Archive for July 2013

Council Nominations: July 31, 2013

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Man Revises Himself on Hotness Scale to Appear More Attractive

Following the Commerce Department’s revision of GDP numbers, Nathan “Nate” Silvers, an IT project manager from Mount Holly, New Jersey announced today on his Facebook page that he was revising his looks on the hotness scale  from a previously reported “6” to “8”. “This is all about keeping my appearance up to date and relevant,” the divorced father of two said in a post to his 384 friends.

In addition Silvers took steps to revise his looks numbers all the way back to when he began dating his sophomore year of high school. The figures show he was more attractive during his divorce than his wife at the time reported. “That castrating bitch told me I was a ‘4’,” he said, referring to Jeanine Harris, his wife of 11 years. “But these numbers prove that I was a ‘7’.”

However they do show that he was not as hot as he thought he was during his “metal phase” in the early 1990’s after he revised himself down from a previously taken for granted score of “9” to a “6”. Silvers believes this was due to the over-emphasis of hair on the previous score, something the balding Silvers no longer believes is relevant, while under-emphasizing his earnings potential. “Chicks like-a da moola,” Silvers quipped, “And the revisions reflect this reality.” Silvers earns “almost six figures” as a contractor for a large financial institution and credits the wage as making up for the hairloss.


Nathan “8 out of 10” Silvers
 

Although the data revisions offer a slightly recalibrated view of Silvers in recent years, the findings do not change the overall picture.

“Despite the conceptual changes, Nate hasn’t really rewritten his history,” said Brian Vinton, a long time friend of both Silvers and his ex-wife Harris, pointing to the consistent scoring of his looks and very little revisions over the span of Silvers’s history.

What Effect Do You Think Barack Obama’s Presidency Has Had On Race Relations? Why?

The following originally appeared here

Race relations are far worse today than they were 5 years ago. In fact I would go so far as to say they are worse than they’ve been since the 1970’s but I lack the proof to back up the statement beyond my gut telling me. Obama has squandered an opportunity brought about by his skin color to heal the wound of racism on the American body politic, and instead has chosen to use race to further divide Americans for his own political gain in the pursuit of goals held by a small elite cadre of white liberals.

I’m not surprised. Although a product of an African and an American, Barack Obama has never been an African-American. Instead of being raised in the African-American experience from birth, he grew up in an unusual, sheltered environment abroad and living with his white grandmother in Hawaii. Instead of growing up in a black culture shared by many white Americans, he grew up in the white subculture of ultra-leftist academics, an elite which believes it understands blacks better than the blacks themselves. This culture sees African-Americans as a group that is completely devoid of responsibility for its condition and as a result incapable of governing itself, needing the intelligent white elite to do so. This elite also sees white people who do not belong to this subculture as evil, racists responsible for the legacy of slavery and for all the attendant problems of race in America. For example the administration has been silent on Black on black violence, except to use it to attack whites and their culture of “god and guns.”

This elitists viewpoint held by Obama and the white elite backing him is blind to the common experiences of whites and blacks today. African-Americans and Caucasians live together at levels unprecedented in our history. They share common goals such as decent schools for their kids and well-paying jobs for themselves. Their cultures intermix with white teenagers listening to black rap and cheering on black sports players, while African-Americans listen to country music stars and enjoy comic book hero movies with characters rooted in the white culture of the 1940s and 1950s. These commonalities are completely invisible to Obama and his backers; all they see is what they want to see: any black-white conflict that fits their pre-existing beliefs. When that conflict turns out to be a poor fit, like the Trayvon Martin murder case, they are forced to make up such racist idiocies as “white Hispanic” to squeeze the event into their belief system.

The irony is that the views held by Obama and his white elite backers are now more racist than the society they are trying to impose them on. Americans don’t want to be hyphenated and divided anymore: they want to be united in hope, and working together to build a better future. But the white elite rules, and America continues down the path towards ruin creating a mess that will take decades to clean up. What a wasted opportunity.

