Wednesday, October 8, 2008



NY Times
- American business, typically a reliable Republican cheerleader, is decidedly lukewarm about Senator John McCain's proposal to overhaul the health care system by revamping the tax treatment of health benefits, officials with leading trade groups say. . . Officials with eight business trade groups contacted by The New York Times predicted the McCain plan would raise costs and force some employers to stop providing health benefits. A recent survey of 187 corporate executives by the American Benefits Council and Miller & Chevalier, a consulting firm, found that three-fourths felt the repeal of the tax exclusion would have a "strong negative impact" on their workers. Only 4 percent said they would provide additional pay to fill any gaps.

Ben Smith, Politico - Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's mild affect masks a bit of a killer, and she's perhaps the Obama campaign's deftest surrogate on the attack. . . McCaskill was stepping out of her chair at the end of an MSNBC interview, and Romney was up next. She and a staffer unplugged her various wires, and she handed Romney the earpiece the guests use to hear the host. "I spit on this before I put it in," she said to Romney, with a sweet smile. . . UPDATE: Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom emails: "You should have seen what she did to the chair."



ABC News
- Election officials and watchdog groups are bracing for the wave of sneaky or suspicious phone calls, leaflets and emails that typically hit battleground states in the final 30 days of the presidential campaign. Young voters at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Penn. have already been targeted, with students reporting that flyers have been posted around campus warning that undercover police will be at the polls on Election Day looking to make arrests. The flyer reads like a friendly letter to fellow students relaying a warning from an "Obama supporter": "He informed me that on the day of the election there will be undercover officers to execute warrants on those who come to vote based on the anticipated turnout," writes the anonymous student in the letter which was later posted on the Drexel College Democrats website. "He advised me if I had any outstanding warrants or traffic offenses I should clear them up prior to voting.". . .
Raymond and Sabato say voters should be on the look out for a number of other time-honored tricks, including:

- "Push-poll" phone calls using the guise of a survey to push negative information about a candidate.

- Leaflets or emails listing the wrong date or a "rain date" for the election.

- Automated voicemail messages telling voters that the location of their polling place has changed.

- Repeated late night automated "robo-calls" with a message from a candidate.


Telegraph, UK -
Researchers from the Cochrane Library looked at 29 trials of 5,489 patients with symptoms of major depression. They found that [St John's wort] performed as well as even more traditional medication.

"Overall, we found that the St. John's wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects," says Klaus Linde, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine in Munich, Germany, who led the study.

However, he warned that some of the studies looked at could contain unintentional biases, as the findings were more favorable in trials conducted in German-speaking countries, where the herbal extract is in common use and is often prescribed by doctors.

"Using a St John's wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested," he said.


- A report from the American Public Transportation Association says that the average savings from switching commuting modes is one-third higher than the average amount a household spends on food for a year. A ranking of the average savings in the top 20 cities. . . range from $13,370 in New York down to $8,496 in Pittsburgh.


Angry Arab - Who invented Hummus? Joseph--irate as always--sent me this: "As'ad, you must say something about the audacity of the Lebanese to claim Hummus and tabouleh and fattoush and all of these pan-Syrian dishes, which came from Damascus and Aleppo, as Lebanese. The attempt by the Lebanese (and this is initially a Christian Lebanese project) to appropriate Syrian food is quite horrific even if it is not as horrific as the Israeli attempt. All the Lebanese can claim is to have a restaurant industry but not a cuisine or a kitchen which they have never had. Nonetheless, you cannot pretend as you did in your post that Hummus is indeed a Lebanese dish (since you did not question the Lebanese claim of possession of it). There are no such thing as Lebanese dishes except in the lexicon and ideology of Lebanese chauvinists."


Rules of Thumb
- When you're playing blackjack, assume that any unseen card is an 8. - Norman Brenner, Fleetwood, New York


At October 8, 2008 7:18 PM, Anonymous daver said...

Better rules of thumb:

Stand on 12--16 if the dealer has 2--6, otherwise hit.

Always stand on 'hard' 17 but always hit soft 17 (<-A6).

This covers 90% of basic strategy.

Now learn pair splits and doubling and you're ready to hold your own.

At October 8, 2008 8:12 PM, Anonymous robbie said...

"I spit on this before I put it in," she said to Romney, with a sweet smile

Now THERE's a Democrat I can believe in!

At October 8, 2008 9:04 PM, Anonymous slightly skeptical said...

According to Barack Obama's television ads, there are three choices on health care, The "extreme" option wherein gov't. would drive costs and taxes to "extreme" limits. Or you could keep your employer paid health care ( and we all know everybody has that even if they don't have a job or their employer can't afford it). Or you could believe Obama's bullshit and wind up watching uour loved ones die, because after all, what's important is that Barack's grandma will (from her perch in Heaven) see the Chosen One become president.


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