They're Crooks


I keep hearing conflicting views about who is really making money in all this. You have some oil executives saying they aren't making any money. I guess $40 million per year isn't enough for these crooks, they have to get paid $50 Million per year.

I am at work, and I can't be browsing YT videos for the Kid From Brooklyn but I believe his rant said it best.

Someone is making money and it isn't the average working man.

From the article that prompted this (Thanks to Cameron Reilly)

Exxon posts new profit record
World's largest publicly traded oil firm makes $11.68 billion in the quarter, but misses forecasts.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.


America: Land of the free

Though our health care system really is just... not good. I came across this article this morning and it reminded me of my own situation. In the past three years I have had a battle with the health care system. Yes I have had insurance from 2006. in 2005 I had to rely on the State Health insurance for my daughter. Known as TennCare. There were stories of fraud which was unsurprising. Then the shocker came in late 2005. I was collecting a fair sum of money from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the dorm of a DUA unemployment check. Then I stopped receiving this, working in jobs where I received less money than I got from unemployment. TennCare then said I made "too much money" and denied my daughter TennCare. I finally got a job with insurance in Jan 2006 and then I got into that battle (with the insurance company) and guess what? TennCare approved my daughter for full coverage when I made twice as much in the new job (that also had insurance in which she was covered) than I did in the old jobs where they said I made "too much".

The system is broken. I have not seen the movie "Sicko" but I am sure it raises serious questions.

Now the new battle I have been waging is about Health Insurance. I have had since Jan 2006, deducted from every paycheck on average $130. This amounts to roughly $3120 per year. This would be fine, if they didn't have such lame-ass policies as "a deductible" described to me by one health insurance person over the phone as being "like car insurance". Well, the problem is, I don't go getting into accidents multiple times per year. As opposed to health care, when we for sure, either take my daughter to the doctor or go to the doctor ourselves. Multiple times per year. So at the end of every year this "deductible" is met. On or about Dec 21st. Gee thanks. Now the next year rolls around and the balance is reset.

I haven't even touched on the unknown amount that my employers pay on top of that $130 per paycheck but I am sure its significantly higher than that amount.

Why is health care so much? I have heard its so that hospitals and clinics can have something to combat being sued - liability insurance. This is all fine and well, but Why do you see pompous pricks driving around in $85,000 cars? The doctor - patient interaction is at the most two minutes. You have the doctor come in, speak, check you out and then he or she is gone.

I had to stay in the Hospital for two nights. Two separate nights. The total bill (just the hospital stay not the doctor bill which was separate) was $4450.23 The insurance paid for some of that, but I still have to pay $300 of that. I know I have little room to complain, but I am asking why the hospital stay is so much. Why do we have these pricks living in 20,000 sq ft mansions commuting 20 miles to work driving around Merc S class sedans? Something isn't right. I admit ignorance on where the money goes, but someone is getting paid quite handsomely.

Something isn't right in this country where the uninsured are left to die because they can't afford to pay for medical procedures. You would only people flocking for free health care in America. This is a sad state of affairs.

And in case this article dies in the interwebs I will repost it in entirety here. Don't forget those linkbacks.

Uninsured left in the lurch
Thousands pour into SW Va. this weekend seeking free health care

Monday, Jul 28, 2008 - 12:00 AM Updated: 06:27 PM

WISE -- They have come by the thousands.

They walk through the gates of the fairgrounds, give their most personal information to complete strangers and are ushered off for a battery of tests and procedures.

An expected 3,000-plus residents of Southwest Virginia and neighboring states are here through today for one reason -- to get basic medical care they couldn't otherwise afford.

A crowd began lining up in the wee hours of Friday morning for a coveted spot inside the fences at the Remote Area Medical clinic. Some would wait days for the free service. Some would never get in.

For the majority though, organizers and doctors said, this would be the only time all year they would get medical treatment of any sort.

Remote Area Medical, based in Knoxville, Tenn., has provided medical care for the poor and uninsured in the United States and around the world since 1985.

Since Friday, volunteer doctors, optometrists, pharmacists and dentists have been helping patients during 14-hour days.

Charles Sizemore, a 68-year old retired machinist from Wise County, got in line Friday about 2 a.m. for a basic physical and to get two fillings replaced.

Sizemore raised four children in the area but never had health insurance until he got Medicare when he retired three years ago.

"I wanted to," he said, leaning against bleachers where patients were being registered as the sun rose over the mountains. "There just wasn't enough money. I had to take care of my family, and I never made more than $10 an hour."

All his children have left the area for better-paying jobs, but he's too old to move, he said playfully.

Turning serious, Sizemore said, "I don't mean to be ungrateful. I'm glad RAM comes out and does this. But it's just damned sad that this is the only time most of the people around here are going to see a doctor. It's a damned shame."

. . .

Teresa Gardner said the RAM event is vitally important.

Gardner is executive director of The Health Wagon, a nonprofit organization that provides health care for the uninsured and underinsured in Southwest Virginia. It is the local organizer for the RAM event.

"The main problem is that these people don't have access to even the most basic health care because they can't afford it," she said. "And those that can afford the insurance, or get it through their companies, can't afford to pay the co-pays or the prescriptions."

According to the figures released this year by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, per-capita personal income in Wise County is $25,330. That's about $14,000 less than the state average and several thousand less than in the Richmond area. The U.S. personal per capita income is $36,714.

A study by the Southwest Virginia Graduate Medical Education Consortium paints a bleak picture about health in this part of the state. In the study, Southwest Virginia is defined as the 16-locality area between and including Lee County to the west and Bland, Wythe and Carroll counties to the east.

The study found that people living in the region are 26 percent more likely to die from heart disease, 52 percent more likely to die from pneumonia or flu and 28 percent more likely to die from diabetes than other Virginians.

About 25 percent of the area's residents have no health insurance.

Dr. Ross Isaacs of Charlottesville said numbers such as those are frustrating because most maladies are treatable if caught early enough. Isaacs, who specializes in kidney disease, said something as simple as monitoring blood pressure can help stop most of what ails people and increase life expectancy.

"These people urgently need treatment," he said, getting visibly angry. "We need to put our resources into fighting" to get people adequate health care in the region.

"This is what we do -- we take care of people," Isaac said. "There isn't a cash register between me and my stethoscope, nor should there be."

. . .

Of the more than 3,000 people who will come into the fairgrounds this weekend, the majority will be there to see dentists.

About 53 percent of people here have no dental insurance, double the rate for the rest of the state, according to a study titled Health Care in Southwest Virginia. Those who do have coverage have limited choices in dentists.

The Virginia Dental Association in Richmond made the trip with a contingent of dentists and hygienists who set up camp in the middle of the fairgrounds with rows of chairs and trays of equipment. They will take x-rays, fill cavities, make dentures and pull teeth.

By Friday at 2 p.m., almost a thousand patients were waiting on metal seats under an awning to see the dentists. The crowd was muted. A few read books, some wrangled children and a great many smoked.

Dr. Terry D. Dickinson, executive director of the dental association, said the situation in the region is worsening as the price of gas and energy remains high.

"These people need to decide whether they are going to pay the rent or buy groceries for the kids. They're not thinking about going to the dentist. They are just trying to survive," he said. "But that they are here tells you how much they need this. Even with $4 gas, these people made the trip."

RAM organizers expect a record crowd this year, almost double of what they saw in 2000, the first year the expedition came to Wise. The group does a total of 16 expeditions in the U.S.

"You see some of these people coming over and over," said Dr. Lanny R. Levenson, a Midlothian dentist. Contact Louis Llovio at (804) 649-6348 or LLLovio@timesdispatch.com.


Right Wing Hate Speech

Originally uploaded by Barack Obama
Just a quick one here. I was flipping through the radio last night at about 9 PM and heard 700 WLW from Cincinnati. Heard some guy emphasizing "Barack Hussein Obama" over and over. It annoys me to no end. YES that's his name. If you really want to know how I feel about it listen to the opening words of a Metallica cover they did for Garage Days Revisited called "So What". The lyrics of which can be found here. Not that I condone anything mentioned in the song, or even approve of anything in the song written to shock. But I think the opening line says it all.

LA Times comment posted

We will see if it gets published. I will repost it here. (damn I had a typo misspelling - ahh well, I'll correct it for here)


Although eye catching, typing in ALLCAPS is really considered rude to get your point across. Its the equivalent of shouting.

With that out of the way, I would like to discuss the post by HM 2008-07-22 at 11:45.

"The Da Vinci Code" - a Novel by Dan Brown is exactly that, a novel. Written for your entertainment. It is of course, a work of fiction. Strongly opposed to this, a documentary - using evidence to try and figure out how the world works and using that evidence to try and disprove old theories. I suspect, that HM and others commenting on behalf of unshakable faith saw red the instant they started reading the description of the programme.

