aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Bob Barr calls for Don’t Aks, Don’t Tell repeal
Think Progress quotes the WSJ Online:
As a conservative Republican member of Congress from 1995 to 2003, I was hardly a card-carrying member of the gay-rights lobby. I opposed then, and continue to oppose, same-sex marriage, or the designation of gays as a constitutionally protected minority class. Service in the armed forces is another matter. The bottom line here is that, with nearly a decade and a half of the hybrid “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to guide us, I have become deeply impressed with the growing weight of credible military opinion which concludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not pose insurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
Because the military can’t fill its slots, it has lowered its standards, extended tours of duty and increased rotations, further hurting morale and readiness. Conservatives are supposed to favor meritocracy - rewarding ability - especially in the armed forces. Instead, the military is firing badly needed, capable troops simply because they’re gay, and replacing them with a hodge podge that includes ex-cons, drug abusers and high-school dropouts.
Doctor or drug pusher?
Tina Rosenberg wrote the 8,000 word cover story coming in the NYTimes Magazine this weekend:
Ronald McIver is a prisoner in a medium-security federal compound in Butner, N.C. He is 63 years old, of medium height and overweight, with a white Santa Claus beard, white hair and a calm, direct and intelligent manner. He is serving 30 years for drug trafficking, and so will likely live there the rest of his life. McIver (pronounced mi-KEE-ver) has not been convicted of drug trafficking in the classic sense. He is a doctor who for years treated patients suffering from chronic pain. At the Pain Therapy Center, his small storefront office not far from Main Street in Greenwood, S.C., he cracked backs, gave trigger-point injections and put patients through physical therapy. He administered ultrasound and gravity-inversion therapy and devised exercise regimens. And he wrote prescriptions for high doses of opioid drugs like OxyContin.
McIver was a particularly aggressive pain doctor. Pain can be measured only by how patients say they feel: on a scale from 0 to 10, a report of 0 signifies the absence of pain; 10 is unbearable pain. Many pain doctors will try to reduce a patient’s pain to the level of 5. McIver tried for a 2. He prescribed more, and sooner, than most doctors.
Some of his patients sold their pills. Some abused them. One man, Larry Shealy, died with high doses of opioids that McIver had prescribed him in his bloodstream. In April 2005, McIver was convicted in federal court of one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and eight counts of distribution. (He was also acquitted of six counts of distribution.) The jury also found that Shealy was killed by the drugs McIver prescribed. McIver is serving concurrent sentences of 20 years for distribution and 30 years for dispensing drugs that resulted in Shealy’s death. His appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court were rejected.
McIver’s case is not simply the story of a narcotics conviction. It has enormous relevance to the lives of the one in five adult Americans who, according to a 2005 survey by Stanford University Medical Center, ABC News and USA Today, reported they suffered from chronic pain - pain lasting for several months or longer. According to a 2003 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, pain costs American workers more than $61 billion a year in lost productive time - and that doesn’t include medical bills.
Privacy, what privacy? Google Street View
I’ve not dug in and read all that’s being said about the privacy issues raised by Google Street View. My default setting is that with private security firms and police forces having cameras on all of us everywhere, I want one too. Google gives me that.
But that default position is subject to revision as I think it through.
Meanwhile, it’s kind of a chuckle to read that Google announced on Tuesday that it would reduce how long it keeps the Web search histories of we users, to 18 months from 24, as a nod to privacy concerns. Golly, I really feel less exposed now.
Perhaps in an effort to do unto Google as they have done to us, CNet’s got a photo of the Google Jacuzzi outside of building 40 at the Mountain View, California campus. The Jacoogle? The Goocuzzy?
What, no zoom?
TB patient’s family unhelpful at first
I made something of a big deal out of the fact that Andrew Speaker’s father recored his conversation with health officials before the family went off to his wedding in Greece. It appears that health officials have some ammo of their own:
Health officials trying to stop a globetrotting honeymooner with a dangerous form of tuberculosis got little assistance from his lawyer father and his future father-in-law, a TB expert who not only balked at stopping the Greek wedding but attended the ceremony himself, according to e-mail obtained by the Associated Press.
Some of the 181 pages of e-mail, obtained through a public records request, suggest that Andrew Speaker’s father was clipped and combative in phone conversations with health officials.
E-mail from Fulton County officials portray his father-in-law, CDC microbiologist Robert C. Cooksey, as initially unhelpful, at least before May 22, when tests showed that Speaker had a more dangerous form of TB than previously understood.