Thursday, December 18, 2008

Without gadgets James Bond is Jason Bourne

Last weekend I finally saw "Quantum of Solace" the new James Bond film.

I have never really seen Daniel Craig as James Bond. He is a good action hero but he lacks a lot in the suave mystique area. And that area is very much a part of James Bond. If they are going to insist on Daniel Craig as James Bond, with that loss, then they need to bring back Q. Q is the branch and person where James Bond gets all his nifty and sometimes imaginary gadgets. Spies always have gadgets, but for some reason they have decided to do without them in the last to Bond films staring Daniel Craig.

Oh yes he has had gadgets but they are really nothing more than what anyone else can get. A portable defibrillator? Airplanes, sporting events, entertainment venues, even private citizens have them. A cell phone with maps and navigation? Seen the latest Verizon commercial?

Even the homing tag/chip under his skin isn't that far out. We already chip pets with all their information. With the fact that that technology is already part of cell phones, I don't find it that fantastic.

Guns as part of canes and umbrella poles, watches that can do this that or the other thing, cars with secret weapons, THAT'S James Bond! The absence of such, and the beloved Q character makes this feel like Dr. Who with Peter Davison (5th Doctor).

(He came in as the Dr. minus all gadgetry after very popular (and gadget heavy) Tom Baker's "Doctor." Davison's version of the Doctor and his popularity suffered. One of the reasons was the loss of the gadgets. )

Unless they are saying that there is nothing that Q can invent, or 007 can have that won't seem part of the "fantastic" now - James Bond is missing a vital piece of his "world."

I didn't realize how big a piece of his world was missing until with watching "Quantum of Solace" I was struck by deja vu. In the movie 007 is chasing the bad guy over parts of an old European city. He is running on roof tops and jumping from balconies to open windows, etc. and it hit me. I've seen this before in The Bourne Ultimatum. (except the setting was an old section of a Middle East city)

I didn't say anything about my revelation. As we walked out of the movie my husband said "I felt like I was watching Jason Bourne."

"OMG! You too!" came my response.

And we both agreed, in 007 current form he's little more than Jason Bourne with an English accent. And the original Jason Bourne is better.

(And btw while I do appreciate the touch screen conference/display table was really cool. I find it hard to believe that M would not have an actual office. What I guess was supposed to be her office was a high tech large room with either halo, smart technology or jumbotron, display while speaking with Bond. But I've ready seen this before.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We are even behind Pakistan!

I was watching the tv this weekend, when a commercial from Shell came on.


The commercial spoke of Shell’s commitment to finding alternative energy, and it spoke about CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). It was the standard, “look at what we are doing, we have a commitment to the environment and to getting America off foreign imports” yadaa yadaa yadda


It touched a little on the fact that we have loads natural gas right here, in the US.


No kidding! I used to see the natural gas burn off from refineries as we drove from Denver to my grandparents in KS along Kansas Highway 96. And even as a child I wondered “WTF? Why aren’t they using this for power instead of burning it away?”


Okay I didn’t say WTF back then, as a child in the 60’s I think my strongest word was “doggone it.” But “WTF” now, more accurately represents how I felt back then.


And then came our gas crisis in the 1970s and still, driving back to both sets of grandparents there was the natural gas burn off at the oil refinery we passed. You could see it for miles on a clear Kansas night and again my response “WTF?” and it was even stronger.


So now I’m watching this commercial and they said something that set me over the edge... something so sleezily dishonest but so soothing for those who’ve never been outside the country that they can try to look like good guys now.


The commercial said that Shell was “developing” CNG.


Developing . . . as in still working on it,

Developing . . . as in still perfecting it,

Developing . . . as in it’s just right around the corner,

Developing . . . as in one or two more passes on the merry go round we’ll get to touch the brass ring...


Developing . . . !!!!!


Except:


Shell Station in Islamabad, Pakistan - taken August 2008


This is a Shell station in Islamabad, Pakistan. If you can’t see the back two pumps (5 and 6) let me move in a bit.


close up pumps 3, 5 and 6


I took this picture and what follows, when I was in Pakistan in August 2008.


Shell in Islamabad Pakistan listing the fuel they sellShell already HAS CNG developed.
Shell already HAS pumps for dispensing CNG.
Shell already HAS CNG stations.


And these stations serve both CNG cars and petrol run cars. There are also stations in Pakistan that are solely CNG or soley petrol. In fact in Pakistan there are more CNG stations than there are petrol stations.


More cars and more buses are run on CNG. Hell, they can even convert them!


But thanks to Oily Bush and buddies we are further behind PAKSITAN in developing, using and converting cars over to CNG.


In this instance, a country in the developing world is MORE developed that the Lone Super Power. More developed than US.


Still Shell puts out an ad saying “we working on it, be patient.”


Be patient ....
be f*cking patient while we grab all that we can- hoping that you never know that we already sell and service CNG . . .and even if you do, what are you going ot do about it?

How long would it take Shell to begin selling CNG?
It's the end of November right?
I've been back home for 3 months
. . . not even that long.


Shell could have put some people back to work building the plant, converting/upgrading stations, etc. etc.


