Archive for June 2007

Terrorist F*** Up, London Bomb Fizzles

Up yours

Fuck you jihadi losers!

Fios Coming to My House: Woohoo!

I heard a truck outside and found some linemen working on the telephone pole in my yard. They say that FIOS is coming to my neighborhood very soon.

I was hoping they would say that. Once it comes, buy-bye Comcast!

Rosie Abuses Daughter, Calls It Art

Art or Child Abuse?
Rosie's Art Project

Looks like child abuse to me. As Ann Coulter says, this photo sets gay adoption back 20 years.

But if it’s art, then let’s expose its subtext:
Vivi O'Donnell

Perhaps Rosie could hook Vivi up with this 6 year old boy from Afghanistan, Juma Gul:
Afghan boy recruited by Taliban as suicide bomber

Juma had a bomb vest strapped to his body by the “brave Taliban warriors” so beloved by Rosie and her band, and told to throw himself at Americans.

Juma, at the age of 6, had more sense that Rosie does at… what 46?... and ran to the Afghan police instead. I’m sure Juma doesn’t care about art, but I’m sure he knows what he likes – and I doubt it’s seeing a kid like him wearing bullets or bombs.

You can almost imagine the conversation if they met:

Viv: Let’s play Jihadis and Crusaders. I’ll be the good Jihadi…
Juma: Like the ones who tried to strap bombs on me?
Viv: And you can be the evil Crusader..
Juma: Like the ones who gave me hot meal and candy.
Viv: Stop it. You are buying that anti-Islamic propaganda put out by Fox News aren’t you?
Juma: What’s Fox News? Besides you can’t be a jihadi. You’re a girl.
Viv: But my mommies say a girl can be anything a boy can be.
Juma: The jihadis I know would collapse a wall on your two mommies. The jihadis think the only place for a girl is on her hands and knees or behind a stove. Besides, where’s your burka and man-escort?
Viv: I’m wearing a scarf…
J: Not good enough. Your face is exposed. And where’s your man? You want everyone to think you’re a whore? Jihadis kill whores – after they rape them…
V: There’s no men in my family. Mommies say they are evil.
J: Well, some of them are – just not the ones your mommies think.

Ban Billboards

There are some stretches of road in Philadelphia that are so cluttered with billboards that one wonders if their presence causes the accidents that lead to the traffic jams that make their placement so lucrative for the billboard firms. I am a libertarian at heart, but there are worse things that Government could do than ban billboards.

This article cites a study that claims billboards aren’t distracting. However it suffers from several factors including small sample size of 36 drivers in one city on a stretch of road having 30 billboards. The study didn’t sample various conditions drivers routinely face, namely traffic congestion and various weather conditions.

The outdoor advertising firms are quick to nip talk of these bans in the bud, even challenging restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising in impoverished areas of cities.

I can’t say I blame them. If I made a living by causing accidents and had no soul I suppose I would fight them too.

Are There Any Women in Canton Ohio…

... who haven’t had sex with Bobby Cotts?

Bobby Cotts

On the night of the murder, Cotts was apparently on the phone with yet another woman (married with kids) while downing 3 Coronas at the local Champs sportsbar. Hours later Jessie Davis and her unborn daughter Chloe were dead, apparently at the hands of this guy.

So let’s check Bobby’s scorecard:
1. Jessie Davis
2. Myisha Ferrell (accomplice & lover)
3. Cellphone woman (also lover who apparently turned him down that night)
4. Nikki Giavasis (ex)
5. Kelli Cotts (estranged wife)

WTF is wrong with the women of Canton Ohio? Besides being terrible judges of character?

John Edwards: Edwards’ malpractice suits leave bitter taste

Edwards’ malpractice suits leave bitter taste
From Google cache. Original link here

By Charles Hurt
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The American Medical Association lists North Carolina’s current health care situation as a “crisis” and blames it on medical-malpractice lawsuits such as the ones that made Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards a millionaire many times over.
One of the most successful personal-injury lawyers in North Carolina history, Mr. Edwards won dozens of lawsuits against doctors and hospitals across the state that he now represents in the Senate. He won more than 50 cases with verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more, according to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, and 31 of those were medical-malpractice suits.

