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
THURSDAY trough MONDAY, October
27 through 31, 2005
The latest liberal feeding frenzy is in full swing, this time trying
to equate the I. Lewis Libby indictment with Watergate, Iran-Contra, Vietnam,
Monica-gate, and anything else that they can come up with. Even the
highly regarded Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, could not resist.
Here I paraphrase closely what he said at his news conference announcement:
"Mr. Libby is innocent until proven guilty; but assuming the truth of
the allegations, then...." How's that? Is he innocent unless
you prove him guilty? Or do we just skip that step? The New
York Times has predictably done just that, with its full-page article and
file photos in today's edition entitled: "When Criminal Charges Reach
The White House" (Wk p4). Then there is the ever-rabid
Frank Rich with his "One Step Closer To The Big Enchilada" (Wk p12).
But wait: there's hope for Times readers yet. See "The Prosecutor's
Diagnosis: No Cancer Found", by David Brooks, the rare and reliable
voice of reason on that self-proclaimed "Newspaper of Record"(Wk p13).
New Orleans labor market. Many jobs, many available workers
and contractors. But somehow even that no-brainer is being screwed
up by the bureaucracy and their "most favored" clients. President
Bush, WAKE UP! You're losing your legacy...not within the Beltway...but
in the bayous. Your condition is not fatal; but it is critical.
A bit about our own State of Connecticut. So far Governor
Rell has been underwhelming, less than meets the eye. She would
go a long way toward getting elected in her own right if she would force
a true reform program through the legislature and into law.
That will involve cracking a lot of eggs. Can she do it? Does
she want to? Or is this to be the "same ol' - same ol' Connecticut
that we have come to expect?
What is this I read about "super-precedents", judicial actions allegedly
so sacred and "established" that that they should never be subject to reversal...no
matter how far into the future or how rotten they have become? What
hubris (to avoid other more apt descriptions). Whether touted by
conservatives or by liberals, such a concept should die aborning, having
no basis in any body of law except for the Ten Commandments. Let's
give this one a quick burial.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, October
27 and 28, 2005
Harriet Miers. Whether you accept the White House explanation,
perfectly plausable, that Ms. Miers turned out to have been too close to
the President in both affairs of attorney-client privilege and in affairs
of State to be able to answer many of the Senators' questions, this
result might have been inevitable even without the furor raised by Conservatives.
Consequently, as I suggested in an offering in this section weeks ago,
look for the nomination of Genghis Khan.
Iraq. Consider "The Rest Of The Story", as commentator
Paul Harvey would call it, this statement by Prime Minister Barzani of
Kurdistan on the subject.
A Kurdish Vision of Iraq
By Massoud Barzani
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; No. 624, Page A19 in American Committees
on Foreign Relations NewsGroup
In recent weeks Iraq has passed three important milestones. The constitutional
referendum on Oct. 15 was a powerful demonstration of Iraqis' desire to
establish democracy and save a country still recovering from its disastrous
history. Two days later the remains of 500 of my kinsmen were returned
from a mass grave in southern Iraq for reburial in Iraqi Kurdistan. Another
7,500 of my kin are still missing after "disappearing" from a Baathist
concentration camp in 1983 in the first phase of the genocidal Anfal campaign,
which caused the death of 182,000 Kurdish civilians during the 1980s. Then,
on Oct. 19, Saddam Hussein finally went on trial.
None of this would have been possible without the U.S.-led liberation
of Iraq, an operation in which Kurds were proud partners. After the U.S.
armed forces, our pesh merga was the second-largest member of the coalition.
Today the security forces of Iraqi Kurdistan remain highly capable and
reliable allies of the United States. By consistently working with the
United States and reaching out to our fellow Iraqis, we have been at the
heart of a political process based on equality and inclusion, on consensus
Above all, we have taken the path of engagement because, like the United
States, we need Iraq to succeed and avoid a repetition of the horrors of
the past. We have therefore been engaged in Iraqi national politics and
governance. Kurds have joined the new Iraqi military in large numbers.
We have made unprecedented sacrifices. Time and again we have pursued political
settlements by encouraging flexibility and consensus.
