Friday, June 29, 2012

Having Enough or Having it All

On Sean's facebook page, he links to this post on the Foreign Policy webpage, entitled "Why America Can't Have it All." I commend it, not only about what it says about "America" but also what it says about the idea that we, as individuals, should have "it all."

I have been considering lately the story of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, and specifically the matter of God feeding them there.  I was led there by our study of John, Chapter 6, in our Sunday School Class, where Jesus declares that he is the Bread of Life, referring to "[o]ur forefathers [who] ate the manna in the desert . . . " 

Whatever manna the people gathered, it was enough:
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omerbfor each person you have in your tent.’”
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

 -Numbers 16: 15b - 20

Having it all is very often having too much.  So we keep "part of it until morning" and our lives begin to smell bad.  There is rot in it.  Maggots.  Broken families.  Broken lives.

The Jews have a song they sing at Passover.  The song is like a prayer, even a single word lifted up in thankful praise to God:  Dayenu (דַּיֵּנוּ.)  "Dayenu" means "Enough!"

I also think this expression of praise and gratitude has more to it than those obvious elements of worship: it is an acknowledgement that more than enough is not a blessing.  I would suggest that underneath that song, there is something like,  "Enough blessing, oh Lord!  Thank you, oh Lord, but enough blessing!"

Obamacare: Setting the Stage for the Failure of the Private Health Insurance System

So it's just an option. You can opt not to buy the insurance and to pay the "penalty." Whichever you want. The government said exactly that to the Court. You won't have done anything wrong, so pay whichever is less. And if you are one of those healthy people whom the insurance companies need to bulk up their funds so they can pay the expenses of their unhealthy, you should hand your money to the government. Screw the insurance companies! That is the plan. The government said so. If and when you have health-care expenses that outweigh the cost of insurance, then go ahead and buy insurance. Again: screw the insurance companies. That is the plan.
Indeed, it is estimated that four million people each year will choose to pay the IRS rather than buy insurance. See Congressional Budget Office, supra, at 71. We would expect Congress to be troubled by that prospect if such conduct were unlawful. That Congress apparently regards such extensive failure to comply with the mandate as tolerable suggests that Congress did not think it was creating four million outlaws. It suggests instead that the shared responsibility payment merely imposes a tax citizens may lawfully choose to pay in lieu of buying health insurance.
It's the plan. Can you see the ultimate plan?

-Ann Althouse, while discussing yesterday's 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare.

But we knew that. 

Yesterday's decision means that the Constitution permits the federal government to replace the present private medical insurance system with a "single-payer" system, with the government as that payer.  If Congress wants to enact a law with that result, then it can.  That's all.  The question is essentially political, it is not Constitutional.  The source of the "problem" of Obamacare are the people in Congress, that is to say, the people who sent them there. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

5 lbs. of Fat vs. 5 lbs of Muscle

Is this why I'm not losing that much weight at Cross-Fit?  But that's OK.  Not complaining.

Freud Discovered This?

Freud discovered that each of us repeats the tragedy of the mythical Greek Narcissus: we are hopelessly absorbed with ourselves. If we care about anyone it is usually ourselves first of all. As Aristotle somewhere put it: luck is when the guy next to you gets hit with the arrow.

-Ernest Becker, in The Denial of Death.

Surely, Becker means that Freud discovered this aspect of human nature for himself.  He hardly discovered this for the rest of us.

Is it a hopeless situation?

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

-Philippians 2:1-4

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dr. McDougall: No to Mammograms and No to the PSA Test

Dr. McDougall, in his most recent newsletter, reviews Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy [Paperback] By Peter C. Gotzsche, MD.  Dr. Gotzshe is "a Danish medical researcher, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has written numerous reviews within the Cochrane collaboration, which is considered by most doctors as the most unbiased source of medical reviews."

This book is very technical and will mostly appeal to readers interested in a detailed story of flawed science and crooked researchers. The evidence will sway most doctors, causing them to stop harping on you to get a mammogram. You might expect medical doctors to act more ethically than the rest of us humans, especially when it comes to something as personal as the female breast. But they don’t and won’t until forced to by work[s] such as Dr. Gotzsche’s new book. 

Dr. McDougall compares the mammogram test to screening for prostate cancer with the PSA test, which he says has "fallen into disrepute."

I posted on the latest Nordic Cochrane study recently.

When I visited my oncologist recently for my annual check-up, we got into a discussion about prostate cancer.  He caught my doubt about the treatment regimes and I got a long story about how a colleague of his had the DaVinci surgery by Dr. Patel in Orlando, that the cancer turned out to be the dangerous kind, and his colleague is fine now and glad he had it done.

I told him about my friend who had the surgery recently and is definitely not happy about the side effects.  During the 45 years I have known him, my friend had a consistently positive, highly motivated way about him.  That was gone, and it was shocking.

Cross-Fit as an Anti-Entitlement Sport

I confronted the arrogance of the gifted athlete as my children grew up and played sports.  All three played club soccer, and the boys played on the varsity team in high school.  On Macon's team there was a player with a magical leg.  It was like a cannon.  He was terribly gifted.

He was lazy and a problem.  He dogged it during practice.  He would drift during a game until particular moments when he let go with the leg.  His grades threatened his eligibility.  Not a team guy.  Yet the sports world entitled him.  He was a king.  He always played as the less gifted often sat long periods on the bench.

We never heard of him again after high school, although from time to time we discuss him.  What ever came of him?  He was a teenager at the time, of course.  I hope he came to know himself.

Cross-fit is fine with the non-gifted.  There are plenty of gifted athletes there, but they work just as hard as the rest of us.  They are a pleasure to watch and to know.  We non-gifted "scale down" to participate.  This is acceptable in the Cross-fit world, provisionally acceptable provided you are working your tail off.  We get to see the gifted exhibit their gifts and they are inspirational in some ways, even beautiful.  (I have no doubt that they enjoy exhibiting their gifts.)  They sometimes expressly encourage the rest of us.  The ethic is one of mutual encouragement.  We all pay the same price for the privilege of participating.  Our rewards are related to our efforts not to our gifts.  We are entitled to nothing except the opportunity to show up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Christianity's Least Credible Claim

The least credible claim of Christianity is that God became a man; that he went from throne to Cross; from omni-entitled to non-entitled.  It is easier to grasp that there is a Creator-God, that he may well be involved in history and perhaps in our own lives, that there is right and there is wrong, that the Bible is somehow "true"; that Jesus was an historical person.  But God become a man?

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

-Phillipians 2:5-11 (New International Version 1984)

The sole entitlement of a Christian is to be like Christ.

Where there is Entitlement, there is no Gratitude

Gratitude transforms relationships.  Entitlement deforms and destroys.

Needs are not Rights

The best marriage book I've ever read (several times) is His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair Proof Marriage, by Willard F. Harley, Jr.  Dr. Harley does not speak of the rights that each spouse has of the other nor of duties, one to the other.  Instead, he speaks of the needs of the husband and the needs of the wife, so different in many respects.  His is sort of a transactional approach: if husband wants a marriage that meets his needs, then he meets his wife's needs.  If wife wants a marriage that meets her needs, then she meets his.  There is very little talk of husband's entitlement or of wife's entitlement.

For example, when a man agrees to an exclusive relationship with his wife, he depends on her to meet his sexual need. If she fulfills this need, he finds in her a continuing source of intense pleasure, and his love grows stronger. However, if his need goes unmet, quite the opposite happens. He begins to associate her with frustration. If the frustration continues, he may decide she "just doesn't like sex" and may try to make the best of it. But his strong need for sex remains unfulfilled. His commitment to an exclusive sexual relationship with his wife has left him with the choice of sexual frustration or infidelity. Some men never give in; they manage to make the best of it over the years. But many do succumb to the temptation of an affair. I have talked to hundreds of them in my counseling offices.

Another example is a wife who gives her husband the exclusive right to meet her need for intimate conversation. Whenever they talk together with a depth of honesty and openness not found in conversation with others, she finds him to be the source of her greatest pleasure. But when he refuses to give her the undivided attention she craves, he becomes associated with her greatest frustration. Some women simply go through their married lives frustrated, but others cannot resist the temptation to let someone else meet this important emotional need. And when they do, an affair is the likely outcome.

From several sources, I have heard the statement, "one has no rights in marriage, only duties."  That is one way to put it, I suppose.  I think I would put it this way,  "one has no rights in marriage, only needs."  If one wants those needs to be fulfilled, then he must meet those of the other.  It's a sacramental bargain, marriage.  There is no entitlement.

Charity as an Entitlement

I discovered that charity is a right in law school.  I remember the day very clearly when we were reading about laws that created government benefits for citizens deemed to be in need, benefits for "poor people."  Those benefits were not called "rights," they were called "entitlements."  I gained this insight in 1970, and I should not have been surprised.  After all, during the decade just before, President Johnson had introduced a package of legislation called "the Great Society," Congress passed it, and it was implemented despite a war going on.  During the Sixties, I had never quite understood that the Great Society package was really a package of artificial "rights."  The use of the word "entitlement" in law school, to describe the benefit and the process by which the beneficiary would receive his benefits, indeed to enforce his right to an entitlement, clarified the matter for me.

Was the choice of the word "entitlement" rather than "right" a deliberate strategy of the lawmakers to confuse the matter?  Maybe not.  Rights, after all, are for every citizen.  "Entitlements," on the other hand, are for the few and they are financed not by the promptings of charity but by the compulsion of taxation.  Government imposes on certain citizens the obligation to pay for the entitlements of other citizens.  These certain citizens are those to whom the market provides those benefits by means of transactions, involving production, buying, and selling, that is, through commerce.  Or they are people who otherwise do not need the benefits or who do not even want them and perhaps find them abhorrent (such as the case of government-provided abortion).

I had been raised on the idea that charity was a moral or a religious obligation, that the obligation was to God not to the recipient, that it was to be offered out of gratitude to the Father, and it was to be smartly done, because it was always better to teach a man to fish rather than to give him a fish and because men, being who they are, will abuse a gift and a blind giver.

The word "entitlement" clarified for me what government had set out to do in the Great Society.  It was interesting and it was disturbing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Miami Transformed

Brickell CitiCentre breaks ground.

In addition, we will soon have a Whole Foods market a block away from our office.  It will be part of the last phase of a development known as Metropolitan Miami.  That will complete development of the duPont area, which, ten years ago, consisted of three city blocks of parking lots just west of Biscayne Boulevard and across Biscayne Way from the Miami River.

Add to this the transportation revolution that will include a new MetroRail connection to the just-completed transportation center at MIA, and you will have something entirely different from the downtown I knew when I started work there in 1970 as a summer law clerk for Smathers & Thompson.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"The Juvenilization of the American Church"

The editors of CT chose a story to feature on it its June 2012 issue titled "When are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity," by Thomas E. Berger.  (The complete article is available at the link.) Berger, who teaches youth ministry at Huntington University, adapted it from his new book The Juvenilization of American Christianity (Eerdmans, 2012).  It is controversial and challenging.

Berger asserts that "[t]he white evangelical churches that are growing the fastest in America are the ones that look most like the successful youth ministries of the 1950s and '60s."  He states "even otherwise exemplary youth ministries could unintentionally send the message that the church or even God exists to help me on my journey of self-development."   Finally, he concludes

Today many Americans of all ages not only accept a Christianized version of adolescent narcissism, they often celebrate it as authentic spirituality. God, faith, and the church all exist to help me with my problems. Religious institutions are bad; only my personal relationship with Jesus matters. If we believe that a mature faith involves more than good feelings, vague beliefs, and living however we want, we must conclude that juvenilization has revitalized American Christianity at the cost of leaving many individuals mired in spiritual immaturity.

My observations lead me to believe that it is not simply the American Church that is juvenilized, it is the American culture, even Western culture that is so.

