Archive for December, 2010

Snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.”

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.”, said Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia – yes, the University behind the global warming fraud.

For more globally warmed alarmistic gems, read Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

Here’s what a not-so-rare and definitely not exciting event looked like on Monday afternoon,

One thing you can count on, though: There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.

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PBS’s Ray Suarez can’t believe the truth about Cuba’s healthcare

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Ray Suarez is having a snit about Mary O’Grady’s article,

Apparently, Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s critique of Ray Suarez’ PBS piece on Castro’s health care system stung him not only a bit, but a lot. In a rambling and disjointed rebuttal on the PBS News Hour website, Suarez attempted to defend his Castro propaganda-laden report by citing instances where opposing views were presented, but the rebuttal quickly degenerated into a personal attack on O’Grady.

Suarez claims that

Cuba has, for a country of its income, very high life expectancy. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low infant mortality. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low rates of infectious disease.

Yet Suarez forgets to mention that the statistics for any of these are provided by the Cuban government, the same government that has refused access to any independent outside organization to examine the statistics, the criteria for the data, or how the statistics are gathered. Suarez can’t seem to realize that any statistics put out by a totalitarian regime in a closed society are to be questioned.

Additionally, Suarez ignored the medical apartheid system itself.

Suarez says that “Ms. O’Grady has not gotten that memo,” which brings up the cables.

What cables?

Ah, the Wikileaks cable:
Cables spotlight health woes in Cuba
A U.S. diplomatic cable from Havana in 2008 noted the problems in Cuba’s public health system.

The U.S. cable is not an in-depth assessment of Cuba’s health system. Rather, it’s a string of anecdotes gathered by the FSHP from Cubans such as “manicurists, masseuses, hair stylists, chauffeurs, musicians, artists, yoga teachers, tailors, as well as HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, physicians, and foreign medical students.”

At one OB-Gyn hospital, the dispatch reported, the staff “used a primitive manual vacuum to aspirate” the womb of a Cuban woman who had a miscarriage “without any anesthesia or pain medicine. She was offered no . . . follow up appointments.”

A 6-year old boy with bone cancer could only be visited at a hospital by his parents for “limited hours,” the cable added.

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation get “little in the way of symptom or side-effects care . . . that is critically important in being able to continue treatments, let alone provide comfort to an already emotionally distraught victim,” the dispatch noted.

“Cancer patients are not provided with, nor can they find locally, simple medications such as Aspirin, Tylenol, skin lotions, vitamins, etc.,” it added.

HIV-positive Cubans have only one facility, the Instituto Pedro Kouri in Havana, that can provide specialty care and medications, the cable noted. Because of transportation problems and costs, some patients from the provinces may be seen only once per year.

Kouri institute patients can wait months for an appointment, “but can often move ahead in line by offering a gift,” the dispatch added. “We are told five Cuban convertible pesos (approximately USD 5.40) can get one an x-ray.”

Although the practice was reportedly discontinued, some HIV-positive patients had the letters “SIDA” (AIDS) stamped on their national ID cards, making it hard for them to find good jobs or pursue university studies, according to the cable.

The cable acknowledged that medical institutions reserved for Cuba’s ruling elites and foreigners who pay in hard currencies “are hygienically qualified, and have a wide array of diagnostic equipment with a full complement of laboratories, well-stocked pharmacies, and private patient suites with cable television and bathrooms.”

Hospitals and clinics used by average Cubans don’t come close, the dispatch added, providing details on the FSHP’s visits to four Havana hospitals:

At the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, part of which is reserved for foreign patients and was featured in the Michael Moore documentary Sicko, a “gift” of about $22 to the hospital administrator helps average Cubans obtain better treatment there. The exterior of the Ramon Gonzalez Coro OB-Gyn hospital was “dilapidated and crumbling” and its Newborn Intensive Care Unit was “using a very old infant `Bird’ respirator/ventilator — the model used in the U.S. in the 1970s.”

During a visit to the Calixto Garcia Hospital, which serves only Cubans, the U.S. nurse “was struck by the shabbiness of the facility . . .and the lack of everything (medical supplies, privacy, professional care staff). To the FSHP it was reminiscent of a scene from some of the poorest countries in the world.”