During his 20 years of suing doctors and hospitals, he pioneered the art of blaming psychiatrists for patients who commit suicide and blaming doctors for delivering babies with cerebral palsy, according to doctors, fellow lawyers and legal observers who followed Mr. Edwards’ career in North Carolina.
“The John Edwards we know crushed [obstetrics, gynecology] and neurosurgery in North Carolina,” said Dr. Craig VanDerVeer, a Charlotte neurosurgeon. “As a result, thousands of patients lost their health care.”
“And all of this for the little people?” he asked, a reference to Mr. Edwards’ argument that he represented regular people against mighty foes such as prosperous doctors and big insurance companies. “How many little people do you know who will supply you with $60 million in legal fees over a couple of years?”
Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Edwards declined to comment beyond e-mailing his and John Kerry’s “real plan for medical-malpractice reform.”
The plan calls for one measure that Mr. Edwards previously had said is meaningless and does not impose caps on verdicts for economic damages or limits on attorneys’ fees.
One of his most noted victories was a $23 million settlement he got from a 1995 case — his last before joining the Senate — in which he sued the doctor, gynecological clinic, anesthesiologist and hospital involved in the birth of Bailey Griffin, who had cerebral palsy and other medical problems.
Linking complications during childbirth to cerebral palsy became a specialty for Mr. Edwards. In the courtroom, he was known to dramatize the events at birth by speaking to jurors as if he were the unborn baby, begging for help, begging to be let out of the womb.
“He was very good at it,” said Dr. John Schmitt, an obstetrician and gynecologist who used to practice in Mr. Edwards’ hometown of Raleigh. “But the science behind a lot of his arguments was flawed.”
In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a joint study that cast serious doubt on whether events at childbirth cause cerebral palsy. The “vast majority” of cerebral palsy cases originate long before childbirth, according to the study.
“Now, he would have a much harder time proving a lot of his cases,” said Dr. Schmitt, who now practices at the University of Virginia Health System.
Another profitable area of litigation for Mr. Edwards was lawsuits against psychiatrists whose patients committed suicide.
In 1991, he won $2.2 million for the estate of a woman who hanged herself in a hospital after being removed from suicide watch. It was the first successful medical-malpractice case in Mr. Edwards’ home of Wake County.
During jury selection, Mr. Edwards asked potential jurors whether they could hold a doctor responsible for the suicide of their patients.
“I got a lot of speeches from potential jurors who said they did not understand how that doctor could be responsible,” Mr. Edwards recalled in an interview shortly after the trial. Those persons were excluded from the jury.
In the end, Mr. Edwards scored $1.5 million for “wrongful death” and $175,000 in “emotional distress” for the woman’s children.
“One thing I was grappling with was how to explain to the jury the difference between loss of companionship and society — the things under the wrongful-death statute — and emotional pain and suffering, which superficially sound like the same thing,” he said at the time. “What we did was to tell them the wrongful-death damages are for the loss of all the things that a mother does for the child. But the emotional pain and suffering damages represent the grieving. The pain is something you feel over the death of your mother.”
In 1995, as Mr. Edwards neared the pinnacle of his success, Lawyers Weekly reported on the state’s 50 biggest settlements of the year.
“Like last year, the medical malpractice category leads the new list, accounting for 16 cases — or 32 percent — three points better than last year,” the magazine reported. “By and large, that upward trend had held since 1992, when only four [medical malpractice] cases made the survey.”
Mr. Edwards was singled out.
“Another reason for this year’s [medical malpractice] jump was a strong showing by the Raleigh firm of Edwards & Kirby,” it reported. “Partner John Edwards was lead counsel in eight of the 16 medical malpractice cases in the top 50.”
Later in that article, Mr. Edwards was interviewed about the $5 million he won from doctors who delivered Ethan L. Bedrick, who had cerebral palsy. Mr. Edwards credited the jury focus groups that he routinely used to help prepare his arguments.
“They gave me several bits and pieces of information to use when addressing the jury,” Mr. Edwards was quoted saying. “You can use them to decide whether to get involved in a case or whether to accept a settlement offer, but our primary use is trial presentation.”
The article went on to observe: “Focus groups can be put together for as little as $300, according to Edwards — a small investment compared to the $5 million won in Bedrick.”
It is not clear just how much Mr. Edwards made as a lawyer, but estimates based on a review of his lawsuit settlements and Senate records place his fortune at about $38 million.
Like many Democrats, Mr. Edwards has benefited from the generosity of fellow trial lawyers, who have given millions of dollars to Mr. Edwards’ political campaigns and other political endeavors.
Part of the platform that Mr. Edwards is running on includes medical-malpractice reform. The Democrats’ plan would go after insurance companies that increase doctors’ premiums and ban lawyers and plaintiffs for 10 years if they file three frivolous lawsuits.
One tenet of their plan would “require that individuals making medical-malpractice claims first go before a qualified medical specialist to make sure a reasonable grievance exists.”
However, Mr. Edwards said in a 1995 interview that such pre-screening is unnecessary.
“Pre-screening as a concept is very good, but it’s already done by every experienced malpractice lawyer,” he told North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
As a result of these and other cases, insurance rates for doctors have skyrocketed — putting some out of business and driving others away, especially from rural areas. And doctors who have lost cases to Mr. Edwards have been bankrupted.
Patients, meanwhile, are left with rising health care costs and fewer — if any — doctors in their area. It is increasingly a nationwide problem, physicians say.
Dr. VanDerVeer, the Charlotte neurosurgeon, recalled one recent night on duty when two patients arrived in an emergency room in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the area’s last neurosurgeons quit earlier this year.
“No one in Myrtle Beach would accept responsibility for these patients,” he said. And because it was raining, the helicopters were grounded, so the patients were loaded into ambulances and driven the four hours to Charlotte.
Upon arrival, one patient had died, and the other learned that she merely had a minor concussion — and a $6,000 bill for the ambulance ride.
“That’s just one little slice of life here,” Dr. VanDerVeer said. “It’s a direct result of the medical-malpractice situation that John Edwards fomented.”
Dr. Schmitt had spent 20 years delivering babies in Raleigh. Though he had no claims against him, his insurance tripled in one year. With no assurances that his rates would ever drop, or just stop rising, he left town.
For Mr. Edwards’ part, he doesn’t necessarily begrudge the doctors he sues.
In the book he wrote while campaigning for president, “Four Trials,” Mr. Edwards referred to the doctors who he’d won millions from in two cases.
“In the E.G. Sawyer case and the Jennifer Campbell case, the defendants were not malevolent but were caring and competent doctors who worked in good hospitals and yet made grievous mistakes,” he wrote. “They had erred in their judgment, but no one could despise them.”
Doctors, however, take it all a bit more personally.
“We are currently being sued out of existence,” Dr. VanDerVeer said. “People have to choose whether they want these lawyers to make gazillions of dollars in pain and suffering awards or whether they want health care.”

When Birds Attack

We’ve lived in our home about 9 years now, and during that time we’ve landscaped our yard in a way that attracts butterflies and birds. We’ve got about four active nests right now, and the fledglings that I mentioned in the last post are still around.

Tonight I was spraying the roses and a catbird landed on the fence nearby. I’ve noticed that he’s been around the patio eating the cherries from a tree at the edge. He’s a noisy bird and has been around all spring.

Now I know why.

He started calling from the fence, and looking me over. I started talking to him because he was so close – and I felt that it was the polite thing to do.

Next thing I know he’s tearing and pecking at my head. I was so surprised that I started laughing, but beat a hasty retreat from the area.

I respect a parent protecting his nest, especially one willing to take on something much, much bigger than him. When I got into fights years ago I only fought bigger guys. I hated being bullied, and learned over time that the best way to handle one was to attack him the way that bird attacked me tonight.

The results differed though. I usually got stomped, but beating up a wiry 120lb kid didn’t do the bully’s rep much good and standing up for myself scored points with the girlfriend.

So I’ll steer clear of that area of the yard for the next few days.

Fledglings

Last night our backup dog was chasing after something that was low-flying. Since there are several bird’s nests in the yard I kept her at bay once I realized what was happening. This morning I found these little guys:

Small fledgling

Larger, big mouthed fledgling

There is a significant size different between these two little guys that the pics don’t seem to capture. Both are in good condition. I don’t see any apparent injuries or broken bones. The bottom guy wanted to be fed when I picked him up – or he wanted to bite me – either way he’s in pretty good shape.

Mom & dad are flying around, issuing warning chirps whenever I get close and trying to distract me. Every once in awhile I hear the begging chirps of a fledgling and I know they are being fed. Our backyard isn’t the best place for baby birds; we have two dogs and a feral stray that we feed plus a small pond that the babies can stumble into if they aren’t careful. However the yard is fenced with lots of low laying plants to hide under and trees and bushes of various sizes to leap into and try to fly from.

And best of all, I am a supporter of Tri-state Bird Rescue. I called them this morning to discuss the situation and decided that the best course of action was to let Mom and Dad handle things. They’ve been doing a good job so far keeping their babies alive with a lab mix and chihuahua gunning for them, so they should do okay if I leave them in peace (and yes, that means no more handling/picture taking).

I’ve got the windows open and can hear what’s happening. Just a few “Where are you?” “I’m here!” chirps between parent and fledgling, so things are going okay I suppose.

The biggest problem with animals and children is deciding when to let Nature take its course and when to intervene. I’m learning that it’s much harder to do the former than the latter.

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy

NPR had a story this morning about the power of liberal bloggers in the Democratic Party. It talked about how the Left was taking a lesson from the Right on organizing around a key group of principles, namely that big government can solve big problems. This contrasts to the Right, which organized around the low taxes, smaller government mantra that led to the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s and the ascendancy of the Right to power from then on. Whereas the Right united Religious Right, low tax, pro-gun rights groups around one theme – smaller government – liberals were attempting to do the same thing today by organizing labor, anti-war, and anti-Bush groups.

However, that last part made me realize that in less than a year and a half, Bush will be out of the White House. Around the same time I expect the character of the war in Iraq to be different – either part of a larger war or with less participation of American forces. As for Labor, stick a fork in it it’s done. It’s a 19th century solution for a 19th century problem – and has no place in the modern economy. This coalition seems too shaky for long-term success, whereas the Religious Right and Libertarian voices on the Right have issues that will continue to be around for the foreseeable future.

Will these progressive voices have as much success? Perhaps, but they have to understand better what made the Right successful.

Father’s Day in the 21st Century

I don’t mean to toot my own horn in this post, but this afternoon Fox News aired a 30 second debate between a man and a woman about the changing role of fatherhood. The woman seemed to think that nothing had changed, that fathers were the same today that they were generations ago. She argued that women continued to do the bulk of housework, shopping, financial decisions, childcare and cooking. The man argued that things had indeed changed, that men were doing those things on top of the duties of being the primary wage earner of the household.

That got me to thinking about my situation.

I am the primary wage earner in my family.
While the wife pays the bills, I am the one that has to make any phone calls to resolve any of the disputes that invariably arise.
When anything breaks in the house, I am the one that fixes it or replaces it. If the latter, I am the one that buys it or calls the contractors to come.

So far that’s pretty much the traditional role, but how about this?

I do all the laundry, all the time. I know how to separate colors, run different cycles, and iron. If clothing needs repair I know how to sew.
I fold all the clothes and place them in the closets and drawers.
I do all the grocery shopping and all of the home cooking. I know how to cook some Chinese, Italian and Mexican dishes – but my specialty is Japanese, especially those that involve koshihikari rice which I buy from an Asian market and cook in a rice cooker I brought back with me from Japan.

I make my son’s lunches. I know how he likes his sandwiches. I make all his meals and make sure he gets the nutrition he needs.

I do most of the housework, including the vacuuming, bathrooms, and kitchen. Where I fail at is dusting – the Wife does most of that.

I take pride in cleaning the very same bathroom that I ripped down to the studs, wallboarded the walls and ceiling, put a new tub in, built the surround and shower doors, re-plumbed the pipes, relaid the floor, replaced the door and jam, installed a pedestal sink in and rewired to add an exhaust fan. The only thing I didn’t do myself was install the shower faucet. I tried, but couldn’t get the hang of sweating pipes and couldn’t trust my work enough to seal it behind wallboard. It took me some time, but I did it completely alone and am proud that the room looks professionally done.
Cleaning the toilet – one that I completely disassembled, put new hardware in and cleaned with bleach and a toothbrush in my backyard – hell, it’s a joy.

The woman in the debate asked “When the kid hurts himself at school, who does the nurse call? She calls his mother.”

Not in my home. I’m the one who had conferences and exchanged emails with the Kid’s teacher. I’m the one who argued with his school principal when it came to not holding the days lost during his trip to Africa against him. I’m also the one who voted to increase taxes for the school district.

I’m the one who punished him when his grades weren’t up to snuff, who sat with him while he did his homework, who helped him with his Market Day project selling “Rocky’s Famous Cookies” shaped like dog bones – which I baked. And I was the one who took him to CompUSA to buy his reward for achieving the best grades ever – straight A’s with only one B (I’m not asking for perfection, just effort).

When the Wife comes home, I make sure there is food on the table for her. I also make sure the house isn’t a complete wreck. I make sure her white coat is clean, and that she has clean scrubs when she gets up three hours before we do.

I feed and water all the animals. I change the gerbil cages. I do water-changes on the two aquariums every two weeks. I make sure the Chihuahua gets his epilepsy medication twice a day (I haven’t missed a dose yet). I take the dogs on walks or trips to the dog park. I brush their coats, and the fur of our three cats. I feed the them all, as well as an old feral cat that the Kid named years ago that comes around. And yes, I scoop and change the litterboxes.

I am the last to fall asleep every night, and I make sure that all living things within my humble home are comfortable and well-fed before I do.

As I said, I do not want you to think that I am special. Far from it. The point of this post is that there are thousands – perhaps even millions of men out there like me who do the things that used to be considered “women’s work” and do it without feeling any hint of lost masculinity. In fact, the feeling of being in control of your surroundings, accepting heavy responsibility and performing one’s duty quietly and without fanfare – what could be more manly?

I am not alone. I know there are others out there like me. I’ve met them. Things are not as simple as they once were, and things have indeed changed.

Palestinians: Back Policies Not People

The Jerusalem Post points out the failure of the West in general and the US in particular in the PA territories:


Some observers have noted that in the context of the current fighting, the US State Department is blaming Hamas’s “military wing,” thereby for the first time implicitly distinguishing between “good” and “bad” parts of Hamas. It may be that even the US is poised to treat the “good” Hamas as a legitimate Palestinian address, following the collapse of the “good” Mahmoud Abbas, and before him, the “good” Yasser Arafat.

If so, it would mean that the US has learned nothing from the serial failures born of backing particular people rather than policies. In each case, the international community failed to hold its favorite Palestinian leaders accountable for fear that worse ones would take over.

This approach has led precisely to the outcome it sought to avoid. The alternative is a policy that does not support the search for a Palestinian ally to support at all costs, but holds all factions, on behalf of Palestinians and Israelis alike, to basic standards of legitimacy, governance and movement toward peace.

Throwing Spaghetti At A Wall

This morning I get a call from a recruiter:

Him: “I’m looking for an OLAP developer in (a Philly suburb).”
Me: “I’m not an OLAP developer. I’m a Business Analyst.”
Him: “Well, this job has a mix of developer and BI skills… Tell me about your OLAP development experience.”

Lucky the call started breaking up and I used the opportunity to thank the recruiter for contacting me but I thought it was a bad fit.
Duh. I had to Google OLAP to find out what it meant, and as I expected, I’m not an OLAP developer.

I get these kind of calls a lot. I’ll hear from a headhunter from an outfit I’ve never heard of before, who found my resume in a keyword search. He hasn’t read the requirement or my resume. He just notes that the search turned me up so I must be a good fit.

Nothing ever comes from these calls. Absolutely nothing. They waste my time as well as the time of the hiring manager who reads my resume and wonders why I was even submitted.

There’s a term used to describe this scenario: Throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks. It’s a complete waste of everyone’s time, a kind of spam that rarely if ever works.

I enjoy my work in IT and business intelligence. I am very good at what I do, and take pride in my work. But I am not an OLAP developer – and I am not going to be thrown against the wall to see if I stick.

UPDATE: The same recruiter emailed me the requirement. Here is a direct quote from the req:

Must Haves: 5 yrs exp with OLAP. Will look at resumes with 3-5 yrs exp., but would have to be very detailed with their OLAP exp.(building cubes from the ground up). Must be a seasoned OLAP Analyst.

Angelina Jolie’s Hypocrisy

Angelina Jolie is an actress. I’ll be honest when I state I don’t hold actors in high regard. After all, why should I? They make their living speaking the words others put in their mouths and doing what they are told to do by another person. People working the drive thru do the same thing.

But they are stars – and are treated like modern day royalty. At least, a very select few are – like Angelina Jolie and her orphan-carrier, Brad Pitt.
So this doesn’t surprise me:

Jolie is touting press freedom these days, playing the widow of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in a new movie called “A Mighty Heart.”

But Jolie turns out to be a mighty hypocrite when it comes to her own freedom of the press. Her lawyer required all journalists to sign a contract before talking to her, and Jolie instructed publicists at first to ban FOX News from the red carpet of her premiere.

Ironically, Wednesday night’s premiere of the excellent Michael Winterbottom-directed film was meant to support an organization called Reporters Without Borders. Jolie, however, did everything she could to clamp down on the press and control it.

We can’t expect actors to have brains and use them. After all, they’ve never had to use them before, so what are the odds that they will begin to do so once they’ve achieved superstardom?

UPDATE:
Jolie’s backpedalling some, blaming her overzealous attorneys. Maybe she should hire Mike Niphong.

Fry Paris Hilton

Fry Paris - Bumpersticker

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Stick a fork in this sucker, it’s done.

This was bad law all around. It cheapened American citizenship and was a slap into the face to every immigrant who came here – or will come here – legally. As for those already here illegall, I sympathize with your wanting a better life. However ours is a nation of laws, and by breaking the law you have shown a deep disrespect for the nation you supposedly claim as your own. I have a picture of one of my great-grandfather’s names on a ship’s manifest from 1891. He came here legally, and so should you.

And the employers who want cheap labor? There is a free market in labor. If you can’t find the skills you want for the wages you are offering, then offer better wages. Eventually you’ll find your workers. And if your competition faces the same problem, then you will not lose a competitive advantage.

This bill was bad all around. I’m glad it’s dead.