Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I listened today, as an expert explained the futility of this airport screening protocol. He stated that this new process would NOT have prevented the underwear bomber nor would it have identified the shoe bomber.
I have three questions:
1. Who is screening the TSA agents?
2. Why are we doing this?
3. Is this the BEST we can do to reduce the risk of another terrorist attack?
My recommendation is simple, full proof and it's based on math ...(to be continued)
Cholesterol drugs are not impressive. A healthy lifestyle is always impressive. Although exceptions, including genetic predisposition to high cholesterol exist, high cholesterol can usually be fixed 'naturally' with a low fat, low carb diet and moderate to intense exercise.
We have become a society that desires to 'fix' every ailment with a pill. We don't seek out the hard work to earn our health.
Next Big Thing? Big Cholesterol Drop With New Drug
An experimental Merck drug safely boosted good cholesterol to record highs while dropping bad cholesterol to unprecedented lows in a study that stunned researchers and renewed hopes for an entirely new way of lowering heart risks.
The Merck-sponsored study tested it in 1,623 people already taking statins because they are at higher than usual risk of a heart attack — half had already had one, and many others had conditions like diabetes. An LDL of 100 to 129 is considered good for healthy people, but patients like these should aim for under 100 or even under 70, guidelines say.
For HDL, 40 to 59 is OK, but higher is better.
After six months in the study:
- LDL scores fell from 81 to 45 in those on anacetrapib, and from 82 to 77 in those given dummy pills.
- HDL rose from 41 to a whopping 101 in the drug group, and from 40 to 46 in those on dummy pills.
Relics From King Richard II's Tomb
Relics from the tomb of the medieval English King Richard II -- including wood from his coffin and sketches of his skull -- have been found by London's National Portrait Gallery.
An archivist at London's National Portrait Gallery has found relics from the tomb of King Richard II while cataloguing the papers of a Gallery director. Among the hundreds of diaries and notebooks left behind in boxes not opened for years were contents from the medieval English king's coffin -- and sketches of his skull and bones.
Richard II ruled from 1377 to 1399 when he was succeeded by Henry IV. Many historians believed he died of starvation while in captivity in 1400. The Gallery said that King Richard II's tomb was opened in 1871 for cleaning; many individuals were present at the event (including the Gallery's director) probably because they wanted to determine whether the king was killed by the blow of an axe -- something his skull showed no evidence of.
Obamacare 'Rule,' 347 Pages, 118,072 Words
Providing a strong indication of how personal, accessible, understandable, user-friendly, customer-service-oriented, and not at all posthuman your health care would be under Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has just released a 347-page, 118,072-word "rule" to implement parts of Obamacare affecting Medicare Advantage and the Medicare prescription drug benefit program. In comparison, the entire United States Constitution, including all 27 amendments, contains 7,640 words.
This "rule" (that's what they call it) was signed by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius and by Medicare administrator Donald Berwick, who -- as the Medical News reports -- "will testify before a congressional committee [today] for the first time since President Barack Obama avoided the Senate confirmation process" in appointing him to the post.
Members of US Congress Get Richer Despite Sour Economy. Recessions, like taxes, are for the little people.
GOVERNMENT-OWNED GENERAL MOTORS gets suspiciously favorable tax ruling from IRS. Taxes are for the little people.
Consider the actions of the young Obama:
People have been noticing Obama’s vanity for a long time. In 2008, one of his Harvard Law classmates, the entertainment lawyer Jackie Fuchs, explained what Obama was like during his school days: “One of our classmates once famously noted that you could judge just how pretentious someone’s remarks in class were by how high they ranked on the ‘Obamanometer,’ a term that lasted far longer than our time at law school. Obama didn’t just share in class—he pontificated. He knew better than everyone else in the room, including the teachers. ”
The story of Obama’s writing career is an object lesson in how our president’s view of himself shapes his interactions with the world around him. In 1990, Obama was wrapping up his second year at Harvard Law when the New York Times ran a profile of him on the occasion of his becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. A book agent in New York named Jane Dystel read the story and called up the young man, asking if he’d be interested in writing a book. Like any 29-year-old, he wasn’t about to turn down money. He promptly accepted a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Poseidon imprint—reportedly in the low six-figures—to write a book about race relations.
Obama missed his deadline. No matter. His agent quickly secured him another contract, this time with Times Books. And a $40,000 advance. Not bad for an unknown author who had already blown one deal, writing about a noncommercial subject.
By this point Obama had left law school, and academia was courting him. The University of Chicago Law School approached him; although they didn’t have any specific needs, they wanted to be in the Barack Obama business. As Douglas Baird, the head of Chicago’s appointments committee, would later explain, “You look at his background—Harvard Law Review president, magna cum laude, and he’s African American. This is a no-brainer hiring decision at the entry level of any law school in the country.” Chicago invited Obama to come in and teach just about anything he wanted. But Obama wasn’t interested in a professor’s life. Instead, he told them that he was writing a book—about voting rights. The university made him a fellow, giving him an office and a paycheck to keep him going while he worked on this important project.
In case you’re keeping score at home, there was some confusion as to what book young Obama was writing. His publisher thought he was writing about race relations. His employer thought he was writing about voting rights law. But Obama seems to have never seriously considered either subject. Instead, he decided that his subject would be himself. The 32-year-old was writing a memoir.
Obama came clean to the university first. He waited until his fellowship was halfway over—perhaps he was concerned that his employers might not like the bait-and-switch. He needn’t have worried. Baird still hoped that Obama would eventually join the university’s faculty (he had already begun teaching a small classload as a “senior lecturer”). “It was a good deal for us,” Baird explained, “because he was a good teaching prospect and we wanted him around.”
And it all worked out in the end. The book Obama eventually finished was Dreams from My Father. It didn’t do well initially, but nine years later, after his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention made him a star, it sold like gangbusters. Obama got rich. And famous. The book became the springboard for his career in national politics.
Only it didn’t quite work out for everybody. Obama left the University of Chicago, never succumbing to their offers of a permanent position in their hallowed halls. Simon & Schuster, which had taken a chance on an unproven young writer, got burned for a few thousand bucks. And Jane Dystel, who’d plucked him out of the pages of the New York Times and got him the deal to write the book that sped his political rise? As soon as Obama was ready to negotiate the contract for his second book—the big-money payday—he dumped her and replaced her with super-agent Robert Barnett.
Well some people are serious. This is interesting. It would broadened the tax basis which is crucial to any serious plan.
Bipartisan Group Issues Budget Plan Calling for 6.5% National Sales TaxThe Bipartisan Policy Center, formed in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, today released a 140-page report by its Debt Reduction Task Force co-chaired by Pete Dominici and Alice Rivlin, Restoring America's Future (Executive Summary).
Here are the components of the plan to Create a Simple, Pro-Growth Tax System:
1. Cut tax rates; broaden the tax base; boost incentives to work, save, and invest; and ensure, by 2018, that nearly 90 million households (about half of potential tax filers) no longer have to file tax returns.
- Cut individual income tax rates and establish just two rates – 15% and 27% – replacing the current six rates that go up to 35%.
- Cut the top corporate tax rate to 27% from its current 35%, making the United States a more attractive place to invest.
- Eliminate most deductions and credits and simplify those that remain while making them better targeted and more effective.
- Replace the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions with 15% refundable credits that anyone who owns a home or gives to charity can claim.
- Restructure provisions that benefit low-income taxpayers and families with children by making them simpler, more progressive, and enabling most recipients to receive them without filing tax returns.
2. Establish a new 6.5% national Debt Reduction Sales Tax (DRST) that – along with the spending cuts outlined in this plan – will reduce the debt and secure America’s economic future.
Senate Democrats remain divided on how to move forward on the Bush-era tax cuts, and some are pointing the finger at the Obama administration, frustrated at what they see is a lack of guidance coming from the White House.
An employee poses with a 24.78 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond at Sotheby's in Geneva November 10, 2010. Photo: Reuters
Sotheby's says the buyer is British diamond dealer Laurence Graff.
The price easily tops that of the blue 35.56-carat Wittelsbach-Graff diamond auctioned for £15.3 million in 2008.
