Friday, October 31, 2014


Sometimes I dislike being right ... see: Branson's Booby. The Virgin Galactic "spaceship" has crashed during a test flight in California killing the pilot and seriously injuring the copilot ... see: CNN Money Story.

Afterward: For someone thinking along the same lines as myself (albeit with a little less empathy for Branson) readTime Magazine Story.

reddit Gallery CCX

Another excursion into the world of reddit Pictures. See: reddit Pics for sources.  Do yourself a favor and click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Giraffe in Kenya


Political Statement

Morning in Yellowstone


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rhymes with Witch

Kaci Hickox

Next a run to be the new U.S. Senator from Maine  ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


We've known for a long time that there a similarity between our current White House and a kindergarten class ... the only difference is that the kindergarten class is classier. We now know that a senior administration official has called Israel's Prime Minister, Netanyahu "chickenshit." How nice ... that some six-figure Democrat leech can refer to a long-time U.S. ally in such a slimy and infantile way ...     see: Mother Jones Item. If President Obama does not make this administration sleezeball walk the plank, then we must assume that he agrees with him.

(And the Mother Jones reporter even seems a cut below this White House operative.)

Bleeding Hearts

First the NBC health reporter, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and her crew whose cameraman had come down with Ebola in West Africa broke quarantine to travel to a fast-food restaurant in New Jersey. Then a nurse who treated the Ebola patient Thomas Duncan in Dallas traveled to Cleveland and back by plane even after she detected a low-grade fever which later turned into Ebola. Then a medical clinician who had handled bodily fluids from Ebola patient Duncan in Dallas took an ocean-liner cruise to the Caribbean that cost thousands of passengers their vacations when it was forced to return to port.

Next the doctor who came back from West Africa with a case of Ebola initially lied to police about his activities in New York City … see: New York Post Story. Now the nurse who also returned from West Africa after volunteering to treat Ebola patients there is refusing to observe her quarantine in Maine … see: CBS Story.

What is it about these people … professionals all? Can they not give up twenty-one days of their lives so that their fellow citizens can remain a wee bit safer from this dreaded disease? Have we become such a selfish, me-centered country that so many professionals irresponsibly ignore what appears to be rational public-health policy? Are their neighbors just as worthy of their empathy as those who are already sick? And how can our president encourage such bad behavior on the part of our citizens’ (but not our soldiers’) parts? His logic and that of the CDC and NIH appears to this observer to be so convoluted as to be silly … see: Logic is Logic.

Do liberals somehow lose all their gray matter when their hearts start bleeding?

Afterward: Just heard the president talk on the Ebola crisis ... and imply that anyone, who is in favor of a 21 day quarantine for workers who has been in close contact with Ebola patients, does not appreciate the sacrifice that they have made ... and will discourage others to do the same. Our president's brain must be miswired in that he cannot hold both thoughts at the same time. Clearly these volunteers are wonderfully fine people ... but they still should be quarantined for the safety of their friends and neighbors.

The president also mentioned that Nigeria and Senegal are now free of Ebola. What he neglected to note was that these two countries (and many other African nations too) have closed their borders to the three raging Ebola-infected West African nations.

By the bye, California has just instituted this same 21-day quarantine for returning health-care workers ... see: LA Times Article. (Look out Jerry Brown!)


I've only briefly ridden a horse a few times in my life. So why am I now bow-legged?

Perhaps because I played basketball H-O-R-S-E a lot as a kid?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dog's Hind Leg

Crooked as a dog's hind leg ... that has to be the best description of how (mostly) Democrats conduct elections in the "democratic" United States ...see: Limburger Cheese. The best indication of this is in the following quote from the above link:
 [T]he example that convinced me that such malfeasance is clearly widespread, particularly in the inner cities, was in the recent 2012 Presidential election where 100% of the registered voters in 59 Philadelphia voting districts voted for Obama … see: Voter Intimidation. This is absolutely impossible. There must be a few people hospitalized or deceased. There might even be a few free-thinkers who would have voted for Romney. But exactly 100% of almost 20,000 registered voters in 59 precincts in Philadelphia vote for Obama … balderdash!
And yet too many Americans dismiss this racket with the notion, "politicians will be politicians" and "politics ain't beanbag." Yet "community organizers", like our current President once was, are in the vanguard of this band of political thievery ... see: Rotten Acorn Citations. This link lists 36 instances of recent voter scams involving ACORN ... that Democrat organization that has since changed it name but not its purpose. I am certain that these citations are just the tip of the iceberg of this activity involving tens, if not hundreds of thousands of voting chicaneries.

 Now evidence is surfacing that non-citizens, many of them illegal immigrants, are voting in sufficient numbers to sway the outcome of many elections ...see:Washington Post Story. And I sincerely doubt that these ineligible voters are pulling the levers for Republicans. The press is full lately of similar stories of ballot box stuffing and voter machine tampering which does nothing but support my thesis here.

A country which countenances this bad behavior on the part of politicians can only expect them to be equally crooked once they get into office. Voter fraud is also insidiously corrosive in that the will of the people is suborned. It creates an atmosphere in which more and more ingenious deceptions are invented for the next election cycle ... see: Rocky Mountain Heist. This downward spiral is also a sufficient disincentive so that voters feel that their votes are meaningless.

Therefore, I would suggest that cleaning up the process of voting to eliminate these swindles is possibly the most critical element in restoring a sense of justice and fiscal sanity to our country.

Not easy to do however ... particularly when Democrat demagogues keep shouting "voter suppression" ... unless there is a realization on the part of Americans as to the full scope of these political deceits ... and punishments for same are swift and severe.

If you, dear reader are now poo-pooing the above evidence, then you, unfortunately, are part of the problem.

Afterward: And the Diplomad agrees ... see:The Big Election Fraud -- II

After Afterward: More evidence ... see: Powerline Story

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

reddit Gallery CCIX -- PG Rated

Another excursion into the world of reddit Pictures. See: reddit Pics for sources.  Do yourself a favor and click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

A Walk on the Wild Side

Cosplaying as Cammy from Street Fighters

Puss and Boobs

Swedish Athlete


Unvarnished Truth

Like in much of Western Europe, there is a growing cultural clash occurring in the United States as a result of our shift towards favoring Islamic immigrants over other cultures. In particular, honor killings, clitoridectomies, Shariah law, terrorist incitements, and face veils (niqabs) are but a few of the Islamic practices that cut across the grain of our American culture. 

John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog has faced this issue head on and bravely suggests that the United States re-evaluate its current immigration policies with the unvarnished thought that “the most prudent course would be to end immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, with exceptions for adherents of other faiths –Christians, Hindus, and so on – who are fleeing persecution.” For his full discussion and rationales see: Cultural Differences, Assimilation and Immigration Policy.

This suggestion surprised me a bit for I have not seen it elsewhere so boldly expressed. However, I too feel that, for the indefinite future, this immigration policy change makes supreme sense.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blue Dress Blues

Her name has become synonymous with fellatio. She "brought her knee pads with her to the White House" when she was given an internship there at the age of 22. She almost brought down the man "she loved" when she was clever enough to save her blue dress covered with Bill Clinton's yuck and he lied under oath about his compulsive trysts.

Her name of course is Monica Lewinsky. Now she is on another attempted comeback trail ... eliciting sympathy from knee-jerk liberals for the inequity of the public reaction to her youthful indiscretions vis-a-vis Slick Willy's ... see:  CNN Video. All over lefty television, her story is being repeated with the syrupy background of lamenting violins and empathetic paeans.

But I'm not quite so moved ... and have one question surrounding her plea for reconciliation. Is it that the public has treated her so shabbily since her giving lip service to the president ... or has Bill Clinton been given multiple dispensations by a doting American public for taking predatory advantage of this young subordinate?

That would be the real inequity ...

Mr. X

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Georgia has treated and released an anonymous male Ebola patient this past Monday. This is independent of the known treatments of the high-profile nurse Vinson from Dallas who contracted Ebola from the Liberian national Thomas Duncan and two American aid workers, Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, who were treated and released in August. This Mr. X apparently might also have been an aid worker who contracted the virus in West Africa, but, according to other reporting, even this is not totally clear … see: Washington Post Story .

Hmmm? This news has peaked my curiosity … why all this government secrecy? How can our government surpress this news? Is this patient an American? Might he have contracted this virus in this country? How did he get Ebola? Have all the people he was in contact with before he was hospitalized been notified and/nor quarantined? How have this patient’s treatment expenses been covered? Could this Mr. X be just the first of many outreach patients as were reported on in this news article: Washington Examiner Story?

Hopefully, we will soon find out the answers to these and many other important public-health questions.

