Monday, December 28, 2009

Run, Don't Walk to See Avatar in 3-D

Run, don't walk, to your nearest 3-D capable movie theater to see Avatar. Don't waste your money on the 2-D version. We went to the Cumberland 12 theaters in Plattsburgh to see Avatar in 3-D. Movies will never be the same. The best I can describe the experience is that it is like looking out a window at something happening, not looking at a screen. The "alien" planet is absolutely beautiful. The movies isn't full of 3-D "gimmicks", like things flying out at you (although sometimes....). There are instances where you want to reach out and touch cool little floating or flying alien animals. The movie has many messages that apply to the political situation today. The main message I took away from the movie is that it is much easier to reign destruction on a people if you can somehow convince yourself to hate make them seem less than yourself or just different. This movie is going to win awards if only for the new technology used in making an unforgetable experience. One technical question however. Many of the alien animals are hexapods rather than tetrapods, but the alien "humans" are tetrapods like us. I believe even the alien "monkeys" were heptapods. How did the alien "humans" end up evolved into tetrapods?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Science is Beautiful

Here is a good reason to visit Rochester, NY. An almost exact replica of a 1976 late Baroque pipe organ has been reconstructed in Christ Church Episcopal. It's a copy of a pipe organ built by Adam Gottlob Casparini of East Prussia and cost $3 million. There is nothing modern about this organ. It needs to be pumped by a human and has over 2200 pipes. It is handmade and even the cabinetry is made from 19th century wood. It is the nearest we have to being able to hear Bach's music as he himself heard it.

You can read more about the pipe organ here and even listen to it being played.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hallelujah! - CALM

One of the most important pieces of legislation ever has been voted on by the House of Representatives. The "Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act" or CALM has passed the House on a voice vote. This act requires that TV advertisements be no louder than the programs during which they appear.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Bacteriophage Therapy History (Part 3)

Use of phage therapy in the USA declined drastically with the advent of antibiotic therapy. But this was not the case in Eastern Europe. The Eliava Institute, founded in 1923 in Tbilisi, Georgia, by Giorgi Eliava, continues to this day to research phage therapy. In fact, there is a Phage Therapy Center to this day in the Republic of Georgia that takes patients for phage therapy treatment.

There are hundreds of published research reports on phage therapy. A large number of these are to be found in non-English journals published in the former Soviet Union and Poland. Stefan Slopek, of the Laboratory of Bacteriophages, Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, published a series of papers in the 1980's, on the effectiveness of phage therapy against infection with several different bacterial pathogens including multi-drug resistant bacteria. A review of the work was published by Slopek in 1987. Slopek reported that of 550 patients treated with phage therapy, "positive results were found in 508 cases (92.4%)". Most of these cases were infections with drug resistant bacteria.

More recently, at the same Institute in Poland, Gorski reported that "1307 patients with suppurative bacterial infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria of different species were treated with specific bacteriophages (BP)". And that, "BP therapy was highly effective; full recovery was noted in 1123 cases (85.9%)".

Reports concerning phage therapy of staphylococcal infections of the lung, sepsis in newborns, urinary tract infections, infections of surgical wounds, and eye infections have been published. Unfortunately, in many cases the trials were not completed in a manner to allow rigorous evaluation of the results.

Research on phage therapy does continue in the USA. In fact, rather than using the whole phage virus which can be attacked by the human immune system and in some cases by the bacteria themselves, a phage lysin can be used to attack the bacterial cell wall.

More information about phage therapy can be found at this Evergreen International Phage Biology Meeting website. An extensive list of the phage therapy literature can be found here.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bacteriophage - Therapy History (Part 2)

Bacteriophages are viruses that can infect and destroy bacteria. This fact was actually used, prior to the discovery and widespread use of antibiotics, to treat certain infections.

Who discovered bacteriophages is the subject of debate. Most credit Frederick Twort (1915), an English bacteriologist, and Felix d'Herelle (1917), a French-Canadian microbiologist with the independent discovery of bacteriophages.

Frederick Twort
Felix D'Herelle

But in 1896 another British bacteriologist, Ernest Hankin, observed that water from the Ganges river in India had a marked inhibitory effect against Vibrio cholerae. Furthermore, he observed that the substance was susceptible to heat and could pass through a fine porcelain filter. The first phage was not visualized until 1939 by Helmut Ruska using an electron microscope.

D'Herelle used phages to treat dysentary and was probably the first to use phages therapeutically. In one experiment, he purified a phage preparation and ingested it himself to insure its safety. The next day he gave the preparation to a 12 year old boy suffering from severe dysentary. The boy's symptoms ceased after a single dose of the phage and he fully recovered from the dysentary.

The first published report of using phage as a therapeutic treatment was in 1921 by Bruynoghe and Maisin who used phage therapy to treat staphylococcal skin disease. Felix D'Herelle eventually started a commercial laboratory in Paris to produce phage preparation marketed to treat 5 different bacterial infections. The company later became L'Oreal.

