Monday, February 18, 2008

"Extra, Extra, Read All About It!"

"Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." (Mark Twain)

Sorry for the delay folks.

Lots of news around the US and the world to comment on today.


1. Obamamania- Hillary leads Obama 49-43% in the Wisconsin poll (primary is tomorrow). Note, Wisconsin allows same day registration, so the poll may be unpredictable. Remember, Wisconsin sits next to the state (Minnesota) that also has same day voter registration...a state that elected none other than "Jesse the Body" Ventura as their governor a few years back.

Also, the latest CNN Poll has Obama and Hillary neck-in-neck in Texas (50-48%). It's going to be a very interesting primary.

2. Good Ol' Boy- George HW Bush officially endorsed John McCain today and took a jab at the right wing media that has been denigrating Mr. McCain.

Speaking of that topic, one that I have touched on a few times previously in this blog, there are many recent articles about the battle between McCain and the right-wing conservatives.

3. Bite your tongue- Fareed Zacharia (who has written one of my favorite books of all time, "Future of Freedom"), has a very interesting piece in Newsweek about the "End of Conservatism". A lot of the readers of this blog will not be happy with that title or premise, but read the piece, it is excellent.

Health Care:

1. Doctors, wash your hands- This has been a long-time coming. Starting in October, Medicare will no longer re-imburse hospitals for preventable errors and "iatrogenic" complications. This is a great free-market move to get hospitals to improve quality of care. Why should hospitals make MORE money when someone gets an infection while in the hospital? Or, get reimbursed for complications from surgery, such as forgetting to remove sponges from the body cavity or if the patient gets bed sores? It is estimated that this new policy will save the government about $190 million over 5 years.

2. Dirty lemons- Those yummy lemon wedges you get with your drink at the restaurant are loaded with bacteria, including fecal bacteria. Watch this video for the full story. Kind of gross, but the good thing to remember is that despite the bacteria, it doesn't seem that these lemon wedges have caused significant disease.

(make sure to include both == after the URL...I've never seen that before, but it brings you to the video)

3. Where's the beef?- Remember that video I posted about the cows being treated poorly? ( Well, it turns out that it was that video that was the impetus behind the recall of 143 million pounds of beef.

4. Health care fraud- more dispicable behavior by the insurance companies. Check this out...who got screwed? The patients, of course. We need to change this system.

5. Deadly drug- A drug to stop bleeding after cardiac surgery, called Trasylol, has been removed from the market by the FDA. The drug increased the risk of kidney failure and death after surgery. Interestingly, it was the most commonly used drug to stop bleeding after cardiac surgery, even though 2 drugs that are much cheaper are just as effective and do not increase the risk of kidney failure or death (trasylol costs > $1000, the other two about $50).

Check out the article and video from "60 Minutes" last night. This demonstrates more subversive behavior by pharmaceutical companies that are NOT in the best interest of the patients (it all comes down to money, again).


1. Vindication- This just in...Pakistani's have overwhelmingly voted against President Musharaff's party, by electing a prime minister and several parliamentary seats from opposition parties.

2. GWB (no, not George W. Bush)- What nation is the "happiest" in the world? Denmark, of course. Check out the story from "60 Minutes" last night. It seems they certainly have a good quality of life, despite of a 50% marginal tax rate. The drive for money is less, but at least according to the 4 Danes they interviewed, they still have ambition and drive to be successful. Although, their definition of success is probably different from that of most Americans.

"Just describe for me the qualities that a successful person would have in
this country," Safer asked.

"Well, in order to see myself as a success I would
want to be happy and have a lot of time with my family. I think that's very
important to me. And the money is not that important," he replied.

I sometimes wonder if the Europeans really have got "living" down to a science. There was a great article in the Economist about 1 year ago that stated that countries should be compared on a parameter other than GDP (gross domestic product) and instead should be compared on GWB ("General Well Being"). It sounds corny, but I tend to agree.

While we're talking about it, yhy don't you take this "Happiness Test"...

1. Steroidgate- Andy Pettite had a press conference today, apologizing for his use of performance-enhancing drugs. He said little about Clemens, except to say that their relationship was "strained" and that they have not spoken since Clemens pathetic performance on the Capitol Hill last week. Pettite is a good guy and is obviously telling the truth. Clemens should stop lying and just admit it. He is looking worse and worse as the days pass.

2. Spygate- Belichick is denying that he taped the Rams practice before the 2002 Super Bowl. I still don't understand why the NFL destroyed all of the tapes. Why would they destroy the evidence? I need to do more research on this, but it all sounds fishy.

3. Stop Crying Bostonians- For all of the New England Patriots fans, there is one place on earth when they are considered undefeated at 19-0. In Nicaragua, they are the "Super Bowl Champion" New England Patriots.

1. The Maestro- This was an uplifting and inspiring story shown on "60 Minutes" last night. It chronicles the supersonic rise of Venezuelan-born Gustavo Dudamel. He is only 26 years old, and was recently selected as the new director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His energy is frenetic and limitless. Best part about Gustavo? He still goes back to Barquisimeto, Venezuela to conduct the Simon Bolivar National Youth Orchestra, a group composed of young talents all less than 25 years old. And, he plans on starting a music program for poor and impoverished students in L.A.

This does remind me of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes when Elaine was dating the maestro (the guy who played the school teacher in the Twisted Sister video "I Wanna Rock"). He taught Kramer and George's dad the secret to keeping dress slacks wrinkle free...don't sit down in them. So, George's mom walks in on pantless Kramer, Mr. Contanza, and the Maestro playing pool (using the Maestro's conducting baton as their pool cue because the room was too small)...all in their boxer shorts. Very funny television.

2. Writer's strike- Thank goodness the writer's strike is over. I can't take any more reality TV on the networks. Unfortunately, it is too late for my favorite show to return to the air this season. That's right, "24" will not return until 2009, because Fox does not want to air the highly popular and critically acclaimed thriller show during the summer, when ratings are lower. So, we will have to wait to see Jack Bauer and crew until Jan 2009. So, Keifer has time to get drunk and get caught drunk-driving again, go to jail, and get out again in time for the next season of "24".

As for me, I will have to continue to subsist on a steady diet of my favorite non-network shows...Fast Money, Mad Money, Man vs. Wild, Mythbusters, Survivorman, The Daily Show, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Whew...that's all for now.


Will said...

Steve -- Wow

did you see that your doppleganger Posada is picking Clemens in this pathetic she said-she said battle?

i would almost be pleased that the yankers are being dragged down in their own muck but it is making the whole sport look bad

kath said...

I'm glad to hear the Coca-Posada likeness brought to light!

Cocameister said...

I comment on 15 issues on a variety of topics, and the only comments I get are about how I look like Jorge Posada?!?!?!?

Come on people...