lots of everything
When our young lady was born, many weeks early, our OB said that he wanted to have a pediatrics team in the room during the delivery. And so, later that night during the big event, extra bodies started streaming through the door, and I said, ah, these must be the people from pediatrics. They weren't -- the doctor had just asked to have a few extra nurses brought in from the labor and delivery unit, just in case.
A few minutes later, with a tiny head making its way up the St. Lawrence River, the OB turned to one of the nurses and very calmly said, "Okay, let's have peds."
And then, words fail me, a wave
of human beings poured through the door. I went around later and looked at name tags -- there were pediatrics residents, a pediatrics attending, a light sprinkling of neonatology fellows, a bunch of nurses, and three wise men bearing gifts. It was like a Packers game -- I felt like I'd missed an opportunity by not setting up a concession stand. It took me a while, I am not making this up, to work my way through the crowd and get to the baby.
I compare this whole big show to a friend's recent labor and delivery experience. She said that, um, HURTS, and heard in response that, well, we got us a gas-passer right here in the haw-spittle, but, now, see, he's in surgery at the present time. There was one anesthesiologist in the whole fucking building
. And he was busy, sorry 'bout that. She waited. In pain.
So the discussion we have -- very, very often -- is about how to stack up the competing quality of life measurements. We can walk four blocks to one of the best hospitals in the country; it takes a fucking hour to drive to see the dentist, who is maybe six miles away.
Ann called 911 once when she was home alone and a door slammed downstairs; waves
of very earnest cops came pouring out of the street, starting about 45 seconds after she dialed the phone. (Their favorite coffee stop is at the end of our block.) But undying waves
of massively expensive parking tickets also spew from the skies onto our windshields. You can get a parking ticket in West Hollywood just for typing the word "car," and I just totally fucked myself by saying so. (Personal to Parking Enforcement Officer Pineda, #P117: Fuck you, motherfucker
. Whaddya, live under my fucking car?)
The benefits of high-density living are real. And yet our wireless doorbell rings four or five times a day when no one is at the door, because a hundred neighbors in a fifty-foot radius also have wireless fucking doorbells, and there are only so many frequencies they can use. (When we fired up the baby monitor for the first time? Barking dog
. We only have cats.)
We fantasize about idyllic small-town living. Until we think about taking our child to a place with a rural hospital and a minimally staffed ER. (All I know is that there are emergency rooms
in rural California that are staffed with nurses, but they have a doctor who can drive in from somewhere else in the county if they make a phone call. Fuck that
So it beats me. I hate it here. And I'm gonna drown my sorrow by walking around the corner to the liquor store -- I love that I can do that!
Andrew Bacevich is just so totally not my biggest fan. Here's what I said
; here's what he said
. See also my comments at the bottom of his response.
fat man still hungry
The Association of the Unites States Army is lobbying
Congress to set defense spending at five
percent of GDP, with "at least 28%" reserved to the Army. So that would be about $650 billion a year for defense spending, with about $180 billion for the army alone.
Frank Gaffney is a piker.
"an extraordinarily dangerous incident"
The Ministry of Transportation Security fucks up some airplanes
and bobby flay urges you to go vegan
The distinctly sober and non-insane Bing West gets more than a little wild-eyed
in the opinion pages of today's Wall Street Journal
, building a bizarre rhetorical circle that negates its own premises. It's an argument for continuing the American war in Iraq, under the exceptionally curious headline, "The War in Iraq Is Over. What Next?"
It just gets stranger from there:
With victory in sight, why would we quit? The steady -- but not total -- withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is freeing up forces to fight in Afghanistan. But Afghanistan is not the central front in the war on terror. Al Qaeda is hiding in Pakistan, a nation we are not going to invade.
We should stay in Iraq, because we are winning the war against al-Qaeda there, but al-Qaeda is not there, they are elsewhere, and we are not going to fight them where they are, but must go on beating them where they are mostly not, because we're winning there.
Then there's the new promise to draw down: "We are withdrawing as conditions permit. For instance, in the infamous Triangle of Death south of Baghdad, Col. Dominic Caraccilo has spread his rifle companies across 22 police precincts. Over the next year, he plans to pull out two of every three companies, leaving the population protected by Iraqi forces, backed by a thin screen of American soldiers."
To avoid being tedious, I won't post the identical versions of this claim that were made in 2005 and 2006 and 2007, when they were standing up so we could stand down.
And still more nonsense: "A stable Iraq keeps faith with the million American soldiers who fought there, sets back Iran's aggression, and makes our enemies in Afghanistan and elsewhere fear us
Our willingness to fight in Iraq makes our enemies elsewhere -- such as Pakistan, "a nation we are not going to invade" -- fear us. By this reasoning, the proper response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was to bomb the fuck out of Peru, to show the Japanese our willingness to fight. The fear of a distant force that surely isn't coming your way -- it's awesome
Recognizing that the headline almost certainly came from an editor, it's fun to count the number of ways that the text of the piece proves the headline to be false:
"Then, in the spring of 2008, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attacked the Mahdi militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that controlled Basra and half of Baghdad. The militia crumbled under pressure from Iraqi soldiers backed by coalition intelligence and air assets...and the Iraqi offensive against Sadr's militia in Basra last April revealed an atrocious Iraqi command and control system."
(That last ellipse represents several missing paragraphs between Maliki KICKING ASS on the Mahdi Army and Maliki, uh, not kicking ass on the Mahdi Army.)
"The threat in Iraq has changed from a full-scale insurgency into an antiterror campaign." These are clearly very different things. One involves military operations against a shadowy enemy that mixes into the population, striking with hidden bombs and hit-and-run attacks; the other involves military operations against a shadowy enemy that mixes into the population, striking with hidden bombs and hit-and-run attacks.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq is entrenched in northern Mosul, where it may take 18 months to completely defeat them." You heard that claim 18 months ago. You'll hear it again in another 18 months.
The Friedman Unit tripled
. That's certainly a kind of progress.
is a life story. And he's got a few decades left to run with.
(Much more here
torture is real
And I would break inside of five minutes