Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My brother reads my blog

But he never leaves a comment.

AIDS memorial--Why?

"A design that calls for a grove of trees reflected infinitely by 12-foot-long mirrors was selected today for New York’s first large-scale AIDS memorial."

The AIDS Memorial Park organization, Architectural Record, and Architizer have announced the winner of a competition to design a memorial for victims of AIDS and an education center in Manhattan’s West Village. Studio a+i of Brooklyn, N.Y. won the blind competition with a plan to surround an existing triangular park with mirrored walls and a grove of white birch trees. Architectural Digest, Jan. 30, 2012

Why do we memorialize this particular disease's victims, a disease which is mostly self-inflicted through promiscuous, indiscriminate sex and multiple partners? We don't memorialize death by smoking, drinking or over-eating, or driving too fast, or not exercising. Where is the memorial to those who have died from malaria because environmentalists pulled DDT from the market? Where is the memorial for 50 million dead American babies?
Men who have sex with men--MSM account for nearly half of the approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States (49%, or an estimated 580,000 total persons).

MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the United States each year (61%, or an estimated 29,300 infections).

While CDC estimates that only 4 percent of men in the United States are MSM, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the United States is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522 – 989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men). CDC Fact Sheet

Happy Birthday Jacob Duche', first chaplain

Jacob Duche' was born January 31, 1738. He was pastor of Christ Church in Philadelphia. As recorded in the Journals of the Continental Congress, their first official act after receiving news that British troops had attacked Boston was to request that Rev. Jacob Duche' open Congress in prayer:
"Tuesday, September 6, 1774. Resolved, That the Rev. Mr. Duche' be desired to open the Congress tomorrow morning with prayers, at the Carpenter's Hall, at 9 o'clock."

On September 7, 1774, Rev. Mr. Duche' arrived at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, and read Psalm 35, which the Anglican Common Prayer Book had as the Psalter for that day:

"Plead my cause, Oh, Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of buckler and shield, and rise up for my help. Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me."

After reading the prescribed prayer for the day, Rev. Duche' proceeded to pray extemporaneously:

"Be Thou present, O God of Wisdom, and direct the counsel of this Honorable Assembly; enable them to settle all things on the best and surest foundations; that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that Order, Harmony and Peace may be effectually restored, and that Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety, prevail and flourish among the people...

Preserve the health of their bodies, and the vigor of their minds, shower down on them, and the millions they here represent, such temporal Blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting Glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Saviour, Amen."

American minute

The assault on the First Amendment through Obamacare

The President has taken on the 77 million Catholics of the United States. Why in an election year would he do this? It's not like a drone that can selectively take out a single enemy in a foreign country. This "enemy" is the church, all Christians, and this is the United States. And the church is big--next to government, it's the biggest, richest entity in the world. Why would he do this? Bishop Campbell of Columbus--a version of this letter was read across the nation this past Sunday in every Catholic parish--called for civil disobedience. But just because we're not Catholics, it doesn't mean we aren't affected. I don't think Obama is stupid; I think he's sly. He wants a confrontation, an excuse to quash the church. Who else can speak truth to power but the church? In the days of the monarchies the clergy who spoke against the king was sent to the tower or the gallows. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights was written by Christians to prevent that by keeping the government out of the churches.

It’s not what you and I as Lutheran or Methodist or even the Catholic in the pew believe about birth control pills. It’s what the Catholic church teaches about contraception and abortion based on its searching the Scriptures, tradition going back to Peter, and historic teachings about the significance of life. We (you and I) don’t have a say in those teachings and beliefs anymore than Obama does, because this is protected by the first amendment. It's the first amendment that protects all our churches, even little old 50,000 membership in Church of the Brethren, from interference by the state. It's the reason there was massive exodus from Europe as Protestants and Catholics alike suffered under the whims of various monarchs. And until Obamacare, those beliefs about life taught by the Catholic church were also protected by this president who made numerous promises to Catholic institutions who insure both Catholics and non-Catholics, that he would respect their beliefs if they would support his plan to take over the healthcare industry. They did; he didn't.

I also don’t believe in purgatory or 7 sacraments, but I believe the Roman Catholic church has a right to teach, believe, and act on those beliefs. Just as I believe it has a right not to pay for contraceptives or abortions of employees or clients in its hospitals and universities, its social service agencies and its elementary schools, its job training programs and its food pantries, its low income housing complexes, its adoption agencies and nursing homes. On the near horizon under Obamacare, we will come to a point when insurance plans under government mandate will be weeding out the disabled as not worthy of care, or the expense, just as now 93% of unborn children with Down Syndrome are "weeded." If you don’t believe it, please do more research into the articles written by some of Obama's Czars, advisers and "bioethicists." It will be the Catholic Church, not your Democratic party or Republican party, and certainly not President Obama, who will be guarding the door for you.

Finger pointing is now racist

Last Thursday after Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, said Welcome to the President, he attacked her for what she'd written in her book. The two had words, the big guy started it, but the libs are going crazy over finger pointing photo. Apparently, when a white governor does it, it's racist, but when a black President does it, it's just righteous.

Monday, January 30, 2012

More on the auto bailout

"U.S. Treasury Department boosted its estimate of government losses in the $85 billion auto bailout by $170 million.

In the government's latest report to Congress this month, the Treasury upped its estimate to $23.77 billion, up from $23.6 billion.

Last fall, the government dramatically boosted its forecast of losses on the rescues of General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance units from $14 billion to $23.6 billion.

Much of the increase in losses is due to the sharp decline of GM's stock price over the last six months.

GM was trading at noon today at $24.24. It's down 35 percent over its 52-week-high of $37.23, but the Detroit automaker has rebounded from a low set last year of $19.05.

The Treasury, [that's us, folks] which initially held a 61 percent majority stake in GM, now holds a 26.5 percent share, or 500 million shares in GM. To break even, the government would need to average $53 per share for its remaining stake."

Detroit News

Why is Obama uniting Catholics?

It’s darn near impossible to unite this country’s 77 million liberal and conservative Catholics, but Obama has done this with his mandate through HHS that Catholic health care institutions and colleges (and other religious groups, mostly Christian) must provide contraception and abortifacients (also Plan B, morning after, etc.) in their insurance plans. We’re not stupid, sir. We know requiring them to perform abortions will be the next step—we’ve been watching how liberals do this inch by inch since by the yard it’s hard. And then it will be no prayers in the hospitals because it might offend their non-Christian patients!

Three years ago the liberal Catholics were all kissy face at Notre Dame with him as he assured his Catholic hosts that he would do nothing but respect their religious beliefs. He used the event to promote embryonic stem cell research, even though adult stem cell was the big news in medicine without a single success for embryonic. He used it as an opportunity to thumb his nose at the pro-life movement. Liberals let it slide—they had his promises about their precious institutional authority. Big Whoop! Then the Supreme Court, even with his liberal appointees decided 9-0 in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, that religious institutions have rights, too. The justices ruled that religious workers may not sue on the basis of job discrimination if it’s in the best interest of that institution that they not be employed. (The end result of going the other way would be Christian churches could be required to hire Muslims, and conservatives and Catholics forced to hire women pastors.) The knives have come out.

President Obama isn’t responsible for the declining membership of the churches—that’s been going on since the 60s—and the church has no one but itself to blame for catering to the culture and ignoring the gospel--but he seems to hope to be the one to make the church as helpless and weak as it is in Europe. Now with the rest of us, the liberal Catholics have had to wise up.

From the beginning of his candidacy, I have defended Obama as a Christian. I said he was a convert, not a Muslim; I read his testimony given at a UCC conference long before he became a candidate. It sounded heart felt and authentic. I said he can’t be held accountable for the sins of Rev. Wright. But as pointed out in the Gospel of Luke, even the demons know Jesus is the Christ—they knew before the general public did--they just don’t worship him. This action of the Obama Administration in an election year is so bizarre, so antagonistic to the largest Christian group in America, that it’s hard to any longer cling to this fragile evidence that he has any intention other than destroying Christianity.

Not only is he uniting Catholics, but conservative fundamentalist Christians are with them who’ve probably never stepped inside a Catholic church, and will be joining them in legal cases. So why would he do this, unite Christians against him, in an election year? Is the cost of law suits going to take money away from conservatives running against him? Will it divert attention, even temporarily, about his reelection? Have you got an explanation?

