Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kids, Cover Your Faces!
by Lee

Online Dating

The rating was based on the use of the following words:

fucking (5x)
bomb (4x)
hell (2x)
bastard (1x)

I wonder what I’d have to do to get an NC-17?

Posted by Lee on 06/30/07 at 09:37 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Quote of the Day
by Lee

Longshot Democrat hopeful Mike Gravel.

“The scourge of our present society, particularly the African-American community, is the war on drugs. ... There is no reason to continue it in the slightest. All it does is create criminals out of people who are not criminals.”

Like a good liberal Gravel has to couch his critique in racial terms, when the exact same thing is as true for every economic strata and subclass.  But, despite this, it’s refreshing to hear something like this come out of the mouth of a candidate other than Ron Paul.

Posted by Lee on 06/30/07 at 04:35 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Ron Paul, George, and Dicko
by Lee

A couple of days ago I wrote a post called Cheap Stunts and Emperors, where I talked about a Democratic attempt to defund the VP’s office after Cheney made the asinine claim that he wasn’t part of the executive branch.  I said

Whichever Democrat came up with this one is a fucking genius.

Well, the Democrat in question was Rahm Emmanuel.  The best part?  Ron Paul voted for it.  See, this is why I gave money to his campaign.  He’s got some kooky ideas to be sure, and I don’t think he has a chance in hell of winning, or even being a VP contender.  But as long as he’s in the race shaking things up a bit I’ll be happy as a clam.  Hell, I think I might go kick a few more bucks his way.

Posted by Lee on 06/30/07 at 02:02 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Healthcare Riddle
by Lee

Q:  What’s the difference between getting an MRI in Canada and getting one here?
A:  About six months.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 05:32 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

But… but… It was a Blowjob!
by Lee

Radley Balko, in Reason, discussing Cheney’s “not part of the executive branch” stunt.

Back in the good ol’ days, conservatives took hacks at President Clinton’s preposterous claim that his role as commander in chief made him part of the U.S. military, and therefore not compelled to testify in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Given the stakes there (blowjobs!), and here (illegal, warrantless spying on U.S. citizens), in retrospect, Clinton’s legal chicanery seems almost quaint, doesn’t it?

Back in the good ol’ days, I was a Republican.  Now I’m not.  This clearly explains why.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 03:32 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Hoser Ignorance
by Lee

You know how every time there’s a national survey which shows Americans are ignorant of history or geography or some such discipline the rest of the world takes the opportunity to look down their noses at us and mock us for our mass ignorance.  Well, as usual, the problem is a little more widespread than our detractors would like us to believe.

Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.

“Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions,” the firm said in a statement.

Only 4 percent knew the three requirements a citizen had to meet to be able to vote while only a third could correctly identify the number of provinces and territories. Just 8 percent knew that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.

The survey was carried out for the Dominion Institute, which aims to boost knowledge of Canadian history and values. It said all high school students should have to pass a special citizenship exam before they can graduate.

“It is frankly disheartening to see the lack of progress made by our group and the countless other organizations working to improve civic literary of Canadians over the last 10 years,” said institute co-founder Rudyard Griffiths.

It’s official.  The Canucks are just as ignorant and stupid as we (and the Euros and the Aussies) are.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 01:44 PM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Three Thousand!
by Lee

image

Meet Mr. 3000.

On the threshold of becoming the 27th man in history to collect 3,000 career hits, Craig Biggio stepped out of the batter’s box and called a brief timeout as the sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park chanted his name.

BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O!

Once he settled back into the batter’s box, he ripped an RBI single to center field to collect his third hit of the night and the 3,000th of his 20-year career, sending the sellout crowd of 42,537 into a five-minute ovation unlike anything seen in Houston outside the 2005 World Series and the Rockets’ 1994 and 1995 NBA titles.

