jeudi 31 octobre 2013

Examples of insurance plans that are being cancelled because of the ACA

This thread is not about whether Obama lied, there's already for that, but about the actual contents of the insurance plans that are being discontinued because they don't meet the new requirements under the ACA.

As a first example, Jan Crawford of CBS News reported on the case of a woman named Dianne Barrette:


That includes 56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she's being offered would run $591 a month -- 10 times more than what she currently pays.

Barrette said, "What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can't keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?"

Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Her insurance premium is going up by 10 times!

But what exactly did she get for $54 a month? CBS News didn't bother to find out. The point it that she was happy with it, and now her premiums are going up 10-fold.

Well, it turns out that -- Surprise! -- $54 a month doesn't buy a whole lot of coverage. Greta Van Susteren of Fox News (!) and Mediaite dug a little deeper and found out:


56 year-old Dianne Barrette’s old insurance plan barely even qualifies as insurance, paying only $50 toward most of the small list of covered services (Dianne pays the rest), and offering exactly zero coverage for hospitalization.

Van Susteren also found out that Barrette didn't understand what her plan actually covered:


“Your $54 a month policy is a pretty, you know, bare bones policy, “Greta said. “Why do you want to keep that one, except for the price? Maybe you can get something better with a subsidy?”

“Well, I know it doesn’t cover lengthy hospital stays,” Barrette replied, adding “It’s perfect for what I want. I get co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions. So it suffices what I need. Also, the price isn’t too bad either.”

Her $54 plan actually doesn’t have copays for doctor visits and prescriptions. It pays $50 toward covered doctor’s visits, Dianne pays the rest, and $15 toward prescriptions, Dianne pays the rest. As for hospitalization, Greta again went where CBS did not, and actually asked about it.

“Well, does it pay for any hospitalization, the current policy you have?” Greta asked.

“Again, I’m a little confused about it,” Barrette answered. “I have been reading over and over the policies, and it appears that it does cover some outpatient, but when you go through the booklet they sent, it would say refer to this, refer to it but then refer back to… it was very confusing.”

Actually, it doesn’t cover any hospital stays, unless Dianne suffers complications from pregnancy. Then, it pays fifty bucks. It doesn’t cover any outpatient care, except for mammography, osteoporosis screening, diabetes self-management, and complications from pregnancy. For that handful of services, the plan pays $50, and Dianne pays the rest.

So let's see, for $54/month they pay $50 toward covered doctor’s visits, with the individual paying the rest, $15 for prescription medication, with the individual paying the rest, nothing at all if you have to be hospitalized except for complications from pregnancy, in which case it only pays $50 (Dianne is 56 anyway).

If she got breast cancer, for example, it would be almost no help at all. If she had any serious disease or injury it would be almost no help at all.

Another thing CBS didn't mention:


Actually, the plan BCBSFL was only one of many plans Dianne has to choose from, 10 of which are cheaper than that $591, and based on her income, she’d only pay around $209 a month

This is for a plan that would actually help if you get a disease like cancer or serious injury.

Here's another example from Consumer Reports. This report is from last year, but it's about what happened to a person who had an insurance plan somewhat like this who was then diagnosed with breast cancer. Her plan had annual limits of $1,000 a year for outpatient treatment and $2,000 for hospitalization, which is actually more than Dianne Barrette's plan covered, but not nearly adequate to pay for the course of treatment she needed:


Facing a $30,000 hospital bill, she delayed treatment. “Finally my surgeon said, ‘Judy, you can’t wait anymore.’ While I was waiting my tumor became larger. It was 3 centimeters when they found it and 9 centimeters when they took it out.” After a double mastectomy, radiation treatments, and reconstructive surgery, Goss is taking the drug tamoxifen to prevent recurrence.

Any other concrete examples of plans that are being cancelled? I'm looking not just for premiums, but what they actually cover. When your health insurance only covers a tiny fraction of a major medical expense, what is it really worth? Not much IMHO. If people Like Dianne say they are satisfied with their coverage, but don't even understand what their coverage really covers, are they really getting a good deal?

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Problem elk in WA


Tree farmer Gary Bellows said the elk have have ruined hundreds of his pine and cedar trees.

"The elk are rubbing on these with their horns," he said. "You can see this one's been killed."

Bellows said it takes a full decade to re-grow the trees, and the damage is costing him money.

"This 70-acres right in here is probably worth a million dollars at harvest," he said.

This is news to me. I've heard more than a few complaints about feral pigs, but I didn't know elk were this bad.


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Truther/UFO Nut aims to run against Paul Ryan for Congress

Amardeep Kaleka, director of the Steven Greer vanity UFO movie, "Sirius", is hoping to run for Congress against Paul Ryan in 2014 in Wisconsin.


during a recent interview with the Madison Capital Times, Kaleka, who is not the only Democrat looking to run against Ryan, revealed another side of his biography: conspiracy documentary filmmaker. Kaleka directed the 2013 film Sirius, a documentary that purports to uncover evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth and suggests that the September 11 terrorist attacks were a "false flag" operation. Kaleka is also listed as editor and director of photography and shares credit for the documentary's "story idea." The film has slightly better production values than your typical conspiracy diatribe, but it hinges on some far-out concepts.

Kaleka founded Neverending Light, the studio that produced Sirius. He couldn't be reached for comment in time for publication, but he told the Capital Times, "I don't think that any knowledgeable human would say that extraterrestrials don't exist."


The movie also features a dose of 9/11 trutherism. "The question, on some people's minds, is whether or not this disaster was exploited, or worse, engineered," the narrator says midway through the movie. He asserts that 9/11 was a false flag operation mounted by the government a few months after a major conference of alien watchers in order to distract the public and suppress the truth, and he likens the 9/11 attacks to the Gulf of Tonkin incident during the Vietnam War. The movie goes on to suggest that the Bilderbergers and Rockefellers were behind a series of global conspiracies.

Truther/UFO nut vs Wingnut?

Let the crazy begin. :catfight:

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It's so nice when someone can find work doing what they love

Egypt's Executioner: I Love My Job Because Strangulation Has Been My Hobby Since Childhood


"I love my work. I just love it!," he says in Arabic. "I never say 'no' when they need me to work. This is my work in and my livelihood."

. .

Says Al-Nabi:

"When I was young – about 13 or 14 years old – the dry Ismailiya Canal in Shubra Al-Kheima still had water in it. My hobby was to catch a cat, to place a rope around its neck, to strangle it, and throw it into the water. I would get hold of any animal – even dogs. I would strangle these animals and throw them into the water – even dogs."

Al-Nabi called strangling "a gift" he had, in addition to calling it his "hobby."


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Sports Arena Lawn Mowing

At the just finished MLB baseball playoffs, we noticed very intricate designs mowed into the outfield grass of several stadiums. Some of the larger automobile race tracks also have the grass areas mowed with curving patterns.

The question is 'How do they do it?'

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Venus as The Evening Star

UFO reports may soon begin! The current evening apparition of brilliant Venus for observers north of the tropics was difficult for much of the year as the post-sunset celestial geometry made it appear that Venus was making little progress in clearing the horizon. It has now reached its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun, but will appear to be popping higher into the sky through early December when it reaches greatest brilliance as the celestial geometry improves. Its illumination is now near dichotomy (like a Half Moon) and for the rest of the year will appear to become slimmer as a crescent but larger in diameter as it comes closer to Earth.

For my preview graphics and more detailed description of this apparition of Venus, visit

Photos and descriptions of Venus would be welcome additions to this thread.

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Android 4.4

Just as rumoured, and just as awesome.

Of course, they will still have the OEMs to work through for getting it on low end devices. Or Cyanogen.

I like that they are bringing the touchless search that was a feature on their phones.

All the search integration is cool, and really should be expected.

The NFC run around the providers is also a nice play.

And the phone is a great price for great specs ($349 contract free). The only problems are no replaceable battery or SD card, and still no Verizon.

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Ted Cruz's Dad: Obama Should Go "Back to Kenya"

Ted Cruz's Dad Calls US a "Christian Nation," Says Obama Should Go "Back to Kenya"


In April, Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), spoke to the tea party of Hood County, which is southwest of Fort Worth, and made a bold declaration: The United States is a "Christian nation." The septuagenarian businessman turned evangelical pastor did not choose to use the more inclusive formulation "Judeo-Christian nation." Insisting that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution "were signed on the knees of the framers" and were a "divine revelation from God," he went on to say, "yet our president has the gall to tell us that this is not a Christian nation…The United States of America was formed to honor the word of God." Seven months earlier, Rafael Cruz, speaking to the North Texas Tea Party on behalf of his son, who was then running for Senate, called President Barack Obama an "outright Marxist" who "seeks to destroy all concept of God," and he urged the crowd to send Obama "back to Kenya."

So much FAIL packed into one teabagger. Apples don't fall far from the trees.

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Report Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization

This is technically a US issue but since the effects are potentially global in scope, I decided to post it here instead.

A lot of mostly low-skilled jobs will be subject to automation over the next few decades. I know a lot of you think that humanity can achieve more than I do and, if that's actually the case, then maybe making our lumpenized workforce live in constant fear of having their jobs being automated will cause them to buckle down and spend less time on the acquisition of Nike Airs and watching Maury Povich. Just a thought. If not then, oh well...

Remember, this is a fast food worker on a $15 minimum wage:

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Biome in a bottle

I'm sure a lot of you have seen this already:

This ecosystem was permanently sealed in 1972. Its only food source is natural sunlight from the outside.

This article indicates that the plant is kept alive by a closed loop of mutual exchanges between the plant and soil bacteria:

- plant depends on photosynthesis for energy, releases oxygen as a waste product. Leaves occasionally drop from the plant, rot, providing food for bacteria in the soil, which absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide as a waste product. Respiration cycle is contained in a closed system.

- bacteria break down to leaves into soil, freeing up electrons and material which can be used to build back into the plant. So soil enrichment is a closed system.

- plant respiration draws water up from the bottle, expels it through the leaves, where the water condenses on the bottle surface and slides back into the soil. Water cycle is a neatly contained closed system.

What's the life expectancy for a self-contained ecosystem system like this? Can the plant recycle its own nutrients indefinitely? And is it possible for organisms to evolve in this environment, independent from everything on the outside?

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Dandelion Tea is the new cure for cancer

Google: "Cancer-killing dandelion tea gets $157K research grant"

(need to post more before getting the ok to submit URLs)

In Canada you rarely see reports of this nature from the CBC and I have read articles about diet and cancer and salvestrol case studies...but...this article comes off completely asinine and unprofessional.

Then again the article is just reporting the grant...not endorsing that it works.

It's not the way the readers are viewing the story though. To them it's all "BOILING DANDELIONS CURES CANCER! OMG!"

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Greece finally recovering?

The stock market seems to be recovering but what about main street?

The unemployment rate may be peaking but hasn't showed any signs of coming down yet.

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Doggerel Challenge

My idea is we post funny rhymes and even Graffiti while hoping to not attract Poetry critics and those with double Lit phds from say Hahvad and Oxford. I am not personally interested in meter and fine points. If you want to make an ode about the safety of the Crack of Dawn and other bathroom humor so be it. Just follow the general guidelines of JREF please. As done in the Limerick Challenge it would be good to leave a beginning line for the next person. Keep in mind there are some words that are very hard to rhyme so here goes. By the way if you want to post notes, comments etc feel free:D

Mold, Mold, Mold, a gift for lawyers I'm told

Have fun!!!!

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mercredi 30 octobre 2013

Paul McCartney - Top 17 in 1962 - Top 3 in 2013

That's longevity.:)

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HuffPo Blog: Dr. Eben Alexander Says It's Time for Brain Science to Graduate From Kin

Dr. Eben Alexander nonsense. :rolleyes:


The pure scientific materialist model that I worshiped for so many years has absolutely nothing to offer up in terms of explaining how consciousness might emerge from the physical brain. It gets a lot worse when you realize that all the phenomenon of the non-local consciousness -- things like telepathy and psychokinesis, and of course near death experiences -- indicate that consciousness is a far deeper, more profound mystery than "kindergarten level" scientific materialism offers up.

Then you have the enigma of quantum mechanics, which of course materialist scientists are completely befuddled by and have been for 100 years for a reason. Pure materialism does not explain the nature of existence in reality.

Is there even a non-materialist model of quantum mechanics?


To take the approach of, "Oh it had to be a hallucination of the brain" is just crazy. The simplistic idea that NDEs are a trick of a dying brain is similar to taking a piece of cardboard out of a pizza delivery box, rolling it down a hill and then claiming that it's an identical event as rolling a beautiful Ferrari down a hill. They are not the same at all. The problem is the pure materialist scientists can be so closed-minded about it.


People often ask me what my scientific colleagues think about this. Well, I can tell you the true open-minded scientists out there get it in a big way and they have for a long time. It wasn't just my book. There are a lot of brilliant scientists who have known for a long time that the pure materialist model fails miserably in explaining consciousness and reality.

In fact, a big part of my message is transcending that stale worn out dogma in science, and in religion, and helping people realize those theories aren't really relevant to who we are, what we are.

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Did Obama Lie?

I'm a moderate with very strong liberal leanings. I voted for Obama twice. I wanted single-payer.

That being said, I think he lied when he said you'll be able to keep your plan. I think he knew a lot of plans would be cancelled. They're being replaced with better plans (often at the same or lower cost, thanks to the subsidies), but some people are getting screwed over this.

If we can't persuade people of the rightness of our cause without dissembling (which is the kindest thing you can say about what the WH has been doing the last couple days), what does that say about liberal ideas?

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Man shoots boy "toilet-papering" nearby house

So a couple of local high-school kids decided to roll toilet paper over their principal's front yard - likely some Halloween prank - and this gentleman who lived a few doors down decided to stand his neighbor's yard's...err, ground (or something) against the threat to neighborhood aesthetics.


In the wake of the incident that happened around midnight Oct. 20, the teenager is recovering from his wounds, and Farris, of 125 Deer Circle in Estill Springs, faces a charge of aggravated assault and another of reckless endangerment, Guess said.

Farris did not answer calls to the phone number listed on the report. He was released on bond two days after his arrest and faces a Dec. 5 hearing date in Franklin County General Sessions Court.

Franklin County criminal records show no prior violent incidents involving Farris and no previous encounters between him and any of the teens.

"It was just a random thing," Guess said.

I, for one, think the random nature of the guy's attack makes him certainly more of a threat to the public than someone who is at least alleging he was acting in some kind of self defense. Certainly he can't honestly say he felt his life was threatened in his house by kids rolling toilet paper a few houses over. Who knows what will set this guy off next time?

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Truther for governor of NJ

Just received my sample ballot for next weeks election

Perusing the list of candidates found our old friend (and all around loon)

Jeff Boss on the ballot running as "THE NSA DID 9/11" party

Here is his "platform"



Pets allowed in restaurants!!!

Got my vote.........

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Universe size comparisons

When I was younger I used to love those size comparisons, like if the earth was a tennis ball in France Jupiter would be in Ukraine etc. However, I've lost those 'wow' realisations, and cannot find anything on the Internet.

Are you able to give me a comparison that rekindles that sensation you get when you realise how small you are? Would appreciate it as I miss it. Any links?

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Magicians that are also skeptics?

I'm trying to put together a list of magicians that are skeptic

............and the other way around!

I am also wondering up past history, how far back can this tie in go?

I know a lot of skeptics, from Rebecca Watson (who once worked in a magic shop) and DJ of the JREF certainly know how to do magic.

It just seems most skeptics know a magic trick or two at the very least.

Jerry Andrus?



I think it would be fun to have at least a partial list but I need help!

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Airport Unaware of Crash For Six Hours

I guess you take care of the still functional aircraft first, and get around to the crashed ones when you can....

Deadly Tennessee plane crash undiscovered for 6 hours at busy airport

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Senior citizens as a swing vote... in favor of Democrats?

If true, it could be another piece of bad news for the GOP/Tea Party...

Seniors may be the new swing vote in 2014


... In Republican battleground districts, the vote is deadlocked among seniors and the Democratic candidate has gained 5 points among this group since early last summer.

In Democratic battleground districts, Democratic incumbents lead by 14 points — 51 percent to 37 percent — among seniors.

Most interesting is that Democracy Corps has now seen this trend in its last three national surveys and calls it "a sea change."...

This is only one poll, and I think it is Democratic leaning, so I'm not sure how much to trust it. Has anyone seen any other polling on this question?

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Company Scrip

Mods, I'm putting this in Philosophy because I'm trying to keep the focus on the philosophical reasoning, not the economic impacts, of company scrip. Thanks! :)


One common objection to Objectivism is that in an Objectivist society, companies could pay their employees with company scrip. After all, it's in the contract! They HAVE to abide by it!

I think this is wrong, on a few levels. Most obviously, Objectivism does not hold that all contracts are absolutely binding. In fact, Rearden gave one criteria for a binding contract: both parties must recieve value as part of the contractual relationship. If one does not, the contract is not recognized. Furthermore, I think a more significant issue is that scrip is an anti-concept: an idea designed to negate a legitimate concept. In this case, that legitimate concept is property.

Money is a tool of savings and exchange. The notion, as illustrated by the origin of money outlined in The Wealth of Nations, is to provide a standard unit of trade to facilitate barter. Any barter economy will have a standard item for trade, be it metal, stones, shells, gems, or what have you; it's too useful a concept to not arise. It prevents barter from becoming a never-ending fetch quest. Money, the ultimate end of this process, has to have a number of features to function: it has to be relatively stable (ie, bread won't work because bread only lasts for a few days), it has to be dividable to some extent (this is why metals are frequently used), etc. Most importantly, it must be exchangeable for other goods and services, both across space and across time (at least, for a significant distance--one must be able to use the item for all exchanges one can reasonably expect to encounter in one's life). All of this is dictated by its nature: a tool to facilitate exchange.

Comapny scrip fails in these criteria. It's only exchangeable for goods and services within a very limited framework: it is only recognized within the company. In contrast, real money is useable pretty much anywhere (though penalties may be suffered using it outside the political area that uses it). This negates the utility of scrip as a tool of trade, by artificially restricting who one can trade with and, worse, placing the control of those restrictions in the hands of the person with whom you ostensibly traded services! Also, tying the value of scrip to an individual company negates stability--real money is of value as long as the society exists, and commodeties such as gold, silver, and gems are of value even outside any particular society. Even beads have value outside the society that uses them as money, though not very much. Company scrip has NO value outside that company, by design, and therefore if the company goes belly-up the scrip becomes worthless.

In reality, company scrip is not money. It is a tool not of exchange or savings, or even property of the person who receives it. When you give me money in exchange for goods or services, that money becomes my property--and while others may not agree with me on the value of that money, our difference is in how much money I need to give the person in exchange for their goods and services, not whether it can be exchanged. The same with goods--the cobler may not need the bread I traded for, but he'll still accept it in partial payment at least. With scrip, it cant' be exchanged with anyone but my employer, period. Ownership of that scrip did not transfer to me; it remained with the company. There is no other property where such a concept is accepted, for the very good reason that ownership and property are tied. When you recieve company scrip in exchange for your work, you get NOTHING. Scrip IS NOT a value to me, because it's your property, not mine, and under an Objectivist framework something I don't own is not, in this context at least, a value given to me.

