Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm going to get flamed for this, and I don't care.

Am I the only one bothered by the fact that James Holmes did what he did despite the fact that he was probably outnumbered a hundred or so to one?  We don't have a gun problem, folks ... we have a MINDSET problem.  That theater in Aurora should have turned into an enraged mob beating that murdering psychotic jerk to a pulp, rather than becoming a herd of victims running for the doors.  One madman - even one with a semiautomatic rifle - is no match for a mob in an enclosed space.

Think I'm wrong?  See also:  United Airlines Flight 93;  Todd Beamer;  "Let's roll."  There's your homework, folks. Go refresh your memories.

This has nothing to do with disingenuous notions of heroism.  It has EVERYTHING to do with loving and protecting yourself, your family, your loved ones and the people around you who just wanted to see a damned movie.

I'm absolutely sick about this, on so many levels.  We could learn another lesson from this, but ... we're doing it wrong.  We're going to talk about "gun control" when we really should be addressing our problem of abandoning each other when things get really bad.

How have we continued to become a nation of bystanders? Have we already forgotten how to take care of each other? We had a handle on this for a while after 9/11. For God's sake, folks, let's re-learn to be Todd Beamer.  Let's take responsibility -- even at the cost of our own lives.  Don't run away -- do something.  Anything.  If you don't want in on the fight, then find a bleeder and put direct pressure on a wound.  Just do something.  If we're going to go down, let's go down swinging.  Let's all crack open a can of man, get in there and do God's work.

Say it with me:  "Let's roll..."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) was upheld by SCOTUS this morning.  The Court’s decision has led to celebration for some, and ire from others.  To me, it’s just another step on a path that’s leading this country to deeper division.  I went back to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and quotes from the Founding Fathers to figure out where I stand.

First, though, I should lay out from where my opinions come.  I’ve probably seen more sides of the health care debate than most.  As a cancer survivor, I’ve spent time as a beneficiary of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – which I eventually wrote to the government to stop once I was well.  I worked for a Medicare contractor for 8 years, as part of the mechanism which distributes federal health care dollars.  Now, I work as an RN in a regional ER, providing health care (largely to the population who stands to benefit the most from increasing federal entitlement programs of any stripe.)

The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence uses some phrases which seem to frame our modern differences.  We’re all familiar with the phrase regarding our rights, “… that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  We seem to be at a point where ideas and opinions of what constitutes “liberty” and/or “the pursuit of happiness” clash.  Supporters of Obamacare, I suspect, would argue that ensuring health care is an embodiment of the State’s obligation to ensure the citizen’s “pursuit of happiness”.    The Declaration goes on to mention, “… government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The people on the political “left” seem to focus more on this particular role of government – that of a provider of that which makes us safe and happy.

The Preamble to the Constitution makes a similar reference:  “… promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”  Supporters of Obamacare, and I gather of entitlement programs in general, would focus on “promoting the general Welfare”.  At what point, though, does that idea start to impinge on “the Blessings of Liberty”?

In essence, the question seems to be one of how far the Government should go to address these things.  Thomas Jefferson said, “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.”  Obamacare was upheld by SCOTUS under the premise of being supported by a tax.  How is that tax to be seen, given Jefferson’s views? 

The focus on health care as a “right” is relentless;  however, there is deafening silence when it comes to our responsibilities in that regard as Citizens.   Since health care is now, in essence, a guarantee, the issue will become the extent to which the Government will assert control over our behavior in order to guarantee this “right”.  In other words, we’re moving to a place where we’ve lost focus on our responsibility to do what is right in favor of Government seeing to it that those things are done by fiat.

My time as an ER nurse has given me a particular perspective.  Since the uninsured disproportionately utilize ERs for their primary care, I get to see how health care as a “right” looks.  By and large, the American health care system is already (i.e. pre-Obamacare) being crushed under its own weight.  As healthcare providers, we’re tasked with providing care, but we’re discouraged – or prohibited – from encouraging (much less advocating for) responsibilities on the part of health care recipients.  For example, I’m responsible for keeping an acknowledged drug addict alive after he/she ODs, but I would be reprimanded if I acknowledged the fact that the patient is draining the healthcare system of time and resources because of a behavioral issue.  The same goes for non-compliant diabetics and hypertensive patients who will not comply with their prescribed treatment regimen.  The health care system is burdened with the responsibility of providing the care, while the patient is free of any responsibility at all.  This scenario repeats itself over and over, in multiple scenarios:  cigarette smokers, the obese – all of these patients do – and will continue to – drain the health care system of resources, without any corresponding expectation of responsibility on their part.

