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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

re: Polanski (A Little Sanity)

Now that’s more like it:

Speaking to reporters, French government spokesman Luc Chatel said: “We have a judicial procedure under way, for a serious affair, the rape of a minor, on which the American and Swiss legal systems are doing their job.”

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner have written to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton calling for Polanski to be freed.

But the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has distanced himself from the move by asking his ministers to show “greater restraint” in defending him.

He added that despite a “leading Polish director” being involved, it is still a “case of rape and of punishment for having sex with a child”.
[...]
French film-maker Luc Besson, who directed the 1994 movie Leon, has also refused to lend his support.

Speaking to French radio station RTL, he said: “I have a lot of affection for him, he is a man that I like very much ... but nobody should be above the law.”

Of course, some of the useful idiots show up in the story, too, but we’re focusing on the positive here…

Read the rest.

Zombie?

Zomby!

And, yes, I know that technically I’m wrong, but I’m devoting this small portion of my life to the proper misspelling the word zomby (and then raising zomby hordes in hopes of conquering the world, but that’s another story entirely). I’m also technically wrong about the pronunciation of GIF, but the right way just makes me sound like I want to make a sandwich.

Just sayin’.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Only Scary Countries Arrest Folks who Drug and Rape 13 Year Old Girls

Who knew that in France quaaludes, champagne, and raping little girls is all the rage? Forget Thailand, pedophiles of the world, France is the place that you want to go. Well, at least as long as you’re an admired artist like Roman Polanski.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called the apprehension a “bit sinister. A man of such talent, recognized in the entire world … all this just isn’t nice.”

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand told French news media, “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.”

And this wasn’t just some minor breach of etiquette or confusion on the part of the director and while her age is certainly a part of the story, had she been 18 this still would have been rape. Roman Polanski is a rapist.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, was a ninth-grader when Polanski told her mother he wanted to shoot pictures of her for a French magazine. He gave the girl alcohol and drugs and raped her as she pleaded with him to stop.

He’s a man who raped a little girl and then fled the country. He was warmly embraced by his adopted country, allowed to continue to make movies, and even awarded by his peers for those films. He did something utterly unconscionable and was never made to pay the cost for those actions--and, regardless of how good those movies may have been, I am baffled by the sympathy for the man.

It’s far, far past time that he paid for his crimes.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wed. Morning Questions (The Ralph Nader Edition)

Have you ever sat back and thought to yourself, “That Ralph Nader sure is one unstable kook?”

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What I Wouldn’t Give for a Good Placebo

My wife gets migraines. Not just run of the mill, every day migraines, but the truly debilitating type that leave her weeping and in pain for days at a time. To combat the migraines, she takes an interesting mix of drugs and recently added Botox to her regimen--a series of shots in her neck, her shoulders, above her eyebrows, and on the sides of her head that, somehow, help tremendously in alleviating her pain. The drugs she takes daily, the Botox comes once a quarter.

We both like her doctor, a smallish woman with a dry (and occasionally violent) sense of humor and who threatened to stick me with a shot of Botox just so I could see how much it stings. She was joking, I’m pretty sure.

During one of the appointments, we ended up chatting about the various “alternative” treatments that darling girl has tried to control the migraines. At mention of some of the treatments (like craniosacral therapy), she rolled her eyes at about the same time I did. Big laughs ensued.

My opposition to some of these treatments wasn’t just that there was limited evidence of effectiveness, but that she sometimes seemed to come back in more pain than when she had gone to her therapist. To me, it was just a sign of desperation--understandable desperation--that she kept trying when the various mixes of drugs seemed to lose their effectiveness. But knowing just how much she was hurting, I really did understand her drive to find something that would help. As I said, entirely understandable.

When we left the doctor that day, we kept talking about the different treatments, about how happy we were that the Botox was working (even though it paralyzes her eyebrows, a fact that bothers her more than I expected). She explained that sometimes she kept trying the stuff that made me roll my eyes because it made her feel better even if, logically, she wasn’t sure that it was making any difference.

I suddenly understood. What she wanted was something that worked regardless of whether it was effective (which is the only way I can formulate such an imperfect thought)--until it stopped working, a placebo that did nothing other than making her feel less pain was just as good (and, sometimes, better) than a drug that played havoc with her brain and that had limited effectiveness is warding off the migraines. Some of those drugs made her feel sick whenever she ate, played with her short term memory, and some even seemed to give her more migraines. When faced with side effects like those and all the uncertainty that comes with changing the drug regimen, a metaphorical sugar pill with no down side has to be attractive.

What she wouldn’t give for a really good placebo.

