Thursday, August 31, 2017

everyday heroes

Instead of the hate and conflict we are beat over the head with in the news and on social media every day, America found that its collective heart still beats strongly. People of all races were helping people of all races -- the spotlight shined on Houston, and Houston shined back.
Remember that this city and its people opened their arms to over 100,000 Hurricane Katrina victims 12 years ago -- sometimes we tend to forget the good and only remember the bad.
A black man named TJ didn't forget. He tweeted: "I will never forget how Houston opened its arms and welcomed my entire New Orleans. Stand by to return the love."
more here

I know about this, because I saw my patients respond to various emergencies, from the Idaho floods in the 1980's to Katrina to the Red River of the North Floods that devastated Grand Forks ND to the terrible forest fires in New Mexico.

The young volunteer, the churches collect clothing and food and arrange to deliver it there,  the "weekend warriors" of the National Guard get called up and leave families behind to help with rescue and providing food and water, and more importantly, the youth often go after the TV cameras leave to help in the clean up.

and this doesn't include local hospitals finding room for those who were evacuated, or letting family and friends stay with you in your house or sending them money to tide them over while they stay in local hotels.

Ordinary people are able to stand up and help each other when things get bad, for many of them have lived through disasters or illnesses, and want to help their neighbors in such times: which is why all the elite press manipulations of hysteria over statues or against "triggering" is shrugged off by ordinary folks.

Here in the Philippines, we see a similar outreach of family helping families and the government doing their best.

All of this is part of being human.

plants of middle earth

FLMNH Seminar: The Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth- Walter S. Judd from iDigBio on Vimeo.

there is also a new book on the Flora of Middle Earth that has been published

headsup AlasNotMe

It's the wrath of God? nah, it's karma

The press is gleeful about reporting quotes from the usual suspects that the Texas hurricane is God's wrath for gay marriage or whatever, but now we have the left saying it's Karma for voting for Trump.

And the pseudo scientific types say it's global warming, and Gaia is punishing you for your sins of not recycling or something.

It's not sin: it has to do with weather patterns that predate the republic of Texas.

And never mind that Galveston has the highest rate of hurricane activity in the USA, (and is right down the street from Houston: Where are the stories of the cities along the coast, by the way?)

Galveston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico has the highest rate of hurricane activity than anywhere else in the USA. The Gulf area reports more hurricane activity than any other part of the US.

so gee, the Southern US has a lot of hurricanes. The Midwest has hurricanes, and tornadoes. And don't get me started with snowstorms in New England. California? Earthquakes and drought.

I'm so glad we live in the Philippines, where we only have to put up with earthquakes, mudslides, floods, typhoons and Dengue fever...

We live in a scientific age, but one wouldn't know it on the editorial pages or tweets by the usual suspects..

how does that song go?

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

and these things are not exactly God's wrath, although we do believe God permits evil, he permits these things for a reason. Place easy answers here.

and the press is actually finding photos of how locals are helping each other.

guess they need a new thing to complain about:

Oh LOOK: Melania is wearing high heels!

(actually she changed shoes in the plane, but never mind. the stories already had been posted).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Everyday heroes

Lots of ordinary folks helping others.

This one is thc Coast Guard doing rescues.

The price of human beings

For later reading

Linking to stories so I can read them later on my tablet (Lots of stuff to do today).

StrategyPage stories on China and on the Philippines.

Background stories against the meme

why does the Audobon society allow drilling on their own land, but opposes it on public property?

because politics insists you push the extreme position and no compromise...

Why would Audubon allow drilling on its own sanctuaries but oppose it elsewhere? The answer, in short, is property rights. Private ownership creates incentives that often lead to more reasonable outcomes than in the political arena. Property rights motivated Audubon to consider the trade-offs associated with its management and the opportunity costs of leaving the oil and gas in the ground. Because the group owned the sanctuary, it sensibly weighed the potential benefits of drilling against its environmental costs.

sort of how I feel: I am "green" (we grow organic rice)  but hate the overblown nonsense from those leading the Green and global warming movements, whose Malthusian tendencies would make Hitler proud.

Eggsy call your office.

 A lot of Irish died in the potato famine in the 1840's because Malthus' ideas said die offs of the poor was normal and charity just made things worse

The  1840's were not a very good time for ordinary folks in Europe. Mike Duncan explains. MP3


no, the "apostasy" myth of the early church is not true, but never mind. We Catholics keep getting hit with such myths and distortions of history, which is why maybe the modern MSM reporting on the church (and i politics) is seen as calumny redux.


Trumpie boy was called a Nazi and the MSM kept echoing the charge that he refused to condemn the so called neo nazis, But of course, he did condemn them: But he made the mistake in pointing out there was violence on both sides that day.

