Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Before the previews for what is supposed to be a feel good movie, my family was exposed to what I consider an insidious, dangerous, and an immoral uninvited attempt of trying to tap into the young fresh minds of those among the audience. From those that brought us the Patriot Act, which makes it a felony to exercise your rights of liberty. Yes - euphemisms are fun. It's not Global Warming, it's Climate Change. But I digress. There on the big screen was an advertisement for the National Guard. It was slick. Dramatically showing how in the darkest of nights, during a bad storm - perhaps after a hurricane, the National Guard could use you. If you have what it takes. Once there, perhaps YOU could be there to rescue that kitten still hiding. Maybe you will find that wedding picture album only gently touched by rain among the heaps of wreckage and gently hand it to the grieving family. You will see words on the screen talking of citizenship reminiscent of Starship Troopers taken out of the context and of course, for the wrong reasons. You will hear music that makes it sound glorious, rewarding, and honorable.

I worry. It seems to me the person who is responsible still has yet been held legally responsible. Where is the justice? The moron who got us into mess did not need to concern himself with being sent overseas to defend another contrived boondoggle that Ike himself would not support. This person did not uphold the Constitution and put the country as risk, morally, and fiduciary. His own experience? That war, the one Ike would not support? That was the other one that dragged on. He hid out in then what was exclusively the National Guard and when sober (not necessarily from drinking) he showed up. He played it 'safe'. I just wonder, If Nixon had decided to send the National Guard to Vietnam, would he had made the same choices? Would he even remember after bender lasting that long? By comparison - Nixon knew where his authority ended.

Today, we have a new President. Our chickens are roosting. Face it. Just one of them - Bin Laden was not a chicken. He was a rooster of our own making because we were having a dust up with the former USSR and when they bailed, we did too. That particular rooster did not like that much. Yet, we silence those who would embrace the true American way of decency on truth? Now we have ads to deal with these chickens to recruit via trickery? Shame. They were roosting while our poster child for attention deficit disorder in chief focused on nonsense in Operation Contrived War on Iraq and created more terrorists, more debt, and more chickens. Cause and effect.
Yet, W. is gone and here we are with slick ads pandering to young adults which I doubt the SEC will be investigating these types of ads for false or being misleading. What is the likelihood the target audience of the 18 year kid would actually be doing National Guard duty as portrayed? There was not disclaimer saying Results not Typical. At least they should change the name and call it International Guard. That's the danger of a single source, single payer, single anything. Maybe they should have a voice over of likelihood causes of death, including poor policy? Congress declares war. Something we have seemed to have forgotten.

Yet, the movie left the audience with an important message as the hero sought to write his final high school essay about Courage and Honor. He found that one can have courage and die a pointless death, one without meaning. But to have honor when doing so gives courage meaning. One can only hope that our leaders have honor and we know our previous leadership were in short supply of this. We should not be so complacent. We should question our leadership. That is distinctively American.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Update on Texas Board of Education

Our elected school board chairperson responds to email query on Neil Armstrong with suggestion to take it up with the teachers. Considering that certain members from the Houston area on the board consider public education an abomination to God and ironically are on the board to only support only home schooling and the majority would be more comfortable in a private school where truth is let us say, more malleable, I find it incredible the current chair person - who succeeds the guy who uttered the phrase Someone needs to stand up to these experts! in the context of the science in the classroom debate vs. creationism in the classroom can suggest without a giggle to take it up with the teachers that bring ideas to the board by way of the TEA? I wonder if I were to ask any given teacher about who sets content of the textbooks and curriculum? You cannot have it both ways. Leadership is sometimes about leading. People in responsible positions need to behave responsibly. Period. Not sneaking your craptastic agenda into the public domain. You see no one should have to debate this nor should we need to have a discussion on this type of topic. We still have a Constitution?

Meanwhile, my follow-up response went answered. I expect nothing less from such cowards who try to indoctrinate with dogma incessantly. If one path fails, find a proxy to seek another to method to succeed with a thinly veiled agenda. It's a sad day for Texans and liberty.

Hi Gail,

We have not met in person. However, I have had the opportunity to speak to you on a few occasions regarding the science in the class room vs. faith is a private issue best left out of a science class room. As the board did have basic confusion over the essential meaning of the word 'theory' in that specific case, the board has demonstrated that it has lack of understanding of the basics of science. If we do have teachers in our system making such Orwellian suggestions on revising historical context, well - that is truly terrible. If you do not know, the central character in the novel, 1984 had a job. This job was to take historical figures and turn them into 'unpersons' by removing them from any documents or literature because they conflicted with the 'party' agenda. The board should be objective and balanced. It should also have the scruples to discern between nonsense and legitimacy. For that very reason, instead of entertaining such nonsense, the person(s) who suggested it should have been challenged on whom else fails to meet 'these standards' and by what exactly are these? Then apply them universally. Followed up by a review of their own credentials. There has to be some merit. There has to be some standard. I believe the Texas public education received when I exited the system is far stronger than one being offered today and I am in my mid 40s. That should not be the case. We have better tools, better information available, yet our system is falling down. You do have a leadership position on the board? We were taught critical thinking skills. If our teachers and board lack this basic skill - what hope do we have? I expect more. Our kids deserve more. We cannot be forever importing talent into the state while our recently educated students best hope is to get jobs at Wal*Mart because they were ill prepared and non-competitive, beyond being overly prepped on TAKs because our system failed them due to our board being busy with obscure nonsense right out of a fictional book. But it does make sense if your proposing teacher is teaching to the test. Remove info and facts and have a smaller test.

On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 8:42 AM,

Mr. Best:

I'm not sure we've met before, although you seem quick to blame me for the removal of Neil Armstrong from the social studies curriculum standards. A panel of classroom teachers that was named by the Texas Education Agency to review our standards has recommended the removal of Neil Armstrong, apparently because he is not a "scientist." The State Board of Education has instructed the review panel that we believe Armstrong should remain in our history standards, as his walk on the moon marked a significant contribution to American space exploration. The issue will come back to us for further discussion in November. You might have to ask the teachers of Texas to stop making such embarrassing recommendations to the elected board.

Gail Lowe State Board of Education

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just too Damn Funny: ACORN Sues Hidden-camera Filmmakers

Just when it could not get any funnier, the group somewhat known creating their own bit of distress is actually suing for emotional distress imposed on them? Even the IRS has severed ties with Acorn. I do not know if this is baffling, stunning, or the height of self importance. However, it would be fun to be the rational judge and hear this case. To say the words: Now let me get this straight. Followed up by orders to make them pay court costs. Interesting how if your bias is certain way, it is public service and free speech, regardless of the fact it is disruptive or personal in nature. This is not even playing by your rule book Acorn. The apparent distress here is you were caught on tape and lost a tactic.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Community activist group ACORN is suing the makers of a hidden-camera video that showed employees of its Baltimore office giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman posing as a prostitute. The liberal group contends that the audio portion of the video was obtained illegally because Maryland requires two-party consent to create sound recordings. The two employees seen in the video were fired after it was posted online. The lawsuit says the employees, Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams, suffered "extreme emotional distress." The multimillion-dollar lawsuit seeks damages from James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, who played the pimp and prostitute in the videos, and from conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart, who posted the videos on his Web site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Texas Bored of Edukation - Houston Problem? Duh?

