Obama’s Stolen Strength.

February 20, 2008

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What comes to mind when I think of Barrack Obama? A candidate of nothing. An interesting man, a talented orator, a devoted father/husband, and a political novice. A shell of a president. A man with a brilliant future, several years from now, when he has the experience to command anything more than an audience. His own supporters have been stumbling in interviews when simply asked to state one legislative accomplishment. Why then is he winning? Two words: incandescent speech. When the man talks, he glows. He beams of confidence, optimism, and truth. In reality those beams consist of arrogance, naivety, and rhetoric. I appreciate a good public speaker and do value words. I would never lobby his lofty speech against him like some people have. Now his lack of experience is another issue that I have no problem holding against him.

So what is my point? You already know I support Clinton, but respect Obama (that does not mean I have to respect people who vote for him). Words are really all he has and now the news is reporting some of his words are not his own. Yes, I speak of plagiarism, a borderline curse word in the academic setting. Apparently plagiarism is completely acceptable in the campaign for the White House. Because he continued his surge of victories after the story broke. A man running solely on his words shouldn’t be simply quoting others. Many of you will jump to his defense, that is was his speech writers who plagiarized, but therein lies the problem. If words are all he has and we don’t hold him responsible for his words then there is nothing left of his candidacy.

In defense of being “just words”

Obama responded nearly word for word and without attribution, a quote from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream’ — just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ — just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — just words.”

On another occasion

Deval Patrick: “I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”.

Obama: “I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”

On Pharmaceutical Ads

Edwards’s 2004 stump speech: “I love the ads. Buy their medicine, take it, and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

Obama: “You know those ads where people are running around the fields, you know, they’re smiling, you don’t know what the drug is for?”

During Announcement Speeches

Edwards (2003) : “I haven’t spent most of my life in politics, but I’ve spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.”

Obama (2007): “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Unionized Labor

Edwards: “We need a president not afraid to use the word ‘union,’

Obama: “We need a president . . . who is not afraid to mention unions,”

Working Class

Edwards: “Hard work should be valued in this country, so we’re going to reward work, not just wealth.”
Obama: “We shouldn’t just be respecting wealth in this country, we should be respecting work.”

 


“Seinfeld”, Science, and Snacks

February 1, 2008

 

    Forget Temple Pharmacy School, I should have gone to Clemson University.  I could have worked on my degree with Prof. Dawson, a food microbiologist.  He conducted a study inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld”.  Any loyal “Seinfel” fans will recall the episode where George double dips his chip at a funeral reception and is caught.  The episode is credited with being the first major popular use of the term “double dipping”.  They guy freaks out and tells George, “That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!”.  Well Professor Dawson set out to investigate if that charge is true.  He was skeptical that bacteria could be transfered from mouth to chip to mouth initially.  But the research indicates that 50 -100 bacteria would be transfered from one mouth to another in each bite, if there was a cup that was exposed to “sporadic double dipping.”  GROSS.  The study will be published in the Journal of Food Safety later this year.

    Professor Dawson published a paper last year on the five-second rule.  While his findings indicate that the rule is not true and food should not be eaten from the floor even if it is there for less than five seconds, my findings differ.  (Well at least my findings of tasty food on floors).

Full Article


SLEEVEFACING: Art or Dirty Word?

January 25, 2008

I recently came across a new word, Sleeveface or Sleevefacing. My initially thought was a nasty sex term. I am sure some of my readers could come up with a good definition for sleevefacing. But to my surprise it is an up and coming pop/modern art form.

According to UrbanDictionary.com:

Sleeveface: Sleeveface is the art of “one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of the body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion.” You’re basically posing with the record label as though it were a part of your own body.

Here is a whole album of sleevefacing pictures!!


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Unfortunately for China

January 17, 2008

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Fortune cookies.  Some love them, some hate them.  But I think most of us are curious about what they are going to say.  I never let anyone crack open mine, but you couldn’t pay me to eat on.  However Christina will devour everyone on the table.  But according to an article in the New York Times, what we know about the cookies might be changing.