Addiction to pain killers

Overdoses from prescription pain killers result in 40+ deaths a day and 1.2 million emergency room visits a year, a 98.4% increase since 2004. Sales of opiods in 2010 were 4X more than 1999. Unlike users of illegal drugs, these addicted people usually aren't injecting, they are employed, and they have family support. But as with users of illegal drugs, short term treatment isn't very successful. JAMA, Jan. 4, 2012.

Just a wild guess here--I'm not a researcher or doctor--but it would seem that addiction can happen without poverty and societal breakdown (numbers are higher than for cocaine and heroin). It happens even with excellent health insurance. So when creating new government programs to help the addicted- low income, I hope someone looks at this report. Addiction to prescribed drugs according to this report also varies by state--so look for older people with a lot of surgical procedures for knees, hips, back, cancer, etc., to account for an increase as the population ages. States like Florida and New Mexico have a greater problem with this than Illinois and Nebraska. Also, what year was it the drug plan for Medicare kicked in?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crawling bots

Instead of being "crawled" by Google which allows my blog to be found by others, I've picked up a bot called "Performance Systems International." I don't know what it does, but it definitely bumps the Google crawler.

Celebrities visit the Villages in Florida

It seems the celebrities and political candidates love The Villages, a retirement community of 85,000 residents located 20 miles south of Ocala, Florida on route 441 with a total of 504 holes of golf. Murray recently sent his e-mail list this item about their visitors. "In the past 2 years we've had Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck (twice), Bill O'Rielly, and Sean Hannity visiting us. This week we had Rick Santorum and John McCain with Newt Gingrich tomorrow and Mitt Romney Monday. Also the Tea Party Express bus will be here tomorrow." In fact, he adds, they've even had Occupiers show up to protest.

"One thing you can be sure of and that would be Obama will NOT be coming to The Villages. He already knows that The Villages special interest group is not potential supporters. They consist of the old and wise. He avoids these people plus most of the middle class that he's trying to screw and doing a dam good job of it!"

Pushing the broken, 3 wheel Obama bus over the finish line

"Former presidential candidate Herman Cain has endorsed Newt Gingrich for president. Cain joined Gingrich at a Republican Party dinner in West Palm Beach, Fla., Saturday night to make the surprise announcement.

Cain urged his supporters, tea party members and other conservatives to back the only true conservative in the race, Newt Gingrich." Newsmax source

Google's new privacy rules, March 1, 2012

Google has many products and over 60 privacy policies. It is going to standardize them to create a "beautifully simple and intuitive experience" based on five principles. The "information" referred to in the principles is what we the users have provided the company and what it has collected about us in the years we've been using Google--which is a lot, by the way.
1. Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
2. Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
3. Make the collection of personal information transparent.
4. Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
5. Be a responsible steward of the information we hold.
For instance, Google tracks every search I make using its search engine--I do use some other products, but rarely. Yesterday I read a number of articles in print/on-line newspapers--I can either look at my search history provided by Microsoft or click on a Google feature that will tell me the top 8 sites I visited recently including Facebook, my blog, my site meter, articles about Charles Murray, articles in a Tea Party aggregator of news stories, Glenn Beck TV, electronic health records, and something about the welfare state. This tab is color coded to tell me how actively I've been searching those topics. I can click to the next page, which suggests that since I read the New York Times, perhaps I'd like to visit some other newspapers (I'm pretty sure I visit WaPo more often than NYT, but perhaps the origin of the article is what is counted).

I certainly don't keep my politics a secret since I hit a lot of hot button topics here, but just what does "responsible steward" mean when a huge mega-corporation lobbies and donates heavily to political candidates, has recently lost a court case brought by the government and been fined for illegal activity (pharmacy ads), and it carefully tracks every possible angle I research? I also search a lot of religious and theology sites--is that algorithm suppressed? Is it stewardship of their resources or my privacy that matters? (I know the answer to that!) They do, after all, have a responsibility to their stockholders and employees, their "owners." The fact that I can click on a tab and see just what Google is tracking about me I suppose meets principle 3, transparency.

Always keep in mind that Google is not your servant, slave, or employee--it is a highly sophisticated tool that exists only to sell a product/products to keep its investors happy and well paid. You only have to read to learn this, but because it does such a good job, you can be lulled into believing "Google is your friend."
Knowing a little bit about you can help make Google products better, both for you and for others. By understanding your preferences we can ensure that we give you the search results that you’re looking for, and by analyzing the search logs of millions of users in aggregate, we can continually improve our search algorithm, develop new features, keep our systems secure and even predict the next flu outbreak.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Obama Generation

The mainstream press on the drug PC

When I first read the story in the Washington Post today of Brittany Norwood brutally murdering her co-worker Jayna Murray in a Yoga store of Bethesda, MD of all things, I thought two things immediately: 1) Yoga--that eastern religion that’s supposed to bring peace? and 2) how can any woman stab another 331 times, then stage her own assault to deflect the guilt, and not have some prior warning that she was evil to the core?

I read the whole thing, and saw the photos of Jayna’s family (for awhile I thought the photo of Jayna's mother was actually a photo of Brittany the killer so I thought the perp was a white woman) without any knowledge that Brittany was black and Jayna was white. If it had been reversed, if the victim was black and the killer white, do you suppose any reader of the Washington Post could have come across that story and not known that?

Another item in this case not reported in WaPo is that the employees of an Apple store next door could hear the screams of the victim, and did nothing.

The mainstream press on the drug PC.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Come on IN!

Let's hope Illinois and Michigan wake up soon. It's not that far a move for business, or for people who want to work without being coerced into joining oppressive, outdated unions.
"The Indiana State House on a 54-44 vote today passed House Bill 1001, paving the way to make Indiana the 23rd right-to-work state in the nation. The vote took place after House Democrats finally attended session Wednesday afternoon, ending their work stoppage over the issue.

Under the legislation, unions would be barred from collecting mandatory representation fees.

HB 1001 will now be sent to the Indiana Senate. If the Senate passes the bill without amendment, it would go the the desk of Gov. Mitch Daniels as quickly as this week. Earlier this week the Senate passed its own right-to-work bill, SB 269, which is currently residing in the House."
CapCon story

Decrease honors courses to increase Advanced Placement for minorities

Fairfax, VA had decreased its honors courses in high school in order to push minorities into enrolling in the more difficult Advanced Placement courses. That seems counter productive to me. What about minority and non-minority students who aren't ready for Advanced Placement? Wasn't this policy hurting them in order to reach some imagined administrative goal for a small minority of blacks and Latinos (higher percentage in AP) which probably gets the superintendent a prize? Apparently parents felt as I do.
"Honors-level courses are a middle track between standard-level and college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. The school system began phasing out some honors courses several years ago to encourage students — especially low-income, black and Latino students — to choose more rigorous courses.

That appears to have made a difference. The number of students taking AP and IB tests has risen somewhat, and so has the proportion of black and Latino test-takers.

But eliminating honors courses provoked criticism from some parents, who argued that it forced students to decide between standard-level courses that are too easy and college-level courses that are overly demanding."
The school board voted 11-1 to add back in five additional honors courses in the fall. Don't you just hate it when kids are the lab animals in social engineering theories?
Washington Post story

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Laptops and sperm count in men

On someone's Face Book page I saw a photo of a lecture hall where everyone had a laptop on knees or lap. I was pretty sure I'd seen something years ago about heat killing sperm or reducing sperm count. I know my laptop can create heat even through a thick pillow on my thighs, so I looked it up. Here's what was at the bottom (no pun intended) of advice on taking a laptop to college classes.
Guys: if you put the laptop on your lap, please also be aware that the increased temperature can reduce your fertility. The effect is not so strong that you can count laptop use as a contraceptive, but it’s something to think about. You might also think about the effect of elevated temperature on spontaneous mutation rate in those little gamete vehicles you have on board.

How bundling helps the bundlers as well as the candidate

Obama has used 357 bundlers in 6 months during the current campaign. 81 of the bundlers work at law firms--what a surprise there. He’s raised 56 million. Bundlers often receive special treatment because of their ability to raise big money. Obama, in fact, elevated some two dozen bundlers from his last campaign to serve as ambassadors during his first year in office.

Ron Paul has used zero; Mitt Romney eight. However, no one is actually required to say how many, so we only know what’s been offered--and that includes the Obama campaign. Obama provides the information because he sponsored legislation on it when he was a Senator (it failed).

