Web developer types looking for a solution to their adaptive-design needs, check out my guide/tutorial to the Frameless grid system, complete with code examples.
So Drudge has linked to this story headlined “Local Woman Convicted of Drug Fraud Joins Obama at the Podium.” Obama had given some speech at the Rose Garden calling for Congress to extend unemployment benefits. He has a few unemployed people up there with him as props. Now it comes out that one of them, Leslie Macko, has some sort of drug conviction in her past, which is apparently supposed to be scandalous.
Well, who cares? I guess that’s a little embarrassing for Obama, but OK, shit happens. What really caught my eye was this snippet from his speech:
We need to extend unemployment compensation benefits for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year, and has been looking for work ever since. Because she’s eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she’s doing what she never thought she’d have to do. Not at this point, anyway. She’s turning to her father for financial support.
Seriously? Obama thinks that government benefits should be extended so that people don’t have to turn to their own families for help?
The “not at this point, anyway” is telling. See, once we hit a certain age, it just isn’t dignified to ask for help from Mom and Dad. The social stigma of taking government handouts has now sunk below that of turning to your own parents for support, I guess.
Given Obama’s base of support among the coastal urban under-40 set, it probably wasn’t a bad idea for him to say what he did.
Hey, y’all’ll want to check out the “crazed sex poodle” t-shirt and accessories store.
On that subject, my question is, did she keep the stained pants? My next question after that is, in a civil suit, can you subpoena your opponent’s DNA?
Raimondo on David Frum — supposedly ousted from the AEI for his call for conservatives to compromise on healthcare reform — and small-government conservatives:
As for the conservatives, the lesson here is essential and it’s staring them in the face. If they can’t see it quite yet, that’s due to their peculiar ideological blindness when it comes to the question of war and peace. They declaim against Obamacare as “socialism” and decry the advance of Washington’s long shadow over all things great and small, and yet they object not at all to the sort of military socialism that has infected conservative consciousness since the dawn of the cold war.
… Of course Frum wants the Republicans to cave on healthcare, and stop talking about “extremist” ideas like restoring the gold standard (which would eliminate the power of government to impose hidden taxes via inflation), since all he and his fellow neocons care about is war, and more war. In his book, An End to Evil, he and co-author Richard Perle advocated invading virtually every Muslim country on earth, and then some: oh, and we also must be prepared to give up our civil liberties, ditch the Constitution, and hand over power to the National Security State, which alone can protect us. This is all perfectly consistent with neoconservative ideology, which has always stood for Big Government, albeit a slightly less extravagant version than is called for by the Obama-crats, and the reason for this is simple.
In order to maintain an empire abroad – the issue that is really dear to neocon hearts — we must maintain our bloated Leviathan on the home front: the two go hand in hand. That’s what the “Big Government conservatism” pushed by such neocon outlets as the Weekly Standard was all about: after all, how can we invade every country in the Middle East and impose “democracy” at gunpoint if the federal government is starved for funds and cut back to its proper size?
The tea partiers who cavil that the GOP and the official conservative movement are RINOs and sellouts have no one to blame but themselves and their own inability to see the vital connection between domestic and foreign policy. You can’t fight a war to “democratize” the Middle East without plenty of tax dollars to play around with, nor can you pose as the guardian of order and even liberty in the world without denying your own citizenry the right to enjoy the fruits of their labors. You can’t build an empire on which the sun never sets except on the foundations of a federal government that has the power to plunder its citizens and redistribute American wealth throughout the world. Frum and the neocons love Big Government, because their fondest desire is to increase the geographic spread and influence of that government all around the world, with a network of bases, colonies, protectorates, and economic dependents all financed by the downtrodden and fast disappearing American middle classes, who are being handed the bill.
Yup. As the long as the mass of “conservatives” in this country continues to define the maintenance of the American empire as a conservative ideal (while couched in terms like “defense” and “security”), these continual cable news screaming matches about this or that new domestic program are nothing but kabuki theater.
