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Friday, July 30, 2004

Mr. Jacoby's cheap shots

Sent to and not published by the Boston Globe

Jeff Jacoby accuses John Kerry of taking a cheap shot at Attorney General Ashcroft (Boston Globe, Friday July 30th.) Jacoby avers that Ashcroft is a staunch upholder of our constitutional rights.
Not so.
The metaphor for Ashcroft's tenure in the Justice Department was his clothing of the semi-nude classical statues in front of which he gave his news conferences. Ashcroft just did not realize that these were symbolic of the fact that justice must appear naked before the world. Justice must be done and justice must be seen to be done.
Here is the bill of indictment showing Ashcroft's failure to uphold the constitution:
  1. The prisoners held incommunicado at Guantanamo Bay
  2. The prisoners held incommunicado in the United States
  3. The failure to uphold the treaty rights and legal rights of prisoners held in Iraq.

Is that enough for Mr. Jacoby?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Insulin: Another False Claim

Sent to and not published by the Boston Globe

Dear Editor:
I hate to rain on your parade, but you did it again: falsely claimed that Insulin was first used on patients in Boston. The claim was made in yesterdays "New Boston" section (page D10, sidebar: Medical Milestones).
I sent you this letter in April complaining of a similar claim made in your magazine. Once again you are contributing to the ignorance of your fellow citizens.
Here is my previous letter of April 20th. 2004:
"No wonder Americans are so ill informed about the rest of the world.
In an article in Sunday's magazine about a young medical student, you said that he came to Boston where "insulin was introduced."
This gives the impression that Americans discovered, purified, and first treated diabetics with insulin.
This was the achievement of Banting, Best and Collip at the University of Toronto in Canada.
Please contribute to better informed Americans by publishing a correction next week. Thank you".

Needless to say, you never published a correction.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Microsoft's Priorities

Sent to and not published by the Boston Globe

Now that the anti-trust suits have been settled and the risk of fines and damages are past, Microsoft's needs for a gigantic war chest are over.
I must confess that I, as a consumer, could see a better use for the funds than returning the money to the stockholders. How about investing in the product to stabilize it and get rid of all those undocumented holes in security that bedevil Windows to this day. Or how about paying Windows users for the downtime costs of adding security patches and data losses due to the viruses and worms that entered our systems due to Microsoft's inability to provide a secure platform.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

handwashing in hospitals

Sent to and not published by the Boston Globe

So Nurses have no time to wash their hands between patients. Yet another sign of understaffing in our hospitals!

Friday, July 9, 2004

Which Women Candidates

Submitted: Boston Globe, not published

There is a very obvious one -- unfortunately, she is a Republican.
I would not be at all surprised to see a "September Surprise." In late September, Dick Cheney resigns for health reasons. George W. Bush taps Condoleezza Rice to be his running mate. Women and African-Americans then overwhelmingly vote Republican in the November elections.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

slanting Science

Submitted: Boston Globe, but not published

This administration besmirches everything it touches.
The general problem is that it is beset by group-think. We have seen the damage done by group-think in a number of domain: in the way in which intelligence about Iraq was used; in the failure to consider the appropriate number of troops needed to pacify Iraq, and in the decision to ignore the sensibilities of America's oldest allies.
We see a new instance of group-think in the administration's April ruling on American scientific representation to the World Health Organization (Globe Editorial, July 2). Only scientists who have been vetted for political correctness by the administration can serve on WHO committees and panels. Instead of allowing the WHO to choose the best scientists, the administration will put forward scientists who adhere to its political agendas on issues like AIDS prevention (mainly abstinence), women's reproductive health (no abortion under any circumstances), and pollution (nothing that will constrain the production of greenhouse gases).
Here we see the administration trying to knobble the expert panels that decide on scientific policy by appointing members with an administration perspective to those panels. I see no problem in the administration pushing strongly for its values in its evidence to these panels (as long as the science is not distorted in the process). I see great benefit from the confrontation of conflicting value positions. I see major problems in appointing scientists with preconceived positions to the panels. World Health will suffer from the administration's passionate embrace of group-think.