In the USA in the 1940's the Eli Lilly Company manufactured phage preparations for human use. These preparations were specific for staphylococci, streptococci, E. coli and several other bacteria. It was a subject of debate of how effective these phage preparations were in treating infections.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) the large scale production of penicillin also occurred in the 1940's and commercial production of phages ceased in most of the world.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bacteriophage (Part 1)

What are bacteriophage? Bacteriophages (or phages) are viruses that infect bacteria rather than eukaryotic cells. The word bacteriophage comes from "bacteria" and "to eat" because many phages literally destroy the bacteria they infect.

Bacteriophage T4 is a classic example of phage virus. It infects the E. coli bacterium. Below is a diagram of a T4 phage and an actual electron micrograph of the phage.
The T4 phage looks alot like the lunar lander doesn't it? The "legs" of the T4 phage allow for attachment to the E. coli host bacterium and the phage "tail" is hollow to allow for the injection of the phage DNA into the bacterium. You can see an animation of the T4 phage infecting a bacterium here.

Viruses have two different types of life cycles called lytic and lysogenic. The lytic life cycle is the more common type of life cycle used by viruses and it results in the destruction of the bacterium or cell. The below excellent diagram, from the U. of Delaware, shows the lytic life cycle of a T4 phage.
Basically, the bacterium is infected, the phage takes over the metabolic machinery of the bacterium, reproduces itself and destroys the bacterial host cell thus releasing more virus available to infect new host cells.

The lysogenic cycle is different and is pictured below.
In this phage "life style", the phage DNA is actually incorporated into the bacterial genome. This newly integrated phage DNA is referred to as a prophage. The advantage of this life cycle is that every time the bacterium divides, the DNA of the prophage is replicated along with the bacterial genome. At some time in the future, the prophage can be induced to enter the lytic phase where new phages are reproduced and the bacterial cell is destroyed, releasing the phage virions.

So phages are good because they infect and destroy bacteria. Well not so fast. Phages are also known to increase the disease-causing capability (virulence) of some bacteria. For instance, the toxin produce by Vibrio cholerae bacterium diarrhea and rapid dehydration of the infected person, is due to infection of the bacterium with CTX phage. The toxin which causes cholera is actually encoded by the phage genome and not the bacterial genome. It is possible that phage infection of bacteria could be responsible for the evolution of more virulent bacteria. Other toxins reported to be encoded by phages include shigalike toxin in some pathogenic E. coli strains, botulinum toxin, diptheria toxin and erythrogenic toxin. This is serious business because it may be possible for phage to transfer virulence genes from disease-causing bacteria to unrelated bacteria which normally do not cause disease. You can read more about this phenomenon here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On Homosexuality, Civil Rights and Christian Judgement

It all started a few weeks ago with a letter to the editor of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise written by a very brave soul. The letter concerned gay marriage as a civil right. The letter generated 85 comments on the ADK website. What is surprising to me is the number of comments supporting the letter writer. I was not so surprised by the comments made by local homophobes.

A few days ago another letter to the editor was published in the ADK. This letter was written by a local bible-thumper and stated that homosexuals are sinners. As you might imagine (or maybe not) the letter has so far generated over 140 comments. The discussion rapidly devolved into whether what the bible says is worth the paper it is printed on. Interesting reading.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Many Cancer Treatments Not Cost Effective

There is an article in today's Washington Post with some information that I expect many people do not want to hear. The bottom line is that treatment for most cancers is ineffective and very expensive.
At the moment, there is a giant disconnect between patients, the cost of care and the clinical benefit of the treatment -- a disconnect that has caused us to lose perspective. When it comes to cancer care, we're not getting what we pay for.
But we are talking about someone's life! Yeah, well maybe spending thousands of dollars a month on ineffective cancer treatments might make you feel like you are doing something rather than nothing, but all that is really happening is....well, nothing.

How did we get to where we are in cancer treatment? In spite of the billions of dollars spent on the "war on cancer" we actually have no "evidence-based medicine" on which treatments are effective. Accepting this situation means, I guess, that maybe we will have "rationing" and "death panels" in some areas of medicine where treatments are just not effective. Maybe more time and money need to be put into counseling patients about their untreatable conditions rather than tens of thousands of dollars on the hope of a miracle cure.

Speaking of "death panels" read this. There is sometimes a limit on what an emergency room can do for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Share the Sacrifice Act

With all the talk of deficits it is about time someone proposes a tax to pay for the ongoing war in Afghanistan. I'm sure all the deficit hawks will vote to support such a bill. A graduated surtax on individuals and corporations would actually pay for the war which currently costs over 60 billion dollars per year. Another billion dollars a year would be needed for every 1000 additional troops that are sent to Afghanistan.

The bill exempts those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan since the 2001 as well as families who have lost an immediate relative in the fighting. Families making between 30-150 thousand dollars per year would incur an additional 1% tax. Those that make between 150-250 thousand would pay more and those making over 250 thousand even more.

It's about time we start paying for these wars that we have been fighting for almost nine years now. Going to war and cutting taxes at the same time was not a reasonable policy. Let's see how much Americans support the war in Afghanistan when the cost actually comes out of their pockets every year. After all, we don't want to leave huge deficits for our children.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Imprecatory Prayer

I thought I knew something about religion but imprecatory prayer is a new one on me. I blame the nuns at my catholic school for not teaching us about praying for someone to die.

I've seen the occasional parked car with a bumper sticker that reads "pray for Obama". But the tiny type in the corner of the sticker that cites Psalm 109:8 didn't really mean much to me. What does Psalm 109:8 say?
109:8 Let his days be few; [and] let another take his office
Ok, fair enough. You are praying to god that President Obama is not re-elected. But what does Psalm 109:7 say?
109:7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin
Let him be condemned how though? Well, read Psalm 109:9.
109:9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow
That line doesn't need much interpretation. So good christians are actually praying to god for President Obama to die. Well, Barack Obama seems to be a pretty healthy guy in spite of his smoking. It appears unlikely that he will succumb to some disease in the near future. So praying for his death means what? And, it's not enough that someone is praying for President Obama's children to be fatherless and his wife a widow. Check out Psalm 109:10.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek [their bread] also out of their desolate places.
This is good Old Testament violence and revenge at it's best. But for those "good christians" that buy into this crap, I suggest you turn to the New Testament and read Matthew 7:1-2.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Debating Whether to Debate

This morning the US Senate is debating whether to debate the health care reform bill. We're number 1!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hoffman Claims ACORN Stole NY-23 Election

Doug Hoffman is rapidly become the North Country version of Glenn Beck. Here is his latest:
Recent developments leave me to wonder who is scheming behind closed doors, twisting arms and stealing elections from the voters of NY-23.

I'm sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy.
That's not all:
P.S. I ran a different kind of campaign, one where Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party and 9/12 activists rallied around. ACORN, the unions and Democratic Party were scared, and that's why they tampered with the ballots of voters in NY-23. Will you please contribute today so we can show them that fair elections are the Will of the People? Thank you.

Those are serious allegations. I hope Doug has more proof than what he's shown so far. BTW, Doug also claims he was "forced" to concede the election.

Als, Doug and his tenther, teabagger friends also believe that ACORN stole the last Presidential election, so it's not surprising that ACORN would steal the election from Doug Hoffman.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Murphy Explains His Health Care Vote

A couple of weeks ago I emailed Rep. Scott Murphy concerning his vote against the House health care bill. Here is his reply, likely a "form response", to me and the many other Democrats that probably sent emails similar to mine. It appears that Murphy is more concerned about local paper mills and medical device manufacturers (what medical device manufacturer?) than actual health care reform.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about your support for the House health care bill, H.R. 3692, The American Affordable Health Care Act. Your input is important to me and helps me to better represent the people of New York's 20th district.

Over the last six months, I have traveled the 20th congressional district listening to constituents at over 100 events and Congress-On-Your-Corner meetings. During this time, no topic was discussed as often, or with as much passion as health care reform. These discussions were critical and reinforced my desire to reform our health care system.

I was pleased to see that H.R. 3962 took a number of important steps toward achieving these goals. For example, the bill would eliminate lifetime caps on insurance benefits and the pre-existing condition exclusion. It would create a health insurance exchange to force insurance companies to compete on a level playing field, and it offers a public option to give people access to a no-profit insurance choice.

However, in order to achieve this goal, we must be willing to address the flaws in the current system that have led to skyrocketing costs, bankrupt families, and windfall profits for insurance companies. That is why I have focused my attention on efforts to contain costs by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse; create a system based on healthy outcomes by incentivizing doctors to make Americans healthier; and drive competition in the insurance market to provide more choice and drive down costs.

However, after months of listening to constituents and reviewing the legislation, it was my belief that H.R. 3962 did not go far enough to bring down cost to a level that would contribute to our economic recovery. Furthermore, I was deeply frustrated by the last minute addition of over $50 billion in taxes, which would negatively impact the two largest employers in the 20th district--medical device manufactures and paper mills. This is not an acceptable way to pay for real healthcare reform. For these reasons, I voted against the bill when it passed the house by a vote of 220 to 215 on November 7, 2009.

As the bill now moves to the United States Senate, I remain committed to the goal of health care reform that provides quality, affordable health care to all American families and leaves our nation stronger. I look forward to continuing this important discussion and working to ensure that the final legislation addresses the issues that I believe are critical for Upstate New York.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. As a member of Congress, I have to make tough decisions every day, and hearing from you helps me to do my job well. To stay informed of my work, or to sign up for future updates, please visit my website at Also, please do not hesitate to contact my office again if I can be of any further assistance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Question About the War in Afghanistan

The following question was asked by former State Department official Matthew Hoh. "Do you want Americans fighting and dying for the Karzai regime?” Recently, our ambassidor to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, appears to agree with Mr. Hoh.

I think these two guys have it right. Supporting the President of Afghanistan, who was likely fraudulently elected, is not the correct strategy. First, I no longer know who we are fighting in Afghanistan, is it the Taliban or Al Queda? It appears Al Queda terrorists are all hanging out in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. As for the Taliban, the Soviet Union couldn't defeat them (Mujahidee not Taliban; see comments) and I doubt we will either. At least in a war.

It's time to bring out troops home which will save lives and about a $100 billion dollars a year that our country sorely needs right now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yet Another Good Hard Laugh - John Stewart

I can't embed the video, but here is yet another John Stewart classic concerning Sean Hannity's apology for misrepresenting the Bachmann organized tea party.

