Friday, March 24, 2006

Christian Peacemaker Teams Blind from Ingratitude

You would think that if someone or some group that is the target of your criticism steps up and risks their lives to rescue you after you've been taken as a hostage by murderous terrorists that you would at least thank them but we get:
Christian Peacemaker Teams has spoken out often against the U.S. and British military presence here. Even after those forces rescued its activists, the organization, in a statement, reiterated its belief that "the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq."

I wonder ... who is showing dedication to duty and love of other human beings and who is showing hate in this case?

Mad Cow Lawsuit

Creekstone Farms, that is known for producing Black Angus beef that exported to Japan in the past, is now suing the USDA to allow it to test beef.

Yes, you read that correctly - a producer wants to sue a government agency to be allowed to test for a deadly disease in meat. This is an example of why the Democrats are able to point to a Republican administration and say that they are beholden to corporate interests.

Here's a google search (good for a few days) that will bring you the story.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Legal System Observations

One observation that I heard on NPR radio the other day was that the Moussaoui case showed practicable interesting items. The first was that not only to the good guys have to catch the bad guys but that they still have to work hard and bringing a case together to prosecute the bad guys in the courtroom floor in the united states of America.
It doesn't seem enough that you catch them but you need to do so much more work to make sure that your case is good. In this case of course some lawyer cross the line into illegality and now is terrorist may have his life spared after all. Of course this spring that will satisfy into some of the families who lost their loved ones on September 11th and who truly believe that this man was part of the plot.

Cops Using Steriods

This one is a little bit outdated but I thought I would talk about it anyway. It seems that back in February AP carried a story about cops using steroids. The danger is that the steroids were not prescribed by doctor - they were self medicating. The problem with this sort of use of steroids by law enforcement whose intentions were probably noble crosses into areas we generally don't think about.
Steroids can make a person aggressive. It can hinder your judgment and you can make mistakes. Now one at least one officer that has taken steroids has said in the article that he wanted to be strong and fast so that he would improve his chances of survival in a violent encounter. I would want to survive too and such encounters. Wouldn't you?
Law enforcement has a responsibility to society that is extremely difficult. It has to make good judgments in many situations. It is granted the power to use deadly force when the situations require it. However, when some minority in the police force decide that they want to take steroids that can affect their judgment and aggressiveness I have to wonder whether it is a good idea for a man trained to use a gun to stop someone with deadly force to be on medication of that type.
The other problem with it is that it's a form of hypocrisy is the cops take drugs illegally or trying to enforce laws regarding illegal trafficking and use of drugs. How will this reflect on them since we teach our children to respect officers?
This is a serious problem and it exists nationwide if you believe the reports.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Red Light Cameras - Love Them or Hate Them

Here's an article from WaPo about red light cameras and whether they are effective or not. We all have an opinion but the facts speak for themselves I think. That's all I am going to say about this.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pat Robertson Says Islam is not a Religion of Peace

OK, Here's the video to see for yourself what Pat Robertson said.

For that matter, and to be fair, Robertson does not necessarily speak for all Protestant Christians. I believe that Franklin Graham has spoken on this topic as well and you can read another Christian leader's opinion on Islam. Robertson is not the end all and be all of Christian perspectives on Islam.

As for myself, I doubt that Robertson would have said this at this time if there was more condemnation of terrorist acts by mainstream Muslims but for whatever reason, it all seems to be rather a mumble of disagreement. Islam has been hijacked is the most popular term from what I have been hearing. The regular Muslim on the street needs to take it back by telling his friends otherwise and saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done.

Drug Test Gone Wrong in UK

You've probably already read or heard about it.

The sad thing about all this is that this is an entirely new drug with no history so the doctors are just as blind as anyone off the street. With 4 stable and 2 critical it appears that this is one drug that probably will end up in medical textbooks. The two in critical condition may die any moment.

Interesting how a drug that has had no effects on cell cultures and animals have such a deliterious effect on a human. If anything, this tells me even more that as we push further into the unknown regions of medical science and utilize drugs and chemicals that have never existed in nature that there needs to be animal and human testing.

I am very sad for those men and their families. I don't have the courage to do what they do. Unfortunately, the fact is that society has a need for animal testing even if it does hurt animals. Society will always choose human life over animal life. Some would even say that animals choose their lives over other animals. Of course, some still call the human species a hairless ape.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mad Cow Disease - Time for Some Sanity?

It seems that there may be another case of a Mad Cow infected animal. Although this one did not enter the food chain, there are always a few of us that wonder if any might have.

The scariest sentences in science often begin with the words "There is no evidence that....." Why? The reason is that what those words really mean is that the scientific method requires that any accepted conclusion in the various fields of science be backed by evidence that is scientifically acceptable and meet other stringent requirements. That's how scientific research is conducted. Think about it for a second. That doesn't mean that the hypothesis is false or that the theory cannot happen. All it really means is that whatever research (if any) that produced any results (if appropriate) on the matter either does not meet the stringent requirements of scientific proof or has enough statistical looseness that they cannot conclude with certainty that something can happen.

There are tests for Mad Cow Disease (BSE) with at least four companies that do it. Universities have been researching for low costs tests for years and here is a story from UC - San Francisco and another from Northeastern.

In the UK and Japan, they test every cow that is slaughtered. The US government contends that sample testing and process changes are sufficient to prevent BSE from getting into the food chain. The probable truth here is that the current administration does not want to incur on the meat producers the additional costs of testing every cow. The definite truth is that the test kits costs between $30 to $50. Add that to the 1000 pounds for each cow and you will have to pay 3 to 5 cents more per pound.

I can live with that.

This is not just a statistics question. This is an emotional question. When it comes to food and life, the US public is extremely active and responsive to fears regardless if those same fears are rational or not. The government may be right scientifically and rationally. Their policies may just be good enough. However, when dealing with this sort of perceived danger to personal health, there is a sufficient proportion of the public that prefer 100% testing. It is not as if another few cents per pound is going to have an impact of raising the minimum wage by 5 cents per hour. Everyone can afford another 5 cents per pound for guaranteed peace of mind when buying that beef.

Even if 100% testing is not implemented. At least allow slaughterhouses to perform their own testing and advertise that fact. Let the market forces decide if the overhead of testing for MCD/BSE is worth it. It is sad that the USDA actually refused to allow a farm to test their own cows so that they could export to Japan.

It is time for some sanity.

Wave Power

In Hawaii, there seems to be experiments going on to try to utilize wave power as opposed to wind power. See this article that describes one such experiment.

Let's think about this. Wind power requires windmills and associated structures to be built on land and of course, needs the wind - which makes certain parts of the country useless for wind power generation. There are politics also with building windmills as I have detailed before.

Wave power is more consistent and requires the use of the ocean. Barring sea animal rights groups from going out there and destroying the equipment, I can see why there is a preference for it. Waves are more available (generally speaking) and more consistent and these things are not unsightly unless you like being a few miles offshore in your boat a lot of the time. It does have the possible issue of high maintenance costs due to seawater corrosion as any marine engineer can tell you, is pretty fiercesome. A relative once told me that his mom who lived in Hawaii always got samples of new alloys of metals to test from an uncle of his. The uncle asked his mom to put it on the beach. She never did that. She just put it on the verandah of her beach house and send it back in a month or so fully corroded.

Now if you've never owned a beach house, you'll never understand why the house is in perpetual part replacement. Bricks and cement don't tolerate seawater too well. Now I wonder if Trex would do any better. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

India Not Trustworthy on Nuclear Issues

It seems that President Bush did something that every president since Nixon chose not to. He gave in to India's desire to take the first step to becoming a legitimate nuclear weapon state.

Now, Pakistan will go to the world stage, starting in Asia of course and say "Why not me too? After all, India is recognized" and then not too long after that you can fully expect Iran and North Korea to ask the same question and demand the same respect. the President has opened a Pandora's box that our children will probably regret.

Here is why the Indians cannot be trusted. In the 1950s, they were provided as part of the "Atoms for Peace" program a Canadian nuclear reactor because they promised not to proliferate nuclear weapons. They then proceeded to use that same reactor to manufacture fissible material in violation of that agreement. That material was then used to detonate their first nuclear bomb. The current nuclear material they have also trace back to that first reactor obtained under false promises. Now they want to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but as a nuclear state, not as a non-nuclear state. What does that tell you?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Taxes Used to Fund Pickets Against American Citizens

It seems that the illegal immigration situation just got more twisted. There appears to be a tax funded group that is picketing American Citizens (aka Minutemen) at their homes (and maybe their children's schools) in a intimidatory manner in retaliation for the worksite monitoring of possible illegal activities.

Sure is starting to sound like a testosterone test to me.