The health care system will prove to be totally unsustainable given this disproportionate focus on rights over responsibilities.  What we will inevitably see – in the name of preserving health care resources – will be quiet, subtle rationing of care.  This was initially debated under the unfortunate guise of “death panels”, but the basic principle will hold;  that is, legislation will dictate who receives care, for how long, to what degree, and under what circumstances.  Ironically, the model will closely resemble that of the old HMOs, which were so demonized for their efforts to control health care costs.

Now we are left to see how this all plays out.  My prediction is that we will increasingly see care rationing spun as “unnecessary spending”.  It has already begun – how may news reports have we already heard about scaling back mammograms and questioning the utility of PSA tests?  Make no mistake – this is the future:  health care with all the effectiveness, utility and efficiency of the DMV.  That will be the inevitable endpoint for a society more interested in its rights than its responsibilities.

Health care for all.  Enjoy your wait.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  --  Benjamin Franklin

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”  -- Samuel Adams

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

NPR's surprise ... not!

NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned after a videotape surfaced showing an NPR fundraiser expressing his true feelings about the Tea Party, conservatives, and generally pathetically pandering for money from supposed Muslim donors.

This whole issue - i.e. the opinions of NPR execs of anyone not leaning hard-left - only surprises people who don't listen to NPR. Public Radio is nothing more than a de facto mouthpiece for the Left, and that's obvious in the "issues" on which they report and the language they choose to use when talking about a particular subject.

If nothing else, I guess I feel kind of vindicated in hearing at least one of them say it out loud. It gives me an opportunity to have an "I-told-you-so" moment ... because I listen to NPR, and I could have told you all this long ago...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Cowboy Junkies - A Common Disaster

Friday, August 06, 2010


I just watched The Story of Stuff.

That's about half an hour of my life I'll never get back. That has to be the most overly simplistic wad of crap I've seen since the last Michael Moore clips I watched.

I don't disagree with the basic premise of the film ... or documentary ... or whatever it is. Quite to the contrary, actually ... I do, indeed, think we consume too much.

What makes my head hurt is that the narrator suggests ... actually, she pretty much claims outright ... that we consume because corporations fool us into doing so.


The entire premise is predicated on the notion that we're too stupid to see the consequences of our actions, and that we're just ignorant sheep being led around by incredibly evil companies.

The reality is actually far more disturbing. I think the fact is that we don't care. We want smaller, lighter, newer cell phones and ever more stylish clothes and safer cars and new freaking cancer drugs ... and we'll exploit whoever or whatever it takes to get it.

We indulge ourselves in worshiping this excuse for a documentary and Al Gore and global warming and acid rain and save-the-rainforest causes because it makes us feel better. Or, rather, it makes us feel less bad about the havoc we're causing.

In the end, yeah, we consume to much. And it's nobody's fault but our own.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


It's just fascinating how the MSM spins coverage of protesters.

For example, MSNBC's Chris Matthews recently hosted a special entitled "Rise of the New Right" in which he not-so-subtly suggests that the Tea Party is a de-facto armed, right-wing milita group, and you should therefore go hide under your bed and cry.

The carefully edited footage of Tea Party protests intermingled with interviews with Michigan Militia members (like they have anything at all to do with each other) should be a clue as to what kinds of protesters the public should fear.

I submit for the record:

Tea Party protest:

G-20 Protesters:

Tea Party:


Um ... which one is it that I'm supposed to fear, again?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day.


I'm a dog person. Always have been. I firmly, unapologetically believe that dogs are the Earthly embodiment of God's unconditional love.

Some stuff just makes me cry. Make no mistake ... I'm a CPR-performing, chainsaw-using, overall-wearing, gun-competing, shaved-headed man. My manhood is intact. But this guy's tribute to his dog made me cry:

In Memory of Blue