Unlike religion, Science doesn't claim to know all the answers. There are still deep secrets about the elegant universe. That doesn't mean that the answer is God. Science is about testing, comparing corroborating evidence and updating old theories. Faith on the other hand, is about believing in something with no evidence at all and this belief does not change ever.

The fact remains that there is no evidence for Yahweh or Jesus or Baal or Zeus or Wotan or any other of the deities humans have invented over the years.

To the unmoving, permanent believers in god or gods, how can you be so sure that a book filled with bronze-age myths - about talking snakes, global floods, mass-murder, genocide, infanticide, rape, torture, and blood-letting - is the unshakable truth? All we can tell so far is its a book filled with ancient scribblings. I ask you to please read the bible. Look at the horrors contained within.

If you say "of course, but that was the old testament". I say - if you can pick and choose which parts of the bible to believe and which parts to not believe, why even bother with the bible at all? By what means or method do you pick and choose?



Free Enterprise

Another enormous church

Watching the TV this morning I saw being broadcast on a major local affiliate here the sermon from Cornerstone church - a mega church in Madison. A TV spot which no doubt cost a huge amount of money. I also see this church placing advertising billboards all over town. They often stay up for months on end. A link to A permanent billboard cost in Metro Nashville shows that one costs as much as $56,000 per month. This church's' Sunday attendance boasts in to the many thousands. Quite a lot of money has probably been put in to the place. (and the organization) Here in the bible belt religion is free enterprise. Where rival groups set up shop on every street corner. Competing to save people's souls and collect their money. Which brings me back to my point of eliminating their tax exemption status. Make them compete as any other commercial enterprise.



I am taking this time to borrow from Skeptoid text about Chiropractic practices. I will link to the show text. But feel as if I should copy/paste the article here. A lot of non-science is involved in this "medical" practice. Brian does a great show and I recommend it.


Today we're going to lay down on the table, hold tight and grit our teeth, and receive what a chiropractor once eloquently described to me as the "Whack & Crack," and have the flow of New Age energy improved through our bodies and spirits. For today's topic is chiropractic.

Like so many non-evidence based alternative medicine systems, chiropractic was established and defined by a non-scientist during a time when almost nothing useful or true was known about medicine. In this case, our inventor was Daniel D. Palmer, a practitioner of New Age healing with magnets, when medicine was in the Dark Ages of 1895. Palmer believed that his magnets could manipulate a type of immaterial spiritual essence which he believed exists in the body, and which he called "innate intelligence." Palmer reasoned that innate intelligence flows through the body through the nervous system, and that whenever an illness exists, it must be due to a nerve blockage preventing the flow of innate intelligence. It seemed reasonable to Palmer that straightening the spine through manual manipulation would relieve any crimps, thus curing virtually any disease and restoring health. Palmer called his new invention chiropractic, from the Greek for "done by hand."

Chiropractic's entire history has been quite stormy, and the early days were no exception. Palmer was soon arrested and convicted with practicing medicine without a license. His son, BJ Palmer, formed the first professional chiropractic association to cover legal expenses of the students he and his father trained.

Chiropractic is relatively unique among alternative medicine systems because, although it was originally developed based on the purely mythical and supernatural conjecture of innate intelligence, the profession as a whole has evolved and generally accepted most anatomical discoveries of modern medicine. Most (though certainly not all) modern chiropractors do accept many of the fundamentals of orthopedics and physical therapy. This has inevitably resulted in several different branches of chiropractic, with different sets of beliefs, and we'll talk more about those in a moment.

The cornerstone of chiropractic is something they call a subluxation. The first and most important thing to understand is that a chiropractic subluxation is a completely different phenomenon from an orthopedic subluxation, which is a real medical condition, and is unrelated. An orthopedic subluxation is a partial dislocation of a joint. They are significant physical displacements, and as such, they can and do appear on images such as X-rays, MRI's, and CAT scans. A chiropractic subluxation, on the other hand, is theoretic and is not visible on an imaging study or otherwise verifiable through conventional medicine. The chiropractic profession has repeatedly redefined a subluxation over the years, and the current definition is "a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health." As you can see, it's quite a vague definition and leaves plenty of room for individual interpretation. In practice, it usually refers to an alleged misalignment of adjacent vertebrae. According to the medical profession, such a misalignment would not have any of the detrimental effects on organs or general health claimed by chiropractors. Additionally, were there an actual nerve impingement in the spine, it would absolutely be visible on an imaging study and would absolutely not be treated through manipulation, which could easily result in irreparable injury. Therein lies the essential conflict between conventional medicine and chiropractic. Chiropractic treats imaginary conditions, that could not possibly cause the reported symptoms even if they did exist, using methods that would be highly detrimental on an actual impingement.