Plus: my firsthand account of a Tea Party!
A bitter new controversy is tearing the nation apart: of course, I’m speaking of the lack of Flash capability on the Apple iPad’s browser.
When Flash was originally left off the iPhone, Apple explained it as a concern over performance. Sounds pretty reasonable, as having complicated Flash apps with animation and video running on a mobile phone’s underpowered hardware could present some pretty intolerable performance issues.
Presumably the faster processor employed by the iPad renders the performance issue moot, but Flash is still missing.
The omission of Flash on a phone wasn’t ever such a big deal. The speed issue is real, and I’ve found that while the iPhone is about as good at rendering full-size Web sites as one can reasonably expect from a tiny device, I spend much more time looking at content specifically formatted for the small screen, whether through Web apps such as Google Reader’s mobile version or programs such as Instapaper or the NY Times app.
Users might miss Flash a lot more on the iPad, where they’ll be browsing all their favorite sites in their full-sized glory on a much more generously-sized screen. They’ll be likely to notice that videos on Hulu and mlb.com are gone and their Flash-based games like Farmville and Bejeweled ain’t working.
So? If users don’t like it, they don’t have to use the iPad, and if too many stay away, Apple can reconsider. Meanwhile, Flash makes Web sites bloated and sluggish, and it’s a proprietary format that is contrary the Web’s open ethos. For these and myriad other reasons, Flash sucks.
At the same time, browsers are gaining capabilities for handling video, vector graphics, and animation through the evolution of open Web standards. We’re not quite there yet, bit it’s time for Web sites to get away from Flash and move towards standards, as YouTube is doing.
So anyway, if Apple can’t use performance as an excuse anymore, why leave out Flash support on the Apple tablet? I’m sure they have their own reasons, and those reasons might not all have to do with furthering the welfare of Mankind. Apple gains nothing from bringing people content that depends on proprietary technology that Apple doesn’t control, so it makes sense for them to support open standards over Flash. And as a content gatekeeper, they certainly won’t mind if Hulu users end up buying the same shows on the iTunes Store.
But in this case, Apple’s self-interest coincides with encouraging content providers to make better Web sites. So if they want to freeze Flash out of the iPad, good for them, and good for us.
Sticking to the Iraq pullout is about the only good thing I can think of that Obama’s done, domestic or foreign policy-wise. But let’s see how it all plays out. Juan Cole:
But Obama’s biggest practical foreign policy success has been in keeping to his withdrawal timetable in Iraq. Most observers have paid too little attention to this, among his most important decisions. When he became president, his top generals, including Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno, reportedly came to him and attempted to convince him to modify the withdrawal timeline adopted by the Iraqi parliament as part of the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated shortly before he took office. They did not want US troops to cease patrolling independently in mid-June 2009. They did not want to get all combat troops out by summer 2010. They wanted to finesse the agreement. Reclassify combat troops under some other heading, they said.
Overturning the SOFA or dragging Washington’s feet about it would have produced rage in Baghdad. It had the potential for undermining the government of PM Nouri al-Maliki, and for reinvigorating both Sunni Arab extremists and Shiite radical movements such as the Mahdi Army. It would have made other Arab regimes suspicious of US motives. It would have been a mistake as epochal as the Bush administration’s decision to build up a heavy US military footprint in Afghanistan, which restarted the war there and provoked a major insurgency that continues to this day. In Iraq, a country crawling with armed, nationalistically minded groups and dotted with arms depots, such a move would have been a catastrophe. Obama did the right thing. He overruled his generals and began returning to Iraq its sovereignty.
This issue is important regionally because polling shows that Arab publics say that ending the US military presence in Iraq is the single most important thing the US could do to improve its relations with that region. What they saw as US atrocities in Iraq motivated many of the terrorists active after 2003. Ending the US military role there will bring a sea change. (Only 4% of Arabs say that they are exercised by the issue of Afghanistan, so that is not the same thing in their eyes).
