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List of Headings - Page Two
- Military Recruiters Target Mentally Disabled - Jul. 18, 2009
- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Jul. 15, 2009
- Business is Great! - Jul. 8, 2009
- Canadian Healthcare Rocks! - Jul. 8, 2009
- Coal Mines or Windmills? - Updated May 5, 2010
- Meet Gertie - Jun. 20, 2009
- Don't Get Fucked by Big Oil - Updated May 5, 2010
- Healthcare War - Jun 10, 2009
- The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 - Jun. 3, 2009
- Hannity's Face - May 28, 2009
- Dick Cheney Plans Burning of the Reichstag - May 24, 2009
- Living Without Healthcare is Torture - Updated May 21, 2009
- Optional Public Health Insurance - Updated May 21, 2009
- Marijuana and the Economy - Updated Mar. 29, 2009
- Rolling Back Healthcare and Blaming Obama: The Military's Plan for 2012 - Mar. 21, 2009
- Octalink V1 Cartridges - Mar. 20, 2009
- Cheney and Limbaugh Are a Danger to America - Feb. 6, 2009
- The Monty Hall Problem - Jan. 28, 2009
- Happy New Year - Jan. 1, 2009
- 2008 (Front Page)
- 2008 (Page Two)
- 2007
Page Two Blog

Military Recruiters Target Mentally Disabled - Jul. 18, 2009

The military is in the press for recruiting a man with autism into the Marines. The military even went so far as to pick the recruit up from his home in a mental healthcare facility. The guy's name is Joshua Fry.

[According to the General], "the Marines are simply looking for a very specific type of recruit. We target a very specific individual," he said. "We're looking for the very driven individual to live up to the challenge."

By the age of 3, according to the motion, Joshua Fry tested as having an IQ of 70. [Fry's doctor stated], "[Fry] appears quite limited in his ability to think ahead of possible consequences."

[A recruiter] allegedly drove to pick up Fry from the group home for the mentally disabled where Fry was living (

Much of the story revolves around the military official that recruited Fry. According to one military recruiter, recruiting is a tough job...

[F]ailure to meet recruiting quotas... can result in recruiters working weekends and late hours and coming under the glare of a disapproving supervisor which, in the military, can be "demoralizing." If recruiters miss a quota, ..."life sucks" (

It would definitely suck to work in a place like that. I can remember when a recruiter called me just before I started college. The guy that called offered me "free college, a chance to see the world, and the opportunity to serve your country." When I said, "no, thanks," the recruiter shouted, "why don't you want to serve your country? Do you have a problem with the military?" When I said I had to go, the recruiter got creepy and added, "we'll be keeping our eyes on you in case you change your mind, T.J.!" Can you imagine getting a phone call like that after 9/11?

It isn't clear from the article exactly what went on after Joshua Fry was recruited into the military, except that he allegedly stole some peanut butter and asked if they would let him out of the military. Apparently, the basic training staff at Fry's "boot camp" called Fry's family and said that Fry was going to be let out of the military. But then the staff went back on their word and allowed Fry "graduate" from basic training, so he had to stay in the military. They've thrown Fry into a military prison now. I wonder what was going on with the staff of the boot camp (not to mention the staff at the recruiting station)?

Has anyone seen the film Forrest Gump? The main character, Forrest Gump, had an IQ so low he couldn't attend school, and he suffered from a related mental disability. But when he was old enough, Forrest was recruited into the Army.

A drill sergeant is in Forrest's face as Forrest stands in line with the other recruits.

DRILL SERGEANT: Gump! What's your sole purpose in this Army?

FORREST: To do whatever you tell me, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: Goddamnit, Gump! You're a goddamned genius! That's the most outstanding answer I've ever heard. You must have a goddamned I.Q. of a hundred and sixty! You are goddamned gifted, Private Gump!

