Monday, July 30, 2012


It's hard to imagine that a president would have not one, not two, but three opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden and pass on all three, but that's apparently what President Obama did according to two-time New York Times best-selling author Richard Miniter.

The Daily Caller discusses an excerpt from Miniter's forthcoming book Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him:
At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011 Navy SEAL mission, according to an explosive new book scheduled for release August 21. The Daily Caller has seen a portion of the chapter in which the stunning revelation appears.

Richard Miniter writes that Obama canceled the “kill” mission in January 2011, again in February, and a third time in March. Obama’s close adviser Valerie Jarrett persuaded him to hold off each time, according to the book.

Miniter, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, cites an unnamed source with Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.

Obama administration officials also said after the raid that the president had delayed giving the order to kill the arch-terrorist the day before the operation was carried out, in what turned out to be his fourth moment of indecision. At the time, the White House blamed the delay on unfavorable weather conditions near bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

But when Miniter obtained that day’s weather reports from the U.S. Air Force Combat Meteorological Center, he said, they showed ideal conditions for the SEALs to carry out their orders.
The Obama campaign has portrayed the President in his decision to give the go-ahead to the SEALs as steely, gutsy and determined, but like so much else about this White House it seems that the actual wizard behind the curtain isn't at all what his minions portray him to be. Even so, I'd like to know exactly why the President declined to go after OBL on the first three occasions. Maybe he had a good reason, something more compelling, I hope, than just Valerie Jarrett's advice.

You Are What You Eat

I've written on previous occasions about the revolution in our understanding of genetic inheritance and gene expression that has been sweeping science with recent discoveries in what's called epigenetics.

Epigenetics refers to chemical tags or markers found to be attached to different parts of the DNA molecule which control the expression of certain genes. It also refers to the general architecture of the cell which seems to add another level of control to gene expression.

One of the most interesting aspects of the discoveries that're being made in this field is that these chemical tags, molecules consisting of a half dozen or so atoms, can be altered by diet so that what one eats when one is in prime child-producing years can effect one's offspring.

Doctors have long known that substances like folic acid and others help produce healthy babies but why, exactly, was a bit of a mystery.

It's turning out that, as this story at Live Science explains, such substances affect what chemical tags attach to the DNA and where on the genetic material they attach.

Here's part of the article:
You are what you eat, the saying goes. And, according to two new genetic studies, you are what your mother, father, grandparents and great-grandparents ate, too. Diet, be it poor or healthy, can so alter the nature of one's DNA that those changes can be passed on to the progeny. While this much has been speculated for years, researchers in two independent studies have found ways in which this likely is happening.

The findings, which involve epigenetics, may help explain the increased genetic risk that children face compared to their parents for diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

The punch line is that your poor dietary habits may be dooming your progeny, despite how healthy they will try to eat. Recent studies have shown how nutrition dramatically alters the health and appearance of otherwise identical mice.

A group led by Randy Jirtle of Duke University demonstrated how mouse clones implanted as embryos in separate mothers will have radical differences in fur color, weight, and risk for chronic diseases depending on what that mother was fed during pregnancy.

That is, the nutrients or lack thereof changed the DNA environment in such a way that the identical DNA in these mouse clones expressed itself in very different ways.
The article notes that epigenetic changes wrought by diet occur in all cells of the body including ova and sperm so that these changes can be passed on to offspring by both parents. The article closes with this:
It is possible that eating more omega-3 fatty acids, choline, betaine, folic acid and vitamin B12, by mothers and fathers, possibly can alter chromatin state and mutations, as well as have beneficial effects…leading to birth of a 'super baby' with long life and [lower risk] of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.