Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2009

Honoring the Fallen.

I’d like to think my hero, Richard Feynman, would have found this funny.

XKCD Rules.

Today needs more humor.

****

The Station Fire in LA claimed two firefighters.  It was a vehicle accident.  There’s no good way to die but I think most would agree that this way beats being burned.

Condolences to their families and fellow firefighters.

Image: KTLA

Image: KTLA - found it here.

Sadly, these two will not get anywhere near the respect and recognition of a senator.

“It’s burning everywhere,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir said. “When it gets into canyons that haven’t burned in numerous years, it takes off. If you have any insight into the good Lord upstairs, put in a request.”

The fire had burned 134 square miles of brush and trees by early Monday and was just 5 percent contained.

Communications and astronomy centers atop Mount Wilson were threatened by fire.

The dead firefighters were Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County, and firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 35, of Palmdale. Hall was a 26-year veteran, and Quinones had been a county firefighter for eight years.

“Our hearts are heavy as we are tragically reminded of the sacrifices our firefighters and their families make daily to keep us safe,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

When I was a firefighter, my boss told me about two of his crew years ago and how they died.  They were bringing a thousand-gallon tanker to a spot that needed it and were going too fast to avoid a bridge abutment.  Four tons of water is hard to move around and is hard to slow down. If you stop too suddenly it also will keep moving.

****

Obama is more effective at taking out terrorists than Bush is!  Why?  Because he said so.  By what metric?  You know, metrics are really beside the point.  We need to focus on his success.  Because the numbers are going up.

The former Marine General didn’t provide any specific numbers to back up his claim, but he said “there is an increasing trend and I think we seen that in different parts of the world over the last few months for sure.” He added that he was not “making a tally sheet saying we are killing more people, capturing more people than they did — that is not the issue.”

But the numbers are going up, he said.  “The numbers of high value targets that we are successfully reaching out to or identifying through good intelligence” from both the CIA and intelligence agencies from US allies has made the difference, he said. “We have better human intelligence; we know where the terrorists are moving. Because of the dialogue and the tone of the dialogue between us and our friends and allies…the trend line against terrorism is positive, and that’s what we want. If we have a positive trend line we have a safer country.”

We’re reaching out to high value targets.  Nice.  I’m sure more of the Libya/Lockerbie type approach is called for.  It’s what any good liberal/socialist country would do.

I’m sorry, but I must call bullsh*t on this one.

****

Schools banning touching to prevent swine flu infections.

Chest bumps. High fives. Hugs and handshakes. Glen Cove Middle School students Ali Slaughter and Hannah Seltzer say that’s what friends do on the first day of school. But when students in the Nassau community return to school next week, the superintendent will be urging abstinence. Everyone from the tiniest tots to the biggest high school football players will be asked to limit skin-on-skin contact in an attempt to prevent the spread of swine flu when it re-emerges this fall.

You try to play football w/o touching.  They’ll be putting body-sized condoms on the players.

Read Full Post »

Every now and then a poll catches my eye.  I usually hate them.

Rasmussen says 57% would vote entire congress out.

Vote against the incumbent this next cycle.  Get them out of here.   Even if 50% of the wankers were voted out it would strike fear into the hearts of these arrogant politicians.  Just think about the sickening rate at which they are spending your money – and even worse is health-care.

Sent by a friend, apparently made or posted by "BigFurHat"

Sent by a friend, apparently made or posted by "BigFurHat" (click on it for the larger version)

You really believe they work for you?  Well, they don’t, so vote them out.

They have allowed this mess to exist.  Our country should not be in business to take from some people and give to others.  It just doesn’t work.  And it is pathetic as well.

Most folks say “We hate congress” but in the same breath utter some mindless sentence:  “But our rep/senate congress-critter is satisfactory.”   But they aren’t!  If you are a congress-critter and you truly believe that things need to change you’d be shouting it to the rooftops.

Update:

They also do many things that would get your or I fired.

Kennedy and Obama – made for each other.

Rangel is as brazen as they come.

****

Cruel Wife claims I made a bad joke.

Franken-boy came to me with an “L” made out of a flexible plastic sheet.

I folded the long leg over and twisted it to form a “D”.  I asked him what it was and he said “A D!!!”

I said “Yep, we have just performed a text-change operation.”

Well I thought it was funny.

Read Full Post »

The media is certainly tone-deaf when it comes to the catholic church or it’s beliefs.

Kennedy, a champion to the abortion-loving crowd, just can’t be seen by the church as a poster-child worthy of words of admiration.  Sorry, it does not work that way.

Silence of the Pope.

If I were to get a DUII/DWI/DUI four times and kill and injure poor bystanders while doing so, do you honestly think MADD is going to honor my memory after I am gone?

I want to throw in a link here to the PDF version of yesterday’s Patriot Post.  The Patriot Post gives Teddy Kennedy the memorial he deserves.

Anyway, how many elected officials are remarked on by the pope after they die?  Why should anyone expect to be remarked upon.  That’s pride.  Gluttony for adoration/attention.  Murder of children.

Nice.

Inscrutable Half-Breed, being an observant co-worker type chap, passed on this image and said:

I did notice that the dog is kind of blue. Make of that what you will. Personally, I think Teddy’s reaching for a gun in this picture.

bluedog

Update:

Thanks to The Dude, you now have a barf alert, and it is color-coded red, the highest barf alert possible. Worth it?

Here’s some Drama-Dramamine™ to help take that nasty barfy edge off.

****

I could go on and on about the hypocrisy, hubris, opportunism, and general nasty behavior – but I don’t need to… The Vultures have Landed.

