Patterico's Pontifications

12/27/2010

A Very Special Christmas Video

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:20 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Holiday advice you really needed:

It doesn’t hurt that the women are kinda hot, too.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Return of the mythical death panels? (Bumped and Updated)

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:43 am

Update: Bumped by Aaron Worthing, because I think this does not deserve to be lost over the Christmas weekend.

[Posted by Karl]

All the news that is fit to bury on the Christmas weekend:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

***

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The terms of controversial section 1233 of the House version of ObamaCare are to return by regulatory fiat? And its supporters want to keep it a secret? Yeah, it is tough to see how that plays well.

Of course, Sarah Palin was not the only person who had the heebie-jeebies over this proposal. Liberals like Charles Lane and Eugene Robinson, and civil libertarians like Nat Hentoff ranged from uneasy to scared after considering the issue. As Lane wrote at the time:

Section 1233 *** addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones. Supporters protest that they’re just trying to facilitate choice — even if patients opt for expensive life-prolonging care. I think they protest too much: If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to “bend the curve” on health-care costs?

Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite “purely voluntary,” as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, “purely voluntary” means “not unless the patient requests one.” Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive — money — to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.

Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic.

What’s more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation. The doctor “shall” discuss “advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to”; “an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses” (even though these are legal, not medical, instruments); and “a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families.” The doctor “shall” explain that Medicare pays for hospice care (hint, hint)…

Incidentally, as I did not write much about the “death panels” kerfuffle, I should state for the record that I always thought it a term that would have been better applied to proposals like those for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which would become a key part of “bending the cost curve down,” just as is happening with global budgeting in Massachusetts. Obama and his minions always said those recommendations for rationing would be non-binding, but as we see today, the statists will always come back for more, even if they have to do it undemocratically and as secretly as they can.

Update: You will be shocked to learn that the unconfirmable Donald Berwick was behind this.

–Karl

Awww: Washington to Be Kennedy-Free For First Time in Sixty-Three years (Update: And Splash Dies)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:20 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: And as if the Kennedy family has not faced enough tragedy, Teddy’s dog died.  His name?  “Splash.”  Yep, they are classy people, them Kennedys.

Get out your hankies, this is a sad one:

The Kennedys have held congressional seats, the presidency and the public’s imagination for more than 60 years. That era ends when Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island vacates his U.S. House seat next month, leaving a city council post in California as Camelot’s sole remaining political holding.

Dontcha just love the way that they have to constantly use the term Camelot, when referring to the Kennedys?

The son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy said he has no qualms about walking away from politics. His departure marks the first time in 63 years there won’t be a Kennedy serving in elected office in Washington.

“In my family, the legacy was always public service, and that didn’t necessarily mean public office,” Kennedy, 43, said in a recent interview on Capitol Hill with The Associated Press.

He recited a long list of Kennedy family members who have spurned politics and chosen lives as activists promoting issues such as the environment, human rights and women’s issues.

I am sure Mary Jo Kopechne will appreciate it.

(Note: I am being sarcastic, to contrast with those who felt that Kopechne was a justified sacrifice.)

Kennedy plans to continue the tradition by championing a national effort to boost brain research. He hopes to inject the same urgency that his late uncle, President John F. Kennedy, inspired during the 1960s with his challenge to Americans to put a man on the moon.

Yeah, um, good luck with that.  Seriously can’t you go five minutes without invoking the memory of your late, great dead uncle?  Especially seeing that you seem more inclined to mimic dear old dad?

(more…)

Tom Brokaw States the Obvious

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:31 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Obama doesn’t know how to do his job and needs on the job training.  Yes, really:

Heckuva job there, Tommy, for being ahead of the curve on this one.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

12/25/2010

GMTA: The Christmas Edition

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:58 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

One thing I didn’t mention previously is that my wife and I are diabetic, the adult-onset kind, so we are both adjusting to that reality (which sucks a55, if you are wondering).  So we were both Christmas shopping at Potomac Mills last Sunday (locals know what a madhouse that place was), when I snuck off to find something for her (in addition to what I had already gotten her).  I went to the mall’s candy shop and tried to find her sugar-free candy canes.  Well, those had been sold out like a month ago, but I found candy called “Sugar Free Assorted Fruit Flavored Slices” as well as Jelly Beans made with Spenda.

So as the day went on we got a few books at Books-A-Million, and got one of their discount cards, which comes with a free (cheap-looking) tote.  So we put everything in the tote and I carried it out of the mall as that finally wrapped up all the gift giving.

When I got home I took the tote aside and tried to get the sugar-free candy out of there so she wouldn’t see.  So I pull open the bag and all there is, is the fruit slices.  And I think to myself, “where it the Jelly Beans?”  So I look further in the bag and I find the jelly beans in another bag…  with the fruit slices.

That is right, both me and my wife snuck off and bought the same stocking stuffer for each other, much to our amusement when I pointed this out to her.

Merry Christmas.

—————–

By the way, I should warn you that you should be very careful about whom you give books to, as this pair of videos shows.  This appears to be from last Christmas:

And one year later, same kid, apparently from this morning:

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

“For the Slave is Our Brother”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:17 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here]

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “O Holy Night,” especially when sung simply (for instance, I tend to dislike operatic renditions).  But truthfully, I don’t think in my whole life I had more than the first verse.  At midnight mass at my wife’s church (she is Catholic, I am not), they sang the third stanza, which has these startling words:

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

And a quick lookup on Wikipedia reveals that this was carol adapted from a French song, with essentially similar lyrics, written in French in 1847, and released in English in 1855—just five years before the American Civil War.  It’s unclear how much this song was embraced in America prior to the Civil War, but certainly the goal of the writers was to condemn slavery, to their eternal credit.

Merry Christmas, ya’ll.  From my family and assuredly the Patterico Family as well.

Update: From “AD” in the comments, Celtic Woman sing the carol:

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

12/24/2010

A Cop’s Christmas (an Annual Tradition)

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 8:02 pm

Once again this year I present a column I wrote for National Review Online back in 2001. For me at Christmastime, this one still says it all, and no matter how I might try I don’t think I could top it. Merry Christmas.

A Cop’s Christmas

For reviving the spirit, there is little in life that can rival standing among a thousand people singing “Adeste Fidelis” in church on Christmas morning. And while I don’t presume to know the minds of my fellow worshipers, I feel safe in saying there was no one in church that morning whose spirit was more in need of reviving than my own, for few professions can rival mine for glimpses into the darkness that sometimes dwells in the souls of men. In the days and indeed the very hours leading up to Christmas, I waded through the anguished aftermaths of two murders, two suicides, an attempted suicide, and a variety of other lesser tragedies, the accumulated sadness of which left me reeling and in doubt as to the wisdom in my choice of careers.

To get one’s intellectual arms around the meaning of that song and the event it commemorates is a challenge even under the best of circumstances, but as I dressed for church Christmas morning I couldn’t rid my mind’s eye of those haunting images: the faces of people who, only moments before I came upon them, were calmly going about their lives unaware of the horror about to befall them, or, as with the suicides, were all too aware of it. I was tempted to go back to bed. Christmas, it seemed to me in that moment, was for the birds.

There have been many such moments in my years as a policeman, but even in the bleakest of them I’ve tried to remember that it has been the blessed combination of faith, family, and friends that has sustained me. So, albeit reluctantly, off to church I went.

I was distracted when I first arrived, looking around at all those people who hadn’t been in church since last Easter and would not be again until the next. Even as the church was filling to capacity and beyond I felt an urge to get up and go home. Then the choir began to sing “Adeste Fidelis,” and then the congregation joined in, and finally even I, falteringly at first, began to sing in praise of that Baby born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

The Gospel that day was from Luke – my favorite description of the Nativity, with all its angels and shepherds and heavenly hosts. By the time the Mass ended and we had sung “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” and a few others, the woes of the previous days had receded into a more proper perspective, one that allowed me to return to work and face the certainty that those awful images will never completely fade from memory, and that new ones just as awful surely will join them before I take off my gun and badge for the last time.

