Sunday, February 27, 2011

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

By Alan Caruba

This first appeared here in 2007

Enemies of Energy: A November 30 news release from Friends of the Earth announces that this environmental group “has been working behind the scenes to kill a provision in the Democrat’s energy bill that would force taxpayers to underwrite a new generation of nuclear reactors.”

It does not mention that taxpayer’s are forced to underwrite the production of ethanol, a gasoline additive that is (1) driving up the cost of driving your car and all 3,000 products that involve the use of corn, (2) that ethanol generates less energy efficient than gasoline, and (3) provides no savings to the consumer because it requires so much energy to produce it.

However, at a time when all the politicians keep telling us that America must become “energy independent” and “reduce greenhouse emissions”, a leading environmental organization is lobbying hard against subsidies that would encourage the building of nuclear facilities to provide the electricity a nation of 300 million people will need. Nuclear facilities are famously non-polluting.

In a nation in which subsidies to agriculture and all kinds of industrial activities are commonplace, Friends of the Earth is opposed to those which will provide the energy we must have to remain economically competitive and provide for the needs of a growing population.

Nanny Government: We now hear that the Food and Drug Administration wants to regulate the amount of salt (sodium) in our diets. Since when did we cede the right to decide what we eat and how much to the federal government?

Even if it is true that 75% of the salt the average American consumes comes from processed foods and restaurant meals, where is it written in the Constitution that the federal government can and must regulate this? I am all for the FDA protecting Americans against drugs that may harm health and food that may pose a threat, but there’s a big difference between ensuring that meat is not diseased and deciding just how much salt an individual may consume.

There’s a reason there is a high percentage of sodium in packaged foods. Since ancient times it has been known that salt is a preservative, protecting food against spoilage, and it also adds to the taste of food.

I am sure we shall hear numbers cited as to how many people die every year from too much salt in their diet, but one should be suspicious of such statistics as they generally leave out a lot of other factors that may well have also contributed to high blood pressure—such as a genetic inclination in some families towards this—and the fact that many of the people who are said to have died from too much salt may well have died from something else.

Hurricane Hysterics: What do we know as the annual hurricane season comes to an end? We know that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with some meteorologists who have gained recognition for their predictions of how many hurricanes will occur both got the 2007 predictions wrong.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, in a November 30 news release, believes that NOAA “is inflating the count of tropical storms and aiding a political campaign to regulate energy use in the process.” It notes that 2007 is the second year in a row that NOAA got its predictions wrong.

We need to understand that there have always been hurricanes as part of the earth’s bounty of disasters that afflict human beings. There were hurricanes before there even were human beings. They are a natural part of the earth’s climate system, so except for the problems they cause whether there are more or less of them has absolutely nothing to do with global warming because there is no dramatic or unusual global warming. The earth has warmed about one degree Fahrenheit since the end of the last mini ice age around 1850.

And, yes, hurricanes have become politicized in the effort by environmentals to convince everyone the earth is doomed.

I like to tell people that Mother Nature’s message to humans is “Get out of the way! Here comes a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, an earthquake, a blizzard, a wild fire, et cetera.


Alan’s work has a sense of timelessness about it, so anyone perusing these articles in the future will find them equally insightful as they were when originally written. For Alan's latest thoughts go to his blog, Warning Signs. For his past works go to The National Anxiety Center. I would also recommend reading his last book, Right Answers.


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Saturday, February 26, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Seven

 By Rich Kozlovich

This week is full of thought provoking issues. It goes from fraud to common sense public health. There is one issue highlighted here today that involves disturbing long term ethical and moral issues; who decides who gets what in health care.

I need to explain that I have always felt that entirely too much money is spent on people at the end of their lives and not nearly enough on those at the beginning of their lives. Naturally the elderly need more care, which takes more money simply because they have more problems as their bodies wear out. Well, I will be 65 this year and my views haven't changed, I still think that too much is spent on the elderly; often times keeping people alive who are miserable and ready to go. I have made it clear that I don't want my life extended if I can't "live" my life. I don't want to be bed ridden and wearing a diaper, because I can't even go to the bathroom by myself. That is an indignity I can do without. However, I still don't want some government bureaucrat making that decision for me or anyone else either.

This has implications that are so far reaching, so deeply disturbing and so antithetical to everything that is part and parcel of the American psyche that I can’t help but see a similarity between this and the direction Margret Sanger wanted the world to go with her views on eugenics?

Is it so farfetched to believe that this is a system that eventually will put the government in a position to decide on who gets born and who may “have” to be aborted, and who will be “allowed” to die, irrespective of cost? Remember that it went on, and as far as I can tell, it still goes on in China. Why did Chou En Lai die when he did? Because Mao ordered that he should not be given treatment, even though he was his comrade in arms for all those years, and the person who carried out Mao’s genocidal policies. Is this concern over reaching on my part? Perhaps….but it isn’t without logical foundation.

Enjoy this week's offerings.

New Book Takes On Erin Brockovich’s “Greenscam”
Reporter Norma Zager's new book Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam is damning. Zager is a past winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's Journalist of the Year and Best Investigative Reporter awards, and like so many people, she started out as a Brockovich supporter. Zager thought that she had been assigned to cover a lawsuit initiated by Brockovich which would show that Beverly Hills schoolchildren and teachers were being needlessly exposed to deadly toxins in the