With such necessarily vague definitions, there are about as many different types of chiropractic as there are chiropractors; and indeed, most chiropractors do not belong to any sort of professional chiropractic association. However, most do fall into one of three main groups: Straights, Reforms, and Mixers. Straights are those who stick firmly with Palmer's original concepts of innate intelligence, tend to reject modern medicine, and honestly believe that spinal manipulation can cure most any disease. Significantly, no evidence has ever shown that straight chiropractors have a lower incidence of any given disease, or of disease in general, which kind of makes you wonder. Reforms are the opposite. They accept that innate intelligence is not a real phenomenon and tend to restrict their treatment to types of manipulation that correspond with conventional physical therapy. Those few chiropractors who are also MD's are usually Reforms. The largest group of chiropractors are the Mixers, who, as their name suggests, attempt to marry some of Palmer's original ideas of subluxations with modern anatomical knowledge and treatments. Mixers often offer various other alternative medicine systems and often take a holistic approach to health. After many decades of controversy and licensing debates, there are now accredited colleges through which chiropractors can become licensed to practice. A Doctor of Chiropractic is not a medical doctor, and is not licensed to prescribe drugs or to perform surgery in the United States. They can be listed as primary care providers, which seems surprising given they are not trained or allowed to do something as simple as prescribe an antibiotic or set a broken bone.

I have some volleyball friends who see chiropractors regularly, and swear by them. Like some other sports, volleyball is one that keeps its elder players fairly constantly in the offices of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists. Athletic massage and physical therapy are often essential parts of injury recovery, but if improperly performed, they absolutely have potential to cause more damage and make a bad situation worse. That's why we have certification boards for massage therapists and Doctors of Physical Therapy — top physical therapists should have a DPT after their name on the door. Physical therapists who are not doctors still must have taken an accredited four-to-six-year college program and must pass a national physical therapy examination and an examination on the laws and regulations governing the practice of physical therapy. Physical therapy assistants must take an accredited two-year college program and must pass the national physical therapist assistant examination, and they may only work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. A physical therapy aide is not licensed and is not required to meet any education requirements and has no formal training. However, they are required to work only under the direct physical supervision of a licensed physical therapist. When my volleyball friends report back about what their chiropractor did for them today, guess what? It's often exactly the same treatment I've received from my DPT. Some of these chiropractors are doing conventional physical therapy but without having taken the training and passed the tests, and they're getting away with it because they're calling it chiropractic. Not only is that untrue, it's illegal, unless that chiropractor also happens to be a licensed physical therapist. If you have a painful sports injury, you should be going to an orthopedist anyway, who is licensed to provide medical care and can do things like order an MRI to properly assess an injury.

Many chiropractors are rational people and are knowledgeable about sports medicine or back pain, and do provide good physical therapy. The best will often be openly critical of Straight chiropractors and advise you to avoid any practitioner who follows the subluxation philosophy. This is good, but it's not as good as receiving the same advice from someone who went to medical school and whose practice is built on medical science. My question to these Reform chiropractors is: If you are so critical of the chiropractic arts, then why are you a chiropractor yourself? If you want to be a doctor and help people, fine; go to medical school, and become a doctor. Yes, it's easier, cheaper, and faster to go to chiropractor school, and there isn't so much pesky "anatomy" to learn, but if you believe medical services should be based on medical science, then you should go all the way. I'm tired of hearing chiropractors be critical of chiropractic. It's the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

There's one criticism of chiropractic that I'm not going to urge, and that's the fact that these spinal manipulations can be extremely dangerous and can cause spinal injuries that have resulted in paralysis and deaths. The most common injury is a stroke following neck manipulation. The reason I'm not going to urge this criticism is that mistakes can be made in every type of medicine, whether it's alternative or conventional. A pharmacist friend of a friend once made a mistake, filling a prescription with the wrong medication, and a child died as a result. During the ensuing lawsuit, the pharmacist took her own life. No type of treatment is free of the risk of accidental error. Fortunately, they're extremely rare.

If you have some medical condition that you've been treating with chiropractic, consider going to a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis. If an athletic massage or physical therapy are prescribed by your doctor, go to a proper physical therapist or licensed massage therapist, who are able to give you better treatment, legally and with the proper training under their belt, and who understand the medical basis for their treatment. You can only do better than with a chiropractor whose training is founded upon Palmer's 1895 conjecture of innate intelligence.


Interesting article

Link to the story

Christian metalcore band Haste the Day has asked guitarist Jason Barnes to step down after months of spiritual searching by their close friend concluded with his loss of faith in God.

"This is going to come as a shock to many of you," the group wrote to fans in their official MySpace page Friday. "After much prayer and thought given to the matter, we asked Jason Barnes to step down from his involvement with Haste the Day."

In their statement, the seven-year-old band from Indianapolis explained that Barnes had been "searching and searching for real meaning in his existence."

"After several months of reading literature and talking with friends, Jason had determined that he felt there was no God and certainly no Jesus," the group revealed.

I suspect this is how it is with most people. Although it probably isn't as bad with bandmates as it is with died in the wool Christian family members and friends. The fear of rejection and worse weighs heavily on non-believers' heads before we "come out". Lots more to be written on this subject.

Early Start

RainClouds (4)
Originally uploaded by Chris1051
I left the house at 5 AM this morning so that I could be down in Franklin before sunrise. I hit a massive wall of rain on the way down slowing me down to about 35mph. The rain stopped and cleared up. It appears as if I outran the front. When I got down there I saw this front and tried to take some pictures without getting the camera wet. I also got some good mammatus formations too. We really need the rain. I love the cool summer days with rain - it reminds me of when I was a kid in Tacoma. I like heavy rain and storms but I also love those days when it just rains all day. A long steady rain. I like it when it rains for a whole week at a time but I guess I am in the minority.


Total Solar Eclipse

Found over on WorldTimezone.com You can view the local time in each time zone and stage of the solar eclipse 1 August 2008. I will re post it here. Unfortunately it is not viewable here in America. Also view the Wiki page on Solar Eclipses and the wiki page on the event.

  • 08:04 UTC (GMT) - Beginning of the general eclipse
  • 09:23 UTC (GMT) or 04:23 local time- Total Solar Eclipse begins in northern Canada (Nunavut) (GMT-05)
  • 09:30 UTC (GMT) or 07:30 local time- northern Greenland (GMT-02)
  • 10:00 UTC (GMT) or 14:00 (02pm) local time- Novaya Zemlya (GMT+04)
  • 10:10 UTC (GMT) or 16:10 (04:10pm) local time - reaching mainland of Russia (GMT+06)
  • 10:21 UTC (GMT) or 16:21 (04:21pm) local time - greatest eclipse near Nadym (GMT+06)
  • 10:45 UTC (GMT) or 17:45 (05:45pm) local time - Novosibirsk, Russia (GMT+07)
  • 10:48 UTC (GMT) or 17:48 (05:48pm) local time - Barnaul, Russia (GMT+07)
  • 10:57 UTC (GMT) or 18:57 (06:57pm) Mongolia time - Russia-Mongolia border (Mongolia time GMT+08)
  • 10:59 UTC (GMT) or 18:59 (06:59pm) local time - Altay, China (GMT+08)
  • 11:10 UTC (GMT) or 19:10 (07:10pm) local time - near Hami, China (GMT+08)
  • 11:15 UTC (GMT) or 19:15 (07:15pm) local time - Jiuquan, China (GMT+08)
  • 11:20 UTC (GMT) or 19:20 (07:20pm) local time - near Xi'an, China (GMT+08)
  • 11:20 UTC (GMT) or 19:20 (07:20pm) local time - Eclipse ends (GMT+08)
  • 12:38 UTC (GMT) - End of the general eclipse



This blog is going to be a lot like science. Testing. Comparing and corroborating evidence. And using it to update old theories of how things work. Kind of. Its going to be a work in progress. Don't like this page rendering, change that.

A long road ahead. Join me.


I think its time to kill the old blog. I experimented in Tumblr and I like it but its kind of counter-intuitive. I looked at Word press and call me stupid but I think you have to pay for it.

So Here I am trying something else. The old Blog was filled with vitriol and sarcasm. Not that the new blog won't be filled with sarcasm, but I think I could have gone about it differently - than I did. That blog has been going on for almost 4 years now.

I am not saying this new blog won't be a platform to flame - but I think I can do so with a little bit more respect.