Friday, August 30, 2013

The History of Russia in Three Seconds

A friend sent this funny animation that purports to be the history of Russia in three seconds -- obviously by someone who regards the post-Soviet Russian Federation as only slightly more desirable than the Soviet Union.

Why Intoxication Is Bad, Even If Isn't Alcohol Intoxication

The father of a 3-month-old boy who was left in a car in Phoenix and died was believed to be smoking marijuana in front of the car while his infant son was still inside, according to court documents released Friday.
Daniel Gray’s son, Jamison, died after being left in the vehicle for more than an hour. Gray had parked his car at his workplace near Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads, according to Phoenix police.
He initially told police that he had gone to B.T. Sports Pub on his day off to check on some things, according to Phoenix police and Maricopa County Superior Court documents.
A witness observed Gray and an employee standing in front of the parked car outside B.T. Sports Pub and assumed they were smoking marijuana, according to court documents.
When investigators questioned the employee seen with Gray, that employee admitted that Gray asked him for marijuana and that both went to stand in front of the vehicle.
Intoxicants make you do stupid things; that's why many people use intoxicants.  The last thing we need to encourage people to do is... stupid things.  Yes, alcohol makes you do stupid things, too, and it is argument for discouraging alcohol intoxication.  The future of America: instead of being half-stupid, we can be fully stupid.

Heavy Drinking Before Motherhood Is Bad For You

And not just because it leads to "whoops!" moments.  From August 30, 2013 WXXI (an NPR affiliate):
The more alcohol young women drink before motherhood, the greater their risk of future breast cancer according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The findings are based on a review of the health histories of 91,005 mothers enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II from 1989 to 2009....
They show that if a woman averages one drink per day between her first period and having her first child, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 11 percent, an average of two drinks per day means an increased risk of 22 percent and so on.

Things I Keep Waiting For

Every couple of years, I see someone promoting video display glasses so that you don't need a monitor for a computer.  I almost never use a laptop as a laptop (you know, something that you carry standalone and use in an airport).  About 99.9% of the time, my laptop is on my desk, with an external monitor attached.

My fantasy is a notebook computer that instead of a display, uses video display glasses instead.  It would make it smaller and lighter, and maybe even consume less power.  For the 99.9% situation, I don't care about a display; I would have it connected to two external monitors.  For the 0.1% situation, sitting in an airport or working on an airliner, I have the video display glasses plugged.

Another advantage of no display is that sometimes in very crowded airliners, the person ahead of me has leaned his seat back, and I sometimes can't have the laptop open enough to both see and type.

Does anyone make one of these?  I haven't found it yet.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"

Especially when you are dating an omnipotent sociopath:
The ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim-Jong-un was one of a dozen people reportedly executed by a firing squad last week. 
Read more:
The story gets weirder.  From August 29, 2013 New York Magazine:
Chosun's story cites unnamed sources in China, who said Hyon was one of a dozen members of the Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band who were arrested on Aug. 17, accused of filming themselves having sex, distributing the tapes in North Korea and China, and also possessing Bibles. The source said they were killed by machine gun in front of their families, who were then sent to labor camps. 
Bible possession?  Yes, I can see that.  Making porn?  Yes, I can see that.  Doing both?  Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Having a Heck of a Time Finding This

Sometime between 1932 and 1964, Congress passed a law that prohibited transfer of handguns to those who were not "of sound mind."  I have a list of the session laws for the various revisions of the statute -- but I can't seem to find the text of the laws passed:

July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 4; Nov. 4, 1943, 57 Stat. 586, ch. 296; Aug. 4, 1947, 61 Stat. 743, ch. 469; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204.

Do you have access to Lexis/Nexis?  Can you pull these session laws for me? 

An interesting item that might be worth investigating in the future: the 1932 statute which also for the first time in decades prohibited concealed carry of a firearm without a permit, was passed by Congress 20 days before the Bonus Expeditionary Force (sort of a cleaner version of Occupy Wall Street) was forced out of their D.C. encampment -- with tanks.

Alternatively: the text of the 1932 statute is probably in S.Rep.No.575, 72nd Cong., 1st Sess.

UPDATE: Someone found Statutes at Large online for me at the ever useful, thanks everyone.  And with respect to the Bonus Expeditionary Force?  The statute passed by Congress immediately after the new stricter concealed weapon law?  It appropriates $100,000 for transportation of BEF members home before July 15, 2013.

Don't Think Much Of Bloomberg's Efforts...But Some People Are Too Stupid To Stay Out Of Jail

Generally, using social media to brag about your criminal activities is not too bright:
Police seized 254 firearms and arrested nineteen people in a 552-count indictment and Best was charged with one count of conspiracy for selling guns out of his Ocean Hill recording studio....
Investigators also stumbled upon his YouTube and Instagram accounts only to find him bragging about his unlawful business with his friend Omole Adedji.
According to the New York Post, the weapons were displayed proudly on tables draped in blue tablecloths during a press conference held by Mayor Bloomberg. Police noted that 36 of the guns had previously been reported stolen.

Now Big Oil Is Bribing the Pacific Ocean!

August 28, 2013 Scientific American has an article about the roughly 15 year stop in global warming with this headline:
Is the Pacific Ocean Responsible for a Pause in Global Warming?
So Big Oil is paying off the Pacific Ocean now to make the global warming theorists look bad!  How dare they!

What Happens When You Send A Kid To The Wrong Level of College

A recurring concern of African-American opponents of affirmative action is that when highly competitive universities (Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard) admit students who are far less prepared than the average incoming freshman, it sets up those students for failure.  As Shelby Steele has pointed out, it is better for a student to graduate from San Jose State than to drop out of Berkeley.  It is better for a student whose high school has not adequately prepared him or her for college to spend a couple of years at a community college before transferring to a four year school, instead of going directly to a four year school, where that student is simply in over his head.

To my shock, the August 16, 2013 Los Angeles Times has published an article concerning a young man named Kashawn Campbell who went from being the class salutatorian at Jefferson High, a very bad school in South Central Los Angeles to being a freshman at UC Berkeley.  He struggled there to keep from being expelled for poor grades.  They also recount the situation of another young African-American who came out of Inglewood High -- and has a 3.8 GPA at Berkeley.  It is pretty clear from reading the article that because Mr. Campbell was making a serious effort at school in a high school where gangster culture was dominant, he was a standout who was praised and strongly encouraged by his teachers to go to a prestige school like Berkeley.

Unfortunately, being at the top of such a high school did not mean that he was ready for Berkeley (unlike the young man who graduated from Inglewood High).  It appears that Mr. Campbell barely survived his first year because of an A- in an African-American Studies class -- while failing, or close, most of his other classes.  (What makes African-American Studies so much easier for Mr. Campbell?)

This is the sort of thing that really angers me.  Mr. Campbell is going to struggle his way through Berkeley because of inadequate primary and secondary education -- and perhaps not graduate.  I understand why his high school was so enthusiastic about him -- think how depressing it must be to be in charge of a school where many of the students are there only until they can legally drop out, or end up in prison.

Berkeley has less of an excuse.  They have to know that admitting a student who is woefully underprepared is not in Mr. Campbell's best interests -- although it does assuage liberal guilt quite effectively.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Oldest Fruit Tree In America

Planted by John Endicott in 1630, and still producing pears!  Oh yes, while the article is really neat, of course, a leftist had to add a comment ranting and raving about the evil white people.

Warfarin, Anticoagulant and General Mess Maker

One downside of warfarin, the anticoagulant that I am taking, is that you bleed real good if you cut yourself.  Tonight, I managed to get a drill bit in the drill press through a piece of plastic and into the end of my finger.  Not very deep (reflexes are wonderful things), but even a little nick when you are taking warfarin bleeds impressively.  I managed to get everything to stop, but maybe I will stay away from power tools until I no longer need to take this stuff, sometime in October.

Want Your Name in a Law Review Article?

I am trying to find the first year that different states prohibited persons who are mentally ill from possessing a firearm.  While the Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal to "sell or dispose of" a firearm or ammunition to anyone that the transferrer believers "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution" or for such a person to possess firearms or ammunition, state laws regulating firearms possession by the mentally ill are surprisingly recent and often not present.  For example, Idaho Code 18-3302 prohibits issuing a concealed carry license to anyone who:
f)  Is currently suffering or has been adjudicated as follows, based on substantial evidence:(i)   Lacking mental capacity as defined in section 18-210, Idaho Code;(ii)  Mentally ill as defined in section 66-317, Idaho Code;(iii) Gravely disabled as defined in section 66-317, Idaho Code; or(iv)  An incapacitated person as defined in section 15-5-101(a), Idaho Code.
I can't find any state law that specifically prohibits such persons from possession of a firearm at home, or for that matter, while openly carrying.  My first spot check of laws in several states suggests that many states either restrict firearms disability for the mentally ill and retarded just to handguns, or only for carry licenses.  Even states that do have such laws seem to have adopted them surprisingly recently: 1957 for California; 1966 for New Jersey; 1968 for Illinois -- although 1932 for the District of Columbia.  My guess is that most of these first mental illness disability laws are associated with deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

For this upcoming University of Connecticut law review article, I am trying to determine when the first state laws are passed that disable the mentally ill or retarded from possession of firearms.  That means first of all finding out which states have such firearms disability laws today, and then trying to hunt back through the statutory history.  As I said: not all states have them.

This table from Psychiatry Online lists state laws regulating mental illness, alcoholism, and drug addiction that prohibit firearms possession by those suffering from these.  However, the table is somewhat misleading; it includes many examples like Idaho Code 18-3302, which are only prohibitions on issuance of licenses.

Would like your name in the acknowledgements for a law review article?  I need people to grab a few states each (maybe even states in which you live), and determine which of the listed statutes actually prohibit firearms possession, as distinguished from firearms carrying outside one's home or land.  I need to know:

1. If any of the specified statutes completely prohibit possession by the mentally ill or retarded.

2. Which statutes apply in this case.

3. If a statute only prohibits issuance of a carry license, which statute that is.

4. Ideally, if you can find the first year that this statute took effect.

Yesterday Was One Month Since Surgery

I taught my face-to-face Western Civ class last night -- three hours, mostly on my feet.  It wasn't bad at all -- although today I am a bit more tired than normal.

Idaho's Enhanced Concealed Carry License

So far, three states that did not recognize the standard license have informed the Idaho State Police that they will recognize the enhanced license: South Carolina, New Mexico, and Nevada.  There are still a number of other states that have not responded.  Of course, there are a number of states that already recognized the standard license.

Something Nice To Say About Applebee's Restaurant

My wife and I went in to eat lunch a few weeks back, and when she asked, "What do you have that is gluten-free?" the waitress returned with a very detailed menu listing all the common allergies, and what items on the menu were safe.  Wow!

I'm Getting Cranky In My Old Age

From August 26, 2013 comes this disgusting story of what passes for youth culture in Michigan:
The game was called "point 'em out, knock 'em out," and it was as random as it was brutal.
The object: Target an innocent victim for no other reason than they are there, then sucker punch him or her.
But on this day in Lansing, there would be no punch. The teen-age attacker had a stun gun.  He did not know his would-be victim was carrying a legally concealed pistol.
The teen lost the game.
The teenager survived being shot in the buttocks -- and had the good sense to write an apology letter to his victim.   But what does this say about what has become an increasingly common part of ghetto subculture?  It wasn't, "this guy might have some money -- let's rob him," or "I'm angry at someone and I want to take revenge."  It was just a random assault because it will be fun to injure someone.

I am so glad that I don't live somewhere where this is a problem.  The rest of you: be ready.

Another Fake Racism Case

From August 26, 2013
The black St. Peter’s Prep student who purportedly received racist text messages warning him to drop out of the Jersey City high school's student government election sent the texts to himself, a school official confirmed last week.
Doesn't anyone know the story of the kid who cried wolf anymore?  Sometime in the next few years, there is going to be a real case of some knuckle-dragger trying to intimidate someone because of race -- and no one will believe it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Windy Wilson: Please Email Me

I need a little more help from you.

Saline Solution Pricing

One of the reasons that I really do think that something needs to be done about health care costs -- and something done by someone who isn't a complete idiot or utterly corrupted (such as Congress and President Obama) is this article from the August 25, 2013 New York Times:
It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater.
Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.
Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as I learned when I tried to trace the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York.
Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.
The article gives a detailed account of trying to figure out why one of the cheapest items in our economy gets priced so absurdly -- and it makes the $500 DOD hammer stories of the 1980s seem positively clear by comparison.  Read it.  I don't know the solution, but I know that there is something pretty silly about the enormous range of prices for medical care.

Racism, Sexist, Anti-Gay Messages At Oberlin College Earlier This Year Were Done By...

An Obama supporter and Democratic Party activist.  What a surprise.  From the August 22, 2013 Daily Caller:
One of the two students removed from Oberlin College earlier this year for allegedly circulating virulently racist, anti-Jewish and anti-gay messages around campus  is an ardent leftist and committed supporter of President Barack Obama, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
Dylan Bleier, one of the two students, organized a voter registration drive on behalf of Obama before the 2008 election. That voter drive is still listed on the website for Organizing for Action, the non-profit group whose mission is to advance Obama’s agenda.

On his Twitter account, which he protected after TheDCNF reached him on Tuesday, Bleier hailed Obama’s comments on George Zimmerman, tweeting: “Zimmerman is just the tip of the iceberg, a single highly visible symptom of the racist system that is ‘succeeding’ in the US.”
Bleier also describes himself on Twitter as an “atheist/pacifist/environmentalist/libertarian socialist/consequentialist.”

Read more:
There being an increasing dearth of traditional racism, the left finds it necessary to make it up.

Be Careful Who Your Enemy's Enemies Are

As horrified as I am by the apparent use of nerve gas by the Syrian government, many of those opposing the Syrian government are al-Qaeda or at least Islamist.  This August 22, 2013 New York Times article by an American photojournalist kidnapped by Syrian rebels is a pretty sobering reminder that we might be better off letting the two sides kill each other -- if we could figure out how to protect the noncombatants.

Muslims Defending Coptic Churches

In spite of the best efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood to blame the Coptic Christians of Egypt, it appears that Muslims are showing up to defend Coptic churches from attack.
I remembered the defiant words of the Orthodox Pope, uttered the day before, when he told the Muslim Brotherhood and the extremists and terrorists with them:  “If you burn the churches we will pray with our brothers in the mosques, and if you burn the mosques,  Muslims will pray with us in the church, and if you burn them both, we’re all going to pray together in the streets protecting each other”.
I remembered the words of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, when the Muslim Brotherhood started torching churches and attacking Christians. He announced that whosever does this is outside of the religion of Islam and all of us must fight him.
Good to see this.  I know that in Iraq, Muslims recognized that al-Qaeda attacks on Christian churches were an attack on civilization, and made a point of being present for rededication of churches that had been attacked.

Stop That Charitable Activity Right Now!

A North Carolina church group said they were prevented from handing out food to the homeless after police threatened them with arrest, according to their website.
For the past six years, volunteers from Love Wins Ministries frequented Moore Square in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturdays and Sundays to give out hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to those in need, according to the church group's website.
But when volunteers went down to their usual weekend spot to dole out the 100 sausage biscuits and the gallons of coffee they had brought to feed the crowds who had gathered Saturday morning, they were also greeted by officers with the Raleigh Police Department, according to a statement on the church group's website.
I understand why cities do this; they get complaints about homeless people from residents and businesses.  Sometimes, the organizations doing this are intentionally provocative, like Food Not Bombs (who are upset that San Francisco city government isn't far enough left).  And of course, Raleigh is a center-left city government in an otherwise somewhat conservative state.  But since no one wants to really deal with the core issue for most of the homeless -- mental illness -- I can see why church groups are doing what Jesus commanded us, to help those in need.

Fascinating Story About Ancient Artifacts

PJMedia has a fascinating article about a collection of books, documents, and artifacts of the Iraqi Jewish community (back when there was still such a community) that were confiscated by Saddam Hussein's government in 1984 -- and which were saved from flooding by the WMD hunters after the invasion.  It's a great story of cultural heritage being saved through the intervention of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and others who the left loves to hate.  (The article's author is one of those involved from the the start in saving these unique artifacts.)

It is also a troubling story of to whom these important historical documents will go, now that they have been stabilized and saved.  In a technical sense, yes, they are supposed to go back to the Iraqi government -- but they belonged to the Iraqi government because Hussein stole them from the rightful owners.  There are sound reasons why they should not go back to the Iraqi government, which the article articulates well.

"Chess Is A Good Hobby"

There was a bit of press attention a few days ago concerning a firearms trainer who accidentally shot one of his students (fortunately, not a spectacularly serious injury).  Shall Not Be Questioned reports that this was not the first time this particular trainer accidentally shot one of his students, and makes a suggestion with which I completely agree:
I’d say if you find yourself at a point in life where you’ve shot two people accidentally, it’s probably a really good idea to seriously examine your relationship with firearms, and decide if maybe you’d be better off taking up a hobby where reckless abandon is considerably less consequential. Chess is a good hobby.
Although who knows?  Someone with such "bad luck" could probably turn playing chess into a dangerous hobby.

There are some basic safety rules for firearms.

1. Assume that every gun is loaded unless you have personally verified that there are no live rounds in the gun, including verifying that the chamber on a semiautomatic is empty.

2. Assume that if you put an unloaded gun down, even for a few seconds, that gremlins have very quietly loaded it.  Recheck it when you pick it up again.

3. Never point a gun, even an "unloaded" gun at any object that you are not prepared to destroy.

4. Never put your finger inside the triggerguard of the gun until you are ready to fire.  And that even means in a potential combat situation -- finger outside the triggerguard until you have made the conscious decision to fire the gun.  Many years ago, the Santa Rosa, California Police Department had to install a new liver for a civilian.  The civilian was drunk and disorderly, but that was all.  One of the responding police officers had been trained in the bad old days, and had his finger inside the triggerguard of his Glock.  The civilian turned around rather suddenly, and instinctively, the police officer pulled the trigger, destroying the civilian's liver.

Guns are very serious business.  Treat them that way, at all times.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Funniest Comment of the Month

In response to the posting about how Bradley Manning wants now to be known as Chelsea Manning:
This is additional evidence that reality has been replaced by an extended episode of Monty Python.
UPDATE: One of my readers posted a comment with a link to a CNN video about the complicated situation of the transgendered.  Fair enough.  I admit that there might be a few people with some peculiar genetic or congenital defect who are "trapped in the wrong body."  But what astonishes me is how much evidence suggests that the transgendered are more victims of some other problem.  This article by Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, makes the point that many of those seeking this transformation had much more serious problems.
Most of the cases fell into one of two quite different groups. One group consisted of conflicted and guilt-ridden homosexual men who saw a sex-change as a way to resolve their conflicts over homosexuality by allowing them to behave sexually as females with men. The other group, mostly older men, consisted of heterosexual (and some bisexual) males who found intense sexual arousal in cross-dressing as females. As they had grown older, they had become eager to add more verisimilitude to their costumes and either sought or had suggested to them a surgical transformation that would include breast implants, penile amputation, and pelvic reconstruction to resemble a woman.
I know a guy, who after retiring in his 50s from an urban police department, divorced his wife of more than 25 years, and got changed.  There was nothing even slightly feminine about him before -- he was about as masculine and macho as you could get without being a hyperbolic exaggeration.  But being a police officer, it didn't seem particularly strange.  Now he/she is the least attractive and most implausible looking "female" that you can imagine -- and I doubt that anyone, anywhere, looks at he/she and does not immediately realize that he is a man who has undergone an insane set of procedures to pretend to be something that he/she is not.  This sort of sex reassignment surgery makes homosexuality look positively normal and healthy by comparison.

The July 29, 2004 U.K. Guardian (a Labour Party paper, and hardly traditional or conservative) carried this article about the results of gender reassignment:
There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow.

The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham's aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.

The Guardian asked Arif to conduct the review after speaking to several people who regret changing gender or believe that the medical care they received failed to prepare them for their new lives. They explain why they are unhappy with their sex change and how they cope with the consequences in the Weekend magazine tomorrow (July 31).

Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: "There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone's sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there's still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised - often to the point of committing suicide."
Arif, which advises the NHS in the West Midlands about the evidence base of healthcare treatments, found that most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial.
As this recent National Review article points out, suicide rates for Britons undergoing sex reassignment are almost the same as suicide rates for those refused the surgery.

Many years ago, my wife knew a young man who had been raped, and he soon became convinced that he was "really" a woman, and needed to have a sex reassignment, because "only women get raped." 

In the early 1980s, my wife and I had what was probably the most gut-wrenching lunches of our lives.  We were talking to a woman whose husband was preparing for sex-reassignment surgery.  Her husband had grown up with an ultramacho Marine father, and a mother who desperately had wanted a little girl.  Since she didn't get her little girl, she dressed up her little boy in girl clothes, gave him girl toys and dolls, painted his nails, and in general, did her best to make her little boy into a little girl.  Ultramacho Marine father did not fully realize what the mother was doing -- and as you might expect, the rejection and contempt were overwhelming.  Yeah, that little boy was born transgendered!  It couldn't have anything to do with this form of weird sexual identity abuse, could it?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Real Courage

That incident earlier this week where a mentally ill man went into an elementary school with an AK-47, almost 500 rounds of ammunition?  No one died.  Not because anyone returned fire (although the police did fire at one point).  From August 21, 2013 USA Today:
Antoinette Tuff spoke to Hill while on the phone with the 911 operator. She said Hill said he was off his medication and that "he don't care if he dies, he don't have nothing to live for," Tuff told the operator. "He said he's not mentally stable."

