Apologies Required....

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Posted on : 7/23/2010 11:34:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

As noted elsewhere, Shirley Sherrod is due an apology or two.  Her firing is unjustified given the context of her remarks.

While we are at it, how about some apologies for these transgressions as well.

Oppressing Iraqis.....With Subtitles

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Posted on : 7/23/2010 10:35:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTzSAstxMkY

Sadly, no embedding is possible.  Equally sadly, I think I hurt myself watching it.

Dive Down Where?

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Posted on : 7/22/2010 04:35:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

National Geographic has a series of dive photos from the Bahamas. Some of the scenes are quite stirring.

Although getting sucked down the Chimney Blue Hole doesn't really sound like a lot of fun.


"All of a sudden, it's got you," says photographer Wes Skiles of the "insanely dangerous" vortex in Chimney Blue Hole off Grand Bahama. Like a giant bathtub drain, it sucks down millions of gallons when the tide comes in. "It's like going over a waterfall—there's no escape." Keeping his distance, a diver sets up equipment to measure the whirlpool's flow rate.

Mistrusting The Government - Classic Examples

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Posted on : 7/22/2010 04:24:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

There are good reasons why I do not trust the government when it comes to my health.  They have a demonstrably long track record of considering my health to be of secondary importance to their ability to do....something.

As this post demonstrates:


This is a dead end street.  The FDA does not recognize aging as a treatable condition and only approves treatment for "Disease."  Since Alzheimer's is not a Disease but a predictable variant of  aging, the only treatments allowed and currently being developed are those that slow down the progression of the "Disease."  Alzheimer's could quite likely be cured if the money now spent developing means to slow down the condition were devoted to finding ways to directly remove the toxic neurofibrillary tangles that form the Alzheimer's plaques.



It gets worse.  Because the FDA only evaluates treatments for Diseases, and its definition of disease versus aging is completely arbitrary (why is Type II Diabetes a disease while Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and function that accompanies aging, is not?) we are forced to develop treatments that primarily address symptoms rather than either repairing damage or rejuvenating systems.  In such a bureaucratized environment we might well be better off as mice than men:



Gene Therapy Trains Immune Cells Against Cancer



Some day you'll be able to get your immune cells reprogrammed to go on hunter killer attack missions against tumors.
Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center created a large, well armed battalion of tumor-seeking immune system cells and watched, in real time using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), as the special forces traveled throughout the body to locate and attack dangerous melanomas.
But for now this sort of thing only gets done for those tricky lab mice who have done such a great job of convincing researchers into developing medical treatments for them first.

If I had terminal cancer and a large sum of money I'd hire medical researchers to do this to my own immune system.



 I don't go all wishy-washy around here very much.  And not very much truly terrifies me beyond the occasional vampire dream.

But I am terrified of growing old.  I watched my Grandmother slowly drift away with Alzheimer's.  I'm seeing some of the same pre-behaviors in my dad.  I'm seeing them in me, too.

And the thought of drifting off into a darkness where thought and conviction and humor and spontaneity and inventiveness and everything else that makes my life worth having slips away quite simply terrifies me.  To have rational thought be uncatchable like smoke.  To have memories sought but never quite found.  To be a rat caught in a maze for which there is no end.

I can imagine few things more terrifying.

Except being in such a condition and having one's government deny the development or application of successful treatments in order that we not inconvenience regulators with the messy problem of occasionally being wrong.

What Media Collusion?

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Posted on : 7/22/2010 07:47:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Nah....must have been my imagination.

Felonious And Fraudulent

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Posted on : 7/21/2010 12:40:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Why all the concern over fraudulent voter registrations?  Why the concern over keeping voter rolls clear of those that are ineligible to vote?

Because they affect the outcome of close races.  Not theoretically.  Actually.


The six-month election recount that turned former "Saturday Night Live" comedian Al Franken into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota's Twin Cities.


That's the finding of an 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority, a conservative watchdog group, which found that at least 341 convicted felons in largely Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race between Franken, a Democrat, and his Republican opponent, then-incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman.


Of course, some folks just won't care....because they approve of the outcome when fraudulent ballots are used.

Tar, Feathers, Railroad......Premature

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Posted on : 7/21/2010 11:42:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

I haven't spent any time delving into the firing of Shirley Sherrod; formerly with the USDA.  She was fired when video surfaced of her speech to the NAACP in which she said she had not provided all of the service to a white farmer that she was obligated to supply.  The audience of the NAACP apparently applauded that particular line in her speech quite enthusiastically.

