Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

I have enjoyed listening to the TCS Daily Podcasts. I heard something interesting in this podcast, featuring Stephen D. Cooper, an Associate Professor of Communications at Marshall University, about which I haven't seen anyone else comment. It is about his new book, "Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers As the Fifth Estate" and he discusses the roll of the blogosphere in policing the MSM.

The host, Ed Driscoll, asked him to "talk a little bit more about how your book defines the relationship between bloggers and the press." (at 1:40)

Professor Cooper replied, "Well, I would say the relationship is very much similar to the long-standing roll the press and the other branches of government..."

I have heard others, notably in the Pajamas Media podcasts, especially Glenn Reynolds, make the case that the press fancies themselves to be a fourth branch of government, but is was interesting to hear this Associate Professor of Communications refer to "the press and the other branches of government."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why, when we have a very robust economy, does everybody seem to think it's in the crapper? Instapundit linked to this post by John Wixted.

What is unrecognized is that today's poor aren't yesterday's poor, nor will they be tomorrow's poor. If you read Thomas Sowell, you will see that entry level wages may be flat, but people don't stay in entry level jobs. As Glenn commented about everyone he knows who owns a business, people move to new jobs for better wages. The MSM likes to report that income for "the poorest 10%" has not increased, but a sample of today's poorest 10% will show income growth over the next year. The problem with the MSM logic is that they aren't sampling the same people.

You could argue that the youngest 10% of babies are eating the same foods they were 10 years ago. This means that babies eat baby food. So what? It certainly doesn't mean that people who were eating baby food 10 years ago are still eating baby food.

So what if today's teenagers are earning the same as teenagers 5 or 10 years ago? Is it a "living wage"? It is for a teenager with no rent, utilities etc. If you are 30 years old with a family and you are working at minimum wage, whose fault is that?

Update: grammar correction
Mouse Story ...

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning.

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap-- alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died.

So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life.

We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You Are Superman

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
And pretty cute too. No wonder you're the most popular superhero ever!

That was interesting, I wouldn't have guessed that one.

Monday, August 21, 2006

There is a bill pending in the Senate, S 2590, which would create internet access to allow us to see where our money is being spent. This bill has been held up due to a "secret hold" by one or more Senators. The telephone for the Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. Call this and ask your senators if they have placed a hold on this bill. I spoke with the offices of Senator Frist and Senator Alexander. Brandon, with Sen Frist, indicated he was a co-sponsor of the bill and would not want a hold placed on it. Kara, in Sen Alexander's office, had no knowledge of Sen Alexander's position but "would have someone get back" to me. You can see the list of "suspects" and cleared Senators here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reuters does its typical job of writing an editorial and trying to pretend it's an actual news report: Bush to cast his first veto on stem-cell bill. Here, they write:
President George W. Bush will cast the first veto of his presidency on Wednesday to stop legislation championed by top scientists and desired by most Americans to expand embryonic stem cell research, the White House said.
Nowhere in the article do they support the statement that "top scientists" support the legislation. They don't quote a single scientist, by name or otherwise, or even refer to a single scientist as supportive, never mind how they might have decided who the "top scientists" were.

Additionally, the article makes to reference to any polls that indicate that "most Americans" support this legislation. I would doubt that "most Americans" even know what this legislation is about.

For example, how many of my readers know that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was non-existent prior to the 2001 legislation signed by President Bush? Did you know that the law does not limit, nor did President Bush support limiting stem cell research, only embryonic stem cell research?

This article by Reuters repeats a common element; that is to use the broader term "stem cell research" when they are specifically addressing objections to "embryonic stem cell research." I wonder if it is deliberate.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is the customer always right? I don't think so, and neither does The Chief Happiness Officer.

I worked in a hospital where the corporate policy was to do Medical Screening Evaluations (MSE's) and to require pre-registration and pre-payment for those who we determined did not have an Emergency Medical Condition. When I started there, the ER director, a nurse administrator, explained that the corporations intent was to "train the community" in the proper utilization of the ER and to discourage inappropriate use.

A number of hospitals don't do this, both because of a fear of liability and a fear of alienating "customers." I always thought you wanted to alienate over-utilizers and those for whom you wouldn't receive payment because the insurance company would deny payment for a non-emergent condition. Additionally, if you do a good job in your MSE, there should be minimal liability.

Anyway, I told the nurse director that I would do this if it was policy but he should understand that there would be a significant number of complaints. He stated that the administration understood this.

Well, what do you guess happened? I did the screens and got complaints. Some people were grateful when the registration person told them they would have to pay if their insurance company denied the charges, but the majority were unhappy about being told their conditions weren't emergencies. After all, isn't the customer always right? I can remember being taught that a condition was an emergency if the patient determined it was.

But, geez, what about the person who shows up at 7pm on a Tuesday night requesting a refill on her Prozac? She had taken her last pill that morning and there was no reason she couldn't call her PMD in the AM for a refill, except that she owed him so much money that he refused to provide care until she started paying. Should we be required to see her and give her a prescription, with no expectation of payment?

One of my colleagues tells this story: He asked a patient one night why he had not seen his PMD for his presenting complaint, a chronic problem, and the patient replied, "I don't have any money to pay a doctor." My colleague, exasperated, replied, "I don't work for free, you know."

Anyway, the end result of my efforts to pursue MSE's was that the administration of the hospital almost fired me over the number of complaints I was getting. Now I don't disagree that a hospital should want to keep down the number of unhappy customers, but why tell me to do MSE's, knowing you will get complaints, and then criticize me for the complaints when I did appropriate MSE's. I would always have a nurse in the room when I explained it to the patient and the consensus was that I did a good job and was not rude or insensitive in my presentation to the patient.