With his wife Patty, daughter Quinn and two sons Cavan and Conor among the 41 friends and relatives in attendance, Biggio joined the immortals on the 3,000-hit club Thursday night with his single off the Colorado Rockies’ Aaron Cook in the seventh inning.

“Today was a special day,” he said. “I know my teammates enjoyed it. I know my family enjoyed it, and I really think that the fans really made it what it was today. And that is a nice appreciation.”

And the franchise icon did it at home, as he and his legions of fans had hoped.

Biggio collected his 3,000th hit a day before the 19th anniversary of his first major league hit, which he collected on June 29, 1988, on a single off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser.

Just to put this in perspective, in 1988 I was a senior in high school.  Biggio has been playing for the same team that entire time.

In honor of this auspicious occasion I am wearing my Craig Biggio Astros t-shirt.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 10:10 AM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Day In Court
by Lee

And speaking of Bush’s lettre de cachet, it appears that the SCOTUS wants to review the president’s idea that he can imprison anyone for any reason he likes without trial.

The Supreme Court, reversing course, agreed Friday to review whether Guantanamo Bay detainees may go to federal court to challenge their indefinite confinement.

The action, announced without comment along with other end-of-term orders, is a setback for the Bush administration. It had argued that a new law strips courts of their jurisdiction to hear detainee cases.
In April, the court turned down an identical request, although several justices indicated they could be persuaded otherwise.

The move is highly unusual.

The court did not indicate what changed the justices’ minds about considering the issue. But last week, lawyers for the detainees filed a statement from a military lawyer in which he described the inadequacy of the process the administration has put forward as an alternative to a full-blown review by civilian courts.

I love it.  I fucking love it.  They’ve painted themselves into a legal corner with their torture and their abandonment of process, and now we’re going to end up with exactly what nobody has ever wanted—terrorists using our court system against us.

Thanks, Bush!  You fucking tool…

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 09:26 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

German Engineering, Arab Hatred
by Lee

The Religion of Peace™ decided to leave a little welcome gift to new British PM Gordon Brown.

Police thwarted an apparent terror attack Friday near the famed Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London, defusing a bomb made of a lethal mix of gasoline, propane gas, and nails after an ambulance crew spotted smoke coming from a silver Mercedes outside a nightclub.

The bomb in the city’s theater district was powerful enough to have caused “significant injury or loss of life” - possibly killing hundreds, British anti-terror police chief Peter Clarke said.

Britain’s new home secretary, Jacqui Smith called an emergency meeting of top officials, calling the attempted attack “international terrorism.”

“We are currently facing the most serious and sustained threat to our security from international terrorism,” she said afterward. “This reinforces the need for the public to remain vigilant to the threat we face at all times.”

The only good infidel is a dead infidel.

Update: Unlike the Bush administration, the Religion of Peace™ apparently had a backup plan.

Police cordoned off part of a major road in central London due to reports of a suspicious vehicle hours after a massive explosive device was defused in the capital, a spokesman said.
Amid heightened security after the overnight bomb alert, television pictures showed traffic disrupted around Park Lane, next to Hyde Park, while Sky News reported that a red London tourist bus had been stopped.

“Police are attending a suspicious incident in Park Lane,” a Scotland Yard spokeswoman told AFP. “Park Lane is closed at Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner and a 200-metre (yard) cordon is in place.”

Asked if the incident was linked to the explosive device found in a car outside a nightclub in nearby Haymarket, she said: “Not at this stage.”

She would not say whether counter-terrorism officers were in Park Lane, nor what the vehicle was.

But she confirmed that a “gold control”—the police’s highest command system during emergencies—had been set up in response to the discovery of the car bomb, which officers said could have caused carnage if it had exploded.

Water is wet, the sky is blue, and Muslims are bloodthirsty savages.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 09:04 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Lettre De Futurama
by Lee

Bruce Fein, Slate, Impeach Cheney

Then President George W. Bush outsourced the lion’s share of his presidency to Vice President Cheney, and Mr. Cheney has made the most of it. Since 9/11, he has proclaimed that all checks and balances and individual liberties are subservient to the president’s commander in chief powers in confronting international terrorism. Let’s review the record of his abuses and excesses: The vice president asserted presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes. The Supreme Court rebuked Cheney in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Mr. Cheney claimed authority to detain American citizens as enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the president’s say-so alone, a frightening power indistinguishable from King Louis XVI’s execrated lettres de cachet that occasioned the storming of the Bastille. The Supreme Court repudiated Cheney in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.  [Emphasis mine]

Me, Lettre de Bush, November 2005

Those of you who saw the film Quills will be familiar with lettre de cachet, as this was the rule under which De Sade was imprisoned.  Essentially anyone could be imprisoned at the pleasure of the king, and there were no mechanisms in place for the prisoner to win his just freedom.  It was an example of the astonishing abuse of executive power.  What the Bush administration has enacted is nothing more than a modern version of the lettre de cachet.  Oh, sure, the men we’re imprisoning were picked up on the battlefield, right?  And they’ve all got scary, Muslim names, so this isn’t anything that your average American Joe needs to be concerned about, is it?

Of the men currently being held in detention, how do we know that they are actually foreign fighters, and not just some poor dumb bastard who happened to be running back to his village to be with his wife and child?  We don’t.  And as it stands right now, there is no mechanism for any of these men to demonstrate that they do not deserve to be imprisoned, indefinitely, without trial.  They are literally being held at the president’s pleasure.  Given that our Founding Fathers fought a war against exactly this type of unrestrained executive power, and subsequently set up a system of careful checks and balances to prevent it from happening in the future, I think it is astonishingly short-sighted to somehow think that investing our Executive branch with the power of lettre de cachet is a prudent thing to do.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/07 at 12:40 AM in Tooting My Own Horn  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cheap Stunts and Emperors
by Lee

Oh this is fucking priceless.

The House on Thursday rejected an attempt to eliminate the vice president’s executive office budget, a move that Democrats tied to Cheney’s assertion that his office didn’t need to comply with national security disclosure rules required of other executive branch agencies.

Republicans denounced the proposal as political theater.

The vote, on an amendment to a 2008 spending bill for the Treasury Department and executive branch agencies, was defeated 217-209.

“We are pleased to see a bipartisan majority reject this political stunt,” said Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn.

In order to get out of complying with a Congressional subpoena Cheney’s office has the sheer unmitigated audacity to claim that they’re not part of the executive branch.  If this is the case, then why should he be getting executive branch money?  Whichever Democrat came up with this one is a fucking genius.

And then, Cheney’s office has the balls to claim that this was a political stunt.  That’s right, the guy who says that the vice president isn’t part of the executive branch is decrying cheap political stunts.

That old pot and kettle rejoinder never goes out of style, does it?

Posted by Lee on 06/28/07 at 10:54 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Talking Frog
by Lee

Sorry for the absence.  I’ve been posting a lot at MOOREWATCH lately, and this one definitely needs to be checked out.

Posted by Lee on 06/28/07 at 10:44 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Bill Goes Down (Not Clinton)
by Lee

As you undoubtedly know by now, the immmigration bill is la muerta.

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.
After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

“Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress’ failure to act on it is a disappointment,” he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn’t find common ground. It didn’t work.”

The bill’s Senate supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

As I’ve said before, I haven’t really followed this with a lot of interest, because it’s just not that big a deal to me.  The fact that so many Republicans opposed this bill so vehemently makes me think there was probably something good about it, but that’s neither here nor there. 

When America is ready to face the fact that (a) we will never stop illegal immigration, and (b) we need these people here, we’ll be able to come up with a workable immigration bill.  Until then it’s going to be this sort of back-and-forth, with the loony open borders folks on one side and the “Round up the spics and ship ‘em back tuh Mexicer!” gang on the other.