I spoke to a client of mine recently, a married man in his early 60s who sold his business several years ago, one he had developed with a lot of hard work and great business acumen, and who now mainly plays golf.  He and his wife (no children) have just moved to a place called The Villages.  "Paul," he said, "the place is like high school on steroids!"  He admitted that he could not see them living there for more than a few years, but he was clearly amazed at this wildly successful retirement community near Ocala.

Last night, Carol and I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  It is delightful, with a glittering British cast.  A British married couple, and four singles, two men and two women, all commencing retirement.  Each of them has a different story but all have concluded they must leave England to live out their lives with a chance at happiness.  They find themselves in a dilapidated hotel in Jaipur, India, on the basis of photo-shopped photos at the hotel's website.  In one way or another, each of them needs to grow up.  Many of them fit the juvenile stereotype, and the hotel seemed to promise a sort of "Villages" model with elephants.  (I stole that last line from the movie.)  It was very entertaining to see them grow (or not, in one case), and the third act was pure Hollywood, but that was entirely OK.  It was fun!  The message was there, however, one must escape from Western culture to find the adult in him.

Not so different from what Berger might say.

More Children!

Oh, I like this!  h/t Ann Althouse.

Child Brides in Africa

Carlos, Karen, and their family have started a year of home assignment.  Today Carlos spoke at our worship service about their work in a non-Christian country in Africa.

Among other things, he spoke of the custom there of girls as young as nine being taken as brides.  (The custom is not necessarily limited to non-Christians.)  I asked him about the fistula issue, and he said that no country had a more heart-breaking record in that respect than his country.  For that matter, he said, no country had a higher infant-mortality rate than that place.  When I  mentioned MJ's interest in Ob-Gyn and surgery, he said that the country was in great need of Ob-Gyns not just for fistula surgery but for what they do generally for mothers and their children, unborn and newborn.

We're Fans of Bob's Red Mill

Carol eats the Muesli for breakfast almost every day. I eat it as a little snack now and then.  I sprinkle the Chia Seed on my oatmeal each morning.

Bob's a real guy.  His Oregon company is "employee owned."  Go, Bob!

Bob partners with Autism Speaks.

Here's a post from Bob's blog about a visit from the Africa Women's Entrepreneurship Program.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ben Franklin and Poor People

“I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

-Ben Franklin 

Easy for a bourgeoisie American to quote, one who has never missed a meal, right?

Would that make Franklin wrong, however?

Furthermore, Franklin would not have us overlook our obligation of "leading or driving" people out of poverty.  In fact, the quote begins with Franklin's declaration, "I am for doing good to the poor." He does not advocate ignoring them, but of assisting them in a particular and deliberate way, that is, in leading or even driving them out of their situation, but certainly in not enabling them to stay where they are.

This seems so obvious, but I am somehow compelled to say it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Water Aerobics?

A friend of Carol's recently retired, proposed that she join with her a water aerobics class at the rec center pool.

We already do water aerobics (and anaerobics): we go to Crossfit four times a week and the water pours off our bodies and makes pools on the floor.

Crossfit Discovers Kenya

There's something a little strange about this, but I really don't much care.  Good on Greg Glassman.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ann Althouse has a Stand-Up Desk. So does Mead.

Actually they are motorized up and down desks.

(May we have a ruling on that, please? The "motorized" part?)

Ruling:  It's OK.  It counts.

"Excessive Sitting is a Lethal Activity"

It turns out being sedentary is a health risk. Period. It’s up there with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, even smoking, according to a 2010 article in the Journal of the American Heart Association. In fact, fitness level is a “more powerful predictor” of survival than traditional risk factors, the journal says. That means an active person who’s overweight can have a better prognosis than a thin, sedentary person.

Exercise can:

 • Reduce your risk of getting, or dying from, certain cancers; 

• Delay or avert Type II diabetes, as well as reduce your mortality risk if you have diabetes;

• Help maintain your cognitive function into old age.

Studies — including one by the American Cancer Society — have shown that sitting itself can take years off your life. It’s not just that you’re burning fewer calories. It’s that certain bodily processes go silent — processes that do things like regulate your insulin and get the fat out of your bloodstream.

“Excessive sitting,” a Mayo Clinic researcher told The New York Times, “is a lethal activity.”

-from "Exercise Will Change Your Life, and Here's Why," by Maureen O’Hagan of the Seattle Times, as published yesterday in the Miami Herald.

For Carol and me this  year, our involvement in the intense exercise regime of Crossfit has changed us positively as nothing has since our moving into the vegan world in April 2009.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dinner with a Glittering Couple

Our friends CB and RB had supper with us yesterday evening. They had come down from Memorial PC, where RB is pastor, for our dismissal service.  RB delivered the sermon at that service.  (We are blessed to have Memorial as our sister church in ECO.) After the service, they came by our house, Carol fixed a wonderful meal (and they didn't mind it was vegan) and we talked and talked.

CB, RB's wife, is an associate regional director for IV in the graduate area.  She puts me to shame as a reader.  She told us about some really wonderful books, and then followed up with an email so we wouldn't lose the titles (I was taking notes madly as she spoke, but this is much better).  Here is her email in pertinent part:

Transforming Conversion by Gordon T. Smith  (all his stuff is great, this one is stellar!)  --Baker

Missional Spirituality
by Roger Helland and Leonaqrd Hjalmarson--IVP
(this one is part of my class reading as is Right Here Right Now by Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford--Baker).

The teacher of this course, Adele Calhoun, has also listed her own book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook--IVP   This book has been lying around my house and folks have even referenced it, but I did not open it until I had to and then, low and behold, I discovered treasure inside!  She has done a great job of gathering lists of spiritual disciplines and practices, giving them a biblical basis, explaining them, categorizing them, it is really well done. The title and the cover of this book are so boring that it is easy to miss what a sweet catalog this is!  Her writing is very good, too.!  This makes me eager to take her course! She is teaching with her husband, Doug. I guess both of them are spiritual director types!  But they really want to connect it with the missional side of things. I will send you the whole syllabus, just in case it interests you.

Then, we talked about Susan Howatch.  Her first set of books is called the Starbridge series
The first three books of the series (
Glittering Images, Glamorous Powers, Ultimate Prizes) begin in the 1930s, and continue through World War II. The second three (Scandalous Risks, Mystical Paths, Absolute Truths) take place in the 1960s. 

Glittering Images is narrated by the Reverend Dr. Charles Ashworth, a Cambridge academic who undergoes something of a spiritual and nervous breakdown after being sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to secretly investigate possible sexual transgressions in the household of the Bishop of Starbridge. Ashworth is helped to recover, and to realize the source of his problems, by Father Jonathan Darrow, the widowed abbot of Grantchester Abbey of the Fordite Monks.

Glamorous Powers follows the story of Jonathan Darrow himself as he leaves the Fordite Order at age sixty following a powerful vision. He then must deal with his adult children's problems, address the question of a new intimate relationship, and search for a new ministry. His particular crisis surrounds the use and misuse of his charismatic powers of healing, and his unsettling mystical visions, or "showings".

Ultimate Prizes takes place during World War II. It is narrated by Neville Aysgarth, a young and ambitious Archdeacon of Starbridge from a working class background in the north of England. After being widowed and remarried, he too undergoes something of a breakdown but is rescued by Jonathan Darrow.

Scandalous Risks follows Aysgarth to a Canonry of Westminster Abbey and back to Starbridge, where he becomes Dean of the Cathedral and Ashworth becomes Bishop. It is narrated by Venetia Flaxton, a young aristocrat who risks great scandal by beginning a relationship with the married Aysgarth, her father's best friend.

Mystical Paths follows Nicholas Darrow, son of Jonathan, as he narrowly avoids going off the rails prior to his ordination while investigating the mysterious disappearance of Christian Aysgarth, eldest son of Dean Aysgarth.

