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June 02, 2008

Universal Health Care: THIS is why not

When Linda O'Boyle wanted just a few more months with her family and chose to pay out of pocket for a drug that would work against her colon cancer and allow her to do that, she was dropped from Britain's National Health Service coverage:

Mrs O'Boyle was operated on in January last year for colon cancer and the doctors found it had spread to her stomach lining.

The former NHS assistant occupational therapist, who has three sons, twins
Gerald and Anthony, 37, and Mark, 33, as well as grandchildren Luke,
four, Finn, three, Jemima, two and Darcey, two, then had six weeks of

She continued with this until September last year when she and her husband were told the devastating news there was little more doctors could do.

However, her consultant recommended Cetuximab, which could extend her life. But it is available on the NHS only in Scotland, not in England and Wales.

It is one of many medicines the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence denies to some patients because of cost.

Mrs. O'Boyle's decision to take it meant she and her husband had to spend Ł11,000 over two months for care from Southend University Hospital HS Foundation Trust.

Mr O'Boyle, an NHS manager for 30 years, said: 'I think every drug should be available to all of us if there's a need for that drug to be used.

'I offered to pay for it but was told I couldn't continue with the treatmentwe were receiving at the hospital-The consultant was flabbergasted - he was very upset.'

He added: 'I was always very anti private treatment. But everything she had wasn't working and it was a last resort.

'We were lucky we had the money, it's the people who have no recourse to it that struggle. It is wrong that they are denied the chance.'

Mr. O'Boyle, who said he was convinced the drug had extended his wife's life by three months, added: 'If these guidelines were changed it would be a wonderful legacy for my wife.'

Medical experts say the ban on co-payment is one reason why Britain has one of the worst survival rates for cancer in Europe.

You see, having a two-tier system wouldn't do. Linda couldn't use NHS services and ALSO pay for a drug that others couldn't afford. How much did she really want to live? Enough to burden her husband with a mountain of debt for all her care for just a few months more?

Cake Eater Kathy lays it all out.

Nice, huh? A lifetime of taxes to pay for a health care system that actually employed this woman and her husband, only to be betrayed in the end because she was willing to pay out of pocket for a few more months on this Earth. She wasn't looking for a cure. She knew that was beyond her. She was simply looking for a palliative treatment which could extend her life a bit. Just a bit.

She was asked, "How badly do you want to live?" And she replied that she wanted just a few more months with her family. She paid the price for a drug that wasn't available under universal healthcare, and she did it gladly, only to be smacked with a frozen mackerel in the end. Her actions would create a "two tier" health care system, and that, apparently, cannot be allowed, because that would mean she wasn't receiving lowest common denominator health care, like everyone else does with the NHS, and the NHS cannot stand that. She thought she had the right to choose what her healthcare was worth to her, and that she wasn't going to be penalized for her decision. One would suspect, with universal healthcare, that that would be a reasonable assumption. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

And yet this atrocious system is what some people would have us install here in the US. This is what some people want because their health insurance premiums are too high, and they would prefer not to have to pay them, but would rather let the government run things. It's tidier in theory, but absolutely disgusting in practice.

Again, how badly do you want to live?

Governments with nationalized healthcare systems don't want to give their citizens a choice. Patients are blackmailed, ultimately, into going with the lowest common denominator treatment if the the choice is between that or nothing at all because they don't have spare millions on hand to pay for private care.

My friends, this is what Universal healthcare means. Like anything else, when you cater to the lowest common denominator, the quality decreases. That's what the "lowest" part means.

But Kathy says it better than I ever could. She has lived it. Go read about what Universal healthcare means for Ovarian cancer patients in Europe compared to the treatment she recieved here in the US. It's shocking and frightening. Definitely something to consider as we go to the polls.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:58 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

More Schmap

Check this one out:

Let me know what you all think!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 05, 2008

Dear America,

I am amused at you. Amused in that sort of bemused way, but not really smirking. Funny, but not really worth more than a half smile.

A year ago you were all screaming at each other: "Hilllary!" and "Anyone BUT Hillary" and today that's a moot frickin' point. Kind of like all of the articles/ commentaries/ blog posts that posited "Can anyone beat Hillary?" "Why the Republicans don't have a chance", and my personal favorite "Is the US ready for a woman as President?"

Yeah, guess not.

Of course, Senator Clinton brought this one on herself. She's a bitch. I say that in the most positive way possible. She has balls of brass, and an iron will and frankly, she made Evil Overlord mistake #1: (no, not monologuing....) she showed all her cards too soon.

I've disliked Hillary as long as I can remember, something about these type-A balls-out bitches really bothers me. Now, as most of you know, I'm a real bitch, myself. I don't take shit and I play the game as hard as I can. But I have standards. I can take a note from Laura Bush's camp, too. More flies with honey, and all that. There are lines I won't cross.

Those lines don't exist for women like Hillary Clinton. I have known many women like her. They're determined to step on the top rung of the ladder at all costs. It certainly has cost Hillary a lot. Even more than possibly the presidency. Friends, family, self-respect.

And after this loss, I feel sorry for her. She played the game hard. As hard as she could. She simply got outplayed by a force she couldn't counter, an opponent who possessed a power she couldn't touch: Mystique.

Because really, I think that's what this primary season was all about on the Left side of the aisle. Hillary is a known commodity. We've seen every bad hair day and every fake smile for a decade, and we've seen her get twitchier and bitchier as the years have gone on. We saw her fail at Universal Healthcare and flip flop on the War on Terror. We saw her move to New York just to run for office and stand by her Philanderer-In-Chief.

Barry, on the other hand is a mystery. Black, half-muslim, native Hawaiian (born there, not ethnically), grew up in Indonesia, married to a crazy racist lawyer bitch (allegedly)... Now there's a story. He says a lot of "great things", he gets a lot of airplay, but who the hell is he really? I don't think even HE knows.

The fact that he managed to keep that from us, that he allowed the media to build up a "Barry the Great" persona is likely the single biggest factor in his winning the nomination (presumably). You won't hear this on the news or in the commentaries, but I am convinced that "Barry Almighty" is why voters marked his name more often than Hillary's.

Will he choose her as his running mate? Some say he should, to pick up her constituents and prevent a last minute fight at the convention. I am of two minds on this. On the one hand I think he should strike out boldly, bring in a new running mate and effectively tell Hillary to "make like a tree and leave". On the other hand, the Barry and Hill show would appeal to a lot of their party and give Hillary the spotlight she craves. At least until the AQ jackasses decide to blow up the US again and President Barry has to stick her in Dick Cheney's former "secure, undisclosed location."

Of course, if he's really as bright as they say he is, he'll dump her flat. After all, we all know how badly she wants to be President, and well, we all remember Vince Foster.

So, my friends, you have done THIS ONE to yourselves. At least if Hillary was the nominee, we wouldn't have the prospect of race wars when McCain wins in November. On the other hand, if Barry wins y'all can never pull the race card again.

Thanks, folks. I'll be the one in the corner with the popcorn.


Posted by caltechgirl at 10:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Maybe I shouldn't have been such a good girl...

Seems a new study indicates that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the chance of getting RA by 50%:

All participants were quizzed about their lifestyle, including how much they smoked and drank. And blood samples were taken to check for genetic risk factors.

The results showed that drinking alcohol was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. And the more alcohol was consumed, the lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Among those who drank regularly, the quarter with the highest consumption were up to 50% less likely to develop the disease compared with the half who drank the least.

The effect was the same for both men and women.
I guess this means that glass of red wine is back on the schedule. Just wish the alcohol and the medication didn't interact.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

Sandra Day O'Connor blazes another trail

The former Supreme Court Justice has a new project: She's a video game developer. In an effort to educate American kids about how the justice system works and the role of the courts, she has been working with Georgetown University and Arizona State to create a program for 7th through 9th graders called "Our Courts."

Sandra Day O'Connor, 78, who served as U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1981 until her retirement in 2006, said she never imagined she would be asked to address a conference about digital gaming.

She said she got involved with developing the project called "Our Courts" out of concern over public ignorance about the judiciary and partisan attacks on what should be an independent institution.

"In recent years I've become increasingly concerned about vitriolic attacks by some members of Congress, some members of state legislatures and various private interest groups ... on judges," O'Connor told the Games For Change conference on using gaming technology for social improvement and education.

"We hear a great deal about judges who are activists -- godless, secular, humanists trying to impose their will on the rest of us," she said. "Now I always thought an activist judge was one who got up in the morning and went to work."

She said it was worrying to see members of the Senate requiring nominees to the Supreme Court to state how they would rule on certain cases during the confirmation process, and to see special interests trying to influence the election of state judges in states where such elections are still held.

"With partisan attacks and political pressure mounting, it's much more difficult to achieve fair and impartial judgments from the judges who are serving," O'Connor said.
The project will develop both interactive materials for classroom discussion and a stand-alone downloadable video game that kids can play on their own. According to Justice O' Connor,
The second part of the project will be for young people to use in their free time, O'Connor said, noting that studies showed children spend around 40 hours a week using media, including computers, television, videogames or music.

"If we can capture just a little bit of that time to get them thinking about government and civic engagement rather than playing shoot-'em-up video games, that's a huge step in the right direction," she said.

