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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Solving Suicide

by Sam Huntington

I used to drive my sensei to distraction, always asking about the suicide rate in Japan. What does it matter, she would ask. I would always argue, “It matters because young people are taking their own lives, rather than facing up to the challenges that everyone must face.” She persisted, “People who commit suicide are facing their challenges —and they are making a decision that is suitable to them. Plainly, this is none of your business —or mine.”

This was a conversation that took place in 1985. Since then, the suicide rate in Japan has only gotten worse. Every year, the suicide rate exceeds 34,000. Of these, 70% are men. Approximately 3,000 children commit suicide every year when they learn that they have failed their high school entrance examinations. Forty percent of suicides among men occur between the ages of 20—44. Suicide among Japanese women is the leading cause of death between the ages 15—34. One Japanese suicide every fifteen minutes is more than twice the frequency of suicide in the United States.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Music Fit For Halloween

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and one of my favorite pieces of music:

According to YouTube:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Promises, Promises

Video Of Obama telling Americans, 19 times, that their health insurance premiums would be lowered by $2500 (hat tip to Infidel Bloggers Alliance):

Monday, October 28, 2013

What You See...

...may not be what you get. When it comes to premiums quote on the ObamaCare web site, that is.

The CBS News video "ObamaCare Website Dramatically Underestimating Costs For Consumers":

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Break From Politics: The Writer Automaton

(with thanks to FreeThinke, who emailed me the link below)

Video of the only surviving, working automaton, 240 years old.

The clockwork was created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ten Things to Expect from Obama Care in 2014

By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

It's been clear to anyone paying attention that the October "rollout" of Obamacare has been a turbulent, confusing disaster. Sloppy IT systems and technological failures combined to cripple Obamacare's sign-up systems. Security flaws put Americans at risk for identity theft.

In an almost comical understatement, President Obama summarized these massive failures as "a few glitches." I think that Luke Chung, IT expert and president of database solutions firm FMS, explained the situation much more accurately:

"What should clearly be an enterprise quality, highly scalable software application felt like it wouldn't pass a basic code review. It appears the people who built the site don't know what they're doing, never used it and didn't test it."

Chung went on to call it a "technological disaster."

Think about what this ineptitude means in the bigger debate about Obamacare. The administration spent 3½ years and $698 million of taxpayers' money to develop this software. They've known since earlier this year that the system wasn't ready to support the rollout of the exchanges. Yet they proceeded anyway, apparently unconcerned about their faulty software costing Americans millions of hours of frustration and lost productivity.

These same bureaucrats continue to assume more and more control of our medical care. What does their incompetence say about how they will handle making life-or-death medical care decisions?

Like a parasite taking over its host, Obamacare will commandeer almost 20% of our economy, crowding out private options. With 2014 fast approaching, what should we expect in its next phase?

Here's my list Top Ten list for 2014:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mathematical Realities And ObamaCare

"You’re not exempt from math if you’re a Republican, and you’re not exempt from math if you’re a Democrat."
The video below the fold is a bit long, but I urge you to watch it and comment thereon. Pay particular attention during the last 30 seconds (hat tip to Adrienne's Corner):

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Few ObamaCare Analogies

President Obama has admitted the launch of ACA has not worked as smoothly as it was supposed to, and the New York Times has pointed out that as many are five million lines of code may need to be rewritten.

The analogies are below the fold (hat tip to Infidel Bloggers Alliance commenter Ciccio):
In other news:

The Russian communist party admitted it has suffered some slight setbacks in its goal of Marxist-Leninist utopia.

The Titanic ran into some ice on its maiden voyage to New York.

Western Union has lost some ground in its telegram business.

Kodak seems to have some problems with the sales of its films and cameras.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tales From The Classroom

("Tales from the Classroom" is a new feature posted occasionally here at this blog.  All tales are true and present matters about which I have personal knowledge.  The following tale relates the story of something that occurred in September 2013)

Student A decided to help her classmate Student B. Both students, graduates from high school last June, attend a community college, the credits from which are accepted at all universities in the state of Virginia. Student A and Student B are enrolled in a precalculus course.

Upon helping Student B for a few minutes, Student A discerned that Student B's mathematics skills were woefully inadequate for embarking upon a study of precalculus.

Student A (frowning with dismay): What math courses did you take in high school?

Student B (cheerfully): I had a hard time with Algebra I.  Next, I tried Algebra II, but I failed.  I took a class in function and did okay with that.  I'm taking calculus now because I heard that calculus was easier.

A few weeks later, the day of the midterm exam...

Student B (euphorically): I'm going to get an A on this exam.  My fourth grade sister tutored me over the weekend.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

First Week Back

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Rough and exhausting. Surgery and two weeks off have taken their toll. In addition, while in the building, I am pouring in streams of artificial tears so as to deal with the dry air in the building.

Vision in the operated eye is distorted and distracting and of no practical use whatsoever. The surgeon says not to expect otherwise for at least several weeks.

I am thankful for the homeschool group with whom I work.  The parents are taking turns driving me to and from work because the surgeon has given me strict orders not to drive even short distances during rush hour.  My students are excited to be back in class and exercising restraint and civility well beyond their chronological age.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Fraud Revealed

By Sam Huntington

"Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said Tuesday the government omitted a window-shopping function because officials first wanted consumers to know the amount of the subsidy they might be eligible for. Those income-based tax credits can dramatically reduce premiums for people with modest incomes, and personal financial information is needed to calculate the subsidies."

