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.


Forgotten Kiss Saves the Day

March 19, 2008

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Cutest story in the news today:

CINCINNATI, March 19 (UPI) — An Ohio man saved his fiancee and infant son from a fire after he nearly drove away to work but returned to kiss the baby goodbye.

Kevin Roy said he realized while pulling out of his driveway Tuesday morning that he had forgotten to kiss his 1-year-old son, Koby, goodbye, WLWT-TV, Cincinnati, reported Wednesday.

“I just wanted to tell him I loved him before I left,” Roy said. “I pulled up to the end of the driveway and thought, ‘I want to go in and tell him bye,’ because I normally do. It’s just something I do on a daily basis, so I decided to go back in.”

Roy said his house was filled with smoke when he walked back in the door. He said he was able to locate and wake his sleeping fiancee, Ashley Swingley, but Koby’s room was filled with so much smoke that the parents could not see inside.

“I couldn’t even see into his room, and I just grabbed him and ran outside,” said Swingley.

The fire, which destroyed the house and nearly all of its contents, is under investigation.

Source


Inspirational Medicine

March 19, 2008

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Cancer is difficult.  In every sense of the word.  It is difficult to detect early(in some forms), it is difficult to treat, it is difficult to deal with.  Individuals and families are devastated by the effects of the disease and even by the treatment.  It is particularly heart wrenching to read stories about childhood cancers.  But it is important.  The things learned from the study of end stage cancer is often among the most cutting edge research.  People will be open to may treatment courses when the alternative is death.  While the vast majority of last minute experiments fail, and no magic cure is discovered, there are always exceptions.  Those exceptions are beautiful to read and I encourage you to read the following article.

Full Article

From a human stand point, it is always refreshing to see the triumphant story of an underdog that overcomes some great challenge.  From clinical stand point, the same holds.  Many of the greatest achievements and breakthroughs in science have been laughed at originally and dismissed too quickly.  While the antiangiogenic chemotherapy may or may not go on to play a significant role in the treatment of cancer in the future, its pioneers like Dr. Judah Folkman who change the course of history.  Taking a different approach, trying new combinations of existing medicines, and being innovative in the treatment of cancer Dr. Judah Folkman saved Melanie McDaniel.  The McDaniel family is sharing her story as a tribute to Dr. Folkman who passed away in January.


Really Odd Jobs

March 6, 2008

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Came across a cute little article on CNN.com this morning. It is a list of odd jobs, some are weird, some are gross, and some you can’t believe people can’t paid to do. I thought I would share a few, but check it out here.

1. Breath odor evaluator

4. Ocularist (paint artifical eyes)

5. Flatulence smell-reduction underwear maker

10. Tampon tester

12. Dog sniffer

15. Barbie dress designer


Parents as Protectors

February 29, 2008

America is obsessed with medical autonomy. Everyone feels entitled to make decisions about their own health. While I agree everyone should have control over their own bodies, there is a gray area. Children. The current standard gives parents great range in what they can have done or what they can decide to withhold in terms of health care. Vaccines always come up as a hot topic. While the majority of parents adhere to the accepted standards of immunization there is a small, but vocal minority who objects to vaccination.

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An advisory panel on Wednesday recommended all kids up to age 18 get the flu vaccine. Though the vaccine is already recommended for those 6 months to 5 years old, this new proposal is a huge expansion, affecting nearly 60 million kids. The expanded recommendation is an initiative by the CDC to protect the entire population. Children are one of the major sources of flu in the community. School aged children pick it up, pass it around, and then bring it home. Everyone has had the flu, and while it may have been terrible it was transient, so it is hard for people to take it seriously. But in reality, people die from the flu every year, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible. Vaccines, like all things, have risks. But they are very minimal and less severe than the flu. Obviously people with reactions to a previous flu vaccine, those with contraindicated disease state (GB syndrome), or certain allergies (for example eggs since the vaccine is grown in eggs) should not get the vaccine but in general it is a harmless vaccine.

With all the fear mongering of pseudo scientific studies (like the joke of a paper that tainted MMR by suggesting a correlation with autism), old world views of medicine, and popular misconceptions it can be tough for a parent to find the truth about a particular vaccine. So who really is better qualified to determine if your child needs a certain vaccine? The doctors that have years of training to understand the risks/benefits and wade through the abundance of misinformation or parents who may or may not be fully informed on the topic or who may be prejudiced by misinformation? To me the choice is obvious. I don’t want your 9 year old little Johnny vaccinated because I care if he gets sick, I want him vaccinated to protect the newborn he saw, the grandparent he hugged, the kid who’s toy he shared, and community he lives in.

When you decide to not vaccinate your child, you put everyone’s children at risk.

 


Cute and Good For Your Heart!!

February 27, 2008

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Came across this cute little article today on abc.com.

Owning a pet cat may help your heart

If you’re not allergic to them, having a cat might be great for your heart.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, people who don’t own a cat have about a 40 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease.

Scientists don’t know why, but say their best guess is that having a pet relieves stress and anxiety.

Sorry dog owners — researchers found no protective relationship between man and his so called “best friend.” However, that could be due to the limitations of the study, and not a conclusion about dogs specifically.


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.”

 


Something Else Bad about Vista

February 20, 2008

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Vista has been plagued with problems since the start, and today I am reporting on another one.

February 20, 2008 (Computerworld) Responding to reports of endlessly rebooting PCs that flooded support newsgroups last week, on Tuesday Microsoft Corp. said it had pulled an update designed to prep Windows Vista for Service Pack 1.

Although the update — actually a pair of prerequisite files that modify Vista’s install components — has been temporarily pulled from Windows Update, Microsoft has not yet produced a fix for users whose machines either won’t boot or reboot constantly.

Shortly after the two prerequisites hit Windows Update last week, users began reporting problems on Microsoft’s support newsgroups. Most said that the update hung as the message “Configuring Updates Step 3 of 3 — 0% Complete” appeared on the screen. When users rebooted hoping to clear the error, their PCs went into an endless cycle of reboots. A smaller number of users said that their computers refused to boot normally.

Some users have been able to regain control by booting from a Vista install DVD and selecting the “Restore from a previous restore point” option.

But do you know who doesn’t have to worry about this problem?  (In addition to the Mac fans)   Me.  Thats right.  I upgraded to “a more familiar model”: XP.  I’m sorry Vista, I gave you 6 months.  No printer compatibility, slow processing, and limited USB function.  The deal breaker was every time a window’s update installed or I restarted my computer my mouse stopped working and I had to system restore.