Jan/26
2011
You're going to see a specialist and there may be an operation involved. When you get to their office a little man in a white coat totters into the room. Liver spots decorate the wrinkled fingers which tremble a little as he pokes at you. Peering at you through thick glasses you he asks you for the third time why you're here. Then he tells you that surgery is the only option. Nervous? I know I would be.
To lift this burden from peers while protecting patients, 5 percent to 10 percent of hospitals around the country have begun to address the issue of aging physicians more systematically, said Dr. Jonathan Burroughs, a consultant with the Greeley Company, which advises hospitals and health care companies. “The other 90 to 95 percent are not willing to take this on,” he said. In some instances, their efforts have been squashed by a vocal medical staff. (NYT)
I think I fairly characterize most well established Doctors as arrogant about their capabilities. I'm related to more than one and from my interaction at family events there isn't anything they don't know, have an option on, and are unequivocally correct about. Try questioning a Doctor's opinion when you're in their office. Chances are good that you'll get a double helping of attitude along with a verbal bitch slapping. How dare you! But they are aging. And that means there is an impact on their skills. Who is making that assessment? Who is testing that they still retain the judgment and physical capabilities to perform? Can we really expect that the medical community will police themselves? Ok, ok, please stop laughing.
One-third of the nation’s physicians are over 65, and that proportion is expected to rise. As doctors in the baby boom generation reach 65, many are under increasing financial pressures that make them reluctant to retire. Many doctors, of course, retain their skills and sharpness of mind into their 70s and beyond. But physicians are hardly immune to dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and other ills of aging. And some experts warn that there are too few safeguards to protect patients against those who should no longer be practicing. “My guess is that John Q. Public thinks there is some fail-safe mechanism to protect him from incompetent physicians,” Dr. Norcross said. “There is not.”[...] Medical professionals are supposed to report colleagues’ unsafe practices and bad behavior. But doctors are reluctant to confront their fellow physicians, especially their seniors, who may have trained them.
The problem is not a simple one. The there has been a decline in the number of new medical professionals, as stated above there are financial reasons that prevent older physicians from retiring, and there is also the missing mechanism of quality assurance - some process that regularly and repeatedly checks a Doctor's capabilities and raises a flag when anomalies occur. Most of all there is a sense of resistance when "ordinary" people step in and make a fuss. One would think, given the high cost of medical insurance, that there would be a movement to ensure that high-risk professionals like surgeons are occasionally tested to ensure that they are in the best possible form. But reality dictates that until people die (note that suffering is ok, dying is not) nothing will change. The burden then lies on the patient, Caveat emptor, if you're not sure about the doctor's capabilities don't take a risk. Really, are you willing to bet your life on an old geezer's ego? If you're not sure think about if you'd be willing to drive with them in a car. That at least should give you a baseline to work from.
Jan/25
2011

Pack That Tie

So a car salesman in Chicago wears a Green Bay Packers tie to work, refuses to take it off after being asked. He loses his job. Fair?
OAK LAWN, Ill. (AP) — A car salesman in suburban Chicago who was fired for refusing to remove a Green Bay Packers tie says he won't be coming back even though his former boss has relented. John Stone wore the tie to work at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn Monday, the day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl. Stone says he wore the tie to honor his late grandmother, who was a big Green Bay fan.
That's a tough one really. From the salesman's point of view I can see that "it's only a tie". He also wore it for his Grandmother. Really for most people it's nothing more than a point of discussion, not something that should escalate to the point of making life changing decisions. I would also imagine that John wasn't the only salesman on the floor that day so the risk of losing a sale is mostly his. Were I a customer I would simply pick a different salesman if I didn't like his tie. For the owner it seems a bit extreme to fire someone if they're not violating acceptable dress code or behavior. True it's his store and his rules, but I doubt that he really considered other options like sending the salesman home, or asking him to do paperwork in the back where his tie wouldn't be seen. Now, since it made the news, the owner has offered John his job back but he's refused. Coincidentally he also has a job offer from another dealership. I would say that the salesman definitely won that round, and perhaps the owner learned something from the incident. Sure, maybe they're your employee and you can fire them at will, but if your business depends on the public opinion think first before you punt someone on a whim or suffer the backlash.
Jan/25
2011
Sometimes there is a loss so great that no amount of money that can compensate for it. Revenge won't make anything different. Sometimes all someone wants is an explanation. Sometimes that person can only hear one side of the story and that will never answer all the questions. It might not be the full story, but hopefully it can be enough.
Jan/24
2011
Some people are grumpy and mean. Some people talk out their ass because all they can see is shit. Show some people a rainbow and they talk about rain. Agree with them or be called names. Dude, seriously, go get laid or something because you are truly Mr. Cranky Pants.
Jan/24
2011
Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress.[...] The [Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight] sued Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer in 2006, seeking $100 million in fines and $115 million in restitution. In 2008, the three former executives settled with the regulator, returning $31.4 million in compensation. Without admitting or denying the regulator’s allegations, Mr. Raines paid $24.7 million and Mr. Howard paid $6.4 million; Ms. Spencer returned $275,000.[...] Asked why it has not cut off funding for these mounting legal bills, Edward J. DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said: “I understand the frustration regarding the advancement of certain legal fees associated with ongoing litigation involving Fannie Mae and certain former employees. It is my responsibility to follow applicable federal and state law. Consequently, on the advice of counsel, I have concluded that the advancement of such fees is in the best interest of the conservatorship.” (NYT)
Astonishing. Mega mortgage executives do their job poorly, put millions into debt, ruin the national economy and when they're finally called to account they pay back an insulting pittance AND have the people suing them foot the bill for their legal fees. Please can't we bring back tar and feathering? These fuckers deserve it most of all.
Jan/24
2011
“I can’t die,” he [Jack LaLanne] most famously liked to say. “It would ruin my image.” (NYT)
Hardly Jack, hardly. If anything you've become a patron saint for the physically fit, right up there with Charles Atlas himself (luckily for us Joe Weider is still alive but he too is on the path to deity-dom himself.) I have a soft spot for the lean, bouncy little Jack. Memories of my mom stretching and bending in front of the TV, or kicking and twisting to his record make me smile. His show, which I can barely recall, was truly novel. Jack would talk to you the viewer, not the invisible audience. It was part of his success, that hallmark intimacy. His life was quite remarkable, a less than ordinary fifteen year old on the path to dropping out suddenly inspired to become one of the world's foremost fitness gurus. Driven to improve himself and others, raise awareness in personal health and good nutrition at a time when gyms and spas were unheard of. Remember those days? Smoking wasn't bad for you, cars didn't have seat belts, drinking and driving was considered humor and a thick steak was considered the healthiest meal going. Jack bucked that trend and did so in the friendliest way possible. Personal accomplishments Jack did one very special thing for everyone without even trying. He lived to a ripe, old, healthy age and demonstrated how simply it could be done. You go Jack, you're awesome and your image will never tarnish even long after you're gone.
Jan/23
2011
Summary: The "Sheriffs First Act" is supposedly a means to ensure that the Federal Government cannot act without the approval of local Sheriffs. In reality it burdens local law enforcement and leave them holding the bag. In a genuine emergency or terrorist attack the President will be unable to help in a timely manner. Then when people die because of inaction the blame will fall on the local police for not acting quickly enough. But the most amazing thing is the stream of motivated but clearly uneducated people that support this idea as a good thing. None of them bothered to check their facts before blurting out their views. People, this is what the Internet is for ok?
Some said their sheriffs would protect them against episodes such as the 1993 federal raid on Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, or the deadly siege by government law enforcement agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. Others cited the confiscation of private citizens' guns during Hurricane Katrina as a justification to keep the federal government in check — even though it was the New Orleans Police Department, not the federal government, that confiscated those guns. One man said something must be done to stop the march toward a stateless world government. Another said this bill would protect him from having to defend himself by force against federal government abuses by having the sheriff do it for him.
I feel for the police in Montana. They're being used as a patsy by people who care less about what's actually good for the state than they do about their political views. But I guess as long as stupid people vote there isn't much that can be done about it.
Several law enforcement officials, including sheriffs and sheriff representatives, spoke against Senate Bill 114, saying it is misguided, politically motivated and could harm criminal investigations and jeopardize interagency cooperation.