[...] The recruits are sitting at the base of their bunks assembling their rifles. [...] Forrest finishes assembling his rifle as the other recruits are still working on theirs. [...] The Drill Sergeant rushes up to Forrest.

DRILL SERGEANT: Why did you put that weapon together so quickly, Gump?

FORREST: You told me to, Drill Sergeant.

The Drill Sergeant looks at his stop watch.

DRILL SERGEANT: Jesus Christ! This is a new company record. If it wouldn't be a waste of such a damn fine enlisted man, I'd recommended you for O.C.S., Private Gump. You are gonna be a General some day, Gump! Now, disassemble your weapon and continue!

[from IMSDb]

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.

The whole military seems mentally disabled. Why do we pay those goddamned idiots more than half of our tax dollars to threaten people and start wars? I think we should cut the military's budget in half!


Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Jul. 15, 2009

I have an idea that would resolve every ideological gripe conservatives have with modern society. My idea would also find people jobs. In the right hands, this idea has the potential to improve the lives every American.

But in the wrong hands - Republican hands - the idea will only make people miserable.

The idea is to have a government program that finds people jobs by working with employers (1). The reason we need this idea is that, despite what many people think, the Unemployment Office won't find a person a job, and programs inspired by Welfare-to-Work appear to embrace forced labor, making people miserable.

In addition to offering benefits, why can't such agencies also offer jobs? No forced labor and no burning your own gas to go on a bunch of job interviews where you get treated like shit.

I'm talking about a handful of job opportunities you can choose from and start tomorrow! A real job. Not an interview that goes nowhere, and not forced labor. You can even try several jobs and keep the one you like.

The job service will also be open to everyone. If the government lets you fall through the cracks and you're not eligible for benefits for some stupid reason (2), you can still use the job service. No one will deny you a job!

Of course, existing benefits will need to be extended to provide recipients with adequate support, education, etc., or to help people who would not otherwise qualify. And under no circumstances will existing benefits be cut or restricted because of this program, nor will the job service be used as a condition for receipt of other benefits. In other words, they can't deny you unemployment benefits just because you can't find a job you like; in fact, you don't even have to use the job service to collect unemployment. And they can't make you use the job service and take you off welfare. They also can't take you off welfare for trying the job service if things still aren't working out - no punishing people who want to work a job they like. Who knows what else they'll try... for the sake of argument I'll add that you won't have to change churches or join the military.

If you've tried job services before and have reservations about this idea, be assured that this job service will not just be a class about how to paste your photo on your resume. It also won't be a job posting service for employers that you don't want to work for, or a list of 20 places to call that can't possibly provide jobs for everyone. This new job service will be way better! And it won't be underfunded...

The job market should favor employees. If you don't like the idea of an easy-to-get job, then get rid of ideas inspired by Welfare-to-Work and restore the Welfare System, because Welfare-to-Work programs force welfare recipients into jobs unfairly.

This idea asks Republicans to confront what their party is about. Are they conservatives, or are they more interested in bitching at people and making America miserable? More and more it seems their party is about making people miserable. So maybe this isn't such a good idea. There's no misery in it. It solves a problem without treating people like shit, and that's sure to bother some Republicans. Republicans are more about lording over hard-working Americans; taking people's money, spreading misery, blaming the unemployed, and starting wars. That seems to be all the Republicans are really good at.

Actually, the Republicans probably won't do shit... They'll say things like, "No reform in a time of war, or during a recession, or when people need jobs." Lately, Republicans seem like a national disease.

But maybe there's hope... Maybe there's a cure...

- 1) There might already be programs similar to this, such as programs for the disabled, but I'm not sure if those programs deliver what I'm talking about. In any case, I do remember working a job where they hired a disabled guy who got the job through some sort of program, but his parents were zillionaires or something so maybe the government had nothing to do with it.
- 2) America loves to kick people off welfare and unemployment. Americans who don't understand how society works have a come up with a number of stupid reasons for doing this. I'd rather not go into it any further because it just helps people who like to beat up on the poor, unemployed, and homeless.

Business is Great! - Jul. 8, 2009

It seems like the healthcare debate is more about lining the pockets of insurance companies than it is about healthcare. The insurance reps have already convinced Washington to throw out a system similar to what U.S. military veterans have, which would've covered everyone. Now they're trying to convince Washington to throw out (or at least "water down") Obama's public health insurance option. A robust public health insurance option gives people the choice between private insurance or a government plan, and it allows people to keep their doctor while lowering costs. It also keeps the insurance companies in business. So I guess the insurance companies are fighting Obama's plan just to flex on America. If anything, a public health insurance option is too generous to the insurance companies. Why not switch to a system like the Department of Veteran's Affairs (the "VA") uses and put the insurance companies out of business? After all, have you seen the kind of business the insurance companies run?

On February 7, 2008 our family was shattered when we lost our one and only son Clinton Ron Walker at the age of 17. For over a year, Clinton had suffered strange seizures that would rack his body and cause him to run, jump and moan for over 2 or 3 minutes. He went to the pediatrician who wanted to send him to a special clinic but my insurance AETNA denied our request. After months of visiting several doctors, and receiving a misdiagnoses of panic attacks, our peditrician found a new neurologist who was set to take on Clinton's case using my husbands' insurance plan. The week that he was schedule to see the new doctor Clinton died. We later learned he had a heart defect that caused his seizures. Had our insurance allowed us to take him to the special clinic where there was a cardiologist on staff we believe he could have been saved and alive today. Please help us get insurance companies to let us see a variety of health care providers for our children. Thank you.

Sounds like the insurance business is great! Insurance companies are livin' high and lettin' us die! You can read more stories at

Canadian Healthcare Rocks! - Jul. 8, 2009

A lot of people who are in U.S. insurance companies' pockets like to mislead Americans about the healthcare systems in other countries, especially the healthcare system in Canada. U.S. healthcare companies spend millions on marketing in Canada trying to convince Canadians that U.S. healthcare is better. The University of Toronto was kind enough to let me use their libraries to gather that information.

I spent several days at a number of different libraries at the University of Toronto. And I learned a lot about the Canadian healthcare system. It rocks!

Crooked politicians on the payrolls of U.S. insurance companies love to use statistics. The statistics they use are actually very misleading. The most recent "statistic" employed by U.S. healthcare companies says that Canadians have a higher mortality rate for certain cancers. But in the U.S., those mortality rates are much worse than Canada in many states, and among minorities. And no one has mentioned that the U.S. has a greater percentage of people with cancer than any other country in the world.

Statistics... I think Americans should be skeptical of any statistics calculated by U.S. insurance companies. They lie. We have no idea how many uninsured people die of cancer in the U.S. And it's next to impossible to find out how many Americans have cancer. All those politicians getting kickbacks from insurance companies are full of shit.

U.S. healthcare is not that great. Sorry, it's just not. The crooked politicians and rotten U.S. insurance companies are just lying. It should come as no surprise that crooked politicians lie so they can stay on the payrolls of U.S. insurance companies.

The truth is that Canadians get some of the best of healthcare in the world...

One of the many libraries at the University of Toronto

Coal Mines or Windmills? - Jul. 3, 2009

[UPDATE - May 5, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

America needs electricity and gas. We also need jobs. And the jobs are in industries like solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, hydrogen, hybrids, biofuels, and alternative fuels. These jobs can provide us with things like food, shelter, and healthcare, as well as the gas and electricity we need.

Coal power plants are dirty and expensive, and they don't add jobs to the economy. And there have been at least 3 coal mine disasters since 2007 (that I know of). In 2010, a coal mine exploded, and shortly after it happened, another coal mine collapsed. A coal mine also collapsed in 2007. Coal miners were trapped and killed in all of these disasters. There are cheap alternatives to coal (like solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal) that will add jobs, but America is more focused on oil wars.

Of course, we could switch from oil to hydrogen, biofuels, and hybrids and add more jobs, but Fox News won't let us do it. Big coal and big oil are the most profitable businesses in the world, and along with Australian-based Fox News, they are holding America hostage. Their plan is to crash America's economy. Remember when gas went to $4.50 a gallon under Bush? Do you remember what 2008 was like?

In 2008, Exxon-Mobil was America's most profitable company. People who are in the pockets of companies like Exxon-Mobil will say whatever it takes to keep jobs out of America. This includes people like Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News. They all own homes offshore, outside of America.

Will America die at the hands of people who don't care about this country? Or will we invest in the future and build a job-rich green economy?

Solar film and biofuels in Germany shown with a windmill from the UK

The Solar Film Coated Roof Shingle

Meet Gertie - Jun. 20, 2009

I'm a retired widow aged 75 with a huge amount of wealth. My name is Gertrude, but you can call me Gertie.

My husband used to work for Citibank. My friend Delma, also aged 75, used to be as wealthy as me, but her cancer is eating her alive. Her money is almost gone due to her enormous doctor bills. On Sundays, I like to go over to Delma's house and talk about how close to death she is. She can't leave the house, you know. She's very frightened, and that makes me feel good.

I can remember when Delma and her husband bought that house with all of that Internet money. She bragged and bragged. I hated her crappy drapes. But now she's dying and out of money, and the Internet can't save her and her drapes now! I like to eat prunes and rake my dirty hands over her drapes while talking about cancer. She's too weak to stop me and my Citibank money now!

It's like I can feel the energy draining out of her soul. I hope she goes to hell. And I'll be damned if I'm going to support universal healthcare! I feel great!

My name is Gertie Worcestershire, and fuck you, I'm an American!

Don't Get Fucked by Big Oil - Jun. 20, 2009

[UPDATE - May 5, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

I can't believe BP has the nerve to run political ads about America's energy market. BP stands for British Petroleum (not "Beyond Petroleum"), and America obviously looks laughable to BP. We look like the world's bitch when it comes to oil. It looks very easy for the world to manipulate what Bush called America's "addiction to oil."

Australian-based Fox News has made it all seem like the Prius vs. the SUV. We're so weakened by that garbage that oil companies just have to run ads that poke fun at America, and we fall for them.

So now truck and SUV drivers - once the toughest looking motorists on the road - look like bitches. Why can't they stand up to Big Oil? It doesn't have to mean small cars, but truck and SUV drivers don't have much muscle in the fuel-efficiency market. Why can't these vehicles be powered by hydrogen?

No matter how much oil-drilling some people want, they still look like the world's bitches. Is there any American muscle behind the foot that pushes that gas pedal? Are there any brains in that head that can think of a solution to the problem?

It isn't about the Prius, it's about standing up to oil companies. No matter where you drill, nothing will change the fact that over half of the world's oil is underneath the Middle East. And America will turn into a polluted mess if we don't dramatically shift our energy policy - no matter what Fox News tells us.

Do you want to get fucked by big oil? If so, let 'em drill on you. They'll drill right through ya! Drill here, drill now bitches!

Healthcare War - Jun. 10, 2009

I finally found out what "watering down" the "public health insurance option" of the Healthcare Reform bill actually means. I can't believe how well-hidden this information is.

A "watered down" government plan could mean a number of different things. It could mean a plan that is government run, but not government funded, so costs won't go down for anyone. It could also mean a government plan that doesn't take effect unless healthcare companies don't "make coverage affordable," but will likely fail to ever give patients the option to go with a government plan. There are probably other ideas for "watering down" the public health insurance option, as well.

All of these "watered down" plans are like doing nothing at all. I for one am planning a radical departure from what I currently do on this site if anything other than a "strong" public health insurance option is passed - a plan that is government run, government funded, and that takes effect when Obama signs it. To me, failure to pass a strong public health insurance option will signal that America isn't going to fix its problems.

The truth is that even though robust competition is possible with a strong public health insurance option, the rich fuckheads that run the private health insurance industry would rather fire everyone, cancel pensions, and take the money and run than offer serious change to patients. It wouldn't surprise me if they crash their own companies and ask for a bailout instead of lowering costs. These greedy bastards are failing right and left, and it is worth passing a strong public health insurance option to chart a new course for America. The government is leaving the door open to make money, and someone will step up and fill those shoes. Hopefully everyone will do the right thing.

Unfortunately, there are people literally "banking on" the failure of America. We can't seem to stabilize our democracy. We don't have a queen or a culture or anything like that, and the whole world sees it (not that we want old ways stopping the new). Some days we can't even face each other. Half the country has its fingers crossed that crazy people will overthrow the government. In fact, there are huge profits in destabilizing the American government - there are Australian terrorists like Rupert Murdoch living within our borders trying to drive everyone crazy, and no one is putting a stop to it.

If you believe in America, you should support a strong public health insurance option. Help keep the crazy people at bay so America can prosper.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 - Jun. 3, 2009

What is a "cybersecurity emergency?" The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 - a bill which could shut off America's access to the Internet in the event of a "cybersecurity emergency" - doesn't even define what a "cybersecurity emergency" is!

John Kerry once said, "the problem with the Patriot Act is John Ashcroft." What he meant was that the government should stop passing the kind of legislation that relies on people like John Ashcroft and George W. Bush.

The government needs to define what it means (or doesn't mean) by "cybersecurity emergency."

See Also:
- Defining Terrorism: The Patriot Act & Other Failed Attempts

Hannity's Face - May 28, 2009

Honest, creative, funloving... all good qualities that are pretty much unachievable without money. You can't be creative if you are starving and homeless. Your thoughts would be more about finding your next meal. So money is linked to personality.

What if we all decided that, at the very least, no one should have to worry about their next meal. Or whether or not they would be sleeping in a ditch. Or whether they can pay for a trip to the emergency room. It's not like we would be passing out McMansions.

I've never met anyone who is over their fear of starvation, homelessness, and disease. The super-rich are afraid, too. It's all over Hannity's face. It's like the Great Depression has been instilled in all of us. Even my favorite role models talk only of how they were eventually rewarded by the financial system; they never talk of getting over their fear of starvation, homelessness, and disease.

In America, we use this fear to work people 16 hours straight. Everyone does it, and no one tells on their boss because they are afraid of these things: starvation, homelessness, and disease.

Solving this takes only a few pieces of legislation. It's simple: food, shelter, and healthcare. Countries that loan America money every year have already figured it out. If you make your money off of other people, you owe society a debt. We owe this to ourselves. You can't make money if society remains forever on the brink of collapse.

Will it happen in my lifetime?

Or should I have sold you some magic power crystals?

"Freedom from Want" by Norman Rockwell, 1943

This painting was displayed by the U.S. government in support of the war effort (Wikpedia).


Dick Cheney Plans Burning of the Reichstag - May 24, 2009

Dick Cheney and his cohorts are trying to precipitate a terrorist attack. They've laid down all their rhetoric, and seem to have captured the public's attention by manipulating a ratings-hungry media. With their open channel to the terrorists in place, all that's left is for some terrorists to take them up on their offer. Then they'll permanently overthrow our democracy. Cheney said it himself: "terrorists see... our legal system... [as a] weakness" (1). It is the same thing that Hitler did with the burning of the Reichstag in 1933.

See Also:
- Cheney and Limbaugh Are a Danger to America


- 1)

Living Without Healthcare is Torture - May 13, 2009

[UPDATE - May 21, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

There are some in the Dick Cheney crowd trying to turn people on to torture. They say things like, "if a terrorist attack were about to occur and your family was at risk, wouldn't you torture?"

It takes strong leadership to keep this kind of bloodlust in check. But if torture isn't banned, imagine the following...

As healthcare industry lobbyists and insiders try to get rid of serious healthcare reform, people who don't have healthcare are dying everyday. Why not torture the healthcare industry lobbyists and insiders to find out more about their motives? You could just beat them up until they are bleeding pretty badly, then lock them in a room and let them slowly bleed to death until they confess. (They wouldn't really be allowed to bleed to death, of course.) As they lie bleeding, you could ask, "how's it feel to be without healthcare?" Maybe they would switch sides and help America...

Of course, no one wants America to threaten people with bleeding to death. Banning torture is an important cornerstone of American society. So, we certainly don't need Dick Cheney and his friends trying turn people on to torture...

But we don't need healthcare industry lobbyists and insiders trying to block serious healthcare reform, either...

Hopefully, a growing list of companies, including Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, will come around...

See Also:
- Optional Public Health Insurace


Optional Public Health Insurance - Apr. 8, 2009

[UPDATE - May 21, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Optional Public Health Insurance is at the core of President Obama's healthcare plan. The basic idea is that you can either use a private insurance company, or sign up for a new government-run insurance plan which will be based on the plan members of Congress use.

Naturally, some insurance companies don't like Obama's plan - but they'll still go along with it. Since you can keep your doctor under Obama's plan, the insurance companies have a weak argument.

Of course, some insurers who seem to be embracing reform are actually promoting healthcare plans that destabilize the American dream. They're planning to make huge profits from people who need healthcare, but will do little to provide America with health coverage.

In fact, the arguments against Obama's plan aren't really arguments at all. All they say is "socialism," and they don't seem to understand that "socialism" is not an economic theory. There is nothing "socialist" going on.

Most of this crap is coming from a handful of Republicans who are in the insurance companies' pockets. All they do is say everything is "socialism." The truth is that under Obama's plan you can keep your current insurance company if you want to - your insurance company just won't be able to act like AIG!

It's time to reform healthcare in America. Optional Public Health Insurance is the only way to ensure that all Americans receive the best healthcare available.

Marijuana and the Economy - Mar. 27, 2009

[UPDATE - Mar. 29, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

I want to do whatever it takes to secure the flow of Mexican marijuana into the U.S. But I'm concerned about violence along the Mexican border, and I tried contacting Mexico about it. I thought the U.S. could work with Mexico to solve the problem, but in many ways, the U.S. response has been hard to understand. It doesn't seem like making marijuana more difficult to import will reduce violence - if anything, the opposite is true.

It's all about working with our trading partners. So by supporting the importation of Mexican marijuana, I'm in no way trying to hurt domestic production of marijuana. In the U.S. - north, south, east, and west - marijuana is the nation's number one cash crop. And agriculture is a huge business, so the fact that marijuana is number one is significant.

Take the state of California, for example. California is the world's fifth largest supplier of agricultural goods, and the largest producer of agriculture in the U.S. - and that's before marijuana is even factored in. But marijuana is still the number one cash crop in California. And California is not alone. Marijuana is the number one cash crop in a number of other states. Even red states like Kentucky recognize marijuana as their number one cash crop. The list of marijuana producing states goes on to include Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, along with at least 30 other states.

The evidence is overwhelming: the U.S. needs to reform it's policy toward marijuana. It will require an approach that addresses problems along the borders, and recognizes the role of marijuana in the global economy...

A marijuana farm

So, would legalizing marijuana be enough to bring the U.S. out of the current economic recession? It is unlikely that any one industry can single-handedly pull that off. But legalizing marijuana could contribute to economic growth, along with other programs currently being considered by the Obama administration.

See Also:
- Exploring Legalized Marijuana

Rolling Back Healthcare and Blaming Obama: The Military's Plan for 2012 - Mar. 21, 2009

The general (1) wants to put in an in-ground swimming pool...

So he publishes reports that attempt to start wars...

And he tries to take everything he can from those lower in rank...

But now he's got a new weapon in the swimming pool wars... He's got Harvard...

It's true, the article (2) did say everyone who's ever been in the military should have full healthcare benefits. But researchers, some paid by the military, also threatened to "blow up the VA," and suggested that soldiers should "get over it." The article was talking about PTSD - a disorder that appears to be one of the few remaining clinical links to the outside world.

But if the general has his way, he'll give Harvard a huge check and misuse their study to deny soldiers healthcare. And he'll make life worse for everyone in the military. In 2012 he'll blame it all on Obama, and if the DSM V gives into him (3), he'll destroy healthcare for all. He wants to put a screen dome over the pool in 2013. And he doesn't give a shit about much else...

I sincerely hope something good comes out of thinking about the clinical definition of PTSD. But the article's suggestion that "trauma is just a memory" doesn't sound right. In the real world, bullets are still flying...

On the other hand, the general will probably get his pool (with the dome) no matter what. Right now, he can easily drug soldiers and send them back into combat...


- 1) Not all generals...
- 2) Dobbs, David. (2009, April). Scientific American. Magazine. "The Post Traumatic Stress Trap." New York: Scientific American, Inc.
- 3) According to the article in the note above, the DSM V is supposed to come out in 2012.

Octalink V1 Cartridges - Mar. 20, 2009

I strongly suspect that Octalink V1 cartridges, which are used on some bicycle cranksets, are for the most part available in only two common spindle lengths. I also think the shorter of the two lengths is "offset," while the longer of the two lengths is "symmetrical." And I think this applies to nearly all Octalink V1 cartridges, especially the most common models (as far as I can tell).


Cheney and Limbaugh Are a Danger to America - Feb. 6, 2009

On February 3, 2009, after only two weeks out of office, Dick Cheney threatened American national security when he tried to cling to power and insisted that his absence would bring about a terrorist attack. His statements sounded like something that an overthrown dictator would say. And I think that is what he and people like Rush Limbaugh are trying to do to America: reduce us to a dictatorship. First they and their banker friends crash the economy, and then they try to set up a Feudal society, complete with castles, moats, and dangerous invaders (how many castles did McCain have?).

It's hard to attack America nowadays - terrorism doesn't do it anymore (yawn) - but I hope if terrorists do attack that they blow up the homes of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. That would actually be pretty cool considering the way Republicans like Cheney and Limbaugh are behaving. I think about 75% of Americans would be willing to sponsor terrorists that attack people like Cheney and Limbaugh.

I hope the Democrats realize that if terrorists attack, Cheney is now the reason why. He invited it. Such an occasion should not inspire national unity. Cheney (and the Bush administration) have demonstrated this to the terrorists in the past, and Cheney and Limbaugh have just demonstrated it once more. Republicans like Cheney and Limbaugh are a danger to America, and should be dealt with severely. Hopefully, it won't require a terrorist attack to force them out of public life.

If you pray, pray that the Republican party will rid itself of people like Cheney and Limbaugh...


The Monty Hall Problem - Jan. 28, 2009

The "Monty Hall Problem" is a statistics problem inspired by the game show "Let's Make A Deal," which was hosted by Monty Hall. In the show, the contestant was asked to "choose" or "bet on" one of three closed "doors," behind which there may have been either a prize or a gag. It has been assumed that there was always only one prize, and two gags. In this example, let's say that the contestant chooses door number one. Monty would then reveal what was behind either door number two or three. It has also been assumed that Monty always reveals a gag. Let's say Monty reveals what is behind door number three, and that it is a gag. The contestant is then asked to either stay with their choice (here, door number one) or change their bet (to door number two, in this example).

The Monty Hall Problem concludes that two out of three times, the contestant is better off changing their bet (to door number two) than they are staying with their original bet (door number one). In other words, according to the Monty Hall Problem, the contestant who changes their bet wins 2/3 of the time.

Most people who disagree with the conclusions of the Monty Hall Problem will probably like the "fireman example." The "fireman example" states that if, at the right moment, another (non-observing) contestant enters the room, he or she will have a 50|50 shot.

Let's assume that after door number three is revealed and the contestant is asked to change their bet or stay with their original choice, the fire alarm goes off. The contestant runs off and is never seen again. The alarm turns out to be some burnt popcorn, so Monty asks a firefighter to choose between door number one or door number two to win a prize a or a gag. The firefighter has a 50|50 shot.

In other words, changing your bet seems like flipping a coin. When you are asked whether or not you want to change your bet, the "choice" you make seems like a 50|50 shot. In fact, if you were to flip a coin to decide whether or not to change your bet, your odds of winning would be 1/2 (or 50|50). So people who disagree with the conclusions of the Monty Hall Problem have a point. But when your odds are calculated based on the original game in play, you have a 2/3 chance of winning if you change your bet, and 1/3 chance of winning if you keep your bet.

So, you flip a coin and decide that if the coin lands on heads you change your bet, and that if it lands on tails you stay with your original bet. If the coin lands on heads you have a 2/3 chance of winning, and if the coin lands on tails you have a 1/3 chance of winning. But since the odds of the coin landing on either heads or tails is 1/2 (or 50|50), your overall chances of winning or losing are 50|50 if you flip a coin...

Here's another way of looking at it:

Change = 2/3 (Win); 1/3 (Lose)
Stay = 1/3 (Win); 2/3 (Lose)

Heads = 1/2
Tails = 1/2

Heads = Change
Tails = Stay

Win + Win = 3/3
Lose + Lose = 3/3

1/2 x 3/3
----------- = "50|50"
1/2 x 3/3

Here is some of the information above displayed in a table:

Monty Hall Table
--- Win Lose
Change (Heads) 2 1
Stay (Tails) 1 2
Total 3 3

You could also do it this way:

(1/2 x 2/3) + (1/2 x 1/3)
----------------------------- = "50|50"
(1/2 x 1/3) + (1/2 x 2/3)

I feel like I just beat the matrix (statisticians solve these problems with "matrices"). So I want to be clear; if you flip a coin you change your odds...

If you're still not convinced, you can click HERE to try all this out for yourself. Dr. R. Webster West has a simulation of the Monty Hall Problem on his web page. Try the simulation and flip a coin to decide whether or not to change your bet. Here are some sample results for flipping a coin:

In 13 games in which you have switched, you have won 8 times.
In 13 games in which you have not switched, you have won 5 times. 

This means you have played a total of 26 games (13 + 13 = 26) and won a total of 13 times (8 + 5 = 13). 13/26 is exactly 1/2, or a 50% rate of winning and a 50% rate of losing, which equals 50|50. The results also indicate that your coin came up "heads" 13 times and "tails" 13 times, which makes sense if you flip the coin a total of 26 times.

Switching your bet won 8/13 times. 8/13 is as close to 2/3 as you can come if you switch your bet 13 times.

Staying with your orginal bet won 5/13 times. 5/13 is almost as close to 1/3 as you can come if you stay with your original bet 13 times.

The results will not always match the calculated odds perfectly, but the more games you play, the closer the results will be to the calculated odds. You should come pretty close if you play 1000 games (1).

If you are interested in more information (background, formulas, etc.) click HERE for Wikipedia's article. You can also check out Michael Shermer's dialogue with someone who wrote to Scientific American about Shermer's October 2008 SciAm article on the Monty Hall Problem.


- 1) A Monte Carlo Analysis can be used to calculate the exact number of games needed to achieve a specified margin of error. Dr. Daniel Ellard has calculated that flipping a coin 384 times will yield "heads" 50% of the time, accurate to within 5%, with a 95% level of confidence. Dr. A.M. Garsia has a Monte Carlo Simulation of the Monty Hall Problem that allows people to experiment with different numbers of games without actually having to play the game themselves.

Happy New Year - Jan. 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

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