Friday, October 29, 2010

Hope for the Bruins?

Well, Dallas Raines, Channel 7's weatherman, offered his prediction during the rain-in-the-morning weather report, that UCLA would beat Arizona 35-31. Not that I've ever seen him predict football games before, or that I have the slightest idea whether he has a track record or not, for a stubborn Bruin loyalist desperate for some shred of hope for a respectable season, that was enough. I also note that the Register sports writers (whom I know only enough to say hi when passing in the hall) are split 2-2 on this game. Arizona has been inconsistent also. Well, hope springs and all that. I now plan to watch the game with a degree of hope, perhaps even confidence.

Quote of the day

"When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before." -- H.L. Mencken

Thursday, October 28, 2010

China-bashing by the Dems

Maybe it's just because it's election season and linking opponents to sinister furriners is a hardly honorable but time-tested tactic. But the curious thing is that this cycle the Democrats and liberals (modern American style, not classical), who in the recent past worked hard to associate themsleves with cosmopolitanism, openness to the other and all that are sounding like jingoists. Union preferences have something to do with it, of course; U.S. unions are always angling for protection from foreign companies in the fear that downward pressure might be put on wages.

The upshot is that we have the Obama administration sounding for all the world, as this Register editorial explains, like late-1990s neoconservatives, when those unworthies were casting about for a credible enemy to justify continuing to build up the military-industrial complex and throwing America's weight around the world. The Yellow Peril! Barbara Boxer claiming she yearns to see more "made in America" goods! Very strange if you took stated beliefs seriously, but perfectly understandable in the context of political opportunism in an election year.

I talked to Cato's main trade guy, Dan Griswold (former editorial page editor at Freedom's Colorado Springs paper, but that was a long time ago). He just wrote an excellent piece on the "shipping jobs overseas" canard, and he says it seems more like election-year blustering than a serious move to start a trade war with China. I hope he's right, but anti-trade and fear-of-trade sentiment cuts across ideological lines appealing to know-nothings on both "left" and "right." I'm afraid it will persist after the election is over.

Judge Gray's drug war heroism

Here in a video from London's Telegraph, is Judge James P. Gray of Orange County (and someone I'm proud to call a friend), explaining why he decided after years in the judicial and law enforcement system to oppose the war on drugs. I would almost defy anyone to listen to him and then defend drug prohibition. Almost no drug warrior will stand up and debate him.

The WikiLeaks doc drop (part 1)

I find it amusing that Fox News yesterday featured stories about how it is participating in a suit (with Bloomberg) to get the Federal Reserve to release information about the specific banks bailed out or bolstered with money from the Fed and to what extent, while the WSJ ran a piece today about why the Fed should release this information. Yet Fox News and the WSJ are both terribly upset that WikiLeaks released raw reports on actions in Afghanistan. I'm all for releasing both kinds of information; government in general operates too much in the dark, relatively free of scrutiny from the people who are forced to fund it and on whose behalf it supposedly operates. In a decent society government would have almost no secrets. The fact that it has operated so secretly for so long -- and sold various portions of the population on the notion that such secrecy is essential and actually in the interest of those being blindfolded -- obviates any realistic notion of government transparency and breeds a culture of cover-up and eventual corruption.

One can see some rationale for secrecy. The Fed and its partisans will argue that if we knew which banks had been bolstered we might lose confidence in some of them and a bank run might even ensue. Keepers of military secrets will argue that letting loose of secrecy gives our enemies insight into how we operate and in some cases might reveal the names of people who cooperate with the U.S. and might therefore be targeted by insurgents and other bad guys.

Neither rationale holds up against the desirability of people knowing what their government is doing "on their behalf." In a sensible market weak players would be capable of being identified and would pay the price for their poor decisions rather than being bailed out in secrecy, making for a system in which there would be more incentives to make good decisions. In the military, it's often enough the case that our adversaries ((which we seem to create systematically; apparently governments need enemies to thrive) know full well what our government is up to, and the only people in the dark are Americans. Even here, however, secrecy is overrated; it is more often used to cover up embarrassments than to serve anything remotely resembling "national security," that catch-all concept so capable of covering a multitude of sins. In both cases we are talking more about history than about current operations. How long should government be allowed to keep its activities secret? Forever?

