Saturday, December 29, 2007

Be Healthy - It's Simple

Don't drink, smoke or take any drugs (that means no drugs whatsoever). Don't watch television, don't eat red meat and don't use any product which contains fragrances. That's the advice of the HealthRanger.

Also, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors, no milk, cheese or dairy products, no soft drinks, no snack foods, no fast food, no fried foods, no processed foods, no white flour, no refined breads, cereals, pastries etc, no fruit juices (unless you buy his book that tells you how to "juice feast".

Stop using deodorant, laundry detergents with fragrances, dryer sheets, and fluoride toothpast.

Stop visiting medical doctors (naturopathic physicians are ok) and definitely do not get vaccinated.

Do all this and you will transform yourself. You will become capable of reading books at one page per second, you will instantly become able to grasp the "big picture" of any concept including homeopathy (chuckle). You will automatically be able to remember long numbers, such as your credit card numbers. And, you will see the world with a new clarity and understanding.

You do, however, need to do a couple of things. You need to eat quinoa, soy products, tofu and soy milk. You need to drink Jenny Lee Supergreens shakes for breakfast. You need to eat wheatgrass and sea vegetables and massive quantities of blueberries. You need to take rainforest herbs and expose yourself, without sunscreen, to at least 1 hour of intense sunlight a day.

Lastly, the FDA and the AMA are out to get you.

Good Luck.

Historic Documents - 1962 Sears Catalog

Telstar Logistics presents 160 pages of the 1962 Sears Christmas catalog. See them here at their Flickr site.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Speaking of Anger

Check out the Beast's 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007. #9 is YOU! And he states some pretty good reaons. Here is his sentence for you (us):
A gradual decline into abject poverty as you continue to vote against your own self-interest. Death by an easily treated disorder that your health insurance doesn't cover. You deserve it, chump.
The top 3 are G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Fred Phelps. Don't worry, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid are #5 and Hillary Clinton is the Beast is equal opportunity.

Are You Angry?

Prof. David Green writes a very instructive commentary at Common Dreams titled "You're Damn Right I'm Angry. Why Isn't Everybody?". In this article he explains precisely why he is an angry progressive. Then he asks, why isn't everyone just as angry? A very good question. Here are the last four paragraphs.
What an unbelievable record of deceit, destruction, hypocrisy, incompetence, treason and greed. What a tragic tale of debt, lost wars, stolen elections, environmental crises, Constitution shredding, national shame and diminished security.

All done by the very most pious amongst us, of course. Merry Christmas, eh? I guess those are our presents, all carefully wrapped in spin, contempt, and preemptive attacks on any of us impertinent enough to say “No thanks, Santa”.

So, yeah, you’re goddam right I’m angry about what’s been done to my country, and what’s been done by my country in my name.

How could anyone who claims to care about America not be?

Evolution: It's Just a Theory

Is it only Republicans that feel they have to show their ignorance by denying the theory of evolution? Does it somehow result in more votes? Do they not understand that evolution has nothing to do with the origination of life? Do they accept the theory of gravity? If they do, why?

Why is it important to some of us that the President of the USA accept the theory of evolution? Well, as Verlyn Klinkenborg of the New York Times put it so eloquently:
Accepting the fact of evolution does not necessarily mean discarding a personal faith in God. But accepting intelligent design means discarding science. Much has been made of a 2004 poll showing that some 45% of Americans believe that the Earth—and humans with it—was created as described in the book of Genesis, and within the past 10,000 years. This isn't a triumph of faith. It's a failure of education.
We want a President that is scientifically literate and wants to keep the USA as the premier world power in science and technology. We also want a President that believes that quality education is required to keep the USA as the #1 science powerhouse. We also want a President that is curious enough to examine the evidence that supports the theory of evolution and use reason to determine whether the science is sound or not.

The next President of the USA is going to need to address several major problems in which an understanding of science will be necessary.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December Snow Storm Pictures

Here are a few pictures from the Dec. 16th snow storm in Saranac Lake and the day after.

Survive Screwdriver in Head

Remember your mother always yelling at you to not run around with sharp objects. Here is why. The Boston Channel reports that a 2 year old Minnesota girl fell on a screwdriver which entered her head just above her left eye. She's ok and won't even need surgery. They are asking for donations to take care of her medical bills however. Here's the address:
Teagan Gislason Fund
C/O Provincial Bank
20280 Iberia Ave.
Lakeville, Minn., 55044

Books I'm Reading

A couple of Christmas books I'm reading:

#1. Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking by Thomas Kida. So far a really good book. Kida is a professor in the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and specializes in decision making. The six mistakes are as follows:

We prefer stories to statistics
We seek to confirm, not to question our ideas
We rarely appreciate the role of chance and coincidence in shaping events
We sometimes misperceive the world around us
We tend to oversimplify our thinking
We have faulty memories.

#2. Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine by R. Barker Bausell. Dr. Bausell is a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and was research director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center. He specializes in research design.

This book is largely about the placebo effect and how it affects the proper design and interpretation of clinical research trials.

Two other books I'm reading:

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. If you haven't read the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, I highly recommend that you do. I Am Legend will be the first graphic novel I've ever read.

Oh, I can't leave out this one. I'm teaching a section of Anatomy and Physiology next semester so I'm boning up on the subject. The textbook is Anatomy and Physiology: From Science to Life by Jenkins, Kemnitz and Tortora. Quite a readable book as it was written for students in the allied health sciences. I'm not really big on using textbooks to teach science because I think all you need to know can be found on the internets.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

North Country Intelligent Design Gadfly

There was another dumb letter to the Editor in the same issue of the Glens Falls Post Star in which Ron Blachut's letter was published. This letter was by one Ron Cote, a man who travels the internets attempting to 'save' people who are blinded by belief in evolution.

In this letter we learn that the Columbine High School murders were due to the teaching of "Darwinism" by which he presumably means evolution.
We need to heed Eric Harris’ message. He was a serious devotee and student of Darwinism. At Columbine on that fateful day, his sweatshirt read "Natural Selection" sending a clear message of the significance of that evolutionary tenet as he and his accomplice massacred 16 people. The significance, relationship or correlation seems never to have been made between his message and the horrific act.
It's really no wonder that children in the North Country can't wait to leave the area when they graduate high school.

I encourage people, who do not understand evolution, to go to this website at UC Berkeley. It will take some time, but first read throuhg Evolution 101 to learn what is evolution and how it works. Then read through the Evidence for Evolution which many evolution deniers say does not exist. Finally, read a few articles on "How Evolution Impacts Your Life". Last but not least, arm yourself against creationist claims by going here and choosing your weapon (or reason based on evidence).

Don't want to do all that reading, then if you have a couple of hours listen to Ken Miller.

Don't want to spend a couple of hours listening to Ken Miller talk about evolution? Then listen to this very informative 3 minute video on why no one will ever convince an anti-evolutionist that they are wrong.

Queensbury, NY Proud Chauvinist

Here is a letter to the editor of the Glens Falls Post Star that is making the rounds on the internet. See here, here, here, here and here, to list a few (there are many, many more). It has got to be one of the top ten dumbest letters ever written and very good PR for the Glens Falls, NY area.

Regarding a story that appeared in

The Post-Star

on Dec. 6: "Rep. Gillibrand announces she is pregnant."

First of all, I must admit that I am a male chauvinist and that there are, thankfully, differences between men and women. There are many occupations suitable for women and their physical attributes. Carrying a weapon while serving in the Armed Forces and firefighting are not suitable lines of work for women to prove that they are physically equal to men. How many male police officers feel comfortable with a 100 pound female backup?

And now, I have to add serving in the U.S. House and Senate as an occupation that may not be suitable for women.

Ms. Gillibrand's current pregnancy makes a strong case for my opinion. Ms. Gillibrand was elected to serve her constituency, and while she is away from her elected office she cannot perform those duties. The taxpayers who were duped into voting for her will have to pay for her medical benefits. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, Ms. Gillibrand receives excellent health benefits, courtesy of her constituents. We will be without representation in Congress for a time leading up to and following the child's birth. There will be times when she and the new baby will visit doctors. You can add those days to the total that she will not be serving her constituents.

