Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Senate Seat for Sale

Rumor has it that New York Governor Paterson will give Hillary's Senate seat to Caroline Kennedy in exchange for a job:

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, a would-be Clinton replacement who is backed by several women's organizations, was the most publicly adamant in saying the fix was in, citing a scenario - first outlined in last week's Village Voice - under which Paterson, in a deal with Mayor Bloomberg, a Kennedy friend, selects Kennedy in exchange for help for his own election bid next year.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Ice Age is Coming

The Russians think Al Gore was wrong about Global Warming:

The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obesity Continues to Increase

Numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight. It said just under 6 percent are "extremely" obese.

For the first time, obesity is more common than being merely overweight.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Funding Retirement, Building Wealth

Many, but not all, doctors make high incomes. Most doctors are not wealthy. This blog post at Liberated Doc discusses why having successful medical practice often does not translate into the conversion of income to wealth:

the limited or complete lack of equity that physicians have an opportunity to build is a major shortcoming of clinical practice....
The money left after direct expenses are paid and that is left for the partners is equal to what it would cost to hire other doctors to do the work in place of the partners. In other words, the partners often don’t make much more than if they were just receiving a salary as an employee.

The days when doctors could hope to fund retirement by selling a medical practice are long over.
Personally, I'm hoping that my investment in junk bonds (within retirement accounts, primarily a Vanguard SIMPLE IRA) will pay off. I started gradually investing in high yield bond funds in Mid-December and have done well so far. I have sold a portion of my holdings over the last several days and now plan to monitor market conditions for a few days before deciding whether to stay in junk bonds or switch back into a money market fund.


And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Matthew 18:9.

AOL news reports :
A Texas death row inmate with a history of mental problems pulled out his only good eye and told authorities he ate it.

Matthew 18:9 is occasionally misinterpreted by those with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, with drastic resuls. The AOL article doesn't mention any citation of this Bible verse by Andre Thomas, the Texas inmate. Perhaps Matthew 18:9 was not involved in this instance, as ingesting the eye goes against the phrase "and cast it from thee."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Abuse of Power by Democratic Senator Reid

CNN reports that Senate Democrats plan to block Roland Burris, Blagojevich's appointee to Obama's vacated Senate seat, from entering the Senate floor:

The aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him, said the aide.

What right do Harry Reid and the rest of the Senate Democrats have to keep Burris from entering the Senate floor? The Constitution gives the Senate, not Reid or the Democrats, the right to determine its members. Until the 111th Congress formally meets, and until the Senate formally votes to deny Burris his seat in the Senate, Burris has as much right to enter the Senate floor as any other new member of the Senate.

It is an abuse of his power for Reid to use the Senate doorkeeper or the U.S. Capitol Police against Burris until a vote by the full Senate is taken to deny Burris his lawfully appointed seat.

EDIT (1/4/09): Reid and the Senate Democrats have softened their stance a little. It appears that if he has a valid certicate of appointment, he will be allowed on the Senate floor. This new stance seems valid to me. According to Fox news:

The certificate of appointment must bare the signatures of both the governor and the secretary of state. Secretary of State Jesse White who has refused to sign the document because of the allegations of corruption against the governor.
Should the Illinois Supreme Court force White to sign the document, a move Burris is seeking, Burris would be allowed on the Senate floor. Reid or some other Democrat would then have to object to Burris being seated and call up a resolution that would send his credentials to the Rules Committee pending an investigation.

EDIT (1/5/09): The Wall Street Journal published an editorial 1/3/09 stating that according to the Supreme Court's opinion in Powell v. McCormack (1969), the Senate must seat Burris but can then expel him with a 2/3 rds vote.

Assuming that Burris obtains certification by the Illinois secretary of state (which is a nodiscretionary duty and will probably be compelled by the Illinois state courts), the Senate must seat him and can then expel him if they wish.