Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
2009 August 06 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Clever Corvids

The BBC has an interesting report on a couple of studies that show that rooks are smarter than you would assume. They use tools and understand the displacement of liquids.

They are probably working with squirrels, so watch your back.

August 6, 2009   4 Comments

Local Industry Gone

A friend took advantage of the “Clunkers” program and bought a new truck, the first new truck he ever owned.

The local auto repair sector is in mourning. The “Clunker” he traded in was the equivalent of a separate industry. Boats have been purchased, children have gone through college, weddings have been funded with the money for repairing it. It had around 68,000 total miles on it, and he bought it used.

Three sets of tires, three radiators, two air conditioning compressors, 5 batteries, two alternators, a new fan belt every six months, freeze plugs, head gaskets, etc. It had 20 gallons of gas in the auxiliary tank that had been inaccessible for months, and the gas gauge on the accessible tank didn’t work. Wiper blades would just fall off when you used them. The passenger side mirror came off when I closed the door one day because the screws were too small for the clips in the door and the double-sided tape used to hold it place when the mirror was installed, finally gave out.

“Lemon” doesn’t begin to describe that truck, and yet, every time you suggested that he get rid of it, he would say, “this time they found the real problem”.

When he said that they couldn’t take it apart and sell parts, I breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t doubt it will break the crusher when they go to “cube” it.

August 6, 2009   4 Comments

How Insane Are They?

Via WTF is it now?, a report about an encounter of a Congresscritter and the Teabagging Clown Show: Congressman Parker Griffith hosts Impromptu town hall-like meeting at Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville

Griffith said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another Democrat from California, was “trying to force” the bill on to the floor, but the conservative-leaning Blue Dog Democrats – of which he is a member – halted it.

His answer to what most people see as a health care system in need of reform is to make private insurance more competitive and expand medical schools so that more doctors can get into the field and take care of people.

“You can’t reform an industry around scarcity,” Griffith said, adding that the crisis is as much an access issue as it is an insurance issue.

He repeatedly said he won’t support a public option for insurance, but several in the crowd repeatedly criticized him for taking the “liberals’ side” in the health care debate.

This guy is to the right of Genghis Khan, as everyone in his district knows, which leads to the conclusion that the people in crowd aren’t from his district, and only know that he has a D after his name.

I would note that he hasn’t figured out that if you don’t have insurance, you don’t get access, and that we have plenty of doctors, but they’re heavily weighted towards specialties, rather than the family physicians that are needed. He should really read the research on doctors which shows that more doctors increases costs, rather than decreasing them, which is what happens in other fields, i.e. the “free market” model doesn’t work in health care.

August 6, 2009   4 Comments


CNN is starting to get the message by presenting articles like this: Nurses offer tips for surviving a hospital stay. One of the highlight points is: “Medical errors kill up to 98,000 U.S. hospital patients a year.”

There are a few things I would add:

With a black marker, write your name and type of surgery on your body before they put you under, and include blood type and any major drug allergies. [suggested by a professor at a major medical school]

Displaying the card of a well-known malpractice attorney on your side table wouldn’t hurt.

Don’t depend on doctors or nurses remembering anything about you or your case, especially your chronic diseases or problems.

Keep your own medical history, including all diseases and surgeries, medications, allergies, etc. and take it with you if you are hospitalized. The hospital records are usually crap. Also verify that the ID band they put on your wrist is actually you. Be extremely careful if you have a common name, or a large family in the area.

Keep in mind that medicine is a business and one of the few for which you are expected to pay, even if the work is worthless. If a plumber doesn’t fix the leak, s/he doesn’t get paid, but doctors expect their money even if the “customer” dies.

August 6, 2009   Comments Off on BHCITW, N! 2

The Best Health Care In The World, NOT!

CBS is starting to do some reporting, well, Stephanie Condon at CBS is anyway. She has two pieces up today. In 10 Health Care Reform Myths, she covers some of the obvious lies and distortions, as well as a few misunderstandings about what is actually in the House bill.

Then she lets a Republican Senator make a fool of himself in Grassley: “Obama-Care” Wouldn’t Help Kennedy. She refers to her previous article on “Myths” to show Grassley repeating some of them.

I would point out to Senator Grassley, that the Queen Mum wasn’t denied care in Britain, nor was Baroness Thatcher when they had problems at a rather advanced ages. Somehow Henry Allingham made it to 113, and died as the oldest man on the planet, and the last founding member of both the Royal Navy Air Service and the Royal Air Force. Not being wealthy, Mr. Allingham received his care from the National Health Service of Britain, just like the members of Parliament.

I would note that Senator Kennedy’s health insurance is paid for by the taxpayers, just like yours, so your complaint is doubly stupid, which is not exactly a new situation for you.

August 6, 2009   Comments Off on The Best Health Care In The World, NOT!


The BBC reports that Murdoch signals end of free news:

News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites.

Mr Murdoch said he was “satisfied” that the company could produce “significant revenues from the sale of digital delivery of newspaper content”.

“The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution,” he added.

“But it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media.

“Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting,” he said.

In order to stop readers from moving to the huge number of free news websites, Mr Murdoch said News Corp would simply make its content “better and differentiate it from other people”

Well, yes, if you have a good product, people might want it. They also might advertise at good media outlets, but given News Corp’s track record in the media business I can confidently predict bigger losses for their on-line sites as people stop visiting and the ad revenue drops as a result.

Good reporting sells newspapers. If media owners had concentrated on good reporting, instead of their stock price and profit margin, and had stopped mortgaging everything they own, driving up their interest expenses, they just might have gotten a good return on investment for generations, instead of the spike of obscene profits followed the the bankruptcy many are now facing.

August 6, 2009   6 Comments

Happy Birthday

To Steve Bates of the Yellow Something Something and NTodd of Dohiyi Mir!

August 6, 2009   14 Comments