Later, she talked him into surrendering.

"He's laying on the floor. He's got everything out of his pockets. There isn't anything. The only thing he has is his belt. Everything is out of his pockets. Everything is sitting here on the counter, so all we need to do is they can just come in, and I'll buzz them in."

When the situation had ended, Tuff finally broke down.

"I'm going to tell you something baby — I've never been so scared in all the days in my life," she told the dispatcher.
That's guts -- way more than shooting Hill would have required.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some Ads Almost Make You Want To Be Sufficiently Creative

Do you have a car ready for Doomsday?
We are producing a new show looking to feature cars that look like they are ready for the End of Days. Maybe it has a huge battering ram. Maybe it's armed with a giant buzzsaw. Or maybe it's covered in armor and spikes.
If you have a mechanical creation like this, we may want to feature you and your car on a new show.

No More Whining About How Hard Your Child Is To Raise

From the August 23, 2013 Washington Times:
Doctors are confounded, but parents of a baby boy in India insist: The tyke has burst into flames for no apparent reason at least three times since birth.
The baby — cited in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution only by the name of Rahul — was born in May, and parents said that they first noticed flames suddenly appearing on his stomach and knees when he was just nine days old. And since, it’s happened a handful of other time.

Read more: Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

I'm Going To Have To Get a Copy

My friend Nicholas Johnson has a new book out: Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms.

It May Be Time To Upgrade To a Newer Computer

I am using an HP DV5126 which I bought in 2007 (and it was a refurbished model even then).  It is running Windows XP, and to be blunt, I am a bit scared of what is going to happen when Microsoft drops support for XP in April.

But just about everything seems to come with Windows 8.1 now.  I have heard some criticisms.  Is anyone using Windows 8.1 out there?

UPDATE: It does appear that HP has some quad core laptops with Windows 7 Home Premium still.

I'm Not Sure I Would Have Put Up A Warning

From the Barrel of a Gun reports:
“Staff is armed and trained,” reads a sign posted outside the Arkansas Christian Academy in Bryant, Ark. “Any attempt to harm our children will be met with deadly force.”
Warning potential criminal attackers seems like a mistake.  Let them be surprised.

Chelsea nee Bradley Manning

I was going to post something snarky about Bradley Manning's desire to now be Chelsea Manning, but I couldn't do any better than what The Diplomad had to say:
The real issue, however, is not the mental state of this little weasel. The question is how did he get through the recruitment and clearance processes? Nobody, nobody, nobody during his background check, or during his time on duty noticed that he--may I use that word?--was just a few degrees off level? Nobody? His commanding officers? His colleagues? Bueller? Bueller?
He apparently spent a lot of time in some weird internet chat rooms using government computers for that. The NSA, the same folks collecting on my wife's Vonage calls to her mother in Spain, did not catch Manning's odd surfing activities?

The Art Deco Bomber

Over at The Shekel there are some pictures of a World War II bomber trainer -- a trainer for teaching crews that were going to be flying bombers.  Because it was strictly a trainer, there was no need to make them inconspicuous, and this particular example is just gorgeous!

Assault Flashlights To Blame...Not The Killers Wielding Them

Police in Spokane, Wash., say they have arrested one of two teens suspected of fatally beating an 88-year-old veteran of World War II who had survived the Battle of Okinawa.
Authorities say the two young African American men, between 16 and 19 years old, approached Delbert Belton in his car Wednesday night outside an Eagles Lodge as he was waiting for a friend.
Belton was found by police with serious head injuries and died in the hospital Thursday.
Belton’s daughter-in-law tells KREM-TV that the suspects beat him with flashlights.
The article indicates it was the big heavy flashlights -- you know, the ones made of metal with high capacity battery holders.

I am not happy with the ferocious racism showing up in the comments on that article, but with the enormous energy that the left has spent on promoting racial hatred the last few years, I guess that I am not surprised.

I fear for my country.

UPDATE: One of the suspects has been arrested.  From the August 23, 2013 Los Angeles Times:
The teenager has a lengthy criminal history, including a 2012 conviction for fourth-degree assault, obstructing a police officer and misdemeanor rioting, according to juvenile court officials. 
Misdemeanor rioting?  What's that?  Is it like misdemeanor murder or felony overtime parking?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Unfortunate Consequence of This

I suspect that even if I could afford to retire (which is looking increasingly likely, as interest rates rise), this surgery probably will make me a high-risk person as far as a health insurance company is concerned.  I may be stuck working at something that doesn't interest me much until I qualify for Medicare.

Coughing Issue

I have been coughing quite a bit, as well as having some pain in my lungs.  The physician's assistant told me yesterday that it sounds like there is some fluid around my lungs, and this is probably the cause.  She prescribed a combination of a diuretic and KCl (because the diuretic tends to drain you of potassium) for three days.  I started this morning, and I can already feel some real improvement.

The KCl is a horse appropriate considering the valve that I have.

When I returned to work today, I found oats on my chair, floor, and desk, and more pictures of horses around my office than I would expected, as well as such memorable items as the cover from what was apparently a novelty music album of the early 1960s: "Mister Ed: The Talking Horse."  "Mister Ed takes up singing and sends the girls stampeding like lovesick fillies!"  Oh yes: and the musical score and lyrics for the Mr. Ed theme song.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Authorized To Return To Work Full-Time

My surgeon has authorized me to return to work full-time.  The coughing and lung pain is apparently a bit of fluid around the lungs, which is not unusual this close to surgery, but three days of diuretics should solve that.  Everything else looks healthy.

At Least No One Died

DECATUR, Ga. — Atlanta-area residents were breathing a sigh of relief Wednesday while authorities were trying to determine why a man fired shots inside an elementary school a day earlier.
Antoinette Tuff, the bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, was being credited with calming the gunman down and convincing him to surrender. She told ABC on Wednesday that the suspect, Michael Brandon Hill, told her he had recently stopped taking medication. She said he added that he was going to die -- along with police officers. No one was injured....
Hill's brother, Timothy, told ABC News that the suspect has "long history of medical disorders" including bipolar disorder, and was bound to "do something stupid."
Timothy Hill, 22, said he's not close to his brother and thinks he last saw him in January 2011. Hill, who said his brother once threatened to kill him, also said Michael Hill was taking drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as early as age 6.
I wonder if ADHD was the original diagnosis, but the right diagnosis was bipolar disorder?  My guess is that because ADHD used to be a very fashionable disorder for hard to control little kids, that's what he was diagnosed with, and treated for -- and of course, that would likely have been the wrong treatment for someone with bipolar disorder.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Amusing Discovery

Last night, I attended the start of the semester meeting of the new Department of Culture, History, and Political Science into which history faculty have been merged.  The college hired the new department chair out of Ohio -- and the Bellesiles matter came up when we were discussing the U.S. History texts that we use for the survey class.

