Friday, March 25, 2005

Schiavo Strategy

Just reported on Fox - the judge declined the latest request to re-insert the tubes. That is it for her.

All the politics lately have gotten me to thinking strategy. The Republicans passed a law that required a fresh review, at the federal level, of the Shiavo case. The idea, as I understand it, was to get something called "de novo" review. Basically, judges act as fact finders and establish those facts via the de novo thing. To get an injunction under this, you have to show irreparrable harm (easy, since she'll die) and a likelyhood of being successful in your appeal. The success part is what the federal judge rejected.

But, think about it for a minute. The Republicans pass a federal law. That law requires a judge to decide something. The judge makes a correct legal ruling that is opposite of the hopes of Republicans. Or is it? Now, when trying to appoint judges, the Republicans can point to this "liberal" judge (whether he is or not) as an example of the "damage" the Democrats are doing and why we should ignore them when they protest Bush's nominees.

I can hear it now - "the Democrats are just trying to get us Republicans to appoint more judges that would have allowed Terri Shiavo to die."

Karl Rove - evil genius...or at least that is what the Democrats will claim later. I think I just started a conspiracy theory!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

CNN is funny!

HA, HA, HA, HA. CNN is trying to up its ratings. They don't plan to do anything too drastic, like giving all sides of a story, reporting real news, giving fair analysis. They just want to tweak the way Larry King turns things over to Aaron Brown.

What's funny is that no one at CNN realizes that we watch Larry for two reasons. One, old people that love Larry (like trailer park queens love Dr. Phil) watch out of habit. Larry is down to about a million viewers per night. I'd say thats because viewers are dying.

Two, Larry is a train wreck! Everyone loves a trainwreck! He gets nutty guests with extreme opinions. Did you see the Johnny Carson tribute? Joan Rivers cried without letting her face move - it looked more like a leaking baby doll toy - and all the other old men were trying to one up each other with "I knew Johnny when" stories. It was totally hilarious.

I think CNN just needs to admit that Comedy Central is its real competition and go after them full force....they might even get me to watch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo - sitting on the fence.

Would I want to live if I were in the same shape as Terri Schiavo? No, absolutely not. Would I want to die by having my feeding tubes removed? No, absolutely not. That is the quandry. The only "life support" Terri needs is food an water. Basically, she requires the same care as an infant.

I do not support removing her feeding tube. I agree with euthanasia. But, what is happening to Terri right now is murder. She isn't being "allowed to die."

Is it okay to allow an animal to die by not giving it food and water? That's animal cruelty.

Is it all right to exectute a prisoner by with-holding food and water? That's a clear violation of the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of our great Constitution.

You've seen pictures and read reports about the starving people around the world. They lie in agony, clutching thier stomaches. It is a horrible, painful way to die. No one is willing to step up and guarantee that Terri will feel no pain.

So, what is my solution? Mercy killing. I see no problem giving her an OD of some sort. Or, giving her enough meds to numb her while she starves. But, the current plan seems to be just pull the tube and wait. That is wrong and it is very different from standard "pull the plug" cases where the person in question is brain dead and the body is being kept working via purely mechanical means.

I also have a problem with her husband. He's got too much of a vested interest in her death. It will give him a certain level of freedom he doesn't have and he'll gain slightly monetarily. He's too interested in seeing her dead.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Iraq Report

My wife is in the Green Zone in Baghdad. She is working there as a civilian for a few months. I was extremely worried about the whole thing, but, as it turns out, Baghdad isn't as bad as we believed.

She has two major complaints.

1. Office Politics - her accomodations are fine, the food is decent enough and not too institutional, but the office politics are driving her nuts. Lazy and/or incompetent people that cause her extra work. Sounds just like home.

2. Bad Hair Days - every time she leaves her building to go to chow or back to her quarters, she has to wear a flack jacket and helmet. The helmet messes up her hair. She's very, very annoyed by that. After leaving the harsh wet weather, she thought she'd have some good hair days in the desert.

All in all, I'd say Baghdad isn't as bad as everyone thinks. Yes, she's in the Green Zone, but even that has been touted as being dangerous and deadly.