I haven't read more than a few of the WikiLeaks papers in question -- too much else to do -- but I've read a few along with news summaries of what's there, about which I'll have more to say in a future post.

Quote of the Day

"Public policy was not a high-minded nor even an ideological endeavor, but simply a potpourri of parochial claims proffered by private interests parading in governmental dress. Much of the vast enterprise of American government was invalid, suspect, malodorous. Its projects and ministrations were not spawned from higher principles, or even humanitarian sentimentality; they were simply the flotsam and jetsam of flagrantly promiscuous politics, the booty and spoils of organized thievery conducted within the desecrated halls of government." -- David Stockman in "The Triumph of Politics: How the Reagan Revolution Failed" (1986)

Stockman was Reagan's first budget director and actually labored mightily to try to reduce the cost of government, but also talked to reporters while on the job and had to be "taken to the woodshed. But he had a pretty good fix on the essence of American politics back then -- and of course things have mostly gotten worse since then.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"There is no power on earth so worthy of honor in itself, or clothed with rights so sacred, that I would admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant authority. When I see that the right and the means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws."

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

GOP candidate killed two unarmed Iraqis in 2004

One Ilario Pantano, a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 7th District, was charged with murder after a 2004 incident when, as a lieutenant with a three-man platoon, he killed two unarmed Iraqis, firing 60 rounds, and then put a sign over the bodies stating the Marines are "no better friends, no worse enemies." A sergeant who was with him later complained and murder charges were filed, but they were later dismissed for lack of corroborating evidence.

Interestingly, Pantano's Democratic opponent isn't the one publicizing this history, but the Republican he beat in the primary, also a veteran who thinks the episode is shameful in its reflection on the US military and will ensure Pantano's well-deserved defeat, is doing that work.

Police still busting patients in Seattle

In Seattle, as authorities say that in response to public demand marijuana enforcement is the lowest priority for the police, apparently some raids still occur. As this article relates, police came down hard -- a virtual 10-man SWAT team heavily armed and armored -- on an apartment in a four-unit complex. They had sent drug-sniffing dogs earlier to help get a warrant. But the person they burst in on was a 50-year-old veteran with intractable pain (thrown face-down on the floor), using marijuana in compliance with Washington state law, who had what he described as "my pathetic grow," consisting of two 12-inch plants that had barely begun to flower.

Until we have full legalization of marijuana (and preferably other currently illicit drugs whose prohibition causes even more direct problems) I suspect that we are going to have continuing incidents like this. The police in most jurisdictions are simply too accustomed to treating marijuana as some kind of quintessential evil for their enforcement culture to be changed much by changing laws. Note that Gil Kerlikowske, now the federal "drug czar," was Seattle police chief and publicly went along with lowest-priority marijuana enforcement then -- but now that he's a national figure his apparently instinctive drug-warrior side is coming out, what with using his position to campaign against California's Prop. 19 and making various threats he can't possibly follow through on (thank goodness) to really enforce federal prohibition if California is too uppity in its voting.

To be fair, however, once the situation became apparent, the police didn't confiscate the plants or arrest the apartment occupant.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Still avoiding chemo side effects

Well, I had my latest chemo (Gemzar if you care or know about it) on Friday and it's now Tuesday, and so far I haven't experienced any of the potentially debilitating side effects the chemo can sometimes bring on. I purposely scheduled the treatments for Friday so that if there were side effects I could get through them over the weekend and be ready to work on Monday. However, while there are other reasons Friday is a good time for the treatment -- by 3 pm Friday if something hasn't been written for the Register it's not going to be written for weekend or Monday editions unless it's a huge event constituting a national emergency -- the weekend turned out to be quite pleasant. Having sat in the waiting room and treatment room with other patients undergoing radiation and chemo, I know full well that I have been fortunate -- although I think good health in general (still there despite the travails of the last 6 months) and other medication s have been a factor. At any rate, I am on the road to full recovery and very pleased. More updates later, but they might not be necessary very often.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mixed record on ObamaCare lawsuits

As this Register editorial notes, several lawsuits challenging primarily the individual mandate to buy health insurance as a condition of living in the country are going forward -- notably in Virginia and Florida, while a federal judge in Michigan has ruled that the mandate is constitutional. However things develop at district court, of course, the decision will be appealed. Sooner of later the Supreme Court is almost certain to take up the case, probably by consolidating several cases into one case.