(Or alternately titled “The Day Decorum Died”)

****

If you’ve read much here, you’ll know that I have an extremely strong dislike (that is as nicely as I can put that) for predators, molesters, child abusers, domestic violence perps, etc.

Here’s one guy… when I hear “heart warming story” come out of his mouth, I am moved to passing a steadily increasing current (thus it is a warming-the-heart thing) through his heart.

The man who allegedly abducted American schoolgirl Jaycee Lee Dugard almost two decades ago has admitted that he did a “disgusting thing” but went on to defend himself, saying the public would be surprised by the “heart-warming story”.

Read Full Post »

Neck update:

This update has nothing to do with the title of the post.  Today, another nerve is definitely dying.  Rotten little bastard.  How can a spot feel numb yet hurt like hell to touch?  You got me.  But it does.  It’s that “I just ripped off a hangnail and two square inches of skin around my fingernail came up with it” feeling.

This is just a part of a good process.  In a few days, only Cthulhu will be left (yes, I give names to these nerves that cause my sanity to unhinge)

****

Gee, do you think?

Democrats accused of using Kennedy’s death to advance reforms.

Just wait for a blustery denial of how they would never sully the great man’s memory or name.  NEVER.  Ever.

Harrumph.

****

On NPR I heard a rosy glowing outlook for the economy.

I see two things wrong with this assessment.

1) Americans lost their shorts in both their stock investments and their home values.  Their spending behavior will not go back to previous levels (levels which were unsustainable and hedonistic).

2) From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s blog:

The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates for bulk goods and commodities has been falling almost continuously for eleven weeks, dropping from 4,290 to 2,778 on Thursday.

This index is the bellweather for production indicators.  This is as regular as tides, as gravity, as death, and as taxes.  If that index goes up it’s a measure of how good everything is going.   He goes on to say:

There is something wrong with the entire recovery tale, which ignores the fact that excess plant is still at the highest level since the Great Depression (capacity use is 70pc in Europe, 68pc in the US, 65pc in Japan, and as low as 50pc in some countries, according to the World Bank’s Justin Lin). Companies will have to cut jobs and investment.

Soaring “confidence” indicators have decoupled from reality. The world economy is still prostrate. GDP has shrunk 4pc, 6pc, 8pc, even 12pc or more in a large group of countries. There it more or less sits, like a deflated soufflé.

3)  Nothing has really changed that warrants a sudden reversal of reality in the space of 1-2 months.

So that was three things.  Sue me.

****

I *loathe* cheaters.  If you want out that bad, get a divorce and then have at.  But this guy… he’s the first where I say “Geez, you actually seem to care and have remorse.”

I could be wrong.  He may be doing it because he doesn’t want a costly divorce.  But, give him the benefit of a doubt, and if he doesn’t do it again, “Ok, good on you, dude”.

****

The Dude passed on a link where John Stossel wrote a good piece pointing out how racial issues are brought up both for real reasons and then they are used as a shield from legitimate criticism.

****

No, I can’t point to a concrete reason why this is a bad idea.  But I can point to the Law of Unintended Consequences.  This law is very powerful and nowhere is it as prominent as when it comes to the fore in the human body.

Three parents to create an offspring.

They make it sound good.  They have good intentions. You can make the same claims with the use of Thalidomide.

Read Full Post »

Just another day.

We will be subjected to two weeks of disingenuous fawning over a guy who you ultimately had to say was of questionable loyalties.  Himself, mostly.

You hear it said that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.  I see it as all the more reason to live your life so no one has to.  If you’re a creep, it should be recognized as such.  Of course, use some compassion for his family and friends, but don’t sugar coat the truth.

And here it comes, on Drudge we hear that new life will be breathed into the democrat’s cause – that of financially crushing social obligations – because we must honor the fallen :


Oh but it gets worse…

HEALTH BILL FROM THE GRAVE: DEMS RALLY AROUND OBAMAKENNEDYCARE

Read Full Post »

Saw the physician’s assistant today.  She knows more than a lot of doctors, frankly.

She said “How is it going?”  I told her I was of two minds… one was to kiss her feet for the escape from the headache, and secondly that what they told me before/after the procedure was “it’s a lot like a bad sunburn”.  I told her this was utter horsecrap – more like peeling a hangnail until it reaches your wrist.  She said every single person is different.  I related the five days including and leading up to Sunday – Pain City.  She said that is how they go.

Yes, nerves die in a blaze of glory – they grow shriller and louder by turns, eventually shattering the glass in the cathedral of the soul with reverberations from the abyss – the howls and growls of long-forgotten distant beings that reach out and hunger for your very substance.  Then they die.

Which is what happened Sunday night.

Which I might add, has yet to happen in two spots on my neck.  Nyarlathotep down, Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu to go.

Next Thursday I do the other side.  Kill ’em all – three of them, anyway – and let the bod sort them out.

The PA has noted by my much scaled-back painkiller use in the last few days and “gets it” that I’m not looking for drugs and decided that they would try to do better by me this next procedure and up the dose so I’m not suffering.

In fact, I’m truly enjoying clarity of mind but my body is saying it wants more – gotta love physical dependence.  (sigh) This too shall pass.  Clarity of mind – when was the last time you heard me try a Lovecraft riff?

I’m told that this will come  back – that they just don’t know how long.  In the meantime, there is a chance I might be back on my bicycle this fall even if for a short duration.

I can live with that.

****

Eighteen different kinds of wrong.

****

At the National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson has a great op-ed on what has gone wrong with Obama’s presidency.  The shorter list is what has gone right.

****

A gentleman named “Bennett” left me a nice comment:

Hi Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.
I am from Niger and learning to speak English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “Enriched with vitamin a, c, and e, dr.”

Waiting for a reply :-) , Bennett.

Culturally speaking  this is a gold-mine of information.  Who knew that Niger-folk used “Cheese” as a personal pronoun in a salutation?  I usually just say “Dude”.  And that he’d share with me, a total stranger, his progress on both the english language and the food pyramid.

Since the world is so full of nice people I think I’ll support Obama more, and his health care, and let people standing on the corners begging for money just borrow my credit card, because the world is such a kind place and I can help make it kinder – he’s sure to bring it back the next day.

So… so what if the deficit will be 9 trillion dollars over ten years?  Obama knows what he’s saying when he says that that is just proof that we need to pass health care reform.

You should join me in listening to those who know more than us.

Read Full Post »

Update:

Oh yes… how am I?  Well the last five days were hell.  Then yesterday after multiple v’s and muscle relaxers I stumbled off to bed at 3pm and got up at 8:30pm.  Felt like the dog’s dinner and like I’d been run over, but one of the nerves has finally up and died.  Only one painkiller today which has me so happy I could dance a jig.  So sick of pills and pain.  I’m not pain-free but I have coping skills to deal with this level of discomfort.  I truly am in a good mood today, even for a cranky person.

****

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minister expressed unhappiness  about the fanfare-filled welcome-home bash for Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi on his return to Libya.  He was assured that it would be low-key, he said of the Libyan authorities.  Then said MacAskill:

Instead the Libyans provided Megrahi with a welcome that “showed no compassion or sensitivity to the families of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing.”

Well, you should feel in good company, Mr. MacAskill, because you yourself showed none to the families of the victims of Megrahi and Libya.  In fact, you did worse.  You took the scant consolation that was the barest minimum required for justice, and you turned it to bitter ashes and made those families eat it.

You are now a member of the club made popular by Lenin  – the Club of Useful Idiots.

You are part of an less and less rare breed as time goes by – a breed made of of some of the most lily-livered, reality-denying, unicorn chasing, candy-assed, milquetoast wankers known to humanity – those who believe that if you just act nice enough the bad people will come over and give a great big wet kiss and group hug.

****

I long for the day when the US can be a satellite member of the European Union.  That they care enough to police speech is heartwarming.

I had to laugh… WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS THAT ARE TABOO:  “whiter than white”,“gentleman’s agreement”, “black mark”, “right-hand man”.  Not a one of these ever held a second, more sinister racially-charged or sexually demeaning definition for me, ever… until now.  Thanks for that, bedwetters.

[The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission] points out that certain words carry with them a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”. The commission even urges employees to be mindful of the term “ethnic minority” because it can imply “something smaller and less important”.

The National Gallery in London believes that the phrase “gentleman’s agreement” is potentially offensive to women and suggests that staff should replace it with “unwritten agreement” or “an agreement based on trust” instead. The term “right-hand man” is also considered taboo by the gallery, with “second in command” being deemed more suitable.

I mean, some of this doesn’t even make sense.

The Learning and Skills Council wants staff to “perfect” their brief rather than “master” it.

Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency states: “Terms such as ‘black sheep of the family’, ‘black looks’ and ‘black mark’ have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black.

Read Full Post »

End of the week update:

Well, it has been a long week.  I’m not able to put ice on my neck at work as the doctor so unhelpfully suggested because I have to move, talk to people, use whiteboards, etc.

So I’m still on meds to maintain some level of comfort.  As a baseline I didn’t take anything this afternoon, just to see what this felt like with nothing to take the edge off.   It doesn’t feel like a bad sunburn at all.  The docs and nurses are wrong.

Ever grab a hangnail and yang it only to peel off a 1/2″ long and 1/8″ wide strip of skin with it? It feels like that.

A lot like that.

This too shall pass.  This too shall pass.

****

And I quote:

If President Obama has his way, you’ll soon be hearing about his health care package when you go to your church or synagogue to pray.

Thousands of religious leaders got a call from on high Wednesday when Obama reached out to Jewish and Christian clergy, urging them to push health care reform from the pulpit.

Obama spoke to about 140,000 people of faith in a conference call and webcast Wednesday evening. He and a White House official discussed the moral dimension of health care, telling the mostly Christian audience that “this debate over health care goes to the heart of who we are as a people.”

Huh?

“I can’t imagine why it would be appropriate for a president even to suggest a partnership with God somehow was connected to his ideas for health care,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Well, that makes at least two of us.

****

Us teabaggers are fed up and we’re not going to take it any more!

If Democratic lawmakers thought all the furor over President Obama’s health care plan expressed this month at town hall meetings was dying down, they might be in for a surprise Saturday.

That’s when citizens are planning anti-“Obamacare” rallies across the country Saturday in all 435 congressional districts.

And their message is clear: We will not stand for socialized, government-controlled health care.

The same groups who made the “tax tea parties” possible in April are behind this weekend’s movement. American Liberty Alliance, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are working with The Sam Adams Alliance, among others, to stage the rallies.

Catch that?  “”The same groups who made the “tax tea parties” possible in April are behind this weekend’s movement”

Yes, those same groups that made it possible are the people who were pissed off and showed up.

Just because a group stages a rally means squat.  People who give a rat’s tushy showing up are what make them possible, not alliance groups.

Read Full Post »

A Brave New Day.

Well, I wish I could give you a good news about the neck situation today, but I can’t.  Those first days of relative goodness are kind of gone.  Just plain smarts now.  Badly at times.  But as many have said, and I agree, this too shall pass.

I’ve been fighting the urge to call the doctor for a stronger prescription than the current one (which isn’t giving more than 2 hours relief at a time and even then marginal).  In the morning I say “No.”   By the afternoon I say “Ow.  I’ll call him in the morning if it is still this bad.”   Three days of this vacillation.

****

Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty had a great interview:

“People are ticked off and scared. You have a situation where a good chunk of the country is waking up to the fact that Obama is proposing things that are out of step with common sense, out of step with the notion that the government isn’t going to run everything,” said Pawlenty, who delivered a health care-oriented speech Friday at the second-annual GOPAC conference in Chicago, a meeting of conservative state legislators and national party leaders.

The Minnesota governor also supports the right to pool insurance risk across state lines, opening up private insurance markets to allow consumers to buy a policy from nearly anywhere, creating an electronic billing and prescription system, the prohibition of coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions, portability guarantees and incentivizing hospitals and patients to reduce the cost of individual visits.

Let’s put it this way – you sell tires.  This one guy comes in and buys tires from you once a week.  Turns out the way he drives, they blow out easy, and it doesn’t matter what brand.  Next thing you know, a law is passed that if a tire blows out in the first month YOU have to replace the tires at YOUR cost.
With that foreknowledge do you really want to do business with this guy anymore?

Read Full Post »

Update:

Dr. Emanuel, a bioethicist, believes that doctors and hospitals should apply a rationing scheme he calls “complete life” for such medical services as ICU beds, heart transplants and vaccines during a flu pandemic. Under this scheme, adolescents and young adults would get priority over infants and the elderly, because “they have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants — have not yet received these investments.”

I have heard any number of advocates and apologists for health care reform, and they flatly deny that there is any wording that supports “death panels”.  They mock such concerns and dismiss them.

But here is the thing… when making a law or institution, the original  intent will not matter at a later date in the real world… you should always assume that the worst possible outcome allowed by the letter of the law (or the lack thereof) will be used and come to pass.

How else would we get a “living constitution,” or the idea that the 2nd amendment is acceptable some times but not others, or that separation of church and state means that a prayer/observance/motto/relic/book cannot be given a place in a public building?

Here’s an example, many thanks to Sarah Palin:

Palin can also put another notch on her belt when it comes to influencing health care “reform” — the Senate will drop language “encouraging” doctors to initiate conversations with patients about hospice and palliative end-of-life care from its bill, The Boston Globe reports:

Senator Chuck Grassley, the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican and one of six committee members trying to hash out a bipartisan bill, said yesterday that the provision could be misinterpreted and that it will not be contained in the committee’s proposed legislation. ..

“Could be misinterpreted?”  No, try “Will be misinterpreted.”

Moving on…

Palin was hardly the only one to look at the House bill and realize its implications. In a commentary posted on The Daily Beast, “thinker” Lee Siegel — who believes “the absence of universal health care is America’s burning shame” — calls rationing end-of-life care “morally revolting”:

Determining which treatments are “cost effective” at the end of a person’s life and which are not is one of Obama’s priorities. It’s one of the principal ways he counts on saving money and making universal health care affordable.

This is the Big Brother nightmare of oppressive government that the shrewd propagandists on the right are always blathering on about. Except that this time, they could not be more right. …

****

We’ve known that our social programs have been in dire straits for a while now.

Spencer Bachus – SS could be in default in 2 years.

If we add noises of concern about Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veteran’s Affairs Hospitals we see a pattern, a common thread.

Guess what?  Large government programs do not work.

Let’s add health care!  It’s proven that we can give poor-to-mediocre care to veterans, so let’s give that same caring to everyone!

catbarf

Sent to me, don't know the source. Anyone cares to claim it I'll gladly shout your name to the rooftops. This is funny!

Watch for the Obamessaiah to explain away his flip-flops as being the product of a passionate and emotional… feeling… and that we should judge him (and give him a pass) on his caring and compassion.

Whinging by the dems:

“We were forced into this by Republicans,” one official said.

Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said blaming the GOP is “laughable.”

“Apparently having a filibuster-proof majority, a 40-seat advantage in the House, and a president who was once really popular isn’t enough,” Spain said in a statement. “Maybe if people actually liked the bill, Democrats’ wouldn’t have such a tough time whipping up bipartisan votes, much less vulnerable Democrats within their own party.”

g

Read Full Post »

Well, put in a call to the Dr. today.  Trying to get an answer to the question:  Is it normal for it to start out painful but bearable and then slowly get worse (pain-wise)?

Last night was hell, with the meds only helping marginally for about 2 hours.  I could wish for better.

Still, the headache part of it is way better.  It got worse last night but still better.

I wonder if he’s just going to say “Now they’re *really* dying in earnest – hang in there!”

UPDATE:

The Dr’s nurse called back.  Apparently it is different for every single person.  You can go up to four days with numbness and “feeling groovy” (not quite groovy but local numbness) and then “BAM” you get hit with the pain.

Oh, the pain.  The vicodin is only helping for about 2 hours at a time.

And yes, she did say “Now they’re really dying in earnest.”

I’ll give it until tomorrow to see if this is going to be like this, which is really undesirable, or if it gets worse.  If it gets worse I need something more for pain control.

UPDATE 2:

This may be a sign that this will be a 3-week process, not a 2-week process.  I can think of worse things – like rabid chihuahuas eating you alive starting with your toes.   Or perhaps suffering from coffee, a bran muffin, and irritable bowel syndrome while stuck in LA traffic.  Or perhaps being buried alive with Rosie O’Donnell.  Don’t mind me.  I’m just whining and I got no cheese to go with it.

****

Thanks to ever-observant co-worker  Black Lab on Amphetamines (BLA) I can relay to you a small portion of the article that Telegraph (dot co dot uk) put out… they’ve done an incredible service to mankind.

