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These are some of the things I want Congress and our new president to accomplish in the next 4 years.

(checkmark = being worked on; strikethrough = completed)

  • a reduction in Executive power
  • end the war in Iraq
  • begin to end the war on drugs
  • end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy
  • stop trying to be the world's police force
  • lead the world by example
  • shut down Guantanamo Bay
  • repeal the USA PATRIOT Act
  • revive the Freedom of Information Act
  • preserve Roe v. Wade
  • emphasize and utilize science in the policy-making process
  • build nuclear power plants
  • take away stem cell bans
  • ramp up the battle for gay rights
  • shut down the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and other State funding of nonsense
  • end abstinence-only sex education in public schools
  • end all state funding of religion, or at least the faith-based initiatives that have been implemented in the last 8 years.
  • stay away from massive government regulation and spending
  • end identity politics. For far too long we've been focusing not on the efforts and ideas and character and choices individuals, but on group identity. Maybe we can stop categorizing people using criteria over which they have no control and treat everybody as individuals. Maybe we can judge each other on the choices we make, not our random circumstances of birth. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Maybe we can finally make that dream come true.
jan 20 2009 ∞
jun 20 2011 +
user picture trista: you TERRORIST!! he is PROBABLY going to have eight years to get shit done. PROBABLY. What is the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy? its sounds creepy. jan 21 2009
user picture Daniel W.: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the military's disgusting policy on homosexuals. Basically, if they find out you are gay, you are instantly kicked out of the military. They are not supposed to actively try to find out if you are gay, and you are not allowed to tell them. You have to be in the closet. And they don't really follow the "don't ask" part. If there are suspicions of homosexuality, they will start an investigation.
user picture trista: ew. i hate people.
user picture billiebee: i really don't think alternative and complementary medicine is nonsense! it's not "evidence-based" but that doesn't mean it doesn't work, life isn't evidence based, you have to figure out what works for you. And there's still so many things we can't see and don't know about our body, they haven't figured out what the smallest particle is so how can you be sure that it's not real? jun 19 2011
user picture Daniel W.: Neptune's location and size was predicted based on it's gravitational effect on Uranus. It was shortly after confirmed via empirical evidence. Thousands of things have been correctly predicted not by direct observation but their effect on the universe. Sub-atomic particles, atoms themselves, atomic structure, many elements, microorganisms as a whole and countless specific viruses and bacteria, Xanthopan morgani, Archaeopteryx. The wind. If you have a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces, but you have all the pieces around it, you can infer exactly what the piece would look like, and hopefully later find it in the carpet. The apparent presence of a gap in our body of knowledge doesn't mean we should haphazardly cut shapes out of construction paper and try to cram them into the jigsaw puzzle. jun 20 2011
user picture Daniel W.: Most alternative medicines have been rigorously tested in well-constructed double-blind clinical trials and have been proven to have no effect beyond placebo. Often they are even physiologically -- not just monetarily -- harmful. There is a category of alternative medicine that does work, however, but those things, if they turn to be superior than mainstream medicine in some useful way (efficiency, efficacy, cost, speed, et cetera), are incorporated into mainstream medical practice and lose their label as mainstream medicine. Usually though, it is some herb that is inferior at doing what it is intended to do, which is usually because the active ingredient has been isolated and extracted or synthesized for a purer, more potent drug. If the decrease in cost outweighs the decrease in efficacy, then, by all means, go for it, but that is rarely the case. The decreased efficacy or altogether lack thereof doesn't stop if from being a gigantic, thriving, multi-million industry comparable to the pharmaceutical industry. Actually, they are mostly owned by the same parent companies these days, but that is beside the point. The point is, gullible, uneducated people are being had. They are being robbed blind. Of money, and sometimes, life. Many people die because they rely on fake medicine instead of seeking real medical attention. You don't even HAVE to be gullible actually. Many things about alternative medicine appeal to nearly everybody (the wisdom of the ancients; saying fuck you to big corporations and taking your own health in your own hands), and everybody has intrinsic, innate neurological flaws that are easily exploited. Confirmation bias, our nearly-unavoidable urge to quickly jump to conclusions before weighing evidence and cancelling out variables. We're all inherently awful scientists. But, if we know our shortcomings, we can do our best to avoid them, and hopefully save a lot of time and money in the long run. And, if we spread the word, we can help others do the same.
user picture Daniel W.: I didn't even get into the issue of government funding of alternative medicine, but I don't feel that I have to. Our tax money should not go toward repeatedly testing shit we know doesn't work.
user picture billiebee: it's just that all the reasons you summed up for alternative medicine count for conventional medicine too, like all the people addicted to painkillers and antidepressants prescribed by their doctors, causing their death, or taking anticholesterol pills while all they should be doing is eating good fats and doing cardio, all the people undergoing chemotherapy while it's not the most effective treatment but just because they don't know about less expensive alternatives like hyperthermia, HIFU or even highly concentrated green tea extracts. I totally agree that it's an uncontrolled multi-milion business and therefor the worst thing you could do is cut the government funding of control centers. it should be controlled more strictly and taken out of its niche. people should be encouraged to look out for their own health and consult their doctors about it. i mean i don't see why these 2 forms of medicine shouldn't be able to complement each other :) jun 21 2011
user picture Daniel W.: If it works then it doesn't remain under the umbrella of alternative medicine. It becomes mainstream. Most alternative medicine, however, is useless bullshit that just SOUNDS pleasant. Green tea extract -- specifically, Epigallocatechin gallate, green tea's main antioxidant -- may end up in the former category, but it has to pass through the rigor of real scientific testing. It looks pretty promising so far, though. Admittedly, most of the stuff is pretty harmless. I don't care if some dude takes some stupid pill because it makes him feel good. I mean, it may be a waste of money, but most people that use alternative medicine are pretty well off. It causes me more pain that the money is going to charlatans. The thing that gets to me are innumerable cases of people dying because they don't get real medical attention for themselves, or even worse, their kids. Or the many cases of drug incompatibility that can ruin lives, like St. John's Wort+ Birth Control Pill. This stuff happens. Too much. Not THAT much, but if it happens at all, it is too much. That, I suppose, will never stop. Bad parenting is unpreventable; as is people trying to seek alternative medicine. We don't need to be spending tax-payers money on testing it though. This stuff is adequately tested in the private sector and always will be, because the pharmaceutical companies are always trying to make money, which means staying on the cutting edge. The government could probably work on tightening standards for supplements though. The FDA and FTC is pretty forgiving in that area. A lot of supplements get away with pretty outrageous claims. jun 22 2011
user picture Daniel W.: From the beginning, I should have just posted links instead of these delirious late-night ramblings. Here are a few: http://goo.gl/oErV6 ; http://goo.gl/oTLT8 ; http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/yes-we-can-we-can-abolish-the-nccam-part-ii/