this dem is pretty happy about how the debate went.
irregardless of content, kerry outspoke, outstood (bush just looked so AWKWARD while Kerry spoke--Kerry has at least mastered the art of standing still and smiling), outgrammared ("what a commander in chiefs does..."), and out-completedsentences his opponent. Bush's entire tone changed from his responses to questions compared to his final statement, which just felt weird. Kerry maintained the same tone, the same poise throughout. Kerry simply looked and sounded the part of president. There are a few points Kerry could have hammered home a little stronger, but overall, no major complaints.
In Bush's defense, he certainly didn't come out bad. But the country knows what Bush thinks. They've seen it for four years. The challenger is by definition more enigmatic. So I think this boils down to one thing: if you think the Iraq war is going badly, Kerry made a pretty good case that he's the guy to fix it; if you think Iraq is going swell, then Bush is your man. Seems like a pretty fair assessment to me. Kerry had much more to gain in this debate, since this is sort of a home-game for Bush. Foreign policy is ALWAYS supposed to be a Republican strong-point. And if you don't win game one on your home court, that can come back to haunt you.
Although, how stupid did Bush seem when he started talking about fighting people who attacked us referring to the Iraq war? That was the only major flub either way. Didn't really change anything. But it sure does give Dems fuel for our "this president is a moron" jokes.
Bed time. If I can sleep after being riled up for two hours. I especially loved how CNN let some Kerry bashing going on for a while, but conveniently the Dem who was supposed to counter the bitch who was whining about Kerry couldn't be shown for technical problems. Thanks CNN, for that fair-and-balanced assessment. I bet Media Matters will have a say on this by the morning.
Update: Unlike me, who was too tired to do anything but gut react to this thing last night, Bo blogs intelligently about both candidates' lack of vision in foreign policy.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
this dem is pretty happy about how the debate went.
This is HUGE, kids. The Cox2-i increases risk of heart attack and stroke? Will Celebrex follow? Crazy stuff. This article is also full of plenty of pharm-company bullshit. "We're taking it off the market for the good of the patients." Whatever. You're taking it off the market to save your ass on the 20 million lawsuits that will be filed in the next month. And since Zocor goes generic in 2006, Merck is in some deep shit losing its statin AND it's Cox-2 inhibitor. So notice what they do. They combine it with another cholesterol lowering drug from Schering-Plough. And doctors will prescribe it, b/c we're all scared to death our patients won't take two pills instead of one, even if that small inconvenience is worth a few hundred million in health care costs. The pharm companies need to learn that in order to help patients, you have to do more than simply make sure they have to pay more for their drugs. Bastards.
Capitalism works and all that, but it only works when the good of the general public can exploit the hell out of greedy-ass MBAs. And when the general public CAN'T exploit greedy-ass MBAs, we should shut them down. Usually, patients can exploit MBA-greedy drug company execs, because they make a lot of money, patients get new good drugs. Everybody's happy, sorta. But when companies just start exploiting patent law to make their profits instead of dumping more money into research, well, we should shut their asses down. When all competition does is promote shifty practices, we don't need it. When it promotes putting smiles on the faces of people who don't necessarily drive luxury sedans, that's some good stuff.
Posted by Garrett at 9:35 AM
If the situation in Iraq improves in the coming weeks, Bush will take credit. If it deteriorates, he'll take credit for that, too.Bush comes out smelling like roses because anything that happens means success. Economy good? We need tax cuts to give money back to the people? Economy bad? We need tax cuts to spur growth? Pimple on my ass? We need tax cuts, etc. And now he's doing it in Iraq, since every time something gets better, it's b/c we're winning, and every time something gets worse, it's because we're winning and bad people are mad about it.
Posted by Garrett at 1:34 AM
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
"If not reversed, these ill-advised tax and budget policies will erode decades of hard-won health gains for children, while still leaving unaddressed such critical problems as child abuse, mental health, and alcohol and other drug abuse."
The statement echoes concerns expressed by many health professionals -- that the lack of a coherent U.S. health plan is leaving too many people without health care. This is costing more in the long run, they argue, as such people tend to get treated in expensive emergency rooms once their health problems reach a crisis.
Posted by Garrett at 8:18 PM
The Bush and Kerry campaigns agreed to 32 pages of debate rules covering important things like cameras not being on people while their opponent was talking and stupid things like what sort of paper reporters can take notes on. The problem: the networks control the feed, and they don't particularly care what Bush or Kerry wants. Interesting.
Posted by Garrett at 11:00 AM
Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning smoking in California prisons. I agree with everybody at least once in their life. Brilliant.
Posted by Garrett at 1:25 AM
Slate gives 10 things Kerry should do to win Thursday's debate on Iraq and terror. My fav lines:
Stop fighting his consistency shtick, and go with it. The economy sucks. Iraq is a mess. Polls show that people understand these things and that they want change. You're the challenger, the candidate of change.
Posted by Garrett at 1:22 AM
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Politics: NRA, maybe ACLU to defend kid who wants to be in his high school yearbook holding a shotgun
Sure, the kid uses it to skeet shoot. And skeet shoot isn't illegal or anything. In fact, skeet shooters probably know how to use guns and probably respect their guns much more than the average gun owner, and if every gun owner just wanted to shoot skeet, we wouldn't even need the second amendment, because nobody would care either way.
The kid's lawyer says its no different than some kid being photographed w/ a clarinet or something. Eh, there's differences there, sorry buddy. French horns aren't so controversial that they need a portion of the bill of rights to protect their use.
