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Dispatches from Boulder the Damned
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Thursday, September 30, 2004

I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today, we'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home....Once we had rounded [Saddam] up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is who do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq. -- Dick Cheney, 1992 (from Garry Trudeau)
  Ah, yes, the debate's tonight.  I'm scared bonkers.  If Kerry doesn't do well, I think it's over.  I'm so annoyed.

I was heartened to find I'm not alone.  There is a group called Kerry Haters for Kerry, and that about describes me at this point.  I just hate Bush far, far more.

The Case is going to trial in May, we're to believe.  Lisa Simpson, et al, and her charge that the University of Colorado fostered a climate of misogynism to the nth degree led to her rape.  It's not the quick trial both parties say they hoped for, being eight months in the future, but it beats the 2006 court date.  Simpson's lawyers want to re-interrogate Coach Barnett, who said he'd handed in everything in the way of notes, but who later said he was keeping notes for a book about the issue.  Seems pretty clear this is in violation of his testimony, but the point was made that he was not using CU pens or paper and was done on his own time.  This is the sort of squiggly stuff that usually connotes guilt in the specifics, but the choice was a quick trial or pursuing that.  Simpson's attorneys decided to let it go.

Merck, the drug giant, has recalled an arthritis drug because, after 18 months, patients on it had clear increases in heart attacks.  This was a big deal, because it made money for them - $2 billion a year - and because it surrenders percentages in the market to bigger rival Pfizer.  It's hard not to be impressed that they would do this.

Until, upon reflection, you realize that the only reason they did it - and not just put increased warnings on the label - is because of those horrible lawyers who'd sue and win huge amounts for their, often, dead clients.  In the fifties and sixties the record is replete with questionable or outright dangerous drugs being put on the market without sufficient testing, nor honesty in labelling, nor unseemly amount of guilt in so doing.  The doctors and pharmaceutical companies behind Thalidomide and other gems never were sufficiently punished for endangering children and their mothers, for example.  They'd not done relevant investigation, and just transferred a successful drug to a new set of users.

But it does bring up questions about why drugs aren't ranked by danger.  For example, why not have an 'A' rating for drugs we have a lot of experience with (aspirin, say) and the dangers and benefits of which are known.  Then all the way down to D drugs: out of the hopper experimental and only available to those in extremis with no other choice but death.  Why not?  It removes much unnecessary culpability from the doctors, encourages research, and only nails those who aren't truthful about the risks of certain drugs to their patients, who'd have to sign off on them.  It seems like a doable and clean method that would alleviate unnecessary conflicts between doctors and lawyers.  People have to stop being patsys between professions.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I think it's unquestionable that Republicans are more likely to prevent the next attack. However, I will grant that John Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry.-- Conservative columnist Ann Coulter.   There is something wrong with this woman, I agree.

Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice. Henry L. Mencken, a guy who's hard not to like these days.

In 1957, on this day, an explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137, and plutonium in about twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.  It's never admitted, and alarms the US enough to give teeth to nuclear regulation in the civil sector.  Admiral Rickover, the head of the nuclear navy, had already established the safest regulation on the planet, which is why our submariners have normal lifespans and the Soviets....did not.  And maybe, the Russian nuclear navy isn't living long or well either.

Richard Bynny, in his State of the Campus address to faculty yesterday, managed to find time to address the alcohol death of Mr. Bailey.  In lightening response, the University proposes to delay freshman rush for one semester, in order for Freshmen to get their sealegs, so to speak, before getting their grog legs.  

It's a great plan, hampered somewhat by the fact the University has little or nothing to say what happens off campus, and it's just another cya pledge by authority to stave off parental lawsuits when their darling if drunken children are killed under the concerned eyes of fraternity brothers.  Enough cannot be condemned about this revolting hypocrisy which, actually, cannot be enforced anyway.

Tommorow is the first debate for Kerry and Bush, and if the big K doesn't make a good impression, I'm afraid it's all over.

