Category: Activities (page 2 of 15)

Activities are gatherings that occur on a regular schedule, usually weekly, to enjoy a specific pastime.

God Save Texas : A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright, Aug 8, 2018

Note we’ll meet on summer hours – 9:00 Mather Center.
Explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas, while holding the stereotypes up for rigorous scrutiny. God Save Texas is a journey through the most controversial state in America. It is a red state in the heart of Trumpland that hasn’t elected a Democrat to a statewide office in more than twenty years; but it is also a state in which minorities already form a majority (including the largest number of Muslim adherents). The cities are blue and among the most diverse in the nation. Oil is still king but Texas now leads California in technology exports. The Texas economic model of low taxes and minimal regulation has produced extraordinary growth but also striking income disparities. Texas looks a lot like the America that Donald Trump wants to create. And Wright’s profound portrait of the state not only reflects our country back as it is, but as it was and as it might be

Current Affairs: Gun Control, June 21, 2018

8:15 Lilian Gade room

Discussion Leader: Charles Salmans

Gun Control

Interpreting The Second Amendment – The Right to Bear Arms

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The historical debate over the language of this amendment, as to whether this is an individual right or a right in conjunction with service in “a well regulated militia”, has antecedents before the amendment was drafted. John Adams wrote that Congress should not prevent peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. James Madison, in Federalist Paper 46, wrote about the right to bear arms within state militias as a means to keep in check a federal army.

In a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia vs. Heller, Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, argued that the right to bear arms was a “right of the whole people, an individual right.” Justice Stevens disagreed in a minority opinion, arguing that this was a right in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia.

The following Wikipedia entry summarizes interpretations and rulings over the years:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Legal restrictions on weapons ownership that comply with the Second Amendment

The right to bear arms does not guarantee the right to buy or possess any weapon. Wikipedia on Federal Gun Control Laws

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_law_in_the_United_States

In 1939, in US vs. Miller, the Supreme Court upheld the law banning the right to buy, sell or possess a sawed-off shotgun.

From 1994-2004, there was a Federal ban on assault weapons, but that lapsed when Congress refused to renew it under pressure from the NRA. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban for definition of “assault weapons” under the law.

In the 2008 Heller decision, Justice Scalia wrote that the right to bear arms had boundaries. “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” For example he cited laws that prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or that forbid them in places such as schools and government buildings, or impose conditions on their sale. In other words, gun enthusiasts are wrong when they claim that any limitation on firearms is unconstitutional.

President Trump has called for a ban on “bump stocks” that effectively turn a semi-automatic weapon into a full automatic weapon, but although this has been filed as a proposed rule change by the Justice Department, it has not yet been implemented by the Justice Department and will be challenged.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bump-stock-ban-trump_us_5ab92cf5e4b0decad04cb02a
There are also concerns that it will be hard to enforce, as some 500,000 are in circulation.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/proposed-bump-stock-ban-would-be-tough-to-enforce-1523185201

The President has also called for the age limit for purchase of a firearm be raised to 21. That proposal is opposed by the NRA and has not been implemented as yet. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-trump-vows-care-bump-stocks-executive-action/story?id=53421961

CDC and other Data on Gun Deaths

Gun death statistics kept by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) counted 38,658 deaths in 2016 (including suicides). Data collected by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks media and law enforcement reports of shootings estimated that

3,964 children and teenagers were shot in 2017 including fatal and nonfatal shootings (CDC: 6,400 children and teens have been shot each year)
Incidents of defensive gun use were 2,030 in 2017 (the majority of gun owners cite self defense as their primary reason for owning a gun.
Unintentional shootings dropped by 9%. Only four states have some form of law requiring gun owners to safely store their guns when not in use, a practice linked to lower rates of accidental shootings.

The First Estimate of 2017 Gun Deaths Is In

A trauma surgeon describes high velocity wounds, such as from an AR-15 or an AK-47, that are much more destructive than those from a low velocity weapon. The bullet destroys whole areas of the body and shatters bone into hundreds of microscopic pieces.

When a Bullet Enters a Body: Gun Violence as Seen by a Trauma Surgeon

Correlation between rate of gun ownership and gun violence, effect of Background Checks on gun deaths and suicide rates

Among US states and among countries, there is a correlation between the rate of gun ownership and gun violence.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

Gun ownership correlates with gun deaths. Connecticut and other New England states rank low in gun ownership and gun deaths.

Developed countries with more guns have more gun deaths.

America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, 16 times as many as Germany.

The US has 4.4% of the world’s population, but nearly half of all civilian-owed guns around the world.

There have been more than 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook (defined as four or more people shot in an incident) but these are a tiny percentage of firearm deaths.

States with Universal Background Checks had fewer gun deaths and those with stricter gun provisions had fewer suicide deaths.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21739193-washington-dithers-and-argues-some-states-show-way-what-works-reduce-gun-deaths?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/whatworkstoreducegundeathsfirearmsandthelaw

Federal law requires background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm through a licensed dealer, but says nothing about private sales or transactions at gun shows. Many buyers slip through this loophole. A survey of 1,613 gun-owners published in 2017 found that 42% had acquired their most recent weapon without a background check. The internet has made sales even harder to police. A probe by private investigators hired by New York City in 2011 found that 62% of online private sellers agreed to sell guns to people who stated they “probably could not pass a background check”.

Proposals to further restrict gun ownership

Constitutional Amendment or Supreme Court ruling that departs from the 2008 District of Columbia vs. Heller ruling and links the “right to bear arms” to militia (National Guard?) membership.

Both these seem unlikely.
Proposals by the Parkland Students.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2018/mar/23/parkland-students-manifesto-americas-gun-laws?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=268684&subid=13072209&CMP=GT_US_collection
Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high velocity rounds.

Ban accessories that simulate automatic weapons such as bump stocks.

Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checks paired with data on individuals’ infringement of gun laws, criminal offenses, and mental records.

Change privacy laws to allow healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement.

Close gun show and secondhand sales loopholes.

Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reform.

Raise the firearm purchase age to 21.

Dedicate more funds to mental health.

Increase funding for school security.
Other proposals:

“Red Flag Laws” – Extreme risk protection orders allowing the police to take away guns from people deemed by a judge to be dangerous, often after a family member or acquaintance raises concerns. Connecticut was the first state, in 1999, to pass such a law.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/23/us/red-flag-laws-guns.html

Require gun-buyers to apply for permits or licenses and to pass safety training. Twelve states and Washington, DC have such laws, several of which require would-be handgun-buyers to pass safety training. Canada has such a requirement. Some require people to turn up at their local sheriff’s office or police department. This may deter so-called “straw purchases”, in which someone stands in for a debarred buyer.

The Australian Solution. Make it illegal to own an unregistered firearm and then have periodic amnesties to allow people to turn over firearms without prosecution. To date, some 700,000 firearms have been surrendered to authorities in Australia.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-43236421
“The good guy with a gun” proposal.

Australia had a serious problem with gun violence. Here’s what happened after the country tried gun control

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-05-31/australia-tried-gun-control-and-here-s-what-happened-video-jhuqhlci?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews 

Allow teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools. Case history of an Ohio school where unnamed teachers have received training and have secured access to firearms.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/us/armed-teachers-guns-schools.html

Allow concealed carry without a permit and in more places. Concealed carry reciprocity would allow citizens who live in a state that allows concealed carry to legally carry in states that do not have concealed carry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States

Problem of Overhang of Guns already in Private Possession

If new controls were imposed upon the sale and/or possession of firearms of various types, there still would be the problem of the weapons already in circulation. Presuming that the US attitude toward guns is different than in Australia, it’s unlikely that a high percentage of guns in private ownership would be turned in. Arguably, those that remained would command a high price on the black market (and bid on by those with nefarious purposes).