I am still not going to spend much time on it, except to note this post from Eric Scheie over at Classical Values.  In it Eric suggests that Ms. Sherrod's speech included the suggestion that she was wrong to withhold her valuable services and that she has a different view of her job.  The one from which she was fired.  Give the larger context of the speech, it seems appropriate to suggest that her dismissal was unjust.

His other comments regarding the commitment to free speech and pointing out racism among the NAACP audience are also worthy of your time.

What Media Bias?

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Posted on : 7/21/2010 10:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

This media bias.  Read the whole soul crushing thing.  Gutenberg and Franklin must be rolling in their graves.

Climategate......Questions Remain Unanswered

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Posted on : 7/20/2010 01:29:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

Some time ago, an anonymous individual released emails and computer model coding that suggested that climate researchers that University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit had been less than "scientific" in their research.  Investigating committees were appointed.  The results are out....and disappointing.


When the Climategate e-mails were released last year, the evidence of misconduct by the scientists involved was so strong that the climate establishment was forced to commission a series of tribunals. Yet the conclusions of those inquiries are as specious as the science they were supposed to investigate. By asking the wrong questions -- or not asking them at all -- they have failed to advance the climate debate one iota.


...


Yet the hearings did not include testimony from the most severe critics of the hockey stick graphic, such as Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who could have explained exactly why the e-mails did suggest impropriety.


...


Further, the inquiry failed to ask the most basic questions of the CRU scientists, such as whether Professor Phil Jones had actually deleted inconvenient e-mails. Britain's freedom of information office said that the Cimategate e-mails provided the most cogent evidence imaginable that there had been efforts to avoid FOI requirements, yet the Muir Russell review did not investigate this appropriately.

Why The Silence.....Indeed

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Posted on : 7/20/2010 01:09:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

As my many....erm several....uh...regular reader(s) will attest, I remain quite concerned about the current decision by the Justice Department to drop the federal charges against the New Black Panther Party.  During the election of 2008, NBPP members stood outside of a polling place and threatened voters with violence if they didn't vote a certain way.  One was holding a nightstick.

The Bush Administration filed charges.  The Obama Administration was on the verge of obtaining a default judgment when an apparent political decision was made to drop the charges against all but one of the defendants.  I believe the idea of race-neutral law enforcement is one worth defending.  Apparently, elements of the Obama Administration feel differently on the subject.

I mention all this because the Ombudsman for the Washington Post has published a piece about the delay in WaPo's decision to cover this issue.


For months, readers have contacted the ombudsman wondering why The Post hasn't been covering the case. The calls increased recently after competitors such as the New York Times and the Associated Press wrote stories. Fox News and right-wing bloggers have been pumping the story. Liberal bloggers have countered, accusing them of trying to manufacture a scandal.


...


That's prompted many readers to accuse The Post of a double standard. Royal S. Dellinger of Olney said that if the controversy had involved Bush administration Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, "Lord, there'd have been editorials and stories, and it would go on for months."


To be sure, ideology and party politics are at play. Liberal bloggers have accused Adams of being a right-wing activist (he insisted to me Friday that his sole motivation is applying civil rights laws in a race-neutral way). Conservatives appointed during the Bush administration control a majority of the civil rights commission's board. And Fox News has used interviews with Adams to push the story. Sarah Palin has weighed in via Twitter, urging followers to watch Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's coverage because "her revelations leave Left steaming."


The Post should never base coverage decisions on ideology, nor should it feel obligated to order stories simply because of blogosphere chatter from the right or the left.


What Mr. Alexander his missed is that it appears that the influence of latent politics is the cause for the delay in covering this issue in the first place.

Were we talking about the Klan threatening voters with clubs, the WaPo would have been among the first to point out how far we have yet to go on the subject of race relations.  They would have called for immediate federal intervention and questioned the character of any administration official that did not move forward with the requisite alacrity.

We already know via the JournoList that members of the media colluded to soften the blow of the Jeremiah Wright story on Mr. Obama.

What Mr. Alexander continues to miss is the fact that were our media truly unbiased, we never would have seen the rise of Rush Limbaugh, FoxNews, or any other conservative media outlet.

Where Did All The Jobs Go?

