Water Cooler Wisdom

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. --Albert Einstein

Location: NE Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. --Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Welcome Politico Readers

Thank you for visiting Water Cooler Wisdom. As you will quickly observe, this blog has been inactive since I announced my candidacy for State House in 2006. Since then, I have contributed on very rare occasion to Minneapolis Crime Watch, Freedom Dogs and Minnesota's best blog -- TrueNorth.

Blogging has taken a back seat to grass roots activism. Minnesota is blessed with so many excellent center-right bloggers that one fewer won't be missed. I have kept the blog activated just in case I ever want to go back to it. Currently, my focus is on my family, job and my candidacy for Minnesota State Senate.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Continuing Life Support

At some point I might renew my blogging interest, so just throwing down a meaningless post to keep WaterCoolerWisdom on life support.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Why I Quit Blogging, For Now -- OR Better Things to Do

There is only so much time to go around. For the next few months I am focusing my energy on my work (of course) and on my....

Candidacy for State House of Representatives.

And, of course, I could you any support that you can offer -- emotional support, volunteer time or money -- especially money! Click the banner below or link above to view my site. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Grounding the Stem Cell Debate - Revisited

I've been pre-occupied the last week or two (more on that later).

In light of the recent congressional debate, I thought it would be good to revisit this post (updated with revisions)...

There are few issues more morally complex than the issue of stem cell research. Multi-faceted arguments exist on both sides. This moral complexity requires that the debate should be framed as clearly, factually and honestly as possible. The very question of stem cell research begs an emotional response, but restraint and objectivity will lead to better law. All too often, the arguments we hear are grounded in hope rather than reason or in misconception rather than fact. Below are some common dangers.

Hyperbolie - We hear constant claims embryonic stem cell research will lead to the cure for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, some cancers and a myriad of other diseases. Call me a skeptic, but the last thing that claimed to cure so many ailments was Uncle Zeke's Magical Snake Oil Elixer. Sure there are possiblities, but very little in the way of measureable results. There is still an issue of embryonic stem cell stability. The cells have a tendancy to break down or mutate. Many of those out front on this discussion are those who have lived with one of the potentially cureable diseases. While I feel for them, they certainly are not the most objective sources.

Sloppiness and Lack of Understanding by the Media -
This article from Rueters sites another falicy without checking the facts.

"Critics of the embryonic stem cell bill center much of their efforts on alternative legislation that would fund experimental means of deriving stem cells without destroying a human embryo...
But those methods are more preliminary and speculative, and would likely take much longer to yield any therapies or cures for crippling human diseases, several scientists told a Senate hearing earlier this week."

The alternative methods included are adult stem cell and cord blood stem cell research. The truth is the exact opposite of what is stated above. While embryonic stem cells have yielded little to no concrete results, there have already been some tremendous successes using cord tblood stem cells to fight very crippling disease in humans. Some the best work is happening right here in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota is a world leader in using cord blood stem cell treatments for cancer treatments with a very impressive success rate.

Lack of Clarity - To be clear, we need to make a distinction between "stem cell research" and the more specific "embryonic stem cell research". As stated above not all stem cell research involves the destruction of embryos. Not all violates a pro-life stance.

Honesty and Consistency - I greatly respect the pro-life argument, however there are two issues that need to be addressed honestly. First, by striving to save one human life (a living embryo), it's possible (but not yet known) that another life will be shortened. Second, the Spector bill proposes using the 400,000 embryos that would be left-over from in vitro fertilization procedures. Most of these would otherwise be destroyed. To be truly consistent with the pro-life position, it is the creating of embroys (that would either be destroyed or used for research) that should be opposed, not how they are disposed of once they exist. The real fight should be against such in vitro fertilization procedures.

Not Funding Does Not Equal Not Doing or Not Allowing - A vote against Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research does not mean that any funding is prohibited or that it will not happen, just that the funding would have to come from state or private sources or state funding. And, it certainly does not mean that the research is made illegal. If there really are many benefits to the research on the horizon, that means huge profits on the horizon for pharma companies. These companies are looking to the taxpayers to absorb the risk while they later reap the profits. If the potential is there, the market will work and the investment in research will happen without funding.

Friday, July 07, 2006

48 Tonne Joyride & Rusty Nails In the Stomach

I'm starting to dig out from under the workload, but still don't have much time for an in-depth post. Here's are a couple of Friday news of the lighter side...

A 19-year-old has admitted taking a 48-tonne locomotive on a 40-minute joyride around a marshalling yard. Daniel Matthews, an engineering student from Rawmarsh, South Yorkshire, was ordered to do 200 hours community service for taking the train without consent.

A district judge at Rotherham Magistrates Court heard how Matthews and a friend took a shunting engine and drove it around the yard at Tinley, near Sheffield, stopping from time to time to change the points.

The court was told that Matthews was so competent at driving the train that he was only discovered because a security guard realised he was not wearing regulation railway clothing. Matthews started the engine with a spanner - a procedure which a police officer later described as "very difficult".

And from Vietnam a "kids, don't try this at home" story. This is not the way to get more iron in your diet...

Doctors have removed 119 rusty nails from a mentally ill woman's stomach.

The 43-year-old turned up at a hospital in Vietnam complaining of chronic stomach ache. When doctors investigated they found dozens of nails in the woman's gut.

The nails were rusty, indicating they had been swallowed months ago. "After having her stomach X-rayed and scanned, we found a stack of strange objects and decided to operate as soon as possible," said Dr Tran Van Nam said from Can Tho City.

The nails were 7cm-8cms long. They had scratched the woman's stomach but did not cause any life threatening injuries.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

An Indepence Day Message From Surfergrrl

Pulled from Surfergrrls comments in my blogaversary post (bold emphasis mine)...

July 4th is independence day. Traditionally we move into party mode. Beer, brats, potato chips, potato salad - Yea! Red white and blue isn't as sickening a combo as red and green - Yea! (albeit it makes for a pukey lavenderish color only those under 2 and perhaps a token fairy would appreciate). I dont have to work and can jetski my drunk ass around a lake 3 hours north of here - Yea! I'll get the meanest farmer's tan and loudest fireworks just to prove I celebrated the 4th - Yea! Ish. That's celebrating someone's birthday (FYI, mine is July 6th), not Independence Day.

Do you even know what Independence Day represents? To me this is our primary Thanksgiving. Take a moment to think of all the freedoms you have and where you would be without them. That is what Independence day is. If everyone gained an ounce more appreciation for where we are and what we have, material and abstract, only then can we begin to realize what we have to offer others who are not as fortunate.

Creating socialist programs and jacking up taxes is not the way to help. As a nurse, one of the biggest things we teach patients is how to care for themselves. The success of occupational therapy would not be anywhere if we did not want patients to help themselves. Devices as simplistic as the wheelchair allow people to keep their mobility (read independence). Even electronics and appliances have adaptive devices to allow even the most disabled to continue with activities of daily living, that is, live independently.

Well said. Our primary Thanksgiving. I like that. It really is a day to give thanks; Thanks to those who believed in freedom, those who had the imagination to create our unique constitution and system of government, thanks to those who fought and died and who are fighting and dying for that freedom, thanks to those who supported them, and thanks to those who still believe that freedom is worth fighting for.

Until you open your eyes and pay attention to the world, you can't really appreciate what a novel concept America is and how rare and fragile our freedoms really are.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bogus Gold Speculation

Mayor of the M.O.B., Doug "Bogus Gold" Williams sent a shock wave (ok a mild ripple) through the blogosphere when he announced he is going on "hiatus" for an indefinite time. Since then there has been much speculation and probably more than a little wagering on the reasons for Doug's break. I've decided to compile a Nihilist type top 11 list of the most oft speculated factors behind this unexpected leave.

11. Hennepin County Attorney, Amy Klobuchar made him an offer to quit that he couldn't refuse.

10. His fight against weeds in his heirloom tomato garden has become a QUAGMIRE.

9. Suffering from American Idol post partum depression.

8. Decided to dedicate all his time to "Hall and Oates" blog.

7. The guys at KvM won't quit putting tacks on his chair.

6. Has unplugged from electronics and opted for a simpler Amish lifestyle of growing organic tomatoes and building cabinets.

5. In his duties as Mayor of the M.O.B., broke both arms diving off the M.O.B.'s gay pride float.

4. Determined to finally get through "Atlas Shrugged" this summer.

3. Busy looking for a way to become independently wealthy on the government's dime so he can join Growth and Justice's pettition calling for more taxes on everyone who makes $45,000 or more.

2. Worst wine hangover ever.

1. Unlike many of us, maybe Doug actually has a life outside of the blogosphere.

Happy Blogiversary To Me

Today is the one year anniversary of Water Cooler Wisdom. With the milestone, I had a natural inclination to reflect on my rookie season.

As I stated in my introductory post, I was hesistant to get into blogging because I don't like doing things halfway. I knew my work and personal schedule would make it extremely difficult to post daily or even every couple of days at times. That has held true, but still I'm satisfied with occasional posting. Had I tried to keep daily posting a high priority, I surely would have crashed and burned by now.

I started Water Cooler Wisdom with a 2 part post on Thaddeus Kosciuszko (see links at end of paragraph), a less well known yet extremely important hero of the American Revolution. I selected Kosciuszko as my first topic not only because my first post was on Independence Day Weekend and that he was someone I felt people should know about, but because he truly captured the spirit of freedom and liberty and values that I wanted to make a central theme to Water Cooler Wisdom. If you haven't read the posts, this is a good weekend to do so (Part I, Part2).

Here are a few realizations and observations from my first year:

On the hotter, more interesting topics, it's hard to find an angle or say something that isn't just regurgitation of what's been said on 15 other blogs more popular than mine. If I can't find a fresh angle or insight, I usually don't post on the topic at all.

I mostly read blogs to get information on politics, economic and foriegn policy. I tend to post more on those topics as well, but most of my favorite posts have been in the area of science and human interest. Maybe because it's a niche not as well covered in the M.O.B.

At least half of what I post is crap, but I do have a handful select posts of which I'm proud. Actually, in reviewing them, I was pleasantly surprised to find more than a handful. They way I look at it, if I can come up with one decent post per week, I'm doing alright. It's better than Barry Casselman does for the Washington Times.

Half the time when I put up a "too busy to post" or am blocked on what to write about, I end up leaving substantial comments on other blogs. Then I think, "Why the heck didn't I just post that on my site?" I rarely left comments on blogs until I started blogging. In the past year I probably write as much on other people's blogs as I do my own.

The M.O.B. really is a unique thing. Between on-line interaction, political involvement (what were there like 15 state delegates from the M.O.B.?) and Keegan get-togethers I have meet quite a few people that I can call friend.

I'd like to thank all of you who have read and commented on Water Cooler Wisdom and to give a special thanks to Surfergrrl for all of her comments.

I'm no longer a rookie, but you can still expect a lot of rookie-like errors.

The NY Times In 1775

Had the NY Times existed at the time of the revolution, one of Powerline's readers gives us an idea of what the front page may have looked like...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup Death Toll Update #3 - (50 and Counting)

We're through the quarterfinals and the death toll sits at a modest 50. Surprisingly, even with 4 fairly large riot incidents, there has not been one death attributed to traditional soccer hooliganism. Here's the breakdown:

Heart Attacks - 12
Heat Exhaustion - 1
Accidental Asphixiation - 3 (from the generator powering the TV)
Suicides - 3
Shootings - 4
Stabbings - 10
Alcohol - 5 (poisoning or alcohol related accidents)
Lightning (it counts because the strike came into the house via the TV while a match was on) - 6

Miscellaneous Murders - 3 (one woman fell or was pushed by her husband off a 17th floor balcony while he was watching a match. Another man was killed by a shark - it is believed his bookie threw him to the sharks when he could not make good on his bets. Another man was strangled)

Street Celebration Related - 3

via WFMU.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Check Out Some Great Local Sound - Q Public

If you're like me, you tire of your current music collection from time to time and welcome a fresh new find. A couple months back I picked up a CD from a local band, Q Public, that has stayed towards the top of the stack ever since. I purchased one for Young Master Nordeaster and he gives it the thumbs up as well.

I have thank my most loyal reader and commenter, Surfergrrl for clueing me in to the band. Full disclosure - in a very real way, she's a big part of it, but that's not the reason I'm plugging them. I will not endorse something unless I can be totally honest in my support.

Q Public is playing at the Fine Line Music Cafe this Friday. If you're looking to get out and do something this weekend, check them out. Avoid the crowds, the overpriced food and the over-the-hill bands at The Taste of Minnesota. If you can't make it Friday, check out the Q Public website, get on their mailing list and see them another time.

At the very least, check out their CD, Bedroom Light. At $12.97 including shipping and handling, it's a bargain. The CD is very well produced, particularly the title track which also features the renowned The Sounds of Blackness. It's hard to describe the band's sound exactly. I'll leave that for Surfergrrl in the comments.

I haven't had the opportunity to see Q Public live for some time. Seems they always play on dates when I have Young Master Nordeaster, but I love the CD and hope to see them soon. When I do, maybe I'll see you there.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Busy Days

Yesterday and today are again days where blogging has to take a back seat. I have a couple of posts that will be going up early this evening. Thanks!


The stuff hit the fan pretty good for this week and next so blogging is going to be very light for the next few days. Why does this always seem to happen when there is so much big news happening? Add another to Murphy's Law.