Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fudging health care figures

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is part of a phrase attributed to the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, among others, and later popularized in the United States by, among others, Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." The statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions. The phrase is not found in Disraeli's works nor is it known within his lifetime and for years afterward. Many coiners have been proposed. The most plausible, on current evidence, is Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843-1911).

How remarkable that in the 21st century a phrase that was coined before air travel, before radio, before telephones, before elevators and (gasp) before the Internet can be so applicable.

Financial market models and global warming models are just two examples du jour.

Health care is another. Have a look at the following from

The 78.11 is life expectancy and $7,290 is the cost of health care. If you knew nothing else then you would think that Americans spend a lot of money to achieve ordinary outcomes. Zooming in on the graph gives:

(click to embiggen)

Gee, higher infant mortality than Norway? Worse cardiovascular results? More money spent? What a waste? Right?


You see, nearly every country listed on the image leeches off of the innovation of the US health sector in order to provide their health outcomes. Take away the US and the cost to each nation would be much, much higher, as they would be forced to take on the R&D costs currently borne by the US.

Not that left wing politicians and their supporters will ever make that argument, of course, in spite of its truth.

Here is an inconvenient fact for people who believe the above represents the whole picture - if you are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other conditions you will live longer post-diagnosis in the US than anywhere else in the world.

The issue in the US is not quality of care but access to care, brought about completely by ridiculous government intervention in the market, which restricts access across state lines, as well as tying health care to employment.

There is another problem with the above image - it compares a nation of 300 million people with much smaller ones.

Norway has a population of under 5 million. Every other country on the image has a much larger population than Norway. The bigger question is how is it that Norway can have such poor outcomes compared to the rest of the countries listed?

Of course, the comparison of the US can only be valid when compared to the whole of the European Union (500 million) or the whole of South America (385 million). There are states of the US that outdo Norway, Canada, Germany or Australia. So what?

Speaking selfishly, I hope that the health care bill as proposed in the US is defeated, otherwise our healthcare costs here in Australia will start to increase, as they will in the rest of the world.

And another thing - if health care reform is so urgent then why won't it be implemented until 2013, after the next presidential election?

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

This will drive the cultural left crazy

So there's a bunch of Sri Lankan economic refugees and assorted ex-Tamil Tiger terrorists living on the Oceanic Viking somewhere off of Indonesia in a political tug-of-war between crap knows who but mainly involving Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, trying to look compassionate, tough and statesmanlike all at the same time; a stance that he has failed spectacularly to achieve, which comes as no surprise to those of us who think he has little diplomatic skill and a decidedly nasty streak about him.

So here's the boat. There's 78 Sri Lankans camping on it.

Now, here's the bit that will drive the cultural left crazy.

Outspoken Liberal MP, Wilson Tuckey, suggested that the government may need to call in the army in order to remove the Sri Lankans from the boat and place them in detention in Indonesia.

Cue the usual whinging and carry on from Australia's left.

Here's the current status of ninemsn's poll on the issue - Should the army get the asylum seekers off the Oceanic Viking?

(click to embiggen)

Queue-jumping asylum seekers have very little support from the Australian people. We have a strong sense of fairness and these people are well past what we consider acceptable.

Now, would the cultural left accept the result of the poll?

Surely they would twist it into an example not of Australia's fairness but of its inherent racism?

No doubt there'll be much chatter among the chattering class over the injustice of it all.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Give that man an award for bravery

The loopy left must really be hating the fact that the fraud that is climate change is being exposed for all to see right before the Copenhagen Climate Junket is due to take place.

Here's Liberal Party senator Cory Bernardi putting into simple language the reason why the proposed emissions trading scheme is such a disaster for Australia.

You know, when a company changes its brand it's normally because the old one has problems.

Thus, when the earth's climate stopped doing what climate astrologers predicted it changed from global warming to climate change, which allowed activists to ditch the inconvenient truth of the old brand and include a whole bunch of other apocalyptic consequences - flood, famine, drought, pestilence - to scare the kiddies with.

Simple. as. that.

The greatest threat to freedom does not come from Wall Street or the Religious Right or even Islamic Fascism.

The greatest threat to freedom comes from Big Environmentalism.

