I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time

USA Today tells us that thanks to patient surveys, hospitals are kissing our butts:

Special air-blowing vests keep patients warm pre-surgery. Private rooms are the norm. Staffers regularly check in with patients to anticipate their toilet and showering needs to cut down on call-light usage. Patients are given clear discharge instructions. Cleaning is no longer done at night. Patients are taught the difference between “pain-free” and “pain-controlled.”


Amenities such as free lattes and valet parking are not new to hospitals. They began offering them years ago in a high-stakes fight to lure patients. However, what hospitals are doing now is, for the most part, tailored to the survey questions they know patients will be asked.


“The problem is America is a free-market economy,” [Rajesh Balkrishnan of the University of Michigan] said. “We need to give patients a way to speak on what they think about health care, what works for them, how health care professionals work for them, because those factors go into determining whether treatments are successful.”

I don’t think any of us have a problem with the idea that they are trying to make a hospital stay a more pleasant experience. It’s hard to recover from whatever when there is too much noise to rest, for example. It’s great that staff is making a better effort at explaining what’s going to happen. Anticipating needs? Well that is mighty fine customer service. However, I think now we are starting to go too far.

For one thing, who the heck is paying for these valets, lattes, and pre-surgery warming vests? In the end, you and I are through higher premiums and taxes. Could we perhaps make do with a clean blankie and a coffee maker?

Second, all this nonsense loses sight of Reality. In Reality, people choose a hospital based on two factors and only two factors: What hospital will my insurance company pay for? or What hospital is closest to the site of the accident? The overwhelming majority of people don’t have the luxury of saying “General Hospital has a better record of surgical outcomes” or “St. Elsewhere has free espresso drinks!” Let’s stop pretending that any of this is considered by Joe and Jane Average when Joe’s having chest pain.

Speaking of Reality, I understand that Obamacare means more insured patients means more demand for physician services. But where exactly does Stacy think she’s going to find doctors for that medical office space she’s trying to rent out?

In Closing: it would be nice if reporters would actually read scientific studies before telling us what they say; light up crosswalks; they had to get water from somewhere; college readiness may be more than academic skills; some taxes are going up regardless of what gets decided about the fiscal cliff (at this point I’m mighty tempted to say let’s just go there and watch the backpedaling); OBEY; and the ultimate helicopter parents.

Little Dogs with Big Boobs

Yes, Of course I know they mean “Teacup“. It’s still funny, particularly in Pink.

Follow up on Yesterday: Ron Paul ended up with 22 of Nevada’s 28 delegates, even though he was only “supposed to” get 8; no word on whether the RNC will have a hissy fit “challenge” the results.

In Closing: It’s International No Diet Day, and I won’t be celebrating it yet again; and the reality of illegal immigration.

Get the popcorn…

Somebody once said that all politics is local. Local meets nationwide today in a city called Sparks.

So the Nevada GOP and the National GOP are having a little disagreement. The RNC has threatened not to seat Nevada’s delegates to the national convention if there are “too many Ron Paul supporters.” The Nevada party, on the other hand, says that we have a set of rules we agreed to and we are going to follow them, regardless of the outcome.

Our caucus was held all the way back at the beginning of February, and there were simply more candidates then. The Experts decided that “Romney is supposed to get 20 now and Paul eight….” However, The Experts don’t get to pick the delegates to the national convention; the delegates selected in February to go to the state convention today do that. State officials agree that there will be no “loyalty test” for those selected to represent Nevada in Tampa. This clears the way for Ron Paul’s supporters to take over.

Maybe not, but it will be a train wreck.

In closing: unemployment and labor participation; somebody smack Nancy upside the head with reality; and it’s a sad day when Ted Koppel thinks that Comedy Central has the best news reporting.

When Will They Figure It Out?

This is what happens when schools tolerate bullying.

This is what happens when schools tolerate bullying.

This is what happens when schools tolerate bullying.

Almost 30 years of the Same Old Story, and somehow the People In Charge don’t get it. We don’t need “weapon free zones” and “zero tolerance policies”; we need an atmosphere of acceptance and adults who are willing to say “we treat others with respect around here.”

Any questions?

In Closing: as C3PO said “The damage doesn’t look as bad from out here”; bad bosses make everything worse; Teller tells; that’s odd; interesting workout; Heist; Reich is right (as usual); Haw haw, the little anti-Semite jab is what really makes it funny; and one of the last Republican voices of reason is going home. It must be hard to be a woman and a moderate and a Republican all at once.

Shorties Night 3D

Ok, I’m all tabbed up so let’s get rolling!

Not sure what to think: Ron Paul wants to make sure kids aren’t subjected to mandatory mental health screenings. On one hand I don’t want to see kids needlessly medicated. On the other hand, I know people who really could have and should have been diagnosed with treatable mental health disorders as kids!

Side Effect: Women are suing cops for tricking them into long term relationships with their undercover alter-egos. Oops.

Never Thought I’d Link Glenn Greenwald: But he’s right about the detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s there in black and white, no matter how people spin it.

Cat Herding: How Occupy Portland outsmarted the cops (without necessarily planning it that way).

Good Grief: 10 things you didn’t know about “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on that research: “The more a person drinks the more likely they are to have unprotected sex, according to research.”

This looks good: Dark Chocolate Macadamia Bark with Sea Salt.

Remember this when your Christmas bills arrive: Minimum payments will eat you alive.

Let’s see if that’s more than talk: Most Americans think we need a third party.

Turns out the Military is a way out of a bad neighborhood in more ways than one: Military schools smack around local schools, particularly when it comes to poor and minority kids. Now if only there weren’t the occupational hazard of being shot at!

You’ve seen my musings: Now here’s Anderson Cooper on traveling.

Turning Japanese: 68% of Japanese cars sold in the U.S. were made here in America, in 29 plants that employ 50,000 people. For reference, “American” car manufacturer GM has roughly 68,000 employees in the United States.

About Time!: 6 Fannie/Freddie execs charged with fraud. They might actually go to prison. There’s another big mortgage fraud suit here in Nevada.

Dim Bulb: One idiot thinks those curly light bulbs are so bad, she says she’s giving incandescent bulbs as Christmas presents. Don’t let her kids anywhere near her car with a carton of eggs.

How does that work?: As condition of a plea bargain, a man had to agree to give up a home he didn’t own and never did own.

And Finally: A boy chokes on a meatball in the school cafeteria. The sad part is that rather than make sure all the staff know CPR, they will probably take meatballs off the school menu.


OK, Maybe CNN wasn’t terribly subtle when they said “Washington could take down a mega-bank” and then immediately below showed a row of Bank of America ATMs. And don’t get me wrong, everything I have read about B of A lately indicates that they are skating on thin ice.

But don’t lose track of the prize. Fannie Mae just was forced to buy bought $500,000,000 in crappy loans from B of A — despite having plenty of foreclosures and pre-foreclosures of their own — in what Fortune calls a “back-door TARP.”

Gee, this couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the motivation behind a proposed program to help get rid of Fannie, Freddie, and HUD’s foreclosed properties, now could it? By the way, the headline is just a tweak misleading. They aren’t talking about slapping a “For Rent” sign in the lawns of these houses; they are talking about finding some sucker investor to buy them in bulk (that means with limited ability to pick and choose) under the condition of renting them out. Never mind that these homes are in conditions that vary from pristine to bulldozer-ready. Never mind that investors are already cherry-picking the best of them. Never mind that Fannie, Freddie, and HUD all have systems in place to favor owner-occupants when selling foreclosed properties.

Not gonna work.

In closing: I hope he’s still open for civil damages; She-Ra; Clavell did this as a novel, but with helicopters; If I Had $1000 Dollars; it hasn’t worked yet so let’s keep doing it; S&P and 63% of Americans agree about one thing; I know things are bad when Ron Paul starts to make sense; check your LinkedIn prefs; and Bert and Ernie are puppets, they have no sexual orientation.