Above Average Blood Poisoning Deaths at one NHS Hospital

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Those who favor a national health care system like to look to Britain and sigh.  How they would love to have a system like the National Health Service (NHS).  As much as they may love their Obamacare they know it is a far cry from the NHS.  Which is what they really want.  Free health care for everyone.  Where everyone has equal access.  And the quality is the same no matter who you are.  Or how much money you have (see Data fears over septicaemia deaths at Royal Bolton Hospital posted 2/27/2013 on BBC News Manchester).

An investigation is under way into unusually high numbers of septicaemia deaths at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed the trust recorded 800 cases from March 2011 to April 2012.

The figure is four times higher than a trust similar in size would expect, according to Bolton CCG.

Bolton NHS Trust said acting chief executive Dr Jackie Bene had stepped aside after initial findings revealed “potential discrepancies” in data.

The BBC understands the investigation is looking at allegations that records were altered to make the hospital’s mortality rates look better…

It added: “We do not believe there are any clinical concerns regarding the care of patients, but rather there are questions that need answering about how the trust reports information about their care for administrative and financial purposes”…

A Dr Foster spokesman said: “The accurate recording of data is essential in allowing us to better understand the quality of care being provided by hospitals, as well as ensuring they receive the correct levels of payment for their services.

Interesting.  The number of deaths from septicemia (aka, blood poisoning) is 4 times higher than a trust similar in size.  But they do not believe that there are any concerns for patient care.  Even though they think that this trust may be underreporting the number of deaths.  So nothing to fear here.  Just an unusually high number of deaths.  Probably even more than they are reporting.  But if you’re not a patient you have nothing to fear.  If you are a patient, then fear.  And put your affairs in order.  Just in case.

The accurate recording of data is essential.  For this data shows them at a glance the quality of care.  And current billing information.  Presumably in separate columns.  Oh, there’s nothing like the warmth of national health care.  In fact, if you want to see what it’s like in the British NHS here is a video showing the miracle of birth.  Warning: the following contains some graphic images.

Actually, that is not video footage of a live birth in the NHS.  It is in fact a scene from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.  We apologize for the confusion.  Still, it is a somewhat accurate illustration of the NHS.  A clueless health care bureaucrat demonstrating where the focus is in the NHS.  In the bookkeeping.  While the doctors worry that the bureaucrat may see them NOT using all of the expensive machinery.  Worried that if he does there may be a cut in their budget next year.

This is the way health care is meant to be.  Universal.  Free.  Cold.  Callous.  And mind-numbingly bureaucratic.  In other words, welcome to Obamacare.

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Study shows that Women are Getting Fat because they’re Slacking Off on the Housework

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Talk about your war on women.  Here’s a salvo from the New York Times.  That reported on a study that said today’s women are fat because they don’t spend enough time cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry (see Does Less Housework Really Equal a Larger Waistline? by Lylah M. Alphonse posted 2/28/2013 on Yahoo! Shine).

A New York Times article about a study that links U.S. women’s expanding waistlines to the fact that they do less housework has sparked a wave of outrage online, where readers decried the piece for being sexist.

“Attn ladies, maybe if you put a little more time into housework you wouldn’t be so fat,” tweeted Taylor Lorenz as she shared the article, entitled “What Housework Has to Do With Waistlines.”

“Are you kidding? You just completely discredited yourselves as a newspaper,” commented Agnes Shugardt on the New York Times Facebook page. (Danielle Rhoads-Ha, director of communications for the New York Times, told Yahoo! Shine that since the outcry is over the study, and not the way the article was written or reported, the newspaper had no comment on it.)

It’s tempting to use a sexist expression here for comic relief.  But we shan’t.

