Sunday, February 28, 2010

Antibiotic Resistance

I published my first paper dealing with and warning about antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus over 40 years ago. The problem is getting worse it seems. An interesting article on this problem was published in the New York Times recently.

Interesting Finding on Reconciliation

Another interesting wrinkle results from their using reconciliation to pass this thing. As I understand it, reconciliation bills have limits on them because they're passed as part of the budget. So if this health care bill gets passed through reconciliation, it would only be for five years. The Democrats have set up the first decade of the bill by having the tax increases and Medicare cuts start now, but the benefits would only kick in after four years in order to get a good rating from the CBO. So just as the benefits were beginning, we'll be bogged down in a massive debate over whether or not to extend this thing. And who knows what the composition of the Congress will be five years from now even if Obama is still in the White House. So if you're planning now to have Obamacare, remember that you have to wait four years and it might only be in place, in this form, for one year before we get the fun of enduring this debate one more year.

Thanks to Betsy

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Congressman Paul Ryan Boils Health Bill Down

RYAN: Thank you. Look, we agree on the problem here. And the problem is health inflation is driving us off of a fiscal cliff.

Mr. President, you said health care reform is budget reform. You're right. We agree with that. Medicare, right now, has a $38 trillion unfunded liability. That's $38 trillion in empty promises to my parents' generation, our generation, our kids' generation. Medicaid's growing at 21 percent each year. It's suffocating states' budgets. It's adding trillions in obligations that we have no means to pay for it.

Now, you're right to frame the debate on cost and health inflation. And in September, when you spoke to us in the well of the House, you basically said -- and I totally agree with this -- I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future.

Since the Congressional Budget Office can't score your bill, because it doesn't have sufficient detail, but it tracks very similar to the Senate bill, I want to unpack the Senate score a little bit.

And if you take a look at the CBO analysis, analysis from your chief actuary, I think it's very revealing. This bill does not control costs. This bill does not reduce deficits. Instead, this bill adds a new health care entitlement at a time when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have.

Now, let me go through why I say that. The majority leader said the bill scores as reducing the deficit $131 billion over the next 10 years. First, a little bit about CBO. I work with them every single day -- very good people, great professionals. They do their jobs well. But their job is to score what is placed in front of them. And what has been placed in front of them is a bill that is full of gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors. Now, what do I mean when I say that?

Well, first off, the bill has 10 years of tax increases, about half a trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts, about half a trillion dollars, to pay for six years of spending.
Now, what's the true 10-year cost of this bill in 10 years? That's $2.3 trillion.

It does couple of other things. It takes $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues and counts them as offsets. But that's really reserved for Social Security. So either we're double-counting them or we don't intend on paying those Social Security benefits.

It takes $72 billion and claims money from the CLASS Act. That's the long-term care insurance program. It takes the money from premiums that are designed for that benefit and instead counts them as offsets.

The Senate Budget Committee chairman said that this is a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.

Now, when you take a look at the Medicare cuts, what this bill essentially does -- it treats Medicare like a piggy bank. It raids a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare, not to shore up Medicare solvency, but to spend on this new government program.

Now, when you take a look at what this does, is, according to the chief actuary of Medicare, he's saying as much as 20 percent of Medicare's providers will either go out of business or will have to stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries. Millions of seniors who are on -- who have chosen Medicare Advantage will lose the coverage that they now enjoy.

You can't say that you're using this money to either extend Medicare solvency and also offset the cost of this new program. That's double counting.

And so when you take a look at all of this; when you strip out the double-counting and what I would call these gimmicks, the full 10- year cost of the bill has a $460 billion deficit. The second 10-year cost of this bill has a $1.4 trillion deficit.

And I think, probably, the most cynical gimmick in this bill is something that we all probably agree on. We don't think we should cut doctors 21 percent next year. We've stopped those cuts from occurring every year for the last seven years. We all call this, here in Washington, the doc fix. Well, the doc fix, according to your numbers, costs $371 billion. It was in the first iteration of all of these bills, but because it was a big price tag and it made the score look bad, made it look like a deficit, that bill was -- that provision was taken out, and it's been going on in stand-alone legislation. But ignoring these costs does not remove them from the backs of taxpayers. Hiding spending does not reduce spending. And so when you take a look at all of this, it just doesn't add up.

And so let's just -- I'll finish with the cost curve. Are we bending the cost curve down or are we bending the cost curve up?

Well, if you look at your own chief actuary at Medicare, we're bending it up. He's claiming that we're going up $222 billion, adding more to the unsustainable fiscal situation we have.

And so, when you take a look at this, it's really deeper than the deficits or the budget gimmicks or the actuarial analysis. There really is a difference between us.

And we've been talking about how much we agree on different issues, but there really is a difference between us. And it's basically this. We don't think the government should be in control of all of this. We want people to be in control. And that, at the end of the day, is the big difference.