(h/t Andrew Bolt)

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

ABC journalism plumbs new depths

Here's the headline from this ABC news article:

And here's the opening paragraph:
Afghans held at an Australian-funded immigration detention centre in Tanjung Pinang, a town on an island south of Singapore, allege they are beaten at night.
Now, a reasonable person would read the headline and the opening paragraph and draw the conclusion that Australia is funding a 'Guantanamo-style' detention centre.

The article continues:
It is the same place where 78 asylum seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking are being taken.

Speaking from behind barred windows, an Afghan man calling himself only Hashim shouted out that there were currently about 80 men inside the Tanjung Pinang detention centre.

It is believed to be capable of holding up to 600 people but to date, 200 has been the maximum held there at any one time.

Hashim said he was from Kandahar but most of the men inside were ethnic Hazaras, and that there were also some Sri Lankans inside.

He said they had been there from two to six months. While they received three meals a day, he said there was no air conditioning or television and nowhere for them to exercise.

"Sometimes the immigration people take some people during the night," Hashim shouted.
Let's get this straight. They are being detained in a facility at one-third capacity, so no problem with overcrowding, are getting three square meals a day while at the same time complaining about no air-conditioning or TV?

Nearly halfway through the article and we're yet to get any evidence of the beatings. So how do we know they happened?

Let's continue:
Asked whether they were beaten, he replied, "Yes. There isn't any human rights. We aren't getting any human rights."
Get that?
"Asked whether they were beaten..."
A journalist asked whether they were beaten? Why the hell would he do that? He has plucked the question out of his arse, got the answer he wanted and then used it as a headline for his article.

Just when you think that journalism is at its nadir the ABC manages to plumb new depths.

How about this for a headline?

"Detainees fed three meals a day, receive medial care, complain about no TV"

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The ongoing collapse of the UK

Theodore Dalrymple is one of the greatest commentators on the collapse of Western European civilisation.

What has happened to a society in which this can happen?
Leanne Shepherd and Lucy Jarrett, both 32, are close friends. They work as police officers, but on different shifts. For a long time, they babysat for each other, an arrangement that suited them perfectly and enabled them to continue their careers. The authorities recently told them, however, that their arrangement was illegal. If they did not desist, they would face prosecution.

Why? Because they exceeded the permitted time to babysit without having received professional training in such matters as resuscitation and child psychology. Moreover, the state considers their mutual babysitting a potentially taxable economic benefit. It does not matter that the arrangement was entirely reciprocal and voluntary. British citizens may no longer make such private agreements among themselves.

One of the nastiest aspects of this little story is that the authorities were alerted to the two women’s terrible crime by one of their neighbors. An increasingly intrusive state engenders an increasingly nasty population of secret informers.
There was a not dissimilar story in the US recently from Michigan in which a woman was in trouble because families would drop their kids off at her house in the morning, as the bus stop was right out front. She'd take care of 2 or 3 kids for up to an hour, which allowed the parents to get to work on time. Apparently, she's running an illegal child minding facility.

The world is going slowly crazy.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Plod investigate wooden spoon smacking

I tell you what group is a piece of crap - those that advocate against using a smack or, as in the case below, a wooden spoon to discipline their children.
A Victorian woman has been questioned by police and threatened to be charged with assault after hitting her 9-year-old daughter with a wooden spoon.
That's why we have police. To hunt down wooden-spook smackers.
Claire Davidson was warned by police that she risked an assault-with-a-weapon charge after her child revealed in a classroom discussion that her mother hit her with the spoon.
How did it come about that she 'revealed' this information?
Ms Davidson said she was shocked when a support worker from Yea Public School reported the smacking to police.
Did the support worker deliberately go fishing for the information? Why didn't she, and I assume it's a she, talk to the mother first? Is being a support worker the same as being one of those apartment 'managers' in Soviet Russia that were an extension of the tentacles of the KGB? The support worker is an immoral piece of crap.
"We only use the wooden spoon and that is only when she is being naughty and we give her fair chance to rectify the situation and we talk her through it," she told the Herald Sun.
She said her daughters gets three warnings and, then, "it is spoon time."
Seems remarkably fair to me. I never got the three warnings as a kid. My mother stopped hitting me with a wooden spoon when she kept breaking them. The fact I was laughing might also not have helped.
Ms Davidson of Flowerdale, north of Melbourne, was told by police she would be charged with assault if another instance of her daughter being hit with the spoon was reported again.
So, the police will charge the mother even if the daughter simply makes it up?

