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Posts by exDemMom

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  • Runaway Sierra Leone Ebola patient dies in ambulance

    07/27/2014 8:18:47 PM PDT · 16 of 16
    exDemMom to grania

    I would hate to think that there could be an infectious disease with high mortality, and people resist quarantine. Such selfish actions could turn a controllable outbreak into something that spreads beyond control.

    With all of our advances in medical knowledge, we are still barely a step ahead of infectious disease. It wasn’t that long ago when infectious disease was a major cause of death. Even now, infectious diseases make up 3 of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

  • Runaway Sierra Leone Ebola patient dies in ambulance

    07/27/2014 8:08:15 PM PDT · 15 of 16
    exDemMom to yefragetuwrabrumuy
    Ebola: 90% mortality.

    This outbreak is "only" 60% mortality.

  • U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

    07/27/2014 5:43:23 AM PDT · 30 of 38
    exDemMom to PghBaldy

    Indeed. In general, the more deadly a disease is, the more likely it is to kill off its victims before it spreads far.

    I will not discuss the details, but in Africa, one of the ways that Ebola spreads is through the way they prepare bodies for funerals. Another is that they will eat dead animals that they find. So this disease actually gets some help to spread.

  • U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

    07/26/2014 8:55:11 PM PDT · 22 of 38
    exDemMom to bgill

    Yes. Another doctor was diagnosed on Wednesday. Several other health care workers have contracted Ebola and many have died.

    This is a nasty disease. The fatality rate during this outbreak is not as bad as in past outbreaks, but it is still around 60%.

    I’m praying for both doctors.

  • U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

    07/26/2014 7:40:03 PM PDT · 3 of 38
    exDemMom to Citizen Zed

    This, on the heels of a popular doctor in Sierra Leone catching the disease.

    It is a dangerous disease. I know that health care workers are supposed to cover themselves completely with protective clothing, but I wonder if that is enough. Laboratory workers wear spacesuits to research the virus, maybe that is the only safe way to be around it.

    I wish the best for this doctor.

  • Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel

    07/26/2014 7:34:43 PM PDT · 17 of 21
    exDemMom to BenLurkin

    We can all be glad that getting sick with Ebola requires contact with infected bodily fluids, and is not aerially transmissible.

    The Reston strain of Ebola was spread through the air, but it only infected (and killed) monkeys.

  • Just Who is Waging the ‘War on Science’?

    07/26/2014 6:35:19 AM PDT · 5 of 9
    exDemMom to cripplecreek

    That is an awesome graphic. I should print it out and post it on my desk as a handy reference guide.

  • The IRS: A Public Monument to Sandra Fluke's Privates

    07/26/2014 5:39:27 AM PDT · 4 of 16
    exDemMom to Kaslin

    This article missed a couple of important words that really detracted from reading it. A bit of editing would have made it a much better article.

    I can’t disagree with the premise. Government just keeps growing and growing; even the needed functions are bloated almost beyond recognition.

  • What We Women Want

    07/26/2014 5:31:34 AM PDT · 80 of 86
    exDemMom to Kaslin
    Women talk to me every day about the situations they face at work and home, and how they want a government that works to find solutions.

    Well, I think we have the problem there in a nutshell. Quit thinking that the government has the power to change your life. That isn't what government is for!

    Instead of piling up more and more programs to do what existing programs already redundantly do, burdening us with yet more bureaucracy and administrative costs, how about evaluating the programs that already exist for efficiency? Work on streamlining, eliminating, and combining them as needed to get rid of all the inefficient bloat. Same thing with the legal code. Isn't there an entire Department of Education that has absolutely nothing to show for its existence that can be eliminated?

  • Another Florida judge rules against gay marriage ban

    07/26/2014 5:20:55 AM PDT · 15 of 26
    exDemMom to SoFloFreeper

    How can there be a ban on something that cannot exist?

    Maybe lawmakers and the public should phrase this differently, in a way to force these judges to define exactly what they mean when they say “gay marriage.” How can a license be issued to engage in something that does not exist, when no one even knows what it is?

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/25/2014 3:56:43 AM PDT · 82 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H
    From wiki =>

    "Under the Rockefeller drug laws, the penalty for selling two ounces (57 g) or more of heroin, morphine, "raw or prepared opium," cocaine, or cannabis or possessing four ounces (113 g) or more of the same substances, was a minimum of 15 years to life in prison, and a maximum of 25 years to life in prison."

    Crime still shot up in NY like it did everywhere else. So much for your argument.

    A. This law was only in New York. In California, at the same time, marijuana was a misdemeanor, much like a traffic ticket.
    B. The portion of it that pertained to marijuana was repealed in 1979.
    C. Mandatory sentencing and increased punishment were enacted when the United States Congress passed the Boggs Act of 1952. The acts made a first time cannabis possession offense a minimum of two to ten years with a fine up to $20,000; however, in 1970, the United States Congress repealed mandatory penalties for cannabis offenses.[4] With the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 Congress enacted different mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, including marijuana. And,
    C. You are the one claiming to see a correlation between marijuana laws and crime rates, not me. As I already pointed out, there is not even a weak correlation. And any causative mechanisms that exist between drug laws and crime are far too complex to be hinted at by a simplistic calculation of correlation.

    As you said, the first 3-strike law was passed in 1993. Another passed the following year, and I'm assuming others were passed in subsequent years.

    The 3 strikes laws were not the only factor. Pushing for longer minimum sentences had an effect, as well. To put it simply, it is exceedingly difficult for a criminal in prison to commit crimes. And, since we the people have been pushing back against leniency towards criminals since the 1980s, more of them *are* convicted, and more of them *are* incarcerated for longer terms that keep them off the streets for longer periods of time. BTW, that Wiki article on minimum sentencing had almost no useful information other than what I quoted above. It seemed to be more of a sociology essay, meant to influence opinion. Furthermore, it seemed focused almost exclusively on drug laws, but I wanted info on all criminal laws.

