Sunday Suggestions

This week’s links:

  • Global warming slapdown: There’s plenty of heat and very little light in the global warming hysteria. Here’s a breath of fresh air: Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming:
     

    A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun’s irradiance. “This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850,” said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery….

    “We have had a Greenhouse Theory with no evidence to support it-except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events,” said co-author Singer. “On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted.”

    “Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people,” says Avery. “It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease.”

  • The Dems & Gen. Petraeus: Some great cartoons over at Flopping Aces:
     
    (HT: Maggies Farm)
  • It’s Knot What You Think: This could help my surgical skills — or knot: Animated Knots (HT: Neatorama)
  • San Fran Health Plan: San Francisco tries covering everyone — in San Francisco. Interesting, in some ways; the devil’s in the details, especially how much it will cost and who pays (usually businesses, who will likely migrate outside the city if the burden is too onerous): San Francisco to Offer Care for Uninsured Adults
  • Catholic & Protestant: Happy Catholic gets it exactly right: Back of the Bus” Christians? No Way.
  • The truth about indulgences: Bad rep, indulgences: selling salvation, seriously PO’d Martin Luther and fomented the Protestant Reformation. Like the Crusades, much misunderstood, however, and the truth is far different from the conventioal wisdom (isn’t it always?). Here’s the scoop in all its glorious detail: Indulgences

That’s all for now. God bless, have a great week.

Wednesday Links

A little late on getting the links up this week, but these should be worth the wait:

  • Brave tribal warrior bags great gray whale: Ya gotta love it when the liberal entitlement/victim groups harpoon one another. The Makah Indians in Washington state are trying to get an exemption to hunt gray whales from the feds, who have been protecting the species. Tired of waiting for the bureaucrats, the brave tribal warriors proceed with an ancient ritual: throw a few darts in a whale’s direction, then blow the floating blubber factory away with a .50-caliber machine gun. Of course, the animal rights folks are in a lather (with soap made from whale oil, perhaps?) The Guv’s upset ‘cuz the whale not only went belly up, but sank to the bottom — such a waste of an endangered species. Of course, being a good liberal, the Governor can’t criticize the Native Americans — not multiculturally correct — and she can’t criticize the animal rights lobby, for the Animals Are Our Brothers™. Wonder if we can’t get the feminists into this brawl — maybe the whale was a female? The Whale Nazi (cousin of the Soup Nazi) says: “No whale burgers for you, brave warriors!!” … Blubbering idiots, one and all: Whale dies after shooting, harpooning by Makah
  • Some things never change: We’ve all gotten used to the moral equivalency which says the U.S. is no better than the terrorists; that morality and ethics are subjective and set by the individual; that all cultures must be judged equal and never criticized or condemned, making no value judgments whatsoever. Turns out, this mental onanism is not a new phenomenon. From an article at First Things on Relativism comes this rather startling historical episode:

    Sometime during the course of World War II the United States War Department brought together a selected group of cultural anthropologists in order to secure their counsel regarding the management of psychological warfare in [the] face of German National Socialism. After the group had assembled in Washington one of their number asked what the War Department really expected of these men. He explained that in his work the cultural anthropologist for the sake of scientific objectivity presupposes the point of view of cultural relativism, and that therefore he entertains no biases or ethical preferences, in short, that he is not accustomed to making value judgments regarding the various cultures he studies. He went on to say that if the Germans preferred Nazism, they were entitled to that preference, just as democratic Americans are entitled to their own different preference. In either case, he said, the preference is simply an expression of a cultural milieu.

  • Who are the uninsured?: We hear all about those without health insurance in the U.S. — currently estimated at about 47 million. Just who are these folks, anyway? The answers may surprise you: America’s uninsured (HT: Maggie’s Farm)
  • Pass the prosciutto, please: Here’s your dose of terminal cuteness for the week: a Ukrainian video of a cat eating melon:
  • You just can’t make this stuff up: Jim McDermott, the wacko far-left congressional representative and former psychiatrist from Seattle, has finally achieved the pinnacle of honor he has so long coveted: McDermott knighted by king of Lesotho

    “His Majesty Letsie III, by the Grace of God, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Lesotho, is pleased by these presents to appoint Jim McDermott Knight Commander of The Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe,” the official citation reads.

