Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Healthcare and Grand Unification

My friend Mike Murdock asked why the DMV is in charge of organ donors. That gave me an idea what they should do to socialize medicine in the United States.
First, nationalize all state Department of Motor Vehicles. This will ease the difficulty of a national ID, which will double as your medical insurance card. Then, fuse the national DMV with Healthcare and the Postal Service. Hear me out on this.
There is already a post office in every zip code. Think of the impact on Man Made Global Warming you'd have by reducing both driving distance and numbers of stops. You'd save money in hiring, too..... The standards of the AMA for physicians and nurses will have to drop a lot as they are identified as the main cause of spiraling healthcare costs, wages are dictated by the government, and those professions no longer attract our best and brightest.
An already identified pitfall of socialized medicine is, once it's free demand will skyrocket. Now that hospitals and DMV are the same entity, you could instantly apply the confidential morbidity rules that take away driver's licenses of those deemed medically unfit to operate a motor vehicle. The threat of losing one's license, and fear of the bureaucracy involved in getting it back, will discourage hospital visits. (You're going to have to walk home. We've conveniently provided you with a mailbag---please deliver this mail on your way)
Think of the savings for all the shipping costs. The papertrail for healthcare under a socialized system will skyrocket, and labwork will be farmed out to a deserving third world nation, so there will be a huge need for delivery services.


All recovery and physical therapy will involve the sorting and delivery of mail. Illness and injury go up around the Holidays, exactly coinciding with the need for more mail services. We'll get Al Gore to do a movie on the health benefits of sorting, and even delivering, the mail; (few of you realize Al Gore has as much experience with the postal system as he does with Global Environmental issues)
Best of all--your voting records can be tracked. You might come in to mail a package; your voting record will be compared to the government's needs, and an assessment matrix will show if your vital organs should be re-distributed to others that vote with more sensitivity. You signed your organ donor card, after all. DMV said so. People often say their health is their greatest asset and health is often unfairly distributed among the well to do. The only way to make things fair again is to not only redistribute wealth, but redistribute health also.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Building project update

Once I was sure I could actually build, I really lost incentive to finish the parking spot for the elderly neighbors. The hardest part was parting with some of my beautiful stones, but there really needed to be a retaining wall on the uphill side of the parking spot. So I invested a day and finished it. I set some sleeves for a rail on the other side; they said they'll ge that taken care of. We shall see.
Maybe some good project karma came from helping the neighbors. The 'Transportation Impact Fee' was supposed to be $6000, the most expensive 'trash fee'. We paid the $2400 school fees, and scraped up enough for the TIF so I could do the final plan submittal. Due to some lawsuit, the TIF's were adjusted to match actual road improvements. Instead of $6000 it was $2240! After the plans are finalized I still have the Fire Mitigation Fee, about $500. I felt so good about paying cash for the big expenses I got to work on the parking spots. I have some serious grading to do on the slope, all by hand so I won't compact the soil over the septic system. Starting with a flat surface really makes building easier.
OK so the Rice Straw Wattles. These are required to filter storm water runoff. They do zero. Know what I think?? I think rice farmers had a major expense in getting rid of all the rice straw and weren't allowed to burn their fields anymore; they lobbied to get legislation requiring them at all construction sites. Gotta admire a scam like that.
So the site inspection I've been fretting over for months and months. The guy came out, said "It looks pretty cut and dry" and that was it. I picked his brain a bit and got to know him---he'll be my building inspector for at least the first part of the project. I liked him.

18 years and counting!

This pic was taken 18 years ago today. It was a fun, small (200) country wedding...I got to the point where I just wanted to get through it; if I really understood what it all meant or how happy we'd be together, I would have appreciated it more.

We honeymooned in Hawaii, mostly on the Big Island.

This is for any junior blog readers....DO NOT live together before marriage. We waited, old-school style. After the honeymoon we couldn't wait to get home and set up shop. I already owned a house before we were married; now it was time to move AnnaMarie in. It was a tiny house in the woods and quite romantic. Our first meal together there---I made AM a tuna melt with her initials on it. It sort of felt like we were 'playing house', and at night, she didn't have to leave. That good feeling is still there for us. I imagine if you're already living together before the wedding, after it's all done and over you come back to the same old thing, except now with the commitment.
AnnaMarie gets prettier every year. She's given me three GREAT kids, and runs a fun, efficient household. We go on frequent dates and at least one get-away every year.
If you get in the habit of always looking for new reasons to love your significant other, you'll find those reasons. If you reflect those things back to them, you both come out ahead. (We've learned to avoid couples that publicly degrade each other. You really think you can insult somebody into a better person?)
Happy Anniversary, AM. Thanks for showing me what love is.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

National Healthcare II


Having worked in and around emergency medicine at different layers my entire adult life, there are a few things I've learned about providing medical care that influence my opposition to nationalized healthcare.