In an Objectivist society, barter would be acceptable. Even delayed barter would be acceptable--ie, one could agree to accept payment later on for work done today. What would not be acceptable is such enslavement as scrip represents. Such conditions are not moral under Objectivist ethics, nor would they be considered a legal contract under Objectivist law. A viable contract to an Objectivist requires that both sides give value for value, and scrip does not do that because, as I said, scrip isn't a value due to the fact that giving of scrip is not, fundamentally, a trade.

In Objectivism value must be given for value in any trade. In any case where value is not given for value, trade has not occurred. Because scrip is not the property of the recipiant, it is not a value; therefore, giving scrip in place of wages is refusing to pay for goods or services provided. It's either theft or enslavement, neither of whcih is acceptable under Objectivism. So the solution to preventing this sort fo thing in an Objectivist society is simple: press charges. The company is in the wrong to even offer scrip, much less for workers to accept it.

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Experiment that might very well detect dark matter seems to be working beautifully.

This is pretty cool. And so is the history of the site being used.

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Preparing for Halloween, super Fundy style.

Halloween is Satanic, you know.

How Satanic is it?

It's so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o Satanic, that even handing out tracts to trick-or-treaters is "celebrating" it enough to imperil your soul.

Note: Somewhat Time-Cube-esque web design.



There are many versions of halloween. This is one of them.

Do some major Deliverance on yourself for ever celebrating halloween. Burn any left over halloween stuff in your home. Don't even open your doors to pass out "tracts". If you do, then you are celebrating this unholy day.

No matter what you think of halloween, know that it is the very highest satanic holy day. As a Christian, you should not be observing it in any way, especially IN your church. The catholic church is responsible for this day to be placed in the church.

Halloween has never been a Christian holiday, and it has no place in the life of a born again Believer in JESUS CHRIST. In fact, it is an abomination to God, and we should take our stand firmly against it. As we look at its history, we find that its roots go deep into heathenism, paganism, satanism and the occult; and its modern expression is no better.


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Time Travel

If time-travel was developed and we went back in time and altered a historic event, would it change trhe future or simply create an alternate time-line?

If there can be only one time-line, then changing the past would mean that once the present is reached there would be no reason to go back in time to change anything, which would mean the present would resort to its original path, requiring time travel again to change it.

But if time travel creates an alternate time line (alternate universe?), a new present would be created, but the old one that they sought to change would still exist. And once they have change the event they wanted to change and go back to the "present", which present time would they return to? The changed one or the original?

Yes? No? Maybe?

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The New Fukushima Apocalypse!!!!

So I've seen this article pop up at a few forums frequent, & it's got a lot of people worried...

The skinny is that they are going to remove about 400 tons of spent fuel from the plant & of course the article goes into the worst case scenario of everything going wrong and millions of people dying in radioactive fallout, huge explosions, cats & dogs inheriting the earth, etc...

Anybody here have an idea of how likely this is or where I might find an article about it that isn't so alarmist?

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Bag of water as a fly deterrent?

MrsB spotted an article saying that a clear bag, half filled with water and maybe with a few coins in it, suspended close to where you're sitting will deter pesky flies.

It sounded b/s-ish but conceivably plausible so I got one together. At 2 pm this time of year we get the sun shining directly into our covered balcony, the flies follow the sun and there are plenty of flies there until the sun goes round, so it was an obvious place to test it.

Hanging it from the awning seemed have no effect, so I hung it directly on the back of her chair where the full sun was attracting loads of flies. I swear I heard them laughing. Some were on the phone to their friends to come and see the ridiculous idea 'the humans' had come up with.

ymmv :)

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Question for chemists about DNA

How do chemists view DNA?

  • The whole molecule is a copolymer composed of four monomers: A, C, G, T.

  • The DNA backbone is a copolymer composed of two monomers: a sugar and a phosphate group.

  • The DNA backbone is a polymer composed of a sugar/phosphate monomer.

Perhaps it really doesn't matter.

~~ Paul

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Can a root-canal lead to serious health problems later on?

I just came across this article:

I'm in no way competent to judge how valid this claim is.

Thought I'd drop it in this forum to see what JREF members think.

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mardi 29 octobre 2013

WHO confirms polio outbreak in Syria

WHO confirms polio outbreak in Syria


BEIRUT — Ten Syrian children have tested positive for polio, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, sparking fears of a major regional outbreak amid mass migration and the collapse of Syria’s health services under the pressures of civil war.

Health officials warned of a significant risk of the highly infectious disease spreading after the cases were confirmed in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.

In addition to those cases, the officials said, 12 other children suffering from paralysis associated with polio are awaiting test results, meaning that thousands more are likely to be infected, because just 1 in 200 of those who contract the disease show such symptoms.

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Introvert-Extrovert -Your Thoughts?

This seems to be a trendy topic now. Susan Cain just wrote a book "Quiet". I watched her on You Tube. She has something to say, but just came across as a bit shallow.

Interested in your comments. Brain differences, personal anecdotes, whatever.

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Bijan Ebrahimi - murder of non-paedophile

Not seen a thread on this, and I'm not sure what there is to say about it, but every time I see a story on it, it makes me feel sick.

In short, disabled man who can't work spends his days tending his garden. Local yobs vandalise it. He takes photos of them vandalising his hanging baskets in order to show to police. Someone sees him and reports him for taking pictures of kids. Word goes around, and by the time the police come to pick him up for an interview, a jeering mob has gathered, shouting "Paedo! Paedo!" as he's taken away.

The police quickly find that he's done nothing wrong and let him go. A couple of days after he gets home, two men beat him unconscious, drag him into the street, douse him in white spirit, and burn him alive.

Whose fault is this? Obviously the two men in question need to be given some time to think about what they've done, but what about those who spread the rumours in the first place? What about the papers that have demonized paedophiles in the public mind? Should the police have some responsibility in that they should have foreseen the danger in the first place?

I never did find out whether the thing about the paediatrician having to move house was true, but it's clear that this is to some extent a product of media treatment of paedophiles, pandering to a hysteria of their own making.

The other thing is that I'm off on a short holiday to Bristol tomorrow, and now I'm slightly put off.

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Open up, this is Dave!

I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave.

Artificial Intelligence startup may have cracked CAPTCHA

PC World


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Native Americans are 1/3 European?

According to new research, Native Americans may be up to 1/3 European.


SANTA FE—Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia. But just where the source populations arose has long been a mystery.

Now comes a surprising twist, from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago—the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to "western Eurasia," with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia, according to a talk at a meeting* here by ancient DNA expert Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.

"I'm still processing that Native Americans are one-third European," says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's jaw-dropping." At the very least, says geneticist Dennis O'Rourke of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "this is going to stimulate a lot of discussion."

More info here:

What I find particularly interesting is that it sheds new light on the assumption that the European ancestry seen in Native Americans is solely the result of recent admixture.

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Power bands still being sold.

There is a little market in Waikiki called International Market Square. When visiting I like to go to the food court because it's relatively cheap food. However, the walking lane feeds you right past a booth where they are selling Power Bands (The rubber wrist bands that GIVE YOU SUPER POWERS!!!)

I have managed to avoid them most times, but this latest time the guy tried to coerce me into buying one. (I don't know why these guys even talk to me, much less pursue me, considering the skeptical or pissed-off expression I usually have when exposed to them.)

I'm OK with him saying "Try this" and allowing me to ignore him, but he followed up with "How do you know if you don't try it?" I responded calmly with "Because I know it's ********." I was tempted to say everything I knew about the scam, but I was on vacation in Waikiki, hungry, and didn't feel like spoiling my mood. But one of these days...

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Paleo Diet Debunked

If You Believe in Science, Don’t Go Paleo

An interesting article someone linked me to recently; on just how ignorant of actual paleo-history proponents of the paleo-diet really are. Addresses some of the sociological problems with it as well.

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CWA hates young people on health insurance and environmentalism

It seems the Concerned Women for America are urging young people to not get health insurance. There plan is to try and keep them from expanding the risk pool thus making it harder for ill people to get coverage.

This is the same group that earlier this year called environmental protection "the most dangerous agenda on earth."

Quote Joesph Rossel of the group:


What do you think of when you hear the term “environmentalism”? For most people, the word probably brings to mind images of harmless hippies out to curb pollution and encourage recycling.

But the reality is much more sinister. What most people don’t realize is that environmentalism may very well be the most anti-human, anti-life agenda on the planet. Humans are seen as a blight on the world, population levels are considered far too high, and it is believed necessary to dramatically reduce the number of people globally through brutal methods


Christ warns His followers, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Environmentalism is similarly deceptive, requiring us to employ spiritual discernment. Although it may seem outwardly attractive, underneath environmentalism’s glistening veneer of social justice is actually an incredibly evil set of values.

Wendy Wright seems to agree.

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Distinguishing humans from animals: disgust?

Dear All,

Does any animal experience the emotion of disgust outside of olfactory/gustatory input? A human walking past a table of puke might, before smelling it, be disgusted. An animal, on the other hand, needs to actually smell or taste something noxious before it has a negative response. Are there any recorded instances of animals experiencing a human-level disgust?

Cpl Ferro

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Shake and Bake Babies

Or semen donor centers and lesbian mothers/parents.

Will rolling the dice on a sperm donation, give you Yahtzee?

I wonder if the CDC(if they are ever re-funded) will keep any records on same sex parenting and the effects on modern day society? Hmmm...sounds like a good book title. May have a few years to stack up some data tho.

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Anisotropic Church Teachings

A parallazic view...

What do you feel?

This is directed to the RCC and The King James version of the Bible.

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Hsotcmings of the UK Private Health sector

I found this to be revealing the private health sector in the UK has shortcomings too but not splashed all over the papers


After a long summer of stories about Mid Staffordshire it occurred to me to wonder why we have heard so little about another hospital which had also been putting patients' lives at risk. The failings at the Stafford hospital led to two major inquiries by Robert Francis and a review of 14 NHS hospitals by Sir Bruce Keogh. But the failings at the private BMI Mount Alvernia hospital in Guildford have led to no inquiry, even though BMI is the largest private hospital group in the UK, and a significant share of its revenues comes from treating NHS patients. Unlike Mid Staffs, Mount Alvernia has not become an emblem of the failings of private hospitals.

Yet when the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the hospital in January this year it found that "medical, surgical and some nursing practices were so poor that people were put at significant risk. This risk was, on some occasions, life-threatening".

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Cute App- Splashtop2

I have a number of drawing/art programs on my iPad, but they are all somewhat limited. I also have photoshop on my PC.

I had wondered if you couldn't use the iPad as a graphics tablet, since with even a cheap stylus you can draw much more effectively than you ever could with a mouse on the PC.

Sure enough... There are actually several programs. I chose Splashtop, after watching several YouTube reviews. You install the app on your tablet, and a small server program on your PC.

When you log in, you get your computer running on your iPad. (well, you can access all the programs on your computer) This means you can open photoshop and use the iPad as a graphics pad.

It's not as full-featured as something like a pro graphics pad, but it works quite well.

Of course, you can access anything else you happen to have on your computer too... Books, music, video. And, if you are willing to pay a couple of bucks a month, you get the "use your computer anywhere" feature that lets you connect online.

(standard is wifi only)

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I found this story inspiring


The teenager who saved a man with an SS tattoo

She saved this man from a beating.

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The Latest Thing to Blame the Tea Party For

Making sure that postal employees pensions are funded.


The Nation emailed subscribers a note today asking for $120,272 in donations, a hefty chunk of change the journal will owe as a result of the “impending postal rate hike crisis,” as the note puts it.

“Tea Party–backed conservatives helped force the US Postal Service into requesting an emergency rate hike — one that will cost The Nation an additional $120,272 every year. While corporate media can handle this kind of a bill, The Nation can't foot it alone,” President Teresa Stack wrote to the nonprofit publication’s readers.



But Stack’s personal take on the subject is more nuanced: “Postal politics are very complicated,” said Stack, a “postal nerd” in her own words. “[The Postal Service] will tell you the reason that they’ve lost so much money is because of these ridiculous pre-payments they have to make for future health benefits, which is something the Republican Congress will not compromise on.”

Those mean Republicans, making sure that future health benefits for postal workers are covered! And hooray for the Nation, for standing up for the principle that future health benefits can be funded from the never-ending stream of revenue that the postal service can expect!

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lundi 28 octobre 2013

This totally unbiased article explains Japan's birth rate

WARNING: Title may have somethign to do with snark.

I'd summarize it but I'm too busy :headtilt: ing at it.

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Do you fear your neighbor's swimming pool?

