Friday, November 21, 2014

Of mice and men

It has long been known that results from mouse research often do not generalize to humans so it is good to see an explanation for that below.

Food freaks often use the results of mouse experiments to claim that following their latest food fad will lengthen your life.  I have always argued that mice are particularly inappropriate in that application as mouse lifespans differ so markedly from human lifespans.  Making generalizations about lifespan from a short-lived species to a long-lived species is particularly absurd.

The finding below of large intrinsic differences between mouse and man should strengthen that criticism.  Food and health claims based on mouse research should be routinely disregarded.  The only occasion when mouse research could be of interest is when mouse research, human epidemiology and theory all point to the same conclusion

Mice and men are genetically far further apart than was previously thought, calling into question the important role the rodents play in medical research.

A new study has found that while mice and humans share many protein-coding genes, the way their genes are regulated is often very different.

US scientists were surprised to find that gene activity diverged wildly between the two species in some key biological pathways.

The finding may help explain why more than 90% of new medicines that pass animal tests then fail in human trials.

Laboratory mice have been a pillar of medical research for more than a century, being used by scientists investigating everything from social behaviour to obesity.

Only half of human and mouse DNA match compared with 96% of human and chimpanzee DNA.

Co-author Dr Michael Beer, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: "Most of the differences between mice and humans come from regulation of gene activity, not from genes themselves. Because mice are an important model for human biology, we have to understand these differences to better interpret our results."


(Yes.  My allusion in the heading to John Steinbeck and Robert Burns was deliberate)


Turley Takes Obama to Task

Barack Obama claims to be a “professor of constitutional law,” but a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has offered severe criticism of Obama’s “über presidency,” his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond “to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration,” Turley responded, “This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers.”

In July, Turley gave congressional testimony concerning Obama’s abuse of executive orders: “When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There’s no license for going it alone in our system, and what he’s done is very problematic. He’s told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic.”

He continued: “Our system is changing in a dangerous and destabilizing way. What’s emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. … The president’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming but what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. … Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. … What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I think the framers would be horrified. … We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. … No one in our system can ‘go it alone’ – not Congress, not the courts, and not the president.”

Turley reiterated this week: “[Obama has] become a government of one. … It’s becoming a particularly dangerous moment if the president is going to go forward, particularly after this election, to defy the will of Congress yet again. … What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers … to protect Liberty, to keep any branch from assuming so much authority that they become a threat to Liberty. … The Democrats are creating something very, very dangerous. They’re creating a president who can go it alone – the very danger that are framers sought to avoid in our Constitution. … I hope he does not get away with it.”



The Leftmedia Blinders

Speaking truth to power?  What a joke!

The big broadcast companies, ABC and NBC, stayed silent as the story that Jonathan Gruber boasted of lying to get ObamaCare passed gathered steam in conservative media. Didn’t it matter that the person who Barack Obama claimed was one of the major minds behind the law lied to get it passed? But yet, as Newsbusters reports, the networks stayed loyal to the Washington establishment. Perhaps they hoped the Gruber story would just go away.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that what is news in Washington often only matters to the players of Washington. The Leftmedia don’t hustle for the stories that matter to the public because the media and the government are often bedfellows – literally. Mark Leibovich, in his book “This Town,” tells of the marriage between Andrea Mitchell, a reporter for NBC News, and Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. During the financial collapse of 2009, Mitchell treaded a thin line to report on her husband’s economic policies. Talk about a conflict of interest.

It seems only when journalists are pushed out of the system do the most damning stories come to light. On Nov. 14, Melissa Francis of Fox Business Network told viewers that her previous bosses at CNBC told her not to report the hard numbers on ObamaCare because it was – get this – disrespectful to the president.

Here’s how Francis told the story: “I said on the air that you couldn’t add millions of people to the system and force insurance companies to cover their preexisting conditions without raising the price on everyone else. I pointed out that it couldn’t possible be true that if you liked your plan, you can keep it. That was a lie, and in fact, millions of people had their insurance canceled. As a result of what I said at CNBC, I was called into management where I was told that I was ‘disrespecting the office of the president’ by telling what turned out to be the absolute truth.”

To be fair, telling the truth is to disrespect this president.

Based on Francis’s account, the producers at CNBC don’t have a clue what journalism is. Disrespect? Good journalism is never awed by those in power. Not to mention, as in this case, Obama’s “you can keep your plan” comment was awarded the “Lie of the Year” from Politifact.

When the New York Post reached out to CNBC for response to Francis’s allegation, a representative for the company replied, “That’s laughable, but we take notice, because as the fastest-growing network in prime time, we’re always on the lookout for high quality comedy writers and actresses.” Instead of confirming or denying what happened, they just make fun of their old news anchor. That should prove their commitment to journalism.

But Francis is not the only journalist to be pushed from the mainstream broadcast news networks because of how she did the job. Sharyl Attkisson left CBS in March in what she called an “amicable” manner. But sources in the company allege that Attkisson, then an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, left after months of disagreement with management. CBS wasn’t supporting as much investigative journalism as they did in the past, and it certainly didn’t want to go hard charging after Obama like Attkisson did with her reporting of the Fast and Furious scandal, or her proposal to further investigate the Benghazi attack and subsequent cover-up.

Recently, the most damning of Washington scandals have not originated from the top of the Washington media food chain. They have been sniffed out from the bottom, where independent journalists and bloggers discover the documents and the sound bytes. It wasn’t the mainstream media that dug into the archives of Obama’s comments to come out holding the one in which the president said he liberally stole ideas from Jonathan Gruber.

The Washington press corps is too close to the problem. They don’t see why Gruber’s comments are germane because such deceitful games are the modus operandi in Washington. As Obama said in denying Gruber’s comments, ObamaCare was “extensively debated” and “fully transparent” – by which he meant lying and obfuscation are just part of American politics.

The American voter needs to know what the swamp along the Potomac is really like. They need the information to decide whether to put their trust in such a government. But the Leftmedia wear blinders when it comes to the very power to whom they purport to speak truth.



A White House Mass Pardon for Identity Thieves

President Obama is poised to show his "compassion" this week by granting work cards to an estimated five million illegal immigrants through an imperial executive order. As for the vast, untold number of law-abiding citizens whose identities have been stolen by foreign law-breakers, two words: Tough luck.

Social Security card fraudsters have made out like bandits thanks to the White House. Their victims are about to get kicked in the teeth again.

Two years ago, when Obama launched his first administrative amnesty known as "DACA" (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the White House gave aid and comfort to illegal alien applicants who were concerned that their previous felony identity theft and fraud crimes would preclude them from the new non-deportation benefits. The Department of Homeland (In)security made clear that illegal workers who wanted coveted employment documents would not have to disclose to the feds whether they used stolen Social Security numbers.

Center for Immigration Studies analyst Jon Feere reported at the time that ethnic lobbyists and open-borders businesses lobbied the Obama administration hard "to keep American victims of ID theft in the dark while shielding unscrupulous businesses from enforcement." As an Obama official told The New York Times, DHS employees are "not interested in using this as a way to identify one-off cases where some individual may have violated some federal law in an employment relationship."

Translation: See no identity theft. Hear no identity theft. Speak no identity theft.

A high-profile immigration attorney crowed: "Good news for deferred action applicants: If you used a false Social Security card, you need not reveal the number on your deferred action application forms. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has clarified that when the forms ask for an applicant's Social Security number, it refers to Social Security numbers issued to the applicant. If you used a friend's number, a made-up number or a stolen number, you should answer N/A for 'not applicable' where it asks for the number."

Since then, more than 500,000 DACA applications have been approved with abysmal oversight, little public disclosure and total absolution for identity rip-off artists. The latest planned administrative amnesty will dwarf that ongoing fiasco.

Victimless crimes? Tell that to those who have been harmed by the estimated 75 percent of working-age illegal aliens who have fraudulently used Social Security cards to obtain employment. Tell it to victims in border states with the highest percentages of illegal aliens, where job-related identity theft is rampant.

Tell it to hardworking Americans like Wisconsinite Robert Guenterberg, whose Social Security number was exploited by illegal aliens for years to buy homes and cars — while the IRS refused to tell the victims about the fraud to protect the thieves' privacy rights.

Tell it to U.S. Air Force veteran Marcos Miranda, whose name and Social Security card were filched by an illegal alien to work at a pork slaughterhouse. He was even thrown in jail for unpaid traffic tickets racked up by his identity thief. "Even though I am Hispanic, I am against illegal immigration," Miranda told the Associated Press. "Even though a lot of them come to work, there are always bad apples. (Identity theft) has really made my perspective ... negative about immigration."

And what about the children? As the Center for Immigration Studies points out: "Children are prime targets. In Arizona, it is estimated that over one million children are victims of identity theft. In Utah, 1,626 companies were found to be paying wages to the SSNs of children on public assistance under the age of 13. These individuals suffer very real and very serious consequences in their lives."

They include Americans like Jay Di Napoli of Colorado Springs, who has fought for years to clear his name and financial records after his late father — an illegal alien who abandoned his American wife and children — "took my original Social Security card and birth certificate when I was 2 years old." The criminal "began selling these documents to undocumented workers coming across our border with Mexico. In fact, he sold my Social Security number to illegals over 28 times before his death in 2009, and my number continues to be sold to this day. What's more, my late father's actions have caused extremely grave damage in virtually every facet of my life."

The amnesty brigade loves to extol the virtues of those who are "doing the work no Americans will do." But when it comes to punishing illegal workers who have raided the lives of innocent Americans to feloniously secure jobs, mortgages and medical care, mum's the word.

Obama's new "American Dream" is the stuff of hellish nightmares: Reward the law-breakers. Punish the law-abiders. And sell out our national identity in pursuit of cheap votes and cheap labor. R.I.P.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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