Study participants who took a test in Spanish showed a greater preference for other Hispanics. In English, that preference disappeared
Language May Help Create, Not Just Convey, Thoughts and Feelings
ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2010) — The language we speak may influence not only our thoughts, but our implicit preferences as well. That's the finding of a study by psychologists at Harvard University, who found that bilingual individuals' opinions of different ethnic groups were affected by the language in which they took a test examining their biases and predilections.
Ogunnaike, Banaji, and Yarrow Dunham, now at the University of California, Merced, used the well-known Implicit Association Test (IAT), where participants rapidly categorize words that flash on a computer screen or are played through headphones. The test gives participants only a fraction of a second to categorize words, not enough to think about their answers.
"The IAT bypasses a large part of conscious cognition and taps into something we're not aware of and can't easily control," Banaji says.
The researchers administered the IAT in two different settings: once in Morocco, with bilinguals in Arabic and French, and again in the U.S. with Latinos who speak both English and Spanish.
In Morocco, participants who took the IAT in Arabic showed greater preference for other Moroccans. When they took the test in French, that difference disappeared. Similarly, in the U.S., participants who took the test in Spanish showed a greater preference for other Hispanics. But again, in English, that preference disappeared.
Lawmaker blasts 'big brother' TSA...
Charges ex-DHS chief Chertoff got 'sweetheart deal' selling naked scanners to TSA...
Dem Sen: Patdowns are just 'love pats'...
TSA Hit With Lawsuits As Revolt Explodes...
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU 'OPT OUT'?
'State-sponsored sexual harassment'...
PAPER: Big Sister's police state...
Man pulled from flight for 'Atom Bomb' tattoo...
FLASHBACK: Penn Jillette Calls Cops on Groping TSA Agent...
Members of US Congress Get Richer Despite Sour Economy
Despite a long and deep recession, the collective personal wealth of congressional members increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics. The steady also indicates that a significant number of members owned shares of major players in the health-care and financial-services sectors, which were the subject of major reform legislation during the period.
In contrast, U.S. median household income dropped 3 percent to $50,221 between 2008 and 2009, the second straight decline, according to the Census Dept.
President Obama met privately in the Oval Office Tuesday with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss immigration reform, and aides say his hope that Congress will approve the DREAM Act during the lame duck session.
Low-tax states will gain seats, high-tax states will lose them
Migration from high-tax states to states with lower taxes and less government spending will dramatically alter the composition of future Congresses, according to a study by Americans for Tax Reform
Eight states are projected to gain at least one congressional seat under reapportionment following the 2010 Census: Texas (four seats), Florida (two seats), Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington (one seat each). Their average top state personal income tax rate: 2.8 percent.
By contrast, New York and Ohio are likely to lose two seats each, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will be down one apiece. The average top state personal income tax rate in these loser states: 6.05 percent.
The state and local tax burden is nearly a third lower in states with growing populations, ATR found. As a result, per capita government spending is also lower: $4,008 for states gaining congressional seats, $5,117 for states losing them.
We've talked a lot about the controversies surrounding full-body security scans. Before a recent flight, Isaac Schlueter stood up and opted out. Here's why... and how.
By now, if you haven't heard the outrage at the TSA's "enhanced" pat-down procedures, then you don't use the internet, and you're not reading this blog.
They grope children. They touch your junk. The procedures are ludicrously ineffective and harmful from a security point of view. And the naked-picture xray machines are most likely unsafe.
Halfway across Ohio on my American autobahn extravaganza from NYC to Southern California, I hatched a plan. Garmin, the global GPS innovator had recently introduced the Edge 800, the world’s first touchscreen GPS cycling computer.
GOP PICKS UP ANOTHER: WALSH WINS. “By a margin of 291 votes out of more than 200,000 cast, GOP challenger Joe Walsh emerged Tuesday as the winner over U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean in their nail-biting 8th District congressional race.” When Republicans can win close races in Illinois, maybe there really is hope and change!
JOHN ROACH: Are Airport X-Ray Scanners Harmful?
Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, did his own calculations and found the exposure to be about one-fiftieth to one-hundredth the amount of a standard chest X-ray. He calculated the risk of getting cancer from a single scan at about 1 in 30 million, “which puts it somewhat less than being killed by being struck by lightning in any one year,” he told me.
While the risk of getting a fatal cancer from the screening is minuscule, it’s about equal to the probability that an airplane will get blown up by a terrorist, he added. “So my view is there is not a case to be made for deploying them to prevent such a low probability event.”
The politicizing of the Department of Justice under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder is one of the scandals of the administration's first two years. Last week, the DOJ released a rather weird report on five U. S. Attorneys who stayed in hotels that were more expensive than generally permitted by Department guidelines between 2007 and 2009. The point of the report would be difficult to grasp without the additional information, readily supplied by reporters, that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was "U.S. Attorney C." Sort of like Client Number 9, except that the total amount of Christie's alleged budget-busting added up to a whopping $2,176. Most of this was because Christie stayed at hotels where he was to deliver a speech the next day.
The mystery of how such a report came to be released has apparently been solved by the Daily Caller:
The Daily Caller has learned that the author behind the recent report from the Department of Justice that targeted five former U.S. attorneys for excessive travel expenses has had, according to our sources, a troubled history in the DOJ and attempted in the past to use her position to smear conservatives. ...
The report's author, Maura Lee, began her DOJ career in the civil rights division, but now works in the DOJ Office of Inspector General. Hans von Spakovsky, former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, supervised Lee and told TheDC that he was "astonished" when he found out she was the author of the report.
According to von Spakovsky, Lee was "one of the most belligerent, unprofessional lawyers" he encountered during his time at the DOJ. "Because of her," he said, "we had to completely change our security protocol."
Another former senior DOJ official who asked not to be named confirmed Lee's involvement in strategizing to leak information to the Washington Post, saying that she was not a trustworthy person and had major political motivations.
Von Spakovsky described one case where Lee was caught breaking into the e-mail of a colleague, Joshua Rogers, specifically because Rogers was conservative and Christian. "Lee was radically left. She made it plain that she didn't like Rogers," von Spakovsky said. ...
"She was one of the most partisan career people I ever met," von Spakovsky told The DC. So partisan, in fact, that he describes Lee as someone who would encourage other DOJ lawyers not to pursue cases so that the Bush administration would not be able to take credit for being progressive on voter and civil rights issues. ...
According to another former DOJ employee who worked closely with Lee, Lee first got into trouble while working in the Voters Rights Division during the Bush administration. There, according to the former coworker, Lee was caught breaking into other employees' e-mail accounts and spreading around personal information.
You get the picture. I assume that it takes more than the initiative of a single loose-cannon DOJ lawyer to publish an investigative report and coordinate with reporters to smear a popular Republican politician. Barack Obama and Eric Holder have done their best to turn the Department of Justice, America's premier law enforcement agency, into an arm of the Democratic Party.
Crashing the big Democratic donors' D.C. meeting
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka was among the heavyweights at the meeting. |
The meeting – organized by a group of wealthy, politically active liberals called the Democracy Alliance – took place at Washington’s swank Mandarin Oriental hotel, where off-duty police officers and other security patrolled the halls looking for reporters and other uninvited guests, who were escorted from the premises.
Some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors met Tuesday afternoon with influential party figures such as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, organizer Joan Fitz-Gerald and former White House aide Van Jones to discuss the lessons and implications of the GOP’s landslide midterm election victory.
Among the donors spotted at the conference on Tuesday, the second day of the three-day gathering, were former Stride Rite chairman Arnold Hiatt, hedge fund financier Donald Sussman, electronics pioneer Bill Budinger, real estate developer Wayne Jordan and Suzanne Hess, the wife of real estate mogul Lawrence Hess.
GOP leaders have postponed a meeting with the president until after Thanksgiving. |
By GLENN THRUSH | 11/16/10 10:44 PM EST Updated: 11/17/10 8:51 AM EST
The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama dominated a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans.
The one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush – Obama’s staff wanted the event be broadcast and GOP aides agreed reluctantly at the last minute — has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO.
“He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust,” said a top Republican Hill staffer “The Baltimore thing was unbelievable.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) both claim Obama had presented the Nov. 18 date as a fait accompli – without their consent or any attempt to accommodate frenetic schedules following the midterm recess. For weeks, staffers have been warning the White House not to assume the invitation had been accepted, apparently to little avail.
Unitary Executive suddenly looking good to the Left.