The Jury Talks Back

8/18/2009

Requiescat in pace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 8:08 am

Robert Novak has passed away.

I always liked his stuff.

My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

Cue the hate from the left.

8/15/2009

Doctor Screws Up, Patient Loses Legs, Doctor Immune to Suit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 10:47 pm

As I was saying below, the government is different.  Scott Jacobs points out that one of those differences is government can prevent itself from being sued, even for the willful and even criminal actions of its employees and agents.

Case in point:

Last month a military doctor was supposed to take out Colton Read’s gallbladder through laproscopic surgery.  Instead, the doctor nicked Airman Read’s aorta, causing internal bleeding.  The doctor stopped the surgery, but apparently did not notify anyone of the error until some time later.  It wasn’t until 8 hours later that Read’s aorta was repaired, but by that time the damage had been done.  His legs, deprived of normal bloodflow for 8 hours were dead and had to be amplutated.

The doctor and the government are immune to any suit:

Colton Read’s family is finding limited abilities to react to the Airman’s situation. In a case of alleged malpractice, most would pursue a lawsuit against offending parties. However, a law enacted in the 1950s known as the “Feres Doctrine” prohibits service members, spouses and family members from bringing a suit against the United States Government following medical mishaps.

And they still haven’t taken out the gallbladder.

UPDATE (8/16 12:19pm):  More complete information at ABC News:

Instead of immediately calling in a vascular surgeon to repair the damage to the artery that carried blood from the heart, doctors at the air base waited 8 1/2 hours before taking him to the UC Davis hospital.

and

[T]he U.S. surgeon general is investigating what happened to Read.

Notes from the Health Care Wars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 6:14 pm

In no particular order:

Politico.com:

A straw poll at the progressive Netroots conference where Clinton spoke showed a majority of attendees—53 percent—said they cannot support a health care reform bill that does not include a public option….

“I’m not for putting all our eggs in one basket but you’re asking me to say will I give that egg up,” said USAction’s Jeff Blum of the public plan. “Nobody has convinced me that giving that egg up is a good idea. I think it’s one of the most important eggs from which we’ll grow a better system.”

and

Indeed, the whole notion of a public plan makes some moderate Democrats so nervous that they won’t even talk about it. Asked whether he supports the public option, Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb said, “Depending on what else is in, yeah I do at the moment. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Daily Mail (UK)

[Tory Euro MP Daniel] Hannan, speaking on Fox News in the US, had said: ‘I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system.’

Mr Hannan, who has long campaigned for the NHS to be dismantled and replaced with a system of ‘personal health accounts’ once described the service as a ’60-year mistake’.

Earlier in the week he used a speech in Washington to claim that the service was a ‘Marxist system’ and warned Americans to ‘ponder our example and tremble’.

David Cameron, leader of the Tories, all but disowned Mr Hannan, saying ‘No one should be in any doubt, for the Conservative Party, the NHS is our number one priority.’

Fox News (on Obama in Colorado)

“I don’t want government bureaucrats meddling in our health care — but the point is I don’t want insurance companies’ bureaucrats meddling in our health care either,” Obama declared, unleashing a cheer from the audience.

and

President Obama criticized what he termed as the “scare tactics” of opponents to health care reform.

CNN heard this at the same session:

Insurance companies no longer will be able to place caps on benefits or charge out-of-pocket expenses on top of premiums, Obama told the cheering crowd.

So the last vestiges of the “insurance” idea disappear and we have nothing left but pre-paid medical.  Paid by someone else, of course.   I am again amazed.  The shallowness of Barack Obama continues to amaze.  I know long-term potheads with more understanding and depth.

Government is DIFFERENT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 11:24 am

Throughout the healthcare debate (and over the years on other issues) we hear the refrain “but we’re just replacing an industry bureaucrat with a government bureaucrat”.  This is true except that it isn’t really truth.

Government is DIFFERENT.

If I owe a billion dollars to General Motors or AIG or Bill Gates himself, they cannot (legally) send some armed men to my house in the middle of the night and drag me away to some dungeon and hold me until I settle up.  Government can and often does just this, sometimes for very trivial reasons (parking tickets, overdue library books, etc).

Government is force.   It has a monopoly on force.  While there are some very good reasons for that monopoly, everything that government does has behind it at least the implied threat of men with guns.  Try not paying income tax and you’ll see what I mean.

So, a government bureaucrat is much different than an industry bureaucrat.   More different still if there is no private alternative.  Consider the local school system without private schools.  Or package delivery with only the post office.  Or transportation with only city buses.  Or medicine with only government doctors.

Which is what the people who talk about “just replacing one bureaucrat for another” really want.  Medicine at the point of a gun.

8/13/2009

Rationing isn’t the problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 12:05 pm

Nolan Finley of the Detroit News argues that rationing isn’t the problem.  Or, rather, it would be the problem if Congress had any sense of fiscal discipline.  He writes,

What we ought to be worried about is an explosion of services and treatments extended to every advocacy group that wheels a sob story before a congressional committee. Congress will have no will to contain costs at the expense of votes.

Universal government health care will work just like Social Security and Medicare.

This problem, that politicians are self-interested seekers of re-election, is why a good Progressive like President Obama wants to appoint panels (death or otherwise) and commissions staffed with experts.  He sees the problem and intends to solve it by insulating health care regulation from the hurly-burly of partisan politics and entrusting it to a bureaucracy.

Once health care, or health insurance, is a government provided entitlement, it will be freed from the normal give and take (or give and give as Finley points out), and won’t really by up for question by politicians.  And once it’s no longer up for question by politicians, it, as a program in a bureaucracy with its own interests, goals, and sources of power, will lose its last possibility of any decent responsibility to voters.

