Tuesday, November 30, 2010

John Conyers steps in it yet again.

You might recall a story that hit the news last week about John Conyers reading a skin mag in public on an airplane. It didn't get a lot of play in the press because it was right in the middle of thanksgiving when it hit (funny how that worked out...).

Well, he just can't keep from stepping in it. It would appear that his 2010 Caddilac Escalade was broken into and two expensive $1,100 Macbooks (aren't they ALL expensive?) and $27,000 worth of concert tickets (what? did he buy the whole damned floor seating section?) were stolen.

But things get hinkyier. Seems it is not at all normal for congressmen to drive GSA owned vehicles, which are SUPPOSED to be for official use only, not for the private use of congressmen. Secondly Conyers was not driving the vehicle at the time, or more precisely John Conyers II wasn't. His son, John Conyers III, was driving it. (the police report can be found here)This is a violation of federal law for a non-governmental employee to drive a government owned vehicle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spanish woman claims to own the Sun

And she wants to charge everyone for the right to use the sunlight.
Perhaps then we can sue her for Global Warming eh?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Napolitano and the first rule of holes

The first rule of holes states "When you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, stop digging." Apparently, Napolitano never learned that rule.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The war with our government has begun

Flier busted in San Diego for 'failure to complete security process'...

TSA Pat Down Leaves Bladder Cancer Survivor Humiliated and Covered In Urine.

Young boy strip-searched...


Friday, November 19, 2010

Creeping Danger to your 2A: You must be crazy!

Today the US Government issued a statement that 1 in 5 US residents (I guess that includes illegals too.) are mentally ill. This is a half-point increase over last year due to depression over job losses. Apparently they treat temporary depression over job loss and economic stress as a mental illness instead of a transitory emotional response to a stressor. This means that the government can subjectively declare you mentally ill on no real basis at all. And if they can declare you mentally ill, they can also declare you incompetent, then they can "help you" without your consent. Angry that your government is squandering your tax money? you must be mentally ill. Angry that the TSA can sexually assault you because you have to travel for work and the only way to get there in time is to fly? you must be mentally ill. Depressed because you lost your job because the feds won't issue any drilling permits in the gulf? you must be crazy.

And the feds have declared that if you are mentally ill you may not carry, own, or purchase a weapon.

Remember, they are from the government, and they are here to 'help".

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creeping danger for CHL holders. You may lose your second amendment rights

Last month, after spending almost 24 straight hours gripping the sides of the toilet to prevent liftoff while bending over a trash can full of puke, I decided that I had better visit the ER before I passed out from dehydration. After waiting what seemed like 6 hours but I'm sure was less than an hour I was called up to the triage desk for the standard vital sign checks and an interview about my symptoms, but there was a new question that I was asked I had never been asked before and it had absolutely nothing to do with my diarrhea or nausea. They asked if I felt afraid or persecuted. Now why on earth would they ask that question? Three little words: Concealed Handgun License.

I don't know how they knew I had a CHL since that information is not supposed to be released to anyone and I certainly didn't tell them, but apparently they DID know because they were intentionally looking for a reason to diagnose me as paranoid. What is funny is that I was not carrying at the time, and my CHL is not visible in my wallet unless I pull it out. So they should not have had any reason to suspect. Heck, my wife dropped me off and went back home to sleep so she could take care of the kids, so they didn't even get to see the TSRA sticker on the back window.

So if you have a CHL, or even think you might want to own a gun at some future date, consider very carefully when a doctor asks you about your mental state or how you feel emotionally. it may well be a trap.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New treatment for PTSD?

There is encouraging research coming from McGill University in Toronto(correction: Montreal) on the treatment of PTSD. Before I explain the treatment however we must understand some new information on the way in which memory works.

First, situational memory and emotional memory are actually parallel systems that work together, but separately.

Secondly, that the act of recalling a memory is a destructive process which makes the memory unstable and the brain must "reconsolidate" these memories, essentially "rewriting" them back to long term memory. During this process, the memory is subject to being changed, or even deleted. This is the mechanism that is believed to be behind "implanted", or false memories, and also what is behind faulty eye witness testimony. Investigators can inadvertently tamper with a witness's memory of an event and not realize they had done so, by subtly steering a witness inadvertently through leading questions etc.

And third, and this is key to the treatment of PTSD, is that the emotional recollection of the event and the situational or factual recollection of the same event are stored using different parts of the brain using surprisingly different neuro-chemical processes.

PTSD is the inability to emotionally process a traumatic memory because the emotional component of the memory is too painful to process or recall. Emotionally processing these memories requires a grief process. Unprocessed grief leads to all sorts of emotional problems whenever an external or internal trigger causes an unwanted recollection of the unprocessed memory. Until now, the only real treatment offered to those with PTSD is forcing the person to recall the memory over and over again over a period of time in an attempt to force the person to grieve and thereby process the memory, but this has had only limited success because some memories are simply too devastating emotionally to process, no matter how often the person is forced to recall it, and may in fact traumatize the patient even more.

But what if you could reduce the emotional content of the memory without changing the situational or factual part of the memory? This is the key to the new treatment. Since the two memory systems are separate and parallel, it is possible to alter one without changing the other. Neuroscientists at McGill have discovered that the emotional part of the memory is processed by the amygdala and is dependent on adrenaline, and subsequently it's effects on norepinephrine, for the memory to reconsolidate. Adrenaline however does not appear to have a significant role in the reconsolidation of the factual or situational memory of the same event.

This has lead to two new treatments for PTSD that have shown great promise.

First to prevent PTSD in the first place, it has been found that there is a short window after the initial traumatic event where the administration of opiates (morphine/demerol/etc.), Beta-blockers, or benzodiazepines (librium/valium/etc.) immediately after the event prevents the initial consolidation of the traumatic anxiety.

Secondly, that dosing the patient with a drug that interferes with adrenaline just prior to having the patient recall the traumatic memory interferes with the reconsolidation of the emotional anxiety associated with the memory, leading to a greatly reduced anxiety level on subsequent recollections. repeating the treatments further reduces the anxiety level. Such a drug happens to be the lowly beta blocker blood pressure medication propranolol, which has been used since the 1950's.

Ironically, this research has not made wide in-roads in the treatment of PTSD, even though it has been ongoing for some time. The reason would appear to have it's roots in the biases that psychologists have for "talking treatments" over pharmacological ones. Let us hope that this bias falls to a desire to do what is best for the patient instead of what is best for the therapist's ongoing income stream.

Further Reading:

Memory Reconsolidation and Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)

The Effect of Childhood Trauma on Brain Development

When Remembering Might Mean Forgetting

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Today in History

On this day in 1995, Mr Gorbachev tore down that wall.

I bet this party is a real disaster...

Nancy Pelosi wants to hold a party
to celebrate congress's "accomplishments". Betcha this is going to be one lame party...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Blood banks without the needles

New research has brought us to the brink of possibly retiring blood banks as we know them. New advances in adult stem cell research have enabled scientists in the laboratory to convert a patient's own skin cells into bone marrow cells and create blood cells identical to the patient's own. This has a number of important implications. First, blood banks would no longer be subject to shortages due to a drop in donations, in fact it is conceivable that donations may no longer even be necessary, although they will probably remain to be the blood bank's mainstay due to cost. Secondly, those in need of a bone marrow transplant no longer need to worry about finding a close enough donor match, because they could be their OWN donor, and the match would be genetically perfect. Clinical trials should begin possibly as soon as 2012.

Today in History (Belated)

On Nov. 6th in 1956, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. voted for the Republican President and Vice-President. That would be Eisenhower and Nixon for those who didn't know.

So all of those who find the fact that MLK was a Republican a specious statement, well, here is proof that he WAS a Republican.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Incompetency, thy name is the City of Houston

On August 24th, 2010, the petition to hold a referendum on the red light cameras in Houston was certified by the city secretary. The Contract between the City and ATS specifies that the contract may be canceled with 120 days notice. By my count, that was 70 days prior to the election. The petition drive was started in April however, so the city knew well in advance of the election that there was a strong possibility that these RLC's would be banned in Houston. So what did the City do to prepare for the possible defeat of the RLC's? NOT A DAMNED THING. An intelligent and competent administration would have taken steps to minimize the economic impact of the potential cancellation my making ATS legally aware that the contract is subject to cancellation pending the outcome of the election. But the city did not do that.

Most contracts have a escape clause called Force Majure, in which one party can declare that they have no choice but to default on the contract without prior notice due to circumstances beyond their control. It would appear that this contract does not have that sort of clause in it. Again, this reflects quite poorly on the city and it's legal team. Are the city Attorneys so incompetent that they could not foresee a legal challenge to these RLC's? After all, they have been controversial from the very beginning, surely someone could imagine that the opponents of the RLC's would not give up without a fight? I thought Bill White was supposed to be smartest guy in the room, regardless of the room. Apparently he wasn't quite so smart after all.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Is the US about to invade India?

Obama must think so.. he is taking 34 warships to India on his little trip.....

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I need a nap...

Why do I run the elections every year? Why do I put myself through all that? It sure as hell isn't the money, and I'm always so busy doing the paperwork and turning in the ballots that I miss all the political watch parties. Not Fair!

New layout/template on the way.

I know Big Jolly will like this, but I'm working on a new layout to commemorate the "Historic" GOP Blowout. Please bear with me while I fumble my way through the HTML/CSS.... Look for the new layout in the next few days.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I wish I were a better artist

I've got this mental image of all the democrat politicians having a day at the beach in some tropical paradise (say... Indonesia maybe?), they've ignored the earthquakes and the volcanic eruptions, and now all the water has flowed out to sea, they are all standing around wondering what happened to all the water, fish are flopping on the ground dying, meanwhile this huge tsunami is bearing down on them from one side and the molten lava is coming from the other and they can't stop watching the flopping fish dying long enough to bother looking up.