Open Secrets Blog

The six agency consolidation

Remember the big deal Obama made about asking for power to consolidate executive agencies? Big Whoop!

The savings, as reported in NYT, is $3 billion and change over 10 years. . . 2/3 of one day’s interest on the national debt.

But it gets better. No one will loose his job. It will all come through retirements. (We’ll still be paying the benefits, however, which I’m sure are very generous.)

So this is Obama's version of a smaller government. Was this gratuitous slop for his followers and the press, or what?

Obama cuts the government

Newt and Bill

Who you going out with tonight?

"Newt and Bill, as 1960s generation self-promoters, share the same duplicity, ostentatious braininess, a propensity for endless scrapes with propriety and the law. They are tireless hustlers."

American Spectator

The generic candidate

According to a Fox News report this morning, Mitt Romney more closely resembles the "generic candidate" who can beat Barack Obama.


Dwindling oil supplies

"The impact of dwindling oil supplies on the economy is a persuasive
argument for shifting away from fossil fuels, write James Murray and
David King in a Comment piece in Nature this week."
An e-mail announcement from Nature Magazine

No surprise here. Restrict fossil fuels by not building refineries, don't allow deep water drilling leases and send the business to Brazil and stop pipelines and let Canada sell to China who can restrict our energy, and you have the perfect excuse (dwindling supplies) to dump more money both federal and private into alternative fuels. The crazy smart thing is, I think the same mega-conglomerates control both the fossil and the green fuel. Sort of like when the investors in railroads bought up the canal land, and then let the established canal system die.

Siemens Energy which has about 88,000 employees worldwide, generated total revenue of €25.5 billion and profit of €3.6 billion, uses the same phrase in its PR material--"dwindling oil supplies."


Don't blame President Obama

1. The law schools were adrift before he was born. Jurists were substituting opinion and passion for knowledge and precedent before he was an implanted embryo in his unmarried, teenage mother's womb. Whether it’s the 9th circuit or the Supremes, don’t blame the President for the mess lawyers have made. He’s a “constitutional lawyer” who’s been taught only what his professors knew.

2. Don’t blame Obama or any of the Presidents since Wilson for the failures of American education. John Dewey who pioneered social outcome, progressive education was born over 100 years before Obama. Progressive education was incubated and thrived at America’s universities, and then was passed on into the general education system to meet social and political goals. That social goals are more important than math or science or even western civilization can‘t even be put at the feet of Presidents Bush, Clinton or Carter, who created the Department of Education, not even Eisenhower who ordered the schools desegregated, so don‘t lay that expensive, overfed turkey on Obama‘s plate.

3. Don’t blame the President for moral and ethical failures of the church and family. The churches, pulpits and Sunday Schools began buying into 19th century scholars at seminaries and universities challenging the truth, history and moral teachings of the Bible well over 100 years before his grandparents who raised him became agnostics and Jim Wallis‘ grandparents were probably still Bible thumpers. And those academicians and theologians were pointing back to theories and challenges centuries before them cooked up by Germans.

4. You can give him credit for the rise of the Tea Party movement--but even most of that credit goes to Glenn Beck and the Libertarians who birthed it and are now struggling over who’s going to raise the mischievous active toddler. With the infusion of the youth of the Libertarian party, the average age of a Tea Party group (there is no actual political party) is dropping a bit. But it did have a lot of appeal for my generation. People raised during the 1950s have a clearer view (although part fairy tale in my opinion) of the 1950s and pre-Vietnam 60s than they do what they had for lunch yesterday. When they heard candidate Obama talk in 2008 about “fundamentally transforming society” or “transferring wealth,” they had enough time in retirement to reflect on just where the trillions on social engineering since LBJ’s War on Poverty went. Younger business people paid attention too, so that after July 2008 they virtually stopped investing and hiring for expansion. Would more never be enough? And it was a recession, those born in the 30s and 40s were retired, and had time to attend town halls, rallies, and participate in social media. The Tea Party is grass roots. It will evolve and become more main stream. But right now it’s the only American political movement with any blood, guts and brains.

The cost of the stimulus

"Last week, President Barack Obama refused to allow private citizens to spend $7 billion improving America's energy infrastructure. Three years ago, he insisted that taxpayers spend more than 100 times that amount on an outlay that also addressed the nation's energy needs, among other goals. But while the Keystone XL pipeline that Mr. Obama rejected was certain to deliver a product that people want, the benefits of the president's 2009 stimulus program are harder to discern.

Sold as a way to create jobs while building infrastructure and an environmentally sensitive economy, the stimulus plan was drafted in haste by Democrats in Congress and then signed by Mr. Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was priced at $787 billion when enacted; the official estimate is now more than $800 billion."

From the WSJ book review of "Money Well Spent?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This sounds really scary!

Using a person's social network information instead of a resume? Based on the remarks, jokes, and opinions I've seen on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, some people ought to be more cautious about building a different profile! And that list of friends? And family? The future employer just might decide the person is too social, or not social enough and not even know she might be in a book club, or volunteer at a hospital, or belong to a bowling league, and therefore doesn't socialize on-line.
Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates' suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether.

A résumé doesn't provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate at Union Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company's website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled.
The world of technology is just getting too strange and scary. I just learned today that even if your cell phone is "off" you are being tracked. Also, if you have any sensitive financial or political data, do not keep it on a computer that is hooked to the internet.
Insofar as tracking phones, if you believe yourself or the person you are with is a target worth tracking, and that the opponent has the ability, best is to not carry any phone. Smartphone or not. The phone is constantly tracked by the company. Your travel habits can be mapped retroactively or in realtime. Think of the cell phone as a strobe light that's always blinking. We can't see them blinking, but the phone company can.

Insofar as smartphones, iPhones for instance have a battery that cannot be removed. With a BlackBerry you can pop off the back and take out the battery. When I was with certain units on the Iraq/Iran border, everyone with a phone was to take out the battery. An officer said that if you leave the battery in, you can practically watch it drain as the Iranians ping the phone. If they see thirty phones travelling together in a remote area on their border, they likely would take notice. But imagine ten people have phones. If one guy doesn't take out the battery, that's enough to track the unit and even hit you across the border with rockets, artillery or an airstrike. Michael Yon, Iraq war reporter

John Stossel's State of the Union

I watched a replay of Stossel's program of last night while riding my exercyle this afternoon--after the State of the Union. The blueprint idea really resonated--I've got a little experience with that. I know what goes into it before the stamp, and that it can't be changed or products substituted without the architect's approval. An economy can't run by a blueprint (no one uses blue these days, either). . . that called "central planning" in socialist countries.
Has Barack Obama learned nothing in three years? During his State of the Union address, he promised "a blueprint for an economy." But economies are crushed by blueprints. An economy is really nothing more than people participating in an unfathomably complex spontaneous network of exchanges aimed at improving their material circumstances. It can't even be diagrammed, much less planned. And any attempt at it will come to grief.

Politicians like Obama believe they are the best judges of how we should conduct our lives. Of course a word like "blueprint" would occur to the president. He, like most who want his job, aspires to be the architect of a new society.

But we who love our lives and our freedom say: No, thanks. We need no social architect. We need liberty under law. That's it.
The rest of it here, The real state of the union by John Stossel

How the left sees the EPA economy killing regulations--it's really Bush's fault

Not only is it Bush's fault, but also Gingrich's--just in case he's the candidate Obama needs to run against.
What’s happened under Obama is that green drift has become a green sprint; his [Environmental Protection Agency] EPA’s schedule is, comparatively speaking, incredibly aggressive. This isn’t because Obama is a government-loving socialist; it’s because of two factors that played out before he even took office.

First, the Bush administration spent eight years slowwalking scientific review and cranking out rules too weak or ill-formed to withstand judicial scrutiny. In cases where the Bush EPA’s rules were challenged in federal court, the agency’s decisions were rejected in whole or in part eighteen out of twenty-seven times. That left an enormous backlog of court-mandated work for the EPA under Obama—more than any sane president would want, given the choice.

Second, there was a turning point in 2007: the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide, as long as it can be shown to “endanger public health or welfare,” qualifies as a pollutant within the EPA’s purview. The agency then conducted an “endangerment finding,” consulting the latest science, and determined that, yes, climate change is a threat. It e-mailed the results to the Bush administration’s Office of Management and Budget, which promptly … refused to open the e-mail. (Really.) That left the task of developing the first-ever regulations on CO2 to Obama’s EPA chief, Lisa Jackson.