With this post, I will hereby attempt rectify the severe case of spinline.net The Blog withdrawal that I have undoubtedly subjected my legions of readers to the past so-and-so months. So hop in, strap yourselves in, and let’s GO, BABY!
- So first off, head to Conservative Donnybrook for my thoughts on Harry Reid and the upcoming crash in China.
- John Siracusa posts a Mac-geek-licious retrospective of his decade of epic reviews of Mac OS X releases, dating back to the early developer previews. It’s weird to think of those early days of the Return of Jobs, when the jury was still out on whether the Mac as a platform could survive at all, the success of the adorable new iMac notwithstanding. “Classic” Mac OS was very, very long in the tooth and extremely crash-prone, as I can recall from bitter experience. It annoys me just thinking back on it. GRRRR! But the success of the upcoming OS X was hardly assured, and it did seem plenty ambitious, slow, and resource-hungry at the time. Anyway, glad it all worked out.
- So Sam Raimi and Tobey McGuire are out of the Spider-Man franchise, and the whole thing is going to be rebooted. No Spider-Man 4 in 2011. Well, this strikes me as a pretty horrible move for the studio. But still, Spider-Man 3 was pretty disappointing, and maybe there wasn’t much left in the tank, so perhaps it’s for the best to get a fresh take on the franchise, even if it doesn’t have much of a chance of matching the success of Raimi’s. Anyway, as long as I’m feeling all nostalgic, I’ll tell a little story. The first time I heard anything about Raimi’s Spider-Man was when the preview came on before The Phantom Menace — opening night, midnight showing. It was awesome, and it blew everyone in the audience away. Every geek in that audience, including me, sat spellbound through that trailer. At the end, McGuire’s voiceover went, “Who am I? I’m Spiderman.” The logo flashed up on the screen, the music pumped, and the theater erupted in cheers. It was really an electrifying moment of mass communal geek bliss. That trailer was definitely the high point of the evening, given what a pile of horseshit Episode I turned out to be.
- Bob Murphy notes that Adolph Hitler doesn’t show up in the list of suggestions that drops down on the Google home page when you type in a search. Steve Sailer discovers another name Google doesn’t seem to recognize: Pat Buchanan!
- That’s all for now, bye!
The latest Vitamin D Council newsletter, by Dr. John Cannell, is a must-read. (No, really.) His correspondent, “Kathryn,” is an African-American mother who faces child abuse charges following of the discovery of unexplained fractures in her infant following an x-ray. She had been following medical advice by breast-feeding and keeping her daughter out of the sun. But people with dark skin are particularly susceptible to vitamin D deficiency, and breast-fed children are in particular danger, as a vitamin D deficient mother produces deficient breast milk. She writes:
Well, a child abuse expert was called in and we were accused of abuse and they took our baby away, saying we had beaten her. I can’t forget Marissa screaming when they tore her out of my arms. We were shocked. We could never do such a thing. Even though they could not find any evidence of abuse except these broken bones, the DA tells me if I don’t plead guilty and testify against my husband and say he did it, I will be prosecuted as well and never see my baby again. Our lawyer says I can be forced to testify against my husband in child abuse but he would never hurt Marissa. I don’t know what to do. My husband is ready to plead guilty to save our baby from foster care but I don’t think I can let him do that.
I have learned of other African American parents in the same situation. Neither of us would ever abuse our child, it took seven years of trying and then infertility treatment to have her. The reason I am writing is because I have read about cases of rickets where unexplained fractures are common, especially in African Americans like us, that are being called child abuse. I breast fed Marissa but I now know that breast milk doesn’t have enough Vitamin D. We should have given it to her but our pediatrician never said anything about it and La Leche league says breast milk is all infants need.
When we learned Vitamin D may be involved, I asked my doctor to test me and my level was 5 at first. [The Vit. D council recommends 50-80 ng/ml as optimal.] He prescribed Drisdol and now it is 18 after taking 50,000 IU per week for two months. When our lawyer brought up rickets and Vitamin D deficiency the DA had Marissa x-rayed for rickets and tested for Vitamin D; her x-rays were normal and her blood level is now 21, but the child abuse doctors never tested her for Vitamin D when they first took her away from us and she had been on 400 IU formula in foster care for five months when they finally tested her.
Dr. Cannell writes:
The issues you raise about Vitamin D deficiency being misdiagnosed as child physical abuse are so common they were recently the topic of four papers in Pediatric Radiology. First, Drs. Kathy Keller and Patrick Barnes, both pediatric radiologists, published four cases reports. The course of each child was similar. Concerned parents took their child to the doctor for leg bumps, well baby checks, or even the flu. X-rays showed multiple skeletal fractures that were asymptomatic. No mention of bruises, skin abrasions, retinal hemorrhages, parental drug abuse, parental sociopathy, nor evidence the child was frightened of their parents. The children had been seen previously by physicians, nurses, lactation consultants, day-care workers, audiologists, family and friends with no suspicions of abuse. Such parents often have a reputation of being the most protective and concerned parents on the block. Drs. Keller and Barnes thought all four children had rickets. Keller KA, Barnes PD. Rickets vs. abuse: a national and international epidemic. Pediatr Radiol. 2008 Nov;38(11):1210–6.
The key here is the history as much as x-rays. These are often black children, living above latitude 35 degrees, usually breastfeeding without Vitamin D supplementation, often born in the late winter or early spring. The key on exam is that the fractures are painless, unlike traumatic fractures, and there are no bruises. A common finding in the neonatal medical record is craniotabes, or softening of the skull. About 20% of “normal” newborns have soft bones as evidence by craniotabes; of course these newborns are not normal, they are simply the newest additions to the Vitamin D deficiency pandemic.
Professor Russell Chesney, Chairman of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Pediatrics, went next, warning readers we are currently in the “third wave” of rickets; the first caused by air pollution during the industrial revolution, the second wave occurred during the 1980s mainly due to La Leche League-type breast-feeding among heavily clothed immigrants, and the current third wave. (The current wave of rickets is the gift of the sun-scare academic dermatologists, who, in turn, are gifted multi-million dollar grants from the cosmetic and sun-screen industry.) Professor Chesney points out that asymptomatic fracture from Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon, adding that similar fractures have been noted in young arctic foxes, alpacas, and polar bears kept in zoos, all who apparently suffer such fractures during normal play—unless arctic foxes abuse their kids. I suspect arctic fox infants will get adequate Vitamin D long before African American infants.
It doesn’t look good for Kathryn.
We have no way of knowing how many innocent African American families have been, and will be, destroyed when child abuse experts misdiagnose the fractures and pseudo-fractures (Looser’s zones) of rickets as child abuse. In a recent report of two such cases, Dr. Senniappan of Saint Mary’s Hospital in England gave some good advice that was ignored in your case: “Clinicians have the duty to exclude the possibility of an underlying medical disorder associated with skeletal fragility,” and they have to do so at the time the diagnosis of child abuse is considered, not six months later after the child has been given Vitamin D and calcium in formula. Senniappan S, Elazabi A, Doughty I, Mughal MZ. Case 2: Fractures in under-6-month-old exclusively breast-fed infants born to immigrant parents: nonaccidental injury? (case presentation). Diagnosis: Pathological fractures secondary to vitamin D deficiency rickets in under-6-months-old, exclusively breast-fed infants, born to immigrant parents. Acta Paediatr. 2008 Jul;97(7):836–7, 992–3.
In Scotland, Dr. Colin Patterson of the Ninewells Hospital in Dundee reported on a case of unexplained fractures and warned, “A mistaken diagnosis of abuse can lead to irreparable damage to both family and child.” Paterson CR. Vitamin D deficiency rickets simulating child abuse. J Pediatr Orthop. 1981;1(4):423–5.
Kathryn, as far as the deal the DA is offering (having you plead guilty, dropping abuse charges against you, having your husband plead guilty and go to prison, and giving you your child back if you enter testimony against your husband), this is usually how the DA gets a conviction of “confirmed” child abuse. It is an unusual woman who would risk both prison and her child to defend the truth—not to mention a husband.
This is pretty messed up.
Psystar, the purveyor of unauthorized Mac OS machines that everyone was pretty sure was a hoax when it first surfaced, has filed for Chapter 11 after a year of selling real, live Mac clones. From News.com:
The Chapter 11 filing will temporarily suspend Apple’s copyright infringement suit against Psystar, which is currently before the U.S. District Court of Northern California. But once the bankruptcy protection is sorted out, the copyright case will resume. …
Yeah, get it sorted out. I want to buy a legit Mac clone.
People over 30, do you remember a short-lived soda from the early 80s called Like Cola? Despite heavy TV advertising it failed dismally. I was trying to remember the jingle for some reason so I scrounged up some YouTubes of their ads.
I remember these commercials for the “flavored by the cola nut” angle they pushed. Duly programmed, I’m pretty sure I (unsuccessfully) lobbied my parents to buy this stuff, insisting that we experience the delicious genuine flavor that only real Brazilian cola nut extract can provide, or something.
Anyway, what I did not remember until I saw these was how heavily the caffeine-free aspect was played:
(See also Pepsi Free.) What the heck is going on here — was there some kind of anti-caffeine health scare going on the 80s or something? Well, if it isn’t our old friends at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, America’s Greatest Public Health Menace!
A quick Google search returns these two snippets — the first, from the book Junk Science Judo:
The CSPI petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 1979 to label coffee and tea for caffeine content and, once again, issue warnings to pregnant women. …
The FDA soon caved, issuing a 1980 warning to pregnant women to minimize their consumption of coffee, tea, and colas — even though, the FDA acknowledged, the evidence wasn’t conclusive. … Baby rats had been born with missing parts of toes when their mothers were force fed caffeine at the human equivalent of 24 cups of coffee per day.
The CSPI’s campaign unraveled soon enough, though. In June 1981, a review panel at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concluded that the pregnant rats may simply have been poisoned by the high doses of caffeine. This caused them to lose weight and the weight loss itself affected the development of the baby rats.
And there’s this from a book called Uncommon Grounds:
More consumers … were switching to decaffeinated coffee as health concerns peaked in the early 1980s. … health fears escalated, so that even the average coffee drinker worried about what his morning cup might be doing to him.
Throughout the late 1970s, Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) had hammered away at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to remove caffeine from the list of drugs “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). … In November 1979 Jacobson filed a petition with the FDA asking for warning labels on coffee and tea packages reading: “Caffeine May Cause Birth Defects.”
Remember that this Michael Jacobson of CSPI is the same anti-meat douchebag who bullied fast food restaurants into ditching delicious and nutritionally benign beef tallow as their frying oil in favor the dangerous hydrogenated vegetable oils that they are only now abandoning.
Anyway, it’s kind of weird to think that the health-conscious were so fastidious about avoiding caffeine back then. These days your average organic tofu-eater would take double espressos through an IV if he could.
I just stumbled across this presentation comparing venerable magazine titles’ early 20th century covers with contemporary versions. Contrast these classic covers, with minimal copy and lovingly-crafted illustrations or arresting graphics, with the style that unfortunately predominates today, with ubiquitous airbrushed, smiling celebrities overlaid by maniacally cacophonous headlines, badges, starbursts, and banners.
Look to opinion magazines like The Nation and the New Republic for a cool drink of water amid this aesthetic desert — they still manage to churn out dramatic and elegant cover art with regularity.
And even the cash-strapped American Conservative manages to present interesting and sometimes witty artwork, like this one lampooning the neoconservatives.
(I wish I could find a higher-res version of this one. It’s not an eye-popping composition, but at a larger size you could better see the pudgy pasty faces, taped-up eyeglasses, and the sexy Sarah Palin pinup.)
Of course, opinion magazines are sure-fire money-losers, and they’re less dependent on impulse supermarket buys, so the for-profit magazine world might not be looking in their direction for aesthetic inspiration. But still, is a downmarket cover art renaissance too much too hope for?
Worried about the swine flu epidemic that’s going to ravage the nation any minute now? Of course you are!
So click over to the Heart Scan Blog for the lowdown on vitamin D’s protective effects against influenza. Free sample:
In 2006, Dr. Cannell reports noticing that the patients in his psychiatric ward in northern California were completely spared from the influenza epidemic of that year, while plenty of patients in adjacent wards were coming down with flu. Dr. Cannell proposed that the apparent immunity to flu in his patients may have been due to the modest dose of 2000 units vitamin D per day he had prescribed that the patients in other wards had not been given. …
A similar conclusion was reached in a recent analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey demonstrating that the higher the vitamin D blood level, the less likely respiratory infections were.
Personally, I used to suffer through 2 or 3 episodes of a runny nose, sore throat, hacking cough, fevers and feeling crumby every winter. Over the last 3 years since I’ve supplemented vitamin D, I haven’t been sick even once. The past two years I didn’t bother with the flu vaccine, since I suspected that my immunity had been heightened: no flu either winter.
And so it has been with the majority of my patients. Since I began having patients supplement vitamin D to achieve normal blood levels (we aim for 60-70 ng/ml), viral and bacterial infections have become rare.
New research is uncovering myriad new ways that vitamin D enhances natural immune responses to numerous infections, including tuberculosis, bacteria such as those causing periodontal disease and lung infections, and viruses like the influenza virus. Enhanced immunity against cancer is also an intensive area of research on vitamin D.
Following Kaus’s First Rule of Journalism, “Always generalize wildly from your own personal experience,” I would just add that since I’ve been supplementing with Vitamin D about a year and a half ago with a dose varying from 2000 to 6000 IU per day, I haven’t had so much as a sore throat. Case closed!
Here at spinline.net: The Blog, we strive not only to bring you entertainment, amusement, and thought-provoking commentary, but also to provide important news exclusives.
For example, earlier tonight I went to an American Cause event where Tom Tancredo spoke, and several newsworthy things were said that I will now share.
(I know it’s uncool to say mean things about the iPhone, but the iPhone camera sucks, as you can see here.)
First, Tancredo spoke about his recent UNC speech that was shut down by violent protesters. He remarked that he was relieved that nobody was injured save one — himself: a cop who was escorting Tancredo out of the melee stepped on his foot, breaking his toe. OK, that was exclusive #1. Pretty good, huh?
Second, after the talk a questioner spoke of his belief that the famously corrupt (and currently imprisoned) congressman James Traficant was railroaded or framed because of his unyielding populism or something like that. Tancredo replied that he basically believes Traficant “did it” but then, reminiscing about what a character he was, he recalled how Traficant, being a tall guy, would on occassion grab (short guy) Tancredo’s head in the halls of Congress and give him a noogie. That’s exclusive #2. Rep. Traficant (D-Ohio) gave Rep. Tancredo (R-Colo.) noogies.
Oh, and I also met Bay Buchanan, who seems like a very nice person. That is all.
At the Takimag podcast, Richard Spencer and Jack “The Southern Avenger” Hunter” seem pretty enthused about the Tea Party phenomenon. (Click the box to play.)
But for a little perspective, see Kevin DeAnna’s post at Takimag, where he writes:
With all the tea parties, the infighting between the Alternative Right and the non-Alternative Right and all the other drama, the brutal reality is that Obama, the stimulus, and the managed social democracy that we are moving towards are all popular.
Well, that’s true. But the emergence of some kind of meaningful, articulate opposition to the regime has to be a good thing. If the American Right is now represented by the Tea Party movement rather than Sean Hannity telling us all how awesome Dick Cheney is, things are looking up.
See here for my earlier thoughts about the tea parties.