Wednesday, May 31, 2006

God Hates Your Prayers

"Woman Hit By Lightning While Praying" says MSNBC.

Suddenly, lightning exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a pockmarked area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

"I said, 'Amen,' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire," she said. "I'm blessed to be alive."

"I'm blessed. That's the good news," she said.

Blessed? Hmmm. That wasn't quite the word I was looking for...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Couldn't Have Anything To Do with Islam

LGF reports on this gruesome story out of Germany.

Cliche Thinking

In my free time I've been listening to Dr. Peikoff's logic course, in which he identifies "cliche thinking" as one of many fallacies. This video by George Carlin struck me as an excellent, and entertaining, example of how entirely vacuous such thinking truly is.

Ward Churchill Report

Diana over at Noodlefood has reprinted an editorial by Robert Pasnau on the Churchill scandal. It's worth reading the whole thing, but I particularly like this concise recap of Churchill's academic fraud:
In short, the committee found two cases where Churchill extensively plagiarized the work of others. They found other cases where he first wrote articles under a false name, and then in a later work cited those earlier articles as providing independent confirmation for his own claims. They found a great many places where apparently detailed footnotes turned out on close inspection to offer no support whatsoever for the claims being made, and found that Churchill continued to stick with these false sources in later work even after being confronted in print with their inadequacy. Assessing the cumulative impact of these tactics, the committee describes "a pattern and consistent research stratagem to cloak extreme, unsupportable, propaganda-like claims of fact that support Professor Churchill's legal and political claims with the aura of authentic scholarly research by referencing apparently (but not actually) supportive independent third-party sources."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memorial Day Editorial

Alex Epstein just published a good editorial entitled "What We Owe Our Soldiers".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ACLU: What's Good for the Goose ISN'T Good for the Gander

Taranto notes yet another hypocritical stance by the ACLU:
The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization's policies and internal administration," reports the New York Times:
"Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement," the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals.

"Directors should remember that there is always a material prospect that public airing of the disagreement will affect the A.C.L.U. adversely in terms of public support and fund-raising," the proposals state.

Given the organization's longtime commitment to defending free speech, some former board members were shocked by the proposals.
No kidding! The ACLU champions "whistleblowers" who reveal national-security secrets, but there are limits. When free speech threatens ACLU fund-raising efforts, why that just goes too far.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Riots Effective

Iranians have learned what appears to be the best argument in the modern world: riot when you are unhappy. Azeri's have managed to have a newspaper closed and its editor and cartoonist detained. Why?

On Friday, the Farsi-language paper Iran published a cartoon showing a cockroach speaking Azeri, the language of an ethnic group in northwestern Iran.

The cartoon provoked riots in Tabriz, the capital of Eastern Azerbaijan province, on Monday. Police fired tear-gas as rioters smashed windows of the local governor’s office.

Culture Minister Saffar Harrandi appeared on state television Monday and apologized for the cartoon. He promised to punish the paper’s editor and cartoonist.

Of course this is nothing new in Iran given that "Iran’s conservative judiciary has closed more than 100 newspapers, mostly pro-reform, since 2000." but it certainly helps foretell where the West may be a few years down the road if we continue to pursue similar policies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I'm wrapped up with a few projects (as well as trying to earn my living) so probably won't have time to post here until the week of the 22nd. In the meantime, be sure to visit some of the sites on the blogroll...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Medical Tort Reform - Case Study

Today's WSJ features an editorial showing the positive effects of medical tort reform in the state of Texas.
Prior to the successful reform effort, personal injury lawyers had put Texas doctors on the run. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the frequency of claims was increasing at a rate of 4.6% annually--between 1996 and 2000 alone, one out of four doctors was sued.

These surging legal and insurance bills reduced patient access to health care. Texas fell to 48th out of 50 in physician manpower. There were 152 medical doctors per 100,000 citizens, well below the U.S. average of 196. Some 158 counties had no obstetrician. Good, competent doctors were closing their doors, unable to afford the cost of insurance.


At the core of House Bill 4, led with remarkable courage and dedication by state Rep. Joe Nixon and state Sen. Jane Nelson, was a hard $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages for all physicians, with a separate $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages payable by hospitals and other providers. The law keeps doctors, hospitals and nursing homes liable for all economic damages assessed by a jury. HB 4 was modeled on California's successful 1975 Micra law, still on the books, keeping litigation-related costs under control and allowing competent doctors and hospitals to continue providing care.


So what has happened since September of 2003, when the new law went into effect? After years of losing doctors, Texas has added nearly 4,000 since passage of Proposition 12, including 127 orthopedic surgeons, almost 300 anesthesiologists, over 200 emergency room physicians, 146 new obstetricians, 58 neurologists and 24 neurosurgeons. The Texas Medical Board is anticipating some 4,000 applicants for new physician licenses this year alone--double last year's numbers, and 30% more than the greatest growth year ever.

The threat of lawsuits has been a particular barrier to attracting and retaining pediatric specialists. Since 2003, Texas has gained 20 pediatric cardiologists, 14 pediatric oncologists, almost 50 new perinatologists (obstetricians specializing in high-risk pregnancies), 10 pediatric surgeons and 8 new pediatric endocrinologists.

Medically underserved counties in Texas are benefiting as well. Jefferson, Webb and Victoria Counties, as well as the counties of Cameron and Hidalgo in the Rio Grande Valley, have all experienced an influx of physicians. Additionally, the market for insurance to protect health-care providers against the cost of lawsuits has become more robust and competitive. In 2002 there were only four companies writing policies. Today that number has more than tripled. And all of these trends are expected to continue.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More on Spitzer

The WSJ has more info on the egregiously illegal and immoral activities of NY's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The extent of his political opportunism and pandering coupled with his wanton disregard for due process and justice continue to amaze me. A few choice quotes from the article:
On a personal level, the AG has also struggled to explain away his penchant to threaten people in private. Former Goldman Sachs Chairman John Whitehead wrote on this page in December that after he'd published an op-ed criticizing Mr. Spitzer, the AG had called him to say: "Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done."

This is hardly an isolated incident. Consider: Former GE chief Jack Welch confirmed last year that Mr. Spitzer told him to deliver a message to Ken Langone--whom the AG is suing along with Mr. Grasso. Mr. Welch couldn't remember the precise words, but broadly confirmed a Newsweek account that the AG had threatened to "put a spike through Langone's heart." (A Spitzer spokesman later said this was a "hearsay account from a hallway conversation.")
That this is happening, not in Bolivia, but in New York is truly frightening, and the likely result will be that companies will continue to move away from NY, just as they will from Bolivia.

See also previous entries on Spitzer: 1 2

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tax on Stupidity

Gambling is often referred to as a "Tax on Stupidity". Based on this story of golfer John Daly, it's an apt description -- especially when you consider how much he's "learned" after an estimated $50-$60 million(!) in gambling losses:
He said he plans to start at the $25 slots in the casinos and set a "walkout loss number," which would tell him it's time to leave.

"If I make a little bit, then maybe I move up to the $100 slots or the $500 slots, or maybe I take it to the blackjack table," he wrote. "It's their money. Why not give it a shot, try to double it? And if I make a lot, I can ...

"Well, that's my plan."