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December 14, 2007

Heros or Zeros?

A friend of mine who pitches for the Univeristy of Minnesota told me one day that Rodger Clemens runs five miles a day to train his legs for the beating they go under during a game of baseball. Being a competitive distance runner myself who didn't run five miles a day to train, this was very suprising. Well, now I have something suprising to tell him. Your hero did steroids and other performace enhancing drugs.

This is such a sticky subject. On one hand we have an athlete who has done everything he can to become the ubermench, a superman. Just because he has taken steroids doesn't mean that his five miles a day don't count, unfortunately it means that they count too much.

The Washington Post reported on the Mitchell Report, which names several big time players linked to steroid use. "Mitchell said during an afternoon news conference in New York that each major league team had at least one player linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs during the period that he investigated." That is earth shattering.

Because of random drug testing started in 2002, the use of steroid, which can be detected in urine, has gone down. But, use of human growth hormone has risen because it is undetectable in urin samples.

Mitchell urged Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball to let past offenders slide and make more proactive moves to cut down on substance abuse in the future, unless letting a player go would ruin the integrity of the game.

Frankly, a game with at least one cheater on every team has already lost its integrity. This is tantamount to someone saying that a homemade apple pie wasn't baked with a store bought crust. America shouldn't allow this.

December 7, 2007

Bonds, the champ goes to court

After court, Mr. Ruby told the mass of reporters, “Today, Barry Bonds is innocent. He has trust and faith in the justice system. He will defend these charges. He is confident of a good outcome.�
-New York Times

Yeah, right.

Since this is my blog, and not too serious a source of news, I can say that. Now I'm done. Time to be fair and just write the news.

Barry Bonds appeared in court today to plead not guilty to all six charges brought up against him. The New York Times says that he was accompanied by his wife Liz, and a team of five attorneys, who did most of the talking for the slugger.

The charges brought against the home run champion relate to him lying about taking performance enhancing drugs.

The Washington Post reported that Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, spent several months in jail for refusing to testify against Bonds before, and Bond's new team of lawyers believe he will go to jail again. This, and the BALKO incidenct, a factory which produced performance enhancing drugs for players and supplied Anderson, put Bonds in suspicious light.

December 4, 2007

Accomplice to a Crime

Sometimes the crime is severe, and sometimes it is inconsequential. The common thread, is that people need to be aware of the consequences of their actions at all times. This means that anything you posses, can and will be used against you if you have acquaintances that don't uphold the law.

A sad story, but a great example, the New York Times reported on a man who borrowed his car to a friend who drove to a house and killed a woman during a botched drug deal. The man who owned the car, because of a United States law, is held responsible for this murder. He is an accomplice.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/us/04felony.html?hp

This is serious. This Florida man will serve life for allowing a friend to borrow his car. Did he know that his friend would kill someone that night? No, and neither did the man who committed murder, but this doesn't clear either of their records.

On a less serious note, Youtube has foiled two other criminals in China who abused products at work and posted a video of their mishaps on the Internet video site. The camera man knew exactly what he was doing, and even premeditatedly put the video on the Internet where almost 50,000 people watched it, including the restaurant's owners. This smells of an accomplice to crime. The first case does not.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120400360.html

This issue wares on me every weekend intertwining responsibility and partying. Because of U.S. statutes, I am responsible of the actions of anyone who I give alcohol to. Minors or adults, if someone gets a drink from me, I am responsible for the murders and suicides-on the more grave end-to the traffic violations they commit.

Who is at fault in these situations? Who is to blame?

That is a scary thought. I wo

December 2, 2007

Super...bug?

The CDC recently published a study on the MRSA super staph bacteria that was found growing in the vaginae of pregnant women. According to the Star Tribune, this infection was first blamed by the tampon that these women were using, which resulted in the products being taken off shelves immediately, but this was not the case. The truth is that a staph infection had evolved and started growing in side of these women, This infection was lethal in small doses, but these woman were treated before the infection spread throughout their bodies.
http://www.statribune.com/1244/story/1584744.html

This infection is one of the "superbugs" that leading physicians are trying to battle with new drugs. According to the New York Times MRSA and all staff infections spread by skin contact and enter the body though cuts. Young children and contact-sport athletes are warned to constantly keep their cuts clean and bandaged.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/27/nyregion/27mrsa.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

One of the reasons that MRSA has mutated from a regular staph infection to become lethal is because people don't consume their medication properly. When an individual takes their medication until their symptoms vanish and not the prescribed time given by their doctors, the bacteria has a chance to mutate and evolve to fight the antibodies that would have originally killed it.

November 25, 2007

Homeownership and renting in todays rollercoaster market

THe Washington Post reports that owning a home used to be cheaper than renting an apartment, but this has now changed. "Ten years ago, according to Moody's Economy.com, the average annual cost of owning a home -- including mortgages, taxes and maintenance costs -- was $10,231 nationally, compared with $13,090 for renting."

