Daily Archives: August 8, 2008

Catholics running for Vice President

Every time I hear names suggested for Vice President, the list includes (for the Democrats) at least one “pro-choice” Catholic. The “current list” for Obama includes recently excommunicated “Catholic” Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Gov. Tim “I pardon witches who do abortions” Kaine of Virginia and pro-choice Hispanic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

The reasoning behind this is the realization that Catholics are such a swing vote in this election. Of course, with “independent” and even some Republican Catholics bending over backwards to justify Obama’s Satanism, in regards that he’s supposedly anti-War (even though Obama’s position is to pull out of Iraq so he can invade Iran), I doubt any of them would care. “Oh, look, a Catholic!” Like they said about Kennedy and whomever else. The outright rejection of Kerry was probably anomalous.

Similarly, in terms of turncoats, they keep suggesting liberal and pro-choice Republicans as an effort at “unity.”

The list of “possibilities” for McCain includes numerous pro-aborts, including Tom Ridge (when even Donald “He/She/It” Trautman has the guts to condemn a guy, you know he must be bad), and “centrists”, when McCain is already seen as too liberal.

But the name that keeps coming up is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: he’s Catholic, very conservative (spiritually, morally and politically); he’s Asian, adding a multiethnic ticket; he’s young, balancing McCain’s perceived age vis-a-vis Obama; he is, like Obama, kind of “out of nowhere.” Unlike Obama, Jindal actually has a *record*: in his short time as governor of Louisiana he’s done a lot of reform to a state that’s proven one of the biggest political albatrosses in post-Katrina America.

I could go for Jindal, but he keeps saying he doesn’t want it.

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And people say that socialized medicine (and socialized education) is *not* about eliminating the disabled?

A family tried to move from England–a country with socialized medicine and socialized education–to Canada, a country with socialized medicine and socialized education. Everything was in place, and, after buying a home and flying across the Atlantic, they had their Visas refused on the grounds that their daughter has a learning disability–the tone of the conversation being that the Canadians didn’t want them bringing their daughter in to add to the burden of the Canadian system.

I had a student a while back who was originally from Italy and talked about how many countries treat even the most basic learning disabilities by institutionalizing people for life.

Poltergeist allegedly caught on video

Now, I do believe in what people call “ghosts” or “poltergeists.” These phenomena are, of course, demonic in nature. Where I differ from the “standard” “official” Catholic take on these matters is that I don’t understand why, if saints can have some of the same powers as angels, why can’t the damned have the same powers as demons? If you can pray to St. Anthony or your guardian angel to help you find something, or if God can send the Blessed Mother or St. Gabriel to deliver a message, and if a witch can pray to Satan or a demonaic can get a prophesy from Baal, then why can’t a damned soul torment the living just as much as a demon?

Anyway, I was interested to see what this tabloid video might contain, and it does not even *attempt* to credibility.

The first scene is a grainy picture of a water bottle (apparently glass, from the link it makes when it falls) tipping like the Leaning Tower of Pisa over a table, and then finally falling.

Even a dimestore magician will attempt to show you that there is (supposedly) nothing artificially suspending the bottle.

I can easily think of several ways this “trick” could be achieved, such as gluing the bottle to the table, doing something with magnets, or hanging it by a very thin wire (a longstanding trick of stage and screen).

The second scene is “unworldly scratches” allegedly appearing on a guy’s back. First, it’s a very grainy video (again), with a very red tint, and there is no way to enlarge the small video. Second, the guy’s skin is rather red, overall, so I can barely even see the alleged scratches.

It starts off zooming in on the bottom of the guy’s back, mostly on his pants. It keeps swerving down on his pants and away from his body altogether (real professional camera work). It then focuses in on the “scratches,” which look just like the mild redness anyone gets after just scratching one’s skin. If the video showed a clear back, with a steady view, and the scratches apearing, that would be one thing.
But it doesn’t even *attempt* to this. Instead, the camera just moves back and forth around the guys back, zoomed in really tightly, and the muffled voices say things like, “Look, another one just appeared,” when all it did was move to another area of the back, or “Look, they just got darker,” when the camera was clearly changing its focus. Finally, the camera zooms out, and you see deeper cuts on the guy’s middle back that just haven’t been shown before–again, with the implicit claim that these “appeared” while it was being recorded.

Yeah, right.

One of the main arguments for embryonic stem cell research is debunked

By Harvard no less.

One of the most seemingly “legitimate” justifications for ESCR is the issue of genetic disorders. It is easy to see why it’s easier to heal someone’s broken leg with his or her own stem cells. But it is also easy to see why doctors might want to seek cures for genetic defects using embryonic cells.

It is also often stated that embryonic stem cells have “chameleon” properties that adult stem cells lack (of course, the problem is that those “chameleon-like” properties, when applied to living adult patients, cause cancer). Well, Harvard researchers have created stem cell lines for 10 genetic disorders by reprogramming adult stem cells to act like embryonic stem cells, so they can see the tissue development in those disorders.

Here’s something I don’t understand about articles like this. 13 years ago, I donated my own skin so researchers could study the tissue development of Marfan syndrome. They wanted a deep chunk of my skin–all the way down to the muscle–so they could get the stem cells. I still have the scar on the back of my arm and consider it a badge of honor, even more than the much larger scars from my heart surgery a year later.

So what is the big deal?

They can harvest adult stem cells (and an “adult” stem cell is from any human being, including an unborn baby beyond the “embryonic” stage) and watch tissue development.

"Adult stem cells don’t work!" "Adult stem cells don’t work!"

Yet here is a study about nine Australians having their broken leg bones healed by their *own* stem cells. No aborted babies necessary. No “IVF Leftovers” necessary.

Here’s what they did:

Mr Giancola faced further surgery to take a bone graft from his pelvis but
recovery was not guaranteed and the procedure would be painful and
lengthy.
Instead he was recruited to the trial and had bone marrow stem cells
harvested from his pelvis in a non-invasive day procedure using a needle.
The
cells were then grown in a laboratory, reproducing countless times to create 15
billion cells in six weeks. This allowed surgeons to conduct an operation to
administer the stem cells to the fracture sites, where they began to form bone.
Mr Giancola was walking the following day.

The FDA will never approve this procedure. It’s too cheap.

What I don’t understand is why it even *needs* FDA approval. Why is it that doctors in other countries can just try this stuff, and our docs can’t?

My news ticker is so lame

I have the Google news ticker on the side set up so that readers can see the latest news on my topics of interest–and so that *I* can see the latest headlines and comment on them.

One of my entries is for news on the ‘disabled’. Most of the time, what I get are articles about athletes being put on “disabled lists.” So what?

Same with Marfan syndrome: it seems that most of the “news” I get on Marfan syndrome consists of human interest stories explaining what it is. What I really find amusing is when it’s an informational article written by some doctor (particularly in a foreign country), yet it’s presented as if the doctor is saying something astounding.

Case in point:

The aorta is torn apart in Marfan syndrome

Whoa! Big time reveal! I’m shocked to learn this!

Sarcasm aside, they are least realistic on life expectancy:

The patient can then die from internal bleeding. Patients’ average life
expectancy is 32 years without treatment, but can be extended to 60 years with
optimal therapy

It would be nice if they also noted variance in manifestation ranging from “severe infantile Marfan” to “I never had a problem with my aorta till I was 60” Marfan, but one takes what one can get.

Scientists find other genes that contribute to aortic aneurysm

This both helps to identify non-Marfan causes of aneurysm and to explain variances in manifestation. I’ve always argued that Marfan by be caused by fibrillin mutation, but that it *has* to be more of a ‘soup’ in terms of manifestation. This proves it: one person may just have FBN 1 mutation and have a “healthier” aorta than a person with FBN 1 mutation and a defect in one or more of the other genes discussed in this article.

My mother and my grandmother both have enlarged aortas, and my grandmother’s late brother had aortic valve problems his whole life, but none of them have Marfan syndrome.

I have Marfan syndrome, and I needed aortic root replacement when I was 19, after 17 years of beta blockade and restricted activity, when other Marfans often don’t need surgery or die till their 40s with therapy.