Free Speech

Certainly the right to political free speech should be protected and respected. Columbia University uses this plank to stand on in its invitation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hitler can only exemplify the foolishness of those who believe ideas and dialogues can mollify those bent on violence and persecution.

While i will respect the right of the Devil to talk, i would be damn stupid to invite him to talk.


Global cooling?

Arctic sea ice might have started rebuilding after reaching a record low, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Arctic ice now covers 1.61 million square miles, the agency said yesterday, up from 1.59 million Sept. 16, which appears to be the minimum. Some variability could still occur, however, the agency cautioned. The Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans along the coasts of Canada and Alaska remains open but is starting to refreeze, the center said.


Cancer survival without universal health coverage in the US

As i have always believed, patients in the US have access to some of the best care in the world, regardless of their insurance status.
Last month, the largest ever international survey of cancer survival rates showed that in the U.S., women have a 63% chance of living at least five years after diagnosis, and men have a 66% chance -- the highest survival rates in the world. These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage. In Great Britain, which has had a government-run universal health-care system for half a century, the figures were 53% for women and 45% for men, near the bottom of the 23 countries surveyed.

A 2006 study in the journal Respiratory Medicine showed that lung cancer patients in the U.S. have the best chance of surviving five years -- about 16%. Patients in Austria and France fare almost as well, and patients in the United Kingdom do much worse with only 5% living five years. A report released in May from the Commonwealth Fund showed that women in the U.S. are more likely to get a PAP test every two years than women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., where health insurance is guaranteed by the government. In the U.S. 85% of women ages 25-64 have regular PAP smears, compared with 58% in the U.K.

The same is true for mammograms. In the U.S., 84% of women ages 50-64 get them regularly, a higher percentage than in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, and far higher than the 63% of women in the U.K. The high rate of screening in the U.S. reflects access as well as educational efforts by the American Cancer Society and others.


Senator John Warner of Virginia

Senator John Warner recently announced that the US should start withdrawing troops from Iraq in order to stimulate the government of Iraq to undergo political reconciliation. This is just plain ignorant. Firstly, he spoke out of turn, as President Bush had already declared no decision would be made until General Petraeus gives his report. What could possibly possessed Warner to think that whatever he has to pontificate on will trump Petraeus' report? Secondly, the current Iraqi government is not in touch with the current situation on the ground. The current Iraqi government is Shia dominated resulting from the Sunni's foolish decision to boycott their national election 3 years ago. The biggest contributions to the stability of Iraq, in order are: the US forces, the various Sunni Salvation councils (having turned against Al Qaeda in Iraq) and our steady allies the Kurds. The greatest internal threats to Iraq’s stability in order are: al Qaeda in Iraq closely followed by the various Shia militias, many of whom have representatives in the current Iraqi government. It goes without saying that the greatest external threat to stability in Iraq is Iran. Thirdly, there are significant portion of the current Iraqi government interested in ethnic cleansing of the Sunni. The proposed statement by Warner with a troop withdrawal is a go ahead for the ethnic cleansing to start.

Thus it pleases me greatly that Warner has decided not to run for re-election. Good riddance!

Regarding stability in Iraq, we need to continue our effort to firstly provide for security and equally work to turn more Sunni and Shia toward national reconciliation from the ground up rather than rely on the current government. We should keep up the effort at least until the next national election in Iraq.