Me? I wish native born Americans were willing to work as hard as Mexican immigrants, illegal or not.  And I live in Los Angeles, every damn person in this city is either a white movie industry executive or a Mexican laborer.

Update: At Reason, Dave Wiegel nails it.

You can understand where the man’s head is at. Immigration reform was it: This was the last issue he could possibly hammer out a deal on with the Democratic majority. A massive citizenship program could have been his second-term legacy, a fat item in his Wikipedia entry between “narrowly defeated the worst Democratic presidential nominee since John W. Davis” and “got food poisoning from poorly-prepared seitan while awaiting trial in The Hague.”

It’s official.  The Bush Legacy is written.  It’s over.  “Game over, man, game over!”

Posted by Lee on 06/28/07 at 01:29 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Chicken Scratch
by Lee

I went to the doctor yesterday and received two prescriptions.  When I got to the pharmacy, the pharmacy tech had to keep going to the pharmacist to ask her to decipher the hieroglyphics the doctor had scrawled on the paper.  Well, from the land of Great White North comes news that there is a better way

The abysmal handwriting of physicians is the stuff of legend among nurses and pharmacists. But the result - frequent medication errors due to drug names and dosages misread from doctors’ chicken scratch - is deadly serious.

New research has driven home just how harmful badly written prescriptions and other transcription errors can be.

The study, published in the journal Health Services Research, shows that having doctors write electronic prescriptions - by typing them into a computer rather than writing them by hand - reduces medication errors by a staggering 66 per cent.

“These medication errors are very painful for doctors, as well as the patients. Nobody wants to make a mistake,” said Tatyana Shamliyan, a research associate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the lead author of the paper.

While poor handwriting is a major issue, it is not the only one, she said. Medication errors can occur because of transcription problems, poor communication, incomplete medical records and drug reactions.What is clear, though, is that a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system dramatically reduces mistakes.

My cardiologist has a totally paperless office.  Each room has a computer terminal, and everything is typed into the computer.  When you have test results come back the system emails them to you.  Prescriptions are done through the computer as well.  It’s a stunning system and must have cost a fortune.  (But, his office is literally a block off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, so I imagine the expense is commensurate.) Just like anything else, technological improvements are the main means by which we will improve our lives, not legislation and government freebies.

Posted by Lee on 06/28/07 at 09:17 AM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Very Few Hearts and Minds
by Lee

Hey, I wonder how we’re doing with that whole “winning hearts and minds” thing that was one of the reasons for going into Iraq in the first place.  You know, we go in, take out the tyrant, build some schools, and they love us.  How’s that coming along?

Fueled by the Iraq war and the perception that the United States acts without consulting others, anti-Americanism is on the rise across the Muslim world and much of Europe, while global confidence in President Bush has plummeted, a global poll released Wednesday shows.

Confidence in Bush as a world leader “continues to erode,” the report states, noting that in 37 of the 47 countries surveyed, “majorities say they have little or no trust in Bush to do the right thing in world affairs.”

The study, the latest in a series by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, revealed deep and mounting opposition to this country across the Muslim world. Of those surveyed, those who said they have a favorable view of the United States fell to 9 percent in Turkey, 21 percent in Egypt and 15 percent in Pakistan, all key players in U.S. anti-terrorism strategy.

“The U.S. image in Muslim countries is just abysmal,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan opinion survey organization in Washington.

Bush seemed to acknowledge as much, announcing that he would soon name a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a coalition of 57 majority-Muslim states, to try to improve the U.S. image across the Islamic world.

“Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values,” Bush said in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Islamic Center, a mosque and cultural center in Washington.

Ah, the Bush legacy.  Hatred of America and the specter of terrorism far, far worrse than it was on 9/11.  And please, if your knee-jerk instinct is to leave some lame-ass comment about polling, please, don’t waste your time.

Posted by Lee on 06/28/07 at 09:12 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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