Coffee Reduces Post-Exercise Pain

Yet another benefit of coffee has been found. A small study shows that caffeine equivalent to two cups of coffee can reduce post-gym muscle pain. MSNBC reports:

“If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program,” said lead researcher Victor Maridakis of the University of Georgia.

Maridakis and his colleagues studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine and coffee drinkers didn’t exercise on a regular basis. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the participants took either caffeine or a placebo. Then they completed two thigh exercises, one requiring maximum muscle effort, the other sub-maximal effort.

Those who consumed caffeine one hour before the maximum force test had a 48 percent reduction in pain compared with the placebo group. Students who took caffeine before the near-maximum force test showed a 26 percent reduction in soreness.

Anyone who has needed a pick-me-up knows caffeine can increase alertness. Past studies have shown it also boosts endurance, and one experiment found caffeine reduces pain during moderate-intensity cycling.

In a related study I just found that if you drink two cups of coffee and stay at Starbucks instead of going to the gym you will enjoy the coffee more and have a total absence of pain.

If you find this to be too off-topic, a previous post on another benefit of coffee more relevant to this blog is under the fold.


Mitt Romney 1994

After watching this, I’ve decided upon an endorsement for the 2008 Republican nomination: Mitt Romney1994. Just watch him in this debate with Ted Kennedy. It’s a shame that instead of Mitt Romney1994 running this year we have Multiple Choice Romney running now.


Kansas To Rejoin 21st Century

With moderate Republicans, sometimes as Democrats, beating the far right Republicans in November, Kansas is preparing to rejoin the 21st century. AP reports that they are moving rapidly to restore teaching of education in the schools:

The new moderate majority on the Kansas Board of Education plans to vote next month on new science testing standards, moving more quickly than anticipated to dump anti-evolution guidelines that made the state an object of international ridicule.

The board planned a presentation Tuesday on a rival set of evolution-friendly standards drafted by a committee of educators. That would permit the board to adopt them at its next meeting, Feb. 13 and 14.

The existing standards, which treat evolution as a flawed theory and incorporate language favored by backers of intelligent design, were adopted in 2005, when a 6-4 majority of conservative Republicans controlled the board.

Last year’s election left a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans with a 6-4 majority. Two new board members were sworn in Monday. The new majority took control Tuesday and reopened the evolution debate minutes later.

“Local districts deserve to have high-quality education standards from which to build their local curriculums,” said board member Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican from Shawnee…

The existing standards define science so that it isn’t specifically limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. That’s likely to change in new standards.

Also, the current standards say evolutionary theory that all life had a common origin has been challenged by fossils and molecular biology. And, they say, there’s controversy over whether changes over time in one species can lead to a new species.

Both statements echo intelligent design arguments, defying mainstream science – and aren’t likely to be included in new standards.

Intelligent design says an intelligent cause is the best way to explain some complex and well-ordered features of the universe. Many scientists view it as creationism, repackaged to get around a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting its teaching as a government endorsement of specific religious doctrines.

I find it amazing that posts here on evolution continue to receive comments from people who are totally ignorant about modern biology and continue to fall for the religious attacks on evolution. Evolution is established science and a foundation of modern biology. There is no controversy over evolution within the true scientific community, with the attacks on evolution being religious-based with no more scientific justification than a belief that the earth is flat.

Support for Bush and War Shows Further Decline

George Bush has very little support for his policies prior to his expected announcement of plans to escalate the war tonight according to the latest Gallup Poll. Only 25% believe he has a clear plan, which is down from the previous low of 31% in June 2006. His approval rating for handling the war is down to 26%, also a new low. He will have to do a tremendous sales job to get support for the surge as the poll shows “Just 12% of Americans choose an increase in troop levels when presented with four U.S. options for dealing with Iraq, and only 36% say they would favor a Bush proposal that would temporarily increase the number of U.S. troops to stabilize the situation in Iraq.”

While confidence in Bush is deteriorating, many also do not believe that the Democrats have a clear plan either. The polls reports that  “only 25% believe they have a clear plan. That view has remained remarkably consistent over the past year. Just more than one in three Democrats, 36%, believe their party’s leadership has a clear plan on Iraq, compared with 22% of independents and 15% of Republicans.”

This is really the wrong question. The problem is that there is no good solution, but the responsibility for this lies with those who started the war without a real plan for success. Blaming the Democrats for not having a solution is as if a Republican cracked open an egg and then blamed Democrats for not having a plan for putting it back together again.

In reality there is a major difference between the Democrats and George Bush. While George Bush wants more of the same failed policy, Democrats are looking at various plans with the aim of getting out with the least damage possible. The real question is not whether Democrats have a clear plan, but which party voters would prefer to take over management of the war. The preference for Democrats has been seen in previous polls and, more importantly, in November’s election results. Congress does not have the power to institute a single clear cut plan to manage the war, but a majority does appear to back the Democrats in their efforts to hold Bush more accountable.

Amniotic Stem Cells Not Substitute for Embryonic Stem Cells

Opponents of embryonic stem sell research are citing the recent discovery that amniotic stem cells may have comparable benefits as reasons to oppose federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The author of the study on amniotic stem cells has “urged Congress yesterday not to consider his work a substitute for the search for disease-fighting material from embryonic stem cells.”

“Some may be interpreting my research as a substitute for the need to pursue other forms of regenerative medicine therapies, such as those involving embryonic stem cells. I disagree with that assertion,” wrote Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University, the author of a study published this week and widely seized upon by opponents of embryonic stem cell research as a more moral option.

Atala and other researchers reported Sunday that the stem cells they drew from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much the same promise as embryonic stem cells.

In a letter to sponsors of legislation up for a House vote tomorrow, Atala wrote that it was “essential that National Institutes of Health-funded researchers are able to fully pursue embryonic stem cell research as a complement to research into other forms of stem cells.”

Families USA Finds Seniors Paying More for Drugs

The Detroit Free Press reports on a study from Families USA showing that Medicare beneficiaries utilizing the prescription drug coverage are paying substantially more for prescriptions than if the government could negotiate prices, as Congressional Democrats are urging:

Seniors with Medicare drug coverage — including more than 600,000 in Michigan — are paying significantly more for their medicine because Medicare officials are prohibited by law from bargaining for lower prices with pharmaceutical companies.

The finding, in a national report issued Tuesday, will figure heavily in a heated congressional debate coming up Friday.

For example, the report said, Medicare recipients pay between about $763 and $902 a year for Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug, compared with $250 paid by people insured by the Veterans Administration, which does negotiate prices for the people it insures.

Celebrex, an arthritis drug, costs $946 a year for seniors who have the Medicare plan with the lowest price, compared with $632 as the best price under the VA plans.

The report, from Families USA, a national consumer health care advocacy organization, laid out the costs in November of the 20 most frequently prescribed drugs to seniors. It was released three days before the House is scheduled to debate a bill to allow Medicare to bargain for cheaper drug prices for its Part D program.

Former Reagan Assistant Secretary Compares Bush to Hitler

Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan and former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal is comparing George Bush to Hitler in his column:

Bush is like Hitler. He blames defeats on his military commanders, not on his own insane policy. Like Hitler, he protects himself from reality with delusion. In his last hours, Hitler was ordering non-existent German armies to drive the Russians from Berlin.

While Roberts continues to praise Ronald Reagan in his work, he has been a long time critic of George Bush and has even used Nazi analogies in the past. He has warned that “Americans are being brainwashed” and that the mentality is “like that of the brown shirts that followed Hitler” following Katrina.

Kerry Introduces Bills to Assist Small Business

If John Kerry does run in 2008 he needs to get his entire record out. While Republicans distorted rankings in 2004 to call him the most liberal Senate Democrat, suggesting a leftist ideology, Kerry’s support for small business, as well as fiscal conservativism, might help him obtain votes from centrists and socially liberal “Starbucks Republicans” in 2008. Last week Kerry introduced four bills to assist small business. The bills will improve the government’s Disaster Loan Program, reduce health care costs for small firms, reform the Alternative Minimum Tax, and expand entrepreneurship opportunities in minority communities.

Kerry Adding to Staff in Possible Preparation for 2008 Run

Although John Kerry has been keeping a low profile following the unfavorable publicity after his standard line about George Bush getting us stuck in Iraq was twisted by the right wing noise machine to be a comment about the troops, there are signs he is still looking at a 2008 run. The Fix notes many additions to his staff in preparation for a possible run:

Kerry has recently begun to bolster his Senate and campaign staff in preparation for what some Kerry insiders insist is a likely run for president. Kerry has signed on Erik Smith to serve as a senior adviser to his Senate campaign committee and Vince Morris to be communications director in his Senate office.

Smith, who runs Blue Engine Message & Media, served as national press secretary for Dick Gephardt’s 2004 presidential bid and previously was communications director in Gephardt’s leadership office. He also served a stint as communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Kerry has also been firming up support in his home state for a possible run. Governor Patrick stated over the weekend, “I will tell you that if my home senator runs, I’ve got to be with him.” Senator Kennedy also repeated his support for Kerry when interviewed by Chris Matthews.

The negatives on a Kerry run are well known, but are all trumped by a single fact: none of the candidates now leading in the polls would make as good a President as John Kerry. Edwards and Obama lack the experience which we should have in the President faced with getting the country out of the mess George Bush has gotten us into. Hillary Clinton’s support for the war and “HillaryCare” make her undesirable as a President, and could also make her far less electable. While many oppose another run by Kerry after his loss in 2004, his loss to an incumbent President during a time of war is far less a negative than Hillary Clinton being largely responsible for the Democrats’ loss of Congress in 1994.

“According to a new poll, Democrats are favoring Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nominee for 2008. Democrats say they are looking for a fresh and exciting new way to get their asses handed to them.” –Tina Fey 

George Bush Not Going to Hell