Zombies would most likely wipe out humanity if they really existed, claim scientists

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

In their study, titled When Zombies Attack!, the researchers picked “classic” slow-moving zombies such as those in Dawn of the Dead as models and divided humanity into three: the living, zombies and the “removed” – zombies who had been killed by decapitation.

They concluded there was no point trying to cure those infected or live with them – the best thing was to destroy them as quickly as possible.

“A zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly,” they write in the book

“While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often.

“As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.”

Co-worker Laconic Pup had this to say:

There are some strong variables to be considered:

  1. What level of damage is required to render a zombie non-threatening?  Decapitation?  Total incineration?
  2. What is the method of transmission?  (typically a bite or fluid transfer – do people that die of other causes become zombies?).  The paper claims it’s similar to swine flu, but the flu is an invisible, airborne transmitted virus.  The walking dead are a slightly different story.
  3. Have the researchers taken into account the availability of Bruce Campbell, Simon Pegg, and/or Doctor McNinja in a zombie outbreak scenario?
bruce-campbell-evil-dead

The Man from S-Mart - and His Boomstick

****
I love these people.  Sadly, they’ll be stopped by the police for creating a dangerous situation.  And the police will never quite catch the poignant and bitter twist – that the situation the people are trying to stop is the ones that the cops would stop if they were doing their jobs.  North Carolinans with guts.

The group, Angry Neighbors With Paintball Guns, posted signs at strategic locations throughout the city, warning motorists to slow down or risk being shot at with a paintball gun.

You give out enough $140 tickets, people will slow down.

****
Arthur C. Brooks over at the WSJ has a great op/ed.  He gets it.  If congress and our president have any brains worth using in their heads, they’ll pay attention to what he’s saying.  I’m attaching part of his article here – go read the rest of it because… damn, did the man call it correctly!!

Many on the left attribute the public’s growing disapproval to right-wing scheming. An op-ed in USA Today on Aug. 10 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the town-hall protests are part of an “ugly campaign” and are “un-American.” A few days earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid charged “sabotage.”

Blaming a cabal of conspirators—a time-honored technique for leaders on the wrong side of public opinion—is paranoid and self-defeating. More importantly, it betrays a tin ear to the culture of most Americans—an independent, optimistic culture that is mistrustful of government nannying and intolerant of policies that mortgage our future.

Consider the evidence. Despite the vote in November, it is clear that when Americans are not in an abject panic, we dislike government fiscal promiscuity. The president’s sinking approval ratings are due precisely to his administration’s free-spending ways. In a July 2009 Gallup poll, the No. 1 reason for disapproval of the president’s economic policies was, literally, “spending too much.” In second place was the worry that the president is “leading the nation toward socialism” through government takeovers and bailouts.

What exactly is our problem with government spending? It is not just that we think it is wasteful and ineffective (although most recognize this to be true). Americans actually think the government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life.

Many on the left attribute the public’s growing disapproval to right-wing scheming. An op-ed in USA Today on Aug. 10 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the town-hall protests are part of an “ugly campaign” and are “un-American.” A few days earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid charged “sabotage.”

Blaming a cabal of conspirators—a time-honored technique for leaders on the wrong side of public opinion—is paranoid and self-defeating. More importantly, it betrays a tin ear to the culture of most Americans—an independent, optimistic culture that is mistrustful of government nannying and intolerant of policies that mortgage our future.

Consider the evidence. Despite the vote in November, it is clear that when Americans are not in an abject panic, we dislike government fiscal promiscuity. The president’s sinking approval ratings are due precisely to his administration’s free-spending ways. In a July 2009 Gallup poll, the No. 1 reason for disapproval of the president’s economic policies was, literally, “spending too much.” In second place was the worry that the president is “leading the nation toward socialism” through government takeovers and bailouts.

What exactly is our problem with government spending? It is not just that we think it is wasteful and ineffective (although most recognize this to be true). Americans actually think the government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life.

Read Full Post »

Neck Update.

****

I can’t make sense of it but for a day or so after the RF procedure I thought “Oh, well this hurts but I can live with this.  If this is what it is like it’s not nearly as bad as I thought.”

Might have said something a bit too soon.  Now the dying nerves are very very insistent.  Take a big fat afghan knitting needle and forcefully stab it into your neck between C3 and C4.    Now do the same for the rest of the neck, more or less.

knitting needleDon’t forget to wiggle them around every now and then while they’re stuck in your neck.

Still the same lower-grade headache but everything around the neck is yowling.

It’s going to get better.  It’s going to get better.  It’s going to get better.  It’s going to get better.

****

Bless that Gnus for posting a song over at Aardvarks and Asshats that made me laugh with that deep belly-laugh chuckle.

****

There is at least hope.  Obama is saying he is willing to drop the “Public Option” on health care.  Let’s just hope that by conceding that it doesn’t make a watered down version of ObamaCare more likely.

Over at Bloomberg:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said providing citizens with the option of government-run insurance isn’t essential to the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of U.S. health care.

“What’s important is choice and competition,” Sebelius said today on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The public option itself “is not the essential element.”

We already have choice and competition.    The essential element also is not putting the government in the place of  providing health care to people.

I just don’t want to spend a lot of money on my own health care and shell out for others as well.  I shouldn’t have to apologize for that, feel guilty about it, or even do it.  It is not my job.

The effort hit trouble this month as people across the country went to town hall meetings held by members of Congress to oppose what they call a government takeover of health care. Polls show Americans increasingly disapprove of the measure that may cost $1 trillion over 10 years.

It is my hope that after the democrats twice tried to force national health care (Hillary and Obama) on people  and twice they have been soundly shouted out of the room by the American public, maybe, just maybe they will stop this nonsense of trying to buy the votes of the poor using our tax dollars.  This isn’t about giving people health care out of compassion.  This is about locking in power.

