Blog 5

 The United States soccer team really needs to learn how to score goals earlier in games. These last second goals are killing me. Granted, the refereeing in this game, while much better than the last game, still left something to be desired. The refs disallowed an American goal for an offsides that wasn't, and the refs should have ejected an Algerian player for punching Dempsey in the face. FIFA is making the MLB look downright progressive by comparison. Go ahead. Read that again. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make the MLB look progressive on anything? At least when Jim Joyce missed his call in the Tigers game, he owned up to it. But not FIFA. Oh well.
     Anyways, it is ridiculously hot in DC today. And I'm voluntarily subjecting myself to this heat by playing ultimate frisbee with some folks later. I went last week and had fun. But, we were playing savage (without substitutes) the entire time, and I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. So, the running part was not fun, but the game was good.
     Last Friday I went with the director of this office to the Hill. Certain things in our office require Congressional notification and consent, so I went to see that process. The Capitol is a really nice building; they're fixing to repaint the dome, so there will be scaffolding up for a bit. 

      Over the weekend I saw a Weird Al concert with a buddy of mine. He's really great live, and he brings in material from his music videos and such. For example, he played "Fat", and he was on stage in the fat suit from the video. Great show. It was at the Warner Theater, which is small enough that there is not a bad seat. I also saw the Capitol Steps perform at the Reagan Building. I went with my girlfriend and her mom. This was after a hurried dinner at the Good Stuff Eatery, famous for their burgers (more famous for the toppings, not the size of the burgers). The Capitol Steps produce political satire through song, and it's quite hilarious. They did a great song about the don't ask/don't tell policy. There was also a song about paranoia concerning health care and Fox News (sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"). So, it was a pretty good weekend.
     On Monday my Dad was in town. In the afternoon I went with him to the offices of Tennessee's senators and representatives to speak about health care. Dad's presentation made sense. Congress has done (and in some cases not done) things that are injurious to doctors who see Medicare patients. For example, Congress almost passed a law that would have reimbursed doctors $35 for a DXA scan (scan that allows doctors to analyze a patient's bone density). But, a DXA scan costs $100 to the doctors (utilties, tech time, salaries of employees, and such). So, that would've been a huge loss. One of the things Dad spoke about presented a separation of powers issue to my way of thinking. Congress is debating passing a law that would create a 15 member board (called the IPAB) that would decide what to compensate doctors for various services for Medicare patients. Currently, Congress makes these decisions. The IPAB would remove this power from Congress. The members of IPAB would be superior officers of the United States, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Congress can overturn the decisions of the IPAB with a 2/3 majority. The Congressional review aspect is okay, I think. What I think is the legal issue here is that Congress would be turning legislative authority over to an executive board. The decisions of the IPAB are pieces of legislation that should go through the normal legislative process (bicameralism and presentment to the President). We had a case in constitutional law about this, but the name escapes me at the moment.
     On Tuesday morning I toured the Supreme Court, and that was really cool. The Supreme Court folks took the Department of State interns into areas that the public isn't ordinarily allowed to go. We got to sit in the actual courtroom and see some of the big conference rooms. I was a little disappointed that the John Marshall statue didn't include where he went to school and who he learned from (William and Mary; George Wythe, respectively). The building, itself, is really freaking impressive. It's huge, beautiful, and decorated with wonderful friezes. My only qualm with the building was that they used imported marble from Italy and Spain to construct it. The builders constructed this building at the height of the Great Depression, and it would have been nice had they used domestic materials to build it, but oh well. It was a great tour.
     In the office now I am helping with the normal work, and I have a research project that I am working on. It's legal research, so that makes me happy. There is another intern in the office who is a law student. She is about to graduate. But, the office realized that they have two interns with some legal training, so they are looking for ways to take advantage of that.
     Anyways, I should get back to work. I will leave you with this thought: some DC drivers apparently believe that the cars ahead of them can magically phase through other solid objects, like other cars or people. So, these people lay on their horns when another car can't move forward due to the presence of another solid physical object directly in front of the other car. These drivers really need to either teach everyone else this secret intangibility spell or lay off the horn.