Monday, February 15, 2016

Supreme Court Exposed

The sudden death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has dealt a gut punch to the Republican Party. It is something they couldn't wait minutes before announcing that President Obama cannot replace him on the nation's highest court. Why? Because he's a lame duck. Didn't Ronald Reagan nominate Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court when he was a lame duck? (Let's check the record.)

I find that ironic, since Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution enumerates that it is the president's expressed power to nominate Supreme Court justices (how about that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)?). Of course, that is with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, by way of Alabama), is sure that he can mire any Obama nominee in senatorial minutiae, until Hillary Clinton is sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. (Wouldn't that be ironic and just desserts?)

Until then, the U.S. Supreme Court may divided in its votes on important court issues facing it, with only eight members. In such a case, the court could be divided by series of 4-to-4 votes.

On another note, why would a sitting United States Supreme Court justice be visiting a luxury Texas hunting lodge (or ranch) with people flying in on private jets? That seems like a prime recipe for ex-parte discussions about cases that may be facing the court. Republicans, however, may argue that since he was an appointment of Ronald Reagan, he is immune from such impunity.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ben Carson Second Opinion

While watching tonight's Republican debate, if I had had an operation by Dr. Ben Carson I'd probably go in for a follow-up and second opinion. I'm not sure that guy is stable.

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead

It would appear as if one of the Republicans' worst nightmares has come true. President Obama gets to add a liberal to the U.S. Supreme Court after the passing of Justice Scalia today in Texas. The passing of Scalia leaves only Justice Anthony Kennedy to carry on the Reagan-era legacy of the Supreme Court.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

America's First Prime Minister?

Donald Trump is right about Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). (I also asked this question some time before.)

Senator Cruz is a natural born citizen of Canada...not the United States. While his mother was born in the United States, his father was born in Cuba. He asserts that his mother is enough to cover the "natural born" citizenship clause of the U.S. Constitution. I think the Constitution is rather clear on this issue. It would be up to the Supreme Court of the United States to finalize the position.

In 2008, the United States Senate, however, passed a resolution to give Senator John McCain (R-AZ) the status of natural born citizen, since he was born outside the United States, while his father was on active military service in Panama. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that the Senate would not consider a similar resolution for Ted Cruz.

What's that all aboot, eh?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Soolantra Topical Cream (Day 9)

After using Soolantra (ivermectin 1%) for nine days, I have decided to offer a follow-up.

I have found this medication to be quite beneficial. I have used it daily (a.m. application) with much success. I have noticed a decrease in overall redness and pustules, which are often associated with rosacea. Additionally, the overall appearance of my face is more uniform, which is always a good thing! Unlike Mirvaso, my face maintains its natural color with a matte appearance.

The topical cream goes on well and is absorbed by my skin without leaving a greasy residue behind. Initially, I was afraid that it may increase acne flare-ups, but it has not created that reaction. I will continue to use this medication on a daily basis and offer additional updates.

Friday, July 17, 2015

From Mirvaso to Soolantra

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my dermatologist. During the appointment, my doctor revisited my "rebound effect" from having used Mirvaso. She asked me to pilot another topical rosacea treatment, called Soolantra. (Soolantra, like Mirvaso, is manufactured by Galderma Laboratories.) She said that it was different from Mirvaso in that it treats a skin mite, called demodex, which is thought to be a contributing cause of rosacea (gross!). My doctor also explained that it has an anti-inflammatory property that would be beneficial to my overall skin health.

My rosacea is fairly mild, and it contributes to periodic pustule breakouts on my face, in particular around my nose, cheeks, and jawline-area.

Now, I try to be an informed patient, so I did a little research on Soolantra before taking the prescription to my pharmacy. It turns out that the chemical in Soolantra, called ivermectin, is indeed a parasitic treatment! In fact, it is used as a topical treatment for scabies and lice. I was mortified with the prospects of asking my pharmacy to fill the prescription, with the thought someone working there may think I'm receiving treatment for such conditions. After looking at the Galderma website for Soolantra, however, I discovered that this particular formulation is strictly for the treatment of rosacea, which means no one there should attribute my use of it as having lice...or scabies (crabs, O-M-G).

With that said, today is my first treatment with the medication. I am excited (yet cautious) about the results. Galderma states that I should see noticeable results in the next two weeks, so we shall see! In the meantime, I am not receiving treatment for scabies or lice. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marriage Equality for the USA

Ah, yes! The sweet sound of diversity being embraced in the world's oldest democracy: America.

