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« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

May 24, 2006

Back From The Hospital Again

Readers of this blog know that when I seemingly drop off the face of the earth for a while, it's usually because someone that I care for (literally) ended up in the hospital. So it was again. Had to take Mom to the hospital for the second time in a month - this time for congestive heart failure. The prednisone she took for her breathing caused a fluid buildup that her lasic couldn't keep up with. Heart looks fine, but she needed several days of care that only a hospital could provide. I brought her home yesterday, much thinner and much better. But it was hairy for a while. I'll be back to blogging today.

May 16, 2006

The Ward was a Bad Boy!

The University of Colorado has released its report on the allegations of academic misconduct of Professor Ward Churchill. And it's a beaut! Forget about the fact that he has portrayed himself as an American Indian (which he is provably not) to get a teaching position and tenure at the University, he cheated, lied, plagiarized and committed just about every other offense during his entire academic career. From the summary (caution, PDF):

"Based on its investigation of those allegations, the Committee unanimously found, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that Professor Churchill committed several forms of academic misconduct as defined in the policy statements of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado system:

1. Falsification, as discussed in Allegations A, B, C, and D.
2. Fabrication, as discussed in Allegations C and D.
3. Plagiarism, as discussed in Allegations E and G.
4. Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on
publications, as discussed most fully in Allegation F but also in Allegations A, B,
and D.
5. Serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research, as
discussed in Allegation D.

The Committee did not find fabrication in the first sub-question of Allegation D or
plagiarism in Allegation F.

The Committee noted additionally that Professor Churchill was disrespectful of Indian
oral traditions when dealing with the Mandan/Fort Clark smallpox epidemic of 1837, both in his essays and during the course of this investigation, as discussed in Allegation D.

The Committee found that Professor Churchill’s misconduct was deliberate and not a matter of an occasional careless error. The Committee found that similar patterns recurred throughout the essays it examined."

Then the Committee, made up of three Professors from the University of Colorado and two from outside the University lost its nerve. Three said there was enough evidence to terminate and deny tenure, two said not and recommended two years unpaid leave. Which when you are dealing with the high and mighty in academia, is not that surprising. The Ward would have had to murder someone to get fired and denied tenure, and even then you'd have some people on the Committee saying that it didn't involve the University so he shouldn't be punished re: career.

In reality, that fact that this report is so severe on the Ward is the truly surprising thing. I expected a whitewash and a slap on the wrist. Imagine how bad the totality of Ward Churchill must be for this jury of his peers to publish even this.

The Ward will be suing soon, I imagine...


Latest Update

Learned something new the past few days. My Mom takes anti-seizure medication (Carbitrol) which was increased after the seizure that put her in the hospital 4 weeks ago. Last week she was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on Biaxin XL. She got increasingly tired over the weekend, culminating in her walking into walls and slurring her speech yesterday. I thought she had had a stoke.

Got the nurse over immediately and her vitals were fine. Talked to the docs and they said to get a blood level on the anti-seizure meds and to stop the Carbatrol and Biaxin. Blood level came in at 14 - very high and apparantly the cause of her condition.

She goes back on Carbatrol today, and gets another blood test tomorrow. When those results are in, the docs consult and she goes on another antibiotic. If I don't end up having a stroke by the time this is over it'll be a miracle. I thank God that this wasn't going on while Dad was dying a few months ago.

May 11, 2006

Finally An End to Earmarks?

The mind-bogglingly arrogant Rep Jerry Lewis (R-CA), second in bloated self-importance only to Republican Senator Trent Lott, is now under investigation by the US Attorneys looking into the Duke Cunningham bribery case. Good. Hopefully he'll have to resign his post as head of the House Appropriations Committee and we can get someone in there that cares about controlling spending.

Old NSA Story...

I woke up this morning to the story of the NSA having compiled databases of millions of domestic calls. At first I thought that if the government was listening in on ordinary domestic calls this was trouble for the Administration. But then I realized, after listening to several stories on the subject and reading the original story from USA Today, that this was old news - all that's happening is that a study is going on attempting to decipher calling patterns of terrorist cells that may be in the United States. In fact, the story even says that there is no actual monitoring going on, just a statistical analysis of phone number to phone number calling, not even names are used. In fact, I was pretty certain that the original NSA story about the actual monitoring of calls from persons in the US to known terrorists (and vice-versa) made mention of this.

