Friday, July 31, 2009
The political winds have shifted in fairly dramatic ways. Republicans are far from in the clear; they still have significant problems they need to repair. But they do have an opening most pundits didn’t think they’d be presented with, and far sooner than anyone could have imagined.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
O's boys are still trying to get the foiled tyrant back in power in Honduras while he remains totally silent on Iran. Do you think those signs were in English for the benefit of the Iranians? Why were they not written in Chinese? Russian? French or Spanish? No, they were written in English as a cry for help from the United States. Obama looked the other way.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Excellent article by Dr. Katherine Schlaerth in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning that is well worth the read:
My problem, as a physician who has practiced medicine for decades, is that I just can't predict with certainty what is end-of-life care, nor can I determine for another individual the meaning of "quality of life."
I recall cases like that of the nonagenarian WWII veteran, comatose for days with multiple organ failure, who with the help of a loving family and dedicated ICU nurses walked out of the hospital, brain intact, to live a few more years.
I've seen "terminal" cancer patients kept alive long enough to hold a new grandbaby, and a 2-year-old's cancer-ridden body sustained for the weeks it took for his heartbroken parents to finally come to peace with his passing.
This current legislation, however, seeks to prevent such costly overuse of health resources through a program of "advance care planning consultation," wherein those on Medicare, or their families, could meet with a "practitioner of advance care planning" every five years, or sooner if illness supervened. Such an adviser need not be a physician, either.
The dynamic and changing character of the Earth's climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
NS: What is the greatest popular misconception about the boom and subsequent bust?
TS: The biggest popular misconception about the housing boom and bust is that it was due to a lack of regulation. In reality, it was precisely the intervention of federal regulators that caused traditional mortgage lending standards to be reduced, leading to sales of homes to many people who either could not or would not pay for them.
NS: What if anything has surprised you about this whole episode?
TS: What most surprised me about this episode has been the utter gullibility of the media in accepting Washington politicians’ attempt to put blame on everybody except themselves.
As we turn the corner toward autumn, President Obama looks increasingly like a dupe, a tool, or a co-conspirator of Goldman Sachs. If he doesn't instruct the Justice Department to commence investigations of the company, and if he doesn't dissociate himself from their alumni hanging around the White House, the Treasury Department, and elsewhere in the government, he's going to become the object of an awful public wrath. Obama has no other choice at this point except to clean house - to fire Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner, and all other former Goldman Sachs employees in positions of power and influence around him.
Principle #1: Fiscal sustainability: The Committee feels strongly that rapid health care cost growth makes our current health care system fiscally unsustainable. We cannot pretend that resources are unlimited or that sure and swift savings will come from investments in comparative effectiveness research, health care technology and prevention programs.
Principle #2: Innovation through Collaboration: The Committee feels strongly that the future of health care will require a new level of innovation that can be best achieved by high-levels of formal and informal collaborations among all health care stakeholders.
Principle #3: Primary Care Transformation: The Committee feels strongly that elevating the role and use of primary care—and the ability to more effectively coordinate with acute-care specialty services and long-term or community-based care—is essential for the transformation of our health care system.
Principle #4: Societal Commitment to Prevention and Wellness: The Committee feels strongly that prevention and wellness must be included in governmental and business policy reform and third-party coverage arrangements.
Principle #5: Engaged and Responsible Health Care Consumers: The Committee feels strongly that health reform initiatives should encourage and set expectations for a more active role for the health care consumer.
Monday, July 27, 2009
NASA’s annual budget sank like a stone from $5 billion in the mid-1960s to $3 billion in the mid-1970s. It was at this point that NASA’s lack of a philosopher corps became a real problem. The fact was, NASA had only one philosopher, Wernher von Braun. Toward the end of his life, von Braun knew he was dying of cancer and became very contemplative. I happened to hear him speak at a dinner in his honor in San Francisco. He raised the question of what the space program was really all about.
It’s been a long time, but I remember him saying something like this: Here on Earth we live on a planet that is in orbit around the Sun. The Sun itself is a star that is on fire and will someday burn up, leaving our solar system uninhabitable. Therefore we must build a bridge to the stars, because as far as we know, we are the only sentient creatures in the entire universe. When do we start building that bridge to the stars? We begin as soon as we are able, and this is that time. We must not fail in this obligation we have to keep alive the only meaningful life we know of.
Unfortunately, NASA couldn’t present as its spokesman and great philosopher a former high-ranking member of the Nazi Wehrmacht with a heavy German accent.
As a result, the space program has been killing time for 40 years with a series of orbital projects ... Skylab, the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission, the International Space Station and the space shuttle. These programs have required a courage and engineering brilliance comparable to the manned programs that preceded them. But their purpose has been mainly to keep the lights on at the Kennedy Space Center and Houston’s Johnson Space Center — by removing manned flight from the heavens and bringing it very much down to earth. The shuttle program, for example, was actually supposed to appeal to the public by offering orbital tourist rides, only to end in the Challenger disaster, in which the first such passenger, Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher, perished.
For 40 years, everybody at NASA has known that the only logical next step is a manned Mars mission, and every overture has been entertained only briefly by presidents and the Congress. They have so many more luscious and appealing projects that could make better use of the close to $10 billion annually the Mars program would require. There is another overture even at this moment, and it does not stand a chance in the teeth of Depression II.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
The enemy facing U.S. and Afghan forces isn't so clearly defined, he explained.
"We're not dealing with nation states at this point. We're concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States."
