This is amazing, and also weird. Giuliano seems to be enjoying himself, but I don't know...
If the video doesn't open, below the link, then hit the link.
This is amazing, and also weird. Giuliano seems to be enjoying himself, but I don't know...
If the video doesn't open, below the link, then hit the link.
Just some benign advice ...
Here's a NY Times editorial approving of the House version. No mention of the "advisory" panels.
The Archbishop put it up on his blog. Lots of comments - hit the link if you care to read them... Everything below the picture is from the Archbishop's weblog. The picture is from his visit to Holy Name of Mary on May 31st, this year.
The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.
By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!
Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:
- On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”
Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.
- On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
- Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
- Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.
True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.
I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday. Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?
The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.
I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.
Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.
He tied last night's game with a home run.
Go Sue Go!
Our recommendations for Westchester Board of Legislators
District 9: Anyone paying attention to taxpayers these days knows that they want representatives who aggressively advance their interests, which means rooting out wasteful spending. They may have what they are looking for in Susan Konig, author and former Croton village trustee, who believes the board has been too weak on spending controls. Konig, on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines, pans all manner of board-administration fiscal decisions, from Playland expenses to the False Claims Act/fair housing settlement. Her conclusions aren't all on the mark, but she has considerable experience asking tough questions, from her Croton experience.
Incumbent William Burton of Ossining, on the Democratic and Working families lines, has contributed much to the board's public policy discussions , but Konig may be the most earnest minority voice on Tuesday's ballot - including those few Republicans running unopposed. We recommend adding Konig, for the good of the group.
Straight talk. A couple of excerpts:
Dr. Cohen: "Let's talk about specialization for a moment. . . . We don't go to our general attorney when we have a patent problem, but they're telling us to do this now in medicine. We have different types of engineers, even journalists. There's a financial writer, there's a sportswriter . . . . Now in health care we're telling everybody, 'you just go to the guy who's your general doc. He's going to know everything and maybe we'll find a specialist for you if the panel decides maybe you're sick enough to need a specialist.' It really doesn't make sense at all."
and - regarding cost cutting -
Dr. Fields: "Government is in the process of duplicating everything that managed care did for the last 15 years that was reviled by everybody and which we fought very hard to overcome, The courts finally said 'You can't have withholds, you can't pay people to deny care. You can't have gag rules.' The government is in the process of doing all that. Massachusetts is about to establish capitation [a fixed payment remitted at regular intervals to a medical provider] as the rule of the state. Capitation was the wort thing that ever happened to medical care."
Dr. Joel Kassimir, dermatologist, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York: "We're now being told by physicians advising the president that we take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously."
Dr. Tracy Pfeifer, plastic surgeon, president, New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons: "When physicians graduate from medical school we take an oath, the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm to our patients. It's a very important philosophy to us and we uphold it and hold it very dear to our hearts. Plato, another philosopher, used to say things like 'Those with a poor physical constitution should be allowed to die. The weak and the ill-constituted shall perish.' These government programs that are being proposed I think are very scary in the sense that physicians could be induced to violate the Hippocratic Oath.
"There's a limit to how much of a financial penalty each individual practitioner is going to be able to bear. . . . If the patient is sitting in the examination room with us and they're wondering, 'Is the doctor not ordering a test for me because he's going to get penalized if he does it?' This is a major, major problem for patients and physicians alike."
This sent to me from Australia, by Brigid's niece, June.
I'm sure that you have seen pharmaceutical advertising in doctor's offices on everything from tissues to note pads. Well, in my book, this one should get the prize....
One of our doctor friends e-mailed back: "If the light stays on for more than 4 hours, call your erectrician.
Here's a fascinating article that says "yes."
The scientific evidence supports the notion that humans evolved to be runners. In a 2007 paper in the journal Sports Medicine, Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, and Dennis M. Bramble, a biologist at the University of Utah, wrote that several characteristics unique to humans suggested endurance running played an important role in our evolution.
Most mammals can sprint faster than humans — having four legs gives them the advantage. But when it comes to long distances, humans can outrun almost any animal. Because we cool by sweating rather than panting, we can stay cool at speeds and distances that would overheat other animals. On a hot day, the two scientists wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.
Why would evolution favor the distance runner? The prevailing theory is that endurance running allowed primitive humans to incorporate meat into their diet. They may have watched the sky for scavenging birds and then run long distances to reach a fresh kill and steal the meat from whatever animal was there first.
Other research suggests that before the development of slingshots or bows, early hunters engaged in persistence hunting, chasing an animal for hours until it overheated, making it easy to kill at close range. A 2006 report in the journal Current Anthropology documents persistence hunting among modern hunter-gatherers, including the Bushmen in Africa.
Another from my humor consultant Karen
Earlier this month the Pew Research Center conducted a 12 question poll to determine people's "News IQ". You can take the poll yourself to see how you stack up by going here
It only takes a minute or two, and is kind of fun. My results are at the end of this posting.
After you take the poll, you can get all the results here, and again it's a fun, five minute read.