Which is why this article struck me as funny today.

Some products that have been on the market for decades, like Prozac, are faltering in more recent follow-up tests. In many cases, these are the compounds that, in the late ‘90s, made Big Pharma more profitable than Big Oil. But if these same drugs were vetted now, the FDA might not approve some of them. Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One estimated that the so-called effect size (a measure of statistical significance) in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time.

It’s not that the old meds are getting weaker, drug developers say. It’s as if the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger.

The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis. The stakes could hardly be higher. In today’s economy, the fate of a long-established company can hang on the outcome of a handful of tests.
Why are inert pills suddenly overwhelming promising new drugs and established medicines alike?

Interesting article (if you’re into that sort of thing), and it made me look a little differently at the different things that darling girl goes through to try to control her pain. Not that I’ll stop rolling my eyes; that’s just not me. But I’ll try to do it a little quieter from now on.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Well, That Hasn’t Happened Before…

UPS tried to deliver a package today that requires a signature. Didn’t work since I wasn’t home. In the past, I’ve changed the delivery to my work address (although, to be fair, I can’t remember whether it was UPS or FedEx, so, yeah...) with no problems. This time there was a $4.00 charge to change the delivery address to an address about 4 miles from my home.

Which, that was a surprise. It’s not big enough to make me kick and scream, but it’s not the service that I expect, either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe I’ll Join the Border Patrol

I mean, I might do it just to drive the new Raptor.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We’ve already established what you are, ma ‘am.

Now we’re just haggling over the price.

I was shocked when Politico broke the WaPo story, although, perhaps, I shouldn’t have been. While the ethical lapse seemed obvious and the chance that the story would break out into the wild and start killing reputations seemed high, you don’t often go wrong putting money on the most cynical bet.

The Washington Post’s ill-fated plan to sell sponsorships of off-the-record “salons” was an ethical lapse of monumental proportions.

It just seemed dumb. Their ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, explains the story well and the story is certainly interesting. But even after reading the whole thing, I just couldn’t get that old George Bernard Shaw quote out of my head.

And I couldn’t shake the idea that the Washington Post was setting the price for their integrity and reputation--the virtue of any newspaper--awfully low. I don’t think that “cheap whore” gets you far in a tough business and a tough economy these days. Then again, virtue doesn’t seem as valuable as it once was (which says more about contemporary American culture than it does anything specific about the Washington Post).

As of late this week, only two Post readers cited the controversy as a reason for canceling their subscription. Only about 50 readers had written critical letters to the editor, about half the number The Post typically receives on a controversial topic.

That’s depressing as hell to me. Where, indeed, is the outrage?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Little Notes

Notes from the fringes of non-blogging:

  1. If you want to believe that America has talent, you might do well to ignore the show, America’s Got Talent. It goes far in proving the opposite (although there are, of course, a few exceptions sprinkled here and there--which doesn’t excuse the excessive praise that they heap upon some folks who should be ignored).
  2. But So You Think You Can Dance is a show with some genuinely talented folks. Often a true pleasure to watch and the judging tends to be spot on.
  3. Say it ain’t so, Joe. Colorado is going to miss Joe Sakic, especially in a rebuilding year where fans are going to have a hard time rousting up much excitement for this Avalanche team.
  4. Some days it’s hard to escape the idea that this is a horrible, horrible world that we live in.
  5. Bernie Ecclestone is a moron. He would do well to be fitted with a muzzle. Seriously.
  6. And here I had thought CompuServe was dead. Talk about surprising.
  7. Hubba hubba. I feel lust in my heart.

For what it’s worth.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Does the President Still Smoke?

Do I really care?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Your Obvious Show of Respect Displeases Me.

Senator Boxer is an idiot.

“Could you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?’ It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. I’d appreciate it.”

Sir and ma’am is the form of address I would use in the same situation (depending, of course, on the sex of the Senator).  It’s a sign of respect and politeness, not a sign of disregard. Her response is either born of ignorance, bitchiness, or arrogance--she doesn’t know better, she wants to bully him, or she really thinks she is American royalty. None of which is particularly endearing.

Because I was raised something close to right, I also say sir and ma’am in regular daily conversation because respect isn’t owed only to our political class.

Watch the video.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Very Small Comfort

These words from Eric von Brunn, as recorded on Foxnews, may be scant solace to the family of Stephen Johns, the security guard who lost his life in the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, but I hope that when they are read they do offer some small comfort to them.

“I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am it was Mr. Johns, and not my father who lost (his) life,” Erik von Brunn, 32, said in a statement to ABC News. “It was unjustified and unfair that he died...”
[...]
“For the extremists who believe my father is a hero: it is imperative that you understand what he did was an act of cowardice,” he said.

And let us all offer thanks that the son did not follow in the father’s evil beliefs.

Friday, June 05, 2009

My Penis Fears the Dangers of Daggering…

..But remains opposed to blatant government censorship on principle.

Or, if it didn’t sound so (potentially) painful, it would sound like an awful lot of fun.

So there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weather Related Question

It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s a freakin’ winter wonderland here in the big CO. I think that all of us in Colorado are asking the same question today: shouldn’t someone be warming my globes right about now?

Just sayin’…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Selling a Lie

No, this isn’t a post about the economic “crisis/non-crisis/worst-ever-crisis” acrobatics coming from the White House. Nope, it’s about a woman who wants to get her son laid. Unfortunately for the boy, he has Downs Syndrome and can’t quite close the deal on his own--which, if we were to be completely honest, isn’t a surprise since he’s running with a serious handicap in this particular horse race.

I’m not going to debate the wrong or right of pleading and potentially paying for someone to do naughty things to her boy (although I’m curious if she would go to the same lengths if the kid were on the other side of the gender fence). What I am going to quibble with is this:

“I strongly believe, and have always said, that society has a learning disability when it comes to Down syndrome,” she continued. “If he doesn’t get a girlfriend, I will feel really bad, because I have sold him this thing that he is like everybody else. That’s why I’m working overtime to get this sorted for him.”

If you have to break out the checkbook to get your twenty-one year old adopted son a shot with a woman, then he isn’t like everyone else. This isn’t a value judgment about the kid, nor is it saying that he has to live the life of a social recluse, shuttered away from polite society because he isn’t good enough to be around the rest of us. I’m not saying that his life is a useless thing.

But the idea that he is “just like the rest of us” is clearly a social nicety that folks play along without out of a sense of decency. ‘Cause he isn’t like everyone else-- which all rational people would probably agree with even while many try to keep up the “treat them just like everyone else” face because no one wants to be seen as the heartless bastard. But his mental faculties aren’t the same, the way he processes information isn’t the same, the kind of opportunities that he will have in life because of that simply are not the same as for an average person without Downs Syndrome.

I’m not a heartless bastard, but I don’t think that self-deception is a great place to start when deciding what kind of help you want to render to a horny, socially limited, young adult with Downs Syndrome.

Read the story. The comments on the original story (here) are an interesting read as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Angry Muslims, Please Don’t Burn Down My House (Or Beat Me Up)

Offered without comment (except, of course, the important title--with apologies to Macomber).

A Christian minister who has had heated arguments with Muslims on his TV Gospel show has been brutally attacked by three men who ripped off his cross and warned: ‘If you go back to the studio, we’ll break your legs.’

For those who don’t remember (or never knew to begin with), the title reference goes all the way back to a post in 2006. Unfortunately, the links to both Macomber’s post and Goldstein’s post are both dead. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Examples of Bad Decision Making

Not to make light of the vile nature of Stephen Quick and Samantha Light’s actions, but I want to know why any parents might trust the meth addict in the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” t-shirt to watch their kids?

Samantha Light, of Veedersburg, Indiana, Light faces four counts of child molestation and one count of child exploitation in a child exploitation case that local authorities called “horrible, just horrible.”

The young girl’s mother told reporters, “I asked her if they were just helping her in the bathroom and she said, ‘No mommy, they took pictures.”

Deputies seized several computers, cameras, a video camera, pornographic materials, drugs and drug paraphernalia during an initial search of the couple’s home, said Fountain County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Bob Kemp.

They also found a videotape that showed several sexual acts involving both Stephen Quick, 31, and Samantha Light, 25, with at least four different children between the ages of 2 months and 6 years old, Kemp said.

I’m glad I’m not a parent faced with all the difficulties of the world (or the diapers that come with kids for that first bit of their lives), but I honestly can’t imagine being in a situation where I would put my faith in those two.

This isn’t to say that the parents are to blame for what those two did--but I’m betting there are some folks out there wondering why they didn’t listen to that little voice in their heads that told them that those two couldn’t be trusted to keep the kids from the E-Z Meth Cooking Kit in the basement. Without worrying specifically about the kind of abuse that took place, it doesn’t seem hard to imagine many other kinds of problems with this duo.

Anyway, yet another example of the existence of evil in the world.

Monday, March 09, 2009

For the Record, The Very Mildly Cranky Edition

Spring forward sucks.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Don’t Get It, Part 2

What the hell is wrong with these folks?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stupid is as Stupid Does

For example...

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