And yet the Kurds have been vilified as separatists and derided for
"overreaching." This stems from a belief that our aim is independence,
and from the chauvinism that defines the Middle East as homogenous, that
refuses to accepts its inherent diversity. What those who carp at the victims
in Iraq fail to understand is that Kurds, like other Iraqis, crave security
-- security for the future and security from the terrors of the past. We
suffered more than 80 years of discrimination and disadvantage -- suffering
that culminated in anti-Kurdish ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Unlike our critics, Kurds are pragmatists and moderates. We know that
we have rights, but we also understand that we have responsibilities. We
are patriots, not suicidal nationalists. That moderation has translated
into a commitment to dialogue. We were pivotal in the establishment of
the Iraqi Governing Council in July 2003 without any preconditions. We
were under no obligation to reattach Kurdistan to Iraq. After all, the
United States is not asking Kosovo to rejoin Serbia.
Our desire for security and our principles of moderation and dialogue
were key factors in the proposal of all the major Iraqi political parties
to create a federal, pluralistic and democratic Iraq in which power is
decentralized and so less open to abuse. Iraqis of all communities recognize
that only such a formula can keep Iraq intact.
In Iraqi Kurdistan we have, for the past 14 years, accepted the idea
that we are a diverse society. Ethnic and religious minorities -- Assyrian
and Chaldean Christians, Yazidis and Turkomans -- all serve in the Kurdistan
regional government and all have the right to educate their children in
their mother tongues and to broadcast in their own languages. We firmly
believe that the Middle East must accommodate all of its peoples and all
of their languages and religions. Nor is Kurdistan alone in this regard.
In the new Iraq, the Kurds see their role as bridge builders, as a community
that has every interest in an inclusive political process that gives Iraq
a better future while addressing the injustices of the past.
Just as Kurds have not taken revenge on the Arab settlers who took over
their land, so the moderate Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs of Iraq have shown
similar forbearance in the face of a wave of suicide bombings that has
claimed many thousands of lives. All democratic Iraqis have shown they
realize that the wrongs of the past can be redressed only through agreed-on
legal mechanisms and that justice cannot be selective. It is as important
for Kurds to be allowed to return to Kirkuk and for Marsh Arabs to be restored
to their homes as it is for Saddam Hussein to be put on trial.
The restraint of the victims, the defiance of the millions who vote
-- refusing to be drawn into the civil war fantasies of the terrorists
-- vindicate the courage and vision of the United States and its coalition
partners. Backing this fundamentally sound vision has been President Bush's
moral understanding of the healing and dignity that democracy confers upon
all men and women, an understanding that the Kurds share.
The United States has never wavered in its quest to help Iraqis build
a democracy that rewards compromise and consensus. The ever-generous American
people have paid a tragic price, the lives of their finest men and women,
to advance the banner of freedom and democracy, a sacrifice for which we
are profoundly grateful. We all know that democracy is the only solution
to political problems, the only method by which grievances can be addressed.
In this war and for these principles, the Kurds are true friends of the
The writer is president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Is there a God, or an Intelligent Designer, or an afterlife?
Consider the contortions some scientists go through to "explain" belief
in God. See "Our Brains Strive To See Only The Good, Leading Some
To God", by Sharon Begley, WSJ today, Science Journal, pB. The
writer is describing rationalization - a vital defense mechanism - but
does not use that common explanation. And then there are those scientists
who, backed into an irreducible "Big Bang", simply say "I'll get back to
you later". As a refreshing alternative to this approach, see the
recent article published in The Day by John Rodolico, reproduced here in
its entirety. For my part, we know there is a God because we came
from Him, and we are forever drawn back to Him.
Creationism, Science, Both Require Faith
By JOHN A. RODOLICO
Published on 10/23/2005 in The Day
In the debate between evolution and creation, a scientist can no more
prove the origin of man than a theologian can prove the existence of God.
Both groups consider the evidence and reach different conclusions, but
both theories require faith.
A recent column in The Day was subtitled “Faith in Intelligent Design
Can't Refute DNA's Message.” The premise is that evolution is factual while
creationism is superstitious; evolution is “testable,” while creationism
Darwinian scientists decode DNA and conclude that “a smidgeon of cells
3.5 billion years ago” evolved to our present universe. But how do
you prove the fundamentals?
Scientists can prove that bodies attract, but ask why and they can only
reply “Because they do.” They can prove that energy cannot be created nor
destroyed, but the explanation is “Because it can't.” But what if bodies
repelled each other? Of course, then there would be no universe.
Natural laws, established and unchanging, are the foundation that can
be tested but never explained. Were the laws of motion and energy accidents
Evolutionists ask “Who created the creator?” but creationists ask “What
was the origin of the laboratory where evolution took place?” What is the
source of the first cell, the “tool kit,” and the physical laws that guided
this great experiment?
The evolutionary terms “random events” and “happy accidents” suggest
a process that pure science cannot fully explain and experts admit that
“details are sure to be refined over time.”
There are still unknowns
Creationists accept unknowns by faith. Evolutionists fill in the gaps
with “I'll get back to you on that.”
Creationists accept the Bible as the foundation. While not a scientific
text, the Bible contains fascinating facts inconceivable to the ancient
writers. It described the Earth as round before Columbus, innumerable stars
before Galileo, and unfortunately, a destructive means to melt the elements
of the earth, namely nuclear fission, long before Fermi. Poetic license?
Perhaps, but unlikely.
Believing a theological book takes more faith than logic, and a God
without beginning or ending is beyond the realm of human comprehension.
The concept of an infinite “being” is difficult for a finite man. The doctrines
of omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence are hard to grasp. But skeptics
accept without explanation a limitless universe without beginning, and
fixed and unchanging laws, yet reject the notion of an
nfinite being. Could there be a relationship between an infinite
God and an infinite universe?
The infinite and unchanging also conflicts with a culture of the immediate
and relative. An omni-God who created fixed and orderly physical
laws would likely possess fixed laws of morality. This is counter to the
evolving mores of today's society. Would a God who created man and woman
in his image possibly have an unchanging view of abortion, marriage and
This struggle extends to our classrooms. The “constitutional” position
is that only evolution may be taught, since creation has, God forbid, religious
connotations. We expect students to accept evolution as science, even with
its unknowns and leaps of faith, but shudder that they may think outside
the box in exploring an equally credible theory with as many unknowns.
We do not hesitate to push the limits in our teaching of humanistic
philosophy infused with personal ethics and morality, in the hopes of expanding
our children's minds, yet anguish that exposing children and young adults
to an alternate theory, with as many unanswered questions, will result
in a lifetime of confusion.
If a science teacher expounds that his students are random, soulless
creatures (unless amoeba-descended creatures are infused with a soul) he
is teaching science. If, however, a philosophy teacher introduces the idea
of a creator, they are teaching religion.
Evolution and creationism, both theories, can be tested and debated,
but invariably fill the unknowns with faith.
John Rodolico lives in Ledyard, CT.
The United Nations Food for Oil crime, and all the nations and international
corporations involved. It's all in the Paul Volker report just out.
Another reason why I have been proposing for many years that all American
corporations with international dealings should have Public representatives
on their Boards of Directors. They cannot continue to be allowed
to affect America's foreign policy by their unilateral and secretive actions.
We are starting to see Federal legislation proposals to rein in the supposed
excesses of Eminent Domain as articulated in the recently decided USSC
case of Kelo v City of New London. We learn in law school
that "ownership" is a "bundle of rights". Tenants and lease-holders
have a partial bundle. Owners in "fee simple" have a much larger
bundle...but never the whole bundle, part of which is always reserved to
the Sovereign, whether for protection of public safety or for rational
development or for a "public purpose". The latter is absolutely vital
to keep up with the future, currently especially for our declining cities.
Will someone who has the ear and eye of the mass media start explaining
all this to the uninformed and at times hysterical public?
Or is that too much to ask of the "Fourth Estate"?
Rosa Parks. There is an American hero for the ages.
She did not need wealth, position, status, or artificially imparted "self-image"
to do the right thing. Nor should we. She deserves a rousing
send-off from the Capitol Rotunda, and much more in our history.
SATURDAY through WEDNESDAY, October
21 through 26, 2005
Lots to catch up with...in staccato fashion.
Iraq. A big step has been taken. A long process remains,
which we must stick with. Too bad that we didn't establish security
at the outset. So, Sec. Rumsfeld was right about winning the war,
but dead wrong about what would be needed to establish the peace.
But this WW lll is nothing like past world wars. This is a learning
curve, hopefully very steep. One useful scorecard is the most recent
book by Thomas P.M. Barnett entitled "The Pentagon's New Map: Blueprint
For Action" (G.P. Putman's sons, New York, 2005).
Global warming...yes. But Kyoto...no: that at least according
to an article in the WSJ Oct. 7, 2005, Opinions, pA16. A complicated
issue that would benefit from more facts and fewer lies and obfuscation.
Food Fights. In Connecticut, Governor Rell foolishly vetoed
a bill that would have removed junk food dispensers from public schools,
at a financial loss to the schools but with great benefit to all the fat
and fattening kids. And now we read about who can dispense school
snacks in after-school programs: teachers and volunteers, or union employees.
It's all about money, and it's disgraceful. Kids are always the last
in the system, beginning with "education".
But a bright note: McDonald's going to come clean regarding
what is in their big-this and massive-that. See the article in today's
WSJ, Marketplace, pB1. After getting this information, you're
out of your mind if you don't change your eating habits.
And do yourself a big favor: visit www.medidietresources.com.
The GOP: a house divided and falling. See the Miers issue.
See the article by Cal Thomas in yesterday's The Day, Commentary, pA7.
But also see "The Savior Of The Right" (aka President George W. Bush),
by David Brooks, NYTimes Sunday, Oct. 23, Op-Ed, Wk p12. Compassionate
Conservatism really is the way, morally and politically.
De ja vu, all over again. On page 1 of the WSJ Monday, Oct.
24, we were treated to two articles demonstrating how little new is in
the news. One article reminded us that Milton Friedman proposed
vouchers for public school parents 50 years ago. The article
announces: "A Big Insurer Bets On A Hot Trend: Shopping Around For Health
Care". That was a no-brainer proposed by some of us beginning
in the mid-1970's and constantly since then. What does that say about
a supposedly "vibrant" democracy?
Trial lawyers and the judiciary. See "A Good Trial Lawyer
Could Sit On Any Court", a letter to the editor by U.S. District Judge
Thomas P. Griesa (WSJ Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005, pA21). Now Harriet
Miers just needs to demonstrate during the coming Judiciary Committee
hearings that she is as good as her resume. That's fair, if it is
"For Blacks, A Dream In Decline". So does an article in the
NYTimes announce prematurely the decline and demise of blacks in the union
work force (Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005, Wk p1). Sez who? This
is just another example of the paternalistic attitude that has typified
liberals' approach to these "victims". Friends, victimhood will
get you nowhere. Vouchers, a good education somewhere, and personally
earned self-esteem will get you everywhere. Demand it. Try
Here's a cause for alarm: "Bill Barring Genetic Discrimination Stalls
In The House", by Kevin O'Reilly, American Medical News, Sept.
26, 2005, p13. Everyone has a great stake in the privacy of his or
her genetic makeup. The alternative is uninsurability, job discrimination
and loss, and suffocation of the most promising medical research going
on today and in the forseeable future. This warrants a full-court
press with our legislators. Now is the time.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, October 19
and 20, 2005
Harriet Miers. It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
This accomplished attorney and counsel to the President is being treated
like Ozzie's spouse in a buzz-saw between liberal Democrats (so far very
quiet) and conservative Republicans (much too strident). (See "A
Crackdown, Not a 'Crackup'", by Rush Limbaugh, WSJ Wednesday, Oct.
17, 2005, Opinion, pA18). The Democrats think she is a closet anti-abortionist.
The conservatives think she is not anti-abortion enough. (Yes, sad
to say, there really is a Litmus test). Ms.Miers is going to have
to earn the job herself, before the Senate Judiciary Committee...not a
bad way to get to the nation's highest court. Meanwhile, the President
needs to do some earning himself, to "get his Mojo back".
What do Sarbanes-Oxley and No Child Left Behind Acts have in common?
Both were hated at the outset by their respective targets. But both
are gradually and grudgingly coming into their own. None too soon,
for "business ethics" and for "education".
"Indifference to evil is evil". The words of Holocaust
survivor Sigmund Strochlitz of New London, Ct. Let's all never
The sky is not yet falling, except as rainfall, but the Arctic is melting
at a rapid rate. The National Academy of Sciences has recently
concluded that this and other recent troubling natural phenomina are directly
related to the accumulation of greenhouse gases from both industrialized
and from third world nations (the latter from massive burning of virgin
forests). How long, and at what price in calamities, will the U.S.
and the international community wait to address this challenge? The
effects, if not already upon us, can be here within a decade.
