From the News…

Workout notes
Today, my shoulders still felt heavy. So, I didn’t expect much from swimming; I did 5 x 100 fist, 10 x (25 drill, 25 swim), then 10 x 100 free on the 2. I was pleasantly surprised: 1:33, 33, 33, 33, 33, 32, 32, 32, 33, 30 (last one read 29, but I probably jumped the gun). Then 5 x 100 (side/free/side/free) and 500 pull in 8:17.

Yeah, way slow by a real swimmer’s standard, but the best I’ve done in years. About six weeks ago, I was pumped up to get them all under 1:40. The drills and the fist swims are paying dividends.

Political and Social

First, a fluff story that I found weird. Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis is an excellent coach and is also morbidly obese. He has tried gastric bypass surgery in the past and had almost died from it; he had internal bleeding. So, he filed a malpractice lawsuit.


But now, a mistrial has been declared. Why? Well, it turns out that one of the jurors got sick and started to pass out, and one of the doctors on trial came to his rescue! I understand; the doctor did the right thing, and *I* would have trouble ruling against someone who helped me out and possibly saved my life, even if they did screw up in the case in question.

A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis’ medical malpractice lawsuit after a juror collapsed and several doctors — including the two defendants — rushed to his aid.

The juror, an older man, began moaning as he listened to an expert testifying in defense of Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin. Weis claims they botched his care after gastric bypass surgery in June 2002.

The judge immediately ordered the other jurors out of the courtroom, but some saw Ferguson, Hodin and other doctors who were in the courtroom rush to the collapsed juror’s aid.

An attorney for Weis said it was with “great reluctance” that he ask for the mistrial in the case that was expected to go to the jury Wednesday.

“I cannot think of an instance there would be more reason than when a juror has this kind of incident,” attorney Michael Mone said.

President Bush Evidently lying (or at least misleading the public) has cost President Bush; columnist Ted Rall points out that the President is no longer believed by the public at large, even when he is telling the truth:

NEW YORK–George W. Bush claims that
Iran has been shipping weapons, including bombs used against U.S. military convoys, to Shiite militias in Iraq. I believe him. Iranian leaders would be idiots to -sit out a war whose outcome will affect them for decades to come.

Bush denies that he’s about to go to war against Iran. Again, I believe him. After all, we don’t have enough money or troops to invade, much less occupy, a nation three times bigger than Iraq.

Apparently I’m the only person in America who thinks Bush can tell the truth–er, a truth. Or two.

Granted, Administration’s j’accuse! press conference were reminiscent of the phony aluminum tubes and mocked-up anthrax bottles presented during the pre-Iraq War propaganda blitz. The only things missing from this set of metal tubes were “Compliments of the Ayatollah” and “Made in Iran” stickers. As a result of Bush’s ham-fisted replay of 2002, the objectively obvious observation that Iran is arming its proxy militias in Iraq has been greeted by what The New York Times called “a healthy dose of skepticism.”

“Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers,” reported the paper on February 13, “said that while that while they do not doubt that the [Iranian] weapons are being used to attack American troops, and that some of those weapons are being shipped into Iraq from Iran, they are still uncertain whether the weapons were being shipped into Iraq on the orders of Iran’s leaders.”

Even General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to take Bush at his word, saying he “would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.” To describe Bush’s credibility as merely damaged would understate the case. Fool us 10,000 times, shame on you; fool me 10,001 times…

If Bush says the sky is blue, people feel compelled to look up and check it out for themselves.

Why do so few belive this administration? Because they lie all of the time; here is an example of Dick Cheney’s lying, as pointed out by SusanG of the Daily Kos:

Cheney today:

Standing aboard the USS Kitty Hawk in Yokosuka harbor, Cheney said, “I want you to know that the American people do not support a policy of retreat.”

The American people last week:

Poll: 63% want all troops home by end of ’08

By Susan Page, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Americans overwhelmingly support congressional action to cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and set a timetable to bring them home by the end of next year, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds….

Speaking of the Daily Kos, Senator Dick Durbin met with some of the Kos bloggers, as described by hekebolos:

Today I had the privilege of attending a blogger meeting with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois–you know, because I’m one of those elite bloggers everyone keeps talking about 🙂

In all seriousness though…also in attendance was thereisnospoon, occams hatchet, dday, Mark Kleiman of, Desi Doyen of, and a blogger from Martini Republic. Am I forgetting anyone? Let me know.

For an hour-long conversation, we actually managed to cover a range of topics that I considered fairly broad. I took a bunch of notes and will do my best to convey a sense of Senator Durbin’s ideas about where the Democratic Senate should proceed from this point forward. […]

On the bankruptcy bill: Senator Durbin was the Minority Whip during the lsat Congress, and thereisnospoon asked why there was such difficulty with stopping the bankruptcy bill in its tracks. The Senator said that many on the House side simply didn’t read the legislation before voting on it and didn’t realize the impact the legislation would have.

By the time it reached the Senate, Senator Durbin knew exactly what was going on with it, and tried to offer amendments that would mitigate the effect that he thought were slam dunks: exemptions for National Guard members serving overseas, exemptions for disabled veterans, a homestead amendment–and they were all shot down without the slightest hint of trepidation. As Senator Durbin put it:

“I really couldn’t believe it. What a bunch of heartless bastards!”