****

Thieves aren’t exactly in the top ten of my favorite people.  These particular thieves?  They get a pass, a pardon, an award, and my thanks.

Police started investigating the 24-year-old convicted arsonist after burglars discovered the images on a laptop they stole from Coverdale’s house in August 2008 and contacted police, the Web site reported.

So some guys (the heroes) broke in and scoped out this guy’s laptop.  What did they find?

… burglars found images of child pornography on his stolen laptop and turned it over to the police.

…. the officers found 13 illegal photos and 65 illegal videos on the computer and uncovered online conversations between Coverdale and a 14-year-old girl, during which Coverdale pretended to be a fictitious 14-year-old boy named Danny, Gazettelive.com reported.


Read Full Post »

Some Nerve.

Kind of a run-down of what happened last week when they did the thing on my neck.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Radio-Frequency Ablation.

Sounds kind of cool.  Rolls off the tongue similar to “Low-Tar Cigarettes”.  That’s not a commentary or judgment, just a statement.

So imagine that you have headaches as a result of a car accident 30 months ago.  Now imagine that the headaches feel roughly like a fat gravel-encrusted parasite is living behind your eyeball.  If you can picture that parasite snacking on twinkies, ho-hos, pringles, and beer, and at some point growing large enough to need to knock down a few walls so it can stretch out it’s corpulent legs, and then picture it scraping it’s way through the bone until it finds suitable floor space in a sinus cavity… well, now you imagined one of my milder headaches.  Take the resultant exquisite pain and spread that love around, so it goes up over your skull after boring out through your eyesockets, down the back of your head and right down to the base of your neck.  Think of the pain you endure during a time-share meeting and multiply it by 57.3 raised to the second power.

It makes it hard to think.

The procedure is very simple.  Take a nerve, stick a wire next to it, pump it with radio-frequency current, and wait for the nerve to jell up like an egg white and then for it to completely die.

Now, a year ago (or was it more?) I had looked into this procedure and found a number of interesting things about it:

1)  It hurts more than the original ailment..

My fevered imagination pictured butt-clenching pain, which wasn’t too far off from what I had experienced many times already.  But even worse butt-wrenching pain?   Keep your butt-wrenches over there, please.

2)  It hurts more for possibly a long time.

What, several years isn’t long?  Ohhhh, 6 weeks?  But it still might not be effective. Problem here is that doctors live in normal time and pain sufferers live in bullet-time.  You know how annoying it is waiting the five minutes (subjective) it takes for a cigarette butt to hit the ground?   Well, that is where pain takes you… bullet time… where everything is slow and takes forever.

3)  It hurts more and could stay that way if you were unlucky.

Is there any answer designed that could give you more unease?  The thought of it being worse and overstaying it’s welcome like a strange aunt. who has a personality as engaging as an apathetic diseased hedgehog with halitosis… eh.  Not so attractive.  Face it, if you were a lucky individual you wouldn’t be going through this, so how lucky are you willing to bet that you’ll be now?

4)  It would need to be re-done.  Every 6 months to a year.

Again, this is a hard sell.  Let’s see – 6 months between procedures… anywhere from two weeks to one and one-half months to recover.  Leaves 4-1/2 months but then you subtract out the time where the nerves are growing back and hurting again (necessitating repeat procedures).  So you get what, a month or so of true relief?  It doesn’t sound like the optimal solution.

5)  It doesn’t really fix anything, just gets rid of the pain.  Temporarily.

Questioning the nurse (ve haf vays of mekking you tock, dammit) there is damage there that could possibly be worsened while you are active and you’d not know it… until later.  Oh yeah, sign me up for that train.  All aboard the Decrepit Express!  Whooo-whoooooo!

We opted against the procedure at the time because I/we was/were hoping that some other less invasive treatment would work better.   Obviously my quality of life this last year is proof that other treatments were not so effective.

So with great fear and loathing (but semi-longingly) I revisited this option.  When your options are essentially a choice of whether to be eaten by wild tigers (behind you) or run willingly ahead and be eaten by giant fluffy man-eating rabbits you tend to go for the softer cuddlier method of meeting your fate.

Leading up to last Tuesday I was pretty worked up.  Had a day where I didn’t feel too awful bad and thought “Maybe I’m over-reacting and this isn’t necessary – wouldn’t that be nice?”  But then later that same day I was treated to what would be three days of nail-biting pain.  The universe is not without a sense of Irony, it seems.

Tuesday morning rolled around finally.  I huffed and puffed through my morning “runners high” that I now get just from getting out of bed and crawled into my clothes.

The rest of the family was due at a swimming lesson so we headed on over there before they dropped me off at the pain clinic.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the tang of pool chemicals in the air, the sound of splashing water, the smell and feel of Ben-Gay smeared throughout my Speedos by my team-mates.  Yes, I missed my water polo days; Chemical burns on your “guy parts” sure classify as one of those bittersweet moments.

Arriving at the clinic I did the standard questionnaire – Yes I still have pain (I’m here, aren’t I?).  No, I’m not: taking blood thinners, not on antibiotics, not on ED medications, not (currently) huffing paint fumes, not engaged in a cross-species relationship, not training for a marathon, not preparing for gender reassignment, not currently menstruating, not a practicing Wiccan, not dizzy, nor currently suffering from peyote-induced hallucinations.  No, I don’t drink strychnine or handle snakes.  No I’m not a Scientologist.  No, I do not consume more than 3 pots of coffee per day (anymore).  Where is my pain?  Right here, my friend… right here… let me show you…

We spent some time looking at the giant aquarium in the doctor’s office.  The medical practice included the aquarium filled with expensive salt-water creatures bathed under cancer-causing UV light not because it has shown to have any effect on pain but so it would provide a good focus for someone who is hurting to endure bullet-time.  The boy was sitting on the edge of the big glass tank and poking at the fish with his toes and the girl was banging on the sides with a brick she found outside.  Loud noises and squealing children have been shown in study after study to alleviate pain in sufferers by 2 points on the pain scale.  Not really.  Not even close.  Quite the opposite.

