Saturday, May 09, 2009

Farrah Near the End

--- Click Picture For Update ---
The weekend is expected to be a somber one for friends of Farrah Fawcett. Her longtime partner Ryan O’Neal told People magazine that Fawcett “stays in bed now,” and her treatment “has pretty much ended.” .... The actress, 62, was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Fawcett was declared cancer-free in February 2007. However, in May 2007, she was informed that her cancer had returned.

A Great Story (h/t Hot Air) -- *Tears*

CBS Story

Actual Medal Ceremony (The New Jersey Hall of Fame honors Lt. Brian Brennan)

Spin Masters: Military * Stats + Bias = Liberal Agenda (MSNBC & NPR)

I have recently come across this wonderful blogger/retired physician. Her name is Nancy Reyes, her catalogued articles can be found at the Blogger News Network, and her blog is not typically about political affairs at all: FinestKind Clinic and Fish Market. (She mainly writes on health issues or food.) How, you may ask did I come across this blogger/physician? Well, I overheard in a conversation someone mention the high suicide rates of our military are higher than the rest of the country. I remember hearing Michael Medved (if memory serves) going through the stats and correcting a caller on this subject. But very similar to other stats used by politicians in the past few elections (just as examples) these stats are easily shown to be misstated or misused. When I hear people make these claims – suicide rates of our military, unequal pay between genders, anthropogenic global warming, and the like -- I often think how these people can make decisions and assumptions on statements made by media that has been proven to be biased time-and-time again.

There have been many studies done on where NPR for instance comes down on the side of the abortion controversy with how many stories and experts who give their input on the matter; the amount of “experts” brought in to support the Palestinian view of things versus how many people they bring in to support the Israeli view of the conflict; the amount of pro-2nd Amendment versus how many stories it lines up with “experts” who are for more gun regulation. The graph below is an example of NPR’s use of conservative versus liberal think tanks in the presentation of their stories (see graph below):

Heck, there are whole sites committed to following and exposing NPR’s biased reporting, one is NPR Sucks, for example. Another small article shows why this seems to be the case, a liberal slant to reporting that is, is one entitled, “Few Reporters Describe Themselves as Conservatives.” This isn’t a “big conspiracy,” rather, it is a culture born in the universities about 40 years ago. All this being said, I think the below articles are a must read. The reader should see my already mentioned link to ad to his or her understanding of how stats are misused. While keeping those examples in mind, the crux of the misuse of the below stats is this:

By comparing a population that is 90 percent men to the general population, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Suicide attempts are more common in the female population, but the men who try it succeed at a higher rate. Taking this higher rate in men (which the military is primarily composed of) and then comparing this to the population as a whole (men and women in other words) is skewing the results.

Army desertion rate up 80%? More lying with statistics

Last week, it was CBS jiggling the numbers to bash the war in Iraq by stating Veterans had a suicide rate of 18, much higher than the civilian population’s rate of 11 (ignoring that it was only slightly higher than the suicide rate for men, which was 17, and a heck of a lot lower than the rate for doctors, which is 30/100 000 per year).

This week the headline is “Army Desertion rate up 80%”.

The problem? the number “80%” implies a huge increase. But in statistics, if you start with a small number, it doesn’t take a large number to get a huge increase.

So the actual numbers are an increase from 0.7 % to 0.9%. For those of you who are numerically challenged, both those numbers are less than one percent:

  • According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier.

Many of the desertions are soldiers who don’t want to go back to a war, but many are about soldiers with family problems. Many wives and families are severely stressed by their husband or wife going overseas, and sometimes soldiers just disappear because their families need them more than the Army. Often they report in later, and get an administrative discharge. The article implies the majority are war protesters and says that Canada no longer welcomes them, but the article does not give hard data on this.

Many just don’t like the Army, and it has nothing to do with the war. This NYTimes article notes that the number who actually deserted the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan was 109 (out of the 1 million military who served in these areas since 2003). The real worry is that some of the deserters are not anti war as much as suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and cannot face staying in the military. Others have family problems, such as spouses theatening child custody or divorce. The military is sensitive to these problems, and tries to work out helping the soldier rather than punishing him or her.

As a comparison, the article admits that during Viet Nam, the desertion rate was 5%, and many were for being against that war.

Finally, if you go down to the end of the article, you find the desertion rates for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force are either stable or have gone down.

Nope, can’t publish good news, folks, let’s just move along…

Yup….just ignore the headline.

The war in Iraq is going well, so we have to find bad news to report…..

But just wait a week. Christmas is coming and the MSM will start their annual deluge of articles explaining why Christ was just a myth and Christians are delusional.

The Military and Suicides, Part One: Spinning statistics

The US Army is very worried about suicide and injuries in returning veterans. Stress in soldiers, and in returning veterans, is nothing new:

  • During World War II, PTSD was an even more serious problem. In the European Theater, 25 percent of all casualties were serious PTSD cases, compared to about 20 percent today. In the Pacific Theater, the rate varied widely, depending on the campaign. In some of the most intense fighting, like Okinawa in 1945, PTSD accounted for over a third of all wounded. In Iraq, less than ten percent of the wounded are PTSD, but the more troops serve in a combat zone, in combat jobs, the more likely they are to develop PTSD. This has been known for over a century.

One of the results of this is, alas, suicide.

The annual suicide statistics of the military/VA have been released.

The good news? The suicide rate remains low.

The bad news? The press is spinning the numbers to fit into the “Evil Iraq war is killing soldiers” and “the Military doesn’t care about the soldiers” meme (to fit the ultimate meme: Evil Bush’s war and evil Republicans don’t care).

Well, never mind the politics. I’m a doctor. Suicide is a major public health problem in the US (and in many countries). But there are a lot of myths out there.

So let’s look at myth number one:

CNN article: Headline: Army Suicide rates could top nation’s this year.

The story is not half bad, but you have to dig into the actual statistics to find the details.

  • As of August, 62 Army soldiers have committed suicide, and 31 cases of possible suicide remain under investigation, according to Army statistics. Last year, the Army recorded 115 suicides among its ranks, which was also higher than the previous year.

Well, one would expect a higher rate of returning veterans, who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress syndrome.

Problem: By not placing it into the context of total number of those who served in the Army, we cannot do a comparison.

But the third paragraph is the real problem:

  • Army officials said that if the trend continues this year, it will pass the nation’s suicide rate of 19.5 people per 100,000, a 2005 figure considered the most recent by the government.

That, my friends, is spin.

You see, suicide rates vary by age and by sex.

Although women have a higher rate of attempted suicide, men die of suicide at a much higher rate than the general population.

The rate of suicide of the general population is 19.5

The rate of suicide in men from the ages of 20 to 35 in 1980 was 24.

The rate of suicide in women from the ages of 20 to 35 was 5.

By comparing a population that is 90 percent men to the general population, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Certain groups: older men, alcoholics, minorities, and those with mental health problems, have a higher rate also.

So CNN assures us:

  • According to the VA, about 46 of 100,000 males between the ages of 18 and 29 utilizing VA services committed suicide in 2006, compared with about 27 the year before.

A very high rate. Except this is not the general population: this is the rate of those using the VA services, including those with mental health problems. By eliminating the healthy from the statistics, it makes the rate look higher than if the numbers included the entire population of military personnel.

The rest of the article goes on to say the VA is going to improve care for those with PTSS and depression.

So it’s not like nothing is being done: they are just trying to improve the care of the veterans.

For example, unmentioned in the article is that a pre 2001 program in the AirForce was credited with lowering it’s suicide rate from 16.4 yo 9.4 per 100 000 in two years.

Ironically, the article citing the Air Force is not about military suicides, but about suicides in physicians.

  • Eva Schernhammer and Graham Colditz examined the results of 25 studies of physician suicides and concluded that male doctors killed themselves at a rate 41 percent higher than that of other men and women. The more startling finding was that female doctors take their lives at a rate more than twice (2.27 times) that of the general public.

So how does one screen for and prevent suicide?

That part comes in part two.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

1A Raises Taxes By Extending Them

(Click Graph for Link)

Prop. 1A will raise taxes on all Californians and extend these taxes for one to two years, taking another $16 billion from you! The already approved tax increase will cost a typical California family $1,100 annually.

HIGHER SALES TAX! Proposition 1A will extend the sales tax hike for an additional full year. California taxpayers already pay the highest sales tax in the nation. This is a direct attack on all working families, especially low-income residents.

HIGHER CAR TAX! Proposition 1A will extend the DOUBLING of the car tax. This affects every California car owner.

HIGHER STATE INCOME TAX! Proposition 1A will extend an income tax increase for two extra years. Californians already pay the highest income tax rates in the nation. Under Prop. 1A, you’ll pay even more.

REDUCTION OF TAX CREDIT FOR DEPENDENTS! Californians with children will see a reduction in the tax credits for dependents, costing them $200 per child. Prop. 1A will extend this attack on families for an extra two years.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is urging a vote of "NO" on Prop. 1A, which DOUBLES the tax increase!

  • Proposition 1B: Provides extra funds for schools and community colleges starting in 2011 to compensate for cuts in the current budget.
  • Proposition 1C: Allows the state to borrow $5 billion against future state lottery sales; allows the state to change the lottery system to generate more revenue and use funds for programs other than education.
  • Proposition 1D: Allows the state to divert $608 million from Proposition 10 (tobacco tax for children's health care) to general-fund costs of children's health care in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009. The amount drops to $268 million a year from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2014.
  • Proposition 1E: Allows the state to divert $230 million a year from Proposition 63 (taxes the wealthy to fund mental health programs) to offset general fund costs of other mental health programs for two years beginning July 1, 2009.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hate Crime Protection for Pedophiles but No Protection for Military

This is imported from Atlas Shrugs

Hate crime -- hate is in the eye of the beholder, eh? And if you are a Democrat - you protect child rapists, but God forbid you protect the military.

Hate crime legislation will be used as a tool against the right. Period. A crime is a crime. WTF is the "hate" bias? Will those screaming for the death to Jews at those demonstrations in January be prosecuted under these laws?

Who are these people? Good is evil and evil is good. Good luck with that super majority, America.

Over at Red State:

This is really kind of mind numbing and demonstrates what is wrong with Congress.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) offered up an amendment to the hate crimes bill to exclude pedophiles from being a protected category under the hate crimes legislation.

Every single Democrat voted it down.

In the same meeting, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) offered an amendment to include veterans as a class protected under the hate crimes bill. Not only did the Democrats vote it down, but Cogresswoman Debbie Waasserman Schultz attacked the Republicans for even thinking veterans might need protection under hate crimes legislation. After all, who but Democrats in Congress hate veterans?

Audio: Chuck Todd admits the Lauria allegations are serious

(h/t, HotAir)

Dennis Prager & John Stossel - Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (4-Parts)

Dom Deluise -- R.I.P To A Great Comedian

Canon Ball (1 & 2) Outtakes:

Dom on the Muppet Show: show dom deluise

Cooking with Dom DeLuise - Secret CD-ROM Tip

Dom DeLuise and Dean Martin

Timmie Rogers: The Dom DeLuise Show -- Dom broke many "taboos" of the day.

66 British Babies Survived Abortion

May Day San Fran Rally (Imported from ZomBlog)

San Francisco’s May Day political rally, sponsored by a variety of communist groups and labor unions, found itself drenched by some unseasonably wet weather. Only a few hundred people showed up for what was advertised as a major event. The Bolsheviks, for example, put a tent over their booth, but even with the protection from the rain, attendance was extremely sparse . The “4″ superimposed on the hammer-and-sickle is the symbol for “The Fourth International,” or the form of communism promoted by Leon Trotsky.

In order to attract a larger crowd, the event had also been billed as a pro-amnesty rally. Despite there being no real connection between International Workers’ Day (May 1) and the immigration issue, most of the attendees carried signs about amnesty, and most of the speeches and signs were in Spanish. Some groups combined the two themes, such as the pro-amnesty socialist group seen here.

And as always, the Revolutionary Communist Party tried to come up with the most attention-grabbing slogan.

Several people in the crowd carried mysterious messages about “melting the ice.” I’m not quite sure if they were advocates in favor of global warming, or if they had some other agenda in mind.

Some took a different approach and suggested we crush the ice instead.

Down with ice!

The usual socialist literature was on sale, with some stuff seemingly left over from 2004 and 2005.

And of course the usual obsession with Jews and Israel. Par for the course.

NYC Human Rights Rally Against Islamic Supremacism: Simon Deng

The Rainbow coalition protested the violation of human rights by political Islam and shariah law. Though drenched in the rain, 300-500 decent and good people made their way to Times Square in NYC and stood up to the Islamic violence and oppression of free men across the world. Spectacularly diverse but unified in our purpose - life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and an absolute end to jihad

Angry Left -- Where Is The Tolerance?? (Miss California - Carrie Prejean)

Liberal Hate Speech -- Tow the Line, Or Else!

My wife gets the Victoria's Secret catalog in the mail. Does this mean my wife and I are not Christian's? I guess Christian's need not be employed by businesses that make or display underwear, lingerie, or now apparently even get breast implants. The left and skeptics seem to build straw men arguments by saying what a Christian can-and-cannot do, wear, or augment -- and then attack these supposed stances as proof for their view. If they do do these false premises, they are not Christians. Here is a short "religious" answer to this:

It is wrong to condemn all Christian as hypocrites. Christians do not claim to be perfect. If Christianity claimed to be an organization for perfect people, then all Christians would be hypocrites.Though not all Christians are hypocrites, all Christians are sinners. In fact, admitting that one is a sinner is a prerequisite to belonging to the Church. Public acknowledgment of one’s sinful condition is a condition for membership. Though hypocrisy is a sin, being a sinner does not necessarily make someone guilty of hypocrisy. The terms sinner and hypocrite are not synonyms.

Many skeptics are actually guilty of imposing a double standard on Christians. They expect Christians to hold to standards they themselves could never dream of attain. Moreover, when Christians do try and live up to these standards, they are often accused of false piety and pretense.Christians are not perfect; they are forgiven. They are seeking to become more Christ-like and Godly in their conduct. The vast majority of Christians fall into this category. They are sincerely striving to live the Christian life.

When someone charges that the Church is full of hypocrites, they are really implying that because Christians fall short, Christianity also falls short. The central truth of Christianity does not rest in the performance of its followers but in the merit of its founder. Christianity stands or falls with the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, the real question is not are there hypocrites in the church, but rather, was Christ a hypocrite?

Feminists should all be out rallying around this gal for the anti-woman remarks made by her. But they are not. This fact goes a long way to show that these are not truly feminist but "feminazis." I have posted a long paper on this topic (Women & Religion) that starts out with a gnostic feminist attack on theology, and later ending with a secular critique on modern feminism. Even Bill Maher agrees that this problem (intolerance for others views) is a problem for the left.

An Example of this straw-man

One should take these arguments and apply them to her or his own arguments. This is typically what I ask others to do.

Dennis Prager University Grows

While Dennis is building his own site, fans of his (like myself) have started are own "universities" for a while now. Here are some of my links to his works:

For those visiting here, I have another audio of Prager discussing "Generalizations" at my YouTube account. I also have a section in the left-hand column of video and audio presentations by clear conservative thinkers under the box entitled, "Must See Video/Audio." Enjoy your time here. My email is at the top of this site if any questions are spawned here.

(2005) Classic Coulter -- Bill Maher Debates Ann Coulter


Painful Cartoons