Friday, February 29, 2008

Big Science

Popular Mechanics has an article on how fusion research ought to be done.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — This is what a fusion lab is supposed to be like. As I walk in, a woman’s voice is on the speakers, counting down from 10. Banks of chairs face banks of computer monitors, where data is literally streaming across application windows that are pulsing, multicolored and reassuringly complex.
Now contrast that with another lab doing similar work. Five people. Total.

And what does the MIT Lab predict the outcome of their experiments (if successful) will be?
But even ITER, which is scheduled to be built within 8 to 10 years, is intended as a research facility—not as an answer to our current energy dilemma. It might produce an overall surplus of energy, but it won’t be cost-effective production. For that, Porkolab estimates we’ll have to wait for ITER to show results, possibly in the 2020s, and then wait another decade or so while demo reactors are built. That means we’d see economically feasible fusion power by 2035, at the earliest, and increasingly efficient commercial reactors somewhere in the middle of the century.

Even that protracted timeline now appears optimistic. Since 2006, when seven member countries committed to the ITER’s $10 billion budget, federal funding for scientific research in the United States appears to have bottomed out. The U.S. agreed to pay 9.1 percent of the project’s total cost—but of the $160 million contribution planned for this year, Congress has approved just $10.7 million. Porkolab says eight ITER engineers had been laid off without severance pay.
Now contrast that with the WB-7 project. They expect to complete their second round of experiments (the first were done on WB-6 in 2005) in the next 2 to 5 months. The cost to the US Navy? $1.8 million for WB-7 experiments.

If those experiments are successful they expect to have a net power test machine built within 5 years at a cost of about $40 million a year (average). It sure beats waiting until the 2020s to see results.

So what is wrong with the tokamak design? I'll let the MIT guys speak for themselves:
Here at MIT, the fusion center’s primary research tool is the Alcator C-MOD, the largest university-run fusion reactor in the world, and one of only three “tokamaks” in the country. Tokamaks are reactors that use magnetic fields to control the flow of plasma. Extreme machines like the C-MOD, which has the most powerful magnetic fields of any tokamak (and some 100,000 times stronger than the Earth’s) have enhanced our understanding of fusion. But a truly efficient reaction, with more energy released than poured in, is still decades away.

The problem, Porkolab says, is turbulence. To increase the chances of a fusion reaction, a cloud of plasma must be incredibly hot and dense. As the atoms become more closely packed and excited, the natural tendency for nuclei to repel each other can be overcome. C-MOD uses microwaves to heat the ionized gas and magnets to shape it, building up pressure within the plasma. But as any meteorologist can tell you, juggling temperature and pressure is a recipe for bad weather. “We have our own storms, inside the plasma, just like in the atmosphere,” Porkolab says. Temperature gradients within the plasma can lead to eddies, and the more unstable the cloud becomes, the more heat it loses. When the temperature gets low enough, the reaction dies. Plasma turbulence, in other words, is the biggest obstacle to fusion, limiting current reactors to brief pulses and preventing the kind of long-term reaction necessary for true power production.
Essentially the tokamak is a fight with nature. Nature wants to do one thing the scientists want it to do something else.

Contrast that with the Bussard Fusion Reactor. The design is one where instead of fighting natural tendencies it takes advantage of them.

In any case we will know a lot more in a few months. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Obama Says: Take Me Seriously

There is no truth to the report that Obama contacted the Candians and said "I'm serious about gutting NAFTA" [Youtube]. Instapundit remarks:

REBUILDING AMERICA'S IMAGE IN THE WORLD (CONT'D): "Mexico and Canada yesterday voiced concerns about calls by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, as the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete to adopt the most sceptical stance towards free trade before next week's Ohio primary."
I think Democrat foreign policy can be explained in one sentence:

Make friends with our enemies and make enemies of our friends.

At least it is a policy.

