Friday open thread

I meant to blog, really I did.  But the day didn’t go quite as planned.  I worked out, which was great.  Then I had a bowl of ice cream, which was great.  Then I sat next to the dog for a minute, which was great.  And then I fell asleep for three hours, which was not on the agenda.  I’m feeling very rested, which is great, but it does seem as if three hours of my life vanished down a worm hole.

Probably just as well, though, I took the break.  Between Israel and the economy, I need to gird my loins, so I can come back fighting.

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Comments

  1. SADIE says

    WHO Dunnit and another look at the H1N1 pandemic.
     
    The second report, a joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is based in London, criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/04/AR2010060403034.html
     
     

  2. SADIE says

    Hot damn, open blog and I get to share today’s reads with everyone.

    There’s a new couple in town

    Cap & Tax got a make-over, it’s now called the American Power Act. John Kerry has a new partner. Boxer out – Lieberman in.

    * British Petroleum and Conoco Phillips opposed cap-and-trade legislation enacted by the House of Representatives because they thought it was insufficiently generous. In the Senate, they got a better deal. Senator Kerry said that he’s “been working very closely” with BP and C-P, and the lobbying has paid dividends.

    The rest here

    http://spectator.org/archives/2010/06/03/john-kerrys-big-business-buyof

  3. Spartacus says

    Sadie –
     
    1) “I  would, however, be willing to try to pull her lungs out through her mouth as exercise.” I think you would find that to be quite a lot of exercise, and very frustrating.  Easier just to open up the thoracic cavity with a bone saw, remove the connective tissues around the lungs, and push instead of pull.  (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and don’t play one on TV.)  But I’m deeply saddened that you would consider such violence as an acceptable way of settling differences when you could simply tell her that you really disagree with her and then drill her between the eyes with a hollowpoint.
     
    2) On a more serious note — crikey! — Fidel actually has a point, in a very limited sort of way.  Pakistan… North Korea… Iran… Syria… Venezuela… Turkey… Brazil… Burma…  this nucular business is spinning completely out of control, and will continue to do so until someone does something about it.  But I’d be willing to bet that a tactical nuke (a piddly 0.3 kt) on each of Iran’s nucular facilities; conventional munitions strikes on all Revolutionary Guards facilities, Mahmoud’s Crib, and whatever rocks the mullahs slither under; and leaflet drops on the regular military facilities and major population centers would not only end Iran’s nuke program, but would, if preceded by no warning and followed by no apology, bring the Norks to the table, begging to sell their nukes for pennies on the dollar, and dry up R&D efforts everywhere else.  In the long run (heck, even the medium run at this point) the Grim Reaper’s profit would be much lower.

  4. SADIE says

    Spartacus
    then drill her between the eyes with a hollowpoint.
     
    Excellent suggestion, I wouldn’t want to over work my upper body and cramp out in mid face.
     
    I also like your diplomatic tag line: no warning and followed by no apology.
    It has all the charm and subtleties that would make for excellent foreign policy. Although,  I’ve seen this tactic (sans nukes) as a steady diet coming from the list of dictators. Hell, if it works for them … I am all for it while blaming it on them for bringing upon themselves.
     
     
     
     

  5. JKB says

    Here is a great talk by a Coast Guard Chief (Mario Vittone) about learning and knowledge.  Very funny and informative.
    We’ve Been Wrong About Everything
     
    On thing most people are wrong about is drowning.  After years at sea, I was surprised to learn that drowning victims cannot raise their hands or yell like most people think and TV shows.  They are to busy drowning and the body is to busy trying not to.  One tip I thought was great was that kids make a lot of noise when they are in the pool, if they aren’t then something is very wrong, like they are drowning.  Interesting, in 10% of cases where children drown, an adult is looking at them and not realizing what is happening.
     
    Also, that you pretty much can’t die of hypothermia in cold water, you drown first as your body shuts down your extremities to save core temperature.
    Here are some articles by Chief Mario Vittone

  6. says

    http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2010/06/no_wonder_ameri.html
     
     
    Hollywood isn’t just decadent. As you will see if you read the link, Hollywood is all pervasive in its attempt to subvert the national consciousness. People watch Hollywood movies not because they are good or even mediocre, but because there’s nothing better around. Going to the movies becomes a social event, because your friends talk about it and thus you go so you can talk about the movie with them. If there was something better around the corner, people would snap it up. But Hollywood is so pervasive that they destroy all competition. Just like the Democrat monopoly in corporate politics. Got to keep the little businesses down else they lose control of Union welfare and what not.
     
    In this list of what people think are the best role models, you will find a good discussion over who, male or female, should constitute a good model for human behavior and excellency. And I put in my two cents at the bottom, too.

  7. says

    JKB(#7):  I am a very strong swimmer, but have always had a tremendous fear of drowning.  Drowning used to be one of the running themes of my childhood nightmares.  Growing up hasn’t alleviated that fear, despite the fact that I can outswim most people.  I know I should watch it, but I think I’ll skip that link!

  8. suek says

    >>2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.>>

    That’s the problem with experts.  _ANY_ experts.  They’re experts because they believe in what they’re experts at (forgive the grammar thing!).  It isn’t that they want to deceive or mislead anyone – they really believe in what they’re telling you.  You, on the other hand, are _not_ an expert.  That’s why you’re asking the experts for information and advice.  Since you’re not an expert, how do you evaluate the validity of what the experts are telling you?  In this case – who’s going to take the side of “no…you _don’t_ need to vaccinate everybody!”?  Then you have the planners…the guys whose job it is to evaluate “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  and you just _know_ how crazy _they_ can go!  Somehow you have to keep your feet on the ground and be willing to take some risk, but at the same time, recognize when the risk isn’t worth chancing.
     
    We had a problem at our school with vandalism.  The school superintendent – being a very capable person – researched various security companies, various alarm  systems, various everything and brought it to the board.  The lowest cost was going to be about $120,000 for all the latest surveillance equipment plus installation.  That’s a _bunch_ of money – about 8% of our total budget – and there would be ongoing expense after all the equipment had been installed.  So…someone asked “how much vandalism damage are we talking about here?”  Supe didn’t know.  Well, she knew how much that last incident cost, but not how much ongoing damage had occurred.  She said she’d investigate and bring it back to us.  Ha.  Turned out that over the previous 10 years there had been less than $1000 damage done.  The last incident had been $2-300, but all together, less than $1000.  That made for an easy decision.  We decided that unless the problem escalated, we were better off just dealing with the results.  Turned out to be the right decision.  Whoever the vandals were moved on to something more exciting, apparently, and left the school alone.  Probably graduated…!

  9. BrianE says


    “The only thing that WILL fill up the lake is the real magic of Capitalism — profit — which is NOT stealing, or over charging, but rather a measure of efficiency: I am happy to pay you a profit to grow my food, so I am free to drive my truck — which you are happy to pay me a profit to do — hauling your produce to market. We both profit, and that is in real money, because that money represents REAL VALUE, not toy money. You can grow more food, because I haul it, and I can spend all my time hauling it because you grow it. We pay each other a profit, AND we’re both better off.” – Bill Smith
     
     
    I’ve been thinking about this recently, and as far as it goes, it describes a fair amount of economic benefit in a society. Since we believe that a person acting in his own economic interests will make better decisions than the government, we’re willing to tolerate a certain level of mal-investment in the short term, since we only know when too many houses have been built after too many houses have been built, or whatever commodity/product you’re talking about.
     
    But does this economic exchange build wealth? This is still a zero sum game in my estimation, unless you calculate the inflated value of debt into the equation.
     
    Two thoughts.
     
    1. National wealth is created (or added to) by the utilization (exploitation) of natural resources.
     
    National wealth is essentially built by the utilization of manufacturing, mining and agriculture. It is only by the utilization of commodities and the added value along the chain of production that a nation can sustain and build wealth. To that I would add the resource of ideas.
     
    Everything else doesn’t produce the multipliers that sustains an economy. We have become a nation sustained by consumption. How many jobs does that produce? Not as many as starting farther down the chain to the commodity level. At this point an argument would be made that manufacturing has left this country because cheaper labor markets mean cheaper finished goods.
     
    There is some manufacturing that will never come back and rightly so. But the industries that can’t be outsourced are mining and agriculture. Agriculture continues to evolve into mega-farms and fewer jobs are produced in that sector. But food processing (as we continue to rely more on pre-packaged foods) will grow (especially as other areas of the world adopt the pre-packaged American lifestyle). But exploitation of resources (particularly oil) would provide good paying jobs. If in fact peak oil means energy prices will continue to rise, it makes economic and national sense to utilize our own oil supplies.
     
