Saturday, March 28, 2009

Turn On Your Porch Light

Tonight is Earth Hour. Between 8:30pm and 9:30pm (for the Liberals, the big hand is on the six and ... oh, what's the use?) we, the people of Earth, are all being asked to turn off all of our electric lights, televisions, radios, computers, refrigerators and freezers, heart monitors, artificial breathing machines, traffic lights, street lights, and SETI transmitter/receivers that are searching for intelligent life in the universe that is so plainly evident as non-existent on this planet.

For a period of one hour, we can sit in darkness, afraid of the night sounds, as our ancestors in caves did thousands of years ago before some entrepreneurial proto-Republican decided enough was enough and ran out and brought in the burning tree limb struck by lightening in order to protect his family and get a hot meal for a change. Damned Liberal cavemen with their silly superstitions about boogeymen in the dark and charred meat causing cancer.

Or, as many participants will do, we can light some candles to set the mood. The CS Monitor reports that the Earth Hour website is brimming with announcements
"... from New Zealand to Hong Kong to Serbia – of restaurants hosting candlelit dinners and clubs holding candlelit acoustic concerts, along with lots of tips on what to do at home during the electricity-free hour, which includes taking a candlelit bath or playing board games by candlelight."
These announcements and suggestions are very nice and may cause many to feel good about themselves. But, they also raise some questions: How will all those restaurant meals be prepared without electricity or gas? How will the patrons pay for the meal without electricity to request credit card verification? How is the bather supposed to get the hot water for the candlelit bubble bath? Indeed, how will the water, hot or cold, be delivered to the bathtub without the electric water pump? The acoustic concert is fine, but one can only sing "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" and "Kumbaya" so many times before wanting to stick a wet finger in an electrical outlet lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree which would kind of defeat the purpose of Earth Hour on so many levels, so what's the point of that?

Then there's the question of all those burning candles. It's doubtful even a minority of environazis will spring for the expensive beeswax candles that release recently sequestered carbon so are arguably carbon neutral. Rather, most enviros will go for the more economical paraffin candles made of processed black gold, Texas tea, petroleum ...oil. Now that can't be good for planet Earth or the whole Earth Hour con. It's certainly good for the candle makers and those candle shops in electrically powered malls with the truly horrid odor of dozens of candle scents emanating from within that is nothing less than an all out assault on the environment the Earth Hour is claiming to protect.

Did you know that burning one paraffin candle for one hour will release 10 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere? After last years Earth Hour, Australian blogger and smart guy, Enoch the Red, figured that replacing a 40 watt incandescent light bulb with the equivalent lumens of paraffin candle power, the candles would release almost 10 times the carbon dioxide that politicians and Global Warmists now say is a pollutant, nevermind that life on this planet cannot exist without CO2. That is 10g X 10 = 100g of CO2 released by 40 candles burning in place of one 40 watt electric light bulb.

"... for every candle that is burned to replace electric lighting during Earth Hour, greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the one hour are increased by 9.6 g of carbon dioxide.

If the light output from a 40 W light bulb was to be completely replaced by candles, this will lead to the emission of an extra 295 grams of carbon dioxide per over simply using the electric lights - if the equivalent of one thousand 40 W bulbs are replaced by candles, that’s an extra 295 kilograms of emitted."
Of course, it's different if the incandescent bulbs are replaced with CFLs, but even that will vary by locale. A California CFL powered for one hour will contribute 5g of CO2 while a Kansas CFL will contribute 13g. California has stricter controls on CFLs and electricity use. The problem is that even environazis object to the harsh light of a CFL and that it can't be dimmed like an old fashioned incandescent that mimics the light of the open fire that comforted our ancient ancestors in the caves, so it's hard to say how many of those people actually have CFLs. For the record, I've replaced all but one incandescent with CFL bulbs and not to save Earth mind you. Rather, they cut my electric bill in half.

Canada Free Press columnist, Alan Caruba, writes that

We will all be treated to the idiotic sight of a darkened Empire State Building and other similar structures around the world such as the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas strip, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the London Eye Ferris wheel, and the Pyramids of Egypt.
That's ridiculous when you think about it. The night will be too dark to see any of those darkened structures. People will be wandering around, bumping into pyramids and towers, and bridges all over the world as they grope their way to the darkened restaurants to have their candle lit dinners prepared apparently hours before the power goes out thus saving nary a single planet from probable destruction from the Great CO2 Menace hiding in the light. Who would have thought mankind would have come so far from fearing the dark to fearing the light?