Instapundit updates:
OBAMA'S NAFTA DOUBLE-TALK confirmed. "After reporting on Barack Obama’s dance with the Canadians on NAFTA yesterday, Canadian broadcaster CTV got accused of perpetrating a smear against the Democratic front-runner. They insisted that Obama meant every word he said about overturning the free-trade treaty, and that no one had contacted the Canadian diplomatic corps to reassure them that it was mere demagoguery. CTV responded today by naming names — and suddenly the Obama campaign has grown quiet." More here from ABC News.
So I guess his real policy is lying to the voters. Whew. That is a relief.

At first I thought Obama was a stupid politician. That would be really bad. Now I find he is just a normal lying politician. Eminently qualified to be President. For sure.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nader: Obama Is A Flip-Flopper

Ralph Nader says Obama's run for the Presidency has changed him.

During his interview on "Meet the Press," Nader said that Sen. Obama had reversed his positions on Israel. Nader said Sen. Obama's "better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself" and that Sen. Obama was "pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate" and "during the state Senate."

Sen. Obama has caught criticism for pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel statements and sentiments before. In March 2007, Sen. Obama was criticized for saying that "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians." Obama has also been criticized for stocking his campaign with several controversial advisors including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Malley, Samantha Power and Susan Rice.
So there you have it. He was for the Palestinians before he was against them.

What is this? Some kind of disease more prevalent among Democrats? Or just more well known among them?

H/T Insty

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama's Rezko Problem

I have discussed this before but it seems hot again with the Rezko trial about to begin. Keep in mind that Rezko and Obama have been buddies for twenty years. Then check out the Obama quote I found here. It has lots of goodies on Obama.

While McKinney considered Obama as a "pretty clean legislator" not unduly influenced by lobbyists, the campaign's handling of the Rezko matter makes him take a second glance. Identifying and returning or donating all the contributions associated with Rezko has proved a lengthy process, and when questioned by reporters in January, the campaign pointed to Obama's on-the-record statements that he didn't recall specific conversations with Rezko and was "not clear" how Rezko became involved in the purchase of the property.
Let me see. He is not clear about his dealings with a guy who had been his buddy for 20 years. Sure, I believe that. It could even be true.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Obama Presidency

Victor David Hanson asks: "How did we get here?"

One wonders how the United States has come to the brink of nominating and probably electing someone with almost no experience as either an executive or national legislator, replete with ratings and rankings that suggest he will be about the most liberal Presidential candidate since George McGovern.
Hanson has answers. You should read them.

H/T Michael Totten at Instapundit

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We Are In Need

Barry Rubin of GLORIA Center is taking a look at the latest call to arms by Hamas. If it is to be believed, it sounds like a last desperate message from a cut off segment of the army hoping the cavalry will arrive soon. From the looks of things the cavalry is not coming. In fact it may not even exist. Barry quotes Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

"Where is your valor? Stop being such cowards. The time has come for you to awaken from this deep slumber. The time has come for your honor, dignity, and valor to awaken. Where are you, Muslims?...As a sign of your love for Allah and the Prophet, you should sweep away the borders, which were created by imperialism. We are in need of weapons, we are in need of food, we are in need of moral support, as well as support by the media, economic support, medical aid, and support in weapons."
Note that his request for aid has brought no response. The Arab states are not interested in helping Hamas because they recognize it as part of a radical Islamist threat to them. And they are not very much interested in confronting America or fighting Israel either. Ironically, the West is far more concerned over the welfare of Gaza's Palestinians and aiding them than are other Arabs or Muslims.
Evidently honor has taken a back seat to profits. The leaders of the Arab world have finally figured out that overt war against the West is not profitable.

What is left is covert war. Covert war requires intimate contact. Spies and observers in the enemy camp. Essentially this is what brought down the Soviet Union. Intimate contact with the West ruined their self confidence. The Arabs in particular and Islam in general does not have the advantage of an Iron Curtain especially in the 'net age.

I think the advance of pornography in Muslim/Arab culture which I have been following is instructive. The Arab/Islamic cultures have strict prohibitions and yet it proliferates. Reports say that 70% of cell phone users have pornography on their phones. The thing to keep in mind is that this is only one vector and important only because it can be easily tracked because people pay attention to it.

There are other vectors which although "silent" are never the less powerful.

...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What may be most seductive is that the West offers its adherents ease in this life. No need to await the next. Materialism weakens any religion based on a better life in the hereafter. American churches have adapted. Many offer their religion as a path to material success as well as goodness in this life. Islam, so far, has not adapted.

What has made the West so powerful is doubt. Doubt the State. Doubt the Church. Doubt received Wisdom. Science applied to every facet of life. All Islam has to offer is faith. Faith is not enough. It must be coupled with doubt. Or as some wag once put it:

"The Truth is out there"

On A Roll

If BHO wins the general election his supporters will be deeply disappointed with the results.

For the same reason that the current Congress has disappointed. They kept their real plan for Iraq a secret. Look back at the election of '06. When asked what the Dem plan for Iraq was, most of the electorate didn't know the plan. The Democrats ran essentially ran on a platform of unspecified change.

Because Obama is running a similar campaign the results will be similar. No mandate for any specific policy. The Republicans will roll him. Just as they are doing to the D Congress.

Friday, February 22, 2008

He As A Symbol

Actress Susan Sarandon likes Obama. Why? Well it is not for policy reasons that is for sure.

Sarandon: Well, I'm going to back Obama. But I hope - I think that he, as a symbol, has really excited people, and he's definitely confusing to everyone who really hates America for hating Muslims because a name like Obama and a Black man, they're probably going to go "Oh, wait a minute - what?" It's kind of like when you're out on the line for freedom to have an abortion and you're incredibly pregnant. They just can't quite figure it out.

So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for.
Pig in a poke? I'm not buying it.

The last Democrat controlled Congress elected in Nov of '06 got elected on a platform of change without specifics. Evidently the American people are not happy with that deal given that the approval rating for Congress is well below the rating of the President. And yet Obama expects the American people to make that kind of deal again.

I'm doubtful.

H/T Commenter Fat Man at the Belmont Club

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some Neat Battery Technology

MIT Technology Review reports on some new battery technology that could greatly improve battery life and usefulness for hybrid cars and other applications that require surge caharge and discharge.

The future market for hybrid-electric vehicles, at least those that are affordable, isn't necessarily paved with lithium. Researchers in Australia have created what could be called a lead-acid battery on steroids, capable of performing as well as the nickel-metal hydride systems found in most hybrid cars but at a fraction of the cost.

The so-called UltraBattery combines 150-year-old lead-acid technology with supercapacitors, electronic devices that can quickly absorb and release large bursts of energy over millions of cycles without significant degradation. As a result, the new battery lasts at least four times longer than conventional lead-acid batteries, and its creators say that it can be manufactured at one-quarter the cost of existing hybrid-electric battery packs.
Now the really neat thing about this idea is that it is semi obvious. Ultra Capacitors and lead acid batteries use the same electrolyte. Sulfuric acid.
Essentially, one of the plates (the negative electrode) in the lead-acid battery was made half of lead and half of carbon, turning the battery into a supercapacitor / lead-acid hybrid.
What is also interesting about this technology is that Super Capacitors have a maximum cell voltage of 2.5 volts. Lead acid batteries when fully charged have a cell voltage less than 2.5 volts so the technologies are very compatible.


I got a bug in my machine.

A few days ago Youtube stopped working on my XP. The videos seem to load. They play for a few seconds and then stop. I don't get any sound.

I can't recall if I did anything unusual to make it happen.

I'm using the latest Netscape version ( I believe).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Update: I reloaded Flash (after reloading IE to no effect) and that fixed it.

Further Update: It is broken again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Morally Unpopular

Michael Totten has been visiting the jail in Fallujah. While he was there a Marine remarked:

Sergeant Dehaan was comfortable with his mission in Iraq and the flaws of the Iraqi Police he was tasked with training and molding.