The MSM didn't want you to notice that. because the demonstrations are part of the "resistance" devised by Hillary and her minions in revenge for losing. Why do I say this? Because I keep getting emails from "Democrats abroad" about why I should drive four hours to Manila to join their demonstrations to promote peace, justice and the American way against evil Republicans.

 but now Instapundit links to several stories that noted the left wing violence, which by the way started last year against Republicans but got little press, even when one of them shot a Congressman...

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Woke, Predictable VMAs Ignore Antifa Violence, Hate.Even WaPo is taking notice of the violence inherent in Antifa’s system, and recent attacks on a reporter and a photographerought to make more in the MSM recognize the truth. LINK

Heh. annAlthouse of the grammar police comments on the style of the WAPo story:

y paragraph 3, the bad people disappear into an abstraction...
The passive voice begins to flare...
Shortly after, violence began to flare...

and this:

 REMEMBER, EVERY POLITICAL ACTION SPARKS A POLITICAL REACTION: Violence by far-left protesters in Berkeley sparks alarm. “The clashes came despite widespread calls from activists and elected officials across the Bay Area for peaceful civil disobedience and underscore Berkeley’s growing reputation for violent reaction by the far left. Other protests earlier this year in the city turned ugly, with far-left and far-right forces fighting in the streets. Some in Berkeley worried that Sunday’s chaos, captured on video and quickly disseminated through social media, would provide unwanted ammunition to Trump and his supporters.”
damn. You mean facebook and twitter work both ways?

I am voiding Facebook myself because of political wars and two minute hates from both sides. Let me know when it's over... I would like to be able to go back there and see photos of my grandkids (and great grandkids).


Latest "sexism" screed insists women are less likely to get jobs as cardiology professors because they wear perfume.

The paper was funded by an NIH study that has received $3,927,208 since 2013, including $696,995 this year.
The paper argues that wearing perfume can disadvantage female heart doctors, and men who wear white coats and carry a stethoscope “could foster gender bias.”
the problem with this is that most women physicians don't wear perfume. It's unprofessional.

We tend to get "up close and personal" with patients, and a lot of people, including myself, have allergies and are sensitive to perfume (indeed, that is why perfume is banned at a lot of feminist conferences).

(also via Instapundit)

I've run into overt bias in medicine, but there are studies that women practice differently then men in medicine, and for some problems, one does prefer a physician of the same sex:  so some men might not like discussing their hypertension related ED or prostate problems with me, but then a lot of women dislike discussing dysparunia with their male docs.

and lots of studies show women practice medicine differently than men... more time with patients, more empathy...

and since we have kids, maybe less willingness to get called out at night all the time.


Houston is still a mess. In our prayers.

but not a lot of news about Galveston or the cities along the coast, which were completely wrecked (but most folks were evacuated, we hope). I suspect that, unlike Houston, where the home will be damaged and the flooding is an ongoing problem, those along the coast will find their homes are gone... and no word about those who stayed behind against advice.

Related item: remembering the Galveston hurricane of 1900...


It was probably an inside job

No, not the "RussiaRussiaRUSSIA" hack that has now imploded ever since the Nation magazine found it was probably an inside job.

I am talking about the massive OPM hack that happened under the eyes of the Federal government that let the Chinese get hold of our federal personnel files.

the good news: It might not be about stealing our money and identity (meaning I can stop worrying about my bank account and passport information).

The bad news: It might have included background information including my security clearance investigation and where I live now, which could endanger my life if China decides to invade Luzon.

it only took 1 or 2 years to discover the hack (in 2014( and another 3 to catch one guy who might or might not have helped with the hack.

Engadget reports that the FBI finally arrested a Chinese hacker who stole the personnel file of a couple million federal employees, including myself.

 That data breach compromised the private information of 21.5 million government employees and applicants, as well as their spouses and close relatives. The attackers got away withalmost 30 years' worth of info, including people's SSNs, fingerprint data, bank account numbers and other personal details.

except they can't prove he was behind the hack.

Wikipedia page here.

probably discovered by a private company but later the story changed to the gov't found it... over a year after it was done.

The head of the OPM was a political hack who actually resigned over this, which sounds a bit suspicious.

and it might have been an inside job.

Ars Technica reported that at least one worker with root access to every row in every database was physically located in China. Another contractor had two employees with Chinese passports.[23]
Wikipedia adds that although the story put out says it was for financial gain, there is a big suspicion that maybe the Chinese gov't wanted the information.

Hmm... maybe the government should be cautious when they hire contractors from countries or with ties to unfriendly countries...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Remembering Nanking

Francis, destroying Catholicism while the MSM cheers.

Daily Caller notices, but actually the right wing Catholic blogs noticed this awhile back, and I am following it on EWTN.

I had a rant here, but removed it.

Houston floods: Stay or leave?

Big kerfluffle in the press if the Mayor should have just told everyone in Houston to leave instead of telling them to stay and not panic.

Well, getting caught in a car when things are flooding is more dangerous (the one casualty mentioned in the article was a woman who drowned in her car).

Indeed many of the deaths a couple years ago were from the evacuation itself, not from Hurricane Rita.

Officials later reported more than 100 deaths connected to Hurricane Rita — and at least 60 of those deaths were linked the evacuation itself, according to a 2006 report to the Texas House of Representatives.

A lot of the photos show low areas flooded, but dry ground elsewhere. So most people would have had minimal danger and were better off at home.

The problem? Their cars might not work. And then you have to clean up the place. Are the foundations okay? What about mold? Is the house still livable?

and then there are more problems: no food, no water, no electricity...

Two phases in all of this: The acute phase, which is about staying alive, and the clean up, which takes months.

I suspect the Baptist church youth groups are already headed there with supplies and willing hands to help. And not just the Baptists of course: I see the Cajun navy went there with boats.

Getting caught in a hurricane/ typhoon and/or flood is dangerous.

Ruby was caught in one hurricane related flood here in the provinces (the typhoon turned north unexpectedly and got worse after hitting land, so she was on the way back from Manila and hadn't gotten the warning) The flooding swamped the high bridge a dozen miles south of here. They stopped in a gas station/711 store parking lot, but then the flooding got worse and they ended up spending the night on the roof of the shop, open to the winds and rain, eating chips that the owner had handed out before his shop flooded completely.

They were lucky: The flood did not collapse the shop, and locals helped them as soon as dawn came and the waters went down (the truck of course was ruined so a friend brought them home).

We were okay in that typhoon/flood (which hit the week before the larger typhoon in the Visayas, so we didn't even make a blip in the headlines).

Lolo built the house on higher ground and made sure we had drainage ditches. But water did get into our business compound, which we opened to store our cars and the trucks of our neighbors... luckily it was only under 8 inches of water... so they were okay.

At least we have our own deep well and generator. The problem was finding a gas station that had it's gas pumps running so we could use them. (we only store one day's worth of diesel for them).

But it was a mess.

So for all you naysayers who didn't live through floods: I suspect a lot more would have died if they just told everyone to evacuate.

nor was this a hurricane: no winds involved.

and Houston is inland, so no storm surge (which probably has destroyed Galveston and other coastal areas, which were evacuated).

now, instead of trying to nit pick the non politically correct politician for the problem, get off your tush and help. I suspect the Red Cross is taking donations.

Typhoons and floods occur here about once every other year, so people know about these things. And of course, we also get floods when storms or typhoons hit north of here, and the rice irrigation dams can't take the water and collapse.

our town now has huge signs pointing to the local gym, which is built on high ground and is considered an evacuation center.

So in our prayers.

Space X launhes satellite


for Taiwan.

why is this important?

it means that governments  no longer have a monopoly on space exploration.

I'm so old that I remember when Bill Clinton allowed US missile technology to be given to China so they could launch private satellites cheaper. NYTimes story here.(1999).

at least President Obama let private corporations get into the act...

Destroying history: Now NASA is doing it

Motherboard discusses how NASA inspected and then destroyed a bunch of tapes with information about their missions that someone found in a collector's basement.

the tapes were damaged, so it would cost too much to figure out if they had important data.

But it is the tip of the iceburg, which is about NASA not keeping data on what they were doing.

Place UFO Conspiracy theory here.

If we're lucky, we can found out what they're hiding from the Russians, or from another private collector who bought used tapes on ebay. (/sarcasm).

headsup DavidReneke.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Napoleon lectures FYI

part 2

part 3

quic before the copyright cops find it.

History video of the week

Napoleon was an SOB who killed a lot of folks and abandoned his troops...DUH.

of course, the guys who he fought were equally good at killing locals, so Brier argues he merely started acting like them.

William Jenning Trumpster?

William Jennings Bryan got the nomination because of a populist revolt against banks and money policies that hurt ordinary folks. LINK

now we see this:V

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo.—The world’s top two central bankers warned Friday that undoing postcrisis banking rules or pursuing protectionist trade measures threatens to unravel a fragile and hard-fought global economic expansion...
Neither official mentioned Donald Trump by name, but the U.S. president has put the withdrawal from and amendment of multilateral trade agreements and the dismantling of postcrisis regulation at the center of his agenda to stimulate faster U.S. growth.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Spina bifida update

Could Placenta derived stem cells plus surgery help?

Dog experiment suggest maybe.

Another day, another storm

not a typhoon (not a lot of wind) but heavy rains all night.we were signal one last night but the rain is now light.

