Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina Proves Bush Failed New Orleans!

Read this and weep. As reported:
Mr. Naomi grew particularly frustrated this year as the Gulf Coast braced for what forecasters said would be an intense hurricane season and a nearly simultaneous $71 million cut was announced in the New Orleans district budget to guard against such storms.
He called the cut drastic in an article in New Orleans CityBusiness (June 6, 2005).:
In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.

Money is so tight the New Orleans district, which employs 1,300 people, instituted a hiring freeze last month on all positions. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps' Programs Management Branch.

In an interview last night, Mr. Naomi said the cuts had made it impossible to complete contracts for vital upgrades that were part of the long-term plan to renovate the system.

Cutting funds for levees while throwing away billions, many of which are still unaccounted for, in Iraq. And the result?

Failed Levees in New Orleans

But they didn't vote for Bush did they? All of those minorities in New Orleans, African-Americans who supported the Democrats. Why would this President care about them? It is all about politics isn't it? You can't be heard by this President unless he is preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, Katrina wasn't "invitation-only".

As reported:
Of course, in Louisiana, Bush managed to get 58.6 percent of the vote. But, then, in Orleans County, Kerry won by 77 percent.

America needs to get her priorities straight. The estimated $25 billion damage in New Orleans represents 12 weeks of American military expenses in Iraq. It is time for change in America! We are now drowning in the Bush Tsunami. Someone save us!


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Another Loss for Science in America!

America is slipping into the Dark Ages under this President.

Evolution is at risk and the Bible is replacing Darwin for Scientific Understanding of Mankind.

Our government, through voucher programs, is expanding its support for religious education. And Faith-Based welfare programs are mixing Jesus with personal assistance.

Embryonic stem cell research is denied Federal support and scientists leave America for other countries where they can pursue their research.

It is a "bad hair day" for Science in America!

"Abyss" from University of Oregon Website

And now the 'theocrats' have hijacked the Food and Drug Administration, denying America's women the right to a morning after medication for emergency contraception to prevent unplanned preganancy and to reduce the need for abortions!

The Food and Drug Administration mission statement:
The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.
Note the inclusion of "science-based" information. It didn't say anything about seeking consultation with religious leaders on what is appropriate for America's health!

One of the mechanisms it performs this function is through advisory panels. Linda Ann Sherman, the Director, Advisory Committee Oversight & Management Staff, explains the committee's role:
The advisory committees’ role is to offer the
FDA the very best advice possible on related questions
posed by the Agency on a product of regulated
industry. It is important to understand that
the committee’s function is to give advice; however,
the Agency is not bound to follow that advice.
This is exactly the situation that arose in 2003 in regards to the controversial Emergency Contraception medicine produced by Barr Laboratories. As reported:
On December 16, 2003, a joint hearing of the FDA Nonprescription Drugs and Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committees voted 23 to four to recommend that the FDA make EC available over the counter. Virtually all major medical and health care organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, supported the move.

But on May 6, 2004, in flagrant disregard of this scientific consensus, the FDA notified Barr Laboratories, which manufactures Plan B, that its application for over-the-counter status had been denied, citing concerns about adolescent use. It conveniently overlooked studies showing that EC is safe for younger women and that they use EC responsibly. Studies also show that access to EC does not increase or encourage sexual activity among teens.
This was such a controversial subject that the confirmation of Lester Crawford, the FDA chief currently, was held up until assurances were give to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA):
"Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) lifted the hold they had placed on his nomination after receiving assurances that the FDA would rule by September 1 whether to grant over-the-counter status to Plan B."
But they didn't rule on Plan B.

I guess they are sorry for misleading the American people.

But the FDA failed to make a decision, and in effect delayed again this medication that can reduce the need for abortion in young American women. As reported in the L.A. Times on August 27, 2005:
WASHINGTON — Federal regulators Friday balked at deciding whether to make the "morning after" birth control pill available without a prescription, saying that, though it is safe, proposed restrictions on teenage girls' access to the drug have raised legal issues.

The Food and Drug Administration had promised a decision on the politically charged question by next Thursday. But FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford said he was postponing a decision until the agency could formally gather comment on whether age is a valid justification for requiring girls 16 and younger to get a prescription for the contraceptive, which is marketed under the name Plan B.
In a statement of August 26, 2005, FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford reported :
The issues that we were asked to resolve, and the proposal that was put forward by Barr Labs, presented us with many difficult and novel policy and regulatory issues.