“I prefer these small and morally ambiguous wars to the big morally black-and-white wars,” he said to me later. “It would be nice if we had more support back home like we did during World War II. But look at how many people were killed in World War II. If a bunch of unpopular small wars prevent another popular big war, I'll take ’em.”
Yep. Better the Rhineland 1936 than all of Europe 1939 - '45.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It Smells Like Chemistry

There is a discussion going on at talk.polywell about the implications of cheap energy on civilization as we know it. One of the commenters, choff, was discussing how to get public interest up before there is a functioning, power delivering, reactor.

Nothing would capture the public imagination or say genius at work like a lab explosion. Sad but true.
I used to have those all the time.

My mother would yell down at me "What are you doing down there."

"Just some experiments Mom."

I love the smell of burning sulfur in the morning. It smells like Chemistry.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hope and Inspiration

When I read Obama's plans for our country I get hope. And inspiration.

I hope he doesn't win and I'm inspired to work against him.

Teach Them A Lesson

I'm seeing a general discontent with politics I haven't seen in other election years. The Right is not solidly for McCain. The left hasn't even made their final choice. At Talk Left one commenter expresses it this way:

With endorsers like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, how does he shake off the "superLiberal" tag. I can almost imagine McCain winning. Well maybe the democrats need to learn more lessons.

by felizarte on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 06:53:05 PM EST
You know that is the same thing Republicans say about their party. It needs to learn more lessons.

I think this election will be determined by who wants to lose the most.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sister Flute

I just learned an interesting term I had never heard before: Sister Flute. It refers to audience reaction at gospel music shows. Power Line discusses that in terms of Obama the Redeemer.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Michael Totten is discussing the errors Israel made in The Summer War 2006. One of the mistakes discussed was not taking on Syria as one commenter notes and Michael agrees.

DaMav: suppose instead of targetting Lebanon, Israel had bombed Syria until they pulled Hezbollah forces out or defanged them?
Michael Totten:That’s what I said they should do right from the beginning. No one wanted to hear it, especially not Israelis. That kind of military action isn’t effective against guerillas and terrorists, but it is very effective against states.
I always thought a strike against the Bekaa Valley would have drawn the Syrians out of their bunkers and into the war. No need to go after Syria directly (at first) to draw them in.

A lot of folks didn’t like what I said. However, I believed Olmert would do it because it was so obviously the right policy. I misoverestimated him.

H/T Instapundit

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Soros Owns A Piece Of All Of Them

According to Jerome Corsi, John McCain has been taking money from Soros and Kerry - Teresa Kerry.

As Sen. John McCain assumes the GOP front-runner mantle, his long-standing, but little-noticed association with donors such as George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry is receiving new attention among his Republican critics.

In 2001, McCain founded the Alexandria, Va.-based Reform Institute as a vehicle to receive funding from George Soros' Open Society Institute and Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation and several other prominent non-profit organizations.

McCain used the institute to promote his political agenda and provide compensation to key campaign operatives between elections.

In 2006, the Arizona senator was forced to sever his formal ties with the Reform Institute after a controversial $200,000 contribution from Cablevision came to light. McCain solicited the donation for the Reform Institute using his membership on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, he supported Cablevision's push to introduce the more profitable al la carte pricing, rather than packages of TV programming.
As my mother never fails to tell me: "they are all crooks." She learned it from her mother, who came from the old country.

McCain is my crook. For now. Unless Soros or Kerry can make me a better offer. My weaknesses are women and money.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Seinfeld For President

First farce then tragedy. Seinfeld gave us a TV show about Nothing.

Obama is proving it can work for a political campaign.

Why a campaign about nothing? It is obvious. There is nothing to disagree about. We can all join together. Nothing will keep us apart. Nothing will bring us together. Nothing is best and we have more of it than anyone else. An abundance of Nothing. Nothing in abundance.

The Audacity of Nothing™.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Secret Of The Tokamak

As many of you know I'm not fond of the Tokamak/ITER approach to nuclear fusion. I do not believe we will ever get an economical fusion plant out of those experiments. Congress has basically cut ITER out of the US Federal budget.

