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Archive for August 23rd, 2009

Science Makes Another Play for Human Longevity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Science Makes Another Play for Human Longevity
Following a calorically restricted diet may be one way to extend the human life span, but this potential path to longevity comes with the built-in hitch of having to significantly scale back food intake—and once again, the idea of popping a pill to produce the desired result is being tossed around within the scientific community.  —KA The New York Times: It sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. Yet such drugs are now in clinical trials. Even if they should fail, as most candidate drugs do, their development represents a new optimism among research biologists that aging is not immutable, that the body has resources that can be mobilized into resisting disease and averting the adversities of old age. This optimism, however, is not fully shared. Evolutionary biologists, the experts on the theory of aging, have strong reasons to suppose that human life span cannot be altered in any quick and easy way. But they have been confounded by experiments with small laboratory animals, like roundworms, fruit flies and mice. In all these species, the change of single genes has brought noticeable increases in life span. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

youth at fountain

Following a calorically restricted diet may be one way to extend the human life span, but this potential path to longevity comes with the built-in hitch of having to significantly scale back food intake—and once again, the idea of popping a pill to produce the desired result is being tossed around within the scientific community.? —KA

The New York Times:

It sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. Yet such drugs are now in clinical trials. Even if they should fail, as most candidate drugs do, their development represents a new optimism among research biologists that aging is not immutable, that the body has resources that can be mobilized into resisting disease and averting the adversities of old age.

This optimism, however, is not fully shared. Evolutionary biologists, the experts on the theory of aging, have strong reasons to suppose that human life span cannot be altered in any quick and easy way. But they have been confounded by experiments with small laboratory animals, like roundworms, fruit flies and mice. In all these species, the change of single genes has brought noticeable increases in life span.

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Afghan Election Dogged by Fraud Claims
Corruption rumors and threats of violence preceded last week’s Afghan presidential election, so it’s not surprising that similar concerns are cropping up after the fact. —KA BBC: Stuffed ballot boxes, illiterate voters being told who to vote for and biased officials were cited by Afghanistan’s Free and Fair Election Foundation. But EU monitors said, despite widespread intimidation and violence, the vote was generally good and fair. There have been rival claims of victory but no winner has been announced. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Afghan election

Corruption rumors and threats of violence preceded last week’s Afghan presidential election, so it’s not surprising that similar concerns are cropping up after the fact. —KA

BBC:

Stuffed ballot boxes, illiterate voters being told who to vote for and biased officials were cited by Afghanistan’s Free and Fair Election Foundation.

But EU monitors said, despite widespread intimidation and violence, the vote was generally good and fair.

There have been rival claims of victory but no winner has been announced.

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GOP Congressman Wally Herger Calls Obama Health Plan ‘Threat To Democracy’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:39 am by HL

GOP Congressman Wally Herger Calls Obama Health Plan ‘Threat To Democracy’
Republican Congressman Wally Herger held a health care town hall meeting Aug. 18 at Simpson University in Redding, where a partisan crowd of over 2,000…

Bill Maher: New Rule: No Shame In Being The Sorry Party (VIDEO)
On Friday night’s “Real Time With Bill Maher”, Maher laid down some new rules. “New Rule: If Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin all…

Jacob M. Appel: Anticipating the Incapacitated Justice
While it is a disturbing truth that our nation will someday likely confront the tragedy of an incapacitated Supreme Court justice, it is not at all clear which justice that will be.


Fox News continues to falsely claim Dems considering “changing the rules” to pass health care reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Fox News continues to falsely claim Dems considering “changing the rules” to pass health care reform

Fox News anchor Jamie Colby falsely characterized Senate Democrats passing health care reform legislation with a simple majority through a process known as reconciliation as “potentially changing the rules with the nuclear option.” In fact, Democrats are not considering “changing the rules” — reconciliation is already part of Senate procedure and Republicans have used it repeatedly in the past, while the term “nuclear option” was coined by then-Republican Sen. Trent Lott in 2005 to refer to a possible Republican attempt to change Senate filibuster rules.

From the August 22 edition of Fox News’ America’s News HQ:

COLBY: There’s been a lot of talk in the last week about potentially splitting the bill, potentially changing the rules with the nuclear option, and the question I have is the Blue Dogs were very vocal before the recess — we haven’t heard much since everyone has been back in their home states — and I’m wondering whether or not you’ll take a position different than other Democrats when you get back. And what would be at the top of your list of what you’d hope there would be a consensus on?

[…]

COLBY: Will you exercise — the Democrats, will they exercise, do you believe, the nuclear option? And the president said in an interview last week that there must be a program that is deficit neutral. Is that possible?

“Nuclear option” was coined to describe the process to change Senate filibuster rules

Lott described proposal to change filibuster rules as nuclear option. The term “nuclear option” was coined by Lott, one of the leading advocates of a proposal to change the Senate rule that requires a three-fifths supermajority to invoke cloture and end a filibuster. After Republican strategists deemed the term a political liability, Republican senators began to attribute it to Democrats. As Media Matters for America noted, at the time, many in the news media followed suit, repeating the Republicans’ false attribution of the term to the Democrats.

Reconciliation is already part of Senate procedure, and Republicans have used it repeatedly

Reconciliation process is part of Congressional budget process. The budget reconciliation process is defined by the U.S. House Committee on Rules as “part of the congressional budget process … utilized when Congress issues directives to legislate policy changes in mandatory spending (entitlements) or revenue programs (tax laws) to achieve the goals in spending and revenue contemplated by the budget resolution.”

Republicans have repeatedly used reconciliation to pass President Bush’s agenda. Republicans used the budget reconciliation process to pass President Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as well as the 2005 “Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act.” The Senate also used the reconciliation procedure to pass a bill containing a provision that would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (The final version of that bill signed by President Bush did not contain the provision on drilling.)

Fox News figures repeatedly refer to reconciliation as “nuclear option”

Bill Sammon: “Democrats are headed for not the public option, but the nuclear option.” Fox News vice president of news and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon has repeatedly falsely compared the potential use of reconciliation to pass a health care bill to the “nuclear option.”

Dick Morris predicts Democrats will use “reconciliation, the so-called nuclear option.” On the August 10 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Fox News contributor Dick Morris predicted that Democrats will try to pass a health care bill “with 50 votes on reconciliation, the so-called nuclear option.”

Sean Hannity: Dems “are even talking about a nuclear option.” On August 11, host Sean Hannity similarly stated that Democrats “are even talking about a nuclear option if they can’t get their 60-vote filibuster number in the Senate — or filibuster-proof number.”

Bret Baier: Reconciliation “used to be called the nuclear option, didn’t it?” On August 19, while discussing health care reform, Bret Baier stated that “reconciliation” is “where the vote would be … they would only need 51 votes instead of the 60 normally required. Reconciliation is what it’s called now. It used to be called the nuclear option, didn’t it?”

Mike Emanuel: Dems “considering the nuclear option” to pass health care reform. On August 20, White House correspondent Mike Emanuel stated that “if you look at the headlines this morning, it says that, basically, the Democrats are considering the nuclear option — 51 votes to get the most controversial aspects of health care reform through.” Emanuel added: “So the question is: Are some Democrats somewhere basically threatening Republicans, saying, you can either get with us or we’re gonna shove it down your throats? And so, definitely, you see some flexing of muscles from some Democrats out there.”

Van Susteren: Dems might use “nuclear option, which is slang for … reconciliation.” On August 20, Greta Van Susteren asserted that Democrats are “threatening to go nuclear, literally.” Van Susteren later added, “Democrats might use the nuclear option, which is slang for a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation, to get health care reform passed.”

Juan Williams: Passing a Democrats-only health bill is “literally what would be called the nuclear option.” On August 22, Fox News political contributor Juan Williams stated on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday that passing a health care reform bill without Republican support is “possible, but it’s literally what would be called the nuclear option in terms of reconciliation.”

Fox News graphic defined “nuclear option” as “[f]orcing government-run insurance through the Senate with just 51 votes.” On August 20, Bill Hemmer stated: “Democratic congressional leaders now considering a nuclear option to pass the most controversial parts of the reform package.” Fox featured this onscreen text advancing the false definition:

Fox Nation: “Dems Consider Nuclear Option to Pass Health Care.” On August 20, Fox Nation featured the following headline and image:

Transcript

From the August 22 edition of Fox News’ America’s News HQ:

COLBY: There’s been a lot of talk in the last week about potentially splitting the bill, potentially changing the rules with the nuclear option, and the question I have is the Blue Dogs were very vocal before the recess — we haven’t heard much since everyone has been back in their home states — and I’m wondering whether or not you’ll take a position different than other Democrats when you get back. And what would be at the top of your list of what you’d hope there would be a consensus on?

[…]

COLBY: Will you exercise — the Democrats, will they exercise, do you believe, the nuclear option? And the president said in an interview last week that there must be a program that is deficit neutral. Is that possible?

REP. JASON ALTMIRE (D-PA): Well, we have to be deficit neutral, there’s no question about that. We have to pay for every added expense that’s in this bill. This cannot add one penny to the federal deficit. I think that’s a must. With regard to the Senate rules and procedures, look, I don’t know the way they’re going to approach the bill.

All I know is that in the House, in order to achieve consensus, we’re going to have to reform that bill. It wasn’t good enough. That’s why I voted against it in committee. We can do better. We can move to consensus and I think we’re going to get that done.


Tom Ridge: I Fought Against Raising Security Threat Level On The Eve Of 2004 Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Tom Ridge: I Fought Against Raising Security Threat Level On The Eve Of 2004 Election
In his new tell-all book, former Secretary Of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reveals that he was under intense political pressure to raise the national security threat level on the eve of the 2004 presidential election. In The Test of Our…

“Sensitive” Oil Industry Memo Lays Out Plan For Astroturf Rallies Against Climate Change Bill
digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/environment/Oil_Industry_Plans_Astroturf_Rallies_Against_Climate_Bill?OTC-widget’; A leaked memo sent by an oil industry group reveals a plan to create astroturf rallies at which industry employees posing as “citizens” will urge Congress to oppose climate change legislation. The memo — sent by…





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Busted

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Busted


Health Care Reform and single payer – an Australian perspective

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Health Care Reform and single payer – an Australian perspective
I write a financial blog which is republished on the largely political Talking Points Memo.  I thought I better write something for both my audiences sometime – so I am jotting down my thoughts – from an Australian perspective –…






Sponsored Topics: Healthcare reformHealth insuranceInsuranceHealth careHealth

The Birthers and the 14th Amendment
Taking umbrage at the attention that the Doonesbury comic strip has drawn to a “Birther Bill” sitting in a House committee, Texas congressman Louie Gohmert (Republican) recently told Washington Post blogger Mary Ann Akers that the bill, H.R. 1503, has…


Sponsored Topics: Washington PostMary Ann AkersDoonesburyBarack ObamaUnited States


CIA staged ?mock execution? of detainees, then destroyed the video tape evidence.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:34 am by HL

CIA staged ?mock execution? of detainees, then destroyed the video tape evidence.
Newsweek reports that a forthcoming CIA Inspector General report that will be released next week “reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency’s post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects.” CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten captured al-Qaeda detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri into […]

Newsweek reports that a forthcoming CIA Inspector General report that will be released next week “reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency’s post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects.” CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten captured al-Qaeda detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri into giving up information:

Nashiri’s interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. “The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up,” said one of the sources. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with “imminent death.”

Marcy Wheeler notes that the torture of Nashiri compelled him to falsely confess that al Qaeda was working on a nuclear bomb. Conveniently, the Bush administration destroyed tapes of Nashiri’s interrogations in 2005.


Ads Criticizing Health Plan to Target a Vacationing Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Ads Criticizing Health Plan to Target a Vacationing Obama
Seeking to ensure that President Obama has a less-than-restful vacation, a group opposed to the White House’s health-care proposals is launching an ad campaign this week that will run locally during his stay at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Fact Checker
When it comes to support for charter schools, Republican Robert F. McDonnell has been acting the teacher’s pet.

The Talk Shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:

Sunday Take: Obama Now Hearing Criticism From the Left on Health-Care Plan
Through most of the summer, opposition to President Obama and his health-care initiative has come almost entirely from the right. In the past week, however, the president has been trying to tamp down a noisy uprising on the left.


Race Isn’t Your Problem, Gov. Paterson

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 23rd, 2009 4:30 am by HL

Race Isn’t Your Problem, Gov. Paterson
Errol Louis, New York Daily News

Debunking Phony Health Care Claims
President Barack Obama

How Arlen Specter Became an Obamacare Salesman
Kevin Ferris, WSJ

Is Health Reform Constitutional?
D. Rivkin and L. Casey, Washington Post

Beware Blind Faith in Bigness
Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times