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2009 April — Why Now?
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Posts from — April 2009

Worth Remembering

The BBC Magazine has a nice article, How one in 1,000 can equal 50%, about a different form of “framing”.

I have mentioned this sort of thing several times when addressing political claims, especially regarding the difference between average and median. With all of the political chatter going on over stimulus and budgets, as well as discussions about the flu problem, you have to look for people comparing apples and codfish, because they couldn’t prove their point if they tried their normal apples and oranges.

April 30, 2009   Comments Off on Worth Remembering

Have We Got A Plate 4 U

The Orlando Sentinel has a photo gallery of Florida specialty license plates.

There are 130 photos, but some of the plates have had design changes. They don’t include the multiple free and special purpose plates also issued. Things have really gotten out of hand.

April 30, 2009   Comments Off on Have We Got A Plate 4 U

OK, Now I See The Real Problem

Via Echidne, at the Science Blogs the Reveres point out the real problem: we are going to have a double flu season.

This flu doesn’t seem to be any worse than the current version for which a vaccine is available, but the current version kills about 800 people a week in the US. With the new flu, there is the potential that the number of deaths and hospital admissions could double.

Given that the health care industry has cost-cut and consolidated all of the excess capacity out of the system, we don’t have the personnel or facilities available for a single bad flu year, much less a double.

Further, even if you have had the original version, you can get the new version for a double dose of misery.

As for the xenophobes who want to seal the border, undocumented agricultural workers don’t take cruises or fly all over the world.  The flu is being spread by people who can afford to do that and have passports.

April 30, 2009   4 Comments

MHNT – Episode Four – The Hedgemony Strikes Out Part Duh

As I noted back in January, the third trial of the Miami Haitian Ninja Terrorists had begun.

The case just went to the jury but the Miami Herald reports one of the jurors has been excused for illness. If the juror has the flu all bets are off.

This is possibly one of the worst ideas the Justice Department has ever had. Haitians face rampant discrimination in Miami, so if you can’t get a conviction with the months worth of evidence presented by the prosecution, you should just cut your losses and forget the whole thing.

April 30, 2009   Comments Off on MHNT – Episode Four – The Hedgemony Strikes Out Part Duh

Presidential News Conference

I iz have question

Reporter for the Coatimundi News [recently acquired by Rupert Murdoch on the assumption that it was the Central American version of Fox News].

April 29, 2009   12 Comments

Miranda Warnings Don’t Matter

From the Panama City News Herald this local color – Man to police: You ‘missed it;’ I’ve sold all my weed

CRESTVIEW — Police executing a search warrant were told by the suspect they had “missed it” and he had just sold all of his marijuana, according to a Crestview Police Department arrest report.

When officers stopped Justin Ray Smith, 19, on April 17, he said he had sold “somewhere between one to three pounds about six hours ago,” the report said. They recovered about $2,700, of which $1,100 was from that sale, Smith told officers, according to the report.

You tell them. They see it on TV. It doesn’t matter – they still talk. Never underestimate the power of stupid.

April 29, 2009   Comments Off on Miranda Warnings Don’t Matter


In their flagging of incidents of bad timing by Republicans on volcano monitoring and flu pandemics people forget the pièce de résistance: “On Sept. 10, Attorney General John Ashcroft rejected a proposed $58 million increase in financing for the bureau’s counterterrorism programs.”

That was September 10, 2001.

Well, “No one could have imagined …” et cetera ad nauseam.

April 29, 2009   12 Comments

Where’s My Flu Panic?

Finally they are reporting some reality. At CNN: Regular flu has killed thousands since January

Since January, more than 13,000 people have died of complications from seasonal flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on the causes of death in the nation.

No fewer than 800 flu-related deaths were reported in any week between January 1 and April 18, the most recent week for which figures were available.

Compared to regular flu and auto accidents, the shooting rampages and swine flu are weak beer. As Stalin purportedly said: “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”

April 28, 2009   11 Comments

The Fiesta Of Five Flags

Pensacola’s Fiesta of Five Flags has also started. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the first attempt by the Spanish to settle in the area that has become the US. That attempt was interrupted by a hurricane, which is why St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied city [founded by Europeans] in the US.

They still use the wrong flags, but they have gotten better. I did notice that they use the wrong British flag at their Fiesta site, but the correct one on the city’s flag poles. At least Earl Bowden got them to use the proper flag for the Confederate year.

April 28, 2009   4 Comments

Tsk, Tsk

John Barry, a staff writer for the St. Petersburg Times is the path to perdition, as my grandmothers would say.

There will be letters, I guarantee it.

April 28, 2009   13 Comments

Ding Dong, RICHburg’s Gone

The NWF Daily News reports: “NICEVILLE — The Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to fire President Bob Richburg Tuesday morning.”

No doubt he will get a severance package, but he can use it to pay his attorney, rather than our paying for a public defender. Richburg wasn’t an educator, he was an empire building developer who used his position to help himself.

April 28, 2009   Comments Off on Ding Dong, RICHburg’s Gone

Status Quo

Everyone is reporting the non-event of the day, Arlen Specter is going to call himself a Democrat, but, while better than a similar announcement from Phil Spector, the Pennsylvania Senator is acknowledging what everyone already knows: the Pennsylvania Republican Party is controlled by the wingers and he was going to get a well-funded primary fight if he runs for re-election as a Republican.

He isn’t going to change his position on anything, so he isn’t going to improve the filibuster problem. He is another member of the LIEberman/Blue Dog problem in the Senate which helps the Republicans screw up the system.

If he had retired and allowed a real Democrat to be appointed to the Senate, something might have changed, but this is just shuffling labels.

April 28, 2009   6 Comments

Just A Thought

If we had Medicare for all, Americans would be more likely to go to a doctor for flu systems symptoms, rather than just hoping they don’t get sick. The Mexican swine flu outbreak wouldn’t be as big a concern if all Americans had access to health care.

[Editors: Right spelling, wrong word. That’s why spell checkers don’t always help.]

April 27, 2009   12 Comments

Sad, Senseless, But Familar

The NWF Daily News as published some background on the shooter, and it is too familiar a story: just laid off from his job, too many guns, upset about Obama’s election, fear the government was coming to take his rights, history of violence.

He was already on probation for a prior domestic abuse charge, but wasn’t attending the anger management classes, so he would have gone directly to jail for a violation of that sentence, before any new charges were tried.

Read it and wonder at the death of three people triggered by a missing tube of Clearasil®.

April 27, 2009   4 Comments