These religious nut cases are at it again. Apparently not ever satisfied until everyone subscribes to their ideas of what makes a good society are once again blurring the lines with confusion over whom should be in a 5th grade social studies book regarding the topic of science and scientists. Yes, these are the same mindful people who wanted to be the deciders on what should be in a science book and tackled [once] again the issue of evolution vs. creationism. Never really paying attention to one was science and the other one, well was a belief system and not a science. So now, they want to remove Neil Armstrong from mention because he technically was not a scientist. Well, by that measure neither was Thomas Edison, depending how you define scientist. Are these people to be taken serious? How can we tolerate that our elected officials allow Texas to be the source of ridicule to the rest of the nation and the world? It is just embarrassing. Below is an excerpt from SciGuy Eric Berger.

As part of the process a Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills review team composed of parents and teachers has suggested removing Neil Armstrong from a "science strand" in a 5th grade social studies book. Effectively this would remove the mention of Armstrong has a figure of historical significance from 5th grade textbooks. I asked board spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe why this change was made and she explained: The team said they made this proposal because he was not a scientist. The State Board of Education has not voted for or against that proposal yet. It won't vote on the social studies proposal until January.

I did write a letter to to Gail Lowe. Whom I have spoken to many times. I requested them to stop this nonsense. I suggested they really need to read [or re-read] 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. I also enquired if these two books are still available or if they have banned them? Perhaps, too few members of the board are smarter than a fifth grader? For those of you in Rio Linda, in the book 1984, the government strives to reduce the amount of words available to be used in an effort to force everyone to be politically correct. We would not want these fresh young minds to get dangerous ideas at tender young ages, would we? Freedom is Slavery after all. Plus, just as in 1984, our Board of Education is acting as the Winston Smith character who's job was defined to rewrite actual events to fit the [interpreted] historical narrative to serve the party.

I really laugh at these so-called family values social conservatives. The only difference between them and [social] conservatives in the middle east seems to be attire and geography. The ideology is strikingly similar. Both would be perfectly happy doing a reset of the clock by about 5000 years.

By the way, George Washington said, In no way is the is the United States founded upon the Christian doctrine. Besides, I do not recall Christianity ever proposing or endorsing willful ignorance. That is an invention of foolish men with less than selfless agendas. Get over it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today's NEA: LBJ Would Be Proud!

Most people who know LBJ, know he was successful [at getting his way] because he managed through intimation. We often hear about a new era of FDR and JFK. I believe there is the shadow of LBJ, not JFK nor FDR taking shape here. However, I wonder how LBJ would have liked the idea of using his NEA as a tool? The NEA? Always, a curious observation, many of us in this county kick and scream when we see tyranny and abuse of power. An old cliche comes to mind: The ends justify the means. Too often, the problem is people only consider the opposing side tyrannical. They cannot fathom the idea that their own action may itself be an abuse of power. When President George W. Bush reduced the liberties afforded by the Constitution, which is the law, there was outcry by some. There was indifference by others. Some people would trade security for liberty. Ben Franklin suggested that if you gave up the first, you deserved neither. However, these safety minded soccer moms could sleep knowing Big Brother was protecting them from evil doers. Whether or not this was actually true or not, or whether one could actually determine this, or if one could even ask was beside the point. One simply felt better and that was all that mattered. Today, in our current administration, we are building and establishing of state owned enterprises, state sponsorships, and even state owned student loans. Irritate the government and risk your entitlement and future. It's a damn slippery slope. We have the current administration with two standards. One for their own outreach of information and one that will investigate those that will oppose it. Equal and fair enforcement of the law is not occurring. Ironic. However, under the previous administration in 2003, congress did make changes to Medicare for prescription drugs, which are unfunded to the tune of something in the neighborhood $725 billion for 10 years, depending on who's numbers are to believed. Ten Years. How will we cut costs and increase benefits simultaneously? Yet this administration is investigating Humana for scaring seniors? Perhaps more than seniors should be outraged rather than scared for not being leveled with in the first place? At least the insurance companies, such as Humana are compelled by law to set aside cash reserves to pay for their obligations. Does the treasury do this for Medicare? Who will pay for these programs and how? But on to the truth police and the dispensing of information and how best to do it. There was this conference call and some things were said.

Consider Buffy Wicks — former Obama campaign activist, now White House staffer:

We won and that’s exciting and now we have to take all that energy and make it really meaningful. I’m in the White House now and what I’ve learned is that change doesn't come easy, but now that I’m actually in the White House and working towards furthering this agenda, this very aggressive agenda, I’m really realizing that… we’re going to need your help, and we’re going to come at you with some specific asks here.

We wanted folks to connect with local nonprofit organizations in their community. We wanted them to connect with local city council members or local elected officials. We wanted them to connect with federal agencies, with labor unions, progressive groups, face groups, women’s groups, you name it.

Then we have Yosi Sergant, the NEA offical who is perfectly in sync with our President's pledge of no lobbyists. If this is not illegal, it is at least sleazy. But he was apparently the sacrificed lamb so to speak, and as a result of this call? Well, he got re-assigned. You can read this link. All that effective work doing community outreach with MoveOn, RockTheVote - gone. Apparently over a conference call. Makes you wonder who is not corrupt. Those means are being justified.

We fought for a chance to be at the table and not only at the table but we’re setting the table. And now [we're setting] the official rule of the National Endowment for the Arts, as director of communication and say, we here at the NEA are extremely proud to participate in the president’s United We Serve initiative.

This is a chance to partner with the White House. … This is just the beginning. … We are just now leaning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What this looks like legally, we’re still trying to figure out the laws...

Whether it is an Evangelical christian visiting the White House for prayer or an artist receiving funding and being shaken down, there has to be limits. There is right from wrong after all? Where have our standards gone?

You can read the transcript here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Return of Jimmy Carter

It did not work out for the Chinese Navy Long ago. They built a nice modern Navy. They sent it out to sea and burned it only to escape into a self imposed world of protectionism and isolationism. Jimmy Carter tried it too. He did it a little more figuratively. He tried price controls and punitive budgets. He tried windfall profits taxes and budgets that punished a generation. He tried lousy taxation policy which led to double digit inflation. He is a smart man. He meant well. He was an educated man. Yet, he had no basic concept of economics. He had insufficient understanding of supply and demand and equilibrium. Surprising for someone who had a clear understanding of Nuclear physics and peanut farming. The basic concept is if you force the price lower than the market demands, supplies dwindle. Just as if there excess supplies, prices drop. The item, whatever it is, is yesterday's news. It's human nature. Get over it. But it was beyond his grasp. It seems we are at the the there we go again, phase to paraphrase a certain B movie actor, who seemed to grasp certain concepts better than others.

Now, in an effort to pander to steel workers, a 35% wholesale tariff (a tax) is being imposed on tires being imported from China. This supposed to give US tire companies an advantage by encouraging the purchasing of US made steel, produced by US steel workers. Who does this help? Who does this hurt? China will retaliate with their own tariffs on items we wish to sell them, such as food. Plus, we need their products and their money. Generally, poor to middle class people are purchasing Chinese made tires, so it clearly hurts them. Not to mention, by punishing China does anyone actually believe this makes US Steel more competitive than any other place in the global workplace? Global or US based tire companies will simply source from India or other countries with lower labor rates, so the tarriff will not restore or create any jobs on idled plants, perhaps at best - shift them from China. The only option would be reduce the labor rate and the operational costs of doing business within this country. That would be taxes, labor cost, and insurance. Tariffs, protectionism, and isolationism can only lead to bad things. More. The short term advantage of courting union support for election purposes is short sighted and bad for this country. It took China 500 years to recover from such mistakes and they are just now rebuilding that burned down Navy.

Ironically - though President Obama seems to have no issue subsidizing GM, which does direct business with China in terms of manufacturing and parts sourcing. Yet - I keep coming back to NASA and Constellation. He cannot afford that and the American jobs and American contractors associated with the program - or the tires.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ISP Diagnosis: The Cisco Phone Burned Out the Router

Working for an Internet Service Provider has to be easiest job on the face of the Earth. It seems you need not actually do any work. You simply must lay blame elsewhere, come up with excuses, and clear your board of tickets. There once was the day the excuse had to be at least plausible. Now, it is just plain silliness. This is a prime example of the dangers protectionism and a little too much job security. Here, in the comfy confines of ISPville there is apparent little concern of the consequences of losing a customer due to the monopoly power of the workforce and the monopoly power of the provider. The threat of "Gee, if do not do a good job, someone else may do it better" does not necessarily occur to members in the Communication Workers of Amerika union. Is it any wonder those of us who still want to keep a job, have to fight the outsource urge of management?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama's "Hope" For NASA? More Russian Rockets

I am skeptical of expert panels. Ever since I heard of the Warren Commission and the theory of a magical bullet. I do not understand why we go through the pretense of objectivity when the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion. If these people are experts, why are they not actually directly involved in the effort they are called upon to examine? Maybe they were once were and are simply longing for their glory days? A more cynical view might consider they are just fulfilling a pre-determined need and playing an already cast role.

Consider this tidbit of news from a year ago which I found on a UK source. Our own nation's media does not seem to consider the importance of such programs or their status as newsworthy. Our own media does not grasp that such programs are actually job bills. Consider what was said.

Mr Obama's transition team is demanding spending cuts to the Constellation Project, the successor to the Space Shuttle, which is supposed to create to a permanent manned base on the Moon by 2020 before a mission to Mars.

The president-elect's team is developing plans to scrap the new Ares rocket, designed to blast a new generation of astronauts into space, NASA advisers said.

This decision seems to have been made a year ago, yet announced just last week!

The article goes on to say:

On the campaign trail, Mr Obama first called for cuts and delays to the Constellation programme to fund his education policies but then later pledged to increase NASA's $17-billion budget by $2 billion, a move apparently calculated to win votes in the Florida and Texas primary elections, where NASA has its two main bases.

But that was before the economic meltdown.

An aerospace contractor who advises NASA told The Sunday Telegraph: "Constellation ought to be the kind of thing that would appeal to Obama in restoring American pride but he's been blowing hot and cold.

Before the meltdown? It's not like we did not know this already, as we saw that train coming. This is government spending with tangible benefits. Why is this on the target for a cut, when we can spending literally budget and spend for the stimulus program for unspecified programs which cannot be demonstrated to create or preserve one job? This is shovel ready after all. Do these people believe the only people believed are those at NASA? Is it possible, or even likely this more about control rather than money? So they need more money. So what. It is money with at least a probable return.

How about we hold each and every program to the same standard?

  1. Net Jobs created
  2. Net college applicants created
  3. Net GNP contribution

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama Administration No Friend of NASA

I just read to confirm after hearing from a friend on that on the 8th, just days ago, a panel of so-called experts decided to recommend to kill Ares I for the Obama Administration. The rocket ship Ares I was to be the part of the Constellation Program to get humankind back into space more safely and less costly than the shuttle it intended to replace. It is the smaller launch component of the program intended to be the safer human rated rocket with the greater safety systems intended only to reach orbit, the moon, but not other places. But without any cargo or luggage. It's larger variant, the Ares V will carry cargo, telescopes, large rovers, other big things, not people. It will be a heavy lift vehicle and although near the size of Saturn V, it would be capable of ferrying much greater payloads. Many of the components are recycled technology from both the shuttle era such as solid rocket technology, which already have established factories and evolved Saturn era engines such as the original Saturn era J2 engine is being redesigned. The new design of the J-2X pumps and other engine components will provide the additional performance. The J-2X engine is being designed to produce 294,000 pounds of thrust. Whereas, the original J-2 produced 230,000 pounds of thrust. Some components are semi-reusable, some are one time use. It is the best of both worlds and is well thought out. These allegedly so-called experts are recommending we use just the Ares V. So, history appears to repeat itself. We'll end up with another shuttle compromise which does too little for too much, built by committee resulting in delay and cost overruns at best. The point is missed. We do not need a human rated rocket to carry heavy cargo, it simply needs to be reliable and not as complicated. This brings the price per pound to launch down considerably. Combining heavy lift requirements and the requirements for human life support makes such a system overly complex and excessively expensive.
Where the hell is Dr. Wernher von Braun? Good ideas come from motivated teams with effective leadership. The Apollo program was 40 years ago and the world, not just the United States is still reaping economic benefits. This would be the stimulus package worth pursuing beyond the obvious technology. If you were to go ask anyone in 1965 what technology would be like between 1967-2010 and what were the drivers of that technology, no one would have suspected it was a little old space race. Perhaps if just he diverted just 1 month of the cost of the maintaining Operation Enduring Occupation, we would not need such expert panels consisting of has beens and never weres.
Just consider what we have learned from the Hubble? Imagine a better Hubble that did not have to fit to constraints of the compromise shuttle? I thought Mr. Obama was about change and vision. Yet another disappointment. We may as well elected Palin*McCain who at least was openly anti-progressive. Mr. McCain belittled the idea of an planetarium projector as a slide projector in one of the presidential debates. He considered that wasteful. At least, that is honest about keeping us in the dark and not evoking any vision for the future.

Friday, September 11, 2009

AntiVirus 2010 - Beware!

There is a nasty AV virus named AntiVirus 2010 running amok. It appears like a legitimate anti virus alert component of a Microsoft update. I was attempting to download software from what I believed was a legitimate site and suddenly my PC shut down and claims to have been updated, due to a found infection. I was thinking, Wow, I did not know Microsoft had such a product. But, hey - I have not been a desktop weenie for more than a decade. It is not from Microsoft, but I did know this or did not know if it was a partner. It just appears as part of the overall Microsoft Security Suite. My current anti virus product had just expired and although still running, it had not been updated. So, I followed the link via the system tray pop-up. When I attempted to purchase, I received an error on my credit card. Odd, I thought. A few moment later I received a call from credit card company about fraud. While on the phone I notice a slight misspelling in the warning pop up message. There were many such pop-ups. Apparently I have been invaded by trojans, viruses, and key-logging programs. My key board action was slow now. Seems like every other key stroke was requiring a double stroke. I was concerned. When I was able to run a true scan, the only breach, was the AntiVirus 2010 components. Bravo.

What was really clever about this technique was that when I went to go renew my current anti virus product, Webroot I was redirected to a page that warned of 'unsafe' content when I attempted to enter the shopping cart to pay. I was given two choices. Protect my machine or continue to the site was attempting to visit, which of course was not recommended. By selecting the second choice, nothing would happen. In addition, I could not launch SpyBot or any other tools to remove. I eventually got out of the muck. But, again guys - Bravo.

Rhetoric in the Bully Pulpit and Owed Apologies

After hearing the President speak and the outrage for the unprecedented 'speak out' of the words You Lie! by Rep. Wilson, I have to think, how many times has someone stood there at the podium and abused the English language, twisting words from their common meaning to something sinister?