Of course, the Earth Organizers know all of this. The hour of no-power is more a publicity stunt than anything. It's pure symbolism because it certainly doesn't actually do anything. Exactly what it symbolises is elusive. We do know that for one hour participants feel good about themselves for having done something, even though they've done nothing at all beyond sitting in the dark patting each other on the back if they can find someone in the dark to pat on the back. I suppose that's got to count for something.

What it means to me is that for one hour tonight, I will have electricity to burn powering every electrical device I own without competition from the tree huggers who will return to their hypocritical energy intensive campaigning to save Earth, gain personal and group power, and make a lot of money doing it Monday morning when their electric alarm clocks awaken them to small bits of reality - their microwave ovens take too damned long heating their instant coffee and poptarts which are now indispensable because of the hectic work week and kids schedules made possible by electricity allowing everyone to stay up long past our bedtimes so we can have more time to spend with our families or work with that guy with the funny accent on the other side of the planet.

So, have your feel good hour of no-power tree huggers and environazis. As for me, like Motel 6, I'll leave the light on for ya.

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

Friday, March 27, 2009


The Allman Brothers Band, 1982

Jessica is the daughter of guitarist Dickey Betts. He was working on a song when his one year old little girl crawled into the room. He was inspired to write the classic rock instumental.

I love this!

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ten Facts of the US Health System

The US health care system is the worst system devised, except for all the others. Obama is proposing to fix it with an infusion of $634 billion over the next ten years. How will that work out? Probabaly as well as Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty 40 years ago - we still have poverty after throwing billions of dollars into that war.

10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care
No. 649 Tuesday, March 24, 2009
by Scott Atlas

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government rôle in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America's health care system should be considered.

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."[5]

Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long - sometimes more than a year - to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.[6] All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.[7] In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.[8]

Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either "fundamental change" or "complete rebuilding."[9]

Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the "health care system," more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).[10]

Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade.[11] [See the table.] The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.[12]

Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.[13] The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country.[14] Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined.[15] In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.[16] [See the table.]

Conclusion. Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

Scott W. Atlas, M.D., is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center. A version of this article appeared previously in the February 18, 2009, Washington Times.

[1] Concord Working Group, "Cancer survival in five continents: a worldwide population-based study,.S. abe at responsible for theountries, in s chnologies, " Lancet Oncology, Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2008, pages 730 - 756; Arduino Verdecchia et al., "Recent Cancer Survival in Europe: A 2000-02 Period Analysis of EUROCARE-4 Data," Lancet Oncology, Vol. 8, No. 9, September 2007, pages 784 - 796.

[2] U.S. Cancer Statistics, National Program of Cancer Registries, U.S. Centers for Disease Control; Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada; also see June O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill, "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S.," National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 13429, September 2007. Available at

[3] Oliver Schoffski (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg), "Diffusion of Medicines in Europe," European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, 2002. Available at
/showFile.asp?FID=126. See also Michael Tanner, "The Grass is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems around the World," Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 613, March 18, 2008. Available at

[4] June O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill, "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S."

[5] Ibid.

[6] Nadeem Esmail, Michael A. Walker with Margaret Bank, "Waiting Your Turn, (17th edition) Hospital Waiting Lists In Canada," Fraser Institute, Critical Issues Bulletin 2007, Studies in Health Care Policy, August 2008; Nadeem Esmail and Dominika Wrona "Medical Technology in Canada," Fraser Institute, August 21, 2008 ; Sharon Willcox et al., "Measuring and Reducing Waiting Times: A Cross-National Comparison Of Strategies," Health Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 4, July/August 2007, pages 1,078-87; June O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill, "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S."; M.V. Williams et al., "Radiotherapy Dose Fractionation, Access and Waiting Times in the Countries of the U.K.. in 2005," Royal College of Radiologists, Clinical Oncology, Vol. 19, No. 5, June 2007, pages 273-286.

[7] Nadeem Esmail and Michael A. Walker with Margaret Bank, "Waiting Your Turn 17th Edition: Hospital Waiting Lists In Canada 2007."

[8] "Hospital Waiting Times and List Statistics," Department of Health, England. Available at

[9] Cathy Schoen et al., "Toward Higher-Performance Health Systems: Adults' Health Care Experiences In Seven Countries, 2007," Health Affairs, Web Exclusive, Vol. 26, No. 6, October 31, 2007, pages w717-w734. Available at

[10] June O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill, "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S."

