Monthly Archives: June 2008

Gene linked to walking upright

A geneticist in Turkey has traced mutations in a protein gene that directly applies to development of the central nervous system and our ability to walk upright. The article goes on to say:

“We carried out genome-wide screening on these families”, said Professor Ozcelik, “and found regions of DNA that were shared by all those family members who walk on all fours. However, we were surprised to find that genes on three different chromosomes are responsible for the condition in four different families.”

[snip]

Mutations causing VLDLR deficiency are also found in Hutterites, a group of Anabaptists who live in colonies of North America. There, however, most of the affected individuals cannot walk at all. The neurological characteristics of the affected members of the Turkish families and the Hutterites seem similar, with the most striking difference being that the Turkish individuals are able to walk on all fours, said the scientists. They hypothesize that the Hutterites may be more profoundly affected due to the deficiency in VLDLR and a neighbouring gene, and therefore lack the motor skills even for quadrupedal locomotion.

Simply put, the discovery challenges many of our preconceptions regarding the development of early man. Until I read some of the articles, I had no idea this was so widely disputed.

Why Obama must not choose Hillary Clinton…no matter what Tim Russert says.

Barack Obama has been looking to the general election for some weeks now. The nomination secured last night…he will now be considering a running mate (I tend to take articles like this with a grain of salt. Of course they’re saying he isn’t thinking about it yet. But I doubt that’s true. If he isn’t then he’s nuts. Thinking at least five moves ahead is imperative).

A recent post to my blog asked why I feel it would be so incomprehensible for Hillary to be Obama’s running mate. So…without further ado…here’s why:

  1. Republicans hate her. No. I mean, they really, REALLY hate her. They would turn out in droves to see her defeated, even if their nominee is a turnip. They’ll do anything to keep her away from the White House, even as second banana. Not to mention, plenty of independents dislike her as well. She’s too partisan, too rigid, and just plain rubs people the wrong way.
  2. If he takes on Sen. Clinton, he takes on her baggage. That includes Bill. I love the man. I do. But dammit, he will torpedo the campaign just as he helped torpedo his wife’s. There was just an article last week speculating whether or not he slept with Gina Gershon. My response? “Who cares?” The rest of the US? Not so much. Yes, yes, we can act all enlightened and self righteous and say it doesn’t matter. But to lots of people it does. Go figure.
  3. There was plenty of talk when she was First Lady that she was the one running things behind the scenes. That pissed a lot of people off, even if I do disagree. Any world leader is still a human being. Do they listen to their spouses? Sometimes. Sometimes not so much. But the implication was still there. Think people won’t remember that? Think again. An ex-President and a VP with that history? How will he be able to convince any undecided voters that it will be his presidency and not theirs?
  4. Politics is perception. If Obama is perceived to be knuckling under to pressure¬† from others to put her on the ticket instead of making his own decisions as to who his running mate and cabinet will be, he will lose respect. Hence the whole “We haven’t really thought about it yet…” article.

Obama’s run an almost dirt free campaign. Everything that can be dug up about him of note already has been. By the Clinton campaign. Frankly, I think she did him a favor in that; it pulled the Republican smear machine’s teeth. But it would be suicide to choose her as a running mate.

Ah, I love the smell of Swiftboating in the morning…

How can we tell Sen. Obama is the presumptive nominee? Not because of Sen. Clinton’s hinting at concession (see my post here), or because the superdelegates are dominoeing over to Sen. Obama….no, no. Those are all positive steps leading toward the convention and a united Democratic party.

No, I can tell we have a presumptive nominee by the sheer amount of shrill, vitriolic hate aimed at Sen. Obama’s wife Michelle coming from the right wing pundits. “She’s RACIST!” screams Larry Johnson, claiming she said “whitey.” Le Gasp.

  1. Taken out of context (from a speech about Pres. Bush)
  2. Intentionally mis-heard “Why’d he…” cut Medicaid [benefits] etc, & ran with it.


“She’s only NOW proud to be an American!!” Ohhhh, NO!!! Really?! Well, no. I had to wade through a lot of frothing blogs to actually find the content of the statement (one of which contained an ad for Ben Stein’s film “Expelled”…really, not a nice thing to do to a lover of science…) Mrs. Obama actually stated that: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.Bolded, underlined and italicized for those who may have difficulty putting that into context. Hm. Did she say she’s only now proud to be an American? No. She said, essentially (if you actually force your knee to NOT jerk and listen to the entire speech) that she is proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. Because for the first time in her adult life, she is seeing what hope can do for us. Essentially, it’s the antithesis of what these bloggers are spewing. It’s positive. It’s affirming. It’s heartfelt. Could it have been said better? Possibly. But anyone watching it (for any reason other than to pick it apart) could not have mistaken it for anything but a positive message of hope. And really….anyone who can honestly say they have always been proud of everything their country has done in their adult lifetime, regardless of which country, then you are not looking at your country’s actions with any amount of realism.

I suppose I can say this for the right wing pundits: At least there’s no (or at least, no overt) racism. If you’re the spouse of the presumptive Dem nominee, they’re gonna slam you. Regardless of color or creed.

(Psst? Anyone remember the howls of outrage over news stories and blogs about the Bush twins? How families should be kept out of political smear campaigns? No? Ah, well…as a Republican friend of mine is wont to say: “It’s always different when it’s them [Dems] doing it…”)

Sure sounds like a concession to me….

In a call today with other New York legislators, Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would be open to accepting the running mate spot were Obama to offer it.

She went on to say she fully understood the delegate count simply wasn’t there to overtake Sen. Obama, but “deserved some time to get this right,” and has said most emphatically she would not concede in her speech tonight.

The question now remains: If she is aware the delegates are not behind her….if she is aware Sen. Obama has effectively taken the nomination with the votes currently in from S. Dakota and Montana….how can she possibly refuse to concede and expect the good will of the party? It looks like nothing so much as a temper tantrum from a spoiled child.

It has been rumored that Sen. Obama would offer Sen. Clinton an important seat on the cabinet; that of HHS secretary to continue with her work toward universal health care. The question of running mate has been up in the air for some time, but it would seem almost incomprehensible to choose Clinton.

Enough of the whining!

Yesterday, the DNC met and came to a decision as to how to split the delegate votes for Michigan and Florida. The decision? The delegates will be seated at the convention in Denver come August. The compromise? Each vote will only count for half.

Obama supporters can protest and state that neither state should count, but the fact remains; those voters are important, and you don’t win elections by snubbing large groups of people who may very well vote for you come November. Clinton supporters can protest and state that she should carry both states on her own, but the fact of the matter remains; were the forementioned “don’t make where you eat” rule not in effect, those delegates wouldn’t be seated at all.

Florida and Michigan broke the rules by having their primaries early. I don’t disparage the reasoning; being from California (the most populous state in the nation and higher in contributions than just about every other state), I get bored with our primary votes being nothing more than a blip on the radar. But when you put aside emotion it still comes down to this: they didn’t submit their changes on time and the primaries should not count. Were this election not viewed as so crucial and so close…they probably wouldn’t. Half a vote is better than none. Your vote will count…completely…in November.

It is time to stop whining and move on. There is an election coming up, and this is just the ramp up. If the Dems cannot come together and fall behind one candidate, we will once again suffer a defeat in the general. Conditions being what they are, I cannot believe we would squander our best chance in 8 years to gain the presidency because we get so caught up in petty squabbling. Put it aside. We have bigger fish to fry.

Diabetes and ignorance

This morning in a rather unfocused online debate (yes, yes, when will I learn?) a rather silly assertion was made that Type I Diabetes was caused by Type II Diabetes and it’s all because of the hormones we inject in our meat and the junk we stuff in our faces. Sadly, this was not the first time I’ve heard this comment.

For the record: Type I (or Juvenile) Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder which destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas, whereas Type II Diabetes is a resistance to insulin, or the body’s inability to produce enough insulin.

It is interesting to note that people diagnosed with Type I Diabetes are often otherwise healthy and their dietary intake is not remarkable for high amounts of glucose. Type II Diabetes is often associated with obesity and inactivity.

There is no cure for Type I Diabetes. It is an insidious disease which, while not fatal, contributes largely to other disorders such as End Stage Renal Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, retinopathy leading to blindness, and neuropathy. “Eating right” will not stop it or slow it.

Why am I going on about it here? Well, quite frankly, I was hoping at least a few people would read this and say “Oh! Did not know that. Good information to have.” and not assert that all Diabetes is the same and it’s caused by the way we eat. Because really? The meme’s getting old.