moldybluecheesecurds 2

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Liberalism watered down

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. October 31, 1936. Speaking at Madison Square Garden to people who got in free. “We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.”
Liberalism circa 2009
Barack Obama. October 20, 2009. Speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser that cost $30,400 to get in. “If there are members of the financial industry in the audience today, I would ask that you join us in passing what are necessary reforms. Don’t fight them.”


Thanks to DM for the quotes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vaccination should be mandatory

There are a lot of people opting out of children's vaccination these days, mostly because the greater fear is the unknown rather than the devastating illnesses (now largely eradicated) that vaccines protect against.

It's sad, because it shows that widespread information (via the internet) does not always mean truth floats to the surface. As described in a Wired article about this anti-vaccine movement...

An Epidemic of Fear: "The bottom line: Pseudo-science preys on well-intentioned people who, motivated by love for their kids, become vulnerable to one of the world’s oldest professions. Enter the snake-oil salesman."
How do you address the myths this salesman creates? After all, vaccines (with or without the thimerosal preservative) are not linked with autism.
To be clear, there is no credible evidence to indicate that any of this is true. None. Twelve epidemiological studies have found no data that links the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine to autism; six studies have found no trace of an association between thimerosal (a preservative containing ethylmercury that has largely been removed from vaccines since 20011) and autism, and three other studies have found no indication that thimerosal causes even subtle neurological problems.
The science is clear, but the public debate is far from it, no thanks to a media establishment more interested in controversy than truth.

And the big losers are the children, who are now being needlessly exposed to completely preventable diseases.  That's why vaccination should be required.  Because it's irresponsible of government to allow people to risk their children's lives based on pseudoscience. 

We mandate seatbelt use and car seats.  This is no different.

Sen. Franken nails the problem of medical bankruptcy

This is brilliant commentary from Minnesota's junior senator:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What will your refrigerator reveal about you?

From Smart Grid to Big Brother? : TreeHugger: "Smarts grids and smart appliances are gaining a lot of mindshare these days. The main stated benefits are: A more efficient use of energy, and a higher capacity to handle intermittent renewable power sources (such as wind and solar). But there is another important issue that gets shoved under the rug: Privacy."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'Daily Show' Destroys CNN Fact-Checking

Daily Show: As usual, a humorous but yet deeply insightful examination of network news and its inability to find fact.

Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let Congress Go Without Insurance

Kristof: "In January 1917, Progressive Magazine wrote: “At present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the only great industrial nation without universal health insurance.' More than 90 years later, we still have that distinction."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A final chat with the Metrodome

ESPN's Jim Caple calls it the most underrated building in the game, and he gets it right:

"Why, just look at the past three days here. A sold-out baseball game Sunday. A sold-out 'Monday Night Football' game. A sold-out baseball game this afternoon. Three sellouts and two sports in three days? Beat that, Wrigley Field. The only thing I'm missing is a tractor pull."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Twins win game, AL Central

This says it all:


Using Firefox to maximize productivity

I'm on the web constantly for work, so I'm always on the lookout for add-ons and tools to smooth my work day. Here's a few of my favorites:

Dad’s Life or Yours?

Their dad dying of kidney failure, his two sons can't donate to save him because they'll lose their insurance. And that means...
NYTimes.com: "After all, new research suggests that lack of insurance increases a working-age person’s risk of dying in any given year by 40 percent"

Monday, October 05, 2009

TruStone Financial gets it right

Two weeks ago I blogged my frustration with my credit union's ATM locator, since it only had a text list of machines that accepted deposits.  I had already solved their problem (using a nice free service called MapAList) and had tried to share it with customer service reps by phone and email, to no avail.

Well, within 24 hours of posting my problem and solution, a TruStone VP had responded to my post:
I have seen your blog post about how we display the...ATM locations that accept deposits, and I couldn't agree with you more. Your map makes it easy to see everything at a glance.

We created the list format in an attempt to save people time so that they did not have to access the maps available on two different ATM network sites (NYCE and Co-op). But you're right, we should have created a map too.

We appreciate the suggestion and we’ll update our website to include a map. We’re sure other members will appreciate it, too.
And now?  There's a map of ATMs accepting deposits in my town. 

Nice.

Fox News Polling: The question was okay (but only alone)

Fox has been asking about Obama's health care plan, with a very unbiased question. But they've led up to it with Republican talking points, and this biases responses. A nice lesson in objective opinion polling for the "fair and balanced" news network.
FiveThirtyEight: "when you ask biased questions first, they are infectious, potentially poisoning everything that comes below. I don't particularly care if Fox News wants to ask leading or even outrightly biased questions -- but they have to ask them after any questions they expect the policymaking community to take seriously."

Are we subsidizing big banks over smaller, better competitors?

Big banks lent out money at higher interest rates during the credit crisis, even as they sucked up federal subsidies. The analysis by Dean Baker might just be a coincidence of the credit crunch, but it could also be a $34 billion subsidy to big banks at the expense of small ones.
NYTimes.com:"AMID all the talk about systemic risk regulators, consumer protection and other fixes to our fractured financial system, there is a troubling silence on what may be the single most important reform: how to rid ourselves of banks that are so big and interconnected that their very existence threatens the world"

Chamber of Commerce going out of business

National Journal Online: The Chamber has spent a lot of money denying that climate change has human origins and that we should do anything about it. Well, not so many businesses agree:
"Apple Computer is the latest company to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group's stance on climate change legislation, highlighting the ongoing internal dissension within the business lobbying group on its advocacy approach to legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gases."

This is (literally) bull shit

NYTimes.com:

There are regular outbreaks of food-borne illness, and one of the prime causes is E. coli in ground beef. And why is there bacteria from cow feces in our hamburgers?
"The food safety officer at American Foodservice, which grinds 365 million pounds of hamburger a year, said it stopped testing trimmings [for E. coli] a decade ago because of resistance from slaughterhouses. “They would not sell to us,” said Timothy P. Biela, the officer. “If I test and it’s positive, I put them in a regulatory situation. One, I have to tell the government, and two, the government will trace it back to them. So we don’t do that.”"
Sales is our first priority. Safety's a close second.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Some things you think you know about Iran (but for which evidence is shaky)

Informed Comment: here's one excerpt:

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.