Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

Death panels in English medicine

Just a quick trip down this elevator shaft, old fella, and you'll be right as rain!

Just a quick trip down this elevator shaft, old fella, and you’ll be right as rain!

Hospital may not withhold treatment from patient, judge rules. The guy checked into a British hospital for one thing, contracted “hospital-acquired pneumonia” and went downhill from there. The hospital sued to end treatment so it could free up a bed, the family resisted, and the court ruled in favor of keeping the 67-year-old alive.

[The justice]  said while there was next to no chance Mr James would ever leave hospital and resume his musical career, that did not mean there was ‘no prospect of recovery’.

‘Recovery does not mean a return to full health, but the resumption of a quality of life that David James would regard as  ‘worthwhile,’ he said. To insist otherwise ‘set the standard unduly high’.

 I personally have no intention of enduring such a constrained existence and have a living will that forbids relatives from doing what this man’s did (no fear of that; in fact I probably need a will preventing my family from doing me in now). And I have no especial concern that a hospital would seek to reserve scare resources for patients with a better chance of recovering to a full life, but when that sort of rationing is done, when patients and their families have to go to court to overrule a hospital’s decision to withhold care, there’s a death panel at work, call it what you will.
Again – I can live (or die) with that; it’s an inevitable consequence of depending on charity for one’s medical care, but we shouldn’t deny that that’s what in our own country’s future or ridicule people who point that out. Tell the truth.


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What, did they think Arabs are stupid?

Third World parasites angy at Arabs for not shutting down their economy coughing up big bucks, despite Britain’s pledge to try harder.

Environmentalists are angry that the world has made no further progress on agreeing targets to cut carbon emissions.

The EU has said it will sign up targets as part of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. But this is impossible until the bickering group of countries decide how to divide up cuts in carbon.

One option on the table would mean the UK may have to up its current emissions targets from 34 per cent by 2020 to 42 per cent.

Meanwhile most of the rest of the developed world has not even put forward any new targets to cut carbon emissions.

There is particular anger towards the countries in the Arab world, that many believed would come forward with ambitious targets during the first UN conference to be held in the Middle East.

However Qatar has only announced a new research centre on climate change and no new targets. While it emits a large amount of carbon dioxide due to gas flares from oil extraction, it is treated as a developing nation and has not been subjected to curbs on emissions as developed nations have.

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The Russians are coming the Russians are coming!




18th Century 140,000 sq. ft. chateau “accidentally” razed by Polish construction team. Its Russian owner is “shocked, shocked!” that his workmen could make such a mistake. While this has the earmarks of a fine Polish joke, it’s more likely a story about the invasion of the visigoths.

But the Ruskie lacks the brazenness displayed by Ross Perot who back in the 90s was told by Bermudian authorities that he wasn’t allowed to blast apart a coral reef to accommodate the 150′ yacht he wanted to moor alongside his mansion. Perot blew it up anyway and said, “send me a bill”. Cost him $1 million.


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“Fucking bat shit” may be a more apt description of the inmates, but do they really have time for this?

House of Representatives votes to remove “lunatic” from all federal laws, 398-1. The Senate’s already voted on this weighty measure so now, thanks to this diversion and the erasure of the term “retard” two years ago, Congress is safe from hearing pejorative terms sent its way as it drives the country off the cliff.


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Why are the executives at New Jersey Transit still employed? And from there, extrapolate a bit

Who knew?

Who knew?


$400 million in damage after executives park trains in flood zone.

New Jersey Transit – which has faced criticism for storing trains in flood-prone areas during Sandy – suffered $400 million in storm-related damages, including $100 million in rolling stock, the executive director testified today.

The staggering losses include heavily damaged dual-powered locomotive engines – which were brand new – and dozens of multi-level rail cars that need repairs, NJ Transit head James Weinstein said at a US Senate commerce sub-committee hearing on the storm’s impact.

Weinstein, however, defended the agency’s decision to place trains in Hoboken and Kearney, two flood-prone areas that were completely inundated in the storm of the century.

“Based on the information that we had … there was a likelihood in the 80 to 90 percent range that no flooding would happen there,” he said. “And that combined with the history that the Meadowlands [Kearney] … has never flooded in the history of our railroad led us to conclude that that was the appropriate place to put the equipment.”

