Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Bush-evidence that there is no such thing as Global Warming ...

Chile's lost lake stuns scientists

What's a little dust? Arizona has plenty ...

Seems Colorado has stolen some of Arizona's dust.

And they're claiming that dust helped cause an early snow melt in Colorado?
The dust is less reflective than snow and so reduces the overall reflectivity of the area, allowing for more of the sun’s energy to warm, and subsequently melt, the snow pack. A similar effect of dark soot falling on Arctic snow is thought to speed melting there.
Now you know that our government keeps insisting that global warming doesn't exist and we all know Georgie-boy Bush is working hard to 'pertect' us all and keep us in safety (even if he has to not-torture us to do so).

So really, if Colorado was going to take our dust the least they could have done is give us some of their snow instead of letting it melt that way ...

The NAHB gets US Supreme Court support ...

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) 'applauds' the US Supreme Court for easing their path to faster and more thorough species and environmental destruction.
High Court Rules For NAHB In Clean Water Permit Case

So, where's the goodness ...

Marcos writes that Republican Senator Richard Lugar's speech about the Iraq war is a good thing, if a little late.

According to Lugar's spokesperson, this speech was "months in the making, weeks in the writing". Yet Lugar stood with Bush against recent Democratic efforts to force the president to change course in Iraq.

It's good he's found reason, but Lugar made his move after Democratic efforts to force such change ended in defeat. His speech will make waves, but it could've made a more practical difference for our troops suffering in Iraq had he made it a few weeks ago.

Still, I shouldn't complain. This is a good thing.

Well, just how is it a good thing? This is what Republicans do all the time. Lugar wants a little distance between himself and Bush on the war. He waits til his words will have no real impact. Next time Bush needs another Republican wall-of-shame covering his back about the war he'll show us just how much his little speech meant. Words from Republicans mean nothing, nada, zilch ...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Seems all that bad food is not really statistically significant ...

From the Arizona Daily Star: Food-safety worries grow
Soaring imports stir concerns by Shelley Shelton

For those who've been alarmed by recent scares involving tainted imported products, there's bad news and … moderately comforting news.

The bad news: There's not a lot that U.S. consumers can do to protect themselves from tainted imported foods. In fact, it's hard even to know which foods are imported.

The better news is that considering the vast amounts of food streaming into our country from other places annually, the percentage found to be tainted is quite small.
So you're helpless to protect yourselves from imported foods. But don't worry, be happy! It may not be you that dies from playing Russian roulette with your groceries.

Feel better now ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Big Oil, Big Military Contractors, Big Pharma -- which is worse?

The answer, of course, is that they are all, in Bush-speak, evil.

But which is worse, at any point in time, depends on our point of view and their immediate and long term effects on us.

Big Pharma effects many of us daily. They strongly influence, or even outright control, what our physicians prescribe. Perhaps many, hopefully most, of our physicians still see that their main responsibilities should lie with the patient, but more and more the big pockets of Big Pharma is subverting our health care (just as those same big pockets subvert our Congress).

This article (How Big Pharma Learned To Seduce You by Alicia Rebensdorf) reviews the lack of any substantive change in proposed legislation:

At first glance, drug company influence on the recent legislation can be hard to see. The bill raises fees on pharmaceutical patents to beef up FDA staff and speed review. It also gives the FDA power to fine companies for ads that fail to list risks in a "clear and conspicuous neutral manner."

However, compared to the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine back in September, this bill replaces a steak knife with a spoon. The Senate bill ignores their suggested two-year moratorium on advertising new medication. It fails to require FDA approval before ads go on air and allows the FDA to assess fines only after the fact.

Even then, many critics doubt the fines will be much a deterrent. As Bill Vaughan, a policy analyst at Consumers Union, points out points out, "When a company can make more than a million dollars a day in drug sales, a $150,000 fine for running a misleading advertisement won't have much impact."

In fact, the bill is so soft that even Billy Tauzin, former Republican congressmen and current president of the powerful drug group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), praised the bill, saying it "will no doubt make a good system even better."

Not an unusual occurrence on the web, some commenters flesh out the issues:
Barely touches on the criminality of Big Pharma Posted by: heid on Jun 19, 2007 5:56 AM Current rating: 5

This article barely touches on the harm Big Pharma does or the insidious techniques it uses in promoting its products.

The key is that pharmaceutical firms exist to sell, to make profits. Their purpose is not to make us healthy. We forget that at risk to our health and even our lives.

Drugs have a constellation of effects, and pharmaceutical firms promote only a single one among many, ignoring the rest or calling them "side effects". Just take a look at the over the counter cold medications with the "side effect" of sleepiness, which are also sold under different names for precisely that "side effect" of sleepiness as aids for sleep.