Posted by Garrett at 8:22 PM
Democrats are completing overcoming Republicans in new voter registration drives right now--well-documented in a zillion different articles, I don't feel like finding one. So what is Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell doing to counteract this? He's denying some of the voter applications because the paper stock isn't heavy enough on some of the registration cards. If somebody can give me a reason for this, other than partisan 'I'll do it b/c I can get away with it' bullshit, I'd LOVE to hear it.
Posted by Garrett at 8:03 PM
Monday, September 27, 2004
I've always been under the impression that it was illegal for an HIV-positive person to knowingly expose someone else to the virus, something akin to an attempted manslaughter charge. But I guess not, since Amarillo officials are filing suit against a woman who's been doing that to get her to stop and seek treatment. Necessary evil? We've never felt bad pulling TB or typhoid fever patients out of the community, and I don't suppose this is all that different. Just feels kinda screwed up to me. If not necessary.
Posted by Garrett at 6:43 PM
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Lifted directly from GBWYPGN?! (24.09.04):
From Rummy's appearance before the National Press Club two weeks ago:
Does this response scare anybody else shitless?
DONNELLY: The Financial Times today editorializes that it is, quote, "time to consider Iraq withdrawal," close quote, noting the protracted war is not winnable and it's creating more terrorists than enemies of the West. What is your response, this questioner asks.
RUMSFELD: Who put that question in? He ought to get a life. If he's got time to read that kind of stuff -- (laughter) -- he ought to get a life. (Scattered applause.)
Posted by Garrett at 1:46 AM
Here's an interesting article. Interesting b/c the title of the article is: Bush, Kerry Twisting Each Other's Words
But that's not what's really in there, b/c that sort of implies that there's something equal and balanced about the article. But nope. It's an article about Bush lying and some sort of sorry excuse for Kerry being caught on technicalities. The breakdown:
First off, it's stupid of Bush to say that, b/c nobody but Bill O'Reilly or an idiot should believe that John Kerry, or anybody, really thinks that. It doesn't takea logic ph.d to point out the differences in what Kerry said versus what Bush said he said. Then:
He stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today." The line drew gasps of surprise from Bush's audience in a Racine, Wis., park. "I just strongly disagree," the president said.
But Kerry never said that. In a speech at New York University on Monday, he called Saddam "a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell." He added, "The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
Bush attacked Kerry for calling "our alliance 'the alliance of the coerced and the bribed.'"So that's two. Bush is very good at twisting. #3:
"You can't build alliances if you criticize the efforts of those who are working side by side with you," the president said in Janesville, Wis.
Kerry did use the phrase to describe the U.S.-led coalition of nations in Iraq, in a March 2003 speech in California. He was referring to the administration's willingness to offer aid to other nations to gain support for its Iraq policies.
But Bush mischaracterized Kerry's criticism, which has not been aimed at the countries that have contributed a relatively small number of troops and resources, but at the administration for not gaining more participation from other nations.
Bush also suggested Kerry was undercutting an ally in a time of need, and thus unfit to be president, when he "questioned the credibility" of Iraqi interim leader Ayad Allawi.
"This great man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America," the president said in Janesville. "And Senator Kerry held a press conference and questioned Prime Minister Allawi's credibility. You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility."
Bush repeated the attack later in the day and Vice President Dick Cheney echoed the message in Lafayette, La. "I must say I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Senator Kerry showed for this man of courage," Cheney said.Kerry's point was that the optimistic assessments of postwar Iraq from both Bush and Allawi didn't match previous statements by the Iraqi leader, nor the reality on the ground, and were designed to put the "best face" on failed policies.
Whether Bush or Kerry is the best man to finish what's going on in Iraq, can't they simply admit that things aren't going well? And they aren't going well because Iraq is a near-impossible mission--install a pro-West democracy and stability in a land that hates the West, doesn't particularly love the idea of democracy, and is pretty damn hard to stabilize.
But here's the thing, here's Kerry's supposed 'lies' or twists or whatever:
<>So Bush has a plan? Really? I blogged about it just yesterday. Great plan, huh? So we're making them have elections and it's completely up to them. The election will only get to 3/4 or 4/5 of the country, but really it'll get to everybody. Some plan. "Bring 'em on" and back-door drafting doesn't seem like a very good approach. And, as Juan Cole points out:
[An] e-mail from campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill accused the president of having "no plan to get us out of Iraq" and thinking "the future of Iraq is brighter than the future of America."
Bush has a plan for Iraq — Kerry just disagrees that it is working. And the president wasn't comparing Iraq's future to that of the United States, only accurately reflecting one recent survey in Iraq and the latest trends in America that asked
the same poll found that more than 80 percent of Iraqis want an Islamic Republic with Islamic canon law or shariah as the law of the land. So if they are optimistic, it is because they think they can achieve such a goal over US objections. Again, this is not actually good news for Bush.
So, Bush might be, ya know, "accurate" because he doesn't tell the whole story to tell the part that makes his policies look as ineffective as they are.
So that's Kerry's twisting? What? Yup, those are equal offenses. I'm not sure if this article is a joke or what. The attempt to juxtapose these two examples of candidate spin just seems a little unbalanced.
Now, I'm not saying that Kerry isn't guilty of 'twisting' or 'flip-flopping' or whatever--I'm sure somebody else could have written this article and but a much more negative spin on Kerry. But simply concentrating on the examples in this one article, I don't get it. How do these headlines get used?
Posted by Garrett at 1:26 AM
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Cafod, the Catholic aid agency, has admitted that it ignores "oversimplistic" solutions such as the Vatican's prohibition on the use of condoms when advising those at risk of contracting HIV/Aids in the developing world.
While this article isn't exactly about a group proud to be heretical, it's nice to see that somebody in the higher-ups of the Catholic church can deal with something other than useless ideologies concerning the prevention of disease.