What a Survey of 1,400 Sued Doctors Can Tell Us About Health Care Reform

Ever wonder how malpractice lawsuits turn out and what their effects on physicians are? Then click here for a slideshow showing the results of a study of 1,400 physicians who were sued for malpractice. There are several interesting points to take from this survey, including the fact that the majority of plaintiffs, 57%, received no monetary reward. But the one thing that stands out by far should be the advice these doctors give on slide 22:

  • Follow up even when you think you don’t have to.

  • Practice more defensive medicine.

  • Document more often, more thoroughly.

  • Get rid of rude, demanding, noncompliant patients.

Anyone who expects doctors, particularly primary care physicians (who also happen to be the most likely to be sued) to take on the responsibility of lowering health care costs by ordering fewer unnecessary tests and procedures (I’m looking at you Professor Mead) are simply delusional. Doctors do not have any incentive to stop ordering these procedures, quite the opposite. Whenever they rule out a particular test they must consider a bullet-proof and infallible reason why the test is not required in case they have to testify on the Stand to support their decision. In medicine, as in life, there are few situations that can attain such a level of infallibility. A runny nose can indicate a cold or allergy in a hundred thousand cases but it can also can result from a leak of cerebral-spinal fluid into the nasal cavity in rare instances. Should a doctor order the highly invasive – and expensive – test to rule out this leak in the snot-faced six year old kid sniffling in front of her? This is an extreme example of course, but the point stands: why should doctors risk being sued, a type of punishment judging by the emotional toll the survey shows,  for trying to contain costs?

It would seem to me that if you want to reduce unnecessary testing you would address the reasons why they are ordered in the first place, yet this has not been done. While some states have attempted to limit the maximum amount a  plaintiff can be awarded from a successful malpractice suit, none have made laws to make it harder to file them in the first place. The cynic may see the hand of self-interest here, with the lawyers who write the laws the ones also profiting from malpractice lawsuits. After all, scientifically dubious malpractice lawsuits almost elevated former Sen. John Edwards to the White House. But to ask doctors to refrain from ordering unnecessary tests and procedures without legal reform is like asking them to commit professional suicide.

The last item is particularly interesting. Legally doctors in private practice do not have to treat everyone who comes through the door. They can turn down patients for any reason. Once they establish a relationship with a patient they can also terminate that care at any time as long as they do not abandon them, usually by offering to care for them for a period of time when they can establish care with another provider. Many medical system reformers have talked zealously about basing payments to doctors on the success based measures, for example, on how well their diabetes patients’ blood sugar levels are controlled. Every practice has a coterie of diabetes patients who are non-compliant. They come in suffering from associated illnesses and for whatever reason refuse to control their blood sugar levels through exercise and diet, then expect the doctor to fix them. Such outcome based reimbursement schemes will only lead to doctors drafting letters telling these patients to find another provider. But even for doctors who aren’t reimbursed partly based on outcomes, it is in their interest to get rid of these patients who are more likely to complain and perhaps sue them.

Doctors have done a poor job at getting their point across in the health care debate in America. This is partly due to the nature of the profession, which tends to operate in solo or small groups and not think in broader terms the way other professions such as teachers and lawyers have done. It is also due to the corruption of the American Medical Association through years of operation in Washington DC reaching it’s pinnacle in the organization’s support of Obamacare in 2010 against the best interests of its own membership (but in line with the leftist ideology of the organization’s staff). But doctors had better learn quickly because if they don’t their profession will become extinct, and the healthcare of Americans will be even worse than it is today.

 

The Council Has Spoken: July 26, 2013

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Primary Care Physicians: Between A Rock and a Hard Place

I’m the husband of a primary care physician and although I may be biased I’m not stupid. I’m intelligent enough to recognize my own biases and think around them. Besides like everyone else I’m human and consume health care as does my Wife. People seem to forget that every doctor is also a patient at one time or another, and while one might think the White Coat gets you special treatment from other doctors, it doesn’t. For example the Wife had to wait 3 months to see a GI specialist just like her patients do. She refers to this specialist all the time but that didn’t get her special treatment. I was actually annoyed and told her, “But you send this guy revenue. The least he can do is give you a kickback by fitting you into his schedule.” I come from a long line of Democrats, so corruption is in my genes. She said she had to wait like everyone else.

