tvm's blog

Party line

Now, really, these are human beings we're talking about.  Can there be such a thing as a disinterested party?

In the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:

The New York State Attorney General’s Office has launched an ethics inquiry concerning votes by Southern Tier town board members related to natural gas drilling, according to documents obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
 
In single-page letters sent in October, Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin indicated that drilling-related action by town boards earlier in the year raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.
 
“We have been alerted to concerns about Windsor Town Board members with signed gas leases voting on issues related to hydrofracking,” one of the letters states. “This concern raises possible conflict of interest issues.”
 
“In that regard,” the letter adds, “would you please send us a copy of the town’s ethics code”...
 
ITHACA — In the run up to an appeal of Norse Energy v. Town of Dryden, this week New York state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125, filed a document supporting the town.
 
Documents are still being filed in the appeal, which will be heard by the New York state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department. A date for the trial hasn’t been set.
 
Lifton said she supports local zoning control over oil and gas development.
 
If municipalities have the right to zone against oil and gas development is a question that’s central to the case. A lower court ruled in favor of Dryden during the case’s first hearing.
 
"Based on research into both New York State statute and case law, I believe -- and two Supreme Courts so ruled this past spring -- that the Town of Dryden and municipalities across New York, retain the ability to use their zoning powers to decide to exclude or limit gas drilling within their borders,” Lifton wrote for a public statement. “I am hopeful that the Appellate Division will uphold the two rulings from the lower courts.”
In a post from a year and a half ago (which I suggest you check out—the more things change, the more they stay the same), I had written, "Babs is not your father's (or grandfather's) Democrat.  Her philosophy is much closer to that of Marx—Karl, not Groucho (although you could make a case....)."
 
And the Democratic Socialists of America, with which Babs is so closely allied, is itself tight with the CPUSA. At Trevor Loudon's New Zeal:

Contrary to popular opinion, the US Democratic Party does not set much of its own policy.
 

Democrat policy is actually dictated by the labor unions and radical think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The unions are dominated by the US’s largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America – which also works closely with the C.A.P. and I.P.S...
 
In case you think this has gotten pretty far afield from the topic of fracking, it hasn't at all.  In fact, it's where we've fallen down repeatedly—we haven't connected the dots even when they were there in plain sight, and we've been too bashful to call a spade a spade out of some misplaced desire to be seen as "taking the high road."
 
Time to baldly point out that the other side has an agenda of its own, one that many of us are passionately opposed to.
 
I do get concerned at times when someone says "Well, you’re a landowner so you shouldn’t make decisions on these issues. What town board member in this state is not a landowner?...Who doesn’t have an interest?
Prescisely.  The "interest" may not be quite as tangible as owning land but it's no less real.
 
 

 

I'm gonna stop blogging

This guy's stolen all my thunder. There's nothin' left to say. This is so chock full of great lines I couldn't begin to list them all.  JUST WATCH THE VIDEO. 

He "don't give a rat's behind..."

I love you, ET Williams, whoever you are:

h/t Lonely Conservative

Maybe Schumer & Gillibrand should have read the bill...

...before they voted for it so they could find out what was in it. Via Weasel Zippers:

Sixteen Democratic senators who voted for the Affordable Care Act are asking that one of its fundraising mechanisms, a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices scheduled to take effect January 1, be delayed.  Echoing arguments made by Republicans against Obamacare, the Democratic senators say the levy will cost jobs — in a statement Monday, Sen. Al Franken called it a “job-killing tax” — and also impair American competitiveness in the medical device field.
 
The senators, who made the request in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are Franken, Richard Durbin, Charles Schumer, Patty Murray, John Kerry, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Joseph Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Robert Casey, Debbie Stabenow, Barbara Mikulski, Kay Hagan, Herb Kohl, Jeanne Shaheen, and Richard Blumenthal.  All voted for Obamacare...
 
Yes, there are several businesses in NYS that are impacted by this, including Welch Allyn in Skaneateles:
...In September, the company announced that it would cut 10 percent of its global workforce, including 45 jobs from its Skaneateles Falls headquarters. Welch Allyn employs about 2,700 workers worldwide...
 