The FDA is again in the news. :Implanted defibrillators that
fail. Most recently, news that medicine-impregnated vascular stents
may not avoid and may even promote clotting. We're waiting...
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, October
17 through 18, 2005
There's a memorable line in the movie "A Fish Called Wanda" wherein
Kevin Klein"s girlfriend fires at him a description of him which he both
detests and well deserves: "STUPIDO. STUPIDO. STUPIDO!"
In fact, after he objects, she says it again: "STUPIDO. STUPIDO.
STUPIDO!" And that's my description of this New London City Council,
particularly following its action, taken at yesterday's Council meeting,
"firing" the NLDC...an action taken against the direct advice of its own
city attorney, against the expressed wishes of Governor Rell, and against
the most basic common sense. These are good people individually.
But, as a group, they comprise the worst New London City Council that I
have observed since my family's arrival here in 1963...and that's saying
something. Citizens: Arise; Think; Vote! And finally,
choose...don't settle for the likes of this gang.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, October 15
and 16, 2005
Iraq. Looks like another modestly successful step in a long
process. President Bush will stay the course. Will we?
Louis Farrakhan, he of the "Katrina levee conspiracy". A divider...not
a uniter. Just what the black community does not need if it really
wants to progress.
Conservatives and Harriet Miers. When will they realize that
they are playing out a death wish for the Republican Party in 2006?
The Democrats certainly realize it, and are having sense enough to keep
their mouths shut.
Failures of every administration during the last 20 years: Immigration.
The "Drug War". Nuclear Non-Proliferation. Health Care Policy.
I'm sure I'm missing others. That is the wages of "a house divided
against itself". Our leaders sorely need a prolonged town-hall type
debate on these issues throughout the country. Congress and each
administration meanwhile continue to be captive to their own bloviating
and to well-represented competing special interests. The nation's
critical business is not getting done!
If you want facts about Kelo v City of New London, the NLDC,
Pfizer, Inc. and Eminent Domain, read today's fine reportage on the
subject by Ted Mann: "Pfizer's Fingerprints On Fort Trumbull Plan"
(The Day, pA1). After the ominous title, the writer plays it straight,
right back to 1997. And, even if you include the alternating active
and passive aggression displayed by New London City Councils and by the
City Manager since then-Governor Rowland and Pfizer side-stepped them in
favor of their agent (NLDC)...not covered in the article... a fair and
non-self-serving and non-hysterical reading of those facts leads to only
one conclusion: the parties acted in good faith, acted legally, efficiently
and professionally, AND DID NOTHING WRONG. They also won, in
the nation's highest Court and in all the lower courts. They should
have been more politically sensitive; but even there, they had a right
to expect that their City Council would have run political interference
for them - and not against them. They should be commended on behalf
of the City of New London...and not vilified. The rest is sour grapes,
stupid politics and even falsehoods. This will become evident even
to the most obtuse observers only after the coming municipal elections...and
only if the citizens of New London choose wisely - rather than settling,
as they have so often done in the past.
FRIDAY, October 14, 2005
Following yesterday's "rapid response" comment on the plight of blacks
(see "Of Polls and Pole-Cats"), we
find today an article directly on point in the WSJ: "Shall We Overcome?",
by Charles Johnson (Opinion, pA10). "Furthermore, it is not merely
an economic or political problem but also a cultural, spiritual and moral
one that has at its center behavior and attitudes that make far too many
black men noncompetitive (except in sports and entertainment) and, perhaps,
irrelevant in an increasingly complex multicultural and knowledge-based
global economy." And on the same page we are reminded of one
of the main reasons for this disaster: the teachers' union gang and their
mouthpieces Senators Kennedy and Dodd, among others. Ever so slowly,
and mainly out of deep embarrassment, some Democratic politicians are beginning
to support parental choice and vouchers. See "It Takes A Hurricane",
An old saying, which I made up recently, states: "If you want to predict
the future, know human nature". The latest tool in that regard
earned its discoverers this year's Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, after
having earned John Nash (of movie fame) the same prize in 1994: Game
Theory. We all need to get up to speed on this subject, which
has been around in academic print since 1960. See "The Great Game",
by David R. Henderson, WSJ Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005, Opinion, pA16.
