Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flublogging Update


So much in the news, some of it even penetrating my foggy, foggy brain. The biggest good news out of Arizona is a judge blocking the stupidest provisions of the new abortion-restricting law passed earlier this month. More analysis tomorrow, possibly, but for now you can rest easy knowing that the mandatory double clinic visit bracketing a 24-hour waiting period has been kiboshed, along with the execrable conscience clause that not only would have allowed pharmacists to refuse emergency contraception to rape victims, but also would have exempted doctors from any participation in an abortion, even when "participation in an abortion" is construed to cover "telling women that abortion is actually still a legal option in this country."

The stupidest news out of Arizona has been that Trent Franks guy calling Obama a threat to humanity; Rep. Franks clarified yesterday that he meant Obama is a threat to "unborn humanity," so thank goodness that's all cleared up.

In Arizona flu news, my nurse parents report that Flagstaff Medical Center is completely full, and also that the waiting room is helpfully not sequestering flu patients from non-flu patients, thus ensuring both (1) that everyone will eventually be a flu patient and (2) the cash-strapped hospital's revenue stream should be perking up substantially in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I continue to cough and whimper.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Boltblah: Adventures in Seasonal Afflictions

It's just the dust, I kept telling myself this morning, just the several cubic yards of dust I inhaled while cleaning up my grandparents' trailer in Mesa yesterday in 107-degree heat in preparation for their overwintering arrival. Uh huh. That lasted a couple of hours--I'm very stubborn these days--but I finally succumbed to the reality that not even the collective conservative jetsam of several billion dead skin cells blowing off of old Midwestern folks and several thousand young Mesa Mormons is a likely explanation for the knot in my lungs and accompanying crappy cough and body aches.

Now "collective conservative" is sending me into fits of dissonant giggles, which is another telling sign that all is not as it should be, healthwise.

So I fled the office for home with a stack of papers I really should be reading, but focusing is a little hard at the moment. Focusing is hard? A distant bell is ringing through the fog. Oh yeah. Last week we had dinner at Bangkok Cafe (sweet thoon tong Jesus, YUM) and sat next to a table whose undergraduate occupants moaned about how hard it is to focus because of (1) 8:00 classes, (2) pre-lunch classes, (3) post-lunch classes, and (4) stupid people in English 101. Yes, child, I'm feelin' ya on that one.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jon Kyl: Meet Your GOP Representation, Arizona

How nice for you, Senator Kyl. I am elated to learn that you have never needed maternity care, since that would imply just a touch of intersexability, and lord knows that level of cognitive dissonance might make your delicate head explode. I wonder, though, how your wife managed to pay for her two bouts of prenatal care/delivery, or who paid to shepherd your four grandchildren through embryoship and fetushood and into the wide world. Then again, that's apparently not your problem; those harlots got themselves knocked up, so why should you have to worry about it? Or, even worse, pay for it? Seriously, you donated the sperm! What else do these freeloaders want?

I do wish Senator Stabenow had come back with a little more current rejoinder than "your mom probably did." Something along the lines of "I don't need ED coverage, but my premiums help pay for yours" might have been a little refreshing.

I also don't need a prostate exam and will never be at risk for testicular cancer, but--as long as my company policy also covers things like well-woman exams and contraception--I don't mind knowing I'm chipping in to help keep the guys around me healthy. Because, unlike Senator Kyl and the brain-dead Maricopa County voters who keep putting him in office, I understand that paying out a little for things that don't benefit me directly but are still necessary for the nation to keep humming along is part of the deal when you live in a society that falls anywhere on the continuum past bands of hunter-gatherers. And, frankly, those guys probably understood that a little extra effort on their parts to keep everyone in the band fed, clothed, and sheltered upped their own chances for surviving another season.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Fun Nicked from Elsewhere

Curse these complicated reports with five zillion data tables. While I'm busy, go look at these:

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Weekend in Sports

The Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season and may be looking to unload him. At this point, just eating the two years remaining on his contract would be worth it if it gets him out of Chicago. They dumped Mark DeRosa to pick up this guy, and then had the temerity to act baffled when he refused to play nicely with his teammates, the fans at Wrigley, and greater Chicagoland. Bradley's been clubhouse poison basically forever. How this knowledge escaped Jim Hendry until it was too late is a mystery to me.

In football news, the Irish escaped a fiftieth or something consecutive home loss to Michigan State on the whisker of two dropped balls by the Spartans and Kyle McCarthy hanging on to an interception at the Notre Dame 10. And top receiver Michael Floyd is lost for the year to a broken collarbone. Maybe this was the wrong year to keep Goliath-slaying Washington on the schedule?