Our morally and intellectually superior two-headed monster, Chuck and Kirsten, should have known that voting on Marxist ideological grounds for bills that you haven't actually read has consequences.
 

May all the poisons in the mud hatch out

So said our newest contributor, Claudius.  But thankfully, before uttering that curse—or blessing—he's had time to point us back to the future...

 

Decline and Fall

By Claudius

 
 
The decline and fall of the United States is traced by most historians back to the election of President Obama in 2008 and his reelection in 2012.  After his narrow election victory of 2012, Obama began a rapid shift to the left and moved to eliminate all checks and balances on his power.  Historians blame part of the resulting U.S. fall on House Republicans who failed to check the president’s continuing assumption of power.
 
In 2013, Republicans who controlled the House of Representatives gave in to the President, raised tax rates for small businesses and the job creating segment of the population, and allowed him to increase the national debt ceiling at will.  Later that year, they voted for an Obama stimulus package that sent money largely to construction unions, community organization units, and state and local governments.
 
The double dip recession of 2013 was the entry way to the second Great Depression which began in 2014.  Federal revenues dried up despite higher marginal tax rates.  Official unemployment figures reached 20%, the index including those too discouraged to look for work reached 40%.  In his state of the union address to the American people (Congress having been sent home), the President declared, “Our economy is in outstanding condition, 80% of our people have jobs, and confidence has never been higher.”
 
To deal with this economic catastrophe, President Obama, bypassing Congress, issued the “Emergency Enabling Act” (EEA).  Under EEA, the President could issue decrees and executive orders on any subject.  Further, his powers included suspending the Constitution until he determined the emergency was over.  As soon as the ink on the EEA was dry, President Obama invoked the act and declared the constitution irrelevant during the emergency.  Spokespersons for the administration pointed out that this also meant that the president’s term was no longer limited to four years but Obama would serve indefinitely, perhaps for life.
 
Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the EEA unconstitutional, President Obama issued his “Court Reform Decree” (CRD).  Under CRD, all justices appointed by any prior president’s terms were to end immediately.  President Obama, noting that there was no real reason why a president could not hold multiple offices, appointed himself to all nine seats on the Court.  All nine incumbent justices suddenly “retired” when it was learned their families had been taken to reeducation camps.
 
With the Dow back at 800, the Economic Empowerment Decree (EED) abolished the concept of private property.  From now on, the President said, “private property will not be allowed to stand in the way of progressive development of the U.S.  When the people need property or income, our rich exploiters shall give their fair share to their government.  For the rich, this is just a little bit more.  We will never take more than 100%.  And, we will be generous, and allow the American people a share of income and wealth.  We may even allow the private sector to continue to exist.”
 
The Employee Freedom Decree (EFD) declared that every American had the right and obligation to join a labor union and pay union dues.  NLRB elections were abolished as undemocratic and unfair to workers.
 
The Free Elections Decree (FED) eliminated the costly waste of resources for elections.  “There is no need for elections,” the Obama administration declared.  The will of the people is best served by the designation of leaders by their labor unions and those in power.
 
To eliminate state interference with federal operations, the State Empowerment Decree converted the states from sovereign bodies to postal divisions.  “The state governments are best empowered when they carry out federal policy,” President Obama said.  “We see no reason why states should be permitted to hamper citizen freedom by legislating for themselves.”
 
The Presidential Decision Decree (PDD) authorized the President to make exceptions, grant waivers, and to deauthorize any federal statutes at variance with administration policy.  “With this new Decree,” President Obama said, “We rationalize federal policy and make it consistent with the will of the people.  The dead hand of past congresses shall no longer control the future.  We, of this administration, freed from Congressional interference and terms of office, shall be able to go forward democratically.”
 
