August 29, 2009

Ted Kennedy’s Sense of Humor…

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 1:41 pm

Sigh…I wasn’t planning on commenting on Ted Kennedy because frankly I didn’t want to waste the time, energy or keystrokes.

When an emailer sent the following audio to me however, I had to reconsider, especially in light of all the “Ted is king” crap being spewed by democrats and republicans alike. As such, we should be suspect of ANY two-bit politician who lionizes this man when he, himself made no secret about who and what he was…

This clip is from the Diane Rehm (NPR) Show. Guest host Kitty Kay is interviewing Ed Klein, Kennedy biographer & confidant.

Listen for the music to cue a commercial when everyone realizes that Ed has just disclosed the true wantonness of Ted Kennedy’s character and for all the world to hear:

What a funny guy that Ted was… I wonder if he is laughing now?

Capitalism Saved the Whales…

I’m sure it can save the caribou, too…that’s if the whacknuts (specifically Congress and domestic terrorists) will get out of the way. (HT: Emailer)

Just a couple of days ago…

MORRIS & DE LA ROSA
CHICAGO

August 27, 2009

From: Joseph A. Morris
Subject: On This Day in History: Capitalism Saved the Whales!

It was 150 years ago today — on Friday, August 27, 1859 — that “Colonel” Edwin Drake struck oil 69.5 feet below the surface at his well near Titusville, Pennsylvania.

(The title of “colonel” was entirely honorific. Drake was a native of New York who grew up in Vermont and began his adult life in Connecticut. He had worked mainly as a railway clerk and conductor. He was a newcomer to Pennsylvania, and he was never commissioned in any military organization.)

Drake would not know of the strike until the next morning, Saturday, August 28, 1859, when workers, returning to the well after drilling late on the previous day, noticed that crude oil was bubbling to the surface and they reported it to the Colonel.

Although it was already known that petroleum oil (“rock oil”, as it was then called) would yield kerosene, it was not yet available in sufficient quantities and qualities to make its use commercially viable. People still depended in the mid-19th century on sperm whale oil for lighting homes, businesses, and streets, a product obtainable only by capturing and slaughtering whales.

The lowest historical prices of the least expensive type of whale oil was reached in the 1820s, when it was priced at $200 per barrel (in 2003 dollars). By 1855 whale oil was selling at more than $1,500 per barrel (in 2003 dollars). At 42 gallons per barrel, that works out to $35 per gallon (in 2003 dollars).

In short, whale oil was extremely expensive — and, of course, came at a catastrophic price to whales. By the late 1850s the worldwide sperm whale population was seriously dwindling and was coming close to extinction. Meanwhile, people in America and elsewhere throughout the world were approaching a crisis in lighting and energy supply.

Aware that previous attempts at drilling for oil had ended in failure, Drake had an idea that would made his discovery possible: He surrounded his drill with a pipe down to bedrock, thereby preventing water seepage from causing the drill hole to collapse. This enabled the drilling of holes sufficiently deep to permit oil to be tapped in large quantities. (Before Drake, only very small quantities of oil were recoverable, mainly through chance locations of oil percolating up to the surface.)

Drake’s initial production ranged from 10 to 35 barrels per day. He used the containers that were readily at hand on short notice — recycled whiskey barrels. In generating even that small amount of crude from a single well, Drake single-handedly doubled the world’s oil supply.

Drake’s achievement on this day in 1859 led directly and swiftly to the development of the petroleum oil industry, producing oil in sufficient quantities and grades — at amazingly low prices — to allow it to be used both for energy and for lubricants and in home, business, and industrial applications. This, in turn, led to rapid mechanization and industrialization, as well as to a revolution in the supply of energy to people’s residences, schools, places of business, and vehicles.

The whale oil business — not the whales — went extinct almost overnight, replaced by the petroleum industry.

Petroleum oil and its derivatives remain abundant and, in comparison both with historic prices and with the prices of all known alternatives, cheap to this day.

This is not to say that better and cheaper sources of energy may not yet be found and made practical. Such progress is, indeed, possible. After all, no one uses whale oil any more!

But on this anniversary it is worth noting, and celebrating, three important facts about Drake and his deeds:

1. An individual can make a huge difference in history. An entire industry and a civilizational revolution flowed from the ingenuity and enterprise of one man.

2. No government planner directed Drake; no government subsidy financed him. A thoughtful man observed rising prices and realized that there was a ready market for a better and cheaper product. He had an idea about where and how to look for that product. Backed by private capital that he used to acquire drilling rights, buy good equipment, and hire willing workers — all at private risk — Drake found that product.

