Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

In her second post on 'deadbeats' at Atlantic Monthly for December, Megan Mcardle led me to Google gratitude and enter it into the results in comments:

In Hobbes' Leviathin, gratitude is considered to be the fourth law of nature, following the laws seeking of seeking peace, contracting for peace, and performing one's contracts (that is following the rules of justice). As Hobbes explained the fourth law of nature, "That a man which receiveth Benefit from another of mere Grace, Endeavor that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent of his good will."
- RE Emmons and ME McCullough

I hate ingratitude more in a man
than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness
Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.
- Shakespeare Twelfth Night

'Gratitude is for dogs.' - Stalin


...Max... (Replying to: Michael) December 16, 2009 3:08 PM
To be precise, "gratitude is a disease of dogs".

Emphasis and choice of translation are mine. Unfortunately 2 minutes of googling did not yield a solid quote to the original [response to Zinov'ev].

It is amazing how normative for our culture Shakespeare is; wise as well. In Totem and Taboo, Freud looked at religion as the reaction to guilt for killing the primal father because he kept the women. But a father naturally loves his children and religion is the repository of our gratitude for our lives in spite of our errors and ingratitude. Shalom.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Was told this week about the Peach Bellini. From instructions on how you make it:

Pour 2-3 tablespoons of peach puree in the bottom of a wine glass or tall champagne flute.

Serving glass: Tall champagne flutes

Step 2

Add several drops of raspberry puree on top of the peaches in the glass.

Step 3

Pour Italian sparkling wine into the glass until nearly full. Garnish with peach slice if desired.

Many women, my mother included, have/had several sets of service, dinnerware to include silver, some cut glass, etc. The nicest thing I thought she had were some tall glasses , frosted with a color replacing the frosting swirling around the glass, making them in a geometric way exactly like a barber pole. I remember a blue, a green, a raspberry, perhaps a yellow. I don't believe we ever commented on these glasses really. In some sense they didn't count as they weren't something, with some variation, that other women had. They were, though, the prettiest things she had. I never knew what they were called. They were champagne flutes, and she was a young lady when I first remember her in Champagne, Illinois.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Megan McArdle links to a review, reflecting currently a widely held view in Jewish circles, of the four source documents of the Hebrew Bible. Extending this spirit of inquiry into our Testament, I commented:
God who who was the father of Adam...Abraham begot Isaac'...Jesse begot David, the king, and David, the king, begot Solomon and Solomon begot...and Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ...
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. (Matthew Chapter 1)

However, St. Paul says somewhere 'let's not talk about genealogy.' Why, perhaps because in that genealogy from David to Jesus there is an individual to whom a prophet gives the curse 'neither you nor any of your descendants will be king of Israel.' Ignatius of Antioch, possibly a student of John the Apostle, writes in the first century against those who say Christians must follow Jewish law, and touts the lineage of Mary, whose characterization in Hebrew is of a young or nubile woman, a virgin in the sense that Sir Richard Branson might mean.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

One recalls General Pershing and those inspirational words - "Lafayette, we are at a conference!" says Tom Maguire at the end of a recent post.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kennedy was killed in Dealey Plaza. Dallas has been blamed for the assassination but the name of the plaza derives from George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News from 1885 - 1940. A statue of him is there and would have been among the last things JFK saw. The newspaper was and still is very much a part of the establishment of Dallas. Nobody identifying with the establishment of Dallas would have killed him there. A citizen of Dallas killed Kennedy but it was not 'you and me' as the Stones' song 'Sympathy for the Devil' had it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In psychiatry or at least as taught from psychoanalysis, a 'therapeutic alliance' between patient and doctor is important. The historically eminent Ralph Greenson mentioned in his book on psychoanalysis that 'it was probably for the best that a communist left treatment with him' in circumstances due to WWII. In my hearing of cases in which people acted on a 'duty to warn others' from something said in treatment or wanted to inform others of a crime it has been more a notice that the therapist is having trouble maintaining an alliance than any danger or other value to be achieved. This would seem to be an aspect of the Hasan case.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ilya Somin, a native of Leningrad, has some interesting posts on communism. This is in the Volokh Conspiracy. The latest is on the evils of communism and the usefulness of review. It was very interesting that the current I guess prime minister there, Medyadev, has announced an effort to vie some institutional recognition to the victims in the former USSR. Earlier Somin had a post of the evils of Trotsky that I was late to comment on.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ron Rosenbaum was asking a question about Afghanistan. His questions if not his acceptance of answers are pretty good. Was listening to Abdullah Abdullah on FNS. He pointed out that people risked their lives to vote in the last election; I believe some 11 people were killed. That Karzai would have engaged in massive fraud in such a circumstance is prima facie evidence that he doe not respect his citizens as others in any sense implied in Buber's book 'I Thou' and thus does not support 'democracy.' Also our interest in destroying the opium trade may not be democratically supported. It seems to me that Obama may be appropriately backing us into the cities. From there we can support our interests in interdicting terrorist facilities and give some support to the Afghan people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Following Volokh on a product liability suit over a Louisville slugger bat delivering a fatal ball at a pitcher.
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

This is from last Sunday's Catholic Gospel reading. One of the mysteries of the Catholic religion is the tendency of its members to be anti Jewish. Here Jesus is talking about Romans lording over them. Why doesn't the ill will stick with the Romans? From a Catholic theological point of view it is wrong to blame anybody, maybe Adam, maybe ourselves. From the point of view of the passion story in natural law, some Jews and Romans might be seen as at fault.

As the Mass proceeds, the priest takes the role of Christ and says 'Hoc est enim corpus meum.' Well he used to say that (in Latin); now he says it in English 'For this is my body.' In that he is said to be equal to Jesus Christ. A bit earlier however he plays a different role in the passion play. He has water poured over his hands as he washes his fingers in a bowl. Here he is playing the role of Pontius Pilate, a 'ruler of the Gentiles etc.' So the priest = Pontius Pilate and the priest = Christ. Well this all happens in liturgy. It makes me wonder what earlier liturgies were like. I'd be interested to know about an ancient Egyptian Coptic liturgy which is still practiced and official.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A fascinating quote from George Orwell talking of Dali's autobiography and a moral problem perhaps accentuated in artists. Orwell could have taken his analysis further and seen Dali as having lost in expectation, that is suggested in the Haley's comet vignette, and taken to inflicting pain on others obsessionally as he, in recollection, would have experienced it as a child.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A good article on PTSD nightmares in which prazosin is used.

Update: Clonidine and guanfacine are also used and, in error, I had substituted 'gunfacine' where 'prazosin' was correct in the original post. All are alpha2 agonists (see Aug 26, 2009 post below). Clonidine will suffice for a moderate or less nightmare problem; guanfacine has a longer half life and may be preferable in late night dreams. Guanfacine is reported in a child related letter I believe.

Monday, September 07, 2009

'Man does not live by free medical care alone, it takes a little money.' Megan McArdle has looked forward to what Obama will say in his Wednesday speech on health care. To me the exercise is like one of the Godzilla movies. This one might be called 'Obama vs. The Bond Market.' The baby boomers are mindful of the need for the government bonds not to collapse. As Niall Ferguson said of Italy in The Ascent of Money,'as more and more people leave the work force, recurrent public sector deficits mean that the bond market will never be short of new bonds to sell.' Unions seem to be a significant factor in his health care plan as evidenced by his following their line in opposing repeal of the tax deductibility of employer paid health insurance premiums, and unions are not a constituency for the bond market, but in general the baby boomer generation is perhaps a surprising constituency for it. That's what makes Obama's struggle a tough one.

Update: Frobes' Dalmia puts her finger on the pulse of the health care expense problem.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Looking at the similarities of chemical structure of clonidine and guanfacine and a good discussion of the alpha2 adrenergic receptor and its subtypes in relation to binding of the two agonist drugs.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I have read part of Leszek Kolakowski's book Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders-The Goden Age- The Breakdown and agree with those who find it a wonderfully informative book. Kolakowski was a Marxist in his youth and became the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warasaw after WWII. His book shows why Marxism is appealing as well as showing insight into the historical problems of implementation. There is recently a nice obituary of the author in the Financial Times; Christopher Hitchen's also comented in Slate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Speaking, July 28 8:32 PM, of Spinoza's book Ethics which is written in Latin and which may be the philosophical explication of our 'right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' I am inclined to wish that there were workbooks which give the translation worked out with explanation. That would also be nice with other ancient authors. This would help those who have some knowledge of the language but far too little to fully do a translation on their own. My father used to say that 'math is another language,' and I wish this was done in various mathematical presentations as well. I know when I did a math paper one of the things that I was disappointed in was that my bridging equations which would have led the reader step by step through the analysis were taken out; so that essentially a reader would have had to do the work again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NeuroPsychiatry by RB Schiffer, Rao, and Fogel is a good book for dosing recommendations, and probably other issues. I've used it for both Trileptal (oxcarbazepine), see p 151, and carbamazepine.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Michael Steele, RNC Chairman and, in some sense, political lightweight counterpart to Obama, was reported to have said that the president was proposing a "reckless experiment" with health care policy. I think this is quite the point. When a state Senator obtains funds for a park that is not really built or gets funds for housing done in the manner of a Sicilian don, the gesture may outweigh the consequences but not so with fundamental policies of the country.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Been following the 'Communism Community' on Amazon.com. Read Deutscher's Book NonJewish Jew and Other Essays per a recommendation there, very poignant and historically interesting. Deutscher came from a family of German bookmakers. They moved to Poland in the 1500s. The word for German in Yiddish is Ashkenazi, but there were so many Ashkenazis that his forebearers took the name Deutscher. His father who had written a book reviewing carefully and critically some Jewish idea had this torn up or burned on his return from travels by his mother for being heretical apparently. He was a bookmaker and wanted his son to learn German rather than Polish as this was an international language for intellectuals. Father used to see to him 'Once you get beyond Oskiewic (Auschwitz auf Deutsch), Polish won't be useful.' They lived 90 miles from Auschwitz. his father never got beyond it, was killed there in the Holocaust.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Dallas Morning News has a number of articles under the search term 'budget reds,' latest here. The Wall Street recently had a cheap wine review and recommended the Concha Y Terrra Sauvignon Blanc.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Misspelled street names are the subject of this Dallas Morning News article which has a couple of good comments, the ones on Champ Ulysses and Ruidosa were good.
Linked (about comment 40) to a success of the county hospital, Parkland, in a discussion of health care policy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Megan McArdle is getting married to a Peter Suderman. Seems appropriate in light of her appreciation for a porcelain factory founded by Peter the Great. She had a blog post once about when her readers got in her blog orbit. I mentioned the Bolshevik dinnerware which drew a snort from someone. I was determined to find it and, finally, on this search page, I did.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Following (currently 79 comments, the last mine) a discussion of MJ and the responsibility of doctors.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Following a string of obsessions by Ron Rosenbaum covering the topics of President Obama, Iran (lately as interfered with by the MJ story).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Miss prints has a royal history. From Stalin and His Hangmen, 'misprints had been disingenuously used to annoy authority. Queen Victoria was reported to have "pissed" over Waterloo Bridge. Substituting one consonant made Stalin "pisser" or "shitter" (ssalin, sralin). Stalingrad coould be set to read "Stalin is a reptile" (Stalin gad). Under Stalin, misprints were declared "sorties by the class enemy." Writers or typesetters could die for one misplaced letter, as Andrei Tarkovsjy's film Mirror unforgettably suggests.' This came up in Obama 'confronting a delicate topic.'

Thursday, June 04, 2009

That speech and the reaction might be worth quite a bit in blood and treasure. Was just reading 'Stalin and his Hangmen.' If the last Nicholas could have given such a speech at his coronation, Russia wouldn't have suffered so.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Regarding the 'first world war' of the early 1600s centered in Germany, JC Roy writes, "The story is long, brutal, amoral, tragic, sordid, and ultimately fascinating," cf. Vanished Kingdom p. 108 referred to May 5.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

David Brooks wrote it. Tom Maguire abstracted it and the NY Times readers hated it which is, to use Mr. Brooks phrase, an 'ungenerous' reaction to his hilarious piece.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

To review further Vanished Kingdom, May 5 below, in his chapter Marienburg, J. Roy reflects on the movie Alexander Nevsky and 'what was the nature of the Teutonic Knights,' formally The Order of St. Mary's Hospital. 'Certainly the Knights were rough men and the dreadful circumstances of their trade would probably nauseate any.. The early knights were monks, lay brothers who followed the ancient monastic routine... Forbidden to them were the usual daily prerogatives of the knightly class - the pleasures of the hunt, the courtship of women. They ate sparingly, a diet of eggs and tough bread, very little meat. In battle they were bullied and cursed by their masters, ordered to act as a unit and not allowed the glory of individual combat... Their quest is not the Holy Grail but martyrdom. This was no false or vainglorious chivalry. God was simple then. He was either right or he was wrong. Medieval man had no difficulty ascertaining which. The ethos of Prussia was created single-handedly by the Teutonic Knights. Their standards became an inbred element of response and attitude.'

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I had a go at Obama's Notre Dame speech on Althouse's blog, about 12:38 PM in comments. Someone pointed out that the answer to the question 'When does life begin?' is '4 million years ago.' That does put a rather transcendental spin on being alive and on death as being a departure from the string of life or Being.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Financial Times has an article recently reporting that the high savings rate of Chinese is due to their anticipating having to pay, and often upfront, their health care bills with very limited government or other assistance. It looks like an important innovation in the Chinese market would be laws implementing the possibilities of health insurance. Catastrophic insurance would seem to be of obvious personal, social, and, even, economic benefit as it might free up capital.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

Following Volokh on decimate and correct usage of phrases leaked into the language as it were.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Following comments on the potential for 'yet another Catholic' Supreme Court Justice which, strangely enough, gets me to Pontius Pilate.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I think it's good we're going international with this Chrysler deal. The way out of the world's economic problem could be an economic nationalism as emerged in the thirties or a more multipolar world in which countries other than the US have more economic influence and perhaps the latter is inevitable it is just how we get there (and is it a tyrannical Iran or a trading Ireland/China etc). In this case, the involvement of the descendants of the nephews of the inventors of accounting (Italian monks) may be useful. Obama, for his part, is already searching for the Italian stereotype role pointing out that the bondholders 'didn't act in their own interest' (if you know what I mean). Seriously, Fiat only lost $48 million in the last quarter due to cost cutting in a tough market. Maybe they can bring some creative economic solutions.

Update Todd Zywicki has a good legal post on this. Megan McArdle is also following it with some appropriate art.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Matthew Stafford is guaranteed $41.7, gets some $78 million if he gets through a 6 year contract. I'd say this is more than any combination Highland Park High School kids, Scots is the school nickname, ever made (in sports) but then think of Chris Young, the ophthalmologist's son and pitcher, who won a playoff game for San Diego a few years ago; so maybe I'll just have to compare him to Doak Walker whose Highland Park jersey number was retired just a few years ago. Anyway it will be interesting to see if black Motown will want to rock and roll with him. I don't know why not. Like the rest of the athletes, he probably traveled down to MLK Ave. to get somebody to walk into a liquor store there for beer. So it's not as if there wasn't something done with the community. Anyway he laughed in New York when his being the number 1 pick was booed, and social grace is the number 1 requirement in Highland Park. Maybe someone trained, whether he realizes the particulars or not, to identify with the Scots successful fight for religious independence from the rule of Charles I of England can make common cause with the descendants of those who were up from slavery and discrimination in the South. It's a good Scot's calling.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I have a general comment to make which finds Megan's argument deficient, but appreciates Nimed's perspective on the U.S and would like to make it here. I would add to his perspective by citing an example from a SEAL in VN. Sometimes when they were approaching a point of the Communists that they were attacking they would come across a disemboweled older woman. The Communists would do this anticipating attack because the impulse of the Americans would be to help the women thus creating an alert and a diversion from their attack.

