Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some are not happy with the Democrats

If you think the crazies on the left have resigned themselves to Alito's confirmation, the following, which is just a sample on the liberal web sites, should disabuse you of that notion.

NOT A PENNY FOR THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AND FURTHERMORE, I'LL NOT SACRIFICE ONE SECOND OF MY LIFE TO HELP THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNTIL THE TRAITORS ARE EXPELLED FROM OUR MIST.

Why? You ask.

Because they have committed an extremely egregious injury against this country's constitution and the people that it protects. I've lived my life under the belief that "An injury to one is an injury to all" When somebody harms my sisters and brothers, I take it VERY PERSONAL.

EXPEL THE TRAITORS FROM OUR PARTY, OR YOU GUYS ARE ON YOUR OWN!.

This sounds like a good idea

Two companies are going to explore the possibility of using high altitude balloons for cell phone connections instead of towers. These would be especially useful in areas which are not widely populated like the Dakotas. In theory a single balloon would take the place of hundreds of towers.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Latest Political Tactic may not catch on

I am almost sure this will not catch on with most of our politicians--especially those emulating Bill Clinton.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi has promised Italians he would lower taxes and raise pensions. His latest campaign pledge is rather personal: no sex until April 9 elections, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.

Il Giornale, a conservative Milan daily owned by Paolo Berlusconi, the premier's brother, reported that the no-sex vow was made during a campaign rally in Cagliari, Sardinia, on Saturday with a popular TV preacher on the island and his followers.

We have been needing this

The following is from a blog published in Iraq that I read almost daily.

The Anbar tribes’ campaign to rid the province of Zarqawi’s terror organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq is in its 2nd day and so far, 270 Arab and foreign intruders have been arrested.
[…]
Usama Jad’aan, the leader of Karabila tribes in Qaim told al-Hayat that “the operation will continue to eliminate terror elements according to a quality plan” and added “270 Arab and foreign intruders have been arrested, in addition to some Iraqis who were providing them shelter”.

Sheikh Jad’aan added “the operation is conducted in coordination between the tribes and the minister of defense Sa’doun al-Dulaimi and since we arrested hundreds of terrorists, I don’t expect the operation to take a lot of time”.

This sounds promising

MSCRAMM® is an acronym for Microbial Surface Components Recognizing Adhesive Matrix Molecules. These proteins are located on the surface of pathogenic organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, and play a prominent role in the process of infection. These proteins enable organisms to initiate and maintain an infection by adhering to specific sites on human tissue or implanted medical devices. Veronate is an antibody-based product designed to bind to specific MSCRAMM® proteins, thereby preventing infections or reducing their severity.

First, by binding to the MSCRAMM® proteins, these antibodies inhibit or block the invading organism from attaching to tissue or implanted or in-dwelling medical devices. Second, these antibodies coat the invading organism, identifying it for clearance by other cellular components of the immune system.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2001 there were approximately 43,000 VLBW infants weighing less than 1,250 grams at birth. These infants are particularly susceptible to hospital-associated infections. Various studies indicate that 30% to 50% of these VLBW infants will develop at least one hospital-associated infection during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The average length of stay in the NICU for these infants is approximately two months.

Not only do hospital-associated infections impact an infants health and development, but the cost to treat infections is significant. VLBW infants that develop a hospital-associated infection stay, on average, 20 additional days in the NICU when compared to those that do not acquire an infection. Also, recent studies suggest that infants who aquire such an infection may suffer long term neurological impairment

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Hamas Victory

The victory of Hamas in the Middle East region is evidently quite surprising. One thing it shows is that exit polls over there are not any better than they are over here. The other consequence of the election is the apprehension that this will inevitably lead to war between Israel and a group from Gaza and the West Bank which has vowed to destroy Israel. My own immediate thought was this was a hopeful sign for a meaningful move off ruts in the road. Some of this opinion was based on my tendency to think conventional wisdom on any subject is almost always wrong. The following response of Mark Steyn to a question about the probability of war confirms my thinking on the subject. The guy is a genius.

Well, I don't think it will...I don't actually think it will be a war. In a sense, I think in the immediate future, what it does is it gives Israel a greater leeway to secure itself with the wall. Nobody's going to argue when you're living next to Hamas that you don't have the right to build a wall. That argument, which the Europeans and other people have made, looks absolutely stupid now. But I think what it does tell you is that in the end, the Palestinians are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the Earth. Every city you go to...you go to New York, you go to London, you go to Paris, you meet talented, energetic Palestinian doctors and lawyers and accountants. All the talent got out of there in the late 1940's and early 50's. You imagine people, third, fourth generation, the people who stuck around because of this insane dream that they're going to get some olive grove of their great-grandfathers back one day, can you imagine what kind of idiot is going to stick around for sixty years for that? So it's the absolute worst of the Palestinian people who are in Gaza, and in the West Bank. And it's a terrible tragedy for them. But it is the fact that they've been wrecked by being essentially mollycoddled by the U.N. and world opinion for sixty years.

Trading Room


This blog was started to simply put up things that interested me at any point in time and has been something that I have enjoyed and since few ever read the thing there is no pressure to meet a deadline or even publish something if I was doing something else. One thing I haven't really blogged on was an interest in the stock market which started over 40 years ago. I have been trading stocks actively for some 15 years since the internet allowed online trading. I haven't included much in this blog about it since stock trading is too arcane for even the small number of folks who might wander onto this thing. What I do is mainly participate in a giant Ponzi Scheme where the earlier that you get invested and the more astute you are in getting out when the music stops and seats are still available, the more successful you will be. There are a lot of people out there who are better at the game than I am, but since I have managed to make money every year despite a number of years when I was not focused as much as I should have been, I conclude modestly that I am better than average at the activity.
Where this is leading is shown in the picture above. For several years, I was trading from our third bedroom on tables which were haphazardly arranged. We decided last September to add a room behind our garage which I could use as an office and the bedroom could once again be used to accommodate our kids, their kids, and guests. It is now completed and I am very pleased by the project. My bride has assisted mightily in providing esthetic touches and in the planning of it. I am now better situated to trade and I have been much more focused on it than in the past. One problem is it takes a lot of work and long hours to do what I do effectively, but I enjoy it and thankfully, I am in a position to quit when I am no longer having fun.

Senator Byrd

Even an octogenarian can get his mind focused by an election in a state that has voted twice for George Bush. Senator Byrd took to the Senate floor the other day to render his opinion of the Alito hearings. I doubt that Senator Kennedy was listening (or any other senators for that matter), but whoever wrote the following for the former Ku Klux Klanner did a good job. He has also announced he will vote for Justice Alito.

Many people and including foremost, as I say, the people of West Virginia in most uncertain terms, were, frankly, appalled by the Alito hearings. I don't want to say it but I must. They were appalled. In the reams of correspondence that I received during the Alito hearings, West Virginians — the people I represent — West Virginians who wrote to criticize the way in which the hearings were conducted used the same two words. People with no connection to one another, people of different faiths, different views, different opinions, independently and respectively used the same two words to describe the hearings. They called them an “outrage” and a “disgrace.” . . .
It is especially telling that many who objected to the way in which the Alito hearings were conducted do not support Judge Alito. In fact, it is sorely apparent that even many who oppose Judge Alito's nomination also oppose the seemingly made-for-TV antics that accompanied the hearings. . . .
And then there were the media and the media's contribution to the deterioration of this very important constitutional process. Mr. President, was it really necessary to subject Mrs. Alito to the harsh glare of the television klieg lights as she fled the hearing room in tears? Fighting to maintain her dignity in response to others, with precious little of their own?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

FDA and drug labels

Drug labelling has long been a concern beyond the print being so small you can't read it. The FDA tried to clarify labelling problems to prevent lawsuit problems experienced by drug companies. For example, Vioxx is being sued 9,000 times for its troubles with the claim that they failed to warn of heart problems. One of the reasons for this is the FDA has required simpler labelling so only the most important information is put on labels. Then the state courts which entertain these lawsuits fail to acknowledge the federal requirement which prevents the company from listing all the possible side effects and even some which may be more than rare. Here is an example from real life. In Motus vs. Pfizer the wife of a suicide victim alleged that Pfizer had negligently failed to warn that the antidepressant might actually cause suicidal thoughts. The FDA had already considered requests to put this on the label and said no because it feared the risk of depressed patients skipping treatment with Zoloft to be greater than the known risk from the drugs themselves. When the FDA intervened to help Pfizer with what is called a "pre-emption" assertion, this infuriated some folks. Guess who? If you said the liberal democrats like Senator Kennedy who carries water for the trial lawyers you are right.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This is so great!

"To rein in wasteful spending, Dr. Coburn intends to offer an amendment on every pork project stuffed into appropriations bills this year. There were at least 13,998 earmarked projects contained in last year’s appropriations bills. By way of comparison, the Senate had only 366 roll call votes last year. Needless to say we are beefing up our appropriations staff for this challenge and we have requested that we be given at least 72 hours to review appropriations bills before they are considered. "
The above is an E-mail from Senator Coburn's office. What this means is if you want to stuff a special interest into the Appropriation Bill this year, you will cause the senate to have a roll call vote on it. Each roll call takes at least 30 minutes to conduct and you have to have time alloted to each side to discuss it before the vote. This will drive the big spenders crazy and Dr. Coburn doesn't give a royal rat's rear.

Gotta have sex to get the money

The University of Florida says that in order to get the full benefits under their health care plan, you and your other what-ever must be having sex. I am not making this up. Read about it here.

La Shawn on Abortion

"Black women are three times as likely to have abortions as their white counterparts. Blacks and Hispanics are about 25 percent of the population, yet they account for 57 percent of all abortions."

This is a sample from an article published this morning by La Shawn Barber, a black columnist, who has a very interesting essay which questions the support blacks give a Democratic Party which champions policies which are so detrimental to African Americans. I have always wondered that myself. Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Troop Levels

For years now I have read about how President Bush is screwing up mightily because he had too few troops in Iraq. Then we started reading that he has too many. There doesn't seem to be any particular political party clarity on this phenomenon. Politicians of both parties have opined on this subject with all certainity that they are right. Most of the discussion now is on whether or not we are reducing levels too fast or not fast enough. Sure some on the extremes of the Democratic left wing say we should just get out, but others, especially those in the press seem convinced that removing 20,000 would catastrophic and others say 30,000 would not be enough. Bush seems to be willing to let the Generals actually in Iraq make the determination and if he is really doing that, it seems to me we are going to be more correct than if some wind-bag politician or some columnist looking for a safe way to venture into an area where they have no expertise makes the decision.
I suspect that if Bush brought one of his critics from the political left into the White House, turned on the cameras and asked him or her to state right now what troop levels should be for the year ahead, they would wet their pants and turn hemming and hawwing into a comedy act.


