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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Complexity

You stare at the biochemistry book, at your cadaver and marvel at the complexity. Surely, this is evidence of a higher power.

You stare at the biochemistry book, at your cadaver and scratch your head at the complexity. No wonder this stupid system breaks; how much simpler and functional this could be.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

On God's Time

An economist gets a chance to talk with God.
"Lord," the economist says. "The scripture tells us that a thousand years is but like a second to you. Is that true?"
"Yes," God says.
"Then, would a million dollars be like a penny to you?"
"Yes," God says again.
"God, I haven't asked for much in my life and I was wondering if I could have one of your pennies." The economist asks.
God replys, "Wait here a minute."

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Greatest Team Ever?

Is it too early to be calling USC the greatest team ever? Probably. Considering our defense, even when we become the first team to win back-to-back-to-back championships there will be those who never admit we're the greatest team ever. That's fine, the championships and stats speak for themselves.

What it is not too early to be speaking about is the fact that we're witnessing one of the best, and probably THE best, college football offense EVER. Not that our defense is bad, it certainly isn't. It's good, but not great. However, relative to our offense any defense would sort of look like a "weak point".

Candlelight Vigil

I went to a candlelight vigil to reflect on the donations to the Willed Body Program at my school that have made the Gross Anatomy course possible. One of my classmates brought his daughter who must be right around 3. Absolutely beautiful kid, lively and running around (to the embarrassment of her parents). It was simply a nice contrast -- life & death, circle of life, cliche, cliche, etc.

Worth It?

Avastin has a HIGH prevalence for causing serious tears in the users intestinal tract. This is a shame since this drug had enough publicity for even me to have heard of it. Major side effects like this, especially for groundbreaking and novel drugs are very likely; I certainly don't think such a risk means patients cannot give 'informed consent'. The drug is still a viable option in the fight against some types of cancer, it just needs to be used with more caution.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Admitted

He got what he wanted.
Nothing of surprise.
Except he cried;
anyway.
To explain it?
A problem, a challenge.
And you question,
its worth; the effort.
Let him smile
with tears.
Serves him well.
And you not worry.
Not question.
There is nothing more
to give him.
So, that's not
what troubles him.
He speaks like it does.
For that's his voice.
Whine and screech.
And advocate.
But not teach.
And choke on a silver spoon.
He wants respect,
he deserves.
Let him earn it.
He hasn't.
So, he sighs;
and comes closer to it.
Of course not.
He smiles;
and comes closer to it.
But he does.
But it is faked,
and you read it,
and know it is untrue,
and he gets
what he wanted
and cries;
anyway.

- Physiology Class, 9/21/05

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Like Monkeys

From I Am Bored.

This is strange but pretty funny:
 
I like monkeys.

The pet store was selling them for five cents a piece. I thought that
odd since they were normally a couple thousand each. I decided not to
look a gift horse in the mouth. I bought 200. I like monkeys.

I took my 200 monkeys home. I have a big car. I let one drive. His
name was Sigmund. He was retarded. In fact, none of them were really
bright. They kept punching themselves in their genitals. I laughed.
Then they punched my genitals. I stopped laughing.

I herded them into my room. They didn't adapt very well to their new
environment. They would screech, hurl themselves off of the couch at
high speeds and slam into the wall. Although humorous at first, the
spectacle lost its novelty halfway into its third hour.

Two hours later I found out why all the monkeys were so inexpensive:
they all died. No apparent reason. They all just sorta' dropped dead.
Kinda' like when you buy a goldfish and it dies five hours later. Damn
cheap monkeys.

I didn't know what to do. There were 200 dead monkeys lying all over my
room, on the bed, in the dresser, hanging from my bookcase. It looked
like I had 200 throw rugs.

I tried to flush one down the toilet. It didn't work. It got stuck.
Then I had one dead, wet monkey and 199 dead, dry monkeys.

I tried pretending that they were just stuffed animals. That worked for
a while, that is until they began to decompose. It started to smell real
bad.

I had to pee but there was a dead monkey in the toilet and I didn't want
to call the plumber. I was embarrassed.

I tried to slow down the decomposition by freezing them. Unfortunately
there was only enough room for two monkeys at a time so I had to change
them every 30 seconds. I also had to eat all the food in the freezer so
it didn't all go bad.

I tried burning them. Little did I know my bed was flammable. I had to
extinguish the fire.

Then I had one dead, wet monkey in my toilet, two dead, frozen monkeys in
my freezer, and 197 dead, charred monkeys in a pile on my bed. The odor
wasn't improving.

I became agitated at my inability to dispose of my monkeys and to use the
bathroom. I severely beat one of my monkeys. I felt better.

I tried throwing them way but the garbage man said that the city wasn't
allowed to dispose of charred primates. I told him that I had a wet
one. He couldn't take that one either. I didn't bother asking about the
frozen ones.

I finally arrived at a solution. I gave them out as Christmas gifts. My
friends didn't know quite what to say. They pretended that they like
them but I could tell they were lying. Ingrates. So I punched them in
the genitals.

I like monkeys

Think With Your Heart?

phi·los·o·phy (
n. pl. phi·los·o·phies

the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics

My Power Rankings

1. USC (Last Week, #1)
2. Texas (#2)
3. Florida (#3)
4. LSU (#4)
5. Va. Tech (#7)
6. Georgia (#8)
7. Ohio St. (#6)
8. Louisville (NR)
9. Florida St. (NR)
10. Notre Dame (#5)

My top 4 stay the same, but Notre Dame falls from their #5 spot.

Michigan wins by 55 points and still drops off. The new additions are Louisville, who just dominated Oregon St, and Florida St.

Look, despite being a USC alumni I don't have a lot of respect for the PAC-10. Even so, I finally caught some of a Louisville game, after just reading the line for their win over Kentucky, and they looked great. The easy pick for the Big East (which I'm glad to say easily takes the title of 'worst' BCS conference...now they'll be no more debate of that title mentioning the PAC-10).

Florida St. after looking abysmal against Miami has finally found some offense. In just two weeks no less. Boston College is undersized but that's a respectable defense they won against.

The other drop off is Tennessee who was being mentioned as a national title contender by most media outlets. Granted, I called Texas to lose to Ohio St. but I'm right about Tennessee.

I'm sticking by my prediction that Tennessee will lose two more games (one to either Auburn or LSU) to finish with a three loss season. A national title run if I've ever seen one.

The real question is should I be giving Georgia Tech and Purdue more respect (not when you squeeze by Arizona by 7). Va. Tech, not wanting to embarrass me, will crush Georgia Tech next week.

The rest of my picks for next week:
  • Iowa over Ohio St., which makes Texas look a little worse. But I still can't put Iowa in the top 10 after losing to ISU.
  • LSU over Tennessee. I really don't like the Vols in the SEC this year..
  • USC over Oregon. Test of the Trojans my ass.
  • Notre Dame over Washington.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Med School Depression

A survey of first and second year students at UCSF finds that a fourth of them suffer from depression. Incredible.

I don't view medical school like that at all. I've loved my time here so far and don't imagine the transition from film school, no less, to medical school to be all that incredibly huge.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cultural Confrontation

More than 90% of recent medical school graduates said they felt unsure how to approach a patient from another cutlure.

In some regards I think my Human Behavior class may be necessary but man it needs some work in terms of its organization.

You've Made The Bed...

Starbucks could care less about if their employees have health coverage or not. They want an easy way to alleviate themselves of the problem by having the government pick up the tab.

Blogs like Over My Med Body, think that "we're in trouble" because Starbucks is holding meetings to announce that they now spend more on employee health insurance than on raw products. Isn't that Starbucks choice? Stop whining Mr. Schultz for the government to do something; either swallow the public relations hardship of cutting your coverage or swallow the cost. The only trouble we're in, is the fact that this country finds it appropriate to try to equalize everyone by redistributing wealth in the form of welfare, healthcare, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc. The distinction is the effort. I understand the projects are a far cry from the 5000 sq. ft. home of the family whose tax dollars helped pay for it, but the involuntary redistribution of wealth can either always be justified (an argument for say Communism) or never be justified (what I believe). There's no middle ground. Any philosophical argument for limited redistribution of wealth attempts to place subjective logically unsound limits on just how much wealth should be redistributed. Since limits on the redistribution of wealth are unsound, then the rhetoric for government subsidized healthcare is the same rhetoric for the complete redistribution of wealth.

To get a little dramatic, support of social welfare programs in this country makes you a communist.

The liberal arguments for social welfare which have predominated the past half century are lacking in critical reasoning. I am making a prediction right now: history will make note of some philosophers from this era but as they make note of the social utopians of the turn of the century; for their effect on society but certainly not for any notable skills with logic.

Artificial Wombs

I'm pro-life and yet I believe incredibly strongly in the right to privacy. I also believe in a right to life. If I thought the fetus wasn't alive then I'd be pro-choice. But I believe the fetus is alive. In a discussion the other day, my pro-choice friend tried to make the argument that the fetus' dependence on the mother clearly defines the fetus as a non-life.

My first reaction was, well, a newborn is dependent on others as well, but it is clearly alive. I understood her distinction though, there is a difference between having to be fed and changed and having to have a womb to grow in.

What seems unreasonable about those who try to define life as starting at some "subjective" point during development of the fetus is that there's nothing inherent about it. I pointed out to my friend that clearly the definition of life, as she tried to define it, had changed over the past decade as "premies" are being born younger and younger and living. Without having done any research I claimed (this is what you get when you argue with me: unbased claims...this one turned out to be true) that within my lifetime, I, as a physician, would be able to remove a fetus at any stage of development and "grow" it in an artificial environment to complete term and produce a healthy young infant.

Then today, I stumbled across this article. There's something inherent about saying life begins at contraception. There's nothing inherent about subjectively saying life begins at the third trimester. The baby is more viable now? It can start feeling pain? What type of definitions are these? These are just people making up definitions to suit their own purposes.

Artificial wombs will be a huge moral blow to pro-choicers. New "excuses" for abortions will arise from ethicists and philosophers but certainly many of the current arguments justifying abortion will cease to be valid once this becomes a legitimate option for preserving a fetus.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wacky West Coast

If you've missed it, the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional according to a federal court out west. I know the Supreme Court found a way not to hear this case earlier but now it looks like it might have too (there's going to be no procedural errors to overturn the decision on now).

*Sigh*

Here's a quote from Voice of America concerning Roberts confirmation hearings,

Earlier Thursday, Judge Roberts said Congress has the authority to pass legislation barring discrimination based on race, gender and disability.
Your right as a private citizen and businessman to serve or employ who you want to is outweighed by my right to not feel different because of my sex or disability or race?

I'm sorry, but if you're not taking federal tax dollars and you're not a public institution, then you shouldn't have to have wheelchair ramps or serve people of Irish descent if you don't want to. Isn't that your perogative?

At an incredibly basic level the liberalization of this country (and that's what protection against discrimination is an example of) is founded in the belief that the world should be fair. It is the timeless debate of equality (fairness) vs. liberty. I'm going to lay it out as simple as possible: GOVERNMENT'S JOB IS NOT TO MAKE EVERYTHING FAIR FOR EVERYONE!!!

The government has a responsibility for justice and fairness in their interactions with their constituents but private businesses and citizens certainly do not. Your choice as a private entity to discriminate against some may be despicable, but it's certainly not something that government inherently has the authority to regulate (despite the beliefs of the incredibly intelligent Judge Roberts).

Going Back

I know, I'm a terrible hypocrite. But I think the sooner we make it back to the moon (with tax dollars) the better. I would give anything to be on one of those flights.

If you told me I could be on the first mission to Mars, but there was only a 25% chance I'd make it back, I'd go without hesitation.

Complaints From Both Ends

This article complains about the rising cost of healthcare and health insurance
, as well as the fact such a cost is driving more and more onto the rolls of the uninsured.

But you can't have it both ways. America drives new medical technology and drug development. I am completely serious, the reason we might be able to beat cancer in the next ten years, is because Pfizer can have such high profit margins; can charge what they want for Viagra.

Chris Ohman,

president of the California Association of Health Plans, said insurers have little control over many of the underlying causes of rising medical costs. These include an aging population and expensive new technology.

You can't have it both ways though. The quality of healthcare will naturally decrease as health insurance costs decrease. Lower profits mean fewer doctors performing certain procedures and certainly means less money going into R&D for technology and drugs. There are reasons an MRI is so expensive because a) it was expensive to develop and build and b) the next breakthrough, the next "MRI" is going to be, even more expensive to develop. That's not to say biotech and hardware makers don't enjoy huge profits but it's those profits that keep the best and the brightest researchers in the field in the first place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Teachers Who Shouldn't Be Teaching Perhaps

I had a lecturer today, mind you this is not the first time she's breached the subject, take time out of class to mention how first year medical students, as a group, walked too slowly while traveling in the halls of the school and the affiliated hospital. So slowly as to cause her and others inconvenience.

She then asked all the students to perform a relaxation exercise and then stand up, and snake our way through the rows in the lecture hall, telling us to speed up so that we could get a sense for how fast we needed to walk whenever we were transversing campus.

It was perhaps my most surreal moment in a while. I'm not quite sure it was the best use of time *rolls eyes*.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

In A Bind...

Physicians have worked themselves into a bind. They've waited too long to 'battle' the proliferation of Medicare. Now that Medicare controls such a large percentage of the insurance market (although talking about it like this sounds mildly ridiculous) it can dictate physician payment without consequence. Certainly without the dramatic consequences some physicians claim a decrease in compensation will lead to.

When Medicare first began it was a free wheeling program (as much as a government program can be) that allowed a large physician influence in what it paid them for procedures. As it stands today, the government compensation formulas used to determine what a physician is paid for an office visit or procedure (and is going to be modified shortly to cut physician compensation by 4.3%) make Medicare one of the worst 'insurances,' from a physician's perspective.

However, as an article here points out, claims by physicians, especially general practitioners that cuts in Medicare compensation will result in a shortage of doctor's participating in Medicare, rings hollow. Too many physicians have practices where Medicare patients may make up more than 50% of the population. Under such conditions the physician can ill afford to forgo such patients (even if s/he is losing money on every office visit).

Blogs like Kevin, M.D. have made a series out of talking about how poorly general practitioners are paid compared to their 'specialized' physician counterparts. An element in this (although compensation across all insurances for office visits is abysmal) is the number of general practitioners who rely on Medicare patients. The more specialized the field in medicine the less impact Medicare compensation rates can have over your income.

The Public Believes In Defensive Medicine

Over half of adults say they've forgone treatment recommended by a physician because they believed it to be an unnecessary result of 'defensive medicine'.

It's a wonder more of the public doesn't support national tort reform in such a case.

H/T Medrants

New Study, Same So What...

I say, "And So?" to a new study which finds that insurance plays a major role in how quickly patient's get follow up appointments after emergency care. How is this not the physician's perogative? I swear next it'll be legislatively mandated that physicians MUST participate in Medicaid/care.

I'm just playing devil's advocate here (obviously I'm opposed to Medicare and certainly to MORE money being spent by the government on healthcare) however, it's difficult to see researchers and the general public find fault with physician's for reacting coldly to Medicare and yet not pressing harder and harder for changes in the government's compensation for physicians. I assure you poor compensation, compared to commercial insurances, is why Medicare patients have such a difficult time getting an appointment.

Now I'll go ponder how I complain about government subsidized healthcare while I enjoy government subsidized education :) .

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My Power Rankings

1. USC (Last Week, #1)
2. Texas (#5)
3. Florida (#2)
4. LSU (#4)
5. Notre Dame (NR)
6. Ohio St. (#3)
7. Va. Tech (NR)
8. Georgia (#8)
9. Michigan (#7)
10. Tennessee (#9)

No matter the win loss record these are who I believe to be the best football teams. Two new teams appear in Va. Tech and Notre Dame. Notre Dame all the way up at #5 after a win over Michigan. Out is Iowa and Florida St/Miami...I know Florida St. found some offense against The Citadel but what a terrible terrible game that was (The U vs. FSU). They could find a hobo off the street to throw the ball better...

