Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is nicotine the villian?

I have often mused about the fate of tobacco in this nation, once even in this format. However, the I have to disagree with a recent editorial in the NY Times (fancy that).

The conclusion in a NYTimes article on FDA control of cigarettes:

"It’s not enough to regulate the varying degrees of nicotine in cigarettes. Ultimately, there’s only one way to deal with the addictive effects of nicotine, especially on children: grant the F.D.A. the authority to get nicotine out of cigarettes altogether. Anti-smoking groups shouldn’t settle for anything less."

I am not a smoker, but I am not an anti-smoker either. The fact is, it is NOT the nicotine that is the "dangerous" part of a cigarette or other tobacco product. Even this article admits that the tars are what carry the carcinigens. Unfortunately, these "tars" and other plant fats also carry the flavor. To simply remove the nicotine from cigarettes would only make them less addictive. Or even non-addictive. Smokers would continue to smoke out of psychological habit and suffer from withdrawal symptoms needing medicinal nicotine for months. And then, believing it didn't matter, they might just keep smoking the cancer-causing product for the psychological "fix" they are use to!

The real dangerous substances are the tars which are very absorbant of trace minerals - especially RADIOACTIVE minerals! In fact, it is probably possible to grow "safe" tobacco in clean soil that has none of these trace elements. It is sure worth a study if nothing else. I propose that this noble plant - sacred to the Native Americans - be treated with more respect. It is more than likely that English settlers, in turning it into a commercial success, have ended up destroying its "reputation" forever.

Why not process the weed down to a non-radioactive (tar free) nicotine delivery system, even ADDING nicotine to make fewer necessary to the addicts. Or, if it is perceived that their will be a great loss of market, then formulate a "flavoring" to replace that lost when removing the tars. Meanwhile, tobacco marketers need to consider a post-smoker world in which the tobacco plant could be transformed into a plant protein source to feed livestock or even human populations. The nicotine could be exptracted for medicinal purposes and as an insecticide.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In remembrance of Brenda

I wish I had pictures and family comments, but I will have to just post my condolences to the extended family of my cousin Brenda on her passing this week. She lived in Wewahitchka ("Wewa") Florida. She was only a little older than me and was a stabilizing force in the Holmes clan. She will be missed.

Growing up, I always spent time with her brothers nearer my age. Larry still lives in the area, and Randy died a few years back. Their father, Troy, died around 1971 (I had just graduated from high school), but their mother, my dad's older sister, just died last year. Brenda had spent the last years of her mother's life as her primary caregiver.

Brenda is the third of my older cousins -- children of my dad's older sisters -- to die. Our mutual cousin (they were "double" first cousins) Shirley (the oldest of her siblings) died several years back of complications from diabetes. Randy, Brenda's brother, died in an accident at his home near Jacksonville, Florida, a few years after that.

And so, I guess this is about all I can say right now. Pray for her family as the funeral is Monday, January 29.

It is suspected that Brenda suffered a stroke. Consider this, from a blog on heart disease:

What does a bad heart cost?

From now until 2050, they calculate, stroke treatment will cost $1.52 trillion among non-Hispanic whites, $313 billion for Hispanics, and $379 billion for African Americans. Corresponding per capita costs were roughly $16,000, $17,000 and $26,000.

"Lost earnings and informal caregiving were the highest two individual cost contributors in all race-ethnic groups," Brown's team notes, "constituting approximately half of the total costs."

Be sure to take the risk assessment test available at the link at the top of that page, or just go to the link directly from here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fifty Million Killed

Fifty Million Dead! That's more killed per day than were killed on 9/11 !

The last thirty-four years have NOT seen an improvement in the lives of America's women. And it is NOT the fault of the political or religious right with a "continuing prejudice" against the fairer sex.

Abortion on demand has slacked off a bit in some places - such as South Carolina - but it is not all together clear why. I mean, really, the very ones that would be seeking abortions are those that never saw life outside of the womb. It can be reasonably assumed that around twenty-five million of those abortions were to the developing lives of girls, many of who would undoubtably grown up as "victoms" of society and "used" by the men in their lives!

But the numbers seem to be about the same year by year. Of course, we have gone from 200 million to 300 million in those three decades or so. And so, the "rate" of abortions has fallen. But our politicians can't seem to uphold the nations abhorance to "partial birth" abortions. That is, if you can call the court system "political." And you know it is (even if they deny it).

And so, here it is. After two weeks of silence, I rant again!

We pro-lifers have "science" our side and still continue to stumble politically. A conservative president gets two appointments to the Supreme Court in one year and we still have to "worry" about a "swing" vote in a pseudo-conservative put in by a previous "conservative" president. You'd think that with FIVE of NINE justices being Catholic the pro-life issues would be a "slam dunk." Not so. A "Kennedy" holds the cards in the Court even as a far-left Kennedy takes over a "ruling" position in the Senate. No relation. But we wonder. Hmmm....

Enough for now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Just So Stories

A little over a century ago, Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book, published a series of children's stories called Just So Stories. Recently, in an anthropologist Dr. Nina G. Jablonski explains the importance of man's "sweaty skin" to evolution:

"On an evolutionary level, there are three remarkable facts about skin. It comes in colors, of course. Compared to other mammals, our skin is relatively hairless. And it’s sweaty. In the last few million years, humans became the sweatiest of mammals.

Q. Is that important?

A. Absolutely. It’s often said that our large brains are what made it possible for us to evolve from ape to human. But those big brains could never have developed if we didn’t have exceptionally sweaty skin.

It happened this way. There was a tremendous takeoff in human evolution about two million years ago when primates who could no longer be called apes appeared in the savannahs of East Africa. These early humans ran long distances in open areas. In order to survive in the equatorial sun, they needed to cool their brains. Early humans evolved an increased number of sweat glands for that purpose, which in turn permitted their brain size to expand. As soon as we developed larger brains, our planning capacity increased, and this allowed people to disperse out of Africa. There’s fossil evidence of humans appearing in Central Asia around this time."

Mr. Kipling had nothing on this lady! This story may make logical sense if such changes came about according to the conditions. However, according to theory, these changes take way more time than a few hot summers in Africa. But give it ten years and this story "It happened this way ..." will be standard fare in the science texts read by our impressionable young people.

Is it any wonder that our young people are leaving the church in droves. The "public " schools push the evolutionary dogma and persecute children that seek to pray on school time. The church is lucky to have them two hours a week! Most parents, if the truth be told, probably have them for less time than the church!

Indeed, Jesus could not stand such hypocrisy. When will we learn??

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Anti-christ revealed?

Tonight I updated my profile, adding a new picture of myself.

In the process, I saw that I was born in the Chinese "year of the dragon" (just barely, since the New Year usually begins in late January). Even more scary, my astrological sign is that of the GOAT. The goat head "pentagram" is a symbol most often identified with Satan.

In a posting to my blog months ago I received an unsolicitated appeal from a writer who claims that Christianity is the worst of the Abrahamic faiths all of which are false religions. That writer claims to be the "Lion of Judah" and the Lamb as seen in the Revelation. He bases this belief partly on his being born simultaneously in the year of the Sheep and under the sign of Leo. This, he says, is PROOF that he is the one spoken of in the Revelation!

And so, I figure that the same logic makes me a great candidate for the Antichrist! Couple that with the "fact" that my name "Henry Martin," phonetically spelled in the Greek as 'enri martin, does happen to add up to "666" the evidence adds up! Of course, the original photo of my profile is irrefutable "proof":

Scary indeed!

The fullsize picture, before correction, catches the "red eye" effect quite well. The goatee and the toothy smile help add to the illusion. Prophecy watchers, look for this creature to emerge in 2019 at the age of "66 and 6months" (That's on the 6th month and 6th day)!

Wait, that's about a decade too early for the 2000th anniversary of Jesus' earthly ministry. I see a fallacy to this myth in the making! Hmmm...

You can do quite a bit with a few numbers and "coincidences," can't you?

Happy New Year everyone. :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

A new Governor for Massachusetts

By some quirk of fate, the most liberal state in America has been governed by a Republican for the last 16 years! And now, in the course of political cycles, an African-American Democrat has been installed as the new Governor of Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick promises "change."

He says, “For a very long time now we have been told that government is bad, that it exists only to serve the powerful and well-connected, that its job is not important enough to be done by anyone competent, let alone committed, and that all of us are on our own.”

Huh? Just WHO has been saying government is to "serve the powerful and well-connected"? And what is this about lack of competence or commitment? But that is the way a "big government" liberal sees things! The poor peons out there must be "taken care of" from the cradle to the grave. Government must replace family, church, and, I guess, God!

One citizen, Beth Gilbert of Norfolk, MA, puts it this way: “When you elect a Republican governor, part of their bargain is they don’t really believe that government can solve the people’s problems. That’s probably what’s led to higher expectations here.”

Yep, higher expectations. I am not sure whether Ms. Gilbert is stating this as a positive or a negative, but the point is a good one. Except I think that the Republican phylosophy is not that the government CAN'T solve the problems, but that it SHOULDN'T. The more that the people come to EXPECT the government to help, the less they will do for themselves. History is filled with failing civilizations that have been "top heavy."

As far as the fact that this is the "first black governor" of Massachusetts, and only the second US governor since reconstruction (wait, wasn't "reconstruction" only in the South!), I for one don't see any significance in the color of a candidate's skin. What was it that Martin Luther King, Jr., said? Something about character, I think.

By the way, it seems that Massachusetts has been sort of split on the governors in the past century. Check out, where the list of governors reveals more REPUBLICANS than Democrats since 1914. One of the Republicans, Calvin Coolidge, became President of the United States. One of the Democrats, Michael Dukakis, was soundly defeated by our present President's father George H.W. Bush in 1988. Will the exiting governor, Mitt Romney, repeat "Silent Cal's" rise to the top, or repeat Dukakis' flop?