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    • God As Idea, By Eric Anderson
      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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Australian Virus Researcher Says Swine Flu May have Escaped from a Lab


Bloomberg is reporting that The World Health Organization (WHO) is examining a study of the swine flu virus by Adrian Gibbs, a respected researcher whose work contributed to the development of the flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

Adrian Gibbs, 75, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu drug, said in an interview that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.

“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.”


Gibbs and two colleagues analyzed the publicly available sequences of hundreds of amino acids coded by each of the flu virus’s eight genes. He said he aims to submit his three-page paper today for publication in a medical journal.

Continue reading

A Single Payer advocate on MSNBC: Ed Schultz

Today’s regularly scheduled post has been replaced by this astonishing segment from Ed Schultz on MSNBC:

Ed Schultz show
(I’d love to know why vodpod can’t post videos if the source is MSNBC)

I’ve been feeling discouraged about how the single-payer option has been not just taken off the table but has been erased from the public discussion. It’s been reminding me of the run-up to the Iraq war (and we know how that turned out) when all the demonstrations – all over the world – had no effect at all on public policy.

Well that video is an uplifting blast of optimism. Ed and his guests are fully aware of the hurdles we’re facing in getting real useful Health Care Reform. But, they’re ready for a multi-year battle. Nothing has changed, really. But, that conversation warmed my heart.

This is an Open Thread but, please spend 13 minutes watching this video. I’m really interested in what you think of it. (Who IS Ed Schultz & where did he come from?)

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Breakfast news

Iraq War: The Sequel
Soldier rampage hints at stress of repeated deployments

Military police on Tuesday charged Sgt. John Russell, a soldier on a 15-month tour to Iraq – his third deployment to the country – with murder in the shooting deaths of five soldiers at an American base.

Details about Sergeant Russell are beginning to emerge. In an interview with a local television station in Sherman, Texas, Russell’s father said his son was facing financial difficulty and feared he was about to be discharged from the Army. The case has focused further attention on the effect that multiple, extended deployments are having on soldiers.

Base Slayings Spur Probe of Mental Health Care

The U.S. military said Tuesday that it is launching a probe to identify shortcomings in mental health treatment for troops deployed in war zones, after a soldier allegedly killed five fellow service members at a base clinic in Baghdad on Monday.

Parties Face Off Over CIA Interrogation Briefings

The GOP’s (new) justification for torture
Republicans: Nancy Pelosi could have objected

Congress’s Torture Bubble (By Vicki Divoll, a former deputy counsel to the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, was the general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003.)

JUST four members of Congress were notified in 2002 when the Central Intelligence Agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” program was first approved and carried out, according to documents released by the agency last week.
[A]s a practical matter, there was very little, if anything, the Gang of Four could have done to affect the Bush administration’s decision on the enhanced interrogation techniques program.

Why won’t Dick Cheney just go away and leave us alone?
Dick Cheney: Why So Chatty All of a Sudden?

For a man whose public profile was almost non-existent while he was a public servant, it’s clear from his schedule alone that private citizen Cheney hasn’t merely resurfaced — he’s gone on the offensive. The question is why?

Not only do we have to put up with this torture-loving freak, now we have his daughter too. What was that about the apple and the tree?
Liz Cheney suggests Obama ‘siding with terrorists’

Cheney in Manhattan: ‘A giant conspiracy’ on Iran

GOP Quo Vadis?
Finally! The Republican Party has come up with a brand new strategy to get back to power. Something totally different.
GOP, RNC to rebrand Democrats as ‘Socialists’

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”

Analysis: Cheney attacks may not help GOP

GOP poised to reject Interior nominee

Richard Posner said there’s currently no (intellectual) there there.
Is the Conservative Movement Losing Steam?

Economic woes
Alarm Sounded On Social Security

The financial health of the Social Security system has eroded more sharply in the past year than at any time since the mid-1990s, according to a government forecast that ratchets up pressure on the Obama administration and Congress to stabilize the retirement system that keeps many older Americans out of poverty.

Recession Hits Social Security Projections

I still can’t believe Thomas Frank has a spot on the WSJ op-ed pages. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.
Republicans vs. Bureaucrats

You can’t starve government and blame it too.

Why Obama’s conservatism may not prove good enough

Wednesday: With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

Franklin D. signs Social Security into law

Franklin D. signs Social Security into law

Short post this am, I’m off to another TC.

Social Security “reform” is back in the news. We always knew that Medicare needed a major overhaul but Social Security was supposed to be safe- as long as the economy kept growing.  Ah, there’s the rub.  During recessions, economies do not grow.  Now, in the past, recessions weren’t very long lasting and things righted themselves soon enough.  But *this* recession is different.  In this recession, we have given away the store to the bankers, literally, and have them hobbling along on their zombie bandaged feet, arms outstretched to consume whatever’s left.  In spite of all the money we’ve dumped on them, they are still wildly undercapitalized.  And they’re going to hold onto their toxic assets while they gamble for ressurection with the money we gave them.  In other words, the recession is going to be long, painful and Japanese. There are going to be a lot of people out of work, for longer periods of time and contributions to the social security trust fund are going to diminish proportionally.

We could have shortened the pain but we have Obama and he and his droogs at Treasury are determined to save the bankers from the endangered species list at the expense of the rest of us.  Reform, if it comes at all, will be too little, too late.  So, here we are, looking a reduced Social Security trust fund, a much smaller piece of the pie that we will have to divide amongst ourselves.  And there will be many more people who will be relying on it this time, thanks to the bankers and stock brokers who gambled away our retirement money.

Judging from my mom’s reaction to the perceived fate of Social Security, I wouldn’t expect any help from the older generation.  They got theirs, they pity you but not enough to want to help you at their own expense.  Expect the administration to “divide and conquer”.  There will be some age cutoff where you will be sitting pretty to receive what you put into the system.  People like yours truly will miss that cutoff, just like everything else people my age missed like income averaging and car loan deductions on our income taxes and generous Pell grants.  We will be expected to provide for ourselves using the markets for returns, which will be extremely risky and will undoubtably be accompanied by generous fees for the money managers.

I can hardly wait.