Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Well, Barry-O IS articulate

And Joe Biden is a moron. At least when he opens his mouth. But of course, it's absolutely out of fashion to say that Barry-O is articulate because of the implication that he shouldn't be because he's black. Or that he's articulate considering he's a black dude (implying that if he were a white dude, his current level of articulateness wouldn't be remarkable). Or something like that.

Now, I say Barry-O is articulate not because he's a black dude, but because we've got a guy in the White House who couldn't form a complete sentence in front of a microphone without a teleprompter for the first three years of his presidency, and our last democratic presidential candidate couldn't tell you his favorite color without using a semicolon.

So let's claim the word back, and let's call Barry-O what he is. Articulate. He's a damn good orator. Cicero style. Ghandi style. Kennedy style. Lincoln style. AND MLK style. Hell, maybe even Jim Webb style. But absolutely NOT Joe Biden style.

So Barack isn't articulate because he's a black dude that talks good. He's articulate because he was the damn editor of Harvard Law Review, and he's articulate because he wrote a book ten years ago that actually had something to say. And he's articulate because you can listen to a speech of his and, even though he doesn't say any more or any less than anybody else does, you get that special feeling, that feeling you haven't had since fifth grade history class when the frigging War of 1812 made you proud of your country.

It's nice to feel good about your country, even if the guy is laying on the same bullshit that other politicians try to use less effectively. Barry Obama can make you feel good about your country, and I'm pretty sure he'd be able to do that even if he were a purple transsexual instead of a black dude.

I'm not saying his rhetorical excellence would make him a good president. But Dreams from my Father at least shows that this is a guy with a lot of smart things to say. He's openly thoughtful in his writing, and that's not something we can say all that often about politicians writing books.

But we're not talking about what he has to say right now. We're talking about how he's damn good at saying them. He could tell you how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and it might make you cry.

Now, if he just stopped smoking...

UPDATE: Political Wire compiles the media reactions:

Washington Post: "Biden Stumbles at the Starting Gate"
New York Times: "Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops!"
Chicago Tribune: "Hat in Ring, Foot in Mouth"
New York Post: "Biden Blows It"
New York Daily News: "Senator Stupid!"
UPDATE2: Biden explains himself on the Daily Show, doesn't refer to Jon Stewart as a 'clean Hebrew-American.'

We're all better off with headlines like this

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Brings Boston to a Halt

As it should, my friends. As it should. The fact that ATHF has not brought most major cities to a halt in general is a testament only to the lame choices of American television watchers.

If the mooninites are terrorists, then maybe I'm batting for the wrong team.

HPV vaccine for gay men?

Merck, the makers of Gardasil (the HPV vaccine now being given to women) is conducting a trial of 4000 men, including 500 self-identified gay men, to test the effectiveness of HPV vaccination in men to prevent anal cancer. Although I think this vaccine should be given to all gay men, especially "bottoms," I'm glad to see the company pursuing this study. Obviously there are far more women who are eligible for the vaccine than gay men, but that they're still going after this market is a good sign, in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Finally, a real reason to move to Europe

Europe-wide smoking ban proposed!

Places usually only ban smoking in public places AFTER I live there. My podunk, asscrack-of-earth hometown has banned smoking at bars and restaurants, and people are ready to throw a fit because of a new proposal to ban smoking at the park (which is where people go to smoke because they can't smoke at the private hospital across the street). And Lexington, the cultural capital of the #2 tobacco state in the union, banned smoking in bars and restaurants right after I left my undergraduate career there.

I move to the most left-leaning, health conscious, crazy-ass hippy white-bred hybrid-SUV driving college town in the entire Midwest (sorry, Madison), and people can still smoke at restaurants and bars? Who did I piss off to deserve this crap? They can ban smoking smack dab in the middle of a zillion acres of tobacco fields, but folks haven't even put it on the ballot in Ann Arbor?

They're probably more likely to legalize smoking pot in bars than they are to get rid of smoking tobacco in bars. Damn hippies!

Harriet Washington's 'Medical Apartheid' book

Haven't read it yet, but the NPR interview suggests that Washington's take on the historical mistreatments of blacks by white doctors goes well beyond Tuskegee (but of course, includes it) to illuminate the legacy of the sort of racist cruelty that makes blacks suspicious of white doctors even now.

