Gridlock

You'd think that hospitals, multi-million dollar operations would be smart enough to not have the whole operation fall apart over somebody who makes maybe $12/hour.  Alas, my experience at WakeMed Raleigh– where million-dollar diagnostic equipment sat idle where highly trained technicians sat waiting for patients, all for a shortage of patient transport personnel– is far from unique

Of all the cogs in that process (reports! scans! diagnoses! lab
results! consults! chains of command! available beds!), one of the most
essential and least respected is the patient transporter, whose
qualifications typically include a high school diploma, a pleasant
disposition and a clean record. ?My job is to move the patient from
Point A to Point B,? says Mr. Sarieminli, who has worked in this
position for seven years…

As administrators in major hospitals around
the country know well, a dawdling patient transporter can set off a
chain reaction of delays throughout the institution.

Seems to me, if hospital administrators had any sense, they'd make sure never to run out of these cogs in the machine so that million-dollar operating theaters, highly-paid doctors, etc., are not just sitting there wasted.  Better to have a patient transporter sitting around with nothing to do than an MRI machine and technician.

Let’s be clear: The Surge has not worked

Okay, so I've been meaning to do a nice long post regarding the title of this post.  Alas, time for blogging is in quite short supply these days.  Thus, let me mention that you should read last week's Tom Ricks' piece in the Post about the failure of the surge.  In short, it does not matter that casualties are down.  The whole point of the surge was to create an environment for political reconciliation that seems further away than ever.  From the beginning of Ricks' story:

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias.

In more than a dozen interviews, U.S. military
officials expressed growing concern over the Iraqi government's failure
to capitalize on sharp declines in attacks against U.S. troops and
Iraqi civilians. A window of opportunity has opened for the government
to reach out to its former foes, said Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq, but “it's unclear how long that window is going to be open.”

The lack of political progress calls into question the core rationale behind the troop buildup President Bush
announced in January, which was premised on the notion that improved
security would create space for Iraqis to arrive at new power-sharing
arrangements. And what if there is no such breakthrough by next summer?
“If that doesn't happen,” Odierno said, “we're going to have to review
our strategy.”

About that strategy.  It's not working.  Dan Froomkin has a nice column juxtaposing Ricks' sobering account with GWB's Iraq enthusiasm.  

Tancredo

Just your everyday ad to appeal to the Republican base…

There is no social security crisis

Hopefully you were aware of that fact.  If not, Paul Krugman explains in Friday's column.  The central problem:

Inside the Beltway, doomsaying about Social Security ? declaring that
the program as we know it can?t survive the onslaught of retiring baby
boomers ? is regarded as a sort of badge of seriousness, a way of
showing how statesmanlike and tough-minded you are.

You can show just how politically knowledgeable you are by eschewing the inside-the-beltway wisdom and stop worrying about social security.  Medicare, you can worry about. 

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