Saturday, March 24, 2007


People are Stupid, 244th Edition

A Flood of Pleas to F.C.C.: No Phones on Planes, Please - New York Times: "Never, never, never ever allow cellphones on planes. It’s bad enough on earth to hear people babbling all day, no matter where they are. Flying is miserable enough without those added egotistic talkers. Have a heart.
— Posted by Esther Whitaker
It’s a terrible idea — bound to lead to rage among already stressed passengers. Why not allow (silent) Internet use, including instant messaging?
— Posted by Marilyn Showalter"

Here are just a couple of the pleas, on the NYT's website, to disallow cell phones on planes. I can't even begin to explain how stupid I think these people are, as one child in a plane is far worse than ten adults with cell phones. We can't ban children, but sometimes I daydream about it when I am unable to sleep on my flight. Cell phones have become the new thing to hate. It was the overweight and smokers, but cell phones have really drawn a very strange ire lately. Here is one thing I know. I don't leave the house without it. Why? I remember that on 9/11 across the continent from where the horror actually was, I was on my cell phone getting solace from my parents. More importantly, the victims, some of them, used their cell phones to have their sacred last words with their families. I never realized the importance of them until that day. I haven't forgotten either.
Many of us only use our cell phone. Our landline is merely a means to internet access and gate entries. I do my business strictly on a cell phone. I have closed deals that pay the bills in grocery stores, pack and ship places, and other odd locations. Having the convenience of being able to talk to the parties just as they are able and willing to make decisions is a very powerful tool. The freedom my phone allows me is priceless, really.
So, I can be what all of those cranky (er, than even I like) people who hate smokers and cell phone users. I smoke while celling. What do you think about that?

Friday, March 23, 2007 | 03/23/2007 | Race still an issue for UK basketball 03/23/2007 Race still an issue for UK basketball: "'There will be many black people who will say they're glad to see Tubby get a decent offer from elsewhere,' he said. 'It looks like people outside of Kentucky had a greater appreciation for his ability.'
The Rev. Louis Coleman, head of the Louisville-based Justice Resource Center, said 'UK doesn't have the greatest practices in the world when it comes to true diversity.' Coleman said his group will meet with the UK administration following Smith's departure."

I am white. I am from Kentucky. I was fascinated by stories of the Northern Kentucky area being the gateway to freedom when I was very young. I was then, and am still, proud of that heritage of the area. I know the other side too. There are still rednecks in Kentucky. In fact, after getting out of Kentucky, I have found them to be nearly everywhere else too. Those rednecks, their feelings about black people, are not why there was pressure on Tubby. It really never was. Kentucky, for all of its failings, never thought of Tubby as a black coach. We thought of him as our Coach. Just like Pitino, Hall, and Rupp before him, Tubby became a part of our collective Kentucky family. Up until the tenth year, many of us wanted him to succeed. I didn't want to hear about letting him go. I wanted him to return our Cats to glory the way I thought he could. It didn't matter who he was. We just wanted the basketball team to win. Both of my grandfathers thought of this that way too, even though they were white and lived in a different, and somewhat disgusting racial era. In fact, my great uncle was asked by my grandmother what he thought of Tubby as the first black member of his tony Lexington country club. His response? "It's about damn time." You see, like my elder family members and thousands of other Kentuckians, we didn't care about our Coach's culture as long as he held the program to the level of success that we have long enjoyed. Unfortunately for Tubby, he could not. As my Mother said, "We love Tubby and Donna, and wish them well, but this is better for all involved". Let us all be smart about this and realize that color was never the issue. It is all about success.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Against God's Work, When it Suits Them

Homosexuality May Be Based on Biology, Baptist Says - New York Times: "The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has suggested that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.
The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and one of the country’s evangelical leaders"

No designer babies, right? We get this direction mostly from Protestant and Catholic religious leaders. They now say that prenatal treatment to reverse homosexuality would be just fine, because it would still be a sin, even though they believe it is genetic. I saw the headline and thought, 'oh they may actually be getting it'. Wrong! Churchies can screw any reasonable belief up given just a few minutes. Shouldn't we be more worried about the babies with dreaded genetic diseases or those predisposed to addiction, etc.? The Baptists have decided to be gay is more of a problem. Wouldn't God be a little disturbed by their priorities?

