Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Odds Are Better and Worse Than You Think

If we were to believe all the government and scientific studies warning us of the danger of this and that, what innocuous item or substance we have using for years and survived will kill us, we would never leave our homes, breath the air, drink the water, eat the food, and would, in fact, have died out as a species years ago.

Not long ago, we were all going to die from bird flu, West Nile virus, preservatives in hot dogs and baloney, even newsprint would cause cancer to kill us. But really, the chances of any particular danger actually harming or killing any particular person is minuscule. We love the odds, though.

Natalie Josef at Divine Caroline was recently describing the amusement her friends brought by buying lottery tickets in the mistaken belief this was a good retirement strategy. She came up with these odds of various dangers and stupidities faced by all of us everyday.
Odds of dying from a dog bite: 1 in 20 million
Odds of becoming a saint: 1 in 20 million

Odds of becoming president: 1 in 10,000,000
Odds of dying from parts falling off an airplane: 1 in 10,000,000

Odds you will be injured by a toilet this year: 1 in 10,000
Odds of finding a four-leaf clover on the first try: 1 in 10,000

Odds of spotting a UFO today: 1 in 3,000,000
Odds of dying from food poisoning: 1 in 3,000,000

Odds of dying from a shark attack: 1 in 300,000,000
Odds of dying from Measles: 1 in 300,000,000

Odds of a child being in a fatal automobile accident: 1 in 23,000
Odds of being wrongly declared dead by a Social Security data entry mistake: 1 in 23,483

Odds of writing a New York Times best seller: 1 in 220
Odds of dating a millionaire: 1 in 215

Odds of getting AIDS from heterosexual sex without using a condom: 1 in 5,000,000
Odds of dying from contact with hot tap water: 1 in 5,005,564

Odds of winning an Academy Award: 1 in 11,500
Odds of bowling a 300 game: 1 in 11,500

Odds of injury from using a chain saw: 1 in 4464
Odds of dying on a bicycle: 1 in 4472

Odds of being murdered: 1 in 18,000
Odds of dying in a car accident: 1 in 18,585

Odds of getting arthritis: 1 in 7
Odds you don’t have health insurance: 1 in 7

Odds of dying from heart disease: 1 in 3
Odds of an American woman developing cancer in her lifetime: 1 in 3

Odds that you will die from the collision of an asteroid hitting the earth in the next one hundred years: 1 in 500,000
Odds of a non-felon being murdered with a gun: 1 in 500,000
Odds of being in a plane crash: 1 in 500,000
I'm comforted to know the odds of being hit by falling airplane parts are so low because I live under the landing pattern of John Wayne Airport. On the otherhand, I'm now afraid of my toilet.

My father died last September, but Social Security insists my Mom died. Big sister is battling the bureaucracy to un-dead our mother. By the time she gets un-deaded, Mom will probably have passed and the Social Security will prosecute big sister for perpetrating a fraud.

The odds of being scalded to death by hot tap water may be very small, but that is no comfort to Jaquez Mason, killed by his mother in a scalding hot water bath. He was only three.

There's a small chance of dying in an asteroid strike, but former Apollo astronaut, Rusty Schweickart, is heading a campaign to track nearly 3000 NEOs, near Earth objects, 97% of which will never hit Earth. It's the 3% that might perhaps someday hit Earth. "It’s Schweickart’s view that for those pondering whether or not the threat of NEO impacts is “a real issue” and whether it needs to be dealt with now, the proper answer to both queries is “yes” and “yes.” He believes the asteroid diversion project will save the planet.

Quite frankly, though, I thought my chances at sainthood were alot better.

h/t to Indigo Rose for the Odds story.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama Becomes Bush

Victory in Iraq. What does it look like and how is it defined? Barack Obama thinks he knows and said so in his speech, "A New Strategy for a New World," July 15, 2008. For the first, time a prominent Democrat has said 'Iraq' and 'victory' in the same sentence without adding 'run away, run away!'

At some point, a judgment must be made. Iraq is not going to be a perfect place, and we don’t have unlimited resources to try to make it one. We are not going to kill every al Qaeda sympathizer, eliminate every trace of Iranian influence, or stand up a flawless democracy before we leave – General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker acknowledged this to me when they testified last April. That is why the accusation of surrender is false rhetoric used to justify a failed policy. In fact, true success in Iraq – victory in Iraq – will not take place in a surrender ceremony where an enemy lays down their arms. True success will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future – a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge. That is an achievable goal if we pursue a comprehensive plan to press the Iraqis stand up.
Whoa! He's good. I've never heard it explained like that before.

In a policy statement, National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, President George Bush explains what he means by victory in Iraq.

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy's surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event -- there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

In the short term:

An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.

In the medium term:

An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential.

In the longer term:

An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.
An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.

An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.
Whoa! He's good, too. Sounds alot like Barack Obama. Except Bush had these thoughts in November 30, 2005, three years earlier than Barack Obama and his crack team of original thought makers.

Apparently, Obama is not just saying that victory in Iraq is possible and maybe is already happening, or perhaps, as Michael Yon writes, "the war has ended," but that George Bush was actually right after all.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CBS, MSM, USO, and Paulette Nelson

She was at the airport or military airfield when they left and she is there when they return. Before 9/11, she didn't give the soldiers or their mission a second thought, they lived all around her, but they were just there. 9/11 changed the life of Paulette Nelson.

The CBS Morning Show put a spotlight on Paulette Nelson July 16. That's right a big bad MSM CBS honoring the stay-at-home-mom who volunteers with the USO to make sure someone is there when our fighting men and women deploy to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan and when they come home. She meets them with applause, a handshake, or a hug and always with a smile.

She started in 2004, and 400 flights later, she is as dedicated as ever. She told CBS, "I'm there when they leave and I'm there when they come back I call that, completing the circle... People ask me, 'How do you do this? You don't get paid and it takes away your time?' And all I can say is, 'How can you not do it? How can you really just let them go over there and do what they do and not support them?' " See the big bad CBS segment at YouTube.

Paulette wrote letter to Tony Diana Music August 12, 2005. She explained how she got involved after 9/11.

Hey, my name is Paulette Nelson. I would like to introduce you to my children William 9 and Madison 7. We live in Savannah, Ga. We live smack dab in the middle of two Army posts. So we are lucky enough to share our city with a large military population.

September 11th had a profound effect on my life. It was such a huge eye opener for me, as I'm sure it was for many people. You see, I've lived in Savannah my whole life. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I never really gave the military here much thought. Never thought about what they did or what they meant. September 11th changed that. In the days and weeks following September 11th we began to see convoys on the road and much more helicopter traffic flying over our house. You could just sense that something was going to happen and soon. And it did.....our friends and neighbors began leaving their families behind. They were leaving their families to go to an unknown place to right a wrong done to this nation. They were leaving with the sorrows of a country on their shoulders. What a heavy burden that must have been. It really hit home when my son's best friend Logan's dad got called up. William began asking questions. "Where did Logan's dad go? Why did he have to leave?" I told him Logan's dad was going to find the men that crashed the planes into the building so it wouldn't happen again. That we should be very thankful to everybody who is trying to protect our country. That we should thank every soldier that we saw.

Well I think my words sank in with them. Because now if they see a person in uniform they walk up and tell them, "Thank you for protecting our country." This poster was made by Madison for her daddy to hang up at his work place. The picture in itself speaks a thousand words. We all should thank a soldier.
Paulette insists to CBS that she is no hero, "I'm an ordinary person who was given an extraordinary chance." That's what all heroes say.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ich Bin Ein Beginner

Barack Obama, the presumptuous Democrat presidential nominee, planned to deliver a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel was skeptical about allowing a mere nominee to speak at the famed Gate that has been the symbolic backdrop for major foreign policy speeches by sitting US Presidents.

In the 20th Century, the Gate was used by the NAZI party as a state symbol. After the war, people were allowed to pass through the Brandenburg Gate until August 1961 when the Berlin Wall was erected. John Kennedy visited the Gate and though his speech was made elsewhere in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate and John Kennedy's declaration, "Ich bin ein Berliner!" are inextricably linked. Ronald Reagan spoke at the Gate in 1987 and challenged the Soviet Union, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Clinton spoke at the Gate in 1994 saying something about peace and love in post-Cold War Europe.

Now Barack Obama wants to shamelessly insinuate himself into the august company of US Presidents who have spoken at or visited the historic sight. His advisers, it seems, have talked him out of speaking at the Gate to avoid comparisons with his betters (ok, maybe not Clinton.) They are considering other Berlin venues.

The Germans were especially annoyed that no requests from the Obama campaign had been made for an event that would have been only a week away. A spectacle of the magnitude required for Barack Obama would rival those of the Nuremberg rallies. The German government simply didn't have the time to make the security arrangements. That the Obama campaign simply believed they could just show up and all would be organized was particularly galling.

Once again, Obama's natural reflexes show his elitist, presumptuous, and entitled sense of self-importance.

Cartoon credit: Michael Ramirez, IBD

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life Saving Heart Surgeon Dies But Tony Snow Death More Newsworthy

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey died Friday night, July 11, 2008. He was 99 years old. For more than half a century, the son of Lebanese immigrants, routinely saved thousands of lives everyday, many with his own hands.

But, few know Dr. DeBakey died because Tony Snow, television and radio talking head, and White House mouthpiece died July 12, 2008. Never mind he never saved anyone's life with revolutionary medical treatment, he was, by all accounts, a really nice guy.

Dr. DeBakey gained notoriety as a cardiovascular surgeon pioneering surgical procedures that are accepted as common place today, but were miraculous when I was a kid and everyone knew his name. In 1908, when only 24 years old and still in medical school, DeBakey invented the roller pump, the part that makes heart and lung machines work. When patients are in surgery today and their heart and/or lungs must stop for repair or replacement, the body is hooked-up to the heart and lung machine that breathes and pumps blood for the patient.

Not as important as the contributions of Tony Snow, though. Tony Snow, television and radio talking head, and White House mouthpiece, who died July 12, 2008, was the first host of "Fox News Sunday" for seven years. Then he hosted 'Weekend Live with Tony Snow". Gloria Borger of US News & World Report told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Snow "could disagree with you without being disagreeable. ... So smart, so engaging. And one of his talents was listening. That's why he was such a good host of the Sunday show. He was such a good listener. And he was able to respond to you by just taking apart your argument. And he did it so well, but always with a generous nature."

Michael DeBakey always wanted to be a doctor and he was for 70 years. Retiring from his day almost always near midnight and waking everyday at 4 A.M. to go back to the work of saving lives. That earned him the additional reputation as a tireless worker and a stern task master. In his career, DeBakey performed over 60,000 heart surgeries while caring for scores of other patients at the same time.

In a lifetime of medical innovation, DeBakey contributed to the development of artificial hearts and heart pumps that sustained the lives of thousands of patients awaiting transplants. In his spare time, he helped create over 70 surgical instruments needed in the revolutionary surgeries he developed.

Let's not let that get in the way of immortalizing Tony Snow, television and radio talking head, and White House mouthpiece, who died July 12, 2008 who was hired on by the Bush administration as White House Press Secretary to replace Scott McClellan, who recently wrote a tell all book about meetings he never attended because he was only a press secretary. Snow's new job was tough. He had to stand for up to a whole hour answering questions from the American and foreign press corps.

In the 1950s, DeBakey was first to perform surgical replacement of arterial aneurysms and obstructive lesions. Later, he invented bypass pumps and connections to replace excised portions of diseased arteries. DeBakey performed the first Dacron graft, replacing part of an occluded (clogged) artery. He started working with coronary arterial bypass surgeries in the 1960s.

Shortly after Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first successful human heart transplant in South Africa, Dr. DeBakey was among the first in the US to try the procedure. The high rejection rate caused a halt to heart transplants until the anti-rejection drug, cyclosporin, was introduced in the 1980s. After a 14 year hiatus, DeBakey returned to heart transplant surgery which is now a common and successful procedure.

Among the tens on thousands of patients DeBakey treated were world leaders press secretaries only talk about. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon put themselves in DeBakeys hands. So did former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan, Turkish President Turgut Ozal, and Nicaraguan leader Violetta Chamorro. In the late 1990s, DeBakey actively helped create the Michael E. DeBakey Heart Institute at Hays Medical Center in Hays, Kansas which continues the work DeBakey started and still treats world leaders.

Back in Washington D.C., Tony Snow, television and radio talking head, and White House mouthpiece, who died July 12, 2008, quit his job in 2007 as White House Press Secretary when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Still working in early 2006, aged 97 years, Dr. DeBakey had surgery to repair a torn aorta using a proceedure he had developed now known as the DeBakey Procedure. Diana Cooper DeBakey, DeBakey's first wife, died after a heart attack in 1972. Her doctor husband could not save his own wife.

Dr. Michael DeBakey died Friday night, July 11, 2008 at Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX which issued a statement saying that DeBakey had died of natural causes shortly after arrival at the hospital. The Heart and Vascular Center at Baylor was named in honor of Michael DeBakey, cardiovascular surgeon.

But, Tony Snow, television and radio talking head, and White House mouthpiece, who died July 12, 2008 is the subject of hundreds of thousands of remembrances while Dr. DeBakey's death and life are barely mentioned.

I mean no disrespect to Tony Snow, or his family. Mr. Snow was possibly the best press secretary the White House has ever had. He was undoubtedly a fine man who loved and cared for his family and friends. Being a nice guy does count for much in our short lives. But, respectfully, he was not a heart surgeon who saved thousands of lives. Michael DeBakey was and did.

I searched Google blogs (7-14/08, 9:40P.M.) for Michael DeBakey mentions and got 2,475 articles. I repeated the blog search for Tony Snow and got 232,703 articles. Tim Russert got 190,743.

People, get some perspective. Please. Tony Snow was a TV and radio personality, a journalist, and a press secretary. Outside of his family and friends, all this adulation smacks of idolatrous fan worship and is truly bizarre. Michael DeBakey was a heart surgeon and inventor who saved thousands of lives and will continue doing so long after his death.

DeBakey has only 2,475 entries and Tony Snow has 232,703. Is this truly what we want to celebrate? I know Mr. Snow is a better role model than the Spears sisters, but really, come on ... Dr. Michael DeBakey barely noticed?

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

World Goes On

Pearls Before Swine is, without a doubt, the best comic strip since The Far Side.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.