George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, February 28 and 29, 2004

The story is told of the situation in London, England during the early days of the "London Blitz" in 1940,  when savage nightly bombings by the Germans required sudden visits by the populace to the nearest bomb shelters, where they had to wait out the destruction going on overhead.  In those early days, the accompanying anxiety sometimes led to outbursts of terror and near-riots.   Until, that is, that someone figured out how to avoid such reaction: every 15 minutes someone made the announcement that "Ladies and Gentlemen, the news is...there is no news."  That little device kept everyone settled down.
Well, if you have been reading the offerings on this Rapid Response section regularly, there are times when "the news is...there is no news."  That is, I'm up-to-date in my reactions to recent events.  But, not to worry: there will be more soon.

GS

FRIDAY, February 27, 2004

GS

THURSDAY, February 26, 2004

Today, I saw "The Passion of the Christ".  Excellent...and true.

GS

TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, February 24 and 25, 2004

This is a busy news cycle.

GS

MONDAY, February 23, 2004

Senator John Kerry.  There's less there than meets the eye.  The other day he was dismissive of the efforts of Senator John Edwards, an attractive candidate if you don't mind his positions.  Then he challenges President Bush to discuss their respective roles in the 1960's and early 1970's.  (Please see Rapid Response, February 5, above). Also see the following articles:

And then there is "Don Quixote...the Sequel".  Ralph Nader is right about much of what he says.  Too bad he's from Venus, and the country is from Mars.
GS

SUNDAY, February 22, 2004

Medical Malpractice.  Now there's a subject to which you do not want to give a "rapid response".  However, since I have been writing on this and related subjects since the first "medical mal-practice crisis" in the mid-1970's, I feel less constrained.  (Please see the other offerings on this web site under the categories "Health Law", "Medical Mal-Practice Sweepstakes", and "Medical Errors").  In addition, the good set of articles embodied in today's Perspective section of The Day (the day.com., pC1) on this subject are a springboard from which to proceed.  Specific reference should be made to The Day Editorial ("Don't Rush Into A Quick Fix") and to the article by John Peter Bigos, M.D. (pC3).  All of the proposals in these two articles will have to be made part of any effective solution to the problem facing health care professionals and their patients.  Also laudable is the absence in these two offerings of the hyped importance of "caps on pain and suffering".  That is a much smaller part of the problem; and a $250,000 cap would be inadequate for the needs of both patient and representing attorneys, anyway.

As a physician and also as an attorney for many years, I have had numerous occasions to participate in medical mal-practice cases...as an expert witness and as co-counsel, for both plaintiffs and for defendants.  From this experience, the following are some observations to be added to the above proposals.  If the current level of debate on the subject reminds one of the three blind men charged with describing an elephant from three distinctly different vantage-points, the following may be considered the view from inside the belly of the beast.

In all of this discussion, nothing will change until the patients and potential patients decide that it is really their ox that is getting gored, and that they demand change.  Lawyers have a lot of clout with the legislatures. Both plaintiffs' and defendants' lawyers are doing well under the existing system, the former as entrepreneurs and the latter working by the clock.  The medical profession has little clout. The insurance industry is doing just fine, thank you.  Only you, the people, can solve this problem as you push your legislators - kicking and screaming - toward the solution.  Does this sound a great deal like what I have been advising since the mid-1970's.  You bet!

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, February 20 and 21, 2004

Today, a local news flash.  In a surprising offering by Chuck Potter in The Day today entitled "Allegiance is private, even in public service", we are presented with a new Pledge: "The Pledge of the 'Me' Generation".  It has to do with the role of the Pledge of Allegiance, and evidently also the Star Spangled Banner, in the private and public lives of American citizens.  In this article he states personally that "military service doesn't necessarily equate with patriotism or allegiance".  He takes to task the National Anthem as "a war song about rockets' red glare and ...."  He questions its reference to our "sweet land of liberty...", listing past, current and imagined inequities that exist in  this nation, while making no reference to the vast inequities that afflict every area and nation in the world as a part of the human condition.  But the most telling parts are embodied in comments like the folliwing:
"There are no laws demanding allegiance to America".
"That is not to say I don't appreciate what America has to offer.  I do, and I want more of it".
"And allegiance surely isn't a pre-requisite for public service".
Mr. Potter then ends with an endorsement of a comment made by a friend: "The pledge is like your oath as a citizen.  It's a pledge to uphold the rights and benefits that come with being an American".

And where, Mr. Potter and other advocates of "me, me, me...", is the place for reciprocal responsibilities?  That, in a nutshell, is the central problem of this society over the last 30 years.  In this instance, I agree that recitation of the Pledge or singing of the Anthem should not be mandatory for any individual, whether in school or at public meetings.  But it should continue to be the norm; it should be expected; and failure to do so should be accompanied by appropriate social consequences in a society that long ago decided and fought for the kind of country the vast majority of Americans want.   That isn't prejudice or coercion. It follows actions that in a social order should have consequences.  Actually, the only thing about this statement that surprises me is its author.

GS

THURSDAY, February 19, 2004

Now, let's see if I have this right.  The Democratic Party platform for this year, to be inferred from the pronouncements of spokesmen like its Chairman and Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, is as follows:

Do I have it straight now?  Thanks.  I needed that.

GS

SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY, February 15 through 18, 2004

If nothing else, the current Democratic Primary follies have revealed the Democratic game plan: defeat George W. Bush at all cost, with any willing candidate, and especially with any methods including distortions, innuendo, demagoguery, defamation...Their main thrust has been to attack the President's truthfulness and personal integrity, so as to conjure up a "credibility gap" that no sitting President could survive.  Despite the available facts, in March of this year as well as now, and despite oral and written testimony by the likes of Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet,  Condelezza Rice, David Kay and many others,  people like Senators Kerry and Kennedy have accused the President - without facts - of actions which, if true, would constitute "high crimes and mis-demeanors" warranting impeachment.  This they have been able to do because...well, they are politicians.
Well, it's not a very effective defense for a person accused of lying to say merely that "he's a liar, too."  The President must aggressively prove to and convince the American public that he did not lie and did not mis-represent anything he dealt with during the last three years.  Otherwise, true or false, the accusation will stick.  The interview with Tim Russert was a good start; but it was only a start.  And he must do it himself, not through surrogates or web sites or television ads.  The people want to believe him.  But doubts have been effectively cast, by means which in any arena other than the political arena would be actionable in court.  Mr. President, that's your mission, if you choose to accept it.  Otherwise, you will lose this election.

GS

SATURDAY, February 14, 2004

Just when I was looking forward to a relaxing St. Valentine's Day, the newspaper arrives:

GS

FRIDAY, February 13, 2004

For a practising Roman Catholic whose first twelve years of school education took place in Catholic schools, the child abuse scandals involving Roman Catholic priests have produced in me a variety of reactions, some of which have been shared on this web site.  However, never has it produced depression or immobilization.  Instead, I determined to learn more about my religion and about the organization that has embodied that religion over the last 2000 years.  As a result, I have read the following books, which I would recommend for the same purpose to Catholics and non-Catholics alike:

From these readings, and based upon over six decades of personal experience, I make the following observations: GS

THURSDAY, February 12, 2004

What's going on here?  The first priority for a government, home-grown or occupying, is to provide security.  As commented here on numerous times in the past, American forces have not been able to achieve that goal for themselves, let alone for the Iraqi people.  Not enough troops on the ground.  Not enough pain applied to collaborators.  Not enough incentives for favorably disposed Iraqis to cooperate in ferreting out the bad guys.  This has been bad enough as the count of American dead and wounded mounts.  It will totally defeat our goals in and for Iraq if we do not provide adequate protection for the new Iraq military and police forces being formed.  Witness the scores of Iraqi dead from terrorist attacks in recent days.  Are American troops protecting police stations and staging areas? Are we offering adequate rewards, including the offer of emigration to the U.S.A. for useful informants and their families?  Are we applying martial law and curfews in particularly troublesome areas? And if we do not have enough troops there to get the job done, why not?  Finally, why not work to meet the demands of the Shiite majority for early general elections to legitimize a new Iraqi government?  Does this go counter to someone's theoretical exit strategy?  These problems are reminding me more and more of recalcitrant problem-solvers and not of refractory problems.  Just what ended up producing the prolonged tragedy of Viet Nam long after our leaders should have known better.

GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, February 9 through 11, 2004

GS

SUNDAY, February 8, 2004

GS

SATURDAY, February 7, 2004

GS

FRIDAY, February 6, 2004

More evidence of the "Culture of Death" becoming ever more prominent in this country.  An eleven year old girl, Carlie Brucia, is abducted and killed, allegedly by a man with at least 13 convictions in the last decade.  How may times must the alarm bell be rung for decent people to answer the call?  This society's race to the bottom must be stopped by the demands of the vast majority of Americans whose "tolerance" (read also apathy, cynicism, self-centeredness) has been completely abused.  It's all related: abortion at any stage of human life; coarseness and brutality from the entertainment media; child abuse passed off as mis-guided parenting; abominable parenting by too many, including an army of "single parent families"; unfettered sex and sexuality promoted at any age; judicial leniency over-compensated for by police and prosecutorial mis-conduct; a defense bar that rejects its dual role including that as "Officer of the Court" as it strives to get its clients off with any means including mis-leading the Court....Actions must have consequences!    This is not Democrat or Republican, nor is it liberal or conservative - it is common sense.   Wake up, America.  You are losing your birthright.

GS

THURSDAY, February 5, 2004

GS

SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY, February 1 through 4, 2004

GS


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