Thursday, August 30, 2012

Advertising? Oy

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
    ~Norman Douglas, South Wind, 1917

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fly High, Neil

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012
Fly high, Neil.
The Apollo 11 Flight Journal

Lies... and Truth

I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

    ~ Adlai Stevenson, campaign statement in Fresno, California (10 September 1952)

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Small Dichotomy Here.

A small dichotomy here. On one hand, there are people who say certain things don't exist, or don't happen often. On the other hand, there are groups making advertising campaigns covering those issues that "don't don't happen often", or create websites to cover issues around things that "don't happen often". With all the issues in the world that need dealing with, why would people create stuff about things that "don't happen often". Unless, of course, they happen a lot. United Way's campaign on teen pregnancy caused by rape or incest, which according to some, rarely happens.

Makes as much sense as any other explanation

Abbott and Costello explain Unemployment! COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America. ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 8.3% COSTELLO: That many people are out of work? ABBOTT: No, that's 16%. COSTELLO: You just said 8.3%. ABBOTT: 8.3% Unemployed. COSTELLO: Right 8.3% out of work. ABBOTT: No, that's 16%. COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed. ABBOTT: No, that's 8.3%... COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 8.3% or 16%? ABBOTT: 8.3% are unemployed. 16% are out of work. COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed. ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed. COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!! ABBOTT: No, you miss my point. COSTELLO: What point? ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair. COSTELLO: To whom? ABBOTT: The unemployed. COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work. ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed. COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment? ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely! COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work? ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 8.3%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment, do ya? COSTELLO: That would be frightening. ABBOTT: Absolutely. COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number? ABBOTT: Two ways is correct. COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job? ABBOTT: Correct. COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job? ABBOTT: Bingo. COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work. ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist. COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said! ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like a politician.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I wish it were that easy.

Rep. Todd Akin, on pregnancy due to rape:

"I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

uh, and what is the raped woman in this scenario? Besides inconvenient.

Rep. Todd Akin, on selective fact finding:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,..."

A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found "rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency" and is "a cause of many unwanted pregnancies" — an estimated "32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year."

Rep. Todd Akin, on raped women getting pregnant:

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Dude, if it were that easy to not get pregnant, we wouldn't need to have conversations about birth control and abortions

War on women? Nah. just screaming abysmal ignorance of how things really work. Which just turns out to look like a war on women. Or, to quote my late father in law, "that difference which makes no difference is no difference."

Read the article on Rep. Todd Akin's views on rape.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I made a pilgrimage to the University of Vermont Middlebury's Morgan horse farm on 8 August. It was just a bit hot and humid, so I didn't stand outside much. And the pictures in the barn didn't come out too well. Gee, I guess I'll have to go back.

Morgan Statute At UVM

Statute of Morgan, given in memory of Justin Morgan










Monday, August 06, 2012

The Summer of 2012 -- Too Hot to Handle?

That's the caption on an article from NASA Science News.
Stealing the first few paragraphs:
August 3, 2012: This past June more than 170 all-time US heat records were tied or broken--many of them originally set in the historically hotter months of July and August. And with a drought plaguing much of the country, the ground is as dry and crispy as a saltine cracker.
By early July, 56% of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing drought. That's the largest percentage in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Fires scorched over 1.3 million acres across the US in June, reducing hundreds of homes to ashes in the West.
Just imagining prospects for the rest of the summer is enough to bring sweat to your brow. And last winter is partly to blame.
"799 daytime heat records were broken in the first five days of January in the US," says Jake Crouch, a climate scientist from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. "Last year's was the fourth warmest winter since 1895. And it was dry, with a dearth of snowfall in many places. During most of this past winter and spring, a positive North Atlantic Oscillation pressure pattern kept the jet stream further north and the US warmer and drier than normal."

At the end of the article, a climatologist from NASA and a scientist from the University of Alabama Hunstville, disagreeing on whether we have global warming, both agree we need better models.

An interesting look at the problem, without a lot of nasty adjectives.
Summer of 2012

Friday, August 03, 2012

Easing A Burden For Vets?

Really. That's what the article says.

According to the July/August 2012 AARP bulletin, "the Department of Veterans Affairs is making it easier for vets to provide medical information supporting their disability claims. Veterans' medical care providers can now download any of 71 forms for specific conditions..."

WaitWhat? 71 forms? Good grief! I supposed allowing the forms to be downloaded is an easing, but really... 71? Checking out a few of them, they seem to run 4 to 8 pages each, and ask extremely detailed questions. They remind me of the questions asked by outsourced tech support who really have no clue what's going on, but want you to go away.

For arthritis for example, does the veteran have pain? Uh, no, we thought we'd tie up the medical system with stupid visits.  This question and checkbox is followed by "If yes, indicate affected joints (check all that apply):" and a detailed list of the joints available to be arthritic, incl a list for each of the left and right sides. This is followed by a substantial box "For all checked joints, describe involvement (brief summary). Also complete a questionnaire for each affected joint, if indicated."

The next question is "does the veteran have any limitation of joint movement attributable to this arthritic condition?" See sarcasm above. Again we have "If yes..." and a list of boxes to be checked for "all that apply" and a substantial box "For all checked joints, describe limitation of movement (brief summary). Also complete a questionnaire for each affected joint, if indicated."

This goes on for 5 pages,  and includes sections for "systemic involvement other than joints", "incapacitating and non-incapacitating exacerbations", "other pertinent findings, complications, conditions, signs and/or symptoms", "assistive devices", "diagnostic testing" and lots more. For each and every question, there is a box for details, and in some cases a requirement for additional questionnaires to be filled out.

Looking at all this, I realized the problem is not getting care to vets, or getting vets in to see a doctor. It's processing the damned paperwork.

If you want to see the list, go here: Disability Benefit Questionaire.