Friday, February 25, 2005

Girls Basketball update

The Waukon Indians defeated Dubuque Wahlert 46 to 34. Apparently it was an ugly game, but, as legendary coach Gene Klinge has been known to say, you only need to win by 1. They advance to the state tournament and play a week from Tuesday in Des Moines.

Late Update: Finally got my dad on the phone, and he said it was definitely a sloppy game. After being up 17-3 in the 2nd quarter they let them get within 6 in the second half. Emily had 7 points. Here's the newspaper write-up:
The coach is a 68-year-old local legend reliving his teenage years and discovering exactly who Snoop Doggy Dog is.

The star guard is a 23-point per night force [Sam Reiser] and NCAA Division I prospect.

The spunky, sure-handed point guard doesn't even reach 5-foot-6 in heels. The bench is a deep collection of seasoned, skilled role players who have been playing together since grade school.

Add it all together and it's an unbeatable, state championship combination. The Waukon girls basketball team is playing in Iowa Class 3A, but in another league than the rest of the state. The Indians are also wearing a size 24 Bulls'-Eye.

"We love the pressure," senior forward Stephanie Snitker said.

Apparently. The unbeaten Indians survived a furious coup attempt by Dubuque Wahlert and booked another trip to Des Moines with a laboring 46-34 triumph Friday over the unranked Eagles before an estimated standing room crowd of 1,300 in the Region 6 final.

. . .

The Indians' 52nd straight victory came on a night when their shot went south and the Golden Eagles lowered the volume Waukon's high-voltage 70-point-per-night offense by 24 points in a dazzling defensive performance.

Read the rest here (you have to register but it's free). 1300 isn't bad for a high school girls game where both teams are playing away from home. Waukon has a population of about 4000.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Blowing Up Old People

Now, I'm not surprised that the conservative lobby is taking the fight for Social Security privatization to the lowest possible denominator but I am surprised about the crassness with which they speak about it. Here's a nifty little quote from the president of the lobbying agency fight the AARP. Incidentally, it's the same group that consulted the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth from what I gathered.

"They [the AARP] are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts," said Charlie Jarvis, the group's president and former deputy secretary for the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. "We will be the dynamite that removes them."

Friday, February 18, 2005

This Reminded Me Of Freeloader Luke

I work for an organization that places volunteers around the United States in nonprofits that help alleviate poverty. This organization provides us volunteers with a biweekly subsistence allowance at the poverty level of the communities we serve and encourages us to apply for food stamps. I am a college graduate who could earn a decent living, but I choose to do this work. I could perhaps live on my allowance with strict budgeting. Is it ethical to apply for food stamps? S.B., Chicago

It is indeed ethical to apply for food stamps. And when you do, fill out those forms honestly and comply with all eligibility requirements, which refer not to some hypothetical earning power but to your actual income. Those who designed the program could have required you to seek more profitable employment (recipients of unemployment benefits must demonstrate that they are able and available to work, for example), but they chose not to. No nurse's aide or poet (or poetical nurse's aide) is compelled to return to school for an M.B.A. And you have no obligation to set more rigorous food-stamp eligibility standards for yourself than your state has.

And beyond legalisms, there's no ethical reason that your efforts to do a bit of good for others should require you to shun a federal program to which you are entitled. Ideally, of course, those who work so altruistically would make a decent living -- or at least a living -- and not have to struggle at the subsistence level. It is sad when soldiers or anti-poverty workers are so poorly paid that they need food stamps to feed their families.

As far as I know, not a single wealthy person declined his tax cut and sent the I.R.S. extra money; similarly, you need feel no reluctance to participate lawfully in a government program meant to benefit those without wealth.

Baseball season

Gentlemen: It is upon us. Let's get a fantasy league going. Luke, I presume you have one ongoing w/ some of your high school friends. You need another.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Solomon Amendment

Had a meeting over lunch regarding educating the student body about the Solomon Amendment, which is the law/reg requiring universities to permit military recruiters on campus and backed by the threat of loss of all federal funding for the whole University (across departments). To be accredited by the ABA, law schools must have an anti-discrimination policy. They are forced to violate parts of this policy when they are forced to allow military recruiters on campus, as the military discriminates against homosexuals.

This brings up two issues as I understand it. First, there is a potential problem when Congress uses it's tax and spend power to achieve an end which is arguably forbidden by the First Amendment (infringing school and student speech association rights). Second, it invites debate on the underlying policy, here whether gays should be excluded from the military.

Any thoughts?