    McDermott said he appreciated the recognition.

    “I represent Seattle, Washington, named for Chief Si’ahl, the inspired leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish Native American Tribes,” McDermott said in a statement. “A century ago, the great tribal chief said: ‘We did not weave the web of life. We are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.'”

    Next stop: King of the Flying Saucers.

  • Premonitions of 9-11: Some of these pictures & graphics — all created before 9-11 — are astounding — and a bit creepy: premonitions

That’s all for now — more later.

Sunday Suggestions

The week has just whizzed by, but there’s been a trainload of great stuff in out in webland:

  • On Government the solid Rock I stand: Obama was preachin’ to the choir again, in a New Orleans church, quoting the Sermon on the Mount.
     
    First, the obvious: can you imagine a Republican or a Conservativepreaching in a church and quoting the Bible — without the chorus of cries about “theocracy” and “right-wing fundamentalist extremists”? Didn’t think so. But more to the point: I somehow don’t think Christ was referring to government when He spoke about building houses on on the Rock … and isn’t New Orleans an excellent example of building houses on sand?
  • And while we’re on the subject of New Orleans: Just among friends, may I say something, rather politically incorrect? Why in the hell are we rebuilding this city? We’re $127 billion in, with very little to show for it, and we’re one hurricane away from flushing that money down the can as well. Leave the Crescent, bulldoze the rest, breach the dikes permanently, and let the Mississippi regain its tidal marshes. Mona Charen spells it out nicely, as does the Confederate Yankee: Rebuilding New Orleans: A Continuing Mistake
  • In memory of Stevie Ray Vaughn: Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the truly great blues guitarists, died 17 years ago this week in a helicopter crash:
     

     
    And check out this session with Albert King — two of the greatest electric blues players ever. (Notice King’s left-handed Gibson Flying V) — played upside-down (high strings at the top):
     

     
    OK, stop me before I link again — here’s SRV, Albert King B.B. King, and I think (correct me if I’m wrong), Charlie Musselwhite. Blues ecstasy!
     
  •  

  • Gagdad Bob nails it: Robert Godwin over at One Cosmos is one deep thinker — so deep at times I need a decompression chamber to recover. No nitrogen narcosis from this one, just outta sight insight: Epidemanology 101: The Cause and Cure of Mankind
  • Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me: Modern secular liberalism is all about words — negotiation, compromise, appeasement, multilateral solutions, tough talk without action. Why smooth-talking lily-livered intellectuals pose such a threat to Western culture: Courage, Cowardice and the Wordsmiths:
     

    These self-flattering views carry over to adulthood, and shape the future wordsmith intellectuals’ political views. If words can resolve all conflicts, then wordsmiths are exceedingly important. If conflicts within and between human beings can be “resolved” with words, then who better to play the role of savior than the wordsmith intellectual?

    One of the central features of utopian politics, explaining their appeal to intellectuals, is the promise that conflict can be abolished and human nature fundamentally changed. Whether Communism, Nazism or Islamism, the aim is a unified, submissive, happy mankind led by an elite in possession of the truth, just like Miss Murphy when she taught 6th grade. Aggression will then vanish when egalitarian paradise prevails.

  • The pointlessness of suffering: Once again, a home run over at First Things — this time on the problem of pain and suffering in Christianity:
     

    Which is to say that there the already of salvation history: He is risen! and the not yet. And the not yet entails suffering in this passing — suffering that is often unjust and seemingly pointless, but in the hands of a sovereign and Good God a tool to conform his children to the image of his Only Begotten, the true purpose of their predestination. (So as not to be misunderstood, because suffering falls within the permissive will of God, and can even be used by him for ultimately good ends, is no excuse for complacency; the alleviation of pain, done in the name of Jesus, is, like preaching and teaching, a heralding of the kingdom and a diffusion of hope.)

    Now, a sovereign God does not displace secondary causes in Christians’ thinking about how the world works. Shifting tectonic plates do give rise to earthquakes and tsunamis. But Christians also believe God continues to intervene in the affairs of his creatures and does so to remind them that the world and its horrors are not beyond his purview, and that the saved child and the answered prayer is a foretaste of the age to come, in which every tear shall be wiped away and the body will no longer be an occasion of sin or pain.

    But a foretaste only. Which is why sometimes only one child is saved. And why only Lazarus is raised from the dead. They are signs of this already, while the rest endure the not yet. Hints, whispers, and still small voices until the full number of the Elect have come into the Kingdom and the very last fundamentalist Darwinian has raged.

    Why Do the Heathen Rage?

  • Such a deal:
     

    An Arab, desperate for water, was plodding through the desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand selling neckties.

    The Arab asked, “Do you have water?”

    The Jewish man replied, “I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.”

    The Arab shouted, “Idiot Jew! Israel should not exist! I do not need an overpriced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first.”

    “OK,” said the old Jew, “it does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. It has all the water you need. Shalom.”

    Muttering, the Arab staggered away over the hill. Several hours later he staggered back, near collapse.

    “Your brother won’t let me in without a tie.”

    (HT: Mr Bagel Funnies)

  • Well, they don’t kill everybody: 100-year-old celebrates her birthday by smoking 170,000th cigarette
  • The doctor will see you — eventually: Why our current health care system promotes scheduling inefficiency and long waiting-room times. Waiting for the doctor.
  • How to avoid getting a DUI: Drunk dad has 11 year old drive home
  • Don’t wear this one to a Greenpeace protest: Exploit the Earth or Die Merchandise

That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Sunday Suggestions

This week’s links:

  • Not man’s best friend: Pets are great, but pick yours carefully. Skip this one if you have arachnophobia, or a queasy stomach: Man Killed by Pet Spider. (HT: Evangelical Outpost)
  •  
     

  • No wonder he was late for his job interview: Another criminal mastermind bites the dust. Bank Robber Left His Resume, Photo At Scene
  •  
     

  • Tiny minds think alike: Some of you have heard about Tiny Muskens, the Roman Catholic bishop from the Netherlands. Tiny (whose nickname was no doubt given for his intellectual prowess in seminary) has the solution to all this Christian-Muslim animosity: let’s just all call God “Allah.” Uh-huh. As usual on such matters, First Things has the last word on such stupidity: The Name of God.
  • Give peace a chance, comrade: The Peace Racket. The far left has long used the “peace movement” to attack the greatest threat to its totalitarian dreams: the U.S.
  •  

  • Just a little day hike:
  • Jeff Bridges: On the Path. Me? I’d hire a chopper.

  • The perfect steak:
  • Bird Dog bales on the barbecue, but I’m not bitin’ — still love a good barbecue. The secret, IMHO: 1) Good steak (USDA Choice), nice and thick (1 inch), fillet the most tender but sirloin has better flavor; 2) Charcoal grill a must — no pantywaist propane imitations for me. Use a big Weber, nice hot fire (lots of charcoal, started in a chimney with paper or a fire starter, no lighter fluid, please); 3) Steaks should be at room temperature, dried off, coated with garlic oil and lots of ground pepper, no salt (sucks out the juices — salt it after cooking); 4) Sear both sides quickly with the Weber top off for maximum radiant heat, then cover with vents open fully. Turn often after searing; 5) I used to think I could gauge the cooking by eyeball and touch. Now I use an electronic meat thermometer (with the long extension cable). 120 degrees is rare, my preference medium-rare, 125-130.

    I love a good pan-fried steak as well, London broil, dried, coated in garlic or sesame oil, seared on an iron skillet. But they’ll take my charcoal grill away when they pry it from my cold, smoky hands.

That’s all for now – God bless, and have a great week.

Sunday Suggestions


OK, troops, time to look sharp and get smart with our weekly web linkfest:
 

  • World’s most interesting bridges: I’m quite fascinated by bridges, having followed the construction of the new Narrows Bridge from its beginning. Here’s some really cool ones. (They neglected one of the coolest, however: the extraordinary Millau Viaduct in France)
     
    Update: A commenter points me to this link on the Millau Viaduct, with numerous photos of its construction. Very cool.
  • Cool ads: Most ads are awful. These most definitely are not.
  • Cultural Cuisinart: Mark Steyn is one of my favorite writers — talented, funny, clever, very insightful. When he sharpens his rapier, stand back, ’cause his target’s gonna get sliced and diced. This week he strikes again: The whims of legal immigration. Brutal. Funny. Sadly, all too true.
  • No free lunch: Cost Control for Dummies. Basic economics of government price control of health care.
  • Michael Totten in Iraq: Another must-read dispatch. How is it that 2 or 3 independent reporters like Totten and Michael Yon, working on their own dime, make the entire mainstream media with their deep pockets and armies of journalists look like incompetent fools in their Iraq reporting? Balance of Terror
  • Have sex, win a car:

    Everyone who has a baby on Russia Day, June 12, gets a prize, but the grand prize goes to the couple who are judged most fit to be parents. The 2007 grand prize went to Irina and Andrei Kartuzov, who received a brand new UAZ-Patriot . . . a Russian-made SUV.

     
    Wonder how they judge who is most fit to be parents — a drivers test? And will this lucky lady be known as Miss Carriage? Patriotic parents needed to reignite Ruskie baby boom

  • McHeimlich Maneuver: Some use the choke to start their car; others use it to stop. Seat-belt Heimlich maneuver saves choking driver
  • Subprime mess: Want to know what the deal is with the subprime mess which is hammering the stock market and making lots of people nervous? Dale Franks spells it out: More on the Economic Outlook
  • Just a small town girl: Just be careful which small town you’re talkin’ about, though. Hillary’s Feeling “Good About Where I Am.” In Pahrump, Nevada

Well that’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Sunday Suggestions

This week’s links:

  • More is not better: Our sex-crazed culture seems to believe that saturation — in advertising, pornography, media, and everywhere else we look — will “free us from our sexual inhibitions” and make our sex lives better. Their real effect is just the opposite, as Naomi Wolf points out: it kills the eros of the real thing. Naomi is no right-wing, sexually repressed Bible-thumper, BTW — you may recall her as Al Gore’s “alpha male” consultant: The Porn Myth (HT: Evangelical Outpost)
  • Better living through chemistry: No, not the hippies solution from the 60s, but about the mundane but important topic of motor oil: Better Living Through Chemistry
  • Is it fair to say she was Miss Lead? Medics Remove Pencil After 55 Years
  • What’s on Hitler’s iPod?: Surprisingly, some Jewish artists: Hitler’s Music Collection
  • Is that a hose you’re carrying, or are you just glad to see me?: Funny how they’re always talking about how we religious folk try to “cram your values down our throats.” But it always seems like it’s the PC crowd who force people to accept their values: Firefighters File Complaint for Being Forced to Attend Gay Pride Parade. My question: why are the city firemen participating at all in a gay pride parade, which is fundamentally a political event? (and why no Heterosexual Pride parade, eh?) Perhaps for safety — after all, there’s some pretty hot guys there…
  • Universal coverage a good idea?
  • Arnold Kling challenges the assumptions. He seems taken in by the lower-prices-by-removing-licensing-restrictions argument (which would work only in a free market, which we don’t have), but he has some thought-provoking ideas: The Universal Distraction (HT: Maggies Farm)
     
    See also his excellent article on Insulation vs. Insurance — although if he had bladder cancer (a common disease), ignoring his microscopic hematuria would have been a very bad idea.

That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Sunday Suggestions

Well, it’s that time again — time to shepherd some tidbits from my weekly web wanderings:

  • Clueless healthcare solution: This WSJ letter to the editor shows the typical cluelessness (a favorite of libertarians) to the solution of high medical costs, to wit: lets just increase the supply of doctors. Sorry, no workee: 1) If you pay physicians less than their cost to provide services, increasing the number of physicians will not solve the problem — it will worsen it; 2) the usual rules of supply and demand do not apply in medicine, where prices are fixed by third parties (the government and insurance companies), transparency is impossible (due to litigation risk and rules limiting openness in pricing and services); 3) where the consumer is largely sheltered from the costs of the services purchased; 4) Oh, and by the way: the government and the AMA don’t regulate the number of physicians trained.
     