Texas is the second best team in the country. All that stands in their way is Oklahoma and Texas A & M, both of which look incredibly winable right about now. Also, I'm now a LITTLE scared of Notre Dame but they won that Michigan game on Michigan mistakes and defense. Notre Dame's defense, I don't care how improved it is, is not going to hold USC to 2 touchdowns. Their offense is going to have to drop 35 or 40 points for them to have a chance against USC, and I don't think they can do it.

I look like a real jackass after picking Ohio St. over Texas, and OSU all the way to the Rose Bowl. My new pick is USC v. Texas, in the Rose Bowl, which is really sad since I love both those teams.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Human Brain Still Evolving

The human brain is growing larger and more complex. I like the following quote:

"There's a sense we as humans have kind of peaked," agreed Greg Wray, director of Duke University's Center for Evolutionary Genomics. "A different way to look at is it's almost impossible for evolution not to happen."

The central nervous system is really amazing. I just have this sense that it is the last wild frontier of medicine. There's plenty we don't know about other "systems" of the body but it pales in comparison to what we seem not to know about the brain. Realize such "lack of knowledge" is comparative. As well, it just means that new and interesting discoveries are happening all the time.

4 and 3 Deal for Saints

Here's a story saying that the Saints will play 4 home games in San Antonio and 3 in Baton Rouge (remember their eighth "home" game is at Giant's Stadium.)

The newspaper said likely games to be moved to San Antonio are Oct. 2 against Buffalo, Oct. 16 against Atlanta; Dec. 4 against Tampa Bay and Dec. 24 against Detroit.
You better believe I'll be at Atlanta, if this is true, and maybe Detroit just to see my man Mike Williams play, not that Harrington can get him the ball.

Done

I'm done with my first round of tests!!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Vibrio vulnificus

Four have died from catching the bacterial infection in flood waters. I got an email recently detailing what to look for as we continue a survey of the evacuees here in San Antonio

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Macular Degeneration & Smoking

Medrants has brought this very interesting article on smoking and MD to my attention. Since I'm interested in ophthalmology, I'll share it with you...

HMOs

"There are two divergent views on your care. I believe you need a triple-bypass operation. Your HMO wants you to rub this $14 tube of salve on your chest."


...on a completely different topic, for my first set of tests it is three down and one to go.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Darn

Benson wants to play in Baton Rouge.

San Antonio is the "home" for an NFL franchise owner and a very, very recent owner. I know Tom Benson and Red McCombs have done a lot for this city but couldn't they contribute just one more big thing and bring a football team here?

Anatomy Test

I got these right but...

A 73-year-old man has a large mass in the temporal lobe of his brain which is compressing a nerve between the free edge of the tentorium cerebelli and the posterior clinoid process of the sphenoid bone. Which of the following is most likely to occur on the same side of the man's body?

a. Constricted pupil
b. Inability to abduct pupil
c. Inability to depress pupil from abducted position
d. Pain in the skin of the forehead
e. Ptosis

A newborn 2-day old girl with hydrocephalus has an abnormaly small posterior cranial fossa but no other skeletal defects. Which of the following conditions is she most likely to have?

a. Arnold-Chiari malformation
b. Cranial Meningocele
c. Meningoencephalocele
d. Meroanencephaly
e. Spina bifida with myeloschisis

The U Stinks

I'm laughing after reading part of 'Cane Mutiny and then catching the end of Miami-Florida St.

Here's Assistant Coach Art Kehoe believing Miami is as good as USC:
USC has done a great job, but their Virginia Tech game turned on one of the worst calls I've ever seen. And they beat UCLA and were they a good team last year? Stanford had them down 11 points. But USC is winning. We lost three games we should've won, and we didn't. But if people think Miami is going downhill, bring it on. That's all I got to say, bring it on! Go ahead, doubt us. Think you can whip our ass, because it ain't happening.
Pretty hard to believe these comments after watching Miami falling 10 - 7 to a crap ass corp of Florida St. widerecievers and two freshman quarterbacks who completed a total of 7 passes. USC's defense is at least as good as FSU's and our offense would've dropped thirty or forty on a helpless Miami.

