SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

April 30, 2010

McDougall/daily Aspirin Use

Filed under: Dr John McDougall — Jan Turner @ 3:16 pm

Don’t Use Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

The April 21, 2010 issue of the British Medical Journal carried an article with just that title: “Don’t use aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” The authors explained, “Published evidence does not support the assumption that the benefits clearly outweigh the harms. So the routine practice of starting patients on such treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease should be abandoned… this conclusion holds regardless of such individuals’ gender, blood pressure, or predicted risk of cardiovascular disease, or of whether they have a history of diabetes.”6 A recent thorough review of the scientific literature looking specifically at people with diabetes, who are known to have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, found. “A clear benefit of aspirin in the primary prevention of major cardiovascular events in people with diabetes remains unproved.”7

For Secondary Prevention Benefits from Aspirin Outweigh Harms

For the person who has already had heart disease (a heart attack or heart surgery) or an ischemic brain event (TIA or stroke), aspirin use is justified. This kind of therapy is called secondary prevention. The reason aspirin works here is because once a patient has had such a serious vascular event the risk of another one is much higher; thus benefits from treatment will be more easily seen than in a low-risk population. Note that the risks from taking daily aspirin are also greater in people who have had such a prior event, because those falling into the category for secondary prevention are usually older and sicker.

Overall, among these high-risk patients the use of daily aspirin reduces risk of any serious vascular event by about one quarter; non-fatal myocardial infarction is reduced by one-third, non-fatal stroke by one quarter, and vascular mortality by one sixth.8

Low-Dose Is Much Better Than High Dose

The full preventative effects of aspirin are accomplished at a very low dosage, because essentially all of the platelets in the body are permanently deactivated with 30 mg of aspirin. New platelets with activity begin to appear in the blood after about four days following taking a single dose of aspirin.

A low dosage of 30 mg has a more favorable effect on platelet activity and fewer side effects (stomach pains and bleeding) than a higher dosage of 300 mg of aspirin.9 As the dosage of aspirin is increased from 30 mg up to 1000 mg the side effects increase from 5% to 25% of patients, with no additional benefits for prevention of secondary events, including no reduced risks of dying and/or heart attacks.10 Higher dosages, such as 1000 mg (3 adult aspirins daily), may even cause more heart attacks (reinfarctions). In one study, the total reinfarction rate was 22.5 % higher for people taking 1000 mg in comparison to the 30 mg group. The non-fatal reinfarction rate was 50% lower in the 30 mg group compared with the 1000 mg group.11 The reason for this escalated risk is dosages higher than 30 mg inhibit hormone activities that protect the heart.12 Thus, the ideal dosage may be one-third of what is commonly prescribed to patients, a baby aspirin, containing 81 mg of aspirin, daily.

How to Stop Aspirin Safely

There appears to be a rebound from reversing the “blood thinning” effects of aspirin when it is stopped suddenly. Over three times the expected risk of stroke occurs in patients with a previous history of heart disease when they suddenly stop taking aspirin.13 A similar increase in risk of heart attack has been reported when aspirin was stopped.

No one has determined a safe regime for discontinuing this therapy. I suggest that people needing to stop long-term use of aspirin should do so slowly. Since as little as 30 mg (1/3 of a baby aspirin) will deactivate all of the body’s platelets, slow withdrawal should begin at about this level. Cut a baby aspirin into quarters (now 20 mg). Take 20 mg then wait for 4 days to take the next 20 mg dose. Increase the interval between 20 mg doses by one day until a 10-day interval between doses is reached, and then stop taking the aspirin. This is not an easy task since the tablets are so small. Reduction or discontinuation should be done after obtaining a doctor’s advice on the risks and benefits for each individual patient. Even before reducing the aspirin, patients should change to the McDougall Diet in order to most effectively reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Don’t Overlook the Best Tool for Primary and Secondary Prevention

The most effective, safest, and inexpensive way to “thin” the blood and prevent blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes is to avoid the most powerful blood-clotting substances people contact daily, which are animal (saturated) fat and hydrogenated “trans” fats.14,15 By avoiding meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and processed foods people naturally and safely thin their blood and prevent tragedies with no side effects, no extra costs, and no rebound effects. Plus this no-cholesterol, low-fat diet is the same one that heals the underlying artery disease, atherosclerosis, and improves overall health and longevity.


1) US Preventive Services Task Force. Aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Mar 17;150(6):396-404.

2) Buse JB, Ginsberg HN, Bakris GL, Clark NG, Costa F, Eckel R, et al; American Heart Association; American Diabetes Association. Primary preven- tion of cardiovascular diseases in people with diabetes mellitus: a scientific state- ment from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Circulation. 2007;115:114-26.

3) Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (revisited). Med Lett Drugs Ther. 2006 Jul 3;48(1238):53.

4) Lip GYH, Felmeden DC. Antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants for hypertension. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(4):CD003186.

5) DTB 2009;47:122-125 doi:10.1136/dtb.2009.10.0045

6) Barnett H, Burrill P, Iheanacho Don’t use aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. BMJ. 2010 Apr 21;340:c1805. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c1805.

7) De Berardis G, Sacco M, Strippoli GF, Pellegrini F, Graziano G, Tognoni G, Nicolucci A. Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2009 Nov 6;339:b4531. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4531.

8) Antithrombotic Trialists’ Collaboration. Collaborative meta-analysis of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy for prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke in high risk patients. BMJ 2002;324:71-86

9) A comparison of two doses of aspirin (30 mg vs. 283 mg a day) in patients after a transient ischemic attack or minor ischemic stroke. The Dutch TIA Trial Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1991 Oct 31;325(18):1261-6.

10) Fˆrster W, Hoffmann W. Superior prevention of reinfarction by 30 mg per day aspirin compared with 1000 mg: results of a two years follow-up study in Cottbus. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1989;301:187-91.

11) Two year Cottbus reinfarction study with 30 mg aspirin per day. Hoffman W, Fˆrster W. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1991 Nov;44(3):159-69.

12) Reevaluation of the Cottbus Reinfarction Study with 30 mg aspirin per day 4 years after the end of the study. Hoffmann W, Nitschke M, Muche J, Kampe W, Handreg W, Fˆrster W. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1991 Feb;42(2):137-9.

13) Maulaz AB, Bezerra DC, Michel P, Bogousslavsky J.† Effect of discontinuing aspirin therapy on the risk of brain ischemic stroke.† Arch Neurol. 2005 Aug;62(8):1217-20.

14) de Moraes Mizurini D, da Costa Maia I, Lucia de Carvalho Sardinha F, de Queiroz Monteiro R, Ortiz-Costa S, das GraÁas Tavares do Carmo M. Venous thrombosis risk: Effects of palm oil and hydrogenated fat diet in rats. Nutrition. 2010 Apr 2.

15) Hornstra G. Influence of dietary fat type on arterial thrombosis tendency. J Nutr Health Aging. 2001;5(3):160-6.


April 29, 2010

Nat’l ID, fix immigration?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 10:57 am

(The ‘immigration crisis’ in Arizona has everyone’s attention, rightly so.  It brings us shame and breaks the ethic we all mostly believe in.  That this is a difficult situation is attested to by how many administrations have genuinely given lip service and some action to it’s solution – – but to no avail.  The problem goes on and on . . . in a way, who could blame Arizona really?  For this is indeed a Federal issue and has gone unsolved far too long.  But what would be the fair, American way?    Check out Froma Harrop’s article here in which she brings us up to date on a distinct possibility.    Left unaddressed is the amnesty issue, but if we all demand every possible issue to be satisfied – – nothing will ever get done.  Sometimes, a well-thought step in the right direction can be a good thing.   You know – this  could work!    Jan)

National ID would help curb illegal immigration

President Barack Obama is right that Arizona’s tough immigration law is “misguided.” And Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is right that her state has been “more than patient waiting for Washington to act.” The two are not unrelated.

Enforcing our immigration laws is a federal responsibility, which Washington has failed to meet. It’s too bad that the Arizona law comes just as the Obama administration had started doing what must be done — and a plan for effective immigration reform has some Senate support.

After eight years of passivity under the Bush administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is actively going after companies found to be employing illegal workers. That and a weak economy are credited with having slowed the surge of illegal immigrants. (Note that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is managed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor.)

But as Brewer said, patience is gone. Border states such as Arizona have long served as highways and havens for illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, locals fear with good reason that the drug war in Mexico is unleashing a new wave of entrants and violence. The recent murder of rancher Robert Krentz, presumably by an illegal immigrant, pushed many Arizonans over the edge.

The result is a policy that is disturbingly unfair to Latino populations. The law makes it a crime to move around without immigration documents and lets police demand such papers from anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally.   You know who that means: people from Mexico or who look like they could be from Mexico. And although the governor has promised to train officers against racial profiling, how could there not be? What would make an Arizona law enforcer suspect that someone is here illegally other than that person’s ethnic appearance?

Stopping brown people in the street is not the way to address the problem. The great majority of illegal immigrants come for work. Though they shouldn’t be here, these are mostly good people supporting their families. These poor folk deserve to be treated humanely.

Arizona doesn’t need a new law to capture and deport the criminal element. As in many other states, police already check the immigration status of anyone charged with a crime. Those here illegally are referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Harassing countless innocents alongside illegal immigrants is a callous and futile way to stop massive flows of undocumented workers. The more successful approach is to remove the job magnet by fining and possibly jailing their employers.

It is already against the law to hire illegal aliens, but the giant loophole is the lack of a counterfeit-proof form of identification. If the job-seeker presents a reasonably good-looking document, a company can’t be held liable if that person is found to be working illegally.

An immigration reform proposal put together by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., would end that dodge by creating a Social Security card that contains fingerprints, eye scans or other biometric markers unique to each individual. Employers would check the information against a national database for all new hires, be they immigrant or native born.

No, Arizona is not going about this the right way. But its radical law may spur overdue action. Now is the best time for it, when a slow economy has deflated the cheap-labor argument that only illegal immigrants will wash dishes or mop floors.

Effective immigration controls are not impossible. Canada has a large immigration program and virtually no illegal workers. Until the federal government creates a rational system, states are going to pass laws out of anger and panic. It’s time for Washington to do its duty.
Froma Harrop writes for Creators Syndicate.


Mines exploit loopholes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 12:48 am
Tags: ,

Critic: Mines exploit loopholes

Disaster site cited hundreds of times, Senate panel told

By David Zucchino and Kim Geiger

WASHINGTON — The company that operated the West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 miners this month was able to “game the system” by using a lengthy appeals process to avoid safety shutdowns, witnesses told a Senate committee yesterday.
Massey Energy Co. was cited 515 times for safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine last year and  124 times this year before the April 5 explosion. Many violations were for improper ventilation of methane and coal dust, the suspected causes of the worst U.S. mine disaster in 40 years.
Because of loopholes in safety laws and a backlog of 16,000 safety-violation appeals, federal inspectors are unable to shut down unsafe mine sections for more than short periods. The average appeals process drags on for 600 days.
“You just about have to have an explosion” to force a closure for safety violations, Joe Main, leader of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The hearing was attended by family members of miners killed in other mine disasters. They heard a mine workers’ union leader angrily accuse Massey of knowingly operating unsafe mines.   “The miners who work for Massey are scared to death,” said Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers. “They’re intimidated. This company is run like it’s 1921, not like it’s the present day.”
No Massey officials attended the hearing. A representative of the National Mining Association, an industry group, told the committee that current federal regulations are adequate to ensure mine safety.
“The tools are sufficient when properly used,” said Bruce Watzman, the association’s senior vice president.
Massey was hit with $1.24 million in penalties for safety violations at the Upper Big Branch Mine between January 2009 and the April 5 disaster. But it paid only $180,000 because fines are not due until appeals are exhausted. Some fines imposed in 2006 still have not been paid; Massey contested 78 percent of assessed penalties in its mines in 2009.
Last year, federal inspectors issued 48 withdrawal orders requiring miners to evacuate dangerous sections at Upper Big Branch, but Massey was able to stall a shutdown of the mine.

“It’s very easy to game the system,” Main said, describing mine operators’ “catch me if you can” mentality.

April 28, 2010

Corrupt Credit-Rating; crisis-root

Credit-rating system is corrupt

Paul Krugman writes for The New York Times.

Let’s hear it for the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Its work on the financial crisis is increasingly


looking like the 21st-century version of the Pecora hearings, which helped usher in New Deal-era financial regulation. In the past few days scandalous Wall Street e-mail messages released by the subcommittee have made headlines.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of the headlines were about the wrong e-mails. When Goldman Sachs employees bragged about the money they had made by shorting the housing market, it was ugly, but that didn’t amount to wrongdoing.
No, the e-mail messages you should be focusing on are the ones from employees at the credit-rating agencies, which bestowed AAA-ratings on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of dubious assets, nearly all of which have since turned out to be toxic waste. And no, that’s not hyperbole:   of  AAA-rated subprime-mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006, 93 percent — 93 percent! — have now been downgraded to junk status. What those e-mails reveal is a . . .

April 27, 2010

AZ’s Imigration Law

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 6:42 pm
Tags: ,

Disgraceful immigration law borne out of frustration

Eugene Robinson writes for the Washington Post Writers Group.


Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, meanspirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional..

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.….

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights — and supporters of sane governance — held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn’t the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom?

It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim — and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state — would send the Tea Partiers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?

And what is the deal with Sen. John McCain? The self-proclaimed practitioner of “straight talk” was once a passionate advocate of sensible, moderate immigration reform. Now, facing a primary challenge from the right, he says he supports the new law, which is as far from sensible and moderate as it could possibly be. Are six more years in the Senate really worth abandoning what seemed like bedrock principles? Or were those principles always situational?

Let me interrupt this tirade to point out that while Arizona has unquestionably done the wrong thing, it’s understandable that exasperated officials believed they had to do something. Immigration policy and border security are federal responsibilities, and Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a genuine crisis.

Arizona has become the preferred point of entry for undocumented workers, and an estimated 460,000 are in the state — settling down, or just passing through — at any given time. I have driven down to the border and watched as authorities tried to pick out trucks and vans that might be transporting people without papers. I’ve spent a morning at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, which is usually crowded with recent immigrants; only the most naive observer would think that all of them, or even most of them, were in the country legally. The influx imposes an unfair burden on the state, and for years Arizonans have been imploring federal officials to do something about immigration reform and border control.

But the new law isn’t a solution. On the contrary, it will make the problems worse. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon — who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling proponents of the law “bitter, small-minded and full of hate” — hopes to file a lawsuit against the state arguing that local police are now being forced to fulfill a federal responsibility.

One of the concrete problems with the law treating undocumented immigrants as criminals is that it gives those without papers a powerful incentive to stay as far away from police as possible. This will only make it more difficult for local police to investigate crimes and track down fugitive offenders, because no potential witness who is undocumented will come forward.

And how are police supposed to decide whom they “reasonably suspect” of being in the country illegally? Since the majority of undocumented immigrants in Arizona are from Mexico, aggressive enforcement would seem to require demanding identification from anybody who looks Mexican. Or maybe just hassling those who look kind of Mexican and also kind of poor. Or maybe anyone who dares to visit the Mexican consulate.

Arizona is dealing with a real problem and is right to demand that Washington provide a solution. But the new immigration law isn’t a solution at all. It’s more like an act of vengeance. The law makes Latino citizens and legal residents vulnerable to arbitrary harassment — relegating them to second-class status — and it is an utter disgrace.

Old Schooners win w/catch-share

Popularity just part of halibut’s success

An unusual parade of halibut schooners is led by the nearly century-old Vansee as the boats head out from Seattle while being filmed for a documentary. The halibut await off Alaska.

Old schooners still have a place, alongside modern methods, catch-share programs


SEATTLE — In 1911, the Tordenskjold, a 75-foot schooner hewed from old-growth fir, left the Ballard, Wash., docks for its first season of halibut fishing off Alaska. Early this month, as the Tordenskjold prepared for a 99th season, the boat joined up with six other fishing schooners for a rare fleet parade through Seattle’s Lake Union, the Ballard Locks and out into Puget Sound. The occasion was a video documentary commissioned by the Fishing Vessel Owners Association and a fishermen’s union that will chronicle the history of the fleet.

These schooners — despite their age — are some of the top-grossing boats in the North Pacific commercial halibut harvest. This year’s U.S. catch probably will be worth about $160 million; Washington fishermen, largely based in Puget Sound, are expected to bring in nearly 30 percent of the fish.
The value of the halibut catch is more than triple that of a few decades ago and reflects halibut’s transformation from a blue-collar staple to a pricey seafood that retails for more — often far more — than $10 a pound.

The harvests also have undergone a radical transformation from a pressure-packed derby to a system of individual catch shares that some see as a 21st-century blueprint for reforming other troubled U.S. fisheries. “From Florida to Alaska, catch-share programs help fishing communities provide good jobs while rebuilding and sustaining healthy fisheries,” said Jane Lubchenco, a U.S. Commerce Department undersecretary.

Tordenskjold captain Marvin Gjerde, 61, claims his shares with the help of a five-man crew. In a grinding season that stretches from April through early September, Gjerde and each of his crew often make more than $100,000. “Sometime around January, I always start going a little crazy waiting for the season to start, and come down and look at the boat,” said Pat Galligan, a stout 56-year-old fisherman from Aberdeen, Wash., who has fished aboard the vessel for more than two decades. “I come down and look at the boat, then come home, and then go look at boat again. I don’t know — it’s a sickness. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

They fish for halibut, as well as black cod, with longline boats that dangle thousands of baited hooks anchored along the sea bottom. Today, hydraulics provide the power to pull in the anchor or lift a 900-foot line off the bottom.    But the crews still use plenty of muscle as they bring in halibut that occasionally top 200 pounds. The crews gaff the fish, hoist them aboard, subdue them with clubs and gut the carcasses.

When Gjerde bought the Tordenskjold, the harvest was still open to anyone who bought a commercial-fishing license. He would fish hard and fast until the entire fleet reached an overall harvest total set by an international commission.    The harvest cap was set low enough to prevent the halibut resource from being depleted. But a healthy resource did not always yield a healthy fishery.

By the early 1990s, the Alaska halibut harvest was in disarray as thousands of vessels — large and small — rushed to grab a share of the catch. Openings that once stretched for weeks or months had dwindled to chaotic 24-hour dashes for the fish. And boats — often overloaded with fish — sank in rough seas. Between 1991 and 1994, 15 fishermen lost their lives in these brief openings.

In , 1995 the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a federal group with appointees drawn largely from the industry, imposed radical reforms. For the first time, vessel owners would receive quota shares for halibut and black cod that could be fished each year or sold for what the market would bear. Crew members were not awarded shares.

Critics decried the quota system as an inequitable privatizing of a public resource. They said it would shut newcomers out of the fishery, or take away dollars the government might have earned by leasing out rather than giving away fishing rights.    Others said the quota shares were a just reward for years spent fishing for halibut and would give the remaining vessel owners the opportunity to fish in a safer, more leisurely fashion and produce a higher-quality product.

A federal study showed that fishery safety improved greatly under the new system. Fish quality also improved as crews took more time to clean, dress and then quickly ice the catch. Prices rose as fish moved onto the market over a period of months rather than swamping buyers after a short season.
Gjerde and other schooner skippers were big winners.

Today, most schooner skippers hold shares of black cod and halibut worth $2 million to $6 million, according to industry officials.

But there is a limited market for these shares. Most shares can be sold only to other qualified fishermen. These rules were crafted to keep the shares out of the hands of investors with no connection to the fishery. Even heirs of fishermen can’t hold onto the shares unless they, too, venture out to sea. That means that Gjerde’s two children — a daughter who works as a paralegal and another daughter now raising children — couldn’t keep the shares without a big change in lifestyle.

Sooner or later, Gjerde expects to quit the Tordenskjold.    “I think about it quite a bit. But I don’t know just what I would do,” Gjerde said. “I’ve been doing this for so many years. The idea of retirement is kind of a tough one.”

Marvin Gjerde, 61, co-owner of the Tordenskjold, struggles with the thought of retiring. “I think about it quite a bit. But I don’t know just what I would do.”

April 26, 2010

Bill Moyers re-retires


Journalist nears end of his ‘season’


Bill Moyers, retiring from PBS

NEW YORK — In his wistful moments, Bill Moyers thinks of television — specifically, his hour of weekly television on PBS — as a campfire around which sensitive souls gather. ¶ “I confess on Friday nights to feeling that beyond the camera pointing at me is a virtual circle of kindred spirits across the country,” Moyers said, “and that for one fleeting hour, most especially that moment when the hour ends, we are one in having shared an experience that somehow makes us more human.”

Moyers tends the fire still — sharing intimate, nuanced discussions on public affairs and poetry, war and race, God and baseball.    He is so focused, in fact, that one hardly believes he is leaving television on Friday.    The end: the farewell broadcast of Bill Moyers Journal.

With four decades of distinguished journalism behind him, Moyers, almost 76, still does his work with a vigor that belies his age.   “You can’t say retiring at 76 is premature,” he says. “I have known all along you need to know when the time has come to exit. There is a time; there is a season.”

Moyers — a native of Marshall, Texas, who left the Johnson White House in 1967 to pursue one of the most eclectic careers in modern journalism — refers to his three-year run on Journal as “the second act of my old age,” given that he retired from television once before, leaving behind the weekly Now With Bill Moyers in December 2004.

Within two years, he was back on television — most notably with the miniseries Faith and Reason in 2006, then the debut of Journal in April 2007. He was influenced in part, he said, by his friend Walter Cronkite’s confession that he had retired too soon at age 65.

“The best thing I ever did was take an offer to do a weekly show,” Moyers said. “Coming in with a weekly broadcast, in the Bush administration after 9/11, actually sharpened and focused my journalism.”
Moyers admits that he is governed by “eureka” moments — the discovery of substantial ideas and the urge to share those revelations with his audience.

He did a riveting hour, in 2007, with African-American theologian James Cone on race in America — built around American innocence, American sin and “the lynching tree“ of the American South.    Cone’s premise:   “The lynching tree, like the Christian cross, is transcendent in defeat.”    The two men, each raised in the shadow of racism, engaged in a sensitive, sophisticated conversation about accountability and denial and oppression.

Cone referred to biblical scholars who called the Crucifixion a lynching and raised the notion that America is wounded by its inability to come to grips with its own “original sin.”   “You can look anywhere,” Cone said near the end of the segment. “There’s always a little bit of good and bad mixed up. The question is, does the bad have the last word?”

The Journal doesn’t implore viewers to believe; it merely invites them to consider a broader point of view.    That’s why Moyers held the door open to Republican Party renegade Ron Paul and liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich (on the same show) during the 2008 presidential campaign.

That’s why he welcomed conversation about single-payer health care at a time when President Barack Obama removed it from public conversation.

That’s why he produced a full show, in 2007, assessing arguments for impeachment hearings against George W. Bush — not with the intent to “punish” a president but with the desire to set a precedent against unchecked executive power in future administrations.

Moyers worries about the state of American journalism, even as he articulates his belief in its potential — and its responsibility — in this time of transition.    He ponders the failures of the media during the buildup of the Iraq war, set against the heroism of World War II journalist Ernie Pyle.

“I still wish,” Moyers wrote in his most recent book, “we had some kind of professional oath, a Hippocratic vow of our own, that might haunt us in the night when we stray from our mission.    “I will never betray my audience. Or my reader. . . . If you give me an hour of your life, I’m going to give you something of value in return. Something that’s honest, that’s true to experience, that represents . . . the truth of what I’ve found.”

In many ways, he sees himself as a divided person — “torn between explaining the world, which is the work of a journalist, and changing the world, which is the work of an advocate and activist.”

Long ago, President Lyndon Johnson encouraged him to pursue a political life, not a journalistic one, with higher social aims in mind. Moyers admits that he wonders about the choice he made.   “I may have diminished my impact in journalism by spending those years (too) aware of that objectivity mandate that all of us who went to journalism school in the 1950s came out with,” he says. Still: “The First Amendment includes the right to reach a conclusion based upon the information you gather. That’s part of that oath.”

In his more practical moments, Moyers thinks that the television-as-campfire metaphor isn’t quite right.
To be precise: There are many disparate campfires these days. It’s a more fragmented landscape. It’s not like the era of Murrow, or Cronkite, when the campfire was unfathomably large.

During his early days at PBS, Moyers made a pact with himself: It didn’t matter how many people tuned in. What mattered was an intimate and substantial connection with those who did. That’s what makes the parting so difficult — for his 2 million weekly viewers and for many conflicted members of his team at PBS.

“I don’t think of this as the end of a career, just the end of a show,” says Judy Doctoroff, executive producer of Bill Moyers Journal, who has worked with Moyers and his wife for 30 years.   The consensus seems to be that her boss will never completely retire. Maybe he’ll blog. Maybe he’ll do radio.
Maybe he’ll write the book on Johnson that’s been on his back burner for a while — and reflect on a time “when it was permissible to be idealistic.”

(Comment:  There is nobody that I shall miss more than Bill Moyers once he closes his Journal this coming  Friday.  His shows have always been the most honest, useful,  up-lifting and thought-provoking. Not only is he a truth-seeker, importantly, he is a connection-maker.  Because of his efforts and very nature – – great ideas found breathing room and expression.   Bill Moyers, you have so “enriched” my life, and I thank you deeply for sharing.          . . .  .     .       .      Jan)

April 25, 2010

Financial Reform is URGENT!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 10:25 am

Really Big  gripe with BANKING REFORM

(There is little more pressing, more urgent in America today than to have a clear, concise plan enacted to govern how we do business and handle money in this land.  We need justice for what has happened, the culprits of deceit who run amok and make money any way they choose without penalty – with impunity it seems.  Who has been charged with crime?   Who are the guilty?   Why, no one, it seems – – it just depends on how one looks at it.  And if the so-called experts couldn’t figure it out, who are we, I to question such things?   Well I do question it!  I am fed up with oblique dissertations about how complicated it all is.

When one deals with lying,  that’s what we have.  Tell a good one, then you have to keep lying trying to cover it up and it gets very complicated just trying to keep it all straight.  The powers that be in our capitol must be crazy to think that we can be placated by what we are seeing.  We have a whole lot of noise with no one being charged, no one is guilty of anything.  And no one wants anything of any consequence done – – why?   Might rock someone’s  boat?

We need laws and regulations and we need it now.  Take down the banks which do not want to offer clear transparency to ALL their transactions.  Nobody’s books are sacrosanct.   Our banking industry, at least the biggest ones appear more like the old time mafia than legitimate business men.  They have grown too big and they no longer are even attempting to serve the public need – – why did we save them again? In these days of modern ‘creativity,’  dreaming up newer and even more diverse derivatives is about all they have in mind because  for them, it is more fun, challenge and far, more profitable.  If they are to remain in business and do ‘banking’,  they must function with greater oversight, under stricter regulation which has the clout of the law for enforcement.

Furthermore, these banks must assume the responsibility of their actions and part of that would be requirements to retain far greater percentages of ownership of anything they create.  Only then would there be incentive to offer profit-possible vehicles to unsuspecting purchasers who trust them.  And just like with insurance companies, there must be greater reserves held to guarantee against dire loss.  If serious changes are not made, how can our banking institutions be considered more than sophisticated gambling houses (where the house always wins)?

Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post Writer’s Group did a nice article today which was in my Columbus Dispatch. (It follows)   She describes the financial mess fairly well.  She mentions Elizabeth Warren who is monitoring the U.S. banking bailout.   Mrs. Warren is a woman I have eagerly listened to and am much impressed with her.  She has the smarts, sensitivity and breadth to be able to accomplish all the necessary changes and to push through to completion for she seems as passionately devoted to the “people” of our country as anybody I’ve ever listened to.  Elizabeth Warren is a brilliant scholar who, in my opinion deserves a chance to affect  the kinds of change our country needs.  Google her, read about her, then – – tell me I’m wrong.

President Obama,  Ms. Warren should be a top choice for leading the Banking Reform.      Jan)


Consumers should get financial reform law

Michelle Singletary writes for the Washington Post Writers Group.

Burglars hate alarm systems, and they hate big, barking dogs.   This is what we need in the financial industry: a better alarm system in the form of a big, bad, barking dog solely dedicated to protecting consumers.

With health-care reform in place, such as it is, Congress is now fighting over financial regulatory reform. This is a battle consumers need to win.

Part of the reform being pushed by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is the creation of a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This agency would regulate consumer financial products and services such as mortgages, other loans and credit cards. A council would be established to sound the alarm early if companies or products pose a risk to the economy. New rules would better protect and inform investors.
Given what we’ve seen in recent years, it’s time to enact safeguards to help prevent what led to our latest economic crisis. For too long, the financial industry has been able to prey on consumers in the name of caveat emptor — “let the buyer beware.”

As in the past, the financial industry will holler and pump up the coffers of their lobbyists to try to block reform. It already is trotting out the same old tired and self-serving arguments that the legislation will create a regulatory burden and eventually drive up prices, tighten the availability of credit or prevent the creation of products.

Oh, cry me a river.

Some regulation is better than none at all. Besides, prices were going up anyway. Some people shouldn’t have access to credit because they can’t afford it. And financial firms still will have an economic incentive to create ways to snarl people in debt.
But let’s not forget that for decades, Congress has stepped in and passed laws that have helped curb abuses on consumers, such as the Truth in Lending Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Billing Act, Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Now, here we are in 2010, still trying to make the financial industry do right. We need to put it on notice. It has to take responsibility for the reckless products or services it sells. So yes, we need a consumer-protection bureau.   Right now, what’s on the table is an agency with teeth, said Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the congressional oversight panel that is monitoring the U.S. banking bailout.
But, she added, “The lobbyists are out in force to pull those teeth. The Senate will need to pick sides between banks that profit from tricks and traps hidden in the fine print on one side, and families that are fed up on the other side.”

President Barack Obama, in a speech Thursday on Wall Street reform, said: “While it’s true that many Americans took on financial obligations that they knew or should have known they could not have afforded, millions of others were, frankly, duped. They were misled by deceptive terms and conditions, buried deep in the fine print.”
This debate might drag on just as the health-care battle did, but don’t get weary. And don’t be fooled into thinking the industry can police itself.

I say, caveat venditor — “let the seller beware.”


Remember “American-made”?

Filed under: American built is better — Jan Turner @ 1:39 am
Tags: ,

‘American-made’ is about quality, not cost

(I am going thru this post to remove the places where photos used to be.  When my newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch changed certain software a few months ago, all the pictures  [most of which were spectacular] were pulled from my blog.  It is beyond my ability to understand let alone explain. I am truly sorry.  Jan)

All American Store manager Jessi Purvis sets up a display of Prison Blues clothing, a line of work clothes made in Oregon prisons, at the store in Brookville. To support the U.S. economy, the store sells only American-made or American-assembled goods.

Brookville store’s owners working with manufacturers to excite consumers about products made in the U.S.A.

By Doug Page

BROOKVILLE, Ohio — In the basement of the All American Store are bins piled high and deep with $20,000 of inventory that came with space the store leased in the strip mall on Wolf Creek Pike.

None of it will make the sales floor, Mike Petro said, because none of it is made or assembled in the United States.
Petro, his partner Dennis Cunningham, and their investors are committed to the philosophy that selling products made or assembled in America will do more good for this country than any legislation or tax break. “We think we’re rebuilding ‘American’ one purchase at a time,” Petro said.

The All American Store sits in a strip mall on the site of a former hardware store. “Made in America” labels can be found on paint, putty, hand tools, garden supplies, nails, work clothes and boots. But the normal selection of power tools can’t be found.   Lonely on the shelf are two models of Milwaukee brand saws, the only power tools left that are made in America. “Finding suppliers has been like putting together a puzzle,” Petro said. “Hose nozzles and circular saws have been the hardest to find.” Add to that bolts and screws. Petro and Cunningham are working on that.

What customers are likely to see, said Charles Gulas, a Wright State University marketing professor, is a smaller selection at higher prices.    Cunningham said prices might be 10 percent to 15 percent higher on some items but competitive on others.   Jeans run $20 to $30, a very competitive price. The Prison Blues dungarees are stitched together by inmates of the Oregon prison system, but styles are limited.

A hand-stitched leather and heavy canvas tool belt will cost upward of $200, but it comes with a lifetime warranty.

“Some people will be interested in the product and philosophy,” Gulas said. “But as retailer, you are facing a price barrier and selection barrier.” He noted that goods manufactured in China will have a much lower price.   Petro said he hopes the consumer will look past price.    “For the last 30 years, it’s been all about price,” he said, “and look where it has gotten us.”

American manufacturers from Ames True Temper to a small drill-bit maker in Montana are supporting the store.    Wilson Bohannan Lock in Marion has been making padlocks for 160 years. The 70-employee firm has a niche market of public utilities but is helping a small retailer because the concept is “a wonderful idea,” said Craig Stone, the company’s vice president of sales. After a foray into “big box” retailing, the company decided it was too risky to deal with the big boys.    “This is a smaller-scale retailing that we feel comfortable handling,” Stone said.

Wilson Bohannan just finished a one-of-kind point-of-sale display of its merchandise for the All American Store. It may be a far cry from the 1,000-lot orders the company regularly ships to utilities domestically and overseas, but the “onesies and twosies” sales to retail customers have the company excited. “It’s promoting American-made products, and that’s what we make,” Stone said.

Marvin Feldman, a longtime manufacturer’s representative for Ames True Temper, is another enthusiast. Seventy percent of the yard tools manufactured by Ames True Temper are made or assembled in America.    “To me, the concept is the greatest thing since iced tea,” he said. “I grew up in Pittsburgh. There used to be 27 steel mills lined up from one end of town to the other. Where did all those jobs go?”

Feldman agrees with Cunningham and Petro that manufacturing jobs need to be retained and increased.
And in hardware, Feldman believes the quality of domestic goods tops that of those made abroad. And the prices are competitive.

“Let me tell you, at sales meetings, the All American Store is what everyone is talking about,” he said.

“We think we’re rebuilding ‘American’ one purchase at a time,” All American Store co-owner Mike Petro said.

April 22, 2010

Crazy Tuesday

Filed under: chills and fever — Jan Turner @ 1:25 am
Tags: , ,

Into each life,. . . a little rain must fall

Tuesday started off okay, I had planned to do some food shopping, nothing special, but was looking forward to it.  All went well.    Small digression,  I almost always “tap” in the a.m.’s to start off my days [and generally end the days this way as well]    That would be the time to take care of any little intrusion into my otherwise good life.  But this day was pretty and all was good, so I simply tapped in my blessings for which I am very grateful.  You know, the good body,  that it all seems to be working okay,  my blog, the joy of doing it. . . . my happiness that my eyes appear to be getting better rather than worse with the advancing years.. . . . that I have this darling companion – Heidi whom I adore.Heidi w/ball While I have noticed that  much in life ‘really is in the perspective’  – – nevertheless it is much easier to keep that perspective  on a brighter plane when I have taken the time to tap in  my gratitude of the blessings which are  in my life.

I wanted to tell you this as it helps set the stage for what follows.  As I returned home around 2:00, I was aware how very ‘tired’ I was.  My son stopped by and mentioned that it was very warm in my  abode. I wasn’t aware of it, in fact, I was rather cold.  It was all I could do to put the load of groceries away.  I was now seriously cold, almost trembling – I could only think of getting warm. . . and so tired!  So, clothes and all, minus shoes, plus sweater, I crawled back into bed under my down comforter – – not warm enough – got up again to put on one more heavy throw – that aught to do it.  I slept for hours, still fighting off the cold chills.   By 9:00  or so, it crossed my mind that I was sick, something I rarely am.  Still struggling with the cold chills.  Searched for my thermometers.  When the first one said I was 106 and was up at the top, thought it must be broken, so I used the second one.   Went quickly to 105 1/2 and  seemed to be climbing.   I seemed lucid, not delirious.  Perhaps 30 – 40 years ago, I had been ill and Marty, my husband said my temp was 105 and he was very worried.  That time too, I couldn’t get warm and had a thick stack of blankets atop me.  He had a nurse-type, close friend come quickly to supervise as he was beside himself.   Vicky proceeded to try to remove my blankets.  I probably became unreasonable –  hence their reason for saying I was delirious.  That wasn’t enough! She also wanted to give me a sponge bath to bring down my temperature – – which she did over my hysterical protests.  As it happens,  I was ill for  a week or so following that episode.

About 1:00 in the morning, I began removing the extra covers as I was obviously coming out of it.  By 3:00 it was gone and I seemed back to normal.   Rising this morning, I felt fine, but generally weak –  I had been through some kind of knothole.  As the day has progressed, I am amazed that there is no trace of a cold or flu or anything.  I do not believe the high temp damaged my brain (what my husband was so worried about).  In fact, I think that a body uses temps high or otherwise to burn out infection or maladies.  So prove me wrong.

Then, there is the other thing.  I have been doing EFT for about one year now.  I probably have all the same aches and pains that other seniors have,  but using EFT, I am able to stay on top of it.  I am very protective of my inner organs and do not want to harm the kidneys and liver, hence I do not use pharmaceuticals for mood enhancement or pain relief.  I know that the relief I receive from EFT is not only not harming my body in any way, but by the  act of doing it, I am harmonizing all the energy systems.  So that is what I wanted to share.

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