Some interesting stats - average score was only 5.3 (less than 50%, which explains a lot of things about our public life) - Republicans and independents averaged 5.7, Dems only 5.0 - men outscored women, 5.9 to 4.7 - older people did better then younger - college grads averaged 7.1 (which is still only a 59% score) - 6% of those polled failed to get a single answer right (I don't know how that's possbile, since it's multiple choice, and if you guessed on all of them, you should still get 3 out of 12), while 2% got them all right.
How did the loud-mouth, blowhard, obnoxious Tom Faranda do? Ace'd it - 12 out of 12. Only one I was slightly unsure of was the Iran-Israel question.
The conclusion is ... i dunno. Read more then just the sports pages, I guess.
From the always interesting health section of the NY Times.
Of course, if the mechanism (or my likley many different mechanisms) for spontaneous disappearance of cancers could be found, then we would be on our way to learning how to trigger the body itself to turn off cancer cells.
“The old view is that cancer is a linear process,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health. “A cell acquired a mutation, and little by little it acquired more and more mutations. Mutations are not supposed to revert spontaneously.”
So, Dr. Kramer said, the image was “an arrow that moved in one direction.” But now, he added, it is becoming increasingly clear that cancers require more than mutations to progress. They need the cooperation of surrounding cells and even, he said, “the whole organism, the person,” whose immune system or hormone levels, for example, can squelch or fuel a tumor.
Cancer, Dr. Kramer said, is a dynamic process.
It was a view that was hard for some cancer doctors and researchers to accept. But some of the skeptics have changed their minds and decided that, contrary as it seems to everything they had thought, cancers can disappear on their own.
Misogyny? Or is thais just business as usual in Show Biz?
Though many have dismissed Letterman's conduct - namely, his admitted workplace affair with another former staffer - to be largely harmless on a professional level, Scovell remembers a sexually-charged environment further marred by discrimination and demeaning situations.
Scovell writes, "Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. ... Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no."
This evening I was in the gym on an ellyptical machine, and Keith Olberman was interviewing (if you could call it an interview; more of a mutual admiration discussion) Senator Schuumer of my State of NY. It was about the newly revived "public option" in the pending Senate healthcare bill.
The Senator made the point that a public option wouldn't have to make a profit, unlike the private insurers, and that would save their "10 or 20% profit".
Now, surely Senator Schumer is well aware that the profit margins are nowhere near those numbers, and in fact a couple of days ago the Associated Press did some fact-checking on just how much money health insurers make -
_"I'm very pleased that (Democratic leaders) will be talking, too, about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also welcomed the attention being drawn to insurers'"obscene profits."
_"Keeping the status quo may be what the insurance industry wants their premiums have more than doubled in the last decade and their profits have skyrocketed." Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, member of the Democratic leadership.
_"Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe." A MoveOn.org ad.
Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.
The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.
HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.
The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.
By the way, this is why I never recommend health insurance company stock for purchase.
I have always been a Yankees fan. This is genetic, from my Mom's father, Ivan Post (Who, by the way, was quite a wrestler, way back in the 1910's at Cornell). I and all my brothers have the Yankee gene.
Here's the official Yankees website - good pictures, good stories, great video of the final strikeout ...
A nice piece in the NYT about Andy Pettitte
As Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner, wiped Champagne out of his stinging eyes, he took the place of his father, George, by saying Pettitte had “the heart of a lion.” Hal called signing Pettitte to a contract with a $5.5 million base salary his best investment.
The Washington Post had good coverage on game 6
And here's a NY Daily News piece on the Steinbrenner family
Here's a very difficult situation, which I think illustrates one of the things the government ought to be doing in the health field. That is, providing for catastrophic cost coverage in cases like this. They already do provide medicare coverage to anyone who needs long term kidney dialysis Medicare.com - Dialysis and ESRD Coverage - What Does Medicare Pay For Dialysis? .
This situation was written up in the Washington Times on October 14th. It involves Ian Pearl, a 37 year old man who's had muscular dystrophy for decades, and his coverage with the Guardian Insurance Company. Guardian cancelled the type of major medical policy his family had - not just for his family, but for everyone who had it. The policy dated tothe 80's and provided very high levels of benefits. Evidently they gave policyholders about a year's notice of the cancellation. You can read about it here -
Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl's.
In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl "dogs" that the company could "get rid of."
A federal court quickly ruled that the company's actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits.
His medical treatment costs $1 million a year.
Most of that is for 'round the clock, in-home nursing care - for operation of his ventilator, hourly breathing treatments and continuous intravenous medication.
(Corrected paragraph:) A Guardian spokesman said policies such as Mr. Pearl's - which offered unlimited home nursing - had simply become too expensive for new small-business customers to buy, and that even Medicaid and Medicare do not cover 24-hour home nursing. His parents, Warren and Susan Pearl of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said their health insurance premiums had risen over the years to $3,700 a month.
As a last resort, Mr. Pearl would be admitted to a state hospital under Medicaid. But the Pearls consider that a death sentence.