The pace of rule making combined with the extension of the rules to greenhouse gases has given conservatives the “regulatory overreach” story they need to declare war, not only on the individual rules coming out of the EPA, but on the agency’s ability to implement rules at all.

This is not the first time a Congress full of hotheaded freshmen has gone after the EPA. When Newt Gingrich rode to power in the Republican Revolution of 1994, he made the agency one of his first targets. However, as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein recounted in a recent column, Gingrich’s efforts quickly died out as more and more moderate Republicans turned against him. Back then, it was seen as politically dangerous to be pro-pollution.
Washington Monthly

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Obama is lying to you about GM

The Obama administration, and its media backers, have seized upon news that General Motors made a $3.2 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011 as proof positive that its auto bailout is a success. President Obama is so buoyed that he is reportedly planning to make the bailout a major part of his reelection campaign. . .

For starters, included in the $3.2 billion figure is the net $1.5 billion that the company generated from the one-time sale of Delphi, its auto parts supplier, and Ally Financial, its financial arm. Subtract that, and its performance looks much less impressive, especially compared to its rival Ford that really didn’t receive a dime from taxpayers yet made $2.6 billion last quarter—or nearly a billion more than GM. . .

GM got Uncle Sam’s special bankruptcy package that allows it write off up to $45 billion of old losses going forward. That puts its total bailout at up to $75 billion. Even that’s not all. The Treasury gave GM $10 billion of the $60 billion as a loan; the rest was through the purchase of equity.

The equity means two things: 1) GM has zero interest payments. Ford, by contrast, had to pay $251 million in debt-service costs. Despite this, GM’s real per vehicle margin was over $1,000 less than Ford’s, thanks to the heavy incentives it was forced to give buyers. 2) Taxpayers have no guaranteed return as they would have with a loan. Therefore, market valuation of GM’s stock will determine what they will recover. They got back $20 billion when the Treasury sold half of its equity when GM floated its first post-bankruptcy IPO in December. But that still leaves a $30 billion shortfall (excluding the $45 billion tax break). . . GM’s labor costs are still too high . . . But United Auto Workers President Bob King has declared that workers have already sacrificed enough to keep GM solvent and now expect givebacks.

General Motors will never repay taxpayers

Today's new word--Retrocommission

If the Congress is going to find out about "retro-commissioning" we'd better know what it is because that means it will cost us money, right?
“In a climate of escalating utility costs and increasing operating budget pressures, building owners are seeking ways for energy and operational savings to be realized. It is through the process of retro-commissioning that untapped savings potential is achieved while creating a high return-on-investment, and improving building performance.”
Briefing for House of Representatives, March 15, 2011, ASHRAE

I'd never heard of retro-commissioning, so here's what I found on the internet, but it sure sounds like building maintenance to me.

Commissioning of existing buildings or “retrocommissioning,” is a systematic process applied to existing buildings for identifying and implementing operational and maintenance improvements and for ensuring their continued performance over time. Retrocommissioning assures system functionality. It is an inclusive and systematic process that intends not only to optimize how equipment and systems operate, but also to optimize how the systems function together. Although retrocommissioning may include recommendations for capital improvements, the primary focus is on using O&M tune-up activities and diagnostic testing to optimize the building systems. Retrocommissioning is not a substitute for major repair work. Repairing major problems is a must before retrocommissioning can be fully completed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hayek on Keynes (1978)

The author of "Road to Serfdom" F. A. Hayek talking about Keynes.

I got the book "Road to Serfdom" for Christmas, but haven't read it yet.

March for Life--January 23, 2012

This morning I listened to an inspiring Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine in DC on EWTV radio, locally on 820 a.m. where it's packed with Marchers for Life, after an all night prayer vigil. Beautiful music and homily, scripture and liturgy. The reporters said at least half of the marchers they've seen are under 35, with bus loads of junior and senior high school students. Weather was mild in the morning; estimate about 400,000. ABC covered at length a few days ago some Occupiers being evicted from a Presbyterian church in New York because a few were stealing, urinating and trashing the place. Wonder if they'll talk to a Marcher for Life or just a protester standing around?

Mid-morning on the way home from exercise class, I heard the cheering and yelling at Verizon Center where the young people are meeting. A bittersweet moment--commemorating and memorializing their lost peers, but supporting each other in the movement with typical youthful enthusiasm. One girl said she'd been on the bus for 33 hours.

This afternoon I watched a steady stream of Republican Congressmen and women (my husband says he did see at least one Democrat) stand before thousands in the rain in Washington and declare their support for life, each had about 30 seconds and boy did they make it count. No notes or teleprompter. Rep. West of Florida was inspiring--they all were. He read from the Bible, and quoted Reagan. Frankly, I'd never heard a group of politicians speak so inspiringly about God, country and life. If you missed it, I hope it shows up somewhere on YouTube, because it sure won't be on the news. I was in tears when Terry Schaivo's brothers came forward to speak for the dying and disabled.

There was a firey black pastor from Maryland who closed with comments (a sermon, really) and prayer with members of his family and congregation beside him. He got so emotional, I thought he'd have a heart attack. He called for defeating Obama in November, detailed the geneocide of blacks, said the President has spent more time with/on Planned Parenthood than any issue of importance to blacks. "They are lying and we are dying." "They have stolen our children, stolen our future," he screamed using aliteration. He quoted MLK, the Bible, called the present administration "hirelings for murder." I doubt a white man could have gotten away with it. He called out Obama, Jesse Jackson, the Black Caucus, and the entire Democratic party--held them responsible for the deaths of so many children, particularly black children, and the destruction of our country.

WHFoods: 5-Minute Kale

I can't imagine why you'd need a recipe for steamed kale, but here it is. I just put a little olive oil in a skillet, chop up some onions, and peppers red or yellow if I have them, and drop in washed and chopped or torn kale.

WHFoods: 5-Minute Kale

Kale is increasingly gaining notoriety as a superfood — and for good reason. It's packed with pro-vitamin A & C, is also rich in potassium, calcium, and phytonutrients, and is bursting with antioxidant properties . . . A one cup serving of cooked kale contains a whopping 192% of the daily value (DV) for provitamin A, 89% DV for vitamin C and 27% DV for manganese — and all of this for only 34 calories!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who will employ these college graduates?

These numbers don't look good. Apparently a lot of students go to college just to keep the professors employed, because they aren't finding jobs in their fields. According to Alexander Tabbarok we are graduating too many in the humanities and not enough in the sciences to maintain a sound economy. Hmm. Maybe this is an area where "free markets" and "choice" aren't working?

In 2009 the U.S. graduated 37,994 students with bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science, less than 25 years ago; 2,480 students with bachelor’s degrees in microbiology—about the same number as 25 years ago; 5,036 chemical engineers in 2009, no more than we did 25 years ago. In mathematics and statistics there were 15,496 graduates in 2009, slightly more than the 15,009 graduates of 1985.

In 2009 the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts, more than in computer science, math and chemical engineering combined and more than double the number of visual and performing arts graduates in 1985, and 95,000 students a year in psychology, more than double the number of 25 years ago and far in excess of the number of available jobs. And everyone knows what is happening with the print media, but journalism and communications graduates have doubled since 1985!

Debbie Wasserman Schultz blames the Tea Party, but denies it

What do you think? She mentions incivility, Gabby Gifford, and the Tea Party all in one statement. And this is what she calls "toning down" the rhetoric? Yes, Misinformation, you did it very cleverly. She doesn't blame the Occupiers for being uncivil in hundreds of cities even though they confiscated private property, assaulted people, burned neighborhoods and screamed at the press. When did this happen with the Tea Party, Misinformation? The Tea Party is grass roots, and in fact, it isn't even a party in the sense of the Republicans or Democrats. They are, however, a threat to the power structure of both parties, so her method of incivility is to demean their behavior and patriotism. Everyone knows the political climate had nothing to do with the Gifford shooting, but Obama did use the memorial/funeral event for the other victims to launch his 2012 campaign.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: The American people are losing faith in Congress. [inaudible] because of the lack of civility. What do you think can be done to bring that faith back and then we can start thinking that they're doing their job instead of just fighting with each other?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, as someone who spent 19 years as a member of a legislative body, I really agree with you, that we need to make sure that we tone things down, particularly in light of the Tucson tragedy from a year ago where my very good friend, Gabby Giffords, who is doing really well by the way, and I know everybody is so thrilled, as I am, to hear that, making tremendous progress.

