31 October 2007

Hillary's the scariest

But I'm going to bet most of the twelve regular readers here knew that already.

An AP Survey revealed that Hillary Clinton is the strong front-runner for scariest political Halloween costume. She beats the next politician, Rudy Giuliani, by two and a half fold.

Yesterday, I almost bought the mask they show in the link for Halloween, but MadLibs told me it was too scary to wear to his school. No joke. He thinks my flaming skull mask is less scary. I'm truly amazed at what a smart kid he is.

28 October 2007

It's like he could see the future

Two years ago, Bill Whittle wrote an excellent essay called Tribes, part of which discussed the events that happened at the Superdome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I'm sure some people read his essay and were enraged; after all, how in the world could anyone predict what would happen if ten thousand people were shoved into a situation like that?

Well, it's happened again. Ten thousand people were shoved into Qualcomm Stadium as refugees from the fires in southern California. Sure, it's not quite the same situation - there's a road in and out, so people can bring supplies, but from the sound of it Qualcomm Stadium has turned into a place of hope, caring, and mutual support, while the Superdome was described as hell.

As much as I like to slam California, I'll be surprised if we hear reports of residents shooting at police officers or Guardsmen who come to keep order in the aftermath of the fires. And I'll be surprised if we hear too many reports of people using their aid money for strip clubs and tattoos, and I'm guessing that people who double-dip by claiming their house burned twice, or accepting payments for rentals while they're living in free housing, will be the widely-publicized exception to the rule rather than what seems to be the norm in Louisiana. But what do I know, I can't tell the future. Maybe we should ask Bill Whittle, he seems to have a good handle on it.

23 October 2007

Go Fred Go!

Fred's plans for border security and illegal immigration reform have been posted at Fred08.com.

Mark Krikorian does a great job of penning the Cliff's Notes for it, if you're not inclined to read the whole thing. I agree with Krikorian, Fred's going to do a bang-up job of attrition through enforcement if he sticks with this plan.

I was hoping something like this would be coming out of Fred's campaign. And I'm hoping this prompts some of the people who un-registered as Republicans to re-register so they can vote in the primaries, because it'd be a shame to have a candidate who's got any less than Fred's plan for immigration reform running as the Republican candidate.

(h/t Ace of Spades - I hadn't gotten around to reading my the weekly update in my email yet, and didn't realize this had been posted. I'll be hopping on those things in the future.

Another reason Giuliani is not my favorite...

Giuliani is rooting for the Red Sox over the Rockies. Not that baseball's really my thing, to be honest, I wasn't even sure who was playing the Rockies. But this is just unforgivable.

I question this definition of romance...

Hillary told Essence mag that Bill is romantic because he brings her gifts when he's away.

Funny, I always thought a big part of romance was keeping pants zipped in the face of temptation, because you'd never ever want to hurt the person you're in love with. And Hillary, we already knew Bill was a gift giver, since he gave several gifts to Monica Lewinsky during their affair. The fact that Bill gives gifts is not something unique and special to your marriage.

I'm not sure the message the African American community needs is that romance is about what you get materially from a relationship rather than what you get from a stable, faithful relationship.

22 October 2007

A moment of wild speculation

Does the fact that many Malibu residents are ignoring evacuation orders, instead expecting firefighters to somehow mysteriously bring the fires under control, and barring that, expecting the firefighters to rescue them despite the fact that it puts firefighters at risk and keeps the firefighters from spending their time fighting fires have anything to do with Malibu's overwhelmingly liberal population?

Blending Chuck Norris

In honor of/Despite Chuck Norris's recent endorsement of Mike Huckabee (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I like Mike Huckabee, but he's not Fred Thompson), I feel the need to post the Will It Blend video featuring Chuck.

Oh, and if anyone feels so inclined, I'd definitely take a BlendTec blender mysteriously showing up on my doorstep.

21 October 2007

So nurturing

Hillary hates little fuzzy kittens. I'd be willing to bet she had a hand in poor Buddy's death too.

UPDATE: Harvey does it much better (as usual) over at IMAO.

