Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coal in your Stocking

Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest Article on Tort Reform

Below is a guest article on Tort Reform by Barbara O’ Brien; the opinions below are not my own:

Tort Reform Doesn’t Lower Health Care Costs

A few weeks ago the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis that said tort reform would save the federal government $54 billion over ten years. That sounds like a great argument for tort reform. But if you read the analysis more carefully, you see the picture is not so simple. For example, on page 4 of the analysis you can find this little bombshell:

“CBO’s estimate takes into account the fact that because many states have already implemented some of the changes in the package, a significant fraction of the potential cost savings has already been realized.“

The fact is, more than half of the states already have “reformed” tort. The CBO is saying that federal tort reform would not give us an additional $54 billion in savings. Rather, we’re already enjoying a significant fraction of the $54 billion in savings because tort is already “reformed” in most states.

Wait, you didn’t notice that health care costs are dropping because of state tort reforms? That’s because they aren’t.

What we see in states like Texas, which has enacted sweeping “tort reform” laws, is that while the number of lawsuits go down the overall costs of health care and health insurance keep going up — as much as in states that haven’t changed their tort laws.

It is true that states with “reformed” tort law have seen a big reduction in the number of personal injury lawsuits and jury awards, which does save some money. But the costs of caring for people injured by malpractice, mesothelioma cancer, or other injuries from dangerous products or workplaces, don’t go away. And if the responsible party doesn’t pay, usually the rest of us do — in higher insurance premiums and taxes.

And according to a 2006 Harvard study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, only 3 percent of malpractice claims are completely frivolous.

Every state has its own tort laws, and there may be many reasons to reform many of those laws. But reducing health care cost is not one of those reasons.

Barbara O’ Brien

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Don't have too much to say about this. While many elements of the mainstream media have been minimizing and downplaying this scandal, the Drudge Report (and also Fox News) have been keeping the story alive in the US.

Here is one of the latest links on the Drudge Report on Climategate.

The Wall Street Journal had a good article about the scandal yesterday:

The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced.

Much of this resembles the late Michael Crichton's novel, State of Fear

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Disgraceful President

First he bowed to the Saudi king. Now he has bowed to the Japanese emperor. The Los Angeles Times has pictures and video of Obama bowing to the emperor:

As the representative of the U.S.A., Obama degrades all American citizens when he bows to foreign leaders. No American citizen should ever bow to a foreign leader (even though Obama is not a natural born citizen, he is an American citizen).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blogging Nursing Student Expelled

Kevin MD posted about a nursing student who was expelled for blogging about a child birth she witnessed. I encourage you to read his post, as I am too lazy to summarize it:

After going through several links, I finally found the original blog post:

There are certainly some things in Yoder's (the nursing student's) post that can be considered mildly objectionable. However, I don't see why everyone is getting so excited about her description of the newborn child. All the blogs discussing Yoder quote these lines:

a wrinkly, bluish creature, all Picasso-like and weird, ugly as hell, covered in god knows what, screeching and waving its tentacles in the air,”

However, no one quotes the line immediately following:

"15 minutes later it turned into a cute pink itty bitty little baby girl"

I'm glad Nina Yoder won her lawsuit against the University of Louisville.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I am not a Borderline

Even though I detest Obama and feel that he is destroying this great nation, that does not mean that I have a psychiatric illness (see my comment on this Kevin MD post:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate and Salt

Lindt has come out with a new chocolate bar... the "A Touch of Sea Salt Bar". It combines two of the things I love- dark chocolate and salt. It tastes great!
Much more appetizing than chocolate salty balls (which apparently is a real recipe)...

Health Insurance Mandate Unconstitutional

Constitutional experts think that Obama's planned individual health insurance mandate is unconstitutional:

The requirement that everyone buy health insurance -- a central element to President Obama's health care plan -- is flatly unconstitutional, legal experts argue.
"The government has never required people to buy any good or service, as condition of lawful residence in the United States"

via Fox News, article by Jim Angie

Monday, July 27, 2009

Health Care Reform and Retardation

Some are getting upset because the House of Representatives health care reform bill uses the term "retarded".
The New York Post (via Drudge) reports:

The bill refers to: "A hospital or a nursing facility or intermediate-care facility for the mentally retarded . . ."

I don't see what the problem is. "Mental Retardation" is a valid medical/psychiatric term. Other more PC terms such as "developmentally disabled" have a slightly different meaning. The term "developmental disability" includes not only mental retardation but also autism and several other coniditions. There are various legal and medical definitions of developmental disability.

As someone who treats adults with mental retardation as well as autism I use the terms "mental retardation/mentally retarded" and "developmental disability/developmentally disabled", as well as "pervasive developmental disability" when appropriate. These terms all have different meanings and it is important that physicians as well as lawmakers use the correct term in order to promote clarity and precision.