Of the roughly 300 million firearms owned by Americans, an estimated 8.5 million to 15 million are AR-15 and similar assault style rifles according to the NRA
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article201882739.html

Even if the ban on “bump stocks” was imposed today, there are some 500,000 in circulation.

I was unable to find an estimate of the number of high capacity magazines in circulation.

American Gun Violence and Culture

It is not more difficult to buy guns or ammunition in Canada than the US, but the rate of homicide by guns is much less. Homicides in Canada are 5.1 per 100,000 vs 29.7 in the US. Virtually every gun used in an American mass shooting is legally available for purchase in Canada.

One difference: nobody legally buys a gun in Canada without first taking the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. Then they have to submit an application for a license where they are screened for risk factors such as criminal history and mental health. Unlike the US, where gun ownership is closely correlated with self defense, according to surveys most Canadians believe the only reason for owning a gun is to kill animals or to shoot at paper targets.

Most guns in school shootings come from home.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-school-shootings-most-guns-come-from-home-1522920600?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

 

NYT’s Opinion – How to Reduce Shootings
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

 

NBC News: Rural America is mad about proposed gun laws. So they’re creating ‘gun sanctuaries.’

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rural-america-mad-about-proposed-gun-laws-so-they-re-n877481

Active Shooter Video Game
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/us/parkland-shooter-video-game.html

We don’t have much that discounts the importance of gun control relative to psychology/sociology. I was listening to The New Yorker Radio Hour on NPR this morning and there was an 11 minute segment by Malcolm Gladwell that argued that there are too many guns already in circulation to make gun control an effective way of stopping school shootings. (He also pointed out that there were plenty of guns out there before school shootings became commonplace.

The segment cites a study that showed that incidents once regarded as so rare as to be almost unique motivate copycats as the second, then third, then fourth…incidents take place. In effect, school shooters have become part of a self-perpetuating subculture.
https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/the-new-yorker-radio-hour/malcolm-gladwell-on-school-shootings-and-the-return-of-paul-schrader

Women Should Be at Vanguard of the Gun-Control Movement –
Murders by firearms by husbands, boyfriends and other male partners surpass the number of victims of mass shootings.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-05-30/women-should-be-leading-the-fight-for-stricter-gun-laws

Harlem Wandering, Tuesday April 17, 2018

Harlem Wandering, Tuesday April 17, 2018

 

Board the 8.58am train from Darien or the 9.02 am train from Noroton. Get off at the Harlem/125 th St Station and remain on the platform where we will congregate before we head down to street level to begin our wandering. ( Do not  head to Grand Central station).

 

No rain is presently forecast for Tuesday. Should this change, necessitating a postponement of our wandering, an email will go out Monday night/Tuesday morning.

 

Our wandering will cover the following areas:

 

 

–Mt Morris Park Historic Residential district, 120th St  environs.

— A loop from 120th St to 140 th St, Between Lenox Ave and Frederick Douglas Blvd

–Libation stop at Corner Social on Lenox around 11am

–135 th St –the birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s to the 1930s. This period saw a burst of creative energy in Black literature, art, dance and music (Jazz)

–Visiting Harlem Hospital’s Famous WPA murals, Cotton Club and site of Savoy Ballroom

–Abyssianian Baptist Church

 

–Townhouses on Strivers Row

 

— Bill’s Place where Billie Holliday was “discovered”

–Shriner’s Music Venue, hippest music spot in Harlem today

–Lafayette Theater where the first Shakespeare play with an all black cast was performed

–Theresa Hotel

–Apollo Theater

Lunch around 1 pm at Sylvia’s “Queen of Soul Food” Restaurant at Lenox Ave  Menu:  http://sylviasrestaurant.com/menus/

 

Train back to Darien around 3 pm

 

 

Photo courtesy of Harvey Mogensen

Hike Pomerance Park, Thursday April 12, 2018 , Greenwich 10.00 am

This 100 acre property is now owned by the Town of Greenwich, but was at one time the estate
of a Mr Wertheim, a New York investment banker. The property is of interest because the
mansion that sits atop a small hill was home to Barbara Tuchman, the noted historian, who was
Mr Wertheim’s daughter and who wrote her Pulitzer prize- winning book “The Guns of August”
while secluded in a small cabin on the property. The mansion itself fell into disrepair and was demolished by the Town , but its skeleton was preserved for its historical interest.