The President did worse than lie. He misled. He was supposed to be above this type of behavior. Yes, Rep. Wilson was impolite. He was politically incorrect. Maybe he was fed up? But what about the merits of the argument? We cannot build that wall and lock out illegals. We want, we need these workers. No 'citizen' is going to take these jobs, that is supply and demand. So when these people get sick today, where do these people go today and who actually pays? If they wait until it's critical, what is that cost to society? So, at best, it was dishonest. But, we are not going to solve that problem, so why pretend? Why even bring it up? It's a distraction we do not have time for. I personally do not want this country to be in the position where we envy the jobs people are crossing the border in the dark of night which they covet as their best hope for a life. We once coveted such work because of little other opportunities and the only resolution was to join up into a war machine known as World War II. Do we want that again? Besides, I was offended by other insults to my intelligence, which is not respectful of the dignity of the office he has the privilege of serving.

Consider your money. Consider how the government today views taxes. We hear terms like how will we pay for tax cuts? Tax cuts are not paid for per se. Meaning, the government does not distribute income to you, we the people return money back to it. That is simple pandering to class warfare and he should be above that. Most of us, at least for today, work for the private sector and are taxed on productivity to society, subsiding those are less productive to a far larger proportion of the overall budget than any other component. Government spending is paid for through taxes and borrowing. That is it. These twists on words are Orwellian doublespeak. The fact that this does not bother the general population should be alarming. But, to use an old phrase, Politicians and Dictators prefer unarmed peasants. By peasants, I mean under educated on the facts and a democracy cannot exist without an educated population. Presidents and any other politicians should be challenged each and every time they spew such nonsensical rhetoric, whatever forum they abuse. Unarmed, in our case is stripped of our financial security. To steal from the Bard, do not play the [American people] like a violin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which Barney is Which?

I do not think Barney makes enough news. No, not this fictional overly dramatic Barney, the other one. It is time for a good example of how the network news is generally just a cheer leader for either side of the extreme, but not necessarily the facts. Pick your network. But the point here is, government drives policy. It's not all private sector. Where is the CEO of Freddie Mac and why is he not serving time? Why is Barney not held accountable? Why do so few people get to influence so many? Why do not these folks get the same public 'frog walk' in hand cuffs the Enron guys received? Why are they deserved of immunity?

Here is Barney claiming in 2005 he is pushing for more housing ownership and there will not be the bubble.


Here is he is July 2009 claiming, Hey, I was in the Minority! I had no say!


Before that, here he is in September 2008!

C'mon I know Nothing!

Do they know I'm in Charge Here?

Who is least fictional? The Frank pictures are from a year ago, September 2008. You decide who is more sleazy. He seems pretty involved to me. The difference between the Barneys? With the Neil Patrick Harris fictional version, he is direct on his intentions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From Abundance to Dependance

As we as a nation continue to wrestle with concepts of self reliance against entitlement. We expect ever increasing demands of protection; however one wishes to distort this word, consider this often used, or misused phrase. Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy." - Elmer T. Peterson

Many people fail to realize the slippery slope this suggests. Government is like a narcotic, a credit card out of control, or any other vice. It's best kept in administered in moderation. I really enjoyed the movie An Inconvienent Truth. Especially the point Mr. Gore made about placing a frog in a pot of boiling water as opposed to a placing it in a slowly warming pot. That frog will allow itself to get cooked, slowly. Folks, tyanny is like that. You can slowly let your government take a bit of control here and there. Pretty soon, there will be a camera in your home and your hope for employement or a paycheck will not be from a well paying job to live well, but to survive. The state will depend on you to serve it, rather that it serving you. The argument will be the intrusion into your privacy will be for your own protection. if you are doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to worry about. A certain Mr. George Orwell warned us about that long ago just as he did about today's friend is tomorrow's enemy. Iran and Iraq ring a bell under Bush I? Maybe instead of Health Care reform we need education reform as people tend to forget? Who polices the police? Consider your money. Consider how the government today views taxes. We hear terms like 'how will we pay for tax cuts'. Tax cuts are not paid for. Government spending is paid for through taxes. These twists on words are also Orwellian doublespeak. The fact that this does not bother the general population should be alarming. Presidents and any other politicians should be called on this fact each and every time they spew such nonsensical rhetoric.

For further information and how variations, actual attributions of these words visit http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html and you may be surprised. However, the message is still one which rings true and has been disproved. We are headed for bondage, dependance is here. After all, the point was to form a more perfect union to prevent the errors, learned of and from the past.

Obama in Schools

I must just must say WOW! Mr. Beck and Mr. Limbaugh. Your apparent insincerity is astounding. How easily you forget that President Reagan, Mrs. Reagan, President George HW Bush, all addressed public schools. Where was your outcry and concern stirring up dissent? Are you serious? Just say No to being a dumb ass and mediocrity was the message of George HW Bush. Perhaps that message should have stayed in his own home, for a certain academically and commercially underachieving son? Just say no to drugs was Nancy's message. Mr. Reagan's message was lesson on virtues of being a patriot and a little history lesson. Sounds like indoctrination to me.

When I was a child, I had to take the Presidential Fitness program in my public school. It had a message from the POTUS. Again, were we being indoctrinated or are you jokers simply so dishonest and lack any dignity you actually believe most people are ignorant? This speaks a lot of about the memory issues of your viewers and their own intellectual dishonesty issues if they can feign outrage. What exactly was the specific outrage after all? Sadly, this is about making big money by selling commercial time targeted to people who never paid attention in school in the first place and really do not understand the concept of critical analysis. As Rush would put it, for those of you in Rio Linda, that is considering the merits of the argument against known facts and offering a valid counter argument.

So, at the end of the day, Beck and Limbaugh out of apparent paranoia and inconsistent logic manage to get school districts in my home state to prevent students from hearing a positive message from the President. The young minds full of mush as Rush would put it once again, in Arlington, TX get the privilege of being taken out of school, bussed to the new Cowboy's stadium and hear the previous President speak.

I wonder what he'll talk about?

  1. Spending untold trillions without knowing your history?
  2. Wasting tax payer money?
  3. Appointing incompetent staffers?
  4. How to kill a political party?
  5. Letting religious 'leaders' in the Oval office? (worse than an intern for national security BTW, at least she was direct about it)
  6. How to skirt by life and still get a job for a few years with a great retirement package because your family name?

Where will Beck be on these views? Will he be silent? Who knows? Maybe W. will come clean and tell these kids it is up to them to fix the mess he created and it will take about 15-20 years to do so, possibly requiring a major war, and it will be a lowering your expectations speech ending with a sorry about that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Drives Health Cares Costs?

The cost of health care is high. Is it too high? Who should pay? Those who play by the rules or those who do not? These are a great questions. Among the debate are questions of chronic visitors to their favorite health care provider vs. the relatively young who seldom seek health care and see it as it is - insurance the individual may or may not elect to acquire. However, health care is different than car insurance. If I keep crashing my vehicle and taking it to the body shop for repairs, I will and should expect my costs and insurance premiums to increase. If I dislike the repair or paint job performed, there are remedies, but limited. By limited, I mean I cannot take my vehicle from repair facility to facility hoping to get something repaired if it cannot be identified as broken or repairable expecting someone else to pay for it. If I abuse the driving privilege, I lose it if society deems me an unacceptable risk.

Naturally, as an incentive to keep my costs down, I [often] avoid getting speeding tickets and I [generally] avoid side swiping the vehicle next to me. I may drive above the posted speed limit, but I am at least am aware of cause and effect. For example, a nice empty highway vs. a busy city street. For those who cannot quick grasp that lesson, they get to pay for the mandatory insurance state required insurance. In reality, younger drives pay more for the privilege to drive, simply because they cost more. On the other hand, with health care - there is little consequence to unchecked behavior. At the moment, there is little consequence to my wallet directly when I seek to go from doctor to doctor, as long as I can find a willing insurance company to pick up the tab, or the state. That is a difference, and until the individual is motivated to treat their physical well being at least as well as their vehicle, health care costs will continue to rise. This all speaks to a message that our President spoke of during the campaign and today. Taking some Personal responsibility. Ben Franklin, with all his foresight, envisioned a system where you paid in periodically so it was there when you needed it, money would be there to cover expenses. In my opinion, if you demand more of any product - you should pay more for it. Of course, the obvious exception is person who hits my car, burns my house down, or causes me to get sick. Well, they need to pay more as they did not keep their end of the civil bargain. Their insurance rate should rise and they should pay a premium. That is only logical.

Who knows, maybe our President will speak up and say he let congress try to figure this out and it did not quite work out as expected. He will advocate something like car insurance SR-22, direct cash for insurance, and exercise incentives. One thing is certain, for all but appearances - you are pretty much stuck with the body you were born with. There will be no cash for clunkers programs.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hertz Hurtz

Hertz Rental car is the worst rental car company in the world. They have the worst customer service. The worst attitude. They need to be brought down a notch or two. I would write more, but I will save those choice words for my corporate travel department. However, in this space - I will share the image which I believe they should revive as their spokesperson. Even, OJ would run from the counter, though I doubt he'd be smiling. Yes, it is that bad. Although, he would probably be an excellent customer service manager for Hertz and quite frankly, that is my underlying suspicion - he may already be one! To be sure, there are so many other care rental companies that are so much better. So much more customer focused. I spoke with Hertz management and reminded them of them of these facts. I gave them opportunity to make amends. They chose not too. I hope Avis and everyone else teaches them a little lesson in natural selection. For those of you in Kansas, that means I hope they get their collective butts kicked by their competition and become extinct. A distant memory and a lesson for those who survive to live another day. Super Star? Hertz - you make Alamo look like a Super Nova.

See what others say...including employees. http://hertzsux.blogspot.com/

Too Much Power in the Hands of Too Few

Seeing the news today is like watching an alternate reality TV what if show that warned of government excess of control in your daily life. These were largely the response of Nixon era attitudes and belief that absolute power corrupts - absolutely. Well, actually concepts and experiences from way before Nixon, way before, TV, and way before the United States existed. It's an old concept we tend to forget the principle. We citizens typically prefer to have our government set up in a certain manner that limits its authority. It's prime duty is to provide a common defense after all. It's power should be limited. It's existence is at our pleasure, isn't it? Let's consider just the CIA and FBI for a moment. The CIA was responsible for gathering intelligence and protecting the country from agents outside our borders which may cause harm. The CIA folks are the eyes and ears. Whereas, the FBI's role is enforcement of law within the boundaries of the country on a federal level. Never before have we confused the roles of the two organizations until now. Today, the Executive branch continues the tradition set forth by W. of abusing power by over extension. We really do not yet another liberty eroded at this time. The FBI should remain involved with investigations of crimes. The CIA should remain the centralized intelligence gathering agency focused on providing essential an invaluable asset - information. The previous administration demonstrated that our collective civil rights could could be relegated to mere conveniences which could be discarded as worthless when perceived to do so by the state as necessary without any substantial requirements for evidence not seen since WWII Japanese internment camps or the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments on black men beginning in 1932.

When I was in high school during the mid 1980s, I never imagined George Orwell's pessimistic futuristic view of 1984 of unchecked tyranny, where the population looks to the government for answers as the sole benefactor without appreciating the the cost would appeal to the voting class of the USA. There is no free lunch folks and if you ask for your government to take care of you and you were afraid of the power W. and Cheney had, you have not seen anything yet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Just a quick thought. Our President stated that if I want to keep my health care program, I can. How can he guarantee this? How would this be enforced when a public option would be so attractive any corporation or business with employees currently offering such benefits? Does he not realizes these are costs which could be cut which affect the bottom line which could translate into more jobs, or lower production costs, or greater profit? What company management would refuse such an offer? What board of directors would tolerate such blind eye to such opportunities for cost savings? So, why are we being lied to? Or is there another possibility? Failure to do the homework? Perhaps he did...There was a country in Europe who did this type of centralized control as its own social programs spiraled out of control into a centralized mess which dictators love. Not necessarily the ones who create them. This country along with England, Russia had to clean that one up. All this is pretty much evidence our education system fails to teach world history.

Red Alert.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Darwin, Wallace, Twain and the BoE

In regards to decision to change the big seat at the Texas BoE, I am reminded of Alfred Russel Wallace and a written response by Mark Twain that opinions vary and people do it get wrong. People, even reasonable people, even if they fundamentally agree on core issues can separate company on some core beliefs. Take Wallace and Darwin for example: Wallace approached the theory of evolution in the same era of Charles Darwin and independently proposed his own theory for natural selection. However, even reasonable people have their belief systems and are products of their time, which creates a bias they cannot help but succumb to and which they cannot escape. Such as germ theory vs. vaccines or the Earth being the center of the universe. However, Wallace was a complex person and despite his motives, he sought natural explanation and social justice. Saying this - our collective BoE lacks the fundamental understanding of nature these three enjoyed in the 19th century.

The following is from Mark Twain in response to Alfred Russel Wallace’s revival of the theory that this earth is at the center of the stellar universe, and that the earth, and the universe were made for mankind’s benefit. Twain could not reconcile Wallace's capacity to comprehend the natural order of the Earth, but limiting that order to the Earth.

This is Twain’s written response, in which he begins with a pair of relevant quotes:
“Alfred Russel Wallace’s revival of the theory that this earth is at the center of the stellar universe, and is the only habitable globe, has aroused great interest in the world.” — Literary Digest

“For ourselves we do thoroughly believe that man, as he lives just here on this tiny earth, is in essence and possibilities the most sublime existence in all the range of non-divine being — the chief love and delight of God.” — Chicago “Interior” (Presb.)

I seem to be the only scientist and theologian still remaining to be heard from on this important matter of whether the world was made for man or not. I feel that it is time for me to speak. I stand almost with the others. They believe the world was made for man, I believe it likely that it was made for man; they think there is proof, astronomical mainly, that it was made for man, I think there is evidence only, not proof, that it was made for him. It is too early, yet, to arrange the verdict, the returns are not all in. When they are all in, I think they will show that the world was made for man; but we must not hurry, we must patiently wait till they are all in. Now as far as we have got, astronomy is on our side. Mr. Wallace has clearly shown this. He has clearly shown two things: that the world was made for man, and that the universe was made for the world — to steady it, you know. The astronomy part is settled, and cannot be challenged. We come now to the geological part. This is the one where the evidence is not all in, yet. It is coming in, hourly, daily, coming in all the time, but naturally it comes with geological carefulness and deliberation, and we must not be impatient, we must not get excited, we must be calm, and wait. To lose our tranquility will not hurry geology; nothing hurries geology. It takes a long time to prepare a world for man, such a thing is not done in a day. Some of the great scientists, carefully deciphering the evidences furnished by geology, have arrived at the conviction that our world is prodigiously old, and they may be right, but Lord Kelvin is not of their opinion. He takes a cautious, conservative view, in order to be on the safe side, and feels sure it is not so old as they think. As Lord Kelvin is the highest authority in science now living, I think we must yield to him and accept his view. He does not concede that the world is more than a hundred million years old. He believes it is that old, but not older. Lyell believed that our race was introduced into the world 31,000 years ago, Herbert Spencer makes it 32,000. Lord Kelvin agrees with Spencer. Very well. According to Kelvin’s figures it took 99,968,000 years to prepare the world for man, impatient as the Creator doubtless was to see him and admire him. But a large enterprise like this has to be conducted warily, painstakingly, logically. It was foreseen that man would have to have the oyster. Therefore the first preparation was made for the oyster. Very well, you cannot make an oyster out of whole cloth, you must make the oyster’s ancestor first. This is not done in a day. You must make a vast variety of invertebrates, to start with belemnites, trilobites, jebusites, amalekites, and that sort of fry, and put them to soak in a primary sea, and wait and see what will happen. Some will be a disappointments – the belemnites, the ammonites and such; they will be failures, they will die out and become extinct, in the course of the 19,000,000 years covered by the experiment, but all is not lost, for the amalekites will fetch the home-stake; they will develop gradually into encrinites, and stalactites, and blatherskites, and one thing and another as the mighty ages creep on and the Archaean and the Cambrian Periods pile their lofty crags in the primordial seas, and at last the first grand stage in the preparation of the world for man stands completed, the Oyster is done. An oyster has hardly any more reasoning power than a scientist has; and so it is reasonably certain that this one jumped to the conclusion that the nineteen-million years was a preparation for him; but that would be just like an oyster, which is the most conceited animal there is, except man. And anyway, this one could not know, at that early date, that he was only an incident in a scheme, and that there was some more to the scheme, yet. The oyster being achieved, the next thing to be arranged for in the preparation of the world for man, was fish. Fish, and coal to fry it with. So the Old Silurian seas were opened up to breed the fish in, and at the same time the great work of building Old Red Sandstone mountains 80,000 feet high to cold-storage their fossils in was begun. This latter was quite indispensable, for there would be no end of failures again, no end of extinctions — millions of them — and it would be cheaper and less trouble to can them in the rocks than keep tally of them in a book. One does not build the coal beds and 80,000 feet of perpendicular Old Red Sandstone in a brief time — no, it took twenty million years. In the first place, a coal bed is a slow and troublesome and tiresome thing to construct. You have to grow prodigious forests of tree-ferns and reeds and calamites and such things in a marshy region; then you have, to sink them under out of sight and let them rot; then you have to turn the streams on them, so as to bury them under several feet of sediment, and the sediment must have time to harden and turn to rock; next you must grow another forest on top, then sink it and put on another layer of sediment and harden it; then more forest and more rock, layer upon layer, three miles deep — ah, indeed it is a sickening slow job to build a coal-measure and do it right! So the millions of years drag on; and meantime the fish-culture is lazying along and frazzling out in a way to make a person tired. You have developed ten thousand kinds of fishes from the oyster; and come to look, you have raised nothing but fossils, nothing but extinctions. There is nothing left alive and progressive but a ganoid or two and perhaps half a dozen asteroids. Even the cat wouldn’t eat such. Still, it is no great matter; there is plenty of time, yet, and they will develop into something tasty before man is ready for them. Even a ganoid can be depended on for that, when he is not going to be called on for sixty million years. The Palaeozoic time-limit having now been reached, it was necessary to begin the next stage in the preparation of the world for man, by opening up the Mesozoic Age and instituting some reptiles. For man would need reptiles. Not to eat, but to develop himself from. This being the most important detail of the scheme, a spacious liberality of time was set apart for it — thirty million years. What wonders followed! From the remaining ganoids and asteroids and alkaloids were developed by slow and steady and pains-taking culture those stupendous saurians that used to prowl about the steamy world in those remote ages, with their snaky heads reared forty feet in the air and sixty feet of body and tail racing and thrashing after. All gone, now, alas — all extinct, except the little handful of Arkansawrians left stranded and lonely with us here upon this far-flung verge and fringe of time.

Yes, it took thirty million years and twenty million reptiles to get one that would stick long enough to develop into something else and let the scheme proceed to the next step.Then the Pterodactyl burst upon the world in all his impressive solemnity and grandeur, and all Nature recognized that the Cainozoic threshold was crossed and a new Period open for business, a new stage begun in the preparation of the globe for man. It may be that the Pterodactyl thought the thirty million years had been intended as a preparation for himself, for there was nothing too foolish for a Pterodactyl to imagine, but he was in error, the preparation was for man, Without doubt the Pterodactyl attracted great attention, for even the least observant could see that there was the making of a bird in him. And so it turned out. Also the makings of a mammal, in time. One thing we have to say to his credit, that in the matter of picturesqueness he was the triumph of his Period; he wore wings and had teeth, and was a starchy and wonderful mixture altogether, a kind of long-distance premonitory symptom of Kipling’s marine:

E isn’t one O’the reg’lar Line,nor ‘e isn’t one of the crew,‘E’s a kind of a giddy harumfrodite [hermaphrodite] –soldier an’ sailor too!

From this time onward for nearly another thirty million years the preparation moved briskly. From the Pterodactyl was developed the bird; from the bird the kangaroo, from the kangaroo the other marsupials; from these the mastodon, the megatherium, the giant sloth, the Irish elk, and all that crowd that you make useful and instructive fossils out of — then came the first great Ice Sheet, and they all retreated before it and crossed over the bridge at Behring’s strait and wandered around over Europe and Asia and died. All except a few, to carry on the preparation with. Six Glacial Periods with two million years between Periods chased these poor orphans up and down and about the earth, from weather to weather — from tropic swelter at the poles to Arctic frost at the equator and back again and to and fro, they never knowing what kind of weather was going to turn up next; and if ever they settled down anywhere the whole continent suddenly sank under them without the least notice and they had to trade places with the fishes and scramble off to where the seas had been, and scarcely a dry rag on them; and when there was nothing else doing a volcano would let go and fire them out from wherever they had located. They led this unsettled and irritating life for twenty-five million years, half the time afloat, half the time aground, and always wondering what it was all for, they never suspecting, of course, that it was a preparation for man and had to be done just so or it wouldn’t be any proper and harmonious place for him when he arrived. And at last came the monkey, and anybody could see that man wasn’t far off, now. And in truth that was so. The monkey went on developing for close upon 5,000,000 years, and then turned into a man – to all appearances. Such is the history of it. Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Survey Says...What?

One of my favorite quotes of all times is one which is variously attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Alfred Marshall, Mark Twain and many others - is the saying There are three types of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Surveys and their inherent statistics make their way into popular opinion and their very nature are flawed with questions which create further misconception. In other words, the narrative of the questionnaire is a set up. Often it depends on the expected conclusion of the entity conducting the survey. I want a result to support my conclusion...what questions can I ask to get it? A simple remedy to such a con-game is just think for yourselves folks. If the logical answer is not there among the choices and your BS detector starts to go off, look for your nearest exit.

Here is a clear example with such bias. In this case, bias is exposed as Darwin theory as there is no such thing. The creator of the survey reveals not only their bias, but their lack of grasp on the matter. That is like saying Einstein theory for gravity. Faraday theory for electromagnetism. Marconi theory for radio transmission. See the point? It is rather silly. These natural phenomena exist whether man is around or not to discover them. We as humans just relatively got around to discovering them. It would be a little arrogant on our part to suggest otherwise.