Geiger's febrile seizure

Now that I'm all up in arms about nationalized health care, I might as well share our final experiences with Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Michelle Glasgow, after agreeing to continue to treat my hypothyroidism to the levels where I was losing weight, did an about-face when it came time to actually up my medication dosage. She would never answer my question about why she said previously that she would, only stating that I was within the TSH levels that Kaiser considered normal, despite the fact that those levels do not reflect the current guidelines from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. I'm not sure what her reasoning was for refusing to raise my dosage, other than playing God - Kaiser wasn't paying for my medication so it's not like they were out any cash.

We had already decided to find other health care (and had taken the steps to purchase it through our LLC, at half the cost of what the school district was charging for Pacificare insurance) when the incident happened that completely sealed our decision to leave Kaiser.

(You're going to be wondering what we did with MadLibs during all this - fortunately my father-in-law was visiting, and so we just shouted into his room for him to watch MadLibs, got a "Huh? I need to watch MadLibs?", and ran out the door.)

In late June, 16-month-old Geiger started running a fever. She was teething, and despite what some doctors say, MadLibs had run crazy high fevers when he was teething, so we just assumed it was due to teething, gave her some Tylenol, and put her to bed at 9 pm. Although we keep a baby monitor running, it hadn't been necessary to actively listen for a while - Geiger is pretty good about hollering when she's ready to get out of bed. About an hour after we put Geiger to bed, my husband (R) happened to walk by one of the monitors and heard what sounded like rhythmic sighing, and brought the monitor to me. We joked that she must be singing herself to sleep, and listened for probably a minute or two before R. decided to go check on her - we usually have a policy of not going into the kids' rooms after they go to bed, but if she was having that much trouble falling asleep maybe she just needed some playtime). R walked into Geiger's room and immediately shouted for me to come up.

Geiger was having a seizure, and was burning up with fever. I took her out of R's arms and told him to go call the pediatrician, because I really wasn't sure what to do other than to try to get her fever down. I ran into the bathroom and started pouring cold water on her. R couldn't decipher the phone system to reach anyone (our previous pediatrician's phone system just had you press 0 to reach someone, and in my opinion any phone system you might call in an emergency should work this way) and we decided we could get Geiger to a hospital faster than an ambulance could get to our house and get her there, so we loaded her up in the Jeep and drove as fast as we could to Good Samaritan, which obviously was not my first choice, but it was closest, and there's a toll highway that runs practically from our house to the hospital so we wouldn't have to worry about the traffic of going into downtown Denver. It took fifteen minutes from the time we realized she was having a seizure to arriving at the hospital. Geiger was still seizing.

(Note: if your child ever has a seizure, call 911. We weren't sure if a seizure was considered enough of an emergency to call 911, and didn't take into account that your urge is to drive like a maniac to get your child to the hospital. Plus they can stabilize your child in the ambulance - if Geiger had stopped breathing on the way to the hospital there would have been nothing we could have done.)

R dropped Geiger and me off at the door to the ER and went to park the car. I ran in and told the receptionist, "My daughter is having a seizure, we need help NOW!" The receptionist just sat there slack-jawed for what felt like an eternity but was probably only a couple of seconds before a nurse came out and took us to three different rooms before finally deciding where we needed to be. It took almost twenty minutes and two doses of Ativan to make the seizure stop. Geiger's temperature was 103.5 degrees, which is actually low for a febrile seizure and is lower than what MadLibs' temperature runs when he gets sick.

Once we were actually in the right room and the staff had figured out what to do with us, the care was excellent. They got the seizure stopped and had a nurse pretty constantly with us. They even gave us some socks with treads on the bottom (I didn't even know they made those for adults) since we had made it out the door with no shoes or socks, just pajamas. They did seem a little incredulous that she had a seizure with a temperature so low.

Good Samaritan didn't have a pediatrician on duty past 2 am, so R and Geiger rode in an ambulance downtown to Children's Hospital while I drove home to grab a cell phone, let my father-in-law know what was happening, and grab some real clothes, blankie, binky, bunny, etc. Geiger was still unconscious from the Ativan, and she needed to be observed until she regained consciousness.

The staff at Children's was also wonderful. R and I took turns staying awake and fielding phone calls (R had called my mother-in-law from Good Samaritan and asked her to call my mother for some affirmative prayer, so word was getting out). The resident at Children's sat me down while R was asleep and discussed in depth what had happened, what we needed to watch out for, and told us that despite the long duration of the seizure it was unlikely that there was any damage. We were instructed to give Geiger alternating Tylenol and Motrin to try to keep her temperature down. We were told to follow up with a pediatrician at Kaiser at the end of the day (it was now very early Friday morning) so she wouldn't go all weekend without a followup.

At about 7 am, Geiger regained consciousness. Her first word waking up, of course, was "Daddeeeee!" (Mommy's pretty ubiquitous, and I'm OK with that.) She was still very groggy and unable to walk and focus, but they let us take her home. We called Kaiser to find out that Dr. Merrill was on vacation, so we would have to see Dr. Bruce Doenecke, who had scoffed at me for being overconcerned and not knowing to just apply some hydrocortisone when I brought MadLibs in for a rash a few months before - a similar rash a year before had been strep. We got an appointment for 4:45, so as to get us as close to the weekend as possible.

At about 2:30, Geiger started screaming like her bones were being ground into glass. Nothing calmed her down. We called Kaiser and were told to wait for our appointment at 4:45 (which I understand; they probably wouldn't have been able to get us in any earlier anyway and by the time we got there we would have only saved a half hour). Dr. Donecke really didn't know what to do with us or about us - I had assumed a pediatrician would have at least a rudimentary knowledge of febrile seizures, but he honestly seemed clueless. He at least had the good sense to call Children's to talk to a neurologist, who said that it could be a reaction to coming off the Ativan or it could be post-ictal nastiness, but we would have to wait another 24 hours before another evaluation would be necessary. We could try Benadryl, but since she had never taken it before it was possible it would wire her even more.

The real kicker was when we asked Dr. Donecke what to do in the future, especially if we were up on a mountain or at my mom's, which is miles from the nearest paved road and at least 30 minutes to the nearest hospital, if an ambulance can even find the place (FedEx sure can't!). His profound, reassuring answer? "I don't know." Dr. Donecke didn't even offer to try to find out what our alternatives were. I don't know if it's just that we weren't his regular patients, or that he's really that unconcerned with the wellbeing of his charges and their parents' peace of mind. Even after we asked him if he expected us to never be out of reach of a phone and hospital, we received no answer.

Ten days later, we had left Kaiser Permanente for good and were back with our old pediatrician. Here's the plan our pediatrician laid out for handling this in the future:

Second seizures don't require a trip to the emergency room unless the seizure lasts for more than five minutes. We were told we don't need to call 911 until after the five minutes had passed, but I think we will probably call right away.

If Geiger starts running a fever, we immediately begin alternating doses of Tylenol and Motrin every three hours. There's some debate on whether this actually prevents a seizure, but if we can keep the fever down we're hoping that will help.

We carry a thermometer and Motrin with us at all times. The Motrin has the current dosage written on it so we don't have to think.

Geiger's pediatrician wrote a prescription for rectal diazepam (diastat), which we immediately filled. A few notes on this - talk to your pharmacy about what dosages they are able to get before you get your prescription written - the dosage the diazepam came in required that we purchase the refill at the same time (two to a package) so we ended up having to pay full price for the refill, and the whole prescription cost us $200 with insurance. Your pharmacy probably doesn't stock this, so be sure to bring in your prescription a few days before you will need it. When we hike, fly, go to mom's, etc., essentially whenever we go someplace where we might be out of reach of a hospital or doctor or a phone, we carry the diazepam and some rectal acetaminophen (marketed as Fever-All, ask your pharmacy for this too) to handle the seizure and bring down the fever long enough for us to get back to civilization.

