Archive for August, 2006

Place Your Bets

August 28, 2006

The most obvious pick for the Secret Senator? Bobby Byrd, the Kleagle of pork, of course. That said, if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Trent Lott’s square.

How about you?

UPDATE: This is why I don’t gamble. Senator Secret is Ted Stephens.

From The Bleachers: The Blog

August 27, 2006

My long-promised college football blog is finally up and running. The link is FromTheBleachers.net, and if you’re so inclined, please head over and have a look.

For those of you who always wondered why the heck they were reading posts on SEC football at VodkaPundit, your wishes have been answered. I don’t expect to be putting up much if any sports-related content over here from now on (but you’re not getting rid of me entirely, so NYAAAAH!).

NOTE: For some reason, this post attracted a spambot set on ludicrous speed. I’ve closed the comments to keep it out.

Finally

August 24, 2006

Four straight weeks of work-related travel end today.

I’m cooling my heels in an airport, but at least I’ve got free wi-fi. Football season is but a week away, and my football blog will be up and running literally any day now. In other words, life is getting better by the moment. If I can just make a (delayed once already) ASA flight this afternoon, everything’s good.

I haven’t been on line much at all this month, so help me out here–who’s this other guy that started posting all of a sudden…?

The $550 $587 1.5 Terabyte Network Server

August 12, 2006

A while back, I posted a pathetic plea for help in putting together a home server. After considerable thrashing in both hardware and software, I finally got it working a couple of weeks ago. For those who’re interested, here’s what I did (and for those who aren’t, Martini Boy will be back with something considerably more entertaining than this in a couple of days):

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On The Move

August 9, 2006

Sorry to have fallen off on posting lately. I wish I could say things were going to get better, but for the next three weeks they’re likely to get worse instead. All apologies. I do promise to check in when I’m able, but those times are going to be few and far between for the balance of August.

Knock wood, I’ll have something up this evening regarding yesterday’s election results. In the meantime, thanks for checking in.

Single-Payer, Multi-Waiter

August 7, 2006

With Hillary Clinton a sure thing to run for President, it’s a very safe bet that we’ll be hearing plenty of calls in 2008 for socialized medicine, except it’ll be euphemized as “single payer” government health insurance. Check out this story from the UK on how well that’s working out for the Brits:

Hospitals across the country are imposing minimum waiting times – delaying the treatment of thousands of patients.

After years of Government targets pushing them to cut waiting lists, staff are now being warned against “over-performing” by treating patients too quickly. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that at least six trusts have imposed the minimum times.

In March, Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Health, offered her apparent blessing for the minimum waiting times by announcing they would be “appropriate” in some cases. Amid fears about £1.27 billion of NHS debts, she expressed concern that some hospitals were so productive “they actually got ahead of what the NHS could afford”.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned of five further minimum-waiting-time directives. In May, Staffordshire Moorlands PCT, which funds services at two hospitals and is more than £5 million in the red, introduced a 19-week minimum wait for in-patients and 10 weeks for out-patients. A spokesman said: “These were the least worst cuts we could make.” In March, Eastbourne Downs PCT, expected to overspend by £7 million this year, ordered a six-month minimum wait for non-urgent operations. Also in March, it was revealed that Medway PCT, with a deficit of £12.4 million, brought in a nine-week wait for out-patient appointments and 20 weeks for non-urgent operations.

Doctors are also resigning. One gynæcologist said that he spent more time doing sudoku puzzles than treating patients because of the measures. Since January, West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, with a deficit of £41 million, has used a 10-week minimum wait for routine GP referrals to hospital. Watford and Three Rivers PCT, £13.2 million in the red, has introduced “demand management”: no in-patient or day case is admitted before five months.

Oh, yeah, sign me up for that.

“Is He Dead Yet?”

August 4, 2006

I heard on the radio in Vegas that a Cuban restaurant there is offering a free mojito to anyone who walks in and asks, “Is he dead yet?” (sorry, Vegas drinkers, but I don’t remember the name of the place). From reading this rather facinating analysis, I’m guessing the answer is “yes.”

[T]he events to date in Cuba strongly suggest that a fierce internal struggle is now going on and that Raul’s absence from the airwaves is ample evidence that he is definitely not in control and cannot muster even a temporary consensus.

Politics in dictatorships rely heavily on the nuances of public appearances to demonstrate who has power and who doesn’t, information that is crucial to provide direction for those who are part of the ruling system but not part of the inner circles of power. Dictatorships require a public face of unchallengeable unity and cannot withstand public displays of infighting. For that reason, the #1 priority for any would-be successor are fawning public appearances and blanket media coverage focused on him in order to demonstrate to all that he has emerged as the unchallenged center of power. It is all orchestrated, and none of it is “news.” If others share the stage, this means that the struggle is continuing but is stalemated and a public face of collective unity is necessary to prevent the regime from collapsing for lack of someone in control. But eventually there must be a Number 1.

Sometimes the struggle is over quickly – Gorbachev quickly solidified his preeminence after the death of the puppet Chernenko who was a nonentity used as a place-holder by the competing power brokers while they carried on their internal battle. After Gorbachev’s emergence, the media switched to all-Gorbachev all the time. Similarly, Hua Guo-feng (remember him? No one does) was Mao’s appointed heir, and his appearances and utterances blanketed the airwaves, newspapers, etc. But he was quickly shoved aside by Deng Xiaoping who managed to organize a stable coalition behind him and emerge triumphant in the inner circle, then quickly and publicly threw out and humiliated the Gang of Four, his principal opponents. Appearances in the media tracked closely the rise and fall of this power struggle.

Read the whole thing. And of course, whenever the answer is “yes,” it’ll be not a half-century too soon.

Micro-Update

August 3, 2006

Sorry for the complete lack of blogging this week. I’ve been on travel since Monday morning (Vegas, and not for fun), and my hotel lied shamelessly about having free wi-fi.

I’m back home now, and hopefully some actual content will appear here in the near future.