“Obviously we’re informed by this storm and we’ll make adjustments in the future,” he said.

US Senator Frank Lautenberg – who chaired the sub-committee – said that it seemed the agency did the best it could.

“It doesn’t sound like there were other choices,” he said.

Would you risk $400 million on 5-to-1 odds, with no up side? Only if it were other people’s money.

And this is all complete bullshit, of course – the management was warned way ahead of the storm not to do what they did and they did it anyway.. Reuters, Nov. 17th:

The Garden State’s commuter railway parked critical equipment – including much of its newest and most expensive stock – at its low-lying main rail yard in Kearny just before the hurricane. It did so even though forecasters had released maps showing the wetland-surrounded area likely would be under water when Sandy’s expected record storm surge hit. Other equipment was parked at its Hoboken terminal and rail yard, where flooding also was predicted and which has flooded before.

Among the damaged equipment: nine dual-powered locomotive engines and 84 multi-level rail cars purchased over the past six years at a cost of about $385 million.

“If there’s a predicted 13-foot or 10-foot storm surge, you don’t leave your equipment in a low-lying area,” said David Schanoes, a railroad consultant and former deputy chief of field operations for Metro North Railroad, a sister railway serving New York State. “It’s just basic railroading. You don’t leave your equipment where it can be damaged.”

My father used to delight in recounting the story of the operators of the Long Island Railroad who, after three winters without snow, decided that it would never snow again and sold off all of the railroad’s track clearing equipment. The following winter a blizzard hit, of course, and the island was paralyzed for weeks until the sun cleared the tracks for them.

Anyone who works for the government is free to engage in this sort of idiocy, and there are no repercussions. Just this past June, the Army wrote off $7 billion of camouflage uniforms it has researched, designed and deployed over the decade, only to discover – duh – it didn’t work.

After eight years and billions of dollars, the Army has given up on an ambitious effort to clothe its soldiers in a “universal camouflage pattern.” The grey uniform, widely issued and widely loathed, was supposed to blend in equally well in all environments, from desert sand to green forest to city streets. It just didn’t. Now the Army’s going back to the old, obvious approach of having different designs for different places.

So here’s the trillion-dollar question: why does anyone think that a government agency can improve on a service or product currently provided by private enterprise? Not just match that level – private enterprise can screw things up too – but actually do better, because after all, ObamaKare is premised on the belief that private health care isn’t working, so merely expanding that failure is no solution at all.  Railroads, public education, national defense, airline security, the Connecticut DMV – which of these provide an example of the government’s capability of delivering goods and services efficiently and well?


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Keofferam waterfront sale, $5 million

The calm before the storm at Keofferam Beach Club

The calm before the storm at Keofferam Beach Club

This was an August contract, closed today. 15 Meadow Place, asked $7.495 September, 2011, sold for $5,032,300 (must have been lawyers negotiating on both sides of this one) to one of the listing agent/owner/builder’s own clients. That first price was a tad ambitious but $5 million for 0.45 (19,000 sq. ft.) in the R-12 zone, right on Old Greenwich Harbor with great views and easy (small) boat launching? Good deal for buyer and seller, I think. There’s a house already on the lot that I’d be delighted to live in but this is purely a land sale, and we can expect something new to go up.


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Maybe Fudrucker should invite her to Foxwoods and lend her his governor’s credit card

Liawatha does Moodus

Wait! His credit line is still alive

Elizabeth Warren raised $42 million and still can’t pay her bills. A few months as a senator will cure that.


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Republicans in Senate offer to vote on Obama’s fiscal plan – Harry Reid says no

From Russia, with love

From Russia, with love

This bill (Russian trade, which Republicans would amend to include a vote on ObamaPlan) is about job creation, according to Democrat Chair Reid, and too important to risk its defeat when his fellow Democrats vote against their leader’s plan.

Reid objected to McConnell’s suggestion, saying the Russian trade bill  is about job creation, not political stunts from Republicans.

I though the Fiscal Cliff was also about jobs, and the economy; in fact, many might think it will affect a far larger portion of our economy than the import of nesting wooden dolls,so why not put it to a vote? The stench of political gamesmanship and hypocrisy rises from the miasma of the Washington swamp.


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