MorganRants

Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Archive for May, 2008

Obama as You’ve Never Known Him!

Posted by morganwrites on May 27, 2008

Here are some things we can look forward to learning about Barack Obama:

· That he was mentored in high school by a member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party.

· That he launched his Illinois state Senate campaign in the home of a terrorist and a killer.

· That while serving as a state senator, he was a member of a socialist front group.

· That his affiliations are so dodgy that he would have trouble getting a government security clearance.

· That there is reason to doubt his “loyalty to the United States.”

These and many other implausible accusations were offered by a group of conservatives yesterday — including a living relic from the House Committee on Un-American Activities — in a Capitol Hill basement. The charges ranged from the absurd to the merely questionable, but anybody who watched the Swift Boat campaign of 2004 make John Kerry look like a war criminal knows that’s not the point.

The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy took a blow with Hillary Clinton‘s collapse. But it is regrouping, and finding plenty of sinister things to say about Obama — even if he didn’t trade cattle futures.

The group, assembled by something called America’s Survival Inc., gathered in the basement of Ebenezer Coffee House at Second and F streets NE. They shared the stage with a big drum set, and posters documenting items they would seek to tie to Obama: an SDS newsletter from 1969 (when he was 7), and a police killing from 1970 (when he was 8).

“We believe that any public figure with links to foreign and hostile interests should be asked to explain those associations,” the organizer, Cliff Kincaid, told about two dozen conservatives and a few reporters. “In the case of Obama, a relatively new figure on the national scene, we submit the facts suggest that he would have serious difficulty getting a security clearance in the United States government. An FBI background check was once used to examine one’s character, loyalty to the United States, and associations.”

“He’s a member of an organization [that is] openly a front for two socialist groups,” reported another participant, Trevor Loudon.

“Obama was raised and educated in a very Marxist-rich environment, which often would limit his worldview,” reported a third, Max Friedman.

But the star of the show was the ancient Herbert Romerstein, who once plied his trade for the Un-American Activities committee. “We decided to start going back and seeing what things influenced him even before he was born,” Romerstein announced without a trace of irony, before tying Obama to the Communist Party of the 1930s in Hawaii and Soviet spies on the island. “This is the atmosphere that young Barack Obama grew up in.”

The smoking gun? Obama’s “mentor” during his teens, according to Kincaid, was “a key member of a Soviet-controlled network that was sponsored by Moscow and active in Hawaii.”

These accusations fall somewhere between guilt by association and guilt by invention, but the accusers were just getting started.

In college, Obama “admits selecting Marxist professors among his friends and attending socialist conferences,” Kincaid went on. In Chicago, he said, “Obama launched his political career back in 1995 at the home of communist-terrorist Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn,” the two Weather Underground figures who have already made a cameo in the campaign. Kincaid then made the unilateral decision to accuse Dohrn of the 1970 killing of a policeman, a charge no prosecutor has made.

“The Weather Underground terrorists,” Romerstein added, “were instrumental in getting him to office in the first place.”

Those charges were relatively benign compared with the questions. One inquired about the link between “the American left and Islamofascists.” Another asked about nefarious influences on Michelle Obama. A third raised the possibility that Obama’s “change” slogan is based on the 1961 communist “Movement for Change.”

“It’s clear that the communists and the socialists are backing him,” Kincaid confirmed.

The questions continued: “The Obama-Muslim connection . . . the background of Michelle Obama . . . How he gave $23,000 to this church . . . Was it connected with Tony Rezko . . . the results from Gary, Indiana, which were so late in being released.”

It was beginning to sound like a UFO convention. But the panelists took it seriously, firing questions back at the audience. “Was Barack Obama working for Bill Ayers?” Kincaid wondered aloud. Romerstein demanded: “How come for 20 years he sat in the pews and listened to a raving anti-American racist? How did he bring his two young children to this church to hear Wright rave on?”

The evidence was compelling enough for participant Friedman. For him, the Rosetta Stone was Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, who Friedman alleged was the protege of a man with “a Communist Party-front record” in Chicago. “The more I look at this, I’m seeing there are a lot of red-diaper babies around here,” he deduced. “By putting these pieces of the puzzle together, I’m beginning to see something much bigger.”

Advertisements

Posted in Politics | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Rethink the fight against cocaine

Posted by morganwrites on May 26, 2008

Every year, White House officials describe the US counterdrug policies in the same glowing terms used to describe the Emperor’s new clothes: We’re snuffing out coca crops and cracking down on those who grow them. But they leave out two important facts: More cocaine is coming out of South America than ever before and more young Americans are using than when the Bush administration took office.

Officials tell us they’ve made progress in eradicating tens of thousands of acres of coca by spraying chemical weed-killer from airplanes protected by heavily armed helicopter gunships.

They tell success stories about hundreds of tons of coca paste and cocaine they’ve seized on Colombian roads and on the high seas. They speak proudly of the coffee, beans, and vegetables harvested under Colombian and US alternative development projects.

But there are key facts missing in their description of the Emperor’s counterdrug-policy wardrobe. When Plan Colombia (the multibillion dollar US assistance program targeted at curbing drug smuggling and supporting Colombia against armed guerrillas) started, coca was cultivated in 12 of Colombia’s 34 provinces. Today it is grown in 23 of those provinces.

In 2006, after five years of Plan Colombia, four years of the regional Andean Counterdrug Initiative, and after spending $5.5 billion, some 1,000 metric tons of cocaine were produced between Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. That’s about the same amount that was produced in 2002 when President Álvaro Uribe took office.

The head of the White House Office of Narcotics and Drug Control Program, John Walters, admitted at a press conference in Haiti recently that last year that cocaine production had risen to 1,400 metric tons in 2007 – a whopping 40 percent hike. Not surprisingly, his staff is scrambling to rephrase that.

Washington is focusing on the most easily replaceable link of the cocaine production chain – the impoverished campesino – through aerial spraying and forced eradication. These poor farmers feel unfairly singled out, since too many at the top of the chain – drug traffickers and illegal armed combatants – survive or are quickly replaced by equally brutal traffickers. This administration’s policy of targeting the poorest is wrong.

Law enforcement and interdiction are essential to control drug trafficking, but not sufficient. A massive increase in rural development would provide a far better chance of reducing the drug supply flowing from the Andean ridge countries than eradication alone.

Colombia is faced with a continuing insurgency, which finances itself from drug revenues, and the Peruvian and Bolivian coca growers are among the continent’s most impoverished indigenous communities. That’s why it’s so important for Washington to support a massive increase in rural infrastructure investment, rural governance, and public service extension into those communities now.

Congress made a good start last year by voting to shift Plan Colombia funding away from military to economic development and rule of law.

Unfortunately, the administration opposed it. Now Congress needs to go one step further and push this administration, and the next one, to rethink a counterdrug policy that has not achieved its goals. Fundamental changes are needed in both supply and demand policies if there is going to be a decline in cocaine trafficking into the US.

In 2002, just under 9 percent of the US population from 12 to 25 years of age admitted to using cocaine the previous year. In 2006, the same percentage said they snorted cocaine. Since the population has grown, simple math shows that in absolute terms many more used cocaine.

A one-size-fits-all demand reduction policy essentially aims to put everyone who touches cocaine in jail – whether they are one-time or weekend users, addicts or traffickers.

Certainly for traffickers, the only option is more effective law enforcement that works closely with other nations to go after their money, their assets, and their structures.

For cocaine users, it is time to build on the best models of dealing with addicts through a public health lens, with hospitals, clinics, and treatment replacing jails. And a massive public service effort should be launched to target recreational users that equates cocaine use with drunken driving – unacceptable destructive behavior. Their weekend fun kills young people in Colombia and Los Angeles and Miami. It has to stop.

Producers and consumers in the Andes, the US, Europe, and the Southern Cone must come together and admit that the Emperor’s counterdrug wardrobe is threadbare. It needs new fabric and a new design – a top to bottom overhaul of counternarcotics thinking.

Posted in Drugs | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All About Eve

Posted by morganwrites on May 25, 2008

Maybe it was the proximity of Mount Rushmore and Deadwood, but something caused Hillary’s inner Eve Harrington to leap out in South Dakota.

Venturing into Daschle-Obama territory, she inadvertently and inelegantly illuminated her thinking on why she wants to keep running as long as she can: stuff happens.

In politics, there are many unpredictable and unsavory twists and turns. That’s why she’s hanging around, and that’s why she and Bill want to force Barack Obama to take her as his vice president, even if he doesn’t want her, even if Michelle can’t stand her, even if she has to stir the sexist pot, and even if she tarnishes his silvery change message.

In an interview with The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, Hillary disagreed that she’s hurting party unity: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”

She was talking about the timeline for June, not wishing physical harm upon her rival. But many Democrats were upset. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina called her words “beyond the pale.”

Maybe a tired, stressed Hillary was giving an unfiltered version of a blunt conversation that she’s had with her husband and advisers about staying in the race, using R.F.K. as an anything-can-happen example, in the same way she fantasizes about Sean Hannity breaking a story that would demolish Obama.

She’s made the tasteless assassination comment before, including in a March interview with Time.

But coming right after the anniversary of the King assassination, right before the anniversary of the Bobby Kennedy assassination, right in the midst of the wrenching news about Teddy Kennedy’s brain tumor, and right in the middle of Billary’s hostile takeover attempt on the vice president’s mansion, the image was jarring.

Senator Clinton apologized and, in a fairly inspired reach, suggested that it was the awful diagnosis for Teddy that had put the dark thought in her head.

Standing incongruously in front of the salad-dressing section of a Sunshine Foods, she said, “The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy” and pointed out that she holds Bobby Kennedy’s Senate seat.

Teddy Kennedy decided to endorse Obama in part because he was upset that Hillary sat silently when Francine Torge introduced the New York senator at a New Hampshire event saying: “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” signed the civil rights bill into law.

Hillary knows that in politics, bimbos erupt. Tapes leak. Husbands disappoint. Friends commit suicide. Rivals get sick. Her Senate race against Rudy Giuliani suddenly turned in her favor when he got prostate cancer and dropped out.

The macabre story of 2008 is that the vice presidential picks are important. On the Republican side, it’s because of John McCain’s age and history of skin cancer, and that’s openly discussed.

But on the Democratic side, it is, as The Times’s Obama reporter Jeff Zeleny has written, a “hushed worry.” Barack Obama has fused two of the most powerful narratives in American history — those of Martin Luther King Jr. and Camelot — and that makes him both magical and vulnerable.

He was only 6 years old in the spring of 1968, when Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. But the unspoken fear that he is in some danger as their spiritual heir hovers over his race. He got a Secret Service cordon last May, the earliest a candidate has ever been given it.

Alma Powell’s worries about assassination helped influence Colin Powell not to run. Michelle Obama expressed concern before her husband’s election to the Senate but said on “60 Minutes,” “I don’t lose sleep over it, because the realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station.”

Mike Huckabee had to apologize after making a joke at the National Rifle Association convention about a noise, saying it was Obama tripping off a chair when “somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

Obama now has the perfect excuse not to pick Hillary as his running mate. She has been too unseemly in her desire to be on the scene if he trips, or gets hit with a devastating story. She may want to take a cue from the Miss America contest: make a graceful, magnanimous exit and wait in the wings.

That’s where the runners-up can be found, prettily lurking, in case it turns out the girl with the crown has some naked pictures in her past.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Verify

Posted by morganwrites on May 16, 2008

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Turner Syndrome – A Disease That Affects Only Females

Posted by morganwrites on May 12, 2008

Turner Syndrome

Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects a girl’s development. The cause is a missing or incomplete X chromosome. Girls who have it are short, and their ovaries don’t work properly. Most are infertile. They are at risk for health difficulties such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis and thyroid problems.

Other physical features typical of Turner syndrome are

  • Short, “webbed” neck with folds of skin from tops of shoulders to sides of neck
  • Low hairline in the back
  • Low-set ears
  • Swollen hands and feet

There is no cure for Turner syndrome, but there are some treatments for the symptoms. Growth hormone often helps girls reach heights that are close to average. Hormone replacement can stimulate sexual development. Assisted reproduction techniques can help some women with Turner syndrome get pregnant.

What is Turner syndrome?

Turner syndrome is a chromosomal condition that alters development in females. Women with this condition tend to be shorter than average and are usually unable to conceive a child (infertile) because of an absence of ovarian function. Other features of this condition that can vary among women who have Turner syndrome include: extra skin on the neck (webbed neck), puffiness or swelling (lymphedema) of the hands and feet, skeletal abnormalities, heart defects and kidney problems.

This condition occurs in about 1 in 2,500 female births worldwide, but is much more common among pregnancies that do not survive to term (miscarriages and stillbirths).

Turner syndrome is a chromosomal condition related to the X chromosome.

Researchers have not yet determined which genes on the X chromosome are responsible for most signs and symptoms of Turner syndrome. They have, however, identified one gene called SHOX that is important for bone development and growth. Missing one copy of this gene likely causes short stature and skeletal abnormalities in women with Turner syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Turner syndrome?

Girls who have Turner syndrome are shorter than average. They often have normal height for the first three years of life, but then have a slow growth rate. At puberty they do not have the usual growth spurt.

Non-functioning ovaries are another symptom of Turner syndrome. Normally a girl’s ovaries begin to produce sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) at puberty. This does not happen in most girls who have Turner syndrome. They do not start their periods or develop breasts without hormone treatment at the age of puberty.

Even though many women who have Turner have non-functioning ovaries and are infertile, their vagina and womb are totally normal.

In early childhood, girls who have Turner syndrome may have frequent middle ear infections. Recurrent infections can lead to hearing loss in some cases.

Girls with Turner Syndrome are usually of normal intelligence with good verbal skills and reading skills. Some girls, however, have problems with math, memory skills and fine-finger movements.

Additional symptoms of Turner syndrome include the following:
  • An especially wide neck (webbed neck) and a low or indistinct hairline.
  • A broad chest and widely spaced nipples.
  • Arms that turn out slightly at the elbow.
  • A heart murmur, sometimes associated with narrowing of the aorta (blood vessel exiting the heart).
  • A tendency to develop high blood pressure (so this should be checked regularly).
  • Minor eye problems that are corrected by glasses.
  • Scoliosis (deformity of the spine) occurs in 10 percent of adolescent girls who have Turner syndrome.
  • The thyroid gland becomes under-active in about 10 percent of women who have Turner syndrome. Regular blood tests are necessary to detect it early and if necessary treat with thyroid replacement
  • Older or over-weight women with Turner syndrome are slightly more at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis can develop because of a lack of estrogen, but this can largely be prevented by taking hormone replacement therapy.

How is Turner syndrome diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Turner syndrome may be suspected when there are a number of typical physical features observed such as webbed neck, a broad chest and widely spaced nipples. Sometimes diagnosis is made at birth because of heart problems, an unusually wide neck or swelling of the hands and feet.

The two main clinical features of Turner syndrome are short stature and the lack of the development of the ovaries.

Many girls are diagnosed in early childhood when a slow growth rate and other features are identified. Diagnosis sometimes takes place later when puberty does not occur.

Turner syndrome may be suspected in pregnancy during an ultrasound test. This can be confirmed by prenatal testing – chorionic villous sampling or amniocentesis – to obtain cells from the unborn baby for chromosomal analysis. If a diagnosis is confirmed prenatally, the baby may be under the care of a specialist pediatrician immediately after birth.

Diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test, called a karyotype. This is used to analyze the chromosomal composition of the female. More information about this will be discussed in the section “Is Turner syndrome inherited?”

What is the treatment for Turner syndrome?

During childhood and adolescence, girls may be under the care of a pediatric endocrinologist, who is a specialist in childhood conditions of the hormones and metabolism.

Growth hormone injections are beneficial in some individuals with Turner syndrome. Injections often begin in early childhood and may increase final adult height by a few inches.

Estrogen replacement therapy is usually started at the time of normal puberty, around 12 years to start breast development. Estrogen and progesterone are given a little later to begin a monthly ‘period,’ which is necessary to keep the womb healthy. Estrogen is also given to prevent osteoporosis.

Babies born with a heart murmur or narrowing of the aorta may need surgery to correct the problem. A heart expert (cardiologist) will assess and follow up any treatment necessary.

Girls who have Turner syndrome are more likely to get middle ear infections. Repeated infections may lead to hearing loss and should be evaluated by the pediatrician. An ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) may be involved in caring for this health issue.

High blood pressure is quite common in women who have Turner syndrome. In some cases, the elevated blood pressure is due to narrowing of the aorta or a kidney abnormality. However, most of the time, no specific cause for the elevation is identified. Blood pressure should be checked routinely and, if necessary, treated with medication. Women who have Turner syndrome have a slightly higher risk of having an under active thyroid or developing diabetes. This should also be monitored during routine health maintenance visits and treated if necessary.

Regular health checks are very important. Special clinics for the care of girls and women who have Turner syndrome are available in some areas, with access to a variety of specialists. Early preventive care and treatment is very important.

Almost all women are infertile, but pregnancy with donor embryos may be possible.

Having appropriate medical treatment and support allows a woman with Turner syndrome to lead a normal, healthy and happy life.

Is Turner syndrome inherited?

Turner syndrome is not usually inherited in families. Turner syndrome occurs when one of the two X chromosomes normally found in women is missing or incomplete. Although the exact cause of Turner syndrome is not known, it appears to occur as a result of a random error during the formation of either the eggs or sperm.

Humans have 46 chromosomes, which contain all of a person’s genes and DNA. Two of these chromosomes, the sex chromosomes, determine a person’s gender. Both of the sex chromosomes in females are called X chromosomes. (This is written as XX.) Males have an X and a Y chromosome (written as XY). The two sex chromosomes help a person develop fertility and the sexual characteristics of their gender.

In Turner syndrome, the girl does not have the usual pair of two complete X chromosomes. The most common scenario is that the girl has only one X chromosome in her cells. Some girls with Turner syndrome do have two X chromosomes, but one of the X chromosomes is incomplete. In another scenario, the girl has some cells in her body with two X chromosomes, but other cells have only one. This is called mosaicism.

NHGRI Clinical Research on Turner Syndrome

NHGRI is not currently conducting clinical research on Turner syndrome.

Additional Resources for Turner Syndrome

For more information follow this link – Medscape. If you’re unable to access this page – please advise and I will post information and links for those that are interested.

MorganLighter

Posted in Health Care | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »