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Jim Seaver, KU Western Civilization fixture, volunteer and opera enthusiast, dies

He was a fine teacher and wonderful guy. I had him for several classes and sometimes we met at his house in Old West Lawrence. A couple of years ago, I sent him an e-mail, not having talked or seen him in decades and promptly received a lengthy handwritten response.

A few years before I had classes with him back in the early to mid '70s, my father called him up to talk about opera and he was out of the office, I think playing golf, but on hearing that someone wanted to talk about opera, he called my dad back and first thing said he couldn't wait to share experiences.
A friend here in Houston is also a friend and now I have to call him to break the news.

RIP.

Allan Brain

March 15, 2011 at 9:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FINAL: Northern Iowa shocks Kansas, 69-67

Well, in my pool bracket, I hedged on all the Big 12 teams except KU. KS to go to the final four or to choke in the second round, UT to choke in the first or to beat Kentucky, Baylor to go to the elite eight or to melt down in the sweet 16, etc.

I thought I was safe with all the pundits picking KU.

March 20, 2010 at 7:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FINAL: Northern Iowa shocks Kansas, 69-67

Well, in my pool bracket, I hedged on all the Big 12 teams except KU. KS to go to the final four or to choke in the second round, UT to choke in the first or to beat Kentucky, Baylor to go to the elite eight or to melt down in the sweet 16, etc.

I thought I was safe with all the pundits picking KU.

March 20, 2010 at 7:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FINAL: Northern Iowa shocks Kansas, 69-67

Horrible decision by Self to take out Morris and put Cole back in. Stick with what works and please try to figure out how to play slow-down teams. Remember UTEP, Bucknell, Bradley and Davidson--it's the same syndrome---now Self-inflicted.

March 20, 2010 at 6:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Documents show what it looks like when Mangino loses his temper

There's an easy solution to some of these problems: The NCAA should cap all coaches's salaries. What else can these guys do? And why not do the same for professional athletes and coaches? After all, these enterprises are subsidized by taxpayers and have de facto monopolies.

November 17, 2009 at 11:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should there be limits placed on how much a patient can sue for in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Malpractice is usually not noticed or discovered. But the focus is not on trying to stop it by disqualifying doctors or training better or closing lousy hospitals, but on limiting the compensation for victims. That increases costs of litigation because there is no incentive to settle if the worst that can happen is some "cap".

It's why drs today, even OB/GYN drs, have less insurance coverage than you have.

I have done malpractice cases for over 20 yrs. Consider:

1. 30 y/o woman w/ abnormal pap smear misread by pathologist but still reported to OB/GYN abnormal. No one tells patient; no follow-up. 2 years later she has invasive cancer and has radiation, loses the ability to have children, and permanent hormonal treatment to preserve feminine traits--and worry about recurrence. Astronomical medical bills.

2. 14y/o girl sent home from school Friday p.m, taken to dr. (flu season). Symptoms serious; dr. mentions possible meningitis, lumbar puncture (LP) to rule out potentially fatal condition, but doesn't think she has that so no LP. She dies two days later of meningitis. Dr. thought you do test when you think she has meningitis, not when you think she MIGHT have meningitis.

3. 23 y/o African-American man has several episodes of pneumonia; PCP blood test shows congenital immunodeficiency disorder related to sickle cell disease. He does not have full-scale disease, but spleen has been destroyed; needs a regimen of immunizations and simple measures to prevent catastrophic injuries or death. No one reports test results. He has another episode of pneumonia leading to sepsis 2 years later, amputations of both legs, all fingers, and a million dollars in bills. Condition diagnosed when he was an infant but not reported. 20 yrs later, again, mistake repeated.

4. African-American client, woman with digestive distress and pain, approved for endoscopy, no one ever told her what she should do other than to get a stress test for cardiac problems. She died of stomach cancer a few years later, after delay in diagnosis.

5. Middle-aged patient w/ back problems goes in for decompression of stenosis in the thoracic spine. Has three surgeries in 1 day because 1st was at wrong level, caused trauma to other levels. 2 other surgeries made matters worse. He walked into hospital--with some difficulty, has not walked since.

6. 39 year old woman married to high school sweetheart had hysterectomy and complications, a rectal-vaginal fistula. To correct, she has temporary colostomy. In attempt to restore normal function, complication recurs, surgeon removes most of colon, need for permanent colostomy. No reason to have done the removal of the colon, according to experts trying to fix and can't be fixed.

Just a few cases of malpractice and catastrophic injuries I have handled. Did they happen in some backwater city? No. Four of the above cases occurred in the celebrated Texas Medical Center in Houston.

October 25, 2009 at 6:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

It’s time to change NBA Draft rule

Well, since the NBA is more or less a government-sponsored monopoly, like the major leagues in other sports, why not require that the players have college degrees? I'm serious.

June 21, 2009 at 4:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Iowa legalizes gay marriage

Thirty-five years ago, I was studying church history at KU. We had a professor who was also a minister. At the same time, I was also studying ancient history and researching in particular the Dead Sea Scrolls. The so-called "Teacher" in the scrolls was remarkably similar to the Jesus of the New Testament. So one day I asked our professor just how these various books of the Old and New Testament came to be written, a rather obvious question that most Christians have apparently never contemplated.

The answer of course is that they were written much in the way that the Greek myths were written. There was an oral tradition and eventually the stories were written down. Those that were the most entertaining and effective found their way into Scripture.

Much of the Old Testament reflects the culture of a desert tribe that is very concerned about survival and procreation. That's where a lot of the garbage came from.

And it is garbage. I am not suggesting that it be eliminated, just understood for what it is--the superstitions of a primitive culture trying to understand and to explain life's mysteries, stuff like sex and death.

Some of the very few admonitions against homosexuality in the New Testament reflect the local concerns that the culture of Greece was taking over, the so-called "Hellenistic" period in the Mediterranean after the conquests of Alexander the Great, much of it, including a fair amount of homosexual conduct, adopted also by the Romans.

Too bad we don't teach Homer to children. Kids might grow up admiring the love of Achilles and Petroclus.

Then again, if you just re-focus your attention to the Bible, there are David and Jonathan. And let's not forget "the disciple that Jesus loved". I mean, it's not like He had a regular girlfriend....

It's really a shame that two of the world's most prominent religions rely on a handful of poorly written and inconsistent admonitions from centuries ago to guide the conduct of their followers today.

April 6, 2009 at 5:18 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Iowa legalizes gay marriage

Bravo to the Iowa Supreme Court for a very tight decision that is likely to lead to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that even amendments to state constitutions are unconsitutional. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court decided over forty years ago that marriage is a "fundamental right". Accordingly, to deny that right to a class of people (in that case interracial couples) requires the state to show a "compelling state interest".

Colorado could not do that in Romer v. Evans, a U.S. Supreme Court decision of several years ago that found a Colorado constitutional amendment prohibiting anti-discrimination laws to be unconstitutional under the "equal protection" clause. The state offered the same kind of lame and flimsy excuses the Iowa County offered in this case.

By the way, marriage is a civil institution. Believe it or not, you are married the minute you get your license. The minister and especially the musicians and photographer are just there to make money. The guests are there to complain afterwards about how the ceremony was botched, the food at the reception was bad, there was no open bar or if there was it wasn't open long enough, and the bride was fat or the groom is a jerk and the bride could have done better....

This is also a huge economic boost for Iowa.

One of my childhood friends from California got married to his boyfriend a few months before Proposition 8. His whole family was there and by all accounts it was a wonderful ceremony. They have been together for years. Just how the hell does that threaten anybody else's relationship?

The reality is that these idiots, especially the crazy so-called "Christians" who are obsessed with this issue, are afraid that if same-sex marriage is allowed by society, that sends a message to thier little "Johnny" that if he likes boys, it's ok, he's still one of God's children. And what the hell is wrong with that? Jesus said nothing, NOTHING, about homosexuality.

These so-called "Christians" who oppose rights for homosexuals are exactly like the Islamic nut cases who pervert the message of Islam, and they seize upon exactly the same kind of cryptic stuff in the Bible to persecute and hate homosexuals that the Islamic nut cases seize on to pursue Jihadism and hate.

April 5, 2009 at 5:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Down go the champs

Self goofed up by playing Morningstar and Reed too much. They were tentative and totally ineffective. Matters were not helped by the refs. They called one foul for every three committed by the Spartans. Suton should have been out early in the second half, but Aldrich missed the perfect chance to get number 4 on him, the turning point of the game when he threw it away under the basket. Suton still got away with at least three uncalled fouls. What an ugly player!

March 28, 2009 at 12:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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