Your Daily Mindjob
This is my personal blog where I'll offer up some political straight talk as well as thoughts on technology and pop culture. That should give me plenty to talk about. The world can give you one heck of a mindjob. Think like me and get your daily dose.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

• Eli Stone On Shaky Ground

The first episode of the show Eli Stone featured a story about a woman taking a vaccine company to court over a mercury/autism claim. There isn't a proven assocation between the preservatives and autism, but the episode portrayed it as such ending in the company cutting a deal with the mother. At the end of the episode, they put up a black screen with white text with a disclaimer that the story was fictional, that the association has not been proven, and information is available at the CDC web site. What? You can have a completely fictional yet controversial and incorrect story line and get away with airing it as long as you cover your ass with a silly disclaimer? I guess you can only expect underhanded goings-on from people who try to revive George Michael. This show stinks of hidden messages. Faith?

Let's talk about the mercury/thimerosal autism association crazies. Look, scientists have studied it and can't find a statistically significant connection. Science showed that the Earth wasn't flat. The world accepted it. The people jumping all over vaccines causing autism are just as hell bent with their cause as the people who don't believe in evolution. The science says otherwise. I could go through all of the data, but the one thing you need to consider is that the preservative was taken out and no impact was seen in autism cases. Oh, that's right. There's a huge cover up behind the science. If you don't get the answer you want, bitch, moan, and groan about it being a conspiracy until somebody kisses your ass. Americans have become the poster children for conspiracy theories. There are people that say there is a connection and I say those people probably can't sit down with you and have an in depth discussion on live attenuated vaccines, inactivated vaccines, toxoid vaccines, or component vaccines, let alone discuss the immunology involved. I challenge any one of you skeptics to do just that, and yes, I want it in essay format, not internet rant format. I want to know you are able to organize the information and understand it. Doctors can. Shouldn't I expect you to if I want to take you seriously?

How about you use those noggins and start thinking of other causes? You know, all the crap we eat, all the pollution in air and water, and let's not leave out genetics. We're surrounded by things that can harm us. Think about how people, including yourself, dispose of batteries, televisions, and computer parts. If you were as passionate about finding a cause as I think you'd want to be, you would be turning over every rock in search of a reason and trying to remedy the easy stuff first. If you can't find something in one place, you probably need to go looking somewhere else. As a medical professional, that's what I will be telling my patients in a much calmer and more charming tone. Who taught you how to look for things? What in the hell happens to these people when they lose their keys? Let's be a little systematic in our search. There's being reasonably skeptical about corporations and then there's having your head completely up your arse. The idea that we all believe our own truths is the real problem. We all get it in our heads that we believe something and we are uncompromising in nature, so these people will never get it into their heads that any other answer is even remotely possible. The quest to be right no matter what is sickening.

Stop hunting zebras when similar four legged creatures in your area don't have stripes.

Don't have a background in statistics or health care? Don't know what a p value is? People in this country don't seem to have enough education to process information anymore. The medical community is going to be the only group that will be able to find out what's going on with autism. When you allow people like McCain to say there is strong evidence supporting a link with vaccines and autism, you're effectually tearing down the one institution that is willing to find the cause.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

• Edwards & Giuliani Both Out

Yep. Edwards is out. I'm disappointed because even though he wasn't getting ahead in the primaries, his ideas and commitment to the working class are things we need in a leader after the last 8 years of screw ups. He's the only one up there with a single payer health care system. So much for that idea. I wonder who AMSA (American Medical Student Association) is going to support now. 

Why is everyone saying Edwards would endorse Obama? I don't get it. All the media types are saying it. The blog I just read thinks it. I watched the same debates they did. Edwards has more in common with Clinton on the issues than he does with Obama. Why in the world would he endorse Obama? They just seemed more at odds with each other than Edwards did with Clinton. He obviously wasn't digging either one of them, so my recommendation to him is to just keep his mouth shut and stay away from any endorsements that may haunt him in the future. This idea that he's going to endorse Obama doesn't add up. Let's hear someone explain why they think what they do. I haven't come across anyone who sits down and explains their rationale as I just did with this situation. On one hand, pundits and political bloggers say his withdrawal from the race will benefit Hillary more. Then on the other, somehow they say he will end up endorsing Obama. Why would his supporters be more likely to jump on the Clinton bus, but then end up with Edwards siding with Obama? See how things don't add up. There is a difference between what you think will happen and what you hope will happen. 

