Saturday, January 12, 2013

Seattle VA Hospital Parking Problems

It can be quite a hike from your parking spot to the hospital,
assuming that the lot isn't full
Valet parking is an important service at the Seattle VA Hospital for two reasons.
First, many of the veterans seeking care at the hospital have problems walking, but the parking lot is necessarily large. Usually when I go over there, I drive around the lot about ten minutes, finding no open spaces, and end up parking in the neighborhood. That's ok for me because my legs are just fine and I'm never there for treatment, but for others, that's a problem.
Second, there's money in the budget for this. It was put in there in response to community pressure, and there's no financial reason not to do it. There's supposed to be enough money to cover valet parking until the new parking garage is completed, which will take some years but when it's done, should solve the issue for the long run.
However, a problem has arisen. The first day of 2013, the valet parking disappeared, and there was nothing to tell people when, if ever, it was returning. Veterans called the hospital and, receiving no real answer, our congressmen and senators. Soon the valet returned and it seemed like things were on track. However today (January 11) I stopped by there for another reason, and the valets were gone.
To the Hospital's credit, the signage was a little better; it told us the day on which the valet service ended. But it didn't say why it was gone or when it was coming back.
This is a helpful sign,
But knowing when the service would return
Would be more helpful
I emailed the veteran's affair person on the staff our congressman, Jim McDermott, and he quickly replied that the hospital had contacted him and said they were having problems with the contractor. They sent out a second message late this afternoon saying "Services will begin on Wednesday, January 16, first thing in the morning." and they'd let the community know by updating their message on the facebook page. and its twitter feed. This suggests a number of things:

Seen Jan 11,2013
  • Contractor problems do happen; that's not strange. But it would be good to figure out exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Where did the contractor selection process go bad?
  • The community didn't have a good way of monitoring what was going on; maybe the community need to occasionally check up on the place's status so problems can be addessed more quickly and, failing that, information can be disseminated more rapidly. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Veterans And Friends of Puget Sound

Cyril Miller, US Army Veteran
Founder of
Veterans And Friends of Puget Sound
Veterans and Friends of Puget Sound helps veterans navigate the often confusing network of Veterans Administration and other agencies, to get the best possible service that they have earned.
We are currently focused on the Puget Sound area but have contacts throughout the nation. Our main website is; we've started this blog to keep you up-to-date with current news, of which there is a lot!
  • Are you a volunteer interested in common-sense service to those who served? Whether you're a professional, such as a doctor or a lawyer, or an American proud to provide service to a fellow citizen, your assistance is needed! 
  • Are you a veteran in need of help figuring out whether you have a service-connected problem, how to prove it, or what to do with the help offered if you get it? 
America is a nation proud to provide those who offered their bodies and minds in dangerous service. Do your part; join us by contacting Veterans and Friends of Puget Sound today at

Gene Sequencing Effort for Jay Lake

Gene Sequencing was completely impossible 10 years ago, and very expensive today. But it's available, for a price. Here's an innovative effort to raise money for one case, that of SF author Jay Lake, and perhaps in time prices will drop so it's available for all who need it.

Hit By Bus? Go For #Coffee!

I like my coffee as much as anyone, but if I get hit by a bus, I'm going to the hospital BEFORE Starbucks. Not so this man:
"A 32-year-old man who was hit by a bus Tuesday morning in downtown Seattle managed to get up and walk with a bloodied head to a nearby Starbucks for a cup of coffee.  The injured man ordered a drip coffee at the Starbucks store at Westlake Center, said morning manager Tony Farrell. But he didn't get to enjoy the brew, and instead was taken by paramedics to Harborview Medical Center, where he is recovering from his injuries,....
Of course, it happened in Seattle ... more at:
"Metro bus hits pedestrian, who heads off for coffee"

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Book Covers I've Scanned

Over the years, I've scanned over a thousand book covers into Amazon's database. It's a harmless hobby, and I like to think that I'm making my small contribution to human knowledge. However, I'm prideful as well, and would like to have a way of showing off my effort without having to direct people to Amazon's site. So far, I haven't figured out haw to do a slideshow from my catalog of Amazon images, but some of the more recent items I've put into a picasa folder here  as well as the collage above.
What can I say? This is a scrapbook!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Why Mommy is a #Democrat: Children's Book Review

If you're looking for a simple explanation of core Democratic Party values, "Why Mommy is a Democrat" by Jeremy Zilber provides it. The artwork is pleasant enough and the reading level is aimed at preschoolers or perhaps 1st graders.
I found the reviews of this book to reflect our current divisions in American politics. Democrats emphasize things such as health care and fairness, while the Republicans emphasize things such as lowers taxes and freedom to do whatever. Some reviews criticized this book for putting the Democratic Party in a positive light, but that's absurd; its purpose is to explain that Party's underlying philosophy so if you don't want to read that, don't buy this book.
Some reviewers obviously disagree with Democratic values, and politically that is their right; however, that has nothing to do with the quality (or otherwise) of this book. You would not expect a child's book on the Bible to promote anti-Christian values or a child's book on evolution to promote creationism, so why would you expect a child's book on the Democrat's to promote Republican values?
If some Republican wants to write a book "Why Mommy Is A Republican" then fine, let them (...maybe someone has.) But it's just silly to expect THIS book to be THAT book.

John Olerud: Blasphemer and Bully

Add caption
The successful campaign by former professional baseball player John Olerud to enrich himself at his neighbor's expense would be just another chapter in the sordid history of modern sports but for the additional elements of religion and law.
The facts are not in dispute:

  • Olerud bought a house
  • When Olerud bought the house, he knew that there were trees in his neighbor's yard.
  • Olerud figured he could increase the value of his house by about $250,000 if he cut down his neighbor's trees, so he'd get a better view. (He words it another way; he says the trees cut the value of his house but here's the thing: he bought the house with the trees already there, so the price already factored that into account.)
  • If Olerud had gone onto his neighbor's yard with an ax, he might have to pay to replace the trees. That tactic was attempted by a judge on the eastside a few years ago. 
  • Olerud has money and he's used to getting his way. After all, he played professional sports, and that makes him special 
  • Olerud hired a lawyer and proceeded to sue. 
  • He won, because the eastside's corrupt arbitrator system is well-designed to give bullies what they want.
  • The neighbor had a pretty strong constitutional argument, but faced huge legal bills. Also, the neighbor has now learned that he has a rich litigious bully living next door who needs to be placated, lest he take offense at something else. The neighbor gave up.
  • There was a face-saving settlement involving the replacement of the trees Olerud plans to kill with shorter trees, but to rub salt on the neighbor's wounds, the neighbor will be legally obligated to ensure that the replacement trees never interfere with Olerud's pleasure, or that of whoever Olerud sells his house to.
  • According to the "experts" Olerud hired, his house will be worth $250,000 more and the neighbor gets none of the profit. 

So far, this is just ordinary bullying, and a good example of why Olerud should never be invited to speak to schoolchildren about how sports builds good character. To the contrary; he's a good example of how our current system is corrupted by money and you really don't want to live in a neighborhood with ligitious, rich, entitled-feeling professionals. They just might decide to enrich themelves at your expense.
But the additional element of blasphemy may be of interest to those who care about such things. According to reports, Olerud and the neighbor go to the same church. It's a Christian church, so Olerud's representative decided to use that in negotiations. Olerud or his representative accused the neighbor of being unChristian in not sacrificing himself to enrich Olerud.
Yes. Jesus died to make Olerud rich.
It is blasphemous to call upon the Holy Name to bully your neighbors. I appreciate that not everyone agrees on what happens after we die, and I confess to not being at all sure myself, but I sure do wish I could see what happens when Olerud has to account for THAT little maneuver before the Final Umpire.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

4freeCLE: The Free CLE Newsletter! January 6, 2013

4freeCLE: The Free CLE Newsletter!
January 6, 2013
In This Issue
Webcast CLE
On-Demand CLE
In California
In Illinois
In Massachusetts
In Minnesota
In New York
In Ohio
In Pennsylvania
In Texas
In Wisconsin
Past Issues

Webcast CLE
Happy Tablet Holder
Webcasts Meet Where You Are!
Get ready for the new year by calendar a few free programs!
Find more webcasts at 4freeCLE's Web-Based CLE.

On-Demand CLE 
Tablet And Coffee
Earn And Learn With Free On-Demand CLE! 
Nothing beats the convenience of free, on-demand recordings for earning CLE credit. Its instructional value is amplified by your power to can view it again and again as needed!
Find more on-demand programs at 4freeCLE's List of On-Demand CLE. If you're looking for help with a particular state, contact the publisher - we can help!

Ada Yonath
Now Is A Good Time To Invest Time In CLE!
In-Person CLEs State-by-State

A great many pro bono and legal aid programs are ramping up their training opportunities, giving you the chance to learn basics or advanced topics in your practice area, while doing a bit of good for the community while earning live CLE credit. 
In addition to the usual classroom lectures on the topic, these programs typically provide you with a case to work on with the support and mentorship you need to start in new areas. This provides an ideal learning environment in addition to satisfying your desire to make a positive difference in the world.

New York
About 4freeCLE
4freeCLE is delivered weekly and will always be free!Please forward to your fellow professionals so they may benefit; if this was forwarded to you, get your own subscription for free by signing up now! 
If you are interested in providing free CLE, contact the editor and I'll be happy to help with publicity. I may also have a few ideas for making your program available more widely, based on what I've learned from reviewing more than 1000 (one thousand) free CLE offerings..