Now, we've offered lots of ideas all last year, all this year. Because we agree the status quo is unsustainable. It's got to get fixed. It's bankrupting families. It's bankrupting our government. It's hurting families with pre-existing conditions. We all want to fix this.
But we don't think that this is the answer to the solution. And all of the analysis we get proves that point.

Now, I'll just simply say this. And I respectfully disagree with the vice president about what the American people are or are not saying or whether we're qualified to speak on their behalf. So...
... we are all representatives of the American people. We all do town hall meetings. We all talk to our constituents. And I've got to tell you, the American people are engaged. And if you think they want a government takeover of health care, I would respectfully submit you're not listening to them.

So what we simply want to do is start over, work on a clean-sheeted paper, move through these issues, step by step, and fix them, and bring down health care costs and not raise them. And that's basically the point.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Old Age and Regrets

When you move to the other side of 70 it is inevitable that one reflects on where one has been and where the limited future leads. There are always regrets about things not a part of one's youth and about things coming that will not be experienced. One thing currently in vogue, if what I read is accurate, is something that doesn't fall into either regret column. I am sure there are other things which could be mentioned, but genital piercings stand out for me in this regard.

Snow in Georgia

It is deeper after more snow fell last night, but this view of the backyard from my deck is pretty unusual here in Georgia. iPhone pictures not that great, but I am still fascinated you can take a picture with your cell phone of any quality.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Liberals are a little slow it seems

Rockefeller gets the message on Obama:

He says 'I'm for clean coal,' and then he says it in his speeches, but he doesn't say it in here," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. "And he doesn't say it in the minds of my own people. And he's beginning to not be believable to me."

You can hear it here.

Liberal Fascism

This book by Jonah Goldberg is the latest purchase for my Kindle. I recommend it highly if you are interested in the historical relationship of fascism to current political matters. Here are a couple of passages which have an interesting application of fascism to today's political atmosphere.

The National Socialist German Workers' Party was in every respect a grassroots populist party. Party leaders spouted all sorts of socialist prattle about seizing the wealth of the rich. Mein Kampf is replete with attacks on "dividend-hungry businessmen" whose "greed," "ruthlessness," and "short-sighted narrow-mindedness" were ruining the country. Hitler adamantly took the side of the trade union movement over "dishonorable employers."

When you read the following, think back to the recent history in America and the school children singing in class following Obama's election.

In 1935 mandatory prayer in (German) school was abolished, and in 1938 carols and nativity plays were banned entirely. By 1941 religious instruction for children fourteen years and up had been abolished altogether and Jacobinism reigned supreme. A Hitler Youth song rang out from the campfires:

We are the happy Hitler Youth;
We have no need for Christian virtue;
For Adolf Hitler is our intercessor
And our redeemer.
No priest, no evil one
Can keep us
From feeling like Hitler's children.
No Christ do we follow, but Horst Wessel!
Away with incense and holy water pots.

Glad we didn't have to read his lips


“And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.

Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”


President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Who is surprised

Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C.

Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.

So Where Are the Jobs?

"Most of the jobs are going overseas," said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign firms had accepted the most stimulus money. "According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S."

Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year.

Winter Olympics

The winter olympics start tomorrow and the big concern is a downhill skier named Lindsay Vonn who is injured and may not be able to compete. BestView was not aware of this young lady, but in the press concern over her participation, there was publication of her bikini-clad picture from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition which just came out. It seem to me that her future will be just fine whether she ever skis again or not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The dollar calculator

This is a fun site to play around with. If you put in a dollar amount and the year, the calculator will tell what the comparable value is today. For example, when I got out of high school and went to work in the oil fields out in Odessa, Texas, I made $1.10/hour. Today, the pay would be $8.00/hour. Minimum wage then, minimum wage now.

Murtha and Obamacare

The death this week of Congressman Murtha who went in for a minimally invasive gall bladder operation and through surgical error experience a perforated intestine which, through infection, led to his demise. The fact that this occurred in a government-run hospital is drawing comment with respect to how much this might diminish enthusiasm for changing our health care system in the U.S. which would expose all of us to government health care.
Read an example here.

Beware Chinese Fish

BestView has commented previously on the subject of China's water quality problems. As shown in the article below which was published in the Wall Street Journal today, even the Chinese are now admitting their water is polluted. Keep this in mind when you consider buying talapia grown in the water there and shipped here. Just read the packages and country of origin on these fish.

BEIJING—China's government said its water is far more polluted and its industry is producing far more waste than previously realized, in a major study that environmentalists welcomed as a step toward greater transparency.

China's first official nationwide census of pollution sources, issued Tuesday, found that the amount of pollution discharged into the water totaled 30.3 million metric tons in 2007—more than double the 13.8 million tons reported for that year in a report two years ago, where the government claimed water pollution had declined 3% from a year earlier.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


One advantage of old age is the ability to see things that once were become current again. As I watch the Sarah Palin phenomenon I am reminded of the days when the liberals called Ronald Reagan an idiot who was going nowhere.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A consumer report

On a recent trip we rented a Ford Fusion and were really impressed. It had a comfortable drive and several nice features like easy to use heating and cooling controls. When we turned the car in a winter storm prevented us from flying and we had to rent another car which turned out to be a Chevrolet of the same size. It was absolutely shabby by comparison. I came home and bought Ford stock.

Rahm's Apology

The Obama chief of staff called the liberal democrats in Congress f###ing retarded. Then he apologized to the retarded rather than the democrats. This was appropriate in my opinion since they were obviously the wronged party.

Scientific Malpractice

There is an article in today's Wall Street Journal which points out how corrupt science can be. We are seeing daily evidence of this in the absurd global warming situation, but also in other areas like the equally ridiculous, and easily refuted, idea that vaccines caused such problems as autism. The ability of scientists to affect what gets printed is described in this article, but from my experience in research back in the day, there is also a genuine problem with grant reviews which largely determine which projects get the funds to be conducted. This is a more corrupt process than the publication game.

Read it here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Now we must convince Obama

"The global warming movement as we have known it is dead," writes Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations in The American Interest. "The movement died from two causes: bad science and bad politics."

Some decades hence, I suspect, people will look back and wonder why so many government, corporate and media elites were taken in by propaganda that was based on such shoddy and dishonest evidence. And taken in to the point that they advocated devoting trillions of dollars to a cause that was based on flagrant dishonesty and dissembling.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Canadian Premier comes to U.S. for Surgery

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams will undergo heart surgery later this week in the United States.

Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale confirmed the treatment at a news conference Tuesday, but would not reveal the location of the operation or how it would be paid for.

"He has gone to a renowned expert in the procedure that he needs to have done," said Ms. Dunderdale, who will become acting premier while Mr. Williams is away for three to 12 weeks.

The Bush excuse

It is amusing to watch how the liberals from Obama on down use the Bush administration as various matters arise. There is a daily whine about how everything bad about our current situation is the result of some Bush legacy. When they are criticized about some idiotic decisions like holding terrorist's trials in downtown New York, they are quick to point out that Bush tried some terrorists in the U.S. As if some idiotic, wrong-headed Bush decision makes theirs less idiotic. The one thing that keeps this from being amusing is the suspicion that the voters may not be able to see through their least that must be their calculation

The liberals never learn

Obama and other liberals think that they can raise the tax rate on "the rich" and collect some amount of money which is extrapolated from the current baseline. This amount is then put in the budget and counted as money with which a given spending plan can be supported. Of course, the rich got that way by being smarter than idiotic politicians. They will adapt their activities to avoid the added taxes, the income will not be there and the liberals will impose more of a deficit and debt problem on the rest of us. It never fails because they will never learn.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Air Force Academy creates a circle for Druids

In a marvelous display of the government's toleration of all religions, the Air Force is constructing a circle so that Wiccans and Druids in the Air Force can have a place to gather and worship.

The Air Force Academy chapel will add a worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions during a dedication ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled to be held at the circle March 10.

The circle, located atop the hill overlooking the Cadet Chapel and Visitor Center, will be the latest addition to a collection of worship areas that includes Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist sacred spaces.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, NCO in charge of the Academy's Astronautics laboratories, worked with the chapel to create the official worship area for both cadets and other service members in the Colorado Springs area who practice Earth-centered spirituality.

"Feel free to check the site out, but treat it as you would any other religious structure," he said.

The stones that now form the inner and outer rings of the circle once sat near the Visitor Center, where the chance of erosion made the rocks a safety hazard. The 10th Civil Engineer Squadron moved the rocks to the top of the hill in spring and early summer. Once finished, the circle will also include materials from a smaller circle that Sergeant Longcrier briefly set up in Jacks Valley.

"We used the (Jacks Valley) circle during Basic Cadet Training, and it was great," he said. However, the new circle offers significant advantages.

"The circle that we secured in December is much bigger, better and closer to the cadet area," he explained. "This will allow cadets to use the circle anytime they feel the need."

BestView didn't know the Wiccans worshiped in a circle of stones, but to each his own. At least their site of worship is not too expensive.

Mark Steyn found this jewel

In Britain, a research team at King's College, London, has declared that the female "G-spot" doesn't exist.

In France, a group of top gynecologists dismissed the findings, asking, "What do you expect if you ask Englishmen to find a woman's erogenous zone?"

Read it all here and read every thing he writes when you run across something.

Osama Bin Laden and Obama agree it is Bush's fault

The following is a message from Osama bin Ladin:

“The talk about climate change is not an intellectual indulgence. Rather, it is a reality. All of the industrialized countries, and especially the large ones, bear the responsibility for the crisis of the greenhouse effect. Most of them, though, rallied around the Kyoto accords, and agreed to limits on emissions of harmful gases. However Bush Jr., and Congress before him, rejected this accord in order to please the large corporations, which are themselves the ones responsible for [market] speculation, monopolies, and the rise in the cost of living. And they are behind globalization and its tragic consequences. Then, when these criminals’ own evil deeds did them in, the heads of state rush to rescue them with public funds.

Personal Unsecured Loan