I'm just wondering if any of you ever fear your neighbor getting a few too many fumes off their latest batch of meth and using their swimming pool to murder your family in a quest to cleanse the world of demons?

Now, it might be the case that you are lucky enough to not have neighbors that make their money off the production of illegal narcotics and talk frequently of evil spirits all around them. But some of us do have to face that reality.

Strangely, however, I never fear their swimming pools.

I also don't fear their hammers. Or least so long as I'm in my house.

Funny how that works.

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Past changes in health care, various countries

I'm told that a bunch of other modern democracies/republics have universal health care through their governments. That has to have begun at some particular time, and some other way to doing health care has to have been done before that. According to a documentary I watched about the creation of the UK's NHS, the previous "system" there had patients paying for it themselves (which meant the upper class got most of it and the poor were underserved).

That sounds comparable to the USA... at least, before things like ACA, HMOs, MediCare, and MedicAid. Those things make the private market not exactly a private market; they're the government's efforts to modify and partially control the market.

Did other countries out there with universal health care go through a phase like this, with their governments occasionally adding more and more patches to the private system before giving up and nationalizing? The documentary didn't give the impression that the UK did, but that's only one country. Has any country that was in the weird messy phase the USA is in right now, a quasi-private "system" with lots of complication & interference from the government, passed from this to a simply national/public universal system?

In other words, if we call having patients just pay for health care themselves "A", and a national universal system "C", and unplanned disorganized pile of government regulations & laws & programs on a quasi-private "system" "B"...

Can a country go A→B→C?

Or do they just go A→B or A→C?

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The Tea Party is not racists. . . yeah,, right.


In an interview centered on North Carolina's voter ID law conducted by the Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi, Yelton criticized "lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything."

"The bottom line is the law is not racist," Yelton said.

"Of course the law isn't racist, and you're not racist," Mandvi responded.

"Well," Yelton paused. "I've been called a bigot before. Let me tell you something, you don't look like me but I think I've treated you the same as anybody else. As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is black. One of my best friends."

"When I was a young man you didn't call a black a black," he added later. "You called him a negro."

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2013 Shonky Awards

The 2013 Shonky Awards have just been announced. As you know, each year consumer advocate magazine Choice awards the Shonkys to the most questionable products of the year.

The website should be updated shortly, but I can give you the scoop on which products took away this year's Shonkys.

The first Shonky goes to EcoEggs, for expensive, ten-to-a-pack, not-so-free range eggs. Their stocking density is 13 times the accepted standard for free range.

Nuk wins a second Shonky for their Starlight Silicone Orthodontic Soother, which poses a hazard and may cause babies distress. Congratulations to Nuk for their entry into the Shonky Hall of Shame!

Congratulations to Credit Repair Australia, for charging people $990 for helping them with their financial difficulties.

In my opinion, EA Australia's Shonky award is well deserved, for charging consumers $2.48 per minute to wait on their help line to submit a complaint about SimCity not working properly due to buggy release.

A Shonky goes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Toolbar, for harvesting user search data while promising rewards that are a looo-oo-oong time coming.

Energy Australia win a Shonky for failing to disclose price rises before billing.

Dairy Farmers Oats Express wins a Shonky for claiming to contain banana and honey, yet listing neither banana nor honey on the label!

Kleenex "Mansize" tissues are now in a smaller box. The tissues are also 14% smaller. Congratulations on your Shonky for making Australians 14% less manly!

Congratulations to all the Shonky award recipients. Let's hear a big BOOO for this year's winners.


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what cant computers generate a random number?

I used to hang out around gambling machines and met some of their programmers. I found out that gambling machines cannot do random numbers and instead use various lists of random numbers. I am guessing that is how they know when one of their slots glitches and so they can refuse payment. Anybody work on random numbers and computers?

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On Duty Cop legally sells gun to Mentally Unfit Buyer

Just for the giggles, how about another one...

So, Police Officer sells a gun to a suicidal Asperger's syndrome sufferer who had been judged mentally unfit and placed under his parent's guardianship meaning he's not allowed a gun, but surprise, surprise, no laws were broken.

And people claim that there isn't a problem... :rolleyes:

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Texas abortion law ruled unconstitutional

Giant win for Texas, and a fail for Rick Perry, the religious right wing and in effect for the Republican party. It's about time.


In a stunning move, a federal judge Monday ruled that abortion restrictions authorized by Texas lawmakers in July are unconstitutional, and will not be implemented as scheduled on Tuesday, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

This ruling points out just how disingenuous the right wing politicians have come to be.


"The admitting-privileges provision of House Bill 2 does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman's health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her," Yeakel wrote in his decision.

Legal recognition finally of the woman's right, "...a substantial obstacle [to] an abortion undue burden to her."

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Strange Gmail popup

I just made a search in Gmail for an old mail. Firefox then noticed that it blocked a Gmail popup. I decided to click on the popup link, which transferred me to my inbox.

Anyone knows what this thing is? It seems not possible to replicate it.

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Gerald Clark - The next Zecharia Sitchin

Gerald Clark was on Coast to Coast this weekend with John Wells. It was a highly entertaining show that combined the illuminati conspiracy with the ancient aliens Annunnaki theories. This was the second time Clark was on the show and I predict he will be on many more times. His ability to integrate anything and everything into his conspiracy theory is unmatched. He builds on a lot of the theories presented by Sitchens.

He got into the topic because his son was born with a rare genetic defect. He found out about using gold to prolong life as the Annunnaki had done (this was why they created humans as slaves to mine gold for them). This led to him taking some sort of course in "structural integration" which is what they call administering this treatment. The course required a final paper. In that paper he derived an equation that shows how the human energy body is related to gravity, wavelength, frequency, and weight. This formula explained why the Annunnaki were using gold to extend their lives.

This ability to live a long time allowed them to rule over the earth from ancient times (when they were known as gods like Yahweh, Allah, Zeus) right up today where they are the illuminati. So from what I can tell he believes that the secret powers controlling the world today are the 12 Annunnaki on the council of 12. Each Zodiac sign is based on on the members of the council.

Here is an interview from the show a few months ago with George Noory, but the interview yesterday was better and more entertaining.

You can get a bit of his overall theory from the show but his theory is vast. In yesterday's showhe talked a lot about drones, UFOs, cloaking technology etc.

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Tea Party as faith healers...

This Salon writer contends that the Tea Party leaders are no different from TV evangelicals in their tactics and their contempt for the people who send them money. She also says that Ted Cruz is associated with a right-wing Christian ministry.

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Pearl of Great Price Book Club

While critics like to take pot shots at the error riddled "Book of Mormon" a later fraud, "The Perl of Great Price", appears to be far more important from a religious perspective. In this thread I will post selections from "The Pearl of Great Price" for general discussion.

We will use the official LDS online version of The Pearl of Great Price.

The The Pearl of Great Price includes two books, The Book of Moses and The Book of Abraham, both of which can be read in commented form on The Skeptic's Annotated bible site.

Skeptic's annotated Book of Mormon, Book of Moses and Book of Abraham.

The Irreligiosophy podcast offers an entertaining, succinct yet very not safe for work introduction to The Pearl of Great Price.

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Why is deflation bad?

I often hear certain economists and others saying that deflation is bad. By deflation I am referring to falling prices.

Some of the reasons I hear it is bad is that it causes people to hoard money and defer purchases, both of which I think are good things. "Hoarding money" just seems to be a colorful way of saying saving.

As an example, we see falling prices quite often in the tech sector with mobile phones and laptops and whatnot getting less and less expensive every year. Seems like a good thing, no?

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Responsible gun owner shot with her own gun during a break-in

Kentucky assailant shoots woman with her own gun


A man attempting to break into a home Monday about 15 miles south of Louisville, Ky., shot a woman with her own gun after she confronted him at her back door, a Bullitt County Sheriff's detective said.

A successful defensive gun use! After all, the robber did run off after shooting her.

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US Military Commits the Most Heinous War Crime Yet


Sea Captains battling pirates off the horn of Africa have an unlikely new secret weapon - Britney Spears.

The US star’s hits are being blasted at the approaching Somali raiders - because they can’t stand her music.

Chart-toppers Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again are the most effective in the war against the Kalashnikov carrying bandits.

Rachel Owens, 34, a merchant navy officer on huge super tankers off the east coast of Africa says the music is a really effective way of deterring the pirates and their high-speed skiffs.

Surly the UN should pass a resolution denouncing such auditory atrocities.

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My recent thoughts about the abortion debate

According to the NHS website abortion is legal in the UK until 24 weeks of pregnancy, and only in more rare circumstances after that.

Most pro-choice people say things such as "I'm fighting for the rights of women to choose what to do with her body!". This is stating their logical position is that choice of a womans control over her body is the basis for their defence of abortion. However to be consistent in this they are required to defend abortion so long as the baby is inside the womans body. Most pro-choice people in my experience do not go this far due to the more tricky ethical dilemma of defending the idea that it should be illegal and wrong to kill a baby that was born pre-maturely, but not illegal even if its older so long as it is still within the mothers body. They would also have to accept that it should be fully legal for a scenario like a woman intentionally killing her own baby in the maternity ward so long as she hasn't given birth yet.

So for me most pro-choice peoples rhetoric about "fighting for the rights of women to choose what to do with her body" is basically completely hollow. You can't decide that a woman can choose what she can do with her own body, but only until X number of weeks and then she can't. If the answer is that there is now a human there with its own right to life, then you have to accept that this was always the basis for your acceptance of abortion and that a womans "right to do what she wants to her own body" really had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The line where they decide that it now has rights to life is arbitrary, and this is true whether its inside or outside the womans body.

And thats the irony really, because pro-lifers are against abortion simply because they draw their line right at the start of pregnancy, before that they're totally fine with killing sperms and eggs. On the other hand most pro-choice people will become pro-life after a certain number of weeks of pregnancy.

Whats even more crazy is when you realise that when asked most pro-lifers prove they actually see things essentially exactly the same way as the pro-choice people do, even the ones who scream that its murder. This is in the sense that if its murder they should see no difference in a woman taking the morning after pill, having an abortion after a week, and smothering a baby in its crib. Yet when you ask them what they think the punishment should be for a woman who aborts a pregnancy, to be consistent they should say its all the same, but they dont. You usually will find them totally bewildered as they probably havent even thought about it, and then often even say they dont believe they should put the women in prison at all and they should be given counselling. So someone that claims to believe that a soul is created at conception and therefore killing it is murder still almost always recognises that its not as bad to abort a pregnancy the further back in gestation you go, and that as the baby develops the more troubling and unethical it gets. That "its murder!" can still be recognised as being so different to actually murdering a baby, that "counselling" is the extent of the legal punishment many believe should happen to someone that they claim to believe "murdered" their child.

As far as I can tell the only logical thing to do is to accept that abortion laws are always going to be based on this arbitrary line drawn in the sand no matter what. Thats its not about the womans choices, its only about where we draw the line as to when we give the growing human rights. If possible we should try and use science to tell us a certain amount of information about how developed the babies consciousness is at a certain point. But even then, you still have to make an arbitrary call on when to say this stage of development now deserves protection.

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Why was the South more anti-Hitler than the rest of the country?

Why was the South more anti-Hitler than the rest of the country during WWII? They both were racist societies. One would think there would have been a common bond.

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dimanche 27 octobre 2013



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Girl Scout Cookies make you a Communist

Beware the Girl Scout Cookies. For they betray you as not a true American.


“Please, I beg of you, do not buy Girl Scout cookies,” Swanson said. “Please, I beg of you, stop buying Girl Scout cookies.”

But if they do, he said, they should “take a big, fat, black magic marker” and “start marking out all of the references to the Girl Scouts of America on all the boxes.” Swanson warned that the “wicked” Girl Scouts are promoting “lesbianism” and abortion, calling the cookies “food offered to idols.”


The individualism of feminism has been devastating to this country. I’d say you ought to say no the Girl Scout cookies too. I don’t want to support lesbianism, I don’t want to support Planned Parenthood and I don’t want to support abortion, and if that be the case I’m not buying Girl Scout cookies.


it does and I don’t want to promote a wicked organization that according to its own website doesn’t promote godly womanhood, it just doesn’t, I don’t see anything that promotes godly womanhood. The vision of the Girl Scouts of America is antithetical to a biblical vision for womanhood, it’s antithetical to it.


Buehner alleged that girls shouldn’t participate in Girl Scout sales because they might then think it is acceptable to be “a woman who is going to compete with men in the marketplace,”


I think we understand why Barack Obama is President of the United States. He is incredibly popular with single women, incredibly popular. In fact, if you want a communist in the White House in the year 2020 you have got to get more daughters raised with the worldview, the independent mindset, the worldview that is presented by the Girl Scouts of America.

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Probably already a thread I can't see, but Lou Reed has died

Bit of a shame really.

Good music

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MS Word/Office alternatives

My current computer didn't come loaded with a word-processing program. I downloaded the MS "starter" program, the one that includes advertising.

So far, it's worked pretty much as it should.

However, my wife is putting together a book of her poetry, and she's been sending them to me and I copy them into the word processor and save 'em as "Word" documents.

No problems.

However, I go to start work on actually putting this together for the printer and I find that now the thing has saved all these documents as "DOCX" documents which only opens with the version of MS Office that you have to lease at 99.00 a year.

I will indicate "save as" a "word" document, and it goes into the folder as "DOCX".

I do not want to spend a hundred bucks to render these as useable....

Will one of the free, open-source programs save these as normal "word" documents....

Will they be usable by the guy at Kinko's who's going to put the thing together?

Or is there a conversion program to change the DOCX to Word?

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What exactly does NIST say about collpase times

I know some of you fine folks probably have gone over this more than me. I am NOT a truther. I am DEBUNKING many of them however. Im interested in what NIST said about collpase times. Specifically Im trying desperately to point out the giant fail in truthers claims that the towers (WTC's) fell at "free fall" speeds. Its obvious to me, but I want to know what NIST says since they keep pinging about NIST saying that they did.

I did read a LOT of the final reports years ago but Im sure I am not as well versed as some of you all are, so any help pointing me in the right direction is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Fox Accuses Obama of Spying

Even for Fox, this seems like a new low.

"President Barack Obama knew of the organization’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel – and approved of the efforts, a National Security Agency official has reportedly told a German newspaper.

The Economic Times writes the “high-ranking” NSA official spoke to Bild am Sonntag on the condition of anonymity, saying the president, “not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue

Is it me? Does anyone else think this is totally outrageous? It's just a matter of time, it seems, before Fox starts questioning Obama's birth certificate.

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"Pinning" the device designation of an external HD

So, we depend on our EHD for major downloads, as the little internal HD is very full.

Sometimes the download s/w requires the destination to be defined and stored, e.g. "K:<blah>" and it will always look for that device, but the designation of the EHD changes from moment to moment and depends on whatever other external devices are in use, afaics. Today the EHD happened to be J: so the download failed as it was expecting K:

I tried saving the explicit name of the EHD (Freecom HDD:, with the ":") in the s/w's file destination field, but it didn't much like it.

Any help appreciated, as always :)

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Krauthammer vs. Stewart

Must see, respectful debate. I thought Stewart won, but not by a whole lot. I was amazed that Charles lauded the New Deal accomplishments. He gave a thoughtful articulate conservative position (I just don't happen to agree with). He's also been on both sides of the aisle, and is very funny, in his own way. Krauthammer's been one of my favorite pundits for years.

Take a look at the comments section, though. They really eviscerate Charles. The GOP has no love for people like Krauthammer anymore. Which is really sad. We used to be able to govern with the GOP. I hardly remember what that was like anymore.

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Let's talk about Flanders and the Netherlands' favourite yearly tradition

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet!


In America you have Santa Claus, in the UK he's Father Christmas, and in the Netherlands he's called Sinterklaas. Unlike the other Santas, though, the Dutch Sinterklaas arrives with his slave/servant called Zwarte Piet. The slave-servant comes dressed like a renaissance minstrel: black face, painted red lips, afro wig. The arrival is a huge event: Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Pieten make a grand entrance, and the whole parade is broadcast on public television. Sinterklaas sits tall on a white horse while his black servants share out candy to the kids on the sidelines, and families from all over the country turn up to watch. Or course, there are always several Black Petes, typically played by white people, all in blackface, with red painted lips and afro wigs.

The transformation, however, is not complete with the outfit and greasepaint. The character must speak poor Dutch with a stupid accent, and must act childlike and mischievous when performing. And from mid-November, when Sintaklass and his servants arrive, you can see Zwarte Pieten all over, on television programmes and commercials and on the streets, acting the fool.

At schools across the country, children sing songs referring to the skin tone and character of the black servant "...even if I'm black as coal I mean well…", "Saint Nicolas, enter with your black servant", etc, and there are other old songs about Zwarte Piet in which he's made out to be a little bit stupid, a little bit clumsy, more akin to a child than an adult, the same generalisations previously applied to black people, but which can no longer be made explicitly.

What does JREF think?

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If the ACA Fails...

For whatever reason, what will happen? For the record, I don't think it will fail, but it's interesting to speculate what might replace it, if it becomes a catastrophe.

The GOP, no doubt, would want to revert to the status quo (with some meaningless "fixes", like tort reform), but that is now impossible, for a variety of reasons:

1. People won't go back to the bad old days, when insurance companies crawled up your ass looking for reasons to drop you or jack up your premiums.

Now they're only allowed a few pieces of information: age, tobacco use, pregnancy, and income. There's no serious conversation that comes after, "Remember the good old days, when preexisting conditions disqualified millions of people..." The Dems would absolutely balk at that anyway, and have a field day with the GOP over it. It's a non-starter.

2. There are three million more kids on their parents' plans thanks to the ACA. What politician is going to tell these families, "We're going to roll the whole thing back, and now your kids who are over 19 are going to dropped from your plan"? Again, the Dems would clobber them with it.

3. The Medicaid expansion (which is really the untold story of this whole thing), is in the process of extending coverage to millions. GOP governors are balking, but slowly falling in to line. Rick Scott flip-flopped back in Feb. and Florida is now taking the Medicaid money. John R. Kasich, GOP governor of Ohio, just did an end-run around his own legislature to get his hands on the Medicaid money. There's no way we're going to turn around and tell these people, who just got coverage, that they're no longer covered, so THAT part of the ACA will have to be left in place.

(1) and (2) aren't compatible with a free-market solution. If I'm an insurance company, and I'm not allowed to know much of anything about my customers AND I have to cover their kids till they're 26 AND there's no mandate to compel healthy people to join the pool, AND there's no subsidies to entice people to buy what I'm selling, how does that work? It doesn't. An actuarial death-spiral would ensue.

So if a free-market solution wont work, and a regulated subsidized free-market doesn't work (the ACA), what's left? Because of (3), I think we would end up just expanding Medicaid to cover anyone making, say, less than $100,000 ($200,000 for a household). Something like that. That or go with a govt. option. What else is there? The ACA WAS the conservative plan. If it fails, there's nothing to the right of it that's politically possible.

The GOP must realize this, yet they're cheering for this to fail. Don't they see what's coming next, if it does? I've never seen a group of people behave so irrationally.

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