Jan/23
2011
"Not enough food to feed their own." I saw this statement as a comment to an article about North Korea a while back. I do not dispute its accuracy since North Korea's leader is a maniacal psychopath who has no qualms letting his citizens suffer. What did make me take pause is the thought that we in the United States may not be far from this statement ourselves. I'm not talking about the ability to import enough food to feed ourselves. It is obvious from visiting any supermarket that we have plenty of food in this country. We also currently produce plenty of food, although it is of dubious quality as evidenced by recalls and disease outbreaks. Also, more and more of our food is imported. As u235's post indicates, sometimes it's things you'd never guess and from places you'd never guess. According to the American Farmland Trust: "We lost farm and ranch land 51 percent faster in the 1990s than in the 1980s. The rate of loss for 1992-1997, 1.2 million acres per year, was 51 percent higher than from 1982-1992." Furthermore, much of that is the most fertile and prime agricultural land. Our country will lose its greatness once it cannot adequately feed itself without the help of third world countries. Part of the problem is the pursuit of the American Dream, millennium style - a "McMansion" in a subdivision on a large lot. I shake my head as I drive around my local area as I observe one corn field after another converted to these monstrosities. I have a big house, but I held to my convictions and it is a big house on a modest plot in an old village - no farm land or wood land was destroyed in the past 50 years to make my home - and I pay homage to my agricultural roots with my small garden. The other part of the problem is society under valuing the American farmer, his/her livelihood and land. The USEPA states that: "It has been estimated that living expenses for the average farm family exceed $47,000 per year. Clearly, many farms that meet the U.S. Census' definition would not produce sufficient income to meet farm family living expenses. In fact, fewer than 1 in 4 of the farms in this country produce gross revenues in excess of $50,000." It is a sad commentary on our society when the very people that feed us can barely pay their bills. As more and more young people see that farming is not where the money is at and faced with the prospect of long days for little pay (or respect), many are leaving family farms. According the USEPA: "As the U.S. farm population has dwindled, the average age of farmers continues to rise. In fact, about forty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The graying of the farm population has led to concerns about the long-term health of family farms as an American institution." (Visit your local farmer's market before it's too late!) What is more important that the food we eat? Is a CEO really 1000X more valuable than a farmer? If we don't change our way of thinking and quit worshiping lawyers and MBAs like gods, we are going to be in deep doo-doo. And I don't mean the good stuff that helps the tomatoes grow.
Jan/23
2011
I'll bet he gets better cell reception in the hoosegow than I do at my desk.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina prison officials say they have seized a cell phone from an inmate who was updating his Facebook page from prison. Corrections officials told The Post and Courier of Charleston that 22-year-old Quincy Howard is in disciplinary detention and can't make collect calls or have visitors after the contraband mobile phone was taken from his cell earlier this month. Howard is serving a 30-year sentence for manslaughter from Marion County. The newspaper reports Howard spent most of his time on Facebook last year playing the Mafia Wars and Cafe World games. But he occasionally gave status updates like: "RAILROADED BY THIS CROOKED A JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN SOUTH CAROLINA."
Ya have to wonder really. He had an illegal cell phone in jail, that's a neat trick for starters, but then somehow he has to keep it charged and use it when no one is looking. I mean a jail is supposed to be loaded with cameras and people watching, so how does he manage all this? And on top of it no one notices that the kid is still updating his facebook page? For real? I mean hell, most white collar jobs have more oversight than that. And they don't even give you breaks for exercise or free meals. Locked in detention playing facebook games. Sounds like a rough time for Quincy. I guess life is about to get just a little harder now. Ya know I wonder - who was paying for his service?
Jan/23
2011
Posturing, pure posturing. No one wants their tax payer money wasted on a this kind of bullshit. We want you people to get to work and SOLVE (get it *solve*?) the fucking problems of the land.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans want to box majority Democrats into allowing a health care repeal vote even if GOP lawmakers expect to be on the losing side. "We need to have a vote on it because we promised the people we would," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "We have to have a vote on repeal so that everybody is on record whether they want to repeal."
On record? We already have a record! We know who voted for what when. Now stop wasting our goddamned time and just get on with business. If you want to fix healthcare you're gonna have to do the hard work and come up with your own counter proposal to replace the current system. SIT DOWN. SHUT UP. GET TO WORK.
Jan/23
2011
... But too small for a park bench; what am I referring to? Why Lenin of course! (Well, his body that is.)
MOSCOW (AP) — A new poll sponsored by the pro-Kremlin party is asking Russians to vote on whether it's time to bury Vladimir Lenin. The embalmed body of the man who founded the Soviet Union still lies on public display in a Red Square mausoleum almost 20 years after the communist state collapsed.
