Monday, October 31, 2005

Libby Indictment

After cogitating on it over the weekend in between successfully rooting for Georgia Tech to win and the University of Georgia to lose, I have decided the indictment of Libby is pretty thin gruel. It looks to me the matter comes down to Libby saying he learned Valerie Plame's occupation from reporters and the prosecutor saying he learned it from Cheney or some other place and therefore was lying to the FBI and to the Grand Jury. Since nobody was indicted for outing her, and she apparently wasn't outed, it escapes me what difference it makes. Until someone shows me Libby had some dark ulterior motive to lie and mislead the investigators, no crime was committed in my view.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Excess Profits

There is talk now in Congress, even among Republicans, about how the oil companies are making too much money and we should somehow make them give some of it back in the form of excess profits taxes. I don't like paying over $0.69/gallon, but maybe we should get all the facts before jumping on the "give us our money back" bandwagon. Consider this fact from the Tax Foundation.

Federal and state taxes on gasoline production and imports have been climbing steadily since the late 1970s and now total roughly $58.4 billion. Due in part to substantial hikes in the federal gasoline excise tax in 1983, 1990, and 1993, annual tax revenues have continued to grow. Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period:

Read about it here.

An interesting interview

Bill Roggio who blogs at The Fourth Rail had an interesting interview with a Col. Davis in Iraq. Here is an exerpt:

Bill: What is the greatest threat to U.S. Marines and soldiers patrolling in the region?

Col Davis: The greatest threat by far is the IEDs (improvised explosive devices), VBIEDs (vehicle borne IEDs), SVBIED (suicide VBIEDs). This is the insurgent's most deadly weapon. It has been rewarding to watch the proficiency develop in the Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen serving out here to detect and disable these weapons. During Operation River gate, we encountered an average of four dozen IEDS a day during the course of a ten day period and 90-95% of these weapons were disabled or destroyed before they could be detonated.

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bush's Failing??

I saw a run-down today of Bush's problems, and they are many, but one I am having a hard time with. I can see the immigration failure, the spending excesses, the idiotic nomination of Harriet Meirs, the imposition of the Davis-Bacon act in reconstruction of the hurricane damage, and others, but I am really not sure he deserves credit or blame for the out-of-wedlock births which are being laid at the feet of the Bush administration. Example of the problem is given below.

A record number of babies — nearly 1.5 million — were born to unmarried women in the U.S. last year. And those moms were more likely to be 20-somethings than teenagers, according to new federal data released Friday.

"This is not a teenage issue," says Stephanie Ventura,. a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics. "Women in their 20s are accounting for a huge percentage of these births."

The data show that 35.7% of all births were to unmarried women. Births last year to both married and unwed mothers totalled more than 4 million.

By age group, almost 55% of the births for mothers ages 20-24 were to unmarried women. For those between 25-29, almost 28% of the births were to single women.

Global Warming Shrinking Arctic Ice??

The New York Times appeared to try a new tactic in its campaign to convince the public that global warming is real. But don’t let the Times’ Oct. 10 report on the economic upside of Arctic melting confuse you -- there still isn’t any evidence that human activity is melting the polar regions.

This is the lead-in to an analysis of a recent article in the Times which seems to suggest that global warming is so awful that it is increasing the possibility that it could open up our ability to reach precious oil and energy reservoirs in that region. It seems hard to believe the Times is advocating global warming is good in any manner, but a look at the science suggests that global warming has nothing to do with any good fortune presenting itself. Read the article here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Brain Imbalance

I am listening to the press conference where the liberal press such as Terry Moran of ABC tries to get Fitzgerald to say something which would allow them to run off and slime Rove or Cheney. He is so much smarter than they are, it is just comical. It reminds me of the Senators asking John Roberts constitutional questions during his confirmation. And these people think they have a chance to reach their liberal objective.

