Sunday, 26 February 2017

10:29 – It was 28F (-2C) when I took Colin out this morning. The snow never arrived, and today is sunny, breezy, and cool. Things are to warm up tomorrow and stay warmer for several days, until they start to cool down again on Thursday. Even our recent “cool” days are well above normal temperatures. I blame it on global warming. More work on taxes today. I hope to finish.

I keep reading all these news stories about how the Republicans are going to have to come up with medical insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. That’s the most popular aspect of Obamacare, and it’s popular because it’s a welfare giveaway. The simple fact is that health insurance cannot cover pre-existing conditions. If it does, by definition, it’s not insurance. It’s welfare. Even assigned risk pools are welfare, because the premia they charge are insufficient to cover expenses, which must be made up for either by having the taxpayers foot the bill or having normal customers pay more than they should.

I see all these stories about how we must continue to cover pre-existing conditions. I just read one in the paper this morning about a woman in Englewood, CO who has breast cancer and is paying $345/month for health insurance under Obamacare. She should be paying much, much more. Probably at least ten times as much, if not 20 or 50 times as much. She can’t afford that? Sorry, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to pay for her care. They don’t mention if she has any assets, but if she does, those should be liquidated and go to pay for her care before any taxpayer monies or other subsidies are provided to her. Not that I think she should receive any subsidies. We’d all be better off as a group if subsidies were entirely eliminated and people had to pay their own way. I’m sorry for her trouble, but not sorry enough to pay for it myself.

Worst case, she’d simply have to do without medical care. Not that that would matter much to the outcome. With or without medical care, she’ll live about the same amount of time. Like most “modern medicine” the care she’ll be receiving with the subsidy won’t actually help her much. My attitude is that we should supply as much oxycodone (or levomethorphan) as she wants to take and let her die as nature intended.

More than 90% of medical spending in this country is similarly wasted on things that can’t be fixed, surgery that ultimately has no benefit, and drugs that have little or no benefit. If people want to waste their own money on useless medical treatments, that’s their business. But subsidizing that care is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money.

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70 Responses to Sunday, 26 February 2017

  1. nick flandrey says:

    Your weather really bounces around this time of year…

    70 and sunny here, gentle breezes.

    Several smart people have proposed alternatives to Obamma care. Almost anything would be better from a financial and constitutional standpoint. PICK ONE and act. Or better, pick 5 apply them to different regions of the country. Review after 3 years, apply to everyone.

    Assuming any .gov interference at all, let’s at least try to get something for the money.

    n

  2. ech says:

    Worst case, she’d simply have to do without medical care. Not that that would matter much to the outcome.

    Breast cancer is one type of cancer where quite a bit of progress has been made and survival rates have gone up.

  3. DadCooks says:

    The concept of cost/benefit means nothing these days. The concept of quality of life also means nothing.

    Have you ever been around someone who is undergoing chemotherapy? Is that hell worth it? How much real quality of life is added? Actually little to none.

    The latest waste of money is robotic surgery. The simplest machine has a base cost (actually annual lease) of over $3-million/year and the attachments that are required to perform the simplest surgery, and cannot be reused, cost $10,000 to $50,000 per surgery; that is before all the other costs associated with the surgery.

    Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done.

    Add: WRT @ech’s comment on breast cancer, I will just add that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Breast cancer is just the latest boutique cancer, so much so that Hollyweird Types have their breast chopped off without any real reason in most cases.

  4. OFD says:

    28 here also this morning, with a dusting of snow overnight; sunny w/blue skies now and the flood watch remains in effect through today; the weather liars were reporting several potential flood sites around the state and north-country NY. River and stream levels were way up and in full spate; they mentioned snow melt as the primary cause. Which must be the snow from the hills and mountains because we’ve only had the one or two storms this winta so fah.

    RBT is correct about the medical insurance versus medical welfare. As for pre-existing conditions, I wonder how that works if a combat vet comes back and is then diagnosed with lung cancer from Agent Orange or tinnitus now rearing its ugly head after years of gunfire and explosions, or for that matter, finally-diagnosed “chronic and severe PTSD.”

    As opposed, say, to new boondoggle weapons systems toyz for the generals and admirals and State Department chickenhawks to play with, or sending Navy ships into the Black Sea and putting boots on the ground in Poland and Latvia. The F-35 program alone is a gigantic mess so far, while they dump the wonderful Warthogs.