Posted by Garrett at 7:58 PM
Now Iran is testing 'strategic missiles,' whatever that's supposed to mean. Probably means they can kill Americans in the neighborhood. Less than good.
Posted by Garrett at 6:50 PM
This Nicholas Kristoff NTY Op-Ed piece suggests that U.S. leniency towards Pakistan in exchange for an ally and possibly Bin Laden's ass has probably made the world a more dangerous place:
I'm talking about the arrangement under which the U.S. cuts Pakistan some slack on nuclear proliferation, in exchange for President Pervez Musharraf's joining aggressively in the hunt for Osama - in the hope of catching him by Nov. 2.
If a nuclear weapon destroys the U.S. Capitol in coming years, it will probably be based in part on Pakistani technology. The biggest challenge to civilization in recent years came not from Osama or Saddam Hussein but from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb. Dr. Khan definitely sold nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, and, officials believe, to several more nations as well.
Posted by Garrett at 4:56 PM
If you consider yourself an avid fan of zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead is one of the most important releases in years. Here's the IMdB blurb.
Posted by Garrett at 2:06 AM
Friday, September 24, 2004
Lifted directly from Oliver Willis:
Who's coming? Who's going? The Bush admin clears up their Iraq "policy".
Bush Says Iraq Will Hold Elections in January
"They're going to have elections in January in Iraq. When America gives its word, America will keep its word. We'll stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq." (9/22/04, Remarks by the President at Victory 2004 Rally, Latrobe, Pa.)Cheney Says Iraqis Will Decide Whether to Hold Elections
"First of all, I'll be happy to pass along the message. I will see Mr. Allawi, as I mentioned, on Thursday -- both in the Congress, and then he'll come to the White House for a meeting with the President and myself. He has indicated repeatedly that he wants to keep that January deadline. We agree wholeheartedly. It's important to remember this is an Iraqi decision." (Dick Cheney, Lansing, Mich., 9/21/04)Rumsfeld Says Elections Can be Open to 3/4 or 4/5 of Iraq
"Let's pretend hypothetically that you get to election time in January and lets pretend that its roughly like it is, or a little worse, which it could be, because you've got to expect it to continue. They're not happy the way it's going. They don't want a government elected in that country...badly, they don't want that. And let's say you try to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country, but some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. So be it. Nothing is perfect in life. So you have election that's not quite perfect." (Donald Rumsfeld, Senate testimony 9/23/04)Dick Armitage Says Elections Are Open to All
"We're going to have an election that is free and open and that has to be open to all citizens. It's got to be our best effort to get it into troubled areas as well." (Dick Armitage, House testimony, 9/24/04)
Posted by Garrett at 9:37 PM
Specifically, workers at the Social Security Administration. The change would make it legal for gay and lesbian employees in the Bush administration to be discriminated against, or even fired, by their employers.
What a chickenshit move.
Posted by Garrett at 3:21 PM
Do you ever catch yourself debating whether something is one of the best or worst ideas you've ever heard?
California passes a ban (not a total ban, but an effective one for growers of most crops) on weeding crops by hand. Farm workers, many of them migrant, lowly paid, and poor, wind up with terrible back problems spending mega-long hours hunched over. But of course, most of these crops are grown in tons more places than just California, so how do California crops compete in a marketplace with other places that do not protect their workers? And is this really enforceable?
So the alternative is using a weeding tool of a certain length that prevents workers from leaning over all day. Sounds reasonable to me. Also, organic farmers, who have far greater problems with weeds since they don't use chemicals that give us all cancer, are exempt, since this restriction would effectively sink the California organic farming industry.
So bottomline: I have to like a law that sticks up for the broken backs of workers who aren't being treated so well in a capitalistic system. My capitalistic worth in a few years, somewhere in the very low six digits, greatly exceeds their capitalistic worth pulling weeds. But our rights of human dignity, while widely disparaged on the free market, fall very close together on a curve of moral justice. Might this law do more damage than good by killing the jobs of the workers it's designed to protect? Maybe--but I seriously doubt it.
Ben @ BGR, I'd love for you to chime in on this one.
Posted by Garrett at 10:15 AM
I was fortunate enough to see a portion of Matthew Barney's 5-part film installation "The Cremaster Cycle" while visiting the Guggenheim in NYC two springs ago. It's coming to Lexington, and SC-faithfulreader Kevin Moser writes an intriguing article for the Kentucky Kernel on the event, and quotes me a half-dozen times because, well, I was the only person online who'd seen the darn thing when he was writing his piece. And because I act like I know what I'm talking about sometimes.
Posted by Garrett at 3:31 AM
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Mega-pampered Cocker spaniel: 2k/year tops
In a randomized controlled trial, which will be best at detecting bladder cancer?
Posted by Garrett at 11:53 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Every once in a while it's fun to re-do the Political Compass. This time I was:
Economic Left/Right: -6.25
Not the most surprising I don't guess. At least I'm consistent. Do the survey, and leave your results in the comments (make sure and leave your name if you don't have a blogger acct!).
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26
Posted by Garrett at 2:21 AM
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
This report by a bunch of guys from Israel says that the majority of docs use placebos in their practice. Kinda scary, not because placebos have been consistently shown to have a positive effect, but because giving them requires deception. And when people don't trust their doctors, they can't get good care, and yup, that's bad.
