December 25, 2012


I have had a rough patch-o-life as of late.  As much as I am an adult and take responsibility for my actions.  I am finding that sometimes, circumstance makes us victims.

So when do you play that victim card?  Is it really legitimate?  Does reality and perceived reality actually boil into truth at some point?  Who can own truth for any given event?

I am reminded of the Blind Men and the Elephant: How each was correct but none fully.

December 21, 2012

Again with the insane

Lets all have a serious talk about gun control...

Sure... why not... oh, by serious talk you mean inane rants for banning all weapons, while demonizing anyone who's opinion differs?  Okay, let the sound bites begin!

Keep this in mind as you read the ravings.  Banning the misnamed "assault weapons" will not make people safer.  The US is not a dangerous place because we have millions of guns.  Gun control has not stopped gun massacres from occurring in other countries. Oh and banning something like high capacity magazines will not keep them out of the criminals hands.

It seems the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun.

December 17, 2012

Second Amendment Hypothetical.

Assumption: You are a teacher in charge of a classroom.  Someone with criminal intentions comes onto campus with firearms.

Per protocol you lock the door, move the kids away from open windows, making the room appear empty.  You have the kids low and quiet.  Somehow the perpetrator is able to open the door and come into the room.  You and your charges are now under dire threat.

Assumption 2:  You have a firearm and training in the same situation.

I believe assumption 2 would offer better protection for the kids under your care.

December 15, 2012

Knee meet Jerk...

Something horrible happens.  Before we can collectively breathe someone politicizes the event.  Others go defensive on the thrust of the agenda, others council now is not the time. Rhetoric ensues. Hubris meets ad hominem.  Still, few good policies come from rapid responses to deeply felt injuries.

Seems to me the question is "Why did this happen?" It is a good question, it is also one without answer.  How can we stop unforeseen heinous crimes from happening?  Is another good question, which follows the fallacy of protecting everyone from everything.  What cost liberty?

Some Bullet points to illustrate fallacious statements following the heinous murders in CT:

  • Too many guns in the USA.
  • The way the news media reports these stories glorify the event\murderer.
  • We need to lock up mental patients.
  • Hollywood glorifies violence.
  • Not enough God in our schools.
  • America is too violent.
  • If only teachers were armed.
None of the above offer more then a straw man.

Just read this.

The news out of Connecticut yesterday was terrible.
And even that sentence seems trite, cliched, nothing even close to capturing what happened and how I feel and my God, how wretched it is to think of those poor little kids, about the same age as my Sienna, dying in fear and confusion and far from their parents. And their parents…honestly, my mind keeps blocking me there, as if it won’t let me travel down that path of what they must be thinking and feeling, wandering around their houses, picking up a discarded sock from their dead child, a shoe, a toy, a stuffed animal, a shirt…anything tangible to hold onto now that they can’t hold their children. And maybe for a second they manage to get ahold of themselves, take a deep breath, and then they turn around and see a present under the tree, picked out carefully and wrapped early, that precious little hands will never unwrap. God. God. Honestly, what can I say but that? God. Where were you, where are you, and why, why, why?

I don’t know the answer. I never will. There are lots of sections in the catechism that talk about the question of evil, books written on it, even blog posts about it, but all those are cold comfort next to kindergartners  shot dead in their classrooms. On the tragedy itself, I have nothing to say. My thoughts and fervent prayers go out to the victims and their families.

On the response to the tragedy by people who call themselves Catholic, I have a whole hell of a lot to say. I’m so angry about certain things that keep popping up on Facebook that I want to scream. But I’m trying to keep in mind that we’re all doing this, a whole country of people enraged by the killing of children and lashing out at who’s nearest because we can’t last out at the nameless, shapeless evil that motivates these hideous acts. People furious about gun control or the lack thereof, about those who don’t home school or those who say it would have saved these kids, about access to mental health services and oversight for afflicted individuals…it goes on and on. There’s no one left to punish for the crime, so we pummel each other in frustration. I get it.

Yet still, there are some responses to this tragedy that are truly wrong. Not just misguided, but wrong. I came across one on Facebook last night and have been stewing about it ever since. I deliberated for a while about writing this post before deciding that it needs to be said. There are good people on facebook who will share these links, like these links, and pass them on, not because they’re malicious but because they’re not thinking. At a time like this, you need to think about what is being said and all the implications it bears.

This is the meme that showed up in my news-feed  I shared it to point out how awful it was, and the Anchoress responded with, “This is why people hate Christians and misunderstand Christ.”
I could not agree more. This sentiment is being expressed in a million different ways all over the internet and airwaves today, and every person saying it, liking it, and sharing it needs to stop. Right now. It is one of the most reprehensible things I have ever seen Christians do.

Leaving aside the outrageous fact that someone made a Star Trek Facebook meme about the slaughter of kindergartners  it’s reprehensible because this is smugness in the face of the death of children. It’s saying, “this is exactly what you get when you take God out of schools.” I wouldn't be surprised if someone added, “ ha-ha, you deserve it, atheists”, because that is exactly what is meant by this meme.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but this is not how Christians should behave. Reveling in the death of children because it proves that you were right all along about a law to ban prayer in schools? No wonder people hate us. If this is our attitude, they should.

This isn't how God works. People make laws about religion all the time. You can pray here, you can’t pray here, you can only pray to this God or that one, you can only pray at this time or that…it goes on and on. No laws can stop God from being present with us. No laws can stop God from anything. God was there, in that school, with those beautiful little children. I don’t know why he didn't stop it. There’s a lot about free will and evil I will never understand. But God wasn't sitting outside the school like some spurned teenager, sullenly saying, “I could have stopped this if you hadn't kicked me out.” Are you kidding? That’s not God, who made us, and then loved us so much that he let his only son die for our salvation. That’s not Christ, who allowed himself to be beaten, humiliated, tortured and slaughtered by us, for us. That is not Christianity. That is not what we believe. So stop sharing it, and stop saying it.

For the innocents slaughtered in Connecticut yesterday, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Update II:  Jezebel courts the issue a similar way.

Although her premise is flawed.  The person to be mad at and blame is the shooter.

December 14, 2012

You may want to re-examine your health care.


There is a democratic revolt in process over the bill the same people voted for.

The 2.3 percent tax bite is misleading, because it is a tax on gross sales. An industry spokesman with Indiana-based Cook Medical estimated that the impact on a company’s actual earnings would be closer to 15 percent.

It is interesting to note that Senators like Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and others -- all of whom voted in favor of the law -- are aiming to delay or outright repeal parts of ObamaCare.

Interesting to note about the Independent Payment Advisory Panel (IPAB), the board of unelected officials that will determine which medical treatments and procedures are too costly for some patients, is supposed to impose cost controls on federal medical spending.  Wouldn't this be the denied death panel?

December 12, 2012

Give me all your thoughts on Hell...


Here is a perfectly orthodox explanation of the Church’s doctrine of hell by Fr. Robert Barron.Compared with the whole “Hell want out with Vatican II” or “Sophisticated Christians now understand that hell was a medieval fear tactic” or sundry other attempt to say “Ain’t no such thang” what sticks out for me is simply that Fr. Barron affirms both the reality and eternity of hell. The only thing he doesn’t do–and with good reason in my view, is offer an opinion on how many–or if any–will go there.
And because of this, there is, I gather a Controversy.

I’ve never understood this.

There is, to be sure, a very dangerous presumption of Universalism among a lot of Catholics. The average Catholic tends to talk as though it’s automatic heaven for everybody except maybe Hitler or a pedophile priest somewhere. Partly that springs from a psychological habit of not presuming to judge others. Partly it springs from a conviction that, at the end of the day, most people are pretty good and the whole “need of salvation” thing is good for religious types and specially devoted folk, but as long as we keep our noses clean and pay our taxes, we’re pretty much a shoo-in. That mentality needs killin’ bad since the testimony of the Tradition is that the crucifixion not only is the payment for our sin, but a demonstration of what our species, apart from grace, really does. What is homo sapiens? Homo sapiens is the species that does *that* to God when he gets his hands on him. We really are quite vile apart from grace. And that means you, bub. You’re not a nice person. Neither am I. Without the fifty bazillion helps and supports of grace, you would be a disgusting thing indeed. And even with those helps and supports, God has his hands full keeping you out of trouble. You and I are, in the most cosmic sense of the word, jerks. So heaven is not a shoo-in and you need to get off your fat butt and cooperate with grace because you could still lose this battle of life, close your heart forever and wind up losing everything you ever desired most deeply.

That’s the warning of hell. The problem is, there is another sort of person: the one who is pretty sure he knows that there are lots of people in hell and (just between you and me) who quite a number of them are. The problem is simply this: we know no such thing. We don’t know the end of the story. So we are allowed neither presumption nor despair. We are only allowed hope. Fr. Barron seems to me to strike just that balance. He does not preach universalism. His whole point is that hell is a real possibility and he clearly warns of it. What he does not do is indulge the speculation about who or how many go there. That’s God’s job.

The Artificial marketplace.


Alternative energy is well worth pursuing.  I could even argue that our government should invest in the research and development of better energy sources.  Driving the price of electricity down or being able to live off the grid with all the accouterments would be awesome.

Recently a friend of mine took advantage of a government program and purchased some panels and an electric car.  With the life expectancy and low cost of said vehicles he should come out ahead in the long run.  Meantime his electrical bill is a nice bragging point.  You could also throw in the protecting the environment.

Still you hear the wails and lamenting of Nuclear, Fracking, coal and fossil fuels.  Personally, I feel we should be investing into all the above sources to drive the costs down.  At a certain cost point a tax should be placed on usage that exclusively goes towards solar, wind, geothermal, fusion, tidal etc.

In Germany, feed-in tariffs of eight times the market rate resulted in the installation of over one million roof-top solar systems by 2010. But the 20-year guarantee also produced a subsidy obligation of over $140 billion. German electricity rates climbed to the second highest in the world and continue to climb to pay for green energy. To stop the bleeding, Germany cut feed-in subsidies three times in 2011 and announced a complete phase-out by 2017. Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other nations cut subsidies for wind, solar, and biofuels during the last three years.

It all might be a pipe dream, still worth pursuing IMHO.

December 11, 2012

More Foreshadowing of Obamacare?

Labour MP tells of inhumane treatment and says she fears normalisation of cruelty now rife among NHS nurses.

If a Labor MP can't get better treatment for her husband, the average Briton is completely out of luck.

Interestingly enough, this has not made any US papers that I could find.

Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn't "stand in the hospital corridor and scream" in protest at the "almost callous lack of care" with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Clwyd, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley since 1984 and Tony Blair's former human rights envoy to Iraq, told the Guardian she fears a "normalisation of cruelty" is now rife among NHS nurses. She said she had chosen to speak out because this had become "commonplace".

Describing how her 6'2'' husband lay crushed "like a battery hen" against the bars of his hospital bed with an oxygen mask so small it cut into his face and pumped cold air into his infected eye, Clwyd said nurses treated the dying man with "coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt".

Owen Roberts died on Tuesday, 23rd October from hospital-acquired pneumonia. The former television director and producer had multiple sclerosis for 30 years and had been in a wheelchair for the previous two years. He had been in the flagship hospital for ten days.

"I have had nightmares about what happened," said Clwyd, speaking to the Guardian after initially making the claims on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

Clwyd said that on the Friday before Roberts died, she asked if he could have a bigger oxygen mask. "I was just ignored," she said. "I had to put my own Lypsyl on his lips because they became so chapped …by the cold air the mask pumped out and there were no nurses around. It was us, not the nurses, who put a pillow between him and the bars of the bed because the bed was too small and he was jammed so tightly against the bars.

"It was us again who covered him with a towel because he was cold and we couldn't get more than two thin blankets to cover him with. And it was us who put socks on his feet because they hung over the end of the too-short bed .

"I can't believe anybody calling themselves a nurse could fail to give someone who is very ill that kind of attention but it was completely missing," Clwyd added. Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in. I have tried in the past to get Bills through parliament on the welfare of battery hens. My husband died like a battery hen."

Clwyd, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, was on the Royal Commission on the NHS and served on the Welsh hospital board. But she said that regardless of her experience and knowledge, she found it impossible to make her voice heard.

"It's uncomfortable speaking out and I don't like it but if I couldn't get anyone to listen to me, how do other people manage it?" she asked. "I want people to know that they can't leave things to the professionals in the NHS. You have to keep asking questions.

Clwyd said she "will always regret that I did not ask more questions" but that whenever she tried, she was ignored or brushed off.

"I was in on the day before he died from 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and I saw one, single ward round," she said. "When I did manage to stop a nurse in the corridor – they were usually too busy to stop – I asked why he wasn't in intensive care." She added, a nurse "told me 'there are lots of people worse than him' and walked off. A few hours later, I asked another nurse if a doctor had been to see him. She said a doctor had been – but not to see Owen because they knew what to do.

"From what I saw, that consisted of doing nothing," she added.

Clwyd described how Roberts' suffered bitterly from the cold air of a fan kept on for a patient in a neighbouring bed. His ward was full while a second ward across the hall was empty, she said, but nurses refused to move him on the day he died because, they said, the empty ward "was being kept until tomorrow".

"At eight o'clock that morning, just before he died, all the lights in the four-bed ward went on and somebody shouted 'Anybody for breakfast?'. It was obviously totally inappropriate when they knew somebody was dying in that ward," she said. "I really do feel he died of cold and he died from people who didn't care."

Clwyd said she met with a consultant two days after her husband's funeral. "We spent one and a quarter hours talking but he eventually said it was a nursing matter."

The MP is now collecting evidence from friends who visited Roberts in hospital to send to the hospital authorities, "My husband had been very courageous over the years and should have been able to die with dignity. But he wasn't," she said.

In a statement to the programme, the hospital's executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, said they had offered to meet Ms Clwyd so that a formal investigation into what happened could be launched.

"We recognise how distressing it is when family members have cause to raise significant concerns about the quality of care their loved one received whilst also coping with bereavement. We take such matters extremely seriously," she said.

"We will not tolerate poor care which is why it is so important that each incident is fully investigated so that we can drive up standards and provide patients and their families with the quality of care they need and deserve."

December 08, 2012

The political side of Unemployment.

In September we were told the economy added 148,000 jobs.  In October the unemployment rate was going below 8%. It just seemed wrong at the time.  Well actually it waw wrong...

The numbers were off in September by approx 49,000 jobs, October by 33,000. This came out just before the election...  I'm sure it was just an error, nothing more...

When the Labor Department says, that Hurricane Sandy had no significant effect on unemployment, Which I recall those in the media said there would be a huge uptick...

Also we are being told that 146,000 new jobs created in November.  More then 33% by retail for the holidays (read: Temporary jobs).  So, why is it not seasonally adjusted, instead of just a raw number?

Fact is the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% because, 540,000 Americans have dropped out of the labor market. Taking that into account for every one person hired 1.7 people gave up looking for work or went past the 99 weeks. Yet With this news Obama is saying how much of a comback we are having...

Lets add the fact that Government hiring swelled in October and in November, adding 544,000 people to their payrolls. 73% of the new civilian jobs created in the US over the last five months are in government. Which means more money taken out of the private sector and transferred to the public sector.


The Obama Curve, US Economy adds 146K jobs, Jobless rate edges down, Welfare spending $168 per day, Fed exit plan, 73% of jobs created last five months.,

December 04, 2012

Whence Ideal?

I have never understood those who are so adamant against the preternatural world.  There are so many interesting, amazing and fantastic occurrences in our daily lives across the universe.  Even those are only a microcosm of possibilities.

As of late the philosophical layer of being has been at the forefront of my mind.  Given that living means choices and the consequences of the same.  Take "a situation" for example.

There is an ideal situation, a concept of something in its perfection. I personally  believe that moments of perfection exist, if rare. This ideal can be stripped down to a negative.  My quandary is where this occurs.  when does the axis drop below zero?

An example of an ideal situation I have used previously: In successfully raising a child the best situation is under the care of the two genetic parents in a loving committed relationship.  I have seen this ideal situation in action among  many of my friends and family.

So how do we strip this down to a negative? I would propose when Loving is removed. Love being the easiest argument to make for the preternatural world.  Aside from the senses releasing various chemicals in the brain, there are forces here beyond our understanding.

So a child can be successfully raised by non-genetic parents, single parents or even an institution.  I would argue that the institution would be have the least likelihood of success.

November 29, 2012

Foreshadowing of Obamacare?


One doctor, acting as a whistle blower, admitted to starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital in a leading medical journal. The doctor describes it as a 10-day process, during which the baby becomes “smaller an shrunken.”
Roughly 130,000 elderly and terminally ill patients reportedly die on the Liverpool Care Pathway, or “death pathways.” LCP is now being independently investigated at the orders of ministers in England.
The whole Death panel thing that gets bandied about becomes clear when you think things through.  Even today there are insurance companies denial of coverage due to costs.  The big difference is you are not totally out of options.  Yes, it can be grim choices, even a leap of faith that someone will open their harts and wallets, still it is an option.
When you put the our health into the hands of Government you loose freedom, and rightfully so.

Raise taxes to lower revenue.

Raise taxes!  That will end our budget problems!  Wait... Only raise it on the rich, cuz they have so much money!  That will end our budget problems!

Oh really? 

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election. The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.

It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes. George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget earlier this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April. Since the announcement, the number of people declaring annual incomes of more than £1 million has risen to 10,000. However, the number of million-pound earners is still far below the level recorded even at the height of the recession and financial crisis.

Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue.

This might sound like a quaint idea, but cut government spending across the board (do not JUST reduce the growth of spending and call it a cut).

The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don't have to pay taxes -- naturally, no one wants to live any other way.
-- Judith Martin

November 25, 2012

Fallout over Obamacare


 In addition to Olive Garden, Applebee's, Red Lobster, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonald's Longhorn Steakhouse, and the evil Papa John's ... Liberal 'Boycotters' (a.k.a. "Occupiers) need to be prepared to also 'boycott' these companies who are laying off THOUSANDS of people due to Obamacare and the Obama economy. 

Google, Martha Stewart Living, Pepsi, PayPal, Groupon, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, Kraft Foods, Lockheed Martin, Sears, Lexmark, Yahoo!, Dupont, Boeing, Bristol-Myers, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NBCUniversal, American Airlines, United Continental Holdings, JC Penney, Wausau Paper, Procter & Gamble, Texas Instruments, Panasonic, Xerox, Citigroup, Atlantic City Casinos, Majestic Star Casino, RIM (Blackberry), Vestas Wind Systems, UtahAmerican Energy, Turkey Point Nuclear Plant FL, United Technologies, Gamesa Energy, Stryker Corp, First Solar, Solel Solar Systems, New Energy Corp, Supervalu (Albertson's), American Coal, Gamestop, Patriot Coal, Archer-Daniels-Midland, SAS, CIGNA, 169 Shaws Supermarkets, Judson University, ATI Career Training Centers ... and probably Microsoft.

And Los Angeles, California ... Niagara Falls, New York ...

But boycotting these companies may be tough if you get sick or injured ...

Nebraska Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Aveo Oncology, Kaiser Permanente, St Jude Medical, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, St Lukes Cornwall Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, GE Healthcare, WPS Health Insurance, Lower Bucks Hospital, United Blood Services Gulf Region, NY Center for Hospice/Palliative Care, CVPH Medical Center, Ameridose, Crouse Hospital Syracuse NY, San Diego Hospice, Glens Falls Hospital NY, Wake Forest Baptist Medical NC, Southwest Vermont Health Care, St Mary's of Michigan Hospital, Orlando Health (hospitals), Carney Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Englewood Hospital, LSU's 7 Hospitals, Westchester Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, NCH Healthcare System, PeaceHealth, Northwest Community Healthcare, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, E.J. Noble Hospital, HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, St. Joseph Hospital, St. Josepth Hospital East, Community Memorial Health System, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Marian Regional Medical Center, Inland Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, St Vincent Health System (hospital), Mercy Health Partners' Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, Jordan Hospital, Brattleboro Retreat (psychiatric hospital), CVPH Medical Center Pittsburg, Western Maryland Regional Medical Center (hospital),

Unfortunately, you will not be able to boycott Hostess, .. or the closings of 10 Boston area Upper Crust Pizzas, or the 200 Gamestop outlets that are closing.

... and this is just the beginning. FORWARD! 

Because the Hungry need to be put on a diet...


Thinking of giving food to the homeless? In New York City, that food had better comply with new nutrition standards issued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Health Department.

The new rules require that meals and snacks served to the needy be prepared in compliance with precise nutrition standards laid out by government bureaucrats. Consequently, shelters are unable to accept food donations that are not prepackaged, because it is nigh impossible to know the nutritional content of such foods.

Welcome to the Nanny State mindset, i.e., only government can properly provide for the needy. To me that is far more damaging to the health of the nation than a free bagel or candy bar now and then.

November 24, 2012

Obama care and You...


Obama won, Obamacare is the law, and, as my wife says, I will just have to learn to dance to a new song.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Obamacare is awful. Forget all the “free stuff” it provides. Children covered on their parents’ plan until 26 years of age? A scam, making young adults — excuse me, children — pay for complete, comprehensive health insurance when all they need and should pay for is major catastrophe insurance. Then there is the “annual ” or “preventative” exam, which according to Obamacare is “free.”

You gotta love this stuff. I wish I had the chutzpah of the people who wrote Obamacare. What they did not tell you, and I am, is that it covers absolutely nothing more than the bare minimum.

I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.

You, the patient, will then have to make a decision.

Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss.

This happened to me personally, as a patient, when I went for my physical. It is the law. If you are complaining of a new problem, then you have to reschedule, since Obamacare is very clear as to what is covered and what is not. Obamacare — intentionally — makes it as difficult to be seen and taken care of as possible.

Patients can be very tricky. I have had patients make an “annual” exam, only to want to discuss and be treated for another ailment. I can’t do it.

I can hear the complaints from you guys already — I become the bad guy. “Why don’t you just take care of the problem, and not bill out any different code? You’re a rich doctor, and we are entitled to free stuff.”

It doesn’t work that way. First, doctors are not rich and, like most of you, actually work terribly hard for a living. Second, Obamacare is the law — and as I said earlier, we are audited all the time now.

Also — I don’t ask for free gas when I go to the gas station, or ask for free food from the supermarket. Additionally, Obamacare has a 23% cut in Medicare reimbursement to doctors and hospitals.

These lower payments won’t cover the cost of staying in practice to take care of the patient.

Private doctors are becoming a thing of the past. By 2014, less than 25% of physicians will be in private medicine. Obama was right in stating you can keep your doctor if you want to — the problem is he or she will rarely be available.

On top of all of that, doctors will be obligated — that’s right, obligated — to talk to you about things you may have no interest or need to talk about.

You may just want to have a pap smear or check your cholesterol. However, I am now mandated by the government to talk to you about your weight, exercise, family life, smoking, sexual abuse(!), and even to ask if you wear seat belts. And I am mandated to record your answers.

I am a physician. But I need to tell you to wear a seat belt and then record your answer.

I have received interesting responses from my patients since I put up the notice. Almost all are supportive and totally understand. The very few who complain? The same patients who always ask for free samples, who always complain that we do not validate parking. These are also the same patients who call my office and ask for free samples even when they are not even being seen.

Obamacare and its 2,000-plus pages are here to stay. I will still give my patients 100% of my time, energy, and knowledge. I still love being a doctor — my patients’ doctor. I will, however, abide by the law and follow it to the letter. I will have to learn this new dance. “Free” has its price.

November 23, 2012

Small Project

My house is an older one, 1950's.  So the wiring was designed for a radio and a couple of lights.  Not the massive amount of gadgets you can plug in nowadays.  We also had a scary wall heater.

It was wall mounted with 220 volt oven style heating element, with large mesh that a finger could access.  The mesh would heat up to the point of burning flesh.  As such we disabled them early on.

During the winter our non-central heated house gets rather chili.  Connor has been complaining about the cold in his room, so you know it must be damn cold.  I decided to add a wall outlet using the wiring.

So I took apart the wall heater and surveyed the wiring.  There were two sets of wires.  I called my Pop, who knows more about this stuff then most humans on the planet.  He made a few suggestions and tests.  Sure enough these wires powered this heater then went off to the bathroom.

I had to back trace the wires, change out the breakers and run the white to neutral to power down the voltage.  I also ran a ground wire to the box, so it would be that much better.

Wiring a wall socket then attaching the box to the wall is definitely the way to go!

November 20, 2012

Elmo voice is a pedophile...


Kevin Clash -- the voice of Elmo -- agreed to pay his accuser $125,000, with one string attached -- that the accuser recant his story that Clash had sex with him when he was a minor ... TMZ has learned.

...We've learned although Stephens signed the document, he continues to insist Clash had sex with him when he was a minor and was pressured into signing the settlement.

One source privy to the negotiations tells TMZ ... Stephens was crying during final negotiations and repeatedly insisted he didn't want to sign.

November 11, 2012

Interesting reading.

