November 19, 2006

Contrasting NY Times Obit Headlines: Galbraith vs. Friedman

Bolded words are mine:

April 30, 2006
John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, Dies; Economist Held a Mirror to Society

November 16, 2006
Milton Friedman, Free Markets Theorist, Dies at 94

Economist Friedman accomplished more in reality than Galbraith ever did in theory or in reality.

Cross-posted at


UPDATE, Nov. 20The Business & Media Institute (HT Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters) notes very different coverage of Galbraith and Friedman in the Washington Post at the time of their deaths. Guess who got more ink and favorable notice without any snark?

A $100K party for friends in Vegas, Thrown and Paid for by Dead Soldier

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 10:22 pm

Words fail. Read it (HT Hot Air). Marvel at the courage, forethought, and selflessness. Save it to the hard drive. Never forget; his friends and family haven’t.

Weekend Question 3: Who Is America’s Soon-To-Be Best Governor?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 2:40 pm

ANSWER: With Florida’s Jeb Bush leaving (see previous post), it appears to be Alabama’s Bob Riley.


From Quin Hillyer’s column this past Thursday at

As Republicans coast to coast were burying their many political dead, a Republican governor once given up for dead was enjoying a landslide victory. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley was re-elected last week, beating long-popular Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley with more than 58% of the vote, including an impressive 20% of the black vote. His victory was not simply the result of Alabama being a Republican state: Democrats won the two next most prominent statewide races, those for lieutenant governor and Supreme Court chief justice. In Alabama as elsewhere, this was a Democratic year–with the notable exception of Mr. Riley, a conservative reformer in cowboy boots, with a cheerful, Reagan-like demeanor.

….. During his first year in office, Mr. Riley pushed an ambitious, complicated tax-reform proposal that was part of a multiyear plan to shift revenues to under-funded departments such as law enforcement while relieving the tax burden on low-income workers. Derided (a bit misleadingly) by opponents as a huge tax increase–although far more people would have enjoyed a tax cut than endured a tax hike under the proposal–the initiative was destroyed in a statewide referendum, receiving only 32.5% of the vote. Pundits immediately pronounced the governor a total goner.

How, then, did Mr. Riley recover from such political disaster to win re-election so resoundingly? Not just Mr. Riley but editorial writers across the state will readily identify his successes in the “Three Es”: economic development, education and, not least, ethics. Consider the statistics: An unemployment rate that dropped to an astonishingly low (especially for Alabama) 3.3% from 5.3%; school test scores rising, especially in reading proficiency in at-risk schools blessed with the Riley-backed (and nationally copied) Alabama Reading Initiative; and public standards of ethics combined with radically open government records, along with measurable performance standards imposed on every department of state government.

….. A labama has been ravaged by three hurricanes during Mr. Riley’s tenure, and the state’s response each time was a model of effectiveness. Listen to Howard Shell, since 1986 the mayor of Atmore (pop. 8,000): “Ivan and Dennis both hit us hard. . . . For the city of Atmore, Gov. Riley was really responsive when we really needed it. Just one phone call to him, and he began to make things happen. He got us extra law enforcement right away, he got forestry experts [to clear fallen trees], he got all the state agencies to help in every way. . . . He’s one of the most proactive governors we have had, the best we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Mr. Riley’s particular genius, meanwhile, has been evident in his efforts at business development. He consolidated nine different state agencies charged with economic development into just one, hired top-notch administrators and used federal grants more wisely by paying attention to small details such as re-routing small roads, building water tanks and improving the state’s job-training agencies so that they provide what he calls “job-specific, product-specific, even company-specific training.”

For four years running, Southern Business and Development Magazine has named Alabama its “state of the year.” Site Selection magazine ranked the Alabama Development Office as the top such agency in the nation. And even in the state’s rural, long-impoverished “Black Belt” (so named for the color of its loamy soil), unemployment has dropped to 7.7% from many years in the double digits, largely due to initiatives by the Riley-created Black Belt Action Commission.

Notice that Riley made his recovery, and achieved his ascendancy, by attending to those “three Es,” which are the governmental equivalents of blocking and tackling in football — i.e., the “boring stuff.” But doing the boring stuff right eventually gets noticed, because it gets real results.

I don’t suppose Yellowhammer State residents (yes, that IS the state’s nickname) would consider letting Riley migrate to Ohio, would they?

Stem Cell News You Can Use (111906)

Filed under: Life-Based News — Tom @ 10:06 am

From Life News, concerning the “adult” variety, of course:

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Dogs With Muscular Dystrophy, People Next
November 15, 2006

Milan, Italy ( — Adult stem cell research continues to show great promise and researchers in Italy have shown that adult stem cells can ease the symptoms associated with muscular dystrophy. The results, seen in dogs, show great promise for treating people down the road and avoid the ethical concerns of embryonic cells.

The scientists published the results of their research online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Giulio Cossu, director of the Stem Cell Research Institute at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan in Italy, lead the team. They found that dogs with the condition were able to walk faster and even jump after the stem cell treatments.

The dogs had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle disorder that affects about 1 in every 3,500 boys. It is the most severe, yet the most common form of the disease.

“We do not know whether this will work in patients,” Cossu said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. However, he said he hopes to begin treatments on children next year or in 2008.

One five month old dog named Azor was limping because of the disease but after the treatments was able to romp around with other puppies.

“Azor regained incredible mobility, much more than when the treatment started,” said Prof Cossu.