It's amazing what a pediatrician who's actually interested in helping a parent maintain their kids' active lifestyle and who is actually concerned about her patients can do. The odds are good that Geiger will have another febrile seizure, since she has three of the risk factors for a repeat - she was under 18 months old, her fever was relatively low, and her seizure lasted more than fifteen minutes. With the current plan we've developed with our pediatrician, we can rest assured if we go someplace that is out of reach of phone and hospital, we can handle a seizure.

(And in case you're wondering, as if anyone read this far, Geiger is fine. She oddly lost her attachment to her bunny lovie for a while, but that either came back or redeveloped, I'm not sure which. She's still beating all the curves for learning and development, and her head is still way too big for her body.)

I wish I could draw like this

Darleen Click has a comic that sums the Democratic congress and the S-CHIP snafu up nicely.

I've almost come to the conclusion that some people really are too stupid to spend their own money. This is why they are OK with the government taking their money and spending it however the government feels is best. I wonder how they'll feel when they don't have the money for fancy cars and dinners out and fancy clothes because instead of being taxed at their current rate, their tax rate jumps up to 40 or 50 percent? But they'll have health insurance! Demanding nationalized healthcare for everyone is no different from saying, "I can't manage my budget and provide for my family, and everyone else is just as personally incompetent as I am." Yes, that's YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Frost.

One only has to look at the disaster that is Kaiser Permanente (and more on that later, we finally managed to shake free of Kaiser but I haven't had time to write up all the fun) and the rampant Medicare abuses, both on the part of doctors and patients, to know what a catastrophe nationalized healthcare would be.

19 October 2007

Hillary gets it

Hillary Clinton totally understands that offering universal health care means the government can tell you how to live your life.
As for ways to reduce pressure on the overburdened health care system, she said she could envision using "carrots and maybe a few sticks" to motivate people to lose weight and make other behavioral changes that could help...She didn't directly address questions of whether smokers or obese people should pay more for health care but said as president she would use the "bully pulpit" to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, particularly among young people.

Too bad she's got this fantastic understanding of the implications of government-provided health care, and she's still in favor of it. Oh, yeah, I forgot - she's insanely power-hungry. And thinks she can run each of our lives better than we could possibly do it ourselves. That explains it.

I can't imagine that the families perpetually dependent on welfare who don't think anyone should tell them they have to go get a job are going to look kindly on being told they have to shave a few pounds.

Snowball attack

Possible two-year prison term for throwing a snowball at a coworker.
When (Michelle) Oehlert reported the incident to deputies the following day, she said Thistleton and two friends were "taunting her" just before she was hit with the snowball. She complained that the snowball "caused her pain due to a prior injury" — a car accident several years earlier.

The DA is calling it an 'iceball' to try to make it sound like he's not a complete idiot.

18 October 2007

Schools prescribing birth control?

A middle school in Maine has made the decision to prescribe birth control pills to its female students without requiring parental consent.

The school in question is one of the few schools in the district to have an on-site clinic, apparently because of the high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches. I discussed the ramifications of the nanny state in the school and the slippery slope of allowing the government to offer additional, non-education-related services to students a few days ago. This is quite clearly another case.

I went to middle school and high school in an urban area - the high school I attended was over 60% African-American, and was gang-infested. I understand the problems many kids have coping with that environment, the tremendous amount of peer pressure, and goodness knows I made quite a few stupid choices myself during my middle school and high school years. Many of the students are not going to have two positive parental role models, and many of the students will be lucky to even have one. And sure, an eleven-year-old is not emotionally mature to make choices about sex and birth control, although she's probably going to be already making some choices about sex at that age. But putting the schools in the position of providing birth control to students is opening too many cans of worms.

First, there are the implications of having the school step in as an authority that may be circumventing parental wishes. I think it's likely that at least a few parents who don't want their child receiving birth control will refuse to sign the parental consent form allowing their child access to the clinic. This will decrease the student population that is served by the clinic. For instance, if Catholic students attend King Middle School, it's possible their parents will no longer allow them to seek health care from the school clinic. I'm pretty 'liberal' when it comes to birth control, but I think I'd be furious if my child went to her school clinic and was offered birth control. Offering a kid birth control is going to lead at least a few kids to think they need to use it, maybe earlier than they would have if it wasn't shoved in their faces.

Second, does the school really not have educational needs to spend their money on?

And third, can the school afford the financial and political ramifications if a student has medical problems due to taking birth control pills the school has prescribed? I don't think that when my daughter is eleven I will have discussed the medical reasons I had to stop taking the very birth control pills the CNN article uses as a graphic, or how taking the pill made both me and my mother so hormonally insane that it almost ruined our lives before we each clued in (at about the same time - my mother was on the pill as a hormone replacement late in life) that we were poisoning ourselves with birth control pills.

I know that denying a young girl birth control probably won't stop her from having sex - if anything, it's likely to make her act out even more. But schools have to stop trying to take over every aspect of parental responsibilities. If the Portland School District feels so strongly about having birth control available to students, maybe they should ask Planned Parenthood about putting offices near existing schools. This would allow the school district to continue to provide health services to in-need students without parents having to worry about whether birth control is being offered to their children against parental wishes, the school won't be opening themselves up for a lawsuit when a girl drops dead of a blood clot or starts acting out because the pill made her crazy.

16 October 2007

How disturbing is this?

Got this letter from MadLibs's school today.
Dear SchoolName parents:

Today about 12:30 PM today (sic) there was a safety concern in the area around the school.

The office staff was in constant communication with district security and the CityName police. Every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of all students at SchoolName.

Thank you for your support of the safety and security of SchoolName students.



Way to put parents' minds at ease!

Let him die, already!

CNN reports that the ACLU is sticking its nose in where it's not wanted again. They've filed to have all executions in Nevada halted until the Supreme Court decided on the 'cruel and unusual punishment' status of lethal injection.

The lucky guy who had his life saved beat a little old lady to death with a tire iron. What's more, he hasn't filed any appeals. He's ready to go. I wonder if he's grateful to the ACLU?

Opt out of having your info shared by Verizon

PeenieWallie has an important public service announcement if you're a Verizon customer and you place any value whatsoever on your privacy.

And they wonder why the district thinks they can send these out...

Denver Public Schools recently got itself into some hot water by sending a sealed letter home with a student informing the student's mother that the student was overweight. Of course, the child opened it and supposedly became distressed - perhaps she wasn't aware she had a weight problem?

I've seen comments on some blogs asking why in the world Denver Public Schools thinks they can engage in this sort of personal life interference. I'm guessing some of the same people who are up in arms over this are also up in arms in favor of the proposed expansion of the S-CHIP program.

70.7% of Centennial K-8's students were eligible (PDF warning) for free or reduced lunches in the 2005-2006 school year. To be eligible for free or reduced lunches, a student's family must be at or below 130% of poverty level. To qualify for the state CBHP health plan (PDF warning again), the student must be at or below 200% of poverty level.

What this means is that well over 70% of the students in Centennial K-8 qualify for state-funded health care.

With the government providing lunches and health insurance to a large portion of these kids, is it any wonder that the government feels a well-meaning obligation to do what they can to reduce those insurance costs?

Years ago, I did volunteer work at an HIV-testing clinic that also provided services to disabled people who needed mental health, physical health or housing services. My work there was a big part of what turned me from a bleeding heart into a conservative - seeing people use food stamps to buy pork rinds and candy bars and then asking for more more more because their food stamps were gone by was disenheartening. Even more disenheartening was taking a poor mom who had no food for her kids grocery shopping a few years ago and having her get mad and yelling at me in the grocery store because I wasn't willing to add twelve-packs of soda to the grocery bill.

I understand that there are many families out there who use their state and federal provided funds as wisely as they can. But parents who don't spoil it for everyone and make the government act as a nanny state to reduce the poor use of government funds. If we keep expanding government-funded health care, don't be surprised if we start seeing more and more cases where Big Brother is telling us how to raise our kids.

10 October 2007

Fun with databases

The Washington Post has a website where you can look up congressional votes since 1991.

But wait, there's more!

You can see votes sorted by several categories.

