Saturday, October 24, 2009

Medical dogma

Questioning the efficiency of vaccines seems to be a good way to damage your career. Apparently even calling for proper studies is dicey.

In Jefferson’s view, this raises a troubling conundrum: Is vaccine necessary for those in whom it is effective, namely the young and healthy? Conversely, is it effective in those for whom it seems to be necessary, namely the old, the very young, and the infirm? These questions have led to the most controversial aspect of Jefferson’s work: his call for placebo-controlled trials, studies that would randomly give half the test subjects vaccine and the other half a dummy shot, or placebo. Only such large, well-constructed, randomized trials can show with any precision how effective vaccine really is, and for whom.

In the flu-vaccine world, Jefferson’s call for placebo-controlled studies is considered so radical that even some of his fellow skeptics oppose it. Majumdar, the Ottawa researcher, says he believes that evidence of a benefit among children is established and that public-health officials should try to protect seniors by immunizing children, health-care workers, and other people around them, and thus reduce the spread of the flu. Lone Simonsen explains the prevailing view: “It is considered unethical to do trials in populations that are recommended to have vaccine,” a stance that is shared by everybody from the CDC’s Nancy Cox to Anthony Fauci at the NIH.

I guess that's the scientific method - come up with an idea that sounds reasonable, and if anyone calls for actual science, call it unethical.

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Prayer request for Jared

I've had a request to pray for a Jared (no not the guy I went to high school with), so if you have the time please shoot a prayer his way. Apparently he is going through a rather tough time at the moment.


Modern imperialism - not just for the US

Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya, echoed the same sentiments. He stressed that "cooperation and aid are necessary," but it is also necessary "to respect the independence, point of view, culture and dignity" of African peoples.

"It is not right to give aid conditioned on a change of peoples' values regarding subjects such as abortion and the concept of the family," Cardinal Njue said. "Africans are in need of cooperation but it is necessary to respect their independence, their culture and the dignity of the human person."

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Tough to juggle all that

Coptic priests seem to be choosing celibacy, even though marriage is acceptable. Interesting.

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2009 ( When priests are given the choice between marriage and celibacy, the tendency is to choose celibacy, at least according to the experience of the bishop of Cairo of the Chaldeans.

Bishop Youssef Ibrahim Sarraf said this today in response to a question concerning married priests at a press conference to present the final message of the synod on Africa.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

White man's view of NYC

Found when spending some time on that "What white people like" blog. I apologize for the off topic post, but the volume of laughter that it induced requires me to share it.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What you say?

What not to say in a public school.

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Obama and the Lama

Not my title, or my article for that matter.

For those who missed it, when the Dalai Lama arrived in Washington this past Monday for, among other things, a scheduled audience with the president, it was disclosed that his visit to the White House had been cancelled. And this decision had been taken—there was no attempt to hide this fact—in order to please the Chinese government, which has of late been making a concerted effort to see that the Dalai Lama is made a persona non grata in the halls of power in countries around the world.

Oops. Religion politics economics fail.

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Saudi Arabia is trying to enlist other oil-producing countries to support a provocative idea: if wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers.

Alternative provocative idea: If wealthy countries invest in developing oil resources in poor countries and the poor countries then nationalize the assets of wealthy countries and form cartels to prop up prices, poor countries are SOL when consumption decreases.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PATRIOTic votes

Feingold, one of only three Democrats to vote against the bill and a sponsor of the PATRIOT reform bill the JUSTICE Act, was left scratching his head over how a Democratic super-majority with a Democratic Administration could so thoroughly fail at reforming the PATRIOT Act, a law long maligned by Democrats as an affront to civil liberties.

. . .

Another sad but humorous moment of disappointment came from Senator Klobuchar, who opposed Senator Durbin's amendment to ensure that the FBI only use National Security Letters to obtain records related to a spy or terrorist. Thinking that she was reading the text of the bill that she was about to vote for, Klobuchar recited instead Senator Durbin's proposal to defend the reasonableness of the NSL standard in the bill. In other words, as the transcript reprinted here shows, Senator Klobuchar praised the NSL standard in Durbin's amendment immediately before she voted to help kill it.

Reality, as usual, is stranger than fiction.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009


The court will hear a First Amendment challenge to a cross that stands on land in California that once belonged to the federal government. The government gave the land to a private group to get around a court order that the cross violated the prohibition on state support for religion. The court should rule that despite the land transfer, the cross is unconstitutional.

So crosses on private land are unconstitutional if the government once owned the land. Got it. Moses in the Supreme Court building is not unconstitutional. Got it.

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The Twilight Zone - secretly Jewish!

They walk out of the New Life Corporation reciting Robert Browning's famous lines "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made."

These famous lines begin beautiful poem entitled, astonishingly, "Rabbi Ben Ezra." But who is Rabbi Ben Ezra? He was an 11th century Spanish rabbi, poet, and mathematician who even has a lunar crater named in his memory.

Well maybe not. But more than you might think.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

In other news, the grass is green

Study Finds Women Wear Shoes That Cause Pain


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