July 27, 2005

Remembering Trixie

I did not enjoy this weekend. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun in the Poconos, and really enjoyed the Pennsylvania 500 (and my NASCAR fantasy team took 3 of the top 4 positions - woo hoo!).

No, what I did not enjoy was what we left behind, and how it hit us so unexpectedly. Our Trixie-Cat had an embolism (a blockage of an artery) which paralyzed her hind legs, and we put her to sleep on Monday when we got home. It was an unexpected event. She had been left with the vet for observation due to a injury which was not life-threatening, though she was taking a long time to heal (why she was left with the vet instead of a catsitter). In fact, the vet told us the embolism was not related to the wound. But we got a call from the vet while traveling Friday night, telling us about the embolism, her symptoms, that she couldn't move her legs, that she was completely immobile and no feeling in her hind legs. He held out a little hope, but said if nothing changed by Monday, her outlook would be grim, and that is indeed how it turned out. When we talked to the vet Monday evening, he told us it would only get more painful and she would never be able to move around. He recommended euthanasia, and since we were finally ready for this decision after thinking about it all weekend, decided to do it that evening, after spending one last hour with her.

Trixie was Amy's cat, her contribution to our household of a Brady-bunch-style household, where I had two cats, General and Princess, and Amy had two cats named Alice and Trixie. All of them, except General, are now gone. She was about 15 years old (exact age unknown), so she had a good life with lots of good memories for us, including some backflips and acrobatics, her "wake-up call", and many other special things she did. Goodbye Trixie, we miss you so much.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:48 PM | Comments (3)

July 19, 2005

Recent Happenings

Recent events here:
Rebecca has started potty-training. No pushing involved. She let us know when she started wanting to "go potty". Lots of summertime activities too. She loves to see horses, and we see them several times a week going to and from work, as there are several stables, farms, and equestrian centers near where I work. New Jersey isn't all urban, in fact, near where I work, it's practically rural. I've seen wild turkeys walking across a field while on my way to lunch. Bears are sometimes (but rarely) reported to be nearby. Our security at work puts out an occasional bulletin reminding people to watch out for them. There is a colonial history farm about halfway between Trenton and Lambertville we like to take Rebecca to. She loves to see all the animals. One thing she does that is rather funny is that she will run up to the split-rail fence to pet the sheep, but when the sheep turn around to look at her, she gets afraid and backs off. And one thing to watch out for - don't get close to the huge (huge!) work horses. Rebecca is really afraid of them - she loves to see them, but only far away. Oops, we forgot to take the camera, so we don't have pictures. Next time.

In other news, one of our cats, Trixie, is not doing well. We don't know how it happened, but she lost a claw, and the resulting abcess became infected. The vet did a bit of surgery, but the paw just isn't healing, and now she can't even support her weight on that arm (or fore-leg) of hers. Yesterday, the vet told us to confine her in a cage with shredded newspaper litter, and changed her prescription. Hope this does it.

This coming weekend has us going up to the Poconos for a weekend getaway, a typical monthly outing for us, except that this time, our outing has us going to Long Pond and the Pocono Speedway to see our first live NASCAR race, and hopefully a backflip after the race is won! Go Carl Edwards!

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005

Morality and Big Government

Many religious-left bloggers have been criticizing religious-conservative voters, saying that if their faith truly drove their religious views, they must support government programs like national health care, higher minimum wage laws, and higher taxes on the rich. I disagree.

Government programs, implemented for the intention of compassion, are rarely compassionate in practice. President George H.W. Bush was right when he compared a system of national health care to a combination of the Dept of Motor Vehicles with a hospital. A recent case in England drives the point home, where a man with a terminal illness is being denied a feeding tube because his care is deemed to be too expensive for the state to keep him alive. Is this the patient's choice? No. Compassionate? Of course not. It's all about saving money for the state.

Likewise, higher minimum wage laws are not effective in lifting the poor out of poverty. They create a barrier to entry for those entering the labor market (such as high school and college-age youty, and those seeking a career change), and also increase unemployment for those in jobs which just cannot justify the higher wage. For those who get raises without any increase in productivity, the higher wages result in higher prices, so the new wages ultimately become meaningless so a few years later the same complaints about not getting a living wage are still heard. No one, including me, likes to see people not be able to make ends meet, but a much better approach is to improve peoples' mobility; better job training, helping a person out in seeking a new job, and decreasing the dependency people have on company benefits. There are those who will still sit in a dead-end job, expecting it to meet all their needs, but there also comes a point where personal initiative has to intervene as well, and a recognition that a person's choices and attitude will have an effect on their standard of living. Given all that, I'm not in favor of a minimum wage of $0. There should be a floor. I'm just arguing that that floor should not be risen arbitrarily, year after year after year, with the motivation of making all people equally well-off. That just isn't going to happen, and any attempt to make it so via wage regulation is only going to result in higher unemployment and inflation. Laws have unintended consequences.

And regarding higher taxes: The extra money taken from the rich may make activists feel good, but they're fooling themselves if they think that money actually goes into the wallets of the poor. There is an old fable of a man who was given a wish. His request was to see his rich neighbor's house burn down. Did this wish make him better off? No, it just satisified his lust for getting even. The socialist system, being confined to government, which is inherently unproductive, can only make people equal by making everyone poor.

Matt Kaufman has an excellent essay at Boundless, Setting Priorities, talking about the viewpoint differences of religious progressives and traditionalists. He says it's not at all obvious that a viewpoint of compassion requires a commitment to national health care, among other things.

In today's Opinion Journal, Joseph Loconte discusses how "The Angry Left finds religion, and the result isn't pretty."

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)