Medicine’s Ivory Tower Meets the Information Age

Posted on 23rd June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior,Geeking Out - Tags:

If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve. – Jello Biafra

ideonexus' DNA

ideonexus’ DNA
Via: baekdal

California has joined New York in taking stand against home DNA testing, issuing 13 cease and desist letters to companies offering home genetic tests. In addition to the companies being required to meet safety and testing standards (which nobody has an issue with), now consumers must provide a prescription from a doctor before a company can process a home DNA kit.

The only argument I’ve heard for why California and New York would want to restrict this service is that DNA is medical data. Only medical doctors know how to interpret DNA, and there are health hazards to people self-diagnosing based on such a complex wealth of information.

Newsweek has several comments supporting regulations such as these from Medical experts and Academics, which immediately sets off alarm bells in my mind. The experts and academics are arguing that they should be the only ones interpreting this data, and the rest of us need to pay them gobs and gobs of money for the service.

Gee, there’s nothing suspicious about that. Right?

Except that, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute’s
Promoting Safe and Effective Genetic Testing in the United States report, these “experts” are pretty clueless themselves:

Despite remarkable progress much remains unknown about the risks and benefits of genetic testing:

  • No effective interventions are yet available to improve the outcome of most inherited diseases.
  • Negative (normal) test results might not rule out future occurrence of disease.
  • Positive test results might not mean the disease will inevitably develop.

It is primarily in the context of their unknown potential risks and benefits that the Task Force considers genetic testing.

So only an expert is allowed to interpret the results of our personal genome tests, but the experts don’t really know too much about them either. Of course they won’t know too much about them because the human genome is massively complex and new research emerges about its contents on a weekly basis.

Your doctor isn’t keeping up on that research, and your doctor is just one human being. Companies like 23andMe are keeping their customers up to date on the latest developments in their personal genome. California wants people to rely error-prone humans rather than allow them to do the research themselves.

Don’t mistake this for academic elitism, this is protectionism, pure and simple. Just like Pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know that honey works better than cough syrup, doctors don’t want you understanding your own health. Informed patients might question their authority after all.

Wired’s Thomas Goetz objects to California’s unreasonable stance on the grounds that his DNA data is his data, no matter how complex, and that is an important issue in this debate. We require electricians, truck drivers, and teachers to meet certain certification standards because they have the power to harm others, but knowing my genome can only affect me.

California and New York are criminalizing information. We are talking about people being prevented from even knowing what’s in their genes without having that information filtered through a medical doctor. Imagine a world where only auto mechanics are allowed to look under the hood of your car, and owner’s manuals are prohibited to the public. That’s the world California and New York are working towards.

See also:

Top 10 Reasons that Regulators Should not Hinder Genetic Testing

John Coleman, Global Warming, and the Price of a Gallon of Gas

Posted on 16th June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

John Coleman, weatherman for KUSI in San Diego, has an unintentionally hilarious rant posted, Global Warming and the Price of a Gallon of Gas, where he blames Global Warming Theorists for the high cost of oil and what he seems to think is the impending destruction of civilization because of it. Mind you, it’s not Global Warming that’s going to destroy civilization, it’s people believing it that’s going to doom us all.

Coleman wants us to know that he knows what he’s talking about:

I have dug through thousands of pages of research papers, including the voluminous documents published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I have worked my way through complicated math and complex theories.

Got that? This Global Warming stuff is complicated, and Coleman’s a total wonk on this topic what with all that reading and math and stuff that he’s done. He summarizes the AGW theorists’ positions quite nicely:

According to Mr. Gore the polar ice caps will collapse and melt and sea levels will rise 20 feet inundating the coastal cities making 100 million of us refugees. Vice President Gore tells us numerous Pacific islands will be totally submerged and uninhabitable. He tells us global warming will disrupt the circulation of the ocean waters, dramatically changing climates, throwing the world food supply into chaos. He tells us global warming will turn hurricanes into super storms, produce droughts, wipe out the polar bears and result in bleaching of coral reefs. He tells us tropical diseases will spread to mid latitudes and heat waves will kill tens of thousands. He preaches to us that we must change our lives and eliminate fossil fuels or face the dire consequences. The future of our civilization is in the balance.

Got that? Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore.

This is pretty embarrassing. Coleman claims to have read so much AGW research, but then proves in this paragraph that the only thing he’s read is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I didn’t read the book myself, but I’m pretty sure it had a lot of pages in it, and those page numbers can get pretty complicated for some people when we’re talking about numbers as big as 104 power, but this doesn’t excuse the silliness of AGW skeptic’s tactic of claiming Al Gore is the end-all-be-all of AGW theory. I don’t recall Al Gore’s name being on any of the scientific papers. I don’t recall Al Gore owning the NASA Earth observation satellites. And Al Gore’s name definitely wasn’t on the IPCC reports.

So take note, whenever an AWG skeptic says “Al Gore,” what they’re telling you is, “I don’t believe in Global Warming because I can’t be bothered to read primary sources.” Then imagine them drooling on themselves and drawing doodles of bunny rabbits.

Carbon Dioxide “is not a pollutant. It is not smog. It is a naturally occurring invisible gas.” Coleman argues. It’s a byproduct of our respiration; therefore, it doesn’t matter how much of it is in our atmosphere. I would like Coleman to demonstrate his faith in this fact by placing himself in a room filled with nothing but CO2 for 10 minutes. After he expires, we can discuss why his whole “it’s natural” argument is bogus. Remember: arsenic is natural.

Coleman also trots out the “controversy” surrounding the AGW consensus, citing that tired old Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s 31,000 signatures of “Scientists” who dispute AGW Theory. Although released on May 2008, this is actually the same list released in 1998, which was heavily debunked then and carries no more legitimacy now.

But what does all this have to do with the price of oil?

The battle against fossil fuels has controlled policy in this country for decades. It was the environmentalist’s prime force in blocking any drilling for oil in this country and the blocking the building of any new refineries, as well. So now the shortage they created has sent gasoline prices soaring.

This is important, because it’s possible that there is as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil underneath the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, 3.5 BILLION. That’s almost enough oil to supply America for a whopping half a year!!! And we evil environmentalists are keeping you from it. Why would we do that? Why would anyone want to deny Americans a few more years of driving our SUVs just so we can have healthy forests, clean beaches, and wildlife???

Dittoheads consider Coleman a credible source on this subject because he tried to talk other people into suing Al Gore (but not himself) and he’s the founder of the Weather Channel in 1983. They always emphasize this fact, Founder of the Weather Channel, never mind the fact he got a kicked out of the enterprise, when, as he describes it, “The bad guys took it away from me, but they can’t steal the fact that it was my idea and I started it and ran it for the first year.”

In dittohead land, one skeptical meteorolgist is enough to overturn the G8, Brazil’s Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias, France’s Académie des Sciences, Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Russia’s Academy of Sciences, the United State’s National Academy of Sciences, United States of America, the Royal Society of Canada, the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, the Science Council of Japan, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, the Royal Society, United Kingdom, Malaysia’s Academy of Sciences, New Zealands, Academy Council of the Royal Society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Woods Hole Research Center, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the National Research Council, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), the Federal Climate Change Science Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the UN Project on Climate Variability and Predictability, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, American Chemical Society, the American Association of State Climatologists, the US Geological Survey (USGS), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), the World Meteorological Organization, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospherice Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Australian Meteorological And Oceanographic Society, the Pew Center on Climate Change, and 928 peer reviewed scientific journal papers.

But in dittohead land, it’s the people who don’t believe John Coleman who are acting on faith.

29-MAR-2008 @ 2000 Local: Earth Hour 2008

Posted on 29th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in science holidays - Tags: ,

Earth at Night

Earth at Night
Image by NASA

Tonight at 8:00 pm is Earth Hour 2008, brainchild of Australia’s World Wildlife Fund. The idea is to turn off all your lights between the hours of 8 and 9 pm your local time. People all over the world are taking part, and even cities are shutting down lights around their landmarks and government buildings. Let’s get ready to do some looting!!!

Ha! Ha! Kidding. Kidding. I’ve signed up to take part as a symbolic gesture. The astronomer in me romanticizes the idea of a massive intentional blackout rolling across our planet’s time zones. Light pollution is a serious problem, but there won’t be enough participation in Elizabeth City to bring the stars back, and the event takes place too early for truly dark skies.

Maybe I’ll spend the hour reading a book by LED light, or is that cheating? How about if I read that book by the light of my cell phone. Technically that’s not a light, but the battery was charged before and after the Earth Hour, so I’m using the same electricity. I own an oil lamp. That’s not an electric light, but isn’t that a much less efficient use of energy?

I wish the WWF was a little bit clearer about this. The spirit of the event is obviously to save electricity, but people like me sit in front of our computers in the dark anyway. If I turn off my computer, then I’m just sitting in the dark, when I could be blogging about LEDs, Solar Panels, Wind Energy, and all the other innovations that will really get us out of this mess.

Sitting in the dark like stone age humans isn’t the best strategy for working our way through Global Warming, innovation is. We need to innovate our way out of this problem, overcome the oil-industry tax breaks and corporate special interests that are preventing us from evolving technologically so they can keep us reliant on their antiquated patents.

