March 31, 2011

Eat the Rich

Bill Whittle brilliantly explains Iowahawk's Feed Your Family on $10 Billion a Day

So let's all sit down together as an American family with a calendar and make a yearly budget. First, let's lock in the $3.7 trillion of critical family spending priorities; now let's get to work on collecting the pay-as-we-go $10 billion daily cash flow we need.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:23 PM | Permalink

Jesus in Beijing

Christianity the reason for West's success, say the Chinese

In the West we are doing our best to destroy our Christian heritage but in China, Chinese intellectuals are coming around to the view that it is precisely this heritage that has made the West so successful.

Former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson, in a review in the Sunday Times of Niall Ferguson's new book, ‘Civilisation: The West and the Rest’, carries a quote from a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in which he tries to account for the success of the West, to date.

He said: “One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world.

“We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had.

“Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system.

“But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful.

“The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

The source?

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  an instrument of the Chinese Communist government which spends a not inconsiderable amount of time and money persecuting Christians and is officially atheistic.

I wrote about this in 2006 in Christians in China and drew quotes from an interview of David Aikma, the author of Jesus in Beijing.

I would like readers of Jesus in Beijing to grasp how Christianity, though assumed by many in the West to be outmoded and irrelevant to modern life, is regarded by many Chinese as the absolute key to a successful, peaceful, powerful modern China in the future.
Many concluded that it was Christian ethics and the dynamism of a faith based on a profound hope in the future and a belief that history was not cyclical, as Buddhism and even Confucianism proclaimed, but linear, and with a specific end goal.

Finally, Christians in the fine and performing arts have shown that there is a way out from the often-nihilistic cycle of modernism and postmodernism. This can be very attractive to artists who would prefer a hope-filled universe in which to develop their creative skills.
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.

In fact, there are now More Christians than Communists in China.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:40 PM | Permalink

March 29, 2011

"They have bet that such a society cannot survive"

Mark Steyn is back talking about push-up bras for eight-year-olds and why, as time goes by, there are no more  popular love songs among other things in Pushing Deviancy Up.

Islam will readily acknowledge our technological superiority: If you want to operate a no-fly zone over Benghazi or send an unmanned drone into Waziristan, we have the capability and they don't. The difference is that Islam thinks our technological superiority doesn't matter - because we're unmanned drones in a more basic sense: we believe in nothing except the most transitory and dreary self-gratification, an endless adolescence that begins with a push-up bra at eight and continues through free government condoms for 30-year olds. Not only do the surging Muslim populations in European cities have no wish to "assimilate" with such a culture, they do not believe they will have to - for they have bet that such a society cannot survive.

Are they right? A hyper-sexualized society becomes, paradoxically, sexless, and certainly joyless. Listening in recent weeks to young women in both New York and London complain that the men they meet would rather look at pictures of them naked on the Internet than actually see them naked in the same room reminded me of The Children Of Men, in which P D James' characters, liberated from human fertility, find sex too much trouble. Eight-year olds with fake breasts are almost too obvious a satirist's fancy for a last desperate transgression of the terminally jaded.

I ask myself all the time How did we get here?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:29 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

US #1 in combined energy resources, more than Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Canada

Well look at this new report from the Congressional Research Services.

America's combined energy resources are the largest on the planet.

They eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th) and Canada (6th) combined – and that’s without including America’s shale oil deposits and, in the future, the potentially astronomic impact of methane hydrates.

The energy facts in the CRS report should be making front page news all over America. Mostly it isn’t.


Will someone please tell the President.  What better way to create jobs, provide energy, boost the economy and increase revenues to the government is there? 

US: Most energy resources in the world and most incoherent energy policy

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:10 PM | Permalink

64 Million Vacancies

An astonishing example of how centrally planned economies can not respond well to the simple economic principles of supply and demand because of political demands.    The government wants economic growth and jobs and so they build even when no one can afford to live in what's been built.  The result 64 million vacancies that the average Chinese working couple can not afford. 

Business Insider has reported There Are Now Enough Vacant Properties In China To House Over Half Of America

Now it brings us this stunning documentary from Australia.

What will happen to the nation's largest creditor when this bubble bursts? 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:52 PM | Permalink

“It’s very painful to write these things down....”

One dogged mother seeking justice for her son who was brutally beaten with a fracture at the base of his skull is exposing the lackadaisical police investigation who didn't bother to examine witnesses or analyze key physical evidence, to conclude the boy, a known addict, died of an overdose.

She wants the couple who provided the methadone to her son tried for murder. 

In Tennessee in 2007, there were 750 accidental deaths due to drug overdoses.  Why not get the pushersoff the street?

A Mommy Blogger Seeks Justice for Her Son

If there’s anyone whose bad side you don’t want to be on, it’s a grieving mother devastated by the death of her son, furious that justice isn’t being served, and in possession of an extremely popular blog.

Katie Granju is that woman. The Knoxville, Tennesee-based author of the mommy blog Mamapundit, as well as the bestselling book Attachment Parenting, she was also, for years, secretly the mother of a drug-abusing teenager. Her son Henry had spent several years in and out of rehab, struggling with an addiction that, on April 27, landed him in the ICU, and a little more than a month later, ended his short life at the tender age of 18.

“Before I saw it happen to my own son, I thought an overdose death meant you drifted off to sleep,” Granju told The Daily Beast. “It was the most horrible, painful death that went on and on and on. He spent [a month] in the hospital slowly coming to the realization that his brain damage was killing him.”

Granju mourned publicly on her blog as her hundreds of thousands of readers hung on her every word. Now, nearly a year later, her grief has turned to anger as those who were allegedly party to her son’s death are still walking free. Tennessee law and federal statute deem deaths resulting from the distribution of illegal drugs as homicide. Granju wants the dealers her son was involved with prosecuted under those laws—and she’s rallying her enormous audience of moms behind her cause.

“They think she’s a real pain in the ass,” says Betty Bean, a reporter who’s been covering the Knoxville political and criminal investigation scene for more than two decades. “The DA and Sheriff's Office like their victims to be grateful and she’s not.”

Katie says

“I know what their best efforts look like. “That discrepancy is what makes it all the more painful to me. My son’s death is not worth it to them. That hurts.”

The family has since lawyered up and plans to file a wrongful death suit against the couple that allegedly provided the drugs to Henry. They’re also looking into filing suit against Knox County authorities for violating Henry's civil rights by failing to conduct a thorough and competent criminal investigation.

“It’s very painful to write these things down,” Granju says. “I’m not a detective. I’m not an advocate. I’m just a heartbroken parent. As a taxpayer and mother, I should be protected from having to talk about this. There was no other option left to us.”

Follow her progress at Justice for Henry.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:24 PM | Permalink

March 28, 2011

One anxious nation

Why are Americans so much more anxious than Nigerians?

our modern habit of struggling to control the uncontrollable is one of the major reasons why anxiety rates have shot up. When I asked psychologists about America's escalating fretfulness for my new book, "Nerve," several pointed to a culture of "feel-goodism," in which we've come to expect that we should be able to annihilate all painful feelings with a pill or a guru-approved trick.

This attitude puts us at loggerheads with the reality of the human condition: Sometimes things are just tough, and that's okay. Indeed, the fact that people in developing countries with rougher day-to-day living conditions like Nigeria are more accustomed to unpredictability and lack of control goes a long way toward explaining why they're up to five times less likely to experience clinically significant levels of anxiety than Americans are. Put another way, our culture of safety and convenience here in the United States ironically leads to more anxiety, not less.

One nation under stress

In fact, by some measures the U.S., which happens to be the most prosperous nation on the planet, is also its most nervous. A full 18% of us meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, a rate that is unmatched elsewhere. Our usage of anti-anxiety drugs is skyrocketing, while stress-related ailments cost us $300 billon per year in medical bills and lost productivity. In other words, America is fast becoming a culture of anxiety.

Author Taylor Clark says "the continuous drip of alarmist news"  and the decline of community also contribute to the nation's jitters. 

close in-person contact helps greatly to ease human anxiety and stress. Yet as we have migrated away from family and toward cloistered suburbs, spending more time with our gadgets and HDTVs than we do with other people,"  -
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:01 PM | Permalink

Photosynthesis to power your home with artificial leaves

The 'Holy Grail' of science: The artificial leaf researchers claim will turn every home into its own power station

Scientists claim to have found the 'Holy Grail' of science in an artificial leaf that could turn ever British home into its own power station.

The leaf, which is the same size as a playing card, mimics the process of photosynthesis that plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

Dr Daniel Nocera, who led the research team, said: 'A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades.

'We believe we have done it.
Nocera, who is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that the 'artificial leaf' is not a new concept.

The first artificial leaf was developed more than a decade ago by John Turner of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

Although highly efficient at carrying out photosynthesis, Turner's device was impractical for wider use, as it was composed of rare, expensive metals and was highly unstable — with a lifespan of barely one day.Nocera's new leaf overcomes these problems.

It is made of inexpensive materials that are widely available, works under simple conditions and is highly stable. In laboratory studies, he showed that an artificial leaf prototype could operate continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity.

The key to this breakthrough is Nocera's recent discovery of several powerful new, inexpensive catalysts, made of nickel and cobalt, that are capable of efficiently splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, under simple conditions.

"Our goal is to make each home its own power station"  said Dr. Daniel Nocera
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:35 PM | Permalink

""Your mind and soul are in cyberspace"

When Twittering Gets in the Way of Real Life

"Your mind and soul are in cyberspace, and all we're left with is the husk."

And that goes for teenagers too who send and receive an average of 3276 texts a month, well over a 100 a day!

Seems they accomplish that by staying up late into the night, phones in their hands (more than 4 out of 5 sleep with their phone in the bed or nearby)  in effect, 'on call' to their friends, leaving them Connected, Exhausted.

Dedham ninth-grader Courtney Johnson gets as many as 100 texts while in bed. “I just don’t feel like myself if I don’t have my phone near me or I’m not on it,’’ she said.

Sure, all that middle-of-the-night communication leaves them tired, but as Olafsson explained, “It’s impolite not to respond if someone is coming to you with their problems.’’

Michael Rich, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center on Media and Child Health, is starting to see young patients who come in exhausted by being “on call’’ or semi-alert all night as they wait for their phones to vibrate or ring with a text.
“When I’m texting someone I don’t feel alone,’’ said A.J. Shaughnessy, a ninth-grader at Boston College High School. “When you don’t have your phone, you feel incomplete.’’

We are just beginning to understand how profoundly technology has changed our lives and our experience of being  human.  I think these kids are crazy but then I'm not in high school and concerned about what my friends think of me.

Sometimes teens answer late-night calls and messages less out of excitement than fear. In focus groups convened by the Pew Research Center, some teens related stories of friends or acquaintances who became angry or insulted when text messages or phone calls weren’t immediately returned. “As a result, many teens we heard from said they feel obligated to return texts and calls as quickly as possible, to avoid such tensions and misunderstandings,’’

I also confess to feeling incomplete when I can't connect to the Internet for more than a day. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:19 PM | Permalink

March 27, 2011

He got married on his 100th birthday to a younger woman, 93

To have and too old: Dance partners with combined age of 193 become world's oldest ever newlyweds

         193Combinedage Wedding

A dancing couple with a combined age of 193 have tied the knot - and become the world's oldest ever newlyweds.  Forrest Lunsway, 100, married Rose Pollard, 93, after he finally popped the question following a 28-year courtship.  The loved-up couple, who are both keen ballroom dancers, met on the dance floor of a community centre in 1983.

Rose said she initially told him she'd never marry him but she finally succumbed when he popped the question last year.  She said: ‘I told him up front I had no intention of getting married. But then one day he asked me “how come we never got married?” and I said “because you never asked me”.

‘'So he got down on one knee and said “Well I’m asking you now, just set the date.” I told him “I’ll marry you on your 100th birthday”. And I did.’
The wedding was a total surprise for all the guests - who thought they had been invited to Forrest's birthday party.

Pastor Sam Lewis, who officiated the ceremony, said: ‘I’ve done a lot of crazy weddings, but this is awesome. The theme of the wedding was “you’re not done living until you’re dead.”’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:18 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2011

Roundup Japan - “I could cry. We’re truly grateful, America!”

Japan crisis: 'There’s no food, tell people there is no food’ Japan’s survivors scavenge for food in aftermath of tsunami

I have a place in a rescue centre in the Aka’i Elementary School, but the food they are giving us is not enough,” Mr Takahashi says. “My parents are in their 70s and we receive a tiny bowl of plain rice twice a day, with nothing else, just a pinch of salt. We are hungry, so have come to look for food.”

Mr Takahashi is not alone. Over his shoulder, a small legion of “tramps”, their feet wrapped in plastic bags, can be seen trawling the muddy aisles of a smashed-up supermarket, hoping to find other edible treasures that might supplement rescue centre rations.

A nation bears the unbearable, Aftershocks in The New Yorker.

On a hilltop overlooking the ruined city of Rikuzentakata, Jimbo met a semi-retired man in his sixties, who had heard the tsunami siren and packed his mother and dog into his truck and driven two miles inland, the waves churning in his rearview mirror. “He lost his house, and it’s not covered by insurance,” Jimbo said. “His family, fortunately, survived. I said, ‘What will you do next?’ He said he would like to think there will be some assistance from the local government. But all he could think was: The city-assembly office is gone. The mayor could be dead. The only thing he can turn to is the government. But his local government is gone.”

For all the tragedies––immediate and myriad on the day of the quake—and the looming sense of nuclear dread that persisted, it was remarkable to observe firsthand, and through the Japanese media, the almost complete sense of national coöperation and purpose: little observable looting or undue panic, and almost no acts of political exploitatio

Have you heard about Operation Tomodachi?

It's been a few weeks since Japan was devastated by a 9 point earthquake and huge tidal wave, and the recovery process has been difficult. Radiation fears still plague the country, and the count of the dead still is not complete. Through it all, the US military has been working hard to help the stricken country, particularly its eastern coast.

The USS Ronald Reagan has been a major player in this effort, showcasing again the value and versatility of aircraft carriers around the world. Packed with tons of supplies, aircraft carriers can help an area like nothing else can, essentially floating a fully functional city to the location to lend aid.

Notoriously anti-American and often foul and obscene internet site 2Chan in Japan was moved, here are some comments:

“As expected of our friends!”

“They seriously look too cool! USA!! USA!! USA!! USA!!”

“I could cry. We’re truly grateful, America!”

“Sorry we were so hard-hearted. It seems America was our only friend after all.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:39 AM | Permalink

23 Sexes - A conspiracy of plumbers

Delusional is all I can say about The Australian Human Rights Commission that has found 23 sexes or genders that must be protected.

In the beginning there was male and female. Soon there was homosexuality. Later there were lesbians, and much later gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers....In an extraordinary document entitled Protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity, the AHRC has come up with a further list of “genders” which they require us to recognize, and on whose behalf they want our federal government to pass anti-discrimination legislation. To date (by the time you read this, the AHRC's family of sexualities may have increased and multiplied) these are: transgender, trans, transsexual, intersex, androgynous, agender, cross dresser, drag king, drag queen, genderfluid, genderqueer, intergender, neutrois, pansexual, pan-gendered, third gender, third sex, sistergirl and brotherboy.

I can only conclude that this is a conspiracy of plumbers who must be salivating at the prospects of adding on and retrofitting all the public restrooms in Australia.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:13 AM | Permalink

Week-end round-up: Logos, the lobster underground and auroras

When you have time, a few articles too good to pass up.

The Secret Messages in 12 Logos

You'll never looks at Fed Ex and Tostidos in the same away again.

