Archive for April, 2010

Cancer Cured!

Oops, too late:

Dendreon Corp.’s novel way to attack prostate cancer won government approval Thursday, offering men with advanced forms of the disease a fresh option and potentially ushering in a new approach for treating all sorts of cancers.

The highly anticipated decision by the Food and Drug Administration clears the way for the first “therapeutic vaccine” for cancer to reach the market, an accomplishment that has eluded researchers and drug companies for decades.

Rather than target cancer like a drug, the treatment, called Provenge, stimulates a patient’s own immune system to attack the tumor, much like a preventive vaccine prompts the immune system to attack an outside agent such as small pox.

“This is the first proof of principle that immunotherapy works in cancer,” said Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at Harvard-affiliated Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “This opens the door to a whole world of new therapies based on that concept across all cancers.”

The FDA’s action is a watershed event for Dendreon, a Seattle-based biotechnology company that had to overcome the agency’s controversial rejection of its application three years ago.

The treatment faces several challenges. First, it is expensive, and some insurers may balk at paying for it. Dendreon said it will charge $31,000 for each of three required courses of treatment administered over one month, for a total of $93,000 per patient.

Ohhh, sorry, I’m afraid you don’t qualify under ObamaCare. First, we can’t just go around throwing money at previously incurable diseases, now can we? Not with the president’s auntie to house and feed.

Let’s not call it a death panel; we prefer a life lottery. And you lost.

And, well, isn’t the prostate just so male? Do you expect us to fund expensive cures for baldness and body odor next? Seriously.

The article points out that the results are meager so far, but somewhat encouraging. And if you asked this medical expert (I watch House, Grey’s Anatomy, and ER regularly), immunotherapy is the Holy Grail of cancer research. We’re not quite there, we may never get there, but it is the (a) ultimate goal.

But for how much longer and for how many more patients? If we can pretend the moon doesn’t exist, why not cancer?


Delta Smelt a F*rt

For this?

On a springtime drive through the Central Valley, it’s hard not to notice how federal and state governments are hell-bent on destroying the state’s top export — almonds — and everything else in the nation’s most productive farmland.

Instead of pink blossoms and green shoots along Highway 5 in April, vast spans from Bakersfield to Fresno sit bone-dry. Brown grass, dead orchards and lifeless grapevine skeletons stretch for miles for lack of water. For every fallow field, there’s a sign that farmers have placed alongside the highway: “No Water = No Food,” “No Water = No Jobs,” “Congress Created Dust Bowl.”

It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish — the delta smelt — that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn’t help the fish.

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on “drought,” though northern reservoirs are currently full.

Whatever the excuse, 75% of the fresh water that has historically irrigated California is now being washed to the open sea. For farmers in the southwest part of the valley, last year’s cutoff amounted to 90%.


Instead of:


Comments (1)

Hating on the Hebrew State

Caroline Glick does the math:

During Operation Cast Lead – 11 days before Obama’s inauguration – the House of Representatives passed Resolution 34 siding with Israel against Hamas. The resolution received 390 yea votes, five nay votes and 37 abstentions. Democrats cast four of the nay votes and 29 of the abstentions.

In November 2009, Congress passed House Resolution 867 condemning the Goldstone Report. The resolution urged Obama to disregard its findings, which falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes in Cast Lead. A total of 344 congressman voted for the resolution. Thirty-six voted against it. Fifty-two abstained. Among those voting against, Thirty-three were Democrats. Forty-four Democrats abstained.

In February 2010, Fifty-four congressmen sent a letter to Obama urging him to pressure Israel to open Hamas-ruled Gaza’s international borders and accusing Israel of engaging in collective punishment. All of them were Democrats.

In the midst of the Obama administration’s assault on Israel over construction for Jews in Jerusalem, 327 congressmen signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for an end to the public attacks on the Israeli government. Of the 102 members who refused to sign the letter, 94 were Democrats.

These numbers show two things. First, since Obama entered office there has been a 13-point decline in the number of congressmen willing to support Israel. Second, the decrease comes entirely from the Democratic side of the aisle. There the number of members willing to attack Israel has tripled.

In the midst of administration’s assault on Israel’s right to Jerusalem last month, Representative Doug Lamborn drafted Resolution 1191 calling for the administration to finally abide by US law and move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Lamborn gathered 18 co-sponsors for the resolution. All of them were Republican.

[I]n January, Lamborn and Rep. Trent Franks authored a letter to Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging the administration “to support Israel’s sovereign right to take any action it feels compelled to make in its self-defense.”

Their letter was signed by 22 other congressmen. All were Republican.

Similarly, since November, Rep. Louie Gohmert has been working on a resolution supporting Israel’s right to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. Gohmert’s resolution condemns Iran’s threat to commit nuclear genocide against Israel and expresses “support for Israel’s right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran, defend Israeli sovereignty, and protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within a reasonable time.”

To date, Gohmert has racked up more than 40 co-sponsors. All are Republican.

But it’s more—and worse—than just math:

This week, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited Washington. Reps. Eric Cantor and Peter Roskam – the Republican co-chairmen of the House’s Israel caucus – held a public event with Barkat where they voiced strong support for Israel’s right to build in Jerusalem without restrictions.

In contrast, their Democratic counterparts refused to meet publicly with Barkat. They also refused to issue any statements supporting Israel’s right to its undivided capital.

So, it’s not just in the capital of the Jewish state that Jews are not welcome (according to President Obama), but in our capital, as well.

But this, to me, may be the most alarming development:

To date, both the Israeli government and AIPAC have denied the existence of a partisan divide. This has been due in part to their unwillingness to contend with the new situation. One of Israel’s greatest assets in the US has been the fact that support for the Jewish state has always been bipartisan. It is hard to accept that the Democrats are jumping ship.

AIPAC also has institutional reasons for papering over the erosion in Democratic support for Israel. First, most of its members are Democrats. Indeed, AIPAC’s new President Lee Rosenberg was one of Obama’s biggest fund-raisers.

Then, too, AIPAC is concerned at the prospect of its members abandoning it for J Street. J Street, the Jewish pro-Palestinian lobby, is strongly supported by the Obama administration.

And many prominent Republican congressmen are loath to call its bluff. Like the Israeli government itself, Republican House members express deep concern that blowing the lid off the Democrats will weaken Israel. As one member put it, “I don’t want to encourage the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attack Israel by exposing that the Democrats don’t support Israel.”

I don’t think it’s a secret anymore.

I wish AIPAC or the Republicans or whoever would follow our humble lead and call it exactly as they see it. I don’t know that President Obama is anti-Semitic, but his behavior toward Israel is hardcore leftist. I don’t have to cite Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi (though I will) to make my point. Instead of condemning the Arab world’s despicable and bigoted behavior toward the Jewish state, we get the condemnation of the Jewish state for building in Jewish neighborhoods in the Jewish capital.

And we get this:

The US pushed back against indications Israel has abandoned its commitment to take down authorized outposts Thursday, calling on Jerusalem to live up to its obligations.

“The Israeli government has pledged to take specific actions,” US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They have responsibilities and we would expect them to fulfill those responsibilities.”

Earlier this week, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has no intention in the foreseeable future of dismantling any of 23 unauthorized West Bank outposts built after March 2001, despite a 2002 road map commitment and years of pledges by successive prime ministers including Binyamin Netanyahu.

The promise to dismantle the outposts was made in the framework of wider understandings with the second Bush administration that provided for continued home-building at settlements Israel is likely to retain under a permanent accord with the Palestinians.

Israeli officials told the Post that since the Obama administration replaced those wider understandings with a demand for a moratorium on all new home-building throughout the settlements – which was accepted by Netanyahu in November – Israel no longer regards itself as having to go through with the outpost demolitions on the basis of that pledge to the US.

Crowley, though, indicated the US sees the matter differently since it believes Israel still needs to keep its commitment.

I try to keep things light. I may get angry (feigned or real), I may act out—but I rarely get worried.

I’m worried. For two countries.

Comments (1)

BUY-cott Arizona!

Come on, the Diamondbacks hat is awesome:

Okay, so maybe football’s your thing. This has got to be the Cardinal’s year, doesn’t it? (Sometime? Ever?)

That’s one bad-ass bird, you have to admit.

What’s that—hockey? Well, why didn’t you say so? Nothing says ice hockey like the Phoenix Coyotes.

Double cup holders! Bottle of Jim Beam in the left; long neck Buds in the right. You’re ready for the fights!

I didn’t sound off on the Arizona immigration bill immediately because I wasn’t sure what it said. But after reading the op-ed in the Times yesterday by one of its drafters, I’m on board.

This may be the year to take the family to the Grand Canyon. Without all those smug liberals and smelly hippies infesting the place, it may truly live up to its reputation.

Comments (3)

More Stains Of Jew Hatred Leaking From The Obama Administration

Dual Loyalty always raises its ugly little head when dealing with antisemites

Dual loyalty is an old and nefarious accusation. It has dogged Jews for centuries in any land where they settled and began to feel comfortable – the allegation that their allegiance is to their tribe first and not to their nation.

America has been a haven precisely because the moments when this fear has swelled up have been few and far between. Even the existence of Israel, a country with its own set of national interests and its own wars and ways of dealing with them, has not created much of an issue for those American Jews who see themselves as both Zionists and patriots.

So totally aligned have the United States and Israeli governments been for most of the past 20 years that American Jews have not been forced to seriously consider that these two identities could be in conflict.

But this might be changing.

This writer has personally experienced questions of dual loyalty from Christian in-laws. This is a widespread issue now. It is a way of frightening American Jews and distancing us from Israel. It is deeply antisemitic because a Christian or an atheist can express Zionism without the accusation of dual loyalty, or treason.

- Aggie

Comments (2)

US To Turn Decisively Against Israe?

Palestinians say that if they even join peace talks, US will agree to censure Israel at the UN

Has anybody heard from Rahm Emmanuel lately? Is he still alive?

The Obama administration would consider allowing the United Nations Security Council to censure Israel over its activity in West Bank settlements in order to encourage the Palestinians to participate in peace talks, a Palestinian source told The Guardian on Friday.

According to the source, U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell’s deputy, David Hale, told Abbas that the Obama administration views Israeli construction in East Jerusalem as “provocative.”

Hale reportedly promised Abbas that the U.S. would consider allowing a Security Council condemnation should such activity continue at a significant level – though he did not clarify what the Obama administration considered significant.

This assurance would mean a U.S. abstention on any resolution, rather than a veto, said The Guardian.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat flatly denied the report. It’s not true,” Erekat said. “We are still talking to the Americans.”

Meanwhile, senior Israeli officials told Haaretz on Thursday that Obama told several European leaders that if Israeli-Palestinian talks remain stalemated into September or October, he will convene an international summit on achieving Mideast peace.

In a very big way, we American Jews own the results of the Obama Presidency regarding Israel. We were snookered by the guy. And, unfortunately, I don’t see enough of us waking up in time to stop him come the 2012 elections.

- Aggie

Comments (2)

A Pool AND a Pond!

Al Gore follows the time-tested advice of Horace Greeley and goes west. You couldn’t go much farther west than this:

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Now, I’m not sure I’ve found the exact palace that Gore bought, but the spread pictured above, if not Chez Gore Ouest, comes pretty close:

Gated Montecito Mediterranean estate offers almost 12,000 sq.ft,ocean mountain views,pool,spa, tennis court on over 1.8 acres.Main residence features flexible floorplan that includes 5bd/6.5ba,formal dining,den/library,office,gallery,generous master suite,exercise room,expansive terraces,4 FP’s, beautiful columns balustrades. Separate guest apt,lush grounds,lawns,garage for 5 cars.

The man needs the exercise room, you have to admit:

All you Goracle suckers out there have to admit this: your money has been well spent:

Damn! I’m going to have to invent me some bogus crisis out of which to spin a mega-fortune. Hmm, asteroid? Volcano?

I’ve got it! Giant fungus! We’re slowly being invaded by unimaginably ginormous mushrooms! Dear God, is there any hope for mankind?!?!

Next time you purchase white button mushrooms at the grocery store, just remember, they may be cute and bite-size but they have a relative out west that occupies some 2,384 acres (965 hectares) of soil in Oregon’s Blue Mountains. Put another way, this humongous fungus would encompass 1,665 football fields, or nearly four square miles (10 square kilometers) of turf.

The discovery of this giant Armillaria ostoyae in 1998 heralded a new record holder for the title of the world’s largest known organism, believed by most to be the 110-foot- (33.5-meter-) long, 200-ton blue whale. Based on its current growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old but could be as ancient as 8,650 years, which would earn it a place among the oldest living organisms as well.

But for $19.95 (plus taxes and delivery), I can tell you how to protect yourself from invasive shitakes.

Comments (2)

What’s on the Pogrom for Tonight?

Reader Jeanette alerts us to this charming story from across the pond in Blighty:

A lecture given by Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher at the University of Manchester deteriorated Wednesday into violence when pro-Palestinian protesters stormed at the diplomat in an attempted attack.

The protesters were waiting for Lador-Fresher outside the lecture hall, but this did not deter her from entering as planned. Immediately upon her exit, the protesters lunged at the diplomat, prompting security guards to whisk her back into the hall. Following a consultation on the site, it was decided to escort her out of the premises in a police car.

The deputy ambassador was removed from the hall and into the police vehicle. However, this did not block the protesters, who surrounded the car and climbed on the hood, trying to break the windshield.

Something like this:

But look who had the stiff upper lip:

The deputy ambassador said that there the event certainly was unpleasant, and noted that it does not bode well for the academic debate in Britain on the Middle East.

Israeli Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor praised his deputy for her determination and fighting spirit and emphasized that the embassy expects a sweeping denunciation of the event from the local authorities and universities in Britain.

“This is a lawlessness whose damaging effects are already being felt in the short term, and whose effects in the long term may be irreversible,” Prosor said.

Ain’t that the truth.

It’s bad enough that it happened; it’s worse (but unsurprising) that it happened at a British university (where Israel is demonized daily); it may be too late, but it will be beyond despicable if the culprits aren’t rounded up and sent to Australia (or whatever they do with their convicts now).

Comments (2)

This Territory Ain’t Big Enough fer the Both of ‘em

Looked at positively (as when do I not), at least they’re not gassing each other!

The long-simmering tense relations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are flaring up again after Abbas struck down a plan by Fayyad to declare Palestinian statehood unilaterally in summer 2011.

In an interview with Channel 2 on Monday, Abbas said that a Palestinian declaration of statehood – a scenario that provokes great concern in Israel – is not on the agenda.

Abbas and Fayyad, longtime political rivals, have maintained a reasonable working relationship. Both men are careful not to criticize one another or contradict the other’s statements in public.

However, sources in Ramallah said yesterday that their relations hit a rough patch following Fayyad’s interview with Haaretz earlier this month in which he hinted that the PA would unilaterally declare a state in August 2011 if peace talks with Israel fail.

Abbas and his aides were miffed at what they perceive as Fayyad’s attempt to circumvent his authority and dictate an agenda to the president and the other institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization. As prime minister, Fayyad is no more than the head of a government that is subject to the authority of the president.

Fayyad’s statements to Haaretz contradict a long-standing position held by Abbas, who does not view a unilateral declaration of statehood as serving Palestinian interests.

I really don’t get it (as when do I ever?). If the Palestinians want statehood, and if it would discomfit Israel, why not just declare it—whey even wait for 2011?

I’m not sure why Israel should be bothered. If the Palestinians declare statehood on land Israel considers its sovereign territory, that’s an anschluss or a blitzkrieg or something. Just declare war, sort out the boundaries, and Bibi’s your uncle. And all that missile and terrorist nonsense would graduate from “resistance” to an act of war. I’m playing only a little dumb here (yes, but you play it so well, BTL: virtuosically), but the international community (vile scum that it is) can’t have much to say about one sovereign state protecting itself from another. It’s only because the Palestinians play the poor-little-stateless-me card that they get any sympathy at all (that and that their opposition is Jewish).

But get this:

Abbas was asked whether the PA intends on declaring statehood in August 2011. “No, we will not take unilateral measures,” Abbas emphatically said. “We will abide by agreements.”

I hope you weren’t drinking something when you read that. We’re all abiding for their first abidement.

And one last colorful detail:

Despite Fayyad’s claims that he has no interest in running for the presidency, senior Fatah officials say, in effect, he is running a political campaign by making high-profile appearances usually reserved for elected officials.

Fatah observers note Fayyad’s recent participation in a marathon in Nablus; his burning of products made in the settlements; planting of olive groves; and appearing in a Bedouin robe.

Be honest with yourself: how far is President Obama away from this sort of behavior? As 2012 approaches, the bedouin robe and the book burning will be very much apparent, I’ll wager.


I’ll Not Be Back

Just as I thought: all bulge and no balls.

What, no teleprompter? Must be the strong silent type.

The 38 points of articulation sounds like one of his uncomfortable answers to a direct question (“First, uh, let me be clear…”).

And those two sets of hands would be very handy for sleight of hand tricks in all his policies: now you see savings under ObamaCare, now you don’t!

Most people know about the individual mandate in the new health care bill, but the bill contained another mandate that could be far more costly.

A few wording changes to the tax code’s section 6041 regarding 1099 reporting were slipped into the 2000-page health legislation. The changes will force millions of businesses to issue hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of additional IRS Form 1099s every year. It appears to be a costly, anti-business nightmare.

Under current law, businesses are required to issue 1099s in a limited set of situations, such as when paying outside consultants. The health care bill includes a vast expansion in this information reporting requirement in an attempt to raise revenue for an increasingly rapacious Congress.

I think I saw something about that on C-Span. No, it was Animal Planet. One of ‘em.

PS: Why do I think the action doll is just a piñata for Buck? Mr. O’Fama?

Comments (2)

Hasta la Vista, Baby

Regardless of how you feel about the Arizona immigration law, we can all agree it rose out of frustration with the lax to nonexistent enforcement on the federal level (over several administrations), and in a state literally on the front line of the national scandal over illegal aliens in this country.

I hope we can also agree that it would pay to know more about the law:

ON Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law — SB 1070 — that prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes. It also requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government.

Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it “misguided” and said the Justice Department would take a look.

Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:

It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers … you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.

“Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply.

State governments aren’t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted.

In sum, the Arizona law hardly creates a police state. It takes a measured, reasonable step to give Arizona police officers another tool when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law enforcement duties.

And it’s very necessary: Arizona is the ground zero of illegal immigration. Phoenix is the hub of human smuggling and the kidnapping capital of America, with more than 240 incidents reported in 2008. It’s no surprise that Arizona’s police associations favored the bill, along with 70 percent of Arizonans.

Typically, President Obama shot is mouth off, saying, essentially, Arizona “acted stupidly”. Even John McCain (R-MX) thinks thigs have gone too far.


Disproportionate Response?

I don’t know, you tell me:

Egyptian forces pumped gas into a cross-border tunnel used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing four Palestinians, Hamas officials said.

Egypt has been under pressure to seal off the hundreds of tunnels that are a key economic lifeline for the blockaded Palestinian territory but which are also used to bring in weapons for the Islamic militant group.

The Hamas Interior Ministry later said in a statement the gas used to try to clear the tunnel was poisonous. Besides those killed, six people were injured, it said.

“The Interior Ministry confirms that the citizens’ cause of death was the Egyptian security forces spraying poison gasses into one of the tunnels,” the statement said without elaborating.

A doctor at a hospital in the Gaza border town of Rafah, Hamdan Abu Latifa, said the dead smugglers suffocated.

“This is a terrible crime committed by Egyptian security against simple Palestinian workers who were trying to earn their daily bread,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum to The Associated Press. “It was a killing in cold blood. Hamas and all the Palestinian people condemn it strongly.”

“We demand that Egypt explain its position about what is happening and investigate the circumstances of this terrible crime and show the truth to the entire world and hold those responsible accountable,” he said.

Hey, maybe we’re sorry about those “Palestinian workers who were trying to earn their daily bread”. But Fawzi Barhoum absolutely deserves to be gassed for fixing his mouth to speak that nonsense. They use those tunnels not only to smuggle arms, but to kidnap (or attempt to) Israelis like Gilad Shalit and hold them hostage for years at a time.

As Hamass’ sponsor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran says frequently of Israel—and as recently as two weeks ago!:

“This is the will of the regional nations that after 60 odd years, the root of this corrupt microbe and the main reason for insecurity in the region be pulled out.”

Corruptibility among microbes would seem to be in the eye of the beholder.

But just to be clear: we strongly condemn death by gassing of anyone. Which is why we consistently support Israel over the likes of Egypt, Hamass, Iran, Iraq, etc., etc.


« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »