Saturday, February 21, 2004

A-Rod comes to New York...Big Whoops!
The most expensive player in Major League baseball has decided that he's willing to play for George Steinbrenner's New York Yankees, and the town goes nuts. Red Sox fans continue to cry in their clam chowder. Cats and dogs have signed a peace accord in Geneva.

In the past week, I have heard Alex Rodriguez called the "best player in the game" about 72 times. I have heard this trade makes the Yankees "unbeatable" at least twice that many times. My reaction: who gives a rat's ass?

As for Rodriguez being the best player, when you live in a town like New York and there's already Mike Piazza, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Tom Glavine, I can't see how you make that distinction. Individually, these are all great ballplayers, but how does one decide Rodriguez is the best?

The Yankees failed to meet their initial needs, which was quality starting pitching (you can't lose Roger Clemens and David Wells and feel your pitching is now adequate), they tied up a shitload of money (even with Texas footing a good deal of the bill to get rid of A-Rod) that might have been used to get some pitching (espescially middle-relief pitching, and another closer), and possibly damaged the rest of the team when they see the 200 million-dollar peacock in the clubhouse (jealousy is a nasty thing).

I can't wait until the next "labor dispute" (read:strike) and the owners, as always, point to Steinbrenner and remark about how he is ruining the game with his money. Granted, George did not agree to give ARod 200 mil, but pretty soon he might have to dump some higher-priced talent to afford him, and other teams will bitch because they can't afford these players.

Firstly, no one is worth 200 million, not Arod, not Bill Gates, not Martha Stewart. Secondly, Yankee fans will be stupid enough to pay $100 for an upper-deck seat, but that's okay, it's goes to a worthy cause --- seeing ARod in pinstripes. You see, in the end, it's not GEORGE'S money that Alex will get.

Perhaps Yankee fans should stop peeing their pants in excitement and think clearly for a second or two. Ooops, forgot, it's the Bronx and clear thinking is not their forte.

Scientists claim to have witnessed evolution...Film at 11...
Okay, seems that there was a bunch of pinheads at U of Michigan who managed to get a bacteria to move and then eat. They then claimed they witnessed evolution in action.


I simplify. What these guys did was to engineer a crippled E coli bacteria (it had no tail and therefore, could not move to feed itself), insert a combination of amino acids to "uncripple" it (allow it grow a new tail), so that it could move to a source of food before it died.

How is this evolution?

If I understand (and I admit, I'm in foreign territory here) evolution correctly, the bacteria should have developed it's own method to replace it's tail or perhaps found a new method of moving towrads food. I.E. without the help of a genetic scientist, without someone messing with it's DNA.

Since no mention was made as to whether this thing actually multiplied and passed this new (trait) on to it's descendants, how is anyone to judge if a) the thing actually evolved, b) it was a viable change c) someone just didn't get lucky and teach a bug a neat trick. Sorta like when your dog fetches the newspaper.

But evolution in the laboratory? I thought that was supposed to be a natural process?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Why I laugh at the "Black Community"...
Interesting post on Free Republic, I submit for your edification:

Now to respond to this nonsense. This whole thing sounds pretty Nazi-like to me. I'm talking about the allusions to the viability of a separate black race, their economic and cultural survival and a whole load of nifty multi-culti, politically correct smarm like that. The article fairly drips with racism.

Which strikes me as funny in two ways; first, those who complain the most about the racism of others apparently have great difficulty in recognizing their own. The second funny thing is that a great many people, particularly so-called intellectuals, will eat these arguments up without a second thought. Hypocrisy and stupidity, I know, are diseases that we're all afflicted with from time to time, but could it be any more obvious than this?

I guess it's okay to make Nazi-like pronouncements on race, culture and economics if you're black, but try and fly a Confederate flag and get ready for a court battle and a boycott.

No pun intended, but the pot calls the kettle black and decides it's okay because "an educated person" was quoted in the article, and because it reinforces an already widely-held belief. This is why an Al Sharpton or a Carol Moseley-Moron could never be President of the United States: Bush might mispronounce words and sound like an idiot doing it, but he is at least aware of the problem.

These folks are in the dark, in more ways than one...

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Mindless Bureacracy...
For those of you who might not be in the know, your faithful blogger has taken a year off from work on Long-Term disability. The nature of my disability is mental, hence the name of this blog. I suffer from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and Panic disorder as a result of being in close proximity to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

This does not make me unusual, since I'm pretty sure that everyone around here was affected in similar ways, but just might not have had symptoms pop up yet or were able to deal with it on their own.

Anyway, one of the things one is entitled to when when is on long-term is Social Security Disability Insurance and Social Security Supplimental Income. These are benefits available to you through the government --- benefits that you have paid for with your taxes.

