Falls, Medical Liability, and My Mom

 

My 90-year-old mom had another fall on Sunday afternoon. She has had A-fib and heart failure for more than a decade, and her cardiologist struggles to control that without causing her dizziness and low blood pressure. Which results in falls. After enjoying a warm spring afternoon on the patio, she lost her footing on the porch steps and fell backward onto the car and hit her head. Fortunately, she had her cordless phone with her, so she called me to come over and help her up. Her neck hurt badly, so I helped her gently into the car and took her to the ER. And there fear of lawsuits started driving medical decisions.

When we arrived at the excellent rural ER in Marion, Kansas, the nurses immediately immobilized her neck in the car and put her on a stretcher. I think they already suspected the problem. They called their radiology tech in from her Sunday afternoon, and she did a CT scan. As I later learned, the radiology tech immediately spotted a dangerous, potentially fatal, fracture in the C2 vertebra in her neck and pointed it out to the PA in charge of the ER. I could tell they were more concerned than usual about my mom, but I didn’t know why. Following procedure, the PA e-mailed the scan to some M.D. somewhere to interpret it. An hour later the interpretation came back, “All OK.” At that point the PA told me what was going  on. She made a very polite call to the faraway M.D. and asked if he had seen the fracture. He was appalled at what he had missed and sheepishly corrected the interpretation.

Quote of the Day: April 16, 2024

 

“On the topic of human rights, even though nobody disputes that prisoners have human rights, I believe… they haven’t defended the human rights of our honest citizens. In general, they defend — and the whole international approach to human rights, and even the NGOs — are focused on the rights of criminals.

For 30 years in this country we were shot at, killed, shaken down, raped, extorted, threatened, living in fear, and nobody said a word. But if the killers, extortionists, and rapists are arrested, all of a sudden, their human rights are important. Of course they have human rights, but the human rights of our honest people are more important.”

Tell the Story!

 

Humanity is really very good at putting the past behind us. “Sure, you saved my life last week. But what have you done for me lately?!”

It is amazing how many blessings a person receives, but forgets. This is sometimes given as the reason “Thanksgiving Offerings” must be eaten within a day, because we forget the things we should be thankful for. I suspect this is a reason that G-d gives people so much suffering: bad events stick better than blessings do. For example, we take good health for granted – until we get sick. Being healthy is like running water: entirely unmemorable, until you don’t have it.

NPR Suspends Uri Berliner for Five Days Without Pay

 

This is the 25-year NPR veteran who wrote a piece on The Free Press about NPR’s monolithic point of view, and its stunning lack of newsroom diversity (something like 86 Democrats/0 Republicans at its HQ) as well as citing specific examples of its failure to cover major news stories fairly over the past fifteen or so years.

I guess they are really mad at him.  The Chief News Executive of NPR stated, in their response, that

Fearful in polished marble

 

I just finished another book written by someone I’m proud to call a friend – Bing West.  He wrote “The Village” about his experiences in Vietnam.  He was in charge of 12 US Marines tasked with protecting a village of 6,000 people from the Viet Cong, and preventing the VC from using the surrounding area to transport supplies and equipment.  His Marines patrolled every night, taking fire nearly every night, for 435 days.  Half of the Marines died.

Bing’s book describes the relationships between his Marines, the local villagers, the Viet Cong, the local law enforcement, and the US military at large.  The 12 Marines did a masterful job building relationships with the locals, figuring out local politics, and introducing sufficient stability and relative safety so the locals could continue to work their farms during the days so they didn’t starve.  Today, “The Village” is required reading in The Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.

Bing returned to the village in 2002 – thirty years after the Marines had left.  He was welcomed as a celebrity.  He found the remains of the fort they had used – just traces of a foundation now.  The floods had mostly filled in the moat he and his friends had dug in the late 1960’s.  When they left the fort in the 1970’s, there was a small stone monument in the ground, with a small bronze plaque, honoring the Marines who had died there.  When he returned in 2002, it was gone.  A local woman told him that someone had beat the bronze into the shape of a trowel and used it for farming.  She regretted that she could not return it to Bing, but the farmer had thrown it away some years ago.