I hadn't noted, as Ilya Somin does, that a federal district court in California has dismissed a suit brought by Calif. legislator Steve Baldwin and the Pacific Justice Institute on the grounds that they lack standing to bring a suit because they haven't been harmed by any of the provisions -- yet. Noting that the mandate doesn't go into effect until 2014, the judge reasons that Baldwin might have acquired health insurance by then, of the Justice Institute may have resolved any problems it has revolving around ObamaCare mandates. Ilya, who thinks strict standing rules are seldom advisable, suspects that standing will be restored on appeal to the Ninth Circuit because liberal judges are generally more latitudinarian on standing than conservative justices. But consistency does sometimes give way to politically preferred outcome. In our judicial system? Nah! Never happen.

Why do some pro-pot activists oppose Prop. 19

In this blog item for the Register's Orange Punch group blog, I took a stab at explaining why some legalization advocates and medical marijuana activists and dispensary proprietors are opposed to Prop. 19, which would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for over-21 adults. The short version: some who prefer full legalization seem willing to wait for another measure that doesn't include so many restrictions. Some medical marijuana patients think they will be limited to the one-ounce limit rather than more generous limits under current laws. But Prop. 19 specifically reinforces the special status of patients under current law and gives them limit exceptions. And, I'm afraid, some dispensary proprietors would prefer not to have the additional supplies and competition that Prop. 19 implementation would entail, preferring to9 see prices remain at their current sky-high levels.

Bruins in deep trouble

The Register sports guys zero in on some UCLA football problems coming up that those of us who are clear partisans might prefer to ignore but will find difficult. UCLA has to go 3-2 to be bowl-eligible and it is 3-7 against the teams remaining on the schedule during the Neuheisel era. The defense, which in previous years had at least sometimes been solid in previous years is eminently suspect even against weak teams like Washington State. Prince is out for the season, which might be a good thing for Brehaut's development, but he is still awfully green and prone to rookie mistakes. I'll continue to watch, but it may seem much more like a chore for loyalists than a pleasure or something undertaken with very much hope.

Friday, October 22, 2010

NPR blunders in firing Juan Williams

Well, I have long thought National Public Radio should be weaned off taxpayer money -- there's no need to have a Government Broadcasting Service when so many radio stations and TV channels are readily available -- so the firing of Juan Williams doesn't change that belief or even make it much stronger. Still, the firing was about as big a blunder as one can imagine for NPR. All Williams said (on the O'Reilly show, so I didn't see it when it was first broadcast, though I've seen countless reruns) was that when he sees somebody in an airport line dressed to emphasize his or her devotion to Islam, he can't help but get a little nervous. He also said it was a feeling that wasn't entirely rational and should pass, and that it wasn't Muslims as such but radical Muslims that give one reason to be nervous, but post-9/11 he just couldn't help it. NPR said that was "over the line" but didn't come close to explaining where the line is.

I'm inclined to think that despite NPR denials, as Juan himself noted, Williams's association with Fox News was a big part of the real reason he was fired. Among self-described progressives, hatred of Fox News is visceral and well beyond rational, approaching the kind of knee-jerk hate many had for Nixon or Reagan. The fact that he was drawing down a paycheck from Rupert Murdoch had to rub the conventional thinkers at NPR the wrong way in spectacular fashion. I don't think Williams contributes all that much of great substance to Fox, but he is a moderate liberal voice who is given his say fairly often there, contributing to what is a Potemkin-like effort to create the impression that the channel really is "fair and balanced."

Of course congressional Republicans can sputter all they want about defunding NPR, but it's unlikely to happen while Obama is president -- and probably if any Republican who can get elected becomes president as well. I don't listen to NPR as much as I did when I commuted by car everyday, but I still enjoy some of its offering, which are often worth listening to if you have an active ideological filter. The network could get by nicely on contributions and "non-commercial" commercials from "non-sponsor" sponsors as it does now, and doesn't need money forcibly extracted from taxpayers.