Can you say "awkward"? It's like one of those bits of holiday brick-a-brac that must be on display for those few hours that Great Aunt Dotty comes to visit every Christmas. "Oh yes we love it, it's always there, the kids have grown up seeing it every day," and you make a mental note next time to *dust* the shelf it's sitting on so the telltale imprint of the actual spot-owner isn't quite so apparent. Hopefully she'll think we just moved it from a lofty perch, safe from young fingers, to a more visible location just for the season. Then you nudge its faded gift box just a bit more under the coffee table. Did she see that? No, ok, time for more tea. Only there really isn't a coffee table big enough to tuck Lenin under. I mean maybe with a nice check tablecloth and a few doilies his glass sarcophagus could *be* a coffee table (a-la the body of Meatloaf/"Eddie" in Rocky Horror) but who really wants to have tea in the middle of a masoleum? Other than a few wayward Goths that is. I can genuinely see their dilemma. I mean Lenin is still notionally revered, still a defining profile for the U.S.S.R. er... whoops I mean Russia. But like an unwelcome house guest camping on the couch, he's long overstayed his welcome. It would be nice if he were to quietly fade away, something that would have actually happened if he hadn't been so well embalmed, but no Mr. Fantastic Dipped In Plastic will be around for a good century or so, taking up space somewhere. For my two cents I think they should prop him up with the Also-Too-Well-Embalmed Evita Peron like Ken and Barbie. Perhaps on a tour bus with large windows and drive them about from location to location as a cultural event for the kids. Cleverly posed in conversation, or strapped to a podium playing recordings of their best public speeches, would at least be a reminder of the role they played in history. And how much has changed since then. Heck, maybe even Michael Jackson could join them...
Jan/22
2011
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A sports bar owner in Minnesota is showing his support for the Green Bay Packers in this weekend's game against the Chicago Bears in a very literal way — by roasting a bear. Blake Montpetit, the co-owner of Tiffany Sports Lounge in St. Paul, says he plans to cook a 180-pound black bear in a pig-roaster over hickory and charcoal on Sunday. He says his cousin shot it in northern Wisconsin during bear hunting season, which runs in September and October, and then froze it.
I respect that different states have different cultures, but somehow the notion of roasting a bear just makes me wince. I don't really see bears as human-food. Nor do I see them as being a nuisance or having an over-population problem. Rather I see them as trophy animals, (although not so much at a paltry 180lbs which is less than what most adults weigh these days.) Maybe it's because I've seen them at zoos or the circus. Or because I had a stuffed Winny the Pooh as a child. Whatever my problem is the notion of roasting a bear on a spit seems gross and tasteless to me. I'll bet it tastes like chicken though...
Jan/22
2011
I try and give my kids fruit with their lunch. Sometimes it's fresh, or sometimes it's fruit in bars, or cups. One of my kids really likes orange slices, so I got mandarin slices in juice. As I got home the package dropped out of the bag and one cup cracked open. The floor was a sticky mess, but the fruit inside the plastic cup was still good so I thought I might eat it instead. So I read the label just to make sure it didn't have any preservatives that I'm allergic to. And that's when I saw it was made in China. Wait what? Fruit from China? The nation with the worst health and safety standards in the entire world? Where their products have sickened and killed people all over the globe? Fuck no. Into the trash it went. I was pretty disappointed, last week I found that the local store brand fruit cup was made in China but now Del Monte too? It sucks, but I'm going to vote with my wallet by boycotting any consumable products from China. Please read labels when you're in the store, I'm sorry I didn't.
Jan/22
2011
Please don't look for the logic in this because you'll only hurt yourself trying. There isn't any. Short version: The Great Fucktator is looking to rev up his audience by picking on elderly professors and dead people. Purely fictitious claims of evil machinations have resulted in hate mail and death threats against academics. Boy Glen, you're such a brave, bold man to be making people believe that these dusty, crusty professors are secretly plotting the overthrow of our entire way of life...
Frances Fox Piven, a City University of New York professor, has been a primary character in Mr. Beck’s warnings about a progressive take-down of America. Ms. Piven, Mr. Beck says, is responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.” Her name has become a kind of shorthand for “enemy” on Mr. Beck’s Fox News Channel program, which is watched by more than 2 million people, and on one of his Web sites, The Blaze. This week, Mr. Beck suggested on television that she was an enemy of the Constitution. Never mind that Ms. Piven’s radical plan to help poor people was published 45 years ago, when Mr. Beck was a toddler. Anonymous visitors to his Web site have called for her death, and some, she said, have contacted her directly via e-mail.
