Wednesday, October 6, 2010
"Because of 3 little words: Head Injury"--NotBobMcNair
"Because we still have too many jobs in this country"--Snagwells
(and...my personal favorite)
"Because I want to flaunt my vajazzled nether region at the office, then sue you for looking."--JennQPublic
Since 99.9 per cent of all the energy on the planet is sun light, does this strike anyone as way off?
New research will renew debate over the science behind climate change.
More Weight Equals Longer Hospital Stays
Sociologists Weigh In On Obesity Increasing The Length Of Hospital Stays
January 1, 2009 — Sociologists found a direct relationship between obesity and duration and frequency of hospital stays. Researchers found that, on average, obese persons stayed one and a half days longer than those with normal weight. Sociologists attribute the connection to disease--46 percent of obese adults have high blood pressure. Obesity is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other illnesses. The researchers also note that the longer a person has been obese, the more likely their hospital stay is lengthened.
"Obese people, on average, stay at least one to one and a half days longer than a normal-weight individual," said Ken Ferraro, Ph.D., a sociologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
October 6, 2010: One of the many tragedies of the war in Iraq was the expulsion of the native Christian population. Before 2003, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Now there are fewer than 800,000. Many were expelled by Islamic fanatics because they were not Moslem, but there was also Iraqi Moslem hatred of Christians because they were supporters of Saddam. Religious and ethnic minorities are often recruited by tyrants, or foreign invaders, to prop up a dictatorship or colonial rule. When the British took over Iraq, from the Moslem Turks, in the 1920s, they trusted the local Christians (and other religious minorities) more than the majority Moslems, for security chores, and government jobs in general. The Turks did the same thing, but to a lesser extent, because the local Christians were also Arabs, and all Arabs resented centuries of rule by the alien Turks.
Alas, throughout the Moslem world, there is an ancient antipathy against non-Moslems, or Moslems who are different than you. The infidels (non-Moslems) are seen as potentially disloyal, and what happened in Iraq over the last century just confirms that attitude. Currently you find Moslems attacking Buddhists in Thailand, Jews everywhere, Baha'is in Iran and Christians in Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia and elsewhere. This is not a sudden and unexpected outburst of Moslem violence against non-Moslems. It is normal, and at the root of Islamic terrorism. Moreover, the majority of Moslems has not been willing, or able, to confront and suppress the Islamic radicals that not only spread death and destruction, but also besmirch all Moslems.
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The Military's Deepening Geographic Divide
Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave an elegant, sweeping speech at Duke University where he commented on the growing divide between America's armed forces and its civilian population.
The social divisions of class and inequality have always run through the military. Fighting forces have long been drawn disproportionately from lower-income, lower-skilled, and more economically disadvantaged populations. But what is new, according to my colleague Patrick Adler at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), is the degree to which those class divisions are underpinned by geography.
The commenters raise a number of intriguing issues. The data for the map are based on where the service member is based. A number of commenters have requested a map that controls for population size. Here it is (below) via our ever-efficient Martin Prosperity Institute team of Patrick Adler on data and uber-cartographer Zara Matheson.
Our original map took up Defense Secretary Gates' comment that the military is increasingly concentrated geographically and thus less and less in contact with and in touch with America generally. When we look at the overall share of the military by states, we see a pattern that follows population size only to a point. Yes, two big states - California and Texas - have large military shares. But this is less the case in Illinois and New York and much less the case in Michigan and Pennsylvania. And several much smaller states - like New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mississippi have higher shares of the total military than these last two big places.
One moment it's a phone in your hand. The next, it's a full-fledged turn-by-turn nav unit with an active internet connection. What happened? These apps, is what.
