July 31, 2006

Better behave, or we might talk about you.

Another example of the toothlessness of the UN:

The U.N. Security Council passed a weakened resolution Monday giving Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions. Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the text is weaker than earlier drafts, which would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. The draft now essentially requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.

So, in essence, what the UN has accomplished is this: They've told Iran "If you don't do what we ask of you, then you'll face the possibility that we'll sit down and talk some more, and perhaps we'll consider discussing options of further discussion that will come up with even stronger language telling you how disappointed we are."

Brilliant.

July 30, 2006

More leaks, more investigations, no more results?

Yesterday's WaPo reports that a federal Grand Jury is investigating more leaks from the NSA:

The 23-member grand jury is "conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving unauthorized disclosure of classified information" under the Espionage Act and other statutes, according to a document accompanying the subpoena.


It would be nice if this time they actually, you know, got some results and found the person who has leaked the information to the press.

July 23, 2006

Sounds tasty

Backpacking food ideas available here.

I haven't tried any of them, but I might in a few weeks when I go to climb the north face of Storm King Peak in the San Juans of Colorado.

A sample: Indian Lentils and Potatoes, Pasta with Chevre, and Black-eyed Goober Peas.

Alpine climbing is the art of suffering well, but if I can suffer well, and yet still dine on Coconut-Tamarind Chutney Over Rice, you can bet I'll do it.

People soon to be "failed' by Bush & Co

I'll wager that we'll hear about how President Bush "failed" these people after the next hurricane:
Despite the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana a year ago, one-third of residents in high-risk hurricane areas in eight states said they may ignore government orders to evacuate, according to a study.... The results of the poll, released Thursday, show that 33 percent of residents said if government officials ordered them to evacuate due to a major hurricane this season, they would not or are unsure if they would leave.
When I lived in Colorado, I didn't complain about snow. If you choose to live on the beach, you shouldn't complain about hurricanes.

July 14, 2006

Heh.

Sing along if you know the words....

Don Maclean is alive and well in the hearts of Mr. Right:
A short, short time ago
I can still remember
How the "Plame Game" used to make me smile
And as I read those D-Kos rants
I got a big bulge in my pants
And thought maybe we'd get "Chimpy" for awhile

But then June 12th made me shiver
Fate became an "Indian Giver"
Bad news on the Internet
Precisely what I had fret!

Oh, I remember how I cried
When I thought of Wilson's "outed" bride
Something deep within me fried
The day that Fitzmas died.
There's more... Read it all.

July 13, 2006

Thomas Sowell

... From the Baltimore Sun, gets it right (via RealClearPolitics.com)

None of the brutal beheadings of innocent hostages taken by terrorists in
Iraq -- and videotaped for distribution throughout the Middle East -- has
aroused half the outrage in the mainstream media as unsubstantiated charges made
by terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo.

Nor have most of the media become any more skeptical about charges made
by these cutthroats in Guantanamo after the claim that copies of the Koran had
been flushed down the toilet at that prison turned out to be a lie.

The idea of trying to flush any book down a toilet ought to have raised
suspicions but much of the media treats statements by terrorists and their
supporters as true and any denials of wrongdoing by American troops as false and
"a coverup."

July 12, 2006

Didn't study, did ya?

I'll admit that I was often stumped a bit during my Organic Chemistry class, but never this bad.

WARNING: Set your drink down before reading it. I will not be responsible if you spew coffee on your monitor screen.

Lessons learned...

The true art of writing lies in getting a message across using minimal words.

For example...

I am constantly trying to learn, to absorb, to make myself more knowledgeable about the world.

In that spirit, I wish to share with you three things I have recently learned from some folks on the Left.

Namely, that "Reaganomics" violates the spirit of the US Constitution, that the Bush Administration's attempts to track terrorist activities are nothing more than attempts to spy on Democrats, and that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are bigger crooks than Ken Lay because, well, they have more money.

It's all about learning.
More here.

July 11, 2006

Suddenly, it all makes sense....

Senator Hillary Clinton:


Now check this out....

Joker, from the Batman TV show:


July 10, 2006

Hey Mom?

Remember a few years back when I told you that rock climbing was statistically safer than driving a car?

Told ya so. :)

July 9, 2006

Pay up, folks....

This sounds reasonable:


DALLAS -- Parkland Memorial Hospital plans to bill Mexico and other
countries to help cover the costs of health care for indigents....

...Last year, hospital officials said, Dallas County spent $76.5 million to treat people from outside Dallas. Of that, almost $27 million was not reimbursed.

Reimbursement of costs incurred by providing federally mandated healthcare to anyone that walks in the door is a major issue for hospitals. The EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor) Act, a federal law that requires any hospital who accepts Medicare (thus, pretty much every hospital), prohibits a hospital from refusing care to anyone that presents with an emergency medical problem.

On the face of it, this does not sound unreasonable. Life takes precedence over money, every day of the week and twice on Sunday, and those of us in the medical field swear an oath to that effect: "If you're sick, we'll take care of you."

The problem? Well, simple: Ambiguity. The definition of "Emergency medical problem" can be, and has been, broadly defined. Pain, for example. While I don't wish to see anyone in pain, I also can't reconcile a chronic leg pain condition with "Emergency medical problem." Nor do I think a common cold, strep throat, or a routine obstetrical exam should be construed ot be "emergent."