She has heard some explosions and seen smoke pillars from various attacks, but nothing even close. All of the attacks that she mentioned didn't even show up on the news...which makes me wonder what the MSM is actually doing while they are there.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Not safer, but pain free

Radley Balko links to a post about the "Drug War." I often agree with him, but this is the kind of doctor that should be put away. Basically, anyone that wanted could show up, pay cash and get a prescription of choice. This is bad medicine. As a chronic pain patient, I want to see guys like this locked up for a variety of reasons.

First, it gives the Feds something to do...which means they will leave my doctor alone.

Second, this guy is giving a bad rap to any legitimate pain patients. I'm not sure how long I'd survive without some sort of relief. I have a legitimate pain doctor that has me on appropriate medications, physical therapy and meditation techniques. Simply prescribing pain killers doesn't help the patient.

Third, this guy is facilitating a fast slide in life for a whole bunch of people. Unemployment, family problems, theft - anything to get the cash for the next fix. He made it easy to get that fix.

Fourth, I believe (but have no proof) that addicts take money out of my pocket - addiction centers, ER visits, welfare, etc. Not too many drug addicts are contributing to society, which means they are taking away. Semantics aside, there are government give-aways and drug addicts are getting and I'm giving. The less leaches, the smaller the system.

At Risk of Belaboring the Obvious

Timohty Noah is a lefty whacko.

There, I said it. Everyone was thinking it after this article, but I'm the one that said it.

The run down:

Noah thinks Ari Fleischer's new book is full of lies. Ari says the press is biased and liberal. He backs up that point by making these observations:

1. The press thinks the government's job is to solve problems.
2. They use lots of tear jerker stories of losers that are out of work.
3. They concentrate on the unemployment numbers.

Noah responds by saying (this is a cut and paste from his article):

At risk of belaboring the obvious:

1. If the government doesn't exist to solve problems, what the hell do we have it for? We can argue about the particular problems government should solve, and about how successfully government addresses them at any given time, but not, I think, about whether government should be in the problem-solving business.

2. Un-picturesque though they may be, people do tend to suffer when the economy is faltering, as it did throughout the period covered in Fleischer's memoir. If a lagging economy didn't cause people to suffer, there would be no great reason to keep track of the economy at all. Anecdotes about individual sufferers help the public understand in a concrete way what it means to have a weak economy.

3. The principal way people suffer when economic growth is weak or nonexistent is by losing their jobs. The statistic that keeps track of the people who lose their jobs is the unemployment rate (at the moment a so-so 5.4 percent). Fleischer doesn't want the press to focus on the "micro" story of individual suffering, but neither does he want the press to focus on the "macro" story of economic statistics. In effect, Fleischer is saying that it's unfair for the press to cover the economy at all.

First, Noah's first point proves Ari's first point. Noah really does think the government's job is to solve problems. I'd wager that there is a large number of people who disagree. Those people would not be liberals. There are also a large number of people that do agree - liberals. I'm no genius, but I do have a college degree and took some government classes. I also read the constitution. It seems to me that the job of the government is to provide for the nation's defense, regulate interstate trade and administer our legal system. I don't recall ever seeing or reading anything that said the government's job was to solve problems. If anyone can show me valid proof that the U.S. government's job is problem solving, I'll print this post and eat it.

Second, I've seen the unwashed masses. Yes, they are very sad stories. They are poor, they are unemployed, they have massive money problems and you can go pretty much anywhere to find a few and get a sob story. Talk to nearly any member of my family. Life is tough. Life is tougher when you don't have a job. I don't feel sorry for any of them. Everywhere you turn, there are job listings. If it means feeding your family, take a job at McDonald's. If you didn't have enough pride to go to college and get an education, why do have enough pride to say "no" to a job you don't like. Suck it up and get to work. When I had trouble finding a job, I delivered pizza for Dominoes during the day and worked as a short order cook at night. I cut back on everything - cable, phone, eating out, etc. - to make ends meet until I found something better six months later.

