Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It has been such a busy day today that this is the first chance I've had to blog and I don't have much of a chance now. Mostly I just want to say Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a joyous and blessed day!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Via KOMO News 4 - KOMO 4 News Special Report: Inflammatory Breast Cancer
SEATTLE - Breast cancer is something women think they know all about: Look for lumps; have mammograms; see our doctors.

But none of that will save you from one silent breast cancer killer that women know virtually nothing about.

It's called "inflammatory breast cancer," and it's something every woman must know about.

[. . .]

Andi was just 16 when she died from IBC. She was too embarrassed to tell her mother her breast looked funny. It was slightly enlarged and her nipple was inverted -classic IBC symptoms.

Other symptoms include: rapid increase in breast size, redness, skin hot to the touch, persistent itching, an orange peel texture to the breast and thickening of breast tissue.
I had never heard of inflammatory breast cancer before. It definitely sounds like something that all women should make themselves aware of. Especially since, according to the article, many women with IBC are misdiagnosed as having an insect bite. The whole article is definitely worth reading.

H/T: Sherry Taylor via email.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What an odd choice

Via Reuters - FACTBOX: Vladimir Putin - man of the year
Russian President Vladimir Putin was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2007 on Wednesday for bringing stability and renewed status to his country.
And for the record, it would seem that the authors of the Reuters article find it an odd choice as well. The majority of the article actually talks about all the things that Putin has done while in office as President, none of which seems particularly good from a Western view point. What was Time magazine thinking?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No answers in Aruba

Via MSNBC - Aruba ends probe into Holloway disappearance
Authorities have closed the investigation into the disappearance of Natalee Holloway and do not have evidence to charge anyone, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The three young men who were last seen with the Alabama teenager have all been notified that they will not be charged, prosecutors said.

"The public prosecutor's office and the police have gone the extra mile and have exhausted all their powers and techniques in order to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the girl," it said.
Real life is seldom like television. On TV they almost always get the bad guy, but in real life they often get away.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Comprehensive v. Abstinence-only sex education

Via WaPo - Abstinence Programs Face Rejection
The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.

At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out.

Two other states -- Ohio and Washington -- have applied but stipulated they would use the money for comprehensive sex education, effectively making themselves ineligible, federal officials said.

[. . .]

The jump in states opting out follows a series of reports questioning the effectiveness of the approach, including one commissioned by Congress that was released earlier this year. In addition, federal health officials reported last week that a 14-year drop in teenage pregnancy rates appeared to have reversed.
I find this article interesting because I've never thought that abstinence-only education was a very wise idea. I have not looked closely at the numbers, but I'm also well aware that both sides will find numbers and ways to use the numbers to their own advantage, so I'm not that interested in seeking them out either. The one thing that I do know is that no education program is ever going to get all teenagers to abstain from having sex. I have no problem with schools teaching that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, but sex is also a natural human behavior that begins to appeal to individuals when they enter puberty. If all they know is that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid these problems, but then they decide they are not willing to go that route, they will not know how to protect themselves and are more likely to find themselves in bad situation. I believe they should at least know that there are other options that will help them to protect their health and well-being. I think that is what health education (and as a subset sex education) is all about.

We should teach them about the physiological aspects of our sexuality, the psychological repercussions of engaging in sexual activity, and the physical consequences that can result from both protected and unprotected sex. But it is also of the utmost importance that they know how to protect themselves if they decide to engage in these activities. It should not be about morality. Let their parents teach them about morality. Some would say that we should let their parents teach them about sex education, but I disagree. We should have trained professions who can teach them about the scientific aspects of sex and leave the moralizing at home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mutilated Christmas songs (Ron Paul Edition)

Did you ever want to take possibly the most annoying traditional Christmas song ("Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" is possibly more annoying)around and make it even worse? Well, obviously these people wanted to, and they succeeded!

However, I must say, if he could do most all those things (I'm not really in favor of getting rid of the FDA) I would vote for him. However, the President doesn't really have the power to do all that stuff by himself, and there is no way in Hell that the Congress is going to go along with most of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun with flowers

My husband bought me a dozen roses yesterday and I decided to take some pictures of them. I know the pictures are similar, but if you have a favorite, tell me about it. I was thinking about enlarging one of them to frame and put one the wall in my living room (it's rose themed), but I'm not sure which one would be best.

I think I'm most partial to the middle one. I think it has the crispest image for enlarging, too. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Via CNN - Huckabee apologizes for comments on Mormons
Huckabee states:
"I'd like to think that my being a Baptist isn't a factor in people voting for or against me."
Somehow this statement strikes me as somehow disingenuous. I think that he is counting on the fact that he is a Baptist minister to garner him quite a few votes from the Religious Right. And while I completely agree with Romney's position on the issue of religion in the campaign, at least in principle,
He continues to believe that this campaign should not be about questioning a candidate's faith. While it is fair to criticize an opponent's record or policy positions, it is out of bounds for one candidate to question another's personal faith.
I think it is ridiculous to think that it isn't or won't be an issue.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh the irony!

Via CNN Money - Fed cuts rates by a quarter point
The Federal Reserve lowered an important short-term rate by a quarter of a percentage point Tuesday, the latest in a series of rate cuts that the central bank hopes will stimulate an economy some fear is on the brink of a recession.

But stocks plunged following the Fed's announcement as Wall Street was disappointed the Fed did not act more aggressively. The Dow dropped nearly 300 points, or 2.1 percent, while the S&P and Nasdaq each fell about 2.5 percent.
No real commentary on the issue, as I avoid discussions of economics at all cost, but I found the reaction ironic. I guess you just can't please Wall Street.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Six things to remember

On the last day of my world politics class, I told my class that there were some things that I hoped I would remember and take with them from the class (because I knew they wouldn't remember the specifics of the class). I thought they were some good things to keep in mind when dealing with politics in general and with world politics in particular. So here they are, for what it's worth:

1. Be willing to doubt - that includes the things that your government tells you, other governments say about themselves and others, and especially the things that we are so willing to believe with little or no proof. The things that we want to believe are often the things we should analyze the most closely.

2. Don't let emotion rule your mind - human beings are always going to have emotional responses to stimuli, but we do not always have to act on those emotions. Especially in the realm of politics, it is best if we can take a step back and look at the possible ramifications of our actions before we proceed. In particular, a state has certain responsibilities and core objectives that have to be considered, and emotional responses can often be work against these objectives.

3. There are few absolutes in life - most things in life and all the people you will encounter, either personally or in the political arena, are neither all good nor all bad. Sometimes good people do bad things and sometimes bad people do good things. We can't always disregard something just because it doesn't fit our ready made mold and not everything fits neatly into our preconceived categories.

4. The whole world is not just like your home town (or home country) - it is so easy to develop a provincial attitude. We must always consider that other people in other countries are not always going to see things the way that we do, and that does not necessarily make them wrong, stupid or backwards.

5. It's easy to criticize from an easy chair - an armchair warrior is no different from an armchair quarterback. It's easy to second guess the actions of other people when you are not in their position. I know that it is cliche at this point, but it is still true: you shouldn't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. And, it is much easier to tell someone what to do than to do it yourself.

6. Justice does not equal revenge - so often when we say we want justice what we really want is revenge, but they are not the same thing.

Now if nobody has any questions, class is dismissed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kring speaks about Heroes Volume 3

Caution - Very slight spoiler alert

Via TV Guide - Exclusive: Tim Kring Explains Heroes' "Generations" Finale
The fate of Nathan, who was shot during a TV press conference, and of Niki, who may have died in an abandoned building explosion, are "up in the air and will be determined when we come back after the strike," Kring says.

[. . .]

Not to worry. There are plenty more baddies coming after the writers' strike concludes. In fact, the title of Volume 3 — "Villains" — says it all.

"We've introduced a cadre of them over the course of the show and we're going to see them rise up," Kring says. "Just as the heroes have found each other to save the world, the villains will do the same with the opposite intent." And their numbers may be legion. "The Company has catalogued many of these people over the years. There may be more of them down in that basement than we have alluded to so far."
And there is an upside to the writers' strike:
Originally, Quinto was not going to be available for much of Volume 3 because of his commitment to the new Star Trek film. Now, with the strike dragging on, he'll likely be done playing young Spock by the time Heroes returns to production.

Christianity and Heroes

On last night's episode of Heroes, Adam/Kensei said that God had wiped the Earth clean with the flood and that he was trying to do the same thing with the virus.

Prior to that, my middle son and I were discussing the use of Biblical names for characters in the show. And my sister had previously suggested that maybe Kensei had taken the name Adam because he was the first person to have a power like the current "heroes" and we discussed the possibility that he could actually be the common ancestor of all the current characters that have powers, considering that he has been around for 400 years.

So, anyway, my son and I came up with a list of several characters with Biblical names including: Peter, Isaac, Noah, Micah, Matt (if his name is Matthew), Nathan, Gabriel (aka Sylar), Eden. Then after Adam made the reference to the flood, I really wondered if Mr. Bennett being named Noah had any significance.

So, what do you think? Does it mean anything?