The Post later reports, " the average annual cost of owning a home was $17,707, compared with $15,721 for renting."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/23/AR2007112301911_2.html?sub=AR

The Post said that this is due to several reasons, owners buying more house than they could afford, government organizations that aided homeowners loosing steam, and variable mortgages that are put under strain in our falling ecconomy. But, the Star Tribune has another reason why owning a home is getting more and more expensive.

In MN, the government created legislature in 2001 to help foster homeownership through cheaper taxes on homes. Now that the legislation is fading out, as it was intended to do before 2009, homeowners are paying more taxes on their homes as the values decrease in the bear market.
http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1571103.html

As reported by the Strib, "The city cited one home where the market value declined from $217,200 to $209,000, but the taxable value jumped from $189,300 to $209,000. "

It looks like the American Dream might become a penthouse appartment instead of the white picket fense. But, I think we'll still keep apple pie and baseball.

November 20, 2007

Horse Race in Iowa

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/19/AR2007111900940.html?hpid=topnews

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/us/politics/20web-nagourney.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

November 19, 2007

CSI Nowhere...forensic biffs

The Washington Post and "60 Mintes" have uncovered a scandal wherein the FBI used inreliable evidence to prove that a bullet came from a certain gun. They said that by comparing the particles in a bullet they could determine, based on the kind of lead, whether it had been fired from a specific gun. After a study by the National Accademy of Sciences claimed this was incunclusive and unreliabe in court, the FBI stoped using this for prosecution in 2006. And now there are almost 2500 people behind bars how have had this type of analysis used as evidence against them.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/17/AR2007111701681.html

In another touchy forensic case, an ex-policeman is suspect for his ex-wife's murder and her body was exhumed and re-examined for free by a famous New York City medical examiner. He found that the body was placed in the tub where it was found, but the woman didn't die from an accident. However, this brings to light why a famous New York medical examiner would fly to Illinois and perform a free autopsy after hearing the descriptions of the case. One reason stands out: money.

The examiner, Micheal Braden, was paid by Fox News to fly to Chicago and do the examination. The New York Times further reports, Baden is a regular contributor to ''On The Record with Greta Van Susteren,'' Fox News spokeswoman Diana Rocco said. Fox News paid for his trip to Chicago in order for Baden to appear as a guest on the show that evening, she said."
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Police-Officers-Wife.html

It seems that forensic investigation is a very shady business, from the federal level, down to the private.


November 12, 2007

Human Error, Cited...but not communicated

If I were sailing a boat, I would try to avoid bridges. But, I would also try to gather a crew that spoke in my native language, or at least one I could understand.

The story of the Cosco Busan, is one of miscommunication. The New York Times reported, "Cmdr. Andrew Wood said “the mere fact that they collided with a fixed object� offered clear evidence that a communication problem had occurred."

Yup, the boat hit the bridge.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/us/11spill.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

But how could this be? And how could the New York Times miss the elephant standing in the room?
The Captain Cosco Busan, is English-speaking. His crew is not. Yet the Washington Post reported, "A language barrier between the vessel's pilot, Capt. John Cota, and the ship's all-Chinese crew was not likely a factor in the crash, since the ship's captain and officers are required to speak English, officials said." Just by including this in the story leads me to believe that the Washington Post and I are on the same level. The communication broke down because a Captain couldn't speak to his crew.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/11/AR2007111100402.html

November 9, 2007

Bush's Veto Overrided

This is a very interesting parallel between these two awesome news sources. It is examples like this that allow me to think that origonal work can be completed by two different journalists with the same information, and both can be right.


The New York Times took Bush's over-ridded veto as a sign of the rising power of the Democrats in congress, and how from here until he leaves office, President George Bush will have difficulty overcoming Democrat bills on the homefront, and this could be devistating for the Republican Party. The bill heard round the world was a provision to provide funding for water projects around the country, including projects in areas Hurricane Katrina devastated.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/us/09spend.html?ref=us

The Washington Post took this a completely different direction. The Post analyzed the breakdown of the Republican Party, and the small number of people actually behind their commander in chief. The Post points to the newly passed Domestic Spending Bill, and how it is only three votes away from being veto-proof, meaning that if it were to come back after Bush negates it, it would almost surely be passed in the House and Senate.

The Post also mentioned that Republican leaders said that they will rally support and keep most people behind the president in his domestic policies, but they admitted that many may break from the white house. When the party admits this, you know it is losing support.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/08/AR2007110801110.html

November 4, 2007

do the space walk

A group of astronauts on the International Space Station fixed a damaged wing yesterday. The repairman, astronaut Scott E. Parazynski took a 45 minutes to glide to the damaged portion of the wing and was held in place the the large robotic arm of the ISS, according to the Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/03/AR2007110300227.html

The New York Times reported that Parazynski was an emergency room physician and was using his skills to fix up wires that had limited the movement of the station's solar panel wing, a part essential to the energy absorption of the craft.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/science/space/04shuttle.html?ref=us

After over seven hours of colaboration between Parazynski and Pamela A. Melroy, the commander of the space shuttle Discovery’s current mission, the wing was repaired by fastening several metal cuflinks to patch up the damaged wires and maintain the structre of the craft.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/science/space/04shuttle.html?ref=us

November 3, 2007

a rising star and a fallen star

The marathon is mysterious, and so are the choices reporters make in reporting on the tragedy and the accomplishment of the sport.

Two very newsworthy events occurred at this year's US Olympic Trials.First, a hero emerged as possibly the most outstanding American runner of our time, and another hero died on the race course.

Ryan Shay, 28 was diagnosed with a large heart when he was fourteen, according to the AP. This is a condition which my friend was told would negatively influence his performance. But, endurance athletes like swimmers and runners actually benefit from larger hearts which increase their capacity to perform at higher intensities for longer periods of time. It isn't metaphorical, runners just have the biggest hearts.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/03/AR2007110300289.html

Shay's friend and training partner, Ryan Hall ran past him early in the race, and according to the New York Times, saw him one last time as his ambulance passed him in its way to the hospital. Hall, who was trying out for the olympics for his first time, is already the American record holder in the half marathon and the Marathon. In fact, he won the Olympic try-outs in a time faster than the professionals at the New York Marathon ran the following day.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/sports/othersports/04marathon.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Hall says he is dedicating his Olympic race to Shay.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/sports/othersports/04marathon.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

October 29, 2007

Putting out a fire

An article about the California fires is really not about the fires at all. Tamera Jones, a writer for the Washington Post, uses the fire to write about how mutual tragic experiences have the power to bond people together. The neighborhood she writes about was distant and the residents were cool to each other, but now they care for each others safety. She talks about how a group of neighbors had rarely very socialized, but now, after consoling and helping each other, want to group-bid on the contractors who will rebuild their homes.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/27/AR2007102701173.html?sid=ST2007102300524

The New York Times took a different spin on house rebuilding. According to the Times, "In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid out an estimated $1 billion in fraudulent or improper claims, according to Congressional investigators, more than 15 percent of all the aid it distributed to individuals." The Times analyzed the new FEMA regulations that require inspectors to visit every residence to prove that people need assistance, which means that the 158 FEMA inspectors in the area will be busy for a long time, checking out the 2,000 ruined houses.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/us/28fema.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

October 23, 2007

New ways, and marketing stradegies to beat infertility

One in 10 couples in the united states is infertile. That is a well established fact, and physicians and companies have noticed this and ran with it.

There are now brand new ways, and marketing stradegies for companies to birth the babe.

The Star Tribune ran a story about a couple from Wisconsin who paid $25,000 for Invitro fertilization. The Strib reports, "For them, it was the guarantee that did it. "If not, then it would be a lot of money," Greg Fox said." The hospital the Fox family chose to receive the operation from had a money back gaurantee.

http://www.startribune.com/infertility/

Besides Invitro fertilization, there are other new ways to combat infertility. The New York Times reported that , "American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued a list of warnings that it says women considering the expensive procedure must be given to ensure they make an informed choice." The Times reported that only 500 frozen and thawed eggs have produced birth compared to 200,000 births from frozen embryos. For the average woman, who would like to have her eggs frozen in her youth and use them in the case of her being infertile later, the ASRM argues against its current effectiveness.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-HealthBeat-Egg-Freezing.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

October 21, 2007

Jena started it

The Jena nooses, a gigantic controversy, have spauned several more noose hangings throughout the United States, according to the Washington Post. These nooses, such as the one's hung at factories and colleges where black people are a minority, are seen as very threatening, and some now consider that the noose has taken over as the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101902543.html

The New York Times reporter Paul Vitelo wrote, "At least seven times in the past few weeks, nooses have been anonymously tossed over pipes or hung on doorknobs in the New York metropolitan area," since the Jena controversy started.

Both of these articles are very interesting because they talk about the quality of the symbol, and about its new context.

The Times reported, '“In the context of today, the noose means, ‘There is still a racial hierarchy in this country, and you better not overstep your bounds,’� said Carmen Van Kerckhove, the founder of a New York consulting firm, New Demographic, that specializes in workplace problems, including racial tension."

October 19, 2007

No more children's cough medicine

According to the Washington Post, "The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13 to 9 to recommend against the use of the products for children in that age group after concluding overwhelmingly that there was insufficient evidence the long-used remedies worked in youngsters." This came after a panel brought this topic up for discussion after years of research. The FDA now says that the drugs shouldn't be used for people younger than six- a complete ban of over-the-counter cough medicine to children six and younger. The Post says that this is in conjunction with the opinion that parents use the drugs as sedatives so that their children (6 and above) can sleep at night and that without them, parents have few options for how to treat these symptoms.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101900246.html?hpid%3Dtopnews&sub=AR

This ban will not take effect today however. The FDA can only immediately remove drugs if they pose a threat to society, and, because these drugs have been proven safe, it may take years for these drungs to leave shelves, according to the New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/washington/19cnd-fda.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

October 14, 2007

Crandon: population hurt

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=674389

http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1472337.html

October 4, 2007

Child Health Care Now Big Deal

On Wednesday night, Bush privately vetoed a $35 billion child health care bill. According to the New York Times, the bill could provide aid to familes who make up to $83,000 a year. President Bush said, 'That doesn't sound poor to me." He argued that this bill would raise taxes to a point where it would put people who can right now afford health care into a level where they would need government help.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/washington/04bush.html?ref=us

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodman Clinton, in light of this unpopular veto realeased an ad showing her as the champion of health care. According to the Washington Post the add freatured black and white shots of children and talked about how Clinton already managed to help. An announcer says: "Hillary stood up for universal health care when almost no one else would, and kept standing until six million kids had coverage."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/04/AR2007100401356.html

October 3, 2007

Five Dead at an Xcel Energy Plant

This Tuesday 6 workers were killed in an accident in a Colorado Excel Energy mine. They were painting a 4-foot crevice 3000 ft. below ground when a fire broke out, according to the New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/us/03cnd-trapped.html?ref=us

That fire, according to the Star Tribune the fire, which fumes caused the fire also killed the workers. After the workers put the fire out, by the epxy they were coating their tunnel with. The epoxy was meant to come out of a spraying machine, which got jammed. The workers put solvent in the epoxy mix and the ignighter for the machine caught the fumes on fire. Before the workers could get oxygen they died from smoke inhalation.
http://www.startribune.com/nation/

September 29, 2007

A spoonful of sugar, but nothing else

"The basic question is, why should a product be so relentlessly marketed when it's not safe or effective?" said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner. "It does not make sense, in the absence of information, to say 'consult a physician,' because they do not have superhuman powers. They cannot make a product safe or effective." This is a quote from the Washington Post article about the push to get rid of children's cold medicine which has been proven both ineffective and unsafe. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/28/AR2007092800953.html

In an article published in the New York Times, safety experts for the FDA have urged the organization to drop the "seek advice from your physician before using" clause from children's medicine because the medicine has not proven to be beneficial for children and doctors won't be able to help. This proposal follows a 356-page proposal to take these medicines off of the shelf.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/29/health/29fda.html?hp

September 24, 2007

The Big Walk-out

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/business/business-gm-uaw.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

A national GM strike happened today because of job security. The strike was origionally thought to be only just a tool for bargaining, but as the bargain didn't reach where union leaders thought it should, it materialized into a reality according to the Washington Post. The union leaders had stayed at the "bargaining table" until the moment they said they would call in the strike, hoping that his gesture would lead GM executives to reconsider. It did not. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/24/AR2007092400417.html?hpid=topnews

According to the Washington Post, the 1988 strike that lasted for 53 days cost GM billions of dollars.


According to the New York Times, the strike ended and it seems that GM got the last laugh. In a deal that GM cut with union officials, GM will keep 16 plants running through 2011 bu has changed its retirement program. The GM retirement cost is valued at $50 billion, but executives cut a deal to pay the United Auto Workers Union a $30 billion deposite. This will save GM about $3 billion each year from now on.

AIDS Vaccine Fails

It appears that the highly anticipate AIDS vaccine from Merk has failed in its second of three USDA tests. According to the Washington Post, the study took results from people that were highly at risk for getting aids, homosexual men and women sex workers.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/21/AR2007092102146.html

The New York Times reports that the test was aimed at boosting the power of the helper-T cells in the body, those cells that fight AIDS. It did not hoewever as 24 cases were found in 741 people that had received the medicine in the last 13 months.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/health/22vaccine.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1190601133-/6A9ePOAeUbw4ZxCZcFb/Q

September 16, 2007

Stealling What Belongs to Him

O.J. Simpson was arrested today for alleged robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a firearm, all felonies.

The Pioneer Press reported that O.J. said, ""We didn't break into any room. There was no armed robbery," Simpson told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. But, this proved to be false. http://www.twincities.com/ci_6897745?nclick_check=1

Witnesses disagreed with Simpson, saying that deadly weapons were present, and police found those weapons on Sunday.

According to the Star Tribune, police searched a Simpson residence and found evidence: the two weapons used and the clothes allegedly worn by Simpson. http://www.startribune.com/484/story/1425985.html

Simpson entered the room with some men and took his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of himself with J. Edgar Hoover.