Friday, April 04, 2008

Suicide by Singulair

Singulair Suicide Risk

If you weren't getting enough suicide risk from your own anti-depressants, how about some suicide risk from Singulair to round out your day?
The FDA today announced that it is working with the drug company Merck to investigate a possible link between Merck's asthma and allergy drug Singulair and behavior/mood changes, suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior), and suicide.

The FDA's investigation may take nine months. As of now, there's no proof that Singulair directly affects suicide risk.
Exactly. No proof. However, noting that the FDA does not regularly shit out money to debunk big sellers in their drug company conspiracy team, there's obviously some impetus behind it in the form of reports. Singulair has already had to adjust their warning labels to include "tremor (March 2007), depression (April 2007), suicidality (October 2007), and anxiousness (February 2008)." Is this an attempt to boost sales of Zoloft?

Wait. Just to be clear: Merck already knows and acknowledges that their drug can cause suicidal thinking and behavior, but will be awaiting the FDA's study results before they pull the trigger (so to speak) on actual suicide. That's like saying that attraction between two people is known to lead to hand-holding, kissing, fondling, nakedness, oral sex, and rubbing the head of the penis on the clit, but we're going to need a full nine-month study to determine if it actually leads to fucking.

Message from Merck to depressed asthmatics: we'll address your issues once we're done rolling naked in our money; you see, we're doing a study to see if money can lead to fucking.

Ironic Sans - Bulbdial Clock

This is a brilliant idea from Ironic Sans, and I would buy one in a second.

Bulbdial Clock
The Bulbdial Clock has no hands — just one pole in the center of the clock, and three light sources of varying heights which revolve around the pole casting shadows. In the model illustrated above, the light sources are each attached to a ring which rotates around the pole. The innermost ring rotates once per minute, casting a “second hand” shadow. The middle ring rotates once per hour, and casts the “minute hand” shadow. And the outer ring rotates once every 12 hours, casting the “little hand” shadow.
(h/t to Bad Astronomy for the tip)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Too Late for Blu-ray?

For those of you following the happenings in the HD wars, HD-DVD lost, Blu-ray won.

What does that mean? Well, here's a surprisingly realistic opinion:
Laurie Fincham, Chief Scientist at THX, talks to Home Cinema Choice Magazine about Blu-ray's chances to become a dominant format of the future.

After HD DVDs demise the UK Magazine asked him for a comment. "Personally, I think it's too late for Blu-ray. I think consumers will only become interested in replacing DVD when HD movies becomes available on flash memory. Do we really need another spinning format?" he told the magazine.
No, I guess we really don't. If you've made the leap to HDTV, then you can get HD programming through your cable or satellite provider, should you subscribe. But shucking out several hundred dollars for a player to see a movie in High Def? Pshah!

And I'm not getting the $500 PS3 (because who's going to buy the cheaper one that's not backwards-compatible with the PS2?) for the PS upgrade and included Blu-ray. I think, unless prices come way the hell down, I'll be sitting this one out and await the super-huge solid state version.

Debbie Shank Vindicated, But Our Job Is Not Done

From the good folks at
Over the past few weeks, the Debbie Shank case gave us a tremendous opportunity to teach Wal-Mart a lesson about corporate responsibility.

Check out the Wal-Mart workers' petition to Lee Scott and Shank case overview

Today, the backlash against Wal-Mart's lawsuit finally drove the company to drop its claim on her settlement winnings. Consider this concrete proof that Wal-Mart must change when supporters like you take action.

After years of being dragged through the courts, the Shanks can finally begin to piece their lives back together. We couldn't be happier for Debbie and her family. But, we still can't forget the other Wal-Mart associates who have been treated unfairly by Wal-Mart.

Let's not forget Olga Sanchez, who lost her job because Wal-Mart wouldn't let her see her son before he was deployed to Iraq; or Sean Thornton, who lost his job while he was on active duty. We can't let Wal-Mart forget the 1.6 million women involved in the largest certified gender discrimination lawsuit in history.

We can change America's largest retailer just by raising our voices. That's an amazing thing. If we all remember this day, we'll see better things to come for Wal-Mart's associates.
Do not forget that Wal-Mart intakes 20% of China's GDP, that 80% of its products are from China (no workers' rights, lead, and all), and that it strongarms American companies to produce in China, manipulating the free market and killing American jobs. Oh, and don't forget the assassination of local businesses.

Our job, our duty, is far from over.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gravel, Obama, National Initiative, Oh My!

Obama Gravel Agreement

Holy smoking peeholes! Looks like Obama's taking the Daddy Chair and Gravel's strapping him in.

(h/t to Freida Bee for the head's up)
Obama Adopting National Initiative. Gravel to Drop Out of Race

HARRISBURG, PA — Once Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel has announced he is now dropping out of the presidential race after meeting with Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama. Gravel had switched parties to run as a Libertarian on March 26th, but has now stated that his more recent decision is the result of Obama's declaration to adopt The National Initiative for Democracy. The National Initiative allows citizens to propose, alter, or nullify laws in conjunction with traditional legislative bodies and has been a major tenet of Gravel's presidential run.

During his run for the Democratic nomination, Senator Gravel accused Obama of being beholden to "corporatocracy" and "the military-industrial complex". While downplaying his previous denunciations as water under the bridge, Gravel did admit that strong disagreements still exist between him and the Senator from Illinois. This apparent chasm was highlighted by Gravel's insistence that he would turn down any offer to be in Barack Obama's cabinet should he become president.

A senior aide for the Obama campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was premature to comment on the specific role Gravel would play in an Obama administration, but did state that the former senator from Alaska would be involved in creating an agency called The United States Electoral Trust, which would administer the legislative power of citizens at the federal level.

The aide also stressed the importance of the National Initiative in setting the Obama campaign apart from that of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. "Countries like Switzerland have shown that federal ballot initiatives can produce sound lawmaking," she said. "It's time that a major candidate for president got behind a serious proposal to entrust the people with the same power we place in the hands of our elected leaders. By adopting the National Initiative, Senator Obama is sending a clear signal that he trusts the American people to have a more direct role in their government."

Before announcing his intent to bow out of the race for the presidency, Senator Gravel discussed his meeting with Barack Obama. "Stop and think," Gravel told reporters. "This is a real chance to empower the American people by giving them the ability to make laws. 24 states already have ballot initiatives that give the people the same power as their representatives without dramatically changing the way our government works."

Senator Barack Obama was unavailable for comment, but the meeting was confirmed by a spokesperson for his campaign, who said that Obama was "looking forward" to working with the former senator in order to "show that Americans are serious about democracy".

Like Freida, this is the first I've heard of the National Initative, but what better way to govern?

And we've got a source!

Can't wait to see how this plays out!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Marketa Irglova from "Once" Quote

At the last Academy Awards, Marketa Irglova accepted the award for Original song with the following speech:
Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and
artists that spend most of their time struggling.

And this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just the proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible.

And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up.

And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are.

And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.

If you have not seen "Once," do it. Now. Either way, watch the following clip. Honestly, I can't even listen to the song without a few tears.

FCC: Nudity Okay...if it's Alyson Hannigan

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It's Alyson Hannigan

TSA Fiddles With T-n-A

Mandi Hamlin simulates nipple ring removal

From CNN:
The Transportation Security Administration said Friday its officers at a Texas airport appear to have properly followed procedures when they allegedly forced a woman to remove her nipple rings -- one with pliers -- but acknowledged the procedures should be changed.

The woman involved -- Mandi Hamlin -- told reporters earlier Friday she was humiliated by last month's incident, in which she was forced to painfully remove the piercings behind a curtain as she heard snickers from male TSA officers nearby. The incident occurred at the Lubbock, Texas, airport.
It's almost unbearable to read stories like this because they make me so furious at the idiots we have in power, the retards we have supposedly protecting our safety, and no outlet - except a blog - for voicing that frustration. Sometimes I channel this into humor, perhaps even poking fun at the victim. I think I'll just stay with angry today.

They're supposed to be protecting us from those crazy folks who want to take away our freedom or some shit, but instead they invest in divesting this woman of her dignity. WTF?

Sirius R.E.M.


I realize this only applies to s sliver of my audience, but if you're an R.E.M. fan and have Sirius Satellite Radio, R.E.M. is taking over The Spectrum (Channel 18) for an entire week starting Monday 3/31, ostensibly creating an All-R.E.M. channel for a limited time. Swan Swan my Hummingbird, dears - I am Superman. Yum.

Ricky's Wisdom Today - 3/31/08

The quotes kept getting lost in the surrounding text, so this time I went with red. Enjoy.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is not.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English