They called me back to the staging area and  I was shown my bed and the thneed-like gown that is de-rigueur in any hospital, office, or dominatrix’s studio.  They use these fiendish things because it is the height of hilarity to watch patients try to puzzle out why the hole for the neck is in the crotch region and why there are three arm holes rather than the standard two.  I donned my “gown” and got comfy on the gurney/bed (again, these things are made from concrete, broken glass, and chicken-wire).
thneed
Medical settings like this are always interesting.  If you’ve seen Men in Black when they pass through the alien immigrations area, it gives you an idea of the people you see in these places.  Funny gaits, twitches and tics, strange keening sounds, drooling, short barks and squealings, tendencies to hit heads with a closed fist, and profanity to make a Tourette’s sufferer blush.  Believe me, the patients are even stranger.

I was asked the same questions that were on the questionnaire no less than three times by nurses that slipped into a rote recital of said questions, their eyes glazed and lidded in some sort of pseudo-REM state, muscles slack, and ceaseless fingering of worry-beads.  If you have never been questioned by a zombie nurse with worry beads, it is quite distressing.  Another nurse came by and asked if I was to receive an anesthetic (OH HELL YES).  She set the IV while looking at me with condemnation in her eyes for daring to have deep veins.  Me and my vascular system, we felt a vague but noticeable unease under the soul-dead, thousand-yard stare of the affronted nurse, and I hid in vain under my sheet for about five minutes, praying that she would soon leave to seek out another victim.  Luckily I had a dog biscuit in my pocket from working with Zoe the night before and using my IV-free hand I skillfully skipped it along the floor away from my bed, which was sufficient to make her leave.  I could hear her panting as she loped away to find the biscuit, which ended up beneath the bed of a fellow traveller.  Unfortunate for him but better for me.  Tough old world, fella.

A short while later I was approached by two more nurses wearing inch-thick leaded body-shields.  They said their task was to wheel me into the procedure room.  The wheels on these beds are regulation-standard which means that, by law, no two wheels may ever point in the same direction nor must they roll smoothly, and a large number of them are made of an aggregate of soft rubber and pea gravel which gives a wonderful roll-roll-scraaaaaaape-roll-roll sensation when going from point A to point B.

I mentioned the lead shields, didn’t I?  The course of the rusty ten-penny-nail needle as it plies it’s way through the tender tissue of your neck is observed using a fluoroscope that puts out enough radiation to sterilize food and small rodents from 50 feet away.  As horrifying as that sounds, the choice is still relatively simple:  pain vs. radiation burns, radiation sickness, and cellular mutations.  So these nurses-turned-walking-tanks wheeled me along on the way into the procedure room with one minor stop as we slammed into the door frame with the squealing of tortured hot metal (strangely reminiscent of the auto accident).

For reasons unclear to me, the procedure room is kept at a brisk 47 degrees.  My wheeled death-cart was positioned next to the table and I was rolled over and positioned face-down.  The table itself is roughly ten degrees colder than the room temperature and has a hole cut out in it for your face to rest.  They gave me oxygen and while I was getting used to having the cannula tubes stuck up my nose they used ratchet tie-downs to secure me to the table.  Once trussed they opened up my thneed and let me experience the early stages of frostbite on my back.  One nurse said “this will be cold”  (no kidding?) and upended a one-quart container of betadine on my neck and back.  Little rivulets of antiseptic ran down the side of my face and dripped off my nose and I began to lose sensation in my neck and back from the numbing cold liquid.  She grabbed a belt-sander and started working the stuff deep into my abraded skin while another nurse screamed maniacally “Another cold thing coming!”

I thought “This thing feels like a nearly-frozen sticky piece of flank steak positioned over my left kidney.”  I said “What the HELL is that?”  The nurse laughed and says “Oh, that’s just an electrode.”

I offered my opinion that it might be more comfortable if they just stuck one of my feet in a bucket of water but she wasn’t moved to change the procedure.  Between chattering teeth I asked her why they needed an electrode there when they were going to zap my neck.  While I was waiting for her to answer the question I laid there and tried to determine if the placement of that electrode relative to the site of the procedure created a conduction path that passed through my heart.  Short answer:  Yes.   She mumbled something nonsensical and I could tell that I was on thin ice (on several levels) when I asked her questions and behaving as if I had a brain.  Imagine a democrat senator being irritated by questions regarding health-care reform and you get a sense of her behavior.

Enter the doctor.  Without further ado, he lifted my IV and injected the glowing contents of a large syringe into it.  I asked if he was going to keep me awake for part of the procedure and then I woke up as they wheeled me out of the procedure room.  It happened that fast.

Two boxes of fake juice later I was led by the arm to the waiting room and dumped like last week’s laundry.  I was shaky as a newborn deer, as dopey as a drunk sorority girl, and really really tired.

The nurses said something I don’t remember.  I said something back that I don’t remember.  And before long I was picked up and given a ride home where I promptly went to bed.

By 4or 5pm I was feeling pain as the anesthetics wore off.  By 7pm we were calling the doctor to see if I could take the pain meds more frequently.  While the headache was greatly lessened the arm pain and generalized neck pain was significant and my right arm felt as if a bowling ball had been dropped on it and the forearm felt like it had been burned.  Still, while the pain was more severe, the worst aspect of it was alleviated when the headache was knocked down.  Not all pain has the same effect on your ability to cope.  A broken finger you can ignore.  The same pain in your forehead is darned near impossible to ignore.

Now it is four days later.  I am extremely grateful to have my pain meds – even though I hate them with a passion – as the discomfort I am feeling today is significant.  But, they say two weeks, give or take, before the nerve endings truly die.   I’m not going anywhere, so I’ll be here – waiting.

A lessened headache will do for starters.  Quite nicely, it will.

****

The Gutless Turd of the Year Award goes to…

Dem congressman refuses to return home over the break (to avoid conflict with his constituents?)

Congratulations Congressman Dennis Cardoza!!  You may call yourself a Blue Dog Democrat, but I call you a Yellow (bellied) Dog Democrat.  You are well paid to do a job – go do it.  If your familial obligations are more important than telling people how deep you’re going to dig the hole you want to throw them in to… well, perhaps this job isn’t for you.

****

Speaking of some nerve… can the British papers do anything other than act like a bunch of hysterical schoolgirls over a Ouija board?

The headline in the Daily Mail reads thusly:

Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America

Now, you read that headline and you think “Oh my, they’ve done trials and 25 poor souls out of the several-hundred persons  tested came down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  How terrible!  How awful!  How worrisome!

No, what it means is that there was a letter written that harkens back to the 70’s Swine Flu immunizations that sickened about 500 and  killed 25 people out of 40 million who got injectionsthirty-three years ago. It is only people being prudent and saying “Well, we should keep an eye on things.”  That is it!

I must point out that 500 people out of 40,000,000 is:

0.00125%

Keep in mind that I think the whole issue of this go-around with the anxiety over the  swine flu is a bunch of bull.  It kills less people than the regular seasonal flu.

The Daily Mail purposely wrote this to scare people and is the biggest hysterical crock-of-excrement hype I’ve read in a very very long time.

The British Neurological Surveillance Unit (BNSU), part of the British Association of Neurologists, has been asked to monitor closely any cases of GBS as the vaccine is rolled out.

One senior neurologist said last night: ‘I would not have the swine
flu jab because of the GBS risk.’

There are concerns that there could be a repeat of what became known as the ‘1976 debacle’ in the US, where a swine flu vaccine killed 25 people – more than the virus itself.

Oh yes, by all means lets terrify people regardless of the facts.  Mention “one senior neurologist” (with anonymity) and your case for scaring the pee out of little old ladies, children, and well-meaning-but-mentally-asleep adults is rock-solid.  Such effect for so little effort, those three little words.

The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.

It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine.

GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.

The letter, sent to about 600 neurologists on July 29, is the first sign that there is concern at the highest levels that the vaccine itself could cause serious complications.

This is done for EVERY vaccine – that is, they ask the medical folks to be alert for anomalies.  The only reason they kept a routine letter confidential is because they did not want a panic – and swine flu has enough of a panicky following already.

Yes, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a serious condition – kills 2-3%.  It can be triggered by a prior infection (campylobacter bacterium for example) or unknown triggers but it is the result of the body’s autoimmune attack on the body’s own nervous system.  It paralyzes the body.  It can be treated with immunoglobulin.   An interesting note is that the vaccine in the 70’s was not itself thought to be the cause but that it was contaminated with a bacterium that triggered the condition.

Ok, lets start the hysteria merry-go-round up again, shall we?

But vaccine experts warned that the letters proved the programme was a ‘guinea-pig trial’.

Dr Tom Jefferson, co-ordinator of the vaccines section of the influential Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that reviews research, said: ‘New vaccines never behave in the way you expect them to. It may be that there is a link to GBS, which is certainly not something I would wish on anybody.

‘But it could end up being anything because one of the additives in one of the vaccines is a substance called squalene, and none of the studies we’ve extracted have any research on it at all.’

He said squalene, a naturally occurring enzyme, could potentially cause so-far-undiscovered side effects.

Jackie Fletcher, founder of vaccine support group Jabs, said: ‘The Government would not be anticipating this if they didn’t think there was a connection. What we’ve got is a massive guinea-pig trial.’

Yes Squalene could cause side effects, but so could a piece of moldy cheese, perfumed toilet paper, or a vibrator.   The risks aren’t negligible – it was either use squalene or battery acid.  Squalene was cheaper.  Oh for Pete’s sake!  Nobody chooses to put stuff in a vaccine without some knowledge of what it is.  Well, perhaps the Chinese do, but no one in the western world.

Fletcher’s statements border on criminal.  Trying to say that the decision to be alert is proof that the gov’t thinks there is a solid connection between the vaccine and GBS  is the worst kind of fear-mongering there is.

What the British gov’t is doing is called being prepared – far worse would be to not have contingency plans  in place.  Trying to be prepared for anything is the sign of a GOOD GOVERNMENT, not one that is hiding something, you utter dolts!

The authors of the article could not stop there.  They gave a sloppy anectdotal account of a woman who had GBS.  (emphasis mine)

Doctors did not diagnose Guillain-Barre until her condition worsened in hospital and tests showed her reflexes slowing down. It is impossible for doctors to know how she contracted the disorder, although it is thought to be linked to some infections.

‘I’m frightened to have the swine flu vaccine if this might happen again – it’s a frightening illness and I think more research needs to be done on the effect of the vaccine.’
All very carefully calculated by the reporter – calculated for a reader to make connections that are implied but not really there and to cause that reader anxiety.  Anxiety and fear are very good at word-of-mouth selling of papers.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »