Friday, July 31, 2009

Now Where Near Ready foe Prime Time Leadership

Today's Democrats are starting to make Carter era Dems look sage and wise:

With thousands of "cash for clunkers" deals pending, auto dealers in Wisconsin and across the nation were working through a worry-filled night Thursday amid the startling news that the program is being suspended because it has likely run out of money.

Members of Congress confirmed late Thursday that the program is being suspended. It remained unclear whether the program had indeed run out of money or whether it was only close to running out.

Who couldn't see this cluster coming?

Quick Q to the P-folk

Parents, I need to know something. If your child starts shooting flames from his/her bum, is there the chance he or she is really a dragon?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Post Racial Era?

One of the goals of this society, at least as it proclaims, is to move into a post-racial era. The road to that era is a two way street, though. While the majority is not yet perfect in relation to the minority(ies), it has made large strides. Unfortunately, until such time that the minority can allow their blisters to callous, we will continue to experience open racial sores that are much the problem of the aggrieved picking as the "oppressor" causing.

Where is MADD?

Where are the modern day temperancists? Where are our nannies?

President Obama sat down for a beer at the White House Thursday night with a top African-American professor and the police officer who arrested him earlier this month.

They were joined by a previously unannounced guest, Vice President Joe Biden.

I'm not the first to say this, but where are the expected shrieks that this sends the irresponsible message that we can solve our problems with booze? I for one think that a moderate amount of social lubrication can help people find common ground, but I'm listening for our criers of "booze is the root of all evil" and all I hear is crickets.

A 100% True Parable

Back in my college years, I'd spend most of the year off at school, 3 1/2 hours away from home. But in the summer, I'd move back in with my parents. It was always good to come back and reconnect with my family and my friends. I worked hard in the summers, once finagling a way to work 27 straight days at my summer employer. When you combined those long hours with the fact that I spent all of my free time with friends and family, I'm a little surprised my parents' neighbors even recognized me.

The last summer I lived at home I was finally of legal drinking age. One Sunday, my long time best friend and I decided to partake in two of our favorite pastimes-drinking and a home run derby (think the 1960's TV show, only on a rustic softball diamond). I don't recall who won the nine inning affair, but I do remember that we finished our six pack on that humid, 85 degree day and decided that we wanted to head to a bar to get some grub and another ice cold beverage.

We headed back to my parents' place. The 'cool' athletic shorts of the day didn't have pockets, so I'd left my wallet and keys there. Much to my surprise, they had a life. I tried the doors, only to find that they were all locked. Here I was, hungry and thirsty with no money or ID, and I had no keys with which to enter the house. But much like today, I was a problem solver. So I found the only way into the house without a key.

My solution had two significant problems, though. One, it was neither particularly quiet nor quick. Two, it was quite visible to the entire neighborhood and the very busy road in front of the house. Of course I was 21, so I was going to do what I wanted to do (eat and drink), consequences be damned. I'll tell you the truth, though, I was scared out of my mind that someone new to the neighborhood might call the cops on me. After all, here I was breaking into my own house. How was I going to explain that to the police? And they'd be right to be skeptical of my story. Who breaks into their own house for God's sake? Most people have a spare stored someplace or they call the locksmith, right?

I knew that if someone in the neighborhood didn't recognize me and called 911, I was going to have to be on my absolute best behavior because no good cop was going to believe my story without proof. With exceptional behavior, I might get enough patience from an officer to find a person or persons to vouch for me. But with obstinate behavior, I knew that the day was ultimately going to end with my parents vouching for me down at the local jail. The fact that I am 1/4 Chippewa never even entered into the equation for me. What I was doing was highly suspicious behavior for anyone, and I knew the police had the duty, if called, to get to the bottom of the story. Thankfully for me, my neighbors still did recognize me and did not call the police.

I think that my approach to breaking into my own house was enveloped with a lot of common sense (if disregard) as to the potential consequences. In fact, if the police found anyone, even my dad, trying to break into the house, I hope they'd treat the situation with extreme caution. But for some people, victimhood is their self identity, and common sense can't prevail. Their entire worldview is wrapped up in the belief that others are out to get them and they lose the ability to decipher between "protective" and "abusive".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Socialized Medicine Gets You

This post could also be titled, "And They'll Wonder Why Swine Flu Became Tamiflu Resistant." What follows is a message board post by a wedding photographer in a Flickr Group (I've highlighted a few things):
We were due to shoot a wedding this Saturday for a lovely couple who's cousin's wedding we shot last year. Unfortunately the last few days I have been starting (and continuing!) to feel ill with cold symptoms.

Because swine flu is so all over the place now in the UK, doctors are no longer actually seeing/testing patients, you go online or phone a helpine, answer some questions on symptoms and if you r symptoms match up to those for swine flu, you phone a dr and they arrange for you to get some tamiflu.

In short, I could have a cold, or bad hayfever (although I know it's not hayfever as antihistamines haven't worked), but I have cancelled the wedding as I don't want to risk infecting a whole wedding group with swine flu especially as there will be children there. Luckily for me, I have a friend who is a local photographer who is very good, and he is miraculously free and will be shooting for me.

The thing is though, with the rubbish non diagnosis we're having over here, what if this is only a summer cold and in two weeks time I actually DO get swine flu and have no option but to take it to a wedding?

There you have it. In order to "remove unnecessary costs" from the system, you may not even get to see a doctor or receive tests many would deem "necessary." And the worst part is even if Obamacare ultimately dies the death it deserves to die, this will likely still negatively affect us as this willy-nilly approach to Swine Flu diagnosis in countries with socialized medicine will greatly increase the likelihood of a Swine Flu that is resistant to medications that normally could reduce the virus's severity.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Since the First Moon Walk

I wish I could say that I was in as celebratory mood as the media is over the 40th anniversary of an American being the first human to step foot on the moon. The unfortunate fact is that it will be all too soon when the the 40th anniversary of the last human to walk on the moon will quietly come and go unnoticed (for the record, December 17, 2012 will be that sad date). The unimaginative ponder the waste of money that is exploring worlds beyond Earth. The visionaries wonder how this species will survive the day when nature (not man) makes this rock uninhabitable. Yes, that time is probably a long time away; there is no guarantee that man will continue this trajectory of technological growth that has occurred over the past 100 years, however. As it stands, we've not even scratched the surface of the knowledge we'll one day need for our descendants to survive beyond this lonely rock.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Thought For The 2009 Green Bay Packers

Viking (?) QB Brett Favre will only beat you if you're afraid of Viking QB Brett Favre beating you. In reality, even with a 39 year old Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson is that team's difference maker. If they stop Peterson, they beat the Vikings twice.

An Always Popular Not-News News Story

Some variation on this story pops up every few weeks to months. It is 'news' to people. I'm not sure why.

First World War veteran Henry Allingham, who became the world's oldest man last month, has died at the age of 113.

As tributes poured in, Lord's cricket ground fell silent at the start of play in the Ashes match between England and Australia as a mark of respect for Mr Allingham, who died in his sleep early yesterday morning.

Emphasis mine. This is not a record most people get to hold onto for very long. Each year typically see several oldest living men/women. Yet everytime one passes on, two stories rocket it up the popularity charts: 'World's Oldest Man/Woman Dies' and 'New World's Oldest Man/Woman (Fill in Background Story). That these stories are always popular even though they are typically neither newsworthy nor particularly interesting is kind of a quirk of humanity.

Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009

Walter Cronkite, the iconic American TV news anchor, passed away yesterday. There have been and will be a number of fine tributes to Cronkite. I would rather look at his legacy from a, while not critical, certainly less adoring way.

When people talk Cronkite, they talk trust. Part of the reason Cronkite came to engender trust in the American public is because he was the leading edge of the modern news anchor-he was emotive and had opinions. By today's standard, we'd consider him buttoned down in both regards, by the standards of his era, that made him different and a lot of Americans felt like they knew Cronkite, and that helped engender that trust.

This has left a mixed legacy in news reporting and journalism, however. Cronkite was the man who opened the door for journalists (so-called hard journalists, not opinion journalists) to let more of their political colors show through in their work. It is human nature to have opinions and beliefs, so it is impossible for any "objective" news report to be completely free of the subjective without the news becoming so dry as to be unconsumable. But there was a time where newsmen and journalists tried to keep that human influence on the reporting of the news deeply buried.

In one sense, this is good because it has made the reporting of the news much more transparent. Bloggers have shown over the years that you can now easily identify the spin that you are getting from any particular anchor or journalist. Unfortunately, it has also made it acceptable for some journalists to further their personal agendas through the way they present the news. In fact, Cronkite coming out against the Vietnam war may have done more to create the agenda driven reporter/journalist than any other single act.

When we remember Cronkite, we remember him as what he was during his era. For that, he deserves all of the accolades that he is receiving in his passing. Cronkite leaves a legacy that has been and will continue to be built upon by others, and we do need to strip away the misty feelings to examine that legacy because all of the consequences have not been positive.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reuters Panic Mongering on H1N1 Swine Flu

I was originally going to blame WHO for panic mongering, but I actually think Reuters is to blame.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that the H1N1 flu pandemic was the fastest-moving pandemic ever and that it was now pointless to count every case.

The United Nations agency, which declared an influenza pandemic on June 11, revised its requirements so that national health authorities need only report clusters of severe cases or deaths caused by the new virus or unusual clinical patterns.

Normal flus can move too fast to count, too. The difference is a lot of people never report or go to the doctor. This ancestor of the Spanish flu is worth keeping an eye on, don't get me wrong, but we've seen nothing from it to this point that makes it panic worthy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Congratulations, Minnesota

You've elected a clown to the United States Senate.

Sonia Sotomayor, under questioning by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, had to admit she could not recall a key point of law: what was the one case that TV defense lawyer Perry Mason actually lost?

"I wish I could remember the name of the episode but I don't," Sotomayor said after Democratic Senator Al Franken -- himself a former TV star -- pressed her on Perry Mason trivia.

Wow, Minnesota. Maybe next time you could just upgrade your cable subscription if you want a comedian. Having grown up in the Twin Cities media market, I can say that gravitas is a tough word for Minnesotans, what with the three syllables and all.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Top Ten Things I've Learned From 3 Days of Fatherhood

I'm not sure anyone can appreciate this except perhaps someone who is going through it.

10. Newborns can be stronger and inherently smarter than you give them credit for.
9. There is personality there right from the start.
8. Your brain conspires with the baby against your body from the start. Falling asleep? You hear his cry, even if he isn't crying.
7. It is possible to fart and burp multiple times simultaneously.
6. A good poop can be as exciting as an 99 yard touchdown pass.
5. Oddly, your own baby's gas smells sweet after the first few.
4. Just when you think you've got the little bugger figured out, he changes things up on you.
3. Early parenthood is like boot camp, and baby is your drill sergeant.
2. Poo on your fingers becomes less repulsive than it normally would be.
1. You can never prepare for how much that first one is going to change you and your life, no matter how much you know before hand.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Welcome My Little Co-Blogger

We shall call him Jiblette. His was a peaceful gestation, but his journey into this world was a long and painful one for his mom. He officially joined Jiblog at 6:54 on July 5th.