Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I have a friend from another state who is like the world authority in pain control for certain areas of the body. She's a board certified neurologist with several subspecialties but all she wants to do is help people who suffer from pain in this one region of the body. Without doubt, she is very good at it. Without doubt, there are hundreds of thousands of people who would benefit from her service.

Still, she cannot practice her specialty with total concentration. Essentially because of insurance considerations she has to practice general neurology for about three days a week to pay the help and the light bill. She's been in two pain-only clinics which have failed for want of third party payers (notwithstanding that most of her patients ARE insured and ARE referred by other neurologists or, at a minimum, their own primary care physicians.

So we have skill and a need but the system provides a disincentive for for her or anyone who follows her to take up this specialty. She could go to Germany and make piles of money and help tons of people because their system values chronic pain control work.

I'm sure there are other examples of "holes" in our supposedly best health care system in the world. This is just one I know.

bps: This is not an argument for any particular revision--so please don't go all "socialized medicine" or "single payer" on me. This is just sad thing, like if Sandy Koufax grew up in Siberia and had no place to pitch.

Monday, July 27, 2009


If you like sports and you like food, try the 810ZONE in Leawood, Kansas. Good Chow, great staff and any sporting event in the world at your fingertips on television--roll your own

Saturday, July 25, 2009


The United States Postal Service now has the last downtown pickup on Saturdays around one thirty in the afternoon. If you don't get your envelope in there by that time, it sits, untouched for about 48 hours.

Your alternative (and it only gets you an additional hour and a half) is to drive your envelope out to 36th and Katherine Rd. Let's say fifty people every Saturday do that. That's about 600 extra miles burning dead dinosaurs--and that's just on Saturdays.

And we're impatient with India and China for their emissions!

Friday, July 24, 2009


...I had me this nice, little house in the country. It was kind of ritzy country but my house was modest and small. There was one close neighbor and everyone else lived beyond a hillside.

Well, there came a time when I stayed out a little too late and analyzed a few too many adult beverages. I had not driven that night and a friend dropped me off very late on a cold night. Of course, not driving, I had not taken my keys.

It was only after my friend had left that I deftly realized not taking my keys included not taking my HOUSE KEYS, which were cleverly locked inside my house. Not to fear, I knew how to jimmy this back window, just so, that it would open and I could go in the laundry room door. Piece of cake.

Well, perhaps sober and in the daylight. But with a BAC Higher than Henry Aaron's batting average and temps about ten degrees above zero, it involved some noise and some adult language. No one would have mistaken me for Mssr. Le Panther, the interantional jewel thief. Apparently the near neighbor came to the fairly reasonable conclusion that here was a drunken burglary in progress at my house.

In any event, I got into the house. About that time a very large police officer showed up. He called in to me he'd gotten a break-in call and would like to see some ID. It seemed like a reasonable request, so I invited him in and showed him my driver's license. I also explained why I had gone in the back window.

I thanked him and apologized for the trouble. He said it was no trouble. He just wanted to make sure my house was safe. He thanked me for letting him into the house where it was warmer. He probably warned me not to go back out again in my delicate condition and I probably told him I was planning to pass out and/or vomit (Not necessarily in that order) soon anyway.

Anyhow, this was kind of comforting. My neighbors and my local (small) police force were trying to keep my home secure. It didn't seem to be something to go all Fourth Amendment about.

But then, I don't teach at Harvard.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I'm sure I've said this before but let me get it out of the way. I've got a relatively fixed opinion of every member of our local school board in terms of ability and integrity. Each of those fixed opinions is worthless in deciding what I think about this current board.

I don't care who the President likes and I don't care who walks to the car with Bemis after meetings. I really don't care too much that one member is a financial whiz and two others have advanced degrees. I really, really don't care why the previous president resigned. Finally, I don't care by whom, when, whether or why a quo warranto is filed regarding one member's eligibility to serve.

District 172 is essentially impecunious. That ship has sailed. Maybe it will always be broke. There is no useful answer any board member can give me about that. Broke is broke. Scarcity abounds.

Here's what I want to know from each board member: What's your vision of our schools in two years, five years, ten years and 50 years? Whatever that vision might be, how can us simple citizens see if we're on track to achieving it.

I thank all seven of these folks for their selfless public service. I don't question any of their motives. This new board is in its infancy. What does it want to be when it grows up? It seems a fair question.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Julio Lugo isn't the answer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

WHY IS IT.....

Whole wheat bread costs more than white bread? It has to require some labor to refine the wheat into white flour? It's counterintuitive that the whole wheat should be more costly.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


is watching Tom Watson?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Injured, in pain, listening to gas bags fail to ask Sotomayor meaningful questions. Listening to untrained folks call her a racist and just not up for a full post.

Comment on the issues of the day and I'll post the useful ones later.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Click Here

Maybe they oughta just let him out and let her become his "caregiver." She could decide what kind of "care" he deserved.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"If they'd been a little nicer"

You cannot make this stuff up!


While you're trying to figure out what movie that's from, consider this:

Mr. McQueen spoke about the lack of "access" to the City Council, while he was enjoying.......uh, access to the City Council.

Toto doesn't understand it either.


Hearing no testimony, Senators drone on about the Supreme Court Nominee.

Todd Stroger declares the Sheriff needs more resources for the Burr Oak Cemetary caper but he has "no idea" where they will come from.

Pat Quinn is very proud of borrowing $26B while we're 11 Billion upside down and is going to pay for it with a "dandruff tax."

And then, of course, there's 6-0 Bud.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Saw Les interview Bud.

The six of you who voted for this outcome (and some of you are very good friends of the Basin) must be very proud.

Harry Callahan said, "Man's gotta know his limitations."

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Been noticing a lot of debate over the recent McQueen publicity breakout. Is McQueen just a poser or does he have the public interest at heart?

It doesn't make any difference. He is the hood ornament for a transparency push. In a democracy change doesn't usually get made without an outside push. Right now, whether you agree with it or not, there's a bigger than usual push for spending cuts and a resulting push for more "access" to decision-makers. The push is part of the process.

That's the way it's been here since the revolutionary war. Some of our greatest visionaries have been peacocks and whack jobs (Can you say "Aaron Burr" or "Andrew Jackson"?). A viewpoint is going to have a spokesman. Love him or find him wanting, he's filling a vital role in representative government.

Friday, July 10, 2009


....Our State, probably eleven Billion Dollars upside down, is going to initiate a public works stimulus plan to "improve the labor market".

In general small business creates jobs and small business would kind of like to know that they are not going to have to pay off any more upsidedownness than absolutely necessary. In a state-wide context, "creating jobs" with borrowed money is probably not either useful or bright.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Oh, yeah? By whom? What does that mean, really?

I think I'd run from anybody who told me they had been "officially" named "Cash for Clunkers Headquarters." by someone for some purpose. It sounds like scabby hype to me.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Three days for Mother Theresa, endless for Michael Jackson. Is there a "values" message in there someplace?

Monday, July 06, 2009


.....but, if I had the skill, courage and financing to be a NASCAR driver, I wouldn't want to be speeding around the track with a meth user. It just kind of seems to me that intoxicants and high performance cars comprises a risky combination.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


For years now there has been a philosophical struggle for control of the school board. Oversimplified, it's a debate between self-professed fiscal conservatives/minimalists and a group which probably views itself as more progressive. There was a time it was a meaningful debate.

Now, it probably doesn't make that much difference because our local school district has no money anyhow. What is the difference between a conservative school board and progressive school board when there is no money? Style.

The cons can bash the administration, crow about cuts, celebrate layoffs and look for symbolic things to change. In the meantime the money is what the money is.

The principal symbol of "style" would be the school district's attorney. Not that anybody else would be better, cheaper, smarter or more loyal. It would just be something to show the fellow cons that you were throwing out those rascals.

Besides, it's always easiest to blame the lawyers. One of the first thing I learned about lawyering when in law school was that lawyers were the most abused class of professional. It went something like this "Lawyers have a common experience with laboratory animals in that they are frequently sacrificed for a supposed greater good, have no significant interest group beyond themselves and no one forms any real attachment to them." (Can't say I wasn't warned.).

So take the "change lawyers" gambit from the Budster for what it is: cosmetic and not even very original.

No ad hoc committee will find any lack of effort, diligence, loyalty or creativity among the district's current lawyers. But Bud can't honestly label his gambit as just that (besides, he probably thinks a gambit is a cave dwelling South American rodent). He can't take responsibility for vaguely shifting the issue to counsel. He has to ascribe mischief to the lawyers, precisely because he lacks the stones or intellect to spell out anything untoward they have done. Heck, he could even make the argument that a district oughta change lawyers once every quarter century as a matter of policy. That would be a little arbitrary but not totally lame.

The "Change Lawyers" gambit is nothing more than symbolic. All the ghostwriters, puppetmasters and all the FOIA requests in the world won't change that.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I have known Bud Niekamp for years and I have my own opinion of him. Others have theirs. None of that is the point here. The phenomenon that is going on now is that a large number of people is rising to his defense because he's a "common man."

Populists have always used this sort of shared bond argument to their advantage, From Lester Maddox to Joe McCarthy or, for that matter, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. The presumption is that the criticism and reservations about the prospective leader are solely based upon his being a "common man". Other people of modest means or education rush to his defense because of the shared bond of "common status." The presumption is faulty and is frequently a smokescreen for mischief or incompetence.

Just look at your normal experience. Are all Democrats good folks? Are all Repubs pure of heart. Are all Italian-Americans mobbed up. Are all Irishmen drunks? Are all Southerners racists? No to all. By now, you know that categories just don't work. If that's so, why should all "common men" be pure of heart, effective or have good ideas.

So when you attack those who oppose Bud, listen to yourself. If you're saying he's being attacked just because he's an ordinary man, you're engaging in a presumption that he's good for our local government solely because hes a common man and you're assuming that educated professional people are classists (look in your own heart--maybe you are.).

Love Bud or hate him. Make arguments which make sense. If he some philosophy you like, identify it. If he has some leadership skill (which, by the way, has not yet manifested itself) that you appreciate, argue that. If you want to make the mass electorate argument, fine, make that one. But please, don't make the argument that Bud is entitled to a presumption of competence just and solely because he's a common working man.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Jim Brown says Eldrick doesn't do enough to racial equality.

What is it that Tiger doesn't do enough of? I guess he's supposed to toss a woman or two out of a second floor window like Jimbo.

I guess Brown couldn't have made it to Encino to be third in line behind Jesse and Al.


Thursday, July 02, 2009


Just too upset about no burial service @ Neverland and can't cope.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


.....It starts to sound silly for the Tribco-Cubdom to keep saying "These Guys are going to break out. It's bound to happen?"

Why? Because Fukudome has this undeniable history of MLB achievement? Because DLee had a good year in '06? Because Milton Bradley has had 500 Plate Appearances in two of his 9 MLB seasons? Because Fontenot had a nice year coming off the bench last year? Because Soto is tokin' and doing double-stuffed oreos? Because Soriano got his hot streak out of the way early this year and is now working on a trade to the Braille league?

I don't mind that they can't hit. I mind that they are treating recovery as inevitable.