George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
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
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
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
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
SUNDAY, July 31, 2011
again I defer to
Charles Krauthammer for a lucid explanation of the "debt
crisis". See his column in The Day Friday, July 29, 2011,
entitled: "Government Isn't Broken, It's Torn Apart By Competing
Factions". And once again, to paraphrase Winston Churchill,
"Republicans do what's right...when everything else has failed".
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, July 29 and
wasn't a "butt" a cigarette? Fact: "There are more
horses' asses in the world than horses."
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she
her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the
woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing
back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not
care enough to save our environment."
was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the
The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and
so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store
office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a
300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the
We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning
volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got
clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room.
the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?),
screen the size of the state of Montana .
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have
machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded
up old newspaper
to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut
We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working
didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or
plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we
the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor
because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes
school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets
a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive
signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find
nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old
just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
THURSDAY, July 25 through 28, 2011
Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 2012, in my opinion...unless
Republicans continue to have a death wish.
the comments of
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on the Senate floor as he comments on the
press conference this week. The comparison between Rubio and Obama is
in terms of their spirit and attitude toward America . It's about 2 1/2
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, July 23 and
65 YEARS LATER
65 YEARS AFTER HIROSHIMA
has caused more long term destruction - the A-bomb,
U. S. Government welfare programs created to buy the
of those who want someone to take care of them?
does not have a welfare system.
for it, or do without.
FRIDAY, July 22, 2011
WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF
and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once
about a contest he was asked to judge.
purpose of the
was to find the most caring child.
A four-year-old child, whose next door
was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old
yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
his mother asked him what he had
to the neighbor, the little boy just said, 'Nothing, I just
Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were
a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture
a different hair color than the other members. One of her
suggested that he was adopted.
little girl said, 'I know all about
I was adopted..'
does it mean to be adopted?', asked
means', said the girl, 'that you grew
your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!'
On my way home one day, I stopped to
a Little League base ball game that was being played in a
near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-
line, I asked one of the boys what the score was
behind 14 to nothing,' he answered
I said. 'I have to say you
look very discouraged.'
the boy asked with a
look on his face...
should we be discouraged? We haven't
up to bat yet.'
Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot
life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott .
was trying out for a part in the
play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being
it, though she feared he would not be chosen..
the day the parts were awarded, I went
her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her,
shining with pride and excitement.. 'Guess what, Mom,' he
and then said those words that will remain a lesson to
been chosen to clap and cheer.'
An eye witness account from New York
, on a cold day in December,
years ago: A little boy,
10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the
barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering
lady approached the young boy and said,
but you're in such deep thought staring in that window!'
was asking God to give me a pair of
the boy's reply.
lady took him by the hand, went into
store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks
the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water
a towel. He quickly brought them to her.
took the little fellow to the back
of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed
little feet , and dried them with the towel.
this time, the clerk had returned with
socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she purchased him
pair of shoes..
tied up the remaining pairs of socks
gave them to him.. She patted him on the head and said, 'No
you will be more comfortable now..'
she turned to go, the astonished kid
her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears
his eyes, asked her.
you God's wife?'
MONDAY through THURSDAY, July 18 through 21, 2011
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING.
"ObamaCare", as enacted last year, is a Christmas Tree of wants,
without dealing with true needs for health care reform. And it is
supposedly "paid for" through gimmicks and slights of hand.
What follows is a list of true needs for reform, from a practicing
54 years experience...and counting.
Are you ready for this?
famous the phrase " Ah feel yo pain". Physicians have been
trying to shield their patients from the pain of the last 25 year of
"health care reform", with poor results. It is time for
patients and the public to feel their own pain in order finally to
motivated toward their own self-help and against the often craven and
self-serving actions of their elected leaders. The alternative,
course we have already begun with "ObamaCare", is lower quality, less
access, and higher cost.
- Reject "capitation" as an
unethical abrogation of a physician's fiduciary responsibility to his
patient. A perverse incentive if there ever was one, this method
of payment places a patient's needs in direct conflict with the
physician's. It should be rejected as against Public
- Enact effective Tort Reform,
including Medical Mal-Practice Reform, in order to markedly reduce
the practice of "defensive medicine", which now accounts for 20-30% of
health care costs. Specialized Health Courts, like those used in
Bankruptcy, Patent and Construction controversies, would be the best
way to go.
- Encourage - and pay for -
Coordination of Medical Care, by one physician for each patient,
this function performed by primary care physicians or by properly
- Emphasize Health Care Accounts
to restore patients' interest in the cost of their desired and needed
medical care...and in their personal health and life-style.
- Consider and approach physicians as
part of the solution, and not as part of the problem...as is now
the general attitude.
- Encourage and reimburse physicians in
the broad use of paraprofessionals in their practices and under
their direct supervision.
- Require that all members of the
public carry a minimum amount of Health Care Insurance. I
expect that that provision of the current law will survive US Supreme
Court scrutiny as being in accord with the public policy goal of
covering all potential patients.
- Distinguish between "the deserving
underserved", between the honestly indigent and their lazy and
greedy counterparts with regard to subsidized health care.
- Regulate drug costs, currently
uncontrolled and abusive, while allowing sufficient return on
company investments to promote good research...and not mainly
- Stop trying and expecting physicians to
ration care, through various underhanded mechanisms - like
"capitation" and "bundled payments". A system of rationing
and prioritization is needed, to separate health needs from wants, and
to exclude "futile care". But that is the purvue of public
policy, arrived at through the political process and not by physician
fiat, another example of abrogation of fiduciary
- At the same time, "futile care" as
defined by two physicians in a given case, is neither obligatory or
even permissive on the part of the treating physician. Patients
must be educated regarding this bedrock concept of the practice of
- Stop enacting and repeal rules and
regulations that inevitably promote "gaming the system" in
self-defense: Emergency Room practices that may be called
"offensive medicine" in order to produce profit centers for hospitals
so inclined; declaring as "Never Events" occurrences that are
actually not under the reasonable control of the physicians and
hospitals, but whose occurrence results in non-payment for the care;
promoting through over-emphasis on electronic health records
imaginative billing practices while ignoring the communication needs of
physicians at the bedside and on the wards; a blizzard of
regulations, sometimes internally contradictory, that promote an
ever-increasing number of hospital administrators, each of whom has to
justify his or her presence on the table of organization.
The choice is yours, folks.
WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY, July 6
through 17, 2011
Just a few
comments relating to news of the day:
- The Debt
Ceiling. Frankly, I don't buy this
latest edition of "the sky is falling". We were taken in
by that when we were told that several Wall Street firms were "too big
to fail". Have you ever heard that someone was "too small to
fail"? There's an awful lot of that going around...a lot of
pain for everyone except for those who caused that massive mess.
Once again, the feckless and divided Republicans are beginning to chase
their shadow. And once again, it's Charles Krauthammer to the
rescue with a clear strategy. Please see his article in The Day (www.theday.com) Saturday, July 16,
2011, entitled "GOP Should Call His Bluff". Yes, there will be
pain if the Debt Ceiling is not raised. But even that pain will
be manipulated to maximize the discomfort of the effectively
disenfranchised (ie. you and me) and to minimize it for the well
connected. Call their bluff!
- Once again, I'm forced to
address the crime that is Public Education in this Country.
The CAPT test scores are once again out. Again, they
are miserable...especially in New London, Ct. Once again,
apologists for this rotten system are attacking the messenger (ie the
tests) and not the message. Once again, they are presenting sops
like the recent Editorial in The Day, entitled "NL Flunks", which
spreads the feeble effort at blame among everyone...and therefore to no
one. Please see my extensive section entitled "Public Education
Politics", years in the making and unfortunately on-going, posted on my
web site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com).
My sympathy goes out to those hard-working teachers who have not only
suffered in class but who have been trying to buck the system (are
there any?)...and my indictment against all who have supported the
Teachers' Unions that have ruined our Public Education system.