Coburn strikes again

I just read in instapundit about an exchange between Senator Coburn and Senator Specter about funding for CDC. Coburn is a physician and submitted an amendment to a bill which would take $60 million from an authorization bill and spend it on AIDS drugs instead of a Japanese garden for the CDC facility. This would have been enough money to buy drugs for everyone in the U.S. now waiting on funds to treat their disease. You must use the past tense since the amendment was rejected by the senate on a vote of 85 to 15. Specter tried to deny there were funds in the bill for a garden, but his aids had to admit that there were funds for this purpose. Read the whole thing here. I bet they just hate Coburn in the Senate and from what I understand, Coburn couldn't possibly care less which must also drive the business as usual politicians crazy.


It is early in the day and the big news regarding the Fitzgerald decision regarding Rove and Libby has not come out and Bush has not announced how he will handle his mulligan on the idiotic Meirs nomination. My thoughts are leaning toward Rove escaping and Bush's relief leading to a more principled choice such as Mike McConnell. Since I was so prescient in predicting the Meirs withdrawal, I am going to let my hubris loose to see how long it takes for me to foreswear such predictions.

Where is the outrage at these statements?

WASHINGTON – A radical animal rights activist shocked members of the U.S. Senate this week by advocating the murder of those conducting medical research.

Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that killing medical researchers was "morally justified" to save laboratory animals.

Vlasak compared the life of lab animals to African American slaves and the Jewish victims of Nazi concentration camps.

He made his comments while defending a similar statement, made to the news media last year: "I don't think you'd have to kill – assassinate – too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Meirs Hearings Not Necessary

Ann Coulter says we don't need any hearings by the Judiciary Committee for Harriet Meirs. Here is the way she put it:

"In fact, the only two people who will derive any benefit from the hearings are Joe Biden, who will finally look like a constitutional scholar, and Harriet Miers, who might learn something about the Constitution from him."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tony Blankley advise to Bush

Conservatives are about ready to leave the reservation in droves and Newt's former right-hand man offers some very good advice to GWB and I sure hope he takes it to heart (assuming someone shows it to him). You can read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pretty accurate description of the left

One of the more appealing aspects about being on the Left is that you do not necessarily have to engage your opponents in debates over the truth or falsehood of their positions. You can simply dismiss your opponent as "anti."

Anti-worker: It all began with Marxism. If you opposed communism or socialism, you were not merely anti-communist or anti-socialist, you were anti-worker. This way of dismissing opponents of leftist ideas is now the norm. Anyone, including a Democrat, who raises objections to union control of state and local politics is labeled anti-worker: "anti-teacher," "anti-firefighter," "anti-nurse," etc. This is how the unions are fighting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to rein in unauthorized union spending of members' dues to advance leftist political goals. He is depicted as an enemy of all these groups.

Anti-education: Those who object to the monopoly that teachers' unions have on public education and to their politicization of the school curricula are labeled "anti-education." Of course, the irony is that if you love education, you must oppose the teachers' unions.

Read it all here. Written by Dennis Prager.

Monday, October 24, 2005

English Language Problems

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on
our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for
instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are
married with each other for that purpose.

In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests
of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be
used for this purpose.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have
children in the bar.

On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red
beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck
let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

Follow-up on the Coburn Amendment

Last week my favorite Senator, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, introduced an amendment which would have moved some highway money ($220 million) from a go-nowhere town to a virtually uninhabited island in Alaska. The money would go instead to Louisiana where a bridge on I-10 was destroyed by hurricane Katrina. As expected, the amendment was defeated by a vote of 85 to 15 and the honorable senators and lone congressman from that fair state went bonkers. Here is follow-up from the Washington Post.

My favorite part is the response from Don Young, Alaska's Congressman. The residents of Alaska were writing the paper in support of giving up their bridge to help Louisiana. When asked by a reporter what he thought of his constituents reaction, he said "They can kiss my ear! That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

Look for this story in the New York Times

Assem Jihad, spokesman for the Iraqi oil ministry, confirmed that Iraqi oil revenues reached a record of 2.6 billion dollars in September. He noted, "This [amount] is the highest in the history of Iraq, since it started exporting oil during the first half of last century."

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Matt Duffy introduced me today to the fact that there is such a thing as a lipogram. The most famous is Gadsby, "A Story of Over 50,000 Words", written by Ernest Vincent Wright, which, except for the introduction and a note at the end, did not use the letter e. Every word was properly spelled and all narration was grammatically correct. However, the stress of writing such a novel was apparently too much for Wright, who died at the age of 66 on the day Gadsby was published.