But never fear, Shell is "working on it."


Because they know most Americans don’t know that the technology is already here. Because they know most Americans don’t know that the world already uses it, including troubled Pakistan. It's still promoted as a novelty here!


Meanwhile, while the only work that needs to be done for CNG is this country is building the plant (they don't have to start from scratch - it's already up and running somewhere else), bring in and set up the equipment, upgrading filling stations, and offering conversions.


And also meanwhile Bush is trying to ram through regulations to weaken environmental and endangered species protections so his buddies can drill for more oil. And they will still have to build the derricks and the platforms and put in the pumps ... for oil that won’t be enough, and won’t be ready for use for 5 to 10 years.


We feel all warm and fuzzy when a state vehicle passes us and it said "powered by natural gas."


"Oh look," we say "We're going GREEN!". . . and we pat ourselves on the back. Good for US! [end snark]


Meanwhile we have an "s" load of natural gas beneath our feet. Gas that oil companies have been burning off for years as a waste product while they developed it in other countries.


Would the “drill baby drill,” “American exceptionalism” crowd really feel proud knowing how far behind we’ve fallen?


We’ve fallen so far behind in this area that even troubled, developing/3rd world Pakistan is beating US! (Don't get me wrong I love Pakistan, really I do, BUT come the f@ck on!)


And still there is Shell, who has everything already developed and at it’s disposal, LYING in advertising to the American people and NO ONE calls them on it!!!!!




UPDATE 1/11/09
A friend of mine emailed me that a fleet of trucks for Denver state government was converted to CNG.

Many state and local government vehicles have been coverted to CNG, BUT unlike Pakistan there aren't CNG stations or a push to covert cars to CNG for the average private citizen.

Pakistan does have government vehicles which have been converted to CNG too just like many of our state and local governments.

Until CNG is widely available for everyone in this country CNG will always be considered a novelty, Shell will continue to say it is "developing" gas to liquid technology like it's not already available.

And Pakistan will still be a head.

Friday, November 07, 2008

We now return you to your regular life

Some time last year I made a decision, to take the donation I make every month and give it too Obama's campaign.

My thought process was:
I have only so much I can give every month. There are a lot of worthy causes that need this money, people are hurting. BUT if Obama is elected less people will hurt in the long run.


So I made the decision to temporarily cease giving to my favorite charities in favor of getting Obama elected.

Now with that accomplished, it's time to get back to "regular life."



While I've been "away" from my charities several things have happened: The economy has gotten worse, more people are hurting, there is more need, fewer jobs and less money. And with less economic security, difficulty getting credit and student loans more young people are considering going into the military for some security. It always happens this way.

While people are cutting out spending, and cutting back, charities are feeling the pinch. While they can make do with less, they can't make do with nothing. Once I was told by a preacher than when you give what little you have to help someone else, it is returned to you 10 fold. His word for it was “blessings” another word for it is “karma.”

It’s time to turn our attention back to the causes and charities that need us.

Unfortunately our money pinch is effecting our soldiers. Mail and "care packages" to the troops are at their lowest level since we started in Afghanistan. They are feeling forgotten.

I don't know if you have ever been away from home in your late teens or early twenties, feeling a little alone, a little lost and a lot of homesick. Waiting for a letter, an email, a phone call from home. If you have you can relate, as I did, to our soldiers.

I was away in another state going ot college, it was my first time away from home. I loved getting Mom’s care packages. Unlike our soldiers though I could go home for Christmas, spring break and for the summer. They can't, and they are in Afghanistan and Iraq for a year or more.

They are feeling forgotten.


I heard a veteran say this morning that there is very little that is a greater feeling than to hear your name called at mail call, when you are far away from home. And very little that is a more desolate feeling when your name is not called.

I heard the same thing from my ex-husband, a Vietnam vet.

It has always done my heart good that one of the things liberals and progressives learned from Vietnam and have not, by enlarge done this time around, is to blame our soldiers for our governments policies. We have stood up for our soldiers and their needs during and after their tours of duty, and their new life outside the military. We have shown that “support the troops” can be more than empty words and symbolism.

With the war(s) not finished, the fear that Bush's last parting gift is a war in Iran, and more kids going into the military we need to be there for them even more.

So today I ask you, to set aside a little bit of money, maybe the money that here-to-fore would have gone to the Obama campaign, and let a soldier know that we still care.

Treats for Troops
Let them hear their name during mail call .

Thanks

Friday, September 26, 2008

Did anyone notice, we've already had a run on a bank?

From Marketwatch: Withdrawals by customers ultimately sank WaMu:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Washington Mutual (WM:
Washington Mutual Inc M 0.16, 1.53, 90.3%) customers withdrew $16.7 billion in cash from the thrift in the past nine days, a huge outflow that led to the largest bank failure in U.S. history, the institution's regulator said Friday.

Hello? !!! McCain fiddles, derails and changes the topic while we burn.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fun with McCain Signs

I was watching Countdown and Rachel Maddow tonight when many things started to click in my head. To relieve all the energy the outrageous news provided, I decided to have a little bit of fun with McCain campaign signs.

There is a McCain sign generator already and I found a gem of a sign created by the generator at Post Punk Kitchen



There is also one by an obvious Stephanie Miller fan.



So I got to work. I didn't use the generator much. I'm one of those who contributes to "Photoshop Fun" on the Stephanie Miller website.

Given the story that the McCain campaign may well quash troopergate. People in Palin's administration have been told not to honor their subpoenas, I thought they needed a sign.



No. I'm NOT doing Bill Engvall.

I just thought that since I've seen so many "such and such for McCain signs" a truly justified sign was needed:



Free Dictionary defines the word this way:
scoff·law (n)
One who habitually violates the law or fails to answer court summonses.


Ding, ding, ding - a definition meant for the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin/Republican legacy if there ever was one.

Then there was news today ofPalin putting herself on the top of the ticket. So I thought I'd help the McCain campaign by correcting their signs:



(yeah I know, how "concern troll" of me)

But then something said on either Keith's or Rachel's show got me to thinking. Where have I read about Palin's type before?

Then "wham" I was bitten by a pitbull soccer mom wearing lipstick. I think I've figured out why McCain is so enamored with Palin (well other than him checking out her ass 15 times while fiddling with his wedding ring) . . . she reminds McCain of an old girlfriend:



or as he knew her by her maiden name:



But then we come to the biggest gaffe today.. which lead to this sign



Okay, yes, I'm a nerd, who likes to play on my computer. Sometimes it helps get over all the outrage of the day.

*****
Livia

Livia was the 3rd wife of Julius Caesar and a real piece of work. She is rumored to have helped do away with Caesar's older children so that her son, Tiberius, not even Caesar's natural child could assume the throne.

Generally considered power hungery and the real power behind the throne.

If Roman laws would have allowed her to rule, she would have in a heart beat.


cross posted at DailyKos

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Pakistani gift: Freedom from FEAR

I didn’t get to travel as much in country as I wanted (that will be saved and accomplished on future trips). But I was in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Wah Cantonment, Abbottabad, Manshera, Muree, Jhelum, Mangla Dam and Rhotas Fort.



I was passing the Ordnance Factory in Wah about 12 – 14 hours before the bomb that killed 70 people. I spent the Friday, after the Thursday blast, in deep reflection. A change of plan either by the bombers or by us could have put us in immediate proximity of one another.


I tried to find something I could relate my feelings to, beyond mourning for the dead. I found it remembering that many years ago a hug branch fell off a tree landing on a car behind us as I was taken my husband to the commuter rail one morning. There had been a drought in Massachusetts leaving many trees very weak. The branch gave way after we had passed underneath it.

Things happen like that.



I had a choice, let fear change my vacation plans or continue to live understanding, buy not cowed by the risks and fear. I chose to continue on, and in that choice felt a freedom and empowerment that I haven’t felt for years here in the states.

I was not scared.

Oh the Pakistani government helps in this regard. Hours and days after the blast, while other bombs were going off, while others were being maimed and dying, the government did not preach fear.

They could have, while they haven’t had one event broadcast over the airwaves and totaling 3,000 dead, they have had many more attacks. In many more places throughout the country, and many dead.



Sure there are unmistakable signs every where that this place is dangerous. Suicide bombers have hit hotels and resturants frequented by journalists and political figures. So many places have guards at the enterances. McDonalds in Rawapindi is behind a fence.

But there still was no message of fear coming from the government or the people living in the country. They were not force fed this unhealthy diet. They still go about their daily lives, working, shopping (and my gawd can these people shop - it ought to be an Olympic event), entertaining and enjoying life - a life that for many is very hard.



The atmosphere is different. What's lacking in the air is the government endorsed carcinogen, fear.

Yesterday Keith Olbermann reported on yet another Republican group using 9-11 and fear to stay in power. Spoon feeding the American public by words and images, fear. (video below)

I didn’t realize how sick this diet had made me until I lived without it for a few weeks. It's a pity that I had to go to another coutry to get the Rx for it but after 7 years of this snake oil, it's not surprising.

Before I returned to the states I was already aware of the cleansing that had taken place. I knew that fear had lost it’s hold on me, even as I am a progressive and know that the message is designed to keep Republicans in power, I didn’t realize how pervasive it was in my thinking and in my being. But what do you expect after 7 years of an unhealthy diet?

So when yesterday my mother asked me if I was ever afraid in Pakistan, I answered honestly, “No.”I truly wasn't, and it felt wonderful! And for that Pakistan, I thank you!



*****

The market pictured is a place called "China Market" which is where you can get a lot of stuff from China

crossposted at Dailykos

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's her birthday today

She is loathed to tell people now. They all give her this sad look and she has to remind them that the terrorists could have picked their birthday, but they picked hers.

It's not the first birthday she's had that turned into something horrible. She was 15 and waiting at home with our mother for my father and me to arrive. He was coming home from work and I was driving home from a tutor I employed to help me pass my math class. It was then we’d have our celebration.

As I was driving in my parent's little white VW Rabbit I noticed the cars on the right hand lane stopping. Then I saw a guy from the right hand lane backing into my lane.

