Sadies asks “What would you do?”

An Iranian woman who was blinded by a suitor who threw acid on her face has pardoned her attacker at the last minute, sparing him from being blinded by acid as retribution.
Sadie here:
The attack occurred in 2004 after she rejected his marriage proposal.
Bahrami had demanded qisas, or “eye for an eye”-style justice, allowed under Shariah law. A 2008 Iranian court order agreed with her, ruling she would be allowed to pour the corrosive chemical in Mohavedi’s eyes as retribution.
Three years later, Bharami changed her mind. Why? Would you? Why?
DQ here:  I’d like to think I’d do as she did and let my God measure out justice, but who knows what they would do until faced with such a situation?

Sadie’s suggested read for the day

The latest CBO figures show that under current law—i.e., assuming that everything works as planned under the new healthcare law—the share of GDP devoted to federal spending on mandatory health programs (Medicare and Medicaid) will be 68 percent higher in 2035 compared to 2011. But the CBO recognizes that certain components of the law intended to slow the growth in health costs may not work as planned. Under an alternative, more realistic scenario, the share of the economy absorbed by mandatory federal health programs will be 84 percent higher than this year.
Why is this alternative scenario more realistic? One good reason is that for nearly a decade, Congress has refused to follow its own law to hold down physician spending. In 1997, Congress adopted a “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) formula to ensure that physician payments under Medicare grew at a reasonable rate. This resulted in a 4.8 percent cut in physician fees in 2002, but that was the only year the formula worked as designed. Since then, the same formula has called for continued cuts in physician fees to offset the ever-rising volume of physician services billed to Medicare.

http://www.american.com/archive/2011/july/health-is-the-health-of-the-state

Here’s your chance to play Sadie

As you all know, Sadie has been helping out while Bookworm is away by sending links to all kinds of sites that interest her.  Here is your chance to play Sadie for a day.  Treat this as a special kind of open thread in which you post links to things you’ve found on the Internet that you think the rest of us might be interested in.  Check out each other’s links.  Then, if you want to comment on the other links, the price of admission is supplying a link yourself.  Let’s have some fun with this.

 

I’ll start with a different subject matter than we usually cover here — the National Football League.  The link is to a column in my local paper talking about how the NFL has dominated people’s attention, as much or more than the debt ceiling crisis.  Monte Poole, the columnist, is right, of course, as to Americans in general, who are consumed by the NFL.  But are the Bookwormroom readers fans?  Do you think spectator sports are a healthy release or an unhealthy distraction?

Bookworm asked me to post this link for her favorite new military blogger

Do you know Mike over at Castra Praetoria? (He is a Marine E-8. He calls himself America’s First Sergeant.) He and I are having a friendly war.

Would you consider linking it: http://themellowjihadi.com/?p=1293

It is for a good cause. I am giving away Marine gear to a future Marine if I get him to come to my blog and comment. . .

Thanks!
V/R,
NavyOne

Bookworm sound ready to come home

I think I’m getting done with Europe, since I’m less charmed with every passing port, explaining TODAY’S POST:

We spent the morning in Portofino, which is a seaside resort town.  It’s charming, hot and humid. Nothing there piqued my interest, which allowed me to think about other things.

One thought is that, although Europeans smoke less than when I came to Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, they still smoke a whole heck of a lot compared to Americans. As a very libertarian person, I believe that if smokers want to throw away their money destroying their health, they should be allowed to do so. As someone who hates the smell, though, I cannot figure out why I should be made to suffer so greatly for their pleasure. This is one of those things where two individual freedoms come crashing into each other.

Another thought is that, while I was once charmed by Europe’s static quality, I now find it dull. Tradition is one thing; stultification another. Europeans seem particularly adept at progressing swiftly and stylishly in small things (awesome bathroom sink designs or small, high tech grocery stores, for example), but they also seem to have such a small field in which to play around when it comes to innovation and experimentation.

In cities where law, custom and tourist dollars dictate that buildings look now more or less as they did one hundred or two hundred years ago, you don’t get a sense of forward societal momentum. I understand, of course, they tourist money comes in if Europe looks like Europe, but that cash cow seems to have trapped the Europeans in an unending time warp.

Too much Europe, rather than charming me,  apparently leaves me jaded — or maybe it’s just the heat cooking my brains.

My last thought is that ugly Americans aren’t just a cliche. Last night at dinner we found ourselves sitting next to the most boorish people I’ve ever seen on a cruise. I’ve met people before who lack refinement, but these people were like a bad stereotype. They were loud, obscene (with children right next to them), and rude. The irony was that one of the party looked just like Lord Byron, who was himself “mad, bad and dangerous to know” (although I’ll bet his manners were better than this obnoxious young man’s).

Fortunately, these people are the exception, not the rule. Most of the people whom we’ve met have varied from nice to delightful, whether American, Canadian, German, Dutch, or whatever other point of origin.

And we wonder why the recovery is not improving the American jobs situation

“A handful’’ of top managers will move to the Chinese capital and there won’t be any job cuts, said Anne LeGrand, general manager of X-ray for GE Healthcare. The headquarters will move from Wisconsin amid a broader plan to invest about $2 billion across China, including opening six “customer innovation’’ and development centers.

GE moving X-ray business to China

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/07/26/ge_moving_x_ray_business_to_china/

Thanks again, Sadie.

Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn is always a good read, so I recommend this link from Sadie (who else):

A Post-American Planet

Decline starts with the money, but it doesn’t stop there.

-snip from the beginning-
That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the “debt ceiling” negotiations the other day: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”
It’s always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House minority leader for putting it in layman’s terms: What’s at stake is “life on this planet as we know it today.” So, if right now you’re living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it’s good to know Nancy’s in there pitching for you.

-everything in between-

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/273161/post-american-planet-mark-steyn?page

-closing snip-

America has had two roles in a so-called “globalized” world: America’s government was the guarantor of global order; America’s economy was the engine of global prosperity. Right now, both roles are up for grabs. And there are no takers for the former. Pace Nancy Pelosi, “life on this planet as we know it today” is going to change, and very fast.

DQ here:  Just when you think Pelosi can’t top herself she does.  Yet the people in her district adore her.  What are they thinking?

Bookworm’s pleasant visit to Rome

We ditched the kids today and headed off into Rome ourselves. It’s amazing how effortless sightseeing is without two whining, squabbling kids in tow. I’d forgotten!

Our first stop was the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, a private home that’s been in the same princely family since the 1640s. For someone like me, who prefers simplicity and coziness, the lavishly decorated rooms and emotionally overwrought paintings got a 10 on the hideous scale, but I realize that my reaction is idiosyncratic.

Despite the assault on my senses, I found the tour delightful. For one thing, it was fun to see how the richest of the rich lived in Rome. For another thing, the audio tour (included in the ticket price) was narrated by the current prince, who has a lovely voice and a nice repertoire of family anecdotes.

I appreciated  the Prince’s story about the scolding he and his sister got when they were caught rollerskating on the ancient tile floors, which are still polished I’m the ancient way, with beeswax. It made this lavish palace seem like a living, breathing home — and, indeed, Doria Pamphilj family, although it seems to be based in England, still lives there periodically.

From the Palazzo, we simply wandered around, admiring Rome’s endless blending of old and new. Along the way we stumbled into the Jewish Quarter, which boasts a beautiful synagogue. We didn’t have time to go in, so we were left wondering how such a lovely structure survived Nazi depredations.

This is my third visit to Rome, and I continue to like the city. This is actually somewhat rare for me, as I usually find European cities too overwhelming to enjoy. Rome, though, has a warm and friendly feeling that’s very endearing.  We’re back on board ship now, heading for new and interesting ports, but I look forward to our final port of call which is, once again, Rome.

Headlines, headlines, headlines

The headline in my morning papers made me think of an idea for a post.  The headline, from the Fremont, California Argus read:

“Debt crisis seen as fault of GOP’s tea party faction.”  Subheading:  “Movement’s resolute stance laying siege to Republican unity.”

Why don’t all you readers who still read papers find your favorite headline and share it with the rest of us?  Tell us what it says and what paper it is from.  It doesn’t have to be about the debt crisis, though it certainly can be.  But, if we all do it, we should get a pretty good picture of what the MSM, print version, is up to at this critical moment.

Thanks and I look forward to your responses.

 

Then and now

Sadie sends along a link the what Harry Reid was saying years ago.  Surprise — he was against raising the debt ceiling.

Now, I know that Zach makes the argument that raising the debt ceiling is the responsibility of the majority and the minority is free to cynically take pot shots for doing so.  But I’m just odd enough to demand some level of consistency and even statesmanship in my representatives.  Yes, I know that is too much to ask of members of Congress, but it shouldn’t be.

