Nothing much new to report on Day Two of the new transplant. The First Mate has been moved to a regular room, and her vital signs continue to look good. She didn’t want a lot of conversation today, so as I remarked earlier, my sister and I mostly worked on our computers and watched Bob Newhart Show DVDs. The FM just wanted the company, and has mostly rested or slept the entire day.
I visited the donor and his wife for a while today, until he tired out this afternoon. He’s doing remarkably well. They still think he may go home tomorrow, but if not, Monday at the latest. He’s looking forward to the NCAA semifinals tonight, and I think he’s hoping for a Florida-Ohio State matchup in the finals. He’ll get more rest tonight and we will all get together tomorrow.
For those who are interested in the technical details, which are all looking excellent, the new kidney produces around 300-400 cc of urine each hour. The FM’s blood pressure has been excellent, but her blood sugar has been high. That’s not indicating a problem with her pancreas, but a normal reaction to the high doses of steroids she gets in the first few days after surgery. Except for some nausea, everything has been going according to plan.
One of the ways we’re passing the time here at the hospital is watching DVDs of classic TV shows, and today we’re watching the Bob Newhart Show. The third season DVD has an episode called “The Great Rimpau Medical Arts Co-Op Experiment,” a very funny episode from 1974 which shows the result of the various doctors in the office forming a co-op for medical care between the associates and their families.
The episode starts with Bob complaining that the plastic surgeon on the floor of his office charged him $85 to remove a wart. That got everyone talking about forming a co-op for free medical care. However, as soon as they did, everyone started filling each other’s schedules with a never-ending stream of complaints. Bob tries to organize everyone into group therapy, with disastrous results.
It occurred to me while I watched this play out to its comedic conclusion that the episode provides an object lesson in the rationing of services. When a rational basis for regulating the demand for services is removed, the demand increases exponentially. Without that regulating force of money, the demand far outstrips the supply, creating shortages. It shows that money offers an objective control on demand so that the market can have flexibility in increasing supply and benefitting suppliers in a manner that barter simply cannot. Without it, there is no objective way in which to prioritize and ration access to services.
There’s a lesson in there for advocates of single-payor systems and nationalized health care, in which decisions on rationing get transferred to the government rather than the consumer or supplier. It’s not a direct analogy, but the episode certainly suggests an example for that as well.
The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line’s John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you’re in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station’s Internet stream if you’re outside of the broadcast area.
In the earliest days of the NARN, we used to use JB Doubtless’ on-air exclamation about “urine-soaked drunks” riding the public transportation system in the Twin Cities as part of our intro. It seems we’ve gone full circle, because I plan to talk about the urine production of the First Mate during today’s show. We’ll also be talking about how Nancy Pelosi plans to piss away our alliance with the Turks, how the Senate Democrats managed to dribble out a win on the mandatory timetables for a withdrawal from Iraq, whether the British can hold their water in the crisis over Iran’s capture of their sailors, and the general incontinence of Democrat budgeting.
Be sure to call and join the conversation today at 651-289-4488. Kidney and urine allusions are strictly optional.
UPDATE: I’ve decided to stick around the hospital today, but be sure to tune in to Mitch.
Let me see if I get this straight. The Democrats want to condemn Turkey for a genocide that the Ottoman Empire committed before the Turks overthrew them, in order to invest Congress with a certain level of moral authority, if not historical illiteracy. At the same time, Nancy Pelosi — who has pushed for the condemnation of our Muslim ally in the war on terror — now wants to fly to Damascus to hang on the words of our enemy in the same war (via the indispenable Memeorandum):
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will visit Syria next week, her office announced yesterday, prompting the White House to call the trip “a really bad idea.” …
The White House accuses Syria of sponsoring state terrorism and of fanning sectarian violence in Iraq. The Bush administration has cut off most high-level contacts with Damascus since former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated in February 2005. A United Nations prosecutor has implicated Syrian officials in the Hariri slaying.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday of Pelosi’s visit: “Someone should take a step back and think about the message that it sends and the message that it sends to our allies.”
Allies? Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think we have any, or thinks that the ones we do have are useless. She wants to deliberately antagonize Turkey at a point in time where we need their cooperation, but at the same time wants to suck up to a man who funds, shelters, and organizes the Islamist terrorists who target Israel, the US, and the West.