The ceiling is leaking in my room, and there is some flooding outside. But it can't be too bad: internet and electricity is still running.

the problem? when we get the runoff from the mountains north of us...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Stories below the fold

The world's bankers are meeting in Jackson Hole.

BBC report.

Place conspiracy theory here.

you'll hear about it when you learn that the US economy has improvement was "mild to moderate"in recent months.

and wait til the feminist discover the translation of the local "Grand Tetons"...

In the US, it is Amazon vs Walmart for your groceries.

But in China, it is AliBaba vs Baidu
Since 2016, China's food delivery apps have exploded into a 113.3 billion yuan ($17 billion) market thanks to their convenience.

will the next big fight be Bezos vs Jack Ma?

I laugh, because in the good old days, we had milk and bread delivered, and if you go further back, you could send a list to the grocery store for delivery.

Now with mom's working, getting home delivery instead of standing in line at the grocery store is a godsend.

This probably will hit here in the cities soon: We still use the Palenke, but hey, we have a full time cook and a part time maid/laundress (whereas in the US, I had to do this myself).
we do have internet commerce, however: but I don't trust them not to steal my credit card number, so don't use it.

Blimps are back, and Amazon's got them.


Syphilis is back, and the NYTimes blames gangs, drug s and "uneducated doctors".

yes, Syphilis is spread by IV drug use, and this is about the heroin injection epidemic.

And in Asia/Russia, IV drug use, not sex, is the major cause of HIV...

the article notes they are going back to the good old days of tracing contacts (a practice that was discouraged when HIV became a protected disease).

But if you read way down in the article, you find that syphilis is common in another group: men who have sex with men.

When I was in medical school, we learned syphilis was the "Great pretender" because it looked like so many other diseases.

and the underbelly of evil is here:

Usually such efforts lead to sagas of unrelenting grimness: mothers who prostitute daughters, and men who forcibly inject runaways with drugs to hook them, a practice known as guerrilla pimping.
Something to remember the next time you hear a libertarian insist that "sex workers" like to do their jobs.

In the good old days (until it was stopped because there were so few cases, in the 1970's)  everyone admitted to a hospital got a screening test for syphilis because often people didn't know that they had been exposed, especially women.

Sigh. In our prayers.

And I wonder: where are the preachers? Preaching joy joy joy, and the religion of recycling? 


The church in the Congo has been trying to force the dictator there to obey the law and not run for reelection, and hopefully avert the revival of that area's civil wars.

Alas, SP reports he is now breaking his promise.

lots more there about the instability of Central Africa. But since that war is only killing locals, and unlike ISIS and their ilk, not exporting their violence, it rarely gets in the news.

Sigh. In our prayer.


StrategyTalk podcast about North Korea's nukes and another podcast on missiles and missile defense.


WWRD? What would Rock do?

Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, has dubbed a 10-year-old boy a "real-life hero" after the youngster copied a scene from one of his films and saved his little brother's life.
When Jacob O'Connor found two-year-old Dylan floating face-down in the swimming pool he didn't rush off and find a grown up to help, instead he remembered a move from one of his favourite films, San Andreas. Jacob, from Roseville, Michigan, managed to pull his brother out of the pool and started giving him chest compressions - just as he'd seen The Rock doing in the film. Dylan was then rushed to hospital and went on to make a full recovery.

 amazing story....You're a real life hero. We're all proud of you! DJ".
Jacob's mother Christa O'Connor told the BBC: "I'm at a loss for words. I'm amazed at what Jacob did. I'm so proud of him."


Thursday, August 24, 2017

100 million Lees: you are now not PC

The most absurd story in yesterday's news was that ESPN wouldn't allow one of their sportscasters to work on a game in Virginia because his name was Robert Lee.

Presumably the SJW those rednecks in Virginia would be upset since they didn't realize the guy who fought in the civil war has been dead for while...

and even though Massa Robert had been played by a Mexican American in at least one film, I am pretty sure he is not Mexican or Asian.

Asian? WTF? Oh yes: This Robert Lee is... Asian American sports commentator.

ESPN via Youtube
And you know, there are quite a few "Robert Lees" around for them to punish.

and that doesn't even include the other Lees or Lis from China and Korea.

It is one of the most common surnames in the world, shared by 92.76 million people in China,[1] and more than 100 million worldwide.[3] 

thats an idea: Have him change his name to "Li" and no problem.

anything to keep the SJW on twitter from getting a hissy fit.

Philippine news

StrategyPage has an excellent summary on what is going on in the Philippines: read the whole thing.

China is threatening war and continues to steal land in our economic zone.

The Muslims want peace, but can't control their nasties.

And the drug war.

That last is big with the NGO/church types.

