Thursday, July 26, 2007

First 12 State Quarters

State Quarter’s Scorecard

MASSACHUSETTS Date Quarter Released: January 03, 2000 (6th) Statehood: February 06, 1788

As much as it may pain me to say so, Massachusetts did a pretty good job with their quarter. I don’t think you can go wrong if you depict an icon of the Revolutionary War, the Minuteman, and base the design on the famous statue in Concord. Perhaps the reason the design is so good on the quarter is because the governor only took submissions from children and kids are not likely to delve in nuance. Massachusetts’ proudest moment was the battle of Lexington and Concord, and the children showed to good sense in commemorating that moment in their design. The rest of the design that includes the state in relief and the state nickname is not bad, although I quibble a little with choosing the nickname over the state motto because Massachusetts has such a cool motto: “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.” “By the sword we seek peace, but only peace with liberty.” Motivational! Too bad they didn’t use it.

Since the “Minuteman” on the reverse of the quarter is actually a representation of a statue that is itself not meant to depict any one person, I will not add him to the list of actual people appearing on the quarter. But I would sure like to.

NORTH CAROLINA Date Quarter Released: March 12, 2001 (12th) Statehood: November 21, 1789

I am writing these in order of the date of the quarter’s release. So, of the first 12, it is a toss up between this one and the one from Massachusetts as to which is best. I eventually opted for the Minuteman, not because I think it is aesthetically more pleasing, but simply because the Minuteman is more Massachusetts than Orville and Wilbur are North Carolina.

Notwithstanding, the design on the back of the quarter is spare but quite powerful. The design of the picture is based on a picture taken by John T Daniels on 17 December 1901 at Kitty Hawk as the Wright Brothers made their first flight. Orville’s feet are depicted (barely), with Wilbur standing on the beach watching. Above the airplane are the words “First Flight.” Very well done, overall.

There is nothing wrong with this depiction. My only problem with North Carolina is that flight is what the governor decided that regardless of all the history and beauty of North Carolina, his state would commemorate a couple of Ohio boys who settled on North Carolina as a place to fly their aeroplane because of the sand dunes and favorable winds. For me, it is a little disappointing. Having lived in North Carolina, and with my folks and sister living there now, I have seen pretty much the whole state and I am here to tell you, North Carolina is a remarkable place. It has beautiful beaches, incredibly rich farmland, stunning mountains and wonderfully cosmopolitan cities. It also has history from the settlement of the continent, the Revolution and the Civil War. There is a lot in North Carolina, I wish they could have captured some of that.

NEW JERSEY Date Quarter Released: May 17, 1999 (3rd) Statehood: December 18, 1787

Busy, but not bad. New Jersey is an exception to the rule that spare is better because this quarter appropriates the image from Emmanuel Leutze’s painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” A good, patriotic, historic painting makes for a good design. Interesting note about the depiction on the reverse, the painting is a depiction of Washington Crossing the Delaware River, which serves as the boundary of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Although Leutze used the Rhine as the model, Washington is presumably some place on the river. Depending on where the boat actually is in the Delaware, Washington may actually be in Pennsylvania at the moment of the depiction. Another interesting note about this one: Washington is on both the front and back of this quarter, along with Monroe, making this a true two headed quarter.

VIRGINIA Date Quarter Released: October 16, 2000 (8th) Statehood: June 25, 1788

It is hard to go wrong when you depict the founding of the first permanent English settlement in the New World as your state’s claim to fame. The three ships on the quarter brought the first settlers to Jamestown, a small garrison built on an island in the James River, just north of what is now Norfolk. The ships and those who rode in them displayed incredible courage, faith and belief in their own abilities. This truly is a fitting scene to commemorate on a quarter.

The design itself is outstanding. The ships are handsome but the most striking thing about the design is how it manages to encapsulate all of Virginia’s history with a few words and numbers. Across the top is the date of statehood. At the 10 o’clock position is the date of Jamestown’s founding 1607 with the word “Quadricentennial” engraved underneath the ships. 400 years, Virginia still in existence after a founding borne of incredible fortitude. And all that captured neatly on the back of a quarter.

DELAWARE Date Quarter Released: January 04, 1999 (1st) Statehood: December 07, 1787

Delaware’s quarter is somewhat misleading. Looking at the design of a galloping horseman, one immediately thinks of Paul Revere’s ride. However, after reflection, one remembers that Paul Revere rode through the Massachusetts countryside, a feat, though historic and full of important for the nation as a whole, probably would not be an event that Delaware would pick to commemorate itself.

