Thursday, February 04, 2010

You're Once, Twice a Corpse-man

Another solid B- reason why Obama won't release his school records.

You Tube via Power Line

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

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Jefferson, Kennedy, and Obama

Welcoming forty-nine Nobel Prize winners to the White House in 1962, President John F. Kennedy said, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

It took time and experience for Jefferson to achieve and deserve the accolades heaped upon his narrow shoulders. Though a masterful thinker and accomplished politician, and despite the wondrous words on the Declaration of Independence, he was often remarkably naive about human behavior favoring the idea that men, specially those of noble breeding, were good, decent, and honorable.

In a new book, "Flight From Monticello, Thomas Jefferson at War," reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, Michael Kranish writes of the high minded Jefferson during the Revolutionary War in Virginia.
The war must have seemed very far away from Monticello on those evenings in 1779 when Thomas Jefferson joined a Hessian prisoner of war in a violin duet, with Martha Jefferson accompanying them on the pianoforte, while Baroness Riedesel, the regal wife of the captive Hessian commander, led the party in dances. Jefferson that January had welcomed the arrival in the Charlottesville, Va., area of nearly 4,000 British and Hessian prisoners taken in the Battle of Saratoga, believing they would provide a boost to the local economy.

He also believed that the prisoners should be treated humanely and, at least in the case of the officers, more than humanely. "It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much as possible," he argued. He saw to it that British and Hessian officers were ensconced in mansions, arranging for Brig. Gen. William Phillips, the leader of the British prisoners, to rent an estate called Blenheim, complete with black slaves to attend to his needs.

"The great cause which divides our countries is not to be decided by individual animosities," Jefferson told the general, who soon invited him to dine at Blenheim. Two years later, in 1781, having been released in a prisoner exchange and with his knowledge of Virginia much improved, Jefferson's new British friend "would command an invasion that targeted Virginia and Jefferson himself."
[Jefferson] raced away from Monticello in June 1781 just minutes before British soldiers showed up. As governor, he had fled Richmond the preceding January in the face of an invasion led by the traitorous Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold. Receiving word early on New Year's Day of a fleet approaching the Virginia coast, Jefferson had been unsure whether it was British invaders or French reinforcements. Instead of assuming the worst and calling up the militia, he decided to wait for more definite intelligence. The resulting two-day delay made it impossible to prevent Arnold from capturing Richmond.

Jefferson—who later pointed out that he had no military skill or experience—never accepted any blame for that outcome...
The current US executive, having far less experience and intellect than Jefferson, seems intent on committing all his novice mistakes at the expense of America. From Jefferson, one could learn distrust of an enemies entreaties to personal friendship, especially during war; prisoners of war housed on home territory is not good for the local economy, should be segregated, and guarded 24 hours a day; right or wrong, make the crucial decisions and give needed orders before they're necessary and be always ready to cancel or amend the actions dependent on current events; and always take responsibilty both personal and for those under command.

This is what Obama could learn. Don't hold your breath; I'm not.

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

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Forests Growing Fast, Scientists Stumped

A newly published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found evidence that eastern US forests are growing faster than they have in the past 225 years. The researchers conclude,
"The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons. due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide."
Culprit? Wasn't a major Earth problem the 'fact' that the forests weren't growing fast enough to replace themselves in order to make enough oxygen for humans to breath? Now the forests are growing faster and that's a problem. Hmmm...
For more than 20 years forest ecologist Geoffrey Parker has tracked the growth of 55 stands of mixed hardwood forest plots in Maryland. The plots range in size, and some are as large as 2 acres. Parker's research is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 26 miles east of the nation's capital.

Parker's tree censuses have revealed that the forest is packing on weight at a much faster rate than expected. He and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute postdoctoral fellow Sean McMahon discovered that, on average, the forest is growing an additional 2 tons per acre annually. That is the equivalent of a tree with a diameter of 2 feet sprouting up over a year.

