December 2

Heal Health Care System? Start Anew

In yet another article on the the health care system, The New York Times reports on the proposal by Steffie Woolhandler and others to do away with private insurance. Woolhandler answers the reporter’s question of what is driving up health care costs with:

Administrative costs. As of 1999, these accounted for 31 percent of U.S. health care expenditures, compared to 16.7 percent in Canada. In fact, we spent $1,059 per person on administrative costs, compared to $307 in Canada. With a single-payer system, we could save $209 billion a year by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private insurance industry. Administrative costs may even be higher with the new Medicare bill.

While those costs are certainly significant, I’m not convinced that they are most of the increase over say the last decade. Also, I’m always suspicious of claims that changing administration will save much, especially if the administration is regulated by federal law. And couldn’t a single-payer system enforce other cost controls, such as lower drug prices which she mentions?

Here are an overview of the single-payer system proposed by The Physician’s Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance of the PNHP, and the whole article.

posted @ 04:44 PM EST

December 3

Bush's Policy Methodology Is Archetype Of Hidden Agenda

In September’s Washington Monthly, Joshua Micah Marshall, does a nice job of summarizing the Bush administration’s maneuvers to advance a radical conservative agenda while publicly claiming that its policies are designed to solve pressing problems. Most of the same points were made over the past few years in Paul Krugman’s Times columns, which are collected in The Great Unraveling.

Thanks to a certain Rollins College economics professor for pointing out Marshall’s essay to me.

posted @ 02:28 PM EST

December 4

Share The Road

I added the “SHARE THE ROAD” picture, taken today in New Castle, New Hampshire, to the blog’s sidebar.

posted @ 10:37 PM EST

December 8

Jack Frost Caught on Radar Fleeing New England

Jack Frost in Gulf

All that’s left of this weekend’s snowstorm is in Maine. Is that Jack Frost in the gulf, fleeing the wrath of New Englanders buried under his early winter’s work?

posted @ 01:38 AM EST

A Beautiful Day in Rye after the Weekend Snowstorm

Snow 2003 Dec. 8

The day after the weekend snowstorm is a beautiful day in the neighborhood; blue sky over white snow.

posted @ 08:04 PM EST

December 9

Dead Duck Has Become Internet Chestnut

The following has reached the status of Internet chestnut.

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinarian. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, “I’m so sorry, Cuddles has passed away.”

The distressed owner wailed, “Are you sure?

"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead,” he replied.

“How can you be so sure,” she protested. “I mean, you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a beautiful cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill which he handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!”, she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead?!!”

The vet shrugged. “I’m sorry. If you’d taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but what with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan…”

Posted here since I happened to have a picture of the consulting medical team.

Mousse and Max

posted @ 10:11 PM EST

December 12

Version 1.3.5 of BlueJ Was Released Yesterday

BlueJ is an integrated development environment designed for learning Object Oriented Programming with Java at the introductory level.

posted @ 01:04 PM EST

December 22

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas

posted @ 01:25 PM EST

December 23

A Little Piece of Heaven

Lone climber,
she toils up
rock strewn path,
heart pounding,
brow sweating.

Ne'er alone,
here, in her,
Father’s soul,
strong, loving,
stern, giving.

All his friends
carry on
there, with him
filling life,
death - defused.

Heav'nly hosts
sing with joy,
every voice
living now,
feeling love.

posted @ 02:59 AM EST

Heaven Explicated

My readers, at least one of them anyway, representing a large proportion of the total number, have been clamoring for an explication of my poem A Little Piece of Heaven. If you’d rather work out your own thoughts on it, you might want to avoid my laborious notes.

posted @ 03:36 PM EST