From my Australian correspondent Kevin:
Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond.
By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade.
The NY Times over the weekend had an interesting article. hit the link for the whole thing.
Forty-four years ago, when the Packers won Super Bowl I, their largest players weighed 260 pounds. As Green Bay prepares to face Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 13 players on the Packers’ active roster weigh 300 or more pounds, reflecting a trend over the past several decades in which players have become as supersized as fast-food meals.
On one hand, the largest players are celebrated for their strength, spry athleticism and beer-belly physiques that give them an Everyman quality.
On the other hand, the enormousness of many players, and the recent deaths of one active lineman and several relatively young retired linemen, have raised questions — and brought conflicting answers — about potential health risks associated with size.
“You can see by looking at the defensive linemen that they carry 30, 40, 50 pounds of fat,” said Jerry Kramer, the All-Pro guard who led the Packers’ famed sweep in the 1960s while playing at about 250 pounds. “Fat doesn’t make you strong and quick. It makes you heavy. Muscle makes you strong. We’ve gotten enamored with the 300-pounder, but give me an offensive guard who’s in great shape at 270 or 275 and understands leverage and positioning, and I’ll bet he’ll whip the fat guy every time.”
I had seen the op ed "A Fighting Spirit Won't Save Your Life" when it was published last week, but I hadn't bothered to read it. Then I heard Don Imus - who has prostate cancer and sponsors the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer - rip the article to pieces on his radio show.
So I read it yesterday. if you're on facebook - here's the address to the op ed -
The gist of the article is here:
... there’s no evidence to back up the idea that an upbeat attitude can prevent any illness or help someone recover from one more readily. On the contrary, a recently completed study of nearly 60,000 people in Finland and Sweden who were followed for almost 30 years found no significant association between personality traits and the likelihood of developing or surviving cancer. Cancer doesn’t care if we’re good or bad, virtuous or vicious, compassionate or inconsiderate. Neither does heart disease or AIDS or any other illness or injury.
Then he goes on to say -
And while we may be able to point anecdotally to a Gabrielle Giffords as an example of how a fighting spirit improves medical outcome, other people with a spirit just as strong die — think of Elizabeth Edwards, for example. And many patients who employ negative thinking nevertheless recover from illness every day. We want good things to happen to good people and this desire blinds us to evidence to the contrary.
OK. So he references one study - without mentioning other studies and the many practitioners who will vehemently disgree with him (the author, Richard Sloan is a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. He has a book entitled Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine). Nor does he seem to see the obvious rejoinder to his comment on Elizabeth Edwards; that without her positive outlook and spirit perhaps she would not have lived as long as she did.
Of course these things ARE very hard or even impossible to quantify. And we all have known some people with very positive attitudes, everything to live for, many people praying for them, and still a dismal outcome. Five years ago yesterday, I was discharged from Sloan Kettering after my 20 day stay entailing high dose chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant. Two days after my discharge, the playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who also had lymphoma, died at Sloan Kettering. Why her and not me? I've no idea. This sort of anecdote doesn't "prove" anything (My understanding is that Ms. Wasserstein, who had a young child, had a very good attitude and plenty of people pulling for her). Nevertheless, there's so much anecdotal information, as well as some very carefully constructed studies, that you start to wonder if perhaps Sloan doesn't have his own agenda.
Hmmm, more from his op ed -
But such beliefs have implications for how we regard people who are ill. If people are insufficiently upbeat after a cancer diagnosis or inadequately “spiritual” after a diagnosis of AIDS, are we to assume they have willfully placed their health at risk? And if they fail to recover, is it really their fault? The incessant pressure to be positive imposes an enormous burden on patients whose course of treatment doesn’t go as planned.
It is difficult enough to be injured or gravely ill. To add to this the burden of guilt over a supposed failure to have the right attitude toward one’s illness is unconscionable.
I must have missed the memo that this was a serious issue in medicine today. And according to the Amazon reviews, Sloan makes a big deal about this in his book. It seems to me (anecodotally!) that here is a member of academia, trying to create an issue that doesn't exist.
Here's another ancecdote. The day before I received my stem cells back, Lorraine, the nurse practitioner who was explaining it to me (it's not a big deal - like getting a blood transfusion) said to me at the end of her discourse, that she wouldn't be working tomorrow but, "I'll remember you in my prayers". I appreciated that. I thought it was nice and thoughtful - and really a statement of her faith. She didn't need to say it, but she did.
When people ask me about my treatment, and five years in remission, I often say, "chemotherapy and prayer - not necessarily in that order." I just don't think you can quantify these things.
My friend and business associate Judy gets the credit (?) for this -
Depends on your appetite for snow. And snow has gotten pretty old and boring lately, what with an all-time record snowfall for January in New York.
The house from a couple of angles - pictures by Brigid.
Brigid then gives me the camera and heads to the backyard
complete with a trekking pole to measure the depth of the snow
The measurement is in - it was 19 inches of snow in our backyard, without any drifts.
Brigid then took the camera and went icicle-hunting in the back -
We think the longest ones are around five feet.
Here they are from inside looking out - taken by me, of course.
Brigid's jacket was about the only non-dreary thing in this whole posting ...
Thinking Americans of whatever political stripe, need to read Krauthammer.
or here -
This entire pantomime about debt reduction came after the first half of a speech devoted to, yes, new spending. One almost has to admire Obama's defiance. His 2009 stimulus and budget-busting health-care reform are precisely what stirred the popular revolt that delivered his November shellacking. And yet he's back for more.
Facts, and impeccable logic. He's good.
25 years ago today.
I was in my office in Manhattan, and a woman from the word processing department (used to be called typing pool?) ran down the hall telling people.
And this very interesting column -
I guess I should call this a Global Cooling Update, especially since NY City has set a record for snow in January - 36 inches. This eclipses the record set in 1925.
From the UK Telegraph -
The new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that half of the glaciers in the Karakoram range, in the northwestern Himlaya, are in fact advancing and that global warming is not the deciding factor in whether a glacier survives or melts.
Their report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found the key factor affecting their advance or retreat is the amount of debris – rocks and mud – strewn on their surface, not the general nature of climate change.
Glaciers surrounded by high mountains and covered with more than two centimetres of debris are protected from melting.
UPDATE: Also turns out the "Winning the Future" line used ten times is the title of a Newt Gingrich book. Obama, Gingrich and 'Winning the Future': Petty Larceny or Fair Game? Note the abbreviation ...
Yesterday I put a small posting here about the State of the Union speech - which I didn't watch - mentioning that "I found the "Sputnik moment" thing odd - what speechwriter gave him that metaphor?".
Turns out it was from NYT columnist Tom Friedman.
"Sputnik moment," however, sounded to us not just false but clichéd. And in fact, it turned out the president himself had trotted out the "our generation's Sputnik moment" line before, at a Dec. 6, 2010, speech in North Carolina. But we doubted it originated in the White House speechwriting shop. It sounded like the work of a far, far worse writer. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed by a book review in the Sept. 9, 2008, edition of the New York Times: "Thomas L. Friedman's latest book is a plea for a new Sputnik moment."
Friedman, it turns out, has been beating the Sputnik drum since the Clinton years ...
The article goes on to show Friedman using the line many, many times.
See if you agree.
From my friend Ellen - and it was also sent to me by Brigid's niece June in Australia, about five hours later! This stuff gets around the internet quick ...
THIS is freaky! This year we will experience 4 unusual dates....
NOW go figure this out.... take the last 2
digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year and it
WILL EQUAL TO 111
This is freaky!
PRESIDENT OBAMA entered office promising to be a different kind of politician - one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls. Tuesday night's State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed.
I didn't watch the President's State of the Union speech - I haven't watched any in years. The last one would probably have been in 2002, a few months after 9/11.
But I do read the next day commentaries.
I found the "Sputnik moment" thing odd - what speechwriter gave him that metaphor?
Here's another strange quote from the speech:
Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion....
Huh? I'm ten years older then Obama and have no memories of anything like that. Is he just talking to unionized workers?
Anyway, I'm sure many Democrats found the speech "uplifting", like Congressman Anthony Weiner - go here.
Those mean, rich, 1%. At it again.
People still write this drivel...
Interesting stuff and a quick read.
Having just arrived, here we are. In the background is a gathering under a red Jesuit banner of several hundred young people. They are about 300 yards from the main rally on the Mall. There are lots of mini-rallies going on, while people are introduced from the main podium (pretty tedious really,if you're young) on the Mall.
And here's the Jesuit banner, about two hours later, at the end of the March, in front of the Supreme Court.
A sample of the March itself, after the rally on the Mall, as people arrive at the top of Constitution Ave.,and then turn right to approach the Supreme Court.
And here's the crowd right behind this group. Pictures taken from the Dirksen Senate office building steps, at 3:03, 75 minutes after the front of the March had reached the Supreme Court. When we left at 3:30 people were still pouring up Constitution Ave.
If you've gotten this far, here is an article from the Washington Post,
and an eight picture NY Times slide show -
My friend Laurie sent me this link.
The posting is about PZ Myers, college biology professor.
Myers previous claim to fame was he wanted to get a consecrated Catholic host, desecrate it, and then put the video up on youtube.
Their post is here. I embedded the video below, which consists of little snips from the Sarah Palin's Alaska series on The Learning Channel (TLC). Brigid and I watched a number of the episodes and enjoyed them. By TLC standards, the series attracted a large audience.
The vid is four and a half minutes long. Watch and decide if the Huffpost succeeded -
The original television guru of fitness. Here he is three years ago. He's died at age 96.
This is an interesting bio -
Brigid and I went to the annual K of C dinner on Thursday, with John Sekelsky honored as the Man of the Year.
John was born in 1923, had five children and seems to have lived in Croton forever. He made a living as an artist and graphic designer, and has always had a quick wit and sparkling personality, while being self-effacing.
You would never know he flew 28 missions over Germany in WW II, as a radio operator on a B-17. A real American hero.
Here are some pictures from the dinner.
Adam Rodriguez, the Grand Knight of our Council, made the presentation.
A lovely evening.
This is a great op ed, distilling much of the information about how healthcare financing was phonied up.
or here -
Suppose someone - say, the president of United States - proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I've got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.
He'd be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats' major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit - and therefore repeal raises it - by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.
Very true. And very convincing. Until you realize where that number comes from. Explains CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in his "preliminary analysis of H.R. 2" (the Republican health-care repeal): "CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion."
As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes.
Hit the link. The whole essay is superb - facts are facts. And it puts the lie to the idea that Obamacare was about healthcare. It's about expanding government, pure and simple.
The uber-cheerleader for all things leftist-whacko, and attack dog against everything else. Keith Olbermann did not allow any guests on his show who disagreed with his views. When I am in the gym between eight and nine, I channel-surf between him, O'Reilly, and CNN.
Hit this link to see his announcement - look & you'll find it -
And here are the latest cable news ratings - Olbermann consistently had the best ratings of any non-FOX news show.
FOXNEWS O'REILLY 2,918,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY 2,079,000
FOXNEWS BAIER 1,940,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 1,786,000
FOXNEWS BECK 1,780,000
FOXNEWS GRETA 1,460,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 1,106,000
CNN PIERS 1,025,000
MSNBC MADDOW 976,000
MSNBC O'DONNELL 855,000
MSNBC SCHULTZ 760,000
CNN COOPER 740,000
MSNBC HARDBALL 700,000
She wants money from the mall. Ugh, and that's her attorney.
The sort of thing I would do. It is pretty funny.
With Congress and the White House gearing up for a major battle over the future of education policy, the comedian who famously criticized academic failings in the black community added his voice Wednesday to that of House Speaker John A. Boehner and others who want to give parents a bigger say in their children's education.
A great point from the man behind the "Golden EIB Microphone."
"The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner hosted a dinner for the guy holding the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner in prison, and the media does not get the irony of this at all. They're too busy running around chasing Sarah Palin and radio talk show hosts over "civility." Our media is so fraudulent. No talk about the political prisoners. No talk about the gulags."
Opponents of Obamacare are Nazis.
Think he'll apologize? don't hold your breath. but to me it's a lot more offensive then what the Governor of Alabama said. Robert Bentley, Alabama Governor, Apologizes for 'Christian Brother' Comments
HA! And Predictable.
I certainly agree with that.
But 56% say the news coverage of the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others has focused too much on the political implications. Only six percent (6%) believe there has not been enough coverage of the political angle, while 29% say the media coverage has been about right.
Hit the link for other interesting data - like the breakdown by party affiliation. Dems think differently about this from Republicans and Independents.
Pretty much of a train wreck if you hold Vallejo bonds -
“The city regrets that it cannot pay a higher percentage,” Vallejo officials said in the court filings. “The city lacks the revenues to do so while maintaining an adequate level of municipal services, such as the provision of fire and police protection and the repairing of the city’s streets.”
The formal legal plan is based on a five-year road map City Council members approved at the end of November, tackling $195 million in unfunded city pension obligations, cutting payments for retiree health care, reducing pension benefits for new employees, raising pension contributions for current workers, and creating a rainy-day fund.
A peek at the future for bondholders of other municipalities near bankruptcy?
The NYT has it. Three Democrats joined all the Republicans.
But why should that be important? Nothing overrides government bureaucrats, right?
"When asked about the quality of healthcare in the U.S. over the next five years, 65 percent of the doctors believed it would deteriorate with only 18 percent predicting it would improve," Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, said in a statement.
Rafael Soriano. He'll be the set-up guy for Mariano for the next two years, and then take over as the closer when Rivera retires.
Widely considered the best available talent remaining on the Hot Stove market, Soriano converted an American League-leading 45 saves, out of 48 chances, last year, helping the Tampa Bay Rays edge the Wild Card-winning Yankees for the AL East title.
Soooo, will Joba Chamberlain get another shot at being a starter? Hope so.
And will Mariano Rivera become the all-time save leader?
With 559 career saves, Rivera will enter 2011 chasing the recently retired Trevor Hoffman's all-time record of 601, but Soriano could also appear in save opportunities on days when Rivera is unavailable to pitch.
Go here on Althouse - http://althouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/cheneys-heart-transplant-wouldnt-that.html
or here -
But unfortunately neither New York nor New Jersey, and only Maine in New England. ... So far, that is.
We both think Green Bay will win the Super Bowl.
"[Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] is the best QB and the receiving corps is the best ever, maybe," Favre said in the e-mail. "But [defensive coordinator] Dom [Capers] and the defense gets the MVP award at this stage.
If my college roommate, who recently had his hip replaced, had gone to a vet, he'd have saved his health insurance company lots of money. ...
From the NY Times over the weekend. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/sports/17dogs.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
As David Cameron calls the National Health Service (NHS) "second rate" before correcting it to "second best." Here's the link - Cameron brands NHS 'second-rate' in gaffe as he announces biggest shake-up in health service history
Well, if cancer results are any indication, he probably got it right the first time. From my weblog, September 15, 2007, as I quote the WSJ.
Last month, the largest ever international survey of cancer survival rates showed that in the U.S., women have a 63% chance of living at least five years after diagnosis, and men have a 66% chance -- the highest survival rates in the world. These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage. In Great Britain, which has had a government-run universal health-care system for half a century, the figures were 53% for women and 45% for men, near the bottom of the 23 countries surveyed.
A 2006 study in the journal Respiratory Medicine showed that lung cancer patients in the U.S. have the best chance of surviving five years -- about 16%. Patients in Austria and France fare almost as well, and patients in the United Kingdom do much worse with only 5% living five years. A report released in May from the Commonwealth Fund showed that women in the U.S. are more likely to get a PAP test every two years than women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., where health insurance is guaranteed by the government. In the U.S. 85% of women ages 25-64 have regular PAP smears, compared with 58% in the U.K.
The same is true for mammograms. In the U.S., 84% of women ages 50-64 get them regularly, a higher percentage than in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, and far higher than the 63% of women in the U.K. The high rate of screening in the U.S. reflects access as well as educational efforts by the American Cancer Society and others.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of his inauguration - the first presidential inauguration I remember. I remember he being a very young man, and the soon-to-be ex-president Eisenhower being old. And Robert Frost - another old guy - having trouble reading his poem - the wind was blowing the sheets he was reading from. So Frost recited a different one of his poems - don't remember what it was - from memory.
And I remember Kennedy giving his speech. I would have been nine years old at the time.
Here's something cool about a letter to Harvard admissions:
Joseph P. Kennedy wrote a letter to the dean before his son enrolled in 1936, after stints at the London School of Economics and Princeton. Apparently Joe's strategy was one of brutal honesty:
Jack has a very brilliant mind for the things in which he is interested, but is careless and lacks application in those in which he is not interested. This is, of course, a bad fault.
JFK ultimately enrolled and graduated cum laude.
In the NY Times over the weekend -
"They couldn't stop a nosebleed."
The brief interview by some ESPN guy right after yesterday's game is all over TV. Wow, was Scott amped up. He felt very "disrespected" at the way the Jets were more or less written off by sports media before the game was played, and especially the Jets defense.
For tom Brady's comments yesterday - Brady after losing to the Jets
As he defends, to other Black clergy, his efforts - especially civil disobedience.
I first read this over 20 years ago. Today it is presented as a justification by many groups beyond the Black Civil Rights movement - for example anti-war and anti-abortion groups.
It is also not short, 6,882 words in 50 paragraphs. I have printed the first six paragraphs below the link.
MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.
The easiest way to read the whole document after you hit the link is to copy and paste it into word; then it prints out at 12 pages.