Thursday, April 30, 2009

Martial Law Bill In Massachusetts Just in Time for Swine Flu

Watch and see how fast the feds jump on this one for all of America. Enter our house to investigate what? How often we sneeze? How many boxes of tissue we have used?

Swine Flu Martial Law Bill Clears Massachusetts Senate

Posted April 29th, 2009 by sharpsteve

It took corporate media swine flu hysteria to ram through a martial law bill in Massachusetts. S18 gives the Governor the power to authorize the deployment and use of force to distribute supplies and materials and local authorities will be allowed to enter private residences for investigation and to quarantine individuals......

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pig vs. the Census Taker: Who Will Win?

TT Note: Here's an interesting story on the possible source for the Mexican swine flu. Note how the blame for the outbreak is listed as potentially coming from America. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Of course, if the consensus is a census worker, that will make the current door to door census salesmen types highly suspect. Oops, I forgot, they already are.

Mexico tries to focus on source of infection

By Tracy Wilkinson and Cecilia Sánchez
April 28, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City -- With the death toll climbing, Mexican authorities at the center of an international swine flu epidemic struggled Monday to piece together its lethal march, with attention focusing on a 4-year-old boy and a pig farm.

The boy, who survived the illness, has emerged as Mexico's earliest known case of the never-before-seen virus, Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said Monday. It provides an important clue to the unique strain's path......,0,1701782.story

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Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a Human Virus- Not a Pig Virus

Media Urged to Correct Inaccurate References to 'Swine Flu'

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) urged the news media to cease inaccurate references to swine flu because they are creating confusion among the public.

"According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), North American Flu is a more accurate description of the virus that has affected people in North America," said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.

Boyle referenced an OIE press release issued today which read, "The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza. In the past, many human influenza epidemics with animal origin have been named using their geographic name, e.g. Spanish influenza or Asiatic influenza, thus it would be logical to call this disease 'North-American influenza'".

Boyle stressed that pork is safe and consumers do not need to change their eating habits in the wake of this news. "Public health officials, including those from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, have made clear that pork is not a source of influenza. Consumers can continue to enjoy pork with confidence."

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New York Sees Airliner Jet and Military Escort This Morning

The news is breaking. Oh dear, a jetliner is over New York City and is being escorted by military jets. What's going on?

Evacuations galore and many 911 calls later, it is determined to be just a FAA approved photo shoot for a backup plane of Air Force One.

Gee, wouldn't you think that maybe someone might have alerted the media and the good citizens of New York that this photo shoot was in the works? How many men and women experienced fear and massive heart pain due to this? After all, New York is no stranger to danger from the skies.

Glad it was only Peter calling wolf this time.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Squeaky Wheels or Low on Oil?

TT Note: Shocking! 60% skip medical care! Oh no!

But wait a minute. How many of that 60% didn't need the medical care to begin with? How many prescriptions were placebos written by physicians for their "squeaky wheel" patients? Where are the stats to indicate what effects there were for this skipping of medical care?

I do think that some type of health care reform is in order. I do not believe it should be government mandated. If 60% of the respondents can skip medical care when it is available, how many more will be forced to have no medical care when the lines are months long like in Canada? How many will be told ,"Sorry, you're too old or too sick to be eligible"? How many are willing to change their lifestyles completely to avoid the proposed "sin tax"?

Today, it is the choice of the patient. Yes, some people have most assuredly skipped medical care when they shouldn't. Tomorrow, the freedom of choice could be history.

Six in Ten Say Family Put Off Medical Care Due to Cost

/PRNewswire / -- As economic conditions remain poor, a majority of the public continues to say that they or a member of their household have delayed or skipped health care in the past year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's April health tracking poll.

Perhaps because Americans continue to struggle with the cost of medical care in their own lives, the country's overall economic problems have not dampened their interest in pursuing health care reform: a solid majority of the public (59%) believes health care reform is more important than ever, compared with the thirty-seven percent who say we can't afford health reform because of economic problems.

"Our polls suggest strong general support for health reform, but the public can be swayed on the key details," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman. "There is still a tremendous opportunity for leadership but also for interest groups to define the direction of the health reform debate."

The most common actions taken due to costs were substituting home remedies or over-the-counter drugs for doctors visits (42%) and skipping dental care or check ups (36%). Additionally, three in ten (29%) did not fill a prescription for medicine and two in ten (18%) cut pills in half or skipped doses.

Not everyone can forgo care, and overall one in four (26%) Americans say someone in their household has had trouble paying medical bills in the past year.

Support for Some Methods to Pay for Health Reform, Others Less Popular

One of the crucial challenges for health reform is the financing of the plan.

Seven in ten (71%) Americans strongly or somewhat favor increasing income taxes for those in families making more than $250,000 per year, but there is much less support for increasing income taxes on all taxpayers (28%).

The poll indicates some support for taxing unhealthy behaviors, sometimes called "sin" taxes. When asked if they would favor or oppose increasing taxes on a package of items including soda, alcohol, junk food, and cigarettes to pay for health reform and provide coverage for the uninsured, six in ten (61%) favor such taxes while roughly four in ten (37%) are opposed. Asked about each of these items specifically, the poll suggests there is somewhat more support for increasing taxes on cigarettes, wine and beer than on snack foods or soda.

Another tax change that has been discussed by some policymakers as a financing option is changing the tax treatment of employer-based health insurance. Roughly half (52%) of the public is opposed to changing the law so workers with the most generous health benefits would pay taxes on the money their employer puts towards their coverage, while 41 percent are in favor. Those who currently have employer-sponsored health insurance are even more likely to oppose the proposal (62 percent oppose, 33 percent favor).

One other potential area of revenue discussed by policymakers for health reform comes from changes to the Medicare program. When asked about making changes to the program as a way to keep Medicare financially sound, reducing payments to managed care plans and other private insurers is "strongly" or "somewhat" supported by two-thirds (66%) of the public. Two-thirds (65%) also support reducing Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals.

Ideological Divide in Support for Public Plan

There has already been an ongoing debate about whether a public plan option should be included in health reform. Generally, two-thirds of the public (67%) "strongly" or "somewhat" favor creating a public option "similar to Medicare." More than eight in ten Democrats and six in ten political independents "strongly" or "somewhat" favor having a public plan, but just about half (49%) of Republicans agree.

Another way to measure Americans' views on the public plan debate is giving the public a choice of two methods and asking which would better encourage price competition among health plans. When asked whether private plans competing with just each other or with a government-administered public insurance plan similar to Medicare would do a better job of lowering costs and improving quality, Democrats favor including a public plan by more than 3 to 1 (71% to 19%), and political independents back this approach 53 percent to 40 percent. A majority of Republicans, on the other hand, prefer having private plans compete without a public plan (54% to 39%).

Simulating a Public Debate with Potential Arguments Shows Malleability of Opinion

In an attempt to measure the firmness of public support for key policy approaches in health reform, a handful of arguments for and against such policy options were tested on the public in preparation for what could be a robust, fast-moving debate.

Employer mandates have been a staple of previous reform debates and are likely to be considered this year as well. When the public is initially asked if they support "requiring employers to offer health insurance to their workers or pay money into a government fund," seven in ten (71%) support the concept. When the supporters are exposed to a one-sided argument stating that the approach may mean some job loss, overall support for mandates drops dramatically (to 27% for and 65% against). When the initial opponents of employer mandates are told that mandates are "more fair because today some employers pay for health insurance and some do not," then support overall rises from its initial level to 78 percent for and 17 percent against.

Public support and opposition to public plans can be similarly swayed. When the 67 percent who initially supported public plans are told that they could give the government an unfair advantage over private plans, overall support drops to roughly three in ten (32% favor, 59% oppose). When supporters were offered a different argument, that public plans would be the first step toward single-payer, government-run health care, overall support again eroded, but not as much (41% favor, 50% oppose).

As discussed earlier, there is initial majority (61%) support for "sin" taxes to finance health reform. While this idea hasn't been broadly debated publicly this year, some arguments for and against the approach were tested. Support for the approach declines overall (39% favor, 57% oppose) when supporters are told that the tax increase would hit low-income people the hardest. When initial opponents are told that the tax increase would raise money for reform and improve health by encouraging healthier habits, overall support increases moderately (70% favor, 27% oppose).

The survey cannot gauge in advance what arguments will be used in the health reform debate, who will make them and how well the arguments will be heard and absorbed by the public. And the fact that arguments are made does not make them accurate. What the simulations can tell us, however, are how possible arguments can alter potential public support.

Public Realizes Medicare Faces Challenges, But Most Uninterested in Personal Sacrifices

Roughly three-quarters (77%) of the public view Medicare as "very important" for the country, and just over half (53%) say the same for their own family. As might be expected, an even larger share of seniors (78%) and those living in households making less than $30,000 per year (68%) say that Medicare is very important to them personally.

While Medicare is valued by the public, many Americans under age 65 are concerned that the program will not be there for them when they need it. More than eight in ten (85%) are "very" or "somewhat" concerned that the program benefits available to seniors today will not be available when they retire. Three in four Americans say either the program is already in financial crisis (30%) or is facing major financial problems (44%). At the same time, though, more incorrectly believe that Social Security will be first to face a major financial shortfall (52%, compared to 39% who correctly named Medicare).

The survey suggests the public recognizes that rising health care costs are a primary culprit in Medicare's financial troubles: eight in ten cite this as a "major reason" for the program's difficulties, putting it at the top of a list of seven possible causes. But at the same time, roughly seven in ten say that "doctors and hospitals charge too much" and "too much fraud in the program" are also major reasons for the impending financial problems, causes which are seen as secondary by many experts.

Despite widespread concern about Medicare's solvency, most Americans are not interested in reform proposals that require personal sacrifice. The most popular option is to allow the government "to negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices" (86% favor), followed by having the program pay for new treatments and technologies only if they provide better results (75%). The Medicare changes detailed earlier as possible revenue raisers are next in popularity, but it should be noted that seniors are less supportive -- only half favor reducing payments to insurer plans or providers. About half the public (53%) would support requiring higher income seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums. Proposals that would more broadly impact individuals -- such as raising payroll taxes, raising the age of eligibility for Medicare or requiring all seniors to pay a larger share of costs -- all received less than majority support.


The survey was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and was conducted April 2 through April 8, 2009, among a nationally representative random sample of 1,203 adults ages 18 and older. Telephone interviews conducted by landline (902) and cell phone (301, including 98 who had no landline telephone) were carried out in English and Spanish. The margin of sampling error for the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error is higher.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can't Vote or Drink But....

TT Note: Let's see. She can't legally drink, buy cigarettes, get married, or vote, but she can ask for a drug? Anybody ever think that the 17 year old brain may consider taking more of these pills than are safe? Hey, has anyone done the studies to show what that level may be? Perhaps, she'll go grab some for her minor friends, so they, too, can experience the life. Oh, wait, that's right. She's a minor, too.

Updated FDA Action on Plan B (levonorgestrel) Tablets

On March 23, 2009, a federal court issued an order directing the FDA, within 30 days, to permit the Plan B drug sponsor to make Plan B available to women 17 and older without a prescription. The government will not appeal this decision. In accordance with the court’s order, and consistent with the scientific findings made in 2005 by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA notified the manufacturer of Plan B informing the company that it may, upon submission and approval of an appropriate application, market Plan B without a prescription to women 17 years of age and older.

Plan B is manufactured by Duramed Research, Inc. of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

AAPR Blasts United Airlines Decision to Discriminate Against People of Size; New Policy Charges Overweight Passengers for Two Tickets

/PRNewswire/ -- The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) today blasted the decision by United Airlines to violate the Civil Rights of people of size by charging them for two tickets if they are deemed to be overweight. United Airlines announced that its ticket agents will begin denying boarding passes to people of size if they are "unable to comfortably fasten a safety belt with one extension or sit comfortably with armrests down," unless they purchase a second ticket.

"They're at it again," said Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of AAPR, of the airline industry. "United is now the latest airline to shelve customer service standards in search for higher profits, while claiming that the new policy is to 'protect' other passengers. At issue should not be the size of any passenger, but rather why the airlines continue to pack coach passengers like sardines into the cabin."

Most coach airline seats are smaller than seats on buses or trains, even movie theaters - yet unlike in those environments, customers cannot simply get up and move around but are rather forced to sit uncomfortably until the flight's destination is reached.

Macsata further argued, "Where does this madness end? So now a customer who purchases an advanced ticket online can show up at the airport and arbitrarily denied boarding because a ticket agent deems him or her to be overweight? He or she would be at the mercy of the airlines - an unthinkable scenario especially if the passenger is traveling for a family emergency or death in the family. I wonder just how much will be the price of that second ticket?"

AAPR also questioned the legality of the discriminatory policy and whether it violates the Air Carrier Access Act governing the treatment of passengers with disabilities. It is documented that certain health conditions, and sometimes medications, can cause weight gain and therefore should be protected by law. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) addressed this issue earlier this year, when it issued its "one-person, one-fare" ruling covering passengers with disabilities - including "clinically obese" passengers who cannot fit into a single seat.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Housing Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and Tax Implications for eCommerce

TT Note: How about trying this little tidbit on for size? This little ole provision for 1099 reporting was unknown to me and I'm willing to guess it's unknown to a whole lot of people. Be careful. This little provision and the way the credit card processors do business is about to get real sticky. You know, the one person, one account scenario? Could be tough trying to prove to Big Brother that you and your business are two accounts.

/PRNewswire/ -- Many small businesses and payment processors were surprised to learn the Housing Economic Recovery Act of 2008 included a provision creating an IRS 1099 reporting requirement for all credit card payment providers (i.e. PayPal, Google Checkout, Amazon) to report individuals that receive deposits totaling more than $20,000 from over 200 debit/credit card transactions in one year. The proposed provision could deliver tax revenue in the amount of $9.529 billion over 10 years but at what cost?

For payment processors this is not just a simple matter of developing an accounting and reporting system. Payment processors will need to integrate tax reporting into their customer facing applications; they will have to change the way they collect and authenticate account holder data; they will have to setup customer service support for tax related inquiries and they will likely have to change the fundamental way they look at account holders.

It only makes sense that account holders will now want to setup 2 accounts, one for business and one for personal use. While this may seem obvious and trivial, this presents a problem for a number of payment processors who view the world as 1 person equals 1 account. Payment processors will have to adjust their velocity systems to pool accounts which can increase record keeping costs, customer service inquiries and maintenance costs.

Of course some sellers, not so honest ones, may also utilize multiple accounts (i.e. 1 personal, 1 business, 1 in my wife's name) to purposely spread out revenue. Some sellers from auction sites such as eBay or Craig's List will attempt to avoid the reporting requirements by diversifying their payment strategy. This would entail utilizing several different payment processors to try and go 'unnoticed' by staying under the reporting threshold with any single processor.

Payment processors will also have to deal with the potential for brand damage from "guilt by association". This association will come from account holders expressing displeasure of the new requirements in the blogosphere and from the increased damage caused to fraud victims. In terms of fraud, fraudsters that setup accounts using stolen identities will be causing 1099 income to be reported on the victims. In this case a 1099 would be generated and the consumer may not have any idea that it has occurred until they are contacted by the IRS for not reporting the income. The burden of proof will be with the taxpayer to prove their innocence to the IRS, and the burden of proof will be on the payment processor to prove to the victim they didn't do anything wrong. Needless to say, this scenario is likely to receive a lot of attention in the press and blogosphere that a payment processor wants to avoid.

For a more detailed discussion on the impact of the new payment processor reporting requirements from the Housing Economic Recovery Act of 2008 go to .

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

U.S. Tax Dollars Still Spent in Sweatshops

/PRNewswire / -- Federal, state and local tax dollars are being used to buy products made in sweatshops, according to a new report released today by SweatFree Communities. But, the report says, more local and state governments are adopting policies that would require government contractors to meet a set of ethical standards, and advocates are calling on elected officials to join the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium to end tax dollar support for sweatshops.

Findings include child labor, obligatory pregnancy tests, firing and blacklisting of workers who support a union, poverty wages, and forced and unpaid overtime. At least three workers in two factories who participated in interviews for this report have since been fired from their jobs, allegedly for having spoken publicly about conditions in their factories. Subsidizing Sweatshops II: How our tax dollars can foster worker rights and economic recovery rather than fuel the race to the bottom follows the groundbreaking 2008 first report. It is based on in-depth interviews with over 100 workers in 8 factories spanning five countries who produce uniforms for public employees such as police officers and parks service employees for nine major uniform brands. Four of the case studies are newly-researched factories, while four look at what improvements have been made in factories researched for the 2008 report.

"There are comparatively many adolescents and child workers, and their work is the same kind as that done by adult workers," said a worker from the Genfort Shoes factory in Guangdong Province, China, where Ohio-based Rocky Brands, a major government contractor, manufactures several lines of boots. "When people come to inspect, the children are told to hide," said another Genfort Shoes worker.

"Every week I have to choose which of the bills I will be able to pay. I pay $600 for rent, $200 for gas, $100 for car insurance, and then there is the telephone and other bills. But I only make $250 a week... and we haven't even talked about food!" says Lesbi, a worker at the Eagle Industries factory in New Bedford, Mass., which manufactures tactical gear for state governments and the United States military.

Elected officials, clergy, business owners, labor leaders, and students gathered today at U.S. Post Offices and state houses in at least 17 U.S. cities to release Subsidizing Sweatshops II and call for end to taxpayer support for sweatshops.

"We have a choice: we can use our tax dollars to elevate conditions for working people, or our tax dollars can fuel the race to the bottom that has cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers their jobs and led to inhumane sweatshop conditions around the world," said Bjorn Claeson, Executive Director of SweatFree Communities and author of the report. "By joining the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, our cities and states can make a real difference in the lives of working people while helping to create a more sustainable economy."

Groups are calling on governors and local elected officials to join the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, which would stop tax dollar support for sweatshop abuses and level the playing field for ethical U.S. businesses. Since the first report on taxpayer support for sweatshops was published in July 2008, more states and cities have committed to join the Consortium, including the State of Pennsylvania; the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the City of Portland, Oregon; and the City of Olympia, Washington.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Report: U.S. Tax Code Widens Gap Between Wealthy and Middle-Class Americans

TT Note: At first blush, the following article seems to raise my blood pressure. At the second glance, what is noticed is a distinct lack of acknowledging what the current Congress and administration are doing to our future in taxes. Some of the proposed taxes on the table won't even qualify as a tax break for anyone. I guess what is missing in the article is the mention that over the last 30 years, both parties have been in power and both parties have agreed to shift the tax burden to the middle class. Takes two to tango in this mess.

/PRNewswire / -- The federal tax code has become increasingly unfair over the past 30 years, giving wealthy individuals more breaks than middle- and low-income Americans, according to a new report released today by the Campaign for America's Future. The report shows that the tax rates on the top 1 percent dropped significantly since 1980, while the relative tax burden on the middle 60 percent has increased.

Thirty years ago, the tax code was broadly progressive, reflecting shared contributions to public investments and our common good. Loopholes were fewer and covered items like home mortgages that everyone could understand and appreciate.

Campaign for America's Future co-director Robert Borosage said this is no longer the case, because of policy decisions that should've been made differently. Instead of making taxes more progressive to counteract the increasingly regressive distribution of income, policymakers chose the reverse, lavishing tax breaks on the very wealthy.

"The size and number of loopholes and tax breaks available to the richest 10 percent of Americans is a scandal," said Borosage. "It's inconceivable to most people that billionaire hedge fund managers pay taxes at a lower rate than their receptionists. But this is increasingly where we find ourselves."

To return America to a progressive and fair tax rate, the report recommends repealing President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals, instituting a "transaction tax" on financial trades to discourage speculation, taxing all types of income at the same rates and keeping the estate tax.

Every Republican senator this month pushed for another tax break for the super-wealthy, voting to raise the full exemption on inheritances from $7 million to $10 million for a couple, and to drop the top rate on fortunes over $10 million from 45 percent to 35 percent.

President Obama tried to keep the estate tax at the current rate in his budget proposals and the House agreed, but 10 Democratic senators joined the Republicans to pick a fight on the estate tax -- Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; Maria Cantwell D-Wash.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Parkinson's Disease Medication Triggers Destructive Behaviors

/PRNewswire / -- A new study conducted at Mayo Clinic reports that one in six patients receiving therapeutic doses of certain drugs for Parkinson's disease develops new-onset, potentially destructive behaviors, notably compulsive gambling or hypersexuality.

The study extends findings from two Mayo case series published in 2005 that reported a connection between dopamine agonist medications and compulsive gambling or hypersexuality.

Dopamine agonists are a class of drugs that include pramipexole and ropinirole. They are commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease, but low doses also are used for restless legs syndrome. They uniquely stimulate brain limbic circuits, which are thought to be fundamental substrates for emotional, reward and hedonistic behaviors.