A House Discovered From the Time of Christ provides scientific evidence that Nazareth was a thriving community when Christ was alive and not a made-up Christian invention.

The Great Conversation Betrayed by Higher Ed

We felt and spoke as if we had rediscovered some long-forgotten treasure abandoned by the generation before

10 years in the making. Cross-stitch of the Sistine Chapel    Design time: 718  hours. Time to choose colors (all 1206 of them): 68 hours.  Time to stitch: 2872 hours.

Fran Lebowitz is Always Right

What is it that allows her to be a person rather than a persona in public? Perhaps being devoid of the desperate desire to be liked. Not caring what we think, she is able to be so truthful—which is a grand way of saying that she speaks what is obvious. She says things that are obvious but true, but that no one says, or not enough, or that no one hears. Things like: the emperor has no clothes…the media is the only institution left…the standards have gotten dangerously low…Americans are getting dumber…art today sucks.

I missed Martin Scorsese's  Public Speaking when it premiered on HBO last November, described as

a beautifully shot and edited monologue. This is Scorsese's deft, elegant portrait of Lebowitz in her own words. It's her version of who she is.

How One Man Wages War Against Gravity.  He was a rich, powerful American businessman, founder of Babson College, a financial forecaster who predicted the 1929 stock market crash and the depression that followed, an author of 47 books,  a life-long friend of Thomas Edison and a crackpot who believed that gravity was public enemy number one. 

Babson liked setting words into stone. During the depression, he created a public works project in the spirit of the New Deal, in which he hired stone cutters to engrave inspiring messages into boulders in a park in Gloucester, Mass. Stones advocating traits such as "KINDNESS" and instructing viewers to "HELP MOTHER" can still be seen there today.


I used to live in Gloucester and never saw these probably because I never hiked through Dogtown but I will this summer just to see for myself the Babson Boulders.

The Lobster Underground.  First in NYC, now in DC, Captain Claw, the "lobstah pushah "

devised a system that would be the envy of even the most enterprising drug dealers on The Wire. Claw’s customers first had to friend him on Facebook. Then, if they checked out, Claw would provide the potential customer with a phone number, exchange texts when the roll was ready, and hand off the goods in a plain brown bag.
He perfected his act with an Ali G-style costume that mixed lobster- and Boston-sports-themed attire and a thick, gold-spray-painted chain holding up a large lobster claw (also spray-painted gold).


“You do the cash/crustacean handoff in literally three seconds, and then you’re on your way,” says John Hendrickson, a longtime Greenpoint resident and frequent Dr. Claw customer. “And the rolls were sublime—hot grilled bun, at least half a pound of warm fresh lobster, copious melted butter, and nothing else.”

I love auroras and Terje Sorgjerd captures their beauty in this  time-lapse video

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:54 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2011

USA 28th in a list of 34

US Finance Rank Near Worst in the World

Australia is Number 1 and We're 28th in a list of 34 developed countries in measurements of financial stability.

While the news is bad, there is a bright side.

"Here's the good news: Some of the top countries had their own fiscal challenges, made reforms and now rank highly," Walker said. "If we adopt the recommendations of the National Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission or ones that have similar bottom-line impact, we move from 28 to 8."

Victor Davis Hanson writes  Decline is in the Mind

Any of us in 2-3 minutes can see how it could all be reversed -- a full-fledged effort to develop all our energy resources, from nuclear to natural gas, radical cuts in public spending, closed borders, fiscal sanity and pay as you go legislation, a return to merit instead of situational pleading. Given our wealth and talent in four years we could balance the budget, slash energy imports and make schools work far better with fewer dollars.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:17 PM | Permalink

The continuing persecution of Christians - ho-hum

The ongoing, sometimes deadly, persecution of Christians continues unabated and few appear bothered, even when it is happening in the United States.    Freedom of religion is now being interpreted as freedom from religion.    Yet our founding fathers knew quite well that freedom to practice religion or not to practice religion at all was the essential foundation for civil society.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other," John Adams


Out of every ten people, seven can not live their faith in freedom. The most persecuted religion is Christianity with at least 200 million people suffering from discrimination.  

The persecution is particularly acute in some countries with a Muslim majority.

Archbishop Warda: Iraq’s Christian History “Wiped From Collective Memory”

Archbishop Bashar Warda of northern Iraq did not mince words about the plight of Christians and other non-Muslims  in his country. Christians in Iraq face “near genocide” due only to their non-Muslim status as the Iraqi government muddies the waters of jurisprudence.
Since 2003, roughly a million Iraqi Christians have either fled their native homeland or been massacred. The damage wrought by Islamists has also taken its toll on Christian buildings dedicated to serving and uplifting the downtrodden....

The first Iraqi church was bombed in June, 2004 in Mosul. Following that event, successive campaigns have occurred and a total of 66 churches have been attacked or bombed; 41 in Baghdad, 19 in Mosul, 5 in Kirkuk and 1 in Ramadi. In addition, 2 convents, 1 monastery and a church orphanage was bombed.

Via my friend Gil Bailie in Islam is as Islam Does  is this  bloodstained image of Christ in the Church of Saints in Alexandria, Egypt, where a bomb went off at a  New Year's Eve service, killing 21 and wounding 70.

 Bloodstained Christ

He also points to George Marlin who examines The Forgotten: Christians Persecuted in the Middle East  in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, all countries with a Muslim majority where religious liberty does not have the value it does in Western countries.

A more subtle persecution of Christians is increasing here in the United States  as we can see when the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies 18- pro-family groups as "hate" groups  We're seeing an unfolding process of attempting to redefine Christian teaching on sex and marriage as racism

I used to have a residual respect for the ACLU, though I never knew the its founder Roger Baldwin was a Communist, "Communism is the goal."  But no more after reading ACLU vs. Religious Liberty

An ACLU-crafted Consent Decree has been used as a weapon to threaten school district employees with fines and jail time for merely praying over a meal, and for exercising -- even while away from school -- their sincerely held Christian faith. You read that right. The ACLU is literally seeking to criminalize Christianity.

In August of 2009, Liberty Counsel successfully defended staff member Michelle Winkler from contempt charges brought by the ACLU after her husband, who is not even employed by the district, offered a meal prayer at a privately sponsored event in a neighboring county.
During witness testimony, Mrs. Winkler sobbed as she described how she and a coworker, who had recently lost a child, literally had to hide in a closet to pray.

Fortunately, Federal District Court Judge Casey Rogers granted in part a preliminary injunction

Judge Rodgers concluded that even though "a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy," one aspect of the Consent Decree -- its attempt to prohibit school employees from fully participating in private religious events -- is so flawed that it must be immediately halted.

The Court thus enjoined the School Board "from enforcing any school policy that restrains in any way an employee's participation in, or speech or conduct during, a private religious service, including baccalaureate" pending a trial on the merits. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:40 PM | Permalink

March 23, 2011

Death Threats UPDATED

When partisan politics dominates your life so that you consider a fellow American an enemy who you want dead, you've gone too far.  “Hatred,” says psychologist Robert Enright, “has a long shelf life. Once it enters into the human heart, it’s hard to get it out. It breeds destruction, discouragement, and hopelessness.”

Deroy Murdock on the Death Threats by the Dozens in Wisconsin

We will hunt you down. We will slit your throats. We will drink your blood. I will have your decapitated head on a pike in the Madison town square. This is your last warning.” -- and your republican dictators have to die. This is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records. We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head. However, this isn’t enough. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the message. So we have built several bombs that we have placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.

From an email sent to all Republican senators in Wisconsin

John Note compiles 20 Days of Left-Wing Thuggery in Wisconsin: When Will Obama, Democrats and MSM Call for Civility?

