Jan. 22 Declared "Blue Monday"

War got you down? Upset that the Pats choked away the AFC championship game last night? Perhaps you have a case of the Mondays? Well, it could be all that plus more…at least for today, January 22.

A psychologist at Cardiff University has declared Jan. 22 “Blue Monday“. Dr. Cliff Arnall derived a mathematical formula that shows how the confluence of post-Christmas fatigue, holiday bills, bad weather and failed resolutions can make people depressed.

The formula is: 1/8W+(D-d)3/8xTQMxNA.

The factors are W for weather, D for debt from Christmas bills, d for monthly salary, T for time since Christmas. Q is the failure to keep a resolution or quit a bad habit, M stands for motivation and NA is the need to take action.

Democratic Congress Could Mean More Money and More Oversight for NIH

Since 2003, Bush and the Republican-led Congress have cut funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by 12%. But, Joe Finkelstein writes, “the NIH will have friends in high places when Democrats take over control the House and Senate…but how generous lawmakers can be is unclear with tight budgets curbing spending for the near future. From the latest issue of the JNCI:

After a 5-year period when the budget doubled, funding for the institutes has foundered for the past few years under a Republican-controlled Congress. What small increases the NIH has seen have been largely wiped out by government-wide budget cuts and the rising cost of research. When the 110th Congress convenes in January, the new Democratic leadership is expected to shift the legislative agenda and funding priorities. They are also expected to take up NIH reauthorization legislation, which would bump up the budget goals and probably include provisions designed to encourage cross-institute collaboration.

If you do not have access to The Journal, click here for the PDF File.

This day in history: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

A victory for facts, truth, and science. US District Court Judge John E. Jones III ruled against mandating teaching “intelligent design” in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No. 04cv2688, was the first direct challenge brought in United States federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of “Intelligent Design” as an alternative to evolution as an “explanation of the origin of life”. The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Eleven parents of students in Dover, Pennsylvania, near York, sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the school board required to be read aloud in ninth-grade science classes when evolution was taught. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and Pepper Hamilton LLP. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) acted as consultants for the plaintiffs. The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics, publisher of a textbook advocating intelligent design titled Of Pandas and People, tried to join the lawsuit as a defendant but was denied. [1]

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief. Since it sought an equitable remedy there was no right to a jury trial; the Seventh Amendment did not apply. It was tried in a bench trial from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005 before Judge John E. Jones III. On December 20, 2005 Judge Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover mandate was unconstitutional, and barred intelligent design from being taught in Pennsylvania’s Middle District public school science classrooms. The eight Dover school board members who voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a November 8, 2005 election by challengers who opposed the teaching of intelligent design in a science class, and the current school board president stated that the board does not intend to appeal the ruling.

Bush Signs Autism Bill

Amen!! Mark this date in history. Bush FINALLY does something right! Now, if he would only stop placating his unhinged out-of-touch base and open up funding for stem cell research. Oh well, two years isn’t that long….unless of course you are suffering by one of the myriad of diseases that could possibly be cured via stem cell therapy.

The measure provides funding through 2011 to help the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from autism.

Since Bush took office in 2001, funding for autism research has increased from $56 million to $101 million, with $5.9 million going to study the factors that may put children at risk. The measure calls for early screening for the condition and to increase the number of people able to diagnose the condition.

“For the millions of Americans whose lives are affected by autism, today is a day of hope,” Bush said in signing the measure, the Combating Autism Act of 2006.

“By creating a national education program for doctors and the public about autism, this legislation will help more people recognize the symptoms of autism. This will lead to early identification and intervention, which is critical for children with autism.”

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