Random Thoughts

I’m away for a conference this week (which, as it happens, is on a beach in Charleston, SC) and don’t have time to focus on a post (well, I guess I’m choosing to spend my limited free time on the beach), so I thought I would just offer some random ideas and opinions. There is no theme.

  • American school kids rank 38th out of 71 countries in math, 24th in Science. If this trend continues we will be relying on people from other countries to solve more of the world’s problems in the future. Still, some children in American schools do fine and score on par with their peers in other countries. The determining factor (as I’ve mentioned previously) is socioeconomic status. The schools and teachers should not be blamed for our international rankings.
  • Those rumble strips on the edges of I-70 have saved me more times than I can count. This is an example of great government policy. So are those cables that separate lanes on interstate highways.
  • Colorado established a program providing free birth control to low-income women and had a 40% decrease in teen pregnancy during a four year period. Teen pregnancy rates have been on the decline nationally in recent years and I personally don’t think it is because teenagers have suddenly decided to stop having sex.
  • Last year (2016) the British government established a commission to examine the reasons we went to war in Iraq in 2003. The study concluded that the war was initiated without solid reasons and was based on false assumptions regarding the anticipated outcome. That war helped destabilized the Middle East, was one factor leading to the growth of ISIS, cost the American taxpayers more than $2 trillion, and cost approximately 175,000 people their lives.
  • The average annual cost to educate one child in public schools is about $7,500. The $2 trillion we spent in Iraq could educate 267 million children, so the amount spent in Iraq would cover expenses for all 98,817 American public schools for about four years.
  • It is never acceptable to mock people because of their gender, race, sexual identity, or height because these are naturally defining characteristics. Why then is it OK to tease people because of their age?
  • Pink Floyd Was the best rock band ever. The intro to “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” is one of the two best intros in rock history.  The other? Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend”.
  • Figuring out a solution to the rising cost of American healthcare is hard (or so I’ve heard), but now that healthcare has become a “right” it will be very difficult for Uncle Sam to take it away. Most increased costs are a consequence of increased drug prices, medical devices, and hospital care. American healthcare costs much more than healthcare in our peer countries.
  • Less than two months ago scientists from three countries released a study arguing that the universe may be an incredibly huge and complex hologram and that what we consider reality may be an illusion.  Wow, dude!
  • My dad (the greatest man who ever lived) was a master of idioms and a unique turner of phrases. Once when he and I were watching Richard Nixon on the nightly news my dad said “if he’s telling the truth my a$$ is a Chinese typewriter”. The best advice he ever offered was “…go to college, son. You might wind up digging ditches for a living, but at least you will be an educated ditch digger”.
  • If you don’t agree with what I (or anyone else) write(s) then for goodness sakes don’t read it.  Don’t let it affect our friendship!
  • Our Founders were very forward thinking when they accepted Montesquieu’s argument that government should be divided into three equal branches and that each would have control over the others. It would be really nice if all three branches actually performed their responsibilities. And now there are actually four branches because the federal bureaucracy numbers about 2.8 million employees (a number that has been steady for several decades regardless of what politicians tell us) who are largely uncontrolled by the elected branches.
  • Squirrel!

I’ll be back in the saddle again on Monday and will post something more focused. Thanks for your patience.

 

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/business/economy/school-vs-society-in-americas-failing-students.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/10/health/colorado-teen-pregnancy/index.html

http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/247010/2016-09-06-sir-john-chilcots-public-statement.pdf

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2015/03/23/isis-the-unintended-consequences-of-the-us-led-war-on-iraq/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-anniversary-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba745

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikepatton/2015/06/29/u-s-health-care-costs-rise-faster-than-inflation/#77b70ef96fa1

http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.041301

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

    • Interesting question. I naturally place these things in historical context and in that sense I doubt Jefferson and others envisioned free medical care as a “right” in the vein of “life, liberty, property”, etc. Also, most “rights” added since the founding period have been established by Supreme Court decisions (right to equal education for minorities, everyone’s right to have their votes counted equally, the right for same sex couples to marry, etc.) and I cannot imagine that the Court would ever declare healthcare a “right”. So in a theoretical sense I don’t think it is a “right”.

      If, on the other hand, you ask me if providing basic healthcare is a good idea or the “right thing to do”, I answer yes. Beyond a doubt. It makes sense morally and economically. We already have Medicare and Medicaid, so we’ve been providing healthcare to some of our fellow citizens for decades. And the fact that I have insurance means that I subsidize those without it every time I go to the hospital because my cost goes up to cover those who cannot afford to pay.

      It also seems to me that the wealthiest country in the world should be able to take care of our fellow citizens who cannot provide for themselves through no fault of their own.

      Sorry for the long answer!

  1. Don’t say sorry, that was a very interesting and informative answer. I agree that providing basic healthcare is a good idea. The system is not fair now in so many ways. Medicare paid for my 43 yo husband’s kidney transplant even though he had private insurance. But an uninsured person couldn’t get a liver transplant (or any other organ besides kidney). So dumb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *