Nutball who says Earth is 6,000 years old is new gatekeeper for AZ senate education committee

Tea party stalwart Sylvia Allen, who first became a state senator in Arizona (and a national embarrassment) in 2008, has been made chairwoman of the Senate committee handling education legislation. The Phoenix New Times calls her a “professional fruitcake.”

Allen is known for a string of bizarre and racist remarks as well as an attachment to conspiracy theories. For example, she believes the Earth is just 6,000 years old, a view held by some fundamentalist Christians but rejected by scientists and many Bible scholars. She also believes “chemtrails” are poisoning us and that “Agenda 21” is a plot to surrender U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations…

Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year’s GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.

❝”She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system,” Biggs said in a prepared statement. “She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job…”

Which shows how backwards Arizona Republicans are.

During her senate career, Allen has pushed for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, backed state funding of a militia run by the neo-Nazi J.T. Ready to guard the Arizona-Mexico border, opposed Medicaid expansion, suggested only half-jokingly that mandatory church attendance be imposed, encouraged an anti-semitic Holocaust denier to testify before the state senate, rejected mandating reduced carbon emissions and denied that humans are causing climate change. In 2011, she supported eliminating health-care coverage of 280,000 Arizonans, saying that people should do more to take care of their health and thus avoid having to see a doctor. “This isn’t the only time in our history when people had to choose between food and medicine,” Allen said.

It feels like every failed John Bircher who is now a retiree has decided to move to the Mississippi of the West to stay warm without having to pay for heat. Of course, they end up paying even more for air conditioning; but, that never lit up the dim bulbs that pass for their brains.

The article’s author got it right when they said in Arizona GOP stands for “Goobers on Parade”.

The tax American women pay on everything — just because they’re women

Whether you’re buying pink toys with your allowance as a kid or canes and compression socks in old age, it’s cheaper to be a man and more expensive to be a woman.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs studied nearly 800 products in 35 categories that people buy and use throughout their life — everything from onesies and baby shoes to razors and deodorant.

Products marketed to women cost more than products marketed to men 42 percent of the time. And men’s products cost more only 8 percent of the time. Over women’s lifetimes, the report concludes, the differences can easily add up to thousands of dollars.

And all of this is legal. While some jurisdictions, including New York, have laws about charging men and women different prices for similar services, there are no laws about different prices for similar products…

…The worst offender was shampoo: men paid an average of $5.68 per bottle of shampoo, while women paid $8.39, a 48 percent difference.

There is no reason for this — men’s and women’s shampoo uses the same ingredients. And although other manufacturers of other personal care products justify the difference by saying, for example, that men buy razors more frequently than women, women use more shampoo than men. The report concluded that women are asked to pay more of the cost of research and development, a major expense for cosmetics companies, than men are…

There are reasons why women’s products might cost more. Women’s clothing is cut differently; girls’ clothing, the report noted, often had more expensive trimming, such as ribbons, ruffles, or glitter.

But there’s a deeper reason, particularly for clothing and personal care products, as Danielle Kurtzleben wrote for Vox in 2014:

There’s an obvious answer here: society expects women to look a certain way. Put into economics terms, there’s a higher return on investment for beauty for women. Beauty products are becoming more popular among men, it’s true, but expensive skin cream is still optional. For women, all those trappings are more necessary.

And that matters well beyond your bank account balance, because it reinforces socially constructed notions of what it means to be a woman…

From the market side, all the reasons are nothing more than rationales. The defining characteristics of our society flow from the economics of profit. Profit rules. If you can optimize profit, increase profit between demographics you go for it. You’re a Hero of Capitalism.

We see it across a broad range of transactions. We see it most of all — ripping off women.

Suicide gene therapy kills prostate cancer cells

A new gene therapy technique is able to modify prostate cancer cells so that a patient’s body attacks and kills them…The technique causes the tumour cells in the body to self-destruct, giving it the name ‘suicide gene therapy’.

Their research found a 20% improvement in survival in patients with prostate cancer five years after treatment.

A cancer expert said more research was needed to judge its effectiveness…The study, led by researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, appears to show that this ‘suicide gene therapy’, when combined with radiotherapy, could be a promising treatment for prostate cancer in the future.

The technique involves the cancer cells being genetically modified so that they signal a patient’s immune system to attack them.

Usually, the body does not recognise cancer cells as the enemy because they have evolved from normal healthy cells…Unlike an infection, which the body reacts against, the immune system does not react to kill off the offending cancer cells.

Using a virus to carry the gene therapy into the tumour cells, the result is that the cells self-destruct, alerting the patient’s immune system that it is time to launch a massive attack…

Survival rates after five years were 97% and 94%. Although there was no control group in this study, the researchers said the results showed a five to 20% improvement on previous studies of prostate cancer treatment.

And cancer biopsy tests performed two years after the trial were found to be negative in 83% and 79% of the patients in the two groups.

Dr Brian Butler, from Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, said it could change the way that cancer is treated.

One more step in the whole range of molecular biology studied nowadays. Moving the chances of curing diseases of an aging population closer to cures – further extending our lifespan.

Colombian President Santos signs a decree legalising medical marijuana

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, a dramatic shift in a country long identified with US-backed policies to stamp out drug crops.

Santos said the new regulatory framework was long overdue given that Colombians had been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years…

With the new rules, Colombia joins countries from Mexico to Chile that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization as part of a wave of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies to combat it in Latin America…

Proponents of the new approach say as many as 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments could benefit from the clearer regulatory framework.

Colombians for two decades have been allowed to possess small quantities of any narcotic for personal use due to a series of constitutional court rulings guaranteeing the “free development of one’s personality”.

But the congress and the executive branch have been loath to endorse such views, in part because of officials’ skittishness about showing any weakness in a country that is the biggest supplier of cocaine to the US…

President Santos, who has acknowledged smoking pot as a journalism student in the 1970s at the University of Kansas, repeated his commitment that the new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.

Well, that’s his position this week. Maybe – when Obama isn’t looking – he’ll let a little more reality sneak into law in Colombia, eh?