Archive for August, 2007

Adam and Martha Visit us in Seattle

On their way back from the honeymoon cruise in Alaska we got to spend Sunday morning with Adam and Martha and then deposit them at the airport for their flight home. We got some breakfast and then did an hour or two of driving tour around Seattle to a handful of the easy places to visit (Pikes Market, Kerry Park, UW, etc).

See the Flickr set here.

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Gabriel’s first run!

Gabriel and I made use of a beautiful Saturday morning this past week to go for a stroller-run in the Bob Revolution. We set our sights more for a fun, easy, (flat/not-hilly) run than anything and then headed out the door.

We made it about 2.25 miles, over a few blocks and then up to Union Ave and back. Very pleasant on the side streets, and no traffic at 8am on Saturday so that was good.

Of course, little G fell right to sleep from the bumps on the path, so most of his exercise from this run was from REM sleep I guess. πŸ™‚

20070825-Gabriel's_first_run!

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Central-Link Light Rail Advances!

This one is, by now, a couple weeks old… but I’m still super-excited to link to this super-cool update/photo from Sound Transit.

Here’s the photo and text, reproduced below:

A Look Ahead

This week Seattle got a preview of future Link light rail service. This photo captures the first tests of a two-car train operating under electrical power. Trains will run with an operator in the front car controlling speed, braking and operations functions. These tests confirmed that the communications and controls between the cars function as designed. Two-car trains will be used when Link begins providing passenger service between Seattle and SeaTac in 2009.

Two car light rail train

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3 More Book Reviews

Once again I’ve allowed my book reviews queue to build up 3 deep. So let’s blast on through them. πŸ™‚

First one is Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. It was short and sweet. And it’s very unlikely that anyone who “needs” to read it will actually do so. It may just be the best example yet of “preaching to the choir”. As might be expected, he makes a lot of what I think are good points. And as also might be expected, a lot of his points are a bit overbearing and emphasized beyond the point of obvious. Oh well. It was interesting.

Next one is F.U.B.A.R. by Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill. Blegh. Sure, I agree with a lot of their points, but this was a pretty poor delivery. If the Xtian Nation book mentioned just above was overbearing at points, this one was oppressive in its obviousness. Perhaps it’s Sam Seder’s style (I’ve not heard his radio show), but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a number of times throughout the book. Yeah, we get it, Democrat good… Republican baaaaad.

Finally, the Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum. As I’ve previously blogged, I was getting a bit tired of Ludlum books (reading so many recently has put me a bit into overload). In any event, this one was a bit different and was a tolerable read. It takes place (primarily) in the 40s, with a WW2 U.S. vs Nazi Germany vs Stalinist Russian theme. In an historical fiction manner, it presents the underpinnings of the Nazi attack on Russia (as well as the 1991 coup attempt) as having been secretly connected to the management of the main character, Stephen Metcalf. To cut to the chase, while I *was* surprised by the outcome for Lana… the final, suspenseful “climax” of the book (in the last few pages) was absolutely obvious: I knew exactly what Lana was talking about when she “subtly” mentioned “the gift” Stephen had given her years earlier and how “her most valuable things” were kept with her Grandmother. Blegh, come on… so transparent I’m sure you’ll know exactly what this is all about just from reading this review! πŸ™‚ But, in any case, it was a pretty good read.

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Presidential Picks Site

I’d been looking for a way to determine my alignment with particular candidates on the issues in the 2008 election cycle. Thanks to this table at 2decide.com, we’ve got a good way to see where the various candidates sit on the issues!

But what would be even easier? That’s right — if I could input my issue preferences and let the computer rank the candidates in the order they agree with me. πŸ™‚

Well, thanks to this site, that’s exactly what you can do! The topics listed under the ones I agree with more than I don’t (ie – those with positive # instead of negative #) are those topics on which we disagree. Now, it’s obviously not perfect, as it doesn’t encapsulate any of the nuance of the various issue positions — universal healthcare is not universal healthcare… uh… universally, for instance. But it’s still a fun exercise, and it reminds me that I really am in the progressive wing of the party. Listening to Thom Hartmann’s show a few weeks back, I got quite a kick out of how Kucinich cleaned up in his straw poll; but he’s effectively a non-starter in the national primaries. Shame.