O'Connor said she had seen from her own grandchildren that technology was the best way to inspire children to learn and it was vital to speak to them in their own language.
The games and other materials will be available at www.ourcourts.org starting in September.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cotillion Sister Makes a Difference

Jane Novak, who some of you know from her own blog, Armies of Liberation, and also from her frequent postings at My Pet Jawa, was on Fox and Friends this morning talking about her efforts to work for regime change in Yemen. Nice Deb beat me to the video editing and posted Jane's interview on YouTube, so check it out (below) and then go sign the petition! Learn more about Yemen and more reformers in the Middle East here. Finally, tell Fox how happy you are that they highlight these issues and talk to bloggers! Leave a comment here for FoxNews' Alisyn Camerota (who Jane tells me is very, very nice!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

Yemen Update

Rather than the death sentence that could have been imposed, imprisoned journalist Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani was sentenced to 6 years hard labor. This "lighter" sentence is 100% due to pressure from the US media coverage of the story. Keep talking about it, keep blogging about it.

Jane has all the details here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Depends on your definition of "a lie"

All over town this weekend, on overpasses and chainlink fences along the freeway there were hand-lettered signs "The war is a lie." and "Bush Lied". I've been seeing them for months now, but it seems there was a concerted effort to add new signs this weekend, as there were more signs in the afternoon than in the morning along the same freeways.

These signs are highly amusing to me. Along with their partners "Impeach!" Impeach who? Yo Momma? Seriously. Finish your thought, ADHD child. Of course, some of the signs DO say Impeach Bush, but I have to ask, why? I mean, the man has about 6 months left in his term. How much of that time is actually useful political time? ZERO. And how long would it take to go through an impeachment process? Probably more time than he has left as President. Get off it.

But the "lie" meme perseverates. And congress commissioned a study of the available intelligence to determine whether the President actually lied. Senator John D Rockefeller led the Select Committee on Intelligence in this investigation. In a statement Thursday, the senator announced, "In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent[.]"

But is that really what the report says? Not really. Clearly the information at hand was overinterpreted, aka SPUN, into the message that the Bush administration wanted to present. Probably in an effort to convince the American people to get behind the push to war in Iraq.

However, the report finds that in many circumstances, and on a variety of subjects, the President's (and other administration officials') statements on the war "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates." These subjects include Iraq's nuclear weapons program, biological and chemical weapons capability, overall WMD capability, and support for AQ terrorists.

Which to me, raises a very important question, namely, How did our intelligence get so far off base? Did our operatives buy into the lies that scientists and supervisors were passing on to the regime? Or did the CIA et al. deliberately mislead both the Clinton and Bush administrations? Where is the actual failure, then? If the President is essentially parroting what the intelligence community tells them is fact?

So then what can we do with this knowledge, that our intelligence is, at best, flawed? How do we use it to plan and implement strategies for dealing with our enemies and their plots to thwart us? Knowing that such critical intelligence may be wrong makes it extremely difficult to build support for military endeavors, regardless of the import to national security.

Which brings me back to lying. Which is the lie then, Sen. Rockefeller's statement that the report finds that "Bush Lied", or the actual text of the report which shows that the intelligence community "lied" and Bush and Co. believed them?

h/t Babalu

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:53 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

I've been tagged

Wow, it's been a hell of a long time since someone ACTUALLY tagged me with a meme.

So here we go...

The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?
Hmmm..... June 2003 I was probably in the lab doing experiments, in the exact middle of my Graduate School career. Hubby was just beginning his masters' program.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1. Laundry (running as we speak)
2. Finish my animal protocol
3. Get PT prescription from the Rheumo's office (assuming they don't hang up on me again)
4. Glee Club rehearsal for Caltech's graduation
5. Freeze the rest of the prepared Apricots.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. Fruit, especially grapes, apricots, berries, and apple slices
2. Meat. I know it sounds weird, but I often snack on grilled chicken breast cubes. Also beef jerky or lunchmeat Protein is good for you.
3. Tortilla chips and something (cheese, salsa, hummus, guac, etc.)
4. Cheese
5. Tasty carbs: garlic bagel chips, chex mix, cheetos, pretzels

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Pay off my house and my mother's house
2. Pay all my other debts
3. Buy a great big beach house on the central coast
4. Travel
5. Endow something completely frivolous at one of my alma maters

What are five of your bad habits?
1. Procrastinating
2. Swearing
3. Speaking too quickly
4. Speeding
5. Criticizing others

What are five places where you have lived?
1. Fresno, CA
2. Pasadena, CA
3. Carrboro, NC
4. Chapel Hill, NC
5. Pasadena, CA
(in that order)

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Office Assistant for a Truck Broker
2. Student intern for Alumni/ Development office
3. Fish feeder
4. Graduate Student
5. Assistant Professor

Five people I tag:
Yeah, so not doing this. If you want to pick up the meme, tag, you're it!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 12, 2008

I can't resist a good story....

Bou took a look at the number of condoms delivered to Antarctica and she did the math....

The just shipped 16500 condoms for the US Antartic base, for 125 scientists and staff. Its supposed to be a year’s supply.

If you assume everyone is acting responsibly and using birth control and that 120 of the 125 pair up, that’s 60 couples. That’s assuming there is a 50/50 split male to female ratio. And if you assume 10% of the women are on the pill… then you get 54 couples that need condoms.

Divided into 16500… that’s 305 per couple to last 365 days. I’m sorry, but I think that’s not enough. Everyone is different, but there are going to be twice a day couples and once a day couples, and then of course, crazy all the time couples.

Then again, eh, assume that of the 125, you truly only have 25 couples whiling away the hours getting to know each other in the Biblical sense and assuming 10% of the women on the pill… leaving 23 couples, that’s now 717 condoms per couple and that seems… more likely.


Seems like an awful lot of condoms for so few people.

Reminds me of my time at Caltech. Condoms were (and are) freely available on campus. You could get them from the Health Center, from a house Health Advocate, or often from a basket in any bathroom, men's, women's, or unisex.

When I lived in Avery House, our Health Ad used to put all of the condoms out in the bathrooms. She would split a box of 1000 condoms between 8 bathrooms. That's 125 condoms per bathroom, folks. For about 12 residents per bathroom. And they would be gone in 48 hours. Every week she would replace them, and every week, they would be gone.

Caltech, as you know, has a ratio of 3 guys for every girl enrolled. The ratio at Avery house was even higher, more like 6:1. And NONE of these dudes had a girlfriend. So we always wondered what they were doing with the condoms. Stocking up? Balloons? We never found out, but the condoms always disappeared. They didn't even show up on Ditch Day....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:33 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 16, 2008

good wishes/prayers/happy thoughts needed UPDATED

My always wonderful Daddy is going in for a total knee replacement at 7 this morning. Predictably, I can't sleep and he's sawing logs.

Although the doctors have all given their blessing, and even say he's in great shape, we can use all the good juju we can get, so if you have a moment I'd appreciate it if you could spare a thought and a prayer in his direction.

Update: Dad is out of surgery and resting comfortably in his room. He's already had a stream of visitors and a tuna sandwich.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:11 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

June 18, 2008

TMI for fun and profit

The bad news is getting a norovirus sucks worse at 31 than it does at 11. Adults should be immune to these frigging things.

The good news is that the trashcan in Mom's bathroom is watertight.

The better news is that the internet is back on at the house so I can at least get something done while I feel like ass.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 25, 2008

Because I am avoiding work... one blog entry at a time

Stolen from the lovely and talented Phoenix.

Only ONE word can be used in your answer and it can NOT be used twice.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your significant other? Home
3. Your hair? Messy
4. Your mother? Tired
5. Your father? Gimpy
6. Your favourite time of day? Night
7. Your dream last night? Cops
8. Your favourite drink? Dr.Pepper
9. Your dream goal? Leisure
10. The room you're in? Office
11. Your ex? Goofball
12. Your fear? Snakes
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Elsewhere
14. What you are not? Shy
15. Your Favourite meal? Lunch
16. One of your wish list items? Time
17. The last thing you did? Carried
18. Where you grew up? House
19. What are you wearing? Dress
20. Your TV is? Old
21. Your pets? Puppies
22. Your computer? Laptop
23. Your life? Content
24. Your mood? Annoyed
25. Missing someone? Hubby
26. Your car? Filthy
27. Something you're not wearing? Pants
28. Favourite store? Target
29. Your summer? Hot
30. Your favourite colour? Green
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. When is the last time you cried? Yesterday
33. Your health? OK
34. Your children? None
35. Your future? Open
36. Your beliefs? Personal
37. Young or old? Childish
38. Your image? Confident
39. Your appearance? Comfortable
40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Duh

Feel free to jump in and play along, y'all!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 30, 2008

Joining the Club

Welcome to the Conservasphere to another Pasadenan, The Pasadena Closet Conservative!

He/She chooses to remain anonymous because,

I dare not "out" myself because I would run the risk of being held hostage by liberals at some Ashram while being brainwashed with MultiCultural/PoliticallyCorrect/GroupThink/Socialist "isms" until I hollered "I'm Nancy Pelosi's bitch", begged for mercy and changed my party affiliation using a pen filled with my own blood.
I feel you. It's hard out here for a pimpconservative. Especially in the 'Dena, where most folks are either too wealthy to pay attention or too conservative to speak of their political leanings. I myself choose to remain carefully anonymous for these reasons.

In any case, thanks for putting yourself out there. There's a bunch of us on the interwebs, some anonymous, some eponymous. Check my right sidebar for the "Bear Flag League", a group of conservative Cali bloggers, many of whom are here in SoCal as well.

And Welcome!

h/t the Proc and FCBlog

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack