Borrowed from a much more extensive compilation of political cartoons at Flopping Aces, the two I couldn't resist:
Borrowed from a much more extensive compilation of political cartoons at Flopping Aces, the two I couldn't resist:
In an article - and we'll discuss the scary numbers in a moment - reviewing the extent of radical islamic thought among British Muslims, the TimesOnline prints the following from Anthony Glees, a professor of security and intelligence studies at Lees University:
“There is a wide cultural divide between Muslim and non-Muslim students. The solution is to stop talking about celebrating diversity and focus on integration and assimilation.”
The ideal of diversity is not to celebrate the fact that so many remain in their separate cultural cubicles, but that coming from many separate cultural cubicles the people are able to integrate so extraordinarily well into the office culture that as a group they function seamlessly and productively and the office is a happy one.
It's hard to imagine a happy office when people in one cubicle think it's okay to kill people in other cubicles.
ALMOST a third of British Muslim students believe killing in the name of Islam can be justified, according to a poll.
The study also found that two in five Muslims at university support the incorporation of Islamic sharia codes into British law.
The YouGov poll for the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) will raise concerns about the extent of campus radicalism. “Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values,” said Han-nah Stuart, one of the report’s authors. “These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities.”
The other students recognize the problem.
The researchers found that 55% of non-Muslim students thought Islam was incompatible with democracy.
Contrary to the impression of those diversity celebrationists who seem to misunderstand the concept, assimilation and integration does not mean giving up all of your traditions and cultural heritage and forgetting your background. Rather, the idea is to embrace the necessary parts of your new culture so that you function (and are accepted fully) as one of it's members. These parts include at least these: language, law, and democratic/governmental principles. You may of course hold onto other cultural beliefs and traditions that are compatible with functioning in your new culture.
It also means, however, gaining an understanding that not all members of your new society come from your background and respecting their beliefs (i.e., religion). When you believe those things must be changed to match the culture you came from you have not assimilated. You hold yourself as superior to those whom you've joined. And you should probably leave that culture and return to where your beliefs are more widely accepted.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
The Politico raises the spector of - egad! - "senior moments" from the 72 year old Senator John McCain after he misspoke a couple of times in recent weeks.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “Iraq” on Monday when he apparently meant “Afghanistan”, adding to a string of mixed-up word choices that is giving ammunition to the opposition.
Just in the past three weeks, McCain has also mistaken "Somalia" for "Sudan," and even football’s Green Bay Packers for the Pittsburgh Steelers...
McCain will turn 72 the day after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepts his party’s nomination for president at the age of 47, calling new attention to the sensitive issue of McCain’s advanced age three days before the start of his own convention...
But McCain's mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?
Voters, thinking about their own relatives, can be expected to scrutinize McCain’s debate performances for signs of slippage.
If having the wrong team/word/nation pop out of your mouth occasionally is a sign of aging at 72, what does it say about you when you're only 46? How about when logic escapes you, leaving you unable to explain your answer to the most important current national security question?
Heck, the media doesn't need to worry about Mr. Obama. They'll just keep swooning to the smooth baritone, feeling that thrill up their legs and ignoring the content completely.
All are created equal, but it would seem that some are more equal than others.
The committee hosting the Democratic National Convention is using the city's gas pumps to fill up on fuel, avoiding state and federal highway taxes, officials said today.
"There's something there that just doesn't seem right to me because, in a sense, you're saying then that the officials who pass the laws are not willing to live by them, and that concerns me," Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz said.
Yeah, paying those pesky taxes can really take the edge off of an air of superiority. Read the whole story, because a few paragraphs in is the standard, "don't leave home without it" accusation - false as it turns out - that the Republicans are doing it too.
A question: Doesn't this constitute a huge donation to the DNC by the city?
Greg Norman had the lead at the turn, but couldn't hold off defending champ Padraig Harrington, who finished birdie-eagle on 16 and 17 to put away the field.
Having reprised memories of his glory days through three unlikely rounds, Norman finished with a seven over 77 to be nine over for the tournament and in third place, six shots behind the winner, defending champion Padraig Harrington from Ireland, who shot a brilliant closing 69 in difficulty, windy conditions.
Understatement: Norman does not have a reputation as a strong finisher.
It was the eighth time Norman had entered the final round of a major championship with the lead. Only once, at the 1986 British Open at Turnberry, has he won from that position.
In comparison, Tiger Woods is 14-0 when leading a major into the final round.
To be fair, he lost two of those majors in his prime on highly unlikely shots.
Of the dozens of ways Greg Norman could have lost the 1987 Masters Tournament, this had to be the unlikeliest: a 140-foot chip shot that bounced twice up a grassy bank and once on the putting surface before it rolled halfway across the 11th green directly into the hole. That this miracle shot was hit by 28-year-old Larry Mize, a local boy, no less, who had won only one tournament in his six years on the PGA Tour, and that it beat the luckless Norman, the premier player in the world, on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff, made it downright unbelievable.
