Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Health Care in America - The Sword of Damocles - Antibiotics


The Broken American Health Care System

Classics scholar Daniel Mendelson on the metaphor of the Sword of Damocles from the ancient Greek parable by Cicero:

"The real point of the story is very clearly a moral parable. It's not just, oh, something terrible is going to happen, but it's about realizing that what looks like an enviable life, a life of wealth, a life of power, a life of luxury is, in fact, fraught with anxiety, terror and possibly death."

What are Antibiotics?

Bacteria are everywhere, including on the skin and in the digestive system of humans. While bacteria are critical to normal bodily functions, some types can cause illness. In humans, antibiotics are used to treat health conditions caused by bacteria, including ear and skin infections, food poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis and other serious illnesses. Antibiotics are also used to treat or prevent infections that can complicate critical medical procedures including surgery, cancer therapy, and transplants.

Antibiotics belong to a category of drugs called "antimicrobials," and include penicillin, tetracycline, amoxicillin and many other formulations that can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria without causing significant harm to the patient. Antibiotics were initially derived from natural compounds. Many organisms, including various types of fungi, produce substances that destroy bacteria and prevent infection.

Penicillin, perhaps the most famous of all antibiotic drugs, is derived from a common fungus called Penicillium. Many other fungi also produce antibiotic substances, which are now widely used to control diseases in human and animal populations. The discovery of antibiotics revolutionized health care worldwide.

Today, there are hundreds of antibiotics in use, most of which are synthetically produced.

What are Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?

Just as immunization helps the human body fight disease by exposing the body to small amounts of a virus or bacteria, when bacteria are continually exposed to small amounts of antibiotics they can develop immunity to them. Over time this leads to the development of new, stronger strains of bacteria, with the antibiotic immunity passed on to subsequent generations.

It's a case of "survival of the fittest," with the strongest bacteria, that are least susceptible to a specific antibiotic, living on, adapting and multiplying. These are called "resistant bacteria" because they have adapted to the point where antibiotics can no longer kill them. As a result, some antibiotics have lost their effectiveness against specific infectious diseases. For example, certain strains of tuberculosis are now resistant to antibiotics that were previously effective in fighting them.

Another example is staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is the most common cause of staph infections, and that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, toxic shock, skin abscesses, heart valve infections and other serious and deadly medical conditions. In the United States, almost every strain of s. aureus is now resistant to the antibiotics oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin, and strains of the disease have begun developing resistance to newer drugs like methicillin and vancomycin. The threat of prolonged illness or death from an s. aureus infection has increased as it has become more resistant and fewer drugs are able to effectively control or eliminate it.

Antibiotic resistance has been accelerated by extreme overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. Over-prescribing antibiotics for viral-caused conditions like the flu or common cold, against which antibiotics are useless, contributes to antibiotic resistance. As the American Academy of Pediatrics notes, "When antibiotics aren't used the right way, they can do more harm than good."

For example, children who are given antibiotics for ear infections are more likely to get another ear infection, sooner, than those who are not prescribed these drugs. In recent years the academy has urged its members to drastically reduce the antibiotic prescriptions they write.

Penicillin: the first miracle drug

Many of you are here only because penicillin saved your life, or the life of one of your parents or grandparents. Penicillin's ability to cure people of many once-fatal bacterial infections has saved so many lives that it is easy to understand why it was once called a "miracle drug".

Antibiotics are chemicals, effective at very low concentrations, created as part of the life process of one organism, which can kill or stop the growth of a disease-causing microbe--a germ.

In 1929, Alexander Fleming, a doctor and researcher at St. Mary's Hospital in London, England, published a paper on a chemical he called "penicillin", which he had isolated from from a mold, Penicillium notatum. Penicillin, Fleming wrote, had prevented the growth of a neighboring colony of germs in the same petri dish.

Dr. Fleming was never able to purify his samples of penicillin, but he became the first person to publish the news of its germ-killing power. Howard Florey, Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley expanded on Fleming's work in 1938, at Oxford University. They and their staff developed methods for growing, extracting and purifying enough penicillin to prove its value as a drug.

World War II (1939-1945) had begun by the time their research was showing results. The main research and production was moved to the United States in 1941, to protect it from the bombs pounding England. Work began on how to grow the mold efficiently to make penicillin in the large quantities that would be needed for thousands of soldiers.

As the destruction of the war grew, so did interest in penicillin in laboratories, universities and drug companies on both sides of the Atlantic. The scientists knew they were in a race against death, because an infection was as likely to kill a wounded soldier as his wound.

Creating the right environment for growth was the first step in producing enough penicillin to be used as a drug. In Oxford, experiments showed that Penicillium notatum grew best in small shallow containers on a broth of nutrients. Penicillium need lots of air. In the United States, it was discovered that huge "deep fermentation" tanks could be used if sterilized air was pumped continually through the tanks.

Production increased even more when corn steep liquor, a thick, sticky by-product of corn processing, was added to the tanks. Corn steep liquor contained concentrated nutrients that increased the yield 12-20 times. Formerly considered a waste material, corn steep liquor became a crucial ingredient in the large-scale production of penicillin.

Scientists were also determined to find another strain of Penicillium that might grow better in the huge deep fermentation tanks. Army pilots sent back soil samples from all over the world to be tested for molds. Residents of Peoria, Illinois, were encouraged to bring moldy household objects to the local U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, where penicillin research was being conducted. Laboratory staff members also kept an eye out for promising molds while grocery shopping or cleaning out their refrigerators.

In 1943, laboratory worker Mary Hunt brought in an ordinary supermarket cantaloupe infected with a mold that had "a pretty, golden look." This Penicillium species, Penicillium chrysogenum grew so well in a tank that it more than doubled the amount of penicillin produced.

The deep fermentation method, the use of corn steep liquor and the discovery of P. chrysogenum by Mary Hunt made the commercial production of penicillin possible. Researchers continued to find higher-yielding Penicillium molds, and also produced higher yielding strains by exposing molds to x-rays or ultraviolet light.

Penicillin kills by preventing some bacteria from forming new cell walls. One by one, the bacteria die because they cannot complete the process of division that produces two new "daughter" bacteria from a single "parent" bacterium. The new cell wall that needs to be made to separate the "daughters" is never formed.

Some bacteria are able to resist the action of antibiotic drugs, including penicillin. Antibiotic resistance occurs because not all bacteria of the same species are alike, just as people in your own family are not exactly alike. Eventually, the small differences among the bacteria often mean that some will be able to resist the attack of an antibiotic. If the sick person's own defenses can not kill off these resistant bacteria, they will multiply. This antibiotic-resistant form of a disease can re-infect the patient, or be passed on to another person.

Taking antibiotics for viral illnesses like colds can also cause antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, but it will kill off harmless and even the beneficial bacteria living in the patient's body. The surviving resistant bacteria, free from competition, will live and multiply and may eventually cause disease.

Patients with bacterial infections, who don't finish their antibiotic prescriptions completely, also allow resistant bacteria to develop. This happens because a small number of semi-resistant bacteria, which needed the full course of antibiotics to kill them, survive. Instead of being a small part of the bacteria causing an infection, the more resistant bacteria take over when sensitive bacteria are killed by the antibiotic.

Today, in the United States, deaths by infectious bacterial diseases are only one-twentieth of what they were in 1900, before any antibiotic chemicals had been discovered. The main causes of death today are what are referred to as "the diseases of old age": heart disease, kidney disease and cancer. We would be shocked to hear of someone dying from an infection that started in a scratch, but, before antibiotics like penicillin, it was common for people to die from such infections.

Humans can slow the creation of antibiotic resistant diseases by understanding the uses and limits of antibiotics. Take all of an antibiotic, and only take them when prescribed by a doctor. Research to develop new antibiotics to treat resistant bacteria continues, but research takes time. Time is running out because the world's biodiversity is decreasing--the source of half of our disease-fighting chemicals.

How antibiotics are used and abused

Perhaps you are wondering about the use -- and abuse -- of antibiotics in general. Let me give you an example. One of the most common diagnoses given at a doctor’s office is the upper respiratory infection (URI). It accounts for up to 70 percent of all antibiotics dispensed (Annals of Internal Medicine. American College of Physicians. American Society of Internal Medicine. March 20, 2001).

