This sort of thing simply transcends my capacity to comprehend.
This is a breaking story, and nobody knows much. His wife and oldest daughter were not at the house at the time. Folks will soon be speculating as to the cause. Maybe he had PTSD. Maybe he was in a failing marriage. Maybe it is a culture that devalues women and looks the other way at male violence towards female family members. Whatever. None of that means anything to me.
As the father of a daughter, I simply cannot grasp the cognition of a father who could ever even entertain in his head the idea of killing his own daughter.
On Tuesday, September 9th, Bob Suter became the first player from the 1980 American Olympic hockey team to shuffle off the mortal coil.
He was only 57.
After winning the medal, he made a brief run at the NHL but never made the cut in the bigs. Interestingly, he declined to sign with the LA Kings; instead he sat out a year to become a free agent, then signed with the North Stars, but he spent the season in the minors and then retired from pro hockey.
He moved back to his home town of Madison, WI and opened up a sporting goods store (Suter's Gold Medal Sports), where he sold me a hockey jersey in 1987. I didn't know who he was. Okay, to be honest, I didn't really give a hoot about the US Olympic team, having been raised in a country that takes its hockey a little more seriously than folks do down around these parts. Yeah, even these parts. (Truth is, I still don't really give a hoot about the "Miracle", and uh, let's just say, I was pretty content with the results of this year's Olympic hockey tournaments.)
Suter got involved in coaching youth hockey, including the Madison Capitols AAA program, and was one of the movers/shakers/owners behind construction of the Capitol Ice rink in Middleton. Two of the players he coached during his career are now NHL superstars -- Phil Kessel and Ryan Suter, Bob's son. (He was also the brother of Gary Suter, who had a long career in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames.)
People don't seem to be able to say enough nice things about him.
I've heard some leftish commentators opine that HL's position is really one of greed -- they just don't want to pay the cost of birth control. I haven't agreed, partly because I understand that from an employer's perspective, pregnancies are expensive and bothersome.
Regardless, the more significant point is that for the insurer, pregnancy is a lot more expensive than the alternative. How expensive? Just slip across the orange vulva, and I'll explain with some grossly oversimplified statistics. (Update: As VCLib has pointed out, HL is self-insured, so the following discussion more properly applies to large employers who contract out for group health insurance, and who cast a much broader anti-BC net than HL -- for example Notre Dame University. I've edited the text below to reflect this -- including slicing out a probably unwarranted slash at HL's compensation structure)
As has been documented over and over again, American culture is spectacularly anti-intellectual. This phenomenon transcends pretty much every socioeconomic demographic, other perhaps than certain groups who rely on extremely high intelligence to accomplish whatever it is they need to accomplish, and certain groups who mistakenly imagine themselves to possess extremely high intelligence (cf. George Will and that blinky-eyed doofus who wrote something about Bobos.).
The result is that those of us with extraordinary intelligence find ourselves out-voted, out-shouted, out-muscled, out-progenied, and just generally out-done in every realm of social achievement by those of lesser capability. We can't even have a sensible conversation amongst ourselves without being interrupted by the nonsensical bleatings of dimwits who wonder bullshitty wonderings like, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich," or "Isn't your intelligence just one of many kinds of intelligence," or, "Why should the government be involved in regulating [insert pretty much anything here]".
Well, this diary is a specialdy special little retreat for the specialdy special among us who are sick and tired of being bullied and ignored by, for example, the 92% who approved of George W. Bush's handling of the 9/11 crisis. If that's you, please just try to shut your piehole for a moment, while the adults try to figure out how to save you all from yourselves.
You are here so that I can confront you with unpleasant truths that you would prefer to avoid, that you will struggle to deny, that you do not want to acknowledge and accept.
Such as: Episode IV is excruciatingly bad, at a level that not even Leonard Pinth Garnell could love. Most of the original run of Star Trek also sucks.
And cats are stupid. No, seriously, they are. Also, they do not have ESP -- because ESP does not exist. Get a grip.
Mary Ann. Sorry Gingerists, but for God's sake, you lost this battle 50 fricking years ago. Deal.
Money doesn't grow on trees, but so what? Oranges grow on trees, and have you seen the price of orange juice? If money grew on trees, who the hell would you pay to pick it?
Had enough yet? No? Well, then over the vulva we go ...
Most countries, this one included, have some variety of a "Job Creators Immigration Fast-track" -- a program that allows someone with a lot of money to buy their way into the country. The rationale for such schemes is as universal as it is ludicrous: Rich people are, um, rich. So, if we let rich people come here, then we'll all be richer, in the aggregate.
This is rooted in a fundamental blind spot in western philosophy -- the failure to grasp that one man's wealth is everybody else's debt. Letting a rich person move into the neighborhood just creates obligations for the rest of us. It also inflates the local economy, pricing the locals out of their own living space.
Somewhat surprisingly, Canada seems to have figured this out. Sort of.