For me this could just be bitter postings.  However, voter fraud should be investigated at the highest level.

November 10, 2012

We the Stupid move Forward

Now that we are a progressive nation.  We look forward to our President who in his own words: "I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil."

What is next up?  Aside from Massive layoffs?

We have a massive tax increase coming. This 500 billion dollar bill comes due and may hit us with a new and improved recession!

The defense of our nation will be taking quite a hit as well.  Which liberals call a war fund, Conservatives call Defense.  I see this as a prime bargaining chip for raising taxes.

That pesky Iran and it's Peaceful Nuclear proliferation.  Along with Israel's wondering if the President does consider them an allies. In fact the middle east is less then relatable...

We also have that less then Optimal Benghazi problem.  Which may be okay, seeing as the 4th estate has been on top of this... NOT.

Let us not forget Obamacare....

Can we all agree, at this time forward that Our President bears responsibility for his leadership?

November 03, 2012

October 31, 2012

Cato putting Man Made Global warming into perspective.


It is clear that any unilateral US policy will have absolutely no detectable effect on the trajectory of planetary warming.  This even applies to the 83% reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that were required in legislation that  passed the House of Representatives in June, 2009.  Further, if these regulations were enacted—and followed—by every nation that has obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, there would still be no detectable effect on global temperature at the half-century scale.  In coming decades, the enormous emissions of China and India will dwarf anything from the US or industrialized western Europe, making our actions climatically nugatory. Fortunately, there is strong evidence throughout this volume that climate change will not be as rapid or of the magnitude forecast by the aggregate computer models used in the USGCRP 
report.  In addition, there is strong evidence for successful adaptation to observed climate change which includes climate change-related profits.  This can be expected to continue as long as our economy is free and not stifled by completely ineffective

Climate change assessments such as the one produced by the  USGCRP suffer from a systematic bias due to  the fact that the experts involved in making the assessment have economic incentives to paint climate change is a dire problem requiring their services, and the services of their university, federal laboratory, or agency.  There is no other explanation for a document that ignored so many scientific references that are included in this Addendum. Assessments serve a very important function for regulators.   The USGCRP report was designed to provide a rationale  to expand regulatory reach, power and cost.   Assessments such as this Addendum are designed to provide a rationale to resist such expansion of reach and regulation.

October 30, 2012

By Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen is liberal.  Very liberal, you could put an ultra in front of that liberal.  He has this to say:

One of the more melancholy moments of the presidential campaign occurred for me in a screening room. The film was Rory Kennedy’s documentary about her mother, Ethel — the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Much of it consisted of Kennedy-family home movies, but also film of RFK in Appalachia and in Mississippi among the pitifully emaciated poor. Kennedy brimmed with shock and indignation, with sorrow and sympathy, and was determined — you could see it on his face — to do something about it. I’ve never seen that look on Barack Obama’s face.

Instead, I see a failure to embrace all sorts of people, even members of Congress and the business community. I see diffidence, a reluctance to close. I see a president for whom Afghanistan is not just a war but a metaphor for his approach to politics: He approved a surge but also an exit date. Heads I win, tails you lose.

I once wondered if Obama could be another RFK. The president has great political skills and a dazzling smile. He and his wife are glamorous figures. He’s a black man, and that matters greatly. He remains a startling figure for a nation that was still segregating its schools when I was growing up — and killing the occasional person who protested. I went up to Harlem the night Obama won and heard Charlie Rangel wonder at the wonder of it all. The street outside was named for Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, an earlier black politician. His aides were not permitted to eat in the House cafeteria.

History was draped over Obama like a cape. His bona fides in that sense were as unimpeachable as Bobby Kennedy’s. The crowd adored Obama, although not as much as I think he adored himself. Liberals were intolerant of anyone who had doubts. Obama was not a man, but a totem. A single critical column from me during the campaign triggered a fusillade of invective. The famous and esteemed told me off. I was the tool of right-wing haters, a dope of a dupe.

Kennedy had huge causes. End poverty. End the war. He challenged a sitting president over Vietnam. It could have cost him his career. It did cost him his life. The draft is long gone, and with it indignation about senseless wars. Poverty persists, but now it is mostly blamed on the poor. When it comes to the underclass, we are out of ideas . . . or patience. Or both. Pity Obama in this regard. It’s hard to summon us for a crusade that has already been fought and lost. We made war on poverty. Poverty hardly noticed.

But somewhere between the campaign and the White House itself, Obama got lost. It turned out he had no cause at all. Expanding health insurance was Hillary Clinton’s longtime goal, and even after Obama adopted it, he never argued for it with any fervor. In an unfairly mocked campaign speech, he promised to slow the rise of the oceans and begin to heal the planet. But when he took office, climate change was abandoned — too much trouble, too much opposition. His eloquence, it turned out, was reserved for campaigning.

Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his own political survival. This is the gravamen of the indictment from the left, particularly certain African Americans. They are right. Young black men fill the jails and the morgues, yet Obama says nothing. Bobby Kennedy showed his anger, his impatience, his stunned incredulity at the state of black America. Obama shows nothing.

The Post has endorsed Obama, and I cannot quibble with the editorial. He expanded the nation’s sorry health-care system. He steered the country around the banking, housing and financial crisis that threatened to crater the economy. He got Osama bin Laden and that was good, but he also let Syria fester and that was bad. Most important, he has not been taken hostage by a bumper-sticker ideology. Mitt Romney promises never to raise taxes — either a lie or a fool’s oath.

On the movie screen, Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return. I will vote for him for his good things, and I will vote for him to keep Republican vandals from sacking the government. But after watching Bobby Kennedy, I will vote for Obama with regret. I wish he was the man I once mistook him for.

October 25, 2012

To think he has the nerve to call anyone Liar?!!?

Promises Obama broke.

Politifact (a left leaning fact checker), has surprisingly posted a long list of promises broken by Obama.  While I am certainly relieved that some of them never came to fruition, there must be some supporters and former supporters of his to whom this should awaken.

Optimistic of me?

October 19, 2012

Yo dumass!

1. a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person, place, etc., as in affection, ridicule, or familiarity: He has always loathed his nickname of “Whizzer.”

2. a familiar form of a proper name, as Jim for James and Peg for Margaret.

Lets say your workplace decides that no nicknames are to be used.  Further, this is due to someone being offended by a nickname foisted upon them.  So this would be a knee jerk over reaction to an individuals choice to be offended (just to be clear).

It is my personal assumption that if you find yourself in the workplace, and someone starts calling you Stinky, to which you take exception, it is behooves you to tell said individual to cease and desist.  If the person persists. Then a higher authority should be brought into play.

There are nicknames that grate or offend, there are those that compliment or coincide.  One of my best friends got the name Froggy.  He wore it with pride.  Should the populace of a workplace be denied from accepted, long used nick-names due to an individual?

So lets say the implement this policy and suddenly you are called out by Bob for not calling him Robert? Well, that does fall within the definition, right?

October 12, 2012

RNC Web Ad: "Laughing at the Issues" (Official Version)

During the debate, you saw a mean-spirited, rude, overbearing, disrespectful vice president of the United States who epitomizes and epitomized the Democrat Party today. 

September 21, 2012

Yes to You || Spoken Word

If some find themselves offended, the priest has a message for them: Take another look and the clip and pay close attention to what’s being said.
The purpose of the video is certainly not to offend but to give good information about what the Catholic Church teaches,” he explained. “There is a growing misunderstanding that the Church is against those who struggle with SSA (Same Sex Attraction). That simply is not true.

September 14, 2012

Krauthammer on Arab Turmoil: What We're Seeing Is the Meltdown, The Coll...

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: What we're seeing on that screen is the meltdown, the collapse of the Obama policy on the Muslim world. 

The irony is that it began in Cairo, in the same place where the speech he made at the beginning of his presidency in which he said you wanted a new beginning with mutual respect - implying that under other presidents, particularly Bush, there was a lack of mutual respect, which was an insult to the United States, which had gone to war six times in the last twenty years on behalf of oppressed Muslims in Kuwait, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

So to imply that we somehow had mistreated the Muslims, which was the premise of his speech, and how the Iraq War had inflamed the Arab world against us, well, there was no storming of the U.S. embassy in Cairo in those days. What we're seeing now is al Qaedistan developing in Libya; a meltdown of our relations with Egypt; we've got riots in Yemen; attacks on our embassy in Tunisia. 

This entire premise that we want to be loved and respected, we're going to apologize, has now yielded all of these results and these are the fruits of apology and retreat and lack of confidence in our own principles.

August 31, 2012

We must!

The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies.

Just look at the Other Side’s latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

Naturally, the media won’t report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to the Other Side if it could ever be verified.

I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates’ incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks – remarks that reveal the Other Side’s true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

My Side has produced a visionary program that will get the economy moving, put the American People back to work, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. What does the Other Side have to offer? Nothing but the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I recently read about an analysis by an independent, nonpartisan organization that supports My Side. It proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I have been saying about the Other Side was true all along. Of course, the Other Side refuses to acknowledge any of this. It is too busy cranking out so-called studies by so-called experts who are actually nothing but partisan hacks. This just shows you that the Other Side lives in its own little echo chamber and refuses to listen to anyone who has not already drunk its Kool-Aid.

Let’s face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side’s policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.

To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don’t even know it.

These people are really pathetic, too. The other day I saw a YouTube video in which My Side sent an investigator and a cameraman to a rally being held by the Other Side, where the investigator proceeded to ask some real zingers. It was hilarious! First off, the people at the rally wore T-shirts with all kinds of lame messages that they actually thought were really clever. Plus, many of the people who were interviewed were overweight, sweaty, flushed, and generally not very attractive. But what was really funny was how stupid they were. There is no way anyone could watch that video and not come away convinced the people on My Side are smarter, and that My Side is therefore right about everything.

Besides, it’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.

That is why I believe 2012 is, without a doubt, the defining election of our lifetime. The difference between My Side and the Other Side could not be greater. That is why it absolutely must win on November 6.


August 11, 2012

Around the Crater

Crater Lake is a caldera lake located in the south-central region of the U.S. in the State of Oregon. It sits around 6,178 ft above sea level, the mountain itself closer to 7,800 ft.  I rode a bike around the lake.

For the last couple of years I have been riding my bike to and from work 10+ miles a day.  You would think that would prepare you for a ride like this.

Four of us met at the Costco Gas station and commuted up to Crater Lake Village. Glen, the mastermind who put this together and an avid rider; Kacy, an equestrian who commutes on bike as well as Jeff, who logs the least amount of miles on bike.

The ride out from the Village started with a downhill section.  It consists of several switchbacks.  On a many-month earlier drive around the crater, I had thought this would be a blast on a bike.  So when we started the descent, I shifted up and pedaled like a madman.  My speed was greater then I could peddle so I hung on and went into the first turn.  I tried not to break, although I did a bit, not quite sure how much traction I would have.  Turns out I had more then enough. The next few hairpins were a fight against G-forces and keeping the turn tight. I felt the ground brush my knee at one point.  I even startled several motorists who, thankfully, did not swing too wide. It was exhilarating, having to lean around the corners like a cafe racer.  So 7,124' down to the low of 6,446 in about 3.5 miles.

The next 12.5 miles were some long climbs and some curious things.  After hitting 6,787' we got another downhill. Then two big climbs, the first from 6,638' to 7,367'.  Then another downhill to 6,778 up to the highest point on our journey - 7,664' at the 15 mile mark. My lower back, which gets stiff at times due to my work was started to act up.  Nothing really painful, just annoying.  Also, the tendon along the right side of my right knee was starting to get tighter as we climbed.  Everywhere we were treated to some of the most gorgeous views on the planet.  I kept getting slower after 10 miles (which was about the length of my daily commute).  Uphill is repetition, cadence and self distraction.  I would think of songs and peddle to the beat.  We passed bikers coming from the other direction, waving and smiling.

We stopped for a lunch break and I felt pretty good.  We had traveled just under 18 miles and traversed the highest point (near Mt. Scott).  From here on I would just fade. At 20 miles we reached the last of our big downhills, 6,744'.  Glen had mapped out the distance as being 28 miles for some reason.  Somplace around 23 miles we had a final break, figuring that another six miles would not be a significant distance.  I was offered to refill my water camel, a backpack that holds a bunch of water, with built-in straw.  Wary of the extra weight and knowing I have ridden five miles in harsh sunlight without any need of water, I declined... That would be a mistake...

At just around 27 miles, after climbing up to 7,396' I saw a sign telling me there was another six miles to the Rim Village.  This last four miles had been very difficult and the ability to peddle with any strength was taking its toll.  I went a couple hundred yards more but, had difficulty steering.  I pulled to the side of a turnout and laid down on a rock.  I was not out of breath.  I actually did not feel pain or sick or anything.  I just felt heavy and unable to move.  Mentally I wondered if Glen and Jeff had made the village, and how long till they came to find me.  The breeze felt very wonderful and I had pretty much decided to not move.

You always hear the term "hit the wall".  I am pretty sure that was what happened.  As I lay I started rationalizing my situation.  How no one would blame me for not making the full course.  How it was quite an accomplishment for someone who had not ridden more then 10 miles a day.  Consider we are around 6,500 feet above the elevation we live.  That has got to count for something as well.  Eventually they would backtrack and find me.  Then I got back up.  Still no clue as to why, it felt mechanical, like I was more a marionette.  I strapped on my helmet and buckled my camel pack, threw my leg over and started to pedal. It was a heavy feeling, like the gravity of the Earth had doubled.  I started up the hill in a low gear and just kept pumping.  Maybe another two miles and then I had to walk the bike due to my butt and the seat warming up to very uncomfortable heat.  I figure I walked about a mile and climbed back up and began the ascent again.

Finally I hit a flat and a slight downhill.  The construction on the road let me know it was not that much further and being downhill allowed me to coast.  It was actually taking quite a bit of concentration to keep straight and true down the path.  Kacy had started back on her bike to locate me.  She seemed relieved when we crossed paths.  The car was not too far behind her.  I would have gotten off and loaded up then and there, but the village was close enough that I just finished.

I had run out of energy, bike-sitting ability (heck, ANY sitting ability), water and most remaining virtues.  I pretty much wanted to lay down on my bed until the ache went away.  We had a celebratory pizza with beer at the Diamond Lake pizza place, then took the construction-slowed trip back to Roseburg.

We plan to go again next year.  I figure my ass muscles will just have stopped hurting by then...

July 31, 2012

21 reasons why I will not vote for Obama in 2012 (By: Barefoot Accountant Wednesday April 25, 2012 7:42 pm)

I have become very disenchanted with President Barack Obama even though I voted for him in 2008. 

 1. He did not even propose the public option healthcare system: he had campaigned on that system, promising to propose it. (Wikipedia: ”President Barack Obama promoted the idea of the public option while running for election.[3] After becoming President, Obama downplayed the need for a public health insurance option including calling it a “sliver” of health care reform,[4] but had not given up pursuing the idea before the health care reform was passed.[5] The preceding statement is disputed by evidence that the Obama administration had agreed to drop the public option from the final plan in the summer of 2009[6] in a back room deal with representatives of the for-profit hospital lobby[7]“) 
 2. He has appointed countless Wall Streeters to his top economic team, failing to appoint labor voices like Robert Reich. 
 3. He has bailed out Wall Street instead of Main Street: remember TARP? And then the banks dispensed $6 billion in bonuses in that year to its executives. 
 4. He failed to attack the mortgage crisis, leaving an elephant still in our “room”, with one-third of home mortgages now underwater. 
 5. He failed to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, doing away with habeous corpus, allowing the government to arrest and detain indefinitely without a trial or hearing.
 6. He agreed to an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and on top of that, he agreed to an egregious reduction of the estate taxes on the rich, exempting as much as $10 million from any estate taxes and lowering the estate tax rate down to a ridiculous rate of 35%, when our country has a $15 trillion debt. That alone saved the Walton heirs $17 billion in taxes. 
 7. He has failed to indict and imprison any of those banksters involved in all of that fraud on Wall Street from the subprime mortgage, including robo-signing, and selling shit-backed mortgage securities known to be worthless. 
 8. He appointed Jeffrey Immelt to head his Jobs Council when GE has been saying “China, China, China,” and shipping all jobs overseas while closing plants here in the US. 
 9. President Obama is now considering and proposing to lower the corporate tax rate to 26%, when corporations are not only at a low-time rate of paying taxes but getting billions in tax subsidies from our government and opening up offices on the 19th floor of one building on the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes altogether. 
 10. President Obama spoke in favor of PIPA and SOPA, when the internet is the last vestige of free speech and the availability of free information to the general public. 
 11. There were no indictments by President Obama of all the contractor fraud reported on by Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul in a Congressional Report released over a year ago. Whenever the rich and big corporations are caught in fraud, Eric Holder adopts a policy of “looking forward”, instead of holding them accountable. 
 12. President Obama agreed to the “grand bargain” (thank, God, Boehner did not accept it) to cut over $2 trillion in spending, including social security, medicare, medicaid, and other social safety-net programs merely in return for hypothetical “revenue increases” of $800 billion relying on “dynamic scoring”. 
 13. President Obama has done nothing to level the trade treaties, where corporations are shipping labor to Cambodia (22.5 cents per hour), China, Philippines, etc., where labor is paid 25 cents per hour. This is exporting slavery to other countries. Where is the level playing field for Americans? 
 14. President Obama in 2009 only proposed $140 billion in infrastructure spending when Paul Krugman and other economists predicted that $1.5 trillion was needed for our economy to recover. And last year only proposed a paltry $108 billion in infrastructure spending. 
 15. President Obama praised the recent JOBS Act, which allows corporations to go public and raise capital without audited financial information in their public presentations for the first five years, allowing them to present fictitious numbers and defraud investors? 
 16. President Obama has failed to propose the return of Glass-Steagall, separating commercial and investment banking, which will soon plunge us back into another mega-bailout of Wall Street. 
 17. President Obama has failed to propose the break up of the big banks and corporations. What ever happened to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? 
 18. President Obama touted a $25 billion robo-signing settlement when a trillion dollars of our pension and retirement funds were stolen. 
19. While campaigning, President Obama promised to put on his walking shoes for labor, but failed to even show up in Wisconsin and walk the picket line against Governor Walker. 
 20. President Obama has not declared war on the Supreme Court, as President Roosevelt did, to oppose the corporate/rich posture of Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. Why not take them on? 
 21. President Obama has arrested and raided more marijuana users in less than four years than George Bush did in eight years. 

 Why is President Obama proposing cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid while spending more on marijuana arrests and raids, especially when a majority of Americans are for legalization of pot and for the open sale of marijuana for medical use? 

 Time and time again President Obama did not fight the good fight for working Americans, who are losing their jobs, health insurance, homes, dignity, etc. I am tired of the lame excuse of how we must vote for Obama because of the Supreme Court. How can anyone believe that Obama would not disappoint progressives on that issue after he failed to undertake a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position to which she was more entitled to direct than any other American? 

 I am done with President Obama.

July 29, 2012

Catholic Position on Slavery.

The Catholic Church and Slavery

Therein lies a tale. But before we consider it, we should be clear about what we mean by slavery and the real story of the Catholic Church's position on it. As used here, "slavery" is the condition of involuntary servitude in which a human being is regarded as no more than the property of another, as being without basic human rights; in other words, as a thing rather than a person. Under this definition, slavery is intrinsically evil, since no person may legitimately be reduced to the status of a mere thing or object and thus become capable of being the property of another person. This form of slavery can be called "chattel slavery." (There are other ways in which the term can be used, such as in reference to biblical slavery, where slaves were regarded as property but nonetheless as bearers of human rights.)

However, there are circumstances in which a person can justly be compelled to servitude against his will. Prisoners of war or criminals, for example, can justly lose their circumstantial freedom and be forced into servitude, within certain limits. Moreover, people can also "sell" their labor for a period of time (indentured servitude).

These forms of servitude or slavery differ in kind from what we are calling chattel slavery. While prisoners of war and criminals can lose their freedom against their will, they do not become mere property of their captors, even when such imprisonment is just. They still possess basic, inalienable human rights and may not justly be subjected to certain forms of punishment-torture, for example.


What about the charge that the Catholic Church did not condemn slavery until the 1890s and actually approved of it before then? In fact, the popes vigorously condemned African and Indian thralldom three and four centuries earlier-a fact amply documented by Fr. Joel Panzer in his book, The Popes and Slavery. The argument that follows is largely based on his study.

Sixty years before Columbus "discovered" the New World, Pope Eugene IV condemned the enslavement of peoples in the newly colonized Canary Islands. His bull Sicut Dudum (1435) rebuked European enslavers and commanded that "all and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of [the] Canary Islands . . . who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money."

A century later, Pope Paul III applied the same principle to the newly encountered inhabitants of the West and South Indies in the bull Sublimis Deus (1537). Therein he described the enslavers as allies of the devil and declared attempts to justify such slavery "null and void." Accompanying the bull was another document, Pastorale Officium, which attached a latae sententiae excommunication remittable only by the pope himself for those who attempted to enslave the Indians or steal their goods.

When Europeans began enslaving Africans as a cheap source of labor, the Holy Office of the Inquisition was asked about the morality of enslaving innocent blacks (Response of the Congregation of the Holy Office, 230, March 20, 1686). The practice was rejected, as was trading such slaves. Slaveholders, the Holy Office declared, were obliged to emancipate and even compensate blacks unjustly enslaved.

Papal condemnation of slavery persisted throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Pope Gregory XVI's 1839 bull, In Supremo, for instance, reiterated papal opposition to enslaving "Indians, blacks, or other such people" and forbade "any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse." In 1888 and again in 1890, Pope Leo XIII forcefully condemned slavery and sought its elimination where it persisted in parts of South America and Africa.

Despite this evidence, critics still insist the Magisterium did too little too late regarding slavery. Why? One reason is the critics' failure to distinguish between just and unjust forms of servitude. The Magisterium condemned unjust enslavement early on, but it also recognized what is known as "just title slavery." That included forced servitude of prisoners of war and criminals, and voluntary servitude of indentured servants, forms of servitude mentioned at the outset of this article. But chattel slavery as practiced in the United States and elsewhere differed in kind, not merely degree, from just title slavery. For it made a claim on the slave as property and enslaved people who were not criminals or prisoners of war. By focusing on just title servitude, critics unfairly neglect the vigorous papal denunciations of chattel slavery.

The matter is further muddled by certain nineteenth century American clergy-including some bishops and theologians-who tried to defend the American slave system. They contended that the long-standing papal condemnations of slavery didn't apply to the United States. The slave trade, some argued, had been condemned by Pope Gregory XVI, but not slavery itself.

Historians critical of the papacy on this matter often make that same argument. But papal teaching condemned both the slave trade and chattel slavery itself (leaving aside "just title" servitude, which wasn't at issue). It was certain members of the American hierarchy of the time who "explained away" that teaching. "Thus," according to Fr. Panzer, "we can look to the practice of non-compliance with the teachings of the papal Magisterium as a key reason why slavery was not directly opposed by the Church in the United States."

July 28, 2012

How can you support Obama when he...

Obama Scandals list 1. Reneged on pledge to filibuster FISA Amendments Act (July 2008) 2. Lobbied for $700 billion Paulson TARP bank bailout 3. Pushed for no sanctions against Lieberman despite his support for John McCain 4. Nominated healthcare company lobbyist Tom Daschle as Secretary of HHS 5. Had neoliberal Robert Rubin as his chief economics adviser 6. Then had the equally neoliberal Larry Summers assume this role 7. Chose the failing upwards Timothy Geithner to head Treasury 8. AIG bonuses and money to Goldman under Obama 9. Doubling down in Afghanistan 10. Delay and reduction of withdrawal from Iraq 11. Moving Guantanamo activities to Bagram 12. Military commissions for some detainees 13. Support for indefinite detention 14. Refusal to release torture photos under FOIA 15. Refusal to investigate and prosecute Bush era criminality 16. Geithner’s DOA economic rescue programs: the PPIP and TALF 17. Minimal help for homeowners and no cramdowns 18. Treatment of Chrysler and GM with bankrupcy compared to bank no fail “stress tests” 19. Kabuki of TARP repayment by banks while still dependent on government credit lines 20. Extra-Constitutional use of the Fed by the Executive for fiscal policy 21. Credit Card bill without usury caps and with 9 month delay for other reforms 22. Business friendly Mary Schapiro named to head SEC 23. Gary Gensler who helped deregulate derivatives named to head CFTC 24. $787 billion stimulus: too little, too late, poorly structured 25. Use of financial crisis to attack Social Security and Medicare 26. The great healthcare non-debate 27. Continued use of state secrets argument in ongoing Bush era cases 28. Use of signing statements, including one to punish whistleblowers 29. Vetting process problems, especially tax related ones 30. Leaving Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head OLC twisting in the wind 31. Eric Holder, failure to reform DOJ, not removing worst of Bush USAs 32. Failure to move against new oil bubble 33. Retention of Bush Defense team: Gates, Patraeus, and Odierno 34. Continued missile strikes inside Pakistan 35. Keeping Bush’s domestic spying programs and adding a new one, cybersecurity 36. Choice of Elena Kagan who favors expansive Presidential powers as Sollicitor General, her subsequent nomination to the Supreme Court 37. Leaving EFCA (to help counter anti-union companies) to wither in Congress 38. Welcoming Arlen Specter who brings nothing to the Democrats into the party 39. Weak ineffective proposals for financial reform 40. Obama wanted John Brennan at CIA but settled for making him his counter- terrorism adviser 41. Chas Freeman with broader Mideast perspective done in by AIPAC 42. Dennis Blair made DNI; failed to act to stop atrocities in East Timor 43. Choice of McChrystal involved in torture in Iraq to head Afghanistan command 44. Obama threat to suspend intelligence cooperation with UK over Binyam Mohamed case 45. Efforts to keep Bush and Obama White House logs secret 46. Playing games with “Don’t ask, don’t tell” 47. Filing a brief to overturn Jackson (access to lawyer) in the Montejo case 48. Not withdrawing Bush brief in Osborne DNA case 49. Egregious brief in challenge to Defense of Marriage Act 50. The Supplemental which made Iraq and Afghanistan Democratic wars 51. Choice of Rahm Emanuel as the President’s Chief of Staff 52. Choice of Dennis Ross as Iran envoy and then his move to the White House 53. Politically embarrassing processes to fill Obama and Clinton’s Senate seats 54. Choice of Bill Richardson, then Judd Gregg to head Commerce Department 55. Reneging on pledge to re-negotiate NAFTA 56. Obama’s throwing his pastor Jeremiah Wright to the curb, then reaching out to religious conservative Rick Warren 57. Continued challenges to habeas corpus petitions over indefinite detention, the Janko case 58. The Obama White House website 59. Continuing an ineffective program that Iran can exploit politically 60. Going slow on climate change when there is no time to 61. Not withdrawing a Bush-era amicus brief in the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination case and supporting a rollback of Title VII 62. Appointment of a CIA General Counsel who doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture 63. Appointment of a DNI General Counsel who doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture 64. CIA delay in a FOIA request concerning torture 65. The influence of Goldman Sachs in the Obama Administration 66. Attempt to keep secret the Cheney interview on the Plame affair 67. Mountaintop removal under Obama 68. Attempt to restrict Congressional notification on intelligence matters 69. Opposition to a second stimulus 70. Another egregious attempt to fight a habeas corpus petition in the Jawad case 71. Continuing charter schools and standardized tests 72. Holder’s decision to support a weak, narrow review of torture 73. Re-appointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman 74. Continuing renditions 75. Politically dubious company was used to vet reporters in Afghanistan 76. Judge vetoes a too weak SEC plea bargain with Bank of America 77. Justice’s argument for making Bagram a new Guantanamo, the al Maqaleh case 78. Defense to turn over databases to poorly controlled fusion centers 79. Obama changes but keeps Bush’s Star Wars program 80. Failure to win an Israeli freeze on settlements 81. White House refuses to back its own staffer environmentalist Van Jones 82. Politicized US Attorney in the Siegelman case cleared by Office of Special Counsel 83. Criticism of Iranian nuclear program; support of Israeli nuclear weapons 84. Support for a weakened reporter’s shield law 85. Use of the Zazi case to retain broad Patriot Act surveillance provisions 86. Wilner v. NSA, continuing the coverup of warrantless surveillance of communications between attorneys and detainees 87. Attempt to spike the Goldstone report on Israeli-Hamas war crimes in Gaza 88. Slowness in filling federal judgeships 89. Inadequate aid to overwhelmed state budgets 90. Attempting to dodge the Supreme Court deciding whether innocent Guantanamo detainees can be resettled in the US 91. Allowing drilling in the waters off the north coast of Alaska 92. Keeping detainee accounts of CIA torture secret 93. Current FBI manual allows for widespread domestic spying 94. Securitization invalidates most foreclosures 95. Geithner wanting unlimited powers to save large banks 96. Another state secrets defense to conceal domestic spying 97. Circuit Court dismissal of Maher Arar suit 98. Weakening Sarbanes-Oxley and calling it financial reform 99. Unemployment 100. Inspector General for Fannie and Freddie ousted for investigating fraud 101. Gaming courts to convict Guantanamo detainees 102. White House counsel removed for his principled stands on torture and Guantanamo 103. US seizes mosques claiming Iranian connection 104. Howard Dean removed as head of the DNC 105. Scientist with close ties to Monsanto put in charge of all governmental agricultural research 106. Pesticide lobbyist nominated as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for trade 107. Effort to let some government contractors avoid paying taxes 108. A bad US Attorney nomination for Northern Iowa 109. Hunger in America 110. The breast cancer recommendations fiasco 111. Ongoing confusion and disorganization in the military commissions process 112. Phillip Carter another official in closing Guantanamo resigns 113. Refusal to sign anti-land mine treaty 114. The Ghizzawi case and the legal limbo of “cleared for release” 115. Black prisons at Balad and Bagram 116. Delay in declassifying historic documents 117. Max Baucus’ conflicts of interest in healthcare and with his girlfriend 118. Major security breach at a White House party and a ridiculous assertion of “executive privilege” 119. Dana “Pig Missile” Perino nominated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors 120. Cass Sunstein, an anti-regulator in a regulatory position 121. Warrantless for profit electronic surveillance by telecoms and search engines 122. The government sides with torture lawyer John Yoo and attacks Bevins actions again 123. The TSA publishes its security manual online 124. Toxic legal arguments in al Zahrani v. Rumsfeld, yet another Bevins action 125. The Nobel Peace Prize and a neocon acceptance speech 126. Blackwater’s involvement in military and CIA assassination and drone programs 127. Congressional Research Service censorship in the firing of Morris Davis 128. AIG writes off $25 billion in debt and sticks taxpayers with the bill 129. The Administration plays hardball to kill an amendment that would lower drug costs 130. A poorly considered blank check to Fannie and Freddie 131. Continuing a Bush botch in the Nisoor Square massacre case 132. Jonathan Gruber, a major defender of Obamacare was also a paid consultant for it 133. A Geithner related cover up of the AIG at par payments on swaps 134. Adoption of stealth signing statements 135. al Bihani, more bad legal reasoning in another Guantanamo habeas case 136. Cutting Medicare and Social Security by deficit commission proposed 137. A 3 year non-freeze budget freeze proposed 138. NASA flights privatized 139. OPR report on Yoo and Bybee watered down and its relation to the Padilla case 140. Government targeting of US citizens for assassination 141. Abuse of informants by ICE agents 142. Obama leaves Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board empty 143. Obama backs firing of teachers in Rhode Island 144. Irish human rights advocate Edward Horgan has US visa pulled 145. Threatened veto of 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act over Congressional notifications 146. Obama Administration intimidation of whistleblowing site: wikileaks 147. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to ignore science on endangered species 148. Senate vacation more important than jobless benefits 149. Government seeks to compel turnover of emails without a warrant 150. Obama goes after an NSA whistleblower: the Thomas Drake case 151. Obama goes after a CIA whistleblower: the James Risen case 152. Weakening Miranda rights in national security cases 153. Advocating the privatizing of public housing 154. Another step in making Bagram the new Guantanamo, the al Maqaleh case, the appeals court edition 155. Massey mining disaster, 29 die because of corporate greed and poor regulation 156. Obama proposal for a line item veto 157. A military commander allowed to use military forces for intelligence operations without Presidential approval 158. Political pandering in sending 1200 National Guardsmen to the Southwest border 159. A sad record on resisting Guantanamo habeas petitions 160. Israel attacks an aid convoy for Gaza; Obama punts 161. A further erosion of Miranda: Berghius v. Thompkins 162. Naming James Clapper, a Bush appointee, to be the next DNI 163. DOJ seeks to protect Vatican in sex abuse scandal 164. Yahya Wehelie, an American exiled without charge 165. Failure to replace National Labor Relations Board members means hundreds of decisions must be reviewed 166. SCOTUS opts for overly broad definition of material support to terrorist groups 167. Speaker Pelosi backstabs Social Security 168. Complaints by government scientists of political interference at Bush era levels 169. Flip flop on free trade agreement with Colombia 170. SEC declares major victory but lets Goldman off easy 171. Private contracting of intelligence continues under Obama 172. Two Guantanamo prisoners to be deported back to Algeria against their will 173. The Shirley Sherrod affair: trumped up charges of racism and a bungled response 174. Whitewash report on Bush era US Attorney firings 175. Despite its record, Blackwater still gets big US government contracts 176. Wikileaks releases government files showing Pakistan involvement with Taliban and admission that things are going poorly in Afghanistan 177. Obama seeks to get access to everyone’s web histories without a court order 178. Teacher funding sacrificed to keep Education Secretary Arne Duncan happy 179. State’s top Iran hand resigns over Obama’s Iran policy 180. Citizens United: validation of unlimited corporate political funding 181. Push to expand US arms sales around the world 182. Project Vigilant, Infragard and “volunteer” corporate spying for the government 183. Obama’s approval hits Bush levels in Arab world 184. Effort to pre-empt state environmental lawsuits involving green house gases 185. Justice’s Anti-trust division asleep at the wheel 186. Kagan’s recusals render her even more ineffective on the Supreme Court 187. Poverty level highest since 1994 188. Courts run interference for corporate violators of international law 189. Warren named to set up but not to run Consumer Financial Protection Board 190. Chief economic adviser Larry Summers leaves; Obama looks for someone even more pro-business to replace him 191. DOJ IG report goes soft on Bush era surveillance against peace groups and other activists; meanwhile the Obama Administration conducts raids against similar groups 192. Move to put backdoors in the internet to facilitate spying and more requirements on banks on international money transfers of any size 193. HHS Secretary Sebelius delays for at least two years required insurance coverage for contraception 194. Americans on Medicaid increased to 48.5 million in 2009 195. Big home lenders suspend foreclosures as their documentation gets challenged in court 196. HR 3808, a bill passed by Congress, to facilitate the acceptance of false documentation by banks in foreclosure proceedings 197. ICE raids and deportations increase under Obama 198. Social Security COLA frozen for second straight year; no action taken 199. Waivers for military aid to countries with child soldiers 200. Big and deserved losses in the 2010 elections 201. 42 million Americans on food stamps at the end of FY 2010 202. No indictments for those involved in the CIA destruction of the torture tapes 203. The Bowles-Simpson Cat Food Commission proposals 204. $3 billion in aid for Israel for a 90 day settlement freeze 205. No change in Democratic Congressional leadership after 2010 election disaster 206. Forced proselytizing still prevalent at US Air Force Academy 207. TSA harassment and violation of the 4th Amendment 208. More TSA idiocy: full body scans and invasive pat downs 209. The response to the 2009 coup in Honduras 210. Use of diplomatic personnel to spy at the UN 211. Fed proposes rule change to Truth in Lending Act to protect bank fraud 212. FCC head Genachowski takes an axe to net neutrality 213. Lieberman and seek to censor wikileaks 214. Pressuring the Spanish government into dropping torture prosecutions against 6 high level Bush officials 215. Neoliberal free trade deal with South Korea at a time of high unemployment 216. Hamfisted banning access to wikileaks by government departments 217. Massive screwup in printing $100 bills 218. Extending tax cuts for the rich in a poor compromise on jobless benefits 219. Dancing boys of Afghanistan paid for by US contractor Dyncorp 220. EPA backtracks on smog standards 221. Former OMB director Peter Orszag goes to Citigroup 222. Obama breaks the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to supply Israel with nuclear fuel 223. DREAM Act for children of illegal immigrants done in by Senate Democrats 224. DOJ drops investigations of corrupt members of Congress 225. The FBI’s Guardian database, another useless, intrusive surveillance program 226. Pentagon weakens rules on contractor conflicts of interest 227. Investigation by state Attorney Generals into foreclosuregate: no criminal charges 228. Obama names Mr. NAFTA Bill Daley as his new Chief of Staff 229. Obama names neoliberal free trader Gene Sperling to replace Larry Summers 230. Executive Order to make regulations more business-friendly 231. Gulet Mohamed: Detention and torture of US citizens by proxy 232. Nelson v. NASA: government can demand intrusive, unnecessary information about its employees 233. Choice of GE’s outsourcing CEO Jeffrey Immelt as Obama’s Jobs Czar 234. Failure to weaken or eliminate the filibuster 235. Corporate targeting of Wikileaks and liberal organizations 236. Reaction to the popular revolution in Egypt 237. HHS Secretary Sebelius helps states cut Medicaid rolls and funding 238. Petraeus accuses parents not US attacks for burns to children in Afghanistan 239. US general in Afghanistan sets up illegal propaganda program targeting Americans 240. Obama plans to devastate small block grants program for the poor 241. Silence on the Wisconsin labor protests 242. Former Senator Christopher Dodd quickly becomes lobbyist after promising not to 243. Obama reinstitutes sham review tribunals at Guantanamo 244. DOJ colludes with Bush era official Scott Bloch to keep him out of jail 245. The treatment of Bradley Manning 246. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley forced to resign over Manning comments 247. Massive conflicts of interest in David Stevens at HUD and soon to be head of main lobbying group for the mortgage industry 248. Mild reaction to bloody anti-democratic repression in Bahrain and Yemen 249. Torture psychologist appointed to White House task force 250. FBI program which allows them to investigate anyone doesn’t work (surprise) 251. In his Libya war, Obama has completed the unconstitutional process of Presidents’ usurpation of Congress’ power to make war 252. Obama accepts award for transparency in secret 253. Democrats create PACs to receive unlimited contributions from anonymous donors 254. 2011 government shutdown threat as Shock Doctrine 254. The 2011 “great” biprtisan budget deal 255. The OCC deal to cover for banks in foreclosuregate 256. Reshuffling neocons at DOD and the CIA 257. Leak of Detainee Assessments shines light on the weakness of cases against many Guantanamo inmates 258. Geithner shields foreign exchange derivatives from Dodd-Frank regulation 259. Crazy new application for some US passports 260. DOJ wants SCOTUS to allow for GPS tracking without a warrant 261. An industry stacked panel to study fracking 262. SCOTUS attacks small claim class actions 263. SCOTUS okays fraud in financial presentations 264. SCOTUS attacks large class actions and Title VII 265. DOJ’s non-investigation of torture produces few results 266. Department of State threatens participants of Gaza flotilla with terrorism charges 267. Detainees now held on ships to avoid judicial scrutiny 268. CIA operating a black site prison in Somalia 269. SCOTUS and DC Appeals Court torpedoing detainee habeas petitions 270. SCOTUS greatly expands warrantless searches; Obama DOJ approves 271. Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after the 2011 spike in gasoline prices 272. Christine Varney, head of DOJ Anti-Trust Division, goes to law firm that had case before her 273. Senseless 2011 debt ceiling crisis, budget cutting, and attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid 274. TSA closes US airspace to Mexican human rights activist 275. DHS guts its unit monitoring right wing terrorism in US 276. “Recovery” benefited corporations, not workers 277. Harassment of a government scientist Charles Monett because his work clashes with drilling in the Arctic 278. African Americans and Hispanic wealth took hardest hit from financial crises 279. Cass Sunstein sitting on labor rules to protect child workers 280. Oil leasing in Gulf resumes 281. Administration pressures NY AG Schneiderman to go along with bogus mortgage settlement 282. DOJ dumps responsibility for its bungled gun running sting on handy US Attorney 283. US ranks 41st in the world in infant mortality 284. White House engages in selective prosecution of Dan Choi over DADT protest 285. COBRA extension ditched 286. Obama spikes EPA ozone limits 287. 2011 Obama fictional jobs plan 288. Contractors cost twice as much as unionized federal workers doing the same work 289. New EPA greenhouse gas limits also being drawn out 290. CFTC proposes ineffectual limits on commodity speculation 291. State Department targets career officer Peter Van Buren for writing critical book 292. Secret Law and the OLC legal justification for killing a US citizen abroad 293. US incomes fall more after recession than during it 294. Another Afghanistan fail: torture rampant in Afghan prisons 295. Bank of America dumps derivative exposure on to the FDIC with Fed approval 296. New rule to legitimize government lying in response to FOIA requests 297. Cronyism and the Keystone XL pipeline 298. Despite pledge, Obama still taking money from lobbyists 299. Secure Communities and deportation as a business 300. The Occupy movement and the attacks upon it 301. DOJ prosecuting financial fraud at the lowest rate in 20 years 302. US stops funding of UNESCO 303. 42% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck 304. The Post Office facing cuts because of unnecessary prefunding mandates