Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thaddeus Russell

A reader has directed my attention to the work of Thaddeus Russell.  He is a very iconoclastic historian who seems to enrage both Leftists and conservatives.  A lot of his writings appear in libertarian sources.

I have not read his book and doubt that I will have time to do so -- so if anyone wants to do a substantial book review of it I will be happy to put it up here.

I was not impressed by his recent article showing that it was mostly "progressive" legislators who were responsible for putting huge numbers of blacks behind bars.  I think it was the extraordinary rate of black crime that put huge numbers of blacks behind bars.

His main idea seems to be that the underclass has been a major driver of social change.  Underclass refusal to abide by rules laid down by the elites of the day have forced the elites to back off and allow more liberty.

Without reading his book, I don't know how good his evidence is for that but it does occur to me that the repeal of Prohibition is a good case in point.  The puritanical elite of the early 20th century were so dominant and powerful that they even got through a constitutional amendment to make America "dry".  Mere legislation was not enough.  It had to be a constitutional requirement

So what kicked that restriction to death?  It was the sheer disobedience of ordinary people -- some middle class but mostly working class.  In their "Speak-easys" they continued drinking.  Faced with the reality of Prohibition, Americans  rejected it  -- even though it took another constitutional amendment to do so.  Maybe the slowly dawning reality of Obamacare will have a similar effect.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Georgia Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

Elizabeth Scroggs

(Dalton, Georgia) A 32-year-old teacher at Coahulla Creek High School, Elizabeth Scroggs, has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Scroggs has been charged with felony sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority for having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student.
“She is just broken down,” her attorney, Steve Williams, said.

Williams said he has not seen any evidence in the case and cannot comment on whether Scroggs is admitting or denying the allegations. He said Scroggs has no prior criminal record and is a highly acclaimed teacher, calling her a “top-notch” person.
If convicted, Scroggs faces one to 25 years in prison.

Will feminism produce great works of art?

DVDs are a wonderful thing.  I have a DVD recording a  performance at the Mariinsky theater in St Petersburg of the great ballet "Firebird".  The company is the Ballet Russes. I am far from a balletomane but the  wonderful music of Igor Stravinsky  gets me in every time.  And the reconstructed choreography of Michel Fokine is of course excellent too. It is no wonder that Firebird has a prominent place in the classical ballet repertoire.

And I couldn't help noticing that the chief ballerina (The Firebird) got thrown around an awful lot by the chief male dancer.  It was done with enormous athleticism and grace but there was no doubt who was the dominant character in the scenes concerned.  And it struck me that feminists would almost certainly find that repugnant -- with words like "patriarchy" and "inequality" popping into their addled brains.  Perhaps they think the ballerina should have thrown the larger male dancer about!

But Firebird is not alone in its representation of male/female roles.  A traditional representation of such roles is virtually universal in opera and in classical ballet.  So, having seen what artistic wonders traditional thinking can bring forth can we expect such art to emerge from feminist attitudes?  Feminism has been around since the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst and her girls over a century ago but I know of nothing notable that has emerged so far.  The only possible candidate appears to be the disgusting Vagina Monologues and they seem to be notable only for their crudity.

So my proposed answer to the question in my heading is a blunt "No".  Most prominent feminists are radicals and seem quite deranged most of the time. They seem to have no beauty in their souls.  And they don't care about women anyway.  They ignore the terrible plight of most women in Muslim lands and content themselves with nitpicking criticisms of everyday speech in their own country.

Fortunately most women are not feminists.  They believe in things like equal pay for equal work  but have little in common with the fountains of rage and hatred who are the radical feminists.  So what I have written above is in no way critical of women generally. I have been married four times so I clearly think women are pretty good.  And plenty of ladies find my views acceptable -- particularly ladies around my own age.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Oklahoma Woman Gets Life for Child Abuse - Update

Melissa Kay Anderson

(Tulsa, Oklahoma) Melissa Anderson, 35, of Tulsa has been given five life sentences for sexual abuse of a minor child under the age of 12.

* * * * *

Oklahoma Woman Guilty of Child Abuse
[Previous 11/28/14 post]
(Tulsa, Oklahoma) A 35-year-old local woman, Melissa Kay Anderson, has been accused of forcing a 10-year-old boy to have sex with her.

Anderson, along with her boyfriend Michael Glendon Burris, 39, have been charged with sex crimes involving a minor. She pleaded no contest to five counts of child sexual abuse.
Detectives with the Tulsa Police Department’s Child Crisis Unit previously told the Tulsa World that the boy disclosed Anderson had shown him pornography, raped him while Burris watched and that both defendants forced him to use sex toys on Anderson inside their apartment near 16th and Main streets and at other locations.
Both Anderson and Burris are in custody at the Tulsa County Jail. Sentencing is scheduled for January 12, 2015.

New Orleans Smoking Ban

The New Orleans City Council has passed a sweeping ban against smoking in most places across the city.

The vote was unanimous.
Bars, restaurants, casinos, hotels, motels, and private clubs, plus other venues are restricted from allowing smoking. Interestingly, Mardi Gras parade-watching and celebrations are excluded.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Florida Woman Accused of Sex with Boys

Barbara Kirby

(Leesburg, Florida) A 36-year-old local woman, Barbara Kirby, has been accused of engaging in sex with two boys.

Kirby faces counts of lewd or lascivious battery on a victim older than 12 and younger than 16 and tampering with a victim.
According to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, officers with the Leesburg Police Department met with two boys and their parents in late December about the sex allegations.

One of the boys told authorities that he visited Kirby's Leesburg home around December 11 and she gave him something to drink. The boy said he felt light-headed and dizzy and fell asleep after finishing the drink, according to a sheriff’s report.

The boy said he awakened and was naked on the living room sofa, according to officials. The boy told authorities that Kirby then undressed and said, “Age is just a number,” before having sex with him, the report stated.

The boy said he felt embarrassed and returned home after quickly getting dressed, sheriff’s officials stated.

Kirby saw the boy two days later, according to deputies, and threatened to kill him if he told anyone what happened.
Details on arrest not reported.

Ohio Addiction Counselor Faces Drug Charges

Roberta Payne

(Pomeroy, Ohio)
The Ohio Attorney General's Office said Roberta Payne, a drug addiction counselor in Gallia County, sold more than 2,000 morphine pills and 30 milligrams of liquid morphine to an undercover agent.

Payne is behind bars in Middleport, Ohio, on several drug-related charges.

New court documents show the undercover sale leading to Payne's arrest happened Friday at a "Park and Ride."

It's a case investigators call a shock: Roberta Payne, a drug addiction counselor, caught red-handed selling different types of morphine to an undercover agent.
Payne was booked into custody with bond set at $250,000.

Is a $500,000 private school education really worth it?

A point overlooked below is that in choosing your son's school, you are choosing his friends for life.  Except for the army, men rarely make new friends far into adulthood, and even if they do, their old school friends will still usually predominate in their friendship circle.  So choosing a school is choosing a lot for a son.  What sort of friends do you want  your son to have?  He will tend to have smarter and more socially competent friends if you send him to a private school.  And if you send him to a sink school ....

All parents know that having children is like firing up a backyard bonfire but you substitute wads of cash for kindling and wood, but this week's study about the cost of private schooling would give anyone pause.

The Australian Scholarship's Group's research showed that a baby born in 2015 would cost over half a million dollars to be educated in Sydney's private schools.

Forget the six-million-dollar man, we have the half-million dollar kid – and we two of them!

But you are only going to get sticker shock if you insist on putting your kids into a private school and I don't plan on doing that. There are a number of factors at play here, not least the cost of the schooling and my inability to pay for it.

One problem is that "private schools" often seem to come under an umbrella brand that brings with it a belief of quality when, just like public schools or even hospitals or restaurants, quality varies quite significantly. For some private schools you may be getting top quality, out-of-the-box education, but at others you are just paying a lot more for a fairly standard education.

Many people send their kids to private school in the belief it comes with more advantages than the quality of teaching, that it can help one muscle in on the old boys' network.

There is little doubt that this network can be of some assistance. As an inexperienced twentysomething my friend, a former Geelong Grammarian, got us a face-to-face meeting with a member of the Fairfax family to discuss our fledgling men's magazine and there was little doubt that his school contacts were instrumental in getting that meeting. It certainly wasn't our business plan for the magazine, because we didn't have one.

But it is not the shortcut to nepotism many in the Comments section of school news stories like to believe, our would-be patron was polite but firm about our need to go and get our shit together before bothering to sit down with him or anyone else again (and quite rightly so).

There is also a fairly irrational fear of public schools. Just like the private equivalent these vary greatly and you need to do your research but we are lucky in Australia to not have to worry about our kids having to pass through metal detectors.

After spending the past two years in Singapore, paying a private school fee for a public school level of schooling I am readily embracing the amazing offering that is a virtually free education in this country and more of us should do the same. If more of the families that wanted their kids well educated put their efforts into the public system it would surely improve. Perhaps this huge hike in private schools fees is actually a boost to the public system, making their elite nature even clearer and sending the upper middles back into the arms of the state.

Other downsides for me include the fact many private school kids have to travel further to get to school (we know one mum with a nearly two hour school run between two far-flung male and female private schools) and the fact that you often have to select these school so far in advance that you can't know they are a good fit for your kids.

The question of what school to go to is more than a Naplan score or a natty blazer, it is the people, the community, the proximity to friends and after-school play. There are so many variables that you can't be sure you will achieve the desired result you had pictured when they were an infant – no matter how much you pay.

And what about the opportunity cost to a $500k education? Few of us will be able to pay such bills without forgoing certain things, things like the mind-opening world of international travel. I would not trade my kids Cambodian road trip for private schooling, if you can have both knock yourself out but at these projected rates that will not be a large slice of the population.

Far too many assumptions are made about schooling choices. We recently met a family from the US on a trip through Indonesia. When they said their kids – four of them 17 through to 11 – were home schooled our first instinct was to inch slowly away from them on our tiny boat. But spending a few days with these caring, erudite kids was a great reminder or our inbuilt prejudice as they were some of the most calm, well-rounded young people we had ever come across.

Now home schooling is not for us. And it's not the cost that is putting us off, it's the fact that we might have to reintroduce the cane for it to work. But private school is something I know is not the right fit for us either. I want my kids to have diverse range of fellow pupils, of races, of backgrounds. I do not want the common unifying factor to be the almighty dollar.

This is a very emotive debate but it is often framed in the reductive cry of wanting "the best" for our kids. We all want to give our kids a great start and, with some budgetary axing and a second job, I could probably send my kids through the private school system, but like a lot of things – as a not-particularly wealthy parent – it comes down to value for money.

And, at a half-million-dollar price tag, I do not see the clear and overwhelming benefits of a private school education.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Naked Pizza

(New York City) A 20-something pretty woman entered a Greenwich Village pizza shop wearing only a flappy overcoat. She ran from police when asked where her clothes were.

She was caught and put into an ambulance.

Although I've shopped at pizzerias for decades, nothing like this event has ever occurred. Maybe it's a New York thing.

WV School Counselor Sentenced in Drug Case - Update

(Wheeling, West Virginia)
Former Ritchie Elementary School guidance counselor Kristyn Fetcko left a federal courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday after receiving an 18-month prison sentence for her role in a prescription pain pill ring.

Fetcko, 34, was among 15 defendants indicted in February following a 14-month investigation into the pill ring, which operated from October 2012 through January 2014 and was involved in the distribution of thousands of oxycodone pills in the Ohio Valley, according to investigators.

* * * * *

WV School Counselor Accused of Dealing Oxycodone
[Previous 1/24/14 post]
(Wheeling, West Virginia) A guidance counselor at Ritchie Elementary School, Kristyn Fetcko, faces federal drug charges for allegedly selling oxycodone pills.
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent wrote in a criminal complaint that on Jan. 14, a confidential informant made arrangements to purchase 30 mg oxycodone pills from Fetcko at her Webster Avenue home in Wheeling.

The report states the informant had made a prior controlled buy of oxycodone pills from Fetcko on Jan. 8.

"The confidential informant met Fetcko and a companion at her residence and requested to purchase 10 oxycodone 30 mg pills," the report states. "When the confidential informant made the request, the confidential informant turned and said to Fetcko, '10 of them's $350, right?' Fetcko responds, saying 'yeah' while shaking her head in the affirmative; and then, the confidential informant says 'are you sure,' to which Fetcko replies '100 percent.'
Fetcko was released on her own recognizance. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 10.

Supreme Court Agrees to Define Marriage

I should perhaps mention the libertarian perspective here.  Conservatives find much libertarian thought congenial and they might find the libertarian perspective on marriage helpful as well in a legal environment that is hostile to the traditional view of marriage.

Libertarians think governments should butt out of involvement with marriages altogether. Libertarians hold the view (And I know some who have put it into practice) that marriage is simply an agreement between two people and that such an agreement or contract may be whatever suits the couple concerned.  The contract could be formalty registered as a contract in some way and then it would be just another contract under normal contract law.  And two homosexuals could obviously make contracts with one another.

But people have always wanted heavy social recognition of such contracts and that is where churches, mosques or temples have always figured prominently.  So a traditional marriage is basically a religious occasion.  And until about a century ago, church records were the only formal records we had of who had married whom.  Libertarians ask:  Can that be so hard to go back to?  The traditional nature of such arrangements should be attractive to conservatives.

And churches can of course have different views about who gets their blessings.  Episcopalians would probably marry dogs if asked and Catholics won't marry divorced people.  But that is just part of the rich texture of society and as long as nothing is forced upon us, let people go to hell in their own way (As Elizabeth I once said to the King of Spain).

So ALL marriage laws should be abolished and replaced by contracts that can  be solemnized in any way that can be agreed on by the parties concerned.


For Americans who maintain that marriage is between one man and one woman, gear up for the next battle. On Friday, the Supreme Court announced it had agreed to hear cases regarding same-sex marriage. Given the track record of activist judges on the High Court, we are not overly optimistic the justices will rule in favor of the third pillar of Liberty.

In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear cases from five states seeking to preserve their lawful, voter-approved definitions of marriage. By choosing not to take on those cases, the Supreme Court left in place lower court rulings overturning laws on same-sex marriage.

And two years ago, the Supreme Court tossed Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that the federal government is bound to recognize same-sex marriages from states in which they are legal. The justices did not, however, go so far as to declare same-sex marriage a right – yet.

The result of that decision led to most of the lower courts striking down numerous state bans on same-sex marriage.

There was one exception: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld traditional marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Judge Jeffrey Sutton said in that ruling it was not the place of the courts to decide such an important social issue. What a novel concept. “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers,” Sutton wrote. “Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

Given the split among the circuit courts, it was almost certain the Supreme Court would step in to settle the dispute.

It’s worth noting the timing of the Court’s announcement. There is growing capitulation among Republicans on the issue, and the party’s candidates offered little debate over marriage during the campaign season. The GOP’s new congressional majorities are occupied with other agenda items. Should the Supreme Court rule to redefine marriage (as many political pundits presume it will), the GOP could be further divided on this issue leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Regardless of whether the Supreme Court discovers a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, any Republican candidate who has or continues to oppose same-sex marriage will be portrayed as a bigot. But a Court ruling could move the needle further. There will also be many potential candidates who would argue that, since the Court ruled, the matter is settled.

On the other hand, there could also be ample opportunity for candidates to stand firmly on principle. Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review notes, “If the Supreme Court does issue such a ruling, Republicans in the presidential primaries will be under a bit more pressure to say that they back a constitutional amendment reversing the decision and to say explicitly that they’ll appoint justices who don’t tend to agree with that sort of decision.”

Aside from the political fallout for the GOP from a Supreme Court decision that is presumed to side with the homosexual agenda, the greater impact will be on the people. A majority of voters in a majority of states have said that marriage is a sacred institution that does not change at the whim of progressive lobbyists and activist judges. Their voice will have been rejected.

And don’t think for a moment that a ruling redefining marriage will have no impact on churches and religious liberty in America. If the Supreme Court can redefine marriage, then is that same Supreme Court not powerful enough to impose its will on those who preach, teach and believe that the only true marriage is that between one man and one woman? Where does it end? Bakers, florists and photographers are already under assault – just wait until same-sex marriage is a “constitutional right.”

America had better wake up, because regardless of which way the Court rules the issue of what constitutes marriage isn’t going away any time soon.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Mexico Teacher Accused of Rape

(Belen, New Mexico) A 34-year-old educator at Belen High School, Victoria Baker, has been accused of multiple child abuse and sexual penetration charges.
State police say Baker had sex at least six times with a 17-year-old student at Belen HS, and that the encounters often took place at her house.

Investigators have also said she sent him nude photos from time to time, and that the encounters all took place from November to December 2014.

But Jennifer Brown, the district's HR director, said school administrators didn't find out about the situation until Thursday, when Baker first came to them.

She allegedly told administrators "she was being harassed by a student."

Brown said the school interviewed that student before putting Baker on paid leave.
Last Friday, Baker was arrested.

Missouri Woman Accused of Rape of Boy, 12

Nicole Marie Smith

(St. Charles County, Missouri) A 30-year-old local woman, Nicole Marie Smith, has been accused of engaging in sex with her son's 12-year-old friend.

Smith faces counts of statutory rape and statutory sodomy.
Smith, 30, allegedly performed oral sex on the boy multiple times between April and December 2014, according to a St. Charles County probable cause statement.

Investigators found cell phone messages between Smith and the boy, in which “the two professed their love for one another,” authorities said in the document.

Smith encouraged the boy to erase messages from her and tried to “manipulate him into destroying evidence of the crime,” authorities said.

She stated she was afraid to go to jail, police said.
Smith was booked into custody with bond set at $75,000.

Tip: Barry B

Google Glass Halted

Google is ending sales of its Google Glass eyewear.

The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form.

Instead it will focus on "future versions of Glass" with work carried out by a different division to before.[…]

From next week, the search firm will stop taking orders for the product but it says it will continue to support companies that are using Glass.

Super Bowl Tickets

1981 Super Bowl Ticket - $40

Prices for Super Bowl tickets have increased 100-fold since 1981.
If you want to go to the Super Bowl, whether to root for the Seahawks or the Patriots or just to be there, it's going to cost you some fat dollars. The average list price to get a ticket to Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, Ariz., is $3,950, according to an analysis by ticket aggregator
The cheapest seats are priced at $1,857.

Obama has no shame:  Releasing Illegal Alien Criminals!

Max McGuire

All we ever hear from liberals is that you “can’t deport all the illegal aliens.”  Personally, I think that’s wrong. But one thing that people on both sides should be willing to admit is that there are illegal aliens who SHOULD be deported.

And many of them are scheduled to be kicked out of the country. There’s only one problem: Obama won’t let law enforcement do its job!

Apparently, no sooner had Obama announced his amnesty plan, law enforcement across the country began receiving orders to stand down and let captured illegal aliens go.

We’re not talking about little children caught trying to cross the border. ICE agents were told to stop going after criminal illegal aliens and to release detained illegals who were scheduled to be deported.  In these cases, a judge had already signed off on deportation.

Immigration enforcement agents have begun calling this the Obama “get out of jail free” card.

Illegal aliens who have pending criminal cases are just being released;  In many cases, local law enforcement drops lesser charges against illegals under the assumption that they’ll be deported. Obama is letting those illegals out of prison;

The Federal government is releasing illegal aliens with significant traffic violations like drunk driving, felony hit-and-run, and even grand theft auto;

These criminals are being set free without even warning their victims.

This is just so shameful. But not only that… these releases are illegal and unconstitutional.

These aliens have been given deportation orders by federal judges. The Obama administration does not have the constitutional authority to simply disregard these court orders.

Congress has to put a stop to this clear executive overreach. No president has the authority to go against a lawful court order, not even King Obama.

The White House is clearing out the prisons and sending criminal illegal aliens back into society.

President Obama released thousands of illegal aliens from prison last year. He’s already released hundreds since announcing his amnesty executive actions.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Michigan Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Boy - Update

Abigail Simon

(Grand Rapids, Michigan)
A tutor at a Grand Rapids Catholic school has received an eight- to 25-year prison sentence for having sex with a 15-year-old boy she was teaching.

Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan sentenced 35-year-old Abigail Simon on Wednesday. A jury on Nov. 26 convicted her of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The Grand Rapids Press posted a video of Simon telling the judge she's "lost" and "broken" and asking him to let her "go home as soon as possible."
Simon will have time to consider her thinking.

Tip: JR

* * * * *

Michigan Teacher Accused of Sex with Boy, 15
[Previous 11/19/14 post]
(Flint, Michigan) A 35-year-old tutor and study hall supervisor at Catholic Central and West Catholic schools, Abigail Simon, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male student over a three-month period.

Simon faces four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
[T]he boy's mother found pictures of her in a garter belt on her son's phone.[…]

The student told the Kent County court they had "a lot of sex" at her Grand Rapids apartment but denied he had "stalked, coerced and brutalised" her, as she claimed.

He told the court he was a virgin before he entered into a relationship with Simon and that the teacher had introduced him to rough sex.

"We had intercourse a lot [and she] never said no," he said. "I never forcibly raped her."
Details on booking are unavailable.

Illinois Social Worker Accused of Sex with Student

Brandi D. Edwards

(Cook County, Illinois) A 26-year-old social worker at Rise Alternative High School, Brandi D. Edwards, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 16-year-old student.

Edwards has been charged with criminal sexual assault.
The relationship began after Edwards wrote her cellphone number on the teen’s journal at the Rise Alternative High School in Chicago Heights. The two then exchanged sexual messages prior to their first meeting.

In November she picked the boy up at his home and had sex with him in her car behind his home, said Cinthya Lee Bassig, Cook County assistant state’s attorney.

The two had sex a second time on a different date inside her car near his home, a third time at a forest preserve and a fourth and final time at a hotel room she reserved, Lee Bassig said. The relationship lasted several months.
Edwards was booked into custody with bail set at $250,000.

California Teachers Accused of Sex with Students

Melody Lippert and Michelle Ghirelli

(San Clemente, California) Two South Hills High School teachers, Melody Lippert, 38, and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, have been accused of engaging in sex with students.

The pair were arrested and released on bail.

Does Australia have the ideal healthcare system?

You might not think so from the news report below.  The report covers just one episode of inaccessible healthcare but it is typical of what happens all the time in all states in Australia and in Britain.  Both Australia and Britain have a system of "free" hospitals and local doctors but also (unlike Canada) allow private health services.  And it is a testimony to how bad the "free" system is  that 40% of Australians have private health insurance, which enables them to take advantage of Australia's large network of excellent private hospitals at little or no out-of-pocket cost.

Why would you pay for something if you can have it for free?  The answer of course is that the "free" system is so bad as to be life threatening on occasions.  As the various parts of Obamacare go live, Americans too will experience that. For many, health services will be "free" but unavailable.

Private health insurance is affordable in Australia.  Many people on relatively low incomes have it.  I pay $160 a month for mine. It is bought directly by the person covered rather than through an employer.  So it is a significant budget item for many and the majority would rather spend their money on beer and cigarettes than on insurance.  So they rely on the taxpayer for "free" health care.  They rely on bureaucratic healthcare provision.

And the ineffectiveness of that gets steadily worse.  Bureaucracies do not die overnight.  They are like cancer, slowly growing but they will kill you eventually. They gradually choke themselves to death.  And what we read below shows that process to be in an advanced state in Australia  -- the State health services all go back many decades.  And the services will get even worse in future.

So the present situation is in fact mostly fair.  If you put your money into beer and cigarettes instead of health insurance you deserve only third-rate care and that is what you get. You are mainly raiding people who have already paid for their own care and asking them to pay for your care too.

Can that be improved?  Do the improvident public have to be treated so badly?  If you think improvement is needed the way to it would probably be to get the beer and cigarettes money redirected into private health insurance -- so that the government system is left to care for the few who cannot afford even beer and cigarettes.  If that were done, much of the demand would be taken off the government service and the genuinely poor would get better service.

So if you see the situation described below as a problem, your rational response would be to mandate private health insurance for all but the very poor.  But if you don't like the compulsion in that you can console yourself that the existing system may be rather horrible for many but it is at least fair for the great majority.  Most of those being poorly treated could have chosen otherwise

I have a fairly average health insurance policy so my treatment in a recent health emergency is instructive.  I had an attack of kidney stones.  So I went straight to the Wesley private hospital here in Brisbane -- a church-run hospital named after two great Christians. Within less than two hours of the pain developing, I was given morphine as pain relief and within 6 hours I was on the operating table.  The ideal is possible and readily available in Australia.  It just isn't free

If America ever gets a rational Congress and President, I think they could learn something from Australia

A Sydney hospital left a patient in its emergency department for almost six days, prompting condemnation from an expert in emergency medicine.

Details about the incident are scarce. But a hospital source said the patient was  admitted to Blacktown Hospital's emergency department on Wednesday evening the week before last.

The hospital confirmed the patient had been sitting in a recliner chair in its emergency department and was discharged at some time on Tuesday last week.

"This is absolutely extreme," said Clinical Associate Professor Paul Middleton from Sydney University. "In 25 years working in hospital emergency departments I've never seen anybody stay for that long.

"The lights are on all the time. It's noisy. There are wailing children, mental health patients, people pissed off with waiting and shouting; there's trauma; there's blood and there's vomiting. It's not a place to spend a long time. Patients don't do well [in emergency]."

The hospital, citing patient confidentiality, declined to provide details about the patient's illness. It said they had been treated while in the emergency department and been referred to hospital specialists.

Danny O'Connor, the CEO of the western Sydney local health district, said the patient was discharged after the hospital was satisfied with their progress.

Mr O'Connor also said the case "presented many social complexities" and that the hospital continued to care for patients who were unable to leave for "family or social reasons".

But Professor Middleton said a ward was the only place for a patient in hospital that long.

"There are also alternatives to staying in hospital [such as refuges]," he added.

The Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, declined to comment.

"Our members are sick of being abused by patients who are facing major delays," said Judith Kiedja from the nurses' and midwives' union.

The union advocates the government impose a ratio of one nurse for every three patients to maintain standards of care. Blacktown's emergency department has often run at twice that ratio of nurses this fortnight.

Tanya Whitehouse, from the Macarthur Domestic and Family Violence Service, said she found the case baffling.

"If the patient was facing domestic violence or homelessness, they should have seen a social worker and been found a refuge," she said.

A spokesman for the Family and Community Services Minister, Gabrielle Upton, said over the next three years the government would "invest a record half billion dollars to tackle homelessness across the state".

This latest case comes after a fortnight of major delays at Blacktown Hospital, where between 40 and 60 beds have been closed for the holidays.

A dozen patients, half aged over 80, were waiting more than two days in emergency two weeks ago.

There were further delays last week. Paramedics waited for 17 hours to hand one patient over to the care of the hospital.

"If they're closing that many beds it's a potential for disaster," Professor Middleton said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).


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