Thursday, October 22, 2009
High school football, Michigan, Homecoming Game. With 0.08 seconds left to play, the home team in possession of the ball and down one point at 28-27, they elected to go for the field goal.
The kick is blocked, everybody is cheering for the presumed winner, the favored Visitor team, when the home coach realizes that the ball has not passed the line of scrimmage; the ball is still in play.
The ... what do they call the guy who holds the ball for the kicker? ... anyway, #87 has already reached down and picked up the ball when he hears his coach SCREAMING from the sidelines. The visiting team is already streaming off the field, so he tucks the ball against his body and sprints across the goal line.
Touchdown. The home team wins, 28-33.
Then come the recriminations.
That's the short version of the story. Click the "Opposing Views" link and read the whole thing. Oh, and be sure to read the comments.
And I still don't like football. I just enjoy other peoples' chaos.
... perhaps not the most competitive choice, but at least it's "Revolver Reliable".
Congratulations to "Mikey Scribbles" for boldly going where no man has gone before. And shouldn't.
This article helps fill my Equal Opportunity Blogging quota in three areas:
- Cite Opposing Views while they do all the work of actually researching the subject
- Sneer at Hate Crimes and other versions of Nanny Statism
- Hold The Brits up to public ridicule
I've coined the phrase "Fat-Ism" (fatism?) to loosely address the sin of discriminating against people because they are fat. I don't want to make it sound as if I'm singling out Fat People, if only because I don't want to be charged with a Hate Crime in case I ever visit England or San Francisco. Yes, I am actually talking about Fat People, but my guess is that it soon will be the 21's Century's "N-Word". And I'm not willing to say "Obese" because I've already got an "O-word.
But The Brits are all up in arms ... which is a neutered term in Great Britain, since they are no longer permitted arms ... because they think that Fat-ism is as bad as Racism and Genderism and Ageism and all the other dash-isms describing folks who think they're special because they're different from everybody else.
The Opposing Views article talks about, if you can believe this, the "Size Acceptance Movement".
Geez, what will they think of next.
Back in London, members of the Size Acceptance Movement said they constantly face discrimination because of their waistlines. Kathryn Szrodecki said that in the UK fat people are stared at, pointed at, talked about and attacked. "I have been discriminated against - I am a YMCA qualified fitness instructor, but I have gone for jobs and been laughed off the premises."If you purport to be a teacher of grammar and you demonstrably cannot parse a sentence, nobody will accept you as a believable expert grammarian, either. Should we establish a League of Incomprehensible Grammarians for your defense?
This is beginning to remind me of Monty Python and the "Silly Walks". Twenty years ago it was funny; today, it is actionable. I do believe that the sun has begun to set on the British Empire.
the article also quotes another interviewed person:
Marsha Coupe said. "I have been punched, I have had beer thrown in my face, I have had people attack me on the train. They say 'Move out of the way fatty! Well person coming down the aisle!'"
... and you know, that sort of sounds familiar. I recall grade school (shudder!) and the kid they called "Stinky" and threw dirt clods at during recess, because his/her family was trying to survive with an alcoholic mother and father and the seven siblings didn't have much chance at the cold-water shower, or clean clothes. They were lucky to have two sets of clothes, and laundry was not a common option. But we hated them because they smelled bad, and anyone who had the seat next to them was teased because they were said to "love Stinky Alphreda Cleveland" (true story).
I remember a "Fatty", whose mother always made sure that they were as well-fed as she, and she was indeed very well fed. Biscuits and potatoes and gravy, oh my! And that was just breakfast.
And I remember the skinny kid in Junior High School, who won the annual competition for First Chair in the Tuba Section ("Double-E-Flat Sousaphone) and got beat up by the other to Fat Kids who could carry the weight in a parade, but never practiced as the skinny kid did.
(I was "the skinny kid", but no more. Bet I still couldn't beat up the Fat Kids, though.)
Sorry, bit of a Senior Moment there, what?
Anyway, it's true that children can be unbelievably cruel, especially to kids that are different from everybody else.
I have to accept that The Brits, and even San Francisco have a point: people are discriminated against because they are ... well, Fat. It isn't as obvious or as prevalent in the adult population as it is among children, but it's still there.
The thing is, it really isn't reasonable to discriminate against people for their race. Even if you think some races are lesser than others (Racism), it's unreasonable to take it out on the individual. After all, they didn't choose their parents any more than you did, and if your attitude against people of other races is the hand-me-down bigotry of one generation to its children, you probably didn't do a very good job of choosing your parents either, now did you?
When you get into the non-gene-based bigotry, then it gets rather messy. People who hold an instinctive bias against Homosexuals, for example, are often heard saying "Well, they could just change their behavior, couldn't they?" It's a slippery slope, which goes even harder against people who Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher than, say, yours. (Before you speak, visit that last link and see how far from the 'norm' you are. Then think about it.)
It's easy to say "well, they could just eat less and exercise more, couldn't they?"
Easy to say isn't easy to do, usually. There's a lot involved here, including genes, family history ("... mother always made sure that they were as well-fed as she ...") and self-image just to name a few.
If you're not already in that place, put yourself in that place for a while. We're the product of our genes (nature) and our up-bringing (nurture). All of us. If you're an Adonis or an Aphrodite, you probably had a lot of luck in both life-lotteries. You probably also have worked hard to maintain your temple-like body. Good for you, and I do envy you for your self-discipline.
I work with a fellow, and also a lady, who both have a BMI far higher than mine. They are absolutely excellent at their jobs ... both technical. Think about it: you may be able to do one-handed push-ups (yes, I have been re-reading Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series), but can you de-bug an SQR program or define a computer application from the point of view of the user of that application?
For that matter, I know an IPSC shooter who outweighs me by a hundred pounds, and he's a gentle friend who typically out-shoots me on even the run-and-gun field courses.