GOLD MEDAL: MotionX Drive
The first wave of iPhone turn-by-turn apps was expensive and luxurious. The second was cheap and barebones. Since, members of both classes have scrambled for the perfect balance: Relatively cheap and pleasant, or at least painless, to use. MotionX Drive is a good turn-by-turn app at almost any price, but at $26 ($1 + $25 yearly subscription) it's basically a steal. Occasional road-trippers can purchase a month of service for just $3, as many or few times as they please. $1, iPhone and iPad (for $3)
SILVER MEDAL: Navigon
Initially regarded as a premium nav app, Navigon started out competing against the likes of TomTom. Now, with new region-specific pricing, it's in the trenches with the MotionX Drives and CoPilots of the world. And it fares well! Unlike many others, its maps are stored locally, so navigation still works in no-signal zones. (This also makes the app huge.) From $20 (Eastern states) to $50 (entire US), iPhone
America has a 51st state and it is called Anxiety. This state is evident when you read these findings from an August NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:
- 66% of adults do not feel confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it has been for them.
- 65% think America is in a state of decline.
OK, so you get the picture that America’s forecast is cloudy with a chance of collapse.
Here are five societal trends that will further exacerbate the pessimism of two-thirds of American adults who believe our nation’s future is bleak:
- National poverty is higher now than in all 51 years of record keeping.
- There is an increasing number of high school drop-outs.
- The American workforce is steadily becoming less educated.
- Four of out of every ten births in America are to unmarried women.
- Only 53% of Americans pay federal income taxes.
Obama's euthanizing of 4th Amendment
Before his forced resignation, President Richard Nixon declared, "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal." Our current chief executive, however, speaking this year at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, said of our terrorist enemies: "They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and distrust."
By contrast, on Sept. 27, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage, the press' Paul Revere guardian of those cherished liberties, broke a story in the New York Times that next year President Obama will send Congress "sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is 'going dark' as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone."
And this is how our individual privacy, already on life support, is going to be further violated, not only on the Internet, as former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald reports (Salon.com, Sept. 27), relying on Savage's disclosure:
Commander Obama "would require all communications, including ones over the Internet, to be built so as to enable the U.S. government to intercept and monitor them at any time when the law permits."
Would this still be America?
There's more to Obama's euthanizing of the Fourth Amendment in Charlie Savage's reporting: "Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services (ALL services) that enable communications – including encrypted e-mail transmitters like Blackberry, social-networking sites like Facebook, and software that allows direct 'peer-to-peer' messaging like Skype – to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap. The mandate would include (the government) being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages."
Boston Globe: The Test Has Been Canceled: Final Exams Are Quietly Vanishing From College:
Across the country, there is growing evidence that final exams — once considered so important that universities named a week after them — are being abandoned or diminished, replaced by take-home tests, papers, projects, or group presentations. Anecdotally, longtime professors say they have been noticing the trend for years. And now, thanks to a recent discussion at Harvard University, there are statistics that make clear just how much the landscape has changed. ...
In the spring term at Harvard last year, only 259 of the 1,137 undergraduate courses had a scheduled final exam, the lowest number since 2002, according to Jay M. Harris, the dean of undergraduate education
“Some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers see it as a real possibility.”
Having one to two drinks a week during pregnancy may not actually harm a developing fetus, new research suggests.
Researchers following children up to the age of 5 did not see any increased risk of behavioral or cognitive problems in those whose mothers classified themselves as "light drinkers" compared to mothers who were teetotalers during their pregnancy.
However, although the findings may be "reassuring for those who have taken a few drinks during early pregnancy, I would not use this as a green light to drink during pregnancy," cautioned Dr. Richard Jones, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of obstetrics at Scott & White in Temple. "We know that heavy drinking causes problems in pregnancy."
As John mentions below, we attended Michael Barone's fall briefing presentation for the Center of the American Experiment at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis last night. As you might expect, Barone was brilliant, breaking down the current political scene with insight and eloquence.
Barone began with a self-deprecating autobiographical account of his long-standing interest in demographics and psephology. He dated it to his parents' acquisition of the 1950 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia when he was six or seven.
What was so important about the World Book? It included 1950 Census information that allowed him to draw comparisons with the 1940 Census data. When his mom would tell him to go out and play, he recalled, he would go to the basement and tabulate the Census data.
He continued the self-deprecation with a discussion of the professions he has pursued since graduation from Yale Law School. He traced the arc of his career (supposedly) downward from work as an attorney to a political consultant to a journalist. By his account, this arc marked a decline in income and intellectual integrity at each step. The next step down would be academia.