Monday, September 05, 2005

San Antonio Saints?

Word on the street is...

Benson has a current interest in playing the Saints 2005 season home games in the Alamodome here in San Antonio and had at least expressed since Hurricane Katrina (maybe out of frustration) that the Saints would never play again in New Orleans and he would like them to stay in San Antonio permanently.

There was also some talk he wasn't even going to refund Saints season ticket holders. Ouch. The league should help him out with that. But not giving any money back or saying you'll "honor" them if the ticket holders can somehow make it here to San Antonio is unreasonable.

Here's the New Orleans Times-Picayune on it.

Tomorrow...

...is my first Anatomy test -- the back, spinal cord, muscles & vessels of the neck, the face, the cranium, the brain (including those cranial nerves).

Reaction To West

Here's a reaction to West in the Chicago Sun Times. The editorial stops short of backing the claim that West made but applauds him for opening up a legitimate debate on the issue.

Let me state it simple, there is nothing legitimate about this debate.

No reasonable objective study of the poor response to Katrina can come to the conclusion that the decision makers in charge of the relief of this tragedy failed to work or plan as hard as they might've because the majority of the people in trouble were poor and African-American.

That is the sort of broad and incredible racism that Kanye West and a large group of commentators and politicians must believe exists for their claim to have any basis. I can understand, in a historical context, starring at the situation from the completely unobjective locale of ground zero, how that might appear to be the case.

But from an objective position claims such as these simply look ridiculous. Anyway, this'll be my last post on this issue.

Medical Mnemonics

Man, they have everything - travel, drinking, comic strip characters, and bestiality.

Katrina & Federalism

Here's a ridiculous claim from Slate:

Federalism Strikes Again: As long as we're apportioning blame in the Katrina fiasco, here's another culprit: federalism, by which I mean a) the U.S.'s interpolation of an unnecessary level of government (states) between cities and the national government and b) the non-hierarchical, "sovereign" nature of this unnecessary level, so that the national government can't just give its Louisiana subdivision orders the way, say, General Motors can give its Pontiac division orders.
This is not a logically sound argument, mainly because it can go both ways. Perhaps the problem is that there's not enough Federalism. If the federal government hadn't seized control of so many aspects of government, if it didn't tax the hell out of people, limiting the amount that state's could collect, then Louisiana would've had more resources to respond to the disaster.

Who do you want leading the relief? The state and local authorities who know the area, the people, what is necessary or the leaders in Washington? Seems like an obvious answer to me.

Strike another one for stronger federalism and state rights.

John Roberts as Chief Justice

John Roberts has been elevated to Chief Justice before he's even an associate.

I don't like this move. It makes Robert's job that much more difficult and this man could easily turn out to be the next John Paul Stevens. Well, not easily, but it could happen. Bush should've fought for Scalia.

Bush's next appointee better be a hardcore strict constructionist.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rehnquist Dies

Here's the New York Time's take on it.

He was a good judge, I think. The timing of Bush's next opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court judge isn't very good though. His approval rating may stop him from elevating Scalia to the top position and may limit the conservatism of his nominee.

The Plight of African-Americans

At the processing center in San Antonio for newly arriving victims of Katrina 90+% of the refugees are black.

This isn't a surprise. New Orleans has over 350,000 African-Americans, making up perhaps more than 70% of its population. The fact that they're over-represented amongst the refugee population is to be expected, as blacks in New Orleans, and throughout the country, make up a disproportionate percentage of the lowest socioeconomic class.

The rich made it out of New Orleans and the poor didn't. There's nothing unexpected about that or unethical really. If you had a car and you were smart you got out. If you didn't have a car, you didn't get out.