 

Harry Reid (2) minutes and five (5) years ago.

An alternative to AARP

Received a magazine today from the Association of Mature American Citizens.  Was a bit disappointed that the article suggesting repeal of taxation on Social Security made no serious effort to say how the lost tax revenue would be replaced (the one suggestion, get it from trial lawyers, while a good idea, wouldn’t begin to make up the difference).  Still, it is nice to see an organization for seniors that actually represents the interests of seniors.  if you are interested, this is the link to their web site.

 

Sadie suggests that CNN and Al Jazeera

…don’t know the difference between peace makers and a pace maker. Good work by the authorities-they stopped him. The LEFT crowned him the Prince of Peace. Kimber Heinz, a writer for the far-left website Truthout, unluckily chose to profile Abdo in a 2010 article entitled, “One Year After Fort Hood: The Missing Story of Muslim Peacemaking.”
“We must lift up the stories and ongoing work of Muslim peacemakers like Naser Abdo,” Heinz wrote. CNN and Al Jazeera also both featured glowing segments on Abdo’s quest to obtain CO status.

But there were others who immediately condemned Abdo’s attempt to dodge combat service. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, an organization led by Dr. Zhudi Jasser, urged the military to reject Abdo’s request last year.

Sadie here: The US Army gave Abdo CO status, anyway.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/07/28/fort-hood-suspect-left-wing-fan-base/

DQ here:  Anyone can misjudge someone, but this is a miniture version of the larger problem of the Left misreading Islam.

Jobs for President!

I heard this on the radio today and Sadie sent it along as well, with her comment:

 

Nomen est numan (doesn’t that translate to your name is what you are?) Steve JOBS ; )
According to the latest daily statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance of $73.8 billion at the end of the day yesterday.  Apple’s last earnings report (PDF here) showed that the company had $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of June. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-has-more-cash-on-hand-than-the-us-government-2011-7#ixzz1TV22qdjY

An Apple a day keeps ….[fill in the blank]

Did Obama really turn down IBM’s offer to help reduce costs?

I know this has been making the rounds for some time because this is the second time my Dad has sent it to me and the first was some time ago.  The link to Fox News, at least, is legitimate.  Does anyone know anything about the underlying story?

 

IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free!! The offer is true. Zukerman, US News and World Report, owner, a Democrat, was interviewed on Fox and confirmed it. IBM has confirmed it. You won’t believe it!

IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free!

What if I told you that the Chairman and CEO of IBM, Samuel J. Palmisano, approached President Obama and members of his administration before the healthcare bill debates with a plan that would reduce healthcare expenditures by $900 billion? Given the Obama Administration’s adamancy that the United States of America simply had to make healthcare (read: health insurance) affordable for even the most dedicated welfare recipient, one would think he would have leaned forward in his chair, cupped his ear and said, “Tell me more!”

And, what if I told you that the cost to the federal government for this program was nothing, zip, nada, zilch?!

And, what if I told you that, in the end and after two meetings, President Obama and his team, instead of embracing a program that was proven to save money and one that was projected to save almost one trillion dollars – a
private sector program costing the taxpayers nothing, zip, nada, zilch – said, “Thanks but no thanks” and then embarked on passing one of the most despised pieces of legislation in U.S. history?!

Well, it’s all true!!

Samuel J. Palmisano, the Chairman of the Board and CEO for IBM, said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview that he offered to provide the Obama Administration with a program that would curb healthcare claims fraud and abuse by almost one trillion dollars, but the Obama White House turned the offer down.

Mr. Palmisano is quoted as saying during a taping of
http://video.foxnews.com/v/4366002/did-white-house-snub-fraud-fighter/

The Wall Street Journal’s Viewpoints program on September 14, 2010:

“We could have improved the quality and reduced the cost of the healthcare system by $900 billion…I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down.”

A second meeting between Mr. Palmisano and the Obama Administration took place two weeks later, with no change in the Obama Administration’s stance.

A call placed to IBM on October 8, 2010, by FOX News confirmed, via a spokesperson, that Mr. Palmisano stands by his statement.

Speaking with FOX News’ Stuart Varney, Mort Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report, said, “It’s a little bit puzzling because I think there is a huge amount of both fraud and inefficiency that American business is a lot more comfortable with and more effective in trying to reduce. And this is certainly true because the IBM people have studied this very carefully.

When Palmisano went to the White House and made that proposal, it was based upon a lot of work and it was not accepted. And it’s really puzzling…These are very, very responsible people and don’t have a political ax to grind.

In Mr. Obama’s shunning of a private sector program that would have saved our country almost $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures, presented to him as he declared a ‘crisis in healthcare,’ he proves two things beyond any doubt: that he is anti-Capitalist and anti-private sector in nature – and that he can no longer be trusted to tell the truth in both his political declarations or espoused goals.”

Bookworm in Messina, Sicily

We spent the morning in (or, more accurately, near) Messina,Sicily. Rather than spending the day in the town itself, we took a tour to two tiny medieval hillside villages that gained local fame because Francis Ford Coppola shot scenes from Godfather II and III there.

Since I haven’t seen either movie, I was unaffected by that bit of Hollywood history.  Instead, I appreciated the actual history, which is a story of different powers constantly battling for control of of the straits between Italy and Sicily. At various times in records history, Messina found itself under Greek, Roman, Muslim, Norman, and Spanish control, all of which have helped shaped the culture.  

Messina was also a Nazi headquarter for much the same reason (control of the straits) and therefore sustained heavy Allied bombing. Ironically, because of the earthquakes, with the last big one being in 1908, the buildings were so seismically sound, the Allies didn’t realize that they had rather quickly destroyed the building’s interiors because visual surveys showed the walls still standing. The Allies therefore came back again and again from 1943 through 1945 until they got the job done to their satisfaction.

The two villages, each roughly 1000 feet up, cling rather desperately to the mountainsides, struggling against both time and intense seismic activity. They are not pretty so much as stoic in appearance. They have survived and they will survive, sometimes rather gracelessly, but always with a relentless determination.  I think this apparent stolidity has to do in part with the local sandstone, which is a drab building material lacking the interest, color and sparkle of the red bricks, stones, granite, marble and even wood found in other old towns throughout Europe.

And that’s really all I have to say about my morning in Sicily.

An Israeli Model (from Sadie)

No-no not the ‘fashion’ type the other type…the one that makes flying less terrifying.
 
I CAN ALMOST HEAR CAIR SCREAMING … Another Zionist plot! Can you say Entebbe and Never Again in the same breath.
 
And no, Jews and Israelis do not get special treatment from El Al, either. Just ask me and I’ll tell you all about it.
 
Pistole declined to elaborate on the enhanced behavior detection program but said it would “probably” be announced in August. During an on-stage interview with CNN’s Jeanne Meserve, Pistole acknowledged that the Israeli techniques have been carefully examined.
 
“There’s a lot—under that Israeli model—a lot that is done that is obviously very effective,” he said. However, critics have said the Israeli program is too time consuming to use consistently at U.S. airports and may involve a degree of religious and racial profiling that would draw controversy in the U.S.
 

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0711/TSA_readying_new_behavior_detection_plan_for_airport_checkpoints.html#

A stirring rant

From Sadie, who is filling my inbox with good ideas, comes this rant.  Like Sadie, I’m troubled by the lack of actual ideas, but it’s a good watch and does express a lot of people’s frustrations, so what the heck, I’ll post it:

 

Here is a video rant with no answers from a self-proclaimed “average guy”. Nonetheless, the video adequately conveys the frustration that many feel regarding the nation debt and the debt ceiling impasse.

He asks a few questions of the president and Congress, the first being “Are all of you completely crazy?”

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/07/business-owner-rant-sums-up-how-many.html

Does anyone have a plan that isn’t a joke?

Sadie sent me a link to a post about the various budget plans, all of which turn out to be hogwash.  The link is below, but it’s really an excuse for me to ask a question I wanted to ask anyway.  Is anyone in Washington pushing a realistic plan?  Is there, for example, a “Tea Party” plan that actually addresses the deficit/debt issue?  Do any of the Republican presidential candidates have a plan?  We’ve talked here about what we’d like to see, personally, but I’m asking here about plans by people in the public eye, actually being considered by lawmakers and potential lawmakers.

 

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/07/rating-obama-reid-and-boehner-deficit.html

With that backdrop, it’s time to rate the Obama, Reid, and Boehner Deficit reduction plans on a credibility scale.

10-Point
Credibility Scale

  1. Golden
  2. Rock Solid
  3. Fudge
  4. Jello
  5. Marshmallow
  6. Cream Puff
  7. Nauseous
  8. Gaseous
  9. Imaginary
  10. Delusional

Scoring the Proposals

  • Given a $1.4 trillion deficit, the latest plan from Boehner to cut a minuscule $85 billion a year (and back-loaded at that) is somewhere between nauseous and gaseous. It’s no wonder that various Tea-Party members will not vote for it.
  • Obama’s plan is imaginary or delusional depending on whether or not the President actually believes he has a plan, when he doesn’t.
  • Parts of Senator Reid’s plan are gaseous and the rest is clearly imaginary.
  • In contrast, the gang-of-six $4 trillion deficit cutting plan has something of the consistency of Jello, fudge, or marshmallow depending on details that were never disclosed.

$4 trillion sounds like a lot but it is only $400 billion a year, while the deficit is $1.4 trillion. Thus it’s tough to give that plan a rating higher than Jello, and impossible to give it a rating higher than fudge.

At this late juncture, the best one can reasonably hope for is a nauseous resolution. Unfortunately, the odds now favor something between gaseous and imaginary with delusional a distinct possibility.

The higher the score, the lower the credibility, and the better for gold.

Bookworm’s wrap-up of Greece

I’m somewhat baffled by the fact that I didn’t like our Grecian stops more. Corfu, of course, was nullified by my daughter’s appendix operation. (She’s back on the ship in perfect shape, by the way, after an unpleasant four day sojourn in the functional equivalent of a third world private hospital, setup solely to “serve” sick tourists.) Santorini was momentarily attractive, but had nothing to hold me. Olympia was too broken down even for my imagination to work.  

It was Athens, however, that finally helped me see what MY problem is with Greece:  I don’t have a sense of historic continuity. There’s ancient Athens and there’s modern Athens.  I didn’t see any in-between points other than a dusty, ancient Roman occupation and a distasteful Ottoman period, about which the Greeks do not speak.

In European countries in which I’ve spent my time, every minute of the past is plumbed, and often quite present. London, for example, has vivid evidence of the Romans, and of every era and governance since then, with buildings, art and books abounding, and overlapping each other. The same holds true in Germany or France, or in any other Western European country I can think of. The past is present.

In Greece, however, at least as presented to the tourist, there is a giant chasm between its past historic glories — where men created a foundation of reason, freedom and aesthetics that underpins our world even today — and the current bankrupt amalgam of European sophistication and third world function. (I must say that, from what understand, Athens is much better in this respect than it was before the 2004 Olympics. It was that event that forced the Greek government to drag the infrastructure into the 21st century.)

Much as I love history, spending a few overheated hours (temperatures were in the high 90s) looking at some stone columns long ago stripped of their decorative touches didn’t move me. It’s not just historical ignorance, either. I’ve actually read many books about ancient Greece,so I have at least a reasonable grasp of things, but ancient Greece, unlike Imperial Rome, just doesn’t seem real.

Oh, No, NASA Says Hot Air Escaping AGW Arguments!

I just ran across this item on Drudge, a Forbes report on some bad news for AGW hoaxsters. Here is the lede:

“NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.”

The link is at: http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

 

Who gets the blame if it all falls apart?

Sadie sent along the following which got me to thinking.  Is McCain right that it is the Republicans, not the president who will get the blame if things fall apart completely?  I saw a recent poll in which the public put the blame on both sides equally, but I’m afraid the president has positioned himself pretty well.  What do you think? 

 

Here’s Sadie’s contribution:

…JOHN McCAIN. This cretin got the nomination in 2008 – We better be VERY careful who gets it the next time.

I think we need some way of separating the RINO’s from real conservatives. How about a list of questions or such. Applicants for POTUS will have to check off and sign on the dotted line before getting the stamp of approval.

You could solicit a list from the readers with multiple choice questions,too.  (tongue-in-cheek snarky questions get extra credit).

Example:

You’re a wannabe POTUS. Iran has threatened to wipe you off the planet.

Do you:

a) ignore it.
b) complain to the UN and search for common ground with an out-reach program.
c) take the Iranian President, hold him hostage the next time he shows up in NYC.

Take the high and humorous road or the take the fork in the road with serious questions or both?!
—————————————————————————————————————————

Unmitigated Arrogance And Gall On Display

July, 27, 2011 —  

The grumpy old guy has gone off the reservation again.
John McCain, is quoted in the New York Times berating the Tea Party Republicans for having the temerity to not play the Washington game of doing the same old thing, and declaring it something different.
Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.