A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Last night, the House voted 218-208 to pass the $124.2 billion Iraqi war supplemental spending measure that contains a provision that would order the withdrawal of U.S. troops to begin this fall. The Senate passed the same bill today (51-46). The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to execute since they took control of both houses of Congress this past January.

"The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank checks the president is asking for, for a war without end," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Our shameless leader, George “What-me-worry” Bush, is expected to receive the bill next Tuesday, and immediately veto it. Tuesday also happens to be the four year anniversary of the Mad Cowboy’s announcement aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on," Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner. Sadly, I think that banner was not meant to be displayed in front of the public. It was actually a personal gift to the President from the board of Haliburton; a little “thank you” for a job well done. Then again, if the mission was dragging out a long occupation in Iraq, sending America’s deficit soaring to record heights, and having more Americans die on Iraqi soil than died on 9/11, then he was right; Mission Accomplished.
"Last November, the American people voted for a change in strategy in Iraq -- and the president listened," White House spokesman Dana Perino said in a statement Wednesday. "Tonight, the House of Representatives voted for failure in Iraq -- and the president will veto its bill."
It is not failure to pull out of Iraq; it was a failure in rational thinking to go there in the first place. We are not at war with Iraq, we are occupying Iraq. You cannot win an occupation.
Republicans labeled the timetable a "surrender date."
"Al-Qaida will view this as the day the House of Representatives threw in the towel," said Rep. Jerry Lewis of California (ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee).
Sometimes you have to throw in the towel but it doesn’t mean surrendering, it means living another day. Bush has giving our troops a hopeless mission. The troops haven’t failed! Dubya has failed. If I asked all of you to grow wings and fly off the roof of my apartment building tomorrow and you all fall to your death, it isn’t your fault that you failed, it was an impossible mission. Winning the “war on terror” is an impossible mission. Al-Qaida is fighting their own “war on terror” but George Bush is their Osama. There will be no winners, only losers. It’s like a poker game at a casino and the U.S. has already lost all the money we came to play with. The smart player would realize he’s down $3,000 and go home. Bush is like the degenerate gambler who is down so he decides to borrow another $3,000 to win his original stake back. He’s just going to lose another $3,000. The problem is, he’s not just playing with America’s money, he’s gambling with the lives of our troops. He has nothing to lose. It’s our tax money, and not one single person that is important to him (or anyone in his tight-knit circle) is over in Iraq in harm’s way. They only thing that can be done is an intervention from his good friends in Congress. They need to recognize that the man is a compulsive gambler and needs to be cut off. They need to start cutting off his money, and reducing the number of troops he can send to their untimely deaths. Bush may have the veto power but if Congress can finally start to work as an independent branch of the legislature, and not just as a lackey for the President, then Dubya will have no choice but to see that the House (and Senate) always wins.

1. Open a new file in your computer.
2. Name it "George W. Bush"
3. Send it to the trash bin.
4. Empty the trash.
5. Your PC will ask you, "Do you really want to get rid of "George W. Bush?"
6. Firmly Click "Yes."
7. Feel better.
PS: Next week we'll do Dick Cheney

The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went. In a long-awaited 41 page document (published on Friday by Origins, the documentary service of the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) the Church's International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation." Take that Limbo.
"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation," the document said. "There are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible (to baptize them)."
The church teaches that baptism removes original sin which stains all souls since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Basically, the church thinks we’re all damaged goods because some dude couldn’t keep his hands off of one of god’s apples several million years ago. God, get over it, it was one apple. If you’re really so almighty then create an apple filled with forgiveness juice and eat up. So that’s it Catholic Church eh? No more Limbo? You taught Limbo to Catholics well into the 20th century but now you suddenly change your mind. There must be a reason; let’s dig a little deeper and see what else this document of yours says.
"People find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness, whether they are Christian or non-Christian," the document said. It continues by stating that the study was made all the more pressing because "the number of non-baptised infants has grown considerably, and therefore the reflection on the possibility of salvation for these infants has become urgent."
Okay, now I get it. It’s extreme make-over for Catholicism! You sent out your market researchers and they conducted their focus groups and came back and said that people are just turned off by the idea of a god who would exclude un-baptised babies (and non-Christians) from heaven and send them to Limbo. Fuck it; let’s just get rid of Limbo altogether and in another ten years we’ll come out with Heaven Jr. (which anyone can get into as long as they donate part of their income to the church (in order to keep paying off pedophile law-suits). That’s right! God is pissed about Adam eating that apple but he’s just A-O-K with priests molesting little boys, helping to spread AIDS by condemning the use of condoms, and just dismissing silly ideas like Limbo. The fact of the matter is, none of us KNOW what happens when we die. We all have ideas, but no one can say one is right and one is not; one might be right, none maybe right, or all could be right. This latest move by the Catholic church is nothing more than putting a friendly spin on a religion who’s numbers are dwindling. It’s like when Taco Bell’s onions were bad and people got sick and then Taco Bell started giving out free tacos to get their patrons back. Make a run for the Order. I can tell you this much Catholic church: I think that this life is Limbo. This is where we all live on the edge of good and evil. It’ll be interesting to see what side you fall on when you leave this world. Just to be safe, I wouldn’t eat any apples.

