Thursday, March 31, 2005

The death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo

Well, it has come to pass.

Prediction: The autopsy -- which mandated by Florida law makes Michael Schiavo's 'request' moot -- will find her brain has shrunk. HEY FOLKS, GUESS WHAT?? When you are dehydrated, your brain SHRINKS!! But sit back and wait for the news, and then the media will go nuts saying that Michael was right.

I am just glad the Pope isn't in Florida....

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Thought questions of the day


    If Terri Schiavo is in a PVS, why does she need morphine?
    Why is there music playing in her room, and a stuffed animal under her arm, if she really is in a PVS?
    When this torture runs its course, and she is dead, who is going to cheer?
    What is the Florida law regarding common-law marriage and bigomy?

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US team finds alternative stem cell source

Despite an exaggerated claim in the second paragraph, this is an important story:

Guardian: American researchers reported this week that stem cells found in hair follicles can develop into nerve cells and might be useful in medical treatment.

With strict government restrictions on using stem cells from human embryos, scientists in the US are under pressure to find alternative sources of these cells, which can develop into different kinds of body tissues, from skin to liver or nerve.
The only restrictions I recall involve Federal funding; not having the state pay for something is hardly a 'strict restriction.' Be that as it may, while not yet conclusive, this finding is proimising:

In September, a team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the medical endowment, and the Rockefeller University in New York found stem cells from hair follicles that grew hair, stretches of skin and sweat glands.

Three cheers for American ingenuity and determination!

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Why cubicles suck

Conversation between myself and co-worker:

Me: (as co-worker heads to the door, said jokingly) Leaving? Half day today?
She: No, no, just stepping out to make a personal phone call. Do you know how hard it is to talk dirty to your husband in these cubicles?
Admittedly, she had me speechless on this point. I was about to say 'Why, yes I do' but without somehow interjecting my much-better-half into the sentence, it would have sounded bad.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fun with Science


As we plunge into the 21st century, it is time we take a closer look at the technological wonders we create. Here, we try to discover just a little bit more about the world around us through the miracles of science, technology, and preservatives.

So starts our scientific journey! If your Easter party has turned dull (and lets be real: if you're reading this blog while celebrating Easter, it must be dull!) click HERE and have fun with a pack of Peeps !!





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30,000 pounds of bananas

It was just after dark when the truck started down
the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania
carrying 30,000 pounds of bananas ...

40 years ago today on Moosic Street, a 19 year old truck driver lost his brakes, lost his life, and rode into musical history, thanks to Harry Chapin.

I saw a news story about the anniversary on WNEP-TV, but sadly their site doesn't list the text of the story, nor can I find any reference to the event online.

For those curious of the song written on the poor driver's behalf, visit The Harry Chapin Archive.

FINALLY! SurfScranton.com provides a link to a photo of the aftermath.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Schoolhouse Crock

NY Daily News: A Bronx teacher who repeatedly flunked his state certification exam paid a formerly homeless man with a developmental disorder $2 to take the test for him, authorities said yesterday. The illegal stand-in - who looks nothing like teacher Wayne Brightly - not only passed the high-stakes test, he scored so much better than the teacher had previously that the state knew something was wrong, officials said.

{snip}

Along with being much smarter than Brightly, Leitner is 20 years older. He also is white and overweight while Brightly is black and thin. Yet none of those glaring differences apparently worried Brightly.

{snip}

If he failed the state exam again, Brightly risked losing his $59,000-a-year job.

{snip}

About 19,000 teachers across the state take the certification exam each year and roughly 95% pass. Teachers are required to be certified - but the city has a temporary waiver from the state because the Education Department has not been able to find enough qualified instructors.


OK, tell me again why school vouchers do not make sense. Tell me again why teachers unions that don't put their foot down against undesirable teachers such as this are working in the bets interest of students.

$59K a year for a teacher so stupid? Hell, if NYC Board of Education is so hard-up for good teachers, there's bound to be plenty of out-of-work people who would jump at the chance to work 9 months per year at $59K who are bound to be smarter than this idiot.

Am I wrong here???





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Good News / Bad News


  • Canada does the right thing (for a change):
TORONTO - A U.S. Army paratrooper who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq was denied political asylum Thursday, dealing a blow to other deserters here who argue such duty would force them to commit atrocities against civilians. Fox News

Somehow arguing you 'joined to fight, but only where you want to fight' didn't sound much like a healthy debate position. Something tells me he'll be met at the border by a receiving party from the Army (many, undoubtedly, wearing MP on their sleeves).