Once upon a time women were angry that men didn’t appreciate how hard housework is.  Which it is.  And probably was the reason why women outlived men for so many years.  For as men got softer working office jobs women continued to work hard.  And remained strong.  So women were justifiably angry when men dismissed housework as simply resting on the couch eating bonbons while watching daytime television.  With a little dusting thrown in.  Now women are mad because their careers are not perceived as physically demanding as doing fulltime housework.  Which they aren’t.  For anyone given the choice would opt to work in the office during the day instead of doing housework.  For housework is backbreaking thankless work.  Few appreciate a clean toilet enough to keep it clean.  Unless you’re the one that cleans it.  But one thing certain about housework is that it burns the calories.  Better than any gym membership can.

Women, even ones who manage their homes instead of big businesses, are also less physically active now than they used to be. In 1965, women spent an average of 25.7 hours each week cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry. By 2010, women were spending an average of 13.3 hours each week on housework. Like their male counterparts, women who worked outside of the home are spending far more time sitting down in front a screen at the office these days, but Archer and his team were surprised to find that even women who stayed home were spending more time watching TV—16.5 hours per week in 2010, up from about eight hours a week in 1965…

Given the way technology has changed housework, it’s unlikely that more housework would make much a difference for either gender, though. Old-fashioned vacuum cleaners were clunky and hard to push, requiring a lot more physical energy to use than today’s lightweight models, and bending and stretching to hang laundry on a line in the 1960s burned more calories than transferring a load from the washer to the dryer.

Both men and women are getting softer these days.  Thanks to a higher standard of living.  And quality appliances at affordable prices.  Pity there’s a downside to all this convenience.  It’s putting us in an early grave.

Yes, women were healthier before they left the house to pursue a career.  And slimmer.  As were men.  If you want to see just how skinny we were watch an old movie.  Where all the leading men were skinny.  And borderline malnourished.  Or sit in an old theater.  The seating is pretty tight these days.  For we were a lot skinnier in the old days.  Not only gut-wise.  But shoulder-wise, too.  For if you sit in a theater that was built close to a hundred years ago you’ll be sitting with your shoulders pressing into the shoulders on either side of you.

We’re eating more and exercising less.  This is why our waistlines are expanding.  Especially for women.  For stay-at-home moms run a never ending marathon.  When they give that up to pursue a career they have to join a health club to make up for the exercise they once got for free.  Which they will eventually quit.  As most people do.  Because after a hard day at the office the last thing anyone wants to do is exercise.  They just want to go home and plop down in front of the television.  With a relaxing adult beverage.  Also not good for the waistline.

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Jane Fonda didn’t like Seth MacFarlane’s Boob Song during the Academy Awards

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

The Academy Awards was a success.  The Academy wanted to appeal to a younger demographic.  So they picked Seth MacFarlane.  In the promos for the Academy Awards MacFarlane said he was Seth MacFarlane.  And to ask your kids to explain who that was.  And that he was hosting the Academy Awards.  And to ask your parents what that was.  Indicating that he was a new young hip host for the old stodgy awards program.  Exactly what the Academy wanted to bring in more viewers.  And it worked.  For Seth MacFarlane delivered exactly want the Academy wanted.  But not everyone was happy with his hosting (see Jane Fonda Slams Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” Oscars Song by Us Weekly posted 2/28/2013 on Yahoo! Movies).

Lena Dunham isn’t the only celebrity who was offended by Seth MacFarlane’s musical number during the 85th Annual Academy Awards, in which the first-time host saluted actresses who went topless on film. Jane Fonda, who presented the Best Director award with Michael Douglas, slammed the Family Guy creator in a Feb. 27 blog post on her official website.

During MacFarlane’s original song, which he performed with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the 39-year-old comic referenced everyone from Halle Berry to Kate Winslet. What the song failed to mention, however, was that several of the actress’ topless moments occurred during rape scenes.

That is not the only reason women go nude in the movies.  Some do so simply to get a part.  There’s a general rule of thumb that the more nudity in a film the worse the film is.  Such as low-budget B movies that aren’t Oscar bound.  That titillate the viewing audience.  But a movie that titillates is still a movie.  And it can go on an actress’ resume.  Helping her to get discovered.  As long as she looks good in the nude.  Which is a requirement to get a part with a nude scene in a titillating B movie.  For they use nudity to spark interest in a film when the characters and plot don’t.  Such as almost any Russ Meyer film.  A man who had a thing for large breasted women.  Or any of those Friday the 13th movies with a gratuitous nude scene to break up the predictable plot, poor character development and bad acting.  Whereas some of the greatest films of all time were rated G.  Such as Gone with the Wind.  A movie where no women went topless.

Some women go topless to try and redefine themselves.  Such as teen stars trying to lose their ‘good girl’ image.  So they can transition to grownup roles.  And few things kill that ‘good girl’ image more than a good girl letting the girls out on the big screen.

Some bigger names go topless for the big payday that going topless provides.  It was big news, and even bigger money, when Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston let the girls out.  For let’s face it, it’s the beautiful people in Hollywood movies.  Feminists have long complained that older and less beautiful actresses don’t get the parts that the more attractive ones do.  Even when they are superior actors.  For apparently people want to see beautiful women on the big screen.  And there is only one thing that the people want to see more.  The breasts of beautiful women.  And Hollywood being a business likes to give the people want they want.  Even if it exploits women.  As it exploited a young Jane Fonda.  For Barbarella was little more than sexploitation.  And a far cry from her work in The China Syndrome.

“What I really didn’t like was the song and dance number about seeing actresses boobs. I agree with someone who said, ‘If they want to stoop to that, why not list all the penises we’ve seen?’ Better yet, remember that this is a telecast seen around the world watched by families with their children and to many this is neither appropriate or funny,” Fonda wrote.

What, did Fonda become a Republican?  For years Republicans have been complaining about the growing vulgarity of American television.  That television today is “neither appropriate or funny” for families with children.  But the liberals just call these Republicans a bunch of old prudes.  Saying that they need to lighten up.  To get with the times.  To be more progressive.  Guess you cross the line when you mention how many actresses have shown their boobs on screen.  For that is true vulgarity.

Yes, MacFarlane’s humor was a bit crude at times.  But one thing you cannot deny.  Seth MacFarlane is talented.  He could sing and dance.  Be funny.  And he was nimble on his feet even when a joke bombed.  If you took the vulgarity out you’d think you were watching someone from the Golden Age of Hollywood.  While adding in the vulgarity helped introduce it to an audience that would probably never have watched a musical in their life.  But they may now.  Even if it’s only the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Once More, with Feeling.  Or Monty Python’s Spamalot.  Or Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s South Park: Bigger Louder and Uncut.  Or their The Book of Mormon.  Musicals that are a bit more accessible.  As they are written for a younger, hipper crowd.  Macfarlane may have dissed America’s leading ladies but he may have regenerated interest in song and dance.  Perhaps even getting more people to see the blockbuster Hollywood musical Les Misérables.  Which Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her portrayal of poor, tragic Fantine.  A lady that has let the girls out a time or two in her professional career.  And it took her to an Academy Award.

Which is more offensive?  Women taking off their clothes on screen?  Or identifying the women who took off their clothes on screen?  It seems if you’re offended by one you must be offended by the other.  If so these ladies should lighten up.  Get with the times.  And be more progressive.

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Women with Breast Cancer suffer higher Death Rates in Britain’s National Health Service

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

The whole push for Obamacare was to provide quality care for all Americans.  Not just those who could afford it.  Health care was going to be classless.  There would be true equality.  No one would receive any better care than anyone else.  Because health care is not a privilege.  It’s a right.  Or so the proponents of national health care say.  And why they supported Obamacare.  A waypoint on the path to true universal care.  Where everyone gets the best health care whenever they need it.  Just like in Britain.  Whose National Health Service (NHS) is what those in America want Obamacare to evolve into.  So health care in America will be just as good as health care in Britain (see British women ‘dying quicker of breast cancer than elsewhere’ by Stephen Adams posted 3/1/2013 on The Telegraph).

Academics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found the proportion of women in the UK surviving at least three years after being diagnosed was 87 to 89 percent, which was similar to Denmark.

In Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden three-year survival was 91 to 94 per cent for the period examined, between 2000 and 2007…

In Britain only 28 per cent made it to three years, but in Sweden 42 per cent did…

Dr Sarah Walters, lead author, said: “We should now investigate whether the treatment of women with later-stage breast cancer meets international standards. There is particular concern that this is not the case, especially for older women”.

Sara Hiom from Cancer Research UK, which helped with the study, said: “We need to investigate the possibility that fewer women with later stage breast cancer in the UK receive the best treatment for their circumstances…”

“The NHS is also working to ensure all patients are treated as individuals and receive care that meets their healthcare needs whatever their age or condition.”

National health care is great.  As long as you’re not old.  For those old people are very costly to treat.  Because they’re living longer into retirement.  Consuming ever more health care dollars (or British pounds) for a few months more of life.  If Britain wants to get their health care costs under control they could save a lot by not treating some of these highest consumers of health care.  Putting some of them, instead, on the Liverpool Care Pathway.  Where doctors can withdraw treatment to let terminal ill patients die with dignity.  While saving precious health care dollars/pounds for use elsewhere.  Cold and callous, yes, but it is happening.

They don’t call the Liverpool Care Pathway a death panel.  But it is one.  Especially when some people are placed on the pathway without consulting with the person’s family first.  Something to look forward to as Obamacare evolves more into a national health care system.  As well as higher death rates for women with breast cancer.  Where there will be more equality.  As we lower the quality of care for everyone by trying to do more with less.  As health care costs soar due to aging populations.  People living longer into retirement.  And tax revenues fall due to aging populations.  Fewer people entering the workforce to pay for those living longer into retirement.  Leaving death panels as one of the few ways for governments to cut costs.

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The Federal Government’s Finances may be a Mess but they could be Worse…like in Detroit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama has posted the largest deficits in history.  Exceeding $1 trillion dollars.  In every year of his first term.  Exceeding Ronald Reagan’s maximum deficit of $452.67 billion (adjusted for inflation).  Exceeding George H.W. Bush’s maximum deficit of $474.51 billion.  Exceeding Bill Clinton’s highest deficit of $404.92 billion.  And exceeding George W. Bush’s maximum deficit of $501.21 billion.  President Obama’s average deficit is twice the highest of the 4 previous presidents.  Is anyone a more irresponsible spender than President Obama (see Michigan Gov. Snyder to Appoint Detroit Emergency Manager by Marilisa Sachteleben posted 3/1/2013 on Yahoo! News)?

Detroit has been operating in deficit for some time… The treasurer’s report found that Detroit is currently $327 million in debt, including retiree pensions and healthcare benefits, and owes $14 billion in long-term debt. The Detroit News reports that Dillon said that city officials were borrowing to cover the deficit and treating loans as revenue. Had they not borrowed, the deficit was projected to reach $937 million in fiscal year 2012. The review team’s recommendation was to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit, and Gov. Snyder had 30 days to make the final call…

On March 1, Gov. Snyder made the call and announced that Detroit would be getting an emergency manager.

Well, we have the answer to our question.  Detroit is.

To put this into perspective let’s compare the federal government to Detroit.  With total federal outlays about $3.8 trillion the federal deficit is about 26.3% of total outlays.  Under the 2012-13 budget Detroit will spend approximately $1.12 billion.  Making the real deficit about 83.7% of total outlays.  Is it any wonder the City of Detroit will be getting an emergency manager?

The problem with Detroit is that they’re still spending money like they have a population of 1.8 million (their peak).  The tax base is long gone but spending obligations for pension and health care for retirees are still there.  Why did this happen?  Detroit became one of the most unfriendly places to do business.  High taxes, including a city income tax, and exceptionally high regulatory costs chased the jobs out of Detroit.  And with those jobs went the people.  The tax base.  An object lesson of what liberal Democrat policies gone wild can do to a city.

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