Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moving Week Random 10

musclehead central is moving this week from the Emory 'burbs area down to the art district of Castleberry Hills.

1. Heated Pool and Bar- John Vanderslice
2. Dance 1- Kiss Me Deadly
3. Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up- Danielson
4. Bow Wow- The Fiery Furnaces
5. Set Yourself on Fire- Stars
6. Stadiums and Shrines II- Sunset Rubdown
7. Deckchairs and Cigarettes- The Thrills
8. Runes and Men (reprise)- Death in June
9. Party Station - Trans Am
10. Hotel- Broken Social Scene

Monday, July 24, 2006

FDA's Lame Attempt at Curbing Conflicts of Interest

The New York Times reports that the FDA is planning to reform its waiver granting process for doctors and scientists who sit on its advisory boards. Unfortunately, it is not the extent necessary to eliminate the conflicts that plague these boards. According to the story, the FDA will make the waiver process more transparent and would bar those doctors and scientists who have current financial ties to the drugmaker being reviewed.

But this misses the larger issue, which is the potential future financial relationships between scientists and drugmakers. Let's face reality here- the big pharmaceutical companies fund most research into drugs, whether performed at a university or elsewhere. It would be beyond naive to think that doctors and scientists who wish to work in pharmaceutical research would ignore their future interests and be truly objective in evaluating drugs, especially when their honesty runs counter to Big Pharma's bottom line.

The only real way to avoid these conflicts is to bar any doctor or scientist who has current, or past, economic ties with the drugmaker whose drug is being reviewed from serving on that advisory board. But beyond that, the FDA should also require advisory board members to refrain from accepting any sort of financial relationship with a company whose drug they have reviewed for a period of five years from the conclusion of their service on the advisory board.

If the FDA was really serious about eradicating their conflicts of interest problems, they would adopt something more stringent than what is under review. However, the current reform is nothing more than window dressing, a disingenuous attempt at being ethical.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not Much To Say

I have yet to write about the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon-Hamas fiasco. Partly because there are far more knowledgeable folks already doing so. But also because I find the whole thing beyond heartbreaking. On the one hand, I have always been an ardent supporter of Israel and her right to security. Yet, my support for Israel is not so blind or unconditional not to be moved by images such as these, which show Israeli children writing messages on rockets destined to strike Lebanon, thereby killing innocent Lebanese children.

I find Israel's most recent actions abhorrent and completely disproportionate to the acts that brought them about. Certainly there is enough blame to go around- the Lebanese government has been unable or unwilling to rid itself of Hezbollah; the world community has turned a blind eye to Iran's and Syria's influence and arming of Hezbollah; and, Israel has taken what would be a rather small incident and used it as a rationale for launching what may become WWIII.

While I am not so naive as to believe that Hezbollah or Hamas could be disarmed without the bloodshed of innocent civilians, I do believe that Israel has the moral obligation to make that bloodshed as rare as possible. Instead Israel has made the decision to indiscriminately bomb large swaths of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people whose only infraction is being in the way of Israel's airstrikes. While the use of ground forces would result in greater loss of life for the IDF, it is clearly the morally just way to conduct this operation. Certainly Israel has the intelligence assets to ascertain the whereabouts of Hezbollah's leaders and the capability to take them out, without using missiles. To do so would minimize the loss of civilian life, which is a moral imperative for what are purported to be God's chosen people.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Just Say NO to Right Wing Hatemongers

Click on over here to sing the petition calling on the media to pull the plug on Right Wing hate merchants who have all spoken openly about the execution of public officials (Supreme Court Justices) and bombing of news outlets that don't swear loyalty to the Bush propaganda machine. People like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and Melanie Morgan do not deserve the attention of decent Americans. And, by giving their hatemongering views credence, the media tilts the national debate even further rightward.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Child Abuse????

Ok, so that title is a bit of a stretch, especially given my own work in Republican politics at a young age. But there is something a bit creepy about these home schooled kids busting their humps for the GOP. What I find troublesome is the sort of indoctrination into a certain belief system that these parents subject their kids to. When I was involved in GOP politics (hey, I was young and in MA it is rebellious to be a Republican) it was motivated by my own belief system. In fact, neither of my parents were Republicans, nor were they active in politics.

While participation by young people is clearly good for democracy, I am not sold on the notion that ALL participation is good. Young people need to develop their own belief system, independent of their parents. And, from all indications in this article and my own experience with this population, their beliefs are anything but independent. I am sure that these children and young adults believe in what they are doing, but is that because of a sincere belief or does it come from their desire to please or emulate their parents? Can you imagine the pressure put on a young person who believes so strongly in God, and is told that helping Ralph Reed is God's work?

The whole thing is just a little bit too creepy for my taste.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Disingenuous Sully the Pooh

Andy has his own little take on the Lieberman-Lamont debate last night. He quotes an exchange about earmarks where Ned Lamont says Lieberman ought not be boasting about his performance and then goes on to say that earmarks really ought to be done away with. Sully closes with what he thinks is a pithy line about the food being in the restaurant being awful and such small portions.

Ugh... I know that Sully has a deep and abiding man-love for Holy Joe, but give me a break. Is he really so dense as not to get the point of Lamont's comments? Lieberman would like to boast about bringing home the bacon for Connecticut, yet the reality is that Lieberman is not doing so well, especially as compared to other Senators. The second point Lamont is making is that earmarks and the earmark process is corrupt and needs to be changed.

Let me make this easy enough for Sullivan to understand. Your beard is lame, especially compared to Grizzly Adams. However, beards themselves are stupid and need to be shaved.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Video of the Day

Thank f*cking god for bands like Ministry, who are not afraid to mount a frontal assault on the corrupt, fearmongering George W. Clusterf*ck administration. This is the video for the newest single Lieslieslies off of the album Rio Grande Blood. It is their second anti-Bush album in two years.

Perhaps those of us who love Ministry should thank Bushie for invigorating one of the best industrial bands of all time. Lord knows the 90's were not too kind to Ministry.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Could you pass the U.S. citizenship test?

Not only can I pass, but I aced this mock citizenship test. I knew that being a government and politics nerd would payoff one of these days.