Monday, March 26, 2007


Finally, a reason why conservatives should want to take quick action to redress global warming. Apparently, if global warming leads to more rain, the US ballistic missile defense system won't work (that is, if it will even work on a sunny day). Here's an almost-amusing press release from the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that keeps an eye on the Pentagon.

The US Missile Defense System--It Can't Stand the Rain

POGO Sources Report that Rainfall Has Wiped Out 25% of US Missile Defense Capability

WASHINGTON--A significant portion of the US missile defense capability was wiped out during the summer of 2006 because torrential rains caused ground-based interceptor silos to be damaged by flood waters, the Project On Government Oversight has learned.

This expensive mishap occurred just as North Korea was ratcheting up its nuclear weapons program. However Boeing, the contractor that is at least partly responsible for failing to protect the silos, will most likely still receive an estimated $38 million to repair the silos and a $100 million no-bid contract to build more silos. Boeing would also receive a $7 million award fee added to the contract.

The flooding occurred during a three-week period between the end of June and early July 2006 when Ft. Greely, Alaska, received several inches of rain. Ft. Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California house the nation's only Missile Defense Agency interceptor missiles. The flooding damaged 25% of the US interceptor missiles's launch capability. These silos house the interceptor missiles that would be used to attempt to intercept a missile aimed at the United States. No interceptors were in the flooded silos.

Insiders report that Boeing, the lead contractor responsible for building the fields, disputes its role in the disaster. Boeing argues that NORTHCOM, the US military command responsible for defending North America, is primarily responsible because it ordered Boeing to stop working on the interceptor fields in case the missiles were needed to respond to a North Korean missile launch.

Boeing's internal assessment shows that one of the missile fields has seven flooded interceptor silos--with up to 63 ft. of water in one silo and 50 ft. in another. Ft. Greely has 26 silos. As of Feb. 7, 2007 13 interceptors had been installed.

POGO sources say Boeing argues the interruption prevented them from protecting the silos from the rain. However, these same sources say it is questions whether the silos could have handled the rainfall anyway because they are poorly designed. In addition, an environmental impact study of the facilities at Ft. Greely notes there is "little rainfall in the region." (See p. 8 at

The controversial missile defense program costs at least $9 billion annually and critics point out that the technology is still questionable at best.

So in the case of nuclear war, hope for sun.

Posted by David Corn at March 26, 2007 02:08 PM


capt said...

The most revealing three-minute You Tube clip ever

I want to return to the video clip of the jovial and dismissive discussion of the U.S. attorneys scandal on yesterday's Chris Matthews Show (embedded below). In one sense, this clip is completely typical of how our national media thinks and talks about political matters. But there just is something about this particular discussion and the giggling, vapid participants that is extra vivid and instructive on a visceral level.

Whatever one thinks of how convincing the available evidence is thus far, nobody who has an even basic understanding of how our government functions could dispute that the accusations in this scandal are extremely serious. Presumably, even those incapable of ingesting the danger of having U.S. attorneys fired due to their refusal to launch partisan-motivated prosecutions (or stifle prosecutions for partisan reasons) at least understand that it is highly disturbing and simply intolerable for the Attorney General of the U.S. -- the head of our Justice Department -- to lie repeatedly about what happened, including to Congress, and to have done so with the obvious assent and (at the very least) implicit cooperation of the White House. Even the most vapid media stars should be able to understand that.

And yet so many of them do not. They continue to defend the administration by insisting that even if the accusations are correct, there was no real wrongdoing here. Add Fred Hiatt to that list, as he defends the Bush administration's prosecutor firings in his Washington Post Editorial today by insisting that Gonzales appears "to have tried to cover up something that, as far as we yet know, didn't need covering. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president . . . ."

Just as was true for their virtually unanimous insistence that there was no wrongdoing worth investigating in the Plame case -- including the serial lying and obstruction of justice from the Vice President's top aide, one of the most powerful people in the White House -- they also see nothing wrong whatsoever with serial lying and corruption by the Attorney General in this case.


Link to the Youtube mentioned HERE

*****end of clip*****

Watching these liars makes my stomach turn.


capt said...

Iraqi deaths survey 'was robust'

The British government was advised against publicly criticising a report estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the war, the BBC has learnt.

Iraqi Health Ministry figures put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the survey, published in the Lancet.

But the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the survey's methods were "close to best practice" and the study design was "robust".

Another expert agreed the method was "tried and tested".


*****end of clip*****

"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

"Death solves all problems - No man, no problem."

~ Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953)


capt said...

America! If You Will Not Impeach This Tyrant, Who Will You Impeach?

If you, my fellow Americans, will not demand the impeachment of the worst president in American history, a man who is a traitor to our Constitution, an instigator of unjust wars, a destroyer of worlds, a strutting global tyrant, and a threat to the very survival of human life on this planet, who will you impeach?

This George W. Bush, this wastrel, this smirking twister of truth, this volcano of lies, this heinous torturer, this killer of innocents, this Thief-of-Baghdad, this mass murderer, this open sewer of aggressive militarism, in short, this blot on the very name of America, must be compelled by Congress and the American People to answer for his alleged and apparent crimes.