Posted by Garrett at 7:52 PM
We know that minority physicians, dentists and nurses are more likely to serve minority and medically underserved populations, yet there is a severe shortage of minorities in the health professions. Without much more diversity in the health workforce, minorities will continue to suffer.As a physician, you serve a patient. When I practice, I'll keep my mouth shut about politics and religion. I'll nod my head, be honest, and focus on the universe of my patient. I've considered obstetrics, but one major roadblock stands in the way of that: I'm male. Not that residency directors discriminate, if anything they WANT more males for some reason, but ask women who they want to go to, and most women want want to go to a male. Is that discrimination? Yes. Would it be wrong for a patient to not want to see a physician because he was black or hispanic? Yes. But you know what? It doesn't matter, most of the time--now, if the only person qualified to do that emergency apendectomy on the KKK member is an African American, Bubba is just going to have to deal with Dr. Obama's service; his autonomy means jack shit to me then.
But if we just sit and say that it's dumb for minorities to not want to go to white doctors (people haven't forgotten Tuskeegee, and probably never will), or if we ignore the fact that minorities in medicine are more likely to practice in areas of minority populations (to some extent), we're worrying about our own problems instead of the patient's. I'm a white male. I'll deal with it. Medicine might be capitalistic in our country, and that's fine and all, but when we're more worried about our own pocketbooks than our patients' well-being (and believe me, I realize there are more than enough good reasons other than money to want to not give a damn about patients who seem to fight their own health--we might be paternalistic, but we do mean well), then we don't have much business practicing the art.
Posted by Garrett at 2:34 PM
I have to blog any article whose title is an R.E.M. song reference. The content of it: a Slate take on whether Edwards was a good idea for Kerry's VP. Edwards has been around my neck of the woods, the Bluegrass and Southern West Virginia, lately, which Kerry definitely isn't going to win. These people couldn't possibly vote for a baby-killer like John Kerry. Doesn't Kerry speak French? If it weren't for John Kerry, we would have got the respect we deserved when we got back from 'Nam. The fact that it was a terrible, useless war had nothing to do with it. But Edwards might be able to reduce margins in these neck of the woods, since the common man correctly hates corporate America even more than they hate filthy trial lawyers.
Posted by Garrett at 2:14 PM
"There is no secret that on some very important issues I have difference with the current administration," Chafee said, listing abortion rights, the environment and war in Iraq.This Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island) guy might just be alright.
Posted by Garrett at 2:08 PM
Posted by Garrett at 2:02 PM
Thank you, Donald Rumsfield, for this quote. It makes it so much easier to criticize you:
At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country.
Posted by Garrett at 1:50 PM
Monday, September 20, 2004
I think it's safe to say at this point that the only reason they give us tests is to hurt my feelings :*0(
Any ideas on possible alternate career plans? I started looking at public policy grad schools, but I doubt any of them would want a disgruntled underachieving med student w/ an English degree from a podunk state school whose thesis employed techniques that haven't been considered valid since the 70's. I could go to law school, but I think I would wind up drowning my classmates at the bottom of a river. Hey, jailbird! That could be my alternate career plan... hmm...
Posted by Garrett at 10:00 AM
Sunday, September 19, 2004
As residents of Louisiana bowed down this Sunday to thank God for not destroying Sodom... er... I mean New Orleans with a flood (didn't he promise never to do that again anyway?) from Hurricane Ivan, they decided to show their appreciation by being hateful jerks and banning same-sex marriage. Love is all you need.
Posted by Garrett at 6:44 PM
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Thus, all proceeds from the sales of this dictionary go directly to groups devoted to expressing their outrage over the Bush administration's assault on free speech, overtime, drinking water, truth, the rule of law, humility, the separation of church and state, a woman's right to choose, clean air, and every other good idea this country has ever had.From the Introductory Note of The Future Dictionary of America. A quality text.
Posted by Garrett at 9:17 PM
The RNC has been mailing out campaign literature in West Virginia that:
shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda.Makes me ashamed to say I was born in West Virginia and once a registered republican.
And besides, who, besides Nader, is actually running on something that could even be called a liberal agenda? And has Kerry the Catholic (or any other legit 'liberal' candidate) EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER said anything about banning bibles? So Kerry = Stalin? Thanks, WV-RNC, for your hateful idiocy.
Posted by Garrett at 1:58 PM
Friday, September 17, 2004
Michael Reynolds blogs about the sad but true: Kerry doesn't have a plan for Iraq.
Now of course, Bush never DID have a plan for Iraq, unless you count playing an all-night game of Risk w/ Dick, Karl, and Rummy. And he doesn't have a plan now, other than, er, win, and, um, give 'em democracy. The right to vote in a theocracy, I guess. So what does Kerry run on? "Well, I wouldn't have got us there in the first place." True. Most non-retarded monkeys could have kept us out of Iraq. So that's not exactly a huge point, unless he wants to start running ads that say: "I'm John Kerry, and I am not a retarded monkey, and I approve this message." It might be effective. But maybe he should just make something up, tell everybody he's going to ask the UN to do it for us and forget that nasty Bush man ever got elected (oh, wait...). Or something. Anything. Give us a plan, John. Just use a sentence with more than one clause, and that'd be something more than your opposition is giving. Anything. Seriously.
Update: Bo seems right there w/ me. Of course, when I criticize Kerry, I sorta expect him to be.
Posted by Garrett at 11:39 PM
A study in the Lancet shows that a mycobacterium avium subspecies can be cultured from the blood of a really high number of people w/ Crohn's. Will macrolides replace prednisone? Stay tuned! I'm sure you non-medical people love this one. Read the article, it's not in quite such jibberish.
Posted by Garrett at 9:56 PM
Marian Carr Knox, former Texas Air National Guard secretary, says she's sure she didn't type those memos, and she would have been the one that would have done it. However, she has this to say about them: "I know that I didn't type them. However, the information in those is correct." Craziness.
Posted by Garrett at 1:21 AM
Apparently Dick Cheney said something to the effect that economic indicators miss hundreds of thousands of people who make money on Ebay, and John Edwards does a decent job making fun of him for it: "When we count the bake sales and lemonade stands, we'll have a roaring economy."
Posted by Garrett at 1:05 AM
Thursday, September 16, 2004
For what it's worth, here's an excerpt from a Salon article about Yoshi Tsurumi, who taught GWB at Harvard Business School and says he remembers young Dubya very well, and not in the most complimentary of lights.
This article also claims/points out that Bush graduated in the bottom tenth of his class. Any disputers with proof?
Posted by Garrett at 12:08 PM
Not that Bush has said yes or anything. The draft seems like an impossibility at this point. Besides, who needs it when you can just extend somebody's stay or call up people on the reserve list? Don't we have enough inadequately equipped soldiers out there already?
Posted by Garrett at 12:04 PM
Maybe I've watched too too much TV in my life, but shouldn't somebody be able to come to some sort of absolute consensus about these Bush-Killian memos? Of course, this article points out that the questions posed by 60 Minutes haven't actually been denied by the Bush campaign: Did Mr. Bush get preferential treatment for the Texas Air National Guard? Was then-Lieutenant Bush suspended for failing to perform up to Texas and Air Guard standards? Did then-Lieutenant Bush refuse a direct order from his military superior to take a required examination?
Posted by Garrett at 12:01 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I try not to mess too much with health care as a right vs. a privilege (though you wouldn't be surprised that I appreciate the former more than the latter). Instead, I just stick to the idea that good preventative care is a hell of a lot cheaper than waiting for people to get sick. Good public health and fiscal conservatism sleep in the same bed, and this article seems to agree that they should be snuggling more often.
Posted by Garrett at 10:17 AM
Apparently Syria, in a combined military exercise w/ Sudan, decided to test chemical weapons on people in Darfur. Geez. Add these to countries we might be fighting instead of Iraq if we had our priorities straight.
I don't know if we'd have any more luck coalition building in this sort of conflict than we did in Iraq, but I think this demonstrates an instance of the interest of the US and the world overlapping: Syria is testing chemical weapons. Syria probably has wet dreams about dumping these things on the US, and they probably get off when the scene switches to Israel. So, we protect ourselves, we protect the rest of the world. That sounds like rational self-interest to me.
Posted by Garrett at 10:13 AM
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
A buddy of mine, Ken Moore, called me today from somewhere in Mississippi on his way out of New Orleans like everybody else. He moved there last week for a great job blowing glass. His guitars and such were already loaded last night. Here's hoping his new place isn't blown away by Ivan the Terrible.
Update: here's the worst-case scenario
Posted by Garrett at 9:20 PM
Link from Mikey
The Bush tax cut paid for Mike to email it to me.
Posted by Garrett at 9:01 PM
"Though he is not as well known, Kerry would win handily if the people of the world were to elect the US president."Thanks to Steve for the link from the BBC.
Posted by Garrett at 5:39 PM
Monday, September 13, 2004
As he campaigns on a platform of having made America safer, President Bush usually does not talk about nuclear disputes with North Korea and Iran that show no sign of resolution. Bush did not mention the two countries, once branded by him as part of an 'axis of evil,' in his recent Republican Convention address and he has not made them a campaign staple.Seems problematic to me. Maybe because our military is so thin now we couldn't protect ourselves from an army of mice invading from Canada.
btw, I noticed that SportsCenter today was being broadcast from Kuwait. Now, I understand this is a morale booster for the troops, and that part I have no problem with, and would support if that were the only issue I noticed. But isn't there something just screwed up about broadcasting a cable sports program from an almost-war zone, at least symbolically? Especially when you're being branded an 'occupier' just a few miles away? Nobody around me at lunch agreed.
Posted by Garrett at 11:17 PM
Thanks to Rhea for the link.
Posted by Garrett at 11:11 PM
Most everybody has seen headlines about Paxil and depressed kids, and the fact that there's a shot that the chance of a kid on an SSRI committing suicide is increased. Well, this piece from NPR looks at the other side of the argument: if your kid is depressed, and he doesn't get treatment, he might wind up blowing his brains out anyway. I know I was pretty close more than once.
Don't get me wrong, shame on GSK for suppressing their data. But let's not hate the drug companies for making good drugs, but just for marketing them in ways that often do more harm than good.
Posted by Garrett at 8:27 PM
A $28,000 Pontiac G6 at that!
Open for comments: is the grammar of that title correct? It's perplexing me. The 'good writer' thing to do would be to reword it to something like "Oprah gives each audience member a new car' or something like that, but something about the awkwardness of my first draft intrigued me.
Posted by Garrett at 4:49 PM
Iran said Monday it was losing patience with U.N. inspections of its nuclear program and announced that its agreement with the Europeans to halt uranium enrichment would soon come to an end.Maybe Iran is planning on moving some mountains sometime soon too? Geez.
Posted by Garrett at 4:45 PM
Of course! What else would they be doing but clearing room for a hydro-electric project?
Posted by Garrett at 1:05 PM
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Matthew Yglesias has a nice post on his blog concering the AWB, which is more important politically than it might be practically. From everything I've read about the AWB, it's a sadly ineffective 10-year-old piece of gun control legislation that will expire Monday with the blessing of the Bush administration. Kerry said recently that the expiration of the AWB would help terrorists by allowing them to easily obtain military-style assault weapons. The statement makes sense, except that it's not a particularly relevant thing to say. The difference between banned weapons and many weapons allowed on the market are not all that significant, and it's not like Al Quaeda isn't going to look on the black market for these things. And given the way that gun-afficionados are paranoid that somebody's going to take their guns away (funny, nobody took their guns away over the last ten years), the AWB is pretty costly politically for the left, and probably not worth it. Let's see a new AWB that's actually effective (fat chance--thanks, Billy F!), and until then, choose our battles wisely. I disagree with Matt's assertion that crime isn't as important an issue in our country as education and health care (as I see gun control to be inseparable from public health), but he's a pretty clear thinking lib on the matter for the most part.
Update: Jeremy the Semanticist Kolonay railed me last night (via IM, not blog) for this line of the above post: The statement makes sense, except that it's not a particularly relevant thing to say. To give background, JK and I once dueled with AK-47s over semantics many years ago, but our wounds have healed since. He questions my use of the word "relevant," claiming that the statement isn't true, which is different than whether it makes sense or is relevant. Jeremy is not a fan of nuance. It IS true that it will be easier for Al Quaeda to obtain assault weapons w/ the expiration of the AWB. Now they can walk into Jim Bob's Gun and Bait Shop and buy their weapon, and a few days later after a probably useless background check, poof! The alternative would be finding these on the blackmarket, which would be less easy--i.e. less convenient (more phone calls), and that 0.02% chance that the cops might catch them. So while the statement makes sense, it's not relevant to the issue, since the change in ease of obtainment isn't enought to effect the outcome of terrorists having the firepower to mow down a shopping mall in 45 seconds. Jeremy loves guns, and I'm sure him having them isn't a danger to me or anybody else. He's a responsible guy, and I'm betting if he had kids running around, he'd keep the things locked up. But people like Jeremy aren't the ones that scare me.
Posted by Garrett at 10:40 PM
Our job now is to stop removing every man's prostate who has prostate cancer. We originally thought we were doing the right thing, but we are now figuring out how we went wrong. Some men need prostate treatment but certainly not all of them.
PSA tests determine the level of a certain protein that reflects the size of the prostate--the size, but not necessarily if the thing is cancerous or not. BPH (benign prostate hypertrophy) is something pretty inevitable. The thing is going to get bigger as you get older, and you're going to have to push really hard to pee (if youre a guy, that is). But is the surgery, which has a high incidence of damaging some nerve down there that I remember dissecting last year but can't remember the name of (and is responsible for getting you up), worth it? Doesn't look like urologists will be using PSA to decide any more.
Posted by Garrett at 10:07 PM
It looks like David Dreier, a 12-term California Republican congressman, who has a long, consistent anti-gay voting, will follow his fellow pro-hate Congressman Ed Schrock last week in being outed by blogACTIVE sometime in the next few days. Schrock, from Virginia, resigned, seeing as being gay pretty much sank his entire hypocritical career. I haven't read enough from Dreier, and he's from a blue state. So we'll see what happens w/ this jerk.
Posted by Garrett at 7:49 PM
Friday, September 10, 2004
Posted by Garrett at 11:23 PM
The Bush camp is saying they don't want to do the St. Louis debate, the one to be in a 'town-hall' format, because "there might be partisans in the crowd." The Gallup people pick the town-hallsters from undecided voters, so the probability of having blatant partisans would be not that significant.
I wish we could get rid of all the commercials, period, and have eight (arbitrary number that I like at the moment) weeks of debate. Theme debates. One week national security issues, the next week economic issues, etc. And then, people would have no excuse for mis-understanding the positions of the candidates, and the candidates couldn't hide behind this ignorance. People in my hometown newspaper write letters to the editor all the time claiming that Kerry is pro-gay marriage, when this isn't true. The majority of the electorate are ignorant of current events and rely on hearsay from church, their buddies at work or school, etc. And I don't mean ignorant in a perjorative sense, I think many people just prefer to fill their minds with other things, the things of their daily lives, the things of family, religion, or whatetever. So my statement is not meant to be elitist, but when people vote not understanding the implication of their vote, democracy isn't particularly served. I blame inadequate public education, and not those who are victim of it.
Posted by Garrett at 4:17 PM
Twenty-two Republicans joined all 200 voting Democrats and one independent in telling the Bush administration to shove it. 'It' being the new overtime rules that will take overtime pay away from some six million workers and protect businesses from lawsuits filed by workers to get the pay they deserve from the cutthroat-BMW-driving-MBAs that don't want to give it to them.
Now, should overtime rules be overhauled? Maybe. But these weren't the rules with which to overhaul.
Posted by Garrett at 4:13 PM
Thursday, September 9, 2004
From NYT. For those not locked into the depths of med school, here's the schpiel: in order for a company to get a drug approved by the FDA, they must take the drug through four stages to determine, first, toxicity, and then, efficacy. I learned about this process all too well when I worked for Phoenix Pharmacologics. Most of the time, these studies are funded by the company that produces the drug, which, sure, makes sense. But that also gives companies the power to say, "the result of this study we just did isn't good for us. throw it in the trash can" and nobody ever knows about it.
Now, if studies must be registered beforehand, companies will HAVE to report their clinical studies if they want their work to be published in a journal that anybody cares about. This isn't full proof, since, with online journal access, you could publish a drug study in the Podunk Journal of Crayfish Neuroeschatology and people could still access it, but the FDA is still going to notice the weird PJCN footnote while they're evaluating the study.
But this is good for you, as a consumer, since your doctor will know more about the true costs and benefits of the drugs they give you. If a drug is good, awesome. But if a drug can do bad things, and companies keep that under wraps? That's bad. This isn't astrophysics. So kudos to JAMA, NEJM, and co. for being smart!
Posted by Garrett at 1:59 AM
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
I'm sitting here watching the O'Reilly Factor, since Nader will be on later.
I don't have much too much to say about the Bush AWOL thing. O'Reilly keeps spouting off "but why does it matter now?" To be fair, that's pretty much how he approached the Swift Boat scandal. For once I agree w/ O'Reilly. Viet Nam DOESNT matter now, not very much anyway. What these guys have been doing for the last 35 years matters.
And it looks like Bush has been lying for 35 years. That seems like it would be important to the American public. The voting American public. Maybe John Kerry was a young reactionary anti-war hippy activist, but Bush was a drunken frat kid who got to not die while somebody else might have because he had a rich daddy with political connections. And as Ralph Nader points out (and O'Reilly is completely permitting), it was one thing to be a CO, to have problems with the war and figure a way out of not going. But Bush supported the war politically (no reference here, but O'Reilly and Nader are saying so--if BOTH of them seem to think, it might actually have SOME credibility). He supported the war that his classmates at Yale were fighting for him while he missed physicals and wasn't even flight ready if his services became necessary.
The White House can deny documents that are surfacing, but that's hard to do. These aren't nut-jobs coming out of the wood work. These are (suppressed?) government documents. If the White House says one more time that Bush got an honorable discharge, and that means he fulfilled his duty, I'm going to throw up. Really. So that's why Kerry's medals were called into question? Since, if you get a medal, it doesn't necessarily mean you were a "hero" or whatever, but if you get honorably discharged, that DOES mean that you fulfilled your duty? Right.
And Dan Bartlett seriously sucks. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could tear this guy apart.
I love Ralph Nader. He makes me think that the world might not be screwed. But then he goes off the air, and Tony Snow comes on, and it reminds me that Bush might actually be elected president of the United States, which would be a first, since he wasn't last time. Or at least, we don't know if he was or was not, since the democratic process was ridiculously compromised.
I might need to turn this off, as Bill just said, "Does the government have a responsibility to pay your medical bills? Up next." Sorry, Bill. Not all of us can become millionaires BS'ing politics to pay for our bills. Now, it's not a ridiculous idea for someone to say "why do I have to pay for the health care of somebody who smokes, drinks, eats too much, curses, doesn't go to church, and kills babies." I'm by no means anti-accountability. But here's a news flash, Bill. Obesity, cigarette smoking, alcoholism--they're diseases. Like cancer, emphysema, and FoxNews. We don't have 'cures' for them yet, and our treatment of these diseases probably suffers because we spend so much time looking for 'cures' instead of 'care.'
I need to go find a diuretic and an ACE-inhibitor. My blood pressure is through the roof.
Go Nader! (But GO AWAY UNTIL NOVEMBERish!!!)
Courtney quote of the day: "My God, John Kerry is so UGLY!" This from the girl who still has her Nader/LaDuke sticker on the back of her Contour. Even in Ann Arbor, I haven't seen any Nader/Camejo stickers.
Posted by Garrett at 11:12 PM
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
"We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
Like no shit. Here's the video link.
Cardio exam in T-minus 6 hours and counting.
Posted by Garrett at 2:01 AM
Monday, September 6, 2004
If you have an anti-Walmart fetish, as I do, this is a fun editorial.
Health care policies are another example of their mutually distorted priorities that are hurting the American nation. Wal-Mart covers less than half the company’s workers in their health care program. The program is not very comprehensive and is very expensive to the individual employee. Taxpayers are often picking up the bill for these uninsured or underinsured Wal-Mart workers because the show up in emergency rooms without the ability to pay the emergency care bills. This health care issue contributes to rising health care costs for all consumers and other employers who do provide good employee health care benefits! A recent PBS program on Wal-Mart had an elected official in California revealing that Wal-Mart workers use 40 percent more in taxpayer provided government services than employees of other similar businesses.How many studies are going to show that people w/o insurance cost our country a lot more a) because they receive less preventative care, which is a lot cheaper than treating the consequences of this lack of care, and b) because the ER becomes their primary care facility, which is a hell of alot more expensive than going to a doctor that a patient has an established relationship with. There's a lot our country could be doing without resorting to a socialized, national health care system to make people fitter, happier, more productive. Giving seniors a drug card (it'd be nice and all, if the damn thing actually benefitted seniors instead of the pharm companies) is a nice gesture, but until we start dumping cash (and giving corporate incentives to dump cash--tax breaks!!!) into reasonable, rudimentary preventative primary care, our system is going to go closer and closer to the brink.
Thanks, Wal-Mart. By Jingo, Buy America!
Posted by Garrett at 1:30 PM
Sunday, September 5, 2004
This one's for you, Moser.
Update: and another one, w/ an Aussie "swimsuit model" displaying her right-wing "opinions" for the world to see. Like Ashlee Simpson, this chick is just kinda weird looking. But, I mean, 'Pubs think Ann Coulter is hot, and I'm never going to understand that one.
Make sure and clean up after yourself, Kev.
Posted by Garrett at 1:19 AM
Saturday, September 4, 2004
John McCain's thought's on Zell Miller's speech:
"I think it backfires," McCain said of Miller's rhetorical assault on Kerry. He added that it "makes Buchanan's speech look milquetoast."If you're like me, you're thinking 'what the hell is a milquetoast?' Here's the skinny from dictionary.com.
Posted by Garrett at 1:11 AM
Friday, September 3, 2004
So Austria wasn't exactly the commie palace Schwarzenegger made it out to be. This is a fun article, where every time a historian refutes part of Scharzenegger's depiction of Austria, his crony says "well, umm... he was just sayin... ya know."
I mean, did it make any sense to start talking about Nixon at the RNC? Why don't you just draw the Viet Nam-Iraq parallels for us on a big posterboard, Squirminator?
Posted by Garrett at 10:38 PM
Leaving New York. Same vein of the last few albums: less rock, more keyboards, haunting melody, completely un-radio-friendly, a little feedback here and there, and that same catharsis you always get after an R.E.M. song, the feeling you get after hearing a song that's something special, even if you're not sure why.