Forests and their soils store the majority of the Earth's terrestrial carbon stock. Small changes in their growth rate can have significant ramifications in weather patterns, nutrient cycles, climate change and biodiversity.
Science Daily says,
"It was not enough to document the faster growth rate; Parker and McMahon wanted to know why it might be happening. "We made a list of reasons these forests could be growing faster and then ruled half of them out," said Parker. The ones that remained included increased temperature, a longer growing season and increased levels of atmospheric CO2."
This is disturbing. Oh, not the conclusion that increased CO2, warmer temps, and longer growing seasons are the cause of the faster than normal growth. No, no. What's disturbing is that the researchers got from elementary school through university without knowing that increased CO2, warmer temps, and longer growing seasons would do exactly what they 'discovered', a discovery any farmer or nurseryman could have told them in a fraction of the time and probably without cost.

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

Newfoundland Premier Opts for US Health Care

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams will spurn the Canadian health care system for that of the United States when he comes to the US for heart surgery this week. At a press conference today attended by the National Post, Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale, said,
"He has gone to a renowned expert in the procedure that he needs to have done... In consultation with his own doctors, he's decided to go that route... It was never an option offered to him to have this procedure done in this province."
She declined to answer if the procedure was available in the province or all of Canada. However, The Telegram writes, "... the particular procedure isn’t available in the province...", but doesn't say whether the procedure is available in other provinces.

Brett Skinner, president of the Vancouver-based free-market think-tank, Fraser Institute, explained in the Calgary Herald,
"It’s not like we lack the medical knowledge and technology and science to provide these things — we just don’t have a system that allows our providers to meet market demands. Our ban on private finance and our ban on competitive for-profit delivery of publicly funded goods and services is a huge barrier to doing those things, to providing for the needs of Canadian patients."
Premier Williams has already been in consultations with his own physician and specialist for several weeks and they recommended immediate surgery in the US, not because Canadian doctors can't perform the surgery, but because Mr. Williams cannot wait the time required for service in Canada and if he was to have the heart surgery in Canada, and given his position, he would be accused of line jumping because of his office. Because 41,000 Canadians come to the US every year for medical treatment, his choice might not raise too much Canadian ire. Judging from the comments to the story in the press I quoted, Williams has plenty of supporters for his choice.

Mr. Williams, however, may see it as a choice between life and death given the median wait times in prominent Canadian hospitals. Though the wait times vary province to province and hospital to hospital, they are considerably longer than in any US state or hospital. For example, British Columbia cardiac surgery median wait times for three months ending Nov 30, 2009 was 3.1 wks (22 days.) At the four major B.C. hospitals providing cardiac care, according to B.C. Ministry of Health Services, the wait times in 2009 were:
Royal Columbian Hospital - 1.6 wks
Royal Jubilee Hospital - 3.4 wks
St. Paul's Hospital - 4.9 wks
Vancouver Hospital - 4.9 wks

For Newfoundland and Labrador the wait times are within the benchmark times set by the national health service in 2005. For cardiac bypass surgery the wait is 2-26 wks (14-182 days) depending upon patient criticality. Newfoundland and Labrador Health and Community Services reported on June 15, 2009 that the services are meeting the wait time benchmarks as defined:

Wait time starts with the decision to treat, which is when the patient and the appropriate physician agree to a particular service, and the patient is ready to receive the service. Wait time stops when the patient receives the service, or the initial service in a series. The wait is then measured in calendar days between start and stop.
The report also says,
The national target for coronary bypass surgery is 182 days. The proportion of cases completed within this timeframe has consistently remained above the 90th percentile for more than two years, dating back to 2006-07. The percentage of cases completed within the benchmark ranged from 93.9 per cent to 100 per cent.
182 days and 93.9-100% is not good enough. Now that's the median wait time meaning there are an equal number of patients who wait longer and shorter periods, not an average. If I had to wait that long for heart surgery in the US, or any needed surgery, I would seriously consider running the Cuban blockade. Waiting almost five months for medical care in unconscionable and unacceptable. Yet, that is precisely what will happen under Obamacare as well as a whole passel of other very, very ugly stuff.