More on Bush's Surveillance Authority

This is a pretty good summary of why the dems challenge of the Bush on surveillance is not only wrong, but politically a loser. Read it here.

Here's the key phrase in S.J. Res 23 authorizing the use of force:
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States:
If the Constitution allows for the President to "take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States", then that ends all debate. Legislation can't take away the inherent powers that the Constitution grants the President as Commander-in-Chief. After all, the Fourth Amendment doesn't say the President needs a warrant for these wiretaps since this is defined as a reasonable search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment only requires a warrant for UNREASONABLE searches.

Why would they include that provision in the AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) if they didn't believe that the President had the inherent power to protect us through reasonable searches and seizures?

What makes Teddy's mindless diatribe that much more foolish is the consistency in the polling showing the American people think that the President is doing the right thing with these wiretaps AND they think that, if he doesn't have the authority, he should. Teddy's diatribe is the political equivalent of playing a game of chicken with a road grader. We know the outcome if it's allowed to proceed to its logical conclusion.

If this is where their political instincts are taking them, then it's a wonder they have any seats in Congress.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

bin Ladin threatens

Much is the news now about OBL's threat to carry out to attack America is a big way. What is our response to be? Here is one which I endorse:


First the President of the United States should declare that any act of violence of the type that occurred on September 11, 2001 would send the signal for an all out attack against mecca and Medina with no holds barred and no quarter spared and any target of convenience thereafter. In other words any new attack on the United States will trigger the end of middle east civilization as it's presently known. We should not have to live under the threat of blackmail and terror from these people. Then all mosques should be placed under surveillance and all non-American Muslims required to leave the country. If we don't do this we'd better be prepared to pay a very very high price in human life and physical damage. We know it's coming to sit here and do nothing is insane! How many American lives does it take to force the government to act? Are we willing to pay the price?

Anna Nichole Smith

Have you ever wondered what there was about Anna's attempt to get hold of some of the money she earned by marrying an octogenarian when she was in her 20's that would get her in front of the Supreme Court? I wondered, but was not really curious enough to make an effort to see what the legal question was. Well, I happened onto a column in the Wall Street Journal which put it succinctly enough for me to read up on the subject. It seems like when the old guy died his will went to Probate in Texas where she was cut out since she wasn't in the will and all she had was a claim she had been told by him she was in for the loot. Ordinarily that would be the end of it, but she somehow went bankrupt and sued in California bankruptcy court where she won. When this was appealed it went to the infamous 9th Circuit since it was big enough to be a federal matter.This is where the Supreme Court got involved since probate matters are left to state courts and the 9th Circuit overturned the California judgement in Anna's favor. So, the question before the Supremes is this: Will they keep probate matters in state courts where it is nice and tidy or can creative lawyers shift the matter into federal courts? That is the extent of my knowledge. I don't even know what verdict old Anna is rooting for. In most cases, however, I root for Texas over california.

Friday, January 20, 2006

We don't need this.

Well, now I read the Chinese are expanding their broad inclination to flood the market with counterfeit goods such as CD's, compute programs, etc. They commonly take technology from others but now their pursuit of a dollar is putting all of us at increased risk to avian flu. Some large number of companies are trying to make bird flu vaccines to sell to farmers to protect their flocks. The problem is they don't know how to make vaccines so the farmers are paying a lot of money to inject the flock with stuff which has live virus or too little dead virus and the birds are either dying off despite vaccinations or even worse, developing a resistance to the virus which could render good vaccines worthless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bush broke the law

We have been hearing that a lot lately. When he authorized the National Security Agency to listen in on our calls and things. He broke the law. Some say he did,others say he didn't, and most of us not only don't care if he did, we would expect nothing less. How do we settle the question, though? Well, we have to go to court. That means someone has to sue and get a judge to take the case and decide it and then we would have some idea if he "broke the law" or not. That sounds pretty clear, but turns out it isn't. Who is going to sue and get the matter in the court? In order to bring a suit you have to have "standing" which means you must be able to show that you have been injured in some way. You can't just say you may have been injured, you need more than that to get a judge to hear a case involving presidential authority. As things stand now, nobody can get beyond the fact that we don't even have evidence that any specific person has been the target of "spying" and the only way to get that evidence is if the object of the suit agrees to provide the classified evidence to someone so they can sue. This leaves the liberal kooks in a bad way. So it has to go to a Republican Congressional Committee to make some sort of decision.

Al Gore goes on tilt

Al Gore chose MLK Day to make a foray into Bush bashing as did a number of liberals like Hillary. Most of the reaction from other bloggers, however, has been directed at the inventor of the internet. Gore made the charge that Bush had broken the law by listening in on Al-qaida conversations. Not only that, he said the "very nature of our government" was threatened and "the Constitution was in grave danger". Furthermore, Bush imprisoned citizens and and authorized kidnap and torture.
The reaction has been both funny (more than one blogger suggested that someone who didn't flunk out of law school should opine about what is legal), and frankly demogogic and pathetic. The fact is Gore did not voice any objection when the Clinton administration wiretapped Aldrich Ames without a warrant. Jamie Gorelick who worked in the Clinton Justice Department told the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1994 "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the President has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes". In addition, the Clinton administration used a surveillance operation called Echelon which targeted overseas e-mails and phone calls betweeen suspected terrorists and U.S. contacts. In order to do this, Echelon monitored virtually every electronic conversation around the world and in the U.S.
Gore and the other idiotic liberals should sit back and contemplate what it meant when Congress authorized Bush to use "all necessary" means to fight terrorism after 9/11.