Now if they can only get their collective heads out of their butts regarding missile defense and border security.

  • The nation will mourn for Terri Schiavo: You may not think it so, but the representatives of the nation have spoken loud and clear. Forget the slanted poll ABC News put out or the now debunked allegations of a Republican 'Talking Points' memo (both chronicled and exposed here) ... the majority of Democrats in both house supported the request for a de novo review of the Schiavo case, and the lower federal courts punted their responsibility. In fact, the Supreme Court had no real standing in this case other than to remind the lower federal courts of the Constitutional obligations.

    What obligations, you ask? Check out Article 3 or hear it eloquently read to you by Mark Levin

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
...
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consul, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

This should put to rest the ill-informed who claim what the Congress and President did last weekend was improper. The Congress did its job; now what else they need do is to call Judge Greer and ask why he felt it was in his purview to ignore the subpoena for Mrs. Schiavo. They need also to call the Federal District judges who ignored the de novo review; clearly, they ignored the intent and letter of the law, and they need to be held accountable.
  • Why I am so adamant about this case? The reason is simple. I've had family members who were sustained by all sorts of life-support. From cases of respirators and the whole lot to simply nutrition and hydration. I was told the chances were slim to none for survival in two cases. Some argue if you aren't in Michael Schiavo's shoes, you can't imagine what he's gone through. Well I can't say I've been in his shoes for 15 years, but yeah, I can say I've been there. And since he's abridged his spousal rights by moving on to his common-law wife and children, his opinions no longer carry the weight he believes they do.

  • Still incensed at the circus: I'm losing respect for all forms of media,and for all the protesters outside the Hospice where Terri Schiavo is being slowly tortured to death. Without being callous to her plight, what of the lives of the other patients and their loved ones?

  • Easter is almost here: At least there is some news that can't be trumped.

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Yes, I made it home

Yes, I am finally got home the other night. About the time I mobile-blogged, there was hardly any snow on the ground, yet the roadway was filled with people driving 20 MPH in the passing lane. GET OFF TO THE RIGHT if you can't drive faster. Sheesh.

When I crossed 'the Gap' there was at least 4" down, and at least I could envision a reason for people driving slow. Yet again, people insisted on driving below 20 MPH in the left lane. I wasn't looking to drive 60 MPH, but when I did pass them (eventually) I was more than safe driving 40 - 45 MPH. In the words of Pink Floyd: Stay out of the road if you wanna grow old.

In all, 120 miles took about 4-1/2 hours. How lame is that? In all, we got about 7" of snow. Last blast of winter.




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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Stuck in traffic

A small amount of snow and the road turns into a parking lot. Ive been
in one spot for a half an hour! Instead of my usual 2 hour ride, Im up
to 3.45!


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The Humane thing to do

It's a hard choice to make, but it is ours. Some may complain about us choosing wrong, but the important thing is we know we're right while we let millions die.

And you'd have to be a pretty heartless person to not see how death by starvation is what the people would really want.
Illustrating absurdity with absurdity to make a point, this piece hits home.

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Easter greetings

I generally shun greeting cards like this, especially with a rap-ish beat, but this one is worth sharing.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Interesting and under-reported point on Schiavo

Crystal Clear asks a very intriguing question:

Why isn't anyone considering why Judge Greer still has several issues regarding Michael Schiavo and guardianship that he has NOT ruled on yet? How can she be allowed to die when there are still issues he hasn't ruled upon?


How indeed!

And further to the hospice question I asked earlier, why is Terri Schiavo in a hospice in the first place? She isn't terminally ill (or sadly, she wasn't when she entered).

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The torture continues

I can't say I am at all surprised that the judge refused to reinstate Terri Schaivo's feeding tube.  The judge did not seem to regard the case with any real importance.


What I find amazing in all of this is that the feeding tube need not EVER have been surgically removed.  Why?  Assuming for the moment Michael Schiavo had a moral, legal right to starve his wife, why did the tube need to be removed?  Couldn't the sustenance be simply cut off?  Or would that be too simple?

I am still seeking someone who can give me logical reasons why escalating the case to a Federal level was wrong; convicted murderers on death-row get federal appeal; why not an innocent person? 

I would like to take this time to complain about the media attention, and to the protestors on both sides of the aisle.  The media has their satellite brigade set up to film to protestors in front of this hospice.  What if your loved one (not Terri Schiavo) was in that hospice, on their last days: would you want to see that circus?

Protest is fine, but this is a classic case for a remote protest area being set up.  The loved ones of the dying (not connected to this case) should not have to wade through the zealots and the klieg lights to get to and from their destination.

My neighbor's dog became very sick some time ago.  It had to be put down.  At least it didn't suffer.  A pity many do not think the same consideration be given to Terri Schiavo.


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Someone I know uses one!

Heard at Tae Kwon Do class:


MASTER: {speaking to a young girl} Your hair is getting too long
STUDENT: Yes sir.
MASTER: Either take care of it, or I'll bring in my FlowBee and cut it for you.
STUDENT: Yes sir.
MASTER: That goes for all you (in the class) If FlowBee is good enough for Sabanim, it's good enough for you, too!


In all seriousness, the Master makes this kind of threat fairly regularly, but has never carried it out. However, looking a the man, it isn't hard to imagine he does use a FlowBee on his own head.

At the risk of sounding like I am dumping on the man, he just completed his promotion to 6th Dan (WTF), making him one of 7 in PA to achieve that rank, and one of 96 nationwide.

Kyung-nae!

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Monday, March 21, 2005

A little bit better

I've managed to clean up the template over lunch today...

It's a little bit better, but not yet perfect.

Any problems viewing with your favorite browser, let me know...

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Musings of Palm Sunday

Catholic holidays bring out the best in people. Well, maybe not always.

Palm Sunday was yesterday, and as expected the parking lot and pews were packed. Sometimes you can rationale that the church is more packed this week than usual because people are visiting, and thus more are in town. Of course, being a holiday, it is reasonable to assume as many people are visiting away from our parish as are visiting it, so it should wash.
No, people are here on Palm Sunday to say they're Catholic and they want palm. My father is great at making palm braids. Flat braids, three-dimensional braids, he can do it all. I never can start them, even with +30 years of annual practice. If he shows me, I can finish it. Getting going myself: it's a mess.


(NOTE TO SELF: learn it this year, draw up instructions so even an idiot like you can do it.)

Our parish puts out a nice bunch of palm at each door; few if any people go away with more than a few strands each, but no one ever goes away empty handed. Even with the sudden, seasonal increase in attendance, the church provides to all.

The church parking lot is where many of these more seasoned worshipers interact with the seasonal ones. Palm Sunday is the day celebrating the triumphant arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem, but outside you hear "Move it! I'm trying to frickin' drive here!" Somehow, he won't be confused with one of the ushers.

Curtis Sliwa , the NYC talk-radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels , has a term for these good Christians: A&P Catholics: Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Many people think they can come to church a few times each year and they'll "qualify" (as if such a qualification exists), but it often seems these people seem to act as if they've been somehow ordained to act as they please, rude or otherwise.


Just think: this week is Easter Sunday... imagine how much fun navigating the parking lot will be then!






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If you're already dead, please ignore

The wonders of Socialized Medicine. As seen at Say Anything:


TORONTO - A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: “If the person named on this computer-generated letter is deceased, please
accept our sincere apologies.”The patient wasn’t dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. But there are many Canadians who claim the long wait for the test and the frigid formality of the letter are indicative of a health system badly in need of emergency care.

Americans who flock to Canada for cheap flu shots often come away impressed at the free and first-class medical care available to Canadians, rich or poor. But tell that to hospital administrators constantly having to cut staff for lack of funds, or to the mother whose teenager was advised she would have to wait up to three years for surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.

“It’s like somebody’s telling you that you can buy this car, and you’ve paid for the car, but you can’t have it right now,” said Jane Pelton. Rather than leave daughter Emily in pain and a knee brace, the Ottawa family opted to pay $3,300 for arthroscopic surgery at a private clinic in Vancouver, with no help from the government.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Lesson for all



There is one specific and clear lesson to be learnt from the hideous death Terri Schiavo is suffering through:

Right now, start drawing up your living will. Regardless of whether you think her husband (so-called, in my opinion) is right or not, put your desires down in a legal fashion, get it notarized, get it distributed to your family.

Get a lawyer, get Quicken Lawyer, go to STAPLES and buy the paper kit. Just DO IT.

My much-better-half and I have long had our living wills, so there will never be a debate such as we've witnessed.

There's no excuse for you not to have one.


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The torture has begun

I do not understand it. The very same people who campaigned, gnashed their teeth, and stomped their feet saying 'putting panties on the heads of illegal combatants is torture' are some of the same voices who are saying 'yes! stop feeding Terri Schiavo - let her die of thirst.'