Get well soon, Mr. Williams and enjoy your stay in the US. I hear the food has much improved since I was last hospitalized.

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

Flying Pigs Moment: 9th Says Y2K Bomber Term Too Easy

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco tossed the 22 year sentence meted out to the millennium bomber, Ahmed Ressam, as too lenient.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court says a 22-year prison sentence is too lenient for an al-Qaida-trained terrorist convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport at the turn of the millennium.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the sentence Tuesday. It also removed the Seattle trial judge from the case and assigned the re-sentencing of Ahmed Ressam to another judge.

Border agents in Washington state arrested Ressam in December 1999 after he entered the United States from Canada on a ferry with a car packed with explosives.

A judge cited Ressam's cooperation with investigators in meting out the original sentence. But since Ressam recanted his cooperation after two years, the appeals court says he deserves a longer sentence.
Well, I'm stunned.

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

Backdoor Taxes to Hit Middle Class - Reuters Story Pulled by White House

Reuters released this story yesterday and have since pulled the story after getting a call from White House officials saying the story is wrong; there will be no tax increase for the middle class under the 2011 budget proposal. Actually, that is true and that's why Reuters said it was a backdoor tax increase. On Dec 31, 2010, the Bush tax cuts sunset and the tax rates revert to the previous tax rates which were 2-5% higher and the 10% tax bracket is eliminated. That is a tax increase to anyone but a Democrat, though Obama can claim he didn't raise taxes on a technicality.

Here is the original story and I might add that even though Reuters pulled the story, many news outlets are not following WH orders having retained the story.

Backdoor taxes to hit middle class
Mon Feb 1, 4:09 PM
By Terri Cullen

NEW YORK ( --The Obama administration's plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.

In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year -- effectively a tax hike by stealth.

While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.

The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.

If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.

Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 -- though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.

Millions of middle-class households already may be facing higher taxes in 2010 because Congress has failed to extend tax breaks that expired on January 1, most notably a "patch" that limited the impact of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT, initially designed to prevent the very rich from avoiding income taxes, was never indexed for inflation. Now the tax is affecting millions of middle-income households, but lawmakers have been reluctant to repeal it because it has become a key source of revenue.

Without annual legislation to renew the patch this year, the AMT could affect an estimated 25 million taxpayers with incomes as low as $33,750 (or $45,000 for joint filers). Even if the patch is extended to last year's levels, the tax will hit American families that can hardly be considered wealthy -- the AMT exemption for 2009 was $46,700 for singles and $70,950 for married couples filing jointly.

Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:

* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;

* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;

* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;

* Individuals who don't itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;

* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.
Reuters promised a replacement story but has released only the following story:

ADVISORY: Backdoor taxes story
Tue Feb 2, 2010 1:35pm EST The Feb 1 story headlined "Backdoor taxes to hit middle class" is wrong and has been withdrawn. The story said lower-income families will pay more under tax provisions scheduled to expire Dec 31. The Obama administration's budget calls for the extension of those tax provisions for households earning less than $250,000. There will be no substitute story.

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Obama Bows to Tampa Mayor

Well, there he goes again...

AP - U.S. President Barack Obama bows to Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio at MacDill Air Force Base on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 in Tampa, Fla.

Or, is it as Beaglescout suggests at Red State

Beaglescout Monday, February 1st at 2:13AM EST

I used to wonder why he was bowing all the time too. Then I realized the man holds a huge party every three days, has a demanding wife and two kids, gives an average of three speeches every two days, plays golf daily, meets in smoking-prohibited back-rooms to scheme about healthcare with union thugs and senators and other unsavory types, plays basketball, bowls, travels all over the world and apologizes to everyone for all the people who he worked so hard to represent as President. Plus he has a full-time job! The man is tired!

...It isn’t bowing! It’s napping!

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