Monday, October 5, 2009

The River Relocates!

Looking for The River? We are stirring things up at our new location! Click here to go there now. And jump right in, the water's fine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jimmy Carter Turns 85

Proving the adage that there's no fool like an old fool, old fool Jimmy Carter turned 85 today. Happy Birthday, Jimmy.

Oh, and by the way, that remark about the vast majority of Obama's critics being racists? He didn't mean it that way. Or we didn't hear it right. Or something.

From Fox News: Carter Walks Back Claim Obama Critics Racist

Former President Jimmy Carter on Thursday softened his claim that an "overwhelming portion" of criticism toward President Obama is race-based.

Carter said in an interview that he was only talking about a "fringe element" when he made the controversial remarks two weeks ago. He stood by his original remarks, but argued that they were misinterpreted.

"I said those that had a personal attack on President Obama as a person, that was tinged with racism," Carter told CNN. "But I recognize that people that disagree with him on health care or the environment, that the vast majority of those are not tinged with racism."

He added: "I meant exactly what I said. What I actually said, if you look at the transcript, is just what I just repeated to you."

Carter's original remarks came at the height of controversy over Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during Obama's address to Congress last month. Wilson shouted "You lie!" at the president, an act Carter said was "based on racism."

In an interview with NBC, he offered an even broader assessment.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he is African-American," Carter said at the time.
Sorry, Jim man. Not buying.

Ecclesiastes 4:13 (NKJV)
Better a poor and wise youth
Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.

Montana and Gun Control

From - (read the whole article.)

HELENA, Mont. -- If Montana has its way in a lawsuit filed Thursday, there will be far less federal gun control in the state.

The state's libertarian streak--which has spawned efforts to buck the federal Real ID Act and sparked widespread contempt for the Patriot Act--is now triggering a fight over whether Montana should have sovereignty over made-in-Montana guns and equipment.

If gun advocates win, the state could decide which rules, if any, would control the manufacturer, sale and purchase of guns and paraphernalia. And Montana would be exempt from rules on federal gun registration, background checks and dealer-licensing.

"For guns, it means we can make our own in Montana and sell them in Montana as long as they are stamped 'Made in Montana' and don't leave the state," said Gary Marbut, who runs the Montana Shooting Sports Association and is leading the lawsuit. "We will be able to do that without federal regulation, or having the ATF breath down your neck."

The association, joined by the Second Amendment Foundation in the lawsuit, hopes to ultimately win a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits the application and reach of federal rules over state business. The suit is challenging the right of the federal government to oversee gun sales under the guise of interstate commerce regulation.

This is wonderful news. Once upon a time, the federal government did not dare to overstep its bounds and usurp the authority of the individual states, as spelled out in the Constitution, specifically the 10th Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Then came FDR and the search for a way around the Constitution in order to expand federal power and control everything from Washington D.C. It was found in the interstate commerce clause. This clause was used as a pretext to, in effect, overturn the 10th amendment, make it pointless. Their willing accomplices in the Supreme Court at the time shamelessly aided and abetted them in this virtual coup. The interstate commerce clause has since been the pretext by which the federal government has usurped the sovereignty of the individual states in a whole host of areas.

Understand that much of what Washington has done over the last 80 years would have been considered unconstitutional by the framers of the Constitution, and while some of them warned that this sort of thing might eventually happen (the anti-federalists, for example), others of them believed that there were enough safeguards to ensure that it would not (the federalists). All of them would be appalled at what Washington has become.

But the last few months have brought us the rumblings of a coming storm. Some of the states have had enough and are starting to push back. We saw this when a few governors spoke out against the stimulus bill and threatened to turn down funds allocated to their states because of the controlling strings which were attached. Here in Texas we have heard this kind of anti-Washington-control rhetoric from our governor Rick Perry, who is moving swiftly to the right in an attempt to secure the Republican nomination for another term as governor in the face of stiff opposition from Kay Bailey Hutchison. Now we have Montana deliberately pushing back against the machine. It could not come at a better time. Let us hope for the best.

I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Future of Health Care?

Dr. Lemuel Calhoon, magister maximus of Hillbilly White Trash, posted this gem at the end of one of his weekly re-postings of Ann Coulter's op-ed genius. I wanted to bring it here because, well, he is exactly right.

Read it for yourself here, or go there and read it.

Lemuel Calhoon:

"The absolute worst thing about socialized medicine in the US is that it will slow the advancement of of medical science in the whole world to a glacial pace.

Right now the vast majority of new medical techniques, drugs and technology are discovered in the United States. This is because America still has a thriving free market health care system. For-profit companies which develop and manufacture drugs and medical equipment are free to pour their profits into research and development to bring new medications and medical equipment to market. All in pursuit of profit.

Because our doctors are not employees of any kind of National Health Service they are not required to see X number of patients per week and to choose only from a government approved list of treatment options (approved more for reasons of cost than effectiveness). Doctors in the US are free to innovate and experiment.

The fact that in America we attempt to keep our elderly people alive as long as possible and give them the best quality of life possible (in addition to proving our moral superiority to other nations) provides a test bed for methods of managing, treating and even curing chronic conditions which are associated with (but by no means exclusive to) aging. You can see that this is far more conducive to creating an upward spiral of medical knowledge than the "give granny morphine until she stops breathing" approach taken by nations with government run health care.

Let me tell you a true story about Mother Calhoon, who is 76. Earlier this year she broke her leg. In 1950 the doctor would have set the bone and put her leg in a cast. The bone would have taken the better part of a year to heal and would have never been the same. During this time her mobility would have been so severely restricted that she would have not been able to live at home alone. So mom would have gone to a nursing home where she would probably have spent the rest of her life. But the doctor's bill for setting the leg and applying the cast would have only been a few hundred dollars.

Today mom was taken to an excellent hospital where a doctor operated on her leg installing a metal rod to support the bone so that it would not break again. She was given a battery of tests which determined that she had mild osteoporosis and was put on medication to treat the condition. After a few days in the hospital she was sent home where a nurse looked in on her three times a week for the next three months. The cast on her leg was designed to allow her to walk and she was encouraged to do so (with the aid of a walker, then a cane). As time went by she was instructed to put more and more weight on the leg until now, less than a year later, she has no cast and no longer needs walker or cane (unless she is going to walk for more than two miles or so, then she brings along the cane). The cost of the entire episode came to around $40,000.00 - which comes to $4500.00 in 1950 dollars.

Assuming that we do not plunge down Barack Obama's rat hole of socialized medicine and freeze the advancement of medical science what can a 76-year-0ld woman with a broken leg expect in 2050?

With the proviso that no one can predict the future with absolute accuracy I would assume based on current trends in medical science that it would go something like this:

The ambulance brings the patient to the emergency room where a doctor scans her leg building a detailed three dimensional picture of the injury, including damage to tissue and blood vessels caused by the broken bone. The doctor then looks over the computer's recommended course of action and signs off on it. The patient is then sent to surgery where the surgeon adds a few refinements to the computer generated plan.

In the operating room the woman is sedated and her leg is immobilized. A robot surgeon will then set the bone and repair any other damage to the leg - while a human doctor and nurse observe ready to step in if required. The leg will then be placed in a rigid cast and the woman will spend the next few days in a hospital room while bone regenerators heal the fracture.

A few days later she leaves the hospital with her leg as strong or stronger than it was before. While it is impossible to estimate the dollar amount of the bill for this treatment I very much doubt that it will be more, in 1950 dollars, than the 2009 bill. But look at how much better the outcome for the patient!

But what if we adopt Obama's plan for government run health care? What will a 76-year-0ld woman with a broken leg face in 2050?

The doctor will set the bone and put her leg in a cast. The bone will take the better part of a year to heal and will never be the same. During this time her mobility will be so severely restricted that she will not be able to live at home alone. So she will have to go to a nursing home where she will probably spend the rest of her life. But the doctor's bill for setting the leg and applying the cast would have only been a few hundred dollars - in 1950 dollars.

This assumes that the hospital's rationing panel (we won't call it the "death panel") doesn't decide that at her age she (who will never again pay income taxes) simply isn't worth the money to treat. Then she will be put in a bed and given morphine until she stops breathing. The bill for that will be under a hundred bucks.

The problem with a government solution to anything is that government is a piss-poor innovator. Let the government decide that something is so important that the private sector cannot be trusted to run it and whatever "it" is becomes frozen in time. It cannot be otherwise when a powerful entrenched bureaucracy has a massive vested interest in keeping things exactly as they are.

Someone suggested this thought experiment. Imagine that some visionary in government had looked at Henry Ford's Model T and realized how important the automobile would be to America's future. Suppose that this visionary had been able to convince the legislature and the president that the development and manufacture of cars was too important to be left to the profit-seeking private sector.

You don't have to imagine what the result would have been. All you need do is look back to East Germany before the Wall fell and remember how an East German could spend his fifteen years on the waiting list dreaming about what he would do when he took possession of his new Trabant.

Some things are too critically important to be taken out of the hands of the private sector. Our health care is one of them."

National Gun Registry

Dr. Paul Broun, U.S. Congressman, Republican (GA-10), has sent out an email which came to me via containing information on House bill H.R. 45--Obama's gun control package. Among other things, this bill would establish a national gun registry database of every gun and its owner for the whole country. According to the email, "Your private information and every gun you own would be in the system."

It also bans all private firearms sales.

Big Brother is coming after our guns.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Most Oppressive Tyranny

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”–C.S. Lewis

Look for this one to go in the sidebar soon.

Change Is Coming

Wihin a week or two The River will undergo a few changes. Primarily this means it will become a team blog. And, though the main course will still be politics and ideology, the banquet will also include side dishes of pop culture commentary, Christian apologetics, and, hopefully, some regular features. Obviously, some of this is beyond my range of expertise which is why I am calling in some help.

As for the look and feel of the new place, it will be essentially the same. I like the color scheme and the menagerie of faces and the quotations in the sidebar. So, though the address will be slightly different, the page will look the same, sort of. I will also leave a permanent link here so that the new abode can be easily found.

Look for the regular posting to continue until then.