A pleasant day to write a column

View 631 Sunday, July 01, 2012


All’s well at Chaos Manor, and with luck I’ll have today’s View done tonight. For the moment I am working on The User’s Column AKA Computing at Chaos Manor, and while that’s flowing I want to work on it.

The Washington DC area storms were of interest because two of my sons and all my grandchildren live in that area. One lives in DC and the other in Fairfax County. Both were inconvenienced but aside from lengthy power outages resulting in communications failures nothing of great importance happened, and all is well there. In Los Angeles we are having summer weather; the June Gloom, what the late columnist Jack Smith called “Wummer” or Winter in Summer, is over. Alas it ended just as my old friend former BYTE editor Paul Schindler came down to LA for a hike up the hill. We went up at 10 AM and it was blooming hot, not a cloud in the sky, and a very light sea breeze. Still it was a good hike, and we all enjoyed it including Sable with her fur coat. There’s a house at the bottom of the hill with a yard faucet hidden in some palmettos but Sable knows precisely where it is and always heads there when we come down.


Sable and former BYTE editor Paul Schindler on the hill above Chaos Manor. This is part of a 50 square mile park area that California maintains for me across the street from my house. I see that I should have brought the camera for its flash; the iPhone takes great pictures but sunlight and shadow remain, and you can’t really see what picture you are taking when you’re in bright sunlight. An iPhone 4S is all the camera you need for many purposes, but it is not at its best in bright of day.


And it’s a nice day for working, so long as the electric fans are in good shape, no need for air conditioning. The humming birds are fighting to get to the feeders I just refilled while the orioles look on in amusement, waiting their turn until they run out of patience. My old friend Richard is back from his stint in Chicago where he gets paid to watch pretty girls play volleyball, and no I am not making that up. And all’s well at Chaos Manor.



We have had several Chaos Manor adventures with computers, and it’s time I started telling those stories again, so I’ll be working on those this afternoon and some of tomorrow. I’m back.


Broke for dinner and Roberta and I watched a bit of television, in particular the prequel to the Inspector Morse series. This begins with Morse’s first case, as he comes back to Oxford as a brand mew Detective Constable. It was worth watching but it’s not the old Morse. Of course Oxford is the murder capital of England as Cabot’s Cove is the murder capital of the world…

Anyway it’s late, and I haven’t time to do a disquisition on the Obamacare decision. Actually I haven’t much to say that I didn’t say in my last essay. I believe Mr. Roberts doesn’t want to go down in history as a new Taney, substituting his judgment for that of the political departments when it isn’t at all clear what we ought to do. The people of the United States do not want to tell sick people to go off and die. It’s also clear that we can’t afford to do what Obamacare says we will do. There has to be some way of allocation of resources. There has to be some advantage to working hard and making money, or, yes, of inheriting from someone who did work hard and make money – but at the same time we don’t want to be rolling people out of hospital and into the gutter. (Although if the hospital is the old Los Angeles Martin Luther King Hospital, being rolled out to the gutter where someone might take you somewhere else might be preferable. I know a police officer who actually threatened with his weapon an ambulance driver who was taking his wounded partner to the nearest emergency room which was King. His partner was delivered to USC hospital. And the affair was kept quiet for many obvious reasons.

We don’t know what we will do, and we can’t afford what we are doing. This is a job for the political departments, and trying to make the courts decide what is essentially a legislative matter is not fair to the courts.  It is a burden they cannot bear.

The fact of the matter is that under no conservative view of the Constitution is there any federal obligation or power to interfere with the operation of health care and its insurance, yet there is also no chance that the political departments will simply get out of the way and force the states to deal with it. That would in my judgment be best. Perhaps something like Obama care will work in some states. Perhaps something else. But we can’t afford what we are doing, and it doesn’t satisfy enough of the politically active in the US. That is a constitutional crisis, and Mr. Roberts doesn’t want to be the man who decides it. I don’t blame him. Given the size and costs of health care and its complexity, nationalization of the health care industry will inevitably and probably irrevocably march this nation down the road to a national socialist state. Where that goes we do not know. And yes, I am aware of who else has used the phrase national socialism as a party name in what had been a Federal Republic. I also know that Mussolini died proclaiming himself an Italian nationalist and a socialist.

That’s more to say than I intended to say. It’s late and I have some other things to clean up.






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