    In short, free market principles don’t work when the market isn’t free: Regulation Leaves U.S. Doctor Supply in Demand.
  • Canadian health care system: Problems galore in the Canadian health care system — which is often seen as a model for the U.S. Here’s a bevy of links detailing them:
     
    Top court strikes down Quebec private health-care ban
     
    A new ‘Day’ for the CMA
     
    Alberta fuels Canada healthcare debate
     
    The family physician shortage
     
    Canada’s doctor shortage to worsen without changes: Fraser report
     
    Canadians begin waiting for surgery before getting on the “wait list”
     
    This is Boomtown, Ont.
     
    Public, private health should co-exist, CMA says
     
  • 35W Bridge collapse photos: Amazing slide show here.
  • Why aren’t doctors paid by the hour?: I’ve spoken about this before as one solution to exiting our health care maze: One part of the answer: the payors (government & insurance industry) hate the idea: Why aren’t doctors paid by the hour?
  • Faith & meaning: We’ve been batting around the tension between faith and reason here recently (with more to come). Here’s an older post of mine touching on some of the same issues, from a little different perspective: Collision of Worlds.

That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Sunday Suggestions

I’ve had the week off, but I haven’t been sitting around idly — I have been in dogged pursuit of actors for my new movie, Poodles of the Caribbean. All-star cast (although Johnny Depp said he wasn’t interested in the lead — loser), but Ben my 70-pound standard poodle was enthusiastic about the part (he’s enthusiastic about everything), and has been pounding out the script on his pirate keyboard.

While he’s working on that project, I’ve been surfing the web looking for interesting booty myself (no, not that kind of booty … ). So avast me hardies, here goes:

  • Is the Pope Catholic?: Heard about all the brouhaha about how the Pope’s recent proclamation declaring other Christian denominations “defective”? All over the media, wasn’t it? Now, want to read what the Pope really said? Here’s the original document.
     
    Executive summary: 1) The media doesn’t bother to read primary documents; 2) If they do, they don’t understand them, but use them merely for pull quotes to push their own agenda; 3) They really don’t get religion. (HT: GetReligion)
  • GPS in the air: I have a good friend who is an air traffic controller. He recently told me he is rapidly approaching the point where he will not fly because of safety concerns about air traffic control, especially outdated technology and overextended personnel. Hopefully this will help: FAA’s GPS Fix Could Bust Sky Gridlock
  • 15 Unfortunately Placed Ads. Ain’t natural selection great? (HT: Maggie’s Farm)
     
    See also Van Der Leun’s excellent insight into the unexpected consequences of designing and placing graphic print media: How to Make a Real Man’s Magazine Cover. Gerard’s a former Penthouse fashion editor (sounds like a pretty easy job, when the Empress wears no clothes … ), currently managing editor at PajamasMedia, blogger at American Digest, aspiring Playboy bunny, and an all-around good guy.
  • Coverage for all, access for none: Everybody loves the idea of universal coverage — but everybody seems to have forgotten something simple: to make this scheme affordable, reimbursement rates will need to be driven down to a point where physicians will be unable to afford to see patients. This is currently the case with Medicaid and increasingly with Medicare as well.
     
    Be careful what you wish for: Doctor Shortage Hurts A Coverage-for-All Plan. Key graph:
     

    In Massachusetts, the state-subsidized plans, collectively called Commonwealth Care, are provided by private insurance companies. Patients can choose from among six options. Residents who make between one and three times the poverty level ($48,000 for a family of three) are now eligible for coverage under the plan. Doctors are reimbursed by insurance providers — at below-market rates comparable with Medicaid reimbursements.

    Medicaid pays about 40-50% of the physician’s costs to see the patient in Washington state, and other states are similar. Where do I sign up for this plan?

That’s all for now. God bless, and have a great week.