I took the opportunity toward the end of the discusssion to ask Senator Durbin about some of his personal priorities–the DREAM Act, which would put children of undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization and offer universities the choice of whether to allow in-state tuition rates to them; and his proposal to create a single food safety regulatory agency to supervise the twelve agencies already in existence.

He said that the DREAM Act stands a very good chance of being passed by this Congress, and that Rosa Delauro–his counterpart in the House on food safety–will be pushing the bill on food safety regulation in the House this year.

Hillary Clinton Senator Hillary Clinton is probably the current front runner not only for the Democratic presidential nomination, but also for the presidential race, period, according to a column from The Nation. Keep in mind that The Nation doesn’t really care for Senator Clinton’s previous Iraq stance nor for her refusing to admit that her initial vote to authorize President Bush to go to war was a mistake.

The Nation — This writer is not a fan of the Democratic presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, whose centrist politics and certified insider status mark her as a something less than the change agent the country is going to need after two terms of Bushism. But a certain penchant for political realism leads me to point out a fact about the fast-starting 2008 presidential race that merits mention: The senator from New York is opening up a significant lead not just among grassroots Democrats but Americans in general.

The new Harris Interactive poll of 3,423 potential voters nationwide finds that among all adults — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — Clinton is the clear favorite. According to the Harris analysts, “Fully 45 percent would consider voting for her compared to 37 percent for [Illinois Senator] Obama, 29 percent for [former New York Mayor Rudy] Giuliani, 28 percent for [former North Carolina Senator John] Edwards, 26 percent for [Arizona Senator John] McCain and 26 percent for [former Vice President] Al Gore.”

Forced to choose one favorite among all the candidates, fully 20 percent of those surveyed selected the senator from New York, as compared with only 10 percent for the next strongest contender, Obama. The top Republican, Giuliani, could muster just eight percent, while the supposed superstar of the contest, McCain, was at six percent.

Of course, it is necessary to note that national surveys do not tell us what will happen in early caucuses and primaries. [For the record, recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire have Clinton running well.] But they do suggest that those who claim that Hillary Clinton would be a dangerously unpopular nominee for the Democrats are stuck in a timewarp.

By the way, I think that Senator Obama will change some of that, but for now, she has the lead. And, as I told my wife last night (and she favors Obama as well), I would rest easily if I knew that she was going to be our next President.

A point about William F. Buckley’s point of view: I often read his columns; for the most part they are well written and thought out, if misguided. I had to chuckle when I read this (from a column where he says it is ok for Senator McCain to speak at a creationist institution):

Representing the affirmative that night on television, one debater closed with this: “I’m taken with the reply of an elderly scientific scholar to an exuberant young skeptic: ‘I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop.’

Hmmm, easier to believe? Perhaps. More logical? No way. Think about it: if you say “hey, we and the world are just to complex to have just gotten here by chance, therefore some god must have made it all”, you are then saying that “some god” must have just gotten there. And that god, since it made all of this, has to be more complex than “all of this”. So on logical grounds, such an argument makes no sense at all.

Now if someone believes for other reasons (say, leap of faith, to get through the stresses of life, to have hope, to be less selfish, or admits that something else trumps our human logic, which is very limited), then fine. But that person is believing for reasons other than logical deduction.

And I admit that many folks who are way smarter than I could ever hope to be are indeed believers (e. g., accomplished mathematicians, medical doctors, etc.).

Local: students think that they are charmed, especially in traffic.

I chuckled when I read today’s Phil Luciano column:

What’s the worst threat to Bradley University students?

Bradley University students. […]

On foot, BU students think they’re impervious to traffic. They’ll walk into any road, at any time, before any vehicle moving at any speed.

I don’t know why. Maybe they spend too much time marveling at all those frenetic squirrels darting about the Quad. Perhaps students have contracted Squirrel Fever, and they can’t help mindlessly zipping hither and yon, even if it means risking becoming road kill.

I dread driving anywhere near Bradley’s campus. But I’ve been teaching there 11 years, so I can’t avoid it.

When I get anywhere near the Hilltop, I slow to about 3 mph. Otherwise, I run the risk of something bad happening, such as a student denting my bumper. Or worse.

I’ve asked my students why they walk so cavalierly. They just smile at me, as if humoring a demented old man. As a teacher, I get that a lot.

But I’m not the only Hilltop visitor spooked by students’ nonchalance. University Police Chief Dave Baer gets an earful.

“One of the biggest complaints of the homeowners and people who drive by the campus is that students just willy-nilly walk in front of cars, as if a 2,000-pound vehicle has a sensory device that says, ‘(Stop), that is a pedestrian,'” he says. […]

He blames the way many students move in herds. A large group enters a crosswalk on a green light, but many students linger in traffic long after the light has turned red.

“The light means nothing,” Groves says.

Even worse today, students can’t move without a cell phone in their ear. The phones literally act as blinders, making students even more oblivious to approaching traffic.


February 21, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, Peoria/local, politics/social, swimming, time trial/ race | Leave a comment