In any event, the Laws of War which include but are not wholly the rules about prisoners need to be considered. According to these Laws, if one combatant side breaks a law, then the other side can break the law in a compensatory fashion as a demonstration that the breaking of the Laws would not be tolerated. This is the argument that 'allowed,' I think unfortunately, the firebombing of Tokyo or the bombing of Dresden. With Al-Quaida's attack Sept 11, you had a major breach, the killing of 3000 civilians in NY, of the Laws of War. The rough treatment, torture within the bounds of training exercises of our own troops, added the American utilitarian objective to the treatment according to the Laws of War to those who had by their continuing presence in Al-Quaida agreed to the earlier violation of the Law of War against attacking civilian targets without military value.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I suppose the 'tea bagging' characterization is a Democratic royalist response to the effort of the organizers to recall the favor of a period when small government and rule by a local rising economic elite held a privileged position in American politics. In Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals by Niall Ferguson, the chapter on 'British America: What if There Had Been No American Revolution,' J. Clark points out that the taxes on the American colonists were low and applied in a rather ambivalent way, careful not to offend the Whig sensibilities of the Americans. The American complaint was treated rather like Moses, Pharaoh's son, was treated as opposed to the way other revolutionaries, e.g. Jesus vs. The High Priest and Romans, were treated. The Republicans are lost, divided over immigration, as the Whigs were divided over slavery, after a fall from power due to lack of deference to their Northern wing if I recall correctly from Storm Over Texas by Joel Silbey. They are the Whig party, believers in market discipline, and organizing in some new fashion over liberty, will hopefully return.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"The events of the past 10 years have an eerie similarity to the period leading up to the Great Depression. Total mortgage debt outstanding increased from $9.35 billion in 1920 to $29.44 billion in 1929. In 1920, residential mortgage debt was 10.2% of household wealth; by 1929, it was 27.2% of household wealth." This is from a recent Wall Street Journal article. I recall as a child in Catholic school, the nun saying that in the pleasure centered 20s there had been installment debt and that this led to the Depression. One wondered how toasters and even cars could have had such a profound consequence. Then when I read Friedman on 'The Cause of the great Depression' I put away such childish thoughts. The nuns are looking better. Of course, I wish I could have integrated the history they gave with the events of 2001-5. As a corollary to that, I need to get back to work, you might leave a question if you want.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The March 2009 lead article of Archives of General Psychiatry is a dissection of psychological characteristics associated with paranoid illness. Low self esteem is one of them. It is rather remarkable that they are (appropriately) able to say that this analysis 'might lead to new therapies' for paranoid illness. The cover of the journal is a reproduction of a Vermeer that was in the hands of Hitler for a while; interesting forgeries which Goering took to including 'Christ at Emmaus' are shown in the discussion and their history discussed as well as a nice discussion of the lovely Vermeer.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An article on Lamotrigine (Lamictal) touching on mechanism of action. The context is an unusual use, in schizophrenia.

Update 3-29: The drug MOA appears to be inhibition of voltage dependent Na+ channels. This increases NMDA receptor glutamate transmission apparently. For those allergic to Lamictal, carbamazepine has a similar mechanism of action but the clinical data is limited, mixed, negative in a double blind study. The key reference is Large CH, Webster EL, Goff DC. Psychopharmacology 18: 415-436, SEP 2005. Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) is a more potent inhibitor of the channels than the earlier drug carbamazepine

Friday, March 20, 2009

Van Wallach has an excellent post that incorporates the feeling of guilt in Christianity vs. Judaism and a personal odyssey.
Tom Maguire on the shape were in over the AIG furor.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009

HuffPo has a good link to Samuel Johnson of MIT and a former IMF official on the obfuscation of citing 'unknowns' in the banking crisis.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Following David Bernstein's blog post on the problems of Obama's tax policy at about comment 465, 1:44 PM 2-28-09.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Greg Mankiw links to a good article by the devil incarnate on the causes of the credit crisis. Martin Wolf at ft.com has some further perspective on the origins of the crisis.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I am glad to read that Holbrooke, Obama's ambassador to the region, is against fighting a war against the opium poppy in Afghanistan.
A good review of Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica (pregabalin) in pain.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Claudia Rosett I think nails the Obama thing:
'new era of responsibility” — the advance-leaked theme of his inaugural address (though Bill Safire makes a good case that the address actually had no memorable theme). Is he talking about individual responsibility? (It has a great track record; I’m for it.) Or is he talking about collective responsibility? (Apart from providing for the common defense, it is far more problematic). Does he expect us to be responsible for paying our own bills? Or does he expect us to be responsible for paying each other’s bills? There is a big difference.'

'New era of responsibility' for other people's bills is it.
Ricardo Caballero appears to have nailed the credit crisis best response.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I hope Dick Morris isn't right.
A professor at the University of Chicago offers a couple of appropriate options for dealing with the credit crisis. The bad bank option was also discussed in the Wall Street Journal today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Possibly the best, and certainly the first truly great, inaugural address, Jefferson's in 1801."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Glenn Reynolds links to an argument for a corporate tax rate of zero as an economic stimulus.
I have to get into the discussion of the 'Palestinians' and Israel 'with' Ron Rosenbaum' and Megan McArdle. Mark Twain would be impressed with the renewed interest in the 'Holy Land.'

Friday, January 16, 2009

I was originally impressed with this Geithner guy, now not so much. He took off, for child care, from his 1040, the cost of sending a kid to camp. BS; it isn't an applicable charge to the credit. The credit tapers at his income level, 300K+. He didn't pay M-care and Social Security on the income from the IMF. I do my taxes; and I know that. A person is as likely to 'do their taxes' without tax preparation software as a student is to do a term paper with a typewriter. Anytime you change a number this triggers a cascade of changes which it makes the preparation time 3 x as long. The IRS adds the numbers itself; so he would have heard from them earlier otherwise. What he would have done is overridden the advice of the software. A candidate for Secretary of Treasury makes these 'innocent mistakes;' come 'on. Obama's comments are in the service of denial. Free Exchange, link left, has some other critical views.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rhetoric and reality re: the Obamas. I'll still have my Illinois flag out; perhaps Lincoln's dream will somehow find a happy ending.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Megan Mcardle has a recent blogpost suggesting that Medicaid and Medicare should be combined. This led me to leave my thoughts which, I think, shed some perspective more generally on medical practice:

From the standpoint of a practitioner, the populations served and burdens (and rewards, even apart from financial) are substantially different. To combine them would probably reduce interest of physician participation in serving the populations. A couple of the issues. For populations that are not billed directly for their services, a lot of times their relationship is with a clinic and not, to some extent, an individual provider. For instance, a 'retired' Army orthopedist may close his private practice and work 20 hours a week at a VA hospital. Almost all medical school practices are of the type of an institutional relationship. So potential frustrations about rate of individual procedure payment or compliance with appointments are obviated by salary and opportunities to participate in supervision, research, and educational conferences. For a purely private practitioner, the rule may be 'the first third of the patients you see, you pay for your overhead; the second third, you keep body and soul together; and, the last third, you make money.' Medicaid's payments and bureaucratic impediments to achieving work or payment impedes you from achieving any of that; so treatment may be done, to the extent it is, in the interest of treating 'the broad range of patients.'

In the case of patients seen through an institution, it is the institution that conveys the 'price mechanism' to use the language of a critic of socialism.
Martin Wolf has a great article, insightful with sobering prospects for the next couple of years. It's in the Financial Times.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The virgin Birth

Some reflections provoked by Ann Althouse. I kind of like what a Rabbi Zimmerman said: that the word 'virgin' in Hebrew meant a young woman. Beyond that however Catholic tradition has it that Mary had taken a vow to God of celibacy. The priestly vow of celibacy relates in a way to being like Mary who was called. Catholic understanding of Jewish betrothal at that time is that the two were in a sense married in such a declaration but the husband was to go out and build a house for them before taking her to live with him. Psychologically, some people who are prone to anger do, at a certain point of anger, have periods which they don't remember. It looks like there was a looming conflict in the relationship of Mary and Joseph. Fill in the blank here. Beyond that, part of the Gospel story is that Jesus is of the line of David. That line comes through Joseph.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Look Away, Look Away

Recently finished a novel of that title by Ben Haas. It was copyrighted in 1964, a novel about a mythical Southern State and a Negro's struggle for civil rights amid the culture of a persisting Confederacy. Structurally it is like War and Peace in that you are in the life of the various characters successively with bridging description of events from a narrator's position. Charming and thought provoking. I got the above novel at the Salvation Army which is in part a reference for where the local culture has been.

Now that Ron Rosenbaum has written on Valkyrie, I recall 'Plotting Hitler's Death' by Joachim Fest. A great book. That one I took to Half Price books for nothing.