I love this.  "We all like to talk to someone who looks good. It is the same for dogs."  This from Brazilian veterinarian Edgard Brito, on his canine Botox and plastic surgery procedures   Got it?  Plastic surgery for pets?  From Brazil, of course, the leader in this sort of thing.  And they're going nuclear as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Managed to erase this day's blog.  Way to go.  Mumble.

Just do me a favor and look at Bardot, seventy today, in her youth.  It's what Google's for, man...




Monday, September 27, 2004


On this day, in 1996, the Taliban took Kabul, in Afghanistan, from the warlord soup that became the Northern Alliance that retook it six years later.  With, you know, some help.  Who controls it now?  We don't actually know, all attention is in Iraq where, according to Secretary of State Powell yesterday, things are getting worse.

  Things aren't altogether well in the GOP this Monday.  House thug Tom DeLay has had three of this henchmen indicted in Texas for financial misdeeds in the PACs setup to redistrict the state.  He's apoplectic and, probably, rather uneasy since the word is it will come down on him sooner than later.  Fortunately, DeLay is such a revolting person even the GOP is hard put to pony up people to defend him.  On the other hand, it was he who got Texas redistricted.  Without it, Texas becomes Democratic.

Read Molly Ivins on this.  Actually, on anything.  Something to look forward to.

Boulder continues to cut back expenses till retail and tax income get back up.  A lot seems to be riding on the 29th St. project, but I remain suspicious.  Of course, I've felt for decades that a great deal of Boulder's economy was vapor, based on laundered drug money from years past, and when culpability and interest slips past the statutes of limitations, these businesses pull up and move out.  As the boomer generation is hitting retirement, those that remain will peter out.  Even so, there's an awful lot of activity on the Mall this year that should have pushed things higher than reported.  

Suspicious. I remain suspicious.
Sunday, September 26, 2004








On this day in 1687, Venetian soldiers fighting the Turks in Athens, inadvertently or not, hit the powder magazine in the Parthenon.  The roof, walls and 16 columns are blown off.  

In 1937, Bessie Smith died from blood loss after a traffic accident.  Supposedly, she'd been denied treatment at an all white hospital, but this may not be true.  It's hard to say from the recordings how terrific Smith was, but she sure had a powerful voice.

More relevant, on this day in 1960, the first of the Nixon Kennedy debates took place, Nixon winning to the radio audience, Kennedy to the television.   It would be amusing to ask college students who won the election.

The Boulder Daily Camera finally gets around to some hard numbers about who drinks in Boulder.   They base their numbers on total population, which I'm not sure is relevant.  They say there is one liquor license for every 391 residents.  Suspicious enough.

What we need to know is how many LEGAL potential drinkers there are.  According to demographics, only 73 percent of Boulder is over 21.  Then, real life, subtract out those over 65.  This leaves 65.2% of Boulder legal and able to drink.  It also means one liquor license for every 255 potential drinkers.  It's tough to build a business on such a small base of legal potential drinkers, don't you think?  

It's revolting in its hypocrisy to feign surprise and shock that illegal drinking is the bread and buttur of the booze merchants.  

It's also strange that The Rocky Mt. News article claims only 211 licences in Boulder.  The Daily Camera article says the News claims 238.  

Two debates this week.  The foreign policy one between Kerry and Bush and the pointless one between Cheney and Edwards.  It's been pointed out that Bush has lost the battle of low expectations, since Kerry has positioned himself as less likable and more boring.  Depressing enough, it's possible it could be true.  

Regardless, if Kerry doesn't blow Bush away on this, it's all over.  The Iraq quagmire ought to be easy pickings for Kerry.  I can only hope it is.
Saturday, September 25, 2004

The CIA laid out several scenarios and said life could be lousy, life could be okay, life could be better, and they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.-- George W. Bush, on Iraq report.







Since we're talking death by alcohol poisoning these days, at least in Colorado, let's honor one of the famous victims of this awful demise.  On this date in 1980, after spending the whole day drinking, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died having choked on his own vomit.  Always showing the way, celebrities are.

