Daily Archives: February 23, 2007

Circumcision reduces AIDS transmission in Africa

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This is important news, in many ways. First of all, anything that can have an effect of this magnitude really has to be implemented. That has huge implications financially and logistically. Secondly, this may help us learn more about the biology of the AIDS virus. Thirdly, of course, one can now expect pretty much universal newborn circumcision not only in Africa but also in the US and around the world.

link

The scientific case for circumcising men as a way to prevent HIV from spreading in Africa is compelling. The realizaton of this evidence is as dramatic as the discovery of HIV and AIDS in the first place.

However, now the science is done, the challenge is how to make it safe, affordable and accessible in countries already burdened with a range of healthcare programmes for tackling the HIV epidemic.

Three studies, two conducted in Kenya and Uganda recently, and an earlier one in South Africa, show that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in males by 50 to 60 per cent.

The two more recent trials are written up in today’s issue of The Lancet.

The Kenyan and Ugandan trials replicate the landmark findings of the South African study, known as the South African Orange Farm study, which was the first randomised controlled trial to show a greater than 50 per cent protective benefit of male circumcision.

I hope the churchladies won’t try and block circumcisions like they have done with the new HPV-cancer vaccine.

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If you had any doubt that Rumsfeld was the worst SOD ever, wait until Gates gets through with him.

link

Sec. Gates is launching a full scale investigation of outpatient care for our vets. Heads are rolling.

“I want to start by saying that like many Americans, I was dismayed to learn this past week that some of our injured troops were not getting the best possible treatment at all stages of their recovery, in particular the outpatient care,” Gates said. “This is unacceptable and it will not continue.”

Gates added, “I’m grateful to reporters for bringing this problem to our attention, but very disappointed we did not identify it ourselves.”

“Today I’m announcing the formation of a independent review group,” said Gates. “This group, which consists of eight military, medical and political leaders, will take a broad look at all our rehabilitative care and administrative processes here at Walter Reed and at the National Naval Medical Center.”
….
“The defense chief had an edge to his voice as he said some members of the military family ‘may not have been treated the way they should have been,'” the Associated Press reports.
….
so many talented and patriotic young people have stepped forward to serve. The men and women recovering at Walter Reed and at other military hospitals have put their lives on the line and paid a considerable price for defending our country. They should not have to recuperate in substandard housing, nor should they be expected to tackle mountains of paperwork and bureaucratic processes during this difficult period for themselves and for their families. They battled our foreign enemies; they should not have to battle an American bureaucracy.
…..
It is my strong belief that an organization with the enormous responsibilities of the Department of Defense must live by this principle of accountability at all levels. Accordingly, after the facts are established, those responsible for having allowed this unacceptable situation to develop will indeed be held accountable.
….
we are not going to wait 45 days to begin addressing these problems. And so there have been some people who are most directly involved, who have been relieved. But we will be looking and evaluating the rest of the chain of command as we get more information.

Hopefully this will give the Navy something to do besides cruise up and down the Persian Gulf trying to pick a fight with an Iranian fishing boat.

The plight of our injured troops and their families is possibly the worst scandal of the entire Bush administration, and that is saying something. The rage in this land is truly monumental. And its not about a few dirty carpets. Of course Dear Leader had no idea...truly, he didn’t. Because that’s the kind of president he is.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Michelle Malkin's latest brain fart, Politics

Bush Unveils i-Iraq i-Policy i-Initiative

I stole this entire piece from Tom Burka because I’m a crook and because it’s so damn funny. So go visit the site and put him on your blogroll so maybe he won’t sue me.

and ps: I promise never to do it again.

Bush Unveils i-Iraq i-Policy i-Initiative
Feels Adding “i” To Beginning Of Every Word Will Make Ideas Look New And Vital

President Bush, wearing a black turtleneck and jeans, announced today what he called “an amazing new invention” that he said would “revolutionize the way we fight the Iraq war” and “make previous Iraq war policies look dumb.” He called it “the i-Iraq”, and said that he got the idea while surfing “the Google.”

In a two-hour long slideshow, Bush outlined the features of the “iStrategy” which he frequently praised as “absolutely innovatical,” and “amazing.” The new strategy device would come with a patented “LMS” key, for a “last-minute surge” to overwhelm all opposition, as well as a function that will produce troops from virtually nowhere, create something from nothing, and replace any civil war with a fully functioning peaceful representative democracy.

The iStrategy also has long lasting batteries, automatic and periodic face-saving, reality muting, and a small switch on the side that turns off the advice of top-ranking military experts.

The device will operate with “unilateral gesturing,” which the President has also patented.

The unveiling of the new device caused an audience of yes-men to applaud spontaneously no less than sixty-two times.

Reporters asked Steve Jobs if Bush was trying to steal his ideas for Apple’s new iPhone, but Jobs dismissed the comparison.

“They’re totally different,” Jobs said. “Our phone works.”

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Countdown to US attack on Iran: X minus 36 days: wringing of hands cannot stop Bush

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From the London Times:

…there are deep fissures within the US Administration. Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, who has previously called for direct talks with Tehran, is said to be totally opposed to military action.

Although he has dispatched a second US aircraft carrier to the Gulf, he is understood to believe that airstrikes would inflame Iranian public opinion and hamper American efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One senior adviser to Mr Gates has even stated privately that military action could lead to Congress impeaching Mr Bush.

This anonymous reporting amounts to a confession that Bush can bomb Iran any time he pleases; he may have to deal with some pissed off people afterwards, but, hey, that’s why he repealed the posse comitatus act, began wiretapping and opening mail of whomever he pleases, installed 7 new US attorneys and repealed habeas corpus.

In the same piece, we have chief Bush enabler/poodle Tony Blair wringing his hands a tiny bit, BUT NOT DENYING BUSH THE USE OF DIEGO GARCIA as a launching pad for his assault on Iran:

Mr Blair, in a BBC interview yesterday, said: “I can’t think that it would be right to take military action against Iran . . . What is important is to pursue the political, diplomatic channel. I think it is the only way that we are going to get a sensible solution to the Iranian issue.”

The Times rightly observed what happened to someone who made a bit stronger statement:

It was notable that Mr Blair’s remarks yesterday closely resembled [?] those of Jack Straw last year, who said that an attack on Iran was “inconceivable”, angering Washington and perhaps contributing to his removal as Foreign Secretary.

The facts are that, as long as Bush does not order the release of US nuclear weapons, there is no legitimate way of stopping George W. Bush from bombing Iran. You have never read of any way to stop him, because there isn’t any, short of a de facto military coup (which is hardly something to count on, as I pointed out yesterday). All the public pronouncements in the world by members of Congress have no impact or legal effect. No law can be passed through Congress without a Republican filibuster and/or Bush veto. The Congress is not going to remove him through the constitutional process of impeachment.

Bush has the legal power to send US forces into battle for up to 180 days without consulting Congress, and he has the legal right to attack for the purpose of defending our troops under the UN charter.

That, as they say, is that.

The unpleasant and bizarre reality is this: At the helm of our ship of state there are two dishonest and probably deranged men with unchecked power to kill thousands more people, destroy a country, a region, the world economy, and our own national integrity and security.

Tomorrow: what about Israel?

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East

“Fake” fur on upscale coats is actually DOG fur.

Holy shit.

The Humane Society of the United States said it purchased coats from reputable outlets, such as upscale Nordstrom, with designer labels – Andrew Marc, Tommy Hilfiger, for example – and found them trimmed with fur from domestic dogs, even though the fur was advertised as fake.
“It’s an industrywide deception,” said Kristin Leppert, the head of the Human Society’s anti-fur campaign.

The investigation began after the society got a tip from a consumer who bought a coat with trim labeled as faux fur that felt real. Leppert and her team began buying coats from popular retailers and then had the coats tested by mass spectrometry, which measures the mass and sequence of proteins, to determine what species of animal the fur came from.
Of the 25 coats tested, 24 were mislabeled or misadvertised.
Three coats – from Tommy Hilfiger’s Web site ShopTommy.com, Nordstrom.com and a coat from Andrew Marc’s MARC New York line sold on Bluefly.com – contained fur from domesticated dogs. The others had fur from raccoon dogs – a canine species native to Asia – or, in one case, wolves. The single correctly labeled coat was trimmed with coyote fur, but it was advertised as fake.

Take yer coats back and demand that they be tested at the company’s expense.

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UPDATED. Conservapedia: inventing their own reality

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I can’t tell whether the Conservapedia is more Christian or conservative, but I think the former, cause there’s no entry for George Allen, Rick Santorum or Rush Limbaugh. But either way, they might as well call it the Ourshitdoesn’tstinkopedia. Or maybe the LaLaLaLaIcan’thearyoupedia. They seem to be Wikipedia rejectionists:

On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”, which Conservapedia uses. Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance.

Along the same lines:

Wikipedia often uses foreign spelling of words, even though most English speaking users are American.[sic]

The postings are of two sorts, generally: the whacko right stuff eg

Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept?

or

Patriotism

Patriotism, or love of country, is the highest American virtue. Patriotism means unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the Leader of the country. The opposite of patriotism, treason, is the act of questioning, criticizing or voting against the Leader.

Patriotism comes from the Latin. An ancient Latino poet wrote “Dulce et decorum est pro Patria mori”, which means “It is sweet and decorative for patriots to die”[1].

and then there is an increasing amount of sabotage stuff tossed in by mainstream people, like the entry on homosexuality (see below), or this one:

In Christian discourse, the name Jesus almost always refers specifically to Jesus of Nazareth, believed by Christian followers to be God’s dad, who came to earth as a human c 2 AD. However, God has recently revealed on His blog that Jesus is actually His nephew, not His son.

I look forward to appearing as an entry, myself….my 15 minutes of fame. I would have done it myself but it doesn’t seem to work with Macs. or maybe it’s just broken…. so somebody please join up and put me in. Just call me seesdifferent. Make up some shit about how I was a missionary or a martyr or a rescued frozen embryo, I don’t care; truth doesn’t matter much, I don’t imagine, as long as you have faith that I am what you say I am.

If you have time (Conservapedia is a slow loader) look around and see if they have some explanation of why it is that these whackos pay so little attention to the life and teachings of Christ, and so much attention to the Fox Channel. And why they love to bomb people…
It’s probably none of my business but if I really thought somebody upstairs was keeping score, I wouldn’t be supporting somebody like George. W. Bush, that’s for sure…cause if there is a hell, he’s goin there, and he might just suck a whole lot of his blasphemous followers down with him.

But back to the Conservapedia. I don’t think they’re really paying very close attention any more cause some wiseacre wrote this.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a naturally-occurring sexual orientation found in human beings as well as many other vertebrate species. In general, homosexuality is described as a sexual attraction towards a member of one’s own sex/gender.

Biblical Views on Homosexuality

In the book of Leviticus (18:22) of the King James Version of the Bible is found the following verse:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

This has been interpreted by many to be a condemnation of homosexual activity, but due to mistranslations and other errors may instead refer to the use of sexual intercourse to gain dominion over others and not to consenting and loving relationships between couples of the same sex. However the Book of Romans also states that homosexual acts are shameful and indecent between men. The Bible does not mention anything against lesbian sex.

Modern Views on Homosexuality

The American Psychiatric Association de-listed homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.[1] Since that time, homosexuals have advocated for recognition of their civil rights and for equal protection under the law.

Legal marriage between same-sex couples is now recognized in several socialist European nations as well as in the liberal-oriented State of Massachusetts. In other states a more limited recognition of same-sex relationships is available and is called a “civil union”. Many other states have passed constitutional amendments banning recognition of same-sex marriages performed anywhere and some groups on the far right advocate for a Federal amendment to deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.

UPDATE: Crazy Christian chain emails. Bandwidth for Christ.
UPDATE: According to the NY Times, Wikipedia is under scrutiny as a source for college-level research.

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UPDATED noon Friday: no snowfall yet, but American Birkebeiner IS ON

Noon Friday: there seems to be, on the radar, a snow front approaching the area.
NOTICE FROM BIRKIE.COM:

Birkie 2007: The Race Is ON
23K Competitive Race for Elites & Non-Competitive for Other Skiers

HAYWARD, Wis., Feb. 23, 2007 – Birkie 2007 will be a 23-kilometer competitive race for the top 200 elite men and 50 elite women and an untimed, non-competitive, ‘open-track’ event for the rest of field.

The timed race for elite Birkie skiers will launch at 10:20 a.m. at the Cable Union Airport Start Line and finish at Highway OO in Seeley with prize money awarded to the top 6 men and women.

The untimed, non-competitive, ‘open-track’ event for remaining Birkie, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon skiers will start at Cable Union Airport between 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

An ‘open-track’ event is new to the American Birkebeiner but is common in European cross country ski races. In the Birkie ‘open track’ event, skiers can leave the start line at any time within a half-hour window for specified waves as follows:

Waves 1-3 – 10:45 a.m.
Waves 4-6 – 11:15 a.m.
Waves 7-10 and Prince Haakon skiers- 11:45 a.m.

“Skiers can show up with their friends in this window and leave together,” said Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. “This is the best option given the course conditions. We think the course will hold up to a small number of competitive racers and it is adequate for thousands of skiers participating in a low-key, non-competitive, ‘open-track’ event. We will be advising caution on some downhills with the use of Ski Patrol members.”

In the ‘open-track’, non-competitive event, skiers will wear a transponder timing chip to confirm completion of their race, but no awards will be given. Credit will be given for completing the Birkie, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon. The non-competitive event will not affect wave placement, and future seeding will be based on Birkebeiner and Kortelopet times from 2004-2006.

Transponder timing chips will be handed out at Telemark Lodge on Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. Bussing to Telemark Lodge will begin at 6 a.m.

Skiers can register for Birkie 2007 through 8 p.m. this evening at the Red Arrow Room at Telemark Lodge.

Thursday evening; the weather forecast here does not predict snow for Friday:

What is the forecast?

40% chance of snow on Friday with 70% chance of additional snowfall predicted after from birkie.com:

What is the course like?

Current conditions are poor. Wednesday’s 52-degree temps, sunshine and rain created bare spots. The trail is hard-packed with icy spots.
We need 3” of new snow to have a safe course and race.
A final race decision will be announced on Friday at 9 p.m. in the lobby at Telemark Lodge and posted on the Birkie website and sent to all skiers and media.

good luck you cheeseheads.

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