I’ll turn off my lights for the hour tonight, but I have a sinking feeling that this plays into skeptics’ arguments that environmentalism wants to deprive us of all our modern innovations, when the reality is that we would prefer technology to evolve onto better things.

Clarifying the Science Behind Global Cooling

Posted on 26th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Science Etcetera - Tags: ,

It is easy to lie with statistics; it is easier to lie without them.” – Frederick Mosteller

Global Cooling Trend Close Up of Last Decade

Global Cooling Trend
Close-Up of Last Decade

Yesterday I posted this image of what climatologists are claiming is evidence of warming in the last decade, and explained how it actually shows a cooling trend; however, it has come to my attention that the methodology I used, while completely legitimate in a completely fallacious sense, did violate the scientific principle of Occam’s Razor, which states that the simplest explanation is the most likely.

The problem with this graph is that there are way too many dots on it, making it too complex. A much simpler graph, with fewer dots, would clear things up and show how the world has actually cooled in the last decade.


Global Cooling Trend Simplified Close Up of Last Decade

Global Cooling Trend Simplified
Close-Up of Last Decade Simplified

See? Isn’t that cleaner? Easier to understand? Occam’s Razor baby. That’s right. This is what those Global Warming cooks don’t want you to see. How about we apply this principle to the whole last century of temperature data?

Global Cooling Trend Simplified Close Up of Last Decade

Global Cooling Trend over the Last Century

Warming Versus Cooling


Where’s your warming now Al Gore? Huh? As we can see from this graph, most of this century has been on a cooling trend. Take all those shaded parts that I’ve so helpfully shaded and all the non-shaded parts that I’ve so helpfully not shaded and put them on a statistical bar graph thing like you see in power point, and look what you get. You get this pic over here to the right, with the red cooling bar being much much bigger, like three times much much bigger than the warming bar.

How can anyone look at this concrete visual data and not see Global Warming’s a crock?

Here’s more on Dr. Marohasy’s global cooling assertions.

More Global Cooling Evidence Embarrasses the IPCC Orthodoxy

Posted on 25th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

A recent article that appeared in The Australian, Climate facts to warm to, has the transcript of an important interview with Dr. Jennifer Marohasy a biologist, free market advocate, and Global Warming skeptic.

When asked “Is the Earth still warming?” Dr. Marohasy replied:

No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.

Surprising right? Why haven’t all those Global Warming Climatologists been talking about this? Especially, as Dr. Marohasy points out, they don’t deny it:

The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognizes that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued…

We can clearly see this plateau here:

Global Cooling Trend

Global Cooling Trend

Global Cooling Trend Close Up

Global Cooling Trend

In case you can’t see it, here’s a zoom in of the last ten years to the right. You can see the obvious cooling trend. Notice the way the red median line looks like it sorta wants to curve just a little bit there? If you use your imagination, you can clearly visualize this red line actually pointing in the opposite direction.

Go ahead. Just imagine that. Imagine this picture upside down. That’s what Dr. Marohasy is talking about. Why are Climatologists at the IPCC ignoring this important fact being imagined in the brains of climate skeptics? Why? Why is the IPCC and MSM refusing to cover this important visualization research?

And what about the NASA Aqua satellite, which has been collecting data since 2002 on Earth’s atmospheric temperatures, water cycles, and sea-ice levels? Dr. Marohasy brings up the satellite’s research several times, but NASA only publishes the data that supports their preconceived notions of global warming, like melting Arctic Ice and global temperatures. There’s a lot of data supporting this cooling trend that Dr. Marohasy has so much faith-based evidence for, and the fact that NASA doesn’t have it on their website, just further proves how real it is. NASA is trying our faith.

And what about the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri’s blatant acknowledgement about the recent temperature stall? Here’s some damning highlights from the article:

Last year was among the six warmest years since records began in the 1850s and the British Met Office said last week that 2008 will be the coolest year since 2000, partly because of a La Nina event that cuts water temperatures in the Pacific.

“We are in a minor La Nina period which shows a little cooling in the Pacific Ocean,” Delju told Reuters. “The decade from 1998 to 2007 is the warmest on record and the whole trend is still continuing.”

The record year for world temperatures was 1998, ahead of 2005, according to WMO data. Among recent signs of the effects of warming, Arctic sea ice shrank last year to a record low. (emphasis mine)

2008 will be the coolest year since 2000,” got that? Let me italicize, underline, and follow it with some exclamation marks just in case you missed it: “2008 will be the coolest year since 2000!!!