We know health care is a mess in the United States and recognize it’s a complex problem. So whenever someone comes up with a bright, simple solution, or as is often the case the sole blame for the mess, it’s always wrong. Are lawyers and malpractice suits the sole cause of our system’s dysfunction? No.  Inflated doctors salaries? Nope. Greedy health insurance companies? No. The system is so bad now that there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone – and I do mean everyone. The system is so corrupted that if you even touch it you become part of the problem. No one seems to get that.

The esteemed Walter Russell Mead has written extensively about the health care crisis in America but lately has been falling into a trap where he focuses his blame on doctors. Case in point: A recent survey of doctors conducted by the Journal of Medicine that found the vast majority of physicians see themselves as having some responsibility for holding down health costs, but saw themselves as a minor contributor compared to other groups.

“What physicians are trying to tell us is that they don’t see themselves as necessarily any more responsible for health care costs than all of those stakeholders,” said Dr. Jon Tilburt, an associate professor at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s lead author. “They see themselves as a contributor, not a main contributor,” he added.”

Mead takes issue with this statement. “(Doctors) seem (to) overlook the fact that the current system, based on fee-for-service payments, is stacked in favor of the doctors. Health care can probably never be a fully level playing field. But if patients could inform themselves about prices before going through with various tests and treatments, they could contribute to lowering costs by opting out of unnecessary or overly expensive ones.”

Evidently Mead has forgotten the problem caused by insurance. If a patient patient pays only the fraction of the total cost of a procedure through his deductible and co-payment, there is no incentive for him to forgo the procedure. For example, a Medicaid patient comes into the office with a sprained wrist and demands an MRI. The primary care physician may examine the wrist and if she suspects it’s broken, perhaps orders an X-ray. But the patient will not be happy unless she gets an MRI, a procedure whose costs are not borne by the patient  but by the state’s taxpayer (in the case of Medicaid) or other policyholders (if privately insured). Publicly funded insurance schemes like Medicaid and Medicare particularly are ripe for abuse. Patients demand all types of medicines and procedures because they bear so little of the cost. With $3 copays doctors visits for minor ailments such as colds or the ubiquitous “sinus infection” cannot be discouraged, contributing to overuse of the medical system. Dr. Wife has been trying to do her part to stop the overuse of antibiotics, but she has been challenged by patients who insist on getting one even if taking it can cause other problems, believing that they are not getting their money’s worth unless they go home with a pill.

Patients are exhibiting signs of viewing medicine as a service industry, like a restaurant where they can order and eat whatever they want but then aren’t responsible for the bill.  In the case of the MRI, a diagnostic test that wasn’t warranted by the complaint, the woman complained to the staff about the Wife’s refusal to order it, and threatened to badmouth the practice to her friends. Since the Wife is paid according to a system that is based on the number of patients she sees, such a complaint could impact her salary. Such patients aren’t rare, and are increasingly becoming the norm. After diagnosing a patient with a minor stomach ailment the patient told the staff, “$25 and I’m told to eat yogurt.” People aren’t interested in treating their ailments; they are interested in only treatments that are active, invasive and often expensive. Their expectations and concepts of health care are seriously out of whack.

Doctors have known for years that the happiest patients are the ones who get what they want, whether its antibiotics for colds or even pain pills. There’s a scene from an episode of the British comedy “Doc Martin”, a series about a socially inept and rude but brilliantly skilled general practitioner who takes up residence in a small Cornish seaside town, when he visits the local pharmacy and learns the doctor who replaced him prescribed inappropriate treatments to his patients. “You didn’t give me these pills,” one patient says chirps, obviously glad to have a different GP, “But she did.” Dr. Martin answers “You have asthma, and those beta-blockers will kill you.”

Doctors who practice “evidence based medicine” where they do not prescribe or treat unless the illness warrants it aren’t popular with patients who are emboldened by the Internet and commercials telling them to “talk to their doctor” about the latest pharmaceutical wonder drug that doesn’t outperform existing lower-cost generics. Will they be happy with the cheaper generic instead of the pill they see on TV? As long as they are shielded from the full cost of that pill through a low co-pay, it is unlikely.  So should the doctor prescribe the new pill and make the patient happy or the generic and risk an unhappy patient who may not come back or worse, bad mouth him to their friends? Is the customer, or patient, always right? Or should the doctor always give the patient what is in his or her best interest? Most doctors strike a balance between the extremes but as patients see doctors more like waiters in a restaurant and less as health care ally it will be harder for doctors to balance doing the right thing by the patient while making him or her happy, especially when doing so can lead to negative reviews on Yelp! or its medical practitioner equivalent.

Mead is also a fan of cheaper medicine provided by physician assistants and nurse practitioners. These are mid-levels with less training than physicians who in most states must be supervised by doctors. Doctors are not paid for this extra supervision yet are the ones held responsible for any mistakes done by the mid-levels under their supervision. Some health care systems are replacing doctors with these mid-levels, finding mid-levels are able to bill at roughly the same rate as doctors yet cost half as much. Traditionally primary care physicians were viewed as the gate-keepers to specialists and inpatient admissions where the real money was made by hospitals and health care systems, so primary care practices weren’t expected to be profitable. That has changed and primary care practices are expected to be profitable as well maintaining their traditional referral role. Mid-levels are key to that profitability.

But do patients really benefit from the lesser trained mid-level? In the vast majority of cases a mid-level can offer care as good care as a physician.  Since mid-levels are salaried they can spend more time with patients unlike physicians who are on productivity or paid by RVU. Where physicians excel is their additional experience and training for less common illnesses and disease processes. A doctor receives several extra years worth of training to differentiate the sounds of horses and zebras, as the old adage goes about recognizing the difference between common and uncommon disease processes. A nurse practitioner may recognize the sound of horse hoof-beats but does he recognize the sound a zebra’s hooves make? Do mid-levels order more tests than physicians to make up for their lack of training? That is a study I would like to see done, and if true would encourage health care systems to continue to replace physicians with them because extra testing generates even more revenue for hospitals. From a payer’s perspective the overall benefit of the mid-level may be lost through the additional testing costs.

As mid-levels are added to the rosters of practices and hospitals either doctors will have to be compensated for taking on the added oversight and risk (doctors can be sued for malpractice for mistakes made by the mid-level they are supervising), or the system and patient expectations will have to change to accommodate them.

There are very good reasons why medical students vote with their feet and avoid primary care specialties. GPs are earning less and seeing more patients to compete with cheaper nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They are becoming overwhelmed with paperwork, all of it unpaid: employees needing doctor’s notes for time off, requests for electric scooters, treatment justifications from insurance companies who refuse to cover a procedure or medicine, prescription refill requests, lab results and patient notes. Paperwork is free and like anything that is free it gets abused and grows; attempts at taming the paperwork beast like the panacea offered by electronic record system adoption simply lead to even more paperwork. Some systems have cost hospitals nearly a billion dollars EACH to implement, an investment that threatens some with bankruptcy and leads to even more pressure on staff to pack the patients in. Most primary care physicians just want to do what they’ve been trained to do, practice medicine and do what’s right by the patient. Instead they have become unwitting players in a vast economic and social experiment.

There are many intelligent people in the health care debate with many ideas and contrasting positions. The system is so screwed up there is plenty of blame to go around. We need more people like Walter Russell Mead to weigh in on the subject but only if they accept the truism, attributed to Einstein, Churchill and even HL Mencken that for every complex problem there is a simple solution, and it’s wrong.

UPDATE: See this essay for what a survey of 1,400 sued doctors tells us about health care reform.

Council Nominations: July 24, 2013

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Car Rescues: Zimmerman 1, Kennedy 0

It’s a Boy!

The Council Has Spoken: July 18, 2013

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New Scientist Off Its Environmental Nut: Advocates for More Dams

I live on a small river that grows for hundreds of miles before turning into one of the largest rivers in the American southeast.  It is home to numerous freshwater fish species, reptiles, birds – all types of flora and fauna. In the Summer people drift down it in kayaks and inner tubes and people fish it around the year. At times I can hear the rumble of the river through my open windows, at other times it is silenced. I have seen it flooded and I have seen it so low it seemingly struggles to wind its way past the boulders in its bed. It is nowhere near as grand as the Mississippi or Delaware rivers, but it is a noble river in its own way especially since it is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in North America.  My love of rivers can be traced back to my hometown of St. Louis that sits at the confluence of two of them, so it’s perhaps no accident that I find myself living within a stone’s skip near one.

