Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lead is everywhere it seems...

We should probably put this one in our Recall Roundup blog rather than here since so many of the recalls involve lead these days. However, since I've ranted before about China and lead, I thought I'd share this info on crowns (for teeth) here so I could comment. Recall Roundup doesn't allow me to vent or share my thoughts. Yes, sometimes I just share without ranting...

I've not once ever thought about what my crowns were made of, much less where they came from. I would have "assumed" they were a mix of products and that they were mixed here. The dentist is local, the stuff is mixed here in the U.S. --- my mental picture of what occurs didn't go beyond some guy or gal in a white coat patiently mixing stuff while looking at a mould of my tooth.

I've had two crowns, getting ready to go for a third. When I was a teenager I tripped, knocked some teeth out, have had various problems ever since. Luckily, none major. It wasn't exactly fun wearing a cast in my mouth while they worked to save my teeth (they stuck 'em back in and did manage to save them!). More luck that there was a local dentist available to students in the middle of the evening who knew what he was doing!

Back to my original rant...

Who'd-a-thought we needed to worry about crowns? I've been reading, and been told by a dentist friend, that it's a good idea to get the metal out of my mouth from fillings. I was all for it until I heard the cost of switching and then just decided all the metal that would leech into my system had probably already done so... tain't cheap going to those pretty enamel colored fillings. Especially when you have a life-time of silver in your mouth that need to be switched.

Ha, it just connected! Neurons are firing in the old brain... my rants and conspiratorial thoughts come from the metal in my fillings. Voila, now I have a ready-made reason for any whacky theories or thoughts.

Still trying to get back to my original rant...

Or at least stick with it for a few minutes...

Lost my train of thought...

Oh, who cares where I was heading, just read the story:

Dental Lab Industry Launches Web Site to Inform Consumers on Lead Scare
(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Association of Dental Laboratories has launched a Web site to inform consumers concerned about recent reports of lead contamination in dental crowns imported from overseas. The Web site, http://www.whatsinyourmouth.us/, provides consumers an opportunity to contact the association’s staff with questions regarding the news reports about the potential for such products to be contaminated with harmful amounts of lead.

Numerous news outlets have reported on this issue since Feb. 27, when WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, reported a confirmed case of a victim made sick by lead contamination from an imported dental restoration. The station further reported that an independent analysis of dental crowns imported from offshore dental laboratories found some products to be contaminated with dangerous levels of lead.

The case confirms long-standing concerns of the National Association of Dental Laboratories, which for years has urged federal and state regulators to implement more stringent regulation to protect patients receiving dental restorations.

These products are currently under-regulated, with few legal requirements for technicians to be certified and no mandates for dentists to document or disclose the source of dental work to patients. Although dentists prescribe the type of device they need for a dental patient, the product is actually manufactured by a dental technician employed by a dental laboratory, which could be located anywhere in the world. As more and more Americans seek dental restorative treatment and some dentists face pressure to cut costs, a growing percentage of the dental work Americans carry in their mouths is now imported from countries such as China, Pakistan, the Philippines and India.

The National Association of Dental Laboratories, based in Tallahassee, Fla. – the leading trade group for the $8 billion U.S. dental-restoration products industry – has been on record since 2003 supporting federal and state regulation to assure patients their restorations are safe for use, regardless of where they are manufactured. Through public advocacy and outreach, the Association has worked with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, state health officials and the dental industry to support:

Mandatory certification and continuing education for dental technicians who manufacture restorations;
Mandatory registration of all dental laboratories with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or appropriate state government agencies;
Mandatory documentation of all materials included in a restoration, as well as the point of origin (country and laboratory) where the restoration was manufactured; and
Mandatory documentation of all these items in a patient’s dental records.

The National Association of Dental Labs is a trade association with 43 affiliated state and regional commercial dental laboratory associations representing more than 1,600 members. For more information, please visit http://www.nadl.org/.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bad Olsen, Good Terrorists

Normally I wouldn't have read the story, but I was curious when I noticed a couple of headlines in my RSS reader regarding an "ex-radical going back to jail." Turns out they were referring to Sara Jane Olsen of Patty Hearst 'fame' in the 70's. That entire event, as heinous as it was, barely registered in my mind back in the 70's so I only know the surface details. I remember when Olsen was found living a sedate life, the mother of three children a few years back.

