Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Announcing a One-Day Hiatus from the Computer

Tomorrow, I will be taking a day off from surfing the Net or adding to my blog, after reading this CNN virus alert about the Conficker.c worm.

UPDATE: Whew! Yesterday's virus alert turned out to be an April Fool's joke after all.

New York Holds "Unemployment Olympics"

Just when you thought you have heard it all, a laid-off computer programmer organizes an Unemployment Olympics, with events such as:

Pin the Blame on the Boss
Office Phone Skee-Ball

Prizes were offered by local merchants in the Lower East Side.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Natasha Richardson Did Not Die in Vain, Part 2

CBS News reports that this actress donated her organs to save other people's lives.

Seven-year-old Morgan McCracken's life was saved when her parents heard about the fate of Natasha. The girl was accidentally hit on the head by a baseball, and at first exhibited no outward symptoms, but when her parents brought her to the hospital just to be certain that she was all right, doctors discovered an epidural hematoma. Morgan is doing well after the operation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama Administration Playing Semantic Games, Says "Doc Russia"

DOC RUSSIA is a Marine blogger who provides the following food for thought:

I cannot fathom how the thought that if we stop calling the efforts of one group of people (Islamic fundamentalists) to kill or enslave another group of people (that would be you and I) anything other than a war, it will somehow become anything other than a war. This is like deciding to call rape "unrequested coupling" because then there will be no more rape.

By not calling a thing what it is, this administration is relinquishing the mental keystone necessary for success. If you do not recognize a war as a war, then you will lose. If some guy comes up to you on the street and starts punching you in the face, if you do not call that a fight, then you will lose. You cannot win a contest you refuse to recognize. If I come up to you and snatch your purse, and you call it a scavenger hunt, there is no way you can keep me from robbing you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Going Public with the Synergy Center Concept

I got the following letter to the editor published in last Saturday's Colorado Springs Gazette!

Mental health deserves support

This is in response to Morris Roth's Dream City article, "We should stamp out stigma of mental illness," in Sunday's Gazette. It always cheers me up to see anyone address the problem of mental illness in our community.
Although I am proud to live in Colorado Springs, I always apologize for the primitive state of health care that exists for anyone unfortunate enough to have a mental disorder around here. One way we could catch up is to establish what I call a "synergy center," which would incorporate self-help groups, classes, holistic treatments, a drop-in center, occupational therapy, and even an employment service under one roof. We hope the concept will be replicated elsewhere, like the successful formula that turned McDonald's into a multi-billion-dollar empire.
The public needs to be educated into accepting the idea that if we don't invest in a facility like this, we pay for our neglect in other ways: higher crime, drug usage, suicides, broken homes, etc. I estimate that neglecting our mental health costs our society more than $70 billion a year, and all we ask are a few crumbs off the table to make a difference in people's lives.

Charles M. Sakai, Colorado Springs

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When Smart People Say (or Write) Stupid Things

Frank Dudley Berry Jr. on American Thinker pops air out of some people's balloons with this essay. Here's an excerpt:

The actor Andy Garcia tells a story on himself about an incident that occurred during the filming of the movie 'The Untouchables'. He was having trouble with some scene, which he could not do to his satisfaction. Sean Connery, also in the case, finally moved over and whispered to him, 'Just say the line, kid. It's not f***ing Hamlet'.

Which is my humble, bottom-line advice to one and all -- the talented, the untalented, the geniuses, the wannabe's. Don't worry too much about it. There is no Joycean distinction between genius and talent -- only a universe of triers and achievements in large and small part, some great, some not so great, all with flaws of one kind or another....

Natasha Richardson, You Did Not Die in Vain!

FOX News reports that the family of actress Natasha Richardson is holding a private funeral in Millbrook, NY. In life, she supported research for a cure for AIDS; the manner of her death has done more than anything in recent memory to draw public attention to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which continues to be a serious problem for civilians as well as combat veterans.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Republicans Looking for Leadership (Cont.)

One of the simple tests each candidate should pass.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blowin' in the Wind, 2009 Version, by Bob Dylan

How sweet is life when you live next to a celebrity in Malibu?

Outside Bob Dylan's house, the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

That's what some of the singer-songwriter's neighbors are charging in an increasingly odoriferous dispute over a portable toilet at his sprawling ocean view estate on Point Dume.

Residents contend that the nighttime sea breeze sends a noxious odor from a portable toilet on Dylan's property wafting into their homes. The stench has made members of one family ill and forced them to abandon their bedrooms on warm nights, they say.

For more than six months, Dylan, 67, has ignored their complaints and their pleas to remove the outhouse, the downwind neighbors say.

"It's a scandal -- 'Mr. Civil Rights' is killing our civil rights," said David Emminger, whose home is directly behind the toilet -- which is apparently intended for use by employees of the entertainer best known for his 1960s-era protest songs.

Emminger and his wife have installed five industrial-sized fans in their frontyard in an attempt to blow the odor back at Dylan. They say the fans are no match for the ocean breeze that sweeps across the singer's land, however.

Source and full article: LA Times.

How Do You Deal with a Potential Adversary Like This?

A People's Liberation Army exercise somewhere in China, courtesy of Little Green Footballs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Legion Up in Arms over President's Scheme to Bill Vets

WASHINGTON, DC (March 16, 2009) – The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it....”

The rest of this article is to be found at the American Legion Web site.

World's Smallest Violin Award Goes to AIG Executives

AIG employees disturbed by death threats, armed guards, delayed bonuses - if they show up at work at all. "I have a horrible, horrible, horrible feeling that this is going to end badly" Read more about it at MINA (Macedonian International News Agency).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Judge Sentences Home-Schooled Kids to Public School - Because Their Mother Taught Them Out of the Bible!!

Here's a recent story from WRAL.com:

Raleigh, N.C. — A judge in Wake County said three Raleigh children need to switch from home school to public school. Judge Ned Mangum is presiding over divorce proceeding of the children's parents, Thomas and Venessa Mills.

Venessa Mills was in the fourth year of home schooling her children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old. They have tested two years above their grade levels, she said.

"We have math, reading; we have grammar, science, music,” Venessa Mills said.

Her lessons also have a religious slant, which the judge said was the root of the problem.

"My teaching is strictly out of the Bible, and it's very clear. It is very evident so I just choose to follow the Bible,” Venessa Mills said....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Brain-injured GIs Could Number 360,000

Source: Military.com

WASHINGTON - The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday.

The estimate of the number injured - the vast majority of them suffering concussions - represents 20 percent of the roughly 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where blast injuries are common from roadside bombs and other explosives, the doctors said.

The estimate came in a Pentagon news conference on activities planned this month to bring attention to brain injuries. The doctors said the number could be as low as 180,000, based on estimates that between 10 percent and 20 percent of troops might have received such injuries.

The previous high estimate offered publicly was 320,000 in a study released a year ago by the private Rand Corp. It was based on about 1.6 million who had done tours of duty in the wars from late 2001.

Though so-called "traumatic" brain injury can range from a mild form such as concussions to severe forms with penetrating head wounds, officials said the majority of injuries among troops are the mild form.

The overwhelming majority heal - and heal without treatment - but an estimated 45,000 to 90,000 troops have suffered more severe and lasting symptoms, said Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, the head of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

The Army alone spent $242 million last year for staff, facilities and programs to serve troops with brain injuries, said Lt. Col. Lynne M. Lowe of the Army surgeon general's office.

Sutton said that, as in previous wars, the research and other work being done by the military will eventually benefit the civilian world. Whether the injuries occur while people ride bicycles, play football, skateboard or ski, "we know that this is an issue across the country," she said.

"In the past ... it was difficult to get this on the radar screen," said Dr. James Kelly, director of the National Intrepid Center for brain injuries and psychological health. "Brain injury was not recognized as a problem ... of any consequence and was, especially in the sports community, often dismissed or trivialized."

"I think that now you're seeing it being taken very seriously," Kelly said. "The wartime experience has been a big part of that."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Earmark Kings and Queens of the Senate

FOX News has the following list of top 20 Senators when it comes to earmarks:

1) Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. -- $122,804,900

2) Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. -- $114,484,250

3) Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo. -- $85,691,491

4) Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- $76,899,425

5) Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. -- $75,908,475

6) Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska -- $74,000,750

7) Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa -- $66,860,000

8) Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. -- $53,133,500

9) Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- $51,186,000

10) Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii -- $46,380,205

11) Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. -- $39,228,250

12) Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. -- $36,547,100

13) Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. -- $36,161,125

14) Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. -- $35,577,250

15) Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. -- $27,169,750

16) Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. -- $26,628,613

17) Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. -- $25,320,000

18) Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis. -- $23,832,000

19) Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. -- $21,952,250

20) Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. -- $19,588,625

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Ongoing Project at Slate.com

Gretchen Rubin has some hard-earned wisdom to share with us at The Happiness Project, where she shares some myths that people have about things that make one happy:

Happiness Myth No. 8: You’ll Be Happy As Soon As You…
Happiness Myth No. 7: Doing "random acts of kindness" brings happiness. [Half wrong. It is true that studies show that if you commit a random act of kindness, you'll feel happier. But it's likely to make the startled recipient of your favor suspicious!]
Happpiness Myth No. 6: Money can't buy happiness.
Happiness Myth No. 5: A "treat" will cheer you up. [Often, not!]
Happiness Myth No. 4: You’ll be happier if you insist on "The Best."
Happiness Myth No. 3: Venting anger relieves it. [Wrong. Contrary to popular notion, aggressive "venting" doesn’t relieve bad feelings but fuels them. Studies show that blowing up, punching a pillow, yelling, or slamming doors makes you feel worse, not better.]
Happiness Myth No. 2: People have a happiness set point, and no matter what happens to them, before long, they snap back to their usual happiness level.
Myth no. 1: People find happy people annoying and stupid. [Wrong. Actually, studies show that people find happy people much more likable than their less-happy peers. Happy people are viewed as friendlier, smarter, warmer, less selfish, more self-confident, and more socially skilled—even more physically attractive.]

Digging into the Archives: Carville Wanted Bush to Fail on 11 September 2001

The press never reported that Democratic strategist James Carville said he wanted President Bush to fail before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But a feeding frenzy ensued when radio host Rush Limbaugh recently said he wanted President Obama to fail. FOX News ran the story today.

Limbaugh defended his position by saying ...that he is rooting for the failure of Obama's liberal policies.

"The difference between Carville and his ilk and me is that I care about what happens to my country," Limbaugh told Fox on Wednesday. "I am not saying what I say for political advantage. I oppose actions, such as Obama's socialist agenda, that hurt my country.

"I deal in principles, not polls," Limbaugh added. "Carville and people like him live and breathe political exploitation. This is all a game to them. It's not a game to me. I am concerned about the well-being and survival of our nation. When has Carville ever advocated anything that would benefit the country at the expense of his party?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here We Go Again: Pelosi Treats Air Force as Her Personal Airline

FOX News has the latest installment of the continuing saga of Nancy Pelosi's use and abuse of military flights.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group.

Representatives for Judicial Watch, which obtained e-mails and other documents from a Freedom of Information request, said the correspondence shows Pelosi has abused the system in place to accommodate congressional leaders and treated the Air Force as her "personal airline...."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ooooohhh! Aaaaahhh! Check Out the Audi Shark Concept Hovercraft!!!

Too bad this vehicle isn't available at your nearest Audi dealer. Read more about it at Wired.com.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hey, Isn't Gluttony One of the Seven Deadly Sins?

As evidence of a slow-news day, we are running the following FOX News story:

The winner of an eating contest dropped dead after gorging himself on 43 cream-and-banana-stuffed pancakes.

Boris Isayev, 48, from west Russia, collapsed to his knees and died on stage after stuffing himself with pancakes in a competition to mark the end of the region’s ‘Pancake Week.'

"He had really enjoyed the pancakes but then he started foaming at the mouth and went down like a sack of stones," one witness said.

"We have seen people fainting during such contests before," she added.

The exact cause of death is not clear but doctors believe he choked after a piece of pancake got lodged in his throat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No Matter What Excuses You Use, It's Still Murder

Chuck Colson relates this chilling story from California:

In his new book, The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides, lawyer and author John West publicly tells a story that most people would have kept silent. He does it so that one day others may be able to kill openly and without fear. That’s not how West puts it, of course, but I’m afraid that’s what it boils down to.

West’s parents were prestigious psychiatrists. As West wrote, “Neither was at all religious, but both had deep insight into the human condition. . . . And they knew what they wanted.”

What they wanted was to die “on [their] own terms.” When West’s father was diagnosed with cancer, he asked his son for help in taking his own life. In West’s mother’s case, “advancing cognitive decline” led her to fear that she would “turn into a bowl of Jell-O in her head.” A couple of weeks after West assisted his father’s suicide, his mother made the same request....

No good can come of allowing people to kill others—even if they claim they were acting out of the most purely humanitarian motives. The authorities need to uphold the law.

Make no mistake: Legalizing assisted suicide is a big step on a dangerous and slippery slope, especially in a world where human life is growing cheaper by the minute. We’ve already seen that legalizing assisted suicide has led to non-voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. And we’ve talked recently on BreakPoint about how increasing health-care costs have spurred Britain to deny certain citizens life-prolonging treatment.

I will say it over and over, until I am blue in the face: Every human life, from conception through natural death, is sacred. And to take that life unjustly is simply murder—the kind of thing the state has a sworn duty to stop.

Two Leading Mexican Drug Cartels Command 100,000 Foot-Soldiers!

A FOX News article reports that the threat posed by Mexican drug cartels is approaching crisis proportions, as their forces approach the numbers of Mexico's army (130,000 soldiers). Over 7,000 people have lost their lives in the past year.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Speech. By Rush. Before CPAC.

There's been a lot of buzz about the motivational speech Rush Limbaugh made before CPAC last weekend. You can read the transcript at:


UPDATE: Christopher Beam of Slate.com wrote a follow-up article, "Rush to Pardon: Conservative Talk-Radio Hosts Have Limbaugh's Back."