The best band ever, in its twilight.
New album, Around the Sun, due out Oct 4 &5. Hopefully not their last.
I owe R.E.M. my life. I'm pretty sure I would have blown my brains out sometime around 6th grade if not for Automatic for the People. And I might still be a Republican.
Update: here's an article about the album: "It's about how it feels to live in America right now," abstract, moody, Fables/AFTP vein, they took out all the rockers. The US will hate it. The rest of the world will love it.
Posted by Garrett at 8:01 PM
The only reason Mary didn’t show is because Mary’s a dyke and the GOP hates dykes.
I didn't say it. The people who have to deal with GOP anti-gay bullshit all the time said it.
Posted by Garrett at 11:46 AM
The GOP, worried about a convention speech backlash akin to Pat Buchanan's "Culture War" speech in '92, is distancing itself from Zell Miller's keynote address. Miller was moved out of the Bush family box during Bush's acceptance speech for no good reason. John McCain and Laura Bush aren't even quick to validate him, though McCain makes sense, and Laura doesn't, as always.
And besides, Miller has spoken highly of Kerry as recently as March 2001:
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend. He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984. In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington. Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so. John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country. John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Yup. This guy sounds incompetent and unfit to lead America. I think Zell needs a trip to a neurologist. I'm diagnosing a frontal lobe lesion, Phineas Gage style.
Posted by Garrett at 11:32 AM
Thursday, September 2, 2004
Kerry's speech today. All this talk about Republicans leaves me cold.
Isn't Cheney set for a stroke if he doesn't chill out a bit? Maybe that's the 'big surprise' we'll get in late October, suddenly Tommy Franks becomes the new VP candidate when Dick falls over after Condi spikes his beta-blockers w/ some digoxin. Bush-Franks. How many more genital references could you pump into one ticket? Appropriate, for a ticket that would screw the country.
Posted by Garrett at 10:11 PM
Bo decided to skewer me for my post below suggesting that the GOP shouldn't be the party of choice for minorities. Feel free to join in the fray, pro-or-con, home field or away. Bo is extremely anti-affirmative action (or at least, that's my take--I think it's fair), and I have blogged before that I would be much in favor of a system that considered socioeconomic system over race. If I remember correctly, there were more than a few allegations of minority vote suppression in Florida last time around. And how many Donkey congressmen have had to resign over saying that the country would have been better off if Strom Thurmond were elected president? I mean, is it really THAT hard to talk smack about the party of Trent Lott and Jesse Helms and Newt Gingrich? And it's not like these guys are distant memories.
Bo caught me being sloppy, and got pretty legalistic in his argument with me, assuring me that minority rights are something that are narrowly defined in the constitution. I say it's a little bit bigger picture than that--and doesn't include 'minority freebies', as he suggests. And I just don't accept that because the delegates at the RNC are by-and-large not racist in the traditional sense of stringing-the-negro-from-the-old-oak-tree, that suddenly makes them a party of minority interests. I mean, I would hope that the socially conservative wing of the RNC would have evolved a little since the 1950's. Kudos to them.
Posted by Garrett at 5:47 PM
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Bo says that the Republican party isn't a party of racists. Well, I'll buy that. Not all of them are racists. But this article points out that blacks are still tentative about a party that isn't really supporting minority rights in any appreciable way.
Posted by Garrett at 11:13 PM
Articles like this have been floating around like nuts lately about the increase of cancer mortality for those who undergo full-body CT scan. Don't buy it. There are some definite methodological issues here, as well as no discrimination as to who is getting the CT scan. If your doc is sending you for a CT so he can make a payment on the machine he and his 12 partners in their private practice decided to buy last year, then that might be problematic. But otherwise, it's a little better to get the CT than play guessing games w/ your guts. Cuz that probably will kill you.
Posted by Garrett at 11:08 PM
Bush's economic policies aren't conservative. Taxing less and spending more isn't any sort of policy, really. And blaming it all on the war sounds a lot like 1984-speak to me. But here's a good old-fashioned conservative admitting that he is one of the 'girlie men' who are pessimistic about the way our economy is going.
Posted by Garrett at 11:04 PM
I'm pretty glad about this. Not because I know ANYTHING about what happened in that hotel room, but because this trial could have been very damaging to women's rights in rape situations. Every ESPN fan who follows this thing could come away with some sort of sick validation that women aren't really raped, that women aren't victims of violence, that women are simply manipulative bitches who hate men and try to trap them.
And this is totally wrong. I have no idea whether Kobe raped this woman, or if she was in it for the ride. Zero opinion. But I'm glad we don't have a celebrity rape trial where a popular celebrity with an insane defense team is up against a women of questionable history with inept prosecution. Kobe would have walked, this woman's character (and the character of all women) would be dragged through the mud, and women's rights would have yet another setback.
Update: Sorry, Mikey. The Lakers still look like a 6-8 seed in the West.
Posted by Garrett at 8:49 PM
Alan Keyes says that homosexuality is "selfish hedonsim."
This includes specifically calling Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist."
The Log Cabin Republicans say:
"In a political career defined by failures, this is a new low for Alan Keyes. Attacking politician's children is beyond the pale, even for an extremist like Alan Keyes."
Proving that a degree from Harvard's KSG doesn't necessarily make you not an idiot.
Posted by Garrett at 7:58 PM
Josh, my economic adviser and wedding guitarist, sent me this link about how Microsoft has lost tons of cash because of its ignorance of global geography. This tends to piss people off. Sometimes whole countries. Imagine that. Some funny stuff here.
Posted by Garrett at 12:02 AM