Archive for February 22, 2008

And …

February 22, 2008

… I’m back.

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Still the most affecting Star Trek episode ever.

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“Let’s get the hell out of here.”

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It’s his name, but not his original script. See this page for the book that explains all of it.

Blogging Resumes In About An Hour

February 22, 2008

Oh come on.

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You know I have to watch it!

You can too.

The Ultimate Mid-East Terrorist Is Already Here

February 22, 2008

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The Invisible Enemy

Since OPERATION Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, more than 700 US soldiers have been infected or colonized with Acinetobacter baumannii. A significant number of additional cases have been found in the Canadian and British armed forces, and among wounded Iraqi civilians. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has recorded seven deaths caused by the bacteria in US hospitals along the evacuation chain. Four were unlucky civilians who picked up the bug at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, while undergoing treatment for other life-threatening conditions. Another was a 63-year-old woman, also chronically ill, who shared a ward at Landstuhl with infected coalition troops.

Behind the scenes, the spread of a pathogen that targets wounded GIs has triggered broad reforms in both combat medical care and the Pentagon’s networks for tracking bacterial threats within the ranks. Interviews with current and former military physicians, recent articles in medical journals, and internal reports reveal that the Department of Defense has been waging a secret war within the larger mission in Iraq and Afghanistan – a war against antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Emphasis added by me.

And:

Forerunners of the bug causing the military infections have been making deadly incursions into civilian hospitals for more than a decade. In the early 1990s, 1,400 people were infected or colonized at a single facility in Spain. A few years later, particularly virulent strains of the bacteria spread through three Israeli hospitals, killing half of the infected patients. Death by acinetobacter can take many forms: catastrophic fevers, pneumonia, meningitis, infections of the spine, and sepsis of the blood. Patients who survive face longer hospital stays, more surgery, and severe complications.

Emphasis added by me.

Worse:

And they’re spreading fast. A major outbreak in Chicago two years ago infected 81 patients, killing at least 14. Arizona health officials tracked more than 200 infections in state hospitals early last year. Doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee used to see an infection or two every year; now it’s one or more a month. “These bacteria are developing very, very quickly,” says CDC epidemiologist Arjun Srinivasan, who has been consulting with the DOD about the military outbreak. “The bad news is that we’re many years away from having new drugs to treat them. It should be a call to arms.

Emphasis added by me.

Look at this:

I VISITED WALTER REED in 2004 to write about anesthesia on the front lines. As I spoke with an Army sergeant who had survived a brutal attack in Najaf, US senator John McCain and talk-radio host Don Imus came into the room to thank him for his service. When we walked out, McCain’s assistant whipped out a bottle of sanitizing gel and passed it around. A nurse explained to me, “It’s this bug that grows in the soil over there and gets blown into their wounds by IEDs. These poor guys are covered with it. Around here we call it Iraqibacter.” Rumors were circulating at the hospital that insurgents dosed their homemade bombs with the flesh of dead animals.

Emphasis added by me.

Has anyone heard McCain mention this in his stump speeches?

It gets even worse:

The wounded soldiers were not smuggling bacteria from the desert into military hospitals after all. Instead, they were picking it up there. The evacuation chain itself had become the primary source of infection. By creating the most heroic and efficient means of saving lives in the history of warfare, the Pentagon had accidentally invented a machine for accelerating bacterial evolution and was airlifting the pathogens halfway around the world.

Emphasis added by me.

Talk about unintended consequences and revenge effects!

Read the entire article. My quotes are not meant to be a Classics Illustrated-like substitute. They’re meant to pique your curiosity.

Thanks to Marcie Hascall Clark, who alerted me to this in the Comments here.

For more information, visit her site: The Iraq Infections.

Also see: Acinetobacter Baumannii

Update: Marcie also has this site: Acinetobacter
baumannii in Iraq

Someone Has Ripped Me Off

February 22, 2008

Stop it.

The original
.

CBS Puts Twilight Zone On Net

February 22, 2008

And makes me very happy.

So far, just selections from the first two seasons, but still.

Now go see:

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The Howling Man

Goodbye, Detroit

February 22, 2008

Air-Powered Car Coming to U.S. in 2009 to 2010 at Sub-$18,000, Could Hit 1000-Mile Range

Everyone is suddenly in a tizzy over that.

Hello. I did that last month: Cars Of The Future: Lose Weight Or You’ll Walk!

I even had a video (still do!).

How will Detroit respond? If there was still a Detroit left, it’d cry for protectionism. Insanely-high tariffs. Anything except innovation.

FreakAngels Issue Two

February 22, 2008

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Pay attention. Warren’s giving a lot of information in just six pages. And doing it with the fewest number of words.

Don’t miss it.

Update: It would have been better if I had included the link.

The Price Of Justice Is Sometimes Looking Stupid

February 22, 2008

Ex-Prosecutor at Gitmo to Aid Defense

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – In a stunning turnaround, the former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday he would be a defense witness for the driver of Osama bin Laden.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who resigned in October over alleged political interference in the U.S. military tribunals, told The Associated Press he will appear at a hearing for Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

“I expect to be called as a witness … I’m more than happy to testify,” Davis said in a telephone interview from Washington. He called it “an opportunity to tell the truth.”

And:

Davis alleges, among other things, that Pentagon general counsel William Haynes said in August 2005 that any acquittals of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo would make the United States look bad, calling into question the fairness of the proceedings.

“He said ‘We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions,’” Davis recalled.

Emphasis added by me.

Acquittals can mean one of several things, but primarily two:

1) The prosecution’s case was garbage to begin with and the plaintiff is innocent

2) The prosecution was incompetent and mishandled the case

Number One is our problem. We are supposed to be a nation of law. We pledge to liberty and justice for all.

Number Two is your problem. If you can’t do your job, resign.

It’s better to look stupid over an acquittal than to be happy over an injustice.

Here’s a hint: Most people already know the Gitmo roundup was a botch. How much worse can it be? Set the innocent free.

Acinetobacter Infection

February 22, 2008

Insurgents in the Bloodstream

[ … ] [A]cinetobacter baumannii-a strain of highly resistant bacteria that since U.S. forces began fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has threatened the lives, limbs, and organs of hundreds wounded in combat.

And:

“He ended up getting it in his stomach,” says Connie Emery, “and they tried to close his stomach back up, but when they did, the stitches ended up pulling away because the infection was taking over.”

Another reason why I can’t sue over Simvastatin. What I went through is nothing compared to what our troops are suffering. I’d feel like a sissy crybaby.

Statin Drugs: Pain For Nothing

February 22, 2008

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I underwent a cardiac catherization recently. It was a terrible experience. So much so that I threatened to punch one of the doctor’s in the face if he didn’t leave my bedside post-procedure.

Three things here:

1) Without the influence of the statin, I would not have threatened the doctor

2) Without the influence of the statin, I would not have had the cardiac problems I’d experienced

3) Without the influence of the statin, I would not have had the breathing problems I’d experienced

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A statin drug can shorten your life. A statin drug can kill you.

Read those two sentences again. They are true.

In the Comments here, someone named Joseph pointed me to a patent application from Merck. It is revelatory. They wanted to patent a combo drug: a statin with CoEnzyme-Q10.

I’d heard about CoQ-10 (as it’s commonly called) since the 1970s. But I’d heard of it from the health-food fringe. That group is not altogether trustworthy — or, let me be charitable here, is subject to easy infiltration by snake-oil fraudsters who then tend to cause the entire group to seem untrustworthy. (Back in the 1970s, Laetrile was being touted as a suppressed cancer cure, along with — I am not kidding! — coffee enemas!)

Anyway, this Merck patent is the first thing I’ve read that shows mainstream scientific evidence for the efficacy of CoQ-10. It’s also the first time I’ve read mainstream scientific evidence that a statin drug can lead to a decrease in cardiac performance!

It’s also the first time I’ve read of a statin drug causing vision problems. My vision has turned to crap — coincidentally during the very two years I’d been on the statin! I thought it was my imagination yesterday morning when I didn’t need my reading glasses for a while. Another thing I’ve already noticed is that my breathing has measurably improved. While on the statin I had two major bouts of bronchitis and ongoing breathing/cardiac problems that made some days just an absolute misery.

A statin drug can also have the side-effect of headaches. Here’s a curious twist in my case. In my adult life, I’ve rarely had headaches. And I didn’t while on the statin. Since dropping the statin, I’ve had evening headaches for the past three days and have a minor headache as I type this. I’m chalking this up to my brain cells having a non-stop party over the cholesterol that’s coming in.

I’d say having to undergo a cardiac cath for nothing is lawsuit material. But still I don’t want to sue. First, I want to get on with my (statin-free!) life. Second, at least the cath let me know my arteries were clear.

But here’s a word to the makers of statins: You’d better start coming clean and filling up those warning labels with the side-effects you refuse to acknowledge. You live in a world with the Internet. People are reading these posts. Sooner or later, a sharp attorney will read these posts and get the idea for a class-action lawsuit that can bury you.

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