Is this the kind of foreign policy we can expect from the Democrats if they win the White House in 2008? What kind of message does this send to our allies and enemies? If you work with us, we’ll abandon you at the first opportunity, as well as sneer at you for actions your government never took. On the other hand, if you hate us and support religious lunatics in their efforts to murder as many of us and other Westerners as possible, we’ll fly to your capitals and prostrate ourselves before you in the name of “diplomacy”.
Want to guess which direction this will motivate other nations to turn?
The Democratic leadership has once again demonstrated why no one took them seriously on foreign policy and national security for the last twenty years. It’s difficult to achieve this conjunction of idiocy in a single week, but Pelosi & Co have proven themselves just the idiots for the task.
Ehud Olmert has made it clear to the Arabs pushing the 2002 Saudi peace initiative that Israel will not accept even a single Palestinian refugee under a notion of “right of return”. Olmert stated yesterday that the Arab nations created the refugee problem with their multinational war of annihilation against Israel, and they can deal with its consequences now:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in interviews published Friday that Israel would not allow a single Palestinian refugee to return to what is now Israel, and that the country bore no responsibility for the refugees because their plight resulted from an attack by Arab nations on Israel when it was a fledgling state. …
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Mr. Olmert seemed to rule out any negotiation on refugees. He would not accept any notional Palestinian “right of return” to their homes, telling the newspaper: “I’ll never accept a solution that is based on their return to Israel, any number.”
Mr. Olmert said that the refugee problem was caused by the Arab attack on Israel in 1948 and called it “a moral issue of the highest standard.” He said: “I will not agree to accept any kind of Israeli responsibility for the refugees. Full stop.”
Then he added: “I don’t think we should accept any kind of responsibility for the creation of this problem. Full stop.” He said the return of even one Palestinian refugee to Israel was “out of the question.”
Olmert went farther than Ehud Barak did during his negotiations with Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat. In those talks, Barak agreed to a suymbolic return of a small number of refugees if the Palestinians would then agree to a compensation system for the rest of the original refugees. Arafat later rejected the settlement that Barak offered, calling for an intifada instead that claimed thousands of lives in the years since.
Israel understands that the right of return means the end of Israel. The Palestinians would flood into Israel with full voting rights, and they would overthrow the Israeli government and send Jews fleeing for their lives — again. Any national security system would be destroyed within hours of the return, and Palestinian terrorist groups would have a field day targeting Israelis. It would be preferable for Israel to annex the West Bank instead, although it would eventually produce the same results.
The Arabs know this, too, which is why any initiative that includes a right of return cannot be taken seriously. If the Arabs want to insist on this, they are just posing for domestic consumption. If they seriously want peace, then they have to acknowledge their own complicity in keeping the Palestinians as refugees for their own political purposes rather tham just insisting on a return of the West Bank to Jordan, to which it belonged prior to the 1967 war. Jordan then could declare it a free state on its own.
The entire sad history of Arab futility feeds this demand that Israel grant in peace what the Arabs could not win in war. Even a rather weak leader like Ehud Olmert understands that Israel cannot survive a massive migration of their sworn enemies into their country, and no nation could. If that means the Arab nations want to remain in a state of cold war with Israel, then so be it — but we will take them seriously only when Saudi Arabia allows a massive migration of Jews and Christians into Mecca.
The display of a life-size, anatomically correct Jesus at an Easter exhibition has been cancelled after a meltdown by Christian critics, including William Donahue of the Catholic League. The hotel in which the exhibition would have appeared booted the display after people began organizing a boycott:
A Manhattan art gallery canceled on Friday its Easter-season exhibit of a life-size chocolate sculpture depicting a naked Jesus, after an outcry by Roman Catholics.
The sculpture “My Sweet Lord” by Cosimo Cavallaro was to have been exhibited for two hours each day next week in a street-level window of the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan.
The display had been scheduled to open on Monday, days ahead of Good Friday when Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus. But protests including a call to boycott the affiliated Roger Smith Hotel forced the gallery to scrap the showing.
Numerous bloggers have already weighed in on this controversy, and Joe Gandelman has prepared a balanced roundup. Michelle Malkin and My Pet Jawa both make the comparison to the expected Muslim reaction to a naked, genitalia-displaying chocolate Mohammed during Ramadan — or Eid, or any day ending in a Y, for that matter. Preemptive Karma and Best Week Ever claim that it perfectly satirizes the contemporary Christian celebration of Easter as thoroughly commercialized, with chocolate bunnies taking center stage rather than the resurrected Lord.
If that’s the basis for the chocolate Jesus, though, it’s rather thin. No doubt that many people, most of them Christians, spend tons of money on sweets and indulge silly fantasies about magical rabbits when celebrating Easter. If that’s all they did, it would be worthy of satire. However, almost all of that is employed to give small children a day of fun, a little bit of joy that does no one any harm and gives dentists some extra work. Christians who celebrate Easter are most likely to also spend the day in worship of God and in thanks for the sacrifice they consider the bedrock of their faith, and in gatherings of family to commemorate the day.
The artist could have made his satirical point in any case without showing the genitalia of the crucified Christ. That was needlessly provocative, and certainly intentional. As one person put it, who wouldn’t have expected controversy over that particular artistic choice? The artist’s assertion that Catholics should let him off with ten Hail Marys after he asks their forgoveness also shows a cluelessness about the Catholic faith. Penance only works when the sinner has truly repented and admitted his sins. It’s not a price list for offenses in that the commission of a particular sin costs 10 Hail Marys each time you commit it. For Cosimo Cavallaro to get any benefit from his 10 Hail Marys, he’d have to destroy the chocolate Jesus first.
However, I wouldn’t demand that in any case. I can’t peer into his soul to determine whether he meant to be deliberately sacrilegious or is just an idiot who didn’t know any better. What the Catholics and other Christians did was perfectly legitimate — boycotting the host and sponsors of exhibits they find offensive. They didn’t toss bombs at embassies or threated to destroy New York for blasphemy. Given the sympathetic press that Muslims around the world received for doing exactly that — including the murder of a Catholic nun — after the publication of editorial cartoons that depicted Muhammed, the sympathy granted to Cavallaro for his “oppression” in this seems far out of balance to the event.
In a hilarious reminder of why I love the British press, the Times of London runs a supposed diary of Zimbabwe’s thugocrat, Robert Mugabe. Hugo Rifkind skewers Mugabe in grand Fleet Street style, and manages to nail South African Mugabe toady Thabo Mbeki along with him. A sample:
Tuesday I cannot see this moustache, although my eyes are not what they were. I would ask my fashionable wife, but she has taken the jumbo jet to Paris to see how many shoes she can get for 20,000 hectares of Matabeleland.
The telephone rings. It is little Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Although I am careful never to exploit this, I am told he is in awe of me, because I am the original hero of southern African independence. Last month he lent me series five of The West Wing on DVD. He keeps calling to ask for it back. “You can’t have it,” I say.
“I understand,” says Thabo, solemnly. “Might I be permitted to ask why?”
“No,” I say. “Go away.” Little Thabo rings off. Later he rings back to apologise.
The pinnacle of Rifkind’s deliciously nasty satire comes when Mugabe writes that British propaganda consistently portrays Zimbabwe’s abandoned farms, 1800% inflation, and collapsed economy in a bad light. Read the whole thing; I wish I had written it.
Vladimir Putin has arranged Russian politics so that the president — his current position — can wield almost unlimited power in the Russian Federation. How inconvenient it is that the Russian constitution limits Putin to two four-year terms, the second of which Putin is now completing! Fortunately for the former spy chief, one of his minions has called for a change in the basic law that will allow Putin to rule as long as he likes:
One of Russia’s most senior politicians called yesterday for changes to the constitution to allow Vladimir Putin to run for a third term as President.
Less than a year before the presidential election, Sergei Mironov demanded the abolition of the two-term limit that prevents Mr Putin from standing. He also proposed extending the term from four years to five or even seven. Mr Mironov spoke out after senators reelected him by 156-0 as Speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, after regional elections.
He described Mr Putin as a guarantee of stability, and said that he was voicing the demand of millions of voters. Mr Mironov urged provincial legislatures to consider the proposal over the next two months.
Such a change “should be debated in light of the possibility, and maybe also the need, for Vladimir Putin to have the legal and constitutional possibility to remain President for one more term”, he said. “The final decision, of course, will be up to Vladimir Putin. Maybe he will listen to the voice of the lawmakers.”
With approval ratings close to 80 per cent, Mr Putin would easily win the election on March 2 next year. He has insisted repeatedly that he would not change the constitution to allow himself a third term, yet has left open the prospect of responding to public demand to stay on. He said on television in the autumn that “although I like my job, the constitution gives me no right to run for a third term”.
As long as the Russian toadies of Putin want to change the constitution, they should ensure that they address all of the outstanding issues. They should do away with the popular elections, since the pollsters have such a great handle on Putin’s popularity. Perhaps they should change the name of the office itself, since “president” implies a head of state that responds to a legislature with some power. What Russian term would adequately describe the office that Putin has created?
Ah — I’ve got it! They can call it “tsar”. That should do nicely.
The London Telegraph analyzes all of the options open to Britain in the current crisis over the capture of 15 Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf, and comes up with one consistent conclusion — none of them will work, at least not without the 800-pound American gorilla on their side. Whether sanctions, blockades, or military attacks get reviewed, the Telegraph reports that the UK no longer has the juice to pull them off:
The Government has few options if it wants to pressure Iran into releasing the captured Britons.
Military action is unfeasible without American support and so is a military blockade of the Gulf. Unless the United Nations shows more rigour, sanctions are unlikely to hurt Iran in the short term.
There is a feeling that the 15 could be in for a long stay in Iran and face the nightmare prospect for Britain of a show trial.
Washington has remained largely subdued on the crisis but some commentators have made clear that the situation would have been very different if it had been 15 American sailors.
Yes, it would have been much different. We would never have allowed the Iranians to threaten our forces without an immediate military response on the spot, for one thing. Had Iran actually succeeded in taking our forces hostage, we would have given them hours to return them, followed by strategic bombing of selected military sites, especially suspected nuclear-developmentr sites, until Iran handed them back. Bushehr would have been reduced to rubble. If the mullahs still refused to release them, we would have commenced targeting their political leadership.
The Iranians know we would have done this — which is why they didn’t capture Americans. They captured British sailors because they knew the British would have done none of this. That’s not because the British have any less courage, but because the British are militarily incapable of such a response, and Iran knows it.
Instead, Britain tried to go to the UN, where Russia and China both passed on condemning their client state and source of their energy. They tried cutting off all other diplomatic initiatives except this crisis, but the Iranians still haven’t demonstrated that they care at all about it. The Brits could demand tougher sanctions from the EU, and they might get them — but good luck in enforcing them. It might only be weeks before France and Germany start back-dooring the Brits like they did with Saddam Hussein.
Even America has no particular rush to provide support for the UK. The Bush administration would probably love nothing better than to start taking out Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities, but they have a big problem in Congress. The Democrats want to blame a century-old genocide on a country that didn’t even exist at the time, but they’re willing to flirt with a government that supports terrorism now while refusing to condemn Iran’s actions. With such a schizophrenic sense of foreign policy, the Bush administration has its hands tied, at least for the moment.
This gives an object lesson on why the unilateral dismantling of the military by a global power makes no sense. The American nation learned from Pearl Harbor that it takes a strong military to keep troublemakers from causing headaches. Paper tigers get burned quickly — and the UK has had its status as a power center exposed as exactly that. If they have no willingness to defend their own patrols, no one will consider them a threat at all — and Britain can look forward to many more such tweakings in their future.
I decided to post a separate item for a late-night wrapup, since it had been several hours since I updated the live-blog post.
First, let me tell you how much your messages meant to all of us today. We heard from everyone today either in comments or by e-mail, across the political spectrum of the CQ community. We got so much support that I had to have the donor’s family take my computer and read all of the messages, just so I could show them what a great family we have here on line.
As I said earlier, the First Mate will spend the night in the ICU, but she’s doing great. I called the nurse a few minutes ago to get an update, and she says that the new kidney continues to perform impressively. The FM has mostly stayed asleep, but when she’s awake, she’s alert. She can take her meds orally, but they’re being careful about it. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and all other vital signs look terrific. She should be back in her regular room tomorrow.
The donor is also doing very well. I spoke with him and his wife for a bit while the hospital transferred the FM from post-op to the ICU. He’s tired but not in pain, very alert, and happy about the result. Honestly, even though I have known this couple for the past eight years, I have had a tough time knowing what to say to them during this entire process. It’s so overwhelming that all I can do is thank them over and over again, and all he says in response is “Praise the Lord”. He may go home as soon as Sunday, Monday at the latest.
It’s been a good day.