A Thought Experiment On The Orlando Terrorist Attack

Fact – The Orlando terrorist declared on a 911 call that he pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Fact – ISIS claimed responsibility for the Orlando killings.

But even with these facts, NPR is still not ready to link this violence with Islamic Terrorism:

Investigation is still ongoing, and right now they say they can’t determine one way or the other. But folks we’ve talked to down here say it’s pointing to an unstable individual with violent tendencies.

Now here is my thought experiment….

Imagine if the shooter was a Christian and he called 911 and declared his allegiance to the 1st Baptist Church of Orlando.

Also imagine that the 1st Baptist Church of Orlando claimed responsibility even though there was no link to the shooter and the church.

Do you think the Main Stream Media and the Liberal Elites would be cautious to declare a link between the violence and Christianity?

Posted in politics | 1 Comment

Looking Up June 2016

Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are all up in the southern sky right now so I took the telescope and binoculars out for a couple hours last night and in so doing, I got a very unexpected joy.

But before I get to that, here is a screen cap from the Starry Night app that shows the location of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 1.25.24 AM

My equipment consisted of a 10” Newtonian Reflector, 27mm Televue Panoptic and 11mm Televue Nagler eyepieces, a 2X barlow, a sky filter and 15×60 binoculars.

equipment

I got great views of the three planets and the quarter moon and some of these pics are pasted below. Keep in mind that my telescope is not the best for photography since it is a ‘manual’ mount and doesn’t have a motor to match the rotation of the Earth like an equatorial mount. I also was using my iPhone with a somewhat steady hand and that also reduces the quality of the pics.

jupiter

saturn

moon

Notice that all of Jupiter’s major moons were lined up – Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto – and that was a very special treat. Here is a screen cap from Starry Night that shows what I saw (reversed due to the nature of how a Newtonian Reflector works).

Jupiter's moons

I stuck it out later in the evening when the Great Red Spot came into view but I couldn’t capture that detail with my telescope and iPhone. Jupiter’s Red Spot is very intense right now and I highly suggest you use this app and find a time to get out and see it.

All of that was great but the highlight of the evening came early when a couple in my neighborhood drove by in their golf cart and asked what I was looking at. I pointed out the planets I was looking at and asked if they have ever seen Jupiter in a telescope. They said no and I had the pleasure of watching their amazement as they saw, for the first time with their own eyes, the northern and southern equatorial bands of Jupiter along with its 4 major moons.

Unfortunately Saturn was too low at the time to show them that beautiful site in the telescope. Other than dense star clusters like M13, I get the most joy out of watching the reaction of people who see Saturn in a telescope for the first time with their own eyes.

The main reason I park my telescope in the front yard is because the front of my house faces South and that is where most of the ‘action’ takes place but I also do it because I love to share astronomy with folks who don’t have a telescope. Practicing amateur astronomy in the back yard doesn’t afford me the opportunity to share this hobby with strangers passing by. And having a 10” Newtonian reflector in your front yard will definitely get people to stop and ask what the heck I’m doing. The dang thing looks like a cannon!

If you are an amateur astronomer like me, don’t be a monk but instead be an evangelist and share the wonders of the cosmos with a stranger. Those of us who have seen the vast beauty of the cosmos for years tend to take it for granted how amazing it is to see the galaxies, star clusters and planets with our own eyes. Most of the people you know have never had that joy so share it with them!

 

Posted in astronomy | 3 Comments

“Fasting” Experiment

I’m a Type 2 Diabetic and in September of 2013 I decided to control my blood sugar levels by adopting the Paleo lifestyle and the results have exceeded my expectations as evidenced by the fact that my A1C measurements have been indistinguishable from someone who is not a Type 2 Diabetic but being the man of science I am, I decided to really test out how well my body has adapted to insulin sensitivity by performing a short experiment and I’ll share these results in this post.

When I decided in September 2013 to stop taking my medication (Janumet) and adopt the Paleo lifestyle I first kick started my body by going on an extremely low calorie diet for 1 week that had scientific roots in a clinical study performed by Newcastle University.

This diet is not for the faint of heart and consists of only 700 calories a day and requires consumption of only vegetables and 3 shakes per day (complete diet details can be found here). It’s not an actual fasting diet in the truest sense of the word but it’s as close as you can get.  Its a low carb, no meat, no dairy, no processed foods, no sugars, no grains, no fruits, no alcohol type of diet and I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. But I noticed phenomenal results when I first employed it and I wondered what would happen now if I tried it again.

I didn’t “need” to do this as my A1C measurements and fasting blood sugar measurements were within the normal range but I knew that I still had an insulin sensitivity that caused my blood sugar levels to spike if I intentionally ate grains (which I was prone to do to test my body). I wondered if I could improve my insulin sensitivity by going on this diet for a few days so that is what I did.

I was on this diet for 4 days starting on 11-APR-16 but when I finished I occasionally ate foods that I knew would spike my blood sugar levels (fried chicken/duck, potatoes, rice, corn, etc.).

The graphs below show my morning and evening blood sugar levels before, during and after this diet experiment. The days preceding the diet are marked in blue, the days on the diet are in black and the days after the diet are in red.

morning

 

evening

The first observation from this experiment was that during the 4 days I was on the fasting diet my fasting (morning) and bedtime (evening) blood sugar levels were almost identical. This is not too earth shattering since this low carb/low caloric diet should have kept my blood sugar levels stable since I still have a functioning pancreas.

But the real surprise was the week after I went off the fasting diet. Notice that my morning blood sugar levels were significantly lower for about a week (magenta rectangle). It should be noted that the morning blood sugar measurement in the green ellipse happened after a dinner the night before of fried duck wings when my evening blood sugar measurement was 258 mg/dL.

morning detail

So, what did I learn?

I think this fasting diet has some real benefits and I should try this again for a longer duration. It was obvious that my body responded the week following this diet but then my insulin sensitivity reverted back to its normal level. I would obviously desire that my morning blood sugar measurements would be in the 70 – 90 mg/dL range than the 90 – 100 md/dL range so maybe staying on this diet for 10 days may yield longer-term benefits.

It’s obvious that I’ve met my goal of controlling my blood sugar levels without medication but my stretch goal is to eventually get my body back to the point where my insulin sensitivity level is on par with someone who doesn’t have Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve seen the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle and I’ll never go back to eating grains but I’d like to know that my body has “reset” to the point where my blood sugar levels are in the normal range when I unknowingly eat something that will spike my blood sugar levels. I only have 1 pancreas and I want to keep those beta cells happy so they don’t die off and I turn into a Type 1 Diabetic.

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 11 Comments

South Carolina Primary Predictions

 

I hope Rubio wins but I think Trump has too many supporters here to close the gap.

Here are my predictions:

Trump – 29%

Rubio – 24%

Cruz – 20%

Bush – 11%

Kasich – 11%

Carlson – 5%

Rubio is the only guy who is correcting the false narratives of the Left.

The Left, for far too long, has characterized Conservatives/Republicans as the party of the rich.  In actuality, Conservatives, with their insistence for a Free Market Economy, are the party of the poor and middle class.  In the entire history of mankind, Free Markets Capitalism has been the only economic system to ever allow people to increase their wealth and only the Republicans are promoting that system in this election.

And in case you are in doubt of this, we have 7 years of an Obama presidency to prove that Liberal policies increase income inequality.

Marco Rubio does a great job of explaining this in they shot video I shot at a town hall in Anderson, SC.

The big guns in South Carolina came out for Rubio and that shoud be enough to give him a boost for a strong 2nd place finish.

thumb_IMG_4147_1024

Let’s hope the rest of my Palmetto State brothers and sister realize this and vote overwhelmingly for Rubio.

Posted in economics, politics | Leave a comment

Free Market And The Price Of Oil

What in the heck is going on with the price of oil?

price of oil graph

The Economy

Yes, the world economy is in the toilet right now so that has to be a big piece of this. But the world was going through a much worse crisis in 2009 and the price didn’t drop near the level that we are seeing right now so that isn’t the complete answer.

Fuel Efficiency

Yes, the response to the high gas prices of 2008 caused the auto industry to ramp up supply of hybrid and all-electric vehicles to meet the demand and for sure many more folks are driving these fuel efficient vehicles and that lowers the demand somewhat but that can’t explain the recent dive in oil prices. There were 507,272 hybrid vehicles sold in 2014 but that is a tiny fraction of the 17 million vehicles sold in the US in December of 2015 alone.

The Free Market

I think the bigger contributor to this drop in oil prices is due to the Free Market.

Econ 101 teaches us that price of any good in an unregulated free market is set based purely on supply and demand. An increase in supply with demand constant or increasing means the price goes down. A decrease in supply with demand constant or decreasing means the price goes up. And with regard to the demand for oil, the demand is either flat or increasing as more countries move into the developed classification so supply is the main driver in the price of oil.

Up until about 10 years ago OPEC could set the price of oil in some degree because they controlled the majority of the supply and chose to increase or decrease their production to match a price that they desired. But starting in 2008 something happened in the US that confounded OPEC’s tenuous monopoly. That was when the US started increasing their oil production from shale oil (i.e. “Fracking”).

Take a look at oil production by country over the past 22 years:

oil production large

That green line showing a spike during the last 8 years is the US. Let’s look at the graph of only the top 6 producers of oil.

oil production small

Notice how the US almost doubled our oil production from 2008 to 2014? That increase came mainly due to Fracking and we are now the 3rd largest producer of oil.

And what exacerbated this increase in supply is the decision by OPEC to not reduce their production in hopes of pricing the US out of the market. Shale production is much more expensive to produce than normal oil drilling methods so OPEC was playing a financial version of chicken hoping the US would blink. But the US didn’t blink and now we, the consumers, are the beneficiaries of OPEC’s miscalculation.

From the Marketplace story entitled “Is OPEC still doing its job?”:

“Until recently, OPEC has been a sort of central bank for oil – managing supply and stabilizing  prices. But industry consultant Bob McNally, president of the Rapidan Group, said the cartel has been AWOL since 2008.”

“OPEC failed to prevent oil prices from spiking and contributing to a great recession,” McNally said. “We are now paying attention because since October of 2014,  OPEC has failed to put a floor under oil prices.”

Remember when Obama said in 2012 that we were total saps for thinking we could drill our way to lower gas prices?

While some may have thought The One was lying, I just think this is another example of how ignorant he is with regard to Free Markets.

In the case of recent oil price drops, the Free Market proved once again to be the best system we have to deliver the best product at the lowest price.  Free Markets work!

Posted in economics, politics | Leave a comment

LCHF Diet Can “Cure” Type 2 Diabetes

As any frequent reader of my blog can attest, I am a living testimonial of how a Low Carb/High Fat (LCHF) diet can “cure” Type 2 Diabetes. And I put “cure” in quotations because I’m still insulin resistant and my blood sugar problems will come back if I return to eating foods high in carbohydrates.

You can review my Type 2 Diabetes journey in the Diabetes and Paleo sections of this blog but suffice it to say that after I embraced the Paleo lifestyle (which has the LCHF diet as part of its guidelines) I lowered my A1C from 11.5 to 5.5. I am firmly convinced that any recently diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic person can see exactly the same results if they are only willing to give it a try.

Before going this route, I tried following the conventional wisdom of most endocrinologists – take these pills and keep eating carbs – and the side effects of the medicine were horrendous. And even with the high dosage of Metformin, my blood sugar levels were never in the normal range of someone without Diabetes.

Any endocrinologist not suggesting the LCHF diet to any recently diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic is guilty of malpractice in my opinion. I know there are literally millions of people in America struggling with Type 2 Diabetes right now and it is so frustrating that this LCHF solution isn’t on their radar because they don’t know it exists.

My frustration with the way the medical community chooses to fight Type 2 Diabetes was allayed some today when I came across an excellent video from Dr. Sarah Hallberg. It appears that some medical professionals are starting to recommend the LCHF diet to their Type 2 Diabetic patients and this video is pure gold.

If you are struggling with insulin sensitivity then you NEED to watch this video now.

 

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 3 Comments

Bending The Healthcare Cost Curve – Upwards

Remember how Democrats promised us that once we passed Obamacare that healthcare costs would start coming down?


I knew that wouldn’t be the case and now even NPR has to admit that Obamacare’s promises are not being fulfilled.

npr healthcare story

“Gunnar Ebbesson is used to paying a lot for health insurance, but the small business owner from Fairbanks got a shock recently when his quote came in for next year’s coverage.”

“I don’t understand who can afford this,” he says. “I mean, who really can afford this? I can pay it, but I can’t afford it.”

“The premium for his family of five came to more than $40,000 a year. That’s for a bare-bones plan with a $10,000 deductible — the plan that’s through the marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act.”

Liberals pushed Obamacare as a way to help the disadvantaged get affordable healthcare and as is the case with most Liberal policies, the realities actually ran counter to the policy’s stated intentions.

Liberals say they are looking out for the poor but time and time again we see how their policies actually hurt poor people.

It’s time for new ideas because the policies of the past 2 presidents haven’t worked. It’s time to try something new. And in case you’re wondering, those new ideas won’t come from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or even Jeb Bush.

UPDATE – Another NPR story here

Posted in Entitlement Programs, healthcare, npr, politics | 1 Comment

5 Things I Learned On My Paleo Journey

blood sugar levels

It’s been 2 years since I decided to take control of my Type 2 Diabetes without the use of medicine and I’d like to share 5 things I’ve learned on this journey.

Paleo isn’t just a diet, it’s a lifestyle

Most people hear about the Paleo “diet” but anyone who has read up on the subject knows it is better described as a lifestyle.

Yes, Paleo is about knowing what to eat and what to avoid but it’s also about getting enough sleep, getting the right type of exercise and simplifying your life to remove stress.

As a Type 2 Diabetic, I realized that my blood sugar levels were very dependent on what I put in my mouth so I concentrated on the diet portion of the Paleo lifestyle first but then adopted the other areas and saw more improvement in not just my blood sugar levels but also my quality of life.

Avoiding grains isn’t as hard as I first thought

There are few people in the world who love bread more than I do. I grew up eating bread with every meal and I’ve even walked out of a restaurant that didn’t have a basket of bread that I could order with my meal.

Avoiding grains is, in my opinion, the primary point of the Paleo lifestyle and I received the most benefit from just doing that one single thing. I often tell people that if you can only do this one part of the Paleo lifestyle you’ll receive most of the benefits. But until you’ve truly tried to rid your diet of grains, you have no idea how easy it is for these grains to sneak into your diet.

Avoiding grains is not just about eliminating bread, corn and rice. You have to check the ingredients of everything you buy to make sure these pesky grains are included.

Many sauces, soups and gravies have grains in them and heck, even Beer has grains in it!

But after a couple of months avoiding grains by eating a hamburger with a knife/fork and wrapping meat and veggies in lettuce, I eventually got used to this and it wasn’t as bad as I would’ve thought.

Once you see the benefits of eliminating grains, you eventually associate this food to a poison to your body and I limit my grain cheat occasions to just a few days a year.

Making the Paleo transition slowly over time is easier than going cold turkey

I didn’t fully embrace the total Paleo lifestyle immediately but instead took about 18 months.

I first started out with eliminating grains, then moved on to eliminating legumes and then dairy about a year later. Adding high intensity exercise and getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night came much later.

My first goal was to get my blood sugar levels in the normal range and I found that the elimination of grains did most of the heavy lifting for that task. And since that part of the Paleo lifestyle worked so well I decided to take on the rest of it but slowly phasing this in wasn’t as difficult as going full Paleo at once.

Living a Paleo lifestyle is tough in today’s world and it is a tall order to switch to this lifestyle in just one day. Grains, legumes and dairy are everywhere you look and it takes work to prepare meals that avoid these Paleo no-no’s so doing this slowly over time is more manageable.

Choose the right moment to share your Paleo journey with others.

Because I saw such a drastic improvement in my quality of life, I initially felt the need to tell everyone I saw about this wonderful lifestyle and beg him or her to follow the same. Especially once I met someone with Type 2 Diabetes.

As I droned on about the current western diet and how that has created most if not all of our current autoimmune disease problems, I could see their eyes glaze. They were polite and congratulated me on my success but I could tell they were secretly saying to themselves – “Poor guy, I think he’s a member of a cult.”

Keep in mind that not everyone is ready to embark on this journey and there have been so many fad diets out there that constantly pushing this on people will only turn them off to it.

I now restrict my conversations about Paleo to what it has done in my life and stick to the facts as they relate to my body.

Paleo isn’t a religion and we shouldn’t treat it as such.

Follow the data and choose the lifestyle that best fits your body.

Although I do believe that every Type 2 Diabetic can see drastic improvements in their blood sugar measurements by following the Paleo lifestyle, I also have to acknowledge that my sample size is limited and everyone’s body is different.

I think Paleo isn’t about a one size fits all mentality but more about finding out what foods work for your body and then sticking to that plan.

Find out what variables are important to your body – blood sugar levels, weight, BMI, resting heart rate, 5K time, frequency of illness, joint pain, etc. – and track those as you embark on this Paleo journey.

I started out just tracking my blood sugar levels but I also tracked how often I was sick during this time period and noticed a significant improvement in this area since adopting the Paleo lifestyle.

I’ve struggled with allergies my whole life and received allergy injections from the time I was 6 years old until I was about 20 years old. I suffered from 2-3 sinus infections or upper respiratory infections every year but I’m happy to say that I haven’t been sick at all for the last 18 months. No sniffles, no colds, nothing related to allergies at all even though I still live in an area that is prone to allergy related illnesses in the Spring and Fall. There is no other explanation for why I have been allergy free for that time frame other than the adoption of the Paleo lifestyle.

Your definition of “quality of life” is unique so decide what is important to you and then experiment with what works best for you.

 

 

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 4 Comments

The Real South

South Carolina has been my home since 1999 and the past few weeks have made me very proud to be a resident of the Palmetto state and more importantly, a resident of the South.

People who don’t live in the South think TV shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and Andy Griffith pretty much characterize how we live on a day-to-day basis. But they couldn’t be more wrong and the recent actions that have taken place in South Carolina should give people a glimpse at what life is really like below the Mason Dixon line.

In my opinion, Southerners are some of the least racist people in the US and to prove that you just have to look at how South Carolina reacted to the recent killings of 9 members of the Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

Instead of starting a ‘race war’, as the evil perpetrator had hoped, the aftermath of that senseless act of violence showed how true southerners come together in times of crisis.

White and Black citizens of Charleston stood arm-in-arm in the wake of the church shootings and showed the world that Good can triumph over Evil. This sort of solidarity and healing couldn’t have happened in an area of the country struggling with unresolved racial issues.

Then, less than a month after the mass murders, the state of South Carolina voted overwhelmingly to remove the confederate battle flag that has flown over the statehouse and statehouse grounds for 54 years.

Full disclosure – I support the removal of this confederate battle flag from South Carolina state house grounds and have since I moved down here. Nobody loves southern heritage more than I do and if you want to fly a confederate flag from your car or house in support of that southern heritage (and not because of the racial hate that some evil people have turned that flag into) then go for it. But the uncomfortable truth is that the confederate battle flag has unfortunately morphed into a symbol of hate and it has no place on state grounds.

This flag itself shouldn’t have ever been a symbol of hate but because many racist groups like the KKK adopted it years ago, the flag, which should’ve been a symbol to remind us of our heritage, was co-opted into a symbol of hate that deeply offended people.

The Nazi flag uses a swastika that is actually a sacred Hindu symbol (which I saw many times when I visited India) but unfortunately a group of evil folks in the 1930’s turned something that symbolized good fortune into something synonymous with pure evil and you won’t see a swastika flying over the German parliament in support of their heritage.

This decision to remove the confederate battle flag didn’t come about in some dark of night, rushed legislative vote but after many days of public debate. Republican and Democratic State House and Senate representatives engaged each other in typical southern fashion with emotional and well thought out arguments.

The debates weren’t confined to the State House either. All South Carolinians took a fresh look at the flag and debated with their fellow residents anew. This debate occupied not only our social media interactions but also conversations at water coolers all across the state.

But this is how we do things in the South. There aren’t many passive aggressive people down here and we are very comfortable with conflict. It’s true, we’re very friendly down here and say “Bless your heart” a lot to the Yankees who just don’t get us but make no mistake, we love a good argument.

Unless conflicts are brutally hashed out, they will never be resolved. The conflict is uncomfortable, painful even, but it is necessary to move forward. And this is just what the South did decades ago with their racial issues.

The rest of the US had very similar racial issues but unlike the South, they were unwilling to confront them in the open and this is why I say the racial problems in this country are mainly in areas outside of the Deep South. The rest of the country still has racial issues to resolve but they’ve taken the less confrontational approach to dealing with them and this is why they’re still unresolved.

Don’t believe me? Compare and contrast the way events in South Carolina played out after our racial violence with the way cities like Baltimore and Ferguson dealt with their recent racial issues.

Over the past few weeks there were no riots in South Carolina. There was no need to call in the National Guard. No curfews were imposed. No looting. No destruction of property.

Not so much in Ferguson and Baltimore.

That crap happens in areas where there are still racial issues that have been swept under the rug and that situation doesn’t exist in the South.

I love the South. We work hard. We play hard. We eat hard. We drink hard. We argue hard. We’re comfortable confronting the brutal facts and even more comfortable voicing our opinions in open debate. That makes for some uncomfortable conversations but in the end it makes for a much better place to live.