Finally, the Washington Freedom's Jo Lohman and Becca Moros are spending part of the WPS off-season playing in Japan. They're blogging about it, and they're adorable.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Week in Medicine


That is the approximate sound going on in my head and quite possibly out loud every time I try to move my arm.

Yesterday brought another punch to my orthopedic bingo card. I already have both knees and a shoulder, so with the free spot in the middle, my new blot on "right elbow" has me thisclose to bingo and, possibly, a free arthroscopy or whatever surgeons give away when you complete a line.

Hmm, he said. If ice and a band and anti-inflammatories aren't doing anything for your tendonitis, you're going to need a shot, and it's gonna hurt. Fine, I said, it can't hurt any more than it already does. Uh huh. I should have known I was in for it when he brought in a canister I usually associate with freezing weird shit off of sun-damaged skin. I'm going to freeze your arm, he said, but it's still going to hurt. Go for it. Seriously. Bring it.

Okay, magic freeze spray applied, needle in, no problem. Now the burn, he said. No problem, I thought for the splittest of seconds, since I'd already had this done in a knee once and shoulder twice. Now the burn? Burn, my ass. More like now the 300-pound guy leaning with all his weight on a red-hot giant nail jabbing directly into your ulnar epiphysis. Hrrrraaaarrrgghgghghhmmmm, I said. Sorry, he said, you're going to be cursing me tonight.

He was off by about twelve hours. Last night it felt great. Then I woke up this morning swearing bones were grinding together every time I moved. A friend joined me at Home Depot. You're radiating pain, she said. At home she rigged a sling with an ace bandage and left me staring at football in deep amazement at the difference suddenly being able to breathe again made.

Of course, two hours later it hurt even more for not having moved in, well, two hours. Now I'm clutching frozen peas and wondering why this seemed like a good idea. He said it would take a couple of days for it to feel better and get back to the weight room. Wow. Considering I am yelping every time I move, that seems optimistic. Jesus. This is what I get for trying to keep up with my steroid-and-other-supplements-addled brother. I am too old for this shit.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Calling Cafe Press

Contemplating putting this on a t-shirt. Found on Joe.My.God, who nicked it from Dan Savage. When they get serious about protecting the sanctity of biblically defined marriage--with the prescribed stones, at the village gate--I'll get serious about thinking about not defiling it by wishing to participate in it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If You Miss the Train I'm on, You Will Know that I am Gone

Mary Travers died yesterday, taking my earliest musical memories with her. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles...

God Perhaps Sees Error of His Ways after that Last Fiasco, Scales Back Next Divine Executive Appointment to State Level

God's Own Archangel Jan.

Aaaaaaand here we go again with the chosen one. No, not the "Chosen One" tag derisively hung on Barack Obama by detractors who think he's the Antichrist, but Jan Brewer's actual belief that God got distracted from the pennant race long enough to reach down into Arizona to pluck her from the obscurity of the lieutenant governorship and install her as the our ruler. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she believes "God has placed me in this powerful position of Arizona's governor to help guide our state through the difficulty that we are currently facing."

Delightful, but harmless, no? I mean, as long it's limited to delusions of grandeur and doesn't intrude on state business, no big deal. Because it doesn't, right?

Brewer detailed to a group of pastors of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church how she relies on her faith and in prayer to deal with many of the issues she faces as the state's chief executive. Brewer also said there are times when, during a meeting with staffers, one will suggest praying about an issue.

"And we stop, and we take that time, and we pray about it," Brewer, a Missouri Synod-Lutheran herself, told the group meeting here. "And it does make a difference."

Oh. Uh.

Brewer goes on to assure us that she recognizes the dangers in tying personal religious beliefs too intimately to the business of governing, or, as she puts it, the belief that "we can convert God's truth into a political platform, a set of political issues, and that there is 'God's way' in our politics. I don't believe that for a moment." Okay, fair enough, and can I just get a whew from the non-Missouri Synod congregation on that one? Unfortunately, she follows it up with this little gem:

Brewer, in response to audience questions, said she has been "blessed because so many people of great faith" have helped her with their prayers.

"And that has caused me, of course, to be grateful that we are a country of Christianity," she said.

"I don't think under the circumstances that anybody's in the position of living at this turbulent time, these terrible, critical times of our nation, can possibly get through without asking for help and guidance from Jesus Christ and from God," the governor told the ministers.

Granted, she was speaking to a group of Lutheran ministers, not giving a State of the State address. But. Please. It wasn't exactly a whisper in the confessional, even if Lutherans had such things, which they don't. They did have reporters with microphones, and despite that, in one fell swoop Brewer simultaneously promulgated the "Christian nation" falsehood and pooh-poohed everything falling outside the box labeled "Christianity." After quite openly proclaiming that state business is regularly guided by a Christian prayer circle.

The former governor, now HHS chief Janet Napolitano, was an observant Methodist who nonetheless elevated secular notions of civil rights above theology and managed to keep the rabidly conservative state legislature at bay. Now God's Own Jan, about whom exactly zero rumors of lesbianism have swirled, has set the governor's office on a Godly and explicitly Christian path. And her greatest hits to date include signing into law a bill that severely restricts reproductive freedom (see yesterday's post) and eliminating benefits for the domestic partners of state employees, which affects a few disabled adult dependents but overwhelmingly targets fornicatin' straight couples livin' in sin and, of course, the gays. And the kids of all the people involved.

But don't worry; there's one realm Brewer not only keeps her religion's teaching firmly out of, but also claims to not even know what that teaching might be.

Brewer, facing a question about illegal immigration, said she does not know the stance of her church. But she said her views are governed by her elected position.

"As the governor of Arizona, I stand on the law that they're illegal, they ought not to be here," she said.

Seriously, what were you expecting?

Welcome to Arizona. Hope you brought your cross.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Which the Nine-Twelvers Explain It All for You.

Whooo-eeee. Nicked from AmericaBlog.

Arizona Legislature Notices Janet Napolitano is no Longer Governor, Crams Every Previously Vetoed Abortion Restriction into Single Law

The new Arizona law that massively restricts access to abortion and emergency contraception is scheduled to kick in at the end of this month. The first lawsuits were filed yesterday. Most of the provisions were included in bills vetoed at least once by former governor Janet Napolitano, although at least one rather audacious restriction was tossed in for good measure, just because they can.
Among other things, the new law includes a provision that prohibits nurse practitioners from performing abortions, a move expected to shrink services in Southern Arizona to a level at which women will be forced to go to Phoenix for the procedure, said Patti Caldwell, the chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood Arizona. It also allows health-care and pharmacy employees to refuse to take part in any way in abortions or to fill related prescriptions if they have moral or religious objections. [...]

Other provisions of the new law require that minors provide notarized parental consent for an abortion and that a woman make a face-to-face visit with the abortion provider within 24 hours before the procedure or emergency contraception such as the "morning-after pill" can be prescribed.

That last bit is the one that made me choke on my Kashi this morning. A mandatory 24-hour waiting period before EC can be prescribed? When it's a nonprescription medication? Hmm. Nancy Barto says "expanding the law to cover the morning-after pill simply updates existing laws covering abortions," cheerfully continuing to falsely conflate emergency contraception with abortion, which it most assuredly is not. A reading of the text of the House bill suggests the Daily Star got the bit wrong about a waiting period before acquiring EC, since there is no mention of it either there or in the Senate version (although the conscience clause exemption specific to pharmacists not wanting to hand it over still stands). But hang on, there's still more than enough bullshit to go around.

Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, the legislation's sponsor, said all the provisions are good policy to protect the health of women as well as being legally sound. Barto defended the 24-hour waiting period — and specifically the requirement for face-to-face counseling — rather than allowing a woman to get the information over the phone and avoid having to make a second trip.

"This ensures that they get the information that they need and the attention that they get for their own health," she said.

Because lord knows the primary societal effect of the Information Age has been limiting the delivery and comprehension of information to face-to-face interactions. Phone? Internet? It's a wonder people can even order a pizza any more with the intervention of these confounded electrical instruments, much less raise the local constabulary! But wait! It gets even better, where "better" means "completely assfucked sideways with a chainsaw and no lube."

The requirement, however, does not stop there. The law says certain information can be given to women only by the physician who will perform the abortion and not a nurse or other staffer.

Shade your eyes. This one really requires shouting. Because LORD KNOWS THE ONLY DOCTOR CURRENTLY PROVIDING ABORTION SERVICES IN ALL OF SOUTHERN FUCKING ARIZONA FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH A 16-HOUR DAY THAN HOLD FACE-TO-FACE COUNSELING SESSIONS. Can Cathi Herrod, chief harpy of the Center for Arizona Policy, clear this up for us? Of course she can.