I know too many good and decent people of other faiths – or of no faith at all – to be absolutely certain that we Christians have the final word on God and salvation and the meaning of life. And I know that every civilization throughout history has had its creation myth. But I was raised to believe – and still do believe – that God sent us His only Son to be born as Man in a humble birth, to walk among us, to teach us, and finally to endure injustice, cruelty, and death before rising again, all to show that we, too, with His help, can endure injustice, cruelty, and even death.

If that’s a myth, it’s a pretty good one. I’m sticking with it.

–Jack Dunphy

Open Thread: Merry Christmas

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:16 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As a palate cleanser from the messed up story I just posted, let me say from my family (and I am sure Patterico’s family concurs), Merry Christmas, albeit a little early.

“But,” you might say, “I am Jewish/Atheist/whatever.”  Well, fair enough Christmas is a day as much as Thanksgiving or Arbor Day, and whether you believe in Jesus or not, I still want it to be a good day for you.  So here’s hoping for a day of love and togetherness, for people of all faiths (including none at all).

Meanwhile, I will be subjecting my family to my vocal abilities and plastic-guitar playing via Rock Band.  So please pray for them if you are the praying type.

And in the comments, if the spirit moves you say something nice to others, share recipes, share stories, etc.  Let’s share the love, okay?

Update: My joke about playing Rock Band made me think of this classic clip from Conan, back when he was after Jay Leno. Stay to the end to see him sing the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, as Edith Bunker.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

A “WTF?!” Honor Killing

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:09 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

It’s a familiar story with a messed up twist.  First the expected part.  A father committed an honor killing against his daughter, in Iraq.  Okay, so far, ho-hum, right?

Now, here’s the twist:

When police came hunting for a 19-year-old woman they believed had been recruited by al-Qaida to be a suicide bomber in a town north of Baghdad, they found she was already dead: Slain by her father, who told police he strangled his daughter out of shame and then cut her throat.

The killing of Shahlaa al-Anbaky, reported by police Friday, appeared to be from an unusual melding of motives — part to defend the family honor, part to prevent her from joining the militants. But how much of each weighed in her father’s mind remains unclear, with police still investigating the details.

Al-Qaida has been recruiting women for suicide attacks because they can pass police checkpoints more easily than men by concealing explosives under an abaya, a loose, black cloak that conservative Muslim women wear. Suicide bombers have been al-Qaida’s most lethal weapon in Iraq, killing hundreds of civilians and members of Iraq’s security forces.

So he killed her, because he was ashamed of her membership in…  al Qaeda?

Now think about that.  For instance, if she was going to be a suicide bomber—as the article implies—then on balance he might have saved lives.  I mean if she was bound and determined to blow herself up, then she would be dead either way—the only issue is whether she would take anyone else with her.  Of course that is assuming that she would definitely blow herself up but there you go…

And it also indicates to him that being in al Qaeda is a deep, insufferable shame in the family.  As offensive to him as apparently dating a Hindu was in the last post on honor violence.  Which is kind of a good thing, right?

So, yeah, that is a seriously “WTF?!” kind of article.

It reminds me of the story of that pregnant Nigerian woman a couple years ago who was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.  They figured that since her husband had been dead something like three months when she conceived, by logic she must have had sex outside of the context of marriage, and thus, was an adulterer.  And then the Nigerian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and set her free.  Which is good, but the reasoning was frakked up.  The court argued that she was not an adulterer because, according to Islam, a man’s sperm can live up to seven months in her body, so there was an irrebuttable presumption that this was her late husband’s baby.

So the Nigerian case was the case of a court doing the right thing for an f—ed up reason.  And this case is a father doing a questionable (but maybe not even wrong) thing, for a good reason.  Wrap your head around that.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Non-Sucky Star Wars Christmas Special

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:59 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This is not to be confused with the horrible real Star Wars Holiday Special, but instead its some guys goofing to create various mash-ups between Star Wars and Christmas.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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