Here is the dirty little tokamak secret - "The last one didn't work, shows no promise of working, and new difficulties have been encountered. I have a plan. We will make the next one 3X bigger." For 40 years.

Eventually the marks wise up.

Ein Reich

Well we have already have Ein Volk. The Unity Candidate who will bring us together.

If this latest Obama idea is any indication Ein Reich is on the way. A patriotism test for corporations. Says Senator Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH):

I've talked to Barack a lot about his Patriot Corporation Act, which is not trade per se, but it's certainly part of the economic package around globalization. The Patriot Corporation Act has not gotten the attention that I would hope it would. But, basically it says that if you play by the rules, if you pay decent wages, health benefits, pension; do your production here; don't resist unionization on neutral card check, then you will be designated a "Patriot Corporation" and you will get tax advantages and some [preference] on government contracts.
Let me see "Ein Volk, Ein Reich,..." Any body know how that slogan ends? Bueller? Anyone?

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

He Has A Policy

Over at Althouse one of her commenters madawaskan said Obama had a foreign policy and that it could be found here. Let me excerpt a bit an effort to get Iraq’s political leaders to resolve the political disagreements at the heart of their civil war, I would work with the United Nations to call a constitutional convention in Iraq, using aggressive diplomacy to get the neighbors to back that convention and stop the flow of weapons and terrorists into Iraq.
Uh, doesn't he realize that Iraq already has a functioning government and Constitution plus methods for altering it? It is almost like Obama has been asleep for the last two years.

And what exactly is aggressive diplomacy? When we are angry we send two copies of a diplomatic note and if we are really angry we send three?

HT Eric at Classical Values. BTW The McCain video is worth a watch. Funny.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Trouble With Politicians

You hope they are lying to you. Except when you hope they are telling the truth.

Kiss The Ground

AVI was commenting on my I Won't Vote For McCain piece and came up with this gem which I think bears repeating.

It occurred to me over the weekend what people in other countries - even freeish, democratic countries in Europe - have for candidates to vote for. If free-marketers in Europe applied the same principle that the anti McCain purists are advocating this election, they would never have anyone worth voting for in their entire adult lives.

I've complained about socialist lites as well, but really, I should know better. Look at the parties of Europe and kiss the ground we walk on here.
Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ein Volk

Obama Is The Messiah.

"Just follow Barack's lead and be honest with them," [Obama's] site advises. "You don't need to debate policy or discuss the day's headlines. You have a very personal reason for investing your time and energy in this campaign – that is the most compelling story you can tell."

Indeed, participants in the Saturday morning precinct-captain training were already adept at telling their Obama-conversion stories.

Libbie Coleman, a 61-year-old microbiology teacher at McClatchy High School, read Obama's books last spring.
Another Messiah from another time.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

H/T Instapundit

The Long National Nightamare Is Over

Ron Paul has taken Tim Leary's advice and dropped out of the Presidential race. Or as we like to say in election geekese "scaled back his activities".

It really wasn't much of a nightmare except in blogistan. Just mention that Ron was a front man for Neo-Nazis or Christian Reconstructionists and all kinds of commenters would argue the point back and forth for days. Great for traffic.

Obviously that won't work much longer. I guess I'll have to go with the old standbys sex and pornography. Hardly any one wants to discuss them. Lots of folks are satisfied just to stand around and watch though.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I Won't Vote For McCain

If you are a blog fanatic, as I am, you see a lot of "Ill never vote for John McCain because.....".

And I agree totally with that sentiment.

When I vote for John McCain again (I did it 9 or 13 times in the recent primary - hey, it's Illinois we got to keep up tradition) it will not be a vote for him. It will be a vote against the Hillary/Obama surrender axis.

We can stand socialism lite and winning. We cannot stand socialism heavy and losing.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Internet Is Underwater

I just found a nice map that proves it.

The Unifying Force

From where I sit it looks like the Republican Party has run out of steam. The one principle that unified all the factions of the party - Small Government Conservatism - has run its course.

