SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

April 29, 2011

Dr Gonzalez – Alt Cancer Therapy

(One hears about Dr Gonzalez from a remarkable assortment of sources.  When David Amrien, a department head of the Dr Clark foundation cited a link to the Mercola interview with Dr Gonzalez as worth listening to, interest finally, must be satisfied.  I listened to Dr Merola’s interview – just short of two hours, phew! As an admitted info-junkie, got turned on and must admit, here is a new hero for me.  And he is alive and functioning.    Too much to explain – google him, please.  Jan)

Alternative Medicine for Total Health

Robert Crayhon, M.S.

Interview with Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez

This article originally appeared in the February/March 1996 issue of the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients and is reprinted with permission of Robert Crayhon, M.S., and of the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, 911 Tyler Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368-6541; (360) 385-6021: Fax (360) 385-0699; Email:

Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D., is a practicing physician in New York City who specializes in treating cancer with a treatment originated by Dr. Kelley, D.D.S. He has a unique perspective on nutrition, autonomic nervous system balance and biochemical individuality. He joined Robert Crayhon for the June 16, 1995 taping of the national TV show, “Alternative Medicine.” His address: 36 East 36th Street, Suite 204, New York, N.Y. 10016. His office phone number is 212-213-3337.

RC: Dr. Gonzalez, how did you start approaching cancer from your unique comprehensive metabolic and nutritional approach?

NG: I was a second year medical student intending to become chief of medicine at Sloan Kettering, and a friend of mine introduced me to Dr. Kelley, the infamous dentist who developed this elaborate nutritional approach to cancer. Skeptically, I approached him, and he said, “All I ever wanted was someone from the orthodoxy to look through my records.” At the time, my research advisor at Cornell, where I was a medical student suggested I do it as a summer project. It evolved into a five year research study. We went through ten thousand of Kelley’s records, and found that this man had indeed reversed advanced metastatic cancer. We went through the cases of thousands of patients.

RC: The way Dr. Kelley started– correct me if I’m wrong– was when he found out he had pancreatic cancer he walked into a health food store and bought pancreatic enzymes. The whole thing began by chance.

NG: That’s right. It was purely by chance. He had a lot of digestive problems, as patients with pancreatic cancer will. In an attempt to help his digestive problems, he started taking huge doses of pancreatic enzymes and immediately felt a change in his tumor. That’s how it started.

RC: There are many facets to the therapy that you do, but pancreatic enzymes are– you believe– the most powerful anticancer substances available. Why are they so anti-cancer?

NG: It’s the way the body is designed. In orthodox and even unorthodox physiology, we tend to think that the enzymes serve one function: to help to digest food. Indeed they do that. But Kelley– as did many researchers before him and since– believed that the enzymes are a primary defense against cancer, and are far more important than the immune system in terms of controlling the development and growth of cancer. So we believe that is one of their designated functions in the human body.

RC: Critics of this will say, “Pancreatic enzymes released into the digestive tract are molecules way too big to get into the bloodstream.”

NG: In the 1940s, scientists documented that they do in fact get absorbed. There is a wonderful study from 1976 in Science magazine, one of the ultimate scientific journals, where a professor at Cornell did a study with rabbits and mice and found that the pancreatic enzymes are absorbed through the intestinal tract, complete and active, and are not destroyed in the gut.

RC: Are there any studies on pancreatic enzymes’ anti-cancer activity?

NG: Yes. There is a wonderful study from 1965 where a doctor used them in animal models and a doctor found they had an extraordinary, powerful anti-cancer effect.

RC: Now these are inexpensive substances, aren’t they, compared to pharmaceuticals?

NG: Yes.

RC: Why hasn’t there been a greater interest in pancreatic enzymes? I know they were studied for nearly a hundred years. Is it because they were overshadowed by the work of Madam Curie, and the belief her work generated that radiation would cure all cancer? Or is it because pancreatic enzymes are unpatentable?

NG: Because of FDA regulations, pancreatic enzymes fall in the category of a natural substance. Therefore, there is no impetus for a drug company to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in researching pancreatic enzymes. They cannot patent what they might find. There is also the psychological resistance to look at natural substances in the orthodox research community, although that is starting to change.

RC: I know that your practice is based on biochemical individuality, the belief that everyone has unique needs. Some of your cancer patients are not given that much pancreatic enzymes because their pancreas is strong and they do not need support in that area. You really examine each person to find out what their unique needs are.

NG: Correct. The doses vary quite widely, depending on the patient.

RC: Roger Williams and other researchers firmly established that we are all biochemically unique. Yet medicine fails to recognize this. Why do you think that is, and why do you think medicine is looking for the one therapy that will suit everyone?

NG: It is the limitations of human thinking. People want to reduce things to simple answers. Nutrition is not a simple answer. There is no simple way to approach even a single individual patient. Everybody is different. Everybody needs a different diet, different doses of supplements, different supplements. The same dose of one supplement will make one patient feel wonderful and make another patient feel very sick.

RC: Let’s look at calcium. So many women are taking calcium because they are told that it is going to strengthen their bones. Yet you have said that the misuse of vitamin and mineral supplements are a real problem, and that people don’t realize that the wrong nutrient for the wrong person can have profoundly adverse health effects. Why is that? Because of the individual responses to these nutrients?

NG: Yes. In certain patients, calcium can stimulate certain kinds of cancer, like breast cancer. If you look at the statistics epidemiologically, the increase in breast cancer parallels the increase in use of calcium.

RC: As well as the increase in toxins in our environment and the use of synthetic hormones. You also say that for some people, vitamin E is the wrong nutrient and should not be taken.

NG: We have been saying that for years. Everyone laughed at us. I have a lot of respect for the Shute brothers and other people who have researched vitamin E. Yet some free radicals serve a useful function. Too many antioxidants may knock out the beneficial role of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are how our body defends itself against infection. I have seen people on high doses of C and E who develop more infections, not less.

RC: The other point to underscore here is that you believe the reason that studies of nutrients come up with mixed results is not just because, say, vitamin E or C is good for some and fails to help others– it is because it is good for some and bad for others, and that researchers are not looking for the bad effect, because they are not looking for the effect of nutrients on the autonomic nervous system. A large part of your understanding of the patient comes from looking at which particular portion of the nervous system is dominant, correct?

NG: That’s right. The unconscious nervous system does many things in your body: it digests food, controls glandular function, and controls heart rate and body temperature, to name just a few of its actions. This unconscious system is divided into two halves that work in opposition, but together, in helping the body achieve homeostasis. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenals and thyroid, and inhibits others. The parasympathetic stimulates the liver, the pancreas, and digestive tract, and inhibits others. They work together, although they are in opposition. These are the two nervous systems that together control your day-to-day physiological functioning.

RC: How do you determine which part of the nervous system is dominant, and why is that important to your therapy?

NG: Because out of that we are able to determine which diet and supplements will suit the patient best. Their sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance tells me what kind of program they need.

RC: Let’s say a person comes to you who is parasympathetic dominant, and you put them on the wrong diet, will you make things worse?

NG: You can kill them.

RC: Even if it is a vegetarian diet that is low in fat?