Except for a couple of gentle slopes, the hiking trails on this property are fairly flat and suitable for almost anyone who is interested in hiking. Its a very pretty property, rustic and wooded and you will marvel that so much open space has been preserved in the middle of a residential area.

We expect to hike about 2-2 1/2 hours followed by lunch, which is optional will be at the Little
Pub at 531 East Putnam Ave Greenwich at about 12.30pm

Directions:​ On Google Maps mark your destination as Pomerance Park, Greenwich or 101
Orchard Street, Greenwich. Take I-95 South towards Greenwich and get off at Exit 5. Off the Exit ramp make a left turn onto Route 1 South ( also called East Putnam Ave).. Proceed just over a mile and then make a sharp right turn onto Orchard Street(there is a Gulf station at the corner). Drive up Orchard
Street about 0.75 miles and you will see Pomerance Park on your right. Pull into the parking lot
where we will meet at 10.00am

Contact :Sunil Saksena ssaksena44@gmail.com
203-561-8601

Hike the Leon Levy Preserve in South Salem, NY – May 3, 2018

Our next hike is set for Thursday May 3, 2018 at 10.00 am

The Leon Levy Preserve was established approximately 10 years ago when the 400 acre Bell property was purchased by the Westchester Land Trust. The hiking trails here are wide, well maintained, well marked and range from an easy to a light moderate level of difficulty. This hike should appeal to hikers of all levels of experience. We welcome spouses and significant others — they will enjoy this outing.

We will start at 10.00am, hike for perhaps 3.5 miles and be done by approximately 12 noon.

Following the hike, an optional lunch will be at Cava Wine Bar and Restaurant at 2 Forest Avenue, New Canaan. A fixed price ($19) two- course lunch awaits you there.

Directions:
The best directions can be had by googling 45 Smith Ridge Road in South Salem, NY. This is a private home on Route 123 very close to the Preserve. In fact, a few yards from their mailbox is a brown sign saying the the Leon Levy Preserve is just ahead on the left. There is ample parking.

For those traveling from Darien, you will basically being going up Mansfield Ave (Route 124) into New Canaan and there connect to Route 123 N which is Smith Ridge Road in New Canaan. Proceed on Route 123 N well into New York State till you see the mailbox for 45 Smith Ridge Road in South Salem and spot the Leon Levy sign mentioned above.

Contact for this hike: Sunil Saksena, 203-561-8601; ssaksena44@gmail.com

Book Discussion: Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin, June 13, 2018

Note we’ll meet on summer hours – 9:00 Mather Center.
The magnificent new novel by the gifted, singular #1 New York Times bestselling author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War Mark Helprin’s powerful, rapturous new novel is set in a present-day Paris caught between violent unrest and its well-known, inescapable glories. Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour?a ma?tre at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust?must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present. In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life?days bright with music, family, rowing on the Seine?Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist a third his age. Against the backdrop of an exquisite and knowing vision of Paris and the way it can uniquely shape a life, he forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth. In the intoxicating beauty of its prose and emotional amplitude of its storytelling, Mark Helprin’s Paris in the Present Tense is a soaring achievement, a deep, dizzying look at a life through the purifying lenses of art and memory

Happy Wanderers: Staten Island, March 20, 2018

Happy Wanderers Staten Island
Joe Spain will lead the Happy Wanderers on their kick off trip this season on Tuesday, March 20 with a trip to Staten Island. Plans are to take the subway from Grand Central Station to the ferry terminal at the tip of Manhattan and then across the
lower harbor to New York’s southernmost borough. The walk will include a tour of several historic districts and a ride on the Islands transit system.

 

Report on Happy Wandering to
Staten Island

Following is a report by Joe Spain about the Happy Wanderers’ trip to Staten Island this past Tuesday that he had planned to deliver at our Wednesday meeting.

This account also may be of interest to any member who has never been on a wandering.

Tuesday, we boarded the 8:36 a.m. train from Darien. David Mace and Sunil Saksena jumped on at Norton Heights a few minutes later.

At Grand Central, we checked at the Information Booth for others who might have been on other cars of our train or who had come to Grand Central to rendezvous with us.

No one else appeared so we took the Lexington Avenue Express downtown to Bowling Green and walked a block to the ferry terminal.

We boarded the 10:30 a.m. ferry, the Samuel I. Newhouse, and were strolling out of the St. George Terminal on Staten Island at about 11 a.m.

We walked south toward the Government Center District, noting that several statues were there, including one of General Barrett in the Barrett Triangle. We passed by Borough Hall and the Richmond County Court House.

We took our libation break at Steiny’s Pub on Hyatt Street. From there, we walked the historic St. George’s, St. John’s Avenue and Stapleton districts.

Our walk was punctuated by the arrival of spring at 12:15 p.m. and ended at the Stapleton station of the Staten Island Railway, where, given the blustery weather, we decided to choose a restaurant close to that rail line for our luncheon stop. We proceeded by rail to the southern tip of the Island, along the Arthur Kill Channel that runs between Staten Island and New Jersey. We had a fine Italian meal at Angelina’s.

After lunch, we observed the local vistas, including the Outerbridge Crossing over the channel. We then boarded the railway for our trip back north and right into the St. George Terminal.

We took the next ferry and were graced with the photography services of a most pleasant European acupuncturist, who took our photo along the starboard side of the Andrew J. Barbieri, with, we hoped, Lady Liberty in the background.

Back in Manhattan, we boarded the Lexington Avenue subway for Grand Central and were able to make the 5:34 p.m. train for Noroton Heights and Darien.

As a side point, I should mention that the two ferries we took, while not close to being full, are the two largest in the city’s fleet.

Moreover, these two ferries, of 1981 vintage, are the two largest passenger-capacity vessels in the world, each capable of carrying 6,000 people.

Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman

Recommended by Tom Haack

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”

The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.

In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.

Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).

Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.

“A remarkable feat of fearless and responsible reporting . . . important, timely, and informative.”—John le Carré

 

NYT Book Review:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/books/review-rise-and-kill-first-israel-assassinations-ronen-bergman.html 

Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin

Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long, Dodge City’s streets were lined with saloons and brothels and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s, Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West.

Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West, and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Clavin’s Dodge City tells the true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures, along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) that has gone largely untold―lost in the haze of Hollywood films and western fiction, until now.

Recommended by Tom Haack

Current Affairs: End of Life Care – Issues and Policies, May 17, 2018

Discussion leader: Jim Phillips
Just because we can extend life, should we? The U.S. is expected to spend $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012. Medicare alone will cost taxpayers $590 billion, with over 25% going toward patients in their last year of life. If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care, deciding whose life is worth saving? In other words, how much is an extra month of life worth?

For The Motion
The U.S. spends more on health care than any other industrial nation—in 2012 we are expected to spend $2.8 trillion. We cannot afford our health care system and expensive end-of-life care costs are a major contributor to this problem.
Rationing means getting better value for the trillions we spend every year.
Rationing already happens. Medicare decides what it will reimburse, private insurance decides what they will cover, and individuals go without care and medicine every day when they can’t afford it.
We must ration based on cost-effectiveness, not on an individual’s ability to pay.
If we spent less on those who, with or without treatment, have only a few months left to live, we would be better able to help those who may have decades.
Against The Motion
The government should not have the power to determine who lives, who dies, and who gets treatment based on calculations of quality and quantity of life.
Health care costs can be reined in without rationing care.
Targeting “end-of-life” care specifically would result in very little cost savings.
Rationing care will lead us down a moral slippery slope. How many years of life is enough? Who is productive and worthy, and who is not?

https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/ration-end-life-care

In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. Is it, in the words of the American Medical Association’s code of ethics, “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer”? Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy, the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity?

For The Motion
The right to die as one chooses—and to decide when life is no longer worth living—is integral to human freedom, liberty, and personal autonomy. Neither the government, nor religious institutions, should impose their own conceptions of morality upon individuals who are not harming others.
As an option in end-of-life care, aid in dying would allow terminally ill, mentally competent individuals to retain dignity and bodily integrity in the face of insurmountable pain and suffering.
In places where assisted suicide is legal—namely, Oregon and the Netherlands—there is no evidence that the law is being abused, that vulnerable populations are being targeted, or that patients are being coerced by doctors and/or their families to choose death.
If physician-assisted suicide remains illegal, lesser and more dangerous alternatives—shooting oneself, enlisting doctors or family to break the law, DIY suicide—will spread in its place.
Against The Motion
If assisted suicide is legalized, we will be led down a slippery slope towards pervasive medical killing, endangering vulnerable populations—disabled, elderly, minority, or poor—whose lives are seen as a burden on society.
If pain is treated effectively, there is no need to treat the patient as if the patient were the “problem to be eliminated.”
Starting with the Hippocratic Oath, medical professional codes prohibit killing, holding the intrinsic value of human life and dignity above all other ethical principles. Assisted suicide erodes the doctor-patient relationship and has grave potential for misuse and abuse.
Many physicians do not want to have God-like power over others, and they should not be pressured, against their own convictions, to assist in a patient’s suicide.
https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/legalize-assisted-suicide

 

As people approach the end of their lives, they and their families commonly face tasks and decisions that include a broad array of choices ranging from simple to extremely complex. They may be practical, psychosocial, spiritual, legal, existential, or medical in nature.

http://www.apa.org/topics/death/end-of-life.aspx

End-Of-Life Policy Solutions: A Cautionary Note
https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20170710.060992/full/

Ethical Issues Surrounding End-of-Life Care: A Narrative Review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934577/

How to Curb the High Cost of Caregiving
https://www.barrons.com/articles/how-to-curb-the-high-cost-of-caregiving-1521253021

HOW TO ENROLL IN VETERANS HEALTH INSURANCE (TRICARE)
http://www.dummies.com/personal-finance/veterans-benefits/how-to-enroll-in-veterans-health-insurance-tricare/

How to grow old in your own home
https://www.fidelity.com/insights/retirement/aging-in-place

Paying for Care
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/paying-care

Problems and Solutions in End-of-Life Healthcare
http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/leadership/problems-and-solutions-end-life-healthcare#

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-talk-with-your-dying-loved-one-1523891127

Horse Soldiers : the Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton

Documents the post-September 11 mission during which a small band of Special Forces soldiers captured the strategic Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif as part of an effort to defeat the Taliban, in a dramatic account that includes testimonies by Afghanistan citizens whose lives were changed by the war.

Now a movie “12 Strong”

 

Also, consider Odyssey by Doug Stanton

 

Recommended by Tom Brayton

The Odyssey of Echo Company : the 1968 TET Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War by Doug Stanton

I picked up Doug Stanton’s Odessy of Echo Company a couple of days ago and found it to be a very good read on the life on one soldier, especially during the Tet offensive.  Happened to mention it to Tom Brayton (who is an avid reader, more than myself I believe) and he too had read it and felt it to be a great book.  Not a book for the group but a good story about one persons 12 months there and how he coped with PTSD and life afterward.  Don’t see how he survived some of the stuff he went through.

Taylor Strubinger

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