Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last Call

Sarah Palin tries desperately to stay relevant to American politics by going back to the racial dog whistle well on President Obama.

Blasting the White House and liberals for being “so addicted to that OPM, other people’s money,” Palin declared that Obama “is not capable of giving the right message” to the American people. Though a majority of Americans side with Obama’s position, Fox asked Palin why he seems so disconnected from the public. Palin harped on the all-too-familiar right-wing refrain that American ideals “seem[] to be foreign to our President” because of “his background. She added, “His ideas are the antithesis of those things that created the prosperity in America.”

He's not one of us, he is The Other, etc. etc.  Oldest political attack in the book, plus you throw in that the nation's first black POTUS is "addicted to other people's money" and you have September 2008 all over again.

Palin, with her documentary an obvious failure, is now trying to go back to her old tried and true staples in order to get people to pay attention to her.  The only addict here is Palin's narcissistic ego.

Oh, and no debt ceiling vote tonight.  Orange Julius would rather waste America's time and credit rating then lose a vote on legislation that has zero chance to pass.

The Price Of Loyal-Tea

By being the most vocal opponent of Orange Julius's doomed plan in the Buckeye State's GOP delegation, OH-4 Republican Jim Jordan has apparently volunteered to join Democrat Dennis Kucinich as the other Congressman who loses their seat due to Ohio's redistricting.  The Columbus Dispatch:

Two Republican sources deeply involved in configuring new Ohio congressional districts confirmed to The Dispatch today that Jordan's disloyalty to Boehner has put him in jeopardy of being zeroed out of a district.

"Jim Jordan's boneheadedness has kind of informed everybody's thinking," said one of the sources, both of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity. "The easiest option for everybody has presented itself."

Jordan's rural 11-county district, which has a 60 percent Republican voter index, "is easy to cannibalize because it stretches so far," said the other source.

Hostilities between Boehner and Jordan, whose districts abut each other, broke out into the open this week as the speaker struggled to line up votes from tea party conservatives in the House for his plan to raise the debt ceiling while cutting as much as $3 trillion over the next decade.

Jordan, a tea party favorite who chairs the 170-plus member Republican Study Committee, has stymied Boehner's efforts to raise the debt ceiling. On Wednesday, the rift exploded when it was discovered a key aide to the committee sent emails to conservative groups urging them to push undecided Republicans to vote against Boehner's plan.

The undermining of Boehner was the last straw for Statehouse Republicans controlling the redistricting process in Ohio, saying Jordan's refusal to be a team player should cost him his job.

"He doesn't know it, but he solved a problem for Republican line-drawers by (figuratively) standing up and saying, 'I'm a jerk and I deserved to be punished,' " said one of the sources.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, frankly...and if the GOP civil war wasn't truly on before, then the Speaker of the House redistricting out the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee absolutely started the music playing for this ballroom blitz.  This story went out over the wires this afternoon before today's Orange Julius 2.0 plan was to be voted on, and the message is absolutely clear that the Tea Party better follow Boehner or else.

Follow him right off the cliff, that is.  Popcorn, people.

Arrrr, Here There Be Pirates

I'm not making a political jab here as much as giggling at the weird times politics and tech news meet:

Anthony Trinca, 61, is accused of selling versions of Microsoft Office, Windows, Adobe Photoshop, and Rosetta Stone language programs that were counterfeit, news site TG Daily reported today, one of several outlets to write about it. Trinca, president of the Grand Strand Tea Party, was arrested after someone to whom he allegedly sold software resold some of it and refused to give a refund when a buyer insisted it was pirated, the report said.

StupidiNews! Good Samaritan Edition

Dudley Flew-Right:
CALGARY - The distraught father of a five-year-old Calgary boy was able to be at his son’s bedside when he died, thanks to the city’s police chopper.
While the child’s mother was nearby when the tragedy unfolded, his father was still in Calgary, but thanks to a rare move by city police’s HAWCS helicopter he was given the chance to see him alive one last time, and say goodbye.

But since HAWCS was airborne and staff already doing patrols, the call was made to fly the father to Red Deer to cut travel time, said police spokesman Kevin Brookwell.
“I believe it was the right thing to do given the circumstances and the fact that we were already airborne and we had that resource available to us,” said Brookwell.

“What we did not want is a distraught father travelling northbound on Hwy. 2 at a high rate of speed, not really in the right mindset given the circumstances with the son. 

