discarded lies: sunday, march 18, 2018 12:15 am zst
daily archive: 09/12/2005
floranista in The Secret Garden:
The Garden in Autumn
The evenings are becoming cooler here in Washington and the leaves are beginning to use their fall color palette. Here are a few of my favorite plants in the autumn garden - some don't reach their peak until these cooler months...
BurningBushDwarf[1].jpg Euonymus alatus or "burning bush" is a so-so plant for most of the year. But in the fall, it's nickname is a perfect description for the fiery foliage that envelops this amazing shrub in scarlet glory!
PPhib_t[1].jpg Hibiscus syriacus 'Bluebird' is now in full bloom along with Cistus ladanifer. ladanifer.jpg The 'rockrose' comes in many colors but this is my favorite!

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Terminal Patients 'Put Down'
Doctors: Hurricane Katrina Forced Us to Kill Patients
Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leave them behind to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, according to a shocking report in the respected British newspaper the Daily Mail.

One emergency official who spoke on the record, William "Forest" McQueen, told the Mail: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."

McQueen, a utility manager for the town of Abita Springs near New Orleans, told relatives that patients had been "put down," saying medical personnel "injected them, but nurses stayed with them until they died."

The Mail did not name the other members of the medical staff interviewed by the newspaper in order to protect their identities. Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana.

One doctor said: "I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right.

"I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul.

"This was not murder. This was compassion. I had cancer patients who were in agony."

The doctor said medical staffers divided patients into three categories: those who were medically fit enough to survive, those who needed urgent care, and the dying, the Mail reported.

"It came down to giving people the basic human right to die with dignity," said the doctor.

"There were patients with ‘Do Not Resuscitate' signs. Under normal circumstances, some could have lasted several days. But when the power went out, we had nothing.

"Some of the very sick became distressed. We tried to make them as comfortable as possible.

"You have to understand, these people were going to die anyway." According to the Mail, the confessions of the medical staff "are an indictment of the appalling failure of American authorities to help those in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city."
(a thimbleful of cognac to jlfintx)
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guest author: cba in Discarded Lies:
Go See This Movie!
zorkie asked for a Guest Author post on Crash , the movie starring (among others) Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Brendan Fraser (not the weird one of the same name by David Cronenberg).

I nearly wrote the shortest GA post in Bloggie history: Go see it!

But I thought that would be unfair, so here’s a little bit more.

Crash is about prejudice, mostly of the racial variety. It’s terrific because it doesn’t provide simplistic or pat answers. Practically every major character in the movie is prejudiced, and sometimes those prejudices are justified. It also shows characters who assume they’re the victims of prejudice when they’re not.

There’s humour in the movie, but I wouldn’t describe it as “funny�? (despite what the site I linked to says). It’s pretty intense, and there’s lot to think about afterwards.

I have a few quibbles (and the DVD “extras�? are pathetic), but overall it’s excellent. Everyone should see it.

P.S. When posting comments, please be kind and use Invis-O-Text™ for spoilers.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Fight Dem Back
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Palestinians and the Internet
Ten percent of Greek households are internet subscribers. I mentioned that because I read that 31% of Palestinians are internet subscribers and I wondered how that compared to Greeks. I was also surprised to find out that 61% of Palestinians have their own personal computers since it's been drummed into our heads over and over again how poor and desperate they are.
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kianb in Pahlaver:
Mullahs threaten America With Another Katrina
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been following closely the way the United States government has been handling Hurricane Katrina, and drawing strategic conclusions from it.

In remarks that appeared on Ansar-e Hezbollah website on Sunday, a top official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said the devastating hurricane had exposed America’s vulnerabilities.

"The mismanagement and the mishandling of the acute psychological problems brought about by Hurricane Katrina clearly showed that others can, at any given time, create a devastated war-zone in any part of the U.S.", Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, the official spokesman of the IRGC, said.

"If the U.S. attacks Iran, each of America’s states will face a crisis the size of Katrina", he said, referring to the massive hurricane which hit the southern coast of the United States. "The smallest mistake by America in this regard will result in every single state in that country turning into a disaster zone".

"How could the White House, which is impotent in the face of a storm and a natural disaster, enter a military conflict with the powerful Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly with the precious experience that we gained in the eight-year war with Iraq?" he said.

Jazayeri said the hurricane havoc showed that "contrary to public perception, the strength of America’s leadership is like a balloon, which can easily burst".

The Revolutionary Guards spokesman said the U.S. administration’s inability to end the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan showed the "weakness of America’s defence and state departments, as well as its intelligence and security apparatus".
Time for Americans to reunite again.
Iran military says Katrina showed U.S. could be turned into "war zone"
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Blogging in the Arab World
Next time I bitch and complain that I can't find any good posts or that I have nothing intelligent to say about a post I'm doing, I'll keep in mind that there are hundreds of bloggers out there with many intelligent and important things to say if only their governments would let them. Arabs Take Byte at Regimes
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Cheeky Chavez: Stealing From The Poor To Give To The Rich
The Left's favorite new Robin Hood has his wires crossed-have they noticed? And do they care?
The petty South American demagogue Chavez* made headlines recently with his plan to distribute cut-rate heating oil to poor Americans this winter, as well as 150,000 free eye surgeries a year for same. I had to wonder just how wasteful of a use of Venezuela's sorely-needed money this was, so I did a little math. I like numbers, they can tell you all kinds of interesting stuff. Forget the eye surgeries. Let's talk about heating oil.

