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4001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / CD, should I repost the same on the other threads or restate there?.eom on: September 26, 2007, 07:23:01 PM
4002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / State of American Health care Part 2 on: September 26, 2007, 07:18:55 PM
Part two:

One nation attempting to address the effects of class on health is the United Kingdom. Its 1998 Acheson Commission, which was charged with reducing health disparities, produced 39 policy recommendations spanning areas such as poverty, income, taxes and benefits, education, employment, housing, environment, transportation, and nutrition. Only 3 of these 39 recommendations pertained directly to health care: all policies that influence health should be evaluated for their effect on the disparities in health resulting from differences in socioeconomic status; a high priority should be given to the health of families with children; and income inequalities should be reduced and living standards among the poor improved.39 Although implementation of these recommendations has been incomplete, the mere fact of their existence means more attention is paid to the effects of social policies on health. This element is missing in U.S. policy discussions — as is evident from recent deliberations on income-tax policy.

Although inadequate health care accounts for only 10% of premature deaths, among the five determinants of health (Figure 1), health care receives by far the greatest share of resources and attention. In the case of heart disease, it is estimated that health care has accounted for half of the 40% decline in mortality over the past two decades.40 (It may be that exclusive reliance on international mortality comparisons shortchanges the results of America's health care system. Perhaps the high U.S. rates of medical-technology use translate into comparatively better function. To date, there are no good international comparisons of functional status to test that theory, but if it could be substantiated, there would be an even more compelling claim for expanded health insurance coverage.) U.S. expenditures on health care in 2006 were an estimated $2.1 trillion, accounting for 16% of our gross domestic product.41 Few other countries even reach double digits in health care spending.

There are two basic ways in which health care can affect health status: quality and access. Although qualitative deficiencies in U.S. health care have been widely documented,42 there is no evidence that its performance in this dimension is worse than that of other OECD nations. In the area of access, however, we trail nearly all the countries: 45 million U.S. citizens (plus millions of immigrants) lack health insurance, and millions more are seriously underinsured. Lack of health insurance leads to poor health.43 Not surprisingly, the uninsured are disproportionately represented among the lower socioeconomic classes.

Environmental factors, such as lead paint, polluted air and water, dangerous neighborhoods, and the lack of outlets for physical activity, also contribute to premature death. People with lower socioeconomic status have greater exposure to these health-compromising conditions. As with social determinants of health and health insurance coverage, remedies for environmental risk factors lie predominantly in the political arena.44

The Case for Concentrating on the Less Fortunate

Since all the actionable determinants of health — personal behavior, social factors, health care, and the environment — disproportionately affect the poor, strategies to improve national health rankings must focus on this population. To the extent that the United States has a health strategy, its focus is on the development of new medical technologies and support for basic biomedical research. We already lead the world in the per capita use of most diagnostic and therapeutic medical technologies, and we have recently doubled the budget for the National Institutes of Health. But these popular achievements are unlikely to improve our relative performance on health. It is arguable that the status quo is an accurate expression of the national political will — a relentless search for better health among the middle and upper classes. This pursuit is also evident in how we consistently outspend all other countries in the use of alternative medicines and cosmetic surgeries and in how frequently health "cures" and "scares" are featured in the popular media.45 The result is that only when the middle class feels threatened by external menaces (e.g., secondhand tobacco smoke, bioterrorism, and airplane exposure to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) will it embrace public health measures. In contrast, our investment in improving population health — whether judged on the basis of support for research, insurance coverage, or government-sponsored public health activities — is anemic.46,47,48 Although the Department of Health and Human Services periodically produces admirable population health goals — most recently, the Healthy People 2010 objectives49 — no government department or agency has the responsibility and authority to meet these goals, and the importance of achieving them has yet to penetrate the political process.

Why Don't Americans Focus on Factors That Can Improve Health?

The comparatively weak health status of the United States stems from two fundamental aspects of its political economy. The first is that the disadvantaged are less well represented in the political sphere here than in most other developed countries, which often have an active labor movement and robust labor parties. Without a strong voice from Americans of low socioeconomic status, citizen health advocacy in the United States coalesces around particular illnesses, such as breast cancer, human immunodeficiency virus infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV–AIDS), and autism. These efforts are led by middle-class advocates whose lives have been touched by the disease. There have been a few successful public advocacy campaigns on issues of population health — efforts to ban exposure to secondhand smoke or to curtail drunk driving — but such efforts are relatively uncommon.44 Because the biggest gains in population health will come from attention to the less well off, little is likely to change unless they have a political voice and use it to argue for more resources to improve health-related behaviors, reduce social disparities, increase access to health care, and reduce environmental threats. Social advocacy in the United States is also fragmented by our notions of race and class.33 To the extent that poverty is viewed as an issue of racial injustice, it ignores the many whites who are poor, thereby reducing the ranks of potential advocates.

The relatively limited role of government in the U.S. health care system is the second explanation. Many are familiar with our outlier status as the only developed nation without universal health care coverage.50 Less obvious is the dispersed and relatively weak status of the various agencies responsible for population health and the fact that they are so disconnected from the delivery of health services. In addition, the American emphasis on the value of individual responsibility creates a reluctance to intervene in what are seen as personal behavioral choices.

How Can the Nation's Health Improve?

Given that the political dynamics of the United States are unlikely to change soon and that the less fortunate will continue to have weak representation, are we consigned to a low-tier status when it comes to population health? In my view, there is room for cautious optimism. One reason is that despite the epidemics of HIV–AIDS and obesity, our population has never been healthier, even though it lags behind so many other countries. The gain has come from improvements in personal behavior (e.g., tobacco control), social and environmental factors (e.g., reduced rates of homicide and motor-vehicle accidents and the introduction of fluoridated water), and medical care (e.g., vaccines and cardiovascular drugs). The largest potential for further improvement in population health lies in behavioral risk factors, especially smoking and obesity. We already have tools at hand to make progress in tobacco control, and some of these tools are applicable to obesity. Improvement in most of the other factors requires political action, starting with relentless measurement of and focus on actual health status and the actions that could improve it. Inaction means acceptance of America's poor health status.

Improving population health would be more than a statistical accomplishment. It could enhance the productivity of the workforce and boost the national economy, reduce health care expenditures, and most important, improve people's lives. But in the absence of a strong political voice from the less fortunate themselves, it is incumbent on health care professionals, especially physicians, to become champions for population health. This sense of purpose resonates with our deepest professional values and is the reason why many chose medicine as a profession. It is also one of the most productive expressions of patriotism. Americans take great pride in asserting that we are number one in terms of wealth, number of Nobel Prizes, and military strength. Why don't we try to become number one in health?***

4003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Care Economics on: September 26, 2007, 07:16:44 PM
I posted this as a copied page vs a direct link because the direct link brings no subscribers into the subscriber area.  Unfortunately, this method loses the slides but the main verbiage of the article is complete.

In any case here is one lecturer's opinion.  I do not offer it as the gospel, or necessarily my view, but just as one distinguished doctor's opinion.  Thoughts are most welcome:

The New England Journal of Medicine

Shattuck Lecture   
Volume 357:1221-1228       September 20, 2007       Number 12
We Can Do Better — Improving the Health of the American People
Steven A. Schroeder, M.D.

***The United States spends more on health care than any other nation in the world, yet it ranks poorly on nearly every measure of health status. How can this be? What explains this apparent paradox?

The two-part answer is deceptively simple — first, the pathways to better health do not generally depend on better health care, and second, even in those instances in which health care is important, too many Americans do not receive it, receive it too late, or receive poor-quality care. In this lecture, I first summarize where the United States stands in international rankings of health status. Next, using the concept of determinants of premature death as a key measure of health status, I discuss pathways to improvement, emphasizing lessons learned from tobacco control and acknowledging the reality that better health (lower mortality and a higher level of functioning) cannot be achieved without paying greater attention to poor Americans. I conclude with speculations on why we have not focused on improving health in the United States and what it would take to make that happen.