Third, I remember being taught that 5% unemployment is as close to full employment that we could ever get. I expect certain fluctuations. The problem I have with the press is the way they spin it. 4.5% means that lots of people just stopped looking, or the military is counted or the number is flawed in some other way, 5.4% means the world is coming crashing down.

So, basically, Noah proved Ari's points while claiming to refute them. That sounds pretty much like a lefty whacko to me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Honey, I'm Home!

Wow, what an odessy (did I spell that right?). I have just spent two weeks travelling the US for work. Virginia to New Jersey to Florida to ALL OVER West Virginia to home. I've posted about New Jersey, the only part of Florida I saw was Tampa so most of this post will be West Virginia. But, first, a short paragraph on the Data Center I saw in Tampa.

The Data Center was a very nice facility. They tout it as the "Co-Lo Technology Hotel." It is very close to the internet back-bone - only one hop away. They have excellent physical security, excellent disaster preparedness, good temperature control, a nice set up and good fire watch. But, it had major problems that really scared me. I didn't see the battery room. That is usually a source of pride at a data-center and they talked about it, but didn't show us. There were open panels in the electrical room and cardboard boxes all over the place. The chemical fire suppression system was impressive, but hadn't been checked in three years. The control room had people drinking coffee and an open bottle of water right over-top of some of the machines. All that planning and money will eventually go up in smoke. Too many fire hazaards.

As for West Virginia, again, WOW. Let's do a day by day, just for fun.

Sunday - I drove there. Very hilly and relatively un-eventful. The only thing I noticed was a lack of eateries near all the factories. There were several miles of an industrial area and the only retail place was a gas station. Someone should open a diner.

Monday - I drove to a little out of the way place called Buckhannon. There was some sort of police training session right near the hotel and the place was filled by West Virginia's finest. They all seemed like standard cops, but fit the stereotypes from several places. There was the crusty old donut eater guy, the potbellied tough guy, the young handsome eager guy and a few generic detective types that looked at everyone as a potential criminal.

Tuesday - We did our first training. The clinic was in the middle of nowhere - like everything in WV, apparently. I didn't see any barefoot people, but I did see a sex toy farm (or maybe a WV whorehouse) that was raising sheep. On the way home, it snowed like crazy. I guess any snow storm that high in the mountains is a blizzard. I couldn't see ten feet in front of me. The driving was really nuts. This is the day I discovered the lack of communications available. My cell didn't get a signal, the internet at the hotel was up and down, the land-lines were all down and even the satellite phone in my truck struggled to get a signal. I was really cut off from civilization.

Wednesday - There was a clinic, right on a river that looked like it was about to flood. The lady in charge was a real babe and was very nice and seemed to be in a perpetual good mood. Some guy is lucky - smart, sexy, good job and good attitude. I also noticed the roads a little more today. They have a good driving surface, but they are really winding. The S-Curve signs also don't give you any warning. I was cruising a straight stretch at 55 when I hit a curve that allowed about 30. I think they gave me about 50 feet of warning to slow down. The whole state was like that.

Thursday - Nothing too eventful, but this is when I started to notice the housing. There really are a lot of trailers in WV, but the more disturbing part was the shacks. There would be a one room, one floor, stone block "house" with a satellite dish that was nearly as big as the "home." These things were everywhere. I was shocked that anyone would live in one. The really odd part is that most of them looked brand new. There were also incredible mansions interspersed with these things. It was an odd mixture. The most annoying thing I noticed was the lack of paint. Some of the houses were just standard small homes. They looked okay, nothing fantastic, just a standard generic house that was in desperate need of a paint job. I figured it was probably $100 worth of paint and brushes, but these people just didn't do it. The whole thing was very depressing.

Friday - Another uneventful training day, but a hell of a ride home. It snowed again while I was in the mountains. Three hours of searching for the road and tons of cars that went right off the side. It was snowing hard and fast and accumulating quickly. It was very nerve racking, but once I got out of the mountains it cleared right up.

In conclusion, WV is a beautiful state and a real sportsman's paradise. But, for a lowly IT schlepp like me, it was a nightmare.

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