Monday, January 31, 2011

Spilled Milk

Holy cow! Thomas Sowell's column tomorrow raises the issue of the EPA's latest power grab. Yes, it really is about spilled milk.

We all understand why the Environmental Protection Agency was given the power to issue regulations to guard against oil spills, such as that of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska or the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But not everyone understands that any power given to any bureaucracy for any purpose can be stretched far beyond that purpose.

In a classic example of this process, the EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk, how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk.

Milk has oil? Who knew???

Oh wait. I guess the EPA knew. And now their regulations will raise the price of milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream, and ice cream. But it'll be worth it, because we'll be safe from... I'll let Sowell explain:

Does anyone seriously believe that any farmer is going to spill enough milk to compare with the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the BP oil spill?

Do you envision people fleeing their homes, as a flood of milk comes pouring down the mountainside, threatening to wipe out the village below?

It doesn't matter. Once the words are in the law, it makes no difference what the realities are. The bureaucracy has every incentive to stretch the meaning of those words, in order to expand its empire.

A long time ago, probably in the late 1970s, I saw the movie, The King of Hearts. It's set during World War I, when a British army private is sent into a French town to disarm a German bomb, and the Brits speak English, the Germans speak German (with English subtitles), and the French speak French (with English subtitles). But what the hapless private doesn't realize is that right before he entered the town, it was evacuated. Except for the insane asylum, whose inhabitants leave the asylum and pose as the regular townspeople. He has no idea, so he interacts with them as though they're normal.

That sort of thing is delightful to watch on a big screen. Throughout the madness, in the back of your mind you know it will end and you'll be going home where sanity reigns.

But it's distressing to know that the lunatics now have the power to regulate and control, to coerce and punish. If they have the power to regulate milk as though it's crude oil, there's no telling how far the draconian regulations will spread into all areas of our lives.

Stop the madness! (I just wish I knew how.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hu Disses America (Updated)

I first read about The State Dinner Incident at Power Line over the weekend when Scott Johnson quoted this report from the Epoch Times:

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set,< v="kroEprEpvtA"> Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie "Battle on Shangganling Mountain."< v="2-aTpkd6-P8">

The film depicts a group of "People's Volunteer Army" soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military "jackals."

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the "movement to resist America and help [North] Korea." The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States' real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

The song Lang Lang played describes how beautiful China is and then near the end has this verse, "When friends are here, there is fine wine /But if the jackal comes /What greets it is the hunting rifle." The "jackal" in the song is the United States.

Very nice. So glad we could throw a State Dinner for these charming people.

Today, though, Power Line's John Hinderaker followed up with this, quoting from Jay Nordlinger's post at The Corner providing a fuller descripton of the insult to America:

Last week, I had a note in this space about Lang Lang, who has become a kind of court pianist for President Obama and the Chinese leadership -- the Chinese dictatorship, to put it more bluntly.

He played at the Beijing Olympics. He played at Obama's Nobel ceremony. He played at the White House event for Paul McCartney -- the one at which McCartney made a ridiculous anti-Bush crack, which caused Lang Lang and the Obama crowd to laugh like hyenas. And he played at Obama's state dinner last week for Hu Jintao.

What did he play? Most notably and significantly, he played a famous anti-American propaganda song. Famous in China, that is. Wei Jingsheng, the great Chinese democracy leader, exiled in the United States since 1997, wrote a letter to Congress and Secretary of State Clinton. He said, "I listened to that music with a big shock." Wei explained that the song, "My Country," or "My Motherland," comes from "the best-known Communist propaganda movie about the Korean War," depicting the Chinese army's fight with the Americans. The movie is called The Battle of Triangle Hill. Wei said that the movie is as well-known in China as Gone with the Wind is here.

The song refers to the Americans as "wolves" or "jackals," and says that the Chinese will use weapons to deal with them. Wei commented, "Is that not an insult to the USA to play such . . . music at a state dinner hosted by the US President? No wonder it made Hu Jintao really happy." Yes, no wonder. As Wei pointed out, Hu is not ordinarily given to public emotion, but he emotionally embraced Lang Lang. ...

The Epoch Times quotes a Chinese psychiatrist living in Philadelphia, Yang Jingduan: "In the eyes of all Chinese, this will not be seen as anything other than a big insult to the U.S. It's like insulting you in your face and you don't know it, it's humiliating." In his letter, Wei said that so-called patriotic Chinese -- supporters of the Communist party and the dictatorship -- were ecstatic over "My Motherland" at the White House. One such "patriotic Chinese" exclaimed, "The right place, right time, right song!" (This is a phrase with roots in CCP propaganda, as the Epoch Times article explains.)

Either President Obama knew about the insult and approved - how could he, really, unless some Chinese person told him? - or he sat there and enjoyed the music, oblivious to the import of its meaning. Neither possibility speaks well for our president, his State Department, his advisors, or our nation.

The honor shown to the leader of a human-rights violating, oppressive, communist dictatorship by throwing him a State Dinner is bad enough, but to have that dictator and his loyalists insult our country in the process is beyond the pale. I'm not holding my breath, however, that President Obama will have any response at all. Just more of the same kowtowing to countries that want to destroy us.

Heaven help us all.


The White House did respond. They "insist[ed]
the song, 'My Motherland,' was no insult to the United States."

Oh. If they say so.

Think about it. When you hear the melody of "America the Beautiful," the lyrics never start running through your head. No. Not at all. And Sunday during communion, when the pianist started playing, "I Stand in Awe of You," my friend sitting next to me and I didn't start singing very softly with the music. No, that was just random squeaking we were doing, not singing the words!

The White House is either stupidly clueless or lying because their lips are moving. This was an insult to America, Hu enjoyed it, the White House is trying to cover it up, and there's no escaping any of that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Debating Obamacare

In Congress they're debating the repeal of Obamacare. At the same time, a milestone in the national "debate" has been reached. Over half of the states are involved in lawsuits to escape Obamacare. One of the regular commenters at Michelle Malkin's blog, 123upnorth, a Canadian, had this to say about Canadacare, which is where Obamacare would take us:

I realize the constiutional argument is strong and should be fought and won. However, I want to implore Americans to fight the battle against healthcare not only on a consitutional basis, but based upon the grounds that the quality of healthcare within a publicly-mandated system will S.U.C.K. beyond explanation, whether or not the constiution allows for it.

I live in Canada and regularly have to travel to America for healthcare. In Canada, people don’t have adequate quality of health services, nor do they have access to it. For example, approximately 15% of Canadians are without proper access to a family doctor. The majority of patients, once referred to a specialist, wait anywhere from 3 to 6 months to see the specialist.

After waiting for a specialist, a patient then has to go on a waiting list to get diagnostics, then wait for a follow up appointment with the specialist, at which time the patient will be instructed as to whether other tests are needed. If surgery is scheduled after the first round of tests, the wait for this too can be extensive. Because of the extensive waiting times, patients become more sick than otherwise would be the case if they were seen faster and their chances of beating their ailments is reduced.

In the end, to go through the process of seeking help and getting full treatment, the duration can often exceed one year. And that is if everything goes well. If tests are inconclusive, if a patient needs a second opinion etc., the total duration can exceed 18 to 24 months.

Even more depressing is the fact that we don’t get to choose specialists for the most part because each family doctor only works with a few specialists in each field of treatment in their geographical region. Because there is such a shortage of family doctors, you can’t switch between them to get access to another group of specialists. If you receive inferior treatment from the specialist you are directed to, it is much harder to go elsewhere and get the needed referral.

Lastly, because there is no incentive for doctors and specialist to invest in better medical treatment technologies, advancements that are introduced in the ‘for profit’ system in America and elsewhere aren’t made available to Canadians because they don’t have to be made available. Think about it, why would a public system that has a monopoly ever invest in doing things better if they are the only option for patients?

A public system is a death trap and the only players in the trap that can side-step it and get adequate treatment are members of the privelaged class that have the connections to do so. You can already see evidence of this with all the wiavers that are being granted.

Commenter bjc added this to the conversation:

I am from Canada, with many family members still there, and all that 123 says is factual; It was deplorable 15 to 20 years ago, and worse so now; My parents have no good options to maintaining quality of life under such a system; It has been painful to watch them suffer in a supposedly first world country!

I realize the House doesn't have the power to completely repeal Obamacare at this time, but they do have the power to defund its implementation. I pray the Republicans in the House have what it takes to actually do it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's With the Motorcycles?

I have a friend (no, it's not me) who has been on the online dating sites like eHarmony or Christian Mingle or something, and she gets matched with different men (because that's how it works).

Every. Single. One. Of. Her. Matches. Had a profile that said how much he loved riding his motorcycle. These are men in their sixties.

She's been matched to about ten motorcycle-riding men now. And my friend HATES motorcycles!

So what's up with men in their sixties and motorcycles? Is it senile dementia? Help me understand!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Brood of Vipers Falsify Autism Research

Power Line posted today on this CNN report of a story in the British Medical Journal.
CNN describes it this way:

A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."

Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.

Why on earth would a physician, a medical researcher, falsify data? Power Line's John Hinderaker explains:

There is a lot of blame to go around here; the media deserve some of it for repeating fraudulent claims uncritically. But the genesis of the hoax had a straightforward motive: money. Plaintiffs' lawyers who hoped to make a fortune by suing the manufacturers of vaccines funded the fraudulent research...

Most people don't realize it, but many of the scientific "studies" that have given rise to consumer hysteria and product liability litigation have been funded by plaintiffs' lawyers. The strategy has worked, I believe, more often than not. It is disturbing to understand that scientists can be bought; that, in fact, it is often not particularly difficult to buy them.

The misdirection caused false hope and false anger. And it resulted in a lot of unvaccinated children as well, followed by an increase in measles cases both in Britain and the US. Autism research, meanwhile, may have found more promising avenues if efforts hadn't been sent in the wrong direction by Wakefield's study.

It's repulsive that plaintiffs' lawers have been funding bogus "studies" for their own gain, but it's even more repulsive that there are "scientists" willing to go along.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


If you subscribe to's email news, you've already been told about this.

In the Sultanate of Oman, Thierry Legault managed to capture the partial eclipse of the sun - at the same time the International Space Station was in transit across the sun.

Amazing photo!