Posted in politics, South Carolina | Leave a comment

Paleo Breakfast Frittata

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I’m always on the lookout for something different and I hit the jackpot with this recipe for a Paleo Pizza Frittata over at Against All Grain blog.

The ingredients of that frittata didn’t match the ingredients I happen to have in the kitchen so I modified it a little and my ingredients and instructions are listed below. (Also note that I was cooking for myself but I eat a lot for breakfast and this could easily serve 2 people)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ cup romaine lettuce

1 chopped onion

2 sausage patties

4 eggs

2 tablespoons almond milk

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tomato, thinly sliced

Instructions

1 – Preheat oven to 400F

2 – Whisk together eggs, almond milk, oregano and salt in a bowl.

3 – Melt coconut oil in 8” non-stick skillet and add two sausage patties.

4 – Once patties are cooked, dice them up in the skillet with a spatula and remove meat but leave grease in the skillet.

5 – Add onions and romaine lettuce to skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

6 – Add sausage and pour egg mixture into the skillet.

7 – Add slices of tomato to the top and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

8 – Enjoy!

IMG_3431

Notice I didn’t drain off the grease (fat!) from the sausage and the coconut oil. That goodness gets soaked up by the onions, romaine and egg mixture and is good for you!

Posted in paleo | 1 Comment

Millennials Struggle With Obamacare

131218_lowry_pajamaboy

It appears that those pajama boys and Obamanation supporters, otherwise known as Millennials, are struggling to take advantage of the free goodies offered by Obamacare.

From NPR:

Young adults, who generally have little experience managing their own health care expenses, are finding it especially hard signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania wanted to see how well young people would fare navigating through HealthCare.gov. So they rounded up about 30 young adults, aged 19 through 30, who were interested in enrolling for insurance. They were all college-educated, and based in Philadelphia.

The researchers sat them in front of computers and observed as they navigated through the online enrollment process. “We asked them to think out loud, so we could really capture their experience,” says Charlene Wong, a pediatrician at the University of Pennsylvania who lead the study.

Wong and her colleagues interviewed the participants right after they completed their enrollment and again a month later.

“Many of them said, ‘You know, I’ve never tried to do this before and it feels a little bit overwhelming because there’s so many different options,’ ” Wong says.

Half of the participants couldn’t define “deductible,” and three quarters couldn’t explain “coinsurance.”

Plus most of them were unaware of subsidies for insurance, and they didn’t have an idea of how much insurance plans generally cost. Most thought that an affordable plan cost less than $100 a month — but the cheapest plan in Philadelphia cost $187 monthly, without tax credits.

The study involved college-educated, tech-savvy young people, Wong points out. “Considering that, we were really surprised at just how much they didn’t know.”

These wide-eyed youngsters who gleefully voted for Obama and supported Obamacare are now realizing that the promised rainbows and unicorns actually come at a cost!

I don’t know if this is more an indictment on the failure of our education system or just the fact that each new generation of Americans feels more entitled than the next. Either way, we’re in for a world of hurt as these folks grow up and become the next leaders of this country.

Sorry, but not sorry. You dupes asked for this and now you are getting everything you deserve.

Let it burn.

Posted in healthcare, npr | Leave a comment

AGW Cult Attempts To Explain Away The Pause

The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult just loves tampering with data and this latest case surprised even me.

They have been very upset over one little inconvenient truth – Even though we’ve been doing exactly what the AGW cult told us NOT to do (pump more CO2 into the atmosphere), temperatures (as measured by satellites) have been flat and there has been no correlation between temperatures and atmospheric CO2 for the past 18 years.

rss

rss vs co2

From this NPR story we see that the AGW cult has supposedly solved this mystery and they did it by manipulating the temperature data (shock!).

The AGW cult ‘scientists’ think that the solution to this mystery lies in the way ocean temperature data is obtained and they’ve spun quite a compelling story to those (like NPR) who aren’t interested in digging just below the surface of the claims.

Ocean temperature data used to come exclusively from ships (outlined here) where they’d either pull a bucket of water to the deck and stick a thermometer in it or measure the temperature from a sensor installed on the intake tube where they sucked in water in cool their engines. But starting in the 1980’s buoys with temperature sensors were dropped in the ocean to complement this ship data and this is the premise of the new AGW cult paper that explains the ‘pause’ in global temperatures.

From the NPR story, we see how the lead author describes their discovery:

“Karl and his colleagues decided to look at stretches of water where ships pass very near buoys, in order to compare the two temperatures. And they made a surprising discovery.

“The buoys actually read colder than the ships,” Karl says.

“Even though the two thermometers were in the same place, they gave different readings. And it was happening all over the world. As more buoys were dropped into the sea — all delivering measurements that were consistently cooler than a ship would show in that same spot — the warming trend in the average global temperature seemed to slow dramatically.”

So when confronted with different measurements taken from the same locations, they concluded that the crude measurements used by the ships were far superior to the floating thermometers. Why did they choose the error prone measurements of the ships vs the floating sensors? Easy, it’s because that choice fit their narrative better!

Forget the fact that water entering the warm hull of an engine compartment might add a little heat to the sample. Also forget the variation that is associated with pulling a bucket of water up in ambient air. Let’s just choose these methods over the much more accurate sensors on the buoys.

A high priest of the AGW cult (Kevin Trenberth) then goes to make this absurd statement in the NPR article

“Kevin Trenberth, who wasn’t involved in this analysis, says critics may be skeptical of these revisions, but they shouldn’t be.”

Oh really?!?! I can’t wait to hear this one.

“You see this kind of thing also with the stock market and various other economic indicators: ‘Oh they’ve revised the estimates of what the unemployment rate was in the last quarter,’ or something like that, and that’s exactly what’s going on here,” Trenberth says.”

Mr. Trenberth uses the example of economic revisions that come from employer and household surveys and compares this to tampering with raw, measured temperature data. Astounding.

Mr. Trenberth must fancy himself as Obi Wan Kenobi and the rest of us are just stupid Stormtoopers – “This is not the global temperature pause you are looking for.”

Raw data to an AGW cult ‘scientist’ is nothing more than clay is to a potter and now they think this ‘pause’ mystery is solved.

NPR and countless others will bloviate over this without asking the very simple question as to why the AGW cult treated the highly error prone measurements employed by the ships over the floating buoy method that has far less sources of error.

It’s laughable how far the AGW cult ‘scientists’ have strayed from true science.

Posted in Climate Change, npr | 3 Comments

NPR Ignores Wildfire Data

NPR ran a story this week on the amount of spending required to prevent wildfires and as you’d expect, they quickly succumbed to the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult talking points.

Wildfires in the U.S. have gotten bigger, more frequent and more expensive to fight in recent years. But every dollar spent fighting fires means less money for preventing them, or at least making them less destructive.”

“Over time, climate change and the sprawl of new homes and developments throughout the West have pushed the U.S. Forest Service to devote more and more resources to fire suppression. Over the past 20 years, the agency has more than tripled the share of its budget spent fighting fires.”

Let’s take their first bold statement above and compare the two claims (wildfires have been more frequent and bigger) against real data from the National Interagency Fire Center.

For the claim of wildfires being “more frequent”, the data show quite the opposite.

number of fires

For the claim “wildfires have “gotten bigger”, the data show that this statement is true.

acres of fire

There is a theory that our expertise at fire suppression has actually caused wildfires to consume larger swaths of land and you can read about it here:

“Fire suppression for the last 100 years is catching up with us. Preventing naturally occurring fires to routinely reduce the fuel loads increases the amount of fuel, and the continuity of it, available when a fire starts. Fires burn more intensely and with more resistance to control.”

Diving into this theory is not the purpose of this blog post so I’ll concede that NPR’s initial two claims were only half right. The size of wildfires in the US has increased in the recent past but the number of wildfires has not increased over the past few years and in fact they have been at historic lows since the early 1980’s.

Now let’s move on to NPR’s other claim that “Climate Change” is the cause of wildfires consuming more acres.

Is there a correlation between the yearly global temperature anomaly (in degrees C) and the number of acres per year that are consumed by wildfires?

To answer that question I’ll add a plot of global temperature anomalies to the graph of acres of fires.

acres of fires and global temp anomaly

Well, at first glance it appears there is a correlation here. It makes sense that higher temperatures would cause more fires but from the first graph in this post we know that isn’t true. Maybe higher global temperatures cause more intense fires and this will cause more acreage to be destroyed. The graph above appears to show this but we need to look at the actual correlation coefficient (R2) to be sure.

An R2 number of 1.0 means that the two data sets are ideally positively correlated, an R2 number of -1.0 means that that two data sets are ideally negatively correlated an R2 number of 0.0 means there is absolutely no correlation between the two data sets. So we’re looking for an R2 close to 1.0 to prove correlation between higher global temperature anomalies and increased acres destroyed by wildfires.

Here is the graph of Acres of Fires vs. Global Temperature Anomaly with the R2 value.

acres of fires vs global temp anomaly

R2 is about 0.17 so there is almost no correlation at all.

This NPR claim that stronger wildfires are due to climate change is further busted when you plot just the last 18 years of data (when global temperature anomalies have been basically flat).

acres of fires and global temp anomaly 18 years

Temperatures have been flat but the acres of fires have behaved erratically.

Maybe the acres of fire data are correlated with atmospheric CO2 data.

Nope.

acres of fires and co2

acres of fires vs co2

It seems that the attempt of NPR to link wildfires to “Climate Change” is just another failure of the AGW cult to gin up interest in a theory that has long since been disproven.

Posted in Climate Change, npr | 2 Comments

Fixing My Gut Flora

I’m going to admit right off the bat that the topic of this blog post is not sexy. It’s not even something most people feel comfortable discussing among friends, let alone strangers

I’m going to talk about the microorganisms in our gut.

Until the last year of my life, I hadn’t given much thought to the little critters that live in my small and large intestines but after following the Paleo lifestyle for almost 2 years, I’ve been forced to do my own research on the topic.

Most Paleo books will have a section dedicated to gut flora and they specifically talk about the detrimental condition called a leaky gut. A leaky gut comes from eating grains and other foods that damage the lining of the intestines and this condition allows undigested proteins or pathogens to enter the blood stream. In case you’re wondering, this is not a good thing.

Good gut flora has also been recently traced to a healthy immune system and I believe that the bacteria in our gut have been under studied in medical literature and it does appear that this is changing.

But what I’m going to talk about is the relation of my gut flora on the quality of my bowl movements. Hey, I told you this wasn’t a sexy topic!

For some odd reason, about every 3 months or so my gut flora get out of whack to the point that during the evening I have bad diarrhea and I can’t pinpoint this to any particular food that I’ve eaten. This uncomfortable diarrhea is sustained and will not end unless I act to restore my gut flora to a level that my body needs.