I've got a little more to say, just on the other side of the exquisite orange vulva ...
The Wisconsin Science Festival started today. The statewide science exposition/celebration runs Thursday through Sunday, with events held at various primarily public and non-profit venues. The festival is primarily weighted in the southern half of the state, although Wausau, Rhinelander, and even Madeline Island (on Lake Superior) are hosting some events. Laboratories, libraries, parks, nature centers, museums, and 6 campuses of the University of Wisconsin system are participating.
The epicenter for the festival is at the Discovery Building, a 3-year-old high-tech edifice in the heart of UW-Madison, occupied by two distinct organizations: The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and The Morgridge Institute for Research. WID/MIR's mission explicitly includes public outreach, and the building has become Madison's primary venue for science fairs, educator conferences, middle and high-school STEM programming, and so forth. The first Saturday of every month brings "Saturday Science", when the first floor of the building -- the "Town Center" -- is overrun by mobs of kids, visiting dozens of demonstration stations associated with the monthly theme. On schooldays, middle-school and high-school students are often seen bustling about in little groups, taking a tour of the building and then taking the elevators up to the specially outfitted teaching labs on the northeast end of the building.
Today many dozens of schoolchildren were exploring the Town Center, which was packed with Science Festival demonstrations from 10 AM till 2PM. Perhaps some will return this evening, for Ira Flatow's "keynote" lecture (livestreamed here, along with various other interesting events). Tomorrow, more dozens of schoolchildren will fill the Town Center for day 2 of the exposition.
However, none of those children will be students from any of the region's Catholic parochial schools.
And no, it wasn't Leonard Cohen.
Last night Stompin' Tom Connors thundered his way off into the sunset.
It's hard to convey the significance of both his life and his passing. Stompin' Tom was one of a kind, an authentic voice in a world of phonies, who lived an improbable life; a life so improbable that it reads like fiction, the sort of fiction a great national author might try to create in honor of his own culture.
Allow me explain, eh ...
We've all got our laundry lists of collapsing physical infrastructure that ought to be repaired or replaced through the spending of the Stimulus Trillions. (And it will be trillions eventually, even without the various handouts to the plutocrats of the financial system.) Railroads and mass transit, schools and other public buildings, bridges and highways and boat landings, national park facilities, and so on.
But there's another kind of infrastructure in which we should seriously consider investing some of that money: "Social capital". The "stuff" that cements our communities together, the network of associations that brings together the members of a community (on whatever scale) in ways that facilitate the getting done of useful things.
Related to social capital is the concept of human capital -- the aggregate skills, knowledge, and capabilities of the population. We've seen various calls for sending stimulus money towards education, but generally, those calls advocate conventional educational purposes, in particular, vocational training. But what if ...
I'm the original concern troll. Except that I'm not actually a troll -- that's a misappelation, applied by a somewhat dimwitted (and depressingly large) subset of the dKos population that doesn't seem to actually know what a concern troll is.
(Quick lesson: you're not a concern troll if you're sincere. You might be a chicken little, you might be a panicky fool, you might be many things, but you're not a troll, and it's really fucking upsetting to see that word get hurled at anybody who ever actually expresses, um, you know: concern.)
Swennyway, my concernitude goes way, way back to the days of the Reagan administration, to the crucifixion of James Watt for the Unforgivable, Horrible, Very Bad Crime of not keeping up to date on the the latest list of words unacceptable among Earnest Leftists In College.
Much has been made over the last several months about how damned good Mr. Obama looks. He looks good in the black cowboy hat. He looks good in shirtsleeves. He looks bad in the sunglasses.
Does it really matter? Occasionally, someone gets a little reactionary in here, complaining that his attractiveness is beside the point. On the flip side, most people are mostly just having fun, enjoying the candidate's essential coolness -- enjoying the opportunity to enjoy the candidate's essential coolness.
I, on the other hand, think there's more to the matter than most admit.
(This is a repost of my diary from yesterday, which went largely unnoticed. Given the theme, reposting it today has metacharm.)
What goes around, so we're told, comes around. This may be a good thing, given how short our public memory can be. If what went around did not come around, most of what has been would be lost forever. Even the good stuff.
In 1066, an exhausted, hungry army of Saxon pikemen (with some archers in support) stood on a hill and held off the assaults of the assembled mounted nobility of Normandy. The knights were essentially helpless against the 20 foot pikes that, butted against the earth, formed a thicket that could not be penetrated by the knights' horses.
At some point, the knights retreated, in some disorder. The Saxons -- who were, recall, exhausted and hungry -- lost their discipline and charged down the hill after the fleeing horsemen. The knights rallied, reversed, and brought the hammer down on the now chaotic array of foot soldiers. The victors, it has been noted, get to write the history; in this case, what they wrote was that the "retreat" was a feint, a cunning tactic to draw the Saxons off the hill. Yeah. Right. "We meant to do that." Nevermind that the Saxon king was slain not by a lancer but by an archer.