One thing is certain: it's not all of these kids in New London and in
the country who are so stupid and so intractable. SHAME ON YOU.
election in New London, Ct. Folks, this is very important. New
is right now at a cross-roads: advance or decline. the result
upon who is elected for a four year term as "strong Mayor"...and
before that, who is nominated to run. We now have two or three
candidates...and several other INCREDIBLE candidates. Listen-up;
attention; and do your civic duty. Much more on this will follow
coming weeks and
TUESDAY, July 5, 2011
has been and continues to be a deadly mess because America has no
in that region, based upon our past actions, and because we have
limited goals and - incredibly - a "timetable" for getting out.
Our enemies have no such limitations; and our potential friends have no
else to turn to except those enemies in their midst. I have
expressed myself several times in this section regarding how the Afghan
and war should be prosecuted. Now let me use a time-honored
GO, OR GET OFF THE POT!.
Some Afghan vets say reality much
different than the spin
By KEVIN SIEFF The Washington Post
Publication: The Day
MONDAY, July 4, 2011
Updated 06/30/2011 05:40 PM
Clarksville, Tenn.- Pfc.
Rob Nunez was gulping Miller Lite from a plastic cup when the subject
of President Barack Obama's plan for withdrawing troops from
Afghanistan came up: 10,000 troops were being pulled out this year,
said a friend at a roadside bar on the fringes of the Fort Campbell
Army base. The rest of the 33,000 "surge" troops would leave in 2012.
Nunez swallowed his beer and let out a
stream of profanity before landing on a sentence that he repeats a lot
these days. "It's worthless, and it's never going to end."
He had just returned from one of the
war's most terrifying corners to a base that has shouldered much of the
U.S. troop surge. In the past 18 months, more than 20,000 Fort Campbell
soldiers have cycled through Afghanistan; 131 have been killed.
Nunez, 21, who spent about a year in
Konar province near the Pakistani border, cared little that the
commander in chief had declared that the "tide of war is receding." He
and his friends, some of the country's youngest war veterans, have
little interest in military policy anymore. Not after Konar.
The last mission is what did it. Nunez's
regiment fought for days in early April to win control of a remote
valley called Barawala Kalay. Six U.S. soldiers died, and Nunez still
can't figure out why he wasn't one of them. Bullets came from nowhere,
hitting everything but his flesh.
"It was like fighting ghosts," he said.
When Obama outlined the beginning of the
end of America's longest war - a phased withdrawal, a handoff to Afghan
security forces, negotiations with the Taliban - television screens lit
up at the base. In the strip of towns orbiting Fort Campbell, the
100,000-acre base straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border, reactions
came quickly. The withdrawal was too slow, or too fast, or right on the
money, depending on the soldier.
Nunez, and many of the men he fought with
in Konar, had no interest in joining that debate. When Obama stood in
the White House's East Room, they played video games, watched the
College World Series or slept. Nunez, a broad-shouldered, square-jawed
soldier from Southern California, went to the gym.
He had joined the Army in 2008, ready to
see what war was like after talking to friends who had returned from
Iraq. But when he enlisted, resources began shifting. Fort Campbell
found itself at the crossroads of two wars, and not much later, Nunez
found himself in Konar.
When Obama announced that he was adding
30,000 troops to the effort in Afghanistan - the surge ended up
deploying 33,000 - U.S. commanders chose not to send any of them to
Konar, a remote and violent area. Instead, commanders focused on
pacifying larger population centers in the south.
But as insurgents flourished in valleys
near Pakistan, brigades from Fort Campbell's 101st Airborne Division,
which saw its first combat during the invasion of Normandy in World War
II, fought some of the Afghanistan war's bloodiest battles along the
hostile eastern spine, in places they never planned to hold.
Days after Nunez's regiment fought in the
battle for Barawala Kalay, U.S. troops emptied out of the valley. The
mission was to disrupt a Taliban haven, not to maintain a presence
there. Nunez's tour was up. He flew back to Fort Campbell puzzling over
Now, nearly 3 months later, when he hears
the word "withdrawal," Nunez thinks of Barawala Kalay - what he came to
see as a painful fight of uncertain value, hastily planned and quietly
He and his friends keep their posed
photos from a visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates crumpled in glove
compartments and stuffed in desk drawers. When al-Qaida leader Osama
bin Laden was killed, their celebration was muted. They were unfazed
when Obama came to Fort Campbell in May to congratulate the troops on a
job well done.
