Friday, October 31, 2008

Got the vote out

I thought it was too late to register for early voting, but I registered and voted today with my dad. The line was pretty long when we got there around noon, but we went out for lunch and came back to a much smaller line. Now I won't have to wait around in an even longer line on e-day before getting to the Drinking Liberally par-tay! (If you're in/near Moscow on election day, email or call me for details)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


In the past four or five years, if it's this close to Halloween, I've usually read six or seven editorials about how kids these days wear slutty halloween costumes and need to cover their shame - always illustrated by a woman wearing an extremely small costume. I'm impressed that I haven't seen the normal deluge of this titillation masquerading as opinion this year.

Pop culture synchronicity

Funny how they reach the Cuban Missle Crisis on Mad Men the weekend before Fallout 3 comes out.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Kevin, M.D. is concerned that single-payer healthcare plans dictate the prices of medical procedures to providers.

But that's exactly the point, Kevin. If providers don't like the contracts they've negotiated with insurers, they need better negotiators, or to find ways to cut the costs of procedures. It costs a heck of a lot more to get an MRI in the US than in Japan, and this isn't merely because the technology is more available in Japan.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The rule about liberals

They never actually feel what they say they do - they repress and obfuscate so that they can live in the miserable world where women have control over their bodies and it is absurd to spend more than a hundred thousand dollars on clothes in the space of two months that saw millions lost from Americans' retirement savings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Words mean things.

Sarah Palin doesn't know whether Americans who bomb abortion clinics to intimidate their patients and staff are terrorists. It's not terrorism until it threatens the elites in the federal government. Regular American women and their doctors, sure, go get 'em. Don't you worry about going to Guantanamo.

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.
(Sigh) is right. Plus, I think, (eyeroll).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Takes one to know one

I got an email from a panicky-sounding Bill Sali today (Subject: Help keep Sali TV Ads on the Air), concerned about "out of state liberal interest groups [who] are spending millions of dollars trying to defeat [him]." Maybe recent poll numbers have spooked him?

So it's not okay when Democrats work together nationwide to win congressional seats, but it is totally sensible to drain millions of dollars from the Club for Growth, an out-of-state special interest group, into a race a competent campaigner could easily win for Republicans?

Stimulating the economy and eliminating wasteful government spending at the same time!

...that's what we can count on Sarah for.

Is it just me or is Republican hypocrisy getting less hilarious all the time? We've heard this one. It was funny the first four hundred or so times, but it's getting kind of old by now. There seems to be something flawed about the concept of trying to live as a symbol of your beliefs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

With enemies like these...

Some Republicans think that McCain's campaign "suspension" works beyond the level of a cheap trick, and are trying to paint Obama as a careless partier for having carried on his campaign instead of heading back to Washington to join the headless chickens trying to pass a doomed financial fix. Oh no, please please please do not throw Obama in that briar patch! If it's so important to bring your leadership to Washington, Sen. McCain, why not keep working to get yourself elected? If anyone is to believe that you're as scared at the prospect of an Obama presidency as your ads say you should be, they're going to need some sign that you're not just going through the motions because President is the next logical step in your life story.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just take it out of your vocabulary if you don't kow how to use it

Back in the day when my fears about my weight were actually delusional, I found it enormously empowering to stop using the word "fat," because it was not a word I knew how to use as anything other than a bludgeon. Sorority Delta Delta Delta is promoting a "fat talk free" week, whose official celebration I missed out on last week.

In case you're ever tempted to call me a foodie...

Know that I ate a Big Mac for dinner last night, and that I bought a chili cheese corn dog today on the same trip when I bought $16-worth of dried morels. It's diseheartening when you go to one store to do the bulk of your shopping for a big meal, and you make a supplemental stop at the place where they have the stuff you actually wanted and spend the same amount of money. (First trip to Winco = beef short ribs, veggies and other produce. Second trip to Rosauers = dried mushrooms and wine and junk food to tide us over until dinner). I'll put up recipes and pictures later, but the prep and cooking are going to take some time. We're attending a French-themed dinner tonight to which we're bringing zinfandel-braised short ribs with roasted mashed parsnips - Andy made this recipe up in May or so and picked up the next month's edition of Bon Appetit to find almost his exact recipe in it - and a cardamom-pear upside-down cake.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Recovery update

I hadn't posted on my recovery blog in quite a while until today. If a run-down of my medical month interests you, check it out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A template for a voice message that is actually useful

I've been playing phone tag with various people lately, and it occured to me that I am part of the problem because I leave terrible, wandering voice messages. This makes me a huge hypocrite, because I am constantly telling my family not to leave me voice mail that says, "Hi, it's me [your sister, mom, or dad], call me back!" If I don't have a specific message to leave, I hang up before the message is recorded. I thought maybe Google would be able to help me out in this situation, and I discovered this advice. The author, Jason Sherrill, gives this as an example of the perfect voice mail.
"Jason, this is John Doe at XYZ Company. It's Thursday, August 17th at 10:30 a.m. My phone number is (555) 555-1212. I need to send you an inventory export from our new database system, but I am not sure what format you'd prefer. We can export in CSV, Excel or XML format. I am leaving for a long weekend today at 4:00 p.m., so if you could call me back at (555) 555-1212 by 3:30 p.m. today, I would appreciate it. You can also email me your response at, that's j o h n dot d o e @ x y z c o m p a n y dot com. If you get this message after 3:30 p.m. today, call my assistant Jane at the same number."
From now on, I'm going to fill in the details of what I'm trying to communicate before I pick up the phone, and use this for a script template.

Friday, October 10, 2008


My mom got this note on her windshield a few days ago, and I must say I was shocked to learn she is so ignorant.She has a bumper sticker that says "Gas was $1.46 a gallon when Bush came into office," if you're wondering what prompted the lecture.

I'm inspired. I might start printing out my blog posts and sticking them to the windshields of people whose bumper stickers I don't like.

What's the point of contacting voters in Moscow?

Sometimes it feels a little futile to bother with political activism in my fairly liberal town. A food co-op is one of the centerpieces of downtown, and most of our local elected officials are Democrats. This isn't Darkest, Idaho.

It really doesn't matter whether I vote for President, as long as I'm voting in Idaho. I am going to be honored to vote for America's first African-American President, however, and might as well get that historical thrill.

A column at Slate by Bill Bishop explains why it's voters like me and the people I can drag to the polls who can deliver the red-state upsets like John Tester and Claire McCaskill - these candidates were successful by driving up their numbers in the more-urban areas of their districts. Moscow is nothing, population-wise, compared to Boise or Meridian, so there's only so much influence our area can have on this trend. I have absolutely no feel for how well Obama is doing down South, though when I was at the convention this summer, I got the impression that there was unprecedented excitement throughout the state.

McCaskill won in '06, as did two other Democratic Senate candidates in traditionally "red" states: Jim Webb in Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana. It's a cool threesome. Webb packed heat. Tester sported a flattop. McCaskill could talk to hog farmers, and she looked good at a campaign event standing next to Willie Nelson. Webb dubbed the group the "redneck caucus," and the myth began.
If you're only going to be pulling off people who live within a few blocks of each other, you should consider the return you're actually getting for driving a couple of hours to the edge of your district to knock on the doors of people who just don't want to hear from a politician.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Scenes from a crazy economy

I went to the bank today to deposit a check from my disability insurance payout, and the teller asked me, "Cashing out your retirement?" Well, no, I'm only 26, and I've been in my current job for about four years, so it's not really that time yet. But it got me to thinking about it probably being a good thing that I needed to call on my disability insurance before this market crash. Not that it's ever good to need your disability insurance.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Evidence-based antiterror tactics, please.

Via tristero, CNN reports that plenty of Constitutionally-questionable antiterror strategies adopted by the United States are also of questionable utility in defending against or preventing terrorism. For a drug or particular use of a drug to be approved by the FDA, it needs to be proven safe, and effective. If you're taking a drug that doesn't fix the problem it's intended to, you're exposing yourself to potentially dangerous side-effects and still paying for the pills. It is with this attitude that the FDA has been casting a skeptical eye on the use of cold medicines in children two and under, for whom the meds are not proven to work, and are known to be misused frequently enough to send thousands of children to the ER every year, and a handful to actually die.

It was more than a handful of Americans who lost their lives on 9/11, and until we have good data on whether or not behavior detection or data mining actually do anything to keep us safe, we're risking a lot more than living with a sick kid staying up all night coughing and miserable. Making sure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest and comfort during a cold is effective at beating the cold, if not immediately so. Popping a blue pill out of a blister pack and giving it to your toddler might convince her that she's going to feel better soon, but the psychological effect is not without a cost.

Terrorism wasn't invented in 2001, and the US has been trying to prevent it for years, so we don't have to start from scratch looking at tactics that can satisfy the Constitution and a frightened public. To listen to the "Everything changed on 9/11," crowd, you'd think absolutely no one had worried about it before, so all we've got to base decisions on is our hunches.

Just like I would rather not be in the placebo group in a study of a drug that is eventually found to be effective and safe, I can understand why there are some who believe we don't have time for double-blind controlled studies on the efficacy of antiterror tactics. There are would-be Osama bin Ladens out there. I personally prefer being lucky to being crafty when all is said and done. September 11, 2001 was not when American defense was born. A terrorist attack is a bigger deal than me succumbing to a disease I already have and there is no known cure for. And if I have a headache, I can take an aspirin, even if my more serious condition is going to get me in the end.

A TSA spokesman said Tuesday the report "is not any kind of indictment of our program," adding that the TSA's behavior-detection officers do not claim to be adept at finding people with terrorist intent.
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure when it comes to terrorism, but for all we know, we're getting an ounce of magic beans.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hair bleg

I've resisted the temptation to bleg, because I know exactly how much traffic I get here, but hey, I need advice.  My hair is currently two and a half inches long everywhere, and it's wavy if not curly.  I have no idea what to do with it, but I'd like to someday have regular longish girl hair again (though it will be different, with the new texture).  For now, I just smooth it down when it's wet, and treat the scar like a 1/4 inch-wide part.  

Anyone ever heard advice on growing your hair back after chemo or whatever?  

Friday, October 03, 2008

McCain's plan for rural health care: walk it off, bumpkins

I'm only 26, but my middle name might as well be "preexisting condition," and finding expert care in my rural area has posed a huge challenge for me - especially since I have to be seizure-free for six months to drive in Washington. So, Mr. McCain, if my autoimmune condition confines me to a wheelchair in 10 years, how will good exercise habits keep me healthy? How will I get any kind of coverage? And if I could even buy insurance on the private market, how many hours would I be expected to travel to get medical care?

This is a problem Idaho has been trying to address for years. Programs helping pay for student loans for rural general practitioners have a lot of potential - a lot more than starting a med school from scratch in Idaho. Who's to keep students from Idaho Medical in the state after they receieve their training?

You don't say...

I saw this on CNN just now, but I'm just hoping it's not true, because it's just too depressing if it is.

Oh, is that what comedy is for?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Aggrieved crackpots agree: it's super-sad when someone gets brain cancer

I can't possibly be old enough to get* cranky when I see this stuff: someone whose expertise on the danger of a product is limited to their grief at their loved one suffering the potential consequences of its use is given an audience at a House panel hearing. I'm not one to dismiss the emotional hardship of having brain cancer, but I don't really care what this lady thinks caused her husband's brain cancer. But then my craniotomy and I might just be defensive because I gave up my land line several years ago.

* I started out cranky anyway.