Back to chemo

I visited Dr. Saehgal yesterday, and we decided to start the last round of chemo. It will actually begin today with an appointment at 3:00. Last time we did chemo I had close to zero side effects beyond sometimes nodding off during the day, so I don't expect much in that area this time around. But having the treatment (it's Gemzar administered through an IV drip, I presume like last time with anti-emetic and a steroid added) on Friday will give me the weekend to recover just in case there are side effects. It's extremely important to me to be able to continue to work, both because I enjoy it and for reasons I will explain further if certain developments at the Register continue to develop.

Hard to watch

I have to admit that it was tough to watch Oregon shellac the Bruins 60-13 (with the 13 only because UCLA scored a lat-minute meaningless touchdown -- well it was the first time oregon had been scored upon in the 4th quarter) last night. The sad thing was that considering Brehaut with little experience was starting in place of the injured Kevin Prince (who apparently will have arthroscopic surgery), the Bruins didn't play disastrously badly. But the vaunted UCLA defense stopped Oregon short of scoring only once all night. You're not going to win many that way.

Trying to remain modestly optimistic about the rest of the season, but it's not easy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Go Bruins! I can still hope, can't I?

UCLA's game with Oregon starts in a few minutes and I don't know whether to be excited or resigned. The Bruins have shown, even this year, that they can stay with -- well, get ahead of at the outset and keep up the pressure -- and beat good teams. Even though Texas probably didn't belong in the Top 25 when UCLA played them, they were a good team. They have also shown that when a team getsd ahead of them in the first quarter it is difficult to impossible for the bruins to recover, and in the case of Stanford and Cal, it looked as if they just rolled over and prayed for the game to be over.

Oregon is not just a good team but a very good team. I am loyal enough to be able to hope for the best, -- and Neuheisel has had an extra few days following an embarrassing gsme to get the team ready. But I have some trepidation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mothers, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and Joe McNamara

Prop. 19 has gotten a nice boost from a group of mothers who held an event in Sacramento to bemoan the failure of the drug war and endorse Prop. 19, as this blog from the Register (YouTube included) notes. There's also a nice YouTube of Tommy Chong and Joe McNamara offering their reasons for endorsing Prop. 19, to which I'll connect tomorrow.

You can check out jinx evidence yourself

So no sooner do I write a somewhat whimsical little post about the supposed Sports Illustrated cover jinx than in the next issue they have an offer for a book called "Sports Illustrated: The COVERS," which has every single cover of the magazine since 1954. And editor Terry McDonell in a little promotional letter even touches on the presumed jinx. "Not that being on the cover 22 times adversely affected Jack Nicklaus. Nor did Michael Jordan, who hit the cover trifecta by being photographed playing basketball, golf and baseball, suffer from his 49 appearances."

To some extent that doesn't necessarily disprove the jinx, which supposedly applies to the week ahead. Even great ones have bad games or bad weeks, so Nicklaus, Jordan et. al. might have had bad weeks after their SI covers. But how many out of 33 or 49? Probably not that many considering those two had precious few bad weeks, at least when it came to their sports.

I'm not the person to do the in-depth study -- though I suspect somebody out their is doing so even now. I rather doubt if it will p[rove the cover jinx theory, but it's still fun to contemplate.

Wiillie Nelson endorses Prop. 19

I guess this is hardly a surprise, but it's nice that somebody asked Willie Nelson and that he endorsed Prop. 19, the modest partial cannabis decriminalization in California. Don't know if it will make that much difference, but every endorsement helps. HT to Ed Rosenthal who posted this on his Facebook page, where I found it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sarah Palin invokes Pat Tillman on behalf of war

I was fascinated at Sarah Palin's tone-deafness in invoking the memory of Pat Tillman as a hero of our wars of aggression. Tillman was a hero of some kind for giving up the NFL to enlist, but it's pretty certain he became disillusioned with the war in Afghanistan, it's certain he was killed by "friendly fire" from U.S. troops, and the government tried its damndest to cover this up, including lying to his family for months at the least. Pat Tillman didn't want to be a poster boy for U.S. wars and his family certainly doesn't want that. You'd think Sarah would have known, but she seems clueless and shameless.

Phony fears about marijuana decrim

As this Register editorial notes, California's Prop. 19, the modest marijuana law reform proposal on the November ballot, is not a perfect proposal. But those who have suggested that having a local option for sales will create a hopelessly confusing mess, or the employers won't be able to discipline people who show up to work stoned, are stretching the possible implied meaning far beyond what any court is likely to. The polls still show Prop. 19 ahead. If it does pass, the Register will have been the only major newspaper in California that was on the side of the people.

Monday, October 18, 2010

SB 1449 no reason to oppose Prop. 19

A few people -- notably OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and former state senator Dick Ackerman -- have actually made the case that SB1449, which makes marijuana possession of up to an ounce an infraction (formerly a misdemeanor) punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time or criminal record -- obviates any need for Prop. 19, which would make adult possession of up to an ounce simply a non-crime. It's amusing to see strict prohibitionists who opposed even the slight reform embodied in SB 1449, have the arrogance to tell people who question prohibition what their true political interests are, but sometimes the arrogance is so ingrained that people aren't even aware of it in themselves. This Register editorial explains why Prop. 19 is still important to those who believe prohibition has more costs than benefits. Some advocates are even afraid that under 1449 there will be more hassling of people with marijuana. Infractions don't have to be recorded or reported, and a boatload of $100 fines could easily be seen as a way for "cash-strapped" (but don't they always say they are?) local governments to raise money under the radar.

Can UCLA beat #1 Oregon?

Being back to work means being more in touch with the news, which means I actually figured out before last weekend that UCLA wasn't playing. It is playing Thursday -- against Oregon, which is undoubtedly the class of the Pac-10 this year and now rated as Number One in the country.

So is there a chance that the #1 team will be upset by an upstart for the third week in a row? It depends on which UCLA team shows up, the one that beat Houston and Texas or the one that rolled over and died against Cal? UCLA has been so inconsistent this year that I wouldn't be amazed if they beat Oregon and lost to Arizona State.

At any rate, I have all my jerseys and caps ready for Thursday night. I'm hoping for another miracle -- or at least a respectable performance.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walking the walk in Afghanistan

I reviewed Rory Stewart's excellent book, "The Places in Between," about walking across much of Afghanistan, taking the mountainous route in the dead of winter, in the Register's Sunday Commentary section. The book illustrated, whether purposely or not, as if there weren't enough reasons, why Afghanistan is likely to be a more difficult task than Iraq -- which is still a tale regarding the U.S. unjustified invasion whose ending has not been written yet. People in one valley often enough don't know much or care much about the people in the next valley, let alone a phony central government in Kabul.

Quote of the Day

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the public alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken

Prop. 19 stirring considerable attention

I could hardly believe that there was some question among some Register staffers as to whether we would endorse Prop. 19, which would make it legal for adults to possess and use (recreationally or otherwise) up to an ounce of marijuana and grow a 25-square-foot patch. However, it's not the perfect proposal. The local option on cultivation and sales (and local taxation) could make for some confusion across jurisdictions. There are questions about whether employers could effectively discipline impairment due to pot (though overblown and the intention is not to reduce their options), and whether it will increase impairment problems. I talked with Dale Gieringer and Joe McNamara at Hoover and plan to talk to Judge Jim Gray tomorrow to get some of these questions cleared up. I dealt with US AG Eric Holder saying he would continue prosecutions even if 19 passes (no doubt to display his profound respect the the will of the people in a democracy here and here.

Bottom line: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The question is whether, even with imperfections, the Post-19 environment will be less socially harmful and corrosive than the status quo. There's little question that it would be.

Work agrees with me

Well, I worked for the Register all last week -- from home instead of going to the office, but I wouldn't be surprised if, if anything, I was more productive. At any rate the writing came fairly naturally and by Wednesday or so it was almost as if I had never been away. I contributed quite a few posts to the Register's Orange Punch blog. I'm staying home on the doctors' recommendation because my immune system is still a bit compromised and it would be better if I didn't ride in a train or bus with all those random germs in an enclosed space. Plus I still have three chemotherapy treatments to come, maybe beginning late this week, which will compromise the immune system probably a bit more than it is now.

As time and energy permit I'll start linking in this blog to most of the things I end up writing for the register, so there should be quite a few more items here than has been the case for the last several months.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sports Illustrated curse still works -- sometimes

The Sports Illustrated curse, whereby the athlete featured on the cover has a bad game or bad luck that week, seems to be fairly intact. The Oct. 11 cover boy was David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, who promptly lost to the Rangers. The cover also featured Aroldis Chapman of the Reds, who lost their series. The week before featured Braves' reliever Billy Wagner -- and of course the Braves lost the opening series to SF.

Of course I've never done a systematic study of the kind that would have to involve every SI c0ver over a number of years and the game results of the athlete on the cover to see if the curse has some substance or is merely another urban legend. Whatever the truth, it's fun to think about a curse. And sometimes it seems to happen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cheers for Mario Vargas Llosa

It is gratifying to see that the great Peruvian novelist and sometime libertarian politician Mario Vargas Llosa finally was chosen for the Nobel prize in Literature. Based on his dozens of novels, screenplays and plays, as well as an impressive group of philosophical and political essays, he has long deserved the prize. I was impressed some years ago by "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter," which was entertaining even though I didn't realize at the time that it was very loosely autobiographical. I'll have to reread it with that knowledge in mind.

For a Register editorial I spoke with Mario's son, Alvaro, who lives in DC and works for the Independent Institute. He was very excited, though he told me he had long ago given up hope thast his father would get the Nobel, given the quirky leftiness of the Swedish Academy, which seem to prefer obscure fashionable leftists, the more clumsy in their didacticness (is that a word? Is now.) the better. He looks forward to a family reunion (his siblings are almost all in different countries) in Sweden in December. I had met Alvaro briefly some years ago in an undisclosed location after being told that just now Alvaro didn't want people to know where he was. Since then he has been quite public, working for the Independent Institute on global prosperity issues, writing a column the New Republic often carries, and doing a special on Latin America for National Geographic. He's a bright and competent advocate of undivided -- economic as well as social and cultural -- liberty and a credit to his family.

Bruins look to be in trouble

A commenter noted that during the time I went dark here UCLA beat Texas and nicely dominated Washington State -- then looked like stumblebums against Cal. One consequence of going dark is that I can't point to any thing at the time to document that I had a pretty good feeling about the Texas game by Thursday of game week, Ah, well. Subsequent events seem to validate what I was afraid of: Texas didn't deserve to be ranked #7 and probably didn't belong in the Top 25; its early-season ranking was based more on last year's accomplishments than this year's team. So maybe beating them wasn't as big a deal as it seemed at the time, and maybe, just maybe, the Bruins aren't as good as we had hoped. The Cal game would seem to validate that.

I remain still something of a hopeless homer optimist. I'm hoping that the Cal and Stanford games were the anomalies this year -- maybe something about the psychological impact of Northern California this year or maybe climate change? OK, so that's perhaps a stretch. The loyalist in me wants to hope UCLA will show up Saturday with the kind of motivated team that beat Texas. Unfortunately there's something of a realist in there who thinks Oregon has so far shown itself to be the class of the Pac 10 and is likely to beat the Bruins pretty handily.

Ah, who wants to be a realist during football season?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back at the stand

I've been away from blogging for a while for two reasons. We got a new computer and a new wireless Internet router, and it took us several days to get everything hooked up, during whuich the computer I've been using wasn't Internet-enabled (I could have used Jenn's computer but I just didn't). Then we had to get ready for me to return to work. I've been writing editorials for the Register from home since yesterday. But considering all the extraneous piles of paper in my office, it took a while to get it ready for steady 8-hours-a-day work in a reasonably organized way. I did manage to throw away a lot of paper I probably should have trashed years ago -- though the rule seems to be that within a few days or weeks of throwing some potential research paper away you discover that you need it. Ah, well!

At any rate, I am back at work officially. I have three more chemo treatments due beginning in a couple of weeks, so I'm not quite out of the tunnel yet. But the first round with Gemzar elicited almost zero side effects (as did radiation) so I expect to get through the next round fairly handily. nd now that I am officially not disabled I can start commenting on politics again, Whoopee!