Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Random Thoughts

At times it seems like comic books never want to give us what is expected. Dick Grayson and Babs should be a no brainer, but because it is expected, the editors seem to think they should not let it happen. Yet, when you think about it what more unconventional love story can you have then a younger man marrying a handicapped older woman. Still, since it is expected it almost never happens. I always enjoy it when it does happen Superman and Lois Lane, Reed and Sue Richards, Barry Allen and Iris West, it was great to see those relationships actually end up in marriage.

Politics also seems like that in some ways. Everyone who has a brain can see the coming fiscal crisis with social security, medicare and other such programs as the baby boomers are getting to retirement. But no politicians even try to really make common sense reforms. They are willing avoid it until it is about to collapse like a house of cards and do something stupid that will cost us a lot more money to fix it later then sooner.

Stem cell research is something else that has gotten my attention. I think it is a shame that as a nation we have under funded a lot of pure research and let too much of the pure research be corporate driven. Taking out the profit element is important for some research. Stem cells is certainly a promising area and I think should be funded by the government and if a woman donates her eggs to the research they should use those also. But, I also don't think we should put all an eggs in one basket (pun intended). We have no proof that stem cells are the magic bullet to cure everyone and every problem.

We have diagnosed all of these diseases and I wonder does anyone die of old age anymore. Eventually all of you have to die and labeling the cause as a disease after someone is into their nineties seems a little loopy to me. Every type of behavior is now some diagnosis, so now instead of common sense of boys will be boys, the little hyper active boy is labeled with ADD and medicated into submission.

Our rationalization and over diagnoses of everything has made us into a bunch of victims. I didn't mean to run over that person with my car, I have a drinking problem and the steering didn't work right and the manufacturer should have made the car softer as not to hurt anybody. Everyone has some trauma or childhood grief that occurred to them and 90% of them don't do evil shit, so why should we believe just because Johnny was beaten as a bed wetter it was okay for him to be a pedophile or something.

Very random and all over the place, but there it is.


  1. Random Man strikes again.

    I will only point out that explanation is not equivalent to excuse. Trying to find out why someone behaved in a socially unacceptable way is a means to prevent it in the future. It's a separate step to turn that explanation into an excuse.

  2. Thomm - "I will only point out" Restraint? The idea that we are trying to find a way to prevent that behavior in the future is a nice thought, but I just get annoyed by people throwing out those things to try and avoid blame. Mark Foley is the latest, who states that it was being molested by a priest and his alcohol problem that made him lear after young boys. As oppossed to him being a dirty old gay man.

  3. Jim--you really need to do more research. You don't know what you're talking about when it comes to stem cell research. We only believe that embryonic stem cell research is promising cuz scientists have told us so. However, these are the same scientists who have let us down time and again over the decades. They let us have cell phones which most people foolishly think are safe. It just came out that cell phone use reduces sperm count dramatically. That's just great now that we are a nation who lets 11 year olds use cells. Back to stem cells, there have been no advances at all with the use of embryonic stem cells. Not one. The successes, some 80 new leads on cures, have come through the use of adult stem cells. Let's also not forget that the gov't only stopped gov't funding of embryonic stem cell research. This is only right as the gov't should not pay for research if it offends the sensibilities of a large portion of the country's citizens. There have been no bans on private companies using embryonic stem cells. Let them spend the money and try to find a cure as it should be in a capitalist society. Honestly I believe that history will show that the promises of cures via embryonic stem cells was all just pie in the sky wishing by scientists. The future is with adult stem cells. This is where we should be placing emphasis, on proof and not on potential that's never panned out.

  4. Jeff - I will bow to your superior information on stem cells, but I believe we are both heading towards the same conclusion, that the stem cell agruements being made are all based on what ifs and maybes, no hard proof that this will be the end all and cure all.

    I'm not stuck on government funding of stem cells, but I do know that we don't fund pure research like we used to do and I think that is a mistake. Also I'm not sure if we should stop research because a large portion of the population does not like it. Still good points and I should do more homework as oppossed to living off bits and pieces of information.

    Is that true about cell phones?

  5. Hey Jim,

    Jeff brought up an excellent point. And I've actually seen several articles (which were either ignored or given very little coverage here) which talked about some really good headway made with the use of adult stem-cells.

    This guy also brought up the point about the ban only being on federal funding, and that if there were any money to be made from embryonic stem-cells, more private funding would be invested in it...

    I'm going to go see if I can dig up any of those articles in adult stem-cells that I've seen.

  6. Arielle - Cool, hope to see the material.

    In some ways I feel like all the focus on this is giving people false hope and I think that maybe the worse part of it.

  7. Here, this is a site that has compiled info on adult stem cells. Sorry, it is a political site, but that doesn't make the info any less valid. =)

  8. I think you're right, people expect miracles from embryonic stem-cells. Adult stem-cell therapy is not as flashy as what has been promised by supporters of embryonic stem-cell research. Therefore, it gets overlooked, even though it has offered genuine and significant improvement to the people treated.

  9. Scientists have really been letting us down as far as cures go to illnesses. I feel so bad for Jerry Lewis each year his telethon is on. No way could he have thought that there would be no cure after all these years and all the money that's been given for research on MS. The scientists figure out ways for men to have a 3 day erection window and create better breast implants for women while Aids remains unsolved and other diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's run amuck. They have even developed eye lash transplants which are said to be the next big thing in plastic surgery, dethroning botox. And yes, an international study has shown that use of cell phones greatly decreases sperm count. With so many teenage males using cells we may be in danger of self-sterilization. Let's get priorities straight and work on actual cures people can use to increase quality of life, not just the quality of their sex life.

  10. Jeff and Airelle - Great points. And Jeff I do agree with you that the priorities are ass backwards.

    So to keep from having children the girl just constantly calls her boyfriend on the cell phine.

  11. Perhaps you should all check Michael J Fox's comments on the adult versus embrionic stem cell issue. I bow to his familiarity with the topic being superior to my own, what with his vested interest in it. And, he makes sense. Adult stem cells are already at the point where they have developed a specific function, whereas embrionic are a sort of tabula rasa that can develop in any direction. Furthermore, adult cells that have been reprogrammed to another purpose tend to want to return to their previous purpose while the embrionic do not. Ergo, anything that can be done with adult cells can be done with embrionic, but not vice versa. That's why embrionic should be explored.

    As far as government funding, Jeff's line of reasoning has a major flaw. How substantial a portion of the population should put an end to a government activity? About the same number of people as oppose embrionic stem cell funding now oppose the Iraq War. Should we withdraw immediately or engage in a reasoned policy to try to bring stability to the region? A substantial number of people are opposed to income tax. Should it be banned? A republic, as we have, isn't governed by a substantial minority but by a representative majority. If government policy were based solely on not offending a substantial minority, we'd have naught by paralysis.

    I can't speak to the cell phone issue. Given the world population issues we have, maybe some sterilzation isn't all bad, though. (Tongue in cheek. Don't go all literal on me.)

  12. Speaking as someone whose political stances are mostly libertarian:

    Yes, end the income tax.

    We never should have gone to Iraq in the first place. Not being a military tactician, I couldn't say if leaving or staying would cause more trouble now.

    The government should not be funding anything that does not have to do with the defense of the nation or the duties of the federal government as originally outlined.

    As for the stem-cells - currently, adult stem-cells are provided by the person being treated. Embryonic stem-cells obviously have to come from an entirely seperate entity, one with a seperate genetic structure. We could end up having the same problem with transplanting stem-cells that we do with transplanting organs. In any case, my stance that the government should not be funding the research remains firm. If these celebrities are so desperate for their miracle cures, let them fund the research themselves. There isn't any ban on private funding of embryonic stem-cell research. Everyone just wants their free government hand-outs. But whether it is money being given to embryonic stem-cell research, or to a woman with five kids by five different fathers, it's still money being forcibly taken from the citizens that rightfully earned it and being given to those that did not earn it, and in my book, that's theft!

    (Ahem, sorry about the soap-box rant, Jim - I'll stop discussing politics if you like. ;)

  13. First, the Iraq War. I was very much in support of us going there based on the faulty intelligence of Russia, England and the US and also the squirrely actions of Saddam himself. You cannot play monday morning quarterback on this issue. Surely no one feels that we should have gone there now knowing that the intelligence was so wrong. But what's done cannot be undone. I cannot figure out why we are still there. How long does it take to train the Iraqis to be soldiers? It's been nearly 4 years now. They could have all received BAs in any subject. Time to get out and let the Iraqis stand or fall on their own.
    As for stem cells, you cannot use Michael J. Fox as an expert. He does not do his homework and is so desperate for a cure that he would do nearly anything if it meant finding an end to his condition. Fox did a commercial supporting a candidate and then had to come on and apologize saying that he never read the bill the candidate supported and didn't really know what it contained. He speaks only of the potential of embryonic stem cells, but none of that has come to fruition over these past decades. The scientists have been trying to get embryonic stem cells to give them pathways to cures for years and still are right now. Nothing has come of it so far. It's all been adult stems that have proven beneficial. I have studied the matter in detail as my father passed away of Parkinson's Plus in 2003. It is a genetic condition and the doctors tell me that 4 of us 8 kids of his will develop the same condition for which there is no cure. It hits quickly and kills in a brutal, de-humanizing fashion. It has been in my interest to keep tabs on the progress to a cure and it's all been adult stems providing hope. My greatest hope for a cure is that if there is money to be made corporate America will be right there trying to get paid.

  14. Jeff,

    Even if the intelligence was correct (and I believe it was, there's evidence to suggest the WMDs were simply moved out of Iraq), I don't believe that America should be invading other countries as a "preventive measure". I'd like to see our army primarily used defensively. Mind you, I'd rather have them fighting at the behest of our government than being used as 'world police' by the UN, that really bugs me!

  15. Airelle - Never stop talking politics. I'm have a strong libertarian bent also and wish government would be rolled back. Great points on fundings.

    Iraq should never have happened and we need to leave regardless of the consquences. Iraq could be as bad as Israel and never go away.

  16. Arielle--I agree about us being used as the World Police. Not what we were meant to do. I don't know about just using the army defensively. If not for Pearl Harbor, we may have never entered into WWII and that would have been disasterous for us. Hitler would have had the atom bomb first and Hirohito would have hooked it up to the kamikazes and nuked Hawaii. Sometimes we have to act proactively in order to prevent the loss of American lives. For instance, say a dictator was giving shelter to terrorists who were planning an attack on us that would make 9-11 look minute in comparison. Say we had concrete intel verified by agents on the ground that these terrorists were gonna hit us and hit us hard. What course of action could we take if the sovreign gov't protecting them refused to hand them over? Would we have to just wait for them to strike, killing thousands, before we could act?? Sometimes you have to be proactive instead of reactive.

  17. I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear on the issue of preventive war.

    I have no problem with our going to war with the Japanese because they had indeed attacked us and as such it was a declaration of war. I have no problem with the war in Afghanistan for the same reason. (Not sure how well we're doing over there, though, it isn't mentioned much in the news these days.)

    In the scenario you mentioned, where we've got good intelligence that a strike is about to happen, then certainly, taking action would be advised!

    However, Hussein had not attacked us, and from what I recall, there was no evidence that he planned to do so - simply evidence that he had WMDs and ties to our enemies. In my opinion, neither of these are good reasons for going to war with another country. After all, there are plenty of nations out there with WMDs and ties to our enemies!

  18. The thing that set us off to war with Iraq was that Bush got up in front of the country and told us that, according to the best intelligence in the world, Saddam was trying to buy a nuke from Africa. Members of Al Queda had been in and out of Iraq and the thought was that Saddam would acquire a nuke and then give it to the terrorists so that they could explode it on US soil. That's what scared everyone and got the Congress to overwhelmingly vote for a war against a sovreign nation who had done us no harm. With so many nations getting nukes it's only a matter of time before some madman/woman actually sets one off in a populated area. I think we have to do whatever it takes to stop something like that from ever happening.

  19. Except it's not really that easy for the terrorists. Take a look at the example of North Korea. They have their own sovereign territory, well trained scientists and all the supplies needed to build a nuke. And yet they are having one helluva time actually getting it together. Their recent "test" of a nuke was iffy at best. The monitors think it may have been a test, but if it was, it clearly didn't produce the kind of explosion they were looking for. North Korea has been trying to build a nuke for over 50 years, and this is the best they can do. It's not an easy thing.

    On the libertarian front, you guys do recall that the Articles of Confederation were tossed aside in favor of the Constitution, right? The Feds as just there for defense was an idea that didn't work over 200 years ago, and it's certainly not going to work now. The Constitution, as originally written, gave the Feds authority over commerce between the states. With our even more heavily interdependent states now, the Feds' authority on that basis alone would have been greatly expanded. When you factor in the 14th Amendment making the bill of rights applicable to state and local governments, you have additional federal court involvement, too. Furthermore, the Constitution has always given the Feds the power to reach treaty agreements, binding on all states and the Feds themselves, so any involvement with the UN, NATO, NAFTA or any other treaty organization is certainly within the vision of the Founding Fathers.

    I won't get much into income tax. There's a constitutional amendment allowing it. It is what it is. It's not likely to go away, either.

    For me, the Feds are a generally good thing. I certainly don't want us to go back to the pre-civil rights era when my marriage was illegal in many states. I also think our involvement in treaty organizations has brought stability to the world that we would not otherwise have had. And that's been very good for us.

  20. Thomm - I use libertarian to imply my leanings. I hate classifing myself in any such manner, but I beleive in limited government and wide personal freedom.

    I want the government out of my personal life, I want the farce known as a drug war to be stopped and just legalize almost all drugs, the war against terror is another pork spending bunch of crap. Idaho doesn't need protection against terriorist. Also stop trying to save the children.