"Finally, Arizona is taking care of the needs of women facing the abortion decision, as well as parents and health-care professionals," said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which lobbied for the legislation.

Finally. Up, down. Black, white. Charlie Weis, football genius. Arizona, taking care of women's needs. How nice to be taken care of like this. Throw enough roadblocks up between a woman and one of her options in "the abortion decision" and the decision pretty much makes itself for her, doesn't it? Which, unfortunately, is exactly the point.

The hearing on Planned Parenthood's requested injunction is scheduled for next week. Can you feel the optimism from BoltCorner? Me neither.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Rumbling

My girlfriend has the uncanny knack of knowing just when to offer to make me a gin and tonic, which she always makes superbly. I find this almost unbearably romantic. Maybe it's the two lime twists. Maybe it's the crisp bite of fizzy tonic and cool Bombay cutting through the last wisps of monsoon humidity. Whatever the source, I love it.

The weekend in sports turned out to be an exercise in suck--thank you, Charlie Weis, for the massive reality check you provided yesterday in the Big House, and I'm not even going to talk about USC--with the sole exception of Northwestern somehow finding a way to beat Eastern (Western? one of the directions) Michigan and, possibly, Arizona's less-than-inspiring slide past Northern Arizona.

I guess I need, at some point, to deal with the small teabagging confab in Washington (two million? sixty thousand? eleventy squillion? who knows?) and the newly established but inevitable alliance between the Nobamans and the John Galt wannabees. That is not going to happen tonight.

Actually, here. This does the job reasonably well.

Ah, romance!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Which We Have One Question

Where were these people when the previous administration was burning through a billion bucks every few days in Iraq?

Doubtlessly, in the Halliburton parking lot protesting private contractors being paid to do jobs formerly entrusted to the military at rates of at least three times military pay with no UCMJ rules to get in the way of, oh, compromising the mission. Doubtlessly!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sportsweek in Review

Busy week, sports fans. We started with Notre Dame walloping the mighty, mighty Wolfpack of Nevada, who managed to make Jimmy Clausen look like the second coming of, well, the Jimmy Clausen who was last seen spanking Hawaii in the Coconut Bowl last holiday season. This week sees Jimmy lead the Irish to the Big House against the guys with the six-note fight song and little wings on their helmets. ND is a 3-point favorite. I say, MICHAEL FLOYD, and that translates to a 14-point Irish win. You read it here first.

Moving from throwball to kickball, the US men's national team snoozed through an actually fairly important World Cup qualifier against Trinidad 'n' Tobago and managed to pull out a one-goal win for a crucial three points. Seriously, Clint Dempsey? I was worried about Clint the last couple games because his more-hangdog-than-usual expression, coupled with his lassitude on the field, made me fear he was suffering from clinical depression and needed some serious help. Then I realized it's just that he pouts and doesn't bother running when Bob Bradley makes him play midfield, and only puts out what qualifies as "effort" when he's up top. Wow. I thought that kind of crap was limited to recreational leagues, and lord knows I've played with enough people who pull that to wonder how his teammates manage to not kick him in the nuts. Or why Bradley wastes a spot on him at all. I want Stuart Holden, dammit! Boy's young, but he run his ass off no matter what. No matter who starts in the midfield against Honduras, the entire side needs to remember how to possess AND move off the ball, and maybe show just a glimmer of intensity, as if, oh, the World Cup were at stake or something. You! Read! It! Here!

For contrast, have a look at the Slovakia-Northern Ireland game FSC keeps replaying. There's 90 minutes of passion and creativity and full-speed running for you, plus the requisite testicular injury for comic effect. Look out for the Slovaks, especially Vladomir Weiss. Tricksy!

Finally, the England women made it to the final of the UEFA championship for the first time in forever, but got wiped by a German team that hasn't lost a game in this tournament since 1999. England did manage to fight back for two goals and probably wins whatever metallic boot is awaded the most improved team over the past few years. Think the WPS has helped that national side? I do. They'll be an interesting team to watch. Kelly Smith. Sigh.

Go Irish!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Personality Cult of Dear Leader

No, not him. The other guy, who came before him. Thank god Glenn Greenwald is around to do the heavy lifting on a day when I have a headache and a deadline.
I'm always amazed -- even though I know I shouldn't be -- at people's capacity simply to block out events, literally refuse to acknowledge them, when they are inconsistent with their desire to believe things.

Just click over to Salon and read, and weep, and then print it out and roll it up into a tube for whacking upside the head the next person you hear muttering about how creepy it is that President Obama would dare tell your kids to pay attention in school and do their homework.

In other news, there's a good chance Obama ate breakfast this morning, which is exactly what Kim Jong-Il does every morning himself, and which Mao and Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin and Charles Manson were rumored to do as well. Eeeeeeeevil!

Friday, September 04, 2009

But of Course

Obama school talk stirs furor
Planned TV speech next week is decried as 'creepy' attempt to brainwash students

Wait, that's not quite histrionic enough; let's do it up like the Daily Star's front page this morning:

There, that's more like it. [headdesk] [facepalm] [heavydrinking]

Wow, so somebody who knows about these things is calling Tuesday's planned stay-in-school speech brainwashing! Maybe a retired PsyOps commander or high-level CIA spook? I mean, it was in the headline, so it must at least be a psychologist or childhood development specialist, right? Oh.

Trent Humphries, a 36-year-old computer consultant who counts himself among the Tea Party members, blames the controversy on the president himself...

"If he were going to a school to speak, that would be a different issue, but to speak to all children in America without their parents present, I don't know," he said, describing it as "creepy" and saying parents should be included in conversations about staying in school.

A Teabagger dad thinks it's creepy. Well then. That settles that. And Obama thinks he can just beam into a first-grade classroom and talk about the highly controversial topic of staying in school without asking parents who send their kids to school about that? The nerve of that man. What's next? A lecture on regular flossing and eating vegetables? That's a topic for parents to present to their children only as they see fit! The unbridled hubris! Thanks for alerting us, Daily Star!

Some parents apparently see the address as a campaign speech to a captive audience. Fair enough. Others see it as an end-run around the excellent arguments the town-hallers have been hollering, like Obamacare! and HitlerHitlerNaziHitler!

[Flowing Wells Unified School District Superintendent Nicholas] Clement received another note from a pastor, saying he was recommending that members of his congregation keep their children home on Tuesday. Acknowledging other presidents have made similar speeches encouraging youths to succeed in school, the man said he finds the speech "highly suspicious given the timing and the battle for health-care reform."

Because lord knows if you give that Socialist Nazi Commie Fascist an opening, he'll totally exploit the opportunity to explain all the policy and financial nuances of insurance regulation and co-ops and public options to your sixth-grader--in 45 minutes--and your kid will totally absorb all of that information and then run out to lobby his senators and possibly bring them coffee and stuff to keep them awake for the floor vote and wham, before you know it we'll all be speaking Canadian and sieg-heiling maple trees and little Johnny will start pestering us for curling brooms.

Unless it's a ploy to turn the kids into homos, of course.

In the Amphitheater Public Schools, Superintendent Vicki Balentine said she's heard similar concerns from about two dozen people.

Much of it, she said, stemmed from misinformation. Some callers thought the purpose of the speech was to sell kids on health care, or to address students about homosexuality.

To be fair, it's not all about the speech, although the shorts-knotting springing up around it is enough material for a solid week. The curriculum supplement sent out has raised the ire of people like Michele Malkin for being "activist" and people like Arizona education head Tom Horne for, well, oh, Tom Horne.

Arizona schools chief Tom Horne put out a press release objecting to the "worshipful" tone that the White House expects students to use, drawing examples from some curriculum prompts suggested by the U.S. Department of Education to engage students in dialogue about the speech. One singled out by Horne asks students to brainstorm: "How will he inspire us?"

Because the only inspiration in Arizona comes from Jesus, thanks--well, except for that bit about compassion towards the weakest among us he was always going on about, but that's a discussion for another time--and because inspiration is always and only religious in nature, schoolkids are being directed to worship Obama. QED.

The White House hasn't had a complete tin ear on this--hey, if we've learned anything from the healthcare kerfuffle, it's that maniacs must be appeased--so they changed one really offensive activist question in the lesson plans.

The White House altered the language of one suggested activity, which initially read, "Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

That was changed to: “"Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

How awful that first directive was. What other president would have have the unmitigated gall to require such a thing of children? Oh.

President George H.W. Bush made televised address to students in October 1991 as campaign season was heating up... Bush asked students to “take control” of their education and to write him a letter about ways students could help him achieve his goals, strikingly similar to Obama’s messages.

Sigh. Coming soon to a breathless headline near you: Obama pulmonary action stirs furor: President's insistence on continuing to draw breath in the White House decried as 'creepy.'

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

More Love from Ben & Jerry

'Nuff said.

Wait, actually, not enough said, except I can't figure out how to work a girl-girl reference into my personal favorite Vermonty Python.