Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Beagle Blogging

Because Strannix asked for it.

Baxter is ALWAYS the center of attention.

This photo is actually from Christmas 2005. MrsDocLarry, the boy and I have made the trek north to spend the holiday with her family every year we've been married, except for the odd year when weather made traveling unwise.

This year I had to work (the newscast doesn't stop for holidays, although sometimes the news does) and Mrs. DocLarry planned to stay in town with me. But the death of an aunt forced her to head north on her own Christmas day. And since the boy no longer deals well with being alone for long periods when it's dark outside, Baxter spent a few days at Caroline's Pampered Pet Motel in Ozark (special thanks to Caroline for taking him in on short notice despite being full).

We're all back home now. Mrs. DocLarry is battling a cold. Baxter is battling boredom (he NEVER gets to have any fun). DocLarry is battling deadlines and must be going.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ron Paul Stuck in the (18)60s

Kos highlights a 1992 article from Ron Paul’s self-published newsletter, The Ron Paul Political Report:

Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action…. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the “criminal justice system,” I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Text Messaging

Contrasting stories about trends in text-messaging:

LONDON (Reuters) - U R dumped -- one in seven say they have suffered the same fate as Britney Spears' ex-husband and been told it's all over via text message or email, a survey said Friday.

While hiding behind technology might appear a cowardly way of splitting up, it contrasts with the four percent who simply drop all communication with their lovers without notice.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Text messaging is playing a growing role in the 2008 presidential race as a handful of candidates look to the technology to reach younger voters often glued to their mobile phones.

The three leading Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- are providing "mobile updates" to supporters who choose to receive SMS or short message service updates on their cell phones.
Ain't technology grand?

Iraq: US Troops Needed for 10 Years


Iraq will need foreign troops to help defend it for another 10 years, but will not accept U.S. bases indefinitely, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

"Of course we need international support. We have security problems. For 10 years our army will not be able to defend Iraq," Dabbagh told the state-run al-Iraqiya television in an interview broadcast late on Sunday.

"I do not think that there is a threat of an invasion of Iraq, or getting involved in a war. (But) to protect Iraqi sovereignty there must be an army to defend Iraq for the next 10 years," he said.

"But on the other hand, does Iraq accept the permanent existence of U.S. bases, for instance? Absolutely no. There is no Iraqi who would accept the existence of a foreign army in this country," he said. "America is America and Iraq is Iraq."

The United States now has about 155,000 troops in Iraq, formally operating under a U.N. Security Council mandate enacted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate for what it says will be a final year to the end of 2008, and conditions for U.S. troops to stay on beyond that date are to be negotiated in the next few months.

Violence has subsided after the United States dispatched 30,000 additional troops to Iraq this year, and Washington now says it will bring about 20,000 home by mid-2008. Troop levels for the second half of the year are to be decided in March.

We Never Learn

In 1876 kudzu was imported from Japan and promoted as a forage crop and ornamental plant. Starting in the 1930s the government encouraged farmers to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion. Unfortunately, kudzu quickly grew out of control and the USDA declared it a pest weed in 1953.

Similarly, cotton thistle was introduced to the US as an ornamental plant in the late 1800s and quickly became a noxious weed. Cotton thistle can sometimes form tall, dense, impenetrable stands, creating an impenetrable barrier to humans and animals.

Diffuse knapweed, on the otherhand, was introduced accidentally in the early 1900s from contaminated seeds. It can damage the mouth and digestive tract of animals that feed on it and it greatly reduces crop yield. The USDA considers diffuse knapweed an invasive species.

The point, dear readers, is that we are notorious for introducing non-native species which end up being difficult to control and often harmful. And we're doing it again. This time, however, what is being introduced can kill.

The Observer reports that wounded US troops are bringing back a new, virulent bacteria from both Afghanistan and Iraq that may spread to civilian hospitals:

The bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii, first emerged as a 'mystery infection' afflicting US service personnel returning from the war in Iraq in 2003-04. It was described by a scientific journal specialising in hospital epidemiology as the 'most important emerging hospital-acquired pathogen worldwide'. The journal added that it was potentially a 'major threat to public health' due to its ability to mutate rapidly and develop a resistance to all known drugs.