Would this work every time?  No.  This isn't just a heartwarming story, it's a reminder that sometimes making a judgment call isn't a commitment for every case hereafter.  The circumstances lined up and a good deed was done, and there is no trace of a promise that this would ever happen again.  I dread to think of what might happen here in the States.  My cynical side would anticipate a lawsuit the first time that courtesy wasn't extended.  

Cheap Shot:

A 29-year-old Good Samaritan is fighting for his life after being shot early today while he and his family were feeding a formerly homeless man in Oakland, Calif., according to news reports.
The unidentified man, known as "Brother John," was shot in the head by someone in a passing vehicle about 12:30 a.m. as he, his 35-year-old wife and daughters ages 3 and 7 were serving fish, fries and soda from their van, the Oakland Tribune reports. The family has been serving home-cooked meals to the poor and homeless in East Oakland for about a year.

Once in a while I encounter a stupidity so profound I am left speechless.  This is one of those times.  There's a special place in hell for people like the criminal who may have robbed the world of a good and generous man.  For no reason, no benefit at all.

Tattoos That Can Save Lives

I am diabetic, so I watch news for innovative ways to prevent, treat and monitor the disease.  As a geek who types a lot and a violinist who relies on fingertips, finger pricking causes constant pain and tenderness no matter how careful or creative I am.  Other methods aren't as accurate or reliable, so this remains the method most people use.  It sucks.

But there is an app for that.

Dr. Heather Clark, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University, is leading the research on the sub-dermal sensors. She said she was reminded of the benefits of real-time, wearable health monitoring when she entered a marathon in Vermont: If they become mass-produced and affordable for the consumer market, wireless devices worn on the body could tell you exactly what medication you need whenever you need it.

Here’s how it works: a 100 nanometer-wide set of sensors go under the skin, like tattoo ink – as for the size, “You can spot it if you’re looking for it,” Clark says. The sensors are encased in an oily agent to ensure the whole contraption stays together.
Within the implant, certain nanoparticles will bind exclusively to specific blood contents, like sodium or glucose. Thanks to an additive that makes the particles charge neutral, the presence of a target triggers an ion release, which manifests as a florescence change. The process is detailed in an article published in the journal Integrative Biology. 

Right now the iPhone is the only device with the capability to read the light reflecting off the sensors, but if this becomes widespread that will surely change.  The concept of building this into a cell phone not only has medical potential but advances the notion that we will eventually have a single device for all everyday functions.  A digital butler that can call, monitor, report and document our lives and activities.  It isn't too much of stretch for your phone to tell you how much insulin to take, order refills as necessary, report information back to doctors.  This is also why we must be so careful to shape technology instead of the other way around.  It is why we must cover this information under protected information so it can't be viewed without permission or stolen without serious consequences.

It's still good news and a major move in the right direction.  Our fingertips are sensitive and rich with blood, which is what makes them ideal to monitor immediate changes in blood sugar.  It is also what makes it so painful and hard to do.  I've checked my sugar for years and I still flinch every time.  This is wonderful, and I hope it only opens more doors to improvement.

Giving Cops The Finger

Paul Yates from Intelligent Fingerprinting, a company spun out from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and colleagues, have developed a handheld device that police can use to detect breakdown products from drugs excreted through sweat pores in the fingertips.
The device applies gold nanoparticles coated with antibodies to a fingerprint. The antibodies stick to antigens on specific metabolites in the fingerprint. Fluorescent dyes attached to the antibodies will highlight the presence of any metabolites. The technique was first used to detect nicotine, but now works on a range of drugs, including cocaine, methadone and cannabis.
This has some positive applications.  If administered properly, it can prove that someone is not currently driving under the influence, which paves the way for identifying that and freeing up the drug test to deal with a person's current state.  This has been a major (and rightly so) point with anti-marijuana camps.  Right now if you fail a marijuana test you can be considered under the influence, which is ridiculous because the component they test for can remain in the body for up to six weeks.  It would add a risk component to casual drug users who are tempted to drive, and if the courts handle those cases correctly we could have a proper deterrent.

Of course, reality implies it will be used to coerce and intimidate, but a girl can hope.

