Re: David Hogberg's VHA Is No Guarantee:
As a physician I trained and worked in VA hospitals. For me, these were the worst places to work of any hospitals, county, community, private, bar none. As a physician in practice I see a lot of VA patients who avoid the VA. They'll go there for their meds and their labs, but the formulary is abysmal, basically a quarter of a century out of date. Fortunately, a lot of these vets also have Medicare with part D. The VA is highly uncooperative in providing records, lab results, etc., but if the Vet will go personally to the clinic and demand the records, they can hand carry the records to us. Otherwise, I can't get the records.
The physician quality at the VA is spotty, to be kind, and there is no continuity of care, and little if any doctor-patient relationship. There are no specialists available, and specialty care, if it gets done, is done by the local private physicians primarily, for those who have Medicare or other options. Otherwise, patients are sent to facilities several hours away for specialty care, almost all of which is available locally and of much higher quality.
I recently saw a patient admitted through the emergency room of a local community hospital who had gone to the VA with typical angina. He had had a cardiolyte stress test at the VA a couple of hours away, and was told that it was entirely normal, and no treatment was given. The patient came to the ER with recurring chest pain (unstable angina), was admitted, had a cardiac catheterization and proved to have severe multivessel coronary disease with a critical (greater than 90%) stenosis of the Left Anterior Descending coronary artery, that supplies blood to most of the heart muscle. He underwent emergency bypass surgery. How the VA got a normal study is beyond explanation. As the VA hospitals are often connected with Medical Schools and residency programs, he perhaps was under the care of a physician-in-training. (Of course a lot of research is done in VA hospitals as well, on Vets). Whatever was done in this case almost killed the Vet. The patient's wife was furious, to say the least, at the care provided at the VA facility.
I, for one, would be apoplectic at the idea of extending VA healthcare to everyone. I would, in contrast, suggest that all Vets eligible for VA healthcare benefits be placed on the Federal Employees' Health Benefit system instead, and eliminate the VA altogether. It's enough that we send these people into battle. To bring them home and subject them to VA healthcare and do medical experiments on them is unconscionable. In my experience, the VA is the worst healthcare system in the country aside from the Indian Health Service, which is simply a slightly kinder, gentler and less direct approach to genocide (compared to the more direct approaches employed in prior centuries). The recent fiascos at Walter Reed and the recognition of the incapacity of the VA system to deal with the returning Iraq Vets, and the hubbub about traumatic brain injury, which the VA will not have the resources to deal with adequately, are all indications that another approach is required for adequate medical care for Vets.
The billions just appropriated to the VA system will help get a lot of Congressmen re-elected, but are unlikely to help many Vets. The money would be better spent just paying for private (or Federal Employees) health insurance coverage. The private facilities available across this country would do a marvelous job caring for these Vets, more conveniently and more cost effectively. And they'd be proud to do it. Our Vets deserve better. Much better.
-- Kent Lyon
College Station, Texas
Praise should be heaped on AmSpec with an industrial sized front-loader for running frequent commentaries on our dysfunctional federal government. Your piece on the VHA is the latest installment. Those righteous citizens who've memorized every jot and comma in the Constitution will readily admit the Founders never promised us a rose garden or a competent government either. In fact, the surest road to success in government is to foul-up big time -- bigger budgets, more employees and highly creative excuses for past failures will descend on those in Washington with the worst track record.
Ironically, this formula of fail your way to success is embraced wholeheartedly by voters as how a proper government operation should be run. Take the aftermath of 9/11 for instance. CIA, the agency with the least responsibility for controlling domestic terrorism, was designated as the official "fall-guy" for the foul-up -- they failed to predict the disaster, although we were never told beforehand that an accurate intelligence prediction was the one vital factor needed to ensure the massive security apparatus would actually work. A new, powerful mega-agency was then created to fail on an even larger scale, complete with a budget exceeding the annual GDP of most countries.
So far it seems to work, but what if there were another successful terrorist operation against the Big Apple, the preferred target of working fanatics? After numerous congressional hearings to showcase our leaders at work, the usual prescription would be written -- more employees, more money and more power offered up to solve every real or imagined shortcoming. It's like medieval physicians always bleeding the patient to release foul humors, only Congress does it in reverse and pumps in more blood resulting in a very bloated patient.
It's no surprise our Washington mandarins lust after universal health care; opportunities for failure would be legion and, in Washington, with failure comes success.
-- Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California
Re: John Tabin's The Man Who Wasn't There:
Although I was a supporter of Fred Thompson several months ago, I've never been a fan of "cherry pickers." The sum of all of last night's TV action for me is to confirm that Ron Paul is my guy, given that, realistically, we have only the two dominant parties' candidates to choose between.
In this age of focus group and polling driven governance, I'm inclined to back the guy who's the most bedrock in his views, and that guy is Ron Paul, longer and louder than any of the others. He may not have the TV presence to trade quips with Jay Leno, but I think he's the least likely to go "New World Order" on us after being elected, like another President I could name. Thompson, in my opinion, has been too clever for his own good, and revealed himself to be a mere politician rather than a man of principle.
