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Monday, December 7, 2009

California cuts off mammograms to poor women younger than 50

"Facing enormous budget shortfalls, the state (California) has ended subsidies for mammograms for poor women between 40-50 years of age, and will also freeze enrollments in a breast-cancer screening program for its Medicaid recipients."

Details and links at HotAir.

WSJ: Sarbanes-Oxley - $2.3 million each year in direct compliance costs at the average company

Post-Enron and -Worldcom, Sarbox was passed to require microscrutiny of accounting practices at publicly traded companies. The results would have been (and were) foreseeable to business people, but not to bureaucrats.

WSJ: "In the years since its passage, the country has experienced an historic drought of initial public offerings. Is Sarbox to blame? Many financial pundits say no, but the SEC survey results point in the other direction. When public companies are asked whether Section 404 has motivated them to consider going private, a full 70% of smaller firms say yes, and 44% of all public companies also say yes.

Has Sarbox driven businesses out of the country? Among foreign companies, a majority in the survey say that Section 404 has motivated them to consider de-listing from U.S. exchanges, and a staggering 77% of smaller foreign firms say that the law has motivated them to consider abandoning their American listings."

via Weekly Standard.

Gropenhagen: Prostitutes Offer Free Climate Summit Sex

Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards to city hotels warning summit guests not to patronize Danish sex workers during the upcoming conference. Now, the prostitutes have struck back, offering free sex to anyone who produces one of the warnings.

via Reason.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Steven den Beste: Government by Wishful Thinking

Steven den Beste contributes occasionally at Hot Air's Green Room, and is excellent as always. I used to read him regularly, several years ago, at his now-defunct (except for the archives) USS Clueless blog; due to illness, I believe, he stopped updating that one and is rarely seen these days.

The subject today is the Left (including but not limited to Obama) and magical thinking:

"The teleological world view on the left has been a factor in American politics to a greater or lesser extent since the 1960’s, but this is the first time it was largely in control. And the most likely outcome of it is to make most Americans understand just how deeply worthless, and outright damaging, it is. Which, in the long run, will be very good for America.

The only concern is that we can come through the remaining three years of Obama’s first (and almost certainly his only) term of office without sustaining irreparable damage. If Congress had moved at the speed Obama wanted them to, we might have suffered such damage, but now that we’ve almost made it through his first year and are moving into an election year, with public opinion polls moving strongly against Obama and his policies, I am becoming cautiously optimistic that we can survive this."

via Hot Air.

ACORN’s Fingerprints on Mortgage Crisis Appeared 20 Years Ago

Story at Big Government.

"Specifically, ACORN strong-armed banks and worked with members of Congress, such as Barney Frank, to weaken credit standards in order for banks, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to fund risky mortgages. Mortgages, of course, that stood little chance of ever being paid, as we witnessed last year.

But ACORN’s penchant for shaking down banks didn’t begin 2 years ago, or even 10 years ago. Check out this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1988. "

Outstanding - best history of climategate EVAH

An absolute must-read at American Thinker.

Breach in the global-warming bunker rattles climate science at the worst time

Another great UK article:

"Now the pirating of thousands of e-mail messages from within its walls has revealed a dangerous bunker mentality among the scientists who guarded those records and a data-fudging scandal that has created a crisis of confidence in global-warming science that is threatening to destroy the political consensus around next week's carbon-policy summit in Copenhagen.

On a political level, coming on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, the controversy has been catastrophic: In the last few days, it has prompted opposition politicians in the United States, Britain and Australia to argue that human-caused global warming is a myth."

via Strata-Sphere.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Really? Iran Demands That Nurses in Bolivia Wear Hijabs

"On Wednesday, November 24, Iranian demands that female nurses don the hijab in response to Iran’s providing $1.2 million for funding of the new El Alto city hospital in Bolivia sparked a national outcry among women’s rights advocates within Bolivia."

At Gateway Pundit.

Dr. Zero - Government can’t fix this

This guy certainly has a way with words. Anyone know who he is?

"A corporate executive who squandered a year of his investors’ income on a failed attempt to fix unemployment would not be rewarded with a new contract, six times as large, to manage health care… especially when a review of his firm showed a century of nothing but costly failures and fraudulent “business plans."


