Friday, November 17, 2017

Security As Oxymoron

My wife and I switched health insurance this month, due to her phased retirement which will be finalized at the end of the year. United Health Care invited me to create a personal account at the website for the new plan, which I did Wednesday.

I had, of course, to create a username and password. The latter took me several tries due to a long list of rules for security reasons. It had to have a capital letter, a small letter, a number, and one of several special characters. It could not have any of several other special characters. No letter or number could be repeated more than once, and it could not contain any actual words.

All of this to protect entry into a site that does not allow any data entry, merely allows the viewing of data. They are seriously concerned with protecting my medical payments from being viewed by unauthorized eyes.

The next day I get an email from them thanking me for signing up at their website. It went on to say, “Please write down your username and password for future reference. You will need it to sign in the next time you visit our website.”

The emphasis is mine, because I am pointing out that they are asking me to render all of the complex security rules they have for creating the password entirely useless, since a password that is written down anywhere is completely insecure. (Not to mention the grammatical error of using “it” to refer to the two things they told me to write down.)

The point should be made that due to their security rules the password must be written down because no one could possibly remember it.

One website required me to remember the name of the street I lived on when I was in first grade. I am 74 years old and grew up in the military. I don’t remember the name of the street I lived on before we bought this house twenty years ago, let alone something from almost seven decades ago. I made something up to satisfy their webform, and then immediately forgot what it was that I invented.

When I needed to answer that “security question” I tried “First Street,” which seemed like a logical answer, but apparently I was not that logical the day I filled out the stupid form.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fine Lines

Best quote about the Chargers game from a San Diego resident. “That was like watching your ex throw up on the dance floor at a party and knowing that’s no longer your problem.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

Um, You Already Said That

The Denver Broncos promise to "evaluate all areas" after being humiliated 41-16 by the New England Patriots and bringing their record to 3-6, tied with the Los Angeles Chargers for last in the division.

Um, they said that last week after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 51-23.

Last night was special, in that they muffed a punt on their own 15, gave up a 103-yard kickoff return, and suffered a blocked punt, all in the first 18 minutes of the game. They also scored field goals to answer New England touchdowns, apparently not realizing that scoring three points every time your opponent scores seven is not a winning strategy.

Perhaps they should evaluate their mascot; trading a stallion for a jackass.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Even More Fubar

I read the published account (pdf) of the investigation into the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S McCain today, and it leads me to conclude that the US Navy is even more fubar than I revealed in my discussion of last Tuesday. There are at least two statements in that report which indicate that the investigating officers were no more qualified for naval service than were the officers and crew they were investigating.

The report states, for instance that the ship was running in “darkened condition,” part of which was that, “all interior lighting was switched to red instead of white to facilitate crew rest.”

If that was the reason for red interior lighting, why would the red lighting include operational areas of the ship, such as the bridge and Combat Information Center? In fact, that is not the reason to “rig for red.” The red lighting is to promote night vision so that if any of the crew is required to go topside their vision is optimized for being able to function at night.

The report describes the situation with three ships approaching Fitzgerald from starboard, and correctly says that Fitzgerald was required by the International Rules of the Nautical Road to take action to “remain clear of the other three and if possible to avoid crossing ahead.”

Well and good so far, but then the report says that, “In the event Fitzgerald did not exercise this obligation, the other vessels were obligated to take early and appropriate action through their own independent maneuvering action.”

“Early?” The privileged vessel is, in fact, required to maintain its course and speed until it is apparent that the burdened vessel is not maneuvering to avoid, at which point, and only at that point, the privileged vessel should take action to avoid. That is hardly “early and appropriate” action which, in fact, the rules of the road specifically prohibit.

These are fairly minor points, and the report reasonably attributes fault, and I suspect does so for the most part fairly accurately. But the lack of basic knowledge of shipboard routine, such as not knowing the reason for red lighting, casts a certain aura of doubt on the expertise of the investigating body.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Fubar

To this day, fifty years after I left the service, I continue to regard my time in the Navy as the best and most useful years of my life. I would not trade that experience for everything else that I have done before or since, and I have held the US Navy in the highest possible regard for all the years since I had the honor and privilege to serve.

What I have read the past few years of its ships and its men today almost brings me to tears. The ships of today’s Navy are barely seaworthy, are certainly not battle worthy, and social engineering has so degraded the manning of the Navy that high quality ships would be wasted in any case.

I read that the Captain of a ship is in a bar on shore during liberty drinking with the enlisted crew of his ship. How can good order and discipline be maintained under such circumstances, and how can a Captain’s subordinates possibly maintain a proper respect for a “drinking buddy?”

The crew of another ship forgets to replace the lubricating oil in the ship’s main propulsion reducing gear box, rendering the ship inoperative and requiring shipyard repair. In addition to the appalling carelessness of the crew, what kind of ship is rendered useless by the loss of one set of propulsion gears?

When the bridge crew of an Arleigh Burke class destroyer causes a collision with a civilian ship ten times its size and one engine room is flooded, the ship is disabled and has to be towed to port. What kind of warship becomes a stationary target due to the loss of a single engine room?

The initial cause of that collision turns out to be that a watchstander is seen to be “struggling to cope with handling both helm and engine orders.” I have stood that watch, and anyone incapable of dealing with helm and engine orders after a couple of days of training does not belong in the Navy in any capacity. He probably does not belong outside of his parents’ care.

The Arleigh Burke class did, at least, mark a return to all-steel construction. From Wikipedia, “An earlier generation had combined a steel hull with an innovative superstructure made of lighter aluminum to reduce top weight, but the lighter metal proved vulnerable to cracking. Aluminum is also less fire-resistant than steel; a 1975 fire aboard USS Belknap gutted her aluminum superstructure. Battle damage to Royal Navy ships exacerbated by their aluminum superstructures during the 1982 Falklands War supported the decision to use steel.”

That policy didn’t last. What does the Navy decide to do in building its new Littoral Combat Ships? Use all-aluminum construction, including the hull. How stupid can we be?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Facebook & Twitter?

Watching a bunch of Senators so serious in their grilling of a panel of "social media" executives leaves me in despair. If our voters are making their presidential election decisions based on Facebook and Twitter, then this nation has problems far, far bigger than anything that Russia can do to us.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

And So It Begins

The timing and content of Mueller’s indictment of Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates are interesting.

Particularly interesting is the timing, in that the release comes on the heels of two weeks of media coverage of the Hillary Clinton campaign being the instigator of the infamous “Trump dossier,” confirmation that the Trump Jr. meeting with the Russians was a sting perpetrated by Fusion GPS, the company hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign to produce the Trump dossier, and of discussion about Uranium One’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State.

Even while still sealed, news of the indictments was released on Friday afternoon so that the media could bloviate all weekend and on the Sunday morning shows about who it might be and what the indictments might contain. It’s called “the politics of distraction.”

The content of the indictments are interesting only to the degree of how uninteresting they are. None of them have anything to do with Russia during the election or with the Trump presidential campaign. They have to do with Manafort’s and Gates’ work as lobbyists for the former government of Ukraine, the government which the US government helped to overthrow.

Democrats, and other anti-Trump forces, are rubbing their hands with glee, praising Mueller as if he is a combination of the Messiah and Steven Hawking, and forecasting the immediate downfall of Donald Trump. They are as giddy and as self assured as they were when projecting the electoral victory of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

National Cat Day

from spaceShe is, of course, not actually a cat. She is a princess. And sometimes a little bit of a brat.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Dike Is Broken

I am writing less often lately, mainly because national discourse has become so utterly divorced from reality that each time I start to write I get a sense of the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. The trickle has become a flood and it is time to run for your life.

Harvey Weinstein’s devil is revealed, and now every public person of the male gender is being accused of sexual attack by every female person who has ever been within arm’s reach of him. Our elections are supposedly meaningless due to the ability of foreign powers to corrupt them, and yet we are supposed to believe that an election of Democrats next year would be entirely valid and would save the world. Articles purporting to be scientific discourse are filled with “might be” causes and “could happen” events.

When the news was first released that four of our soldiers had been killed by ISIS in the African nation of Niger, my first reaction after sympathy for the soldiers and their families was to assume that they were not killed by ISIS. My next thought was not to wonder why they were in Niger, we have military units everywhere, but to wonder why their deaths were being reported when similar deaths under similar conditions in the Philippines was not.

Last night Margaret Brennan reported on the battle in Niger on CBS News, saying that the unit was attacked by, “an ISIS offshoot operating in the area.” She described the group of “35 to 40 fighters” and its leader and, just twelve seconds after describing it as “an ISIS offshoot” said that the leader “is wanted by US and French authorities, but US intelligence has not established any direct link between him and the ISIS militants that the US is already fighting on the battlegrounds in Iraq and in Syria.”

We won't even go into the US "fighting on the battlegrounds in Iraq and in Syria," which we vehemently claim we are not doing, but how credible is a news organization which, within the span of just a few seconds, says that “an ISIS offshoot” has “no direct ties with ISIS militants?”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Feline Follies

So, I'm watching a football game and eating potato chips from the bag.

My calico cat, Molly, jumps up on my lap and immediately becomes hyperfocused on potato chips. Her eyes are the size of dinner plates and they follow each chip from the bag to my mouth. She periodically leans in and peers into the bag. Her breathing is rapid and her whiskers twitching. The anxiety steadily increases.

The left paw comes up and she tries to intercept a chip in transit, getting a sharp, "Ut, no" from me.

She tries the imploring look, and a little soft "meow," but I am heartlessly unmoved. Merely laugh.

She goes back to watching each chip in transit, like Pablo Casals watching a tennis match. Pablo Casals? Damifino. First name that came to mind.

Anyway. Anxiety is building and control is slipping. She kind of leans forward with each chip that makes the passage.

Finally she makes her move - darts forward and tries to bite a chip just as I am putting it into my mouth. She gave me too much warning, though, and I win. She settles back, giving me a look that reminds me that even house cats with three colors (well, technically two colors and white) are predators.

I break off a little piece of chip and lay it down for her to have, and she snarfs it down. She looks at me, licking her chops, clearly says, "We could have saved a lot of time and anxiety," and leaves.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Minds and Tracks

Notice that we are halfway through the month of October, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of pink accoutrements I have seen on the NFL football fields this month, because everyone is too busy screaming at each other about kneeling for the national anthem. Jesus. Can we walk and chew gum at the same time? Evidently not.

The light at the end of the tunnel is some idiot with a flashlight halfway down where the tunnel bends. When we turn that corner we will be disappointed to discover that it is night time.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Not Forward Thinking

Democrats were thrilled to have laws created by executive order when it was a Democrat doing it. They are less thrilled when a Republican does it.

It was suggested by a few, back then, that what was created by executive order could be reversed by executive order, but it never occurred to them that they might lose a presidential election, even after mocking and excoriating Republicans for proclaiming a “Republican century” two decades earlier.

And Democrats are, for the second time after a presidential election loss, casting doubt on the validity of the electoral process itself. Does it not occur to them that, if and when they win the White House back, Republicans might proclaim that, “Democrats were right, the electoral process is not valid, and this Democrat president is not a valid President.”

So far, Republicans have never cast doubt on the electoral process after a loss. Democrats have done it twice now, and if they do it often enough Republicans might decide to emulate them.

A Democratic discussion group was outraged that Harvey Weinstein was not prosecuted long ago, until it was pointed out to them that he was raising millions of dollars for the Democratic Party and that his position as a major part of their money machine protected him as long as the Democratic Party controlled the Washington power structure. Would he have been brought to justice if Hillary Clinton had won? The discussion stopped when that question was asked.

There may be a group that does less forward thinking than liberals, but I have not come across it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Anaheim Fire This Morning

from space
This weather satellite image was at 7:00am local time, and it means the wind is still offshore and still pretty strong. Not good news. No fires in San Diego; that is just remains of morning marine layer.

Update, 6:00pm: Good news; smoke from the Anaheim fire has completely disappeared from the satellite image.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mind Boggling

Dianne Feinstein is running for reelection. Consensus is that it means there will no meaningful primary election for the US Senate in California, and Nancy Pelosi says that is good news for the Democratic Party and for America. If reelected, Feinstein will complete her next term at age 91.

I’m not sure which is more mind boggling; Feinstein running for reelection, or Pelosi claiming that her doing so is good for America.

Google said that putatively Russian-connected sources bought $53,000 worth of ads “in an effort to influence the 2016 election.” That amounts to 8 ten thousandths of one percent of the $6.8 billion that was spent on campaign advertising.

Something like putting one teaspoon of baking soda into Lake Michigan and claiming that doing so changed the chemistry of the lake.

It’s also pretty weird to think that anyone would believe that Russia is so stupid that they would think that $53,000 worth of Facebook ads would alter the results of the election.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Unintelligible Intelligence

The “Labor Report” is absolute gibberish this month. It is often misleading, although I don’t believe that is deliberate. I think it is just a high level of incompetence on the part of the Labor Department and the media. But this month it reached a nadir.

First it tells us that the economy lost 330,000 jobs in September, but falls all over itself assuring us that the figure reveals “strength in the economy” because it was due to hurricanes. I doubt that people who were in the areas hit by the hurricanes are buying that, but we aren't at the best part yet.

It goes on to say that the unemployment rate, “derived from a separate Labor Department survey of households,” declined to 4.2% in September.

How does the unemployment rate decrease when the number of employed showed a rather large decrease? Not a bad question. Why are media reports of the number of employed and the unemployment rate coming from two separate reports? That is a very good question.

The Household Survey, which includes the 4.2% unemployment rate, shows that the number of people employed increased by 906,000 in September. Why did the media choose not to report that? And why does one report show a decrease of 330,000 while the other shows an increase of 906,000 for the month? That's a difference of 1.26 million people.

This would normally be where I would provide the answers to these questions, but I don’t have any. I’m wondering why I seem to be the only one asking the questions.

Friday, October 06, 2017

I Don't Think So, But...

This morning Molly was walking down the hallway, licking her chops and minding her own business. She's gotten a little hard of hearing in her old age, so she didn't notice me coming out of the bedroom in front of her until, seeing her, I said aloud, "Hello, there's a cat."

I swear, she looked over her shoulder to see if there was a cat behind her.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Interesting Stat

The Denver Broncos, in their 34-year history, have had more trips to the Super Bowl than they have had losing seasons.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Heartbreaking

running for your life
When I was growing up, guys wore blue jeans and cowboy boots every day. We wore cleaner and newer jeans with more fancy boots to dances on Saturday nights. Girls, on the other hand, only wore their skirts and boots on Saturday nights when it was time to go out and listen to country music, flirt with boys, do some dancing and drink Coca Cola. The skirts were longer then, of course, but… Those were good times.

These poor girls went out for a night of country music and fun and wound up running for their lives. It’s enough to break an old man’s heart.

It should never have happened. We must decide, as a people, that beyond the need to comfort and offer healing to those who were harmed, it means nothing. We must not allow fear to take control our lives. If we do that then evil, what ever its form or purpose, has won the day. If we must live in fear, then what’s the point?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Honor The Venue

The media frenzy over sideline activity prior to football games is, unsurprisingly, reaching insanity. In postgame interviews, reporters are asking players inane questions about pregame anthem positioning rather than about the game itself. Good God.

The national anthem, and the flag, are symbols, and I believe we get entirely too wrapped up these days about “respecting” symbols, and pay too little attention to respecting what those symbols represent. It seems to me that one might disrespect this nation more by failing to speak out against what he perceives to be an injustice, than he would by failing to provide proper obeisance to a symbol.

Listening to the idiotic woman who sang the national anthem at the Cardinals/Cowboys game last night, I had the thought wondering why there is no outrage over singers who make up their own tune for the anthem so as to display what they perceive to be their vocal virtuosity. They warble, shriek, and hit notes that are miles away from the proper tune, and no one seems to be in the least offended by them mangling the nation’s anthem for their own glorification.

That being said, there is a time and place for everything. The owner of the football team is paying those players to attract fans to the game, in the stadium and on television. When the player is in uniform and in the stadium and acts in a manner which is certain to alienate some fans, actual or potential, he is acting against his employer’s interest, and is doing so on his employer’s time and in his employer’s venue. How can that possibly be considered honorable?

As much as I dislike ever agreeing with Donald Trump; yes, those players should either desist or be fired.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Travails of Today's Navy

Much is being made of the problems that the US Navy is having these days due to undermanning; lack of proper maintenance, tired sailors and officers due to lengthy watchstanding hours, poor performance due to lack of training time… All of this on brand new ships, with shiny new equipment.

Boo hoo. The boat I first served on was twenty two years old when I came aboard; four years older than I was. Diablo leaked so badly that we had a standing joke that our most critical piece of equipment was the bilge pump; if it ever crapped out we would sink in twelve hours. The periscope housings leaked when we were on the surface, which was a neat trick since they were more than twenty feet above the waterline. Nobody ever figured out how they did that, which pissed the Captain off no end. He had to wear a rain hat; not on the bridge, in the control room.

More than once we got under weigh on battery power because we could not get any one of our four engines started. Well, three actually, since one of them was permanently out to lunch. It was used for booze storage, but that's a different topic. We never ran out of battery power before getting at least one engine running, and so never needed to be towed back to port, but a couple of boats in our squadron did suffer that indignity. We gave them a lot of shit about that, but it was kind of risky considering that it could have been us. They may have had more booze storage than we did.

In port we stood watch on a four hours on twelve hours off basis, but we weren’t in port much. At sea the electricians stood four hours on four off, known as “port and starboard,” and we didn’t waste any time bitching about it. It was just a fact of life. We didn’t have any deck chairs either, and no shuffleboard courts.

Yes, we got tired, but it didn’t justify fucking up while on watch. It certainly didn’t justify letting some feather merchant ram us broadside.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

It's Different This Time?

I'm watching Ken Burns' series on the war in Vietnam, and thinking that people writing about watching the series are missing the reason that it matters today. He is telling us in no uncertain terms that, while we thought we knew what our government was doing in Vietnam and why they were doing it, we most certainly did not. We were being massively lied to by our elected leadership.

We think we know what we are doing in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Do we?

We have no real reason to think that we do. We should have every reason to realize that we do not know, given how massively we were lied to about the reasons for the invasion of Iraq. Do we think that the lying stopped because we elected young man who was a rising young star in the state government of Illinois? A state which has imprisoned three of its last four elected governors? Elect a guy who is a member of the most dishonest state government in the nation and expect honesty in the White House?

Why is the American electorate so willing to be lied to?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Don't Call the Fire Department

This thing with Donald Trump about the North Koreans kind of reminds me of an old woman who used to live in our homeowners’ association. She was a piece of work, which is a nice way of saying that she was a nasty, bad tempered old bitch. To her, nobody ever did anything right.

She had an ongoing vendetta with a home up on the canyon rim overlooking her unit which, unfortunately for her, was not within our association. It was a junkyard and, undeniably, an eyesore. I never really felt sorry for her, though. If anyone ever deserved to have to look at that nightmare it was her, but I certainly would have felt sorry for anyone else.

She ranted at anyone who would listen, and many who tried not to, that something needed to be done about that house, addressed our Board of Directors at great length during every monthly Board meeting and more than once called the Police Department. Since it was outside our association, there was nothing we could do about it, of course, and several of her calls to police turned out to be to the wrong department.

She finally decided that it might be a fire hazard and called the Fire Dept, getting the right one this time, which turned out badly for our association. They looked at the home and said that it was not a fire hazard. "But," they said, “your slopes are a fire hazard. You have thirty days to clear them or we will do it for you and send you a bill.”

It cost us more than $6500 to hire a crew to get the work done and, needless to say, did not increase the woman’s popularity much.

Kind of makes one want to suggest to Trump that he not be too hasty in taking action against North Korea.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Watching Football Games

Well, I guess it's okay for me to watch exciting football games again, if I can find any exciting games to watch. There won't be any in Los Angeles, I suspect, and probably not in Baton Rouge. There was one in San Diego Saturday night, when the Aztecs beat Stanford, by which time I was home from my overnight hospital stay and which I watched without the asshole's cardiologist's permission.

Anyway, the procedure was Thursday, and we won't discuss the anesthesiology because talking about it would probably cause a blowout of the repair work that the cardiologist did. Suffice it to say that I was able to hear him tell the staff to call up and advise that I would be spending the night, but not sufficiently awake to tell him what I thought of him. So I now have a stent in one of my arteries, despite him saying that my arteries looked "pretty darned good overall."

He did not even attempt to reconcile that with the earlier diagnosis of "severe multivessel coronary artery disease," but assholes cardiologists are not known for consistency. I may get more detail when I see him for the followup this Thursday, but I probably won't. Fuck it; I'm either going to die, or I'm not. I mean short term. Long term, of course, I will. We all do.

Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for exciting football games to watch.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Well, That Was Wierd

I play Fantasy Football every year and usually finish in the bottom half of the league. I follow NFL teams quite closely, but I don't follow individual players much, and that doesn't fit the FFL modus operandi very well. I enjoy it though, and it gives me somebody to root for when watching games where I have no real feeling for either team.

This weekend two of my active players were scratched on Sunday morning, so I was working with seven players while the other 11 teams in my league were working with nine each. I figured I would get blown out, but such was not the case. Not only did I win my contest, by 2.5 points, I was outscored by only one other team in the league. Strange.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Inanity of Lawsuits

Several states are filing lawsuits to assert that the current president cannot use the same authority to cancel a Presidential Executive Order that the former president used to create the order in the first place.

Several of the suits also cite violation of the Administrative Procedure Act for failing to follow the process for notice and comments, but that is pretty shaky territory since in creating the act that they seek to overturn, the Obama administration also failed to follow those same procedures. If a court overturned Trump's cancellation of DACA on those grounds, it would also have to overturn DACA itself on the same grounds. It's called "being hoist on one's own petard." Admittedly, I'm not sure what a petard is, but being hoist upon it sounds unpleasant.

Google is your friend. A petard is a small bomb. One certainly does not want to get hoist upon one of those; one's own or anyone else's.

There were some sane heads who said at the time that the problem with Obama's whole schtick of "If Congress won't act then I will," other than the unconstitutionality of it, was that what could be done by the executive order of one president could be undone by the executive order of another president. Obama supporters seemed to think that no Republican would ever be elected to the White House, and they now seem to think that is still true, denying reality to the bitter end.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

On Cardiologists

I do not consider making people happy to be one of my life goals; the exception being, of course, my wife. Making her happy is definitely a life goal, because I am not stupid. Not to mention the loving her thing.

I am definitely not a fan of making my fucking cardiologist happy. Cardiologists are happy when they are making money by either cutting you open, or sticking things into your leg and running them up into your heart, both of which are barbaric. They call the latter “catheterization,” which is absurd. Those things are most certainly not catheters.

Cardiologists are barbarians, and assholes. I don’t know if being a cardiologist turns them into that, or if only that kind of person becomes a cardiologist. Someday I’m going to conduct a study. If I survive my present asshole barbarian cardiologist long enough, that is.

This one keeps telling me my heart is fine, and that the reason that the same gym routine that has not been tiring me for several years is now tiring me is neurological. That’s not entirely unreasonable but he keeps running tests, which leads me to think that he doesn’t entirely believe what he is telling me. That is to say, I suspect he is bullshitting me because he doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

Most doctors say that you have an “idiopathic” whatever, which is doctorese for “damned if I know,” but cardiologists just tell you that nothing is wrong at all because they think that you can’t feel your own heartbeat.

I was in further doubt of his pollyanna remarks when he ordered the most recent test, a repeat of one I’d had just eight months before. It involves injection of radioactive material into my blood and is supposed to be done no more frequently than once per year, and when I reminded him I’d had it more recently all he did was tell me how tiny the amount of radiation is and say that we (notice the “we”) needed the information.

Please note that the amount of information that I, as in me the patient, is going to get from that test is something close to zero because it says things like, “A large sized, mild to moderate severity, minimally reversible defect exists in the proximal to distal inferior and inferoseptal segments.” How informative is that? It sounded like it was saying that part of my heart is inferior, which I didn’t appreciate.

Inferior segments, forsooth. Which segments of your heart are inferior, bub?

Anyway, in all fairness, I was informed by the part that said, “Findings are consistent with severe multivessel coronary artery disease.” Shit. So I guess “we” did get information.

The asshole cardiologist became giddy as he told his nurse to reserve a time slot in the “cath lab.” He even told her to “book the first slot you can get.” If he was not a barbaric psychopath he would have left the room before he told her that so that the patient (that’s me) would not hear it.

So here we go again with one of those procedures where I’m sedated. The anesthetist always comes in and goes over things, and I tell him that as a long time recovering alcoholic I am significantly drug resistant so he is going to have to use more dosage than usual. He pats me on the leg and says he will “take good care of me” and promptly forgets every word that I said. He is a doctor and I am this old guy who used to be an electrician.

So sure enough at some point during the procedure I wake up and start yelling, “Hey dickhead.” Apparently I’m not yelling as loud as I think I am, because it’s about two years before somebody looks down and says, “Oh, hello. Are you awake?” Seriously? ”Yeah I’m awake you fucking moron, because I told you to use more drugs and you…”

And they give me more drugs if for no other reason than to shut me up.

Anyway, back at the cardiologist’s office, after we’ve got all of the business worked out about the upcoming angiogram I ask him if it’s okay for me to continue going to the gym in the meantime. He gives me this look, like he’s trying to figure out why I just broke out in a bad case of stupid and says that, no, I should not go to the gym.

I then ask him if it’s okay to watch football games and he finally figures out that I’m fucking with him. “Sure,” he says, “just don’t watch any exciting ones.” Maybe he’s not all bad.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Spare Me The Handwringing

If the “dreamers” were marching with the approach of asking for the favor of being permitted to stay here I would be totally on board. I think they should be invited to stay. I don’t say “permitted to stay,” because I think we should do better than that, I think we should welcome them rather than tolerate them.

I am not sympathetic, however, to their anger and their sense that they have been wronged. We have laws and they are in violation. They cannot demand “rights” that under the law they do not have. Wants are not rights.

Their argument is utterly incomprehensible. “I didn’t ask to be brought here,” they say angrily, “but I am outraged that you are trying to make me leave.”

Congress should have passed DACA. They had a chance to do so and declined. The executive order called DACA was created in a manner contrary to our constitution and was rescinded. The President, in rescinding that executive order, challenged Congress to pass the law. In rescinding the unconstitutional executive order, he allowed time before it takes effect for Congress to put DACA into law. Any anger you may feel at the ending of DACA should be directed at Congress, not Trump.

I liked many things about Obama, but his whole schtick about, “If Congress won’t act then I will,” was utterly contrary to the manner in which the constitution specifies that this nation is to be governed. It does not only not say that the President can act in place of Congress, it specifically says that he cannot. It says that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Laws passed by Congress.

In his statement he says that when Congress declines to pass a law he will act contrary to their will by executive order. As a case in point, the executive order DACA expressly specifies that parts of immigration law passed by Congress will not be carried out.

Trump, for whatever reason, did the right thing. Congress did the wrong thing. Direct anger where it belongs.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Better Life

I was reading a discussion elsewhere, one which made little sense but which led to me thinking about the concept of the desire for “a better life” and the pursuit thereof.

The people who founded this nation came here in pursuit of “a better life.” To do that they embarked on a dangerous and arduous ocean voyage, an adventure in itself that no few number of them would not survive. Once here, they had to contend with a rather hostile land with none of the civilization which they had left, disease, wild animals, hostile indigenous peoples, crop failures and harsh weather. They wanted that “better life” very badly to go through all of that.

Today’s “undocumented immigrants,” while they broke the law entering the country without permission, worked hard, traveled great distances on foot and often endured great danger from “coyotes” who preyed on them to get to the land that promised them “a better life.” When they got here they took backbreaking jobs and lived in humble conditions to send money back home to support the families they left behind.

Today’s American citizens who want a better life demand that government do something for them; pass a law or “tax the rich” in order to give them something for free. God help us all.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Strange

I tuned in to "Hardball With Chris Matthews" on MSNBC briefly this afternoon. Yeah, I know. I do that every once in a while to remind myself why I don't watch that channel. Anyway, they were having a lengthy discussion about Trump firing Michael Flynn, which happened last February. Why is that worth discussing in September?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fine Lines

From Da Tech Guy blog:

"When I was young the NAACP was known for standing up to police dogs and angry Klansmen for the rights of average people to go to school, sit at a lunch counter and live where they will. Now they are known for protesting on behalf of a millionaire football player unsigned after a 2-10 record and people wonder why they aren’t as respected as they once were."

Yeah. I guess the whole meaning of the word "cause" has been redefined.

Sports in San Diego

The San Diego newspaper still has a sports section, but I’m not sure why. Maybe we all need something to line the bottom of our feline litter boxes.

Sportswriter Kevin Acee has finally tired of being critical of the NFL team that moved to Los Angeles, and is now swanning like a schoolgirl over his new enthusiasm; San Diego’s new professional Lacrosse team. He believes it will draw the crowds of 72,000 that the Chargers were unable to draw.

Well, good luck with that. He can’t be happy about the new professional soccer team, because we were supposed to lose that when the new Mission Valley stadium deal collapsed. Admitting that we got the expansion franchise regardless is just too embarrassing after all of his bloviating about how we had to pass the stadium initiative or we would miss a chance at getting a professional soccer team.

Dan Fouts is telling us how embarrassing it must be for the Chargers to only draw 21,000 fans for preseason games in LA, because only two NFL teams have averaged fewer than 21,000 fans at regular season games in the history of the NFL. Yes, and the apples I bought yesterday were horribly overpriced, because they were much, much smaller than the grapefruits in the bin right next to them.

I watched a Chicago preseason game on Sunday that was attended by about 15,000 fans, in a 70,000-seat stadium that will be filled to capacity once the regular season starts. A crowd of 21,000 for a preseason game is actually a pretty good draw.

On a related governmental note; In 1996 California passed Proposition 218 which specified, among other things, that any special purpose tax needed to be voted on by the people affected by that tax and had to pass by a two-thirds majority. A court ruled this week that the ruling applies only to taxes imposed by governments, and that any tax or tax increase resulting from a citizen initiative could pass with a simple majority.

So, California becomes more insane every year. If a local government wants to impose a new tax to pay for a football stadium, then 67% of the voting public must approve that new tax. But if a football team owner as a private citizen initiates a new tax to have a city or county finance a new stadium for him, that tax only needs the approval of 51% of the voting public.

Local sportswriters are not writing about this at all.