Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Talk about Big Brass Ones

Obama is hot stuff. It's like he's walking around with his middle finger always up in the air.

I don't know why he doesn't just go on TV and tell the Republicans to fuck off.

Now he's going to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Go Barack go. It's about time; it really is but I can hear the howls of indignation from the right wing loony toons already.

They're going to be tipping all over each other while trying to decide if they hate the idea because them Cubans is a bunch of dirty Communists, because Obama is acting like a dictator or because that damn black dude is just too uppity.

I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Let's Talk 2016

Yes, I know, it's not even 2015 yet but you know that the race for the White House in 2016 is already starting to gear up.

On the Democratic side I do not believe that Hillary Clinton is going to get the nomination and I'm not even sure that she is going to run. As for Joe Biden, nominating him would be roughly equivalent of handing the family finances over to your drunken uncle.

I would like to see either Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Mario Cuomo of New York seriously consider a run but I'm not sure either is contemplating doing so. If I had my choice it would be Elizabeth Warren.

Of course the Republican side has been a lot scarier recently with the stable of crazies declaring for the nomination getting crazier and crazier each year.

For 2016 we will probably have Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz making short runs outside the lunatic fringe with Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul staying just inside the fringe.

Bobby Jindel would like to be considered but given the mess that Louisiana is in I suspect that's more of a joke than anything even Lewis Black has come up with recently.

As for Rick Perry, he's almost as loony toons as Santorum.

Let's remember who really runs the Republican Party and they are not going to let the nomination go to someone that will virtually guarantee that not only will the Blue Wall remain intact but that it would possibly even expand.

The business elite rulers of the Republican Party are going to insure a candidate that will be competitive in the current collection of swing states and might even be able to loosen up a few Blue States at least so that the Democrats have to spend time and money there.

If nothing else they will bury a fringe candidate that looks like he is going to cause trouble in adverse advertising dollars.

So, who do you think is on the short list? I can think of three names and there might be others.

First is Jeb Bush.

How can the Republicans go wrong with a vintage Bush? JB has the experience having been governor of Florida, a big swing state that the GOP would love to have in its column.

Second is Chris Christie.

This is a bit of a risk. Christie tend to walk to the beat of his own drummer and could alienate some people with his manner. Another problem for Christie is that a poll, just after he won the governor's race in New Jersey, showed he would LOSE New Jersey to Hillary Clinton.

Third, we have an old favorite, Mitt Romney.

If the good old boys of the GOP could just pick the next president, I suspect that Mitt would be their boy. The problem is that Romney would still need to win a general election.

More Delusion on the Religious Right

The Family Research Counsel has the solution to the issue of Transgender Rights. They "think" a Constitutional Amendment regulating sexual identity is the way to go. I put "think" in quotes because I find it hard to believe that these have a brain to "think" with.

Aside from the simple fact that it is really, really hard to amend the Constitution, who else but a bunch of religious fruitcakes would even consider this.

What these people always fail to realize is that if there were enough support for an amendment, there probably wouldn't be a need for one. Cries for amendments always emerge when the Federal Courts make a decision that someone doesn't like.

Here are other amendments that aren't going to happen either.

1. An amendment to outlaw abortion or limit abortion to very narrow cases.

2. An amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman and thus eliminate any question of a constitutional right for gay couples.

3. An amendment to return prayer to the public schools.

On the left an amendment to overturn Citizens United isn't going to happen either.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Missouri

If you've been following the case in Ferguson we have a black teenager shot by a white police officer.

This is one of those stories that has wildly varying claims about what happened and who did what.

Witnesses claim that the teenager, Michael Brown, had his hands in the air and was trying to surrender when the police officer, Darren Wilson, shot him.

The reason Brown was initially approached by Wilson appeared to have been an incident where Brown allegedly robbed a store by basically walking out with some merchandise.

As usually the media has been all over the map.

There were significant, often violent, protests in Ferguson over the shooting. A Grand Jury was convened to consider whether or not the police officer should be indicted for Brown's death.

After wading through volumes of testimony and forensic evidence, the Grand Jury declined to indict Darren Wilson.  The jury consisted of seven men and five women, nine of them white and three black. Nine votes were required for an indictment. What the vote actually was has not been made public.

What can I say? Clearly the Grand Jury was not convinced that an indictment was warranted. From what I've heard the eye witness testimony tended to support Brown being shot down unjustifiably while the forensic evidence seemed to indicate that Wilson's version of the events was closer to the truth.

If that's true then I can understand the reluctance to indict because eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

I didn't hear the evidence so I can do is rely on the decision of the Grand Jury.

Friday, November 07, 2014

6th Circuit Upholds Gay Marriage Bans

Let the games begin!

As expected the 6th Circuit Court has upheld Gay Marriage Bans in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky.

It doesn't sound as if the court found the states arguments particularly persuasive as the 2-1 decision stated that Gay marriage is almost inevitable. What the court did state is that the issue should be settled by the democratic process and not by the courts.

The 6th Circuit has apparently forgotten that a key role of the courts is to protect the rights of the minority under the law from the tyranny of the majority. A "let the democratic process" settle it approach in the days of Jim Crow would almost certainly have kept blacks disenfranchised and segregation in place.

I wonder if the court is using this as an excuse to kick the question up where it belongs at the Supreme Court?

In any event now the SCOTUS has no excuse not to address the issue. If they hurry up they can still get it on this years docket.

I think Gay Marriage should be legal across the country. The waste of resources over this question is ridiculous. Let's settle it and move on already.

