Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Don't think this will be covered by your standard $15 co-pay

A little girl suffers a burst appendix on board a cruise ship and gets medical attention from the U.S. Navy.

The USS Ronald Reagan answered the disress call and steamed overnight almost 400 miles to get a helicopter within range to pick up the girl. Even then, the chopper had a 90-minute round trip plus time on-station to lift her off the ship.

Somehow, the standard $15 co-pay just doesn't seem to cover it, does it? Just looking at one of my recent insurance bills, I'm thinking hers would look a little like this:

1. Divert the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier (5,000+ crew members) and send it 325 miles to meet the ship. Billed by U.S. Navy: $1.5 million; paid by insurance: $2,500. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

2. Launch a helicopter with medical crew to airlift the girl from the ship (no landing pad). Billed by U.S. Navy: $15,000; paid by insurance: $975. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

3. Fly back to the Reagan and perform surgery. Billed by U.S. Navy: $31,500; paid by insurance: $9,750. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

Of course, this doesn't take hospitalization and prescriptions into account. Makes you glad you have coverage, doesn't it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

File under "what earthly reason"

I'm having a little trouble understanding just what could be gained by asking Mike Huckabee if he'd retract his 1992 statement about quarantining AIDS patients. What's past is past. Mr. Huckabee makes no secret about his religious background (he's a former pastor, for crying out loud). Did anyone really expect a different answer?

In fact, I find it refreshing that he didn't recant. If I disagreed with him (which I don't), I'd like to think that I would at least respect his right to the opinion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I wish I knew the whole story on this one

Apparently a pair of pants is worth a helluva lot more money than any of us imagined.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A judge had to leave the courtroom with tears running down his face Tuesday after recalling the lost pair of trousers that led to his $54 million lawsuit against a dry cleaner.

Administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson had argued earlier in his opening statement that he is acting in the interest of all city residents against poor business practices. Defense attorneys called his claim "outlandish."

Actually, I find the whole thing pathetic. In the old days, when someone wronged you or lost your pants, you took them out back and beat the shit out of them. You felt better and usually walked away with a pretty good story to tell your grandkids. Whatever happened to the good old days?

To help this poor distraught jurist, I propose that we all send him a pair of pants that we don't need any more. Apparently a law degree and a job on the bench isn't paying as well as it used to. As soon as I can get an address for the poor bastard, I'm shipping him a pair of my old 42/29s so he doesn't get cold this winter.

Monday, May 28, 2007

When you look up 'twat' in the dictionary...'s what you'll find.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rosie O'Donnell says she will likely never speak to "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck again after an on-air tiff last week that led to O'Donnell's early departure from the show.

The former host of the ABC daytime chatfest says in a video blog posted on her Web site that she has never tried harder to be friends with someone, but she doesn't think she succeeded with Hasselbeck.

"I haven't spoken to her, and I probably won't, and I think it's just as well," she said. "I wrote her an e-mail, and she wrote me back, and there you have it."

If I'm Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the Bacchanalian celebration would commence for seven straight days. There can be no finer place to be than on Rosie's "no-speakie" list.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Waterboarding is not torture

At least, not compared to these images from a recent Iraq safe house/torture chamber raid. There are some gruesome concepts in here, from "blowtorch to the skin" to "eye removal". The photos of actual victims are pretty repulsive.

So, if all we're doing is the occasional waterboarding, I'd say we've taken the high road.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Holy spin!

Last night, Pennsylvanians voted on a referendum that would increase income tax and potentially decrease property taxes as an offset. It was called "Special Session Act 1 of 2006", and it was soundly defeated.

But that isn't the real story. What really irks me about the article is Governor Rendell's response:

Gov. Ed Rendell had pushed hard for the referenda. His spokesman, Chuck Erdo, said, "The governor doesn't believe that the defeat of the local tax shifting question is an indication of anything other than confusion."

He added, "Many voters didn't have the information they needed to make a good choice."

Translation: It's not that the people decided that the measure was a bad idea. We just didn't get our message out.

A taller and steamier pile of dung I've not seen in all my thirty-six years. In effect, their stated position on the outcome is that the electorate is stupid and can't be trusted to think on its own. Of course, their view is the reverse when Democrats (or Democratically sponsored initiatives) are voted in.

I'll bet those folks living in the quieter rural areas of Pennsylvania can put their ears to the ground and hear our founding fathers slowly rolling in their coffins over this one.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

So they do have a voice...imagine that!

This article shows I'm not always right - muslims apparently do occasionally get upset at the rhetoric that comes from one of their own.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The leader of the Islamic Center of Johnstown has stepped down, two weeks after calling for the death penalty for a speaker who was critical of the Muslim faith.

The resignation comes in response to a request by board members, who said his statements do not reflect the views of the center's members.

New York Times best-selling author Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in April.

