Monday, July 31, 2006

Finally, possible good news for the morning after

After rightfully being attacked for use of political delay tactics and ignoring science (and common sense), the FDA has told Barr they're interested in hearing more about the "behind the counter" back-up plan they suggested after receiving some pushback on the OTC application for Plan B. The announcement of the FDA's sudden decision to consider the option has been called a delay tactic as Andrew von Eschenbach's nomination to permanently lead the agency heads to the Senate. The caveats issued by the agency seem to lend credence to the accusation
the FDA held out the possibility it could keep Plan B prescription-only if Barr’s plan to restrict over-the-counter sales to adult women wasn’t “sufficiently rigorous,” von Eschenbach wrote the company. [MSNBC]
I wonder if von Eschenbach will back up any decision not to support the behind the counter program by imposing the same limitations on cigarettes sold in behind the counter programs.

Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 24, 2006

And I thought mine were made of brass

You thought the Catholic League was bunched up about the Da Vinci code - wait to hear the uproar if the latest aquisition by Touchstone Books sells well.

Tags: ;

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 23, 2006

let the inbreeding begin

John Stossel enters a new level of asshattery

It's the sort of myth that leads to stupid laws. Half the states in America have banned cousin marriage, but there's no good reason for it. You can marry your cousin and have perfectly intelligent kids.

Take Albert Einstein — was he intelligent enough for you? His parents were cousins, and he married his cousin. So did Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. Worldwide, 20% of all married couples are cousins.
I guess Stossel missed those days in his History and Science classes that covered what happens when cousins do a little more than kiss.

tags: ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

So then, what's the statute of limitations on kidnapping?

In the midst of all the fiery blastocysts are people too rhetoric, namely Sam Brownback's Interview with an Embryo (one has to wonder what sort of miscreant would tell their young child that had they not been adopted as an embryo they would have be "murdered" like the embryos being discussed during the current stem cell debates), Orange County Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Sundvold dismissed 8 cases of ova/embryo theft against UC Irvine's fertility clinic. The judge dismissed the cases because he felt the plaintiff's waited too long to file suit after the "widespread and pervasive publicity" of the clinic scandal surrounding use in the 1990's. Attorney's for the plaintiffs argue the publicity was primarily limited to Orange County, where their clients did not live - in truth, this was a pretty big scandal that received national attention (I heard about it here in Philly).

I agree that these women did seem to take an inordinately long amount of time to find out if their stored ova/embryos had been among the ones used without consent, I do think the clinic owes them something for the sheer emotional turmoil of knowing they have children out there that they did not consent to have or put up for adoption. To be honest with you, the more I learn about what's now being called "snowflake adoption", the less comfortable I am with it. Until a friend of mine went through the psychiatric eval to be allowed to donate her remaining embryos, I had thought that after the embryos were donated they went to families in a different geographic region to decrease the possibility of any resultant children born from the donation from living too close to the biological parents and their offspring. This, in turn, would significantly decrease the chances of incestuous relationships (which are never good for the population at large), etc. Much to my horror, I found out that donated ova/embryos stay in the clinic practice which means there's a possibility that your son's high school sweetheart could be his own [biological] sister.

As Art Caplan asks in this morning's Inky, if Bush and the fundagelical sheeple are really concerned with the fate of embryos created in vitro, why don't they shut down fertility clinics that destroy embryos (this, BTW, would be all of them because this sort of assisted reproduction always involves destruction of some products of conception)? The truth is, they'd loose support from not only the general public, but from many "pro-lifers" who benefit greatly from these clinics - including those who brought their healthy "snowflake" graduates (the ones they obtained because they wanted to go through a pregnancy instead of adopting a living, breathing child that was already born and in dire need of parents) to be used as visual aids for political purposes.

Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Unconscionable Interference

In response to this:
Around the United States, health workers and patients are clashing when providers balk at giving care that they feel violates their beliefs, sparking an intense, complex and often bitter debate over religious freedom vs. patients' rights.

Legal and political battles have followed. Patients are suing and filing complaints after being spurned. Workers are charging religious discrimination after being disciplined or fired. Congress and more than a dozen states are considering laws to compel workers to provide care -- or, conversely, to shield them from punishment.

Proponents of a "right of conscience" for health workers argue that there is nothing more American than protecting citizens from being forced to violate their moral and religious values. Patient advocates and others point to a deep tradition in medicine of healers having an ethical and professional responsibility to put patients first.

The issue is driven by the rise in religious expression and its political prominence in the United States, and by medicine's push into controversial new areas. And it is likely to intensify as doctors start using embryonic stem cells to treat disease, as more states legalize physician-assisted suicide and as other wrenching issues emerge.

"What constitutes an ethical right of conscience in medicine, and what are the limits?" asked Nancy Berlinger of the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank. "This keeps getting harder and harder for us." [WaPo]
I feel compelled to re-run part of a post of mine from October 2005:

Healthcare workers are required to put the health of the patient first, if they can not do that for all patients they may serve they need to either avoid working in places where the possibility of being involved in the care in cases they can not participate in or ensure there is always someone else working on their team at the same time to fulfill those tasks they can not. A nurse who is a Jehova's witness can not force someone to find another facility or come back at another time if they need a transfusion of blood products (even if the need for transfusion is not emergent), to do so would be refusing to follow the doctor's orders and interfering with the physician prescribed action plan (nurses who are Jehovah's witnesses have another person on staff who is working at the same time do the transfusion). The same goes for a pharmacist, to refuse to fill a valid and legal medical prescription when the medication is in stock (or lie to say it is not in stock) is interefering with the medical care of a patient. A pharmacist who is a Scientologist is not allowed to refuse filling legal and valid prescriptions to patients because use of particular types of medications are proscribed by Scientology as that would be an imposition of Scientologist's personal views on a non-adherent. Similarly, there is no legitimate reason to allow adherents of any other religion to allow their personal views to interfere with the medical treatment of a patient by an appropriately licensed healthcare practitioner.

Pharmacists who have moral issues with certain medications have multiple legitimate alternatives to prevent them from interfering in medical care while continue to work as a pharmacist including: working at a pharmacy that makes it clear they do not stock or fill prescriptions for [insert type or class of medication here]; working at a mail order/internet pharmacy wherehouse with an agreement they will not be involved in filling prescriptions for medications they find offensive/immoral (while not interfering with those medications or the dispensation of them by another), or ensuring there is always another person on staff with them at the same time who will fill and dispense those prescriptions. If the pharmacist feels that compliance with the latter two alternatives and/or referring the patient to another pharmacy after ensuring that pharmacy has someone on duty to fill the offending prescription in a timely fashion when his/her pharmacy really is out of stock would make him/her a party to the sin of using the offending medication, the pharmacist should refrain from working at a pharmacy that stocks those medications (s)he finds morally objectionable.

We do not force people into professions that may require them to perform tasks they find morally objectionable by way of legislation. For all intents and purposes, those who enter the profession of pharmacist choose their course of study and how to utilize their education of their own volition. The only reason a pharmacist would work in a setting in which (s)he may be the only person on duty permitted to fill a prescription their pharmacy stocks is to intentionally set him/herself up in a position by which (s)he can become a barrier to filling those presciptions. This isn't about rape, sex or abortion, this is about the intentional interferance with medical treatment in an effort to impose one's religion on others, and is a direct violation of the first amendment.
Additional examples of how the public has been affected by the religious zealotry impacting health care decisions can be found at

Tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The next thing the fundagelicals will want to ban

As if it wasn't bad enough that circumcision is something the worst of the heathen non-Christians practice on a routine basis, it also seems to significantly lower the transmission/infection rate of HIV.

Tags: ; /; ;

Sphere: Related Content

You have a right to die

The shrub is so "pro-life" he thinks some people are obligated to die slow, painful, debilitating and degrading deaths to save some cells that wouldn't differentiate into tissues, let alone be born at all.

Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 10, 2006

The USA is a Christian country

Not too long ago, I received an email from a woman working with producers of a show on Air America called State of Belief, hosted by C. Welton Gaddy whose grasp of the Christian religion I fully expect to be questioned by all the usual suspects. When I heard the update about the Dobrich family, formerly of Sussex County Delaware I emailed some links to Betty as a suggestion for a story to be covered on the program. In less than 24 hours, I had a reply telling me that they were not only aware of the situation, they'd already planned to cover it on the July 9 show. The show did a good job covering not only the disgusting actions of STOP the ACLU and the reprehensible (and exceptionally unpatriotic and unChristian) response by the residents of Sussex County and the Indian River School Board, they also covered a number of other issues including the story of the picture to the left. You can listen to the broadcast here.

So what do you think the right answer is the Gaddy's question: once all the non-Christians have been removed from this country, what form of Christianity will be the one under which the United States is ruled?

My guess is that Daddy Dobson, uber-shicksa Ann Coulter (who's level of Christian committment seems limited to wearing a cross and lambasting others for not being Christian) and their followers won't continue to accept everyone baptised in a Christian church as a Christian. I wonder, will Catholics like Bill O'Lielly find themselves demonized followers of a false religion once they're no long of political use or will the Catholic majority have to resort to bringing back the Inquistion to fight the fundagelical threat? How long will it take the next marginalized group to wax poetic for the freedoms they never thought they risked losing?

Tags:;; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Isn't it ironic?

The most anti-science leader since the dark ages has urged the Senate back more government funding of basic science research. As someone who left the bench partially due to the substanstive decrease in funding (watching people do multiple post-docs lead to a horrific fear of living with mommy & daddy the rest of my life), I rejoice in the thought that those in the lab may actually be able to obtain grant funding to pursue and continue worthy research. I also have to say I find this call, coming from a man who has fought acknowledgement of reproducible scientific results, disabled/disbanded/dismantled or otherwise disregards legitimate scientific advisory boards to be disengenuous at best. Maybe I'm skeptical because Bush's call came from a microelectronics company lab (not that anyone in the Bush family has ties to tech companies or semiconducter work). . .nah, I think my cynicism comes from the fact the Shrub's proposal is publicized as an
initiative to boost U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace through innovation. He also wants to train thousands of new science and math teachers and extend a popular tax credit businesses can receive for investing in research and development. The total price tag over 10 years would be $136 billion. [CNN]
and the Preznit has spent much of his time in government office
helping to further the control that religious organizations have over what research can be conducted and what science should be taught in our schools which is part of what could turn this country into the next backwater nation.

The Senate will be taking up some real science/scientific funding issues this month in the form of stem cell research.

c/o RCRC (via Weekly Action Coalition)
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Holds Unprecedented Hope

Millions of people suffer from diseases and injuries that could be treated if we have adequate research to develop new therapies. Human embryonic stem cell research has enormous potential for finding life-saving treatments for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, brain injury, stroke, heart disease, burns, and spinal cord injuries.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from excess embryos, which were created for infertility treatments and will be discarded once treatment is discontinued. Stem cells have the ability to divide indefinitely in culture and can develop into most of the specialized cells and tissues of the body such as muscle cells, nerve cells, liver cells and blood cells. Using stem cells could reduce the dependency on organ donation and transplantation.

Somehow I doubt the Preznit will be supportive of this initiative or any educational programs that would lead to anyone else supporting it, let alone training programs that would lead to any future scientist making any headway.

Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging: could they be hung over?

I have no idea what they were doing last night and am not sure I want to know. . .


Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, July 06, 2006

But he's neither

Dubya made a funny:
"When history looks back, I'd rather be judged as solving problems and being correct, rather than being popular," Bush said. [Larry King Live]
Unfortunately for him and us (mostly for us), unless he can ensure historians can change history in his favor, the shrub will be judged as causing problems and being far from correct. My guess is that if there is a future so history can look back, there will be an awful lot of head scratching going on.

Tags: ;

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

but they need 144,000 of us to fulfill their sick little prophecy

There aren't weren't enough Jews in Indian River School District (Delaware) to start an actual pogrom, so I guess the christotheocrats had to make do with chasing the christ-killers out of town when they couldn't indoctrinate or forcibly convert them. Maybe these good, uber-Patriotic Americans can get their non-local supporters to take a page from Ferdie and Bella to further protect this great country and all it's freedoms from those who pose such a great threat to their very souls.
Among numerous specific examples in the complaint was what happened at plaintiff Samantha Dobrich's graduation in 2004 from the district's high school. She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father's" guidance for the graduates with:

I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name.
[Jews on First]
I'm not really sure who the residents of Sussex County, DE need to thank for that "brave" stand the school district took against those pushy Jews and ACLU types. Jesus, unfortunately, may be in their hearts but he high-tailed it out of town along with those other dirty Jews.

Tags: ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The proper use of the cross and Christian religious symbolism

As we all know, the fundie nationalists are all about using the cross to make sure we all know that the United States of America is Christian Country. Part of this makes sure use of religion and religious symbols is imposed wherever heathens abound, but used only by those the fundagelicals accept as their kinda Christian.

A prime example of where the cross is not only acceptable, but mandatory to protect the endangered Christian religion:

Mount Soledad - Originally dedicated as a Korean War Memorial designed in the form of a 29-foot latin cross, the black granite plaques at Mount Soledad now honor servicemen (living and dead) from all US conflicts and wars. The memorial is maintained by a provate association, but the land belongs to the city (last year's election approving the transfer the land beneath the cross to the federal government was deemed unconsititutional). Any true Christian knows that removal of the rather large cross to disallowing/removing every cross at every state and fedeal cemetary, even those on individual tombstones
If the ACLU wins, it will mean that every cross in every federal or state cemetery will eventually be removed. Don’t let it happen! Under Section Three, Article Two of the U.S. Constitution Congress can pass a law prohibiting federal judges from having any jurisdiction over federal cemeteries.

If the ACLU is allowed to pursue this anti-Christian bigotry unchecked, the 9000 white crosses at Normandy Beach could soon disappear. The words on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington will be open for removal: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” [Don Wildmon, AFA]
In stark contrast, there are unacceptable uses of [Christian] religious imagery that do not promote Christianity and, therefore,
the fine folks at the Catholic League, AFA & FOF have indicated should be banned. Case in point, Britney's former BFF including a mock crucifixion of herself in her latest stage production - for the record, the Catholic League wasn't the only group of people booing Madonna (though the concert goers booed for more obvious reasons).

For those of us [heathens] confused by how to properly use the cross, I've listed examples that have elicited reactions from the orthodox/fundmentalist Christian movements:


(bonus points for nifty sales tie-in because nothing says I live by Jesus' creed than wearing a nail around your neck)

No Comment


Pending Comment
Honest Dave's Used Car Ministry

Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

The reason the colonists fought for independence

It appears as though the colonists fought for independence for the same reason the troops are fighting in Iraq: to keep King George in power. Just in time for Independence Day (the holiday, not the movie) Raw Story via the National Journal reports that Dubya admits he had directed Darth Cheney to use classified info to not only defend his administration but to also go out of his way to discredit Joseph Wilson while doing so.
But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes. [National Journal]
Why, then, wouldn't Cheney have gone through the official declassification process to "get the word out"? Why would the Shrub make a huge stink about how awful the leak was and state the perpetrator(s) would be punished to the fullest extent of the law instead of admitting he'd given the order to declassify the info? Last but not least, why would Libby lie to the grand jury about the circumstances? The answers to those questions are pretty obvious. Information can be declassified, under Bush Executive Order 13292, based on the President's (of Vice President's) assertion that declassification and disclosure of the information was necessary because the [administration's belief that] public's need to know the information far outweighed the need to keep the information secret. The decision on a matter such as this is made that the discretion of the POTUS/VPOTUS. Ultimatley, the administrtaion obviously decided that the information about Plame needed to publicized in the name of public interest but the information as to how and why that information was relayed publicly needed to remain classified. It's good to be King. . .

Tags: ; ; ; ;; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content