Bear DOWN, Arizona!

Got my nerves frayed a little bit watching the Sweet Sixteen game between Arizona and San Diego State this evening. UA didn’t take the lead until about the four-minute mark of the second half, and it was still nip-and-tuck down to the final moments. They did pull it out, however, and now they face the 2nd-seeded Wisconsin Badgers, who defeated Baylor handily earlier in the day. That game will be on Saturday in Anaheim.

Gone too soon

I was listening to some random music in my iTunes library tonight. One of the songs was by Jim Croce. Croce was killed on takeoff in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1973. He was thirty years old.

I heard about it on an AFRTS radio news broadcast when I got into work for a midnight shift at the Naval Communications Station in Yokosuka, Japan. There were two of us who were guitarists on that shift, and I remember we just looked at each other in dismay. We both admired Croce’s talents for singing and writing, and he and Maury Muehleisen, who also died in the crash, were excellent players.

Here’s the song that was released the day after they died.

Lies and misrepresentations

The media, as usual, is letting itself be manipulated by the right wing. It is now halfway persuaded that birth control is equal to abortion. That’s a lie. Here’s Dr. Lin-Fan Wang, a family doctor in NYC.

The news coverage of the birth control benefit has been riddled with inaccurate statements, in particular, the allegations that the law requires coverage of abortifacients (medicine that causes abortion) or that the science is unclear on whether the FDA-approved contraceptives are abortifacients. Neither of these statements is true from a medical or scientific viewpoint and no matter how many times they’re repeated in the media’s misguided efforts to present multiple sides of an argument. What would be best for readers: the media should adhere to the facts. Some readers are interested in opinions on the facts, but opinions and facts are not the same.

Here are the undisputed facts:

FACT: The ACA requires new health insurance plans to cover the full spectrum of FDA-approved forms of birth control. It does not require coverage of abortion or abortifacients.

FACT: No FDA-approved forms of birth control – including emergency contraception pills or the IUD – cause abortions. Emergency contraception pills and IUDs prevent pregnancy, not disrupt pregnancy.

FACT: Pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. After implantation, that’s when a pregnancy test turns positive. Even among women not on birth control, not every fertilized egg implants. Therefore, the possibility that the copper IUD could inhibit implantation does not make it an abortifacient. This is not an opinion. This is the shared consensus of the medical and scientific community, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When the media reports claims other than these facts as truths it perpetuates lies and does a disservice to the country.

Palliatives and ointments and pads

I had some shoulder pain over the past few days sufficient that lifting my arm to comb my hair hurt. I tried lots of things I had on hand, like Icy Hot Cream (hey, if Shaq endorses it . . .) and Salonpas patches. Each was accompanied by generic ibuprofen. It finally started to fade away yesterday afternoon and is pretty much gone today.

That’s too bad, because I picked up a small jar of Tiger Balm. I’ve seen it mentioned by friends a few times and thought I’d try it. I used it once today at noon, and it was nothing like what I expected. I thought it would provide some pretty deep heating to the joint, but it did nothing of the sort. It felt fine, but I don’t know how effective it was.

Next time I have an ache I’ll go exclusively with the Tiger Balm and see how it works on me.

NCAA Men’s Tourney, Day Four

Creighton picked a horrible time to forget how to shoot baskets. It was shooting 33% after the first ten minutes, and it finally got up to 40% with 2:57 left in the game, by which time it was down by 28 points. Kansas let the loss of big man Joel Embiid keep them out of the paint in its loss to Stanford. Wichita State lost by two to Kentucky’s group of mercenaries (“One season and off to the NBA!” is the battle cry of Coach Calipari’s “student-athletes”).

I suffered grievous losses today and my bracket is still in the top 1.5% or so of the millions submitted to ESPN. I wish I could say I’d done it with superior analysis.

Opening Day, 2014

The US Major League Baseball season opened yesterday in Sydney, Australia. The Los Angeles Dodgers played the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first of two games played on the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.

Here’s what it looked like:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

You can find plenty more pictures of this unusual sight here at Jon SooHoo’s blog. He’s the Dodgers’ official photographer.

I’m happy to report the Dodgers won both yesterday’s game and the one played today.

Jindal a wonk? Not hardly.

Back a few years when Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was a fresh new face on the scene he was thought to be a really bright guy, a comer, a pol on the rise in the Republican ranks. Since then he’s presented a State of the Union response which was universally panned. He’s generally been a noisy gadfly occasionally, but he hasn’t been taken very seriously, except as yet another right-wing Governor who’s tried very hard to eviscerate teachers unions and public schools in general.

He hasn’t redeemed himself with his latest appearance on the national stage.

MoveOn.org has put up a billboard asking Jindal why he won’t expand Medicaid to help about 242,000 of his state’s poorest citizens, and Jindal has responded by suing MoveOn. Part of his rhetorical attacks on the group include the claim that the Affordable Care Act “prioritizes coverage of childless adults ahead of the most vulnerable,” which he wrote in an op-ed for the Shreveport Times last week.

Except that, as we’ve come to expect from Governor Jindal, he’s wrong.

  • First, some disabled people could actually qualify for health coverage under the Medicaid expansion, according to MaryBeth Musumeci, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
  • Second, Obamacare should have no policy bearing on the traditional Medicaid program. Federal funding for the traditionally eligible population remains exactly the same, and the states retain the same flexibility to manage their programs as existed prior to the law.
  • Third, and perhaps most devastatingly to Jindal’s theory, Obamacare actually expands programs and funding for so-called “long-term services and supports” under Medicaid — the kind of long-term care that the disabled would utilize.

Essentially, Governor Jindal has shown himself to be a man who is careless with facts and prone to shooting off his mouth (or word processor) without thinking about the consequences.

To think he was once thought to be on the fast track for the Republican nomination for President in 2012!