The incident has sparked a debate about smacking between parents and child-welfare advocates.
Child-welfare advocates have a horrible history of producing destructive outcomes for children and families. The sooner that various Departments of Community Services are completely restructured the better off kids will be.
A criminal lawyer said that whether parents are charged with assaulting their children or not depends on how severe the smacking is.

"Just because you are mother or daughter doesn't make you exempt from the law," criminal lawyer James Dowsley said.
More nitwittery, this time from the legal profession.

Violence is one thing.

Discipline, which includes light smacking, is entirely another.

The whole point of violence is to inflict serious injury.

The point of light smacking is to discipline the child.

Now, are there some fathers and mothers who go too far? Of course there are but blanket banning of light smacking DOES NOT STOP those who are inclined to violence in the first place.

So now we have a good and loving mother with a potential conviction for assault.

Chalk up another innocent victim for the cultural left in Australia.

What do Australians feel about it? Here's the poll from today's ninemsn:

I wonder how many of those who voted no have kids.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Thomas Friedman writes one of the great speeches

Thomas Friedman is the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of US political commentators. He takes an almost European approach to domestic matters while being a traditional Kennedy Liberal on international affairs.

To read Friedman on domestic affairs is almost as cringeworthy as reading Maureen Dowd; he is in lock step with the Democrat left on health care, global warming, social security and taxes. His articles lack depth, intellectual rigour and, most disturbingly, the support of hard evidence, relying more on emotion than logic.

Once he's taken his medicine, however, and turns his attention to matters beyond the US mainland then he becomes a serious, deep and impressive thinker. I might disagree with him on some of his foreign policy solutions but I can't fault him on his thought process.

Every man and his dog has had a crack at the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for not only making an ass of itself for awarding the prize to President Obama but also for diminishing the meaning of the award, yet again, so that it is now even more meaningless than it was after being given to Al Gore.

Friedman weighs in with the speech that the president should give at the acceptance ceremony. It is one of the great pieces of (speech)writing of modern times.
“Let me begin by thanking the Nobel committee for awarding me this prize, the highest award to which any statesman can aspire. As I said on the day it was announced, ‘I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.’ Therefore, upon reflection, I cannot accept this award on my behalf at all.

“But I will accept it on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army,Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi fascism. I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers and sailors who fought on the high seas and forlorn islands in the Pacific to free East Asia from Japanese tyranny in the Second World War.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American airmen who in June 1948 broke the Soviet blockade of Berlin with an airlift of food and fuel so that West Berliners could continue to live free. I will accept this award on behalf of the tens of thousands of American soldiers who protected Europe from Communist dictatorship throughout the 50 years of the cold war.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers who stand guard today at outposts in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan to give that country, and particularly its women and girls, a chance to live a decent life free from the Taliban’s religious totalitarianism.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American men and women who are still on patrol today in Iraq, helping to protect Baghdad’s fledgling government as it tries to organize the rarest of things in that country and that region — another free and fair election.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the thousands of American soldiers who today help protect a free and Democratic South Korea from an unfree and Communist North Korea.

“I will accept this award on behalf of all the American men and women soldiers who have gone on repeated humanitarian rescue missions after earthquakes and floods from the mountains of Pakistan to the coasts of Indonesia. I will accept this award on behalf of American soldiers who serve in the peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert that has kept relations between Egypt and Israel stable ever since the Camp David treaty was signed.

“I will accept this award on behalf of all the American airmen and sailors today who keep the sea lanes open and free in the Pacific and Atlantic so world trade can flow unhindered between nations.

“Finally, I will accept this award on behalf of my grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who arrived at Normandy six weeks after D-Day, and on behalf of my great-uncle, Charlie Payne, who was among those soldiers who liberated part of the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald.

“Members of the Nobel committee, I accept this award on behalf of all these American men and women soldiers, past and present, because I know — and I want you to know — that there is no peace without peacekeepers.

“Until the words of Isaiah are made true and lasting — and nations never again lift up swords against nations and never learn war anymore — we will need peacekeepers. Lord knows, ours are not perfect, and I have already moved to remedy inexcusable excesses we’ve perpetrated in the war on terrorism.

“But have no doubt, those are the exception. If you want to see the true essence of America, visit any U.S. military outpost in Iraq or Afghanistan. You will meet young men and women of every race and religion who work together as one, far from their families, motivated chiefly by their mission to keep the peace and expand the borders of freedom.

“So for all these reasons — and so you understand that I will never hesitate to call on American soldiers where necessary to take the field against the enemies of peace, tolerance and liberty — I accept this peace prize on behalf of the men and women of the U.S. military: the world’s most important peacekeepers.”
Give the man his credit. That is one terrific piece of writing. It is even suited to the president's style of speech.

There has been no greater force for peace than the US military. If you disagree then you need to name what group has done more to achieve peace, not talk about it or simply wish it were so.

I hope that by December President Obama has made the tough decisions he needs to in order to succeed in Afghanistan, which would then make giving this speech even more effective.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Midget Cup draws ire of the perennially outraged

Here's another example of the outrage-du-jour baiters getting on their high, moralising horses and carrying on about what is nothing more than a bit of harmless fun that was enjoyed by all involved.
A piggy-back race with dwarfs dressed as jockeys has been slammed by critics as offensive and derogatory.
Critics tend to slam things. That's what they do.
Thousands watched the race at a Cranbourne racetrack in Victoria, dubbed the "midgets' cup", as part of Sunday's Cranbourne Cup meeting, Adelaide Now reports.
They were simply having a lark and, it could be argued, raising awareness of midgets. Were there any critics on track? Did the crowd mind?
Three men raced down a 50m stretch with a short statured person on each of their backs.
Why use 'short statured person' now when the writer used 'dwarf' in the first sentence? Who the hell knows what a short statured person is? I'm well over six foot so anyone below about 5' 6" is short to me.
The race ended with one "jockey" falling and crashing headfirst into the dirt but he was uninjured.
Would there have been more outrage had he been injured? Why not write, "The race ended with one "jockey" falling and crashing headfirst into the dirt, which made him laugh like a bastard along with the crowd of enthusiastic midget race watchers."?
Victorian racing minister Rob Hulls said he couldn’t understand the point of the race.
Rob Hulls doesn't understand
anything when it comes to socially acceptable norms, which is why he's fighting so hard to get jumps racing banned.
"At a time when racing should be fighting hard for that discretionary dollar and fighting hard to get young people back to the track, this type of event does nothing to promote the industry as vital, modern or innovative," he was quoted by Adelaide Now as saying.
Can Mr Hulls point to anything he does support that promotes the industry as vital, modern or innovative? Platitudinous twat.
Meredith Tripp, a former president of the Short Statured People of Australia association, told the newspaper that events that made fun of short statured people made it harder for them to go through life without being subject to ridicule.
There's such as thing as the Short Statured People of Australia? When a baby is born with dwarfism does the doctor tell the parents that it's short statured or dwarfed? Can we rename dwarf stars to short statured stars? These people are lunatic. And why go to a former president? What's the current president got to say about it?
"For a big corporate group seeing some sort of comical side to such an event is unfortunate," she said.
Because nobody would see the comical side to something like the Australian Team marching at the 2009 World Dwarf Games opening ceremony in Belfast...

...or midgets playing basketball? Nothing could be unfunnier.

I'll tell you something that the Dwarves do have right - the distances of their track races: 10m, 20m, 40m, 60m and the marathon 100m. I could just about handle the first couple of those. Their field games include tennis ball throw, frisbee throw and cricket ball throw. I reckon the Olympic Committee should be talking to them.
Cranbourne Racing Club said it received no complaints about the race on the day.
Oh, hoooooooo....! Thousands and thousands of people, no doubt representing a broad section of Australian society, as racing invariably does, make not one complaint?

The dwarves involved apparently had a whale of a time.

So how did the faux outraged issue-baiters know about the event? Obviously, some patron who was too gutless to complain at the time has tipped them off.

These people need to get over themselves.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

More socialised medicine success

Another terrific story for the UK's socialised medical system with news that doctors had successfully transplanted donor lungs to a former British soldier who served in Iraq.

Problem number one. The lungs were cancerous.

Problem number two. Because he already had cancer he wasn't allowed to get a new transplant.
A British veteran of the war in Iraq has died after receiving cancerous lungs from a heavy smoker in a transplant, media reports say.