Worst pollution on air or in print?: More junk science from The Lancet
The highly reputed British medical journal The Lancet released a "study" purporting to show that exposure to traffic was the leading proximate cause of heart attacks. The researchers also claimed that air pollution triggered more heart attacks than getting angry, having sex, snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana or suffering a respiratory infection. The study authors based their conclusions on a "meta-regression analysis" of 36 specially selected "individual and population" studies
For those who have never read a book on statistics; I can tell you that there is a reason it is called the “arcane science”, and meta-analysis studies is one reason. “Meta-analysis takes individual studies that don’t stand up on their own from a statistical point of view and combines their statistics to construct a new statistically stronger and newsworthy study.” When “junksters” are unhappy with the end result of strong studies they will resort to meta-analysis. Although it has been pointed out that the use meta-analysis isn’t entirely inappropriate, it has been misused so much that anything that smacks of meta-analysis is called, into question, and should be until all the data is sorted out. Special thanks to Steve Milloy for his explanation of this in his book, Junk Science Judo.
New Book Takes On Erin Brockovich’s “Greenscam”
Reporter Norma Zager's new book Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam is damning. Zager is a past winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's Journalist of the Year and Best Investigative Reporter awards, and like so many people, she started out as a Brockovich supporter. Zager thought that she had been assigned to cover a lawsuit initiated by Brockovich which would show that Beverly Hills schoolchildren and teachers were being needlessly exposed to deadly toxins in the
As in the case of all of these junk science claims. It is followed by unjustified compensation! Worse yet is the long term economic impact because this kind of stuff breeds; inaction! No economy can survive without someone inventing products, producing products and selling products. The fear of unwarranted litigation is part and parcel of our economic woes. Attorneys and activists may be thriving from this type of activity, but that is like demanding a seat at the Captain’s table on the Titanic.
I know this comparison is a bit overused, but it is used so often because it is true. As for the activists and this type of irrational activism…..well….it is hard to fix stupidity or insanity. Remember, all ideological values aren’t based on facts, logic or reality, and everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality.
Supreme Court says vaccine lawsuits not allowed outside vaccine court
In a decision providing comfort to anyone hoping to protect children from the ravages of preventable diseases, the United States Supreme Court voted six-to-two yesterday that the special Vaccine Injury Compensation Court must remain the only judicial means through which to settle vaccine lawsuits.
I’m optimistic about this. Activists filing lawsuits on some issue or other will “shop” the judge and the court to have a higher assurance of a positive ruling. After reading Whores, by the founder of Judicial Watch, Larry Klayman, I can understand why there are so many stupid rulings from these courts. We need courts that specialize in science. Courts that are required to explain the science behind their decisions, and have the ability to explain the science. Then perhaps that will stop much of the insanity.
Whooping cough vaccine a matter of public health, not philosophy
Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, came back with a vengeance in 2010, infecting over 21,000 people - thehighest incidence since 2005 and among the worst years of infection in over half a century.

Shingles not just a one-hit wonder
Shingles, a disease caused by the Varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chicken pox, will affect an estimated one in three Americans at some point, and there are one million new cases in the U.S. each year.

American Heart Association updates advice for women
Late last week the American Heart Association (AHA) issued updated guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women. The new guidelines are a revision of those most recently endorsed in 2007.

Better way to fight H. pylori
Researchers from Madgeburg, Germany report that a quadruple therapy regimen for those suffering from Helicobacterpylori (H. pylori) infection is more effective than the current three-drug treatment, to which the bacterium is rapidly becoming resistant.
Causes stomach Ulcers.
Study: Don’t let cell phones go to your head
Cellular phones may increase brain activity in regions closest to the antenna, according to a study published in the February 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Scrubs and public health: What not to wear outside the hospital
Hospital employees - including doctors, nurses and others - who wear their scrubs or gowns outside of work may unknowingly pose a public health threat, Dr. Betsy McCaughey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Monday.

Special delivery: Mail-in STD tests, other programs aim to encourage youth self-testing
Up to half of sexually active young people will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by age 25. Yet many avoid the embarrassment of getting an STD test or recoil from the prospect of discussing these subjects with their parents. For this population, Johns Hopkins University has developed a program that provides a free mail-in STD testing kit which offers anonymity and convenience. Called "I Want the Kit," the web-based program offers STD information and free gonorrhea and chlamydia tests


A drink a day helps keep heart disease at bay
Two new large meta-analysis studies published yesterday in BMJ provide further evidence for a view which ACSH haspromoted for years: moderate alcohol consumption protects against cardiovascular disease.

PCB removal from light fixtures not such a bright idea
After months-long pressure on the city to replace light fixtures containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in schools, the Environmental Protection Agency finally got its way yesterday when the Bloomberg administration said it would allocate $708 million for the effort over the next decade.

Two smoking hot stories about nicotine
In the U.S., Judge Gladys Kessler announced a decision requiring tobacco companies to run advertisements and put notices on their product packages acknowledging that they deliberately misled the public about the health effects of so-called light cigarettes and the addictiveness of nicotine. The blurbs will include admissions from the companies that they were well-aware that nicotine was addictive when they claimed it was not and that low-tar and light cigarettes aren't meaningfully

New policy for kidney transplants: Brutal or moral?
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the non-profit group charged with co-ordinating organ allocation, is considering a new policy which would give explicit preference to younger patients in need of kidney transplants.

Too many American women getting surgical breast cancer biopsies
A story in The New York Times about a report to be published in The American Journal of Surgery suggests that far more American women are undergoing invasive surgical biopsies for breast cancer than is warranted.

PSA test results: It isn’t how fast they go up
A study of 5,519 men conducted by Dr. Andrew Vickers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York showed that rising levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) were not an indicator of an increased risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Vickers' team found that only high absolute levels of PSA were a marker of increased cancer risk.
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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Second EPA Bed Bug Summit: Activity as a Substitute for Accomplishment, Part III

By Rich Kozlovich

Since I am heavily involved in my industry’s affairs I was asked if I was going to this latest EPA Summit. I said I wouldn’t waste my time and money because I already knew it was nothing but a bunch of claptrap. I have read a number of reports and had conversations with those who went; nothing that I have read or heard has changed my view.

Bold headlines state:
• “EPA’s bedbug summit aids to squash epidemic” –
• “Bed bug summit strategizes on formulation a plan for future”.
• “Bed Bug Summit: Officials encourage public not to ‘freak out’
• “The War on Bedbugs starts today: The 2nd National Bed Bug Summit”
• “National Bed Bug Summit Hopes to Find Solutions”
Although this sounds impressive, what is it they really accomplished? The only thing they have accomplished is to decide that they would need more summits, more posters, more public education, more about the desperate need to implement IPM, more wasted time and money, and a national clearing house for bed bug information; but most importantly; more government. That was the theme in the first Bed Bug Summit, it was the theme in the Butterfield Bill and it is the theme in this summit. Bureaucrats just can’t help it. Let’s face it. If a solution is simple bureaucrats will hate it.
Question - What happens after we know all there is to know about bed bugs and have shared it with the world?

Answer - Well, having all of that information in one really big book and then smacking them with it will kill every bed bug it hits.

Question - What happens when the public is aware of all aspects of bed bug biology and can share it with the rest of the world and all the bureaucracies that will be involved in this “information central” they wish to create.

Answer - They will still have them; but at least they will know why!
Otherwise it is the same old stuff. Bed bugs are spreading exponentially throughout the nation, in spite of the unending promotion by EPA of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and the claim by them that “we must” implement IPM in our bed bugs control programs; a program which apparently doesn’t work, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
Manitoba Must Move Faster on Bed Bugs
Canada NewsWire
Abell also provided advice on bed bug prevention at a recent Quebec conference and at last year's Bed Bug Summit hosted by the Ontario government. ...

Bedbug infestation spreads south to Florida
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
AP Bedbugs are seen in a container from the lab at the National Pest Management Association, during the National Bedbug Summit in Washington on Tuesday. ...