Fouad ElBayly said Wednesday he has complied with the request and resigned as the center's imam – prayer leader – and president.

I've stated in the past that our troubles with islamic fundamentalism will continue until an outcry emanates from within the culture. The bombings, killings and mistreatment of their underclasses will not stop by the hand of anyone in the West - it's an internal issue that needs to be settled by their own. And maybe, just maybe, we'll see more of this in the future.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Government is to free market what oil is to water

Stumbled upon this article about a gas station owner being forced to raise his gas prices because of meddling by the state government.

MERRILL, Wis. (AP) -- A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices. Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals are too good: They violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor in late April saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.

Since when did it become a crime to sell something at cost or even at a loss? If you want to take a bath financially, it should be your prerogative to do so. You won't be able to do it for long unless your pockets are unusually deep.

Common sense and government - two things that will never peacefully coexist.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Go ahead and price yourselves out of existence

The U.S. Postal Service is debating the idea of creating a 'forever stamp' that would be purchased at today's postage rates but would be honored forever in spite of any future rate increases.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The next hike in postage rates could be ameliorated by the introduction of a "forever" stamp that would cover first-class postage despite future increases.

The independent Postal Regulatory Commission scheduled a Monday morning briefing to announce its ruling on the Postal Service's requests to raise first-class rates 3 cents to 42 cents and to establish the permanent stamp.

I don't know about you, but I rarely use snail-mail for anything these days. I pay my bills almost entirely online. In fact, the only things I've mailed recently are my gas bill (a small, local gas company that hasn't caught wind of the web yet) and my mortgage (a large international bank that has no nose either). Truth be told, I bought a full sheet of stamps over two months ago and more than a third of them are left.

Someday soon, that little box at the end of my driveway will become another outdoor flower garden for my wife to fill with geraniums.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How to muddy up a candidate without getting your hands dirty

Mitt Romney is making a run for the White House in '08. I don't know a lot about the guy, other than the fact that he's a Mormon. Makes no nevermind to me, however, the MSM is doing their best to remind the American public about his religious affiliation at every turn. They've even gone so far as to point out that some of his ancestors were polygamists.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.

Polygamy was not just a historical footnote, but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first Mormon president.

Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.

I have only one question: WHO CARES? Since when does it matter if a politician descends from polygamists or even rapists or murderers? It's the content of their individual character that should matter. Mr. Romney has been married only once, and for 37 years so far. He finds the practice of polygamy strange and has noted that his church excommunicates people for the practice.

It's exactly this sort of crap that makes me loathe and despise the American political process, and after this episode, the world is going to have to work even harder to convince me not to vote for the guy (even though Giuliani will probably get my vote ... he's no Reagan conservative but I like how he handled himself and his former constituents in NYC during his tenure as mayor).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Maybe being a 'late adopter' will finally pay off

I've got friends who have been trying to get me to buy into the whole satellite radio scene. "The content is excellent," they said. "No commericals," they said.

Now, I've listened to both, and their offerings are attractive, but I was always afraid of buying into the one that would eventually go tits-up. Looks like I won't have to worry about that any longer.

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., the second-largest U.S. pay radio service, agreed to buy its larger rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. for $4.57 billion in stock, combining the only two companies in the industry.

Of course, I'm still going to wait a while, as the article mentions that neither company has yet to turn a profit. Hey, I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Putting your money where your mouth is

I've always said that my one beef with political commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Al Franken is that they talk a great game but don't have the guts to really give politics a shot. They have the bravery of being out of range, as Roger Waters would say.

However, that changed today as Al Franken announced he will run for the U.S. Senate against fellow Minnesotan Norm Coleman in the '08 election.

Franken's announcement came on the final day of his radio show on Air America. The former "Saturday Night Live" performer's celebrity instantly makes him a heavyweight contender and brings national attention to the Minnesota race.

"Minnesotans have a right to be skeptical about whether I'm ready for this challenge, and to wonder how seriously I would take the responsibility that I'm asking you to give me," Franken said in a video clip posted on his Web site.

Don't get me wrong. I don't agree with the guy's political stance or his opinions on nearly everything, however, it takes a lot of guts to throw your hat in the ring these days. He will be publicly eviscerated by the media and his political enemies before the votes are finally counted. He'll have to endure a sizable pay cut too, as he's quitting his radio show on the liberal Air America network.

And, of course, he'll have to make good on whatever promises he's about to make. Oh wait, never mind - politicians rarely ever do that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A new year, a new me

So I've got this wacky idea that I can lose a ton of weight this year, and I wanted to keep a journal of the adventure just so I could have something to chuckle about in the future. Using a paper notebook for such an epic seemed so-1900-ish, and you know by now what a tremendous geek I am. I was left with only one option.

Yep, that's right, a new blog! I just couldn't help myself.

So swing on over and have a good laugh at the expense of my blobular self. I promise you'll feel better about yourself instantly.