    And people age, of course; what may have been a “pre-existing condition” now manifests itself in the form of cataracts or a bum ticker. And if they can’t pay the newly raised premiums or for the surgery itself we write them off? Mass abortions at one end of the human life span and euthanasia at the end, I guess. From there to “mental defectives” and “deviants.” Deviants under the just-previous regime might have been climate change “deniers.” Under this one, maybe, those who won’t drink the tRump Administration jingo Kool-Aid.

    It’s a slippery fucking slope, mes amis.

    Meanwhile we can save beaucoups piastres by cutting DOD by a third and gutting the Leviathan bureaucracy RUTHLESSLY.

  5. dkreck says:

    Let’s play devil’s advocate and note that insurance companies in the past have been often very unfair. The idea was to form large risk pools and spread the cost. The insurers often collect premiums for years paying out nothing then dropping coverage in an instant. They were suppose to take the large amounts of capital they accumulated and invest to cover losses and make a profit, not pay executives multi-million dollar salaries.
    Yes the welfare state has led to people with no skin in the game taking large parts of the pie.
    The real challenge at this point is to get the costs down. reducing regulation, lawsuits and just plain money grabbing will all help.

  6. JimL says:

    Replace it? WHY?

    Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that a man breaks into your house every night and steals a loaf of bread and gives it to a family down the street. If you catch the man and have him arrested, are you then obligated to give the family down the street a loaf of bread every day? If so, why?

    My own experience with this abomination has been less than pleasant. I used to pay $40 for every doctor’s visit, and a certain percentage of each medical expense, up to a certain maximum. The problem was it was a cadillac plan and my employer would be punished for continuing.

    Now? Nothing for a doctor’s visit, but a huge deductible before the insurance pays anything.

    If those bastards had done ANYTHING to reign in costs, I might be persuaded that some good was done. All they did was shift cost so the middle class pays (a lot) more, and increase the cost of practice by something like 40%.

    Just repeal it. It’s an illegitimate law that has no constitutional basis.

    Oh, and snowing here, with some wind. Nothing like the shorts & t-shirt weather I enjoyed on Friday.

  7. JimL says:

    And what Mr. @dkreck says.

  8. MrAtoz says:

    RIP Bill Paxton.

    “Game over, man, game over.”

    I like him in every production he was in.

  9. MrAtoz says:

    Just repeal it. It’s an illegitimate law that has no constitutional basis.

    Exactly why we should take Roberts out to the woodshed. He wrote law from the bench and should be impeached. Not his job.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, he was my hero in Big Love. Any guy at his age who can support three wives financially with only an occasional viagra for the physical side is a hero. An idiot for marrying three women, but still a hero.

  11. Ray Thompson says:

    If those bastards had done ANYTHING to reign in costs

    I know several people in my area who are on the government dole. Couple of kids, not married, father works, lives in the same house for 11 months out of the year. Thus the mother has no income, gets lots of welfare stuff for herself and the kids. Money back from the IRS even though she pays no taxes. Makes a trip to the hospital ER a couple times a week for a child with the sniffles. Soon as the child coughs it is off the ER at Children’s Hospital. Has to use ER as doctors won’t take the family. Thousands of dollars each month in medical bills that get paid by the state as the mother is in “poverty”.

    Yet this same family has two boats (ski and fishing), a travel trailer, four 4-wheelers (mom, dad and the two kids), drive a new Mustang and new F-250 4×4 and buy expensive food at the grocery store. One of their children in a cheerleader with the expensive outfits and cheer camps. All have new iPhone 7’s, cable TV with HBO and Showtime, three or four gaming consoles, etc. What with the mom’s benefits and dad’s job (hourly at probably $20.00 an hour) they are doing quite well. They are living off of money from other people and think they deserve such simply because they exist.

    None of them have any concept that money from the government comes from other people. The government does not make money except by extorting such money from others. I almost think it is genetic disease.

  12. SteveF says:

    Yes, Roberts should be impeached, where by “impeached” I mean “thrown into a river with a millstone tied around his neck”.