NG: Parasympathetic dominant people need red meat three times per day. Putting them on a vegetarian diet is like raising a lion on hay.

RC: Are there personality types associated with these different types of autonomic dominance?

NG: Sympathetic dominants are aggressive, type A businessmen that get up at six and get more done by noon than the rest of us do in the whole day. They are very ambitious, smart, and energetic in the morning. Parasympathetics would like to sleep until noon, and are very creative. Artistic ability tends to be in the parasympathetic side of the nervous system.

RC: Can people change from one side to another?

NG: We are seeing people who are the opposite of their genetic inheritance. Chemicals in the environment have knocked out their strong nervous system. Wrong diets have gummed up their works.

RC: We are told that everyone should go on a diet high in complex carbohydrates. T. Colin Campbell and others suggest this protects against various degenerative diseases. Is this some form of insanity, in light of the ample evidence that we are all biochemically unique?

NG: It is absolute insanity to suggest that the whole human species as different as it is could be put on one diet. The human species occupies every ecological niche from the arctic circle to equatorial rain forests and there are different foods available in these regions, and people have had to adjust. There is no way one diet is suitable for everybody. The Eskimos are one of the most famous meat eating peoples. They live in the Arctic circle. They have no growing season. They have no fruits. They have no vegetables. The only Eskimos that could survive are those that eat a high fat, high protein diet.

RC: The Eskimos are dying off. Don’t they thrive on a diet of 80% saturated fat? Is an increase in carbohydrates in their diet killing them?

NG: Yes. And they were among the healthiest people in the world until they switched their diet to a Western one. When they cut their saturated fat consumption from 80% to 40%, they began to develop our pattern of degenerative diseases. For them, fat was the perfect fuel. There was a study that showed that Eskimos lacked the enzymes to digest complex carbohydrates. Zookeepers know that if you raise a lion or tiger on grains and beans it is going to die. Eskimos need red meat as well, to function effectively.

RC: And right now you are doing some controlled trials.

NG: That’s right. We are doing controlled clinical trials with pancreatic cancer. Our hope is that once these studies are published and we document that this program can indeed work, the academic medical world will start putting money behind it. Then we can train other doctors to do it.

RC: You don’t accept every patient that comes to your door. And it not simply a space or time limitation. Do you reject a patient if their immune system has been destroyed by conventional therapies?

NG: Most of the patients I see have had chemo or radiation. It is a question of amount and the type of cancer where it is being used.

RC: There are many books in health food stores which say that the underlying cause of disease is that we are all too acid, in large part because of a meat-based diet, and need to push our body towards a more alkaline state by eating more fruits, vegetables, almonds, millet, etc.

NG: That is absolutely incorrect. Sympathetic dominants tend to be more acid, parasympathetic dominants tend to be too alkaline, and balanced people tend to be somewhere in between. Sympathetic dominants do well on alkalinizing foods like fruits and vegetables. Parasympathetic dominants need acid forming foods, of which red meat is the most powerful.

RC: Dr. Kelley’s wife got into trouble with a vegetarian diet, didn’t she?

NG: After Kelley cured himself of cancer on a vegetarian diet, he assumed that it was the perfect diet and that the whole world should be on it. He put his wife on this diet to help with her allergies. Initially she did well. Then she began to do worse and worse; He began to make the diet more strictly vegetarian, eventually putting her on all raw fruits and vegetables with no protein at all. She ended up in a near coma. He was confronted with the fact that here he was the great nutrition doctor, and he almost killed his wife with the wrong diet. He was going to have to call an ambulance and put her in the hospital. He figured the only thing he hadn’t done was put her on red meat. Initially she refused, but he convinced her. He put some meat in the blender, and fed it to her, and within an hour she was feeling better. She has been eating red meat two to three times per day since. That’s almost twenty-five years ago. She has been in excellent health since.

RC: Very few people are looking into the effect of macro- and micronutrients on the autonomic nervous system function. This may turn out to be, as you believe, one of the most important ways our diet and nutrient intake affects health. Dr. Gonzalez, thanks for being with us.

NG: My pleasure, Robert.

Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D., P.C.
Linda L. Isaacs, M.D.
36A East 36th Street
Suite 204
New York, N.Y. 10016
Phone: 212-213-3337
Fax: 212-213-3414

Cut M/C w/best-4-less plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 4:09 am
Tags: ,

  Best-for-less plan would cut medical bills


About 10 years ago, a radiation treatment for prostate cancer came on line.   A course of “intensity-modulated radiation therapy” cost Medicare about $42,000. The older radiation therapy cost $10,000. Hospitals   bought the new machines and stopped using the traditional method.   This tacked another $1.5 billion per year to Medicare spending on prostate cancer alone.

Did the fancy   new machines do a better job than the old ones? Medicare did not inquire. It just paid. Amazing.    A new McClatchy/Marist poll has 80 percent of Americans opposing cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending to reduce deficits.   Well, that 80 percent doesn’t quite understand Medicare’s reimbursement system and how crazy it is.

Forget the GOP plan to squeeze Medicare spending by moving to a voucher system. First, look at the existing setup. For most any treatment deemed “reasonable and necessary,” Medicare pays the cost plus some profit. This has turned the program into a brainless check-writing machine for the medical-industrial complex.

Not long ago, an article in Health Affairs used the above prostate cancer example to show the ludicrous way Medicare pays for things.    “Coverage is determined without   any requirement for evidence demonstrating that the service in question is equally or more effective than other available options,” writes Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Technology Assessment in Boston, and Peter Bach, a critical-care physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Enter “comparative effectiveness research” — perhaps the most boring term in public policy today, but essential to containing the explosively rising costs of Medicare, Medicaid and private health coverage. (I suggest “best for less” as a catchier name.)    Comparative-effectiveness research studies different treatments for the same condition and identifies those that do the job with the fewest side effects. Medical economists generally agree that our system groans with pricey treatments that provide outcomes no better — and sometimes worse — than cheaper alternatives.  

The 2009 stimulus bill and the health-reform legislation contained spending for this research, which Republicans and some Democrats fought tooth and nail. They expressed concern that it would discourage medical innovation. Their unstated worry was that taxpayers would become resistant to sending big checks to equipment makers and other medical providers for bells, whistles and exotic names that add nothing to the quality of care.   

Much of political Washington has a vested interest in the vested interests. Pearson and Bach have come up with an intriguing way to use comparative-effectiveness research without stifling the development of improved technology. They would use this research to have Medicare pay the same thing for services that provide equivalent results. But it would reimburse new technologies at the higher rates for, say, three years. If they prove to be superior, then Medicare continues to pay more for them.

What the 80 percent of Americans who oppose spending cuts on the government health plans really want is the assurance that they can get state-of-the-art medical care when they need it. Responsible leaders must impress upon them that enormous savings can be found in Medicare without reducing quality one iota.

Furthermore, the perverse incentives in our reimbursement system encourage too much care, which itself can hurt patients. There’s no need for a radical voucher plan that saves money by sending the elderly to private insurers, then curbing payments to the insurers.

The government can continue picking up the bills if Medicare starts considering value received for the checks it writes. Patients would be happy. Taxpayers would be happy.   Some vested interests would not be happy, and they have lots to spend on scaring the public. The question at the end of the day is:   Who matters more to our politicians?

Froma Harrop writes for Creators Syndicate.

There is a lot of flexibility in the brilliant foundations of government our founding fathers put in place.  Over a couple of hundred years, a forward thinking president here and there established additional functions for the betterment of the people – always  with “for the greatest good of all the people” in mind.  And it has worked beautifully.  Social Security was such an achievement and eventually Medicare.  Both have been hugely successful and totally loved by our people.
That is not to say it is universally admired.  By now, we all know about or have heard of the disturbing rumbling of the few who would destroy our way of life, our form of governing – – whose desire it is to shrink government to “kill the beast” so to speak.   Since November’s election, it has become evident how well planned it all has been.  Many with open eyes saw it coming and witnessed the “new wave” of dictatorial leadership, the stripping down of individual rights.  It feels like all hell has broken loose.  Many are loosing faith that any in Washington or in state capitols know what they are doing or can do anything to set us right again.  Unrest and broken lives are everywhere.  People by the millions feel they have been lied to. It even seems that mother nature is very unhappy about stuff and has had enough!  Earth may be trying to slough off the pesky annoyances who have invaded her like fleas on a dog.  Can’t claim we didn’t know what we were doing.  Science has been telling us right along.    Greed is one hell-of-a-thing.
Enuff!  This post is about trying to get a handle on Medicare.  We can do it.  What we will NOT DO is abolish programs which have been a blessing without which many would have needlessly  suffered and perished.  In this, we know that our president will not let us down.  Many of us are sensing that the time has come when push has finally led to shove.  No More!  Ain’t gonna happen.
From Washington we can expect and demand courageous action which is both equitable and fair.  Pharmaceutical medication MUST  be dealt with and RE-ESTABLISHED through negotiated pricing so that we pay no more for our meds than any other people on the planet. Just do it.  Break rules if you have to or break heads – get it done.
Stop treating BIG PhRMA like the Gods they think they are.  They do not belong on any political boards or governing office posts.  They do not belong in the FDA;  they should not dictate how medical schools are run  nor should they be allowed to OWN them.  If they wish to bless them with money (you know – endow them) great, but no strings of any sort.  It is way past time to treat them like any other company – – they are after all just a business out to make profit.  They need no breaks or special attention of any kind.  Most of all, NO SPECIAL TAX BREAKS .
As for the citizenry,  we can contribute much.  Government should  not dictate what people will eat or should eat or not eat.  It is expected that scientific guideline be offered and shared  but the so-called pyramid thing is such a joke that almost nobody pays it  any mind.  Government does not honor the sciences and the advancements in knowledge being made on an almost daily regularity.  Instead, are influenced by CORPORATE  interests. (all that $ flowing in)  Doctors who should be knowledgeable with regard to nutrition, are not.  There is so little mention of it in med school it amounts to hours or days  (compare that to the study of drugs)  The public is on its own for more than 50 – 60 years.  Sad.
So what else can my fellow Americans and I do to help.  We all need to get real about expectations.  Getting medical care for sickness and accidents is a given and the humane thing to do and expect.  It is extravagant however to expect body part replacements.    It is extravagant to expect “heroic measures” be used on seriously ill and advanced age people  simply because families aren’t prepared to let them go.  We all hear of massive  cost factors in the last year or so of life and it is not good for anyone – the patient or the families or Medicare’s checkbook.  Hospice is so much kinder than hospital care.  America needs to deal with death and dying much, much better.  Attitudinal upgrades might be in order.  No question it is a time of loss for those left behind. . .this is simply something we all must deal with.  But it should not be the ‘horror’ so many seem to feel it is.  To many an oldster, the closer one gets to it, the more welcome it seems.   Kinda like being pregnant for some  (like me).  I was scared to death of the childbirth thing itself.  Maybe it was all the horror stories my mother recounted about us both almost dying at my birth.    Still, the day was coming, I could hardly get around anymore – so uncomfortable and then the last few weeks it was OMG lets just get this over with! So you lean into it gladly.
As in the article above,  I don’t think the population is expecting all the bells and whistles that medicine is capable of coming up with.  When we hurt, we need to be fixed.  It is not the patient demanding the latest whatever,  it is the medical establishment.    I did a post March 24 called 50 yr old drug/new Windfall.  It irritated me so,  as it was just this.  They had this concoction which had been in use for about 50 years.  Pharmacist would mix it up on demand.  About $10  This was  to help women keep from aborting or losing their baby.  Go read it if you like, can’t remember the details.  But FDA or someone gave this company the rights to produce the stuff so that it would be available when needed.  But they put a stop to pharmacist being able to make it any longer.  And the new price on the outright gift to the company was now about $1,500 for each weekly shot which came up around an additional $30,000 to have their baby.  I wish it was Love that makes the world go around, but it seems to me to be Greed
Golly, it’s going on 4 in the morning, again.  I get carried away at the computer, so nice and quiet, vibration is delicious. . not that I enjoy my blog or anything. . .but folks I gotta go to bed.   (And I was just getting started. . .)    nite         Jan

April 28, 2011

Exclusive Home boutique

(This is one fabulous idea and it’s news to me!  I can see variations or embellishments on this theme being right down someone’s alley. What a unique way to go. . if I were maybe 40 years younger. . .but one of you might give it a thought.  The world is so full of possibilities.      Jan)


Carol McNally, right, looks over an item displayed by Celeen Flemma, who meets clients individually in her Mequon, Wis., home, where she sells high-end Etcetera clothing. Flemma receives shipments four times a year and invites clients to try on and order that season’s fashions.

H O M E      B O U T I Q U E 

  Direct-sales reps sell upscale fashion lines in their homes


MILWAUKEE — Cookies shaped like dresses and little potted plants are part of the pampering that women who shop with Sheila Schmitz-Lammers sometimes get — along with fashion advice and personal service.

All of this happens at Schmitz-Lammers’ condo in Elm Grove, Wis., which four times a year turns into a showroom for Worth Collection, a line of high-end clothing that is sold to an elite clientele.    It’s a highly personal selling proposition that goes on all over the U.S., through word-of-mouth connections at the country club, the Junior League and charity organizations, but is mostly invisible to ordinary folks who equate shopping with a trip to the store or a session online.

“It’s exclusive. You’re in the know,” said Anne Brouwer, a senior partner at McMillan/Doolittle, a Chicago retail-consulting firm.    It’s also pricey, although not as high as runway designer clothing.   Along with Worth, the direct-to-consumer women’s brands include Doncaster, Carlisle and Etcetera.    A pair of Worth pants goes for about $300. Etcetera skirts and pants run $165 to $195. Like any products sold in homes, they aren’t typically marked down.

That’s a big plus for the companies in a world where shoppers are obsessed with getting a deal. The manufacturers also don’t have any expense for storefronts and marketing campaigns, Brouwer said.      The companies are privately owned and low-profile, so sales figures aren’t available.   But they are a tiny portion of the $107 billion U.S. market for women’s apparel.

“We are competing for a share of a woman’s closet,” said Laura Kendall, president of Tanner Cos., the North Carolina parent company for the Doncaster brand. The recession was a challenge for Tanner, the oldest company among the high-end direct segment.   But sales are improving this year, Kendall said.

Celeen Flemma uses a room in the basement of her home in Mequon, Wis., as a showroom for Etcetera. She started selling the line 10 years ago, when it was a new concept for the Connaught Group, the parent company for Carlisle.    “You start out with people you know,” Flemma said. “I spent a lot of time going through different groups I was associated with — school, country club, volunteers.”

The high-end fashion lines operate similar programs:    The reps get a week to sell each season’s line — spring, summer, fall  and winter.   Samples of each line, about 300 pieces, are shipped to the rep’s home, where she sets up displays.  The rep invites prospective customers to come in alone or with a friend or two to see and try on the clothing.   Customers place orders, and their items are shipped to their homes or to the rep.    When the week is done, the rep packs up the samples and sends them on to the next rep in the rotation.    A rep gets a percentage of sales, typically 25 percent, but she must pay expenses to operate her business, including some of the shipping costs for the samples.

It’s possible to earn enough to support yourself by selling a fashion line, but it’s a side job for many, the reps say. Average income for a woman who sells Doncaster four weeks a year is about $20,000, according to Ellyn Cooley, marketing director for Tanner.

Schmitz-Lammers started selling Doncaster during the 1990s, after returning to Wisconsin from Germany, where she lived for many years and developed a love for quality clothing. She built up a client list by starting with her neighbors in her former neighborhood in Bayside. After 10 years, Schmitz-Lammers switched to Worth because she liked the company’s fashion-forward designs.    “It’s high-end clothing, but not as expensive as Needless Markups,” Schmitz-Lammers said, using a nickname for high-end department store Neiman Marcus. “You need a lot of networking to find women who need these types of services. A lot of my clients who are high-income businesswomen don’t have time to run around shopping.”

The reps keep records of what their customers purchase and can make suggestions for new additions that will coordinate with what’s in a woman’s closet.   But that doesn’t always guarantee that women in the same social circles won’t show up at the same event in the same outfit from a popular line such as Etcetera.    “At the Cancer Lunch, six of us had the same three-quarter-length duster coat on,” recalled Renee Ferrara of Shorewood, Wis. “It was humiliating.”

Ferrara, a former Junior League president, was recruited into the upscale direct-sales world by Worth because of her social connections. The company looks for women who have a list of at least 200 prospective buyers.      Ferrara switched recently to selling a Dallas-based custom men’s line,   J. Hilburn, a task that she says is easier than the women’s business.

By using the same social-networking skills, Ferrara calls on businessmen and typically brings her samples directly into executives’ offices.    “Men want to be told what to wear. They’re looking for guidance,” Ferrara said. “If you start in one office and you get six guys and they’re happy, they’ll give you six more.”

April 27, 2011

Vaccine Mania

ANH Alliance for Natural Health

Vaccine Mania

April 26, 2011

Money vaccineThe vaccination question is a hotly debated topic, even in the natural health community. It doesn’t help when vaccine companies have blatant conflicts of interest and the studies supporting their safety may be fraudulent!

What we all can agree upon is the need to keep crony capitalism out of it, to keep information clear, unambiguous, and uncensored, and to allow people to make informed choices for themselves and their families. As we noted last year, there is an increasing tendency for immunization mandates to become a financial joint venture of the vaccine manufacturer and the government. The government is providing much of the funding manufacturers need to build facilities. So the government, which is supposed to regulate vaccine makers, becomes a full financial and operating partner with the companies they’re regulating! The government then turns around and orders us to be vaccinated or be ineligible for school—or in some cases go to jail!

As it stands now, the government gives patent protection and FDA approvals to pharmaceutical companies and thus creates medical monopolies. The government also exempts vaccine makers from legal liability. But when in addition the government invests in the business itself and partners with private companies, then adds the threat of jail for consumer non-compliance, we have a completely out-of-control situation.

Many parents are concerned that some vaccines are unsafe because they may contain harmful ingredients like mercury or aluminum. Others believe the overloading of a young immune system with so many vaccines at once causes genetic changes. Some generally support vaccinations but wish there were more scientific clarity.

What is incontrovertible is that the vaccine industry is controlled and manipulated by Big Pharma. Drug companies are often able to fast-track vaccines through the FDA approval process without proper controls. And in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, conflicts of interest are commonplace.   Rep. Dan Burton (R–IN) says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines,” even though they have “interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.”

This cozy relationship of government with the drug companies may be why the CDC is now recommending a cocktail of over ten different vaccines—adding up to more than 35 doses—for children under the age of 6.

One of the hot-button issues is the MMR vaccine—for measles, mumps, and rubella—and possible links of the vaccine to autism. The Journal of Immunotoxicology last month published an article by Helen Ratajczak, a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm.   Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do:   she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research—such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal—but all of them.

Ratajczak’s article states, in part, that “Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis [brain damage] following vaccination.” The article goes on to discuss many potential vaccine-related culprits, including the increasing number of vaccines given in a short period of time—with the body’s immune system being thrown out of balance.

Ratajczak also looks at a factor that hasn’t been widely discussed: human DNA contained in vaccines. Ratajczak reports that about the same time vaccine makers took mercury (thimerosal) out of most vaccines—with the exception of flu shots, which still widely contain thimerosal—they began making some vaccines using human tissue. Ratajczak says human tissue is currently used in 23 vaccines, notes that the increase in autism incidences corresponds to the introduction of human DNA to the MMR vaccine, and suggests the two could be linked. Ratajczak also says an additional increased spike in autism occurred in 1995 when chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.

The problem is not simply that physicians (and the media, and the government) are ignorant of the published research—it’s also that some of the research simply cannot be trusted. For example, many articles in the mainstream media bend over backwards to assure the public that the MMR vaccine is safe, most often pointing to a “definitive study” in Denmark proving that the vaccine did not cause autism. But earlier this month, Poul Thorsen, who administered the CDC grant money for that study, was indicted for fraud and money laundering, falsely claiming that labs had performed work on the study which had not in fact been done. If some of the study’s conclusions were derived from work that was not actually performed, the entire study could be fraudulent.

Last month, former ANH-USA board president Sherri Tenpenny, MD, wrote a scathing article on fraudulent medical research the world over, especially in highly respected medical journals, concluding that “What doctors consider to be ‘usual and customary’ may turn out to be misleading, exaggerated and chillingly, flat-out wrong. Physicians would be well served to take medical publications under advisement rather than believing that just because it has been published, it is accurate and infallible, as gospel engraved in stone.”

As we noted in our Position Paper on Vaccinations, we believe that no one—children, pregnant women, adults, the military, seniors—should be forced to be vaccinated. We believe that in order for individuals to make up their minds about vaccination, they need accurate and impartial information. And we believe that informed choice is the best way to protect the right to decide about vaccination. The vaccine industry is a billion-dollar market, but it has meager proof of its products’ efficacy or safety. Consumers are entitled to know exactly what is going into their bodies—its benefits and risks—and how safe and how effective that substance is. Above all, we have a right to government regulation that is not completely tarnished by crony capitalist deals.

Make that “DEEP” breaths

Filed under: John-Roger,MSIA — Jan Turner @ 3:42 pm
Tags: ,

(I have been having my daily doses of inspiration from JR for at least 16 + years.   Be fair, I have “restrained” myself hugely in not over-sharing personal preference – I’ve tried!    Today, I’m letting ‘er rip    Breathe deep.   Jan)

When we have restraint, we do not breathe deeply. We breathe in a shallow way, and we do not use our lungs to their full capacity. Thus, we do not oxygenate the blood as well as we can and the nutrients don’t get into the cells in an optimal way. The result is that what goes with restraint are aches and pains. When we have aches and pains, we have an excuse not to do what needs to get done.

What is it that restrains us? Often it’s other people’s opinions or our thoughts that we won’t have enough money to do what we want and, as we’ve seen, our fear of making a mistake. This leads to our not following through, which in turn leads to our not trusting ourselves. Not trusting ourselves leads to our not being able to make up our minds and proceed with purpose.

Can you now understand how restraint can be a disease? It’s not a disease in the medical or pathological sense; it’s a disease of consciousness.

– John-Roger
(From: Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being by John-Roger, DSS with Paul Kaye, p. 109-110)

Watch today’s Moment of Peace with John-Roger, John Morton

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Loving Each Day is intended to uplift readers and give them pause to reflect on the Spirit within them.  It is a free service of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA).  MSIA is a nondenominational, ecumenical church that teaches that each of us is divine and we can know our own divinity.

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Roses for the nose

Filed under: The ROSE - heady - sensual — Jan Turner @ 1:28 am

Small trip down Memory Lane

(Back in the day, my home was a veritable paradise for the nose.  Had in the rear yard,  one giant magnolia (which was frequently in my dreams);  two of the most prolific citrus trees – one a navel orange and the other, Eureka Lemon and about 85 rose bushes. Without question,  it took effort to maintain all, but I did because I loved every bit of it – from the cushy, sensual dichondra underfoot to the heady fragrance when the citrus trees were blooming.  But the roses, well they were  so beautiful, healthy and fragrant.  Had all colors from a few whites  and yellows to pinks, variegated and all shades of red.  Two of my favorites were Mr. Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial because of their fragrance. 

Now, I am contented with 5 or 6 bushes  to play with as an apartment dweller, about all I can handle now.  Love em!  Jan)

More roses are being designed with noses in mind


A typical florist’s rose never smelled this divine.    My nose is buried in Maggie, a Bourbon whose full, carmine blooms release a fragrance as alluring as Granny’s boudoir — sweet and rosy, yes, but what else?

CONARD-PYLE CO./STAR ROSES   The McCartney Rose hybrid tea has a strong classic scent.

To Alyssa Harad’s practiced nose, Maggie releases a distinctly peppery scent with herbal notes.    Harad — a writer based in Austin, Texas, who blogs about the culture of fragrance at Now Smell This (  ) — fell in lust with old garden roses during her first visit to the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas, in the fall.

How could she not, with such a symphony of scents to decipher in Mike Shoup’s acres of displays, recently named to the Great Rosarians of the World’s Garden Hall of Fame?  The hundreds of old varieties there include the powerfully scented Maggie,  Madame Isaac Pereire,  Clotilde Soupert and Marchesa Boccella.    Fill a vase with the right homegrown blossoms, and you won’t need a room spritzer.    “To me, fragrance is the emotion, the drama, the memory of old garden roses,” Shoup said. “The eye candy’s always out there, but you need to garden for the nose.”   

The bouquets he offered Harad sent her into olfactory overdrive:  wafts of citrus,  myrrh,  musk, apricots, peaches, thyme, lavender, celery and, uh, furniture polish.   The latter would be Shoup’s take on Chrysler Imperial — a hybrid tea often that is said to be lemony but, to his nose, is more like Lemon Pledge.

Rose fragrances are as distinctive as wine flavors.    Every scent has an identifiable chemical compound, but we interpret them differently.    “Everybody smells things through their own screen of memory and cultural associations,” Harad said.

CONARD-PYLE CO./STAR ROSES    The Double Delight is a red and white hybrid tea that has received the American Rose Society’s fragrance medal.

A new generation of gardeners might love the easy care of scentless Knock Out roses, but old garden varieties are hardy, too.   Many of these shrubs and climbers, after all, survived decades without care before being reintroduced to the market.    And their scent appeal hasn’t been lost on breeders of new roses.    “In every new garden rose we’re introducing, fragrance is a priority,” said Jacques Ferare, director of research at Star Roses, a subsidiary of Conard-Pyle.  

They introduced the Knock Out series of disease-resistant stars. But Ferare said one of the newest roses from those genes, the white Milwaukee’s Calatrava, has a strong classic rose scent.    So does Star’s McCartney Rose hybrid tea. And Star’s Romantica series roses are all fragrant.

Many roses bred in the mid-20th century aren’t fragrant because hybridizers at the time were focusing instead on creating plants with bigger flowers, brighter colors and long stems. And, although they know customers want it, they can’t bring back fragrance overnight. It takes about 10 years to develop a new rose.

Fragrance is held in a recessive gene — tough to tap and unpredictable, said Tom Carruth, director of research for Weeks Roses, whose recent big-scent successes include Julia Child, Memorial Day and Ebb Tide.      Crossing two fragrant roses doesn’t always yield scent, which can pop up in crosses between scentless varieties.    “Fragrance is the blue eyes in the family,” Carruth said. “And it’s tied to poor vase life, color retention and disease-susceptibility.”    But now that breeders have a better handle on disease-tolerance, they’re making headway. Carruth and Ferare say many modern roses are more fragrant, with a wider variety of scents, than their ancestors.

“Anyone who tells you only old roses are fragrant hasn’t been smelling many  roses,” Carruth said.    His new Sugar Moon, coming in 2012, smells like Pond’s Cold Cream, he said.    Ferare and his team have worked 30 years with Maison Robertet of Grasse, France — a leading maker of perfume essences — to identify at least 50 specific modern rose scents in seven categories.

One category, “classic rose,” suggests the old Gallicas and Damasks long used in perfumes.    But they’ve also found essences of fruit (many types), wood (such as linseed oil and nut), green (such as hay, cut grass and green apple), flowers (many types) and spices (many types).      Then there’s the “unattractive” category that includes eau de squashed bug, wet rug, dust and metal.   Roses with these essences, needless to say, haven’t made it to market. (At Weeks, Carruth said, this category is called “catbox.”)

Ferare suggested that breeders are paying more attention to fragrance partly because of the way the plants are bought and sold now — mostly in pots, budded and blooming, as opposed to the old mail-order standard of bare-root plants.    “The first thing you do is look at them. And the second thing you do is stick your nose in them,” Ferare said. “We’re always looking at improving the gardener’s   experience.”    Honing your sense of smell, Harad said, is similar to developing your sense of taste or learning a new language.

  Fragrant favorites

Here are a few older roses with alluring scents.    • Clotilde Soupert    • Cramoisi Superieur    • Duchesse de Brabant    • Madame Isaac Pereire    • Maggie    • Marchesa Boccella    • Sir Thomas Lipton    • Sombreuil    • Souvenir de la Malmaison

These modern roses have received the American Rose Society’s James Alexander Gamble Fragrance Medal.    • Angel Face    • Chrysler Imperial    • Crimson Glory    • Double Delight    • Fragrant Cloud    • Fragrant Hour             • Granada    • Mister Lincoln    • Papa Meilland    • Sunsprite    • Secret    • Sutter’s Gold    • Tiffany

(I wish you joy and love and perhaps a beautiful, fragrant new rose bush just outside your favorite window where you sit to have that coffee and daily newspaper.  I guarantee you will feel the love every day and deep gratitude.  Try it.   Jan)

April 26, 2011

Pain-clinic doc – cont’d

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 2:42 am

Pain-clinic doctor unfazed by raids

  Investigation is state retaliation for suing over bills, he says

The door to his medical office has gold, stick-on letters like those on mailboxes.  His examination room is stacked with storage boxes.  His computer monitor is a refugee from the 1990s.    He has an exam table and just two pieces of medical equipment: a stethoscope and a $500 gauge to measure the strength of patients’ grip.    Yes, Dr. James Edgar Lundeen Sr., 57, is an unusual doctor.      But despite taking heat from the governor, state attorney general and a dozen local, state and federal agencies accusing him of over-prescribing pain pills, Lundeen is calmly defiant.
“This is my life. This is all I do,” he said in an interview. “They’re not putting me out of business. My patients need me.”        At his office in the lower level of Regency Hospital, 1430 S. High St.,  Lundeen saw a steady stream of patients on a recent weekday morning,  some coming from as far away as Springfield and Logan.   Patient visits didn’t last long.  They consisted mostly of Lundeen’s asking a few questions about their level of pain and directing them to perform simple movement tests.
For example, Torrey McCray of Logan left after a 10-minute, open-door appointment with prescriptions for pain pills.  He said he has work-related knee and back injuries.    “I wouldn’t see another doctor,” McCray said. “He’s a real great guy.”    State officials certainly don’t agree.
Five weeks have passed and no charges have been filed since raids on Lundeen’s offices in Portsmouth and Plymouth, north of Mansfield.    But his case moved to the head of the line just as Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine and state legislators launched a highly publicized blitz on prescription-drug abuse.    When Kasich said he intends to “drive the devil out of this state,” he was not referring specifically to Lundeen. However, he clearly was when, shortly after the raids, he publicly urged the State Medical Board to take action against the doctor.      “This guy’s still practicing medicine. Suspend the guy for probable cause.
Either we’re serious about this, or we’re not,” the governor said.    Officials of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation say Lundeen is responsible for 61 percent of all pain-pill   prescriptions for bureau clients in Scioto County and is the second-highest pain-pill prescriber in the state system.    DeWine, who participated in the March 16 raid in Portsmouth, told reporters afterward that the action against Lundeen “should be a warning for any rogue doctor in the state of Ohio.    We are going to go after them.  We are going to take their license away from them, and we’ll put them in prison.”
Lundeen said he has about 800 patients, roughly 600 of them workers’-compensation clients. He types prescriptions on the computer and prints and signs them on the spot. The Columbus location is one of 12 offices he maintains around the state, though he has a very small staff.
He has degrees in engineering and chemistry in addition to medicine.  He’s an inventor and ran an Internet-based campaign for president in 2008.  His website has photos of himself and his wife, Cynthia, wearing patriotic hats she designed.
Last month, Lundeen said, he was with a patient in his Portsmouth office when there was a loud knock on the door. Massed outside were members of many local, state and federal agencies, including the State Highway Patrol, the Portsmouth police, the Scioto County sheriff’s office, the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, Ohio State Medical and Pharmacy boards, Medicaid, the state departments of Taxation and Insurance, Ohio Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Justice Department.
DeWine wouldn’t comment directly about Lundeen’s case but said the large number of personnel was needed for interviewing patients.    “We wanted to have the opportunity to immediately interview them,” he said. “There were probably 30 to 40 of them. I was standing out in the hallway, and they just kept rolling in off the elevator.”
The Medical Board hasn’t moved to suspend Lundeen and won’t comment on his status. He has no violations on file.     
However, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation almost immediately decertified him as a service provider. He has appealed; no hearing date has been set.    Lundeen says that he’s being investigated not because of his medical practice but because he sued the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation contesting slow payment of bills he submitted. The case went to the Ohio Supreme Court, was referred to mediation and eventually was dismissed.
It was then, Lundeen said, that he began “being tailed by unmarked cars with dark-tinted windows.”
More recently, he sued again, this time accusing DeWine and others of “attempted character assassination” and “threatening to ruin the medical practice.”
A native of Bloomington, Ill., Lundeen earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, a master’s in chemistry from Illinois State University and a medical degree from Chicago Medical School.   He served his residency at the Cleveland Clinic and then went into family practice and urgent care before starting his   pain- management practice.
Dr. Robert J. Masone, a Lancaster physician who is president of the Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, said he does not know Lundeen and could not comment on his case.    “There are doctors out there who are essentially closing their regular practice, becoming like a recluse and putting out a shingle that says ‘pain clinic,’” he said. “There’s essentially no overhead. They can get by with one or two employees. They keep minimal records and have minimal equipment.”
Masone said doctors must educate themselves about the prescription-drug issue and do a better job of policing the profession.      He supports proposed state legislation regulating doctors’ pain practices.    “I am a conservative guy who always likes the least amount of regulation, but there’s an epidemic out there,” he said.
Dr. James Edgar Lundeen Sr., 57, he has 12 offices in  Ohio

TOM DODGE DISPATCH    Dr. James E. Lundeen types a prescription for a patient.

(It is disconcerting to me that the Medical Board has no marks against this doctor, which is practically unheard of.   He  is  obviously doing something right, at least in the opinion of his patients.   I am not able to judge.  However if he is breaking no laws, then for Pete’s sake, why all the strong arm stuff.  What happened to innocent til proven guilty.  Oh wait, no charges have been filed.   Hmm m. . .   six weeks now. . . .after taking all his records – still nothing wrong?
Wonder if the worker’s comp board has anything to do with all this.  Worker gets injured and the best we do for them is send them to a pain clinic for pills.  Has anyone tried to fix their problems?   How about therapy; some exercise physiology or massage – something!   Send them to me, I’ll teach them some energy medicine so they can help themselves.
Thing is, I don’t believe pain is a good choice – there is no need for it.  Outside of straight up  Prayer,  there are so many disciplines out there right now that can be used.  And there must be many more that I don’t know about.  I have great results with EFT and have it pretty well laid out up in the pages.  Have been using Quantum Touch also this past year and its so easy to learn and do – – its amazing.  (Richard Gordon)     I would also like to mention “Born a Healer” by Chunyi Lin of Spring Forest Qigong.  This is not only an amazing book, but also a very good read.  Once again – this is doable and not beyond anybody’s reach or ability to do. 
Our bodies do not like to suffer and be out of balance.  If we could choose to love ourselves and be kind to our body,  and try to discern what is really needed,  we can do that. We can become attuned, we can learn and the body can heal.  One must accept that it is possible and then allow the good things to happen. 
Meanwhile, back at the farm,  If Dr Lundeen has broken no laws and we just don’t like the fact that he is dispensing all these prescriptions for pills; it is not intelligent or helpful to intimidate, harass and try to cripple him.  It seems to me that Work. Comp has dropped the ball and our hot-to-trot governor is flexing muscle and running in all directions at once because he is so unfocused and unclear about effective methods.  Every course of action since he has taken office has produced turmoil, lawsuits,  and massive public demonstrations and outcry.  The citizens of Ohio will not be forgetting the deceit he has demonstrated nor the lack of humanity one expects from a leader.  Be warned Governor Kasich, all eyes ARE ON YOU. And its not a pretty picture.        Jan)


April 25, 2011

Climate “hearing” farce

CLIMATE   HEARING  was cynical farce


So the joke begins like this: An economist, a lawyer and a professor of marketing walk into a room. What’s the punch line? They were three of the five “expert witnesses” Republicans called for recent  congressional   hearing on climate science.

But the joke actually ended up being on the Republicans, when one of the two actual scientists they invited to testify went off script.    Professor Richard Muller of   Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate-skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation.    And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth.

Instead,   however,   Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”    The deniers’ response was both predictable and revealing; more on that shortly. But first, let’s talk a bit more about that list of witnesses, which raised the same question I and others have had about a number of committee hearings held since the GOP retook control of the House — namely, where do they find these people?

My favorite, still, was Ron Paul’s first hearing on monetary policy, in which the lead witness was someone best known for writing a book denouncing Abraham Lincoln as a “horrific tyrant” — and for advocating   a new secessionist movement as the appropriate response to the “new American fascialistic state.”

The ringers (i.e., nonscientists) at last week’s hearing weren’t of quite the same caliber,  but their prepared testimony still had some memorable moments.   One was the lawyer’s declaration that the EPA can’t declare that greenhouse-gas emissions are a health threat,  because these emissions have been rising for a century,  but public health has improved over the same period.  I am not making this up.    Oh, and the marketing professor, in providing a list of past cases of “analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming” — presumably intended to show why we should ignore the worriers — included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole, which have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation.

But back to Muller. His climate-skeptic credentials are pretty strong:   He has denounced both Al Gore and my New York Times colleague Thomas Friedman as “exaggerators,” and he has participated in a number of attacks on climate research, including the witch hunt over innocuous emails from British climate researchers.   Not surprisingly, then, climate deniers had high hopes that his new project would support their case.    You can guess what happened when those hopes were dashed.

Just a few weeks ago Anthony Watts, who runs a prominent climate-denialist website, praised the Berkeley project and piously declared himself   “prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”   But never mind:   Once he knew that Muller was going to present those preliminary results, Watts dismissed the hearing as “post normal science political theater.”   And   one of the regular contributors on Watts’ site dismissed Muller as “a man driven by a very serious agenda.”    Of course, it’s actually the climate deniers who have the agenda, and nobody who’s been following this discussion believed for a moment that they would accept a result confirming global warming.   But it’s worth stepping back for a moment and thinking not just about the science here, but about the morality.

For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic.  They could be wrong.   But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.      But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce:   a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there and instant ostracism for a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence.

As I said, no surprise: As Upton Sinclair pointed out long ago, it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.    But it’s terrifying to realize that this kind of cynical careerism — for that’s what it is — has probably ensured that we won’t do anything about climate change until catastrophe is already upon us.    So on second thought, I was wrong when I said that the joke was on the GOP; actually, the joke is on the human race.

Paul Krugman writes for The New York Times.

April 23, 2011



  Fracking divides neighbors; some profit, but others suffer

  By Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Michael Rubinkam ASSOCIATED PRESS

L.M. OTERO ASSOCIATED PRESS    In Flower Mound, Texas, Jennifer Roger protests the drilling of a natural-gas well.

Ron Hilliard came back from church one  Sunday to find hundreds of plastic $5,    $10, $20 and $100 bills hanging on his fence in Flower Mound, Texas, another message from townsfolk angry at him for signing a lucrative natural-gas drilling lease for his suburban Dallas property.    In Damascus, Pa., about 1,500 miles away, drilling advocate Marian Schweighofer awoke one morning to the word Lorax — from the Dr. Seuss book about environmental destruction — spray-painted on the road near her family’s 712-acre farm.

Hilliard and Schweighofer have never met, yet both are living with the nastiness and rancor erupting in communities nationwide over the volatile issue of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.    This technique — used with horizontal drilling — allows rich stores of gas to be extracted from once out-of-reach, dense shale formations more than a mile underground. Intense drilling activity is under way in the Barnett Shale of Texas, the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and other shale regions across the country. As tens of thousands of Americans become energy magnates in their own back-yards, tens of thousands more worry about environmental dangers. The industry insists the process is safe, for people and the environment.

This energy boom has turned neighbor against neighbor, split towns and families in bitter disputes, and touched off sharp debates over the sudden emergence of gas companies and their 14-story drilling rigs, some rising in the middle of towns and neighborhoods.    One side touts the jobs and prosperity drilling brings, allowing businesses to flourish and down-on-their-luck farmers to hang on to their land.    Gas leases have made millionaires of some property owners.                 Regions long struggling economically are suddenly flush.

On the other side are those who either will gain nothing or fervently believe the wealth isn’t worth the risk.   Alarmed by toxic spills, scattered drill-site explosions and tainted drinking water, they fear a reduced quality of life and declining property values.    “Those who own their mineral rights are happier than a pig in mud,” said Flower Mound resident Chris Tomlinson, who is making thousands of dollars a month from the gas wells drilled on his land. “Those who don’t want it to go away.”

Fracking opponents say the industry has taken environmental and safety shortcuts in its zeal to reap the vast stores of gas once locked within the shale.    The acrimony is unlikely to subside soon. Even with some 26,000 wells drilled in 16 states through the end of 2009 — most of them in Texas — the shale-gas revolution is still young.    Most of the wells have been drilled in the past decade, particularly in Pennsylvania’s white-hot Marcellus Shale region and in the Barnett Shale of Texas, where the extraction techniques were perfected and the boom began in   earnest in 2006. Hundreds of thousands more wells could be drilled in coming decades, according to drilling companies and energy officials.

   .      .          .         .       .

In Texas, a state so linked to drilling that an oil derrick adorns its license plates, the feuding in Flower Mound has been extraordinary.    A rural community about 30 miles northwest of Dallas, it had just over 15,000 residents in 1990 but exploded into an affluent and politically influential suburb of 70,000 by 2009.   Newcomers drawn by its quality of life filled large brick homes in manicured subdivisions and send their children to highly ranked schools. By and large, they don’t own their mineral rights — and many were outraged when gas wells began popping up near their neighborhoods, sometimes just a few hundred feet from schools and day-care centers. More than 40 wells are extracting gas in town.

On the other side are the longtime residents, farmers and ranchers who own their mineral rights and stand to make a lot of money.    “It was pretty much neighbor against neighbor. People just turned on people … and it’s left   some pretty nasty divides here in town,” said Tomlinson.    Ron Hilliard’s decision to have two wells drilled on his land, a half-mile from a Starbucks, two schools and hundreds of homes, brought vandalism, anonymous phone calls and insulting blogs and columns. He finally complained to police.    “I owned my mineral rights,” Hilliard says defiantly. “So I’m not doing anything wrong.”

Truck traffic in the Flower Mound area has increased significantly and the community has endured at least three major spills of thousands of gallons of production liquids.   The Environmental Protection Agency suspects fracking might have contributed to water-well contamination in Denton County — where Flower Mound and another drilling town, Dish, are located — and other Barnett Shale drilling areas.    The issues in Flower Mound simmered for months, then boiled over at a January 2010 city council hearing on a proposed plant to treat toxic fracking wastewater. About 600 people showed up, many against the plant, but the council set the plan in motion anyway.

That galvanized anti-drilling   forces. After a bitter campaign, the town’s pro-drilling mayor, Jody Smith, was ousted and an anti-drilling slate swept into office.    Less than 15 miles away is Dish, population about 200, where Mayor Calvin Tillman raised a national ruckus about gas drilling. The area now has about 60 drilling wells, gas production pads and rigs, 12 pipelines, a treating facility and a compressor station.

Cancer-causing benzene, sometimes in levels considered dangerous to health, was reported last year by Texas environmental regulators who took air tests in the Dish area. Residents believe at least one domestic water well was contaminated and that gas operations killed horses on a ranch not far from the compressor — an assertion the gas companies dispute.    Tillman, whose home is about a quarter-mile from the compressor, was afraid for his two sons’ health. Bad drilling odors coincided with nightly spikes in air emissions from the compression station, Tillman said on his blog, and were so bad that both of his youngsters were often awakened in the middle of the night with severe nose- bleeds.    By February, Tillman decided to leave the community in which he had invested time, money and his heart. It was tough, he said.    “But it would be a whole lot tougher if my kids came down with some strange illness in five years,” he added.

  .             .          .         .          .

New York, sitting atop the vast Marcellus Shale, has enacted a drilling moratorium that holds the wealth at bay while new regulations are drawn up. New Yorkers — some wary, some perhaps jealous — watch as landowners in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states get rich while regulators struggle with explosions, spills and tainted water.    “People that don’t own the land are saying, ‘Let’s slow down and learn from the mistakes of other places,’ ” said Matthew Ryan, mayor of Binghamton, N.Y., in shale country about 70 miles northwest of Damascus. “Those that own land are anxious to ‘drill, baby, drill.’ ”

Binghamton hosted the EPA last September for the last of four national hearings to get public input on the environmental and public-health effects of fracking as the agency prepares for a national study on drinking-water effects.    The EPA said 3,500 people crowded its hearings in Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Canonsburg, Pa.; and Binghamton.    In New York, opponents carried signs saying “Kids can’t drink gas,” while supporters, including union workers eager for jobs, chanted “Pass gas now!”

    .            .          .           .           .

In rural Pennsylvania, where nearly 3,000 gas wells have been drilled in the Marcellus Shale since 2005 and tens of thousands more are planned, the tension is leaving  deep fissures in once tight-knit communities.    Schweighofer, a 54-year-old mother of five, founded the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, more than 1,300 landowners who negotiated a master lease with New York City-based Hess Corp. to drill for natural gas in Pennsylvania’s scenic northeastern tip.    She got several death threats from anti-drilling residents or activists — one woman declared she was “gonna shoot you with my .30-06” and a man advocated in an online post that “one well-placed bullet” be put in Schweighofer’s head. Schweighofer began sleeping with a gun at her bedside.    “We’re farmers,” she said. “I’m not used to standing out and having folks holler at me, and saying evil things. I’m just not used to that.”

One member of her group, 70-year-old Mike Uretsky, says some neighbors don’t talk to him since he signed the lease. Yet, the retired New York University professor says he understands where the other side is coming from.    “Everybody’s interested in safety, aesthetics, community, quality of life,” he said. “The interpretations of those things, and where the boundaries are, differ from one person to another. The frustrating thing is people can’t sit down and talk and say, ‘Hey, how do we work together?’ ”

The northeastern Pennsylvania village of Dimock, population 1,400, is another prime example of the split over drilling.    State regulators blame Houston-based   Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. for contaminating residential wells with methane gas.    Some Dimock residents were able to light their tap water on fire — just as Colorado homeowners did in a dramatic scene in the Academy Award-nominated HBO documentary Gasland, about the effects of fracking.    Some homeowners with fouled water have become high-profile anti-drilling activists, suing Cabot and taking their case to media outlets worldwide. Two years of negative publicity brought them a backlash.    When Pennsylvania regulators ordered Cabot to spend $12 million to provide municipal water to the 19 affected homes, pro-drilling residents and businesses banded together as “Enough Already” and circulated a petition that 1,600 water-line opponents signed. State regulators relented and settled with Cabot for $4.1 million, enough to pay the homeowners twice the value of their ruined homes.

The homeowners feel sandbagged by the community.    “You want to feel like a really lonely, lonely person?” asked Scott Ely, one whose water well was ruined. “Move to Carter Road,” the gravel lane in the rural, forested area where most of the contamination was found. He said people he’s known his whole life have turned against him.

RALPH WILSON ASSOCIATED PRESS    A Chesapeake Energy natural-gas well taps the Marcellus Shale near Burlington, Pa.

RALPH WILSON ASSOCIATED PRESS    Scott Ely has bottled water delivered to his home in Dimock, Pa., because his well became tainted, allegedly from gas drilling.

How fracking works

 Hydraulic fracturing is a drilling process that blasts millions of gallons of water for each well deep into the earth to fracture dense shale and allow natural gas to escape.    The water is mixed with sand and chemicals — some of them toxic, some carcinogenic. The fracking liquid gushes back with natural underground brine, a brew now intensely salty and containing barium, strontium and radium.
In Texas and other states, the liquids are disposed of in deep injection wells; Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that routinely allows fracking wastewater to be partially treated and dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.
Researchers don’t know whether these discharges are dangerous to humans or wildlife;   several studies on possible environmental effects are under way. Drilling companies are exempt from disclosing their chemical formulas.    The Environmental Protection Agency, citing the potential danger to human health and aquatic life, asked last month that Pennsylvania regulators begin water sampling for radium and other contaminants. The agency plans a major national study looking at how fracking in the Marcellus, Barnett and other shale regions already might have affected drinking water — and at potential impacts.
Pennsylvania will expand the scope of water tests to screen for radioactive pollutants and other contaminants, but state officials insisted they aren’t doing it because federal regulators prodded them.    The drilling industry insists that fracking water blasted deep underground cannot contaminate underground water aquifers that are separated by thousands of feet of rock. Drilling might have polluted several aquifers another way: by methane gas seeping through shoddy cement jobs, then migrating into drinking-water wells.
Fracking, along with horizontal drilling, allows recovery of natural gas from huge and lucrative shale reserves. In recent years, that has set off a gold rush of leasing and drilling activity, leaving regulators in Pennsylvania scrambling to keep up.
During a recent visit to Pennsylvania, President Barack Obama said science must be done to ensure that natural gas is extracted safely.
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