March 30, 2010

At Duke University, motherhood is politically incorrect.

The Women's Center at Duke University is so entangled in feminist ideology that it cancels a discussion on motherhood.

Duke University cancels motherhood event when pro-life group participates

Duke University Students for Life booked a space at the campus Women’s Center for a presentation on the challenging roles of motherhood as part of their “Week for Life” campaign.  The event at the center involved a student and her mother speaking about their relationship and the difficulties each had.  Unfortunately, Duke apparently fears that students might come into contact with pro-life arguments while discussing motherhood — and acted to protect students from the trauma.
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So much for being open-minded,  supporting women, and preparing students to live in the real world.

The spokesman, Duke Women's Center Gender Violence Prevention Specialist Martin LIccardo, (don't you love the title) told the group

“We had a very strong reaction from students in general who use our space who said this was something that was upsetting and not OK. So based on that, we said, OK, we are going to respond to this and stop the program.”

Way to go Duke.

Home of the infamous lacrosse case where three white lacrosse players where accused of raping exotic dancer Crystal Magnum, a black woman, at a party held at the house of the lacrosse team captains.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong, later described by the state attorney general as a "rogue prosecutor" whipped up racial tensions by calling the lacrosse players rapists in a hate crime.    Unimpeachable alibi evidence was disregarded,  DNA evidence was withheld,  the woman's credibility was not challenged though she was drunk, drugged and changed her story several times. Inconsistencies were overlooked in a rush to judgment.

Nifong was not the only one who rushed to accuse.  Eighty-eight professors, members of Duke arts and science faculty, signed a public statement praising campus demonstrators who had distributed a "Wanted" poster branding the lacrosse players as "rapists." 

A year later the North Carolina Attorney General dropped all charges against the three lacrosse students, declaring them innocent and victims of a 'rush to accuse".  Nifong was disbarred for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation, found guilty of criminal contempt and served one day in jail.    So far as I know the gang of 88 never apologized for its defamation of the three students.  This year, Crystal Mangum was arrested for attempted murder, assault and arson.

Duke is also home to a real white on black rape case that was little reported.  Frank Lombard, the gay white former associate director of Duke's Center for Health Policy, described himself online as "perv dad for fun"., streamed videos online of himself having sex with a young, black child.  Lombard adopted two African American baby boys, admitted to molesting at least one of them and confessed to being "into incest"  before being arrested by the FBI after offering up his already molested five- year-old adopted boy for sex to a person he met online.  Lombard pleaded guilty to "sexual exploitation of a minor" and faces 15 years in prison.

Duke has a lot of problems.  Motherhood is not one of them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

March 29, 2010

$588, 235 per job

The track record of government taking over programs is so bad, I cannot but be pessimistic about the government takeover of health care.   

Take a look and see at what happened to the weatherization program, the much-touted $5 billion program to retrofit American homes to make them more energy-efficient.

In Indiana, state-trained workers flubbed insulation jobs. In Alaska, Wyoming and the District of Columbia, the program has yet to produce a single job or retrofit one home. And in California, a state with nearly 37 million residents, the program at last count had created 84 jobs.

The program was a hallmark of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a way to shore up the economy while encouraging people to conserve energy at home. But government rules about how to run what was deemed to be a ''shovel-ready'' project, including how much to pay contractors and how to protect historic homes during renovations, have thwarted chances at early success, according to an Associated Press review of the program.
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But after a year, the stimulus program has retrofitted 30,250 homes -- about 5 percent of the overall goal -- and fallen well short of the 87,000 jobs that the department planned, according to the latest available figures.

Ed Morrissey comments

Instead of creating 85,000 jobs with the $5 billion, the Department of Energy (which runs the program) claimed it created 8500 jobs, a tenth of the goal.  That would put the cost of each job at a whopping $588,235.30, and that’s only if the DoE has its numbers right.  Those numbers appear to have been calculated using the White House “saved or created” algorithm, which wasn’t exactly known for its accuracy.  In any case, those jobs would likely be temporary anyway, which means we just tossed away $5 billion on temp work that mostly didn’t occur, and when it did, got done poorly.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:58 AM | Permalink

March 27, 2010

Spoonful of sugar

Why you should never buy pre-sweetened anything.  Always add your own spoonful of sugar.

A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides
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The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
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Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:58 PM | Permalink

Cowgate

Gerald Warner in the London Telegraph. Expert report says claims of livestock causing global warming are false.

It is becoming difficult to keep pace with the speed at which the global warming scam is now unravelling. The latest reversal of scientific “consensus” is on livestock and the meat trade as a major cause of global warming – one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to eco-vegetarian cranks. Now a scientific report delivered to the American Chemical Society says it is nonsense. The Washington Times has called it “Cowgate”.
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Week by week the AGW collapse intensifies. Himalayan glaciers, polar bears, Arctic ice, Amazon rainforests, all discredited. Now it turns out the great cow-burp scare is bovine excrement too. The global warming scam is, to the majority of people, an object of derision. The scientific community has also at last wakened up. They are smelling the coffee in more and more institutions these days.
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neutrality, a level playing field and an equal voice is all global warming sceptics have ever asked for. Given those reasonable conditions, the truth will out and we will win. The signs are that a lot of scientists have been moved to assert their integrity, encouraged by the increasingly huge breaches sceptics have made in the defences of the AGW camp. Others may simply have calculated they may have backed a loser and it is time to take out some insurance.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:52 PM | Permalink

The male brain

Surprising differences about the male brain from Louann Brizendine in Love, sex and the male brain

Perhaps the biggest difference between the male and female brain is that men have a sexual pursuit area that is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain. Not only that, but beginning in their teens, they produce 20 to 25-fold more testosterone than they did during pre-adolescence.

If testosterone were beer, a 9-year-old boy would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex.

