Your move, Putin

January 28, 2009

Obama’s foreign policy post on his website lists as one of his goals:

“Move Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama and Biden will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama and Biden will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But they will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. They will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global.”

These are ambitious and excellent goals.  Who knows what will happen, but doesn’t this sound like a better world?


Obama’s first weekly address

January 28, 2009

What a plan!  I can’t think of 4 more important things to invest in than clean energy, health care, education, and transportation (roads, mass transit, and ports).  And of course the announcement for:

RECOVERY.GOV.  Does Obama really mean to announce each dollar of the contracts that they issue during this plan?  If we go to this website, “every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars.”  Would this be an uprecedented level of disclosure in world history?  Has a King ever posted his treasury’s bank statement?

In the introduction to the address, it quoted:

“the plan will update our electric grid by laying more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines; weatherize 2.5 million homes; protect health insurance for more than 8 million Americans in danger of losing their coverage; secure 90 major ports; renovate 10,000 schools; and triple the number of science fellowships.”

For health care, he said: “To lower health care cost, cut medical errors, and improve care, we’ll computerize the nation’s health record in five years, saving billions of dollars in health care costs and countless lives. And we’ll protect health insurance for more than 8 million Americans who are in danger of losing their coverage during this economic downturn.”

Bravo and Bravo.  The question now is: how?  Here’s guessing there will be some kind of

To me, it sounds great.  And I look forward to reading more about it on Recovery.gov.


Maddoff’s investment returns since ’91 (from portfolio.com)

December 23, 2008
Report these returns and you'll get a lot of new investments

Report these returns and you'll get a lot of new investments


Sink all pirates!

November 29, 2008

I’m not sure exactly how many ships have been boarded by Somali pirates in the past few years, but some reports put the number in the hundreds.  I’ve read a couple articles recently to the extent of “what should the world do about Somali pirates?”  The arguments range from “Private security services onboard all ships” to “Nothing” to “The U.N. should attack the Somali pirate home port.”

I’m certain humans have dealt with this exact problem before.  Something about eye patches and big floppy hats and “arrrgh!”  In those days, the general policy of world navys (navies?) was to hunt down all ships controlled by pirates, and sink them.  Could this idea work today?

There would be several main arguments against sinking:

1.  We won’t sink the cargo.  This could range from environmental reasons with oil tankers to civilian reasons like hostages.  In some cases, certain corporations will argue not to sink other valuable cargoes (gold, MRI machines, communications satellites).  These arguments will have to be listened to.

2.  Make love, not war.  Don’t shoot them, don’t shoot anyone.  Talk everything out.

3.  We don’t have the authority.  Um, did you think Obama was going to go on an embassy tour giving group hugs?  He knows he is the commander in chief of the most powerful economic and military nation in the world.  I’m pretty sure Somalia would be okay, especially if we asked in a really nice voice and already had all the Tomaharks armed and targeted from our warships in the harbor.  After what the mortage crisis has just put the world through, some foreigners would probably rather be invaded:  “At least we’d have great TV.”  Feel free to add comments for any other good jokes to make.

But making a general policy to sink all ships that had been captured by pirates would be a good idea.  We would make exceptions for oil tankers, lots of civilians, or particularly persuasive entities that could make it worth the U.N.’s while.  But for your run-of-the-mill trawlers or cargo ships that are captained by 10-15 pirates?

A couple torpedoes should do it.  We’ll have the prison ships ready to pick them out of the water and marines waiting on the beach to capture the swimmers.  Think they’ll be excited to be turned over to Somailia and take their chances in the Somali legal system?

This would be brutal, and gruesome, especially as the world sees the CNN shots of dead pirates.  But the world is plenty rich to cover any sunken non-essential vessels that get captured by pirates.  Economically, the shipping corporations would have to cover the increased cost by a combination of insurance premiums and armed mercenaries onboard.  But if followed, pirates would sure get the idea and I think this would mostly solve the growing problem.  Please comment and tell me why this is a stupid idea.


US Embassy bombing in Afghanistan

November 27, 2008

Yep, that happened this morning too.  Clearly the U.S. is under attack, but abroad this time not at home on the East Coast.  This actor is telling the U.S. a clear message: stay home.


Bombay burning

November 27, 2008

This is no couple guys with their fertilizer bomb.  This is a whole army attacking in a coordinated strike.  I’d say this is the furthest yet we’ve come when a non nation-state (eg. Hamas, Al Qaeda, Haliburton) really acts like a nation, aka attacking a major city with their army.  The world will probably be a more chaotic place 50 years from now than it is today.

As of now, there are still hostages at the Taj hotel, which last we saw burning like a tinder box.  Now there are 100 dead.  What kind of intelligent species solves their problems like this?


Surgical Oncology Hospital

November 27, 2008

There isn’t a lot of research about how Anesthesia techniques impact not just surgical but cancer outcome.  The bit that you can find is fairly recent and seems to indicate that epidurals can help (maybe by decreasing the unconscious pain/stress response during surgery?).  It would be good research to figure out more techniques that can help, and good business to run a hospital that specializes in cancer patient outcomes.  Different anesthesias and surgeries The facility would take referrals from oncologists, operate, track outcomes, and discharge patients back to their home oncologists.  You could mix your practice bulding with any amount of outcome improvement measures and research your practice did in the burgeoning new field.  But the first hospital chain would basically get to set the standard.  With a good anesthesia based quality improvement program in place, it wouldn’t be hard to to get fellowship-trained surgeons to come work for you.  Especially if you already had a base of patients and referral providers.  Business or academics?  Both (and we’re going public).  Now this, I think, is tying it all together.