Health Status of the American Public

Among the 30 developed nations that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks near the bottom on most standard measures of health status (Table 1).1,2,3,4 (One measure on which the United States does better is life expectancy from the age of 65 years, possibly reflecting the comprehensive health insurance provided for this segment of the population.) Among the 192 nations for which 2004 data are available, the United States ranks 46th in average life expectancy from birth and 42nd in infant mortality.5,6 It is remarkable how complacent the public and the medical profession are in their acceptance of these unfavorable comparisons, especially in light of how carefully we track health-systems measures, such as the size of the budget for the National Institutes of Health, trends in national spending on health, and the number of Americans who lack health insurance. One reason for the complacency may be the rationalization that the United States is more ethnically heterogeneous than the nations at the top of the rankings, such as Japan, Switzerland, and Iceland. It is true that within the United States there are large disparities in health status — by geographic area, race and ethnic group, and class.7,8,9 But even when comparisons are limited to white Americans, our performance is dismal (Table 1). And even if the health status of white Americans matched that in the leading nations, it would still be incumbent on us to improve the health of the entire nation.

Pathways to Improving Population Health

Health is influenced by factors in five domains — genetics, social circumstances, environmental exposures, behavioral patterns, and health care (Figure 1).10,11 When it comes to reducing early deaths, medical care has a relatively minor role. Even if the entire U.S. population had access to excellent medical care — which it does not — only a small fraction of these deaths could be prevented. The single greatest opportunity to improve health and reduce premature deaths lies in personal behavior. In fact, behavioral causes account for nearly 40% of all deaths in the United States.12 Although there has been disagreement over the actual number of deaths that can be attributed to obesity and physical inactivity combined, it is clear that this pair of factors and smoking are the top two behavioral causes of premature death (Figure 2).12

Addressing Unhealthy Behaviol

Clinicians and policymakers may question whether behavior is susceptible to change or whether attempts to change behavior lie outside the province of traditional medical care.13 They may expect future successes to follow the pattern whereby immunization and antibiotics improved health in the 20th century. If the public's health is to improve, however, that improvement is more likely to come from behavioral change than from technological innovation. Experience demonstrates that it is in fact possible to change behavior, as illustrated by increased seat-belt use and decreased consumption of products high in saturated fat. The case of tobacco best demonstrates how rapidly positive behavioral change can occur.

The Case of Tobacco

The prevalence of smoking in the United States declined among men from 57% in 1955 to 23% in 2005 and among women from 34% in 1965 to 18% in 2005.14,15 Why did tobacco use fall so rapidly? The 1964 report of the surgeon general, which linked smoking and lung cancer, was followed by multiple reports connecting active and passive smoking to myriad other diseases. Early antismoking advocates, initially isolated, became emboldened by the cascade of scientific evidence, especially with respect to the risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. Counter-marketing — first in the 1960s and more recently by several states and the American Legacy Foundation's "truth®" campaign — linked the creativity of Madison Avenue with messages about the duplicity of the tobacco industry to produce compelling antismoking messages16 (an antismoking advertisement is available with the full text of this article at Laws, regulations, and litigation, particularly at the state and community levels, led to smoke-free public places and increases in the tax on cigarettes — two of the strongest evidence-based tobacco-control measures.14,17,18 In this regard, local governments have been far ahead of the federal government, and they have inspired European countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom to make public places smoke-free.14,19 In addition, new medications have augmented face-to-face and telephone counseling techniques to increase the odds that clinicians can help smokers quit.15,20,21

It is tempting to be lulled by this progress and shift attention to other problems, such as the obesity epidemic. But there are still 44.5 million smokers in the United States, and each year tobacco use kills 435,000 Americans, who die up to 15 years earlier than nonsmokers and who often spend their final years ravaged by dyspnea and pain.14,20 In addition, smoking among pregnant women is a major contributor to premature births and infant mortality.20 Smoking is increasingly concentrated in the lower socioeconomic classes and among those with mental illness or problems with substance abuse.15,22,23 People with chronic mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than others, and a large percentage of those years are lost because of smoking.24 Estimates from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California at San Francisco, which are based on the high rates and intensity (number of cigarettes per day plus the degree to which each is finished) of tobacco use in these populations, indicate that as many as 200,000 of the 435,000 Americans who die prematurely each year from tobacco-related deaths are people with chronic mental illness, substance-abuse problems, or both.22,25 Understanding why they smoke and how to help them quit should be a key national research priority. Given the effects of smoking on health, the relative inattention to tobacco by those federal and state agencies charged with protecting the public health is baffling and disappointing.

The United States is approaching a "tobacco tipping point" — a state of greatly reduced smoking prevalence. There are already low rates of smoking in some segments of the population, including physicians (about 2%), people with a postgraduate education (8%), and residents of the states of Utah (11%) and California (14%).25 When Kaiser Permanente of northern California implemented a multisystem approach to help smokers quit, the smoking rate dropped from 12.2% to 9.2% in just 3 years.25 Two basic strategies would enable the United States to meet its Healthy People 2010 tobacco-use objective of 12% population prevalence: keep young people from starting to smoke and help smokers quit. Of the two strategies, smoking cessation has by far the larger short-term impact. Of the current 44.5 million smokers, 70% claim they would like to quit.20 Assuming that one half of those 31 million potential nonsmokers will die because of smoking, that translates into 15.5 million potentially preventable premature deaths.20,26 Merely increasing the baseline quit rate from the current 2.5% of smokers to 10% — a rate seen in placebo groups in most published trials of the new cessation drugs — would prevent 1,170,000 premature deaths. No other medical or public health intervention approaches this degree of impact. And we already have the tools to accomplish it.14,27

Is Obesity the Next Tobacco?

Although there is still much to do in tobacco control, it is nevertheless touted as a model for combating obesity, the other major, potentially preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. Smoking and obesity share many characteristics (Table 2). Both are highly prevalent, start in childhood or adolescence, were relatively uncommon until the first (smoking) or second (obesity) half of the 20th century, are major risk factors for chronic disease, involve intensively marketed products, are more common in low socioeconomic classes, exhibit major regional variations (with higher rates in southern and poorer states), carry a stigma, are difficult to treat, and are less enthusiastically embraced by clinicians than other risk factors for medical conditions.

Nonetheless, obesity differs from smoking in many ways (Table 2). The binary definition of smoking status (smoker or nonsmoker) does not apply to obesity. Body-mass index, the most widely used measure of obesity, misclassifies as overweight people who have large muscle mass, such as California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not biologically possible to stop eating, and unlike moderate smoking, eating a moderate amount of food is not hazardous. There is no addictive analogue to nicotine in food. Nonsmokers mobilize against tobacco because they fear injury from secondhand exposure, which is not a peril that attends obesity. The food industry is less concentrated than the tobacco industry, and although its advertising for children has been criticized as predatory and its ingredient-labeling practices as deceptive, it has yet to fall into the ill repute of the tobacco industry. For these reasons, litigation is a more problematic strategy, and industry payouts — such as the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 state attorneys general to recapture the Medicaid costs of treating tobacco-related diseases — are less likely.14 Finally, except for the invasive option of bariatric surgery, there are even fewer clinical tools available for treating obesity than there are for treating addiction to smoking.