What’s going on email? I thought we were boys. I always assumed that the messages you left in my inbox were all truthful: My wife loves me and wants to get together for lunch, I have to update my fantasy baseball team by Monday, Southwest Airlines is having a system-wide sale, I too can experience the joys of male penis enhancement, and some guy from Kenya has singled me out to share his 60 million dollar fortune, but today I found out that you are nothing more than an electronic liar; for shame email, for shame. This morning when I awoke I had several new emails. One of the first ones I read was from EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) and had the subject heading: “20% Off* The Entire Store - Last Chance”. I like saving money as much as the next guy and if this was truly my last chance I figured I should take advantage. Before I opened the email, I decided to finish reading over the rest of my inbox. There were many other emails, a few from my wife, one from my father, a few offering to sell me prescription drugs or electronics, and then I saw it, a second email from EMS. I scrolled down. The subject heading was the same as the first: “20% Off* The Entire Store - Last Chance”. How could this be? If this second email was truly my last chance then what had the first email been? How could I have two last chances? Then it hit me like a ton of hiking boots, the first email had been nothing more than a lie. I felt sick. If email could lie to me, anyone could! Maybe my TiVo had lied to me last night and didn’t really record “Lost” for me. What if when my cell phone said I had three missed calls I really had four? That last person might never get a call back! I didn’t know who to blame. EMS had obviously sent the email twice. They had lied to me (about my last chance) to get me to buy something! Had other business tricked me with the same magic beans before? I wanted my cow back. Then I started to focus the blame more onto my email. You’re supposed to look out for me email. If a company sends an email twice about a last chance sale you should have a “liar filter” in place to send it right to the rubbish bin. Looks like someone was sleeping on the job, or maybe you were too busy checking out one of my emails about 100% free porn to pay proper attention. Here’s all I know, I lost my innocence today. I no longer believe in the goodness of business or email. I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on you from now on. I’ve got mail, and you’ve got some explaining to do.

Government drug experts said yesterday that the marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than at any point in recent history. Analysis of seized samples of marijuana (and hashish) showed that more of the cannabis on the market is of the strongest grade, the White House and National Institute for Drug Abuse said.
They cited data from the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project showing the average levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the products rose from 7 percent in 2003 to 8.5 percent in 2006. The level had risen steadily from 3.5 percent in 1988. I think that’s excellent news. If the price of pot is going to continue to rise (as it has since 1988) then it seems only fair that the quality of the weed should increase. The pharmacy department at Mississippi has compiled data on 59,369 samples of cannabis, 1,225 hashish samples, and 443 hash oil samples confiscated since 1975. "The highest concentration of (THC) found in a cannabis (marijuana) sample is 33.12 percent from Oregon State Police," the report reads. Road trip to Oregon anyone?
“This report underscores that we are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s -- this is Pot 2.0," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement. I’d like to put in a request for Pot 3.0: get rid of the munchies.
National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow weighed in with her own gem of wisdom saying that demand has driven growers to cultivate the stronger stuff. "It is the market," she said. "Like in the market you favor the best tomatoes. When people buy marijuana, they don't want a weak cigarette."
Really? You mean when pot-smokers buy weed they are concerned with silly things like quality? Say it isn’t so. Why would someone want to buy dirt-weed when they can get some choice nuggets? The few people who would prefer to smoke the lower quality stuff are just about the only people who shouldn’t be allowed to smoke, they are already running low on brain cells. Sure, people get a little burned out when they smoke pot, but it’s nothing as compared to the damage liquor will do to your system. Pot is bad for you because inhaling smoke is bad for you. If people learned to properly cook with THC or chose to use a vaporizer (that involves vapors instead of smoke) it would vastly cut down on the damage it does. Alcohol destroys your liver, it causes countless drunken driving accidents, it causes bar brawls, and the list goes on and on. Stop pointing the finger at marijuana. You want to keep marijuana under wraps? Legalize it. Then you can control the THC content and whatever else you want. Making it illegal and then complaining about the greater quality of the product is just plain stupid. Go after alcohol, go after tobacco, go after cocaine, or heroin, but please, just leave marijuana alone. The fact that pot-smokers are demanding greater quality shows that they are smart enough to know what they want. Most alcoholics I’ve seen will drink anything you stick in front of them. They’d rather spend $5 on an entire cheap bottle of vodka than pay $8 for a decent martini. My point is…does anyone have any cookies?