Monday, January 16, 2006

George Foreman

You would not have ever predicted the success of this man when he first came on the boxing scene. I remember him as what I pretty much considered a thug in the mold of Mike Tyson who came after George. We know he became a minister when he left boxing and now is more widely known for his association with Salton, Inc. which makes the George Foreman grill which all of us own at least one of. What we all now realize is the man has become a decent human being with a sense of humor which I find engaging. What few of us realize, however, is the extent to which the man has become a financial tycoon.

The man was very intelligent about money from the start. He took his early boxing purses and put them into a trust which was for his old age. When he retired the first time that money was there for later, but he wanted to raise some money to finance a return to boxing. By this time he was well beyond the age where boxers have success. He tried to find 10 people to invest $50,000 each or 5 guys with $100,000 each with the agreement that they would get 40% of his earnings in return. Nobody would take the chance so he took some of the money he had saved up for his several kids and financed it himself. According to the interview I read this morning in the Wall Street Journal, they missed out on $40 million which he had to keep all for himself.

Thoughts on living

1. If you are not happy with your mattress or if it is about time for a new one, you should seriously consider its replacement with one of the new "memory foam" brands. They are pricey, but should last longer than others and they are definitely worth the extra money if you like a good night's sleep.

2. If you haven't looked at or thought about your home owners insurance in a while, you should at least inquire about the level of coverage you have vis-a-vis your house's current market value. We just did that and found we were considerably under-insured even though our policy had some sort of automatic increase built in.

3. The day is coming, and it may already be here for some of us, where paying for a land-line telephone service is a waste of money. If you have a cell phone, that may be all you need. Companies such as Vonage offer internet calling plans which can save you as much as 50% on your phone expenses. Another alternative is internet calling. A leading provider of this service is Skype which lets you call free to others who use it. It also has a service which lets you place calls to others who do not have the service for a fee of about two cents per minute. The latest version can be used with a cordless phone so you don't have to sit at the computer to make your call. If you want to investigate various phone services and compare costs for your particular circumstances, you can go to http://www.ABTolls.com . The Skype-type phone service will be become much more widely used in the near future, I understand.

4. If you are not an old geezer like me, you should be carefully consider putting as much of your retirement savings into a Roth 401(K) account as you can. The difference is traditional 401 (k) contributions come before and Roth contributions come after taxation. The withdrawals, however, from a Roth at retirement are not taxed. I predict that this will be a significant factor when the government tries to fund the $45 trillion structural deficit in Medicare and Medicaid. They will want to tax the bejeezus out of what they will consider unearned money which has accumulated in retirement accounts.

I like this idea

Project Prevention is a California based organization which has decided it would prevent many tragic pregnancies if drug-addicted individuals could be prevented from reproducing. They want to do this by giving them cash to become sterilized. Read the whole article here. The following is a sample.

Project Prevention’s sterilization crusade stopped in Pasadena Friday to offer more cash to drug-addicted men and women who agree to become sterilized or use long-term birth control.

Barbara Harris founded Project Prevention in 1997 after adopting four of eight babies born to a Los Angeles woman addicted to drugs.

The group offered $500 to each of the first 100 women who agree to use birth control methods like inter-uterine devices or tubal ligations. In the past, the group offered $300 and men are also eligible if they agree to a vasectomy.

The increased cash incentives are part of a national grassroots campaign to raise the total number of clients served by the organization to 2,006 by the end of 2006.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mark Steyn analyzes the Alito hearings

This is precious. Here is a sample.

Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.): "I find it, uh, troubling, uh, that as a, uh, grown man you were a, uh, member, uh, of an, uh, organization, uh, with, uh, a, uh, very troubling, uh, track record on, uh, the treatment of, uh, women."

Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.): "Yes, it's, uh, true I was a member of the, uh, Kennedy family."

Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.): "Please don't interrupt. And it's, uh, true, is it not, that you've, uh, made, uh, jokes that could be regarded as, uh, inappropriate and offensive to, uh, women, uh, you've, uh uh, known?"

Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.): "Well, uh, I named my dog Splash, but, uh, other than, uh, that, uh uh..."

Medicare Follow-up

My bride of some 44 years (this week) read my blog (see below) and looked at her Medicare Summary Notice to see how her flu vaccine was handled. She went in to get her vaccination on October 31, about 3 days before I did. We went to the same Family Medicine Clinic. Again, they charged her $20 to administer the injection. The actual vaccine, however, was $32 rather than the $22 I was charged. The only difference I could notice was her vaccine had no preservative. Why, I don't know. So her vaccination was $52 and Medicare was not so frugal with her. They agreed to pay $48.84. I got a 24% reduction and she only got a 6% decrease. Makes no sense to me.