Slipped under the door of GOP state senator Glenn Grothman

One lonely Democrat, Lee Stranahan cries Shame: Ignoring Death Threats to Wisconsin Politicians Is Media Bias

Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it's stunning to find out that the right wing media really isn't exaggerating -- proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media. If you've never agreed with a single thing that Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly et al have said about anything, you can't in any good conscience say that they don't have a point here. Death threats are wrong and if a story like Wisconsin is national news for days, then so are death threats.
Burying the death threat story is a clear example of intellectual dishonesty and journalistic bias.

One unhinged "union volunteer"  Jim Shankman posted his manifesto threatening University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse and her husband Laurence Meade who videotaped and posted photos and protestors in Madison.

We will hang up wanted posters of you everywhere you like to go. We will picket on public property as close to your house as we can every day. We will harrass the ever loving sh--out of you all the time. . . . Because we aren't anti-social, life-denying, world-sterilizing pieces of human garbage like the two of you. WE WILL F--- YOU UP.

James Taranto calls it  "threatening, eliminationist and unhinged"  and calls out the New York Times in "Civility' Was Always Dead

As for all the death threats posted on Twitter's wall, Jim Treacher says

Sending somebody a death threat is dumb to begin with, but doing so via a Twitter account with your name and location on it? That takes a special brand of stupid.

UPDATED: Katherine Windels, 26, was charged with making the email death threats referenced above.
Windels was charged with two felony counts "bomb scare" and two misdemeanor counts of "computer message-threatening injury/bodily harm." If convicted, each felony count carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and each misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:15 PM | Permalink

A Real Hero in Japan

A remarkable man is Hideaki Akaiwa and his rescue of his wife and mother will go down in the annals of history as an example of remarkable courage and determination.

For one quake survivor,  self help in the face of seeming helplessness

Hideaki Akaiwa, in Miyagi prefecture, has decided not to wait for rescue workers. With a scuba suit on, he waded through flooded streets to rescue his wife, and later his mother. He continues to look for more survivors.

Most of the dozens of tsunami-battered towns along Japan's northeastern coast remain mired in mud, but the situation in Ishinomaki is a bit different. Nearly a week after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit the city of 162,000, large portions remain underwater, an instant lake clearly visible on NASA satellite photographs.

Amid the aqueous landscape looms Hideaki Akaiwa, 43, in full battle gear.

-Hideaki Akaiwa

The best account that I've read is at Badass of the Week (warning strong language)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:50 PM | Permalink

"Biology, like it or not, isn't fair"

"Men May Be Jerks...But Women Are Insane"

In "Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys," Kay Hymowitz explores the rise of the "child-man," a slovenly creature who spends his twenties (and, in some cases, his thirties and forties) in the grip of a prolonged adolescence. Hymowitz coins this new life phase "preadulthood," and while it applies to both sexes, "it doesn't tend to bring out the best in men." 
"Manning Up" is a fun, thoughtful read, and an interesting one-Hymowitz weaves a history of gender roles, the post-industrial economy, and evolving pop culture into her often witty take on the battle of the sexes. The book concludes with a few broad assertions. First,
biology, like it or not, isn't fair. Second, if you expect nothing of men, they'll likely deliver nothing, particularly in the realm of parenthood. Third, both men and women need to rethink our aggressively individualist culture in order to have meaningful lives together.

All true. But what, one is forced to ask, do we do about it? Hymowitz hints at it in her book, perhaps too polite to blaringly point it out. But a close read of "Manning Up" delivers two sizable implications, lurking under the surface like toothy barracudas: First, that women share a large amount of culpability in this whole mess. Second, the child-man, like it or not, is in part a product of women's behavior.
To cure the child-man, women will have to change.

"Men may be jerks," my husband likes to occasionally declare, "but women are insane."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:47 PM | Permalink

Overthrowing the government

I must be naive because it's hard for me to imagine American citizens planning to crash the stock market and overthrow the government.  I would think that winning a presidential election and both House and Senate in 2008 would be enough for anyone, but apparently not. 

This goes way beyond partisan politics and must be condemned.  We're in enough trouble already without people flirting with economic terrorism that could very well lead to civil war.

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, And Redistribute Wealth In America

A former official of one of the country's most-powerful unions, SEIU, has a secret plan to "destabilize" the country.

The plan is designed to destroy JP Morgan, nuke the stock market, and weaken Wall Street's grip on power, thus creating the conditions necessary for a redistribution of wealth and a change in government.

The former SEIU official, Stephen Lerner, spoke in a closed session at a Pace University forum last weekend.

It seems he's visited the White House four times over the past two years.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:23 PM | Permalink

March 20, 2011

Week-end catch-up round-up

The Thirty Three Things that Joe Carter posts every Friday is one of the delights of my weekend.  For example, this week I learned that Red is irresistible to heterosexual females of all species.    I also learned that President Jackson had a pet parrot named Pol who was present at Jackson's own funeral that is until he had to be ejected from the ceremony when he started swearing and yelling blasphemies in both English and Spanish, all of them learned from the president!

In that spirit, I'm going to start a catch up round-up for all those articles open in tabs that never quite make it to posts.

Do you know the distinction between extension and comprehension?

If I were to say that all men throw a baseball faster than all women, I would be talking about the extension of the terms “men” and “women.” That is, I would be talking about each and every man and woman. In that case, my claim that “all men throw a baseball faster than all women” is clearly false, since there are individual women who throw a baseball faster than individual men. On the other hand, when I say that “men pitch baseballs faster than women because they have more upper body muscle strength” I am referring to what is comprehensively true of men and women. And in that case, it is uncontrovertibly true that men in general pitch baseballs faster than women in general.

If you don't it's probably because political correctness made you dumb.

How Steve Jobs took over the music business  or 10 Years of the iPod

How Washington Ruined Your Washing Machine

In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."

How's that for progress?

Strangely unsettling Perfect symmetry: How would you look if both sides of your face were identical?

What mainstream scholars, offering the fruit of several decades of very careful, very serious scholarship,  teach about  The Real History of the Crusades

The Crusades....were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Telephoning is so over. Don't Call Me, I Won't Call You.

Is Society Purposely Messing with Boys' Heads?, writes The Anchoress because she was so moved by Anthony Esolen who asked  "Why, I wonder, do these boys get no love?" 

Barry Michaels, Therapist for Blocked Screenwriters is profiled in The New Yorker and offers very good advice that I need to finish my book,

The writer said that it always seemed to him that if writing was too hard it wasn’t right. “Rocky,” after all, was written in just a few days. Michels tried his theory again. “There’s this cycle of death and rebirth even in the space of a single lifetime, and, if you can endorse the death, say, ‘Bring it on, I have to break down before I break through, I have to die before I’m reborn,’ then the process in a weird way actually gets simpler, because you’re not fighting.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:49 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2011

Death Threats

When partisan politics dominates your life so that you consider a fellow American an enemy who you want dead, you've gone too far.  “Hatred,” says psychologist Robert Enright, “has a long shelf life. Once it enters into the human heart, it’s hard to get it out. It breeds destruction, discouragement, and hopelessness.”

Deroy Murdock on the Death Threats by the Dozens in Wisconsin

We will hunt you down. We will slit your throats. We will drink your blood. I will have your decapitated head on a pike in the Madison town square. This is your last warning.” -

-- and your republican dictators have to die. This is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records. We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head. However, this isn’t enough. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the message. So we have built several bombs that we have placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.

From an email sent to all Republican senators in Wisconsin

John Note compiles 20 Days of Left-Wing Thuggery in Wisconsin: When Will Obama, Democrats and MSM Call for Civility?

 Deaththreat Wisconsin  Republican
Slipped under the door of GOP state senator Glenn Grothman

One lonely Democrat, Lee Stranahan cries Shame: Ignoring Death Threats to Wisconsin Politicians Is Media Bias

Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it's stunning to find out that the right wing media really isn't exaggerating -- proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media. If you've never agreed with a single thing that Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly et al have said about anything, you can't in any good conscience say that they don't have a point here. Death threats are wrong and if a story like Wisconsin is national news for days, then so are death threats.
Burying the death threat story is a clear example of intellectual dishonesty and journalistic bias.

One unhinged "union volunteer"  Jim Shankman posted his manifesto threatening University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse and her husband Laurence Meade who videotaped and posted photos and protestors in Madison. 

We will hang up wanted posters of you everywhere you like to go. We will picket on public property as close to your house as we can every day. We will harrass the ever loving sh--out of you all the time. . . . Because we aren't anti-social, life-denying, world-sterilizing pieces of human garbage like the two of you. WE WILL F--- YOU UP.

James Taranto calls it  "threatening, eliminationist and unhinged"  and calls out the New York Times in "Civility' Was Always Dead

As for all the death threats posted on Twitter's wall, Jim Treacher says

Sending somebody a death threat is dumb to begin with, but doing so via a Twitter account with your name and location on it? That takes a special brand of stupid.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:31 PM | Permalink

Spraying buzzing flies with hairspray

Some gleanings from The bizarre yet brilliant domestic tips handed down by Britain's mums.

To fasten a bracelet unaided, tape one end to your wrist, leaving the other hand free to do the rest.

Pep up lifeless silk by putting a couple of lumps of sugar in the rinsing water after washing.

A drop of gin makes a good diamond cleaner.

To cut a delicate sponge cake, use dental floss.

If a buzzing fly or wasp is driving you mad, spray the area with hairspray (this locks insects’ wings).

Putting a couple of elastic bands around each shoulder of a coat hanger will stop items slipping off.

Rubber gloves remove pet hair on furniture — rub in one direction and you’ll end up with a ball of hair, that is then easily removed.

Salt is an excellent tooth-whitener (that’s why we all look so well after a summer swimming in the sea).

Use baby wipes on keyboards — they are cheaper than special wipes and just as effective at killing germs.

Matted suede can be restored with a gentle rub from an emery board.

Butter is great for cleaning dolls’ faces smeared with ink.

To cure hiccups, eat a bit of dry bread and chew slowly. Alternatively, gently inhale a little pepper — when you sneeze the hiccups should go.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:46 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2011

The most dangerous fallout at Chernobyl was fear

Just how bad was Chernobyl anyway?  Real Clear Science puts Chernobyl in Perspective.

In 2006, 20 years after the accident, a group of eight UN agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization, assessed the damage in a study incorporating the work of hundreds of scientists and health experts from around the world.

It turns out that two decades after the fact, the death toll had not reached the tens of thousands that were predicted.  In fact,
fewer than 50 deaths could be directly attributable to radiation from the disaster, almost all of them among rescue workers who had been exposed to massive amounts of radiation on the disaster site at the time of the fire and its immediate aftermath.  In addition, nine children in the area died of thyroid cancer that is thought to have been caused by radioactive contamination, but even among the nearby population, there was neither evidence of decreased fertility nor of congenital malformations that could be attributed to radiation exposure.

It is worth putting even the UN’s low casualty figures in perspective. As the report notes, over 1,000 onsite reactor staff and emergency workers received heavy exposure to high levels of radiation on the first day of the accident, and some 200,000 workers were exposed in recovery operations from 1986-1987.  But only 50 had died of cancer 20 years later.

Exposed children are more at risk from thyroid cancer, but the recovery rate – even in the Soviet Ukraine – was 99 percent. The health experts could find no evidence of increased rates of leukemia or other cancers among the affected residents.

The largest public health problem created by the accident the UN study concludes  was the crippling “mental health impact” caused by widespread misinformation

In other words, the most dangerous fallout from the accident was fear.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:39 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day to all the Irish and those who wish they were.   

So raise a glass of Guinness and make an Irish toast :

Here's to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking.
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman's heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me. 



Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:21 PM | Permalink

Subsidiarity : more survivable, more adaptable and more sustainable in times of disconnection

You never know what you had until you've lost it all. 

We're closer to the knife's edge than we realize because of The Fragility of Complex Societies.

There is no more ordered, successful and humane urban society than found in Japan. Like most Americans, these last few days I have been moved as never before by the courage and calm of the Japanese people amid such horrific conditions, as one of the most sophisticated and complex urbanized cultures on the planet in a split second is nearly paralyzed.
While a disaster comparable to Tokyo is certainly possible here in California, Americans are by nature less prone to rely on centrally provided resources, and are still uneasy with high urban densities.
We forget that the suburbanite — ranch house, three cars in the garage, and distance from the urban center — is not just an energy waster in comparison with his Euro apartment-dwelling, single Smart-car-driving, train-commuting counterpart, but a far more independent-minded, free, and self-reliant citizen as well. Again, I hope our technological future is not in grand mass transit projects thought up and operated by a huge federal government, but in cleaner, more fuel-efficient, private cars; not in massive power plants, but smaller, more dispersed local generators, be they powered by nuclear, solar, wind, or fossil fuels; and not in vast agricultural hydraulic regimes, but in family-operated, more intensively worked farms that are the anchors of rural communities — as idealistic and naive as that may sound.

           Japanese Aroundcampfire

Desperate families left to forage for scraps in the snow in world's third richest country

Homeless, desperate people clambered over snow-covered debris where their villages had once stood, gathering armloads of firewood as Japan's humanitarian crisis escalated yesterday.

In scenes more befitting a poverty-stricken Third World country than the world's third-richest nation, hungry people wrapped themselves in odd scraps of clothing in a futile attempt to keep out the cold in temperatures only just above freezing.

They foraged for food, crying out with delight when they found an undamaged can of food here, a still-edible packet of noodles there.

They carried their pickings back to refugee centres, set up in buildings which survived the dual assault of earthquake and tsunami on the north east coast of Honshu island, where women had joined together to add the findings to pots of boiled rice.

Richard Fernandez What could go wrong?

But catastrophe has a way of killing ants in ant-heaps more easily than when they are spread out over the ground. Then all the supposed disadvantages of unsophisticated America vis a vis “planned systems” become reversed for two reasons.  The first is that subsidiarity — the ability to addresses some needs at an individual or local level — is more survivable than centralized systems. Dispersed housing,  individual transportation, armed citizens and a tradition of community stop becoming “urban sprawl”, “wasteful driving”, “gun-toting” and “bigotry” and become objects of envy to helpless people cowering in their high rise, foodless apartments. Subsidiary forms of social organization are sustainable at greater levels of national disconnection. They can work, if need be, by themselves.  It is an argument which Leo Linbeck III has been making about governance and health-care, but that is another story.

The second reason is that subsidiary systems are more adaptable.  Complex societies are often locked into their adaptation. They can function only when enabled by a larger system. An Ipod is just a paperweight without a network and a power source.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:50 AM | Permalink

Two babies, two cultures

Dr. Sanity on Two Babies

Two babies; two precious miracles of life, separated by nation, culture, language and fate.

One survived the horrors and impassive devastation of Nature unscathed, and was reunited with family as an entire country celebrated life. The other did not survive the malignant evil of men, who were impassioned by hate and spurred by a dysfunctional religion; as an entire country celebrated death.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:27 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2011

"The modern day soup line is a check in the mail."

I just got back from the supermarket where everything seemed more expensive so I am not at all surprised the cost of producing finished foods jumped 3.9% last month!, highest jump in 36 years.

But that pales compared to this: Mandatory spending to exceed all federal revenues - 50 years ahead of schedule!

The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.
Through the years, mandatory spending has steadily increased (with some fluctuation from year to year) in relation to revenues.  Here is mandatory spending as a percentage of total federal receipts, by year, according to published White House figures:

1970:  roughly 33 percent
2000:  47 percent
2005:  61 percent
2010:  90 percent
2011: 101 percent.

