gain strength in the Senate after the new year, a decadelong drive to overhaul the immigration system and legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants seems all but certain to come to a halt.

When New York Republican Peter T. King takes over the House Homeland Security Committee in January, he plans to propose legislation to reverse what he calls an "obvious lack of urgency" by the Obama administration to secure the border.

Among other initiatives, King wants to see the Homeland Security Department expand a program that enlists the help of local police departments in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.,0,1495981.story

The rush to pass the “Dream Act” to legalize new Democrat voters is now officially dead.

One more time: Mr. Rich were the 1950s horrible or wonderful? Make up your mind.

Nothing irritates New York Times columnist Frank Rich more than Republicans who -- in Rich's view -- want to turn the clock back to the 1950s. THAT LONG-AGO TIME IN AMERICA WAS NEVER THE IDYLL it is sometimes portrayed to be, Rich believes, but rather A "PHONY NIRVANA" RIFE WITH RACISM, SEXISM, HOMOPHOBIA, AND ECONOMIC INJUSTICE.

So it is surprising that in A NEW COLUMN, "WHO KILLED THE DISNEYLAND DREAM?" Rich waxes nostalgic about…the 1950s. He tells the story of Robbins Barstow, a union official living in suburban Connecticut who in the 50s was an avid home-movie maker. In 1956, Barstow, his wife, and three children won a trip to Disneyland in a contest sponsored by 3M, the makers of Scotch Tape. The home movie Barstow made of the experience, "Disneyland Dream," portrays the happy family boarding an old Constellation propeller aircraft to fly to the paradise of Southern California and enjoy the wonders of Disneyland. It has become something of a classic of post-war Americana.

To Rich, THE BARSTOWS LIVED IN "AN AMERICA WHERE GREAT CORPORATIONS LIKE 3M CAN BE COUNTED UPON TO MAKE INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS, SUSTAIN AN AMERICAN WORK FORCE, AND REWARD THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH A CRACKER JACK PRIZE NOW AND THEN." Even when American optimism was shaken, as it was after the Soviets' launch of Sputnik in 1957, there was a "bedrock faith in the American way" that leaders like John F. Kennedy could call on to "reclaim America's heroic destiny."

More than anything, Rich asserts, THE AMERICA OF THE 1950S BROUGHT PROMISE, HOPE, AND OPTIMISM. "The sense that the American promise of social and economic mobility was attainable to anyone who sought it permeates 'Disneyland Dream' from start to finish," writes Rich. "Economic equality seemed within reach in 1956, at least for the vast middle class."

I remember a cartoon in which a mother was disciplining her child saying: "Don't (slap)!  Hit (slap)! Your sister (slap).  Most times the left doesn't realize how ironic their positions are.

A Potato Diet?

Mr. Voigt has posted the results of physical examinations, including bloodwork, from the beginning, middle and end of the diet. The change he experienced during that time is nothing short of remarkable. HE SHED 21 POUNDS, his fasting glucose decreased by 10 mg/dL (104 to 94 mg/dL), his serum triglycerides dropped by nearly 50%, his HDL cholesterol increased slightly, and his calculated LDL cholesterol dropped by a stunning 41% (142 to 84 mg/dL). The changes in his HDL, triglycerides and fasting glucose are consistent with improved insulin sensitivity and are not consistent with a shift of LDL particle size to the dangerous "small, dense" variety.

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