A coup was attempted by the military to restore the Constitution but failed because the military had been effectively dismantled and union groups protested any “interference” with the leader’s decisions.  Corporate executives were replaced by union overseers and all businesses were made part of the New National Recovery Act, their managers put on trial, price and wage controls instituted along with central planning, and their ownership declared to belong to the people, through the unions.
 
In 2015, the President enacted the Republican Eradication Decree (RED), declaring the Republican Party anti-statist and the captive of private property interests.  To protect the people’s freedom of political choice, the party was abolished.  To enforce its decrees, the government established the General State Police Organization (GESTAPO).  To protect freedom of opinion, prominent Republicans were rounded up and placed in Democratic Reeducation Camps.
 
The Reform our Schools Decree (RSD) established full federal control over schools and curricula.  Teacher certification was turned over to teacher unions and to preserve diversity of opinion, teachers were required to subscribe to the approved “Code for Teachers.”  Each school day was to begin with an ode to the President as our “Dear Leader” and an Islamic prayer for his continuance in office to do the “people’s work.”
 
The Religious Freedom Decree (RFD) denounced the U.S. erroneous Judeo-Christian heritage and declared the U.S. to be by right an Islamic nation.  The office of Caliph was established and the President named the first Caliph and Theocrat.  Those who would not exercise their freedom of religion to convert to Islam were stripped of citizenship and personhood.
 
The Decree Against Racism (DAR) and Equal Outcomes Decree (EOD) were established to atone for hundreds of years of injustice.  The DAR gave first preference in employment, housing, government jobs, and public accommodation to “specified minority groups,” while the EOD specified that for any matter in which outcomes were unfavorable to the specified minorities, they would be adjusted to “establish equity.”  Only one minority was specified.
 
Meanwhile, federal credit dried up.  Few were willing to lend money to a government that borrowed more than it raised.  The U.S. endeavored to get a “bail out” from other developed nations but few if any offers were forthcoming.  Most of the world seemed to enjoy the U.S’s discomfort and were happy to dismember American power.  In 2015, the dollar was no longer accepted as the world’s trading currency.
 
By 2016, the U.S. found it could no longer afford its military and began to dismantle most of it.  Ships were mothballed, airplanes were not modernized, and weapons technology and the space program virtually abandoned.  The ultimate humiliation came when Mexico, raising old boundary concerns, invaded the U.S.  The resulting U.S. defeat led to the cession of all the territory the U.S. had taken from Mexico in the War of 1848, including California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Colorado.
 
The population of the U.S. polarized.  Conservatives and Republicans voted with their feet and left the coastal areas of the U.S., moving to what were then termed “red states.”  The “red states” got redder and the “blue states,” more liberal and “progressive” got bluer.  When the two segments could no longer co-exist, they dissolved the U.S. and broke into separate confederations.  The blue segment rapidly descended into total bankruptcy, the east coast was taken over by an Islamic government which imposed Shariah law while the west coast fell under Chinese domination.
 
Within the space of twenty years, the U.S. went from world power to third rate nation and ultimately ceased to exist as early twenty-first century people knew it.
 
Americans were baffled and bewildered by the speed of their decline.  Historians noted that while some aspect of Rome lasted almost two thousand years, things happen much faster today.  They concluded that once Obama put the U.S. on the road to decline, its fall was inevitably speedy.
 
Claudius

Vermont is turning into....Switzerland?

UPDATE (12-6-12, 3pm): Near as I can tell, the Vermont story, while it may have been essentially true, is at least a decade old—not anything recent.  I'll leave it here because 1) a couple of other states actually did try this, more as an object lesson about the evils of Obamacare than anything having to do with the Second Amendment, and 2) it does raise the always interesting questions about what states can and can't do under the US Constitution (as distinct from the unconstitutional—unless you twist yourself into a pretzel like John Roberts did—power grab by the federal government that is Obamacare, and 3) you can't believe everything you read.

The rest of the post stands. 

***

From Dave Henderson's "Outdoors" column in today's Ithaca Journal:

Vermont, which may be the most liberal state in the union, neverthe­less is the only state that allows its residents to carry a con­cealed weapon without a permit. Go figure.
 