Two candidates were pushing that message hard. Ron Paul and Fred Thompson. Where are they now? Certainly you are not hearing their themes echoed by any of the recent front runners.

So what unites Republicans? Beating the Democrats and winning the Long War. What unites the Democrats? Beating the Republicans and Losing the Long War. It looks like the days of grand visions in practical political discourse (winning elections) is over.

Well, one war at a time I guess.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pornography At War

Michael Totten has a new report up on the goings on in Fallujah. He covers a subject that I have touched on a time or two. The importance of pornography in changing our opposition. If you want a look back you might like Jewish Porn Sweeps The Arab world and Defeated By Pornography. How about a look forward at what Michael Totten has to say.

At the Amariyah station in a village just outside Fallujah, several Iraqi Police officers sat at the dispatcher's desk and watched explicit pornography streamed over the Internet. They whooped and yelled and elbowed each other as the video kept getting racier. I sat at a desk just behind them and tried to work on an article, but they kept trying to get me to watch the video with them. Several Marines shared this work space with them, and all of them ignored the Iraqis and tried to pretend the porno show wasn't on.

Marines aren't even allowed to check their personal email accounts while they're on duty, let alone watch explicit sex videos on a laptop.

Irony abounded in that room. Iraqi culture is orders of magnitude more sexually conservative than American culture. Soldiers and Marines in particular are not shy or restrained when it comes to sex (except when they have to be while they're on deployment). Yet the Americans in the room were the ones put off by the pornography. It wasn't because they are uptight or square, but because porn on the job could hardly be less professional. Some of them rightly accused the Iraqi men of hypocrisy. “How come you guys cover your women but you sit around all day looking at our women without any clothes on?”
The contradictions abound.

As I have been saying all along. Contact with American culture (especially the sexual aspects) will liquefy the Middle East. Osama agrees.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We Need Complistic Solutions

Instapundit has a bit up on the decline of the two party system. He has a look at the book Declaring Independence. So I thought I'd visit the Amazon page and figure out what is going on.

Here is a bit from the blurb:

America is at a political crossroads. We are growing alienated from the two major parties, which are dominated by ideologues and offer simplistic solutions,...
I have yet to find the average American interested in complistic solutions. Where I come from that is known as wonkery. It is not popular. Except among wonks.

I'm with the simplistic guys myself. I'm from the Leave Us Alone party.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

I Voted - Feb 008

McCain. Surprisingly my mate said she liked McCain and was voting for him. I kind of made up my mind at the last minute and was surprised at her decision. Neither of us announced our decision until we were entering the polling place.

Paper ballots. Electronic counting.

Illinois has gone McCain. Glad I could help.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Perfectly Republican In Conception

There is a lot of grousing going on about the Republican nominees for President. This one is wrong on this issue. That one is wrong on that issue. Gerard Vanderleun has a post up on the subject with lots of interesting comments. However, with each and every one of the remaining major Republican candidates there is a consolation prize.

The consolation prize: Republican candidates all favor price supports for criminals and terrorists AKA the Drug War.

It is perfectly Republican in conception. Aid your enemies, screw your friends.

H/T Instapundit

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Well Regulated Militia

At ABC News blog there is a discussion of Obama, Romney, and gun control. Obama is trying to have it both ways. One Democrat commenter is not pleased. He does have this to say:

I can see no reason for private citizens to own fully automatic assault weapons.
How about it is a militia weapon?

H/T Instapundit

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm Rooting For The Patriots

Because of this.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The Justice Department is at it again. Protecting us from unscrupulous doctors. The kind that prescribe too much pain medication for those in pain.

In a drama that has been played out all too many times across the country in recent years, the Justice Department's campaign against prescription drug abuse -- if you can call it that -- came in crushing fashion to Haysville, Kansas, last month. Now, a popular pain management physician and his nurse wife are being held without bond and more than a thousand patients at his clinic are without a doctor, but the US Attorney and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts say they are protecting the public health.

