Paying a Bill in Pennies

I suppose it’s a common fantasy when you have some argument over billing with a company or utility, to pay the bill in pennies. Jason West of Vernal, Utah did just that over a disputed doctor’s bill of $25. The clerks at the doctor’s office were not amused and called the police.

Police said 38-year-old Jason West went to a clinic in Vernal, Utah, on May 27 to dispute an outstanding bill for $25.

“After asking if they accepted cash, West dumped 2,500 pennies onto the counter and demanded that they count it,” Vernal Assistant Police Chief Keith Campbell said. “The pennies were strewn about the counter and the floor.”

West was cited for disorderly conduct and now faces a fine of $140. I wonder if he is going to pay that in pennies.


Dr. Death is Dead

Notorious serial killer Jack Kervorkian died of natural causes this morning. You may think I am being harsh by calling him a serial killer, but I don’t agree. The man was a murderer who found he could get away with his crimes, and get fans and supporters, by pretending they were acts of compassion. Even if I am wrong about his motives, what he did was still evil and unsettling.

I oppose euthanasia for one simple reason. It is cheaper and easier to kill the sick than to cure them. I do not believe in the idea that wise and compassionate experts can help people make decisions about end of life care, impartially and with their best interests in mind. I tend to have a lower opinion of human nature than that. If we ever become the sort of society in which “assisted suicide” is accepted, then the sick, the old, and the handicapped are going to come under a lot of pressure to agree to have themselves killed. This may seem horribly unlikely now, that someone would urge Grandma to off herself, but people have a way of justifying the worst evils to themselves. No doubt they would tell themselves that Grandma is old and sick and would be better off dead. Or, that child with some handicap will never lead a “normal” life so it would be better for him to be euthanised.

Meanwhile, here is the Hippocratic Oath, note the portion I bolded

I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art.

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.

In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.

All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.

If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

The Circumcision Ban

I had thought that the proposed ban on circumcision in San Francisco was mostly a product of that city’s general left-wing wackiness and certain homosexuals’ obsession with their penises. There was an anti-semitic element but I thought it was relatively minor, given that the majority of circumcised males in this country are gentiles. It would appear that I was wrong and there is something more sinister at play here, judging from this from Pajamas Media. The images that Zombie provide are the most offensive I have seen in a long time. I suppose I ought to provide a sample but I would really rather not and it is no trouble to click on a link.

Belgian Protesters Destroy GM Field Trial

This is really nice.

Protesters have destroyed a controversial GM field trial in Belgium.

In Wetteren, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, activists succeeded in damaging the GM potatoes being trialled for blight resistance, despite a large contingent of police officers who had been ordered to guard the GM trial. The officers were unable to stop the 300-400 or more peaceful protesters of all ages, who included local people.

These were not “peaceful protesters”. These were trespassers and vandals, who don’t seem to want people to have cheap and plentiful food, especially not, I suppose those dark skinned people in places like Africa. Genetically modified food could really make the difference between life and death by starvation for millions of people.

And what these fools don’t understand, is that people have been modifying the plants and animals we have domesticated for centuries through selective breeding. What is being done in test fields in places like Wetteren is really no different in principle, though more efficient and certain.


Matthew Shaffer over at National Review Online has written a column defending Chick-Fil-A founder Samuel Truett Cathy from the charge of vicious homophobia that the Left has tried to pin on him for allegedly supporting anti-gay groups. Shaffer makes a convincing case, but I don’t think he really gets it.

It is true that Mr. Cathy is a noted philanthropist who has been more than generous with the money he has earned from his business.

And he’s devoted his considerable wealth to a life of philanthropy. He has distributed more than $35 million in scholarships to help Chick-fil-A employees go to college, another $26 million to scholarships for students at Berry College, and another $18 million for foster homes throughout the United States. He’s been honored by the Children’s Hunger Fund, and won the Horatio Alger award and the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, for his charity.

Incidentally, Cathy is also an enthusiastic Baptist, and one domain of his charitable giving reflects that fact. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, includes religious language in its mission statement, and donates some money to causes like the Campus Crusade for Christ. Consequently, a meme has developed on left-leaning and pro-gay-rights websites in the past year that Chick-fil-A is virulently anti-gay. Since then, the nonagenarian Samuel Truett Cathy has gone from a noted philanthropist to a hate-figure — in two senses of the phrase — for many liberals, and has gotten a string of very negative press.

Of course, the Campus Crusade for Christ isn’t exactly a cause dear to the Left. No doubt they’d rather Cathy spend his money on global warming or keeping the red spotted eel from going extinct. But, anyway, as Shaffer argues, the causes he does support have only a peripheral link to anything gay.

But the dirt that activists have dug up on Cathy isn’t really that incriminating, even from a pro-gay-rights perspective. His top sin, according to the agitprop flyers produced by, is financial support for the National Christian Foundation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Also among Cathy’s anathema affiliations is Campus Crusade for Christ. (When you think Campus Crusade for Christ, you think homophobia, right? Me neither.) There is no evidence that Chik-fil-A has funded groups that are primarily devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, such as the National Organization for Marriage (which is not to imply that such a donation would demonstrate anti-gay animus).

Judging by the arguments put forth on lefty blogs, there are three additional justifications for singling out Chick-fil-A for protests: The first is a local Chick-fil-A catering for a Pennsylvania Family Institute marriage retreat at which, PFI president Michael Geer says, “At no time . . . was the subject of same-sex marriage discussed or presented” (despite what was erroneously reported elsewhere). The second is relatively small donations to the group Focus on the Family (which, despite its reputation among bien pensants, actually devotes most of its funds to charitable efforts outside of the culture war, as David French has pointed out). And the third is Chick-fil-A’s ties to WinShape, a charity with dozens of projects, one of which is a marriage retreat limited to legally married, opposite-sex couples.

But, the truth is, that none of this matters. Samuel Truett Cathy has committed thought crime by stating

While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.

To the Left, it is not enough to love and respect anyone who disagrees. You must support their entire agenda or you are a racist, sexist, homophobe and hater. Someone as prominent as Cathy is not allowed to have a private opinion. Nothing that Shaffer has to say changes this.