It turns out that our new chair received his Ph.D. from Emory University, and was actually there at the time the scandal came up, so he knew who I was, and the part I played in the Bellesiles downfall.  He was also a student of Bellesiles at one point, and found it amusing that Bellesiles made a big point in that class of discussing the problems of fraud by historians -- cases where historians had falsified sources.  And this was about the time that Bellesiles was producing the Arming America fraud!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Strange Notion of What Makes a Law School

Volokh Conspiracy reports on the Southern California Institute of Law (a law school) that is objecting to a requirement by their accrediting agency that they list on their website what percentage of their graduates pass the bar exam.  I can see why they aren't interested in reporting this:
None of the 43 SCIL graduates who took the 2012 California Bar Examination passed, according to state data. Over the course of a dozen test cycles between 2007 and 2012, SCIL graduates failed 93% of the time, the defendants claim.
Yeah, yeah, the bar exam is hard; lots of law school graduates fail the bar exam, but since passing the bar exam is a requirement to practice law, I think that there might be some legitimate connection between the quality of a law school and ability to pass the bar exam of the state in which that law school is located.

Worse, the law school is now claiming that their accrediting agency's requirement violates their First Amendment freedom of speech rights.  If you don't want accreditation -- don't sign up for it.  Otherwise, you are agreeing to abide by those requirements.

Something that many people do not realize: lots of lawyers make surprisingly little money.  If you graduate from the top couple tiers of law schools, you may well make very high pay, but there are a lot of law schools that are not in the top two tiers, and these days, many graduates from even pretty good law schools are struggling to find jobs.

UPDATE: A comment from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous concerning being a lawyer:

I am one of those lawyers out there that make very little money as a solo.  Some years it's well under $30,000 after expenses have been paid.
Fortunately I went to law school when it was cheaper, and when a wealthy relative died, I used what I received from her estate to payoff my law loans.  It almost goes without saying that neither of these two advantages is available today to the average law student.
I wish to get out of the law, but I've been practicing long enough so I can't hide my occupation on my resume without leaving a decade long gap.  So short of appearing to have been hospitalized or incarcerated for robbing a liquor store, I have to discuss my current profession, and sadly what Paul Campos says about HR professionals, lawyers, and applying for non-legal jobs is true.  You work under the JD Disadvantage (tm)
But enough about me, no-one forced me to go to a second tier law school, and graduate in the bottom 20% of my class.  What I did not know at the time, was such a record places a premium on your ability to do sales, and at the same time operate efficiently as a small business owner.  If you can't do both well, you have a problem.
In the law profession we currently have something of a class war between the law school faculty and solo and small firm lawyers.  The first trick to winning a class conflict, is for those receiving the most benefit, to pretend that such a conflict does not exist. That's generally what tenure track law school faculty do.
The law school faculty somehow rigged the federal aid system so that any one who goes to an ABA or state approved law school (see California) can obtain loans to cover the full cost of their law school tuition and educational expenses.  This has had the perverse incentive of law schools to create new law schools,  expand their student bodies, and increase their tuition at roughly twice the rate of inflation for over twenty years. 
 It also allows almost all such law schools, regardless of their rank or ability to place students, to charge the same premium rate.  So if Harvard charges over $50,000 per year, it can place many of its students into big law jobs in which the new associate has a realistic chance to pay off their $150,000+ in debt.  Go to a fourth tier law school that charges the same, and which places 2% of its graduates into big law, and you have a situation that will force many into income based repayment, a federal program which prevents a hard default, while ensuring that the student never pays the face value on their loan, and while having their credit damaged.
There are not enough good law jobs out there to pay for the ridiculous amounts of debt that many law students run up by attending law school.  The schools use these federal loans to guarantee that they admit over 45,000 new law students a year whom they send out into the profession after three years, to compete for the 22,000 to 23,000 lawyer jobs that open annually.  The small firm lawyers who are already in practice get to deal with additional competition,* while the tenure track law school professors collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation each year for producing twice as many of us, as the economy needs. Tthe surplus of lawyers makes it hard for us to find the individual paying clients you build a practice upon.
Once again the discomfort of lawyers like me would not matter if 1) we could be more easily absorbed into other white collar jobs in society and 2) Thousands of new law students each year, who are not needed by society, would not  be used to pay for an overgrown law school and law school faculty system. 3) This system is increasingly going to rely on the income based repayment program to ensure that the law schools get paid up front even though the interest and much of the principle on these Federal Loans is never going to be repaid, and the number of law school graduates who use IBR, and the number of those using IBR, from any particular law school remain a guarded secret.
Republicans often proceed under the assumption that ANY tax cut is good.  Liberals proceed under the assumption that ANY form of higher education is good for society and this was used to justify the current law school loan system.. Unfortunately we in the legal profession allowed the law schools free reign and they did what was best for their faculty, and not what was best for the profession.
* Its often been asked whether the increasing number of lawyers is a public good because it reduces legal prices for the average consumer.  The answer is yes, to a certain degree, for legal products with fixed costs such as wills, as verses conducting litigation.  However the benefit it not particularly sizeable because about 70% of the US population can not afford to pay any lawyer for even reduced legal fees.  For example see the number and percentage of people who use public defenders, not because they want to, but because they have no real alternative.

A Tragedy, Not A Disaster

Ammunition storage building burns in Garden City

This being Idaho, the comments are full of "how dare anyone be allowed to store ammunition in an urban area" stuff while those who actually know something about the subject are pointing out that small arms ammo that is not confined in a barrel is more like a firecracker than a bomb, and is very low hazard.

Read more here:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Working on a Law Review Article...

I am trying to find the earliest laws that create a firearms disability based on mental illness or retardation -- especially any laws in effect before 1968, when the Gun Control Act of 1968 passed.

I started with California, because I know the statutes pretty well. Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code 8100 and 8103 are the applicable statutes -- but I am having a hard time finding when these first appear. The current text is derived from Stats. 1967, Ch. 1667 (the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act that helped to make big cities in California into open wards). My search of the publicly visible Nexis database of California court decisions, as well as published books, finds no references to earlier statutes. Part of me finds this hard to believe -- and part of me doesn't. I can easily believe that until deinstitutionalization, California didn't worry much about mentally ill people with guns, because they hospitalized them.

Any statutes that you are aware, please let me know.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Obesity and Death Rates

From August 15, 2013 Los Angeles Times:
The death toll of the nation's obesity epidemic may be close to four times higher than has been widely believed, and all that excess weight could reverse the steady trend of lengthening life spans for a generation of younger Americans, new research warns.

Some 18.2% of premature deaths in the United States between 1986 and 2006 were associated with excess body mass, according to a team of sociologists led by a Columbia University demographer. That estimate, published online Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, is far higher than the 5% toll widely cited by researchers.

The new figures do not reflect newly discovered facts about obesity's effects on health. Rather, they emerged after the researchers applied a finer-grained approach to examining obesity across the U.S. population.