He, and every culpable member of his cabal must be impeached and made to stand trial before the Senate for the Genocide of Iraq and countless other criminal acts. One of the least of his crimes, ordering wiretaps without court order in violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, entitles him to a five-year incarceration at Leavenworth for trampling the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. His most heinous crime, the War of Aggression upon Iraq, violates the United Nations Charter and other convenants to which the U.S. is signatory, a war when unleashed then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan denounced as "illegal." Surely, Americans who are too timid to sign a petition for impeachment might well consider there are 650,000 Iraqis who, had they lived, could have written their signatures in their own blood. Far from being the war of self-defense it was claimed, the war on Iraq is a crime of aggression since exposed as a mechanism for stealing Iraq's oil wealth, and a war that has brought about the destruction and dismemberment of an innocent nation.


*****end of clip*****

A darn good question.


capt said...

"never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.": Joseph Goebbels : Nazi chief of propaganda

Propaganda: The similarities between G.W. Bush and Goebbels speeches


"The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable." -- U. S. Privacy Study Commission Source: 1977


"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."
: Daniel Webster (1782-1852), US Senator - 1851

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

For incandescent lights, the rule of thumb used to be to turn such off if you would be out of the room for 5 minutes or more.

For old-fashioned FL, often still installed in office buildings, the rule of thumb was 30 minutes.

What about for CFL?

Saladin said...

Impeach, impeach, impeach! We've been screaming it for over a year, it is as viable now as it was then! No more excuses! It has nothing to do with my timetable and everything to do with innocent people dying for lie after lie after lie. Now pelosi allows bush to do the decisioning about Iran? God help us.

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, my question was overall energy consumption from manufacturing to recycling. My husband thinks when all is taken into consideration it will probably just about break even.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- My question still stands for those situations where a CFL is in fact in place.

capt said...

Can I turn my CFL on and off frequently? I've heard I'll have to leave it on all day?

Can I turn my CFL on and off frequently? I've heard I'll have to leave it on all day?

Turning a CFL on and off frequently can shorten its life. To take full advantage of the energy savings and long life of ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs, it is best to use them in light fixtures you use the most and are on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Good locations include outdoor light fixtures, indoor fixtures in the living room, family room, kitchen, bedroom, recreation room, etc. This is not to say you should leave your lights on all day if you use ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs. It is still a good habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room for an extended period of time.


The surge it takes to light old fashioned tube FL is not as hight for a CFL so not as much to consider.


capt said...

"My husband thinks when all is taken into consideration it will probably just about break even."

That was explained at the link I posted, yes the dollar costs are nearly a push over the life of the bulb when disposal is included but it is the reduction in energy consupmtion that is the goal.

Once again: In Australia if the whole country could convert to CFL they would not have to build 8 new coal fired power plants.


David B. Benson said...

capt --- Thanks. I somehow didn't catch that 15 minutes when I read the link.

capt said...


Different link, it did not address the 15 minutes on the other link about the total cost of cfl including disposal - (I don't think)

I looked up the 15 minute link just before I posted it so you didn't miss a thing.

Sorry to be so confusing but alas my communication skills are lacking.


David B. Benson said...

capt --- You are doing fine. I didn't check the link, just assuming it was the same. Wrong assumption on my part.

Anyway, thanks again.

capt said...

Conservative Climate

Consensus document may understate the climate change problem

Paris--The signs of global climate change are clear: melting glaciers, earlier blooms and rising temperatures. In fact, 11 of the past 12 years rank among the hottest ever recorded. After some debate, the scientists and diplomats of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued their long-anticipated summary report in February. The summary describes the existence of global warming as "unequivocal" but leaves out a reference to an accelerated trend in this warming. By excluding statements that provoked disagreement and adhering strictly to data published in peer-reviewed journals, the IPCC has generated a conservative document that may underestimate the changes that will result from a warming world, much as its 2001 report did.
More than 2,000 scientists from 154 countries participated in the IPCC process, which will release three more reports this year. This first report examined only the physical science of climate change. Scientists drafted as lead authors prepared chapters on subjects ranging from a historical overview of climate change science to regional projections. Governments and other reviewers then submitted more than 30,000 comments. Finally, the lead authors and diplomats gathered in Paris to review the final document word by word, changing an emphasis here ("unequivocal" triumphed over "evident") or leaving out a controversial finding there.

For example, after objections by Saudi Arabia and China, the report dropped a sentence stating that the impact of human activity on the earth's heat budget exceeds that of the sun by fivefold. "The difference is really a factor of 10," says lead author Piers Forster of the University of Leeds in England: compared with its historical output, the sun currently contributes an extra 0.12 watt of energy for each square meter of the earth's surface, whereas man-made sources trap an additional 1.6 watts per square meter.


*****end of clip*****

Note to self - buy more shorts.


capt said...

Robots Might Benefit from Sleep, Too

In his recent paper What Do Robots Dream Of, Dr. Adami, Professor of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute, speculates that a robot might benefit from some "down time" just like people do.

Recent work in the study of dreaming indicates that more than just subconscious entertainment is going on. Sleep appears to help us work through and understand events of the day. Sleep also seems to provide a mechanism for impressing important memories on the brain, to make sure we have a long-term record of an event or concern. Sleep also seems to have a role in learning a skill; people who practiced a skill and then slept on it were more skillful than those who had not yet had a chance to sleep.

Dr. Adami speculates that if robots were given an alternate state, one in which the robot stopped exploring and instead focused on a problem or obstacle, it could provide benefits for them just like it provides benefits for human beings.

"How would dream-inspired algorithms work in terra incognita? A robot would spend the day exploring part of the landscape, and perhaps be stymied by an obstacle. At night, the robot would replay its actions and infer a model of the environment. Armed with this model, it could think of—that is, synthesize—actions that would allow it to overcome the obstacle, perhaps trying out those in particular that would best allow it to understand the nature of the obstacle. Informally, then, the robot would dream up strategies for success and approach the morning with fresh ideas."
The robot's software designers could provide a robot with an internalized model of itself as well as the parameters of the situation. Then, the robot could explore different "dreamlike" situations, in which different parameters were distorted or exaggerated, until a solution could be found.


*****end of clip*****

"To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub."
--From Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)


capt said...

Scientific Meeting to Address How Chimpanzees Think

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jane Goodall, the world's best-known observer of chimpanzee behavior, watched the chimps at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo on Saturday while a crowd of zoo-goers gathered to watch her.
"She's very important,'' one woman told two 6-year-old girls she'd brought to the zoo. "She did a lot of very exciting things.''

Goodall, 72, is in Chicago for a three-day conference billed as the first scientific meeting on how chimpanzees think -- not just how they behave. Goodall, who revolutionized research on primates during the 1960s when she studied them at close range in Tanzania, is scheduled to give a sold-out lecture Sunday at Navy Pier.

At the meeting, which ends Sunday, 30 researchers are presenting their work on chimps' apparent mental capacity for empathy, cooperative problem-solving and even deception. All the presenters have cited Goodall's trailblazing work, said conference co-chair Elizabeth Lonsdorf, director of the Fisher Center.

The current "Mind of the Chimpanzee'' meeting has drawn 300 of the world's leading primatologists to the zoo's Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes. It takes place against a backdrop of logging of forest habitat in Africa and growing international pressure to save chimpanzees and other apes, Goodall said.


*****end of clip*****

"It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man."
~ H. L. Mencken


capt said...

Kucinich brings hard-nosed arguments

Presidential candidate touts his consistent anti-war stance as an advantage over fellow Democrats

ALBANY -- Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich predicted Sunday that by the time the New Hampshire primary arrives early next year, so many Americans will have tired of the war in Iraq that his peace platform will make him the choice for the Democratic nomination.

"They all voted for (war funding)," Kucinich said of his fellow Democratic opponents -- former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. He said he is the only Democrat who can boast he's always been against the war, which, he told a packed house Sunday evening in Albany, "was based on lies."

Kucinich, a Democratic congressman from Ohio, was the guest speaker at Upper Hudson Peace Action's 25th anniversary dinner. Some 300 people squeezed into the basement of First Church in Albany.

The potluck supper featured many vegetarian dishes, but it was Kucinich who brought the red meat.

He ran down his platform of hot topics among progressive voters: ending the occupation of Iraq, canceling the North American Free Trade Agreement and working toward a universal, single-payer system of health care.

He also said that as chairman of a House subcommittee on domestic policy, he plans to launch an investigation of "a narrow portion" of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He offered few details, but said his subcommittee would be looking at "a few, specific discrepancies in the public record." The 9/11 Commission that published its final report in 2004 never resolved some conflicting facts, Kucinich said. He announced his own look at 9/11 in answer to a question from an audience member. The man complained that the 9/11 Commission was too tied to the Bush administration to offer an unbiased report, and Kucinich agreed.

Supporters who attended Sunday's event said they'll vote for him because he's speaking boldly about issues that other candidates seem to be ducking.

"I like his attitude," said Voorheesville resident Ann Eberle. She said she especially liked Kucinich's role in drafting a bill in 2005 that calls for the U.S. to create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace.

Earlier Sunday, Kucinich appeared in Schenectady, greeting supporters at Arthur's Market in the Stockade neighborhood. He said he would return to the Capital Region this election cycle.

Dan Higgins can be reached at 454-5523, or by e-mail at

capt said...

The 9/11 Commission: A Play on Nothing in Three Acts


The Commission was created and put in place due to the relentless pressure and outcry by the 9/11 family members and their public supporters who had three objectives in mind: 1) Getting all the facts; 2) Establishing Accountability for those who failed us due to their intentional or unintentional acts; 3) Provide recommendation for real fixes and meaningful remedies.

The Commission fulfilled none of those three objectives. In their responsibility to report all the facts: They either refused to interview all relevant experts and witnesses, or, they censored the reports provided to them by those with direct and first-hand information. Both these acts were selective and intentional. Contrary to their pledge to establish accountability: They refused to hold anyone accountable and lamely justified it by saying, "We don’t want to point a finger at anyone." All those responsible individuals remained in their positions or were even promoted. And as far as meaningful remedies and reforms are concerned, the commission threw in senseless, and in some cases, detrimental cosmetic and bureaucratic "solutions" that ended up making our government even more cumbersome and unable to respond to threats to national security. In the name of solutions and reforms, they forced down our throats exactly what led to the failure to protect our nation on 9/11: A highly bureaucratic, complicated, inefficient mammoth of a malfunctioning machine.