I'm glad Giuliani is out of the race. Why he jumped at the chance to support McCain all of a sudden is certainly an interesting twist. We all saw his withdrawal from the race coming a mile away. Personally, I feel that anyone who says "Thank God George Bush is President" when we were attacked on 9/11 doesn't deserve to be our leader. The thing that bugged me most about Giuliani supporters as I followed the debates was that they seemed to conjure up some half true outstanding record and pass him off as someone who had excellent rapport with New Yorkers. He cleaned up crime because he was a hard ass and after a while people learned that they didn't really like someone who was too much of a hard ass and power hungry to boot. The firefighters don't like him. Minorities don't like him. I mean just go down the list. He's not a likable kind of guy. He's far from a great American. Don't believe me. Read this blog post from 2004. Anyone who tries to sell him to you as a hero needs a good kick from a different kind of hard ass to remind them where they left their sanity.

• Another Gay Marriage Solution

Do you really want to settle this one? I might be on to something. 

I personally don't beleive in marriage. I feel it's a nonessential ceremony symbolic of institutionalized control. It has no bearing on true love. If you love someone, saying you love them and knowing you love each other should be enough. What matters in a relationship is how you feel about one another, not whether or not rings and vows are exchanged in some ceremony. One would argue that you must join together in the eyes of God. Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but God is omniscient and omnipresent. God sees everything. You don't need a ceremony for God to see your love for another person. If anything, God should come down and smack you on the head for marrying someone for the wrong reasons.

Okay, now that my rant on marriage is out of the way, let's get gay marriage sorted out. Essentially the arguments against allowing gays to marry are deeply rooted in religious beliefs. Okay, perfect. That works for me on some level. Let's run with the idea that marriage is a religious entity. Get rid of marriage as a government issued relationship status. Leave it to the religious ones to get hitched. No tax benefits. No nothing. Change hospital ethics policies on spousal rights. The effects of this kind of distinction are far reaching. It's now just a ceremony in the eyes of God. Anyone of the agnostic or atheistic persuasion shouldn't be able to get married, but rather grant them civil unions or create a new government relationship standard that allows tax benefits, etc that everyone is allowed to participate in. Then you take away any religious undertones about two men or two women being together in marriage in a legal setting and the courts will decide once and for all what we can do about this dispute.

You either piss off all the heterosexual couples that aren't religious and we finally get down to solving this dispute or everybody gets what they want. Take the religion out of politics. It's much easier to get things done. Change the entire dynamic.

Bobby Jindal Ethics Scandal

A cornerstone of Bobby Jindal's campaign for Governor of Louisiana in 2007 was a push for tougher ethics rules in Louisiana's government. Yeah. He wants to set the "gold standard" (his words) for ethics on his watch. Well wouldn't ya know it. Not long after getting elected, the guy gets fined $2500 on charges by the Board of Ethics. Apparently his campaign failed to disclose third party funding on time and that violates Louisiana campaign finance laws. Ironically, campaign finance will not be a focus of Jindal's ethics reform. Maybe it should be, eh?

Several Republican sheep and henchmen are letting this slip by as a simple oversight. Well then why even bother standing up for ethics at all? Come on now. The second you start down playing a violation as a simple oversight, we'll fall back into letting business as usual continue. State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere is saying this was just a misinterpretation of an accounting rule. If you're not at least skeptical about how unconcerned officials are over this, shame on you. Any politician chasing after the moral high ground has no excuse when he or she steps in it. Voters are not happy when politicians behave unethically, regardless of party affiliation. An ethics violation is still an ethics violation.

The story, as I understand it, was that someone who works for Jindal was supposed to disclose the amount of money raised which might lead people to let him off the hook. However, the responsibility in any campaign goes right to the top. You're responsible for your campaign. Period. To make it look like they're not trying to hide anything, they filed the party expenditures after the due date. He's really trying to put this one behind him. By paying the $2500 slap on the wrist fine, he admits to wrongdoing and avoids a hearing on the violation.

If you want to go after ethics violations, you have to include campaign finance reform. If you want to clean up politics, you have to follow the money. You must stand up for ethical behavior.

- EDIT -

Were you hoping to find something about the ties Jindal has to Jack Abramoff? You can do a Google search on that one.

With regard to ethics reform, Jindal has made steps toward handling ethics issues related to local government, but he has also made it much more difficult to convict those brought up on ethics violation charges. Little thing called burden of proof. The "reform" creates a situation where the statistics become misleading. Ethics convictions will decrease because convictions will be more difficult to win, giving Jindal a positive talking point, yet in reality, ethically questionable activity can continue under the radar without punishment. Louisiana is still going to have corrupt politicians as a result. Throw in Jindal's legislation to remove his office from public records and he's made a straight shoot for getting away with whatever he wants. Good guy you've got there, Louisiana.

Related Links:
There's a Gaping Hole in Governor Jindal's Ethics Agenda
Jindal Campaigns for Ethics Reform with Campaign Finance Law-Breaker
Bobby Jindal Ethics Shell Game

• On the Macbook Air

As a long time Mac user, I've found that critics of many of the newer products simply weren't in the target audience to begin with. Of course if you weren't the target, you're not going to like it. However, to sum this laptop up as just a flashy gadget would be just as misplaced as some of the criticisms and I find those people know very little about the actual Apple product line. Want an optical drive? Want the ethernet port? Want firewire? Need more screen real estate? Get a Macbook or Macbook Pro. 

This new laptop is no desktop replacement by a long shot. If you're an on the go user in search of something light that didn't take a significant processor hit, get a shrunken keyboard, or reduced screen size as many other ultralight portables have in the past, then take a look at the Air. There has been a screaming demand for an ultra light mac portable for a while now in certain circles. If you didn't need one before, you likely won't want want now. 

I quickly glanced at the photos and just to show my attention to detail, I'll point out I was pleasantly surprised that they went out of their way to squeeze in not one, but two command keys, a mistake they made on the original Powerbooks. The multitouch trackpad is quite fascinating. If you really really needed ethernet, there is a $29 USB adapter. My only major complaint is that the battery is built in. Other than that, I think Steve-o made a lot of good decisions. I'm still left wondering what came of the "docking" patent design shaped like a shelled out iMac stand the rumor sites were discussing.

• Re: Bill Maher & Hair Salon Politics

I should let you guys in on something. I watch Real Time religiously. I have been a fan since Politically Incorrect. You'll likely see future posts on topics discussed on that show as Bill and I often come up with the same ideas. Most of the time I say things before the show airs that he actually talks about. It's uncanny. I do disagree with the guy on a few things. My take on marijuana is not as friendly and I'm not as gung ho against the pharmaceutical companies because I'm in medicine and understand pharmacological management of disease, but also get disgusted with how these companies have too much power in my industry. Now that you know I'm not a complete ass kisser, I'll continue with the post. 

If you caught the January 25th episode, you saw that quirky conservative black chick interviewing other black women in some hair salon in Los Angeles. One lady made a comment that flat out set me off. The comment essentially was meant to imply Hillary was hitting below the belt when she went after Obama in the South Carolina debate. Forgive me for sounding stereotypical, but "Oh no she di-int" isn't the way to react to political discourse. It's a friggin' DEBATE. You're going to see people in a debate use their opponent's records against them. As far as I'm concerned, the slum lord thing was fair game as was Obama's Walmart comment which I'd love to remind these ladies came before the slum lord comment. 

Yes we're tired of childish bickering and same old politics. Sure, we want the candidates to discuss issues, but someone's record is something to toss out in the open, especially in the debate. I consider anything less uninformative and expect candidates to take the gloves off as well as tell me exactly what they plan on doing while in office. 

Now let me turn my attention to what the news media did. Some said this was the worst back and forth they'd seen in years. Huh?!?! Didn't you watch the previous Republican debate? Wasn't McCain going after Romney with the same ballsy attitude?

• Knight Rider

Okay, I know I've been sounding awfully political. I'll switch gears and head for the pop culture stuff.

Doesn't anyone have a problem with Kitt being a Mustang? Is this Ford propaganda? Will this show just die like the previous attempts to bring the duo back? Bring back the Pontiac Firebird T/A we know and love! You did the same thing with Knight Rider in the 90's. Ford? Yeesh. Did GM decide not to help?

It is true that if I would ever by a Mustang, it would be nothing less than a Cobra. However, fans of the show are probably already exchanging words.

• Hillary Campaign a Distraction?

It crossed my mind a while back that Hillary could be running as a distraction for the right wingers so that Obama can move up without getting hit by the Republicans smear machine. We all know how much people hate the Clintons. The right wing media figures and their followers are chomping at the bit to get their chance at attacking Hillary and Bill.

Recent events in the race might flat out debunk my idea.

The bickering and competitiveness between the two in South Carolina makes it look like Hillary really is in it to go all the way. Bill's involvement in the middle of all of that stuff means he's also on the march back to the White House. With the recent endorsements for Obama, a Hillary campaign still could be a put up deal. I know it sounds a little far fetched, but it's a good idea. Several media figures have actually commented on how ill-prepared the conservative candidates would be if the election were fast approaching and Obama was the Democratic nominee. They've been so busy busting Hillary's balls that Obama has slipped right past them.

On a side note, this also speaks to the preparedness of the Democrats to handle Romney because in South Carolina, all three voiced how well they would fare against McCain as if he was automatically the nominated Republican candidate, not the Mormon dude.

• On Obama

Honestly, I'm scared somebody might off the poor guy. Sure lots of folks hate Bush and I'm sure the same idea has crossed the minds of many, but we obviously wouldn't act on it. I mean, he's the President and any discussion on the topic gets the attention of the authorities pretty quick. Right now, Obama is just a black guy running for the office. The reality is I know far too many gun toting rednecks that fly the confederate flag on their pick up truck and make racially controversial comments at the bars amongst like minded individuals. They would never come out and say these things in public, but as Americans, we are well aware that racism is alive and well in this country. The hubbub in Jena, Louisiana says it all. Obama ended up getting protection early on, but they were a little hush hush about why he needed it. No specific threats were made according to the press release. 

Now, aside from the racially motivated threat, I want you to take note of the Kennedy-esque comparisons being made. Kennedy? Eerie if you ask me. He's also an advocate of change in a government run by a bunch of cronies who don't want things to change. He's a viable threat to their way of life. They could easily orchestrate something.

Now I pray it doesn't happen, but I also prayed Bush wouldn't get a second term and look how that turned out. I'm someone that gloomily said "That's it, we're going to war and it's going to be very bad in this country for a while" just minutes after hearing of his first "win" back in 2000. Assassination is not something the media likes tossing out there for their viewers because it's such a scary and disheartening topic. I think it's a legitimate fear no matter how ready we think we are for a black man in the Oval Office. 

• Leno Humor

I'll start out a little light. I was watching Leno tonight and he was doing the monologue. He started to tell one of his jokes and sitting in my chair, I finished the joke before he did. However, he said something completely different than where my mind went. 

The joke you should have heard Jay tell:
A study found that the 1st thing men say they notice about a woman is her eyes.
His joke: 1st thing women notice is that men are a bunch of liars.
My joke: 1st thing women notice is a man's eyes looking down at their breasts

Maybe my mind is in the gutter way too often, but given the context of the set up, the logical punch line spun off the part about the eyes. Either one is funny and both poke fun at the same male behavior.

• First Post

This is my personal blog where I'll offer up some political straight talk as well as thoughts on technology and pop culture. That should give me plenty to talk about. The world can give you one heck of a mindjob. Think like me and get your daily dose.

Usually political forums tick me off pretty good. I tried to stay away from it all, but I can't help it when I come across something I want to respond to. I think it's better for me to blog here than let things flow over onto forums and other discussions. 

Whenever I watch TV, I always catch something off key or a tad peculiar. Sometimes I wonder if others notice it too. Of course I could just be boring as hell and you won't care about my observations. We'll see how it goes, right? 

I'm also an avid Mac user and mild mannered technophile. Some things I say will make me look like an Apple fanboy. Other reflections on technology are more related to my affinity for the sciences as my educational background revolves around the health sciences. 

If I make you laugh or you can add to anything I post with a new twist, post a comment!! I would rather sit down with people who are able to take my ideas and run with them than take my ideas and oppose them. Open debate is a wonderful thing, but conflict is all too common online. I want to see you latch on and take off with something I said. It's a great thing to realize you're on the same page as someone else. We seldom make those connections. I want that kind of interaction to blow my mind instead of a complete pooch screw of an idea giving me one heck of a mindjob. 

So let's get started, shall we?

Be sure to come back because I guarantee you won't get this kind of stuff anywhere else.