Saturday, January 13, 2018
Acts of benevolence
Re body donations: Five years ago I donated my body to the UAMS program for "such." As this do-good deed becomes effectual post mortem, my wish is that its positive import be noted, among any future acts of benevolence, when St. Peter renders his decision upon my application for residency at his place.
However, if rejected, Satan has long-promised domicile and reconnections with certain former friends/accomplices there. Some of them have been, lamentably, missed.
"Heaven for climate, hell for company."--Mark Twain
On patient dumping
On the Jan. 10 edition of CBS Evening News, a story showed security guards at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore dumping a patient at a bus stop at night. It was freezing, and all the crying patient had was the skimpy hospital gown that covered her. The incident was videoed by a startled private citizen. The hospital admitted what it had done. How could it not--it had been caught red-handed!
"Patient dumping" has a long history in our country. In recent times the practice got attention in 2006-07 when the Associated Press discovered that hospitals in Los Angeles were taking patients by ambulance to Skid Row and dumping them out. These patients had inadequate means to pay for medical care.
We Okies remember when the mental hospital in Vinita "downsized" in 1999. The state of Oklahoma turned many patients out onto the streets of Vinita but most notably the streets of Tulsa, to which many were bussed. Such patients wound up mostly in jails and prisons, where they make up more than half of those who are incarcerated in many of our states.
We Americans have a disgraceful health-care system. We keep spending far more than citizens of other nations for health care, we get worse outcomes, and now our life expectancy is shortening. We have ridiculously complicated and patchwork and unaffordable health care. We have become accustomed to being pushed around by politicians and insurance companies, who determine what health care we can have and what will be withheld from us. Every nation but us has figured out how to deliver health care to its citizens.
I don't know how the U.S. could be considered a "Christian nation." What is going on is the polar opposite of the example and teachings of Jesus. He was very clear as to how we should treat our neighbors and "the least of these." We Americans need some good old Bible study, and it should start with Matthew 25.
Editor's note: This letter was originally published three years ago today.
Lessons in hot type
Ah, old memories. I read Vance Kirkpatrick's letter to the editor about working at the Arkansas Democrat. I, too, spent my early years working there in the display advertising department. Mr. Bill May was the manager of our department.
I remember we lined up and Mr. K.A. Engel, the owner, paid us in cash on payday. I had learned about folding press sheets into signatures when I was on my college yearbook staff and got a very good introduction into hot metal typefaces and typesetting from the press room.
On vacation in Arizona, my wife, children and I went into a restaurant in Tombstone, and I saw a small platen printing press, the type cabinet it was on, and a mixture of old type from the Tombstone Epitaph and brought it back to Little Rock. I restored the ink rollers and set type and printed things. A hobby printing company and a lifetime in the advertising business, and in early days when I was with the Democrat, their typesetters taught me about hot type!
The downright moron
Daniel Sherman recently shared an H.L. Mencken quote from 1920: "As democracy is perfected, the office [of the president] represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
Thank you, Mr. Sherman, for sharing the above quote. However, we need to be careful when dealing with prophecies. They are such tricky rascals since they are truly vague and ambiguous. While the seers or sages may or may not have spoken while in a "fog," it is certain that those who later try to interpret them are always in a fog of some kind. One's own bias is the modern form of fog. Historically, the problems with decoding prophecies are that people are too quick to reach a conclusion before enough facts and/or time has passed to truthfully fill in all of the blanks.
It may be that Trump will eventually be listed in the top 10 "downright morons" elected to the presidency, but I believe facts and time have clearly identified and filled in the blanks of the quoted Mr. Mencken prophecy. The first "downright moron" president was Barack Obama.
To hold accountable
In reference to Wednesday's front-page article, "Womack wins backing to head budget panel," it states that four of Arkansas' congressional delegation (Womack, Cotton, Boozman and Westerman) now have budget committee assignments. Congratulations are in order, I suppose.
However, the comment that "All four Arkansas lawmakers are Republicans who have called for greater fiscal responsibility" misses the point that all four of them just voted to increase the national deficit by $1.5 trillion.
Actions speak louder than words, and I think it is the responsibility of the voters to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.
Well, little wonder ...
Citizens of Norway are rated the happiest people on earth, and they have universal health care, free education, the 11th-best medical care (U.S. rated 36).
It's no wonder they don't immigrate to the U.S. Plus they have the benefit of a government ruled sensibly.
Hot Springs Village
Editorial on 01/13/2018
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