Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Smooth and Appropriate Transition?

[While Borepatch convalesces, I take the liberty of expounding on this matter in this Blog.].

In 2012, the New York State Legislature decreed that all prescriptions for medications be in electronic form. The deadline was 27 March 2015.

This past Friday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation extending the witching hour for compliance an additional year, to 27 March 2016.

The justification for the bill: "Unfortunately, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency moved slowly in certifying vendors who are authorized to transmit electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. As a result, many doctors and other prescribers around the state, many of whom have electronic records and e-prescribing capability have contracts with vendors who have not yet received the necessary federal certification. This legislation will provide additional time to facilitate a smooth and appropriate implementation of electronic prescribing in New York."

There still are many physicians who practice solo or in small groups, and who are not geared to electronic prescriptions. Ditto with the small independent pharmacists. They have bombarded their State Legislators with complaints. And, at least in the case of one acquaintance of mine, have enlisted their patients in the lobbying effort.

And so, Andy Cuomo signed the one-year reprieve.

But once the Feds get up to speed, there will be other issues to deal with.

[N.B. My wife has had a multiple occasions to deal extensively with the issues behind electronic prescriptions in her service on various committees at the hospital where she is on staff. She saw this one coming as soon as the 2012 legislation was signed.].

Like the system going down, as it did last week at one of the BigChainPharmacy outlets we frequently use. My scrip was delayed for almost the entire day, as was that of a friend of ours, whose need was significantly more pressing than my own.

Of greater concern (and here's where Borepatch readers might take note): The system getting hacked and personal data getting into the wrong hands. If When that happens:

** Physician impersonators would be able to write multiple scrips for controlled substances such as oxycodone or amphetamines.

** Personal information of the patients would be usable in identity theft schemes.

And there would be repercussions. Physicians whose identities are stolen would be called on the carpet, and possibly have their practices placed in lockdown until they could show that they were identity theft victims. Patients whose identities are stolen can face credit score problems or worse.

It was only last month that the Anthem healthcare insurance concern was hacked. And the hack was not necessarily an outside job.

Time will tell just how "smooth and appropriate" New York's implementation of electronic prescribing will be.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Do Not Confuse Heat with Temperature!

Any listing of the most notable pedagogues from my past would have to include amongst its upper ranks my high school Physics teacher.  And any listing of the most notable lessons he taught me would have to include the lab and lecture on the latent heat of fusion.  The lecture ended with an admonition that has remained with me all these decades -- "Do Not Confuse Heat with Temperature!"

There is one particular member of our congregation with whom it has been amply shown that I cannot work.  I have nothing particular against him, but he just does not think the same way I do.  The kerfuffles we have gotten into have included, but not been limited to, (A) why is it necessary for me to back into parking spaces instead of going in head-first with my car; (B) why was it necessary for me to take a phillips-head screwdriver and tighten the screws in the shul refrigerator (the handles were coming loose, shmuck!); and why did I have to park my bicycle in the back yard of the shul (did you want me to bring it INTO the shul?).  He sees no problem with New York's firearm restriction laws, he doesn't understand how illegal aliens are costing American taxpayers any money, and when Obamacare first was legislated, he was incredulous that I and a few other individuals were saying that it would actually increase the cost of healthcare.

In any event, for those who have not noticed, there has been a significant amount of snow deposited here on Long Island during the past week or so.  T but today was supposed to be (and in fact was) significantly warmer than the past few days.  I took. the snow shovel and started throwing snow and ice that was on the walkway up to the shul out onto the street, to facilitate its disappearance.  So this fellow congregant whose mental processes (?) are incompatible with my own started with me.  "It's going to be in the 40's today, so it will melt anyway!"

After mentally marshalling the physics lectures regarding how the white snow reflects the sun's rays and their concommitant heat, and how the snow evaporates into the atmosphere with a liquid water stage that is brief if it happens at all, and the latent heat that must be absorbed when water transitions from solid state to liquid state, and how temperature and heat are not necessarily the same thing, and how we need to get rid of the snow and ice, et cetera, I realized that there can be no rational discussion with this man.  So instead of reprising all of those informative and valuable lectures from my high school physics course (and a few from my college physics course -- my Physics 101 professor was no slouch either), I just said to him, "This is what I am doing.  If you don't like it, then report me to the Rabbi!"

Meanwhile, even before today, my own driveway was clearer than almost all of my neighbors' driveways because I took pains to expose the bare black asphalt and let the sun do its thing.  The temperature may be low, but there was plenty of sun for most of the day.  We didn't have much in the way of temperature, but the rays of the sun did deliver sufficient energy to dispatch most of the ice and snow away.  Temperature and heat are not the same things.

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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Am I Becoming One of Them?

I shall not recite too much beyond the bare basics the comedy of errors that was yesterday.  I had finally returned via a mid-afternoon train from a 3-day business/personal excursion in central New JerseyFor compelling reasons not particularly relevant here, my car had been parked in a friend's driveway (and not in my own) during the excursion.

My friend, preoccupied with his own business and his own physical disability (and, to an extent, that of his mother-in-law) and his own vehicles, had not cleared the snow that had been deposited upon my car in my absence.

But I had to honor a late-afternoon appointment, and slack time was short, so I removed the snow from the car windows, but not the car's roof.  When I got to the main road, I accelerated in hopes of dislodging the snow from the roof, but that was not very effective because the snow was not dry powdery, and the road conditions did not warrant any further exceeding of the posted speed limits.

One of my pet peeves is drivers who do not clean the snow from the roofs of their cars, so the snow flies from their roofs and into my windshield on the open highway.

Am I becoming one of them?

Perhaps not.  After my late afternoon appointment (don't get me started with how dysfunctional it was), I went to a nearby synagogue (not my own) for a Megillah reading, for last night began the Holiday of Purim.  I had time before the Megillah to take out my snow brush and clear all the snow off from my car.

Wishing all a Happy Purim.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Setting the Tone for the Day

Some relevant sections of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law:

VTL § 1110(a):  "Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title."

VTL § 1102. "No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or flagperson or other person duly empowered to regulate traffic."

There is this one 4-way intersection not too far from my home.  One of the streets comes in at an odd angle, and it is a cul-de-sac with about 9 homes, plus a driveway that accesses the rear lot of a business establishment.  This street gets a very short green light, and the cycle of the traffic light skips this street every other time.  I have never timed it, but I would guess that in a three minute period, this street might get 15 or 20 seconds.  It is rare that more than 3 cars are waiting for a green to exit this street on to the main highway.  The residents of this quiet street apparently are quite content with the arrangement.

But today, there was a crew doing some work on the main highway, so they routed eastbound traffic through the business's parking lot, around to the back driveway, and onto this street.  And a flag crew (two flagmen and one flagwoman) directed the traffic through the intersection.

Now, according to the two relevant sections of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law, whenever there is a duly authorized person directing traffic, the duly authorized person trumps the traffic light.  Indeed, this is the law in most if not all states.

So what happened?  I was in the line of cars that was directed through the parking lot of the business, and through that intersection.  And the delay would likely have not been too significant -- Except for the two shmucks who insisted on waiting until the light turned green, while disregarding the flagwoman's directives to drive through the intersection and onto the main highway.

What should have taken four minutes at worst took about nine or ten minutes.

And that was about 10 AM.  I shall not now detail the other frustrations, caused by various and sundry stupid idiots, that punctuated my day today.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

It is Wrong to Gloat over Someone Else's Misfortunes

And so, I am not gloating over someone else's misfortunes.  But sometimes, the act of not gloating presents some formidable challenges.  Like when the person who is now incurring the misfortunes is (A) a soapbox global warmist who, not too many months ago, dressed me down and called me a stupid ignoramus for believing that the fears of global warming are grossly exaggerated and that the anthropogenic component of any supposed changes in weather and climate is minimal; and (B) this person lives in Boston, which is now on the receiving end of some very, very frigid winter weather, the likes of which have not been visited upon the city in many, many years.

So no, I am not gloating over my wife's Cousin Diane being stuck in Boston and getting her buns all frozen by weather conditions that are the antithesis of global warming.

Diane, I know that Long Island isn't all that much warmer than Boston (though we have gotten much less snow these past weeks), and it certainly isn't the tropical paradise of Miami.  But if you and Marc and the kids want to visit us on Long Island for whatever respite it gives you from the cold weather in Boston, we would certainly be pleased to have you as our guests.

And if you don't mention anything about the ambient outdoor temperatures, then neither shall I.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

Another Turning for Congressional Democrats?

Interesting things are happening; not all of them bad, by any stretch of the imagination.  Been preoccupied, will continue to be preoccupied, and really shouldn't be wasting too much time in recreational activities, blogging included.

Nevertheless ...

Now the Congressional Democrats are wringing their hands over the question of whether or not to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress.  Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress, a prerogative, so says the White House, reserved for the Executive Branch and not the Legislative Branch.  And now, Obama is applying some no-so-veiled pressure to the Democrats in either chamber to absent themselves from Netanyahu's address.

It certainly is their right to do so.  But, pray tell, how many of those congresscritters who now are entertaining even the slightest suggestion of a thought to do so were questioning the propriety of NYPD rank-and-file's turning of their backs upon New York City's Commissar de Blasio during the funerals of slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu?

Turning on Blaz was labeled as disrespectful; on Netanyahu, not so much.

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