Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Pet Goat

Personally, I don’t understand the frothing at the mouth about our President spending a few extra minutes reading the story “The Pet Goat” to students after being informed that the plane crashes into the World Trade Center were intentional.

The criticism is stupid.

Simply stupid.

The President of the United State, Republican or Democrat, adored or reviled, does not take five steps down a corridor without immediate supervision by the Secret Service. He does not enter a building until it has been examined with bomb-sniffing dogs and completely cordoned by federal agents. The teachers at the school President Bush was making an appearance at on September 11th were most likely subjected to background checks and possibly security interviews. The President IS NOT moved without the coordination of all the agents responsible for his security.

Air Force One occasionally lands at my husband’s place of work, and the President has recently made several speeches there. The civilian employees there must have their identification at all times, be where they’re supposed to be, and not go on rooftops without clearance. They will be shot if they act like your typical idiot and not see to it that they make themselves completely harmless and non-threatening.

My point is that for President Bush to get up and run out of the room would be disruptive to the schedule that the Secret Service has laid out to the fraction of the minute. When you’re the President you are no longer your own person, you belong to your security. I strongly suspect that the President is not at liberty to go to the restroom outside the White House without a Secret Service agent standing there right outside the stall and thirty others informed to the second about his position and actions. Take note, if you have public pissing privacy problems… don’t run for President.

The people straining their sphincters about “The Pet Goat” are demonstrating their abysmal understanding of what the life of the President is all about.

In my personal opinion, I think President Bush showed great restraint by calmly continuing with his schedule until his security could safely move him to a place where he could be briefed on what amounted to an extremely sensitive national security matter.

Two more points: Firstly, there were no decisions the President could have directly made at this time that would have changed the outcome of 911, by the time the pertinent information got to his handlers it was already too late. Unfortunately the President, like the rest of us, is not psychic, nor equipped to receive encrypted radio communications. Secondly, there is no information that could somehow have gotten to him faster. We all thought the first plane crash was a tragic accident, it took a few minutes and a second hit for reality to set in and us to realize we were truly under attack.

It is truly unfortunate that some loud people in the US are so terribly ill-reasoned about events, especially when there is plenty of documentation and evidence to work with.

I guess some trust Michael Moore more than they do their own powers of reasoning.

Edit to add:

Hmmm, on a sort of unrelated note, the Secret Service may have thwarted an assisination attempt on the morning of September 11th.

See this reference, provided on Wikipedia under the heading of "My Pet Goat" -

(couldn't get html tags to work right, sorry.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chelation Therapy and Autism: Thinking Rationally

If one applies a bit of critical thought to the claims that chelation therapy will “cure” autism, the augments of advocates fall apart very quickly.

Think About the Advertising Claims

First and foremost, a number of web sites advocating chelation therapy (CT) for use with childhood diagnoses of autism make frighteningly unreasonable claims about its safety as a medical procedure. This should throw up a number of red flags at first glance.

From the first few links that appear when “chelation therapy” is googled one can see a number of these unreasonable claims (and I’m not cherry-picking, I’m taking the first few advocacy sites that came up, you can easily check up on me using Google):

From (Site references CT for use in heart patients, not autism, but is making very similar claims.):

“How Chelation Works Remains a Mystery” – but you’re going to use it on heart patients anyways? If you don’t know how it works, how do you know the treatment is actually having an effect, rather than some other unrelated process or some additional treatment the patient is taking?

“Chelation Research is All Positive, There is No Negative Data” – This is simply unreasonable and untrue. Any effective procedure is going to have some negative contraindication at some point. Think about it, there is even negative data about something as benign as taking one aspirin a day as part of a heart regimen, and even very simple treatments may not work effectively on some people’s conditions.

“If Chelation Therapy is so Good Why is it Not More Widely Accepted?” - If you care to read this section of the site, you can observe the author going into paroxysms about how there’s a vast conspiracy in the medical field to suppress treatments that have not been researched using double-blind testing. Of course, when you’re comfortable stating that how your treatment works is a mystery, one wouldn’t be very surprised that you’d object to it being tested. Scare-mongering about the rest of the “oppressive” medical field is a typical quack response.

In the interest of space I’m not going to continue further, but please look out for claims such as these, and especially others touting any therapy as “100% safe” or a “guaranteed cure.” NO treatment strong enough to be effective, or that even utilized a needle stuck in your body at some point is “100% safe.” Even a simple saline drip has potential complications. THINK about it when someone makes these claims. What else are they expecting you to ignore? No treatment is a “guaranteed cure.” Especially for a complex neurological disorder such as autism. The only thing it is absolutely guaranteed to do is separate you from your money.

Think About the Treatment Process:

Chelation therapy as advocated for the treatment of autism typically involves administering an IV drip of one of several chemicals such as DMSA, DMPS, ALA or EDTA, over several sittings or several days. These chemicals may also be administered orally or intramuscularly, but I’ve seen most advocates using CT for autism recommending IV administration.

This therapy is commonly used to treat acute heavy metal poisoning in children and adults. Without going into a lot of biochemistry, the administered chemical binds to heavy metal molecules in the body, changing it into a water-soluble form that is able to pass into the bloodstream and exit the body through the kidneys.

This treatment WILL NOT fix neurological or organ damage that has already occurred! The only thing it will do is remove existing heavy metals from the body, with some degree of success. There are various side effects, ranging from mild headache, stomach upset, etc. to rare cases of kidney toxicity. There are reports of at least one child having died from complications of CT.

The rationale for using CT in autism cases revolves around the unsupported theory that autism is caused by exposure to mercury through a preservative (Thimerosal) which was commonly used in childhood vaccinations. At the suggestion of the FDA, thimerosal was removed from the majority of childhood vaccines as of 1999, although no evidence of it causing amounts of mercury above safety guidelines in infants was ever found.

Even some advocates of CT for autism will admit that there are no measurable amounts of mercury or other heavy metals found in laboratory tests of autistic children’s blood or urine, though I did find one advocacy site claiming that mercury would bind to internal organs and could only be detected by biopsy. Of course, an autistic child could definitely be exposed to mercury secondarily in their environment, and eating some seafood may raise mercury to detectable levels.

1. CT is a treatment, with side effects and potential complications, used for removing heavy metals from the body in cases of acute poisoning.
2. CT will not repair existing damage caused by heavy metal poisoning, only assuage further damage.
3. Autistic children typically do not have measurable amounts of heavy metals on blood or urine testing.
4. Potential exposure through vaccinations is unsupported, and extremely unlikely after 1999.

In my opinion, this leads me to believe that the use of CT for autism is basically the useless introduction of a non-indicated medical treatment in order to separate the parents of autistic children from their money.

Unfortunately these irresponsible practitioners prey on the feelings of parent who are so willing to do anything to help their children. What worries me the most is the instances where CT for autism advocates also suggest or demand that parents discontinue conventional medical or psychiatric treatments to ensure that CT is effective. I see that practice as the equivalent of telling someone not to have their broken nose set at the hospital, since you’re going to give them a coffee enema that should fix everything right up.

I encourage anyone with an autistic child to think very critically before utilizing any treatment being touted as a “cure” or that references heavy metal poisoning or toxicity. If anything, discuss these treatments with your primary physician, and have laboratory screenings for heavy metals done in their office, so you can compare any future results obtained by CT advocates.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Silent Minority

I've been doing some cursory reading on conservative women and feminism.

Actually, VERY cursory, since there is an accute dearth of anything about conservative feminists anywhere, and they are widely rumored to be mythological. This is obviously not true, you're looking at the bona-fide typeset of one.

Unfortunately for you neoscholarly types, I will not be referencing any feminist studies or arguments here. If you're looking for postmodernism and deconstructionism I will gladly point you toward your nearest university's programs in womyn's or ethnic studies. Personally, I can stand your typical feminist writings for almost up to five minutes. Close availabilty of duct tape, nose plugs, rum, and Bayer increases this time frame nominally.

You retroscholarly types can rest assured that I will not be making up any new words, or torturing existing words into unrecognizable cognitive frames. Everything contained in this blog comes right out of my trusty 1952 edt. Oxford College Dictionary.

Here are my thoughts on being a conservative feminist:

I am in agreement with the typical feminist movement on several facets:
1. Women should have the right to vote, and have their vote equal to that of men.
2. Women should have the right to own property and have inheritance rights.
3. Women should not be themselves the property of their spouses or relatives.
4. Women should be able to conduct business in the same capacity as men, and have the same legal rights as to earnings etc.

The singular most important cause that I support for females, is the right, protected by law, to start the grand race of life at the same point as males.

That's it.

At this point I break so hard to the right of popular feminism that I shock most of my friends and family. I'll detail the most "radical" of my views.

Men are Not the Problem:

Maybe at one point they were. At this point they are not. I do thank the generations of men and women before me for the work they put forth to bring us to our current situation, and I acknowledge that I really cannot understand what it was like only 50-80 years ago for women in this country. In some ways, I'm sure it was not as comfortable as today, but in others I'm not convinced it was so bad.

However, men today are not covert agents of a conspiring patriarchy. Some of them are stupid, and some are brutal, and some are ignorant, but those types are a minor and infrequent annoyance. In the long run, it really doesn't matter. They're not legally allowed to oppress any individual significantly, and those laws are being enforced. As far as bigotry in the workplace goes, any man who walks that path should soon expect to make a woman and her trial lawyer very very happy.

The laws are in place. The starting line has been chalked equally for everyone. This point in time would be a really good one to lay off men for a while, and quite possibly even consider some of the *gasp* beneficial roles men have in our society.

Women Are Not Stupid:

And are perfectly capable of rational thought regarding the consequences of their actions.

This part always gets me in trouble. I see women who claim to be feminists make long chains of terrible relationship and life decisions, then blame the "patriarcy" on their failure to succeed the way they've envisioned.

Modern feminism has created an aura of evil around men, and imbued them with magical, irresistable powers with which they control the minds of innocent and unsuspecting women. Exerting this esoteric power, they make otherwise budding radical feminists get crazy ideas in their heads, like it would be a good idea to get married and have children. With a wave of their Scepter of Patriarchy, women fall into line like good little brainless lambs, and only their wiser feminist sisters can save them.

I call some serious bullshit on that.

Women have the innate, human ability to examine their surroundings, their actions, and their decisions with a critical eye. They also (unless I'm a rare abberation) can project their observations into the forseeable future to predict reasonable outcomes. I am frankly appalled at the number of women who choose not to do any of this.

This is not the fault of men. Only an individual has the ability to control this aspect of their life. Only an individual can choose to apply themselves rationally to their life. No one can do it for them, but no one can take it away.

I used to spend some significant time up in the vicenity of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and found a hobby in walking over to Isla Vista on weekend nights and observing the human species at its.... most authentic....if not exactly best. (If you're not familiar with the Isla Vista phenomenon, lucky you. It's the college town equivalent of the Tiajuana nightclub strip.)

Almost every time I would see young underdressed women, girls really, most definitely underage, sloshed out of their minds, reeling like sailors down the street. Occasionally I'd see them later, clinging to some sober man. Invariably, the paper the following week would contain cries of rage about rapes and sexual assaults, and call for punishment and re-education of men.

I made myself a minor pariah by countering these publications thusly:

A. No one made these girls put on the scantest amounts of clothing they could legally get away.
B. They left their houses all by themselves, they were not dragged.
C. No one forced alcholol down their gullets.
D. Due the the extremely active women's groups at UCSB there was very slim chance that they were unaware that every male human on earth is a potential rapist and murderer.

Therefore, the women themselves had made a series of poor choices, throughout which they conciously ignored information that could have protected them. Although the man who assaulted them is clearly a criminal and should be punished as such, they are culpable for their chain of actions.

As it is now 1:30am, I will post an edit to continue later.

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!