March 08, 2007

The Giant Catch-Up Post

Okay, since Iíve been out and havenít had the opportunity to do much in the way of posting of late, now is the time to catch up on what allís gone on lately, including taking a look at all the old news that everyone has already beaten to death and giving it a shiny fresh coat of vapid commentary!


The bad thing? I wrote all this crap down inside Movable Type, and then when I went to post it, it all got eaten up. No, I didnít compose it in Word first--what do you think I use, Blogger!?

Well, this time I probably would have been better off if I had. But the whole thing is usually so reliable, though!

Anyway, I had to redo the whole post which, as you know, takes all the devil-may-care spontaneity out of the process and means that the first post was much, MUCH better than this one.

Anyway, here goes--

1. Old New Blogger v. New New Blogger. I recently had to update Revolvoblog to the New New Blogger format, and I have to say, the things that made Old New Blogger better than Old OLD Blogger--the much greater ease of use, the more intuitive interface, the greater stability--all of these have been once more done away with in New New Blogger, thus giving us back the craptacular pile of poo we started with. And with the added benefit of absolutely no tech support! Thanks, Google!

2. Hillary the Negress. I always thought Bill Clinton got extra points from the liberal establishment for having an interracial marriage, since he was black and Hillary was white, but after hearing and seeing her recent bouncy, sassy, you-go-girl appearance in Selma, I guess she was just 'passing' all these years. Still, she and Bill have ascended higher than any other colored couple, except maybe Steadman and Oprah. Anyway, several commentators have expressed deep reservation about Hillaryís hymn-reciting performance, saying the put-on dialect smacked of cold, callow, self-absorbed, shameless political pandering.

Apparently, these same commentators have been living under a rock for the past twenty years and have never heard of Hillary.

3. Walter Reed. Without a doubt, it is a shame that the physical plant of this and probably many other military hospitals has been allowed to deteriorate to this extent. Some have mockingly noted that this is what government run healthcare would look like.

This is not a new sentiment.

My dear sister, bless her heart, who actually voted for Mr. Clinton the first time, is a rheumatologist who has worked rotations in VA hospitals in Augusta, GA, Birmingham, Mobile, and St. Louis. In 1993 when Mrs. Clinton was still Mrs. Rodham Clinton and began her crusade to bring healthcare under the auspices of the federal government, my sister said right then that all one had to do was visit a VA hospital to know what kind of disaster such a plan would cause.

My sister truly loves her work, and enjoys working on the veterans in her care--her problem wasnít the work, either then or now. It was the level of mind-numbingly stupid bureaucratic hurdles that were attached to each case she saw.

Thatís the nature of the thing--there is no profit incentive in anything run by the government, and no reason to be more efficient. Priorities and responsiveness are tied to the political expedient of the moment, and if necessary, the folks in charge simply ask for a few billion dollars more to make sure the paperwork flows right, and we foot the bill. I firmly believe there are few things government does that cannot be done better and more efficiently by the private sector. And treating sick people is one of those things.

All that to say that this problem is not new, nor is it due to the unfeeling heartlessness of the Bush Administration or evil Republicans.

Or even evil Democrats.

Can veteranís healthcare be done better?

Well, duh, of course it can.

Will it be done better?

Sadly, probably only slightly, and then only slowly, simply because thatís the way bureaucracies roll. After all the hearings and righteous browbeatings administered by our Congressional representatives, weíll be asked to pay a higher price to ensure our poor soldiers have the best care possible, most of which will get sucked up by a different set of bureaucrats whose job it is to monitor things and report things and use reams of paper. Soldiers will still have less time to see a doctor because the doctor will be chest deep in red tape although exactly 23.6% of all rooms will have been renovated in FY2008.5 and will have 78.32% less mold and mildew, and patient satisfaction with level of care will have skyrocketed from 2.3% to 3.2%, and the politicians will get to crow about the great sacrifices theyíve had to make to ensure that the evil Republicans didnít skimp on funding and that the increase in funding from one year to the next is never allowed to be even a percentage point lower, and then theyíll all go have themselves flown to a resort for a $10,000 per plate fundraiser.

See? Itís all good!

In addition to that level of silliness, thereís also the fact that there is a military bureaucracy involved on top of the usual hospital bureaucracy and the government bureaucracy. The militaryís primary responsibility, like it or not, is going out and creating intense property damage with loud boomy things, with concern for the comfort and care of individual members of the organization taking a slightly lower priority. Thatís why you hear stories of little martinets who want everyone to report for morning roll call even if the patient is bedridden, and the guys who want everyone in Class Aís even if the soldier can barely move. Yes, itís silly, too, but itís been this way in every army in every time period. Thatís not an excuse, because itís inexcusable, but merely the fact that people are people, and sometimes find themselves in positions of authority with little brainpower to back it up.

In the end, itís always going to be a problem getting the best care when thereís something involved in the process called politics.

4. American Idol, 24, Heroes. Iíve lost all track of whatís going on with my shows. I think the best idea is to put them all together, call it Americaís 24 Idol Heroes, give each person a Glock, a microphone, a magical power, and let them all fight it out. The winner is automatically named as Anna Nicoleís babydaddy.

5. Quaker Oats ďQuakesĒ rice snack chips, ranch dressing flavor. Dadgummitall, these things are GOOD!

6. Ann Coulter. Her brand of right-wing political satire is unappealing to me, although every once in a while she does say something that makes some sense. The Left is usually apoplectic about her and try to put her words into every conservativeís mouth, which is not only kinda gross but not even the real thing to be worried about.

Until the day comes when popular culture embraces her and documentaries filmed from her point of view are given Oscars, and sheís given Nobel Peace Prizes, and sheís given her own political talking head show on a cable news channel, and sheís lauded for her brave speaking-truth-to-power abilities, and seen as a valued advisor to press and Presidents, I simply canít be that concerned about her.

Iíd pay more attention to her, but the fact is that much of what she says is so over the top offensive that regular people just donít want to be around it.

This is in opposition to those on the Left, who have embraced the exact same rhetorical style--full of anger and hate and venom and spite and mockery for those who would disagree--to the point that it is now the default position of one of the two mainstream political parties in this country. It is just this sort of jibber jabber (except slanted leftward) that does indeed get awarded Oscars and Nobels and bully TV pulpits. Mainstream liberals like to excuse their own verbal excesses (which, again, have become the prevailing method of interaction amongst the progressivey sorts) by pointing at Coulter. Well, fine.

Liberals are no better than Ann Coulter.

Also, she needs to eat more.

7. Blogging. Eh, just a fad.

8. Car Maintenance. Since Iíve been off, Iíve finally had time to get both the oil and the transmission fluid and filter changed in the Volvo, and I feel so much better about myself! Which, of course, kicks that olí ďI Am A MoronĒ feeling into overdrive, to the point that my eye was caught by this barge berthed at the consignment lot down at the foot of the hill from my house. And even better, the actual price is about a thousand bucks less than the price on the website! Yep, thatís what I really need to drive around in.

9. I canít remember what else I was going to say.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at March 8, 2007 12:53 PM

Did I miss the conclusion to the Focus fixing? As to the moron project I suggest a cheap set of toolsórelatively, a Briggs and Stratton manual and a junk lawn mower. A riding one even.

Posted by: jim at March 8, 2007 01:02 PM

Oh, I forgot--yes, the Focus got a new set of plugs and a thermostat, and seems to be doing just fine. I still have to crawl under the back this weekend and tighten up the fuel tank filler tube because it's leaking. A lot. That's a fire hazard, you know.

For those who like little engines, just check THESE out, via Tim Blair. Click on any of the links to hear one of these run--I did that for nearly an hour last night. The thing that's really remarkable is that the rough castings prior to milling are REALLY rough--they look awful. But this guy's a real craftsman.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 8, 2007 01:06 PM