So who is the galloping colonial on the Delaware quarter? He is Caesar Rodney, Delaware patriot, who as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1776, rode all night of July 1 to reach Philadelphia in time to cast the deciding vote for independence.

The design itself is simple, with just enough lines to portray Rodney, without seeming busy. There is plenty of still space on the top side of the quarter which enhances the aesthetic appeal. Spare is a quality to be desired in a quarter.

CONNECTICUT Date Quarter Released: October 12, 1999 (5th) Statehood: January 09, 1788

Connecticut chose a representation of an oak tree where their charter was hidden from the British 100 years prior to the Revolutionary War. The hiding of the charter was one of the first acts of defiance in the face of British authority and the Charter Oak is a worthy symbol of the American commitment to self-determination and freedom. But then again, it is just a tree. It just stands there, and it looks like every other tree. Now, cut down that tree and build a canoe and explore, you have something. Cut down that tree and build a rampart to repel an attack, natch. But a tree? Please don’t be offended if I stifle a yawn.

But my goodness, the Mint minted almost 1.4 BILLION of these things! Why could they not have chosen the Texas quarter or the Delaware quarter? The Mint says they mint coins on the basis of need regardless of the state or the design. It just happened that in late 1999, the US needed a freaking LOT of quarters. Oh well, now every time you get a Coke out of the machine, you are likely to get the tree or the Virginia quarter. It gets old, I tell you.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Date Quarter Released: August 07, 2000 (9th) Statehood: June 21, 1788

This quarter shares a distinction with the one from Connecticut in that it depicts something in nature that was, but no longer is. But while Connecticut chose a historical tree that had been long destroyed, at least New Hampshire’s rock formation, the old man of the mountain, was at least still in extant when the coin when to mint. However, a little less than three years after release of the coin, the rock formation broke away from Mt Cannon, and slid down the mountain on 3 May 2003.

The design is not bad, and a state can’t go wrong putting a motivational motto on their quarter. Here, New Hampshire chose “Live Free or Die” which is the best state motto in the country. The nine stars representing New Hampshire’s status as the ninth state are a nice, classical touch.

NEW YORK Date Quarter Released: January 02, 2001 (8th) Statehood: July 26, 1788

I think that New York began to get the message after Pennsylvania and Georgia tried the overlapping-accumulation-of- state-symbols approach to designing their state’s quarters. On the downside, could they have been any more obvious in the selection? The Statue of Liberty? Come on. I was also a little puzzled by the inscription “Gateway to Freedom” that heretofore had not been used in conjunction with anything New York. The best I can tell, “Gateway to Freedom” is actually the motto of a county in Indiana. So, how did “Gateway to Freedom” end up on the quarter? Apparently, some 4th graders near Albany submitted it as part of their class project and the design committee took a liking to it. Now, that made-up motto is on 1.2 billion of these things. Listening to 4th graders has consequences. Maybe the design committee rejected the actual state motto “Excelsior” for the same reason the Marine Corps rejected berets: as a symbol, it is effeminate and foreign. Although that did not stop Georgia from putting fruit on their quarter, as you will soon see.

GEORGIA Date Quarter Released: July 19, 1999 (4th) Statehood: January 02, 1788

Good design, poorly executed. This one is in the Pennsylvania School of Design, lots of elements, all over-lapping, although marginally less busy than that of the Keystone State. The Georgia quarter has the unfortunate inclusion of the state icon, a peach. Hard to make a peach heroic and compelling, and the good people of Georgia do not really succeed. Live oak garland gives the peach some measure of majesty, and the scroll containing the Georgia motto of “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation” is certainly inspiring, but, at the end of the day, its just a peach.

PENNSYLVANIA Date Quarter Released: March 08, 1999 (2nd) Statehood: December 12, 1787

Too busy. There are four elements in the design, one of which is the complicated statue of “Commonwealth” that sits atop the State Capitol building in Harrisburg. She wears a flowing toga and is holding the eagle staff of justice, garlanded with ribbon. To her left is the state motto, “Virtue, Liberty, Independence,” stacked one on another. The motto’s words are all fine things, however, the motto’s inclusion serves to clutter the design. To the statue’s right is a keystone to symbolize the keystone state, and all the elements overlay an outline of the state itself. Whew. Any one of these things (or perhaps two of them, since I am feeling generous), would have been splendid. I think having the keystone overlaying the state outline would have been spare and classic. But alas, instead, we have a design that can only be the product of a series of committees.

MARYLAND Date Quarter Released: March 13, 2000 (7th) Statehood: April 28, 1788

Could Maryland have picked a duller design for their quarter? The statehouse rotunda and some white oak boughs? And the least recognizable state motto there is? Yes, I know the state rotunda is the oldest statehouse still in use, and that it was built without nails. Those facts are interesting as trivia, but hardly seem to be worthy of depiction on a quarter. And don’t be confused into thinking the “Old Line State” has something to do with the Mason-Dixon Line, rather, the nickname refers to Gen Washington’s compliments to Maryland’s troops during the Revolution. Surely, this nickname is something to be proud of but it is so obscure as to be more puzzling than enlightening.

Maryland had one shot at a commemorative quarter, and completely whiffed.

SOUTH CAROLINA Date Quarter Released: May 22, 2000 (8th) Statehood: May 23, 1788

This one is just miserable, considering what they have to work with in South Carolina. The quarter design is busy and uninspiring. The design features two plants (palmetto tree and yellow jessamine flower), a bird (the Carolina wren) perched on the flower, the state nickname, (the Palmetto State) that refers to the tree already in the design, all in front of the state outline. Busy, redundant and dull, the trifecta of design by committee.

What makes this design all the worst is that the seal of South Carolina is round, has a palmetto tree on it, depicts the defeat of the British fleet at Sullivan Island and has some motivational Latin! (Who will separate? While I breathe I hope. Hope. Prepared in Mind and Resources.) That is good stuff. If South Carolina’s politicians had had any imagination and courage, they could have used that design already on their state seal to gain the respect and admiration of Americans everywhere.

List of People on the Reverse of the First 12
Caesar Rodney (DE)
George Washington (NJ)
James Monroe (NJ)
10 other Revolutionary War Soldiers (NJ)
Orville Wright (NC)
Wilbur Wright (NC)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Interesting Facts about Colitis

Colitis (also called ulcerative colitis) is an acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane lining the colon—your large intestine or bowel. Colitis causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the top layers of the lining of the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the lower section, called the ileum.

The inflammation makes the colon empty frequently, causing diarrhea. Ulcers form in places where the inflammation has killed colon lining cells. The ulcers bleed and produce pus and mucus. You may have abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, painful spasms (tenesmus), lack of appetite, fever, and fatigue. (from eMedicineHealth)

From: The Department of Defense Instruction Number 1332.38

SUBJECT: Physical Disability Evaluation


E3.P1.2. Medical Evaluation
E3.P1.2.1. Purpose. The medical evaluation element of the Disability Evaluation System shall document under departmental regulations the medical status and duty limitations of Service members referred into the DES.

Actionable medical conditions include those of:

E4.7.1. General. Any organic condition of the Gastrointestinal System that prevents adequate maintenance of the service member's nutritional status, or requires significant dietary restrictions to include
E4.7.2. Inflammatory and/or Infectious Conditions.
E4.7.2.6. Ulcerative Colitis.

Helpful writing

As of June 11, 2007, at 8:04 pm Eastern Daylight Time, there were 96,724 Waiting List Candidates for organ transplant. Up to that day, doctors have performed 6788 successful transplants in 2007. Add the numbers together; in 2007 103,512 live people needed transplants and 6.5% got them.1  Since approximately 6000 patients die each year awaiting transplant, estimate another 3000 expectant transplant patients died and fell off the waiting list in the first half of the year.2   On the kidney transplant list alone, 18 people die each day, awaiting a donation that never came.3

For the transplant recipient who heads up the National Kidney Foundation, Mr Charles B. Fruit, the difference between the donors available for the patients in need is not worrisome because the Foundation is working to correct the gap. “The foundation is working to attack the organ shortage through improvement in organ-donation education for families and the establishment of standards to ensure the health and safety of living donors. A wholesale sellout to the law of supply and demand is not the answer.” Further, Mr Fruit asserted that a market based solution to procuring more kidneys for donors would be as bad for consumers as the gasoline market. “We moralists can only pray that his proposed market mechanism for the transaction of hearts, lungs, kidneys and other life-saving human organs would work a little better than it does for the nation's consumers of gasoline.”4  It is telling that Mr Fruit castigates the gasoline market as an example not to emulate, while the truth is that anyone in the US who needs gasoline can buy it, although at a price that some might call excessive.

Notwithstanding Mr Fruit’s revulsion at the idea of a market for organs, the current system is failing those who need the lifesaving assistance a donated organ can provide. The United States has more than 300 million people. The fact that the current system of donating organs can only muster enough for around 13,000 surgeries a year actually compares quite unfavorably to the gasoline market Mr Fruit disparages. As Jack Copeland pointed out, “during the last 20 years, a variety of approaches have been tried to improve the numbers of donated organs in this country. We’ve tried television and radio advertising, educational programs, and driver’s license declarations. But they’re not working.”5

Clearly, another approach to acquiring needed organs is required in order to give some hope to the thousands of terminally ill patients who languish on organ donation waiting lists. Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, recently proposed that there be established a market for organs. His argument is basic supply and demand: since the current price for donated organs is set by law at zero, there is infinite demand for organs and almost no supply of the healthiest, most desirable organs. Consequently, a huge waiting list has grown up, and that backlog is managed quite inefficiently by favoritism, blind luck, and is some cases, corruption. Since he is legally prohibited from experimenting with supply and demand to prove his thesis, he has to rely solely on something else. “So, we must resort to theory, which predicts that an increase in price will lead to an increase in supply, for organs as for any other good or service. It is not the case that everyone will jump from the rafters to donate -- but in a nation of 300 million people, it should be possible to induce 70,000 healthy donors to part with a kidney.”6

This argument was not persuasive to David J. Rothman, PhD of the Center for the Study of Society and Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Dr Rothman argued that a market in organs would lead to wild disparities between the recipients and the organ brokers who would reap disproportionate benefits and the donors who would get a relatively modest financial gain at the cost of part or all of an actual organ with potential adverse effects on the donor’s health. “Sale of organs is a zero sum game in which any advantage one participant necessarily leads to disadvantage of one or more of the others.”7

Those against an organ market are concerned about the potential of exploiting vulnerable populations who might be pressured to sell an organ. Ironically, in an actual market situation, recipients could be more choosy about who they would buy kidneys from. These recipients would bid up the price on kidneys from healthy donors with good lifestyle habits, a condition that would give both the donor and the recipient a better chance at survival. Healthy donors would be well compensated monetarily and would likely retain their health, making it unlikely that anyone would be “exploited.” Additionally, since the paid donors would be healthier, it is likely that the overall mortality rate from multiple surgeries required would go down. “They're not going to go up, and, in many cases, my guess is is that the [mortality} numbers will actually be lower because if you get a purchase population, you're probably going to get a healthier stock giving than you will in the family situations, where a husband or a wife may give a kidney to a child, even though he or she may not be the perfect donor.”8

While we may recoil initially from the idea of selling organs for transplant, the long waits that are literally killing people who could otherwise be helped by a functioning organ market, mean that the idea must be considered. The objections that have been raised by some ethicists are based on the lurid practices in some countries with anemic medical regulatory regimes. In a Western Country with a history of functioning markets, the highest standards of medical practice and the protection of a legal system that enforces contracts, there seems little likelihood of exploitation. On the contrary, the profit motive in working markets that bring all manner of goods to the American consumer should be trusted to do the same for the lifesaving goods of transplanted organs.

1  United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)Main Page;; accessed 11 June 2007.
2  Brian Handwerk, “Organ Shortage Fuels Illicit Trade in Human Parts.” National Geographic. January 16, 2004., accessed 11 June 2007.
3  Richard Epstein, Kidney Beancounters. Wall Street Journal. May 15, 2006; Page A15
4  Charles B. Fruit. National Kidney Foundation Position on Payment for Organ Donation Makes News. National Kidney Foundation Website. June 2. 2006 accessed 11 June 2007.
5  Jack Copeland, “We Should Pay for Donor Hearts.” Arizona Alumnus Magazine. Spring 2003., accessed 11 June 2007.
6  Epstein.
7  David J. Rothman, PhD. “Ethical and Social Consequences of Selling a Kidney.” Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2, 2002, pg 1641.
8  Richard Epstein and Russ Roberts. “The Economics of Organ Donations.” Library of Economics and Liberty. Podcast Transcript June 5, 2006. accessed 11 June 2007