George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London,
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.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, May 28 and
Today, the National World War ll Memorial in Washington, D.C.
is being dedicated. I know one of the 4 million men, still alive
from among 16 million who served in that war, like a brother.
I was 10 years old when he entered the U.S. Navy at age 17 in 1943.
He served on a destroyer, made trips to Murmansk to help the Soviets, was
off the coast of Iwo Jima at the flag-raising, had his ship torpedoed,
and still had time to bring me back coins and currency from all over the
world...as well as a Japanese flag and rifle. He went on to do other
things, like volunteer for the Korean war as an Army private and spend
a career as a merchant marine officer. Today I salute him for
his efforts on behalf of me and my family in World War II.
Today is also a time to remember some of the words of the Pledge of
Allegiance: "...one nation, under God, indivisible...." As Representative
John Dingle, another WW ll veteran, expressed it yesterday from the Memorial,
country needs discussion and controversy; but that controversy should stop
at the water's edge." The diatribes and demagoguery of Senator
Blow-Hard, of Algore and of the "primal scream" regarding America's entry
into and conduct of this current war on terrorism are totally inappropriate.
This includes the incessant references to the alleged need for multi-lateral
approaches with our "allies" and with the U.N.
We tried, hard. They refused, unequivocally. Beware these
globalists. They do not believe the above words from the Pledge.
And, after WW I, WW II, and the Cold War, it is our "allies" who
owe us something more than the back of the hand.
THURSDAY, May 27, 2004
Oil and politics. The more we know about this connection in
American and global national interests (ie. our national oxygen supply),
the more likely we are to make sense of otherwise confusing and apparently
unconnected developments. Such information also puts into perspective the
changing priorities, depending upon circumstances, between issues of environmentalism
and issues of alternate energy sources and energy independence. Two
articles in today's issue of The Day are instructive: 1) "Common Ground:
Oil", by Conn Hallinan, World, pA13; and 2) "White House May
Ease Environmental Rules To Boost Gas Supplies", by Martin Crutsinger,
Sorry, but here is another edition of "I told you so" (see earlier offerings
in this section). The tawdry saga of Governor Rowland continues
in Connecticut. The prompt resignation hoped for by the legislature
and their hangers-on, so as to obviate their own long-overdue action regarding
ethical reforms, did not take place. So they had to do something,
affecting - perish the thought - themselves as well. Today we learn that
Common Cause has given them a grade of "D" for ethics reform during the
current session. ("Connecticut Lawmakers Faulted For Stalled Ethics
Reforms", by John Christoffersen, The Day Thursday, May 27, 2004, Connecticut
and R.I., pC5). Whether the Governor has done anything illegal has
yet to be determined. But "Impeachment won't take care of the
problem. The system is flawed." (Andy Sauer, Executive Director
of Connecticut Common Cause).
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, May 24
through 26, 2004
Last week, at another of many gatherings celebrating the 50th anniversary
of "Brown v Board of Education", Bill Cosby told it "like it is"
and placed substantial responsibility for serious deficiencies in the education
of black children on their parents and on other blacks (Cosby Isn't
Alone In Asking Blacks To Own Up To Problems, by DeWayne Wickham, USA
Today Tuesday, May 25, 2004, Forum, p21A). As usual, the messenger
is being blamed for the message. It is a message that was learned
by previous generations of "different" people in this country: integrate
and be equal; or segregate and be unequal. It's a choice. Meanwhile,
I hope that he does not back-pedal under pressure. Black leaders
like him should have been speaking out bluntly in behalf of the children
The current continuing saga of attempted progress in New London, CT
was helpfully addressed in two recent editorials in The
Day. What is needed is not a game of "pin the tail on the donkey";
there are too many candidates for that. Now is the time for all parties
involved to get together...in one place at the same time...and to negotiate,
argue, compromise, yell, whatever it takes to get through the current stalemate.
The long-suffering people of New London deserve no less.
As I have said more than once in this section, the Iraqi people are
going to have to earn and deserve freedom, peace and prosperity.
So far, they come up lacking through continuing acts of commission and
omission. George Will today offers a historical context for the choice
facing these beleaguered people ("First Things First As Deadline Nears
To Give Government Back To Iraq", The Day Wednesday, May 26, 2004,
Commentary, pA9). See also the excellent series entitled Power
and Peril that has been appearing in the WSJ during the last five months,
including one in today, edition (pA1). This thoughtful information
and analysis is a far cry from the simplistic and vague prescriptions emanating
from the compaign of Senator Kerry, all based upon a blind faith in "internationalism"
at the expense of our national security and identity. He is saying:
"take two aspirin and vote for me in November". I don't think so.
Talk about aspirin. The pharmaceutical industry appears to
be givng credence to the old saw about Wall Street: "Bulls make out; bears
make out; pigs don't make out". Whether reading about prescription
brand drugs or about generics, whether about drug plans or Medicare cards,
more and more the approach of this industry to the public appears to be:
"greed is good!". Beware: the problem is approaching critical mass.
You too can become a public utility, as the health care industry has become,
in all except name. There comes a time when the people "won't take
it any more".
A "must read" regarding Iraqi prisoner abuse is the article by Seymour
M. Hersh entitled "The Gray Zone", (The New Yorker, May 24, 2004,
p38). An apt title to a "case of first impression", involving various
categories of prisoners, which requires clear resolution...not just "plausable
deniability". It remains to be seen whether Secretary Rumsfeld is
part of the solution and not just part of the problem.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, May 22 and
More on Iraq and the Middle East...what else? As frequent
visitors to this section know, I always try to provide references and sources
for some of the opinions expressed here, and for related reading.
The whole idea is to try to make common sense of the cacophony
of information, spin and opinion that might otherwise overwhelm us all.
How did the Middle East get to be the way it is? In addition to some
fundamental mistakes over the last five centuries, it had a lot of help.
Bernard Lewis, in his important book "What Went Wrong?" describes
how...after nine centuries of being the center of learning and science,
the Arab world rejected the Renaissance entirely. Three centuries
later, the Arabs missed the Industrial Revolution. Instead, they
relied on despots and despotic rules crafted under the guise of "Islam",
as interpreted most conveniently for the problem at hand. Then came
the colonial powers and their brand of despotism and indentured servitude,
most notably England and France in this region, against whom the Shiites
failed in a 1920's revolution. Shiite history since then is well
outlined in an article in the June 2004 issue of National Geographic ("Reaching
For Power", p2) Of course, when oil was discovered in the Arab
lands, everything changed...and not for the better for most Arabs.
Now, economic colonialism replaced the earlier imperial expansionism, ably
assisted by the Arabs' own rulers. The world became totally dependent
on Middle Eastern oil, and has remained so...even as experts herald "The
End Of Cheap Oil" (ibid, p80) and a resulting watershed global crisis
within the next 5-20 years. Then there is the cancer of Israel/Palestine.
With this history, can Muslims have anything but suspicion and envy for
Westerners, compounded by the frequent and confusing changes of policy
of the Western powers toward Afganistan, Pakistan, and Iraq? (See
Wilson's War", by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003)The double-cross
by the U.S. of the Shiites in Southern Iraq after the first Gulf War simply
confirmed their darkest suspicions. And now, after overthrowing 30
years of terrorist Hussein rule, the only super-power in the world
cannot even establish basic security in the country that it over-ran.
Instead, common Iraqiis face a chaotic situation as an new crop of would-be
despots jockey for position and power...at the end of a gun barrel.
And we ask: "why do they hate us?" They don't hate us. They
despise us for our vacillation, our perceived weakness despite our obvious
capabilities, and most recently for even our inability to conduct
an effective interrogation: "It's nothing like we had in My Lai.
These kids didn't murder people. But we have convinced the Arab world
that we are a bunch of perverts". (Seymour Hersh, as quoted in The
Day today, pA5).
Meanwhile, we talk of "democracy" in Iraq and perhaps in other parts of
the Arab world. There is even a CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF ISLAM AND
DEMOCRACY. We wish them well; we will all need it. But nothing
will come without stability and security; and it is now the responsibility
of the U.S.A. to provide it. "You break it...you own it", as Secretary
of State Colin Powell put it before President Bush undertook this war of
pre-emptive self-defense. He was right then; but he and we must see
And that is why "The 2004 Election Has One Issue: The War On Terror",
by Daniel Henninger, WSJ Friday, May 21, 2004, Opinion, pA10. We
don't need pep talks, Mr. President. We Americans need a clear articulation
of a vision, a strategy and a tactical plan for the Middle East and for
the War on Terror that will last long beyond one election season.
That is the only way you will earn re-election.
FRIDAY, May 21, 2004
More photos and tapes. Some "scrambled eggs" hat visors and
heads had better role for this disaster, in addition to the privates and
non-coms, before this is over. Tim Russert put it succinctly today:
metaphore for mismanagement of the war".
And what's this about a "maximum penalty" of one year in jail for
the one soldier so far convicted and sentenced for his part in the prison
scandal - and one year for the soldier who was AWOL from Iraq since October?
Is this a kinder, gentler, and dumber military? Or is it precedent
for the "scrambled eggs" when they come along? And what does it say
to the hundreds of thousands of American men and women serving honorably
all over the world...and to the over 500 soldiers who have so far given
their lives in Iraq while doing the right thing?
THURSDAY, May 20, 2004
Yesterday, fourty-odd politicians who say that they are Roman
Catholics protested to the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. regarding
the expanding actions being taken by individual bishops against pro-abortion
office-holders and others. The basis for such action is the fact
that, by such opposition to one of the most basic doctrines of the Church
and of their religion, they have placed themselves outside of communion
with the Church. It seems like a real case of "choice" to
me, without the involvment of another human being whose choice is totally
"Gay Marriages". It is heartening to see homosexuals opting
for long-term, stable relationships instead of the activities of
the bad-old-days. This trend, which one source has found to involve
600,000 homosexual couples in the U.S., should be encouraged in every
way - that does not undermine the basic institution of our society:
marriage between two persons of opposite sex for the main purpose of procreating
and raising children into that society. Marriage is not a private
decision, but a public social act that seeks and receives the approbation
of the entire society. Since the balanced and healthy upbringing
of children in that society requires the efforts and wisdom of parents
of both sexes, that approbation is hardly likely to be given.
"Drug Plans". Now there's another camel: a horse designed
by committee. This monstrosity is a clear example of what would happen
under "universal health care". Care to bet your life and health on
that one? (See "Drug Plans Wreak Confusion On Elderly", The Day
today, Editorial by Rowland Nethaway).
It would appear that, having had to survive centuries of life under despots
and unpredictable "religious laws" - governing all aspects of personal
and social life - through sheer guile, many people of the Middle East
have become the greatest liars. For a country like ours that
values and demands honesty, this is proving to be a tough test of wits
and wills. We are currently seeing the unfolding of a related story
in the changing fortunes of one Mr. A. Chalaby, partly on the basis of
whose representations George Tenet of the CIA declared to the President
that Iraq would be a "slam dunk". See "Blind Faith", by Irshad
Manji, (WSJ Thursday, May 20, 2004, Opinion, pA12): "That's no way to
address Islam's intellectual lethargy, or the moral dereliction that goes
Senator John McCain: now there's a man after my own heart.
TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, May 18 and
If you're not reading the WSJ, you're just not getting a balanced
picture of all the issues out there. One especially good article,
because it cuts both ways and because I have been expressing the same points
of view on this site for many months, appeared on Monday, May 17 in the
WSJ, by Mark Helprin: "No Way to Run A War" (Opinion, pA20).
On the other end of the spectrum, totally unreconstructed from its original
opinions of a year ago and dripping with hyperbole, is the recent editorial
in The Day entitled "How U.S. Principles Fell" (Tuesday, May
18, Opinion, pA6). Hello! Is anybody there? Does
anybody care...that we are at war and that our only real choice
was whether to fight it on the terrorists' turf or in our own backyards?
Meanwhile, here are some headlines that you won't see anytime soon:
Do you think that we will read or hear any of this any time soon? Dream
Families of the victims of 9/11 rise to thank the uniformed services of
New York City for their heroism, while seeking to improve our readness
for the next attack.
U.N. Secretary-General vows to bring to justice all members of the U.N.
and member nations that played a role in the totally corrupt "Oil For Food"
criminal enterprise of the 1990's.
Hans Blix admits that he was not only wrong, but also disingenuous, regarding
WMD's, now that agents like nitrogen mustard gas and sarin have been found
in munitions in Iraq.
Senator John Kerry finally decides that we should not "cut and run", and
that all his fulminating about "getting the U.N. and other nations involved"
was just "code" for cutting and running...and was wrong.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld admits that he "really screwed up" regarding
the aftermath of the Iraq war, trying to do the job "on the cheap", with
fatal consequences for a lot of soldiers and Iraqi civilians. And,
unlike Robert MacNamara, he admits it now, not thirty-five years later.
President George W. Bush states that he is "really upset" with Secretary
Rumsfeld, but that he will give him a chance to redeem himself.
President Bush declares that...if Iraq is in as bad shape in October as
it is now... he does not deserve to be re-elected.
The United States and the U.N. declare Palestine to be a Protectorate,
demand the abandonment of all Gaza and West Bank Israeli settlements not
essential to the legitimate defense of Israel, reject any claims to "the
right of return", and provide an effective peace-keeping force to stabilize
America re-institutes a fair draft, to provide for the common defense here
and abroad, and to rehabilitate the millions of young people who come out
of high-school without an adequate education.
President Bush articulates the importance of international trade, with
its inevitable "great sucking sound" of jobs leaving, and announces a massive
federally supported national re-training program for Americans so affected.
All members of Congress and of this administration and military agree that,
in a war against terrorists and irregulars, the strict rules of the Geneva
Convention do not always apply...and that they all have known that from
MONDAY, May 17, 2004
Some thoughtful discussions are being had regarding the landmark Brown
v Board of Education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court 50 years ago...if,
that is, you ignore the clap-trap issued by Senator Blow-Hard.
Others realize that the decision, although forming the foundation for the
successes of the civil rights movement, lost much of its educational promise
in a cacaphony of law suits, urban protests followed by urban flight, 30
years of liberal plantation mentality, and the determined and continuing
obstruction by teachers unions. The past and the present promise
are both pointedly summarized in today's editorial in the WSJ ("An Idea
Has Consequences", pA20). No clear thought, no originality from
the democratic hustings, something that is rapidly becoming a pattern.
SUNDAY, May 16, 2004
An illuminating article appears today in the NYTimes, pA1 by Todd S. Purdum,
on the family and personal background of Senator John Kerry.
"Past is Prologue", in individual lives as well as in great swaths of history.
The article was re-printed, in substantially abridged form, in The Day.
The newspaper would have made better use of pA12 if it had picked up the
report in its entirety.
Once again, Thomas L. Friedman has gotten it right in today's article in
the N.Y.Times, Op-Ed, pWk 11 ("Tyranny Of The Minorities").
Unfortunately, he makes an apt comparison between what is currently going
on in Israel and in Iraq. In both cases, the majority have
in their hands the choices of success or failure, of peace or continued
Talk about solid journalism. Today's Meet the Press by Tim
Russert was a gem. His guests were Senator Joseph Biden, Senator John McCain
and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Civil, informative, without
either "gotcha" or cream puff questioning. What a relief, however
brief, from the SOP.
Regarding the current medical mal-practice cost crisis, a must-read
appears in the May 2004 issue of Trial magazine (www.atla.org),
entitled "The Truth About Med-Mal Premiums", an extended interview
with Jay Angoff, former Insurance Commissioner of Missouri and past Director
of HCFA provate health insurance group (p36). The information will
not be news to those who have read the relevant offerings on the subject
on this web-site (Health Law category). But it is always good to
get some outside support. Of course, such disclosures most commonly
appear after the person with the information leaves office, retires or
otherwise "comes in from the cold". Americans could use such information
and insights much earlier...but we are appreciative nevertheless.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, May 14 and
A relatively slow news day today, if you exclude the regular regurgitation
of the prisoner abuse issue. That issue is now in the hands of a
democratic process, and the rule of law. People of the Middle
East, watch and learn. The rest is now politics.
The recent "clarification" from the Pope regarding artificial means
of hydration and nutrition was directed at cases of "persistent vegitative
state", the hardest cases. Those who have always opposed "living
wills" and other means of patient self-determination are expanding its
application beyond the text and intent, in my opinion. The statement
continues to leave room at least for medical judement regarding whether
the use of a gastric feeding tube is "treatment" or is painful, dangerous
or futile in a given case. And, of course, the Church is not hereby
repealing the doctrine of "free will" on which its theology is grounded.
More press is being given to "boutique" or "concierge" Medicine,
the provision of 24 hour - seven day per week - physician coverage, monitoring
of all medical conditions, and advocacy in navigating the winding trails
of sub-specialty care...for an extra fee. Welcome to Allergy Associates
of New London, P.C. and my practice for nearly fourty-two years, where
such service has always been standard...and without extra cost.
The more the world experiences the world of viruses, worms and other
serious cyber-invaders, the more my comments made in this section many
months ago resonate: the producers of software continue to be sloppy and
unresponsive to the extent where their products can be considered "defective,
unreasonably dangerous" and thus subject to suits under the legal theories
of strict liability and product liability. Perhaps only then will
they clean up their act and not merely go for the gold.
THURSDAY, May 13, 2004
Regarding the prisoner abuse problem, I feel a need to make my personal
position crystal-clear. I would never order such abuse and torture.
I would never condone it. I would never participate in such activities,
whatever the orders or consequences of disobedience. I would try
to bring to justice any perpetrators of such acts, low or high on the pecking
order. But if, as has been reported to be the case, Saddam Hussein
had been captured through such means, would I have freed him as "fruit
of the forbidden tree"? You've got to be kidding! Now is everything
clear? For more on the history and reality of this subject, even
regarding the moral United States, see the following articles: 1) "Abuse
Less Shocking In Light Of History", by Rick Hampton, USA Today, Thursday,
May 13, 2004, p1A; and 2) "U.S. Interrogators Face 'Gray Areas' With
Prisoners", by Richard Willing and John Diamond, ibid, p10A.
From stories reported in recent days, the U.S. Conference of Bishops
still needs a lot of work. From the weak-kneed comments of its
President recently regarding the issue of "Catholic" politicians who regularly
give scandal by supporting abortion and even partial birth abortion, to
today's second bitter complaint in a year from the lay oversight commission
dealing with clergy abuse regarding the bishops' non-cooperation, the bishops
should familiarize themselves again with decisions of the Second Vatican
Council regarding the laity. The laity is the Church,
together with its clergy. Fourty years of foot-dragging is enough,
don't you think?
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, May 10
through 12, 2004
The national self-flagellation regarding the Iraq prisoner abuse
stories may be abating (except on the talking head circuit) as we recall
why we are in Iraq in the first place (pre-emptive self-defense).
This is in no way a defense of the actions depicted, of the perpetrators,
or of their command structure that either allowed or encouraged such action.
All guilty of negligence or of intentional mis-conduct should receive adequate
punishment, in order to re-affirm to the world America's core values.
Meanwhile, we are at war! Remember? Or did we need a
to remind us? Let's get the job done, in ways better than we have
during the last year. Only power and security will eliminate our
enemies and win over a timid and ambivalent Iraqi population and a hostile
Arab world. There is plenty of documentation for this approach, and
for the danger of retreating behind "Fortress America" in reasoned editorial
commentary. See WSJ today, Opinion, pA14, including an article by
Bernard Lewis. See also Opinion offerings in WSJ Friday, May 1, 2004,
Meanwhile, Senator Blow-Hard does not know what he does not know,
and certainly doesn't know when to keep quiet. Whether relating to
years'-old pablum regarding a cure for health care costs, or regarding
whether or not to support a war in which America is engaged, he could have
made better use of his time this week meeting roll-call and voting in the
Senate for an extension of Federal unemployment insurance...which failed
by one vote, he being the only Senator not in attendance.
Keep it up, Senator.
SUNDAY, May 9, 2004
More on prisoner abuse and Iraq. When the smoke finally
clears from this blaze, at least the oversight committees in Congress and
in the Senate would be able to answer the following questions:
These should be some of the questions being discussed. Meanwhile,
to sack our Secretary of Defense in the midst of two on-going wars
would be an even greater self-inflicted wound than the prisoner abuse issue.
And it would be like throwing blood into the shark-infested waters of the
present political season as we citizens try to keep from drowning.
What we need to do, in addition to the above, is to prosecute the war in
Iraq offensively and not defensively, to involve those other organizations
and countries that wish to be involved, and to encourage (with carrot and
stick) the Iraqi people to leave the sidelines and to participate constructively
in their own future after 30 years of tyranny. We Americans, after
all, don't care whether they love us or hate us...so long as they respect
us - for whatever reason the resonates best with them. And
for those readers new to these ruminations, I have been advising all of
this for at least the last year in this section. "No brag; just fact".
Was what happened negligence? Or was it intentional
on the part of those charged with getting the intelligence needed to protect
our troops in the field and ourselves at home?
What was the chain of command supposed to be among the military,
the CIA and related "spooks", the private contractors and the civilian
control over all this, as required by our system of government?
In these relatively uncharted waters, do clear policies exist distinguishing
among prisoners of war, irregulars and terrorists...regarding the
application of the Rules of War and the Geneva Convention to each group?
Or are those at the front making it up as they go along, perhaps waiting
for the U.S.Supreme Court to decide some of these issues in its slowly
Were our regular military advised of applicable rules and of the
chain of command; or were they co-opted into this work?
What do we, as a moral democratic society, believe that the rules
should be in each category and regarding the whole issue of dealing
with lethal occult danger? Or should we wait for a blow in the
homeland larger and more deadly than 9/11, with a predictable response
from Americans that would risk losing our collective souls, as projected
in a recent article in the N.Y.Times Magazine ("Could We Lose The War On
Terror", by Michael Ignatieff, May 2, 2004, p46)? Here the
author cautions that, in such a scenario, the citizens would not have to
keep the government in tow. Rather, the government would be hard-pressed
to deal with the public's demand for use of all kinds of mischief and behavior...so
long as it protected America. After all, the most important weapon
in a war on terrorism is military and domestic intelligence.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, May 7 and 8,
The prisoner abuse story. What else can we react to?
Besides factual news reporting, there are many good articles appearing
on the subject of this serious injury to the image of America...without
having to comment on the emanations of Senator Blow-Hard. We still
need more facts regarding who knew or should have known, and when.
We need to know what the chain of command was, if there was one, among
the soldiers, the CIA and even the independent contractors (who appear
to be playing an ever greater there, for good or ill). We need to
know what the orders and even the guidelines were, including those given
with a wink and a nod, as we tried to obtain vital information...from military
irregulars and also from terrorists...needed to protect our forces
there and our people here. How close do our "softening - up" methods
come to torture by any common sense definition? I sense an ambiguity
here, perhaps intentional, and an ambivalence, perhaps understandable.
None of these are excuses for totally unacceptable behavior. But,
just as we have to understand the pathophysiology of a disease in order
to treat it, we have to know how this took place. Meanwhile, watch
out for the Democrats On Parade and for Senator Blow-Hard to play in muddy
waters...and thereby to give aid and comfort to the enemy while we have
our soldiers in battle.
WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, May 5 and
Sorry about the interruption. "God put me on this earth
to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far
behind...I will never die".
It's a little early, but we begin to see a Kabuki Dance regarding "the
draft". I believe that this is not only necessary from a military
needs point of view, but that it could go a long way toward reversing a
lot of the damage inflicted on our youth in the public school system.
Are we ever going to address a cohesive plan regarding this country's
immigration policy? Right now it reminds me of the definition
of a camel: a horse designed by committee. A recent report highlights
the ineffectiveness and injustice currently imbedded in our present approaches.
Did you know that a child of illegal aliens, having resided in the U.S.
for many years or even born here, becomes ineligible for college assistance
upon graduating high school? What national purpose, and what justice,
does that serve?
This country continues to be schizophrenic about the status of the fetus.
See "Son, You're Not Born Yet, But We Need To Talk: Communicating With
Your Fetus", by Jeffery Zaslow, WSJ Thursday, April 29, 2004,
Personal Jopurnal, pD1.
Our current health care system is another camel, a gemisch of market
forces and ham-handed regulation which is failing too many Americans.
Two recent articles shed light on this subject: "Canada's 'Free' Health
Care Has Hidden Costs", by Pierre Lemieux, WSJ Friday, April
23, 2004, Opinion, pA15; and "Healthy, Wealthy and Wise", by John
F. Cogan et al, WSJ Tuesday, May 4, 2004, Opinion, pA20. In addition,
see my offerings on the subject, going back to the late 1970's, on this
web site under Categories, Health Law and Managed Care.
What a trial by fire this first term is proving to be for President Bush.
Now prisoner abuses. There are some signs that his team members
learn and turn from their mistakes, if only while also yelling and screaming
in the process. But the talisman of the President's leadership abilities
will rest on his handling of Iraq with all its challenges. Given
the problems of the post-war and the most recent self-inflicted wound,
the highly vaunted "loyalty" within this administration may have to give
way to responsibility: Secretary Rumsfeld would be first on the
list to go, since most of the problems have occurred within his jurisdiction.
However, this prisoner issue and its handling by the U.S. may prove to
be a very valuable object lesson differentiating a democracy from the despotism
that the Arab world is too familiar with. They will never admit it,
but this may actually help in a perverse way in that long-suffering part
of the world. See Abu Ghraib, by Victor Davis Hanson, WSJ
Monday, May 3, 2004, Opinion, pA20.
SUNDAY, May 2, 2004
Both President Bush and Jay Leno were funny last night at the
annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
N.B. At times, and for various reasons, "Rapid Response" is not
so rapidly posted. But fear not...I always catch up. Thank
you for your interest in this effort, which receives about 5,000 visits
Jay Leno: "John Kerry stands by his claim that some foreign leaders
have told him they hope he wins. And of course President Bush said,
'Yeah, well certain Supreme Court Justices have told me I'm going to win.
President Bush, about the charge that he is doing too little for
the economy: "Look what I've done for the book publishing industry (referring
to the "lies" this and "lies" that crop of screeds). "I could tell
you that I have read them...but that would be a lie". Bara-Bing.
SATURDAY, May 1, 2004
The more we see and hear of Senator John Kerry, the more this election
looks like President Bush's to lose. The Senator continues to grasp
at straws and to contort them into clownish figures. Whether attacking
our relationship with China as the cause of our domestic miseries, or alleging
that the President is failing to increase security around chemical plants
because of his "ties" to those industries, his words give further credence
to the substance of a news analysis article published today in The Day
(theday.com): "Democrats fear deja vu as Kerry candidacy begins to look
like Al Gore's", by Ron Fournier (AP), Nation, pA3. Or to quote
a Republican spokesman on the subject: "How many times can a flip-flop
flip before a flip-flop becomes a flop?"
Meanwhile, WMD's are apparently news only when the subject
can be used against this administration. We have heard little about
a bomb and poison-gas attack, foiled in Jordan, and attributed by
one of the plotters to al Qaeda, which could have caused an estimated
death toll of 80,000 there, including those at the U.S. Embassy in Amman
(see "Al Qaeda's Poison Gas", WSJ Editorial, Thursday, April 29,
2004, Opinion, pA16).
More on the subject of our inadequate forces in post-war Iraq, thanks
to Secretary Rumsfeld and company. An editorial in the N.Y.Times
put it bluntly yesterday: "It's hard to imagine what the Pentagon was
thinking when it told the American Army and Marine replacement divisions
bound for Iraq earlier this year to leave their tanks and other heavily
armored vehicles behind". The Defense Department reportedly wanted
our troops to be in a better position for "engaging with the Iraqi civilian
population and winning hearts and minds". What nonsense; and this
from our military professionals? Now they are sending armor,
after the toll suffered by those troops during April. "This latest
military planning fiasco" will also have to be investigated - with assurances
that lessons have been learned! (See N.Y.Times Friday, April 30,
2004, Editorials/Letters, pA24).
On the local front, in New London, CT, Superintendent of Schools
Christopher Clouet gives a better account of his views on recent Federal
Education legislation than appeared several weeks ago, as commented on
in this section. See the report by Michael Murphy, Jr. in The New
London Times, April 30, 2004, p4. Meanwhile, the "Kabuki Dance" engaged
in for many months between the City administration and the NLDC
has finally produced a lot of injured toes. The good news is that
neither side can claim the high ground here. It is time for all the
parties to talk to, rather than talk at, each other, and to put all their
cards on the table, both aces and deuces. Remember, we citizens
of New London are the stake-holders here; and so far we are underwhelmed
by this game and by its game-players.