Monday, February 14, 2005

We show up in google

Just search for "spring break 99 blogspot"

Vergasy posting for Wiley

Just found out that a colorful character from our years in college, the "reverend" stephen white, or "brother stephen" as he affectionately encouraged others to call him, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to pay a 14 year old boy $20 to be allowed to perform oral sex on the boy. You might remember stephen standing between beinecke and cross campus denouncing gays, pedophiles, liberals, and other evildoers with a megaphone and generally making an ass out of himself.

You can find out all the sordid details you want to by typing the words "reverend stephen white sex" into google.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Tort reform

So, what's the consensus here, boys?

There's no denying that trial lawyers manipulate the system and the rules to maximize their takehome pay. There's also no denying that corporate pushers of the effort to limit class action suits (and reform broadly) are exclusively concerned w/ their takehome pay. My sense of the issue is that there are two distinct debates that are being effectively merged into one. There should be a discussion about current medical malpractice litigation and a separate discussion about defective products/class action litigation. The proponents of efforts to limit the second have piggy-backed on the arguments to limit the first. They have effectively made the public debate about about med mal lawsuits, but want the alterations proposed to remedy the problems to affect class actions. I think this is bad.

There is a fundamental difference b/t the way litigation affects corporate and individual defendants. Yes, insurance companies defend doctors, but doctors as individuals must take a lot of time and effort, and have their reputations tarnished when they are named. Corporations have to respond similarly, but the effects are spread over dozens or hundreds of people. Responding to a lawsuit is a qualitatively different burden for an individual and affects the way they can provide their service.

Now, recognizing this, I think that doctors who are named AND THEN ARE EITHER DISMISSED AS DEFENDANTS OR WIN A JURY VERDICT, may very well be in need of some additional protections. How can such doctors be protected while still holding to account those who do in fact deviate from the standard of care to cause injury?

Creating a cap on damages may reduce the number of these "frivolous" lawsuits by lowering the incentive for attorneys to file such cases. I doubt it, though, b/c the "frivolous" cases should never win a large award from a jury anyway. It's common sense: the stronger cases get larger awards.

Restricting venue options could be more effective and I'd argue would be more just.

At any rate, what I'm getting at is that while I do think that medical malpractice litigation may need some new law, I don't think that corporate defendants are in need of similar protections. And I think they know they can't win a public debate on the matter, so they are hitching their wagons to the medical malpractice reform, broading the argument to "tort reform." And their efforts appear to have been successful. Boo.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Effects of the Iraqi Election

I figure there are two fronts where the implications are important. First, and overarching, should be the effects on long terms stability and freedom in Iraq and the region in general. Does the, relatively, peaceful voting and large turnout signify hope and how "freedom is on the march?" Or is it just the first step of an enthusiastic populace's attempt to install an Iran-style theocracy.
Second, what does it mean for the Hawk agenda and, perhaps more importantly, the Bush agenda.

Unfortunately, I think that it's very likely that Iraq will evolve quite quickly into an Iran style theocracy. The elites that the US wants to rule will be forced to leave and many of their assetts along with the assetts of foreign investors wil be nationalized. Regarding the homefront, I think that if there's one adminstration that's going to be able to usethe "success" of the election to further it's domestic agenda, it's this one. It was nice to see everyone vote and all and it will provide Bush and his folks with lots of great rhetoric for the time being, but I'm still worried about Iraq and that this veneer of success will lead to further policy blunders. But these are just first thoughts.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Leninist party politics alive and well in Republican Party

Dan Froomkin calls attention to a Newsweek story with this passage:

"Rep. Tom Tancredo was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on his way to the Capitol one Friday morning in April 2002 when his cell phone rang. Though the caller ID read unidentified, Tancredo had no trouble recognizing the voice on the other end of the line: it was White House adviser Karl Rove, and he was seething.

"The congressman had been quoted in that morning's Washington Times attacking George W. Bush's immigration plan, which he warned could be an 'open door' for illegal immigrants and a national-security risk. As Tancredo remembers it, Rove screamed at him for more than 20 minutes, accusing him of disloyalty to his party and the president in the wake of 9/11. The conversation grew so heated that Tancredo had to pull over. As the congressman recalls, Rove ended the call with a warning that Tancredo should 'never darken the steps of the White House again.' (The White House disputes Rove's comment.)

And of course we shouldn't forget the Arlen Specter fiasco, in which his expected chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee was threatened for what he described as daring to acknowledge that 60 votes are needed to end debate in the Senate and confirm a judicial nominee.