Monday, December 22, 2008

The mysterious ways of Google again

If you search for "John Ray" on most search engines, you get a heap of links about some old geezer from a couple of hundred years back and only at the end of the search results might you get a link to something by me. With Google, by contrast, both DISSECTING LEFTISM and GREENIE WATCH are given on the first page of the search results. So I am pretty pleased about that. And my lead post here from yesterday is already being returned in Google searches too. So if you will forgive my childish glee: Long live Google and its market dominance!

The excellent Pamela Geller, on the other hand, says that Google has delisted most of her work. Yet if I do one of the searches she suggests I get her article on the second page of the search results! See here. So don't ask me what's going on.

I fully accept that I may be too lowly a worm to be censored and that Pamela is big-time but it's puzzling that I CAN find her work through Google. Maybe they have reinstated her after her latest complaint, I guess. Nobody will squash her, of that I am sure.


A clear example of what happens when people vote for feelgood emptyheads

A new law intended to prevent deaths and injuries caused by dangerous drains in pools and spas became effective Friday. As an unintended side effect, pools nationwide have been forced to close indefinitely.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission said there were 74 suction-related incidents reported from 1997 to 2007, including nine deaths and 63 injuries, according to a news report out of Wisconsin today. That amounts to fewer than two deaths and seven injuries per year being attributed to dangerous drains in pools and spas. Nevertheless, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act became effective yesterday, forcing pools nationwide - including one frequented by members of my family - to close indefinitely due to their inability to comply with the ridiculous law [See the CPSC news release about the new law here.] The first paragraph of a news release issued yesterday by the city of St. Peters, Mo., site of the Rec-Plex Natatorium where my wife and children swim, explains the situation:
Due to circumstances beyond the City's control, and under the threat of civil and criminal penalties, the swimming pool at the St. Peters Rec-Plex closed last night at midnight. We are doing this because we are complying with new federal regulations under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pools and Spa Safety Act that require the installation of pool drain covers that meet new federal specifications. Pools at recreation centers across our region and nationally are faced with the challenge of meeting these new requirements and are facing shutdown."

What exactly is the challenge? The second paragraph of the news release covers that:
"St. Peters staff has been thoroughly investigating any possible options that would allow us to comply with this new federal regulation. Despite our best efforts, there is currently no equipment available for purchase that allows our pool to meet these new requirements. The equipment simply does not exist that would allow us to retrofit our Rec-Plex pools to meet these requirements."

In a second news release issued the same day, the City of St. Peters outlined how St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano has sent letters to President George W. Bush and to members of Missouri's Congressional delegation, asking them to intervene and suspend new federal requirements impacting hundreds of thousands of municipal and recreational pools across the United States. Key portions of that news release appear below:
St. Peters staff has been thoroughly investigating any possible options that would allow us to comply with this new federal regulation," Mayor Pagano said. "Despite our best efforts, there is currently no equipment available for purchase that allows our pool to meet these new requirements. The equipment simply does not exist that would allow us to retrofit our Rec-Plex pools to meet these requirements."

"Pool officials, trade organizations and engineering experts have been working all year to develop solutions that would fulfill the new requirement. At the same time, we have been asking the Consumer Product Safety Commission to fulfill these requirements." "At this time, because the deadline came today and there is no waiver from the CPSC, we have no alternative other than closing our pools," added Mayor Pagano.

Did you catch the key point? People around the nation have worked ALL YEAR to develop a solution that would enable them to comply with the law, but none exists. The impact of this legislation is widespread as evidenced by stories from Huntington, West Va., El Paso, Texas and Albany, N.Y. In St. Charles, the county in which St. Peters is located, the impact is huge. Senior citizens and others who came to the city's Rec-Plex pool early Friday morning for their workouts and water aerobics classes had to be turned away. A major high school swim meet had to be canceled this weekend. Left with no place to train or hold competitions are the following:

One of the state's largest club swimming programs;

Eight local high school swim teams; and

Lindenwood University's swim team.

I'm all for safety, but legislation like the Baker Act goes beyond what is necessary by any standard. If you're as disgusted as I am about this abuse of power by Congress and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS in Washington, D.C., and give them a piece of your mind. Threaten them with your vote. Say whatever it takes to convince them to rescind - or at least postpone - this legislation.



BOOK REVIEW of Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor: Medicine and Power in the Third Reich. Review by Ulf Schmidt

It is well known that the Nazis' "mercy killing" program was a stepping stone to the Final Solution; less known are the doctors who designed and let it. In Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor, Ult Schmidt, a professor of modern history at the University of Kent, explores the life and legacy of Karl Brandt, Hitler's personal physician, who was appointed head of the T-4 Euthanasia program, which forcibly took the lives of seventy to a hundred thousand disabled people from 1939 to 1941. Later, he presided over brutal and horrifying medical experiments on helpless victims, for which he was prosecuted and hanged after the war. His upbringing and education gave no indication he was headed for a life of evil. How such an intelligent and gifted young physician could betray everything that medicine - not to mention Western civilization - stood for, is the main theme of Schmidt's spellbinding book.

Interestingly, Brandt, like many other Nazis, was a man of the left, who was heavily influenced by Friedrich Neumann, a nineteenth century socialist pastor, who had declared: "As politicians we are national socialists, and as Christians we are searching for an evangelism which is true and alive." Brandt's "search" for relevance beyond the traditional gospel ended with his embrace Hitler's murderous Weltanschauung, though, perversely, Brandt always saw himself as a minister of compassion. "I do not feel that I am incriminated," he said defiantly at his post-War trial. "I am convinced that I bear the responsibility for what I did in this connection before my conscience. I was motivated by absolutely humane feelings. I never had any other intention."

Although Schmidt's book is historical and cannot be classified as part of the modern-day "culture wars," its conclusion carries a powerful lesson for medical ethics in our own time: "Whatever may be said by a saturated public, complacent politicians, and a cynical media industry to turn our attention to new and more exciting shores lurking beyond the virtual horizon, we cannot all this history to be ignored, because we cannot survive its repetition."

First Things, Jan. 2009, issue. No. 189



Sex differences in mental abilities start from infancy: "Men tend to perform better than women at tasks that require rotating an object mentally, studies have indicated. Now, developmental psychologists at Pitzer College and UCLA have discovered that this type of spatial skill is present in infancy and can be found in boys as young as 5 months old. While women tend to be stronger verbally than men, many studies have shown that adult men have an advantage in the ability to imagine complex objects visually and to mentally rotate them. Does this advantage go back to infancy? "We found the answer is yes," said Scott P. Johnson, a UCLA professor of psychology and an expert in infant perception, brain development, cognition and learning. "Infants as young as 5 months can perform the skill, but only boys - at least in our study."

Denial of New Trial in $54 Million Pants Lawsuit only partial justice: "The following statement from Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), is a response the D.C. Court of Appeals' rejection of a new trial for Roy Pearson against a Washington, D.C., dry cleaner. "We hope the rejection of Roy Pearson's request for a new trial marks the last chapter of this frivolous legal saga over a misplaced pair of pants. Unfortunately for Jin and Soo Chung, this victory is more bitter than sweet. Though they continue to `win' in court, their case has cost them emotionally and financially, resulting in the loss of two of their three dry cleaning locations. Those who say that the Chungs' victory in this case proves that our civil justice system works are ignoring the facts."

Obama is not on your side: "Every person and every segment of the economy felt the effects as Gas edged north of $4 per gallon. Everyone was hoping for a big change to help them out. So you would think that a politician that won with a campaign of Hope & Change would want his administration to help continue the current trend of dropping gas prices. Unfortunately, as pointed out by The Foundry blog over at Heritage Foundation, Mr. Obama's selections for Secretary of Energy actually wouldn't mind seeing Gas priced much higher than it was this summer. "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." So says Dr Steven Chu, Obama's selection for the Energy post. So, what do Europe's Gas prices look like? Well, in July, when average U.S. prices were topping off at $4.34, Gas in the Netherlands was $10.64. The cheapest of the big European countries cost almost $9 per gallon. Right now the average prices in the U.S. stand at $1.97, whereas the average across Europe is about $5.50. For the math impaired, that is nearly 3 times the cost that we pay. The funny thing is, the actual base cost of the gasoline isn't that much different in Europe than it is in the U.S. It is just that European countries tack on taxes such that taxes make up 65-70+% of the price."

The Bush bailout of the automakers: "It is somehow fitting that George W. Bush should end his Presidency with an act so damaging, so mindless, so anathematic to the principles on which he asked for our votes that he will for all time be remembered in the harshest of lights. But the Bush treachery puts in stark relief some facts citizens and politicians should note. It is very telling and could serve as a guide in the near term.First, the ease with which Bush purports to simply take money from the $700 billion fund administered by the Treasury for the bailout of the financial system is startling. Wasn't the whole reason Congress authorized that money was to stabilize the nation's financial system, to unclog the chocked off credit markets? Guess that job is done and we had a few dozen billion left over. Bush's looting of this fund, TARP, makes it clear that there never was a plan or any thought to how to use the $700 billion. It is a slush fund for the elite to buy their buddies out of trouble. Nothing more. For the future, we need to always demand to see the plan, spelled out in black and white. And double check the fine print... And finally, President Bush, by scamming the TARP fund to bailout the UAW union and the over-paid failures in the executive suites, has shown us all something too. He has reminded us that people who don't stand strongly for something will fall for anything."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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