Monthly Archives: November 2008

We’re Back

Well, as regular readers may have noticed, we’ve had nearly three days of downtime. We had an unexplained blog issue that caused our former host to disable our account. We have no explanation from them of what happened, and our databases and everything else appear to be undisturbed, so we’re not sure what’s occurred. But we’ve moved on to a host that more adequately meets our ideological needs, and who we believe will meet our technical needs much more closely.

Note to users: discount hosts are discounted for a reason. Our new host will likely be a bit more expensive than the old ones, but I think we’re actually getting a service worth the cost.

Anyways, many thanks to tarran who has taken over the technical admin of the site. He’s far more capable of sysadmin than I am, so we should be in much more capable hands where the bits connect to the series of tubes.

States Spend Tobacco Settlement Money — But Not On Tobacco Programs

It just goes to show you… A government’s promise is worth about what you’d expect:

U.S. states have not lived up to their commitment to devote a major portion of their huge legal settlement with the tobacco industry a decade ago on anti-smoking efforts, health advocacy groups said on Tuesday.

In the 10 years since the landmark deal, the states have received $79.2 billion of the settlement and another $124.3 billion from tobacco taxes, but have spent only about 3 percent of it — $6.5 billion — on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, the groups said in a report.

No state currently is funding tobacco prevention programs at the levels recommended by the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and only nine are funding such efforts at even half the recommended level, according to the report.

You know, if it weren’t for the colossal waste of money, the vilification of an entire industry, and the potential for anti-smoking legislation to continue sweeping the nation, I’d find this pretty funny. Watching the anti-tobacco forces — who have made a living out of getting their way through government force — impaled on the double-cross of their own “friends”, is full of delicious dramatic irony.

It’s almost as funny as the idea that all this lottery money is “for the schools”.

Atlas Starting To Shrug In Healthcare Sector

While I am a vociferous opponent of socialized medicine or even some of the mandated-coverage plans floated by the left-ish folks in society, you’ll not find me defending our current healthcare system in America. Why? Because it’s “our healthcare system”, and not anything approaching a free market.

Through coverage mandates, Medicare, restrictions, licensing, employer-sponsored healthcare (an outgrowth of tax-advantaged treatment for companies), tort law, and mountains of paperwork, we’ve turned healthcare in America into a nuisance. Should we surprised, then, when our doctors have grown tired of playing the game?

Primary care doctors in the United States feel overworked and nearly half plan to either cut back on how many patients they see or quit medicine entirely, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

And 60 percent of 12,000 general practice physicians found they would not recommend medicine as a career.

“The whole thing has spun out of control. I plan to retire early even though I still love seeing patients. The process has just become too burdensome,” the Physicians’ Foundation, which conducted the survey, quoted one of the doctors as saying.

Eleven percent said they plan to retire and 13 percent said they plan to seek a job that removes them from active patient care. Twenty percent said they will cut back on patients seen and 10 percent plan to move to part-time work.

Current government proposals promise to “rein in costs” but I wonder how they intend to both rein in costs and keep supply from dropping.

The only happy doctors I know of are ones who have decided to work on a cash basis, and do not take insurance. Of course, they don’t stop their customers from claiming the visits to their own insurance, but they don’t take care of all the paperwork in the office. In the pediatric practice we take my son to, the head doctor (who is somewhat famous having written several books) follows this plan. Sadly, too few doctors have this opportunity, as most Americans either don’t have the time and energy to deal with the insurance companies themselves, or don’t have the funds to carry the cost while they wait. For my son, we visit one of the other doctors in the practice because we don’t have the time or knowledge to traverse the insurance world.

Regardless of what sort of healthcare system we have in America (even if we returned to a free market), Americans will have to understand that health care is not a free lunch. What we may have now may be (like many things in America) the worst of both worlds — all the downsides of socialism without any of the efficiencies of capitalism. In such a minefield of cross purposes and inefficiencies, it’s not surprising that many providers are willing to walk away.

With the potential socialization of health care in an Obama administration, we may soon find ourselves in the same situation as Britain — importing our doctors from overseas because it becomes a job “Americans won’t do”.

Obama’s Policies Treading On Hallowed Ground

Now, don’t confuse me with someone who supports the current model of the BCS… But I’m almost as worried about turning over college football to the government as I would be about healthcare — it’s personal.

Although… Now that I think about it… His redistributionist policies could bring some 5* recruits to my Boilermakers! I think it’s time for a bailout in West Lafayette!

I’m Not Saying… I’m Just Insinuating.

I’m sure one has nothing to do with the other:

Wikipedia: In October 2008, Cuban started as a grassroots, online portal for oversight over the US government 700 billion dollar “bailout” of financial institutions.

And today:

Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban charged with insider trading

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks, was charged Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading.

According to the SEC, Cuban sold 600,000 shares of Internet search company in June 2004 using non-public information. Cuban is accused of calling his broker and instructing him to sell all of his stock from the after receiving confidential information from the company.

The SEC said Cuban knew the stock price was about to fall.

I’m sure there was no revenge involved. It must be just a coincidence, an accident of timing. Right?

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