But the discourse in America, the discourse in Congress in particular, to answer your question, very specifically, has really changed.

And I'll tell you, I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and a lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement.

After the 2010 elections, when you had the Tea Party elect a whole lot of their supporters to the United States House of Representatives and you had town hall meetings that they tried to take over and you saw some of their conduct at those town hall meetings, you know, in the time that I've been in my state legislature and in Congress, I've never seen a time that was more divisive or where discourse was less civil.
Actually, Congress isn't showing a lack of civility--the members go out and have a beer together or attend parties together. The Democrats didn't approve Obama's budget buster. Is that uncivil? Republicans wanted the pipeline, and so did the Democrat unions. Are they being uncivil, or are the DOING THEIR JOB?

How we got HITECH folded into the Stimulus Bill

Abstract from New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 15, 2011, "Wiring the Health System--Origins and Provisions of a new federal Program, pt. 1, David Blumental, MD
In February 2009, the U.S. government launched an unprecedented effort to reengineer the way the country collects, stores, and uses health information. This effort was embodied in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of a much larger piece of legislation, the so-called stimulus bill. The purpose of the stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), was to stimulate the economy and prevent one of the worst economic recessions in modern history from becoming a full-fledged depression. Congress and the Obama administration took advantage of the crisis to enact programs that might spur short-term economic growth as well as promote scientific and technical advances with potential long-term benefits for the American people. In the health field, one such program involved a commitment to digitizing the U.S. health information system. The HITECH Act set aside up to $29 billion over 10 years to support the adoption and “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) (i.e., use intended to improve health and health care) and other types of health information technology.

According to the article, which goes on for pages and has voluminous footnotes, there were only TWO arguments in favor of this program:

1) the conviction (i.e., no facts, no data, no research) that information technology could improve health and health care
2) a need for the government to remedy the perceived but unproven problems inhibiting the spread of health information technology

Looking further for statistics on why this was needed, I found in Blumenthal's puff piece a number of additional arguments for HITECH based on nothing more than intuition, lack of statistics, and a hunger of government officials for more or more.

3) it was “intuitive.” How’s that for hard evidence?
4) the lack of what they wanted--only 17% of physicians and 12% of hospitals had fully functioning electronic health records. (Wow! what a bonanza for the IT industry and its lobbyists!)
5) We already had the most expensive system without IT, and Europe had health IT, so if we heaped this cost on top of that, we could have a “fundamental technological breakthrough.”
6) It would be a benefit to “policy makers” (that means DC law makers) and
7) the “implied” need could improve care if information were shared, and paper records are difficult to share.
8) There was some empirical evidence from the Veterans Administration System and the Kaiser Permanent Health Plan (a tiny puddle in the overall sea of health records) for treating chronic illnesses.
9) The National Institutes of Health (a government agency) wanted it.

Just as the reasons HITECH was necessary to rush through in the stimulus bill in 2009 (to help the economy) were as fragile as a butterfly's wings and its movement of air, so the reasons not to do it were much more substantial.

1) economic--no reward for improved efficiency in medicine--except to patients and insurers--which in government talk means the markets have failed.
2) logistical and technical--it is so complex, that obviously the government needs to step in to help overcome this barrier.
3) the ability to do this is "underdeveloped," so therefore this huge challenge requires something even more huge--the federal government
4) privacy and security of records--no solution is even offered for this one except noting the health record industry is not currently regulated, so you know where they're going with that one.
Wiring the Health System — Origins and Provisions of a New Federal Program
Clever terms only a doctor on the government payroll (Blumenthal was national coordinator) could use:
  • "meaningful use" of electronic health records
  • meaningful use was a new idea with no precedent in law, policy, or the health care literature
  • multiple major new regulations with far-reaching impact with a short deadline
  • new programs had to be created from whole cloth (his exact words, folks!)
  • targeted public investments
  • encourage millions of health professionals and institutions to adopt and use
  • justified intervention
  • create the need for government remedies
  • intuitive rationale
  • experts agreed
  • policy makers need
  • bunches of vague statistics about quality, doctors, sharing information
    making available $27 billion
  • federal government is correcting market failures
  • EHR can create huge databases for local, national and international research
  • If left to their own choices/devices providers would "never use them efficiently"
  • Congress incentivized, with secretary of HHS allowed to define "meaningful use"
    create an opportunity
  • the gov't dept charged with all the regulations for HITECH had never drafted a regulation or run a technical assistance or training program and had only 35 employees, so obviously the first job creation of ARRA was to add government staff!

This is only pt. 1, and I think Blumenthal has no idea he has made this sound like the Katzenjammer Kids on Parade. I can hardly wait for pt. 2.

Rabid news reporters

Last night in clicking through the channels I paused long enough to hear a female black (probably Democrat) commentator refer to the “rabid Tea Party.” No bias there. The audience had probably cheered a candidate as they are inclined to do at political events. Were Democrats "rabid" when they cheered Obama for singing 7 words of an Al Green song the other day? It's gone viral.

Tea Party members assemble peacefully, maybe they sing a hymn or patriotic song, listen to an Old Testament scripture or say the Pledge of Allegiance. They pay rent for the space they use (they don't just occupy it illegally) and clean it up. They invite candidates to speak on local and national issues--library, schools, water rights, zoning--they sponsor workshops, book clubs, and discussion groups. They are, in my opinion, the grass roots, town hall example of how to be an informed voter and good citizen. On the other hand, both political parties have arcane, obscure rules for even getting on a committee—no newcomer can hope to break through or have an influence.

So who is being rabid—that woman or the Tea Party?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Botswana style.

I've mentioned Lutheran Bible Translators before. We've supported them financially for many years. I really enjoy following the activities and accomplishments of the missionaries. Guess I never thought that they might get hungry for pizza, Chicago style. Eshinee is Canadian born, but grew up in Seattle, and got hungry for pizza while serving in Botswana. She created a sauce, dropped dumplings into it, and covered it with cheese. Found it very satisfying!

Her recipe for Botswana/Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Family Photo--Catie my niece singing the National Anthem

This was made for a contest for a Tampa radio station.

Pot calls the Kettle black

"I think the disruptive, vicious, negative nature of the news media makes it harder to govern this country," Gingrich fumed at the debate moderator, John King of CNN. "I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that." (South Carolina debate in which Newt's smarmy behavior was the first question). Reminds me of Obama blaming Bush for his bad governing. Sorry, Newt, you can't deflect the adultery of your and Callista by criticizing a reporter doing his job.

Faith--in electronic health records

Some people riducule those of us who place our faith in God. How about those who place faith in electronic health records to solve a myriad of problems in the health "system." The faith we the people/patients, the medical community and the federal government put in electronic health records is just amazing. Here's a brief list--you can probably think of more.
  • reduce costs
  • track physicians' performance
  • improve decisions at all levels
  • connect patients with caregivers, clinical staff, care coordinators
  • 24/7 access to medical help
  • special clinic access
  • e-mail, wireless, monitoring of patients
  • home evaluations
  • improved nutrition and exercise compliance
  • transportation services

Noticed in an editorial in JAMA, Jan. 4, 2012--not that the author claimed to have faith, but was simply musing about all the wonderful thing EHR would bring. Any chance $27 billion in stimulus funds stimulated this faith? It looks like just another way to kill off the small medical practice by raising their costs beyond which patients can tolerate.

Having practiced medicine in both paper and electronic environments, [Jaan] Sidorov says an EHR for a group practice is, at best, a wash economically-even with federal incentives. "The cost of these systems is eye-popping, and while the price has fallen, the total bill still includes hardware, software and support. Common sense about the flow of patients and economics doesn't make me believe that doctors can recoup these costs on the back of patient billing."

And if the economics at the group practice level are murky, the prospects of lowering overall health care delivery costs is downright farfetched, Sidorov says. "On the macro-economic level, we are moving chairs around on the deck of the Titanic."
Much more here.

Jaan Siderov's blog, Disease Management Care

Today's New Word--Paraenesis

We're doing Beth Moore's James study at UALC this winter. In the fall we did Revelation, so the book of James is almost like dessert. This book uses her daughter Melissa as a co-writer, and she's had seminary training. Her sections are optional. In week two she outlines the scholars' suggestions for the genre of James, and lists five. One is PARAENESIS, a specialized form of advice or exhortation. Contains precepts and imperatives.