Matthew Millington, 31, a corporal in the Queens Royal Lancers, had the operation to save him from an incurable respiratory condition, The Times reported on Monday.

But the organs were from a donor who was believed to have smoked 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day.

A tumour was found after the transplant, and its growth was accelerated by the drugs Millington took to prevent his body rejecting the organs.

Under hospital rules, as a cancer patient he was not allowed to receive a further pair of lungs.

The soldier died at home in Stoke-on-Trent in February last year.

His widow, Siobhan, said: "All Matthew wanted was another set of lungs".

"He said: They have given me a dud pair, get me another set. He thought he could beat it, but his condition deteriorated so fast from then."

Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, Britain's main heart and lung transplant centre, carried out the operation but said early X-rays on the organs to be transplanted did not find any signs of cancer, The Times reported.

An inquest was told last week that an internal investigation at Papworth pinpointed a string of problems and in Millington's case a radiographer had failed to highlight the growth of the cancerous tumour.

The hospital defended using smokers' lungs for transplants, saying that all organs were screened rigorously.
Matthew Millington was killed by the medical system. No other way to look at it.

Many people lose their lives due to mistakes by individual health practitioners. However, Matthew lost his life due to systemic issues within the UK's health service.

Can his family sue for medical malpractice in the same way they would be able to in a free market health system? I don't think so.

The Obama administration is completely nuts in its attempts to implement a government paid health system. They could make some improvements to the health insurance system and achieve terrific gains, for which they would gain political capital.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 5 October 2009

Hitler reacts to Chicago losing the Olympics

Thought I'd try my hand at making one of those now wildly popular Hitler parodies and use the Chicago Olympics debacle as a subject.

Haven't made anything like this before but it turned out OK, even allowing for embarrassing spelling mistakes.

In the tradition of all of the Hitler parodies a bad language warning applies (in spades).

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Reciprocating the LGF ban

Given I've been banned by Little Green Footballs, I've removed all links to LGF.

When Charles Johnson bans people like Tim Blair then you know he's lost the plot.

The list of people banned by LGF is actually quite impressive.

Charles has gone David Brooks and decided there's more money to be made by attacking his own side than maintaining what people thought were his principles. Perhaps those were a charade, as well?

Anyhoo, proud to be banned.

I'm in good company.

(Nothing follows)

Holy smoke, Batman...!

Obama went.

Obama saw.

Obama schmoozed.

Obama got his arse kicked from Copenhagen to Madrid to Tokyo to Rio and all the way back to Chicago.

What a massive political blunder by the Obama administration.

George Custer could not have organised to be more neatly ambushed.

Check out the nitwit on Democrat Central (CNN), he can't believe it:

If Chicago had have finished 2nd then that would have been one thing but to be eliminated in the first round when you're favourite to win?

The Obama supporting mainstream media will try and pass it off as being no big deal, that Rio was always going to be hard to beat and that finishing 2nd, 3rd or 4th doesn't matter, as it's not a win.

Make no mistake about it.

The world has sent the United States a clear message that it has lost its former standing.

This decision will be the first of many that go against the US. It's time for Mr Obama to stop pretending to be president by seeking to be Mr Popularity and actually take the tough decisions that go with the office.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 2 October 2009

Today's Jesus Wept Story...

Looking for an indicator that there is a large percentage of the population that learned nothing in school, knows no history and is unable to assess risk?

Check out the current result of today's ninemsn poll:

Here's a brief pictorial reminder:

Nuclear War

Climate Change

Can someone please explain to me how it is possible that 25% of respondents think that climate change is worse than nuclear war...?

Here's another question.

Which side of politics do you think the 'no' voters predominately represent? And why? And shouldn't that side be thoroughly ashamed of itself?


The 25% of Australian respondents to the ninemsn poll have soulmates in the US...
Just 30% of U.S. voters have at least some confidence in the ability of the United Nations to combat terrorism, with nine percent (9%) who are very confident.

But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that more than twice as many voters (68%) lack confidence in the U.N. to deal with the threat of terrorism. Thirty-nine percent (39%) describe themselves as not very confident, and another 29% are not at all confident.
The United Nations has NO DESCRIPTION OF TERRORISM for crapsake!!!! How the heck are they supposed to fight it???? What are these 30% thinking...????

(Nothing Follows)