The latest kerfuffle is a 17 year old killed in a drug raid: Innocent bystander framed by the cops, or a "good kid" helping his father at a store that sold drugs on the sly? Who knows?

but you know, not all murders of children are equal.

I often discuss how my cousin was murdered as a bystander when the ex mayor ordered a hit on his political rival.

Well, that hit killed the body guards and the sons of his rival, not just my nephew. It occurred in a cockpit (i.e. where cockfights are held: My cousin bred fighting cocks after he retired from practicing medicine). The cockpit was new, and the older cockpit was owned by the ex mayor's clan, so it was a double reason behind the hit.

But all involved were adults, and my cousin had been warned by his sister that there were rumors in the city hall that there had been a hit ordered.

So it was similar to a gang or mafia hit: no problem, just move along. Bribery delayed the trial for years, and forget asking the Embassy to condemn the murder.  even though our nephew was a US citizen.

But fast forward a couple years later, when the ex mayor's daughter became mayor.

Voila: there was another hit on the rival's clan. This one took place when he was going home after attending a funeral for one of our cousins (we have a huge family here, and the cousin was a friend of him). The Philippine custom is to eat at a restaurant when you go home from a viewing or funeral, (so that if the ghost of the dead person is following you, he will haunt the restaurant, not your house.).

In this case, the hit men knew where the rival would be, but a lot of folks were at the church, so they didn't start shooting until he got out of his car at the restaurant. Luckily they missed him, but killed his body guard and a couple of people in the restaurant.
From the NuevaEcija Journal (facebook page)

A rookie policeman and three other persons, including an 86-year- old woman, died when gunmen fired at the son of a local politician and his companions in Gapan City at about 10:30 A.M. last August 13. Police identified the fatalities as King Jasper Juvenal, 16, a student of Midway Maritime Academy; and Rufino Vendivil, 44; Police Officer 1 Jefferson Lim; and 86-year-old Consuelo Manse. Juvenal and Vendivil died on the spot while Lim and Manse succumbed to injuries at Good Samaritan Hospital in the city. Confined at the same hospital was Rodney Garcia, 16.
So there will be a big kerfuffle about the poor kid killed by cops in a drug raid, but who mourns the kids hurt in this hit?

The  ex-mayor (or his clan) was behind these hits, but he was given a big Catholic funeral complete with Knights of Columbus body guard. He has a big expensive mausoleum at the local cemetery which I pass every time I visit my husband's grave.

And these are only two of the cluster murders in this clan feuds  which involved murders by both sides, in this case mainly by one side....Indeed, the latest hit was last week, ...


So not all the "murders" can be blamed on Duterte, and not all murdered are equal.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse trivia


most are just put in for show, but in Lady Hawke, where the two lovers curse that keeps them apart was broken by an eclipse:

a time when there was no day or night. It served as a signal that a time of forgiveness had come and it was now time to break a curse.
and the Eclipse of Thales stopped a war.

The Eclipse of Thales was a solar eclipse that was, according to The Histories of Herodotus, accurately predicted by the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus. If Herodotus's account is accurate, this eclipse is the earliest recorded as being known in advance of its occurrence. Many historians believe that the predicted eclipse was the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BC.

An editor who put his life on the line

Cleaning the swamp, Pinoy style

speaking of two minute hates: The Catholic bishops here are joining the anti Duterte left to complain about cops killing druggies.

The western press is especially upset about a mayor who was killed in a drug raid. Was he a crook? Who knows? But as Lolo always reminded me: They are all crooks.

True. And the ex mayor who ordered the hit that killed our nephew, a bystander, was buried with full Catholic honors, including the Knights of Columbus honor guard.

On the other hand, Tagle is running for Pope, so has to be politically correct with the NWO, so would rather diss trigger-happy and sometimes crooked cops than criticize crooked politicians who steal everything in sight and are the main reason that the Philippines is poor....

as Forbes notes:

Corruption reinforces poverty by diverting resources that could help the poor, which nearly roughly one fifth of the 102 million Philippine population qualifies as. The country lost $410.5 billion between 1960 and 2011 on “illicit financial flow,” according to one report. Graft anywhere also deters foreign investors who are wary of bribes or favoritism.
The church officials in Manila are getting their knickers in a knot over the drug killings. Well, good, because that is their job. But where is the push against using drugs? Anyone? I do applaud their opposition against the politicians bringing in casinos (which are associated with drugs, prostitution and laundering drug money), but the new fangled fads of Joy-joy-joy is pushing social action, not holiness or moral living, and that makes me cynical: Because it is aimed at the elites types to urge them to become SJW, and has little or no message for the average person here in the provinces trying to make ends meet, often by sending part of the family overseas to support the rest of the family.

