August 2006 Archives

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The NY Post informs me I have a terrible illness.

By Michael Fumento

In its effort to push "World Trade Center Syndrome," though it never actually uses that term, the New York Post tells us of an allegedly dying nun who attended to victims of the 9/11 attacks and "now suffers from asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease -- all severe illnesses that have plagued WTC workers." Gee, I had no idea that my heartburn -- clinically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease -- that I readily treat with one over-the-counter pill daily was a "severe illness." There is also little evidence that "reactive airways dysfunction syndrome" is a real disorder. Asthma when treated properly isn't fatal. All that leaves is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Meanwhile, asthma and hearburn can be caused by or certainly aggravated by obesity. COPD can be aggravated by obesity because of all the bulk on the lungs and diaphragm. Take a look at the picture of the nun. If she doesn't want to die, she should consider losing about half her weight.

August 13, 2006 09:04 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

Hurray! No need to worry about getting AIDS!

By Michael Fumento

Well, that's the good news. The bad news is because you already have it. Or so says a t-shirt on a man shown on the front page of the Sunday Washington Post. Specifically, it reads: "We all have AIDS." So toss the condoms, forget about abstinence and all that. Of course, I feel like an absolute fool having written for two decades that AIDS would always be a highly limited disease in this country and anyone who told you otherwise was spouting propaganda. But you can't argue with a t-shirt that the capital's newspaper of record decided to flaunt on its front page.

August 13, 2006 08:37 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  AIDS

Marc Lee, Navy SEAL, RIP (And then there were 18)

By Michael Fumento

In my Weekly Standard article The New Band of Brothers, I wrote of the courage and professionalism of 19 Navy SEALs in Ramadi whom I tagged along with and photographed and filmed during a firefight. Now there are 18. Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc Alan Lee has died a true hero's death, laying down his life for his fellow men. He is the first SEAL killed in Iraq.

According to an embedded reporter with the Stars and Stripes newspaper, an enemy sniper shot and wounded one of Lee's SEAL comrades at the start of a firefight that lasted over an hour. Another SEAL was wounded in the battle that proved to be one of the largest in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency. Lee was posthumously awarded the the Silver Star, one of the highest awards in the military, along with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Firefight in Ramadi's Mulaab District. Marc Lee is at the extreme right.
"During the operation, one element member was wounded by enemy fire. The element completed the casualty evacuation, regrouped and returned onto the battlefield to continue the fight," the citation reads. "Petty Officer Lee and his SEAL element maneuvered to assault an unidentified enemy position. He, his teammates, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks engaged enemy positions with suppressive fire from an adjacent building to the north.

"To protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of fire saved the lives of many of his teammates."

After watching them in action from a rooftop I shared with them, I wrote of Lee and his comrades, "Those SEALs fight like machines." But they're not, of course. This SEAL left behind his parents and young wife, who says they were planning a family. He also truly cared more about the people of Ramadi. "He said they were begging for the military to release them from this tyranny and were appalled at the things that were going on," his mother Debbie Lee told a reporter.

God bless our troops in Iraq; God bless the men fighting to liberate Ramadi; God bless the SEALs.

August 10, 2006 06:51 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Yet another multipurpose adult stem cell

By Michael Fumento

Probably the most important disinformation spread by embryonic stem cell research proponents (and hence opponents of the far-more-advanced adult stem cell research) is that ASCs can't become any type of cell other than what they normally would become. That is, a marrow or blood stem cell can only become marrow or blood, a skin stem cell can only become skin, and a neuronal stem cell can only become neurons. Yet over the last several years, one research team after another has found that just isn't the case. The latest, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is the first to find they can "tease" follicular stem cells out of their predestined lineage. Already these cells are being used to grow skin grafts on a commercial basis, which is great. But the U. Penn researchers, writing in the American Journal of Pathology, found they could also differentiate follicular stem cells into nerve cells and smooth muscle cells. Thus they could be used to effect repairs in the brain or spine as well as fixing various organs. Their report only concerns results in a Petri dish, but they're already testing their new stem cells on animals. Yet the greedy researchers who push their ESC research over HUMAN research will no doubt seek (and with the help of the media) succeed in perpetuating their myth for years to come.

August 4, 2006 07:18 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Stem Cells

Another strike against an avian flu pandemic

By Michael Fumento

Worries that avian flu would combine with human flu to become a pandemic human strain have been knocked down more than a notch by the failure of scientists to succeed in doing so intentionally, much less through the happenstance that occurs in the wild. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists made two hybrid viruses and infected ferrets with them. No uninfected ferrets caught the disease. Moreover, the hybrids "were also not as able to cause severe disease as the original H5N1 virus," according to one of the researchers, Jackie Katz. The most important lesson, she said, is "the knowledge that this process isn't simple, the procedure for the virus to acquire the properties of transmissibility."

As you might guess, CDC Director and avian flu alarmist Julie Geberding was miffed. So we're not all going to die after all. Can't win 'em all, Julie!

August 1, 2006 05:28 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

A death in the Band of Brothers

By Michael Fumento

Dennis Samson of the 1/506th, 101st Airborne, has been laid to rest in Hesperia, Michigan after being hit by small arms fire at an observation post at Camp Corregidor, Ramadi. OP duty is boring and absolutely vital. These are the eyes of the unit. They watch for bad guys burying IEDs, for suicide vehicles, and for ambushes. They also keep on eye on known and potential enemy sniper nests and serve as snipers themselves. Samson was presumably hit by a sniper, although the military makes a point of not confirming such deaths so as not to let the enemy know they succeeded. I first learned of his death from a relative who wrote:

Your articles brought me closer to Dennis and it helped me realize how bad (to put it mildly) it was there. He always told me when we IM'd [instant messaging] that we don't see anything on the news that he sees. When I talked with him about your articles he said you hit everything on the nose. You weren't "cushioning" it for the civilians. So thank you for bringing me even closer to my nephew than I was. I'm grateful you sparked conversation between us that was more true to life. It will forever be engrained in my heart and soul. I'm going to miss him beyond belief!

I am humbled and saddened and grateful that I could have played a small part in telling the world what the Dennis Samsons of the world are sacrificing for us and in letting them know we appreciate their sacrifice. It's always nice to tell somebody that before they're gone.

August 1, 2006 05:10 PM  ·  Permalink  ·