Using historical survey data, the study authors toted up differences in excess weight status across different gender, ethnic and age groups. They combined that data with existing "mortality risk" statistics to estimate how many Americans over age 40 who died during that 20-year period did so because of weight-related causes.
This should not be any great surprise.  Extra weight means extra strain on the heart and joints, and obesity is seldom the result of simply eating too much high-protein food.  It's usually the result of gorging on fats and carbohydrates, which have all sorts of troublesome consequences in quantity.

Coming Law School Symposia

I have been invited to participate in the following law school symposia concerning firearms regulation:

Indiana Tech Law School, November 8, 2013
University of Connecticut Law School, November 15, 2013

I need to get a draft of the paper on mental illness and firearms regulation put together quickly for the latter.  Unfortunately, they sent me the invite on July 29th, when I was in the hospital, and not surprisingly, I just saw it.

How Wealth Destroys

I know that not every person who inherits great wealth ends up this way -- but this August 12, 2013 Rolling Stone article about the heirs to the Doris Duke estate is a sobering reminder that great wealth often breeds great destruction:
The kids reached for their seat belts, too late, as the Tahoe hit a bump, tipped toward the cliff – "God take my soul! Forgive me all my sins!" Georgia cried out – and then veered left and slammed into a tree. The exploding air bags felt like a punch, the windshield like cement. The twins struggled free of the car. Dazed, they began limping back up the mountainside, their stepmother staggering close behind.

As they crested the hill, their house finally came into view: a 10,000-square-foot log-and-stone cabin of preposterous proportions, filled with expensive antiques, valuable artwork and, stashed behind the steel door of a walk-in vault, sacks of gold Krugerrands, bars of silver and gold, jewelry, and millions of dollars' worth of collectible firearms. This wasn't some no-name clan of backwoods hillbillies, Georgia and Patterson Inman were among the wealthiest kids in America: When they turn 21, the family claims, the twins will inherit a trust fund worth $1 billion. They and their father were the last living heirs to the vast Industrial Age fortune of the Duke family, tobacco tycoons who once controlled the American cigarette market, established Duke University and, through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, continue to give away hundreds of millions of dollars.

The twins' father, Walker Inman, 57, lumbered from the mansion, his tattooed sleeves visible under a black T-shirt, drinking his morning rum, bellowing, "What the fuck did you do to my children?" Morbidly obese after a lifetime of debauchery and heroin addiction, he looked past his keening kids to glare at his fifth wife. "Honey," Walker rumbled, "we're going for a ride." He grabbed Daralee, hopped into his red Dodge truck and took off in a spray of gravel toward the wreckage down the mountain – then promptly lost control of the vehicle, which rolled onto the driver's side and skidded to a stop.
It appears that being fabulously rich meant that a long history of child abuse, drug abuse, and firearms and explosives violations that would have put people like you or me in prison, were simply overlooked by the criminal justice system.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Little Pony Has A Whole New Fan Base

From the August 26, 2013 Weekly Standard:
In the near future, historians will struggle to locate the precise moment when civilization’s wheels finally, irretrievably came off. By then, there will have been too many such moments to pinpoint one with any certainty. But I’ll mark the day as having occurred on a recent August weekend when, standing in the concourse of the Baltimore Convention Center, I watch grown men with problem skin and five o’clock shadows prance around in pony ears, rainbow manes, and braided tails lashed to their belt-loops, doling out “free hugs,” starting “fun! fun! fun!” chants, and spontaneously breaking into song. “Give me a bro hoof,” says one, trying to knuckle-bump me. It’s what you might imagine heaven to be like, if your idea of heaven is hell.

I’ve come to BronyCon, where the herd gallops 8,500 strong, up from a “mare” 100 conferees (apologies, but Bronies insist on speaking in horrible horse puns) at the first BronyCon in 2011. If you’ve been lucky enough to stay off the Internet for the last three years​—​Internet-culture and culture-proper having long since become one and the same​—​you might not know that “Brony” is a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony,” used to indicate the (mostly) late teenage and adult male fans of the children’s cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (Average age: 21, though I encounter scores of middle-aged Bronies, and even a 60-year-old.)
As the article points out, American men are showing profound signs of juvenilization -- and worse, it isn't that they want to be 6-year-olds -- but 6-year-old girls.

UPDATE: Since a number of readers have come to the defense of My Little Pony, let me emphasize that this was not a criticism of a program aimed at little girls.  My daughter was a big fan, and I believe that she even had a My Little Pony themed birthday party.  It was a criticism of the juvenilization and gender confusion of adult men.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Milk Revolution

In July 31, 2013 Nature: an astonishingly interesting article about the development of the lactase gene in European populations: when, how, and why.


The surgical site where the chest drainage tubes had been were not looking good, although admittedly, neither my wife nor I had anything to compared them to, so we went into the surgeon's office today.  They did an X-ray first.  The doctor who saw me indicated that the X-ray showed "spectacular" healing, and that the ugliness was actually pretty normal.  Apparently the chest tube holes heal from the inside out, and unless they started to produce pus or the redness enlarged, everything was fine.

I also ran into my surgeon in X-ray, and he was quite pleased to see me looking so good so shortly after such a surgery.  He also guessed that I had lost about ten pounds since the surgery -- which is exactly on.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Excuse Me While I Suffer Culture Shock

A bunch of ads from the remote past (but I am almost old enough to remember some of them):

And some of these must have been regarded as crass even then:

And this Iver Johnson revolver ad from the turn of the 20th century can't have made sense even then:

Both Too Stupid and Too Evil To Stay Out of Prison

That there are people this evil does not surprise me.  That they are so stupid as to advertise this crime just astonishes me.  From August 13, 2013 KIVI-TV:
U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said Tuesday that Jason Lloyd Schaber, 40, of Boise, was sentenced in United States District Court to 30 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release -- after pleaded guilty in May to sexual exploitation of children by producing and distributing child pornography.

According to the plea agreement, the investigation of Schaber's activities began in April, 2012, after Boise Police were contacted by a person who saw a Craigslist advertisement offering a 3-year-old child for prostitution. Investigators worked with Craigslist and Google and traced the ad back to Schaber in mid-May, according to reports. Boise Police investigators obtained a warrant to search Schaber's home, which they executed on May 31, 2012.
How stupid do you have to be to think that placing an ad for a crime like this isn't going to get you attention from prosecutors?

Sounds Like The Punchline to a Joke From About 2003

Remember when France was referred to as "quiche-eating surrender monkeys" because of their unwillingness to support the invasion of Iraq?  From the August 13, 2013 Daily Telegraph:
The raiders broke into Cafe@Marshalls in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, in the early hours to get their hands on some food.
But when police surrounded the premises, they armed themselves with knives and a five-hour siege ensued.
Angela Marshall, who runs the cafe with her husband, said: ''Apparently they were hungry and wanted some quiche.
''There was a little bit of money in the till, but I think they just wanted food and then it got out of hand.''