If you love rivers you are going to hate dams. You don’t have to be a tree-hugging hippy to see the damage dams cause. They drown habitats upstream from them and lay waste to those downstream making dams about as environmentally sound as strip mining. Since people tend to live near water they displace entire communities. China’s thirst for cheap power has led to its building monstrosities such as the Three Gorges Dam, perhaps the most obscene use of concrete since the Colosseum. It’s plans to develop dams throughout southeast Asia have alarmed its neighbors, and in Africa an Ethiopian project to dam the Nile is causing tense relations between it and countries downstream including the Sudan and Egypt, increasing the possibility of the world’s first war fought over water resources.

But in its zeal to promote renewable energy, New Scientist magazine has become a cheerleader for dams. On it’s July 6, 2013 cover it hails the “Age of Renewables: Green Electricity Poised to Overtake Gas.” “The Age of renewable energy is upon us. Within three years, the amount of electricity generated worldwide from wind, solar and hydro energy will exceed what is made using natural gas…” Of the renewables, hydroelectric is the heavy lifter according to a sidebar article “Top Of The Green Energy Charts” at 16% of global electricity generation in 2011, compared to only 4.2% for onshore wind, biofuels, geothermal and solar panels combined. So for this to be the age of renewables, dams will have to do the heavy lifting: “Room for development: in Africa only 8 per cent of the potential hydropower sources have been used.” Supposedly that includes the sources Ethiopia and Sudan are threatening war over.

For the first century of its existence the Army Corps of Engineers dammed nearly every free-flowing river in the country, and it was the environmentalists who fought the Corps in the courts, engineering a reversal whereby the Corps is now dismantling dams and helping to restore the habitats of land spoiled by them. Now environmentalists are changing their minds and advocating for their construction? Are they nuts?

Irrational global warming alarmism coupled with fear of nuclear power and fracking gas production have twisted the minds of environmentalists to where they are now advocating solutions they would have protested against as recently as a decade ago. “”There are now well-developed procedures for managing the sustainability of dams,” says (International Energy Agency spokesman Adam) Brown. A planned dam on the Congo river, for instance, will not flood any land: the river flows at such high volumes that a reservoir isn’t needed.” Dam sustainability makes as much sense as “clean coal”; both are oxymorons with no evidence backing them in contrast to the proven safety of nuclear power and fracking. Environmentalists attack natural gas production even though it has lowered American carbon emissions to levels not thought possible without gutting the American economy. Over 100,000 wells having been subjected to fracking, and the science regarding its safety is settled; but that hasn’t stopped environmentalists from spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about the safety of fracking. Movies like Gasland and its sequel are about as scientifically honest and accurate as a poorly edited Creationist pamphlet left on a gasoline pump, yet Greens believe the lies and thereby undermine their own cause by supporting dams. My how times have changed.

At a time when European governments are cutting back their subsidies on renewable energy, a fact mentioned nowhere in the article nor considered a primary contributory to the supposed “age of renewables”, this article seems ill timed. But leaving that aside the advocating of building dams is as striking to me as saying “Go ahead and throw your garbage out of your car window while you’re driving.” Of course this is the same movement (and magazine) that supports wind turbines, ugly monstrosities that blight the landscapes and chew up birds. So perhaps it’s not just the love of dams that prove environmentalists are off their nut. After all rivers can run free and birds soar without being cut to pieces around a nuclear or gas fired power plant.

 

 

Black Man Who Gunned Down White Teen Acquitted – No One Noticed

4 years ago a jury acquitted black man who acted in self defense, shooting a white teen.

There were no protests, no Springsteen songs dedicated to Christopher Cervini, no multi-city marches.

Because it didn’t fit The Narrative.

Council Nominations: July 16, 2013

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In Praise of the Local Hardware Store

It was a simple need,  eight Philips head inch-long wood screws with a quarter inch diameter, but it proved beyond the capability of a $50 billion hardware store.