1) We already have universal coverage. If you call 911 and tell the operator you scraped your knee and you want a paramedic to take you to an ER, it will happen.
This is very inefficient and you'll have to wait a long time, but no one is turned away.
2) People don't really want universal healthcare, they want equal healthcare.
This won't happen no matter what. The President won't be going to the same doctor you will. There will be a two tiered system--a fee for service immediate treatment option for the privileged few, then the DMV style care for the rest of us.
3) Everyone has a line in the sand for when they are sick enough to seek treatment.
For the welfare class, this line is often towards the ridiculous. 911 for sore throats. For the upper middle class it's the other extreme---waiting for their own physician to be at work to get a broken bone set. This line is chosen based on a few factors---discomfort/fear level, financial considerations, inconvenience.

Those are the influences, here's my conclusions. The big problems are a lack of supply of healthcare provision, and too many layers of bureaucracy between providers and patients. Government involvement will make both of these worse. There is absolutely no example of government running things more efficiently than the private sector. As for supply, once government sets income rates for providers, fewer will be attracted to the profession.
The biggest factor of all---an increase in demand. If you want to increase demand for something, make it free. Waxman's models don't account for this increase, and even Obama admits he doesn't know how he'll pay for it. "We'll only tax those earning more than $250,000 a year" Well, a whole bunch of those are people in the healthcare business that you'll pull the rug out from under....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

VIP flight (and a mystery ship)


Today we had a 'VIP' flight---the editor in chief of a widely circulated magazine. We didn't do any hoist stuff, just a flight around the city.
San Diego city is about 400 square miles. 2 bays. Mountains, rivers, cliffs; the only municipal golf course to be part of the PGA tour....Also the scariest airport of any major US city. Lindberg field is down in a bowl; your approach is over Golden Hill, through the buildings, just miss the parking garage, to the runway. All at low power so as not to annoy the people who bought houses in the flightpath. (find the 737 in the picture)
The submarine base....Normally we're directed by Air Traffic Control to fly over the channel. Today they directed us over the submarine base. There's also a pen where they keep the dolphins the Navy trains. I don't think they're trined to jump through hoops and stuff though.
This really, really tall ship was sailing off shore. Very fast. Any clue what it is?



"That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest". How true. I got three days off in a row....Everyone who cares knows I got the septic approval so I can build (it's the retirement plan to own some rental properties, and the only way to afford that is as owner/builder)
We went to the annual Fore Department picnic. Great fun. I sat in a chair and chatted up anyone that walked by. The girls got their faces painted and checked out the similar aged boys. How funny that they talk about it before and after but won't go near them during...Not that I mind, of course.
Garage. If you ever want to feel wealthy, and you guage your wealth by stuff you own, just clean your garage. You'll be stunned by all the stuff you have. No amount of stuff feels as good as a clean garage, though.
The most enriching thing of all---date night!! AnnaMarie dressed to match her new car and we went to Ocean Beach for dinner (We broke our rule of never eating at the beach front restaurants. The food's never very good; it doesn't have to be. Expensive, and about as dynamic as Lean Cuisine) We decided to stroll around Seaport Village. We shared a coffee drink and made fun of the other tourists.
Healthy and happy family, well enmeshed in faith. A wife that looks better with every passing year and still seems to want me around. A big project to work on. A clean garage. A job I like going to. Autumn coming.
How do you measure wealth?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

on-site wastewater treatment system

All you people that are slaves to the corporate sewage monopolies--take that! My water is from wells and the tank gravity feeds. This house will have a large propane tank, and water heater/wall furnace/oven and stove will all work off that; there will even be a propane back up generator for our frequent powwer outtages. This house will serve as sort of a backup house when we get snowed in with no power. (actually with wood heat we do OK in the main house. We did have to barbeque a birthday cake in the snow one year when the power went out)
Byron was using this spinning laser level; the pole would tell him when the trenches were exactly level. (county inspector was VERY impressed with our accuracy) Dave was using his backhoe. Last cabin I built, digging the foundation by hand took all summer. (getting a backhoe in wasn't possible) this time we'll do it in a day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

4" hole in the ground

There are a few things to consider when purchasing real estate. Good neighborhood? Nice view? Is the lot buildable?
Everybody has their own theories on realty. Here's mine---find a good neighborhood with a view of water. Find lots that are supposedly unbuildable, do your homework, then build on them.
This lot's across the street from our house. It was supposed to be too small to fit a septic system in. (In areas with no sewer hookup, there's an intricate system of tanks and pipes underground designed to let bacteria reduce the sewage to a form the soil can readily absorb)
Over a year ago I had to dig deep holes then hire a company to fill them with water and measure how quickly the soil absorbs. Then take that number and figure out how many feet of leach lines. Then figure out if ther's room to put a house. Draw up plans, submit to county, get inspection, get approval, start digging.
And digging.
And digging.
The tank's in. Byron was a HUGE help getting the infiltrators in and level. He even gave up the CMHS reunion just to come breathe some pretty thick dust...
Yesterday I got the cross tubes in that join the 5 runs of chambers, and poured concrete dams over all the crossovers. I think I'm ready for inspection---find out tomorrow.
If it passes inspection I can proceed with plancheck. Also, once the system is approved, the lot will be worth about triple what I paid for it---it becomes 'buildable'.
I'm a little nervous.