May 29th, 2008 by ravi
Refuting AMA FUD

Conservative hacks and doctors have long whined about the “malpractice crisis” (which is well refuted), and here is more evidence that it is the lack of common decency on the part of doctors that is the problem:

Doctors Who Say They’re Sorry – New York Times


What is needed, many specialists agree, is a system that quickly brings an error to light so that further errors can be headed off and that compensates victims promptly and fairly. Many doctors, unfortunately, have been afraid that admitting and describing their errors would only invite a costly lawsuit.

Now, as described by Kevin Sack in The Times, a handful of prominent academic medical centers have adopted a new policy of promptly disclosing errors, offering earnest apologies and providing fair compensation. It appears to satisfy many patients, reduce legal costs and the litigation burden and, in some instances, helps reduce malpractice premiums.

At the University of Illinois, for example, of 37 cases where the hospital acknowledged a preventable error and apologized, only one patient filed suit. At the University of Michigan Health System, existing claims and lawsuits dropped from 262 in August 2001 to 83 in August 2007, and legal costs fell by two-thirds.


[ Link ]

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May 18th, 2008 by ravi
Heckled and Slimed

Hillary bashing is the sport of the day and here is Barbara Ehrenreich taking her best shot:

Hillary Revealed That Women Can Be Nasty, Deceptive Candidates Too

Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way — by demonstrating female moral inferiority.

In case you are tickled by this awesome scientific generalisation (Hillary’s campaign tactics are a demonstration of not her individual moral inferiority but “female moral inferiority”), there is good news — the article is chock full of them, as we have Ehrenreich once again attempting to rationalise her arbitrary preference for Obama, this time using an ill-reasoned attack on Hillary. There are a lot of reasons to reject Clinton’s candidacy, but the problem for such intellectuals (as opposed to the garden variety hipster, who constitutes a good part of the Obama fan base, and who is pleased with the warm fuzzies of “hope” and “unity” and all that rot) is that almost all of those reasons ably apply for Obama as well (hence Ehrenreich’s first attempt, a while ago, to support Obama with a “change for its own sake” argument). So, Hillary’s silly story about Bosnia becomes a damnable lie, in Ehrenreich’s (and Maureen Down and every other self-proclaimed feminist opponent of Hillary’s) defensive arguments that equate “fall guys” like Karpinski and England, the ones who were punished, to the perpetrators of the crimes, Rumsfeld and Bush, who remain unpunished.

A whopping 87% of violent crime (as of 1999) is committed by the male of the species. Comparable, in Ehrenreich’s analysis, to “women’s capacity for aggression”, trivialised as “bitchiness” or “inexplicable, hormonally-driven, hostility”. Not that different, we presume, from rape and murder, 87% of which is accounted for by men. The counter-examples of Thatcher and Clinton, the Ehrenreich reasoning seems to suggest, nullify such statistics.

In one logic-defying stroke, Ehrenreich using the same example(s) — to wit, Hillary Clinton — both rejects female superiority (England, Karpinski and Clinton are the counter-factuals of this hard science) and also proves female moral inferiority.

Supporters of Hillary (and I am not one of them) are told that they should not be supporting her “merely” because she is a woman. That would be foolish, it seems. Is one to prefer then the all-out delusion that is the stock of those who equate Obama to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as a man “who best upholds” virtues?

Writings of women like Ehrenreich and her less intellectual counterpart in the Obama fanbase, Maureen Dowd, are a milder form of the betrayal of feminism that are seen in the actions of Rice or Allbright. Few (among feminists) have the goal of elevating woman as an ideal. The goal has always been to defend her against such unfairness as Ehrenreich’s singling out of England and Karpinski or her presentation of Clinton as an aggressive bitch in comparison to the mythical virtuous persona of Obama.

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May 18th, 2008 by ravi
India shining

In “Propaganda and the Public Mind” (David Barsamian, Noam Chomsky), Noam Chomsky is asked “Can you think of any positive examples of humanitarian intervention?” and offers this answer:

When you look at the historical record honestly, it’s extremely hard to find any examples of use of military force undertaken for genuine humanitarian aims. […]

In the post-Second World War period, there were a few cases, two that I know of, that are genuine: the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, which got rid of Pol Pot, and the Indian invasion of hat is now Bangladesh, which stopped a huge atrocity.

(Note: Chomsky does point out that “they were not undertaken with humanitarian intent”).

Today, India is an enabler of the repressive junta in power in Burma and is guilty of doing the least in the relief effort. Another example of India Shining.

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May 16th, 2008 by ravi
Cliched quotes: the opiate of the ignorant?

Real Left blogger and Unrepentant Marxist Louis Proyect provides, as part of a thoughtful eulogy, the full context of Marx’s famous “Religion is the opium of the people” quote and the full quote that Louis provides gives us a much more insightful Marx, than today’s vulgar New Atheists who would gladly and smugly parrot the cliché:

“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

[ Link ]

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