links for 2009-05-15

  • In the first serious case of swine flu in New York City, an assistant principal of a Queens middle school has been hospitalized and is on a ventilator, officials announced Thursday. The city closed that school, and two others with large clusters of flu-like symptoms. All three schools are to remain closed for about a week
    (tags: swine_flu)
  • Once again, "Lost" managed to pull out an incredible season finale that simultaneously raised as many questions as it answered. Though, I think in a first for the series, we actually got more answers than questions.

    But before we get to the whole Jacob/Esau rivalry, let's clear up one of the real head-scratchers of the episode, the answer to "What lies in the shadow of the statue is?" Richard (or Ricardo, as we can now call him) answers in Latin, of course! The answer is "Ille qui nos omnes servabit," or roughly translated, "He who will protect/save us all."

    So, it appears the Others and the Ajira Airlines folk weren't kidding when they said they were the good guys. A quick trip to the Bible, (OK, OK, Wikipedia's version of the Bible), tells us that Jacob and Esau were fraternal twins who spent the majority of their lives in a fierce rivalry. When Esau finally got the upper hand and killed Jacob, Jacob's children rose up and overpowered Esau and his followers.

    (tags: Lost)
  • The notion of leaving infected tissue under a restoration goes against the grain for many dentists. But that's exactly what you should be doing for many deep lesions, according to researchers from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.
    "Many people have the fear of lesion progression beneath the sealing," stated study co-author Marisa Maltz, D.D.S., in an e-mail to "Some also wonder about the placement of a filling over carious tissue. This resistance is not based in the evidence we have today."

    Dr. Maltz presented a study last month at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) meeting in Miami, suggesting that the survival rate of restorations placed over carious dentin in deep lesions after 10 years is comparable to the survival rates of conventionally restored lesions.

    (tags: dentistry)
  • Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter waded into the debate over a public health-insurance plan, saying today that such an option would create a “slippery slope” toward a day when all or most Americans would have government coverage.

    Leichleiter argued, much as the health-insurance industry has, that a public plan would have a huge advantage over private insurers, which don’t have the “resources of the Treasury or the power of law to set reimbursement rates.” In a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (see his prepared remarks), he also said many employers would stop covering their workforces and send them to the public plan.

    So what does this have to do with pharmaceuticals? Leichleiter argued that the negative outcomes with a public plan would stifle innovation in the drug industry, because the government monopoly would reduce the number of choices that patients have. And without people making choices, drug makers wouldn’t have the ability to gauge the real value of their products.

  • To investigate the effect of analgesics on pulsating pains, we studied the effect of pyrazolone and salicylate analgesics on the onset time and duration of analgesia, the course of analgesics response, and the recurrence of pain. The overall effective rate was 90.2%, 97.4% for the pyrazolone analgesics tested and 83.3% for the salicylate analgesics. In the pyrazolone group, the onset time and duration of analgesia were shorter than in the salicylate group.
    (tags: dentistry)
  • Californians will vote next Tuesday on a series of budget-related propositions, and one thing is clear from new Rasmussen Reports telephone polling in the state: Voters aren’t in the mood for tax increases to ease California’s budget woes.
  • On Tuesday, Miss California Carrie Prejean was allowed to keep her crown, even though she agrees with the voters of her own state and the President of the U.S. about gay marriage. This has prompted Miss California USA pageant co-director Shanna Moakler to resign from the organization:
  • Gov. John Lynch said he will veto the same-sex marriage bill if it does not change before it gets to his desk.

    He said his main concern is that the bill, HB 436, and a companion bill don’t provide enough legal protection for religious groups or institutions opposed to the concept.

    He has provided legislative leaders with wording that will satisfy him and is leaving it to the House and Senate to move next.

    “If the Legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the Legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it. We can and we must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.”

    (tags: gaymarriage)
  • President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

    “We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

    Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

    (tags: barack_obama)
  • Miss California and Miss USA runner-up, Carrie Prejean, tossed around in the battle over gay marriage, will be a one-day guest host for Fox News Channel's popular morning show Fox & Friends, Whispers learns. She will host the 6 a.m.-to-7 a.m. slot on May 27, filling in for Gretchen Carlson—the 1989 Miss America—who will be off that day.

    The decision to make her a one-day cohost was finalized yesterday—the same day Prejean and Miss USA owner Donald Trump appeared on Fox & Friends.

  • The always-outspoken Roberta McCain — mother of Sen. John McCain — took a swipe at Rush Limbaugh Wednesday, saying the popular conservative radio host "does not represent the Republican Party that I belong to".

    "I belong to the Republican Party," McCain, 97, said during an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. "What he represents of the Republican Party has nothing to do with my side of it. I don't know what the man means, I don't know what he's talking about."

  • Confirming Cheney by Refusing to Declassify Memos

    Stephen Hayes reports that the Obama administration has refused former vice president Cheney's request to declassify two memos laying out what intelligence had been garnered through the now-controversial detainee interrogation methods.

    Does anyone doubt that if those memos contradicted Cheney's claims in any way, shape, or form, they would have been released? Is there anyone in this world who would argue that if we could see the memos, they would strengthen Obama's case and weaken Cheney's argument?

    (tags: CIA DickCheney)
  • The Obama administration has turned down former Vice President Dick Cheney’s request for the declassification of two CIA reports on the effectiveness of the Agency’s detainee program, THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned. A letter dated May 7, 2009, from the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, Delores M. Nelson, rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.

    “In researching the information in question, we have discovered that it is currently the subject of pending FOIA litigation (Bloche v. Department of Defense, Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency). Therefore, the document is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review,” Nelson wrote in the letter to the National Archives, the agency responsible for handling Cheney’s request.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (Calif.) assertion at a press conference this morning that the Bush administration and the Central Intelligence Agency misled her and the Congress regarding the treatment of suspected terrorists adds further fuel to the fire on an issue that has been on a low boil for weeks.

    Asked whether she was accusing the CIA of lying to her during a 2002 briefing on the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," Pelosi said: "Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States, misleading the Congress of the United States. I am."

    She went on to call on the CIA to release the details of briefings they provided to Congress and for the creation of a truth commission to "determine how intelligence was misused and how controversial and possibly illegal activities like torture were authorized within the executive branch."

  • Someone important appears not to be telling the truth about her knowledge of the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). That someone is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The political persecution of Bush administration officials she has been pushing may now ensnare her.

    Here's what we know. On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee's ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today will propose selling San Quentin Prison, the Los Angeles Coliseum and other state-owned properties in a bid to raise cash to counter the state's daunting budget shortfall.

    He also wants to accelerate the sale of Agnews Developmental Center, the 81-acre facility on the north edge of San Jose that closed its doors in March after 120 years.

    The proposal to sell off state assets is part of the governor's revised budget plan being released today. Besides the Coliseum and San Quentin, the properties he's eyeing for sale are the Cow Palace in Daly City, the Orange County Fairgrounds, Cal Expo in Sacramento, Del Mar Fairground, and the Ventura County Fair.