Show links:

Republicans: Please remember when the “Tea Party” gave us Dem majorities and ObamaCare with candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

The Brief Sum of Life–In Praise of the Liberal Arts

 

So sue me.  I’ve never really pretended to a deep acquaintance with, nor understanding of, mid twentieth-century American playwrights and screenwriters.  And so we have Days of Wine and Roses, a 1958 teleplay by JP Miller with Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie , which I’ve always gotten spectacularly mixed up with Splendor in the Grass, which began life as a 1961 Hollywood movie starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood.  Neither of them has anything to do with Tennessee Williams (although, thematically, perhaps they should have), and maybe this salient fact has exacerbated my confusion over the years.

One thing I’m not at all addled about, though, is the origins of the titles:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind–William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Reflections of Early Childhood

Joe Selvaggi discusses industrial policy, its aspirations and limitations, with CATO Institute Associate Director Colin Grabow, in response to Senator Rubio’s thought piece advocating for a more active role for government in the economy.

Christians and Conservatives Harassed by Employee Harassment Training

 

Today at work I completed an hour-long employee harassment training advertised as requiring 30 minutes. Now I’d like to know who to report the harassment of my harassment training to.

I work for a small company with fewer than 50 employees, but we were purchased by an aggregator a couple of years ago (based in another state) and now we’re getting the treatment you expect from a large company. Our little team has some long-timers who have moved around together and reformed after the big company purchasers started imposing Big Stupid. We’re highly specialized and use materials not easily relocated, which makes the breakaway possible. I suspected our small group would not bend to this nonsense — at least we’d take our time about it, since we know each other well and are respectful without needing a periodic struggle session.

What Would be a Productive Israeli Response?

 

I’m generally pretty hawkish about Israel responding to its enemies — about responding to militant Islamic theocracies and genocidal maniacs (but I repeat myself) in general, in fact. But Israel has choices, and I wonder if, in this case, the best choice might be to continue with the current effort of destroying Hamas, and t0 leave the response, or at least the visible response, to Iran for another day.

I think Iran has demonstrated its current lack of ability to seriously harm Israel. Let that message sink in, and let Iran’s dependents live with the realization that Iran has invited eventual Israeli retaliation through an unprecedented yet embarrassingly ineffectual act.

What is going on with Republicans and abortion?

 

Republicans are like the dog that caught the car when it comes to abortion. Kari Lake backtracks on her support of the 150 year old Arizona abortion law, which embodies the goals of much of the pro-life movement. Trump tries to avoid the issue by saying that it has been returned to the states, thereby avoiding a commitment to a federal ban. In fact, as I understand it, the Dobbs decision merely said that there is no right to abortion and that nothing prohibits states from restricting it. That alone doesn’t preclude a federal ban.

Even if you think the Arizona law goes too far, there just doesn’t seem to be any inspired leadership here. How hard would it be for Trump or some other Republican leader to call on Biden or Harris to compromise on the issue? “Republicans believe in exceptions to their position. Will you agree to exceptions to yours? Will you agree to reduce your 39-week protection for abortion rights to 24, unless it is necessary to save the mother’s life?” I’d love to see them choke on that one.  Put them on the spot for once. They will never agree to any exceptions to their commitment to abortion on demand for any reason until the moment of birth. This should make it very easy for any Republican politician to paint them as extremists. And yet, it just doesn’t happen.

Spirit Whales and the Administrative State

 

An Australian judge ordered a halt to the construction of an offshore natural gas project because the company running the project neglected to perform all the consultations with interested parties required to meet environmental requirements.  If you read the entire dry, boring, citation-heavy opinion you would never know what the missing consultation was all about. The developers neglected to consult with the Custodian of Whale Dreaming who asserts that Spirit Whales will be injured by the project. See, this summary of this article.