And so begins the
'Man Trance'
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The
'Doting Daddy Brain'
A man in hot pursuit of a mate doesn't even remotely resemble a devoted, doting daddy. But that's what his future holds. When his mate becomes pregnant, she'll emit pheromones that will waft into his nostrils, stimulating his brain to make more of a hormone called prolactin. Her pheromones will also cause his testosterone production to drop by 30 percent.

His emotions run deep
Although men have earned the reputation for being more stoic than women, they actually have stronger emotional reactions than we do. They just don't show it very often.
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'Lovable Grandpas' and 'Grumpy Old Men'
As men age, the male brain hormones change and the male brain and body goes into the stage of life called andropause. The king of male hormones -- testosterone -- goes down and the queen of female hormones -- estrogen -- goes up. Whether Grandpa is your kids' hero or the grouch they hate to visit depends a lot on how he handles these hormonal changes.

Not only is the mature male brain more receptive to closer bonds, but it's also more sensitive to loneliness. Nobody thrives when they're lonely, but it seems to take a major toll on older men. Sixty percent of divorces in couples over the age of 50 are initiated by women, leaving their husbands shell-shocked and devastated.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:50 PM | Permalink

The Man with the Golden Arm

'Man with the golden arm' saves 2million babies in half a century of donating rare type of blood

An Australian man who has been donating his extremely rare kind of blood for 56 years has saved the lives of more than two million babies.

James Harrison, 74, has an antibody in his plasma that stops babies dying from Rhesus disease, a form of severe anaemia.

He has enabled countless mothers to give birth to healthy babies, including his own daughter, Tracey, who had a healthy son thanks to her father's blood.

Mr Harrison has been giving blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old and has now racked up a total of 984 donations.

When he started donating, his blood was deemed so special his life was insured for one million Australian dollars.

He was also nicknamed the 'man with the golden arm' or the 'man in two million'.

 Man-With-A-Golden-Arm

He said: 'I've never thought about stopping. Never.' He made a pledge to be a donor aged 14 after undergoing major chest surgery in which he needed 13 litres of blood.

'I was in hospital for three months,' he said. 'The blood I received saved my life so I made a pledge to give blood when I was 18.'

Just after he started donating he was found to have the rare and life-saving antibody in his blood.

At the time, thousands of babies in Australia were dying each year of Rhesus disease. Other newborns suffered permanent brain damage because of the condition.

The disease creates an incompatibility between the mother's blood and her unborn baby's blood. It stems from one having Rh-positive blood and the other Rh-negative.

After his blood type was discovered, Mr Harrison volunteered to undergo a series of tests to help develop the Anti-D vaccine.

'They insured me for a million dollars so I knew my wife Barbara would be taken care of,' he said.

'I wasn't scared. I was glad to help. I had to sign every form going and basically sign my life away.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:16 PM | Permalink

March 24, 2010

Congress in a Wordle

When the Pew Research Center asked Americans shortly before the health care vote for one word to describe Congress, 86% gave a negative word, only 4% a positive one.  Taking the results and feeding it into Wordle, the Pew Center came up with this word cloud.

 Pew Word Cloud

Congress in a Wordle.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:47 PM | Permalink

“Slap upside the head of the government.”

Monday Morning Coming Down

Who has better credit than Uncle Sam? If you ask the bond market, that elite list includes Berkshire Hathaway, Procter & Gamble, Lowe’s, Johnson & Johnson, and a host of other blue-chip corporate borrowers. The U.S. government has the ability to levy taxes on the largest national economy in the world, a vast and fearsome revenue-collection apparatus, and more than two centuries of constitutional government under its belt. P&G has Tampax.
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As hangover headaches go, this is going to be brutal, and investors apparently have more faith in Johnson & Johnson’s ability to sell Tylenol than in Washington’s ability to pay for it. Mitchell Stapley, an analyst with Fifth Third Asset Management, told Reuters that the numbers coming out of the bond market are a “slap upside the head of the government.”
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So here’s a prediction for you: Obamacare is not going to happen, regardless of the fact that the president is going to sign it into law today, regardless of what happens in the 2010 and 2012 elections, and regardless of any speech given anywhere in Washington. The government’s ability to simply say “Make it so!” and ignore economic reality is coming up against its limit.
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Obamacare will be a huge new outlay on an already bloated federal budget, two-thirds of which is committed to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national defense, and interest payments on the national debt. Somebody’s not going to get paid. Bond investors are worried that it’s going to be them, but my bet is that it’s going to be those who have put their faith in Obamacare. But, hey, it was fun while it lasted. Have a Tylenol.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:15 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

March 22, 2010

Will you be a revenue loss or a cost savings?

"In a private fee-for-service medical system, a dead patient is a revenue loss. In the National Health Service (UK), a dead patient was a cost savings." -Harry Bailey MD 1930-2003.

A Unique Perspective on the Delivery of Medical Care

Via The Anchoress who offers two anecdotes of her own in Obamacare & the Aging Population.   

Since the Health Care Reform Act cuts $500 billion from Medicare, does anyone doubt that seniors will be urged and too soon required to take the painkiller instead of surgery?

Why don't we ever learn the Lessons of History?

With the elimination of private expenditures for health services, the form and amount of medical care were now dependent upon the budgetary priorities of the State. All members of the medical industry were put on low fixed monthly salaries and were mandated to examine and treat an overwhelming daily quota of patients. Medical research became dependent upon inadequate annual budgetary allocations from the government. Doctors’ and nurses’ incomes no longer depended on their professional skills or the number of patients they treated. Total unionization of the medical profession made it practically impossible for anyone to be fired. Without markets and prices determining the value and availability of health care, the government imposed a rationing system for medical services and pharmaceutical products.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:01 PM | Permalink

Lessons of History

Today, after the passage of the Health Care Reform Act, it's worth looking at some lessons of history.

In Old Russia, medical care was a consumer-oriented business. Doctors’ incomes and their standard of living were totally dependent upon professionalism and reputation in the wider community. Patients decided which doctor to use, which hospital to go to, and which pharmaceutical products to trust. Doctors worked hard to establish their reputation, an important part of which came from providing charity care for the poor. As in the West, all Russian doctors upon graduation from medical school took the Hippocratic Oath, in which they swore never to reject anyone who needed medical assistance—and as a rule they were loyal to their oath.

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Expectations of high income, along with the status of being a member of a respected profession, generated strong competition for acceptance into medical schools. The best were accepted as students, and the most qualified were hired as professors. At the beginning of the 20th century, the quality of Russian medical care and medical research was internationally recognized. Was it a perfect system? Of course not. But contrary to the socialist myth-makers, medical care in Imperial Russia was widely available and provided in a fairly cost-efficient manner. Both the profit motive of the competitive marketplace and the spirit of charity assured the provision of quality medical services throughout Russian society.

Socialized Health Care: The Communist Dream and the Soviet Reality  by Anna Ebeling who was born, raised and educated in the former Soviet Union.

In 1917, like everything else, medical services were nationalized by the new socialist government. Gradually, small medical practices disappeared and a network of big, factory-like hospitals and out-patient clinics were established all around the country. Everyone was registered in both out-patient clinics and hospitals according to their government-assigned residence. Patient choice was completely taken away by the Soviet State, which took full responsibility for centrally planning each individual’s medical expenses and health care.


With the elimination of private expenditures for health services, the form and amount of medical care were now dependent upon the budgetary priorities of the State. All members of the medical industry were put on low fixed monthly salaries and were mandated to examine and treat an overwhelming daily quota of patients. Medical research became dependent upon inadequate annual budgetary allocations from the government. Doctors’ and nurses’ incomes no longer depended on their professional skills or the number of patients they treated. Total unionization of the medical profession made it practically impossible for anyone to be fired. Without markets and prices determining the value and availability of health care, the government imposed a rationing system for medical services and pharmaceutical products.
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In the world of “free” medical care in the Soviet Union, people often had to have connections to obtain many of the medicines prescribed by physicians to save their family members and friends. Indifferent and often hostile nurses and orderlies had to be bribed to change a patient’s bedpan or to provide ordinary attention that any American would take for granted during a stay in a hospital.
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Not surprisingly, those in the political elite did not want to be treated in the medical system provided for “the people.” One of the greatest myths about the Soviet Union was its supposed equality for all. No society was so divided into privileged groups and classes as was Soviet society. Where an individual stood in the political hierarchy of the Communist Party and the bureaucratic structure of the socialist economy determined his access to all the essentials as well as the luxuries of life.

Special hospitals were created all around the Soviet Union. These were reserved for the members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Council of Ministers, the local and regional Party elites, and so forth.

Read it all.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:11 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2010

Bad credit derails job seekers

If you're looking for a job, you have to realize that More Employers Are Conducting Credit Checks on Job Applicants.

Companies typically look back over a period of years for patterns in applicants' behavior, says Mike Aitken, the professional group's director of government affairs. "It's a longer-term snapshot to see if that's indicative of fiscal responsibility," he says.

The vast majority of employers who conduct credit background checks do so for jobs with fiduciary or financial responsibility, such as accounting, budgeting or those involving cash or sensitive credit-card information. Nearly half the respondents also consider the credit of candidates for senior executive positions.

Lawsuits or other judgments outstanding, or multiple accounts in debt collection, were the types of credit information most likely to keep an organization from extending a job offer, according to the survey.
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Certain factors that could hurt your credit score, such as a recently reduced credit-card limit, would be unlikely to hurt your job prospects. Employers focus on issues like collections and defaults, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for Credit.com Inc..

Just one more reason to pay what you owe, keep your credit rating high and check your credit report  yearly .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:31 AM | Permalink

Omega males

You've heard of alpha males and beta males, but omega males?

Jessica Grose examines men who have trouble being a man -"they're unemployed, romantically challenges and they're everywhere".

Omega Males and the Women Who Hate Them - the liberal arts layabouts, the mimbos, the beer guys and the game boys.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:24 AM | Permalink

Talk Deep, not Small

Deep conversations made people happier than small talk, one study found.  Not stop-the-presses news, but a good reminder.

Talk Deeply, Be Happy?

Would you be happier if you spent more time discussing the state of the world and the meaning of life — and less time talking about the weather?

It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier, said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.
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But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Little evidence diversity training works

Just how are all those diversity programs working?

Turns out there is little evidence diversity training works to change attitudes or behavior.

A paper published last year by the psychologist Elizabeth Levy Paluck of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and the Yale University political scientist Donald Green comprehensively surveyed the literature on prejudice reduction measures and found no empirical support for the idea that diversity training programs change attitudes or behavior. Similarly, a 2008 literature review paper by Carol Kulik of the University of South Australia and Loriann Roberson of Columbia University found that, on the question of changing behavior, there were few trustworthy studies - and decidedly mixed results among those. And research by a team of sociologists on more than 800 companies over three decades has found that the best diversity training programs make little difference in who gets hired and promoted, and many programs actually decrease the number of women and minorities in management.


“Even with best practices, you’re not going to get much of an effect,” says Frank Dobbin, a Harvard University sociology professor on the research team. “It doesn’t change what happens at work.”
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What worked much better than even the best training, the researchers found, were more structural measures: minority mentoring programs, or designating an executive or a task force with specific responsibility to change promotion practices.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:06 AM | Permalink

Check under the mattress for bedbugs and bodies

Missing mother found under hotel mattress in Memphis.  After two months! 

Even though the room had been cleaned 'numerous times' after being rented five times to unsuspecting guests of the Budget Inn.

Joseph Scott, Memphis police's deputy chief of investigative services, said. "It's stranger than fiction."

If that doesn't make your skin crawl, just wait until you read 6 Pieces of Advice for Hotel Guests from an Ex Housekeeper.

Tip: check under the mattress for bodies and bedbugs and never use the coffee maker in the room.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:03 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day

St Patrick was a Slave

The accepted facts of his life are few. In his major work, "The Confessio," Patrick described how he was snatched from his Christian home during raids on the west coast of Roman Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave "along with many thousands of others." This occurred sometime in the late fourth or early fifth century A.D.  Naked on the hillsides, herding sheep and swine, he began to have religious visions.
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Obsessed with memories of Ireland -- hearing "the voices of those same persons who used to be near the wood of U" -- he sought money and permission from Christian bishops in England for an apostolic mission to the pagan Irish.
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Eventually Patrick gained the necessary financing and embarked on a mission to Christianize Ireland's intellectual leadership -- Druid priests, poets and judges -- and the military bosses of the northern aristocracy.

It is likely that Patrick's aim was to convert and pacify leaders of the slave raids. In his other surviving writing, the "Letter to Coroticus" (a British king), his concern for the victims of slaving -- especially women captured for sexual exploitation -- is clear.
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In the end, the triumphant, apostolic and slightly macho St. Patrick, the premier saint of the Isle of Saints and Scholars, is less interesting and important than the afflicted, struggling Patrick. This Patrick, who helped to bring the Irish into the mainstream of Western history, who forgave and was forgiven, who suffered enslavement and overcame it, who epitomized the West's central drama -- the outsider who stayed to transform the culture of his conqueror -- belongs to all of us.

St Patrick and the Selfless Life

It is often observed that Patrick led the only bloodless revolution in the whole troubled history of Ireland. Author and Irish Bishop Joseph Duffy notes, “The later compilers of saints’ lives, who were by no means given to understatement, tell of only one martyr in his entire missionary career.” The pen may be mightier than the sword, but Patrick used neither. Instead, his simple faith and plain speaking changed the course of his adopted country.

Here is St. Patrick's famous prayer, his Breastplate, also called "The Deer's Cry" beautifully sung by Angelina.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:30 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2010

Being green can make you mean

Why environmentally friendly shoppers are more likely to lie and cheat

In a provocative experiment researchers showed that people who buy environmentally friendly products are more likely to lie, cheat and be unkind than ordinary shoppers.

While many will disagree, the authors say the study is evidence that people have a limited stock of goodwill - and that being virtuous in one part of their lives gives them the licence to be mean in another.

The phenomena - dubbed "compensatory ethics" - came to light in a series of experiments carried out by psychologists at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Nina Mazar, who led the study, said: "People act less altruistically  and are more likely to cheat and steal after purchasing green products as opposed to conventional products."
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The paper is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Why I am not surprised by this.  Too often buying green has become a way to prove one's virtue without doing the harder work of improving one's virtue.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:16 PM | Permalink

Readability

I don't like to print things out that I want to read.  But on too many websites, there is so much clutter and ads, it's hard to keep one's eyes focused on the main article I want to read.

For years I depended on the print option which allowed me to read the article without the annoying clutter all around.  Often I had to increase the size of the type so I could read it on the screen.

Arc90 has the solution, a simple tool, that's become indispensable for me called Readability.  Readability removes all the clutter and offers a presentation of the article in just the way you prefer.

 Readability 1

 Readability 2

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:47 AM | Permalink

"Not easy, but simple"

William Kristol on what it will take to reverse the direction we're headed towards.  Common sense and courage will suffice.

Do we have to curb our profligacy today so we can be prosperous tomorrow? Common sense says yes. What does it take to do this? Basically, political and civic courage. Now, how to do this—how to cut budgets so we are living within our means, how to control the natural tendency of the welfare state to grow, how to get present-oriented populations to invest for the future, how to move from a public policy that doles out entitlements to one that sets a framework for achievement and self-reliance—this is a complex challenge of public policy and political strategy. But the fundamental challenge is simple. Not easy, but simple.

Similarly, the need to condemn rather than to tolerate (or even glorify) terror, the need to defeat rather than appease it, is obvious. Doing that in a resolute and determined way takes courage. How best to weaken and defeat the forces of jihadist terror, how to deal with the nations and cultures that are its breeding ground, how to mix together in one’s policies hard and soft, smart and dumb power—that is complicated. But the basic challenge is simple. Not easy, but simple.

We need to resist indulgence at home and appeasement abroad. This task needn’t be the subject of endless handwringing and conspicuous chinpulling. But it does require—to use an unfashionable phrase—moral virtue. In particular, it requires courage.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:47 AM | Permalink

Some say 2012 will see the world's end; Da Vinci says 4006

2012, Junk Bond Avalanche Looms
When the Mayans envisioned the world coming to an end in 2012 — at least in the Hollywood telling — they didn’t count junk bonds among the perils that would lead to worldwide disaster.

Maybe they should have, because 2012 also is the beginning of a three-year period in which more than $700 billion in risky, high-yield corporate debt begins to come due, an extraordinary surge that some analysts fear could overload the debt markets.

With huge bills about to hit corporations and the federal government around the same time, the worry is that some companies will have trouble getting new loans, spurring defaults and a wave of bankruptcies.

The United States government alone will need to borrow nearly $2 trillion in 2012, to bridge the projected budget deficit for that year and to refinance existing debt.

Indeed, worries about the growth of national, or sovereign, debt prompted Moody’s Investors Service to warn on Monday that the United States and other Western nations were moving “substantially” closer to losing their top-notch Aaa credit rating.

Da Vinci ‘predicted world would end in 4006’ says Vatican researcher

Sabrina Sforza Galitzia said the clues were to be found in da Vinci’s Last Supper mural. The central half-moon window, or lunette, above his painting of Christ with his disciples before the Crucifixion contains a “mathematical and astrological” puzzle which she has deciphered, she said.

She claimed to have worked out that da Vinci foresaw the end of the world in a “universal flood” which would begin on March 21, 4006 and end on November 1 the same year. Documents showed that he believed that this would mark “a new start for humanity”, Ms Sforza Galitzia said.

“There is a da Vinci code — it is just not the one made popular by Dan Brown,” she said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink

March 15, 2010

"This is not just a wake-up call, this is it." UPDATED

Times are going to get even tighter as we deal with government Ponzi schemes.

Social Security starts cashing in on US debt

Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.

Sounds like a good time to start tapping the nest egg. Too bad the federal government already spent that money over the years on other programs, preferring to borrow from Social Security rather than foreign creditors. In return, the Treasury Department issued a stack of IOUs — in the form of Treasury bonds — which are kept in a nondescript office building just down the street from Parkersburg's municipal offices.
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Now the government will have to borrow even more money, much of it abroad, to start paying back the IOUs, and the timing couldn't be worse. The government is projected to post a record $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year, followed by trillion dollar deficits for years to come.
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"This is not just a wake-up call, this is it. We're here," said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst with The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group. "We are not going to be able to put it off any more."

Promised pensions benefits for public-sector employees represent a massive overhang that threatens the financial future of many cities and states.  The $2 Trillion Hole.

We are not the only ones. Virtually every Western Democratic Government is Insolvent.

UPDATED. Moody's, the USA rating agency , fears 'social cohesion' as AAA states retrench

"Growth alone will not resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation. Preserving debt affordability at levels consistent with AAA ratings will invariably require fiscal adjustments of a magnitude that, in some cases, will test social cohesion,"  said Pierre Cailleteau, the chief author.

"We are not talking about revolution, but the severity of the crisis will force governments to make painful choices that expose weaknesses in society," he said.

IBD Editorial  Time to Get a Grip on the Third Rail

While the Democratic leadership is trying to force a health care entitlement on a country that doesn't want it, the mother of all entitlements is in the red. Get used to it. It's only going to get worse.

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Their decades of cowardice have led us to 2010, the year that Social Security begins its descent into the financial abyss. This year it will pay out $29 billion more in benefits than it takes in through the payroll tax that funds the retirement program.

A Sunday Associated Press report highlighting this deficit suggests that "it's time to start cashing" in the $2.5 trillion Social Security trust fund that has built up through the decades of the system taking in more than it has paid out.

Only problem: There is no trust fund.

It's not just the Capitol: Billions in red ink drowning California's cities, schools and counties, too

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:27 PM | Permalink

"A war of religions and beliefs"

Richard Fernandez on The Age of Faith.

One factor driving Islamic militancy in many nations is the sense that Christianity is growing. Outside of the West, evangelism and conversion are two of the most sensitive issues in the modern world.”

He quotes Philip Jenkins who wrote in the Third World War.

Christianity, which a century ago was overwhelmingly the religion of Europe and the Americas, has undertaken a historic advance into Africa and Asia. In 1900, Africa had just 10 million Christians, representing around 10 percent of the continental population. By 2000, that figure had swollen to over 360 million, or 46 percent of the population. Over the course of the 20th century, millions of Africans transferred their allegiance from traditional primal faiths to one of the two great world religions, Christianity or Islam—but they demonstrated an overwhelming preference for the former. Around 40 percent of Africa’s population became Christian, compared to just 10 percent who chose Islam.

Fernandez continues

With the numbers between Christians and Muslims equalizing in the region of the 10th degree of latitude, many places formerly dominated by Islam are now doubtful ground. It’s upsetting the equilibrium. Jenkins thinks the Third World populations can work out a modus vivendi, “if only Washington and Riyadh can refrain from pouring fuel on the hostilities”.  And probably they can, but the professor may be mistaken in believing Washington is pouring fuel on anything. There is no Western Christian equivalent of Saudi-sponsored “anti-Christian propaganda across the Global South”. Consequently the Christian response to Islam will increasingly be independent of the West because the West has dealt itself out of the game. If the Western intelligensia takes any side in this fight it is likely to be Islam’s. But in all probability the sophisticates will continue to think that all religions save “Imagine” are equally worthless superstitions and remain aloof; disdainful of taking the religious issues seriously.

In posting about The Scene of Insurmountable Grief  about the massacres at Jos over at Legacy Matters, I  quoted Jenkins as well.

In Jos, as in countless other regions across Africa and Asia, violence between Christians and Muslims can erupt at any time, with the potential to detonate riots, civil wars, and persecutions. While these events are poorly reported in the West, they matter profoundly
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Uncomfortably for American policymakers, it is a war of religions and beliefs—a battle not for hearts and minds but for souls.

Unfortunately too many in the mainstream media "Just don't get religion", maybe worse they can't imagine the experience of a lived faith and so don't even see the events at Jos or indeed the religious wars in Africa as worthy of coverage.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:56 AM | Permalink

March 14, 2010

Boston Seasons Visualized

 Flickr Visualization Seasons

This beautiful visualization of the ebb and flow of color over the seasons of he year based on photographs of the Boston Common posted to Flickr and using an algorithm developed by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg whose medium is data visualization. 

Summer is at the top, winter on the bottom.  HT Jason Kottke.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:57 PM | Permalink

March 9, 2010

I like this message

Mark Krikorian tells us how to Send a Message with the Census

Fully one-quarter of the space on this year's form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government's business (despite the New York Times' assurances to the contrary on today's editorial page). ... Question 9 on the census form asks "What is Person 1's race?" (and so on, for other members of the household). My initial impulse was simply to misidentify my race so as to throw a monkey wrench into the statistics; I had fun doing this on the personal-information form my college required every semester, where I was a Puerto Rican Muslim one semester, and a Samoan Buddhist the next. But lying in this constitutionally mandated process is wrong. Really — don't do it.

Instead, we should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — "Some other race" — and writing in "American." It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, "American" was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties.

So remember: Question 9 — "Some other race" — "American". Pass it on.

I'm going to do it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:44 AM | Permalink

As projected by CBO, we'll be spending $5.6 Trillion in interest over the next decade

 Entitlement Spending Explodes

A chart by Veronique de Rugy who says, "This is what unsustainability looks like."  Based on figures from the CBO, the chart reveals the long term trend of entitlements.

As Dennis Prager summarizes

As reported by the Washington Post: “President Obama’s proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.”

CNN adds, “Of that amount, an estimated $5.6 trillion will be in interest alone.”

“Deficits of that magnitude would force the Treasury to continue borrowing at prodigious rates, sending the national debt soaring to 90 percent of the economy by 2020, the CBO said.”

CNN notes this particularly chilling prediction from the CBO: “By 2020 . . . debt held by the public would reach $20.3 trillion, or 90% of GDP. That’s up from 53% of GDP in 2009.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:23 AM | Permalink

From Jihad to Jesus

A most remarkable interview in the Wall St Journal over the weekend of the 'Son of Hamas', "They Need to Be Liberated From Their God'. 

Mosab Hassan (Joseph) Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization, and he tells his story of how he went from Jihad to Jesus while spying for Israel and shaming his family.

Mr. Yousef tells me that he was horrified by the pointless violence unleashed by politicians willing to climb "on the shoulders of poor, religious people." He says Palestinians who heeded the call "were going like a cow to the slaughterhouse, and they thought they were going to heaven." So, as he writes in the book, "At the age of twenty-two, I became the Shin Bet's only Hamas insider who could infiltrate Hamas's military and political wings, as well as other Palestinian factions."
--

"I converted to Christianity because I was convinced by Jesus Christ as a character, as a personality. I loved him, his wisdom, his love, his unconditional love. I didn't leave [the Islamic] religion to put myself in another box of religion. At the same time it's a beautiful thing to see my God exist in my life and see the change in my life. I see that when he does exist in other Middle Easterners there will be a change.
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As the son of a Muslim cleric, he says he had reached the conclusion that terrorism can't be defeated without a new understanding of Islam. Here he echoes other defectors from Islam such as the former Dutch parliamentarian and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Do you consider your father a fanatic? "He's not a fanatic," says Mr. Yousef. "He's a very moderate, logical person. What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he's doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn't matter if he's a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God. I know this is harsh to say. Most governments avoid this subject. They don't want to admit this is an ideological war.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2010

The Saints vs. the Statists

The Catholic idea of saints and martyrs has nothing to do with public policy. Each is, in his or her own nature, the exact opposite of the Pyramids of Egypt -- perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the statist mind.

Each man and woman among the saints is held up as an individual example, different in kind from each of the others. Each has, from a unique point of departure -- the peculiar, given circumstances of a life -- consciously, and in freedom, bought into the wild notion of personal sanctity. Their faith, and not their compulsion, moved our mountains.

But likewise, in all other areas of human enterprise: in the great achievements of business, of literature and music and art, of sciences and education, there was some understanding that we had nothing without manifestations of the individual human will.

David Warren asks the question on Does freedom matter? and gets the answer Yes, but which leads to The Tyranny of But.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:50 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

“The patient doesn’t seem to be in the picture.”

“The patient doesn’t seem to be in the picture.” It adds: “We were struck by the virtual absence of mention of patients and families ... whether we were discussing aims and ambition for improvement, measurement of progress or any other topic relevant to quality.

“Most targets and standards appear to be defined in professional, organisational and political terms, not in terms of patients’ experience of care.”

The above quote is from a report by the Massachusetts-based Institute for Healthcare Improvements on Great Britain's National Health Care Service.

Not so hard to believe when read Neglected by 'lazy' nurses, man, 22, dying of thirst rang the police to beg for water.

Told by the doctors that everything was under control, the police left and the man died the next day.

Sources say they are investigating the possibility of a corporate manslaughter charge against St George's Hospital in Tooting, South London.

Mr Gorny, from Balham, worked for Waitrose and had been a keen footballer and runner until he was diagnosed with a brain tumour the year before his death.

The medication he took caused his bones to weaken and he was admitted to St George's for a hip replacement in May last year. The operation left him immobile and unable to get out of bed.

His 50-year-old mother says that he needed to take drugs three times a day to regulate his hormones. Doctors had told him that without the drugs he would die.

Although he had stressed to staff how important his medication was, she said, no one gave him the drugs. She said that two days after his hip operation, while Miss Cronin was at work, he became severely dehydrated but his requests for water were refused.

He became aggressive and nurses called in security guards to restrain him.  After they had left, he rang the police from his bed to demand their help.

Back to the report on the NHS from the London Times which reports were suppressed by the government.

Lord Darzi, the former health minister, commissioned the three reports from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.
--

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

That's the basic core problem of nationalized health care.  When the government takes over management, politics and managerial targets become more important than patient care.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink

March 6, 2010

Atheists - The "religiously unmusical"

From the New Scientist, an editorial Time to accept that atheism, not God, is odd.

HERE's a fact to flatter the unbelievers among you: the bright young things at the University of Oxford are among the most godless groups ever studied in the UK. Of 728 students surveyed in 2007, 48.9 per cent claimed not to believe in any god, with 49.6 per cent claiming no religious affiliation. And while a very small number of Britons typically label themselves as "atheist" or "agnostic" (most surveys put it at about 5 per cent), an astonishing 57.3 per cent of the Oxford sample did.

This may come as no surprise. After all, atheism is the natural stance of the educated and the informed, is it not?
...Of course, things are never quite that simple. Within the sample, for instance, the postgraduates (that is, the even-better educated) were notably more religious than the undergraduates, in terms of both belief in God and self-description.
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We, and the scholars who gathered in December last year for a conference at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, think we may have the answer. The problems stem from a long-term, collective blind spot in research: atheism itself.

This oversight might seem remarkable (or remarkably obtuse on the part of the social scientists) but it is one with deep historical roots. Many of social science's 19th-century founders, including Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Auguste Comte and Max Weber, were unbelievers, or "religiously unmusical", as Weber memorably put it. For them, religion was the great explicandum: how, they wondered, could so many people believe in something so absurd? What they failed to recognise was that their own, taken-for-granted, "lack" of belief might itself be amenable to inquiry.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:33 PM | Permalink

"Gotta get back to work"

The Blue Plate Special at the Belmont Club.

Matthews shrewdly asks Ryan why he thinks he can persuade voters that they can no longer have something for nothing when nobody else has before.  And for a moment we catch a glimpse of a much more formidable Chris Matthews, a man who seems to have come to liberalism in part because he’s seen conservatism fail to sell.  And the congressman’s riposte is simple: ‘Chris, it will sell now because the voters have no choice. The party’s over and sooner or later everyone who isn’t brain-dead has to see that.’ Entitlements have drained the treasury dry. An entire generation has blown its wad and doesn’t even have enough kids to borrow from.  And as any who’s ever shaken his wallet and seen only old ATM receipts flutter out of it, the message is signally clear. Gotta get back to work.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:06 PM | Permalink

No more anonymity for sperm donors

DNA testing makes it easy to find the identity of anonymous sperm donors

In an age of sophisticated genetic testing, the concept of anonymity is rapidly fading. With some clever sleuthing—tests that can track down ancestral origins, donor numbers, and bits of biographical information—parents and offspring can find out the donors. "With DNA testing and Google, there's no such thing as anonymity anymore," says Wendy Kramer, the founder of the Donor Sibling Registry. "Donors are choosing anonymity because they're not educated," adds Kramer. "If they were properly educated on the consequences, then many would choose not to donate."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:03 PM | Permalink

Gendercide

The Economist on The worldwide war on baby girls

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed what can happen to a country when girl babies don’t count. Within ten years, the academy said, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women—a figure unprecedented in a country at peace.

The number is based on the sexual discrepancy among people aged 19 and below. According to CASS, China in 2020 will have 30m-40m more men of this age than young women. For comparison, there are 23m boys below the age of 20 in Germany, France and Britain combined and around 40m American boys and young men. So within ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:53 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2010

Personal movie theater

Maybe, it's because I never had a real dollhouse as a young girl, but I am just enchanted by this.

You can ever buy a do-it-yourself personal theater kit here for $19.95 plus shipping.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:55 PM | Permalink

Genetic test to help you lose weight

The amount of weight you will lose on a diet appears to be related to your genetic makeup.

New gene test may help you pick your diet

Can't lose weight on a low-fat diet? Maybe you need to cut carbs instead, and a new genetic test may point the way, maker Interleukin Genetics Inc reported on Wednesday.

The small study of about 140 overweight or obese women showed that those on diets "appropriate" for their genetic makeup lost more weight than those on less appropriate diets, researchers told an American Heart Association meeting.
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Massachusetts-based Interleukin's $149 test looks for mutations in three genes, known as FABP2, PPARG and ADRB2.

The company says 39 percent of white Americans have the low-fat genotype, 45 percent have the type that responds best to a diet low in processed carbohydrates and an unlucky 16 percent have gene mutations that mean they have to watch both fat and processed carbohydrates.
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Over a year, people on diets appropriate to their genetic makeup, as determined by the test, lost 5.3 percent of body weight. People on mismatched diets lost 2.3 percent, the Stanford researchers told the meeting.

Cholesterol levels improved in line with weight loss, they said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:46 PM | Permalink

"As the old know, and the young cannot"

For as the old know, and the young cannot, the problems of this world will not be solved with grand schemes. They can be ameliorated; they can be dealt with piecemeal, and prudently, a little at a time.

Sound public policy is chaste and cautious. It requires maturity.

David Warren in Easy Does It

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:38 PM | Permalink

"You know, at some point there has to be parity"

Governor Chris Christie talks to 200 New Jersey mayors  and Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis provides a partial transcript

You know, Marlboro, after a two year negotiation, they give a five year contract giving 4.5% annual salary increases to the teachers, with no contribution, zero contribution to health care benefits.

But I am sure there are people in Marlboro who have lost their jobs, who have had their homes foreclosed on, and who cannot keep a roof over their family's head there is something wrong.

You know, at some point there has to be parity. There has to be parity between what is happening in the real world, and what is happening in the public sector world. The money does not grow on trees outside this building or outside your municipal building. It comes from the hard working people of our communities who are suffering and are hurting right now.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:36 PM | Permalink

Beep, It's Your Medicine Nagging You

Finally, a pill container that beeps when you need to take your medication. 

The Wall St Journal reports.

The container—actually a high-tech top for a standard pill bottle called a "GlowCap"—is equipped with a wireless transmitter that plugs into the wall. When it is time for a dose of medicine, the GlowCap emits a pulsing orange light; after an hour, the gadget starts beeping every five minutes, in arpeggios that become more complicated and insistent. After that, the device can set off an automated telephone or text message reminder to patients who fail to take their pills. It also can generate email or letters reporting to a family member or doctor how often the medication is taken.

It is one of the high-tech ways companies are grappling with medicine noncompliance.  Only about half of patients who are prescribed a medication for a chronic condition are still taking the drug regularly after a year...

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:05 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2010

Living Together First Doesn't Make Marriage Last

What seems counter-intuitive to young adults today was accepted wisdom for centuries.

Study Finds Cohabiting Doesn’t Make a Union Last

Couples who live together before they get married are less likely to stay married, a new study has found. But their chances improve if they were already engaged when they began living together.
Related

The likelihood that a marriage would last for a decade or more decreased by six percentage points if the couple had cohabited first, the study found.

The study of men and women ages 15 to 44 was done by the National Center for Health Statistics using data from the National Survey of Family Growth conducted in 2002. The authors define cohabitation as people who live with a sexual partner of the opposite sex.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 AM | Permalink

March 2, 2010

HSAs: Improving Health and Saving Money

I've long been in favor of Health Savings Accounts or HSAs as they are known.  Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana shows how such accounts have improved health and saved money, lots of money.

Hoosiers and Health Savings Accounts

The HSA option has proven highly popular. This year, over 70% of our 30,000 Indiana state workers chose it, by far the highest in public-sector America. Due to the rejection of these plans by government unions, the average use of HSAs in the public sector across the country is just 2%.
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State employees enrolled in the consumer-driven plan will save more than $8 million in 2010 compared to their coworkers in the old-fashioned preferred provider organization (PPO) alternative. In the second straight year in which we've been forced to skip salary increases, workers switching to the HSA are adding thousands of dollars to their take-home pay.
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The state is saving, too. In a time of severe budgetary stress, Indiana will save at least $20 million in 2010 because of our high HSA enrollment. Mercer calculates the state's total costs are being reduced by 11% solely due to the HSA option.
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Most important, we are seeing significant changes in behavior, and consequently lower total costs. In 2009, for example, state workers with the HSA visited emergency rooms and physicians 67% less frequently than co-workers with traditional health care. They were much more likely to use generic drugs than those enrolled in the conventional plan, resulting in an average lower cost per prescription of $18. They were admitted to hospitals less than half as frequently as their colleagues. Differences in health status between the groups account for part of this disparity, but consumer decision-making is, we've found, also a major factor.

Overall, participants in our new plan ran up only $65 in cost for every $100 incurred by their associates under the old coverage

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:55 AM | Permalink

Prozac and God

Studies: Belief in God relieves depression

University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers.

A new study released Wednesday by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago took the idea a step further.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:43 AM | Permalink

Skinhead Puts on Skullcap

In the New York Times, the Changing Face of Poland: Skinhead Puts on Skullcap

When Pawel looks into the mirror, he can still sometimes see a neo-Nazi skinhead staring back, the man he was before he covered his shaved head with a skullcap, traded his fascist ideology for the Torah and renounced violence and hatred in favor of God.

“I still struggle every day to discard my past ideas,” said Pawel, a 33-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jew and former truck driver, noting with little irony that he had to stop hating Jews in order to become one. “When I look at an old picture of myself as a skinhead, I feel ashamed. Every day I try and do teshuvah,” he said, using the Hebrew word for repentance. “Every minute of every day. There is a lot to make up for.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:39 AM | Permalink

Be Happier

5 Things that will make you happier as reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

1. Be grateful - Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness - over weeks and even months - after implementing the habit. What's even more surprising: Sending the letter is not necessary. Even when people wrote letters but never delivered them to the addressee, they still reported feeling better afterwards.

2. Be optimistic - Another practice that seems to help is optimistic thinking. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future - for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling - and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.

3. Count your blessings - People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week
show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.

4. Use your strengths - Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.

5. Commit acts of kindness - It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

What really happened with the Tuskegee experiment

What I never knew about Tuskegee

From 1932-1972, 400 poor black men were not injected with syphilis, were not treated as medical lab rats by white doctors, were not deprived of treatment, were not tortured and subjected to inhumane circumstances, and were not used in a sinister plot by the U.S. government to spread syphilis among the black population (or “controlled”-genocide) in the Tuskegee “experiments.”

But 399 black males were: chosen because they had already entered into the latency stage of syphilis; carefully monitored and compensated with free medical care, meals, and burial insurance; specifically chosen because they were black – the study has its roots in a progressive organization trying to help the disproportionate amount of infected blacks.

And in spite what current wisdom and most-prominently publicized archival footage would lead you to believe, black health care professionals were involved at all stages of the study, the study was endorsed by the prominent black organization, the Tuskegee Institute, and as late as 1969 a team consisting mostly of black doctors participated in the Tuskegee “experiments.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 AM | Permalink

He broke into Auschwitz

The British POW who broke into Auschwitz and survived, Dennis Avey.

In 1939 he volunteered for the Army — because he was too impatient to wait a week for the RAF. “I ended up in the 7th Armoured Division, the original Desert Rats,” he says. “We operated behind enemy lines in Egypt. In 1942 we were ambushed. I was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans.”

Avey was a troublesome prisoner. In the summer of 1943 he was deported to Auschwitz, in Poland, and interned in a small PoW camp on the periphery of the IG Farben factory. The main Jewish camps were several miles to the west. “I’d lost my liberty, but none of my spirit,” he says. “I was still determined to give as good as I got.”

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“Despite the danger, I knew I had to bear witness,” Avey says. “As Albert Einstein said: the world can be an evil place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. I’ve never been one to do nothing.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:21 AM | Permalink

"The decision to include scare stories rather than hard scientific evidence was deliberate"

Christopher Booker in the London Telegraph has the best summary of the fundamental errors in the IPCC's 2007 report.

A perfect storm is brewing for the IPCC

The chief defence offered by the warmists to all those revelations centred on the IPCC's last 2007 report is that they were only a few marginal mistakes scattered through a vast, 3,000-page document. OK, they say, it might have been wrong to predict that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035; that global warming was about to destroy 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest and cut African crop yields by 50 per cent; that sea levels were rising dangerously; that hurricanes, droughts and other "extreme weather events" were getting worse. These were a handful of isolated errors in a massive report; behind them the mighty edifice of global warming orthodoxy remains unscathed. The "science is settled", the "consensus" is intact.
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Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent.

All these alarms were given special prominence in the IPCC's 2007 report and each of them has now been shown to be based, not on hard evidence, but on scare stories, derived not from proper scientists but from environmental activists. Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rainforest is not from climate change but logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea levels is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heatwaves.

Furthermore
, it has also emerged in almost every case that the decision to include these scare stories rather than hard scientific evidence was deliberate

These scare stories have so frightened people we read this news: Baby girl survives after being shot in the chest in parents' 'global warming suicide pact'.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:15 AM | Permalink