8/12/2009

Death Panel?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 3:46 pm

In The Daily Beast article “Obama’s Euthenasia Mistake”, Lee Siegel makes the case that anti-Palin hysteria aside, the notion that the only effective way to reduce health care spending is to limit access to health care isn’t too far off the mark:

Make no mistake about it. Determining which treatments are “cost effective” at the end of a person’s life and which are not is one of Obama’s priorities. It’s one of the principal ways he counts on saving money and making universal healthcare affordable.

Siegel also connects the helaht care reform project to the writings of President Obama’s University of Chicago colleague Judge Richard Posner.  Siegel writes,

Judge Posner is both an enthusiastic advocate of euthanasia and an energetic eugenicist. He once wrote of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ ideas about eugenics—Holmes believed that a just society “prevents continuance of the unfit”—that “we may yet find [Holmes’] enthusiasms prescient rather than depraved.”

Cass Sunstein, who is Obama’s nominee for regulatory czar, is a disciple of Posner and believes in what Time magazine describes as “the statistical practice of taking into account years of life expectancy when evaluating a regulation.” In other words, Sunstein believes that the lives of younger people have a greater value than those of the elderly. This, obviously, would have a radical bearing on end-of-life considerations.

At Real Clear Politics, Eugene Robinson has a very good piece called “A Reason Behind the Rage” which I highly recommend.   Robinson’s point isn’t that opponents of Obama’s plan are evil, stupid, or dupes, it’s that the President hasn’t done a very good job selling it.  Robinson writes,

But reform is being sold not just as a moral obligation but also as a way to control rising health care costs. That should have been a separate discussion. It is not illogical for skeptics to suspect that if millions of people are going to be newly covered by health insurance, either costs are going to skyrocket or services are going to be curtailed.

The unvarnished truth is that services are ultimately going to have to be curtailed regardless of what happens with reform. We perform more expensive tests, questionable surgeries and high-tech diagnostic scans than we can afford. We spend unsustainable amounts of money on patients during the final year of life

What I haven’t seen much of, and this may be my own fault, is a discussion of how health insurance ought to function.  In a perfect world, how should we expect these businesses to be structured so as to make money and yet deliver services?

What I do know, when considering the argument regarding “greedy” insurance companies who don’t have the patient’s interest in mind, is that government bureaucracies are an interest too, and their goal is to expand their power.  We can hope that through effective regulation it’s possible to marry this impulse to what’s good for the American people, but, if history is any guide, I wouldn’t hold my breath.  In fact, in many ways a bureaucracy is more dangerous, insofar as they are structurally separated from any sort of direct political pressure (a feature, not a bug, for Progressives FWIW).  Theoretically, if not practically, you can switch insurance companies.  Politicians are responsible to their constituents.  Insurance companies can be sued and they can lose customers.  Government bureaucracy is notoriously insensitive to reform.

8/11/2009

Patterico’s is down for me

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Scott Jacobs @ 1:50 am

Apparently someone wanged the server with a link, so we’re going to have to make do for a little while (or ignore me, since with my luck the site will be back up and running by the time any of you see this).

Open thread till the main site is back.  Play nice.

Update: It appears to be up now (9:32am Patterico time)

Update x2: From nk

Don’t Bring Me Down

Hmmm…  Seems the update to the blogging software is preventing me from embedding.

8/9/2009

Sept 12th Quincy IL teaparty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 8:35 pm

Anyone in the general area of Illinois considering going?  Apparently several noteable people will be there.

If you’re going, lemme know.  I’d love to bum a ride.  this should be very interesting.

The George G. Nickel Fund – Your Urgent Assistance Needed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 8:25 am

This post is a re-transmission for assistance for SSGT Nickel, via Badger 6

This is an urgent request for your assistance. Mores so than at any time since many of you started reading Badgers Forward, a Badger needs your assistance.

SSG George Nickel, the only survivor of the biggest attack on our company, is in the Ada County Jail, charged with some things that can only be related to his service in Iraq.

The good folks at the Idaho Veterans Network have established the George Nickel Fund. This fund will go to pay the legal fees that Staff Sergeant Nickel will incur as well as any other costs.

You can make your donation at any Wells Fargo Bank or you can send it to the branch where the fund was establsihed.

George G. Nickel Fund
Idaho Veterans Network Corporation
c/o Wells Fargo Bank
Idaho Center Branch
5607 E. Franklin Road
Nampa, Idaho 83687

you can also use PayPal and send it to badger.six @ gmail.com. This is my personal PayPal account, but will see it gets to the Nickel fund.

Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Please do what you can.

8/5/2009

Nero Possumus

Filed under: Uncategorized — fat tony @ 12:12 pm

http://www.nbcwashington.com/around-town/food-drink/Stylish-Prez-Hideous-Birthday-Cake-52458537.html

Trying to edit some video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 12:04 pm

Anyone have a suggestion for a cheap (read: free) program that will let me edit a file I downloaded off of YouTube?

It’s in .flv format, and I need to cut some away so it fits better.  Also, I don’t want it to be able to magically disappear from YouTube, so I intend to make my own version.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Note: I’ve tried Windows Movie Maker, but it tells me I’m missing the needed codec, which I then found (I think), and installed, but it’s still not liking it.  So maybe Movie Maker would work, but I’m just not finding the right codec.  Suggestions in that vein would be just as helpful.

Used Car Prices Rising?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 9:35 am

One aspect of the cash for clunkers program that I have not seen discussed is the effect it will have on used car prices. With all of those used cars being destroyed it stands to reason that used cars will become more scarce and prices will rise. I would expect this to be another unintended consequence.

The people who need help the most are not the people in the market for a new car and they are not the people who are concerned about bad gas mileage.

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