-- Mark Fallert
Fred Thompson is being criticized for skipping the "presidential" debate. Didn't he declare his candidacy after the debate? If that is true, then he should not have been included in that debate. Unless they are saying he should have announced sooner just so he could be in that particular debate? Also, it is interesting that he got more coverage than all of the other contenders combined who were on the same platform. That sounds like a smart move, and one that may be hard to repeat.
-- Jack A. Summers
Because Fred Thompson has some catching up to do and might be less enthusiastic about campaigning than some, he should consider hiring look-alike Joe Don Baker to serve as his surrogate to appear at some rallies. The star of the Standing Tall movies could stand in and stand tall for Fred. Extra advantages are: he is slightly better-looking, he has much more hair, he looks slightly younger though he's older, he, too, has played law-and-order type roles quite effectively and reinforces the Southern angle because of the roles he played. Some theme could be developed in connection with an ax (budget-cutting?), not to mention Fred's old plaid shirt and pick-up.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
CARRY A BIG CHOPSTICK
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Clintons' Chop Suey Connection:
Comparing RET's comments on the Clinton Chinese connection and the recent running arguments over the Russians' attempted resurgence, one can turn back the clock and start to note some interesting waypoints to ponder.
In 1993 when the Boy President first met Boris Yeltsin, the meeting was polite and seemed promising. But as Yeltsin and his interpreter were leaving, Yeltsin turned and muttered soto voce to the other, "Sotsialist." Good call, Boris.
When the Russians then implored the U.S. to provide them aid and assistance in setting up a capitalist form of economy, the Clinton administration went out of its way to either ignore them or send people who were going to be offensive to the Russians and thus ignored. It would seem that the Boy President, probably aided and abetted by his spouse, the future HRH Hillary I, to punish the Russians for giving up on "The True Faith," according to HRH Hillary I.
Then the Chinese connection rose to national scrutiny and the usual Clinton attack machine responses to beat it back, including missing witnesses, defected donors and other lapses of memory or ethics which got them off the hook.
Where I a more subjective thinker, I could possibly buy into a sub-theory that the real reason the Clintons stiffed the Russians was that it was what the Chinese were really paying for all along.
Nothing like a bought politician who stays bought.
-- Cookie Sewell
Democratic Peoples' Republic of Maryland
Here is the real party of corruption. I hope, people with their short-term memories, will remember this. The fact that this couple is not in jail is the reason that more of this is happening and to more people especially in the Democratic Party. Where are the prosecutors? Where is the outrage? Where are the lawyers wanting to make a name for themselves? Has everyone been paid off?
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia
Great article, Mr. Tyrrell. Isn't it astounding the lack of even passing interest in the endlessly repeated, Clinton indiscretions from the mainstream press? But not to worry, I learned the meaning of and can use (and spell) eleemosynary. All is definitely not lost.
-- Judy Beumler
This just goes to show how lax the judges are, letting this guy go on bond and him keeping his passport is just not real bright. Was this judge a Democrat?
As far as Mr. Hsu being missing, don't be surprised if he shows up as a suicide with a bullet in the back of his head. People do have a way of turning up dead or in prison when they are around the Clintons.
-- Elaine Kyle
Thank you for a roundup of the Chinese "contributions" to the Clintons. With this kind of money flowing to the Clintons since 1986, and continuing to H. Clinton, it seems more than obvious that there is a quid pro quo. It appears that the Clintons can be and have been bought and paid for by the Chinese Communists.
The Clintons' personal quest for power, wealth and celebrity to the detriment of the United States and the American people has been nothing short of breathtaking. From the willful sale to China of classified military technology to the cowardly inaction for acts of war against the U.S., the Clintons' have consistently sought personal gain over the protection of the U.S.
The MSM has not and will not investigate the Clintons. Would you please investigate the other side of this Chinese money? The American voters need to know what this Chinese money is buying, no matter how circumstantial, so they can make an informed decision. Please, help us. Thanks.
-- Edward Kallas
It seems obvious to anyone willing to admit it that the Clinton's political aspirations are heavily financed by the Government of People's Republic of China. This is, of course, highly illegal. In fact, it borders on treason.
This should not only disqualify Ms. Clinton from higher office, but in my opinion, it should be enough to have her immediately removed from her position in the Senate.
Let's see if the Republicans in the House and Senate have enough courage to press for an investigation as we head into 2008.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapck, New Jersey
Once again, the Clintons, this time Hillary, are taking Asian money? Hsu money? Yup, that's right. But what makes the front page day after day? Senator's Craig's "wide stance." I can't speak to the truth of Senator Craig's behavior (after all, I'm not Alec Baldwin), but I am left wondering who's getting screwed? With Senator Craig, it may be the American public, but only one willing citizen at a time. With the Clintons, well, just let's say The Boy President wasn't the only one with huge appetites.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
When will the Clinton's be held accountable for their illegal activities? Do Americans really want a Clinton in the White House & put up with their broad corruption & lack of integrity or ethics??!!! Wasn't eight years enough? I'm so tired of them getting away with all this illegal activity -- hopefully someday they will be held accountable!
