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We’re Almost There

Stopping cancer is one of the most important things that a biologist can work on. It takes the life of 7 million people a year. There’s good news though, which we need, and it’s coming from Cuba:

Cuba has for several years had a promising therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. The 55-year trade embargo led by the US made sure that Cuba was mostly where it stayed. Until—maybe—now.

How did Cuba end up with a cutting edge immuno-oncology drug? Though the country is justly famous for cigars, rum, and baseball, it also has some of the best and most inventive biotech and medical research in the world.

The vaccine doesn’t attack tumors directly, instead going after a protein that tumors produce which then circulates in the blood. That action spurs a person’s body to release antibodies against a hormone called epidermal growth factor, which typically spurs cell growth but can also, if unchecked, cause cancer. So the point of Cimavax is to keep lung tumors from growing and metastasizing, turning a late-stage growth into something chronic but manageable.

Fucking wow. And:

And that drug isn’t the only one with potential in the Cuban pharmacopeia. Thomas Rothstein, a biologist at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, has for six years worked with the Center for Molecular Immunology on another vaccine to treat lung cancer called Racotumomab, with an entirely different mechanism. (It messes with a particular lipid found in tumor cell membranes.) “Investigators from around the world are trying to crack the nut of cancer,” Rothstein says. “The Cubans are thinking in ways that are novel and clever.”

B-b-but socialism doesn’t work!

Christ Almighty

It’s a banner day for obnoxious Christians here at the seminary. I found something very interesting. Have you ever heard from a vaguely tolerant believer that the references to homosexuality are from the Old Testament and therefore not part of God’s “new covenant”? I found this palatable. Except it’s not true. From Romans:

“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”

So much for that argument. I’m almost sad to see it go. Paul is the first homophobe of the modern age. Now we come to more recent times, and the assholism dial is cranked to 11:

In the second in a series of presentations that he recently made at Charis Bible College in Colorado, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton reiterated his belief that God will never allow a cure or vaccine for AIDS to be discovered because the disease is divine punishment for homosexuality.

“Anything the Bible says is right, there is scientific basis for it now,” Barton said. “The federal government, in the last several years, has spent tens of billions of dollars looking for a vaccine for AIDS and I don’t think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse … Notice this, homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you’re keeping your body from penalizing you. I don’t think they’ll ever find a vaccine for AIDS”.

If there is a just God, and there is a hell…I think I know who should go.

Harum Scarum

Buzz Lightyear(R-Loonistan) pushes the Chicken Little routine a bit too far:

Sen. Ted Cruz was forced to pause a speech in New Hampshire on Sunday after he reportedly terrified a little girl by shouting that her “world is on fire.”

While speaking at an event sponsored by the Strafford County Republican Committee, Cruz warned that there was an “urgency to politics today that is unlike anything any of us have ever seen.”

“It is now or never,” he explained. “I don’t think we’ve reached the point of no return yet. But we’re close. We are close! And I believe if we go four or eight more years on this same path, we risk losing the greatest country in the history of the world.”

“Millions of Americans are realizing this isn’t working,” the possible Republican presidential candidate continued. “The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck.”

“And the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind — the whole world is on fire.”

Cruz had to pause his speech to respond to a little girl in the audience who was young enough to be carried by her mother.

“‘The world is on fire?!’ she asked, repeating his line on Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”

“The world is on fire,” Cruz replied, turning to face the girl and her mother. “Yes! Your world is on fire!”

Scaring the hell out of people is their only play. But scaring little kids…is this how Young Republicans are made? Damn. Yes, the Middle East and Africa are a mess. When in recent memory have they not been? The economy is better than it has been in a decade. Stock market’s off the chain, and we’re nearing full employment. Healthcare costs are coming down and more people than ever are insured. I swear, The president could shit piles of gold boullion, buy out the national debt with it and Republicans would still complain that he wrecked the bond market or whatever diddlyshit they could come up with.

Sure, there’s room for improvement. But the most aggrieved folk are the people who get keyed up by listening to the likes of Cruz. These dangerous demagogues can lie all the live long day and no one in the bubble blinks an eye.

Calm the fuck down, America.

Lost In The Supermarket of Mental Healthcare

Some of these hospitals that deal with crazy-asses are by definition staffed with crazy themselves, so I say to them who work for them that I would point that pointy-finger at yourself  before you all point them at me and my medical condition trying to find out why your customer hates you so much.

Holy shit! The hospitals rooms all look the same. All the people are pissed off in the windows of the meeting rooms, and you figure that is your meeting because pissed off is what you are. You are wrong. Like today, I stumbled into the “dual diagnosis” room and it took me 5 minutes to realize that this particular room did not need me in it, at least did not want me there that day.

I’m sorry to report that nothing earth-shattering resulted in my meeting, except the reminder that the bipolar needs his meds, they aren’t just something you can or should kick. Yep. One hour, and two professional facilitators (I have a certificate to be one too so I got extra happy fun time watching them try to do it) to get one person to admit they are off the chain out of seven of us.

Well! Quite an accomplishment, bloated healthcare beast! How much did it cost you to find that patient is off their meds, how many salaries were kept afloat by finding that one person that morning?

All I can say is that I can’t wait for the GOP to see what happens to the country when they want to take a scalpel to American socialized medicine. I’m in the VA system now, I don’t worry-I worry about me. You all might want to see what Congress is trying to do and find out who your real enemies are in politics before 2012.

I’ll give you a hint, middle class-you are going down if you follow the elephants.

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