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Category: politics

How To Draw a Confusing Diagram

This document, House-Democrats-Health-Plan.pdf (mirrored from the original link at, is a shining example of not to make an informational graphic. Or, more specifically, how to intentionally make a confusing graphic to show the “other side” as convoluted and “bureaucratic”.

Note that items are intentionally not grouped requiring long, overlapping arrows to connect them. Lots of shapes and sizes and colors are used, there is no established flow, and all manner of niggling details are included. (Federal Mandates for Website Design, Defense Dept. up top, etc.)

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Free From Chemical Whitening Agents

"Al Nahkal" Excellent Tahina, made by Halwani Bros. of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Normally my support of Wahhabism comes from purchasing things made of petroleum, but today’s oily Saudi acquisition is a 1kg jar of “Al Nahkal” Excellent Tahina from the local Middle Eastern-ish market. Danielle acquired this along with two bags of pita and some yerba maté. The first two will be used to make some hummus which we plan to take to a Super Bowl party tomorrow while the latter will be used to keep Danielle awake at work.

Actually, since the container is made of plastic I guess this is actually a Saudi two-fer. Thankfully, as the side of the container tells is, this product is FREE FROM CHEMICAL WHITENING AGENTS. There’s also something I really enjoy about seeing the ink jet printed manufacture and expiration date up at the top in a non-Latin character set.

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12:00:44 EST on 20-Jan-2009

Driving north on M-24 listening to the inaugeration of Barack Obama. Fourty four seconds before this photo was taken Obama legally became president.

Wanting to listen to the swearing in and inauguration speech of the 44th President of the United States I decided to do something which used to be quite typical for me: go for a long drive while listening to the radio and eating fast food.

After picking up a veggie burger meal from Burger King I headed north on M-24 driving through suburban / rural southeast Michigan, looking at the sparking snow, listening to the radio, and eating my unhealthy meal. I don’t have much to say about the speeches, invocations, poems, compositions, and benedictions, except that I felt that it all had an overall message of difficulty ahead, a need for hard work, and a general belief that if people truly are willing to fix problems they can. Overall, I thought this was good.

Oh, and that photo? I took it just to show the sort of area I was driving through, but it just so happened to be at exactly 44 seconds after Barack Obama legally became president. Funny, that.

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Fox, CNN, MSNBC, et all Call It For Obama

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.
     Winston Churchill

Well, it looks like a wrap. Even Fox is calling it for Obama. Let’s just hope that Obama (and his appointed administration) do some good for this country. We need it.

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Voting: Done

Voting this morning only took about half an hour, despite the polling place being almost completely full of people. I arrived at about 7:04 AM and departed the parking lot at just about 7:40 AM. The roads seem to be quite crowded this morning with areas around schools and churches (polling places) fairly crowded. Work itself is quite empty.

Now, to see how it all plays out… After this meeting and finishing up some other tasks, of course.

Also, my phone’s camera doesn’t have anything remotely like a macro mode. As demonstrated last night it also doesn’t do well in low light. Oh well. A crappy picture is better than none.

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YES on Michigan Proposals 08-1 and 08-2

If you live in the state of Michigan, when you go to vote on November 4th you will be asked to vote on two proposals, 08-1 and 08-2 (State Proposals: November 4, 2008 General Election [PDF], from the State of Michigan).

I would like to ask you to vote YES on each of these proposals. Here is the text of each proposal along with why I feel that you should support it:


The proposed law would:
· Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.
· Permit registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
· Require Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
· Permit registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.

My Comments:
In our country marijuana (specifically Tetrahydrocannabinols) is currently classified by the Federal government as a Schedule I drug, requiring that this drug not be prescribed for any reason. This is despite research showing that THC can be effective in treating a number of conditions, particularly the nausea which is associated with chemotherapy.

This legislation proposes allowing marijuana (and thus THC) to be prescribed by doctors for treating conditions as seen fit. We currently allow doctors to prescribe countless other controlled substances (opiates, in particular) which will help patients, so why not this?

Sure, it’ll fly in the face of Federal law, but changing things at a state level is the first step towards removing this Federal prohibition. It’s a slippery slope which we must start down, as once a critical mass of states adopt reasonable legislation such as this the Federal government (and in particular the DEA and drug lobbying firms) will be unable to stop it.


The proposed constitutional amendment would:
· Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos —

— are created for fertility treatment purposes;
— are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;
— would be discarded unless used for research;
— were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.

· Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
· Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
· Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research; future therapies and cures.

My Comments:
As I read this law, it will allow medical research to continue to explore the possibilities of stem cells to without imposing undue restrictions. I feel that we should do whatever we can to understand both our selves and the world around us (particularly things which may help us as a society), and I see nothing in this legislation which should be problematic. I see this legislation as bringing potential research to Michigan (read: jobs) while potentially helping the world.

One particular site, is the flag bearer forarguments against this law, but each argument seems to be quite far off base. Here’s how I see each argument, as presented by TV commercials the group is showing:

· Bull and Bricklayer: Both ads indicate that this legislation will cost taxpayers money, despite there being nothing in the text of the legislation indicating where funding will come from.
· In The Name Of Good: States that this law will allow unrestricted research on live human embryos, visually comparing the research to poorly conducted science headlines interspersed with images of black people. Tries to equate this research with scientists taking advantage of the helpless.
· In The Wrong Hands: Hints that this law will allow “profit-driven corporations” (aren’t they all?) to find a way to profit from producing embryos via purchases made from women. As selling eggs is legal and this law outlaws the sale of embryos, I don’t see how this argument applies.
· Teacher’s Pet: Hints that scientists will make human-animal hybrids after talking about using combinations of human and animal DNA for research and how this is too extreme. The jump from DNA research to full-on hybrids is a huge jump and strikes me as misguided, at best.


Daily Dose of Bigotry

This nice piece of bigotry, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West showed up in the mail today.

Today I received two nifty things in the mail. The first was these Olympus knock-off batteries from Eforcity for my new Olympus Stylus 850 SW.

The second is the winner, though; that DVD up above there, of Obsession The Movie. In order to form a proper, informed opinion of it I’ll be giving it a viewing, but I suspect that it’ll live up to its reputation of being a neocon-backed piece of anti-Islam propaganda. We’ll see, though. My understanding is that its production has a bunch of neocon backers and copies of it are being mailed out en masse in swing states. Yes, that’s how it came to me… Completely unsolicited, via the US Mail.

I guess it’s time to cue Göring:

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

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