Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: The GOP Is 'Hoping For Failure' For The Economy


Rep. Schultz was not so much making an accusation as she was stating the blatantly obvious. The reality is, the GOP is not just passively hoping for a worsening economic climate for 2012, they are actively working to make it a reality. By blocking any government action that could possibly benefit the greater economic good of the country they profess to love so much, they are betting on an electorate that is so demoralize­d they will either stay home in November 2012 (as was the case in 2010) or view the GOP as the lesser of evils. It's a cynical strategy, of course, but when you have an insatiable hunger for power and nothing else to offer, it is the only way left to go.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Romney Beating Obama In A Fight For Wall St. Cash


The only reason "Wall Street" backed Obama in 2008 was to make sure they had plenty of paid access to the administra­tion. It was clear early on that the eventual GOP nominee would be the second place finisher in November. The money to Romney now is pretty much the same thing. The only candidate in the GOP field with a possibly of winning in November 2012 is Romney. The others, with the exception of Huntsman, are ideologues who have no hope of winning support beyond the hardcore party faithful. "Wall Street" will back whoever it thinks can win so they can continue buy enough access to maintain their strangleho­ld on progress.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Pagoclone Replacement

I was one of the participants in the final testing of pagoclone (which was in trials to determine its efficacy in the treatment of persistent development stuttering in adults) prior to its withdrawal after the trials were ended in November 2010. I was chosen for the trial because, even at the age of 54, my stuttering was severe enough to interfere with my enjoyment of life.

I was taking several different herbal supplements prior to the trial, but suspended their usage for the duration of the trial, so as not to taint the study results. None of the supplements I had been taking had ever had any effect on my stuttering. I had a SpeechEasy device which I had used for about 5 years. I stopped using it during the trial as well.

For me, the pagoclone was very effective in dramatically lessening the frequency and severity of my stuttering. In fact, the pagoclone worked better for me than the SpeechEasy had. I had some minor difficulty with the SpeechEasy, not so much with my fluency as with the sensation of hearing delayed and frequency altered sounds in my left ear while my right ear was hearing things in real time. The pagoclone, for me, was wonderful. I was told when I was selected for the study that I would continue to get the drug once the trial had ended up until the time the drug either went to market or was withdrawn. When I was informed four weeks ahead of the end of the trial that the drug was going to be withdrawn, I was distraught. It had worked so well for me. There had been noticeable improvements in my fluency and I had gotten a tremendous amount of encouragement from co-workers and peers who were excited by the noticeable improvement.

Facing the end of the pagoclone supply in a matter of weeks, I went on a desperate search for something that would deliver a comparable result. It was a depressing search. There has never been a drug to effectively treat persistent stuttering, so there was no good place to start. I remembered, though, how the researchers had been alerted to the possible efficacy of pagoclone for stuttering by an anecdotal report from one of the physicians in a previous study of pagoclone as an anxiolytic agent. The results of the study were not as promising as had been hoped in the anti-anxiety study and Indevus was on the verge of dropping the drug when the potential new use was suggested.

I started looking at herbal supplements that may have mild anxiolytic properties with being overly sedative. I was also looking for something that would have the least amount of known negative side effects. I had experimented with Kava in the past, but had not noticed any significant improvement. I was also aware of some potentially dangerous side effects with Kava. I found several mentions of different psychotropic drugs as possible alternatives, but the potential side effects were, for me, a non-starter.

After several weeks of searching, I finally settled on a regimen that I would begin the day the trial ended. I chose Valerian, a herb that has been used for some time as a sleep aid with good results and minimal side effects, though there is no data on the long term regular usage. The Valerian formulation readily available to me was a 450mg whole root capsule with the direction to take 3 capsules 30 minutes before bedtime. I decided I would take 2 capsules on the same twice a day schedule I had taken the pagoclone. I also resumed taking St. John's Wort twice a day, which I had discontinued during the study.

The results for me have been at least as good as, and quite possibly better than, the pagoclone. For me, that is saying a lot. I am now almost 11 months into the regimen, and it has worked very well. Other than some minor tiredness, I have not noticed any negative side effects. I cannot say for certain whether it is the Valerian alone or the Valerian in combination with the St. John's Wort that is responsible for what actually seems to be an improvement over the pagoclone results.

Of course, the standard disclaimers apply to this post. Nothing herein is meant to diagnose, or recommend treatment for, any condition. You should consult with your physician before starting any supplement regimen. The results mentioned above are purely anecdotal and are not meant to suggest any researched conclusions.

One final note: I am also taking Saw Palmetto Plus from the Vitamin Shoppe. It is at least theoretically possible that one or more ingredients in this supplement may be interacting with the Valerian and/or St. John's Wort.

Another possibly significant variable: I drink a 10-cup pot of black coffee every day. I have done so for almost 30 years. I use about 2 11.5oz bricks of medium roast Colombian coffee every week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

25 Random Things About Me

1. I have a tendency to reveal too much information, which can be a little embarassing and offputting. If I were you, I'd stop reading now before things get weird.
2. What!?! Are you still reading this? RE-read number 1 above and heed the warning.
3. OK. It's your own damn fault. Don't say you weren't warned. If you end up trying to claw your eyes out and wishing you could UN-read something, you have no one to blame but yourself.
4. I have a mild case of Asperger's syndrome. That's my description. My friends (both of them) would swear there is nothing mild about my Asperger's.
5. I don't do very well in social situations. I am really awkward as hell. (see #4)
6. When I was in the first grade, I was being bullied on the school bus by an older boy who threatened to beat me up if I didn't tell him his name. After several minutes of increasing stress and terror, I finally blurted out "Little BoPeep!" ...Fifty years later, his nickname is still BoPeep.
7. I was recently part of a drug trial, testing a drug to treat persistent developmental stuttering in adults. The drug trial ended in November 2010. After the trial was over, I found an alternative herbal regimen that may actually work at least as well and possibly better than the trial drug (which was discontinued).
8. I went to high school with Harry Carson (NFL Hall of Fame, former linebacker for the NY Giants. It was Harry (#53) that Joe Theisman was trying to elude when Lawrence Taylor ended his career). Harry kept me from getting beat up once (though I really didn't deserve it) by announcing: "You leave him alone. That's my friend." I am forever endebted to Harry.
9. I met William Christopher (Father Mulcahy from the TV series M*A*S*H) and Temple Grandin (who was the subject of an HBO bio-pic) at an Autism Society of America conference in Albequerque (July 1992).
10. I have a fairly significant auditory memory deficit which nearly dereailed my persuit of a BA degree. I was able to complete the foreign language requirement (I took French, I could read and understand it, but not speak, write or understand the spoken language) by reading a book (printed in France) with questions at the end of each chapter and writing my responses to the questions in English. I passed it with an A.
11. Playing church league basketball in high school, in one game I was tied for the leading scorer on my team and led the team in assists. We lost 119-4. Honestly. We had 5 players and no coach when the game began and we faced a team that had 15 players and 2 coaches. I was one of (maybe) two players on our team who were not stoned. (I don't think my brother was stoned that night.)
12. I didn't date (not actually my choice) during high school. Had my first "real" date (and first "real" kiss!) near the end of my freshman year of college.
13. I used to really enjoy walking in the woods at night without a flashlight or weapon. Especially during a new moon.
14. I taught myself to play guitar as a teenager. (Actually started teaching myself... I've almost got it figured out now. I'm a thumb-picker. Most of what I play nowadays are hymns from the old Broadman Hymnal and a few traditional tunes. The thumb-picking is why the thumbnail and index fingernail on my right hand are longer than the others.)
15. As a freshman in college, I wrote a play for my church youth group with about eight songs included.
16. I wrote songs for about 10 years. The song writing tapered off after I married my muse. That didn't turn out to be nearly as great as I thought it would be.
17. I drove a van for a cigarette vending route for about a year. I was a non-smoker, but became very knowledgeable about cigarettes. Especially the closed date freshness codes.
18. I have shovelled sheep shit. Seriously. The real poop, not some metaphorical crap.
19. I was 22 when I had my first beer. And my first Bourbon, and my first Scotch. (Cue George Thorogood and the Destroyers "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" now.)
20. President Nixon announced to the nation the end of the military draft for Vietnam the night before my 18th birthday. I registered for the draft, took my draft card home, and burned it.
21. I once sold shoes at Thom McAn. (Well, not too many.)
22. I graduated from a Baptist university and a Baptist seminary and was ordained as a Baptist minister. I never served as a Baptist pastor, however, I did serve for a time as a United Methodist pastor. (I was raised in a very religious, very conservative, Southern Baptist family.)
23. I wore a black armband to seminary for a week after the presidential election of 1980. That did not make me popular with the overwhelming majority of my peers. (I dared to blaspheme Reagan their savior).
24. Prior to 1996, I had been continuously employed for over 30 years and never worked more than 36 months in one place. I have been with my present employer for almost 15 years.
25. I met my wife on America Online shortly after the ending separation of my first (muse) marriage. We met IRL about 3 weeks later. It was magic then, and it still is now.
26. I worked one spring (1986) grading writing samples from standardized tests. I worked scoring 3rd grade papers from Texas and 5th grade papers from South Carolina. I also worked on a short project, scoring punctuation on samples from Baltimore City Schools. It may have been the most eclectic and most fun group of people I have ever worked with. Everyone (except for me) either had an MA or MFA in English or writing or an MAT or MEd with certification to teach English. I have an MDiv (with languages), but talked them into letting me take the qualifying exam (that everyone had to pass anyway) and agreeing that if I passed the exam, I should be sufficiently qualified to do the job. I passed the exam and ended up being a "third reader" (each paper was read and scored twice and the scores had to agree... if not, it was read a third time by someone whose scoring accuracy was in the top 10%).
27. I have reduced my coffee consumption to only one pot a day now. There was a time (see above) when I drank about two and a half pots of coffee a day. (I like my coffee strong, hot and black.)
28. I got my driver's license on my sixth attempt to pass the road test. I now teach Defensve Driving.
Yes, I know there 28 things on the list. You will notice, however, the first 3 are not really "about me," so there are only 25 random things about me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shep Smith: Obama Is 'Citizen Of The United States. Period' (VIDEO)


If Fox News had not given so much air time and free publicity to the "brither" bozos, the "movement" would have been flushed from our consciousn­ess already...
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "Red State" Historical Fiction



This video was linked on a friend's Facebook page from another users page along with the discussion the two of them had over the erroneous content. The creator of the video, according to his YouTube channel, is from the great "Red State" of Missouri, which he considers to have been a part of the Confederacy. (Historical note: The official secession movement in Missouri was decisively defeated. A renegade minority group of legislators along with the pro-slavery Governor left the state capital and set up an insurgent "government" which passed a sterilized secession document, the only such document to not mention slavery.)

The following italicized selection is copied from the YouTube profile of the video's creator. I have left the grammar and spelling as they were on the profile, as I feel that, in itself, speaks volumes as to the reliability and accuracy of the video's content:

Here is a quick summary of what made the states that made up the Confederacy secced from the Union-

The Confederate States Of America Were formed not out of hatred toward any one race or religion, but becuse of the actions of the Union over a high terrif called the Morill tarrif wich was the highest one ever to be passed till then in the history of the United States that forced many Southerners into bankrupcy on top of that the tariff was passed through even with the South voting no to it showing how the North was not representing the South in Congress so when they legally withdrew from the union under the Decleration of Independence and tried to form there own country what did the union do declare war on them in order to be able to collect their tax that is what started the civil war.


In the video, the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861 is credited to Congress and Lincoln, and it is claimed the act was signed into law by President Lincoln. INCONVENIENT HISTORICAL FACT: The Tariff Act was signed into law on March 2, 1861, by President James Buchanan. Abraham Lincoln did not take office until his inauguration on March 4, 1861. Oops.

The Tariff Act is presented by the author as the primary reason for secession and the resultant war. INCONVENIENT HISTORICAL FACT: Seven of states which withdrew from the Union (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) had done so at least a month or more prior to the passage of Tariff Act. The Tariff Act cannot be cited as a reason for the secession of these states because it had not passed and likely would not have passed had the representatives from those states retained their seats in the congress. Double Oops.

One last INCONVENIENT HISTORICAL FACT: Prior to the Confederates opening fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the conventional wisdom was that there could still be some negotiated settlement to preserve the Union and avoid an armed conflict. Those hopes were dashed by the Confederate attack. So much for Lincoln's invasion of the South to collect taxes due under the tariff.

One final thought: The "States Rights" often cited by the "Heritage not Hate" pretenders were the rights of the states to treat human beings as property rather than persons based on their ethnic origin and skin color. I'm still not sure how ignorant one has to be to not see that as racism.

As an aside: At the time the video was linked to this blog, the YouTube video had 990 "likes" and 167 "dislikes." Yes, my friends, racism is alive and well in the great "Red States."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crazy



Sadly, my state (which I still claim, albeit reluctantly) has worked hard to earn its derision. This didn't happen by accident, it is the result of large numbers of stupid people completely dedicated to remaining stupid and promoting stupidity as a desirable life choice. I was always considered different when growing up, and I am more proud than ever to be "different" now.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ken Ard: The Big Spender



I didn't vote for this fool, but he accurately reflects the current "mainstream" of the Republican Party in South Carolina. The takeaway here is this: If you're white and a Republican in South Carolina, you can pretty much do whatever you want without fear of repercussions because the world is truly your oyster.

YouTube - Programmer under oath admits computers rig elections



The hearing at which this testimony was delivered was held in 2005 to determine whether or not claims of election rigging were plausible with regard to the presidential election of 2004. Oddly enough, the topic of the hearing was never made a priority by the Department of Justice. The machines in question are the same machines being used in many South Carolina counties. Maybe it's just a coincidence that the Republican Party has become the dominant force in South Carolina politics, but then again, maybe it's not. Perhaps we're not as stupid as we are naive for believing the touch screen voting machines deliver a fair and accurate tally of the intention of the voters.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rush Holt Beats 'Watson' Computer In Congressional 'Jeopardy!' Showdown


There are so many things that could be said here, but let's just stick with the facts to begin:

Watson, the IBM supercompu­ter "designed to answer complex questions.­"

Rep. Rush Holt, Democrat from New Jersey, a five-time "Jeopardy!­" winner and nuclear physicist (from the time when a five-time winner was retired undefeated­).

Rep. Bill Cassidy, Republican from Louisiana.

Let's see, the Democrat won, beating the computer "designed to answer complex questions.­" The Republican finished a distant third.

Question: Whom should we trust to help us answer the complex questions that face our nation?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fox News Most Distrusted Name In News: Poll

"Fox News was one of only two networks that saw its distrust levels increase from last year's study. Last year, 37 percent of respondent­s said they didn't trust Fox--a nine-point difference from the 2011 poll."

If people are actually getting wise to the propaganda game that Fox has been playing, maybe there will be a decrease in viewership (and accompanyi­ng drop in ad revenues) and an increase in the overall intelligen­ce level of the American public... Nahhh.... something tells me this is just a statistica­l aberration­...”

Fox News Most Distrusted Name In News: Poll

Republican Study Group Issues Proposed Budget Cuts

Since the bulk of the cuts would be salaries for the people implementi­­ng these programs, what is the plan to address the resulting unemployme­­nt, the loss of tax revenues for those left unemployed and cover the unemployme­­nt payments to those whose jobs will be cut by the budget reductions­­? (And we'll forget, for the moment, the impact of the loss of those federal salary dollars on the small businesses around the country where the now unemployed workers once spent their money.)

The primary flaw in GOP plans to cut spending, both at the federal level and at the state level (as far as I have seen) is that they are all shortsighted, and imagine that the problem can be addressed by cutting spending. The fact of the matter is, however, that cutting spending only serves to exacerbate the problem, for the most part. Cutting government spending leads directly to increased unemployment, because government spending is jobs. Not only that, they are some of the best jobs left, since our industrial base has permanently outsourced most of the country's best paying manufacturing jobs.

If Republicans were really serious about addressing the problem, they would own up to the fact that tax rates are unrealistically low, that past tax cuts did not create jobs, that government spending is one of the surest ways to increase employment, and that paying higher taxes to live in a healthier, more prosperous country is actually a good thing. The reality is, the countries with the lowest tax rates are places most of us would not care to live. That is not a coincidence, it is true by design.

Republican Study Group Issues Proposed Budget Cuts

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Health Care Poll Finds Decreased Republican Support For Full Repeal


There is no "post repeal plan" for healthcare because the Republican­s know they will not succeed in repealing the bill, they just want to hold a vote so they can say they voted to repeal it. There were numerous opportunit­ies for their input during the initial debate. In fact, the much maligned "insurance mandate" was a cornerston­e of John McCain's presidenti­al campaign, not something Obama or the Democrats ever endorsed. The inclusion of the mandate was a bit of sleight of hand on the part of the GOP, excising the public option and replacing it with the mandate, then voting against the bill and campaignin­g against the mandate which they had INSISTED be included rather than a public option.

The GOP should be represente­d by the two-faced Roman god Janus, who simultaneo­usly looks forward and back, rather than the elephant.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds - CNN.com

The Wakefield study, first published in Lancet in 1998, has been widely criticized, soundly debunked and impossible to replicate. The article released today by BMJ officially moves the study from the realm of shoddy research and rash conclusions into the province of intentional fraud.

The motive? Money. Lots of money. First of all, there was the upfront payment of over a half million US dollars from a group of lawyers who hoped to profit from suing vaccine manufacturers, a fact that was conveniently concealed for over five years. Add to that the money he stood to make from his medical "tests" that would form the basis of the law suits and his percentage of the proceeds from litigation, and you have a more than plausible motive for the crime.

Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds - CNN.com

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Update on Using Swype

One issue I've found with using Swype on the Droid Incredible is the keyboard resets to the default when the device is restarted. Let me correct that, the device still presents the Swype keyboard, but the keyboard behavior is default. I found someone else commenting on this issue on a Facebook message board. Apparently this is a known issue. Fortunately, the poster also had a workaround for the issue. Simply press inside a text box and when the text input method dialogue box appears, switch it to default, then repeat the procedure, switching the input method back to Swype. Problem solved (thanks poster).
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