Washington also expresses the importance of African Americans participating in research today, and ends on a bit of an upturn that I didn't really expect. Good for her.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Pain of Buying Stuff

John Tierney visited Stanford so an MRI could watch his brain make decisions about buying stuff. The result is an exceptionally well written article about the neuroscience of irrational consumer behavior.

I will not try to justify my need for the mood clock, the “Dodgeball” DVD, the desk-clip lamp and the smoothie maker. I would rather pin these choices on two culprits.

The first was my nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain with dopamine receptors that are activated when you experience or anticipate something pleasant, like making money or drinking something tasty. In the experimental subjects at Stanford, this region was activated when they first saw pictures of things they wanted to buy. My nucleus accumbens just happened to respond more strongly than the typical subject’s, so what else could I do? If it feels good, buy it.

The other culprit — the main villain, really — was my insula. This region of the brain is activated when you smell something bad, see a disgusting picture or anticipate a painful shock. It was typically activated in the brains of the other shoppers when they saw a price that seemed too high. I’d like to think of my insula as particularly stoic, the strong, silent type, but he’s probably just an oblivious slob.

The lazy insula is a rarer affliction than you’d guess by looking at Americans’ indebtedness. Tightwads slightly outnumber spendthrifts, according to surveys by George Loewenstein and his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, Scott Rick and Cynthia Cryder. These behavioral economists think tightwads aren’t any more rational than spendthrifts, because neither group is carefully weighing the long-term benefits of a Foreman grill versus college tuition. Dr. Loewenstein says the brain scans demonstrate that both kinds of shoppers are guided by instant emotions.

We developed this propensity to experience direct pain when we spend money,” Dr. Loewenstein said. “This explains why tightwads won’t spend money even when they should. It also helps to explain why we overspend on credit cards, and why people prefer all-you-can-eat buffets instead of paying for each item they order. We like schemes that remove the immediate pain of paying.

I'm trying new template stuff from the new blogger. We'll see what this thing actually winds up looking like, or if I should just go back to the old look.

UPDATE: I think I'm comfortable with this color scheme, and cleaning up the ads. I wasn't exactly paying my bills with them, and everything just looks cleaner now. I'm trying to update some of the old posts with labels, but geez that gets boring after about 50 posts. If you think the new look sucks, or is a major improvement, let me know.

Wacky Headline Punchdrunk Sing-a-long!

I just had one of those days where there were just too many headlines that dumbfounded me.

N.J. warns: Don't eat squirrel near dump
We the Living Dead: The convoluted politics of zombie cinema
Church hosts 'porn and pancakes' event
Scientist develops caffeinated doughnuts
Teacher reassigned for anatomy drawings
Senator Schilling? Curt’s not so sure, but fans think he’s just the ticket
New York plans official city condom
And from the "no damn duh" category:
Alternative medicine rarely discussed with doctors
Most diabetics don't exercise
Study says skin tone affects earnings
Triptans can ward off orgasmic headaches
Wait, orgasmic headaches? If my headaches were orgasmic, I don't think I'd take Motrin ever again. *rimshot*

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Even the NAACP can be stupid sometimes

An NAACP official blames U.S. government policy for alleged disparity in treating African-Americans with heart failure.

Juan M. Cofield, president of the NAACP's New England council in Boston, strongly criticized Medicare for what he called lack of promotion for insurance coverage of BiDil, a cardiac medication for blacks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Medicare's stance "is so contrary to evidence-based medicine and so extraordinary that it arouses suspicions of institutional racism," said the sharply worded letter.

The missive highlighted tension between the Boston regional office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the local civil rights group over BiDil, the only drug approved for use by one race.
I've got a better line: Medicare's stance is so consistent with evidence-based medicine and completely predictable by those who understand that health policy is supposed to actually, say, promote the well-being of those underserved by the health care system rather than just give in to the joke science that a quick-buck-seeking drug company threw together to market two generic drugs in a combination pill in an insulting play on the legitimate insecurities of the African-American community.

Now, Cofield is probably a smart dude with his heart in the right place. African-American community leaders are clearly warranted in taking their suspicions of the medical community to near conspiracy-theory levels (because the AA community actually had a conspiracy pulled on them in recent memory and all). But he's also obviously underequipped to evaluate medical evidence or health policy.

You might ask, what's the white dude got to say about this? Well, this white dude has received all of his policy education on BiDil from evidence-based material presented by black dudes, and those black dudes, who are, ya know, faculty in health sciences, seemed to have their ducks in a row. Mr Cofield doesn't.

BiDil isn't a medication for blacks. It's a medication that is marketed to blacks in hopes that doctors A) won't know how to evaluate evidence, or B) will give in to political pressure from a community that's been hoodwinked before. BiDil is an insult to the African American community, inflicted by a company that believes that, instead of advancing science, it can simply manipulate science with hazy politics and make lots of money.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Some Say It's OK for Girls to Go Wild

I'll be the first to admit that talking about young girls dressing like sluts makes me cringe/sick/what have you. I noticed an interesting trend in my diagnosis while working in the psych emergency department last year: I labeled every girl with absolutely any exposed cleavage a likely borderline personality disorder-in-training. My attendings (well, the ones who were women, at least) thought I was jumping the gun a bit, but I couldn't get past that. Not in that one month, at least.

But I've learned enough about adolescent development (or at least, the best substantiated theories thereof) to admit that these people know what they're talking about, and my I-see-your-boobs-so-you're-unstable instinct isn't a valuable or accurate one.

While young women may express their sexuality more overtly than they have in the past, for the most part, their behavior isn't cause for alarm. It's a necessary step in growing up.

Looking Sexy Doesn't Equate With Sexual Activity

Looks can be deceiving. A girl who puts a seductive picture of herself on the Internet for all to see may shudder at the thought of striking the same pose in front of her peers.

"There's a difference between posting a picture of yourself in virtual space, like Myspace or YouTube or Friendster, and posing in provocative clothing in public," said John Broughton, Columbia University professor of psychology and education.

Similarly, sexy clothes do not beget sexual activity.

Jaana Juvonen, who studies the development of middle and high school students at UCLA, said that because girls hit puberty earlier now than they did decades ago, they're tempted to mimic the appearance of their older peers. That doesn't mean they're engaging in acts that ought to be beyond their years.

"Many girls might look very differently from how they act," she said. "We should not judge them based on what they look like.
Now, if my daughter reads this in twenty years and says, "see, Dad, you thought it was okay back when you were a kid," I'll deny it all. Or I'll take her to the mall and buy her some nice, flattering sweaters. No V-neck's allowed. Not until she's 18.

Obama 1, Fox 0

Barry-O's senate office has released a killer statement debunking the 'madrassa' myth. Greg Sargent has the text on his blog. Read it. It's scathingly beautiful.

Suck it, Fox.

Go Vols!

Not to minimize the implicit rivalry between Kentucky and Tennessee, but as long as Bruce Pearl doesn't pull a Rick Stansbury and make a habit of saying stupid shit about Kentucky, stunts like this will only make me love the dude. (Stolen from ESPN.COM)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Darwin Wins: Those damn shoes with the wheels in the back are dangerous for kids

You've seen them, those 8-year old flying through the mall, their parents nowhere to be seen, with nothing but a pair of ugly-ass sneakers on. And, if you're like my wife and I, you really hoped the kid would run into something and crack its head open.

Apparently, that stuff is happening. I'm personally more worried about the danger of a child being raised by a parent stupid enough to buy these things for their child and let them wear them places like the mall.

My favorite part of the article is that they have to cite a pediatrician to say that the things are dangerous. I hope an MD is not required to understand the physics of kid + wheels = doom.

Film: Most boring Oscars ever?

I can't evaluate the past zillion years of Oscars nominations, but can anybody actually get excited about any of this? The interesting story lines center around omissions rather than inclusions: 1) does Scorcese FINALLY not get snubbed, 2) no Borat?, 3) another Clint Eastwood movie over the most heralded 'black' movie in recent memory? 4) The controversy was whether Brad Pitt received a best actor or best supporting actor role in Babel, and he receives... neither. Cleared that up, you hack!

Seriously, this year's field sucks. The fact that there will be people who are legitimately surprised that Sasha Baron-Cohen received no nomination sums up the whole year.

