April 7, 2012 archive

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

(h/t Bluegal aka Fran)


This week’s episodes originally aired October 7, 2005.

Duck Dodgers Good Duck Hunting, Season 3, Episode 14

On This Day In History April 7

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

April 7 is the 97th day of the year (98th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 268 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1948, The World Health Organization is founded. WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on April 7, 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the original agencies of the United Nations, its constitution formally coming into force on the first World Health Day, (April 7, 1948), when it was ratified by the 26th member state. Jawaharlal Nehru, a major freedom fighter of India had given an opinion to start WHO. Prior to this its operations, as well as the remaining activities of the League of Nations Health Organization, were under the control of an Interim Commission following an International Health Conference in the summer of 1946. The transfer was authorized by a Resolution of the General Assembly. The epidemiological service of the French Office International d’Hygiène Publique was incorporated into the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization on January 1, 1947.


Apart from coordinating international efforts to control outbreaks of infectious disease, such as SARS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and HIV/AIDS, the WHO also sponsors programmes to prevent and treat such diseases. The WHO supports the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and drugs. After over two decades of fighting smallpox, the WHO declared in 1980, that the disease had been eradicated – the first disease in history to be eliminated by human effort. The WHO aims to eradicate polio within the next few years.

The organization develops and promotes the use of evidence-based tools, norms and standards to support Member States to inform health policy options. It regularly publishes a World Health Report including an expert assessment of a specific global health topic. The organization has published tools for monitoring the capacity of national health systems and health workforces to meet population health needs, and endorsed the world’s first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe (from 3 October 2006), making it an international standard.

In addition, the WHO carries out various health-related campaigns – for example, to boost the consumption of fruits and vegetables worldwide and to discourage tobacco use. The organization relies on the expertise and experience of many world-renowned scientists and professionals to inform its work. Experts met at the WHO headquarters in Geneva in February, 2007, and reported that their work on pandemic influenza vaccine development had achieved encouraging progress. More than 40 clinical trials have been completed or are ongoing. Most have focused on healthy adults. Some companies, after completing safety analysis in adults, have initiated clinical trials in the elderly and in children. All vacciness so far appear to be safe and well-tolerated in all age groups tested.

The WHO also promotes the development of capacities in Member States to use and produce research that addresses national needs, by bolstering national health research systems and promoting knowledge translation platforms such as the Evidence Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet). WHO and its regional offices are working to develop regional policies on research for health – the first one being the Pan American Health Organization/Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO/AMRO) that had its Policy on Research for Health approved in September 2009 by its 49th Directing Council Document CD 49.10.

WHO also conducts health research in communicable diseases, non-communicable conditions and injuries; for example, longitudinal studies on ageing to determine if the additional years we live are in good or poor health, and, whether the electromagnetic field surrounding cell phones has an impact on health. Some of this work can be controversial, as illustrated by the April, 2003, joint WHO/FAO report, which recommended that sugar should form no more than 10% of a healthy diet. This report led to lobbying by the sugar industry against the recommendation, to which the WHO/FAO responded by including in the report the statement “The Consultation recognized that a population goal for free sugars of less than 10% of total energy is controversial”, but also stood by its recommendation based upon its own analysis of scientific studies.

The World Health Organization’s suite of health studies is working to provide the needed health and well-being evidence through a variety of data collection platforms, including the World Health Survey covering 308,000 respondents aged 18+ years and 81,000 aged 50+ years from 70 countries and the Study on Global Aging and Adult Health (SAGE) covering over 50,000 persons aged 50+ across almost 23 countries. The World Mental Health Surveys, WHO Quality of Life Instrument, WHO Disability Assessment Scales provide guidance for data collection in other health and health-related areas. Collaborative efforts between WHO and other agencies, such as the Health Metrics Network and the International Household Surveys Network, serve the normative functions of setting high research standards.

WHO has also worked on global initiatives in surgery such as the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and the Guidelines for Essential Trauma Care focussed on access and quality. Safe Surgery Saves Lives addresses the safety of surgical care. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is in current use worldwide in the effort to improve safety in surgical patients.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fifty-six of the last fifty-seven

unemployment Stats have been revised,

(after the Rosy-Fingered Dawn),  upwardly.  

meaning that The Gub’mint ha’ been

low-balling the Numbers over ninety-

eight Percent of the Time.  The Chances of That

Mistake happening by Chance is Something like

four Chances in One Quadrillion.  Unlikely

that That happened by “Chance” if their Model

were Fair: Half over, Half under.  A Coin Toss.