Several changes in policy have been proposed to help combat obesity.28,29,30 Selective taxes and subsidies could be used as incentives to change the foods that are grown, brought to market, and consumed, though the politics involved in designating favored and penalized foods would be fierce.31 Restrictions could also apply to the use of food stamps. Given recent data indicating that children see from 27 to 48 food advertisements for each 1 promoting fitness or nutrition, regulations could be put in place to shift that balance or to mandate support for sustained social-marketing efforts such as the "truth®" campaign against smoking.16,32 Requiring more accurate labeling of caloric content and ingredients, especially in fast-food outlets, could make customers more aware of what they are eating and induce manufacturers to alter food composition. Better pharmaceutical products and counseling programs could motivate clinicians to view obesity treatment more enthusiastically. In contrast to these changes in policy, which will require national legislation, regulation, or research investment, change is already under way at the local level. Some schools have banned the sale of soft drinks and now offer more nutritionally balanced lunches. Opportunities for physical activity at work, in school, and in the community have been expanded in a small but growing number of locations.

Nonbehavioral Causes of Premature Death

Improving population health will also require addressing the nonbehavioral determinants of health that we can influence: social, health care, and environmental factors. (To date, we lack tools to change our genes, although behavioral and environmental factors can modify the expression of genetic risks such as obesity.) With respect to social factors, people with lower socioeconomic status die earlier and have more disability than those with higher socioeconomic status, and this pattern holds true in a stepwise fashion from the lowest to the highest classes.33,34,35,36,37,38 In this context, class is a composite construct of income, total wealth, education, employment, and residential neighborhood. One reason for the class gradient in health is that people in lower classes are more likely to have unhealthy behaviors, in part because of inadequate local food choices and recreational opportunities. Yet even when behavior is held constant, people in lower classes are less healthy and die earlier than others.33,34,35,36,37,38 It is likely that the deleterious influence of class on health reflects both absolute and relative material deprivation at the lower end of the spectrum and psychosocial stress along the entire continuum. Unlike the factors of health care and behavior, class has been an "ignored determinant of the nation's health."33 Disparities in health care are of concern to some policymakers and researchers, but because the United States uses race and ethnic group rather than class as the filter through which social differences are analyzed, studies often highlight disparities in the receipt of health care that are based on race and ethnic group rather than on class.

But aren't class gradients a fixture of all societies? And if so, can they ever be diminished? The fact is that nations differ greatly in their degree of social inequality and that — even in the United States — earning potential and tax policies have fluctuated over time, resulting in a narrowing or widening of class differences. There are ways to address the effects of class on health.33 More investment could be made in research efforts designed to improve our understanding of the connection between class and health. More fundamental, however, is the recognition that social policies involving basic aspects of life and well-being (e.g., education, taxation, transportation, and housing) have important health consequences. Just as the construction of new buildings now requires environmental-impact analyses, taxation policies could be subjected to health-impact analyses. When public policies widen the gap between rich and poor, they may also have a negative effect on population health. One reason the United States does poorly in international health comparisons may be that we value entrepreneurialism over egalitarianism. Our willingness to tolerate large gaps in income, total wealth, educational quality, and housing has unintended health consequences. Until we are willing to confront this reality, our performance on measures of health will suffer.

4004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Microsoft's new search engine on: September 26, 2007, 06:20:06 PM
I tried using it for a hobby I used to like and the search does seem superior to previous engines insofar as it was more relevant to my querie.  Apparantly this site was leaked by a MSFT before the initial launch next week:
4005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Onstar on: September 26, 2007, 06:51:01 AM
Oh, and by the way we've also seen the obvious tie between and auto makers who use music extensively in their advertising.  Especially for and gm who love to use the coutnry stars and their music to sell to trucks to the red neck crowd.

Is it beyond the thoughts of a rational person to think GPS systems could not and are not being used to track people of interest?  Maybe not at the top coporate level, but how much would it take to bribe one of their people to do this?   I don't have Onstar or related GPS in my vehicle (unless covertly placed there), but it ain't hard to think this isn't being used for other purposes than just safety data:

The companies would of course deny it.  But say if it were true who is going to know and don't think any law enforcement would even give a hoot about it were happening.  People like to express worry about the Feds watching us.  The real danger is the private industries that do IMO.
4006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Clear channel on: September 26, 2007, 06:42:20 AM
Not really about music per se but related to the music "industry".

Clear Channel owns billboard as well as other adverstising outlets along with other probably other connections throughout the media industry.  People who know my posts know I've posted how my wife and I are stalked because she is a genius at writing music lyrics that sell and she has had hundreds stolen in many different ways.

Well when we were in Florida I used to carry a weapon with me when I would walk the dogs around the gulf course at night.  One time a leaned over to adjust my dog's lease and I suddenly realized my shirt tail popped up exposing the handgun in the back of my pants.  Well as I pulled down my shirt I saw this guy driving around and turning the corner behind me and leaning over in his car watching what I was doing.  I saw this guy several times drive by my house.  I also saw him standing by my car at a gas station when I saw them trying to get into my car where I would usually stop for coffee and a roll on the way to work.  I also saw his vehicle several states away while my wife and I were driving up North and they were attempting to break in our Uhaul.  They were even following us with another Uhaul to try to make a swicth but that didn't work.  So I know this guy was stalking me.

Anyway a week after this guy saw me inadvertently exposed my concealed weapon while driving home from work I pass a billboard.
On the way to work I would pass several billboards many of them advertising the country singers all of whom were singing and many claiming to have written my wife's music lyrics.  This day on the billboard was a message that was clearly and undeniably to me.  It stated that even simply pulling a gun was an automatic sentence of years (if forgot the number) in jail and using the gun would be like 25 years plus.

It all fits.  Clear Channel whose radio outlets are tied in with "charts" and the club of people who control what gets on the air also owns and controls thousands of billboards around the country.  They also are networked with other advertisers and obvioulsy have contacts all over the industry as well.  Where do their "writers" get their ideas from?  Well my wife and I say things in our house where we are certain we are being listened to by professional thieves whose job it is is to watch us and think of ways to get to my wife's lyrics.  Many of the jokes we say or lines we come up with we later hear on commercials, occasionally (since we don't ordinarily watch cartoons we don't know for sure) in cartoons, and even other places.  some of these may well be coincidences but some are not.  I wonder how many other people these "writiers" monitor  to get "ideas" from for their advertising?
4007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Care Economics on: September 23, 2007, 10:58:57 AM
Mr. Stossel has some good points.

I don't agree with all.  I don't know what all the fuss is about Moore's movie.  It really adds nothing to the debate except for as Mr. Stossel puts it more, "sob stories".  I agree whole heartedly that the insurance company has a reasonable right to refuse treatments that are only a theory and not proven to help as in the sob story about the woman with kidney cancer.  I wonder if it was pointed out that many kidney cancers are due to cigarettes.  I bet not.  A friend of mine did bone marrow transplants for women with breast cancer.  He later admitted they didn't work - possibly around 1999 as Stossel's story pointed out - I don't recall exactly.

***But Mr. Moore is so busy following the money that he doesn't take the time to follow the science. Treating cancer patients with bone-marrow transplants has a dubious history.***

This statement is so true.  Did Moore point out the John Edwards made a fortune on science that turned out to be untrue?  If Edwards was a Republican he might have.

***But does Mr. Moore think, even for a second, that any of the government systems he touts in his movie would have provided a bone-marrow transplant to Ms. Pierce's husband? Fat chance.***

I don't know if the government would or not.  I thought the NIH and other sponsers of experimental treatments are for this.

***Mr. Moore thinks that profit is the enemy and government is the answer. The opposite is true. Profit is what has created the amazing scientific innovations that the U.S. offers to the world. If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed, and spending is controlled by politicians more influenced by the sob story of the moment than by medical science.***

I agree profit is not the enemy and the proof of that is the US leads in health care innovation.  I agree with the other statements but Stossel fails to point out that health care under private insurance is also rationed and inadequate.  Look at simply the large number of people who can't afford their own health insurance, or those with "pre-existing" conditions who cannot, for any price, get health coverage.  And these are the people that need it most!  Many fall throught the cracks.  They are not disabled so they don't qualify for disability Medicare.  Yet they do not qualify for Medicaid either.

4008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's not about free speech - I don't care what they say on: September 22, 2007, 08:40:40 PM
I don't believe the Iranian loon being allowed to speak at Columbia is about freedom of speech at all.

It's more about a liberal campus' political agenda.  They hate Bush and that's it - period.

Maybe they could have made a deal.  Bush gets allowed to speak - uninterrupted at Iran's most prostegious university and the speech is broadcast accross all of Iran to all Iranians.

4009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Republican power is ancient history soon on: September 16, 2007, 10:32:08 AM
The high water mark for Republicans was 2000.  It may well be another 50 years before we see that party come back.  With the Latin wave it is government controlled by Democrats from here on in as it looks now:
4010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 16, 2007, 10:22:51 AM
Certainly waterboarding is a form of torture.  If it is done to save lives and it works than that is not unreasonable IMO even if some innocent people have to suffer from it.  I assume that protocols are in place to avoid abusing this means of extracting information from enemies.   Protocols that would reduce risk of hurting innocents.

Certainly what Saddam did is far far worse.

I tried watching some of the video tapes posted by GM.  I couldn't finish.

And the left and NYT go after scandals like making a couple of guys squat naked together or stand on one leg as something that is even remotely the atrocities the looney birds do to each other in the name of allah or their idiot tribes over there in these other countries.

The left has their head on backwards.

How ironic - the torture videos from Saddam are so horrible the wonderful Western media "protects" us from them yet they choose to show and go on about waterboarding, dog collars, dog barkings, detention centers and suc from the US side as some sort of horror.  So of course the world sees the pictures of our purported travesties and rails against us but does not *see* what the Muslims do and thus their far far worse atrocities get off with little more than "yes that is bad , but".   

4011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Greenspan - a second class ass on: September 15, 2007, 10:03:00 PM
I have to say this guy is one total jerk.

OK he claims Clinton is a towering intellect - like you guessed it - himself.

I gotta love this one:

"Greenspan interviewed Clinton for the book and clearly admires him. "President Clinton's old-fashioned attitude toward debt might have had a more lasting effect on the nation's priorities. Instead, his influence was diluted by the uproar about Monica Lewinsky." When he first heard and read details of the Clinton-Lewinsky encounters, Greenspan writes, "I was incredulous. 'There is no way these stories could be correct,' I told my friends. 'No way.' " Later, when it was verified, Greenspan says, "I wondered how the president could take such a risk. It seemed so alien to the Bill Clinton I knew, and made me feel disappointed and sad."

I am no towering intellect, yet I was not fooled by a blatant serial bull shit artist like Clinton for one second.  But alas, the greatest mind (in his own mind) of the Fed was fooled.  Well I guess this self serving jerk (didn't he sleep around with some Holywood starlets?) is not as sharp as he thinks.
4012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 15, 2007, 08:47:37 AM
***No Republican should think she is going to be easy to beat***

On Drudge today Newt calls the '08 election - 80% likely the Dems will win.  He didn't name Hillary but obviously he thinks she will win. 

I believe her populist views will carry her to victory.

Clinton made polling his central political war strategy.  That way *his* "views" were/are almost always  mere expressions of the *majority* view found in polls.  How can this strategy be beaten when they simply jump to the majority position like flies chase dodoo?  He would get his ugly nose in the TV every single day and in our faces and say something that he knew was agreed on by a majority listeners.  Clintons are not original thinkers by any stretch of the imagination like Newt is IMO.

OTOH what I don't quite get is although he supposedly left office with a popularity of over 60% he never got more than 48% popular vote in the national election.
4013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / GilderLNOP on: September 14, 2007, 08:21:47 AM
Crafty and Rick,

LNOP's recent meteoric rise seems to be temporally related to Cramer and the Street's mention of it.  I suppose the private placement with Cheney and the Street's mention is no coincidence either. Sounds to me like it was orchestrated.

I've been burned so badly in the past listening to Gilder and drinking his koolaid I have been hesitant to get into this one though it sounds like it has the technological edge. We've learned that having the technological edge isn't always enough.

When did he say Terayon (another Israeli company) would follow Qualcomm "over the rainbow" - around 1999 or 2000.  Its price soared to well into the 200s.   What is the price now, 1 or 2 bucks?  Are the Israeli's running LNOP more attuned than the brothers who managed Terayon to oblivion?  I am not being sarcastic.  I don't know the answer to this.   But clearly we have to have not only tech brains but business brains to have any chance of a homerun.  (along with a big dose of luck)

That is the problem with these kinds of tech picks.  They can go up 1000% (like QCOM) or more frequently drop 95% (like TERN, AVNX and countless others).

I learned if nothing else whatever one invests into these crap shoots - one better be willing to risk all of the investment which should be small and reasonable.  Great technology aside these investments are only one step above venture capital investments in myHO. 

Every time my greed fires me up to "get in" and make great profits I go through the above safety valve analysis that I've learned the hard way.  This one will turn out to be a great investment - why - because I am holding off.

4014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Its a party for immigrants today on: September 14, 2007, 07:02:30 AM
I'm tired of hearing how tough the immigrants of today have it and how as in Colin Powel's words this country wouldn't survive without them.  What a bunch of crock.

When my grandparents came off the boat circa turn of century they didn't get this:
4015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / please explain what you mean on: September 08, 2007, 08:37:16 PM
GM, what does this mean:

*triad affiliated bagman*
4016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / HSU, the Chinese connection? on: September 08, 2007, 10:16:40 AM
Of course there is a report that it is a *Republican* initiated rumor that Hsu is a Chinese spy funneling moneys to China's preferred presidential candidate(s).  But I have already wondered this same theory myself.  I would not be surprised to learn if this is more than just a theory. Conversely, I will not even know if I should believe it if comes out in the news that this was not the case.  A bigger question is, if it is a Chinese directed payoff, then why does China prefer the Clintons?  I already suspect the answer but will anyone in the media ask and explore this?  Time will hopefully bear fruit.

There is a reason that many foregners "love" the Clintons.  But it ain't because it is in *our* best interests.

Please God.  Save us from this couple's delusional thinking that they alone can save the world from itself.
Not another eight years of this pathological couple.  As Republican, there is almost no other Democrat I would not prefer.
Than again.  In the last several years the Republicans have been a major disppointment too.  Money, power, corruption.  They threw it all away IMHO.
4017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / wikipedia/Willey/break-ins on: September 08, 2007, 09:17:12 AM
The idea behind wikipedia is great but readers can have absolutely no idea if the information one reads in it is even accurate, slanted or changed.

Reading this entry on Kathleen Willey one has to assume it is written by an attorney who has a pro-Clinton agenda.  It is so blantant an effort to discredit her that it sounds like it came right of Lani Davis mouth:

I tend to believe Willey at least as far as her accounts of harrasment.  As a victim of similar type of obnoxious escapades her story about someone sneaking into her home to get an advance manuscript so they can have their army of hacks all ready to discredit any more of her allegations the second it hits the media outlets.

Of course "there is no evidence to support her claim" of house entry.  Of course not.  People who do these things for well funded sponsers like subordinates of the Clintons are professional.   they may be ex FBI, or others trained in spying (ex military types, ex Cia etc.) or just well honed thieves who now how to do this without leaving evidence.  Willey is watched very closely.  Her daily habits, friends, family work places shopping etc are all mapped out.  A maid, or plumber, or neighbor is paid off to supply a map of her house, or their is a buggind device or camera place somewhere (they can be so small you would have to tear the house apart to find it)
and they have someone who knows how to easily pick the lock (or they made a copy of the key) to enter.  Usually around 4AM seems to be the set time when most people are out asleep to do this.  And they enter knowing where to go to start with and exactly what they are looking for, take only that leaving Willey looking like an idiot saying someone came into her house and took a manuscript and the police (if she was lucky) might right up a report.  In that report it will be clear that there was no evidence of a break-in (of course - prof thieves don't *break* in the door - they pick the lock or had earlier found a way to copy the key - and that is it.  End of story.  The police do nothing else.  Well mam there is no evidence of a crime, we have no witnesses, what you allege was taken was no more than a piece of paper and there is nothing we can do.  Even if you get a sympathetic police officer there will be someone in the police department who is "connected" who will keep the crooks informed of any police action so that can be stymied too just in case.  It is all well planned, escape routes, lookouts, backup plans, aliby stories were all planned and ready for action from the start just in case something did go wrong which it usually doesn't because of the planning, the crooks patience at waiting for the right moment.

