Tag: Recommended

The Breakfast Club – Wake & Bake Edition by angeld

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.  

(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right?  Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)

 photo breakfastbeers.png

This Day in History

This bit was also cross-posted at Voices on the Square, The Stars Holllow Gazette and, probably at Docudharma.

I’m Just A Normal Guy

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

Mother! Oh my God!

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates-s-s-s-s.

My name is Norman Bates; I’m just a normal guy.

My name is Norman Bates.

The Constitution Breaks Bad in Albuquerque

Oct. 17, 2011

Albuquerque International Sunport Security Checkpoint:

I pass a camera crew filming the ticket counter. I stop and consider telling them what I am about to do, but decide against it. They probably won’t care. Instead, I wheel my baggage to the security area.

I can feel my heart beat in my chest. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve always said “Yes sir,” even when I didn’t agree. Even this simple act fills me with conflicting emotions.

New Mexico is far warmer than my native Pacific Northwest. I’m sweating by the time I reach the first inspection of my ID. I’m sure I already look like a terrorist. The TSA agent, perched on his stool, takes no notice. I look enough like my driver’s license and I have a valid airline ticket. He black lights my ID and lets me pass with hardly a glance.

I’ve come here to moonlight from my real job. My daughter had an operation, and I had to come up with thousands in deductible. She’s in college and, so far, I’ve managed to keep her from becoming a debt slave, like her mother. I took eight extra weekends of work in the Land of Enchantment to cover the cost. I’m lucky, I guess, I can do that. Others, with fewer job opportunities, have no choice but to go bankrupt.

My heart kicks it up another notch when I get to the conveyor belt. Shouldn’t have had that coffee this morning but thank God I didn’t eat anything, or I’d be hugging the trash can right now.

Come on, I tell myself, what are they going to do? Confiscate your toothpaste? Say something mean to you? So what. Relax. You can do this. You should do this. You have to do this.

I take off my shoes and strip my backpack of computer and the baggie of incidentals. I stand in line while my armpits grow embarrassingly moist and I feel my heart race. I think, Get a hold of yourself. You’re being a drama queen.

When it is my turn, I decline to go through the monitor that scans under your clothes, as I always do. The TSA agent starts his spiel about how safe it is. I’ve done my research. His statements are questionable, but that is not why I am doing this. I start my own spiel.

“The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Just Looking

Posted at Daily Kos and as “My Views from Last Week” at Star Hollow Gazette.

I have a few pleasant photography stories to tell from a week ago. Between the autumn color and the desperation of one last warm weather week, it was a good week for a photo buff. Now don’t go busting my bubble by just looking at the photos because you can learn a lot from a photographer. We see things.

Below you will find a Third Rock from the Sun brief encounter during an evening walk in the Village. I have several memories from a lecture I attended on photojournalism. There is a pleasant Veterans Day walk under the George Washington Bridge on the New Jersey side followed by a sunset from the New York side. Then a Friday afternoon walk in Central Park with some music videos I made and all day Saturday there too. There is even a little taste of Florence, Italy.  

Q and A from The Geek’s Mailbox 20100529

Sometimes I get questions in my inbox, and sometimes they are they have more general application.  Here a few from the past few days.

Remember, anyone is welcome to send a question, and my profile has my email address.  If you would like a question answered, just ask one.

I hope that this is read in the best of the Thurber tradition.  Keith has stimulated me to writing very short, funny pieces lately.  Please tell me what you think.

MSNBC supports white supremacists unless they fire this man

Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

What does Pat Buchanan have to do to get fired from MSNBC, show up to work in a white sheet?

    Yes, Virginia, there is a white supremacist on MSNBC.

    His name is Pat Buchanan.

    Some of Pat Buchanan’s previous statements include these quotes.

    “Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.”


    And yes, that is David Duke whom Pat is referring to.

    Sadly, that is just the beginning, and it barely even scratches the surface.

    At the bottom of this diary there are e-mail addresses where you can demand that this racist hack be given das boot for the hateful bile he spews forth, bile which has no place in 2009 or America in any year.

The Night that I met Allen Ginsberg 20090616

Dr. Whitehead, Dean of the English Department in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas swung a pretty big stick in his heyday there.  He was able to get important persons of letters to come and give free (well, at least to the public) readings of their material.  Notable amongst them were Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg.  Mrs. Translator and I went to both of those.

The fliers had been distributed around town for a week or two.  They were pretty much generic, essentially saying “Famous poet to give reading at the U of A on such and such date at 8:00 PM”.  Well, Mrs. Translator and I decided to go, as we try to be cultured individuals and I was very familiar with Allen from reading.

Health Care Series 20090611: Acetaminophen Concerns

THURSDAY NIGHT IS HEALTH CARE CHANGE NIGHT, a weekly Health Care Series (cross-posted at ePluribus Media. I have been invited to contribute this installment. I originally was going to post about high fructose corn sweetener, but between the time of the invitation and now FDA came out with a new warning about acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is one of the most widely used pain and fever relievers in the United States. Much of the widespread use has to do with the fact that it causes less stomach upset and GI bleeding than aspirin or ibuprofen. It is not linked to Reye Syndrome as is aspirin, making it a good choice for children and teens with flu. Another very large reason for widespread use is heavy marketing.

However, acetaminophen has a very dark side.  According to CDC, right at half of all cases of acute liver failure (ALF) in the United States is directly caused by acetaminophen.  I will not be as geeky in this post as I normally am in my regular Sunday evening series, Pique the Geek, where we try to delve fairly deeply into the science of various topics.  However, some scientific and historical background is necessary to understand the process of liver toxicity produced by this material.In 1887 a drug called phenacetin was first marketed for fever and pain. It is actually made from acetaminophen and is metabolized in the body to it.  It was withdrawn from the United States market in 1983 due to concerns over carcinogenicity.  However, acetaminophen had already replaced it in a large share of the market.  The reason that phenacetin was used for so long had to do with sloppy research in the early 20th century.

Acetaminophen was first introduced in 1953 by Winthrop, but in 1955 McNeil began marketing Tylenol Children’s Elixir, and the Tylenol brand is still probably the most widely recognized brand name in the United States.  Now it outsells aspirin, and I believe this is a dangerous situation.

All medications are eliminated from the body, mostly as metabolites of the parent drug.  The major site of metabolism is the great chemical factory of the body, the liver.  There are three major pathways, two of them harmless.  The first one is addition of glucuronic acid (a sugar derivative) in the liver, producing a metabolite that is nontoxic and is eliminated by the kidneys.  It is thought that, in MOST people, about 40% of the drug is eliminated that way.

A second pathway, also harmless, is addition of sulfate in the liver, forming a water soluble metabolite that is carried away by the liver.  In MOST people this accounts for around 20% to 40% of the total load.

The third pathway, accounting for about 15% of drug clearance, involves the cytochrome P450 set of liver enzymes (the ones that are increased by drinking alcohol).  A toxic intermediate called NAPQI is formed, and that is cleared by combination with the natural antioxidant glutathione and eliminated by the kidneys.  Here is where the problem arises.

NAPQI is highly reactive and combines with the lipids in liver cell membranes, killing the cells.  When combined with gluatathione, it becomes nontoxic, but glutathione is essential for liver protection from the thousands of other reactive oxidizing agents that it processes constantly.  Reduction of glutathione thus also damages the liver, since it is not available to protect the liver from other bad actors.

In most people, the recommended dose of acetaminophen does not cause any outward sign of trouble.  However, there are behaviors that increase sensitivity towards toxicity.  As mentioned before, moderate to heavy alcohol intake induces the very enzyme that is responsible for the “bad” pathway, so drinkers are naturally more susceptible.  Besides, alcohol in large doses is a liver toxin in its own right, so that is a double whammy.

Another risk factor is fasting and low protein diets.  Since glutathione is derived from protein, restriction of protein intake reduces its availability, thus decreasing its protective effect on the liver.

A third risk factor may be caffeine.  Some fairly recent work is consistent with the hypothesis that caffeine induces a liver enzyme that also causes the production NAPQI, presumably Cytochrome P450.  Now this is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, many folks drink a lot of coffee.  Second, caffeine is often added to painkiller medications to increase their potency.  Some of these combinations include acetaminophen.

There are also other drugs that induce these enzymes, particularly anticonvulsants.  The barbiturates are potent inducers, and a few combination products contain a barbiturate, a narcotic, and acetaminophen.

In most normal people with no other risk factors, four grams of acetaminophen will show up on liver function tests after a few days for about a third of the population.  Well, four grams a day is the maximum recommended dose for Tylenol Extra Strength products according to the Tylenol website.  So, recommended doses affect liver function in one third of people with no other risk factors.  This is not good.

Six grams a day for two days can cause significant liver function disturbances in normal (that is, no other risk factor) individuals.  Now, I know a lot of folks who have the attitude, “if two tablets will help, three will help more.”  Here is how we start getting into trouble.

On meeting my first real conspiracy theorist

[NOTE: UPDATE: CT edscan has been banned was issued a Sternly Worded Warning from dKos. Could the words of such an unpopular an essayist as me have been any more prescient?]

During the election campaign, I met my fair share of people spouting the emailed Republican talking points. I could discern them, not because anyone I knew personally was idiot enough to send them to me, but because I learned of them through various internet sites. My friends, neighbors and family – politically in sync or not – also knew better than to forward such tripe to my inbox, thus, none did.

Last night, at the most unlikely of places imaginable (at least for me), I met my first flesh-and-blood CT.

The conversation started innocently enough with dog talk at the local dog park followed by discussion of the economy and the bailout. Then, the worm turned to politics. Not just any politics – Texas-style politics.  

Tortured to death

I posted this over at DailyKos and it was my first rec-listed diary there.

There was a front-page post the other day on DailyKos about the detainees that have died in US custody since 2002 after being tortured and abused, so I’m following up on that post with more information I’ve found.

In 2005, the ACLU released findings from autopsy reports of detainees held by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. Twenty one of the autopsies were ruled homicides. Something the ACLU notes that’s interesting (ugh, I hate using that word for this seriously sick finding) is that while at the time CIA abuse was being widely reported in the media, their autopsies revealed a problem with abuse by Navy Seals and military intelligence too.

Some things the report found… and I have to warn you this whole post is graphic:

A detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison, captured by Navy Seal Team number seven, died on November 4, 2003, during an interrogation by Navy Seals and “”OGA.””  A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of Manadel Al Jamadi, shows that the cause of his death was “”blunt force injury complicated by compromised respiration.””  New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as “”Q by OGA and NSWT died during interrogation.””

A detainee was smothered to death during an interrogation by Military Intelligence on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq.  A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of General Mowhoush, lists “”asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression”” as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object.  New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as “”Q by MI, died during interrogation.””

The documents were obtained from the Department of Defense from a Freedom of Information Act request and a judge also ordered that more Abu Ghraib photos should be released, but as of this article the decision was stayed. Are those the ones due to be released this year?

Released FBI Memo Documents Bush Ordering Torture (updated)

For the Soldier who fights for Truth, calls his enemy his brother. — William Blake

Jason Leopold had an amazing find when perusing a new released FBI document the ACLU posted on their site earlier this week. [Update: Leopold informs me that the document was released in Dec. 2004, but he caught the info while perusing the ACLU collection over these past months.]

Senior FBI agents stationed in Iraq in 2004 claimed in an e-mail that President George W. Bush signed an executive order approving the use of military dogs, sleep deprivation and other harsh tactics to intimidate Iraqi detainees.

The FBI e-mail — dated May 22, 2004 — followed disclosures about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and sought guidance on whether FBI agents in Iraq were obligated to report the U.S. military’s harsh interrogation of inmates when that treatment violated FBI standards but fit within the guidelines of a presidential executive order.

Minutes from a Torturers’ Meeting at Guantanamo (w/Update)

Crossposted from Daily Kos

What follows below was transcribed from a PDF of  the original document (or a copy of same), posted on the website of Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It, along with a wealth of other documentation, was used in preparing the SASC’s highly critical report late last year on interrogations and detainee treatment, which concluded that high officials bore responsibility for the mistreatment and torture of prisoners under U.S. control.

The document below constitutes the minutes from a meeting held at Guantanamo in early autumn, 2002. It is presented with minimal editorial comment, as I believe it speaks for itself. So far as I know, no other transcription of this document, minus certain excerpts, has ever been published or posted before. It is done so here as a public service, to promote the position that prosecution of the government’s torture crimes is of paramount importance.

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