10-26-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Between You and Your Doctor

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Crovitz discusses (via HBL) the regulatory and bureaucratic maze of ObamaCare, correctly noting that, "The officials who planned ObamaCare blame their Web engineers, but they're passing the buck." His column is well worth a read.

However, if you're pressed for time you could also just take a gander at the schematic posted on the Senate's web site...

... and remember it the next time you see or hear this monstrosity referred to as a "marketplace".

Weekend Reading

"[P]erfectionism and the quest for excellence are not the same thing." -- Michael Hurd, in "You Can't Be Too Perfect..." at The Delaware Coast Press

"Even in the midst of something heartbreaking and disastrous, we can use the strength of our minds and our free will to rebuild our lives around the disaster and possibly even come out stronger than before." -- Michael Hurd, in "It Really Is How You Look at It!" at The Delaware Wave

"Note that none of these promotions were mandated by the government (nor should they be)." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Northwestern University Did Right in Offering a Peanut-Free Football Game" at Forbes

My Two Cents

The Hsieh piece notes a common knee-jerk reaction against the Northwestern event among conservative commentators (i.e., equating the game to yet more political correctness run amok). It was good to see Hsieh step in and do what they failed to do: Note the difference between (a) a business concern -- which Northwestern practically is, in this context -- electing to hold an event like this and (b) the government forcing it to hold such events.

This was a lost opportunity on those conservatives' part to support the right way to deal with an uncommon health problem, not to mention a revelation regarding their intellectual sloppiness. So what if leftist multiculturalists glom on to every problem anyone might have? That doesn't mean that someone choosing to address a problem afflicted by such attention is necessarily a multiculturalist or a useful idiot.

Computer Nostalgia

Wired ran a story about a collector of computer viruses who posts screenshots and videos of the malware in action. Some of the early stuff -- the article focuses on DOS viruses -- reminds me of some of the more artistic grafitti I have seen over the years. Unsurprisingly, so do the attitudes of its authors resemble those of the vandals who regard themselves as artists:

For at least some of these mischievous coders, the virus truly did serve as a creative medium. When asked about his view on destructive code in a 1997 interview, Spanska, the French lava master, replied: "I really do not like that…There are two principal reasons why I will never put a destructive code inside one my viruses. First, I respect other peoples' work…The second reason is that a destructive payload is too easy to code. Formatting a HD? Twenty lines of assembler, coded in one minute. Deleting a file? Five instructions. Written in one second. Easy things are not interesting for the coder. I prefer to spend weeks to code a beautiful VGA effect. I prefer create than destruct [sic]. It's so important for me that I put this phrase in my MarsLand virus: 'Coding a virus can be creative.'" [link in original]
Sure, "Spanska", but you were still forcing your audience to view your work, not to mention stealing time and resources (however small) from them on top of that, in the form of having to make sure you didn't just trash their data and work.



Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that Vermont, a state the perennially returns Bernie Sanders to DC should come up with this idiocy.

As health marketplaces open, Vt. eyes bigger goal

At least one resident, 73-year-old Gerry Kilcourse, has little patience for the naysayers.

Kilcourse said that when he and wife Kathy bought a hardware store in Plainfield in the early 1980s, they struggled for years to find good, affordable health insurance coverage.

In retirement, Kilcourse has schooled himself on health policy and advocates for universal coverage. He sees health care as a public good and likens the current campaign to the 19th-century push in the United States for public schools.

"It should be similar to education, which is publicly funded," Kilcourse said of health care. "If we did the same thing for education (as in health care), you'd have a number of people being excluded" from public schools.
That, he appears to hope, will come in 2017.

One wonders if Mr. Kilcourse - ah, that's a name that should have been a force in educational administration - has been taking a good close look at what has been coming out of Public Schools lately. As the title of one of your blogroll members puts it, "The Stupid Shall Be Punished." If only they could profit by such instruction. But, as Patrick Henry implied in his famous remark, tyrants rarely do.

c. andrew

Anonymous said...


Upon reflection, it occurs to me that the better comparison to the public school system that the Vermonters ignore to their peril, is the quality of the teachers that have found their way into the public schools over the last few decades. This isn't to say that the "product" of public school output - graduating students - isn't sub-standard; they are. But it does highlight the fact that part of the reason for the bad outcomes are the sub-par teachers that a socialized system attracts and the entrenched policies that hamstring the idealistic and competent ones.

Socialized medicine will promulgate sufficient hamstringing edicts that the US, under Obamacare, and Vermont, under their prospective VT Health Service, will see negative effects will arise immediately. But what won't occasion much comment, because it won't happen until a generation has passed, is that the ethos of the medical profession will change under the institutional realities.

Even in the 1970's, the British NHS was still composed of folks who were trying to make the best of a bad system. Nowadays, MDs have to write prescriptions for food and water to keep the staff from killing the patients out of indifference.

The medical collectivists, or at least the most blinded by idealism or self deception among them don't think that that can happen here. And yet that result follows from the premises of socialized health care. It is also implied in Obama's reply to a woman asking Obama if her mother should be allowed to have an operation. "Maybe you're better off to tell your mother to take a pill..." A blue pill I'm sure.

And, as was seen by the bloody regimes of the 20th century, there is no collectivist disaster so horrible that it will ward future collectivists from indulging in the same wishful thinking with the same atrocious outcome.

From an apologist of such bloody regimes we have the following;

"You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you cant justify your existence, if you're not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you're not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it cant be of very much use to yourself."

Shaw, in saying this, might not realize that he is establishing the raison d' etre of any socialized health system. But the same logic applies.

And for those inevitable defenders of Shaw who will argue that he was satirizing the extremists in the eugenics movement, are we also to assume this to be the case when he made a radio address in 1931 with Stalin wherein he expressed the same sentiments? Or when he wrote the following in the preface to his play, "On the Rocks?"

. . .which wreckers of Communism could have sidetracked it without ever having to face the essential questions: are you pulling your weight in the social boat? are you giving more trouble than you are worth? have you earned the privilege of living in a civilized community? That is why the Russians were forced to set up an Inquisition or Star Chamber, called at first the Cheka and now the Gay Pay Oo (Ogpu), to go into these questions and "liquidate" persons who could not answer them satisfactorily.

I'm sure that the Obamacare system will not be as transparent in its ends as Shaw is here. But the logic of the system makes that outcome inevitable. When this institution is in the full flower of its premises, the only way to trump such an outcome is to profess the politically correct beliefs AND have politically effective connections.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

Just a reminder for the casual passer-by: Bernie Sanders, who caucusses with the Democrats and is amost always called an "independent" by our news media is, in fact, a socialist.

At least he is honest about it.