More on that in the future.
The new bankruptcy law takes effect on Monday, about ten years late.
Without referring to the many unfortunate people whose problem stems directly
from overwhelming health care costs, this may bring to heel those of the
more recent self-centered and ethically challenged generations who wink
at cheating at everything and who leave the rest of us holding the bag.
With an average of 30,000 Chapter 7 filings per week during the last four
years, a record 102,863 Americans filed last week. Grow Up!
Tony Blankley, Editorial Page Editor of the Washington Times, has just
published an important book entitled "The West's Last Chance" (Regnery
Publishing, 2005). He documents the coming "Eurabia". He urges
Congress to issue a formal Declaration of War against Global Terrorism
in order to provide the tools necessary to wage this war. And he
notes the result of a recent poll taken of Muslims living in England: 90%
do not agree with the methods of terrorists, but 30% would not turn them
in; and 50% would rather live under Islamic Law instead of under democracy.
This, against a backdrop of Europeans having a birth rate unable to replace
their death rate while Muslims are reproducing - and immigrating - in abundance.
The sub-title of the book is apt: "Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?"
WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, October
12 and 13, 2005
NASA wants to spend 100 billion dollars (read 200 billion +) to
send man back to the moon within the next ten years. With all the
challenges facing us here on Earth - ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR COTTON-PICKIN
MINDS???" Whether in Louisiana or in Pakistan, we are being reminded
that civilization is a very thin veneer on human life, in real need of
being strengthened. Let's invest our resources here for a while,
sending robots to do space research. For example, disaster planning
should stress empowering individuals to help themselves during the first
48-72 hours following a disaster...a realistic approach that requires only
education, motivation and a reliable method of disaster-proof communication
for each of us. On a macro- level, the dying U.N. might be charged
with developing a massive on-call security, medical and social needs force
for deployment to disaster areas at the earliest moment. Now, that
would be worth some billions.
The New York Yankees. You can go only so far on fumes.
Or, as one of my patients stated, he was glad to see them put out of their
misery. Here's a suggestion, followed by a prediction. Suggestion:
some of the heaviest $$ - hitters should contribute some of their salaries
to the rookies who really made something happen this year. Prediction:
Joe Torre goes home to a well-earned rest, and the Yankees hire "Sweet
Lou" as their new manager.
Days of jackals and hypocrites: those politicians and talking heads
who are gratuitously pre-judging Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and
Senator Bill Frist. Isn't America great?
Of polls and pole-cats. We learned
yesterday from breathless TV journalists that less than 5% of blacks
support President Bush. Wow. What a concept. Yet another
example of the long-standing fact that blacks have terrible leadership,
and worse followership. More and more blacks can blame only themselves
- and Democrats like Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - for their
continuing plight. This will go on as long as they choose self-segregation
over true integration, starting with attitude and demand for better education.
Ending their serfdom to the Democratic Party would also help.
Delphi, General Motors, Chapter 11, and the idiocy of employee health
insurance payment during the last 30 years. It appears that GM took
that policy to its worst length...paying 100% of employees' health insurance
costs. Thus the refrain sometimes heard in one form or another in
doctors' offices: "Nothing but the best, Doc. Money's no object".
I pointed this problem out in the 1970's in writings and elsewhere.
Flu vaccine. Another year, another problem. None available
for most of us physicians in the trenches...but the big chain super-stores
are able to have vaccine days for all comers already, at up to $40. a pop.
This doesn't pass the smell test. See "Shortages Again For Flu
Shots", by Jane Spencer and Betsy McKay, WSJ Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005,
Personal Journal, pD1.
Amidst all this craziness, two voices of reason. See "As
Parties Grow Weary, Time For An Insurgency", by David Brooks, The Day
yesterday, Commentary, pA7. See also "Life And Choice Are At Stake
In Stalemate", by Lisa McGinley, The Day yesterday, Region, pB1.
TUESDAY, October 11, 2005
In a working democracy, Lord save us from the purists.
Or, as someone already expressed it many years ago: "Any who likes sausage
or democracy should not watch either being made." So it is with
President Bush trying to provide leadership for a divided nation in very
troubled times. Regarding the issue of U.S. Supreme Court nominees
in general and of Harriet Miers in particular, Conservatives are right
regarding the non-negotiable issue of the abomination of abortion.
But they are wrong to believe and assert that they can impose their views
on the nation. With the comparable issue of Slavery, that was tried
with a tragic Civil War...and it still didn't succeed for another 100 years.
However onerous, slow and steady is the only way - and that is succeeding.
So stop inflicting wounds on our side. Then, regarding the coming
vote on the Iraq constitution, a similar thing has happened that
may have killed this vital step aborning. Pressured by an ever idealistic
and/or duplicitous United Nations, the U.S. has agreed to the formula whereby
- if 2/3 of the voting populace in a province votes down the constitution,
it fails. Of course, rabid Sunnis are making sure to get out their
negative vote while suppressing any positive votes in their districts.
The modification in the plan that failed was to count it as 2/3 of those
registered to vote...entirely consistent with the wording of the controlling
document, and much more likely to reflect the will of all Sunnis.
I hope that I'm wrong, for the failure of this vote on Oct. 15 will greatly
magnify everybody's woes. What's the message here? It is that
is the Art of the Possible".
MONDAY, October 10, 2005
COLUMBUS DAY, OCT. 10 (12), 2005
This great day in world history, whether celebrated or more recently
reviled, is still in the process of being understood...ever since 1492.
And anyone who professes to know the real story is at least ignorant, or
stupid (ie. intentionally ignorant). Some relevant information can
be obtained by reviewing the material which has for several years been
offered on this web-site, in The Involved Citizen - Miscellaneous
section, entitled: "Christopher
Columbus and the 'Indians'...Facts and Deductions". A fine
new book on the subject, based upon the latest scientific methodology,
has just been published: "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before
Columbus", by Charles C. Mann, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. I ordered
it yesterday. Today, it is reviewed in the NY Times Book Review section,
p21. Let's all read it and learn something, for a change.
THURSDAY through SUNDAY, October
6 through 9, 2005
POWER. The more one has, the more one wants - and the more
it is abused...man's original narcotic. We see this daily, even in
our own lives. We are seeing examples of this in the "Conservatives"
vs Pres. Bush saga regarding his nomination of Harriet Miers and his second
term agenda. We see it in the disagreement between Mayor Blumberg
and Homeland Security honchos regarding the current NYC security issue.
We see it in the States' Rights vs Federal responsibility debate over who
does what in disasters - while Rome burns...or drowns. What people
forget is the difference between power and access. Today, access
can be bought. But power must still derive directly from the electorate,
which is still supposed to have all the power. Of course, only if
they exercise it.
Despite the nay-sayers, President Bush gave an important speech
on Thursday. Without acknowledging his administration's mistakes
- which would have been refreshing - he accurately re-defined the current
World War III: Western democracies and moderate Islam vs. Radical Islam
worldwide. Our pampered current electoral majority will need
more time and more prevacid to digest this fact and its implications.
But this is the challenge that we face. And leadership is defining
such pivotal times in our lives.
Mr. El Baradei and the Nobel Peace prize. Not just a finger
in America's eye. "Blessed are the peacemakers..."
Among all the other signs of a "popular culture" gone wild, we read about
the current fad of wearing "Stop Snitchin" T-shirts. What
an anti-social concept. But what else is new among large segments
of our youth, drifting without parental guidance and with "value-neutral"
classrooms. When will today's parents grow up? When will today's
teachers develop some courage? Meanwhile, the current generation
getting out of highschool might be called the "Lemming Generation".
The New York Yankees: STEADY...
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, October
3 through 5, 2005
Lots of responses this week, as succintly as possible, and with fewer
direct references. But they're out there.
The sad and distressing face of poverty was there for all to see
- not in darkest Africa, but in New Orleans. Think of decades
of providing fish instead of fishing poles. Of mediocre to execrable
public education. Of children having children, in order to qualify
for more welfare monies. Of over 60% of black children being reared
in single parent (read "only mother") families. Think also of "business
ethics" as an oxymoron and of racism alive and well in some work places.
And think of a ridiculously low minimum wage. Can we give these people,
and many like them in the country, a fresh start? Yes, but it will
take a Marshall Plan and a committed citizenry and great leadership to
do it. I'm waiting....
Iraq. Will the real leader of the Western World please speak
up...and silence all the other commentators under his control - like the
military - in order to offer a clear message regarding our plans there?
