Spring Or Fall


Posted on : 2/18/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The recent events of the so-called Arab Spring have been heralded as an age of advance within the Arab world.  I remain skeptical of such predictions due to the significant influence of jihadists, Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and similar terrorist/extremist groups across the region.

Is this really the dawning of a new age?  Is this really an Arab Spring?  Or perhaps it is an Arab Fall, complete with an Indian Summer's false promise of warmth before the deep cold of winter.

A United Nations delegate from Libya’s newly formed government told a human rights panel that gays and other groups threaten “reproduction of the human race,” drawing a stern rebuke from leaders of the international body.

But the harsh stance against gays voiced Monday has some critics wondering if the new government ushered in by the so-called Arab Spring is any more tolerant than its predecessor.

"Today's homophobic outburst by the new Libyan government, together with the routine abuse of prisoners, underscores the serious questions we have about the new regime's commitment to improving on the dark record of its predecessor, and about its pandering to Islamists in its ranks," U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said.

Now after listening to the news from Washington State on NPR over the last few days, I think it should be obvious that we in the U.S. still have issues with respecting the right of gays to be treated as equal citizens. Not everyone is overjoyed at the prospect of the gay marriage law just signed by their governor.  Pure as the wind driven snow, we ain't.

But we are headed in the right direction.  While the Middle East appears to loping along in the wrong direction at a fairly fast clip. 

Dive Right In?


Posted on : 2/17/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

 It is always worth the time to see where we've been so that we can know where we are going.  Read the whole thing.

Black athletes were playing for Clair Bee at Long Island University by 1933, but KU didn’t put a black player on the court until LaVannes Squires joined the team in 1952. McLendon admitted to Katz that skin color wasn’t the only obstacle standing between him and a spot on the Jayhawks—though quick and cerebral, McLendon had been cut from his high school basketball team three times. He was a former lifeguard and an excellent swimmer, though, and he expected to ace the mandatory swimming test required for his degree. But when McLendon showed up at the on-campus pool to work out, he found it half empty. He was told it was drained every Wednesday.

McLendon came back on Thursday, and found the pool empty again. Nobody had told him the pool was segregated, perhaps because no colored student had tried to swim there before. The school’s passive-aggressive trick exposed a weakness he could exploit—a fear of direct confrontation. “You’re going to have a pretty big water bill,” McLendon told the attendant. “Because I’m going swimming every day.”

Quilt #2


Posted on : 2/16/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In :

A side note, this is actually a post from August of 2007 that was first published in my Dain Bramage blog.  I am trying to get all my quilts onto the new blog for easy reference, sharing, etc.  You will see more of this in the coming weeks.  I hope.  Garrett's a few years older now and a pretty cool kid.

One of my co-workers got married last year. And this year he's a brand new dad. Funny how that sort of thing works, isn't it?

At any rate, as a modest token of congratulations, I made this quilt.

Click for a larger view.

Update: We finally have photos of the little squab and his quilt. This is Garrett. He's sleeping on the quilt.....which is pretty obvious. I'm told it makes a great play area, too. As always, click the photo for a larger version.

And this is Garrett, laughing his fool head off. He's one happy little baby.

Saving The Future - Saving The Past


Posted on : 2/15/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

We all have personal perspectives and interests that motivate our efforts.  One of my personal perspectives is Alzheimer's or old age dementia.  I watched my grandmother disappear before my eyes.  I watched the husk that remained live on for close to five years.

If you can call that living.

I see the early signs of the same thing happening in my dad.  I experience some early-early signs of the same thing in myself.

It is not possible to look forward to the day when long honed perception and perspective disappear in time's grey haze without experiencing an inexorably rising sense of terror.

We do not currently have a cure for dementia.  One of the reasons why I so urgently advocate for a free market for health care is that other health systems stymie research and innovation.  The first costs to be cut in every nationalized health care system are those associated with the research of new technology.  The cost of providing existing technology to existing patients naturally declines over time as patents expire and product efficiencies are identified.

Future patients needing future technologies?  Current patients being maintained by current technology but hoping for a cure?  Lives unborn in need of a cure that does not yet exist?  Nationalized health care systems have a one size fits all response.

Fuck 'em.

Yet I still have reason to hope that our recently enacted plethora of federal boards, committees, directors, chairpersons, and other august personnel of medical wizardry may yet move slowly enough that a cure for my small concern may arrive before the gates of innovation are closed.

Via Glenn Reynold's Instapundit comes word of a recent discovery of a new application for an old anti-cancer drug.  The WSJ has a decent write-up as well.

A widely available cancer drug has shown remarkable success in reversing Alzheimer's disease in mice, raising hope of a breakthrough against incurable dementia in humans, US researchers said Thursday.

Mice treated with the drug, known as bexarotene, became rapidly smarter and the plaque in their brains that was causing their Alzheimer's started to disappear within hours, said the research in the journal Science.

"We were shocked and amazed," lead author Gary Landreth of the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio told AFP.

"Things like this had never, ever been seen before," he said.

Faster, please.

Oh Just One Kiss, Oh Baby One Last Kiss...


Posted on : 2/14/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In :

Via the very talented John Cox.

The title of this post was inspired by this.

Moving Madness II


Posted on : 2/13/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Small scale.  Bamboo sticks for runs.  You could make this at home!

Riding Or Pushing


Posted on : 2/12/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

What happens when there are more people riding in the wagon than there are people pushing the wagon?

Almost half of America pays no federal income tax.  Yet dependence on federal spending is at an all time high.  Farm subsidies, college loans, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and welfare have grown so far over the last 40 years that we may soon discover what happens when we plumb the depth of Lady Thatcher's wise observation regarding the difficulties encountered when we run out of other people's money to spend.

At the very least, we are going to find out what happens when our spending on social programs exceeds the available income for the average citizen.  Click the image for the full report.

Sadly, the theoretic Chinese curse hoping that one lives in "interesting times" applies.