Voice Your Opinion on the Public Option

Last month Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a merged Senate health care bill -- a bill that includes a public option. And last weekend, the House of Representatives passed an historic health care reform bill that included a robust public option as well.

The question is no longer if we will have some sort of public option in the final health care reform bill, but instead what form it will take.

There are several interpretations of what a public option should look like, and I just shared my preferences with Senator Dick Durbin through his online public option poll at:

Please click this link to voice your preferences for the public option included in the final health care reform bill:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Fox News Deception

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Making Health Care Better

A well thought out commentary on health care reform can be found in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. A three-part commentary called "Health care reform is needed" is authored by Drs. Claud Roland Josh Schwartzberg. Part 1 can be found here and part 2 here. I assume part 3 will appear on Thursday.

The commentary fits in very nicely with an article published in the NYT Magazine last Sunday titled: "Making Health Care Better". Here is a taste of the article:
But there is one important way in which medicine never quite adopted the scientific method. The explosion of medical research over the last century has produced a dizzying number of treatments for different ailments. For someone with heart disease, there is bypass surgery, stenting or simply drugs and behavior changes. For a man with early-stage prostate cancer, there is surgery, radiation, proton-beam therapy or so-called watchful waiting. To enter mainstream use, any such treatment typically needs to clear a high bar. It will be subject to randomized trials, statistical-significance tests, the peer-review process of academic journals and the scrutiny of government regulators. Yet once a treatment enters the mainstream — once we know whether it works in certain situations — science is largely left behind. The next questions — when to use it and on which patients — become matters of judgment, not measurement. The decision is, once again, left to a doctor’s informed intuition.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Looks like Doug Hoffman will go down in history. Google "Hoffmanization". Use it in a sentence: How will she stand up against a stiff Hoffmanization? Hoffmanization isn't anywhere near as popular as Palinization yet and the word still doesn't show up in the Urban Dictionary.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Solving Energy Problems - USA vs Japan

United States energy plan.

Japanese energy plan.

Notice any difference?

Murphy Has Thanks of North Country Conservatives

Rep. Murphy is getting thanks from North Country conservatives, check out the comments here. Now Rep. Murphy, do you think can count on those individuals voting for you come re-election time. Those are the same people who wanted Doug Hoffman elected. Good-luck with your re-election strategy.

Brave Vulnerable House Reps

Unlike our congressman, Scott Murphy, four very vulnerable democratic House reps. voted in favor of Health Care Reform. Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-Va.), Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), Rep. Steve Driehous (D-Ohio) and Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) all had the courage of their convictions to vote in favor of health care reform, even though it is likely that vote will unseat them in 2010. Rep. Murphy could take a lesson in courage from those representatives.

Scott Murphy Gives Bullshit Explanation

Rep. Scott Murphy explains why he voted against the Health Care Reform Bill.

“I remain committed to the goal of providing quality, affordable health care and I will continue to fight to change the broken health care system for America’s families.”

Bullshit! At least you could be honest with those constituents that supported and voted for you. You voted no because it would have been more difficult for you to be re-elected in the 20th district. I understand that would have been the case. But I didn't support you and vote for you only to have you cast votes that can get you re-elected. You've lost my vote and my support. I am seriously thinking of leaving the Democratic party and becoming an independent. I've had enough of gutless Democrats.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NY-20 Rep. Murphy Votes Against Health Care Bill

Newly elected Congressman Scott Murphy (NY 20) was one of 39 Democratic House representatives that voted against the Health Care Bill. Twenty-four of those democratic house members were 'blue dogs' and you might have expected them to vote against the Bill. I've emailed Rep. Murphy asking for an explaination of why he voted against the Bill. I suspect I will get a wishy washy reply that doesn't really answer the question, but let's wait and see.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Freedom of Speech in the US House of Reps

What can anyone say about this? It's just embarrassing. This is the level of debate in our House of Representatives.

Large Hadron Collider Stalled Again? By Bread?

Last year the large hadron collider was "turned on" and failed due to an electrical "glitch". After almost a year of waiting, another "glitch" prevented the collider from being activated - bread crumbs.

A few weeks ago, it was suggested that the large hadron collider could be sabotaging itself from the future.
What Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, are suggesting is that the Higgs boson, the particle that physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be “abhorrent to nature”.

What does that mean? According to Nielsen, it means that the creation of the boson at some point in the future would then ripple backwards through time to put a stop to whatever it was that had created it in the first place.
Now this hypothesis is pretty hard to accept although it was mentioned by Fox News which gives it some level of credence to a certain population.

The above represents the standard model for 12 elementary particles (quarks and leptons) and the four fundamental force carriers. The Higgs boson, in the center, anchors them all together (more here - god particle). The Higgs boson, is thought to give all other matter its mass, without which gravity could not work.

In the current television series, "Flashforward", everyone on earth got a quick glimpse of the future when the LHC was activated.

As I see it, there are 3 possibilities: first, every time we attempt to activate the LHC, something happens to cause a glitch. This would lend more credence to the "future ripple hypothesis". Second, it is activated, creates a black hole and the earth is devoured (terminator from future failed to cause glitch in LHC?), or the LHC functioned properly but in an unexpected manner. Third, and most likely, the LHC is activated, a Higgs boson is detected and we learn more about the Higgs Boson.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ft. Hood Shooter Advised Obama!!!!

You won't hear this on the mainstream media, but here is the story direct from World Net Daily! More proof that Pres. Obama is a communist trying to socialize our naziism.

Communists Want to Socialize Your Naziism

Jon Stewart spoofs Glen Beck. I have never watched the Glenn Beck show but this clip of Stewart spoofing Beck makes me want to start watching the show. It is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Can anyone tell me, is it really how Beck acts on his show? If viewers really buy this crap?

I can't post the actual video because it has some html coding problems, but go here to view it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bachmann's Million Person Anti-Health Rally

G. Gordon Liddy reports one million people today at the Bachmann anti-healthcare rally. I guess he didn't see this picture of the huge crowd.

Were they able to fit the entire million people in Nancy Pelosi's office I wonder?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fox News Sure is Accurate

Doug Shows His Colors

Don't ask Doug Hoffman to disagree with Rush "The Drugster" Limbaugh. Bestiality jokes about a fellow politician....OK with Doug.

Hoffman to Protect Marriage

The above ad was paid for by the "National Organization for Marriage". This is an organization that provides scientific reasons for why marriage (between a man and a women)matters.

Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. I agree. So allowing any two people who love each other to marry reduces the risk of poverty.

Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. So if two people who love each other get married they will also live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Just living together is not the same as marriage. Again, I agree. Two people who love each other should be encouraged to get married.

So how exactly does same sex marriage endanger marriage?

“How will my same-sex marriage hurt your marriage?” Well, allowing same sex marriage will "force everyone to dramatically and permanently alter our definition of marriage." Wow! That is really dangerous and scary.

“Is polygamy next?” Hell yes. Just listen to what this dangerous gay guy has to say: I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner. . . . In our case, it is. We have an open marriage See, married men and women never cheat or have "open marriages".

“What will public school teach?” Heather and her two Mommies will become standard kindergarten fare. Complete BS, but so what if it is true. Is there something wrong with teaching tolerance?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hoffman Praises Beck as Mentor

HOFFMAN: I have good mentors here.

GLENN: Wait, wait. Wait, wait. Are they mentors that will show...

HOFFMAN: I'm talking about you, Glenn.

GLENN: Oh, okay. I was going to say all right, as long as they are standing out from the shadows. [...]

HOFFMAN: No. Yeah, well, I'm going to keep in touch with people like you so I don't get infected with that disease.

So is Doug proud to have a crying rodeo clown as a mentor. Is this the best mentor Doug can find or is Doug just sucking up? This is the blind leading the blind.

GOP Welcomes Moderates

John Boehner wants us to believe that the GOP welcomes moderates to the Republican party:
"We accept moderates in our party, and we want moderates in our party. We cover a wide range of Americans," said Republican House Leader John Boehner in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."
Anyone with even half a brain knows that is just not true.

A friend of mine gave me what he thought was the Republican definition of a moderate: "someone who is opposed to burning a heretic at the stake".

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2010

Hoffman - The Shot Heard Around the World?

From today's Watertown Daily Times editorial:
It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.
It also appears that Dede is encouraging her supporters to support Bill Owens. In spite of what John Boehner claims, moderates are not welcome in the Republican Party.

Frank Rich on Hoffman & Conservatives

Frank Rich agrees with me:
The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.
Rich continues:
The more rightists who win G.O.P. primaries, the greater the Democrats’ prospects next year. But the electoral math is less interesting than the pathology of this movement. Its antecedent can be found in the early 1960s, when radical-right hysteria carried some of the same traits we’re seeing now: seething rage, fear of minorities, maniacal contempt for government, and a Freudian tendency to mimic the excesses of political foes. Writing in 1964 of that era’s equivalent to today’s tea party cells, the historian Richard Hofstadter observed that the John Birch Society’s “ruthless prosecution” of its own ideological war often mimicked the tactics of its Communist enemies.
The conservatives are attempting to go to war with the unstoppable, changing demographics of the country. It may make themselves feel empowered by attempting to elect Palins and Hoffmans but blacks, hispanics, asians and the young aren't buying what conservatives have to sell.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Beginning of the End of the GOP

Jake McIntyre sure can turn a phrase. Here he is on Doug Hoffman:
One thing is for certain - the impact of the NY-23 saga on the fate of the GOP will have far more long-reaching effects than the simple question of who wins on Tuesday. The Republican establishment that at least pretended to speak to all Americans is deeply, deeply wounded, and a wild-eyed, exclusionist, birther religio-beast is taking its place

Scozzafava Suspends Campaign

It looks more and more likely that the 23rd district of NY will be represented by Douglas Hoffman now that Scozzafava has suspended her campaign. Doug will win many votes based on his opposition to abortion and hatred of gays - important issues for many that vote the conservative line.

But you have to ask, when will socially conservative voters learn that conservative politicians want their votes but really aren't all that interested in overturning Roe v. Wade? They made this promise in 1994 and again in 2000. They held both houses of Congress and the Presidency and had a very conservative Supreme Court. They didn't do it then and they won't do it now. Conservatives want one thing, to protect big business and the rich, period. Doug is perfect for that job, after all, he is in the business of helping the rich evade income taxes.

Yeah, let the Teabaggin begin. Doug Hoffman, the saviour of the "common man", will lead the "regular people" to a new and better life. I would expect nothing less from the guy who helped the US Hockey Team defeat the Soviet Union in 1980.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bush Raised Taxes?

I'm not sure if Doug was referencing Daddy Bush or Lil Bush but here is what he said last night:
Hoffman shot back, and even seemed to be implying that the problem with Bush was that he taxed too much: - "The failed Bush taxes. Well what we want to do is then increase taxes, Mr. Owens? Is that going to help business? Is that going to help increase jobs?"

In Doug's conservative mind, Bush actually raised taxes. Well, if he was talking about Daddy Bush, who actually did raise taxes, that brought us into some of the most prosperous years of the 20th Century. If he's talking about Lil Bush, well I guess Doug just isn't too familiar with history.

BTW, I notice that conservatives are really getting down on Republicans. Republicans just are not far enough to the right. If Doug wind this election, in the long-term this is good for Democrats. The country isn't nearly as conservative as the wing-nuts believe. The demographics are changing rapidly. A winning Hoffman will, as Lisa Simpson says, embiggin conservatives to put forth Un-Electable rightwingers in 2010. Not all regions of the country are as willfully ignorant as some people in NY-23.

Doug Hoffman Gets Specific

Doug clarifies his position on "pork-barrel" spending: Hoffman also said that his opponents' claims that he is against earmarks are false. He explained that he is in favor of getting every dollar available for important projects but is against back-room dealing to get unneeded funding.

"I will make sure that all necessary projects are approved, but I will cut out the fat and pork."

Now I finally get it. Doug is against pork for the other guy, but in favor of pork for us. After all, what is unnecessary pork and fat but for what the other guy wants earmarks for?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hoffman to "Save America"

Failed Presidential candidate, Fred Thompson, has a question for you:
"Big government, high taxes, deficits, broken promises -- America is in trouble," Thompson says. "So when your grandchildren ask you why you didn't do something [to save America?], be able to tell them that you voted for Doug Hoffman."

Doug Hoffman for President?

William "the bloody" Kristol has some predictions in his opinion piece in today's Washington Post. First, the Republican party is going to become more conservative. Second, the party is going to shed it's more "moderate" members. And, third, the conservative nominee for President in 2012 is going to be an "outsider" like Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin. I don't know about you, but I don't consider Huckabee or Palin to be outsiders. A real outsider would be Doug Hoffman, who is running for the NY-23 House seat. Kristol makes this prediction:
Indeed, I suspect that the person most likely to break into this group of front-runners would be a businessman who stands up against President Obama's big-government proposals, a retired general who objects to Obama's foreign policy or a civic activist who rallies the public against some liberal outrage. If a Republican elected official emerges, it will probably be because he or she champions some populist cause, not because that person is a fine representative or senator or governor.
Hmmm, let's see: businessman (Hoffman), general (Hoffman has a distinguished military background), champion of a public cause (can't deny that Hoffman is championing a cause), not a fine representative (Hoffman doesn't seem to care about NY-23 issues so he probably wouldn't be a fine representive if elected).

No, if Hoffman doesn't win the NY-23 (or if he does), he is the kind of candidate that Kristol believes will be nominated for President. Lucky for most of us, history proves that 99% of William Kristol's predictions are wrong.

Note: it's likely Kristol's first two predictions are correct. It's clear the future of the Republican party is to become more conservative. It is doing this by completely shedding it's more "moderate" members to become a regional party of the South.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Belated Happy Birthday Earth!

I did forget...sorry. According to Archbishop James Ussher (1658), the Earth was created at nightfall preceding Sunday October 23, 4004 BC. That means the Earth turned 6012 yesterday. Happy Birthday Earth.

Doug Hoffman's New Friends

With friends like these......

Glenn Beck
Gary Bauer
Sean Hannity
Michele Bachmann
Michelle Malkin
Dick Armey
Rick Santorum
Sarah Palin
The Minutemen!!!

who needs enemies. Doug, do you want to win so badly that you would sell your soul to the above listed con men? They don't give a damn about NY-23, I'm not sure they really give a damn about the USA. I'm almost certain they give a damn only about themselves. I'm not really sure that's you Doug.

Doug Hoffman - Let's Get District-Specific

An editorial in the Watertown Daily Times makes a pretty good point. We all know candidate to represent NY-23 Doug Hoffman is anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-spending, anti-taxes, anti-health care reform and anti, well, generally anything democrats support. All good conservatives are anti those positions. But what specifically are his stances on issues important to the 23rd District of NY? More important....does he care? I'm pretty sure the "Club for Growth", Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, Gary Baur, Glen Beck and other crazies of the right wing could care less.

Jude Seymore, of the Watertown Times has more to say about Hoffman.
Mr. Hoffman, it appeared, had not taken the time to read the local opinion page before visiting.

When asked about the rooftop highway that could connect Watertown to Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman said he was "open to reviewing and studying it."

When asked about winter navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway, he took no position. When asked about widening and deeping the Seaway, he again said nothing.

The atmosphere was tense, at times.

Mr. Hoffman said at one point that if we were going to question him, that he needed to know in advance what we were going to ask him about.
Now I'm sure that running for national office is hard. But Doug is a pretty smart guy and he has people to advise him. Unfortunately, I think their advice to Doug is to run on "national issues" and ignore the issues that are important to the voters in his district.

It really is unfortunate, and somewhat surprising, that Doug actually allowed himself to be interviewed by the biggest, craziest wing-nut of them all, Glen Beck. I lost a lot of respect in that move...but then again Doug is doing what he thinks it will take to win the office. Here, the idiot Glen Beck suggests he may leave his wife for gay-hating Doug Hoffman.
GLENN: Hold on just a second. Hold on. Pat.
PAT: Yeah.
GLENN: Are you thinking about leaving Jackie F. For him? Because I'm thinking about leaving Tania right now for him. I mean, he is talking about competition between insurance companies with different states.
PAT: He hasn't fed me steak yet.
GLENN: He hasn't fed me steak, but I'm still thinking about
Glen seems so supportive of Doug, too bad he wasn't interested enough to learn the spelling of Doug's birthplace.
HOFFMAN: Well, Sernack lake, New York is not Greenwich, Connecticut. And the economy up here is probably one of the most difficult economies to survive in in the nation.
Doug goes on to take a little credit for the US Hockey team beating the Soviet Union in the 80 Winter Olympics.

The youtube video of the interview is here and here, if you can stand looking at Beck's strange features. At least Beck doesn't cry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Scozzafava Calls Cops on Weekly Standard

Politics can be weird. Dede gets into it with a reporter from the Weekly Standard and ends up calling the police. The reporter from the Weekly Standard can't understand an answer to a question to Dede's campaign manager. Meanwhile, Doug Hoffman is running against the Republicans to make sure they have no representation in the Northeast and New England. Maybe NY Republicans are RINO's because that is the only way they can get elected.

Oh yeah, and the Republicans really want John Boehner to be speaker of the House? The guy looks like a blood hound ready to burst into tears at any moment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Comments on general anesthesia

My first experience with general anesthesia was pretty much anti-climatic. A quick dose of versed (midazoam), then you get wheeled into the surgery. The anesthesiologists tells you will shortly be asleep and begins injecting the propoful or "milk of amnesia". It burns a bit going up your arm but within 15-20 seconds I felt a heaviness in my chest. Next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room like nothing ever happened. Not a bad experience.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flu Vaccine Dangerous, Ineffective etc?

There is lots of misinformation out there on flu vaccines. This link addresses nine misinformed opinions about the flu vaccine.

Doug Hoffman and Future Budget Deficits

Doug, please tell us what will happen to the Federal deficit if we renew the Bush tax cuts.

And yes, I know the 1.4 trillion dollar deficit this year is supposedly all President Obama's fault.

Also, can you tell us what happened to the budget surplus that was left by President Clinton?

We're #1 -- But Not for Long

How much longer will it be before the "we're #1" crowd will have have admit that the USA has seen its best days. Yes, we are probably still #1 at the moment, but only because we have the most powerful military on earth. I was recently told that it is likely that the 20th century will be seen as the "century of the USA". But the 21st century will belong to China. Why is that? Because there are more Chinese who are just as smart as citizens of the USA and who are willing to work much harder. Also, the Chinese value education.

While the USA sits back and watches their infrastructure decay, the Chinese are building a modern 21st century infrastructure. While the USA cuts funds for education, the Chinese are throwing money at education, building new universities and training engineers, architects and scientists and other professionals. Meanwhile, the USA is dependent on Indian engineers to answer our questions and solve our problems.

The USA became #1 in the 20th century for a couple of reasons (in my opinion). The GI Bill which trained and educated thousands of soldiers after WWII and the space race (with the help of a few German scientists). Both of these endeavors involved education and both endeavors made the USA stronger and the number 1 power in the world. Unfortunately, in a couple more years, we will be relegated to hitching rides to the space station on Soviet spacecraft. The Chinese will meanwhile be colonizing Mars.

Respect for a good education in the USA has dropped drastically in my opinion. In the 21st century, most Americans do not accept the well-documented theory of evolution, many believe that climate change is a "hoax" (or not a concern) and that the swine flu vaccine and other vaccines, which have improved the health and safety of millions, are dangerous. We have leaders who think the internet is a series of pipes and that the government intends to either kill our citizens or intern them in concentration camps.

Remember the superconducting super collider that was to be built in Texas? The most powerful particle accelerator on earth. Funding for the project was canceled in 1993. Instead, the Large Hadron Collider, located in Switzerland and France (yes, that France) was built because the USA could not "afford" it. The Europeans, socialists that they are, will get the credit for discovering the Higgs Boson while the USA sits back and does whatever it is we do.

Let me express my humble opinion. What the USA cannot "afford" to do is devalue and defund education (which is happening as we speak). We can't afford to run our institutions based on "gut reactions" and so-called "common sense". We need a population of people who can think critically and solve problems. We need leaders who support and praise technology rather than spend their time fear-mongering with the result of dividing us against each other.

If we want to remain #1 on the World stage, a strong military isn't enough. We need a population that can pull our country into the 21st century. And, that will be an educated population.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not to Worry

I'm still here, just have been too busy to post. My medical "procedure" is scheduled for Monday. Should be loads of fun, but as a biologist I always find these medical things interesting.