I’m sure this logic wouldn’t fly in the Ithaca area, but Ver­mont State Rep. Fred Maslack is proposing that the state not only register non-gun owners but also charge them for not having a gun. Yup, under Maslack’s proposal Vermont would become the first state to require a per­mit for the luxury of traipsing about un­armed and assess a fee of $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun.
 
It seems that Mas­lack reads the “militia” phrase of the Second Amendment as not only the right of the individ­ual citizen to bear arms, but as ‘a clear mandate to do so.’ He believes that universal gun own­ership was advocated by the framers of the Constitution as an anti­dote to a “monopoly of force” by the govern­ment as well as crimi­nals.
 
He contends that Vermont’s constitution states explicitly that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State” and those persons who are “con­scientiously scrupulous of bearing arms” shall be required to “pay such equivalent.”
 
Under the bill, adults who choose not to own a firearm would be re­quired to register their name, address, Social Security number, and driver’s license number with the state.
 
“There is a legitimate govern­ment interest in knowing who is not prepared to defend the state should they be asked to do so,” Maslack told the Associated Press.
 
Vermont has one of the highest gun ownership rates per capita of any state in the country and its crime rate is third lowest in the nation. Think about it. There is no reason why gun owners should have to pay taxes to support police protection for people who choose not to protect themselves. Why not let them contribute their fair share and pay their own way. Isn’t that reasonable? Non-gun owners require more police to protect them and this fee should go to paying for their defense. Right?
 
No, I didn’t think so.
 
Makes too much sense.
And denial is not just a river in Egypt.  For those who are still deluding themselves that taking the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens somehow makes them safer, there's this:
There were 192 shootings in Chicago throughout the month of November - a 49 percent increase from a year earlier - according to police records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.
 
In November of 2011, Chicago recorded 129 shootings compared to the 192 shootings this November.  Police records also reveal that shootings increased more than 11 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with a year earlier.
 
Total homicides in Chicago rose to 480 for the first eleven months of 2012; a 21 percent increase from last year.  On November 30, 2012, there were four fatal shootings within the city.  These murders brought the homicide total to 38 for the month, just above the 37 recorded in November of last year...
Some of you might remember Otis McDonald.  Mr. McDonald was the elderly black man, a hunter and shotgun owner, who lived in a crappy neighborhood in Chicago (I know, I just repeated myself) who wanted to purchase a handgun for his own protection but couldn't thanks to the city's stringent gun-control laws.  He sued and the case went to the Supreme Court, which held that the Second Amendment was incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment thus protecting those rights from infringement by local governments.
 
Nevertheless, four days after that decision was handed down in June, 2010, the Chicago City Council, in its infinite wisdom
...adopted the Responsible Gun Owners Ordinance.  This requires prospective gun owners to take a firearm safety course at a gun range in order to obtain a permit to own a gun in a home.   The city also placed a virtual ban on gun ranges...
making it nearly impossible for law-abiding citizens to responsibly protect themselves against the chaos that is Chicago.  That's turned out well for Chicago, hasn't it?
 
So what's this about an analogy between the Vermont proposal and Switzerland?  There's a really good reason why the pacifist Swiss are largely left to their own devices:
 
 
But it isn't just about homeland security. As Vermont State Rep. Maslack noted (emphasis mine), "universal gun own­ership was advocated by the framers of the Constitution as an anti­dote to a “monopoly of force” by the govern­ment as well as crimi­nals."
 
Ah.
 
h/t Tom
 

Thelma and Louise discuss the fiscal cliff

No, wait...it's Dora and Peregrina in an earnest tête-à-tête whilst simultaneously having coffee and their hair done (bet you didn't know you could do that at the Queen Diner—don't let the health department in on it.).  

Are you frustrated by the all the fiscal cliff talk?  So's Dora.  As always, the old gal makes a lot of sense.

 
 
 
 
 
Going Over the Cliff
 
“Are you happy with the direction the Republican Party is taking on the fiscal cliff?” my friend Peregrina asked me as we had coffee at the Queen Diner in Dryden. I had to admit I am not.
 
