A MISSOURI LAWYER'S
OCTOBER 15, 2004
Archived Prior Ramblings
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Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of October 15,
2004. Watched the debate last Friday Night and the debate last Wednesday
night. Honorable persons can disagree about which of the candidates,
Johnny Botox or Righteous Chimp should be president. I don't think the
debates changed any minds: I certainly remain undecided. Christopher
Reeves walked into the light this week, returned home. I
wonder who he would have voted for? No doubt, for Kerry, if only
because of Kerry's support for stem cell research, in the hope of
regenerative or reparative, ("A treatment in which stem cells are
induced to differentiate into the specific cell types required to repair
damaged or depleted adult cell populations or tissues."), medical
solutions for diseases like Diabetes,
etc. What are "stem
cells"? There are two types: embryonic stem cells,
(primitive, undifferentiated, (meaning they as yet have no specified
function), cells from an embryo that have the potential to become a wide
variety of specialized cell types), and adult stem cells, (an
undifferentiated cell found in differentiated tissue that can renew itself
and (with certain limitations) differentiate to yield all the specialized
cell types of the tissue from which it originated.) "Stem cells
are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to
5-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst,
stem cells in developing tissues give rise to the multiple specialized
cell types that make up the heart, lung, skin, and other tissues. In some
adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete
populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are
lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease." Embryonic
stem cells hold more promise for curing illness because they can be coaxed
to "differentiate", (turn into), any specialized type of cell,
while adult stem cells can only be coaxed to "differentiate"
into specialized cells of the tissue from which they were harvested.
There is no appreciable argument about adult stem cell research,
however, because embryonic stem cells are harvested from " ...
embryos used ... were created for infertility purposes through in vitro
fertilization procedures [a donor egg is fertilized in a test tube] and
when they are no longer needed for that purpose, they are donated for
research with the informed consent of the donor ... " there
is great umbrage taken by those who believe life begins at conception.
clinics remove eggs from a women, fertilize the eggs and then store
the resulting blastocysts in liquid hydrogen for future use. If not used,
they are destroyed. All of the 22 current
embryonic stem cell lines, (a stem cell line consists of stem
cells that have survived being grown in culture
medium and have not differentiated after 6 months of growth:
they are then patented), were derived this way, due to President Bush's Executive
Order, only 12 are approved for Federally Funded research. Embryonic
stem cells don't come from abortion clinics: they come from infertility
clinics ... <scratching his head> ...
so, what is the real moral issue? Have an infertility clinic artificially
start/create life because you want to be a Mom and Dad and for you to be
so, the infertility clinic has to create more embryos/life than you need
to have that child, (to account for implant failures) and kill the
leftover embryos ... or ... removing stem cells from an embryo that
is going to be destroyed, allowed to die? (Question: How
could life, artificially created, die naturally, when it can not live
naturally?) Would it make a difference if the stem cells were removed upon
the "natural" death of the embryo? How would that be
different from a terminal patient whose organs are removed upon death and
transplanted to another human being, (keep in mind, parents can consent to
donate the organs of their deceased children: children/embryos can't
consent to anything). If stem cell research can find a cure for Diabetes, Alzheimer's, regenerate injured body parts, etc. AND as a society we
continue to allow, condone, the creation of life in infertility clinics,
why shouldn't we allow, encourage the research to find those cures by
harvesting embryonic stem cells from those embryos doomed to destruction?
Christopher Reeves, (and many other folks in the medical research
community), certainly thought/think so. Some food for thought:
just because we CAN do something, does not mean we should.
I've been yanking on you about losing weight for a year now: keep citing studies that support the health benefits. This week in a new study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA): "Stomach reduction and gastric bypass surgery not only help the extremely obese lose weight, but they also can alleviate Type 2 diabetes and return high cholesterol levels to normal .. They found patients typically lost more than 60 percent of their excess weight -- usually more than 100 pounds. Diabetes was resolved in nearly 77 percent of patients with the disease. Cholesterol levels were lowered in at least 70 percent of patients. Blood pressure was returned to normal in nearly 62 percent of patients who had high levels before surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea was cured or improved in 83.6 percent of patients who had the breathing disorder." In another study released this week by the "think tank", Rand Corporation, analyzing the relative health risks of smoking, drinking, obesity and poverty. The conclusion: "The study reveals that obesity is linked to very high rates of chronic illnesses--higher than living in poverty, and much higher than smoking or drinking ... When compared with normal-weight individuals of the same age and sex having similar social demographics, obese people suffer from an increase in chronic conditions of approximately 67 percent. In contrast, the increase for normal-weight daily smokers is only 25 percent; and for normal-weight heavy drinkers, only 12 percent." In related news: " Alarmed by the obesity epidemic, North Carolina's largest health insurance company [Blue Cross Blue Shield] announced yesterday that it will offer more than 1 million of its members the most comprehensive package of benefits ever provided to prevent and treat weight problems." Do you really believe BCBS would extend coverage if it was not in the best interests of it's bottom line? You CAN control your weight! I have done it. My Dear Friends Tom Farnam, Joanna Owen and Tom DeWoskin, et. al. have done it. I have emails from folks around the world on "My Diet" DOING IT!! ... <looking at you> ... you know the risks of smoking ... now you know, now you have to realize, being "obese" poses more than twice the risk of smoking!!! (Perhaps we need to have warning labels sewn into underwear, over a given size: "WARNING!!! IF THESE FIT, AND YOU ARE NOT 11 FEET TALL, SEE YOUR DOCTOR: GET CHECKED FOR Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol Levels AND Depression.") And finally: "Impotence drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra and possibly a libido-enhancing drug for women could all be covered under the new Medicare prescription drug plan." (Click here for Article). Is this really a wise allocation of Medicare resources? ... <shuddering> .... Can't you just picture, in your mind's eye, a bunch of old men walking around with erections ... and not being able to remember ... what they are for?
Seems there are folks who consider "obesity" a disease. Some folks consider "drug addiction", "alcoholism", "sex addiction", "gambling addiction", any of the "philia's, like pedophilia, zoophilia, etc. a disease. Perhaps "smoking", nicotine addiction, is a disease. Are these behavioral choices or compulsions so strong, a reasonable person can not avoid the behavior? At what point does categorizing behaviors a disease, become diffusion of personal responsibility? I don't know. Perhaps we now have the ability to deal with behavioral issues on a medical level, rather than having to rely on religious constructs and prohibitions. What do you think?
Somewhat predictable: folks trying to make a profit on flu shoots. "The average price for a flu shot this year ranges anywhere from $10-$25, but there have been reports of providers charging as much as $100 per shot. Medical experts say that charging anything more than $25 is unethical." And "With a flu-shot shortage happening across the country, already one distributor is accused of price gouging, and the Kansas Attorney General is going after them. Phill Kline says the Florida based company [ASAP Meds, Inc d/b/a] Med-Stat tried to charge a Kansas City, Kansas pharmacy $900 for a vial of the flu vaccine. [that it was selling for $85.00] That would make the cost of a shot $90, nine times the normal price. The pharmacy ordered the vaccine for a local nursing home, a high risk group that will have to wait even longer. If convicted, the vaccine distributor could face $40,000 in fines. I hope the scumbags at Med-Stat, (a privately held Florida company), get BURNED bigtime!! There are and always have been persons who live on, prey on, their fellow human beings: the best we can hope to do ... is keep them from breeding, (grant them a same sex marriage license, while they do a "Martha Stewart", (decorate their jail cells)). And then, the Righteous Chimp: "When President George W. Bush spoke of importing Canadian flu vaccine during Wednesday's election debate, many in the U.S. public health community were struck by the irony of an administration that slams the door on cheaper Canadian drugs, but looks north for help with an embarrassing vaccine shortage." Sheesh!! We can't import, from Canada, medications manufactured in the United States and exported to Canada because of "safety concerns" but can import medications manufactured in Canada? You know ... I remain undecided about who I will vote for ... but will share ... how sad is it, when you view voting for a Presidential Candidate, as a question of voting for a known evil because you can't trust the unknown one? 'Nuff said.
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY on Wednesday, an article: "In 1992, 1996 and 2000, we asked readers to cast their votes on cookie recipes offered by the candidates' wives. Each time, the cookie vote forecast the outcome of the presidential election ... " The outcome for this campaign: Mrs. Bush leading by 67%. [On a side note: Mrs. Bush's cookies have less carbs and more dietary fiber ... there is speculation that, Mrs. Kerry would win a condiment, (like ketchup), face-off, hands down.]
Sitting here editing these Ramblings, sipping on some Port and thinking about Christopher Reeves. By the Grace of God, he walked home. He fought the good fight: made a difference, (let's take up the fight, let us make a difference by DEMANDING that embryonic stem cell research be allowed and ... demand that it result in cures, SHOULD and only SHOULD, we as a society continue to allow Infertility Clinics). Susan's HA1C, (long term measure of blood sugar levels), this week, came back: 6.3, (the insulin pump works!) Wonderful news!! She is managing her diabetes, (guess my little BORG will have to deal with and love this dumb ole country lawyer, (by the Grace of God), for awhile longer :) On this evenings news: more election crap from Johnny Botox and Righteous Chimp, while the price of oil hit $55.00 a barrel today. (I think you will be able to buy a used SUV, really cheap, before long ... and folks who heat their homes with heating oil better pray for a mild winter!!) The battle for Fallujah is on again ... "US Officials say they are "probing" the defenses in Fallujah in order to determine how to proceed ..." ... didn't they do that 6 months ago and decided, were ordered, not to proceed: instead, seek a political settlement? What makes you think our men and women in uniform, on the ground, in harms way, will have a free hand this time? What is our leadership willing to commit to, to win? The "big stick" or death, by a thousand cuts, (one soldier at a time)? Who will chose which soldier will be the last one cut? The commander on the ground or the politician in Washington? "Reservists are armor plating their vehicles and buying body armor, at their own cost, before being deployed" ... maybe we should trade in some of those $800.00 toilet seats? I believe in the power of prayer: the time for some SERIOUS "knee time" is long overdue: tonight, as I hold the most beautiful BORG, (actually the only BORG), I know ... hehehe ... "Resistance is futile!!" ... we will pray for guidance for our elected and soon to be elected public officials, for our men and women in uniform .... <whispering> .... (Please, Please, Please ... Lord, let them come home safe and soon ... especially SPC Thorpe) ... for our America and you. Be and sleep well and please think of those, in uniform, on duty, so you can. If my post offends, I apologize ... I write these Ramblings in the hope, you will take a moment and think about the issues raised ... and perhaps, chuckle at my feeble observations. As always ...
A Warm Brotherly Hug
Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer from Holden, Missouri)
Karl H. Timmerman M.A.J.D. © 2004
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