Between the two of us, the government spent $80.38 to protect us against influenza. This gives me an idea. What if all of us old folks went down to the local drug store and gave them $20 each for our shots. Many people do this anyway. Just send us a check for $25 and save the rest.

A Medicare Story

I got something called a Medicare Summary Notice in the mail yesterday. Usually I don't pay much attention to stuff like this, but I opened it and glanced at the bottom line which said I didn't owe anything, which is usually all I care about. For some reason, though, I looked at the numbers since the only thing involved was my flu shot which I got last November. Back then I went to my Family Medicine Clinic which is nice and handy and for some reason after I got my shot and went to the cashing out window, they did not have the fact that I was a Medicare patient on the record. So, I was told I owed $20 and I just paid them, got a receipt and walked out without another thought. Later in the week, I was called by someone at the clinic and told to stop by to get my $20 back since I would get my flu shot courtesy of Medicare. The one who must be obeyed who is also the one I sleep with was only too happy to get our $20 back. Now I get a Summary Notice from the Medicare folks. As I look at the numbers, here is what I see. The clinic charged Medicare $22 for the actual vaccine and $20 to inject it. Total charged was therefore $42.00. No wonder they wanted to give me back my $20. Reading further, I see that because our government is so frugal they only paid the clinic $31.54 and told the clinic to take it or leave it. The clinic took it.
Here is what I see in summary. The patient thinks he is getting something for nothing, the clinic is getting an increase of over 50% from the government for a service which almost assuredly cost them less than the $20 they inadvertantly charged me. Then the governmental agency sends me a summary which makes it look like they are being judicious when they reduced the amount charged from $42 to $31.54. When you stop and think about this nonsense being magnified many times over in millions of us oldtimers you can't help feeling this will eventually bankrupt us.

Good news from Iraq

The following is part of a popular blog written by a guy in Iraq which is entitled Iraq the Model. I read it regularly and he seems to be pretty down the middle in telling it like it is. Read it all here.

Meanwhile, there are some good news coming from Anbar.
Al-Qaeda is apparently being chased down and confronted by Iraqis in Anbar and Samarra according to a report from al-Sabah.
Mohammed al-Ubaidi is a citizen of Anbar who took part in a battle against al-Qaeda fighters said that people were enraged by the attacks that kill civilians in Anbar and other provinces and therefore have decided to form squads from the residents to rid Anbar from the foreign terrorists.
The reports mentions that several tribes’ sheikhs had a meeting in the home of a sheikh of the Dulaim tribe where they pledged to fight al-Qaeda and throw them out of the province. There are also news that some 120 al-Qaeda members have already fled outside Iraq after a series of battles between their cells and the residents of Ramadi and other towns and suburbs of Anbar.
According to the same report, similar measures are being taken by the residents in Samarra and have succeeded in forcing foreign terrorists out of their city.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Where are you Hillary???

This is an interesting blog from Michelle Malkin.

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton appeared on Good Morning America to lambaste the Bush admininstration for not caring about troops who need more body armor. She demanded an investigation.

On Wednesday, Senate Armed Service Committee chairman John Warner did exactly that.

But Hillary didn't bother to show up. Via the Washington Times:

"Senator Clinton had a long planned day of events with her constituents in New York and wasn't able to attend the short-notice briefing attended by the chairman and two members of the minority," Hillary spokesman Philippe Reines told the Washington Times.

Among the items on Hillary's schedule this week that took precedence over staying in Washington: a Children's Defense Fund lunch also attended by Hugo Chavez pal and Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferer Harry Belafonte.

Priorities, priorities.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This is instructive, I think

If you don't read the blog known as DailyKos, you are missing some of the political opinions from the liberal perspective as they bill themselves. This is a very widely read blog and I don't usually find much there of interest, but today, I did. As has been widely reported in the media, Mrs. Alito left the hearings of her husband yesterday in tears which have been widely attributed to the many hours of attacks by Senators such as Kennedy, Durbin, Schumer and the chief bloviator, Biden. Most of us, regardless of our view of Alito feel it is unfortunate for the spouse to be present at such a hearing. This is the view of one of the readers of the DailyKos.

What, is this junior high school?

"Lindsey Graham Made Mrs. Alito Cry"
Sounds like a note someone passed me in algebra.

Why are people allowing themselves to get drawn into this episode?

-You made her cry, bully!
-I didn't make her cry, HE did!
-Well, she's crying now and everyone thinks YOU did it!

With all due respect, F*CK Mrs. Alito! We are dealing with a decision that will affect millions of people over generations! I don't give a good godd*mn about Mrs. Alito. Frankly, I'd be much happier seeing MISTER Alito crying due to a withering grilling by the Dems. But the only folks crying over the Democratic senator's questioning are other Dems (including me).

Abramoff's list of donations

I just went over the long list of politicians to whom Jack Abramoff gave donations and my brother-in-law was not listed. He needs to get out more. He must not be even trying. There are sure a lot of Democrats on there. Wonder if that will keep them from making this a Republican scandal?

Scary??

I can't help but wonder just how scary it is for Iran to ponder the possibility that their behavior is likely to lead them to be brought to the U.N.? They should be more worried about Netanyahu.

These are strange people

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed, the Interior Ministry said.

The stampede occurred as tens of thousands of pilgrims headed toward al-Jamarat, a series of three pillars representing the devil that the faithful pelt with stones to purge themselves of sin.

I am rooting against the realtors

According to this article there is an invigorated campaign against the National Association of Realtors who have been gouging all of us for decades. Any previous attempt to lessen the costs associated with buying and selling houses has been thwarted by the lobbyists, but things may be changing. I hope so.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My hormones made me do it.

The study in the Journal of Hormones and Behavior examined 38 coeds from one large, unidentified U.S. university.

"We found that women were most attracted to men other than their primary partner when they were in the high fertility phase of the menstrual cycle," said Dr. Martie Haselton, a UCLA researcher. "That's the day of ovulation and several days beforehand."

A related study, which will be published in Evolution and Human Behavior, finds that women are more likely to fantasize about men other than their mates, but only when they don't consider their mates to be particularly sexy. That UCLA study examined 43 normally ovulating women.

"We're claiming the desire to cheat is what evolved in women, that they may notice they have these desires at a certain point in their cycle," said Elizabeth Pillsworth, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of communication and psychology at UCLA. "Whether they translate into unfaithful behaviors is a matter of their own choosing. Cheating is a choice."

Nomination for biggest phony in Washington, D.C.

The conservative alumni group Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) has been the subject of criticism in recent weeks, but yesterday the University itself also came under scrutiny.

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who grilled Samuel Alito '72 about his CAP membership, also said that he "wasn't a big Princeton fan."

"I didn't even like Princeton," he said, to laughter from the gallery. "I mean, I really didn't like Princeton. I was an Irish Catholic kid who thought it had not changed like you concluded it had," referring to Alito's earlier statement that Princeton had changed its traditional ways before he enrolled.

But Biden had nothing but praise for the University in a 2004 speech at the Wilson School.

"It's an honor to be here," he told the audience. "It would have been an even greater honor to have come here."

Biden also said yesterday: "One of my real dilemmas is I have two kids who went to Ivy League schools. I'm not sure my Grandfather Finnegan will ever forgive me for allowing that to happen."

But in his speech at Princeton, he said, "I have three children who have mercifully all finally completed undergraduate and graduate school. And I tried to get all three of them to apply here."

He went on to recall how he tried to convince them to attend Princeton, but because they didn't, he's "counting on his grandchildren."

Thoughts

I have been really busy trading stocks the last few days, but some of the Alito hearings were on in the background. I can't help wonder if the Democrats are as moronic as I think they are. It occurs to me that they must know they are going to lose and Alito will be confirmed. If so, could it be that Alito may just be human enough to remember when a case comes up where he has the chance to stick it to Kennedy, Schumer, etc in an instance where he may not have in the absence of such hostility. Just wondering.

Monday, January 09, 2006

This could be handy in Iraq

A new handheld radar scope from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) can provide troops with an ability that was formerly the province of science fictional superheroes alone—the ability to sense through up to 12 inches of concrete whether someone is in the next room.

The Radar Scope is expected to be in use in Iraq by spring of this year, according to DARPA's Edward Baranoski. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, the device is about the size of a telephone handset and will cost about $1,000. Waterproof and rugged, it runs on AA batteries. Held up to a wall, users will be able to sense movements as small as breathing up to fifty feet into the next room.

"It may not change how four-man stacks go into a room (during clearing operations)," Baranoski said. "But as they go into a building, it can help them prioritize what rooms they go into. It will give them an extra degree of knowledge so they know if someone is inside."

Osama gone?

The following was in an article recently published by Michael Ledeen. It is interesting how little attention it has generated because the guy is fairly well connected to sources in Iran. Maybe we have finally decided it really makes little difference. Read the whole article.

And, according to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December. The al Qaeda leader died of kidney failure and was buried in Iran, where he had spent most of his time since the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Iranians who reported this note that this year's message in conjunction with the Muslim Haj came from his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for the first time.

Here comes John McCain

The lonely mission of Senator Coburn of Oklahoma to cut the money handed out by Congress in the form of "set-sides" (remember the bridge to no-where) has now been joined by a very formidable ally. John McCain never misses a chance to grandstand and he is good at it because the networks love to have him on grandstanding. The Republicans might be well advised to join in the fight against these pernicious spending vehicles since they will now be impossible to defend. I will relish the spectacle.

It's all b.s. Congresswoman

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, engaged in a small but cheesy bit of deception last week. She released a letter, which quickly found its way to the front page of the New York Times, that she had written on Oct. 11, 2001, to then National Security Agency director General Michael V. Hayden. In it she expressed concern that Hayden, who had briefed the House Intelligence Committee about the steps he was taking to track down al-Qaeda terrorists after the 9/11 attacks, was not acting with "specific presidential authorization." Hayden wrote her back that he was acting under the powers granted to his agency in a 1981 Executive Order. . . .

The release of Pelosi's letter last week and the subsequent Times story ("Agency First Acted on Its Own to Broaden Spying, Files Show") left the misleading impression that a) Hayden had launched the controversial data-mining operation on his own, and b) Pelosi had protested it. But clearly the program didn't exist when Pelosi wrote the letter. When I asked the Congresswoman about this, she said, "Some in the government have accused me of confusing apples and oranges. My response is, it's all fruit."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

This is not good news

Yesterday six more children who have tested positive for avian flu remained in a critical condition in the Turkish city of Van, near Dogubayazit. Another 24 suspected cases are being treated in a special ward in the university hospital.

