Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Past Was Better and I'm Not a Bigot

Our friend Mr. Shene, who longs for the days of yore, is back defending his bigotry. A letter in todays Adirondack Daily Enterprise:
In rebuttal to Brian Farenell’s response to my so-called bigotry in “Yearning for yesteryear”:

In my “bemoaning” I didn’t mention race or economic status, and since only women have babies I can only deduce that I ruffled his tutu with my comments on the gay movement. If he wanted to debate his point, why lump it in with anything else? If he believes it has made America a better place, then let it stand or fall on its own merit.

It was obvious that he would not admit that these problems exist, and THAT is blissful ignorance. Mr. Farenell obviously disagrees with me. Does that make HIM a bigot? Of course not; he just needs to learn the difference between democracy and bigotry. Apparently he is so steeped in his progressive thinking that he has taken on what he attests to hate so much.

If Mr. Farenell wishes to marry another man, or his mother or father for that matter, have at it, but don’t expect everyone to agree and call it right in the guise of being politically correct, “an oxymoron, by the way.” It is not a natural act, sir, and even animals recognize that fact. I would wonder if a gay man or woman believes in God, and if so, do they believe that God made a MISTAKE in their sex in the miracle of creation? That may explain the far left’s push to eradicate God from society — get rid of God, get rid of guilt!

Common sense dictates that when beliefs and actions leave the norm of our society, debate and disagreement will follow, and the right to agree or disagree belongs to ALL Americans, not the secular few. If disagreement is bigotry, every American is guilty of it.

Mr. Farenell may enjoy seeing a man dressed in women’s panties and bra, painted like a clown, riding a float in public, commercializing his sexual yearnings. I do not, but then, I pride myself as keeping some common sense in his “progressive society.”

I realize there are laws in this country and that they should be obeyed, but I do not have to agree with them — and that, sir, is my GOD-GIVEN right as an American.

Traditional America spoke loud and clear in the O.J. Simpson and Ludacris cases and learned that people with strong moral values can triumph and we ARE quick learners. Mr. Farenell would do good to not mistake tolerance for acceptance.
It's really hard to determine where to begin. This letter together with his last letter lead me to believe that Mr. Shene believes himself to be a Christian. He believes God created man and that God would never make a man that could be gay because that would be a 'mistake'. Unfortunately, there are plenty of structural flaws in the 'design' of the human body.

Mr. Shene goes on to say "I can only deduce that I ruffled his tutu with my comments" which is, in my opinion, a very non-Christian remark to make. But I suspect that Mr. Shene is a member of the "hating" Christian sect and not the "loving" Christian sect.

Mr. Shene goes on: "Common sense dictates that when beliefs and actions leave the norm of our society, debate and disagreement will follow". I guess Mr. Shene also believes he will determine what the 'norms' of society are going to be. Is society today the same as society 500 years ago? 100 years ago? 50 years ago? I don't think so. Mr. Shene was on "talk of the town" this morning ranting about how the ACLU and the 'left' were destroying America. He didn't like that certain books were being published and sold. I guess he wants to determine which books will be published while he is setting the 'norms' of society.

Lastly, "If disagreement is bigotry, every American is guilty of it." Well, no, disagreement is obviously not bigotry. A bigot is a person who is obstinately devoted to their prejudices even when these views are challenged or proven to be false. (from Wikipedia)

Mr. Shene is quite obviously obstinate, very obviously prejudiced and is the one that needs to learn the meaning of Democracy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

US Tank crushes Iraqi civilian's car

Winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis? Is this official United States policy?

Webb Backtalks to Bush

You've got to love this.

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
Damn I would have loved to see the expression on Bush's face. He just isn't used to being spoken to like that.

War Spending

Here is a graphic from the LA Times showing the amounts we have spent on the war so far.

Now it looks like Bush will be requesting the largest amount yet to continue his failed war - $127-150 billion more in "emergency spending". This in in addition to the $70 billion already allocated for the war next year. One of the reasons the request is so high is that military equipment, such as tanks and helicopters, need to be replaced.

Yet no one in the USA, other than the troops, have been asked to sacrifice for this war. The bill will be paid by our children and grandchildren.

Gingrich Hates Free Speech

Here is what good ole Newt thinks:

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
I have a question.....whatever happened to "Give me liberty or give me death?"

People in our own government are afraid of you and me. They tell us the Constitution is not a suicide pact or you can't have a Constitution if you are dead. They've convinced millions of us that this bullshit is true and that we need to be afraid, very afraid. Well, those people can just bite me!

I'm far more afraid of people in my own government, who have supposedly sworn to uphold the Constitution, than I am of any third world terrorist. There is absolutely nothing patriotic about giving up your freedom of speech or freedom to peacefully protest. Being patriotic is all about defending our liberties that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

People in this country have got to start standing up to assholes like Newt Gingrich and his ilk. They were too cowardly to serve in the armed forces and they are too cowardly to defend our Constitution.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Asthma Epidemic (and Hygiene Hypothesis)

In todays NY Times health section, the topic of asthma is discussed.
In any case, about 20 million people in the United States have asthma today, including at least 6 million children, and 5,000 people a year die from it. Children in the inner cities seem to be especially hard hit, with exposure to cockroaches and diesel fumes suspected as the culprits. But the cause is not known for sure.
The article discusses some reasons for the increased prevalence of asthma. Diet, obesity, exposure to allergins and air pollution and my favorite topic the hygiene hypothesis
One theory that has received attention recently is the “hygiene hypothesis,” the idea that children today are raised in homes that are too clean and that asthma is somehow caused by the lack of exposure to infections and bits of microbes early in life. Under this theory, germs are supposed to help the immune system develop normally, and without them the system may overreact to other substances in the environment, producing allergies and asthma.

There is some evidence to support the idea. Studies find that children raised on farms are less prone than others to asthma, maybe because they are exposed to plenty of microbes in barns and stables. But the connection is still not fully understood, and some viral infections clearly make asthma worse.
The entire NYT article is based on paper recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled: The Asthma Epidemic by Waltraud Eder, M.D., Markus J. Ege, M.D., M.P.H., and Erika von Mutius, M.D. (2006, 355(21):2226-2235).

This is figure 4 from the journal article. It shows the various ways in which different types of exposures interact with different economic living conditions, resulting in variations in the prevalence of asthma.

Figure 4. Effect of the Interaction between Various Types of Exposures and Various Genetic Backgrounds in a Range of Racial and Ethnic Groups on the Prevalence of Asthma through Pathways Involving Atopy, Airway Inflammation, Airway Hyperresponsiveness (AHR), or Other, Unknown Factors.

Unfortunately, both articles give short shrift to the involvement of helminth infections in the hygiene hypothesis.
Chronic infestation with helminths may also confer protection, but short-lived episodes of infestation may exacerbate atopic disorders.
This article: Allergy, Parasites, and the Hygiene Hypothesis published in "Science" provides the reasoning behind helminth infections and the hygiene hypothesis. Full text is not freely available but since it's in "Science" you should be able to find it in your local library.

An interesting article entitled Eating Dirt by Gerald N. Callahan can be found here at the CDC.

A few hygiene hypothesis links: