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This just in…

All of you who claimed that Ambulance Driver was telling tales as a heartless bastard when he claimed your fibromyalgia was an excuse to get the pharmaceutical candy of your choice– AD is now vindicated:

Key components of the industry-funded buzz over the pain-and-fatigue ailment fibromyalgia are grants — more than $6 million donated by drugmakers Eli Lilly and Pfizer in the first three quarters of 2008 — to nonprofit groups for medical conferences and educational campaigns, an Associated Press analysis found.

That’s more than they gave for more accepted ailments such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Among grants tied to specific diseases, fibromyalgia ranked third for each company, behind only cancer and AIDS for Pfizer and cancer and depression for Lilly.

Win/win- drug seekers get the drugs they want while getting to cling to the sympathy from having an “illness,” drug companies make money, the paramedics see a lot of patients who are not really sick, and the taxpayers get to pay for it all. What isn’t to like?

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You can’t negotiate with people like this

I have been reading articles like this one, and listening to politicians talk about negotiating with hard line Muslims, and I just do not think it can be done. All this man did was translate the Quran from Arabic into a language locals could understand, and for this he is condemned to death. From the link:

There is no law in Afghanistan prohibiting the translation of the Quran. But Zalmai is accused of violating Islamic Shariah law by modifying the Quran. The courts in Afghanistan, an Islamic state, are empowered to apply Shariah law when there are no applicable existing statutes.

And Afghanistan’s court system appears to be stacked against those accused of religious crimes. Judges don’t want to seem soft on potential heretics and lawyers don’t want to be seen defending them, said Afzal Shurmach Nooristani, whose Afghan Legal Aid group is defending Zalmai.

Others are mentioned as having been sentenced to death for heinous crimes like asking questions about women’s rights under Islam, or converting to Christianity. A Muslim lawyer who defends the accused in these cases said, “The mullahs in the mosques have said whoever defends an infidel is an infidel.”

This is the religion that calls itself the religion of peace, but straps bombs to their own children to kill infidels:

Just how do you negotiate with a religion that believes that their god wants you to die, and they believe it so strongly that they are willing to strap a bomb to their own children, in the hopes that when the bomb detonates that a few of you will die with their child? The simple fact is that many in the Muslim world believe that anyone who is not a true Muslim by their definition must die. The only way to stop the killing is for one side or the other to be eliminated.

Images found here.

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EMS is getting busier and busier.

The problem:

EMS systems are being overrun by frequent flyers, people with non-emergent complaints, and prank calls. The reporters in the above video suggest that cities adopt a system where non-emergent calls are offered transportation to other services or doctors. I do not think this system will work for two main reasons:

1 The frequent flyers will figure out how to game the system, and will claim to have a life threatening complaint so they can get to the ER, the the reduction in ER runs will be minimal.

2 The first time a patient dies because an emergent patient was sent a cab instead of an ambulance, there will be a huge lawsuit.

The problem is that with our current legal system, there is no way for any ER or EMS system to refuse service to anyone without legal repercussions, and there will always be people who take advantage of the system. There is one patient that I see frequently, let’s call her Jenny, that I have run on as many as 5 times on a single day. Other patients are just as bad. There are 10 patients in my area who are alone responsible for nearly 5% of our call load. That’s right- 10 people are being run on over 1,000 times a year. Add in the 10 nursing homes that give us another 5,000 calls a year, and you see that 30% of our time is being used up by a very small minority.

I would say that less than 15% of our runs are true medical emergencies. Our collection rates run at about 40%, with most of those being Medicaid and Medicare. Some of our most ardent frequent flyers are carriers of the Medicaid ‘gold card’ and call us because they know they can do so without having to worry about paying.

Our medical system is only going to deteriorate as more and more people realize that today’s house calls are made by Paramedics, and help is just a phone call away. What is the solution? I have no idea, but I do know that the nation’s EMS systems are only going to get busier. At least that gives me job security.

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Security theater

I just returned from a two week vacation in the Caribbean. For obvious reasons, I kept the number of people who knew I would be gone to a minimum, but now that I have returned, I would like to share a few of my observations.

On the day that I left, I had to fly to Puerto Rico to catch the cruise ship that would carry me for the journey. I try not to fly, but the fact that Puerto Rico is an island over 1,100 miles from my home made flying a necessity.

We arrived at the airport two hours early, so that we could deal with the effects of the security theater put in place by our government. The ticketing procedures were efficient: the ticket agent asked for my ID and credit card, weighed in our bags, and issued our boarding passes. We then proceeded to the security gates, and that is where things took a turn for the worse.

The first thing you notice is the long lines. After waiting in line for about 5 minutes, you come to the first security post. At this station, the TSA official examines your papers to make sure of what, I do not know. She looked over my boarding pass and my Photo Identification and, deciding that I was worthy of flying, allowed me to pass on to the next line.

This line requried me to remove my shoes, and place all of my belongings in a plastic tote. This tote was x-rayed, and inspected for contraband. Mrs Street Pharmacist was also required to remove her belt, and had to submit to a frisking. I felt so incredibly violated being searched in such a fashion. I was afraid to make eye contact with any of the security personnel, for fear that they would somehow deem me a troublemaker or miscreant, and place me on some sort of a list that would forever brand me to be a terrorist. Once on this government list, who knows what other liberties I will have taken from me?

To those who think that these searches are needed in order to keep us safe, I would point this out: the 9/11 hijackings were carried out by a handful of determined men who carried nothing more than a few small knives. Have you ever seen these before?

Completely undetectable, and they can be bought for less than $10 on websites like this one. Our Government cannot even keep weapons and drugs out of the prisons, so what makes you think that they can do any better with any other venue?

What has happened here is that our Fourth Amendment has been totally destroyed. The rest of our Bill of Rights are soon to follow.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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White males need not apply for hope and change

or maybe the change Obama talked about is a change to unemployment. Why is that? Listen to the video below:

This is Robert Reich, the Obama financial adviser speaking about the Obama stimulus plan. What does he say?

I am concerned, as many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers. I have nothing against white male construction workers, I am just saying that there are a lot of other people who have needs as well… Criteria can be set, so the money does go to others, the long term unemployed, minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high skilled professionals.

Martin Luther King Jr had a dream. His dream was that a man could be judged by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin. I have the same dream.

President Obama, you are not fit to shine Dr King’s shoes. Douchebag.

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Hypocrisy?

Much was made about the fact that the McCain campaign spent $150,000 on a wardrobe for Sarah
Palin.

Why is nothing bad said about Michelle Obama’s $1,500 dress? Instead, the press falls over themselves in pointing out that the Obamas are setting the fashion trend of America.

This, after the same paper said:

“There’s this big shift right now going on in the country, ” Finney said. “Women are beginning to realize you can be fabulous and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. For the governor, I could have found her a new suit for every day of the month, including the weekends, and it still would have been less than $10,000.”

It appears as though that same $10,000 will buy Michelle Obama about a 4 day wardrobe. Of course, the press is not biased or anything.

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Crank up the printing presses

Obama is telling the American people that we can expect trillion dollar deficits for the next few years. Aides said later that the estimate — in line with what economists have been anticipating given the economy’s rapid deterioration — did not include the costs of the proposed stimulus package, which could add hundreds of billions of dollars more to the red ink.

Imagine that, deficits of $1.5 trillion. That is a 13% increase of our national debt in one year. When Mr Obama takes office, our national debt will be close to $11 trillion. If the above prediction holds true, at the conclusion of Obama’s first term our outstanding debt will be $17 trillion, a 154% increase. GW Bush’s presidency nearly doubled the debt from $5.6 trillion to $11 trillion.

When Clinton took office in 1993, the National Debt was $4.2 trillion. In three Presidencies, the debt will have doubled twice. This strategy is being chased by the Republicans and the Democrats, which is why I see no real difference between the two parties.

When will the fun stop? Sooner or later, this country will be bankrupt. What will the world be like when that happens? That is the change I’m afraid of.

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The politics of self destruction

The ‘bailout’ of the big three automakers has stalled in the Senate, largely because the UAW is refusing to make any concessions on wages. It seems to me like the UAW would rather see their employers go out of business and lose their jobs, rather than take a pay cut.

It boggles my mind- especially considering that some forklift drivers in the UAW are making over $100,000 dollars a year. From the article:

Many bankrupt autoworkers own two homes — one is usually up north — which means multiple mortgages. Most have two or more cars and sometimes a boat or snowmobile payment, according to information culled from cases filed by autoworkers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Yet, I am supposed to feel sorry for a person who makes double what the average Toyota worker makes, and accept that my tax dollars are going to pay these higher wages? For years, UAW officials have boasted that the Union workers they represent make 67% more than non-union workers. Now that these outrageous wages are bankrupting their employers, I say that you are getting the predictable results of being noncompetitive in the marketplace.

Not with my tax dollars you don’t. Consider this: On September 30, 2008, the National Debt was $10,024,724,896,912. As of December 10, the National Debt is $10,648,440,877,252. That is an annual growth rate of 32%. At that rate, our debt will double every 27 months. Except we are not moving at that rate, but a much higher rate than that.

If this continues, the Obama administration will be facing a $15 trillion debt before the end of its first year. Can you say hyperinflation?

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Obama is not the President, yet

I was watching MSNBC yesterday morning when I saw Obama holding a news conference. He was standing behind a lectern that was labeled “Office of the President Elect.” There is only one small problem there: The election of the President has not occurred yet. The popular vote that was held at the beginning of the month was to select delegates that will elect the President, but the actual election will not be until next month.

One might think that I am picking nits by saying that, but Obama is the one who is ordering that people build things like lecterns labeled with a title that does not exist. Sure, the President-elect has an office, but the President-elect has no Constitutional Authority, and even if it did, Obama is not yet the President-elect.

So why is he doing this? Is he attempting to take over early? I find his behavior to be extremely narcissistic. While I still feel that neither McCain or Obama would make good Presidents, I think that Obama will sorely disappoint many of his supporters.

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I got a 100% on the quiz you find here by answering all 33 questions correctly. If you do not score at least a 75% on this test, I don’t see where you know enough about politics to have an opinion.