A further 18 patients with symptoms of the disease, most of them children, are being treated in hospitals in the eastern cities of Yozgat, Erzurum and Diyarbakir. Other cases are being investigated.

I have wondered about this too.

George Will poses a question I have wondered about for some time, but he does the posing in a most Georgewillian way. The guy has a way with words.

It is mysterious why states or localities that want casinos operating nearby -- and providing jobs and tax revenue -- also want them afloat, a few feet from a riverbank or ocean shore. (Mississippi has just decided to let them come ashore.) Does the narrow band of water provide a prophylactic against sin? The communities already have weighed the sin against the jobs and revenue and found the sin congenial.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Global Warming and Greenhouse gases

Not so global global warming. Interestingly, the Northern Polar Region appears to have a rising trend from 1992. The Southern Polar region, however, demonstrates no clear trend, having cooled slightly. Contrary to hysterical claims this is pretty much the coup de grĂ¢ce for the catastrophic anthropogenic greenhouse warming hypothesis. 'How so?' I hear people puzzling - it's actually pretty simple, let's walk through it:

  • the misnamed 'greenhouse effect' can be experimentally demonstrated in the lab;
  • logically, some warming (or not cooling) must have occurred with rising greenhouse gases;
  • whether this effect is sufficiently large in the real world to even be detected is moot;
  • anthropogenic greenhouse gases are well mixed in the atmosphere;
  • due to topography and population, the greatest concentration of cooling particulates is located in the Northern Hemisphere;
  • the cold, dry polar atmosphere has the greatest greenhouse warming potential;
  • the coldest, driest atmosphere is located over Antarctica;
  • air samples taken at the South Pole show anthropogenic greenhouse gases present at levels within a couple of parts per million of those taken elsewhere on the globe;
  • despite its lack of cooling particulates, the Southern Polar region shows no detectable temperature response (dose-response?) to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gases;
  • there is no postulated mechanism by which anthropogenic gases could cause warming in the Northern Polar region but not in the Southern Polar region;
  • this tells us that warming observed in the Northern Polar region is driven by something other than anthropogenic greenhouse;
  • since something other than anthropogenic greenhouse is driving all the observable (measurable) temperature change then we can be confident that tweaking anthropogenic emissions will have no measurable effect.

See? It needn't cost trillions of dollars to solve the greenhouse emission 'problem' after all. Thanks to this site.dedicated to Junk Science.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Senator Kennedy get it right!!

"What the American people have seen is this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out and those people who were impoverished died."

-- Ted Kennedy on Hurricane Katrina

"Ditto"

-- Mary Jo Kopechne

Thanks to my friend Dave Scott for this. Precious.

Bush's meeting with has beens

I was evidently wrong about the subject of Bush's meeting with the former Secretaries of Defense and State. Iran was not discussed, it seems. Too bad.

Liberal "Logic"

As I now understand it, liberals such as Senator Finegold think that President Bush exceeded his constitutional authority when he intercepted (I think wire tap is the wrong word here) messages sent by or to individuals with suspected ties to terrorism because he did not establish beforehand some reasonable assurance that they were in fact terrorists. Setting aside the complete lack of understanding of the powers the Constitution gives our Chief Executive, I wonder if Sen. Finegold thinks I should be X-rayed, screened, wanded and otherwise scrutinized before getting on a plane. Surely all of us in that long line at the airport have not been clearly established as terrorists to some reasonable degree of assurance. If you don't think that is a good example, go to Washington and try to get into the good senator's office without scrutiny. The guy is a partisan idiot.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Neal Boortz's Analysis of the Mine Disaster

There was one absolute certainty yesterday as the tragic story of the West Virginia mine disaster unfolded. By the end of the day the disaster was going to be blamed on either (a) global warming or (b) George Bush.

Well, it didn't take long. Yesterday somebody named Jack Spadaro, who is the former head of something called the National Mine Safety and Health Academy, went on Hannity and Colmes. The topic was the mining disaster in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 12 miners and left one in critical condition. He was asked what he made of the safety at the mine.His response: "This mine should have been closed." Fair comment.

Asked why, he said "There were too many serious violations and the record is very clear." At this point, that's obvious. So far, so good. Just another run-of-mill interview with a mining expert...the kind of thing we've heard over and over the past couple days. Then he took that extra step...the one we were all waiting for.

Asked to elaborate on why he thought the mine stayed open despite the violations, Mr. Spadaro actually said this: "I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their reluctance to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary." That's right....those miners died because of, you guessed it, Bush's lack of enforcement of mining regulations. The president killed the miners!

To the left, everything is George W. Bush's fault. It doesn't matter what wrong is committed anywhere in the world...there is nothing the president isn't responsible for. We'll hear more about this...and by the time it's all said and done, liberals will be accusing Bush of purposely blowing the mine shaft to take the news coverage off the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Apparently the explosion originated in a sealed mine shaft. Obviously the result of an administration plot. Where's Louis Farrakhan on this?

Oh ... before we leave this. How in the world could this be blamed on global warming? Well, let me help out the environmental moonbats on this one. There are reports of a serious thunderstorm at the time of the mine explosion. Some people are actually wondering if that lightning on the surface might have had anything to do with the explosion a few miles down. Well, if you can make that connection, then you can say that the thunderstorm was unusual this time of the year in the mountains of West Virginia, and that global warming gets the credit.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bush reaching out?

Bush has invited a bunch of former Secretaries of State and Defense from both parties to the White House for a briefing on Iraq. Many are making the point that Bush is finally reaching out to others--even as the Iraq military activity seems to be winding down and our involvement decreasing. My suspicion is Bush doesn't care what Madelyn Albright and Colin Powell think of his Iraq policy. I think they will be talking about Iran and potential action against their nuclear activity.

Ralph Nader better avoid this guy

A guy by the name of Patrick reports the following:

Cylert (generic name “pemoline”) has been the most effective treatment for Teresa’s narcolepsy in 24 years since she was first diagnosed. She’s been taking it for most of that time. Now it’s gone.

We discovered this when we tried to refill her standard prescription, just before Christmas, and the pharmacy didn’t have any—and, after some confusion, reported back that the wholesaler didn’t have any either, because (surprise!) it’s no longer being made.

Cylert has been implicated in some people’s liver problems. Teresa is regularly tested and her liver is fine. Evidently Abbott, makers of brand-name Cylert, discontinued it in March—but Sandoz intended to keep making the generic version, until the FDA, pressured by Nader’s group, weighed in to discontinue it entirely—despite a last-minute appeal from the Narcolepsy Network. Thank you, Public Citizen, for completely shafting my wife.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The demographic problem

Most of us haven't yet begun to think about the consequences of low birth rates and the future of Western Civilization. I hadn't. An essay I read this morning changed all that. Read it here. It is brilliant, but scary. Basically it presents our most important problem in a way which is impossible to disagree with.

Here is a sample which should intice you to read it all.

".... if we are at war—and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada, and Europe don’t accept that proposition—than what exactly is the war about?

We know it’s not really a “war on terror.” Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even “radical Islam.” The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it’s easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in “Palestine,” Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Cream of the black crop

Firebrand Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been named "Person of the Year for 2005" in an online poll by the Black Entertainment Television network, beating out Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Barack Obama and BET founder Robert L. Johnson.

The BET.com VP credited Farrakhan's Millions More March last October with mobilizing "hundreds of thousands of blacks around the issues of atonement and empowerment, and to convince the masses of our people that we must be the primary catalysts and engines for positive change in our communities."

During his Millions More March address, Farrakhan urged African-Americans to bring a class action suit for "criminal neglect" against the U.S. on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans and demanded that America "acknowledge her wickedness to the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere."

For weeks before the march, the controversial minister touted a theory that the Bush administration had blown up the levees in New Orleans. Farrakhan said he came to that conclusion after a private meeting with Mayor Ray Nagin, who told him there was a 25-foot crater beneath the levees.

Boondoggle Update

The most serious disagreement I have had with my brother-in-law since he went into Congress was on the issue of the latest Medicare prescription benefit program which he voted for and then tried to defend. If you don't remember, the House had to hold the vote open for 3 hours past the usual 15 minutes in order to bribe and pressure enough votes to pass it. Now we see seniors trying to understand the thing as it will go into effect this year. My objection that a federal program which paid for my prescription drugs when I could well afford them would eventually break the bank. Evidence that I am right is now being brought to light as the estimates for the cost of the thing keeps going up. Neal Boortz's opinion is given below.

George Bush's massive new entitlement program, the Medicare prescription benefit will prove itself to be a bottomless pit where taxpayers money is squandered on prescription drugs for members of the Gimme Generation who, for the most part, could damn well afford to buy them on their own. When this monstrosity was passed the average senior citizen in this country was spending about $600 a year on their prescription drugs. That's less than they were paying for their cell phone bills. Now with this quasi-welfare program the drug companies will step up their advertising and the wizened citizens will be demanding this, that and the other thing. The original cost estimate was $300 billion over ten years. By the end of 2006 that estimate will be at one TRILLION dollars.

This man is too intelligent to ignore

Thomas Sowell starts the new year with an essay I fear is too likely to be prophetic. Read it all.

When you are boating on the Niagara River, there are signs marking the point at which you must go ashore or else you will be sucked over the falls. With Iran moving toward the development of nuclear weapons, we are getting dangerously close to that fatal point of no return on the world stage.

Yet there are few signs of alarm in our public discourse, whether among politicians, the media, or the intelligentsia. There is much more discussion of whether government anti-terrorism agents should be able to look at the records of books borrowed from public libraries.

Affirmative Action

I just ran across this interesting essay on affirmative action. A snippet is given below, but the whole thing is worth reading here.
Dear Owen:

Thank you for writing to express your views on affirmative action. Although the article to which you responded is one I wrote nearly three years ago, your argument is timeless. You are black. I am white. Therefore, I “owe it to you” to support race-based affirmative action.

I want to thank you for saving me from being the token affirmative action opponent in the “forums” my university occasionally holds on the subject. Recently, I was asked to join one such “forum” to discuss the subject with five affirmative action supporters. A “forum” with five supporters and one opponent was my university’s first attempt at viewpoint diversity in nearly a decade. That was because a student organized the event. If the administration organized the event, I would have received no such invitation.

But I declined the invitation for the same reason I once declined a philosophy professor’s kind invitation to share my opposition to affirmative action with his class. The reason is that I simply don’t have enough material to “support” my position. I’m just opposed to racial discrimination. I cannot muster more than that one sentence. I’m just opposed to racial discrimination.


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