Sunday, January 29, 2006


I was just watching the news on KTTV, Channel 11, in LA.

Did Mary Beth McDade really say, "...Alleged allegations.....?"

Let's hear it for government schools!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag california

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cultural Competence

I learned a new phrase today. Here's how it happened: I was listening to a news broadcast on KFI-AM in Los Angeles. The newsbabe was lamenting over the "fact" that there are not enough medical doctors in the heavily hispanic areas of Los Angeles who are "culturally competent."

No definition was given during the very short news break, and so I decided to Google it and see if I could make anything intelligible out of it.

Lo! The first on a pages-long list of entries on "cultural competence" is the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. I looked under a link that purported to offer a Definition of Cultural Competence. The link leads to text headed "Definition and conceptual framework of cultural competence."

I don't see a definition there. What I see is a lot of what organizations are required to do to achieve "cultural competence." I confess that I didn't take a lot of time to try to analyze this list, because it appeared to be a lot of shrinkanese double-talk--mixed, of course, with a couple of parts of undecipherable professional jargon.

What it seems to boil down to is that, if you're a physician not of hispanic heritage, you will be unable to treat patients of hispanic heritage. I think.

It won't do to merely learn Spanish, oh, no, no, no! You'd still be an Anglo who speaks pretty good Spanish. Only a Hispanic can treat a Hispanic. Only a Hispanic can know the subtleties that will translate to successful treatment of individuals who have the Hispanic temperament.

Using that thinking, of course, a Black individual could only be treated by a Black physician and there'd by a like requirement with respect to people of Chinese or Norwegian heritage.

Obviously, this is all racist nonsense. If there's a language issue, the physician must either be able to converse smoothly in the patient's language, or have a good translator at hand. Aside from that, we're all pretty much the same except for the differences in individuals that pretty much transcend race.

There are some illnesses that seem to key on certain racial or societal groups, but all competent physicians who keep up to date are aware of them.

So, let's put this "cultural competence" nonsense in the dustbin along with Jim Crow laws and coolie laborers, shall we? After all, I was treated by a Black doctor once and two Asian doctors at various times in my life. They did just fine. They were obviously "culturally competent."

Here I am writting about what appears to be another instance of political correctness but, not being a physician myself, I can easily imagine that there can be issues in this area of which I'm unaware. Corrections can be made in my Comments area.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Late, Great Planet Earth and Other Nonsense

I'm reading a work of my favorite alive-and-working philosopher, George H Smith. The name of the book is Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies. I'm reading a chapter comprised of a number of commentaries, written by Smith in the 1970's, on atheism.

One of the commentaries addresses protestant fundamentalism. It starts with a critique of Hal Lindsay's 1970 book, The Late, Great Planet Earth, Lindsay's prediction of the end of the Earth (coming soon). Smith explains that Lindsay predicts another world war, pitting America and allies against Russia, the Middle East and China. I haven't read Lindsay's book, nor will I (way too many good books to read), but the struggle between the Middle east and Israel has fully sucked in all of the recent presidential administrations.

According to Lindsay, this conflict will involve most of the nations of the world and at the height, Jesus will return amid huge fanfare. The fundy faithful will disappear into heaven (won't that actually improve life on earth? No fundies? That would be heaven!), and we'll start a thousand years of tribulations.

The connection made by Smith when he wrote this commentary was that, when fundies read this book, and if they take it seriously, many will undoubtedly act to help the scenario along.

Which brings me around to my point. The president is a fundie, as are many of the members of his administration. Suddenly, a whole additional set of possibilities comes into view! While I enthusiastically accept the need to put the military to work defending the country, but the nonsense in Iraq is an utter waste of time, lives and money.

Our military had Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, and the decision was made to back off.

They had another wack job (I don't know his name--our news people change the spelling and pronunciation of all Middle East names about every month or two--but he was a big shot) cornered in Fallujah a while back, but the order was given to back off. They let him go. The rag-headed dude went right back to blowing up stuff! Sounds to me like somebody wants to seriously prolong this thing--or even lose it!

Who knows? Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing. But it does make you go hmmmmm!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Wonder of Rain

I've lived in the Stalag for very nearly forty years now, and my only dissatisfactions are: the State government's War on Productivity and to a much lesser degree, the weather.

Ice Scribe, at her marvelous My Gorram Den, reminds me of something of which we don't have enough in Stalag California. Rain.

Today class, we'll be discussing Southern California weather.

I enjoy the heat. Up to 90 degrees, I'm fine. Over that, and I start to take steps to make myself cooler. The humidity usually isn't too bad, and it usually cools off at night. I live fairly close to the ocean, so we usually get a cooling onshore breeze starting in mid-afternoons on the hot days.

Unlike most, I like the Santa Ana winds. I like wind moving the trees about and making it a little noisy. I like the dry heat that gives a dessicating effect to everything. I like the clear air and the open sky at night.

The bad part of Santa Ana wind is that my inland neighbors have a serious threat of fire when it's so dry, but my counter to that is that if everyone responsibly took care of his property, especially including the federal, state and local government agencies, who should either manage their lands properly or sell them off to someone who will, and if the environmental nazis would butt out, serious firebreaks could be cut that would minimise the danger of wildfires to property and structures.

What I really miss here in the Stalag is rain. It doesn't rain much. When it does rain, usually it's from a light drizzle to a light rain. You can walk around in it wearing a windbreaker and a hat, and not get very wet. For an hour, often more. It rains so seldom that when it actually does, people are totally upset by it.

The news goes on "Storm Watch" when there's a quarter-inch of light rain. News teams go out to potential trouble spots to watch for landslides and floods. Outdoor activities are cancelled. The streets and freeways are filled with cars whose drivers, in full panic mode, either drive so slowly that they're dangerous or try to drive as if it isn't raining--seventy-five mph with a cell phone in one hand to their ear.

Rarely, oh so rarely, it really does rain. I live for those days, maybe one or two a year. The windshield wipers can't keep up with it. Storm drains get clogged and water collects between the curbs. Water stands in poorly graded areas of the freeways, and runs across in curve transitions. Occasionally, a BMW is smashed into the center divider, the driver having allowed his car to hydroplane off the road. That's him, still talking on his phone.

I love those kinds of storms! I love the noise; the violence!

Ok, I feel a little sympathy for those in areas of flooding and landslides caused by the rain, but they chose to live where they live, and ought to have assessed, accepted and planned for the possible problems--just like beach people do.

A major handicap that many of us suffer, is that local, state and federal government hold a great deal of land all around us--parks, streets, buildings and land preserves of various types--which they are woefilly negligent at securing and controlling--that impact nearby private property owners. Government accepts no responsibility nor allows any private action on government property as it impacts their own.

But that's not my topic for today.

I miss the rain.

I like to drive in the rain. Real rain, not the normal Southern California sun showers. Not late night and early mornong mist. Rain! The kind that ricochets off the pavement. The kind that fills gutters and that you can hear drumming on the roof. Sometimes, I put on a trenchcoat and hat and walk in it. There's no one else there.

I like to lie in bed and see the flash of lightning in the window; listen to the thunder that follows. On a couple of occasions, I've ridden a motorcycle in such a rain, though it's hard to see and pretty dangerous.

We get maybe one good rain a year here, and it usually doesn't last very long. I think that if we get one this year, I'll drop whatever I'm doing and just enjoy it.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, January 14, 2006

An Excuse for a Civil Service Day Off

I admire Dr King in retrospect, but I didn't always. While I recognized that his thoughts on the need for equality of all before the law, regardless of race, I always wondered how and why such an intelligent man could be so conflicted. He was a preacher. A rational man shouldn't be a preacher. He seemed very far over on the left, politically. The left is no help to black people, nor of any of the so-called disadvantaged. I hope I don't have to make that case for anyone--it's been made so many times by better writers than I.

Yet his desire to put an end to American racism was sincere. I was and am fully in sympathy with that desire.

His intellectual heirs, though, seem not to be. Looking at the body of work and writing of Jesse Jackson, Kwazy McFume and others similarly inclined (to the left) , it appears that they'd rather prolong and promote racism, rather than to continue Dr King's work to end it. Sort of a "job security" attitude.

Edward Hudgins of The Objectivist Center has written an excellent tribute to Dr King. It describes my take on King's quest far better than I can.

Monday, January 16th, is the holiday designated by the feds to honor Dr King. Seemingly, it's the only thing the feds want to do toward racial equality.

The Civil Rights Act serves mainly to limit free association.

President LB Johnson's "War on Poverty" seems to have been designed to keep the poor poor.

For decades, politicians have worked to undo the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The genesis of this movement has come from a fear of armed black people. Early gun control laws were specifically aimed at disarming blacks. Even in recent years, gun control advocates have targetted inexpensive firearms--firearms that a poor family might acquire for self defense in bad neighborhoods. These laws are clearly directed at poor minorities.

"Affirmative Action" laws not only work in utter opposition to Dr King's desires, but are clearly intended to assert the basic inferiority of black people, other racial minorites and women, and to keep them in a suspect position in society. Proof that these individuals don't deserve this superficial kind of catagorization is obvious by the observation that there are many, many self-made successful people in these groups.

Whenever one sees a $350-an-hour black attorney telling his tale of woe about the way black people have no chance, one sees this individual's case being utterly undone by his/her very existence.

Monday is the day we honor Dr Martin Luther King, but democrat politicians have done nothing but work to trash his movement toward racial equality. Republicans have enthusiastically helped make things more difficult for minorities.

I was in the post office yesterday, waiting in one of those DMV-type lines. I heard a customer mention needing to come in again Monday. The clerk told him the post office will be closed Monday. The customer asked why. The clerk replied, "Holiday. I think it's a president's birthday or something." That seems to emphisize the regard many government employees have toward minorities, whatever their stated positions.

There are good guys and bad guys in any group. Properly, we deal with each individual according to the way he presents himself. We associate with those whose acquaintance enhances our lives in some way. Nothing matters less than the race to which they belong or the hue of their skin.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, January 13, 2006

How a Civil Servant Fixes a Problem

"It's not my fault."
"95% of the public are satisfied with our service."
"The perception of the public is often inaccurate."
"....Forces beyond our control...."
"We're understaffed."
"We're underfunded."

You get the idea.

On January 3rd, 2006, the US Postal Service increased the cost of mailing a letter from 37 to 39 cents. The public has known this was coming for months. Apparently no one told the various postmasters.

I have a letter that I've been carrying in my bag for a couple of weeks now. I forgot to mail it right away, but that's ok. There's no urgency involved. The day after the New Year holiday, Tuesday the 3rd, I went to the Los Alamitos Post Office, near my office, to mail it. By this time, I was aware that I'd need to put two cents additional postage on it, which is why I didn't just drop it in the slot. I have several more 37-cent stamps that'll have to be augmented, as well.

I went in early, thinking I could buy the stamps from the machine. Dopey me. Inside the lobby, there's a big sign. "Out of Two-Cent Stamps." I looked at the stamp vending machine: Out of order.

Again, I wonder if anyone told the postmaster about the increase. You'd think that they'd have a big supply of two-cent stamps for the easily-anticipated demand. Well, then you have to recall that this is a government agency. I'm sorry, it's a government-owned private corporation. Operated by government drones according to government and civil employee rules.

Today, I went in again. Certainly they'd have two-cent stamps by now! No two-cent stamps and the stamp vending machine is still out of order.

In order to mail my letter, I'll have to go in when they're open and wait in a near-DMV-length line, in order to have the drone put a two-cent metered stamp on my letter.

The solution to this, as everyone outside the beltway knows, is to open first-class service to UPS and all others who wish to compete with USPS for the job of mailing my (and your) letters. Let the firms who can do the job best and cheapest, survive.

Like most of you, I do most of my correspondence by email now. Such a deal! I have to stand in the post office line far less often. I sure wish I could do this one by email!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, January 09, 2006

....But I Don't Get Colds!

Friday, I went for a forty minute walk instead of eating lunch. This is new, part of yet another attempt to lose some weight and get myself into better shape. I usually go to a nearby diner for a sandwich.

'Twas no big deal, I'm a pretty good walker (though I've let myself get horribly out of shape), and can walk for hours with an occasional five-minute sit-down. After the walk, I had a 16-oz drink of milk and whey powder. It was the first time I'd tried whey powder.

It was very good tasting, and filled me up satisfactorily.

At noon, as I finished drinking the whey, I felt fine. At one PM, I had irritated eyes, very sensitive to bright light, very irritated nasal passages and a runny nose. I was sneezing pretty often.

I finished the day at the lab, went home, taking care of some business along the way, and went to bed kind of early after an evening of web browsing and a little tv. During this period, the symptoms would diminish at times, then come back.

I slept fairly well, waking up a couple of times for short periods. I slept in until about ten AM and got up feeling pretty good.

As the day wore on, the symptoms came back. Because of the way I felt, I napped in the afternoon. I felt pretty dragged out most of the afternoon and evening, and again went to bed fairly early.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling fine.

At no time did I have any symptoms other than those mentioned. It was the wierdest thing.

I rarely get colds but when I do, they usually last two or three days with a sore throat, coughing, etc, and they gradually taper off with a stuffy head, lots of nose blowing and fatigue.

This was a wierd illness. I thought of an allergic reaction or hay fever, but I've never had these things. I spit on allergies. Ptui! I laugh at hay fever. Ar, ar!

Well, I needed some kind of excuse for not having written here for a few days. There it is.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, January 02, 2006

In Case You Wonder Why It's So Hard To Find Good Sinsemilla

Thanks to Radley Balko, The Agitator, for finding and reporting this gem:


WASHINGTON-- House Republicans Thursday unveiled a package of bills to combat drug abuse and vowed to make America virtually drug-free by 2002.

--Reuters, May 2, 1998

How wonderful that now we can disband all those neo-fascist federal police organizations, i.e. DEA, BATF, etc.

I wonder if this is why so many young folk in their twenties can't seem to move out of their parents' homes. 'Tis a scary world out there, what with the current War on Productivity: confiscatory taxation and no drugs.....


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California