Instead, why not ask if one believes if organized, tax exempt religions/businesses are and have been inherently corrupt? Maybe ask if their patrons look to God instead of themselves as if he were some sort of concierge, for a fee - paid to the church? How exactly do you go from God to origin? Connecting God to organized and demonstratively corrupt religious business? Perhaps that in itself would be valid line of questions to explore. Rationality is not easy. It is far easier to throw the towel in and presume someone or something else other than yourself is in charge. Some call that faith.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grand New Party?

If the GoP is wondering what happened? Here are some ideas...

1) Get rid of the Fundys. They are not Republicans. They are Fundy's. They stole the party. They ruined it. Republicans believe in limited government. Teaching religion in public schools and having religion in the Oval Office the last eight years is not Republican nor Conservative.

2) Stop being hypocrites. Guess what former Presidents were former co-chairs of Planned Parenthood? Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush. Bush's nickname was Rubbers. It was a Cold Wold War tactic for population control. China, was pro-life, pro-population growth. Amazing how tides turn. About the same time Falwell started his influence peddling it is clear to see how positions managed to flip flop. Considering how China changed to 'one child' population control policy, it does not take much imagination to see the logic or motivation in a change of tactics, so let's get real here for a moment. President Richard Nixon declared in 1970 birth control a national priority and sought adequate family planning services [for] … all those who want them but cannot afford them.

3) The phrase, One Nation Under God, in the Pledge of Allegiance Yes. Another Cold War add in. Get over it. It did not exist prior to 1954. It simply was put in to give the middle finger to the Soviet Union. The original, written in 1892, penned by Francis Bellamy reads, I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

4) Same sex marriage, decriminalization of drugs, and whatever else. As a reformed or endangered conservative, I know anything not specifically in the Constitution is strictly left to the states to decide for themselves. Get over it. If you do not like, there is a mechanism to change it. Drugs? I suggest you read up on Prohibition and it's contribution to crime and loss in tax revenue.

Bottom line. If you want to save the party, appeal to the sensibilities in people. Appeal to intellect. Reject dogma. Seek diverse sources of information and do a little fact checking for crying out loud. So, either the Christian Right and their herd of followers believing in so called family values are being played for suckers, or it was merely a tactical move to counter political enemies in whatever hemisphere comes to mind.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The New Star Trek

We saw it last night. I was skeptical. Trek, all that we knew before, was tired. Beaten. The franchise was over. It was done. All the hype and publicity for this new movie seemed to be setting us up for a let down. Meaning, what if the studio spent most of the budget mostly on marketing and special effects at the expense of writing. Considering filming commenced during the writer's strike, there was zero room for margin. Could they pull it off? The movie was far better than I expected. It had a few loose ends, but to sum it up in one word: GREAT!

I do not want to give away too much. But, Let me say, it does give something to those familiar with Star Trek. Specifically, fans of Star Trek you will appreciate how this movie ties bits of original series, the second movie, and even a bit of the original pilot plus other written lore into this movie while keeping it fresh updating that same sense of humor that made most of the franchise great. The movie reaches out to whole new audience, okay you saw the pun coming - a whole new generation and even if the subtle references for the Trekkers are missed, the movie will be enjoyed for the newbies. Leave your expectations about the story line home. That is what makes a good Star Trek storyline great. It does appear a certain J.J. Abrams did save the franchise from the ruins of Rick Berman, a small price to pay, unless you are Vulcan. You will see.

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Empathetic Ear on the Supreme Court?

With the prospect of having a new Supreme Court Justice sitting on the bench next fall enjoying a life time appointment, it occurs to me that many people do not understand the basic tenants of the framework of our government. I sense this by the words often used by our leadership. The word empathy in specific comes to mind. A judge does not need empathy. Social workers need empathy. Judges need only be expert with the law, our constitution, and of course behave rational. This simply means they need to know their role when it comes to the law. This role is to evaluate the case being presented within court against established law. Law established by Congress.

This also means the Court, any court cannot create legislation, nor creatively interpret the law. This leads to horrible consequences such as Separate but Equal case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 only to be finally overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education, which itself was muddled until congress finally had enough and took action in 1964 with some creative motivation from the Executive branch (LBJ) and more recently, another egregious example - the eight years of the G.W. Bush administration.

So now, our President wants an empathic ear on the Supreme Court. Do we truly want this? I know I do not. I know I do not want someone who swings a like a sheet in a breeze on a clothes line based on the public popular opinion of the day, unless that opinion is expressed by a law passed by any elected official legislative body. What does this mean? I believe it important to remember the purpose of the Court is to be the Court. That is, to check and balance the enforcement of the Executive branch of our government. We cannot have one single branch deciding for itself to do more than it was intended outside the constitutional boundaries without expecting unfortunate consequences. If you want to change the law, there is a mechanism to do this. It is called the Legislative branch. Every so often, we the people have an opportunity, a responsibility to vote and elect our representative government. The men and women in black robes on the Supreme Court? Nope, they are there with only a hearing. Once there, they hold much power - forever. For a lifetime. Five individuals should not be allowed to undermine the legislative process. There are three branches of our federal system, for a reason. Why do we forget this? The last eight years, we lacked the checks and balances built into system of government. I think we deserve those back. That was the change I voted for.

Vaccines...Enemy #1?

This was just too funny...

Seems Google's Smart Ads do not work all the time. Maybe they suspect there is an attraction by the paranoid, the conspiracy minded? There is a word for such belief and type of person, but not now...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oprah, Jenny, Jimmy, Swine, Austism, False Prophets, and Reality

With the Swine Flu on every one's mind, one would think the Oprah, Jenny and her ilk would pause to speak. Pause to think. Pause to consider. The attachment to a belief system is dangerous when it becomes so entangled in emotion. When belief allows zero room for evidence, refutes consensus, or when belief disregards the greater good not because of observation or any particular understanding, but because of rigid belief. Throughout history individuals who cling to rigid positions have demonstrated how dangerous they can be. Indeed, when you have someone committed to an idea, you cannot convince them of an alternative based on logic or reason. You cannot suggest examples. You cannot ask for evidence. However, that does not mean a reasonable person is compelled to provide an audience.

Case in point from Slate:

Her boyfriend, actor Jim Carrey, is even more clueless. At the rally last year, I asked Carrey to give an example of a childhood vaccine we could dispense with. Tetanus, he said. That answer did not reflect a strong—or any, really—grasp of infectious diseases. Children who get tetanus—fortunately, it has been extremely rare in the United States since tetanus vaccination began in the 1920s—suffer horrendous pain, arch their backs, and go into terrible spasms before dying. It's a very natural disease, to be sure, because the germ causing tetanus lives in dirt. It's a germ that will be with us forever, and the only way to prevent it is through vaccination.

Slate, goes on to offer a healthy dose of reason:
McCarthy's popularity has created a lot of anger and disbelief in that tiny sliver of society that believes in evidence-based medicine. One person who's feeling particularly frustrated is David T. Tayloe, president of the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatricians. (Remember them? A pediatrician is a person with a medical degree who takes care of children. Some of them are said to trust science more than celebrities when it comes to health care.)"I think show business crosses the line when they give contracts to people like Jenny McCarthy," Tayloe says. "If you give her a bully pulpit, McCarthy is going to make people hesitate to vaccinate their children. She has no medical or scientific credentials. It disturbs us that she's given all these opportunities to make her pitch about vaccines on Oprah or Larry King or U.S. News or whatever. We have to scramble to get equal time—and who wants to see a gray-haired pediatrician talking about a serious topic like childhood vaccines when she's out there blasting the academy and blasting the federal government?"

Hurrah! for the dumbing down of America. Oh, and thanks Oprah for giving a platform to ignorance.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sometimes the Bad Guy Does Lose

When responding to a colleague's request to be Linked-In, a popular social networking site, I saw a 'pop up' for a vice president who would one day be become the president of my former employer and who would claim to be the CEO, but he spelled it ceo. I did read the snippet that he did boast this as factual. So I clicked the link and read his profile. The spelling errors were quite funny. Ironic. Sad. It was indicative of leadership quality, capabilities, and predictive of ability to endure. After reading, I had to consider after knowing this man firsthand and understanding his ability to exaggerate, my mind wondered to areas speculating about the exact nature of the office of the internship of Senator Kennedy. Perhaps he meant, at the same office complex? The first hint? The use of lower case word office. It is the Office of Senator Kennedy. Pawling-Trinity is a preparatory school but he must have skipped through English and that editor of the paper gig unless there is some sort of cranial injury to explain the result of the most recent decade of his work life. You cannot help but feel a little for such a person. This guy combines incompetence with arrogance. This is the guy you can size up within 30 seconds. You do not know whether to have pity or anger. Sometimes both is reasonable. Often bewilderment was the emotion I experienced.

This profile, most likely, lifted from his resume. Formatting slightly changed for emphasis.

Whitman College BS, polictical Science 1980 – 1984
American University; Poltical Science Internship, office of Senator Kennedy Trinity Pawling Prep Activities and Societies: Phi Delta Theta, Debate Team, Varisty Basketball,
Editor in Chief School Paper

Original from Linked In:

Whitman College
BS, polictical Science
1980 – 1984
American University; Poltical Science Internship, office of Senator KennedyTrinity Pawling Prep
Activities and Societies: Phi Delta Theta, Debate Team, Varisty Basketball, Editor in Chief School Paper

The bottom line:

If you know the person can lie about the mundane, they will lie about anything.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Screen Door Swings

One should be weary of what they ask for as the screen door of justice, karma, and irony can sometimes swing both ways. Ever since biology, medicine, geology and our basic understanding of the world's progress through time has expanded through natural changes and processes there has been those who feel compelled rebel against this logic and force their own on others. This has gone so far as confusing one of the basic tenants of the United States, the separation of church and state. The founding father were weary of this problem and where it might lead. Even today, these boundaries are over stepped where religious ideology poses a serious risk to the education of many.

The basic idea here is that changes to offspring are naturally occurring and DNA is complex stuff. It has plenty of opportunity to change a bit here or bit there. Therefore, any change which proves to be of a benefit by providing some sort of tactical advantage where that particular offspring gets a chance of surviving long enough to reproduce. This new defect or mutation can be passed on to it's own offspring. If the mutation is in anyway advantageous, it may out compete those without the mutation. This process takes a lot of time and does not happen instantly. It is a gradual process and we will not see sudden changes. This process is called natural selection because nature will select those with an advantage over those without. This process is very well understood and the basis for many other sciences, including medicine.

But now the tables are turned. It is ironic and only fair that that if religion is allowed to pervade the essence of science, why cannot the law of man pervade religion? Especially if the religion institution is flawed. In Texas the idea is to teach that all theories have flaws, so let's inject some religion to offer a competing viewpoint. In Connecticut, St. John's Roman Catholic church was needing a little help with financial self restraint because the former pastor stole more than $1 million dollars. As result, the membrane between the separation of church and state is getting thinner. Thousands of Roman Catholics are crying foul. They fail to understand that once we break the membrane of separation, things or ideas can bring change and sometimes not as you expected. Maybe the next time you hear about someone shrugging off the idea requiring both a religious and scientific idea in the classroom, you might wonder where it could stop. I think it is ironic. The question is, was irony designed into us or did we inherit it? We may not know, but then again, if it cannot be answered science requires it to remain a mystery. In Chemistry, when the periodic table of elements was first written in 1869 by Dmitri Mendeleev, holes were intentionally left in it as certain elements could had not yet been discovered or created. They were predicted to exist and over time, we filled in that table. That is science.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

McCarthyism Strikes Again

I have always been fascinated by those in entertainment industry who become so enamored with themselves they start to believe their own nonsense. Often, because of nothing more than celebrity experience, this somehow provides credibility and translates to expertise far beyond what their claimed profession would suggest. Consider Jenny McCarthy.

You may heard her suggestions and attempts link vaccinations to autism. Her belief and statements which would lend you believe that there is evidence linking vaccinations to autism. Never mind that the diagnosis rate for autism has increased despite the absence of "horrible ingredients" contained within them. She does not stop to ask questions publicly such as are we better at diagnosing autism or is there something else contributing to this situation? She found her demon. To make sensational claims without any particular facts or data to support such ideas is irresponsible and can cause real harm to society. Children have died in the US needlessly because of misplaced fear in parents to measles outbreaks. A virus which kills 1 child every 27 hours world wide. Should a child contract measles, the chance of death is 1 in 1000.

She found the cure though for her son. Eating right, nutritional supplements, and behavior therapy discovered or rather uncovered by doing her own research because she was all alone until someone finally found the issue. She does not leave any room or possibility for other causes. Her mind is set. She believes she can even diagnose autism. When asked about Jett Travolta, Jenny says:

“I have no idea if Jett had autism,” she clarified. “I didn’t see, you know, enough footage, or ever meet Jett to give a diagnosis of my own.”

That is a pretty strong statement. But Jenny does something quite amazing still. She manages to say something completely at odds with what she should believe. Either she did not do enough research or she is selective about results. Quite possibly, she would make a good doctor or behavior therapist, but she is not one. Based upon her own experiences, frustrations, and trials she found something that works her son. But what does her son require that any other child does not? I cannot help but think had not the nutritional and behavioral 'cures' been in place prior to a diagnosis, would there have been a need for one?

But let's consider that she is saying that mercury based thimerosal is the second deadliest nerve toxin known to mankind. Guess what the first one is? It is completely natural. It's Botulism.

Fans of irony listen up!

I think plastic surgery is fun if it makes you feel good. I'm all for looking better, so I plan on doing whatever I want when the time comes. I love Botox, I absolutely love it. I get it minimally, so I can still move my face. But I really do think it's a savior.

So folks, according to Jenny the non existence of the second most deadliest nerve toxin in vaccinations causes autism and use of the first most toxic substance is fun. How does one reconcile this? Is it possible? One would think celebrities would learn from each other, but somehow they become impervious. It would be one thing if she kept her beliefs to herself, but she does not. It just goes to my point that celebrity does not give you any special insight. In fact, it may do just the opposite and provide insulation from reality.


1) She looks good.
2) She is famous.
3) She must know what she is talking about.
4) She did the research.
5) Other research and data is invalid.
6) The experts were wrong until she found the one who agreed with her.

When people cling to a conspiracy theory, they have no choice but to interpret all data which is unsupportive of their theory as suspect. At the same time, any anecdotal evidence, such as swelling of brain from an allergic reaction is intentionally misinterpreted and used to mislead.

Unfortunately, it will require holding such celebrity responsible for the direction they provide as it is unreasonable to expect a sense of responsibility or contemplative thought to arise. The consequences of overcoming ignorance may be painful lesson for many and increase our health risks. Sadly, all based on personal belief being provided a platform without the requirements or challenges of scrutiny. Her tactics though, are quite intellectually dishonest. Maybe even criminal. After all, you cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theartre if this is not a fire.

Maybe we need to hold celebrity to little bit higher standard than we do if they cannot themselves, or at least hold them accountable.