Someone sent me the following article on Monday and I thought it was important (and truth-filled) enough that I should share it with all of you. I did not write it, I am only passing it along to all of you, enjoy.

The GOP's Cyber Election Hit Squad

By Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis

The Free Press Sunday 22 April 2007

Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election?

The answer appears to be yes. There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website - which gave the world the presidential election results - was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Recent revelations have documented that the Republican National Committee (RNC) ran a secret White House e-mail system for Karl Rove and dozens of White House staffers. This high-tech system used to count and report the 2004 presidential vote- from server-hosting contracts, to software-writing services, to remote-access capability, to the actual server usage logs themselves - must be added to the growing congressional investigations.

Numerous tech-savvy bloggers, starting with the online investigative consortium epluribusmedia.org and their November 2006 article cross-posted by contributor luaptifer to Dailykos, and Joseph Cannon's blog at Cannonfire.blogspot.com, outed the RNC tech network. That web-hosting firm is SMARTech Corp. of Chattanooga, TN, operating out of the basement in the old Pioneer Bank building. The firm hosts scores of Republican websites, including georgewbush.com, gop.com and rnc.org.

The software created for the Ohio secretary of state's Election Night 2004 website was created by GovTech Solutions, a firm co-founded by longtime GOP computing guru Mike Connell. He also redesigned the Bush campaign's website in 2000 and told "Inside Business" magazine in 1999, "I wouldn't be where I am today without the Bush campaign and the Bush family because the Bushes truly are about family and I'm loyal to my network."

Ohio's Cedarville University, a Christian school with 3,100 students, issued a press release on January 13, 2005 describing how faculty member Dr. Alan Dillman's computing company Government Consulting Resources, Ltd, worked with these Republican-connected companies to tally the vote on Election Night 2004.

"Dillman personally led the effort from the GCR side, teaming with key members of Blackwell's staff," the release said. "GCR teamed with several other firms - including key players such as GovTech Solutions, which performed the software development - to deliver the end result. SMARTech provided the backup and additional system capacity, and Mercury Interactive performed the stress testing."

On Election Night 2004, the Republican Party not only controlled the vote-counting process in Ohio, the final presidential swing state, through a secretary of state who was a co-chair of the Bush campaign, but it also controlled the technology that allowed the tally of the vote in Ohio's 88 counties to be reported to the media and voters.

Privatizing elections and allowing known partisans to run a key presidential vote count is troubling enough. But the reason Congress must investigate these high-tech ties is there is abundant evidence that Republicans could have used this computing network to delay announcing the winner of Ohio's 2004 election while tinkering with the results.

Did Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell or other GOP operatives inflate the president's vote totals to secure George W. Bush's margin of victory? On Election Night 2004, many of the totals reported by the Secretary of State were based on local precinct results that were impossible. In Clyde, Ohio, a Republican haven, Bush won big after 131 percent voter turnout. In Republican Perry County, two precincts came in at 124 percent and 120 percent respectively. In Gahanna Ward 1, precinct B, Bush received 4,258 votes despite the fact that only 638 people voted for president. In Concord Southwest in Miami County, the certified election results proudly proclaimed at 679 out of 689 registered voters cast ballots, a 98.55 percent turnout. FreePress.org later found that only 547 voters had signed in.

These strange election results were routed by county election officials through Ohio's Secretary of State's office, through partisan IT providers and software, and the final results were hosted out of a computer based in Tennessee announcing the winner. The Cedarville University releases boasted the system "was running like a champ." It said, "The system kept running through the early morning hours as users from around the world looked to Ohio for their election results."

All the facts are not in, but enough is known to warrant a serious congressional inquiry. Beginning with a timeline on Election Night after a national media consortium exit poll predicted Democrat John Kerry would win Ohio, the first Ohio returns were from the state's Democratic urban strongholds, showing Kerry in the lead.

This was the case until shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 5, when for roughly 90 minutes the Ohio election results reported on the Secretary of State's website were frozen. Shortly before 2am EST election returns came in from a handful of the state's rural Republican enclaves, bumping Bush's numbers over the top.

It was known Bush would carry rural Ohio. But the vote totals from these last-to-report counties, where Karl Rove said there was an unprecedented late-hour evangelical vote giving the White House a moral mandate, were highly improbable and suggested vote count fraud to pad Bush's numbers. Just how flimsy the reported GOP totals were was not known on Election Night and has not been examined by the national media. But an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff begun after Election Day 2004 and completed before the Electoral College met on Jan. 6, 2005, was first to publicly point to vote count fraud in rural Ohio.

That report, "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," cited near-impossible vote totals, including 19,000 votes that were mysteriously added at the close of tallying the vote in Miami County. The report cited more than 3,000 apparently fraudulent voter registrations - all dating back to the same day in 1977 in Perry County. The report noted a homeland security emergency was declared in Warren County, prompting its ballots to be taken to a police-guarded unauthorized warehouse and counted away from public scrutiny, despite local media protests.

In our book, "What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election" (The New Press, 2006), we go beyond the House Judiciary Democratic report to analyze precinct-by-precinct returns and we print copies of the documents upon which we base our findings. We found many vote-count irregularities based on examining the certified results, precinct-level records and the actual ballots.

The most eyebrow-raising example to emerge from parsing precinct results was finding 10,500 people in three Ohio's 'Bible Belt' counties who'voted to re-elect Bush and voted in favor of gay marriage, if the official results are true. That was in Warren, Butler and Clermont Counties. The most plausible explanation for this anomaly, which defies logic and was not seen anywhere else in the country, was Kerry votes were flipped to Bush while the rest of the ballot was left alone. While we have some theories about how that might have been done by hand in a police-guarded warehouse, could full Republican control of the vote-counting software and servers also have played a role?

The early returns on the Secretary of State's website suggest Blackwell's vote-tallying and reporting system could manipulate large blocks of votes. Screenshots taken during the early returns in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, gave Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb 39,541 votes, which was clearly incorrect. Similarly, early return screenshots in Lucas County, where Toledo is located, gave Cobb 4,685 votes, another clear error. (The screenshots are in our book). Were these innocent computer glitches or was a GOP vote-counting and reporting system moving and dumping Kerry votes?

There's more evidence the late returns from Ohio's Republican-majority countryside were not accurate. During the spring and summer of 2006, several teams of investigators associated with Freepress.org, notably one team led by Ron Baiman, a Ph.D. statistician and researcher at Chicago's Loyola University, examined the actual election records from precincts in Miami and Clermont Counties. These records - from poll books where voters sign in, to examining the actual ballots themselves - were not publicly accessible until last year, under orders from Ohio's former Republican Secretary of State. Baiman compared the number of voters who signed in with the total number of votes attributed to precincts. He found hundreds of "phantom" votes, where the number of voter signatures was less than the reported vote total. That discrepancy also suggests vote count fraud.

There was other evidence in the observable paper trail of padding the vote, including instances in Delaware County where in one precinct, 359 of the final punch-card ballots cast on Election Day contained no Kerry votes, which means the day's last voters all were Bush supporters, which also is improbable. In another Delaware County precinct, Bush allegedly received the last 210 votes of the day. Were partisan local election workers trying to mask what was happening electronically to tilt the vote count?

Ohio's 2004 ballots were to be destroyed last September. However that fate was blocked by a federal judge, who ruled in the early phase of trying a Voting Rights Act lawsuit that accused Ohio officials of suppressing the minority vote in Ohio's cities. The state's new Secretary of State and Attorney General, both Democrats, are now holding settlement talks for that suit, suggesting its claims have merit. However, unlike Florida after the 2000 election, there still has yet to be a full accounting of Ohio's presidential vote.

What's clear, however, is the highest ranks of the Republican Party's political wing, including White House counselor Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system that reported George W. Bush's re-election to the presidency. Moreover, it appears the votes that gave Bush his 118,775-vote margin of victory - the boost from Ohio's countryside - have yet to be confirmed as accurate. Instead, the reporting to date suggests that what happened on the ground and across Ohio's rural precincts is at odds with the vote tally released on Election Night.

As numerous congressional committees attempt to retrieve and examine the secret White House e-mails surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors, those panels must also probe the privatization and partisan manipulation of the 2004 presidential vote count in Ohio. The lessons from 2004 have yet to be fully understood or learned.

Similarly, the House Administration Committee, which is expected to soon mark up H.R. 811, a bill by Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ, to regulate electronic voting technology, also must take heed. The vote count and outcome of American elections cannot be left in the hands of known partisans, who can control and manipulate how the votes are counted and what is reported to the media and American people.