Probiotics are advertised to help with this but on two different occasions I took a 30-day dose of a probiotic (I used the TruBiotics brand) to attempt to restore my gut flora but this didn’t work for me.

But on 3 other occasions I have successfully restored my gut flora by eating yogurt for 1-2 weeks. For the record, the yogurt I use is Atlanta Fresh Yogurt (Mixed Berry) and this yogurt contains cultures of the S. Thermophilus, L. Bularicus, L. Acidophilus and Bifudis bacteria and apparently at least one of these is what my gut flora needs.

atlanta fresh greek yogurt

Now you might be thinking right now that dairy is anti-Paleo so I shouldn’t be eating this! But I see no reason to exclude this food group especially if it has the power to heal my body. Remember, Paleo is a lifestyle, not a religion. You should consume foods that work for your body and no clinical study will be able to direct you to what works for you. The only answer comes from trial and error.

If you choose to use yogurt to solve your gut flora issues, be careful which yogurt you use. Unfortunately, most of the popular brands you’ll find on your grocery store shelves add sugar to the product and this is on top of the naturally occurring sugar in milk (lactose). Adding sugar (especially the kind from high fructose corn syrup) is bad and transforms this food into an unhealthy dessert.

The yogurt I chose from Atlanta Fresh Yogurt has minimal added sugar (and the sugar they do add is the pure cane sugar variety) and the milk they use comes from cows that are grass fed. In addition to being good for my gut, I have to say that this is the best tasting yogurt I’ve ever had. This product is hard to find and not available in many big box grocery retail stores but I buy mine from Whole Foods.

As a side note – I can’t explain why, only in the last year or so, I’ve had this gut flora issue but it has nothing to do with my health or immune system that has been rock solid while following this Paleo lifestyle. Since converting almost 100% to the Paleo lifestyle I’ve never had as much as a cold and this is amazing once you know that for most of my life I’d routinely have at least 2 upper respiratory infections throughout the year.

OK, that wasn’t so bad, right? If you have gut flora issues, try eating a 6 oz cup of yogurt every day for 1-2 weeks and see if that helps.

 

Posted in paleo | 2 Comments

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult is getting desperate now that their dire predictions of global warming are coming under intense scrutiny since the Earth’s temperature anomalies have been flat for over 18 years.

Instead of confronting the inconvenient truth of this data and reworking their flawed models they instead choose to double down on the same tired predictions that just aren’t coming true.

From NPR:

antarctic ice

That’s a nice prediction you have there but unfortunately the data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center the Antarctic sea ice extent show that for the past 2 years the sea ice down there has been ABOVE the 2 standard deviation level of the average from 1981 to 2010.

antarctic ice 2

The AGW cult is beyond pathetic.

Posted in Climate Change | 2 Comments

Global Temperature Update – May 2015

More inconvenient truths for the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult – Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere is continuing to increase but global temperature anomalies remain flat for the past 18 years.

From the Mauna Loa data, we see that indeed atmospheric CO2 is increasing.

co2

The global temperature data from the Remote Sensing System (RSS) and the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) show no temperature increase for the past 18 years and no correlation with atmospheric CO2 levels.

rss

rss vs co2

uah

uah vs co2

The time frame for tolerance of the AGW cult’s lies is over and they know it. N response to this revelation, you’d think true scientists would have the courage to confront the brutal facts presented in the data but no, not this cartel. They’ve now resorted to attacking their own political allies and it’s a beautiful thing.

The Schadenfreude that will ensue will be delicious. Their tears will taste so sweet.

Posted in Climate Change | 5 Comments

The Left’s Game Plan – Blame The Republicans

If SCOTUS rules that Obamacare subsidies are illegal in states that didn’t set up their own exchange then folks in over 30 states will find that their subsidies will vanish and their Insurance plans they obtained with these subsidies will evaporate.

This scenario is possible due to the language that was used in the law that stated people would be eligible for the Federal subsidy only if their state set up their own exchange. Many states didn’t set up their own exchange and instead opted to let their residents participate in the Federal exchanges but the department of Health and Human Services ignored the letter of the law and offered these subsidies to people in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges and that is the whole reason for the case in SCOTUS.

So what happens is SCOTUS finds in favor of the plaintiff and nullifies the subsidies for people living in the states that didn’t set up their own exchanges?

From NPR:

As we heard from Jeff, millions of Americans could be left scrambling if the Supreme Court decides their health insurance subsidies are illegal. These policyholders live in some three dozen states in which the federal government runs the healthcare exchange, not the state.

LINDA BLUMBERG: Well, these are not the really poor people. Those are the people that were targeted to get help through the Medicaid program or the Medicaid expansion. So what we’re talking about here are the people who are vulnerable to losing their assistance are really working low-income and working middle-income people. So the vast majority of them – over 80 percent are workers themselves. The rest are basically in families of workers. And over 60 percent of them are white. Over 60 percent of them live in the South. So we’re talking about a population that is working hard to make ends meet, but can’t really do everything on their own. They’re also a voting population, which I think is really important, too.

OMG, what can we do to fix this?

Again, from NPR:

CORNISH: So they would just have to change the law, basically?

BLUMBERG: Right. And they just – really, we’re talking about a couple of words in one sentence in the law that are in dispute here. So all they would have to do is take out a couple of words in one sentence in a thousand-page-plus law.

So the solution is easy, just have Congress change a few words in the Law to allow for these subsidies to continue!

I’ll let Lee Corso provide my reply to this – “Not so fast my friend!”