Another excuse, it's that time of year where I have to cover cellular respiration and photosynthesis in my Principles of Biology class. This material is always difficult to get across to many students. In a week or so we move into genetics which most students still find difficult but at least interesting.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after only 10 months in office. Republicans are now going to explain why this is bad. Conservatives celebrated when President Obama was unable to deliver the Olympics to Chicago. This proved that he had little influence in the world. Conservatives will now proclaim that President Obama represents the world more than he does the USA or something like that (or much worse). I guess the world is breathing a sigh of relief now that we have a President that cares about diplomacy. Remember, everyone, especially conservatives, calls the President of the USA the leader of the free world.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Busy Week

A day spent in the emergency room with severe lower back pain. No problem, just a huge stone stuck in the right ureter. Nothing a few blasts of a laser can't handle....the excitement involves getting the laser to the stone....enough said.

First exam in Human Biology....first 8 exams scored as they were being handed in....grades ranged from 39 - 57. Things did get a bit better as the rest of the 70 exams were scored.

First exam in Princples of Biology. Only 3 out of 24 failed. Next exam will cover the cell, membranes, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis.

A trip to Boston is in my very near future.....actually visiting Salem, Plymouth and the Sam Adams brewery among other things.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Military Coup Against President Obama

Who would have guessed that a President could destroy a country so effectively in only 10 months? Yes, it's finally been said....a military coup to remove President Obama is possible.
Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars.
So says "prize winning journalist" John L. Perry on Newsmax.

Sure, we "radicals" advocated getting rid of Bush and Cheney. But we advocated using a constitutional process called impeachment. Moreover, we had actual reasons we felt they should be impeached. Perry has so little respect for our constitution that he comes close to advocating treason.

It says alot about our Constitution and the first amendment, that a slimeball like Perry is allowed to make a living in the USA.

UPDATE: Looks like someone at Newsmax had second thoughts about Perry's column. It's been pulled from the webpage, but you can go here to read it. Maybe they read the Smith Act.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Doug Hoffman for Congress

This is the direction of the Republican Party. There is no room for a moderate candidate anymore. You cannot move far enough to the right these days to gain support from conservatives. So just what does Doug Hoffman stand for? I've read his "scorecard" on the three candidates on his website.

First and foremost - Doug has no soft spot in his heart for gays. Anti-gay seems to be the bedrock of his campaign.

Next, Doug opposes "Obamacare" whatever that is. As a good conservative, Doug obviously believes in personal responsibility. Buy your own damn health insurance - if you can.

As a good conservative, Dough believes deficits are wrong. What we've been waiting for however, is for Doug to tell us exactly what he would cut to lower deficits. Doug obviously didn't believe Dick Cheney when Cheney remarked "deficits don't matter, Reagan proved that".

Doug is a "strong supporter of the war against terrorism". So just exactly where does he stand on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are not those wars responsible for huge increases in the Federal deficit?

Doug "supports the second amendment". Hopefully he supports the other amendments just as strongly.

Doug recently gained approval from the "Club for Growth" an organization that helped spread the recent "death panel" lies.

Doug was controller for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. After the Olympics were over, Lake Placid was six million dollars in debt and they went looking for a government bailout. Doug is opposed to government bailouts except......

Doug blames President Jimmy Carter for the 80 Olympics problem but fails to mention the bus transportation disaster.

Next, you need to ask about Doug's so-called support for Republican Dede Scozzafava. Did he promise to support her or did he not. The answer is that of a "politician" and here.

Doug also has the endorsement of Sen. Fred Thompson, a person noted for running one of the worst presidential campaigns in history.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First They Came for ACORN

Interesting opinion piece by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos in todays Washington Post.
We are the Yes Men, two guys who dress up as powerful businessmen, propose horrible things to audiences of actual powerful businesspeople and film them cheerfully applauding our most outrageous -- and often illegal -- ideas.
They've pulled some pretty funny scams on businessmen.

It was particularly interesting to visit the SurvivaBall website to see what that was all about. You do yourself a great diservice if you do not visit the SurvivaBall website. Be sure you exam the technical specifications and usage guide.

Below, they pose as DOW Chemical reps at a bankers conference.

ACORN may be the first to fall using these techniques, but it appears likely that these "sting" techniques could lead to government defunding of many large businesses - or maybe not. Large businesses donate large sums of money to Congress.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Camp Topridge - A Great Playground

Meditation or climb the steeple and ring the bell.
How about some canoeing
Just like at home.
Some Russian somebody.
Carvings all over the place.
Relax in the sculpture field.
Guess why all the crows.
Spot faeries in the trees.
How about a creek running through your deck?
A couple of guests decide to try the zipline. Fun!
Perfect zipline form.

Fort Montgomery, Rouses Point, NY

Yes, we did go to visit Fort Montgomery during the "open house" a couple weeks ago. You can see a portion of the old civil war era fort as you cross the Rouses Point bridge towards Vermont. We never thought we'd actually get to walk withing the "walls" of the mostly dismanteled fort. You can learn much more about the fort here.

And, yes, the Fort and surrounding property is still for sale, if you happen to have 10 million dollars to invest.