March 29th, 2010

gotta be careful with that advocacy e-mail

I received an e-mail this morning from an advocacy group urging me to contact my senators today to urge them to stop the nomination of Ari Ne'eman to the Disability Council.

Here's a link to a New York Times article on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/health/policy/28autism.html

The e-mail from the advocacy group (which at the moment I am not naming, but given just the teeniest additional push, I'd happily call out by name) wanted me to contact my Senators by phone to tell them no don't do it, and was happy that someone had put a hold on the nomination. At this point in the political process, I have a knee jerk negative response to holds. Seriously, holds on everyone so you can get more pork? A hole on a deputy trade slot because Canada banned candy flavored tobacco. Seriously?

I was prepared to hear that the person nominated was awful, altho what that might mean in the world of autism advocacy is a little tough to imagine, given that so few autism advocates are willing to come right out and point at Lovaas and start apologizing and separating the therapies practiced today from what he advocated under a similar set of names. But no, Ne'eman is, from my perspective, the perfect nominee: he's got Asperger's (soon to be officially renamed high functioning autism or whatever), he's all about neurodiversity, support, assistance, etc. He recognizes the creepy scariness that is the prospect of genetic identification of autism and autism spectrum disorders. Please, please, please don't genocide my people!

From a tactical perspective, the advocacy group's e-mail isn't great -- it doesn't point to an interactive find-your-senator thing; it supplied _all_ of the Senators contact info in DC. Not even the local office numbers. *shrug* Not like I need to do that. I can find Senate contact info on my own, and I sent my e-mail to Kerry and Brown (*cringe*) urging them to push this up to a vote and then support the nomination. Had I _not_ received e-mail from the advocacy group, it is uncertain whether I would have noticed this happening in time to do anything about it.

Ya gotta be careful with that advocacy e-mail. ;-)

Like neurodiversity? Creeped out by the people who think autism should be eliminated entirely, by genetic testing if necessary? Contact your Senator and say you support the Ne'eman nomination. Alternatively, you could go with what that e-mail wanted me to do, which is contact a Senator and urge them to stop the nomination. Small 'd' democracy in action.

Today's activities include: chicken and the news

I picked up a chicken when I went grocery shopping today, along with celery, dates, dried cranberries, a granny smith apple. When I got home, I sauted some green onions left over from a week ago (after removing the iffy bits) along with the above mentioned fruit and veg, some raisins. I forgot the garlic. Oh well. I drizzled balsalmic over it before stuffing the bird and popping it into the oven.

It was yummy a few hours later, one of the best stuffings I've ever made and a good bird. I checked the sodium when I bought it. At 80 mg per 4 ounce serving, if they injected it with anything, it was not excessive.

I haven't cooked a bird in a while. I missed it.

On the news side, wow. A few days ago This American Life spent the hour on the Fremont Toyota/GM plant that is about to close. Really, really excellent; I listened to it on podcast.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/403/nummi

I tend to feel that This American Life is okay, but not worth any particular effort. This is worth a lot of particular effort.

Then there was the wackitude that is Mayberry, NH, where I used to live:

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/689036-196/brookline-police-charge-woman-young-man-and.html

"After an investigation, Brookline police, along with Hollis, Milford, Nashua and state police seized large quantities of heroin, marijuana and prescription medications, drug paraphernalia, alcohol and more than $2,000 in cash, Goulden said."

You might wonder why it took police from 4 towns plus staters to deal with this problem. I know I do. I harbor some suspicions regarding the last name of one of the people arrested, as well, given that it is a last name of some renown in the town.

I've blogged about Mayberry before:

http://walkitout.livejournal.com/236609.html

At least this time, no one died. I don't recall whether I blogged about what happened in between (some of the offspring of the town horrifically murdered a woman in another town and attempted to murder her daughter). The above blog entry refers obliquely to the previous excitement, which involved prostitution.

In any event, at least the cops in Mayberry are competent. Altho surely the whining taxpayers of Mayberry who are forever pretending they live in a Small Town With No Crime to Speak Of do not deserve the high quality police protection they are receiving. Fortunately, the rest of the town isn't getting screwed because of some cheapskates.

Speaking of police, and The Awful that they have to deal with, this is so stunning I kept having to reread coverage of it because I had trouble believing what I was reading. So if someone describes it as "unbelievable", I'd cut them a lot of slack. Sample coverage of the Stone Family and their organization, the Hutaree:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hGc00FR9o4OUr36gm80mOpG00ccwD9EOJM1G0

Just like during the Clinton years, a crazy guy and kin network think that if they pick on the guvmint, everyone else will rise up on their side. The bright idea this time was to kill a cop, then kill more cops at the funeral. And they think this is somehow sympathetic? I suppose only in the sense that they aren't attacking a building which houses day care.

Really, by comparison, this looks uninteresting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/health/policy/29fda.html

Some scientists (formerly) employed by the FDA to determine whether medical devices or whatever are safe or not have come out and said those virtual colonoscopies? In addition to not being such a great idea, their political bosses at the FDA -- under pressure from GE and other makers -- overrode their advice on the topic. Repeatedly. And then let their contracts expire.

If you think you need a colonoscopy (and, knowing how I feel about screening large populations for cancer, I'm likely to disagree, but not in person), and you're thinking you don't want something shoved up in there and etc., think just a tiny bit harder. Like, comfort vs. efficacy. Comfort vs. not getting dosed with a bunch of radiation that might _cause_ a problem like the one you are attempting to avoid/catch early. And if comfort wins, and you are asymptomatic, maybe you should just put that test off for another year, or at least add another year in between repeat screening.

Geez. I refuse to pursue the headlines about what the survival benefit of double mastectomies for women carrying BRCA genes. It's quite clear to me that it is minimal, and I suspect if I read the coverage, I'm just going to feel awful about what all those women convinced themselves to do, as if a horrifying sacrifice will somehow change the really bad odds lined up against them.