Chavez claims to plan to provide heating oil to 8 million poor Americans at 40% off market rates. One interesting fact is that only 8.1 million households in the entire USA use heating oil in the winter; the rest heat their houses by other means. With a poverty rate of 12.7%, and an average US household size of 2.6 persons, there are at most 2.67 million poor Americans who depend on heating oil in the winter to keep their homes warm. In other words, there just aren't 8 million poor Americans who could use these heating oil subsidies. Chavez is planning on giving subsidies to 5.33 million rich Americans who don't need them, while his own people starve with a 79% official poverty rate-25 of that 79% live on less than a single lousy dollar a day.

Now, how much, exactly, of poor Venezuelans' money is Chavez promising to give away to fat, rich Americans?

Your average Northeastern homeowner uses 650-1000 gallons of heating oil in a winter. The vast majority (78%) of heating oil users are Northeasterners, so we can take them as representative. Let's take the average of that range: 825 gallons.

How much is heating oil expected to cost this winter? The government's best official guesstimate is $2.09/gallon in 2005 and $2.26/gallon in 2006. Since winter spans both years, I'll take the average of that number, too, which is $2.175/gallon. Chavez promises a 40% discount, so of the 825 gallons the average household will buy this winter, 330 gallons will be free, courtesy of the generous Venezuelan poor. Note that I'm not bothering to estimate how much extra heating oil will be used because it's so cheap-when price goes down, demand goes up. I'm not bothering because heating oil demand is fairly inelastic-people have to stay warm in the winter, they don't exactly have much choice. And most people have tanks that can store one quarter to one fifth of their winter's consumption, so they have to refill them three or four times a year. There isn't a lot of excess storage capacity there; at best, maybe demand will go up 20% if every single household filled their tank to take advantage of cheap prices even though winter was over. I'm also ignoring speculators who will buy heating oil in order to sell it at market prices. Let's pretend Chavez has a really good plan for making sure only the 8 million people he has in mind will get the heating oil, and no one else, and let's pretend they won't take advantage of the cheap price to stock up on more than they will use this winter.

Now let's say all 8 million people to whom Chavez promises to sell cheap heating oil take advantage of the deal-and why wouldn't they? It's a good deal. The total cost to Venezuela of this will be 330 free gallons per household per winter x $2.175/gallon x 8,000,000 people / 2.6 people per household, or 2 billion, 208 million dollars.

You read that right.

Venezuela has a per-capita Gross Domestic Product of $2978, and a population of 25 million. That means every Venezuelan is giving those 8 million Americans $88.33. If the "Bolivarian revolution" to help the poor of Venezuela was actually helping the poor, that $2.208 billion would go to Venezuela's poorest, that 25% of the population that lives on less than a dollar a day. That's $353.35 that each Venezuelan who lives on less than a dollar a day could be getting from Chavez. Instead, Chavez is giving it to Americans who don't need it.

He could double the income of 25% of his population by selling the oil to Americans at market price, and improve their lives vastly. Imagine how miserable these people's lives are. Unbelievable.

The income of the average poor American is $2700 below the poverty line, which is something like $18000 for a family of four. So for our average household size of 2.6 people, the average income of a below-the-poverty-line US household is something like $4700. Caveat: I believe that this number is actually much higher, but I'm just going on the quickest figures I can find. I blog on a time limit, you know. Chavez is giving them a gift of about $717.75 per household this winter, which is as if he raised their income 15.2% (I believe it's much less than that, but let's go with it). What's better, to raise the income of already relatively wealthy Americans 15%, or to raise the income of desperately poor Venezuelans 100% (doubling it)? The trouble with this portion of the calculation, of course, is that only a small fraction of the US households that use heating oil are poor, much less than 8 million of them. Another factor I'm ignoring in these calculations is that poor US households get large government subsidies for their heating oil expenses, so they're not exactly depending on Chavez to keep them warm in his creepy embrace.

If, as I suspect, the population of Americans that actually gets the Venezuelan heating oil subsidy is a cross-section of the population rather than just the poor, for the simple reason that there aren't 8 million poor Americans who use heating oil, Chavez's reverse-Robin-Hood act gets even more obscene. Median US household income in 2005 is $60570. That means Chavez's stolen "gift" of $717.75 per household is a 1.18% increase in the standard of living for 8 million Americans.

Pop quiz.

You're the benevolent (humor me) dictator of an impoverished, oil-rich South American country, let's call it "Venezuela". "Venezuela" has a staggering 79% poverty rate, and 6.25 million of your people struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day. The mantra, the selling point, the hallmark, the talking point, the main reason for existence of your government is the reduction of poverty through social spending. You have $2.2 billion dollars to spend.

Should you:

A. Give 8 million Americans the $2.2 billion as a subsidy on one of your chief exports. The effectiveness of this tactic in reducing poverty is uncertain. In the worst-case scenario, your subsidy is worth 1.18% of their income, which they may or may not notice. In the very best-case scenario, the subsidy is worth 15.2% of their income. Even in the best-case scenario, their own government already gives them a decent subsidy for their expenditure on your exported goods.

B. Charge the Americans the full fair-market price, and give 6.25 million starving Venezuelan paupers the money, which will double their income and reduce their unimaginable plight?

You make the call.

* I would have just earned a 6 to 30 month prison sentence for insulting the President, if I was a Venezuelan.
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zorkmidden in Bloggies Of Our Lives:
The Morning Of Our Trials
evariste wakes up and rubs his belly. It feels awfully flat and he looks around in alarm. Was it a dream? Okay, so kianb said take one pill and ev took eight but they wouldn't make him think he was pregnant, would they? ev suspects that he's been thrown in some fresh hell again and runs to wake up the fresh hell expert. His short, fat hyperlinkopotamus follows him happily.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Islamic Schools in Italy
1 commentAllen left a comment at 1:53 pm 12/13
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