My results:

Kucinich 63
  No Child Left Behind, Net Neutrality
Gravel 56
  (you have no disagreements with this candidate)
Obama 31
  Patriot Act, Border Fence, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Same-Sex Marriage
Clinton 31
  Death Penalty, No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, Border Fence, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military Action, Same-Sex Marriage
Edwards 30
  Death Penalty, No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military Action, Same-Sex Marriage
Dodd 29
  Death Penalty, No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, Border Fence, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military Action
Richardson 26
  Death Penalty, Assault Weapons Ban, Patriot Act, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military Action, Same-Sex Marriage
Biden 24
  Death Penalty, No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, Border Fence, Net Neutrality, Iran Sanctions, Same-Sex Marriage
Paul 11
  Abortion Rights, Embryonic Stem Cells, ANWR Drilling, Kyoto, Assault Weapons Ban, Guns – Background Checks, Citizenship Path for Illegals, Border Fence, Minimum Wage Increase, Same-Sex Marriage, Universal Healthcare
McCain -9
Thompson -13
Giuliani -23
Brownback -31
Cox -32
Huckabee -46
Tancredo -59
Romney -61
Hunter -63

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Sicko

Wow, if I’ve learned anything in these past few weeks (and, believe me, I have) — it’s that having a new baby really takes up a lot of your time! My “regular” posting to this blog (and even worse, to my work blog) have suffered quite a bit in the run-up to Gabriel’s arrival and the weeks since. But… with apologies to my faithful readers… it’s worth it. Spending time with the little guy is super cool. πŸ™‚

Anyway, back to the alleged topic of this post. Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”. Jodi and I saw this one probably 2-3 weeks B.G. (yes, Before Gabriel) and I never got around to writing it up. In the interest of time, I’ll keep it short…

Like all Michael Moore movies, folks on the right (and even some in the center and left) immediately pounced on every possible thing in the movie that was inaccurate or could be misconstrued to be inaccurate. By this point anyone who has kept up with his history should not be surprised by this. Michael Moore always pushes the envelope: both in terms of the topics he chooses and also in the way he presents the topic.

Once again, the “haters” came out in full force — decrying the folly in this point, the impossibility of that point, etc.

Which leads to MY point. Sure, it’s easy to find fault with one or many of the examples he provides. It’s easy to point out that the Audi driving doctor probably has supplemental income to be able to afford his fancy lifestyle and $1mil apartment. Sure, it’s easy to recognize that Canada and France and England (and every other civilized country in the world) have system which are imperfect. But what’s not so easy is effectively dismissing the REAL point of this movie: that our system is falling apart – bursting at the seams, that we spend more than other countries per-person and don’t even cover everyone, that we have recently (bankruptcy bill changes) made it even more likely that huge medical bills will unravel the finances (and financial future) of more and more families.

A couple of things (myths?) in particular about single-payer medicine as it exists today — basically, everywhere in the world except here:

  • Waiting for service. Sure, people have to wait for non-emergency service in Canada, England, etc. But, realistically, you have to wait for non-emergency service HERE too. I have great insurance and I still have to schedule out my non-emergency medical visits from a few days to a few months, depending on who I’m seeing and what is the issue. It’s disingenuous to pretend that we’d suddenly have to start waiting for non-emergency service if we changed our system. And, to be clear, you don’t have to schedule your emergency service in Canada/England/France. Come on now.
  • Doctors make no money. Actually, it’s a little unclear to me why the average person would care about this (the average person not being a Doctor). Most of the Doctor folks I know either have no reasoned opinion about Single payer or they are at least tentatively supportive, so it’s not really something I’ve heard from a bunch of Doctors either. And yet, this is one of the common concerns you hear about single payer. I think it’s quite likely that Doctors, generally, would make less money under single-payer system. Less money. But, as highly trained, highly in-demand professionals, it seems quite likely they would still make an excellent, high-end salary. Many regulated industries have employees who receive high salaries: airlines, government. Now, would a superstar specialist surgeon make $750k/year? Maybe. It seems quite likely that our system would not tolerate anything other than a merit-and-workload-based compensation strategy, so maybe this *IS* possible. It’s fundamentally a function of how reimbursements are structured. What WOULD likely change is that if we have more broad patient coverage, we would (hopefully) see less need for highly invasive (and expensive) work to be done — due to better preventative care earlier in life, etc. In that way, indirectly we might see doctor salaries decrease as there’s more need for internal medicine and family practice physicians and less need for heart bypass surgeons. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. πŸ™‚

Oh well, that’s enough on the point. I’m glad to see this topic being discussed – at least by the Democrats (the Republicans, in a recent debate, wouldn’t even consent to discussing the topic; just all are against it).

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Blue Angels 2007



Jodi, Gabriel and I walked down to the Sunday Blue Angels show over Lake Washington.

Didn’t take too many photos because I was having to sprint back and cover Gabriel’s ears from the loud LOUD planes fairly regularly. πŸ™‚

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