UPDATE: Dana Stevens' State of the Oscar is a worthy read.

Drug Politics: AIDS group sues Pfizer over Viagra ads

OK, so the AIDS Health Care Foundation has criticized Viagra ads that depict Viagra as a great way to have great sex on national holidays (e.g. Super Bowl, New Years). It also says that this encourages the use of Viagra as a party drug (often in conjunction with crystal meth). While this is true, and probably in bad taste (shame on Pfizer), the next point seems odd. They are suing for damages, saying that this advertising fostered an increase in the spread of STDs, which the groups has to pay for treating (it has many public health services that it provides). That seems to go too far. Might as well sue the alcohol industry and makers of every teen/college movie ever made. How about a combination pill that contains Viagra and a HAART cocktail (people from Pfizer should take note).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Woof: Brew for Derby and Julep

And even more important than the SOTU, an Amsterdam pet store owner is brewing non-alcoholic beer for dogs.

MedPol: Bush insurance proposal: SOTU preview

The Reuters skinny:

Bush's health-care proposal would use tax breaks to make it easier for people who do not have employer-provided health insurance to buy coverage on their own. The tax incentives would be similar to deductions used by homeowners for the interest on their mortgages, Bush said.

But the program is intended to have no effect on government revenues because the cost of the tax breaks would be offset by changing the way health insurance is treated in the tax code, according to a senior administration official who described the proposal to reporters.

The current health system relies primarily on employers to provide health-care coverage as a fringe benefit. Employees are not taxed on the benefits but the Bush plan would set a cap on the amount of coverage that could be offered tax-free.

Anything above that would be taxed as income, the administration official on condition of anonymity.
Mankiw's commentary:
Economists have long suggested that tax subsidies lead to excessive use of employer-provided health insurance. This proposal would help fix that problem, while giving a helping hand to the uninsured.

Note that some
Democratic economists have made similar proposals in the past, so there is hope that this idea will command bipartisan support.
I'm convinced Mankiw is correct in the longview, that fifty years from now, this sort of incentive-disincentive revamping would lead to a better equilibrium than exists currently. But I'm not sure that apparently taxing middle-class health care benefits to fix a larger problem is going to be particularly attractive for the left or the right.

A prolonged evolution away from employer-based health care only creates problems in transitions. As folks are macro-scale moved from getting insurance from employers to somewhere else, they'll likely face large unfilled gaps in insurance status, and given that insurance is supposed to be something that provides peace of mind, flirting with its status seems unattractive.

If my point isn't clear, see Stephen J. Gould's model of punctuated equilibrium for evolutionary change. Auxiliary point: we can't start creating disincentives against current modes of delivering health insurance without creating equally viable alternatives for those finding themselves unable to attain insurance through traditional, employer-based plans.

Kevin Drum finds the proposal to be too little, too late.
The amazing thing about this isn't whether it's a good idea or not. It's the fact that healthcare is supposed to be one of the big issues in this year's SOTU but this puny little proposal is all Bush has to offer. To call it laughable would be giving it too much credit.

The good news is that this will go nowhere in Congress. The bad news is that Bush will probably want to make up for the lameness of his healthcare plan with some brand new mega-hawkery about Iran. Otherwise, no headlines. I can hardly wait.
I'm not sure that it's necessarily good news that this will go nowhere in Congress, because I'm not sure the plan doesn't have some merits in the context of broader intervention as a way of weaning the country away from employer-based health plans.

What is clear is that this isn't an administration that takes advancing the plight of the uninsured seriously.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

YouTube: Jack Bauer Management Informercial

Politics: Richardson exploring

As much as I heart Barry O, Bill Richardson is amazingly overrated in political cuddliness. I feel like he's been on everyone's shortlist since he left the House. Foreign policy experience + we-can't-elect-congresspeople-alosis make B-Rich even more palatable.

Plus, honestly, the South ain't near as scared of Hispanics as they are blacks. And New Mexico isn't exactly a paleoliberal haven.

Besides, he doesn't even smoke!

