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Weekend links

  • States that have legalized cannabis show a remarkable decrease in deaths from opiod overdose.
  • Much though I respect animals, I think this is a bad idea. (H/T PT)
  • On the other hand, we could use some pretty basic changes of policy (and of heart) toward our beloved companions. This man lived on the streets for two years because no homeless shelter would accept him with the dog who’d devoted a life to him. (Fortunately, help eventually stepped in.)
  • Ohhh, how the IRS loooooves Obamacare!
  • Two on Sandra Bland (and on the expectation that serfs must obey any command of their masters): Orin Kerr concludes, “But this is America, and we didn’t fight a revolution to make that the only choice.” And Jacob Sullum’s “Sandra Bland’s Arrest and the Expectation of Meek Subservience.” Suicide or murder? Bottom line is that Sandra Bland didn’t belong in jail in the first place. She was there only because she — a mere peasant — bruised some statist thug’s ego.
  • Perfect example of another “good cop.” And note how supporters flocked to defend him and make him out to be the victim. Did any of his authoritarian cheerleaders care about the four-year-old girl Mr. Weepy Cop molested? (No, she probably “made him do it” or “was asking for it”.) What an utterly disgusting spectacle. (Via Wendy)
  • While the specific features of this “Swiss Army knife” jacket may not turn your crank, the basic idea is a great one. Many, many possibilities!
  • I’ve watched several cancer patients, who knew they were terminal, spend their last months in an agony of hopeful chemo. At the end, they bitterly regretted putting themselves through it. I’m glad such exploitation of the desperate might soon come to an end.


  1. Karen
    Karen July 25, 2015 6:11 am

    Like you, I was glad to read the article abut chemotherapy and the move toward more honesty in prescribing it. It’s a subject I’ve given thought to over the years, being a long time smoker, and at my age I doubt I’d ever choose to go that route.

    However, I can just hear folks at some of the forums I frequent screaming about “death panels” and denying treatment to people, especially the elderly. Giving people informed choices concerning important decisions in their lives puts a measure of responsibility onto the person, and that’s not a popular position to be in for a large percentage of the population these days.

  2. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 25, 2015 6:32 am

    Health care professionals have always known that “chemo” doesn’t help in the end stage – and that’s true of far more than cancer patients. There is no doubt that some doctors will push the drugs and treatments far beyond any hope of actual benefit, but another large factor was only lightly addressed by this article. In my experience, a great many families (with or without the wishes of the patient themselves) insist that “everything be done” long, long after it is obvious that the patient is suffering. So many families (as well as doctors) are not really willing to let go, even when they can see that no cure is possible and the quality of life for their loved one is deteriorating.

    Palliative care is not new, but it is actually only being accepted by the average patient and family – and doctor – more recently. When I started as a hospice nurse in 1992, the best statistics available indicated that only about 7% of the hospice eligible were being given that kind of care. When I retired in 2005, that had increased to roughly 30%. I no longer subscribe to the professional journals, so can’t get more exact numbers, but the growth is substantial. The potential is even more so.

    Not giving “chemo” and other treatments when they are no longer useful is good and necessary. Providing palliative care at that point is essential, because just stopping the chemo isn’t nearly enough to promote comfort and quality of life.

  3. Claire
    Claire July 25, 2015 7:23 am

    “In my experience, a great many families (with or without the wishes of the patient themselves) insist that “everything be done” long, long after it is obvious that the patient is suffering.”

    Your experience is vastly greater than mine, but in the cases I saw, yes, the poor, suffering patient was usually just enduring the chemo for the sake of desperate family members.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 25, 2015 7:26 am

    “However, I can just hear folks at some of the forums I frequent screaming about “death panels” and denying treatment to people, especially the elderly.”

    Such a waste of screaming. I have no doubt that “death panels” eventually will arise if government control of medicine isn’t reversed. It’s a shame if people can’t tell the difference between overdue common sense and bureaucrats decreeing death to the “useless.”

    Good luck with the lungs, Karen.

  5. david
    david July 25, 2015 3:06 pm

    Obamacare? Too bad this isn’t a surprise. The very fact that the official name has the words “affordable care” in it should tell anyone that affordable care is NOT what the act is about. We all know the titles for legislation are intentionally chosen to be deceptive.

  6. LarryA
    LarryA July 25, 2015 4:27 pm

    I’m afraid I’d want my “Swiss Army Knife” jacket to be a bit more cutting edge. Pockets for Glock, TZP knife, first aid kit, hydration bladder, etc.

    Hope the palliative care keeps spreading in spite of ACA. Dad went from cancer, and I had to fight the VA to get them to quit.

  7. Kurt
    Kurt July 25, 2015 5:26 pm

    Animal rights? I’ll grant that animals have rights when they can be put in front of a jury for criminal acts.

    Rights imply responsibilities, yet we don’t see PETA or others saying anything about that…


  8. KiA
    KiA July 25, 2015 10:04 pm

    why do you think pets not being treated as property is a bad idea?

  9. LarryA
    LarryA July 25, 2015 10:21 pm

    why do you think pets not being treated as property is a bad idea?

    If dogs and cats are equal to humans they can’t be spayed or neutered, when they’re suffering you have to spend a fortune trying to keep them alive, you can’t catch the feral ones and either put them down or pen them, etc.

    And if dogs and cats are equal to humans, why not hamsters, or horses, or cows, or deer, or rats.

  10. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2015 7:18 am

    “why do you think pets not being treated as property is a bad idea?”

    What LarryA and Kent said — for starters.

    There is, however, a vast area between animals as mere property and animals as full equals of humans with all the rights a human has. IMHO, the fact that animals have feelings and can suffer if mistreated raises them above any form of inanimate property. But that does not imply that they have, or should have, or even feasibly could have the same status within society as human beings.

  11. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2015 7:21 am

    Also, in the context of lawmaking, granting “rights” to animals is just another drive for more government control. It’s less about granting “rights” to animals than taking freedoms away from non-governmental humans.

  12. R.L. Wurdack
    R.L. Wurdack July 26, 2015 10:55 am

    1. I’ve heard various estimates for health care spending such as 80% (90%) of all health care expenditures come in the last 3 weeks of life. If true, something’s wrong with the decision process.

    2. The next (happening?) treatment for cancer and cancer-like diseases looks like GMO specific stuff. Watch prices soar, but effectivity may soar as well.


  13. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 26, 2015 12:06 pm

    R. L…. since Medicare/medicaid pays for (and controls) most healthcare for older people, the savings to the taxpayer with hospice is significant, and sometimes a downright miracle. 🙂 And many of these patients live for 6 months or more on hospice, thereby saving a great deal – and not just for cancer treatments.

    The only thing that would be more effective in containing costs would be a true free market. In the meantime, it would be good to learn as much about hospice options as possible, and encourage those in our families and communities to learn about it as well.

    Not that individuals and their families can’t opt out of aggressive treatments on their own, by any means. Hospice assistance just makes it that much easier and more cost effective in the long run.

    But, of course I’m prejudiced. 🙂

  14. Shel
    Shel July 26, 2015 1:19 pm

    Tear jerker of a story on the homeless man and dog. Good thing for me they’ve closed the donations 🙂

    I certainly don’t have any sympathy for the child molesting cop, either.

    I have a good friend who has had her brother die of pancreatic cancer and who now has it herself. She told me she was uncertain if having another chemotherapy series was the right thing to do; she said her husband wanted her to have it. He’s in marginal health and IMHO won’t last all that long after she goes, so he’s likely reacting to his own severe stress over the issue. I thought about sending her a link to the article and a link to these comments, but then thought better of it, realizing I shouldn’t touch that hyper-inflammatory issue.

    I agree that way too much money is spent at the end of life, and it often results in only prolonging suffering. Sometimes spouses want everything done so they can continue to receive benefit payments of the soon-to-be deceased. And sometimes the guilt feelings of what they should have done in the past push them to a decision that isn’t in the dying person’s interest.

    What’s needed, and it exists (I think I’ve posted a link to it before), is an organization that has no axe to grind other than the patients’ interest and that can offer realistic education to the families. Sometimes physicians are reluctant to hold that conversation – and sometimes physicians want to keep making money, though I believe not many do.

    My contrary opinion is that death panels are a real risk. Rahm Emmanuel’s brother, a physician and major architect of Obamacare, said – at age 57 – that people over 75 shouldn’t be treated, and that when he turned 75 he would refuse treatment; I’ll wait and see on that one. But it’s not hard to imagine in our financially and morally bankrupt society that spiraling expenses and the continuing devaluing of life will lead to calls for “criteria,” with the resultant government forms full of check boxes. Resubmissions of rejections for treatment will be resubmitted with explanations much like any insurance claim, I suppose. If the process takes long enough, the ultimate decision may be moot, and it may be a medical condition that otherwise was manageable. I, like everyone else on this blog, have little confidence that our federal government will handle this situation well.

  15. mcridge
    mcridge July 27, 2015 12:54 am

    LarryA. I’m with you on the “Swiss Army Knife” jacket. In particular, I think it should be made of fabric similar to Kevlar to provide some ballistic protection. I bookmarked such a garment, but couldn’t find the link just now.

  16. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 27, 2015 10:35 am

    [Also, in the context of lawmaking, granting “rights” to animals is just another drive for more government control.]

    It works the same way with humans. Human rights are just a mechanism for government control.

    Pets DO have the same rights as humans – that is, none whatsoever.

    [But this is America, and we didn’t fight a revolution to make that the only choice. And your options, if you want to assert the rights you have, can be awfully hard to figure out.]

    All the difficulties mentioned in the article arise from having an incorrect worldview, and trying to resolve the contradictions within it. The reality is that there are no rights, law is tyranny, and police are self-deluding thugs working in a protection racket. There is no need to understand the obscure details of law, any more than there is a need to understand the motivations of a common mugger or rapist. One simply avoids these people if at all possible. If that doesn’t work, the only question left is, “Submit or go to war?”

    As to doctors and cancer treatment, it’s just a modern-day version of leeches and bleeding patients.

    One thing every swiss army knife jacket needs, is metallic thread to defeat tasers.

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