Regarding Guardian, they are a very well-respected mutual (that means policyholder-owned) insurance company. I have done business with them since 1981, and their policyholder service is about the best in the business. So to read about the above emails is really stunning.
The Company has now decided they will continues to honor the claims of Mr. Pearl, as well as one other unidentified policyholder who evidently is in similar circumstances. From last Friday's issue of the Washington Times -
Guardian Life Insurance Co. said Thursday that it would restore coverage for severely disabled Ian Pearl, 37, one of 500 employees and dependents in New York state whose policies were canceled in a cost-cutting move.
Mr. Pearl's plight was the subject of a front-page article in The Washington Times on Oct. 14 and was subsequently highlighted on MSNBC and CNN. Guardian's decision was announced as Mr. Pearl's mother, Susan, was in Washington to lobby for health care reform and meet with members of Congress about her son's case.
A victim of muscular dystrophy who has been wheelchair-bound since he was 6, Mr. Pearl suffered respiratory arrest at 19 and has been hooked to a tracheal tube and breathing apparatus ever since.
He requires 24-hour nursing care and Mrs. Pearl and her husband, Warren, say he must have in-home care. Being in a hospital ward on Medicaid would be a "death sentence" for their son, they say.
Ian Pearl's medical bills are $1 million per year. His coverage was to expire in December, a year after Guardian's initial decision to discontinue the line of coverage he had.
Now, this begs the question of what should be done in situations like this. Guardian is taking in about $44,000 a year in permium and paying out $1 million. Yes, that's the purpose of insurance - you pay a (relatively) small premium for protection and reimbursement against just this sort of disaster.
So, why not have the government provide stop-loss coverage for these extraordinary situations, in the same way that medicare provides for dialysis? Ths is something that could easily be done, with insurers paying for this stop loss (or reinsurance) protection by paying a premium to the government (in the same way that banks pay for FDIC insurance).
But no, this makes too much sense. The aim of the current reform is to push the government into every aspect of healthcare, beyond their already substantial presence. Control is what it's all about, not sensible reform. Too bad.
I think it goes too long, but it's difficult to see how they can shorten it.
"Baseball officials have said they do not like to stage games in November. Starting the season earlier would seem an obvious way to avoid such a late finish. But the reasons for the elongated schedule are more complicated than it seems. Here are a few:"
A little revisionist history about one of England's greatest victories over France in the Hundred year's War.
No one can ever take away the shocking victory by Henry and his “band of brothers,” as Shakespeare would famously call them, on St. Crispin’s Day, Oct. 25, 1415. They devastated a force of heavily armored French nobles who had gotten bogged down in the region’s sucking mud, riddled by thousands of arrows from English longbowmen and outmaneuvered by common soldiers with much lighter gear. It would become known as the Battle of Agincourt.
But Agincourt’s status as perhaps the greatest victory against overwhelming odds in military history — and a keystone of the English self-image — has been called into doubt by a group of historians in Britain and France who have painstakingly combed an array of military and tax records from that time and now take a skeptical view of the figures handed down by medieval chroniclers.
The historians have concluded that the English could not have been outnumbered by more than about two to one. And depending on how the math is carried out, Henry may well have faced something closer to an even fight, said Anne Curry, a professor at the University of Southampton who is leading the study.
Those cold figures threaten an image of the battle that even professional researchers and academics have been reluctant to challenge in the face of Shakespearean verse and centuries of English pride, Ms. Curry said.
“It’s just a myth, but it’s a myth that’s part of the British psyche,” Ms. Curry said.
Like all war, the battle was horrendous.
an extraordinary online database listing around a quarter-million names of men who served in the Hundred Years’ War, compiled by Ms. Curry and her collaborators at the universities in Southampton and Reading, shows that whatever the numbers, Henry’s army really was a band of brothers: many of the soldiers were veterans who had served on multiple campaigns together.
“You see tremendous continuity with people who knew and trusted each other,” Ms. Curry said.
That trust must have come in handy after Henry, through a series of brilliant tactical moves, provoked the French cavalry — mounted men-at-arms — into charging the masses of longbowmen positioned on the English flanks in a relatively narrow field between two sets of woods that still exist not far from Mr. Renault’s farm in Maisoncelle.
The series of events that followed as the French men-at-arms slogged through the muddy, tilled fields behind the cavalry were quick and murderous.
Volley after volley of English arrow fire maddened the horses, killed many of the riders and forced the advancing men-at-arms into a mass so dense that many of them could not even lift their arms.
When the heavily armored French men-at-arms fell wounded, many could not get up and simply drowned in the mud as other men stumbled over them. And as order on the French lines broke down completely and panic set in, the much nimbler archers ran forward, killing thousands by stabbing them in the neck, eyes, armpits and groin through gaps in the armor, or simply ganged up and bludgeoned the Frenchmen to death.
“The situation was beyond grisly; it was horrific in the extreme,” Mr. Rogers wrote in his paper.
King Henry V had emerged victorious, and as some historians see it, the English crown then mounted a public relations effort to magnify the victory by exaggerating the disparity in numbers.
