Friday, January 30, 2009

Michael Steele, Criminal, RNC chairman

Michael Steele was hand-picked as a poster boy for Republican diversity by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Rather than admit what were his principles to voters, he lied to Maryland voters when he ran for Senate in 2006.
WaPo: "A fuller picture has emerged about how the plan to capture blacks' votes unfolded -- details that suggest the fliers, and the people paid to distribute them, were not part of a hurry-up effort but a calculated strategy."

Now Steele is head of the Republican National Committee. Is a liar and crook the best they could do?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is FDA finally free from politically driven decisions?

Just days after the inauguration, exciting projects that had been frozen for political reasons - even after researchers answered all safety and efficacy questions - are now underway.

One project has the promising goal "to achieve restoration of spinal cord function by the injection of hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells directly into the lesion site of the patient's injured spinal cord."

Freezing this research that would help spine injured patients and their families was not the only significant politically motivated FDA action during the previous administration. For example, Plan B was delayed only to become the first and only over-the-counter product for preventing unwanted pregnancy that had a different standard for sexually active patients based on their age alone.

Susan Wood, the head of the Office of Women's Health protested, and payback was that women's health was de-funded. Wood then resigned.

Then-Commissiner Crawford admitted he had delayed approval of Plan B, a product that proved it prevented high-risk pregnancies and saved patient lives. The criminal investigation of the Commissioner was revealed in 2006, shortly after he had resigned in September 2005. He had been confirmed by the Senate for less than three months as the permanent FDA commissioner, a position which he had held on an “acting” basis for a couple of years. It turned out he invested in companies with applications pending at FDA.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sara Palin can see Virginia from her PAC!

Sarah Palin is setting down roots in Virginia. She selected the newly battleground state as the one in the Lower 48 to start her bid for the Presidency in 2012.

SarahPAC, which submitted its filings in November, chose Virginia as its headquarters. Emily Buchanan of Arlington, an anti-choice volunteer for McCain, is listed as the treasurer. Melissa Graeff of the same anti-choice group, a Bob Jones University graduate, is listed as Assistant.

The anti-choice group mentioned above that is run by the two Virginians is disguised under the name of the Susan B Anthony (SBA) Foundation. SBA is an illegal pass-through group for organizations who have already donated the contribution that is the maximum allowed by law. By donating to SBA, a shell organization, SBA can disburse further donations to the same candidates, and the candidate recipients can collect donations twice - twice as much money as that allowed by Campaign Finance Law. It is the same principle that got Tom Delay indicted.

SBA is now filing under a slightly modified name here, which makes their donations seem to start from a "clean slate."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"So help me God"

The oath of office of the President, dictated by the Constitution, is 35 words long and reads: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

There never was a "So help me God." Historians have searched for support for the urban legend that George Washington added it, but no one has been able to support the theory.

Nevertheless, U.S. Dist. Judge Reggie B. Walton refused to grant an injunction in a lawsuit brought by a group who were seeking to prohibit public prayers and all references to God at the ceremony. Judge White ruled the reference to God was a quaint historical reference that had little religious weight.
That's right. Judges can't exactly say that it's okay to favor one religion over any religion or no religion. That's clearly unConstitutional. So, to get the result they want, in order to leave the religious references undisturbed, they have to say sacred symbols are meaningless historical references of limited religious importance.

Surprised? Don't be. This Supreme Court has already ruled that affirming a belief in a Supreme Being is a quaint but mostly meaningless historical tradition. Here is an explanation:
The Supreme Court determined that a city's inclusion of a creche in its Christmas display merely recognizes NOT religion but ''the historical origins of this traditional event long [celebrated] as a National Holiday,'' 167 and that its primary effect was not to advance religion. The benefit to religion was called ''indirect, remote, and incidental...''
In some countries, suggesting that the holiest day of the year is significant only because some offices close that day might start a riot. Here, people ignore the suggestion that the holiest day of the year is a cute little tradition in order to get the chance to shoehorn a creche on a plot of government land at taxpayer expense. Instead they could proudly show off their freedom of speech and religion in their own front yard.

Like this guy, every year, near the DC line in Silver Spring.

How impressed would Jesus be with knowing that a group of taxpayers, even a majority of taxpayers, was forcing other taxpayers to help foot the bill for his celebration?

Here is a good wrap up of what is allowed under almost all interpretations of the First Amendment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More FDA Changes: New Acting Commissioner, more allegations

WSJ: The new Acting Commissioner is Food and Drug Administration Chief Scientist Frank Torti.

Dr. Frank Torti, the FDA's science chief, is set to become its acting commissioner. President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team could announce a permanent
appointee to lead the FDA in the next three weeks, sources said. Wall Street Journal, (subscription required) (01/12)

William Gimson III, chief operating officer at the CDC, will serve as acting director after Dr. Julie Gerberding leaves the agency Jan. 20.
Torti will have his hands full right away - nine device scientists report being pressured to approve unsafe and ineffective products. In the letter, the scientists described an agency where President Bush's FDA managers "ordered, intimidated and coerced scientists to manipulate their research results in violation of federal law."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sydney Wolf joins FDA

WSJ: Now the outsider [from Ralph Nader's Health Research Group] is going inside, mirroring a larger shift in the Washington pendulum toward tougher company regulation. To the consternation of the drug industry, Dr. Wolfe has been appointed to a four-year term on the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee, which plays a key role in telling the agency which drugs are safe.

What's more, he has the ear of several health leaders and members of Congress expected to influence FDA policy in the Obama administration. Joshua Sharfstein, a former aide to liberal Rep. Henry Waxman, who is leading the Obama transition team assessing the FDA, worked for Dr. Wolfe years ago.

Press Unfair to Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin says she didn't know Katie Couric would be so mean. And when she was, her handlers still made her answer more questions!

Before she was tapped, Sarah said Hillary should have expected tough coverage.
Palin: "When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, man, that doesn’t do us any good. Women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don’t think it’s, it bodes well for her -- a statement like that."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Eve in the Bronx - written Dec 1940

In the interest of historical accuracy, stereotypes not modified:
By George Wandell

Twas Christmas Eve in the Bronx; in the old tenement,
Not a family was moving, they'd all paid their rent.
The landlord was rubbing his hands gleefully,
As he gazed, with delight, at his big Christmas tree.
The cop in the corner, ever ready for graft,
Moved about quite uneasily; afraid of the draft.

Up the stairs tramped Tim Murphy, overloaded with booze,
You could tell it was him by the squeak of his shoes.
Mrs Katz, on the first floor, put herrings to soak,
She expected her Sam home about nine o'clock.
On the next floor above, dwelt young Mrs Howe,
She was dressing a tree for her little pet Chow.

Mrs Bruno was getting spaghetti to boil,
For Tony's late meal, after a long day of toil.
Mrs. Murphy, up higher, got her bird to prepare,
While the kids round the table, let out a glad cheer.
When, all of a sudden, came a noise down the street,
Twas the Salvation Army; and their drums they did beat.

The kids raised the window and shouted with glee,
When they spied an old man, Santa Claus, with a tree.
Straight to the tenement strode dear old Saint Nick,
And he opened the door, just as quick as a a wink.
Up the stairs he then started, past Mrs. Katz door,
To the home of the Murphy's, with presents galore.

To Jack, a steam engine, a dolly for May;
And Billy was pleased with his flexible sleigh;
To Jimmy, a bicycle; Tommy, a drum,
Mrs. Murphy got handkerchiefs, Daddy got rum.
Santa was invited to sit down and eat,
They'd a dinner of corned beef and carriage; a treat.

All hands ate quite hearty as you would assume,
Then Santa Claus told them he had to leave soon.
He had quite a lot of calls in his book,
And only stopped in, just to give them a look.
He bade them good-bye, as he jumped in his sleigh,
Shouting out Merry Christmas, he hurried away.