Good Morning Conflucians!!
Behind a nearly flawless performance by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers pounded the Atlanta Falcons, 48-21, at the Georgia Dome to earn a place in the N.F.C. championship game.
Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also ran for a score. He led Green Bay on one long scoring drive after another, putting on an offensive clinic and controlling the game. The Packers gained 442 yards over all, and did not have to punt once.
“This just feels so good right now,” Rodgers said. “To be able to put up that kind of a performance as an offense is incredible.”
They will travel to face the winner of Sunday’s second N.F.C. playoff game, between the Bears and the Seahawks, next Sunday.
Oh yea. A classic line up of the oldest of rivalries would be the Packers against the Bears. We’ll know tomorrow who it will be.
There is continuing good news for Congresswoman Gifforts:
We continue to hear about hopeful signs of recovery from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. On Saturday morning, doctors removed her breathing tube, freeing the Congresswoman from the ventilator. At the same time, they inserted a tracheotomy tube into her windpipe to protect her airways and inserted a feeding tube from outside the skin into the stomach to help provide nutrition.
The Congresswoman’s progress to date is remarkable. She is opening her eyes and moving her limbs on both sides of her body. This is significant since brain injuries often leave a patient with impaired function on the opposite side of the body from where the brain was damaged. In the Congresswoman’s case the bullet struck the left side of her brain which, as well as controlling the muscles on the right side of the body, controls the speech centers. We don’t yet know how the shooting may have affected the Congresswoman’s ability to speak. Now that doctors removed the breathing tube, they hope to determine what, if any speech rehabilitation will be necessary.
There is a long way to go of course. And there’s a lot they don’t know about speech and of course finer motor control, and indeed full brain function. But things look pretty hopeful.
One sad outcome of the tragic shooting and this time very likely from the venomous, over the top, reactions from the media, one of the victims of the shooting has been arrested for making threats at a tea party event:
A man who was wounded in last week’s shooting rampage in Tucson was apprehended by authorities Saturday after he allegedly threatened a “tea party” activist at a town hall meeting of victims and eyewitnesses of the attack.
James Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old Democratic activist, was arrested after shouting “You’re dead!” at Tucson Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jason Ogan. Fuller was shot in the knee and back Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire, killing six and injuring 13, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Fuller, a disabled veteran and former campaign volunteer for Giffords, was charged with making threats, intimidation and disorderly conduct and was involuntarily committed for a psychiatric evaluation, Ogan said.
In an interview with Democracy Now on Thursday, Fuller linked the shooting to conservative leaders associated with the tea party, including Sarah Palin, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target,” Fuller said.
This looks pretty directly linked to the hyperbole and crazy over the top reactions and finger pointing. The media does have influence. Mission Accomplished DailyKos and MSNBC. Of course that doesn’t mean the over the top right should not be held accountable for their insanity and bad taste. As we’ve said before, they’re professionals at this stuff. Don’t kid yourselves. In this case it’s very likely this recent victim was overwhelmed with the tragic event and not in his right mind. Of course now we’ll get to measure the quality and class of the right by how they react to this. Will they say this guy was mislead and overwhelmed by what happened and not necessarily influenced by the media? Not likely. Let even more escalation of the insanity continue.
Here’s my .02 on the matter. This is all Media Kabuki. All theater. Occasionally crazies do crazy things. We of course expect some investigations into who and why, and the usual documentaries and even made for TV movies on the event. In the first case we had a real crazy apolitical person do something horrible. But it seems clear it wasn’t about Giffords politics per se. In the second case I’d guess we have someone overwhelmed by his own injury and the violent event and the loss and injury of friends, and likely with a bit of prodding from the nuts at MSNBC and others, the guy snapped and made a threat. There is no indication he would ever carry out the treat. The emotion is understandable if you’re injured/dazed and mislead with such emotion. But what do we see on both sides of this tragedy. Finger pointing, yelling, over the top, crazy foaming at the mouth about the evils of each side. And the result is more and more anger on each side from the troops. All noise and anger and yelling, keeping everyone focused on the other side as the enemy. Who benefits from that? What are we not talking about and doing something about while we’re all distracted by this theater? I’m not necessarily saying this is carefully organized by both sides to keep the rabble fighting each other. Divide and conquer. It might just have resulted naturally from events, and now the media seeing a good thing is flaming the fires. Step back and take a look at the landscape and think about that some more. Neither party nor the media is your friend. Don’t listen to them. Step back and analyze.
In other news, Tunisia just had a bit of a revolution, as noted here yesterday, and now there’s some hints about the state of Egypt:
Moments after Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was ejected from his palace, tweets began flying across a region that was at once enthralled and appalled by the specter of an Arab leader being overthrown by his own people.
“Today Ben Ali, tomorrow Hosni Mubarak,” gloated one tweeter, referring to Egypt’s long-serving president. “Come on Mubarak, take a hint and follow the lead,” urged another.
And prominent Egyptian blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy observed: “Revolutions are like dominos.”
They follow up with:
On Saturday, a day after Tunisia’s president was forced into exile by massive street demonstrations, the Middle East was still reeling, with calls for copycat protests reverberating across the Internet, in cafes and on street corners as far afield as Jordan and Yemen. For the first time in the history of a part of the world long calcified by autocratic rule, a dictator had been forced from office by a popular revolt, and it was all broadcast live on television
Leaders braced for the fallout. Elites analyzed the potential for the revolution to spread. Ordinary people celebrated, marveled, gossiped and wondered: Will it happen here? What can we do? And, perhaps most important, who will be next?
More on the Tunisian event can be found here. Oh yea, more middle east instability. Just what we all needed. It’s a scary world out there. Perhaps the politicians, pundits, and media could cool their engines and stop playing games for a few minutes.
In science news, it appears smoking does more damage and sooner than we thought. It starts to damage your DNA between 15 and 30 minutes from the first time you smoke:
The researchers looked at the level of chemicals linked with cancer, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), in 12 patients after smoking.
A PAH was added to the subject’s cigarettes, which was then modified by the body and turned into another chemical which damages DNA and has been linked with cancer.
The research shows this process only took between 15 and 30 minutes to take place.
Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at Ash (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “Almost everybody knows that smoking can cause lung cancer.
“The chilling thing about this research is that it shows just how early the very first stages of that process begin – not in 30 years but within 30 minutes of a single cigarette for every subject in the study.
Time to put down those smokes. And don’t pick them up if you haven’t.
In some fun but strange news, and just when you thought things seemed to be going backwards politically and economically, we could see wooly mammoths walking the earth within 4 years:
If you thought “Jurassic Park” and the large, reconstructed skeletons seen in museums were the closest we’d ever come to seeing extinct creatures come to life, you might want to think again.
Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan, is looking to resurrect the woolly mammoth now that a new cloning technique can make it possible. Not only is it possible, but the woolly mammoth could also be reborn as soon as four years from now.
In 2008, Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology developed a cloning technique that allowed him to use the cells of a mouse that was frozen for 16 years to clone a new mouse. This technique has paved the way for new clone-related opportunities, and has inspired Iritani to resurrect the woolly mammoth.
Iritani plans to use this technique to pinpoint healthy nuclei within mammoth cells in order to extract and use them for cloning.
“Now that the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth,” said Iritani.
I for one welcome our new Wooly Mammoth overlords. Well, someone had to say it.
That’s a bit of what’s in the news this morning. Chime in with what you’re reading.