In order to avoid Wright's fate, I plan to limit my lipogram constructs to ones which avoid the use of the letter Z or X or maybe even a Q. However, this blog is a lipogram of some note since I avoided the use of my middle initial.


Matt Duffy introduced me today to the fact that there is such a thing as a lipogram. The most famous is Gadsby, "A Story of Over 50,000 Words", written by Ernest Vincent Wright, which, except for the introduction and a note at the end, did not use the letter e. Every word was properly spelled and all narration was grammatically correct. However, the stress of writing such a novel was apparently too much for Wright, who died at the age of 66 on the day Gadsby was published.

In order to avoid Wright's fate, I plan to limit my lipogram constructs to ones which avoid the use of the letter Z or X or maybe even a Q. However, this blog is a lipogram of some note since I avoided the use of my middle initial.

5 year old establishes a religion

Some times you just can't believe how pernicious our courts and schools have become, but this story goes a long way to illustrate the problem. In 1999 a 5 year old kindergarten student submitted an environmental poster with a kneeling semblance of Jesus incorporated. The school objected and folded his poster so Jesus could not be displayed since it violated the separation of church and state. When the matter reached the courts, the case went all over the lot.

First it was stated the school acted correctly to censor the poster. A second court affirmed that. Now an Appeals Court ruled that the student's constitutional rights may have been violated and asked the lower court to reconsider. The matter should eventually wind up in the Supreme Court and I can't wait to learn whether a 5 year old kid can establish a religion with a protect- the - environment poster which includes a picture of Jesus.

Read more about it here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mahmoud Abbas

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial on the Abbas situation in capsule form. Here is a sample:

Talk to Palestinians, and you will often hear it said, like a mantra, that Palestinian dignity requires Palestinian statehood. This is either a conceit or a lie. Should a Palestinian state ever come into existence in Gaza and the West Bank, it will be a small place, mostly poor, culturally marginal, most of it desert, rock, slums and dust. One can well understand why Arafat, a man of terrible vices but impressive vanities, spurned the offer of it--and why his people cheered wildly when he did. Their dignity has always rested upon their violence, their struggle, their "prisoners of freedom."

For Mr. Abbas, the problem is that statehood and dignity are not a package. They are a choice. And if history is any guide, the choice he must make is not one he is likely to survive.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Washington Blade

I had never heard of this paper before, but I have seen several blogs tonight referring to an article which evidently is calling for Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster, and Shepherd Smith of Fox News to come out of the closet. I guess this is more important to some than it is to me.

Makes sense to me

Scott Ott reports that Harriet Meirs has told Senators with whom she has met that she will not answer questions about Roe vs. Wade since it would breech her right to privacy.

Harriet Meirs solution

GOP senators have to go to the White House. It is understandable that Republican senators want to be loyal to an embattled administration. But what the president needs most right now is friends, friends who will do him the service of telling him the truth, even when it’s inconvenient. Bush's stubbornness and willingness to stick by associates can be valuable qualities, but not when they prevent him from realizing a mistake or seeing what an awful position he has put his loyal White House counsel in.

Mark Steyn nails abortion

...when you set aside moral objections to abortion, the utilitarian approach is a question of balance. Abortion doesn’t fall on all fetuses equally. In China and other Asian cultures, it lowers the pool of girl babies, resulting in very disproportionately male societies. Thus, “a woman’s right to choose” leaves you with a lot fewer women to choose from. Even in America, not all women exercise their right to choose equally: The abortion rate for black women is four times higher than that for white women. “A woman’s right to choose” has become, like so many other “progressive” causes, an issue in which one’s enthusiasm for it is inversely proportional to one’s engagement with it. For middle-class female Democrats, “a woman’s right to choose” is like “Free Tibet”: a bumper sticker that appropriates some other crowd’s problem for the purposes of advertising your moral superiority.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Senator Coburn's amendment

This should a lot of fun. Senator Coburn of Oklahoma, birthstate of this humble blogger, is a delightful gadfly and that is why he was opposed by his own Republican party when he ran for the office. Now he has won and will be there for 6 years. Here is his latest ploy. The highway bill recently signed into law has thousands of pork projects includes a particularly egregious Alaska bridge which goes "nowhere". Coburn has proposed that we take that money and repair a bridge destroyed by hurricane Katrina down in Louisiana. As one might expect, the Senators do not want to vote on this because a NO vote would be very difficult to explain if you aren't from Alaska. Here is the Club for Growth's message to its members urging them to support Coburn and making the point that we could buy each person on one end of the bridge his or her own jet plane for the same money as the cost of the bridge.

October 19, 2005

The Club for Growth, with its 32,000 members, plans to score a “YES” vote as a pro-economic growth vote in its annual rating of Congress on Coburn Amendment #2085 to the Senate’s Treasury, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill (HR 3058).

This amendment will transfer funding from the wasteful pork project, the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, to the repair and reconstruction of the “Twin Spans” bridge in Louisiana. According to published reports, the Alaskan pork project costs $220 million for a 5.9-mile bridge connecting Gravina Island (population 50) to the Alaskan mainland. The cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident his own personal Lear jet.

Today's Powerball Lottery

I went out and bought tickets to the Powerball lottery this morning. As someone smarter than me once said, the lottery is a tax on stupidity. That is the case when the prize is much less than the odds against winning it. The Powerball today is not in that category. The payoff on the lottery is much greater than the the odds against you. The odds against you is 1 in 146 million and the payoff is $340 million. This is called a positive Expected Value (EV). So even after you pay 1/2 in taxes, you have a 179 to 146 positive EV. So, my lottery ticket purchase was stupid, but not as stupid as it would ordinarily be.

Another left wing judge strikes

From Neal Boortz.

Anew law in Georgia that requires Georgia voters to show a government-issued picture ID when they show up to vote. U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy has temporarily blocked enforcement of the law. He says the law is an unconstitutional poll tax. He also says it will not combat voter fraud. For voters without driver's licenses, the state was going to issue free picture IDs. Free .. that means no cost. Still, the judge calls it a poll tax. You don't pay any money, but it's a tax.

Look. This is all very simple. Why did Democrats oppose the law in the first place? Because Democrats want people who are not legally entitled to cast votes to go to the polls on election day. Democrats know full well that illegal aliens, felons, non-citizens and others not qualified to vote are far more likely to vote for Democrats than for Republicans. In several states there are proposals to allow non-citizens, and in some cases illegal aliens, to vote in local elections, and in every case those proposals are being put forward by Democrats. Democrats believe that their political survival might well depend on their ability to generate illegal votes on election day. They have a huge ally in Judge Harold Murphy.

Personal Hygiene

There are articles in the paper lately which address concerns by some of my fellow Microbiologists that the wide-spread use of soaps which contain antibacterial agents may lose their effectiveness over time. For decades now I have warned in lectures and various publications about the overuse of antibiotics and these warnings have been shown to be valid in that resistance to nearly all antibiotics is showing up in various infections. My concern with soaps is not great. For one reason, most people get most of the handwashing benefit from the physical action of the soap itself and don't wash long enough to get much added benefit from whatever is included in the soap which mainly enhances its sales. Resistance is not a big factor when we don't rely on the agent to any great extent in the first place.

A more interesting article you see now and then is one in which someone posts themselves in a public restroom and keeps tabs on how many of each sex washes after using the facilities. I have a brother-in-law who not only washes, but uses a paper towel to open the door to minimize touching an inanimate object which might have fecal contamination left by others who did not wash. That is all fairly harmless, I guess. What I would like to see is a documentation of what the hands contact after using the bathroom facilities and before one reaches the hand washing facilities. If more people like my brother-in-law thought about that, it would be fun to watch them make it to the wash basin with their pants around their ankles.

Now I get it.

It is amazing what you can run across on the internet. Below is a summary of a charge by some loony group that Jews who practice a strange ritual whereby a chicken is waved 7 times over the head of a person in preparation for Yom Kippur are responsible for bird flu and other catastrophies.

A representative of a shadowy group calling itself the Chicken Liberation Organization has accused orthodox Jews of responsibility for the aviary flu, which experts believe may become a global pandemic threatening the lives of millions.

The CLO representative, C. Little, has warned that any outbreak of the disease will be the direct result of what he called Jewish responsibility for "atmospheric lowering," a little-understood phenomenon by which the sky appears to be falling, causing migratory birds to descend precipitously and collide with stationary objects, greatly increasing the risk of a 9/11 style crash into skyscrapers and resulting infection of the people inside.

An allied group representing oppressed turkeys, T. Lurkey, supported Little's claims, and said that the Jewish role in the celestial descent was unquestionable. "For years, these people have been spinning chickens around their heads in some reactionary ritual, in the vain hope that doing so would somehow expiate their sins. But in so doing they have created a far greater sin."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Roosting Chickens

The furor over the Meirs nomination represents a reaction by conservatives to 5 years of Bush deviations from first principals. Here they are in no particular order:
  • Throwing in with Ted Kennedy to create an education bill which was not only expensive but it did not achieve meaningful reform and broadened the feds deeper reach into what should be local activity.
  • Imposition of steel tariffs which never have worked and had to be rescinded--all to curry favor with the labor unions which will never support Republicans.
  • Campaigned against the McCain-Feingold finance bill as unconstitutional and then signed it.
  • Has no interest in protecting our borders against illegal immigrants.
  • Pushed an expansion of Medicare to provide a drug benefit which will eventually have to be cut and will also cause taxes to rise.
  • Bush has also allowed the congressional authorization of spending to rise faster than the democrats ever would.
  • Most conservatives were highly energized by Bush's response to 9/11 and backed him enthusiastically when he advance his doctrine that any country which supported terrorists would be treated as if they were terrorists themselves. Our response to Saudia Arabia, Iran, and Syria suggest that was all so much hot air.
Harriet Meirs is the last straw for the conservatives and when Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, and even your humble blogger turn on him, he is in deep trouble with his base.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Agree with this

As a medical researcher, I want to make a gentle but sincere plea to the blogosphere to calm down this flu hysteria just a bit. The main way that flu kills is by predisposing its victims to "superinfection" by bacterial illnesses - in 1918, we had no antibiotics for these superimposed infections, but now we have plenty. Such superinfections, and the transmittal of flu itself, were aided tremendously by the crowded conditions and poor sanitation of the early 20th century - these are currently vastly improved as well. Flu hits the elderly the hardest, but the "elderly" today are healthier, stronger, and better nourished than ever before. Our medical infrastructure is vastly better off, ranging from simple things like oxygen and sterile i.v. fluids, not readily available in 1918, to complex technologies such as respirators and dialysis. Should we be concerned? Sure, better safe than sorry, and concerns about publishing the sequence are worth discussing. Should we panic? No - my apologies to the fearmongers, but we will never see another 1918.

Patrick Cunningham M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Section of Nephrology
University of Chicago

I might add that some panic by the politicians is worthwhile if it leads to laws which diminish the ability of trial lawyers to thwart the development and use of vaccines for infectious disease like influenza. Dr. Cunningham is also misusing the term "superinfection". He is referring to what are more correctly called "secondary infections".

Bush still falling short

In an effort to boost his mediocre SCOTUS nominee this morning, Bush brought in some old men who were once on the Texas Supreme Court to vouch for Harriet Meirs. "She's a thinking person" one former Texas supreme-court justice declared.
Is that related to damning with faint praise? This is going to be awful.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

This will help Hillary

Sen. Edward Kennedy said Wednesday that Sen. John Kerry has his backing for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 -- even if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also runs.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gore doesn't love us anymore

Al Gore went to Sweden and delivered the speech reported here. This is the latest of anti-American screeds from this supposedly mainstream Democrat. Let's all listen carefully to see which of the dems rejects this pitiful nonsense.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not again! More bad science.