At the Salvador Allende Hospital, the emergency room appeared “very orderly, clean and organized.” But the rest of the facility was “in shambles” and guards by the entrance “smelled of alcohol.”

Of course Suarez will probably dismiss this as “anecdotal”. Since he was not free to visit any clinics/hospitals/facilities on this own while in Cuba, he ought, however, to spend some time looking at first-hand evidence and eyewitness accounts by people who are in Cuba.

Prior post here and at the Green Room.

Cross-posted at The Green Room.

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Finally! The US shows some gonadal fortitude to Chavez VIDEO

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Ed Morrissey beat me to the story:
Obama to Chavez: Pound sand

President Obama has kicked the Venezuelan ambassador out of the US in retaliation for the rejection of Obama’s choice of ambassador to Venezuela

Alvarez Herrera isn’t in the US at the moment, which means Obama effectively locked him out of the country. Venezuelan officials in Caracas confirmed the revocation on Twitter this morning. That leaves both countries without an official representative in the respective capitals.

Obama essentially called Chavez’ bluff with strictly reciprocal action. Chavez dared him to cut diplomatic ties altogether, but Obama didn’t go that far. Officially, diplomatic ties remain in place and both embassies remain in operation. If Chavez wants to cut diplomatic ties, he’ll have to do it himself.

While Bloomberg News says Alvarez is in Caracas and EuroNews has video report saying Alvarez Herrera is thought to still be in the USA, either way, his visa is revoked.

Mind you, Chavez had announced that he’d reject Palmer back in August,

Chavez had announced in August that he would not accept Palmer’s appointment to be the next US ambassador to Venezuela because of comments Palmer made during his confirmation hearing in the senate.

Palmer said that he believed Venezuela was allowing leftists FARC fighters to find safe haven in the country and that Venezuela’s military was under Cuban influence and suffering from low morale.

This is not the first time Alvarez was sent home by the US. Back in 2008 Alvarez was expelled after Chavez expelled US Ambassador Patrick Duffy. They both were later reinstated in 2009.

UPDATE
Venezuelan blogger Daniel adds some local flavor to the news item.

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Bomb explodes at Greek Embassy in Argentina

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

As a larger bomb exploded in Athens, Greece,

Separately, a small bomb that exploded outside the Greek embassy in Buenos Aires caused minimal damage overnight and no one was at the embassy, Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras told the AP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either bombing, but suspicion fell on militant anarchist groups, which have stepped up attacks in the past two years. A group of suspects is facing trial in Athens next month.

Authorities in Europe and elsewhere say violent anarchist groups are showing greater international coordination. A violent Italian anarchist group carried out a string of embassy bombings in the past week in solidarity with jailed Greek militants.

There were no injuries in the Argentinian explosion, which happened at 2AM local time today.

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El Cuchillo druglord killed in Colombia

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

It’s not only the FARC,

El Cuchillo, the third most-wanted criminal in Colombia was killed in a gun battle with police:
Colombia Killed Drug Warlord With $2.5 Million Bounty

olombian police killed a drug trafficker responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and for whose capture authorities were offering a reward of up to $2.5 million, President Juan Manuel Santos said.

Pedro Guerrero, better known by his alias Cuchillo, Spanish for knife, was killed Dec. 25 in a gun battle with police in central Meta province after intelligence provided information on his whereabouts, Santos said today. The reward will be paid to several informants, Santos said.

“He did so much damage to this country and that’s why this hit is so important,” Santos said during a press conference broadcast on Caracol Television. “The murderer of murderers is dead.”

The former paramilitary warlord’s body was formally identified at 2:30 a.m. New York time, Santos said. Police also arrested Harold Humberto Rojas, the second-in-command of Guerrero’s so-called Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia.

The Ejército Revolucionario Popular Antiterrorista de Colombia (ERPAC) has now lost its two leaders.

It’s worth pointing out that Colombian authorities make a point of paying the rewards for intelligence leading to these criminals. By doing so, they continue to strengthen their countrymen’s resolve to fight the drug lords.

And it works.

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In the spirit of the season, we learn about the gift of the MAGI

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

No, not these Magi,

The MAGI: modified adjusted gross income.

While we weren’t watching, New ‘Medicare’ Taxes To Hit Middle Class

The second is a new 3.8% tax on some or all investment income of taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $200,000 for single filers or $250,000 for joint filers.

For those of you wanting to tax “the rich”, try finding a household of four in the high-tax, high cost of living states who is “rich” earning those amounts.

It all comes down to one equation: Progressive taxation = thievery by the government.

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And now, the era of the obesogens

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

What the hey is an obesogen?

chemicals in the environment, newly termed obesogens, may lend a helping hand in the obesity epidemic, especially in babies and children. Studies show that these chemicals are found in the water and food supply as well as in other man-made chemicals

You mean, like the pervasive corn syrup and soy additives process foods contain, partly in thanks to the federal agricultural subsidies? No. They mean any chemical.

Ah, that clears that up: An obesogen is yet another excuse for more government regulation,

An article by Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) explains, “REACH stands for ‘registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals’ — the name of a massively bureaucratic program in the European Union. The EPA wants Congress to use it as a model for revisions to the Toxics Substances Control Act — and they even have started working on their version of the program while pushing for congressional authorization.”

Think about it: every thing you eat will be considered under the scope of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

It’s the perfect setup for the nanny state: Erase any sense of responsibility for the overeater, push in legislation and regulation, increase government control, and make everybody pay for it.

The obesogen, indeed, will bloat the bureaucracy.

Michelle Obama says on what you feed your kids, “We can’t just leave it to the parents.” National Review has a few things to say on that, but regardless of what they say, the obesogens have arrived to stay.

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Syria and the Mohammed cartoons

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Brian Preston writes about Taqiyya: WikiLeaked Docs Reveal Syria’s Role in the Cartoon Riots
Orchestrated chaos to serve political ends. Plus: Taqiyya: The Movie!
. Taqiyya means deception, and that it was,

The cartoon riots were a trick, perpetrated by unscrupulous imams and their backers, for the purpose of intimidating the West into adapting Islamist codes of speech policing, and for the purpose of generating fear and loathing of the West up and down that fabled Islamic street.  It all worked quite well, thanks in no small part to the Western media’s cowardly behavior throughout.

Now, to the incriminating doc concerning Syria.  At the time of the riots, it was fairly obvious that various and sundry despots around the Middle East were using the Danish cartoon controversy for their own ends.  Syria’s hands were bloody, as they tend to be in any crisis.

Here’s where the real taqiyya comes into play:

(C) xxxxxxx assessed that the SARG allowed the rioting to continue for an extended period and then, when it felt that “the message had been delivered,” it reacted with serious threats of force to stop it. He described the message to the U.S. and the broader international community as follows: “This is what you will have if we allow true democracy and allow Islamists to rule.” To the Islamic street all over the region, the message was that the SARG is protecting the dignity of Islam, and that the SARG is allowing Muslims freedom on the streets of Damascus they are not allowed on the streets of Cairo, Amman, or Tunis.

Notice the dual messages.  To the West, the riots were orchestrated and intended to send the West a message: Leave us despots alone or you’ll get nothing but chaos.  The Syrian Ba’ath Party had every incentive to send that particular message to a United States that had just toppled the neighboring Ba’ath dictatorship in Iraq.  Assad didn’t want to end up like Saddam.  To those who embodied the chaos, the rioters themselves, Assad sent a different message: We, the secular Syrian government, are your guardians from those nasties in the West.  Trust us to keep Islam pure.

Go read the rest of the article, while bearing in mind that the cartoonists are living in hiding.

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Why have a lieutenant governor?

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Monday morning Mr. Bingley and I were deploring that both the governor and the lieutenant governor were out of NJ at the same time.

Look, a governor should go on vacation. I have no problem with that.

What I object to is having a lieutenant governor in the public payroll who also goes on vacation at the same time as the governor. Yes, the lieutenant governor is also the secretary of state for NJ. The first person who has the position of lieutenant governor, however, should have enough political acumen to have scheduled her vacation so it didn’t overlap the governor’s.

Christie’s doing a good job otherwise. He can not control the weather, he does not man the plows, and he’s handled prior blizzards capably in the past, but, only but, he ought to consider that the person who’s supposed to be on watch while he’s away, should be here.

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Top-10 reasons why businesses are leaving California

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

You can not have an environment hostile to businesses and expect anything other than this:
“California: the Venezuela of North America”

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