Bedbug crisis not abating, specialists warn
CNN International
... bedbug crisis is unlikely to subside at any point in the near future, experts concluded Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency's second summit ...
Apparently this plague is spreading so fast that everyone else in the world seems to be getting it; so why does the EPA continue to promote programs that haven’t worked? In point of fact, their programs are responsible for this nationwide plague.

Insisting on increased government spending and enlarged government involvement through bigger interlocking bureaucracies is an insistence on maintaining policies that hasn’t worked in the past and will not work in the future. That makes it a form of insanity.

Why haven’t these so-called IPM programs worked? Since I am the world’s foremost expert on IPM in structural pest control I can tell you why this isn’t working. It doesn’t exist! There is no such thing as IPM in structural pest control because the concept has no logical or scientific foundation for its existence in structural pest control. The only reason it exists is because the government says it exists. That doesn’t change the lack of logical and scientific foundation.

IPM is an agricultural concept first outlined in 1959 in The Hilgardia, an obscure agriculture magazine, which laid the logical foundation for IPM based on threshold limits. A certain amount of pests cause a certain amount of damage. When the level of damage exceeds the cost of a pesticide application, you made a pesticide application.

So, if threshold limits are the logical foundation for IPM in agriculture; what is the logical and scientific foundation for IPM in structural pest control? There isn’t any! If there isn’t any it has no methodology, no real technique and few results. Let me make this as clear as I can. Good sanitation isn’t IPM. Monitoring isn’t IPM. Customer education isn’t IPM. Public education isn’t IPM. The use of pesticides or failure to use pesticides isn’t IPM. Those are tools and techniques of traditional pest control. You can call it IPM if you like, but it isn’t IPM because IPM is now and has always been an agricultural concept based on threshold limits and the threshold limit for vermin in our homes and businesses is zero.

There has been talk about new research on bed bug genes and how “this is a new bug”. Baloney! Just because there is resistance in the current bed bugs populations that we are facing doesn’t mean that it is a whole new bug! There has been more and more talk about resistance as if we didn’t already know that this existed and why. Bed bugs that have been deliberately isolated for decades practically die at the whiff of any pesticide in their area. That doesn’t make modern varieties “new bugs”.

First of all we need to know that when any pests are isolated and kept away from pesticides those resistant members decline. Why? Back in the 1980’s we had a lot of difficulties with cockroaches and resistance. At a Purdue conference at that time there was a discussion regarding this genetic phenomenon. They went on to describe how they attempted to use DDT on cockroaches once again and viola…. It worked….for a very short while and then resistance reared its ugly head and it was no longer effective. Why? It turned out that there are always resistant members of any species, and can reappear quickly once they have been a dominant group. But they are not the hardiest of their group. It was the non-resistant members that were the hardiest members. Once they were killed off with pesticides the less hardy with the resistant gene became dominant. When the pesticide is removed from their environment generation after generation….guess what happens? The hardier members (which are not resistant) become dominant, and the resistant members decline. Given enough time the resistant members could presumable disappear in a small population.

None of this changes what the real answer to bed bugs is! Effective, inexpensive chemistry that is easy to use and available to everyone. Period! No more need for community involvement, no more community outreach programs, no more expanded bureaucracy, no more wasted money….but most importantly…no more suffering for those least able to afford current treatment techniques.

There was a short commentary published by Karen De Coster on February 2, 2011PM called, Bed Bug Pandemic that I felt outlined how people actually feel about this issue. She goes on to say;
I thought I was listening to Mad Magazine Radio yesterday when I heard about the National Bed Bug Summit. But the dial was on FOX radio, I am sure of it. Apparently, this summit came about because the Federal Bed Bug Working Group had failed to provide a solution to the problem. And then I heard Mayor Bloomberg call for a Bed Bug Czar. Keep in mind that Bloomberg already has a 10-person Bed Bug Advisory Board. The Bloomberg-Advisory Board plan for dealing with bed bugs will look like this:
…key elements of the plan include creating a bed bug task force headed by an entomologist, a public education push, a city-funded “Bed Bug Academy” for building & property managers, assigning bed bug cases higher priority in Housing Court, and giving stronger rights of access to bed bug-infested apartments. The battle plan will also establish a clear protocol for residents dealing with a bed bug problem, including a “triage” plan detailing what to do in the first 24 hours.
……..only the government can solve (this) through the means of bureaucrat planning, Czars, advisory boards, public policy, and Three Stooges reruns.
So then what is the answer? History clearly outlines what must be done. In 1945 when the boys came back from the war bed bugs were ubiquitous. Why? Because they were here when they left! In 1946 they were mostly dead. Why? DDT was introduced to society. Then when resistance developed in bed bugs to DDT we shifted to malathion and then other organophosphates and carbamates. Effective, inexpensive chemistry that is easy to use and available to everyone was the answer. That was the answer in 1946 and if that isn’t the answer in 2011there will be no answer, and that goes for 2012, 2013, etc. I said that about 2010…and I was right…that wasn’t the answer in 2010 and there is no answer.

For more information please visit My Bed Bug Series

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Using Fear to Ban BPA - The BPA File, Part Two

By Alan Caruba

Writing for Health News Digest.com in early February, Michael D. Shaw noted that bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics and an ingredient in the epoxy resin used as a protective coating in metal cans, “is one of the most heavily studied chemicals of all time. Indeed, there are more than 6,000 scientific papers devoted to this compound.”

That’s a remarkable amount of research. What’s more remarkable is that no peer-reviewed research has ever shown any harm to humans from BPA in normal consumer use. After a three-year study published in the Oxford journal Toxicological Sciences, even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that there is no threat from BPA.

Despite decades of studies that show no harm, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still wants to take what it calls “reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.” Yet it is BPA’s use in lining cans and plastic containers that reduces human exposure to botulism and other deadly food-borne illnesses.

What is “reasonable” about limiting something that protects public health and safeguards the American food supply?

Shaw called BPA the “perhaps the favorite target of fear entrepreneurial and ‘environmental’ fund-raising groups, even though there is not a scintilla of evidence shows harm to humans at any rational level of exposure to this chemical.”

Shaw’s observation is best illustrated by news stories promoting studies showing that BPA has been detected in the urine of more than 90 percent of Americans, but those same stories do not mention that BPA measured in human urine samples amounts to 2.6 micrograms per liter, which is 1,000 times less than the EPA reference dose.

If humans were exposed to massive amounts of BPA every day of their lives, they would still face no harm, but actual “exposure” is so small as to be virtually beyond measure.

If science does not support the many claims against BPA then why are there efforts by legislators to introduce new laws to ban BPA and other beneficial chemicals? Politics and fear are no substitute for science. They are used as fund-raising tools for environmental groups and to give politicians the appearance of acting in the public interest.

Unfortunately, the failure to check the facts has made some news media co-conspirators in this scare campaign, whenever they repeat baseless claims about BPA.

This false BPA narrative is so prevalent that in January, Rep. Edward Markey, (D-MA) introduced a bill to prohibit BPA in food and drink containers. Never mind the innumerable studies showing no harm from BPA, the complete absence of any study showing consumer harm from BPA and the half century of safe BPA use.

Rep. Markey claims his bill “will help keep BPA out of our bodies while also ensuring that all food and beverage containers are free from dangerous chemicals.” The truth is that banning BPA from use in metal or plastic food containers would invite potentially fatal health risks from food poisoning.

Eight states, plus Canada and the European Union have already approved limitations on BPA, none of which is based on any evidence that BPA causes harm to human health. The justification has always been the “Precautionary Principle” which requires the banning of something unless it can be proved to be not harmful. Use of the Precautionary Principle in science is akin to malpractice because it is impossible to prove a negative.

The confusion over BPA has so far resulted in sharp divides over whether and how to further regulate it.  While the Massachusetts Public Health Council approved new BPA restrictions last year, the California Senate rejected a similar ban in that state in 2010.   In Maine, state regulators sought draconian restrictions on BPA only to have Governor Paul LePage offer a regulatory reform program reversing those regulators in favor of having Maine’s standards parallel those of the federal government.

At the federal level, the U.S. Senate last year defeated attempts by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to impose a federal ban on BPA in certain products while the World Health Organization last November recommended against any further regulations to further limit or ban BPA.

Fear tactics, not scientific fact, are the primary drivers being used to deprive Americans of a necessary and safe component in valuable shatterproof plastics and a proven method of protecting food and drink. Only by overcoming a legion of fear-mongers can BPA continue to do so.

This was originally posted on Alan’s site, Warning Signs, Here….

See Part One

Part one originally appeared Here


 Alan 's work has a sense of timelessness about it, so anyone perusing these articles in the future will find them equally insightful as they were when originally written.  For Alan's latest thoughts go to his blog, Warning Signs.  For his past works go to The National Anxiety Center. I would also recommend reading his last book, Right Answers

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Six

By Rich Kozlovich


Over many years of reading ACSH's Dispatches I have always been amazed at how much they review....and on how many subjects. Although I have strong opinions on many green issues and write about them, I mostly stay within my own realm of pest control and the chemistry involved. The people at ACSH cover so many topics and issues each week that it amazes me. When visiting their web page you will find so much information on these topics that it makes me wonder how many people actually work there. When in reality....I don't think there are all that many, which makes their work all the more impressive.

In days gone by I decided to organize all of this stuff by topic and publish the links once a month, but there was just way too much information, way too many issues, way too many topics….and it got way too complicated, so I abandoned that little project. My problem is that I have a job that interferes with my life. However, this week I have attempted to organize this week's links topically to some small extent. Beginning this week I will also be adding some of my own comments at the end of some of the links, much as I do in my weekly newsletter.

I hope everyone enjoys this week's offerings.


Whatever Happened to AIDS?
ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom has published a paper today on the largely untold story of how one of the scariest diseases of the 20th century - AIDS - was beaten back by modern pharmaceutical research.

Investor’s Business Daily hails ACSH AIDS paper
Today's Investor's Business Daily includes an editorial lauding the new paper by ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom on the central role that the American pharmaceutical companies played in taming the AIDS epidemic.

Experts say X-rays, scans for lower back pain lack support
The American College of Physicians (ACP) announced new guidelines for the assessment of lower back pain that call for fewer imaging scans.

New FDA-approved 3-D mammography devices may add extra dimension to breast cancer detection
There's good news for women worried about their annual mammogram - the FDA has just approved a new 3-D mammography device that may help doctors more accurately detect breast cancer.

Health reform’s emphasis on early diagnosis: more harm than good?
Speaking of unnecessary medical procedures, a Q&A article in the Los Angeles Times with Dr. H. Gilbert Welch highlights his views on the potential public health consequences of preventative medicine.

High fiber diet may increase longevity
Some may start scouring their cupboards to dig into a fiber-rich meal after a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which reveals that eating more fiber may help people live longer.

Some researchers need to wake up and smell the energy drink
If it were left up to ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross, he would add a sub headline to the article "Energy Drinks May Hurt Kids: Study" that would read, "Then Again, Maybe They Don't."

India’s growing malnutrition could be ameliorated by approving biotech crops and pesticides
In a New York Times article Saturday, journalist Vikas Bajaj highlights the food struggle in rural India, where many people are confronted by the problems of malnutrition and soaring food prices. 
It is interesting that over all of these many years countries practicing "organic" agriculture couldn't wait to adopt modern techniques, including the use of GMO's, fertilizers and pesticides. Norman Borlaug proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that in order to feed the world we need these techniques.

It is also interesting that those living in the comfort of the first world who decry the use of these products and techniques, claiming great harm to society and the environment don't move to the countries that according to them should be paradisiac. I have also found that those who are the most vociferous in their demands are urban dwellers with access to more than enough food to care for all of their needs and the needs of their neighbors.

Even if they are "organic" grazers, that doesn't alter the fact that the enormous amounts of food produced with modern technuques permits their "organic" lifestyle. Eliminate modern techniques and food production will drop, prices will increase, and dystopia will follow. RK
New report shows that even without other risk factors obesity is deadly Yesterday's issue of the journal Heart reports on a study performed in Britain on 6,082 middle-aged men diagnosed with high cholesterol but with no history of heart disease or diabetes. The study authors wished to know whether obesity alone increased the likelihood of a fatal heart attack. Therefore, they controlled for other risk factors, including cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and arterial disease.

Study confirms calorie listings don’t have much bite
Last month we reported on a study in the Seattle-area showing that listing the calories in different items offered at fast food restaurants did not affect customers' eating habits. This conclusion is bolstered by a new study undertaken in New York City and Newark, New Jersey published online by the International Journal of Obesity.

FDA loosens the belt on Lap-Band surgery
After rejecting the approval of three new weight-loss drugs in the past few months, the FDA on Wednesday implemented a change which represents a minor advance in the fight against the obesity epidemic: lowering the requirements for patients who wish to use Allergan's Lap-Band stomach-restricting device.

Diabetics get sweet news on salt intake
An observational study published in the journal Diabetes Care is calling into question recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans that recommend adults, and especially diabetics, should consume no more than two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day, or about 1.5 grams.

FDA denied: Drug development down as companies face steeper regulations
The prognosis for the approval of innovative new drugs is more dismal than ever.

New anticoagulant Pradaxa offers benefits over mainstay Coumadin
Three different heart groups - the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society - all have just announced that the recently approved anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) should be considered as an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin) as treatment for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.

Avastin eyes new indication for retinopathy of prematurity
Roche Holding AG's cancer drug Avastin has been shown in a new study published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine to hold great promise for treating retinopathy of prematurity, a devastating condition among some premature babies.

Keeping a watchful eye out for a major risk factor for blindness
t turns out that the French don't just produce good wine. A just released study published in the Archives ofOphthalmology of 700 diabetic men and women in Western France shows that the risk of retinopathy in diabetic patients is directly related to their glycemic levels. Retinopathy in diabetics is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in adults of middle-age and older. The degree of glucose control in the diabetic population was monitored using both fasting blood

Cold hard evidence for zinc remedy? Not quite
A new study from the medical clearinghouse Cochrane Database indicates that zinc-containing medications may shed days off cold symptoms compared to a placebo, but the jury is still out on the best formulation recommended for consumers.

Careful! Cold medicines are not for small children
While more consumers may begin looking to zinc as remedies for their colds, new data indicate that many parents are inappropriately administering other over-the-counter (OTC) cold remedies to their infants.

CSPI call for caramel color ban is artificially flavored with misrepresented science
When ACSH first heard about the latest push for an FDA ban by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) - this time for the supposed "carcinogen" and caramel coloring byproduct 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), found in colas  - we thought this would be just another one of the activist group's dead end stories.

Banning e-cigarettes on planes flies in the face of science
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals refused to reevaluate an appellate court's December 2010 decision to not grant the FDA the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices. Yet this court decision has not stopped the U.S. Department of Transportation from banning e-cigarettes on U.S. flights.

Senators’ pitch for MLB smokeless tobacco ban
If two Senators have their way, baseball fans will no longer have to watch their favorite ball players spit in the dugout or field - at least not tobacco, that is.

Small businesses needlessly burdened with CPSIA over-regulation
Representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) testified yesterday before the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee alongside representatives of various small businesses and manufacturers regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

The Greens Are Going Crazy!

By Alan Caruba (July 29, 2008)

It’s hard to ignore the fact that the Greens are going crazy, not just in the United States, but around the world. They are increasingly frantic over the opposition being voiced against global warming, one of the greatest hoaxes in modern history.

The Greens have bet everything on global warming as the reason for giving up the use of long established sources of energy such as oil, coal and natural gas. The object has been to slow everything the modern world calls progress.

In India, a spokesman for that nation of one billion people has flatly refused to accept the global warming hoax. China shows no sign of yielding to the global warming lies. The greatest agricultural and mercantile economy to have ever existed, the United States of America, continues to thwart its own growth by yielding to the lies.

Recently the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said that “coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It’s global warming. It’s ruining our country. It’s ruining our world.”

No, what makes us sick is listening to such preposterous lies. A Rasmussen telephone survey taken after Sen. Reid’s absurd statement found that 52% of voters surveyed rejected his views about coal and oil, double the amount of those who agreed.

What is troublesome, however, is that the same survey found the voters evenly divided on whether global warming exists or poses a threat. Fully 47% of those surveyed believe that human activity affects the climate. Both candidates for President are publicly committed to the global warming hoax by varying degrees.

Despite an intense, decades-long propaganda campaign, coupled with indoctrination in our nation’s schools, the truth is beginning to emerge.

In March, an international conference on climate change organized by The Heartland Institute brought together over 500 of the world’s leading climatologists, meteorologists, economists and others for three days of seminars and presentations that completely refuted the pronouncements of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and disputed the lies of Al Gore’s famed “documentary.”

As recently as July 8, the Space and Science Research Center held a news conference in which it stated that the warming that has occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 was completely natural, i.e., had nothing to do with human or industrial activity.

More significantly, the Center went on record saying that, “After an exhaustive review of a substantial body of climate research, and in conjunction with the obvious and compelling new evidence that exists, it is time that the world community acknowledges that the Earth has begun the next climate change.” The current warming period is not only at an end, but a distinct cooling cycle has begun and will bring “predominantly colder global temperatures for many years into the future.”

Just how crazed has the environmental movement become? On July 7 it was announced that Argentine scientists have been strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect and measure how much methane gas they produce.

Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a minor component of the Earth’s atmosphere. Methane is also released from swamps, landfills and other sources. If it and CO2 played a significant role in determining the world’s climate, it would be a cause for concern, but it is the Sun that primarily drives the Earth’s climate cycles. Solar activity has gone quiet in recent years as fewer and fewer sunspots, magnetic storms, have been seen.

To maintain the global warming hoax, thousands of events and natural phenomena have been blamed on it. A recent example is the floods in America’s mid-West. The National Wildlife Federation released a statement on July 1 blaming global warming.

Climate experts at The Heartland Institute were quick to respond. Dr. Joseph D’Aleo, Executive Director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, said, “Alarmists have adopted the can’t-lose position that all extremes of weather—cold, warm, wet, or dry—are all due to global warming”, adding that, “The record snows, severe weather, and heavy rainfall have been the result of rapid cooling in the northern tier of the United States and Canada, not global warming.”

Early in July, Bret Stephens, writing in The Wall Street Journal, called global warming “a mass hysteria phenomenon”, noting that “NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world’s oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years…”

The global warming hoax has never been about the climate. It is about competing economic theories. “Socialism may have failed as an economic theory,” wrote Stephens, “but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism.”

The United States Senate refused to consider the UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that requires massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based solely on the global warming hoax, but other nations did sign on. None have ever met their obligation to limit CO2 emissions, nor need they have bothered.

At the recent G8 conference an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions was given serious consideration despite the fact that the Earth is now a decade into a cooling cycle likely to last several decades or longer. The impact of this proposal on the lives of ordinary citizens will prove needlessly costly. Proposals in some nations for various taxes based on global warming are a form of fraud.

The sensible refusal by leaders in emerging economies such as China and India would make it impossible for any limitations on carbon emissions by Western nations to have any impact, even if such reductions had anything to do with the realities of the Earth’s climate.

The only thing that can be predicted with certainty is that the Greens will become increasingly unhinged and crazed by the failure of the global warming hoax.

© 2008 Alan Caruba.
All rights reserved.

Alan’s work has a sense of timelessness about it, so anyone perusing these articles in the future will find them equally insightful as they were when originally written. For Alan's latest thoughts go to his blog, Warning Signs. For his past works go to The National Anxiety Center. I would also recommend reading his last book, Right Answers.


