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Monday, October 8, 2012


Monday, 8:30 AM.  39 degrees F, wind WSW, light to moderate.  The sky is overcast with high thin gray clouds.  The humidity is low but the barometer predicts rain.  Perhaps by this afternoon.
        The parade was by all accounts a great success, the weather held and the crowds were considerable, at least as great as last year.  We again had the truck decorated with baskets of flowers, and the banner “Return Again Next Spring For Bayfield’s Fields Of Daffodils.”  We were towards the beginning of the parade so we could get back to the starting point on the top of Rittenhouse Ave. and pick up the Bayfield band director, who stood in the back of the truck to direct the Mass Band (all the bands participating in the parade) together for one last march down the hill while playing “On Wisconsin.”  It is truly something to see and hear, as the crowd cheers wildly.
        I have been keeping an eye on the growing tragedy of the meningitis outbreak caused by fungus-tainted steroid injections for back pain.  It has now spread pretty much throughout the Midwest, resulting in a number of deaths and much illness.  There was a personal element of interest, since one of our grown children had gotten a steroid shot recently but it thankfully was not from the problem batch and it was not injected into the spine.
        I read with interest a comment (don’t ask me where, I did not take note at the time) by a researcher that the epidemic would have been stopped early on had the compounded steroid shots been made in a state-based facility, rather than a regional or national laboratory.  The source of the outbreak would have been immediately obvious.  Evidently such is the usual circumstance, and the current situation something of an anomaly.    
        As I thought about the situation, I could not help but compare it to salmonella outbreaks that occur when the source of contamination is difficult to pinpoint because the hamburger is all ground in one giant facility using meat that comes from all over and is distributed nationally.  There is no way to easily identify the source.
        As I  thought more about it, it occurred to me that there is a political analogy  here as well;  when big, centralized government programs fail, the failure is universal throughout the country and society.  How much safer and more practical it is to “compound” solutions to most problems at the state and local level, where the source of contamination is readily identified and the outbreak more easily controlled. 
        That is the original genius of our Constitution; it relegates most governmental functions to the state and local governments or to the “People.”  When taxation, police powers, and social programs go awry or become toxic, the problem remains localized and can be more easily eradicated or modified close to their source.  If we follow the constitution.
        Whether it is tainted medications, tainted meat or tainted government programs, we should be able to stop the problem at its source, before it can metastasize and sicken us all.

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