Who’s Costing What

It is inevitable that whenever a service is limited, talk will turn towards issues like “who is more deserving of it?” or “should people pay more if they use the service more?”, and so on.  Insurance companies have a hold on this measurement in that, for example, young men pay more for auto insurance because they have more accidents and drive more recklessly than middle-aged women do.

Where this all starts falling apart is when it gets taken to its logical extreme:  should fat people pay more for airline tickets when their weight requires more fuel to power the plane off the runway?  Sure, say all the skinny people;  fuck you, say the chubbies.

And that’s for a pay service.  The argument becomes even sharper when it’s a free (to consumers) service such as, say, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), which is going to become still more of an issue Over Here as the U.S. inches towards a “single-payer” (i.e. State-provided) healthcare system.

So who costs the healthcare service more:  fat people or smokers?  In her inimitable style, Brit journo Janet Street-Porter (who is skinny) scolds future BritPM Boris Johnson (who is chubby) for saying that fat people don’t cost the NHS as much as smokers.

Sorry, Boris but fat people are costing the NHS just as much as smokers ever did so why shouldn’t they face the same shame and taxes?
It’s official, eating yourself to an early death is a human right which must be protected.
Boris Johnson – who could be our next Prime Minister, a prospect which fills me with fear and loathing in equal measure- wants to review the levies on sugary food and drink because they ‘hurt the poor’. He calls them ‘sin taxes’.
This is shameless electioneering, stooping to a new low to grovel for votes.
What really hurts the poor is discovering your child needs every tooth filled and there are no dentists for hundreds of miles.
Or your teenager is too fat to play sport and is being bullied at school. Every extra kilo around a child’s waist is another year off their lives.
Giving people on low incomes the freedom of choice to buy unhealthy food is not a policy anyone who cares about humankind should be proud of. It is retrogressive and patronising.
Food laced with sugar and fat SHOULD be taxed, and that money ploughed back into the National Health service.

For starters, this whole “shaming” thing should be called what it really is:  bullying.  Shame  is what you should feel if you commit a sin or a crime (some overlap);  only scolds and control freaks (some overlap) want to ascribe the eating of a hamburger or a chocolate bar as sinful, and therefore worthy of taxing.

Hey, let’s not stop there.  If we’re talking about costs to a nationalized healthcare system, let’s not stop with smokers and chubbies;  what about car drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists?  I mean, we’ve all seen the accident reports and injury stats — why not tack a tax onto car, bicycle or motorcycle purchases to help cover those  costs to the healthcare system?  (Feel free to add your  suggestions as to ways to squeeze yet more tax dollars from citizens.  Indulge your inner politician.)

I’m making a joke about this, but make no mistake:  at some point this nonsense — especially when supported by media assholes like Street-Porter — starts becoming policy.  And we need to nip it in the bud, hard.

Let’s end this little discussion with a thought from Janet:

It’s the duty of responsible parents and schools to promote healthy eating, and the duty of supermarkets to promote real unprocessed food over junk.

Yeah… we know better than parents what’s good for their children, and (channeling Michelle Obama) schools shouldn’t serve meals that aren’t blessed by the Nutrition Police.  And supermarkets shouldn’t serve their customers’ needs and wants;  they should only serve foods that we say they should.  (Corollary:  and if our “suggested” foods turn out to be completely wrong — e.g. the food pyramid espoused by the FDA for decades — then that’s just tough titties.)

FOAD.

No Ice Floes In The NHS

…which is probably a Good Thing, or else the oh-so compassionate NHS (Australia version) would have pushed this granny off on one long ago.  Simple details are as follows:

Ms Manley was informed on May 12 that her application for an aged parent visa was rejected because she does not fit the criteria due to her poor health.
The health criteria state that an applicant must be free from disease and must be free of any condition which would cost the health sector more than $40,000 (£22,000) in total.
Ms Manley’s full-time care would cost about $145,000 (£80,000) for the next three years.

In case anyone’s interested, this is known as “rationed care”, something the supporters of nationalized health care always deny will happen, but which always does.

Read the whole story for the full rage to take effect.

“But It’s SO Much Healthier!”

Uh huh.  And then we have this:

Global Meat-Eating Is On the Rise, Bringing Surprising Benefits
Sub-Saharan Africans currently have tiny carbon footprints because they use so little energy — excluding South Africa, the entire continent produces about as much electricity as France. The armies of cattle, goats and sheep will raise Africans’ collective contribution to global climate change, though not to near Western or Chinese levels. People will probably become healthier, though. Many African children are stunted (notably small for their age) partly because they do not get enough micro-nutrients such as Vitamin A. Iron deficiency is startlingly common. In Senegal a health survey in 2017 found that 42% of young children and 14% of women are moderately or severely anaemic. Poor nutrition stunts brains as well as bodies. Animal products are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Studies in several developing countries have shown that giving milk to schoolchildren makes them taller. Recent research in rural western Kenya found that children who regularly ate eggs grew 5% faster than children who did not; cow’s milk had a smaller effect.

In the reign of Emperor Kim, all those of the vegan persuasion will be exiled to sub-Saharan Africa, so they can never again be tempted into betraying their religion.

In the meantime, I’m going to help the New Wife in the kitchen:

Can’t run the risk of becoming malnourished now, can we?

Unhealthy Religion

The waspish Sarah Vine tried becoming a vegan, and did not have a good time:

Evangelical vegans will tell you that following a purely ‘plant-based’ diet is not only morally commendable, it’s also much better for your health. But if my experience is anything to go by, the opposite is true.
I felt absolutely fine for the first few days. I didn’t miss meat at all, certainly not in terms of taste or flavour. The only thing I really felt an absence of was eggs. Since I embarked on my mammoth weight-loss project, eggs have become a dietary staple for me: nothing fills me up as well or gives me quite as much long-lasting energy as an egg.
I also found I had to eat larger portions to feel full — and I felt hungry again after a shorter period of time. But even that didn’t bother me, since what I was eating was so wholesome.
No, the real issue became apparent after the third or fourth day. Not to put too fine a point on it: wind.

One of the key arguments of vegans against livestock farming is the harm animals cause to the planet through the amount of methane they produce; if my experience was anything to go by, a vegan human is capable of producing just as much, if not more. I was a one-woman global warming hazard.

I don’t doubt that for some people veganism is a wonderful and fulfilling way of life. But the idea — widely promoted by its proponents — that veganism is something we can all embrace is, I’m afraid, at best baloney, at worst downright dangerous.

Read it all for the details, but all it did was make me want to attack a plate of ribs, just to be on the safe side.

Back To Butter

So now butter and lard are good for you again, and vegetable oils (except olive) are bad:

The World Health Organization has faced fierce backlash after telling people to replace butter and lard with ‘healthier’ oils in the New Year.
A leading cardiologist today said he was ‘shocked and disturbed’ by the advice, which the UN agency listed as a tip to prolong people’s lives.
Butter has been demonised for decades over its saturated fat content – but an array of evidence is beginning to prove it can be healthy.

Plus ça change, plus la même chose.

This announcement could have had some impact on my life, except that I never stopped using butter and I’ve always looked suspiciously at all cooking oils anyway.

Never mind:  next week some other cardiologist will warn us that butter causes (or, more likely, “may” cause) aggravated syphilis or something.

In the meantime, any report from a large government- or international agency (CDC, WHO, etc.) should be treated with the utmost skepticism if not outright rejection.  In fact, if Agency A warns that X is bad for you, a rule of thumb would be to increase the intake of X.

I don’t see that the above advice can be any worse than the bullshit we’ve been fed for the past fifty-odd years.

Involuntary Reaction

I read this story with both amazement and sympathy:

Kira Laconetti, 19, a self-taught musician, began experiencing difficulty when singing or listening to music, having two-minute ‘glitches’ and stuttering her words.
An MRI scan on the performer from Lynden, Washington, revealed a marble-sized mass in the right temporal lobe of her brain. The benign tumour was confirmed to be triggering a rare disorder called musicogenic epilepsy.
The condition, which is estimated to affect one in ten million people, according to Epilepsy Society, triggers seizures caused by certain types of music or frequencies of pitch for which the person’s brain has a low tolerance for. It is unclear what specific notes or music prompted Miss Laconetti’s seizures.

I should disclose at this point that I too suffer from musicogenic epilepsy.  In my case, it’s brought on not by any individual notes but by certain types of music, notably rap music, bebop jazz and the voice of Taylor Swift.

And I don’t suffer seizures either, just spasms of Tourette’s Syndrome.

Fortunately, I don’t need surgery because the remedy is simple:  a little Harry Nilsson, Peter Skellern or even something by the Beatles, and I’m right as rain.

Feel free to share the types of music which trigger your episodes of musicogenic epilepsy, in Comments.