  • Solar flare nearly destroyed Earth 2 years ago: NASA

    07/25/2014 3:17:27 AM PDT · 21 of 44
    exDemMom to Nachum

    Mmm, I love the smell of hyperbole in the morning.

  • UCR: Researchers find key component of autistic behavior

    07/25/2014 3:13:42 AM PDT · 8 of 25
    exDemMom to blueplum
    One in 5,000 males is born with the disorder; females can be affected, but to a lesser degree. About 40 percent of cases of autism are associated with Fragile X syndrome.

    Given that the current rate of autism diagnosis is 1 in 68, these numbers don't add up. Even if all of the "autism spectrum disorders" are discounted, the numbers still don't add up. If 40% of autistic children have fragile X, and 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, then the rate of diagnosis of autistic children with fragile X would be 1 in 170. Someone should have proofread the article more carefully prior to publication.

    Unfortunately, the original journal article is behind a paywall, so I cannot access it. I doubt we have this journal subscribed at work, either. I would love to read what it actually says.

  • Pasta Bugs: Why Are There Insects In American Food?

    07/24/2014 7:32:27 PM PDT · 24 of 111
    exDemMom to jespasinthru

    I do not put flour or boxes of pasta in the cupboard without sealing them in plastic bags or boxes first.

    I have never purchased grain items that already had weevils in them. But if they sit around the kitchen for a while, especially if the package is opened, they will attract weevils. This is more of a problem in some parts of the country. In Maryland, I can get away with opening a package and using it within a week or so before the weevils find it; in California, the weevils showed up almost as soon as I put the package in the cupboard.

    I suggest investing in some Rubbermaid containers and making a habit of sealing all grain items as soon as you take them home from the store. Ziploc bags also work. The plastic shopping bags will NOT work.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/24/2014 4:25:37 AM PDT · 79 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H
    Actually, I meant "correlation." I should have said, "...resulted in an apparent decrease in crime."

    Correlations do not 'result' in things. - HELLO! - Causations 'result' in things.

    Nice foot shot, again.

    Please pay attention.

    A correlation is a measure of how closely the numbers from two data sets cluster next to a line on an xy graph. Here is a fairly elementary discussion of correlation. Normally, such graphs also contain a trendline, the line that would be seen if the two data sets had a perfect 1:1 correlation. So, if you are making the claim that x and y are correlated, you are saying that for every change in x, you are seeing an equivalent change in y as determined by the slope equation (y=mx+b) of the trendline, within a certain margin of error. The equation for correlation is also contained on that page; this equation gives a numerical value to the average deviation from the trendline of each point in the data set. The higher the magnitude of the number (it can be positive or negative), the more closely the two data sets match.

    Now, let me reiterate: you claim to see a correlation between marijuana laws and crime. Assuming that you can assign a numerical value to marijuana laws such that they can be graphed and calculated in conjunction with criminal activity, the correlation isn't there. Possession of marijuana was a felony in the early 1960s and was downgraded to a misdemeanor sometime in the 1970s. I remember this because, as I already said, I grew up in the SF Bay Area, the heart of the "counterculture" movement of the 1960s-1970s. Yet, in this environment where possession of less than a gram was no more serious than a traffic ticket, crime rates were increasing (according to the graph I made from that crime table that you linked). Thus, no positive correlation exists between marijuana laws and crime. Crime rates (as graphed from the table) were dropping before backdoor marijuana legalization efforts were being implemented. So, again, whatever relation there might be between the data sets, it is not a correlation.

    Please note that I am speaking strictly of mathematical functions, what I expect to see if a specific mathematical function is operant, and that not a single word of this discussion mentions causality or possible mechanisms of causality.

    Sure, if you ignore the Law and Order sentiment that helped Nixon and Wallace garner 60% of the vote in 1968, the Drug War begun under Nixon in 1971, the Rockefeller laws in 1973, the steady, decades long trend of increasing drug arrests that began in the early 1970s, and the explosion of incarcerated individuals beginning in the mid-1970s.

    I would not know what Nixon's campaign pledges were, since I was a child living in a McGovern household at the time and was not paying attention to politics. But I do know the counterculture, and witnessed how it steadily grew and became more influential from its roots in the 1960s. The counterculture did not like any laws; they believed in psychotherapy for criminals, and blamed society for criminal behavior. And, regardless of Nixon's campaign pledges, the counterculture had a lot of influence in liberalizing the criminal justice system so that in some places, prisons became "revolving doors", letting criminals out almost as soon as they were sentenced. And when this lax enforcement of laws resulted in (caused, because there actually is a mechanism to show how this happened) an explosion in crime rates, only then was there a real push-back among the people, who voted for minimum sentencing and three strikes laws. And only then did crime rates start to go down again. The "how" is very simple: criminals kept locked up in prison commit very little crime, and potential criminals might think twice about committing a crime if they know that punishment consists of more than a slap on the wrist.

    As far as any drug arrests go, maybe more people were arrested (that would make sense, because one counterculture feature is a love of drug use/abuse, so that practice was actually increasing during that time), but actually going to prison for drug use? I've never seen that happen, although I am aware of many many cases where drug users/abusers were sent to rehab. As far as I know, drug users in prison are there because of some other crime, not the drug abuse (although drug abuse might have led them to commit the other crimes). Since I am military, I have to be trained yearly in how to recognize drug abuse; of all of the videos we have seen that feature drug abusers talking about their addictions, the one thing they never mention is ever spending time in prison for their abuse. Rehab facilities, yes--prison, no.

    And I will point out that your language in this paragraph indicates that you really do believe that changes in the crime rate are caused by drug laws. Only now, you seem to be including all drug laws, not just marijuana laws.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/23/2014 5:02:31 PM PDT · 77 of 84
    exDemMom to ConservingFreedom
    There are such persons as nonaddicted users and non-harming addicts - and it's immoral to punish them for the harms some addicts do.

    Sorry, but I do not buy that at all. I have yet to see a regular user of any drug that is not addicted... if it weren't for the addiction, why are they even using? Especially when there are so many non-drug related activities to engage in?

    The term "violence" occurs nowhere on that page. Adding that term to the search string narrows the result list to four - two of which don't actually mention violence, one of which is about treating aggression, and one of which makes no mention of changes to the physical structure of the brain.

    Still sounds like urban legend.

    One imaging study: they found physical changes in the structure of the brain.

    Another imaging study: memory is impaired in "medical" marijuana users with MS.

    Not an imaging study, but a meta analysis of several studies that show that marijuana use in young people is associated with onset of psychotic disorders. FYI, psychotic people are more likely to be violent than the general population, and are over-represented in prison populations.

    Anyway, I can reference study after study, but this should be sufficient. The fact is that marijuana use has been observed to cause brain structure changes. One recent study showed behavioral changes persisting for at least 2 years after last use. Another study showed permanent effects on fetuses when their mothers used marijuana. I'm certain that with the recent legalization of marijuana in many jurisdictions, and the resulting ease of doing studies on marijuana use, more deleterious effects will be documented in great detail.

    I will point out that searching PubMed is not quite like searching Google. Google is very flexible about search terms, while PubMed requires fairly specific keywords. But if you know how to search PubMed, you can usually find things... but if you fail to find something, that does not mean that there is not at least one publication that discusses what you are looking for.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/23/2014 4:29:08 PM PDT · 76 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H
    To say that 3 factors have a better correlation with something than a 4th factor, does not mean the 3 factors are causative. If you want to know what I think are major causative factors, then please have the common courtesy to ask, then we can discuss them. In the meantime, you are not justified in assigning such a meaning to the words you quoted.

    If you do not mean to imply that changes in marijuana laws have anything to do with overall crime rates, then why did you bring it up in such a way as to suggest that you think they are connected?

    No! You just misapprehended the meaning of correlation - again. Correlations do not ‘result’ in something. Causations ‘result’ in something.

    Actually, I meant "correlation." I should have said, "...resulted in an apparent decrease in crime." When data sets are strongly correlated, then the trends you see in one data set are also contained within the other data set. What I was pointing out was that, despite your claims that there is a correlation between marijuana laws and crime rates, actual examination of the data does not reveal a correlation. In any case, since changing a marijuana law is an infrequent event, you can't really look at a correlation anyway, because a change in law does not generate a data set that can be statistically compared 1 to 1 with the crime rate data set. I suppose one could look at changes in the trend line slope to try to find a correlation. But it's a pointless exercise, anyway. The actual situation about what is going on with marijuana laws and non-marijuana crimes is probably fairly complex.

    Lastly, your claim that the posted graph supports you is yet another example of error in your posts. Look at the US crime table at the 'disaster center' link (earlier in this post) and compare it to the incarceration graph.

    I graphed the numbers. I acknowledged previously that the graph you posted with the incarceration rates was only a proxy for crime--there are many reasons for this. The graph of the numbers shows what is going on better than a table. First of all, the incidence of crime follows the same pattern, no matter whether you choose "violent crime" or all crime. The magnitude of different kinds of crime varies, but the overall pattern of peaks and troughs is the same. And it still supports my hypothesis that the move towards tougher sentencing laws which began in the early 1990s has had an effect to lower crime, while the move towards lenient laws starting in the 1960s had the overall effect of increased crime. Although you keep trying to say that the strictness of the laws, how well they are enforced, and the crime rates are completely independent of each other, that simply is not the case.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/21/2014 4:40:43 AM PDT · 62 of 84
    exDemMom to ConservingFreedom
    That's the comparison you made - the non-elimination of bank robbery and of drug use - and I refuted by noting that one is combatted by its victims before and after while the other is assisted by its participants. Two-thirds of murders are solved, and probably an even higher proportion of bank robberies, whereas the percentage of incidents of drug use that are even detected is certainly several orders of magnitude smaller.

    So? You did *not* refute the fact that making the activity illegal did not stop it, which is the point I have been making all along. Its corollary is that making an activity legal causes it to increase. All you are telling me is that a high chance of getting caught doesn't even stop people from committing a crime. I'm glad you finally figured out that I am talking about the incidence of the activity, and not its nature.

    To claim that the "war on drugs" failed because drug abuse has not disappeared despite it being illegal

    Who claimed that?

    That was the claim in post #38 of this thread. Furthermore, I have seen legalized drug advocates make this claim many the point where it seems to be their *only* argument in favor of legalized drug abuse.

    Probably true for some definition of "regular and prolonged" (including alcohol use) - a definition that many users don't meet.

    Actually, I would say that if they are using regularly, they meet the definition.

    Sorry, but the Constitution mandates that the government both protect the citizens against all enemies, foreign and domestic

    No it doesn't - search the text of the Constitution at the following link and you won't find those words:

    and that the government provide for the general welfare (which is a synonym for well-being, and has nothing to do with endless handouts).

    That's a general statement of purpose, not a grant of authority; it occurs once in the preamble and once just before an enumerated list of congressional powers. Federalist 41 makes this crystal clear.

    Then the bit about "all enemies, foreign and domestic" must have been in the oath I took when I joined the military.

    I'm not talking about the Federalist papers, I'm talking about the Constitution, which is a legally binding document. The general welfare clause is one of the justifications for a number of agencies dedicated to protection of health--FDA, CDC, USDA, etc. I know that a lot of libertarians would love to see all of those agencies disbanded, and allow anyone to sell anything regardless of safety...from everything you've written, I think you are probably one of them.

    Like it or not, the brain damage that drug abuse causes makes some people violent, an effect which can manifest when they are sober and is exacerbated when they are high. Remember what I said about drugs changing the physical structure of the brain? Violence is one possible outcome of that kind of damage.

    Sounds like urban legend to me - have any scientific studies to back that up?

    Yep, urban legend.

  • Deadly mosquito virus reported in eastern Mass.

    07/21/2014 4:06:54 AM PDT · 9 of 26
    exDemMom to Morgana

    Nice. Chikungunya, dengue, West Nile virus, and now EEE.

    Of course, I shall continue to sample the mosquitoes in MD for the presence of pathogens. I do this experiment not quite by choice...

  • Whooping Cough Cases Nearing 900

    07/20/2014 8:31:35 AM PDT · 34 of 51
    exDemMom to dandiegirl
    I’m wondering if adults should now get boosters for everything. All I have had a shot for in my adult years is tetanus. I may have gotten some boosters when I was pregnant in the 90’s but don’t remember.

    Check the CDC website for the most current vaccine recommendations.

    Adult vaccination schedule.

    If you know someone who is pregnant or has a new baby, it is very important to get the pertussis vaccine if you plan to visit the baby. Keep in mind that vaccines take a couple weeks to "kick in." Also, pregnant women should get the vaccine in the 2nd or early 3rd trimester. That way, the baby gets passive immunity from antibodies created by the mother until it is old enough to receive the vaccine.

  • Whooping Cough Cases Nearing 900

    07/20/2014 8:27:19 AM PDT · 33 of 51
    exDemMom to Oldexpat
    We know read that the shots are only about 90% effective.

    No vaccine is 100% effective. The idea of massive vaccination is to make sure enough people are vaccinated--even accounting for the vaccine failures--to prevent transmission of the disease if it does break out. That is what is meant by "herd immunity"--that the transmission chain is broken.

  • Whooping Cough Cases Nearing 900

    07/20/2014 8:25:29 AM PDT · 32 of 51
    exDemMom to bgill
    +From the article, 2 of the 895 weren't up to date on their shots. There was another article on FR last month reporting about the same. That's a whole lot less than 90% effective.

    The article said that of the new cases, all but 2 were up to date on their shots. There were 9 new cases, so 7 were fully vaccinated. This does not change the estimation of 90% effective, because we don't know how many vaccinated people were exposed and did not come down with whooping cough.

  • Whooping Cough Cases Nearing 900

    07/20/2014 8:22:10 AM PDT · 30 of 51
    exDemMom to Bogey78O
    The immigrants are making it harder but there’s almost no excuse for why every American isn’t immunized.

    The anti-vaccine activists would disagree with you on that. They work hard and tirelessly to discourage every parent from having their children vaccinated. They are, in fact, a major contributing factor in the comeback of whooping cough.

  • Why Does Political Correctness Mean the Transgender Person Is Always Right?

    07/19/2014 2:31:56 PM PDT · 30 of 70
    exDemMom to kaehurowing
    All the “transgender” people I have run into in my life had SERIOUS psychological problems. I don’t know why folks don’t mention that.

    Because, for some reason, people whose mental illness manifests as a sexual deviancy get a free pass.

    I've been trying to figure out why. I have some hypotheses, but I really don't know. Treating them as if they are normal is advancing some political agenda--but how it is supposed to do that is unclear.

  • Why Does Political Correctness Mean the Transgender Person Is Always Right?

    07/19/2014 2:23:32 PM PDT · 23 of 70
    exDemMom to nickcarraway
    But she still looks very much like a man if you watch the piece.

    Let's start with using the correct gender here. He is still a man and will remain so, regardless of how he mutilates his body. So the proper pronoun is "he."

  • Florida State Surgeon General Letter to HHS Regarding Unaccompanied Children

    07/19/2014 2:04:54 PM PDT · 58 of 73
    exDemMom to kitchen

    My son got head lice when he was little, and shared them. It took days to get rid of them. You have to poison them, comb out all the nits, and poison again a few days later. The nits cannot be poisoned because of their shells.

  • Transgender Pizza Employee Said She Quit Over Discrimination

    07/19/2014 1:25:41 PM PDT · 35 of 103
    exDemMom to LostInBayport
    I've heard someone (including a woman) address a group of women as "you guys" many times.

    In CA, and probably in other dialects of American English, "you guys" refers to a group of people, much like the Southern "y'all."

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/19/2014 1:06:40 PM PDT · 57 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H
    No, we are having this discussion because you insist on mischaracterizing my argument as equating correlation with causation.

    I would be more inclined to believe that I misunderstood or mischaracterized your argument, if you had not ended your previous post by stating, "The 3 factors I mentioned - loosening mj laws, the internet and armed citizens - have a much better correlation with the fall in crime." The words you choose make it appear that you are indeed trying to equate correlation with causation. If you do not mean to conflate the two, you need to make that very clear--instead of repeating how good the correlation is.

    The correlations you claim aren't even that strong. Marijuana has been criminalized to some extent for centuries; in the 1930s, it was more or less prohibited across the US. Yet, according to the graph you posted, incarceration rates (as a proxy for crime rates) remained fairly constant until the 1970s. At that time, some states, including my home state of CA, downgraded marijuana possession/use to a misdemeanor rather than a felony. If the strong correlation you claim between marijuana laws and crime rates existed, then downgrading the laws should have resulted in a decrease in crime--but the graph shows crime starting to climb at that time. I am also unaware of any time in US history when citizens were *not* armed, so trying to find a correlation between the arming of citizens and *any* event is challenging.

    The graph does not support your contention. You continue to ignore the fact that the push back began in the mid-1970s. Incarceration rates rose while crime rose for nearly 20 years afterwards. You have a poor case for even a correlation, let alone causation.

    The push-back against what, exactly?

    That graph is exactly what I would expect to see if lax laws lead to higher crime and strict laws lead to lower crime. In the 1960s, the "free love" generation, people protested against all kinds of things, including the practice of being tough on criminals. I remember this quite well, having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was "ground zero" for many of the extravagances of the 1960s. The result was that crime rates started to climb in the early 1970s, and continued to climb until they peaked in the early 2000s (using the graph you posted; I could graph the numbers from your earlier links, but do not see the need since the incarceration graph shows the same thing). In the 1990s, people started becoming very vocal about getting tough on crime--the first 3 strikes law was passed in 1993 in WA, and CA's 3 strikes passed a year later. In addition, Bill Clinton ran and won on a platform of getting tough on crime, with the program to put 100,000 more cops on the streets; he was inaugurated in 1993. So the evidence is that the laws to become strict on crime started being instituted in the early 1990s. And the rise in criminality reversed itself and is now trending downwards.

    The fact that there is a delay of a few years before the rise in crime following the push to more lax laws, and the drop in crime following the push to more strict laws does not invalidate either the (negative) correlation, or the clear causative relationship. Because it takes time for laws to be enacted and more time for their effects to manifest, I *expect* to see a lag. Remember, although correlation alone does not establish causation, when a mechanism exists that links cause and effect, then a strong correlation (or negative correlation) often results.

    Not surprised you'd find a way to take a swipe at the graph. It shoots your argument right in the butt.

    The graph actually supports quite well my assertion that lax laws=increased crime, and strict laws=decreased crime. Your rejection of such an obvious relationship is puzzling, to say the least--I am reminded of a time when I started to read a NYT editorial that began with a statement like "Despite record incarceration rates, crime continues to fall." (I paraphrase since I do not remember the exact words.) Since the editorial began with a ludicrous assertion, I did not bother reading the rest of it. The reason that I criticized the title of the graph is that I am a stickler about the correct use of language. Since, by definition, an inmate is incarcerated, it is impossible for the rate of incarceration of inmates to change.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/19/2014 12:06:48 PM PDT · 56 of 84
    exDemMom to ConservingFreedom
    Before we go off on your latest tangent, let's note that it is a tangent from the above question: whether bank robbery refutes the anti-War-on-Drugs argument that the WoD is failing. As I showed, it is apples-and-oranges so not a refutation.

    Since I was not comparing the act of bank robbery to the act of illicit drug abuse, why do you keep attacking the non-existent comparison? Bank robbery is just one example of an illegal activity that is kept in check but not eliminated by being made illegal, but I could have selected any illegal activity as an example. Rape, murder, tax fraud, speeding--none of these have been eliminated as a result of being made illegal. To claim that the "war on drugs" failed because drug abuse has not disappeared despite it being illegal is equivalent to claiming that the "war on indecent exposure" has been lost because people still illegally expose themselves. You have to come up with a better argument than that.

    And some don't - in fact, the majority of users don't become addicted at all. It is immoral to punish non-harming addicts and nonaddicted users for what some addicts do (in general, and particularly the noncriminal harms of being homeless and begging).

    Anyone who continues using an illicit substance on a regular and prolonged basis is addicted or well on the way to becoming addicted, regardless of their claims to the contrary. Many illicit drugs cause physical brain changes. One change that occurs is that the person loses their ability to resist the drug, even when they know that the drug is killing them. Why is punishing drug abusers immoral? Maybe being forcibly removed from the harmful effects of drugs is what they need in order to stop destroying their lives. Even in cases where addicts do not become violent and turn to begging rather than crime to feed their addictions, their addiction is still hurting people. The parents of an addict never look at their son or daughter's self-destruction as anything other than a tragedy; no one ever points at a homeless bum and brags, "There's my dad! I want to be just like him!" I would say that the psychological harm suffered by the family of a non-violent drug addict is just as serious and real as the physical or economic harm done by the more violent addicts.

    Government - especially the federal government of strictly enumerated Constitutional limits - has no general mandate to prevent "damage" ... much less to do so by violating the liberties of non-damagers.

    Sorry, but the Constitution mandates that the government both protect the citizens against all enemies, foreign and domestic--it does not specify that the enemies must be enemy combatants--and that the government provide for the general welfare (which is a synonym for well-being, and has nothing to do with endless handouts).

    Blaming the drugs is like blaming the gun. Broadly based investigations show that most of those vicious/crazy on drugs were already vicious/crazy off drugs. And note that anti-drug laws did not prevent your uncle from getting those drugs.

    I blame the drugs because of the well-characterized brain damage that drugs cause, and because psychotic behavior is sometimes a component of the "high" that drugs cause. Like it or not, the brain damage that drug abuse causes makes some people violent, an effect which can manifest when they are sober and is exacerbated when they are high. Remember what I said about drugs changing the physical structure of the brain? Violence is one possible outcome of that kind of damage.

    I'm surprised that you did not note that anti-murder laws did not prevent my uncle from committing murder. Also, anti-rape laws did not prevent him from committing rape, anti-desertion laws did not prevent him from deserting the Army, and anti-whatever other criminal activity he engaged in did not prevent him from committing those crimes. I suppose the only answer, then, is to make all those activities legal--since, obviously, making them illegal didn't stop them. Besides, it is just so unfair to keep a man locked up for decades just because his favorite activities are illegal (to use your pro-drug legalization argument).

  • Florida State Surgeon General Letter to HHS Regarding Unaccompanied Children

    07/19/2014 11:11:29 AM PDT · 54 of 73
    exDemMom to kitchen

    Obviously, the genetic differences are sufficient to compel different behaviors, no matter what their similarities are.

    The fact that they can be induced to breed under laboratory conditions does not negate the fact that they are two different species. Clearly, they are still fairly early in the speciation process. Since they do not naturally interbreed, eventually their genomes will drift far enough apart that interbreeding will become impossible even in lab conditions.

  • Fear Indifference: Bordering on Inhumanity

    07/19/2014 9:11:24 AM PDT · 25 of 39
    exDemMom to Kaslin
    The afore-quoted Tweeters were reacting to: "Pope Francis calls on U.S. to welcome illegal immigrants." His message though, wasn't a call to abolish borders and law, but to see the humanity, for goodness' sake.

    We *do* see the humanity.

    There are suffering children all over the world; arguably, the children of Africa are *much* worse off than children in the Americas. No matter how much we may ache for those children, we simply cannot take in every single one, or even a significant fraction, of them. Furthermore, simply taking them in and dumping them onto the treadmill of endless poverty and subjugation does nothing to improve their lives or to improve the overall situations in their home countries that make their lives short and miserable. The best way to help? Fight the violence in their countries. Improve their economies. Educate them, focusing on the benefits and responsibilities of a free society. Yes, these measures are hard--they are infinitely more difficult than tossing children into detention camps until some slave masters posing as their families remove them. But the best actions with the most favorable long-term outcomes won't be easy.

  • 'Battered Women Should Stop Whining' (Female Democrat Official Says)

    07/18/2014 4:01:54 PM PDT · 4 of 15
    exDemMom to nickcarraway
    "You should deal with it at an early stage and think twice about who you marry and move in with," she said. "Often these men show tendencies of treating women around them badly, their mothers and sisters."

    Actually, she is completely right. Abusive men give off the signals early on. Unfortunately, abused women often begin to believe that they deserve to be treated that way, and often have a history of past abuse so that they expect to be treated that way.

  • UKRAINE: Russian terrorists destroyed the top world research scientists with cure for AIDS

    07/18/2014 3:57:37 PM PDT · 2 of 21
    exDemMom to

    Their research is not lost, since they documented everything (if they were good scientists). However, their experience and insight is gone.

  • 2013 State of the Climate: CO2, heat, oceans rise; glaciers retreat

    07/18/2014 3:54:09 PM PDT · 9 of 15
    exDemMom to Oldeconomybuyer

    Question: how do you normalize between measuring temperatures with non-calibrated mercury thermometers (as they were taken in previous centuries) and digital thermometers accurate to within a tenth of a degree? Even with a calibrated thermometer, the way you take the temperature changes the reading—for instance, wet bulb vs. dry bulb methods. For historical comparisons, the data set just isn’t there because methodologies have changed.

  • The More People Are Exposed To Socialism, The Worse They Behave

    07/18/2014 3:48:40 PM PDT · 13 of 19
    exDemMom to Cruising Speed

    That part of the experiment was not described in the excerpt. The researchers went on to give participants a questionnaire asking about where they had lived, East or West Germany, and for how long. There was a positive correlation between the amount of cheating and the length of time spent in East Germany.

  • Democrats Are Positive The Border is Secure

    07/18/2014 4:32:38 AM PDT · 6 of 25
    exDemMom to markomalley

    The border *is* secure. We are absolutely not having a crisis in which thousands of Canadians are swarming across our border. In fact, the only Canadian I have seen recently is here legally and has a green card.

  • Democrats Are Positive The Border is Secure

    07/18/2014 4:32:38 AM PDT · 5 of 25
    exDemMom to markomalley

    The border *is* secure. We are absolutely not having a crisis in which thousands of Canadians are swarming across our border. In fact, the only Canadian I have seen recently is here legally and has a green card.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/18/2014 4:29:19 AM PDT · 53 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H
    No, I am not. I said in my prior post => "It does not necessarily mean there is causality, but there is definitely a strong correlation." In reading your comments, I'm not sure you get the distinction between correlation and causation.

    Actually, people who automatically assume that a correlation must mean causation are one of my pet peeves, which is why we are having this discussion. You may have stuck in the disclaimer that there is not necessarily a causative relationship, but then you talk about it as if it is fact established by stringent studies and observation that there *is* a causative relationship. Without characterizing a causative mechanism, a correlation is nothing more than an interesting coincidence, like this spurious correlation at the link.

    You don't have much of a correlation on the "push back" theory of falling crime, either.(see chart below) From the mid-70s to the mid-90s, crime rose right along with incarceration. That's about 2 decades of positive correlation between rising crime and rising incarceration rates, and 2 decades of negative correlation.

    Actually, your graph shows extremely well what I would expect to see if the tougher laws and mandatory sentencing requirements that have been enacted since the 1990s have been having the effect of reducing crime. As laws are made tougher, the incarceration rate goes up. As the incarceration rate increases, fewer criminals are out on the streets where they can commit crimes. The crime rate drops. Hence a *negative* correlation. Measures such as tougher laws never have an instantaneous effect since it takes time for a majority of the population to learn that crime *will* be punished. Therefore, a lagging indicator would be a drop in incarceration rate, which would begin to appear when increasing numbers of people decide not to commit crime in the first place. Your graph shows that, as well, with the peak incarceration rate occurring around 2007, a decade or so after 3 strikes laws started sweeping the country. In this case, there is a strong causative mechanism in place that accounts for the drop in crime--unlike the rather weak correlation you keep stressing between liberalized marijuana laws and drop in crime. I already pointed out that criminality has risen and fallen regardless of whether marijuana laws were strict or weak. I should also point out that because one effect of the brain damage caused by marijuana use is to *permanently* decrease a person's initiative to do anything, their ability to commit crime (which takes initiative) is also impaired. So I would *not* actually expect to see property or personal crimes to increase as a result of more potheads.

    Also, the graph you posted has a horrible title. I would expect the incarceration rate of inmates to be 100% under all circumstances.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/17/2014 5:54:56 PM PDT · 51 of 84
    exDemMom to PlasticMan
    That's like thinking that Plan Nine From Outer Space is based on real observations of space aliens.

    As I recall, the movie "Reefer Madness" showed a normal young man who became delusional and paranoid as a result of marijuana use.

    Current research is showing that marijuana use causes brain damage that may very well be permanent. Users become paranoid (and this effect was well-known among users back in the 1970s). People's short-term memory is wiped out. Although these effects are quite noticeable during the period of intoxication, there is evidence that these effects--especially the loss of memory and lack of initiative--linger long after the "high" has dissipated. Marijuana triggers psychotic disorder (whether it causes it has not been determined) in people whose brains are still developing (brain development is complete around age 25). It physically changes the structure of the brain.

    As I said before, it looks more and more like Reefer Madness may have been a bit exaggerated, but it wasn't that far off from the truth.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/17/2014 5:35:06 PM PDT · 50 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H

    Once again, you are attributing a causative effect to a correlation where no causative mechanism exists.

    The drug laws were strict since the early 1900s, and crime was low until the permissive attitudes of the 1960s became widespread. In the 1960s, prison sentences were reduced because very vocal activists started blaming everyone but the criminal for crimes committed, and pushed strongly for lenient sentencing and alternatives to prison, like attendance at group therapy. This is also the time when crime started to explode. In the 1990s, as a result of widespread criminal behavior, people started pushing back against the anti-prison activists. They voted for 3 strikes laws and minimum prison sentences for crimes were enacted.

    I should also point out that in the 1960s, one could go to prison in CA for possession of marijuana. That changed sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s, so that by the end of the 1970s, possession of less than a gram of marijuana was a misdemeanor, not a felony. If more lenient marijuana laws can really cause a drop in criminal behavior, then why did crime rates keep going up after marijuana laws were “liberalized” in the 1970s?

    To attribute the drop in crime to legalization of marijuana is to completely ignore the proactive anti-crime laws that were enacted at the time.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/17/2014 5:19:29 PM PDT · 49 of 84
    exDemMom to ConservingFreedom
    Bank robberies are detected 100% of the time, potential victims take all manner of preventive measures beforehand, and actual victims cooperate in investigations afterward. The vast majority of illegal drug transactions go undetected, and those involved actively seek out those transactions and strive to avoid investigation. Laws against consensual acts are, by the nature of the act, doomed to futilty.

    What happens when drug addicts become so addled that they can no longer hold down a job? Some of them turn to various forms of crime to feed their addiction; others become homeless bums and beg to feed their addictions. If these people had families that loved them, they cause untold pain to those families who must watch them descend into living hell. Some drug addicts turn violent and physically harm or even kill others. Drug abuse is hardly a victimless crime. It may not be as overt as a bank robbery, but the damage it causes is far more pervasive and causes more long-term collateral damage.

    I have an uncle who has been in prison since the 1970s for a horrific murder he committed while under the influence of illicit drugs. You cannot convince me that drug abuse is a victimless crime, or that it should be legalized.

  • The Collapse of America - A Plan Decades in the Making

    07/17/2014 3:49:49 PM PDT · 8 of 54
    exDemMom to drypowder

    The major flaw of Cloward and Piven is that they planned for a collapse and a strategy to achieve it, but never explained what they imagine will happen after the collapse.

    Third world dictatorships are great for the handful at the top who wield all the power and have all the money. For everyone else, they are miserable. Why anyone would want such a system is incomprehensible. We can only hope that the low information voters who have enabled the Cloward Piven strategy realize that the left emotionally manipulated them to get their vote... but the fact that they are so open to being manipulated means they are unlikely to recognize that it is happening.

  • Employers ordered to notify workers of cuts to birth-control coverage

    07/17/2014 3:44:04 PM PDT · 7 of 22
    exDemMom to mdittmar
    Congressional Democrats cheered the administration’s move as an important step to give workers a chance to know what obstacles they may face in obtaining free contraception.

    There is no such thing as "free" contraception. If your health plan covers it, you are paying for it, plus administrative fees. If your plan does not cover it, you pay for it without the fees. Either way, you pay.

    Plus, the Hobby Lobby decision was not about birth control. It was about drugs that they consider abortifacients.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/17/2014 4:12:08 AM PDT · 42 of 84
    exDemMom to Ken H

    So... we should be keeping people with criminal minds stoned all the time, because pot has the well-known effect of inhibiting initiative?

    What I see in the graph is not a correlation between pot legalization and crime, but a clear relationship between the lax attitudes on crime that began in the 1960s and the more strict measures that started being implemented in the 1990s when people were concerned over high crime rates.

    You have to be careful when looking for a causative relationship between correlated observations. Unless a causative mechanism can be established, you might be looking at things that aren’t even connected to each other.

  • Could being overweight benefit our health?

    07/17/2014 3:58:33 AM PDT · 2 of 25
    exDemMom to Innovative

    It is very difficult to say what this study actually found from this excerpt.

    A confounder of studies such as this is that people who are terminally ill often lose a lot of weight before they die. So, even though obesity may not be very healthy, a study could show that obese or overweight people have a better prognosis—even though if compared with healthy, non-terminal people, they may actually be pretty bad off.

  • Rep. Renee Ellmers' full comments regarding the 'war on women' narrative

    07/17/2014 3:50:52 AM PDT · 2 of 3
    exDemMom to ObamahatesPACoal

    I went down and read through the comments after the article. Although the quoted passage was clearly a transcript of oral remarks—which never look good when written word for word—the commentators were uniformly critical of her language. She actually did not say much to criticize, except when she said “you have to talk down to a woman’s level.” Although that is probably true when talking to liberal women, she should have probably used different phrasing, like “you have to talk from a woman’s point of view.” However, in oral remarks, it is very difficult to pick the correct or best phrase to use in a situation.

    I’d like to see how oral statements by any of the commentators would look when transcribed. They would probably be even less coherent than the representative’s.

    This is why you have to be careful with liberals. They have a pack mentality, cannot think very well, and reflexively find things to criticize on an opponent that they would overlook on one of their own. Liberals are the lowest information of the low information voters.

  • Are Workplace Wellness Programs Legal?

    07/16/2014 10:04:16 PM PDT · 3 of 5
    exDemMom to Citizen Zed

    If you are military, you have to have a wellness exam every year. I’m not saying that civilians should be legally required to do the same... I’m just pointing out that some of us have been submitting ourselves to this for eons, as a condition of remaining employed.

  • That Study Showing Kids With Same-Sex Parents Fare Better? Yeah, the Media Left a Few Details Out.

    07/16/2014 9:59:53 PM PDT · 39 of 39
    exDemMom to Red6
    Maybe 10% of the studies mentioned in the media are actually in any way unbiased, where all variables could be isolated, causality can be established, etc. Not even journals or magazines dedicated to science such as Scientific American are trustworthy.

    As I have already explained in some detail, I spend all day, every day, looking at the scientific literature. Not what is reported in the media--I hardly ever waste my time reading media distortions of scientific research--but actual scientific literature. There *are* some standards one must use to judge it, and they are *not*, as you claim, based on whether one likes the findings or not. Furthermore, you cannot judge the entire scientific profession based on what is reported in the media. Over 100,000 scientific articles were published in medical journals over the past month. Not even 0.1% of those are ever reported in the media.

    Today- you are already seeing science step more in a favorable position regards marijuana.

    Actually, not. It isn't for lack of looking. There really are not favorable reports on marijuana in the medical literature. Now, let me go through some of your supposed "favorable" reports on marijuana:

    Cannabis May Grow Stem Cells And Repair the Brain After Injury.

    I can't read anything but the abstract, since the full article is behind a paywall. However, the abstract talks about cannabinoid receptors in neural cells. It does not mention marijuana at all. Although these receptors have aberrant activity that causes a "high" when activated by marijuana, their biological function is to respond to chemicals made in the body--which causes no "high." These researchers' work suggests that finding molecules that can increase or decrease the activity of those receptors might be able to modulate the immune system and even cause neural tissues to regenerate.

    I should point out the reason that substances that cause a "high" are called "intoxicants" is because that is exactly what they are. When you feel intoxicated, you are feeling the effects of a sub-lethal dose of poison.

    THC May Treat Inflammatory Diseases and Cancer By Altering Genes.

    In this article, the researchers used THC to cause the growth of cells that suppress immunity. These cells stop the body from attacking cancer cells and inactivate a control system that prevents uncontrolled cell growth. They looked at how THC alters gene expression in these cells. So, what THC is actually doing here is exactly the opposite of what the link description says. It looks like the researchers characterized a mechanism by which THC (a known potent carcinogen) actually causes cancer. They point out that their work can lead to therapeutic interventions meant to bolster the immune system or treat cancer--but that is far different than saying that THC can have that effect.

    One quick comment about altering gene expression: you want to stay away from substances that do that. Slight alteration of gene expression can lead to cancer. More severe alteration of gene expression can be lethal. Dioxin (the subject of my PhD research) does not kill cells--it kills animals because it causes long-term alteration of gene expression. It takes a couple weeks to kill, and it isn't pretty... all through gene expression. Sub-lethal doses of dioxin cause cancer, through its ability to alter gene expression.

    Anyway, due to how late it is, I do not have time to read every single article (or abstract if the full article is behind a paywall). However, judging from how the link descriptions mischaracterized the actual research described, I think it is safe to say that many of the other link descriptions are equally mischaracterized.

    Keep in mind that using THC to identify therapeutic targets does not mean that THC is therapeutic. I'm too tired to give a biochemistry lesson in receptor function right now... but I will later, if I think it is necessary.

  • Cannabis really can trigger paranoia

    07/16/2014 6:40:27 PM PDT · 39 of 84
    exDemMom to morphing libertarian

    Robbing banks is illegal, yet people still rob banks. So maybe we should just give up and make bank robbery legal.

    You can’t use as a serious argument that crime is not stopped by making it illegal. The price of making it legal (in the name of saving money on cops, trials, prisons, etc.) is to greatly increase the activity, and increasing the amount of money society must spend to deal with the consequences.

    My sense is that as the brain-damaging effects of marijuana become more documented and widely-known, this experiment with making it legal will end. I am beginning to think that Reefer Madness was not as over-the-top sensationalist as I thought when I first saw it, that it may actually be based on real observations of marijuana users.

  • Vanity: Need Ideas for English Paper

    07/16/2014 6:31:54 PM PDT · 133 of 140
    exDemMom to goodnesswins
    There is “GE” and there is “GMO”...I wish more was written about THOSE differences

    In a way, those terms are meaningless. With or without human intervention, DNA is constantly mutating. There is no baseline that one can point to as the "original" DNA of an organism for comparison. It is the nature of DNA to change, of organisms to mutate. Each living human being has roughly 120 mutations that did not exist in either parent, and the same is true of every other living species as well.

    If we restrict those terms to describing DNA alterations brought about by intentional human intervention, then "GE" (genetic engineering) would refer to the process, and "GMO" (genetically modified organism) to the result. Our processes for achieving these are extremely refined and targeted now, thanks to our increased understanding of the enzymes that organisms use to alter DNA. We extract and use those natural enzymes for our own genetic engineering projects. We're no longer limited the way our ancestors were, when they had no control whatsoever over what would result when they randomly swapped around thousands of genes between organisms.