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    • God As Idea, By Eric Anderson
      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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News you can use: swine flu and face masks

Have you had the experience when hiking of shifting your way-too-heavy pack a bit and it feels better for a while? I feel like doing that just now. Enough with the hopelessness of getting real health care reform during our one opportunity in a generation. Enough with so-called Democrats, whether they’re warming chairs in the Oval Office or on Capitol Hill. Let’s talk about swine flu, and, specifically, face masks. Should you or should you not stock up on face masks?
an N95 face mask
The CDC–. Wait, I’ll start over. Even if you feel the government is not your friend, the CDC really does know about face masks. Honest. The CDC starts the discussion at what are known as N95 masks. These are rated to stop 95% of airborne particles and droplets that are larger than 0.3 microns in size. As you can see in the picture, these are reasonably formidable, thick, stuffy-to-breathe-through face masks.

The good news is that aerosolized droplets exhaled or sneezed out are mostly larger than 0.5 microns. The bad news is that if the particle floats long enough to evaporate the associated water, a “naked” flu virus is on the order of 100 nanometers. That’s 0.1 microns. Now, a bare virus doesn’t survive, but if it retains, say, half its water droplet, it might well be smaller than 0.3 microns. In other words, it’ll pass through the mask as easily as you can pass through a doorway.

Note that I’m not even addressing the issue of the space between the mask and your face. This is all assuming you have a perfect fit with no gaps which are, say a tenth of a millimeter big. A tenth of a millimeter is 100 microns. Picture how big that looks to a 0.5 micron droplet.
Continue reading

Live Blog: Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings


Yesterday Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) made a complete fool of himself, — twice, actually

This morning, Sen. Jeff Sessions…castigated Sotomayor for not ruling with her fellow Puerto Rican colleague, conservative Judge José A. Cabranes, when she decided to deny an en banc appeal in Ricci v. DeStefano, a process in which all judges of a court hear a case (as opposed to a three-judge panel of them). Sessions seemed to indicate that people of the same ancestry should vote the same way:

SESSIONS: You voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could’ve changed that case.

Sessions slammed Sotomayor as being “unsuitable for the bench” due to her past affiliation with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). Apparently, Sessions didn’t realize that Judge Cabranes also served on PRLDEF’s board.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wasn’t far behind. He asked Sotomayor:

“Doesn’t your decision in Maloney mean that virtually any state or local weapons ban would be permissible?” he asked.

“Sir, in Maloney, we were talking about nunchuck sticks,” the judge explained.

“I understand,” said the senator.

“Those are martial arts sticks,” Sotomayor added.

Hatch did not want to appear to be a ninja newbie. “Two sticks bound together by rawhide or some sort of a –”

“Exactly,” the nominee said. “And when the sticks are swung . . . that swinging mechanism can break arms, it can bust someone’s skull.”

“Sure,” Hatch agreed, breezily. He wasn’t about to get into a fight with an expert in martial arts.

Who will be win the “booby prize” in today’s session? Continue reading

Meet Ricky Hollywood!

Ricky Hollywood01

Levi Johnston

So what do you do if you’re

1. A high school dropout


2. An unwed father


3. No job

4. No marketable skills


5. You can’t live with your mom because she is a convicted drug dealer?

Become a celebrity!

From Riehl World View:

A reliable source confirms that when you call Levi Johnston’s phone number, you’re now officially greeted by his new marketing identity in long, loud, boldly-exaggerated phrasing, YOU’VE REACHED R-I-C-K-Y … H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D!!!

I guess K-Fed made being a professional baby-daddy a viable career option for talentless losers. Seriously, that is one gene pool that could use a little chlorine.

What’s really bizarre is that when Levi/Ricky announces a press conference, the press not only shows up but publishes what he says.  Even worse, they turn around and criticize Sarah Palin for calling him a liar!

Why Levi Johnston never graduated:
.levi in school

Wednesday Morning News Links

The links today are a gift from BostonBoomer and MABlue:

Ezra Klein’s links to the House Health Care plan which was released yesterday :

Obama Open to Partisan Vote on Health-Care Overhaul, Aides Say

Both Axelrod and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said taking a partisan route to enacting major health-care legislation isn’t the president’s preferred choice. Yet in separate interviews, each man left that option open.

“We’d like to do it with the votes of members of both parties,” Axelrod said. “But the worst result would be to not get health-care reform done.”

But will he love us tomorrow?

Health Insurance Whistle-Blower Knows Where the Bodies Are Buried

Wendell Potter is the health insurance industry’s worst nightmare. He’s a whistle-blower. Potter, the former chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA, recently testified before Congress, “I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick—all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

Potter was deeply involved in CIGNA and industrywide strategies for maintaining their profitable grip on U.S. health care. He told me: “The thing they fear most is a single-payer plan. They fear even the public insurance option being proposed; they’ll pull out all the stops they can to defeat that to try to scare people into thinking that embracing a public health insurance option would lead down the slippery slope toward socialism … putting a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. They’ve used those talking points for years, and they’ve always worked.”

Alleged U.S. white supremacist arrested in Israel

When Micky Mayon fled the U.S., where he faced firearms charges, the alleged member of an anti-Semitic white supremacist group chose what he might have seen as a perfect hideout — Israel.

The UN takes charge (By Joseph E. Stiglitz)

While discussions about economic “green shoots” continue unabated in the United States, in many countries, and especially in the developing world, matters are getting worse.

This one is very thought provoking:
The Big Question: What’s gone wrong at the CIA, and should it be abolished?

A rule of thumb about an intelligence service might be: the less you hear about it, the better it’s probably doing its job. Instead, the CIA seems to be eternally in the headlines.

Guantanamo like Animal House?

The first full-time female FBI agent stationed at the US prison in Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba says she witnessed a drunken “spring break” atmosphere during her tenure — and has photographs to prove it.

In a little noticed complaint Friday, the 43-year-old agent, Theresa Foley, alleges that she experienced a “generally sexist, discriminatory and ‘boys club’ atmosphere” during her time at Camp Delta in Cuba and that she contracted a permanent debilitating disease as a result of being forced to sleep in rat-infested quarters.

Sotomayor hearings:

Yankees or Mets?

On second day of hearings, Sotomayor Displays Personality, Mannerisms

Judge Sonia Sotomayor Denied My Appeal and I Spent 16 Years in Prison For a Crime I Didn’t Commit

Pedro Martinez may sign with Phillies. Good luck with that.
Who will Halladay sign with? —  Let it be the Red Sox, please!

Selig talks about Manny Ramirez and collusion.

Bud Selig, the baseball commissioner, watched coverage of Manny Ramirez’s rehabilitation stint before he returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers this month. Ramirez was rehabbing as he served a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
As Selig saw Ramirez being praised at minor league ballparks and being lavished with news media attention, he said he was dismayed. Selig said he would like to negotiate an adjustment to the collective bargaining agreement so that players who are suspended for violating the policy cannot go on rehab stints during their suspension.

Goldman Sachs profits hailed by lawmakers

“Is there a law in the United States that you can’t make profits?” Representative Paul Kanjorski, a senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, asked reporters.

Kanjorski said he hoped Goldman’s profits were a sign of economic recovery and a possible bellwether for other sectors. “I have great hope General Motors has great profits next year,” he said.

Robert Reich isn’t so sure it’s good news:

Goldman’s resurgence should send shivers down the backs of every hardworking American who has lost a large chunk of retirement savings in this economic debacle, as well as the millions who have lost their jobs. Why? Because Goldman’s high-risk business model hasn’t changed one bit from what it was before the implosion of Wall Street.


…Goldman is still depending on $28 billion in outstanding debt issued cheaply with the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Which means you and I are still indirectly funding Goldman’s high-risk operations.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has called the rival factions in Honduras to a new round of talks on Saturday to try to end the political crisis there.

When old white guys attack: Forget her actual record:

Jeff Sessions and the angry GOP just know Sotomayor wants to keep the white man down