Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
The Washington Post reports:
But one habit endures: Obama has gone to the gym, for about 90 minutes a day, for at least 48 days in a row. He always has treated exercise less as recreation than requirement, but his devotion has intensified during the past few months. Between workouts during his Hawaii vacation this week, he was photographed looking like the paradigm of a new kind of presidential fitness, one geared less toward preventing heart attacks than winning swimsuit competitions. The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I guess the one-time-only carries no weight...but I am more disturbed by the fact that recounting votes to ensure accuracy allegedly violates the equal protection clause, because "by later arbitrary and disparate treatment" one person's vote is valued over another.
Rather, it seems to me that the equal protection clause is violated when reasonable evidence that clearly indicates a false outcome within the results of a certain voting bloc is ignored.
As well as their potential for creating effective therapies for debilitating diseases, embryonic stem cells could open the door to improved pharmaceutical drug testing, according to a leading British stem cell researcher.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the British Pharmacological Society in Brighton, UK, Christine Mummery described how using embryonic stem cells to create human heart cells could be a viable and scientifically exciting alternative to animal testing.
...before new drugs can go forward for clinical trials, it's necessary for the chemical compounds which make up a drug to undergo thousands of tests for toxicity before beginning trials on animals -- initially on rodents and then often on dogs.
It's here, at this ethically sensitive stage, that Professor Mummery believes stem cell research could transform drug development.
...stem cell based drug testing is already being promoted in the UK with the public/private initiative "Stem Cells for Safer Medicine" which was set up in 2007.
It's something Mummery hopes will be replicated in other countries and particularly in the U.S. under President-elect Obama who is a proponent of stem cell research. (full article)
more than 25 weight-loss products contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that may jeopardize the health of consumers. Ingredients contained in these products include sibutramine (a controlled substance), rimonabant (not approved in the United States), phenytoin (an antiseizure drug), and phenolphthalein (used in chemical experiments and is suspected to cause cancer). Some of the products are promoted as "dietary supplements" or claim to contain only "herbal" ingredients and are sold online and in some stores, according to the FDA. They are not FDA approved and are considered illegal. (full article)You can check a list of products here.
Monday, December 22, 2008
1. Universal Health Care
2. Economic Recovery and Job Creation
3. Build a Green Economy and Stop Climate Change
4. End the War in IraqBuilding a green economy and ending climate change has to be a number one priority--and job creation comes before universal health care in my book.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
This is all just too much to bare, so I decided to invest in a cup (it's actually called the DivaCup--but while I am certainly not embarrassed to talk about my period, I am definitely embarrassed to admit I purchased an item with the word "Diva" in it).
Basically, it is a reusable, latex-free, plastic-free, hypoallergenic cup without dyes or additives that you insert and empty/wash as needed. I was so excited to give it a trial run and blog about it--but I honestly could not work the damn thing. I have friends that swear by it...maybe I'll have better luck next time.
Anyway, this led me to 7th Generation organic tampons. If you were not already aware, regular tampons contain additives and other icky stuff not suited for your insides. I was happy to see that 7th Generation makes organic tampons that are 100% cotton--nothing else. Not even an applicator which, by the way, IS SUCH A WASTE OF PLASTIC. Without the applicator, the box is an eighth of the size of conventional brands.
As for the cup, I'll get back to you on that.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
According to Planned Parenthood:
Facilities that receive family planning funding, like Planned Parenthood, will have to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control. For example, a doctor who opposes pre-marital sex could refuse to provide a prescription or even information about emergency contraception to an unmarried woman.Please ask the Obama administration to take action against this.
No. Well that could be a small part. But I look back and realize that I had replaced those intimacies formerly reserved for girlfriends with boyfriends. A year and a half with one, and a year with another. And then I thought--what bull shit.
All of that bonding time, and for what? Neither one will speak to me--one for reasons that have been explained, and the other...who the hell knows.
I guess that I am just mad at myself. How did my long-term investments of best friendships morph into these short-term boyfriend best buddies, with my real best friends becoming a side dish? I should have kept a better balance. What a rip off. Cumulatively, I committed 2.5 years of my life to people who are currently yielding ZERO return. That's just bad business.
As for my best friends? We are still laughing about things that happened 3, 4, 5, even 6 or more years ago.
I have to say, it may have taken 21 years, but I am so happy to be single. And I am so happy that I switched boyfriend best buds back in for my real best friends.
And yes, I am going to stoop really low right now and quote Big, but "a guy is just lucky to come in fourth."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Ghrelin, a peptide in the stomach, has been recently found to play a role in addictive behaviors. Jorgen Engel, professor of pharmacology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg explains:
Previous research had shown that ghrelin levels in blood plasma are altered in addictive behaviours such as alcohol dependence and compulsive overeating…It may be that common mechanisms in the brain underlie different forms of addictive behaviours, including compulsive overeating, pathological gambling and drug dependence," he said. "We hypothesized that the ghrelin system may be an important player in the brain-reward systems and, more specifically, wanted to investigate if the ghrelin system is involved in alcohol dependence in humans.Additionally, variations of ghrelin make individuals more or less susceptible to experiencing multiple addictive behaviors, such as alcoholism and over-eating—underscoring the genetic basis of such disorders.
Source: "Alcoholism; Peptide ghrelin may be involved in both alcohol dependence and overeating." NewsRx Health & Science (Oct. 2008): 21.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Georgia legislators have began lining up to introduce bills eliminating the requirement that juries be unanimous for a death sentence. Hard-on-crime lawmakers have long favored easier rules on death sentencing, but the Nichols sentence has given new urgency to their cause. full articleRepresentative Barry A. Fleming believes the law should be weakened because “Unfortunately, you have people who say they’re willing to consider the death penalty, but when they get on a jury, it becomes clear that they’re actually death penalty opponents.”
Uhhh...you mean once citizens become personally involved in the process, they tend to realize that execution is cruel and unusual punishment? That Americans retract support of the death penalty on the spot lends credence to eliminating the punishment--not making it easier to execute (no pun intended).
To this end, I had a few answers. Life may be ultimately meaningless, but I can still process stimulation--so why not just feel good, mentally or physically? The second is rather civil libertarian. We must fight for freedom in general to ultimately protect the security of our own. Once a certain group is oppressed, oppression becomes permissible, and our own stability is compromised. Fine. Self-interest connected to the whole.
But that answer was not enough. What could explain my environmental edge? As far as I am concerned, I will not live to see the true dangers of climate change. As far as actual rights are concerned in the political sphere, animals are irrelevant. To this end, I attributed the urge to cultural appraisals of kindness and care taking--specifically hammered in as a social product of my vagina. Because I have been made to believe that being ethical will make me happy, I live my life giving and being ethical. I ultimately decided that even if the joy I experience from giving is indoctrination, the physical and emotional sensations prevail, and for this effect, such actions are taken in self-interest.
Still, I felt as though something was missing--and a few weeks ago, I found my answer. I realize that positive feelings and positive energy simply feel good. Smiling feels good. Watching people smile feels good. Being around happy people feels good. Being around sad people feels bad. APATHY DOES NOT FEEL LIKE ANYTHING. So why would I ever be negative or apathetic if I need not be? It is in my own self-interest to be positive about as many things as possible at any given time.
This translates into the way one considers the rest of the world. For example, I could hate animals or be apathetic toward them. If I hated them, I would detract from my own positive experience through anger or abhorrence. If I were neutral, I would simply not gain anything from them at all. I would eat a burger and be unaffected. But if I love animals, I win--because I have something extra in my life to enjoy. I get free, positive energy. And when I love animals all of the time through veganism, I have replaced a wash with a win--everyday.
If positive energy feels good, reasonable altruism can be a drug. I have also realized that the same applies to people. I could chose to not care or hate a person--or I could be forgiving and wish that person well, and instead feel the gains of happy thoughts. This is different than being happy because I am the type of good person who wishes one happy thoughts (which is the effect of the indoctrination theory). This is literally about taking away some other neutral, worried, or negative thought in my brain and replacing it with a positive thought.
I suppose I could enjoy only the select things that directly bring me pleasure: food, friends, movies, infatuation. Only a limited pool would contribute to my self-interest and pleasure. Or I could just appreciate life and all living things, and suddenly the pool of things that give me pleasure seems unlimited.
This is not about care taking. This is about receiving pleasure. No matter how upset I may be, seeing a doggy on the street makes me shriek with joy. By loving animals instead of being apathetic to them, I just win. It isn't about giving.
Perhaps this is all a matter of framing. Perhaps I only say all of this now because I am at a different place in my life. A more appreciative and thankful place. The more I care about life, the more I appreciate life, the more positive I feel all around. I have less anger. I have less stress. I get to experience gratitude, affection and joy much more.
In fact, I am starting to wonder how or why I could even waste my own precious, self-interested time with anger or stress to begin with? Instead, I can just find something to appreciate in everything--and always win.
Cleveland Clinic surgeons have performed the nation’s first near total face transplant, officials said on Tuesday. The patient is a woman who was not identified.
Three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China. All have involved using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.
The Cleveland surgical team, led by Dr. Maria Siemionow, said it had replaced about 80 percent of the patient’s face with that of a dead woman in the last two weeks. The doctors offered no details on the patient, but said they would discuss her surgery at a news conference on Wednesday. full article
Monday, December 15, 2008
Oh Kennedy. You old swing vote, you.
Thanks to Mapp v. Ohio (1964), evidence obtained in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments is thrown out of court to deter wrongful police conduct...
EXCEPT when there is a good faith attempt by police to obtain the evidence legally, and
EXCEPT when evidence would have been obtained by other means (free will, inevitably, whatever)
Can we all recognize the wiggle room here and quit the yapping?
So, I thought this was a joke...but apparently it isn't...
A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.
The 20-something from Zhuhai in Guangdong province arrived at hospital having completely lost the hearing in her left ear, said local reports...
The doctor who treated the girl in hospital was quoted in the paper explaining what had happened.
"The kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear." full article
I am really impressed.
I wish more restaurants--and more people--were veg-friendly.
You may have noticed that there are currently two ads that have been recently added to The Colonic. I would like to clarify that my blog does not include any paid advertisement, but that of my own good will and spirit, I have decided to advertise for certain companies/organization that I find to be of particular merit.
Some of my lovely readers have been emailing me articles that they think are up my alley. I really enjoy hearing from all of you, and please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you'd like.
Reporting from Denver -- Bill Ritter Jr. was not the first governor of Colorado to declare the first Thursday in May as a day of prayer.
But he was the first to attend a celebration of the National Day of Prayer at the state Capitol, joining a crowd of several hundred Christians in 2007. His appearance at the event caught the attention of a Wisconsin-based atheist group, which has mounted a campaign its leaders hope will dissuade him and other governors from participating again.The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit in state court, seeking to stop the governor from issuing any proclamations it says endorse a particular religion and send a message to nonreligious residents "that they are expected to believe in God."The suit is part of a broader campaign by the group to overturn the 1952 law designating a National Day of Prayer and mandating an annual proclamation by the president. full article
"Everybody has become too comfortable with this interaction of religion and government. Sometimes someone needs to push back," said David Habecker, 63, one of the lawsuit's plaintiffs and a member of the foundation.
Habecker was ousted as town trustee in Estes Park, Colo., in a 2005 recall after he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because he objected to the phase "under God."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the ACLU is calling on the incoming Obama administration to recommit to the rights and principles laid out in the document and use it as a guidepost for setting policy at home and abroad.
The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 to codify the basic human rights of all people and is widely considered to be the founding document of the modern human rights movement.
Sign petition here
Friday, December 12, 2008
Are you kidding me? Not only is this list waaaaaaay too long, it covers so many controversial topics in such detail that coalition building is really not looking so hot. And I won't lie--I didn't even have it in me to sit and read through the thing to pick out how much of it I don't like.
What ever happened to the good old 10 point plan? Let's get as many people on board as possible--not alienate everyone except a limited die-hard core.
Come on NOW. The point is to be effective--not just to act on singularly determined principle.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
My top priority -- in fact, my only priority right now -- is to stabilize the housing market, create new, good-paying jobs, and get our economy back on track.I really hope that she actually meant that she is working to revitalize our economy--and planet--with green jobs and sustainable infrastructure.
Power Shift 2009, here I come.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
While discussing my goals with my new trainer (10 pull ups!), I couldn't help but notice--over and over and over again--the emphasis placed on social constructions of gender, and what exactly it means to be and look "feminine."
Since my goal is to get super strong, I was assured that I would be guided through this process appropriately as to maintain a "feminine" body--and presumably not look bulky and "masculine."
I couldn't help but think how difficult it must be for female body builders, who have been undoubtedly interrogated why they would ever want to look "big" and "manly".
All I'm saying is, if I am going to pull my own weight in life, I best be able to pull up my weight on a silly little bar.
In light of this, the EPA is considering a tax on livestock gaseous emissions. This initiative to tax cow farts, however, is not without heavy opposition. The counter-claim holds that New York farmers are too fiscally burdened as it is to pay for bovine gas.
I say, if you're going kill the cow, you have to pay for its cheese.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Aside from my own humble opinions concerning judicial philosophy and the schools of jurisprudence (which I have yet to unfold to my readers...but it's in the oven), the fact of the matter is that gay rights do not fall under a relativist rendering of the Constitution--but pleasantly reside under the original intent of equal protection under the law.
The Huffington Post featured a long rant on the matter, which you may read here.
Well, now PETA has something to say about it:
“As Britney is such a victim of the paparazzi and always complaining and crying about how she hates to be held up in her guarded house and can’t feel free, she of all people should be able to relate to the horror that captive animals go through when they’re used for entertainment… Animals are ripped away from their mothers at a young age, kept in chains, and prodded with electric shock devices to make them perform. That doesn’t sound so voluntary to me.”Click here and let Britney know that she's hot, but animal abuse is not.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Conspicuous consumption refers to pricey clothing, snazzy jewelry, and fabulous shoes. You know, those things that you buy for yourself--and incidentally for everyone else to see.
Conspicuous consumption does nothing for happiness after a certain degree of basic needs are met. What would make us happier is inconspicuous consumption. That is, longer vacations, more time with friends, and other leisurely folly.
This all came to head yesterday as I found myself once more contemplating life alongside the latest pieces of one of my favorite fashion designers. I believe that clothing is worth a pretty penny if it fits well and you feel great in it. Yet I have come to discover a trend among all those pretty pennies I have been spending.
My closet is teeming. In fact, all of my clothes do not even fit in it. I have so many dresses crammed in such close proximity--and I have not a thing to wear. What looked great two weeks ago is boring and ugly and fits poorly this week. And that is when I realized, that maybe I just don't know where to shop.
Yes. I could have dropped more than I should have on that red dress that would be quite stunning on Monday night at the Christmas party that I am going to. Or, I could take that money and buy plane tickets to visit very dear friends in New York and Louisiana.
Amidst these buzzing thoughts, I did a quick inventory check. Of all the new items I have been so pleased to bring into my collection, none of them have made me any happier. In fact, not many of them retain their original flare in my heart (that's not to say I don't like anything--it's just that buying new things all of the time doesn't make me feel any better about what is really bothering me).
Today, after years of being frugal with my gym fees and loosey goosey in my shopping sprees, I decided it was time to reprioritize my finances and focus on inconspicuous spending. I am at the gym nearly everyday--it is an important part of my life and my health--and I keep going back to my usual shit hole because it costs me 12 dollars a month (I've been a member forever). However, what would truly improve the quality of my day is working out in a beautiful, upgraded, hygienic atmosphere with luxurious amenities to boot.
A few hours ago, I did just that. Such a better work out. Such a better day. Such a better bang for my buck.
Turns out, there is no known adaptable purpose for being mean without merit--but as long as the reputation costs are not too high, a person can engage in d-bagery freely.
A Montana judge has ruled that doctor-assisted suicides are legal in the state, a decision likely to be appealed as the state argues that the Legislature, not the court, should decide whether terminally ill patients have the right to take their own life (full article)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A territorial or violent prick I completely understand. These qualities would be helpful in protecting the family or competing against other mates.
But the warrantless asshole? What good is an unreasonable and unpredictable d-bag? Shouldn't natural selection just weed them out? And who the hell wants to reproduce with a shit head?
Perhaps I am just confused by people with personality disorders. After all, how could any one be cruel? I just don't understand. And why would any one be very cruel to someone extremely kind?
Rest assured, I will consult an authoritative source to answer my scientific inquiry.
I suppose idiots like me would have already reproduced offspring with said asshole in more primal times.
Friday, December 5, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the most fundamental question yet concerning executive power in the age of terror: Can the president order the indefinite military detention of people living in the United States? (full article)
On the issue, Governor Gregoire commented, ""I happen to be a Christian, and I don't agree with the display that is up there,but that doesn't mean that as governor, I have the right to deny their ability to express their free speech."
Thanks, Governor. You are exercising rational thought.
Read the full article.
I got there and realized, that since I was doing a quickie at home, I had skipped the sports bra. The funny thing is, I rarely ever wear bras in everyday life. Frankly, I don't need them. Secondly, I think my own shape is more attractive. Thirdly, I am all about female nipple liberation. Fourthly, I am all about comfort.
But I couldn't help but wonder, why was I so insecure about my bitties at the gym? Is it all that moving around on the elliptical that made me feel over-exposed?
So I ran the internal dialogue in my head. Self, compulsory over-regulation of the female body is irrational and oppressive. Self, my body is no one's business but my own. Self, I reject male privilege and the notion that any and every word out of my mouth or article of clothing on my body is some sort of calculated sexual message. Self, I reject the notion that I am only a walking, talking sexual message.
It is funny that I have to worry about what I do or don't do under the privacy of my own clothes...
Thursday, December 4, 2008
And while I admit that the Circus video is smoldering...DID SHE HAVE TO USE EXOTIC ANIMALS? Those animals are not treated well, have poor living conditions, and are subjected to discomfort or abuse for the purposes of training. They can often be scared by conditions on sets, and are not allowed to be in their natural habitats and do natural animal things.
Zoos make me cry. Britney, I love you--but your video breaks my heart.
The equation has certainly held true for me--but then again, one could argue that I have certain genetic characteristics that make me more self-initiated and determined. I firmly believe that there is no seemingly automatic and unproductive psychological tendency in me that I cannot identify, explore, and resolve. Perhaps it is my unwavering belief that has allowed me to take more control of my life, become more self-aware, and enjoy myself much more.
Speaking of increasing happiness, a study just came out today finding that happiness can be contagious.
I also would like to point out a very fun fact: natural selection does not favor my happiness, because I don't want to make babies.
I think I can give better things to the world than by genes anyway.
The least it can do is use the savings to improve its shitty service.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
In fact, at least when it comes to First Amendment cases involving sexual content, the "originalists" are just conservative d-bags in a black robes.
More on this some other time...when finals are over...
Monday, December 1, 2008
- Rising to the challenge reveals hidden strengths and abilities and can change your self-concept. Appreciating one’s own strength can increase one’s confidence. People can also become inoccuous to future stress, and recover more quickly because they know how to cope.
- Adversity also filters out good relationships from bad ones, by sorting out those who are supportive or helpful. We usually feel love and gratitude for those who have cared for us in our time of need. Susan Nolen Hoeksema found that the most common effect of losing a loved one was greater appreciation of and tolerance for others in our lives.
- Trauma can also change priorities and philosophies toward the present, i.e. live life to the fullest.
Haidt claims that if the strong version of the adversity hypothesis is true, "people must endure adversity to grow" and "the highest levels of growth and development are only open to those who have faced and overcome great adversity" (141).
It goes like this: "When tragedy strikes, it knocks you off the treadmill and forces a decision: Hope back on and return to business as usual, or try something else?" (143). Apparently, this window of opportunity ranges from a few weeks to a few months--but the changes might stick.
Turns out, the nature of human trauma is irrelevant--what matters is what people do afterward.
I do have to say, the adversity hypothesis has undoubtedly held true in my own life, and I think I am a much happier and "better" (according to my standards) person for it.
Researchers are studying variations of a family of human hormones - known as N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines, or NAPEs - for their effectiveness in controlling appetite and therefore obesity. (full article)Obesity is not about some abnormal and insatiable hunger. I lack exact scientific figures, but I would venture to guess that actual obesity is caused by binge eating that is likely emotional, and/or poor understandings of food, health and nutrition, and/or lack of physical activity.
Learning how to process emotions alone can drastically curb emotional or compulsive eating.
Try a holistic approach--not simply hormones in pill form.