Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One reason medical care costs go up - successful treatment

It's long been known that dead people have very low health care costs. This is probably one of the main cost cutting strategies of Obamacare, along with the fact that poor health care, which leads to an earlier death, costs less than good health care. But he doesn't want to confuse you with those details now.

This article shows how rising survival rates from heart attacks have gone hand in hand with the more expensive interventions needed to secure better results.

"In the 1960s, the chance of dying in the days immediately after a heart attack was 30 to 40 percent. In 1975, it was 27 percent. In 1984, it was 19 percent. In 1994, it was about 10 percent. Today, it's about 6 percent."

Just think, if our survival rates were the same today as they were 40 years ago, we could not only have saved the extra money for more sophisticated and successful heart attack therapy, but all those dead people wouldn't have cost a dime in additional health care all the extra years they didn't live.

"Organic" food no healthier than regular food

One of the many cons perpetrated by the environmental movement over the past 40 years is that so-called "organic" food is healthier than other food. Scientifically illiterate people by the millions have bought into this nonsense, needlessly paying higher prices, often out of constrained budgets, for vegees fertilized with cow poop instead of "chemical fertilizers", as if manure, and everything else, isn't composed of chemicals.

Finally there is a definitive study.

"Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits...

A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.

'A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance,' said Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors.

'Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.'

The results of research, which was commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency, were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

The environmental movement has always used junk science to advance its agenda by preying on the fears of ignorant people. One wonders how long they'll be able to keep the "organic foods" movement going after studies like this one.

Pass this article along to your "organic" friends. Unfortunately, since environmentalism is a religion, rather than a science, many people will continue to worship their environmental gods regardless of the evidence.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why can't our voter identification system be as good as Mexico's?

This article describes the Mexican voter identification system, which unlike ours, actually verifies a voter's identity. It's interesting that one of the main "arguments", if one can call it that, against voter identification in this country is that it would somehow discriminate against Hispanics, while our Hispanic neighbor to the south uses a system far better than any state in America.

"In Mexico, every registered voter has an official ID card, complete with photograph, fingerprint and a holographic image... When a Mexican voter presents his card, the poll worker looks up his photo to see if it matches up...After voting, the Mexican voter's thumb ink is applied to his thumb. That way, if he shows up at another polling site to vote, they know he's already voted elsewhere."

It's obvious to anyone but clueless liberals that the reason for resisting effective voter ID laws is to facilitate massive voter fraud by the Democratic party. At least since the 1960 presidential election was shifted to Kennedy by vote fraud in Chicago, Democrats have used vote fraud to win closely contested elections.

Their attempt to win Florida in 2000 by inventing new votes was blocked by the Supreme Court, but since then, they've used that same process to "win" the Washington governor's race in 2004, and the just concluded Minnesota Senate race by the clown Al Franken.

Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder denied the state of Georgia the right to verify the citizenship of voters, which will have a chilling effect on any other state which attempts to implement a similar capability. This opens the way to voter registration for millions of illegal aliens, which should be sufficient to move a number of swing states into the Democratic column in future elections.

If Republicans don't get serious about voter identification, and stopping the use of recounts to produce imaginary votes in future elections, we won't have to worry about elections anymore - they'll be mere formalities to provide the illusion of legitimacy to a permanent Democratic one party government.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wild horse welfare

Most of us knew that Barack Obama combined with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress would lead to wild spending and untold insanity. Here's one of the latest examples.

"H.R. 1018 is the 'Restore Our American Mustangs Act.' It can fairly be described as a welfare program for horses. Believe it or not--this isn't satire--here is what the bill will do:

[T]he 'Restore Our American Mustangs Act' ... would create a new $700 million welfare program for wild horses. The program:

* Conducts a horse census every two years

* Provides 'enhanced contraception' and birth control for horses

* Establishes an additional 19 million acres of public and private land for wild horses

* Covers $5 million tab to repair horse damage to land

* Mandates that government bureaucrats perform home inspections before Americans can adopt horses

'Enhanced contraception' for horses? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I didn't realize that wild horses use contraception at all...

Nineteen million acres, by the way, is around 28 times the area of Rhode Island."

And this is one of the smaller examples of liberalism run amok. There should be a TV sitcom about these sorts of incredible stories. Oh, there is one, the news.

Imagine a cloth one atom thick

There are so many depressing items in the news these days that it seems almost pointless to write about them. But once in a while there is an interesting tidbit which isn't about our seeming rush over the cliff.

This is one such item, about a new material called "graphene", which is a sheet made of carbon atoms one layer thick.

"'It is the thinnest known material in the universe, and the strongest ever measured,' Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester, England, wrote in the June 19 issue of the journal Science...

Like diamond, graphene is pure carbon. It forms a six-sided mesh of atoms that, through an electron microscope, looks like a honeycomb or piece of chicken wire. Despite its strength, it's as flexible as plastic wrap and can be bent, folded or rolled up like a scroll...

Graphene was the leading topic at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society _ a leading organization of physicists _ in Pittsburgh in April. Researchers packed 23 panel sessions on the topic. About 1,500 scientific papers on graphene were published in 2008 alone."

While graphene won't solve the world's problems, it's an interesting material to contemplate. According to an article in Wikipedia,

"Measurements have shown that graphene has a breaking strength 200 times greater than steel, making it the strongest material ever tested." The largest graphene sheets made so far are about 1 square centimeter.

If it can be scaled up to large enough sizes, it would be amazing to be able to hold a fabric which is invisibly thin at the edge. Of course, its applications are unlikely to include conventional fabrics any time soon.

"America Alone" and Hizb ut-Tahrir

I just finished re-reading Mark Steyn's excellent book "America Alone" about the decline of the West and the pending takeover of Europe by Islam. This is really a must-read book, both profound and extremely well written. One of his points is that we're allowing the infiltration of western society by Islamic organizations dedicated to our destruction, and he has many examples of this process.

Well, here's another example:

"Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades.

Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago...

Hizb ut-Tahrir, rather than training members to carry out terrorist acts like Al Qaeda, focuses instead on indoctrinating youths between ages of 9 and 18 to absorb the ideology that calls for the formation of an empire — or "khilafah" — that will rule according to Islamic law and condones any means to achieve it, including militant jihad.

Hizb ut-Tahrir often says that its indoctrination "prepares the infantry" that groups like Al Qaeda take into battle, [Islamic expert Walid] Phares said.

'It's like a middle school that prepares them to be recruited by the high school, which is Al Qaeda,' he said. "One would compare them to Hitler youth. ... It's an extremely dangerous organization."

Phares said Hizb ut-Tahrir has strongholds in Western countries, including Britain, France and Spain, and clearly is looking to strengthen its base in the U.S...

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the group's most famous alumni... In addition to plotting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he also is implicated in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, the Bali nightclub bombings and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl."

So what are we doing about it?

"Hizb ut-Tahrir ... is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group...

Hilton Oak Lawn General Manager Rick Harmon said Hizb ut-Tahrir used its own name when it reserved the room for the conference, but the hotel was not aware of the content of the event, which includes lectures entitled "Capitalism is Doomed to Fail," "The Global Rise of Islam," and the "Role of Muslims in America," until after the contract was signed.

Still, Harmon said the hotel is open to all kinds of meetings, that don't necessarily reflect its position or beliefs.

'We're United States citizens and an American business — if it's legal, we're able to host it, as long as it's nothing that disrupts our other guests' privacy and security.'"

Presumably, organizing the destruction of western civilization won't disrupt their guests' security.

While radical Islam works tirelessly on a thousand fronts, we snooze on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

California greenies doing their best to force companies to leave the state

A California judge, at the behest of environmental groups, has ordered Chevron to stop a large project underway to upgrade a 107 year old refinery which would have increased the amount of gasoline it can produce from a barrel of crude oil by 7%.

The judge ordered that a new environmental impact statement be prepared, and a new permit be obtained from the city. About a thousand jobs will be lost until the project is eventually re-started, if ever.

Not wanting to take responsibility for the economic hardship they've created, the greenies think the company should just keep these workers on the payroll with nothing to do.

Will the last industrial operation in California please turn out the lights when it leaves?

More British insanity

It's interesting how government bureaucracies can develop policies that look utterly insane to any ordinary person. Such is the case with the British government refusing to name escaped prisoners for fear of violating their "right to privacy."

"Civil servants have refused to name inmates who have fled prison...They say releasing their names would breach obligations under the Data Protection Act.

It echoes a row in 2007 when Derbyshire Police refused to release pictures of two escaped murderers.

The latest development emerged in response to Freedom Of Information requests to name inmates on the run rom the prison near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

The open prison which has sea views ... is known as Holiday Bay because of its easy-going regime.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed 39 prisoners had absconded from Hollesley Bay between January 1, 2007, to March 31, 2009.

It also provided a general list of crimes they were sentenced for and confirmed that 16 involved violence.

The offenders included nine robbers, two serving sentences for attempted robbery, one for wounding and four others for grievous bodily harm.

But the ministry refused to say how many - if any - had been recaptured, saying their identities had to be protected from third parties."

And this is the kind of decision making Obama would apply to our health care.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Examples of "free" Canadian health care

Few on the conservative side misunderstand the downside of "free" government run healthcare, especially when there are so many examples in places like Canada and Britain. Here's another article showing some of the grotesque failures of "free" healthcare in both of these countries.

"In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it's much worse in Canada. If you're sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.

'We can't send these patients to other hospitals.' Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. 'Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are.'

More than a million and a half Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, '20/20' videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.

Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery 'elective.'

'The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,' she said."

We need to get our liberal friends to read more of these articles.

14% Unemployment on the way?

The economic illiteracy of the Obama team is almost as frightening as the illiteracy of the media covering his administration. This article uses basic economic relationships to show that it is likely that unemployment will soar as the Obama bogus stimulus approach causes further reductions in private business investment.

"Given that employment is a direct, linear function of private business investment (PBI), unemployment can be expected to rise much farther in the months ahead...This measure decreased 37.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared with a fall of 21.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Because a lot of PBI goes toward offsetting depreciation and increasing productivity, it takes a 5% year-over-year increase in PBI to produce a 1% increase in the number of jobs. Correspondingly, a 5% decrease in PBI will yield a 1% reduction in total employment...

The 37.9% investment decline reported by the BEA can be expected to eventually produce a reduction in total employment of about 8.5%. Accordingly, we can expect unemployment to rise to about 14% within a year unless the downward slide of PBI is reversed...

'Stimulus' is based upon the superstition that government borrowing and spending creates 'demand'. In reality, it does no such thing. 'Stimulus' is like trying to raise the level of the Hudson River by dipping out a bucket of water, walking five feet downstream, and pouring it back in...

While doing nothing to boost demand, Obama's "stimulus" will depress PBI, and therefore employment. This is because the "stimulus" plan requires selling an additional $787 billion in government bonds. The money to buy these bonds will have to come from somewhere, and much of it will come from people who would otherwise invest in starting or expanding businesses. Indeed, the bonds will have to be priced so that this risk-free investment is more attractive to investors than their other alternatives.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the Federal government ran a deficit of $303 billion (and therefore had to sell $303 billion of new bonds) and business investment fell by 21.7%. In the first quarter of 2009, the Federal deficit was $650 billion and business investment fell by 37.3%. The economy is being forced to invest in Barack's Bailout Bonds rather than in businesses that create jobs.

Virtually everything the Obama administration wants to do will have the effect of increasing unemployment. As bad as joblessness is now, be prepared for it to get much, much worse."

Caffeine shown to slow or reverse Alzheimer's in mice

There are lots of promising medical study results these days, many of which you never hear about again, but this one seems interesting since many have relatives who have or are at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It's also interesting because the "medication" is the caffeine in coffee, and it's great to have a health reason to drink something many of us are addicted to anyway.

Three large cups of coffee a day could help to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and even reverse the condition, researchers say...mice with a rodent equivalent of the disease showed a 50 percent reduction in levels of amyloid protein in their brains after scientists spiked their drinking water with caffeine...

By the end of the two-month study, the caffeine-drinking mice were performing far better on tests of memory and thinking than mice given water. Their memories were as sharp as those of healthy older mice without dementia."

Something to think about with your morning cup of java.