Saturday, August 24, 2013


The Death of a Doctor

Two items made the below articles compelling for me:

I never really got to know my father because he ground in the physician grist mill. Most people do not know the true cost of becoming a doctor and, if they did, they would not get into medicine.

My daughter is getting ready to start thinking about college and what she wants to do with her life. It amazes me that in a society where the average person changes careers several times during their lifetime that teenagers are expected to make such huge commitments in terms of time and money to receive their college education.

-How to Do What You Love

A friend of mine who is a quite successful doctor complains constantly about her job. When people applying to medical school ask her for advice, she wants to shake them and yell “Don’t do it!” (But she never does.) How did she get into this fix? In high school she already wanted to be a doctor. And she is so ambitious and determined that she overcame every obstacle along the way—including, unfortunately, not liking it.

Now she has a life chosen for her by a high-school kid.

Why you should become a nurse or physicians assistant instead of a doctor: the underrated perils of medical school

Many if not most people who go to medical school are making a huge mistake—one they won’t realize they’ve made until it’s too late to undo.

So a lot of high achievers think being a doctor is the optimal road to success in the medical world. They pay attention to those eye-popping surgeon salary numbers and to the rhetoric about helping people without realizing that nurses help people too, or that their desire to help people is likely to be pounded out of them by a cold, uncaring system that uses the rhetoric of helping to sucker undergrads into mortgaging their souls to student loans. Through the magic of student loans, schools are steadily siphoning off more of doctors’ lifetime earnings.


Like the Canadian Military Journal, JohnQ is skeptical of recent claims by Dave Grossman in his recent books:

Canadian Military Journal - Killing for their Country: A New Look at “Killology”

As a military historian, I am instinctively skeptical of any work or theory that claims to overturn all existing scholarship – indeed, overturn an entire academic discipline – in one fell swoop. In academic history, the field normally expands and evolves incrementally, based upon new research, rather than being completely overthrown periodically. While it is not impossible for such a revolution to take place and become accepted, extraordinary new research and evidence would need to be presented to back up these claims. Simply put, Grossman’s On Killing and its succeeding “killology” literature represent a potential revolution for military history, if his claims can stand up to scrutiny – especially the claim that throughout human history, most soldiers and people have been unable to kill one another.

St Louis Blues

I hate to see that evening sun go down
I hate to see that evening sun go down
'Cause, my baby, he's gone left this town
Feelin' tomorrow like I feel today
If I'm feelin' tomorrow like I feel today
Is'll pack my truck and make my give-a-way
-St. Louis Blues, W.C. Handy

JohnQ is a fan of old fashioned ice cream parlors and ragtime music so, during a recent trip through St. Louis, it was great to visit Scott Joplin's house and the Crown Candy Kitchen.

Crown Candy Kitchen a St Louis Traditions Since 1913

While I was aware that the Crown Candy Kitchen was not in the best part of town, nothing could prepare me for what I saw: It was an image from hell. What was once an obviously a nice area of town had become a bombed out ruin.

Seeing these sites, made me very receptive a recent series of article by Christopher Orlett:

In Another Country - How do we make people want to be successful?

I live in a different America now. For the past two years I lived in the inner-city of America’s most dangerous city. I saw the culture of poverty up close and personal. Some insist there is no such thing as a culture of poverty; they would think differently if they spent the last two years in my shoes. But of course they won’t.

Mixing It Up

One of social scientist Charles Murray's novel solutions to closing the widening chasm between the well-to-do and the poor is to encourage them to live next door to one other. Presumably, by living in the same neighborhoods as the upper class, the poor would -- by something akin to osmosis -- acquire the habits of success.

I HAPPEN TO LIVE on a mixed-income street, and the few middle class people here are united in their desire to move away. ... what makes our neighborhood unbearable at times is how our "poorer" neighbors' values and lifestyles are so radically different from ours. In general the middle class craves order, stability, security and tranquility. The poor, meanwhile, lead lives that are slovenly chaotic.

Here is an interesting post that cites Orlet:

‘Perfect’ Cases of Social Engineering: Why Public Housing Rejigs Don’t Work

The reorganization, rejigging, up-grading of Regent Park.   The theorized success of this initiative is based on the notion that mixed income housing brings ‘successful’, ‘better’ people to the area to mix with the ‘lesser-thans’ – lesser in income, lesser in education, lesser in the ‘correct way’ to live.  This theoretical basis encompasses and assumes that middle class values trump all ’lower-class’ values


The Theology of Bureaucracy

Like so much else that goes wrong with government, bureaucracy is rooted in ostensibly good intentions. Given the complexities of human interaction and interdependence, bureaucracy is meant to provide a means both for widespread service and control. It does so by applying a mechanical paradigm to the tasks at hand. By this mechanistic paradigm, bureaucracy means to produce fairness efficiently.  This intended fairness is predicated upon the notion that we are more likely to treat individuals fairly if we treat them as (A) anonymous and (B) interchangeable units. In other words, it aims to treat persons as something they simply are not. Therein lies bureaucracy’s greatest failing: anonymous persons in the service and direction of anonymous persons. Or, as Lesslie Newbigin famously observed, bureaucracy is the rule of nobodies by nobodies.

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