Barone placed the upcoming elections in historical context, touching on many of the themes he has explored in his books and columns. Although current trends favor Republicans in the congressional and gubernatorial races, he reiterated his view that we are living in a period of open field politics. Reviewing the most recent Gallup Poll survey of likely voter turnout, a subject he covered in this column on Monday.
Reviewing the Gallup results, he said that he thought that the upcoming elections might well resemble those of '94 -- not 1994, but rather 1894. As he writes in the column, the Gallup turnout numbers suggest a potential outcome like 1894, when Republicans gained more than 100 seats in a House of approximately 350 seats. It is the kind of joke you can crack when you have an encyclopedic command of American political history. He emphasized that in an era of open field politics, however, whatever gains the Republicans make in November are subject to the same kind of vagaries Democrats are currently experiencing.
Barone also made the point that whatever success the Republicans experience in November will not flow from any rekindled love on the part of the electorate with the party. It will express the revulsion of the electorate with the Democrats' misreading of the mandate they received in the elections of 2006 and 2008. He expressed some relief that our current hard times had not caused the American people to embrace big government liberalism. At this point, he argued, Obamacare is the most unpopular major legislation passed by Congress since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; he explored parallels between the passage of Obamacare and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in this column. Barone pointed out that the Kansas-Nebraska Act killed one party (the Whigs) and split the other (the Democrats).
Barone took issue in passing with the liberal historiography of the Schlesinger variety touting the popularity of the New Deal. He attributed the reelection of Roosevelt in the 1940 contest against Wendell Willkie to the desire for an experienced leader at a time when world war had broken out. This is a theme he also pursues in chapter 16 of Our Country:The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan.
Here Barone identified the Tea Party movement as the most positive and unexpected development of the past 20 months. Harking back to our foundation in limited government, Barone noted that our political debate has been transformed into an argument between the heirs of two fundamental schools of political thought, the Founders and the Progressives. The Founders stood for the expansion of liberty and the Progressives for the expansion of government. It is a point he explored in this column.
Barone also observed that the Obama administration's ventures in "gangster government" were not going down smoothly. He cited the recurrence of gangster government via Secretary Sebelius last month, an episode he explored in this column.
In the question-and-answer period, Barone discussed the feeling among us that America is a blessed country. We are struck by the outcropping of great statesmen among the founding generation. In recent years Americans have been devouring books on our founders -- John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton, among others. Ron Chernow's new biography of George Washington is only the most recent example. Washington meant to help establish the United States as a continental republic setting an example for all mankind, Barone added, and this is what he did.
Our history shows men of greatness turning up at moments of national crisis. Lincoln saw us through the Civil War to victory just before he was assassinated. Roosevelt provided the leadership necessary to victory in World War II and then died. (I would add to this account of American good fortune that Roosevelt replaced Henry Wallace with Harry Truman before he did so.) It is not strange to see the hand of providence in these events. Barone wondered if the disquiet among the electorate might represent the feeling that we lack a leader in office who is equal to the challenge of the present moment.
Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and the revealing sentencing memorandum that the prosecutors filed in support of their request for a sentence of life imprisonment. Yesterday, federal judge Miriam Cedarbaum imposed that sentence. Shahzad instructed his lawyers to remain silent, and used the occasion to engage in a colloquy with Judge Cedarbaum. Shahzad announced himself a Muslim soldier and said that he is proud of his terrorist activities:
"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun," 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad told a federal judge. ... "We are only Muslims trying to defend our religion, people, homes and land, but if you call us terrorists, then we are proud terrorists and we will keep on terrorizing you until you leave our lands and people at peace."
The judge cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.
"I did swear, but I did not mean it," Shahzad said.
I believe the Koran approves of such oath-taking with one's fingers crossed.
A Media Research Center "Tell the Truth!" truck ad in downtown New York City
Four billboard trucks bearing the message “Stop the Liberal Bias, Tell the Truth!” began circling the Manhattan headquarters of ABC, CBS, NBC, and the New York Times on Friday. The trucks will do so for eight hours every weekday for the next four weeks as part of a campaign run by the Media Research Center, a watchdog group that analyzes the media for liberal bias.