In some cases, the questions we were asked to answer were unprecedented for this agency. In particular:

Can age be used as a criterion on which we decide whether a drug should be prescription or over-the-counter, as has been proposed in this case?

Can the prescription and over-the-counter version of the same drug be marketed in a single package?

In addition, if we do use age as the only criterion on which we decide whether a drug is sold as a prescription product, or an over-the-counter product, how, as a practical matter, would such a limitation be enforced?

These are profound regulatory decisions that cut to the heart of our work. The answers to these questions can establish very broad and far-reaching policies that could have a significant effect on the way FDA regulates many different drugs.

In fact, the answers to these questions could establish pathways that could make many more products available as over-the-counter drugs.

That could be a positive public health step, and one that I would support as the agency’s Commissioner if it means we could safely make many more effective medicines more easily available.

We believe these novel regulatory issues should be considered in an open, public process.

Rather than answering these questions in the context of a decision on a single drug, we need to have an open process to solicit public comment.

These regulatory and policy questions are too profound and cut across too many different products to be made behind closed doors.

And so today we are also announcing that we are taking the action of publishing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to initiate an open public process to consider these important regulatory and policy questions.

Not acting in the best interests of the public.

Not acting in response to scientific evidence.

And America's children and young women will suffer at the hands of these theocrats who refer to the Bible first and America's scientists and experts only as an afterthought.

As reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the question of the youngest members of our society who have the greatest need for prevention of pregnancy:
Advisory committee members also underscored the importance of making recommendations based on a risk-benefit analysis, particularly with regard to young people. Pediatrician Dr. Leslie Clapp from Buffalo, New York, spoke about her own clinical practice and acknowledged that, while abstinence is the best option for teens, "[I]f you are a sexually active teen…or eleven year old, it's certainly a bad situation…I think their families and they would have far preferred this option than pregnancy, and it would have been safer."35 Dr. Abby Berenson, a gynecologist from Galveston, Texas, who treats adolescents, echoed the sentiment, arguing further that, "Barriers to use," such as a prescription requirement for Plan B, "will ultimately…result in unintended pregnancies,"36 which pose disproportionate health risks to adolescent women, including premature labor, anemia, and high blood pressure.37
John Kerry has supported the right of American women to a safe and accessible family planning, contraceptives, and "morning after" medication. As reported by on their website:
Actually, this vote had little to do with "parents' knowledge," but Kerry did vote in favor of allowing schools to offer emergency contraception to teenagers, something done in relatively few places. Experts say that such pills can, in some cases, be given to students without knowledge of parents, though the legislation in question was silent on that point.

Kerry's vote, in 2000, was to kill an amendment proposed by Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina to bar the use of federal funds “for the distribution or provision of postcoital emergency contraception” to anyone under age 18 in an elementary or secondary school.
Kerry's effort actually failed but this Helms amendment "later died in a House-Senate conference, and never became law."

America deserves better! We need a President who appoints FDA Administrators who listen to scientists and physicians when deciding on safety and efficacy of medication. We need a President who can distinguish between a morning-after pill and an abortion. A President who is concerned about the health of America's women and not just the salvation of their souls. America needs John Kerry!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Shameful Pat Robertson Issues A "Fatwa"!

I really wanted to write something clever tonight about Pat Robertson's shameful statement about President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. As reported:
Now Mr. Robertson has set off an international firestorm with his comments on his television broadcast that the United States should kill Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, a leftist who sits atop the largest oil reserves outside the Middle East.

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it Mr. Robertson said on his program, "The 700 Club" on Monday. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Advocating an assassination? Is this man nuts or what?

But more frightening than what one evangelist might say was the silence of the many groups affiliated with Mr. Robertson:
But other conservative Christian organizations remained silent, with leaders at the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition saying through spokesmen that they were too busy to comment.

A spokeswoman for Pat Robertson said today that he is not giving interviews and had no further comment.
Silence? No Comment? These are the Christian Conservatives who determined the last election and coronated their man, George W. Bush, in the White House.

I have no comment about them. I don't have time to comment. I am too busy.

Furthermore, all of this speaks for itself.



Monday, August 22, 2005

Bush in Salt Lake City: "Staying on the Offensive"

President Bush addressed the VFW in Salt Lake City today. As reported:
Speaking in Utah before U.S. military veterans, President Bush acknowledged the deaths of more than 1,860 U.S. troops in Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"We will honor their sacrifice by staying on the offensive against the terrorists -- by building strong allies in Afghanistan and Iraq that will help us fight and win the war on terror," he said.
Sometimes it seems that more soldiers must die because others have died before them. We cannot honor sacrifice by asking others to pay the ultimate price.

Illustration of the "Charge" on the BBC

In 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote of another ill-fated military adventure in the Crimean War. Hearing the President speak made me think of this poem, which if you are not familiar with it, is worth a read and a thought or two.

I found a description of this poem:
This poem was written to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War (1854-56). 247 men of the 637 in the charge were killed or wounded. Britain entered the war, which was fought by Russia against Turkey, Britain and France, because Russia sought to control the Dardanelles. Russian control of the Dardanelles threatened British sea routes.
Here is the text of The Charge of the Light Brigade:
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not,
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
It is not good enough that a President send other young Americans into battle to die because there have been others who preceded them in death! This Administration fixed the facts to get us into this war and they need to get back in touch with reality to find their way out.

America deserves better!


A Day in the Life of George Bush

The President doesn't have time to talk to those protesting his war in Camp Casey.

I read with interest the report today about what might be a typical day in Crawford. As reported:
The previous Saturday, after Mr. Bush went on another 17-mile bike ride with a group of male reporters and photographers, he outlined his plans for the rest of his day:

"I'm going to
have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, talk a little business; Mrs. Bush, talk a little business; we've got a friend from South Texas here, named Katharine Armstrong; take a little nap. I'm reading an Elmore Leonard book right now, knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon; go fishing with my man, Barney; a light dinner and head to the ballgame. I get to bed about 9:30 p.m., wake up about 5 a.m. So it'sa perfect day."
Fishing. Going to see a baseball game. Read a mystery. Go to sleep early.

President Bush Clears Brush at Crawford Ranch in 2002

What is wrong with this picture?

Is this the schedule of a man who is President of the United States? While that nation is at war and Americans are dying almost daily?

America deserves better. A perfect day for our President should be when all Americans have jobs. All Americans have access to healthcare. When none of our young men and women serving their nation in the armed forces are actually in harm's way. When no American is without a home or goes to sleep hungry.

Anything less should never be perfect.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

George W. Bush "Biking" while 'Rome burns'!

Why was it disturbing to see the President of the United States out bicycling with Lance Armstrong?

Armstrong and Bush on Mountain Bikes

And yet this President doesn't have the time or the wisdom to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of 24 year old Casey who lost his life two weeks after arriving in Iraq to serve his country.

As reported:
By the accounts of several advisers, Bush and his aides concluded it would be a mistake to yield to Sheehan's demand for a second meeting with Bush to discuss the death of her son, Casey, who was killed in Iraq at age 24 last year when his Army battalion was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.

But our President has time to ride around in the dirt showing off the sites of his "ranch" to Lance Armstrong, a real American hero!

This is a bust of Nero.

In 64 AD, while Nero was Emperor, a fire broke out in Rome. As historians write:
During the night of July 18, 64 AD, fire broke out in the merchant area of the city of Rome. Fanned by summer winds, the flames quickly spread through the dry, wooden structures of the Imperial City. Soon the fire took on a life of its own consuming all in its path for six days and seven nights. When the conflagration finally ran its course it left seventy percent of the city in smoldering ruins.

Rumors soon arose accusing the Emperor Nero of ordering the torching of the city and standing on the summit of the Palatine playing his lyre as flames devoured the world around him. These rumors have never been confirmed. In fact, Nero rushed to Rome from his palace in Antium (Anzio) and ran about the city all that first night without his guards directing efforts to quell the blaze. But the rumors persisted and the Emperor looked for a scapegoat. He found it in the Christians, at that time a rather obscure religious sect with a small following in the city. To appease the masses, Nero literally had his victims fed to the lions during giant spectacles held in the city's remaining amphitheater.
To this day, to "fiddle while Rome burns" is defined as:
To do something trivial and irresponsible in the midst of an emergency; legend has it that while a fire destroyed the city of Rome, the emperor Nero played his violin, thus revealing his total lack of concern for his people and his empire.
Does this qualify? Does ignoring a mother who lost her son and deciding to go swimming, fishing and bicycling while a war rages on count?