Mr. Tyrrell failed to mention that Lt. Colonel Liu Chaoying is female.
Someone should write a comic screenplay.
Scene. Conference room at top secret Chinese military location.
Gen. Ji Shengde, head of Chinese military intelligence: "We like president very much. We would like to see him reelect."
The lovely Lt. Col. Liu Chaoying, snapping a salute: "Yes sir!"
Sex farce ensues.
-- Dan Martin
Bet Norman Hsu is buried somewhere in Mena, Arkansas, with rest of people who get in Hillary's way. Steve Fossett??? Remember John Galt from Ayn Rand's
book Atlas Shrugged. WHERE IS STEVE FOSSETT???
Also, Hillary is sending out her storm troopers. One calling herself "Betty" called Rush "rude" Wednesday. They called Boortz Tuesday, same thing.
The campaign to make sure no one holds Hillary accountable has started, She will be a poor helpless little woman in a world of big strong RUDE men who are just mean for pointing out her lies and hate talk.
-- Isel R
Grand Junction, Colorado
The Clintons: Peddling away your national security, one campaign at a time.
-- Reid Bogie
Shouldn't the caption to Hillary's photograph be, "My Hsu Left"?
-- Rick Venema
Colonial Heights, Virginia
Re: Jay D. Homnick's International Dating Lines:
Very unfair, Mr. Homnick. John Howard and his conservatives are facing a general election in the near future. This is why he is emphasizing the Global Warming debate at the APEC summit. Believe me, there is no intention on Australia's behalf to extort one cent from the USA regarding climate change. Mr. Howard and his government are sensible people who have been forced to adopt the appearance of greenery to win high office.
-- Emma & Ashley Maclean
Re: Tom Bethell's reply to John Derbyshire in Reader Mail's Designs on Creationism:
Mr. Bethell's claim about Colin Patterson (that he denied that there was evidence for evolution) is questionable, to say the least.
Here is a long discussion of what Patterson has actually said about the fossil evidence for evolution (and his opinion of creationists' tactics), with real citations and everything.
If Mr. Bethell has a transcript of the supposed "public lecture" where Patterson denied the existence of evidence for evolution, perhaps he should post it, along with the date and venue where is it supposed to have taken place.
As for Mr. Bethell's request to be shown evidence -- here you go.
My personal favorite is Part 4, Molecular evidence. Scientists hate to talk about "proof" of a theory, but if this technically isn't "proof" of common descent, it certainly seems like the next best thing.
-- Scott Munro
Tom Bethell replies:
Mr. Munro has questioned whether Colin Patterson ever did speak critically about the evidence for evolution. The talk in which he did so was given at the American Museum of Natural History on Nov. 5, 1981. A partial transcript of the talk, including the relevant quotes, is available online here.
Access Research Network sells a complete and carefully edited transcript of the talk. Its accuracy was guaranteed by a witness to the lecture, Gareth Nelson, who in 1981 was chairman of the Department of Ichthyology at the American Museum. I interviewed Nelson extensively in 1984 and I believe he was in complete agreement with Patterson's ideas and claims.
Access Research Network sells a CD of the actual audiotape, so people can hear the entire lecture and subsequent Q and A for themselves.
In addition, Patterson's handwritten AMNH lecture notes were recently published by the Linnean Society. Patterson was in the habit of writing out his talks verbatim, and the original notes survive. They were edited and published by David Williams and Gary Nelson in 2002. They confirm (and indeed elaborate on) Patterson's skepticism about neo-Darwinian evolution.
The complete text is available under the title "Systematics and Creationism," The Linnean, vol. 18 (2002), pp. 13-33.
I heartily second the points made in Ms. Fabrizio's article and the supporting comments made by Elaine Kyle, Christopher Holland, and Ty Knoy. With all due respect to Mr. Knoy, however, I see his remarks, and raise him: He writes, "Thanks to two centuries of wealth creation by U. S. economy (fastest growth rate on the planet) welfare people on these shores today have higher standards of living than kings enjoyed 200 years ago." That's true, of course, but Western entrepreneurialism and industrial innovation have stood in sharp contrast to Third World indolence for well over two centuries. As early as 1776, Adam Smith described this phenomenon in some detail in The Wealth of Nations. With apologies for his rather-insensitive 18th century vernacular, I believe this passage summarizes the aforementioned sentiments perfectly: "...[I]t may be true, perhaps, that the accommodation of a European prince does not always so much exceed that of an industrious and frugal peasant as the accommodation of the latter exceeds that of many an African king, the absolute master of the lives and liberties of ten thousand naked savages."
-- Mike Wohnhaas
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