Monday, October 20, 2014


At one of my regular blog stops, Watts Up With That, its most recent entry explores the surprising role that diatoms play in regulating the temperature of our planet. This was discovered at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany. This gist of the article is in the first paragraph:
Diatoms play an important role in water quality and in the global climate. They generate about one fourth of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and perform around one-quarter of the global CO2 assimilation, i.e. they convert carbon dioxide into organic substances. Their light receptors are a crucial factor in this process. Researchers at the Leipzig University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research have now discovered that blue and red light sensing photoreceptors control the carbon flow in these algae. These results have been recently published by the scientists in the well-known online trade journal, PLOS ONE
For the scientifically inclined, to explore the details of this new discovery further see: Watts Up With That.

Moreover, there is one comment on this post that I found particularly interesting and it was written by Willis Eschenbach. He stated on October 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm:
A most excellent post, Anthony. I’ve long held that the ocean conditions don’t determine life, it works the other way around—life determines the ocean conditions.
In addition to making lots of oxygen, phytoplankton (microscopic floating ocean plants) have some hidden effects. 
First, where there is no phytoplankton, the water is clear, and all of the absorbed solar energy is converted into heat. But when there is a lot of phytoplankton, much of the absorbed solar energy is not converted into heat. Instead, it is used in the making and breaking of chemical bonds, and in growing plant mass. 
Now, to be sure, this energy is eventually reconverted into heat, it’s the nature of entropy … but that may not happen at the surface of the ocean. It may happen, for example, in the abyss. In the abyss, there is a constant rain of organic stuff, bits and pieces of everything from phytoplankton to zooplankton to small fish to whales. When this organic detritus decomposes, it releases the energy it contained, energy it absorbed near the surface … but it releases it at the bottom of the ocean. In addition, some of the energy is used to create gases (including both oxygen and CO2) that leave the ocean entirely. So when that oxygen rusts a bit of iron at a later date, the energy is released on land rather than in the ocean. 
Next, phytoplankton significantly change the vertical thermal structure of the ocean. Phytoplankton are plants, so as one might expect, they are all in competition for the light. As a result, they are thickest right at the surface. This means that instead of the solar energy warming the lower part of the mixed layer, it is absorbed right at the surface. So plankton make the surface warmer and the subsurface cooler. 
Next, he ability of ocean diatoms to utilize both red and blue light, while surprising, is logical. Every diver knows that the blue light penetrates deeply, but the red light is absorbed nearer the surface … so much so that if you cut yourself at depth, you bleed green. Since the competition is at the surface, we’d expect to find the diatoms using the abundant red light. But of course they need to be able to survive the times when they are deeper and get only blue light. The article says that in blue light they photosynthesize but they don’t grow … so they are “hibernating” when they are down deeper. Another unknown aspect of this marvelous world. 
Finally, an oddity. Plankton emit dimethylsulfide (DMS). This, in turn, forms cloud condensation nuclei, which favors the formation of clouds … how curious, that the smallest plants in the ocean should be able to affect the rate of cloud formation. And of course, the more light striking the surface, the warmer it is, the more DMS is produced … another lovely example of thermal regulation by emergent phenomena, in this case the emergent phenomenon we call “life”. There’s a good discussion of DMS and plankton here. To me, this is the best part of the extremely young and unsettled science of climate. There is something new to be learned every day. 
My best to all, w.
And for those climate prelates among us who are constantly proselytizing and who usually start their sermons by saying that climate change is “settled science,” I have but one word.

reddit Gallery CCVIII

Another excursion into the world of reddit Pictures. See: reddit Pics for sources.  Do yourself a favor and click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Last Rose of Summer

Dew on a Dragonfly

Rustic Cabin Kitchen

Victoria's Black Spur Drive

Honeypot Ant

Kicking the Iran Can

Iran wants the atomic bomb … and I have long been of the belief that the United States government (in its current form) wants Iran to have the atomic bomb … no matter what its snively pronouncements. After all it’s not fair that Israel has such a weapon and Iran doesn’t … independent of the fact that Israel would surely only use one defensively while Iran has sworn to use one offensively.

In March of this year we had unilaterally caused the lifting of some international sanctions against Iran which were beginning to bite … in exchange for vague promises out of Iran that they would somehow abandon its nuclear quest. One deadline in July passed for an agreement and now another is looming on November 24. If a deal is forthcoming, it is likely to be so lopsided that the Obama administration may try to circumvent Congressional ratification … see: NY Times Story … since such approval would be exceeding unlikely to happen unless there were stringent constraints on Iran’s nuclear ambitions … which are also exceeding unlikely to happen.

So what will happen later this month? Come on, we all know exactly what will happen … either a thinly-cloaked capitulation by the United States will occur … or no satisfactory agreement will be reached and we will kick the can a little further down the road. I’m betting on the latter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Honey Pot

We knew it was coming … President Obama needs more money to fight the Ebola crisis. And of course the Republicans will give it to him … as emergency funding … above the sequester spending limits. Can the Republicans do anything else with the November elections looming?  And Obama's crew knows this all too well. Just last week the Congress allocated $88 million to fight Ebola and this coming week watch for the administration to ask for ten times that amount … see: Huffington Post Story. Where will all this magic money go?  With Ron Klain now writing the checks (see: Fletcher's Castoria Blog Entry) anybody with any grey matter left knows full well where … well disguised, but still into the Democrat's re-election honey pot ... that's where. 

Are there not thousands of shovel-ready Ebola jobs out there?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Another Crisis

Not going to waste. Rahm Emanuel’s working adage is once again in play. President Obama has appointed a “czar” to oversee the Ebola crisis in the United States … and he’s a humdinger. His name is Ron Klain and he working credentials consist mainly of being able to spread taxpayer money adroitly to Democrat operatives while making it appear that he is helping things, Two cases in point … almost a trillion dollars of government “stimulus” money that somehow never found its way into shovel-ready job creation … and over a half of billion dollars of taxpayer money pissed away on that wonderful "green" boondoggle called Solyndra.

To appreciate more of this man's mostly political credentials please read: Powerline Story. I fully expect this slight-of-hand to be repeated as this hack tries to appear to be running things effectively … while using this Ebola crisis to Obama’s and the Democrat party’s monetary advantage.

Another side benefit: President Obama's appointment has obviously burnished his image with the uninformed voter right before the November midterm elections. He might just save a few Senate seats for his party. And I do hope against hope that this potential Ebola outbreak has now been stopped. However, purposely bringing more patients with this dread disease into the American healthcare system … as Obama is now planning to do … might make this hope a wee bit far-fetched … see: Washington Examiner Story.

Can our president treat his fellow Americans with any more cold-blooded cynicism?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Death of Common Sense

What is it in the water these days? Doesn’t it appear that our leaders have been tripping on some mysterious substance that robs them of even a modicum of sensibility? Decision after decision by these fruit bats fly in the face of reason … no restrictions on travel from West Africa, no health screening for those tens of thousands of young Mexican border jumpers, supporting welfare benefits and voting rights for illegal aliens, fire-hose government spending that robs from our children and grandchildren, national defense dismantling during a period of growing Russian and radical Islamic threats, rejecting carbon-based energy sources for less viable "green” options. Need I go on?

It seems that every time I see or hear of a policy decision these days it is diametrically opposed to what my Jiminy Cricket is suggesting. Do politicians feel obligated to reject what their inner voices tell them in favor of some cockamamie pronouncement that they heard from atop a soapbox by some wild-eyed ideologue?

I do believe we reject our innate filter of common sense at great risk. Maybe, for at least the next few elections, we might choose those politicians who dare to exhibit some common sense. Perhaps this characteristic won’t grab the headlines, but it might just save us.

Afterward: Not only are we not restricting travel from the three-country center of Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, but we have, for two months, been expediting the processing of U.S. visa extensions to the people from there! I'm not joking ... see: Breitbart Story! By the bye Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and other African Countries have closed their borders to emigres from these three West African countries.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


President Obama promised in a 2008 campaign speech that, if elected, he would “heal the planet” … see: YouTube Video .  Unlike Pinocchio, when Obama lies his nose doesn’t grow … it is his ears.

Who is that Masked Man?

A contract worker at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport was forced to remove his face mask by his superiors because he was told he might panic travelers ... see:  CBS Local News. Perhaps if he had worn a niqab, he would be OK?


What administration idiot thought that it was a good idea to have Michelle Obama pose this way for a photo-op?

Afterward: Or suggest that she dance with a turnip in a White House video ... see: USA Today Link. For those of you who are confused "turn up" is an insider vernacular for doin' the nasty ... see: Chacha Definition. The media's constructed reference to eating health foods is a cover story for this bit of sleeze.

Good Job, Tommy

"Good job, Brownie"
George W. Bush complimenting the then FEMA Director “Brownie” (Michael Brown) after the hurricane Katrina was not one of Bush’s finest moments … even though Brownie certainly shared blame for that poor New Orleans disaster response with the governor of Louisiana (Kathleen Blanco) and the Mayor of the city (Ray Nagin, who is now in prison for corruption).

Now President Obama is covering this Bush moment with his support for his Director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden. Tommy exuded an air of confidence and his sonorous voice reinforced this demeanor during his early handling of the Ebola crisis. However, his string of failed assurances, poor administrative talents, and his flawed logic (see: Logic is Logic) has led me to conclude that he must have inhaled too much chloroform during his medical school days.

This opinion on my part was reinforced today when I discovered that he was for 7 years Mayor Bloomberg’s Commissioner of Public Health in New York City … see: Wikipedia Entry. If you recall, it was during this period that the city forced chain restaurants to list the caloric content of all their dishes; installed draconian increases in cigarette taxes; tried to ban all soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, eliminate trans-fats in restaurant meals, and salt shakers from their tables.

Now I suppose that these nanny-state strictures are hailed by liberals, but, to me, they indicate that the doctor is a political animal before he is an administrator … just like our president. Leading from behind in this Ebola crisis is a dangerous stratagem … as we are daily finding out.

Afterward: The U.S. is still issuing 100 or so visas a day to people from the three West-African nations which are the centers of the Ebola outbreak ... see: Daily Signal Story. "Even better job, Tommy!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A New Chant

Now we find that George Bush and Colin Powell were right. The New York Times reveals today (apparently without a hint of embarrassment) that at least five thousand chemical warheads were discovered in Iraq during the years after the United States invasion … see: NY Times Story. This combined with the obvious relocation on truck convoys of many more of Saddam Hussein’s WMDs from Iraq into Syria in the months before our coalition’s invasion … see: PJ Media Story … and the discovery in Iraq of 550 metric tons of yellow-cake uranium in 2008 and its subsequent shipment to Canada … see: WMDs  … all suggest that the rationale for Bush's Iraqi war did indeed have some real underpinnings.

So, how about a new chant?  BUSH NEVER LIED ... SADDAM DIED!!


Despite all the best efforts of our Federal Reserve Bank and other national banks around the world to promote modest monetary inflation, we now appear to be entering into a period of increasing worldwide deflation. This is prompted by the geo-political turmoil and by the decision of the Saudi Arabian government to push down the price of oil … see: The Bow. In many ways this oil price decrease is good for the United States since it strengthens the dollar, reduces the cost of living for normal Americans, and makes our enormous national debt an easier burden. (But it also makes our exports more expensive to the rest of the world.)

However, falling oil prices will cause major problems elsewhere in the world … in particular, many OPEC members’ budgets are dependent on higher oil prices and may suffer major economic dislocations if such lower prices persist … see: UK Telegraph Story. Like, for instance they might not be able to subsidize terrorist activities around the world … or may have to cut back on their development of atomic weaponry … or they might even have to stop promoting the adoption of Sharia Law (and all the evil that this entails) in non-Muslim countries?

But, unfortunately, I also believe that these deflationary pressures might eventually grease the skids for rampant inflation when it eventually does re-appear its ugly head. So enjoy things while they are good.


Yes, I have praised President Obama for his humanitarian decision to send U.S. troops to West Africa to help combat the Ebola epidemic … possible pandemic … see: Ebola. But subsequent events have led me to have some misgivings about this decision. Now, I read that the troops being sent there … 4,000 before its all over … are elite soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division … see: Pamela Geller Blog.

To me this seems a curious choice … and so my growing doubts about this mission are re-enforced. Clearly this disease is more easily transmitted than we have been previously led to believe ... and the living conditions in an Army bivouac camp are far less sanitary and controllable than in the Dallas Presbyterian hospital.

Is President Obama purposely trying to punish these solders by sending them on a mission for which they seem unsuited and untrained. It is almost a certainty that one or more of them will contract this dreaded disease while there … a far less soldierly fate than being shot at by a RPG. Does Obama have a hidden agenda to this deployment as suggested by Pamela Geller in the above referenced article?

As a result of my current chariness about our fearless leader's decision, I offer three rational suggestions for this mission:

1) All the American soldiers that go to West Africa should be volunteers … and that they should be thoroughly trained beforehand in the hazards of Ebola … with an opting-out choice at the end of this training.

2) Tours of duty there should be no longer than two months … without any re-deployments … and with one month of quarantine on a remote tropical island before returning home. Any soldiers who contracts this disease should be flown back to the U.S. for premier treatment.

3) Like any good commander, Obama should spend two or three days there with his troops … once fully deployed. Leaders should never ask their troops to do anything that they themselves would not do.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

Louisiana is refusing to accept the waste products that were recently collected from Thomas Duncan’s Dallas-Texas apartment. Duncan is the Liberian man who recently died in Dallas from Ebola and these collected apartment waste products have already been incinerated, but are still being denied disposal in a landfill in Louisiana … see: Breitbart Story. This is because there is a question about the inherent safety of even these well-burned items.

This revelation has got me to thinking about a similar matter. What is the potential danger from the contaminated liquid waste products (feces, vomit, blood, urine, spit, etc.) that were flushed down the toilets and into the Dallas’s sewers by Duncan and now by this new nurse victim of Ebola before they were admitted to the hospital? Is there a public health threat from this obvious vector of the Ebola virus? Can this virus survive and/nor multiply in the Dallas sewers and municipal sewage plant and pose a potential threat to workers there or to future generations?

I suspect that the waste disposal infrastructures in West Africa are not as sophisticated and efficient as they are in Dallas … and I wonder if, as such, this Texas municipal plumbing might pose another type of threat that didn’t exist in the lesser developed countries of West Africa?

I surely would like to have the Center for Disease Control (or someone) effectively address this possible problem.

Afterward: See a related story: The Watchers. Particularly note that reclaimed water from sewage treatment facilities may be used on food crops!


Seattle Washington is once again acting out its silly liberal mantra by no longer celebrating Columbus Day … see: NPR Story. There, it now will be called Indigenous People Day and will diss Christopher in favor of the advanced and peace-loving civilizations that he found in this half of the world in 1492.

I guess I really don’t understand Starbucks City’s logic in this matter. Would it have preferred that Indians were still hunting beavers in the Cascade Mountains and Seattle was never created? (This is kind of like a child wishing that its parents had used contraceptives ...) Rewriting history based upon some notion of perfect morality on the part of one group of people is pie-in-the-sky. Would the “indigenous people” ever have fully exploited the resources that were here in this hemisphere if Columbus had turned back half-way across the Atlantic? Surely, someone else would have discovered that the world was round and so inhabited this new land … maybe with even less humanity.

Playing this shoulda, woulda, coulda game is raucously ridiculous. There was clearly a certain manifest destiny to Columbus’s discovery. Personally, I am quite happy that Ferdinand and Isabella threw the dice and funded Columbus in his dangerous adventure (and also threw the moors … read Muslims … out of Spain.)

Afterward: I read that Minneapolis has also opted to deep-six Columbus ... see: Goodbye, Columbus.

The Bow

It seems that the sleeping giant may have awoken. Saudi Arabia, seeing that the United States has surpassed it in oil production (see: Bloomberg News Story) has thrown down the gauntlet. The world is now awash in oil … with the result that crude oil prices are nearing four-year lows. Normally, Saudi Arabia would cut production in order to stabilize the price of crude on world markets. But this time Riyadh has decided to teach the United States and Canada a lesson. The Saudi’s are increasing their production to nearly 10 million barrels a day in order to hold onto market share.  

But the added benefit to the Saudi’s is that those considering investing in fracking for oil in the America will now think twice about sinking any new wells … given the prospect of even lower prices for crude … see: Live Trading News Story (a very revealing discussion.) This is because it obviously costs more to frack in the U.S. and Canadian shale than to drill in Saudi Arabia’s sandy lower quadrant … even after adding back the transportation costs.

Speaking of transportation costs … it also costs a whole lot more to ship Canadian oil to the refineries in Louisiana by tanker-train than it would by pipeline ... and it is more dangerous. So, in a very real way, the Obama administration is abetting this Saudi oil-war strategy by its refusal to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to go forward. 

Maybe this is why President Obama bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia some five years ago?

Afterward: Normally, since oil is traded in dollars, the price of oil is driven down by a strong dollar. But I'm wondering if the current situation might be the reverse ... because of these Saudi actions, the falling price of oil might be a big contributing factor to the strengthening dollar?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Killing Two Birds

Botox Boy, John Kerry, has pledged $212 million of borrowed Chinese money to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after this summer's demi-war with Israel. Obviously this aid has no strings attached ... see: Fox News Story. Why would it? We've been in Mahmoud Abbas's back pocket for all of Obama's term of inaction.

What then should we do? How about making this donation contingent upon the Palestinian Authority's (PA's) acceptance of Egypt's generous offer of a wide swath of the Sinai to expand Gaza's breathing room ... see: The Impossible Dream. The current concentration-camp atmosphere in Gaza is what is causing most of the problems there ... obviously on purpose. Clearly fixing this space problem is the most critical issue that needs addressing ... and could easily usher in the desired two-state solution.

Therefore, making the PA's acceptance of this Egyptian offer a prerequisite of our giving it $212 million of rebuilding aid would be killing two birds with one stone.

Things I Don't Get ...

The following things fly right over my head:

- Comicon

- Climate change

- Tweeting

- Selfies

- Lady Gaga

- Photo-bombing

- Pass/fail grading

- Cosplays

- Purell

- "How I Met Your Mother"

- Superbowl halftime shows

- Gopro camera

- Texting

- Donut burgers

- Blogs

reddit Gallery CCVII

Another excursion into the world of reddit Pictures. See: reddit Pics for sources.  Do yourself a favor and click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Belgium's New Minister of Health


Sculpting One's Body

A Child's Game!

2200-Year Old Greek Arm Band

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Calling in the Calvary

It seems that Iraqi officials are having second thoughts about their [supposed] decision not to have the United States leave any forces behind when we pulled out in December, 2011. Now they are pleading for the United States army to return … possibly the U.S. Third Calvary … see: UK Telegraph Story. This is because ISIS is now threatening to invade Bagdad and the existing Iraqi army has proven as effective as a brownie-scout troop.

Irony of ironies, the U.S. Third Calvary is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas … the very place where that the jihadist, Major Nidal Hasan, shot and killed 13 people and wounded 32 others in 2009… in what Attorney General Eric Holder has classified as a case of "workplace violence."

Whatever President Obama’s decision is in this matter, I’m pretty certain he will not be blowing the bugle and screaming to our troops, “CHARGE!”

Old News

There must be a half life to scandals … and so, the Clinton's just released, this past Friday night, a dump of many documents from the Clinton Library relating to their numerous sordid scandals … Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the pardoning of Mark Rich, Vince Foster, etc. … see: UK Telegraph Story and News10 Story. (The bigger the scandal, the longer must be the half-life ...) Many of these documents were heavily redacted and some were held back altogether. To use a tired old chestnut, this document dump was clearly and cynically meant to inoculate the Clinton's against further use of this information. In any future discussions they can, with a dismissive wave of the hand, offer the pusillanimous slight, “That’s old news!”

I find it very curious that good (or I might say evil) politicians seem to sense the exact timing of the aging process of scandalous stories in which they are involved. Thus, Hillary Clinton can put off any testimony about Benghazi until the American people (and the media) will dismiss any damaging revelations as “old news.” (Somehow Nixon never found the exact timing of this half-life process … although he surely tried.) I, on the other hand, react entirely the opposite way. Seeing politicians play this game of rope-a-dope just incites my outrage even more ... at this politician … and at the American people for allowing themselves to be so easily manipulated.

I guess I am forever cursed with my out-of-step mind.

And even more curious, after a sufficiently long delay (using some mysterious formula), the public may again have an appetite for the details of a particular scandal … the Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson affair comes to mind. How do I respond to such ancient revelations? My normal reaction is, “That’s old news!”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Logic is Logic?

The Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr.Tom Frieden, seemed a reasonable man. However, his rationales about banning travel from West Africa are far from reasonable. To me his logic in this matter is so flawed that I question my earlier assessment of him. Like many Obama administration flacks, he deflects the real issue into meaningless eddies. Here are his thoughts on this issue (in italics) with my comments (in bold):