If the SCOTUS upholds state bans, the battle and waste of resources will continue. The way to put an end to it is to declare Gay Marriage a right under the 14th Amendment because it's the right thing to do.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ebola, the Short Term and the Long Term

In New York and New Jersey Governors Mario Cuomo and Chris Christie have decided that healthcare workers returning from working with Ebola patients in West Africa will be quarantined until it's been demonstrated that they're not carrying the Ebola virus.

This is in response to a doctor who had been in Guinea working with Doctors without Borders coming down with the Ebola virus in New York City.

The move apparently caught officials in both New York City and Washington by surprise.

While this may seem like a logical response to protect the citizens of New York and New Jersey it has a down side. It places another potential obstacle in getting healthcare help to West Africa (as if there weren't enough already).

Now, in addition to the obvious dangers and hardships involved, doctors and nurses would face forced quarantine upon returning home. If enough places established such regulations, and Illinois and Florida have already indicated they'll follow suit, it could place a serious limit on medical help getting to West Africa where it's desperately needed and the disease is still spiraling out of control.

This is the concern of the so-called experts in the area who contend that the best protection for everyone else is to get the epidemic under control in West Africa.

In other words, we may have a case of "short term" versus "long term" strategy.

It's quite possible that if the outbreak in West Africa isn't contained, we could be seeing the start of a global catastrophe. In other words, playing ostrich and not worrying about it because "it's way over there in Africa" could be a enormous mistake.

On the other hand, outbreaks in New York, Dallas and Western Europe aren't going to make things any easier and would still deflect medical help from West Africa.

The White House is trying to make like a good global citizen but I'm not sure that strategy is correct. The best way to get the disease in West Africa under control is with a vaccine or a cure. That's the real long term solution. Having pockets of infection in the US and Western Europe isn't going to help that process and might very well hamper it if people really get all bent out of shape over this thing.

I have to say that in this particular case I'm going to go with Cuomo and Christie. If someone is willing to face going to an Ebola infested area, I don't think there's a high probability that a few weeks of quarantine on the way back is going to change their mind.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hayflick Limit

What exactly is the Hayflick Limit? I'll tell you.

Basically the Hayflick Limit states that the maximum number of times that cells may divide is finite and somewhere between 40 and 60.

Prior to Leonard Hayflick's experiments in 1961 cells were thought to possess the ability to divide an infinite number of times.

So, what does this mean to you? It means you're not going to live forever. The Hayflick Limit essentially limits how long the human body can repair itself before it gives out. Hope that your limit is closer to 60 than 40.

Oh, by the way, it also pretty much rules out any chance of people living to ages near 900 like in the Bible. The simple fact is that ancient peoples exaggerated everything about their cultural heroes including how long they lived.

In a Persian epic poem several Shahs are said to have had extremely long lifespans. Zahhak lived 1000 years, Jamshid 700 years and Fereydun 500 years.

In China Zeng Pu supposedly lived for 800 years during the Yin Dynasty and Zuo Chi lived for 300 years during the Three Kingdoms Period.

Similar legends can be found in Japan, Korea, the Roman Empire, Poland and the Czech Republic.

All of these lifespans are as impossible as those in the Bible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Even More on Ebola

Oh this just gets better and better.

Now we're being told that the nurse diagnosed with Ebola that took the Frontier Airlines flight with a 99.5 degree temperature CALLED the CDC to check if it was OK.

Whoever it was that talked to her looked at the chart which said the threshold temperature was 100.4 degrees and told her it was OK for her to fly.

Did we farm out the CDC to the lowest bidder while I wasn't looking?

So the guys watching the hen house continue to demonstrate that they are not taking this thing seriously enough. Even the CDC says she should not have gotten on the plane so who the hell did she talk to? The receptionist?

The Keystone Cops have nothing on these turkeys.

More on Ebola

Now a second healthcare worker in Dallas has contracted Ebola and this ditz got on a Frontier Airline flight from Ohio to Dallas AFTER she detected a 99.5 degree fever.

Almost like clockwork articles appeared about how hard it is to contract Ebola on an airplane while the CDC was trying to get in contact with the 130 people also on the plane.

In the meantime consider this, the common flu is also spread by droplets of fluid and can infect people up to six feet away if someone sneezes or coughs. Ebola is spread the same way so why isn't it just as contagious as the flu?

Would you want to be on an aircraft for 2 hours sitting next to someone with the flu?

Again I'm concerned that the information we're getting has been dumbed down in an effort not to cause confusion or panic. Unfortunately that's exactly what's happening because of the contradictions in what we're hearing and the fact that most of us are capable of thinking for ourselves.

People keep trying to compare this virus to Aids or the flu and that's just not going to work. Anyone with at least half a brain can see it's not like Aids or the flu.

Again, concern doesn't mean panic but WHO is estimating that within a few months we'll be seeing 10,000 new cases a week in West Africa. Somehow we need to do better than that.

As for the US, enough with the slow role and self-monitoring. We need a blood test or we need to isolate people that have come in contact with people with Ebola.

Don't ask me what we're going to do about the 130 people on the Frontier flight or the hundreds more in the airport that may come in contact with Patient #3 because I don't know.

At a news conference this morning a Texas Presbyterian Hospital spokesman said they didn't have a systemic problem at the hospital. You'll excuse me but two healthcare workers becoming ill and one so untrained as to get on an airplane after symptoms appeared says that you DO has a systemic problem.