We Have Moved! We Have Moved!

The template and hosting service we began using in early December did not offer everything we needed, so we have to moved to a better neighborhood.  We are very excited about the new and improved home for Paper and Other Absolute Truths, but we must ask you to sign up again for automatic email and RSS updates. Please go to www.absolute-truths.com and sign up in the lower right portion of the new site. Your current email sign-up, or RSS feed will no longer allow you to receive posts from Paper and Other Absolute Truths.

The current host is WordPress and their name is in the url, but that will no longer be the case with the new site. Therefore, if you have added our web-site to your “favorites” or “bookmarks” you will have to go again to www.absolute-truths.com  and bookmark this url.  

The design of the new site has some similarities with the old, but we are now much better organized. You will see that the top of the home page has a section for a Weekly Feature. Important “Feature” posts will remain in this area for a week. Other posts will scroll by date as has been the case previously.

In the right sidebar, posts are archived in a number of convenient ways. Please take a few minutes and look around. We have retained our Strange But True and Quote boxes. We are still fine-tuning the new site, but most of the work has been completed.

Once again, your current email sign up, or RSS feed, will no longer allow you to receive our posts. Please go to www.absolute-truths.com and sign up for automatic updates through RSS or email.

Thank you.

Verle Sutton

The Massachusetts Miracle

Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley today by a wide margin (53%-46%) and for the first time since 1972, the state of Massachusetts will have a Republican Senator.  

Ironically, today was a spectacular day for the Democratic Party.  Party leaders may never admit this or fully understand it, but this defeat in the bluest of blue states has provided them with a second chance. Today, the party is being  forced to face the truth; the majority of Americans have a visceral hatred for the type of heath care plans both houses of Congress have passed.  In fact, for many Americans, health care is so crucial that it is the issue that will decide their vote.

 If Senator Kennedy had not died, there would have been no special election in Massachusetts, and the health care bill would very likely have been passed. That would have been lights out for the Democratic Party.  It would have been crushed in November 2010 and 2012. The Democratic leadership will, if it has an ounce of intuition, take a big step back and try to regain the confidence of the American people. It worked for Clinton in 1994, and it might work again this time. 

Our Weekly Feature article offers great ideas for health care legislation, but the philosophy expressed is pretty much the opposite of President Obama’s, so I suppose a really good health care bill is still not in our future. There is some good news however, in that he bill that is ultimately passed will be less damaging than the pending House and Senate bills.

The following three minute video clip of a Massachusetts focus group is very interesting.


Health Care – How To Get Out of the Mess We’ve Created

It’s doubtful that I will wholeheartedly recommend a large number of articles written by eastern Democrats who also graduated from Harvard – but I certainly do in this case. David Goldhill has carried out excellent research on health care in America, and written an outstanding article, full of important insights.  If it were in my power I would require every man, women, and child living in the U.S. to read and critique this article.  Politicians and their staffs would have to memorize it, all 18 pages.  

Mr. Goldhill’s interest in the U.S. health care system was stimulated by a personal tragedy when his father died unnecessarily of a hospital-borne infection.  The article was printed in the prestigious Atlantic Journal.  The magazine can be blamed for selecting such a provocative title, “How American Health Care Killed My Father.” The title is unfortunate and not reflective of Goldhill’s primary message.

We have, in Reel Time and this Blog, expressed frustration over both the content of the current health care bill working its way through Congress and with the fraudulent deal-making that has accompanied it.  Our criticisms, however, should not be interpreted as support for health care status quo.  David Goldhill does a great job of analyzing why health care costs are so high and what we can do about it.  I don’t agree with everything in this report. For example, Goldhill does not address costly lawsuits and other legal issues that have greatly impacted medical costs.  Nevertheless, we can all learn a lot from this report, How American Health Care Killed My Father.

High Waste Paper Prices, China, and Trade Issues, Part one

Supply and demand for waste paper grades was more-or-less in balance in the ‘90s.  Demand was sufficient to consume all the waste paper that was being recovered.  The situation changed radically on the ‘00s, however.

Demand has increased substantially in recent years due to pressures exerted by environmental organizations to include recycled fiber in grades for which it is not well-suited.  These “environmental” initiatives are costly and harmful to the environment, but they are good fund-raisers for Greenpeace, Forest Ethics, etc. Continue reading

Health Care Bill Feedback

The U.S. election in the fall of 2008 was truly historic. Not only did the electorate select a black president for the first time, but Republicans were trounced in Congressional elections.  Republicans had controlled the Presidency for eight years and maintained a majority in Congress for most of that time, but the electorate was ready for a change – a big change.  The Democrats even gained a 60 seat super-majority (including sympathetic Independents) in the Senate. Continue reading

Is Being Uninsured a Health Hazard?

While attending  graduate school, and studying psychology, our professors did not try to hide the disdain they felt for the academic studies carried out by medical doctors. Our professors pointed out that MD’s did not receive the kind of training necessary to design a study properly and then conduct valid statistical analysis. Critiquing scientific studies was a central part of our education. For our Masters thesis, we were given the opportunity to design and implement a controlled study; an opportunity most MDs never experience. Continue reading

The Truth About Trees

Humans and trees  both have a death rate of 100%. That fact quite often gets lost on environmentalists who imply that a tree saved today is a tree saved forever. Bernard Heinrich, in a December 20, 2009 article titled Clear-Cutting the Truth About Trees, confronts this and other misinformation. Heinrich is a retired PHD Professor of Biology from the University of Vermont. Continue reading