  13. CowboySlim says:

    WRT to chemo: My daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor 25 years ago. Treated successfully, with surgery, some chemo and some radiation. She went on to get an MS in education and teaches school. Of course, still have her today and also two wonderful teenage grandchildren. She goes in annually for an MRI and the result is always “no change”.

    About six weeks ago, my seven year old Boston Terrier after a seizure was diagnosed with the same. Obviously, in a meeting with the DVM surgeon, my daughter recommended the same surgery. Four weeks now and the dog is recovering nicely and we just got back from our daily one mile walk which we resumed about ten days ago.

    Fortunately, we were able to sign up for DVM insurance that allowed for pre-existing conditions. Well, I am now a one person insurance company with one policy holder.

    Separate note: Yesterday, using MS Edge my two attempts at posting here were not accepted. Then posted successfully with Chrome and now also using Chrome.

  14. SteveF says:

    None of them have any concept that money from the government comes from other people.

    With my own ears I’ve heard people say “People shouldn’t have to pay for this! Let the government pay for it!” about various needs and “needs”. Some of these people were allegedly not-stupid, not-ignorant, not-ideologically-blinded, productive members of society. Their demands call these assertions into doubt.

  15. DadCooks says:

    More WRT cancer: in my personal experience involving 4 prior generations of my family (and my wife’s too) plus my wife’s nearly 40-years as a Surgical RN, and my experience with animals from mice to horses, surgery by an experienced competent surgeon is far more effective and produces a longer and better quality of life then all the fancy radiation and chemo therapies.

    I do not deny that some people have a good outcome from chemo, but they are truly few.

    WRT Bill Paxton: yes RIP. Anyone notice that the Hollywood Types seem to have a higher than normal death rate related to surgery. Might have something to do with the competence of doctors who cater to the stars.

    WRT inJustice Roberts: If he had any moral values and regard for the Founding Fathers he would remove himself from the “bench” and jump from the top of the Washington Monument. This again is another example of a person who proclaims his faith and values and then does not live the life of true works.

    The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Supreme Court Justices; such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship. IMHO, being a lawyer should be a disqualification.

  16. Greg Norton says:

    RIP Bill Paxton.

    “Game over, man, game over.”

    I like him in every production he was in.

    I tuned in to “Big Love” from time to time just to see if the “Apollo 13” prop department ever caught up with Paxton regarding his character’s Speedmaster.

    They never did. Best watch ever. 🙂

    Most Americans never saw it, but Paxton was great in the last run of “Torchwood” episodes. Fair warning — “Torchwood” isn’t for the kiddies … or squeamish, especially the joint Starz/BBC production effort that added Pullman to the cast.

  17. OFD says:

    Another point I feel I should make WRT pre-existing conditions, med insurance, etc.:

    We all know that even if the most stringent reforms and draconian methods were employed in this country, the upper middle-class, One-Percenters, doctors and their families, and higher-level bureaucrats and politicians would be de facto exempt. The financial and de facto euthansia burden would fall mainly on the poor, the working class and the lower middle-class, as always, just as with military service.

    Case in point: the example of the woman with breast cancer out in Colorado. If she’s a doctor, a member of a doctor’s family or a hospital executive likewise, a high-level bureaucrat or politician, or a One-Percenter, she can either afford to pay for the high premiums or the actual procedure or surgery or simply have it done for her. If she’s Mrs. OFD or the working housewife next door or the retired housewife across the street, tough shit. Hasta la vista, baby. Can’t pay? Die. And maybe be given enough pain-killers to ease the transition to the boneyard.

    Am I saying the current system should be left alone to fester? Hell no. Obviously it needs to be fixed, but it’s beyond my pay grade to figure it out except on common-sense and simple arithmetical principles. Once you hand it off to the politicians in the Party, you’ll end up with a big mess anyway. Maybe if we weren’t $20 trillion in debt, still attempting to run a world empire, and saddled with crumbling national infrastructure and successive waves of immigrants in the tens of millions, we’d have a shot at fixing the mess, but we’re probably beyond that point now.

    Wife and I may get taken care of for a while longer with the VA programs, maybe even until we finally croak. But after us, le deluge. And she just informed me again that yeah, she’s gotta get her right eye looked at ASAP; developing cataracts, plus the life-long and ongoing “floaters.” And the ongoing thyroid and heart issues.

    Pre-existing conditions. Without the VA and my having greased a whole shit-load of commie draftees back in the Neolithic, we’d be paying more for med insurance premiums each month than our mortgage and getting increasingly worse service and treatment.

  18. OFD says:

    From the Sunday Afternoon Reading In Place of NFL Games Department:

    https://virginiafreemen.com/2017/02/26/guest-post-a-most-dangerous-idea/

    The Census now does our individual GPS coordinates, too???

  19. MrAtoz says:

    Was Paxton in Torchwood, or are you mixing with Pullman?

  20. Greg Norton says:

    Was Paxton in Torchwood, or are you mixing with Pullman?

    Damn. You’re right. Easy to confuse them — kinda like Powers Boothe and Joe Don Baker.

  21. Greg Norton says:

    We all know that even if the most stringent reforms and draconian methods were employed in this country, the upper middle-class, One-Percenters, doctors and their families, and higher-level bureaucrats and politicians would be de facto exempt.

    Maybe certain specialists doctors’ families, but most still have to contend with the system like everyone else.

    I speak from experience. My wife is a GP. The primary reason we left WA State is that, despite generating close to $2 million (my back of the envelope calculation) top line revenue for her group, the take home number meant that we couldn’t afford a house in a decent neighborhood on the WA State side of the Portland Metro.

  22. OFD says:

    I only saw him in the great mini-series “Hatfields and McCoys,” i.e., fairly recently.

    Ah yes, “complications from surgery.”

    Like my late maternal grandfather told me, “don’t ever go to the hospital. People die there.” WWII Navy combat veteran of three years in North Afrika. And 39 years with the U.S. Postal Service. The old-time neighborhood mailman in Fairhaven, MA. Left his family of wife and five kids at age 39 to go fight Hitler and Rommel. Made individual French-Canadian tourtieres (meat pies) for us, cooked steaks and French fries on his basement stove, and taught swimming down the street at the Fort Phoenix beach to his kids by throwing them in as toddlers and “sink or swim!” Born in Blackburn, Lancashire (like the Beatles song…”four thousand holes…”) and hated the English and loved the froggies. Probably from his time in Tunisia and French Morocco. Brought home coins from that era, plus Roman coins, and marble fragments from Carthage. Now all lost somewhere. If you saw him you might mistake him for Italian or Middle-Eastern; always brown from constant sun exposure his whole life and kept all his hair to the end, too.

    He and my grandma built their house in Fairhaven themselves and shingled it themselves, too, thousands of shingles. Just a three-minute walk to the beach in a pretty quiet ‘hood. Now it’s built out and the meadow across the street now has a fundie Prod church on it and last time the house sold it went for nearly $400,000.

    Tempus fugit.

  23. Miles_Teg says:

    Paxton. Only three years older than me. Geez.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of Colin for years. How about a flop ears one when he was a puppy, and a recent one?

  25. OFD says:

    And just for more Sunday afternoon viewing…our place up here:

    http://www.stalbanstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/St.-A-Bay-aerial1.jpg

    We’re in the middle of the picture, to the immediate left of the wharf. To the left of us is the town park (right behind us) and the wildlife refuge. In back of us are some of the dozens of square miles of flat and very fertile farmland that stretches from Quebec to Maffachufetts. Mountains in the distance.

  26. lynn says:

    WRT breast cancer, my wife is now a 12 year survivor. She was diagnosed with stage 2b on Dec 24, 2004 and had a mastectomy on Feb 12, 2005 with reconstruction on the same day. She had both major damaged genes and both minor genes. She had chemo afterwards and got into the herceptin trial.

    She recently read the clinical trial results. Her chance of reoccurrence was 85%. The trifecta of mastectomy, chemo, and herceptin reduced her reoccurrence chance to 15%. This was a clinical trial of 2,600 women and the results were so amazing that they ended the trial two years early.

    1 out of 11 women will get breast cancer in their lives. It used to be the number one killer of women age 50 to 70. My wife’s oldest first cousin died of it at age 49 since she did not have insurance and ignored the problems until it had spread to her bones, liver. And heart.

  27. lynn says:

    Drove to norman, ok yesterday. 480 miles in beautiful weather. Horrible traffic all around houston even though I took the new third outer ring, hwy 99.

    Dallas was a freaking nightmare going south to north. Was fully stopped several times.

  28. OFD says:

    @Mr. Lynn and Mr. nick; I just wish there was some way you guys and your families could bail outta that area for greener and safer pastures somehow; my thoughts and prayers always with you and others here in the same boat. I realize the factors involved and hope they can be mitigated somehow in the near future.

    Pax vobiscum, fratres.

  29. lynn says:

    And I still want to put all citizens in the USA on Medicare. That will require raising the employee and employer payroll taxes from 1.45% to 6%. Each.

    The curgent medicare system in the USA covers 15% of the population and pays 25% of the medical bills in the usa. Yes, we will get a whole new set of problems but the base problem of uninsured pepole showing up in ER will be solved.

  30. lynn says:

    Btw, the wife will not do chemo again. Once was enough. But my father has had chemo five times and is a 35 year survivor of lymphoma and bladder cancer.

  31. Dave says:

    And I still want to put all citizens in the USA on Medicare. That will require raising the employee and employer payroll taxes from 1.45% to 6%. Each.

    The 1.45 percent tax just covers Part A. The only way it would possibly work is if you forced doctors and nurse practitioners to take Medicare patients. Even then, everyone would lose their doctor because their primary provider would be a nurse practitioner.

  32. lynn says:

    There are now about a dozen hackers around the world trying to hack the security in our software. They have bypassed the initial security and are entangled in the various traps that we have installed. I am getting multitudinous emails coming from our server from various darknet locations.

    I cannot tell if this is an academic exercise or hackers trying to break the security in our software so they can sell it for $50.

  33. Greg Norton says:

    There are now about a dozen hackers around the world trying to hack the security in our software. They have bypassed the initial security and are entangled in the various traps that we have installed. I am getting multitudinous emails coming from our server from various darknet locations.

    I just saw a new-ish paper the other day about obfuscating program flow using signals. Ironically, I think the authors were Russian. If I see the paper again, I’ll send it your way.

  34. SteveF says:

    I cannot tell if this is an academic exercise or hackers trying to break the security in our software so they can sell it for $50.

    Yet another reason to move to a cloud-based business model — words I very seldom express. It’s no panacea, but the problems associated with high-value binaries sent to customers will be greatly reduced.

    The curgent medicare system in the USA covers 15% of the population and pays 25% of the medical bills in the usa.

    FYI, proof by repeated assertion is not real proof. Nor does a cost analysis founded on fake numbers actually prove anything you’d want to prove. (Not blaming you for the last part; several investigations have shown that the federal government is playing games with their reporting.) And even if universal medicare would magically save bazillions of dollars, as Dave said, it would work only through enslaving medical professionals.

  35. CowboySlim says:

    “Yes, we will get a whole new set of problems but the base problem of uninsured pepole showing up in ER will be solved…..”

    Yes, and Trump sending all the crimmigrants back will do even a better job of cleaning out the ER’s of uninsured. If nothing else, they have no birth control whatsoever and each year another one at our expense.

  36. SteveF says:

    I have a great new idea: continue to require ERs to treat anyone who comes through their door…

    But allow them to sterilize anyone who cannot provide both proof of legal residency and some form of payment. Sure, the sterilization procedure will be an extra expense today, but it’ll pay off very soon by reducing the number of parasites coming in.

  37. nick flandrey says:

    Remember when someone made the entirely sensible suggestion that Norplant (TM) be made available to welfare mothers free of charge? Remember the shrieking about genocide?

    It’d be easier to just require every person who wants to vote to kill one other person.

    In other words, ain’t gonna happen.

    n

    ADDED= picture the world today with 22 MILLION more unwanted babies, now grown up to be thugs*

    *according to the Freakonomics guy, the single biggest predictor for a life of crime and violence is being unwanted.

  38. nick flandrey says:

    Realistically, we could go back to NOT requiring ERs to treat everyone. Add transparent pricing, portability, and catastrophic coverage, and we’ll be getting some where.

    n

  39. SteveF says:

    It’d be easier to just require every person who wants to vote to kill one other person.

    -blink- Do I get 47 votes under your system?

  40. nick flandrey says:

    Ain’t a cell built yet that can hold me, copper… //cary grant

    That is one motivated doggy.

    n

  41. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    What surprised me was that it’s a beagle, which isn’t one of the smarter breeds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

  42. Ray Thompson says:

    Horrible traffic all around Houston

    I will be heading to San Antonio on March 1 for about 10 days. Will be taking the southern route this trip, both coming and going. Will be spending a night in Baton Rouge before continuing the journey to SA through Houston.

    Last trip was the Northern route through Memphis I-40 to I-30 to I-35. Bypasses most of Dallas. Traffic in Austin was terrible, took almost an hour to get through. Both upper and lower decks were stacked with traffic.

    Last trip I bypassed most of the Houston traffic on my return trip as I made a stop at Mr. Lynn’s property, then on to visit father-in-law’s ex wife. Only bad stretch was HWY 6 with all the stop lights which I fortunately made most of them green.This time I will traveling smack gob through Houston on I-10 on March 2. And I see from the maps that I-10 now has a toll portion I am guessing because of the traffic. I will probably take that option.

    Coming back I will heading to Alvin which is south of Houston so may be able to avoid a lot of traffic. Will still have to deal with HWY 6 and the lights. May not be so lucky this time. Will be spending the night in Alvin. Then it’s back to I-45 to HWY 146 back to I-10 to get home. Have no idea where we will stop. May head to Atlanta to stay with friends, may stop in Birmingham.

    This is a planned trip unlike last time when it was for the funeral. This is for a wedding in Blanco TX. Taking the Highlander this time and leaving the cowboy chariot at home.

  43. SteveF says:

    Huh. I didn’t think beagles were quite that low. Barely brighter than my mom’s peke, which is about as dumb as a handful of dryer lint. Anyway, there’s variation within the breeds, and maybe that was the Einstein of beagles.

  44. SteveF says:

    Came across an interesting line of reasoning:

    r Leftists are threatened by K preppers.

    Sounds strange, since prepping is purely defensive, right?
    Wrong. Reproduction is war.

    If everyone starves equally in famine, it’s like it didn’t happen. That’s r strategy.
    But if K survives the famine and r starves, r loses.

    Solution: Kill the preppers.

  45. nick flandrey says:

    @Ray, download the traffic app from TXDOT. That will quickly show you the freeways thru town.

    Depending on the time of day, I10 straight across might be your fastest bet. When I go to Alvin, I take 10 or one of the rings east to I 45 and then to SR 35. Sometimes I take 288 south to 6, then to alvin. Depends on if you like stop lights….

    With the app, you will be able to make a good choice.

    n

  46. Ray Thompson says:

    download the traffic app from TXDOT

    I have a Garmin GPS with traffic. It does a really nice job of informing you of the delays and offering alternate routes.

    When I go to Alvin, I take 10 or one of the rings east to I 45 and then to SR 35

    I may just do that as it would not be that far out of the way. However my memories of the I-45/I-10 interchange from when the FIL lived in Dickinson and we lived in SA was that it was not that pleasant a route. I-610 going around was not great either. And that was 30 years ago. Will probably leave SA about 8:00 AM and thus arrive in Alvin sometime around 2:00 or slightly after. We are going to detour north to New Braunfels and stop at the New Braunfels Smokehouse for some jerky and sausage. Then catch 46 over to I-10.

    Question? Is it worth paying for the toll on I-10? Do you know how much the toll requires?

  47. Dave Hardy says:

    “Came across an interesting line of reasoning…”

    Indeed. There are substantial numbers of commie operators out there who work along those lines of thought. Again, they’re concentrated in cities and college towns.

    I just filled out my much-awaited survey for the White House, pretty much stating the same chit I say here, only without the violent ideas, curse words, and off-center PTSD-enhanced rambling. (I can put on a pretty good front of a reasonable, calm and thoughtful civilian citizen…).

    But if you don’t hear from me for a while, it probably means th

  48. lynn says:

    I have a great new idea: continue to require ERs to treat anyone who comes through their door…

    But allow them to sterilize anyone who cannot provide both proof of legal residency and some form of payment. Sure, the sterilization procedure will be an extra expense today, but it’ll pay off very soon by reducing the number of parasites coming in.

    I APPROVE !

    Kind of the VHEMT society in reverse.
    http://www.vhemt.org/

    “Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.”

  49. lynn says:

    What surprised me was that it’s a beagle, which isn’t one of the smarter breeds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

    My walking partner, Lady, is now totally deaf. She has absolutely no idea what command we are giving. Just waking her up to do something is now somewhat traumatic for her since she has no idea that someone is close to her. I actually let her sleep until I am ready to go.

    BTW, she sleeps about 16 to 18 hours per day now. When she turned 14 in December, she added an hour or two of sleep per day.

  50. nick flandrey says:

    @ray, the TXDOT app (or what I do which is just add the shortcut to their map page to my phone screen) will show you ALL the freeways at the same time. Most traffic alerts on google and Garmin will only show you traffic on your route. You can see at a color coded glance if there is a blockage, slowdown, or clear route.

    https://traffic.houstontranstar.org/layers/

    The I10 toll is demand based so it varies thruout the day. I’ve only taken it once in the last year and I travel I 10 across town all the time. It was 30c in the afternoon.

    Definitely you want to look at traffic and see if there is blockage at the 45 to 10 transition, and 45 thru down town. It is usually quicker to take one of the rings around, but never 610 south from the 10 on the west side anytime between noon and 2. Again, check the traffic map. I use it every day, even though I have traffic on my garmin, and google. BTW, google is nice because it has traffic on all the surface streets, but only for your route and very nearby streets. You can even see the delays at stop lights.

    n

  51. nick flandrey says:

    @lynn, we’ve taught our dog hand signs for all the commands he knows, other than “get your ball”.

    He’s got sit, lay down, stay, release, drop it, shake, jump, and beg. He’s not super at ‘come’ unless we’re holding his heartworm medicine which is his absolute favorite thing.

    Now that I think of it, we pat our chests for ‘come’ too.

    n

  52. Ray Thompson says:

    Now that I think of it, we pat our chests for ‘come’ too.

    I tried to do that for my wife but never could get it to work consistently.

  53. MrK says:

    “I tried to do that for my wife but never could get it to work consistently.”

    Ok.. Mr Ray wins the internet this week.. lol.

  54. Miles_Teg says:

    Ya need to modify the 14th Amendment…

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

  55. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    Like my late maternal grandfather told me, “don’t ever go to the hospital. People die there.”

    Wise old gran. I avoid hospitals. As I’ve told my GP “Hospitals are places you go to get sick.”

  56. Miles_Teg says:

    “BTW, she sleeps about 16 to 18 hours per day now. When she turned 14 in December, she added an hour or two of sleep per day.”

    Sounds like she wants to be an honorary cat… 🙂

  57. lynn says:

    “BTW, she sleeps about 16 to 18 hours per day now. When she turned 14 in December, she added an hour or two of sleep per day.”

    Sounds like she wants to be an honorary cat…

    Yup, the cat is her buddy. I figure that 14 for a cocker spaniel is about 88 in human years.

  58. brad says:

    “she can either afford to pay for the high premiums or the actual procedure or surgery or simply have it done for her.”

    There’s no reason not to be able to pay for most services. I think I mentioned, on our last trip to the US, that my son came down with strep. Not wanting to mess with international insurance, we just paid cash. Prices were very reasonable, iirc $100 for the visit plus the necessary antibiotics.

    Some place in Oklahoma recently made headlines, even over here, because they refuse to take insurance. Cash up front, and their services are listed on a menu. Hip replacements $X, appendectomy $Y, etc.. Funny, their prices are so cheap – since they don’t deal with bureaucracy – that insurance companies are starting to send their patients there and reimburse them directly afterwards.

    Unfortunately, this hasn’t hit here yet. Swiss prices are nuts in the first place, and then the government refuses to allow cross-border “gray” imports. So drugs can easily cost multiples of what they do just a few miles away in Germany. Why? Because big pharma is important! More to the point, certain politicians might no longer be on the gravy train.

    @Lynn: We have two dogs about to turn 14. The larger one (about 70lbs) is nearly deaf, but still hears clapping, so we get his attention that way. He then responds well to hand signals. Doesn’t walk very well anymore, but still cheerful. Woke me up last night (thump, thump, thump), because he was wagging in his sleep.

  59. SteveF says:

    Just waking her up to do something is now somewhat traumatic for her since she has no idea that someone is close to her.

    Try waking her up with smell? Waft vanilla or something past her, and train her that that means time for a walk?

    What about stomping your feet some as you approach the bed? Would the vibration wake her up?

  60. Dave says:

    There’s no reason not to be able to pay for most services. I think I mentioned, on our last trip to the US, that my son came down with strep. Not wanting to mess with international insurance, we just paid cash. Prices were very reasonable, iirc $100 for the visit plus the necessary antibiotics.

    Some place in Oklahoma recently made headlines, even over here, because they refuse to take insurance. Cash up front, and their services are listed on a menu. Hip replacements $X, appendectomy $Y, etc.. Funny, their prices are so cheap – since they don’t deal with bureaucracy – that insurance companies are starting to send their patients there and reimburse them directly afterwards.

    That would be the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Before ObamaCare most of their patients were Canadian. There is another medical practice whose business model is similar, but the target audience is different. The practice I’m thinking of realized that most of their patients were the working poor who did not have insurance. So they changed their practice to suit their patients. They got rid of the billing department and stopped the record keeping that was not medically necessary. That let them cut their prices in half.

    Then they started changing how they practiced medicine. For example in treating a new patient who is diabetic, they spend more time with the patient on the first visit than any insurance would pay for and they have subsequent visits that likewise don’t fit the pattern insurance requires. One diabetic woman without insurance who switched to their clinic wound up spending much less over a year with the new clinic than her previous doctor and had better blood glucose control as well.

  61. Greg Norton says:

    I have a Garmin GPS with traffic. It does a really nice job of informing you of the delays and offering alternate routes.

    Be aware that some municipalities in Texas have banned touching handheld electronics of any kind while driving, extending the state law that prohibits texting while driving.

    It started in Austin (of course), but San Marcos and other towns have decided to get in on the action of the $500 tickets.

    I blame the hysteria on the last Cannonball Run record set in 2013. The optimal route always requires traversing the panhandle of Texas, and the new record holder used one of the lesser mapping app companies for guidance and to certify his times.

  62. MrAtoz says:

    Ya need to modify the 14th Amendment…

    Which was enacted solely to give slaves citizenship. Justice “Fukstik” Brennan added the anchor baby clause as a footnote. Now every 8 1/2 month pregnant doosh drops their baby in the US and starts drawing welfare. Brennan didn’t interpret the Constitution, he wrote law from the bench. Douchenozzle.

  63. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I feel sorry for Canadians whose mothers gave birth in the US because it was the nearest hospital. The parents were both Canadians. Then the kids grow up and learn they’re US citizens through no fault of their own and now have to pay US taxes on their Canadian earnings.

  64. Ray Thompson says:

    Be aware that some municipalities in Texas have banned touching handheld electronics of any kind while driving

    What am I supposed to do with my bionic penis while driving?

    Thanks for the heads up. I touch the GPS rarely after I start driving except to see the alternate routes if traffic is bad. I may relegate that to the spousal unit.

  65. Miles_Teg says:

    The thing that amazes me is the cost and bureauracy involved in giving up US citizenship. I don’t know what it would cost here to give up Ozzie citizenship but I do know it cost my nephew’s new Norwegian wife $5-7k to be given residency here.

  66. nick flandrey says:

    ” the cost and bureauracy involved in giving up US citizenship tax slavery. ”

    There, FIFY

    n

  67. brad says:

    $5k sounds about right: $2k to hand back your passport, and another $3k for the ridiculously complicated IRS/FBAR paperwork, which pretty much has to be done by a professional, because no normal person will ever get it right.

    Really, there should be no fee at all – it should suffice to mail your passport in with a notarized statement. Why should a country be allowed to force you to remain a citizen?

    Oh, right, it’s because all of us expats are multimillionaires. /sarc

  68. ech says:

    Ah yes, “complications from surgery.”

    The description of what happened was he needed emergency heart surgery then had a stroke. First, if you need emergency heart surgery, you are very, very close to dying. The stroke was probably due to throwing an embolus, a known risk of many cardiac procedures.

    Paxton started in the art department in films, then became an actor. He and my brother worked on a few films together. My brother remembers how on Paxton’s first day on set, he shouted for the on-set dresser to come over. They shook hands and chatted for a bit. A great guy by all accounts.

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