The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Holy. Fucking. God.

Kevin Drum tells us about a particularly terrifying story about our disaster of a health care system.

I don't have the complete information here (neither does the woman who got all of her limbs amputated), but it certainly seems that the hospital is simply protecting itself from certain liability here. Unless she came in with the flesh-eating bacteria, it infected her, took her limbs, and is refusing to even tell her this. Cases like this are why I think that tort reform is bullshit--if you want to punish frivilous lawyers, fine, but don't tilt the system against people like this.

And penalize the fuck out of the hospital if this poor woman actually ends up having to sue to find out why she can no longer walk or pick up anything.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Final Countdown

Harry Reid is getting his ducks in a row. According to the congress watchers at Daily Kos, the dems have approximately 40-45 no votes on Sammy-boy Alito, depending on what goes on with the moderate Republicans (if you are a Rhode Islander, NOW is the time to call Mr. Lincoln Chaffee). Do they have that many votes for a fillibuster against Alito?

I would have to assume that they do. The reason: the only people that object to the very nature of the fillibuster against judicial nominees are Republicans that want to ram through Bush's appointments*. If you are willing to vote no on the nominee, therefore, you are also willing to fillibuster the nomine. What political traction would you lose (assuming you're a democrat) by voting for cloture that you would not lose by voting against the nominee? The answer: none. If Harry Reid has 41 non-democrat votes, I'd have to assume it's fillibuster time.

Which makes the next couple of weeks all the more interesting. perhaps fighting harry can delay the vote past the state of the union address. Perhaps he can even forcer the Republians to invoke the nuclear option. If Alito gets confirmed, this is the only way that I hope it happens. Show the senate republicans changing the rules midstream in order to get their way. Use the debate time to point out all of the problems with mr. alito. Make them pay for all this bullshit in 2006, at least. They should look like the 1994 Rethuglicans.

Because they are the 1994 Rethuglicans. Only worse. You couldn't trade in 10 Bill Frists for one Bob Dole.

*I have not heard anything actual arguments against fillibustering judicial nominees other than "you shouldn't" and "abolishing the fillibuster is consitutional." To this I say, it's also consitutional to mandate the wearing of chicken suits on Thursdays, but that doesn't make it wise. Additionally, I say, for a lifetime appointment, shouldn't some sort of supermajority be necessary?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oh god.

This has to be the most painful thing I've ever seen. It starts out typical and boring enough, but tops everything off with this wonderful peice of advice:

Drill Sergeant Sex

He loves it when you take control. But he hates it when you're ordering him around. That infamously frail male ego is easily dinged by your domineering. Be bold, not bossy.

What the fuck? Watch out for that fragile male ego! just passively do what he wants, but be careful to not avoid "not taking control."


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Your 2006 Cardinals

I've been very silent on baseball since the horrible end of the NLCS. Partially this was due to a lack of excitement over whether they got Juan Encarnacion or Preston Wilson. Who really cares? In the end, it seemed like the FA outfielders not named 'giles' were basically 8 copies of the same average dude, with some differences at the fringe. Now that something that looks like the new team has been assembled, however, I'm starting to get excited for Spring Training again. So here I go with my fearless prediction for the season, derived with intuition alone:

STL gets 96 wins and the NL central again, by something like 2 games, over the three headed beast of the Astros, Brewers and Cubs (I refuse to predict which one of those teams will be the best... but at least one of them will have their question marks turn out to be positives). If things go right, then they could get as many as 100 again, and if things go wrong... well, we all remember 2003, no?

Since the drawbacks of the 2006 crew are readily apparent by scanning any combination of Cardblogs and Cubblogs, here's why I don't think that the Cardinals will be as much worse next year as some will believe:

1. Scott Rolen = threat to ERAs everywhere (except for Cardinals). Not that this needs explanation, but a full season of Rolen means not only that we get his power, defense and RBI protection, but also that Honest Abe/goddamn Hector "please don't throw" Luna (I have a deep, irrational hatred of the guy--seeing Mabry come in as a defensive replacement for him in Game 5 last year was a very, very happy moment.) will NOT be in the everyday lineup.

2. Spivey-man, spivey-man does all the things that a grudzie can, plus hit. This feeling comes mostly from the fact that my picking him up off of the waiver wire in my 2002 fantasy baseball league saved my season, and then I was able to trade him, straight up for Ken Griffey, Jr (the uninjured version), in the much lauded "Junior for Junior" trade. But I really do like the deal a lot, and it gives us a pretty decent infield.

3. pitching woes don't terrify me so much. Ponson, in my mind, is a good signing. Of the availible dudes, he is likely has the best cost/benefit of any of them. He has something to prove, and likely, if given a spot in the rotation, may actually prove it. I don't mind him splitting time with Anthony Reyes, who will get time to see MLB at bats, but without the major arm strain that would come from being in the rotation. THEN, Dunc can take one of the extra starters + one of the extra outfielders and get a quality outfielder for the playoffs.

4. CHiPs. Though there isn't the major level of outfield talent, this offseason has both provided some players that could be used for trade bait, and to restock Memphis with players that have at least seen the show. Some combination of Bigbie, Miles, Encarnacion, Taguchi, etc. will probably be needed in order to trade Marquis/Suppan/Mulder for a true impact player. Losing them won't hurt so much since we'd just be clearing space out of the logjam in the outfield.

5. Walt's never done. The team that goes to spring training isn't necessarily the team that goes to October. As per 4., the situation is in place to set up a true team of death on the way to the World Series. This could be the year, as much as last year or 2004. How long till pitchers and catchers report, again?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Samuel Alito--the worlds most terrifying man.

I've been holding off on talking about Alito for a while. Most of it was an attempt to gather an opinion on the guy. Some of it was an attempt to not be bitterly depressed over the fate of my country. After watching a bit of the guy's confirmation hearings, and reading the liveblogging of the whole thing over at firedoglake, I can be silient no more on this matter.

There are several reasons why Alito terrifies me. First is that the Bush adminstration clearly does have a litmus test. Not an abortion litmus test, but a pro-imperial Presidency litmus test. In reality, it should be common knowledge by now that Bush's #1 priority is protecting his own damn ass from any possible accountability that it might need to encounter. This is the common bond that has joined all of his executive and judicial nominees together. The danger inherent in the abortion debate has served partially as a way for Bush to distract from this power grab. The importance of the bill of rights should be readily apparent to anyone who has studied 9th grade civics, so I won't get much into that matter. On this matter, I would like to first cite Alito's previously stated belief in the Unitary Presidency. This is a legal philosophy dating back to Andrew Jackson. Jackson argued that, since the President is the only person in government directly elected by the entire nation, then therefore, the President deserves final say when branches of government have a dispute on legal matters. Under Alito, the Supreme Court will not intervene in the President's attempts to spy on American citizens.

Second, there is the obvious abortion issue. Alito's dissent in the appelate hearing of Planned Parenthood v. Casey should be terrifying to most anyone, particularly with regard to the claim that the state has the right to require spousal notification for an abortion. He has refused to call Roe v. Wade the settled law of the USA, and has similarly refused to reject his 1985 statement that Roe should be overturned, merely trying to explain that he was arguing for an advocate, and that wouldn't necessarily be his current positions, without saying that he still doesn't think that Roe should be overturned. As reddhead implies, this is just a game of dodgeball. But, the clearest indication that this appointment is clearly all about abortion should be the chorus of enthusiastic support that Alito is getting from every conservative nutazoid in the world. They are careful to not mention abortion, but that only makes it weirder, as they talk about abortion virtually nonstop until the nomination that could have more of an effect on the abortion issue than all of the partial birth bans in the world comes up. Certainly not fishy at all. Yeah. sure.

Finally, there is the simple case that Alito is clearly just a liar on the matter of his memebership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Lying to Congress, under oath, should be, in and of itself, reason to not confirm him.

So, the question becomes, what should be done about him. 1) Everyone should call their Senator and ask them to oppose this nomination, and to vote to keep the US Senate's cloture rule as it is. 2)Tell your friends about Alito. 3) Remind them, if they bitch about up-or-down votes, that the Republicans fillibustered LBJ's nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice in 1968

This is a scary moment in the history of our country. I hope the Dems are up to the challenge they now face.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Another one of those enraging things...

So, despite being a destitute grad student, sometimes I give to charity. Or, when I'm feeling particularly insane, maybe an odd political candidate (though not since college, really). Typically, I'll give to environmental organizations, or to a variety of humanitarian organizations. You would think that you would give money, and end of story.

But no.

They want your personal information. And then...

You get a mountain of goddamn spam and junk mail from said organizations. The thing that pisses me off is that I'll give when I can, and won't when I cant' afford it. But regardless of the situation, I get a mountain of shit pouring in through my mailbox for no particular reason. What is even more enraging is that fucking environmental organizations are amongst those producing this cavalcade of shit pouring in through my mailbox. Hey, assholes, when you produce all this goddamn junk mail, you kinda lose the moral imperative in complaining about the junk mail of others, no? I even lost a bill once in all of the fucking junk mail.

Even funnier, is that the letter always pretends to be from some goddamn celebrity. Every Habitat for Humanity letter comes personally addressed from Jimmy Carter to me. Ha! Who is non-cynical enough to get fooled by these techniques?

I guess it's the same segement of the population that actually fucking responds to the gibberish spam entitled "Lexus p0rN eats computer", thereby encouraging the idiots sending that crap to waste endless hours for the rest of us.

So stop sending the shit junk mail, people. We already have the paper.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Arguing with Republicans

Sean Carroll has it 100% right.