December 12, 2006
"Trustworthy" Spam
I usually delete these emails as fast as they pop up, but something about this one caught my eye. Then I realized this would-be con artist simply does not understand American culture at all. This also reveals too much about the culture in which Mohammed lives.
Dear Friend,

I am Mohammed Aliu from Africa, What and what business can I invest in your country? To be honest with you, I have some substantial amount of money which I misappropriated from the budget meant for my office. I need a responsible, truthful and mature person to guide and partner with me.

Call me if you can on (+2348027349331) or email me . I wish to invest in Hotel or real estate. Do include your full contact details in your reply. Thanks.

Mohammed Aliu

Even if I were gullible and greedy enough to fall for a spam com, I cannot imagine partnering with someone who admits to stealing from his office budget...

December 04, 2006
Socialized Dentistry
When my academic friends promote socialized medicine, I always ask them why they think the government will do a better job than the free market. The reply is invariable one of two responses. Either they have more blind faith in government bureaucracy (despite working for a woefully inefficient one) than they do in the free market (or at least what passes for one in the overly regulated US medical industry) or they say it works well in UK and the rest of Europe.

Well, from my readings I believe it works better in the UK than it does in almost any other socialized nation. And it doesn't work too well in the UK. In the past I've told my friends that wealthy individuals from countries with socialized medicine frequently fly to the US for medical treatment. I ask them if this is a natural consequence of socialized medicine. Usually they shrug and say wealth will always have privilege, but socialized medicine is fairer for the average person than the US system.

I have never believed the facts bear this out. Indeed, I believe the facts show the opposite, but most people are rarely convinced by facts. So I've decided to use my blog to capture a few real-life stories and see if stories are more effective. So let's review the case of Gordon Cook. Gordon is a 55-year-old man in the UK. For the last three years he has been unable to see a dentist under the UK's socialized medicine benefit because too many dentists have abandoned the system and only take private patients. Gordon didn't want to spend the ~$150 to fix a loose crown with a private dentist, so while he searched for an available NHS dentist covered by his taxes, he used superglue, yes the hyper adhesive sold in hardware stores, to glue his crown to his tooth. Each application lasted approximately two months and then he had to reapply the glue.

After three years of waiting (and after his story made the press), Mr. Cook finally has found a NHS dentist and hopes to have his problem professionally treated. Wonder how long it would have taken if the press had not publicized his problem? Wonder how many other average Brits suffer for years waiting for their turn to see a medical professional? The US system has major problems, mostly induced by either the government or a too litigious society, but I'd rather have a medical problem here than in any country suffering from socialized medicine.