And most of all - there is no connectiion to the Clintons.  Whoever did this will have no direct ties to the Clintons and of course no one will investigate anyway.  And of course Bill and Hill the paradigms of honesty, integrity, and law abiding laywer/citizens will just scoff at the idea of any involvement of such a thing.  All the while their hacks will be ready to crash all the networks with a plan to discredit Willet the second any potential damaging information comes out in the media.

I have been through this kind of bullshit many times with my wifes music lyrics.  Let me just say that this is a perfect example of what I have been saying all along.  This is exactly what money can do for one who wants to get around the law - if one knows the right people with the know how and connections to get these things done.  This is absolutely rampant in the music industry, probably in the tech industry, and probably in Washington.

4018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Wow - theory of dinosaur extinction on: September 06, 2007, 08:18:51 AM
As a kid who grew up with a fascination for dinosaurs I find this theory of the cause of their extinction 65 million years ago incredible:

It boggles my mind the ways scientists are able now able solve the mysteries of the past.
4019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Britain same immigration situation as US on: September 02, 2007, 12:22:47 PM
In the opinion of Cal Thomas:
4020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Real field of dreams on: September 02, 2007, 10:41:46 AM
The rookie's no-hitter almost makes me want to be a baseball fan again.  No obvious help from performance enhancing drugs.  The next Greg Maddux?  By the way anyone know if Prince Fielder related to Cecil - my favorite player of the 90's?

Growing up in the NYC metropolitan area in the 60's and 70's I was a Yankee fan too.  During the days of Murcer, White, Michael, Clarke, Alou, Pepitone, Munson, (saw Mantle ground out a couple of times), Howard, Boomer Bloomberg, and more.

Remember Reggie Jackson throwing a guy out at the plate from right and receiving a standing ovation.  The very next half of the inning he walked and got picked off first only to be booed and fans screaming "bum".  Only in NY!
4021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / *No* consensus that man is responsible for global warming on: August 31, 2007, 07:43:13 AM
A survey of recent scientific articles from 2004 to 2007 show that there is no clear consensus that man is causing global warming:
4022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jonah Goldberg - Vick on: August 25, 2007, 10:27:46 AM
I don't know what to think of Vick.  As someone who has three dogs I find it hard to understand why people would think it a sport to torture lower animals than us, but this is not new.   I am not clear how cultural this is. I don't see anyone even dare ask.  But to me anyone who thinks this is cool has their ass on backwards.  And we see children being brought up to respect this and admire this sadistic "game"?   Just another chapter in the book titled "worst of man".
4023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / World "oligarcies" are starting to jell on: August 17, 2007, 08:03:06 AM
Well it seemed to me some years back the world would be split into large geopolitical groups.  Europe vs. N America, vs S america vs China etc.  Perhpas economic globalization will counter this trend but somehow I don't think so.

Is this the beginning of a period of China-Russia dominating Asia vs America-Europe (Post Sarkozy)?  Which camp is Africa going to wind up in?  Chavez is trying to wrest control of S America and some of the Caribbean.  I presume he would like to tie up with the Communists and pseudo-communists.

4024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More freedom in the chinese media? on: August 13, 2007, 09:39:55 AM
I find this story about corruption in China amazing because it was first reported in *Chinese* media.  I would think that in the past those reporting this corruption, and not those participating in the corruption would have been the ones in trouble.
4025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: Newt in or out by Fall on: August 12, 2007, 11:41:55 PM
Dick Morris' opinion that Gingrich will announce by Fall.  I wish Newt had more of John McCain's character, or that McCain had more of Newt's ideas and ingenuity.  I don't really see how Newt could win in such a divided electorate.  He must have as high *negative* ratings as Hillary but just from the opposite aisles of the political spectrum.  Perhaps he could garner enough middle ground support like Hillary with similar populist platforms.
4026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Immigration on: August 12, 2007, 11:31:11 PM
***If he had only become a janitor, would his story still be as inspirational?***

Are you kidding?

***What about the hundreds of thousands of other illegals who don't quite make it to doctor status? Are their stories not worth telling?***

Generally yes.  IMO this is *not* like the millions of Grapes of Wrath stories that can *all* be told with *one* novel.   Just as boring and mundane as my going to medical school and not a story that is worth telling.  Jjust as the guy who jumped the fence and came to the US to aspire to janitorhood is a story that I find not interesting. (I suppose you do?)  So I went to med school. So some guy came here and landed a job as a janitor which he probably did in the country of origin. 

As for myself, I didn't have nearly the adversity this guy had.  Either you're just putting me on or if you really can't see the difference than I might as well not bother posting here.

***But can you explain the apparent hypocrisy of praising this illegal while denigrating those who just want a better life and don't achieve "success"?***

I agree with you about this point.   Your point about hypocrisy is valid.  Yes one could point out he was a criminal just like all illegals regardless of outcome.  And I agree outcome doesn't excuse his initial starting out by breaking our laws.

All day long I am surrounded by people who are from somewhere else.  How many are here legally or not I don't know.  But there is no question they are coming by the millions.  And contrary to what we are hearing many are not from Mexico.

4027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / baseball on: August 12, 2007, 11:37:57 AM
Looking at Alex Rodriguez's numbers are amazing when one sees he is only 32 years old.

He already has hall of fame numbers the likes of Willie McCovey, Eddie Matthews, Ernie Banks and others.

But every time I see this kind of thing I can't help but wonder.  Is he using or not?

I have no idea.  Just kind of taints it for everyone in the game.  Even those who don't use.  I still suggest they make it legal.  May as well.   At least get out and into the open.

Anyway, if he stays healthy he should overtake Bonds.;_ylt=AlwqYp5AA5zv5Wy3gRBnF9SFCLcF
4028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / voice recognition article on: August 11, 2007, 09:45:29 PM
Voice recognition accuracy is up to 95% and 99% with slight adjustments.  170 plus words a minute!
4029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Remarkable story of illegal migrant to neurosurgeon on: August 11, 2007, 09:11:13 PM
In the recent issue of this medical journal is a remarkable story of a 19 year old illegal immigrant who spoke no English and with $65 in his pocket began a journey that would take him to Harvard medical school and to a professorship of neurosurgery and oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

It makes one proud to be in a country where such opportunity is available.  Yet this individual's achievements are still quite rare.

Apparantly he could not have done this at all in Mexico.  What our politicians and left leaning media should be asking and making clear the reasons why people cannot do this in Mexico.   Is it that corrupt in Mexico?  Why is there not the same opportunity in a country like Mexico?  Why is not education not as available there?  Etc.

I am in awe of stories like these.  Compare this to the "little" narcisistic punks we hear about every day in the news like Spears, Hilton, Smith, Bonds.   Anyway I digress while I let off steam about our sick love of celebritism.

The read a bit long but worth the read for a real uplifting and inspiring story:

The New England Journal of Medicine

 Volume 357:529-531       August 9, 2007       Number 6

*Terra Firma — A Journey from Migrant Farm Labor to Neurosurgery*
Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, M.D.

"You will spend the rest of your life working in the fields," my cousin told me when I arrived in the United States in the mid-1980s. This fate indeed appeared likely: a 19-year-old illegal migrant farm worker, I had no English language skills and no dependable means of support. I had grown up in a small Mexican farming community, where I began working at my father's gas station at the age of 5. Our family was poor, and we were subject to the diseases of poverty: my earliest memory is of my infant sister's death from diarrhea when I was 3 years old. But my parents worked long hours and had always made enough money to feed us, until an economic crisis hit our country in the 1970s. Then they could no longer support the family, and although I trained to be a teacher, I could not put enough food on the table either.

Desperate for a livable income, I packed my few belongings and, with $65 in my pocket, crossed the U.S. border illegally. The first time I hopped the fence into California, I was caught and sent back to Mexico, but I tried again and succeeded. I am not condoning illegal immigration; honestly, at the time, the law was far from the front of my mind. I was merely responding to the dream of a better life, the hope of escaping poverty so that one day I could return home triumphant. Reality, however, posed a stark contrast to the dream. I spent long days in the fields picking fruits and vegetables, sleeping under leaky camper shells, eating anything I could get, with hands bloodied from pulling weeds — the very same hands that today perform brain surgery.

Figure 1
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My days as a farm worker taught me a great deal about economics, politics, and society. I learned that being illegal and poor in a foreign country could be more painful than any poverty I had previously experienced. I learned that our society sometimes treats us differently depending on the places we have been and the education we have obtained. When my cousin told me I would never escape that life of poverty, I became determined to prove him wrong. I took night jobs as a janitor and subsequently as a welder that allowed me to attend a community college where I could learn English.
In 1989, while I was working for a railroad company as a welder and high-pressure valve specialist, I had an accident that caused me to reevaluate my life once again. I fell into a tank car that was used to carry liquefied petroleum gas. My father was working at the same company. Hearing a coworker's cry for help, he tried to get into the tank; fortunately, someone stopped him. It was my brother-in-law, Ramon, who climbed in and saved my life. He was taken out of the tank unconscious but regained consciousness quickly. By the time I was rescued, my heart rate had slowed almost to zero, but I was resuscitated in time. When I awoke, I saw a person dressed all in white and was flooded with a sense of security, confidence, and protection, knowing that a doctor was taking care of me. Although it was clear to me that our poverty and inability to speak English usually translated into suboptimal health care for my community, the moment I saw this physician at my bedside, I felt I had reached terra firma, that I had a guardian.

After community college, I was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley, where a combination of excellent mentorship, scholarships, and my own passion for math and science led me to research in the neurosciences. One of my mentors there convinced me, despite my skepticism, that I could go anywhere I wanted for medical school. Thanks to such support and encouragement, I eventually went to Harvard Medical School. As I pursued my own education, I became increasingly aware of the need and responsibility we have to educate our country's poor.

It is no secret that minority communities have the highest dropout rates and the lowest educational achievement levels in the country. The pathway to higher education and professional training programs is not "primed" for minority students. In 1994, when I started medical school, members of minority groups made up about 18% of the U.S. population but accounted for only 3.7% of the faculty in U.S. medical schools. I was very fortunate to find outstanding minority role models, but though their quality was high, their numbers were low.

Given my background, perhaps it is not surprising that I did not discover the field of neurosurgery until I was a medical student. I vividly remember when, in my third year of medical school, I first witnessed neurosurgeons peeling back the dura and exposing a real, live, throbbing human brain. I recall feeling absolute awe and humility — and an immediate and deep recognition of the intimacy between a patient and a doctor.

That year, one of my professors strongly encouraged me to go into primary care, arguing that it was the best way for me to serve my Hispanic immigrant community. Although I had initially intended to return to Mexico triumphant, I had since fallen in love with this country, and I soon found myself immersed in and committed to the betterment of U.S. society. With my sights set on neurosurgery after medical school, I followed my heart and instincts and have tried to contribute to my community and the larger society in my own way. I see a career in academic medicine as an opportunity not only to improve our understanding and treatment of human diseases but also to provide leadership within medicine and support to future scientists, medical students, and physician scientists from minority and nonminority groups alike.

My grandmother was the medicine woman in the small town in rural Mexico where I grew up. As I have gotten older, I have come to recognize the crucial role she played not only in instilling in me the value of healing but also in determining the fate and future of others. She was my first role model, and throughout my life I have depended on the help of my mentors in pursuing my dreams. Like many other illegal immigrants, I arrived in the United States able only to contemplate those dreams — I was not at that point on solid ground. From the fields of the San Joaquin Valley in California to the field of neurosurgery, it has been quite a journey. Today, as a neurosurgeon and researcher, I am taking part in the larger journey of medicine, both caring for patients and conducting clinical and translational research on brain cancer that I hope will lead to innovative ways of fighting devastating disease. And as a citizen of the United States, I am also participating in the great journey of this country. For immigrants like me, this voyage still means the pursuit of a better life — and the opportunity to give back to society."

Source Information:

Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa is an assistant professor of neurosurgery and oncology and director of the brain-tumor stem-cell laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and director of the brain-tumor program at the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus.

An interview with Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa can be heard at
4030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / More info on recall on: August 11, 2007, 10:04:24 AM
Mattel apologizes:
4031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Possible exposure to lead from toys on: August 11, 2007, 09:58:08 AM
One of my patients came in and told me he came up positive for lead in an employer urine drug screen.  He said his daughter also was slightly positive.

We brainstormed to consider a source.  His house was built in the 1990's so I doubt lead from paint would be implicated.  He did not have an obvious work exposure.  Then over the next few days came out the reports of Fisher-Price toys made in China have unexceptable lead levels.   I mentioned this ASAP to the patient's wife whom I see regularly.  They have a one year old and newly bought Fisher-Price toys.  I recommended they not throw them out but of course store them far away from the family.

We are still waiting for the blood lead levels results to return.

4032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 05, 2007, 11:30:05 AM
Well I felt your first post was a bit of a brush-off.  Your views on freedom of speech are well known.

I would have figured you would have no problem with it in regards to freedom speech.

I also think that Fox has an angle that implies the freedom of speech of their advertisers is being limited by those who disagree with Fox.   In that regards or perhaps some other, I wondered if Fox had some cause for a civil suit.

4033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 27, 2007, 09:51:11 PM
***I have no problem with that.***

Of course you don't. It's not *your* business or your website these people are trying their best to do great damage to.

That was not my question.  My question what legal recourse do they have, if any?

Perhaps none.  I don't know.
4034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Attorney question on: July 27, 2007, 06:03:28 PM
What legal recourse (if any) does Fox network have against this?  Leftist organizations are contacting those who advertise on Fox network with what sounds like to me a form of intimidation to not advertise on Fox.   It is a clear and organized campaign to harrass and frighten local, small advertisers away.
4035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Do we really want a personal nanny or a President of the USA? on: July 25, 2007, 09:05:55 AM
Well, the "youtube" "debate" that CNN keeps self promoting as the greatest invention since the wheel certainly proved one thing to me.

And that is that JFKennedy who proclamed, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" *could never get elected today*.

The "nanny state" is only going to get worse it appears.
4036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vitamin D def. is linked to many illness on: July 21, 2007, 03:47:21 PM
Hi CraftyD,

In the article are published reports of inadequate vitamin D with many illness and diseases but it is unclear how clinically significant these "links" are.  The classic one is weak bone or osteoposis which is actually without symptoms until fractures in the spine occur, or in the hip or wrists or in the ribs after a fall occurs.  In the article the author points a possible link of Vit D and several cancers:
Hodgkins lymphoma, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, breast, colon.

Links with the malfunction of the immune system and
1) with autoimmune diseases:
Multiple sclerosis, Diabetes type 1, Crohn's, Sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis
2) infections:
TB, Aids

Links with:
Schizophrenia and depression

With muscle strength and falls and osteoarthritis

With hypertension

With wheezing

With fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and achiness.

Some of these linkages are a bit tenuous and are based on observational studies which show an increased  risk at those people who live at higher geographical latitudes (less sun exposure). But I take away from this article an impression that the overall large quantity of evidence supoorts the theory that vitamin D is far more important in *many more* aspects of our health than we have thought.

From the article is a table that summarizes sources of vitamin D.  It is very difficult to get adequate amounts from our diet alone.
The source from UV radiation (the sun) depends on season, time of day latitude and skin sensitivity. Five to ten minutes a day might be enough to get the O.5 minimal erythemal dose.  I have read in other places that this still does not give enough people adequate Vitamin D stores.
4037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / I like pets doing slapstick better on: July 21, 2007, 09:30:54 AM

You would agree with me on preferring to watch our pets being jokers not gladiators:

Provided by: petcentric
Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?
More Behavior and Training Articles

Dig for More Dog Information

   1. The Danger of Humanizing Your Dog from: Cesar Millan
   2. Dealing with the Death of Your Dog from: Cesar Millan
   3. Playing With Your Puppy from: Purina
   4. Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor? from: Petcentric
   5. Preventive Training from: Purina

Does your dog ever make you laugh – on purpose? Does he know he’s being funny? An even stranger question – does your dog find things funny?

There are countless stories of dog antics and behavior that are funny, but most of those you’d have to say are unintentional. Humorous behavior may be repeated because of the positive reaction received. In this case, you can’t say the dog has a sense of humor, but is acting on positive reinforcement.

But dogs may be a little smarter than that. Just as some people enjoy making others laugh, it would seem, so do some dogs. Author Stanley Coren tells of his Cairn Terrier, Flint, who frequently seemed to try to amuse his owners. On one occasion, Stanley’s wife Karen was having friends over for coffee. Flint hung around the guests, perhaps hoping for a morsel of food. Karen shooed the dog away and told him to go find something interesting to do. Flint obediently left, only to return with one of Karen’s undergarments in his mouth. Coren writes, “Evading capture, he proceeded to flagrantly snap it from side to side with great joy—to the amusement of the company and the dismay of my wife.”

Did the terrier know he was being funny? Hard to say, but Coren says Flint did get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.

Now, there are many levels of humor. There’s basic physical humor like slapstick, up to very high-level humor that requires visualization and imagination to appreciate, such as the type comedian Steven Wright so
dryly delivers. A dog’s world of humor would have to be mostly on the physical level, through simply behaving in a goofy manner, or playing little tricks on you.

Of course, some really intelligent dogs may even enjoy a little psychological humor. One dog owner blogs, “I guess you could say… that I startle easily. And now, I live with The Crow - she's an unusually smart dog with a wicked sense of humor. She's decided it's funny to ambush me from the shower stall. Ha ha. Ha. Now I know she's likely to be there, and it doesn't scare me anymore ... not much, at least. Still, there's always a small start when I don't realize she's in there and I turn to see this.”

It’s really not so hard to believe that dogs have the mental prowess to grasp humor, since they so readily grasp the concept of play. Dogs completely understand the difference between play and something more serious, and are careful to make the distinction. For example, one tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Missy is exceedingly careful to make sure the line between play and not-play is very clear. Missy loves to growl and yap ferociously when playing a game with a person. But she’ll abruptly call a time out by running over and licking her human opponent most humbly, as if to say, “Hey, you know this is only a game, right? You know I wouldn’t hurt you.” (As if her five pounds of fluff could ever be a threat.) Once Missy is satisfied that all parties understand that it’s only a game, she’ll go right back to it, acting out her savage beast within.

W. H. "Hank" Halliday, of Wolf Awareness Inc. in Ontario, Canada contends that if dogs have a personality, why not a sense of humor? “Since personalities are a fact in these canids (dogs and wolves), I would suggest humor cannot be far behind. When my dog plays, it is not mechanical. He changes the rules to have "fun" with me. He certainly teases me and I would suggest that teasing is a form of humor.”

As these stories illustrate, if you’ve ever suspected your dog was making you the punch line to his joke… you were probably right.

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4038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is amazingly common on: July 21, 2007, 09:18:24 AM
Several months ago I started screening patient's 25 OH vitamin D levels and am surprised to find how frequently it is coming back low.  There is a quiet revolution going on with how medicine is viewing Vitamin D.  I believe it should be standard to screen many if not alll patient's levels.  The historicly recommended daily intake of 400IU per day is grossly inadequate and now outdated.  It is now recommended that we take higher doses.  Low levels of Vitamin D is linked to many more illnesses than just those relating to bone disorders.  A very good review article was published in the recent New England Journal of Medicine.  I don't know if I should post the entire article here, but here are the final conclusions.  I think it very important that patients start asking their doctors about Vitamin D intake and even consider getting their vitamin D level checked. I also conclude it is important for doctors to talk more to patients about this.

I am convinced we will all be hearing a lot more about vitamin D in the lay media.  It may likely be the next big topic for mass media coverage which just loves a good health story.  OK Sanjay Gupta.  Here is your chance to make up for your rather weak performance against Michael Moore.   


Undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon,1,2,3,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,123 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the barometer for vitamin D status. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is not only a predictor of bone health8 but is also an independent predictor of risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.8,54,59,60,61,62,63,64,71,72,73,74,75,83,84,85 The report that postmenopausal women who increased their vitamin D intake by 1100 IU of vitamin D3 reduced their relative risk of cancer by 60 to 77% is a compelling reason to be vitamin D–sufficient.124 Most commercial assays for 25-hydroxyvitamin D are good for detecting vitamin D deficiency. Radioimmunoassays measure total 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which includes levels of both 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Some commercial laboratories measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 with liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectroscopy and report the values separately. As long as the combined total is 30 ng per milliliter or more, the patient has sufficient vitamin D.7,14,27 The 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D assay should never be used for detecting vitamin D deficiency because levels will be normal or even elevated as a result of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Because the 25-hydroxyvitamin D assay is costly and may not always be available, providing children and adults with approximately at least 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day or its equivalent should guarantee vitamin D sufficiency unless there are mitigating circumstances (Table 2).

Much evidence suggests that the recommended adequate intakes are actually inadequate and need to be increased to at least 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Unless a person eats oily fish frequently, it is very difficult to obtain that much vitamin D3 on a daily basis from dietary sources. Excessive exposure to sunlight, especially sunlight that causes sunburn, will increase the risk of skin cancer.125,126 Thus, sensible sun exposure (or ultraviolet B irradiation) and the use of supplements are needed to fulfill the body's vitamin D requirement.
4039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Agreed - very sad on: July 19, 2007, 07:37:14 PM
I said to my wife yesterday if one believes in "an eye for an eye" Vick could be thrown into a gladiator ring with another of these guys and asked to fight with knives to the death.   That would stop this practice real fast.

We have three dogs and it breaks my heart to see this.   I really don't get it.

I wonder where Dr. Stone would place this on his "the scale of evil".

It is well known one of the first signs of a psychopathic personality disorder is the person who tortures helpless animals as a child.
4040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hills association with hedge funds on: July 15, 2007, 11:42:34 AM
Why isn't Clinton going after hedge funds?   Well because they are big donors and they got Chelsea a job:

The conflicts of interests just never ends:
4041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: July 14, 2007, 08:44:43 PM
And he was only 45 when he died.

I am surprised 800K is only worth 22 million today.  I remember seeing a restaurant menu once which dated back to the late 1700s.

A recall a steak sold for 2 cents.

4042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: July 09, 2007, 07:06:05 PM
Hi Rick,

Great to hear from you.  Thanks for the excellent post.!!

I guess cable will handle the HDTV bandwidth at the edge until other carriers catch up.  Verizon is starting this on a small scale:

It seems fiber to the home is still eons away.

4043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: July 08, 2007, 03:22:32 PM

I own some level three by way of corvis by way of broadwing.  A recent report from LVLT suggests the real tidal wave for broadband will come with the adoption of high definition TV which requires multiple times of bandwidth then anything being used now.   Does Gilder or DMG express any theories as to when this will occur?

Will LNOP's processors also be needed in the middle of such networks?

What about the political risks of owning an Israeli company?  I looked on their website and the only address is listed in Israel.   This makes me warry of investing in an Israeli company.

I noticed the surgical robotics company is doing great.  Now that there are some studies coming out that show reduced risks compared to other surgical techniques as well as healing benefits I would think it only a matter of time till this gets more universally adopted.  If it can be shown that it is *cost effective* by way of reduced hospital stays, less complication rates, etc. - despite the higher costs of the equipment than this seems a no brainer.  It would still take time for the pressures on surgeons to learn this new kind of procedure to override their resistance to change.

It sounds like Medicare does not have any special reimbursement rate for this procedure.  The reimbursement rate for laproscopic procedures is lower than for open procedures.  This despite the fact that laproscopic procedures are technically more difficult for the surgeon to perform.  The reason is that the cost of care for the patient is reduced because of faster healing, faster they can return to work, etc
4044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 08, 2007, 12:28:50 PM
Hi Doug,

***Rush's success and now so many others is based on the fact that a very widely held viewpoint, roughly called conservatism, was and still is under-expressed elsewhere.***

Yes.  The same for Fox network which liberals despise.  Finally, there is a major news network I can turn on to hear views which more closely mirror my own unlike any other station on TV or cable.   And this infuriates the left.  Their bluff is called, and their hypocracy exposed.
4045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 07, 2007, 02:44:06 PM
More on my favorite gal who deserves a good verbal spankin'.  Thanks to Dick Morris who is ready willing and able to express better than me my own thoughts on the matter:

The problem with treating the terrorists like criminals worthy of a police crackdown (like the luny right wing fringe with ex front man Timothy Mcveigh) is the terrorists are being sponsored by governments: like Iran, no. Korea, China, and others.

Except for Lieberman we will not see anything else from the Democratic side.  Not that I am anamored by all the cans either.  For me its Newt, then Romney, then either McCain or Guliani.  At this point I don't see what is impressive about Thompson except the antiabortionists needed him for their sole cause.

On the left *maybe* I could live with Richardson just because he is well spoken, talented, smart and seems more or less a straight arrow.  I admit I don't know a lot of his views yet though.

As for attorneys I much prefer former prosecutors like Guliani rather than tort or defense laywers (who are not about *our* defense).
4046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 07, 2007, 09:14:48 AM
Has anyone heard the MM discuss any estimates of how many people are coming into this country every year who are not Latino.  From my vantage point I am seeing ever increasing Middle and Far Easterners, Africans, Europeans (like Irish, Polish , Russian) flodding into the US every year.  The ever endless focus on the Mexican border and Spanish makes it look like we are singling out Latinos.  This is not a Latino - nonLatino thing.  This is about the absolute flood of immigrants from everywhere.  It is clearly out of control.

There are far more Asians where I live then Latinos.  Yet everyone looks the other way rather than anyone evaluating this trend and what it means.  In some places i go I feel like I'm in Indonesia.

I don't get it.  I really don't.   Bush without a doubt should have State of the Union Addresses and give us real facts and explain why we should continue to turn our heads over this issue.  Dobbs is about the only one in the media with any balls on this issue.  Yet even he only seems interested in the Mexican Spanish issue.  And that is why he comes of as prejudiced.  Why is it obvious to me that entire regions, towns, are obviously being overtaken by Asians and not a single blirb about this.  What about illegals Europeans - Russians, Poles, Irish.  I am also seeing more and more Africans.  How many of these peoples are here legitimately?   How is it that whole families can come here and have health insurance, Medicare, and attend schools as though they have been here for years?  What is going on?  How is it that there are thousands of illegals working for government agencies?  What is going on?   I couldn't agree with Dobbs more.  I just think he is not recognizing the question of what is going on with these other non Latino immigrants.
4047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 07, 2007, 09:00:13 AM
I gotta love a lotta the lines like these:

***Behind all the jihadi nonsense,***

***They'll get back to killing each other in good time. But right now they want to kill us. Meanwhile, we want to persuade them that we're nice guys.***

***But the Bush administration ran out of steam when Iraq didn't turn into Iowa***.

***Oh, I wish we could just buy every terrorist a pint of Ben & Jerry's and make him feel all mushy about surfer-girls in bikinis. Instead, our response to terror is the equivalent of a lawsuit.***

***Here at home, we face maddening calls to extend to captured terrorists the legal rights enjoyed by American citizens. Stop and think about that - really think about it. We're bleeding in multiple wars, and we want to send in the lawyers?***

Are all the crat candidates laywers?  Hillary who says it's a scandal that Bush commuted Libby's sentence for perjury yet, herself is a worldclass psychopathic liar.  Bill who will give us 'his' definition of terrorism before sending his 'army' of NYC/DC liberal lawyers (many of whom I am quite sorry to say are my fellow Jews who you would think would know better when fighting Jihadists).   Edwards who will lead a class action personal injury suit against the radical Muslims.  Obama who thinks we can settle our lawsuit agianst Osama by just leaving the "politics of personal destruction" outside the courtroom of the world.
Kusinich who thinks we just need to make Willie Nelson Secretary of State and send him to Tehran to sing "ON the Road Again".

Joe Lieberman, Cheney, Bush and the temporary Ambassador to the UN (I am going blank on his name for the moment) who seem to view it the way portrayed in this article.

I agree with them.  If the MM is to be believed then I am in the minority.

4048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Thank allah for bad jihadi driving and poorly built bombs..... on: July 03, 2007, 07:43:38 AM
I wonder if the lastest clowns,I mean Muslim fundis, still get to go to heaven and screw "virgins" even though their attacks failed and all they accomplished was burning up their vehicles and themselves.

4049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 02, 2007, 12:11:53 PM
Funny isn't it.  No mention of Pelosi here - just a Republican Presidential candidate shortly after he mentions his run:

What a joke no?  "Fairness doctrine".  It only applies when the left criticizes the right.  There is no fairness on CNN.  The NYT.  MSNBC.
But that is OK - but wait when we speak of conservative talk radion now we are only getting one side of the story.  I am glad the NYT tried to hit Murdoch.  We need more of the press policing themselves. 

4050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: July 01, 2007, 01:01:53 PM
***The carrying of a small disc would seem to solve the problem without the risks***

This is exactly my opinion.  Why not simply carry a disc with the infromation?  We carry ID cards, credit cards, alert bracelets, and passports.  There is *absolutely no* need to "imbed" devices into someone's body.

I do agree with moving medical information onto electronic medium.  As a doctor I can say there would certianly be the potential for a massive improvement on saving, transferring, updating, and completing medical histories, and delivering care. But, this at the expense of very high risk of losing personal integrity.  Especially if a company like MSFT is in control of the software.  Don't think for a minute people at msft are immune to bribery.    I have good reason to suspect they have ways of hacking into things and their excuse would probably be that it is for law enforcement purposes.  The hardware is embedded in the devices so other companies are implicit.  Just a thought.  Does anyone think Sony which invents means to spy onto people's computers would be above seeing what musical creations someone might have on their computers?  I don't.

With regards to the other question I refer to the illegal use of listening devices, tracking devices, probably minute cameras, and God knows what else by "affiliates" of the music "industry".  From top to  bottom there is a code of silence just like there is in sports industries regardinjg steroids.  I can't go into further details at this time.  All I am saying is that ID theft is absolutely only the very tip of the iceberg with regards to the criminal activity involving computers, and all the other means of data being placed onto digital records and moved around by electromagnetic spectrum.  Law enforcement is so far behind and so poorly equipped it is not funny.

Yet many are in a hurry to move our medical records right onto hardware and software designed by the very companies who have history of not being trustworthy.   
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