God Bless the FreeRepublic for notifying their fanatically conservative base of this important development, who then flooded the blogosphere with this news the MSM was so blatantly ignoring, even getting the story on the front page of Digg by fanatically clicking on that “Digg It” button over and over and over again. Thanks to their activism, all those thoughtless sheep who believe the empirical evidence of Global Warming might get a clue.

I also appreciated the way these same activists got an offensive political cartoon posted to Digg under “General Sciences:”

Science is way too liberal in the way it doesn’t push conservative talking points. This cartoon will go a long way towards demonstrating what conservatives can contribute to collegiate scientific discourse.

Also featured on the radio show hosting Dr. Marohasy, was someone arguing that low fat diets cause diabetes and heart disease. I always knew all those servings of fruit and vegetables was just a liberal ploy to effeminate American men.

Between a Rock and a Hardplace: Debating Cranks

Posted on 24th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

Chris Mooney has an important article online about how scientists debating fringe groups like Creationists and AGW deniers in many ways actually hurts our causes.

Sure enough, one of the Expelled trailers features the following quotation from Oxford evolutionary biologist and atheism apostle Richard Dawkins: “If people think God is interesting, the onus is on them to show that there is anything there to talk about. Otherwise they should just shut up about it.” And then in comes Ben Stein to play the rebel, the Galileo, against this oppressive scientific orthodoxy, against “Big Science” that tells the little guy to “shut up.” How’s that for enabling? (Link mine.)

A very astute observation of Dittohead reasoning. The fact that science does not have any peer-reviewed publications supporting the existence of god or disproving AGW Theory is only proof, in their minds, that the vast liberal conspiracy is in full effect, suppressing the “facts” they so desperately need to be true in order to prop-up their pre-defined ideological assumptions.

With Dittoheads–and that is who we are talking about primarily–debate is always a futile effort. How do you argue with someone who doesn’t even share the same factual foundation as the rest of the world? People who dismiss peer-reviewed research as liberal bias, who rationalize away hard facts as subjective, and take the absence of media and scientific coverage as support for their positions?

Mooney’s recommends science bloggers start ignoring the cranks as the best strategy for marginalizing them. I agree, but would also like to offer another tactic that I personally adhere to and one I think other bloggers should adopt: stop treating these cranks with respect.

The problem isn’t that science bloggers are pointing out the irrationality, lack of scientific evidence, and blatant rhetorical abuses of the Cranks. The problem is that they are doing so in a competent, fairly respectable, and dignified manner. That’s what makes the cranks feel legitimized.

When John Coleman can get up in front of an audience of AGW skeptics and argue that other people should sue Al Gore for his warnings about Global Warming, without having the spine to sue Al Gore himself, and he says this with a straight face, it’s time for bloggers to drop the academic tone and start laughing these people out of the room. Absurd statements like this prove that John Coleman is a spineless dweeb. He deserves a spanking and a “Dunce” cap, not a measured, respectful response.

First-tier bloggers like Mooney, Nisbet, PZ Meyers, etc shouldn’t stoop to this level, and neither should second tier science bloggers. It’s important legitimate science remain above the fray. Scientists are the keepers of data integrity, and I agree with Mooney that it’s best if they simply start ignoring the cranks.

Leave it to the third/fourth-tier bloggers like myself to openly ridicule these dimbulbs, as I personally have done here, here, here, here, and here. These are just my way of marginalizing what has become and increasingly silly cluster of conspiracy odd-balls.

Politicians Need to Improve Their Presentation Skills

Posted on 21st March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

Here’s a question that started nagging me today: Why hasn’t it become standard for politicians to spice up their speeches with Power Point Presentations?

Could you imagine a modern-day scientist getting up in front of a conference and try to make a persuasive argument with just an inspiring speech? “Every American must embrace String Theory as an integral step toward a Grand Unified Theory of physics that will make this Country great again!”

I think that would result in a lot of raised hands and head-scratching. Why can’t political speeches be more like TED Talks? Why are they geared towards those living fossils the Baby Boomers? I love to hear Obama talk, but I can do that with an MP3. I wanna see a multimedia presentation accentuating his words.

Hans Rosling explains data maps

Hans Rosling explains data maps

Mind you, not all speeches lend themselves to this format. Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” stands on its own.

[citation needed] for the Mind

Posted on 19th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

“What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate

Wikipedian Protester

Wikipedian Protester
Courtesy of

Al Gore never said he invented the Internet. You can’t see the Great Wall of China from space. There is no ghost of a little boy in the background of Three Men and a Baby. Goldfish do not have memory-spans only 10-second’s long. Nobody’s drugging college kids and stealing their kidneys, and many of the Darwin Awards are made up.