So, a lot of PR? Shakespeare as a propagandist? But even if the numbers are revised the Englsh were still outnumbered 2 to 1. The lesson may be, don't charge on horseback through deep mud...
Just won game six of the ALCS over the LA Angels, 5-2. C.C. Sabathia, winner of two of the four games, was the Championship Series MVP.
They'll be playing the Philadelphia Phillies, last year's World Series winner.
Next up, New York hosts defending champion Philadelphia in the World Series opener Wednesday night. Cliff Lee is expected to face ALCS MVP CC Sabathia in an enticing pitching matchup between former Cleveland teammates - and the past two AL Cy Young Award winners.
``I couldn't be more excited,'' Rodriguez said. ``I feel like a 10-year-old kid.''
Ridiculed in the past for his October flops, Rodriguez played a huge role in helping his team advance through the playoffs, batting .438 with five home runs and 12 RBIs. The slugger earned his first trip to the World Series during a 16-year career in which he's accomplished almost everything else.
Pettitte set a postseason record for wins, Johnny Damon hit a two-run single and Mariano Rivera closed it out in familiar fashion with a six-out save as the Yankees won their 40th American League crown by vanquishing the Angels, a longtime nemesis.
The Houston cancer hospital, similar to my hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering. Hit the link for the whole thing; I am excerpting only one short paragraph about a physician with cancer -
By now he has gotten used to living with cancer.
“It just becomes your life,” Dr. Raber said. “You come in, you have tests, you go home, you do your thing, you come back again for treatment.
“I tell patients, ‘It used to be that you had cancer, you got treated, you died or you were cured,’ ” he said. “Now, for most of us, it’s a chronic illness. It’s not a question of being psyched up: I will have this surgery and then I will be cured. The disease comes back.”
He works part time, seeing patients on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and spending a day a week working at a clinic in the county hospital.
“A common question people would ask is ‘Are you a better doctor since you’ve been sick?’ ” Dr. Raber said. “My first answer is that I thought I was a good doctor before. I was worried about being a worse doctor. Having lived through these biopsies and all these tests, would I be hesitant to order all these things patients need because I had experienced them and knew they were not pleasant?
“Then I realized I am not better, but I am a different doctor,” he said. “I talk to patients differently. I understand more of what their situation might be.
“My life was very different than it was before that day in the CT scanner,” Dr. Raber said. “It’s not the life I thought I would have. But my life is still really good.
A reminder of just how fortunate I am.
If you like this kind of stuff, this is really amazing. Everytime I see this kind of video,
I am reminded of my two years living in Cayman; although there weren't any underwater cities 50 yards offshore. Off course, the coral and sponges would disagree with that assessment ...
this city was discovered by a British archeologist, in 1967, and he's very involved in this study -
Here are two videos from this story
and here -
Spending staggering amounts - but a drop in the bucket when you consider his $16 billion net worth. Of course, he'd have to give me about $1 billion before I'd vote for him (well, maybe a bit less... I suppose I can be bought ...)
Newly released campaign records show the mayor, as of Friday, had spent $85 million on his latest re-election campaign, and is on pace to spend between $110 million and $140 million before the election on Nov. 3.
Squier Knapp Dunn, the media company responsible for the mayor’s television ads, has taken in $48,313,776. While most of that money pays for TV time, media companies typically receive fees of about 15 percent.
“A number of firms are practically living off of this,” said Steve Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Meanwhile, here's how his opponent is doing as far as raising money -
While donations came in at a much brisker pace than in the previous three-week reporting period, when he raised $114,000, that is unlikely to make a dent in Mr. Bloomberg’s advantage. Factoring in public matching funds, Mr. Thompson will have $3 million in the final week and a half of the race.
Thompson's spokesman, handed a lemon, tries to make lemonade
“This is a clear indication that the momentum of the mayoral race continues to shift towards Bill Thompson,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Thompson campaign.
I wounder if he said that with a straight face?
Charles Krauthammer is a riot. A good column - hit the link and read the whole thing
Fox and its viewers (numbering more than those of CNN and MSNBC combined) need no defense. Defend Fox compared to whom? To CNN -- which recently unleashed its fact-checkers on a "Saturday Night Live" skit mildly critical of President Obama, but did no checking of a grotesquely racist remark that CNN falsely attributed to Rush Limbaugh?
Defend Fox from whom? Fox's flagship 6 o'clock evening news out of Washington (hosted by Bret Baier, formerly by Brit Hume) is, to my mind, the best hour of news on television. (Definitive evidence: My mother watches it even on the odd night when I'm not on.) Defend Fox from the likes of Anita Dunn? She's been attacked for extolling Mao's political philosophy in a speech at a high school graduation. But the critics miss the surpassing stupidity of her larger point: She was invoking Mao as support and authority for her impassioned plea for individuality and trusting one's own choices. Mao as champion of individuality? Mao, the greatest imposer of mass uniformity in modern history, creator of a slave society of a near-billion worker bees wearing Mao suits and waving the Little Red Book?
June, Brigid's niece in Australia, sent us this. As she said, "Wow."
Did you hear the driver say "I've got to turn around" and the woman taking the video say "why?"
The Republican establishment, including people like Gingrich, have endorsed Dede Scazzafava, a BIG tax and spend, pro-abortion Republican. A good example of this - Most Republicans think their own Party is clueless
In fact her Democratic opponent is criticizing her for her history of voting for tax increases!
A further reminder to me as to why I don't belong to a political party.
In New York, there is an active third party, the Conservative Party, and Palin just endorsed it's candidate, Doug Hoffman. This is a very intersting post -
Hard to argue that point, when Gingrich endorsed the upstate New York leftist Dede Scozzafava for Congress.
Just 15% of Republicans who plan to vote in 2012 state
primariessay the party’s representatives in Congress have done a good job of representing Republican values.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal. If you're interested in human rights and the Darfur situation, hit the link and read all seven paragraphs.
"I am deeply concerned by reports that the Bush Administration is negotiating a normalization of relations with the Government of Sudan. . . . This reckless and cynical initiative would reward a regime in Khartoum that has a record of failing to live up to its commitments."
—Senator Barack Obama, April 2008
We found this not-so-ancient statement on the Obama campaign's Web site, under a picture of the candidate and the quote, "I'm asking you to believe." On Monday, the Obama Administration took its own first step toward normalizing relations with Khartoum, promising a "menu of incentives and disincentives" for a government the U.S. has repeatedly accused of genocide. Please don't call it "reckless and cynical."
And here's a hard-hitting WSJ op ed from a few days ago.
Darfur, Iran, Tibet, Burma - "where's the beef?"
and as examples:
China: In February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Beijing with a conciliating message about the country's human-rights record. "Our pressing on those [human-rights] issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis," she said.
In fact, there has been no pressing whatsoever on human rights. President Obama refused to meet with the Dalai Lama last month, presumably so as not to ruffle feathers with the people who will now be financing his debts. In June, Liu Xiaobo, a leading signatory of the pro-democracy Charter 08 movement, was charged with "inciting subversion of state power." But as a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Beijing admitted to the Journal, "neither the White House nor Secretary Clinton have made any public comments on Liu Xiaobo."
And Darfur -
Sudan: In 2008, candidate Obama issued a statement insisting that "there must be real pressure placed on the Sudanese government. We know from past experience that it will take a great deal to get them to do the right thing. . . . The U.N. Security Council should impose tough sanctions on the Khartoum government immediately."
Exactly right. So what should Mr. Obama do as president? Yesterday, the State Department rolled out its new policy toward Sudan, based on "a menu of incentives and disincentives" for the genocidal Sudanese government of Omar Bashir. It's the kind of menu Mr. Bashir will languidly pick his way through till he dies comfortably in his bed.
Here's a pretty in-depth article.
The papal constitution is still being finalized. It may be published in about two weeks. But its proclamation has already been made in solemn form, on the morning of October 20, in two simultaneous press conferences: one in Rome, with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, and one in London, with the primate of the Catholic Church of England and Wales, Vincent G. Nichols, and with the primate of the Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams (in the Associated Press photo).
In London, the two archbishops, Catholic and Anglican, also released a joint statement. This is, without question, another novel element.
Usually, in fact, when someone leaves one Christian confession and embraces another, the door is slammed shut upon departure.
This time, however, it is as if the transition has been blessed by common agreement on both sides.
Just yesterday, I was speaking to someone in my New Jersey office, ho has a Canadian friend who decided not to accept waiting 18 months for "another evaluation."
She drove to New York and paid cash ($65,000) for treatment.
Richard Baker is known as a critic of the Canadian health care system, but he's the first to acknowledge that it represents a real bargain for those with routine afflictions.
"In Canada, if your wife is pregnant, you have great prenatal care, great postnatal care, and the delivery is free. If you have the flu, your exam is free. If you break a leg, you can go to the emergency ward, and they'll set it immediately," Mr. Baker said.
The trouble starts when patients need treatment that isn't so routine. That's where Mr. Baker comes in. A British Columbia medical broker, he takes patients who find themselves on long waiting lists for procedures such as MRIs and surgeries, and connects them with specialists who can handle their cases immediately.
Most of the time, his clients wind up in the United States - and business is booming.
"That's what Americans need to know about the Canadian system," Mr. Baker said. "It's not that we have poor-quality health care - the quality is perfectly good. It's that we have poor access to health care."
Now, isn't the purpose of our healthcare reform to increase access? Doesn't seem to me that that's where we're headed.
Here's more -
For Mr. Caldara of the Independence Institute, the issue goes beyond policy. His 5-year-old son, Chance, has Down syndrome and has undergone eight operations, including open-heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart.
Under a Canadian-style system, Mr. Caldara said, Chance likely would have wound up on a waiting list and could still be waiting for life-changing or even life-saving procedures.
"This is not about some wonky public-policy issue; this is personal," he said. "This is about saving my son's life."
For more craziness on the so-called virtues of the healthcare systems we're modeling our reform on, go to my post yesterday - Hypocrisy watch: National Health Service in Great Britain buys private health insurance for 3,000 employees
Evidently, not important at all.
...does it matter for the ordinary, average athlete? “Probably not a great deal,” Dr. Thompson said. And, anyway, most people don’t just stand there, stock still, when their workout is over. They walk to the locker room or to their house or car, getting the cool-down benefit without officially “cooling down.”
The idea of the cool-down seems to have originated with a popular theory — now known to be wrong — that muscles become sore after exercise because they accumulate lactic acid. In fact, lactic acid is a fuel. It’s good to generate lactic acid, it’s a normal part of exercise, and it has nothing to do with muscle soreness. But the lactic acid theory led to the notion that by slowly reducing the intensity of your workout you can give lactic acid a chance to dissipate.
Yet, Dr. Foster said, even though scientists know the lactic acid theory is wrong, it remains entrenched in the public’s mind.
“It’s an idea we can’t get rid of,” he said.
From the "You can't make this stuff up" department.
Information was gotten by a member of the Liberal Democratic party under Britain's Freedom of Information act. The LB's are the third party in Britain, not to be confused with the Labor Party or the Conservative (Tory) party.
THE National Health Service has spent £1.5m paying for hundreds of its staff to have private health treatment so they can leapfrog their own waiting lists.
More than 3,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, have gone private at the taxpayers’ expense in the past three years because the queues at the clinics and hospitals where they work are too long.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show that NHS administrative staff, paramedics and ambulance drivers have also been given free private healthcare. This has covered physiotherapy, osteopathy, psychiatric care and counselling — all widely available on the NHS.
“If the NHS has to circumvent their own waiting lists the system isn’t working well enough. It’s an admission by the NHS that their own system isn’t able to respond to the mass of people desperate to get back to work.”
There was a very fine feature in the excellent health section of the NY Times yesterday.
My mother is suffering from dementia. A month ago she had to move out of the independent living facility into an assisted living residence. She has real memory problems, trouble remembering to take her meds, as well as some mobility issues. She is doing much better now that she is getting the additional assistance she needs.
hitthe link for the whole article.
Dementia is often viewed as a disease of the mind, an illness that erases treasured memories but leaves the body intact.
But dementia is a physical illness, too — a progressive, terminal disease that shuts down the body as it attacks the brain. Although the early stages can last for years, the life expectancy of a patient with advanced dementia is similar to that of a patient with advanced cancer.
The lack of understanding about the physical toll of dementia means that many patients near the end of life are subjected to aggressive treatments that would never be considered with another terminal illness. People with advanced dementia are often given dialysis and put on ventilators; they may even get preventive care that cannot possibly help them, like colonoscopies and drugs for osteoporosis or high cholesterol.
After a cosy beginning ...
The White House is moving aggressively to remove the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from its traditional Washington role as the chief representative for big business, the latest sign of a public feud ignited by disagreement over the administration's effort to overhaul the health-care system.
R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's longtime lobbyist, said he has less real access to Obama's chief aides than he had during any previous administration. He said the business events Obama holds at the White House are just for show.
"Going to the Reagan center with 150 people, where the president gives prepared remarks -- I'm sorry, I don't consider that a consultative outreach," Josten said. "That's an event, designed by the White House, for the White House."
UPDATE: Here's another article on the subject by John Allen Vatican reveals plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans | National Catholic Reporter
Pretty interesting, and I guess in the works for awhile. This is off the zenit.org email newsletter.
Apostolic Constitution to Establish "Personal Ordinariates"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Groups of Anglicans will now be able to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the Anglican spiritual and liturgical tradition.
This policy has been established in a forthcoming apostolic constitution the Vatican announced today.
It responds to requests from Anglicans who have expressed wishes to become Catholic, particularly as the Anglican Tradition continues to take steps toward opening their priesthood and episcopate to women and active homosexuals, and blessing same-sex unions.
Between 20 and 30 Anglican bishops have made such a request.
The constitution was announced at a press conference at the Vatican today, offered by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A statement from the congregation explained that with the apostolic constitution, "the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony."
These groups of Anglicans will be overseen and guided through the personal ordinariate, the leader of which will normally be chosen from among former Anglican clergy.
The statement from the Vatican explained that the constitution "provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy."
It clarified that "historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches."
Thus, the apostolic constitution stipulates that the leader of the personal ordinariate be "either a priest or an unmarried bishop."
As to future priests, the statement explained: "The seminarians in the ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the apostolic constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church."
The Vatican statement said the apostolic constitution provides a "reasonable and even necessary response" to what it called a "worldwide phenomenon."
It offers a "single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application."
The profile of a "personal ordinariate" is similar in some ways to that of a personal prelature (Opus Dei is the only personal prelature right now) or the military ordinates, wherein a bishop has ecclesiastical authority over people of the armed forces and their families, regardless of their geographical location.
Many individual Anglicans have already entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some "corporate" structure, the Vatican statement noted, offering the example of an Anglican diocese in India and some parishes in the United States.
"In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church," the statement explained.
According to Cardinal Levada: "It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith.
"Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. [...]
"Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."
--- --- ---
Full text of Vatican statement: www.zenit.org/article-27268?l=english
Lou Albano the former "wrestler" and "manager" with the WWF (now WWE).
Died a few days ago at 76. A graduate of my high school - Stepinac ( I only just found that out).
I remember him AND this video he made with Cyndi Lauper. Remember Cyndi Lauper? Back around the time "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" came out (1985), I was briefly infatuated. Around then, Time Magazine had a feature on Lauper and Madonna, asking the question "Who would be the bigger star?". They got it wrong, opting for Lauper.
Here's Lou Albano's interesting bio -
Albano's brother, Carl, taught health for 32 years at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and was head of the Ridgewood High health department from 1974 until 2001. Carl Albano's students have noted that he used his brother Lou as an example of the difference between crazy and unique.
Nice to know I'm not motivated by racial animosity. My two boys will be relieved.
Study: Obama foes aren't race-driven - Michael Falcone - POLITICO.com
Rather than attributing their dislike of Obama to race, participants in the focus groups, which were a project of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, said that their disaffection was borne out of a sense that the president was orchestrating an effort to steer the country away from its “founding principles.”
“They want him to fail,” said pollster Stan Greenberg. “It’s not just a political motivation, it’s an ethical imperative given what they think Obama’s goals are.”
I saw this commercial yesterday (while watching the Giants get crushed by New Orleans) and had no idea what it was all about.
Then yesterday evening I read all about it in the Washington Post technology section; a collaborative effort by the three companies above - and on the Verizon network.
I am still in the cell phone dark ages - I don't have a smart phone. Don't really need one. I've had the sneakiest suspicion that many people own Blackberry's so when they send an email it says "Sent from my Blackberry" at the bottom. However, I will take a look at the Droid. Verizon has the best network in my area of Westchester, hands down, and I've been on their cell network for years.
Here's more -
Verizon isn’t pulling any punches: it calls out basically every major weakness on the iPhone ...
The phone hasn’t been officially announced yet, and the release date is vague (the rumor is that it will launch at midnight on October 31). But we’ve heard from some people who have had the chance to briefly test it out, and they were very impressed (one response was that it was “totally awesome”). I’m not going to be foolish enough to call this an iPhone killer for the simple fact that the iPhone’s developer community is still miles ahead of Android’s regardless of how good Droid turns out to be. But don’t be surprised if you start hearing about people who quit the iPhone in favor of the Droid. After all, even if the phone doesn’t turn out to be quite as polished as the iPhone, it will be running on a network that will actually let them connect their calls consistently.
One final thing to note: given how direct an attack Verizon is making on the iPhone, it sure doesn’t sound like the iPhone will be making the leap to Verizon any time soon.
"Droid." Cool name for a tech toy - very Star Warrish. "Sent from my Droid" sounds ultra-chic.
From my humor consultant Ellen
Limbaugh was dis-invited from the group he was in, attempting to buy the St. Louis Rams football team.
Of course this smear stuff backfires - Rush's ratings are higher then ever, as he laughs all the way to the bank.
As I explained on my radio show, this spectacle is bigger than I am on several levels. There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives that reflects the blind hatred espoused by Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson. "Racism" is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don't share the left's agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.
These intimidation tactics are working and spreading, and they are a cancer on our society.
An important question (and certainly very important to me!).
This is a not-very-long but comprehensive posting on the NY Times Health blog, looking at both experimental animal studies and human studies.
The tentative conclusion is that intensive exercise can indeed suppress the body's immune response. On the other hand, experiments with mice indicate that mild exercise can help the immune system.
Why exercise should affect either your susceptibility to catching an illness or how badly a particular bug affects you is still unclear. But it does appear that intense workouts and racing suppress the body’s immune response for a period of time immediately after you’ve finished exercising and that “the longer the duration and the more intense” the exercise, “the longer the temporary period of immunosuppression lasts — anything from a few hours to a few days has been suggested,” ...
Number of hungry people now going up, not down
"For the first time in the history of humanity, the number of hungry people has reached one billion. In Africa, despite the significant progress, the situation is very worrisome: there are 271 million undernourished people, that is 24% of the population, an increase of 12% in relation to the year before."
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox are all home, watching the playoff on TV ... Yuk, yuk.
NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia continued to stand tall as the new playoff ace in town and the Yankees took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy Angels defensive effort, posting a 4-1 victory on Friday in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at a chilly Yankee Stadium.
Discussing his dominant outing, Sabathia credited his changeup.
"I was trying to command both sides of the plate and was able to do that early, and that opened it up and made the changeup a lot better," Sabathia said. "So, late in the game, I went to changeups with two strikes, and when I needed to get a swing and miss, the changeup was there for me."
The Angels looked like chilled Californians withering in the unseasonable wintry weather, making three errors that led to two unearned runs and allowing an infield popup to drop untouched for an RBI single. Even Torii Hunter, an eight-time Gold Glove center fielder, allowed a single to roll past him.
``We took advantage of a couple miscues,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``It's one game and we know that this is going to be an extremely tough series.''
Wow. What if you're overweight and a smoker?
The initiative, largely eclipsed in the health care debate, builds on a trend that is already in play among some corporations and that more workers will see in the packages they bring home during this month's open enrollment. Some employers offer lower premiums to people who complete personal health assessments; others offer only limited benefit packages to smokers.
The current legislative effort takes the trend a step further. It is backed by major employer groups, including the U.S. Chamber of
Commerceand the National Association of Manufacturers. It is opposed by labor unions and groups devoted to combating serious illnesses, such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association.
A colossal loophole?
President Obama and members of Congress have declared that they are trying to create a system in which no one can be denied coverage or charged higher premiums based on their health status. The health insurance lobby has said it shares that goal. However, so-called wellness incentives could introduce a colossal loophole. In effect, they would permit insurers and employers to make coverage less affordable for people exhibiting risk factors for problems like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
"Everybody said that we're going to be ending discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But this is in effect discrimination again based on preexisting conditions," said Ann Kempski of the Service Employees
Huckabee leading! A little surprising.
A pathetic tale in the NY Times today. A Franciscan priest.
You have to read the whole article. I excerpted one of the more absurd points. The Franciscan Superiors knew of this guy's issues - what were they thinking?
In a deposition years later, Father Willenborg said that the Franciscans had never disciplined him, and never suggested that he leave religious life. He was assigned to New Orleans to work with AIDS patients, and a few years later to the headquarters of his order’s province in St. Louis to oversee “spiritual formation” for priests, which includes educating them on how to remain celibate.
This was first suggested by the 1st President Bush, but went nowhere. If there is going to be a public option, it makes sense to simply open medicare to everyone, rather then establish another program.
But that's too simple.
One problem is the low reimbursemtn rates for procedures to healthcare providers. On average, medicare pays 85% of what the commercial insurers pay.
Medicare would then compete with private insurers across the age spectrum. It would be open to those who don't have insurance through their employers, the same people who would be covered by the public option already under discussion.
But Ross said he would want reimbursement for providers to be at a "much greater rate" than it is now. Medicare reimbursement rates have been a sore point for rural lawmakers who feel that Medicare shortchanges their hospitals.
I don't know? Is that good or bad? Doesn't he have to run head-to-head against someone?
In what may be the ultimate job rating, 43 percent of voters say that they would vote to re-elect President Obama if the 2012 election were held today, down from 52 percent six months ago, from April 22-23, 2009.
Obama's job approval rating comes in at 49 percent this week. That's down just one percentage point from late September, but it marks a new low approval for the president -- and the first time the Fox News poll has measured his approval below 50 percent.
Moreover, the number of Americans saying they would vote to re-elect President Obama has dropped. If the election were held today the poll finds more voters say they would back someone else in the 2012 election than would back the president.
A doctor of the Catholic Church and one of the great mystics. She lived in the 16th century, died in 1582.
Here's a good (better then the online Catholic encyclopedia) short bio. I excerpted the section on her mysticism. Full disclosure - I have never levitated and know no one who has.
The kernel of Teresa's mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages (The Autobiography Chs. 10-22):
The first, or "mental prayer", is that of devout contemplation or concentration, the withdrawal of the soul from without and specially the devout observance of the passion of Christ and penitence (Autobiography 11.20).
The second is the "prayer of quiet", in which at least the human will is lost in that of God by virtue of a charismatic, supernatural state given of God, while the other faculties, such as memory, reason, and imagination, are not yet secure from worldly distraction. While a partial distraction is due to outer performances such as repetition of prayers and writing down spiritual things, yet the prevailing state is one of quietude (Autobiography 14.1).
The "devotion of union" is not only a supernatural but an essentially ecstatic state. Here there is also an absorption of the reason in God, and only the memory and imagination are left to ramble. This state is characterized by a blissful peace, a sweet slumber of at least the higher soul faculties, a conscious rapture in the love of God.
The fourth is the "devotion of ecstasy or rapture," a passive state, in which the consciousness of being in the body disappears (2 Corinthians 12:2-3). Sense activity ceases; memory and imagination are also absorbed in God or intoxicated. Body and spirit are in the throes of a sweet, happy pain, alternating between a fearful fiery glow, a complete impotence and unconsciousness, and a spell of strangulation, intermitted sometimes by such an ecstatic flight that the body is literally lifted into space. This after half an hour is followed by a reactionary relaxation of a few hours in a swoon-like weakness, attended by a negation of all the faculties in the union with God. From this the subject awakens in tears; it is the climax of mystical experience, productive of the trance. (Indeed, she was said to have been observed levitating during Mass on more than one occasion.)
Teresa is one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, and her position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences, which a deep insight and analytical gifts enabled her to explain clearly. Her definition was used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Contemplative prayer [oración mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us."