Public vote counts on private, partisan servers and secret proprietary software have no place in a democracy.


Bob Fitrakis is a political science professor and attorney in the King Lincoln Bronzeville civil rights lawsuit against Ken Blackwell. Fitrakis, Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman are authors of What Happened in Ohio? A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election, (New Press, 2006).

You did it! You made it through another action packed, truth filled edition of the Spoon, Full of Truth. You should feel really good about yourself. That was quite a mental workout. You might want to take a moment and dab those beads of sweat from your forehead. Phew. It’s important to reward yourself after a good read so go ahead and just take the weekend off. That’s right; spend Saturday and Sunday doing something you enjoy. Forget about those things that need doing around the house and just watch the NFL Draft, go for a nice walk, or grab a few beers. You deserve it. I bet you didn’t know it was that easy to reward yourself for a job well done. Once Monday rolls around, it’s back to reality and that means another edition of your favorite blog, the Spoon, Full of Truth. Have a friend who could use a little R&R? Forward them the Spoon and once they are finished reading they can share it with their friends and then take the weekend off too! Remember, caring means sharing. Thanks for reading; my words would be lost and lonely without you.

Friday, April 13, 2007


With god working overtime for his upcoming role in the Christian propaganda film “The Reaping” (co-staring Hilary Swank) he had no choice but to leave his understudies in charge of plaguing the rest of humanity. God had taken the best weapons from his plague arsenal to Hollywood (after all, the producers of “The Reaping” were paying top dollar and did not want to settle for anything less than the original Egyptian plagues). This became apparent to me a few months ago when I was hit with my own set of calamities. A far cry from the original plagues (water to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail mixed with fire, locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn) I was hit with round after round of toned down plagues (the kind of work you’d expect when you hire a partner in a law firm and he decides to cut out early to hit the links and leaves your big case to one of the associates). First came my lower back pain followed closely by dizziness. Not pleasant but I was still able to get clean, bloodless water out of the faucet and didn’t notice any croaking frogs hopping around. Next came a week of terrible constipation and stomach cramps (which my doctor said was a side effect of pain medication for my back but I prefer the god scenario). This was even less pleasant than the back pain but still preferable to hoards of gnats and flies. I was not happy, but thankful that I was not incurring the full wrath of god. Not wanting to waste my trip to the doctor, I took his advice and tried some fiber chews and laxatives. The stomach pain got worse. Then all of a sudden (much like water instantly turning to blood) I was hit with a terrible bout of diarrhea. For about two days I felt like I’d eaten a large supply of diseased livestock (and my stomach wanted it out). Just when the stomach problems seemed like they were over and maybe god’s intern had found something better to do with his time, the next plague struck: total nasal congestion. I tried everything; cold medicine, allergy medicine, Breath-Right strips (like football players use), and box after box of tissues, but got no relief. Maybe I should have asked the pharmacist what he recommended for boils, but that seemed a little over-dramatic. Then, with the intensity of fire from the sky, came the sneezing. It was awful. Every ten seconds I was at it, one after another, sneeze, sneeze, excuse me, sneeze. The constant sneezing led to dry and cracked lips. It was as if round after round of hungry locusts had eaten all of the moisture from my lips, leaving them barren. I hate chap-stick, and I think the man up stairs knew it. He was testing me, but come on…locusts, gnats, and flies? Mix it up a little bit. When you were lining up the plagues was someone having a killer sale on insects, 3 for the price of 1? What hath god bought? I stood my ground. I knew darkness was up next and I was right. In my case, it came in the form of itchy eyes. Sure I could still see, but my eyes itched and burned. At least if it had been totally dark I wouldn’t have needed to use them; I could have just closed my eyes and gone to bed. The itchiness slowly faded and I was left standing; just one plague to go, death of the first born. That plague hit last Tuesday. One day after buying a second Beta fish, our first born Beta fish suddenly died. They were in separate fish tanks, so the purchase of the second fish could not be linked to the death of the first. I felt the hand of god. Then I remembered that I had spoken poorly of Hilary Swank many times in the past. Could it be that the lord (and her new co-star) was enacting a small amount of revenge? I had been punished with round after round of plague and I had survived! Suck on that Hilary Swank! I think the moral here is obvious: don’t mess with god’s home-girl or he’ll send one of his errand boys to make your life miserable (or at the very least, uncomfortable). I should have known those two were tight. Only the divine hand of god could have guided an Oscar into Hilary Swank’s hands (unless the day comes when they give out an award for most annoying actress and then she’s on her own to fight it out with Claire Danes, Julia Roberts, Fran Dresher, and Rosie O’Donnell). I have it on good authority that god himself reads the Spoon, Full of Truth and I have personally asked him to spare any of my readers from suffering the same fate that I endured. We can just say it’s my toned-down version of suffering on the cross for all of us having enjoyed this story.

The recent discovery of collagen proteins, found hidden inside the leg bone of a 68 million year old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, are oldest preserved proteins ever found. Collagen is the main ingredient of connective tissue in animals and is found in cartilage, ligaments, tendons, hooves, bones and teeth. It yields gelatin and glue when boiled in water. The discovery of the proteins alone is amazing, but when scientists compared the protein’s chemical structure to a slew of other species, it showed an evolutionary link between T. rex and chickens (bolstering the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs, or are even living dinosaurs). Wow, can you imagine what it would have taken to hack one of those T. rex’s up and coat it in the Colonel’s (er, Caveman’s) secret blend of eleven herbs and spices? And talk about your big-ass biscuits! Forget cock-fighting, that’s small potatoes. Could you imagine tossing two T. rex’s in the ring and letting them fight to the death? That has pay-per-view written all over it. This makes life somewhat easier though. The next time your kid is pestering you to take him to the natural history museum to check out some dinosaur fossils or skeletons, just drive him to the local supermarket and let him play around in the poultry department for a few minutes (just make sure to wash his hands afterwards). Chickens are just scaled down dinosaurs. That’s great. In this era of single-serving everything, it’s just nature’s way of helping out. Scale those giant creatures down already. I guess if nothing else this answers the age old question of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” Clearly, it was the egg; the big-ass T. rex egg.

I would like to share the following store with you that my brother Josh turned me on to. It was written by Lindsey Tanner, a Medical Writer for the AP. As a type-1 diabetic, this story has special meaning to me and I hope it will open the door for more stem-cell research here in the United States. Paying my taxes is supposed to give me the right to the pursuit of happiness. For me, that means stem-cell research. When diabetes is cured, I can truly be happy.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Thirteen young diabetics in Brazil have ditched
their insulin shots and need no other medication thanks to a risky,
but promising treatment with their own stem cells -- apparently the
first time such a feat has been accomplished.
Though too early to call it a cure, the procedure has enabled
the young people, who have Type I diabetes, to live insulin-free so
far, some as long as three years. The treatment involves stem cell
transplants from the patients' own blood.
"It's the first time in the history of Type 1 diabetes where
people have gone with no treatment whatsoever ... no medications at
all, with normal blood sugars," said study co-author Dr. Richard
Burt of Northwestern University's medical school in Chicago.
While the procedure can be potentially life-threatening, none of
the 15 patients in the study died or suffered lasting side effects.
But it didn't work for two of them.
Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to determine if stem
cell transplants could become standard treatment for people with
the disease once called juvenile diabetes. It is less common than
Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity.
The hazards of stem cell transplantation also raise questions
about whether the study should have included children. One patient
was as young as 14.
Dr. Lainie Ross, a medical ethicist at the University of
Chicago, said the researchers should have studied adults first
before exposing young teens to the potential harms of stem cell
transplant, which include infertility and late-onset cancers.
In addition, Ross said that the study should have had a
comparison group to make sure the treatment was indeed better than
standard diabetes care.
Burt, who wrote the study protocol, said the research was done
in Brazil because U.S. doctors were not interested in the approach.
The study was approved by ethics committees in Brazil, he said,
adding that he personally believes it was appropriate to do the
research in children as well as adults, as long as the Brazilian
ethics panels approved.
Burt and other diabetes experts called the results an important
step forward.
"It's the threshold of a very promising time for the field,"
said Dr. Jay Skyler of the Diabetes Research Institute at the
University of Miami.
Skyler wrote an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, which published the study, saying the results are
likely to stimulate research that may lead to methods of preventing
or reversing Type I diabetes.
"These are exciting results. They look impressive," said Dr.
Gordon Weir of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Still, Weir cautioned that more studies are needed to make sure
the treatment works and is safe. "It's really too early to suggest
to people that this is a cure," he said.
The patients involved were ages 14 to 31 and newly diagnosed
with Type 1 diabetes. An estimated 12 million to 24 million people
worldwide -- including 1 to 2 million in the United States -- have
this form of diabetes, which is typically diagnosed in children or
young adults. An autoimmune disease, it occurs when the body
attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar levels, which when too
high, can lead to heart disease, blindness, nerve problems and
kidney damage.
Burt said the stem cell transplant is designed to stop the
body's immune attack on the pancreas.
A study published last year described a different kind of
experimental transplant, using pancreas cells from donated
cadavers, that enabled a few diabetics to give up insulin shots.
But that requires lifelong use of anti-rejection medicine, which
isn't needed by the Brazil patients since the stem cells were their
The 15 diabetics were treated at a bone marrow center at the
University of Sao Paulo.
All were newly diagnosed, before their insulin-producing cells
had been destroyed.
That timing is key, Burt said. "If you wait too long," he
said, "you've exceeded the body's ability to repair itself."
The procedure involves stimulating the body to produce new stem
cells and harvesting them from a blood sample. Next comes several
days of high-dose chemotherapy, which virtually shuts down the
immune system and prevents the reintroduced cells from being fought
off by white blood cells. This requires hospitalization and potent
drugs to fend off infection. Then, the harvested stem cells are
injected back into the body where they can build a healthier immune
Patients were hospitalized for about three weeks. Many had side
effects including nausea, vomiting and hair loss. One developed
pneumonia, the only severe complication.
Doctors changed the drug regimen after the treatment failed in
the first patient, who ended up needing more insulin than before
the study. Another patient also relapsed.
The remaining 13 "live a normal life without taking insulin,"
said study co-author Dr. Julio Voltarelli of the University of Sao
Paulo. "They all went back to their lives."
The patients enrolled in the study at different times so the
length of time they've been insulin-free also differs.
Burt has had some success using the same procedure in 170
patients with other autoimmune diseases, including lupus and
multiple sclerosis; one patient with an autoimmune form of
blindness can now see, Burt said.
"The body has tremendous potential to repair," he said.
The study was partly funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Health,
Genzyme Corp. and a maker of blood sugar monitoring products.

I recently received an email call-to-action from Dan, a family friend, Philadelphia native, sports fan, and reader of the Spoon, Full of Truth. It went something like this:

Can you start a new blog titled: “FIRE THE PHILLIES.” And dedicate it to making them move from Philadelphia. I don’t care where they go – Vegas, Portland, Tampa Bay (do they already have a team?), Mexico City. I don’t care. I just want them out of the City. Forever. 120 years of crap is enough. We don’t need anymore. Fire up the blog, my friend. I’ll do the heavy lifting of ranting about how bad they suck.

Far be it from me to deny my readers the content that they desire. Here goes. The Phillies suck. Every season they seem to tank the first two weeks and the last two weeks of the season. The rest of the year they are alright. They always seem to suck in the beginning (off to another stellar 2-7 start this year), play very well in August and early September, and then tank it just in time to lose the wild-card by a game or two. Enough is enough Phillies. You could have hired Jim Leyland when you fired Larry Bowa. But did you? No. You went out and got Charlie Manuel. There is more fire, passion, and inspiration in a Philly cheese-steak than there is in Charlie Manuel. The only thing this guy inspires fans and players alike to do is sleep. Instead of a number of the back of his jersey it should just say, “ZZZZZZ”. You went out and spent big bucks the year before moving into the big stadium to buy Jim Thome and Billy Wagner. Thome is now playing for the White Sox (although he’s still cashing your paychecks) and Wagner drove up 95 to NYC where he helped the Mets win the NL East last year. Way to spend. Let’s not even talk about David Bell. We would have been better off leaving 3rd base open. Phillies, you are the exotic dancers of professional sports. You’re just going to tease us, get us all worked up, and then send us home discontented. Why can’t you be like the Yankees or Redsox and give us some World Series fulfillment? So you made the World Series in 1993, what have you done for me lately? That year was a fluke anyway. It was like in the movie “Major League” where the team purposefully put together a bunch of misfits (complete with our own Wild-thing) and by some fluke they produced. That was the biggest tease of all. My hopes and dreams went flying out the window faster than Joe Carter’s HR over the left-field wall. Philly has had enough of you Phillies. It’s time to pack your bags and move to some other city that appreciates losers (like Texas). We’re ready for a winner, and I’m just not sure if that’s something you are capable of giving us. So go ahead, tank it now and then make your late season run and miss the wildcard by two games. We’re ready for it. If unfulfilled dreams suddenly became the new currency we’d be the wealthiest city on earth. Sadly, there is less chance of that happening than of you actually winning the big one.


Friends and family members often ask for my help in sharing some of their recent accomplishments with my readers. So please take a minute or two and enjoy the following links.

*Public Service Message (staring my very own brother):

*Great Music:
http://www.unlikelycowboy.com or http://www.myspace.com/unlikelycowboy

*Flowers For Any Occasion:

*A Great Forum For The Discussion Of Ideas:

That should just about wrap it up for this week folks. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I am off to Florida for a few days of relaxation and sunshine but will return next week with another Spoon, Full of Truth. Not only is the Spoon a great place for me to share the goings-on of friends, it makes a great gift for your friends and family! Don’t forget to share the Spoon with someone today. A Spoon, Full of Truth makes the monotony go down. Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 06, 2007


U.S. women who eat a lot of beef while pregnant give birth to sons who grow up to have low sperm counts, researchers reported early last week. "In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals/week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers (from University of Rochester Medical Center in New York) wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction. My mother didn’t like to let me play with any toy guns when I was a kid (aside from the Nintendo Duck-Hunt gun) but if she was “beefing-up” while I was in the womb it looks like she might have aided me in shooting a few blanks. As I’ve made no attempt to have children as of yet, I’m just going to hope she ate a lot of chicken. The researchers believe that pesticides, hormones, or contaminants in cattle feed may be to blame. These chemicals can build up in the fat of animals that eat contaminated feed or grass, and cattle were (and are) routinely given hormones to boost their growth. Listen up mothers (and mothers-to-be)...you want to become a grandmother someday? Then put down that burger or petite filet and pound a few extra chicken nuggets (nuggets may or may not contain chicken). It’s a high stakes game you are playing with your son’s reproductive future and those cow products. Where’s the Beef? If you’re pregnant, the answer should be, “In someone else’s stomach”.

In an alleged attempt to save energy, Congress moved up daylight-saving time by three weeks this year. Yet so far, the change appears to have backfired after Americans last month used record amounts of gasoline as they got out to enjoy the extra hour of sunshine. Average daily gasoline demand for the three weeks after the time change rose 2.8% from the same period a year ago and was the highest ever for the period, according to the Energy Department. Wow, you astound me Congress, nice move! Trying to save energy and instead winding up with the biggest energy consumption in history (for this three week period) is like leading your high-school’s abstinence campaign and then (a week later) getting your girlfriend pregnant with septuplets.
Coming this spring, from the creators of “Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction” and “Brownie: One Heckuva Job” comes “Daylight Saving Time: Fuck Your Global Warming Theory”. I think we can file this latest blunder under: Duh.
"Daylight-saving simply pushes us out of our houses," says Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. Downing, a critic of daylight-saving time, argues that the extra hour of light at day's end leads people to drive to places (such as golf courses, parks and shopping malls) that they otherwise wouldn't. "We simply know that when Americans go to the mall, they don't walk," he says. Is this an actual attempt by Congress to conserve energy or is it a brilliant scheme concocted by the market researchers for Big Oil? What’s next, will they privatize the extra hour of sunlight and award it (in a no-bid contract) to Halliburton? I like the extra hour of sunlight but not more than I like protecting the environment. I say in the fall, we set the clocks back three weeks early.

Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of al-Qaeda links to Saddam Hussein led Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group.
Cheney contends that al-Qaeda was operating in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion led by U.S. forces and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. Other members in al-Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June," Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. "As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq."
However, a declassified Pentagon report released yesterday stated that interrogations of the deposed Iraqi leader (Hussein) and two of his former aides as well as seized Iraqi documents confirmed that the terrorist organization and the Saddam government were not working together before the invasion. Any comments Cheney makes are already immediately suspect, let alone comments he makes on a show (like Rush Limbaugh) that caters to right-wing idiots. How are we to believe anything that this walking heart-attack has to say (damn those doctors who discovered the blood clot last month, they should have let Cheney die)? The fact of the matter is, if Hussein had something to do with 9/11, prove it (I suspect Dubya and Cheney had more to do with 9/11 than Saddam). Like Barry Bonds in baseball, you can suspect he took steroids all you want but no one can (or should) take action against him until it is proven. Hearsay is not proof Dick. If it was, you’d be convicted for shooting your hunting buddy in the face. Just because your name is Dick, it doesn’t give you the right to keep fucking everyone. If there’s a hell, Dick Cheney is on the VIP guest list.

Only a few minutes left before the end of the work week. I hope everyone enjoyed this little pre-weekend offering of truth before kicking back and relaxing for the next 48 hours. I’d like to take a quick moment to wish a very happy birthday to my cousin Kevin. He and his wife Hilary took us out for a wonderful dinner last night to celebrate and it made me realize (yet again) how much I miss seeing them. You guys are definitely in my Fave-5. Thanks again for reading (and sharing this site) and check back soon to get another Spoon, Full of Truth!