Despite the recent experience of Katrina, about 1 in 3 people living in Southern coastal areas said they would ignore hurricane evacuation orders.
People believe that their homes are safe and well-built, that roads would be too crowded and that fleeing would be dangerous. Slightly more than one in four also said they would be reluctant to leave behind a pet.
78% felt prepared
If you don't think genetic medicine is here to stay, consider this
Almost 90% of all newborns are now tested for a variety of rare but devastating genetic disorders so early treatment can begin
Jerry Seinfield's advice
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."
"Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis.
It works because it isn't the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard "inch by inch anything's a cinch." Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day.
Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don't break the chain, you'll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn't. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides "compounding interest."
Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.
When Britain, a First World country, loses a democratically-elected politician because he fears for his life, we are entering a wholly new era. Britain is now an Iraq, a Zimbabwe.
Paul Weston writes about The Big Story That Isn't.
Mohammad Sarwar, a member of Parliament from Glasgow, Britain's first Muslim MP, is being driven from office following threats to his life and that of his children by other Muslims.
The offense? He pressed the government to seek extradition from Pakistan of the killers of a young 15-year-old Scottish boy Kriss Donald who was tortured in an especially brutal way, than killed.
Our national heart has ceased to beat. Our national soul is hovering indecisively above the operating table. The crash team have been called, but the politically inclined hospital switchboard have told them there is no problem, that everything is under control.
I predict this won't be the first. A doctor with the power of life and death, prescribe the latter
A San Francisco transplant surgeon was criminally charged Monday with excessively prescribing drugs to a 25-year-old disabled man last year to hasten his death and harvest his organs more quickly.
The felony charges are believed to be the first against a physician for his role in a transplant.
Is there life after death? Eternity for Atheists?
Reports The New York Times, some very good scientists are saying yes, arguing that the signal continues even after the radio is broken.
Each of us, Leslie submits, is immortal because our life patterns are but an aspect of an “existentially unified” cosmos that will persist after our death.
The mind or “soul,” as they see it, consists of information, not matter. And one of the deepest principles of quantum theory, called “unitarity,” forbids the disappearance of information.
Embarrassed by his granddaughter's behavior apparently has Conrad Hilton setting up a philanthropic foundation to give away his billions and carry on the family tradition.
That's about $95 million Paris will not get.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks about the most embarrassing moment of his career.
But I think the most embarrassing moment during my career was when Nixon visited Italy and he met with the Pope, and Melvin Laird was along as Secretary of Defense. Kissinger and Nixon decided that Laird shouldn’t be invited to the meeting with the Pope, as sort of the Minister of War.
And so, Nixon was in the next morning having his private audience with the Pope, and the rest of us were waiting outside. And who should come striding down the hall smoking an enormous cigar but Laird. He had clearly found out about the meeting, probably through good military intelligence. [Laughter]
And Kissinger was kind of beside himself, but he finally said “Well, Mel, at least extinguish the cigar.” So Laird stubbed out his cigar and put it in his pocket.
The American party a few minutes later went in to their general meeting with the pope. Pope was seated at a little table in front, Americans in two rows of high-backed chairs. Back row, Kissinger on the end; Laird next to him. A couple of minutes into the Pope’s remarks, Kissinger heard this little patting sound, and he looked over, and there was a wisp of smoke coming out of Laird’s pocket. [Laughter] The Secretary of State thought nothing of it. A couple of other minutes went by and the secretary heard this patting sound, slapping going on, and he looked over and smoke was billowing out of Laird’s pocket. The Secretary of Defense was on fire. [Laughter]
The American party heard this slapping, and thought they were being queued to applaud. And so they did. [Laughter]
And Henry later told us, “God only knows what his Holiness thought, seeing the American secretary of defense immolating himself, and the entire American party applauding the fact.” [Laughter, Applause
via The Belmont Club
From Camille Paglia's lecture on Religion and the Arts in America
I would argue that the route to a renaissance of the American fine arts lies through religion. Let me make my premises clear: I am a professed atheist and a pro-choice libertarian Democrat.
When a society becomes all-consumed in the provincial minutiae of partisan politics (as has happened in the US over the past twenty years), all perspective is lost. Great art can be made out of love for religion as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy.
For the fine arts to revive, they must recover their spiritual center. Profaning the iconography of other people's faiths is boring and adolescent. The New Age movement, to which I belong, was a distillation of the 1960s' multicultural attraction to world religions, but it has failed thus far to produce important work in the visual arts.1 The search for spiritual meaning has been registering in popular culture instead through science fiction, as in George Lucas' six-film Star Wars saga, with its evocative master myth of the “Force.” But technology for its own sake is never enough. It will always require supplementation through cultivation in the arts.
Her advice for art lovers - Always speak with respect of religion;
conservatives - need to expand their parched and narrow view of culture;
progressives - must start recognizing the spiritual poverty of contemporary secular humanism and reexamine the way that liberalism too often now automatically defines human aspiration and human happiness in reductively economic terms
J.R. Dunn calls it the most disturbing things he has come across in 20 years of writing history.
Almost all of the large-scale genocides of the past century have occurred during Democratic administrations.
Another troubling point is that in most cases, very little was done in response to the crises. Many of the episodes, as we've grown used to seeing, are accompanied by open denial or an almost willful refusal to admit that any such thing is happening. Denial is usually the product of individuals or groups sympathizing with or aiding the killers - the Communist Party during the 1930s, the New Left following the Vietnam War. Unwillingness to believe, though much more common, is not often a product of evil intent, but simply an inability to acknowledge that horror on such a scale is possible. (This is best illustrated by Justice Felix Frankfurter's response to an eyewitness of the Holocaust in 1943: "I cannot believe you. I'm not saying that you're lying. But that I cannot believe you.") While understandable, this remains a human failing and needs to be faced as such.
Tony Snow found unexpected blessings in cancer.
Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered
The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense.
Using biotechnology, scientists have genetically modified goats to produce milk containing chemicals that protect against deadly nerve agents such as sarin and VX.
Goats make milk to protect from nerve gas.
If the work is successful the drug could be used to protect troops against exposure to nerve agents on battlefields, or stockpiled for use in the event of a chemical weapon attack on a city.
The drug will still have to go through safety trials and gain US government approval.
Not really, but if you want to be thin, have some thin friends whose behavior to influence you.
The question is why have people gotten so fat so fast ?
Dr. Christakis took the notion of an obesity epidemic seriously when he began researching why people have gotten so fat so fast. Using data collected by the Framingham Study to reconstruct social networks, he found that
friends affected each others’ perception of fatness. When a close friend becomes obese, obesity may not look so bad.
“You change your idea of what is an acceptable body type by looking at the people around you,” Dr. Christakis said.
Find Yourself Packing It On? Blame Friends
If you've delayed putting away an emergency food supply, now is your time. For only $115, shipping included, you can get 275 servings of food in a weather proof bucket with a shelf-life of 20 years from Costco.
Granted all the food is vegetarian, but a shelf-life of 20 years! Order here
Personally, I liked the 7 day Gourmet Instant Meal Kit, Costco offers from AlpineAire - freeze-dried, dehydrated and ready-to-eat instant meals, side dishes, breakfasts, soups and desserts.
The shelf life is 3-5 years. At a cost of $90 and a shelf life of 3-5 years, all you need to do is add boiling water. But the menu is far more appetizing with main dishes, sides and desserts. Order here
If you are a real foodie, then you might want to get your hands on "Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat Well When the Power Goes Out" (Jon Robertson, Robin Robertson)
Costco also has Emergency back-packs all kitted up to support four people for three days are only $125. Comes with radio, food, ponchos, water, and space blankets. Order here.
After reading What's So Friggin' Funny by Steven Johnson, a fascinating article, I think I want one of those Tickle Me Elmo dolls. I've never seen them and they sound hilarious.
Sometimes you need to "laugh and let go" of mental or emotional tensions. Laughter feels great and does a body good.
Saturday-Review editor Norman Cousins wrote his best-selling "ANATOMY OF AN ILLNESS AS PEREIVED BY THE PATIENT" in 1979 about how he recovered from an incurable, terminal condition with laughter, rest and vitamin C and brought to the country's attention to the reality of the mind-body connection in what he called the "biology of hope."
The revelation that your mental attitude could affect your physical recovery, that laughter really was the best medicine, affected millions. When Cousins "made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anaesthetic effect that would give me at least two-hours of pain-free sleep," sales of videotapes of Groucho Marx and The Three Stooges soared.
Now neuro-scientist Robert Provine is teaching us even more about laughter as he investigates its source and purpose.
As his research progressed, Provine began to suspect that laughter was in fact about something else—not humor or gags or incongruity but our social interactions. He found support for this assumption in a study that had already been conducted, one analyzing people’s laughing patterns in social and solitary contexts. “You’re 30 times more likely to laugh when you’re with other people than you are when you’re alone—if you don’t count simulated social environments like laugh tracks on television,” Provine says. Think how rarely you’ll laugh out loud at a funny passage in a book but how quick you’ll be to give a friendly laugh when greeting an old acquaintance. Laughing is not an instinctive physical response to humor, the way a flinch is a response to pain or a shiver to cold. Humor is crafted to exploit a form of instinctive. social bonding.
Laughter is simply how we connect in good cheer.
"The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that's laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place,"
WHAT COULD BE more natural than a mother down on the rec-room floor, playing with her 3-year-old amid puzzles, finger-puppets, and Thomas the Tank Engine trains? Look -- now she's conducting a conversation between a stuffed shark and Nemo, the Pixar clown fish! Giggles all around. Not to mention that the tot is learning the joys of stories and narrative, setting him on a triumphal path toward school.
A "natural" scene? Actually, parent-child play of this sort has been virtually unheard of throughout human history, according to the anthropologist David Lancy. And three-fourths of the world's current population would still find that mother's behavior kind of dotty.
"Adults think it is silly to play with children" in most cultures, says Lancy, who teaches at Utah State University. Play is a cultural universal, he concedes, "but adults aren't part of the picture." Yet middle-class and upper-middle-class Americans -- abetted, he says, by psychologists -- are increasingly proclaiming the parents-on-all-fours style the One True Way to raise a smart, well-adjusted child.
A contentious debate has bloomed.
Evil is now getting academic attention. Developing standards and a method for distinguishing between various degrees of evil will aid jurors in deciding what convicted criminals are worthy of the death penalty.
"We don’t want to look at evil. We don’t want to sit with it. We don’t want to wade in it."
"But it’s as if an oncologist looked away from the cause of cancer because they don’t know how to treat it, or a virologist looks away from AIDS because he considers it to be inscrutable. If you can identify evil, then you can go about eliminating it. It’s the first step in any scientific research."
Forensic psychiatrist Michael Weiner aims to help jurors distinguish between the "casually murderous from the truly sadistic" with the later deemed evil enough for the death penalty.
Regardless of race, age, gender, religious belief or political party, 99 percent of all respondents who have taken the survey agree that "actions that cause grotesque suffering," "intent to emotionally traumatize" and "actions that prolong suffering," are depraved and, therefore, worthy of the most severe legal punishment available.
If you try to prevent a friend from driving home drunk and the friend ignores you, don't hang on to the car window, or like this poor fellow Louis Wiederner, you could end up being dragged along until you lose you grip and fall under the wheels to your death.
Jay Steiner, 60, a retired nurse, who lives near the scene, rushed to the man's aid.
"Oh, my God," Steiner recalled Vega telling him. "Don't tell me I just killed my fiance."
It seems common sense to me that child pornography is linked to child molesting.
A startling high percentage -85%- of men who download explicit sexual images of children go on to molest them according to a recent in-depth survey by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as reported in the New York Times.
The study has yet to be published because of the vehement debate that's sprung up about how the findings should be presented or interpreted.
Debate on Child Pornography's Link to Child Molesting
Its findings have circulated privately among experts, who say they could have enormous implications for public safety and law enforcement.
Ernie Allen, who leads the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is mandated to coordinate the nation’s efforts to combat child pornography, said he was surprised that the full study had not been released. “This is the kind of research the public needs to know about,” Mr. Allen said. Others agreed that the report should be published but were more cautious about the findings. “The results could have tremendous implications for community safety and for individual liberties,” said Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic. “If people we thought were not dangerous are more so, then we need to know that and we should treat them that way. But if we’re wrong, then their liberties aren’t going to be fairly addressed.”
Everyone agrees that researchers need to learn more about online consumers of illegal child images. The volume of material seized from computers appears to be doubling each year — the National Center collected more than eight million images of explicit child pornography in the last five years — and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales made child protection a national priority in 2006.
Previous studies estimated that 30-40% of men arrested for possessing child pornography had molested children. Those arrested for possessing child pornography get lighter sentences than those who actually molest children which seems just to me.
Carlin Romano explores why government and media are so mealy-mouthed when it comes to naming terrorists for what they are.
He asks why not employ the tool of moral judgment forcefully expressed by calling them "savages, scum and uncivilized losers"?
What might we argue in favor of calling terrorists names?
Let's mention just one key goal: the education of the world's Muslim youth. Instead of hearing moral praise and encouragement for terrorism from jihadists, which then gets mixed in their minds with the nonjudgmental, tactical talk of Western officials and media, they'd have to absorb a steady stream of insults of terrorists' intelligence, morality, decency, and reasoning. Young Muslims would have to get used to hearing jihadist heroes described as savages, scum, and uncivilized losers, along with the reasons why. It would intellectually force them, far more than they are forced today, to choose between two visions of the world.
We should not minimize the thirst for respect among terrorists and their potential sympathizers. When we treat terrorists only as tactical foes, as though we're too jaded for moral talk, we raise the self-respect of terrorists and their appeal to young people...Perhaps officials around the free world, under a portfolio titled "Terrorism Is Not Great," could start stockpiling verbal weapons that penetrate the enemy more sharply than, "They're dangerous and we must fight them."
If I were someone with a history of post-partum depression and I were pregnant again, I would definitely be interested in this.
Ingesting the placenta
Debi French was dreading the birth of her fourth child. She wanted the baby, to be sure, but she was terrified of being visited again with the overwhelming despair that came over her in the days and weeks after her last delivery.
French's midwife offered her an unusual remedy: She suggested the expectant mother ingest her own placenta as a means of allaying postpartum depression. The temporary organ was saved, dried and emulsified, then placed in gelatin capsules and taken by the mother in the months after the birth in December 2004.
The practice, known as placentophagy, is far from widespread and is received with great skepticism by more traditional medical experts. But among a small but vocal contingent of expectant mothers and proponents, it is strongly believed that the organ created by the woman's body to pass nutrients between mother and fetus and is expelled after birth is rich in chemicals that can help mitigate fluctuations in hormones believed to cause postpartum depression.
Seems as most mammals do precisely that, but it's tough to get control of the placenta in some hospitals where, because it contains blood, it's classified as hazardous medical waste. But not for long I bet since Ann Swenson went to court .
"We didn't even have to have a trial — the judge said, 'Give it to her' — so it was shocking to everybody, actually,"
The hospital has been storing the placenta in a freezer; Swanson says it's probably too late for it to be of any medicinal use to her. "Recovering from a C-section was a lot more traumatic, and I was definitely a bit emotional, so my husband will attest I definitely could have used my placenta," she says.
I expect the hospitals will find a way to charge mothers much as they do with umbilical blood banks.
The SCRAM ankle bracelet reads the ethanol content of ankle sweat every hour and reports via a modem to SCRAMnet where law enforcement can easily see if court-ordered teetotalers are behaving.
The alcohol-monitoring anklet now keeps 40,000 drinkers on the wagon and wearing one is frequently a condition of parole or probation for alcohol offenders like Lindsay Lohan who was arrested in May for drunk driving and spent 45 days drying out at a posh Malibu treatment center.
Her publicist says Lindsay decided on her own to wear the anklet "to demonstrate her commitment to sobriety."
SCRAM by the way stands for the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor.
Gregg Easterbrook calls him the Greatest Living American. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he was just awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. According to the Wall St Journal, he may have saved one billion lives.
Do you know who he is?
A plant breeder, Norman Borlaug developed high-yield wheat strains and took his science of the Green Revolution to impoverished farmers in Mexico, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and South America. His life has been spent serving the poor.
Every nation his green thumb touched has known dramatic food production increases plus falling fertility rates (as the transition from subsistence to high-tech farm production makes knowledge more important than brawn), higher girls' education rates (as girls and young women become seen as carriers of knowledge rather than water) and rising living standards for average people. Last fall, Borlaug crowned his magnificent career by persuading the Ford, Rockefeller and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations to begin a major push for high-yield farming in Africa, the one place the Green Revolution has not reached.
Now 93, he writes in the Wall St Journal today about Continuing the Green Revolution with the Gene Revolution or biotechnology. His examples
• Since 1996, the planting of genetically modified crops developed through biotechnology has spread to about 250 million acres from about five million acres around the world, with half of that area in Latin America and Asia. This has increased global farm income by $27 billion annually.
• Ag biotechnology has reduced pesticide applications by nearly 500 million pounds since 1996. In each of the last six years, biotech cotton saved U.S. farmers from using 93 million gallons of water in water-scarce areas, 2.4 million gallons of fuel, and 41,000 person-days to apply the pesticides they formerly used.
• Herbicide-tolerant corn and soybeans have enabled greater adoption of minimum-tillage practices. No-till farming has increased 35% in the U.S. since 1996, saving millions of gallons of fuel, perhaps one billion tons of soil each year from running into waterways, and significantly improving moisture conservation as well.
• Improvements in crop yields and processing through biotechnology can accelerate the availability of biofuels. While the current emphasis is on using corn and soybeans to produce ethanol, the long-term solution will be cellulosic ethanol made from forest industry by-products and products.
It's a disgrace that none of the major TV stations carried anything about Borlaug yesterday which is one reason why this great man is so little known. Easterbrook again
Borlaug's story is ignored because his is a story of righteousness -- shunning wealth and comfort, this magnificent man lived nearly all his life in impoverished nations. If he'd blown something up, lied under oath or been caught offering money for fun, ABC, CBS and NBC would have crowded the Capitol Rotunda today with cameras, hoping to record an embarrassing gaffe. Because instead Borlaug devoted his life to serving the poor, he is considered Not News.
After a seven year experiment involving more than 3000 women, a government study found that a diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables (higher than the recommended 5 servings a day) did NOT prevent the return of breast cancer.
Earlier research on whether a healthy diet prevents breast cancer has shown mixed results. The new study was designed to be more rigorous. In this experiment, all the women had been successfully treated for early-stage breast cancer. Their average age was 53 when the study began.
Low-fat diet didn't halt breast cancer.
Says Maggie Chapman, now a widow, about her husband Nick, 51, who refused to see a doctor despite terrible stomach pains. He died of pancreatic cancer, which if discovered earlier may have been treatable.
I say again, if you don't take care of your body where will you live?
I've always loved milk and I drink it often. I even get my milk delivered in glass bottles from a nearby dairy.
Now, I learn that milk is healthier than I thought
... the Welsh study has found that regular consumption of medium chain fatty acids found in full-fat milk and dairy products (cheese and yoghurt) can have a positive effect on metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and obesity while reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack by two thirds.
Xanthe Clay waxes eloquent in the London Telegraph, Full fat takes the cream
But enough of the science. Clotted cream with jam and scones, farmhouse cheese, rich whole milk, unctuous yogurts and butter, surely the finest toast topper of all, are jewels of our country's gastronomic heritage. They are also life-enhancingly delicious to eat. Caring about what we eat and how it tastes is surely the first step to healthy eating.
We all need our advocates who understand us when we're sick and in the hospital. We also need people who love us. So this is good news.
ICUs' New Message: Welcome, Families (Wall St Journal, link for subscribers)
For decades, hospitals tried to keep visitors out of intensive-care units for more than a few minutes at a time. This year, Emory University Hospital here went the other way: It began inviting family members to move into the ward and take a hand in the patient's care.
A wave of recent studies shows that critically ill patients may benefit from having families present. There's even a case to be made, researchers say, for having loved ones present for resuscitation, brain-catheter insertions and other life-and-death procedures.
Earlier this year, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the largest international society representing intensive-care professionals, recommended that ICUs offer open visiting hours and increase family involvement. "Why would we presume that we can dictate how often or who is allowed to visit during the patient's most trying moments on earth?"
How do you unclutter a person’s things after they die? My grandfather died this weekend, and we dread the idea of going through all his things—not just emotionally and psychologically, but from a logistical standpoint. How much stuff do we keep? Nobody has room in their houses for all the sentimental treasures of their departed loved ones, but it feels callous to throw away their old anniversary cards and favorite mediocre artwork. How do we deal with it all?
If you need it or love it, keep it. If something is very important to you because of its great sentimental value, keep it. If something is important because of its historical value, keep it or give it to an archive where it will stay safe.
That's what Mary Custis Lee did with two old steamer trunks
The trunks were stuffed with Lee family papers -- a priceless cache of 4,000 letters, photographs and documents. DeButts carted them to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, which houses the world's largest collection of Lee papers. He spent a week there, sitting at a desk in the research library, reaching into Mary Custis Lee's trunks and picking out treasures and trash.
Thanks to her foresight, we now have A Portrait in Letters of Robert E. Lee.
She lived in a small town in Montana, a mother of three and a municipal court judge. Shannen Rossmiller, shaken by the terrorist attacks on 9/11, wanted to learn more about the kind of people who would commit such an act. She read, she surfed and learned Arabic so she could read and post messages on jihadi sites and in time pass herself off as a jihadist sympathizer.
Soon, she was passing information to the FBI, information that stopped several terrorist attacks. A mom from Montana.
Careerbuilder calls them jobs with staying power, the top indestructible careers.
Waste Disposal Manager
Law Enforcement Officer
When a electronics company no longer sees future profits in electronics because of competition from Asia
and decides to focus on the elderly who want to live independently, that's big news. But that's just what Phillips Electronics has done.
Electronics Giant Seeks a Cure in Health Care (WSJ, subscription only)
Philips paid $750 million last year to buy Massachusetts-based Lifeline, an acquisition that represented a turning point for the company.
For decades, its medical-systems division made and sold large, professional equipment like X-ray and CAT-scan machines to hospitals. Now, Philips is attempting to meld its health-care experience with its knowledge of consumer marketing. The goal: carve out a new high-growth business selling health-related products and services.
One of the hot areas Philips identified was "independent living," or elderly people who wanted to live on their own for as long as possible.
Philips organized focus groups of elderly people and their adult children in Madrid, Frankfurt, San Francisco and Boston. They made some key findings. For instance, a stigma exists among many seniors who are reluctant to acknowledge their frailty or ill health. Another problem: Elderly patients often aren't comfortable with high-tech products, and prefer a measure of human interaction. Sometimes, arthritic fingers prevent them from navigating tiny buttons.
Philips developed a profile of the elderly customer it wanted to target. Internally, they dubbed it the "Senior Solutions Sweet Spot." People in this group, they determined, valued self-reliance, felt that staying connected to friends and family was important and yet wanted to address "functional decline" like weakening vision or trouble walking.
This is coming just in time for aging boomers since we know there won't be enough geriatricians, It's already too late.
Because IRS researchers estimate about $290 billion in taxes goes unpaid and because no one wants more IRS agents on the street, the IRS is "deputizing" tax preparers to police their clients reports the Wall St Journal.
The law is intended to make preparers more cautious about signing tax returns that include questionable or aggressive tax items without disclosing the details to the Internal Revenue Service on a special form. Stiff penalties may be imposed not only on income-tax preparers, but also on those who prepare estate- and gift-tax returns, employment and excise-tax returns, and returns of tax-exempt organizations.
This tiny fragment is a receipt acknowledging the payment of .75 kg of gold to a temple in Babylonia.
So why is it being hailed as the most important find in Biblical archaeology in 100 years?
The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the British Museum's great Arched Room, which holds its collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years.
But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact.
People with moles age more slowly than others. It's the telomeres.
A drug called varenicline in a single pill could curb smoking and drinking. Made by Pfizer, varenicline has already been proven safe for people. Because the drug works on the same receptors in the brain to block the release of dopamine that pleasurable sensation that reinforces addiction, what's been proven safe for nicotine addiction may well work for alcohol addiction.
A simple scratch and sniff test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages may be coming since a Poor Sense of Smell May be Alzheimer's
Too many jellyfish in Japan caused problems, even a blockage at a nuclear plant. Now those wily Japanese have found that jellyfish mucus is perfect for cosmetics
New ink for tattoos using advanced microcapsulation technology promises that it can be removed later on when the people tattooed come to their senses in only one laser session. 100% Freedom. Zero Regret.
You Breathe What You Eat. Asthma severity linked to diet poor in vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids,
Who watches over Western Civilization?
Back in the 20s, Charles Coulombe writes, the German General, the British House of Lords, the Academie Francaise and the Holy See were thought enough to prevent the takeover of Europe by Communism. Today, only the Holy See remains an influential institution at a time when threats to Western Civilization come from Islam and the forces of secularism that threaten the expression of national identities.
He asks Could the Latin Mass Save Western Civilization?, an outstanding essay.
The truth is that the Catholic Church is a bellwether for the health of Western Civilization in general—a sort of canary chanting in the coal mine of culture.
When, in 1971, news came out that the traditional Latin Mass was to be scrapped, a primarily non-Catholic group of English artists and writers protested to Paul VI.
Fifty-six of the most prominent and celebrated English writers, artists, and musicians of the time signed it --- among them Vladimir Ashkenazy and Yehudi Menuhin (pace Mr. Foxman), Graham Greene, Robert Graves and Cecil Day-Lewis (onetime poet laureate and father of Daniel), Iris Murdoch, and, in the end most importantly, Agatha Christie. The importance of the last signatory lay in the fact that the then-Pontiff was a devotee of her mysteries, and so granted her request. The resulting permission for the Old Mass to be continued in England to some degree has therefore been dubbed the “Agatha Christie Indult.”
What these illustrious folk understood, better than many theologians, was that the health of the Catholic Church was and is integral to the health of the West. If our civilization is to withstand its current slate of internal and external foes—throughout Europe and the Diaspora—it must regain its hold on the things that first enkindled its spirit. Restoration of liturgical sanity and unity within the Catholic Church will inevitably have a beneficial “trickle-down” effect far beyond the Church’s borders. Those who prize the health of the West must welcome Benedict XVI’s action, regardless of their own creed.
Keep your eyes on Rome.
On July 7, Pope Benedict XVI issued a Moto Propio saying in essence that both the Latin form of the Mass, the one blessed by Pope John XXIII using the 1962 Roman Missal and the New Mass of the Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI following the Second Vatican Council (novus ordo) are equally valid, the former "extraordinary" and the latter "ordinary" and can be used at just about any time. The Latin Mass was never forbidden or even changed, but following the Second Vatican Council, it could only be offered under special dispensation of the bishop, a requirement no longer.
Another story from the London Times about British lawyers who are catching up with their American brothers and sisters.
Homer Simpson gets his own profile in the London Times with a bow to Matt Groening.
The great triumph of Groening and his team is to allow even this hopeless case to be redeemed through love.
The effect is irresistible because Homer’s failings are our failings, his appetites are gargantuan versions of our own. He just lets it all hang out. We spend our lives concealing it. The world loves Homer because he tells us it’s okay to be us.
Homer became a global, cross-cultural saint. He has been voted the greatest TV character of all time and children across the world prefer him to their own dads. He is studied by theologians and philosophers and his unorthodox parenting skills are celebrated by psychologists.
Homer makes celebrity out of what we all have – incompetence – and what we all want – love. And, when it all goes wrong, as it always will, he utters what has become the curse and prayer of Everyman – “D’Oh!”
There's nobody like him...except you, me, everyone
Having so recently lost my mother, Geography Incarnate is especially telling.
To be a Mother is to be the sacrament--the effective symbol--of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home: in the simple sense that we begin our days by a long sojourn within the body of a woman; in the extended sense that she remains our center of gravity throughout the years. She is the very diagram of belonging, the where in whose vicinity we are fed and watered, and have our wounds bound up and our noses wiped. She is geography incarnate.
....The mother is the geographical center of her family, the body out of whom their diversity springs, the neighborhood in which that diversity begins ever so awkwardly to dance its way back to the true Body which is the Mother of us all. Her role then is precisely to be there for them. Not necessarily over there, but there--thereness itself, if you will; not necessarily in her place but place itself to them; not necessarily at home but home itself.
When the family tree becomes a beanpole, there's no one left to take care of the old folk.
Marzano is one of a swelling number of Italians entrusting themselves to an army of foreign workers from eastern Europe, South America, Asia and Africa who are doing what families here are increasingly can't or won't do - take care of their elderly.
Long life and low birthrates have conspired to change family life, which long had been the one institution Italians could count on while history rolled past, with its parade of conquerors and short-lived governments.
Italy's demographics - and Europe's as a whole - give new meaning to the term "Old World."
Twenty-four of the world's 25 oldest countries are in Europe, noted a joint report by the European Commission
"I would have thought I would have lived with my son; I would never have thought that it would be like this," said Marzano.
The alternative solution in Italy is to send the old folk to be cared for by nuns, many of whom have converted their former schools into rest homes.
I don't write about the Iraq war as too many other people both for and against seem to write about it all the time. Except that I never get a sense of what it's like for the Iraqi people on the ground.
Michael Yon is the only writer on the ground there and he's doing extraordinary dispatches that give me a sense of being there He is completely independent and entirely supported by readers.
When you read Baqubah Update, you learn that the Americans have become Tribe America, one you can rely on
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”
They hate the terrorists, the formerly criminal gangs, now loosely connected Al Qaeda, because of their atrocious tactics of harnessing young boys of 12 and 13.
These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people.
At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.
When you read Bless the Beasts and Children, you can begin to understand how terrifying these al Qaeda gangs were and are. You have only to look at Yon's photos of a whole simple village of men, women, children and beasts slaughtered and left to rot in the sun.
So seeing them now jubilant makes you wonder why aren't these stories being told by the mainstream media?
A daily glass of Wine can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and sore throats,
Until the Italian researchers published their study, little thought had been given to wine's antibacterial qualities though the ancient Romans knew.
Add the fact that red wine drunk in moderation reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's and lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure, wine can be considered a health food. Along with coffee, tea, beer and chocolate
Folks, that's good news.
Is this emancipation in any way?
Dr. Helen says our culture seems to be encouraging aggressive behavior in girls and women and this is the result.
Yet all the domestic violence shelters are for women and men aren't welcome.
Via Dr. Helen comes the only domestic abuse hotline that serves both men and women.
I find this very disturbing, another example of a fraying social contract among citizens.
This is evading taxes, not paying your fair share, not carrying your load. And every single one of those evaders will have an excuse as to why the law does not apply to them.
It's simple. Pay no more than what you owe. Even be aggressive in taking tax deductions,
but pay your taxes.
Teen-agers feel invulnerable and often go too far to look good. I mean, who in the right mind, would use a tanning bed twice a day. That is apart from George Hamilton.
Zita started doing just that when she was 14, giving them up when she was 21. But already that was too late.
Last August she found a mole on her leg and was diagnosed with melanoma. Doctors who treated her said they believed the excessive use of sunbeds caused her cancer.
Nine months later she was dead, just three days before her daughter's first birthday.
Her partner Phil said that the sunbeds had destroyed the family's life.
Tanorexic young mother dies of skin cancer after seven years of sunbeds.
Dr. Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist and blogger, better known to some as the Instawife, is now an advice columnist, Ask Dr. Helen at Pajamas Media,
She's off to a fast start asking "What should an adult be able to do?"
I've combined and categorized her answers and those of the commenters and threw in one or two of my own.
Understand and be able to use a basic handgun (Helen)
Drive a stick shift (Helen)
Swim a reasonable distance (Helen)
Be able to use basic tools
Cook a simple meal
Change a tire
Build a fire
Read a map
Sew on a button
Know basic first aid
Know how to recognize a heart attack and a stroke and what to do
Balance a checkbook
Save and invest
Understand the compounding of interest
Surf the web and send an email (Helen)
Bookmark a website
Give a good backrub (Helen)
Comfort a child
Use turn signals
Keep some things to yourself
Make a sincere apology
Accept a compliment with grace
Be able to express sympathy
Write a thank-you note
Be a mensch
What would you add?
One of the most arresting essays on patriotism was written by John Scharr back in the time of the Vietnam war. Case for Patriotism
Perhaps, I like it so much because it focuses on legacy, on that extraordinary gift we have been given just because we were born in the USA, that gift entrusted to us to pass on, if not enlarged, than intact and not diminished.
Trouble is patriotism seems such an old-fashioned virtue.
Millions of Americans are simply without patriotism, and this large group includes all classes and kinds of persons. They do not think unpatriotic thoughts, but they do not think patriotic thoughts either. The republic for them is a vague and distant thing absent from their hearts, lost to their eyes. Reflecting this difference, our great patriotic holidays, now administratively arranged to provide long weekends, are less occasions for shared remembrance and renewal of the political covenant than boosts to the consumer economy.
The word patriotism is a member of a family of words and largely takes its meanings from its membership. Some other members of the family are legacy covenant, reverence, loyalty, nurture, roots, citizen, debt, gift, republic. These words, which once clarified the matter, today encounter the same barrier of mystification-distrust-in- difference as does patriotism itself.
Sophisticated types find it simple-minded, lacking in nuance for the multi-perspectival, multi-cultural and diverse society we are today. I used to be sophisticated, but I'm glad to say I've grown out of it. Increasingly, the old-fashioned virtues seem to me to be the only ones that last, the ones necessary for a good society, the ones we must pass on.
At its core, patriotism means love of one's homeplace, and of tthe familiar things and scenes associated with the homeplace. In this sense, patriotism is one of the basic human sentiments. ... We become devoted to the people, places and ways that nurture us, and what is familiar and nuturing seems also natural and right. This is the root of patriotism.
To be a patriot is to have a patrimony; or, perhaps more accurately, the patriot is one who is grateful for a legacy and recognizes that the legacy makes him a debtor. There is a whole way of being in the world, captured best by the word reverence, which defines life by its debts;: one is what one owes, what one acknowledges as a rightful debt: or obligation. The patriot moves within that mentality.
The gift of land, people, language, gods, memories, and customs, which is the patrimony of the patriot, defines what he or she is. .... The conscious patriot is one who feels deeply indebted for these gifts, grateful to the people and places through which they come, and determined to defend the legacy against enemies and pass it unspoiled to those who will come after. But such primary experiences are nearly inaccessible to us. We are not taught to define our lives by our debts and legacies, but by our rights and opportunities.
There is something distinctly different about American patriotism, that reaches far beyond love of homeland or people. Scharr calls it "covenanted patriotism"
Americans, a motley gathering of various races and cultures, were bonded together not by blood or religion, not by tradition or territory, not by the calls and traditions of a city, but by a political idea. We are a nation formed by a covenant, by dedication to a set of principles, and by an exchange of promises to uphold and advance certain commitments among ourselves and throughout the world.
What our Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Abraham Lincoln called "the electric cord ...that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world."
So long as we remember.
John Quincy Adams wrote to his wife
Yesterday the greatest question was decided which was ever debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, that those United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.
He also said
Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.
Do you make good use of it? Is the Fourth of July just a day off with fireworks? Or is it a time to consider again what patriotism means and what value it has in our lives today.
I quite like what Edmund Burke wrote about society being a partnership among the deceased, the living and the unborn. Even more than a partnership, Burke saw it as a trust, with the living as the trustees of an inheritance they must strive to enhance and pass on.
Patriotism is the virtue that conserves and safeguards the best of the past, to pass on undiminished, even enhanced.
I am a conservationist at heart. Not just of the natural world, but of art and society and Western civilization. And what Lincoln called "The Golden Apple" is this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Via Powerline, I just read what Calvin Coolidge said in 1926 on the 150th anniversary of the signing.
It is not so much then for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.
That Declaration, Coolidge said, came from a movement by the people
The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.
The most important civil document in the world
It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world.
A great spiritual document
A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.
Exceedingly restful in its finality
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful.... If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary.
God Bless America.
WebMD extols the benefits of drinking more than two cups of coffee a day
For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good.
• a lowered risk of diabetes
• a lowered risk of cavities
* a lowered risk of Parkinson's disease
* a lowered risk of colon cancer
• a lowered risk of gallstones
• a lowered risk of liver cirrhosis
As for the caffeine, that's what reduces the risk of Parkinson's, treats asthma and stops headaches
Is it possible that Intellectuals Like Genocide?
Theodore Dalrymple explores the case of Keith Windschuttle, an historian whose in-depth research laid bare the conventional wisdom of the past 25 years that a genocide of Tasmanian aborigines was carried out by the early European settlers.
Only 120 aborigines were killed in various conflicts, the rest died of disease.
What struck me at the time about the controversy was the evident fact that a large and influential part of the Australian academy and intelligentsia actually wanted there to have been a genocide. They reacted to Windschuttle’s book like a child who has had a toy snatched from its hand by its elder sibling. You would have thought that a man who discovered that his country had not been founded, as had previously been thought and taught, on genocide would be treated as a national hero. On the contrary, he was held up to execration.
To understand why you have to read the whole thing.
In a 5-part series, USA Today and ABC news collaborate on Role Reversal, Your Aging Parents and You the story of millions of Americans caring for elderly parents and maneuvering "the murky worlds of medicine, law, hospitals, nursing homes, guilt, fear and family ties"
• 41% of baby boomers with a living parent are now providing care for them
• 37% of those not providing care expect to do so in the future.
• 34 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for other adults
The burden and the costs of elder care, tips on selecting care, resources and the legal documents you need (durable power of attorney for finances and health care proxy)
The emotional toll of coping with an elderly parent.
Navigating sibling relationships
Pros and cons of long-term care insurance
Alzheimer's and dementia
Planning ahead for retirement and elder care
Watch this beautiful video of flight patterns and see our land emerge in a dazzlingly pattern of light.
Hat tip to Doc Searls
I didn't know that romance novels were the single most popular genre in American publishing, 55% of all paperbacks and 39% of all fiction, generating $1.2 billion last year.
Who knew that manly, responsible men really set our hearts a twitter.