Saturday, August 15, 2009

Zombie 900 Number



I can't imagine what demographic they're aiming at.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Government Health Care as Good as the Post Office

Repost with supporting arguments at the bottom.

Yeah, BHO...that'll win us over.

Seriously...where has the government forcibly taken over an industry and made it better?

Government has never reduced the cost of a service - it cannot - but it can redirect access through the use of force (in the end, the police power of the state to harm or imprison us). Seniors know this, and that's why they're being so patriotic right now. Here's comment from today's WSJ.

Obama's Senior Moment


Elderly Americans are turning out in droves to fight ObamaCare, and President Obama is arguing back that they have nothing to worry about. Allow us to referee. While claims about euthanasia and "death panels" are over the top, senior fears have exposed a fundamental truth about what Mr. Obama is proposing: Namely, once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, rationing care is inevitable, and those who have lived the longest will find their care the most restricted.

***

Far from being a scare tactic, this is a logical conclusion based on experience and common-sense. Once health care is a "free good" that government pays for, demand will soar and government costs will soar too. When the public finally reaches its taxing limit, something will have to give on the care and spending side. In a word, care will be rationed by politics.

Mr. Obama's reply is that private insurance companies already ration, by deciding which treatments are covered and which aren't. However, there's an ocean of difference between coverage decisions made under millions of voluntary private contracts and rationing via government. An Atlantic Ocean, in fact. Virtually every European government with "universal" health care restricts access in one way or another to control costs, and it isn't pretty.

The British system is most restrictive, using a black-box actuarial formula known as "quality-adjusted life years," or QALYs, that determines who can receive what care. If a treatment isn't deemed to be cost-effective for specific populations, particularly the elderly, the National Health Service simply doesn't pay for it. Even France—which has a mix of public and private medicine—has fixed reimbursement rates since the 1970s and strictly controls the use of specialists and the introduction of new medical technologies such as CT scans and MRIs.

Yes, the U.S. "rations" by ability to pay (though in the end no one is denied actual care). This is true of every good or service in a free economy and a world of finite resources but infinite wants. Yet no one would say we "ration" houses or gasoline because those goods are allocated by prices. The problem is that governments ration through brute force—either explicitly restricting the use of medicine or lowering payments below market rates. Both methods lead to waiting lines, lower quality, or less innovation—and usually all three.

A lot of talk has centered on what Sarah Palin inelegantly called "death panels." Of course rationing to save the federal fisc will be subtler than a bureaucratic decision to "pull the plug on grandma," as Mr. Obama put it. But Mrs. Palin has also exposed a basic truth. A substantial portion of Medicare spending is incurred in the last six months of life.

From the point of view of politicians with a limited budget, is it worth spending a lot on, say, a patient with late-stage cancer where the odds of remission are long? Or should they spend to improve quality, not length, of life? Or pay for a hip or knee replacement for seniors, when palliative care might cost less? And who decides?

In Britain, the NHS decides, and under its QALYs metric it generally won't pay more than $22,000 for treatments to extend a life six months. "Money for the NHS isn't limitless," as one NHS official recently put it in response to American criticism, "so we need to make sure the money we have goes on things which offer more than the care we'll have to forgo to pay for them."

Before he got defensive, Mr. Obama was open about this political calculation. He often invokes the experience of his own grandmother, musing whether it was wise for her to receive a hip replacement after a terminal cancer diagnosis. In an April interview with the New York Times, he wondered whether this represented a "sustainable model" for society. He seems to believe these medical issues are all justifiably political questions that government or some panel of philosopher kings can and should decide. No wonder so many seniors rebel at such judgments that they know they could do little to influence, much less change.

Mr. Obama has also said many times that the growth of Medicare spending must be restrained, and his budget director Peter Orszag has made it nearly his life's cause. We agree, but then why does Mr. Obama want to add to our fiscal burdens a new Medicare-like program for everyone under 65 too? Medicare already rations care, refusing, for example, to pay for virtual colonsocopies and has payment policies or directives to curtail the use of certain cancer drugs, diagnostic tools, asthma medications and many others. Seniors routinely buy supplemental insurance (Medigap) to patch Medicare's holes—and Medicare is still growing by 11% this year.

The political and fiscal pressure to further ration Medicare would increase exponentially if government is paying for most everyone's care. The better way to slow the growth of Medicare is to give seniors more control over their own health care and the incentives to spend wisely, by offering competitive insurance plans. But this would mean less control for government, not more.

***

It's striking that even the AARP—which is run by liberals who favor national health care—has been backing away from support for Mr. Obama's version. The AARP leadership's Democratic sympathies will probably prevail in the end, perhaps after some price-control sweeteners are added for prescription drugs. But AARP is out of touch with its own members, who have figured out that their own health and lives are at stake in this debate over ObamaCare. They know that when medical discretion clashes with limited government budgets, medicine loses.

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

From the Gipper


  1. “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes.” - joking during a mike check before his Saturday radio broadcast
  2. “I hope you’re all Republicans.” - Speaking to surgeons as he entered the operating room following a 1981 assassination attempt
  3. “I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.” - Said many times during his presidency, 1981-1989
  4. “I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.” - Said during his presidency, 1981-1989
  5. “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”
  6. “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” - Remarks at a business conference, Los Angeles, March 2, 1977
  7. “Thomas Jefferson once said, “We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”
  8. “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” - during a 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale
  9. “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” - The New York Times, September 22, 1980
  10. “What makes him think a middle-aged actor, who’s played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?” - on Clint Eastwood’s bid to become mayor of Carmel.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Death By Chocolatelessness?


A new report released by the AFP says that chocolate can actually reduce the risk of morbidity in heart attack survivors. When I was growing up, one of my favorite deserts was Death By Chocolate (at Bennigans?)

Anyway, I guess they're going to have to find a new name for it. But consider this a pre-emptive strike.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Psalm 8 tonight

Tonight is the annual Perseid shower. Don't miss it! It will put you in a Psalm 8 mood.

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist - The Majesty and Glory of Your Name


Found at bee mp3 search engine


For more tips on viewing, go to Earth & Sky. There are several future showers, too. August is a happening month in terms of skywatching.

Londonderry Air Hymns

Some time ago, I blogged a musical setting of Philippians 2:6-11, the Kenotic Hymn. It's been popular, so I've been looking at other songs to that tune - Londonderry Air (meter 11.10.11.10D). Here's the tune so you can sing along.

Clyde McLennan - I cannot tell why He


Found at bee mp3 search engine

Here are some of the treasures, just for your Worship Wednesday:

Lord of the Church, We Pray for our Renewing

1 Lord of the church, we pray for our renewing:
Christ over all, our undivided aim.
Fire of the Spirit, burn for our enduing,
wind of the Spirit, fan the living flame!
We turn to Christ amid our fear and failing,
the will that lacks the courage to be free,
the weary labours, all but unavailing,
to bring us nearer what a church should be.

2 Lord of the church, we seek a Father's blessing,
a true repentance and a faith restored,
a swift obedience and a new possessing,
filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord!
We turn to Christ from all our restless striving,
unnumbered voices with a single prayer:
the living water for our souls' reviving,
in Christ to live, and love and serve and care.

3 Lord of the church, we long for our uniting,
true to one calling, by one vision stirred;
one cross proclaiming and one creed reciting,
one in the truth of Jesus and his word!
So lead us on; till toil and trouble ended,
one church triumphant one new song shall sing,
to praise his glory, risen and ascended,
Christ over all, the everlasting King!

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b.1926)
Text © Timothy Dudley-Smith in Europe (including UK and Ireland) and in all territories not controlled by Hope Publishing Company.


O CHRIST THE SAME, THROUGH ALL OUR STORY'S PAGES

O Christ the same through all our story's pages,
our loves and hopes, our failures and our fears;
eternal Lord, the King of all the ages,
unchanging still, amid the passing years:
O living Word, the source of all creation,
who spread the skies, and set the stars ablaze,
O Christ the same, who wrought our whole salvation,
we bring our thanks for all our yesterdays.

O Christ the same, the friend of sinners, sharing
our inmost thoughts, the secrets none can hide,
still as of old upon your body bearing
the marks of love, in triumph glorified:
O Son of Man, who stooped for us from heaven,
O Prince of life, in all your saving power,
O Christ the same, to whom our hearts are given,
we bring our thanks for this the present hour.

O Christ the same, secure within whose keeping
our lives and loves, our days and years remain,
Our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping,
our calm and storm, our pleasure and our pain:
O Lord of love, for all our joys and sorrows,
for all our hopes, when earth shall fade and flee,
O Christ the same, beyond our brief tomorrows,
we bring our thanks for all that is to be.

—Timothy Dudley-Smith, from A HOUSE OF PRAISE: COLLECTED HYMNS, 1961-2001, © 2003 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188, ISBN 0-916642-74-7. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

A solid antecommunion from Susan Peterson:

“I am the Vine; My Father is the Gardener.
Each branch that bears no fruit, He cuts away;
While every branch that yields good fruit, He trims and cleans,
So that it will still more produce each day.
Now you are clean because of My Word’s work in you.
Remain in Me, and I’ll remain in you.
Just as a branch without the vine can bear no fruit,
So you must stay in Me if you would bear fruit too.

“I am the Vine; if you, like branches, stay in Me
And I in you, you’ll bear much fruit in turn.
Apart from Me, you can accomplish naught for God;
You’re like a branch that withers and is burned.
But if you stay in Me and I in you each day,
Ask what you wish; it will be given you.
God will be glorified because you bear much fruit,
For thus you show yourselves to be disciples true.

“Just as the Father loves Me, so I love you too.
Obey My Word, and you’ll stay in My care,
Just as I too obey My Father God above,
And in His love remain fore’er and e’er.
I’ve told you this so that My joy may be in you,
And that your own joy may now overflow.
Here’s My command: Love others just as I’ve loved you;
To die for friends—this is the greatest love you’ll know.

“You are My friends if you do what I now command;
You’re not mere servants, knowing not My will.
I’ve called you friends, for everything I’ve learned from God,
I have made known, and now I tell you still.
You chose Me not, but I have chosen each of you,
To go and bear much fruit that will remain.
Then God will give you all you ask in My own Name.
Love one another; hear now My command again.”

Here's one to sing whenever you remember Constantine:

Above the hills of time the cross is gleaming,
Fair as the sun when night has turned to day;
And from it love’s pure light is richly streaming,
To cleanse the heart and banish sin away.
To this dear cross the eyes of men are turning,
Today as in the ages lost to sight;
And for Thee, O Christ, men’s hearts are yearning,
As shipwrecked seamen yearn for morning light.

The cross, O Christ, Thy wondrous love revealing,
Awakes our hearts as with the light of morn,
And pardon o’er our sinful spirits stealing,
Tells us that we, in Thee, have been reborn.
Like echoes to sweet temple bells replying
Our hearts, O Lord, make answer to Thy love;
And we will love Thee with a love undying,
Till we are gathered to Thy home above.

Finally, this tune - London Derry Air - can appropriately be sung at funerals! Here are two offerings:

(Tune: Londonderry / Boyce-Tilman)

We shall go out with hope of resurrection,
We shall go out, from strength to strength go on,
We shall go out and tell our stories boldly,
Tales of a love that will not let us go.
We'll sing our songs of wrongs that can be righted,
We'll dream our dream of hurts that can be healed,
We'll weave a cloth of all the world united
Within the vision of a Christ who sets us free.

We'll give a voice to those who have not spoken,
We'll find the words for those whose lips are sealed,
We'll make the tunes for those who sing no longer,
Vibrating love alive in every heart.
We'll share our joy with those who are still weeping,
Chant hymns of strength for hearts that break in grief,
We'll leap and dance the resurrection story
Including all within the circles of our love.


Go Silent Friend

Go, silent friend,
your life has found its ending:
To dust returns your weary mortal frame.
God, who before birth called you into being,
Now calls you hence, his ascent still the same.

Go, silent friend,
your life in Christ is buried;
For you He lived and died and rose again.
Close by His side your promised place is waiting
Where, fully known, you shall with God remain.

Go, silent friend,
forgive us if we grieved you;
Safe now in heaven, kindly say our name.
Your life has touched us, that is why we mourn you;
Our lives without you cannot be the same.

Go, silent friend,
we do not grudge your glory;
Sing, sing with joy deep praises to your Lord.
You, who believed that Christ would come back for you,
Now celebrate that Jesus keeps his word.

© 1996 WGRG, Iona Community

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Mother Load!

Okay...I've not been blogging much. It's because I've been slogging through tons of flood backup in my basement.

The good Lord promised never to destroy the whole earth by floods again, but he said nothing about my computers and 20+ book cases. So imagine my delight when I found that my library - while physically diminished - is growing thanks to Google Books. The University of Birmingham has a fantastic bibliography of neo-Latin texts, including plenty of solid gold from the Reformation.

Almost makes you want to run out and sign up for the Cambridge or Oxford Latin course, huh?