The Return Of The Return Of The Maverick

After basically completely legitimizing the Tea Party with his selection of Sarah Palin as his VP and winning re-election in 2010 running as an anti-immigration right-wing ideologue, the old Sensible Village Centrist John McCain that the Village knows and loves is back as he throws the Tea Party monster he helped to create under the bus so fast it might land behind it.

The fiery, independent version of the Republican senator from Arizona took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday morning. Demanding “straight talk,” Mr. McCain accused conservatives of abandoning reason by opposing the House Republican leader’s plan to resolve the debt crisis.

Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

By that flawed logic, “Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth,” he said, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into G.O.P. nominees,” he jeered, referring to two losing Tea Party candidates for the Senate in 2010.

Mr. McCain’s comments recall the visage of the senator prior to the 2008 presidential campaign against President Obama, when Mr. McCain eventually abandoned his “straight talk” mantra and ran as a more conventional conservative. And during Mr. McCain’s reelection campaign in 2010, he downplayed the “maverick” label that he had long proudly worn in the Senate.

But on Wednesday morning, it looked like the maverick had returned.

The question is now of course is did John McCain turn on the Tea Party because he anticipated the political expediency to the Village of doing so, or did McCain's 180 itself now create the attitude that it's fashionable to bash the Tea Party in the Village press?

The Straight Talk express can corner like it's on rails, people.  And the Village loves him for it.  They'll deny even more than McCain does that they ever supported the wacko wing of the GOP.

Until they need to go after President Obama again.

Fighting Control Freaks

With the GOP having kidnapped the nation, Democrats are at least trying to get something useful done in the meantime, this time re-introducing legislation that would prevent pharmacists from refusing to sell contraceptives on religious grounds:  the Access To Birth Control Act.

Sen Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) Tuesday introduced the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act in the House and Senate, a week after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report recommending free contraceptives to all women.

"This legislation would prevent a pharmacy from interfering in the personal medical decisions made by a patient and her doctor," Lautenberg said in a press advisory Tuesday. "By guaranteeing access to birth control, we can ensure that women are never denied the right to make responsible decisions about their reproductive health."

"This recommendation from the IOM marks an important first step toward near-universal contraceptive coverage in America, but if women are denied the actual contraceptives when they go to their pharmacist, having no-cost contraceptives is rendered meaningless," Maloney announced as she introduced the bill.

"The ABC Act would make it illegal for a pharmacist to refuse to return a birth control prescription or for a pharmacist to intimidate, threaten or harass customers or intentionally breach or threaten to breach medical confidentiality."

Hey social conservatives, want to prevent unwanted pregnancies that may lead to women seeking abortions?  Want to help women who don't want to have additional children accomplish this?  Here you go.  This legislation's for you.

This is something every social conservative should be lining up to co-sponsor.  Of course, since Republicans despise the idea of women having sex for something other than procreation, they'll do everything they can to block it, but it's not like hypocrisy on women's issues is anything new for them.

The Sanctity Of Life

I'm always gobsmacked by how people who oppose abortion do so quoting the "sanctity of life" and then they think it's okay to lob Molotov cocktails at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Holly Morgan, director of media relations and communications for Planned Parenthood in Dallas, said their McKinney health center located on Eldorado Parkway was "attacked" between 10 and 11 p.m. Tuesday with an incendiary device.

The person or persons involved in the attack threw a Molotov cocktail, consisting of diesel fuel in a glass bottle with a lit rag, at the building. Morgan said the device did not penetrate the front of the clinic but did cause some serious damage.

"It didn't penetrate the health center office and none of the staff or patients were there, which is great," Morgan said. "It scorched the outside of the door and I believe there was a little scorching to the retail locations on either side of it."

McKinney police officials have taken some of the remains of the device as evidence and cleaned up the facility, so they could remain open the following morning.

Just another day on the job for clinic workers, right?  It was after hours so it was okay, of course.  The again "It was night time, there shouldn't have been anyone there" was the excuse Klansmen in the South gave when they were firebombing black churches, too.

It's 2011, people.  This crap is getting old.


I'll Take WTH For $200

SAN FRANCISCO – "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek says he snapped his Achilles tendon while running after a burglar who had stolen cash, a bracelet and other items from his San Francisco hotel room.
The 71-year-old Trebek tells KGO-TV that he also injured his other leg while falling down during the chase early Wednesday. He was on crutches later Wednesday when he hosted the National Geographic World Championship at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Awesome.  Just freaking awesome. 
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