Sorry Democrats, but not sorry, it’s not our job to clean up your mistakes!

It’s very clear what the Left’s is planning if SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiff – Push the narrative that the reason millions are losing their insurance is because a Republican Congress refuses to change a few words in a law!

Forget the inconvenient truth that the whole reason we have this problem is because Democrats rammed through this legislation without properly vetting the language. And now they expect the Republicans to clean up their mistake?!?! Good luck with that!

Mark my words, if SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiff, this message of blaming the Republicans for the recent Obamacare failure will be the talking points on MSNBC and other Leftist sites for months leading up to the 2016 elections.

Don’t let them get away with this.

Let it burn.

 

Posted in healthcare, politics | Leave a comment

Keep Voting For Your Overlords

Tell me again which political party is racist.

From NPR:

The New Deal was a coalition of Northern Democrats and Southern Democrats. The Southern Democrats were segregationist, and in many cases, the Northern Democrats compromised with them in order to get housing programs enacted.

From the 1930s onward, white people moved into new houses. Many were in new suburbs like Levittown, N.Y. Black people got public housing apartments in the same center cities where they already lived. Decades later, there’s an enormous gap between the grandchildren of one group and the grandchildren of the other.

In 1947, when Levittown was first opened, homes were sold to white, working-class families for about $8,000 apiece. That is about $125,000 today. African-Americans were prohibited from buying into those developments, even though they had the economic means to do so.

African Americans will continue to tell us that it’s the Republican Party that hates them but history shows that the Democrats are the ones who want to hold them down.

Republicans want a world where people can succeed on their own merits, free from Government regulations that pick winners and losers, and their policies encourage folks to work hard, go to school and make a better life for themselves.  Democrats tell people of color that they need the benevolent Washington DC elite to provide government assistance to them.

 

 

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It Is Well With My Soul

My favorite hymn, by far, is “It Is Well With My Soul” but not just because of the beautiful message contained in those lyrics but because of the incredible backstory that led Horatio Spafford to write those lyrics.

Spafford was a successful lawyer but he had most of his property investments destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and his financial woes continued for years after.

In hopes of getting a fresh start, he planned to travel to England with his wife and 4 daughters but at the last minute he had to delay his trip to take care of some unfinished business in Chicago. He decided to send his family ahead of him but during the voyage his family’s ship collided with another vessel and sank, killing his 4 daughters.

Weeks later, as Spafford traveled to meet his wife in England, he wrote the lyrics to It Is Well With My Soul once his ship passed the point where his daughters died.

Most people who sing this hymn probably never realized that this beloved Christian hymns came about because of a terrible tragedy.

But isn’t that always the case? It seems that when times are good we tend to lean onto our own understanding and minimize our relationship with Jesus.  I don’t know about you, but with me, I can honestly say that the closest I’ve been to Jesus has been during times when I needed Him the most.

The rest of Spafford’s life may have been mired in less than Christ-like behavior but never the less, it just goes to show you that God can work through sinful folks (in other words, everybody) to provide us with a comforting message in troubling times.

Kristene DiMarco and Bethel Music have an interesting twist on this hymn and the following stanza serves as a reminder that God has a plan and won’t allow our persecutions to continue indefinitely.

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Will be thrown into the mist of the sea

Yes, there are times when we wonder where God is and when these mountains that are before us will be tossed aside. As a Christian, it is comforting to know that through it all, it is well with my soul.

Posted in christianity | Leave a comment

What Does The Left Consider A Fair Share?

As tax day looms in the US, the Wall-Street Journal has this great piece about how much of the US income tax burden is shouldered by the rich.

Here are the two charts from the WSJ story and they used 2014 tax data:

chart 1

 

chart 2

To me, a “Fair Share” means that if a particular income demographic group earns X% of the total US income then they should pay that same X% of total US income tax. But the US income tax system should never be confused with “fair” and these charts prove it.

The main takeaway from these two charts is the sobering fact that people making over $134,300 annually (the top 20% of all US income earners) comprise 51.3% of all US income but pay 83.9% of all US income tax. That’s right, 20% of the people earning a living in the US pay over 80% of all US income taxes.

Time and time again this “80/20 rule” pops up in business (20% of the people do 80% of the work) and now the tax system in the US has brought a new meaning to this 80/20 rule.

It gets worse if you’re REALLY wealthy – Those people making over $615,000 (labeled the evil 1% by the Left) comprise just 17.1% of all US income but pay 45.7% of all US income taxes. I’ll call this the 45/1 rule which states that 1% of all US income earners pay over 45% of all US income taxes.

As a side note, I’ve covered this stuff before in a previous post in 2011 and if you go take a look at that post (which used 2009 IRS data) you will notice that our unfair tax system is getting worse. In 2009, people earning 49.4% of the total US income paid 74.7% of all US income taxes (as opposed to those earning 51.3% of the total US income paying 83.9% of all US income taxes in 2014) so the tax burden is increasing on the people making roughly 50% of all US income.

How much of a “fair share” is enough for the Left? Do they want the folks earning 50% of US income to pay 100% of all US income taxes? It appears this is the direction we are going and if the Left really wants a class warfare story in the US then we are well on our way but it’s not for the reasons they’d like to tell us.

Remember these 80/20 and 45/1 rules the next time you encounter a Leftist who says the rich don’t pay enough in taxes.

Leftists like Senator Elizabeth Warren like to talk about the rich paying their “fair share” but I don’t think they know what that phrase means.

Posted in economics, Income Inequality, politics | 1 Comment