Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last Night's final comment on "Countdown"

I like taking credit for a lot of things. I have my own opinions, and some that aren't told to me by the left wing :-) radical media. However, today I'm just posting Keith Olbermann's final comments. Hopefully, in a day or two I will have something original to post. For now, I would like to publicize Mr. Olbermann's piece:

"OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, a special comment about Rudolph Giuliani‘s remarks at a Lincoln Day dinner in New Hampshire last night.
Since some indeterminable hour between the final dousing of the pyre at the World Trade Center and the breaking of what Senator Obama has aptly termed 911 fever, it has been profoundly and disturbingly evident that we are at the center of one of history‘s great ironies.
Only in this America of the early 21st century could it be true that the man who was president during the worst attack on our nation and the man who was the mayor of the city in which that attack principally unfolded could not only be absolved of any and all blame for the unreadiness of their own governments, but, moreover, would thereafter be branded heroes of those attacks.
And now that mayor, whose most profound municipal act in the wake of that nightmare was to suggest the postponement of the election to choose his own successor, has gone even a step beyond these M.C. Escher constructions of history.
“If any Republican is elected president—and I think, obviously, I would be the best at this—we will remain on offense, and we will anticipate what the terrorists will do, and try to stop them before they do it,” insisting that the election of any Democrat would mean the country was back on defense.
Mr. Giuliani continued last night: “But the question is, how long will it take and how many casualties will we have? If we are on defense, we will have more losses, and it will go on longer.”
He said this was no sense of irony, no sense of any personal shortcomings, no sense whatsoever.
And, if you somehow missed what he was really saying, somehow did not hear the none-too-subtle subtext of, vote Democratic and die, Mr. Giuliani then stripped away any barrier of courtesy, telling Roger Simon of—quote—“America will be safer with a Republican president.”
At least that Republican president under which we have not been safer has, even at his worst, maintained some microscopic distance between himself and a campaign platform that blithely threatened the American people with casualties if they, next year, elect a Democratic president, or, inferring from Mr. Giuliani‘s flights of grandeur in New Hampshire last night, even if they elect a different Republican.”
How dare you, sir?
“How many casualties will we have?”—this is the language of bin Laden.
Yours, Mr. Giuliani, is the same chilling nonchalance of the madman, of the proselytizer who has moved even from some crude framework of politics and society into a virtual Roman Colosseum of carnage, and a conceit over your own ability and worthiness to decide who therein lives and who dies.
Rather than a reasoned discussion, rather than a political campaign advocating your own causes and extolling your own qualifications, you have bypassed all the intermediate steps, and moved directly to trying to terrorize the electorate into viewing a vote for a Democrat, not as a reasonable alternative and an inalienable right, but as an act of suicide.
This is not the mere politicizing of the war in Iraq, nor the vague mumbled epithets about Democratic softness from a delusional vice president. This is casualties on a partisan basis of the naked assertion that Mr. Giuliani‘s party knows all and will save those who have voted for it, and to hell with everybody else, and that he, with no foreign policy experience whatsoever, is somehow the messiah of the moment.
Even to grant that that formula, whether posed by Republican or Democrat, is somehow not the most base, the most indefensible, the most un-American electioneering in our history, even if it is somehow acceptable to assign “casualties” to one party and “safety” to the other, even if we have become so profane in our thinking that it is part of our political vocabulary to view counterterror as one party‘s property and the other‘s liability, on what imaginary track record does Mr. Giuliani base his boast?
Which party held the presidency on September 11, 2001, Mr. Giuliani?
Which party held the mayoralty of New York on that date, Mr. Giuliani? Which party assured New Yorkers that the air was safe and the remains of the dead recovered and not being used to fill potholes, Mr. Giuliani?
Which party wanted what the terrorists wanted, the postponement of our elections? And to whose personal disadvantage would that have redounded, Mr. Giuliani? Which the mayor of New York was elected eight months after the first attack on the World Trade Center, yet did not emphasize counterterror in that same city for the next eight years, Mr. Giuliani?
Which party had proposed to turn over the Department of Homeland Security to Bernard Kerik, Mr. Giuliani? Who wanted to ignore and hide Kerik‘s organized crime allegations, Mr. Giuliani?
Who personally argued to the White House that Kerik need not be vetted, Mr. Giuliani? Which party rode roughshod over Americans‘ rights while braying that it was actually protecting them, Mr. Giuliani? Which party took this country into the most utterly backwards, utterly counterproductive, utterly ruinous war in our history, Mr. Giuliani?
Which party has been in office as more Americans were killed in the pointless fields of Iraq than were killed in the consuming nightmare of 911, Mr. Giuliani?
Drop this argument, sir. You will lose it.
“The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us,” Mr. Giuliani continued to the Rockingham County Lincoln Day dinner last night. “Never, ever again will this country be on defense, waiting for terrorists to attack us, if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake,” he concluded, “the Democrats want to put us back on defense.”
There is no room for this. This is terrorism itself, dressed up as counterterrorism. It is not warning, but bullying, substituted for the political discourse now absolutely essential to this country‘s survival and the freedom of its people.
No Democrat has said words like these. None has ever campaigned on the Republicans‘ flat-footedness of September 11, 2001. None has the requisite irresponsible, all-consuming ambition. None is willing to say, “I accuse,” rather than recognize that, to some degree, all of us share responsibility for our collective stupor.
And if it is somehow insufficient that it is morally, spiritually, and politically wrong to screech as Mr. Giuliani has screeched, there is also this: that gaping hole in Mr. Giuliani‘s argument of “Republicans equal life, Democrats equal death.” Not only have the Republicans not lived up to their babbling on this subject, but, last fall, the electorate called them on it, as doubtless they would call you on it, Mr. Giuliani.
Repeat: Go beyond Mr. Bush‘s rhetorical calamities of 2006. Call attention to the casualties on your watch and your long waking slumber in the years between the two attacks on the World Trade Center. Become the candidate who runs on the “Vote for me or die” platform. Do a Joe McCarthy. Do a Lyndon Johnson. Do a Robespierre.
Only, if you choose so to do, do not come back surprised, nor remorseful, if the voters remind you that terror is not just a matter of casualties. It is just as certainly a matter of the promulgation of fear.
Claim a difference between the parties on the voters‘ chances of survival and you do Osama bin Laden‘s work for him. And we, Democrats and Republicans alike and every variation in between, we, Americans, are sick to death of you and other the terror-mongers trying to frighten us into submission, into the surrender of our rights and our reason, into this betrayal of that for which this country has always stood.
Franklin Roosevelt‘s words ring true again tonight. And, clarified and amplified, they are just as current now as they were when first he spoke them 74 years ago: We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and those who would exploit our fear for power and for their own personal, selfish, cynical gain.
Good night, and good luck."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Got this from NOLA

"New Orleans City Councilman James Carter will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday night featuring Dr. Ed Blakely, the city's recovery director. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the library of O. Perry Walker High School, 2832 Gen. Meyer Ave. Blakely and Carter will discuss how the city's recovery plans will affect Algiers."

If anyone attends this meeting, please post something about the meeting here.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

LRA Press Release

April 10, 2007
MEDIA CONTACT:Natalie WyethLouisiana Recovery Authority(225)

LRA Recommends Expanding Housing Panel; Homeowners to be Appointed
Board Also Directs Staff to Prioritize Additional Funds, Should Federal Government Waive Cost Share
BATON ROUGE, La. (April 10, 2007) - The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) Board of Directors today recommended expanding the Housing and Community Development Task Force to include homeowners as members and advisors. The board also supported conducting additional "in-flight reviews" of the Road Home homeowner assistance program to supplement other audits and program reviews already in place to assure a high level of quality of the program.
Additionally, the board proposed the consideration of a "Homeowner Bill of Principles" at the group's meeting next month. The principles were originally developed by the Citizens' Road Home Action Team (CHAT) and later supplemented by LRA policy staff.
"We thank CHAT for its input and look forward to an in-depth review of these guidelines at our next meeting," said LRA Housing Task Force Chairman Walter Leger. "They provided us with a very good start and since then we've actually added a few more guiding principles homeowners can use as they continue to move through the program."
Leger also updated the board on policy changes to the Road Home program announced yesterday by the LRA and the state's Office of Community Development (OCD) following the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) recent reversal on their previous approval of the program.
Starting Wednesday, homeowners with mortgages will receive a lump sum payment for the full amount of their Road Home grant via electronic transfer in the days following their closing, rather than receiving it in disbursements as repairs are made to their homes.
The policy change follows a similar announcement two weeks ago for homeowners without mortgages. On April 2, 2007, the Road Home program began issuing lump-sum awards directly to homeowners without mortgages.
As of today, the program has received more than 122,000 applications and held close to 95,000 in-person appointments. Almost 62,000 benefits have been calculated totaling $4.7 billion with grants averaging about $76,000. Out of the more than 26,000 homeowners that have returned their award letters, nearly 23,000 have chosen to stay and rebuild in Louisiana. To date, almost 7,000 homeowners have closed on their grants.
The board also passed a resolution authorizing the LRA staff to develop and publish action plans that would prioritize additional funding available for infrastructure and economic development programs should the federal government waive Louisiana's 10 percent FEMA Public Assistance match.
Over recent weeks, editorial pages across the country have called on President Bush to waive Louisiana's federal cost share as the state rebuilds from the first and third most catastrophic disasters in American history. The Washington Post editorial board has endorsed the LRA's push for the waiver three times, while The New York Times has called for the same in two separate editorials. The cost share requirement was waived for New York following 9/11 and Florida after Hurricane Andrew.
The resolution authorized staff to prepare action plans based on a potential $550 million for the Long Term Community Recovery Program, $150 million for the Long Term Regional Recovery Program, and $125 million for Economic Development Initiatives.
LRA Chairman Norman C. Francis emphasized that these recommendations were preliminary and could change, but that it was important to start the public comment process as soon as possible should the federal government act.
Long Term Community Recovery ProgramAccording to the resolution, the state would amend the Long-Term Community Recovery Program within the Infrastructure Program to provide an additional $550 million to fund the implementation of local long-term recovery plans in the most heavily impacted areas of the state. The funds would be distributed to the parishes based on damage estimates previously approved by the board.
Long Term Regional Recovery ProgramIn addition, the state would allocate $150 million to the Long Term Regional Recovery Program to fund specific projects based on regional needs, regional impact, and consistency with the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision for South Louisiana.
Economic DevelopmentLastly, the resolution recommended an additional $125 million be put toward economic development initiatives including small business assistance, tourism and workforce development:
- The LRA estimates the additional funds could help 8,000-10,000 small businesses in the form of grants, loans, and technical assistance and provide wage subsidies for businesses to offset the increased costs of labor and retain and recruit additional workers. More than 81,000 businesses were initially affected by the storms, while more than 18,000 are still out of business.
- The LRA also recommended putting additional funds toward an aggressive advertising and marketing program developed by the Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation & Tourism to help revive the tourism industry. Prior to the storms, tourism was the second largest industry in the state and the cultural economy was the fastest growing industry in the state.
- Additionally, the LRA supported additional funding for the Recovery Workforce Training Program which addresses the severe shortage of workers in key recovery sectors, including construction, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
Should the federal government waive Louisiana's cost share and the board approve the proposed funding at a subsequent meeting, the plan would be sent to the Governor and the Louisiana Legislature for their approval. HUD would have final approval.
During the afternoon session, the board received an update from the Long Term Community Planning Task Force and a presentation on Katrina Cottages from the Cypress Group. The state is awaiting FEMA's approval of Louisiana's plan from FEMA to begin construction at the selected sites and is also working to identify additional sites. Representatives from the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA) outlined their plans to provide home ownership financing to residents selected to participate in the alternative housing pilot program.
Board member Sean Reilly later previewed the LRA's proposed legislative package driven by the preliminary results of the Louisiana Speaks regional plan. Key highlights of the proposal include study resolutions related to creating an office of state planning, identifying obstacles to infill development and about how to finance transit-oriented projects.
Reilly also presented the board with the results of an independent actuarial analysis of the structural options, cost and impact of a hurricane catastrophe fund in the post-2005 Louisiana insurance market. The report, commissioned by the LRA Support Foundation, was designed to serve as a tool for policymakers to make decisions on whether and how to design the fund by providing capacity calculations for the fund, financing sources and options, and evaluating the benefits and limitations of several optional structural components of the fund.
"It was important to us that we could put forward some good sound, actuarial numbers on what a catastrophic fund would mean for the State of Louisiana," said Reilly.
The board did not endorse the creation of such a fund, but offered the study to guide policymakers in their deliberations.
The study included different types of properties covered, including residential and commercial, and the effect of increased costs of rebuilding post disaster. The study also examined when the fund would take effect in response to the level of primary industry losses. Finally, the report analyzed the types of insurance lines eligible for assessment to support state bonding capacity in the event that fund losses exceed available cash, start-up capital contributed at the fund's creation and loss modeling assumptions used to calculate premiums. The complete report can be downloaded at:
Board resolutions and presentations for the board meeting are available on the LRA website at

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The End of Imus..........

It was reported today that CBS Radio has dropped Don Imus' show. My only problem with this is the double standard that appears remarkably obvious in this situation. Not only should Jesse Heimey town" Jackson, and Al "Tajuana Brawley" Sharpton be held to similar standards, but how about imprisoning Anne Coulter for her suggestion that Supreme Court Justice Stevens should be poisoned, and let's hold Rush ' to the all you can eat ' Limbaugh accountable for his improper use of prescription drugs. Finally, shouldn't we take action against Bill O' Reilly for his improper actions toward a subordinate coworker?

Fine let the old man ride off into the sunset.... He is one of the ugliest men I ever did see, but is he so much more important than these others that he be held to a higher standard? Hate is hate regardless of the color of the mouth it comes from.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Diabetes Research breakthrough

I just saw this on It might be of interest to some of you.

'Rebuilt' immune system shakes off diabetes

* 21:00 10 April 2007
* news service
* Roxanne Khamsi

Diabetics appear to have been cured with a one-off treatment that rebuilds their immune system, according to a new study.

The technique, which uses patients' own bone marrow cells, has freed 14 of 15 patients with type 1 diabetes from their dependence on insulin medication.

So far, participants in the trial have gone 18 months without insulin therapy following the procedure, on average. One patient has lasted three years without needing such injections.

In patients with type 1 diabetes, which typically strikes in early childhood or adolescence, the immune system appears to erroneously attack cells in the pancreas that produce the hormone insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar levels in the body spiral out of control. People with diabetes receive insulin therapy, often in the form of self-injected shots, to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
Wipe out

Scientists have speculated that "resetting" the immune system might stop it from attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Julio Voltarelli, at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues recruited 15 people aged 14 to 31 years who had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Roughly 60% to 80% of these patients' insulin-producing cells had been destroyed by the time of their diagnosis, and all needed regular insulin shots.

The researchers removed bone marrow stem cells from the patients, who were then given drugs such as cytotoxan to wipe out their immune cells. Without an immune system, the patients were vulnerable to infection and so they were given antibiotics and kept in an isolation ward. They participants did not undergo radiation treatment – as leukaemia patients often do as part of a bone marrow transplant – and so had fewer side effects and less risk of organ damage.

Two weeks later, the patients received infusions of their own stem cells into their bloodstream via the jugular vein, which re-established their immune systems.

Throughout this time and following the stem cell transplant, the research team continued taking blood samples to assess how much insulin each patient required.
Free for life?

Of the 15 patients, 12 no longer needed insulin shots within a few days of undergoing the procedure. One patient from the group had a relapse and needed to take insulin for one year, before becoming insulin-independent again – and has remained this way for 5 months.

Of the remaining two participants, one stopped needing insulin shots for one year after the transplant but has spent the past two months back on the shots, and the final participant's diabetes did not respond to the stem cell treatment.

Those who responded to the treatment have not needed insulin shots – so far, for an average 18 months – and had not relapsed at the time of study publication. One patient had gone as long as 35 months without needing insulin therapy. "It may be that they become insulin-free for life. We don't know," says Voltarelli.

Exactly why some patients responded to the treatment and one did not remains a mystery. "It could be due to differences in genetic background or severity of the immune attack," Voltarelli suggests.

During the course of the trial, one patient developed pneumonia as a result of the immune-suppressing drugs used in the procedure. Two others developed complications, including thyroid dysfunction and early menopause, but it is not clear if these relate to the stem cell transplant
Honeymoon period

Jay Skyler, who heads the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida, US, cautions that the trial did not include a control group. Skyler adds some people experience a remission of symptoms shortly after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and the increase in insulin production seen among study participants might be related to this "honeymoon period".

Skyler also notes it is unclear exactly how the insulin production in the patients increased.

Still, he says that the trial has "shown some potentially promising results". And Voltarelli is hopeful that this type of approach could help patients with type 1 diabetes avoid some of the long-term complications that arise from the illness, such as kidney, eye and nerve damage, which result from chronically high levels of blood sugar.

Journal reference: Journal of the American Medical Association (vol 297, p 1568)