The current base salary (2006) for members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year. I wonder if Ms. Gillibrand will do the right thing and reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $452.60, her daily salary, for each day that she is unable to perform her elected duties. For some reason, I doubt it.


Aren't our taxes paying for all of Dick Cheney's medical problems.....oh wait, but he's a man. Mr. Blachut was probably all in favor of Rep. Sweeney abusing his wife. But Sweeney is a Republican.

Definitely go to Fundie Watch and read what they have to say.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Is G.W. Bush a War Criminal?

Ok, the picture is from the liberal "Common Dreams" (along with the article) but the article,The Torture Tape Fingering Bush As a War Criminal, was published in the Times Online and it's by conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan. Here is the take home message:
The Washington Post reported that “current and former officials” said the torture lasted weeks and even, according to some, months, and that the techniques included hypothermia, long periods of standing, sleep deprivation and multiple sessions of waterboarding. All these “alternative procedures”, as Bush described them, are illegal under US law and the Geneva conventions. They are, in fact, war crimes. And they were once all treated by the US as war crimes when they were perpetrated by the Nazis. Waterboarding has been found to be a form of torture in various American legal cases.

And that is where the story becomes interesting. The Bush administration denies any illegality at all, insists it does not “torture” but refuses to say whether it believes waterboarding is torture or not. But hundreds of hours of videotape were recorded of Zubaydah’s incarceration and torture. That evidence would settle the dispute over the extremely serious question of whether the president of the United States authorised war crimes.

And now we have found out that all the tapes have been destroyed.

I'm probably wrong, but I haven't seen too many places that outright call Bush a war criminal. Although, from my experience, the British have far less reverence for their heads of state than do US citizens. Bush does not deny previous knowledge about the existence or destruction of the torture tapes. The article points out that he has claimed "he does not recall" knowledge of them.

Here is Sullivan's conclusion:
Any reasonable person examining all the evidence we have - without any bias - would conclude that the overwhelming likelihood is that the president of the United States authorised illegal torture of a prisoner and that the evidence of the crime was subsequently illegally destroyed.

Republicans Need to Beware Huckabee

Peter Wehner, an ex-deputy assistant to President Bush writes in an op-ed in todays Washington Post that Republicans need to be careful about supporting Mike Huckabee for President.

Here is Wehner's first paragraph in the op-ed:
Some of us -- in my case, a political conservative and evangelical Christian -- are getting a queasy feeling when it comes to the presidential campaign of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and much of it has to do with his use of faith in this political campaign.

I assume that Wehner is an evangelical Christian as the term applies to President Bush. One of those Sunday church-goers that forget the meaning of their faith for six out of seven days. In other words, the kind of republican that wants the evangelical Christian vote but then forgets about them after they get the vote.

Wehner's last paragraph says:
Mike Huckabee, by all accounts a faithful Christian, may not have crossed any bright lines yet -- but he's edging close to them. He should pull back now, before his political ambitions injure what he claims to care about, and undoubtedly does care about, most.

"By all accounts"? Does anyone question Mike Huckabee's devotion to his faith? I sure don't. And, Wehner really didn't make it clear exactly which "bright lines" Huckabee is close to crossing.

Huckabee sure is sticking in the craw of a lot of conservatives these days.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Romney - He Looks Like a President

Be sure and read this great editorial about Willard Romney in the Concord Monitor. They describe just the kind of Republican candidate that Mike Huckabee was talking about.

Here's the first couple of paragraphs:
If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You'd add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You'd pour in some old GOP bromides - spending cuts and lower taxes - plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.

Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.

Romney's main business experience is as a management consultant, a field in which smart, fast-moving specialists often advise corporations on how to reinvent themselves. His memoir is called Turnaround - the story of his successful rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City - but the most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career.

If John Kerry was a flip-flopper, how would the average conservative have to describe Willard Romney? This guy has gone 180 degrees on just about every position he has ever held. Someone should tell Willard that God does not like liars. I wonder how New Hampshire Republican voters will see him.

Oh yeah, Willard also thinks Jesus and Satan are brothers and that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King.

Why NYC Firemen Do Not Care for Rudy G.

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