"We hear pep talks all the time," Nunez
said. "Doesn't make the fight any easier."
More than 10,000 Fort Campbell soldiers
have returned to the base in recent months, repopulating an entire city
with veterans of Afghan provinces and valleys whose names they still
Drawing on their personal experience, and
little else, some have come to vastly different conclusions about
Obama's announced withdrawal.
"We could win this thing if we flooded
the country. Instead, we're pulling out. Afghans want to know if we can
provide them security. We're basically telling them that we can't,"
said Sgt. Jimmy Schumacher, 29, who fought in the Wotapur district of
"The whole time I didn't know why we were
there. And now we're leaving, after I've been shot in the leg," said
Pfc. Stephen Palu, who was also in Konar. He has since recovered from
his leg wound.
About 7,000 Fort Campbell soldiers are
still in Afghanistan, and more trickle back to base each month.
Local stores and restaurants, some nearly
driven out of business during the surge, are starting to fill up again.
Family Readiness Groups of military spouses are waiting for husbands
and wives to move back into neat subdivisions. Many know that the pace
of withdrawal means that thousands will return to Afghanistan before
the combat mission ends in 2014.
When the war is discussed here, it's
often among men who call themselves grunts, who discreetly, or not so
discreetly, criticize high-ranking officers and policymakers.
Officers chide these soldiers for talking
too much, for letting their narrow experiences inform opinions about
the war's prospects.
"I was the same way when I was an
infantry guy in Iraq. You grow out of it," said Warrant Officer Jeremy
Meyer, a medical evacuation pilot, who spent Saturday afternoon playing
darts with a group of officers at the American Legion.
Nunez and his friends spend much of their
time at O'Connor's Irish Pub & Grill, where volleyball games and
beanbag tosses are punctuated by harrowing stories about a war some
have left forever and some expect to see again.
Nunez has two months left in the Army. As
it has for many others, the war has shaken his marriage and haunts him
in quiet moments.
Through it all, Nunez is trying to adjust
to life as an observer of military engagements rather than a
participant. He says he'll try to dismiss big announcements and shifts
in policy messages "from guys who have no idea what it looks like over
But on the night he heard about Obama's
withdrawal, he tried his best to reconcile the Afghanistan of the
president's speech with the hills and valleys he grew to know.
"There's this gap between what I hear
now and what I saw. And it feels like it's growing every day."
July 4 is a favorite holiday in America: the
a Nation". But, while the "rockets' red glare" and the
"bombs bursting in air" still resonate, a couple of ideas come to
First, July 4, 1776 was not really the nation's birthday. It was the
conception. There followed years of "labor" between that time and the
War of 1812. Only after that war was successfully ended was the
really "born", having nearly died in childbirth.
Secondly, "independence" had a really hard time of it for some large
segments of our population for nearly two centuries. The freeing of
comes immediately to mind, something that did not really occur until
Rights Acts of 1964. But something else fits into this category: the
rise...and now the fall...of the Union movement. Consider
and then the present of that movement.
Future?: Re-Write the NLRA.
Re-Constitute the now totally compromised National Labor Relations
Eliminate Seniority as the main - and very often the only- criterion
advancement and job protection; promote a revolt among the
rank-and-file against their corrupted leaders; allow Right to Work laws
passed in all States; establish, and in the special case of Teachers
concepts of Professionalism in dealings among workers and between labor
management. The alternative has already begun: :DEATH BY A
CUTS". But there's still time to wake up and smell the napalm
- The Past: Protection sought from the
greed and cruelty of the Robber Barons in the 19th and early 20th
centuries. The efforts of John L. Lewis for miners and the
organizers of railroad workers and garment workers. The National
Labor Relations Act of the 1930's, guaranteeing the right to bargain
regarding issues of salary and working conditions (but not
regarding guarantees of job security or longevity!).