[11] Victor R. Fuchs and Harold C. Sox Jr., "Physicians' Views of the Relative Importance of 30 Medical Innovations," Health Affairs, Vol. 20, No. 5, September /October 2001, pages 30-42. Available at

[12] OECD Health Data 2008, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Available at

[13] "The U.S. Health Care System as an Engine of Innovation," Economic Report of the President (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004), 108th Congress, 2nd Session H. Doc. 108-145, February 2004, Chapter 10, pages 190-193, available at
/usbudget/fy05/pdf/2004_erp.pdf; Tyler Cowen, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2006; Tom Coburn, Joseph Antos and Grace-Marie Turner, "Competition: A Prescription for Health Care Transformation," Heritage Foundation, Lecture No. 1030, April 2007; Thomas Boehm, "How can we explain the American dominance in biomedical research and development?" Journal of Medical Marketing, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2005, pages 158-66, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 2002. Available at .

[14] Nicholas D. Kristof, "Franklin Delano Obama," New York Times, February 28, 2009. Available at

[15] The Nobel Prize Internet Archive. Available at

[16] "The U.S. Health Care System as an Engine of Innovation," 2004 Economic Report of the President.

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

Big Screen Plasma, Lecture, and Facts

Using a big screen plasma tv in place of the twin teleprompter screens, Obama faced the press last night. He appeared no natural speaking straight ahead than he did with the twin screens and swiveling his head left and right as if watching a tennis match. He's not very good at looking real. The press conference was aired free of charge by by the television networks at loss of millions and millions of advertising revenues to the networks.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's plea Tuesday for patience in the economic turmoil fits with the view of most economists that a turnaround will take some time. It doesn't fit quite so neatly with his bullish budget.

The president's spending plans and deficit projections rest on the assumption that the economy will post solid growth next year after a mild, further decline this year. Many economists think that's too rosy.

Obama was more cautious than that in his prime-time news conference — possibly to the point of having it both ways.

A look at some of his statements and how they square with the facts:

THE CLAIM: "We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other, that's when we succeed."

THE FACTS: No one really knows when the recession will end. But Obama's own budget forecasts the recession will continue through this year but with a relatively shallow 1.2 percent decline in the gross domestic product.

Then, the budget predicts solid 3.2 percent growth for 2010, followed by three years of more than 4 percent growth each year.

Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said this week she was "incredibly confident" the U.S. economy will recover within a year.

Congressional Republicans and some Democratic budget hawks have suggested the Obama budget projections are unduly optimistic to make the math to pay for the president's programs work. The higher the GDP growth, the more tax revenues come in.

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week predicted that the Obama budget would produce deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

OBAMA: "In this budget, we have made the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term even under the most pessimistic estimates."

THE FACTS: Not all credible estimates foresee a deficit halved in that time.

Obama's budget forecast a deficit of $530 billion by the end of 2013. That would cut by half the deficit he inherited at the start of his term. To succeed, Obama is counting on a recovered economy, a tax boost for the rich and success in easing foreign entanglements. But his assertion that he can accomplish that "even under the most pessimistic estimates" flies in the face of an answer he gave moments later.

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that Obama's spending plan would leave a deficit of $672 billion by the end of 2013. Explaining the differences between his projections and CBO's, Obama said his administration projects a higher growth rate.

THE CLAIM: "Our assumptions are perfectly consistent with what blue-chip forecasters out there are saying."

THE FACTS: The Obama administration's economic growth projections are more optimistic over the next five years than those of the Blue Chip Consensus, a monthly average of 50 economic forecasts from the private sector.

The Blue Chip projection is for a deeper contraction this year than is foreseen by the administration — 1.9 percent versus 1.2 percent. Then it foresees growth of only 2.1 percent next year, instead of 3.2 percent, and less than 3 percent in each of the next three years, when the administration's forecasts are for 4 percent or better.

After 2015, the blue chip forecast is a little brighter than the administration's.

THE CLAIM: Obama repeated his assertion that his housing bailout will help "stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners stay in their homes."

THE FACTS: Even officials in his administration, many supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman have said some of the bailout money is bound to go to those who acted irresponsibly.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said it's important for the nation to go ahead with the plan even though it means assistance will go to some who should have known better than to get in over their heads.

Sheila Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., made a similar point when she said it's "simply impractical" to examine every delinquent loan and weed out those taken by people who overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn't afford.

THE CLAIM: Responding to Republican critics in Congress who say his proposed budget carries an irresponsible deficit, Obama said, "I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because, as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them."