Turns out I was right and this is an old story. It's just the media and the media hounds in Congress trying to get airtime and influence the CIA confirmation hearings. Morons. If this type of thing, which is admittedly thinking outside of the box, wasn't happening I'd be furious. I mean Blockbuster Video probably has more private info than this program does, and sells it to anyone they want. And the IRS certainly does. This is a non-story, only appealing to privacy absolutists.

If something like this could have been used to prevent the 3000 deaths on 9/11, wouldn't you think that it was worth it? Apparently USA Today and the New York Times doesn't.

Allergies - #@$#%

Twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, my allergies just get so out of control that I often lay down and spend the day with an ice pack over my face. This is one of those days, although I can't really do that with Mom sick. We saw the neurologist yesterday and her med levels were fine. We think that the new dosage should successfully control her seizures. We also saw the pulmonary doctor, who said that he saw a dark band across her left lung from the CAT scan Monday - it wasn't there three weeks ago when she was in the hospital. He's treating it as pneumonia based on her congestion and coughing getting worse. She also suffers from allergies so that's probably compounding it. After a day of steroids and strong antibiotics, she feels and looks better - so I think it probably is just pneumonia. But I'll tell you, when the doctor told us of that dark mass in her lung it was a bowel-loosening moment unlike anything I've felt other than when I heard that Daddy only had a few minutes to live...

May 09, 2006

U.S. Border Patrol Helps Illegal Immigrants

This story is just priceless, and not in a good way. The U.S. Border Patrol is informing the Mexican Government where the Minutemen have been setting up shop on the Mexican Border. I mean, we really don't want to intercept illegal aliens coming across the border, now do we?

"While Minuteman civilian patrols are keeping an eye out for illegal border crossers, the U.S. Border Patrol is keeping an eye out for Minutemen -- and telling the Mexican government where they are."

As reciprocation, the least the Mexican Government can do is tell the Border Patrol where they are smuggling drugs into the US, don't you think?


Duke Rape Case Gets Weirder...

Via Drudge, this story, although written to elicit shock that Duke didn't respond quicker to the Duke rape case, does the exact opposite:

"That included assertions by Durham police that the accuser "kept changing her story and was not credible," the report released Monday said. Relying on such opinion, the report said, was a mistake.

The day after the March 13 team party where a 27-year-old black woman claimed she was raped, Durham police told campus officers that "this will blow over," the report said. The woman initially told police she was raped by 20 white men, then said she was attacked by three, the report said.

Police told Duke officers that if any charges were filed, "they would be no more than misdemeanors," the report said."


"...When Brodhead sought more information from the school's vice president for student affairs, he was told "the accusations were not credible and were unlikely to amount to anything," the report said.

That was largely what university leaders knew "until a burst of activity on the part of the district attorney and the police and their investigation made us realize that there was potentially a significantly larger story here," Brodhead said."

Yes. The burst of activity was the district attorney realizing that he could ride the racial aspects of this case to re-election.

May 05, 2006

A Word on Patrick Kennedy...

I just wanted to post on this site my piece on National Review Online's Sixers blog this morning on Patrick Kennedy. I think that it's important:

"Some Thoughts on the Latest Patrick Kennedy News
[Patrick Casey 05/05 11:28 AM]

As Greg mentioned earlier, Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy was involved in a one car accident with a security barrier early yesterday morning, and the officers who responded suspected that he was intoxicated. They were prevented from doing a sobriety test by higher ups who then provided Kennedy with a ride home. Kennedy later admitted to being disoriented due to a combination of an anti-nausea medication and a sleep aid, Ambien.

As Kennedy also suffers from manic depression, I would think that there were other medications (such as anti-depressants) in his system as well. Many of those can have adverse reactions to other medications, especially any sedative like Ambien.

From my understanding of driving under the influence laws, they also address impairment under prescription medications in addition to alcohol and recreational drugs. As such, Kennedy admitted he was disorientated from his meds, so he has admitted that he was driving while impaired. Should he have been tested? Probably. Did he get preferential treatment? Probably. Would he be prosecuted if found to be impaired from taking the correct dosage of prescription medication? Probably not, but he would be warned severely.

One of the problems with taking meds like Ambien is that they gradually sedate you, unlike a heavy-duty narcotic. Because of this, some people take Ambien while they are still up, hoping that when they finally get to bed they’ll go straight to sleep. That’s against the drugs instructions and very stupid – it could lead to incidents like this, or worse.

This was also apparently Kennedy’s second accident in less than three weeks. As reported in the Weekly Standard’s Scrapbook (I never saw in local Rhode Island statewide news reports when it happened), Kennedy was also involved in an accident in Portsmouth, RI on April 15th (Kennedy lives in Portsmouth). This is in addition to Kennedy hitting himself in the mouth with a hammer two days earlier during a product demonstration for a company considering relocating to Rhode Island.

Patrick Kennedy has been through a lot in his life. While often annoying, especially when he was more involved in national Democrat politics, he has quieted down the past few years and done a reasonably good job in the House. He has publicly admitted to having manic depression and a substance abuse problem. He has recently gone through a situation with his mother that I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy. He has his demons, and as anyone with demons knows, it’s a day-to-day lifetime struggle. I would advise in the strongest terms that politicians and pundits avoid making much of this story. Be publicly supportive of Kennedy’s fight with his issues. The vultures in the media will do the digging and the muckraking – there’s no need for anyone else to do so.

Kennedy has handled this well, so far. He has admitted being impaired. He has offered to work with the capitol police to resolve the issue. As long as nothing else comes up, such as proof that he was indeed drinking as well, or that he belligerently demanded special treatment ala John Kerry (“Do you know who I am?!), Kennedy will probably agree to some additional admission to impairment and an administrative penalty.

If Kennedy ever gets a credible opponent in the fall elections, this could have an effect on that race, but only if the public thought it might be time for Kennedy to take a few years off. It would be suicide for an opponent to make hay of it.

And as Greg also stated, there is another story out this morning in the Boston Herald that quotes a hostess at the Hawk & Dove, an apparent Kennedy hangout, as saying that she saw Kennedy drinking earlier in the evening. But was he drinking alcohol? This is what I mean by telling folks to let the media handle this. If he was drinking alcohol that evening, contradicting his own public statements yesterday, then Kennedy has bigger problems, personally as well as legally. The proper response for his political opponents should be to offer public support while he works out his problems, and then drop it. Everything else will work itself out.

Oh, and be thankful no one got injured or killed."

May 04, 2006

Sometimes False Accusations Can Kill...

Got some disturbing news recently concerning a friend of a friend. I knew of him but didn't know him personally. He had dedicated his life to working with developmentally disabled young people at a nationally known center in Warwick, RI. He was gentle and kind, he was able to connect with people - especially the young people he worked with. His clients, their families, and his co-workers thought highly of him - his clients actually loved him. He was 25 years old, and had worked at the center for 5 years.

As is the case with some young, sensitive and caring people, he would occasionally be made fun of by people with more dominant personality traits. Unfortunately, one of them was a female co-worker. One day recently, he became tired of her taunts and told her to "shut up, you fat bitch". It was between the two of them and there were no witnesses (although there are plenty of witnesses to her taunts of him). She didn't like him standing up for himself, so she did what all bullies do - she swore revenge.

Shortly after the incident, she filed a sexual harassment complaint against him with their employer. Acting on her word alone, the center suspended him.

The center was his life. He was crushed, felt as if his life was over, and that he couldn't fight back. His friends and co-workers, who knew the claim was frivolous, urged him to relax and told him that the incident would soon blow over. His friends at the center were certain that the truth would come out soon, and that he would be reinstated quickly. They left him in an apparently good mood about 6:00pm Friday night - he didn't want to go out.

His mother found him the next morning. He had suffocated himself with a plastic bag. He was certain that his life was over after a demonstrably false accusation was made against him and an immediate suspension was handed out by a politically correct administrator. He was so certain his life was over that he ended it himself.

The bully who made the accusation actually showed up at his wake yesterday. Their co-workers had to be restrained from taking action against her.

I have known women who have falsely accused men of rape or sexual and domestic assault. They have done it to "get back at him, to make him scared" as one ex-friend of mine told me. They are too selfish and short sighted to recognize the damage that they are not only doing to their victim, but to the real rape and assault victims out there. Keep that in mind when looking at the Duke Lacrosse scandal.

All it takes is an accusation to destroy an innocent person's life. Sometimes a false accusation can even kill.

For another story along those lines see this article by Kathleen Parker called Sex, lies, and prison.