Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spinal Immobilization is not always what is best

This is another one of those EMS related posts. For those of you who are not in the medical field, I am sorry if this post makes your eyes glaze over a bit.

We have been taught to backboard every trauma patient. My protocols have us routinely backboarding patients who have been in car accidents, falls, penetrating trauma to the neck or torso, and a host of other accidents. Even when there is no sign of damage to the spine, we backboard. This is a result of the practice of defensive medicine. That is, we do this under the theory that we could be sued by the ambulance chasing "if I don't get you a big payoff, I don't collect a fee" lawyers that are always on the television during the day. The belief goes that if the patient needed to be immobilized and wasn't, there is a chance we could lose, but throwing someone who isn't really injured on a backboard doesn't hurt the patient, so we cover our collective butts by doing it to everyone.

Studies are starting to show that immobilizing patients is not a benign treatment. In fact, this 2010 study of over 45,000 trauma patients shows that patients who are victims of penetrating trauma to the torso, but do not present with any specific neurological deficit, experience a higher mortality rate when immobilized than similar patients who are not immobilized. We need to cease backboarding everyone. We are killing people. The lawyers are killing people. This needs to stop.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Worker's comp

Several years ago, I was injured at work. I ruptured my Achilles tendon. My employer sent me to a health clinic that they have a contract with. In the lobby of this clinic is a sign which reads: "We specialize at getting your employees back to work." This attitude of the personnel at this clinic seems to be that all employees are goldbricking fakers that need to go back to work.

I told them that it felt like there was a problem with my Achilles tendon. Feeling the back of my swollen ankle, I could feel where the tendon was not there. They wanted to take an xray. I told them that a ruptured Achilles tendon won't show on an xray. They argued with me and took it anyway. They saw nothing, diagnosed me with a sprain and sent me back to work on light duty. My employer gives no option of staying home sick when given light duty for an on the job injury.

Three weeks later, I finally demanded and got an MRI. Diagnosis? There was a fluid filled gap where the tendon is supposed to be. The ankle specialist that they finally sent me to said that it would probably be a career ending injury, and that I would never walk properly again, because there is a time limit of 10 days for repairing this sort of injury. He offered to try the surgery anyway, with the understanding that if it did not work I would need a cane for walking for the rest of my life. I went ahead with it. He said that even if the operation was a success, it would be 6 months before I could walk, and 18 months before I could work again.

It was 8 painful months later that I returned to full duty. I endured surgery, nauseating drugs, excruciating physical therapy, and unbelievable amounts of pain, followed by a month of weaning myself off the narcotics.

I was injured again this afternoon while responding to a burning Denny's restaurant. This time, the other ankle. I am being sent to the same clinic that almost crippled me before. I am overjoyed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The fiscal ship is sinking

While wages and other job-related income fell by a record $206 billion last year to $7.84 trillion, transfer payments from the government such as unemployment checks and Social Security burgeoned by $231 billion to $2.1 trillion. Meanwhile, the amount of taxes that individual Americans paid plummeted by $325 billion to $2.1 trillion as a result of middle-class tax cuts and because nearly 6 million people were thrown out of work and are no longer paying payroll taxes.

Did you get that? We pay out more in "give aways" that we are taking in through taxes, and that doesn't include law enforcement, the courts, jails, or the military. This country is past the point of no return. It is doomed to failure.

When you go to the range

It would probably be a good idea to make sure that you are not followed home. It makes me wonder what happened here, but it sounds like he was targeted. Whatever happened, his machine gun, along with some other nice pieces, are gone. Almost certainly stolen by someone who has no appreciation for fine firearms.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Militia is not useless against tanks

One of the standard lines that you hear when discussing the Second Amendment as a tool for allowing the citizens of a nation to replace the government if it becomes abusive is that citizen militias are useless for opposing government tyranny, because the government owns all sorts of weapons like tanks, jet fighters, Aegis cruisers, and even nuclear weapons, and a citizen militia armed with what amounts to hunting rifles would be powerless against that kind of force.

Leaving aside the fact that making such a statement makes me believe that this is actually making a case for loosening restrictions on what arms the citizens can own, the belief that a citizen militia cannot beat a tyrannical modern military is a sign of unimaginative thinking. I will admit that a bunch of citizens armed with semi automatic rifles would be soundly defeated on a battlefield by any modern military employing those tanks, jet fighters, and artillery. It is a wise move to avoid any battlefield where such weapons are being used. That is when a smart militia redefines the battlefield.

The M1 Abrams is a fuel hog. A company of 14 of those tanks needs nearly 1,000 gallons of fuel to move 100 miles. The tanks break down every 250 hours or so. The F16 fighter uses an average of 7 pounds of fuel for every minute of flight, and requires 12 hours of maintenance for every hour spent flying. Both of those weapons need spare parts, as they are wonders of technological achievement. Therein lies the weak spot. Convoys of fuel trucks and spare parts are easy to raid, and a tank with no fuel becomes a fixed pillbox. A jet fighter on the ground threatens no one. So the military has to spend time guarding the convoys.

Then you attack the factories that make the spare parts, the electric lines bringing them power, and the supply trucks and pipelines that supply the factories and refineries. Now the military has to use the high tech weapons and equipment to guard those.

Let a military armed with tanks and jet fighters choose the battlefield and you will lose. A citizen militia would have to avoid allowing that to happen, but it can be done.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My busy life

There hasn't been much posting here, because my life has become quite busy this year. There are a number of issues that have been demanding my attention as of late. Since the first of the year:

  1. I work two jobs: Firefighter, which takes up 56 hours a week of my time, plus the 202 hours of overtime I have worked so far this year, and I also work in Health Services for a local theme park.
  2. I am currently attending college, and trying to tie up the last of this degree. I am taking 25 credit hours this semester, and finals are next week. All 8 classes are A's thus far, with one possibly a B. I graduate magna cum laude with my fourth college degree in June.
  3. I took the GRE exam to enter a Master's degree program next year. I spent quite a bit of time studying for that, and it paid off: 630 verbal, 780 math.
  4. I also studied for and passed the Amateur radio technician's license.
  5. I am representing myself pro se in my mortgage foreclosure case, and in a lawsuit against my mortgage holder. I settled the lawsuit for a hefty sum, and it looks like the court will be dismissing the foreclosure case, so I get to stay in my home awhile longer.
  6. and I am a season ticket holder for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, and I have to drive 70 miles each way to attend hockey games.

So, as you can see, blogging sometimes takes a back seat to the rest of my life. I am working to get into graduate school so that I can go do something else once they cut my pension benefits as a firefighter. I can do better than what I am getting paid. I have not had a raise in over four years, in fact I make 20% less than I did four years ago. There will be no raises in the foreseeable future, and now they are cutting pension benefits in half. No thanks. If the cuts go through, I am done. The only reason I didn't leave years ago was that pension.

I am a hard working, intelligent employee who brings a lot to the table. I think I can do better. I will be getting my Masters of Health Science and go be a Physician's Assistant now. More money, fewer dirtbags.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Florida Sheriffs from Orange, Hillsborough, and Volusia are your enemy

Captain Mike Fewless of the Orange county Sheriff's office teamed up with Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, and Major Ken Davis of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office, and went to Tallahassee to lobby against SB 234. For those who do not know, SB 234 will allow those people in Florida who have a concealed weapons permit to carry a weapon openly. This law doesn't change who carries a weapon, only how they carry it.

Fewless used his access as a law enforcement officer to research alleged members of a biker gang, take their pictures, and gave those pictures to the legislators on the Judiciary committee. He then told the judiciary that these are the types of people who would be openly carrying weapons, since these alleged gang members were CCW permit holders.

“I actually stopped by every one of your guy's offices this morning and dropped off seven photographs of some biker outlaw gang guys that have carry and concealed firearm permits,” Fewless said to the committee.

In so doing, Fewless became a criminal himself. He violated more than one law in using his police powers to search restricted databases, and then released that information to the public. If it is true that the bikers would be permitted to openly carry firearms because they have concealed weapons  permits, this means one of two things: That the bikers in question have not broken any laws, or that they HAVE broken the law, and the cops themselves haven't done their jobs. It is also illegal for public employees to lobby the legislature while on the clock.

According to Florida Statute, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must suspend the licenses of those persons arrested or formally charged with a crime that would disqualify an individual for a license until final disposition of the case, and a licensee who is under an injunction that restrains them from committing acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violence. Finally, the agency must revoke the license of a licensee who have been found guilty of, had adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had imposition of sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence within the preceding three years. So if those men are in fact criminal bikers, they should not have permits.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Major Ken Davis told of a recent traffic stop of six Tampa Bay Outlaw motorcycle gang members. “Although the six Outlaws were certified gang members, and had histories of criminal arrests, most were also concealed carry permit [sic] holders”, he related.

Note that he was being misleading: They had a history of arrests. So what?  Were they convicted? He doesn't say. I myself have been arrested. I was innocent until proven guilty, and since I was never convicted, I have a concealed weapons permit.

I would also note that Fewless' boss is Orange County Sheriff Demmings, whose wife is Val Demmings, the police chief of Orlando. She 'lost' her gun  in 2009, when she left it in her unlocked vehicle in front of her house. The two agencies have had nearly a dozen firearms stolen from unmarked vehicles in the past five years, including a suppressed machine gun.

It bothers me less that a biker gang member who has never been convicted of a crime has a weapon than it bothers me that the cops carry them. Cops kill more people every year than do biker gangs. Cops have stolen more money from me at gunpoint than have biker gangs. and biker gangs are not lobbying the state legislature to grant them rights while simultaneously attempting to restrict mine. I feel safer with the bikers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cutting 1%

The Republicans claim the largest spending cut in US history this weekend, by cutting $38.4 billion from the $3.7 trillion budget. This represents a one percent cut, and leaves us with a trillion dollar plus deficit. That is what we are left with- a one percent cut.
Putting this in perspective, it took George W Bush two and a half years to borrow a trillion dollars. It took Clinton three and a half years, George HW Bush three years, and Reagan did it in six. No other President has borrowed that much money. In fact, it took 204 years for the government to borrow its first trillion. 

Explain to me how Republicans are different from the Democrats, again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Who do I pay?

Nineteen months. That has how long it has been since I last made a house payment. Some would tell me to pay, and to those people, I ask one simple question: Who am I supposed to pay?

I signed a mortgage with a company we will call Mortgage Trust Company*, and paid on it for two and a half years. It turns out, the mortgage was sold by Mortgage Trust Company, to Fannie Mae just 4 months after I bought the house. Mortgage Trust Company was the servicer. The problem is, Mortgage Trust Company didn't tell anyone that it had been sold. Actually, not only did they fail to tell anyone, they even testified in court, producing (faked, forged) documentation to say that they still owned the note and mortgage. Fraud. Perjury. Forgery.

I sued them for that. They paid me a 5 figure settlement amount to keep that out of court.

Then, it turned out that Mortgage Trust Company had actually sold the note and mortgage twice. Not only to Fannie Mae, but to Nationstar mortgage. I don't know how that was legal, since the note and mortgage had already been sold to Fannie Mae, but Mortgage Trust Company hasn't seemed to care a whole lot about the truth.

There are now three different banks who claim to own my note and mortgage, but none of them can produce the original paperwork. Since the original note is a negotiable instrument much like an endorsed check, anyone wishing to foreclose must either produce the original, or be able to testify that the original was in their possession when it was lost or destroyed. Since no one can do that, I have thus far been in a free house.

Even if I had a desire to pay, or to turn the house over to the bank, which one do I compensate? This is why we are in the mess we are in now.

* Names have been changed to comply with the terms of a settlement agreement

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Like the crane technique, there is no defense

In Florida, you cannot use the fact that a woman told you that she is over 18 as a defense to sexual molestation charges. Even if she produced identification that said she is of age. This guy may well be innocent, but he is going down.

Look what happened to this guy. The woman in that case was 13 years old. She said on her MySpace page that she was a 19 year old divorcee. Under Florida law, the belief that the girl is of legal age, and the girl's promiscuity cannot be used as a defense. That is too bad, because this is the second time she has gotten a man thrown in prison because she lied about her age and had sex with him. The girl's family admits that the girl still stays out late and has yet to delete her misleading MySpace page.

TEA party is politics as usual

Proving again that there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans, the darling of the TEA party movement and Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. What did he do? Well, he made all of these pretty speeches about how public employee unions were the enemy.

Then he went and gave the son of one of his contributors an $81,500 a year job. The boy's qualifications?

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions, yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker's administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team? It wasn't due to his qualifications. According to his resumé, Deschane, 27, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, worked for two Republican lawmakers - then-Sens. David Zien and Cathy Stepp, now the natural resources secretary - and helped run a legislative and a losing congressional campaign. He held part-time posts with the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Business Council until being named to his first state gig earlier this year.

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year's governor's race. The group's political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor's successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker's campaign over the past two years. Total donations: $121,652.

That TEA party sure is reining in that abusive government spending.

Politics as usual. The only answer is to take the power away from government.

Pointless discussion

I had a discussion yesterday with an Obama supporter. I had made the comment that Obama had abandoned all the promises that he had made as a candidate. A nearby coworker jumped in and said that he had voted for Obama, and that the President was doing his best.
The conversation went like this:
DiveMedic: "Is this what you voted for? We are still in Iraq, still in Afghanistan, still have prisoners in Gitmo, and now we have invaded Libya."
Obama Supporter: "Things are more complicated than that."
DM: "He is the Commander in Chief. The way that works, is he picks up the phone and gives the order. The military obeys."
OS: "He ended don't ask, don't tell."
DM: "No he didn't" (Obama signed a law in December that authorizes the President to end DADT, but the policy won't end until 60 days after the President gives the order, which he hasn't done, yet. You can't give him credit for that one, yet.)
OS: "You just don't like him because he is black." There it is, the trump card. At this point, the discussion is over, because there is no possibility of having a discussion based upon logic at this point.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just call 911

Just call 911. That is the advice that people give when they tell you that only cops and the military should own guns. Tell that to the woman in this trial.

She tried to call 911, but he tore the phone from her hands and smashed it. He then tore off her pants and raped her. After he was done violating the woman, he robbed her and forced her to go for a ride. Asked what she had thought during the assault and its aftermath, the woman told transfixed jurors, "I kept thinking, 'I don't want to die. I don't want to be one of those people who just disappears and their family can never find.'"

The rapist had been arrested 18 previous times in Lake County, including once for sexual battery at age 14, and had only been released from a 14 month stay in prison 5 days before he commited this crime.

A firearm is the only weapon that places a smaller woman on an equal footing with a larger, stronger male opponent. If this woman would have had one, perhaps she would have been able to protect herself. Or do you feel that a rapist's life is too important? When this man eventually gets out, will he kill someone?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Politics as usual

I hate to keep harping on this topic, but this is such a big change to my life at this point, I just can't let this one go. You know how the Florida governor is claiming that he wants to cut the pensions of public employees to save money?
Then explain to me why he is giving his senior cabinet members $20K a year raises...