However, according to Dr. Carol Kauffman, most URIs are not caused by the bacteria that antibiotics are designed to fight. Rather, Kauffman says, they are caused by fungi. So, unless a secondary, bacterial infection presents itself -- and even then, the rules change -- most URIs do not require the use of antibiotics.

Regarding ear infections, in one study, children administered antibiotics for acute otitis media suffered double the rate of adverse effects compared to children in the study who took placebos (Clinical Evidence. 2000). The difference in outcome for those children in the study who took antibiotics compared to those who do not was almost negligible. Some scientists counter that children who take antibiotics run lower risks of secondary ear infections such as meningitis or mastoiditis (infection of the angular bone located behind your ear).

Of course, the landscape is complicated by noncompliance. The portion of people who take their antibiotics as prescribed has been estimated at anywhere between 8 to 68 percent. So it’s difficult to say just how effective antibiotics actually are.

Antibiotics in use today

Alexander Fleming, by the grace of God, brought us a mixed blessing in 1928 with his accidental discovery of penicillin produced by, of all things, a fungus. Medicine’s interest treating people for exposure to fungi dropped dramatically in succeeding years, until the microbes were only thought important insofar as their ability to produce increasingly diverse varieties of antibiotics.

Antibiotics and the Animal Industry

Industrial farms have been mixing antibiotics into livestock feed since 1946, when studies showed that the drugs cause animals to grow faster and put on weight more efficiently, increasing meat producers' profits. Today antibiotics are routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms to promote faster growth and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised.

Modern industrial farms are ideal breeding grounds for germs and disease. Animals live in close confinement, often standing or laying in their own filth, and under constant stress that inhibits their immune systems and makes them more prone to infection. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, as much as 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States is fed to healthy farm animals.

When drug-resistant bacteria develop at industrial livestock facilities, they can reach the human population through food, the environment (i.e., water, soil, and air), or by direct contact with animals (i.e., farmers and farm workers).

Industrial livestock operations produce an enormous amount of concentrated animal waste, over one billion tons annually—that is often laden with antibiotics, as well as antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the animals' intestines. It is estimated that as much as 80 to 90 percent of all antibiotics given to animals are not fully digested and eventually pass through the body and enter the environment, where they can encounter new bacteria and create additional resistant strains.

With huge quantities of manure routinely sprayed onto fields surrounding CAFOs, antibiotic resistant bacteria can leech into surface and ground water, contaminating drinking wells and endangering the health of people living close to large livestock facilities.

Antibiotic Resistance, Public Health and Public Policy

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing public health crisis because infections from resistant bacteria are increasingly difficult and expensive to treat. As of this writing, the U.S. Congress was considering legislation, staunchly opposed by industrial farm lobbyists, which would ban seven classes of antibiotics from use on factory farms and would restrict the use of other antibiotics. This is a response to the fact that modern industrial livestock operations threaten to increase the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Thousands of Americans die every year from drug-resistant infections. In addition, the National Academy of Sciences calculates that increased health care costs associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria exceed $4 billion each year in the United States alone—a figure that reflects the price of pharmaceuticals and longer hospital stays, but does not account for lost workdays, lost productivity or human suffering.

Although everyone is at risk when antibiotics stop working, the threat is greatest for young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, including cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant patients and, in general, people whose health is compromised in some way.

The following excerpt is from an article by Carol R. Goforth.

The headlines are sensational enough that it wouldn’t be surprising to see them in the most notorious supermarket tabloids. The stories behind the headlines are scary enough that they might be the plot of a horror movie. Unfortunately, it is often the scientific press that is reporting on the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the threat to human health and life is very real and growing.

The increase in public awareness about the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been occasioned by a significant increase in the number of reported cases of human illness associated with antibiotic resistance. Studies show that infectious disease mortality rates have risen nearly 60%, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimating that more than half of the infection-related deaths involve resistant bacteria.

Dubbed “super-bugs” in the popular press, multi-drug resistant bacteria are becoming more and more common. Newspapers and magazines carry stories of bacterial infections that do not respond to the antibiotics typically prescribed to control them. As one legal commentator observed, “many of the killer diseases of the past such as tuberculosis, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and pneumonia have returned to wreak havoc as bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotics.” While antibiotics were once regarded as an unending miracle of modern medicine, we are fast approaching a time when the miracle may come to an end.

While there are doubtless many factors contributing to the spread of multi-resistant bacteria, one factor appears to be the widespread addition of antibiotics to livestock feed. A wide range of antibiotics are currently added, in subtherapeutic amounts, to animal feeds. A growing volume of research suggests that this practice is having devastating and potentially irreversible effects on the viability of antibiotics as agents to effectively treat diseases in human beings, but the legal community appears to be lagging far behind scientific experts in calling for an end to this practice in the United States.

At the current time, there are three primary uses of antibiotics in animal agriculture: therapeutic, prophylactic (to prevent potential infection), and growth promotion (with both of the latter two categories being at subtherapeutic concentrations).

The use of antibiotics to ward off infections and to promote growth in livestock is not new. For more than 40 years many farmers have fed their animals a diet laced with small, subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics.

The discovery that antibiotics could be used for prevention of infection and growth promotion was serendipitous. Veterinarians began administering antibiotics to sick animals in an effort to determine whether the “miracle drugs” that were saving human lives could also help livestock.

These experiments led to the discovery that feeding animals small doses of the drugs not only inhibited diseases but also enhanced growth. This discovery led in turn to an agricultural revolution, with farmers—especially those in very large operations relying increasingly on subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to keep their livestock healthy and to promote animal growth.

In the past three decades, agricultural use of antibiotics has increased exponentially. One article has estimated that in the past thirty years, farmers have increased their use of penicillin-type antibiotics in farm animals by 600% and their use of tetracycline by 1500%. Recent statistical research continues to show an increasing reliance on the routine use of antibiotics for pigs and cattle. Larger operations also continue to be more likely to use antibiotics, and many rely on additives for periods of time in excess of ninety days.

Part of the increase in antibiotic use is attributable to the declining effectiveness of the drugs as growth promoters. Over time, the amount of antibiotics needed to promote growth in farm animals has increased significantly. Some sources have suggested that “roughly 10 to 20 times the amount used four decades ago were required to produce the same level of growth in the 1990s.”

Moreover, even at concentrations approaching therapeutic levels, “the benefits of growth promotion are less now than those reported several decades ago.”

Antibiotic use and abuse

There has been an astonishing increase in the use of antibiotics in spite of the dangers of abuse.  In 1954 2 million pounds of antibodies were produced inn America, while today estimates of production exceed 50 million pounds.

Approximately 16 million pounds are used on humans, the remaining 34 million pounds are used on livestock in our food supply, most used as a food supplement.

Included in the list of antibiotics used as food additives in American agriculture are a number of drugs that are either themselves used as drug therapies for human patients or are closely related to such drugs. Amoxicillin, ampicillin, erythromycin, neomycin, penicillin, and tetracycline are all used to treat human illness as well as being used in animal agriculture.

US General Accounting Office Report - GAO-11-406

July 1, 2011

Infections that were once treatable have become more difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance. Resistance occurs naturally but is accelerated by inappropriate antibiotic use in people, among other things.

Questions have been raised about whether agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have adequately assessed the effects of antibiotic use and disposal on resistance in humans.

GAO was asked to (1) describe federal efforts to quantify the amount of antibiotics produced, (2) evaluate HHS's monitoring of antibiotic use and efforts to promote appropriate use, (3) examine HHS's monitoring of antibiotic-resistant infections, and (4) describe federal efforts to monitor antibiotic disposal and antibiotics in the environment, and describe research on antibiotics in the development of resistance in the environment.

GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials, conducted a literature review, and analyzed antibiotic sales data.

Federal agencies do not routinely quantify the amount of antibiotics that are produced in the United States for human use. However, sales data can be used as an estimate of production, and these show that over 7 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for human use in 2009.

Most of the antibiotics that were sold have common characteristics, such as belonging to the same five antibiotic classes. The class of penicillins was the largest group of antibiotics sold for human use in 2009, representing about 45 percent of antibiotics sold. HHS performs limited monitoring of antibiotic use in humans and has implemented efforts to promote their appropriate use, but gaps in data on use will remain despite efforts to improve monitoring.

GAO did not address the millions of pounds of use on livestock including beef, pigs, fish and chicken nor the implications of transferring drug resistant bacteria from animals to humans since 1946.  Nor did it address the huge discrepancies in the amount of antibiotics produced by pharmaceutical companies.

