Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Monday, June 11, 2012

I wonder if anyone else is still around. Just took a look at the last post and much has changed in the last couple of years. DADT is history and DOMA has been declared unconstitutional by several District Courts. More states have legalized same sex marriage but all are under attack. CA Prop 8 was overturned by the State Supreme Court which was upheld on appeal. On a sour note, Republican Governors have been busy stripping rights away as quickly as they can. One recall vote was defeated (Wisconsin); however, Ohio voters repealed a power grab by their Governor. Women's rights are under attack and the Affordable Care Act is before the Supreme Court. We're out of Iraq (sort of) and winding down in Afghanistan. European economy is in free fall. The USA is climbing back slowly in spite of a do nothing Congress which knows nothing buy obstruction. Five months until elections and fighting against the mega millions being poured in as a result of that obscenity, Citizens United. I am doing a one person boycott of the Koch Bros. paper products and anything else they're involved with. It's symbolic just as are the cloth bags I use for shopping and the energy light bulbs but makes me feel better. And on a personal note: Elcie is now 19, a high school graduate, and back in town with her own little apartment close to me. Rebecca & Rochelle are 16 and 17 and will be seniors next year. Elcie is here almost every day; often for dinner and her sisters show up every other weekend. Rochelle will be 18 in January and I'm concerned about what's next for her. A pallet on my computer room floor? We'll see what happens. Ray and I muddle along; still planting a small garden. Our first tomatoes will be on the dinner table tonight. We still have cats of course. Son Jim safely home from Iraq for good this time but not without some service connected disability. At least he's here. Tim and Juan are doing great - Tim is back in college. My 99 year old adoptive mom died a few weeks ago back in New York. She was two months shy of 100 and her health had been failing. I'm as political as ever but do much more from home and not so much outside. My City has a small Occupy group which is busy with foreclosure work; especially in protecting innocent tenants from eviction. Petitions are circulating. PFLAG still going strong. And I'm easily findable on FB as some of you know. Ann Adams - Merced CA Granny (not spam - honest)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Uganda and The Beam in Our Eye

Our good friend Dan'l emailed me this morning and sent me this from yesterday's NYT.

Briefly (although you really should read the Times article), Uganda has been encouraged by some of our religious right, several who hold government office, to propose a new anti-gay act, complete with life imprisonment and possibly the death penalty.

Here, possibly slightly edited, is what I replied to him.

From the article:

"“That’s horrible, absolutely horrible,” he (one of the preachers) said. “Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people.”"

Every time I hear "some of my best friends are", I know I'm talking to a bigot although they would never admit it.

California and Maine have both overturned their marriage equality laws. Other states (New York for one) have refused to enact them (and New Jersey is dragging its feet). Gays can't adopt in some states and in some cases, teens are hung on fences to die.Too many states have still not even gone so far as extending anti-discrimination laws to LGBT citizens and some laws actually prohibit such legislation.

On the federal front, we still have DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We barely passed the new Hate Crimes Act (by sneaking it into the defense budget) and it certainly wasn't thanks to the religious right Senators who voted, in a body, against it.

Fred Phelps is still spreading his particular brand of hatred at funerals across the United States.

The threat, though, doesn't come from maniacs like Phelps. Most "reasonable" people knew he was nuts when he started attacking the families of servicemen. The threat comes from the "some of my best friends" folk whose white sheets are hidden under their suits and whose hatred is carefully concealed by their smiles and their "hate the sin, love the sinner" garbage.

I've been keeping up with Uganda on almost a daily basis through Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and the emails I receive from several gay rights groups. I've signed petitions and written letters. Did you know Uganda had one of the best records in Africa on AIDS prevention until the evangelicals got into the act? Now, those same evangelicals are wringing their hands. They can't seem to understand that they create the climate for hatred; especially in a country which has a long history of violence against its people. This is just one more example. At least they seem to have taken the death penalty off the table.

Too late for the hand wringing, the mea culpas, and the apologies. We continue to attack the mote in another's while ignoring the beam in our own.

The difference between us (as individual citizens, states, country) and the Ugandans is one of degree. We elect a gay mayor here (congratulations Texas - Houston if I remember correctly), a councilman or woman there, a Speaker of the Assembly in California, and pat ourselves on the back. The capital city of one of the reddest of the red states enacted an anti-discrimination law. We appoint a few to visible government positions and Barney Frank probably owns his seat in Congress. Meantime, that lesbian mayor in Texas, the gay Speaker in California, the LGBT citizens of that capital city, and even good old Barney, once he leaves Massachusetts, are still deprived of many basic rights.

I'm not sure there's much we, as a country, can do about Uganda until we clean up our own act.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone had a good holiday season, whatever you prefer to call it. Mine was a mix. Son Tim and hubby Juan are doing fine. Son Jim may be headed for Afghanistan in May. I had lunch with two of my great-granddaughters right before Christmas. Hard to believe they're all teens; two high school freshmen and one junior. We saw several of the family for Christmas and Tim and Juan came in for Thanksgiving. To top it off, my grandson, who I haven't seen it over 20 years and had all but given up on locating, found us on FaceBook. Joyous family reunion two days after Christmas.

Sorry I've been so out of touch. Most of you know I'm hanging out some on FaceBook, MySpace (although I hardly ever use it) and Twitter (same thing).

Gadfly, drop me a line when you get a chance. I'd like to know how you all in the Lone Star state are doing.

Happy New Year to all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Regrow Human Limbs and Body Parts

Recently there have been news articles about research into growing/regrowing penises lost to injury, disease, or deformity, and others about regrowing women's breasts (not implants but real tissue) after amputations. See:
Regrow Penises
Regrow Breasts

Now there is news about research into regrowing human limbs and body parts like the salamander does and how lizards regrow a tail. If perfected, this will be a miraculous boon to humankind.

How Do Salamanders Grow a New Leg? Protein Mechanisms Behind Limb Regeneration

A female wild-type axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). The most comprehensive study to date of the proteins in a species of salamander that can regrow appendages may provide important clues to how similar regeneration could be induced in humans. (Credit: iStockphoto/Armin Hinterwirth)

ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2009) — The most comprehensive study to date of the proteins in a species of salamander that can regrow appendages may provide important clues to how similar regeneration could be induced in humans.

Researchers at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and colleagues investigated over three hundred proteins in the amputated limbs of axolotls, a type of salamander that has the unique natural ability to regenerate appendages from any level of amputation, with the hope that this knowledge will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms that allow limbs to regenerate.

"In some ways this study of the axoltol's proteins was a fishing expedition. Fishing expedition can be a derogatory term in biology but for us it was positive, since we caught some important "fish" that enable us to formulate hypotheses as to how limb regeneration occurs," said David L. Stocum, Ph.D., professor of biology and director of the Indiana University Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine, both in the School of Science at IUPUI, who led the study.

"Comparison of these proteins to those expressed in the amputated frog limb, which regenerates poorly, will hopefully allow us to determine how we might enhance limb regeneration in the frog and ultimately in humans, Dr. Stocum said.

With few exceptions -- notably the antlers of moose, deer and their close relatives, the tips of the fingers and toes of humans and rodents, and the ear tissue of certain strains of mice and rabbits -- the appendages of mammals do not regenerate after amputation.

Limb regeneration in the axolotl occurs when undifferentiated cells accumulate under the wound epidermis at the amputation site, a process known as the establishment of a blastema. These cells are derived by the reprogramming of differentiated cells to a less specialized state, and from resident stem cells.

"We found proteins that point to several areas that need to be studied closely to give us vital information about the mechanisms that operate to form a blastema that then goes on to regenerate the missing parts of the limb," said Dr. Stocum, an internationally respected cell and developmental biologist who has studied limb regeneration for over three decades.

Investigating the proteins found in the axolotl limb, the researchers noted three findings that appear to have significance in reprogramming cells to grow new limbs:

  1. Quantities of enzymes involved in metabolism decreased significantly during the regeneration process.
  2. There were many proteins that helped cells avoid cell death. Because amputation is very traumatic, this is critical.
  3. A protein which appears to keep cells from dividing until they are fully dedifferentiated and reprogrammed to begin forming a new limb was expressed at high levels throughout blastema formation.

Findings were published online in the journal Biomedical Central Biology on November 30 (BMC Biology 7:83, 2009). Co-authors of the study, which was funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation, are Nandini Rao, Ph.D. and graduate student Behnaz Saranjami of the School of Science; graduate student Deepali Jhamb and Mathew Palakal, Ph.D. of the IU School of Informatics; Fengyu Song, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D. of the IU School of Dentistry; Mu Wang, Ph.D. and Michael W. King, Ph.D. of the IU School of Medicine; Bingbing Li, Ph.D. of Central Michigan University; S. Randal Voss, Ph.D. of the University of Kentucky; and Derek J. Milner, Holly L. D. Nye and Jo Ann Cameron, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois. All except the final four are also affiliated with the IU Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine.

The School of Science, IU Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine, IU School of Dentistry, IU School of Informatics, and IU School of Medicine are all located on the IUPUI campus.

Related Stories



Friday, December 11, 2009

OBAMA - Peace and War


Blogger danielpagano said...

Gods mill grinds slow but sure........................................

Sunday, December 13, 2009 8:57:00 AM

Monday, December 07, 2009

Chaplain Joins the Fray and Coins a Battlecry.

Chapel services were in progress at 7:55 a.m. on the morning of December 7, 1941 when Japanese bombs began raining on Pearl Harbor. Dedicated chaplains did their best to care for the wounded and comfort the dying. Aboard the cruiser New Orleans Chaplain Howell Fogey joined the human chain passing ammo to keep the big guns firing back. When one enemy Zero began to fall from the sky he paused long enough to echo what would become a national battlecry: "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."
click on link below for brief news item re: Chaplain Fogey

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition



Pearl Harbor - 68 Year Anniversary

Cross posted at

The USS Arizona burns, mortally wounded in attack on Pearl Habor by Japanese warplanes.
Memorial, built over her sunken body, grave to the men who went down with her. 68 years later she still lies bleeding - large globs of oil, her life blood, rise to the surface now and then.

To those Americans of a proper age to remember that awful "day of infamy", the anniversary is always an emotional time, dredging up the wounds to psyches that remain raw and painful beneath the surface, and reinjured during the terrible events of 9-11. I know Pearl Harbor only as history but my best friend and her peers were old enough to recall the attack and the reactions of the citizenry, how it affected the nation. I have seen my friend rock and weep on anniversaries and/or news reports, remembering old pains and griefs, and as she wept during 9-11 I asked her if that was like Pearl. She nodded wordlessly. There is more but it is not my story to tell.

Sun Dec 6, 3:53AM PT


The extraordinary heroics performed by the man caught unawares by the sneak attack on that peaceful Sunday morning demonstrates how they rose bravely to their duty, how fiercely they battled, and some willingly, knowingly sacrificed their lives in the service of their comrades, their ships, and their country. There are too many to publish on a blog but the url below is to a site that briefly tells a few.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Nazi Prison Guard Prosecuted -- Ballsy Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Cross Posted at

89 year old war crimes prison guard finally brought to trial. Accused of murdering 27,000 Jews of 250,000 in camp in 1943..

Question: will Bush and Cheney ever be brought to trial for their war crimes? Will anyone ever have the balls to prosecute ?

Will there be another Congressman Dennis Kucinich? He has had the guts to repeatedly try to get Bush and Cheney impeached.


lacyjpyburn said...


Monday, November 30, 2009 7:06:00 AM

Blogger Granny said...

Grayson of Florida doesn't seem to be afraid of much.

Monday, November 30, 2009 7:39:00 AM

Blogger YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

not as long as obama is kissing the generals asses..

Monday, November 30, 2009 1:13:00 PM



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving from Is America Burning


Blogger YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

and to you ...Goddess bless you..

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:22:00 PM


Blogger Gadfly said...

Thank you, Yellowdog Granny.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:34:00 PM

Blogger The Subversive Librarian said...

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you. I'm grateful for another one clean and sober.

Friday, November 27, 2009 12:56:00 AM

Blogger Granny said...

I'm belated too. We're having our Thanksgiving tomorrow because it was the only time both boys could make it. Jim is stationed with the Guard in LA and Tim will probably be moving there soon since that's where Juan's work is. Jim tells me he'll probably be headed for Afghanistan around July.

"Subversive" - me too. If I stay out of trouble until December 26, I'll have 30 years.

Take care, everybody.

Friday, November 27, 2009 8:23:00 AM




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Groan! Our fearless leader!

From the Chronicle's resident cartoonist; Nick Anderson. Nove. 15, 2009
Houston, Chronicle.

Blogger YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

'good hair' perry strikes again..just when you think he can't say anything dumber...? he does it again..

Sunday, November 15, 2009 12:48:00 PM

Blogger Granny said...

If I weren't so fond of my TX friends, I would have suggested he not let the door hit his ass on the way out.

I know most of you are sane but why does he remain so popular?

Not that TX has the market cornered of course. We have our own share of freaks right in sunny CA.

Sunday, November 15, 2009 1:44:00 PM

Blogger Gadfly said...

Yellowdog Granny: Amen! Be so glad to be rid of him. Just hope his replacement isn't equally bad.

Granny Ann: It's a mystery to me. Everybody you talk to swears they didn't vote for him but SOMEBODY voted that dork into office!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6:10:00 PM

Blogger Kvatch said...

If I weren't so fond of my TX friends, I would have suggested he not let the door hit his ass on the way out.

Why not? Though the real fireworks will come when Senator 'Helmet Hair' meets Perry in the Republican primary. I'm going to sell that I'm, once again, a resident of the state of my upbringing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 3:05:00 PM

Blogger Granny said...

Hey, Kvatch

If enough of you move back, possibly you can restore the state to sanity.


Yep and we were dumb enough to vote for the governator - twice. I don't generally approve of term limits but in our case I was grateful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 3:35:00 PM