WTF? I was upon him, sliding into his blind spot with my little car. I swerved to miss him, taking my car into the median. Then I swerved back into my lane, just in time for my lights to hit a bundle lying in the road.

I knew what it was. It looked like every scare film ever shown to us in Driver’s Ed. The bundle was a human body and I couldn’t avoid it. I can still recall every sickening bump as first one, then another, then the third, then the last tire went up upon the body then down.

I was 18, this was 28 years ago. I still remember.

I remember trying to pull my car out of the way of riding over this person. It didn’t work and my efforts actually caused the car to drive over him diagonally.

I remember screaming as I went over the body and then gathering my wits enough to brake the car just before it crossed out of the median and into on coming traffic. I even remembered to put on the hazard lights.

I remember stepping out of the car seeing the body and seeing another car drive over him. A suburban caught him and dragged him for a few feet as if he were a sack of potatoes. I screamed.

Then the cars stopped, there had been three others besides me who drove over him, I was the first. And people ran to his aid trying to pick him up. My first aid training kicked in just enough to yell to them “don’t move him.” And surprisingly they listened.

I went to the only pay phone on the street, a topless bar, to call my parents.

The rest of the night was spent with the police, and with my family to comfort me.

Before the accident the man I drove over had been kicked out of the topless bar. He had been too high and too drunk for them to serve. He then walked across 3 lanes of traffic and into the door of a car in the far right lane traveling east, and had fallen into my lane.

The car that he had walked into was the one backing into my lane. Trying to keep cars from driving over him. But I, in my little white Rabbit, slipped past all that.

The victim died.

No charges were filed against anyone.

I went through a lot of counseling.

I was allowed to heal.

But I can still remember every painful detail. I can still put myself back to that day. It doesn’t take much and I long ago surrendered to the fact that it would always be so.

The wound is not raw. It was not raw seven years after the event. It had healed.

Twenty one years later, on the exact same day, two planes would hit the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane would hit the Pentagon and the last plane would go down in a field in Pennsylvania.

I know where I was when the phone rang and I was told to turn on the tv. I know what I said to my husband who was the person on the other end of the phone. I know how I felt when I saw the towers come down.

Many in Massachusetts knew someone on one of the planes and/or people working at the WTC complex. So did we.

The planner of this horrible day that left 3,000 dead and hundreds of thousands scared for life has roamed free. Even when he was cornered, we let him go – leading many in the world to wonder if his freedom and likeness weren’t been used for political gain.

The day itself has been taken from a time of solemn reflection it should have been. A day to look at, remember, and congratulate ourselves for living past and through – It is now a political display, a horrific orgy of death and destruction to scare us into submission. They say “to remind us of what happened,” as if we’d ever forget.

Instead of allowing us to heal and move on, the wound is picked open every year, and every day during elections. Today feels like a million pounds of ick on a stick, a day you curse the sun for even daring to shine. To continue down this path is sickness and madness.

We have not been allowed to heal.

We have not been allowed to move on.

We have not been allowed to be healthy.

And if we allow the same political party to continue to use 9-11 as a political tool and to win with, we never will.

28 years ago today there was a car accident

7 years ago today there was a terrorist attack

Just as I can never forget the events of that day 28 years ago, we will never forget the events 7 years ago. We don’t need the constant fear, the constant the opening of wounds that should be healed or close to healing by now.

We will always honor this day and hold it sacred.

But some day, this day, will once again hold celebrations of life. A time when those born on this day will not hide their birthday. There will be a time when the sun will not be cursed for shining.

For any other event, any other death isn’t seven years of mourning, or being stuck “in” the event, of being forced to stay in the event, considered enough and even unhealthy?

Wouldn’t those who died that day want us to move on and live?

crossposted at Dailykos

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Walls of a defacto prison, not soliders keep the Baghdad "peace"

What you are not going to see from the corporate owned media that thinks truth, actual journalism and the 4th estate is subservient to entertainment and the almighty dollar.

part 1


part 2


part 3


Our lack of planning, our lack of understanding, our arrogance has created more who hate us. What will the future bring?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Did you hear, there's a RABIES VACCINE SHORTAGE?!

Oh you didn't know? Well neither did I, until early today when I took my sons to our local travel clinic.

I thought my lack of knowledge may have been due to being on vacation visiting my parents in Denver at the end of June. When does one really stay as attuned to all the news that affects them when they are visitng family?

So I came home from the tavel clinic today and checked on Dailykos. The result, searching with the keyword either "rabies" or "Rabies" was zero. Nothing, nada, goose egg.

So I went to google news and searched using the words "Rabies Vaccine Shortage." There are, as of this writing, 38 stories written on this subect for the past month.

Newspapers like the Sioux Falls Argus Leader (Sioux Fall, SD), the Daily Camera (Boulder, CO), the Bloomington Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), and the Dallas Morning News.

According to the google news search, one or two local tv stations have added the story to their web sites and but for a few specialized news sources like American Academy of Pediatrics (subscription required) and Small Animals Channel the only national coverage has been a 5 paragraph article from United Press International (UPI)

For most of us in the USA our "contact" with rabies has been through the movies like "Old Yeller" and Cujo or have pets who need to be vaccinated, and it actual effects, are relatively small.

from Wikipedia

Rabies (Latin: rabies, "madness, rage, fury" also "hydrophobia") is a viral zoonotic neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in mammals. In non-vaccinated humans, rabies is almost invariably fatal after neurological symptoms have developed, but prompt post-exposure vaccination may prevent the virus from progressing. There are only six known cases of a person surviving symptomatic rabies, and only one known case of survival in which the patient received no rabies-specific treatment either before or after illness onset


snip

Any mammal may become infected with the rabies virus and develop symptoms, including humans. Most animals can be infected by the virus and can transmit the disease to humans. Infected bats, monkeys, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, dogs or cats provide the greatest risk to humans. Rabies may also spread through exposure to infected domestic farm animals, groundhogs, weasels and other wild carnivores. Rodents (mice, squirrels etc) are seldom infected.

The virus is usually present in the nerves and saliva of a symptomatic rabid animal.[4][5] The route of infection is usually, but not necessarily, by a bite. In many cases the infected animal is exceptionally aggressive, may attack without provocation, and exhibits otherwise uncharacteristic behaviour[5]. Transmission may also occur via an aerosol through mucous membranes; transmission in this form may have happened in people exploring caves populated by rabid bats.

Transmission between humans is extremely rare, although it can happen through transplant surgery (see below for recent cases), or, even more rarely, through bites, kisses or sexual relations.

After a typical human infection by bite, the virus enters the peripheral nervous system. It then travels along the nerves towards the central nervous system. During this phase, the virus cannot be easily detected within the host, and vaccination may still confer cell-mediated immunity to prevent symptomatic rabies. Once the virus reaches the brain, it rapidly causes encephalitis. This is called the "prodromal" phase. At this time, treatment is useless. Then symptoms appear. Rabies may also inflame the spinal cord producing myelitis.

The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is normally two to twelve weeks, but can be as long as two years. Soon after, the symptoms expand to slight or partial paralysis, cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, hallucinations, progressing to delirium.[citation needed] The production of large quantities of saliva and tears coupled with an inability to speak or swallow are typical during the later stages of the disease; this can result in "hydrophobia", where the victim has difficulty swallowing because the throat and jaw become slowly paralyzed, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench his or her thirst. The disease itself was also once commonly known as hydrophobia, from this characteristic symptom. The patient "foams at the mouth" because they cannot swallow their own saliva for days and it gathers in the mouth until it overflows.

Death almost invariably results two to ten days after the first symptoms; the few humans who are known to have survived the disease were all left with severe brain damage, with the recent exception of Jeanna Giese


(embolden mine)

The whole article on wikipedia is an interesting read. It covers transmission of rabies through the typical animal bite to 3 organ recipients in the US in 2004, transmission through various corneal transplants all over the world and 3 cases of transmission in Germany in 2005, due to transplants.

You say tahmahtoe and I say tomato

We do not have a rabies vaccine shortage. But we are in a supply limitation situation where rabies vaccine supplies are less than ideal." - CDC rabies chief Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, PhD (June 26, 2008, WebMD)


The shortfall or "supply limitation situation" happened when two events and maybe even four events coalesced.

The first was when French vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur (IMOVAX) decided to renovate it’s rabies vaccine plant in 2007. Prior to taking the plant off-line Sanofi Pasteur stockpiled enough vaccine to meet the expected demand to the year 2009.

Sanofi Pasteur produces 50% of the USA’s rabies vaccine. The other 50% comes from Novartis who makes RabAvert(pdf) vaccine.

Everything was thought to be fine and everyone thought the world was set until the FDA discovered “manufactoring problems” with RabAvert. This sent the US market to depend on it's full 100% of it’s rabies vaccine need from Sanofi Pasteur.

Then the straw fell on the camels back.

There has been a steady and drastic increase in rabies exposure among humans world wide. Interestingly enough that increase could be one consequence of global warming. Rabies exposures typically increase in animals as well as humans during warm or "summer" months.

The good news is that the rabbies vaccine short fall/supply limitation situation/shortage does not effect animals. You can still get your animals vaccinated - and you should. Vaccinated animals is one of the ways the CDC is hoping the blunt the shortage.

The bad news is for cave explorers, veterinarians, vet staff, animal control workers, and world travelers, as they are being denied preventative Rabies vaccine. This is so that there is enough vaccine for those who have been exposed or possibily exposed to Rabies (as in cases where there has been a bite but the animal cannot be found).

It is also bad news for countries who vaccinate humans for rabies (because their uncontrolled animal population is too large). These are typically developing nations and they are holding the vaccine to post exposure cases only.

A stitch in time, saves nine.

For those countries, like India, this could prove devastating in the long run. India is one of the countries with an extremely high proportion of rabies in animals. With a human rabies vaccine shortage they may well have an increase in incidences of rabies infection in humans.

World wide 50,000 people die from rabies each year.*


For me, as a mother, who depended on at least my yongest son being vaccinated for rabies before we left on our trip to the developing world, I now have another worry.

This child is my "animal whisperer." He has always had an affinity with animals (he wants to be a vet). When a chick who may have fallen out of it's nest, and some how appeared in our garage, the baby bird would only let my son pick it up and then care for it. I fear that his need to be around animals and his desire to help those he sees as suffering will override all common sense. Getting this vaccination was to add to my piece of mind.

The CDC says the shortage will ease just a little as the FDA releases some of Novartis' vaccine in the coming days. More will be available at the end of July and August. But until supplies are back to normal (which hopefully means in ever increasing amounts to deal with the ever increasing exposures) everyone is encouraged to take the following steps


*Vaccinate all pet dogs, cats, ferrets, and other animals that have frequent contact with humans. Consider vaccinating horses and other livestock.

*Do not let pets roam free.

*Spay or neuter pets to reduce dog and cat overpopulation.

*Don't feed or water pets outside -- even empty bowls attract wild animals.

*Keep garbage securely covered.

*Do not keep wild animals as pets.

*Never handle unfamiliar or wild animals, even if they appear friendly.

*If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to animal control officials.

*Bat proof your home in the fall and winter.


(But remember bats are also a line of defense against another consequense of global warming; an increasing mosquito population due to the smaller and less severe killing cold snaps of winter)

I have struggled to decide whether to embed a video I found on the internet while reserching rabies, in this diary. It is of a 2 year old boy who has untreated rabies, his family in the Philippines could not afford the vaccination/cure. It is disturbing, so I will not embed it but I will link to it on both Metacafe and youtube

For more information:
CDC - Rabies
CDC Rabies Just 4 Kids
Rabies.com (sanofi pasteur)
WHO

*****

cross posted at DailyKos

Monday, March 24, 2008

Two Videos

One for Hillary is fun



One for McCain which is just plain baaaaaaaad

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some time with wild man, "racist," Rev. Wright

Christmas day 2007 sermon









Now that you've seen the whole thing in context - might it be possible that the sound clips were purposely cut to be inflammatory? Of course.

Might it be possible the other clips were also cut as to be inflammatory? Of course.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I cried from my bed, "Tuskegee!"

crossposted on DailyKos
*******

For the past week and a half I have been on bed rest as I recuperate from surgery. I have snuck down occasionally to read DailyKos and other blogs, and print out various posts to read while in bed. (Someone ought to do a study of what happens when a political junkie gets sick. It isn’t pretty.)

Since the Rev. Wright controversy began in earnest I have been watching and reading and wondering why “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” clinical studies from 1932 to 1972 are not mentioned more.

Strike that. I have wondered why the experiments aren’t brought out immediately, whenever someone mentions Rev. Wright’s beliefs about HIV/AIDS.

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male" was a clinical study conducted between 1932 – 1972. It’s subjects were 399 poor and mostly illiterate African American sharecroppers in Tuskegee, Alabama, who had Syphilis.

They were systemically, and for 40 years, denied and even blocked treatment for Syphilis, even when safe and effective treatment was available. Told only they had “bad blood,” they unknowingly infected their wives and their children.

The study itself was unethical. Even if has stayed with in it’s initial purpose, a 6 month study to see if non treatment for Syphilis was better than the toxic treatments (available in 1932), it's participates did not have or give informed consent.

To suffer and to die from Syphilis is horrific.

To read the CDC produced time line, makes the mind swim.

Our own government did this to it’s citizenry. That fact and that fact alone may be keeping many whites from believing or even remembering this dark chapter in this country’s history. It is hard to come to terms with.

But that fact and that fact alone is why many African American’s believe that our government created the AIDS virus to kill the African American community in micro and the African community in macro. Even the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) report found that among the 1056 African American member churches 1/3 of cogregants felt that that AIDS was an artificially engeered virus, and 1/3 believed that is was a form of genocide.

Research Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study remains one of the most outrageous examples of disregard of basic ethical principles of conduct (not to mention violation of standards for ethical research). In 1976, historian James Jones (1981) interviewed John Heller, director of the Venereal Diseases unit of the PHS from 1943 to 1948. Among Heller's remarks were the following: "The men's status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material, not sick people" (p. 179).

The suspicion and fear generated by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study are evident today. Community workers report mistrust of public health institutions within the African American community. Alpha Thomas of the Dallas Urban League testified before the National Commission on AIDS: "So many African American people I work with do not trust hospitals or any of the other community health care service providers because of that Tuskegee Experiment" (National Commission on AIDS, 1990).

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), one of the country's major civil rights organizations, has been providing AIDS awareness education through a program called RACE (Reducing AIDS through Community Education). In 1990, the SCLC conducted a survey among 1056 African American Church members in five cities. They found that 34% of the respondents believed that AIDS was an artificial virus, 35% believed that AIDS is a form of genocide, and 44% believed that the government is not telling the truth about AIDS.



That’s only 1056 of the African American Christian churches and mosques of the many thousand in this country, in 1990. That does not take into account other religions that are predominately African American in this country like Santeria and Rastafarianism.


The 2000 census gives the African American population in this country at 36.4 million, or 12.9% of the total US population (281.4 million). This includes people who "reported Black as well as one or more other races." Could 1/3 of this population, or 4.3% believe, to this day, that the government is behind HIV/AIDS?

That's not a small number; one third of an entire minority population.

So why among all the shows I watched yesterday was Tuskegee only brought up as an answer to Rev. Wrights beliefs about HIV/AIDS on Chris Matthew's "Hard Ball?" Why was Tucker Carlson allowed to keep bringing it up, without any response, on Dan Abram's “Verdict” last night?

It is what I, as a 45 year old white American woman, screamed, cried, bellowed, impotently at my TV last night. “It’s Tuskegee!”

It’s not ancient history. The study only ended after whistle blower, Peter Buxtun, went to the Washington Star in 1972. The story was published by that paper on July 25, 1972. The next day it was the front page of the New York Times .

Rev. Wright was 30 years old.

On May 16, 1997 President Bill Clinton apologized for the Tuskegee experiments.

This is not ancient history.

To think that it would be easily wiped away from the minds of a community so used and abused is naïve.

For a right wing conservative pundit to harangue that community for not trusting their government, is absurd. To have that same conservative pundit go on and paint those who believe that the government has something to due with HIV/AIDs, as crazy at best, or fostering a lie, at worse, is to draw out, in the starkest detail the disconnect within the white community.

It’s easier to sweep it under the rug and try to forget. I think the white community has by and large, forgotten or tried minimize the lasting effects of the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.”

But we need to remember.

“It’s Tuskegee!,” should be the central and continual answer when any and all pundits bring up Rev. Wright’s beliefs about HIV/AIDS. It's an answer that should be given forcefully and loudly, even if one has to interrupt.

Otherwise it is tacit approval to minimize the lasting effects of an unethical experiment that was only haulted because of a whistleblower. Without Peter Buxtun, the CDC would have allowed it to continue until the last infected African American male in the study died.

Without answering that charge it tacitly minimizes the African American experience.


Americans and their government are like twelve steppers. Every once in a while they need to do, they must, take an inventory.

*****
Bib.

Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male

U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee

Remembering Tuskegee

The Presidential Apology

2000 census

Research Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Updated: I forgot to add that an addtional 201 poor and mostly illiterate un-infected African American sharecroppers in Tuskegee, Alabama, were in cluded in the study as controls.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton Endorses McCain

Rachel Maddow can barely disguise her disgust:



Hillary is using scorched earth policy and thereby disqualifies herself as deserving the Democratic nomination.

I'm really at a loss. If she does ge the nomination, which I can't see how she can, but if. . . is my fear of a conservative SCOTUS enough to get me out to vote for her? Or has she made it physically impossible for me to vote for her (as in I get ill, knots in the stomach, etc. just thinking about it – so I can’t even make it into the polling place)?

Here is the whole segment:


John Aravosis (Americablog) says that there is dirt on her that he will launch to save the party if she doesn't pull out tomorrow. Seeing how she can be, John be careful.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I laughed and laughed and laughed



My favorite line:

"You look them in the eye and say, 'the world is a tough dangerous place, it always has been. It's no reason to reupholster the inside of your trousers and vote like a moron every time they say boo.'"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This is why we must defeat McCain

(So sit down Nader and shut up! People are beginning to think that since you do nothing to create a third party in the intervening years of a presidential race, you are a Republican stooge sent to take votes away from Democrats.)

So how long did Exxon sit on this waiting for a Supreme Court stacked in their favor? How do you think they will rule in favor of the oil company or the little people?

Supreme Court hears Exxon Valdez case


If McCain wins, he will put more justices on the SCOTUS that are further to the right than Roberts. He has said so and promise this to the Republican far right Christian base.

How do you think a women's right to choose will fair if that happens?

A vote for Nader is a vote to end pro-choice and force pregnancy and birth on all women. (These folks have said they will go after birth control too)

Friday, February 15, 2008

And this is supposed to gin up excitement?

If this is supposed to be Hillary's answer to Obama's video, well I'll let you be the judge.



Now compare it to Will.i.am's Obama's video


Okay beyond the fact that Will.i.am's is totally grassroots and a volunteer effort by all involved and HIllary's has paid preformers, this isn't even up to the standards of an "Up With People" song.

Her support video is really, really, really awful. I don't think the music for her vid would make it to elevator music. And I wonder what would Simon Cowll think of the song? Can you hear him?

Here's some "Up With People" to make some comparison (and hopefully clear out that horrendous sludge of Hillary's video from your brain.)





Actually, sadly no, it's going to take this to blast it out. Crank it up!



Or even this



Oh hell, let's just make this musical Friday with 2 more. It may take all to clear the awful Hillary vid and music from your brain.



Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm for Obama

When the primary season began I had four candidates I liked:
Richardson
Kucinich
Edwards
Obama



Lyrics:
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

*****

Video by Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSuMdkff0_o&feature=related

Well at least SOMEONE is paying attention

I've been saying this on several of the blogs I comment on, and now, thankfully, someone has taken a closer look:


BOSTON - It's part of Mitt Romney's core narrative: Massachusetts, in the throes of a fiscal freefall, fell back on his CEO skills and turnaround wizardry to spark — in his words — "a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion."

It's a rosy opinion of Massachusetts' economy that few in the state share. Instead, observers say, the state's recovery from a disastrous 2001 recession has been tepid at best, and Romney gives himself more credit than deserved on job creation and balancing the state budget.

Romney says that by the time he left office, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was lower and the state had recovered nearly 80,000 jobs from the low point of the recession.

A fuller look reveals a state still struggling to recoup the jobs washed away in the recession, while much of the rest of the country has already sailed past pre-recession highs. . .


. . . Massachusetts is one of just six states that hasn't added back all the jobs lost during the recession.

"Our losses were steeper, and our gains have been slower and as an end result we are still nearly 100,000 jobs down," said Dana Ansel, research director for the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan think tank.

The state's unemployment numbers also showed little movement during Romney's tenure.

Romney and the Republican's don't want this widely reported but Romney's predecessor was a Republican as was the governor before her. And even the governor before that one was a Republican. While it is easy to assume Romney inherited an office mismanaged under the Democrats to support his claims. especially since this is Massachusetts, and Romney doesn't want to correct that assumption, it is simply not the truth.

Observers say Romney can claim some legitimate fiscal successes — vetoing spending increases, fighting against tax increases, and helping lure some businesses to Massachusetts, including a new facility being built by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Yes he vetoed spending increases for one of the Commonwealth's most important industries, education. This veto meant that teachere in the states Universities and Colleges went without pay increases to keep up with the cost of living AND those institutions went without needed improvements. This caused Massachusetts to fail from 3rd in education to 5th and while that might not seem like a huge drop, where would you rather go to school?

The fact is the slow recovery can be partially laid at the cutting of the educational budget. When many businesses in towns/cities in MA rely on the "industry" of higher education, not funding it ripples through their economies and the state's as a whole.

Romney's economic claims challenged

Monday, January 21, 2008

"If a man doesn't have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty or the possibility of the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists" - MLK



From the "War On Greed" website:

Dear presidential candidates,

Buyout industry executives with multi-million dollar incomes have been exploiting a tax loophole that allows them to pay a lesser tax percentage rate than most of the workers in the companies they manage. This is a disgrace!

Make a pledge, if elected, that you will work to close the buyout industry's tax loopholes.

Sign the petition


Something else you might want to look into:
Stop revisionist Christian nation House Resolution 888

Ceding the Narrative

Last Thursday, I believe it was on Keith Olbermann, the guest interviewee made a statement that just threw me, and underscored how the Democrats have allowed the likes of Limbaugh, et. al to “over write” history. The guest, while discussing John Edwards said that the only people who think that Ronald Reagan was a bad president is the far left. He pointed to the absolute orgasm of the cult of personality displayed for the week long funeral of the former president of the United States as proof. No one challenged him on that notion.

Why?

Have we allowed history to become so fragmented in our minds that we forget all that happened, in it’s totality, under Ronald Reagan? Have we allowed the right to re-write history leaving out all the negatives and consequences that that presidency gave us? If we accept “Gospel of Ron,” by trying to ignore those pushing it, we are guilty of tacit approval of it and it’s eking into mainstream thought and reporting. There are many consequences of Reagan’s policies that we are dealing with today and dealt with on 911.

Reagan was not the greatest or maybe even a great president. And the left shouldn’t have allowed that meme to take hold. Now, brick by brick, they need to dismantle the falsehoods and the fragmentation of problems of Reagan, because his entire legacy, especially the horrendously bad policies he made are lost to popular history.

Here are some examples:

The Reagan Administration cut veterans benefits, especially those of disabled veterans. My ex-husband, a disabled Nam vet, had his benefits under Reagan cut from over 50% to 15%. It was the work of Senator Gary Hart’s office that got them raised back to at least 30%.

Ronald Reagan reversed the “green” direction of R&D and adoption of a lifestyle and technology that would have reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and therefore the possibility we would be held economic hostages to oil companies and OPEC. He removed tax incentives and credits given to businesses and homeowners for adopting solar energy and putting in solar panels. He ended SERI, the Solar Energy Research Institute. He also removed the solar panels from the White House. Conservation and going green was all “bunk” and an anathema to the American lifestyle as far as he was concerned.
Thank him every time you pay your energy bills this winter, or put gas in your car.

Reagan also ended the Air Marshall program. In so doing subjected airline staff and passengers to over a decade long “air rage” problem. With no law enforcement on board, passengers and staff were subjected to hours inside closed quarters to the belligerent and the violent. One man went so far as to defecate on a food cart, which the passengers and staff had to smell and even look at for the rest of their entire trip. If there had been Air Marshals still in the air, 9-11 may not have happened.

Speaking of the airlines, Ronald Regan broke the first air controllers union and there for set the model for breaking unions although out the country. Think that’s good? Big business has a ton of lawyers and money on their side, if you get hurt on the job, or you are subject to unfair labor practices, without unions, who stands up for you?

There, (viola!) four examples of the problems with the Reagan presidency and legacy right off the top of my head, and there are many more.

Ronald Reagan was not our worst president. The man currently in the White House has shown us that. But his policies disqualify him for “sainthood.”

Why are we allowing the right to write into history his deification?






This is the revised posting of my hurried and porring written attempt on Saturday. Thank you Sassmo