The Statistics suggest the BLS has

a bad Model.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics

should learn some Statistics.  Occam’s Razor

says They are lying, AND perhaps stupid.

(as a special funky coda to my crappy spank verse, a word from ckm):

How many people are staying in their underwater, over-priced homes only because they’ve killed several family members and buried them in the back yard?

Heh.  To the Indeedyth.  But less funny than it sounds.

New York Metropolitans Opening Day



Step right up and greet the Mets!

Bring your kiddies, bring your wife;

Guaranteed to have the time of your life

Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball;

Knocking those home runs over the wall!

East side, West side, everybody’s coming down

To meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town!

Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets,

where did they go? To MEET THE METS!

Oh, they’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and they’re jumpin’ in their seats,

where did they go? To MEET THE METS!

All the fans are true to the orange and blue,

So hurry up and come on down –

’cause we’ve got ourselves a ball club,

The Mets of New York town!

Give ’em a yell! Give ’em a hand!

And let ’em know your rootin’ in the stand!


Step right up and greet the Mets!

Bring your kiddies, bring your wife;

Guaranteed to have the time of your life

Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball;

Knocking those home runs over the wall!

East side, West side, everybody’s coming down

To meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town!

Of New York town!


With Thursday’s 1-0 win by Ramirez over the Atlanta Braves I can say, for what is probably the last time this season, that they have a share of the lead in the National League East.

It’s been a bad few seasons with team ownership caught up in the Madoff scandal, a situation that is not yet fully resolved, despite what The Guardian says (you’ll note they still owe in excess of $425 Million).  With the loss of Jose Reyes to free agency any objective observer can only call the team weaker.  They’ve moved in the fences by as much as 12 feet and lowered them by 8 for no good reason I can think of.  It’s not like they’re going to sell the extra 102 seats in what, with tons of luck, will be a .500 season.  Perhaps they will not finish at the bottom of the Division and there are worse teams, though not many of them.

It’s the 50th year for the Club and they usually get off to a good Opening Day start, winning in 33 of the past 43 seasons.  Only one other time have they done it 1-0.

But Santana is healthy for now, and spring is a time for hope and renewal.

Let’s go Mets!

Update: Still undefeated, next game at 1 pm today. – ek hornbeck

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan



The Meteorological Agency admitted that nearly two-thirds of the earthquake early-warning alerts it issued during the past year were “inappropriate.”

At the same time, officials in Bunkyo Ward issued an apology after an early-warning system erroneously announced a major earthquake would strike-twice-during a 24-hour period last month.

The Tokyo Fire Department says it may introduce “bystander insurance” to “promote public participation in first aid in cases of natural disasters or accidents.”

A record 2,799 “medical accidents” were reported by hospitals and other health-care institutions last year.

Researchers have discovered two previously unknown active fault lines off the cost of Chiba.

Popular Culture (Music) 20120406: Love Songs

Love songs are a huge part of popular music, and have been since liturgical music lost its primary place.  I certainly shall not try to cover centuries worth of love songs, but rather just give a few that I particularly like.

We shall cover the mid 1950s to the fairly recent era.  Since I have not kept up with popular music for some years, I leave it to readers to contribute more recent contributions.

MN federal judge rules that DOMA does not apply to trans marriages

Chief US Judge  for the Minnesota District Michael J. Davis has ruled that Minnesota’s DOMA law does not apply to legal marriages entered into by transgender individuals and that therefore a union health care plan could not drop Christine Radtke from coverage under her husband’s health benefits.  

Having transitioned from male to female between 1986 and 2003, Christine married Calvin Radtke in July of 2005 in Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota.  Calvin works for UPS and is therefore a member of Miscellaneous Drivers and Helpers Union Local #638 and he enrolled himself and his new bride in the union’s Health, Welfare, Eye and Dental Fund (hereinafter, the Fund) plan.

In 2008 Christine’s physician mentioned her transgender status.  Someone at the Fund didn’t like that.  The Radtke’s were informed that as of April, 2010 Christine would be dropped from the health care plan.

The Fund has learned, for the first time, that Christine underwent a male to female sex reassignment surgery prior to your marriage.

In reviewing the terms of the Fund, it is the judgment of the Claims Administrator that despite the amendment of Christine’s birth certificate and your subsequent marriage, the basis for your marriage is not one that is currently recognized under any express provisions of Minnesota Law.  Accordingly, Christine is not an eligible dependent under the Fund.

–health care fund administrators