We agreed that a status quo election in which the popular vote split almost in the middle and which gave continued control of the House to the Republicans by a large margin was no mandate for the President’s radical income redistribution or grow government schemes.  Contrary to media claims, the Republican Party is not dead or even moribund.  About two-thirds of the states have Republican governors.  Even residents of the City of Ithaca have a Republican representative-elect now.  Yet, the Republican Party is suffering from a kind of sickness in which many Republicans neither speak out proudly for our basic principles nor vote on election day.
 
Now I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 21, 67 years ago, and was eligible to vote (yes, they made you wait until 21 back then).  The main thing I like about the Party is its fiscal conservatism though that has been much lacking among some Republicans of late.
 
Ronald Reagan, bless his soul, said that he had not left the Democrat Party, it had left him.  I’m now beginning to feel the same way about the Grand Old Party (GOP).  In Washington, numerous “Republican” office holders have been talking compromise on basic fiscal principles.  Compromise works when the other side is genuinely interested in reaching a viable solution, but you can’t negotiate with people like the President who think it must be their way “or the highway.” Merely kicking the problem down the road or supplying our ever growing government with more funds just won’t work nor can we keep borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend.
 
You can’t solve an overspending habit by borrowing, you have to do it by tightening your belt, Peregrina agreed.  Imagine a family, she suggested, that makes $60,000 a year but spends $100,000 every year.  How?  By borrowing money from banks, maxing out credit cards, and using friends and relatives year after year.  Sooner or later, the house foreclosed, bankruptcy filed, overspending must stop.
 
So, I’ve voted for Republicans only to see that when they get to Washington they get infected with “going along to get along” and to see them abandon the basic Republican principles of smaller government and lower taxes.  Sadly, they no longer feel willing to stand up and speak out for fiscal sanity.  They become “me too” Democrats, always wanting to spend more and to solve all problems with government “solutions.”
 
There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Common sense says that whatever we spend must be paid for by someone.  The taxing the rich mantra espoused locally by such voices as Barbara Lifton just cannot work.  Why not?  Because the rich just aren’t rich enough.  The tax increases sought by the President from successful people would only bring in about forty billion dollars a year, enough to run the government for little more than a week. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan lowered taxes and found lower taxes actually mean higher government revenues and prosperity for the American people.  Franklin Roosevelt raised taxes during a depression and got a longer depression. Yet the class warfare advocates continue to assault success and make it more difficult though the revenue that can be raised is merely politically symbolic and not meaningful.  They ignore the facts and follow a false dream.
 
But the problem isn’t revenues, it is spending.  Government is simply too big.  Some Republicans go to Washington to cut its size and end up increasing it.  That won’t do.
 
So, what must happen?  Statist Republicans and taxing Republicans must be given fiscally conservative and committed primary opponents.  We must confront our Republican office holders and let them know they will have internal party opposition if they persist.  We must get them to adhere to principle.  Or, we Republicans must turn to and work with the more committed Tea Party folks in trying to take back the Republican Party.
 
 
 
 
UPDATE:  I guess great minds really do think alike  wink
 

Why are the pro-abortion forces such Luddites?

This is why:

Amazing.

"The old storylines of a "mass of cells" or a "bundle of DNA" keep becoming a harder sell for doctors of death."— at American Thinker
 

National Felon League?

Maybe not so much.

Feel-good story of the day by Jack Cashill at American Thinker:

On the long Thanksgiving weekend, five regular starting NFL quarterbacks of at least partial African descent took the field for their respective teams.  Beyond their obvious talent, all five share a common background, one that is now rare in the African American community and becoming anomalous in American society writ large: each grew up in a Christian home with a mother and a father.  More so than foot speed or even arm strength, this is the variable that elevates them above their peers.
So who are these young men?
 
Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay): "...like his siblings, was home schooled in a seriously Christian household."
 