What one does to apply for these benefits is to fill in the same stack of forms 22 times and wait for the gestapo at the Social Security Administration to decide if you "qualify". They make this determination by reviewing medical reports, a personal interview and by some internal criteria that one must have a degree in Hieroglyphics to understand.

In the end, I'm told, about 75% of applicants get denied the first time around. What this means is that you must go to court (where the criteria for establishing disability are somewhat lower) and fight for what is legally yours.

And herein lies the problem. In my case, seven professionals have deemed that during the time of my disability that I was crazier than a Palestinian. There is documented evidence that I must take medication and undergo extensive therapy to correct the problems,and that, initially, they did prevent me from operating in something resembling a normal fashion.

The interview that was to determine my "eligibility" took all of 20 minutes. It took longer to fill in the paperwork. It also took place nine months after I began medicating and therapy, and so my greatest fear was realized: at the time of the interview I was simply "not crazy enough" to be considered eligible, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Apparently, because I can brush my teeth and tell time, I'm only suffering from a, quote, "bad case of nerves", end-quote.

I will go through the motions because there is nothing else I can do at the moment, but I've been hearing horror stories about other folks and their trials and tribulations:

- AIDS victims denied benefits.
- Alzheimer's patients denied benefits.
- Amputees denied benefits.

The vast majority of these folks request hearings, and eventually get what they were entitled to in the first place. In the meantime, bureaucrats, lawyers, judges and doctors make a fortune or at least stay occupied.

And for what? To pay out more money after the hearing than would have been paid out if the evidence had been properly reviewed in the first place?

The system perpetuates itself, most Americans remain oblivious to it, and shut their mouths and pay for it. Hell of a way to run a railroad.
And in other news...
I've decided that I should run for office. Apparently, you only need to be an idiot and small-minded, and scrape a few bucks up to get started. I qualify on points one and two, and I think I can handle the third requirement --- after all, lots of folks gave Howard Dean money.

Let's look at what is passing for reasoned, political discourse lately:

1. John Kerry might have had an affair with an intern. So what? Show me a politician (especially one as ugly as Kerry) that hasn't used the aphrodesiac of power to get a little on the side, or to his.her personal advantage. This strikes me as a "man bites dog" story, and I can't believe airtime and newsprint are being wasted on it. Americans should, by now, be long past the idea that our politicians are virtuous men and women, when we keep electing Nixons, Kennedys and Clintons into office. No one is squeaky clean and let's stop the pretense. It only leads to other mindless bullshit like:

2. George Bush was AWOL from the National Guard. This story, we can assume, was tossed out of the trash heap by the same people who swear they also saw Bill Clinton's draft deferment letter. Despite the evidence of an Honorable Discharge (they don't hand them out if you're AWOL), and the plethora of folks coming out to say otherwise, this continues to have legs. Another example of throwing enough manure at the barn wall --- eventually, some of it sticks, even if it shouldn't.

3. Demowimps and Republicrats continue to accuse each other of taking money from "special interests". Ho hum. Show me a political party or politician that hasn't. In fact, the government takes my money in the form of taxes and I would consider myself a "special interest". Wouldn't you? The issue (talk about forests and trees) is about who takes more of that money. That's pretty petty, I think, since both sides are obviously on the take one way or another.

4. Charles Schumer is not only still alive, but still somewhat gainfully employed. Refer to the comment about idiots above, and I rest my case.

5. Still no sign of WMD's in Iraq. So what? Eliminating a regime that strangled the life out of it's citizens apparently was not a good enough reason to go to war. Toppling a government and a dictator that had it in for the United States apparently was not good enough. People have awfully short memories --- the President made a case for Iraq on these other issues in addition to WMD's and giving Saddam a 6X6 cell in a dungeon has been official U.S. Policy since 1998, by act of CONGRESS. Someone is too busy trying to make hay by implying that a politician may not have been entirely truthful when relaying his motives to the public. Like that hasn't happened before?

6. Gay people have been lining up to get married all over the country. Okay, let 'em. What's the beef? Yes, I'm sure it offends some people's sensibilities, but then again, so does Affirmative Action and we live with it. This is not a political issue, in the same way that abortion or affirmative action aren't --- these are issues that do not need to be regulated by law and courts but by the cold logic of right and wrong. The sooner we move such things out of the political sphere and into the cultural sphere (where they belong), the happier we will all be.

But I guess I'm applying logic and that would disqualify me from holding office. I sure would like to try though...

Returning after a forced absence....
The 'puter was broke folks, but I managed to cobble something back together and I'm back (like anyone actually missed me anyway). Don't miss today's caustic bullshit....