Archive for ◊ January, 2008 ◊

Homeland Security
Thursday, January 31st, 2008 | Author:

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This is what happens if you don’t protect your borders…

Hat tip to Mark Clower

Category: Humor, Politics  | Leave a Comment
Are We an Over-medicated Society?
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 | Author:

I’ve always been concerned about the prevalent use of pharmaceuticals to treat every malady that we face.   When my sons were young, they frequently had inner ear infections where the usual treatment was a dosage of strawberry-flavored Amoxicillin (I used to suggest with sarcasm that after kids are born, they should be sent home with a 55-gallon drum of the pink-colored antibiotic).  Meanwhile, I had another family member being treated with multiple drugs — some to treat hypertension and others to simultaneously treat hypotension.   Of course, the physicians didn’t really understand the interaction between the chemicals that were being used to raise the blood pressure and the chemicals that were lowering the blood pressure.

Pharmaceuticals have become so ingrained in our culture that they are almost considered part of our core nutrition.  For example, people love the notion of a water with vitamins, such as Propel (which is essentially bottled tap water after someone dropped a Flintstones vitamin in it).  I remember as a youngster watching new gasoline stations under construction every other week on almost every street corner.  Now every corner has a new CVS or Walgreens, with a drive-thru pharmacy!

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A year ago, I had a complete physical exam and everything turned out fine for me other than my physician indicating that my cholesterol was on the high-side.  He told me that I might want to consider taking Lipitor (note: I’m a shareholder in Pfizer, the maker of the drug).   As an engineer, I instinctively asked him, “What do you expect it to do for me? What is the percentage reduction in my likelihood for a heart attack?”  Naturally, he provided me with evasive and non-quantitative answers to which I responded that I wasn’t interested in messing with my natural “body chemistry”.

Interestingly, there was a recent article in BusinessWeek about the lack of effectiveness from taking Lipitor to reduce coronary trauma.  Evidently, new research has shown that less than 1% of the people that take Statins receive any benefit from the chemicals… You may recall that I posted previously about the ever-changing positions on medical intervention (e.g., Today: alcohol is bad for you; Tomorrow: alcohol is good for you).  It appears that the pendulum is now swinging on the cholesterol drugs.

I would say that there is just too much cavalier chemical intervention in health care.

Politics Ain’t No Fun
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 | Author:

I received a note from John Tavardian about Peggy Noonan’s editorial in a recent issue of Wall Street Journal.

John observes: “She takes both Democrats and Republicans to task for their inter-party civil wars. What I found most interesting, through, is she reports that longtime Clinton stalwarts like William Greider of The Nation are finally starting to see the Clintons for what they really are — ‘high minded’ on the surface but ‘smarmily duplicitous underneath meanwhile jabbing hard at the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package’… It’s nice to see people like Greider finally seeing those two for who they really are. Too bad it’s more than 10 years since many of us initially saw this.”

Good comments Tarvar… I’ve generally not been a fan of Noonan’s commentaries, but I agree with your viewpoint.

Category: Politics  | Leave a Comment
Are They Tolerant?
Monday, January 28th, 2008 | Author:

This is a great strip on global warming from Mallard Filmore:

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Self Reliance
Sunday, January 27th, 2008 | Author:

Traditional Version:   The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Moral of the Story: Be responsible for yourself!

Modern Version:  The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.  The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.  Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be warm and fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBS, PBS, CNN and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a county of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group signing, “We shall overcome.” Jesse than has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.

Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer! The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients. The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

Moral of the Story: Be careful how you vote in 2008.

Hat tip to Mark Clower

Category: Humor, Politics  | Leave a Comment
Global Warming Spreads to… Other Planets?
Saturday, January 26th, 2008 | Author:

I’ve mentioned previously that the “debate is closed” scientists on global warming have now decided that it’s more appropriate to refer to the end of the world as “climate change”.  Thus, anytime there is a tornado in Arkansas or a hurricane in Singapore, Al Gore can browbeat me for being a selfish American that generates too much carbon.

I had another discovery browsing news sites… Put this into the category of “Interesting Headlines” (note: I’m seeing more and more crazy headlines from seemingly reputable sources every day).  A recent article of NewScientistSpace was referenced on the Yahoo web site with this headline: “Jupiter’s Ranging Thunderstorms a Sign of Global Upheaval“.  I thought “holy cow, my son’s 2000 Toyota Camry is polluting so much that were causing thunderstorms on Jupiter”.

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Another Retarded Politician from Ohio
Friday, January 25th, 2008 | Author:

Ohio used to be noted for contributing great people of leadership to become President of the United States (Grant, Hayes, Taft, etc.)… An interesting story covered at Grouchy Old Cripple… it appears that the intellectually challenged Democrat representative from Ohio, Marcy Kaptur, embarrassed herself in front of Congress:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnPnLvsl6Aw[/youtube]

She also served in the administration of Jimmy Carter.  Need I say more?

You have to love the representation from “great” Ohio politicians such as Strickland, Kucinich, Traficant, and Kaptur… Isn’t Ohio just a great place for leaders?

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Who is Really the Racist?
Thursday, January 24th, 2008 | Author:

Sometimes you don’t even have to read the article… the title alone tells you how obtuse some journalists have become.  I saw this headline on the CNN website: “Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in S.C.”  I thought to myself: “Oh well, I suppose the writers have figured out that black women in South Carolina aren’t smart enough to select the best candidate.  The selection is only based on race and gender… or perhaps they recognize that this is how most people really make decisions”… Is this ironic or hypocritical?

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Israeli Success at Australian Open
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 | Author:

We’ve been watching the Australian Open tennis tournament just about every evening for the past week.  Between ESPN and the Tennis Channel, you can watch tennis about 12 hours per day.

While everyone focuses on the Men’s and Women’s singles at the Australian Open, with names such as Federer, Sharapova, etc., there is an overlooked success by Israeli tennis players.   It really is unprecedented.

The Men’s Doubles team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram is in the semifinals:

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The Women’s Doubles team of Shahar Peer, with her Bulgarian partner, is in the Women’s finals:

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In the Mixed Doubles, there are actually two partial Israeli teams.  Andy Ram, with his French female partner is in the semi-finals.  Meanwhile Jonathan Erlich, with his Taiwanese female partner is currently in the quarterfinals.

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Category: Sports  | Leave a Comment
Mission to Mercury
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 | Author:

I was not aware that NASA had a mission to Mercury, but Popular Mechanics has an easy-to-read summary on the Messenger flyby.  Here is a great close-up photo of Mercury:

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Category: Engineering  | Leave a Comment