Low-Hanging Fruit Award of the week

HawkingI don’t know if this even qualifies as “low-hanging” as much as rolling around on the ground rotting, but anyway, the award goes to the dumbasses at the Investors Business Daily.

By now you’ve read about the IBD’s blatant, lazy and misfired attempt to scaremonger about universal health care in their July 31st editorial. In that editorial (as if you didn’t know, but just for laughs let’s play it again), IBD characterized physicist Stephen Hawking as someone who “wouldn’t have a chance” under the National Health Service in the UK, presumably because his handicaps would earn him two emphatic Thumbs Down from their “Death Panel”.  Somehow in researching(?) the editorial, IBD overlooked the minor detail that Hawking was born, lived all his life and is still alive and well in the UK (thanks in no small part to medical assistance from the NHS), when they stated:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Oh, really?  And now for a word from Stephen Hawking:

“I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS,” he told us. “I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

Whoops!  IBD then compounded the hilarity by adding a correction to their editorial:

Editorials, Political Cartoons, and Polls from Investor's Business Daily -- How House Bill Runs Over Grandma_1250161490245

Which is as lame as corrections come. The problem with their original statement wasn’t that it implied Hawking didn’t live in the UK, it was that it implied Hawking would be dead if he lived in the UK.

But IBD isn’t finished with Stephen Hawking.  They grudgingly concede that he’s alive, and go on to indignantly say:

We accept this testimony and good fortune. We will note, however, that in talking about his disability on his own Web site, Hawking makes no mention of NHS and instead says that since 1985, when he had a tracheotomy, he has had “24-hour nursing care … made possible by several foundations.”

Many other Britons may not be as fortunate, and we wonder how they might fare under similar circumstances in their later years.

Right, and how many Americans would have “24-hour nursing care” (if their insurer paid for their surgery at all)?

Sometimes it really is better to quit while you’re ahead.

4 Responses to “Low-Hanging Fruit Award of the week”


  1. 1 brebis noire Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 4:51 am

    wow, just wow. You are doing a hero’s job JJ, with posts like these.
    I am starting to get seriously worried about the lie and scaremongers out there. They have hit on some pretty powerful fears and realities in people’s lives, and it doesn’t take that many unhinged individuals to create a lot of damage and disorder.

    Someone very close to me is in a similar situation to Hawking, and without the long months of government-provided rehab care and the socialised auto insurance money, I don’t even like to think about where we’d be. As for the long-term care, that’s another story, because even with socialised medicine, we still do not know how to provide good quality homecare. We still rely on family members, who imho should receive some kind of a salary or compensation. Yes, from the government, who else?

  2. 2 mouthyorange Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 6:59 am

    “We still rely on family members, who imho should receive some kind of a salary or compensation.”

    Goddam right, brebis. I’ve got someone very close to me who has also needed an enormous amount of medical support throughout her life. The family could never have begun to meet her needs with the meagre middle-class income they had. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened had they been in the States.

    And another thing. Some people, such as this person I know, have multiple problems including severe behavioural problems that family members and families simply cannot cope with without destroying their own lives, those of other children in the family, and ultimately no longer being able to come through for the special needs one, either. Some people need round the clock care from professionally trained people who should be (and often aren’t) decently paid for the demanding work they do and who can work shifts and go home to get away from the stress and recover so they can come back and do it again, something family members simply can’t do in most circumstances. Unless everyone else grabs their freedom and leaves mom to take care of the unwell one 24 hours a day every single day of her life, because someone’s got to and no other family or friends or hired homecare worker can handle the person.

    Anyway, I’m saying many things but also that the system needs not only to pay family members who provide homecare, but also must provide non-family settings where some of the most difficult to care for individuals may need to reside. Both are badly needed.

    This post of yours, JJ, is screamingly funny. Thanks for writing it. It’s either the U.S.-centric thing of assuming that everybody who is anybody is American, or else deliberate misrepresentation.

    brebis, o/t here but if you haven’t already, go look at the Arrrgghh thread of a few days ago, where a critical discussion of science doctrine ensued. In the end, Scout and I took things in a direction that others may find a little loopy, and I indulge myself in the thought that we may have even driven everybody off! 😆 😆 😆 But I thought you’d find the critical discussion of science, in itself, to be interesting.

  3. 3 hemmingforddogblog Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Isn’t this the point where the “smaller government” people come in and say, “There are charitable organizations that could help these people. They don’t need government money. Waste I tell you, all a waste!”

    And yes, it’s not fair to ask the family to care for someone on a long term basis.

    In Quebec we have the CLSC’s that offer home care. Seems to work fairly well.

  4. 4 Frank Frink Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Not that I have any amount of money to invest but I’m sure I would be thinking twice about taking any investment advice (or any other kind of advice) from “Investors Business Daily“.


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