Monday, August 29, 2005

Sad: Gotta love "Christian" hate groups

Concerned Women for America, which promotes itself as the antithesis of the National Organization for Women and boasts 8,700 supporters in Washington, says most of those quoted on the coffee cups are liberal.
Oh my god, do you mean to tell me that something from a Seattle coffee company is, daresay, liberal?

These people are pissed because of a quote of pure affirmation: I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short.

Wow, Starbucks is such a mean bunch of jerks. Promoting that people get out there and love someone else? What the hell do they think they're doing?

Hate sells, my friends.

Somehow, I'm guessing that if all the religious conservatives in the country stopped drinking Starbucks coffee, their stock would drop about 1%.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

MedPol: FDA delays decision about morning-after pill

Contraceptive advocates had expected a final decision by a September 1 deadline that Crawford had pledged to members of Congress as a condition of assuming leadership of FDA.

"I am disappointed that FDA waited until this late hour to address a legal question that could and should have been resolved months ago," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. "I urge FDA to act quickly to approve this needed reproductive option for women."

"It seems improbable to me that ... politics hasn't trumped science here, which is a tragedy," said Dr. Alastair Wood of Vanderbilt University, a member of the FDA advisory committee that evaluated Plan B.

"They are acting in bad faith," said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, noting that FDA already has logged 17,400 letters from the public and advocacy groups urging it to take one side or the other on Plan B. "How many more comments do they need?"

Crawford broke a personal pledge to Congress to decide Plan B's fate by September 1, charged two senators who called for congressional hearings into the delay.

"It is a breach of faith," Sens. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, who lifted objections to Crawford assuming leadership of FDA only after his pledge, wrote in a statement. "There is no credible scientific reason to continue to deny increased access to this safe health care option."
What's that sound?

Oh yeah, that's me beating my head against the wall until I knock myself out.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

So Happy Together: Derby and Julep, KY traditions

Derby is still Derby.

I must be comfy.

Wake up, daddy!

Ok, I realize I'm lame. But dude, dogs are cool. She's only pissed once in the apartment today, and only once yesterday, but that time was on the couch, which sucked.

But I have to give the 'get-rid-of-the-piss' products their credit. Never know anything ever happened.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Politics: Evangelical ads target Frist in Iowa over stem cells

No wonder the crazies stay crazies. When a crazy decides not to be crazy, then the other nutjobs waste their money toasting the renegade crazies.

Say it Ain't So: Homeopathy no better than placebo, says Lancet

The team identified 110 trials each of homeopathy and conventional medicine, or allopathy. They used sophisticated statistical analysis to score the results of the studies, with those below 1.0 indicating a beneficial effect of treatment versus inactive placebo.

Including the largest trials, which were considered the most reliable, the overall scores were 0.96 for homeopathy and 0.67 for conventional medicine.
And we're still wasting money studying this because... oh yeah, because conventional medicine sorta sucks for most problems.

Just imagine, all those silly people, trying to get better! What are they thinking?

Medicine: the crazies attack JAMA editor

Since obviously an objective review of the literature will damn Deangelis to hell.

Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, editor in chief of The Journal of the American Medical Association, said she had to take a walk around the block after receiving dozens of "horrible, vindictive" messages.

"One woman said she would pray for my soul," DeAngelis said. "I could use all the prayers I can get." DeAngelis said she is a staunch Roman Catholic and strongly opposes abortion, though she also supports women's right to choose.

"Your license should be stripped," DeAngelis said, reading aloud from the 50 or so e-mails that came to her office. "You're hypocrisy," "You should get a real job," "Eternity will definitely bring justice for you," others wrote.
People are also pissed because one of the authors is an OB/GYN that performs abortion. Holy shit, you mean an OB/GYN actually does the surgical procedures he was trained to do, and that means he's biased?

I guess thoracic surgeons shouldn't be able to publish about open heart surgery!

AND people are pissed that the MEDICAL STUDENT, of all people, who is listed as an author (good job, by the way!) used to work for NARAL as a lawyer.