Pharmaceuticals do almost no real frontline research. Most of the money for that comes from you and me - the taxpayers. Most research done by pharmaceuticals is on slight moderations of existing drugs to allow their repatenting, or for finding different uses for existing drugs. Worse, most of it is done for so-called ailments that never existed until Big Pharma "discovered" and promoted them, or for relatively mild but common conditions. In other words, what little research they do is focused on the bottom line - not on helping really sick people get better.

Big Pharma does its own testing, an obvious conflict of interest, and frequently hides its negative results, redoing and refining trials until they get the results they want. Then, the drugs are approved by the FDA, which is now beholden primarily to Big Pharma, and they are released on an unsuspecting public, and those who are unfortunate enough to be prescribed these drugs become the real guinea pigs.

Big Pharma has extended its influence into the medical world itself by outright bribing doctors, giving them gifts, providing nearly all the Continuing Education seminars doctors go to, and using the cheapest and tackiest of sales methods - such as using former cheerleaders as their primary sales people - imaginable.

In the patient support arena, Big Pharma has managed to distort even these groups by providing funding to them and often even creating them.

None of this even touches on some of the worst abuses, but does cover a fair amount of the techniques used by Big Pharma.

Now, we have a new bill that not only allows all this to continue, but makes it worse. It will now be possible for the FDA itself to start making and selling drugs. Even more money will be given to the FDA by pharmaceutical firms - and there can be little doubt that following the money shows what's really going on, so this addition of funds from Big Pharma to the FDA simply places the FDA even deeper into the pharmaceutical pockets.

RE: Barely touches on the criminality of Big Pharma Posted by: mirimac on Jun 19, 2007 2:01 PM Current rating: 4

There's also the scandal of Big Pharma being in cahoots with Medicare and the Insurance Cos. that manage Medicare.

As someone who relies on a number of drugs to keep me functioning, I honestly feel like a prisoner to the system, between needing to take these drugs (some of which have not gone generic yet) and being in the Medicare Part D w/ managing insurance company charging whatever suits them to charge me for the same drugs. My monthly drug bill runs around $500. Last fall I purchased my meds on Sept. 1 (by purchase I mean the copays, deductibles, etc.) On Sept. 15, the cost of two of my most expensive meds was increased quite a bit. That cost was passed on to me even though I'd already "paid" for them.

Then there was the drug that my doctor prescribed, that Medicare/Insurance wouldn't cover. The drug they recommended, which my doc then reluctantly prescribed nearly killed me.

My son worked hard to earn a PharmD degree and get a job working for one of the Big Pharma COs. His job was to track negative side-effects and report them in such a way as to lessen their negativity as much as possible. He didn't last a year. His conscience kept him thinking of all those who'd died due to various meds and whose lives were being negated by the company through him.

It used to be big oil that was in charge. Now I'm sure its big Pharma. Between the two, we don't stand a chance

Our new 'democratic' Congress is quickly teaching us to expect little more from them than from the earlier Republican Robber Baron Congress. Having Democrats merely slow the progress of the cancer is not a very cheery prospect. I, for one, want to see them cut the cancer out. But that would be too much risk to our elected representatives. After all, we're not the only ones paying them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

There's the US which canNOT get its act together on handling yearly hurricanes and floods ...

And then there is the town of Gouda which "is considering whether to erect 4,000 houses--some of which might float" in an area that can be up to 6.74 meters (about 22 feet) below sea level (and falling).

Tell me again why we think we are so great but on the other hand find nothing of value other than the illusion of military might?

Article: Part I: Saving Holland --With much of its land below sea level, the Netherlands is charting a course around ominous climate-change trends by David Talbot

When did humans start cooking and what did they cook ...

Did Cooked Tubers Spur the Evolution of Big Brains? Article from 1999 reports that Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham (and colleagues) suggest "cooking--in particular, cooking tubers--sparked a crucial turning point in human evolution."

Now, in 2007, this article (Did Primordial Chefs Feed Our Giant Brains?) reports that cooked meat --what happened to the tubers?-- is what Wrangham is proposing may have effected that "quick and dramatic evolutionary impact" on our brains.

Richard Wrangham (along with Dale Peterson) is also one of the authors Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Washington Post review, National Review Book Review).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Do you care about your pet(s)?

For years I never questioned the idea (ideal?) of the US form of free enterprise.

Only there's nothing free about this 'free enterprise' system. The system is based on greed and power. The aim of all this freedom is for those in power to charge you and me the most they can while delivering the least possible. A concurrent aim is for those in power to keep everyone else out of the system so that the enterprise is free and profitable to them alone.

Freedom is for the few and the rest of us are slaves who can die writhing in pain and ignored on an emergency room floor. Not only are we slaves but we are brainwashed so thoroughly that we trust the companies who sell us poison to feed to our pets.

And we never really get mad about all this do we. Not all of us. Not even many of us. It's so much easier to watch the corporate media than read about what is really happening to the country we love ...

Here's another one of those pernicious articles with devastating facts for us to ignore while corporate America fills all available space with soothing messages about how much they care about us and how much we should just trust them: Why Is the Pet Food Industry Killing Our Pets? by Ann Martin, Earth Island Journal

Friday, June 15, 2007

OK, you want polygamy ...

Then let's make this more equal. If men can marry a half a dozen 14 year old girls and keep them virtual prisoners then stop prosecuting female teachers who seduce 14 year old boys.

I'm all for more equal family values.

Link: Polygamy: the Red State Answer to Family Values. AZ and UT Attorney Generals Won’t Prosecute It. And Then There's Orrin Hatch.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


For the Gore-Obama 2008 Bumper Sticker to here.

Not according to the Bush mafia ...

Here's an article everyone should read: We Have a Right to Know Where Our Food Comes From.

The only people who are proud of our country at this moment in history are those who like our military blowing the hell out of other countries and killing people for oil.

We live in a country where one political party is comprised of sick, greedy, malevolent bullies and the other political party spends all its time just pretending to address the problems they were elected to handle while assiduously avoiding all controversy (a strategy that is not only impossible to accomplish but one that is not even politically rational).

We live in a country where very few cared that a sick woman was allowed to die on the emergency room floor as doctors, nurses and cleaning staff all walked around her.

We live in a country where hospitals have been known to abandon patients on the streets.

We live in a country where corporations with the concurrence of the Bush mafia work to ensure that you don't know what they put in your food, where your food comes from or how it is put together, processed or packaged.

We live in a country where corporations repeatedly lie about and hide information about the harm caused by the pharmaceuticals they spend millions to get you to use.

We live in a country where everyone thinks you should be prosecuted for disobeying the law UNLESS you are part of the Bush mafia.

We live in a country where the President, with the Congress' concurrence, has decided you can be put in prison indefinitely without trial and without charges and without evidence of wrongdoing just like the original King George the United States fought against. We've come a long way, baby.

We live in a country where corporations are more important than people, where the rich rarely have to face the consequences of their actions and democracy and freedom are becoming no more that words to be mouthed by politicians and tyrants.

ADDED: Alternet has a short video clip with Michael Moore and Oprah that you should watch. Aren't we all (we know the corporations are) just so proud to be 37th in the world in health care (behind Costa Rica). You also may wish to visit Moore's web site: www.michaelmoore.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

There's a blog for everything ...

The Housing Doom Housing Bubble Blog has an blurb and some comments about Arizona's mortgage fraud legislation.

Commenter 'ducksface' writes:
I’ve read the bill. It has a basic ring of truth to it but it simply duplicates laws already on the books but specifically mentions the word mortgage in it.
The head of the AZDFI will use it to punish appraisers. Right now appraisers are not under the AZDFI but this bill will allow easier unilateral investigations and punishments outside of the specific enforcing agency much like a drug task force sometimes uses animal control laws to get more charges to stick.
More rosy news in Phoenix May Home Sales Are Slow- And This Is Rush Hour -- a title that I initially considered a form of dry humor but now categorize as the reverse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Assuming you are unworried about possible mad cows, I have a suggestion for your beef purchases ...

Given that hamburger with "with sell-by dates from April 6-April 20" are being recalled now (it's June, already) I suggest that anyone who still is willing to eat US Corporate produced cows buy the US Corporate produced packages of cow meat and freeze same for at least 6 months. Surely the US Corporate hacks, crooks and weasels will discover any problem with your purchase by then?

Sorry, but this approach will not work with spinach ...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm not sure what the world will do with a U.S. gone mad ...

digby: TV Politics
Here's a stomach churning example buried on page 7 of the NY Times today that made me want to turn off the computer, go to the beach ... and just keep walking:
In a report on Friday, the lead investigator for the Council of Europe gave a bleak description of secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency in Eastern Europe ...

Whatever it turns out to be it will not be good for the U.S. nor for the rest of the world. Unless we can cure ourselves, and there is no great groundswell of Americans who wish to do so (that I can see) then the rest of the world will eventually stand together against us. Just imagine a Bush, or Romney or Guiliani or McCain in office when that happens ...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Being 'conservative' means calling a 'jail cell' a 'sanitarium' ...

So says Maggie:
ACLU Fights to Expose Public to Deadly Disease: Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio's efforts to keep a tuberculosis-infected patient in a county sanitarium and out of the public arena. The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of the patient, Robert Daniels, who is believed to have an "extreme multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
I haven't figured out why Maggie thinks a Sheriff would be running a sanitarium. And of course the ACLU is not trying to get Robert Daniels released from quarantine. Their objective is to get him treated as quarantined patient and not like the prisoner in perpetual solitary confinement.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Rudy Guiliani Way. Arrest them all ...

T-shirts, bumper stickers, signs, slogans or questions ...

... from the public, the voter, a protester, a reporter.

Arrest them all.


Go Guiliani, NOT!

4 cases of E. coli in Arizona ...

They think the e. coli infections are the result of bad ground beef (75,000 lbs between Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah) but they don't know how much of the bad meat came to Arizona or which stores received the bad meat.

They, apparently, do know that the bad meat was packaged as 'Moran's All Natural' or as 'Inter-American Products' or as 'Stater Bros'. What's in a name? Apparently nothing to depend on. Just take a 75,000 lb hunk of bad hamburger and divide it up among labels, ship it off to multiple states but, by all means, don't keep track of which stores receive the product.

Source: Check your hamburger: 4 people in Arizona sickened by E. coli by Jessica Coomes, The Arizona Republic

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

AP puts words in Obama's mouth, Drudge jumps on, CNN follows ...

The corporate media keeps to its usual standard of obscuration, camouflaging, equivocation, fibbing, lying and fiction writing:

Crappy Reporting Makes Obama's Rhetoric Sound Racially Threatening

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Border Saga at BorderReporter.com ...

MAY 30, 2007 - THE BORDER REPORT: HARSH LESSONS [for Giffords]




Gabrielle Giffords and solar energy ...

Seems a US Representative from Arizona has set up an advisory council to "help her develop proposals to boost the availability and use of solar energy."

Arizona Congress Watch reports that
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ... will launch a major initiative aimed at making Arizona the Silicon Valley of solar energy.
The members of Giffords' advisory council are:

1. Roger Angel, University of Arizona regents professor of astronomy
  • J. Roger P. Angel
  • Director, Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory
  • Director, Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics
  • Regents Professor of Astronomy
  • Regents Professor of Optical Sciences
2. Kendall Bert, TREO Inc.
3. Don Budinger, Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona
4. Prabhu Dayal, engineer and founder of CTrade, a carbon emissions and alternative energy company
5. Dennis Dickerson, Pima Association of Governments
6. Richard Elias, Pima County Board of Supervisors
7. State Rep. Steve Farley
8. Michael Gering, president and chairman of Global Solar, which makes products for civilian and military use.
9. Tom Hansen, Tucson Electric Power
10. Britt Hanson, Office of Cochise County Attorney
11. William Harris, Arizona Science Foundation
12. Katherine Kent, The Solar Store
13. Leslie Liberti, city of Tucson Office of Conservation and Sustainability
14. Col. Kent Laughbaum, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
15. Paul Loomis, Oro Valley mayor
16. Jackie McNulty, citizen activist
17. John Wesley Miller, John Wesley Miller Companies
18. Paul Portney, dean of UA's Eller College of Management and professor of economics
19. Valerie Rauluk, founder and chief executive officer of Venture Catalyst Inc. consulting company
20. Arthur Schneider, Raytheon
21. Joe Simmons, head of UA's materials science and engineering department
22. Robert Strain, Sierra Vista mayor
23. Leslie Tolbert, vice president for UA research, graduate studies and economic development
24. Karin Uhlich, Tucson City Council
25. Robert Walkup, Tucson mayor

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Newcastle-ites don't like red hair?

This story of a family whose red-haired children are harassed and attacked in Newcastle, England just doesn't make much sense.
Red-haired family victims of thugs
Red-haired family forced to move

Friday, June 1, 2007

To Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio a quarantined person is to be treated as the worst criminal ...

Like jailed inmates accused of crimes, Daniels is subjected to intrusive strip searches and he is unable to receive any visits from family and friends. He isn’t permitted to exercise or walk outside, and has no access to social or recreational activities like the Internet. He has been outside only once in the past nine months, and was shackled hand and foot. The lights in his cell are required to be kept on at night, and video cameras record his every move. He can’t see through the frosted windows in his room and wasn’t able to shower or call anyone until a few weeks ago.
Robert Daniels has incurable tuberculosis. Quarantine is necessary but treating him as a criminal is not.

Sheriff Arpaio is a throw back to Dickens' time as is much of the Republican Party.