Yes, it was more unbelievable than the 72nd-hole bunker shot that Bob Tway holed last August to beat Norman in the PGA. Yes, once-in-a-lifetime shots have now robbed Norman of apparent victory in the last two major championships.
On the other hand, he shot 76 in that '86 PGA on Sunday setting up the loss, and in 1987 ended up in the playoff after a respectable Sunday 72. It will be unusual if he finds himself contending in future majors, but hey, you never know.
Greg Norman, all 53 years old of him, is contending in the Tiger-less Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
After his recent wedding to tennis ace Chris Evert he said: "I was trying to work on my game as much as I could, but I hadn't played a lot of golf. My expectations were almost nil to tell you the truth. And my expectations are still realistically low and have to be that way. I haven't been in this position for a long time."...
The 53-year-old Australian, twice a winner of the Championship, admitted that although his appetite for endless hours of practice had diminished his competitive desire was still strong. "My mind still salivates. I still cherish it, and relish it."
It's great to compete at this level for Norman. At 53 it's completely unexpected, and it gives a chill to all of us middle aged championship golfer wanna-bes. As the coverage starts this morning it's a very windy day. The leader after round 3 will need to be on their game.
Well, not completely, but some are eyeing the lifeboats. The APS website carries a note affirming their Nov. 2007 position that
"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."
But change occurs from the roots up, and it seems a debate has opened - or rather re-opened - among members of the society on the likelihood of anthropogenic global warming/climate change.
The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."
In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."...
Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors"
That the organization's official position remains unchanged at this time is both expected and unremarkable. That more members are openly questioning the orthodoxy is both unexpected and remarkable.
First up (and I don't have a snippet of video or a transcript but it was on in the surgeon's lounge) James Carville with Wolf Blitzer in CNN's Situation Room this afternoon, discussing former VP Al Gore's call for carbon-free energy and Mr. Carville's call for Barack Obama to make him second banana again, said the following (as accurately as I can recall).
"Al Gore has been right about more things than anyone I've known in Washington."
Take a minute to digest that. (And if I misquoted, let me know what the actual wording was.)
Second, the Al Gore story itself. Chicken Little speaks:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States should be making all of its electricity with renewable and carbon-free energy in 10 years, former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday.
"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Gore said.
In a speech at Washington's Constitution Hall, Gore touched on an array of the nation's current woes, saying the economic, environmental and national security crises are all related...
In the movie, Gore explains how the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have grown exponentially in the last few decades and how that has led to changes in the Earth's climate, such as shrinking polar ice caps and an increase in the number of hurricanes and other violent storms.
To counteract the effects of global warming, Gore has pushed for polices that would reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, such as greater energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy. Gore has also advocated for governments to tax the emission of carbon dioxide.
When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.
The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly?... It was great. We were working to save the planet.
But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"...
1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it...
2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming...
3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980)...
4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect...
The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.
Only if a Republican had done it, Dr. Evans. Only if a Republican had done it.
Read point #2 again. Now read it again. Once more. Once you grasp the concept that correlation does not equal causation you will have to sit down and rethink all that you've heard from alarmists and media over the last 10-15 years.
Back to Mr. Carville and Mr. Gore. The guy I feel bad for is Mr. Carville. Imagine the vast numbers of people who have been telling him falsehoods the last 16 years.
"He has a history of thinking beyond the horizon, anticipating the kind of challenges we face," said Bayh, who campaigned for Obama's former rival, Democratic, during their race for the party's nomination but has since thrown his support to Obama.
That history must be pretty light reading. It, of course, couldn't include his assessment of the possiblity of success of the surge, for example. Actually, Senator Bayh's quote was truncated by Reuters.** The full quote is below.
"He has a history of thinking beyond the horizon, anticipating the kind of challenges we face, and being 180 degrees off the mark. When the training wheels come off sometimes you're going to fall."
I'll leave this with an open-ended question. When, precisely, has he demonstrated thinking "beyond the horizon," and been correct in his assessment on a national security issue?
** Not really.
From the Washington Post editorial discussing the approach to Iraq policy of the presumptive Democratic nominee.:
"The message that the Democrat sends is that he is ultimately indifferent to the war's outcome -- that Iraq "distracts us from every threat we face" and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences."
Not indifferent, exactly. He may be indifferent to the war's outcome, but not to the consequences of a bad outcome. What he and the left intends is a loss for the warmongering, unelected, moronic cowboy president that can be hung around his neck and the necks of Republicans for decades to come, rather like the war of JFK and LBJ that got hung around the neck of Richard Nixon. One other snippet from the editorial:
At the time he first proposed his timetable, Mr. Obama argued -- wrongly, as it turned out -- that U.S. troops could not stop a sectarian civil war.
Admitting a mistake is the first step. As documented by John Hinderaker a couple of days ago, that admission is unlikely to forthcoming.
The President removed the Executive Branch's ban; now it's up to Congress. The writers at al-Reuters rush to call it "symbolic" - twice before the first paragraph is over.
Bush lifts offshore drilling ban in symbolic move
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday lifted a White House ban on offshore drilling to try to drive down soaring energy prices, a largely symbolic bid unlikely to have any short-term impact on high gasoline costs.
What is this fascination with short-term results? If it takes five or ten years we've only
ourselves our Congress to blame, as we should have been accessing these resources all along.
And that's not to say that alternative cleaner energy sources should not be sought, that nuclear power shouldn't be reconsidered and developed, that research into development of hydrogen engines ... or anti-matter warp drives, for that matter ... shouldn't proceed apace. Hey, if we can stop buying oil from nations where the leader despises us (Venezuela) or the people think we're infidels deserving death (Saudi Arabia) I'm all for it. However, both sides of the equation can be adjusted; we can produce more of our own energy, and we can reduce our demand. The Nancy Pelosis of the US Congress would have us drive to work by burning the hope for miracle breakthroughs.
"Now the ball is squarely in Congress' court," Bush said after signing a memorandum reversing a presidential ban that was instituted by his father, then-President George Bush, almost two decades ago. "The time for action is now."...
called Bush's plan a "hoax," joining a chorus of condemnations from environmental groups. The business-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed the move as a step toward alleviating high gasoline prices.
She also needs to learn the meaning of the word 'hoax', unless she can show there's no oil there. Which she can't, because she's been part of the group blocking surveys of the reserves.
Based on data more than 25 years old, the department estimates that drilling on closed federal tracts off the U.S. coasts could produce 18 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Congress has blocked many attempts to allow updated surveys on the amount of oil and gas reserves in the banned areas.
And the head of the National Wildlife Federation needs an economics lesson.
Environmentalists said more drilling would not end U.S. dependence on oil or cut gasoline prices.
"Calls for more drilling will only increase the already record profits of big oil and will do little to reduce the costs of gas at the pump," said Larry Schweiger president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation.
Actually, Larry, the drilling would be a large sunk cost that the companies would be investing toward future production, decreasing their current profits.
So the ball's in the Democratic Congress'' court. And with 67% of voters favoring drilling there is a not insignificant incentive for them to do the right thing.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey—conducted before McCain announced his intentions on the issue--finds that 67% of voters believe that drilling should be allowed off the coasts of California, Florida and other states. Only 18% disagree and 15% are undecided. Conservative and moderate voters strongly support this approach, while liberals are more evenly divided (46% of liberals favor drilling, 37% oppose).
Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed, although 27% don’t believe it. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of conservatives say offshore drilling is at least somewhat likely to drive prices down. That view is shared by 57% of moderates and 50% of liberal voters.
ZAKARIA: What about if you don't get that consensus, let's say, in a place like Darfur? You've called for a no-fly zone. But it's a U.N. no-fly zone.
ZAKARIA: Now, but the U.N. isn't going to have a no-fly zone, probably, because the Chinese and the Russians will probably not go along with it.
So, in that event, do you want to have a U.S. or a NATO no-fly zone? In other words, do you want to do something, even if you can't get consensus?
So, to clarify, the question is fairly specific: Would you establish a US or NATO no-fly zone in Darfur since you have, in fact, called for one and the UN may not ablige? And, the answer is ... the Daily Double-Speak!
OBAMA: Well, look. There are going to be times where it's the right thing to do, and the consensus is not going to be perfect.
I think our intervention in the Balkans ultimately was the right thing to do, although we never got the sort of formal consensus and coalition that we were able to achieve, for example, in the Gulf War. And so, the situations are going to vary.
My point is this, that we should always strive to create genuine coalitions -- not coalitions that are based on us twisting arms, withholding goodies, ignoring legitimate concerns of other countries, but coalitions that are based on a set of mutual self-interests.
In a situation like Darfur, I think that the world has a self-interest in ensuring that genocide is not taking place on our watch. Not only because of the moral and ethical implications, but also because chaos in Sudan ends up spilling over into Chad. It ends up spilling over into other parts of Africa, can end up being repositories of terrorist activity.
Those are all things that we've got to pay attention to. And if we have enough nations that are willing -- particularly African nations, and not just Western nations -- that are willing to intercede in an effective, coherent way, then I think that we need to act, even if we haven't achieved 100 percent consensus.
But the principle of us wanting to build effective alliances with other countries and to lead in that way through persuasion and organization, I think that's something that has historically been when we are at our best.
And about that no-fly zone ...
**UPDATE: The communications director for the MMS stopped by in the comments to take full credit for the press release.
I'm pretty sure this press release, ostensibly written by the Massachusetts Medical Society as an informational announcement to physicians, had input from other sources. Reprinted nearly in its entirety:
Victory for Seniors and Physicians - Senate Passes Medicare Bill
The U.S. Senate today voted 69-30 to block a 10.6% cut in physician Medicare fees, while also adding a 0.5% increase for the rest of 2008 and a 1.1% increase for 2009.
In a moment of high drama, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy appeared on the floor of the Senate in the middle of the roll call vote. He was escorted by his son U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Barack Obama. The Senate chamber immediately erupted into a boisterous and prolonged round of cheers and applause.
Senators Kennedy and Kerry voted to support the bill. They have consistently supported physicians throughout the long effort to fix the Medicare payment formula.
Two weeks ago, the same bill failed by a single vote. Today when the final outcome became clear, nine Republicans who had voted against the bill two weeks ago voted yes. Most of them are up for re-election this year. Senators Gregg and Sununu of New Hampshire, who voted against the bill two weeks ago, voted no again today.
MMS President Bruce S. Auerbach, M.D. said, "Common sense prevailed, and a crisis in care has been avoided. The Senate did the right thing for our senior citizens and our physicians. A cut that large in reimbursements would have needlessly jeopardized access to health care for seniors, as well as endanger the viability of physician practices."
Dr. Auerbach needs to read "The Road To Serfdom."
Dr. Auerbach added, "We are thankful to Senators Kerry and Kennedy for voting 'yes,' and we are especially grateful to Senator Kennedy who, despite facing critical personal health problems, made a dramatic appearance in the Senate to cast his vote."
President Bush has said he will veto the bill, but 69 votes would override a veto. The House approved the same bill last month by a 5 to 1 margin, easily enough for an override.
Doctors are in the business of information gathering, and what this doesn't tell you could fill volumes ... which I will below in the extended entry. But briefly, for those with a disabled mouse finger, what it doesn't tell you is why Senators Sununu and Gregg voted against the bill, and why President Bush threatens a veto. The Medicare Advantage program allows seniors to continue private insurance plans paid for through the Medicare system. This bill pays for the physician payment adjustment (preventing a 10% cut in reimbursements!) by gutting that program. The no-votes and veto aren't about not caring if seniors have access to physicians or stopping payment cuts from bankrupting medical practices, they are about the struggle between private health care options and the efforts of Democrats to funnel seniors into a monolithic Medicare program. If you want that information you need another source.
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Health insurers took a beating in the markets Thursday as investors played off the Senate's passage of a Medicare bill designed to avoid deep cuts in physician payments but that would end up cutting the Medicare Advantage program.Reductions in Medicare Advantage could put a dent in the private fee-for-service arm of the government's health program for seniors that has helped inflate enrollment and revenue at a number of insurers. Analysts, however, seemed to think the potential effects would be muted."While our overall view of managed care remains negatively colored by the commercial underwriting cycle, we remain positive on [Medicare Advantage]," Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch said in a note to clients Thursday.
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- President George W. Bush intends to veto the Medicare bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday, the White House said, repeating its concerns about cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.
The legislation would avoid deep cuts in Medicare reimbursements for physicians by maintaining physician payments at their current levels, with payments increasing 1.1% in 2009. The measure also makes cuts to companies that offer private Medicare Advantage plans. The cuts would come to "fee-for-service" plans and payments to private plans with teaching hospitals in their areas.
This MMS press release tells you none of that, instead presenting the three Republicans mentioned as the unquestioned black hats in a western showdown. The MMS should be ashamed of themselves. Being a physician is all about education, a lifetime of learning. Presenting only a highly partisan snippet of the debate is a violation of that commitment.
Below, a discussion of SGR (and when that concept was invented), the Medicare Advantage program, and why Medicare's payment system is fatally flawed.
LONDON (AFP) - Biofuels have caused world food prices to increase by 75 percent, according to the findings of an unpublished World Bank report published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.
The daily said the report was finished in April but was not published to avoid embarrassing the US government, which has claimed plant-derived fuels have pushed up prices by only three percent.
Biofuels, which supporters claim are a "greener" alternative to using fossil fuel and cut, and rising food prices will be on the agenda when G8 leaders meet in Japan next week for their annual summit.
Not that I buy everything produced by World Bank analysts, but it does fit the laws of supply and demand. Just so we're clear, this global warming seems more than a bit anemic over the last dozen or so years, and the lack of correlation with CO2 levels is noticeable to even the untrained eye.