Merriam Webster: LL paraenesis, fr. Gk parainesis, fr. parainein to advise (fr. para- 1para- + ainein to speak of, praise, advise, fr. ainos speech, fable) + -sis

"Paraenetic documents"

"paraenesis is defined as the dissemination of advice, exhortation and/or recommendation. The paraenetic style of communicating is that which exudes Paraenesis, i.e., advising one to pursue or avoid something. Paraenesis is divided into two parts, i.e., persuasion and dissuasion." Link

Originally meant advice or counsel (Greek parainein, to advise). As a form of biblical composition, it is popular preaching or exhortation, of which the epistle of St. James is a classic example. It is exemplified in the moralizing parts of the Old Testament and is found in such Apostolic Fathers as Clement I and the Shepherd of Hermas. Besides James, it is frequently used by St. Paul, e.g., in his letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. Link

James is a gold mine for the modern, mainline church and scholars which discover something new with every dig. Link

Paralells with the Gospels Link

ask and you will receive (James 1:5 = Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9)

the kingdom belongs to the poor (James 2:5 = Luke 6:20b, Matthew 5:3)

ask and you will receive (James 4:2c-3 = Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9)

those who laugh will mourn (James 4:9 = Luke 6:21, 25b)

the humble are exalted (James 4:10 = Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, Luke 18:14b)

woe to the rich (James 5:1 = Luke 6:24)

do not store up wealth (James 5:2-3a = Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 12:33b)

on oaths and truth-telling (James 5:12 = Matthew 5:33-37)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How government health insurance compares with private

We don’t even need to wait for Obamacare to see how ineffective government health care insurance is. Let’s look at the plans we already know, using National Center for Health Statistics as reported in JAMA Jan. 11, 2012, p. 141. The chart shows that road blocks and law suits are needed at every turn to stop this Obamacare madness. The British National Health service is the 3rd largest employer in the world—but they don’t have good health care.

Patient visits to physicians’ offices (2009) and hospital outpatient departments covered by insurance.

Private insurance 54% and 37%

Medicare 25% and 19%

Medicaid and CHIP (children) 12% and 26%
When has a government program in any area been able to exceed what the private sector can offer? Those now using private health insurance will need to be reduced to the government insurance level so that the liberals’ concept of “fair” can be imposed on everyone.

Two types of government health plans were not included in this chart: That for federal employees, which is better than any of us could afford (I think it’s cafeteria style with choices from about 7 or 8 private Cadillac plans, and BIA’s plan for American Indians, which is cradle to the grave health care with no cost to the patient, and the worst in the nation.

Glenn Beck TV

Yes, we're subscribers. When he is good, he's very good, and when he is terrible, he's just awful. Tonight he was awful. Terrible. Alcoholics can't take pain meds, and I think he did--suffering from back problems that took him off the program last week. I sympathize, but maybe the archives would have been better tonight. Eating popcorn while talking about beheadings--doesn't work for me.

I also don't like his whining about CNN and Fox--his former employers. I watched a few of his shows when he was on CNN, and he was just learning how to be on camera instead of being a radio clown, how to speak to a camera, how to interview guests. He was not good--CNN gave him a chance, and when he got better, he switched to Fox. At Fox he developed a huge following, he wrote books, did live theater, and promoted huge events like 9/12 which started a nation wide movement and many book clubs, and he did a huge event in Israel. Now is not the time to cut down former employers. It's unseemly for anyone. He's branching out, doing something different, perhaps it's the media of the future, but he needs to be more grateful to those who helped his career.

Obama is the anti-jobs President, but trying to kiss up to unions

Today, Wall Street Journal, “The Anti-Jobs President”
“Keystone XL has been planned for years and only became a political issue after the well-to-do environmental lobby decided to make it a station of the green cross. TransCanada filed its application in 2008, and State determined in 2010 and then again last year that the project would have "no significant impacts" on the environment, following exhaustive studies. The Environmental Protection Agency chose to intervene anyway, and the political left began to issue ultimatums and demonstrate in front of the White House, so President Obama decided to defer a final decision until after the election.

The missed economic opportunity was spelled out Tuesday by Mr. Obama's own Jobs Council, which released a report that endorsed an "all-in approach" on energy, including the "profound new opportunities in shale gas and unconventional oil." The 27 members handpicked by the President recommended that he support "policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects," and they warned that failing to do so "would stall the engine that could become a prime driver of U.S. jobs and growth in the decades ahead." “
And the Washington Post, “Pipeline. . . hard to accept” after first chiding the GOP, then reported the foolishness of the administration choosing politics over the American economy:
“Environmentalists have fought Keystone XL furiously. In November, the State Department tried to put off the politically dangerous issue until after this year’s election, saying that the project, which had undergone several years of vetting, required further study. But Republicans in Congress unwisely upped the political gamesmanship by mandating that State make a decision by Feb. 21. Following Wednesday’s rejection, TransCanada promised to reapply — so the administration has again punted the final decision until after the election.

We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question. Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen — with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground — but it would go to China. And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude — just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Facebook-Politico connection

I don’t know how many of you are on Facebook, but I am, and I’m part of a “closed” political discussion group, not unlike an e-mail list or listserv. Right now because of the debates, the insults are flying fast and furious between Ron Paul supporters and traditional conservatives. Frankly, I don’t like the new Politico-Facebook partnership. In fact, I’m horrified. I wouldn’t like it anymore than the small print notice at the bottom of print magazine subscriptions that says they sell their mailing lists, but the Politico website is an Obama water carrier. It’s good for a conservative to read it, but it’s better to know what a real $100 bill looks like rather than study the counterfeit bill. Just because they say actual human employees won’t be reading this stuff, doesn’t mean that won’t happen—or that rogue employees** working undercover won’t pass it along either out of commitment to the party apparatchiks or for profit. Here’s the gist of it from All things D

“A partnership between Facebook and Politico announced today is one of the more far-reaching efforts. It will consist of sentiment analysis reports and voting-age user surveys, accompanied by stories by Politico reporters.

Most notably, the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users’ private status messages and comments. While that may alarm some people, Facebook and Politico say the entire process is automated and no Facebook employees read the posts.

Rather, every post and comment — both public and private — by a U.S. user that mentions a presidential candidate’s name will be fed through a sentiment analysis tool that spits out anonymized measures of the general U.S. Facebook population.

This is similar to the way Google offers reports on search trends based on its users’ aggregate search activities.”

The solution, of course, is to get off Facebook or only discuss your latest operation, the grandchildren or what’s for dinner (and many do that).


**I was a librarian at Ohio State, which had the grand daddy of all computerized library systems—other major libraries built on our experience/shoulders, then quickly passed us up as commercial efforts (like those on the internet) became available. But back in the “old days” we always had student employees who knew more than their bosses (like me) who could send deans overdue notices for nonsense. Even 15 years later, when we were still using bundles of microfiche to check overdue books and were supposed to look only for a specific ID number, it wasn’t too tough to look at the alphabetic list (also included) and see which high flying, overpaid professor had 200 books checked out to his office using the library as his personal collection.

The Recession ended--where are the jobs?

"More than 90 percent of U.S. metropolitan areas have failed to recoup the jobs lost during the recession that ended in 2009, a report found, underscoring the slow pace of recovery by urban economies.

Only 26 of 363 U.S. metropolitan areas have seen employment rebound to pre-recession peaks, according to the report, prepared by forecaster IHS Global Insight and released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors today. Nearly 80 areas aren’t expected to see such a recovery for more than five years."


Public Pension ‘Air Time’ Is an Absurdly Generous Perk

Before I retired in 2000 I purchased some time I had worked at the University of Illinois in the 1960s. I have no idea if I bought "air time."

Please read this and see if you understand--I certainly don't!!

Public Pension ‘Air Time’ Is an Absurdly Generous Perk — The American Magazine

Stop SOPA and PIPA

The legislation now moving in Congress has all the nuance of taking target practice with a shotgun; sure, you may hit the target, but everything in the general vicinity is left in shreds too. If these bills pass, there will be major collateral damage to Internet innovation, online free expression, the inner workings of Internet security, and user privacy.

The bills in question are the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. They are backed by extensive lobbying muscle and have bipartisan support. In short, this is legislation that could actually pass. ABC News, Dec. 8, 2011

Think of all the mischief the "commerce clause" has caused. And it was never intended. We have enough laws on the books to stop piracy. Some entertainment giants originally supported this--maybe still do--but perhaps they want us to get off the internet and watch some of that excellent reality TV.

In Ohio, contact Sherrod Brown (D) and Robert Portman (R). Check the internet for your Representative, Mine is Steve Stivers.

Steve Jobs--why technology can't help education

Interview with Wired Magazine 1996

I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent. The problems are sociopolitical. The problems are unions. You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional. The problems are unions in the schools. The problem is bureaucracy.

I have a 17-year-old daughter who went to a private school for a few years before high school. This private school is the best school I’ve seen in my life. It was judged one of the 100 best schools in America. It was phenomenal. The tuition was $5,500 a year, which is a lot of money for most parents. But the teachers were paid less than public school teachers – so it’s not about money at the teacher level. I asked the state treasurer that year what California pays on average to send kids to school, and I believe it was $4,400. While there are not many parents who could come up with $5,500 a year, there are many who could come up with $1,000 a year.

If we gave vouchers to parents for $4,400 a year, schools would be starting right and left. People would get out of college and say, ’Let’s start a school.’ You could have a track at Stanford within the MBA program on how to be the businessperson of a school. And that MBA would get together with somebody else, and they’d start schools. And you’d have these young, idealistic people starting schools, working for pennies.

They’d do it because they’d be able to set the curriculum… God, how exciting that could be! But you can’t do it today. You’d be crazy to work in a school today. You don’t get to do what you want. You don’t get to pick your books, your curriculum. You get to teach one narrow specialisation. Who would ever want to do that?

These are the solutions to our problems in education. Unfortunately, technology isn’t it. You’re not going to solve the problems by putting all knowledge onto CD-ROMs. We can put a website in every school – none of this is bad. It’s bad only if it lulls us into thinking we’re doing something to solve the problem with education.

Lincoln did not have a website at the log cabin where his parents home-schooled him, and he turned out pretty interesting. Historical precedent shows that we can turn out amazing human beings without technology. Precedent also shows that we can turn out very uninteresting human beings with technology. It’s not as simple as you think when you’re in your 20s – that technology’s going to change the world. In some ways it will, in some ways it won’t.

Where are the Occupiers to protest this businessman?

According to today's Lantern (student newspaper OSU), Laurence and Isabel Barnett have donated six million to the College of Arts and Sciences to establish a new arts center and to support renovations. Good for them. He's been in the business end of the arts and made a fortune. Why aren't the Occupy Crowd of Columbus protesting his wealth? Why are all the liberals in academe who were so squishy a few months ago in their support of capitalism, now bowing and scraping--Shanda, dean of arts and humanities, Gee president of the university, and Murray, OSU spokesperson. This also isn't the first gift the Barnetts have given OSU.
"Born in Orville, Ohio, Larry Barnett attended The Ohio State University as a business major in the 1930s and found that his talent as a violinist would fund college expenses. His band played at many Columbus venues, but work and school took their toll; he became ill and left school one quarter short of graduation. Following his recovery, Barnett took a job in the talent department of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). When Music Corporation of America (MCA) bought CBS's talent division, Barnett went with MCA. In 1963, he became board chairman and president of General Artists Corporation, and when it was acquired by Chris-Craft Industries, Barnett we appointed vice president of Chris-Craft as well as vice chairman and director of United Television, Inc. When he retired in 1988, Barnett contacted Ohio State about his unfinished business here, and after completing an independent studies project with Professor Donald Sexton in the College of Business, he received his bachelor's degree. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Ohio State."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adam Corolla on Glenn Beck

Adam Corolla who came to my attention when his rant against OWS was played on Glenn Beck's radio show was interviewed on Glenn's TV show tonight. Corolla says when he was a kid his mom was on welfare, and when he asked her why she didn't get a job she told him she would lose her benefits. He decided then he didn't want that. But he was a poor student and an average-to-good athlete, so he did manual labor and didn't go to college. I'm not sure how he got into comedy and talking, but when he lost his radio job, he started a podcast and website, and says now he's proud to employ people and pay taxes. He and Glenn have that in common. Seven years ago Glenn employed three people, and now he employs 120. His recent back problems (3 minutes before show time last Monday) must cause him concern knowing he's the support of 120 families.

Corolla has a new book, Rich man Poor man, released today digitally. So if you have a Kindle, you can buy it. (I don't.)
In Rich Man Poor Man, comedian and bestselling author Adam Carolla exposes the phenomena that are embraced by the really rich and the really poor–but never the middle class–like having an outdoor shower, wearing your pajamas all day, or always having your dog with you. Combining Adam’s inimitable comedic voice and four-color illustrations by his friend Michael Narren, Rich Man Poor Man is a hilariously accurate look at what the people born with silver spoons in their mouths have in common with the people whose only utensils are plastic sporks stolen from a Shakey’s.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saying good-bye

To help save the economy, the Government will announce next
month that the Immigration Department will start deporting
seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security
and Medicare costs.

Older people are easier to catch and will not remember how
to get back home. I started to cry when I thought of you.
Then it dawned on me ... oh, darn,... I'll see you on the bus!

Grandma's American history book--Monday Memories

One of the books in my collection belonged to my mother's mother--and I think it is her Ashton high school American history textbook, "The leading facts of American history" by D. H. Montgomery, (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1891) On the title page: "America is another word for Opportunity." -- Emerson. The reason I'm not positive it was high school is because she did attend college in Mt. Morris, Illinois and it is written more like an expanded outline. There are a number of interesting tables, charts, graphs and appendices. The Table of States and Territories provides meaning of the name, date of admission, first settlement, sq. miles, population in 1790 and in 1890. Interestingly, Ohio admitted in 1803, is the first state listed as settled by Americans, with the first settlement in Marietta. The second state settled by Americans was Iowa. The 3rd and 4th were Minnesota and Oregon.

Image and complete book

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Healthy sex discussion?

This afternoon Hallmark has a Valerie Bertanelli movie, "Personally Yours," where an Alaskan divorced mother of three children realizes she still loves her husband. The children nominate him for bachelor or something, and he gets a ton of e-mail including some from her.

But what I walked in on (a 2000 movie now 12 years old) was her discussion with her very young teen daughter about sex. "I'm just old fashioned enough," says mom, "to think love comes before sex." Wow. Now isn't that helpful advice. What teen-ager from a broken family doesn't know about LOVE! Even a reviewer at the Christian Cinema site got warm and fuzzy over that one.

"The film does contain good relationships between the siblings; a positive message about being fortunate if you realize what you have; and a thoughtful discussion about sex as mom and daughter discuss the subject, with the girl realizing love should come first."

I wonder, can you trust these reviews?

Keystone Pipeline--while Obama fiddles

The Obama administration has delayed its decision on the pipeline until after the election. According to Bloomberg, this means that the pipeline will not be completed until at least 2015. Had the pipeline been given the green light this November, thousands of valuable construction jobs would have been immediately created and in 2013 the pipeline would have come on stream. But instead this administration prefers to export jobs and US dollars overseas, squandering $70,000,000 per day.

When Hawaii became a territory

Or something. My grandmother used to clip crochet and quilt patterns from newspapers and magazines. One yellowed 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" newspaper clipping from The Inter Ocean for a "Pretty Edging" fell out of a child's book today. On the back is a dispatch from Honolulu about the "territorial bill is finally passed with the amendments."
Within a few hours of its passing on April 14 protests broke out. There was a deportation plan and a no liquor sold in saloons provision. To deport all contract laborers who have come here within the last year would mean sending back to Japan 30,000 people and would leave the sugar plantations helpless, for the whites will not do the work. All agree it would ruin the main industry of the islands.
Nothing ever changes when it comes to immigrant labor, does it? But I don't have a year for this, so I looked through a number of sites, most sort of nasty condemnations of "American Imperialism" and finally settled on a small section from Hawaii State History Guide.
Hawaii was a native kingdom throughout most of the 19th century, when the expansion of the vital sugar industry (pineapple came after 1898) meant increasing U.S. business and political involvement. In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and a year later the Republic of Hawaii was established with Sanford B. Dole as president. Then, following its annexation in 1898, Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1900.

In 1900 the islands were made a territory, with Dole as governor. In this period, Hawaii's pineapple industry expanded as pineapples were first grown for canning purposes. In 1937 statehood for Hawaii was proposed and refused by the U.S. Congress the territory's mixed population and distance from the U.S. mainland were among the obstacles.
I still don't know what deporting Japanese contract labor had to do with it. It could have been they feared the Japanese immigrants would then go to the mainland for better wages. But, on the other hand (or other side) the edging was supposed to be nice for children's underwear or aprons.

The Inter Ocean was a Chicago newspaper printed weekly that was very popular, and my great-grandfather, David George, of Ashton, Illinois, subscribed. Grandma Mary, the youngest of his 4 children, had many clippings from this paper in her childhood scrap books.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A painful twang at least to my ears

So many singers have this sound: someone is sitting on his chest to place a clothes pin on his nose.
It seems to be both secular and religious genre. Latest one I heard was on Catholic radio, but that painful twang can be heard just about universally, with either acoustic or electric guitar, whether singing to God or the girlfriend.

The food pantry

We were talking about the "Souper Bowl" where we collect cans of soup for the food pantry to coincide with the Super Bowl. She said she buys the cheapest off brands because she can get more and so it goes further. But does it? Look at the first and second ingredients. Look at the fillers and thickeners. Not all "unbrands" or house brands are poor quality, but many are. Try them first. If you wouldn't feed it to your family, perhaps other families don't need it either. Someone in poor health or looking for work or mentally ill needs the best nutrition, not the poorest.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking at the Republican candidates

Choosing a candidate.
Your mileage will vary. The economy won't be my first consideration--our debt is so bad, the country may never be able to recover no matter who is president. Obama has secured his place in history. In my lifetime I've been in 4 of the 5 quintiles, higher is a better living standard, but not always the best for friendships and family. We're at the bottom again (pensioners), and life is good.
1) Respect for Life; if the candidate isn't pro-life, won't protect a human life with the strength and power of the office, he doesn't get my consideration--scratch Ron Paul.

2) Restoration of the values and morals that led my ancestors to flee their country, roots and family and come here even before it was a recognized country early in the 18th century--again scratch Ron Paul--libertarians have many wonderful ideas they share with conservatives, but not enough for me. I don't care how he salutes the flag or if he wears a flag pin, but he needs to respect the Christian faith and how it established the freedoms we enjoy and the protections it affords other faiths.

3) A person of character I can point to with pride--scratch Newt Gingrich, who is a fabulous lecturer and debator, but seems vague about recent history (especially his own) although he claims to be a historian and wants to make his most recent mistress the first lady.

4) So that leaves (although I haven't had the news on today) Romney, Santorum and Huntsman. I will do more research on those left standing on my list.

And no, I'm not afraid of Mormons (and Gingrich's ads know many conservative Christians are because he used to be a Baptist), but I am afraid of 9/11 truthers and Paul supporters certainly fall into that hole--along with many wild eyed leftists like Rosie and Van Jones. I'm also afraid of those who don't appreciate that in many cases, our government has done a wonderful job--it's just that when the job is over, those "civil servants" never think enough is enough. We voters are the ones who turned over so much power to the Executive branch. Republicans included. And if a man's wife can't trust him, neither can I. I don't care how many annulments the Pope gives Gingrich, he was baptized a Lutheran and I think that is nonsense.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Is Ron Paul a tool of the left?

From Breitbart TV, Trevor Loudon.
"Ron Paul’s libertarian suspicion of big government defense spending, has been deliberately fostered and encouraged by the most anti libertarian elements in the land – the US hard left.

Ron Paul, and many libertarians think they can work with the left to achieve libertarian ends.

The hard bitten Leninists and disciplined Marxists of the left know they can use naive libertarians to achieve their ends – particularly to gut America’s defenses to the benefit of their foreign masters.

In short, the US left is using Ron Paul and other libertarians, to do what their armies and intelligence services have long dreamed of – destroying America’s military superiority, and with it, US national sovereignty.

By promoting the left’s defense policies, Ron Paul, a man of patriotism beyond question, could be unknowingly betraying his own country to its enemies."

Will it be Romney?

James Taranto (Wall St. Journal) writes, Gingrich has helped to define Romney as the defender of free enterprise:

[Gingrich] presence in the race has been helpful to likely nominee Romney. The former speaker's wretched and unprincipled attacks on the front-runner's business record--which "made no sense," as Gingrich himself acknowledged before he made them (hat tip: Rich Lowry)--previewed the inevitable Obama attacks coming this fall, with both inoculative and preparatory benefits for Romney.

To judge by Romney's victory speech last night, the latter effect has been impressive.
President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our Party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique--We are One Nation, Under God.

Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defense. Our campaign is about more than replacing a President; it is about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies.

Moving Art™ - Gratitude

Open your eyes and really look. Flip a switch. Open a tap. Let everyone you meet this day, be blessed by your presence.

Moving Art™ - Gratitude - YouTube

National Operations Center Media Monitoring Initiative

Facebook friends you make
TV news they fake,
Every half you bake,
Every claim you stake,
They'll be watching you.

Every link you make,
Every tweet you take,
Every blog you fake
When you do update,
They'll be watching you!

Every single day,
Every word you say,
Every game you play,
Every night you stay,
They'll be watching you.

Oh can't you see?
You belong to NOC!
How your poor head aches,
With every tweet you make.

News source

Obamacare and mandatory coverage of contraception

On July 19, 2011 the Institute of Medicine issued "Clinical preventive services for women: closing the gaps.

Please note a key provision of Obamacare requiring insurers to cover all contraception services, and pay attention to the squishy words--
a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes
These services will be included in the MINIMUM package of essential health benefits by August 2012. If you're an employer with 50 women, only 2 of child bearing age, too bad. This package will be available to all.

How long has contraception been pushed as the answer to 1) better health for women, 2) healthier "wanted" babies, and a 3) solution for poverty? But according the statistics half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended. This is a boon for pharmaceutical companies and various contraceptive technologies like IUDs and implants, but will the Catholic church's teachings on natural family planning be included in that "all contraceptive methods, as well as education and counseling?" I doubt it. But Catholic hospitals, doctors, nurses will be required to violate their beliefs and church teaching. If we still had a first amendment that protected religious beliefs from the government instead of the upside down 1962 decision by the Supreme Court based on no precedents and contrary to the what the Founders intended, religious groups would have a better case.

There are already law suits making their way through the courts.
“(It’s) whether or not people, or in our case universities, who have seriously held moral convictions against abortion, should nonetheless be required to pay for it and support it, and endorse it, in effect,” Armstrong said.

The departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and Treasury have been named in the lawsuit charging, “A deliberate attack by the government on the religious beliefs of the Colorado Christian and millions of other Americans.”

What Romney would do differently

And remember these are the promises of a candidate, and we all recall how that worked in 2008.
Below are some of Romney’s more piquant criticisms of Obama, juxtaposed with what he would do differently if elected president:

This President puts his faith in government. We put our faith in the American people.

He is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter.

He raised the national debt. I will cut, cap, and balance the budget.

He enacted job-killing regulations; I’ll eliminate them.

He lost our AAA credit rating; I’ll restore it.

He passed Obamacare; I’ll repeal it.

When it comes to the economy, my highest priority as President will be worrying about your job, not saving my own.

Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America’s role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must – and will – lead the future.

He doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.

He chastises friends like Israel; I’ll stand with our friends.

He apologizes for America; I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth.

Our plans are protect freedom and opportunity, and our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Browsing the new books at UAPL

I stopped by the Upper Arlington Public Library today to return 2 books I didn't read--one on laptops and one on i-pods. Or was it i-pad. But I did find the Teddy Roosevelt book we're doing for bookclub next month. The records are extremely difficult to read, so I had actually reserved one thinking they were all checked out, but one was on the shelf, so a staff person had to remove my reserve.

Then I went to the New Books Non-Fiction shelf. This is always an interesting exercise because I always look through the 200s--religion. Those darn Christians--the shelf is wiped clean as usual! Just other religions like wicca, four on Judaism and a "why I left the [right wing] church" title. You can't even find a Christian book on this library's "holiday" book list. But that's old news. I blogged about that before.

But I see on the new book list they do have Glenn Beck's new book on George Washington. One. With seventeen holds.

Ah yes, banning books in the selection process. A time honored tradition.