Yuppies, Buppies and Guppies

April 1, 2008

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HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced his resignation today. His tenure is marred by a national housing crisis, allegations of political favoritism and a criminal investigation. But I would like you to remember the Bush crony differently. As the Alphonso Jackson I know and love:

Asked about the problems with subprime mortgages last June, Jackson insisted that many such [high-risk, high-cost] borrowers were not unsophisticated, low-income people but what he called “Yuppies, Buppies and Guppies” – well-educated, young, black and gay upwardly mobile achievers – with expensive cars who bought $400,000 homes with little or no money down.

Thats right, Alphonso Jackson, the ambitious upwardly mobile groups are to blame, not the shady loan companies, shaky economy, or present administration.

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Politcal Inspiration

February 25, 2008

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I thought I was politically motivated:

FEBRUARY 25–Meet Jose Antonio Ortiz. The Pennsylvania man allegedly stabbed his brother-in-law in the stomach after the pair quarreled about their respective support of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. According to cops, Ortiz, 28, stabbed Sean Shurelds last Thursday night in the kitchen of an Upper Providence Township home. According to a criminal complaint, a copy of which you’ll find here, the 41-year-old Shurelds, an Obama supporter, told Ortiz that the Illinois senator was “trashing” Clinton (apparently in regard to recent primary and caucus results). Ortiz, a Clinton supporter, replied that “Obama was not a realist.” While not exactly fighting words, the verbal political tiff led to some mutual choking and punching. And, allegedly, a stabbing in the abdomen. Shurelds was flown to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. (2 pages) Source

While violence is never a good thing, and the two men involved in the story were probably not the brightest, it is refreshing to see people care.  Pennsylvania rarely gets to make a difference in the primary season and I hope people don’t waste their opportunity.  Obviously I hope everyone gets out and votes for the most qualified candidate (Hint: Hillary Clinton).   But even if you are voting for another candidate, or worse yet, another party, take advantages of this opportunity.  Research the candidates stances and histories, evaluate what is important to you, and vote!

PS.  Politics are great but stabbing someone isn’t the answer.  I know it can be frustrating when a friend or relative admits to supporting Obama in spite of his lack of experience, already broken promises, and his inability to provide details about any of the “change” he plans to bring.


Breast Cancer Drug Approved

February 23, 2008

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In a controversial move, the FDA has approved Avastin for breast cancer.  The drug is already used in lung and colon cancer.  For the FDA to approve a late stage cancer drug it needs to either extend patient’s lives or import the quality of life.  Avastin has shown neither and so the advisory committe recommended against its use in breast cancer.  The FDA went against the recommendation of its advisory committee.  The drug does shrink tumors effectively, but there is a debate if that alone is reason to approve a drug.

If you still die in the same amount of time in the same painful way was having smaller tumors  worth whatever adverse effects or side effects come from the medicine?  There are pros and cons to the decision.  The pros are the approval will stimulate even more research and development into tumor shrinking medicines.  The decision will also be good for business, stimulating development and growth.  But there are also cons.  First there is the obvious problem if a drug does not extend life or improve quality of life what is the purpose.  Tumor shrinking is important, but only as a part of the overall picture of improving health.  But what I find to be a more glaring problem is, the advisory committees are designed to have more knowledge and to have looked at a topic more carefully to give the FDA an intelligent recommendation.  Why have them if you don’t listen to the recommendation?  I think that sets bad precedent.

Hopefully the next large study of Avastin will show marked improvement in combination with  other drugs in the treatment of breast cancer.


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.”

 


Score One for Team Clinton

January 24, 2008

I read an editorial on the New York Times website endorsing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination tonight. I am not going to rephrase or highlight it, because I believe you should read it for yourselves in its entirety (its not long). I feel it accurately captured my view on the election, and the differences between Clinton and Obama.

I like both of them politically and because of the great overlap in their platforms it can be hard to differentiate.   I would be happy with either in the White House, but one clearly has more experience and is at least vocalizing more specific, in depth plans for our country.  While they share similar goals for the country, I need a president with plans to achieve those goals.  Although Clinton’s plans have not always panned out, she has always been forward about her successes and failures and willing to keep moving to get things done.

Read the Editorial Here


I’ll take the 10,000 Calorie Appetizer Please

January 23, 2008

New York City’s Board of Health is revisiting regulations in an effort to stem the obesity problem.  The board is trying to get a measure passed where people would have better access to the nutritional information of the food they consume.

 Under the rules, which officials rewrote after a federal judge struck down similar provisions in September, any chain that operates at least 15 outlets nationwide would have to display calorie content on their menu boards, menus or food tags — essentially wherever the restaurant lists the information that customers use to make their choices.

The proposal will likely be challenged in court, due to implementation problems and restaurant’s hesitation to  publish the data.  I personally support the measure.  It makes sense, you should have access to information about something you are putting in your body.  Many will argue the people choosing between the Big Mac and the Bacon-ater are not the calorie counting type, but that isn’t necessarily true.  If a person likes both, but knows one is a little better (although terrible) for them, they can make an informed choice.

More to the point it is often confusing or surprising the calorie content of meals.  People hear terrible things about places like McDonald’s but then may not associate sit down restaurants for being as bad as they are.  I know personally I feel worse when I go to a fast food drive through then if a group of us go out to a nice restaurant.

Did you know for the calories in Olive Garden’s Stuffed Chicken Marsala entree (which is not the worst food at Olive Garden) you could have a Big Mac, a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, and a Taco Bell Quesadilla?


Good Medicine, Bad Behavior

January 13, 2008

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You might be wondering where the “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” exhibit is showing. The answer: the DEA Museum. Although it may just be my ignorance, but did anyone know there was a DEA Museum? Well I am going to a wedding in October that is in Virginia and my mom cut an ad out for this museum in case we want to go.  Hopefully we’ll check it out and then I will promptly fill you in on what exactly a DEA museum entails.

I feel like it was designed for pharmacy school field trips.

The ad reads:

“This interactive exhibit delves into prescription drug abuse and explores the history of drug abuse from period pharmacies to rogue internet pharmacies.”

DEA Museum

700 Army Navy Drive Pentagon City Arlingotn, VA 22202

www.deamuseum.org