Patterico's Pontifications

2/28/2015

I Read These Articles About Scott Walker And The Word That Comes to Mind Is: Untested

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:04 pm

Not Scott Walker . . . but rather, Big Media.

Politico (safe Web cache link so the bullies get no traffic):

Another major media outlet has apologized after getting a story about Scott Walker wrong. Last week, it was the New York Times; now, it’s The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast has retracted an article from one of its college columnists that claimed that the Wisconsin governor’s budget would cut sexual assault reporting from the state’s universities.

The post, published Friday, cited a report from Jezebel that wrongly interpreted a section of the state budget to mean that all assault reporting requirements were to get cut altogether.

In fact, the University of Wisconsin system requested the deletion of the requirements to get rid of redundancy, as it already provides similar information to the federal government, UW System spokesman Alex Hummel told The Associated Press on Friday.

I think Big Media just isn’t ready for prime time.

Heads-Up: It Depends On What The Definition Of A Medical Advancement Is (With update)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I thought it surely had to be a bit of internet fakery, but apparently not and is according to Dr. Mike K. But as to the feasibility of the proposition, well, you be the judge.

Italian surgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group announced that he believes human head transplants could begin in two years. Positively Frankensteinian:

[He] wants to use the surgery to extend the lives of people whose muscles and nerves have degenerated or whose organs are riddled with cancer. Now he claims the major hurdles, such as fusing the spinal cord and preventing the body’s immune system from rejecting the head, are surmountable, and the surgery could be ready as early as 2017.

Further:

The key, Canavero wrote, is extreme cooling of the bodies of the recipient and the donor and the reattachment of the donor head within the hour.

Surgeons would dissect tissues around the neck and link blood vessels with minute tubes. The spinal cords would be cut with an extra-sharp blade, making a “clean cut” that is essential to the surgery’s success and theoretically allowing the two spinal cords to fuse.

After the surgery, the patient would spend about a month in a medically-induced coma to let the body heal without risk of movement.

Canavero contends the patient would be able to feel his or her new face and speak in a natural voice — and could eventually be able to walk.

(Note: head transplants on animals have already been conducted.)

Canavero intends to announce the project this spring at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS). And, according to Canavero, he already has volunteers lined up. For the surgery. Oh. Come. On.

Anyway, all of this naturally begs the age-old question: Because it can be done, should it be done?

Aside from what is being discussed as the biggest hurdle of many hurdles – that of successfully being able to attach one spinal cord to another – there is the pesky issue of ethics. A trauma surgeon notes some viable concerns:

• Prior to attempting this feat in humans, we would have try it using small animals followed by monkeys. What ethics review board would approve such a thing? Would this not be considered animal cruelty?

• If the trials were approved and then proved successful, who then would be the first human guinea pig?

• What if the head survives the surgery but not the body? What if the body survives but not the head?

• Are either of those scenarios even possible?

• How would the person react to someone else’s body on his head when he woke up? The psychological trauma alone would be immeasurable.

• What if the head is rejected? Would they then try a second body transplant?

Aside from the immense and seemingly insurmountable issues with the surgery itself, this frankly seems so ghastly, surreal and wholly rife with ethical problems, that it’s hard to imagine it would ever be taken seriously, let alone happen. And yet, there are ghastly and unethical medical procedures being lawfully done on a regular basis without batting an eye, even as the ethics surrounding said procedures have successfully been squelched by supporters lobbyists media government all parties involved.

And if this surgery is, or becomes, even a remote possibility some years out, then considering man’s base nature and insatiable quest for power and penchant for playing God, what about that inevitable slippery slope?

*I would love to hear what Patterico’s medical professionals make of all this.

–Dana

UPDATE: Mike K. pooh-poohs head transplants as bunk. While I agree with him, I do think there is almost always an ethical question regarding advancements in medical sciences and how we respond to the real possibilities on the horizon.

Of All The Books In All The World, Holder Chose This One

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:00 am

[guest post by Dana]

In an exit interview, Eric Holder was asked which book he would recommend to a young person coming to Washington. His choice was “The Autobiography of Malcom X”.

Holder explained:

“I say this not to every African-American of his age, but for every American, that you read ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ to see the transition that that man went through, from petty criminal to a person who was severely and negatively afflicted by race, to somebody who ultimately saw the humanity in all of us,” Holder said. “And that would be a book I would recommend to everybody.”

It’s not a surprise he chose this book, after all, fighing against racism has been at the top of his priority list since becoming Attorney General. Further, those who know him, have explained that “he is a race man”.

But seriously, if you had to choose the definitive book to encourage a young person who was heading to Washington, what would it be and why?

–Dana

2/27/2015

Putin Critic Shot Dead

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 pm

Coincidinks abound:

In a recent interview, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Putin has condemned the murder we all believe he ordered. Politifact rates his condemnation as Mostly True.

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:04 pm

LLAP.

On Differing Perspectives: An Essay

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

As I make this great journey through life, one thing I have learned is that different people really do have different perspectives. For example, my honestly held belief that government is unnecessary to address a particular issue will always be balanced by someone who says we need oversight in that area. And, to address more artistic matters: my belief that say, a piece of music is truly sublime (or wretched) will inevitably be countered by somebody who — with equal honesty and and sincerity — believes the same music is wretched (or sublime).

It’s easy to discount other points of view as being the product of inferior or dishonest minds. Your love for that rap song shows that your mind is not as cultured as mine, which appreciates Beethoven; on the other hand, your love of Proust must be feigned, because nobody really reads such garbage — while my love of Michael Connelly is at least genuine.

But that sort of “my way is the only way” attitude — discounting other viewpoints as wrong– is both callow and lazy. True maturity lies in realizing and accepting that people can honestly hold perspectives that are, quite simply, different from yours. Indeed, if this country can be said to be founded on a single unifying message, it is acceptance of different frames of reference. Our strength lies in understanding that other ways of looking at things are not wrong; they are just unfamiliar.

The fact that someone sees a political issue, or a work of art, in a different manner than you happen to see it, does not make that person inferior, or dishonest, or wrong. They are simply different. That’s all. Once you have fully accepted this concept and put it into practice in your own life, you will have achieved a level of wisdom that will serve you well.

. . .

. . .

. . .

That said . . . those of you who say the dress is blue and black are out of your fucking minds.

(more…)

2/26/2015

Reader Poll: What Color Is This Dress?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:20 pm

My daughter showed me this image today (taken from this Tumblr post) and asked me what two colors the dress was. Before you go any further, look at the image and answer the poll. Then click on “more” for the rest of the post.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.12.24 PM

What color is this dress?
Gold and white
Black and blue
Something else

Poll Maker

(more…)

Scott Walker Wows At CPAC, Complaints That He Compared Protesters To ISIS Follow

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:13 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Scott Walker gave one barn-burner of a speech today at CPAC. One portion of his speech, however, is causing quite a stir:

At one point, he was asked about how he would handle the threat posed by the Islamic State group were he president. He responded by saying that the country needs a commander in chief who will do anything in their power to stop “radical Islamic terrorists.”

He wrapped up by saying: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Further:

The likely 2016 presidential candidate said the nation needs “someone who leads” and who will “send a message, not only that we’ll protect American soil, but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence.”

Not just the left groaned at his comments:

Walker clarified his statement later:

“Let me be perfectly clear, I’m just pointing out the closest thing I have to handling this difficult situation is the 100,000 protesters I had to deal with,” Walker said.

The governor said he did not regret the comment.

“You all will misconstrue things the way you see fit,” he said. “That’s the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there’s any parallel between the two.”

If Walker sought to present himself as a commander-in-chief who would be up to the challenge of the evil that is ISIS as well as show his determination and intention as a leader not to shrink in the face of radical Islamist terrorism, then he did just that.

And, as has been pointed out, just how offended were these same people when Wisconsin protesters were busy comparing Walker to Hitler? But none of this is a surprise, of course. It’s to be expected.

