Archive for July 24th, 2009

Canberra morgues taking NSW overflow

The morgues of New South Wales are overflowing it would seem, and Canberra is picking up the slack.

Shocking new details have emerged about the shortfall of the State’s morgues, with revelations some bodies have been transferred interstate.

It’s no secret the State’s morgues are at capacity and the government is blaming a shortage of recruits for the backlog which leaves families often waiting for several weeks to bury their loved ones.

But it has now been revealed that four bodies have been sent to Canberra to be assessed during the last week, three of them travelling from Wollongong.

A couple points. Firstly, it’s good to know that Canberra’s morgues have room to spare, as I recall a story (which I can’t find online) earlier this year about a Canberra morgue being shut down temporarily due to a technical fault…if memory serves, Canberra Hospital was being used as the backup morgue in that case.

Secondly, is the New South Wales Government paying the ACT Government for use of the morgue facilities? The ACT Government had to pay for space in NSW prisons before they built a centre of respite for the criminally challenged, so I hope that NSW is paying for the space here which would normally be reserved for ACT deceased.

Samuel

July 24th, 2009 at 03:27pm

Obama’s laughable healthcare speech, and the state of government healthcare in Australia

Sean Hannity’s daily email sums up the speech nicely in its subject line:

Obama Care: No Specifics…No Plan…

The speech was almost completely devoid of any details, which is amusing considering the 1018 page Obamacare bill is being pulled to bits by the media. The bill is available from the House of Congress website by clicking here, and I’ve mirrored it here just in case it disappears in the future. (Thanks to Heather Kydd for the link). Well worth a read if you want to see what an utterly ghastly, choice-and-standard-of-care destroying piece of legislation this would be if passed.

The Associated Press’ Calvin Woodward, Jim Kuhnhenn and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar have put together an excellent “fact check” piece on Obama’s speech. I’m just going to quote the whole thing because it is brilliant.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric.

Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play.

A look at some of Obama’s claims in his prime-time news conference:

__

OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”

THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.

Indeed, Obama went on to lay out other principles of reform that plainly show the government making key decisions in health care. He said insurance companies would be barred from dropping coverage when someone gets too sick, limits would be set on out-of-pocket expenses, and preventive care such as checkups and mammograms would be covered.

It’s true that people would not be forced to give up a private plan and go with a public one. The question is whether all of those private plans would still be in place if the government entered the marketplace in a bigger way.

He addressed some of the nuances under questioning. “Can I guarantee that there are going to be no changes in the health care delivery system?” he said. “No. The whole point of this is to try to encourage changes that work for the American people and make them healthier.”

He acknowledged then that the “government already is making some of these decisions.”

___

OBAMA: “I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.”

THE FACTS: The president has said repeatedly that he wants “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, meaning that every dollar increase in cost is met with a dollar of new revenue or a dollar of savings. But some things are more neutral than others. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the extra payment, designed to prevent a scheduled cut of about 21 percent in doctor fees, already was part of the administration’s policy, with or without a health care overhaul.

Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists a variety of them, including back-loading the heaviest costs at the end of the 10-year period and beyond.

___

OBAMA: “You haven’t seen me out there blaming the Republicans.”

THE FACTS: Obama did so in his opening statement, saying, “I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to ‘go for the kill.’ Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about ‘breaking’ me.”

___

OBAMA: “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

THE FACTS: The facts are in dispute between black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white police sergeant who arrested him at his Cambridge, Mass., home when officers went there to investigate a reported break-in. But this much is clear: Gates wasn’t arrested for being in his own home, as Obama implies, but for allegedly being belligerent when the sergeant demanded his identification. The president did mention that the professor was charged with disorderly conduct. Charges were dropped.

___

OBAMA: “If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you’d have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we’ve made, it’s going to be $7.1 trillion.”

THE FACTS: Obama’s numbers are based on figures compiled by his own budget office. But they rely on assumptions about economic growth that some economists find too optimistic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its own analysis of the president’s budget numbers, concluded that the cumulative deficit over the next decade would be $9.1 trillion.

I suppose it’s a tad unfair of me to call the speech laughable. From this distance it is laughable, but for the people directly affected by it, it’s downright scary…but not as scary as the bill.

Meanwhile back in Australia, New South Wales Government hospitals once again prove their ineptitude.

A Liverpool Hospital manager is refusing to say if his staff did the right thing by turning away a pregnant woman who later gave birth on her bedroom floor.

Natasha Ramirez was bleeding when she arrived at the hospital last Thursday, only to be told to go home because there was no room.

“She told me to go back home because I wouldn’t be in labour for another 24 to 48 hours,” Ms Ramirez told News Ltd.

She gave birth on her bedroom floor five hours later.

Sydney South West Clinical Director of Women’s Health Dr Andrew Child says the staff followed protocol.

“Many, many, many mothers every day present to obstetrics units and are assessed. They’re not in labour so they’re advised to wait at home.”

Ms Ramirez was already four days overdue when she went into labour at her Liverpool unit at 3am.

She and her partner Ricardo Hermosilla decided to call a taxi to take her to the hospital. When they arrived, Ms Ramirez claims she was taken to the birthing unit but was assessed by a nurse, not a doctor.

In her previous birth Ms Ramirez needed anti-D injections because of her o-negative blood type and was worried there may have been similar complications.

Despite this, she was told to go home.

When was the last time you heard of this happening in a private hospital? You can’t remember it happening…precisely. It’s about time that we privatised the entire medical system in this country. The increase in use of private healthcare would prompt an increase in the number of truly competitive health insurance funds catering to the needs of their clients, and hospitals would no longer be constrained by the limited (albeit large, but still limited) amount of funds available to them from the government, which would have the double benefit of freeing up a heap of taxpayer funds, and maybe even producing tax cuts.

Samuel

July 24th, 2009 at 12:59pm

Tony Abbot’s screws fall out

Tony urges the Liberal party to vote for the Emission Trading Scheme so that they’re not faced with what he believes would be an unwinnable double-dissolution election. Tony, comments like that are what we call “out of touch”, and create unwinnable elections.

TONY Abbott has urged Liberal MPs to back the embattled leadership of Malcolm Turnbull and asked them to pass Kevin Rudd’s flawed emissions trading scheme in the Senate to avoid a double-dissolution election that they cannot win.

The one-time leadership opponent to Mr Turnbull has turned into his staunchest public defender and has appealed to Liberal MPs to “allow” the Opposition Leader to exercise his assessment on emissions trading and to save the Coalition “from a fight it can’t win”.
[..]
Mr Abbott’s strong advocacy of Mr Turnbull’s right to change the party’s position threatens to fuel divisions over climate change. Last night, the Liberal leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, another conservative on the issue, told ABC TV’s Q&A program the Coalition would block the emissions trading scheme in the Senate next month.

“We don’t think parliament should be presented with legislation on this subject until after we know the outcome of Copenhagen,” Mr Minchin said.

“We will vote against this legislation in August, as will every other non-government senator.”

Although Mr Abbott believes an emissions trading scheme won’t cut global carbon emissions and that it will cost jobs, the conservative Liberal frontbencher and Howard government minister has called for Liberals to pass the ETS in the Senate and avoid a double-dissolution election.

That’s a corker of a paragraph…Tony wants to pass legislation that he thinks will hurt the country, just so that he can save his seat in parliament for a few extra months.

Padders notes on his blog:

It’s about time the Coalition, and the Liberals in particular, grew some backbone, not to mention some common sense. They should not vote for the ETS. Thousands of conservative supporters and members of which I am one, want to see some courage from the opposition, not a betrayal of principles.

Don’t worry Padders, I think it’s just one self-important windbag. Any coalition MP worth a cent of their income, let alone their seat in parliament, will not side with his utter lunacy.

At least The Nationals are all on the same page, as Andrew Bolt noted on his blog.

We will not support a scheme that costs Australian jobs, we won’t support a scheme that delivers nothing for the Australian environment and we won’t support a scheme that is way out of kilter with what’s happening in the rest of the world. We have principles. We have issues that we stand up for and if we want the public to support us in an election—whether it be a normal, routine election in two years or some kind of contrived double dissolution—then the public will want to be sure we’re standing up for things and that we will deliver better outcomes for the country.

Precisely. Liberal Party take note and preselect somebody else to run in Tony’s electorate at the next election.

Samuel

July 24th, 2009 at 11:48am

Jerk Of The Week nomination

My nomination for Casey and Heather’s “Jerk Of The Week” on KXNT.

Your “Jerk of the Week” submission
Comrade Barry Bamster

Why should this person be the “Jerk of the Week”?
For lying about saving jobs (amongst other things) in his hilarious news conference last night. The unemployment rate is rising, not falling Comrade!

Your Name (Optional)
Samuel Gordon-Stewart

Jerk Of The Week airs on KXNT Las Vegas shortly after 6pm Thursday (11am Friday Canberra time). Update: Now delayed until tomorrow for various reasons. End Update

And if you missed the Bamster’s press conference…here it is. This is the speech component, not the 11 questions “answered” in an hour bit.

Samuel

July 24th, 2009 at 08:51am

Ever wondered what’s in the McDonald’s secret sauce?

If you’ve recently eaten at McDonald’s, you probably don’t want to read this…but I am forced to wonder how you find this in a machine.

A 40-year-old woman has been found dead in a machine at a Southern California food processing plant that is a major supplier for McDonald’s restaurants.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives say the woman’s body was found early Tuesday at Golden State Foods in the City of Industry, an east Los Angeles suburb. Investigators believe her death was accidental.

No other details were given about her death or about the woman except that she was an employee.

The Irvine-based company has distribution centers across the nation. Its Web site says the company supplies McDonald’s and developed the sauce for the restaurant’s Big Mac in the 1960s.

Ick! I’m so glad that I decided against eating there a few hours ago. Reading this after eating there would have been quite unpalatable.

(With thanks to Tammy for the link to the story, no matter how much it disturbs me)

Samuel

July 24th, 2009 at 07:12am

Obama spurs international confidence in the US

An email to 2GB’s Andrew Moore

G’day Andrew,

President Obama causes eastern western Europe and Canada to view America more favourably…why am I not surprised when his political views are in line with their leftist leanings. It’s the people who are actually affected by his domestic policies who are the ones who are slowly but surely starting to dislike him.

As an Aussie, I have great confidence in the US, just not in Mr. Obama…but that could have something to do with the fact that I pay attention to US media reports and not just the reports which filter through to the media over here.

I’m enjoying your new show. Have a great weekend…looking forward to your call of Dogs V Eels on Saturday.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

Oops, I accidentally wrote “eastern Europe” in that email when I meant to write “western Europe”. As for the story in question, it comes from the Pew Research Center (complete with American spelling)

The image of the United States has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well.
[..]
opinions of the U.S. among Muslims in the Middle East remain largely unfavorable, despite some positive movement in the numbers in Jordan and Egypt. Animosity toward the U.S., however, continues to run deep and unabated in Turkey, the Palestinian territories and Pakistan.

July 24th, 2009 at 04:30am


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