There is no place for politically correct terminology when writing one of the most significant (in a bad way) pieces of legislation in the last 50 years.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stocks are at a crossroads

The S and P 500 index is at a key technical level. If it closes below 900, get out of the market. If it manages to stay above 900 over the next several days, that's a sign to add to your stock exposure, with either an S and P 500 index or Large Cap ETF/mutual fund.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Michelle Obama Wants Everyone to have AIDS

Like Subway's Jared, Michelle Obama wants everyone to have aids:

First lady Michelle Obama called her "current life" in the White House "a very blessed situation, because I have what most families don't have -- tons of support all around, not just my mother, but staff and administration. I have a chief of staff and a personal assistant, and everyone needs that."

"Everyone should have a chief of staff and a set of personal assistants" 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some antidepressants increase the risk of diabetes

Long term use of antidepressants is associated with an increased risk of Diabetes Mellitus.

This is especially true of 2 antidepressants likely to cause weight gain, Paxil (paroxetine) and Elavil (amitryptiline).

No need to take immediate action:
Dr. Andersohn stressed that because the risk for diabetes develops slowly, doctors should not take immediate action in treating individual patients. "Abrupt withdrawal of antidepressants might cause unintended effects."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Legal Male Prostitution in San Francisco

The New York Times reports today on a commune, "One Taste," in San Francisco in which female members are manually stimulated by men:

At 7 a.m. each day, as the rest of America is eating Cheerios or trying to face gridlock without hyperventilating, about a dozen women, naked from the waist down, lie with eyes closed in a velvet-curtained room, while clothed men huddle over them, stroking them in a ritual known as orgasmic meditation

How is this legal? Female members of the commune don't pay directly for the sexual activity, instead they pay for the "course":

She resisted offers to pursue further courses (for a fee), deleting the center’s incessant e-mail messages. But on the cusp of her 29th birthday, she tentatively returned. “I was scared to open up my life that much, but I was more scared not to,” she said.

Now an instructor herself, Ms. Crittenden talks about “the lingering velocity of my desire and my hesitation to give into it.”

In my opinion, California authorities should shut down this commune. They should treat it in the same manner they would a "massage parlor" that offers erotic activities (of course, I have nothing against legitimate massage therapists).

Organic Psychosis

The NY Times Sunday Magazine presents an interesting case of psychosis due to a combination of Concerta (long-acting ritalin) and pheochromacytoma:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I am not Depressed

I eat a lot of salt:

A study at the University of Iowa found that rats that were deficient in salt did not participate in activities they normally enjoy -- one of the hallmarks of depression. Salt's mood-altering effect may explain why many people consume too much of it even when they know it's unhealthy -- almost like an addictive drug, researchers said.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bad-Beat Stories

Apparently there's an art to writing about these losing poker hands:

Granting, then, that the primary goal of a bad-beat story is to get something off your chest, there are narrative strategies you can employ to make sure other posters don’t yawn you off a board. To win sympathy and kudos, according to at least one bad-beat narratologist, you have only to make clear how focused and intelligent you were, how high the stakes, how slim your odds of losing, how vile your opponent was and how well you command the idiom of your game

Who Stole our Country?

Every wonder who got the hundreds of billions of dollars (180 billion at lost count) that Bush and Obama gave to AIG?

It turns out that much of the money is going to foreigners (though exactly who is getting how much money hasn't been released):

some of the banks paid by AIG since the insurer started getting taxpayer funds were: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, Calyon, Barclays Plc, Rabobank, Danske, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, Bank of America, and Lloyds Banking Group.

"That's why we could not allow AIG to fail as we allowed Lehman to fail, because that would have precipitated the failure of the European banking system," said Kanjorski, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who chairs the House Insurance Subcommittee.

U.S. lawmakers have said they are running out of patience with regulators' refusal to identify AIG's counterparties.
On Thursday, Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the banking committee, said: "The Fed and Treasury can be secretive for a while but not forever."

Politics at Mississippi's State Psychiatric Hospital

The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi's main newspaper, reports today on a courageous psychiatrist, Dr. Stept, who allegedly was forced from his job at Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield for refusing to discharge dangerous patients:

In a quest to reduce long-term beds, state mental health officials are releasing some psychotic and potentially violent patients, says a psychiatrist who was transferred after he said he refused to follow those plans.

"I was asked to discharge patients I thought should not be discharged.

"I felt they were too psychotic."

In fact, some of these patients had "killed people in psychotic states," he said.

The psychiatrist said he refused to discharge a patient in 2007 for medical reasons, telling Whitfield officials if they wanted the patient discharged, the clinical director would have to sign the papers.

Days after this, Stept said he was told he was being transferred to another building.

Not long after this, Whitfield officials threatened to bring him before the peer review committee without telling him why, he said. "When I called and said I was retiring, the process of bringing me before a peer review committee was dropped."

I worked at Whitfield from mid-2006 to mid-2007. I was part-time and wasn't aware any of this was going on. I don't know Dr. Stept.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Obama Panic

Dick Morris, on Obama:

The crash of the stock market in the days since he took power (indeed, from the moment he won the election) can increasingly be attributed to his own failure to lead us in the right direction, his failed policies in addressing the recession and his own spreading of panic and fear. The market collapse makes it evident that it is Obama who is the problem....

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're Screwed

Senator Graham (R, South Carolina) on the Stimulus Bill:

"If I may say, if this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Man Who Sold the World

As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The 9.7 Trillion Dollar Bailout

A trillion here, and a trillion there, and soon you're talking about real money.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Senate Seat for Sale

Rumor has it that New York Governor Paterson will give Hillary's Senate seat to Caroline Kennedy in exchange for a job:

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, a would-be Clinton replacement who is backed by several women's organizations, was the most publicly adamant in saying the fix was in, citing a scenario - first outlined in last week's Village Voice - under which Paterson, in a deal with Mayor Bloomberg, a Kennedy friend, selects Kennedy in exchange for help for his own election bid next year.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Ice Age is Coming

The Russians think Al Gore was wrong about Global Warming:

The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obesity Continues to Increase

Numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight. It said just under 6 percent are "extremely" obese.

For the first time, obesity is more common than being merely overweight.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Funding Retirement, Building Wealth

Many, but not all, doctors make high incomes. Most doctors are not wealthy. This blog post at Liberated Doc discusses why having successful medical practice often does not translate into the conversion of income to wealth:

the limited or complete lack of equity that physicians have an opportunity to build is a major shortcoming of clinical practice....
The money left after direct expenses are paid and that is left for the partners is equal to what it would cost to hire other doctors to do the work in place of the partners. In other words, the partners often don’t make much more than if they were just receiving a salary as an employee.

The days when doctors could hope to fund retirement by selling a medical practice are long over.
Personally, I'm hoping that my investment in junk bonds (within retirement accounts, primarily a Vanguard SIMPLE IRA) will pay off. I started gradually investing in high yield bond funds in Mid-December and have done well so far. I have sold a portion of my holdings over the last several days and now plan to monitor market conditions for a few days before deciding whether to stay in junk bonds or switch back into a money market fund.


And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Matthew 18:9.

AOL news reports :
A Texas death row inmate with a history of mental problems pulled out his only good eye and told authorities he ate it.

Matthew 18:9 is occasionally misinterpreted by those with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, with drastic resuls. The AOL article doesn't mention any citation of this Bible verse by Andre Thomas, the Texas inmate. Perhaps Matthew 18:9 was not involved in this instance, as ingesting the eye goes against the phrase "and cast it from thee."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Abuse of Power by Democratic Senator Reid

CNN reports that Senate Democrats plan to block Roland Burris, Blagojevich's appointee to Obama's vacated Senate seat, from entering the Senate floor:

The aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him, said the aide.

What right do Harry Reid and the rest of the Senate Democrats have to keep Burris from entering the Senate floor? The Constitution gives the Senate, not Reid or the Democrats, the right to determine its members. Until the 111th Congress formally meets, and until the Senate formally votes to deny Burris his seat in the Senate, Burris has as much right to enter the Senate floor as any other new member of the Senate.

It is an abuse of his power for Reid to use the Senate doorkeeper or the U.S. Capitol Police against Burris until a vote by the full Senate is taken to deny Burris his lawfully appointed seat.

EDIT (1/4/09): Reid and the Senate Democrats have softened their stance a little. It appears that if he has a valid certicate of appointment, he will be allowed on the Senate floor. This new stance seems valid to me. According to Fox news:

The certificate of appointment must bare the signatures of both the governor and the secretary of state. Secretary of State Jesse White who has refused to sign the document because of the allegations of corruption against the governor.
Should the Illinois Supreme Court force White to sign the document, a move Burris is seeking, Burris would be allowed on the Senate floor. Reid or some other Democrat would then have to object to Burris being seated and call up a resolution that would send his credentials to the Rules Committee pending an investigation.

EDIT (1/5/09): The Wall Street Journal published an editorial 1/3/09 stating that according to the Supreme Court's opinion in Powell v. McCormack (1969), the Senate must seat Burris but can then expel him with a 2/3 rds vote.

Assuming that Burris obtains certification by the Illinois secretary of state (which is a nodiscretionary duty and will probably be compelled by the Illinois state courts), the Senate must seat him and can then expel him if they wish.