Having to apologize for speaking the truth

I got a link to this youtube video from a wingnut’s blog:

Do you see a problem?

I don’t; neither would anyone who lives in reality. But, evidently reality is simply too painful for some to contemplate, hence Senator Obama ended up giving an apology

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) is apologizing for saying the lives of the more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war were “wasted.”

During his first campaign trip this weekend, the Illinois senator told a crowd in Iowa: “We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

He immediately apologized on Sunday, saying the remark was “a slip of the tongue.”

During an appearance Monday in Nashua, N.H., he apologized again, telling reporters he meant to criticize the civilian leadership of the war, not those serving in the military.

“Even as I said it, I realized I had misspoken,” Obama said. “It is not at all what I intended to say, and I would absolutely apologize if any (military families) felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they’d shown.”

Bottom line: there are lots of misguided idiots out there. And this video came from a wingnut. But, emotions are still very very raw, and it would be next to impossible for the loved one or friend to admit that their loved one had been brutally killed (or cruelly wounded) early in their lives for no good reason at all, no matter how true it may be. And I thnk that Senator Obama understands that.

Nevertheless, I’d never make it in that profession (of politics).

Interestingly enough, a commenter on a Daily Kos diary on this matter said this:

The cardinal rule of American politics (13+ / 0-)

(Recommended by:
tiponeill, melvynny, catchawave, cometman, suskind, curtadams, onanyes, sodalis, trashablanca, Temmoku, possum, TomP, Blackacre )

Democrats have to apologize for telling the truth.

Republicans don’t have to apologize for their deadly, vicious lies.

Who is the politically correct thought police again?

Too bad Obama caved. It furthers the frame that these lives were taken for some worthy cause when they are not.

Whereas another comment really got to the meat of the matter:

I understood what Obama meant (2+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
ybruti, onanyes

I also understand how it would be deliberately misinterpteted to hurt Obama even though the people most hurt by that type of statement are the family of a dead soldier.

I know because I felt that way about my brother who died in Vietnam. At first I didn’t want his death to be a waste. It took time for me to realize that I didn’t want other families to suffer the same pain. I don’t know why it’s become impossible to have an honest discussion about the deaths of over 3,000 soldiers. But the MSM have a great deal of responsibility for that.

It took the Vietnam Wall Memorial, and my first visit there, for some of the pain to ease. I really couldn’t talk about my brother to others before that. It’s a tragedy that I see repeating itself.

I wish Senator Obama hadn’t apologized. To my mind he had nothing to apologize for…

Nevertheless, while I can understand Senator Obama’s statement rubbing some grieving families raw, remember that much of the “outrage” is being expressed by wingnut chickenhawks who wouldn’t be caught dead in a military uniform.


February 13, 2007 Posted by | obama, politics/social | 1 Comment

I’ll get that jerk who stole my snow shovel!

Fortunately, we have a blower (bought this year) and one of those large push brooms.

peoria snow

From the Peoria Journal Star website.


Bradley Campus (taken by Barbara)

bradley campus

I gotta have some hope…spring and summer will be here…someday…

February 13, 2007 Posted by | Peoria/local | Leave a comment

More than 3000….

Yes, more than 3000 of our military people have died in Iraq. But that isn’t the whole story; as of right now, 22,401 have been wounded as well. And in war, wounds aren’t bee stings and ankle sprains.

More on the human cost in one of my old posts, which was 4500 wounded young people ago.

February 13, 2007 Posted by | politics/social | Leave a comment

Judge: requires man who slapped wife to take yoga classes!

No, I am not making this up: (hat tip to a comment maker who alerted me to this)

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) — Judge Larry Standley is known for his creative sentences. In a recent case, Standley ordered a man convicted of slapping his wife to take a yoga class as part of his one-year probation. CNN’s Fredericka Whitfield spoke with him about the unusual sentence.

WHITFIELD: Some might say slapping your wife is a serious charge, maybe even borderline abuse. I know this case is very unusual. But it’s domestic abuse, and here you hand him a sentence of yoga.

STANDLEY: First of all let me explain that there was a plea agreement between the prosecution and the defense attorney. And I basically signed off on the plea agreement. I did, however, tack on the yoga condition at the end of it. I’m usually pretty harsh on these kinds of cases. And the most that I can give is a year. But in this case the facts were unique.

WHITFIELD: Well, explain some of the facts. We are talking about 53-year-old James Lee Cross, and explain why he slapped his wife Wendy, how he justifies it and give us some of the circumstances of this case.

STANDLEY: The facts as they were presented to me were that on New Year’s Eve, during the day, his wife had a substance abuse problem; they had an argument in a parking lot. And he had control issues. And he slapped her. She wanted him to be on probation, and she agreed to the probation. Why did I impose yoga? I imposed it because people that I know that are really into it, it appears to help them.

WHITFIELD: But you are not into yoga yourself, right?

STANDLEY: No, I’m not in yoga because I have a bad back. But I think the public is getting misled in this case, it has taken a life of its own. Here in Texas last week, three people got the death penalty, and I’m up here talking about yoga.

Let me explain something. He received 10 years — 10 — 12 months’ probation. As well as 80 hours of community service as well as anger management counseling as well as random urinalysis. And what I did was tack on an additional condition that he attends a yoga class once a week for the entire year.

Note to Jude Standley: yoga is good for bad backs too!

(from a peer reviewed, medical journal)

The summary below is from the full report titled “Comparing Yoga, Exercise, and a Self-Care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain. A Randomized, Controlled Trial.” It is in the 20 December 2005 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 143, pages 849-856). The authors are K.J. Sherman, D.C. Cherkin, J. Erro, D.L. Miglioretti, and R.A. Deyo.

101 patients between 20 and 64 years of age who visited a primary care doctor in the past 3 to 15 months for chronic low back pain. All patients were members of the insurance plan Group Health in Seattle, Washington. To be in the study, patients had to rate their pain as being at least 3 on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain). Patients who had major illnesses or conditions (cancer, pregnancy, bone fractures, previous back surgery) that could explain the back pain could not participate in the study.

The researchers assigned patients at random to receive 1) 12 weekly 75-minute yoga classes designed for patients with back pain and instructions to practice daily at home; 2) 12 weekly 75-minute sessions of aerobic, strengthening, and stretching exercises, which were developed by a physical therapist, and instructions to practice daily at home; or 3) a personal copy of The Back Pain Helpbook by Jim Moore and colleagues (Reading, MA: Perseus Books; 1999). Study patients could use drugs, such as anti-inflammatory agents or acetaminophen, as needed. Interviewers, who did not know which treatment each patient received, called patients after 6, 12, and 26 weeks and used standard questions to collect information on pain and dysfunction.

What did the researchers find?

After 12 weeks, patients in the yoga group had better back-related function than patients in the exercise or education groups. Reports of pain were similar in all 3 groups. At 26 weeks, patients in the yoga group reported better back-related function and less pain.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study followed patients for about 6 months, so this study does not tell us about the effectiveness of yoga over longer periods. The study involved only 1 yoga instructor and 1 exercise instructor. Other instructors might have achieved different results. The study was too small to come to firm conclusions about the safety of yoga for patients with low back pain.


Over 3 to 6 months, yoga appears to be more effective than traditional exercise or an educational book for improving function and pain in patients with chronic low back pain.

February 13, 2007 Posted by | yoga | 1 Comment

Snowstorm again, some thoughts on Obesity

A snowstrom hit, and someone stole our snow shovel!!!! (it was broken anyway, but still somewhat useful).

Sigh…still, I have to give Sue Wheeler (the aquatics director of the Peoria Park District) and a fellow staff member a ton of credit as she got the swimming going, enabling me to get in 2000 yards. I hit 10 x 100 on the 1:45, 1:36, 1:37, rest were 1:35-1:36. It was easier than the last time. No yoga class today, though I did 48 minutes on my own.

The local paper (Peoria Journal Star) had a nice editorial about Senator Obama:

[…] It is easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding Obama. The way people respond to this Democrat is Kennedyesque, as is his gift for oratory and his call, at age 45, for generational change. Obama had a teleprompter, but he appeared not to need it in a 20-minute speech that had an enthusiastic audience chanting “O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA!” But in fact he has his work cut out for him in “this improbable quest,” which is as it should be when one seeks to become leader of the free world.

The size, diversity and passion of his crowds may make his competitors envious, but this race will not be handed to him, not by Sen. Hillary Clinton; nor by John Edwards, he of a previous national ticket; nor by the rest of the sizeable field. This is the big leagues. He’ll have to raise serious money. In Clinton he faces a tested, formidable political organization.

He’ll have to speak convincingly to charges that his two years in the U.S. Senate and lack of chief executive experience don’t qualify him for the Oval Office. His background will be explored as never before. It’s not automatic that black voters will warm to him. He has a decidedly liberal voting record; he was one of just 22 senators to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts. The pro-life protesters who showed up Saturday carrying signs that read, “What if his momma aborted Obama?” may be indicative of things to come. […]

That said, Obama commands media attention like no other candidate, save Clinton. He made “60 Minutes” Sunday night. He does not shrink from rhetorical or intellectual challenge. He seems that rare politician who is confident and comfortable no matter the situation. He’s right, Americans have had it with partisanship, which is why he didn’t hesitate to mention that he is working on foreign policy issues with GOP Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana. Obama’s appeals to hope and unity instead of fear and division have resonated with many Americans, who find him less a rookie than a refreshing face and voice. […]

And the wingnuts are afraid of him. For example, there is a blog about Illiniois politics, and the wingnuts that post there have written so many anti-obama posts that the blog owner had to tell them to cut it out (the blog is supposed to be for somewhat original posts on state politics and not for repeating what is going on nationally).

Be afraid, wingnuts! Be very afraid!!!!

On another note, General Wes Clark had a nice diary on the Daily Kos about our policy in Iraq and future policy toward Iran:

As the President fights for public support of his troop surge in Iraq, he is also ratcheting up the pressure on Iran. A second aircraft carrier battle group (with Newsweek reporting a third group likely to follow), Patriot missiles to protect our allies, arresting Iranian personnel in Iraq, releasing additional information about Iranian involvement, appointing a Navy Admiral to command forces in the region, even seeking diplomatic support from Sunni Arab friends in the region – Yes, the Iranians are interfering inside Iraq and seeking nuclear capabilities. Yet the President’s recent actions give the US little additional leverage to engage and dissuade Iran, and, more than likely, simply accelerate a dangerous slide into war. The United States can do better than this.

Since 9/11 the Iranians have tried on several occasions to open a dialogue with the United States. They, of course, had their own interests at heart, not ours. Yet, from dialogue some common interests might have emerged. The Bush Administration would have none of it, and branded Iran a member of the Axis of Evil.

During that period, with most of the world on our side, we had enormous diplomatic, economic and military leverage over Iran. Now, deeply committed militarily in Iraq, more isolated diplomatically, increasingly indebted to some of Iran’s crude oil customers, only modestly successful in gaining UN sanctions against Iran, the Administration has refused to change our approach, and has instead chosen to augment the least effective element of US power in the region – air and naval.

We are already totally dominant in air and naval power over Iran. Even with Iran’s new Russian antiaircraft equipment, no one should doubt that US forces could penetrate these defenses and strike with precision with minimal losses. Iran’s naval countermeasures in the Gulf can be largely preempted. The Iranians no doubt recognize this.

But the Iranians perceive American weaknesses on the ground, with an American Army too small to invade and occupy Iran, and too engaged inside Iraq even to threaten it. They see our soldiers through sniper sights, and from behind the triggers of improvised explosive devices, while they see themselves as a nation that gained considerable strength from a war with Iraq that cost a million casualties, took eight years, and involved withstanding missile strikes on cities and the use of chemical weapons. They no doubt believe that, whatever the current alignments of Sunni states, a US strike against Iran would bring outpourings of sympathy, public support, and waves of impassioned volunteers from throughout the Islamic world. They would see themselves as the heroic martyrs uniting Islam. The Iranians may believe this reaction would enforce on the United States a rapid, humiliating withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, leaving them military savaged but strategically victorious.

In this they might very likely be proven wrong. US power is far more sustainable in the region than Iran would like to believe, and the military humiliation Iran would suffer at the outset could well deter any outside assistance. The US does have a military option. But this is a struggle that will be costly for all involved, will further isolate the region, and whose ultimate outcome is likely to be decided by future incumbencies. Leaders on both sides should recognize that war is the most unpredictable of human endeavors, and that unanticipated consequences almost always follow.

I believe some in the Administration have seen this confrontation as inevitable – or have sought it – since late 2001. At that time a Pentagon general held up to me a Defense memorandum which he described as a five year road map to the conflict. But surely we have learned by now that, particularly in this region, force and the threats of force should be the last, last, last resort.

Military power aside, the US has enormous economic leverage over the Iranians through our influence on world financial institutions, international commerce and capital flows. While the latest actions against Iran’s banking system show the sharp stick of US power, the potential carrots are enormous, too. Islamic pride cannot be purchased, but neither can a proud nation ignore a more hopeful vision of its future.

The American troop surge is not likely to impact Iran’s on-the-ground influence in Iraq. Their presence serves the interests of some in Iraq; and they are deeply embedded and widely active. Only their perception of new interests and opportunities is likely to do this. They would need to see their situation through a different lens. It is asking a lot. But, cannot the world’s most powerful nation deign speak to the resentful and scheming regional power that is Iran? Can we not speak of the interests of others, work to establish a sustained dialogue, and seek to benefit the people of Iran and the region? Could not such a dialogue, properly conducted, begin a process that could, over time, help realign hardened attitudes and polarizing views within the region? And isn’t it easier to undertake such a dialogue now, before more die, and more martyrs are created to feed extremist passions? And, finally, if every effort should fail, before we take military action, don’t we at least want the moral, legal and political “high ground” of knowing we did everything possible to avert it?

Whatever the pace of Iran’s nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administrations rhetoric and accusations and Iran’s under-the-table actions in Iraq, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict. Surely, it is past time to ask our elected officials in the White House and Congress to exercise leadership: recognize the real strategic challenge we face, and start to work now to avoid an escalation and widening of conflict in the Mideast.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on Iran. This is a critical issue for our nation, and I look forward to discussing it further with you in the comments below.

Wes Clark


Someone mentioned obesity and weight loss surgery. What are the facts? How well does the surgery work? From the American Obesity Association:

There are two types of obesity surgery: 1) restrictive and 2) combined restrictive and malabsorptive. Different ways of performing each surgery, called operative procedures, have been developed. Each type of surgery and operative procedure has its own risks and side-effects. Your doctor can help you decide which is best for you.

1. Restrictive Surgery – uses bands or staples to create food intake restriction. The bands or staples are surgically placed near the top of the stomach to section off a small portion that is often called a stomach pouch. A small outlet, about the size of a pencil eraser, is left at the bottom of the stomach pouch. Since the outlet is small, food stays in the pouch longer and you also feel full for a longer time.
Operative Procedures

* Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) – is a “pure” restrictive surgery since it only involves surgically creating a stomach pouch. VBG uses bands and staples and is the most frequently performed procedure for obesity surgery.3
* Gastric Banding – involves the use of a band to create the stomach pouch.
* Laparoscopic Gastric Banding (Lap-Band), approved by the FDA in June 2001, is a less invasive procedure in which smaller incisions are made to apply the band. The band is inflatable and can be adjusted over time. 7,8,9

Benefits and Risks

Success rate: About 80% of patients lose some weight and 30% reach normal weight category with VBG.8 The long-term weight loss success rate with VBG is 40 to 63% of excess body weight over a three year period1 and 50 to 60% after five years.3 A three year study with Lap-Band resulted in 62% of patients who lost at least 25% of their excess weight; 52% lost at least 33%; 22% lost at least 50% and 10% lost at least 75%.9

* Side-effects: The stomach pouch holds about a half of a cup to one cup of food. Eating too much at once or not chewing enough to break down food can cause nausea, stomach discomfort and vomiting.3,8 Protein and vitamin deficiency have been reported in few cases, due to continual vomiting. Other side effects are heartburn and abdominal pain. 9
* Complications: Possible complications include leaking of stomach juices into the abdomen, injury to the spleen, band slippage, erosion of the band, breakdown of the staple line, and stomach pouch stretching from overeating. Infection or death has been reported in less than 1 percent of patients. 7,8

After Surgery

* Lifestyle Adjustments: Patients must learn to eat smaller amounts of food at one time,8 to chew their food well and to eat slowly.3 Failure to adjust eating habits may inhibit weight loss.8
* Surgical Follow-up: Follow-up, especially in the first three months after surgery, is necessary to maintain the proper intake of protein, calories, minerals and vitamins. With proper follow-up care and patient compliance, protein deficiency which typically occurs in the first three months after surgery, can be corrected within 18 months after surgery.3

2. Combined Restrictive and Malabsorptive Surgery – is a combination of restrictive surgery (stomach pouch) with bypass (malabsorptive surgery), in which the stomach is connected to the jejunum or ileum of the small intestine, bypassing the duodenum.8

Operative Procedures

* Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RGB) – is the most commonly performed gastric bypass procedure,8 and the second most frequently performed surgery for obesity after VBG.3 RGB involves a stomach pouch for food intake restriction. A direct connection, which is Y-shaped, is made from the ileum or jejunum to the stomach pouch for malabsorption. The longer the segment of small intestine bypassed, the greater the malabsorption component and the greater the weight loss. Gastric bypass with an extensive segment of small bowel bypassed is termed “Long Limb Gastric Bypass.”
* Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD) – is one of the most complicated of the current operative procedures in obesity surgery,7 sometimes involving the removal of a portion of the stomach. The remaining section of the stomach is connected to the ileum.8 BPD successfully promotes weight loss,8 but this procedure is typically used for persons with severe obesity who have a BMI of 50 or more.7

Benefits and Risks

* Success Rate: Researchers have found greater weight loss in gastric bypass (93.3 pounds) compared to gastroplasty (67 pounds) after one year.2 Over two years, gastric bypass surgery patients have been shown to lose two-thirds of excess weight.8 The success rate for weight loss for RGB is 68 to 72% of excess body weight over a three year period, and 75% for BPD.1 After five years, the average excess weight loss from gastric bypass surgery ranges from 48 to 74%.3
* Side Effects: The “dumping syndrome” in which food moves too quickly through the small intestine can cause nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and sometimes diarrhea after eating. There can also be an inability to eat sweets without severe weakness and sweating causing patients to lie down to let the symptoms pass. Dairy intolerance, constipation, headache, hair loss and depression are other possible side effects.7, 8
* Complications: There is a risk for nutritional deficiencies due to the bypass of the duodenum and part of the jejunum where many nutrients are absorbed. Nutritional deficiencies include malabsorption of vitamin B12, leading to anemia and iron deficiency. The reduction in vitamin D and calcium absorption can cause osteoporosis and other bone disease.3,8 Other complications are similar to those of restrictive surgery and are due to creating a stomach pouch.

After Surgery

* Lifestyle Adjustments: Lifelong use of nutritional supplements such as multivitamins, vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium is necessary.3,4
* Surgical Follow-up: Physical, nutritional and metabolic counseling are needed to prevent nutritional deficiencies. 3

What about without surgery? Well, the statistics are rather grim:

While losing weight is difficult for many people, it is even more challenging to keep weight off. Eighty percent to 85 percent of those who lose a large amount of weight regain it. One theory about regaining lost weight is that people who decrease their caloric intake to lose weight experience a drop in their metabolic rate, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight over a period of months. A lower metabolic rate may also make it easier to regain weight after a more normal diet is resumed. For these reasons, extremely low calorie diets and rapid weight loss are discouraged.

Those who did maintain the weight loss had something in common:

How do people successfully lose weight and keep it off?
Healthy low-calorie and low-fat diets as well as high levels of physical activity are the foundation for success, according to the researchers who maintain the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a database of people who have self-reported successful weight loss and maintenance of weight loss.

Although the criteria for entry into the NWCR is the achievement and maintenance of weight loss of 30 pounds or more for at least one year, the average NWCR participant has lost about 60 pounds and kept it off for about five years.

When participants were asked questions about how they maintained their weight loss, the NWCR researchers found that:

* 92 percent limited their intake of certain foods (one example: eating at fast food restaurants less than once a week).
* They consumed an average of 1400 calories per day, of which 24 percent of calories was from fat, 19 percent protein, and 56 percent carbohydrates.
* They ate five times a day, on average.
* They burned an average of 2,800 calories a week through exercise (an equivalent of about 400 calories day).
* 75 percent weighed themselves regularly – at least once a week.
* About one-third described weight maintenance as hard, one-third as moderately easy, and one-third as easy.
* 42 percent reported that maintaining their weight loss was less difficult than initially losing the weight.

February 13, 2007 Posted by | obama, politics/social, swimming | Leave a comment