This is the new, conservative America, land of Tea-Party values where any theory that does not support their values isn't just suspect - it's worthy of death. Hmmm, sound familiar? Sounds just like Iran or maybe Venezuela for that matter. Only they at least have the common sense not to go after someone who published a paper on their philosophy back in 1965. Get that 1.9.6.5. But wait, it gets better. Bullshit-Beck tries to draw a correlation between Obama and this obscure paper based on... well not based on anything other than his claim. Apparently the new civility after the attempted murder of Ms. Giffords didn't reach the Glenster. No way, venom is his trade, and weak-assed attempts at denial are just that.
One such threat, published as an anonymous comment on The Blaze, read, “Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back.”
And so, once again, from World of Suck to Fox News, Fuck you slime balls. Fuck you and good night.
Jan/22
2011
"Officials Fear Bath Salts Are Growing Drug Problem" I read the headline, then I read it again. I've read the entire article and I still don't believe people are this stupid. Ok, that's a lie, what I meant to say is I still don't believe that the actions of a few stupid people are going to make scented spa-baths illegal for us normal folks.
While Brown survived, sheriff's authorities in one Mississippi county say they believe one woman overdosed on bath salts there. In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Miss., sheriff's deputy was under the influence of the bath salts. [...] Some say the effects of the powders are as powerful as abusing methamphetamine. Increasingly, law enforcement agents and poison control centers say the bath salts with complex chemical names are an emerging menace in several U.S. states where authorities talk of banning their sale. From the Deep South to California, emergency calls are being reported over exposure to the stimulants the powders often contain: mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.(AP)
Astrofuckingnomically moronic. Why can't we just let people who are that stupid die? I don't get it. We live in a nation where it's OK for anyone, even a child, to own a gun but possessing bath salts should be a crime?
Jan/22
2011
She can find a lawyer and sue.
The security video -- which has now been shown countless times on television and passed around on Facebook and Twitter -- shows Marrero sending a text while walking through the Berkshire Mall, completely oblivious to anything in front of her -- including the giant fountain.
(from foxnews) Ms. Marrero is suing because she wants to “hold to the appropriate persons accountable.” The mall security has already fired the employee who posted the video to YouTube. In summation: Marrero has a cellphone. Texting is more important than watching where she is walking. Marrero falls into a fountain. It was caught on tape. Security guard snags the snippet and puts it on YouTube. Ms. Marrero is embarrassed. Yup, I think that covers most of it. . . . Ba Ha Ha Ha Ha. But wait - there is that little bit about suing . . . Ms. Marrero claims she "went public with her identity because she wants to highlight privacy and security problems at the mall and teach people, especially kids, about the dangers of texting while walking." She told Good Morning America (as posted in the Daily News): "Unfortunately, I didn't have anything to grab onto and hold my balance," said Marrero, who appeared on "GMA" alongside her lawyer. "Nobody [from the mall] called to see if I was okay." Personally, I never expect any privacy in a mall. I also don't put too much faith in rent-a-cops making a bit better than minimum wage. However, it is noble to try to keep kids from the perils of texting and walking. It is interesting to note that Ms. Marrero could use a bit of money for some legal troubles. She stole money and needs to pay it back. I'm also sure there are a few lawyer's fees to deal with, too. What can we all learn from this? - Don't text and walk. You never quite know where fountains (or open manholes) might be. - If you instist on texting and walking and fall or walk into something, don't expect any sympathy. - There is no shortage of security cameras or video capturing cellphones. Whatever you do, it might wind up on YouTube. - They don't pay most mall security guards enough to give a rat's behind about your privacy.
Jan/22
2011
Iran cried wolf again, this time asking for new negotiations on their nuclear antics and then showing up empty handed to lambaste the nations that did show up.
Neither "resolutions, sanctions, threats, computer virus nor even a military attack will stop uranium enrichment in Iran," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, declared as the talks began.
Were I one of the members of the IAEA I would have gotten up at that moment and said "Well fuck you for wasting my time then," and walked out. It is plainly apparent that Iran has no intention of negotiating. They want to build a bomb. And they probably want to use it on Israel. Hopefully the international powers will stop them before it happens using conventional explosives. Sometimes it's necessary to remove a limb to save the body. The same is true with the international community. Sometimes it's necessary to start a war in order to maintain peace.