29 January 2009

More Fun with Stem Cells!

They appear to be repairing some effects of Multiple Sclerosis. Sweet!

And don't let anyone trick you into killing embryos for this treatment, either:
The immune systems were then replenished with so-called haemopoeitic stem cells -- extracted from the patient's bone marrow -- capable of giving rise to any form of mature blood cell.
We have yet to see much of any sort of promise from the products of embryo destruction, on the other hand... which I think makes a lot of karmic sense.

28 January 2009

Class Warfare, Schmass Schmarfare

(Gee, I hope that's not a bad word...)

Looks like Pres. Obama's not above trying to get big businesses to sway their representatives.

He met with a bunch of CEOs today. Why?

Obama is trying to drum up support for the recovery package - which combines economic stimulus and tax cuts.

"I'm confident we're going to get this passed," (ed. note: they did) Obama said just before the meeting began. "These are people who make things, who hire people; they are on the front lines."

Way to get the money and lobbying out of politics, Prez... but I do appreciate the lip service to business's legitimate functions.

(I'm glad it didn't work for Idaho, at least... and wow - I mean, WOW. How embarrassing - complaining about Evil Corporations during your class warfare campaign and then begging them for help?)

Representative Responses

In Idaho, our two senators voted opposite ways on the confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Emperor Secretary of the Treasury.

Sen. Risch voted against it. I called to thank him, and his cheery office person sounded like I'd made her day. I was pleasantly surprised by his vote, to tell the truth, because my faith in his principled conservatism has been shaken a few times by issues at the state level. On balance, he was decent, though; and his voting record on a few controversial national votes so far gives me confidence!

Sen. Crapo, on the other hand, voted for it. This was perhaps the most difficult political call I've made. I called to verify what I'd seen on the roll call vote and then (politely and, I hope, gently) express my disappointment with his vote of what I viewed as an irresponsible and injudicious choice for a position with such power over the future of our economy and country, although I appreciate his representation in general. This is where it got interesting.

His phone person took my message and, doing his best to try to smooth things over, assured me that Sen. Crapo had really taken his time with the vote. In fact, Tim Geithner himself had come to visit with Sen. Crapo, (I BET he did...); and while the aide wasn't privy to that meeting, Sen. Crapo's concerns had been addressed. (Forgive me a slightly cynical snicker here...)

Unable to decide whether that made me feel better or worse, I thanked the aide on the senator's behalf for having done his due diligence and declined a letter in response.

I never get much out of those letters, anyway, regardless of the issue or the source (so far); it's always, "this was a tough call... there were good arguments on both sides..." yadda, yadda, yadda. And it always goes onto two pages. And I hate to use the postage. And it frequently comes to a misspelling of my name (sometimes two or more identical letters - one to each spelling, LOL.)

At any rate, I'm trying to be better about holding our representatives accountable, and their responses were intriguing (to me), so I figured I'd share my experiences.

(Additionally, I called to thank and encourage Rep. Simpson for his intended opposition to what I called the "Stimulus-Bailout MESS before the House right now." It's intended to grow government and nationalize whatever they can without people realizing why that's bad...)

26 January 2009

No Comment Necessary, Either.

New radio ad:

"Special new government loan program! Get your government loan! No credit needed! No income necessary! Odds are, this program won't last long... so apply now!"

(Birth) Control-ing the Economy? *Updated*

**Update 27Jan2009/10.00: Looks like that provision might be dropped. To quote: "House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income..."

Note the choice of words for the phrases - making it sound as if low-income families are being thrown carelessly overboard like so much ballast, by being denied additional *federal* funding specifically for birth control. *sigh* (Yep, I wonder where that "skewed news" perception amid much of the public is coming from...)

Nancy Pelosi says birth control is cheaper, so it's okay to include that in the upcoming stimulus package.

Cheaper than what, exactly, Madame Speaker? Well, cheaper than a lot of things - big-screen TVs, for example - but what she's specifically referring to, is helping states with their health care. It's cheaper than funding abortions, in other words. Or, heaven forbid, funding births.

I was under the impression - and please correct me if I'm wrong - that birth control is already widely available and vastly affordable. Every insurance/prescription plan I've come across pays for it, since like the Speaker said, it's cheaper than most alternatives.** Barring insurance, it's available on Medicaid (or at least it's listed under RxIdaho.org, and I figure if IDAHO covers it, pretty much everywhere does).

That sounds pretty comprehensive to me, already.

And yes, it is cheap. I doubt that it makes up that big a portion of any state's healthcare budget, (hmm... research idea); and it still depends on people actually using it.

So, of all the things to call for, to receive a federal subsidy, that's a pretty odd one.

Since it seems like such an odd thing by itself, I have to wonder what the deeper objective is for this particular inclusion...

**Cheaper alternatives include a) simply not having sex, and b) educating yourself beyond the 28-day pattern "taught" in schools.

23 January 2009

Now THAT's Gutsy

NY Governor Paterson has nominated a relatively conservative House Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, to fill Sec. Clinton's former Senate seat. (h/t: Drudge)

*low giggling...*


This woman sounds like someone you'd find in ... well, not NYC or LA. At least not easily. And she's got enough of a spine to have voted against the Bailout.

AGAINST the Bailout!!!

I'm not sure *why* she voted that way, but whatever her reasons, opposing that legislation in the face of panicked calls of, "CRISIS! DO SOMETHING!" shows a real spine supporting an independent mind. The NRA has also endorsed her, which backs up that assertion, because we know how popular gun rights are in those areas, even though upstate NY presents a very different ball game from NYC.

And my sympathies along with my thanks to Gov. Paterson, who's being attacked rather uncivilly ...

Also, it makes me wonder.

Deserved or not, the extreme anti-Bush sentiment (whereby he could have saved a puppy and been accused of irresponsibly increasing the stray pet population to ultimately spread bubonic plague) has been, I believe, a major obstacle. I think the party leadership's playing of that sentiment polarized people (and shut their ears) who might otherwise have listened to others' ideas to achieve a workable solution - or at least a group hug. So...

Perhaps Obama's presidency has alleviated that hear-/see-/speak-no-Bush-ism a bit already, to the extent that more representatives (and governors) feel inclined to agree or disagree respectfully with each other, instead of trying to toe some party line in order to avoid being seen as sympathetic to Bush.

If so, that's a silver lining in the gathered clouds that have been hovering over us for years, because as we are willing to be honest with each other, our Constitutional republic's chance of survival improves dramatically.

20 January 2009

Welcome, President Obama

Quite an emotional inauguration! I caught the last half hour or so and saw the swearings-in.

(And might I add, heaven help us after the "digital transition" - the consistency of the signals we receive leaves quite a bit to be desired... analog gets fuzzy; digital gets full-out unwatchable.)

Truly a historic occasion. Our morning prayer was quite tender, and it was very moving to read people's faces on TV and see a little part of what this morning meant to them.

Perhaps I'll parse his speech later, but speeches are one thing, and speculating about what he means by which phrases won't mean nearly as much as watching what he does.

May God bless him with discernment, strength, and courage... and the rest of us likewise.

19 January 2009


President Bush commuted the sentences of unjustly-imprisoned Border Agents Ramos and Compean.

THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. You did the right thing.

(I've been on pins & needles for the last few days, and until I saw the news on Drudge this morning, I was pretty dejected about the fate of these two men...)

*happy dance*

I don't think I've ever posted the details of this issue, but it was a political case between the US and Mexico, wherein prosecutorial wrongdoing, high-level official conspiracy, and a drug cartel's lying mule's angry mommy combined to severely punish the two border agents who apprehended that mule, for administrative wrongdoing.

(You want to talk "disproportionate response?" This case is it...)

At any rate, it was a horrible, dirty case against the two, and the citizen movement to pardon them fell on deaf ears. The best we could hope for was a commutation, and here it is!

Happy, happy day!!!

[Update: I just called the White House comment line (202-456-1111) to thank Pres. Bush, and all I got was, "we are unable to take your call at this time; please try again later." Think the "thank-you"s busted the phone bank? I like that possibility better than, "we just shut it down for a while since he's leaving." :-)]

16 January 2009

Just Keep Spending, Just Keep Spending...

The Senate voted not to withhold the remaining TARP funds yesterday.

At least that's what I *think* the vote meant.

It's a very negative double-negative if ever there were one... especially since Emperor Paulson has been changing his mind about where the first half of the $700B is actually going. But let's nevermind that; if we keep spending, we're sure to hit a good investment sometime, right? Just like digging? Unless we hit, you know, MAGMA instead...

But the likelihood of bursting into flame is only part of our problem. The deeper issue is that it's more of the same fascist, socialist determination from the individuals that we, as a society, have granted (temporary) authority over us... far be it from us to call them on it.

(That's sarcasm - please let your representatives know how you feel and what you'd like them to do in the future!)

14 January 2009

No More Goodwill?

Here's an interesting article over at Yahoo! - Obama souvenirs are selling pretty well.

Handmade souvenirs, no less!

Wonder if they've been individually tested and certified lead- and phthalate-free... since that's what I'd have to do after February 10th if I ever wanted to sell, say, the little beaded baby socks I sometimes make as gifts right now. (h/t: Sarah @ Trying to Grok)

Yep, Congress answered the, "somebody DO something!" cry after China sent the umpteenth batch of lead toys... and wouldn't you know it, while it's not stopping China, the Law of Unintended Consequences is still in effect! Especially for hare-brained, half-baked, rushed-through-to-SAAAAAAVE-THE-CHIIIIILDREN!!! legislation.

In a way, it's too bad that ignorance doesn't really solve problems... but since it doesn't, that article has a really good summary (although I'd apply the word, "disruptive" instead of "lethal" to phthalates).

In a nutshell, this law means that unless you can certify through testing that Product X has no lead and no phthalates, (and probably nothing else that could possibly ever be construed to be harmful, tasteless, or stinky when injected in high doses into lab rats), you can't sell it. Even if it's 100% organic cotton, like those Donna Karan Obama t-shirts mentioned in the Yahoo! article.

We still have a (teensy) chance to stop or change this law before it takes effect; please email the Consumer Product Safety Commission or see the article to to make your voice heard in rational defense of thrift stores, secondhand shops, home businesses, eBay, craigslist, and anywhere else everyday people can do business.

(BTW, this is something I've "donated my Facebook status" for ;-)

13 January 2009

Inaugural Facebook Dilemma

Not that there's nothing going on in the world, but my daily life deserves a say once in a while, too, I suppose.

In the last few days, several of my friends have RSVP'd via Facebook to watch the Presidential Inauguration via Facebook and CNN.

And I'm conflicted.

I have never watched a Presidential Inauguration. It's not some principled objection; it's just the way it's happened... life is busy, my watching doesn't change anything, I'm anticipating the coverage being similar to the election coverage, and seriously - 8 a.m.? *wince*


What will they think if I don't RSVP? Will I look like some sort of sore loser? Or worse?

I can't lie and commit to watching it; a "maybe" will look grudging; and a "no" will look ornery and bad. (And no, I don't want to "donate my status" to some five-hour stretch of pomp.)

Even ignoring the event looks bad - possibly all of the above, wrapped into one.


Or am I over-thinking it?

Well, at least I RSVP'd for the American Idol premiere tonight...

08 January 2009

Order Yourself

In the news again: France, the UK, and Germany want a new global economic order. I believe they're also volunteering to head it up. ;-)

Part I

Angela Merkel says they "would be making an error if we were content to look solely at financial markets."

She deplored huge debts that governments are accumulating to spend their way out of the present crisis. But she said she recognized, for the moment, that "there is no other possibility."
Double harumph.

So she'd prefer to compound the error? Enslave us further to unwise government policy and its effects? Subject us to broader global power, since previous attempts at that have worked well enough to lead us to our current state of worry-free prosperity... really?

And would this global, not-just-limited-to-financial-markets, monster be on top of, or instead of, our individual, (corrupt), quirky governments? At least my individual, corrupt, quirky government pays lip service to my rights to liberty and self-defense.

How's this for a possibility, Chancellor Merkel: LET. IT. FAIL.

Stop trying to fix it by doing more of what created it.

Then - after the (boulder-sized) dust settles - we can deal with climbing out of the hole in reality, rather than having you grab additional global power by speculating at your idea's unlikely success.

Speculating is unstable; in fact, it's the basis for Sarkozy's Non Sequitur of the Day:
He called financial capitalism based on speculation "an immoral system" that has "perverted the logic of capitalism."
[I'll go with "speculation is bad," and "speculation is not real capitalism."]

"It's a system where wealth goes to the wealthy, where work is devalued, where production is devalued, where entrepreneurial spirit is devalued," he said.


But no more: "In capitalism of the 21st century, there is room for the state," he said.

[Huh? Government speculation is somehow *more* responsible than individual speculation? And let's not call it, "socialism" - it's really "New Capitalism..."]

Whatever happens, I'm standing up to retain my liberty and the potential to help myself and others around me, rather than surrender it and be forced to rely on a power-hungry committee's rationing.

Part II

I must mention this absolute gem from Tony Blair (are all former leaders now automatically on some sort of advisory board for current leaders?): "The greatest entrepreneur I had the chance to meet was passionate about what he had created, not what he had accumulated," - speaking of course, of why it's okay to create a new financial order based on "values other than the maximum short-term profit."

Heh. In other words, "hope you're enjoying working, because we won't allow you to profit!"

No profits would be fine, except that those profits allow us to pay our rent, pay our medical bills, and buy our groceries.

Order your profit-free, power-mongering, global selves around as you please, Messrs. and Madame, but do NOT expand your influence on my family.

07 January 2009

Okay, Tell Me These Are Unrelated.

FBI hiring spree

Obama wants a civilian national security force

Federal military training for civil defense (btw, the last word in the second linked article there should be "dissidents," not "decedents." I'm just sayin'.)

I'm going to have to start using cash more often, aren't I?

(Feel free to contribute your own "coming nanny state" links...)

How do you say, "déjà vu" in Russian?

(Honestly, it'd be cool to know how to say...)

Remember that invasion of Georgia by Russia a little while ago? And how it was - in large part - about Russia's control of gas to Europe? I mean, after nationalizing the gas industry, international competition was the next logical step, I suppose... especially added to other, more swagger-y, motivations.

At any rate, they've started to strong-arm Europe - again - by cutting off gas supplies. (h/t: Drudge, who's finally taken that indecent upside-down skier pic off his site, LOL... must've been a slow news day yesterday.)

It's not the first time they've done it.

And it's not a coincidence that this is happening while our oil & gas prices are low. Low oil prices (ha - and Marx thought *religion* was the opiate of the masses?) are good for us, since we use so much imported oil; but they're very, very bad for Russia, who exports it. Put that struggling, oil-dependent economy, (even worldwide economic dollar issues aside), together with a populace that largely worships a KGB dictator, and we're looking at a very desperate, cornered bear.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term, "Bear Market," doesn't it?