In August, Bill Lockyer, the Attorney General of California, filed suit against McDonald’s, Burger King, Frito-Lay and six other food companies, saying they should be forced to put warning labels on all fries and chips sold in California that say something like: “This product contains a chemical known by the state of California to cause cancer.”
The state “knows” no such thing. Lockyer’s position is based on the stuff-the-mouse-till-it-explodes school of science. The labeling of acrylamide as a “probable human carcinogen,” according to Joseph
Levitt, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, is based on studies where rats were fed a daily dose of 500 micrograms per kilogram of body weight over their life span.
In human terms, the average adult, who weighs more than 75 kilograms, would have to consume 195 pounds of French fries, 142 pounds of graham crackers or 5,350 one-ounce servings (333 pounds) of Cheerios every day for his or her entire life to approach the lowest level of risk observed in laboratory rats.
While acrylamide increases with high temperature cooking and canning, it also forms in uncooked foods and even at room temperature during storage. It’s not something put there by greedy corporations. The FDA’s Total Diet Study survey has found acrylamide in 40% of the food we eat.

The highest concentrations found are in black olives, graham crackers, smoked almonds, cocoa powder, coffee, onion soup, chips, whole-grain cereals and breads, stone-ground sesame and rye crackers, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, baked goods, mixed vegetables, chile, sunflower seeds and even prune juice. Lockyer needs a healthy dose of the latter to cure what seems to ail him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Delphi Dilemma

I am following the recent decision of Delphi to declare bankrupcy with interest because it has ramifications for all of us. This company was spun off by GM about 9 years ago and many of the employees were originally with GM and as a result made United Auto Workers wages. This would have been fine if the auto industry had kept going well for GM which used Delphi to supply its auto parts, but Japan cars were there to prevent that. Delphi retirees were the beneficiaries of previous union negotiations which GM capitulated on and provided defined benefits which said that the company would pay the retired workers an amount based on their years of service for life with cost of living increases. Defined benefit retirement is great if the source of the retirement check is growing and financially stable. This does not describe either GM or Delphi right now. So, Delphi has now declared bankrupcy and given the union a choice. They can capitulate and accept massive layoffs of the current work-force along with 60% wage cuts for those remaining or a renege on the retirement package of the retirees. Delphi workers now average $25/hour which is really $65 when benefits are factored in. That is way above the prevailing rate worldwide. So, what we will be seeing is a prelude to the choice the government faces when it finally decides to face up to the generational conflict which will arise when it addresses the Social Security and Medicare demographic problems. We will either make the old folks take less or the young workers pay a lot more--or more likely, both. If you are a Delphi worker or retiree, you are in serious doo-doo right now and the rest of us are following along rather quickly.

As far as retirement plans go, most companies have now moved to what is known as defined contribution plans where the workers pay into an account and when they retire, they get the money and are responsible for providing for their own retirement. This places more of an onus on the worker, but it has a really great advantage in that nobody can take it away later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Surely the Republicans aren't this lucky!!

From the U.S. News and World Report:

They See Al Gore by a Nose in 2008
Is Al Gore coming back? If allies we talked to have their way, the former veep will be the next president. "It's Gore Time," says a political strategist and fundraiser who is opening a bid to get Gore into the race. Gore friends see his recent political and business moves as proof he's preparing to run. Allies say that in speeches, Gore has found his voice to address domestic and world issues. And in raising money for his Current TV network, which targets the critical youth market, Big Al has built an issue base and donor network that's competitive with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton 's. Our source--a top aide in the previous Bush administration--is planning meetings with Gore's team to push an early entry while Clinton runs for re-election in New York. It doesn't end there: The Gorebots want him to pick Sen. Barack Obama, the youthful Illinois African-American, as his No. 2.

A stealth name change

Teresa has reverted to her more comfortable name. She is once again Teresa Heinz. Who can blame her?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Harriet Meirs

I have decided Miss Meirs should not be confirmed. Furthermore., I don't think she will be. A fairly good analysis of the reasons can be found here.

Pakistan Earthquake

Has anyone checked Osama's cave to be sure he is O.K.?


A large auto parts supplier declared bankrupcy today. Delphi is one of the nations's largest and joins a growing list of bankrupt companies. The reasons why so many companies are taking this route make a lot of sense. First, if they have labor contracts negotiated when times were better, they can restructure them on more favorable terms. They can restruct debt on better terms. They can downsize the existing work force. Finally, they can turn over their pension liabilities to the federal government and let you and me pay it. We won't completely replace the retired worker retirement income which was pledged in the working years, so the workers will have less and we will have less because there are so many companies realizing how easy this is that our federal obligation will go through the roof and the money has to come from somewhere.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

George Will hits the nail

I have been somewhat ambivalent on the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court in that there are reasons to be upset and other reasons to be semi-supportive. In the press conference yesterday, President Bush asked us to trust him since he had seen into her soul like he did with Putin and all that crap. I suspect he was wrong about Putin and this made me suspicious about his soul-peeking with Harriet. The conflict was broken for me today when I read that George Will made his usual cogent observation on the subject.

"Bush "forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution" by calling McCain-Feingold unconstitutional back in 2000, then signing it into law. "

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oklahoma coverup???

That guy who blew himself up outside the stadium at O.U. last weekend has raised suspicions about the report the guy was "ill". He evidently had a lot more explosives at his house than a mentally ill suicidal student would require. You can read about it here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

From Dad to the Nobel Prize

I learned today that two Australian scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery back in the 1980's that a bacterium by the name of Helicobacterium pylori was the cause of duodenal and gastric ulcers rather than stress and excessive gastric acidity as previously thought. I always enjoyed lecturing on that to medical students back then because it was controversial for some years. I was also always a bit struck by the irony that my own Dad died of complications from duodenal ulcer surgery complications in 1958 that could have been cured by a week's worth of antibiotics.
Timing is everything they say.

Bush's Supreme Court Pick

Harriet Miers seems to be a bigger hit with liberals everyone expected to oppose her than with the conservatives who are dissappointed with her. My own theory about such things is in these appointments and in elections we almost always get what we didn't think we would get. I could give a lot of examples going all the way back to LBJ who promised to get us out of Viet Nam. Bush has turned out to be more compassionate than conservative and it could be Roberts will be the disappointment and Meirs will be the next Scalia. In any event, it seems way too soon to get all excited. Eisenhower was surprised by Earl Warren, Bush the elder was surprised by Souter and thus it will always be, I suspect.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

This is so good it makes me hurt!

This seems to be my day for media blogs. If so inclined, however, I suspect I could spend all my efforts in that direction. I am restrained by the fact that there are people out there like Mark Steyn who write so well it makes me hurt. Here is an example from today's article in the Chicago Sun Times.

Most of the media are still in Dan mode, sucking up their guts and congratulating themselves about what a swell job they did during Katrina. CNN producers were advising their guests to "be angry," and there was so much to get angry about, not least the fact that no matter how angry you got on air Anderson Cooper was always much better at it. And Mayor Nagin as well. To show he was angry, he said "frickin'" all the frickin' time so that by the end of a typical Nagin soundbite you felt as if you'd been gang-fricked. "That frickin' Superdome," he raged. "Five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people."

But nobody got killed by a hooligan in the Superdome. The problem wasn't rape and murder, but the rather more prosaic lack of bathroom facilities. As Ben Stein put it, it was the media that rioted. They grabbed every lurid rumor and took it for a wild joyride across prime time. There was a real story in there -- big hurricane, people dead -- but it wasn't enough, and certainly not for damaging President Bush.

Think about that: Hurricane week was in large part a week of drivel, mostly the bizarre fantasies of New Orleans' incompetent police chief but amplified hugely by a gullible media. Given everything we now know they got wrong in Louisiana, where they speak the language, how likely is it that the great blundering herd are getting it any more accurate in Iraq?

New York Times

I don't understand why I am still surprised by crap I read in the main stream media such as the NYT, but I was again this morning when I opened their web site. The first story dealt with the fact that prisoners serving life terms were dying in prison. Duh. The article itself gave an example of a cold-blooded killer who was still in prison despite having gotten a high school diploma while in prison. The article is here if you can read it without sobbing in sympathy for the poor mistreated inmates.

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