"The 2005 case series alerted us that something bad was happening to some unfortunate people. This study was done to assess the likelihood that this effect would happen to the average Parkinson's patient treated with these agents," says J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., Mayo Clinic psychiatrist who spearheaded the new study. It is published in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The researchers analyzed the medical records of patients with Parkinson's disease residing in counties surrounding Rochester, Minn., who received their primary neurological care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester between 2004 and 2006. This group included 267 patients. Of those, 66 were taking dopamine agonists for their Parkinson's disease. Of those 66, 38 were taking the drugs in therapeutic doses (doses expected to be at least minimally beneficial).

The findings were definitive. Seven patients experiencing new-onset compulsive gambling or hypersexuality were taking dopamine agonists in therapeutic doses. None of the other Parkinson's disease patients developed compulsive gambling habits or hypersexuality, including the 28 patients on subtherapeutic dopamine agonist doses or the other 201 patients not taking dopamine agonists. None of the 178 patients treated only with the standard drug for Parkinson's disease, carbidopa/levodopa, developed these behaviors.

"It is crucial for clinicians prescribing dopamine agonists to apprise patients as well as their spouses or partners about this potential side effect. The onset can be insidious and overlooked until life-altering problems develop," says J. Eric Ahlskog, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist who co-authored and treated many of the patients in the 2005 study. "It also is worth noting that the affected patients were all taking therapeutic doses. Very low doses, such as those used to treat restless legs syndrome, carry much less risk."

"For some patients, a reduction in the dose of the dopamine agonist may prove to be sufficient treatment," says Dr. Ahlskog, "although total elimination of the offending drug is often necessary."

A peer-review journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally. Articles are available online at

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Pistachio Growers and Processors Announce New Web Site to Inform Consumers, Retailers of Safe Pistachio Brands

TT Note: This new web site is a great idea. We've not been purchasing pistachios due to the recent salmonella scare. Perhaps this site will keep this industry from being almost completely destroyed unlike the recent peanut issues.

/PRNewswire/ -- As part of ongoing collaboration with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pistachio growers and processors today announced a new Web site - - that lists specific pistachio products and brands that are confirmed safe to consume.

The Web site is produced by CAL-PURE, a co-op of California pistachio growers ("CAL-PURE"), and the Western Pistachio Association ("WPA") and is accessible directly and via a link on the FDA Web site at The new site is being made available in light of a pistachio recall by the processor, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. and Setton International, due to potential Salmonella contamination. The recall action has been taken on a precautionary basis, and the FDA reports no illnesses tied to the recalled pistachios.

Only pistachios processed by the Setton Pistachio and Setton International facilities are affected by the recall measures, and the majority of processors, pistachio products and foods containing pistachio products are not involved with the recall. The new Web site,, will be updated on an ongoing basis to ensure consumers have access to the latest, most accurate information available related to safe products.

The health and safety of consumers is the pistachio growers and processors number-one priority and, as such, CAL-PURE and the WPA are committed to continuing to work closely with regulators and industry leaders to address questions about pistachio safety. The pistachio community is dedicated to providing a safe, wholesome product and is eager to quickly put any concerns to rest so that consumers can enjoy pistachios and pistachio products with confidence.

For additional details about the Setton Pistachio recall, consumers may also visit for the latest information, as well as products that are affected by the voluntary recall. The FDA site also provides updates on the status of the recall, which as of today, includes the following revised statement:

"FDA is advising consumers not to eat pistachios or food products containing them (such as pistachio bakery goods and pistachio ice cream) unless they can determine that the products do not contain pistachios from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc. The FDA consumer alert is available at this link:"

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Let's Get Tough on Detroit? What a Joke

TT Note: Sacrifice the automakers? Obama wouldn't dare risk that move. Here's a thoughtful insight to possible agendas for the powers in Washington.

GM Bankruptcy? Tell Me Another

By Holman W. Jenkins Jr.
Wall Street Journal
March 31, 2009

President Obama rightly says "sacrifices" must be made if GM is to emerge as a viable company. But there's one sacrifice he won't make: his re-election chances, by leaving the fate of the UAW truly up to a bankruptcy judge.....

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