I had to laugh at this cynical report in the (left wing) Inquirer. A typical Pinoy report, full of irony about the conference goings on in a conference about the "new way of being church". Essentially pushing the elites to promote social justice (and just ignore the guy arrested with a minor at a local motel).

and only one person mentioned the word "Jesus": the reporter, who ended the article thus:

Behold a Church finding new ways of being Church in a fast-changing world. I have a gold pendant with hollowed-out letters and a question mark: WWJD? As in: What would Jesus do?

Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
no, it's not about Jesus, or holiness in one's daily life, or about following the ten commandments, or even about helping poor people to learn what it means to be close to Jesus. Nope, it's about political action by the elites so they can feel good about themselves.

in the meanwhile, the new and growing middle class is turning Protestant, where learning about Jesus and living an ethical life is preached.


Duterte has dared to point out (using salty language) church's willingness here in the Philippines to cooperate with crooked politicians, and boy do we have crooked politicians (Wikipedia page here), and like the Mafia in the USA, a lot of them are good Catholics.

latest candal here is an estranged wife spilling the beans told to keep quiet because she is embarassing the kids. And then there is the Shabu smuggling case.

And the corruption is deep seated, so expect more "human rights" push back as the big shots get into trouble.
Now high-ranking people, including allies of the president, are suddenly getting fired over alleged graft. In April Duterte dismissed interior secretary Ismael Sueno over suspected corruption, to name a particularly high-profile case. The president had already axed “dozens of bureaucrats” as well as two senior immigration officials and a former campaign spokesman for the same reason, according to news reports such as this one from Manila. Sueno’s dismissal over suspected irregularities in the purchase of fire trucks was described as a warning to other officials who might be tempted.

but alot more remain, and you can't fire everyone...

as for the crooked cops: That is alas unfortunate. But those complaining about the crooked cops ignore the politicians and drug dealers who corrupted them and get away with it.

For later reading

StrategyPage has a long article on Pakistan and India.

read the whole thing. It is the background to Afghanistan, which is being destabilized because the Pakistani military is busy supporting the Taliban there (and the terrorists against India, for good measure).

but SP notes:

In an effort to persuade Pakistan to stop supporting violence in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) the Americans are withholding military aid more frequently. For example in 2016 the U.S. was willing to pay up to $900 million in reimbursements for Pakistani counter-terrorism efforts but threatened to withhold nearly half of that. Pakistan can retaliate by blocking road access to Afghanistan but this escalation ultimately fails for Pakistan because the only major ally they have is China and the Chinese have made it very clear that they will not join Pakistan in such an escalation.

SP also has an article on North Korea, where sanctions are being used to pressure it's supporters in China to pressure them into behaving better.

China in particular was tired of North Korean behavior and in 2017 told the North Koreans that Chinese support would not be provided if North Korea attacked the U.S. or South Korea. Meanwhile the U.S. refused to back down to the North Korea threat and made it clear there would be a violent and immediate response if North Korea even appeared ready to fire missiles towards Guam. This put North Korea in a bad position because the IRBMs aimed at Guam require a day or more of preparations that can be seen by satellite surveillance. So North Korea announced today it would pause its preparations to see what the United States would do.

The article notes NoKo are a major supplier of meth, but they have to buy their chemicals from China. Hmm...sounds familiar. And don't notice they are sending missiles and poison gas supplies to Syria.

a lot of stuff is being done with economic sanctions. This is not new, of course, and it is often overlooked (and rarely discussed in the press). However, it doesn't work with dictators, who just let their people starve while they continue doing their thing. and stay alive because others support them on the sly (or in the open) to diss the US and European Union.

For a summary of what is going on, the "Conservative teahouse" site explains how Trump is using sanction threats, not just to pressure dictators but to tell those supporting these dictators that they are the problem and better shape up if they don't want to be hurt.

See the pattern?  In each example President Trump assigns responsibility.  However, the important element is the underlying ownership must be based entirely on truth.  In each of the examples the truth was/is that Gulf States/Qatar, Assad/Russia, and China/Beijing were manipulating and enabling the problem behavior.  By calling out that truth, each enabler was forced to take ownership and corrective action.

In effect, like a businessman, he is  outsourcing to other companies (or here, he is pressuring other countries) to cooperate.

But that is not what I see in the US press: notice all the hysteria in the US press went from Russia Russia Russia to Nazi Nazi Nazi?

Maybe because the Nation noticed the DNC hack was an inside job, so their Russian talking points were blown.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

News below the fold

SenseOfEvents saw the eclipse and describes it as similar to this google photo.

First, even in totality it did not get dark, just pretty dim. The horizon skyline was still significantly lit. I would not have needed headlights to drive. Second, when it was over, it was over very fast. Lighting went from dim to daytime almost like snapping your fingers. As I write the sun is still only a sliver as the moon moves away, but looking out my window it seems like full daytime.
and no, Trump didn't look at the eclipse without glasses. As usual, he used glasses, but quickly looked up for a second after he removed them, and the press did a "gotcha" moment.

Oh NO!

 Now they're using Barbie Bombs.

more HERE. about a plot against an airliner due to fly to Australia.

and why was that plot foiled?

But he revealed how the explosives did not make it on to the plane because the handbag they were being carried in was 7kg over the weight permitted by the airline.

another US Navy ship collision with a commercial ship.

The US Navy has ordered a wide investigation into its Pacific fleet following Monday morning's incident.
It was the fourth crash involving a US Navy ship this year and the second in the past two months.

In our prayers.

have you or have you not ever printed an article defending traditional Catholic teachings on faith or morals?

The Remnant, a uber-traditionalist Catholic newspaper, is now being targeted by the thought police as a hate site. more Here about the charges by the SPLC.


Yes, the elves made mead in Middle Earth.

recipes here.

full instruction video HERE.

or follow the steps at Instructables.


a new way to make polio vaccine? Use tobacco.

BBC article.


We've sort of known this for years, but this 2016 article at MomJones has details on how removing lead from gasoline resulted in a lower crime rate...

it discusses other possible causes for the lower crime rate (abortion, broken windows theory, etc)... but cross culture studies suggest the lowering in lead exposure was a big reason for this.

Back in the 1960's we knew that low grade lead poisoning is associated with ADHD and impulsivity, but we were told to look for major poisonings due to old paint chips that kids ate (because they were Sweet)...but until the environmentalists got into the act, the gasoline link was sort of ignored.

So what is happening in Flint Michigan? and is it related to their water problem?

and the lead in the water supply problem in early 2000's in Washington DC was one of the biggest stories never reported...

McCoy also included a link to a Post story Thursday about a USA Today report based on an analysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency. The story found that nearly 20 percent of U.S. water systems tested above the EPA’s lead “action level” of 15 parts per billion.

and it's not just lead: Here, mercury containing light bulbs are just discarded into landfills or canals. It is a disaster waiting to happen, but no one seems very worried about it...

So sell the stupid statues

We Catholics in the US started our own school systems in the 1800's because the schools indoctrinated newly arrived immigrants with protestant bible readings and history biased against the church.

Requests for priests to be allowed to enter into schools to teach catechism, as was done in secular Europe, was refused.

So when they removed bible reading from schools, well, not our fight.

(ditto for evolution fights: Catholics oppose Darwinian philosophy with it's eugenic implications, but not evolution as a scientific theory per se).

When they requested removal of creches from public squares, I had no problem with that idea: after all, there is no reason that hundreds of nearby churches couldn't put out such a display.

But ironically, the Supreme court said: No, but equal time for all the holidays. (also known as the Reindeer rule: Put a reindeer and secular Santa Clause there, and no problem). Complete removal would imply a limit to freedom of speech for a certain group, in this case Christians.

ah, but that hasn't stopped lawsuits trying to change the name Christmas to winter holiday, which essentially pushes the idea of censorship of any public speech that is influenced by religion.

this is why a lot of folks got upset when Obama talked about freedom of worship instead of freedom of religion. (Freedom of worship means free to attend the church of your choice, but not to live according to your beliefs. Freedom of religion says you are allowed to live according to your beliefs without government interference).

Removing crosses from veterans memorials was next, but the problem is that the cross has a secular connotations, reminding us of a man who died for others. And nowadays, of course, every car wreck site has a cross and flowers to remind passersby to say a prayer for those killed at the site.

trying to censor these things, which were spontaneously erected by family and friends, approaches censorship and is not popular.

Which brings us to confederate statues.

For their family members, they are memorials to the dead, not a celebration of slavery. On the other hand, the statues are now being manipulated to marginalize Trumpie boy and the despicables as racists.

So why not suggest the cities sell the statues to local private groups? Take General Lee out of the park, and let the local Bar and Grill put him out front, or maybe put him outside the privately funded historical society?

Or will the crazies attack private property in the name of love?

But of course, it won't stop there. What's next? Stone Mountain? Mt Rushmore?


as for those who object to Mt Rushmore: There is an alternative.

The "anti Rushmore" can be found a few miles away.

Proof that Google is too white (and straight)

the next android version of Google will be called (taDA!)


why? CNET explains.

Google decided to name this update after the Oreo cookie after several late nights at its headquarters where engineers just kept grabbing the snacks, Sagar Kamdar, Android's director of product management said. 

so who could object to the name of this delicious cookie?

well,  for those of you living in white neighborhoods, check definition 2

and since this is a PG rated blog, I won't even get into the other uses of the word oreo as a verb, but presumably the CNN guys who changed the word from teaparty to tea bagging to ridicule that group of squares know about these things.


this appears to be the full movie, so check it out before the copyright cops find it.

The local Sioux at Pine Ridge advised the movie makers and loved the film... so it's a real positive take on their culture, not the fake PC you usually see in films.

the TB test dilemma

Ruby is again in Manila seeing a doctor for a third opinion  if she needs treatment for a positive skin test for Tuberculosis with a negative x ray.

usually in the Philippines, you get a BCG vaccine, which primes the immune system against TB, and lowers your risk of infection, especially miliary (widespread) TB, where the germ in a person without immunity spreads all over the place . So your skin test is weakly positive. (1 cm)

But if you have been in contact with a case, the skin test is very very positive. (over a 1 cm lump)

So what do you do?

usually you check a Chest x ray to see if there is active infection, and maybe check the newfangled blood test for TB.

Treatment recommendations keep changing. Latest CDC recommendations here.

Both me and my son got INH treatment when this happened: It is to kill any latent germs behind after your body fights off the infection.

What to do is controversial: without treatment, often the latent germ goes active after you get pregnant, old, cancer, diabetes or some other reason that your immune system gets weak. Malnutrition used to be the main risk factor in the disease becoming active, but now it is HIV.

When I left the IHS, they had just decided to treat all our diabetics with a positive test (which is common in AmerIndians).

The problem? INH can cause hepatic damage in a small percentage of people... so it used to be you didn't treat them if they were over 30 and at higher risk for this.

With the HIV problem, and with multi drug resistant TB, there is a real danger of reoccurring epidemics of TB. Indeed it already is a major health problem in third world countries: 1.8 million died of it last year and one third of the world's population has been infected, although most of the time the body has fought off the infection so they don't have active disease.

Full CDC summary here.

the problem? HIV, which affects the immune system means your chance of the active disease goes way up.

cdc summary.

one problem? if you had the disease and have scar tissue, it is hard to see if the disease is old or active.

CT scans help with this problem.

so no, she is not sick, and does not have TB. The question is how to keep her from getting it later in life.

usually here, since positive tests are so frequent, you only treat the latent patients if they are high risk cases (e.g. children). Because it would mean time, expense, and side effects of treating most of the population who have had contact with tuberculosis but no active disease.

Usually in the US they check this if you work in the health care field (why me and my son got tested), or start college.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cat video of the week

last time I checked, we had three cats and 15 visitors who live in our garage/storage rooms.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Science factoid of the day

All blue eyed people have a common ancestor.

Variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can all be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes. "From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor," says Professor Eiberg. "They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA." Brown-eyed individuals, by contrast, have considerable individual variation in the area of their DNA that controls melanin production.
Professor Eiberg and his team examined mitochondrial DNA and compared the eye colour of blue-eyed individuals in countries as diverse as Jordan, Denmark and Turkey. 

Schooling into terror

the BBC has a long article on ISIS schools that teach teenagers to become terrorists, and some are being infiltrated into Europe.

A horrible story. read the whole thing.

this is not the only time this has happened: Hitler youths  and communists have long instilled youth with hatred. And the constant propaganda by Palestinian leaders to train their children in hatred is a story rarely covered in the news.

So what do you do?

Comparisons have been made to the ruins of earlier wars - Dresden, Stalingrad, etc. That is overstating the damage, and looking through the rubble, it misses the point. Physical damage is the easiest to perceive, but also the easiest to repair. Cities get rebuilt.
In its short life, the so-called Islamic State did a more lasting harm, by grooming and corrupting young men. Sit with those boys, hear their tales and you will struggle to steady yourself.
Identifying the worst affected is difficult enough. Treating them, stopping the nightmares and repairing the trauma will be costly and time-consuming. They have missed so much proper schooling that finding them jobs will be hard. And returning them to their faith, one that isn’t polluted by jihadist ideology, needs perseverance.
That might be enough to save them, to bring them back into their societies, to help Iraq and Syria rebuild. Treating those who have suffered and escaped to the West might stop them becoming criminals, or worse.

my friend in Zimbabwe, a local teacher, helped to reeduccate their insurgents after Mugabe took over.

She said one problem was to teach them that they did not have the right to steal (or worse) just because they had a gun... they had to be reintegrated into society and family, and given job training.

As for Islam: my son in law worked with the US trying to retrain the insurgency in Iraq: part of it was to teach them what the Koran actually said, and how ordinary people actually live as good Muslims, as opposed to concentrating on the rabid quotes out of context that inspire the radical Islamicists, who have more in common with the Nazis and leftists of the west than with their own history...