Mass media has the power to spread memes like wildfire, even false ones. But it’s not just the MSM promoting inaccuracies, our own memories are highly fallible, we experience creeping normalcy and false memories. Human memory is a reconstruction, not a record.

Nothing has illustrated the inaccuracies in my own head more than blogging. It all started when I began linking to my sources so readers could see for themselves. Then I became more selective of my sources, going for primary sources whenever possible, academic institutions, and respectable news sources. The collective-consciousness wikipedia maintains data integrity by placing “[citation needed]” notes beside anything not backed-up with a reference in its articles.

But I still have to begin writing my posts from what’s inside my head. I come up with a topic, support it with the relevant facts I “know” from previous studies, and then go out to find credible sources that verify those facts. No matter what I do, I have to start from the data in my head.

You know what I’ve learned? I’m really wrong on a whole lot of “facts” I take for granted. Let me tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than wasting two hours of your life struggling to write a blog post, before finally admitting to yourself that you have NO $%&#ING IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

Suddenly there are all these [citation needed] signs popping up all over inside my head. Aaaaaagh my brain!!!

That’s why the Internet is such an incredible fact-checking device for the modern age, one massive peer-review journal for the human race, and everyone has a responsibility to contribute to it and reference the truths they take for granted against it. The result isn’t 100% truth, but it’s a much closer approximation of it.

Note: Another legend I discovered just last week is that Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” According to The Churchill Centre he never said this.

Spitzer’s Hypocrisy

Posted on 11th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

The lady doth protest too much.
– Queen Gertrude, Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230

Eliot Spitzer was an outspoken prosecutor of prostitution, and now we know this hypocrite dirtbag is guilty of indulging in what he believes should be a crime.

As I have argued before that prostitution should be legal. Sex is legal, making money is legal, sex for money should be legal. It is the illegality of prostitution that exploits and victimizes women, not the act itself. Legalized prostitutions would be safe, federally regulated, and taxed like mad.

Spitzer’s crime is two-fold. First he criminalizes women who sell sexual services, and then he exploits them by feeding into the market demand for those services.

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The Politics of Fear VS Mathematical Perspective

Posted on 7th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran the following ad scaring Americans in to voting for him with the idea that Barry Goldwater would start a nuclear war if elected:


Hillary Clinton’s campaign is spinning their recent primary wins as attributable to their “3a.m. Phone Call” ad, which uses a similar tactic against Obama:


Fear is a powerful motivator. The 9/11 terrorist attacks took President Bush from a 50 percent approval rating all the way up to 90 percent in a month. They convinced us to invade a country that had nothing to do with the attacks, and without a plan for securing the country once occupied.

In the world of rhetoric, this is known as the Politics of Fear, but geeks aren’t fooled for a moment, because we have the awesome power of mathematics to embolden us!

Behold! Putting things in perspective, 2,998 people died as a direct result of the 2001 terrorist attacks in America. Comparing that number to a 2002 list of causes of death by rate chart, we can determine how worried we should be about terrorism in comparison to all the other things in the world trying to kill us, and decide whether we are getting our $2 Trillion Worth out of the Iraq war.

We can quickly see that we are 19 times more likely to die in an automobile accident than from terrorism, a figure that will surely go up as our roads crumble as our all our infrastructure money goes to the “War on Terror.” We are 263 times more likely to die of Cardiovascular disease, which, for the price of the Iraq War, we could buy a whole lot of research, education, and prevention.

Admittedly, I’m fudging things a bit by comparing 2001’s terrorism deaths to 2002’s causes of death, but there were zero deaths in America from terrorism from 2002 to 2007 (unless you count Americans in Iraq, another preventable tragedy), but my calculator keeps giving me an error when I divide by zero, so I’m biasing these numbers heavily towards terrorism’s favor as a cause of death, and it still looks miniscule.

Without that bias, 2,998 deaths spread over seven years would make us 11 times more likely to die of Hepatitis B, a threat that requires a well-funded CDC to protect us, and 131 times more likely to die in a car accident. Remember that when you see a new pot-hole or a delayed road project. We know that education, more than any other factor, extends life spans, too bad we can’t quantify the lives were loosing on that front.

This chart from Wired best illustrates the disproportionate nature of our fears, and it’s not just terrorism that we are disproportionately afraid of shark attacks, airplane crashes, and other unlikely causes top our lists also.

As for 3AM phone calls, we all know first hand what an experienced leader is capable of when informed of a national crisis:


Note: I am well aware of the “You don’t know how many terrorist acts have been prevented since 2001” argument. I don’t believe a Department of Homeland Security, looking to justify its funding, would keep a thwarted terrorist act a secret for a second.

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