Robert Griffin III (Washington): "...At Baylor, Griffin managed to graduate in three years with a 3.67 GPA and a degree in political science.  During his final year at Baylor, he was studying for a Master's degree in communication.  "I was heavily influenced by my parents to learn discipline," says Griffin, a professing Christian who has been in the church since age seven.  "But my relationship with God was my most important influence.""
 
Russell Wilson (Seattle): "...After Sunday's tough loss to the Dolphins, Wilson posted the following: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6 NKJV)  Wilson openly declares that his faith in God is the foundation for his life and family."
 
Cam Newton (Carolina): "...After winning the national college football championship two years ago, Newton said, "I thank God every single day.  I'm just his instrument and He's using me on a consistent daily basis.""


Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco): "...Although his parents -- one black, one white -- were not married, his birth mother made a culture-defying decision in 1987: she chose not to have an abortion.  Having watched two newborn sons die of heart defects, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick decided to adopt, and Colin was the baby who came their way.  Colin would grow up in a white household in largely white communities, but color was no more the determining value in his upbringing than it was for Freeman or Griffin or Wilson. 

"We took our kids to church," says Teresa of Colin and her two other living children in attempting to explain their success as adults.  "They were brought up with our values and morals.""
 
Cashill goes on to say
Although sportscasters have the unfortunate habit of stressing the presumed physical differences between black and white quarterbacks, they tend to overlook the cultural similarities. Jets QB Tim Tebow is not the outlier he is made out to be.  A disproportionate share of quarterbacks, especially elite quarterbacks, share the background of the five just mentioned.
Such as...
 
The Mannings: "...grew up in what Peyton calls "a good Christian home."


Aaron Rogers (Green Bay): "..."I like the saying from St. Francis of Assisi: 'Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.'" 

Drew Brees (New Orleans): "...'I remember my pastor talking about God 'looking for a few good men.' All of a sudden the light bulb went [on] in my head and I was like, 'Hey, that's me; I can be one of those few good men!'"
 
Philip Rivers (San Diego): "...Married at nineteen, he and his wife Tiffany now have six children.  His role, as he sees it, is "teaching the kids the faith, having family prayer, going to Mass together and then football.'"
 
While there's plenty of legitimate reason to see NFL players as narcissistic egomaniacs who may be criminals to boot, it's good to be reminded not to paint with too broad a brush. After all, the sports world could stand a few genuine role models.  
 
 

If it walks like a duck...

...then according to Stephen Moore of the WSJ—gasp!—it's a duck:

IOW—nah, they're the same words—nearly 75% of Obamacare costs will fall on the backs of those Americans making less than $120,000 a year.

But this was not a newsflash...Gateway Pundit had called our attention to it via Fox News back at the beginning of July:

And as he now says

Obamacare: It’s not just a big f***ing deal… It’s a big f***ing tax.

For those who prefer a little less hyperbole and a little more analysis, go to Heritage here

But any way you look at it, in the immortal words of our esteemed Vice President, it's a big f***ing deal.

So, you morons and moronettes (as they say at Ace of Spades, where it's a term of endearment--I don't mean it that way) who thought that Obamacare was the best thing since Obamamoney and who pay taxes and who make $120K a year or less and who voted for more of this nonsense—and, yes, I realize that this constitutes a very small group of people—why was this a good idea exactly?

Actually, I think I can answer that question...at Ace (I like this post a lot, so I'm making a rare exception and not excerpting):

Bad News: The Human Race Has Been Getting Stupider For 10,000 Years


Via Instapundit (with obligatory joke), a geneticist believes human brains were more powerful back when we were hunting mastodons than now when we're hunting to find a new episode of Hoarders.

His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.

Well no duh on that last one. I'm not sure you can even have petty neuroses in dangerous environment filled with genuine sources of stress and hazard. If your brain is predisposed to worry and stress, it's going to have a lot of serious threats to worry and stress about. There's no such thing as a hypochondriac when the plague is in town.

There's a theory -- I don't know if this is a real theory or just the sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens. Fear and neurosis almost certainly works that way.

What's so provocative about the professor's paper? Sounds right to me.

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