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Archive for the ‘Baltimore’ Category

It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

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Brooklyn Skeptic’s hard-hitting coverage of the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith’s life/death continues today with news that her death has been deemed “accidental” by Broward County officials. Apparently she suffered some kind of bad reaction as the woman was literally a cornucopia of drugs. If the pilgrims had this woman instead of root vegetables and fish in their corn (growing) holes, let’s just say this country would have turned out a little differently.

cornucopia.gif

A Cornucopia – “The Horn of Plenty”

Imagine it was filled with drugs.

More importantly, the lethal combo for her was eerily similar to the one that killed her son last fall, according to the family coroner. Methadone and anti-depressants. I know after hearing this news, many of you will also have to change your breakfast drug cocktail. And, just a note of caution, if you are injecting your methadone yourself, be sure to wipe your skin with an alcohol swab first, because bacterial infections in your blood also contribute to the likelihood of your kicking up daisies in the manner of Ms. Smith. I only tell you because I care.

Anyway, the bottom line is that this is total bullshit. There is a huge conspiracy afoot, but I’m not sure who the main players are yet – if only because I am constitutionally unable to identify celebrities. I defer to Johnb on this one.

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Republican Party, you have made your god weep.

I really take glee in all of the proclamations of the downfall of the Republican Party (Yet two years ago they said the same about Democrats). It’s probably due to the overwhelming arrogance that it embodies. With people like Bush, Cheney, Gonzoles as the poster-boys. It’s like the joy of watching the bullies and villains at the end of movies get thrown down into a pit of snakes (my apologies, I’ve watched a lot of Indiana Jones).

In my first installment, let’s talk about our favorite Mr. John McCain.

(more…)

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In the last two days, fifteen people searched for the show about intelligence and fifth graders and landed on Brooklyn Skeptic. WordPress does a nice Big Brother-ish job of telling us how people happened across our site (spooky). Now, of those fifteen people, thirteen searched for something along the lines of “are you smarter then a fifth grader” while two people searched for “are you smarter than a fifth grader.” The answer to both of those questions is that 87% of the people who found our blog because of that show are not, in fact, smarter than fifth graders. This makes Brooklyn sad.

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Open Letter to GMail

Dear GMail,

Where are you?

I tried to log in and I’ve been getting a server error for 17 hours. And 17 seems like one of those “funny numbers” that one might use if she was exaggerating. But actually, literally, you’ve been inaccessible for 17 hours.

All of my coworkers and friends have been happily GMailing and GTalking their brains out all day. Not me though. No sir. No GMail for Lesley.

I’m not a weak person. I can handle stress and hardship. But this might actually be too hard for me to bear. I’m putting myself on suicide watch, GMail. And it’s your fault.

Okay, I’m going to try to get my mind off this for a while. I’ll be checking back several times per hour to check on your status.

Forcibly,

Recklesley

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Last night I had a dream – a flash of unconscious thought really. I was walking on a dark street and became aware that there was someone walking behind me. It was a tall, thin man, wearing a trench coat and clutching a shot gun. It was then that all my fear melted away.

I was safe in the sights of this psychopath, because he was Omar Little, Baltimore’s drug-laden Robin Hood on The Wire.*

Having dreamed about Omar, I thought it might be time to make my feelings about him known in the public sphere – or the “blogosphere” if you want me to vomit on myself.

First of all, Omar is a total badass and is admirable and exemplary in that way. Proof of bad-assedness: gigantic scar across face (which, admittedly, is the actor’s and not technically Omar’s), trench coat/shot gun combo, and the courtroom smack-down in Season Two.

Secondly, Omar is more than a character. He is a statement about agency. In the world of The Wire, there are two strong bureaucratic institutions that control the power – the Police and the Drug Trade. In both institutions, you see a very specific ranking system which at the low end features Hoppers and beat cops and goes all the way to the top, to Avon and the Mayor. The ranks are solidly established, although there is possibility of (limited) vertical mobility. Essentially, once you are in the system, your entire purpose is to perpetuate the institution and the circumstances which allow the institution to exist.

Omar is remarkable because he is not part of either institution, but is able to move freely between them, exploiting the institutions and the circumstances that they create. While others go on as cogs in either the law enforcement or drug machines, Omar is a vigilante, a free agent, going around and fucking things up. He can be compared to another floater, Bubbles, who putters about in both scenes, but is not part of either and wholly reliant on both.

Thirdly, Omar remains a pillar of moral fortitude – albeit the fucked up, killing-is-okay moral order of Baltimore. He is the most consistent character despite the fact that he is not compelled by any outside forces to act in a specific way. While the other characters – both the drug dealers and the cops – constantly stab each other in the back or undermine each other to get a sliver of the power available within their respective institutions, Omar adheres to a strict behavioral guideline from which he never wavers. It is something special to run around as both the most feared man around and the most morally righteous (which is why his face-off with BrotherMouzone is interesting – but a story for another time).

Finally, Omar is a poor, gay, black man and I’m going to go ahead and say it – members of this group do not traditionally hold a lot of power in society. This just makes it all the better that he is the toughest, most righteous, most powerful person on The Wire.

So, in conclusion I can say with little hesitation that if Omar were walking behind me with a loaded shotgun on a deserted street, I wouldn’t be scared. I would just wonder how I ended up in a TV show.

 

*Just to address one concern – yes, I often dream about The Wire, and no, I don’t think I need to get out more.

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