On the Fifth anniversary of the September Eleven Terror Attacks, we, the National Security Whistleblowers, want to go on record one more time to reiterate the significant issues and cases that were duly reported to the 9/11 commission by those of us from the Intelligence, Aviation, and Law Enforcement communities, but ended up being censored and omitted. The failure to address such serious and relevant issues, witnesses, and information renders the report flawed and the commissioners parties to a fraud on the nation.

The following Veteran National Security experts were turned away, ignored, or censored by the 9/11 Commission, even though they had direct and relevant information related to the Commission’s investigation (for the PDF version Click Here):


*****end of clip*****

Sibel and the


capt said...

The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews is not known as a particularly right-wing television talk-show host nor, by the standards of the profession, a particularly foolish one. NBC considers him to be such an asset, it gave him his own Sunday program, in addition to the nightly cable shoutfest Hardball.

Within MSNBC, Matthews represents the "center" between the right-wing Tucker Carlson and the taken-for-a-liberal Keith Olbermann. It's worth taking a closer look, therefore, at just what passes for classy, centrist and sane in today's Fox-driven cable cosmos.

Like anyone who spends much time on live TV, Chris Matthews tends to say a lot of silly things. (I did too during the two years I was so employed.) But patterns and passions tell a tale, and those exhibited by Matthews are revealing. Like Elvis, Matthews can't help falling in love. And also like the King--who developed a thing for both Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover late in life--the object of Matthews's affection is invariably a tough-talking, self-styled Republican macho-man. And when he gets going on one of these guys, his style of punditry owes more to, say, Tiger Beat or Teen People than the Trilateral Commission.

Going back to 9/11, Matthews found himself blown away not by Bush's political or military response but by his ability to throw a baseball. He compared the man to--I kid you not--Ernest Hemingway. "There are some things you can't fake," he explained breathlessly. "Either you can throw a strike from sixty feet or you can't. Either you can rise to the occasion on the mound at Yankee Stadium with 56,000 people watching or you can't. On Tuesday night, George W. Bush hit the strike zone in the House that Ruth Built.... This is about knowing what to do at the moment you have to do it--and then doing it. It's about that 'grace under pressure' that Hemingway gave as his very definition of courage."

And remember that now-infamous Mission Accomplished moment? True, Matthews did not join his guest G. Gordon Liddy in admiring--still not kidding--the President's pretend penis, but he was no less focused on Bush's fashion statements. "He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West," he cooed. "We're proud of our President. Americans love having a guy as President, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton.... Women like a guy who's President. Check it out."

Matthews's man-crush on Bush continued longer than that of most of the mainstream media, leading him, for instance, to assert that "everybody sort of likes the President, except for the real whack-jobs," at a moment when the percentage of Americans telling New York Times/CBS pollsters that they "liked" Bush had fallen to 37 percent.

But nobody, save Fred Barnes, thinks Bush is cool anymore, and so Matthews has had to go cruising for a new crush. For a while it looked as if he and John McCain would hook up. "A lot of people," he explained coyly, naming no names, "like the cut of John McCain's jib, his independence, his maverick reputation." This led Matthews to declare the election all but over, announcing that as far as he was concerned, McCain "deserves the presidency."

This was just a warmup, however, for Chris's latest flame: the "perfect candidate"--the one who "looks like a President," who "acts and talks like a President," who "rises to the occasion" and is "the one tough cop who was standing on the beat when we got hit last time and stood up and took it," and who, to top it all off, got "that pee smell out of that subway." Say one thing about Chris Matthews, once he switches loyalties, he's really loyal. He got so mad at that meanie Hillary Clinton for wanting to be President against his new love, Rudy G, he gave a big fat warning to her homies about her husband. Again, I promise I'm not kidding. When Hillary staffer Ann Lewis showed up on Hardball, she was instructed three times by its host that Bill Clinton had "better watch it." And when former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe came on to promote his book, Matthews told him six times that Clinton had better "behave himself," lest his "social life" become a "distraction."

Just what so worried Matthews could only be inferred, as he was, like, too shy to say what he really meant. It's possible his concern was sartorial in nature, as the candidates' clothing has proven a Matthews obsession in presidential elections past. In 1999, for instance, he grew obsessed with Al Gore's suit buttons. "What could that possibly be saying to women voters, three buttons?" he asked a guest. "Is there some hidden Freudian deal here or what? I don't know, I mean, Navy guys used to have buttons on their pants." Indeed, Matthews thought the button development so significant, he returned to it five nights in a row.

Certainly Matthews couldn't have meant Bill Clinton's sex life. First off, it's Hillary who's running this time. And when it comes to screwing around while in office, well, the ex-President is the proverbial pisher compared with Mr. Pee Smell Out of the Subway. While serving as Mayor of New York, Rudy moved in with a couple of gay guys to facilitate cheating on his wife, and let the mother of his children know he wanted a divorce by holding a press conference. This led Mrs. Giuliani (Donna Hanover) to complain about yet another affair he'd apparently conducted with a member of his staff and to seek a restraining order to keep his new girlfriend (now wife) out of Gracie Mansion.

One would think, as my colleague at Media Matters Jamison Foser has so sagely noted, "On the distraction scale, that would have to rate pretty darn high."

Can this romance be saved? Too early to tell, but perhaps Rudy shouldn't be picking out silverware patterns just yet. The race is still wide open. Newt's got that handsome head of hair, and Fred Thompson, well, the guy is practically George Clooney--for a Republican. And hey, let's not forget Mitt Romney. He may not be a credible conservative or even (really) a Christian, but according to Chris, "He's got a great chin, I've noticed."


Saladin said...

Capt, I'm not talking about the dollar cost, I'm talking about OVERALL energy consumption, Re: earth wide. When all is said and done, and the energy consumed is added up, what is the outcome? How much money I save at my house is not the issue, the main concern is how will it affect the balance in general? They are talking about a ban on incandescent lighting in the states, this strikes me as a knee jerk reaction to bad science. That's why I want to know what is best in the big picture. I'm sure GE is thrilled, but what about the reality?

Saladin said...

Joint Tax Committee Releases Description of Tax Provisions in President's Budget, Projects $333 Billion Tax Increase from Proposed Standard Deduction for Health Insurance

Blue_bookThe Joint Committee on Taxation today released Description of Revenue Provisions Contained in the President's Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Proposal (JCS-2-07):

This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a description and analysis of the revenue provisions modifying the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”) that are contained in the President’s fiscal year 2008 budget proposal, as submitted to the Congress on February 5, 2007. The document generally follows the order of the proposals as included in the Department of the Treasury’s explanation of the President’s budget proposal. For each provision, there is a description of present law and the proposal (including effective date), a reference to relevant prior budget proposals or recent legislative action, and an analysis of policy issues related to the proposal.

On page 301, the Joint Committee projects that the President's proposed standard deduction for health insurance, coupled with repeal of the exclusion for employer-paid health insurance, self-employed health insurance deduction, and itemized medical deductions, would result in a $333 billion tax increase over 10 years.
Republican? Yeh, right. Bend over people. No vaseline either. Get used to it. War on terror = War on the people. Forever.

Saladin said...

05/22/2002 - Updated 04:54 AM ET

18,000 deaths blamed on lack of insurance

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — More than 18,000 adults in the USA die each year because they are uninsured and can't get proper health care, researchers report in a landmark study released Tuesday.

The 193-page report, "Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late," examines the plight of 30 million — one in seven — working-age Americans whose employers don't provide insurance and who don't qualify for government medical care.

About 10 million children lack insurance; elderly Americans are covered by Medicare.

It is the second in a planned series of six reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) examining the impact of the nation's fragmented health system. The IOM is a non-profit organization of experts that advises Congress on health issues.

Overall, the researchers say, 18,314 people die in the USA each year because they lack preventive services, a timely diagnosis or appropriate care.

The estimated death toll includes about 1,400 people with high blood pressure, 400 to 600 with breast cancer and 1,500 diagnosed with HIV.

"Our purpose is simply to deliver the facts, and the facts are unequivocal," says Reed Tuckson, an author of the report and vice president for consumer health at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minn.

Among the study's findings is a comparison of the uninsured with the insured:

* Uninsured people with colon or breast cancer face a 50% higher risk of death.
* Uninsured trauma victims are less likely to be admitted to the hospital, receive the full range of needed services, and are 37% more likely to die of their injuries.
* About 25% of adult diabetics without insurance for a year or more went without a checkup for two years. That boosts their risk of death, blindness and amputations resulting from poor circulation.

Being uninsured also magnifies the risk of death and disability for chronically sick and mentally ill patients, poor people and minorities, who disproportionately lack access to medical care, the landmark study states.

"The report documents the immense consequence of having 40 million uninsured people out there," says Ray Werntz, a consumer health expert with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. "We need to elevate the problem in the national conscience."

Calculating the cost in human suffering, he says, "is one way to get there."
But we have endless amounts of money to protect Israel from itself. Endless amounts of money for empire building. Endless amounts of money for military bases. Endless amounts of money for cover-ups. Fed up yet? No? What's it gonna take?

Saladin said...

More Veterans Calling The Streets Home
An Estimated 200,000 U.S. War Veterans Are Homeless

New Government Report Says Estimated 754,000 Homeless Far Exceeds Available Beds
Nation's Homeless Straining Shelters

NEW YORK, March 25, 2007
Homeless veterans (CBS)


"We have no inkling of the full scope of the problem."
Roy Kearse of the homeless shelter Samaritan Village

(CBS) Hassam Elgoarany knows the price of war.

He fought in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, where a sniper's bullet took his best friend.

"His head got blown off — I get nightmares about that," said Elgoarany.

The Muslim-American sailor drowned that pain in alcohol, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller, but drinking only led to an early discharge.

Back at home, he couldn't find work. His wife took their baby boy and left. Robbery led to prison.

When he got out, Hassam became one of many homeless veterans.

"We have no inkling of the full scope of the problem," said Roy Kearse, vice president of Samaritan Village, a state-funded homeless shelter for veterans with addictions.

At Samaritan Village, Hassam found men who understood his downward spiral.

"They're returning home, they're running into obstacles and problems and all of the mechanisms aren't in place to get to them," said Kearse.

One in three homeless Americans is a veteran.

On any given night in this country, an estimated 200,000 are living on the streets.

Many served in Vietnam, but experts expect the number of Iraq veterans to swell in coming years.

The Veterans Administration can provide beds to only 14,000 veterans, though it told CBS News its shelters aren't filled to capacity and that it offers what it called "very good" services to homeless veterans.

As President Bush orders more troops to Iraq, the Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs wants more focus on those coming home.

"The president did not mention the word 'veteran' in his State of the Union address," said Senator Daniel Akaka, D-AK, chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Akaka has asked Congress to more than double the president's request for funding next year — 4.8 billion dollars more to help not just the physically wounded but the emotionally scarred.

"They train you to transfer from a civilian to a killing machine," said Elgoarany. "When you get out they should have trained me to go back into being a civilian."

The Army says one in three Iraq veterans will return home with mental health issues. Sooner or later, caring for them will become another cost of war.
Over 30% are veterans? We are so fucking doomed. I hope bush and all his enablers burn in hell, even though I don't believe in that.

Saladin said...

"I remain just one thing, and one thing only — and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician."

- Charlie Chaplin

Saladin said...

Broken Promises and Barefaced Lies

The Democrats Strike Again

We have observed the same song and dance so many times before it's hard to believe more didn't see it coming. The Democrats once again let down their constituents and all the other voters who ushered them in to power last November – believing, in utter stupidity, that they would somehow halt the madness of the Iraq war by challenging the Bush administration and their Republican allies in Congress.

By now we should all know about the ugly stunt they pulled last week. The Democratic majority in the House passed an appropriations bill that would give Bush more money to continue his war. The legislation, which will likely be knocked out by the White House, calls for the troops to come home later this year. Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, believed this would somehow appease their antiwar base. Regrettably their smarmy attempt has absolutely no teeth whatsoever. Having been one of the unfortunate geeks who actually read the bill, I can tell you only one thing – it's a complete farce.

In order for troops to come home the Bushies would have to confirm whether or not "progress" had been made in Iraq, not Congress. So with more money in hand and sole authority on deciding whether or not the war is going as planned, the White House, even if Bush signed the bill, would never have to end the thing. The proposal wasn't a compromise as many have claimed, but a dagger in the heart of all of us who want to bring this war to a screeching halt.

Fortunately these are the sorts of betrayals that fuel activists like Cindy Sheehan and CODEPINK in to putting their energy in opposing the Democratic leadership. Nancy Kricorian, who manages CODEPINK's, a site dedicated to challenging Sen. Clinton's stance on the Iraq war, recently told me why she believes it is imperative that we take on the Democratic stalwarts like Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary is the current Democratic front-runner for the presidential nomination and because she is one of the most powerful people in the party, so we feel it is important to hold her accountable for her voting record on and her public statements about Iraq," Kricorian said. "We hope that by pressuring her to change her stance … we will have an impact on the [Democrats]. We are tired of convoluted rhetoric and empty words – we want Hillary and the Democrats to stop buying Bush's war."

Cindy Sheehan reiterated a similar line when I recently spoke with her. "We need to take Hillary and [Nancy] Pelosi on to reflect true progressive antiwar values, not AIPAC or neocon values," she said. "It is important to keep the pressure on her and the others, because number one, she needs to be exposed, and two, she needs to know that we are not fooled by her."

As Election Spectacle 2008 takes center stage over the next year, let's not buy the Democratic bull that they are going to do anything substantial to end the war in Iraq, even if Barack, Hillary, and rest of the gang promise as much. We gave them an antiwar mandate, and they still want to give Bush billions more to continue the war and the sole authority to decide when the time is right to bring the troops home.

The Democrats aren't a party of opposition, but a party of capitulation.

--Joshua Frank
I can't believe anyone even listens to these people anymore. They are doing exactly what I knew they would do, enabling murder and destruction, propagating the bushco lies about the phony war on terror, going along with the 9/11 bullshit and using it as an excuse to rip the constitution apart, and putting the interests of Israel ahead of their own citizens. They aren't ever going to change, so why do they still receive support? Is part of the NWO plan to completely wreck both of our major political parties, because that is what's happening, the republicans have suffered mutiny and the dems have been castrated.

Saladin said...

Democrats' Victory Means More Iraqi Deaths

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"House, 218 to 212, Votes to Set Date for Iraq Pullout" reads the New York Times. "Democrats Tout Plan for Troop Pullout," headlines the Washington Post. "Pelosi's Gamble on Iraq Pays Off," beams the Los Angeles Times. The reader is to believe that the Democrats have "employ[ed] their new Congressional majority to create the most forceful challenge yet to President Bush's war policy."

Today's headlines are parroting the lies of pro-war politicians -- AGAIN!

Today, the lying headlines borrow from the script of leading Democrats, but are every bit as dangerous as the headlines that repeated George Bush's claims four years ago that Iraq had WMDs.

Today's lying headlines are declaring a "victory" against George Bush's murderous Iraq war and working to lull into satisfied passivity the people who need to be raising their voices and raising hell right now more than ever!

As Howard Zinn put it, "To me [this vote] is tantamount to the abolitionists accepting a two-year timeline for ending slavery, while giving more money to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act."

To everyone who was relying on or hoping that the Democrats would act to end the war, the actions of the Democratic leadership are a sharp wake-up call. Only the people in our millions, mobilized in massive and ongoing resistance, can bring this war and this president's whole program to a halt.

Buried is the real story of:

How Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, Jack Murtha and other leading Democrats maneuvered, bribed, threatened, reprimanded and bullied their party into voting to continue the war on Iraq in the face of overwhelming, widespread, deeply-felt, and growing public opposition.

How the new appropriations bill continues to fund Bush's wars to the tune of $124 billion dollars -- more than Bush even asked for!!

How the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq in the bill is so distant (seventeen months away!) it can mean nothing to the people of Iraq whose country is under the ruthless boot of U.S. occupation and is spiraling down a path of sectarian civil war that grows worse by the day.

How this timetable is so conditional -- insisting merely that Bush seek the approval of Congress before extending the date by which troops are supposed to be withdrawn -- that it is easy to imagine that deadline coming and going with no meaningful change in troop levels.

How the new bill -- and the politicians who pushed it -- put the onus for Iraq's misery on the Iraqi people themselves, demanding they meet benchmarks determined by the country that illegally invaded it! Closing the arguments for the Democrats just before the vote, Representative Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, asked, "When are these Iraqis going to come off the sidelines and fight for their own country?"

And barely mentioned in today's lying headlines is the fact that liberal Democrats had originally proposed an appropriations amendment that would only have provided enough funds to bring the troops back from Iraq and that this wasn't even allowed by leading Democrats to make it out of the committee to be considered by Congress.

Finally, who could ignore Bush's brazen promise to veto this new bill anyhow and the Democrats know they don't have enough votes to override him?

In the words of White House spokesman, Tony Snow, "You've got to ask yourself, why go through this long, drawn out exercise of going and wheeling and cajoling and trying to buy votes within your own party when, in fact, you know its not going to go anywhere?"

Anyway you slice it, yesterday's vote is no "victory" for the people of this country, of Iraq, or of the world, all of whom overwhelmingly oppose the Iraq war and are aching for it to be stopped. Instead it means that after four years of war crimes, massacres, rapes, torture and what can only be called a colonial occupation that has cost more than half a million deaths and led to the fastest growing refugee crises in the world, the Iraqi people must now brace themselves for more!

This is a moment that cries for clarity and boldness among those who are able to see the stakes of this, actions and voices that can cut through the lies about a "victory" that threaten to quiet and pacify the anti-war movement right when it needs to be louder than ever before.

The war must be stopped! The War-Criminal-In-Chief must be impeached!

Self-deception or self-censorship about this right now will be paid for in blood. But bold truth telling and defiant political actions will find a wide and receptive audience in the anti-war majority. This majority has begun to reemerge in the streets across the country, on the Pentagon, and in recent student strikes. Whether this spreads like wildfire or is dampened at this critical moment is up to all of us.
They are using the war for political leverage, bring the troops home, whoever is left alive that is, right before the elections. I never thought I would see behavior even more detestable than bushco, but there it is.

capt said...

Climate zones to disappear

UP TO two-fifths of the Earth will have a hotter climate by the end of the century, according to a study that predicts the effects of global warming.

The changes — which will have a devastating effect on biodiversity in areas such as the Amazon and Indonesian rainforests — will wipe out numerous animals that are unable to move to stay within their preferred climate range. They will have to evolve rapidly or die out.

Lead author John Williams, of the University of Wisconsin, said: "How do you conserve the biological diversity of these entire systems if the physical environment is changing and potentially disappearing?"

Studies already suggest that animals are shifting towards the poles at six kilometres a decade.

Professor Williams' team used emissions scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to predict changes in temperature and precipitation.


capt said...

Olbermann does Attorneygate [VIDEO x 2]

Richard Blair: The last 12 hours have been full of new twists & turns...

Let's just recap quickly, as there have been quite a few interesting developments over the past 12 hours:
1. Monica Goodling of A.G. Gonzales' staff has lawyered up, and her attorney (John Dowd, of Pete Rose and John McCain / Keating S&L scandal fame) fired off a lengthy letter to whoever in congress would read it, stating that she will invoke her 5th amendment right not to testify before a congressional committee. There's a whole lot of nuance to this piece of the story, but suffice it to say that Goodling's way out on a limb with her invocation of the 5th. And Dowd's on very shaky legal ground. Conventional wisdom: Dowd's letter is fishing for an immunity deal for Goodling from Sen. Pat Leahy.

2. Alberto Gonzales did an appearance on NBC last night, with Bush 41 sidekick Pete Williams conducting the interview - and gawd, if Abu Al came off that bad with a supporter and journalistic enabler like Williams, what will actually happen when someone in congress is tossing him some hardball questions - under oath? Keith Olbermann did a "must see" segment [VIDEO upper right] on AttorneyGate yesterday evening. Conventional wisdom: Gonzales is as incompetent as he appears to be (a hallmark of most Bush regime appointees).

3. The White House is apparently...

... selectively leaking emails that it won't disclose to congress under claims of "executive privilege". In doing so, another DOJ underling - Assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty - is being thrown under a bus. How many more sheep in the justice department will be thrown under the bus before one of them really starts to squeal? I guess the Bush regime learns nothing from history (re: Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre). Conventional Wisdom: The hail mary passes are starting, and the whole case is devolving quickly. By selectively leaking previously undisclosed emails, the White House is damaging its executive privilege claims. The lawyers in the regime know the jig is up. And they know what's really at stake - their own professional careers (and perhaps freedom from jail time).

4. Hammerin' Hank Waxman has written letters to the RNC (and copied everyone in the world) directing that the RNC and its email service provider are to preserve all internet email correspondence on private email domains of the RNC. Waxman believes that there has been correspondence on RNC email domains regarding executive branch operational decisions that should have been limited exclusively to government email domains (, anyone?). Conventional Wisdom: This could be explosive - and will most certainly set up yet another constitutional showdown between the executive branch and congress.


*****end of clip*****

Another K.O.


capt said...

Conservative seminary moves to allow gay, lesbian students

After months of deliberation, the Jewish Theological Seminary has decided to accept qualified gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical and cantorial schools.

NEW YORK (JTA) -- After months of deliberation, the Jewish Theological Seminary has decided to accept qualified gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical and cantorial schools.

The move was enabled by a December decision by the Conservative movement's legal authorities to reverse the movement's traditional ban on gay clergy.

Arnold Eisen, the seminary's chancellor-elect, announced the decision March 26 in an e-mail to the JTS community.

The change comes after months of consultation, including the commissioning of a movement-wide survey that found support for the move among a majority of Conservative rabbis, cantors, lay leaders and seminarians.

Also Monday, the seminary announced it would extend the application deadline from Dec. 31 until June 30 to accommodate new applicants as a result of the policy change.


*****end of clip*****

How can "American Christianity" be so far behind and backwards? We can't lead from the rear.


capt said...

U.S. war games meant to send Iran message

ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS IN THE GULF (AP) — U.S. warplanes screamed off the deck of two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf Tuesday in a massive show of force that military officials said was intended to send a message to Iran.

U.S. military commanders would not say when the operation, the largest in the region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had been planned. They specified that the war games had not been organized as a direct response to Iran's capture of 15 British sailors on Friday, but made clear they intended to send Iran a warning.

"If there is strong presence, then it sends a clear message that you better be careful about trying to intimidate others," said Captain Bradley Johanson, commanding officer of the USS John C. Stennis.

"Iran has adopted a very escalatory posture with the things that they have done," Johanson said, adding that the U.S. Navy was mitigating that posture.

The maneuvers, involving 15 American ships and more than 100 aircraft, were sure to exacerbate tensions, as Iran has frequently condemned the U.S. military presence off its coastline.


capt said...

American Socialism for the Already Rich

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

A father goes grocery shopping for his family and returns with the basics -- milk, bread, peanut butter, cereal, applesauce, frozen pizzas. He also comes home with a large steak, which he alone plans to eat, and a bottle of good wine, which his pregnant wife cannot share. Money is a little tight, so he buys fewer vegetables and substitutes Kool-Aid for fresh juice. He uses a credit card, knowing they won't be able to pay off the full balance next month. No one in the house starves that week, and the father eats and drinks unusually well.

If this happened once, most of us would say the guy was being a little selfish. But if he acted this way year after year, we would be deeply troubled and tell him to get his priorities straight. And yet too many U.S. social programs operate exactly this way: While they serve many people, they often give the most help to those who need it the least. Classic social insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare do, indeed, distribute benefits widely and offer extra help to the poor and the very sick. And means-tested programs like Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, also known as "welfare") are aimed exclusively at the disadvantaged. Nevertheless, the ability of these programs to fight poverty and inequality is substantially negated by other social programs -- mainly tax expenditures like the home mortgage interest deduction and social regulations like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- that benefit primarily the middle and upper-middle classes. While these latter policies may have their individual merits, in their current form they often widen the gap between haves and have-nots.

Economists criticize many of these policies for their inefficiency, noting, for example, that the mortgage deduction in the U.S. tax code encourages people to overinvest in large luxury homes. But an equally powerful objection is rooted in fairness. A number of social policies make a mockery of the goal, enshrined in the Constitution, that government exists to "promote the general welfare." Our longstanding commitment to equal opportunity rings hollow when certain programs help people with good jobs and incomes to get health insurance, housing, parental leave and retirement pensions, but offer little help to the poor and near-poor. We may disagree over how hard government should try to reduce poverty and inequality. Surely, however, when millions of Americans live in poverty and inequality has reached record levels, we can agree that public policies should not make these problems worse.

Call it phony universalism, Robin Hood in reverse, or socialism for the rich -- whatever the name, the U.S. government is effectively targeting tax subsidies and legal protections at the more advantaged members of American society. The level of support is enormous, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars each year. For every dollar spent on traditional anti-poverty programs, the United States spends almost as much through the tax code helping individuals who are lucky enough to have health and pension benefits at work or rich enough to buy a nice home (these are often the same people). This is how the United States can spend a ton of money on its welfare system and yet make fewer inroads against poverty and inequality than other affluent nations. Imagine a campaign against child obesity that encouraged kids to exercise daily and eat more Cheetos: U.S. social policy is beset by the same kinds of contradictions.


*****end of clip*****

As long as the wealthy are so mistreated the poor will have to pony up.


David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- I went back to re-read the thread that capt had earlier linked. As I read it, provided the recycling costs are included in the purchase price, so you can take used-up CFLs back to the store for recycling, changing to CFLs is a very good deal.

So good I haven't bothered to do a discount rate analysis in these days of low interest costs...

capt said...

New thread!