I don't buy into the "Inside every Fat Person, there's a Skinny Person crying to be let out" philosophy. But I do believe that when we judge people by appearances, or by how closely their life-style matches ours, we diminish ourselves unconsciously much more than we diminish them meanly.
Both Sides Now:
Having looked at "Fat-ism" from every aspect, I still don't think that it's a reasonable solution to make "Fat-ism" a Hate Crime.
Because I believe that the entire concept of "Hate Crimes" is hateful. It's too easy to go overboard, to live life by The Rules rather than a realistic attitude toward life and behavior. It's like comparing Digital to Analogue. Digital gives us the Internet; Analogue gives us Van Gogh. I trust that's self-explanatory, and if it's not you must be a Digital person who is patently guilty of Analogue-ism.
See how silly that sounds?
I leave you with one more thought.
San Francisco (Open up that Golden Gate) has already passed some Fat-ism legislation. Brrrr ... the mere act of using "San Francisco" and "legislation" in the same sentence makes my teeth ache and my manhood shrivel.
This from the cited article:
... where a law bans so called "fat-ism" in housing and employment. It also stops doctors from pressing patients to slim down.Oh, okay. So I didn't invent the term "Fat-ism" after all. Whew! That's good, I feel no more need for shame.
San Francisco lawyer Sondra Solway told BBC News, "The San Francisco ordinance says you may want to mention weight to the patient but if the patient says they do not want to talk about that then you are asked to respect those wishes."
When San Francisco passes a law that disallows my physician to nag me to stop smoking, I may begin to feel some respect for them. (I would ignore the good advice, of course, as I always do.) Other than that, this is just one more excellent example illustrating that the Nanny Statism that is San Francisco is similar to the mindless predatory actions of a rabid skunk.
It (the culture and administration of San Francisco) smells bad enough even when it's healthy. When it gets sick, the only effective remedy is to put it down, then cut off it's head so the veterinarian can examine what's left of its brain to determine whether, if you've been bitten by it, you need to take that painful series of anti-rabies shots.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A leading UK hospital has defended its practice of using organs donated by smokers after the death of a soldier who received the cancerous lungs of a heavy smoker.Apparently, organ donations are not fully screened in the United Kingdom due to minimal funding under the National Health System (NHS).
Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, died at his home in 2008, less than a year after receiving a transplant that was supposed to save his life at Papworth Hospital -- the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital, in Cambridgeshire, east England.
Papworth Hospital released a statement saying using donor lungs from smokers was not "unusual."
The statement added that the hospital had no option but to use lungs from smokers as "the number of lung transplants carried out would have been significantly lower," if they didn't.
In this case, the Iraq War Veteran "...was serving in Iraq in 2005 when he was diagnosed with an incurable condition that left him unable to breathe."
So he was put on the waiting list, and they eventually came up with a pair of replacement lungs, but they didn't tell him that the lungs they had came from a 2-1/2 packs per day smoker.
Less than a year later, he developed Lung Cancer and died as a result of his wounds ... delivered by a 'grateful NHS.
This is just more example of the reasons why Socialized Medicine is Not A Good Idea. The entire program is supported by The State, and when the money runs out it's Hobbson's Choice for you, my lad. "This is what we have; take it, or leave it."
He was told he required a transplant and in April 2007 received a double lung transplant at Papworth Hospital.
Less than a year later, doctors discovered a tumor in the new lungs. Despite radiotherapy, Millington died on February 8, 2008, at his family home near Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire.
The inquest found a radiologist failed to highlight the growth of a cancerous tumor on the donor lungs.
Tests found that he had received the lungs of a donor who smoked up to 50 cigarettes a day, the inquest at North Staffordshire coroner's court heard.
[Emphasis Added] One wonders why this "cancerous tumor" was not found on the donor lungs before they were transplanted.
The answer is obvious: they didn't perform the necessary tests before the transplant, and the most obvious reason is that the NHS was reluctant to perform the necessary tests. Forget the obvious lies which blame it on a radiologist. Trust me, if you have lung cancer it CAN be detected by a CT scan.
This evening I talked to SWMBO, who was diagnosed with Lung Cancer 15 months ago. Today she was scheduled for another CT scan, and informed by her insurance carrier that she would be personally responsible for about 10% of the cost of the CT scan ... which costs a total of $3,250 - $4,500.
She was nonplussed about the fact that, although she pays $600/month for insurance, she would be required to pay $350 - $450 for the CT scan. As she is unable to work, and lives on her pension, she was unhappy with the news.
Evil Private Medical Insurance Bastards!
Under NHS, Corporal Matthew Millington was not required to co-pay for the CT scan which would have detected the tumor in his replacement lungs. Under the circumstances, I suspect that almost anyone would argue that it was a necessary pre-condition to accepting a pair of lungs that a CT scan be performed. Since the article did not mention it, and because the test is definitive and WOULD have detected a tumor, it seems safe to conclude that a CT scan of the donor lungs was not performed prior to them being transplanted in the body of a young, otherwise healthy veteran.
But the choice was not offered to the veteran recipient. He probably was not even aware that the most definitive (albeit expensive) examination of the transplant organs had not been performed.
Instead, NHS rolled the dice for him and ... oh darn. Sorry, but we put a smoker's lungs into your body without thoroughly testing them and I'm afraid we put a cancer in there as well. But I'm sure you understand that we had no way of knowing about the tumor, because we really couldn't afford to make the tests. Stiff upper lip, Old Boy, and all that.
Now we in America are pondering whether to invoke Socialized Medicine upon our populace.
Perhaps it would be better to just cut our own throats and save ourselves the pain and discomfort of Bandages-On-A-Budget.
Evil Socialized Medicine Bastards!