Although different types of acinetobacter have been known for decades in hospitals, the new 'T' strain identified in the injured troops is particularly virulent and has been observed to appear in US servicemen within two hours of being admitted to a field hospital. It affects the spinal fluid, bones and lungs, causing pneumonia, respiratory failure and other complications. Equally worrying is its resilience. Extremely difficult to eliminate from medical facilities once established, the bug can survive for up to 176 days in a human host. US officials concede that, once established in the medical evacuation chain, the germ is almost impossible to stamp out.

It's possible this "superbug" will be worse than MRSA. The current danger is to those whose immune systems are weakened, such as the ill, elderly and children. Still, this bacteria can cause an uncontrollable infection that can be deadly. Just one more byproduct of the war.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mrs. DocLarry

The most important person in the lives of Baxter and DocLarry is celebrating her birthday today. An angel arrived in Omaha, Nebraska on December 5, 1961. She brightened my life on May 11, 1994. Baxter found her in February 1995.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. DocLarry!

Fun with the Weather Guy

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is stuff like this. Always a good day when you have some fun with the weather guy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Klum & Seal Have Not Aged Well

(click for a larger view)

Heidi Klum is 34. Seal is 44. Neither look it, now do they? Can't wait to see how Klum looks in the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" (CBS, today, 9 p.m.).

I did NOT photoshop this. The photo caption reads ""Project Runway" host Heidi Klum says home life with her husband, singer Seal, is "colorful" and that Seal is the perfect dad." Here's the original.

[mortar-board tip to Mrs. DocLarry]

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Uncounted

Ran across this post about the death of Sfc. Anthony Raymond Wasielewski from Ladysmith WI. My father was born in Ladysmith, and that's what initially caught my attention. He's never mentioned the Wasielewskis (and I DEFINITELY would have remembered the name) so I don't assume any connection other than that my dad was born in Ladysmith...a town name I've always liked. But back to the post.

[Sfc. Wasielewski] had been injured in Iraq last May and died at his home in early October. It appeared his death was related to his comabat injuries but from the article that was not conclusive. I wondered if he would be counted as a casualty of the war. I checked Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site and found he was not listed.

Recently I checked back at the site and found that Sfc. Anthony Raymond Wasielewski is listed in a separate count of "Post Iraq Deaths Not Confirmed By the DoD".......

It seems there are several soldiers who died from wounds received in Iraq, but the DoD does not include their deaths in the official count of the soldiers killed in Iraq.

Coupled with the news that the Pentagon has underreported the number of US servicemen and women wounded in Iraq by a whopping 40%, I wonder if anyone at the Pentagon could pass a 5th grade math test.

LIVE Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

This struck my funny bone. Hard. Chortle. Snort.

Memo to the masses: The phrase "deer in the headlights look" will now be replaced with "are we live look" or "rabbit in a live shot look."

Must Be a Record

Here's an item you may have missed this week. I've always heard the "land of sky blue waters" has "the water best for brewing," but never knew it meant brewing babies.

La Crosse Doctor Delivers Four Sets Of Twins In 24 Hours

Physician Delivered Nine Babies During Shift

UPDATED: 12:08 pm CST November 27, 2007

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- You can excuse Dr. Kenneth Merkitch if he's seeing double these days.

Merkitch has been an obstetrician-gynecologist at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse for 19 years, but he's never experienced a 24-hour on-call period like the one he put in over the Thanksgiving weekend when he delivered four sets of twins on Friday and Saturday.

Merkitch said that he probably has never delivered two sets of twins during an on-call day before. He said the odds of it happening are astronomical.

He also delivered another baby during his shift. He can't recall ever delivering nine babies on a similar shift.

Another set of twins also was born at the medical center on Thanksgiving Day.