If Barack Obama truly wanted to help the economy, and reduce unemployment, he would stop giving endless speeches that only reinforce his image as a man who has no idea what he is doing, but is relentlessly determined to do it."

Walk the dog or face time behind bars

In Australia, and still in draft form: Pet owners could be punished for not walking their dogs, under radical new laws being proposed by the RSPCA.

via RightWingNews:
"There's more to soft totalitarianism than forbidding things. That which is not forbidden must be made mandatory. Take walking your dog, for example. Bureaucrats can't find a reason to forbid it. Therefore, in Australia they are pushing a law to make it illegal not to walk your dog."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wow. Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar” Is Promoting Porn in the Classroom.

Check out the long, well researched and very specific information on Gateway Pundit this morning. There are two posts, the second a continuation of the first, with horrifying excerpts from the GLSEN reading list. GLSEN is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the organization found and run until last year by Obama's ‘Safe Schools Czar’ Kevin Jennings.

Definitely NSFW. Maybe even not safe for home.

Excellent Canadian news report on climategate

The CBC's Rex Murphy discusses Climategate.

via Kathy Shaidle, who tweets, "
You Americans have LOTS of great stuff, but our conservative writers are better."

She also has a very useful (and constantly growing) list of Christmas presents for conservatives.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Terrorist dry run?

Read the whole thing.

"If this wasn't a dry run, I don't know what one is. They wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it. I'm telling this to you because I want you to know. The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes."

Climategate is undermining the objectivity of science.

WSJ on Climategate: Science is Dying.

"Hard science, alongside medicine, was one of the few things left accorded automatic stature and respect by most untrained lay persons. But the average person reading accounts of the East Anglia emails will conclude that hard science has become just another faction, as politicized and "messy" as, say, gender studies."

Kristof busted

By Malkin:

"In other words, at the time Kristof’s article was published this past Sunday, Brodniak was already being treated and cared for by some of the best neurologists in the country! . . . Kristof’s readers have been raising money to pay for the Brodniaks to get him treated. But Brodniak is covered. He doesn’t have to pay a dime.”

Derb - Trust Science

John Derbyshire has a must-read column at NRO on trust and science.

"Trust science, but don’t trust scientists."

Climategate is the tip of the iceberg

Roger Simon, writing at PJM: Climategate is about a lot more than climate. It’s about science and its relationship to politics and profit, the academy, the state and, perhaps most importantly, information control.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dr. Zero - The Rhetoric of Failure

From the always excellent Dr. Zero at Hot Air's Green Room:

"Obama’s Afghanistan speech last night would have been adequate for a department store manager, informing the staff that extra help would be hired for the big Going Out of Business sale next year. It wasn’t very inspiring as a war speech. Inspiration is very important in warfare. As a modern liberal with an academic background, Obama sees military operations as unpleasant administrative chores, to be resolved rather than won… but Afghanistan is more than a distraction from the fun industry-nationalizing, trillion-dollar aspects of the President’s job, and resolution is never as inspiring as victory."

Shhh… Congress is raising the debt limit

From Heritage:

"Congress doesn’t want you to know it, but they are about to raise the debt limit because they’ve spent the full $12.1 trillion allowed on their taxpayer-funded credit card."

Villagers sue male monkey for harassing female monkey

In a bizarre development, residents of a village near Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, (I have no idea where that is) have filed a case against a male monkey for attempting to attack and kill a female monkey and its newborn.

The case was filed at a police station near the village.

A Government Pension That's Lasted 271 Years

An obscure pension created in 1738, which still pays out money today from French government coffers, may be the longest-lived and most amazing government debt in modern history.

The Dubai debt problem and Shariah-compliant finance

At The Corner.

"What makes this story (the financial meltdown of Dubai World) more than simply one of a massive real-estate-investment company gone bad is the double-edged sword so prevalent in the chase for oil-based Middle East wealth: sovereign wealth funds and Shariah-compliant finance."

Today only eBay has 50% off insertion fees

Today only, auction-style listing fees are 50% off at eBay.com. Fixed-price, eBay Motors vehicles, and select other listing fees are not eligible for this discount.

My daughter, who sells a LOT on eBay, saves up listings for these occasional days.

via DealNews.

U.K. Cancer Death Rate Is 38% Higher Than In U.S.

Dick Morris, writing at BigGovernment.

"The Guardian, the UK’s left wing daily, estimated that “up to 10,000 people” are dying each year of cancer “because their condition is diagnosed too late, according to research by the government’s director of cancer services.” While many people die because of late detection due to their own negligence, there is no reason to believe this self-neglect is more common in the UK than in the US."

World's fastest lawnmower

A bid to break the world land speed record for a lawnmower is to be unveiled today.

India targets 'Mr Pee' ahead of Commonwealth Games

In an effort to improve New Delhi's image before the Commonwealth Games next year, the Indian capital is to launch a publicity campaign to stop people urinating in the street.

The Corner: Will Turkey Spoil?

How was Turkey lost and why did Washington do nothing to stop it are questions that historians will ponder... Alas, Obama has, like Bush before him, turned a blind eye toward Erdogan's abuses, wishing to believe that Turkey remains a Western democracy even as its prime minister re-orients his country toward Syria, Iran, and Sudan.

The Lasik reform for health care

Captain Ed at HotAir discusses the recent Reason video using Lasik as an argument for removing third parties and reintroducing normal price signals for the health-care market.

Interesting property rights case coming before SCOTUS

WSJ has information.

"Typically done in the name of deterring erosion, the government carts in truckloads of sand, making the beach bigger. But rather than extending the property of the owner, the state declares itself owner of the sandy addition, effectively separating waterfront home owners from the water itself."

Climate Scandal Has Diverted Attention From the Climate Scandal

"In fact, in every record of any duration for any period in the earth’s history temperature increase precedes CO2 increase. This is the complete opposite of the fundamental assumption made in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. The only place where CO2 causes temperature increase is in the doctored computer models of the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)... Manipulation of data, falsification of temperature graphs, control of publishing and peer review, selective inclusion of variables and mechanisms in computer models were all designed to make it appear CO2 was the sole driving mechanism of temperature. The 2007 IPCC Report concluded that CO2 accounted for 90% of warming in the last 30 years. It’s equivalent to saying the small left toenail controls 90% of your body."

Will monkeys really type Shakespeare if given enough time?

After putting the question to an empirical test, some UK university students discovered that:
...The theory is flawed. After one month - admittedly not an "infinite" amount of time - the monkeys had partially destroyed the machine, used it as a lavatory, and mostly typed the letter "s".

via GeekPress.

Climategate: it's all unravelling now

Good summary from the Telegraph:

"So many new developments: which story do we pick? Maybe best to summarise, instead. After all, it’s not like you’re going to find much of this reported in the MSM."

Global Warming Revolt

WSJ: The global revolt keeps building against carbon cap and trade, not that you'd know it from the U.S. media.

Brooklyn ACORN and NY Schools Employee Accused of Fraud

In the NYT, believe it or not.

Investigators on Tuesday alleged that a Brooklyn-based bookkeeper and community organizer for the beleaguered antipoverty group Acorn improperly received $500,000 in merchandise for a corporate rewards program with Verizon, the telephone company, through a complex fraud scheme that went on for more than four years.

via JammieWearingFool.

Iranian arms dealer, extradited in '07, secretly jailed in Phila.

WASHINGTON - Federal authorities are expected today to reveal a major international undercover sting in which Philadelphia-based federal agents arrested an Iranian arms dealer in Eastern Europe and secretly extradited him to the United States.

The Iranian has been quietly jailed in a Philadelphia-area prison for nearly two years - the case sealed from public view - as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have scoured his laptop to pursue hundreds of leads about Iran's covert effort to acquire American military gear, law-enforcement sources said.

“It’s not exactly the kind of speech you would have heard from Henry V or Churchill.”

Gateway Pundit has video of reaction from Krauthammer and Hayes.

Jonah Goldberg: Washington, Home of Intellectual Hypocrisy

Believing you can run other peoples’ lives when you can barely run your own.

"
The crusade against moral hypocrisy necessarily hits conservatives harder, not because conservatives are more immoral, but because they uphold morality more publicly, making them richer targets. The Left aims much of its moralizing at moralizing itself — “thou shalt not judge.” Meanwhile, the Right focuses on the oldies but goodies — adultery, drug use, etc. I think we’re right to uphold a standard even if we sometimes fail to live up to it.

What I don’t think we hear enough about is intellectual hypocrisy. What’s that? Well, if moral hypocrisy is saying what values people should live by while failing to follow them yourself, intellectual hypocrisy is believing you are smart enough to run other peoples’ lives when you can barely run your own."

via The Corner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Can Humans Reproduce In Zero-Gravity?

I know we've all been wondering.

Perfume designed from Michael Jackson's DNA

"If you loved Michael Jackson's music, now you can wear the king of pop's fragrance - thanks to a perfume that has been made using DNA samples from his hair."

How to solve a parking problem

An Indian villager used a hammer and chisel over the span of 14 years to carve a tunnel through a rocky mountain so that he could park his truck in front of his house.

Russia lags US in training military sea mammals

A Russian scientist who trains seals to carry out secret military missions complained in a newspaper interview Tuesday that Russia has fallen behind the United States in the race to arm sea mammals.

Makes me feel safer.

The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award

"I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg."

Higher education - the School of Pot

Michigan college's curriculum centers on medicinal marijuana.

Now, vodka that comes in a pill

Russian professor Evgeny Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has evolved a technique that allows turning alcohol into powder and packing it in pills. The new technique can solidify any kind of alcohol, including whisky, cognac, wine and beer.

Gerbils with borders

How national borders become natural borders.

"A new study from the University of Haifa finds that animals on either side of the Israel-Jordanian border exhibit different characteristics and behaviors."

via Kottke.

Japanese animation of Tiger Woods' accident

OK, I don't think it's anyone's business but theirs what went on that night with Woods and his wife, but this is a hoot.

Not Every Kid Gets Driven to the Bus Stop in an SUV

Puts things into perspective.

via Free Range Kids.

Using Math to Engineer Weight Loss

"As any good programmer knows, one of the best ways to improve a system is to eliminate the possibility of user error. So why are all diets plotted around the willpower of a flawed, faulty user? If you're having trouble shedding five pounds, just remember: it's the system's fault, not yours. So rethink your system and lose the weight without even thinking about it."

via Wired.

Sarah Palin Stars as Heroine in New Children's Book

I'm sending this as a Christmas present to the kids/grandkids of every liberal I know. Or at least I would, if it were listed at Amazon.

"In the book written by Katharine DeBrecht, “Governor Sarah” (a character based on Palin) attempts to help two young boys hold onto their dream of a swing-set business which is struggling as a result of high taxes, heavy regulations and 246 czars.

“I am trying to let all Americans know that these radicals are killing the American Dream and I want to stop them from hurting people that produce products and provide jobs,” the Palin character consoles the frustrated boys after their business is destroyed by “Marxus Obunduf” who is based on President Obama."

Dr. Zero: Climategate is the Crime of the Century

Global warming is a scam, pure and simple. By any objective measure, it’s the crime of the century, with a dollar value that dwarfs the sins of Bernie Madoff or Enron. People like Al Gore have become millionaires by selling books and “carbon credits” to their marks… many of whom knew perfectly well they were being taken for a ride, but felt political pressure to play along, or saw opportunities created by the exercise of raw government power. The economic damage from legislation passed in response to this hoax will run into trillions of dollars, if Barack Obama’s disastrous cap-and-trade legislation passes the Senate.


via HotAir's Green Room.

The Psychology of Being Scammed

The Psychology of Being Scammed summarizes some of the standard techniques from a recent report.

The full report can be found here (PDF format): "Understanding scam victims: Seven principles for systems security".

via Geekpress.

Something in the Water Is Feminizing Male Fish. Are We Next?

Popular Science: "It’s one thing to worry about pollutants in our freshwater supply. It’s another to find out that all across the country, male fish swimming in some of that water are becoming “intersex,” their male sex organs producing immature female eggs. Although the condition occurs naturally in some species, it shouldn’t happen to black bass. But a new study shows that it is, and in numbers far greater than ever suspected. The phenomenon raises serious concerns about the pollution levels in our rivers and could threaten several species."

via Instapundit.