Patterico's Pontifications


George Carlin on Immune Systems

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

I thought of this clip again today as I was filling up a bottle with tap water — which I regularly drink, to the dismay of my colleagues. My belief is, you have to give your immune system a good slug every now and then, just to keep it in practice. Turns out George Carlin agrees.

It’s George Carlin, so expect foul language from this point forward. But it’s funny ’cause it’s true:

“You’re gonna get sick, and you’re gonna die, and you’re gonna deserve it — because you’re fuckin’ weak, and you have a fuckin’ weak immune system!”

I can’t say I take it quite to his extremes — for example, I do take regular showers and wash my hands. But eat food off the ground? You betcha!

Spreading the Word

Filed under: Government,Religion — DRJ @ 6:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Here’s an unusual search and seizure case:

“The million-dollar question: Will you go to heaven?” is printed on the back of bills used as gospel tracts by a Dallas-area evangelical group.

The counterfeit money was seized by Secret Service Agents back in 2006 when a North Carolina man tried to deposit the $1 million bill in his bank account.

Last week, a Texas federal district court ruled that the fake money, printed by the Great News Network, is fake enough that it doesn’t pose a risk of fraud, so it’s not illegal.

Note: The U.S. doesn’t make a $1 million bill, or any bill over $1,000 for that matter. The slip–which bears the face of President Grover Cleveland–also says: “This is Not Legal Tender” and “Department of Eternal Affairs.”

The court also ruled that the Secret Service violated the Fourth Amendment when it took more than 8,000 of the bills from the organization’s offices without warrant, an unconstitutional search and seizure.”

The decision overturned a 2006 preliminary injunction ruling that treated the $1M bills as counterfeit money, not religious tracts, even though it appears only one person out of millions thought it was real:

“U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis refused to grant a request by Darrel Rundus of the Great News Network to order federal agents to return thousands of tracts – printed as million-dollar bills – seized June 2 from the ministry’s Denton office.

According to court documents, Secret Service agents became involved in the case after a bank customer in North Carolina recently tried to deposit one of the tracts. That led agents to the Denton ministry, where they grabbed up more than 8,000 tracts.
The government argued in court filings that the million-dollar bills are the same size as federal reserve notes, use a portrait of President Grover Cleveland and have the distinctive peach and green coloring of new currency denominations. The back of the bill also looks like the $20 bill, except that the borders contain type-written warnings against sins such as lustful glances at women. Repentance is also urged.

Brian Fahling, a Mississippi attorney who filed the injunction request on behalf of Great News Network, said the ministry has passed out millions of the tracts to spread a Gospel message, not to circulate counterfeit currency.

“One person out of 6 million was confused by this?” Mr. Fahling said about the bank incident in North Carolina. “It’s just absurd to think anybody would view this tract as real money.”

No word on the fate of the eternal optimist in North Carolina who tried to deposit one.


Jewish Donors “Concerned”

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Hill reports American Jews may be unhappy enough with President Obama’s Israel policy that Democratic donations will suffer:

“Privately, these Democrats say that the administration’s criticism of Netanyahu was excessive and will embolden Israel’s enemies. Jewish Democratic fundraisers and donors say Obama could lose significant financial support and votes, although they caution it is too early to say with certainty.

Exit polls showed Obama won about 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, but Jewish political strategists believe his level of support among the bloc has dropped in recent months.

The impact on the Democratic Party could be significant.

Jewish Democratic donors are believed to make up 25 to 50 percent of the party’s major contributors — those who give more than $25,000 — according to sources familiar with Jewish fundraising.

Some Jewish fundraisers estimate pro-Israel donors give $20 million to $30 million to federal races in an election cycle.

They also make up an active segment of the electorate in swing states such as Florida, where Democrats and Republicans are contesting an open Senate seat.”

That’s a big chunk of the Democrats’ fundraising, although the quotes show many high-profile Democratic Jews are “concerned” but not alienated from the Obama Administration.

“Concern” typically turns off GOP donors. We’ll see whether that’s also true with Obama’s Jewish supporters.


Kind Words

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 5:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The President is unhappy with Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

“Administration officials said Tuesday that they will continue to “evaluate” remarks made by Karzai, and that the evaluation could result in Karzai’s May invitation to the White House being revoked.

President Barack Obama extended an invitation for Karzai to visit the White House on May 12, but that could be in jeopardy if Karzai continues to make “troubling and untruthful” comments.

Asked at the daily press briefing if the U.S. considers Karzai an ally, Gibbs said “Karzai is the democratically elected leader of Afghanistan.”

Pressed on the issue, Gibbs said that “the remarks he’s made I can’t imagine that anyone in this country found them anything other than troubling…when the Afghan leaders take steps to improve governance and root out corruption, then the president will say kind words.”

So Obama has no kind words for America’s allies even though he worked for months on a letter expressing a change in tone toward Iran and its leaders. What’s more, in his Inaugural Address, Obama promised “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Time has shown what Obama meant by those kind words: Our enemies will always get a second chance but America’s allies should never cross Obama.


Health Care Fallout in New Hampshire

Filed under: Economics,Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 9:11 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Several large companies including AT&T, John Deere, and Caterpillar recently announced higher anticipated costs because of ObamaCare, but they aren’t the only businesses expecting costs to increase. Seasonal employers like ski resorts — businesses that typically rely on part-time or short-term workers who aren’t covered by health care policies — will also be affected. Take, for instance, New Hampshire:

The state’s seasonal tourism industry is only now beginning to realize that it could get hammered by the new health care reform law.

The bill signed into law on Tuesday by President Barack Obama fines businesses that do not provide health insurance to full-time employees who work more than 120 days a year. The assessment is $2,000 per employee, which, according to SkiNH lobbyist Bruce Berke and group president Alice Pearce, could mean as much as $1 million in fines to the big ski resorts, some of which hire as many as 500 seasonal workers.

Also affected would be any business that hires on a seasonal basis, and, like most nationally, do not offer health insurance.”

New Hampshire resorts have asked their Senators to try to reinstate the $750/person fines for employees working 150 days as set forth in the original Senate bill, instead of the $2,000/person fines for 120 day workers contained in the reconciliation package:

“SkiNH is asking Sens. Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen to support returning to the original Senate parameters because, Pearce and Berke say, it would have minimal impact on their industry.

Otherwise, Pearce said, it will be up to each ski resort (and presumably, seasonal attractions statewide) to figure out how to handle it. The choices are pretty clear, either increase prices or cut costs, which could mean hiring fewer workers next winter.”

New Hampshire isn’t the only State facing this problem:

“The new provision has ski areas and the hotel and lodging industry nationally concerned.

In Colorado, a Steamboat Springs official said it could cost that resort as much as $2 million a year.”

This sounds bleak for resorts and the leisure industry. Not only is it hard to find people with the money to take vacations, now they also face fines for each worker. I also wonder if ObamaCare applies to cruise lines that sail to and from U.S. ports. With many ships sailing with onboard physicians, do cruise lines provide health insurance for all their workers and, if not, what will this do to their bottom line?


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