June 28, 2009

Bert Brady: Person of the Week

Filed under: Activism,US & Allied Military — Rose @ 10:26 pm

This video is two years old, but I wanted to document the fact that before they sold their souls to become the “All Barack Channel,” ABC News actually produced a 3-minute segment worth watching…and repeating:

Person of the Week – Bert Brady – Welcome Home (audio saved at host) —

BTW, Barack’s “Prescription for America” infomercial came in dead last (HT The Live Feed via Michelle Malkin) …along with some re-runs.

You’re Welcome; Any Time, John

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:56 pm

KasichOnBBeconomyPost0609

And I’ll take any excuse I can get to re-post the graphic from that post at BizzyBlog (there’s no space between the words):

USspendingWithKasichStrickland0609

I’m glad John is having fun with the campaign. Ohioans, on the other hand, aren’t having a lot of fun with the results of Ted Strickland’s poor economic stewardship or the year-old nationwide POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.

(Can’t wait for the campaign coordination conspiracy theorists to weigh in ….)

Positivity: Boston Cardinal O’Malley Yields — Caritas ends venture over abortion issue

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 10:55 am

From Boston, and Massachusetts, via Voting Catholic/Lead Us Not Into Temptation), noting a near-total activist triumph that will more than likely save pre-born lives — for now:

NEWS RELEASE

SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: C. J. DOYLE
(781) 251-9739

CARITAS CHRISTI WITHDRAWS FROM CELTICARE

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today welcomed the news that Caritas Christi Health Care — the network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston — has withdrawn, under Archdiocesan pressure, from the HMO CeltiCare, which it co-founded and co-owned with the Centene Corporation. CeltiCare was established in May to administer a state funded Commonwealth Care health insurance contract, scheduled to start on July 1, which includes abortion coverage. It was the Catholic Action League which revealed on June 8 that CeltiCare advertised abortion as part of its health plans and listed Planned Parenthood as a reproductive services provider.

The Catholic Action League called the decision by Caritas to withdraw from CeltiCare “an 11th hour, but only partial victory, for the thousands of pro-life Catholics who have spent the last four months bombarding the Archdiocese of Boston with letters, petitions, phone calls and e-mails. The League warned however, that any continued participation by Caritas Christi in Commonwealth Care would obligate Caritas, directly or indirectly, to make abortion referrals.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “Caritas Christi has indicated that a woman seeking an abortion at a Caritas hospital will be sent back to her insurer. For Commonwealth Care members that insurer will be CeltiCare, which will not only procure the abortion but will provide transportation to the abortion facility. Instead of offering compassionate alternatives to abortion, Caritas Christi will still be engaged in a two-step abortion referral. Troubling questions also remain about whether Caritas has already benefited financially from this contract, and whether it continues to have an ongoing relationship with the Centene Corporation.”

“Other questions are still unanswered. It has been publicly known since the 27th of February that this contract entailed participation in state subsidized abortions. The Caritas Christi Board of Governors, which includes an Archdiocesan Cabinet Secretary, has presumably known this since the end of 2008. Why did Caritas, with Archdiocesan support, seek to secure and eventually sign a contract which they knew to be morally problematic? Why did Cardinal O’Malley castigate the now vindicated critics of the contract as doing ‘a great disservice to the Catholic Church’? Why did it take the Archdiocese six months (just five days before the start-up date) to begin to disengage?”

“Caritas withdrew from CeltiCare because it became a toxic public relations liability for the Archdiocese, provoking a firestorm of pro-life opposition throughout the country. If Caritas is to remain faithful to Catholic moral principles is must withdraw however, not only from CeltiCare but from the entire Commonwealth Care contract.”

More is at the American Life League’s press release, Voting Catholic/Lead Us Not, NECN (where the Catholic Action League’s Doyle asks a pointed question about the Cardinal), and the Boston (typically biased; see comment 6 at link) Globe.

This of course raises questions yet to be explored if an arrangement like CommonweathCare ever goes national.

Fun With Numbers

Note: This column appeared at Pajamas Media and was teased at BizzyBlog on Friday.

___________________________________________

Employing basic math functions enhances understanding of current events.

___________________________________________

In his important 1988 book, “Cultural Literacy,” E.D. Hirsch warned “that children in the U.S. are being deprived of the basic knowledge that would enable them to function in contemporary society.”

Two decades later, we see the tragic results of our near-total failure to heed Hirsch’s alarm. The basic information that most high school and college graduates don’t know continues to astound those of us of all ages who managed to received a pretty decent, often non-public education. In the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 2008 test of civic literacy, gauging citizens’ “knowledge of America’s founding principles and texts, core history, and enduring institutions,” 71% failed. (The 33-question test is here. It isn’t that tough.)

That there has been a steep decline in basic math skills during the same time period is no secret to anyone who has taught classes to young adults and quietly gasped upon seeing many of them reach for their calculators so they could perform a division as easy as 72 by 9. Many of them literally cower in fear at the thought of completing a math “word problem.”

In 1989, the year after Hirsch’s book appeared, according to a November 14, 2006 New York Times article, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the nation’s leading group of math teachers, introduced “standards” that “let children explore their own solutions to problems, write and draw pictures about math, and use tools like the calculator ….” This move, properly derided as “fuzzy math,” contributed mightily to the nation’s basic skills decay. One parent quoted by the Times reported being told by a teacher that “We don’t teach long division; it stifles their creativity.”

Though it would be easy to exaggerate its significance, it seems that there has been a bit of a rebirth of interest in basic math. If so, it’s coming none too late, because nature abhors a vacuum. Those who wish to capitalize on a math-ignorant populace are only too eager to fill it. Many of the void-fillers work in government, or for “advocacy groups.”

Applying basic math to recent news reports can reveal very useful information. Here, phrased as those dreaded “word problems,” are four such examples (numbers are rounded in some cases to make calculating the results easier).

Problem: Chrysler sold 79,000 vehicles in May during 26 selling days. During the month, before 800 dealers were terminated, it had 3,200 dealers. How many cars did the average Chrysler dealer sell per selling day in May?

Answer: Less than one (79,000 ÷ 26 ÷ 3,200 = 0.95).

Comments: That really makes you wonder what your billions of tax dollars are subsidizing, doesn’t it? Even with the dealer reductions, if overall sales volume stays the same, the average Chrysler dealer will be selling about 1.27 cars a day. Big whoop.

Problem: The Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati may receive a 2-year subsidy of $3.1 million from the State of Ohio to keep its doors open. The Center receives 62,000 visitors per year who pay $9 or less to get in. If attendance stays the same, how much will each visit be subsidized by state taxpayers during the next two years?

Answer: $25 ($3.1 million ÷ 2 ÷ 62,000).

Comments: The Center is a noble endeavor. But, in the white guilt-ridden aftermath of the city’s 2001 riots, it was placed on too-valuable land, and its potential was overhyped. There’s no reason the important and awful legacy of slavery cannot be recalled on a smaller but equally effective scale. As long as the taxpayer subsidy of roughly triple what visitors pay continues, that won’t happen.

Problem: President Obama claims that his health care plan will cost $1 trillion over 10 years while reducing the number of Americans without health insurance from 46 million to 30 million. If all of this comes to pass, how much will taxpayers shell out for the average newly insured person per year, even if the expected drop in the number of uninsured occurs immediately?

Answer: $6,250 ($1 trillion ÷ 10 ÷ the 16 million alleged reduction in the uninsured).

Comments: I know health insurance costs are high, but any pre-Medicare single person without major health issues should be able to get gold-plated coverage for far less than $6,250. The result also implies that the government will be shelling out an absurd $25,000 for a family of four. Where is all that money going to go? And how in the world can the Obama plan claim to be reducing costs? Additionally, the real answer to the problem is much, much higher in the real world, because the drop in the uninsured will occur gradually.

Problem: An advocacy organization claimed in mid-June that “clean energy” jobs grew by 9.1% during the decade ending in 2007, while jobs in the economy as a whole grew by only 3.7%. Seasonally adjusted data found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that there were 124 million Americans working at the end of 1997, and 138 million at the end of 2007.
A) What was the percentage of job growth in the whole economy during the decade?
B) What does that result do to the claim by the advocacy group that ” The number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007″?

Answers:
A) 11.3% ([138 – 124] ÷ 124).
B) The result blows the claim made by the Pew Charitable Trusts to smithereens.

Comments: The Associated Press repeated Pew’s claim. Its reporters were either ignorant, lazy, or were conditioned to believe the organization’s absurdly low number by the wire service’s virtual non-stop denigration of the economy during the Bush years. Nobody with a brain at Pew or the AP should have bought the 3.7% claim. The fact that a Pew representative has lamely defended the study instead of retracting it is a risible disgrace. If AP has issued a correction, I haven’t seen it, and I’ve looked.

Hmm. It turns out that my problems mostly involved only one of the four basic math functions. That goes to show that America badly needs a lot more of at least one kind of division.