What is troubling however are claims by black leaders and icons like Kanye West that the "sluggish" relief effort can be tied to the fact that so many of the 'refugees' or 'American citizens,' as some black leaders insist they be called, were African-American.

The claim reeks of the culture of paranoia and victimhood that perpetrates a large sect of African-American culture. According to this theory, and there is no hyperbole in this claim, 'Racism exists in America extending all the way to the top of the federal government, and almost all hardships which befall the black people have such as a causality.'

I hope you're scratching your head. The poor socioeconomic condition of African-Americans in this country, which has everything to do with the fact that such a large number of African-Americans failed to get out of New Orleans in the first place, has more to do with this culture of victimhood than any racism in this country.

As long as the black community looks for external sources to their hardships, instead of declaring themselves capable of making their way without their welfare checks (some hyperbole there), they will always be the refugees.

I will never know or understand racism as a an African-American does. I will never understand the social and historical implications of slavery as a black person does. But there are ethnic, racial, and religious groups who have faced plights of similar magnitude. How can I read through European papers and not find nearly as many Jewish hardships blamed on anti-semitism, as I do black hardships (such as the failure of Katrina relief) blamed on racism? For that matter how is the socioeconomic condition of the Jewish community in Europe so much better than the African-American community in America? These people had literally nothing fifty years ago.

There's really an argument that German reparations and amendments have single-handedly brought the Jewish people off their financial and social knees? There's really an argument racism in this country is so much larger than anti-semitism in Europe?

It's not an incredibly strong analogy, I understand, but it is there.

I think it's paranoid and self-serving, in ways, to imagine that either a) the President set down all the multitude of people who made high level decisions concerning the relief of New Orleans and instructed them to slow down because there were black people in the city or b) a large number of these decision makers unconsciously didn't work as hard as they could've because they saw there were only black people on the news.

How absolutely ridiculous does that sound? I know, from the subjective position of many African-Americans it isn't so ridiculous. Well, until many African-American leaders start seeing the situation more objectively, they'll continue to contribute to their community's own self-fulfilling prophecy.

Katrina

Like other large Texas cities, Houston especially, San Antonio is taking in perhaps as many as 50,000 New Orleans refugees. In San Antonio a former Air Force base, KellyUSA, is serving as the processing center. The sickest can be flown in there and the rest arrive on buses.

I spent five hours there today volunteering and generally embarrassing myself with my ignorance. I really did make a fool of myself more than once. One lady was describing the Superdome and how horrible the conditions were and I was like, "Yeah, with the air conditioning out." She sort of raised her eyebrow, "That was the least of our worries."

I shut up and pretended I knew what I was doing concerning her history and vitals.

The vast majority of the people I saw came to the med section (beyond the fact we were immunizing everyone for Hep A and Tetanus) because they had left behind medications in New Orleans. Many diabetics, etc. Among these patients however I was surprised by the number suffering from mental illness. Not just stress from the event itself but pre-Katrina conditions. There was a near manic man looking for a refill on any number of drugs, who claimed he had bug bites all over him, and was unable to complete a thought before he started a new one.

I suppose these were just the "type" of people who couldn't make it out of the city.

I actually felt kind of useless on the medical side. I'm not sure how much good I did taking the pulse of someone who was just looking for a refill of Vicodin. What seemed most useful is just being a good listener and a general helper - leading the blind man to the bathroom, helping a mother find her daughter amongst the hordes of people.

Finally, I was amazed at the generally good mood of these refugees and their attitude considering what they went through. It was really incredible the disposition they came in with:

"Are you okay today?"
"I'm great today, how are you doing? You been here long?"

Who shows concern for a volunteer when you've lost your home and in a new, strange place? Incredible and really humbling.

Five hours does not a great act make, but as soon as these exams are done I'll be back. I think having gotten over some "confusion" I'll be a much more effective volunteer next time.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Power Rankings

College Football Power Rankings Wk. 1

1. USC (D'uh)
2. Florida (Did you watch Chris Leak? This guy is a Heisman Finalist)
3. Ohio St. (Over Texas by 14 next week)
4. LSU
5. Texas (Maybe not this high after next week)
6. Florida St./Miami (We'll see Monday)
7. Michigan
8. Georgia (I know Boise St. had all the hype but I expected nothing less)
9. Tennessee (I'll be vindicated with this low ranking...)
10. Iowa

My prediction for the Rose Bowl: USC v. Ohio St.
Big East Winner: Louisville
(why does the Big East get a BCS bid, Santa?)
Big 12 Winner: Texas A & M
(My reasoning: Texas A & M does not lose a Big 12 game before playing Texas and Texas loses to Oklahoma meaning that the final regular season game: Texas v. Texas A & M on Fri., Nov. 25th is for the right to represent the Big XII South in the Championship game)
Pac 10 Winner: USC
Big 10 Winner: Ohio St.
ACC Winner: Boston College
(After watching FSU - Miami I'm just clutching for straws here...maybe its Va Tech or even Ga Tech)
SEC Winner: Florida

I love UT and I hope that their close win in the Rose Bowl last year says something about an emerging culture of winning. I know Texas finishes 10 - 2 every year but Mack Brown simply has not proven his ability to instill such a culture so far -- they lose close games, they lose rivalry games, they lose big games -- at least until the Rose Bowl.

If they can beat Ohio St. (9/10) and Oklahoma (10/8) -- no matter how bad they looked this week -- Texas has a claim as, nay, they will be, the best team in the country but I don't think they can win both those games.

I know Oklahoma looked terrible this week, losing to TCU, but there's something about that game in Dallas which the Texas team is intimidated by. I think Oklahoma wins the Red River Shootout this year.

I know Tennessee looks good on paper at every position but QB, but I'm troubled how much they struggled against UAB. I'll be vindicated -- Tenn. will finish behind Georgia and Florida in the east. Tennessee will lose 2 of 3 against Florida, LSU, and Auburn (even with Auburn getting humbled by GT) and another one to finish with a 3-loss season. Indeed, I thought about not even putting Tenn. in the top 10.

Florida looked good. I know, I know, they ran for like a hundred yards and on paper their defense looks weak. Wyoming is not as bad as Florida made them look. Florida's defense will be much better than expected and Chris Leak is a Heisman finalist. Playing in the SEC you could "hiccup" on any given Saturday but I think Florida beats Tennessee. I think against LSU it is near 50-50 (that is going to be a great game) and I'm not sure just how good Georgia is going to be yet. I really think it is a coin flip between Florida, LSU, and Georgia (I have them ranked so low because I think they could be the class of the SEC but they have more question marks than Florida or LSU...despite what they did to Boise St.; but boy Shockley looked good.)

For my alma mater I'm scared of ASU. I know everyone says that we'll have trouble in Eugene but if you saw Oregon against Houston then you know that's bull, I don't care how tough Eugene is to play in. Arizona St. in Tempe will be very, very tough.

I'm less scared, but still can see hiccups, at Cal and Fresno St. in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 02, 2005

First Test

My first test is complete. Three to go.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina and Med School

When this terrible tragedy begins to clear up, what's the future like for Tulane medical students and residents? Is it a year or more before they can resume their education?

USC Football

Bill Curry and Lee Corso can suck it. Corso will forfeit any credibility if USC fails to lose 2 games and instead plays for the national championship. I hope he has to eat that stupid pencil he's always holding on College GameDay when USC wins.

NBA Free Agency

The Spurs have signed Van Exel and Michael Finley! Finley was always a "Spur" in another uniform. He's a hard worker on both ends of the court and is going to provide a great offensive threat off the bench.

You have to question how Van Exel's attitude will fit in with such a blue collar team but you can't fault the guy - he wants to win. He's also very clutch, and should be an incredible back up to Tony Parker.

The two will provide much needed offense off the bench and Finley is a well respected defender as well. The Spurs are going to be so deep half the team could eat bad sushi and miss the entire NBA Finals with food poisoning and we still might win!

Y Chromosome To Continue...

I was worried there for a minute.

But, the Y chromosome by a new study will stick around past the standing estimate of 10 million years.