It all started December 20, when federal agents arrested Dr. Stephen Schneider, operator of the Schneider Medical Clinic, and his wife and business manager, Linda, on a 34-count indictment charging them with operating a "pill mill" at their clinic. The indictment charges that Schneider and his assistants "unlawfully" wrote prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers, that at least 56 of Schneiders' patients died of drug overdoses between 2002 and 2007, and that Schneider and his assistants prescribed pain relievers "outside the course of usual medical practice and not for legitimate medical purpose."

In their press release announcing the arrests, federal prosecutors also said that four patients died "as a direct result of Schneider's actions," but the indictment does not charge Schneider or anyone else with murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. In all four deaths, the patients died of drug overdoses, with prosecutors claiming Schneider ignored signs they were becoming addicted to the drugs or abusing them.
Let me see if I get this. You are in pain. You ask for medical help. When you find you can't control your drug use it is your doctor's fault. So what is the doctor supposed to do? Make you come to his office daily for your required dose? And the doctor is supposed to watch for signs? What is wrong with the patient watching for signs and communicating with the doctor?

Ah, but it gets better. Siobhan Reynolds of the Pain Relief Network is quoted saying:
The root of the problem, said Reynolds, is the Controlled Substances Act, under which the Justice Department determines what constitutes proper medical practice and what doesn't. "Under the act, the exchange of money for drugs is presumptively illegal, and doctors have to show they are doing medicine in an 'authorized fashion' approved by the Justice Department. Under the act, doctors are effectively presumed guilty until proven innocent. It's backwards, and it helps explain why it is so difficult to win these cases," she said.

The Pain Relief Network will shortly bring a federal lawsuit challenging the Controlled Substance Act, Reynolds said. "The act is profoundly unconstitutional and unlawful. It reverses the presumption of innocence, and we think we can win that challenge, even if we have to go to the Supreme Court."

While the network had vowed to file the lawsuit last month, it hasn't happened yet. That's because the network has been too busy putting out fires in Kansas, she said, adding that the lawsuit will be filed soon.

Meanwhile, Dr. Schneider and his wife remain jailed without bond at the request of federal prosecutors pending a first court date later this month. His patients are now scrambling to find replacement doctors with little success, especially now that other local doctors see what could await them if they apply aggressive opioid pain management treatments. And a chill as cold as the February wind is settling in over pain treatment on the Kansas plains.
The difficulty is that everyone responds to pain and drugs differently. Some require large amounts of drugs for small amounts of pain and others require small amounts of drugs for large amounts of pain. How in the heck can the Justice Dept. decide which is which? Are they licensed to practice medicine?

H/T Stop The Drug War

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Homeless Encampment?

In my continual search for all things weird and wonderful about American culture I came across a bit about a woman doing a series of pole dances using highway signs as props.

When commuters spotted a woman in a belly dancing get-up getting her groove on with a road sign, they called 911. It's more than you might expect to see along the side of Interstate 880 in San Leandro on a Monday afternoon.

The first call described a woman belly dancing along the right side of the road at 3:07 p.m. A minute later, drivers reported that she was using a light pole as a dancing prop and then a highway sign for a pole dance.
Well that is interesting. Nothing unusual for Wackifornia. It is the next bit that really caught my attention. After the police were called and chased the woman she got away.
By the time officers arrived at the scene, the woman had ducked into the brush near a homeless encampment and run away, Johnson said.
Now what exactly is a homeless encampment? And why is California hosting them?

Maybe it has something to do with housing prices like this or like this.

Friday, February 01, 2008

We Have Beaches

I was reading at Alphecca about the Brady anti-gun campaign's rating of various States on the level of their gun prohibition laws. A low rating means a gun friendly state. A high rating means very unfriendly to fire arms. California is very unfriendly. Here is the take of one commenter from California. Of course like any good Californian he has turned the list upside down and is interpreting it "improperly".

Wow, California is at the bottom? And by a big margin, too. I knew it was bad out here but I thought MA and MD had it worse.

So, as I’ve asked before, when are y’all going to invade? We have beaches!

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values