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Death Rate Higher For Weekend Heart Attacks - Health

Death Rate Higher For Weekend Heart Attacks - Health: "In an editorial in the journal, Drs. Donald A. Redelmeier and Chaim M. Bell of the University of Toronto wrote that research has shown surges in patient complications on weekends.
'If the patient dies on the weekend, no heroics on Monday will suffice,' they wrote.
Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale University School of Medicine cardiologist, said differences in staffing levels and communication may play a role in the different death rates. His research team in 2005 found that heart attack sufferers waited 20 to 30 minutes longer for angioplasty on weekends or after hours.
'This may be a quality challenge, for our health system to ensure no matter what time you come to the hospital you're going to get outstanding care' after a heart attack, Krumholz said."

This article reflects a trend in healthcare that is often overlooked. Doctors want to do as they please. If doctors don't want to work weekends, they won't. The administrators feel they have to give in, because doctors are very hard to recruit. The same goes for the labs and radiology. It is expensive for a hospital to keep these departments at full staff levels on the weekends, often because there is lower traffic. Now, however, this study shows that they are increasing, by an average of 5%, the number of deaths of heart attack victims each year. This is a graphic reminder that hospitals are not a 5 day a week, 8 hour a day operation. I certainly hope they listen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


People Should Fight Required New Medicine

Texas lawmakers vote on cancer vaccine - Yahoo! News: "AUSTIN, Texas - Texas lawmakers are fighting to block the governor's order requiring that sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer, with the House giving final approval to a bill to make the shots strictly voluntary.
Gov. Rick Perry's executive order has inflamed conservatives who say it contradicts Texas' abstinence-only sexual education policies and intrudes into family lives. Some critics also have questioned whether the vaccine has been proven safe."

Look, we find out all the time that a drug that has been tested and on the market for some period of years has problems unknown when it was introduced. Of course, we don't want women to get HPV. Of course, it would be great if we knew the vaccine was safe to have it as an option the family discusses. The government, however, should not be requiring it. This is not a public safety issue like Mumps for example. Those are required, because they can be contracted so easily. They can cause small epidemics in schools and communities. This, however, is a private matter, and could impact these women in their later (maybe even child-bearing) years in ways that we cannot now predict. Availability for those that want to take it is lovely. Forcing it is quite another matter, especially when most of the people that are making this decision are not of the gender affected and often far beyond child-bearing years. Whatever happens will happen to others. I could not be more against the law requiring it, and it may become another of my soap box issues like the Catholic priests.
Update: My Mom actually spoke to one of the reps for the pharma producing this vaccine. He told her that there is an opt-out on the legislation, meaning that the actual mandate is to offer the vaccine, not to force little girls to get the shot. Families will still have the ability to think through, one way or the other, whether this is a course they would like for their daughter to take. I suppose the question now is why the folks reporting on this story left that nugget out.


Feds Value Consistency Over Ending Human Suffering

Dying woman loses marijuana appeal - Yahoo! News: "SAN FRANCISCO - A California woman whose doctor says marijuana is the only medicine keeping her alive is not immune from federal prosecution on drug charges, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The case was brought by Angel Raich, an Oakland mother of two who suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other ailments. On her doctor's advice, she eats or smokes marijuana every couple of hours to ease her pain and bolster a nonexistent appetite as conventional drugs did not work."

We should all be a little freaked out that our drug laws are so out of whack. There are a great deal more dangerous drugs on the market, given after a tooth pull, than marijuana. To suggest that marijuana is that dangerous and not at all medicinal is factually incorrect and a pure lie. I don't use it anymore, but it was one of the best ways to increase my appetite when I would lose it for a couple days or more. Lack of appetite for over several days is really pretty dangerous. Half a joint to correct that problem should not be illegal. It was always a relief when I felt hungry, wasn't sick to my stomach and could scarf down some pizza. This woman clearly has it much worse, a condition to which the phrase human suffering actually applies, and the Court was worried that if they ruled the other way, it would be an "in" for pro-drug groups. At some point, we have to come to grips with reality on drugs, especially ones like marijuana. - McCain draws heat from vet group, Club for Growth: "The anti-tax group Club for Growth yesterday released a review of McCain’s record on its top priorities and cautioned against electing him president. Meanwhile, a new “527” advocacy group, similar to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has pledged to expose McCain as a communist apologist who turned his back on prisoners of war.
In the Club’s review — its third “white paper” of the 2008 presidential election — the group concluded “the evidence of [McCain’s] record and the virulence of his rhetoric suggest that American taxpayers cannot expect consistently strong economic policies from a McCain administration.”"

Okay, a couple of things to think about here. First, The Club for Growth had good intentions initially. It was about holding Congress accountable to a small government ideal. I liked them before the last campaign, and still get their emails, just so I can see how out of touch they continue to become. And to this, well, what do you call it? The Swift Boat guys trying to convince America that John McCain "is a communist apologizer and turned his back on prisoners of war". I would like to know how much time each of the idiots that so boldly said that spent as a POW. I would like to know how much time those idiots have spent in government trying to fight for soldier's benefits and VA expansion. McCain is a smart, well-intentioned Patriot. I probably won't vote for him, as he has said things recently to appease the religious right, a reason I have become more and more disillusioned. If Bush's second term taught me anything, it is that I want far less religion in government.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Isn't it Okay to Say, "I Don't Know"

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype - New York Times: "Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”...Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”
Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.
It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent."

Someone, and I do not remember who, recently said that Environmentalism has become a religion. I have felt that way about it too. Friends of mine kinda intimate that I am an idiot if I do not believe as they do that warming is an immediate issue that must be dealt with straight away. My response has been primarily two-fold. First, I don't see Gore as a good messenger. I wasn't fond of him before, and he hasn't done anything to make me more comfortable with him as of late. Secondly, it seems to me that the Earth has gone through many major climate and weather phenomena through the ages that could not have been blamed on industrialization, because there was none. I mean the breaking of the continents and the floods that helped form our beautiful mountains were not a result of human interference. So, while I am a very consistent recycler and very rarely drive, but in a two-seater when I do, I am not yet a true believer in the dire predictions and the immediacy of the problem. I can see that this could be a natural progression (certainly faster as a result of human's impact), that will swing back into a more normal climate era. I really believe the panel that said that climate change was a slow-motion process. That makes a great deal of sense to me. They are not saying that these things are going to happen in the next ten years, for example, they seem to instead have a more reasonable view of how these changes take place. I have to try and find the arguments on both sides that make sense. I have to take part in the effort to be a good steward of the Earth, while still not taking every alarming idea to heart until it makes sense to me and comes from a messenger I can believe in. It seems all of these people agree that humans cause damage to the climate. The extent of the damage and the time frame for the damage to materialize into catastrophe are still what I am fleshing out.


Halliburton Gets Out of the U.S.

Halliburton's Dubai move sparks US political ire - Yahoo! News: "Does this mean they are going to quit paying taxes in America?' asked Clinton, a US presidential candidate.
'They get a lot of government contracts, is this going to affect the investigations that are going on? Because we have a lot of evidence of misuse of government contracts and how they have cheated the American soldier and cheated the American taxpayer,' Clinton, speaking in New York, said of Halliburton."

Halliburton is moving from a country where their name has been villified and been accused of all matter of cheating, stealing and fraud to a country that wants that business there, is welcoming them. And isn't it a hoot that the biggest Democratic face asks whether they will continue to pay U.S. taxes and voices concern that it will be more difficult to investigate them? If they really have defrauded the government, they really should be punished for that, but at this point, it all seems a bit more headline that heart of the matter. I can't fault them for moving to a place that will value the size and kinds of services Halliburton provides. I'm not sure who the U.S. government would turn to if they didn't have Halliburton to call on. Anyway, well wishes to them in their new abode.


Is It An Apology the Country Wants?

Gay advocates demand apology from Pace - Yahoo! News: "A gay advocacy group Tuesday demanded an apology from the Pentagon's top general for calling homosexuality immoral.
In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.
'General Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces,' the advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement on its Web site."

Look, I know there are a lot of people out there that still think that anything but missionary for the purposes of procreation is "unfavorable in the eyes of the Lord". Pace seems to be of the churchmen that show their religious and masculine worth or whatever with these kinds of statements and beliefs. Here's the problem. Having General Pace apologize for the statement does not change the belief. I know it is a first step and apologies are generally requested so that the offender feels humiliated. In this case, I fear that there are just a whole lot of people that will support him so that he doesn't feel so humiliated for his belief. I realize there have been great advancements for gays and all of the associated groups, but I still fear for the folks that don't fall into those categories, without a voice that will and are also so easily tossed aside. You know, the women who choose not to use their perfectly good uterus. Or the people that find sex unfulfilling, so they just stop having it. Most people want to encourage the people around them to be like them. Single people want their friends to stay single. Married people want their friends to get married and rarely hang out with single folk. Ok, I'm off track.
What we all know to be true is the boomerang of such stupid statements. People will start digging around on the General, and no doubt, he will have had several affairs or have some fetish that is administered by a very vocal woman-of-the-night. His glass house is bound to crash soon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Really, Let's Picture How This Must Have Happened

California law violates gays' rights, ex-priest says - Los Angeles Times: "Baker confessed to Mahony his interest in children 20 years ago. He was sent for treatment, allegedly molested more children, and was defrocked by Mahony in 2000."

Regardless of this man's discomfort with the law that will hopefully put him away, this passage just angered me. So this young priest goes to an elder priest and admits a sexual interest in little kids. The elder priest says that there is religious therapy for such problems, sends him away, and after therapy welcomes him back into a position of power. My suspicion is that the therapy was not a big chunk of the twenty year period, thus leading me to believe that this Baker was molesting children for much of that time.
Now, was it that Mahoney had such faith in the therapy, or was it that he understood this problem? Does he himself suffer from the desire for youngsters? Or maybe Baker presents this in confession where Mahoney had no choice under religious law but to keep this a secret. Whatever the circumstances, we would like to at least think that Mahoney would have reassigned a man who has this affliction or watched his every move after the therapy. I just can't understand how you know something like this and put the person back in a position of authority, with parents and children alike believing that their interests are served by this religious leader, knowing full well the danger they actually pose.
These were extremely dangerous secrets the Church kept. As time has gone by, more of these secrets have been exposed, but I fear that the people that come forward represent a whole lot of victims that will not come forward, silent victims.
You know, it also worries me that this problem, scandal, travesty has not hurt the infrastructure of the Church more. It pains me that people, knowing what this Church allowed to go on would still put ten percent into the collection plate every week. I know the Church does some things that we all value greatly (shelters, kitchens for homeless, etc.), but I haven't seen one church close or have to really change the way they do things. I guess I just feel sorry for those that had the awful experience, because they can drive through any city and see a Catholic Church that has not had to change a thing as a result of a now visible corrupt organization from the very top to the very bottom. How must that feel?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Let's Get Real About the "List"

Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam - March 7, 2007: "MARCH 7--Federal prosecutors want to gag an indicted former Washington, D.C. madam who has recently threatened to go public with details about her former customers. In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, investigators are seeking a protective order covering discovery material to be provided to Deborah Palfrey and her lawyers. Palfrey, 50, was indicted last week on racketeering and money laundering charges stemming from her operation of the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which closed last summer after 13 years in business. In their motion, a copy of which you'll find below, government lawyers claim that some discovery documents contain 'personal information' about Palfrey's former johns and prostitutes that is 'sensitive.' "

We would not be hearing about gag orders and the like, if the list were merely of the prostitutes. The gag orders and the tizzy to shut this woman up is all about the men in Washington not wanting people to know that they were both against prostitution, yet cutomers of prostitutes. This is as old a story as there is. Why do we think that the prostitution laws only concern the prostitute? The john walks away as if he's done not a thing wrong. The woman goes to jail. If the laws concerning these things were fair, then I would have no problem. Given that they aren't, I am fine with these men being embarassed. It's not like they will be charged or anything. The women on that very same phone record might be. No one is looking out for them. I am fine with legalizing prostitution. I am not okay with the laws being ridiculously unfair. While the phone records may be in Federal custody as evidence, I think it is this woman's prerogative as to who sees or writes about those records.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


10 Year Anniversary of my Flood Experience

The Cincinnati Post - It began with a drizzle: "It was 10 years ago today that a steady rain swelled the Licking River and sent water creeping, then rushing through the streets, swamping cars, covering porches, washing houses and trailers off their foundations and eventually covering 95 percent of the town.
The river level rose from 4 feet to 52 feet in two days. Five people drowned. Most of the 2,500 residents had to flee their homes. Nearly 500 buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged.
When the water receded, residents hunted through the mud to find something familiar and wondered how the city would ever survive. There was even brief talk of not rebuilding at all there, but moving the entire town to higher ground."

I lived and worked in Cincinnati in 1997. When Falmouth needed volunteers, I went down. I went to be nosey, to see in person what I had seen on the news. There were an embarassing number of rubber-neckers in town that day. After that drive through town, I went back to the school where the Red Cross had set up their operations. They directed me to the town library on or near Main Street. I, in my favorite Army boots, blue jeans (maybe black), and another favorite red plaid button down too big for me, I took difficult steps in the tacky mud covering the dark library floor. There still wasn't electricity and no one knew how long it would take to get it back. In many ways, it didn't matter, because no one who lived in town could stay there at night anyway. I distinctly remember what I was wearing that day, because I had to sadly throw away clothes that I so treasured. Thinking back on it, I didn't have enough smarts to know that the people I had met that day would have to throw away everything. My one outfit was not an issue to worry over. I had more clothes, more books, and my home intact.
I remember the librarian being a bit annoyed by my offer of my books, as I had a good softback Shakespeare collection and other childhood favorites. She was in an extremely stressful situation, so I understood when she explained that there would be government money and publisher's donations. She, in the midst of her annoyance, thanked me, but I remember thinking that she didn't mean it. I think she wondered why a kid, early twenties, would be there other than to gawk at their very personal tragedy. As dusk approached, they shut the doors of this one-room library, only to go sleep on cots at the school.
My lasting impression of that experience was from the gawking. I am so blessed that I chose to do what everyone had hoped we wouldn't. I saw the power of water. I thought of water as showers and spigots. This reminded me that water was also flowing rivers that can move 18-wheelers city blocks away from its parking spot. It can rip from an old lady all of the pictures of her kin and take them downstream guiltlessly. The water rose, stole, and left dangerous conditions that it took years to clean. A friend of mine with family in Falmouth told me her grandfather had a heart attack. The family and doctors believed that it was brought on by the stress of the flood, rinsing them of their possessions as well. It was amazing to have the flood there to put things in perspective only to have the health of a loved one put the flood in perspective.


Sharpton's Letter is a Must-Read!!

My link to Strom Thurmond - Los Angeles Times: "My great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton Sr., and his family were owned by a white woman named Julia Ann Thurmond shortly before the Civil War. They lived in, of all places, Liberty, Fla. Before that, they were the property of the white slave owner Alexander Sharpton of South Carolina. Sharpton's son, Jefferson, had married Miss Thurmond, and died in debt, so Sharpton sent my great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, and his family to Liberty in 1861 to work off the debts. Julia Thurmond Sharpton inherited my great-grandfather. Julia Thurmond's grandfather was also Strom Thurmond's great-grandfather.
When Coleman Sharpton finally shook off the chains of slavery, he became a turpentine dipper — work so awful that, when you finished a day's work, you had to wash yourself in gasoline to get the stickiness off your body. But the grim reality of my ancestry, and the ancestry of millions of African Americans, is that I am sure even the torturous job of turpentine dipping gave my great-grandfather joy because he was finally free and recognized as a man, no longer the property of someone else."

He has written a piece to remind us of our American ancestry. There is little doubt but that I am a descendant of owners. I'd like to think that I also have a progressive back there somewhere that aided in getting slaves to the North. I may never know that, but I have daydreamed of it since I was little. My Dad said something this morning that was brilliant (while maybe said before)... that whites knew the potential of their slaves. That is why they denied them education. I am sure some owners denied education out of a belief that the slaves were incapable of learning, but I think as time went on, there was a fear of their potential. We know now that the fear they had was justified. Every American, despite color, can be educated and show the same amount of potential that turns into success as white folk. We see amazing leaders, brilliant minds, role models, and heroes from this race that has come from adversity to, in many ways, thumb their noses at my ancestors. I stand with them and thumb my nose too.


"On the Record" Language and Other Political Dreams

McCain rejects CPAC invite - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: " 'It was a classical McCain move, dissing us by going behind our backs,' said William J. Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union."

I am amazed that any serious person speaking on behalf of a serious organization would use the word "dissing". Look, McCain has already lost my middle-of-the-road vote by saying that Roe should be overturned. I believe him to be a serious man, a hero, and a statesman, but he can't get my vote with that outlook. I think Gingrich is the same for me. I see both of them as real thinkers who really do want to effect change in a positive way. I see their motives for office as purer than most. I also believe, however, that the power of the religious right needs to be congregational and not governmental going into the next Presidential term. I think that is why we see this cross-party support for Giuliani. Yes, part of it is that we haven't forgotten who he was on that day, but part of it is that he does not seem so far one political direction or the other. Of all of the candidates so far, given what they have said so far, Giuliani strikes me as the most likely to pull a "West Wing" and invite a candidate from another party to complete his ticket. It is something the Clinton's would never do. It is something most far-right conservatives would never do, which is part of why we are so divided as a country. I know, I just suggested that a real Presidential candidate take a note from a television show. I also realize that the move was pure fiction, but I still see Rudy as the most likely to have the conviction of his abilities to make some of our wrongs right through that kind of move. Why can't our political dreams come true?

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