Today's Weight

At the endocrinologist's office today, my weight was 210 pounds.  That's 10 pounds below my weight on heart surgery day, 20 pounds below what I was two years ago, and as low a weight as I can remember for at least a decade.  My wife is complaining that I need new pants.  But why rush into this?  I may well be below 200 by the time I stabilize.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Cardiologist Approved My Exercise Program

He was amazed that two weeks after surgery, I was able to do 60 minutes on the treadmill without discomfort, pressure, or pain, and that I was able to do a 30 minute walk with my wife last night.  But he said that was all for the good, and to continue at this level while waiting for cardiac rehab to start.  No weight lifting, however.  We went out for another walk this evening of equivalent length -- but climbing our driveway is definitely a bit more demanding.  Of course, it always has been -- it's a steep driveway -- about 120 feet of climb over a distance of perhaps 500 feet.

Finally Working

I am back at my day job, at least on what is considered a "light duty" schedule: 2-3 hours a day, 4 days a week.  Yes, that means telecommuting, so that if fatigue overwhelms me, I just go to bed.  The first day was a bit more than two hours, and was mostly working through my email queue, and updating workspaces to the release on which we are currently working.  (And remembering passwords that I have forgotten over the last couple of weeks.)

It's better than not working at all, that's for sure.  I'll be below my normal paycheck for a few weeks, but I was somewhat expecting this, and once I start received by paycheck from College of Western Idaho in September, I should be reasonably good.  (The cost of deductibles and copayments for this medical adventure will take of any surplus for a couple of months.)

The Future of Burger Flipping

From SingularityHub:
Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customer’s liking. And only when the burger’s finished cooking does Alpha slice the tomatoes and pickles and place them on the burger as fresh as can be. Finally, the machine wraps the burger up for serving.

And while you fret over how many people you invited to the barbecue, Alpha churns out a painless 360 hamburgers per hour.
The claim is that the labor saved will pay for the machine in a year.  (Of course, and maintenance and repairs will be so rare that you won't even notice it.)  Still, there's a lesson here: burger flipping is going to go the way of farriers (the people who shoe horses) and the maids responsible for detaching and reattaching lace and buttons on fancy dresses.  The same crowd of leftists who have been complaining about the miserable pay for hard work are soon going to be complaining that machines like this are going to destroy all the jobs for disadvantages sorts.  Yup.  Just like almost every job as a farmer in this country in 1800 has disappeared.  (Back then, we were a nation of 97% farmers; now it's more like 2.5% farmers.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mood Swings Are Pretty Unpleasant

I know intellectually that how down I feel today is just another mood swing.  Yesterday I felt pretty good; tomorrow will probably feel pretty good too.  But the days between are not fun.

Cardiac Rehab

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program called me up to set up an appointment.  I am beginning to think that I am a pretty atypical patient.  Their program starts with a five minute walk with heart monitors on.  I explained that I had just completed sixty minutes on the treadmill, maxxing at 3.0 mph.  You could hear the shock from the far end.  I get the impression that their average patient, before heart surgery, received most of his exercise from deep frying marshmallows.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This Wasn't Cheap

I had occasion to speak to my insurer today to clarify whether cardiac rehabilitation is included (it is).  It turns out that the bill from St. Alphonsus Medical Center for this came to $118,000.  Obviously, that will be marked down under the contract with Blue Cross -- but it is sobering to imagine getting a bill like that if you did not have health insurance.  Even millionaires would be sobered by such a bill.

Do You Find Those Coexist Bumper Stickers Annoying?

Me too, because the core error behind them is the idea that "can't we all just get along?" when actually, the intolerance problem is not evenly distributed.  My wife was preparing for classes in the fall, and found this great poster that explains the flaw in the Coexist sticker:

UPDATE: Alan K. Henderson says that Islam sees the Coexist idea a bit differently:

Thanks to for this.

Annoying Aspects of the Situation

At this point, the major unpleasantness of my situation consists of:

1. Coughing up phlegm (or trying to) makes my muscles (especially the ones that are trying to repair themselves) hurt.

2. My employer hasn't signed all the right paperwork for me to resume work on even the limited hours that the doctor has approved.  This is mildly concerning, because I am pretty sure that I have run through all my sick leave and vacation pay, and shortly I will cease to get paid.  Worse, I will then have to start paying for health insurance.  This is especially irritating because I am easily capable of putting in a few hours a day at my day job.

PJMedia Article Up

Take It from Me: Heart Surgery Is Best Avoided

You know the saying, "turn lemons into lemonade."  I like to think of this as "monetizing misery."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What A Difference Having A New Valve Makes

I just spent 60 minutes on the treadmill, covering 2.5 miles, and reaching a sustained top speed of 3.0 mph.  Before the surgery, I could not do reach 3.0 mph, and there was breathlessness at each speed (although it would eventually pass after a few minutes at each speed).  No breathlessness at all.  I actually feel really good.

There is still a bit of mucus in my lungs left over the surgery, but the exercise is definitely helping it to clear, although with Mucinex DM.

After I finished treadmilling, my blood pressure was 114/61, pulse 94.  Obviously, the combination of calcium channel and beta blocker medicines is part of what is keeping my blood pressure low.  I am hoping that as I restore my cardiovascular conditioning, and as everything finishes healing, I will be phase these down.

I would say that my greatest remaining discomfort is the mucus in my lungs that hasn't quite cleared.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Being Glad For Bad Events

For a very long time, Christians suffering unexpected and sometimes inexplicable tragedies have fallen back on Romans 8:28 which tells us:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
What would have happened if I had not suffered that kidney stone in June, leading to a careful examination of my heart problem?  My breathlessness and declining energy was not a dramatic change; it was something that was gradual enough that I simply attributed it to old age.  My cardiologist tells me that had this waited a couple more years, the back pressure on my heart from this stenotic aortic valve would have damaged it irreparably.  What would have been the alternative, once the damage was discovered?  A heart transplant?  That would have been far more dramatic, far more suffering -- if there was even an appropriate donor.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. [1 Thess. 5:16-18]
I find myself considering how every event in our lives can be a considered a decision tree:

if I do this, then this happens
else if I do this, then that happens

There are hundreds of decisions that we make every day, some obviously momentous, most apparently trivial.   And yet each decision subtly changes the future in which we will live.  While some of the consequences of those decisions may seem horrible, we have to acknowledge that we do not know what the results of taking a different path through the decision tree might be.

Laura Story has this song about what is a longstanding problem of Christian theology: we pray for God's protection in times of crisis, but sometimes we fail to recognize that what we think is a tragedy is a release, or a lesson we are learning?

Sutures Removed Today

At least the external sutures that were for the chest drainage tubes.  The ones under the skin for the hole where they spread the ribs and did the remote work are self-healing, which means that I can still feel them when I breathe.  Not wonderful, but not terribly painful, either.

I have my own blood pressure monitor, primarily so that we can decide whether one of these blood pressure lowering prescriptions is actually necessary or not.

I should get permission to return to work part-time, remotely, in the next day or two.  It will be a couple of weeks before I can drive.

UPDATE: I spent 51 minutes on the treadmill (first attempt at typing that came out "dreadmill" -- a rather Freudian slip).  Top speed was only 2.5 mph, but the goal is to get everything back in condition without overdoing it.  Afterwards, blood pressure was 120/77, at least partly because I am still taking the calcium channel blocker amlodipine.  The physician's assistant who saw me today indicated that I could try removing that from my daily dose as long as my top blood pressure stayed below 125.  I'll try this tomorrow, and see if blood pressure still remains in an acceptable range.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Is This Legal?