As a gay man, I am finally happy to say that I can marry the individual of my dreams without worrying about being judged unworthy by my government. I kept a list of the states that legalized marriage equality, but I have since torn it up, because it is now moot. Each state is legally bound to accept the marriage of a man to a woman, a man to a man, and a woman to a woman.

What does it mean to me?

A few weeks ago, I watched my brother marry the girl of his dreams in a full wedding that was sanctioned by the government of our state. I was teary eyed for multiple reasons. I never thought I could have the same experience in my home state. Instead, I envisioned a ceremony in a state or country I never had called home. Ironically, and true to form, my brother's marriage wasn't a religious ceremony. It had those tones, but it was civil in nature. They exchanged vows and rings, kissed, held hands, and faced the audience for the first time as husband and wife. There were no gold or rugged crosses or prayers for blessing. It was my their style.

What does it mean to religious individuals?

Nothing. I once heard an individual state that their church would have to change its by-laws to preclude same-sex marriages from being performed. Well, goodness gracious. The religious people get their panties in a wad about the whole affair when it doesn't apply to them. I wouldn't want to get married in their stuffy, hating church in the first place. They place too much premium on "outsiders" wanting what they have. If I want, I'll create my own church and call it the First Church of Same-Sex Love and we'll put in its by-laws that mixed-sex marriages may not be performed. And the person I was eavesdropping on is correct. There is nothing about marriage equality that demands or requires anyone to change their viewpoint of the issue. It is a First Amendment liberty! In short, no one is requiring all the heteros to become homos. Jeez! We don't want you at our party drinking our booze, anyhow.

What does it mean to the hypocrite?

The endless lectures on Facebook and in-person about the Biblical morality of it all. Come on, your argument holds no water. I don't care what Leviticus says. Basically, you may as well pull out Hans Christian Andersen and quote from his works. That's the same level of credence I give your religious arguments. Ironically, many of these sanctity of marriage arguments are being extolled by individuals who have been divorced! In fact, I may have lost a "friend" who argued for marriage's sanctity, considering I couldn't consolidate his argument with the fact that he had divorced his second wife. Where does God fit into that argument? No one wants to talk about that. Instead, he wanted to point out the principles of Christianity that he believed upheld his personal viewpoints. I'm sure he wouldn't have been as comfortable receiving a lecture on divorce and fornication. (Gosh, I may have to ask for an amen on that!)

Finally, I will fly my flag a little higher today with pride and acceptance of all who walk beneath it. It won't be a rainbow flag or Confederate flag. It will be the flag of the United States of America. It will represent the country that underscored the value of human dignity and ratified our nation through the words scrawled by James Madison, "We, the People..."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our First Canadian President, eh?

In February, 2014, I published my thoughts on Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) running for president.

It would seem that Senator Cruz is going to announce his candidacy for the nation's highest office in the near future, despite constitutional reservations about his ability to serve.

Unlike Barack Obama, Cruz has a Canadian birth certificate. His father was a Castro-sympathizing Cuban, while his mother is his only birth connection to the United States, since she was born in Delaware.

How can Republicans not criticize Cruz legitimately for the very thing they illegitimately criticized Obama for in 2008 and 2012? Will Donald Trump parade Cruz's Canadian birth certificate for the whole world to see? Will Cruz publish his birth certificate? Will he acknowledge his Canadian roots at all?

I have reservations about people who claim they are natural born Americans, when in fact they were born on foreign shores. That applies to John McCain (R-AZ), despite the fact his father was on active military service which led to his birth in Panama. Let me go a step further, would I have berated the issue if Barack Obama had been born in Hawaii prior to 1959? The answer is an astounding yes! Considering, Hawaii was not a state until 1959. (Obama was born in 1961.)

With that said, Obama's father was born in Kenya, while his mother was born in Kansas. (If we want to draw parallels to Cruz and Obama's American pedigrees.)

Article II, Section 1, of the United States Constitution very clearly states: "No Person except a natural born Citizen...shall be eligible to the Office of President." While it may seem ludicrous to have this conversation in the 21st century, it was an important principle for the individual holding the highest political office in the land to have no allegiance by birth, or claim thereby, to another sovereign nation.

It will fall to the United States Supreme Court to decide if that portion of the Constitution allows for naturalized citizens as well. Of course, there's the constitutional amendment option, but I doubt that will happen before 2016 (or ever).