Some of those same people would look at SaveToby.com and become emotional, yet are callous to this woman.

(I have some views on SaveToby, and I will post them later)

This moment in time in the US Congress is an important one. We have a Senate that enjoys the majority, and not by a mere vote. They can and should perform monumental acts in accordance to the majority will of the voters. This means standing up for the Constitution and standing up for the weakest among us, in this case Ms. Schiavo.


As I type this, DrudgeReport leads with a bulletin: Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube has been removed. I hope the people who purport to know that 'Terri hates being connected to the tube' also can shed light on how she feels about dying of thirst and hunger.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'm not dead yet

Idle chatter at the office:

She:    Is that decaf?
Me:     (as I pour myself a cup) Me? Decaf? HAH!  If I drank decaf I would have passed out long ago.
She:    You drink too much coffee!
Me:     Right, and I'll be dead before I am 45...
She:    HAH!  You're safe there, you past 45 long ago.
Me:     Huh?
She:    You have to be older than I am, and I am 46!
Me:     Um, no...


I feel happy... I feel happy....

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Quick Hits

So much to do, so little time...


  1. ANWR Drilling: Well it's about time! And before you go on about the 'pristine' wilderness, I'll point you to pstupidonymous who actually lives in one of Alaska's North Slop oil fields. He provides photos of the ANWR area, both in summer and winter months. Now about those alleged record gas pump prices....

  2. Gas prices are a pain in the pump - Ok, that's hardly an origianl saying (especially since its the radio ad for natural gas consortium in the NYC area - call 1-877-I-GOT-GAS -- not making that up!). Readers will know my pseudonym comes from the many miles I log commuting to work. 1100 each week, in fact. So I am well aware of the price for a gallon of gas.

    That much said, the MSM misinformation goes on, as there are reports of gas prices reaching record levels. A pity no one takes into account the affects of inflation, as Seth at SAY ANYTHING points out succinctly. Quoting Neil Boortz, the fact is that a gallon of gas would have to reach $3.08 to match the record set in in 1981. ANWR drilling will take years before any drop in price will be seen, but competition in the oil industry has been long ignored, but in time the effects will be seen. Read. Learn. Pass it on.

  3. PowerLine correctly points out what many have said for quite some time (this blog included): the media is biased. Don't believe it? Here's a question posed to President Bush at yesterday's Press Conference:

    Q Paul Wolfowitz, who was the -- a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in our history --

    THE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) That's an interesting start. (Laughter.)

    Q
    -- is your choice to be the President of the World Bank. What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world?


    Tell me that's not an editorial. Jeff Gannon misrepresenting himself was wrong, but is this any better? PowerLine has more examples. Required reading, indeed!

  4. Patrick Ruffini sheds light on the growing dissent towards the manner in which Senate Confirmation hearings are conducted:
    I have watched the confirmation hearings of so many good men and women and have seen their records distorted and their characters assaulted by Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee and have seen no price being paid by those doing so.
    Senator Bill Frist leads a Republican Majority, yet these antics (along with the nonsense over the unconstitutional blocking of Judicial nominees) continues. What Sen. Frist needs to do is lead, and he does that by taking stands against these improprieties and acts. He has the votes, the wills of the people, he should use it.

My, that's a lot for a 'quick hit'. ONE MORE: Éire go brách! Happy St. Patricks Day (before someone says invoking the name of a great saint ought to be stopped!).

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Double standards, yet again

I saw this online (philly.com) but could not find the speech in question anywhere. After reading Number 2 Pencil, I've learned why.

A speaker who was "passionate on the topic of diversity" left some students at a Catholic high school feeling, well, offended:
HADDON TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Some white students at a South Jersey Catholic school walked out of classes Tuesday in protest over a speech by the New Jersey Secretary of State Regina Thomas. Tensions have been building up at Paul VI High School since Thomas' speech on racial justice last week.

Many students and faculty members walked out of the speech offended. They said that she lambasted one student for not knowing his black history and that she insinuated that the students were racist. "It's, like, really crazy right now. Teachers are just standing by the doors. Kids are trying to get out. Kids are in the hallway, they won't go to class," one female student said...

{SNIP}

Secretary of State Regena L. Thomas said her March 7 presentation to 600 freshmen and sophomores at Paul VI High School in Haddonfield was not meant to belittle the predominantly white audience, as some have charged. "My purpose was to raise the level of awareness and discourse of these issues, and to leave an impact," Thomas said in a statement issued Tuesday. "It was never meant to be personal or critical of the students or school."

Thomas was not available to be interviewed Tuesday and a written copy of her remarks was not available, said her spokeswoman, Regina Wilder.

Clearly, the speech given by no less than NJ's Secretary of State has caused quite a stir. But I want to watch this story for the next few days. Had the positions been reversed: a white Secretary of State, saying things opposite to what was said in this story, would there be marching in the street? Would there be calls for the Secretary to step down? Would there be politicans from all over the state speaking out against these words?

Interesting exercise in thought.



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Where are the calls for an exit strategy now?

Cliff May of National Review Online's The Corner asks the musical question:

"Within the past eight days there have been 21 homicides in Philadelphia."
DON'T WE NEED AN EXIT STRATEGY?



(Registration is required to read from the Philadelphia Inquirer.... don't want to register? Try bugmenot.com)

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Hey lady!!!

Happy birthday un to Jerry Lewis, 79 years today.

The typo a result of using T-9 typing and WAPBlogger....



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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I did it again

All I wanted to do was engage in a lively debate, and it got me banned.

Visit
Esoterically and tell me if I was right or wrong... don't worry, I can take it.

Regardless, if Len would prefer my not darkening his Blog again, who am I to argue? He and I have gone toe-to-toe on a number of issues the last few months, a pity he'd rather I didn't visit him any more.

Maybe I'll stick to Trackbacks and refuting Liberal thinking on my own Blog.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

NATIONAL Pi DAY

I came across this gem on a home-schooling mailing list:


Today is national Pi day, to be celebrated as 3/14, 1:59 pm (Remember kiddies, pi=3.14159265.......)

Back in my youth, somewhere around 11 or so, I found I was the only kid I knew who could memorize Pi to the 12th digit (who could forget the 'exercise' Mr. Spock gave to the Enterprise's computer?) ... later on I realized the reason I was the only one was because everyone else thought it stupid.

Regardless, Pi has always been a fav of mine.

I only started mining the internet this morning, but here's a couple of resources:


Now where did I leave my compass...?

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What WMDs?

I first read this on Reality Hammer, but later saw a post on Blogs for Bush (who saw it on OTB):

So...why would Saddam try to bribe weapons inspectors if there weren't any WMD?

Saddam Hussein's regime offered a $2 million (£1.4 million) bribe to the United Nations' chief weapons inspector to doctor his reports on the search for weapons of mass destruction.Telegraph Financial Services & Reader GuidesRolf Ekeus, the Swede who led the UN's efforts to track down the weapons from 1991 to 1997, said that the offer came from Tariq Aziz, Saddam's foreign minister and deputy.


Obviously we haven't found all there is to find.I think a little more pressure on Syria is needed on this issue.

In other news, on today's IMUS in the Morning (heard on the radio across America and by a handful of people on MSNBC), Newsweeks Evan Thomas conceeded that he and many others in the MSM may have to admit the President was right about the improving conditions in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq. What a guy, Evan Thomas is, for admitting that!

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Spring will soon be here...

Even though there is still snow on the ground, the sun was shining and
it was a great day to work under the hood, in short sleeves.

...but spring will soon be here
but I hope its not late..

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Friday Meme

When you were 16 did you have an idea about what your career would be?

Have you reached it, are you on the way, or have you abandoned it?






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Social Security Myths

Alan Reynolds, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote a compelling piece in the March 14th National Review. Subscribers can read it online, but for your edification, I will summarize the highlights here.

Mr. Reynolds detailed the seven biggest myths surrounding Social Security with arguments that stand up to debate:

  1. "The System" must be saved. This is a fallacy on its own. The System is doomed to utter failure, and all that can be done for it is to gently begin migrating people away from it. By offering a mere 3% towards Personal Retirement Accounts, there will come a time down the line (40-50 years) that payers into the system will become self-sufficient, and receivers will be working from their own accounts. Yes, a government bailout will probably be in our future, but the extent of the bailout will be minimized by the contributions to the private accounts.

  2. Social Security isn't bankrupt. The president uses the term “bankrupt” to describe Social Security’s future; his critics respond by saying there is no immediate “crisis.” However, these are quite different concepts. When giant corporations go bankrupt, that does not mean they have no income or assets; it means they don’t have enough income to pay their bills. So it will be with Social Security sometime after 2042, unless commitments are brought into line with resources.

  3. Transition costs would be prohibitive. The costs would be a wash, since a $1 taken out of the Social Security tax and deposited into a personal account would represent $1 less being added to the Social Security debt. What I keep in my private account is mine, what doesn't go into my Social Security account won't ever come to me; it’s a wash.

  4. It would be fiscally wise to raise the cap on earnings subjected to Social Security taxes. Only about 10 percent of Americans have salaries above $90,000 (data found here and here), so soaking the rich would not raise much revenue; yet adding this tax hike would push the overall burden on professionals and entrepreneurs above the highest tax rates in Europe, with devastating economic effects.

  5. We can simply “refinance” un-financed promises. Someone, please tell me: how do refinance what was never financed in the first place?

  6. Chile’s privatized retirement system doesn’t work. Critics will cite the NY Times estimate that the system doesn't work. Cato Institute's Reynolds cites MIT; guess which one I am backing?

  7. Social Security is, for most people, a good deal. The only people for whom Social Security is a good deal are those who never planned to succeed at much of anything. Case in point, if you paid the maximum Social Security tax for 40 years or more, your benefit will be only about four times larger than if you never paid a dime.



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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Quick Hits

  1. This old man, he play TKD.... There are times when I ask myself 'what the hell do you think you're doing? You started way too late in life to think you can accomplish Tae Kwon Do to any major degree.'

    Everyone I have met or meet, when the discussion of exercise happens to come up, tells me of the 'great feeling' one gets. Well, truth be told my weight is down, and yeah, my strength is up. But I have yet to achieve any sort of euphoric feeling from working out. Rarely do I walk away from a work-out where I am not limping, and always am I panting (we won't discuss the sweat). The next mornings are hell getting out of bed. It's been over 20 months now: When is it supposed to feel good?

    In the end, I know I am there for my son, first and foremost. Added bonus is the workout, which can only help my cholesterol numbers (which were high over 2 years ago, but I haven't a clue where they stand today). I am a presently a green belt, 7th gup in the WTF (World Tae Kwon Do Federation) rankings; not an exceptional ranking, but not worth nothing, either. And while the Sabanim can break 'em with the best of them ('em being not boards, but in this case balls), I wouldn't continue to return each week if it wasn't for the generous amount of respect he's earned from me.

    Now where did I leave the
    Absorbine, Jr??

  2. Courage, Dan: Goodnight, Dan Rather. I know we'll hear from you again, but its a shame you didn't get out when you had some integrity intact.

  3. Political Posting will return, probably next week. So much to say, so little time to pontificate....



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People Eat Tasty Animals

Michele at A Small Victory reminds us all to stock up on napkins and A-1 Sauce in preparation of Tuesday's Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day! She's made up some banners for the event, and has allowed us carnivores to use them:

Jessica Simpson spreads hers with honey  - don't be the only one not doing any licking

Now Michele points out that this day isn't anti-Vegan, but my encounters with Vegan's has led me to believe that it ought to be; anyone so radical that they would interfere with my dining pleasure isn't a friend of mine!

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Charter school embezzler sentenced

A Tobyhanna man who, along with his wife, embezzled taxpayer money from the charter school they opened was sentenced to prison Friday.

Monroe County President Judge Ronald E. Vican sentenced Kenneth Cabarrus, 35, to one to two years in state prison for buying a 2003 Dodge Ram truck with $24,700 belonging to the now-defunct Pocono School of Excellence in Tobyhanna, the county's first charter school. His wife, Tonya Cabarrus, 36, who stole $31,000 of the school's money to buy a 2000 BMW, will be sentenced next Wednesday. She was scheduled to be sentenced Friday, but her attorney got tied up in a hearing in Philadelphia.
-- Pocono Record
Good to hear! People like this give charter schools a bad name, and I am pleased to learn the appeals for 'probation' were turned down.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Snow Tubing Review

Well it was a nice day. Let me get that out of the way early. More importantly, the boys in Cub Scout Den 8 enjoyed themselves.

I never snow-tubed before. The lines at the bottom of the hill were surprisingly small, what I never expected was the crowds at the top. I understand the necessity to hold the lines so people don't crash into each other, but I found the process of clearing the bottom of the slopes to be painfully slow and inefficient. The sun made the hills sluggish, but it just seemed no one was even trying to get the people off the runs, and thus no one seemed inclined to hurry.

The single tubes allowed for more spinning, regardless if you asked for a spin or not before going down. The family tubes (seated 4-6 people) would spin a little, but it was never too much. Psychos, at least in my eyes, would hook 2, 3, 4, or more single tubes together, and then asked to be spun; that many joined tubes just never seemed sane to me.

But hey, no one got hurt, everyone had fun, so why should my opinion matter

The last time I was on a ski mountain (in the snow, that is) was about 20 years ago. Hunter Mountain, NY. I was with a bunch of people, sadly so 'notable' that I couldn't name even one for you right now. Well, one of my brothers was there, so that's one; beyond that, I am at a loss for the other's names.

Now that was my first foray into skiing; so, with no reservations at all, I resigned myself for the bunny slopes. What is the thinking here? OK, for kids, calling the beginner's slopes 'bunny trails' is cute. What adult (especially an adult male) wants to practice on the 'bunny slope'? Truth be told, Hunter formally named their beginner slopes with street names. Madison Ave was where I was practicing, but everyone called them the 'bunny slope'. Way to build
confidence, right?

I took part in the group lesson, and I was off. Grabbed the tow line…ZIP!!! There goes my glove, off my hand, and I end up with a rope burn on my palm. No one told me there was a 'procedure' for using the towline. OK, I'm off to a weak start.

I went up and down about a dozen times, never quite figuring out the 'snow plow' technique. Crashing a lot, mostly on my own, sometimes into other beginners.

After about my 15th or so run (which to call it a 'run' on a bunny slope is kinda silly), I was managing to steer a bit, and gain some control.

'Hey, this is getting good,' or so I thought.

The next thing I realize, I am off the 'snow' and am on hard packed, ice-covered snow.

Moreover, I am picking up speed.

OK, time to snowplow.

Nope…. Not doing good! Not slowing down. In fact going faster. Time to bail out.

So I do my best to stage a controlled fall. I drop. One ski flies off my right foot. The left leg bends 90 degrees (fortunately in a natural position!) and is under my right leg, ski still attached.

Now I am sliding on ice, uncontrollably, trying to get my right foot dug in to slow down.

The slope starts to level off…. "I'll start to slow down" I think.

Not so lucky.

I slide across some gravel and – and I am not making this up – slide under a parked car. Who in their right mind would put a frickin' parking lot at the bottom of a frickin' bunny slope???

My left knee slams into the rear tire of a car, my right leg is underneath the vehicle. My head is throbbing from the bumpy ride (not to mention the gravel patch). Before I catch my breath and crawl away, I hear a sound.

"Oh crap. The other ski"

It followed me down, and slid right behind me.

And hit me in the head.

I crawled to the lodge and proceeded to get drunk.

I never went skiing again after that event. It just never seemed prudent thing for me to do.

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

More tube blogging, I must say I'm disappointed. Since arriving here at 12;30 we've managed 4 runs: 2 single and 2 group. small lines for the lifts, huge lines at the top. Times like this I regret not opting for a cam phone.

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Snow Tube Blogging

Snow tube blogging, coming to you from Ski Blue Mountain.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

How I ensured a GOP Victory, by Howard Dean

Here are the highlights from Dr. Dean's yet-to-be published memoirs:

  • First, I called Republican's evil... what a way to sway the electorate
  • Then I made a crass, racial comment
  • Then I made the DNC platform on abortion unstable
  • Then I trashed the DNC position on Social Security when I conceeded there would be benefit reductions if the status quo was maintained

And that was in my first few weeks as DNC Chair!

h/t GOP Bloggers

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Goodnight, Andy Sipowicz

In continuing with precedent, this Blog will comment on the finale's of his most-watched TV shows (See Friends and Frasier)

Well, it was a classic Blue, only milder. Long before ABC started their count-down to finale' commercials, I could always picture in my mind Andy grabbing his crotch while yelling at Sylvia on the steps of the courthouse. That scene stands out in my mind because that was the first example at how 'gritty' NYPD Blue was to become. So while it was a good episode, it lacked the signature violence, language, or other 'wardrobe malfunctions' the show had become so well known for featuring (note to Steven Bochco: Thank you for no more nude scenes of Andy!!). Sure, they may have been called gratuitous in the last episode, but not even one foul word?

I still think the finale' should have been longer than one hour; while we knew there wouldn't be any additional storylines with the cast members who were written out or who chose not to participate (paging Charlotte Ross), the trials of Andy's first day could have lasted longer, allowing for more scenes involving the veteran cast members instead of the time given to the new-kids on the squad. Sure, they were necessary to allow the exChief to pump them for information, but overall they got about a quarter of the show. And while no one would be inclined to offer Bale a party, you'd think a scene showing someone other than Andy shaking hands would be apropos.

Speaking of my rant about Charlotte Ross, why couldn't Andy have at least once picked up the phone to 'speak' to Connie at home? Sort of 'yeah, I'm in my office officially. No, I have these reviews to complete, so I'll be home later... tell the kids I'll see them in the morning'.

The final good byes were well done; you could see the emotion in their eyes, which was patently out of character under the circumstances, but completely understandable. I liked the camera pull-away at the end, almost showing the squad as merely a set, unreal. And yet it was real, to us at least. It wasn't a final farewell, from the cast's point of view (compared to Barney Miller), but rather the end of a new beginning, and while we'll never see what develops from this new beginning, we can be satisfied that Andy will handle whatever comes their way.

I will indeed miss Blue. I can't say I have any intention of finding a replacement for it -- sorry, Blind Justice just doesn't seem to catch my interest. Shows like Blue will go into my record book, along with Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, Cheers and Frasier, as a show that made a difference in my life, at least from a TV viewers point of view. Undoubtedly they'll be other shows before long, shows that will be compared against Blue. In time, to be sure. But for now, I tip my hat the 15th Squad, and thank them for the years of drama and entertainment.


Update: WizBang's Jay Tea shares his fondness for NYPD Blue.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

So long NYPD Blue

I admit things won't be the same for my TV viewing after tonights finale'. I've seen every episode since reason 1 and every Wednesday had my friend J and I reviewing the plot twists and the character development. I am disappointed tonights show is only 1 hour -- there's too much story to wrap up in such a short time. I'll say more about the show tomorrow: right now I have an errand to run and to get home,

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Call for Howard Dean to step down

Pundit Guy points out that Mississippi Blacks are calling for DNC Chair Dr. Howard Dean to step down, after he made racially insensitive comments to the DNC Black Caucus.

I disagree. As I have pointed out in several posts to this blog (most recently here, also here, and here) there is a persistent double-standard for the Democratic Party: their members can say what they want, when they way, but perish the thought a Republican says anything that can be even slightly spun in a negative light, and that person ought to be ostracize.

Well I don't play that way. Dr. Dean is entitled to hold his position. He just ought to remember that some people can see how misstatements can be made and apply that same standard down the road. For if he doesn't, people will surely remind him of what an utter ass he's made of himself.



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Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del) displays his ignorance of the US Constitution

I watched parts of MEET THE PRESS Sunday... I used to watch it regularly with the other Sunday shows, but the demands of life have left me catching bits and pieces of it.

The parts I did see Sunday dealt with the topic of the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (hereinafter SCoTUS).

Now before I address the statements that demonstrate the ignorance of this senior US Senator, I wanted to make my position known about this topic: in my view, either Justice Scalia or Thomas would make a fine Chief Justice, and I do not envy President Bush's decision process on this matter. Deciding between these two proven, fine Justices is no small task, and one that should be taken lightly.

That much said, on Sunday Sen. Biden suggested that Justice Scalia lacked the ability to be Chief Justice because:

SEN. BIDEN: I would oppose him because of his methodology, the way he interprets the Constitution; i.e., he thinks there are no such thing as unenumerated rights in the Constitution which fundamentally alters the way in which you read the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment and a whole range of other things. I think he's a brilliant, decent man who I think misreads the Constitution, in my view. I would vote no.

Sen. Biden obviously hasn't read The Federalist Papers, in particular Federalist 45, for if he had he would have known the powers of the federal government are few, while those in the State are numerous and indefinite. These so-called unemumerated rights rest not in the Federal goverment but in States.

Sen. Biden, by what qualification do you, sir, sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee??


I could go on and describe this matter further, but I bow to another more knowledgeable and skilled in this manner. Mark Levin is well-known constitutional lawyer and talk show host in the NY Metro area on WABC radio. is daily show from 6-9 pm is a ratings topper. He addressed the Senator's foolishness on Monday. The MarkLevinFanBlog features audio files of his show on a daily basis.

For Mr. Levin's take on this matter, follow this link. Then come back and tell me why you think the Senator is either correct or incorrect in his reasoning.

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Snow Day

Spending the day at home.... I've been up since before 6 (and for me, that's sleeping in!), and have been outside for awhile already.   We're at 10"-12", with drifts even higher.   I'll finish some more work, then get outside and start the snow blower.
 
I love snow, I love the seasons, including winter, and I know this has been a mild Pennsylvania winter.  But enough... bring on the Spring!
 
 

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