3. No single human act has ever done more to preserve and perpetuate a major non-human species. Drake saved the whales!

(A tip of the hat to my friend Terry T. Campo of the District of Columbia bar for reminding me of the significance of this date in history.)

Best,

Joseph A. Morris
Morris & De La Rosa
39 South La Salle Street
5th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Telephone: (312) 606-0876
Telecopier: (312) 606-0879
Writer’s Direct E-Mail Address: MDLRusuk@aol.com

I think Mr. Morris needs a larger forum!

One Inflames, the Other Informs: Comparing AP and Reuters Reports on CDC’s Chicago H1N1 Study

H1N1virus

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study entitled “2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections: Chicago, Illinois, April-July 2009.”

In a report Rush Limbaugh criticized on the air, Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press (“Swine flu sends more blacks, Hispanics to hospital”) irresponsibly framed CDC’s results in racial terms, and then used them as evidence of health care system “inequities.”

By contrast, Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters (“In Chicago, swine flu hit children hardest”) went right to the study’s key finding, namely that H1N1 appears to be more likely to affect children compared to other flu viruses, which have tended to hit the elderly harder.

The opening paragraphs of Steenhuysen’s work makes you wonder how the AP and Stobbe could have looked at the same CDC study and not have done anything with its critical age-based finding:

Swine flu infected 14 times as many children as adults over 60 in Chicago, city health department officials reported on Thursday in one of the first detailed looks at the new pandemic virus.

No children have died, but the officials said their analysis suggests that prevention efforts should focus on children.

In many ways, the new H1N1 flu virus acted like the typical seasonal flu in Chicago, causing fever, cough and sore throats for most people, said Dr. Susan Gerber, chief medical officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“What was different was that younger age groups seemed to be getting it more often than older age groups,” said Gerber, who reported on the city’s swine flu cases in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on death and disease.

“Our median age for all of the cases reported to the Chicago Health Department was 12 years old. That’s obviously a younger age,” Gerber said in a telephone interview.

Stobbe didn’t just bury the lede; he didn’t report it, period. The word “children” does not appear anywhere, nor does any other age-related term.

Instead, the AP reporter concentrated on largely irrelevant (to be shown shortly) racial disparities:

Swine flu was four times more likely to send blacks and Hispanics to the hospital than whites, according to a study in Chicago that offers one of the first looks at how the virus has affected different racial groups.

The report echoes some unpublished information from Boston that found three out of four Bostonians hospitalized from swine flu were black or Hispanic.

The cause for the difference is probably not genetic, health officials said. More likely, it’s because blacks and Hispanics suffer disproportionately from asthma, diabetes and other health problems that make people more vulnerable to the flu.

It’s not clear if a racial or ethnic difference will hold up when more complete national data is available, one federal health official said. The findings are based on fairly small numbers of cases from the early days of the pandemic.

“We don’t have anything definitive to say one group is more affected than another,” said Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Chicago findings, released Thursday, are believed to be the first published study to detail a racial or ethnic breakdown of swine flu’s impact.

….. Earlier this month, Boston health officials released some unpublished information that found three out of four Bostonians hospitalized with swine flu were black or Hispanic.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Barbara Ferrer of the Boston Public Health Commission, speaking about the higher rates of minority swine flu hospitalizations.

“But intuitively it’s understandable, because we have tremendous inequities in most areas of health,” said Ferrer, the agency’s executive director.

No, Mike and Barb. What’s really “disturbing” is that you could look at a report telling us that children aged 0-14 caught H1N1 at a rate 6.4 times greater than those older than 30 and ignore it (the age 0-14 weighted average at the report is 135 per 100,000, vs. 21 per 100,000 for adults over 30).

Stobbe and AP decided that we didn’t need to know that, while focusing on racial disparities — even though the CDC study specifically discounted racial factors in this statement:

These (racial) differences are likely the result of variations in exposure rather than differences in susceptibility. However, underlying conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, are more prevalent among blacks and Hispanics in Chicago, which might explain some of the difference in rates among hospitalized cases.

Note how Stobbe turned CDC’s “might explain some of the difference” into “more likely” in the third paragraph of his report.

What Rush said about Stobbe’s report yesterday was of course correct, but he could have gone much further. Stobbe’s work is worse than inflammatory; it’s also negligent. He failed to report CDC’s specific recommendation that efforts to combat the disease should “target children and young adults, who are at a disproportionate risk for infection and hospitalization,” in favor of a racially-charged, agenda-based narrative.

Shouldn’t AP feel accountable if some readers who see Stobbe’s report or hear pieces of it over the airwaves choose to wallow in racial bitterness instead of taking steps to protect their kids? I certainly think so.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.