Walker’s speech is well worth watching in its entirety. He addresses everything from Israel, to ISIS, to net neutrality and everything in between. The Q&A session that follows his speech provides a little more insight into the politician as he elaborates on his views. What Walker lacks in charisma, he more than makes up for with his solid conservative principles. He strikes me as a genuine, straightforward man whose hope is to see America remain the greatest nation on earth. There is no loftiness about him, no airs, no soaring rhetoric, and most certainly he doesn’t walk on water, can’t slow the rise of the oceans or heal the planet, but instead, what you get is a very smart and shrewd politician who has no illusions about Washington and its abuse of power, and is compelled to serve this country he loves so much. And if that means by leading it, then he’s all in. It’s early in the game, but he’s got my attention.

“We celebrate our independence from government, not our dependence on it…”

–Dana

Attention Marie Harf: Notorious ISIS Beheader “Jihadi John” Comes From Well-to-Do Family

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Shocker:

The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Osama bin Laden and Mohammed Atta were among many “well-to-do” Muslims who became attracted to terrorism, not through lack of opportunity, but as a result of a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

Marie Harf, please explain how using government to get this “well-to-do” fellow a job would prevent him from being a jihadi.

Oh, never mind.

P.S. For that matter, Marie Harf, please explain how government creates jobs.

Hint: with the exception of government jobs, it doesn’t. And government jobs are a waste of money unless they protect the country from external or internal dangers.

And you’re doing nothing to protect the country, Marie Harf — meaning your job is a waste of money.

If you really think jobs are the answer to everything (and they aren’t), your solution is to get government out of the way.

2/25/2015

Yates Decision: A Harbinger for Halbig/King or Not?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm

The lefties are crowing that today’s decision in Yates v. United States is a Harbinger of Things to Come re: the King v. Burwell ObamaCare case (oral arguments one week away!). Are they right? I’m not sure . . . but it is more than a little distressing to see two conservative justices sign onto opinions that twist language into a pretzel to keep it from meaning what it says.

The opinion is here (.pdf). Basically, the federal government has some absurd regulations that govern the all-important size of grouper that one can catch (and keep) in federal waters. Mr. Yates, a fisherman, had run afoul of these regulations, and a federal inspector was On the Case. The inspector told Yates to keep the too-small fish segregated from the rest until he got to port — but when he got to port, it turned out that he had ordered his crew to defy the agent’s orders, and toss the fish overboard.

You’re not supposed to do that.

The government chose to charge him with a violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1519, which criminalizes the concealment or destruction of “any record, document, or tangible object” with the purpose of impeding a federal investigation. Yates argued that a fish is not a “tangible object” because something something context and blah blah statutory construction.

In essence, the main argument was that the provision was in Sarbanes-Oxley, which was “intended to prohibit, in particular, corporate document-shredding to hide evidence of financial wrongdoing.” But there is some other junk in there, including canons of construction with Latin names and references to things like the title and the location of the provision within the statute.

The Court accepted this mumbo jumbo and held that “tangible object” somehow means that the tangible object must be “one used to record or preserve information.” Having grafted this non-existent qualification onto the statute, the Court found that the fish did not qualify under their new definition, and reversed the conviction.

Justice Kagan rips apart the majority’s arguments (and those of Alito’s concurrence) quite deftly in her dissent.

Are the justices deciding this case with King v. Burwell in mind? Perhaps — some more so than others, I suspect. But the fact is that context is always relevant to statutory language. As Kagan says, nobody really disagrees with that. It’s just that, as applied here, the context and all the other legalistic yapping do not undercut the conclusion that, well, a fish is a tangible object.

End of story.

P.S. If this case frightens you regarding King, be of good cheer. Winning or losing that case won’t matter, it now appears — because, as Orrin Hatch recently made clear, Republicans are going to cave immediately if we win the case:

Hatch said that while Obamacare has hurt millions of people and needs to be ultimately repealed and replaced, Congress should do something in the meantime to mitigate the effects if the high court decides to invalidate that financial aid.

“I don’t think we can stand by and simply let the shortcomings of the law hurt people more,” he said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“In the coming days, I will release details of a short-term solution for Americans who may be affected,” Hatch said. “That solution will address immediate concerns and set the stage for a permanent solution in the future.”

Of course. You can’t take the goodies away, so you have to give people “short-term, temporary” subsidies until such time as you develop the political courage to . . . make those subsidies long-term and permanent.

Did anyone really expect anything different?

P.P.S. A limited solution to caving: The Freedom Option.

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