However, the tight cost control measures implimented by various insurance agencies (HMOs, PPOs, and the like,) have forced doctors to tightly pack office hours with as many patients as possible. Thus, getting in to see your family physician is a chore, and it's not unheard of to read cases where the body just cured itself long before your doctor's appointment comes.

Being a nation of people accustomed to convenience, we find people heading to the ER for these non-emergent conditions. Since the ER can't refuse to see the patient (See: EMTALA,) and since many insurance companies won't pay for an ER visit for strep throat, and since most indigent or illegal citizens don't have 1) insurance, or 2) money, the hospital gets stuck with an unpaid bill.

Parkland has $27 million in unpaid bills according to this article. Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta, once recorded $52 million in unpaid bills.

For the entrepeneurs out there, how many could operate a business that was federally mandated to provide services, lose $27-52 million a year, and still stay in business?

Personally, I'd be in favor of a national clearinghouse database that tracks how much money illegal immigrants cost our country in such areas as healthcare, law enforcement, etc., and hitting up Mexico for the same amount of money in oil imports. Heck, we could even do 50 cents on the dollar and STILL come out ahead of the game.

But as a law abiding tax payer and citizen of this country, it's frustrating to spend my money to support those that don't.

July 4, 2006

Happy Birthday, America

Independence Bell - July 4, 1776

There was a tumult in the city
In the quaint old Quaker town,
And the streets were rife with people
Pacing restless up and down-
People gathering at corners,
Where they whispered each to each,
And the sweat stood on their temples
With the earnestness of speech.

As the bleak Atlantic currents
Lash the wild Newfoundland shore,
So they beat against the State House,
So they surged against the door;
And the mingling of their voices
Made the harmony profound,
Till the quiet street of Chestnut
Was all turbulent with sound.

"Will they do it?" "Dare they do it?"
"Who is speaking?" "What’s the news?"
"What of Adams?" "What of Sherman?"
"Oh, God grant they won’t refuse!"
"Make some way there!" "Let me nearer!"
"I am stifling!" "Stifle then!
When a nation’s life’s at hazard,
We’ve no time to think of men!"

So they surged against the State House,
While all solemnly inside,
Sat the Continental Congress,
Truth and reason for their guide,
O’er a simple scroll debating,
Which, though simple it might be,
Yet should shake the cliffs of England
With the thunders of the free.

Far aloft in that high steeple
Sat the bellman, old and gray,
He was weary of the tyrant
And his iron-sceptered sway;
So he sat with one hand ready
On the clapper of the bell,
When his eye could catch the signal,
The long expected news to tell.

See! See! The dense crowd quivers
Through all its lengthy line,
As the boy beside the portal
Hastens forth to give the sign!
With his little hands uplifted,
Breezes dallying with his hair,
Hark! with deep, clear intonation,
Breaks his young voice on the air.

Hushed the people’s swelling murmur,
Whilst the boy crys joyously;
"Ring!" he shouts, "Ring, Grandpa, Ring!
Oh, ring for Liberty!"
Quickly, at the given signal
The old bellman lifts his hand,
Forth he sends good news, making
Iron music through the land.

How they shouted! What rejoicing!
How the old bell shook the air,
Till the clang of freedom ruffled,
The calmly gliding Delaware!
How the bonfires and the torches
Lighted up the night’s repose,
And from the flames, like fables Phoenix,
Our glorious liberty arose!

That old State House bell is silent,
Hushed is now its clamorous tongue;
But the spirit it awakened
Still is living-ever young;
And when we greet the smiling sunlight
On the fourth of each July,
We will ne’er forget the bellman
Who, betwixt the earth and sky,
Rung out, loudly, "Independence";
Which, please God, shall never die!

Author Unknown

July 1, 2006

I think I'll buy a subscription

Strong work, Wall Street Journal, for speaking truth to power:

'Not everything is fit to print. There is to be regard for at least probable factual accuracy, for danger to innocent lives, for human decencies, and even, if cautiously, for nonpartisan considerations of the national interest."

So wrote the great legal scholar, Alexander Bickel, about the duties of the press in his 1975 collection of essays "The Morality of Consent." We like to re-read Bickel to get our Constitutional bearings, and he's been especially useful since the New York Times decided last week to expose a major weapon in the U.S. arsenal against terror financing.

What the NY Times did is treason. Plain, simple, unabashed treason. They knowingly published information that compromises the safety of Americans and provides aid and assistance to the enemy of the country.

True, the WSJ didn't do much better, but, according to this article, they were approached by the administration and asked to run the story as a correction to the factually deficient NYT piece.

I'm still not sure if that matters.... At some point, the freedoms in the Bill of Rights are not absolute, as Alexander Bickel points out. One must wonder if the NYT would have knowingly published the invasion plans of D-Day: "Anonymous sources in the Army have revealed plans for the invasion of France." Such activity would certainly have gotten thousands of people killed, and such actions would be poorly tolerated by the mainstream America. Should we find that a future terrorist attack on US citizens could have been prevented by the SWIFT program but was not because of this story, I can only wonder what the NYT will opine then: "Bush Administration failed to stop terrorist attack."

I'm beyond pissed at this point. I tried, in vain, to give the NYT the benefit of the doubt several times. I've read articles there to keep abreast of opposing viewpoints. I've maintained an open mind, and still do, but I will no longer maintain the NY Times as a newspaper, nor as an oft-visited website.

I'm done with them. They shall no longer get my business.