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Posted on : 7/20/2010 09:12:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

The NYTimes was recently holding forth on the "missing jobs" that are no longer in the economy.  Glenn Reynolds links to a few reasonable explanations.

The best explanation is that governments do not run economies efficiently.  Government policies distort the economy.  Sometimes those distortions work out well. [Think EPA air and water pollution regulations.]  Sometimes they do not. [The Depression Era restrictions on working hours in the National Recovery Act come to mind.]

We have had a bit of both recently.  The 2009 stimulus bill included up to $8,000 for new, first time home owners.  The purpose of that money was to help sop up the newly created surplus in homes created by the housing bubble.

Quite frankly, I thought this was one of the few occasions of masterful law-making by Mr. Obama.  New home owners buy a lot of things; lawn mowers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, etc.  Getting those homes out of the market helped slow the fall in home prices while at the same time created demand for other goods.

Another example of positive legislation is the spending of money on road projects.  If we are going to throw money at the labor market, we may as well do so in a way that results in real improvements to our infrastructure.

A negative example would be the "cash for clunkers" program that took a lot of very serviceable vehicles off the market and then junked their motors.  Essentially, it was a subsidy for people with enough money to be able to confidently afford a new car purchase.  Their used cars might have served as good upgrades for second tier car owners that cannot afford to buy a new car.  [Like me!!]

So where did the jobs go?  Health Care Reform and Banking Reform.

Those two laws have created a great amount of uncertainty among employers.  They simply do not know how much these laws are going to cost.  We are already seeing even greater increases in health care insurance costs due to government action.  We have no idea how much the banking reforms are going to cost our banks....and in turn cost us.

I talk to business owners and managers everyday as a part of my usual employment.  Whenever the subject of the economy comes up....and it does....the insecurity of the current regulatory and tax environment is almost always identified as being the prime cause for companies to not hire new workers.  I have had business owners tell me that they have more work to be done, but they won't hire any new workers because they don't know how much it is going to cost in the long run to hire them.

Governments don't run economies.  They ruin them.  It is a hard lesson that we are going to have to re-learn.

Unfortunately.

Unsurprising

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Posted on : 7/20/2010 08:52:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

For those of concerned about the media's 'kid gloves' treatment of Mr. Obama, and the concomitant savaging of everyone else, this is no surprise.

“CALL THEM RACISTS:” JournoList Documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.
Update: Karl Rove, man of tolerance and equanimity:
Rove played down the notion that members of the mainstream press agreed with Ackerman but he said he found it curious that such talk was tolerated within the group. It was important, he added, not to judge the motives of members who chose not to respond.

“I thought it was a revealing insight in the attitude of one minor player in the D.C. world of journalism,” Rove said of Ackerman’s comments. “It’s an even more important insight into a broader group of more prominent journalists that they seem to be willing to tolerate the suggestion that they should all tell a deliberate lie or that they should take somebody’s head and shove it through a plate glass window. I would hope that somebody would say, ‘Mr. Ackerman, do you really believe we ought to fabricate a lie about people just because we don’t agree with them?’”

The Consent Of The Governed

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Posted on : 7/18/2010 10:49:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Via Powerline

I think the more significant cause, however, is the general one--a growing conviction that America is governed by a political class that has its own agenda, involving its own enrichment as well as the endless expansion of its own power, and that this political class is contemptuous of the opinions of ordinary Americans and is determined to impose its will regardless of how Americans vote. I think this perception is in fact true.


...


There have been several occasions when the American people have voted for smaller government; most notably in 1972, 1980 and 1994. But it really doesn't matter. You can vote for limited government, but you can't get it; the political class won't let you. This is not to assert the silly proposition that there is no major difference between Democrats and Republicans. The fiscal disaster that we have witnessed since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 proves the contrary. But still: experience shows that voting for Republicans hasn't been enough to offset the power of the political class.

Biden: Tea Parties Aren't Racist

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Posted on : 7/18/2010 10:38:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

And the President shares that point of view.  Good to know!

“I wouldn’t characterize the Tea Party as racist.  There are individuals who are either members of or on the periphery of some of their things, their — their protests — that have expressed really unfortunate comments.


(…)


“I don’t believe, the president doesn’t believe that the Tea Party is — is a racist organization.  I don’t believe that,” Biden said.  “Very conservative.  Very different views on government and a whole lot of things.  But it is not a racist organization.”