Some 3 billion fortune cookies are made each year, almost all in the United States. But the crisp cookies wrapped around enigmatic sayings have spread around the world. They are served in Chinese restaurants in Britain, Mexico, Italy, France and elsewhere. In India, they taste more like butter cookies. A surprisingly high number of winning tickets in Brazil’s national lottery in 2004 were traced to lucky numbers from fortune cookies distributed by a Chinese restaurant chain called Chinatown.

But there is one place where fortune cookies are conspicuously absent: China.

Now a researcher in Japan believes she can explain the disconnect, which has long perplexed American tourists in China. Fortune cookies, Yasuko Nakamachi says, are almost certainly originally from Japan.

The article goes on to trace why Nakamachi believes the cookies are of Japanese origin and the evidence she has found to support the theory.

Article


Veteran’s Day: Our Heroes, Our Homeless

November 11, 2007

Who are homeless veterans?

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly males. The majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. They have served in every war from the second World War to Iraq.

How many homeless veterans are there?

The VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.

Why are veterans homeless?

In addition to the complex set of factors affecting all homelessness — extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income, and access to health care — a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Doesn’t the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?

With an estimated 400,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 25% of those in need. For more information about VA homeless veteran programs, go to www.va.gov/homeless/.

What services do veterans need?

Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing and nutritional meals; essential physical health care, substance abuse aftercare and mental health counseling; and personal development and empowerment. Veterans also need job assessment, training and placement assistance.

The solution?

I don’t know. More government money, more private charity, and more awareness would be a start. But on a personal level, I think the first step is just keeping in mind when you see the homeless on our streets that many of them fought for our country.  I also think this is a cause that organized religion really can and often does step up for.  I know personally, my church and the Catholic church in general does a lot to help the plight of the homeless.


8 Limbed Girl Undergoes Massive Surgery

November 11, 2007

BANGALORE, India (AP) — A two-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs regained consciousness Friday, wiggled her toes and smiled at her parents, 48 hours after massive surgery removed the extra limbs, doctors said.

Lakshmi, who has been revered by some in her village as a reincarnation of the four-armed Hindu goddess she was named for, was still in intensive care. Lakshmi was born joined at the pelvis to a “parasitic twin” that stopped developing in her mother’s womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.

On Wednesday, a team of more than 30 surgeons concluded the 24-hour operation, removing the extra limbs, transplanting a kidney from the twin and reconstructing Lakshmi’s pelvic area. Doctors said the complicated surgery was a great success, meaning she would not need further major reconstructive surgery. However, Lakshmi will need further treatments and possible surgery for clubbed feet before she will be able to walk.

Children born with deformities in deeply traditional rural parts of India such as the remote village in the northern state of Bihar that Lakshmi hails from are often viewed as reincarnated gods. But some had sought to make money from Lakshmi. Her parents kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, they said.

“They say she is going to be back to normal, I believe them,” said her father Shambhu, who goes by one name. “I have just these doctors to thank for this miracle. It is a debt I could never repay.”

Full Story


When Gays Marry Kids Get Dumb

November 6, 2007

Blue Jersey is airing some pro gay marriage ads over the next two weeks. They are not very in your face or controversial. They are simple civil unions are not the same as marriage arguments. They are cute. Hopefully they will be effective. But as many of you know gay marriage is not one of my top political priorities so I will not get on my high horse right now. (Keep in mind, I do believe gays should be able to get married. If they want that headache, they should be entitled to it).

What this post is about is effective political advertising. I came across this ad a while ago, but was unable to find a working link to it when I last looked for it. Today when I was watching the Blue Jersey ads, this came up on the youtube side bar. I think this anti-gay marriage ad is troubling because it exploits children. I find it disturbing because I found the children cute, even though they were spewing discrimination (albeit taught to them by some adult).  But what it really makes you question are where are their parents.  In a twisted way I could understand teaching your children hate, if you thought it would save them or it was part of your religious beliefs.  Because it is a parent’s job to do what is best for their children, if a parent honestly believed in the dangers of being gay they should talk to their kids about it.  But to have your child on national television clearly stating your views like political puppets, without regard to how it might affect them in the future.