“Our process allows us to show consumers plans with prices that reflect what they will pay with the tax credit they may be eligible for,” Peters said. “Window shopping would not allow for this.” —Associated Press

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sign Up For ObamaCare, and Get a Free SmartPhone

From NashvilleBizBlog:
Community Health Alliance, Tennessee's health insurance co-op, is running a unique promotional program to drive enrollment in its plans for sale on the exchange: health insurance in exchange for a smartphone.

As part of its Community Health Connection Program, CHA is offering qualified individuals an LG Lucid 2 4G smart phone (or equivalent model), a phone plan and tech support, included as a cost of their health plan benefits. The phone plan includes unlimited talk, unlimited texting and 1.2GB of data..
Even Ezra Klein acknowledges that the launch of ObamaCare is "a big failure":

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Who Is To Blame?

The survey below is not scientific but amusing, nonetheless:

The University of Colorado-Boulder is typically a bastion of liberalism.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Poetry Corner (Columbus Day)

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Columbus by Joaquin Miller (1837 – 1913)

BEHIND him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: "Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?"
"Why, say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"

Friday, October 11, 2013

In The Blink Of An Eye

The ophthalmic surgeon's diagnosis at my emergency appointment on Monday, September 30, 2013: You have a detachment.

Then he phoned a retinal surgeon. My dear friend S, who had fortuitously and coincidentally arrived late Saturday to redecorate my back porch, drove me to the day's second appointment a few minutes away.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was on the operating table: vitrectomy, pneumatic retinopexy, and scleral buckle. Mr. AOW has more information at his blog, including a graphic video.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A "How to" Guide

The successful politician

by Sam Huntington

If becoming a politician were difficult, if working as a politician was challenging, or even stressful, then we would not find so many people lining up to get into the politician racket. That’s right: racket. Few jobs offer the kinds of benefits we extend to members of Congress. Try to imagine working for corporate America and then telling your boss that you need to make a fact finding trip to Syria —and that he or she has to pay for it. Be sure to inform your boss that you have decided to take your wife along; or, your mistress/secretary/administrative assistant.

This “How to” guide has been developed for the individual who wants to get into the rackets more than he or she wants to gain admission to Heaven: they can’t have both. Nevertheless, there are a few things to remember in your quest for eternal damnation.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Killing Off Native Americans

by Sam Huntington

It was not all that long ago when Margaret Sanger (may she burn in hell) decided what a great idea it would be if the progressive side of the Democratic Party could in some ways reduce the Negro population of the United States beyond lynching them. Apparently, even Sanger was smart enough to know that white conservatives frowned upon such ideas. Sanger then came up with this idea of birth control.

“The most merciful thing that a family does with one of its infant members is to kill it.” —Margaret Sanger

“Negros are human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning human beings who never should have been born.” —Margaret Sanger

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Commander in Hiding

by Sam Huntington

According to the United States Constitution, the President serves as commander in chief of the Armed Forces. I suppose the founding fathers placed this provision into the constitution because of George Washington’s service during the American Revolution —believing that future commanders in chief would lead from the front. Over the years, however, the amount of military detail handled personally by the President has varied considerably. America’s military structure is rooted in British tradition, with the president (as with the monarch) taking the highest military rank of all.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was deeply involved with devising, approving, and implementing military strategies. Overall, Lincoln earned high praise from many historians for his strategic sensibilities, and in the selection of his commanders. Here is where I may find room for disagreement. Before U. S. Grant, most of Lincoln’s senior commanders were anything but effective commanders.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lowering the Bar

By Sam Huntington

According to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Obama Care will be a resounding success if, by the end of 2013, 7 million people have enrolled in the program.

Seven million —that equates to about 16% of the more than 41.3 million Americans that Sebelius claims need health insurance. I wonder if anyone besides me notices that the numbers this administration claims to be uninsured shifts like the sands of the desert. Frankly, it makes me wonder if someone in the government isn’t full of “it.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Compassion in America

How to de-incentivize the work force without really trying

By Sam Huntington

One of the most fundamental principles of economics is that people tend to purchase more when prices are lower, and they purchase less when prices are higher. No matter, those who think that the way to stimulate the economy is through federal spending of borrowed money also think that the way to increase employment is to raise the minimum wage. There is simply no shortage of incredulousness on the political left, but they do celebrate how kindhearted they are. Sadly, and this is a trend, no one on the left considers the consequences of their poorly contrived schemes.

Here is an interesting fact: nations with minimum wage laws almost always have higher rates of unemployment, compared to those without minimum wage laws. One of these is Switzerland, which in 2003 reported a five-year unemployment high of 3.9 percent. Ten years later, the unemployment rate is 3.1 percent. You will not find such low numbers in the United States since the administration of Calvin Coolidge, and there is a reason for this: when the cost of labor to employers is low, unemployment is low. When the cost of labor to employers is high, unemployment is high.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Don't Make me Kill You

by Sam Huntington

According to a news report yesterday, MIT scientists may have stumbled on a way to construct an actual light-saber. Until recently, photons (mass-less particles) that constitute light thought not to interact with one another, but rather simply pass through each other—two beams of luminescence.

Well, according to the Harvard Gazette, this isn’t so. Scientists have improbably coaxed photons into hardened molecules that you could whack against each other—in a duel to the death in the well of the Senate.

I would like to have one of these. I would probably walk through downtown Chicago in the middle of the night daring some a-hole to start something. After all, isn’t light faster than a speeding bullet? 


No matter; just day dreaming.  With the economy in its present shape, who could afford it? Just wondering, though … would you want one of these if they were available and affordable?

Next week: the inside scoop on the X-Wing fighter.