Monday, June 23, 2008

T. Kennedy, Jr. on cancer recovery

"By Adele Slaughter, Spotlight Health, with medical adviser Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.
As a healthcare attorney, Ted Kennedy, Jr. is a passionate advocate for cancer patients and people with disabilities. Kennedy is particularly dedicated to this work because he knows the anguish of surviving cancer intimately — 30 years ago he lost his leg to a type of bone cancer called osteogenic sarcoma.

"I remember the emotional isolation I experienced, losing my hair, and dealing with that as a seventh grader," says Kennedy. "No one ever asked me how I was doing, or thought that my mental attitude would have an impact on how I approached the challenges I faced. Even though my parents found the best, most brilliant doctors that existed at the time to treat the cancer in my body, no one really ever addressed how I was doing emotionally."

With Kennedy's help, The Wellness Community (TWC) launched Virtual Wellness Community, sponsored by Amgen. VWC is a place on the internet where cancer patients can join professionally moderated support groups. Kennedy remains passionate about the message that no one has to face cancer and the process of recovery without emotional support.
"I didn't know any other kids that had this kind of cancer," says Kennedy, who serves on the board of TWC. "It was a rare type of bone cancer. What I found helpful at the time was my parents identified a ski camp for kids who had lost a leg. I wanted to learn how to ski on one ski. I said to myself 'If they can do it, I can do it too.' A lot of times it's not what people say, it is simply that they show up, sit in a seat, are a source of strength, and provide the power of example."
Recently, TWC celebrated 20 years of providing free emotional support, education, and hope for people with cancer and their families.

"We're having a luncheon to celebrate the 20th year of The Wellness Community," says Kennedy. "It's interesting because I am right across the street from where I was diagnosed with cancer and lost my leg in 1973 — just a stone's throw away."

"Osteogenic sarcoma or osteosarcoma, is the primary tumor of bone cells, it arises from the cells that form bone," explains Stuart E. Siegel, Director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "The other tumor that commonly occurs in children is Ewing's sarcoma. About 7% of childhood cancers are bone cancers. Of those, Ewing's comprises 2.3% while 4.6% is osteosarcoma."

Approximately 12,500 children from birth to 21 years-old are diagnosed with cancer in the US every year. About 600 youngsters will develop osteosarcoma.
"It can occur in any bone and most commonly occurs in long bones and is in the legs and arms, but any bone can develop the tumor," says Siegel, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. "The usual symptoms that bring tumors to the attention of doctors are pain, a lump, or abnormality in the bone. Some patients actually present with a fracture and an x-ray is taken. Generally, the break is through the tumor which is discovered through the x-ray."

"I was 12 years old and noticed a pain in my leg and insisted that I have it looked at," says Kennedy. "The first doctor that I saw told me to soak my leg in Epsom salt and come back in a month."

"Obviously the pain didn't go away, and I came back and they did a quick biopsy and determined it was cancer," adds Kennedy. "I lost my leg the very next day and went through two years of chemotherapy."

Once diagnosed, the principles of treatment for children with bone cancer are similar.
"Today, treatment begins with chemotherapy since the cancer often gets into the muscles and the bone. We want to de-bulk the tumor before we take it out," says Siegel. "Once the tumor shrinks down in about two to three weeks we remove it. Then after about 12 weeks of chemotherapy we perform a 'limb salvage' procedure. We are able to remove the parts of the bone involved in the tumor and place advanced metal prostheses or cadaver bones to preserve the leg or the arm and its function. After surgery, additional chemotherapy is required for about nine to 18 months."

The vast majority of patients, about 80%, experience remission. Today, almost 70% of patients with osteosarcoma are long-term survivors and appear to be cured of the disease.

"There are 8.5 million cancer survivors in the US today," says Mitch Golant psychologist and vice-president of research and development of TWC. "With the new treatments available, there will be more and more survivors and the need for support will increase dramatically."
Addressing the growing population of people living with cancer as a chronic disease, TWC has 22 facilities in the United States and two Wellness Communities overseas. Last year they served over 25,000 people living with cancer.

"Because of my personal experience," says Kennedy. "I know that patients who are more involved and have their questions answered feel more positively about their course of treatment and are less likely to get stressed out or depressed. It is so important for patients to ask a lot of questions and educate themselves about the different treatment options."
"We were founded on the Patient Active concept," says Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of TWC. "This concept says that patients who participate in their recovery and are empowered by working with their physician will improve the quality of their life. The data show that the three most common things people with cancer face are a loss of control, isolation, and a loss of hope. Our programs combat those things."

In a study conducted by TWC, University of California San Francisco, and Stanford, 65 women were recruited to look at the efficacy of online support groups. The women were suffering from breast cancer and two-thirds were from rural areas. These women showed a decrease in depression and anxiety, and an increase in their knowledge about the disease and zest for life. Using the results of that study, TCW launched an online community last February.
In addition to professionally moderated, online groups in a secure site, patients can download information about the following:
mind / body programs
nutritional guidance
educational and research information

With communities like TWC and advocates like Kennedy, there is critical support for those living with cancer.

"Cancer had an enormous impact on how I approach my everyday life," says Kennedy. "It sensitized me to a lot of issues for people facing cancer and not just the psychosocial issues but the legal issues as well. That is why I'm a health advocate. I also learned to pay attention to my body, not in a hypochondriac way, but to listen to what my body tells me. I think anyone who has faced a life-threatening disease really has a chance to reflect on his or her life. For me, I am incredibly grateful for everything today.""

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chuck Hagel for Vice President

A U.S. senator, corporate executive, and veteran affairs secretary not to mention being an independent republican Chuck Hagel is the best choice to fill any voids voters may see in Barack Obama. Checks & Balance Blog officially supports Senator Chuck Hagel (NE) as Obama’s Vice- Presidential pick

American Racism Emerges

The White Stuff

In Tampa Bay during the week that Barrack Obama wins the Democratic presidential nomination a local group which claims heritage in the old confederacy, which lost the Civil War, began flying its flag above a major Hillsborough County throughway. White voters nationally also are reluctant to support Oabama solely based on racial prejudice even though doing so is a better choice for their economic & political interest. The solution in my opinion is for the revitalize Democratic Party machine to ignore courting these small minorities of whites and focus on turning out votes in its the base, not putting aside one state. It is time for change in America.

"Even as he closes in on the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Sen. Barack Obama is facing lingering problems winning the support of white voters--including some in his own party. In a new NEWSWEEK Poll of registered voters, Obama trails presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain 40 percent to 52 percent among whites. Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's challenger for the Democratic nomination, also trails McCain among white voters but by a smaller margin, 44 percent to 48 percent. (For the complete results, click here).

Among voters overall, however, Obama fares better, tying McCain 46 percent to 46 percent in a hypothetical match-up. (That's down slightly, within the margin of error, from the last NEWSWEEK Poll, conducted in late April, in which Obama led McCain 47 percent to 44 percent). In that contest, he is boosted by a strong showing among nonwhites, leading McCain 68 percent to 25 percent (Clinton leads McCain 65 percent to 25 percent among nonwhites). But even this result shows some of the electoral challenges facing Obama in a year when Democrats generally appear to hold an electoral advantage--boasting a 15 point advantage in generic party identification over Republicans, 53 percent to 38 percent. Clinton fares slightly better against McCain: 48 percent to 44 percent (within the margin of error). She enjoys this slight edge even though Obama leads Clinton 50 percent to 42 percent as the choice of registered Democrats for the party's nomination. Clinton's white support is unusually high: at a comparable point in the 2004 election, Democratic nominee John Kerry received the support of 36 percent of white voters, compared to George W. Bush's 48 percent, and in June of 2000, Bush led Al Gore 48 percent to 39 percent.

Obama's race may well explain his difficulty in winning over white voters. In the NEWSWEEK Poll, participants were asked to answer questions on a variety of race-related topics including racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans. Respondents were grouped according to their answers on a "Racial Resentment Index." Among white Democrats with a low Racial Resentment Index rating, Obama beat McCain in a hypothetical match-up 78 percent to 17 percent. That is virtually identical to Clinton's margin in the category, 79 percent to 13 percent. But among white Democrats with high scores on the Racial Resentment Index, the picture was very different: Obama led McCain by only 18 points (51 to 33) while Clinton maintained a much larger 59-point lead (78 to 18).Who exactly are these high Racial Resentment Index voters? A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.

Confusion over Obama's religious background may also be hindering his ability to attract white support. Asked to name Obama's faith, 58 percent of participants said Christian (the correct answer), compared with 11 percent who answered Muslim, 22 percent who did not know and 9 percent who said something else. Obama's name could be contributing to the confusion; 18 percent of white Democratic voters say they judge the Illinois senator less favorably because of his name, compared to only 4 percent of white Democrats who say it makes them judge Obama more favorably."

Barack’s Bounce

Obama's 15-point lead over McCain.

"Barack finally has his bounce. For weeks many political experts and pollsters have been wondering why the race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain had stayed so tight, even after the Illinois senator wrested the nomination from Hillary Clinton. With numbers consistently showing rock-bottom approval ratings for President Bush and a large majority of Americans unhappy with the country's direction, the opposing-party candidate should, in the normal course, have attracted more disaffected voters. Now it looks as if Obama is doing just that. A new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that he has a substantial double-digit lead, 51 percent to 36 percent, over McCain among registered voters nationwide.

In the previous NEWSWEEK Poll, completed in late May when Clinton was still fighting him hard for the Democratic nomination, Obama managed no better than a 46 percent tie with McCain. But as pollster Larry Hugick points out, that may have had a lot to do with all the mutual mudslinging going on between the two Democrats. By contrast, in recent weeks Clinton has not only endorsed Obama but has made plans to campaign with him. "They were in a pitched battle, and that's going to impact things. Now that we've gotten away from that period, this is the kind of bounce they've been talking about," said Hugick.

The latest numbers on voter dissatisfaction suggest that Obama may enjoy more than one bounce. The new poll finds that only 14 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country. That matches the previous low point on this measure recorded in June 1992, when a brief recession contributed to Bill Clinton's victory over Bush's father, incumbent George H.W. Bush. Overall, voters see Obama as the preferred agent of "change" by a margin of 51 percent to 27 percent. Younger voters, in particular, are more likely to see Obama that way: those 18 to 39 favor the Illinois senator by 66 percent to 27 percent. The two candidates are statistically tied among older voters.
Obama's current lead also reflects the large party-identification advantage the Democrats now enjoy—55 percent of all voters call themselves Democrats or say they lean toward the party while just 36 percent call themselves Republicans or lean that way. Even as McCain seeks to gain voters by distancing himself from the unpopular Bush and emphasizing his maverick image, he is suffering from the GOP's poor reputation among many voters. Still, history provides hope for the GOP. Hugick points out that in May 1988 when the primaries ended, Democrat Michael Dukakis enjoyed a 54 percent to 38 percent lead over George H.W. Bush. But Bush wound up winning handily. "Those results should give people pause," Hugick says, saying that a substantial number of voters, about 5 percent, have also moved into the undecided column. A significant improvement in the economy, or continued advances in Iraq—an issue McCain has identified with strongly as the senator who championed the "surge" first—could alter the Republican's fortunes.

For now, however, Obama is running much stronger at this point in the race than his two most recent Democratic predecessors, Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore, who both failed in their bids to win the White House. In a July 2004 NEWSWEEK Poll, Kerry led Bush by only 6 points (51 percent to 45 percent). In June 2000, Gore was in a dead heat with Bush (45 percent to 45 percent)—which is essentially where he ended up when that razor-thin election was finally decided.

Most other national polls have shown Obama with a 4 to 5 point lead over McCain so far. Random statistical error can explain some of the difference in poll results. The NEWSWEEK survey of 1,010 adults nationwide on June 18 and 19, 2008, has a margin of error of 4 points. But the latest evidence of his gaining ground goes well beyond that margin."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gas Rant

Increases in domestic oil production as advocated by President G.W. and Republican John McCain as a solution to prices at the pump is disingenuous. Prices at the pump are a direct result of corporate price fixing. This is fact as evident when the price of a barrel of crude oil decreases prices at the pump continue to rise, in addition to actual increases in crude oil prices resulting in heavier increase at the pump. The level of supply of oil is adequate globally as stated by those within the industry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Friend of God

Who am I? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (john 15:13). I am a friend of God.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bio-fuels fuel Food Crisis

The United States especially have the power to shape the outcome of this international food crisis by waging a war to increase biofuels consumption simultaneous without cutting production of food crops.

“World leaders are meeting Tuesday in Rome to tackle the problem that is pushing an estimated 100 million people into hunger: soaring food prices.”


Clinton’ (s) Last Campaign

"I predict Hillary Clinton will suspend her presidential campaign by June 6, 2008.

President Bill Clinton’s recent remarks are a clear foreshadow of news to come.

Bill Clinton said Monday that "this may be the last day I'm ever invovled in a campaign of this kind."

Cheney disregards America's will

On the Iraq War, Vice President Cheney disregards will of American people.

"ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interview with Vice President Cheney on the war. During the segment, Cheney flatly told White House correspondent Martha Raddatz that he doesn’t care about the American public’s views on the war:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.


RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls."


Ahmadinejad: Oil, prices artificial

Tue Jun 03 14:44:42 UTC 2008
"ROME (Reuters) - The global market is "full of oil" and rising crude prices are being artificially driven by forces trying to further their geopolitical aims, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.
"While the growth of consumption is lower than that of production and the market is full of oil, prices continue to rise and this situation is completely manipulated," Ahmadinejad said in his address to a U.N. food summit in Rome.
Without naming countries, the Iranian leader said "hidden and unhidden hands are at work to control the prices mendaciously to pursue their political and economic aims."
He said the goal of "powerful and international capitalists" was to keep the price of oil and energy "artificially high" in part to justify new explorations in the North Pole and the deep seas.
In an apparent reference to the United States, he said the international community should have a mechanism to force "the bullying powers to resort to peace and amity instead of occupation and warmongering...."
(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy)"