Monday, July 26, 2004
I have to travel to the San Francisco area next week for work; I’ll be there all week. Of course, I’ll be flying, which led me to wonder whether my bionic leg will set off airport metal detectors.
I called Harborview and they were not entirely helpful; they said the implant would probably not set off the detectors, but in any case, if it did, I should just explain the situation to security.
Here’s hoping I don’t get spirited into a small room, or whisked off to Guantanamo Bay, because I inexplicably set off the alarms…
I poked around on the web, and concensus seems to be that some implants do not set off detectors. Titanium is a non-ferrous metal, and apparently non-ferrous metals are much harder to detect. I guess we’ll find out next Monday.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
The House on Thursday passed the Marriage Protection Act (H.R. 3313), a short bill that seeks to bar the Supreme Court from reviewing the Defense of Marriage Act, thereby guaranteeing that no state could ever be forced to recognize gay marriages formalized in another state.
This couldn’t possibly be consitutional, right? After all, the US Constitution reads in Section 2 that “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States…”. However, Clause 2 reads:
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
There are varying points of view on the limits of the Supreme Court’s jusrisdiction and Congress’ ability to limit it, but there are precedents for “jurisdiction stripping”: in Ex parte McCardle, Congress acted explicitly, and over the President’s veto, to eliminate the Supreme Court’s appelate jurisdiction because it feared the Court’s decision. Also, as discussed in this Washington Times article, as recently as 2002, Congress “..passed legislation pushed by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, that prohibited federal courts from hearing lawsuits challenging brush clearing in the Black Hills of South Dakota.”
All this makes it seem entirely possible that Congress can indeed forbid the Supreme Court from reviewing certain pieces of legislation.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
About half the time when at home, I’m limping unassisted instead of using the cane now…
Thursday, July 22, 2004
I love snowboarding, as do a number of my friends. It seems like every year or so you hear about someone who got buried in a tree well after heavy snowfall and died. Here is a kind of scary report on 8 such deaths in BC ski areas over a 6-year period, along with advice on what to do if you wipe out in heavy powder.
The general conclusions seem to be:
- You may not be able to spot dangerous tree wells
- Avoid skiing in tight glades after heavy snowfall
- If you must ride in glades, carry avalanche equipment and ride in tight coordination with a buddy
- If you get buried, try not to struggle, and create an air pocket around your face as your first priority. If you can hollow out enough space to breathe, you stand a good chance of being rescued alive.
The scary thing is that they did a test where they put 10 experienced skiers and snowboarders into simulated tree wells, and none of them were able to self-rescue. Yikes.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
As a minor update, I find that I can now go up and down stairs normally, alternating the use of my legs, rather than the crutch/cane shuffle I was doing before, where I would always lift with my good leg.
This doesn’t sound like much, but it used to take me a long time to get up or down any kind of stairs; now I’m almost regular-speed!
Sunday, July 18, 2004
My First Steps!
For the first time today, I found that I could walk a few steps completely unassisted, without limping rediculously badly. Laura and Chesty were around to witness my first reasonably convincing, unassisted steps in 9+ weeks!
I’m still using a single cane to get around; when I’m feeling strong, I don’t lean on it much at all. I find that by the end of the day, though, I’m limping more heavily and need the cane more.
Things are definitely looking up! I go back in for Physical Therapy on Friday; we’ll see what they do to me…
Thursday, July 15, 2004
I’ve gotten down to minimal walking support — I’m supposed to be putting 75% weight on my broken leg, so I’ve been hobbling around with just one crutch, and I’m experimenting with canes and walking sticks as well. In just one more week, I’m supposed to try putting full weight on my broken leg.
I’m pretty shaky, but it’s nice to be doing something that somewhat resembles walking normally again.
Monday, July 5, 2004
Drove a car tonight (in a parking lot to start out) for the first time in almost two months. All in all, did pretty well, although I’m going to take it easy with the driving for the next week or two as I build up the weight I can put on my leg.
Monday, July 5, 2004
This article in the Toronto Free Press (a discordant, conservative Canadian publication) claims that over 40% of Canadian teens think the US is “evil”. The author roundly criticizes this:
The poll results reflect that anti-Americanism will be solidly entrenched in future generations of Canadians. As well as listening to the propaganda espoused by their political leaders and the media, these kids have no experience with what constitutes real evil. They live in a country that much like pre-9/11 America, thinks that terrorist attacks are something that happens in other countries. And as the World War II veterans slowly die off, they have no conviction of the evil that the allies risked their lives to defeat.
Never to be outdone, 64% of French Canadians agree with the “evil” characterization.