History will decide if we shall talk of "Mountain-biking while Americans died." But I think America deserves better. We need a President who speaks to every American regardless of their political persuasion. We need a President who is truthful to us; who keeps war as the last alternative and does not seek to "fix facts" to plunge this nation into conflict.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Administration making America's Roads Less Safe!

This is what happens when a truck driver falls asleep on the job.

Truckers don't get enough sleep. And when they doze at the wheel they are a hazard to all drivers, their vehicles on the road and the families therein.

A 1997 New England Journal of Medicine article observed 80 truckers and found they got an average of less than five hours of sleep per night even when given eight uninterrupted hours of downtime after a day at the wheel.

The report showed:
More than half of the truckers in the study, who were videotaped as they drove, experienced at least one six-minute interval of drowsiness while driving. Truckers were most vulnerable to drowsiness late in the night or early in the morning, when the body naturally wants to shut down.
But that was when drivers were limited to 10 hours at the wheel. But now that rule has been relaxed by the Bush Administration! As announced yesterday, drivers may now spend 11 hours each day on the road!

This is a picture of Annette Sandberg.

Photo of Annette Sandberg

Annette Sandberg is the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the Bush Administration. According to the report:
The rules, which take effect in October, allow 11 hours of driving in a single stretch, up from the 10-hour limit that had been in effect until 2003. The new regulations would allow truckers to drive up to 77 hours per week, up from 60.

The rules shorten the overall workday from 15 hours to 14 and require truckers with sleeper berths to take longer breaks by spending at least eight continuous hours in bed. The old rules allowed rest periods to be split up.

But at the same time, the rules largely deregulate short-haul truckers, even eliminating the requirement that they keep records of how many hours they work.
She says the new rules will make things safer. She stated:
"The research shows that this new rule will improve driver health and safety and the safety of our roadways," she said. "Ensuring drivers obtain necessary rest and restorative sleep will save lives."
Somehow allowing drivers to drive eleven hours instead of ten when they already aren't getting enough sleep will make things safer. George Orwell would be proud!

This is Joan Claybrook:

Joan Claybrook knows what she talks about. You see, she was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) in the Carter administration from 1977-1981. That was when the President believed that it was the responsibility of government to protect Americans on the road! And not just facilitate profits for big business!

Ms. Claybrook, now president of Public Citizen stated:
"It reduces weekly off-duty time for the most exhausted drivers (truckers who drive the maximum number of allowable hours) and significantly weakens safety requirements for short-haul drivers," Joan Claybrook, president of the consumer group Public Citizen, said in a statement.
And are the roads safer for truck transportation right now? In fact, accidents are already on the rise.

As recently reported on August 3, 2005:
The number of persons killed in 2004 in US truck accidents increased 3.1 percent from the year before, according to early results from a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The number of people killed in truck accidents in 2004 totaled 5,190, an increase of 154 from the year before when 5,036 people died in accidents

The report also shows that the number of persons killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes declined from 2003.
So this President, who was elected to protect the American people is acting to extend trucker driving hours even in the face of an increasing accident and fatality rate! Well then who does this President represent?

This is a Wal-Mart truck. (thanks to Hank's pictures)

Wal-Mart can make more money if truckers drive longer hours.

In fact, as reported earlier this year:
Wal-Mart and other retailers are lobbying Congress to extend the workday for truckers to 16 hours, something labor unions and safety advocates say would make roadways more dangerous for all drivers.
It is time to have a President who works to make America safe for the people on the road. Safe for the drivers. Safe for the mothers, fathers, children, and safe for pedestrians. We need a President and an Administration that values public safety more than profits for mega-corporations!

America deserves better!


Friday, August 19, 2005

John Kerry "Brings it On!" in Seattle

Senator John Kerry is not a quitter.

He knows what America needs and isn't giving up his fight for a brighter future for all of us.

John Kerry knows that what the Democrats need is not a candidate or a party that moves right to appeal more to Conservatives. We do not need a candidate for office that is "Republican-Lite". We do not need to look for blue state Democrats. We do not need to look for Governors instead of Senators. We do not need to try to maneuver our own party into poll-determined positions.