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Saturday, February 12, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Five

By Rich Kozlovich

As I publish these links each week from the American Council on Science and Health you will notice that ACSH is never at a loss to find a new scare. Why? Because they are jumping up all the time!  Has this been the case in the past? Yes and no! In days gone by the opportunity to scare huge numbers of people at the same time, over a broad area, was severely limited.  The media has changed all of that, and furthermore there is now a great deal of money and prominence in the scare mongering business….. especially in the form of government grant money.  My purpose here is to make everyone aware of how much claptrap is out there and how to do some critical thinking about it. Something you will never see in the media

As for the smoking issue discussed here; I think it is one of the worst inflictions man has imposed on himself! However, I don't like the ban on smoking because it is way too much decision making by bureaucrats on what people should and shouldn’t be allowed to do, largely based on the idea that second had smoke harms others. Having said that, I absolutely think that there is an adverse health effect on others by secondary smoke[; but not to the extent they claim. And mostly because we now know they doctored the data to get the conclusions they wanted.

However, as for insisting that companies should not be firing employees who smoke as opposed to helping them to quit smoking; I do believe that permitting companies to fire employees who smoke, refuse employment to smokers, charging them higher insurance premiums, or even making them pay for their own health insurance will do more to help people quit smoking than any government imposed ban or company anti-smoking program. 

If you want to see why people are doing what they are doing; look to see how they are being rewarded.

Enjoy this week’s offerings!


After vilifying sugary soft drinks as one of the main causes of our nation's obesity epidemic, the media is now going after diet sodas as well by publicizing a thoroughly unscientific, poorly executed study presented yesterday at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

New frontiers on tobacco harm reduction Despite receiving even an A-list celebrity testimonial on their efficacy, e-cigarettes have gotten a lot of flack from public health opponents who argue that the clean nicotine delivery device is harmful and contains "toxic" chemicals.

A bipartisan diet for the White HouseAmericans should focus on achieving a "balance" in their diets, stressed First Lady Michelle Obama at a press meeting celebrating the first-year anniversary of her anti-obesity Let's Move campaign yesterday.

HPV vaccine also protects against anal cancerYesterday's The New York Times underscored the risks associated with anal cancer - facts largely unknown to many U.S. adults.

Those born to be wild should always wear a helmetIn a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgery, researchers debunked the myth that motorcycle helmets are associated with a higher risk of cervical spine injury.

Lymph node removal for early breast cancer not essential? That’s so last month!The top story in today's The New York would have you believe that a new JAMA study showing that it may not be necessary to remove the axillary lymph nodes in early-stage cases of breast cancer is the first report of its kind.

More fun under the sun lowers MS riskA new study from sunny Down Under bolsters the link between multiple sclerosis (MS) and sun exposure and vitamin D levels.

Vancouver gives harm reduction a shot in the arm with clean needle programThe New York Times reports that, thanks in large part to Insite, the only "safe injection site" in North America, Vancouver has seen a 52 percent reduction in new HIV infections since 1996, even as other cities are experiencing an increase.

Plenty of bugs in EPA prioritiesAs the bed bug epidemic continues to spread through New York City and elsewhere, the EPA is now planning to commence research aimed at developing pesticide alternatives, especially genetic-based solutions, rather than allow DDT to be used.

For some infants, solid food too early may have hefty consequencesThe March issue of Pediatrics presents some startling if unexplained findings aboutinfant health. Researchers who conducted a study of 847 babies in eastern Massachusetts found that there was a 6.3 fold increase in the likelihood that a child would be obese at age three if a bottle-fed infant began eating solid foods before four months of age compared to bottle-fed infants who began eating solid foods after four months.

First lady applies moral suasion on restaurant giantsIn a Page One story, The New York Times reported on Michelle Obama's attempts to coax the American restaurant industry in the direction of preparing healthier offerings for children. This is part of her Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity. The Times notes that meetings between Mrs. Obama's aides and the National Restaurant Association are intended to prod the industry towards smaller portions and plates of "carrots, apple slices and milk instead of French

Pfizer shifts research to China: Is anyone to blame?Pfizer is the world's largest pharmaceutical company. So its actions must be taken as important on their own terms and as a barometer for larger trends within the pharmaceutical industry. This is likely the relevant context for judging its decision announced last week to shutter U.S. and British labs and move its antibiotic research program to new facilities in Shanghai. About twenty-five percent of Pfizer's scientists will be let go in the process.

Fear of defibrillators is truly shockingIf you saw someone dying of a heart attack and an electric defibrillator was nearby, would you pick up the paddles and try to shock the victim back to life? According to a troubling new report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, nearly half of the population could not identify an automated external defibrillator (AED) and 43 percent of people would not use one even if they could.

USDA Beets Back the EnvironmentalistsACSH staffers are pleased that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has once again ruled on the side of science, this time allowing American farmers to continue growing genetically modified sugar beets.

FDA delivers bundle of joy with the approval of a treatment that reduces preterm births Under its accelerated approval program, the FDA announced Friday that it has given the go-ahead to K-V Pharmaceutical Co.'s new drug Makena, a synthetic form of progesterone used to reduce the risk of premature delivery.

World Cancer Research Fund needs to do its homeworkCancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. At least that's what the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) would have you believe in its report Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Senseless smoke-free stats all smoke and mirrorsThere is no such thing as a safe form of tobacco, says Joseph Lee, a social research specialist for the Department of Family Medicine at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in an op-ed last week for Raleigh's NewsObserver.com. Today's New York Times contains a Page One story on a strange and disquieting trend: U.S. businesses - especially those involved in health care - are increasingly banning not only smoking by employees, but employees who smoke. Among the first of the leading medical institutions to implement the policy was the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio in 2007.

A better treatment for spina bifida?: New in utero surgery is a marvel
Another study in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine; reports on a surgical marvel. A controlled study of fetuses diagnosed via sonogram in utero with spina bifida - a neural tube defect - showed that their outcomes could be dramatically improved through surgery performed prenatally. Spina bifida is a condition in which the spinal column is incompletely fused and the spinal cord is exposed, and it can lead to muscle weakness, bladder

FDA speaks with forked tongue on medical device approval
A business article published yesterday by The New York Times alerts us to a profound worry: FDA over-regulation of the medical device industry is driving companies in this business overseas to countries like China, India and Brazil. The approval process for new medical devices is not only more difficult and time-consuming in the U.S. than it is in Asia and Latin America, the article points out that it is even harder than in the notoriously regulation-obsessed European Union.

