There are times…

…as you know, when each of us, even the most prolific and irrepressible of bloggers, simply feels he has nothing to say. For me, this is such a time. Not only is there nothing in the news that I find particularly inspiring lately, there are also a number of potential changes whirling around me and until they stop whirling and crystallize, I think the best strategy is silence. This shouldn’t take too long: on Monday afternoon, I expect to have some really big news about…well, I don’t want to spoil things. Let’s just say I’m expecting to post a true bombshell on Monday evening. (Consider yourself teased.)

The other issue – my recent trips to the hospital – increasingly resembles a Franz Kafka novella, in that the more times I see the doctor the less information I seem to get. Bottom line: it’s nothing too serious, but they still have to figure out what to do about it. And I’ll continue to be incapacitated with long waits at the hospital and a seemingly endless series of tests – at least another week, thanks to the nature of sociaized medicine. (Yes, I think socialized medicine is the way to go, but Americans are going to have a hard time giving up the notion of Marcus Welby, M.D., the Family Doctor who lives and works down the street.)

The Discussion: 23 Comments

Hey, there’s not that much happening at the moment. Well, there is – but maybe not on topics we’re interested in. ๐Ÿ™‚

November 26, 2006 @ 4:37 am | Comment

Americans gave up the notion of Marcus Welby a long time ago when HMOs and PPPs became the norm. There is an email petition making the rounds asking people to write to their members of Congress to get a bill passed requiring insurance companies to pay for overnight hospital stays for mastectomy patients, who are now being shoved out the door a few hours after surgery with drainage tubes still attached. Sickening, isn’t it?

My uncle contracted Gillian-Barre Syndrome several months ago. After the initial paralysis, we are thankful that he seems to be on his way to a full recovery, but his family has faced an endless struggle with the insurance company over what services will be covered.

Unfortunately, many ignorant Americans still buy into the notion that our privatized health care system is better than socialized medicine, but more and more are waking up and realizing that our health care is only more expensive, not better, and in some measures, may be worse.

To wit, the US’ largest government health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, spend only 5% of their expenditures on administrative costs, compared to 25% for the private sector. This is easy for me to believe. In my previous job, I had a PPP that was an alliance between the two major health care providers in town. For every office visit, test, etc., I had to deal with both the health care provider and the PPP. With most copays on a percentage basis, I was suspicious that fees were jacked up since, with only two providers and an alliance between them, there wasn’t much competition. Both hospitals operated very expensive Level 1 trauma centers, which seemed unnecessary for a city of 100,000. If they could cooperate in an insurance alliance, I don’t know why they couldn’t jointly operate a trauma center. The hospitals were just down the road from each other, so distance wasn’t an issue.

With much confusion and frustration over the new Medicare prescription ‘donut hole.’ Dems see their chance and are pushing for the legal import of pharmaceuticals from Canada and Europe.

November 26, 2006 @ 7:00 am | Comment

Concerning the ‘true bombshell’ – are you pregnant?

November 26, 2006 @ 10:40 am | Comment

Is the father Ivan? Just kidding. I hope your revoery goes well, and can’t wait until Monday’s post!

November 26, 2006 @ 11:15 am | Comment


You have my permission to call me Father Ivan as long as you don’t out my identity to the CCP’s Bureau of Religious Affairs.

November 26, 2006 @ 11:55 am | Comment

Considering how many times a day you seem to post, I’m genuinely surprised that you have “nothing to say”!!

Can’t wait for Monday, then.

November 26, 2006 @ 11:57 am | Comment

deleted for using a false email address

November 26, 2006 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

deleted for using a false email address

November 26, 2006 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

Best wishes Richard.

But what’s going on with you, Ivan?
Are we supposed to take something like the below serious?

“In other words, this topic is literally radioactive. Therefore, although on the one hand I do not want to delete this entire thread, on the other hand there are more important matters at stake than blogosphere niceties about open comments. Therefore the comments on this post will remain closed, literally because too much disinformation or misinformation about this case could literally lead to exponentially disastrous consequences.”

Not realy, รคh?
Or should we perhaps call you James Ivan Bond from now on?

By the way, great film this new Bond movie.

November 26, 2006 @ 6:01 pm | Comment

I mean, what’s this supposed to mean:
“And all I will say about why I am deleting this post and all of its comments, is that the lives of many innocent people might depend on my doing so.”

People in danger because of comments by some Ducklings?

(Shulan’s of to the telephone, MI6 is calling.)

November 26, 2006 @ 6:08 pm | Comment

Since this is evolving into an open thread…here’s an interesting link about the poisoned Rusian spy Ivan wrote about.

m, please don’t insult the writers here. If you hsve an issue with them, use the comments to argue it out. But name calling like that isn’t acceptable.

November 26, 2006 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Nothing to write about?

How about the student in LA who was repeatedly tasered by campus security for not taking his ID with him to the college library.

That was one of the most chilling things I’ve read in a long time. Looks like the first of the Abu Ghraib chickens are returning to roost.

November 26, 2006 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

Dang, forgot to add: good luck and get well, Richard!

Wo zhu ni hao shenti! ๐Ÿ™‚

November 26, 2006 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

“an true imbecile”? English grammar much?

Thank god I’m just boring.

November 27, 2006 @ 2:45 am | Comment

Oh – I like that: ‘Russophobia’…and what if you fear (read ‘hate’) everyone – ‘Terraphobia’?

@m – What have you done? – they don’t call him Terrible for naught! I think we’re in for it now…

@Ivan – Compose yourself my friend, remember, more flies with honey….

November 27, 2006 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Shulan et al:

No, as I told Richard in a private email, no TPD people are in danger. However, some of them are ill-informed about Russia, and wildly speculative and irresponsible, and I won’t be a party to allowing them to spread even more disinformation about this case around the internet.