Dick Morris takes a different perspective.  He says the core spending on the bureaucracy itself is driving the deficit

this deficit has been caused by a rapid run-up in discretionary, non-defense spending and in welfare entitlements like Medicaid and food stamps. The key to cutting spending and slashing the deficit is not to focus on Social Security or Medicare, but on the real culprits – discretionary spending and welfare entitlements.
In the past two years, we have added 80,000 federal workers, 11 million food stamp recipients and $50 billion in Medicaid costs under Obama.

His chart


Category       2008     2010       % Increase

Welfare       $260     $400         54%

Domestic       $485     $682         41%

Medicare       $456     $528         16%

      $612     $700         14%

Defense       $612     $690         11%

Source: US Government

As Mort Zuckerman says Our anemic recovery continues because American consumers are planning for the worst rather than hoping for the best, and they continue to pay down household debt instead of spending cash.

Who could blame people for holding back when we see roughly 50 million Americans on one or more taxpayer-supported programs, be it food stamps or unemployment benefits? This downturn may not have the 1930s feel of despair, but in large part that is because, as the economist David Rosenberg of the wealth-management firm Gluskin Sheff put it, "The modern day soup line is a check in the mail."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:20 PM | Permalink

This explains a lot

Reynolds' Law

“The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people.

But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class.
Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

–Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit

HT Jim Bass.  Philo of Alexandria discusses Reynolds' Law

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:59 PM | Permalink

Shocking revocation of parental rights

I find it hard to believe that this could happen in the United States, but then again I always underestimate the officiousness of state power. 

Baby girl kept away from mother for five years after she refused to sign C-section consent form

A baby girl has been kept away from her mother for almost five years after she refused to sign a form consenting to a Caesarean section - even though she did not end up needing to have the operation.

The extraordinary case began after staff at a New Jersey hospital claimed that refusal to give permission for the procedure amounted to child abuse.

The agonising decision triggered a protracted legal battle which has led to the mother being separated from her child for five years.

The woman, known only as VM, launched an appeal after authorities took her baby away from her immediately after the birth in 2006 at St Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey.

The first appeal failed but she was given a ray of hope when a higher court ruled in her favour.  The case is now waiting to go back to the lower court which is yet to make a decision.

The hospital said that her refusal to give permission for the C-section amounted to child abuse and thus reported her to welfare authorities.

This was despite VM saying that she would agree to the operation if it became necessary and going on to deliver a healthy baby.

The courts agreed with welfare agencies in New Jersey that the baby, born on April 16 2006, should be kept in care and revoked parental rights.

Maybe there's more to the case than is reported here, but what is reported is shocking.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:49 PM | Permalink

Tears and prayers for the Japanese

-Japanese Woman Tears
A woman reacts to the news of the death of a loved one as thousands flee in an Exodus from a nuclear nightmare.

‘I can’t believe them now. Not at all  We can see the damage to our houses, but radiation? We have no idea what is happening. I am so scared.’

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:48 AM | Permalink

March 15, 2011

Solidarity within Japan and with the Japanese

At first I didn't write about Japan because the enormity of the earthquake and tsunami was so stunning, then,  I  couldn't write as I was lost in imagining the terror being experienced by so many people and the horror of so many lives lost, whole towns disappeared.    What could I do but pray for the suffering Japanese?

Yet, who could fail to notice how well-prepared for earthquakes the nation was with stringent building codes that no doubt saved many thousands of lives.    You can see the character of people in a disaster.  And what I have seen in Japan as only increased my admiration for the Japanese people. The world is beginning to notice that there is no looting in Japan

And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting,

Japan's Saving Grace Its People

But it's that very element of this disaster that shows that the most important aspect of the Japanese isn't their brilliance or their wealth, but their character. 

They showed dignity and courage against nature's hardest blow, pulling together as a nation. The unaffected reached out to help, and victims refrained from mayhem and looting.

Little things tell stories: Store owners gave away bottled water and citizens lined up patiently and peacefully instead of fighting for advantage. Citizens shared their gasoline rations with the needy.
Japan may be dealing with an unimaginable disaster, but its people aren't acting as if they have lost hope.

That is one thing nature cannot mock. Japan's response can only be praised for that.

I will not write about the impending nuclear disaster because it's clear I don't know anything, neither does much of the media.  I don't want to engage in disaster porn, nor do I want to engage in fear-filled, apocalyptic imaginings.

I am confident the Japanese will rebuild bigger and better.

Throughout the history of Japan, its wooden cities have been destroyed again and again by war, fire and earthquake. In the civil war of the 1860s, culminating in the Meiji Restoration, the north of the country, which has suffered the brunt of the earthquake, was virtually flattened. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 reduced Tokyo to a sea of ash and rubble, and in the Second World War, American firebombing flattened the entire country, sparing only the cultural capital of Kyoto. Then came the Kobe earthquake of 1995.
Each time, the Japanese have rebuilt, bigger and better. One hopes and expects that they will do the same again.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:41 PM | Permalink

March 14, 2011

The bravest sermon I have ever read in my entire life

In Von Galen Contra Gestapo,  Donald McClarey tells us about Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, a remarkable German bishop who stood up to the Third Reich with the sermons he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the world.

At this point, when his Nazi foes were their strongest, on July 13, 1941, Bishop von Galen threw down his episcopal gauntlet to the Gestapo, the secret police of the Nazis, who brutally terrorized Germany and occupied Europe:

What follows is an excerpt from the bravest sermon I have ever read in my entire life.

None of us is safe — and may he know that he is the most loyal and conscientious of citizens and may he be conscious of his complete innocence — he cannot be sure that he will not some day be deported from his home, deprived of his freedom and locked up in the cellars and concentration camps of the Gestapo. I am aware of the fact: This can happen also to me, today or some other day. And because then I shall not be able to speak in public any longer, I will speak publicly today, publicly I will warn against the continuance in a course which I am firmly convinced will bring down God’s judgment on men and must lead to disaster and ruin for our people and our country.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2011

Is Facebook undermining marriage?

Facebook a top cause of relationship trouble say US lawyers

Even though the rate of divorce in the US has remained largely stable in recent years, American divorce lawyers and academics have joined Middle East analysts in picking out Facebook as a leading cause of relationship trouble, with American lawyers now demanding to see their clients' Facebook pages as a matter of course before the start of proceedings.

"We're coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook," said Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago.
A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that f
our out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the market leader.

Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the "primary source" of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.

Those statistics included not just evidence of infidelity but other legal battles, such as child custody cases in which parents deny using illicit drugs but boast of smoking marijuana on their Facebook pages.

Photographs harvested from social networking sites – including those posted by friends or colleagues on their own pages – are a particularly rich source of damning evidence, according to divorce lawyers.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:58 PM | Permalink

March 9, 2011

Best investment they ever made

This is the first case I know of where an umbilical cord was preserved for its stem cells and, in fact, saved a young girl's life.

Cord blood stem cells used to help cure girl of brain cancer in Spain

A four-year-old girl has become the first patient in Spain to recover from brain cancer after being treated with stem cells from her own umbilical cord blood.

Alba was born healthy in 2007, but at age two she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Her treatment consisted of extracting the majority of the tumor from her brain. She was then given chemotherapy to reduce and eventually eliminate the remainder of the tumor.

Alba's blood system was destroyed during the final round of chemo, thus requiring a transplant of cord blood stem cells.

The procedure was carried out in 2009 by Dr. Luis Madero of the Department of Oncology and Hematology at the Nino Jesus Hospital in Madrid.

Today, four year-old Alba is a healthy girl.
Alba’s father, Santiago, who is a computer engineer, and her mother, Teresa, a literature professor, agreed that keeping the blood from Alba’s umbilical cord was the “best investment” they ever made.

Santiago said he had previously seen a report “on the treatment for Parkinson’s using stem cells … and was sympathetic to the idea of using stem cells to treat degenerative diseases.”

“Keeping the umbilical cord is a wager for the future, a life insurance policy that you don’t know if you will need but that could save a life,” Teresa added.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:48 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

The Longevity Project

How to Keep Going and Going

What can 1,500 Americans born a century ago, most of them long dead, tell us about the secret to a long life? Plenty, according to Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, two psychologists who, in "The Longevity Project," mine an eight-decade research effort for answers to the kinds of questions that sent Ponce de León searching for the Fountain of Youth.