PS: Do we know if Barack even smokes Marlboros? I mean, I'm pretty sure he mentioned at least one brand of cigarrettes in Dreams from my Father, but I'm not sure what it was. Of course, I'm sure those denizens of honesty and truth at FoxNews did their research, so perhaps I shouldn't even question the reliability of their quaint graphic.

Go Cats!: Touching the Top 25

After losing at home to the most enigmatic team in the SEC (Vandy = 12-6 overall, 3-1 against Sagarin top 25, 4-2 against top 50 ... aka WTF, mate?), Kentucky will drop out of the top 25 (not that the coaches even let them in to begin with). Take heart, Mr Sagarin knows we're still Top 25.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Politics: Gay Marriage and the End of Civilization

My attention wandered during the "Theology and Science" seminar. Just a little bit.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sports: Why the Colts Will Finally Beat the Patriots

Tom Brady is the other reason (first being Chris Webber) why my Michigan sports fandom will remain a non-starter. God knows, I've tried.

Medicine: BMJ readers think Sanitation, and not ECMO, is the greatest medical milestone since 1840

The headline is of course a joke only embittered Michiganders will get. Forgive me that.

Of course the Brits would think that. The dirty mongrels kept drinking shitty water and getting cholera in 1854. Most of them still have the runs, even though John Snow figured out it was all the water company's fault.

I.e., John Stossel can suck John Snow's waterpump. There's some corporate malfeasance exposure for you.

And that's why there are no dentists in Britain, because you can't sit in a dentist chair while you have the runs. The dentists took the snakes with them too, explaining that whole St Patrick thing, or whatever.

Improved sewage disposal and clean water supply systems, which have reduced diseases such as cholera, was the overwhelming favorite of 11,341 people worldwide who voted in the survey conducted by the British Medical Journal.

It surpassed antibiotics, the discovery of DNA, and anesthesia, which were among the top five milestones in the poll. Participants were asked what they thought was the biggest medical advance since the journal was established in 1840.

"I'm delighted that sanitation is recognized by so many people as such an important milestone," said Professor Johan Mackenbach, of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam who championed the sanitation choice.
My vote for nerd of the year: Johan Mackenbach. It's one thing to be right that having your shit leave your house in a timely fashion is pretty important for health. It's another thing to be THAT excited about shit leaving your house in a timely fashion.

For your daily "I need to learn something nerdy about medicine" dose, read about John Snow, Papa of Epidemiology. UCLA is similarly WAY TOO EXCITED about John Snow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Barack Obama is a smoker, and is scared that he might lose his "wonderful maple-syrup sound" if he stops.

I especially like when the article refers to smoking as "old-school GOP."

cue MP3 of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Politics: Dodd, Biden sacrifice the South for sanity

Dodd says the confederate flag should be in a museum.

Biden says the confederate flag shouldn't be at the South Carolina state house (at an NAACP rally on MLK Day--appropriate enough).

White Southerners say they love their racist heritage and ignorance of the power of a racist symbol to hurt people different than them.

Oh well. I'd rather see the lost-cause crew take the hits early.

NBA: Karma ran over my Dogma (PG-13)

Which is greater?

A) My love for Tayshaun.


I officially renounce my fandom of the Pistons until they get rid of Captain Douchebag.

When the Pistons signed Rasheed Wallace, who I'd previously hated for his asstardery at North Carolina, I decided to give him a second chance, and he turned out to be much more cuddly than Dean Smith would have had us believe.

But Webber's shitheadedness for the Wolverines cannot be forgiven.

I still heart Tayshaun. But a fella's gotta draw a line somewhere.

MLK: Expanded I Have a Dream PowerPoint outline


A PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


  • We achieve a level playing field.
  • The glory of the Lord becomes visible.


  • Must rely on faith.
  • Must stick together.
  • Need to pray a lot.
  • May have to go to jail.
  • Must use catch phrase, "Let Freedom Ring."

(Cut to MP3 track of "My Country 'Tis of Thee")


  • Freedom rings in a broad range of places.
  • Will speed day of racial and religious harmony.
  • Day will include a sing-a-long.
  • Singers: Black men, white men, Jews, Gentiles, Protestants, Catholics.
  • Song of choice: old Negro spiritual.
  • Song's inspirational tagline:
    • "Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Health: Idiotic Counterproductive Not-News

Headline: Do TVs, iPods help or hurt your workout?

So sure, the article makes the valid point that if you're, say, training for some pseudo-professional ironman competition, maybe you don't run quite as hard as you might otherwise. But, for the other 99.95% of folks exercising, or folks who should be exercising, there's no way in hell they're going to go face the pain of putting their bodies through exercise without the benefit of distraction.

So what's the result of irresponsible, hardly accurate headlines such as these? Hmm... my doctor says if I don't start going to the gym, my pancreas is going to freak out and I'm going to die of a heart attack. And my wife just bought me an 80G iPod for Christmas. But now those geniuses at CNN tell me I that iPods hurt your workout, so I guess I shouldn't even bother. Oh well.

Because people don't read articles nearly as much as they read headlines. And when people see headlines that suggest that a TV or an iPod might hurt your workout, that must mean that it does! If it didn't, those fine folks at CN-unNews wouldn't be putting that up there.

So thanks, CNN, for giving people like me one more excuse not to go work out because you didn't have anything more important to write about on MLK day.

MedPol: New Jersey to cut "idiot" from constitution

No word on whether they will cut idiots out of the rest of the state government.

New Jersey is to consider cutting the word 'idiot' from its constitution so that people with some mental disabilities won't be barred from voting. State Senate President Richard Codey introduced a bill Monday that would remove language from the New Jersey constitution that was designed more than 150 years ago to prevent people suffering from mental illness or handicap from casting their vote in national, state or local elections.

Codey wants to eliminate a section that says "no idiot or insane person should enjoy the right of suffrage" and substitute with a reference to "a person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting."

Codey, a Democrat who was previously acting governor of New Jersey, said in a statement the term "idiot" is "outdated, vague, offensive to many and may be subject to misinterpretation."

He said individuals with cognitive or emotional disabilities may be capable of making decisions in a voting booth, and those people should not be discriminated against.
Of course, you've got to wonder just how long new language will remain relatively useful. Psychiatric literature still speaks of retardation, but it's certainly not PC, even in the context of clinical care, to say that someone suffers from retardation rather than a mental handicap, and I'm not even sure that handicapped is necessarily so kosher either.

But Mike Judge's latest would certainly lose something if it were handicapocracy. So yay for outdated terms, and yay for folks who at least think its important to try to reduce mental health stigma, even if by seemingly baby steps.

To be extra lame, I think I would point out that only an idiot could "enjoy the right of suffrage."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

TV: One Nation, Under 24

Maybe my reaction to hyperanalysis has changed from guilty savoring to mere tolerance, but Troy Patterson's look into the 24 phenonemon sorta makes me wish Bauer would just suffocate him to shut him up. Which isn't to say it's not a recommended read.

A Greek Orthodox friend in undergrad used to complain about how people who weren't a part of religion, while capable of intellectual analysis, missed something special in their objective writings about it. The same must hold for the Church of Bauer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Politics: House votes to increase minimum wage

Because minimum wage laws benefit not only poor people and rich teenagers, but also the liberal arts-major career-student spouses of medical students!

CatPol: Proof that Bush hates America

Daniel at Kentucky Democrat blogs that Bush's speech tonight about his bumbling new disaster of a plan for getting more Americans needlessly killed in Iraq could very well cause a delay in the broadcast of tonight's Kentucky versus Auburn game.

Clear proof that George W Bush hates America, or at least Kentucky.

Didn't Kentucky elect Mitch McConnell solely because he was supposed to be able to stop this sort of shit from happening? We have the most conniving (McConnell) and most incompetent (Bunning) Senators left in the capitol building, and a lot of good it does us, when Kentuckians can't see their Cats play.

With ESPNFullCourt, my coverage of the game will not be interrupted. But a Kentucky ex-pat understands true bluegrass values better than you might think. Kentuckians skip church for ball games. I have no reason to think they wouldn't skip wars for ball games as well.

So maybe the entire Iraq War is really just an attempt to bolster the cable companies' ability to sell more college basketball subscriptions. That somehow seems less dirty than whatever real justification Joe Klein is puking out this week.

I impart Bo to use his connections in the Fletcher administration to condemn Bush's use of time sanctimoniously set aside for the playing of the Cats. The Cats don't play tomorrow. He can talk then. Or yesterday, you're telling me he didn't know what crap he was going to pull on us yesterday?

Disclaimer: Yeah, I'm kidding. Except about Joe Klein. You should have seen the part I had about Bush being almost as bad as Eddie Sutton. But even I'm not THAT shrill.

UPDATE: The Herald Leader: Basketball or Bush? Tonight, you have to pick

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Politics: Scwarzenegger can't decide which speech to give, throws scripts in blender, gives resulting mishmash of wtf'edness.

I am going to terminate welfare for poor people!

and then

I am going to give all our kids health insurance!


Schwarzenegger says he wants to cut welfare to give people incentive to find work. Huh. Right. That works. If people wanted to work, they'd work. Not giving them money won't make them work, it'll just make their kids starve.

So now, when kids are starving because their folks don't feed them, at least they'll be able to go to the doctor, who can tell the parents they better spend all that money they aren't making on feeding their kids. That's good planning.

I'll give Governator a little bit of credit for proposing health insurance for kids. That's good. And in Governator's little fantasy world, people who could work would start working, and people that couldn't, well, they'd still get welfare and their kids would still be covered. Shame that's a fantasy world.

Go Cats!: Eddie Sutton is a rotten, classless bastard

Sutton takes a few potshots at Kentucky while talking to some folks at UK.

Eddie Sutton = alcoholic piece of shit.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Save the . . . Models

An article in the NY Times covered the American response to recent deaths of models due to anorexia and the growing fear that these models are encouraging American women to pursue an aesthetic that is unhealthy and dangerous. American designers don't want to set BMI restrictions on their models (as a recent show in Madrid did for BMI's under 18) because (as we all know from Republicans) legislation and rules never solve anything.

“It is important as a fashion industry to show our interest and see what we can do because we are in a business of image,” said Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the designers’ council, the industry trade group. “But I feel like we should promote health as a part of beauty rather than setting rules.”
I guess they're looking more for a free market solution. And granted, I know 99% of people hear about this and think, 'boohoo, the rich, famous super models are too skinny'; but I guess it's kind of like AIDS in sex workers (the key point being, just because someone does something you wouldn't doesn't mean we shouldn't care about them) and the bigger picture is the effect on women's perceptions of health and beauty. Maybe we should just declare them a vulnerable population, like old people or children.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over

This is horrible. This article in the NY Times covers the plight of Maplewood Memorial Library that has a problem . . . too many teens coming after school. How is this a problem, you ask? Well, apparently the rowdy latch-key kids come to socialize, etc. So what is the library's response? They are now closing on weekdays from 2:45 to 5 p.m, thus forcing the kids to find alternate hangouts on the street.

The controversy does cover a few good points, like "a dearth of 'third places' — neither home nor school — where kids can be kids." It also mentions the double standard we sometimes apply to today's teens:

If there are little kids making noise, it’s cute, and they can run around, it’s O.K.,” Ms. Braun said of standard library operating procedure. “Or if seniors with hearing difficulties are talking loudly, that’s accepted. But a teen who might talk loudly for a minute or two gets in trouble.
It just seems like a sorry state when libraries close to prevent kids from coming after school.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Evil Empire: Power-Sipping Bulbs Get Backing From Wal-Mart

Wait, that headline sounds like Walmart might be doing something positive. On Sparkgrass? What gives?

The article, which outlines efforts to replace incandescent with fluorescent light bulbs, demonstrates that Walmart, when its not busy, say, violating human rights, could use its powers for socially responsible good instead of evil and still employ its ball-busting supply chaining and monopolistic methods.

Bottom-line for Walmart is, I'm sure, that they could make a lot of money if they're the big supplier of these things. And Walmart, simply through its stocking practices, has more control over what American consumers believe they need than any other cultural force. But I'll never fault Wal-Mart for making tons of money (well, that's not absolutely true) by making socially responsible decisions.

Unless tomorrow's article demonstrates why the fluorescent light bulbs are really just attempts to destroy liberals or something. Maybe Dems, who tend to live in colder areas, will all die of cancer quicker because they are forced to spend more time indoors during the winter using more of these fancy light bulbs.

That would be much more consistent with the Evil Empire we all know and love.