Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'll be chucking out my copy of Ringworld...

via SadlyNo, I read about this adhoc group of "advisors"
Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology conferences, SIGMA is a loosely affiliated group of science fiction writers who are offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on how to protect the nation.

Don't raise your hopes, its not Ken McCloud or Neil Gaiman. It these frakking jokers:
Among the group’s approximately 24 members is Larry Niven, the bestselling and award-winning author of such books as “Ringworld” and “Lucifer’s Hammer,” which he co-wrote with SIGMA member Jerry Pournelle.

Pournelle, according to covert operatives of the Mojowire, is renowned for cranking at Science Fiction conventions about Government involvement in Space Exploration, or some such libertarian nonsense. Apparently, he's the more liberal of the famed Pournelle/Niven pairing. This is the part that made my cranium explode:

Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.
“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
“Do you know how politically incorrect you are?” Pournelle asked.
“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied

hahahahaha. Oh Larry, you are so cuuutte when you are politically incorrect. Oh wait, you're not being politically incorrect, you're being an ignorant racist FrakFace. Um, Larry, maybe you should consider the following facts:

Hospitals are not losing money because of "illegal immigrants". They are losing money because the business model of Health Care is broken and needs to be fixed. A key aspect of that. which you are vaguely and inaccurately alluding to is the burden the uninsured place on the dwindling number of Hospital Emergency rooms, where the law and all standards of human decency require they treat and stabilize everyone who shows up. A relatively small percentage of these are illegal immigrants. Most of them are legal immigrants or citizens who do not have health coverage, and show up with acute health problems that cost astronomicly more to treat in the ER than they would at the Doctors office. Maybe you should get your facts straight Mr. Ringworld, before you pop off to a government agency with your too maverick for the room ideas.

By the way Larry, terrorizing sick people to get them to avoid the ER will result in otherwise preventable serious illness and death. Some of whom are children, since they comprise a sizeable number of the people illegal immigrants and uninusured citizens bring to the ER. Little else other than sick kids or debilitating illness brings people to the ER who don't have insurance. It's too expensive. And Larry, someone walking around with untreated influenza or tuberculosis could turn in a bigger national security threat than any of the others your overheated imagination can conjure up. Think 1918 Larry. And crack a book other than one of your own sometime about the history of pandemics.

And just for the record, Editor Biz works in a Southeast Los Angeles Hospital at ground zero of the Latino community which shelters many of these terrifying illegal immigrants. You know why our ER is full all the time? Hmmm...? It's not the dreaded illegal immigrant. It's because a huge Public hospital located in Central Los Angeles closed down, and we're the closest ER for people in this part of town. Relatively few of them are here illegally. They are the working poor of Los Angeles, mostly uninsured, many of whom are African American. Is their legal status good enough for you Larry? The huge pool of urban working poor will still be here to inconvience your trips to the ER to be treated, even if the Larry Nivens of the world hermitically seal the United States off from the rest of the world.

It kills me to find out that Larry Niven is just as big an ignorant crank as Pournelle. Even Orson Scott Card is sounding rational next to these dufes.

Oh, before I forget, let's chat about this genius idea:
David Brin, keeping on the topic of empowering citizens with mobile phone technology, delivered a self-described “rant” on the lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military, homeland security officials and first responders in times of crisis. “It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.

Citizen Reservists?? uh oh...
Pournelle said that once mobile phone technology and the devices tacked on them to take pictures and record video become more ubiquitous, then ordinary citizens will be empowered to take security into their own hands — a prediction some have said already has come to pass.

you mean, like a Lynch Mob? What *exactly* will waving cell phones and taking picture do for the security of the Fatherland? Let me tell you, people sending DHS pictures of the neighbors dog peeing on their lawn, and pictures of people of color walking in suburban neighborhoods, spooking terrified white people. Can you tell the difference between a second generation Middle Eastern Amerian citizen, and a covert Al Queda operative. I'll give you a clue, you will never see the Al Queda operative at the mall.

Cell phones would not have prevented 9/11 , nor would have "citizen reservists" stalking American streets looking for Al Queda devil robots. Coordination among the agencies charged with foreign and domestic intelligence, accompanied with a radical culture change that would enable better cooperation. Oh, not to mention that Senior leaders like the President and the National Security Advisor should maybe pay closer attention when CIA briefers give them memo's with titles like" Al Queda likely to attack U.S.," or things to that effect. Without that, we can put a cell phone in everyone's hand, and it won't really change the odds.

Oh, and Larry, Ringworld Throne sucked.

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