I'm assume that my readers know the story and who I'm talking about. However, just in case, here's a nutshell recap.

Radical group in the 70's, botched robbery, people killed. The group did some very nasty things. Olsen managed to disappear, blend into normal life and from all accounts, did good works and possibly tried to make up for past sins. As a result of one of those Most Wanted type programs she was outed, captured, and sentenced to long years in jail. What a secret to hide for so many years. I bet there wasn't a night her head hit the pillow without a prayer of thanks for being free and a strong twist of pain in her gut knowing she had a huge monster lurking that could reach out and grab her at any time.

Skip ahead to now. She was released on parole, people screamed and yelled, they "discovered" an error and back she went to prison. She'll serve another year before being eligible but I'm not so sure it'll be as easy for her to get out then, either. The mother of the son who was killed in the mid-70's by Olsen's group has teamed up with the police and they're hopping mad. Can't say I blame them.

Finally, I'm getting to the crux of my blog!!! Promise.

Here's a few lines from one of the stories that I just read:

"Parole shouldn't even be an option for terrorists who are convicted of murdering innocent bystanders and attempting to murder police officers," said the group's president Tim Sands. "Anyone who tries to kill police officers should get significant jail time and serve their full sentence."

Contrast that with all the people yelling and screaming about what we're doing to the poor terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, all those who are upset because we're keeping terrorists in jail at all and those who want to talk to them and make it all better.

These people blow up people then go celebrate. They strap bombs to children and send them into crowded markets. They are plotting to kill us as I type this blog. Yet we just need to learn to get along.

It's easy to succumb to believing we can overcome an entire cultural and religious upbringing simply by having a better dialog. Those people who are preaching peace, love and forgiveness for all can't even stop the violence in their own neighborhood, much less an entire country. It's a great idea in theory and one I wish were a reality. But it's not.

I don't know how the people who want Mary Jane Olsen to stew in jail feel about the war. They could feel exactly the same way about the terrorists who are today threatening our country and the world. It just struck me because the Olsen situation is happening in California where most of the stories I read seem to show they majority would give a terrorist from another country a pass, yet throw the lock and key away for a warped kid who seemingly repented and saw the error of her ways.

All I wanted to do was toss the contrast out into the big Internet yonder and maybe spark some thought. In regards to Olsen, I don't know enough about it to have an opinion as to whether she should rot in jail forever or be able to attempt to resume the life she built after vanishing. Maybe she truly repented and has never walked over the line since. Maybe she was scared into seeing where she was headed. The 70's were not quite as radical as the 60's but there was still an awful lot of anti-establishment stuff being crammed into kid's heads. I generally think consequences are a good thing. I just can't say whether she's paid the price yet or whether she ever will.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sick, evil people in this world

I'm going to forewarn you --- the story below will break your heart. I can't imagine what the poor girl in the story must have suffered before finally dying. What must her life have been like? What kind of people would do something that is worse than anything you could expect from the cruelest of cruel? This isn't something that happened for a day or a week, the torture of this helpless girl went on for longer than I'd like to believe possible. Why didn't someone check on her? How could this happen? A part of me would like to see everyone who participated fry. Slowly. But we are more civilized than they and thus we'll put them in a cell and let them live, possibly a better life than the one they'll leave behind. At least they won't be able to torture anyone else.

Torture death shocks Ill. town
ALTON, Ill. - Banished to the basement, the 29-year-old mother with a childlike mind and another baby on the way had little more than a thin rug and a mattress to call her own on the chilly concrete floor. Dorothy Dixon ate what she could forage from the refrigerator upstairs, where prosecutors say housemates used her for target practice with BBs, burned her with a glue gun and doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080321/ap_on_re_us/torture_slaying

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Note to my subscribers...

I have GOT to remember to do a spell check before I hit that publish button! The version you'll read has not been spell checked. The version included below was fixed after your version was grabbed by the subscription grabber .

(geez, I almost hit pubilsh gaain wither not doing spelchelck.)

(shame there's not a grammar check on this thing...)

It's worse than I thought...

I've questioned before in past blogs, somewhat tongue in cheek, whether the Chinese are out to get us with bad products. We've had recall after recall of toxic lead painted trinkets and toys, toasters that catch on fire when empty, lights that break and fall on heads, candles that burn strange and potentially cause fires, and the list goes on an on.

Now it's serious. I still have no idea whether this is just shoddy regulations and manufacturing or whether it's a sinister plot to undermine our economy and cause brain damage in our children (lead painted toys). However, the following story escalated the problem regarding bad products exponentially in my mind.

A child died. Now maybe there have been other deaths and I have simply missed the stories. I missed the one below when it occurred (the story below is about the resolution and fine for distributing the trinket that caused the problem).

I have decided that even if I have to pay a bit more, I won't be buying anything that says "Made in China". I may find that I end up buying nothing the way things are going! Like many, I have rather trusted our government to regulate the quality of imported products --- enforce those standards. If I'd thought about it, I'd have known better. My goodness, they can't inspect the foods and products made in this country, how in the world are they supposed to inspect the stuff coming from other places?

Here's an idea for some bright entrepreneur... There are carbon monoxide monitors, smoke detectors, all kinds of testers and monitors being made. What about a lead content monitor? A little device we could use when buying products to detect lead. I bet the government wouldn't allow that patent to go through! Can you imagine what it would be like if we were able to do something like that? The government would be bombarded with calls to recall products!

However, in thinking about it, what would really happen is some huge consortium of manufacturer would buy up the patent for umpteen million dollars just so they could continue to operate on the cheap. I'm all for capitalism, just happen to draw the line when it comes to making money when my family is paying the price in potential health problems (or death as was the case with the little four year old in the story below).

Reebok to Pay Record $1,000,000 Civil Penalty for Violation of FederalHazardous Substances Act

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel has agreed to pay the government a $1,000,000 civil penalty. This penalty, which has been provisionally accepted, is the largest for a Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) violation and follows a recall announced by CPSC and Reebok of 300,000 bracelets.

The penalty settles allegations that Reebok International Ltd., of Canton, Mass., imported and distributed charm bracelets that contained toxic levels of lead. The charm bracelets were provided as free gifts with the purchase of various styles of children's footwear. In March 2006, a 4-year-old boy from Minneapolis who swallowed the bracelet's heart-shaped pendant died. The FHSA bans toxic levels of accessible lead in toys and other children's products. CPSC's enforcement policy urges manufacturers of children's metal jewelry to keep lead content below 0.06% by weight.

"This civil penalty sends a clear message that the CPSC will not allow companies to put children's safety at risk," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Preventing dangerous metal jewelry from reaching the hands of children is a priority for our agency."

In agreeing to settle the matter, Reebok denies that it violated federal law.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Not the kind of endorsement I'd want...

Porn-Maker Praises Planned Parenthood's Teenwire Web Site
(CNSNews.com) - David Pounder, a succesful pornography star and producer, said that Planned Parenthood's Web site for teens, Teenwire.com, is an excellent source for young people to learn about what he considers the benefits of viewing pornography. Pounder contacted Cybercast News Service after reading its report about Teenwire.
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200803/CUL20080313a.html

Investigation Reveals Raccoon Dog Most Misrepresented Fur Sold in America

Seventy percent of falsely advertised or mislabeled fur-trimmed jackets tested by The Humane Society of the United States contain fur from a type of dog species, according to an investigation released today by the organization. Over the last three winters, The HSUS has identified dozens of falsely advertised or falsely labeled garments—including new results released today—which contain fur from the raccoon dog, an Asian canine species. Retailers and brands associated with these latest jackets—the majority of which contain raccoon dog fur—include Eluxury, Dillard's, Dr. Jay's, Caché, Bluefly, Sears and Juicy Couture.

Laboratory testing has identified raccoon dog as the species on 26 of 37 fur-trimmed jackets that each contained at least one apparent violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act in their advertising or labeling. Among the incorrect names found being used were: Faux fur, Ecological fur, Polyester, Coyote, Rabbit, Canis Latranis, Raccoon and Finni Raccon.

"To our knowledge, no single furbearing animal has ever before been so mistreated and completely misrepresented to the public," said Kristin Leppert, director of The HSUS fur-free campaign. "Banning raccoon dog fur is the only way to protect American consumers and these animals from the systematic and horrific abuse—including being skinned alive—they undergo in China and other countries."

New test results released today on six jackets, purchased between September and November of 2007, are the latest additions to a long list of offenders. Click here to see a compilation of 38 jacket test results over the last three years.

In the U.S. Congress, Representatives Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.) have introduced the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act—H.R. 891—that would require labeling of all fur garments regardless of value, and would ban the sale of raccoon dog fur. The bill has 165 co-sponsors in the House, and The HSUS calls on Congress to act swiftly to pass this much-needed reform.

Facts:
"Asiatic raccoon," although not the accepted common name in use by the scientific community, is the name required under federal law in advertising and labeling of fur garments made from the raccoon dog.

Raccoon dogs are not raccoons (Procyon lotor) — they merely have facial markings that resemble raccoons.

Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are a member the dog family. Indigenous to Asia, including eastern Siberia and Japan, these small, fox-sized furry animals seem to enjoy social contact.

Timeline:
December 20, 2007 – The HSUS published results finding that many leading retailers—including Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Yoox.com—were selling certain jackets with the brand names Burberry, Andrew Marc, Marc New York, Preston & York, Aqua, Ramosport and Adam+Eve that were falsely advertised or mislabeled as faux fur or "ecological fur" when in fact they are trimmed with real animal fur.

Aug. 15, 2007 – New York Governor Eliot Spitzer signs legislation requiring that all clothing that includes fur or faux fur sold in New York State be correctly labeled as being "faux fur" or "real fur." The law went into effect Nov. 13, 2007.

March 13, 2007 – The HSUS petitions the Federal Trade Commission seeking penalties against 14 retailers and designers for violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act. The petition is still pending before the FTC.

Feb. 7, 2007 – Reps. Moran and Ferguson introduce the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dec. 2006 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find raccoon dog fur on jackets being advertised as "faux" and/or labeled as other species, such as raccoon or coyote.
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www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Blessed are the cracked, for it is they who let in the light!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

More on Libby, Montana

I'll have to admit that I had never heard of Libby, Montana until seeing the info from the Fayette County Library about the film. I find it hard to imagine anyone being that cold-hearted about their fellow man. However, all I really have to do to put it in perspective is look at the atrocities happening in all corners of the world. Human beings can certainly be cruel.

I thought I'd go do a little Internet snooping to see what else I could find out about the situation in Libby. Here's some of the better links I found:

http://www.highplainsfilms.org/fp_libby.html (info about the film, rave reviews, etc.)

From the EPA:
Libby AsbestosSet in the northwest corner of Montana, 35 miles east of Idaho and 65 miles south of Canada, is the small town of Libby. The town lies in a picturesque valley carved by the Kootenai River and framed by the Cabinet Mountains to the south. Libby has population of less than 3,000, and 12,000 people live within a ten-mile radius. Libby is the Lincoln County seat. The community's assets include clean water, beautiful scenery, and recreational opportunities such as fishing, hiking, hunting, boating and skiing.
EPA has been working in Libby since 1999 when an Emergency Response Team was sent to investigate local concern and news articles about asbestos-contaminated vermiculite. Since that time, EPA has been working closely with the community to clean up contamination and reduce risks to human health...
http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/libby/

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
ATSDR Involvement in Libby
In 1999, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was asked by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to evaluate human health concerns in Libby that were related to asbestos exposure. DHHS was acting on requests received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Montana Congressional delegation....
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/Asbestos/sites/libby_montana/

W.R. Grace Faces Criminal Charges for Asbestos at Libby Mine
MISSOULA, Montana, February 8, 2005 (ENS) - W.R. Grace & Co. and seven current and former Grace executives knew that their vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana was emitting carcinogenic asbestos into the air, endangering workers and residents, but they concealed the information, according to a criminal indictment unsealed in federal court Monday. Some 1,200 people have been identified as suffering from illnesses linked to asbestos exposure at Libby.
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2005/2005-02-08-02.asp

"Libby, Montana" --- Toxic to the nth degree!

Two Free Public Screenings of Documentary Film, “Libby, Montana,” at the Fayette County Public Library on March 25 and 27

The Fayette County Public Library announces two free public screenings of the documentary “Libby, Montana,” directed by Drury Gunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis. The dual screenings continue the library’s 2008 Spring Film Festival, a collaboration with P.O.V., PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series. “Libby, Montana” will be shown at the library on Tuesday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m., and on Thursday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m., with support provided by the Friends of the Fayette County Public Library.

For the citizens of the town of Libby, mining vermiculite provided decades of good jobs. The mineral was first extracted and developed into the multi-use material, Zonolite, by a local mining engineer in 1919. In 1963, industrial giant W.R. Grace acquired the Zonolite Company, and the mining went into high gear, as did the marketing of Zonolite as a wonder material, especially for insulation. Yet within two years of acquiring the mine, Grace’s internal memos show the company discussing the mine dust’s extreme toxicity — information never given to employees.

In Libby, the mining jobs brought an inescapable dust that choked the men at work and, proving impossible to wash off, was tracked into every home in town. The citizens of Libby not only mined the material but also showcased its use, insulating their homes with it and laying down sports fields, ice rinks and other community surfaces with the mine’s materials. Mineworkers say they were told the dust was no more dangerous than field dust, and felt relieved they weren’t mining notoriously toxic asbestos. Even as respiratory problems in the town mounted, often misdiagnosed as heart or other unrelated ailments, the true scale of the health crisis, especially the degree to which it had crept into the lungs even of Libby’s children, remained hidden just below the surface.

State and federal inspections repeatedly cited the mine in the 1960s and 1970s for its toxic dust cloud and the inadequacy of the company’s response. The company produced an internal study in 1969 demonstrating how deaths from unspecified “lung disease” rose steadily with years of employment, topping out at an astounding 92 percent for 20-year employees. Still the company said nothing publicly. By the time the EPA began screening Libby residents in 2001, over 1,200 of those tested, or roughly one-quarter of the town’s population, were found to have lung abnormalities associated with asbestos exposure: 10 times the national average. Mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos, was at least 100 times the national average.

In examining the politics behind the cleanup, as well as behind Grace’s historic ability to disregard worker health, “Libby, Montana” raises its most troubling questions. How could Grace go on operating the mine for another 20 years after the environmental toxicity became public knowledge? How could state officials continue to cover for a company that declared bankruptcy to avoid liability claims as it allegedly spirited away billions of dollars? By what final cruel twist does the National Priorities Superfund designation that provides the only means to fund the cleanup become the very means by which Grace finally abandons the town to taxpayers?

The directors of “Libby, Montana” tell the story using archival footage, news reports and the words of a range of participants in Libby’s tragedy — from ex-miners and mine managers and their families to EPA field workers to the state’s governor, Judy Martz, and then-EPA chief Christie Todd Whitman.

The free local screenings of “Libby, Montana,” and the rest of the library’s Spring Film Festival, are made possible through a partnership with P.O.V. Now in its 21st season on PBS, P.O.V. is the first and longest-running series on television to feature the work of America’s most innovative documentary storytellers. For more information about P.O.V., visit the website at http://www.pbs.org/pov/.

The Fayette County Public Library is located behind the Fayette County administration complex in downtown Fayetteville, at the southwest corner of Highways #85 and #54. For additional information about “Libby, Montana,” and the 2008 Spring Film Festival, please contact the library at 770-461-8841 or visit online at http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/public_library.

Gotta watch China...

Posting all the food and product recalls has me watching just how many have "made in China" or "from China" included. If I had to make a wild guess, I'd say at least 90% of our recalled products come from China these days. If you pop over to the Fayette Front Page's "Recall Roundup" blog you can scan down and see for yourself.

Just a few minutes ago I saw the story below and you can't help but wonder about this huge country and their long-term plans.

Lack of Information About China's Military Spending Concerns Gates
By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, March 5, 2008 - China's announcement that it is increasing its military spending by almost 18 percent is a cause of concern because the nation's government hasn't been clear about how it will spend the money, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

China's announcement comes on the heels of the March 3 release of the 2008 China Military Power Report, which found that China spent more than three times its announced defense budget last year and is developing new capabilities that could have global implications.

"Part of the issue is what we don't know," Gates said today at a Pentagon news conference. "I think that there's general agreement that the Chinese military budget that we see is only a portion of what the Chinese spend."

The United States has proposed engaging in strategic dialogue with Chinese officials to gain information about what the increase in the budget means and what their modernization programs mean, Gates said. In exchange, the United States would provide similar information to China.

"As you saw in the Chinese Military Power document, there's a wide range of activities under way, and we think having an ongoing dialogue with them about the meaning of all that would be very useful," he said.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that beyond the 18 percent increase, the Chinese are spending money on research and development, and those investments need to be linked to strategic intent.

Gates also spoke about the United States' recent shoot-down of a crippled reconnaissance satellite in space, and China's concerns about that operation. The Chinese have so far made no requests for further information about the operation, he said, and the United States has been very open about the mission from the beginning.

He compared the U.S. operation to China's shoot-down of a satellite in 2007. The Chinese offered no advance notification of that operation, or any information afterward, Gates said. In contrast, the United States was very open about the satellite operation from the start and took measures to limit the amount of debris that was left floating in space, he said.

Gates emphasized that the United States has no intention of developing anti-satellite technology, and that the recent operation was conducted to deal with a potential emergency.

Related Sites: Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the People's Republic of China

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mad Cow News Again...

A Case of Abuse, Heightened
New York Times - United States
“Downer cows are getting into the food supply,” he insisted — and in his written testimony, he listed potential health hazards that went well beyond mad cow ...

Kansai customs stymie bootleggers packing pricey beef on way to China
The Japan Times - Japan
Japanese beef is a delicacy among wealthy people in China, but imports have been banned because of the mad cow disease scare in Japan. ...

Congress Wants to Know. So Do We
Daily Green - USA... raises the likelihood that the meat is infected with an animal pathogen, such as Mad Cow Disease, or potentially deadly bacteria from animals wastes. ...

US Humane Society Sues to Close Mad Cow Rule Loophole
Occupational Health Safety - Dallas,TX,USA... because downer cattle are at a heightened risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") and other foodborne pathogens. ...

Told you meat at school was bad idea
Chicago Daily Herald - Chicago,IL,USA
The USDA announced the recall for fears of mad cow disease. I was fired for trying to warn the kids and if just one of them gets the human equivalent of mad ...

USDA Won't Disclose Who Sold Recalled Beef
Wall Street Journal - USA
But downer cows are more likely to carry mad-cow disease, which causes a rare, but fatal, brain disorder in humans. The government generally prohibits such ...

New Report Criticizes Fishery Management Council for Failing to End Overfishing

Today (3/4/08) , the Marine Fish Conservation Network released an annual review of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s performance in 2007. The report provides the general public with an accounting of the council’s management of publicly-owned marine fish resources in federal waters of the South Atlantic region (NC, SC, GA, east coast of FL). The report’s primary finding is that the council failed to end overfishing on several important fish stocks. The council meets this week in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

“NMFS and the Council have allowed several species to be chronically over-harvested for the last decade,” said Sera Harold Drevenak, regional representative for the Network. “The council has a golden opportunity this week to turn around this mismanagement and restore fish populations and fishing opportunities.” The council takes up crucial issues of setting catch levels for gag grouper and vermilion snapper at this week’s meeting. Scientists have warned the council that it needs to make drastic cuts to the harvest of both species to end overfishing and finally set these species on the path to sustainability.

The report also documents the council’s failure to quickly restore overfished populations, resulting in dangerously low levels of species like snowy grouper. “What we’d like to see this council do is end overfishing of these species immediately, so that stocks can rebound as quickly as possible and provide the kind of healthy ocean, healthy fishery, and healthy economy we all want to see in the South Atlantic,” said Libby Fetherston of Ocean Conservancy. The Council has called for more scientific analysis, in the hopes that the vermilion snapper cuts will not be as severe. Vermilion snapper is not alone, however, and many snapper and grouper species are known to be in trouble, Unless the Council can address issues such as overfishing, high levels of wasteful discards and habitat damage, these species will continue to decline, and fishing communities will continue to pay the price.

The report also notes the need for additional federal funding to support improvements in future management, specifically to reduce wasteful fishing and improve understanding of all the fish species the council manages. For example, fully 64% of the fish species managed by the council are unassessed, meaning managers and the public do not know if those species are in healthy shape or not. “Data collection is not a sexy issue, but for proper management of our oceans, it is critical that Congress increase federal funding for fisheries management,” said Jason Schratwieser of International Game Fish Association. Congress is currently considering a Presidential budget request which includes an increase of $8.5 million for additional species assessments.
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www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
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Friday, March 07, 2008

Spam is toxic...

Why spam isn't going away soon
Recently, Symantec said in its February 2008 State of Spam report that 78.5 percent of all e-mail is spam. They also said most of that is now coming from Europe. That's a change from previous reports that had suggested servers in North America were responsible. What the Symantec report doesn't explicitly state is that much of the European spam doesn't come from individuals sitting at their desk pumping out lists. Europe is one of the hotbeds for the Storm worm botnet, notorious for automatically co-opting its victims into spam relays. For example, with the release of a Valentine's Day theme-spam barrage in early February, Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks estimated that Storm has grown by as much as 50 percent in new infections. More ominous, Nazario says "the fact (Storm) is generating lots of money means that it's in (the creator's) interests to keep grooming it, keep growing it." Worse Storm isn't the only big, bad botnet in town. Read more

Thursday, March 06, 2008

mmmmmm..mmm...mmmad cow update

WSU prof says downer cattle need inspection
KLEW - Lewiston,ID,USA
WSU Associate Professor of Epidemiology John Gay says people need to recognize the rarity of mad cow disease, and the big difference between mad cow, ...

New Case of Mad Cow Reported in Canada
Auburn Citizen - Auburn,NY,USA
OTTAWA - Canadian officials confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the second such case in two months and the 12th since the disease was first ...

Tests rule out BSE in cow in Slovenia
Reuters - USA
LJUBLJANA, March 4 (Reuters) - Tests have ruled out mad cow disease in a six-year-old cow from a farm in Slovenia after preliminary checks last week showed ...

Centre to tackle mad cow cases
Canoe.ca - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
By BROOKES MERRITT, SUN MEDIA Any further cases of mad cow disease found in Alberta will make their way to the University of Alberta's new prion research ...

How 'downer' cows enter food chain
Chicago Tribune - United States
The inability of a cow to stand is considered a symptom of mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), though cattle may go down for a number of ...

New Case of Mad Cow Reported in Canada
The Associated Press - OTTAWA (AP) — Canadian officials confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the second such case in two months and the 12th since the disease was ...

Mad cow case confirmed in Canada
CNN International - USA
OTTAWA, Canada (AP) -- Canadian officials confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the second such case in two months and the 12th since the disease ...

Canada confirms 12th case of mad cow disease
Reuters - USA
By David Ljunggren OTTAWA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Canada confirmed a new case of mad cow disease on Tuesday, the 12th since 2003, and said the animal in ...

New Case of Mad Cow Reported in Canada
San Francisco Chronicle - CA, USA
Canadian officials confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the second such case in two months and the 12th since the disease was first discovered ...

New Case of Mad Cow Reported in Canada
Forbes - NY,USA
AP 02.26.08, 6:56 PM ET Canadian officials confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the second such case in two months and the 12th since the ...

Infected Alberta dairy cow latest case of mad cow disease in Canada
Canoe.ca - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
By THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed another case of mad cow disease in Alberta. The Ottawa-based agency says ...

Slovenia suspects new case of mad cow disease
Reuters - USA
LJUBLJANA, Feb 29 (Reuters) - The Slovene Veterinary Administration on Friday reported a suspected new case of mad cow disease. ...

Video Shows Employees Torturing Cows on Way to Slaughterhouse
Natural News.com - Phoenix,AZ,USA
Mad cow disease is a progressive fatal neurological disorder of cattle which can be transmitted to other species, including humans. ...

Meat import from mad-cow infected countries allowed
The News - International - Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The government has lifted ban on the import of poultry and meat products from countries having mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy- ...

USDA resists calls for a complete ban on downers
Food Consumer - Lisle,IL,USA
Downers, cattle that can't walk on the way to the slaughterhouse, are at high risk of suffering mad cow disease, early studies showed. ...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Headline News

My Toxic comments follow this email post I rec'd:

A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A reporter has seen the whole scene, and addressing the biker, says - Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life.

Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.

Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist, you know, and tomorrow's papers will have this on the first page. What motorcycle do you ride?

A Harley Davidson.

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on first page: "BIKER GANG MEMBER ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH."

An excellent example of how our "news?" is distorted!

Toxic comments: Having worked for newspapers, submitted stories to newspapers and now owning my own, I'm well aware of how information is distorted. The journalist writing the story rarely gets to write their own headline, it's the publisher or other designee, sometime the editor, who does the honors. They write headlines to catch attention. They shift stories around to create sensation and... sell newspapers. It's a business. The more controversy, the better their sales.

The best-intentioned journalist can write a heart-warming story only to have headlines attached to it like those in the "joke" above. The first paragraph will support the headline to some degree. If you read to the end many times you'll find the very last paragraph or two contains the reality, the other side, the facts. Unfortunately, many (if not most) will read an article's headline and maybe the first paragraph or two.

Reporters are human, too. Whether we like it or not, their own slant determines how they write their story. I've only known one true balanced reporter in my life. He is no longer with us and the business of writing for newspapers suffers for his loss (at least locally!).

I would bet if you do a bit of research with an open mind on almost any story you'll find the bias without much of a problem. Try going to a local County Commission or City Council meeting, then reading what's written in the paper. You may be surprised at what isn't reported. That alone shows a bias...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dangerous imports

By Allie Byrd
University of Georgia

In 2004, for the first time ever, the United States imported more food than it exported. If this trend continues, a University of Georgia expert predicts cases of foodborne illness will rise in the U.S.

“The occurrence and size of foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. will likely increase dramatically as more of our food is imported,” said Michael Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga. “The differential keeps growing and growing.”

The U.S. food supply overall is safe, but more than 70 million cases of foodborne illness are reported each year, Doyle said. Fresh vegetables are becoming a major vehicle for the transmission of foodborne pathogens, especially E. coli.

“Outbreaks associated with fresh produce will likely continue as we consume more fresh produce,” Doyle said.

Sliced vegetables are easily contaminated, he said, because microbes on the vegetables’ surfaces can attach to the wounds created by slicing.

“Treatments for fresh-cut produce, such as chlorine, are not fully effective for killing harmful bacteria,” Doyle said. “Neither producers nor consumers have an effective treatment available for produce.”

Poor refrigeration in homes and at some grocery stores also contributes to contamination, along with ineffective cleaning and disinfecting.

Imported vegetables are often contaminated due to unsafe farming practices, like using untreated human and animal waste to irrigate crops, he said. “Many developing countries don’t have the same hygiene and sanitary standards for producing and processing foods like we have in the U.S.”

Most food exports into the U.S. come from Canada and Mexico, he said. But Brazil and China are becoming major agriculture producers and exporters.

A large percentage of nuts, garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes are imported into the U.S. from India, China and Mexico. “India is a primary provider of tree nuts,” Doyle said. “If you eat cashews, they probably came from India.”

The increase of imported foods has overwhelmed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, he said. Its inspectors are only able to visually check one percent of shipments.

There are also issues surrounding the safety of imported fish. Some 480 million pounds of salmon and 1.1 billion pounds of shrimp are imported annually.

Most imported seafood is farm-raised. Many foreign fish producers use excessive levels of antibiotics, including many that are not allowed for fish in the U.S. They also use fecal waste that is contaminated with harmful microorganisms, Doyle said.

“Safety standards for imported foods must be changed,” he said. “If they aren’t, we are likely to see even more foodborne illness outbreaks in this country.”
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Community News You Can Use
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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Don't feel like working? Shoot.

OK, there are idiots and then there are idiots. Then there are those who make the average idiot look smart.

The title and first paragraph of this make the guy look like he had a thinner reason than he actually did... turns out not only did he not want to go to work, but he didn't want to have to take a drug test.

Seems to me he must have been high when he hatched this scheme... and his friend had to have already pickled his own brain past the ability to reason.

What if the guy had died? I mean, if you're dumb enough to shoot someone you're probably not exactly bright to begin with.

Reminds me of a guy who used to work for me who used the dead grandmother's funeral one too many times. He called and left a message on my phone at work sounding all teary, saying his grandmother had died and he needed to head home. He'd already used it once before, but I figured it might be possible that a grandmother on each parents side had died within a month or so of each other, BUT... of course I wasn't convinced. He was a permanent temp, which meant he came through a temp agency but was on a regular long-term contract. I called the temp agency to let them know I needed a replacement while he was gone and to let them know I wan't comfortable with two dead grandmas.

Our temp account manager just laughed. Seems he'd already had two dead grandma's at his last placement. Dumb. If you're gonna come up with excuses to get out of work, ya gotta be smarter than that! No imagination obviously. Unlike our shooter guy who's dumb, but imaginative...

Officials: Man Asked Friend to Shoot Him So He Could Skip Work
Sheriff's detectives in Washington state say a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn't have to go to work.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334254,00.html
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Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
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No text messages or calls for NJ drivers

No text messages or calls for NJ drivers
TRENTON, N.J. - For New Jersey drivers, the message is clear: Keep your thumbs on the wheel and off the keypad.
Beginning Saturday, police can slap drivers with a $100 fine for talking or sending a text message on hand-held devices.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080301/ap_on_re_us/cell_phone_ban