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States has caused some to call on the United States to ban travel for anyone from the countries in West Africa facing the worst of the Ebola epidemic.
That response is understandable. It’s only human to want to protect ourselves and our families. We want to defend ourselves, so isn’t the fastest, easiest solution to put up a wall around the problem?
But, as has been said, for every complex problem, there’s a solution that’s quick, simple, and wrong. We don't want to isolate parts of the world, or people who aren't sick, because that's going to drive patients with Ebola underground, making it infinitely more difficult to address the outbreak.
We have been more than willing to quarantine people in Dallas who came in contact with Thomas Duncan, the Liberian who recently died from Ebola. Why cannot we now err on the side of caution and expand the perimeter?
A travel ban is not the right answer.  It’s simply not feasible to build a wall – virtual or real – around a community, city, or country. A travel ban would essentially quarantine the more than 22 million people that make up the combined populations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
The issue is not building a wall around these countries … it is stopping the travel from these countries into the United States. This can easily be done by not issuing any U.S. visas to anyone from these countries. This way those people trying to travel here through third countries can also be stopped.
When a wildfire breaks out we don't fence it off. We go in to extinguish it before one of the random sparks sets off another outbreak somewhere else.
Actually one effective method of stopping wildfires is to clear all fuel from downwind areas around the fire or, if the wind is right, set backfires to stop its spread.
We don't want to isolate parts of the world, or people who aren't sick, because that's going to drive patients with Ebola underground, making it infinitely more difficult to address the outbreak.
I sincerely doubt that any more Ebola patients will go underground because they can’t travel to the United States. Already, something like 50% of Ebola victims in West Africa may already be underground … see: Yahoo News. Quite the opposite, this is an even stronger reason to install a visa ban.
It could even cause these countries to stop working with the international community as they refuse to report cases because they fear the consequences of a border closing.
Great Britain and France have already installed travel bans from these countries.
Stopping planes from flying from West Africa would severely limit the ability of Americans to return to the United States or of people with dual citizenship to get home, wherever that may be.
Here Dr. Frieden is changing the subject. There is no need to stop all planes from flying out of West Africa … nor would American citizens be stopped from returning back to the U.S. since they would not need visas … but they would need to endure a more rigorous health screening.
In addition to not stopping the spread of Ebola, isolating countries will make it harder to respond to Ebola, creating an even greater humanitarian and health care emergency.
Dr. Frieden is slipping from disease control into politics. In fact, it seems to me that he is rationalizing President Obama’s irrational policy decision ... carrying his water if you will.
Importantly, isolating countries won’t keep Ebola contained and away from American shores.  Paradoxically, it will increase the risk that Ebola will spread in those countries and to other countries, and that we will have more patients who develop Ebola in the U.S
Why? Where is the data? What’s the logic?
People will move between countries, even when governments restrict travel and trade. And that kind of travel becomes almost impossible to track.
If the World Health Organization were doing its job, this would not be an issue.
Isolating communities also increases people’s distrust of government, making them less likely to cooperate to help stop the spread of Ebola.
Another logical stretch without any supporting evidence.
Isolating communities and regions within countries will also backfire. Restricting travel or trade to and from a community makes the disease spread more rapidly in the isolated area, eventually putting the rest of the country at even greater risk.
Now the word “trade” enters stage left. 
To provide relief to West Africa, borders must remain open and commercial flights must continue.
From God’s mouth to Dr. Frieden’s ear.
There is no more effective way to protect the United States against additional Ebola cases than to address this outbreak at the source in West Africa. That’s what our international response—including the stepped-up measures the president announced last month—will do.
What works most effectively for quelling disease outbreaks like Ebola is not quarantining huge populations.
What works is focusing on and isolating the sick and those in direct contact with them as they are at highest risk of infection. This strategy worked with SARS and it worked during the H1N1 flu pandemic. Casting too wide a net, such as invoking travel bans, would only provide an illusion of security and would lead to prejudice and stigma around those in West Africa.
I think that simple logic dictates that we err on the side of caution. Now it does seem that the CDC has become politicized … unfortunately.
Americans can be reassured we are taking measures to protect citizens here.
Today, all outbound passengers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are screened for Ebola symptoms before they board an airplane.
Symbolism only …
Staff from CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customers & Border Protection will begin new layers of entry screening, first at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York this Saturday, and in the following week at four additional airports -- Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C.; Newark Liberty International Airport; Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Combined, these U.S. airports receive almost 95 percent of the American-bound travelers from the Ebola-affected countries.
If you were trying to avoid this screening, would you enter via these airports?
Travelers from those countries will be escorted to an area of the airport set aside for screening. There they will be observed for signs of illness, asked a series of health and exposure questions, and given information on Ebola and information on monitoring themselves for symptoms for 21 days. Their temperature will be checked, and if there’s any concern about their health, they’ll be referred to the local public health authority for further evaluation or monitoring.
Did Thomas Duncan tell the truth or exhibit symptoms on his way out of Liberia? No. See my other blog discussion here: A Dilemma.
Controlling Ebola at its source – in West Africa – is how we will win this battle. When countries are isolated, we cannot get medical supplies and personnel efficiently to where they’re needed – making it impossible to fight the virus in West Africa.
I thought the issue was travel from West Africa … not to West Africa.
As the WHO's Gregory Hartl said recently, “Travel restrictions don’t stop a virus. If airlines stop flying to West Africa, we can’t get the people that we need to combat this outbreak, and we can’t get the food and the fuel and other supplies that people there need to survive.”
Citing another illogical source does not make things logical.
We know how to stop Ebola: by isolating and treating patients, tracing and monitoring their contacts, and breaking the chains of transmission.
Until Ebola is controlled in West Africa, we cannot get the risk to zero here in the United States.