Archive for: October, 2006

Allen Staffers Attack Blogger

Oct 31 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Staffers for Virginia Senator George Allen attacked a blogger today at a campaign event, and are now trying to lie their way out of it. Here's their version of the events:

As the Senator was trying to exit the room with a campaign staffer, the Democrat activist, identified as Mike Stark, pushed the Allen staffer. Later, volunteers restrained him and asked to leave the building when he approached the Senator a second time, asking inappropriate questions.

Reality, as seen in the CNN footage available on the Think Progress website, paints a slightly different picture of events:

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If I only had the time...

Oct 31 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Here are a few articles that I would have loved to have blogged about today - if I only had the time. In no particular order:
Via Afarensis, we learn that the American Museum of Natural History in New York now has the authority to grant PhDs. If nothing else, that would probably look pretty cool on a diploma.
Time Magazine has a letter written by a US Marine Corps officer up on its website. The letter has been authenticated, and the sentiments expressed in it match up fairly well with what I've been hearing from people I know who have come back from sandbox tours. That one is a must-read.
Over at Respectful Insolence, Orac has an article about the unregulated pain in the collective ass of researchers that goes by the names"Institutional Review Board" or "Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee." While it's true that researchers will inevitably complain about anything that makes life in any way inconvenient, it's also true that these committees have gotten out of hand in far too many cases. All research that is related to either humans or to vertebrate animals has to go through one of these committees. The committees are largely unregulated, and there is no clear appeal process for their decisions. This is an example of a something that was put together to fill an immediate need, with far too little attention given to future consequences.
Ed Brayton wrote an article on the federal debt this morning that is a good read - even though I don't agree with all of it.
They're all good reads, so enjoy.

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Political Interference in Endangered Species Act Designations

Oct 30 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

It's no secret that the current administration is not a big fan of the Endangered Species Act. Since Bush took office, only 56 species have been added to the list (for comparison, during both the Clinton and G.H.W. Bush administrations, an average of about 60 species were added every year). If cases where the listing was the result of a lawsuit settlement are excluded, that number goes down quite a bit - I know for a fact that the recent listing of 12 species of Hawaiian flies was forced as the result of a lawsuit.
In today's Washington Post, we find out about one of the reasons for the drop in listings - the diligent efforts of Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks. Ms. MacDonald, a civil engineer, has questioned, mocked, and overruled the career scientists involved in the decisionmaking process repeatedly over the last several years.

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Friday Random Ten - Killin' Time

Oct 27 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

It's Friday. Time to throw iTunes into random play, and see what comes up. This week, there isn't much of a theme going.

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Guidelines of EMS #19.

Oct 25 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

The Cheerful Oncologist just tossed up a post on one of the Laws of Medicine. Sitting here, on my third beer of the night, I can't help but wonder if he knows how lucky he is to be working in an area of medicine that is stable enough to have laws. Back in my younger days, a decade or so ago, I put in a couple of years as an EMT. Emergency Medical Services has no laws, and while there are things that we might call "rules," they're more like guidelines.
Since I'm writing up this particular trip down memory lane in response to a post from an MD, it seems only appropriate to start with Guideline #19: Any physician skilled enough to help will be smart enough to keep walking.

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Age and Abortion

Oct 23 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

This weekend, an issue that came up in a post by Kevin Beck over at Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge really got me thinking. Kevin was amusing himself by shredding one of the denizens at Stop the ACLU, who was complaining about a Florida court decision that permitted a minor to bypass the state's parental notification law, and obtain an abortion without informing her parents. The post got me thinking about parental consent and notification laws in general, and my own views. I have to admit that this is an issue that really makes me uncomfortable.

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Appealing to the base

Oct 19 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Rick Santorum's political base has been shrinking rapidly. His approval numbers are in the sewer, and he's down by double-digits in the polls. Santorum's campaign skills, however, are well respected. He knows how to motivate his base, and how to get people to the polls. Just the other day, he demonstrated exactly why he's such a highly regarded campaigner, coming out with an innovative new method for motivating the -ing insane demographic. All you need to do there is show that you are one of them.

3 responses so far

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Oct 16 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

If you watched the news at all yesterday, you probably know that we had a little bit of a shake-up out here yesterday morning. I live on the island of Oahu, which is a fair distance from the epicenter of the quake, so the shaking wasn't too bad. It was strong enough to rattle the windows, knock down a couple of poorly hung pictures, and totally freak out the kids and dog, but no real damage occurred. It was also strong enough to shut down the power grid, so we spent most of the wet, rainy day inside with no power. Things are back to normal now, and I'll have a couple of more earthquake-related posts later on today or early tomorrow, once I get caught up on things.

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The Lancet Report - Criticizing my Criticisms

Oct 14 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

My post on the Lancet article has attracted a fair amount of comment, both in the comments here and on other blogs. On the whole, those who have addressed my criticisms have disagreed with them. I've read the criticisms and re-read both the new and the 2004 Iraqi death toll studies a couple of more times. Between the two, I've become convinced that some (but not all) of my earlier concerns were unjustified.

In this post, I'm going to try to respond to most of the substantive criticisms (and a few of the other comments). I'll let you know where my views have changed, and I'll try to clarify or restate my position where they haven't. Further discussion is, as always, more than welcome. I'd always rather have someone let me know that I'm saying something stupid than walk around ignorant of that fact. Well, almost always, anyway. Just try not to bruise my ego too badly, OK?

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Students and what they learn before college

Oct 13 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you're probably familiar with the ongoing series of posts I've been using to get readers and commenters to help me improve my teaching skills. If you're new here, welcome, and if you scroll back over the last month or so you'll see most of those posts. Last week, I was somewhat upset that 20-25% of my students were unable to correctly answer a quiz question when I had basically given them the answer five minutes before the quiz. This week, I gave another quiz on a different topic. There were, again, some distressing results - but this time it's not so much my own teaching that I'm concerned with.

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