FACT: Obama inherited a whopper of a deficit, much of it due to policies and spending led by Republican President George W. Bush. But the Congress, which authorizes spending and is not blameless in driving up deficits, was controlled by Democrats in the last two years of Bush's presidency.

Associated Press writers Tom Raum and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Iraq War by the Numbers - 2003 to Now

Iraq: Key figures since the war began
By The Associated Press - Wed Mar 18, 12:38 pm ET



_March 31, 2003: 90,000.
_Current troop level, on March 13, 2009: 138,000.
_Month with highest level of troops in Iraq: October 2007, at 166,000.


_Total number of countries who participated in "Coalition for the Immediate Disarmament of Iraq" at start of war: 31, including the United States.
_Current number in coalition: 4 — United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Romania.


_Number of U.S. private contractors in Iraq: 190,000, August 2008.
_Number of deaths of U.S. private contractors in Iraq: 1,306, as of Dec. 31, 2008.


_Total trained and equipped, July 2005: approximately 171,300.
_Total trained to date, regardless of active status, October 2008: 561,159.



_Total number of U.S. troops who have died as of March 17, 2009: at least 4,259.
_States with the highest number of U.S. troop deaths as of March 17, 2009: California, 457; Texas, 402; Pennsylvania, 192; Florida, 188; New York, 182; Ohio, 174; Michigan, 156; Illinois, 151.

_Total number of U.S. troops wounded in action as of Feb. 28, 2009: at least 31,102.
_Total number of U.S. troops wounded, injured or sickened (non-hostile, using medical air transport) as of Feb. 28, 2009: at least 36,106.


_Total number of coalition troops (non-U.S.) who have died as of March 17, 2009: at least 307.


_Killed since the 2003 invasion, according to the Iraq Body Count database: more than 91,121



_ According to the National Priorities Project: Over $605 billion.
_ According to the Congressional Research Service, total funds approved by Congress Congress for the Iraq War: more than $657 billion.
_ Additional war costs over the next 10 years projected by the Congressional Budget Office August 2008: range from $440 billion to $865,000 billion.
_Total tab for Iraq war, accounting for continued military operations, growing debt and interest payments and continuing health care and counseling costs for veterans according to economists Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz: at least $3 trillion.


_In April 2003, Andrew Natsios of the U.S. Agency for International Development said the cost of rebuilding Iraq could be $1.7 billion.
_As of July 2008, the Department of Defense's monthly obligations for contracts and pay averaged about $9.9 billion for Iraq.


_As of Jan. 30, 2009, the work of Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction investigators has resulted in 20 arrests, 19 indictments, 14 convictions, and more than $17 million in fines, forfeitures, recoveries and restitutions.



_January 2004: 30-45 percent
_January 2009: 23-38 percent


_March 28, 2003: $21.50
_March 6, 2009:


2.58 million barrels per day.
_Feb. 28, 2009:
2.32 million barrels per day.


_Prewar: 12.9 million people had potable water.
_Jan. 15, 2009:
21.2 million people have potable water.


_Prewar: 6.2 million people served.
_Dec. 31, 2008:
11.3 million people served.


_Prewar land lines: 833,000.
_Jan. 5, 2009: 1,300,000.

_Prewar cell phones: 80,000.
_Jan. 5, 2009: An estimated 14.7 million.


_September 2003: 4,900.
_Jan. 5, 2009:


_Prewar nationwide: 3,958 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): 4-8.
_March 10, 2009 nationwide: 5,410 megawatts. Hours per day: 15.6.

_Prewar Baghdad: 2,500 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): 16-24.
_March 10, 2009 Baghdad: Megawatts not available. Hours per day: 16.8.

Note: Current Baghdad megawatt figures are no longer reported by the U.S. State Department's Iraq Weekly Status Report.



Some 195,000 internally displaced Iraqis were able to return home. However, as of November 2008, there were at least 2.8 million people still displaced inside Iraq.


_Prewar: 500,000 Iraqis living abroad.
_January 2009: Close to 2 million, mainly in Syria and Jordan.
_2008: Some 25,000 refugees were able to return home.

All figures are the most recent available.

The Associated Press, State Department, Defense Department, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, The Brookings Institution, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, National Priorities Project, Department of Labor, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, Iraq Body Count, Energy Information Administration, ABC News.

AP researchers Monika Mathur, Julie Reed and Rhonda Shafner compiled this report.

By any measure the good guys won, the bad guys lost, and now it's up to Iraq to keep what was won at the cost of thousands of lives, too much blood and treasure.

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