    But how do we overcome the political inertia that prevents us from adopting a “drill, baby, drill” strategy and “all of the above”. How do we make Americans understand that we can exploit natural resources responsibly (and that failure to do so may have catastrophic economic consequences). Especially with the knee-jerk reaction that may be inevitable following the gulf mess. That concept that drilling closer to shore may be safer and more responsible than drilling in deep water will, no doubt, be lost on the American voter.
     
    27% of the German GDP is industrial production versus 22% of US GDP. German wages are high and yet that doesn’t prevent them from being an exporter of manufactured goods. And it’s not that German engineers are superior to American engineers. Is it that American workers don’t have a sufficient work ethic to produce quality products?
     
    Increasing our industrial base by a few percentage points would have a tremendous effect in sustaining our economy.
     
    2. Capitalism and Corporatism are not the same thing.
     
    While corporate interests can be beneficial if you are an investor (as everyone should be), the market has become so distorted by external factors the average investor is somewhat perplexed by it all. Obviously short term trading distorts the markets (and some of the derivatives distorts the risk) but long term, the market may once again be a place to profit (assuming we don’t fall off that looming cliff).
     
    We do need a sense of nationalism in our corporations (call it responsible governance). How do we promote industrial production without tinkering with the principles of free trade? How about lowering corporate income taxes on domestic production?
     
    Anyway, enough rambling. I’m sure someone will straighten me out.
     
    As to investments, efficient transportation (railroads) makes sense. Oil stocks might do well. Especially after the fallout from BP.
     

  10. SADIE says

    Whoever the vandals were moved on to something more exciting, apparently, and left the school alone.  Probably graduated…!
     
    OR WORSE, moved on into politics.
     
    The scary part is when any of us are seeking clear and sound medical advice and still get 3 different opinions from 3 experts specialist. Opinions can vary even regionally. Many (30 yrs) years ago, a friend’s son was diagnosed with a  brain tumor (not malignant) but, surgery and follow up would still be required. It was a matter of mitigating the least amount of intrusive surgery with the best long term results possible.
    The friend, who himself was a surgeon, sent his son’s medical records to NY and Boston and here in the Philly area and finally to the west coast for a contrasting opinion before making a decision.
    They opted for west coast surgery. The experts here on the east coast shared the same approach more/less, which suggested to me where you live or work can color decisions.
     

  11. BrianE says

    A less than amusing anecdote to go with JKB’s post.
     
    Years ago some friends with a brood of five, ranging from age 10 to 3, were visiting. We were sitting at the pool, while the kids were happily splashing, mostly in the shallow end.
     
    We were sitting watching the kids while chatting, watching but not particularly paying attention.
     
    “Where’s Hannah?” I’m not sure whether it was my wife or our guest who asked the question. It was only then I noticed a tassle of hair floating on the surface, surrounded by the other children.
     
    It was with two giant steps and a leap that I was pulling her from the water (and about the same amount of time). She was fine, even unaware of her situation, standing in the pool, the top of her head a few inches below the surface.
     
    We assumed we were paying attention to what was going on, and hadn’t bothered to put a life jacket on little Hannah.
     
    I think it is something like talking on a cell phone while driving. All of a sudden you notice you have traveled several blocks and are unaware of exactly how you got there.
     
    Needless to say, Hannah was never near the pool without her life jacket after that.

  12. suek says

    These two links will give you something to think about and maybe prompt someone to get inspired.  I’ve pondered about the future – these two are sort of in line with what I wonder about.  Different times, different answers, no doubt – but maybe an applicable lesson or two?
     
    Picked up on another site and happily pilfered:
     
    http://newpaltzjournal.com/?p=1899
     
    http://metanexus.net/Magazine/ArticleDetail/tabid/68/id/10539/Default.aspx

  13. SADIE says

    IBD also has an article about our borders.  Now, who stood and clapped for Calderon’s tongue lashing us for immigration.

    Now we have Mexican cartels and terrorists emerging in the same pattern. The plot on the border dam and Chavez’s funding of Marxist narcoterrorists are an emerging menace that demands immediate attention. Mexican groups like EPR and the drug cartels find only advantage in Congress’ indifference to security and laugh at its political priorities.
     
     
    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/536460/201006041853/Bordering-Disaster.aspx

  14. Mike Devx says

    Headline from  Gateway Pundit (  )
     
    He’s No “Moderate”… Ground Zero Mosque Imam Linked to Gaza Flotilla


    Now, I know these Ground Zero Mosque people are actually trying to build the thirteen-story Islamic Center not at Ground Zero, but a few blocks away, and they’re conforming to the law as well.  But it remains an act of appalling insensitivity and hubris at best.  I sure wish New Yorkers would rise in outrage against it, and that a legal means, no matter how dubious, could be used to stop it.  Perhaps the fact that the so-called moderate Imam is exposed as a fanatical jihadist radical might start doing the trick.
     
    Did you know they want to open this new mosque on 9-11?  Regardless of any of their claims to the contrary, that’s a message being sent, and it’s an egregious, horrifying message.  Now, they have every right to try to rub our noses in it if they wish to.  But what does it mean if  WE AMERICANS passively surrender to their whims?
     
    This is right in line with the Guantanamo detainees demanding that when our soldiers handed them their Korans, that we wear gloves when doing so, so that the Korans they take into their hands have not been despoiled and corrupted by being touched by the unclean hands of infidels.  Again, they have every right to make such demands.  But what does it mean when WE AMERICANS give into those demands?  And we did.  Our soldiers put on their gloves, and delivered the Korans to the detainees wearing the gloves.  What does that mean?  It means we AGREE that we are unclean and unfit.  Monstrous, truly monstrous, to surrender that way.  To declare yourself unclean.  To agree.  Under no circumstances should we have agreed to that.  And under no circumstances should we allow that mosque to open its doors on 9-11, just a few blocks from Ground Zero.  We do not surrender to such demands.  Not if we still have an ounce of pride, or a sliver of steel in our wimpy national spines.
     




     

  15. JKB says

    Bookworm (10) – I hope I didn’t provoke any disturbing thoughts.  He only mentions the drowning in the video for a brief moment as an example.  The bulk of it is just outlining different ways people are wrong such as confirmation bias, first heard, past practice.  My favorite is how people associate past lack of disaster to confirm that something won’t happen, like what happened with the space shuttle.
     
    I expect we’ll find something like that happened with the Deep Horizon.  Past luck led people to believe that some shortcut was safe, until it wasn’t.

  16. SADIE says

    “All teachers who score exams receive clear training and rubrics that detail scoring criteria for every question on the tests,” he said. “Students who show work and demonstrate a partial understanding of the mathematical concepts or procedures embodied in the question receive partial credit.”

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/how_do_you_pass_ny_school_tests_tCqFKo40FhcwkO5SoPYWRI#ixzz0q6gXenfv

    This is a generation that will soon be ‘balancing the checkbooks’ of banks, government agencies and they only have to get it ‘partially correct’. Ahhh, I feel relieved.

  17. SADIE says

    This should have been a side caption to the photo #24
     
    Approximately 95% of the population of Azerbaijan is Muslim. Question asked and answered.

  18. Mike Devx says

    I wish the Bilderberg-meisters would come to a quiet conclusion concerning what to do about the man-child Obama.  ”He is like a deer in the headlights,” they have all concluded one evening; but the sentiment itself is voiced by Queen Beatrix.  ”Incapable of movement or even blinking under crisis.  Which may be a good thing.  My God, have you seen the decisions this cretin has arrived at when he’s not just standing there stupidly staring?”
     
    “His decisions, my dear?” another said.  ”Or those of his closed Chicago circle of advisors?”
    “Or perhaps the teleprompter came up with them, on its own,” another says chipperly.
     
    “Ha! A random stream of electrons.  THAT certainly would explain quite a bit.”
     
    “I still can’t quite get over the fact that he could put no backup plan in place to even attempt to save his Louisiana marshes in the face of that oil platform accident,” sighed another.  ”A basic step in risk mitigation, costing little.  And then his bureaucrats stood in the way when someone – Vitter, was it? – attempted to be competent himself!  Obama’s bureaucrats just shot him down.  Refused to move an inch, much like Obama himself.”
     
    “But I loved the photo-op,” said another.  ”I can learn from that.  Well, ta-da and good night!  Time for me to have a dream of how to organize a community!”
     
     
     

  19. SADIE says

    gpc31
    Thanks for the link. I did do a little reading today. Of course, one site is pitched against another as to whom gathers and what the purpose of the annual get-together as in Davos, Switzerland.
     
    The coincidence of the day for me was an article about investments on the same site, which I read earlier earlier elsewhere. Briefly, it focused on the copper, oil and gold. The writer was pushing the first two and he believed the oil would rise to $100 barrel by 2011 for all the reasons you can think of.  I sent the article to a trusted friend and adviser for his opinion.
    http://dianchu.blogspot.com/2010/06/crude-oil-and-copper-better-value-than.html

    His response: I disagree. There’s a global slowdown (that’s why the market is down) and that oil and copper would also reflect the same downturn, but gold would not. Generally, his opinion is that there is an incredibly stupid monetary policy that is taking place here and elsewhere and that there is no end in sight for the level of incompetence.

     

     
     
     

    I believe we are entering a world wide economic slowdown and so copper and oil will decline in value. I believe the stock market is sensing this slow down and that is why we are going down.
    But I would buy gold here as insurance.

  20. Mike Devx says

    Oh-ho, this fellow does a great takedown of Obama.
     
    http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/obama-s-motto–it-s-all-about-me-95716719.html
     
    My favorite among many good ones:
    —–

    The president made a big deal (to paraphrase the vice president) about letting the nation know that he really, really — really — cares about this oil spill thing. We know this because he told us the odd story of how his young daughter surprised him in the bathroom as he shaved one morning and demanded to know: “Have you plugged the hole yet, Daddy?”
    Isn’t that the cutest thing? Hope he didn’t nick his leg shaving [...]
    —–
     

  21. Charles Martel says

    “Ha! A random stream of electrons.  THAT certainly would explain quite a bit.”

    Whenever Mike D starts off on one of his riffs. I’ve learned to tear myself away from the screen for a second, remove all liquids and mess-makers, replump my seat cushion and then settle in for pure merriment.

  22. Mike Devx says

    Thanks Charles! The one thing I thought the Bilderberg group might agree on was that Obama was incompetent.  Anything else they’d come up with I’d probably disagree with.  Since they’re probably just a bunch of internationalist Euroweenies (no Winston Churchill or Hayek-types that I could see in the invitation list!)
     
    And I *think* Timothy Geithner (Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury) was invited again.  This invalidates the idea that the group itself might have worthwhile discussions or make competent decisions out of the public eye.  Unless they keep sending him to get their drinks.
     

  23. SADIE says

    You’ve all heard that the president just hasn’t shown any or enough emotion regarding the spill. Seems like he took one of those quickie acting classes (maybe Gibbs was coaching).
     
    Break out the popcorn ,one kernel will do, for 30 seconds of spell binding drama. This will have you on the edge of your chair, chewing on your nails, gasping for air …oh, I don’t want to give away the plot, but I suspect that the subtitles in the foreign news agencies will just be dazzled demanding an encore performance.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeFgGcelaTI&feature=player_embedded

  24. Mike Devx says

    Re: Sadie’s link in #35:
    Yeah, yeah, Barackie Baby, heard it all before, seen it all before.  You’re a big empty mouth.
    The oil pipeline explosion happened in April.  Where have you been for six weeks, O Big Empty Mouth?
     
    The Louisiana coast marshlands could have been protected by six berms.  It required rather simple Executive Branch decisionmaking.  Where were you, O Big Empty Mouth?  Stonewalling, that’s where.
     
    A tanker finally got out there in the last few days with the proper equipment, and its skimming operation is capturing 90% of the oil it targets.  It took six weeks for this.  O Big Empty Mouth.
     
    So you were down there on the coast in that first week?  Oh, really?  Must have been one big wasted trip, O Big Empty Mouth.  For you did nothing.  By the way, I’m glad you “went to sleep at night and woke up in the morning thinking about the oil spill.”  By the way, it wasn’t an oil spill, you big intellectual, you, you Chosen One you.  O Big Empty Mouth.
     
    O Big Empty Head.  Or is it: Liar!  Deceiver!  Dissembler!
     
    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  When the going gets tough, Obama covers his ass.  Big Time.  Coward.  Liar.  Deceiver.  Dissembler.
     
     

  25. suek says

    Someone named Ben made this comment on another blog:
     
    “Anyone who still respects Obama is looking at Obama in Community Activist Mode, in which problems are solved by generating complaints loud enough to cause other people to solve the problem.
    In this light, Lee’s advice makes perfect sense. No success yet? You haven’t complained loud enough. Yell louder, LOUDER! So they’ll hear you all the way at the top!
    Then the rich/smart/capable adults will fix the problem for you.
    It has not yet dawned on them that Obama is at the top.”
     
    It seemed to fit…

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