Monthly Archives: June 2011

Deadly Indifference


Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and BeyondDeadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond by Michael D. Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At times throughout Deadly Indifference, the information about and the story of Katrina became particularly intriguing, even exciting for me to read. Unfortuneatly, those moments were too few. There was a lot of repetition in this book, specifically the stating over and over again that Mayor Ray Nagin should have called for a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. But in this regard, I believe Mr. Brown made his point particularly well. I suspect that if Mayor Nagin had ordered a mandatory evacuation, Michael Brown would not have had a need to write this book. The book starts off a little slow with too many pages spent on the 1951 cold war civil defense film Duck and Cover. Later in the book there is a passage about a toddler that choked on a hot dog and the grieving mother’s crusade against the design of hot dogs, which left me to wonder if the author had earned his fee by the word count. The best chapters are smack in the middle of the book, where the reading is most interesting and the material exciting too. In the end, I finished the book feeling like Katrina was a disaster made worse by politicians making decisions based on their own best interest, and events exaggerated by misinformation peddled by a media where “everyone wanted to be first more than anyone wanted to be accurate.”

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It’s Not Brain Surgery


Government run health insurance programs often reimburse physicians at rates that are less than the actual cost of treatment and as a result, some physicians are choosing to opt-out of the system. Today, 13% of all physicians no longer accept Medicare and nearly 33% refuse to participate in the Medicaid program.

Ayn Rand wrote about State controlled healthcare in her 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged:

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

Obamacare was designed to provide universal healthcare coverage, but with one critical oversight; the focus has been almost entirely on the patient, with little or no consideration given to those providing the care.

The United States already faces a growing physician shortage. Can we expect it to get worse?

Effective January 1, 2015, a provision of Obamacare goes into effect that will tie physician payments to patient outcome. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide “higher value care” will receive higher payments while those who provide “lower quality care” will receive lower payments.

Ask yourself, should you ever become extremely sick, what doctor would want to risk their “higher value care” payment to treat you?

Atlas Shrugged


Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition)Atlas Shrugged: by Ayn Rand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After spending the last seven weeks reading Ayn Rand’s behemoth mega-novel, Atlas Shrugged, I am glad to have finally finished reading it. At the same time, I wish there were a sequel to Atlas Shrugged about the rebirth and rebuilding of America. If there were, that is the book I would read next.

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Heck of a job, Brownie


In his first book, former FEMA Director and Guymon native, Michael Brown, tells the story of our government’s response to one of the greatest natural disasters ever to occur in the United States. Without making excuses for anyone, least of all the President of the United States or himself, Mr. Brown describes in detail what ultimately turned out to be the largest federal response to a natural disaster in U.S. history.

“He failed to comprehend the magnitude of the story, the critical timing for evacuation, and the services and personnel that was needed.”

“I had specifically requested that time alone with the ‘Boss,’ as we called him among ourselves, so that I could explain to him, in person, how badly things were going.”

“Thus, when the president, in his usual cheerleading mode, turned to me after being complimented by my friend Governor Riley of Alabama, and publicly pinned his previously private nickname on me along with the ‘heck of a job’ accolade, the video shows me wincing. I had just been telling him how bad things were and what help I needed. Had he been ignoring me?”

When making the now famous comment, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” was President George W. Bush simply being supportive of his embattled FEMA Director, or did the President of the United States fail to fully comprehend the severity of the situation on the ground in New Orleans?

Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond, is available in bookstores beginning Thursday, June 16, 2011.

“The president didn’t get it at first. Not many people did.”