I think it is right and good that administrative law requires considerations of actual, substantive environmental harms and injury to substantive community interests.  For example, I would oppose paving over the Alamo or Yorktown or digging up an established Native American burial ground to build a theme park centered on sex, guns, and whiskey or a toxic smokestack plant (well, the toxic plant is out for sure).  But deference to the sensibilities of Spirit Whales who, according to native Australian fables, tell the fish of the sea what to eat, when to mate, and where to migrate strikes me as rather problematic.

Denying Open, In-Your-Face Miracles

 

I have long understood that people only see what they want to see. Open miracles are not what people want to see – and so they ignore them.

Iran attacked with a range of weapons, all meant to overwhelm Israeli defenses. 120 long range ballistic missiles. These suckers leave the atmosphere, and drop straight down with incredible speed and lethal force. In the history of the world, nobody has ever intercepted such an attack.  Iran had every reason to think their missiles would succeed. And these missiles, carrying dozens of tons of explosive warheads, were absolutely designed to destroy their targets.

Civil War, A Review

 

So, we went and saw Civil War Saturday. A ton of hype about this film and I was cautiously optimistic that it would be an interesting story with dramatic elements and a message that, hopefully, wasn’t wokist claptrap.

To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I won’t spoil the movie, because what you’ve seen in the previews is pretty much the entire movie. There is no explanation for the conflict, no reason why the states are still acting as units, nor why California and Texas are allies while Oklahoma and Oregon as on the same side. In a way that isn’t important. Trying to come up with a semi-logical story around the reason for a conflict isn’t as important as what the story could be…assuming it’s a good story. I mean, I rather enjoy The Purge series of movies. They don’t make any sense, but are fun movies that have interesting characters such that you care what happens to them.

Shouldn’t Jews Know Better?

 

I can understand how a genuine pacifist could so strongly deplore the inherent tragedy of war that the reasons for its prosecution are deemed unworthy and a generic sympathy for civilians caught in the middle is natural for all.  What is harder to understand is how people purportedly motivated by such sentiments readily dismiss culpability for the horrific, inhumane acts of Oct 7 in which brutal civilian casualties were not incidental to a military objective but entirely intentional.

The woke moral framework is a strange beast.

The calm before the storm

 

From IBM

That enormous piece of equipment is a 5MB hard drive in 1956.  Produced by IBM, it was a technological marvel of its day.  That chip in my hand below is a 1TB SSD card for my computer.  For those keeping score at home, my SSD card holds not twice as much data, and not three times as much data – no, it holds 209,715 times as much data, and I can lift it with my fingers rather than a forklift.  And my SSD card uses A LOT less electricity, as well.  And is much faster and much more reliable.  If you were to stack 209,715 of those IBM hard drives to store the same amount of data as my chip, that stack would be nearly 300 miles tall.  My chip is more convenient.

Does Iran Know What It’s Doing?

 

I wonder who’s running the show in Iran? Who’s running the show in the U.S.? Iran’s attack on Israel is the oddest combination of actions and comments that I think I’ve ever seen.

First, they alerted their neighbors that they were going to attack Israel. But some of those countries were probably delighted to have advance warning, such as Jordan, who fought against the Iranians when they sent their drones and missiles.

FBI Still Covering for Whitey Bulger

 

The Boston Herald is appealing the FBI’s refusal to release records related to Whitey Bulger. The Bureau claims there are ongoing related investigations. Bulger died in 2018 and had been convicted for over thirty felonies including eleven murders in 2013. His longtime associate Flemmi is serving a life sentence.  Bulger evaded capture for 16 years on the FBI Most Wanted lList, a duration that many suspected was an indication of the Bureau’s preference that the extent of their corrupt involvement not come to light.  He was 81 when finally captured in California. 

Given the Bureau’s scandalous history regarding Bulger, we have every right to be skeptical about the existence of an ongoing related investigation of any kind after all this time. Perhaps they are pretending to investigate one of Whitey’s murders they missed.

When the Government Hunts You

 

Castro Hume is the Academy Award winning screenwriter of the hit “Stars So Bright.” That was five years ago. Celebrity acclaim and alcohol put his brilliant career in a tailspin. He is a has-been.