“He could not extend his hind limbs at first and was jumping like a rabbit. But it was amazing to see how he could then move, without any fatigue. In dogs, this is the best result so far.”

The research wrote that they found the best results when obtaining adult stem cells from other dogs but they said a patient’s own stem cells may be able to work just as well and help them avoid having to deal with potential rejection issues.

Johnny Huard of the University of Pittsburgh, who didn’t participate in the research, told AP the results are “a great breakthrough for all of us working on stem cells for muscular dystrophy.”

Sharon Hesterlee, vice president of translational research at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which helped pay for the research, told AP the study is one of the most exciting her group has seen in years and she is optimistic it will eventually lead to treatments for people.

Positivity: Generous 6-year-old proves to priest that he’s not alone in his ministry (Also see Update from His Father)

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

It’s a small story. It’s also a great story about a great kid, and the parents who helped him:

Kissimmee, FL; Nov. 10, 2006 – Back in August Catholics and non-Catholics alike were dismayed to hear the story of a priest who was issued a parking ticket while rushing to administer the Sacraments to a hospitalized woman. Several people responded with prayers, donations, and words of support for the priest and his ministry, but none had quite the same effect as 6-year old Brandon Rodriguez.

Young Rodriguez was at the family dinner table in Kissimmee, Florida listening to his father and mother recount the story of Fr. Cletus Forson–ticketed by the city of New York while he made an emergency hospital call to what he thought to be a dying woman. Despite Fr. Forson’s placing a “Clergy on Call” placard in his window before rushing into the hospital, city officials ticked his vehicle alone among the many others left by hospital employees.

“I was very upset and sad,” Rodriguez’s father Izzy told CNA. In the middle of dinner, Brandon suddenly jumped out of his seat and ran to his room, returning with a t-shirt sagging with change and his suitcase.”

“How much do I have?” Brandon asked.

Knowing what his son was up to, Rodriquez told him he had enough to do whatever he wanted.

Brandon replied, “I want to go to New York and help the Father!”

Rodriguez didn’t think much of the idea until the next evening when he returned from work. Walking into the house from the auto shop he runs, Rodriquez was confronted by an insistent Brandon, “So, when are we leaving to New York?”

With that, Rodriguez’s wife Karen booked a flight for father and son and soon they were off.

Priestly Inspiration

The Rodriguez pair met with Fr. Forson at his Brooklyn parish, offering their moral and spiritual support. Izzy also gave the priest a check which more than paid for the ticket.

But Fr. Forson told CNA that the financial support was not the most moving part of the story. “This 6 year old Brandon who came and said, ‘well Father, carry on and good job,’ that short sentence of encouragement…does more for me than the money they came to give.”

The priest added that the wave of support he has received from around the nation has greatly moved him. “Its certainly revitalizing,” he said. “It gives me a sense of hope and strength that I’m not alone in my ministry; there are people out there who support the ministry that I’m doing.”

Fr. Forson is ordained for a diocese in Ghana, Africa, and is helping out at a Brooklyn parish while he works on his doctorate. He said that although the city went ahead with charges, he has nonetheless been inspired by the whole event.

“There has been so much said about the ticket… on our side, the story has been closed. For me it’s a time to go ahead with vitality and hope that in spite of everything there are people out there who still value the work that we do as priests. In the midst of all the notes from among Catholics there are also not-Catholics who have spoken in favor of what I did. That really gives me and other priests a sense of edification.”

If anyone is not surprised by the event, it’s Brandon’s parents. The elder Rodriquez boasted to CNA that “We have an awesome 6 year old son and are we blessed…Brandon is just a giver with God in his heart.”


UPDATE, Nov. 20 — Just received this from Brandon’s Dad Izzy:

Dear Bizzy Blog, Thank you so much for putting our son’s story in your site. We are very proud of Brandon and he is just an awesome son. Brandon made New 13 in Orlando Florida” Central Floridian of the Week” and will also be on 92kfm radio on tuesday the 21st of Nov at about 10:00am or so. He is just becoming a super star for the less fortunate and he loves it all. Brandon also will be on Nov 27th on Animal Planet Back Yard Habitat from Arnold Palmer Hospital. Thank you again and if you or anyone wishes to e-mail him, please feel free to do so at God Bless you….Brandon’s dad….Izzy

Brandon isn’t the only special person in the Rodriguez family.

After OSU-MI’s 42-39 Game, It Should Be Rematch Time

Filed under: General — Tom @ 12:03 am

Rutgers’s loss to Cincinnati only proves the “any given day (or night)” cliche doesn’t just belong to the NFL any more, and how evenly matched college football teams are today. Recall that UC gave OSU a half-decent game at OSU for a little over a half.

I don’t see how you drop Michigan below #2 after today’s close one. There isn’t a better one-loss team in the country. Notre Dame beating Southern Cal and Florida losing an SEC championship game would make the process easier, but IMO the OSU-Michigan rematch should be on for the national championship no matter what.


ADDENDUM: Really now, who do you think OSU would least want to play on January 8?

UPDATE: Michigan remains at Number 2 in the BCS Rankings (.9263) by the slimmest of margins over USC (.9188), a fair amount of daylight over Florida (.8838), and a big gap over Notre Dame (.8198). USC’s as close as it is because the two human polls (Harris and USA Today) have the Trojans at Number 2, while five out of the six computer rankings have the Wolverines at Number 2. This is officially ridiculous; USC’s loss is to a team (Oregon State) that isn’t anywhere near anyone’s Top 25. Michigan should be miles ahead of USC.