Holy shit! Medical students should never do research on subjects that interest them! And to publish! The NERVE!!!

JAMA, along with NEJM, is medicine. I'm not saying politics don't dictate medicine sometimes but geez.

I'm sorry to all the religious wackos who get upset when reality doesn't match up with the way that they interpret the Bible.

And this isn't even a question of abortion. This is a question of whether a fetus feels pain in a certain 6 weeks of pregnancy, which is of course relevant to the abortion debate, but it certainly doesn't change anything at all with regards to the legality of abortion.

Conservative or liberal, no doctors like when the government tries to stick its nose up the ass of the way we are going to practice.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Woof: Julep!

Now, if Derby would just quit humping Julep, everything would be fine.

And oh yeah, if Julep would remember that she's supposed to be housetrained. But ya know, I'd piss in the floor too if I was stuck in a big cage for like four weeks straight and I just got out.

Medicine: RIP Walter Reed hospital

A federal commission voted Thursday to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center -- the crown jewel of U.S. military hospitals -- as part of the Pentagon's sweeping proposal to restructure bases across the country.
Most of the nation's most famous military hospital's service will be transferred to NIH at Bethesda. Still, that's the end of an era, of a symbol.

I have no opinion as to the wisdom of this closure, but I imagine it's a relatively sensible one: I can't see Rumsfeld recommending such an unpopular move without good reason.

But I thought we wouldn't invade Iraq without good reason either.

Woof: Household additions

Here are Julep's (HSHV name = Naktya) humane society pictures.

Looks like Derby is getting a sister.

More photos of the chow/retriever consortium tomorrow after I'm done with my Family Practice shelf exam.

Medicine: "Ouch," says the fetus

Or DOES it? Those crazy baby killers in San Francisco don't think so.

The debate actually seems to rage between whether fetuses feel pain starting around 20-22 weeks or closer to 28 weeks. All in response to Douchebag Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas proposing a law that would require doctors to inform women seeking abortions after the 22nd week of gestation that their fetus feels pain and offer to anesthetize the fetus.

Anesthetize the fetus. What will these asshats think of next? Maybe if someone hadn't anesthetized Kansas' brain cells, we wouldn't get in these messes.

Brilliance: Volvo testing seatbelt breathalyzer

So now, you'll have to grab a sober person and make them blow on your seatbelt before you can drink and drive:

The breathalyzer is part of the seat belt mechanism, and before the car will start, the driver must blow below .08 percent or less with the belt buckled. All 50 U.S. states have adopted .08 as the legal limit, while in Sweden, the legal limit is .02, or the equivalent of one drink.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Future Is Now: Moog dies at 71

May the father of the synthesizer resquiescat in pace.

Religion/Politics: WWJA? (Who Would Jesus Assassinate?)

While I agree that the role of religion and moral character in American politics is a valid and worthwhile topic, Pat Robertson shows me reason #4621 why the Religious Right movement in this country is full of wackos.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Iraq: Looking Like Vietnam?

By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning.
~that librul bastard, Chuck Hagel

Ewwww: Cryptosporidium in New York water attraction

Apparently 1800 folks have got the runs from one pool. Reason #123908 to stay the hell away from swimming pools.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Gonzo: Blast Off!

So yeah, Hunter S Thompson's ashes really are getting blasted out of a canon! Johnny Depp rules.

Labor: NWA on strike

Here's my nod of support to the mechanics at NWA exercising their right to organize and bargain collectively.

And a slight bit of disgruntlement to the pilots and flight attendants. Nobody likes a strike, but allowing a company to divide and conquer its employees is not a particularly great show of solidarity.

I'm sure the Right can smile at the failure of organized labor to show a united front and its inevitable implosion onto itself.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Medicine: wtf is a mini-stroke?

and what is Senator Reid doing having one? Now, a mini-stroke would be a small stroke. And a TIA isn't a stroke at all.

What's even worse is that the NINDS site even gives a definition of a TIA as a transient stroke. WTF? And apparently the NSA site does the same thing, though I can't get the site to work right now.

Maybe I'm being legalistic. Actually, I'll assert that I'm being legalistic, because it's understandable that doctors often tell their patients that they've had 'mini-strokes' because it's a very simple way of explaining a somewhat complex medical issue. But I'm not sure that simplification at the risk of misinformation is really worth it. Calling a TIA a 'mini-stroke' assumes that the patient has absolutely zero medical knowledge. And that's a pretty dumb assumption in the Age of Google.

But the whole concept of a stroke involves permanent clinical damage. And a TIA, by definition, produces no permanent detectable damage. Mini-stroke might be a good name for a lacunar infarct, since those are, in fact, 'small strokes.'

Silly media, medicine is for doctors. Harry Reid is absolutely fine. If he has a true TIA, which it seems he has, he has absolutely zero residual deficits. He might need a carotid endarterectomy. He might need some aspirin, some atenolol, some lisinopril, some Lipitor. Since he probably has fancy senatorial insurance, he'll probably even get some Plavix.

But Harry Reid has not had a stroke. He hasn't even had a small stroke. I'm anxious to see if Media Matters picks up on Rush Limbaugh and company questioning Harry's fitness, which seems inevitable. As partisan and screechy as MM has become, they still pick up the good cruddy details.

Pope: doing that popey thing

Benedict's being all good-popey and warning of rising anti-Semitism. Three cheers for Benedict.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Health: A frank conversation between a pediatrician and a 13-year-old boy

Sometimes you can't help but laughing at the things kids will say. I guess I'm glad they still have a place where they can ask and get straight advice, but I'm not so sure I wouldn't be able to keep from cracking at least a smile.

Science: Hope for a new HIV medication in crocodile blood?

An interesting bit of hope for those with HIV from the blood of crocodiles. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Psychotic: this shotgun blast will scare away those pesky anti-war protesters...

Now, I can understand this dude being really really annoyed that a bunch of people are camping out around and possibly on his property, and setting up portable toilets and things like that, but somehow it seems, just maybe, that there's a more mature, less moronic way of dealing with the problem than ripping shotgun blasts in the air to scare the protesters away.

And of course, Cindy Sheehan's measured response:

"If the neighbor is tired of having us here, he should talk to his other neighbor, George Bush, and ask George Bush to come out and meet with me, and then we'll leave," she said.
How typical of a protester.

Update: Slate's take on Cindy Sheehan's protest--that having a dead son doesn't make a quasi-anti-semitic conspiracy theory any more legitimate--seems right on target.

LGBT: What makes a person gay?

Here is a well written article from the Boston Globe about the origins of sexuality and some of the current theories. A great summary for all those who've not been on top of this stuff for the past 20 years. Oh yeah, and a nice little family to frame the story around.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Iraq: Honesty is a bitch

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Go Cats!: Fitch signed by Miami

Don't screw it up, Gerry.

[The irresponsible yet loveable turd] spent the 2004-05 preseason with the Washington Wizards playing in seven games, averaging 3.1 points, 0.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 11.6 minutes. He went on to spend the majority of the 2004-05 season in Europe, having a stint with KK Cibona VIP Zagreb, playing in seven games, averaging 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists while also joining the Adriatic League, with the same team, playing in five games, averaging 16.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Fitch then joined Khimik-OPZ Yuzny of the Ukraine Superleague, playing in 19 games, averaging 21.0 points while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from three-point range.
Additional note: don't punch Shaq if he makes fun of you for being afraid of flying. We love ya, buddy.

News: Vegas heading for 'dry future'

The dirty secret of most desert communities (my own home town included) is that they consume large amounts of water in a region that doesn't have much. You hear it when large California cities take water from farmers that took it from someone else. You hear it whenever a new golf course opens. My old elementary school used to have water-conservation PSA's put on by actors claiming to be from another planet that had used up all of their water (at least I think they were actors). This is an interesting article that points out the real consumers of water in Las Vegas may not be the casinos and water theme parks, but rather the residents.