Seeing Red: A Novel by T. M. Doran opens with a newly-sober Hume determined to regain his career and his screenwriting brilliance. He starts by returning to the scene of his first great triumph, Trillium, a rural town built as the set of “Stars So Bright.” Preserved in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, it is a tourist attraction.

The book is set in the near-future, in an alternate, darker version of the world and United States. Resources are scarce. The government is far more controlling. Individuals deemed a burden to the state are issued Extraordinary Designation Cards: Red Cards. They are denied health care, education, and other government benefits. They are encouraged to euthanize themselves. Aiding them is illegal.

Ownership and Mastery

 

The video below is of my 14-year-old grandson. For the last several weekends, he and I have worked together to turn a pile of miscellaneous detached parts into a running go-kart. This is the moment we first fired it up and let it rip.

I suggested to him a few months ago that we do this project, and I confess I was completely riddled with ulterior motives. Besides merely wanting to hang out with him, I wanted him to gain experience working with hand tools. I wanted him to feel the exhilaration of working on something for an extended period of time, needing to learn entirely new concepts to succeed, and then to have the exhilaration of success after working on something hard. I wanted him to learn a little bit about mechanics. And I wanted to amplify his already noticeable attraction to embodied work. I wanted to stoke the fire of excitement and deep satisfaction that emerges when, having applied newly acquired knowledge, things finally begin to work as you originally imagined. That first time he pressed on the throttle and the torque converter really engaged and started turning the rear axle…well…it was a magical moment for both of us.

Jewish – and Civilizational – Mojo

 

Jews in the 20th century were dynamos. Jews were major players in Hollywood, in the worlds of finance and law, hard sciences and soft.  Jews were hard working, risk-taking, and deeply ambitious. Indeed, in the ruins of the Holocaust was born three generations of hungry, hard-driving people, people who helped make every country they lived in far richer and more successful. (I often offer that the countries that, it is suggested, are “run by the Jews” are far better off than those without Jews.) And indeed, Jews sought to understand what Judaism is – there was a mass movement from the 1970s through the 1990s of Jews “returning,” of finding meaning and purpose in the core of the religion.

But over the past 2-3 decades, all of that has been in decline. Schools that used to send the majority of their graduating classes to the finest institutions, now send a handful, at best. The societal boredom and ennui that has led to the current navel-gazing idiocy has also infected the Jews of America (and even Israel), leading to a lot more hedonistic narcissism, and a lot less purpose and meaning.

Counterattack?

 

I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power. It was a ridiculous display of impotence. >300 missiles, ballistic missiles and drones – each celebrated with wall art as a demonstration of Iran’s ability burn Israeli cities and crush the Israeli military and they hit a single base and hurt a single child.

This is showing that they *can’t* issue a direct attack. Their allies just got left out to dry.

Beth and Andrew speak with researcher Mia Hughes, author of the WPATH report that exposed the insanity of transgender medicine worldwide. Hughes gives us an overview of the organization, World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and explains why they became so influential globally on transgender issues. She discusses some of the key findings of her report including the lack of informed consent, and the immense damage caused to children by cross-sex hormones and body mutilating surgeries.

Mia Hughes is an Ottawa-based British journalist and researcher for Michael Shellenberger’s nonprofit Environmental Progress. Hughes has three children and before becoming a journalist she was a stay-at-home mother.

Iran Launches Direct Assault on Israel

 

A wave of drones and ballistic missiles have been launched from Iran to Israel Saturday night, marking a new phase in the wider Middle East conflict. While Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp has been behind many attacks against Israel, tonight is the first instance of a direct assault from the territory of the Islamic Republic against the Jewish State.

The extent of the attack is not yet clear. The New York Times reports that more than 200 drones and missiles have been launched in the retaliatory strike—a response to the deadly strike on an Iranian embassy in Syria.

Quote of the Day – Funerals

 

I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. – Mark Twain

I occasionally think of this quote after the death of a fitting individual.  That does not mean someone with whom I strongly disagree – nor even someone I dislike. I reserve it for the truly despicable, those whose actions go beyond foolish into the depraved.