- The Present: Union corruption,
including leaders' self-dealing in collusion with management; leaders
vs rank-and-file; no "right to work" or merit systems or
accountability; the spectacles of greed and over-reaching in Detroit,
in Wisconsin, among the once-proud profession of Teaching, and most
recently and nearby in our own State of Connecticut...where 20% of
union members can eliminate the rights - and the jobs - of the
remaining 80%, by seniority of course. (see "Tyranny of
Trade-Union 'democracy' Is Evident in Connecticut", by Dick Ahles,
in The Day Saturday, July 2, 2011). The result? A major
contribution to the loss of American competitiveness in the world
economy...and the dumbing-down of the last two generations of our
SUNDAY, July 3, 2011
hear and read that
many big companies are "too big to fail". But evidently no
American citizen is "too small to fail".
"What's wrong with this picture?" EVERYTHING!
Grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I...
Father watched as his friends died in WW II and Korea ...
watched as my friends died in Vietnam ...
of them died for the Mexican Flag...
died for the U.S. flag...
Texas , a student raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole; another
student took it down.
who was expelled...
kid who took it down.
in high school in California were sent home this year on Cinco de Mayo
because they wore T-shirts with theAmerican flag printed on them.
below e-mail message needs to be viewed by every American;
every American needs to stand up for America .
bent over to appease the America-haters long enough...
taking a stand...
standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars
for this country, and for the U.S. flag can't stand up...
shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message...
me make this perfectly clear!
IS MY COUNTRY!
because I make This statement
I'm against immigration!!!
ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY!
come through legally:
Get a sponsor!
Get a place to lay your head!
Get a job!
Live By OUR Rules!
Pay YOUR Taxes!
Learn the LANGUAGE like immigrants
in the past!!!
Please don't demand that we hand over our lifetime
of Social Security Funds to you.
you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone,
YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!
will AMERICANS STOP giving away THEIR RIGHTS???
gone so far the other way...
over backwards not to offend anyone...
it seems no one cares about the
UP America !!!
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, July 1 and 2, 2011
ENGAGE IN "NATION-BUILDING"...OUR OWN NATION, THAT IS.
Recently, President Obama turned the above phrase in a new and very
appropriate direction. Of course, what we heard and read about as the
"Change" he was promoting in the election of 2008 has turned out to be
KoolAid, imbibed by the young who don't know very much about this
country...and by their parents and grandparents who should have known
After the last two years, we should all know better. But, instead
of listing the many areas of national life in which our country is
failing, let me move directly from the History and Physical Examination
to the Diagnosis and Treatment. The Diagnosis is a Federal
Government which no longer functions and which can no longer treat
itself. The Treatment is a Federal Constitutional Convention to
develop several new Amendments to our Constitution.
A radical idea, you say? In reply, I offer three current
also offer two recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court: one
involving the rights of corporations regarding unfettered spending on
elections; the other involving the Freedom of Speech rights of
purveyors of violent video games. Just as our elected officials
won't abide by the word and the spirit of the Constitution, our
Justices can't deviate from that word and spirit.
- "Does It
Still Matter", by
Richard Stengel, in Time, July 4, 2011, referring to a depiction of a
shredded U.S. Constitution on the front page.
Post-American World - Release 2.0", by
Fareed Zakaria, W.W. Norton and Co., NY and London, 2011.
- The June
15, 2011 Report by the Heritage Foundation, Washington DC.
So, does the Constitution "still matter"? Does Natural Law, the
underpinning of a moral and ethical world, still matter? An
increasing number of people would say "No". And that is dangerous to
the very fabric that holds this diverse nation together. The
alternative could be another Civil War and a true "Post-American
On this day set aside to remember Freedom, we Americans must remember
that Freedom carries with it responsibilities. We do still have good
choices. Make good use of the coming national elections to right
this heeling ship of State. And work to amend the Constitution to
re-align its mechanisms for electing our leaders back into conformity
with the will of the people...mechanisms totally out of sinc due to the
corrosive effects of unfettered spending on those elections. If
we succeed, the 21st century can indeed be another American Century as
was the 20th, for the continued benefit of the world we live in. If we
don't, just follow our current trajectory...and prepare the lame
explanations for our children and grandchildren.
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