Local hotels account for just 7% of the area's total water usage . . . The hotel casinos use only 30% of their water allocation on outdoor use, while 70% is used indoors in rooms and kitchens and that water is reclaimed and used again. But when you look at the residential statistics, the figures are reversed. Water authorities estimate around 70% of residential water is used outdoors, washing the car and irrigating the lawns, and only 30% is used indoors. Although Nevada has been banking excess water from the Colorado River in Arizona, environmentalists fear this is a short-term solution. The SNWA hopes a $5 billion 555km pipeline from central Nevada could be the answer to the future water needs of Las Vegas. But farmers and residents in rural parts of the state are unwilling to share the precious resource and it is becoming a battle known as "craps versus crops".

News: Germany attacks US on Iran threat

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has warned the US to back away from the possibility of military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work.
Gerhard Schroeder
Does anyone else find it odd that we live in a world where 60 years after WWII Germany is having to tell the US not to use military action?

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Media: Novak the sacrificial lamb

While discussing Rep. Katherine Harris's (R-FL) plan to run for a Senate seat against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Novak told Carville, "Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me." Carville said to host Ed Henry, describing Novak: "He's gotta show these right-wingers that he's got backbone, you know. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em you're tough."

Novak responded: "Well, I think that's bullshit, and I hate that." He then said to Henry, "Just let it go." As Henry asked Carville a question, Novak walked off the set.

After the segment ended, Henry apologized to viewers for Novak's leaving the set "a little early," adding: "I had told him in advance that we were going to ask him about the CIA leak case. He was not here for me to be able to ask him about that. Hopefully, we'll be able to ask him about that in the future."
So Novak is temporarily canned. And while I certainly consider Novak on my medium-length list of manipulative dickheads, I don't quite see what good it does to suspend the guy at this point. If CNN is going to endorse and keep an asshole on its payroll, it might as well stick with him instead of acting like they didn't expect shit like this to happen. The dude is involved or at least implicated in a major vindictive breach of national security, and you're surprised when he acts like a putz when an equally asinine Democrat starts running his mouth off? Crazy.

Of course, Novak is now the ultimate sacrificial lamb, the ultimate proof of liberal media bias. Bernie Goldberg just jizzed a pint into his pants. I don't bother reading Powerline, but I might have to head over there just to hear the whining and groaning about Bob's slaughter on the altar of conservatism.

CNN would be well served by canning all of their opinion chode heads, and leaving soft news where it belongs with Fox.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Film: Why is nobody going to see Murderball?

I'm just waiting for it to come on DVD per my Netflix infatuation and inability to afford Ann Arbor theatres. Given that one of our UM colleagues is a wheelchair basketball bad-ass, I have to expect Murderball to kick ass.

"Murderball" is the true story of the U.S. wheelchair rugby team, and the stars are real-life paraplegic athletes. Their sport, also called quad rugby, is as much demolition derby as anything.

Ticket sales have been slow in comparison to the movie's buzz, and the distributor worries that America just isn't ready for a frank documentary -- even a really good one -- about guys in wheelchairs.

"The only explanation is that people don't want to see something about handicapped people. There is some resistance," said Mark Urman, head of the theatrical division at the New York-based THINKFilm.
Yeah, but people haven't seen handicapped people being insane athletes before either. Give this thing time for word of mouth to make it must-see. And college kids are going to be a major audience for this, and college kids can't afford to go to theaters. Patience, film makers. Patience.

LGBT: Jimi Thing draft dodging

Jimi Hendrix might have stayed in the Army. He might have been sent to Vietnam. Instead, he pretended he was gay. And with that, he was discharged from the 101st Airborne in 1962, launching a musical career that would redefine the guitar, leave other rock heroes of the day speechless and culminate with his headlining performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969.
I'm taking notes, Jimi.

Signs of the Apocalypse: International legions of Furbies

Besides fluently speaking its native language "Furbish", the new Furby is also programmed to speak one of seven other languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Dutch.
Be afraid, John Bolton. Be very afraid.