Science Daily – A successful joint collaboration between researchers at the Hebrew university of Jerusalem and the startup company TyrNovo may lead to a potential treatment of brain diseases. The researchers found that TyrNovo’s novel and unique compound, named NT219, selectively inhibits the process of aging in order to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases, without affecting lifespan. This is a first and important step towards the development of future drugs for the treatment of various neurodegenerative maladies.
Human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases share two key features: they stem from toxic protein aggregation and emerge late in life. The common temporal emergence pattern exhibited by these maladies proposes that the aging process negatively regulates protective mechanisms that prevent their manifestation early in life, exposing the elderly to disease. This idea has been the major focus of the work in the laboratory of Dr. Ehud Cohen of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine.
Cohen’s first breakthrough in this area occurred when he discovered, working with worms, that reducing the activity of the signaling mechanism conveyed through insulin and the growth hormone IGF1, a major aging regulating pathway, constituted a defense against the aggregation of the Aβ protein which is mechanistically-linked with Alzheimer’s disease. Later, he found that the inhibition of this signaling route also protected Alzheimer’s-model mice from behavioral impairments and pathological phenomena typical to the disease. In these studies, the path was reduced through genetic manipulation, a method not applicable in humans.
Dr. Hadas Reuveni, the CEO of TyrNovo, a startup company formed for the clinical development of NT219, and Prof. Alexander Levitzki from the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Hebrew University, with their research teams, discovered a new set of compounds that inhibit the activity of the IGF1 signaling cascade in a unique and efficient mechanism, primarily for cancer treatment, and defined NT219 as the leading compound for further development.
Now, in a fruitful collaboration Dr. Cohen and Dr. Reuveni, together with Dr. Cohen’s associates Tayir El-Ami and Lorna Moll, have demonstrated that NT219 efficiently inhibits IGF1 signaling, in both worms and human cells. The inhibition of this signaling pathway by NT219 protected worms from toxic protein aggregation that in humans is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease.
By Jonathan Zimmerman, Published: November 28
Washington Post – In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.”
I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have.
Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)?
Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear.
Nor does Obama have to fear the voters, which might be the scariest problem of all. If he chooses, he could simply ignore their will. And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?
That was the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them. “I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public,” Washington wrote in a much-quoted letter to the Marquis de Lafayette.
Washington stepped down after two terms, establishing a pattern that would stand for more than a century. But he made clear that he was doing so because the young republic was on solid footing, not because his service should be limited in any way.
The first president to openly challenge the two-term tradition was Theodore Roosevelt, who ran for a third term as president in 1912 on the Bull Moose ticket. When he stepped down in 1908, Roosevelt pledged not to seek a third term; reminded of this promise in 1912, he said that he had meant he would not seek a “third consecutive term.” The New York Times called Roosevelt’s explanation a “pitiful sophistication,” and the voters sent Woodrow Wilson to the White House.
Only in 1940, amid what George Washington might have called a “great emergency,” did a president successfully stand for a third term. Citing the outbreak of war overseas and the Depression at home, Democrats renominated Franklin D. Roosevelt. They pegged him for a fourth time in 1944 despite his health problems, which were serious enough to send him to his grave the following year.
To Republicans, these developments echoed the fascist trends enveloping Europe. “You will be serving under an American totalitarian government before the long third term is finished,” warned Wendell Wilkie, Roosevelt’s opponent in 1940. Once the two-term tradition was broken, Wilkie added, nobody could put it back together. “If this principle dies, it will be dead forever,” he said.
That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.
He was right. Every Republican in Congress voted for the amendment, while its handful of Democratic supporters were mostly legislators who had broken with FDR and his New Deal. When they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms, they limited democracy itself.
“I think our people are to be safely trusted with their own destiny,” Sen. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) argued in 1947. “We do not need to protect the American people with a prohibition against a president whom they do not wish to elect; and if they wanted to elect him, have we the right to deny them the power?”
It’s time to put that power back where it belongs. When Ronald Reagan was serving his second term, some Republicans briefly floated the idea of removing term limits so he could run again. The effort went nowhere, but it was right on principle. Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves.
Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University.
New York Times – North Korea accused a captive American military veteran of war crimes, saying he was involved in the killing of innocent civilians during the Korean War, state news media reported on Saturday.
The veteran, Merrill E. Newman, 85, of Palo Alto, Calif., has been detained in North Korea since Oct. 26, when he was taken off a flight as he was about to leave the country, which he had been visiting on a tourist visa.
The Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday that Mr. Newman had “admitted his crimes” and apologized for his actions during the war, which lasted from 1950 until 1953.
Mr. Newman, who is a retired technology executive, had served as an infantryman and had long wanted to revisit the country.
Mr. Newman’s son, Jeff Newman, had said that the day before his father was to leave, he had a meeting with his tour guide at which the Korean War was discussed.
The news agency said Mr. Newman had “masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the D.P.R.K. and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and innocent civilians.” The D.P.R.K. stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Relatives had appealed to the North Korean government to release Mr. Newman, with Jeff Newman calling the situation a “misunderstanding.” The son said that his father has a heart condition and a bad back and was on several medications.
Mr. Newman’s relatives were not immediately available to comment on his arrest and the accusations against him.
The detention of Mr. Newman led the United States to issue a travel warning about visiting North Korea, saying “U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.”
WND – She hasn’t taken office yet, but Seattle’s newly elected socialist city council member already is offering solutions to the city’s problems that would make even the most liberal Democrat blush.
Amid a severe rift between Boeing machinists and management, Kshama Sawant – the first self-declared socialist elected to city-wide office in Seattle in a century – essentially ripped a page from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and urged a cheering crowd of union supporters Monday night to rise up against their oppressors.
Last week, the machinists rejected a contract that would guarantee jobs for eight years at Boeing’s Everett plant, just north of Seattle, building the company’s new 777X airliner. In exchange, new machinists would give up their guaranteed company pensions.
In response to the rejection, Boeing management has discussed taking the jobs to other states.
Sawant, a former software engineer from India who lectures in economics at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College, calls Boeing’s threat “nothing short of economic terrorism because it’s going to devastate the state’s economy.”
A takeover by the workers, which she calls “democratic ownership,” is the answer, she contends.
“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives,” she said, according to KIRO.
“The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” maintained Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative Party.
She explained to the Seattle TV station after her speech that once the workers “take over,” they can make better decisions about what to build.
“We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO.
The call to take over Boeing is in line with the policy of the Socialist Alternative Party, the U.S. branch of the British-based Trotskyist international organization the Committee for a Workers’ International.
On its website, the party says that as “capitalism moves deeper into crisis, a new generation of workers and youth must join together to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership under democratic control to end the ruling elites’ global competition for profits and power.”
NBC News – The Senate has voted to change one of the chamber’s most fundamental rules, invoking the so-called ‘nuclear option’ for executive branch and non-Supreme Court judicial nominations.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak on the vote at 1:55 pm ET.
Fifty-two Democrats voted for the measure, an unprecedented change previously threatened but not invoked until Thursday. Three Democrats — Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — voted with Republicans against the change.
The vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees. Now, just a simple majority will be required for executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks.
Democratic leaders said the ‘nuclear’ option was the only way to break a logjam on Obama’s nominees. Republicans had infuriated Democrats by blocking a series of Obama’s judicial nominees, saying the president was unfairly attempting to stack the nation’s courts with judges who will uphold his agenda.
“It’s time to change,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor as almost all members sat at their desks in the chamber. “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”
“The age-old rules of the Senate are being used to paralyze us,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “The public is asking – is begging – us to act.”
Republicans vocally criticized the move as ‘dangerous’ and ‘desperate.’
“It’s a sad day in the history of the Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, calling the move a Democratic “power grab.”
The GOP also derided the vote as an attempt to distract the American public from the early failures of the Obama-backed health care law’s rollout.
The higher threshold had increasingly become the norm for even the most mundane nomination fights in recent years, as the minority had been allowed to insist that nominees clear the higher hurdle. The tactic made filibusters of presidential nominees – once rare – merely business as usual.
“The Senate is a living thing, and to survive it must change, as it has over the history of this great country,” Reid said.
Republicans warned before the vote that the GOP will retaliate when it wins back a majority in the Senate.
“Some of us have been around here long enough to know that sometimes the shoe is on the other foot,” McConnell said before the vote, telling Democrats “you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.”
Daily Caller – Are liberals taking over sports coverage, too? Increasingly, that’s the way it feels. And it’s not just because Keith Olbermann is back at ESPN.
In just the last year or so, sports has been dominated by stories about NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay, the Miami Dolphins “bullying” scandal, debates over whether or not “Redskins” is a racial slur (with some outlets refusing to even use the name), and worries over the NFL’s “concussion crisis.”
(Oh yeah, and Peyton Manning is reportedly having a pretty good year, too.)
The increased politicization of sports was probably the first sign. More and more, it seems, the behind-the-scenes soap opera has overshadowed what’s happening between the lines.
And as was the case with Bob Costas’ gun control rant earlier this year — or ESPN commentator Kevin Blackstone’s recent reference to the national anthem as a “war anthem” — many sports commentators are coming down decidedly on the side of political correctness (the flouting of which forced Rush Limbaugh to resign from ESPN a decade ago), away from overt patriotism and pro-American symbolism, and toward using sports to advance progressive social engineering goals.
