Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tomorrow is the eleventh anniversary of his death. Actually, he died between October 28 & 29, in the middle of the night. This year, for some reason (I have my theories), his absence has felt heavier and more real than I can remember. He was a great man, a person I wish the new members of my family had the chance to meet and love.
I've been extremely unhappy recently, but all of sudden about a two weeks ago, the sadness started to lift. For the first time, in a long time, I have felt the sadness without being sad. I don't know if that makes sense to others, but incredibly clear in my head. It has made an incredible difference - learning to acknowledge the sadness without letting it drag me down. I'm pretty sure it's life changing, in fact I know it is.
So tomorrow I'll be with people who I love, who have loved my father, and who my father loved. A little part of him will be with us, the sadness will be there but so will the joy that came from my Father's life. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, a day when talking about him is not only appropriate but is needed & expected.
But when it comes to the religion of global warming—the First Commandment of which is Thou Shalt Not Call It A Religion—Messrs. Levitt and Dubner are grievous sinners. They point out that belching, flatulent cows are adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all SUVs combined. They note that sea levels will probably not rise much more than 18 inches by 2100, "less than the twice-daily tidal variation in most coastal locations." They observe that "not only is carbon plainly not poisonous, but changes in carbon-dioxide levels don't necessarily mirror human activity." They quote Mr. Myhrvold as saying that Mr. Gore's doomsday scenarios "don't have any basis in physical reality in any reasonable time frame."
More subversively, they suggest that climatologists, like everyone else, respond to incentives in a way that shapes their conclusions. "The economic reality of research funding, rather than a disinterested and uncoordinated scientific consensus, leads the [climate] models to approximately match one another." In other words, the herd-of-independent-minds phenomenon happens to scientists too and isn't the sole province of painters, politicians and news anchors.
But perhaps their biggest sin, which is also the central point of the chapter, is pointing out that seemingly insurmountable problems often have cheap and simple solutions. Hence world hunger was largely conquered not by a massive effort at population control, but by the development of new and sturdier strains of wheat and rice. Hence infection and mortality rates in hospitals declined dramatically as doctors began to appreciate the need to wash their hands.
Hence, too, it may well be that global warming is best tackled with a variety of cheap fixes, if not by pumping SO2 into the stratosphere then perhaps by seeding more clouds over the ocean. Alternatively, as "SuperFreakonomics" suggests, we might be better off doing nothing until the state of technology can catch up to the scope of the problem.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Until now, that didn't matter because, in common with other schools under the religious authority of the Chief Rabbi, they've taken Jewish children as defined by Orthodox Jewish law - the children of Jewish mothers. No test of observance or belief was set.
"Judaism differs fundamentally from all other faiths," says Yitzchak Schochet, rabbi of an Orthodox congregration in London. "Regardless of one's observance level, if one is born a Jew it doesn't matter if they keep absolutely nothing.
Just because someone feels Jewish and even acts Jewish, doesn't make them Jewish. If they want to be accepted then convert to Judaism!
Update: I've corrected the link (thanks Peter!). I meant to mention how horrible the comment section of the post is. Like this gem:
Some of us (me included) would say that a child has no religion. There is no such thing as a Christian or Jewish or Muslim child, only a child of Christian or Jewish or Muslim parents. Where would this leave faith schools? Nowhere, I'd be happy to see them all turned over to state control and absorbed into the rest of the school structure tomorrow, their doors open to all children no matter what faith their parents were.
The fact that faith-based schools (especially Church of England schools) are oversubscribed is itself interesting: even non-practising parents see benefit in a faith-based organisation. Why? Because a basis of faith - whatever faith - entails a value set, a discipline and a high standard that is otherwise lacking in our society. And there is always the hope that a child attending such a school might make up his or her own mind to become a practising member of that faith - and that would make the world a better place.
Jane Evans, Los Angeles, USA (British expatriate)
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
It's true that as time goes by the pain becomes duller, some days you don't even think of the person or how your life would have been different that very moment had they been alive.Then there are days where you feel their absence so sharply it's hard to breath, the pain of not having them there is crippling.
Then there's the pain of knowing you are forgetting the person. The weight of their hand on your face, the sounds of their voice, the way their face looked when they were annoyed, happy, or bored. After a while all those memories start turning into dust, and what you have left is caricature of the person you loved so dearly. It's sick really, I want to remember and yet one by one the slip away, there's no magical way (a la Harry Potter) to store the most precious memories. So on top of the pain of missing someone you will never see again, you have the pain of losing the memories that mean so much to you. It's devastating and feels like, on some level, another loss.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Right now, the truth is if I could buy my health plan from D.C., then I would. If I could buy into a public option, co-op, or trigger plan, whatever they want to call it, then I would. If I qualified for the new exchange, then I'd get into that, too, but four years is a long time to go without a physical, pap smear, and to have this mole checked. If someone were to put Medicare for All back on the table, then I would be fine with that too. Honestly, it's starting to make the most fiscal sense: $450 billion we pay to insurance companies could be redirected to Medicare, $350 billion in savings in paper work, and of course that $500 billion in savings for "waste, fraud, and abuse."
If this country is about to gamble a trillion dollars plus -- and it will be a big plus no matter what the Congressional Budget Office projection is -- then why not use a system that already exists? My experience in politics has been any time a politician says $500 billion will come from "waste, fraud, and abuse" that's a fancy way of saying, "Hold on to your wallet; we'll pay for it later."
We have to be careful about how we spend this trillion dollars. Right now, we are $1.4 trillion in the hole and the Senate has been asked to raise the country's debt ceiling to $12 trillion. We are fighting two wars and may increase troop levels in one. We have 250 new Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking care from VA facilities every day, and unemployment is headed north, past 10 percent. Has anyone else thought, "Hey wait a minute? Why are we proposing to spend so much on a mess of a plan?"
Why can't Washington look north to Massachusetts? What's the lesson for the nation in its successes and failures: universal coverage first or cost reductions? If health care is a right, then why aren't we starting over with Medicare for All? If health care is a responsibility, then why aren't we changing the system to address that? There is a big red flag planted in the middle of this state and it looks like everyone's just pledging allegiance to it rather understanding the warning in its wave.
me: Dude, it’s totally funny. You know? Because people always say ‘They only hate me because they’re jealous‘. But then it’s Hitler and everyone really does hate him and isn’t jealous at all?
This is so true! Everyone is always telling me how jealous I am of someone I hate. But I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 times I just hate the d.b. I'm hating them because they suck, not because I'm secretly jealous of them.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Scientists say the hormones in the oral contraceptive suppress a woman's interest in masculine men and make boyish men more attractive. Although the change occurs for just a few days each month, it may have been highly influential since use of the Pill began more than 40 years ago.Plus this great bit:
She also found evidence from three studies that the Pill can affect the way women are looked at by men.
Past studies have shown that men find women more attractive around the time of ovulation, possibly because women have evolved instinctive ways, by their natural scent or their behaviour, of alerting men that they are fertile. One study showed that lap dancers get bigger tips at the time of the month when they are most fertile.
Dr Alvergne said the use of the Pill could influence a woman's ability to attract a mate by reducing her attractiveness to men.
Ugh. Now we have to contend with gay men and straight finding us less attractive. Fantastic.
I'll take Sean Connery over Johny Depp (even though I love Depp).
Special shout-out to Dawn: There is a photo of Zac Efron in the article, but not for the reasons you probably think. #gay
Mr. Walpin was fired shortly after releasing two reports highly critical of close allies of the White House. He was fired without any independent White House investigation of the lame claims against him. Those claims were, first, that he was "disoriented" at a single meeting, and second, that he had the temerity to write an unapproved letter to the editor of a California newspaper to defend, entirely accurately, his investigation of a political ally of President Obama. As fireable offenses go, especially for a quasi-independent official such as an inspector general, his supposed transgressions rank in importance somewhere between piddling and nonexistent.
Seems like the Obama administration is still stonewalling the proceedings.
Government lawyers Tony West, Channing Phillips, Susan Rudy and Kathryn Wyer filed for an extension until Oct. 26, explaining that they were only "recently assigned this case." It's odd, though, that when it suits the White House's political needs, it finds grounds to fire Mr. Walpin immediately, without proper notice, but when it comes to responding to his complaint, it can't manage to move fast enough to meet court rules that are entirely reasonable.Read the whole synopsis of the "new" politics in Washington.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. It's so creepy, with its undercurrent of violence set to a bopping like tune. This guy will not take "no" for an answer and you know he will do something drastic if gets another "no reply."
I used to be bothered by some of The Beatles' earlier songs that seemed at times misogynist or creepy like this one. Now, not so much, I see songs as music stories not necessarily the actual views of The Beatles, but characters they are channeling. Also, a lot of people tend to associate early rock 'n roll with cheery images and simple scenarios - yet a lot of those songs carry far sinister messages than just wanting to hold a girl's hand.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Guess I'm going to Home Depot to stalk up. I've become one of those weirdos now.
via Ed Morrissey's excellent post, which includes a journalist asking environmentalist some tough questions, you can imagine what happens to him and Ed's own experience with the wonderful florescent light bulbs.
Friday, October 02, 2009
This was taken a couple of years ago at my best friend's birthday party. The person sitting with his back to the camera, with arms streched out is her father and he happens to be one of my favorite people of all time. The guy giving the finger in the photo is his brother - and as you can tell from his face, it's a lighthearted gesture, not to taken seriously. I just love this photo - typical Russian men smoking and drinking vodka.