I don't know, but it sure smells bad.  From August 6, 2013 Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
The problem is that recreating a case from sources not "fruit of the poisonous tree" encourages some great creativity in figuring out how to re-create those sources.  I'm prepared to tolerate considerable surveillance latitude for counterterrorism, because these are not cases that are generally not going to criminal trial.  We're trying to prevent losing cities more than get a conviction.  Once you extend this same latitude to criminal matters -- and especially relatively trivial criminal matters -- I get very, very uncomfortable.

24 was a great show, and it did convey some of the problems can happen when you have to decide between losing a city or cutting some corners.  These are horrifying decisions to make.  If they have to be made once in a blue moon to avoid terrorism attacks, I cringe but accept it.  When they get made weekly for thousands of cases a year?  That's far too scary.

Nice To See My Getting Quoted

Patric Jonsson of the Christian Science Monitor has been writing articles about the Zimmerman verdict and Stand Your Ground laws, quoting me:
"What's going on [with protests against stand your ground] is just politics," says Clayton Cramer, a gun rights historian in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. "The real tragedy in America is not racism, but something that's gone terribly wrong within the black community."
and this article:
More broadly, studies have been decidedly mixed as to whether stand your ground laws exacerbate violence or are of ultimate benefit to public safety.

Such disparate findings are part of the problem when seeking judicial relief. Also, courts tend to limit trend data when prejudice can’t be proved by the facts in the particular case on the docket.

The bar for federal intervention in state affairs is whether a particular law “disproportionately impacts minority groups,” says Clayton Cramer, a gun-rights historian in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. Citing The Daily Caller report, he adds, “The problem is that this law has disproportionately benefited a minority group, which demolishes” the legal standing.

Things I Don't Understand

I wonder if the valve repair is having some incredibly positive effects.  I have been up watching Atlas Shrugged: Part II because I can't go to sleep!  I spent much of the afternoon and evening preparing for an online history class I will be teaching in the fall.  I took a couple hour nap this afternoon, but having this much energy is something that I have not had for a very long time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The World's Most Expensive & Painful Diet Plan

I shaved for the first time since the surgery, ten days ago.  My face is no longer chubby:

I even fancy that I look a few years younger.  My sinuses are now draining well, and I am beginning to think I may need my eyeglasses prescription revised.

I am going to need to buy new clothes.  I am not sure how much weight I have lost, but it feels like my shoes may be 1/2 size too large, and my pants are fast becoming something that a subtle circus clown might wear.

I am still really tired.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Screaming During Surgery

I am aware that a very widely held belief has been circulating for several years that many people are not being sufficiently anesthetized during surgery, causing excruciating pain that they remember.  I remember when I first heard this story floating around that it seemed a bit implausible, at least for the deep anesthesia used for major operations.  That kind of pain isn't just bad for the patient; it causes big problems for the surgeon as he as to work on a twitching, screaming body.

When the anesthesiologist was getting me ready for this surgery, he put on an EEG monitor that was supposed to check for signs of consciousness.  Being a bit cheeky, I asked him if showed that I was currently conscious, and he laughed.  I asked him, "Wouldn't the experience of pain, well before
consciousness, show up in increased heartbeat, respiration, blood pressure, as the body reacted to the pain?"  He admitted that it would, and he had little confidence that the EEG monitor for consciousness actually did any real good.  I have my suspicion that they use this device as a way of reassuring
those who have heard these horrifying stories the last few years. 

I don't find it implausible that because there have been some people undergoing surgical procedures with relatively mild forms of sedation who may have come out from under earlier than expected.  My anesthesiologist told Rhonda after they moved me into the recovery room that I was "narcotic naive."   This means that my past history of alcohol and drug abuse is so trivial that sniffing a wine cork would probably make me legally incapable of driving a car for a couple of hours.  My liver doesn't metabolize anesthetics and narcotics quickly, and I was deeply out for a long time.  People whose college major was Drugs of the Western Hemisphere and have not moved beyond that since graduation will likely come out from the doped up state more quickly.  Perhaps some people who have woke up fairly quickly in the recovery room (which is a scary place, although I can't quite remember any details) before the post-op staff has increased pain killers enough are, in this confused state, imagining that they were actually in surgery at the time.

Humans are dangerously suggestible, and the more that these stories of surgery on screaming, awake, conscious patients get passed around, the more likely it will produce nightmares like this.  And in many cases, it may discourage people getting surgery that they need.

Another Day, And The Fog Rolls Back In A Little

I was feeling so good last night, as my blogging activity made clear. I actually slept past my usual time for 500 mg acetaminophen dosage this morning. This alone is an improvement for which I'm quite grateful.

However, once I completed the physically demanding activity of showering and getting dressed, the anesthetic fog rolled back in, and I accomplished nothing this morning. I'm feeling a little better now, but it is definitely a series of wins and loses each day to get myself back to where I was.

Update: I have noticed that I am sometimes dizzy in the mornings; perhaps because these medicines designed to keep my blood pressure low until all of the repairs have been completed are an issue, or perhaps because I belong on all four hooves.

Nevada Now Recognizes Idaho Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit

Nevada has added Idaho's new enhanced concealed carry permit to the list of out-of-state permits that they will recognize.  This is good news for Idaho residents, because Nevada is right next door, and many trips that start in Idaho, end up in or go through Nevada. In addition, because Nevada's Sheriff's Association has worked aggressively to prevent authorized Nevada instructors from teaching the required class outside of Nevada, it was often very difficult for a nonresident to get a Nevada carry permit.

Those of you who already have an existing Idaho concealed carry permit will need to take the enhanced carry permit class and apply for the new Idaho permit. This is somewhat annoying, but if you only had a year or two left on your current Idaho permit, you aren't losing that much money by replacing it early with the enhanced permit. While I do not have a list of other states that will now recognize the Idaho enhanced carry permit compared to the standard Idaho carry permit, I am expecting that at least a few states in the Midwest and East will now grant you carry permission that you did not previously have.

I will be taking the enhanced carry permit class that friend T. Allen Hoover teaches, once I finish the trauma of getting stitches removed, paying down the deductible on this surgery bill, and have persuaded myself that the last of anesthesia brain has completely worn off.  At the moment, I don't entirely trust myself with ballpoint pens.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Week Post-Op

I know that I shouldn't be too pessimistic, but right now I don't feel that I will ever work again, much less blog, write law review articles, teach, and all the rest of what I used to.

I am no longer reliant on hydrocodone to control the pain, but there's nothing left in me.  I am reduced to watching television, reading Dave Barry books, and almost blogging this.  Almost.  The number of typing errors that I have made just scares the wits out of me.

You are never too young to worry about heart disease.  Never.  I intend to write an article for PJMedia (assuming that I get that while) about our culture fails to get the severity of heart surgery through to the general population, and the importance of healthy lifestyle habits.

UPDATE: Thank you all for the encouraging responses, especially those who are also members of the tribe of barnyard animal hybrids!  The fog started to lift this afternoon, and I was again solving pretty trivial problems (why can't I get the latest JDK to install?) without suffering.  I have turned ScopeRoller ordering back on as well.