In other words, the problem here is that there is already too much wild speculation about this case flying all over the press and the blogospheres, all over the world. It’s always wrong to speculate too wildly about ANY unsolved murder case – and this case is about far more than murder, it involves possible breaches of security at nuclear weapons facilities.

And Shulan, I’m not making that up. Go and see the link from the Observer, et al

I can’t prevent all wild speculations about this case, but I feel a responsibility to avoid contributing to it in any way, and to do my part to reverse the tidal wave of disinformation about it. If anyone wants to blog about it in their own different ways, the rest of the blogosphere is open to you. No one is preventing you, or anyone, from blogging about the Litvinenko case in your own way. But this is one special case in which I know there is a moral mandate to put my finger into the dike which is bursting with disinformation.

And once again, I must repeat: SOMEBODY took Polonium out of a high-security nuclear facitilty and used it for murder. That means this case is about far more than just one murder; it literally indicates far more widespread dangers, including instability in the second biggest nuclear arsenal in the world. And you don’t have to be “James Bond” to understand how fucking deadly serious that is.

November 27, 2006 @ 3:02 am | Comment

And Shulan, by the way, if you don’t like how I treated the Litvinenko murder here, you DO have your OWN blog, don’t you?

So if you understand the Litvinenko murder better than I do, write about it in your own way on your own blog. Richard has agreed to let me write about it my way here, after I explained to him why I was doing so..

November 27, 2006 @ 3:06 am | Comment

AND, now isn’t it funny that I used the phrase, “put my finger into the dike which is bursting with disinformation.” Now that I read the link which Richard gave us (in his above comment), I see it uses the same metaphor:

“As Justin Raimondo writes, ?the propaganda spewed out in the last couple of days is pure bunk and quite bizarre?. It?s what Justin describes as a ?public relations tsunami, in which Litvinenko?s absurd conspiracy theory is being touted as unimpeachable fact.? Putin did it, no doubt about that.

Berezovsky?s UK PR agency, of course, knows full well that it doesn?t take much to get xenophobic British tabloids going. You can?t pick up a Sun these days without a chiller diller scare about Romanian rippers, or Polish pimps, or Eastern European gypsies flooding in from everywhere. So the unscrupulous Pottinger fed them a large dose of Russophobia and they swallowed it whole.

Who would benefit from such a hate campaign at this time? Hmmm. It might just be the sleazy band of mobsters currently sheltering in London from corruption and murder charges in Russia. You see, on Nov 16, Russia and the UK signed a new memorandum on extradition. And Russian prosecutors interpret that as facilitating their ability to extradite Russia?s most-wanted: Berezovsky and Zakayev.”

Thanks for that link, Richard.

Shulan, you still wanna take cheap shots at me like calling me “James Bond” as if I concocted my concerns out of thin air? And as you’re a German, Shulan, you of all people ought to have learned how allowing lies to spread around DOES put millions of people in danger sometimes. If more of your countrymen had taken more personal responsibility to resist and reverse Hitler’s and Goebbels’ lies, maybe millions of lives would have been saved. (And hey, Shulan, one personal snipe deserves another, hm?)

November 27, 2006 @ 3:55 am | Comment

Just curious here, but does Russia have an equivalent to James Bond in the popular imagination? If they do, that would be pretty awesome.

November 27, 2006 @ 4:19 am | Comment

The best way to get information about your condition is to appear knowledgable. (Actually, BEING knowledgeable is better.) If you hit doctors with intelligent questions, they will know they can’t baffle you with BS and half-answers. They also tend to like talking with smart people, since they consider themselves smarter than everyone else, and they get SO tired of ignorant mortals. At least that’s what seems to work in Western hospitals. Don’t know how the culture is where you are.

You obviously have computer access, so do some research into whatever it is that might be ailing you. Write your questions down, because it’s human nature to forget when you’re confronted with a clutch of rushed medicos.

And don’t be afraid to be pushy! I’ve cringed at how my wife gets aggressive with doctors, even when she got outrageous to get me IMMEDIATE lithotripsy in 2003. (The renal doc said “We’ll schedule you in two weeks” even though I was pissing blood, and compliant person that I am, I figured “I can suffer through it for a while longer…”) The demanding patient gets the care. Your ass is going to be literally showing through your hospital gown, so don’t be afraid to show it figuratively.

November 27, 2006 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Bukko, I’m no longer in acute pain so I can’t demand urgent care. If I were, I wouldn’t be so accommodating. They now know what the problem is, they just have to determine its exact location, and that’s all I want to say about it for now.

Slim, there re plenty of great stories for me to write about. But I am not inspired by any of them. The stories are great, but the problem is with me – I’m too pre-occupied about my hospital visits and today’s big announcement to get inspired to blog. There was a great article in yesterday’s WaPo about Chinese college grads who are entering a jobless market that I’ve been dying to blog, but again, I just can’t get the cylinders fired up. And the taser story has been blogged to death already – of course, Michelle Malkin sees it as just fine to taser people for civil disobedience.

Come back toward the end of the day today. Hopefully I’ll get my fire back.

November 27, 2006 @ 10:12 am | Comment

“Come back toward the end of the day today. Hopefully I’ll get my fire back.”

Would a short taser burst be a helpful stimulant? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you are feeling more “into it” soon, but we all understand matters of personal health have a way of concentrating one’s attention. All the best, for a speedy conclusion to the ordeal, Richard!

PS: How about the woman in Pagosa Springs whose neighbors are threatening to fine her $25/day for hanging on her house a wreath shaped like a peace sign?

November 27, 2006 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

Slim, that wreath story is too much – just blogged it, thanks!

November 27, 2006 @ 2:30 pm | Comment

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