The debates start this week, and it's crunch time for Kerry.  If he makes a mediocre or worse showing, it's all over.  Absent a dirty bomb attack on Detroit or Boston or some such, the GOP is set to win.  I wouldn't have believed it six months ago.  They don't deserve it, they've lied, they've put us in debt, failed in the mission they claimed.  But Kerry's campaign is just awful.  Terrible.  I hope the debate elevates him.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Here's something to make you feel stupid.  A giant mushroom, acres large, has been found in Switzerland, 800x500 meters.  That was enough to catch in my throat, but then the horror: it barely beats in size a mushroom in Oregon.  

More uncomfortably, both are smaller than yet another mushroom in Oregon, which is 3.5 miles across, all living about 3 feet underground.  This is far larger than a very strange one found in the Congo, above ground in three layers.

And none of it compares with this: mushrooms have more in common with animals than plants and have 36,000 genders.  And yet, it is we who complain about getting a date.  

Can Nederland self-govern?  Another horror is approaching in the town as Trustees, the Mayor, and the police are again trying to have each other stifled, shouldered aside, removed.  Rumors of threatened violence, nepotistic complaints, conflicts of interest......same old, same old.  Under all this is the substantial portion of Nederland who want to retain a more relaxed attitude towards drugs and what used to be called the hippie lifestyle.  Under all that is greed and power.  

Only Georgetown under the regime of an ex-stripper and her augmented assetts has threatened Nederland's image as Colorado's most prominent ungovernable collection of a multi-generational mob.  But this particular collection of stoned bedsores and aged rictus that passes as a government is too incompetent to survive this current situation, and is likely to end badly.  Very badly.  

Nederland law enforcement probably needs to be removed from the hands of the Trustees and put into either the hands of the Sheriff's department or by setting up a separate law enforcement district.  The town, since I've known it in 1971, has shown a marked inability to work together on important issues, has not infrequently resorted to violence or its threat against each other, and shows a marked idiocy in its choices of Trustees, periodically, and tries to punish the police for enforcing law by screwing the budget.  People have quit, been fired, let go and, with one officer on vacation, currently has exactly one (1) officer on duty.  Sometimes.  

This isn't a new theory, nor is it mine by origin, but there are too many issues that cannot, at this point, be solved and be popular enough to appeal to the majority of those who'll be required to obey them.

I love these photos, they're beautiful and scary, both.  Poor Florida, and that is a phrase rarely appearing from these lips since I exited the state in 1976, looks to be hit again this weekend.  A not powerful hurricane, at present, at least in comparision with Ivan when a Man In Full, but still enough to drown enough people.  It's killed the most, so far, because of its rain in Haiti and in Jamaica and all through the Caribbean.  Another fifteen inches of rain along the Hurricane coast, from New Orleans to Myrtle Beach could be disastrous.  Truly so.

The GOP was accused, and has admitted, that it sent out mailings saying that 'liberals' were going to ban the Bible.  This in West Virginia.  Yet another reason to love them.  Imagine what the GOP would do if Dem's claimed Republicans were going to reinstate the draft!  Oh, wait....  

Is Grover Norquist looking forward to the death of The Greatest Generation simply because they're mostly Democrats?  Is that true, one, and does he really think it?  Here are the quotes and translation from a Spanish paper.

Cada año mueren dos millones de personas que combatieron en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y que vivieron la Gran Depresión. Esa generación ha sido una excepción en la Historia de EEUU, porque ha defendido políticas antiamericanas. Ellos votaron por la creación del Estado de Bienestar y por el servicio militar obligatorio. Ellos son la base electoral demócrata. Y se están muriendo.  Which, in English, translates as....

"Two million people who fought in World War II and lived through the Great Depression die every year. That generation has been an exception in US history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and for obligatory military service. They are the Democratic base, and they are dying." Thus spoke Conservative Guru Grover Norquist.  From Slate.







It pains me, it does, but George Will had an excellent column in NewsWeek's current issue that both reams out the neo-cons and responsibly nails Kerry for not taking advantage of it.  I was impressed.  I want to think that many smart people, even conservative ones, are so appalled by George W. that they are uncomfortably but inevitably edging towards open Kerry support.  I'm not sure he deserves it, frankly.  I'm voting for him but he's run a terrible, awful, incomprehensible campaign.  Stutteringly bad.
 
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