America's Love for Jennifer Aniston - Cheering for America's Sweetheart


From animal rescues to sex tapes she can do no wrong

Okay, so maybe the title is a tad bit misleading as her sex tape advertises water, shows no sex, and is a classic viral video, but that just goes to show how Jen can do no wrong in the eyes of her fans.

Regarded as "America's sweetheart" since she first joined the Friends television ensemble in 1994, what is unusual about this young woman, and she will always be a young woman in my mind, is how she has never faded in popularity after 18 years.

Now Jen had a lot of advantages in life most of us never know.  Her parents were actors, her godfather was Telly Savalas, one of her dad's best friends, and she lived in Southern California and New York City, not to mention Greece for a year, which are pretty much where you have to be to get into television or movies.

With her father's Greek ancestry and her mother's Scottish and Irish ancestry she had great genes to fill out the jeans one might say, but it was her youthful good looks and innocence which caught my attention.

In spite of the advantages she had Jen was still just like the rest of us, holding a series of part time jobs while working on her Broadway and television careers including being a waitress, telemarketing and being a bike messenger.

This was the cute girl next door who grew up, entered the brutal world of entertainment in the doubly brutal worlds of New York's Broadway and Hollywood's television and film industry where innocence is always lost and heartbreak is the norm.

Like Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and many other stars the price was far too great and the ending was always tragic.  At least that is what some of us thought.  So the kid next door enters the domain of demons and what happens, they did indeed try to devour her.

There was a brief marriage to Brad Pitt, the storybook book wedding of the glamorous superstars but it had the same tragic ending all Hollywood scripts seem to like, deceit, deception, desertion and divorce.

Poor Jen had her prince charming stolen by the beautiful yet deliciously malicious bad girl Angelina Jolie.  America was outraged.  Aniston was heartbroken,  The evil witch was now richer.  And no matter how hard she tapped her shoes together, Jennifer was stuck in the dark side of Oz.

Well it sounds like a best selling Hollywood script or maybe a Greek tragedy but in the end it was most likely better for all involved.

Jen, the innocent girl we met through Friends, was now a tragic figure and there is nothing Americans like more than the downtrodden, the underdog, the outsider because we are a nation founded by outcasts and revolutionaries, the little people of the world, or as I state in my book The Joshua Chronicles, the Raggedy People.

Cheerleader, girl next door or tragic victim we simply cannot get enough of America's Sweetheart.

She took the divorce with far more class than most would.

Her work on behalf of numerous charities includes adoption, fostering, orphans, cancer, children, disaster relief, education, family/parent support, gay/lesbian support, health, homelessness, human rights, hunger, peace, poverty, rape/sexual abuse and women.

The girl next door was the highest paid television actress by 2003 receiving $1 million per episode at Friends and her movie career has been reasonably successful considering the scripts have often lacked depth.

Her body, well to this day she dominates the Twitter, Tweets, Facebook and every other celebrity puff piece written or Internet social site in existence.

Just this year her "legs" were named the most beautiful in the world, people really do win those kind of awards, which might be a little more significant after the buzz at the Oscar Awards over Angelina Jolie's "leg" at the podium.

I particularly like Jen's adoption of normal dogs rather than obsession with pedigrees like most starlets, and her love of man's best friend which just goes to prove Hollywood and heartbreak have not gotten the best of her.

Her face dominates every celebrity photo page and her fashions sizzle on every magazine cover she does so obviously Jennifer delivers the marketing strength of her adoring public.

Of course my most significant link to Aniston is on my Nashville Bound band site on MySpace where Jennifer Aniston is a Friend of my band and we are one of only 390 friends of hers.  For comparison we are also one of 2,228,271 friends of Taylor Swift but that is another story.

So keep it up Jen America will always be cheering for you.

For a treat check out the following Jen Aniston Sex Tape from YouTube.  There is no sex.

Jennifer Aniston Legs: Most Perfect in Hollywood

How hot are Jennifer Aniston‘s legs? According to a "scientific" study, Jennifer Aniston has the most perfect legs in Hollywood. Scientists came up with a specific formula, which involves multiplying the proportions of the leg and thigh, and the texture of skin, to calculate the perfect pair of pins.

Aniston scored an impressive 14.67, the highest score of anyone tested because of her "ideal" proportions of her legs and her smooth skin. Dr. Aric Sigman, who conducted the study for electronics giant Braun., said: "For men, the ideal leg is shapely, full and smooth with a semi-gloss sheen. Women want the same thing – only two sizes smaller."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Danica's Star Power draws 14.24 million on Fox Television


Being a winner comes in many forms at Daytona 500

So she wrecked three times and finished 38th in the Daytona 500, at least she finished and no wrecks were her fault.  Still her impact was up in the stratosphere in terms of the NASCAR television viewers.

Overall, FOX television averaged an estimated 14.24 million viewers for Monday primetime when the rain delayed Daytona 500 finally got underway, along with an 8.2 rating/12 share.

For comparison, Fox averaged a 5.0 final Nielsen rating and 8.6 million viewers for its 13 Sprint Cup Series telecasts this season, up 4.2 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, from a 4.8 rating and 7.8 million viewers over 11 races last year.

In other words, 14.24 million tuned in for the Danica Patrick Daytona 500 show, an increase of over 5.6 million viewers from the most recent Fox NASCAR races.

She wasn't the only one making media history at the race.  When the jet fuel explosion brought the race to a standstill on the 160th lap, fellow NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski grabbed his phone and started tweeting on Twitter.  During the delay his eyewitness Tweets helped boost his Twitter following from 65,000 to 200,000 followers.

But that wasn't what made history.  He was the first driver to ever tweet from the race track during a race, even though he was parked on the track waiting for the restart.

His staggering number of followers still left him far behind the new kid on the block, Danica Patrick, who brought over half a million Twitter followers with her to Daytona.

Obamaville February 28 - No One is Running to be America's President


What happened to patriotism and serving all the people all the time?

This is a really strange presidential election year as the president, presidential candidates, political parties and media remind us ad infinitum how the other guy can't win, is stupid, has no broad based support, no plan and no guts.

There was a time in America when a person running for president promised to do what was right for America, not just their own party and agenda.  Presidents Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were the last of the Real American presidents.

Since then it has been all about special interests, special groups, special issues, and lots of money from more special interests representing special issues.  If you think the media is not under the same influence of special interests as the politicians, then look who is advertising on that TV station, running ads in the newspapers and magazines, or saturating the Internet with propaganda through more advertising.

Obama has the unions, Wall Street, environmentalists, teachers unions, Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Harvard and health care industries to protect.

Romney the financial institutions, the rich, oil companies and small business.

Santorum the evangelical Christians, conservatives who don't check his voting record, college drop outs, and the Catholics loyal to the Italian Vatican.

Ron Paul represents those who believe the best government is no government and to hell with all those foreigners.

Newt Gingrich, well who does he represent?  We know his publisher?  The intellectually constipated?  Conservatives right of Attila the Hun?  People who wear suspenders and belts? Those who don't get enough of Obama's ethereal vision of America?

Okay, then there are the political parties.  The Democratic party hates everything said by Republicans and the GOP feels pretty much the same about the Democrats.

The conservative media hate the socialist, communist, left leaning liberals while the liberal media hate the red neck, gun toting, war mongering fat cats who make all the money.

Unions hate whoever their labor bosses tell them to hate, mostly those blood sucking rich, while the rich hate the unions unless that union works for them.

Now that we know the opposing sides, the passion of the opposing sides, the special interests of the opposing sides and the single mindedness of the opposing sides, where does that leave John Q. Public, the six pack majority everyone claims to be helping?

Well, if you are one of us, then you are a red blooded American who cleans up everyone else's mess and just wants to be left alone.  In short, you are the forgotten American, the silent majority, the one who believes charity comes first and the one who can whip the ass of all those highfalutin people claiming to know what you need.

You know why the politicians, the president, congress and even the media get such low marks in the favorable polls?  Because the real Americans aren't paying any attention to them.  The silent majority knows they are corrupted with power, awash in money, rich with ego and speak out of both sides of their mouths pretty much all the time.

Come November the Real Americans, not the media or politicians, will decide who will do the least damage running our country for four more years, elect them, then go about their business largely ignoring them since Real Americans know better that to believe what they hear from the politicians or media and have much better things to be concerned about.

Real Americans use the gifts God gave them to help each other out, not the mandates from Washington.

Common sense is still practiced in Real America.  Do you think it can be found in the halls of congress?

If Real Americans need something they make it, fix it, create it, grow it and then they share it.

They understand, as Mark Twain said, that everyone is entitled to their silly opinions and Real Americans respect others' opinions, not hate them.

So far neither the President nor Republican candidates, nor the congress or political parties seem to care what the Real Americans think.  So there is no John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan to support.

But you know what, that's okay because the fools are those who think they know what is best for everyone else.  They are not the silent, six pack majority called the Real Americans who will never surrender their God given inalienable rights and freedom to those confounded fools in Washington.

Danica Patrick Survives 3rd Crash to Finish Daytona 500


Is Danica the reincarnation of the ancient Irish Goddess Morrigan?

We said she was the toughest super model in NASCAR and after her first weekend at the Daytona Speedway as a fulltime NASCAR driver she demonstrated in a way that would make the ancient Irish Goddess Morrigan proud.

In three straight races including the 500 the bad boys of NASCAR knocked her car into walls and wrecks that many a person might not have survived but not Danica, the new ratings queen of the speedway.

Like a cat with nine lives she climbed back into her car for another 200 mph challenge to the men's club of stock car racing.  Even in the five car pile up in just the second lap of the 500 classic, as her car limped back to the pits with the rear end destroyed and the sheet metal battered, this spunky little Irish lass refused to get out of the car in the shop, insisting on staying in the battered machine until extensive repairs were made so she could continue the race.

With her Irish heritage Danica reminds me of Morrigan of ancient Irish mythology, a fearless dispenser of courage and Goddess of victory.  She proved that on the Indy car circuit before moving to NASCAR and demonstrated it again with her courage to finish the race.  It took 65 laps before her car was repaired enough to reenter the race but she came flying out of the pits to the wild ovation of the 176,000 fans and millions of prime time television viewers who were still waiting to see if she could survive.

In the end she finished while the likes of legendary Jimmy Johnson who plowed into her car and Jeff Gordon did not finish.  In fact nearly a dozen of the guys didn't finish in this most bizarre of all Daytona 500 races.

This year's Daytona had a series of most unusual firsts that must have been brought in on the wings of the Irish lass.

It was the first Daytona 500 rained out.  When the second start time at noon Monday was also rained out it became the first Monday night prime time television broadcast of the 500, bringing NASCAR to perhaps millions of new fans.

It was also the first Daytona 500 to get a red flag, meaning the race was stopped cold, because of a jet fuel explosion on the track during the 160th lap.  No NASCAR does not allow jet fuel in the cars though the speeds they reach over 200 mph might seem like it.

This time a truck was on the upper part of the track with a jet engine to dry the track and a race car who was supposed to be passing it at the bottom of the track suddenly swerved into the jet dryer causing a massive eruption of the jet fuel on the truck.  It took nearly an hour to put out the fire and clean the track before the race could be restarted.

It was also the longest Daytona 500 in history taking over 36 hours to finish from the original starting time.  The race extended from noon Sunday until the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

In spite of about ten wrecks, some multi-car, the rains and the jet fuel explosion, it was an electrifying mad dash to the finish that was won by Matt Kenseth over Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

And after surviving three major crashes between Thursday and Monday across the finish line came Danica Patrick fresh from her introduction into the men's club of NASCAR.

NASCAR and Fox television surely got a massive bump in television ratings because of Danica along with the delay of the race until prime time Monday.  She was also one of few new drivers who brought her own major sponsors to the sport.

In fact Go Daddy, the Internet domain company who sponsors her has put her in more Super Bowl commercials, ten, than any other sports star and they are the most expensive commercials on television at $3.5 million each.  Not only did they sponsor her but they were a presenting sponsor for the Daytona 500 Nationwide broadcast.

“I did not sponsor Danica because I wanted to get into racing,” Bob Parsons, head of Go Daddy said. “I got into racing because I wanted to sponsor Danica. If it wasn’t for Danica, I’m not sure I’d be involved in racing.”

The best news is we only have to wait a few days to see her second NASCAR race in Phoenix this weekend.