More dubious assertions from advocates of smoking bansACSH scientific advisor and Professor of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Michael Siegel points to a troubling misrepresentation by advocates of smoking bans. University of Iowa researchers claimed that a state ban on smoking in public places had lowered rates of heart disease by, as an NBC TV affiliate put it, "staggering numbers." But Dr. Siegel notes that if anything, the data show just the opposite. It appears that already rapidly

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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!


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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Green Wealth: Funding the Enemy

By Alan Caruba

Green and animal rights organizations do not subsist on the sale of calendars, books, and stuffed animals. They are wealthy beyond the comprehension of most Americans and others who support them in the belief they are "protecting the environment" and saving animals from "cruelty" and "extinction."

You will be astonished to learn that there are more than 4,000 environmental groups in America today. "And the number is growing," warns Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, "and they are really out to get you." Worse, they have the clout and the money to do it." They use it to lobby and support members of Congress to initiate legislation harmful to the interests of all Americans.

Hugo Gurdon of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in a recent National Post article, noted that "The 12 biggest environmental pressure groups in the United States enjoy combined annual revenues of $1.95 billion, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service figures. Only 725 of the United States’ 20 million companies can boast such magnificent cash flow."

"Among the green dozen are some—Nature Conservancy ($731 million) and the Wildlife Conservation Council ($311 million)—that are merely left-of-center. But there are genuinely extreme organizations—the World Wildlife fund ($118 million) and the Sierra Club ($73 million)—that militate aggressively against the free market and attack property rights to the detriment of the economy and the majority of ordinary people," said Gurdon.

Arnold has written several excellent books on this topic that demonstrate how the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Working Group, and the Rainforest Action Network, have a long record of activities that undermine entire industries and the welfare of the nation’s mining, ranching and farming enterprises.

In the case of the animal rights groups, Arnold has documented how People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a case history of IRS tax law violations, stolen trade secrets, advocated arson, and assaulted business executives.

The Greens and the Animal Rights groups use every protection afforded by the Constitution and every loophole in our legal and IRS codes to pursue their war on capitalism, property rights, and the welfare of this nation. They are a Socialist Taliban.

Americans for Medical Progress, a group that monitors the Animal Rights movement that opposes the use of animals for medical research, recently released information concerning the wealth of some of the leading groups. PETA’s annual budget is $13,499,614. It has net assets worth $4,480,988. It heavily underwrites the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine whose budget runs $2,915,847.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society as assets in excess of $11,561,737 and an annual budget of $1.2 million. The Fund for Animals has net assets in excess of $189,438,862 and runs an annual budget of more than $5.6 million. Defense of Animals is worth $1,483,334. There are others that include the Animal Welfare Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Doris Day Animal League, and the Humane Society of the United States.

The Greens are leading the battle against genetically modified foods, a scientific breakthrough that promises to end famine. They are behind the US government’s former forest management policies that have led to years of catastrophic fires. Within the passed few weeks the Bush administration has announced the revisions necessary to thwart this menace. Through their use of the Endangered Species Act and other "environmental" legislation, they fund the attack on property rights, the keystone of the American economy. They have undermined the training of our nation’s military through such laws as well.

While our attention is focused on the threat of the global Islamic Jihad, we also have to keep an eye on these groups. The threat of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberal Front is international in scope and increasing daily here on the home front. They have begun to use violence against individuals to achieve their goals. In the past, they have specialized in arson and vandalism, some of which has destroyed years of scientific research for the benefit of humans, animals and protection of natural resources such as our forests.

You will learn the facts when you visit http://www.undueinfluence.com/, a site provided by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, http://www.cdfe.org/. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an adjunct scholar of the CDFE.

The next time someone buys a Sierra Club calendar or gets a slick brochure asking for a donation to these causes, that money will fund the enemies of America.

This commentary is posted courtesy of Eugene A. Cieply, a sponsor of The National Anxiety Center.

© 2006 Alan Caruba.

All rights reserved.

Alan’s work has a sense of timelessness about it, so anyone perusing these articles in the future will find them equally insightful as they were when originally written. For Alan's latest thoughts go to his blog, Warning Signs. For his past works go to The National Anxiety Center. I would also recommend reading his last book, Right Answers.


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Monday, February 7, 2011

The Judgment of Time

By Rich Kozlovich

It has been my experience that being insatiably curious is its own reward and its own punishment. The reward is the satisfaction of “knowing” that which is true. The punishment can be finding yourself at odds with everyone else. Make no mistake about this; there is a difference between traditional wisdom and conventional wisdom. Traditional wisdom has stood the test of time. Conventional wisdom is merely what everyone believes at the moment and may only last until the next philosophical flavor of the day appears.

We have the desire to “know” things; to have the right answers, but that requires an understanding of a great many things. It has also been my experience that most things aren’t as complicated as they appear on the surface; we just fail to understand the root problem properly. As a result, we increase the difficulty of problem solving. There has always been an amazingly intricate interplay between people that has been at the heart of it all. It is a fact that everything in life is paradigms and demographics. Paradigms create demographics and demographics create paradigms. So many demand perfection when history has shown that the “best we can hope for us the most tolerable imperfection”. A man once said that if you ever find the perfect organization; join it! However, he said, remember that the minute you have joined, it is now somewhat less than perfect!

It is also true that ignorance is the natural state because we all start our lives ignorant. And for all of our lives we will remain ignorant about a great many things, because there is so much to learn about so many subjects, therefore a varying degree of ignorance is understandable. Ignorance simply means that we don’t know. That is fixable! By learning about things, many things, we can reduce our level of ignorance continually, but never totally! However, if we choose to remain ignorant, that is stupidity. It is the stupidity that I hate.

Reading history is one way of avoiding being more ignorant than everyone else. Mostly because history is the fruitage of the work of millions of people over thousands of years. Unfortunately it only works when we read it. It only matters if we understand it and remember it correctly. History has all the answers. There is really nothing new under the sun, everything that exists today has its foundation in man’s history.  The technology may become more advanced, but the application of all things is still based on that intricate interplay between human beings.

The correct information and necessary understanding to make the right decisions is there, if we read it. Yet we don’t read, understand or care about history as a society. That makes us easily fooled by those who twist and manipulate history for their own ends; and so many times those ends are in direct violation of traditional wisdom. I find that those who twist history seem to have one thing in common. Their interpretation of events usually denigrates or diminishes traditional wisdom. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong by the way, but it should at least be a warning bell that should make us want to dig deeper into the subject to find out for ourselves.

We need to understand that if we don’t bother to read and have the correct understanding of history we will be like the waves being washed back and forth by every new wind that blows our way.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding.  Without correct knowledge and understanding we have no anchor for our thinking, no touchstone to gauge our values by.  We then are incaplable of any real direction, as a result we fail in our judgments; judgments that will have a negative impact on society over the long haul. That society is our children and our grandchildren.

Some things really are right and some things really are wrong.  There really is such a thing as good and evil in the world.  There....that is a good start for foundational thinking.


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Four

By Rich Kozlovich,

Once again I am behind.  The green movement and their allies in the press never stop, no matter what all the science in the world may show.  Connie Schultz, a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer threw her hat in the ring declaring that dioxin (agent orange) is an on going nighmare in Vietnam and we must clean it up because people are sick. 

This emotion laden article is long on emotion and finger pointing and devoid of factual science.  The claims made by this journalist reminds me of a puppet on strings, mouthing all the scare tactics the green movement can muster.   This weeks Daily Dispatch doesn't deal with this article as of yet, and may not, because so much has been written to show what nonsense all of this is, however, there is a great deal of information here showing the difference between emotional scare mongering and science. 

Enjoy!

Many still not immune to nonsensical vaccine-autism link
Due to inclement weather in New York City, ACSH was closed yesterday and was unable to distribute our daily Dispatch. We're happy to be back on the anti-junk science crusade today with this lineup of great stories.

Taco Bell reasons with consumers who have a beef with their tacos Yo quiero Taco Bell, with 88 percent beef please.

Cancer, retinyl palmitate and triclosan, oh my!
As ACSH is preparing to release its new publication Scared to Death: How Chemophobia Threatens Public Health, we were not so surprised to read about three new stories linking chemicals to a multitude of adverse health effects - which is what sadly seems to be a media-fueled national trend these days.

Getting more Army recruits? Fat chance
While visiting the Army's largest basic training facility in Fort Jackson, S.C., first lady Michelle Obama harped on the importance of reducing childhood obesity.

The acrylamide-free potato diet?
The FDA may issue stronger health warnings about acrylamide following the release of new toxicological information about the chemical, which is found in many foods when cooked at high temperatures.

Proposed energy drink ban should make folks jumpy
Does it make sense that teenagers should be able to buy coffee at Starbucks but not energy drinks at 7-Eleven? Even when each of their Mocha Grandes has almost twice as much caffeine as one Red Bull?That peculiar idea is the subject of an editorial which appeared Friday in TheDailyCaller co-authored by ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

Center For Biological Diversity files uniformly predictable lawsuit
A radical environmentalist group called the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), accusing them of being lax on pesticides.

Good news: USDA chief Vilsack backtracks on GM alfalfa
Radical environmentalists lost a round in an important fight with the USDA. Working in tandem with organic farmers, they had previously succeeded in getting USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to say that he was considering limitations on the planting of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa plants. Thankfully though, Vilsack reversed himself and agreed to allow unlimited growing of the GM alfalfa, which is distinguishable from other alfalfa in that it has been genetically engineered to more easily

American Lung Association: Are they smoking those “funny” cigarettes?
ACSH has long been a leader in the fight against cigarettes, and we take pride in the work we have done to inform the public about the vast (and little-known) spectrum of real risks posed by cigarettes.At the same time, we firmly believe that educating the public on this important issue requires truth-telling and not appealing to hysteria. Yet we're afraid that this may be what's behind a recent report released by the American Lung Association entitled "State of Tobacco Control 2010."

Give patients bang for buck without government rationing
Efforts to reduce health care spending should not come at the cost of fewer drug options, ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross argues in an op-ed featured in yesterday's Des Moines Register.

Dear USDA and HHS: Lower calories, not salt!
The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new dietary guidelines on Sunday. In addition to standard recommendations like eating more veggies and fish while reducing overall calorie intake, HHS calls for lower salt consumption across the board.

Recommended reading for getting health priorities straight
Hoover Institute Fellow and former ACSH trustee Dr. Henry Miller castigates Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin's single-minded focus on obesity while ignoring other very important health issues In addition, ACSH would like to compliment Margaret Wente for her op-ed featured in Saturday's Globe and Mail.

Boost to smokeless market equals boost to public health
The state of Tennessee, one of the largest growers of dark tobacco used in smokeless products such as Swedish snus, is seeing a comeback in smokeless tobacco use and is reaping the benefits.

EPA limits perchlorate in drinking water: What are they drinking?Yesterday we reported on a bizarre letter from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson that ran in USA Today. Coincident with the missive's appearance, the agency announced that it was setting new limits on the amount of "toxic substances" permitted in U.S. drinking water. Among the chemicals specified by the EPA as a target is perchlorate. The EPA's announcement came even though a recent National Academy of Science report, as well as several prior EPA assessments, had concluded that the

New data confirm the obvious: Unvaccinated health care workers put others at riskWhile the EPA was busy creating needless regulations, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) was warning Americans about a very real public health threat, one about which ACSH has also been an active voice. Shockingly, only about forty percent of U.S. health care workers have been vaccinated against the flu. APIC, like ACSH, believes that vaccination of health care workers should be mandatory.

A new antibiotic that could save lives must await FDA action The question of whether the federal government has its priorities straight arises again with news first reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. A new macrolide antibiotic called fidaxomicin has been found to be more effective in treating the common but deadly bacterial infection known as C. difficile than the standard antibiotic currently in use, oral vancomycin. Although fidaxomicin was found to be significantly better, it still must wait six months or more

Does vaccination prevent childhood leukemia?
A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics presents an interesting hypothesis: vaccination may lower a child's likelihood of suffering lymphoblastic leukemia.

New exposé on DDT further damns UN opposition to needed pesticide A new report makes a devastating and overwhelming case that DDT spraying can save hundreds of thousands of lives every year and that UN and other NGO opposition to it is, as ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross puts it, "scientific fraud, as the author’s document with copious evidence." For any readers who may still have doubts about the issue, we suggest examining the evidence.

Expanded smoking ban offers cleaner air, but not cleaner bill of healthThe New York City Council approved a bill Wednesday expanding the City's public smoking ban to beaches and parks after a study showed 57 percent of New Yorkers had cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, in their blood compared with a 45 percent national average.

Valloney Baloney ReduxCity Council member Peter Vallone, Jr. was not happy with ACSH's recent response to his efforts to ban the fluoridation of New York's tap water.

All-natural hype: VitaminWater ad says consumers don’t need flu shotVitaminWater advertisements are under attack again, this time by the National Consumers League, for suggesting that the beverage can eliminate the need for flu shots.

Spider-Man could get caught in a web of wrong health info on the InternetThe most popular type of web search is for health information, according to a new study issued by the Pew Internet Project.

EPA inspections fail to shed new light on health — PCBs do not pose threatParental fears over trace levels of; PCBs in New York public schools made the front page of The New York Times today.

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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!


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