Having had the privilege of carrying Marines to troubled spots in the world back in my "brown water" Navy days, I know that they are trained to seek "victory"...beats the hell out of "losing." We are rapidly approaching the point we were at under Jimmy Carter where the military couldn't train with real ammunition - we had to flash signal lamps at each other to pretend we were firing weapons. I guess the Marines had better get used to yelling "bang, bang, bang" at the enemy in the hopes of scaring them off. God forbid we engage them, kill them and prevail on the field...it might hurt their feelings!
Mr Ramesh said the rate of retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas varied from a “couple of centimetres a year to a couple of metres”, but that this was a natural process that had taken place occurred over the centuries. Some were, in fact, growing, he said.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It’s clear that Americans are mad at Wall Street crooks and corporate elites who took mega bonuses despite falling profits. But why does that mean the government, in its quest for more regulation, now targets job-producing small and family businesses with steep new taxes and health-care regulations?
In other words, the medicine of big government is even worse than the original disease on Wall Street, and the falling polls for the president’s initiatives show the American people are catching on to this.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Is Senator Kennedy's life valuable enough to dedicate millions of dollars to extending it another month, another day, another year?Because Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy agree with each other that they of all people are entitled to make that decision. Your decision to live or die will now be in their hands.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Here, the advocates of government-run medical care say that we all end up paying, one way or another, for the free medical care that hospitals are forced by law to provide in their emergency rooms. But unless you think that any situation you don’t like is a reason to give politicians a blank check for “change,” the relevant question becomes whether the alternative is either less expensive or of better quality. Nothing is cheaper just because part of the price is paid in higher taxes.Such questions seldom get asked, much less answered. We are like someone being rushed by a used-car dealer to sign on the dotted line. But getting stuck with a car that is a lemon is nothing compared to signing away your right to decide what medical care you or your loved ones will get in life and death situations.
As with the stimulus package, Obama’s health-care plan depends on speed. More important than any given provision, more important than any principle, more important than sound legislating is the urgent imperative to Do It Now.
Do it now, before anyone can grasp what exactly it is that Congress is passing. Do it now, before the overpromising and the dishonest justifications can be exposed. Do it now, before Obama’s poll numbers return to Earth and make it impossible to slam through ramshackle government programs concocted on the run. Do it now, because simply growing government is more important than the practicalities of any new program.
Wage hikes always cause a spike in the unemployment rate, and this year, with the country in the middle of a recession, businesses are already struggling to make ends meet. The economy will continue to hemorrhage entry level jobs unless legislators stop this summer’s minimum wage hike from happening.
Economists are nearly unanimous in pointing out that unskilled workers bear the brunt of minimum wage hikes. According to a 2007 survey from the American Economic Association at the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 73 percent of labor economists believe increases in the minimum wage will lead to employment losses, which will fall disproportionately on the least skilled workers.
Teens get hit especially hard by wage hikes. Research from the University of Georgia (2006) found that for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, teen employment at small businesses decreased between 4.6 to 9 percent. Last summer’s 12 percent minimum wage hike contributed to a 5 percent drop in teen employment and the losses continued this year. Since Congress began implementing the 2007 wage hike, over 480,000 teen jobs have disappeared across the country.
Ahh, to heck with it - Congress passed it, it must be good!
Monday, July 20, 2009
The National Directors of Criminal Investigation seized various computers from the Presidential Palace that had recorded the supposed results of the referendum to reform the constitution that the deposed leader, Manuel Zelaya, was planning to conduct on July 28, the day he was removed from office.The official investigation now deals with the possible crime of fraud and falsification of documents due to the fact that some of the certified voting results had been filled with the personal information of individuals that supposedly participated in the failed referendum that did not take place because of the coup.One of the district attorneys that participated in the operation that took place this Friday showed reporters an official voting result from the Technical Institute Luis Bogran, of Tegucigalpa, in which the specific number of people that participated in table 345, where there were 550 ballots, 450 of which were votes in favor of Zelaya's proposal and 30 were against, in addition to 20 blank ballots and 30 ballots, which were nullified.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The view of Earth from Apollo 11 as she left Earth orbit to head to the Moon. July 17, 1969.
Friday, July 17, 2009
"Washington Democrats have been noticeably nervous for the past two weeks. They seem to have a sinking feeling that things aren't going well, that Republicans have begun to land telling blows on climate change and health care."
Couple that with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Ted Van Dyk, who worked for LBJ, titled "Obama needs to 'Reset' his Presidency:"
Your strategy, by contrast, has been to advocate forcefully for health-care and energy reform but to leave the details to Democratic congressional committee chairs. You did the same thing with your initial $787 billion stimulus package. Now, you're stuck with a plan that provides little stimulus until 2010. A president should never cede control of his main agenda to others.
This tactic has already had negative consequences. Frightened by the prospective costs of your health-care and energy plans -- not to mention the bailouts of the financial and auto industries -- independent voters who supported you in 2008 are falling away. FDR and LBJ, only two years after their 1932 and 1964 victories, saw their parties lose congressional seats even though their personal popularity remained stable. The party out of power traditionally gains seats in off-year elections, and 2010 is unlikely to be an exception.
Yipes! And that's from a Democrat.
An excellent piece by Joseph Keckeissen over at the Mises Institute bears this out:
On that fateful inauguration day, Obama said YES but YES to all the imbecilities being proposed, by President Bush before him, by the Reids and Pelosis in the Congress, by Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner, by the great Nobels and the government-adulating economists. Long live Maynard Keynes and the national economic medical corps that will monetize and fiscalize us to perdition. It was the market that was laid to rest in favor of all the new boondoggling experiments that have all but brought America to ruin.
Go read this - you will not regret it.
Go over to Youtube and put "O'Reilly, ACORN" into the search box and sit back to learn you sumpin! Obama worked for these criminals and they are busy working for him now. These folks are like the Nazi Brownshirts without the uniforms...they need to be stopped.