There are no magic potions on offer here, but many of the findings are provocative.
The best childhood predictor of longevity, it turns out, is a quality best defined as conscientiousness: "the often complex pattern of persistence, prudence, hard work, close involvement with friends and communities" that produces a well-organized person who is "somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree."
The authors suggest that persistence and the ability to navigate life's challenges were better predictors of longevity.
Parental divorce during childhood emerged as the single strongest predictor of early death in adulthood.
The respondents to the study who fared best in the longevity sweepstakes tended to have a fairly high level of physical activity, a habit of giving back to the community, a thriving and long-running career, and a healthy marriage and family life. They summoned resilience against reverses and challenges— including divorce, loss of a spouse, career upsets and war trauma. By contrast, those with the darkest dispositions—catastrophizers, who viewed every stumble as a calamity—were most likely to die sooner.

The Longevity Project by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin

       The Longevity Project

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:27 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2011

Full flourishing

David Brooks on The New Humanism or how to enlarge the too simplistic current definition of human capital as IQ and professional skills 

Yet while we are trapped within this amputated view of human nature, a richer and deeper view is coming back into view.

This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.

to include to include qualities you may not have heard of, but can recognize immediately as important for the full
flourishing of human life.

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Study of a lifetime

Well worth reading. Epidemiology: Study of a lifetime

In 1946, scientists started tracking thousands of British children born during one cold March week. On their 65th birthday, the study members find themselves more scientifically valuable than ever before.
All told, the results from the 1946 birth cohort — now known as the National Survey of Health and Development and run by the Medical Research Council (MRC) — have filled 8 books and some 600 papers so far. Perhaps more than anything else, the survey has shown that early life matters — a lot. "Ultimately, where you get to in early adulthood is strongly influenced by where you come from," says Michael Wadsworth, who led the study for nearly 30 years,
the study is lending a touch of immortality to all its participants, whether men and women, born into comfort or poverty. Traces of them will live on in preserved DNA, cell lines frozen in liquid nitrogen — and in their records, now all transferred from punch cards to computers. "You're very aware that your memory is going," says Ward. "But you also know that in the archive is a version of you."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:24 AM | Permalink

March 5, 2011

Round-up of love and its counterfeits.

Too often love is thought of as warm feelings.  Yet, true love is willing the good of the other and doing something about it.  All of these articles from last week spoke to me of love or the lack of it.

More Civilians Killed Last Year in One Mexican Border Town Than All Afghanistan

There were 3,111 civilians murdered in the city of Juarez in 2010 and 2,421 in the entire country of Afghanistan.

On a per capita basis, a civilian was 30 times more likely to be murdered last year in Juarez, ... than in Afghanistan.

Yet, our border agents forced to face down bullets with bean bags.

Border agent  Brian Terry, armed with beanbags,  is killed with guns smuggled into Mexico by our Agency for Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)

Guidelines drawn up by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) for doctors, nurses and counsellors involved in terminations, state that "women should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term."   

Except for the baby.

Startling Infographic, Exploring America's Addiction to Porn  Is there a surer way to destroy the capacity to love?

"Discovering online sexual material was the worst thing that had ever happened in their life"

The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don't Talk So Much
Five somewhat regressive, not very romantic, yet extremely effective lessons from economics for a happy marriage with long-term prospects:

When You Feel Loved, You Love Stuff Less
A new psychology study  by UNH psychology professor Edward Lemay and colleagues at Yale ratifies common sense.

Looking at a Loved One's Photo Takes Away Pain as Well as Drugs
A study by Stanford University found direct evidence linking feelings of emotional attachment with the soothing of pain. Image of a partner dulls pain 'as much as cocaine'

Maybe you hate your political opponents more than you should for your own good    The Hate that Feels like Love

A teacher was giving me the business yesterday, and the teacher told me she hates me because it makes her feel good”
“Hatred,” says psychologist Robert Enright, “has a long shelf life. Once it enters into the human heart, it’s hard to get it out. It breeds destruction, discouragement, and hopelessness.”
Anyone who has ever been targeted by a pack of bullies understands. Venting hatred, especially under the righteous cover of a “cause,” gives one a sense of belonging and purpose and—quite unlike love—it does so in an expeditious and rather painless way. Mob-supported hatred removes openness from the social equation, and that in turn takes away vulnerability, leaving one with a powerful sense of communal well-being that can serve as a reasonable facsimile of being loved by others.

What love looks like In a backwater town of only 800 residents Twenty five people take it in turns to perform CPR for 1.5 hours to keep man who collapsed after heart attack alive.  Rescuers gave him no chance of survival but Howard Snitzer, 54, has made an almost complete recovery. He said

I love them. I love those people. What can I say? It's pretty overwhelming to be in a room full of people that are not going to walk away and give up on you.

' And I had nothing to do with it. It's just one of those things. They're all angels as far as I'm concerned.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:59 PM | Permalink

Gender Apartheid

On Friday, the United Nations rewarded Iran with membership on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women which is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women.

The United States joined others in approving the new member.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:05 AM | Permalink

Common sense energy policy

For the life of me, I can't understand why we are not Drilling Here, Drilling Now: It's Just Common Sense

One of the problems we face right now is the uncertainty in Libya, an OPEC nation that has cut its normal daily output of 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) to just over 700,000, amid the political tensions surrounding Muammar Gaddafi. What this means for humanity as a whole is that there is now less oil on the world’s market to meet the demand around the globe. What this means for you and I as Americans is that our refusal to “drill here, drill now” is catching up to us with a vengeance.

The noose we allowed foreign oil producers to place around our necks is tightening.

And the worst part of all this is neither the per gallon gasoline price nor the per barrel price of oil, but rather the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way.
We could be pumping enough oil here at home to offset the ramifications of the upheaval in Libya, but our president, various members of his administration, and the majority of Democrats in the Senate remain unwilling to budge on the idea. Therefore, we’ve literally turned our backs on billions upon billions of barrels of oil that we could be extracting and using right here at home.

We could be creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, reviving the economy, reducing the trade deficit, increasing our standard of living, reducing our energy costs and taking the lead in oil shale recovery.

The US could become the single largest exporter of oil and oil related products in the world, thus potentially eliminating its trade deficit, and increasing the national standard of living as well as making a massive dent in the national debt. 

argues Steve McCann in The Only Way Out for the American Economy

All that is necessary is a political decision to reverse our energy policy and stimulate domestic production of hydrocarbons. From that would flow a true economic stimulus that would mend many of our ills.
It is beyond absurd that a country sitting on so much natural wealth refuses to exploit it for the benefit of its citizens and instead deliberately puts the nation in the position of being subjected to the whims of others and face national insolvency.  It almost appears to be deliberate.

Time to Get Serious About American Oil

Alaska and the Gulf states have been blocked from developing America's oil by politically driven federal policy, much of it aided by misinformation. If Americans wonder what our economic Achilles' heel is, they need look no further than the federal regulatory system that delays permits for domestic exploration and production.

In Alaska, an oil company can buy federal leases, spend over $3 billion in permitting and capital costs, apply for an air permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and then wait for five years and still have no permit. In one case, the EPA's refusal to grant a permit for Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Beaufort Sea delayed the creation of 54,700 jobs annually and $145 billion in payroll.
As we watch fuel prices rise, inflation take hold, and government debt reach record levels, Alaskans and those in other oil-producing states are frustrated. We wonder why the Obama administration is openly hostile to a sector of our economy that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, kept the country on an even keel even during the recession, and produces a global commodity we depend on every day.

All the more so when alternative energy - wind and solar power - have proved to be a disaster in Germany, Denmark, Spain and the U.K.

The real disruptive technology in the world is shale gas

New techniques of unlocking gas from rock thousands of feet beneath the earth's surface have potentially opened up huge amounts of cheap energy; the International Energy Authority recently ripped up its previous estimates of global gas reserves to predict that there was sufficient gas from shale reserves to meet the next 250 years of demand.

It's a game-changer, for sure.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:02 AM | Permalink

"Enron would blush"

That's Bill Gates speaking out on Government Budget Gimmicks  and he's absolutely right.

“It’s riddled with gimmicks,” Mr. Gates said of the “tricks” states use to balance their budgets. Citing moves such as selling state assets and deferring payments, he said some methods are “so blatant and extreme,” that “Enron would blush,” referring to the energy company that collapsed a decade ago amid an accounting scandal.

Gates thinks that governments ”need more scrutiny and should follow more-transparent accounting principles, such as those used by Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.” In other words, governments, like every corporation in the country, should be required to keep their books according to the governmental equivalent of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and to have their books certified by an independent, politically insulated body that has a mandate to ensure honest accounting.

Imagine calling for honest accounting by government!

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:50 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2011

Kaleidoscope in the sky

 Startrail Mteverest Jankovy

This stunning photograph of a swirling star trail above Mt. Everest to months of waiting and persistence to make.

For the Kaleidoscope in the sky,  congratulations to 23-year-old Anton Jankovoy

'Then four years ago, after saving for a year-and-a-half, I made my first trip to the Himalayas.

'I visited Mount Everest and it was like a revelation to me, a different world, a different way of life, almost a different universe to what I had known in the Ukraine.

'It had a profound effect on me and seriously changed my life. I fell in love with Nepal, the people and the amazing scenery.

'When I came home I realised I couldn't go back to my old way of life and so for the last three years I've lived in Nepal for six months of the year.

'It has taken a lot of dedication and patience but the result has been worth it.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:07 AM | Permalink

Flying and not getting sick

After reading this

In 2007, Charles P. Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, swabbed airplane bathrooms and tray tables on eight flights to see what bugs might be lurking onboard. Four out of six tray tables tested positive for the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and norovirus, the highly contagious group of viruses that can cause a miserable one- or two-day bout of vomiting, diarrhea and cramping, was found on one tray. Most of the bathrooms he swabbed had E. coli bacteria. Thirty percent of sinks, flush handles and faucet handles had E. coli, as did 20 percent of toilet seats, according to his research.

I'm going to take more seriously the Practical Traveler's advice How Not to Get Sick From a Flight

Wash your hands before touching your face and before eating and drinking.  Looks like I'll be carrying one of those hand sanitizers.


And I'm going to start using those disinfectant  wipes offered at the grocery store before using a grocery cart .

Gerba says 72% of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.

Researchers say they actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles than you would typically find in a bathroom, mainly because bathrooms are disinfected more often than shopping carts.

Since most stores do not routinely wash and disinfect their carts, it's up to you to do it.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:27 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2011

Medicare loses nearly four times as much money as health insurers make


Medicare loses nearly four times as much money as health insurers make 

In a newly released report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that, in fiscal year 2010, $48 billion in taxpayer money was squandered on fraudulent or improper Medicare claims. Meanwhile, the nation’s ten largest health insurance companies made combined profits of $12.7 billion in 2010 (according to Fortune 500). In other words, for every $1 made by the nation’s ten largest insurers, Medicare lost nearly $4.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:24 PM | Permalink

Religious cleansing

Will this Administration ever condemn the murder of Christians in Muslim lands? 

Does no one see the danger to all of us when people are hanged or killed for their religious beliefs  and no one bothers to say anything about it.

Not even the murder of the Pakistan Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz  Bhatti, a Catholic, seems to matter.

Dying on a cross in Pakistan

So it has happened again. It may be time for more showers of rose petals among some — repeat SOME — Muslims in the troubled land of Pakistan. At this point, it would really help to watch the stunning piece of video that accompanies this post. This is the martyred Shahbaz Bhatti, speaking for himself and for religious minorities in his homeland.

His blasphemy?  He defended Asia Bibi
The Pakistani minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti was killed this morning by an armed commando. The attack was carried out in the I-8 / 3 neighbourhood by a group of masked men who ambushed the minister on the street. They pulled him out of his car and opened fire at point blank range before fleeing in a car.
The killers left a note at the scene of the crime: "Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claims responsibility for the assassination of Bhatti for speaking out against the blasphemy law".
He boldly defended Asia Bibi, a Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy on the basis of false accusations. He belonged to the PPP, the progressive party in government. After the killing of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, who Islamic fundamentalists blamed for having defended Asia Bibi, Bhatti had become the radicals “top target”.

And this is what is going on in Egypt.  The continual assault against the Coptic Christians, the indigenous people of Egypt,  is looking a lot like ethnic cleansing.

"Utterly Inhuman": Muslim Governor in Egypt Orders Demolition of Christian Homes and Center for Handicapped Children.

In the London Telegraph, Damian Thompson asks When will Britain wake up to Islam's persecution of Christians?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:37 AM | Permalink

March 2, 2011

Reliable medical information

The Top Five Medical Information Websites

When looking for reliable medical information, don't fall for sponsored links. 


Marvin M. Lipman, the chief medical advisor of Consumers Union,  listed the following five health-related websites as providing the most "up-to-date, reliable and understandable information."

1. for information about cancer

2. for information about infectious diseases, travel medicine and epidemiology

3. for information about drugs

4. for information about diseases

5. for information about medicine and nutritional supplements

HT Book of Joe from whom I stole the graphic

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:11 PM | Permalink

‘Mm! That’s for me!’ ”

Great quotes in this piece as the elderly indulge  My Unhealthy Diet? It Got Me This Far

The author's mother, 82, has cherry cobbler for breakfast and said "I’m a sneaky eater,” she told me. “Inside me is a very naughty girl. I like to eat in the privacy of my own room — sticking my spoon deep into the jar of Mrs. Richardson’s caramel sauce so it sticks straight up, maybe sprinkling a little salt on it — and not telling anyone.”

Mr. Gerberg in his late 70s said. “They had all these cockamamie things to put on the sour cream: candies, chocolate. I had heaping portions. It was thrilling. And all I could think was, where are the potatoes?”
Larry Garfield, 95, of Key Biscayne, Fla., ..Asked why he recently ate a rare calf’s liver with mashed potatoes at Joe Allen’s restaurant in Miami Beach (even though he shouldn’t have, given his diabetes), Mr. Garfield said: “You ever walked down the street and seen a pretty girl and thought, ‘Mm! That’s for me!’? Well, I looked at the menu and thought, ‘Mm! That’s for me!’ ”

Later on he said, not without satisfaction, “The main thing to understand about the people who have constantly warned me about what I eat is that I’m here and they’re not.”

Mary Pyland, 92, said "Honey, I just had fried chicken with cream gravy and biscuits and mashed potatoes for dinner last night. And I made a caramel pie that was just about the best thing you ever put your lips around.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:43 AM | Permalink

March 1, 2011

Looking for love in all the wrong places

Dr. Sanity

Part of my job is dealing with chemical addictions and the addicts who have them. One definition of chemical dependency that I particularly like and have seen validated over and over again is this: "Chemical dependency is essentially a committed pathological love relationship to a mood altering chemical substance."

I thought of that definition when I saw these photos posted by a sheriff in Portland Oregon that show more vividly than anyone can describe the destructive effects of meth. Scared straight: Drugs before and after.



You can see a whole gallery here.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:37 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Billions in Budget Bloat

Once a government program gets started, it never ends.    This report is a good guide as to where to start cutting

Billions in Bloat

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.
The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances.
A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

USA Inc.

One chart tells it all.  USA Inc. 2010 Income Statement

Income $2.2 trillion; expenses $3.5 trillion


From Mary Meeker's epic presentation Definitive Guide to the American Public Debt Crisis

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 AM | Permalink | TrackBack