Tuesday Roundup: Hotels, Eyewitness IDs, Bipartisan ‘Truths,’ Your Rights, and Other Things You Can’t Rely On

A month ago I placed the likelihood the bond market won’t reach the city of Dallas’ goal of 5.5 percent — which is what they need to make the city-owned convention center hotel happen — at 70 percent. Looks like I may have called it. Also — tax issues aside — thoughts on whether campaigning in churches on a Sunday is just plain tacky?

lineup-bigIf police chiefs and prosecutors are interested in justice, why is it they want to block attempts to change the use of a procedure that has been proven so horribly unreliable? (From the story: Faulty eyewitness IDs have been the leading cause of wrongful convictions. Eighteen of 19 exonerations in Dallas County involved a bad eyewitness identification, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found last year.)

I missed this Friday, but kudos to the DMN for running this: a deconstruction of some of the myths about health care that are disguised as truth, such as American health care underperforms the broken socialized medicine system of the UK, that prescriptions drive up health care costs, and so on. Couple these facts with the reality that the vast majority of the costly medical care problems in America are entirely driven by lifestyle — crappy, death row style diets (see below), booze, smoking, and lack of exercise — and you can see there’s not really a crisis at all.

Once and for all please someone explain to me: Why are constitutional rights and the rights guaranteed by Texas law suspended when you set foot on a college campus?

Three rules to live by: 1) Never, ever give consent to search your car or your home. 2) Never invite the police into your home without a warrant. 3) And as Robert Guest underscores, never, ever speak to the police without a lawyer. Guest explains in his own inimitable way, but the short answer why is: it can never help, and almost always hurts.

Just for — I don’t know, morbid curiosity? — here’s a list of the last meal requests for prisoners on Texas’ death row going back to 1982. It’s oddly compelling. What is it about French fries, by the way? Seems the most common request. So it makes me wonder — what would your last meal be?


  1. Last meal…two Whataburgers with Cheese and a Jalapeno…AND some Tex-Mex enchiladas…cheese and onion…with chili con carne.

    Both of these are things I can’t get in Omaha Nebraska….I have to drive 150 miles to Kansas City for Tex Mex and 500 miles to Oklahoma for a Whataburger…the midwest sucks for Texas type comfort food. We have 30 restaurants pretending to be Mexican Food up here. You can tell it is going to be really bad when you see the word “authentic” on the sign or menu.

  2. Amy S says:

    Trey, you are self-employed essentially, right? What would do you see needing change in the US system? As a small business owner our health insurance premiums total 8.2 percent of salaries, with high “out of pocket” expenses and deductibles.

    Our country manages to pay for the oldest and sickest of our population through medicare and medicaide at lower rate than that. My mother needed a knee operation, required no wait, chose her own doctor and hospital, almost entirely paid by the government.

    My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, unfortunately inoperable, so he requires continual treatment to keep him in remission. We would be denied coverage by another insurer if we tried to change, or if our insurance were somehow discontinued. Even though we’ve paid into employer sponsored systems for over 30 years while healthy.

    Maybe you know someone who’s kid has been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, or epilepsy. According to today’s DMN, uncoverable – for life. How do you think he/she’ll pay for her medical bills in the future (when she’s 20, 30, etc.) – well if he/she can stay poor the government will pay, if he/she tries to work, all the earnings will go to pay medical bills.

    There are so many parts to our system that don’t work, let’s not hold us up against the lowest denominator in the equation, and say “isn’t it great?”. We can do much, much better.

  3. Amy S says:

    Oh, and Prediction #2 (#1 was that we’ll learn to embrace inflation in the next few years because it will be the only way we are able to pay off the gazillion dollar national debt, and hey, they money will be worth less anyhow).

    In the next few years health insurers will become “to big to fail” and we’ll all be bailing them out.


  4. Tom says:

    The only campaigning in churches should be to encourage the congregation to vote for the candidate or issue of his/her choice.

  5. Frank R says:

    For every story of someone getting immediate medical treatment paid for by the government there are half a dozen stories telling the opposite tale. Additionally doctors are increasingly opting out of accepting medicare, and especially, medicaide patients because the reimbursements are criminally low.
    The article did not talk about the lowest common denominators. It cited some of the countries in the world which supposedly have national healthcare that “works.” There are adjustments to the current system that could make a difference. Make health insurance more portable across state lines. Stop tying it to employment, something the Obama administration is now thinking about as it considers the plan on which McCain campaigned.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Campaigning in church? Yes, definitely tacky, although no different from the business networking that goes on every Sunday.

    I hate to burst all the hopeful bubbles when it comes to socialized medicine, but it’s a broken system, too. I have family in Canada and friends in the UK, so I hear about doctor visits and resulting issues in both systems.

    Canada’s system is a little better than that of the UK, but Canadians are crossing the border to use our system, so they can get a treatment in a timely manner (3 month waits to get a MRI, anyone?). They have a doctor shortage due to the fact that a doctor can come down here, learn new techniques and make money. It’s free market capitalism vs. Socialized price controls.

    The UK system calculates the necessity of the treatment by looking at the age of the person, the service that person can provide to society, and somehow decides if it is worth treating the person. If you’re an older person with cancer, the treatment you receive compared to a young person with cancer can be much less aggressive and less costly, if they feel like you can’t provide as much to society as the young person. Maybe you find out about an expensive, but effective medicine to treat your ailment. The NHS may not even allow you to pay for it out of pocket, much less allow coverage for it under your government plan.

    And that leads me to my last meal – chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes, and a Comida Deluxe from Chuy’s. It might kill me before the execution.

  7. Amy S says:

    The current private system also limits what treatments you can cover. Don’t think that because you have insurance under a private coverage that you too won’t be disallowed coverage for “an expensive, but effective medicine to treat your ailment”.

  8. No system has unlimited resources, but at least with ours, you have choices.

  9. Health Care….we should have two systems…once you sign up for the government healthcare system you can only change once every 5 years….the private health system will be revamped and cannot take government money and will be based on competition, availability and a free market. You have to pay for it or have insurance …not regulated by the government but by the market. That way the weenies who want the government to wipe their butts can stand in line for their government handout…and those who would rather pay as we go can get the good medical care from a competitive environment. I want a rich doctor who drives a Hummer rather than some pasty government toadie who thinks his services are our entitlement.

  10. S.E. says:

    Sorry, I posted as anonymous earlier – hit the button too quickly.

    I like the 2 tier system. If you have insurance and you want to continue paying as you go, you have the choices. Otherwise, it’s an expanded version of Medicaid for those who want the free healthcare. I prefer what I have, because if I don’t like a doctor’s opinion, I can get another, or if my doctor prescribes something extraordinary, I can pay it if I have to. That’s what HSAs are for. And I agree – a doctor who drives a Hummer is much more appealing than one in a Corolla from his/her college days.

    Yeah, I know all about denials, because my mom used to work in a surgeon’s office. She’s had to argue for treatment many times, even for herself. Fortunately, insurance companies are more amenable than a government accountant. I could see former IRS agents staffing the phones for the free healthcare department….

  11. Amy S says:

    As a small business owner, I would like to be able to form with an association of small businesses to negotiate health care rates. Currently we are not allowed to.

    I’m all for a better system, but as an employer who covers most of the cost of employee’s premiums it is becoming a question if we can continue at the same levels of coverage. Which aren’t generous by any means. As I mentioned before, our health care premiums costs over 8% of salaries of those covered.

    In the current economy, if we can’t stay price competitive with our product, we aren’t likely to weather the times. This is true whether you are a self-employed writer or the employee of a Fortune 500 company in Nebraska.

  12. Frank R says:

    S.E. – There is no “free healthcare.” We all pay for it one way or another.