We need leadership. Whether that comes from a blue state or a red state. We simply need leaders from American states!

Kerry stated today in Seattle at the National Conference of State Legislators:
"We have to go out and fight for the real issues that make a difference in the lives of the American people and we don't need some great lurch to the right or lurch to the left or redefinition of the Democratic Party.

"The last thing America needs is a second Republican Party."
Thank you Senator Kerry!

John Kerry is working hard to elect Democrats to office in all 50 states. And we are making progress! As reported in the same story:
After falling behind Republicans in the 1990s after generations of controlling legislatures, Democrats have fought back to parity. Democrats control both chambers in 19 states and Republicans in 20 states, and the two parties currently have almost equal numbers of state lawmakers nationally.

Democrats moved 10 chambers into their column last year, "the best overlooked story of 2004," said Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, chairwoman of the national campaign group.
Democrats are taking back America and John Kerry is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.

And what about "Intelligent Design"? Kerry, quick at the jab, had this to say:
Kerry said, "I think we ought to be getting some intelligent design in our policy in Iraq."
Like a breath of fresh air, Senator Kerry stays on message and stays for the long haul.

America needs leaders like Kerry who believe in education, believe in the environment, believe in working with our allies, and who understands what war means and what the cost will be for all of us because he served in war and saw it first-hand.

We got your back John! You keep talking about 2006. We are talking 2008!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

President Bush! Cindy Sheehan is Waiting!

Cindy Sheehan is camping by the road in Crawford, Texas. She is patient. She is waiting to speak with President Bush about her son Casey who was killed in Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan at a demonstration in North Carolina

On April 4, 2004, her son, Casey Sheehan was killed while serving in Iraq. As reported by CNN:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Shiites angry over the arrest of a top cleric's deputy stormed through a Baghdad neighborhood Sunday, killing seven U.S. troops, wounding dozens more and taking over buildings, coalition officials said.
This is a picture of Casey Sheehan:

Cindy has described her first meeting with President Bush and now she wants to speak with him again. She related:
CINDY SHEEHAN: Actually, I met with the President in June of 2004, a couple of months after my son was killed. We were summoned up to Fort Irwin, Washington state, to have a sit down with the president. So my entire family went. And I was on CNN last night with Larry King talking about this, and there was another mother who had met with him, and she said that she supports the war and the President, and she said he was so warm and everything and gentle and kind, and when my family and I met with him, I met a man who had no compassion in him. He had no heart. Like Karen said, he cares nothing about us. We tried to show him pictures of Casey. He wouldn't look at them. He wouldn't even acknowledge Casey's name. He called me “Mom” through the entire visit. He acted like we were at a tea party, like it was something fun, that we should just be so pleased that we got to meet with the President who killed our son.

And now? What does she want to ask the President? She states:
"I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son?" Sheehan told reporters. "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."
Cindy knows the answer.

There were no weapons of mass destruction.

There was no connection to 9/11.

We are not building a Democracy in Iraq.

There is no "noble cause". That is why the President cannot speak with Cindy Sheehan. He has no answer.

The whole thing is a mistake.

As Senator John Kerry so bravely testified almost 25 years ago to a different Congress, and a different War that grows to resemble the quagmire we find ourselves in today,
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
Thank you Cindy Sheehan for doing more to bring America together on this issue than any other leader, or any other protestor. You have paid the ultimate sacrifice to this war. You feel the pain deeper than any of us can imagine, except other mothers and fathers who share your grief.

President Bush may choose unwisely not to speak to you! But you are speaking to all of America now with a voice that cannot be silenced, cannot be arrested, cannot be denied. Thank you for everything you do.

America deserves better!


While she is in Texas, you can contact her here to give words of support!
Cindy Sheehan
c/o Crawford Peace House
9142 5th Street
Crawford, TX 76638-3037

Friday, August 05, 2005

James Dobson Owes America An Apology!

This is a blastocyst which is the source of embryonic stem cells:

These are victims of Nazi "medical research" by Josef Mengele:

This is a picture of Mr. James Dobson:

Mr. Dobson doesn't understand that stem cells are from clumps of cells called blastocysts. Blastocysts don't have any organs. They don't have any pain receptors. They don't feel pain. They don't feel fear. They don't feel at all.

But the victims of Nazi medical experiments were often children. Those abused and murdered by Josef Mengele were often twins as young as five years old. Some of the experiments performed by the Nazis included decompression chambers to simulate high altitude, freezing experiments such as those in 1942 in Dachau where prisoners were forced to endure a tank of ice water, sometimes for as long as 3 hours, Malaria experiments where healthy inmates were infected with Malaria, Mustard Gas experiments to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by LOST gas, sea-water and sterilization experiments involving mutilation of thousands of inmates.

Victims of the Nazis were people; men, women and children. People who had family, people who had fear, people who felt pain, anguish, embarassment, and ultimately death.

They were not clumps of cells destined for the garbage heap.

Mr. Dobson on Wednesday stated:
But I have to ask this question,” Dobson said during Wednesday’s program. “In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind.”

Unless ethics and morality guide scientific research, “you get what happened in Nazi Germany,” Dobson said.
Let's Review.

This is an blastocyst from which embryonic stem cells are derived:

And these are some more of the victims of Nazi experimentation:

Mr. Dobson owes America an apology!

There were no "discoveries there that benefitted mankind"! As experts have stated:
Doctor Jay Katz of the Yale University School of Law, who emphatically opposed the re-use of the Nazi data, suggests nonetheless that the experiments be republished in full detail so that no one may deny that they occurred. He would then condemn the data to oblivion. Dr. Katz dismissed the Nazi experiments with one phrase: "They're of no scientific value."23

Katz's opinion brings to mind the words of Brigadier General Telford Taylor, Chief Counsel for the prosecution at Nuremberg, when he argued that the Nazi experiments were insufficient and unscientific, "a ghostly failure as well as a hideous crime . . . Those experiments revealed nothing which civilized medicine can use."24 Arnold Relman, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, similarly stated that the Nazi experiments were such a "gross violation of human standards that they are not to be trusted at all."

Doctor Leonard Hoenig, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, categorized the Nazi experiments as "pseudo-science," since the Nazis blurred the distinction between science and sadism. The data was not recorded from scientific hypothesis and research, but rather, it was inspired and administered through racial ideologies of genocide. Doctor Hoenig maintained that nothing scientific could have resulted from sadism.

Allen Buchanan, Philosophy Professor at the University of Arizona, is also a member of the Human Subjects Review Committee at the University of Minnesota. He believes that bad ethics and bad science are inextricably linked together. He found that the human experiments that were ethically sound were also scientifically sound. Therefore, he concluded that since the Nazi experiments were unethical, they were, by equation, scientifically invalid.
To add insult to injury, Dobson works to deny scientists the right to study embryonic stem cells with support from the Federal Government. This research may yet lead to the cures of multiple diseases, including, as recently reported, spinal cord injuries:
Becht and several others with spinal cord injuries attended a news conference yesterday in support of a U of L study that shows that embryonic stem cells may have the potential to treat spinal cord injuries.

"The stem cell is where there's going to be a cure," Becht said.

Genetically engineered stem cells helped paralyzed rats move their legs again, according to the study, published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The rats' spinal cords, partially severed in the lab, began to heal after receiving stem-cell grafts from rat embryos, the report said.

"This type of approach definitely has applicability to human injury," said Scott Whittemore, scientific director of the university's Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and a lead researcher on the stem-cell project.
So apologize Mr. Dobson!

Apologize to the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and political criminals who suffered and died under the hands of the Nazis!

You compare research on clumps of cells to the suffering under the Nazis of millions of men women and children. Shame on you!

And Apologize Mr. Dobson to the victims of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Spinal cord injury and diabetes. Victims who might benefit from research on these embryonic stem cells.

You interfere with Science by lobbying to stop the funding of research using discarded clumps of cells for the search for cures for Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Spinal Cord Injury and Diabetes. And you call that a "family value"?

Apologize Mr. Dobson! We are all waiting.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

"Speak No Evil"

I was a little upset, but not very surprised when I read about how President Bush supported the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in public schools, the camouflaged Bible story approach to the explanation of humans on Earth.

He stated:
During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."
That sounded so American! I mean what could be more important to students than hearing new ideas?

Equal time seemed reasonable.

Students could learn about the periodic table:

And then about Noah!

Children could learn about the multiplication tables:

And then learn about Adam and Ever!

The possibilities are endless!

But why is it, when it comes to Abstinence education doesn't this Administration oppose discussion about contraceptives in the classroom? Isn't that an idea that children should discuss in school?

Paul Palcko Illustration
As reported:
Programs funded through the welfare bill must teach that abstinence is the only "certain" way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and cannot discuss the "benefits" of contraception (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 1/31).
Clearly, this President is in favor of additional ideas being presented when those ideas are to his liking! Otherwise put that gag back on!

America needs a new President and new leadership! We need a President who will lead us forward into the 21st century instead of returning us to the Dark Ages of ignorance and fear. We need a President who understands the difference between Scientific Inquiry and Religious Dogma. A President who respects intellectual curiosity, scientific investigation, and the need to advance the rights of women and not keep them barefoot and pregnant!

John Kerry can provide that leadership! We have your back John!


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Holding Ourselves to a Higher Standard

I read with interest the recent Bob Herbert column "Who We Are" published August 1, 2005, in the New York Times.

Mr. Herbert writes of the efforts of three Republican Senators, John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham, who are working to pass legislation to "expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."

You wouldn't think that you would need to pass laws like this.

This legislation, however has been opposed by the White House.

As pointed out by Herbert,
"Vice President Dick Cheney, in a meeting with Senators Warner, McCain and Graham, said the legislation would interfere with President Bush's ability to fight terrorism."
But as Herbert points out:
Senator McCain, of Arizona, argued that the debate "is not about who they are. It's about who we are." Americans, said Mr. McCain, "hold ourselves" to a higher standard.
Mr. Herbert suggests that we should be applauding these three Republican Senators and veterans. I second that motion.

America is not always about Republicans and Democrats.

America is about having a higher standard about everything that we do. It is not an acceptable excuse to torture or treat a prisoner inhumanely because of who they are. We act in the ways we choose to act because of who we are!

Thank you Senators!


On the Gallup Poll

The Gallup Organization has just released a poll which certainly should give all of us who support Senator Kerry for the 2008 election something to ponder.

As they report:
Kerry is the only candidate of the four with higher unfavorables (48%) than favorables (42%). That is a significant shift from last fall, when Kerry averaged a 52% favorable rating and a 44% unfavorable rating in five October Gallup Polls leading up to the presidential election. At least a majority of Americans had viewed Kerry favorably following his surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses and continuing through Gallup's final pre-election poll.
I will not speak to questions of bias in the Gallup organization. This has been addressed by multiple sources.

Above all, in spite of John Kerry's loss in the 2004 election, we can see that his approval rating has barely dropped from 52% just prior to the election to the current 48%. The bulk of his support is intact.

Of course we have work to do! The war in Iraq is not over. Our soldiers are dying in ever increasing numbers each and every day. America needs John Kerry so that we do not have a country who sends another young American to die for a cause that cannot be won. John Kerry understands this.

We cannot have a President who speaks earnestly about drugs in sports in his State of the Union Address:
To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character. So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now. (Applause.)
And then when we have a popular baseball player like Rafael Palmeiro testify in Congress on March 17, 2005, under oath about not using drugs:
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false.
Well, just five months later Palmeiro tests positive and is suspended for ten days:
Five months after adamantly denying before Congress that he had used steroids, Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro has been suspended for violating Major League Baseball's policy on the banned substance.
And all the President can do is support Palmeiro due to his friendship and "trust":
Little more than an hour after word of Rafael Palmeiro's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's steroid policy, President Bush defended the former Texas Ranger.

"He's a friend," the president said in a White House roundtable interview with several Texas reporters. "He's testified in public, and I believe him."

Citing Mr. Palmeiro's previous statements under the "klieg lights" that he had not used steroids, the former Texas Rangers part-owner said: "I believe him – still do."
Is that the best the President of the United States can do about keeping faith with America? Is this a nation where friendship puts individuals above the law? Is it friendship with Karl Rove that puts him above the law? Is it friendship with Dick Cheney that explains Halliburton's no bid contracts? Is it friendship with John Bolton which explains why he stuck with this appointment to the United Nations in spite of the broad-based concerns about his appropriate demeanor?

A President needs to put his nation and the law above friendships and not the other way around.

America needs a return to decency. America needs John Kerry in 2008. If the Gallup poll is correct, we have a lot of work to do! But the importance of the work is not diminished by standing in polls, by wisecracks from talk show hosts or smears by political hacks. America deserves better! We still have your back John!