The Wife had purchased a Boos Block table with a metal base online. The purchase came in separate shipments with no instructions, templates or fasteners to put the two together. I thought this was a mistake and called the Boos Block company. They directed me to the online merchant who explained since they sold tables and bases that could be mixed and matched, they couldn’t provide hardware or templates to cover all possibilities. That seemed a bit of a stretch for your average homeowner willing to spend $600 on a 36 inch round of wood, but the customer service rep explained that the people buying these tables knew how and had the hardware to install them.

I laid the table top upside down on the floor and within an hour had measured and drawn a template that centered the cross-legged base with an X-shaped spider onto the wooden bottom. I then took measurements of the wood and spider’s thickness, and determined that I needed inch long wooden screws. The spider used up a quarter inch of that length and the table was 1.5 inches thick so the screws would embed half-way through the top. I checked my inventory and of course had no screws matching the need, so I stopped at the big box “home” store to find the screws while running errands in the area.

The older I get the less of a fan I become of these large stores. They are geared towards meeting the needs of the average home owner, selling low quality low priced items sourced from China. The moment you stray from the this formula you’re out of luck. Evidently as I age I’m becoming less average because I find myself either walking out of the stores without finding what I need or making compromises and buying what I don’t want with increasing frequency. Yesterday was no different.

The average store size of this retailer is 116,000 square feet. Of that they devote approximately 40 linear feet to screws. This may seem a lot until you realize how many types of screws there are. Wood screws. Sheet metal screws. Philips head, flat. Carriage bolts. Metric and imperial.  Because I had carefully measured the table and its base I knew exactly what I needed, but the amount of space devoted to wood screws was just a fraction of that 40 linear feet so it quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for. A store associate saw my dismay and tried to help, but all he could offer was inch long wood screws with bolt heads. I hadn’t measured for the clearance a bolt head requires, but I bought the screws anyway hoping they’d work. It was another compromise purchase and like so may others I’ve made at the store it failed; none of the ratchets that fit the bolt would fit into the base’s holes. So I chucked the screws into a screw drawer and cursed my stupidity for compromising again.

This morning before work I stopped by the local hardware store, a family run operation with only a fraction of the big box’s square footage. The proprietor greeted me as soon as I walked through the door and I told him what I wanted. He walked me over to the screw section which took up a large portion of the center of the store, and found exactly what I needed. I was in and out within two minutes and $1.20 poorer but wealthier with the right screw for the job. Oh, and the screws were cheaper than the compromise ones I bought from the big box retailer.

For years I have been seduced by the size and supposed selection of the big box stores but no more. Every time a project has ground to a halt over a missing part or a broken Chinese-made tool the local hardware stores have been there for me, somehow managing to have exactly what I need in their tiny, crammed-to-the-rafters spaces. I’ll admit I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this now at such a late age; I should have known better years ago. But as the Wife says, there’s no time like the present to stop being stupid, and like most of what she says, she’s right.

 

Race Riots in America 2013

Rumors are that should George Zimmerman be acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, African-Americans are going to take to the streets and riot. What I’m about to write will result in me being called a “racist,” but at this point it doesn’t matter whether I’m a racist or not, simply being born “white” in these times makes me a racist. So be it.

First though I have to ask, does rioting work? The last riots we had were in Los Angeles after the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King. There were no riots in Santa Barbara, Beverly Hills or Malibu where the only minorities on the streets are Mexican lawn care professionals. There were no riots in the Valley where middle class African-Americans co-exist peacefully with their Asian, Hispanic and yes, white neighbors. Likewise there were no riots in the affluent DC suburbs, the Mainline of Philadelphia or the northern shore suburbs of Chicago. No, the riots were in the ghettos where the only qualification for living there isn’t race it’s poverty.

And how did that turn out? The riots burned out local stores that never reopened, forcing everyone to travel outside of the ghetto to get their groceries. Did that make life better for the rioters and the looter that swarmed like locusts in their wake? Sure rioting feels good while you’re doing, kind of like sniffing paint thinner, but deep down you know it’s bad for you and you will pay a price for that cheap high.

For decades African-Americans have been electing politicians based on the color of their skin. How well has that turned out? Detroit was pillaged by its black mayor as was Newark under its black mayor and DC under crack smoking, lying, cheating and stealing Marion Barry. This is nothing new. Back in the day my Irish ancestors elected Tammany Hall to power solely because they spoke with the same accent as my kin. The result? My ancestors stayed dirt poor while the men they voted for robbed them blind. Do you honestly believe that the color of your leaders’ skin matters? Look at Africa. Give me an example of one well-run African nation state. Can’t think of one? Me neither, but the worst ones are all run by people with black skin. Zimbabwe sits on one of the richest piles of resources on the planet yet has to import its own food because the black-skinned president has robbed the country blind for 3 decades. Congo is run by a black man, and it too has resource wealth, yet it’s ruler treats the country like his own piggy bank. Even my beloved Tanzania struggles with corruption and neighboring Kenya struggles to contain the tribal hatreds between people whose skin color is the same.

And how is Obama working out for you? Obama is as much a black man as Vanilla Ice is a gangster rapper. It amazes me how quickly Americans have forgotten that he is half white, the same as George Zimmerman. Sure Obama can shoot hoops, but so can these Jews. Oh, and he’s married to a black woman; so is Star Wars creator George Lucas. Obama’s pushing through an immigration amnesty program that is going to flood the country with Mexicans, and guess what? They don’t threaten my job security they threaten yours. The battle for a decent job is going to become even harder now that employers can legally hire someone who actually wants to work rather than blame others for their predicament. Of course if you’re rioting chances are you never had a job in your life so why would you care about that?

You want to riot? Go right ahead. You are a shame to your race and make a mockery of the men and women who came before you who actually faced far worse than discrimination in the form of a hangman’s noose, a high pressure fire hose or a burning cross in their front yard.  Men like Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers paid with their lives for the opportunities you have today to make better lives for yourselves, but you’ve pissed it all away, encouraged by rich white people who claim to understand you and want to help you – until you try to marry one of their daughters.

America in 2013 isn’t Los Angeles in 1968 and it sure as hell isn’t Montgomery in 1955. If the pioneers of the civil rights movement came back today, do you honestly believe they would condone rap music with its violent, sexist and homophobic lyrics? Do you think they would sympathize with those living in ghettos today after 40 years of affirmative action and trillions spent on the War on Poverty? Is it possible they might just say “Quit whining, pull up your pants and make something with your life.” Black Harlem was wealthier and a cultural force a century ago when African-Americans escaping the South had no choice but to live there and a fraction of the opportunity African-Americans have today, so why is it poorer now than it was back then? Is it possible it’s not they have no choice but have made so many poor ones? Not that it matters, but I see the same thing where I live here in Appalachia with whites who share the same Irish background as me – but my ancestors made better choices, like sending their kids to good schools and working multiple j0bs to keep food on the table during times when there was no EBT or Food Stamp programs. It wasn’t luck or the result of government policy that my family no longer struggles the way it did as recently as recently as the 1950s when my parents skipped meals to feed their kids. It was from the shared values of education and hard work  through generations of our ancestors that my family finally put the the white ghetto of St. Louis’s South Side behind it.

Rioting may be fun while it lasts but it will not improve your lot in life. Nothing will as long as you have an attitude that nothing you do is your fault because that means you will always own nothing. MLK would have had the courage to say that to you, but I doubt Al Sharpton or anyone currently claiming to “speak for the African-American” community will. Such honest talk doesn’t pay for the Rolexes and custom tailored suits they don as they scramble to the microphone. Ask yourself how many fancy watches did King own? How many Mercedes did Rosa Park have parked in her garage? How big was Medgar Evers’ mansion?

An entire generation of civil rights pioneers, including quite a few white people, suffered and died to provide the foundations for a better life for everyone regardless of color. Using the acquittal of Zimmerman to act like the animals the Klan and other bigots portray you as is an insult to their memory and to everyone, including supposed racists like me, who in their daily lives struggle to build a color-blind world while you sit on your asses hating  others because of the color of their skin and waiting for a handout.