Absolute Truths comes full circle and is narrated by a much more elderly but still troubled Charles Ashworth, thirty one years after we first encounter him in the first of the books.


The St. Benet's Trilogy

The St. Benet's trilogy takes place in the London of the 1980s and 1990s. Again, it illustrates the changes which took place in the Anglican Church in those years and brings back many of the characters in the Starbridge series. However, while the Church is still at the heart of the books, there is an increased emphasis on characters who are not members of the clergy. Like the six preceding books, each in the trilogy is written in the first person by a different narrator.

A Question of Integrity (given the title The Wonder Worker in the United States), picks up the story of Nicholas Darrow fifteen years after the last of the Starbridge novels. Nick is now rector of a church in the City of London, where he runs a center for the ministry of healing. His own life is greatly affected by events taking place at the center, especially after he meets Alice Fletcher, an insecure new worker there, and is forced to reassess his beliefs and commitments as a result.

The High Flyer narrates the story of a female City lawyer, Carter Graham, who "has it all". Her outwardly successful life, complete with highly compensated career and suitable marriage, undergoes profound changes after harrowing events smacking of the occult begin to occur, which reveal that things are not what they seem.

Finally, The Heartbreaker follows the life of Gavin Blake, a charismatic male prostitute specializing in powerful, influential male clients, who finds himself at the center of a criminal empire and must fight to save his life. Meanwhile, both Graham and Darrow must deal with their own weaknesses in trying to help Gavin.

Have fun with this!  The last one deals with homosexuality.  She is not the greatest writer in the world, but she does have some insights and I have appreciated her. She may not be your cup of tea, but you can check it out and see what you think.  If you look her up on Wikipedia or something, she has quite an interesting life and used her money in some good directions.

Thanks for the Raymond Brown books, by the way!  I shall enjoy diving in!

I will send I Once Was Lost[: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus, by Don Everts] this week.

During the visit, CB also mentioned The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church by Alan Hirsch, The Permanent Revolution Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church.

In addition, from my mad jottings, I also see that CB recommended Lisa Genova's Left Neglected
and Still Alice.

Finally, she gave us a book, Mark Labberton's The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God's Call to Justice.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

What is a "Missional Church"

 Offered in hopeful celebration of the dismissal today of First Presbyterian Church of Miami Springs from the Presbytery of Tropical Florida of the PC(USA) to the Presbytery of the East of A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians ("ECO").

h/t: The website of our sister church, Memorial Presbyterian Church, West Palm Beach, and its "Vision" web page.  (The PTF similarly dismissed Memorial yesterday.)

Legal Education Takes a Shot

Legal education is a broken, failed, even corrupt enterprise. It exalts and enriches law professors at the expense of lawyers, the legal profession, and most of all the students whose tuition dollars finance the entire scheme. With hard numbers and piercing insights, Brian Z. Tamanaha tells the disturbing, scandalous truth. His book is essential reading for anyone who is even contemplating law school, much less committing to a career in law teaching. With any luck, his book will inspire law professors and law school deans who have no other career options to subject themselves to the deepest levels of ethical introspection, the better to lead legal education back into the service of its true stakeholders.

 James Chen, dean, University of Louisville, in a review of the new book by Brian Z. Tamanaha, Failing Law Schools, on the Amazon website.  h/t Glenn Reynolds here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

DARPA's Unmanned X-37B Robotic Space Shuttle Returns (UPDATED WITH VIDEO)


It didn't fly into space, but was boosted up by a rocket from the Cape.  It did, however, fly back down, after orbiting for 224 days(!), a record exceeded only by the retired space shuttles.  It landed at the Vandenberg AFB this morning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

For Want of a Period (or Maybe an Exclamation Point)

Ad in the River Cities Gazette, our neighborhood newspaper, June 14 issue, page 5:

Congratulations, Bonnie,

on your

From Your Family

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gator Bites Off Tour Guide's Hand (UPDATED)

No problem (maybe).

It seems wrong, but this just in from Gainesville.  They opened the swimmer's stomach and found the missing leg.

Geeks Strike Back: Replacing the Battery of my iPhone

The battery of my iPhone - I think it is a 3g or a 3gs (I'll have to check) - is running down.  The easy thing to do is to go to the ATT store and buy a new one under our plan.  I share that plan with Carol and Mary, and I think that at least one of us has had our phone long enough that he or she is in a position to get the "deal."  I have this uneasy sense, however, that it is ATT and Apple who are getting the "deal" and not us.

The contrarian in me, asks, "So why not get a new battery?" offers a solution.

I've been reading the biography of Steve Jobs (which I heartily recommend) and am at the place where he and his team are developing the Macintosh.  Part of Jobs' approach was to attempt to keep hobbyists, geeks, and other intrusive people out of the innards of his machine.  He designed the box so that it took special tools to open it, and his team developed those special tools so they would not be generally available.  As the video at the website appears to show, Jobs' approach continues .  .  .  and can be worked-around, if one is a hobbyist, a geek, or simply cheap.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breast Cancer Screening with Mammography

Five years after being treated for breast cancer, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts has a new health fight on her hands.

Roberts said Monday she is beginning chemotherapy treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia. She is expected to get a bone marrow transplant sometime this fall.

*   *   *

She developed MDS as a result of her breast cancer treatment - a manner of transmission so unusual it affects only a few hundred people per year, said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's medical correspondent.

-from the Miami Herald's Monday digital-edition

When we [at the Nordic Cochrane Centre] first published this leaflet in 2008, the Summary was:

It may be reasonable to attend for breast cancer screening with mammography, but it may also be reasonable not to attend, as screening has both benefits and harms.

If 2000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one will benefit from the screening, as she will avoid dying from breast cancer.

At the same time, 10 healthy women will, as a consequence, become cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy.

Furthermore, about 200 healthy women will experience a false alarm. The psychological strain until one knows whether or not it was cancer, and even afterwards, can be severe.

These numbers were derived from the randomised trials of mammography screening. However, since the trials were performed, treatment of breast cancer has improved considerably. More recent studies suggest that mammography screening may no longer be effective in reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Screening produces patients with breast cancer from among healthy women who would never have developed symptoms of breast cancer. Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying, e.g. from heart disease and cancer.

It therefore no longer seems reasonable to attend for breast cancer screening. In fact, by avoiding going to screening, a woman will lower her risk of getting a breast cancer diagnosis. However, despite this, some women might still wish to go to screening.
h/t Dr. McDougall.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

I Love this Place!

It sure beats a belt.  (Pun alert!)  And more humane than the way scots-irish/german kids I know got shaped. (h/t April at YFC)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Sweet Home Hialeah

Nothing New Here

With people in developing nations like India and Pakistan adopting lazy lifestyles of the west, cancer rates are expected to soar by 75 per cent worldwide by 2030, experts have warned

-from"Lazy Lifestyles Can Up Cancer Rates in Asia" in the Times of India.

The use of the phrase "lazy lifestyle" is unfortunate.  For one thing, it seems to point to exercise issues alone.  For years, studies have pointed to the connection between an animal-based diet and cancer.  On the other hand, as I observe how hard Carol works to plan and prepare her delicious plant-based meals, "laziness" or, less pejoratively, a lack of time, knowledge, and commitment account for an unheatlhy diet.  

The "experts," cited in the Times of India article are those of the World Health Organization, as reported here in the Los Angeles Times:

A new report by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) suggests that the incidence of cancer worldwide will grow by 75% by the year 2030, nearly doubling in some of the developing countries. Those increases will put a much larger burden on the poorly developed healthcare systems in such countries because care of cancer is much more expensive than care for infectious diseases.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Great Name for a Band


Of course, it's from Atlanta.

The Point of Coupling is Children

I mean no harm to couples in same sex relationships, nor to those in more traditional relationships who choose not to have children, nor to those who choose to limit the number of children they have.  I believe, however, that communities, whatever their form, that sorely test this value, so fundamental, so primal in its necessity, are on a track to extinction.