* * *
“It’s funny to listen to sports commentators on the radio who have clearly been brought up through public schools and state university journalism programs talk about class and race and gender like a sociology major from Smith or Dennison,” says R.J. Moeller, a conservative who also writes about sports and culture. “They hate any strong male coaches. They hate any sort of patriotism associated with the sport. They’re treating sports and holding what goes on in locker rooms to the same standard they would a diversity and social justice mediation seminar on Google’s campus.”
Moeller’s not alone in feeling this way. Others cite the “feminization” of sports and the liberal tilt of modern sports coverage as cause for concern.
And if conservatives are upset about this, it may be because this is all they have left. Progressives have long owned Hollywood, and (except maybe for Nashville) most of the popular music industry. Sports were perhaps the bastion for conservative entertainment — the final refuge for the patriotic, beer-guzzling, macho male who just wants to forget about his day job and watch a game — without hearing a lecture. Those days may be over.
New York Times – In life, Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was Public Enemy No. 1: a ruthless figure who devoted his career to bloodshed and mayhem, whom Pakistani pundits occasionally accused of being a pawn of Indian, or even American, intelligence.
But after his death, it seems, Pakistani hearts have grown fonder.
Since missiles fired by American drones killed Mr. Mehsud in his vehicle on Friday, Pakistan’s political leaders have reacted with unusual vehemence. The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, denounced the strike as sabotage of incipient government peace talks with the Taliban. Media commentators fulminated about American treachery. And the former cricket star Imran Khan, now a politician, renewed his threats to block NATO military supply lines through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — a province his Tehreek-e-Insaf party controls — with a parliamentary vote scheduled for Monday.
Virtually nobody openly welcomed the demise of Mr. Mehsud, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistani civilians. To some American security analysts, the furious reaction was another sign of the perversity and ingratitude that they say have scarred Pakistan’s relationship with the United States.
“It’s another stab in the back,” said Bill Roggio, whose website, the Long War Journal, monitors drone strikes. “Even those of us who watch Pakistan closely don’t know where they stand anymore. It’s such a double game.”
To many Pakistanis, though, it is the United States that is double-dealing, and sentiments like Mr. Roggio’s exemplify typical American arrogance. Shireen Mazari, a senior official in Mr. Khan’s party, has urged the Pakistani military to shoot down drones.
But if the equivocation over Mr. Mehsud’s death seems to be just another manifestation of the cankerous relationship between the two countries, albeit a particularly troubling one, it is rooted in a complex mix of psychology and politics that may be central to the way Pakistanis see their arch allies, the Americans.
BBC News – Two members of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn have been killed and a third wounded in a drive-by shooting outside the party’s offices in an Athens suburb, police say.
The dead men, aged 22 and 27, were guarding the office.
The attack comes weeks after several members of Golden Dawn, including the leader, were arrested on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation.
The arrests followed the killing of an anti-fascist musician.
A Golden Dawn supporter has been charged over the killing of Pavlos Fyssas, 34, whose stage name was Killah P.
His death sparked protests in Athens and across Greece.
The two men who died on Friday were shot at close range from a motorcycle carrying two men, said Golden Dawn MP Georgios Germenis.
“A man got off a motorcycle wearing a helmet and shot them,” he said.
A third man was seriously wounded, and taken to hospital, said police.
The drive-by shooting comes a week after the Greek parliament voted to suspend state funding for Golden Dawn
Following the shooting, in the Neo Iraklio suburb of Athens, anti-terrorist police wearing riot gear cordoned off the area around the offices.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens says 12 bullets were said to have been found at the scene, from 9mm handguns, and police are surveying CCTV footage from cameras at the party office.
He says the fear now is that an atmosphere of revenge could develop.
“The murderers – whoever they are – will be dealt with unsparingly by our democracy. Let everyone know this,” a government spokesman, Simos Kedikoglou, told reporters.
The shooting comes after the Greek government launched a crackdown on Golden Dawn, including raids on the party’s offices, followed the killing of Pavlos Fyssas on 17 September.
George Roupakias, 45, who said he was a supporter of Golden Dawn, was later charged with voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a weapon.
Meanwhile, the leader of Golden Dawn, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and two other senior party MPs are currently in jail, awaiting trial on charges of forming a criminal group. They deny the charges.
Last week the Greek parliament voted to suspend state funding for Golden Dawn, which is the third most popular party in Greece.
The new law allows an indefinite freeze on funding for parties whose leadership is charged with involvement in terrorism, or a criminal group.