  • Political party

  • State/territory

  • Region

  • Boomer status

  • Gender

  • Astrological sign

Surely some statistics geek out there can run some numbers on whether we should be voting for Scorpios or Aquariuses...

08 October 2007

Nothing good can come of this

John H. Lee, a Korean director with only two films to his credit, is planning a remake of one of my favorite films ever, John Woo's The Killer. From what I can glean from the article, the remake is apparently being done with Woo's production company's blessing.

I understand that John Woo feels an enormous debt to those who mentored him in his early career, and has carried on that tradition by acting as advisor or executive producer on many young directors' projects, but a remake of The Killer seems to be a setup for failure. Either John H Lee will try to follow closely in John Woo's footsteps, and will fail because he doesn't have Chow Yun-Fat in the leading role, and can't recreate the incredible interpersonal dynamics and the amazing battle sequences, or he will try to make the film his own, in which case it will have to depart significantly enough from the original film that it shouldn't be called a remake.

And in a worst-case scenario, Hollywood will insist on a happy ending for the film, which will completely ruin it.

07 October 2007

Colorado Friends of Fred

The Colorado Friends of Fred Thompson website is up at www.colorado4fred.com.

One hundred million hits

PostSecret is quite likely going to reach one hundred million hits this week. That's about fifty thousand *times* more hits than this itty bitty blog has gotten. Way to go Frank! Both for the PostSecret project and your bang-up job raising awareness of Hopeline (1-800-SUICIDE).

The Truth Laid Bear managed to pick up on the fact that PostSecret was down for about a day a few weeks ago, but has not yet picked up that it's active again. I'm disappointed.

Nuance is everything

This is not a post about Fred Thompson, this is a post about CNN.

In a story on CNN today:

Still, most say that despite a few gaffes -- such as his statement during a Florida trip that he didn't "remember the details" of the 2005 Terri Schiavo right-to-die case -- Thompson is still a favorite to win over the values voters that dominate the primary.

'Right-to-whatever' carries the implied meaning that the whatever is being applied to whoever is exercising that right. In this case, it seems to imply that Terri Schiavo was exercising her right to die, rather than the actual facts of the case: her 'husband', who was shacked up and had produced two offspring with another woman, pulled the plug on Terri Schiavo despite the protests of people who obviously cared more about her well-being. Can anyone really argue that a man engaged in a long-standing adulterous affair has the best interests of his wife at heart? But CNN refers to this as a 'right-to-die' case, implying that Terri Schiavo herself expressed the wish that she wanted to die and exercised that 'right'. No documentation exists that Terri Schiavo said that she didn't want heroic measures to save her life implemented, and Michael Schiavo didn't bring up that she might not have wanted heroic measures taken until seven years later, after he had won lawsuits due to her condition totaling well over a million dollars. He waited until everyone had been bled dry.

This should be more accurately termed a 'right-to-kill-so-I-can-marry-my-concubine' case. Or if one wants to be more sensitive to a cheating husband, a 'right-to-kill' case. But in no way is Terri Schiavo's death a 'right-to-die' case.

02 October 2007

Woman doesn't understand fanboy tax

"A New York woman is so angry at Apple Inc. for lopping $200 off the price of the iPhone that she's filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages."

The gal is also suing AT&T, saying that the two-year contract is unfair. Waaah. Someone held a gun to this woman's head and made her buy the iPhone and sign the service contract. Oh wait, they didn't?

01 October 2007

More Network Solutions fun

Network Solutions still hasn't told us the IP address and the date when our client's site was hacked. They essentially said that the server logs were too big and there was too much traffic on the ftp server for them to track down the info we needed. I pointed out that it was a two-week window that we were looking at, and ALL traffic logging in to our client's ftp during that period of time should be regarded as suspicious since the only people with access were us and the client, and neither of us logged in during that time. I was told I would get a call back within 24 hours.

That was Thursday. No call back yet. I've got to assume at this point that their servers are compromised, otherwise why would they be so gosh-darned reluctant to hand over the info?

Google's Custom Search is spam

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

If it hadn't been a Google-owned blog, I wonder how long it would have taken to wrest control back from the spammer?