The current cacophony is costing the lives of our soldiers, and possible
the only chance for the Iraqii people to avoid a civil war.
The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments in the case of the U.S. v
Oregon's state law permitting physicians to prescribe medications specifically
to promote suicide. This is much more than a matter of states'
rights. This law should be deemed as against public policy in that
it subverts the integrity of the Medical Profession. A contrary outcome
would be comparable to Roe v Wade at the other end of life's spectrum.
Harriet Miers. A cynic might call this another Bush stealth
nominee. The action is certainly wise. But, at this juncture
in a substantially polarized nation, it is also an enlightened action,
avoiding yet another trauma to the body politic. Democrats see this.
Ultra-conservative Republicans will come to see it.
NASA. Can you believe those people. After spending hundreds
of billions of dollars (and sadly some lives) on a shuttle program that
turned out to be a smoke-and-mirrors show that even their leaders acknowledge
was the wrong path taken, they want to take man back to the moon.
Why, besides to save their jobs? Pending a very sensible and doable
answer, NASA needs a complete do-over.
Locally, the New London City Council shows belated signs of coming
to its senses after a long moribund period. Regarding NLDC, your
agent has accomplished much more than you have, or could have. Forget
the hysteria, including that from Hartford, and present a united New London
front going forward. Or are we once again about to snatch defeat
out of the jaws of victory? And about the "bridge too far": forget
it, permanently. Move on to what really needs to be done downtown,
as your recent council action suggested. Keep your eyes on the ball,
not on that wet finger waving in the breeze. If that happens, some
of you may yet get re-elected.
SUNDAY, October 2, 2005
All kinds of topics today.
In first year of law school we learn to argue both sides of a case,
regardless of our inclinations. Later we learn that: "If the law
is with you, argue the law; if the facts are with you, argue the facts.
If neither the law nor the facts are with you...yell and scream!"
Lawyers have been taking that advice to extremes in recent years...like
the famous McDonald's cup of coffee in the crotch, and the "Twinkie defense".
And now we are witnessing possibly two more examples: the Vioxx trials;
and the effort to void...as against public policy...the long-standing and
carefully crafted insurance policy exclusions regarding flood coverage
- supplanted by Federal flood insurance for those who bought it at subsidized
cost. The fact that only one-third of property owners in affected
flood plains bought it is felt to be irrelevant. That brings up the
RESPONSIBILITY. In recent decades, in liberal quarters, any
mention of this is attacked as a "blame game". We see it in today's
NYTimes Week In Review section (Sec. 4, p1) diagramming the "Blame Game"
for Katrina. Alright, let's not talk about blame. But definitely
let's talk about responsibility. As we taught our children: it may
not be your fault...but's it's your responsibility. Plenty of responsibility
to go around with the Katrina debacle.
I do enjoy scooping the experts. We read today of massive
no-bid insider deals being crafted for the rebuilding of New Orleans.
This was the topic of one of the comments made in my August
31 "Rapid Response". We also read of a bloated bureaucracy
as the real culprit in the government's slow response. (See "Leviathan
101: Don't Blame It All On FEMA", by Daniel Henninger, WSJ Friday Sept
30, 2005, Opinion, pA10). See my offering dated Sept. 10.
In another example of egocentrism, we learn that the Baby Boom generation
is about to discover "Old Age". (See "When We're All 64",
by Kelly Greene, WSJ Monday, Sept 26, Sec. R1). I thought I discovered
it a few years ago, and continue to discover it daily. What an adventure....
Here's a cautionary note. In describing the rise and stumble of Tom
DeLay, David Brooks finds that "In Today's Washington, loyalty to
the team displaces loyalty to the truth". (See "The Rise And
Fall Of The Designated Hitter", in The Day today, Perspective, pC1).
In my opinion, we are also seeing this as a weakness - not a strength -
of this Bush administration. This approach seems to be imbedded in
our business culture, our military culture and perhaps in every mature
organization. Team play is necessarly...so long as vital individualism
is not submerged in the process. Or, as the Romans used to say: "Senatores
opitmum viri. Senatus mala bestia."
SATURDAY, October 1, 2005
THE NEW YORK YANKEES. HURRAY!!! Forget the money.
Let's talk about a team with heart. Now win the World Series in order
to redeem yourselves fully from last year's debacle.
(Editor's note: Blech!)